January 29, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – January 29th, 2019
Chapter 4 “USEFULNESS OF MORTIFICATION” Continued
a.They do not proceed from mortification as though they were necessarily tied to it. A man may be carried on in a constant course of mortification all his days, and yet perhaps never enjoy a good day of peace and consolation. So, it was with Heman (Psa 88): his life was a life of perpetual mortification and walking with God, yet terrors and wounds were his portion all his days. But God singled out Heman, a choice friend, to make him an example to them that afterward should be in distress. Can you complain if it be with you like it was with Heman, that eminent servant of God? This shall be his praise to the end of the world. God makes it His prerogative to speak peace and consolation. “I will heal him,” says God; “I will…restore comforts unto him” (Isa 57:18). But how? By a direct work of the new creation: “I create the fruit of the lips,” says God (v. 19). The use of means for the obtaining of peace is ours; the bestowing of it is God’s prerogative.
b. Mortification not a direct cause. Mortification is not one of the direct causes instituted by God to give us life, vigor, courage, and comfort in our souls. These things are the privileges of our adoption made known to our souls. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16), giving us a new name and a white stone (Rev 2:17). Our sense and assurance of adoption and justification, then, are the direct causes (in the hand of the Spirit) of life, vigor, courage, and comfort. But this I say,
c. Life and comfort depend upon mortification. In our ordinary walking with God, and in an ordinary course of His dealing with us, the vigor and comfort of our spiritual lives depend much on our mortification. Mortification is not only a causa sine qua non(34) of life and com-fort, but also effectively works in bringing them about. We shall now consider the reasons for this.