March 9, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 9th, 2019
Dangerous Symptoms (Continued)
g. A caution
These and many other evidences are there of a lust that is dangerous, if not mortal. As our Savior said of the evil spirit, “This kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer” (Mat 17:21), so say I of lusts of this kind. An ordinary course of mortification will not do it; extraordinary ways must be used. This is the first particular direction: Consider whether the lust or sin you are contending with has any of these dangerous symptoms attending it.
Before I proceed, I must give you one caution by the way, lest any be deceived by what has been spoken. Whereas I say the things and evils above-mentioned may befall true believers, let not anyone who finds the same things in himself conclude that he is a true believer. These are the evils that believers may fall into and be ensnared with, not the things that constitute a believer. A man may as well conclude that he is a believer because he is an adulterer, since David fell into adultery as a believer, as conclude it from the signs previously mentioned, which are the evils of sin and Satan in the hearts of believers.
The seventh chapter of Romans contains the description of a regenerate man. He that shall consider what is spoken of a believer’s dark side, of the unregenerate part, of the indwelling power and violence of sin remaining in him, and, because he finds the like in himself, conclude that he is a regenerate man, will be deceived in his reckoning. It is the same as if you should argue: A wise man may be sick and wounded, yea, do some things foolishly; therefore, everyone who is sick and wounded and does things foolishly is a wise man. Or as if a foolish person, hearing one speak of a beautiful person that had a mark or a scar which much disfigured him, should conclude that because he himself has scars, moles, and warts, he also is beautiful. If you will have evidences of your being believers, it must be from those things that constitute men to be believers. He that has these dangerous symptoms in himself may safely conclude, “If I am a believer, I am a most miserable one.” When any man is so, he must look for other evidences if he will have peace about salvation.