John Owen – How to Set Your Affections on Things Above – Chapter 3 – 1681

Owen wrote, “what is astonishing is, men abide in the duty of prayer, and that with constancy, in their families and otherwise, and yet live in known sins. Whatever spiritual thoughts such men have in and by their prayers, they are not spiritually minded. Shall we now say that all such persons are gross hypocrites, such as know they do but mock God and man, — know that they have not desires nor aims after the things which they mention in their own prayers, but do these things either for some corrupt end or at best to satisfy their convictions?” Could we thus resolve, the whole difficulty of the case were taken off; for such “double-minded men” have no reason to “think that they shall receive any thing of the Lord,” as James speaks, chapter 1: 7. Indeed they do not; — they never act faith with reference unto their own prayers. But it is not so with all of this sort. Some judge themselves sincere and in good earnest in their prayers, — not without some hopes and expectations of success. I will not say of all such persons that they are among the number of them concerning whom the Wisdom of God says, “Because I called, and they refused; they shall call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me,” Proverbs 1: 24,28.

Set Your Affections on Things Above Chapter 3