March 2, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 2nd, 2019
Chapter 8 RULES FOR MORTIFICATION
B. Sincerity and Diligence
The second rule for the mortification of sin that I shall propose is this:
1. Without sincerity and diligence in a universal obedience, there is no mortification of any one perplexing lust to be obtained.
The first rule was to the person, that he must be a true believer (chap. 7); this second rule is to the thing itself. I shall a little explain this position.
1.Why Universal Diligence Is Needed
A man finds a lust to bring him into the condition formerly described. It is powerful, strong, and disturbing. It leads captive, vexes, disquiets, and takes away peace. He is not able to bear it; wherefore he sets himself against it, prays against it, groans under it, sighs to be delivered. But in the meantime, in other duties—in constant communion with God; in reading, prayer, and meditation; in other ways that are not of the same kind with the lust wherewith he is troubled—he is loose and negligent. Let not that man think that he shall ever arrive to the mortification of the lust he is perplexed with.
This is a condition that often befalls men in their pilgrimage. The Israelites drew nigh to God under a sense of their sin, with much diligence and earnestness, with fasting and prayer. Many expressions are made of their earnestness in the work, such as, “They seek me daily, and delight to know my ways…they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God” (Isa 58:2). But God rejects all. Their fast (v. 5) is a remedy that will not heal them, and the reason given is because they focused on this one duty only (vv. 5-7). They at-tended diligently to it, but in others were negligent and careless. He who has a “running sore” (it is the scriptural expression in Psalm 77:2) upon him arising from an ill habit of body, contracted by intemperance and ill diet, let him apply himself with what diligence and skill he can to the cure of his sore, if he leaves the general habit of his body in disorder, his labor and travail will be in vain. So will his attempts be that shall endeavor to stop the bloody issue of sin and filth in his soul and is not equally careful of his universal spiritual temperature and constitution. The reasons for this follow.