Vanity of the Mind


John Owen addresses the vanity of the mind. He posits the mind is the source of all vanity. Preaching through Ecclesiastes these days and preparing for a Trinity series in the summer, the Lord in his providence brought my two studies together with this gem from John Owen.

“It may not be amiss to stop a little and consider that practical exposition, which the whole world affords us, of this text concerning the vanity of the mind; for this is the source of all the vanity with which the world is filled. Almost all that we see or hear is vain. All that makes so much bustle and show in the world, among all sorts of persons, ages, sexes, and conditions, is vain. There is a kind of vanity which men bing into things that really exist, and that are in themselves good, useful, or at least indifferent. Thus, they corrupt their habitations, their trade, their conversation, their wealth, their power, and their relations; they join innumerable vanities with them, which render them loathsome and contemptible. But besides this, they invent, and as it were create many things, on purpose to support, countenance and nourish vanity. Such are pompous and carnal ceremonies in religion, like those of the Church of Rome, calculated only to furnish provisions for vain minds. And such are plays, masquerades, and the whole multitude of carnal amusements, which are merely theatres for vanity to act itself upon. It were endless but to mention the common effects of vanity in the world. The human mind is wholly vain, and is a fruitful womb of monstrous births. The world is now almost six thousand years old, and yet is no nearer the bottom of its springs of vanity, than it was the first day that sin entered into the world. New sins, new vices, new vanities continually appear; nor is there any way to prevent them, but by renewing influences of the Holy Ghost. The world may alter its shape, may change its scenes, and act its part in new habits, but still it will be altogether vain, so long as natural, uncured vanity predominates the human mind.” [1]

1. From The Holy Spirit His Gifts and Power, by John Owen, Christian Heritage Imprint, 2004, 179-80.

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About Jason Vaughn

Jason is a graduate of the Master's Seminary and the pastor of Cornerstone Las Vegas, a Grace Advance church plant. He loves Christ, his wife Kyla, sometimes his kids :), the church, missions, people, and coffee. You can also follow his podcast at