“But the men told him to take care of himself, and they would take care of themselves; and as to laws and ordinances they should keep them as conscientiously as he; and as to all his pretense of inward experience, the new birth, repentance and faith, and all that, it might do for such a ragged creature as he had been. All the neighbors knew that he had been a worthless wretch, and it was well indeed that he had got such a coat to cover his nakedness; but they had always gone well dressed, and having never been so bad as he was, needed not so great a change; their laws and ordinances would save them.”
I do believe, from soul experience, that one of the greatest, if not the greatest burden and trial to the child of God, is the daily, hourly, minutely, momently workings of sin. The adulterous eye, the roving heart, the defiled imagination, the constant stream of iniquity polluting every word and thought, every feeling and desire, is and must be a burden to the soul, just in proportion as the fear of God lives and works in a man’s conscience.
Men walk and talk as if the world were all, when comparatively it is nothing. And when men come with their warmed affections, reeking with thoughts of these things, unto the performance of or attendance unto any spiritual duty, it is very difficult for them, if not impossible, to stir up any grace unto a due and vigorous exercise. Unless this plausible advantage which the world hath obtained of insinuating itself and its occasions into the minds of men, so as to fill them and possess them, be watched against and obviated,
so far, at least, as that it may not transform the mind into its own image and likeness, this grace of being spiritually minded, which is life and peace,
cannot be attained nor kept unto its due exercise. Owen