For as unto them whom the Spirit of God undertakes to instruct, he requires that they be meek and humble, that they give themselves unto continual prayer, meditation, and study in the word day and night; above all, that they endeavor a conformity in their whole souls and lives unto the truths that he instructs them in. These are hard conditions unto flesh and blood; few are there who like them, and therefore few they are who apply themselves unto the school of God. We may be admitted scholars by the other teacher on far cheaper and easier rates. Men may be made “good Catholics,” as to faith and understanding without the least cost in self-denial, or much trouble unto the flesh in any other duty. There is no qualification required for the admission of a man into the Catholic schools, and barely to be there is to be wise and knowing enough…

[Measures that do not seek the help of the Holy Spirit] are the measures of slothful and carnal minds, who prefer their ease, their lusts, and pleasures, before their souls. There is difficulty in all things that are excellent; neither can we partake of the excellency of anything unless we will undertake its difficulty. But although the ways whereby we may come unto a participation of the teaching of the Holy Ghost seem at first rough and uneasy, yet unto all that engage in them they will be found to be ways of pleasantness and paths of peace.

– John Owen, in Causes, Ways, and Means of Understanding the Mind of God, recently updated and reprinted by Crossway.

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