Owen on the Strength of Indwelling Sin - That mothers would murder their infants...

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
John Owen writes in Indwelling Sin in Believers:
First, There is nothing that is more deeply inlaid in the principles of the natures of all living creatures, and so of man himself, than a love unto, and a care for, the preservation and nourishing of their young : many brute creatures will die for them, some feed them with their own flesh and blood; all deprive themselves of that food which nature directs them to as their best, to impart it to them; and acting in their behalf to the utmost of their power.

Now such is the efficacy, power, and force of indwelling sin in man, an infection that the nature of other creatures knows nothing of, that in many it prevails to stop this fountain, to beat back the stream of natural affections, to root up the principles of the law of nature, and to drive them unto a neglect, a destruction of the fruit of their own loins. Paul tells us of the old Gentiles, that they were Asorgoi, Rom. i. 31, "without natural affection :" that which he aims at is that barbarous custom among the Romans, who oft-times, to spare the trouble in the education of their children, and to be at liberty to satisfy their lusts, destroyed their own children from the womb. So far did the strength of sin prevail to obliterate the law of nature, and to repel the force and power of it.

Examples of this nature are common in all nations; amongst ourselves, of women murdering their own children through the deceitful reasoning of sin. And herein sin turns the strong current of nature, darkens all the light of God in the soul, controuls all natural principles, influenced with the power of the command and will of God. But yet this evil hath, through the efficacy of sin, received a fearful aggravation. Men have not only slain, but cruelly sacrificed their children to satisfy their lusts. The apostle reckons idolatry, and so consequently all superstition, among the works of the flesh, Gal. v. 20; that is, the fruil and product of indwelling sin. Now from hence it is that men have offered that horrid and unspeakable violence to the law of nature mentioned. So the Psalmist tells us, Psal. cvi. 37, 38. The same is again mentioned, in sundry other places of Scripture. The whole manner of that abomination I have elsewhere declared. For the present it may suffice to intimate, that they took their children and burnt them to ashes in a soft fire: the wicked priests that assisted in the sacrifice affording them this relief, that they made a noise and clamour, that the vile wretches might not hear the woful moans and cries of the poor dying tormented infants. I suppose in this case we need no farther evidence. Naturalists can give no rational account: they can only admire the secret force of that little fish, which, they say, stop a ship in full sail in the midst of the sea. And we must acknowledge, that it is beyond our power to give an account of the secret force and unsearchable deceit that is in this inbred traitor sin, that cannot only stop the course of nature, when all the sails of it that carry it forward are so filled, as they are in that of affections to children, but also drive it back with such a violence and force, as to cause men so to deal with their own children, as a good man would not be hired with any reward to deal with his dog. And it may not be to the disadvantage of the best to know and consider, that they carry that about them and in them, which in others hath produced these effects.
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