January 26, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – January 26th, 2019
Chapter 3 THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN MORTIFICATION continued
2). Our obedience. He does not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it still an act of our obedience. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us as we are fit to be worked in and on; that is, so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our under-standings, wills, consciences, and affections agreeably to their own natures. He works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that His assistance is an encouragement as to the enabling of the work, and no occasion to neglect the work itself.
Indeed, I might here bewail the endless, foolish labor of poor souls who—being convinced of sin, and not able to stand against the power of their convictions—set themselves to keep down sin by innumerable perplexing ways and duties; but all in vain, being strangers to the Spirit of God. They combat without victory, have war without peace, and are in slavery all their days. They spend their strength for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which profiteth not (Isa 55:2).
This is the saddest warfare in which any poor creature can be engaged. A soul under the power of conviction from the Law is pressed to fight against sin but has no strength for the combat. They cannot but fight, but they can never conquer. They are like men thrust on the sword of enemies to be slain on purpose. The Law drives them on, and sin beats them back.
Sometimes they think, indeed, that they have foiled sin, when they have only raised a dust that they see it not; that is, they disturb their natural affections of fear, sorrow, and anguish, which makes them believe that sin is conquered, when it is not touched. By the time they have cooled off they must begin the battle again; and the lust that they thought to be slain appears to have had no wound.
And if the case be so sad with them who do labor and strive and yet enter not into the kingdom, what is their condition who despise all this: who are perpetually under the power and dominion of sin, and love to have it so; who are troubled at nothing, but that they cannot make sufficient “provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:14)!