Thursday, April 07, 2011

Owen On The Mortification Of Sin


I recently finished reading John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin in Believers as part of Tim Challies' Reading Classics Together series. Whilst reading through, I highlighted various passages and started reviewing them and decided that I would share a few here:
Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; case not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.
When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion.
There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so while we live in this world.
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 scare 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!
When the Jews, upon the conviction of their sin, were cut to the heart and cried out, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), what does Peter direct them to do? Does he bid them go and mortify their pride, wrath, malice, cruelty, and the like? No; he knew that was not their present work, but calls them to conversion and faith in Christ in general (v. 38). Let the soul be first thoroughly converted, and then, “looking on him whom they had pierced” [Zech. 12:10; John 19:37], humiliation and mortification will ensue.
Be sure to get an interest in Christ--if you intend to mortify any sin without it, it will never be done.
It is not your sore finger but your hectic fever that you are to apply yourself to the consideration of. You set yourself against a particular sin and do not consider that you are nothing but sin.
Hatred of sin as sin, not only as galling or disquieting, a sense of the love of Christ in the cross, lies at the bottom of all true spiritual mortification.

3 comments:

Laura said...

I started this (totally outstanding and surprisingly encouraging) book in the airport on my way home for Christmas, sitting at the bar, drinking a beer. It was a true Reformed moment. Luther especially, I think, would have been proud! ;)

Jacob said...

Sounds like a moment of true leisure! I'm sure the other patrons probably gave you strange looks.

Laura said...

True. But they probably were puzzling over the title -- "the Whatification of Sin? What does that even mean?"

The beer WAS, in fact, a Guinness, but... little known fact: Guinness is a huge macro-brew. It has this great reputation as this little Irish brewery, but it's massive, and Guinness is really only an all right beer. I could go on and on... sometimes it's just awful being a beer snob. ;)