Charnock then considers affirmative evidence of true mortification.
First, “When upon a temptation that did usually excite the beloved lust, it doth not stir, it is a sign of a mortified state.” He provides Peter as an example. Before the crucifixion, Peter famously boasted that though all desert Jesus, Peter would not. Peter proceeds to deny Christ. As Thomas Manton put it, “Peter, that ventured upon a band of men, was overcome by the weak blast of a damsel’s question.”
(Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 8 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1872), 496.)
But then after Christ rose and confronted Peter three times with the question, “Do you love me more than these?”, Peter did not rise in his pride as he did before. “His answer goes no further than, ‘Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,’ without adding ‘more than these.’”
Or the way in which a sick man will not eat the best dinner, it is a sign he has no taste for the meal. “So when a man hath a temptation to sin, decked and garnished with all the allurements the devil can dress it with, and he hath no stomach to close with it, it is a sign of a mortified frame.”
Second, “When we meet with few interruptions in duties of worship.” How easily and often are we turned away from our duty to “lay fast hold on God.” When everything turns us away, it implies that we are taken by everything but God. He compares this to an army: does it stop us at every turn? Then it is a “well-bodied army.” But where the incidents are few, there are few soliders.
The third point is the key: merely refraining from sin is not mortification – but when the thief no longer steals but now works so that he can give to others, that is evidence of mortification. As Charnock puts it, “When we bring forth the fruits of the contrary graces, it is a sign sin is mortified. It is to this end that sin is killed by the Spirit, that fruit may be brought forth to God; the more sweet and full fruit a tree bears, the more evidence there is of the weakness of those suckers which are about the root to hinder its generous productions.”