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Orme’s Memoirs of Owen,
p. 2.Asty’s Memoir,
p. 2.Anonymous Memoir,
p. 5.Ibid Wood’s Athenae Oxonienses,
p. 7.Hamilton’s Memoir of Bishop Hall,
p. 8.Urwick’s Life of Howe,
p. 6.We have additional authority for many of the above facts in one of the larger epitaphs on Owen by his friend the Rev. T. Gilbert of Oxford; some lines of which we subjoin-“ Literis natus, literis innutritus, totusque deditus; Donec animata plane evasit bibliotheca: Authoribus classicis, qua Graecis, qua Latinis, Authoribus classicis, qua Graecis, qua Latinis, Sub Edv. Sylvestro, scholae privatae Oxonii moderatore Operam navavit satis felicem: Feliciorem adhuc studiis philosophicis, Magno sub Barlovio, coll. reginalis, id tempus, socio.” Asty,
p. 252.Owen on Communion with God, pp. 309, 310, fol. ed. Anon. Mem.,
p. 9.Wood’s Athen. Oxon.,
p. 97.Vaughan’s Memorials of the Stuart Dynasty, 1., ch. 7-11. Asty,
p. 5.Anon. Mem.,
p. 10.We are indebted for this information regarding the first scene of Owen’s ministry to the Rev. Alexander Anderson, pastor of a Baptist Church, Colchester; who also informs us that the signature of Owen is still to be seen in the parochial register at Fordham (four miles distant), and that it has this peculiarity attached to it, that whilst all preceding it, and also succeeding, so far as he continued his examination, sign themselves “Pastor” invariably attached to it; showing that he deliberately, and from the first, “preferred the more scriptural term of ‘pastor,’ to the presuming designation of parson, more especially if we accept its common derivation, ‘Persona ecclesiae.’” Preface, p. 10, ed. 1644.
p. 49.Owen quotes with approbation (p.54) the judgment and practice of the Church of Scotland, as expressed in their Act of Assembly at Edinburgh, anno 1641. “Our Assembly also commandeth godly conference at all occasional meetings, or as God’s providence shall dispose, as the Word of God commandeth, providing none invade the pastor’s office, to preach the Word, who are not called thereunto by God and his church.” Owne’s Sermons, fol. ed.,
p. 214.Hume, History of England, 6. ch. 51. Vaughan’s Stuart Dynasty, 2:74. Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:100. Owen’s Sermons, fol. ed.,
p. 229.The names of these ministers are, Stanley Gower and Richard Byfield. Address to the Reader. Gower’s Attestation. Book 4. ch. 1. sect. 1. The controversy was protracted through many treatises, particularly on the side of Baxter, in the appendix to his “Aphorisms on Justification,” in his “Confession of Faith,” and in his “Five Disputations of Right to the Sacraments;” and, on Owen’s part, in a small treatise, “Of the Death of Christ,” &c., and in the close of his “Vindiciae Evangelicae.” Various technical distinctions were introduced in the progress of the discussion, such as, whether the death of Christ was “solutio ejusdem, or only tantundem.” The frequent bandying of these and similar scholastic phrases, in the theological controversies of the age, caught the ear of the author of “Hudibras,” and served him at times as matter for ridicule: “The question, then, to state it first, Is, Which is better, or which worst, Synod or bears? Bears I avow To be the worst, and synods thou; But to make good th’ assertion, Thou say’st th’ are really all one. If so, not worst; for if th’ are idem, Why then tantudem dat tantidem.” Canto 3. Neal, 3:407. Asty,
p. 8.M’Crie’s Miscellaneous Works, p. Milton’s Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, Defence of the People of England. Owen’s Sermons, fol. ed., p. Hess, Life of Zwingle, pp. 148, 159-161. M’Crie’s Miscellaneous Works,
p. 473.Robertson’s Charles 1., 4:131. M’Crie’s Miscellaneous Works,
p. 474.Asty, pp. 9-10. The title of the sermon was, “Human Power Defeated,” Ps. 76:5. Whitelock,
p. 434.Neal, 4:4-6. Macaulay’s History of England, 1.
p. 121.Carlyle’s Cromwell, 1.
p. 341.D’Aubigne’s Protector, ch. 6. Orme,
p. 88.Sermon on the Steadfastness of Promises, and the Sinfulness of Staggering, preached before Parliament after his return from Ireland, on a day of humiliation, Rom. 4:20. Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:98 Carlyle’s Cromwell, 2:18. His second sermon, on Isa. 56:7, was preached at Edinburgh. Carlyle’s Cromwell, 2:59. Ibid., 2:79. Asty,
p. 10.His preaching before Parliament, about the period of these appointments, appears to have been frequent. On October 24, 1651, being the day of thaksgiving for the victory of Worcester, we find him preaching his sermon entitled, “The Advantage of the Kingdom of Christ in the Shaking of the Kingdoms of the World,” Ezek. 17:24.
Next, February 6, 1652, in the Abbey Church of Westminster, on occasion of the funeral of Henry Ireton, Lord-Deputy of Ireland, and Cromwell’s son-in-law, he preached his sermon on Dan. 12:13, “The Labouring Saint’s Dismission to Rest.” Once more, October 13, 1652, on “Christ’s Kingdom and the Magistrate’s Power,” from Dan. 7:15, 16. Discourse of Toleration, Owen’s Sermons, fol. ed.
p. 308.Neal, 3:360, 361. Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy, pp. 122, 123, 128.
Owen’s Oratio quinta ad Academicos, anno 1657. “Per primum biennium vulgi fuimus et vulgaris fabula.” Vaughan’s Modern Pulpit,
p. 87.“Authority of the Magistrate in Religion Discussed,” &c., by J. H.; whom Anthony Wood (Athen. Oxon., 4:101) supposes to be John Humphrey. Wood’s Athen. Oxon., ibid. We subjoin Wood’s own caricature: “While he [Owen] did undergo the same office, he, instead of being a grave example to the university, scorned all formality, undervalued his office by going in quirpo like a young scholar, with powdered hair, snakebone bandstrings (or bandstrings with very large tassels), lawn bands, a very large set of ribbons pointed at his knees, and Spranish leather boots with large lawn tops, and his hat mostly cock’d.” Ibid. 98. Terence, Adelph. 4:7, 21. Oratio prima, translated by Orme, pp. 128-131. “At the house of Dr. Willis the physician, not far from his own lodgings at Christchurch.” Biograph. Dict., 10:103. Asty, pp. 11., 12. Calamy’s Noncon. Mem., 1:201. Wood’s Fasti, 2:788. Asty, p
p. 11.12. Life and Times of Philip Henry,
p. 60.Cromwelliana, Orme,
p. 109.His spirit is expressed in the following tender words, with which he closed one of his debates: “While we wrangle here in the dark, we are dying, and passing to the world that will decide all our controversies; and the safest passage thither is by a peaceable holiness.” Wood’s Fasti, 2:179. Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:98. Preface,
p. 153.Many readers will be struck by the resemblance between this noble passage and that of Owen’s greatest contemporary: “Thee, Author of all being, Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sittest Throned inaccessible; but when thou shadest The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud, Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine, Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear; Yet dazzle heaven, that brightest seraphim Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes.”
Par. Lost., book 3. 374-382. Preface,
p. 20.Epistle Dedicatory to the Heads of Colleges, etc., at Oxford,
p. 8.“In the midst of all the changes and mutations which the infinitely wise providence of God doth daily effect in the greater and lesser things of this world, as to the communication of his love in Jesus Christ, and the merciful, gracious distribution of the unsearchable riches of his grace, and the hid treasures thereof purchased by his blood, he knows no repentance. Of both these you have had full experience. And though your concernment in the former hath been as eminent as that of any person whatever in these later ages of the world, yet your interest in and acquaintance with the latter is, as of incomparably more importance in itself, so answerably of more value and esteem unto you.” Dedication to His Highness, Oliver, Lord Protector. Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:99. Pref. to Cotton’s Defence, Orme,
p. 205.Neal, 4:88-91. Neal, 4:92-97. Baxter’s own Life, part 1.
p. 72.Orme, pp. 116-119.
Vaughan’s Stuart Dynasty, pp. 247-250. D’Aubigne’s Protectorate, pp. 231-236. Calamy’s Life of Howe, prefixed to works,
p. 5.Neal, 4:97. Biog. Dict., 10:103. Orme,
p. 118.Whitelock’s Memorials,
p. 69.Preface. “He was reckoned the brightest ornament of the university in his time.”
Dr. Calamy. Wood’s Fsti, part 2., pp. 169-197. Orme,
p. 120.Burnet’s Own Times, 1:98. Ludlow’s Memoirs,
p. 248.Neal, 4:151, 152. Neal, 5:157. Orme,
p. 126.Neal, 4:165. Conclusion of Oratio quinta, translated by Orme. Six Latin orations, delivered by Owen at Oxford while he presided over the university, have been preserved, and used to be printed at the end of the volume that contained his sermons and tracts. They appear in the seventh volume of the present edition of Owen’s works. Confess. Pref.,
p. 104.Letter from Rev. J. Forbes of Gloucester. Asty,
p. 21.Of the Institution of Churches, and the Order Appointed in them by Jesus Christ. Neal, 4:178. One of the few letters of Dr. Owen that have been preserved has reference to this Confession. A French minister of some eminence, the Rev. Peter du Moulin, wished to attempt a French translation of so valuable a document; but, before doing so, he ventured on some animadversions on certain of its sentiments and expressions.
Owen’s reply betrays some irritation, especially at Moulin’s misunderstanding and consequent misrepresentation of the passages commented on. See Appendix. Bishop Kennet has long since given the true statement of the case in reference to the ordinances against Episcopal worship during Cromwell’s government. “It is certain,” says he, “that the Protector was for liberty and the utmost latitude to all parties, so far as consisted with the peace and safety of his person and government; and even the prejudice he had against the Episcopal party was more for their being Royalists than for their being of the good old church.” Neal, 4:125. In point of fact, the ordinances were not put in execution except against such clergymen as had become political offenders. Parr’s Life of Usher,
p. 75.Vaughan’s Stuart Dynasty, 1:246. Burnet’s Own Times, 1:116, 117. No fanatical words are directly charged upon Owen by any of his accusers, but his extravagance is freely surmised. Biog. Dict., 10:103. Goodwin is represented as complaining in these words, “Lord, thou hast deceived us, and we were deceived;” words which Burnet characterizes as impudent and enthusiastic boldness; but which, if used at all, were evidently accommodated from Jer. 20:7, and used in the sense in which the prophet himself had used them; q.d., “Lord, thou hast permitted us to deceive ourselves.” This may probably be taken as a specimen of the looseness of the other charges. Dr. Sherlock, in a treatise entitled, “A Discous\\rse concerning the Knowledge of Jesus Christ, and our Union and Communion with Him,” etc., 1674. To which Owen replied in “A Vindication of some Passages concerning Communion with God, from the Exceptions of William Sherlock, Rector of St George’s, Buttolph Lane.” The controversy drew a considerable number of other combatants into the field, and appears to have been protracted through a series of years.
Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:105, 106 Preface to the reader. Essay on the application of the epithet Romantic. Owen’s Works, 19:132, 133, Russell’s edition. Melius Inquirend.,
p. 199.Wood’s description of Alsop makes one suspect that he had smarted from his wit: “ A Nonconforming minister, who, since the death of their famous A.
Marvell, hath been quibbler and punner in ordinary to the Dissenting party, though he comes much short of that person.” Athen. Oxon., 4:106. The other writings drawn from Owen in this controversy were provoked by Cawdrey. 1. A Review of the true Nature of Schism, with a Vindication of the Congregational Churches in England from the imputation thereof, unjustly charged on them by Mr. Daniel Cawdrey, 1657. 2. An Answer to a late Treatise of Mr. Cawdrey about the Nature of Schism, 1658, prefixed to a Defence of Mr. John Cotton, &c., against Cawdrey, written by himself, and edited by Owen. Theological Institutes, 10. b 3. ch. 6. P. 153, duod. ed. Owen published a third tract in this little volume, “Exercitationes adversus Fanaticos,” in which he handled the Quakers with some severity. Marsh’s Michaelis, 1. ch. 6. Taylor’s History of the Transmission of Ancient Books; appendix. Institutes of Theology, 1. 287. On Scripture Criticism. Owen’s sermon, “ A Gospel Profession, the Glory of a Nation,” Isa. 4:5, was preached before Richard’s Parliament. Soon after, he preached before the Long Parliament; and this was the last occasion in which he was invited to officiate before such an assemblage. This sermon has not been preserved. Dr. Manton declared, that at Wallingford House he heard Dr. Owen say with vehemence, “He must come down, and he shall come down;” and this was understood to refer to Richard; but it is material to notice that Dr. Manton did not so understand it till after the event. Palmer’s note to Calamy’s Life of Owen. Noncom. Mem., 1:201. Add to this Owen’s solemn denial of the charge, Vindic. of Animadversions on Fiat Lux, p. 127; and the testimony of a “worthy minister,” preserved by Asty, that Dr. Owen was against the pulling down of Richard, and that his dissatisfaction at what they were doing at Wallingford House was such as to drive him into illness. Asty,
p. 19.Neal, 4:191-220. Vaughan’s Stuart Dynasty, 2:226-271. A portion of the “Theologoumena” was translated and published by the Rev. J. Craig of Avonbridge in Scotland; but the encouragement was not such as to induce him to persevere. Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:100. Vindic. of Animad. on Fiat Lux,
p. 10.Asty, pp. 23, 24. “I am informed,” says the author of the Anonymous Memoir, “by one of the Doctor’s relations, that King Charles II offered him a bishopric; but no worldly honour or advantage could prevail on the Doctor to change his principles.”
p. 22.Owen’s Discourse of Toleration, passim. Anthony Wood is amusingly cynical in his account of this matter: “Upon this our author resolved to go to New England; but since that time, the wind was never in a right point for a voyage.” Wood’s Athen.
Oxon., 4:100. Of these Mr Orme enumerates the following: 1. “An Account of the Grounds and Reasons on which the Protestant Dissenters Desire their Liberty.” 2. “A Letter concerning the Present Excommunications.” 3. “The Present Distresses on Nonconformists Examined.” 4. “Indulgence and Toleration Considered, in a Letter to a Person of Honour.” 5. “A Peace offering, in an Apology and humble Plea for Liberty of Conscience.”
p. 234.The publication of this Catechism gave occasion to proposals for union among the Presbyterians and Independents, addressed by the sanguine Baxter to Dr. Owen, and led to lengthened correspondence and negotiation. For reasons formerly adverted to, the schem proved abortive. One of Owen’s letters on this subject has been preserved, and appears in the Appendix. We are not sure that in every part of it we could vidicate the Doctor’s consistancy. Introductory Essay to Owen on Indwelling Sin, pp. 18., 19. The second volume was published in 1674; the third in 1680; the fourth was posthumous, but was left fit for the press, and appeared in 1684. Preface. Address to Christian Reader, vol. 2. Miscellaneous Gleanings from Hall’s Conversational Remarks, by the late Dr. Balmer of Berwick-on-Tweed. Hall’s Works, 6:147. Prelections on Hill’s Lectures. Chalmer’s Posthumous Works, 9:282. M’Crie’s Miscellaneous Works,
p. 509.Magnalia Americana, b. 7.
p. 258.Own Life, part 3.
p. 20.Burnet’s Own Times, 1:382. Defence and Continuation of Ecclesiast. Polity, and Preface to Bramhall. Orme,
p. 261.Campbell’s Essay on English Poetry,
p. 241.D’Israeli’s Miscellanies of Literature,
p. 238.Burnet, referring to this controversy, speaks of Marvell as “the liveliest droll of his age, who writ in a burlesque strain, but with so peculiar and so entertaining a conduct, that, from the king down to the tradesman, his books were read with great pleasure.” Own Times, 1:382. D’Israeli’s Miscellanies, pp. 234, 239. A paper entitled, “The State of the Kingdom with repect to the present Bill against Conventicles,” was drawn up by Owen, and laid before the Lords by several eminent citizens; but without success. Biographers make mention of letters addressed to Owen, inviting him to the presidency of Harvard College, New England; and also to a professorship in the United Provinces. But there is considerable vagueness in respect to details, as well as uncertainty about dates. A note, however, in Wood’s Athen. Oxon., seems to place beyond reasonable doubt the general accuracy of the statement. He is said by the same authority to have been prevented from accepting the former invitation by an order from the court. Two lectures preached by Owen in this series appear among his works, the first entitled, “How we may Learn to Bear Reproofs,” Ps.141:5; the other, “The Chamber of Imagery in the Church of Rome Laid Open,” 1 Pet. 2:3. Mr Orme supposes the place of worship to have been that in Bury Street, St. Mary Axe; but the meeting-house in Bury Street was not erected until 1708, when it was occupied by the same congregation under the ministry of Dr Isaac Watts. Wilson’s History of Dissenting Churches, 1:252, 273. Orme, pp. 277-285. Asty,
p. 29.Noncom. Mem., 1:202. Jenkyn’s Essay on Life of Baxter,
p. 20.Letter to a Friend,
p. 274.Hamilton’s Life of Bunyan,
p. 30.Southey’s Life of Bunyan,
p. 54.Anon. Mem.,
p. 29.It is remarkable that in this treatise, p. 72-100. is to be found an explication of the last clause of the 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is strangely omitted in all editions of the “Exposition.” The author has had this fact pointed out to him by his learned and venerated colleague, Dr Brown of Edinburgh. Burnet’s Own Times, 1:262-264. An excellent posthumous work on the Holy Spirit, by the late Dr Jamieson of Edinburgh, edited with memoir by the Rev. Andrew Sommerville, deserves to be better known. It displays more than one of the best qualities of Owen. Cecil’s Works, 2:514, Remains. Address to the readers,
p. 41.The whole of Owen’s comprehensive plan, however, was not completed in this central treatise. New treatises continued to appear at intervals, giving to some important branch of his subject a more full discussion. In 1677 appeared “The Reason of Faith; or, an answer to the inquiry, Wherefore we believe the Scriptures to be the Word of God?” In 1678, “The Causes, Ways and Means of Understanding the Mind of God as Revealed in his Word; and a declaration of the perspicuity of the Scriptures, with the external means of the interpretation of them.” In 1682, “The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer; with a brief inquiry into the nature and use of mental prayers and forms.” At length, in 1693, two posthumous discourses, “On the Work of the Spirit as a Comforter, and as he is the Author of Spiritual Gifts,” filled up Owen’s elaborate outlines. Orme,
p. 293.Anon. Mem.,
p. 34.Her epitaph by Mr Gilbert helps fill up the portrait: “Prima aetatis virilis consors Maria, Rei domesticae perite studiosa. Rebus Dei domus se totum addicendi; Copiam illi fecit gratissimam. There is a touching passage in a small work, remarkably well written, but little known, that leads us to think of Owen as an unusually tried parent. “His exercises by affliction were very great in repect of his children, none of whom he much enjoyed while living, and saw them all go off the stage before him.” Vindication of Owen by a friendly Scrutiny into the merits and manner of Mr Baxter’s opposition to Twelve Arguments concerning Worship by the Liturgy,
p. 38.Wood’s Athen. Oxon., 4:100, 101. Orme, 301. Burnet sketches the character of Ferguson with his usual bold distinctness: “He was a hot and bold man, whose spirit was naturally turned to plotting,” etc. Own Times, 1:542. Funeral Sermon by Dr. Bates, on John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” &c. Reliquiae Baxterianae, part 3.
p. 97.This was a bulky pamphlet, entitled, “A brief Vindication of Nonconformists from the Charge of Schism, as it was managed against them in a Sermon by Dr Stillingfleet.” All the leading Nonconformists appear to have taken part in this controversy, from grave Howe to witty Alsop. Stillingfleet replied in a clever work on the “Unreasonableness of Separation;” against which Owen brought his heavy artillery to bear with desolating effect, in “An Answer to the ‘Unreasonableness of Separation,’ and a Defence of the ‘Vindication of the Nonconformists from the Guilt of Schism.’” A second part of this treatise, “The True Nature of a Gospel Church, and its Government,” was posthumous, and did not appear till 1689. Anon. Mem.,
p. 34.The same writer adds, in illustration of this healing temper, “I heard him say, before a person of quality and others, he could readily join with Presbytery as it was exercised in Scotland.” Introductory Essay to Owen on Spiritual-mindedness, by Dr.
p. 24.“Weakness, weariness, and the near approaches of death, do call me off from any farther labour in this kind.” Preface to reader. Middleton, 3:480. Vindication of Owen by a friendly Scrutiny, etc.,
p. 38.Stoughton’s Spiritual Heroes. “Funeral Sermon on the most lamented death of the late reverend and learned John Owen, D.D., preached the next Lord’s day after his internment.” By David Clarkson, B.D. Vindication of Owen by a friendly Scrutiny, etc.,