Friday, April 25, 2014

Psalm 119 as Touchstone of Biblical Spirituality

In his Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded, John Owen labors in chapter 4 to answer the question, how may we "know when we abound in spiritual thoughts, so as that they may be an evidence of our being spiritually minded"?

His answer, in part, focuses on Psalm 119:
I answer, in general, among other Scriptures, read over Psalm 119 with understanding. Consider therein what David expresseth of himself, as unto his constant delight in and continual thoughts of the law of God; which was the only means of divine revelation at that season. Try yourselves by that pattern; examine yourselves whether you can truly speak the same words with him, at least if not in the same degree of zeal, yet with the same sincerity of grace.
Then he answers an objection. But, "You will say, 'That was David.'" Owen replies:
But as far as I know, we must be like him, if ever we intend to come to the place where he is. It will ruin our souls, if when we read in the Scriptures how the saints of God express their experiences in faith, love, delight in God, and constant meditation on him, we grant that it was so with them, that they were good and holy men, but it is not necessary that it should be so with us. These things are not written in the Scripture to show what they were, but what we ought to be.
 —John Owen, The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded (vol. 7 in The Works of John Owen; ed. William H. Gould; Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1994), 301.

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