Before I proceed to the consideration of the next principle, I cannot but by the way complain of many professors of these days, who, instead of bringing forth such great and evident fruits of mortification as are expected, scarce bear any leaves of it.
There is, indeed, a broad light fallen upon the men of this generation, and together therewith many spiritual gifts communicated, which, with some other considerations, have wonderfully enlarged the bounds of professors and profession; both they and it are exceedingly multiplied and increased. Hence there is a noise of religion and religious duties in every corner, preaching in abundance,—and that not in an empty, light, trivial, and vain manner, as formerly, but to a good proportion of a spiritual gift,—so that if you will measure the number of believers by light, gifts, and profession, the church may have cause to say, “Who hath born me all these?” But now if you will take the measure of them by this great discriminating grace of Christians, perhaps you will find their number not so multiplied.
The good Lord send out a spirit of mortification to cure our distempers, or we are in a sad condition!
– John Owen –
from The Mortification of Sin in Believers, volume 6 of Works, page 14-15