How may I know whether the Lord has brought me into a state of mortification or not?…It may be that some of you are very desirous to be satisfied in it, so I shall give you six revealing characteristics of it and go over them very briefly. Would you know whether God has brought you into a state of mortification or not?

1. You may know it by this characteristic: if you are now more fearful of running into occasions and opportunities of sin than you have been in times past, this is an argument that you are a mortified man. An unmortified heart is bold and venturous and will rush upon occasions of sin, whereas a mortified heart is very careful to avoid all occasions of evil.

One compares a mortified man to a dove or partridge. Now such as use that game of hawking report that such an innate fear and dread doves or partridges have of the hawk that they not only fear the hawk but the very feathers of it. So a mortified man not only fears a downright sin, but also anything that may be a provocation or inlet to a sin. Now if this holy fear of displeasing and offending God is found in you, I may safely pass this sure judgment upon you: you are a mortified man when you are in such a gracious frame and temper of spirit as that in Jude 23, when you hate the garment spotted with the flesh…

2. Another discovery is this: when an occasion of committing a sin is openly offered to a man, along with concurring circumstances that might provoke him to that sin, yet he will restrain and bridle his appetite and will not commit that sin. This is a sign of a truly mortified heart, and if God has brought you into such a frame, He has thor-oughly mortified your corruptions.

Beloved, an unmortified man may abstain from a sin when there is no opportunity or occasion offered to commit that sin. But this is an argument of a mortified heart: though all occasions for acting a sin concur, yet he will abstain from it…Joseph in Genesis 39:9…had a fair occasion offered him to commit the sin of adultery. He had opportunity, for he and his mistress[89] were alone. He had importunity, for she urged and solicited him from day to day to do it. He had secrecy, too, for the text says that the doors were shut. There was none but the two of them in the house. He might have gotten a great deal of preferment and advantage by it, for she would have made him lord over her house. You see that here was opportunity, importunity, secrecy, and advantage. All these occasions were clearly offered and concurred to invite Joseph to the sin of uncleanness. Yet, for all this, Joseph replied, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9). Here you see the power of sin mortified in Joseph’s heart. Now, do you try your own hearts by this pattern, that when all occasions are offered for committing a sin, you can still say “no” to your lusts?…

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