March 12. Never appeared so exceedingly vile and loathsome to myself as I did this day. It seemed as if I could not endure being near myself. No words could express anything like the sense I had of my unworthiness. It seemed as if I could not, for shame, ask God to save me. I felt like sinking into the dust, in the idea that his pure eye was fixed upon me, and that saints and angels saw how vile I was. ” March 15. Sabbath. Rose very early, and was favored with sweet fervency and communion with God in prayer. Went to bed, and lay till morning. Enjoyed great liberty in prayer several times before meeting.
From CCEL, “In his treatise, Owen addresses the nature and power of temptation, the risk of entering into it, and the means of avoiding its danger. Owen defines temptation as anything with the ability to entice the Christian’s mind or heart away from obedience to God and redirect it towards sin. Owen warns us that our power is not strong enough to protect us from temptation; rather, it is by God’s power of preservation that we are saved. As Christians, we can guard ourselves against temptation in part by praying for God’s power to help us resist it. His treatise teaches Christians how to recognize the threat of temptation and protect themselves against it.
My heart yearns towards you, and will indulge itself a little, because we are both in the same low place—feeling our vileness, and mourning after our Beloved. Surely there never was such a one as I, so weak and wicked; so willful, not full of His will—but of my own. How I need the emptying from vessel to vessel. I need to have my purposes and enterprises broken that I may learn that His purposes shall stand fast and that He will do all His pleasure. I can say, as the repenting thief did, I am “in the same condemnation,” and “indeed justly,” receiving but the due reward of my deeds. I have been walking after the sight of my eyes. “The legs of the lame are not equal;” so when we act from sight and sense, our walk is not consistent; it is only when walking by faith that it is so. Vile, ungrateful worm that I am, what has it cost me in bitter anguish; yet the sorrow is nothing to the sin. And, as I said to you, the ill savor will come up continually, until the blessed Comforter brings the savor of rest, even the fragrant sacrifice for sin which was once offered, and which is now pleaded by Him who is the sinner’s surety and the sinner’s friend. Well, I can only lie at His feet and continue confessing all. I dare not promise to do better; I am in self-despair; but to Him will I look for pardon of the sin, and power against it.
“Paul, notwithstanding all the grace with which he was favored, found a principle of evil operating so strongly in his heart, that he denominates it a law always present and always active to retard him in his course. He was not, however, under its dominion. He was in Christ Jesus a new creature, born of God, renewed in the spirit of his mind. He delighted in the holy law of God in all its extent and spirituality, while at the same time he felt the influence of the other hateful principle — that tendency to evil which characterizes the old man, — which waged perpetual war against the work of grace in his soul, impelling him to the commission of sin, and constantly striving to bring him under its power. Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the fallen state of man, and the entire corruption of his nature, then the perpetual and irreconcilable warfare which that corruption maintains in the hearts of all believers against ‘the Divine nature’ of which they are made partakers; and nothing can more forcibly enhance the value of the Gospel, and prove its necessity in order to salvation, or more fully illustrate the great truth which Paul had been illustrating, that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in the sight of God.”
From the Treatise on Original Sin – 1659
Alas, marvel not at it, these serpents and toads were a long while breeding in the imagination. The pleasure or profit of such a sin was often fancied before. It was again and again committed in thy thoughts before it was expressed in thy life, so that a man can never live unblameably in his life that doth not keep his imagination pure and clean. Hence you have so often evil thoughts complained of as the root of all bitterness, Jer. 4:14. “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” Mat. 15:19. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” As exhalations and vapors ascending from the earth, which are scarce perceptible, yet at last are congealed into thick and dismal clouds, so those sins which while in the thoughts and imagination were scarce taken notice of, do at last grow into soul and enormous transgressions.
Commentary on Romans 8:7 and Romans 7:14