Owen on Spiritual Mindedness
THE GRACE AND DUTY OF BEING SPIRITUALLY MINDED DECLARED AND PRACTICALLY IMPROVED.
by John Owen
Found in Volume 7 of the Works, and published by the Banner of Truth Trust.
To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6 Set your affection on things above. Colossians 3:2.
LONDON: 1681. Prefatory Note
The Words of the Text Explained:
To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6.
A particular account of the nature of this grace and duty of being spiritually minded-how it is Stated in and evidenced by our thoughts.
Outward means and occasions of such thoughts of spiritual things as do not prove men to be spiritually minded-Preaching of the word-Exercise of gifts-Prayer-How we may know whether our thoughts of spiritual things in prayer are truly spiritual thoughts, proving us to be spiritually minded.
Other evidences of thoughts about spiritual things arising from an internal principle of grace, whereby they are an evidence of our being spiritually minded-The abounding of these thoughts, how far, and wherein, such an evidence.
The objects of spiritual thoughts, or what they are conversant about, evidencing them in whom they are to be spiritually minded-Rules directing unto steadiness in the contemplation of heavenly things-
Motives to fix our thoughts with steadiness in them.
Directions unto the exercise of our thoughts on things above, things future, invisible, and eternal; on God himself; with the difficulties of it, and oppositions unto it, and the way of their removal-Right notions of future glory stated.
Especial objects of spiritual thoughts on the glorious state of heaven, and what belongs thereunto-First, of Christ himself-Thoughts of heavenly glory in opposition unto thoughts of eternal misery-The use of such thoughts-Advantage in sufferings.
Spiritual thoughts of God himself-The opposition unto them and neglect of them, with their causes and the way of their prevalency-Predominant corruptions expelling due thoughts of God, how to be discovered, etc.-
Thoughts of God, of what nature, and what they are to be accompanied withal, etc.
What of God or in God we are to think and meditate upon-His being-
Reasons of it; oppositions to it; the way of their conquest-Thoughts of the omnipresence and omniscience of God peculiarly necessary-The reasons hereof-As also of his omnipotence-The use and benefit of such thoughts.
Sundry things tendered unto such as complain that, they know not how, they are not able to abide in holy thoughts of God and spiritual or heavenly things, for their relief, instruction, and direction-Rules concerning stated spiritual meditation.
The seat of spiritual mindedness in the affections-The nature and use of them-The ways and means used by God himself to call the affections of men from the world.
In the account given at the entrance of this discourse of what it is to be spiritually minded, it was reduced under three heads: ,
The FIRST was, The habitual frame, disposition, and inclination of the mind in its affections.
The SECOND was, The usual exercise of the mind in its thoughts, meditations, and desires, about heavenly things.
Whereunto, THIRDLY, was added, The complacency of mind in that relish and savor which it finds in spiritual things so thought and meditated on.
What is required in and unto our affections that they may be spiritual-
A three-fold work on the affections described.
The work of the renovation of our affections-How differenced from any other impression on or change wrought in them, and how it is evidenced so to be-The first instance, in the universality accompanying of affections spiritually renewed-The order of the exercise of our affections with respect unto their objects.
The second difference between affections spiritually renewed and those which have been only changed by light and conviction-Grounds and reasons of men’s delight in duties of divine worship, and of their diligence in their performance, whose minds are not spiritually renewed.
Delight of believers in the holy institutions of divine worship-The grounds and reasons thereof-The evidence of being spiritually minded thereby, etc.
Assimilation unto things heavenly and spiritual in affections spiritually renewed-This assimilation the work of faith; how, and whereby-Reasons of the want of growth in our spiritual affections as unto this assimilation.
Decays in spiritual affections, with the causes and danger of them-
Advice unto them who are sensible of the evil of spiritual decays.
The state of spiritual affections.
The true notion and consideration of spiritual and heavenly things.
The application of the soul unto spiritual objects.
Spiritual mindedness life and peace.
from chapter 11:
“The great contest of heaven and earth is about the affections of the poor worm which we call man. That the world should contend for them is no wonder; it is the best that it can pretend unto. All things here below are capable of no higher ambition than to be possessed of the affections of men; and, as they lie under the curse, it can do us no greater mischief than by prevailing in this design. But that the holy God should as it were engage in the contest and strive for the affections of man, is an effect of infinite condescension and grace. This he doth expressly: “My son,” saith he, “give me thine heart,” Proverbs 23:26. It is our affections he asketh for, and comparatively nothing else. To be sure, he will accept of nothing from us without them; the most fat and costly sacrifice will not be accepted if it be without a heart. All the ways and methods of the dispensation of his will by his word, all the designs of his effectual grace, are suited unto and prepared for this end,- namely, to recover the affections of man unto himself.”
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