Mortification of Sin | Samuel Rutherford


Samuel Rutherford,
The Covenant of Life Opened, pp. 268-270.

Question 4: To what things must we be crucified?

Answer: Galatians 6:14, To all things created, to the world; we condemn and despise and hate the world, and the world does value us nothing.

1. Mortification to Self

1. There is a deadness to self which was in Christ our sampler of mortification, Romans 15:1, 3, Let us not please ourselves, but bear the infirmities of others. For even Christ pleased not himself. Self love and adoration, and mortification do not consist, too much life in apprehension, and admiring self, argues deadness of deadness and of mortification. Was not Christ a noble self? Yet for the Lord, and his ransomed ones, Christ got above noble excellent self. It is true, there is a renewed spiritual self, a new being in the Saints, Romans 7:17. Now it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. Galatians 2:20. It is not I that lives, but Christ lives in me. Mortification sets us above new έγώ renewed self, and regenerated and crucified I; it being a created excellency that we are not to adore.

2. Mortification to Will

2. Mortification requires a deadness to the will, as in Christ, not my will, but thy will be done: Much life in the will to created things, speaks little or no mortification. Christ excelled in this, John 5:30 I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. O what court, and power, and life hath our will? And how soon the will is broken and dead, then is the man broken, dead and crucified with Christ. Much will, much life of sin: See John 5:40, Ye will not come. Luke 19:14, We will not have this man to reign over us. See Mark 6:25; Matthew 1:19; Mark 15:15; Acts 24:27; Acts 25:9; Luke 10:29; Revelation 22:17. All will, argues no mortification. Much will, much life, all will is no mortification.

3. Mortification to Life

3. There is required deadness to our life, which was eminently in Christ, Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; John 10:11. So Paul, Acts 20:24. Ye speak of bonds and affliction, But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my course with joy. To be mortified to life, is to hate the life for Christ, Luke 14:26. And Revelation 12, they overcame: mortification was their victory. Revelation 12:11, they overcame, for they loved not their lives unto death: Love of life is the life of sin when its not loved in God.

4. Mortification to Wisdom: there is a paper sickness for many books.

4. We must be dead to wisdom, and to all the gifts of the mind, for the wisdom of the world is foolery, and God hath befooled it, when it come in competition with the wisdom of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 19 except we be dead to it, we cannot glory in the Lord, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, Compared with 1 Corinthians 1:31.

5. Mortification to Learning and Books

5. There must be a deadness to learning, to books, and book vanity, Ecclesiastes 12:12, There is no end of making many books, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Ecclesiastes 1:17-18, And I gave you my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is a vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Paul spake more with tongues then they all, 1 Corinthians 14:18, but he was dead to that gift, he had rather have brought them nearer to Christ. 1 Corinthians 4:10. We are fools, and hardly we ran away with that; but we are fools for Christ’s sake, and for the interest of Christ and the Gospel, let us so be counted. Its nearness to Christ that makes us for him to be willing that what is most eminent in us be trampled upon, even shining wisdom, sciences, acts, eloquence, knowledge which puffeth up. Yea there is required a deadness of the knowledge of Gospel-mysteries, 1 Corinthians 13:2. Paul was not rude in knowledge, but he was dead to that, and would not glory in that. And they are not crucified with Christ, not dead to opinions and sides, and to lead factions: I am of Paul, I am of Apollo, was no honor to Paul in his own esteem, 1 Corinthians 1. What? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptize in the name of Paul? Who excels in learning, who admires not his own, the birth of his own mind? If it were but to hold there be ten new worlds in the Moon, and millions of worlds in the other side of this world? My brethren, be not many masters. Ah! We are not dead to the Chair, the Pulpit, everyone loves to be counted and called Rabbi. The blessed Man Christ confesses that he knows neither the day nor the hour of the Son of Man’s coming; yet there are who dare define the time of his coming, and the day. The mind is a proud and haughty thing, and we are not dead to it; the mind is not mortified to the mind, 1 Corinthians 8:1, 2.

6. Mortification to Riches

6. We are not dead to Mammon: O who is like Christ and refuses to be a rich King, John 6? Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor: He had a greater mind than that he could live to riches. Paul, Acts 20:33. Saith not I have sought neither silver nor gold, as the Godly judge, Whose ox have I taken, 1 Samuel 12:3, but I have coveted no man’s silver or gold, or apparel: The life of lust to riches is in the trusting in it. Job 31:24-25 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, thou art my confidence; Or have rejoiced because my wealth was great. Its true, a beggar and an extreme poor man that cannot have bread, is not troubled nor much tempted to seek a Kingdom and the millions and tons of gold that many rich ones have; but yet there are speculative desires and rolling waves and floods of wishes in the heart for these: and because hunger and want of bread is his door enemy lying between him and the hope of great riches, the man is neither mortified to the love of bread nor to the millions of gold that the heart is sick after. And as there be diverse kinds of species of pests, and they are not all of one kind, yet all contrary to the blood and the heat of life: So are there sundry kinds of unmortified lusts about riches according to the sickness of the desire.


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