January 16, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – January 16th, 2019
Chapter 2 – CONTINUOUS ACTIVITY OF INDWELLING SIN Continued
3. The Sad Absence of Mortification
Before I proceed to the consideration of the next principle, I cannot but by the way com-plain of many professors(20) of these days who, instead of bringing forth such great and evident fruits of mortification as are expected, scarce bear any leaves of it. There is, indeed, a broad light fallen upon the men of this generation, and with it many spiritual gifts communicated, which, with some other considerations, have incredibly enlarged the number of professors and profession; both are exceedingly multiplied and increased. Hence(21) there is a noise of religion and religious duties in every corner, preaching in abundance; and that not in an empty, light, trivial, and vain manner as formerly, but to a good proportion showing spiritual gift—so that if you will measure the number of believers by light, gifts, and profession, the church may have cause to say, “Who hath begotten me these?” (Isa 49:21).
But now if you will take the measure of them by this great discriminating grace of Christians—that is, mortification of sin—perhaps you will find their number not so multiplied. Where almost is that professor who owes his conversion to these days of light—and so talks and professes at such a rate of spirituality as few in former days, in any measure, were acquainted with (I will not judge them, but perhaps they are boasting of what the Lord has done in them)—that does not give evidence of a miserably unmortified heart? If vain spending of time, idleness, unprofitability in men’s places, envy, strife, variance, emulations, wrath, pride, worldliness, selfishness (1Co 1), be badges of Christians, we have them on us and amongst us in abundance. And if it be so with them who have much light (and which, we hope, is saving), what shall we say of some who would be accounted religious and yet despise gospel light, and for the duty we have in hand, know no more of it but what consists in men’s denying themselves sometimes in outward enjoyments (which is one of the outmost branches of it), which yet they will seldom practice? May the good Lord send out a spirit of mortification to cure our distempers,(22) or we are in a sad condition!
There are two evils that certainly attend every unmortified professor: the first in himself and the other in respect of others.
(20) professors – those who profess faith in Christ but may not be truly regenerate.
(21) hence – for this reason.
(22) distempers – diseases, that is, our sinful inclinations