March 3, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 3rd, 2019
Chapter 8 RULES FOR MORTIFICATION
Sincerity and Diligence (Continued)
2. Reasons for Failure when Focusing on Only One Sin
1. An invalid underlying principle
This kind of endeavor for mortification proceeds from a corrupt principle, ground, and foundation; so that it will never proceed to a good result. The true and acceptable principles of mortification shall be afterward insisted on: hatred of sin as sin (not only as troubling or dis-quieting) and a sense of the love of Christ in the cross lie at the bottom of all true spiritual mortification. It is certain that what I speak of proceeds from self-love. You set yourself with all diligence and earnestness to mortify such a lust or sin. What is the reason of it? It disquiets you; it has taken away your peace. It fills your heart with sorrow, trouble, and fear; you have no rest because of it. Yes, but friend, you have neglected prayer or reading; you have been vain and loose in your conduct in other things that have not been of the same nature with that lust wherewith you are perplexed. These are no less sins and evils than those under which you groan. Jesus Christ bled for them also. Why do you not set yourself against them also?
If you hate sin as sin, every evil way, you would be no less watchful against everything that grieves and disquiets the Spirit of God than against that which grieves and disquiets your own soul. It is evident that you contend against sin merely because of your own trouble by it. If your conscience were quiet under it you would let it alone. If it did not disquiet you it should not be disquieted by you. Now, can you think that God will set in with such hypocritical endeavors, so that His Spirit will not bear witness to the treachery and falsehood of your spirit? Do you think He will ease you of that which perplexes you, so that you may be at liberty to do that which no less grieves Him? No. Instead, God says, “Here is one who, if he could be rid of this lust, I should never hear of him more. Let him wrestle with this, or he is lost.”
Let not any man think to do his own work that will not do God’s. God’s work consists in universal obedience. To be freed of one sin’s present perplexity is that man’s work only. Hence is that of the apostle, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Co 7:1). If we will do any one thing, we must do all things. So then, it is not only an intense opposition to this or that peculiar lust, but a universal humble frame and temper of heart—with watchfulness over every evil and for the performance of every duty—that is accepted.