Owen on Mortification of Sin
Excerpts from John Owen's Mortification of Sin
"To mortify. "If ye put to death;" a metaphorical expression, taken from the putting of any living thing to death. To kill a man, or any other living thing, is to take away the principle of all his strength, vigour, and power, so that he cannot act or exert, or put forth any proper actings of his own; so it is in this case. Indwelling sin is compared to a person, a living person, called "the old man," with his faculties, and properties, his wisdom, craft, subtlety, strength; this, says the apostle, must be killed, put to death, mortified, -- that is, have its power, life, vigour, and strength, to produce its effects, taken away by the Spirit." John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume VI. Chapter I.1
"Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you." Volume VI. Chapter II.1
"Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world." Volume VI. Chapter I.3.
"The vigour, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh." Volume VI. Chapter I.5
"There is not the best saint in the world but, if he should give over this duty, would fall into as many cursed sins as ever any did of his kind." Volume VI. Chapter II.3
"This is one main reason why the Spirit and the new nature is given unto us, -- that we may have a principle within whereby to oppose sin and lust. "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit." Well! and what then? Why, "The Spirit also lusteth against the flesh," Gal. 5:17...
Now this is, first, the most unjust and unreasonable thing in the world, when two combatants are engaged, to bind one and keep him up from doing his utmost, and to leave the other at liberty to wound him at his pleasure; and, secondly, the foolishest thing in the world to bind him who fights for our eternal condition, [salvation?] and to let him alone who seeks and violently attempts our everlasting ruin. The contest is for our lives and souls. Not to be daily employing the Spirit and new nature for the mortifying of sin, is to neglect that excellent succour which God hath given us against our greatest enemy. If we neglect to make use of what we have received, God may justly hold his hand from giving us more. His graces, as well as his gifts, are bestowed on us to use, exercise, and trade with. Not to be daily mortifying sin, is to sin against the goodness, kindness, wisdom, grace, and love of God, who hath furnished us with a principle of doing it." Volume VI. Chapter II.4
"Sin sets its strength against every act of holiness, and against every degree we grow to. Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts. He who doth not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey's end. He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it." Volume VI. Chapter II.6
"...the great sovereign cause of the mortification treated of; which, in the words laid for the foundation of this discourse, is said to be the Spirit, -- that is, the Holy Ghost, as was evinced.
II. He only is sufficient for this work; all ways and means without him are as a thing of nought; and he is the great efficient of it, -- he works in us as he pleases.
1. In vain do men seek other remedies; they shall not be healed by them... The greatest part of popish religion, of that which looks most like religion in their profession, consists in mistaken ways and means of mortification. This is the pretence of their rough garments, whereby they deceive. Their vows, orders, fastings, penances, are all built on this ground; They are all for the mortifying of sin. Their preachings, sermons, and books of devotion, they look all this way...
Search their ways and principles to the bottom, and you will find that it had no other root but this mistake, namely, that attempting rigid mortification, they fell upon the natural man instead of the corrupt old man, -- upon the body wherein we live instead of the body of death." Volume VI. Chapter III.2
The first is, How doth the Spirit mortify sin? I answer, in general, three ways:--
[1.] By causing our hearts to abound in grace and the fruits that are contrary to the flesh, and the fruits thereof and principles of them...
[2.] By a real physical efficiency on the root and habit of sin, for the weakening, destroying, and taking it away. Hence he is called a "Spirit of judgement and burning," Isa. 4:4, really consuming and destroying our lusts. He takes away the stony heart by an almighty efficiency; for as he begins the work as to its kind, so he carries it on as to its degrees. He is the fire which burns up the very root of lust.
[3.] He brings the cross of Christ into the heart of a sinner by faith,
Secondly. If this be the work of the Spirit alone, how is it that we are exhorted to it? -- seeing the Spirit of God only can do it, let the work be left wholly to him.
[1.] It is no otherwise the work of the Spirit but as all graces and good works which are in us are his. He "works in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure," Phil. 2:13; he works "all our works in us," Isa. 26:12, -- "the work of faith with power," 2 Thess. 1:11, Col. 2:12; he causes us to pray, and is a "Spirit of supplication," Rom. 8:26, Zech. 12:10; and yet we are exhorted, and are to be exhorted, to all these.
[2.] He doth not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it still an act of our obedience. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us, as we are fit to be wrought in and upon; that is, so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that his assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitating of the work, and no occasion of neglect as to the work itself. And, indeed, I might here bewail the endless, foolish labour of poor souls, who, being convinced of sin, and not able to stand against the power of their convictions, do set themselves, by innumerable perplexing ways and duties, to keep down sin, but, being strangers to the Spirit of God, all in vain. They combat without victory, have war without peace, and are in slavery all their days. They spend their strength for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which profiteth not.
This is the saddest warfare that any poor creature can be engaged in. A soul under the power of conviction from the law is pressed to fight against sin, but hath no strength for the combat. They cannot but fight, and they can never conquer; they are like men thrust on the sword of enemies on purpose to be slain. The law drives them on, and sin beats them back. Sometimes they think, indeed, that they have foiled sin, when they have only raised a dust that they see it not; that is, they distemper their natural affections of fear, sorrow, and anguish, which makes them believe that sin is conquered when it is not touched. But that time they are cold, they must to the battle again; and the lust which they thought to be slain appears to have had no wound. Volume VI. Chapter III.3
Every unmortified sin will certainly do two things:-- [1.] It will weaken the soul, and deprive it of its vigour. [2.] It will darken the soul, and deprive it of its comfort and peace.
[1.] It weakens the soul, and deprives it of its strength. When David had for a while harboured an unmortified lust in his heart, it broke all his bones, and left him no spiritual strength; hence he complained that he was sick, weak, wounded, faint. "There is," saith he, "no soundness in me," Ps. 38:3; "I am feeble and sore broken," verse 8; "yea, I cannot so much as look up," Ps 40:12. An unmortified lust will drink up the spirit, and all the vigour of the soul, and weaken it for all duties. For, --
1st. It untunes and unframes the heart itself, by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father, 1 John 2:15, 3:17; so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, "Thou art my portion," having something else that it loves. Fear, desire, hope, which are the choice affections of the soul, that should be full of God, will be one way or other entangled with it.
2dly. It fills the thoughts with contrivances about it. Thoughts are the great purveyors of the soul to bring in the provision to satisfy its affections; and if sin remain unmortified in the heart, they must ever and anon be making provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. They must glaze, adorn, and dress the objects of the flesh, and bring them home to give satisfaction; and this they are able to do, in the service of a defiled imagination, beyond all expression.
3dly. It breaks out and actually hinders duty. The ambitious man must be studying, and the worldling must be working or contriving, and the sensual, vain person providing himself for vanity, when they should be engaged in the worship of God.
[2.] As sin weakens, so it darkens the soul. It is a cloud, a thick cloud, that spreads itself over the face of the soul, and intercepts all the beams of God's love and favour. It takes away all sense of the privilege of our adoption; and if the soul begins to gather up thoughts of consolation, sin quickly scatters them: of which afterward.
Now, in this regard doth the vigour and power of our spiritual life depend on our mortification: It is the only means of the removal of that which will allow us neither the one nor the other. Men that are sick and wounded under the power of lust make many applications for help; they cry to God when the perplexity of their thoughts overwhelms them, even to God do they cry, but are not delivered; in vain do they use many remedies, -- "they shall not be healed." So, Hos. 5:13, "Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound," and attempted sundry remedies: nothing will do until they come (verse 15) to "acknowledge their offence." Men may see their sickness and wounds, but yet, if they make not due applications, their cure will not be effected. Volume VI. Chapter IV.1
Owen on What Mortification is Not
I. 1. (1.) To mortify a sin is not utterly to kill, root it out, and destroy it, that it should have no more hold at all nor residence in our hearts. It is true this is that which is aimed at; but this is not in this life to be accomplished. There is no man that truly sets himself to mortify any sin, but he aims at, intends, desires its utter destruction, that it should leave neither root nor fruit in the heart or life. He would so kill it that it should never move nor stir any more, cry or call, seduce or tempt, to eternity. Its not-being is the thing aimed at. Now, though doubtless there may, by the Spirit and grace of Christ, a wonderful success and eminency of victory against any sin be attained, so that a man may have almost constant triumph over it, yet an utter killing and destruction of it, that it should not be, is not in this life to be expected. This Paul assures us of, Phil. 3:12, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect."...
(2.) I think I need not say it is not the dissimulation [PWM - "to hide under false appearance"] of a sin. When a man on some outward respects forsakes the practice of any sin, men perhaps may look on him as a changed man. God knows that to his former iniquity he hath added cursed hypocrisy, and is got in a safer path to hell than he was in before. He hath got another heart than he had, that is more cunning; not a new heart, that is more holy.
(3.) The mortification of sin consists not in the improvement of a <="" em=""> nature...
(4.) A sin is not mortified when it is only diverted. Simon Magus for a season left his sorceries; but his covetousness and ambition, that set him on work, remained still, and would have been acting another way. Therefore Peter tells him, "I perceive thou art in the gall of bitterness;" -- "Notwithstanding the profession thou hast made, notwithstanding thy relinquishment of thy sorceries, thy lust is as powerful as ever in thee; the same lust, only the streams of it are diverted. It now exerts and puts forth itself another way, but it is the old gall of bitterness still." A man may be sensible of a lust, set himself against the eruptions of it, take care that it shall not break forth as it has done, but in the meantime suffer the same corrupted habit to vent itself some other way; as he who heals and skins a running sore thinks himself cured, but in the meantime his flesh festereth by the corruption of the same humour, and breaks out in another place...
(5.) Occasional conquests of sin do not amount to a mortifying of it...
Volume VI. Chapter V. various sections.
Owen on What Morfifying a Sin Is
2. The mortification of a lust consists in three things:--
(1.) An habitual weakening of it...
[PWM - Note Owen on Sexual Sin] "Some lusts are far more sensible and discernible in their violent actings than others. Paul puts a difference between uncleanness and all other sins: 1 Cor. 6:18, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." Hence, the motions of that sin are more sensible, more discernible than of others; when perhaps the love of the world, or the like, is in a person no less habitually predominant than that, yet it makes not so great a combustion in the whole man.
And on this account some men may go in their own thoughts and in the eyes of the world for mortified men, who yet have in them no less predominancy of lust than those who cry out with astonishment upon the account of its perplexing tumultuatings, yea, than those who have by the power of it been hurried into scandalous sins; only their lusts are in and about things which raise not such a tumult in the soul, about which they are exercised with a calmer frame of spirit, the very fabric of nature being not so nearly concerned in them as in some other.
I say, then, that the first thing in mortification is the weakening of this habit, that it shall not impel and tumultuate as formerly; that it shall not entice and draw aside; that it shall not disquiet and perplex the killing of its life, vigour, promptness, and readiness to be stirring. This is called "crucifying the flesh with the lusts thereof," Gal. 5:24; that is, taking away its blood and spirits that give it strength and power, -- the wasting of the body of death "day by day," 2 Cor. 4:16.
As a man nailed to the cross; he first struggles, and strives, and cries out with great strength and might, but, as his blood and spirits waste, his strivings are faint and seldom, his cries low and hoarse, scarce to be heard; -- when a man first sets on a lust or distemper, to deal with it, it struggles with great violence to break loose; it cries with earnestness and impatience to be satisfied and relieved; but when by mortification the blood and spirits of it are let out, it moves seldom and faintly, cries sparingly, and is scarce heard in the heart; it may have sometimes a dying pang, that makes an appearance of great vigour and strength, but it is quickly over, especially if it be kept from considerable success. This the apostle describes, as in the whole chapter, so especially, Rom. 6:6.
(2.) In constant fighting and contending against sin.
And, indeed, one of the choicest and most eminent parts of practically spiritual wisdom consists in finding out the subtleties, policies, and depths of any indwelling sin; to consider and know wherein its greatest strength lies, -- what advantage it uses to make of occasions, opportunities, temptations, -- what are its pleas, pretences, reasonings, -- what its stratagems, colours, excuses; to set the wisdom of the Spirit against the craft of the old man; to trace this serpent in all its turnings and windings; to be able to say, at its most secret and (to a common frame of heart) imperceptible actings, "This is your old way and course; I know what you aim at;" -- and so to be always in readiness is a good part of our warfare.
(3.) In success.
Frequent success against any lust is another part and evidence of mortification. By success I understand not a mere disappointment of sin, that is be not brought forth nor accomplished, but a victory over it, and pursuit of it to a complete conquest. For instance, when the heart finds sin at any time at work, seducing, forming imaginations to make provision for the flesh, to fulfill that lusts thereof, it instantly apprehends sin, and brings it to the law of God and love of Christ, condemns it, follows it with execution to the uttermost.
Now, I say, when a man comes to this state and condition, that lust is weakened in the root and principle, that its motions and actions are fewer and weaker than formerly, so that they are not able to hinder his duty nor interrupt his peace, -- when he can, in a quiet, sedate frame of spirit, find out and fight against sin, and have success against it, -- then sin is mortified in some considerable measure, and, notwithstanding all its opposition, a man may have peace with God all his days.
Volume VI. Chapter VI. various sections.
Who Can Mortify Sin?
1. Unless a man be a believer, -- that is, one that is truly ingrafted into Christ, -- he can never mortify any one sin; I do not say, unless he know himself to be so, but unless indeed he be so.
Mortification is the work of believers: Rom. 8:13, "If ye through the Spirit," etc., -- ye believers, to whom there is no condemnation, verse 1. They alone are exhorted to it: Col. 3:5, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth." Who should mortify? You who "are risen with Christ," verse 1; whose "life is hid with Christ in God," verse 3; who "shall appear with him in glory," verse 4. An unregenerate man may do something like it; by the work itself, so as it may be acceptable with God, he can never perform... There is no death of sin without the death of Christ....
I say, then, mortification is not the present business of unregenerate men. God calls them not to it as yet; conversion is their work, -- the conversion of the whole soul, -- not the mortification of this or that particular lust....
4. Let men know it is their duty, but in its proper place; I take not men from mortification, but put them upon conversion. He that shall call a man from mending a hole in the wall of his house, to quench a fire that is consuming the whole building, is not his enemy. Poor soul! it is not thy sore finger but thy hectic fever that thou art to apply thyself to the consideration of. Thou settest thyself against a particular sin, and dost not consider that thou art nothing but sin.
Let me add this to them who are preachers of the word, or intend, through the good hand of God, that employment: It is their duty to plead with men about their sins, to lay load on particular sins, but always remember that it be done with that which is the proper end of law and gospel;-- that is, that they make use of the sin they speak against to the discovery of the state and condition wherein the sinner is; otherwise, haply, they may work men to formality and hypocrisy, but little of the true end of preaching the gospel will be brought about. It will not avail to beat a man off from his drunkenness into a sober formality. A skillful master of the assemblies lays his axe at the root, drives still at the heart. To inveigh against particular sins of ignorant, unregenerate persons, such as the land is full of, is a good work; but yet, though it may be done with great efficacy, vigour, and success, if this be all the effect of it, that they are set upon the most sedulous endeavours of mortifying their sins preached down, all that is done is but like the beating of an enemy in an open field, and driving him into an impregnable castle, not to be prevailed against. Get you at any time a sinner at the advantage, on the account of any one sin whatever? have you any thing to take hold of him by? -- bring it to his state and condition, drive it up to the head, and there deal with him. To break men off particular sins, and not to break their hearts, is to deprive ourselves of advantages of dealing with them.
Volume VI. Chapter VII. various sections.
The Need to Be Killing ALL Sin Not Just Perplexing Sins
Without sincerity and diligence in a universality of obedience, there is no mortification of any one perplexing lust to be obtained.
The other was to the person; this to the thing itself. I shall a little explain this position.
A man finds any lust to bring him into the condition formerly described; it is powerful, strong, tumultuating, leads captive, vexes, disquiets, takes away peace; he is not able to bear it; wherefore he sets himself against it, prays against it, groans under it, sighs to be delivered: but in the meantime, perhaps, in other duties, -- in constant communion with God, -- in reading, prayer, and meditation, -- in other ways that are not of the same kind with the lust wherewith he is troubled, -- he is loose and negligent. Let not that man think that ever he shall arrive to the mortification of the lust he is perplexed withal. This is a condition that not seldom befalls men in their pilgrimage....
The rage and predominancy of a particular lust is commonly the fruit and issue of a careless, negligent course in general...
He, then, that would really, thoroughly, and acceptably mortify any disquieting lust, let him take care to be equally diligent in all parts of obedience, and know that every lust, every ommission of duty, is burdensome to God, though by one is so to him. Whilst there abides a treachery in the heart to indulge to any negligence in not pressing universally to all perfection in obedience, the soul is weak, as not giving faith its whole work; and selfish, as considering more the trouble of sin that the filth and guilt of it; and lives under a constant provocation of God: so that it may not expect any comfortable issue in any spiritual duty that it doth undertake, much less in this under consideration, which requires another principle and frame of spirit for its accomplishment...
Volume VI. Chapter VIII. various sections.
Directions on HOW to Kill Sin
FIRST. Consider what dangerous symptoms thy lust hath attending or accompanying it, -- whether it hath any deadly mark on it or no; if it hath, extraordinary remedies are to be used; an ordinary course of mortification will not do it.
SECOND, Get a clear and abiding sense upon thy mind and conscience of the guilt, danger, and evil of that sin wherewith thou are perplexed:--
3. Consider the evils of it; I mean its present evils. Danger respects what is to come; evil, what is present. Some of the many evils that attend an unmortified lust may be mentioned:--
(1.) It grieves the holy and blessed Spirit, which is given to believers to dwell in them and abide with them. So the apostle, Eph. 4:25-29,
(2.) The Lord Jesus Christ is wounded afresh by it; his new creature in the heart is wounded; his love is foiled; his adversary gratified. As a total relinquishment of him, by the deceitfulness of sin, is the "crucifying him afresh, and the putting of him to open shame;" so every harbouring of sin that he came to destroy wounds and grieves him.
(3.) It will take away a man's usefulness in his generation.
This is my THIRD direction:-- Load thy conscience with the guilt of it. Not only consider that it hath a guilt, but load thy conscience with the guilt of its actual eruptions and disturbances.
FOURTHLY. Being thus affected with thy sin, in the next place get a constant longing, breathing after deliverance from the power of it. Suffer not thy heart one moment to be contented with thy present frame and condition.
The FIFTH direction is, -- Consider whether the distemper with which thou art perplexed be not rooted in thy nature, and cherished, fomented, and heightened from thy constitution. A proneness to some sins may doubtless lie in the natural temper and disposition of men.
The SIXTH direction is, -- Consider what occasions, what advantages thy distemper hath taken to exert and put forth itself, and watch against them all.
The SEVENTH direction is, --
Rise mightily against the first actings of thy distemper, its first conceptions; suffer it not to get the least ground. Do not say, "Thus far it shall go, and no farther." If it have allowance for one step, it will take another. It is impossible to fix bounds to sin. It is like water in a channel, -- if it once break out, it will have its course. Its not acting is easier to be compassed than its bounding. Therefore doth James give that gradation and process of lust, chap 1:14,15, that we may stop at the entrance. Dost thou find thy corruption to begin to entangle thy thoughts? Rise up with all thy strength against it, with no less indignation that if it had fully accomplished what it aims at. Consider what an unclean thought would have; it would have; -- murder and destruction is at the end of it. Set thyself against it with no less vigour than if it had utterly debased thee to wickedness. Without this course thou wilt not prevail. As sin gets ground in the affections to delight in, it gets also upon the understanding to slight it.
EIGHTHLY, Use and exercise thyself to such meditations as may serve to fill thee at all times with self-abasement and thoughts of thine own vileness.
NINTHLY, In case God disquiet the heart about the guilt of its distempers, either in respect of its root and indwelling, or in respect of any eruptions of it, take heed thou speakest not peace to thyself before God speaks it; but hearken what he says to thy soul. This is our next direction, without the observation whereof the heart will be exceedingly exposed to the deceitfulness of sin.
1. Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of thy sin. His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls. Live in this, and thou wilt die a conqueror; yea, thou wilt, through the good providence of God, live to see thy lust dead at thy feet.
Act faith peculiarly upon the death, blood, and cross of Christ; that is, on Christ as crucified and slain. Mortification of sin is peculiarly from the death of Christ, which shall assuredly be accomplished by it. He died to destroy the works of the devil. Whatever came upon our natures by his first temptation, whatever receives strength in our persons by his daily suggestions, Christ died to destroy it all. "He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," Tit. 2:14. This was him aim and intendment (wherein he will not fail) in his giving himself for us. That we might be freed from the power of our sins, and purified from all our defiling lusts, was his design. "He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish," Eph. 5:25-27. And this, by virtue of his death, in various and several degrees, shall be accomplished. Hence our washing, purging, and cleansing is everywhere ascribed to his blood, 1 John 1:8; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:5. That being sprinkled on us, "purges our consciences from dead works to serve the living God," Heb. 9:14. This is that we aim at, this we are in pursuit of, -- that our consciences may be purged from dead works, that they may be rooted out, destroyed, and have place in us no more. This shall certainly be brought about by the death of Christ; there will virtue go out from thence to this purpose. Indeed, all supplies of the Spirit, all communications of grace and power, are from hence; as I have elsewhere showed. Thus the apostle states it; Rom. 6:2, is the case proposed that we have in hand: "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" -- "Dead to sin by profession; dead to sin by obligation to be so; dead to sin by participation of virtue and power for the killing of it; dead to sin by union and interest in Christ, in and by whom it is killed: how shall we live therein?" This he presses by sundry considerations, all taken from the death of Christ, in the ensuing verses. This must not be: verse 3, "know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" We have in baptism an evidence of our implantation into Christ; we are baptized into him: saith he. If indeed we are baptized into Christ, and beyond outward profession, we are baptized into his death. The explication of this, of one being baptized into the death of Christ, the apostle gives us, verses 4,6: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." "This is," saith he, "our being baptized into the death of Christ, namely, our conformity thereunto; to be dead unto sin, to have our corruptions mortified, as he was put to death for sin: so that as he was raised up to glory, we may be raised up to grace and newness of life." He tells us whence it is that we have this baptism into the death of Christ, verse 6; and this is from the death of Christ itself: "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed;" "is crucified with him," not in respect of time, but causality. We are crucified with him meritoriously, in that he procured the Spirit for us to mortify sin; efficiently, in that from his death virtue comes forth for our crucifying; in the way of a representation and exemplar we shall assuredly be crucified unto sin, as he was for our sin. This is that the apostle intends: Christ by his death destroying the works of the devil, procuring the Spirit for us, hath so killed sin, as to its reign in believers, that it shall not obtain its end and dominion.
I have only, then, to add the heads of the work of the Spirit in this business of mortification, which is so peculiarly ascribed to him.
In one word: This whole work, which I have described as our duty, is effected, carried on, and accomplished by the power of the Spirit, in all the parts and degrees of it; as, --
(1.) He alone clearly and fully convinces the heart of the evil and guilt and danger of the corruption, lust, or sin to be mortified. Without this conviction, or whilst it is so faint that the heart can wrestle with it or digest it, there will be no thorough work made.
(2.) The Spirit alone reveals unto us the fullness of Christ for our relief; which is the consideration that stays the heart from false ways and from despairing despondency, 1 Cor. 2:8.
(3.) The Spirit alone establishes the heart in expectation of relief from Christ; which is the great sovereign means of mortification, as hath been discovered, 2 Cor. 1:21.
(4.) The Spirit alone brings the cross of Christ into our hearts with its sin-killing power; for by the Spirit are we baptized into the death of Christ.
(5.) The Spirit is the author and finisher of our sanctification; gives new supplies and influences of grace for holiness and sanctification, when the contrary principle is weakened and abated, Eph. 3:16-18.
(6.) In all the soul's addresses to God in this condition, it hath supportment from the Spirit.
Volume VI. Chapters 9-13 - various sections.