Friday, December 4, 2009

On avoiding temptation

In chapter 9 of John Houston's book Triumph Over Temptation, John Owen has a specific purpose: "Let us learn more about the power of temptation in order to avoid it." (149) And so Owen goes on through out the chapter proposing the power that temptation has in order to cause the saint to give it proper consideration; it is no mere trifle.

Owen proceeds to consider some "inadequate safeguards against the power of temptation" (151) thus further warning and cautioning the reader of the danger of entering into temptation. Here is his list:

  1. The love of honor in the world. "Those who have no better defenses than the love of honor are inadequately equipped to deal with temptation. Sadly, it is possible for those with great reputations to suffer destruction when their only defense lies in their own good name." (152-3)
  2. The fear of shame and reproach. "This motive proves useless when dealing with sins of conscience or with sins of the heart. Innumerable excuses are offered to the heart when one relies on this as the predominant defense against temptation." (153)
  3. The desire to not disturb one's peace of mind, wound one's conscience, or risk the danger of hellfire. "There is no saint of God who does not value the peace he enjoys. Yet how many fall in the day of temptation!" (154)
  4. The thought of the vileness of sinning against God. "Unfortunately, we see that even this is not a sure and infallible defense. No such defense exists." (154)

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