February 2, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – February 2nd, 2019
Chapter 4 “USEFULNESS OF MORTIFICATION” Continued
b. Mortification prunes all the graces of God
Mortification prunes all the graces of God and makes room for them to grow in our hearts. The life and vigor of our spiritual lives consists in the vigor and flourishing of the plants of grace in our hearts. Now, as you may see in a garden, let there be a precious herb planted, but let the ground be untilled and weeds grow about it. Perhaps it will live still, but be a poor, withering, unuseful thing. You must look and search for it, and sometimes can scarce find it; and when you do, you can scarce know it whether it is the plant you look for or not—and suppose it is, you can make no use of it at all. But let another of the same kind be set in the ground, naturally as barren and bad as the other; let it be well weeded, and everything that is noxious and hurtful removed from it. It flourishes and thrives. You may see it at your first look into the garden, and have it for your use when you please.
So it is with the graces of the Spirit that are planted in our hearts. It is true that they are still there; they abide in a heart where there is some neglect of mortification. But they are ready to die; they are withering and decaying (Rev 3:2). The heart is like the sluggard’s field, so overgrown with weeds that you can scarce see the good corn. Such a man may search for faith, love, and zeal, and scarce be able to find any. And if he does discover that these graces are there yet alive and sincere, yet they are so weak, so clogged with lusts, that they are of very little use. They remain indeed, but are ready to die. But now let the heart be cleansed by mortification, the weeds of lust constantly and daily rooted up (as they spring daily, nature being their proper soil). Let room be made for grace to thrive and flourish. How will every grace act its part, and be ready for every use and purpose!