While reading some John Owen recently I thought that the following remark was particularly “relevant,” as Owen keenly observes that the depravity of our natures has so entangled itself in man’s understanding that there is a resulting factory of continuous vain rebellion against God. Man’s only hope against this malady is regeneration.
Surely this is no less true now than it was when Owen observed it three hundred years ago:
The mind of man by nature is wholly vain, under the power of vanity, and is an endless, fruitful womb of all monstrous births. The world is now growing towards six thousand years old, and yet is no nearer the bottom of the springs of its vanity, or the drawing out of its supplies, than it was the first day that sin entered into it. New sins, new vices, new vanities, break forth continually; and all is from hence, that the mind of man by nature is altogether vain. Nor is there any way or means for putting a stop hereunto in persons, families, cities, nations, but so far as the minds of men are cured and renewed by the Holy Ghost. The world may alter its shape and the outward appearances of things, it may change its scenes, and act its part in new habits and dresses, but it will still be altogether vain so long as natural uncured vanity is predominant in the minds of men; and this will sufficiently secure them from attaining any saving acquaintance with spiritual things. -Pneumatologia §3.3, in Works of John Owen 3:254.