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Full text of "The works of John Owen"



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And sold by J. Parker, Oxford; Deighton and Sons, Cambridge; D.Brown, 
Waugh and Innes, and H. S. Bajnes and Co. Edinburgh ; Chalmers and 
Collins, and M. Ogle, Glasgow ; M. Keene, and R. M. Tims, Dublin. 

















IValworlh, March 20, 1826. 


In the present collection of Dr. Owen's Works, the 
only one approaching to completeness hitherto pub- 
lished, the Theologumena has been omitted, in defe- 
rence to the wishes of many of the Subscribers ; and 
the Exercitations on a Day of Sacred Rest, on ac- 
count of its being inserted in Dr. Wright's Edition of 
the Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

The classification of the Works is not precisely that 
which the Editor would have preferred. As it had 
been determined, independently of him, to commence 
with the Discourse on the Holy Spirit, it remained for 
him to follow up his arrangement on this basis. Ac- 
cordingly, the first series of subjects will be found con- 
nected with this Treatise, including the Dissertations 
on the Scriptures, to the end of the fourth volume. 
The next eight volumes are principally Doctrinal and 
Controversial ; and the two following. Devotional and 
Practical. The fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth, 
contain Sermons, and commence the Polemical pieces 
on Popery, which end with the eighteenth volume; 
while the three last are occupied chiefly with Church 
Government, and Miscellaneous Tracts. 

The Editor has in his possession several manuscripts 
of Dr. Owen, from which an octavo volume of some 
interest might be selected, should it appear desirable to 
add another to those already printed. 






CHAP. 1. 

Introduction— Family of Owen— State of the Puritans— Owen's Education- 
State of Oxford — Owen's religious Convictions — Leaves the University — 
Takes part with the Parliament— The Civil War— Owen's Conversion- 
Publishes his Display— Progress of Arminianism— Presentation to the living 
of Fordham — Marries his first Wife ^ 


Owen's connexion with the Presbyterian body — its state at that time — Baxter's 
account of it— Its Intolerance— Owen publishes his * Duty of Pastors and 
People'— His 'Two Catechisms'— Preaches before Parliament— Publica- 
tion of the Discourse, and his Essay on Church Government — His views of 
Uniformity and Toleration — Leaves Fordham 28 


Owen's settlement at Coggeshall — View of Independency — The Brownists — 
Causes which retarded and promoted the progress of Independency in 
England — Owen becomes an Independent— Publishes Eshcol— A Treatise 
on Redemption— His views on this subject— Controversy occasioned by it 
— Publishes two Discourses on the deliverance of Essex — Remarks on some 
sentiments contained in them • ' 4^ 


Owen preaches before Parliament on the day after the execution of Charles I. 
— The Independents not guilty of putting the King to death — Testimonies 
on this subject — Remarks on Owen's Sermon — Charges against it — Essay 
on Toleration annexed to it — Doctrine of Religious Liberty owes its origin 
to Irtdependents — Writers on this subject — Brownists and Baptists — Je- 
remy Taylor — Owen — Vane — Milton — Locke — Cook's account of the ori- 
gin of Toleration among the Independents — A different account of it — 
Smith and Hume — Neal — Owen preaches again before Parliament — His 
first acquaintance with Cromwell — Is persuaded to accompany him to 
Ireland • - 66 


,. CHAP. V. 

Owen preaches before Parliament — Joins the array — Character of the army — 
Arrives in Ireland — Labours in Dublin^ — First controversy with Baxter — 
Character of Baxter — Preaches before Parliament on his return from Ire- 
land — Measures of the Commonwealth to promote religion in that country 
— Owen appointed to accompany Cromwell into Scotland — Preaches in 
Berwick and Edinburgh— State of religion in Scotland — Testimony of the 
English ministers — Of Binning — Rutherford— Burnet — Neal — Kirkton — 
Owen's return to Coggeshali — Appointed to the Deanery of Christ Church 
— Account of this office — Remarks on his acceptance of it — Strictures of 
Milton — Owen preaches before Parliament — Death of Ireton— Owen 
preaches his Funeral Sermon— Character of Iieton — Preaches again before 
Parliament 86 


Division of the Memoirs at this period — Owen made Vice-Chancellor — At- 
tends a Meeting in London, called by Cromwell to promote union — Created 
D.D — Elected M. P. for the University— Cromwell's Instrument of Go- 
vernment—Debate about the Construction of the Article respecting Reli- 
gipua Liberty — Remarks on Neal's account of it, and the Meeting of Minis- 
ters respecting it — Owen appointed an Ejecting Commissioner and Tryer — 
Conduct of the Tryers — Owen delivers Pococke — Baxter's account of the 
Tryers — Owen's measures for securing Oxford — Correspondence with 
Thurloe- Attends a Meeting at Whitehall about the Jews — Preaches at 
the Opening of a New Parliament — Again on a Fast day— Assists in de- 
feating Cromwell's attempt to make himself King — Deprived of the Vice- 
Chancellorship 108 

State of the University during the civil wars, and when Owen was made Vice- 
chancellor — Extract from his first address to it— From his fifth address — 
Specimen of the state of insubordination whicli prevailed in it — Learned 
men in office during his Vice-chancellorship— Independents — Presbyterians 
— Episcopalians — Persons of note then educated — Writers, Philosophers, 
and Statesmen — Dignitaries of the Church — Dissenters — Royal Society then 
founded in Oxford — Clarendon's Testimony on the state of learning in it 
at the Restoration — Owen's management of the several parties — Conduct to 
the Students — Pleaching — the University presents a volume of poetical ad- 
dresses to Cromwell — Owen's address — Trick played by Kynaston at Ox- 
ford — Owen's conduct to two Quakers— His views of the Lord's Prayer 
misrepresented — Refuses to swear by kissiu'^ the book — Wood's account of 
his dress and manners — Extract from Evelyn — Owen addresses the'new 
Chancellor, Richard Cromwell — Takes leave of the University 127 

Owen publishes his ' Divina Justitia' — His work ' On the Perseverance of the 
Saints' — John Goodwin — The doctrine of Perseverance— Kendal — Lamb 
— Baxter writes on this subject — Owen requested, by the council of State, 
to answer Biddle's two Catechisms — Biddle— Progress of Socinianism — 
The ' Vindiciae Evanjrflicae' — Nrvcr answered—' On the Mortification 


of Sin' — Conlroversy with Hammond about Grotius — Death of Gataker — 
Selden— Usher 152 


The Independents propose to publish a Confession of their Faith — Their sen- 
timents on this subject — Confessions published by tliem on various occa- 
sions — Cromwell consents to their meeting for this purpose — They assemble 
at the Savoy — Agree to a Declaration of their Faith and Order — Its senti- 
ments on several subjects — Extracts from the Preface written by Owen — 
Baxter displeased at the meeting — Defence of it by Forbes — Chief objec- 
tion to the Declaration — Not much known even among Independents — 
Death of Cromwell — State of Religion during his Government — His influ- 
ence on Independency — Tillotson's account of a fast in the family of 
Richard Cromwell — Strictures on that account — Owen publishes his work 
on Communion — On Schism — Is answered by Hammond — by Firmin — by 
Cawdry — Owen's Review of Cawdry— Cawdry's rejoinder — Owen's de- 
fence of himself and Cotton — Publishes on the Divine Original of the Scrip- 
tures—His considerations on the Polyglot — Walton's Reply — His contro- 
versy with the Quakers — Richard Cromwell succeeds his Father — Owen 
preaches before his first Parliament — Charged with pulling down Richard — 
Defended from this charge — Assists in restoring the long Parliament — 
Preaches before it for the last time — The Independents entertain fears of 
their liberty from Monk— Send a deputation to him to Scotland — His con- 
duct and character — Owen ejected from the Deanery of Christ Church — 
Remarks on his political conduct > • 172 


Owen retires to Stadham — Effects of the Restoration — Venner's insurrection — 
The fifth monarchy men — Difference between Owen and Clarendon — The 
Act of Uniformity — Owen writes on the Magistrates' power in Religion — 
His Primer for children — His Theologinnena — His Animadversions on Fiat 
Lux — Cane's Reply — Owen's Vindication — Difficulty of finding a licence 
for it— Interview with Lord Clarendon — Invitation to New England — Suf- 
ferings of the Dissenters — Relieved for a time by the plague and fire of 
London — Owen writes various Tracts — Preaches more regularly in London 
— Publishes a Catechism on the Worship and Discipline of the Church — 
Answered by Camfield — Discussions between Baxter and Owen, respecting 
a union of Presbyterians and Independents — Failure of the attempt — Owen 
receives a Legacy — Publishes on Indwelling Sin — On the 130th Psalm — 
The first volume of his Exposition of the Hebrews — Review of the whole 
work • no 


Persecuting conduct ef the Congregationalists in New England — Remon- 
strances of Owen and his brethren on the subject — Owen publishes on the 
Trinity — His controversy with Parker — His Truth and Innocence vindi- 
cated — Publications of others on the same side — Marvel and Parker — Con- 
duct of Parliament to the Dissenters — Vernon's attack on Owen — Owen's 
defence — Alsop — Owen invited to the Presidency of Harvard College — 
Publishes on the Sabbath — Correspondence on this subject with Eliot — ■ 
Charles publishes a Declaration of Indulgence— Address from the Dis- 
senters on this account presented by Owen — Owen's attention to the mea- 
sures of the Court — Becomes one of the Preachers of the Morning Exercise 
— Publishes on Evangelical Love — Death of Caryl — Union of Caryl's and 


Owen's Church under the Doctor — Notices of persons of distinction who 
were members of the Church — The Parliament offended with tlie King's 
Indulgence — Notices of distinguished Noblemen whose friendship Owen 
enjoyed^His interviews with the King and the Duke of York — Work on 
Communion attacked by Sherlock — Owen's vindication — Controversy oc- 
casioned by Sherlock's book — Owen publishes on the Holy Spirit — Review 
of all his writings on that subject — Attacked by Clagett — Publishes on 
Apostasy — Marries his second wife 256 

Owen's assistants — Ferguson — Shields — Loeffs — Angier — Clarkson — Inter- 
course between Owen and Bishop Barlow respecting Bunyan — Owen pub- 
lishes on Justification— On the Person of Christ— The Church of Rome no 
safe Guide — Death of Goodwin— Owen publishes on Union among Protes- 
tants — Controversy with Stillingfleet — Owen's Vindication of the Non- 
conformists — Publications of others on the same subject — Stillingfleet's Un- 
reasonableness of Separation — Owen's Answer — Other Answers — Unfair 
conduct of Stillingfleet — Owen publishes" on Evangelical Churches — His 
humble Testimony — On Spiritual-mindedness — Account of the Protestant 
Religion — Meditations on the Glory of Christ — His declining health — Last 
sickness — Letter to Fleetwood — Death — Funeral — Clarkson's Sermon on 
the occasion — Last Will — Sale of his Library— Monument and Inscription 
Portraits of Owen — General view of his character as a Christian — A Mi- 
nister — A Writer — Conclusion 301 


Letter I. To Monsieur du Moulin 365 

II. To the Lady Hartopp v 368 

HI. To Mrs. Polhill 369 

IV. To his Church, when he was sick at the Lord Wharton's in the 

country 371 

V, VI. To Charles Fleetwood, Esq. 373 

. . VIL To the Reverend Mr. Robert Asty, of Norwich 375 

VIII. To Charles Fleetwood, Esq. 377 

IX. To Lady Puleston 378 

X. From Lady Puleston to Dr. Owen 379 

XL To Sir John Hartopp 380 

XII. Dr. Owen to a Friend 381 

XIII. To Mr. Baxter ibid. 

Notices of Posthumous writings 384 

Notices of Prefaces to the Works of others 388 

Family of Owen 398 

The Synod of Dort • • • ibid. 

Westminster Assembly 399 

The early state of Independency in Ireland 401 

The early slate of Independency in Scotland 404 

Owen's successors in Coggeshall 407 

Owen's successors in Bury Street 409 

A Funeral Sermon on Dr. Owen : by David Clarkson, B D. 411 

Letter of Owen to Mr. Whitaker 423 

to Henry Cromwell, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland • ibid. 

General Index 425 

Index to the Memoirs 526 





The following Memoirs embrace the personal history, 
the theological writings, and the religious connexions 
of Dr. John Owen. In common with many others, I 
had long entertained the highest respect for the works 
of this eminent person ; and in the perusal of them, had 
spent some of the happiest and most profitable hours of 
my life. The pleasure derived from his writings led 
me, a few years ago, merely for my own satisfaction, to 
make some inquiry respecting their author. Not find- 
ing a satisfactory account, it occurred to me, that a 
careful examination of his numerous works, and of the 
contemporaneous productions of his age, might enable 
me to obtain a fuller and more correct view of him, 
than had yet been given. Thus originated the present 

Of the success which has attended my investigations, 
it does not become me to speak, as every reader will 
now form his own opinion ; but I may be allowed to 
state, that neither personal labour nor expense has been 
spared, to procure information ; and, that had I been 
aware, at an early period, of all the diflBculties which 
have been experienced in prosecuting the task, it is 
more than probable it would never have been undertaken. 
I am very far, however, from regretting the labour in 
which I have been engaged. Whatever may be its ef- 
fects on others, the benefit which I have derived from it 
myself, is ample compensation for all the trouble it has 
cost me. 

Of the sources of information to which I have been 
chiefly indebted, it is not necessary to say any thincr, as 
they are in general carefully marked. And I have the 
satisfaction to assure the reader, that every fact and cir- 


cumstance in the personal life of Owen, which it was 
possible to procure and authenticate, has been fully and 
faithfully given. 

To the works of Dr. Owen much attention has been 
paid. The difficulty of even obtaining a complete col- 
lection of them, may be estimated from a remark made« 
by the author himself, ' That some of them he had not 
seen for nearly twenty years.' , That difficulty is now 
happily removed. As many of them were answers to 
the books of others, and were replied to, often by more 
than one opponent, a vast number of works had to be 
procured, and examined, which are now almost entirely 
unknown. A minute account of all of these will not be 
expected within the limits of a volume. It would have 
been much easier, indeed, to have extended the criti- 
cism, than it was to confine it within the bounds which 
it occupies ; but it is hoped such an account is in gene- 
ral given, as will gratify the curiosity, and in some 
measure inform the judgment of the reader. Quotations 
are seldom made, except when they contain information 
respecting the life, or are necessary to illustrate the 
opinions of the author. 

While I have been careful to state what the real 
sentiments of Owen were, and to rescue them when 
necessary, from misrepresentation ; I have not deemed 
it essential to the faithful discharge of my duty, as his 
Biographer, indiscriminately to adopt, or defend them. 
Any difference which exists, however, will be found of 
very small importance ; and more generally to respect 
Owen's manner of stating his sentiments, than the sen- 
timents themselves. What the Doctor avowed, the 
writer of his life need not be ashamed to profess : — 

Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri. 

In noticing the religious connexions of Owen, and 
the state of parties during his time, I have studied to 


speak the truth, and to avoid giving unnecessary of- 
fence. To exemption from partiality for the body with 
which Owen was chiefly connected, I am not anxious 
to lay claim; but I trust this 'has never led me to defend 
its faults, or to misrepresent its enemies. Convinced 
that truth is the only thing of importance to myself or 
others, I have used my best endeavours to discover it, 
and when discovered, I have fairly told it. It is proba- 
ble, however, that some mistakes may be detected in the 
narrative; but these, it is hoped, will not affect any 
point of moment. 

To several valuable literary friends, both in Scot- 
land and in England, I have been under various and 
important obligations; by which the work has been ren- 
dered more complete, than it would otherwise have 
been. To Dr. Charles Stuart of Dunearn, and Joshua 
Wilson, Esq. of London, I have been in particular much 
indebted, for the use of many books and tracts, which I 
might in vain have sought for many years. For these 
and other attentions, they will be pleased to accept of 
my grateful acknowledgments. 

The second edition, vrhich is now prefixed to the 
first uniform collection of Owen's Works, has, I trust, ex- 
perienced some improvement. It will serve in some 
measure for a key to the numerous writings of Owen, 
as in the account of them a reference is always given to 
the volume in which they are now to be found. Writers 
of various descriptions have thought proper to notice my 
first edition. Some of these have written in a spirit, 
which only shews how much they had been provoked, 
and that it is easier to abuse than to answer. Others, 
among whom are the Lord Bishop of Calcutta, in his 
life of Jeremy Taylor, and Mr. Todd, in his life of Bi- 
shop Walton, though they have differed from me, have 
treated me with great civility. To have defended every 
point which has been attacked, would have converted 


my work into a magazine of controversy. To have an- 
swered some and neglected others would have afforded 
occasion to accuse me of disingenuousness or conscious 
weakness. I have, therefore, avoided all reference to 
those who have honoured me with their animadversions. 
I have altered or omitted whatever seemed to require 
correction; and regardless of party and personal ma- 
levolence, from both which I have suffered, I unhe- 
sitatingly republish what I consider to be supported by 
testimony or established by argument. 

Part of the Appendix to the former edition, which 
was not essentially necessary to the illustration of the 
Memoirs, has been omitted in this to make room for 
other matter of more general interest. If a few pas- 
sages in the text, chiefly extracts, have been left out, 
others have been added in their room, so that the work, 
though printed in a smaller number of pages, has un- 
dergone no abridgment. It is highly gratifying to me 
thus permanently to connect my imperfect labours with 
those of a man whose name is destined to live while the 
English language is spoken, and while Christianity pre- 
vails in Britain. 

' And now,' to adopt the words of Isaac Walton,* ' I 
am glad that I have collected these Memoirs, which lay 
scattered, and contracted them into a narrower compass; 
and if I have, by the pleasant toil of doing so, either 
pleased or profited any man, I have attained what I de- 
signed when I first undertook it. But I seriously wish, 
both for the reader's and Dr. Owen's sake, that posterity 
had known his great learning and virtue by a better pen ; 
by such a pen, as could have made his life as immortal, 
as his learning and merits ought to be.' 

London, Camberwell, 
. March 22, 1826. 

* Trefncc to tlic Life of Bisliop Snnilerion. 






Memoirs. Works. 

Page. Vol. Page. 

1642 Display of Armiiiiaiiism,41u 22. v. 41 

IG43 The Duty of Pastors and People distiiiguislied, 

41o 34. xix. I 

1645 The Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, in two 

Catechisms, 12mo 39. v. 1 

1646 A Vision of Unchangeable Mercy, a Sermon, 

4to 40. xr. 1 

1647 Eschol: or Rules for Church fellowship, 12mo. 57. xix. 63 

1648 SalusElectorum, a Treatise on Redemption, 4to. 58. v. 205 

1648 McmoriaJ of the deliverance of Essex: two 

Sermons, 4(o 63. xv. 86 

1649 liighteous Zeal: a Sermon, and Essay on To- 

leration, 4to 70. XV. 157 

1649 The Shaking and Translating of Heaven and 

Earth : a Sermon, 4to 83. xv. 338 

1649 Human Power Defeated: a Sermon, 4to. . 86. xvi. 281 

1650 Ofthe Death ofChrist, in answer to Baxter, 4to. 89. v. 565 
1650 The Steadfastness of Promises: a Sermon, 4to. 91. xv. 254 

1650 The Branch ofthe Lord ; two Sermons. 4to. . 94. xv. 380 

1651 The Advantage of the Kingdom of Christ: a 

Sermon, 4to. . ' 105. xv. 415 

1652 The Labouring Saint's Dismission : a Sermon, 

4to 106. XV. 450 

1652 Christ's Kingdom and the Magistrate's Power : 

a Sermon, 41o. ........ 107. xv. 476 

1653 De Divina Justitia: Translated 1794, 12mo. . 152. ix. 319 

1654 The Doctrine of the Saints' Perseverance, fol. 155. vi. vii 

1655 Vindiciae Evangelicae : Keply to Biddle, 4fo. 160. viii. ix 

1656 On the Mortification of Sin, 8vo 1C6. vii. 325 

1656 Review of the Annotations of Grotius, 4to. . .167. ix. 291 

1656 God's Work in Founding 'Zioii; a Sermon, 4to. 122. xv. 512 

1656 God'sPresence with his People; a Sermon, 4to. 124. xv. 547 

1657 On Communion with God, 4to 192. x. 1 

1657 A Discovery ofthe True Nature of Schism, 12mo. 197. xix. 109 

1657 A Review of the True Nature of Schism, 12mo. 20!. xix. 255 

1658 Answer to Cawdry about Schism, 12mo. . .203. xix. 339 

1658 Of the Nature and Power of Temptation, 12mo. 2(l4. vii. 431 

1659 The Divine Original of the Scriptures, 12mo. . 204. iv. 239 
1659 Vindication of the Hebrew and Greek Texts, 

12mo 206. iv. 449 

1659 Exercilationes adversus Fanaticos, 12mo. . .211. iv. 539 
1659 The gloiy of Nations professing the Gospel: a 

Sermon, 4to 212. xvi. 5 

1659 Onthe Powerof the Magistrate about Religion, 

4to. 225. xix. 38o 








, 373 










Page. Vol. Vdgp. 

16G0 A I'hmcifoiCiiilclKii, l2ino, 

1661 Thc'ologumeiiii, 4ii) 225. 

1662 Aniaiadversions on Fiat Lux, 12mo. . . . 227. 

16G2 A Discourse on Liturgies, 4to 230. 

1664 Vindication of the Animadversions, 8vo. . . 228. 

1667 Indulgence and Toleration considered, 4to. . 234. 

1607 A Peace Offering, or Plea for Indulgence, 4to. 234. 

1667 Brief Instruction in the Worship of God: a 

Catechism, 12mo 236. 

1668 On Indwelling Sin, Svo 240. 

1668 Exposition of the 130tii Psalm, 4to.^ . . . 241. 

1668 Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, vol. i. 

fol 245. 

1669 Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, 

12mo 258. x. 449 

1669 Truth and Innocence Vindicated, 8vo. . . 259. xxi. 103 

1671 On the Divine Institution of the Lord's 

Da.y,8vo 267. 

1672 On Evangelical Love, Svo 275. 

1674 VindicationoftheWorkonCommunion,12mo. 290. 
1674. Discourse on the Holy Spirit, fol. . . . 292. 
1674 Exposition of the Hebrews, vol. ii. fol. . . 245. 
1674 How we may bring our hearts to bear re- 
proof, 4to 274. 

1676 On the Nature of Apostasy, Svo 299. 

1677 The Reason of Faith, 8vo 293. 

1678 On the Doctrine of Justification, 4to. . . .307, 

1678 The Ways and Means of Understanding the 

Mind of God, Svo 293. 

1679 Christologia, or the Person Christ, 4to. . .312. 

1679 The Church of Rome no Safe Guide, 4to. . 316. 

1680 On Uniou among Protestants, 4to. . . . 316. 
1680 Vindication of the Non-conformists, 4to. . .317. 

1680 Exposition of the Hebre-ws, vol. iii. fol. . . 245. 

1681 Defence of the Vindication, 4to 320. 

1681 Inquiry into Evangelical churches, 4to. . . 322. 
1681 Humble Testimony, Svo 33.5. 

1681 On Spiritual Mindedness, 4to 336. 

1682 The Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer, 4to. . 293. 

1682 The Chambers of Imagery, 4to 274. 

1683 An Account of the Protestant Religion, 4to. 337. 

1684 Meditations on the Glory of Christ, Partl. Svo. 337. 
1684 Exposition of the Hebrews, vol. iv. fol. . . 245. 

1688 Of the Dominion of Sin and Grace, 8vo. . . 384. 

1689 True Nature of a Gospel Church, 4to. . . . 322. 
1691 Meditations on the Glory ofChrist,PartlI. Svo. 337. 
1693 TwoDiscoursesonthe Work of the Spirit, Svo. 385. 
1695 Evidences of the Faith of God's Elect, Svo. . 385. 
1720 Seventeen Sermons, 2 vols. Svo 386. 

1720 An Answer to two Questions, with twelve Ar- 

guments against any Conformity to 
Worship not of Divine Institution, Svo. 384. 

1721 Sermons and Tracts, fol 386. 

1756 Thirteen Sermons, Svo 386. 

1760 'I'wenty-fivc Discourses at the Lord's Supper, 

l2mo 38{). xvii. 141 




































. 46 
















• ' 



■ V. XVI 

. XXI 





Introduction— Family of Owen— State of the Puritans— Owens Education 
— State of Oxford — Owen's religious Convictions — Leaves the University 
—Takes part with the Parliament— The Civil War— Owen's Conversion 
— Publishes his Display — Progress of Arminianism — Presentation to 
the living of Fordham — Marries his first Wife, 

Ihe seventeenth century was the age of illustrious events 
and illustrious men in Britain. The civil and religious 
commotions which took place during that eventful period, 
the causes in which they originated, and the effects with 
which they were followed, deserve the attention of every 
British Christian, and are powerfully calculated to excite 
his religious and patriotic feelings. While he will often 
have occasion to drop the tear of pity over his bleeding 
country, he will frequently be called to adore the wondrous 
operations of that glorious Being, * who rides in the whirl- 
wind, and directs the storm ;' who piloted the vessel which 
contained our religion and liberties through the tempest 
which then threatened its destruction, and finally secured 
its safety and repose. 

In every rank and profession there were then many 
distinguished individuals, whose independence of mind in 
the cause of their country, whose laborious researches in 
various departments of literature, or whose important dis- 
coveries in science and philosophy, conferred honours on 
themselves and on the land of their birth, of which they 
can never be deprived. The names of Pym, Hampden, 
Sidney, and Russel, will live while the fabric of the British 
Constitution continues to be loved and respected ; those of 
Locke and Boyle, of Wallis and Newton, can perish only 
with the records of science and time. A Churchman can- 
not think of Hooker, Taylor, Chillingworth, and Barrow, 
but with emotions of the profoundest delight and venera- 
tion : and, while the cause of Non-conformity continues to 
be dear to those whose ancestors defended and suftered for 


it, the page which records the virtues of Baxter and Bates, 
Howe and Owen, will always secure attention and respect. 
To Statesmen may be left the commemoration of 
those who then shone in the cabinet, or distinguished them- 
selves in the field. To Churchmen properly belongs the 
task of recording the learning, piety, and sufferings of their 
brethren. On a Dissenter naturally devolves the task of 
preserving the memory of his forefathers. Should he be 
indiflFerent to their reputation and their wrqpgs, who can 
be expected to assert them? and if he be zealous in their 
cause, and anxious to vindicate their honour, the motive 
is creditable to his feelings, whatever be the degree of suc- 
cess which may attend his attempt. 

It is rather surprising that, while the minutest re- 
searches have been made into the lives of many obscure 
individuals, no separate work should have been devoted to 
the life of John Owen. Mr. Clarkson, who preached his 
funeral sermon, observed, ' that the account which is due 
to the world of this eminent man deserved a volume,' which 
he hoped would soon make its appearance. Cotton Mather, 
in that singular work ' Magnalia Americana Christi,' pub- 
lished twenty years afterwards, declared, ' that the church 
of God was wronged in that the life of the great John 
Owen was not written.' About twenty years after that, 
appeared, prefixed to the folio edition of his Sermons and 
Tracts, 'Memoirs of the Life of John Owen, D.D.' but 
which, though they appear to have been drawn up by 
Mr. Asty, a respectable Independent Minister in London, 
with the assistance of Sir John Hartopp, who was many 
years a member of the church of which Owen was pastor, 
and his particular friend, are both inaccurate and imperfect, 
and do not contain so many pages as the Doctor had 
written books. With the exception of these, and the scanty 
notices of general biography, Owen is only known by means 
of his writings. 

No necessity exists for stating the claims which John 
Owen has to a distinct account of his life. Every theolo- 
gical scholar, every lover of experimental piety, every 
reader of our civil and ecclesiastical history, has heard of 
the name, and known something of the character, of Owen : 
— a man, 'admired when living, and adored when lost;' 

DR. OWEN. 3 

whose works yet praise him in the gates, and by which he 
will continue to instruct and comfort the church for ages to 

Those who believe that *God hath made of one blood 
all nations of men,' will never be flattered by the pride of 
ancestry themselves, nor attach much importance to it in 
others. No harm, however, can arise from noticing, when 
it can be done with any degree of certainty, the particular 
line of the Adamic race to which a respected individual 
owes his birth. Regardless, therefore, of Bishop Watson's 
remark, ' that German and Welsh pedigrees are subjects of 
ridicule to most Englishmen,' we shall proceed to give a 
short account of the family of Owen. 

John Owen was paternally descended from Lhewylin, 
second son of Gwrgan ap Ithel, Lord or Prince of Gla- 
morgan, a wise and pacific ruler, who died in the year 1030 ; 
and Gwrgan ap Ithel, according to the Welsh genealo- 
gies, was descended in the thirty-first generation from the 
great Caractacus. Jestyn, eldest son of Gwrgan ap Ithel, 
progenitor of the last of the five royal tribes of Wales, was, 
in the year 1090, dispossessed of the castle of Cardiff by Sir 
Robert Fitz Hammon, a Norman adventurer, who, with 
his followers, took possession of Jestyn's dominions. 

Humphrey Owen, grandfather of the subject of the 
history, married Susan, daughter of Griffith, a younger 
son of Lewis Owen, Esq., of Llwyn, near Dolgelly, 
a descendant of Ednowain ap Bradwin, Lord of Me- 
rioneth, and head of one of the fifteen tribes of North 
Wales, whose arms* Dr. Owen quartered with those of 
Gwrgan.*" This Lewis Owen was Vice-Chamberlain of 
North Wales, and Baron of the Exchequer of North 
Wales; on his way to the Montgomeryshire assizes in 
1555, he was attacked in the woods of Mowddy, at a place 
now called from the deed, Llidiait y Barwn, by a band of 
outlaws who had vowed to revenge on him the capture of 
fourscore of their companions ; and being deserted by all 
his attendants, excepting his son-in-law John Llwyd, of 
Ceiswyn, he fell a sacrifice to their fury. 

, * Gules, three snakes enowed in a triangular knot, argent. 
^ Gules, ftiree cheveronels, argent. 

B 2 


Humphrey Owen had fifteen sons, the youngest of 
whom was Henry, the father of the subject of our history. 

Henry Owen, the youngest son of this numerous family, 
was bred to the Church. After studying at Oxford, he 
taught a school for some time at Stokenchurch.<= He was 
afterwards chosen minister of Stadham, in the county of 
Oxford,"^ where he remained many years. In the latter 
part of his life he became rector of Harpsden, in the same 
county, where he died, on the eighteenth of September, 
1649, in the sixty-third year of his age, and was buried in 
the chancel of the church.^ * My father/ said his son, ' was 
a Non-conformist all his days, and a painful labourer in 
the vineyard of the Lord.'^ He was reckoned a strict Pu- 
ritan, for his more than ordinary zeal, in those early days 
of reform ation.s 

The situation of the Puritans had for many years been 
gradually becoming more unpleasant and intolerable. The 
haughty spirit of Elizabeth had made their yoke heavy, but 
the vanity and dogmatism of her successor rendered it al- 
most insupportable. The great body of them had no dif- 
ference with their opponents about the lawfulness of civil 
establishments of Christianity. They entertained no doubts 
as to the propriety of using the sword, under certain modi- 
fications, for the purpose of producing unity of sentiment, 
and uniformity of practice in religion. They objected not 
so much to the interference of the civil power in the affairs 
of the church, as to the mode and degree of that inter- 
ference. * They were for one religion, one uniform mode 
of worship, one form of discipline for the whole nation, 
with which all must comply outwardly, whatever were their 
inward sentiments.'' — The standard of uniformity, ac- 
cording to the Bishops, was the Queen's authority and the 
laws of the land ; according to the Puritans, the decrees of 
provincial and national synods allowed and enforced by 
the civil magistrate : but neither party were for admitting 
that liberty of conscience and freedom of profession, which 
is every man's right as far as is consistent with the peace 

e Athen. Ox. ^ Memoirs, p. 3. « Tree belonging to a branch of the faniilj. 

f Rev. of the Nat. of Schism. s Memoirs, p. 3. 

h Neal's Hist, of the Puritans, vol. i. chap. iv. p. 136. 

DR. OWEN. 5 

of the civil goyernment under which he lives.'' Their ob- 
jections to the Church of England respected chiefly the 
King's supremacy, and the alleged unscripturalness of some 
of its offices, and parts of its liturgy. Had the Crown re- 
signed its authority to church rulers ; had the offices of 
Metropolitan, Archbishop, and some others been abrogated; 
had the liturgy been reformed, the sign of the cross in Bap- 
tism, kneeling at the Supper, and bowing at the name of 
Jesus been done away ; had they been allowed to wear a 
round instead of a square cap, and a black gown in place 
of a white surplice, the great mass of the early Puritans 
and even of the later Non-conformists would have become 
the warmest friends of the Church. They were not so much 
Dissenters from its constitution, as Non-conformists to 
some of its requisitions. 

These things are stated, not to insinuate that the points 
in dispute were of small importance, (nothing being un- 
important which is enforced on the conscience as part of 
religion,) but to shew what they really were, and to enable 
the reader to understand the nature and progress of those 
religious discussions, which for a long period occupied so 
large a portion of the public attention. It is not wonder- 
ful that the sentiments of the Puritans on many subjects 
were imperfect. It is rather surprising that they saw so 
much, and that they were able so boldly to contend for 
what they believed to be the cause of God. It can hardly 
be doubted that had their object been accomplished, the 
Church of England would have been much improved ; and 
thus, so far as externals are concerned, it would have been 
brought nearer to the model of Scripture, and rendered 
more worthy of the designation which has often been ap- 
plied to it, ' The glory and bulwark of the Reformatioja.' 

High expectations were formed by the Puritans from 
the accession of James I. to the throne of England. But 
alas ! they were all most miserably disappointed. James 
had been educated a Presbyterian, was a professed Cal- 
vinist, and a sworn Covenanter ; but after he obtained the 
British crown he became a high Episcopalian, a deter- 
mined Arminian, and a secret friend to Popery. His bad 
principles, injudicious alliances, and arbitrary conduct, 

*Neal, i.p. 137. 


laid the foundation of much future misery to his country ; 
which burst like a torrent upon his successor, and 
finally swept his family from the throne. The Hamp- 
ton Court conference, held in 1603, discovered the high 
ideas which he entertained of kingly prerogative, and how 
much he was disposed to domineer over the consciences 
of his subjects. ' No Bishop, no King' was his favourite 
maxim. * I will have one doctrine, one discipline, one re- 
ligion in substance and in ceremony,' said his Majesty, in 
the plenitude of his wisdom and authority ; and concluded 
this mock discussion, in which the Puritans were brow- 
beat and insulted, by avowing that he would make them 
conform, root them out of the land, or do worse. 

For once, James was as good as his word, and every 
thing was done which was likely to render his conscientious 
subjects miserable, or drive them to extremities. The same 
measures were persevered in, and increased in severity, 
by the infatuated and unfortunate Charles. In conse- 
quence, many left the land of their fathers, and found a 
refuge or a grave in a distant wilderness ; some wandered 
about in England, subject to many privations and hard- 
ships, doing good as they had opportunity ; while others 
endeavoured to reconcile the rights of conscience with 
submission to the powers that were, and prayed and hoped 
for better days. 

Of this last description was Henry Owen. A full ac- 
count of his family is no longer to be obtained ; it appears, 
however, that he had at least three sons and a daughter. 
His eldest son, William, was a clergyman ; he is described 
in the records of the Herald's College ' Of Remnam, in the 
county of Berks, parson of Ewelme in the county of Ox- 
ford,' where he died in 1660, in the forty-eighth year of 
his age. His third son, Henry, appears to have chosen a 
military profession. He went over to Ireland with Crom- 
well, as an ensign, and there seems to have acquired some 
landed property. He died before his brother, but his son 
succeeded to the Doctor's estates in England.^ 

His daughter married Mr. John HartclifFe, minister of 
Harding, in Oxfordshire, and afterwards of Windsor. Little 
is known of him; but his son made some figure. He was 

J Dr. Owen's Will. 

DR. OWEN. 7 

educated for the Church, and in 1681 succeeded, after a 
keen contest, Mr. John Goad, as master of Merchant Tai- 
lor's School. In the contest, he appears to have been as- 
sisted by his uncle, who exerted his influence among the 
London merchants, on behalf of his nephew. His prede- 
cessor Goad was ejected on account of his popish senti- 
ments. Mr. Hartcliflfe wrote several treatises, became 
D. D. in 1681, and died in 1702, Canon of Windsor.'' It 
is said he once attempted to preach before Charles II. but 
not being able to utter one word of the sermon, he descended 
from the pulpit as great an orator as he went up, treating 
his Majesty with a silent meeting.^ 

John, the second son, was born at Stadham, in the year 
1616 ; and after receiving, probably from his father, the 
first rudiments of education, was initiated into the princi- 
ples of' classical learning by Edward Sylvester, master of 
a private academy at Oxford. This respectable tutor, who 
not only taught Greek and Latin ; but made or corrected 
Latin discourses, and Greek and Latin verses, for mem- 
bers of the University, who found it necessary to exhibit, 
what they were unable to produce, lived to see a number 
of his pupils make a distinguished figure in the world. 
Among these, besides Owen, were Dr. John Wilkins, ce- 
lebrated for his philosophical talents ; Dr. Henry Wilkin- 
son, Margaret Professor in the University during the Com- 
monwealth, and afterwards a celebrated Non-conformist ; 
and a man better known than either of the preceding, Wil- 
liam Chillingworth, the author of * The Religion of Pro- 
testants,' a work which confers honour on the age and 
country that produced it."" 

At school, Owen appears to have made rapid progress, 
for by the time he was only twelve years of age, he was fit 
for the University, and actually admitted a student of 
Queen's College, Oxford. We cannot doubt, that his father 
afforded him all the assistance in his power in the acquisi- 
tion of learning, as he knew that he had no property to give 
him, and that his son would have to make his way through 
the world, by his own exertions. Nothing perhaps is more 

k Nichol's Anecdotes, I. p. 64. Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 238. Wood's Athen. 

Ox. ii. p. 637. ' Contrivances of the fanatical conspirators, by W. Smith. 

"> Wood's Athen. Passim. 


unfavourable to genius and industry, than being born to a 
fortune already provided. It frequently destroys that ex- 
citement, which is absolutely necessary to counteract na- 
tural indolence ; while it encourages those feelings of pride 
and self-importance, which are destructive of application 
and success. Hence, while the heir to titles and wealth 
has passed through the world in inglorious obscurity, the 
younger son has frequently supported and increased the 
honours of his family. 

When Owen joined the University, and while he con- 
tinued at it, few of its leading members were distinguished 
either for their learning or their talents. The Provost of 
his College was Dr. Christopher Potter, originally a Puri- 
tan, but after Laud's influence at Court prevailed, he be- 
came one of the creatures of that ambitious Prelate, and 
a supporter of his Arminian sentiments. Wood says he 
was learned and religious ; but he produced nothing which 
discovers much of either ; except a translation from the 
Italian of Father Paul's history of the ' Quarrels of Pope 
Paul V. with the State of Venice.'" The Vice-Chancel- 
lors of the University, during Owen's residence, w^ere Ac- 
cepted Frewen, afterwards Archbishop of York; William 
Smith, Warden of Wadham College; Brian Duppa, Bishop 
of Winchester, of whose qualifications Wood gives rather 
a curious account: — ' He was a man of excellent parts, 
and every way qualified for his function, especially as to 
the comeliness of his person, and gracefulness of his de- 
portment, which rendered him worthy of the service of a 
court, and every way fit to stand before Princes ;'" Robert 
Pink, Warden of New College, a zealous defender of the 
rights of the University, and who was much esteemed by 
James I. for his dexterity in disputing, as he was also by 
Charles I. for his eminent loyalty ;p and Dr. Richard 
Baylie, President of St. John's College, and Dean of Salis- 
bury. The Margaret Professor of Divinity, was Dr. Sa- 
muel Fell, who was advanced by Laud to the Deanery of 
Lichfield. He was ejected from all his preferments by the 
Parliamentary visitors in 1647.'' The Hebrew Professor 
was John Morris, of whom we know nothing as an oriental 
scholar ; and Henry Stringer was Professor of Greek, of 

n Allien. Ox, ii. pp. U, 45. " Ibid. p. 177. i' Ibid. p. 57. -i Ibid. p. 63. 

DR. OWEK. 9 

whose classical attainments we know as little. Barlow is 
almost the only name we are now disposed to associate 
with learning: all the others are either forgotten or un- 
known. How different the state of the University became, 
in regard to men of eminence and learning, when Owen 
filled its highest oflSces, will afterwards appear. 

In Queen's College, Owen studied mathematics and 
philosophy under Thomas Barlow, then fellow of the Col- 
lege, of which he was afterwards chosen Provost, when 
Owen was Vice-chancellor. He was made a bishop in 
1676, and lived till after the revolution. Barlow was a 
Calvinist in theology, an Aristotelian in philosophy, and 
an Episcopalian in church government. He was a man 
of eminent talents, and as great a master of the learned 
languages, and of the works of the celebrated authors who 
have written in them, as any man of his age. 

Owen studied music, for recreation, under Dr. Thomas 
Wilson, a celebrated performer on the flute, who was in 
constant attendance for some years on Charles I. who used 
to lean on his shoulder during the time he played. He 
was made Professor of Music in Oxford by Owen, when 
he was Vice-chancellor of the University. This shews 
that the men of that period were neither so destitute of 
taste, nor so morose and unsocial as they have been often 

Moderate talents, assisted by diligent application, will 
frequently do more than genius of a much higher order, 
whose efforts are irregular and desultory. But when 
talents and laborious exertion are combined with the fer- 
vour of youth and the aids of learning, much may be ex- 
pected as the result. Our young student pursued the va- 
rious branches of education with incredible diligence; al- 
lowing himself, for several years, not more than four hours 
sleep in a night. It is impossible not to applaud the ar- 
dour which this application discovers. The more time a 
student can redeem from sleep, and other indulgences, 
the better. But it is not every constitution that is ca- 
pable of such an expenditure ; and many an individual, 
in struggling beyond his strength for the prize of literary- 
renown, has succeeded at the expense of his life, or of the 

f Wood's Life, p. 92. 


irreparable injury of his future comfort. Owen himself 
declared afterwards, that he would gladly part with all the 
learning he had acquired in younger life, by sitting up late 
at study, if he could but recover the health he had lost by 
it* He who prefers mercy to sacrifice, requires nothing 
in ordinary circumstances beyond what the human system 
is fairly capable of bearing. 

Owen appears to have been blessed with a sound and 
vigorous constitution. This, no doubt, enabled him to use 
greater freedoms than he durst otherwise have done ; while 
to brace and strengthen it, he was not inattentive to those 
recreations which tend to counteract the pernicious eftects 
of sedentary occupation. He was fond of violent and ro- 
bust exertion, — such as leaping, throwing the bar, ringing 
bells, &c. Such diversions may appear to some ridiculous, 
and unbecoming; but this arises from inconsideration. 
That kind and degree of exercise which are necessary for 
preserving the proper temperament of the human system, 
are not only lawful, but a part of the duty which we owe 
to ourselves. Such recreations are not to be compared 
with those fashionable levities, and amusements, which 
only tend to vitiate the moral and intellectual powers, and 
to enervate rather than strengthen, the constitution. It is 
much more gratifying to see the academic robes waving in 
the wind, than shining at the midnight dance, or adorning 
the front ranks of a theatre. 

On the 11th of June, 1632, Owen was admitted to the 
degree of B. A. and on the 27th of April, 1635, at the age 
of nineteen, he commenced Master of Arts,* a designation 
which, we cannot doubt, his learning and attainments 
entitled him to enjoy. When literary degrees are spurs 
to application, and the rewards of merit, they answer a 
useful purpose. But when they come to be indiscri- 
minately bestowed, they lose their value, are despised by 
the genuine scholar, and are sought after only by those on 
whom they can confer no honour or distinction. 

During this period of his life, his mind seems to have 
been scarcely, if at all, influenced by religious principle. 
His whole ambition was to raise himself to some eminent 

s Gibbon's Life of Watts, p. 161. 
t Wood's Fasti, vol. i. pp. 872—879. 

DR. OWEN. 11 

station in church or state, to either of which he was then 
indifferent. He used afterwards to acknowledge, that, being 
naturally of an aspiring mind, and very desirous of honour 
and preferment, he applied very closely to his studies, in the 
hope of accomplishing these ends; and that then the honour 
of God, and the good of his country were objects subser- 
vient to the advancement of his own glory or interest. Had 
he continued in this state of mind, he would probably have 
succeeded; but it would have been in another cause than 
that to which he was finally devoted. Instead of a Puritan, 
he might have been found among their persecutors ; and 
his name have descended to posterity in the roll of state 
oppressors, or secular churchmen. Many young persons 
have been devoted by their parents to the ministry, and 
have cultivated their talents in the hope of rising in it, who 
would have conferred a blessing on themselves, as well as 
on the church and the world, had they found another path to 
earthly glory. Some radical mistake must exist when the 
church of Christ becomes the theatre of worldly ambition. 
The merchandise of the souls of men,' is the most infamous 
traffic in which man can engage, and constitutes one of 
the chief of the delinquencies charged on the mystical 

Owen, however, was unconsciously to himself, preparing 
for another career. He was now under a higher, though 
unperceived influence, acquiring the capacity for using 
those weapons which he was destined to wield with mighty 
effect against all the adversaries of the gospel. 'Many 
purposes are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the Lord 
that shall stand.' He probably often exulted in the pros- 
pect of wealth and honour, while God was preparing him 
to suffer many things for his name's sake, and for important 
usefulness in his cause. 

The limited resources of his father prevented his allow- 
ing him any liberal support at the university ; but this de- 
ficiency was amply made up by an uncle, the proprietor of 
a considerable estate in Wales; who, having no children of 
his own, intended to make him his heir. Although this in- 
tention was not carried into effect, his nephew must have 
felt grateful on account of the assistance aftorded during 
his early years. 


Previously to leaving the university, which took place 
in his twenty-first year, he appears to have become the sub- 
ject of religious convictions. By what means these were 
produced, it is now impossible to ascertain. He had re- 
ceived a religious education in his father's house, and 
early impressions then made, may have been revived and 
deepened by circumstances which afterwards occurred. 
The impressions were very powerful, and appear to have 
deeply affected his mind, and even his health. The course 
of spiritual conflict through which he passed, undoubtedly 
fitted him for his work at a future period ; and probably 
communicated that tone of spiritual feeling to his soul 
which runs through all his waitings . The words of the 
apostle are no less applicable to mental than to bodily suf- 
ferings ; * who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we 
may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the 
comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.' If 
the spiritual physician knows nothing, from experience, of 
the malady of his patient, he is but imperfectly qualified to 
administer relief. 

It was while under these religious convictions that 
Owen left the university ; and as they chiefly led to this 
event, it is necessary to notice the circumstances which 
occasioned his secession. For several years a grand crisis 
between the court and the country had been approaching. 
The aggressions of the former on the civil and religious 
liberties of the latter, had become so numerous and so 
flagrant, as to occasion a very general spirit of discontent. 
In an evil day, Charles had advanced to the primacy of 
England, William Laud, a man of undoubted talents and 
learning; butof high monarchical principles; fond of pomp 
and ceremony ; and, though no friend to the Pope at Rome, 
having little objection to be Pope in England. His arbi- 
trary conduct in the star-chamber, his passion for ceremony 
in the church, and his love of Arminianism in the pulpit, 
hastened his own fate, and paved the way for that of his 
master. The best of the clergy were either silenced, or 
obliged to leave the country. High churchmen engrossed 
almost every civil as well as ecclesiastical office, to the 
disappointment of many, and to the vexation of all. 

The same year, ir»37, that produced Hampden's resist- 

DR. OWEN. " 13 

ance of illegal taxation, drove Owen from Oxford, in conse- 
quence of the ecclesiastical tyranny of Laud. Among the 
other situations, which that ambitious churchman had mo- 
nopolized, was that of chancellor of Oxford. In virtue of his 
office, he caused a new body of statutes to be drawn up for 
the university ; in the preface to which he distinctly inti- 
mated that he considered the days of Mary better than those 
of Edward; and enjoined obedience to certain superstitious 
rites on the members of the university, on pain of being ex- 
pelled . Though the mind of Owen was not fully enlightened 
by the "gospel, his conscience was brought so far under its 
authority, that he could not submit to these human exac- 
tions. On the one side, lay all his worldly prospects, on 
the other, the approbation of Heaven. He had the faith and 
courage to embrace the choice of Moses ; and relinquished 
the pleasures of the world, rather than sacrifice the honour 
of his God. 

This change of feeling and sentiment was soon dis- 
covered by his former friends; who, as usually happens in 
such cases, forsook the man whom neither the king nor the 
primate would delight to honour. The result of refusing 
to submit, and of the opposition of Laud's party, was his 
leaving the university, never to return, until he who dis- 
poses equally the lot of nations and of individuals, placed 
him at the head of that celebrated body. 

During this struggle, the mind of Owen appears to have 
been in great spiritual perplexity ; which, combined with his 
external circumstances, and the discouraging prospects 
then presented, threw him into a state of profound melan- 
choly. For a quarter of a year he avoided almost all in- 
tercourse with men; could scarcely be induced to speak; 
and when he did say any thing, it was in so disordered a 
manner as rendered him a wonder to many. Only those 
who have experienced the bitterness of a wounded spirit 
can form an idea of the distress he must have suffered. 
Compared with this anguish of soul, all the afflictions 
which befal a sinner are but trifles. One drop of that wrath 
which shall finally fill the cup of the ungodly, poured 
into the mind, is enough to poison all the comforts of life, 
and to spread mourning, lamentation, and woe over the 
countenance. It is not in the least wonderful that cases of 


this kind sometimes occur; but, considering the character 
of man, rather surprising that they are not more frequent. 
Were men disposed to reflect seriously on their present 
condition, and to contemplate their future prospects; no- 
thing but the gospel could preserve them from the deepest 
despair. To this severe distress, he perhaps alludes, among 
other things, when he says, ' The variety of outward pro- 
vidences and dispensations wherewith I have myself been 
exercised, together with the inward trials with which they 
have been attended, have left such a constant sense and im- 
pression on my spirit, that I cannot but own a seilious call 
to men to beware." Such a conflict of feeling, and of so 
long continuance, it would have been strange had he ever 
forgotten ; and, ' knowing the terrors of the Lord,' stranger 
still, had he ceased to beseech men to avoid them. 

It is the opprobrium of Oxford that Locke was expelled 
from its bowers ; it is little less to its disgrace that such a 
man as Owen was compelled to withdraw from them. The 
treatment which both these learned men experienced in this 
celebrated seat of loyalty and learning, probably contri- 
buted, in no small degree, to produce that deep-rooted dis- 
like to civil and ecclesiastical domination, which appears 
so conspicuously in their writings. That which men in- 
tended for evil, however, God overruled for good. The 
influence of Owen's early secession from that body which 
holds the right of the church, or rather of the king, to de- 
cree * rites and ceremonies,' was felt by him during the 
whole course of his future life. There is a comfort con- 
nected with following the dictates of conscience in obeying 
the word of the Lord, which imparts a vigour and inde- 
pendence to the human character, that can never be felt by 
the time-serving votaries of church or state ; and which 
is infinitely more valuable than all the honours of the one, 
or the emoluments of the other. It is common to treat the 
conduct of such persons as Owen, who left the church for 
refusing to submit to the interference of human authority, 
as unnecessarily punctilious, and as resulting from a nar- 
row conformation of mind. But let it be remembered, that 
it was not a particular rite or ceremony to which they re- 
fused submission, so much as to the principle which they 

» Preface to the work on temptation. 

DR. OWEN. 15 

were required to recognize. The greatness of their minds 
appeared in their accurate investigations of religious truth, 
and in their willingly exposing themselves to severe suffer- 
ing for its sake. The strong view which Owen took of the 
matter, is well expressed in the following passage : — 

' I shall take leave to say what is upon my heart, and 
what, the Lord assisting, I shall willingly endeavour to 
make good against all the world, that that principle, that 
the church hath power to institute any thing or ceremony 
belonging to the worship of God, either as to matter or 
manner, beyond the orderly observance of such circum- 
stances as necessarily attend such ordinances as Christ 
himself hath instituted, lies at the bottom of all the horrible 
superstition and idolatry, of all the confusion, blood, per- 
secution, and wars, that have for so long a season spread 
themselves over the face of the Christian world ; and that 
\t is the design of a great part of Revelation to discover 
this truth. And I doubt not but that the great controversy 
which God hath had with this nation, for so many years, 
was upon this account, that, contrary to that glorious light 
of the gospel which shone among us, the wills and fancies 
of men, under the name of order, decency, and the autho- 
rity of the church (a chimera that none knew what it was, 
nor wherein the power of it did consist, nor in whom it 
resided), were imposed on men in the worship of God. 
Hence was the Spirit of God in prayer derided, hence was 
the powerful preaching of the gospel despised, hence was 
the sabbath decried, hence was holiness stigmatized and 
persecuted. And for what? That Jesus Christ might be 
deposed from the sole privilege and power of making laws 
in his church, that the true husband might be thrust aside, 
and adulterers of his spouse embraced ! that task-masters 
might be appointed over his house which " he never gave 
to his church," Eph. iv. 12. That a ceremonious, pompous 
worship, drawn from Pagan, Jewish, and Antichristian 
observances, might be introduced ; of all which there is not 
one word or iota in the whole book of God. This then, they 
who hold communion with Christ are careful of; they will 
admit nothing, practise nothing, in the worship of God, 
private or public, but what they have his warrant for. 


Unless it comes in his name, with Thus saith the Lord 
Jesus, they will not hear an angel from heaven.'" 

The circumstance of Owen's leaving Oxford, aflfords 
Anthony Wood, who rejoices to slander Puritans and 
Round-Heads, an opportunity of accusing him of perjury/ 
When Owen joined the university, he very probably took 
the oaths, and made the usual subscription. When he saw 
them to be unlawful, or felt that they involved consequences 
of which he had not been aware, he renounced them. If 
this be perjury, it remains to be considered, whether the 
guilt lies with those who impose oaths and subscriptions 
on boys, which they cannot understand, and which, when 
they come to be men, they repent they ever should have 
taken; or with those who are thus innocently insnared. 
Before such conduct can be charged with perjury, the lawful- 
ness of the oath must be shewn; as unlawful vows require 
repentance, and not fulfilment. All such subscriptions are 
the result of unrighteous impositions, impede the progress 
of truth, insnare the minds of the subscribers, and operate 
as a bounty on hypocrisy. They secure a monopoly of 
privileges to the chartered corporation ; and exclude from 
the enjoyment of advantages that ought to be common, a 
large portion of the principle and talent of the country. 

Before he left college, he received orders from Bishop 
John Bancroft, nephew to the celebrated Archbishop of 
the same name, who occupied the diocese of Oxford from 
1632 to 1640. After leaving it, he lived for some time as 
chaplain to Sir Robert Dormer, of Ascot in Oxfordshire, 
and as tutor to his eldest son. When he left him, he be- 
came chaplain to Lord Lovelace, of Hurly in Berkshire.y 
In this situation he continued till the civil war broke out, 
when. Lord Lovelace espousing the cause of the king, and 
Owen that of the parliament, a separation naturally took 
place. This step was attended with very important conse- 
quences to Owen. His uncle, being a determined Royalist, 
was so enraged at his nephew for attaching himself to the 
parliament, that he turned him at once out of favour, set- 
tled his estate on another, and died without leaving him 

" Owen on Communion. " Athen. Ox. ii. 555. 

y Athen. Ox. ii. p. 556. 

VR. OM'KN\ 17 

any thing. A step, which was attended with such conse- 
quences was not likely to be rashly taken. They shew 
that he must have been influenced by some very powerful 
considerations, and that, having taken his ground, he was 
not to be driven from it, by regard to the favour of friends, 
or the sordid interests of this world.^ 

The civil war has been often rashly and unjustly charged 
upon the Puritans or Non- conformists ; and, notwithstand- 
ing the force of evidence with which the accusation has 
been repelled, the charge still continues to be repeated. 
The enemies, and even the mistaken friends of religion, en- 
deavour to fix the crime of rebellion on men, who deserve to 
be held in everlasting remembrance, instead of being exe- 
crated, for what they did. Religious dissatisfaction was 
only one of the many causes of that tremendous convul- 
sion, and religious persons composed but one of the classes 
which produced it. The continual breaches made on the 
constitution by Charles I. from the period of his acces- 
sion to the throne, till he was forced to leave it ; — his ar- 
bitrary treatment of his parliaments ; his persevering at- 
tempts to render himself independent of their authority ; 
his illegal modes of raising money ; the oppression and 
cruelty with which those who asserted their civil or reli- 
gious rights were treated, were the real causes of the war. 
And that these measures were prompted chiefly by a high 
church and ultra monarchical party, which had the ma- 
nagement of the king, and which goaded him on to the last, 
is evident to all who have paid the least attention to the 
history of the period. 

So far from the Non-conformists being the authors of 
the rebellion, as it is called. Clarendon himself acknow- 
ledges that ' the major part of the long parliament con- 
sisted of men who had no mind to break the peace of the 
kingdom, or to make any considerable alteration in the 
government of church or state.'"^ As an evidence of their 
attachment to the church, seventeen days after their first 
meeting, they made an order that none should sit in the 
house, but such as would receive the communion accord- 
ing to the church of England.'' The Earl of Essex, the 
Parliamentary General, was an Episcopalian ; the Admiral 

z Memoirs. » Hist, of the Keb, i. p. 184. *> Tind.Con. p. 5. 

VOL. I. C 


who seized the king's ships, and employed tliem against 
him, was the same ; Sir John Hotham, who shut the gates 
of Hull against him, was a churchman ; the same may be 
aflSrmed of Sir Henry Vane, Sen.; of Lenthal, the speaker; 
of the celebrated Pym, and of most of the other leading 
persons in parliament, and in the army : so that it is clear 
as noon day, that whatever fault attaches to the civil war 
must be imputed not to the Non-conformists exclusively, 
but to the church of England, whose members were first 
and deepest in the quarrel.*' 

The object, for a considerable time, of that momentous 
contest on the part of the community, was a change of 
men and measures, and not a subversion of the constitution 
of either church or state. Had Charles driven off his 
popish and unconstitutional counsellors; consented to 
govern by regular parliaments ; been sincere in fulfilling 
his promises ; granted even a limited toleration to his per- 
secuted subjects, and changed some of his most unadvised 
and unpopular measares : he might have retrieved his af- 
fairs, established his throne, saved the lives of many thou- 
sands of his subjects, and of more than fifty millions of 
money to his country, — besides preventing that dreadful 
catastrophe which men of all parties must deplore. 

The war increased the number of Presbyterians, and 
augmented their influence by the calling in of the Scots ; it 
afforded opportunity to the Independents to propagate their 
sentiments, and to multiply their disciples ; it occasioned 
also the increase of the Baptists, and of some smaller 
sects : but that any, or all of these religious parties, were 
the causes of the war, the chief instruments in carrying it 
on, or justly chargeable with the excesses which took 
place, is unsupported by evidence, and contrary to clearly 
established facts. 

The situation of religious people during this trying 
period, must have been very perplexing. Neutrality was 
scarcely possible, especially on the part of such as held 
rank or office in the country. Those who joined the king 
were counted enemies to the liberties of England ; those 
who joined the parliament were reckoned enemies to legi- 
timate authority. Politics, however unfriendly to the 

•^ Clarendon passira, Life of Baxter, Pi^rtiii. p. 249. 

PH. OWEN. 19 

growth of religion, required to be studied, that the subject 
might know his duty. All the Non- conformists naturally 
took part with the house of commons, as they saw clearly 
that nothing short of their ruin was determined by the 
king. Most of those who wished well to true religion, 
though attached to the church, acted in the same manner; 
as it was evident, that religion was more at heart with the 
parliamentary party than with the king's. The friends of 
liberty, of every description, of course supported the po- 
pular side of the constitution against the encroachments of 
prerogative. It is exceedingly unfair to charge those who 
acted in this manner with rebellion. The house of com- 
mons forms an essential part of the British Constitution, 
as well as the monarch. At this lamentable period, the 
constitution was divided against itself. War was openly 
maintained between the king and the parliament. Liberty 
and redress were the professed objects of the one party, 
power that of the other. If you took part with the king, 
you were liable to be punished by the parliament ; and, if 
you supported the parliament, you were in danger from 
the wrath of the king. So long as the constitution was 
thus divided, no man could be justly chargeable with crime, 
in following either the one party or the other, as his judg- 
ment dictated. 

As Owen had no othc? connexion with party politics, 
than what arose from necessity, a view of the progress of 
civil discord, or a defence of the measures pursued by the 
parliament, cannot be expected here. No doubt can be en- 
tertained of his sincerity, and as conscience evidently di- 
rected the part which he took, had the cause been even 
more doubtful than it appears to me to have been, he ought 
to have the full benefit of this plea. 'Many, no doubt,' 
saj'^s the late Rev. Thomas Scott, a respectable minister 
of the Church of England, 'who obtained an undue ascend- 
ancy among the Puritans, in the turbulent days of Charles 
the First, and even before that time, were factious, am- 
bitious hypocrites ; but I must think, that the tree of li- 
berty, sober and legitimate liberty, civil and religious, 
under the shadov/ of which, we, in the establishment as 
well as others, repose in peace, and the fruit of which we 
gather, was planted by the Puritans, and watered, if not by 
c 2 


their blood, at least by their tears and sorrows. Yet, it is 
the modern fashion to feed delightfully on the fruit, and 
then revile, if not curse, those who planted and water- 
ed ity 

Owen's patron having joined the king's army, he went 
up to London, where he was an entire stranger, and took 
lodgings in Charter House yard- Though the violence of 
his convictions had subsided after the first severe conflict, 
they still continued to disturb his peace, and nearly five 
years elapsed from their commencement till he obtained 
solid comfort. This was a long time to be harassed with 
fears and despondency ; and may probably have been 
occasioned by his inquiries taking a direction which in- 
creased the evil they were intended to remove. The dawn 
of light, however, was now at hand. The glory of the 
gospel speedily dispersed his darkness, and produced feel- 
ings of joy, corresponding with his former depression, and 
of which he never seems to have been altogether again 

During his residence in the Charter House, he accompa- 
nied his cousin Mr. Owen, a respectable brewer in the city, to 
Aldermanbury church to hear Mr. Edmund Calamy, a man 
. of great note for his eloquence as a preacher, and for his bold- 
ness as a leader of the Presbyterian party. By some cir- 
cumstance, unexplained, Mr. Calamy was prevented from 
preaching that day. In consequence of which, and of not 
knowing who was to preach, many left the church. Owen's 
friend urged him to go and hear Mr, Jackson, the minister of 
St. Michael's, Wood-street, a man of prodigious application 
as a scholar, and of considerable celebrity as a preacher. 
Being seated, however, and unwilling to walk further, he 
refused to leave the church till he should see who was to 
preach. At last a country minister, unknown to the con- 
gregation, stepped into the pulpit, and after praying very 
fervently, took for his text. Matt. viii. 26. * Why are ye 
fearful? O ye of little faith !' The very reading of the text 
appears to have impressed him, and led him to pray most 
earnestly that the Lord would bless the discourse to his 
soul. The prayer was heard ; for in that sermon, the mi- 
nister was directed to answer the very objections, which 

«• Quoted in the Eclectic Rev. vol. vii.p. 11. 

DR. OW£N. 21 

he had commonly brought against himself; and though the 
same answers had often occurred to him, they had not be- 
fore afforded him any relief. But now, Jehovah's time of 
mercy had arrived, and the truth was received, not as the 
word of man, but as the word of the living and true God. 
The sermon was a very plain one, the preacher was never 
known ; but the effect was mighty through the blessing of 

All instruments are efficient in the hand of the Great 
Spirit. It is not by might or by power, that the Lord fre- 
quently effects the greatest works ; but by means appa- 
rently feeble, and even contemptible. Calamy was a more 
eloquent and polished preacher than this country stranger, 
and yet Owen had, perhaps, heard him often in vain. 
Had he left the church, as was proposed, he might have 
been disappointed elsewhere ; but he remained, and en- 
joyed the blessing. The facts now recorded may afford 
encouragement and reproof, both to ministers and hearers. 
It may not always be practicable to hear whom we admire; 
but if he be a man of God, an eminent blessing may ac- 
company his labours. The country minister may never 
have known, till he arrived in another world, that he had 
been instrumental in relieving the mind of John Owen. 
Many similar occurrences are never known here. How 
encouraging is this to the faithful labourer ! It may appear 
strange to some, that the same truths should he productive 
of effect at one time, and not at another. But those who 
are at all acquainted with the progress of the gospel among 
men will not be surprised. The success of Christianity, 
in every instance, is the effect of Divine, sovereign influ- 
ence ; and that is exerted in a manner exceedingly mys- 
terious to us. ' The wind bloweth where it listeth, and 
thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence 
it Cometh, and whither it goeth : so is every one that is 
born of the Spirit.' The darkness of Owen's mind was 
now happily removed; his health, which had been im- 
paired by depression of spirits, was restored, and he was 
filled with joy and peace in believing. 

The long and heavy depression which Owen had la- 
boured under, by his own account, had greatly subdued 
his natural vanity and ambition. The circumstance? of 


his conversion convinced him of the utter insufficiency of 
mere learning to accomplish the salvation of men. His 
own experience must have simplified his views of the gos- 
pel, and of the mode of stating it to others ; and contri- 
buted to impart that spiritual unction to his preaching and 
writing, by which they are eminently distinguished. When, 
or where, he began his labours in the ministry, we cannot 
discover. It is very probable that he commenced in Lon- 
don, and about the period of this remarkable change ; not 
long, perhaps, before his appearance as an author, in which 
capacity we shall now proceed to view him. 

While living in Charter House yard, he published his 
' Display of Arminianism, &c.' 4to.* A work which deserves 
attention on its own account, from its being the first per- 
formance of our Author, and from having contributed to 
lay the foundation of his future reputation. The impri- 
matur is dated March 2d, 1642. It is highly probable, that 
the unhappy state of his own mind, was occasioned by some 
misunderstanding of the subjects which the Arminian con- 
troversy embraces ; and that this led him so fully to inves- 
tigate them, as this tract discovers he had done. As it 
appeared soon after he had obtained comfort, a great part 
of it must have been written before, or at least, so fully di- 
gested in his mind, that he could soon put it together after 
he got possession of the key which unlocks most of the 

The Arminian discussion involves a variety of import- 
ant points, some of which are not peculiar to Christianity ; 
and which have been the fruitful sources of fierce conten- 
tion. Milton represents the fallen angels themselves, as 
disputing on some of them, and with no better success 
than men. 

' Others apart sat on a hill retir'd 
In thought more elevate ; and reason'd liigh 
Of Providence, foreknowledge, will and fate, 
Fix'd fate, freewill, foreknowledge absolute ; 
And found no end in wand'ring mazes lost,' 

The discussions of the ancient philosophers about the 
Origo Mali; the disputes of the Fathers and Schoolmen, 
' and of the Jesuits and Jansenists, about grace and pre- 
destination ; and the altercations of modern philosophers, 

' Works, vol. V. p. 41, 

DR. OWEN. 23 

respecting liberty and necessity, are all related to the Ar- 
minian controversy, and may all be traced to a common 
cause, — the desire to know what God has not revealed, and 
to reconcile apparent difficulties in the government of 
heaven, with the constitution of man. What the dark ages 
could not conceal, or popery itself subdue, the Refornia- 
tion was more likely to revive than to extinguish. Ac- 
cordingly, the work of Erasmus, ' De Libero Arbitrio,' and 
the reply of Luther, * De Servo Arbitrio,' shew how early 
these subjects occupied the attention of the Reformers, 
and with what keenness they engaged in their discussion. 
Calvin took high ground in this controversy; and, both by 
his talents and learning, was peculiarly fitted to explore 
the niceties of theological and metaphysical debate. His 
leading views, which he stated with great perspicuity, and 
defended with uncommon ability, were both more scriptural, 
and more philosophical, than those to which they were op- 
posed ; but in his minor details and illustrations, he has 
sometimes expressed himself incautiously, and has afforded 
too much room for Arminians to dispute, and for Antino- 
mians to abuse his doctrines. 

Long before the time of Atminius, some of the princi- 
ples which he brought forward, had been introduced into 
the Low Countries ; but were prevented from making 
much progress, by the vigilance of the clergy, and the op- 
position of the magistrates. When published by him, they 
experienced both support and opposition. He died after 
the controversy had raged with considerable fierceness, but 
before it assumed that formidable aspect which linally in- 
volved the States in the most violent civil commotions. 
After his death the debates continued to spread over Hol- 
land. The side of the Arminians was taken by Episcopius, 
who became their leader, by Grotius and Hoogerbeets. 
It was opposed by Gomarus for religious, and by Maurice, 
Prince of Orange, for political, reasons. The far-famed 
Synod of Dort was called to heal the divisions, and to re- 
concile the contending parties of the church. As might 
have been expected, this measure completely failed, though 
it cost the States ten tons of gold. The Arminians com- 
plained that they were brow-beaten, and condemned instead 


of being heard ; and tor refusing to submit, were imprisonied 
and banished/ 

From Holland, the dispute was imported into Britain. 
Previous to the Synod of Dort, though individuals might 
have believed and taught ditFerently, Calvinism was the 
prevailing theological system of this country. The com- 
plexion of the Thirty-nine Articles is evidently Calvinistic. 
In this sense they were understood by their fraraers, as the 
British, as well as the Continental, Reformers, were almost 
all Predestinarians. This sense was affixed to them by 
the succeeding Fathers of the English Church, and by the 
body of the Puritans. It was among the ridiculous incon- 
sistencies of James I. to oppose the Arminians abroad, and 
to support them at home. He wrote against Arminius ; 
protested against the appointment of Vorstius to succeed 
him in the divinity chair of Leyden; sent deputies to the 
Synod of Dort to get the party condemned ; and, about the 
same time, used means for its advancement in England. 
In 1616, he sent directions to the university of Oxford, 
respecting the disputed points. In 1622, orders were issued 
that none under the degree of bishop, or dean, should preach 
on any of these topics. The Arminian clergy were pro- 
moted in the church, and their writings protected. The 
reasons of this inconsistency in James's conduct, are to be 
found in his love of flattery and power. The English Ar- 
minians were, in general, high church, fawning courtiers, 
who were ever ready to burn incense at the altar of the 
king's supremacy, and to preach to the multitude hjs di- 
vine right to dispose of their persons and properties as he 
thought proper.^ 

What the father thus inconsistently supported, the son 
endeavoured to raise to celebrity. In the reign of Charles 
I. Arminianism, combined with the doctrine of passive obe- 
dience, and respect for Popish ceremonies, became the re- 
ligion of the court, and the road to royal favour. The whole 
high church party, with Laud at its head, ranked under 
its banners, and supported its authority by royal and epis- 

f Brandt's Hist, of the Reform, in tlic Low Countries, vol. ii. Hale's Letters 
from the Synod of Dort. 

e Brandt,!, pp. 318 — 321. He^iin's Quinquarticular Hist. p. 633. Neal. ii. pp. 
132. 138. 

Dll. OWEN. 25 

copal patronage, and high commission and stav-chamber 
decisions. ' Truth is suppressed,' said Sir Edward Deer- 
ing, in a speech in the house of commons, ' and popish 
pamphlets fly abroad, " cum privilegio ;" witness the auda- 
cious and libelling pamphlets against true religion by Pock- 
lington, Heylin, Cosins, Studley, and many more ; I name 
no bishops, I only add, &c.''' 

The progress of Arminianism in England, and the causes 
of that progress, are thus ingeniously noticed by Owen in 
the preface to this first production of his pen. 'Never 
were so many prodigious errors introduced into a church, 
with so high a hand, and with so little opposition, since 
Christians were known in the world. The chief cause I 
take to be, that which Eneas Sylvius gave, why more main- 
tained the Pope to be above the Council, than the Council 
above the Pope. Because Popes gave archbishoprics 
and bishoprics, &c. ; but the Councils sued " in forma 
pauperis ;" and, therefore, could scarce get an advocate to 
plead their cause. The fates of our church having of late 
devolved the government of it on men tainted with this 
poison, Arminianism became backed with the powerful ar- 
guments of praise and preferment, and quickly beat poor 
naked truth into a corner.' 

The great object of the work is, to give a view of the 
sentiments of the Arminians, on the decrees of God ; Di- 
vine foreknowledge; Providence ; the resistibility of Divine 
grace ; original sin ; and, in short, all the leading topics 
of this important and extensive controversy. He extracts 
from the writings, chiefly of the continental divines, those 
passages which contain the most explicit declaration of 
their sentiments ; and states what had occurred to him, in 
the way of answer. Each chapter is concluded by a tabu- 
lar view of those passages of Scripture, which support the 
orthodox doctrine, and with quotations from Arminian 
writers that seem to oppose it. It is, therefore, according 
to its title, A display of Arminianism, not a full discussion 
of the controversy. How far modern Arminians would 
abide by the views which are here given of their sentiments, 
I can scarcely tell ; but it cannot be doubted that Owen 

'' Deeiing's Speeches, p. 13. 


has given a fair account of the opinions of their ancestors ; 
and though some of the passages which he quotes, ought 
not, perhaps, to be rigidly interpreted, and should be ex- 
plained in connexion with other parts of their writings ; 
enough still remains to shew that their doctrines were far 
removed from the simplicity and purity of Scripture. The 
body of modern Calvinists would not adopt every expres- 
sion and sentiment of Owen's Display ; not because they 
are more arminianized than their fathers, but because they 
express themselves in fewer words, and are not so much 
attached to the peculiar phraseology of scholastic dispu- 

The style of the Display is simpler, and less strongly 
marked with the peculiarities of the Author, than some of 
his subsequent performances. He had more time to bestow 
in correcting and polishing it, than he afterwards could com- 
mand. It discovers occasionally a considerable degree of 
sharpness and severity ; to which he may have been led, 
not so much by the asperity of his own temper, as by the 
licentious freedoms of the writers he opposes, and by his 
strong convictions of the dangerous tendency of their opi- 
nions. It is the duty of all who know the gospel, and es- 
pecially of those who preach it, to watch the progress of 
error, and to endeavour to obstruct it ; but it is of infinite 
importance that this should be done with Christian temper, 
and by the employment only of those weapons which Chris- 
tianity sanctions. 

The Display is dedicated to the Committee of Religion, 
and is appointed to be printed by the Committee of the 
house of commons, for regulating the printing, and pub- 
lishing of books. In the dedication he expresses himself 
very strongly about the evils, which he apprehended would 
come upon the state, through the diiferences in the church, 
and implores the parliament's interference. ' Are there 
any disturbances of the state?' says he, ' they are usually 
attended with schisms and factions in the church ; and the 
divisions of the church are too often the subversion of the 
commonwealth.' Owen was destined soon to acquire more 
correct sentiments : — to see that no political divisions, or 
disturbances, in the kingdoms of the earth ought to inter- 
rupt the peace and unity of the kingdom of Christ ; and that 

DR. OWEN. 27 

no other remedy ought to be employed for the cure of error, 
than the application of truth. 

The first effect of this publication, was his presen- 
tation to the living of Fordham in Essex, by the Com- 
mittee for purging the church of scandalous ministers, by 
the hands of a special messenger. The incumbent, who 
had been sequestered on the petition of the parish, was 
Richard Pully, who, according to Walker, was * a person 
of great learning, religion, and sobriety ; but was turned 
out to make way for one,' whom he erroneously calls ' an 
Independent of New England.'' The Committee, it would 
appear, were of a different opinion. The presentation was 
an honourable mark of their approbation, and did credit 
both to themselves, and to our Author. His acceptance 
afforded much satisfaction to the parish, and also to the sur- 
rounding country. While here, it is stated, that an eminent 
blessing attended his labours. Many resorted to hear him 
ficm other parishes, and not a few, through the blessing of 
God, were led to the knowledge of the truth. The faithful 
minister will never pass unrewarded. In all situations, 
God will acknowledge that portion of his own truth which 
is conscientiously brought forward; and seal with success 
that which has the sanction of his own authority. 

Soon after he had taken up his residence in Fordham, 
he married his first wife, whose name is said to have been 
Rooke. By this lady he had eleven children, all of whom 
died young, except one daughter, who married Roger Ken- 
nington, a Welsh gentleman. The match proving an un- 
happy one, she returned to her father's house, where she 
died of a consumption. No particulars now remain of this 
lady ; but she is said to have been a person of very excel- 
lent character."" To her, Mr. Gilbert in his third epitaph 
on the Doctor, alludes in these lines : — 

Prima ^tatis Virilis consors Maria 

Rei domestic^ perite studiosa 
Rebus Dei doraus se totum addicendi, 

Copiam illi fecit Gratissimam. 

' Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 320. ^ Memoirs — Owen's Will. 



Owen's connexion tvith the Presbyterian body — its state at that time — 
Baxter's account of it — its Intolerance — Owen publishes his ' Duty of 
Pastors and People' — His ' Two Catechisms' — Preaches before Parlia- 
ment — Publication of the Discourse, and his Essay on Church Govern- 
ment — His views of Uniformity and Toleration — Leaves Fordham. 

By accepting- the living of Fordhara, Owen formally con- 
nected himself with the Presbyterian body, which about 
that time enjoyed the greatest prosperity at which it ever 
arrived in England. Whether Presby terianism was the form 
of government which prevailed in the primitive church, it 
is not our object, at present, to ascertain ; but, that Calvin 
was the first, after the reformation, who brought it into 
notice, and reduced it to practice, is, we believe, gene- 
rally admitted. Whether it was suggested to him by the 
Civil Government of Geneva, or entirely by the New Tes- 
tament, will be credited, according as men are the abettors 
or opponents of his system. Be this as it may, in the 
school of Geneva originated the Presbyterianism of Bri- 
tain. The English exiles, driven from their native country, 
by the oppressions of popery and prelacy, to that city of 
liberty, were alienated from the system in which most of 
them had been educated, as well by the conduct of its sup- 
porters, as by their conviction of its contrariety to the word 
of God. They were thus prepared to view, with a favour- 
able eye, a form of government and worship, which had 
more support in Scripture ; which provided a greater de- 
gree of parity and power for all the ministers of the church; 
and which seemed to be productive of a large portion, both 
of spiritual and temporal good to men. The adoption of 
this system by the reformed churches of Holland, France, 
Scotland, and part of Germany, promoted its influence, and 
increased its celebrity. The writings of Calvin, Beza, and 
other celebrated men of the same school, were extensively 
read, and their authority generally respected; while the 
intercourse between England and those countries, greatly 
increased by the tyrannical measures of government, ad- 
vanced the progress of its career in that quarter. 

UK. OWEN. 29 

The body of the Puritans were never entirely of the 
same mind on the subject of church government. Not a 
few of them were, without doubt, rigid Presbyterians ; but 
many of them would have gladly submitted to a modified 
Episcopacy, such as that which Archbishop Usher recom- 
mended. The Divine right of classical Presbytery came 
to be contended for, chiefly after the Scots' army was 
brought into England, and when a uniformity of faith and 
worship in the three kingdoms began to be enforced. As, 
for a considerable time, it appeared likely to gain the 
ascendancy, most of those who fell off from Episcopacy, 
from dissatisfaction with its forms, united themselves with 
it, though many of them were not disposed to admit all its 

Owen, as far as he was a Presbyterian, was one of this 
description. Speaking of his sentiments at this period of 
his life, and of a Treatise then published, which we shall 
immediately notice, he says, ' I was then a young man, 
aboHt the age of twenty-six or twenty-seven. The con- 
troversy between Independency and Presbytery was then 
young also ; nor, indeed, by me clearly understood ; espe- 
cially as stated on the Congregational side. The concep- 
tions delivered in the Treatise were not, as appears in the 
issue, suited to the opinion of the one party or the other; 
but were such as occurred to mine own naked considera- 
tion of things, with relation to some differences that were 
then upheld in the place where I lived. Only being unac- 
quainted with the Congregational way, I professed myself 
to own the other party, not knowing but that my principles 
were suited to their judgment and profession ; having looked 
very little farther into those affairs, than I was led by an 
opposition to Episcopacy and ceremonies.'^ 

Presbyterianism was not established in England ' byway 
of probation,'"^ as Neal expresses it, until 1645; and as pres- 
byteries were not erected for some time after this, and in 
many places never erected, it is not probable that Owen 
was ever a member of a presbytery. This circumstance, 
together with his sentiments as stated in the above extract, 
shews that his connexion with that body was more nominal 

* Baxter's own Life, i. p. 97. et passim. >> Review of the true nature of Schism. 
<^ Hist, of the Puritans, iii. chap. vi. p. 295. 


than real. To give a correct view of its religious cha- 
racter about this time is not au easy task. The partiality 
of its friends has led them to exaggerate its excellencies, 
and the dislike of its enemies has induced them to aggra- 
vate and multiply its faults. It doubtless embraced many 
individuals, estimable for their piety, and distinguished 
for their learning ; and not a few who had suffered much 
in the cause of God. In a body which contained many 
faithful preachers of the truth, there must have been a large 
portion of genuine religion ; although, from its principles, 
many were admitted into fellowship with it, whose pro- 
fession could not have borne a close investigation.^ The 
testimony of Baxter, whose opportunities of judging were 
abundant, and whose partiality to the Presl3yterians se- 
cures him from the suspicion of misrepresenting them, is 
as follows : — 

* The persons who were called Presbyterians were emi- 
nent for learning, sobriety, and piety; and the pastors, so 
called, were they that went through the work of the mi- 
nistry, in diligent, serious preaching to the people, and 
edifying men's souls, and keeping up religion in the land.'^ 
— But ' I disliked the course of some of the more rigid of 
them, that drew too near the way of prelacy, by grasping 
at a kind of secular power; not using it themselves, but 
binding the magistrates to confiscate or imprison men, 
merely because they were excommunicated ; and so cor- 
rupting the true discipline of the church, and turning the 
communion of saints into the communion of the multitude, 
that must keep in the church against their wills, for fear of 
being undone in the world. Whereas a man whose con- 
science cannot feel a just excommunication, unless it be 
backed with confiscation or imprisonment, is no fitter to be 
a member of a Christian church, than a corpse is to be a 
member of a corporation.^ — They corrupt the discipline of 
Christ by mixing it with secular force ; and they reproach 
the keys, or ministerial power, as if it were not worth a 
straw unless the magistrate's sword enforce it ; and worst 
of all, they corrupt the church by forcing in the rabble of 
the unfit, and unwilling, and thereby tempt many godly 
Christians to schisms and dangerous separations. Till 

6 Baillie's Dissuasive, pp. 154 — 174. f Baxter's own Life, part ii. p. 140. 

DK. OWEN. 31 

magistrates keep the sword themselves, and learn to deny 
it to every angry clergyman that would do his own work by 
it, and leave them to their own weapons, — the word and 
spiritual keys ; " et valeant quantum valere possunt ;" the 
church shall never have unity and peace. And I disliked 
some of the Presbyterians that they were not tender enough 
to dissenting brethren ; but too much against liberty, as 
others were too much /or it; and thought by votes and 
number to do that which love and reason should have 

The worst feature certainly of Presbytery, about this 
time, that which excited the greatest attention, and which 
ultimately ruined its influence, was its intolerance; or de- 
termined and persevering hostility to liberty of conscience. 
The most celebrated Presbyterian divines, such as Calamy 
and Burgess, in their discourses before parliament, repre- 
sented toleration as the hydra of schisms and heresies, and 
the floodgate to all manner of iniquity and danger; which, 
therefore, the civil authorities ought to exert their utmost 
energy to put down.*" Their most distinguished writers 
advocated the rights of persecution, and endeavoured to 
reason, or rail down religious liberty. With this view 
chiefly, Edwards produced his ' Gangrena,' and his ' Cast- 
ing down of the last and strongest hold of Satan, or a 
Treatise against Toleration.'!!! And, not to notice the 
ravings of Bastwick, and Paget, and Vicars, it is painful 
to quote the respectable names of Principal Baillie of 
Glasgow, and Samuel Rutherford, Professor of Divinity 
in St. Andrews, as engaged in supporting so bad a cause. 
The former, throughout his ' Dissuasive,' discovers how 
determined a foe he was, to what he calls a ' monstrous 
imagination.'' The latter, wrote a quarto volume of four 
hundred pages 'against pretended liberty of conscience.'!! 
It was the Trojan horse whose bowels were full of warlike 
sectaries, and weapons of destruction. Like the fabled box 
of Pandora, it had only to be opened to let loose upon the 
world all the ills which ever afliicted our race. It was the 
Diana, before whose shrine the motley groupes of dissenters 
from presbytery were represented as making their devout- 

e Baxter's own Life, part ii. pp. 142, 143. 
»> Crosby's Historj of the Baptists, i. pp. 176, 177. > Pref. to part ii. 

32 MEMOIRS or 

est prostrations. That I do not caricature the persons of 
whom I am speaking, let the following specimen shew : — 

'A Toleration is the grand design of the devil — his 
master-piece, and chief engine he works by at this time, to 
uphold his tottering kingdom. It is the most compendious, 
ready, sure way to destroy all religion, lay all waste, and 
bring in all evil. It is a most transcendent, catholic, and 
fundamental evil for this kingdom of any that can be ima- 
gined. As original sin is the most fundamental sin, hav- 
ing the seed and spawn of all in it ; so a toleration hath all 
errors in it, and all evils. It is against the whole stream 
and current of Scripture both in the Old and New Testa- 
ment; both in matters of faith and manners; both general 
and particular commands. It overthrows all relations, po- 
litical, ecclesiastical, and economical. And whereas other 
evils, whether of judgment or practice, be but against some 
one or two places of Scripture or relation, this is against 
all — this is the Abaddon, Apollyon, the destroyer of all 
religion, the abomination of desolation and astonishment, 
the liberty of perdition, and therefore the devil follows it 
night and day ; working mightily in many by writing books 
for it, and other ways ;— All the devils in hell, and their 
instruments, being at work to promote a toleration."' 

Had these been the sentiments of a few private and 
violent individuals only, it might have been proper to pass 
them by, as giving an unfair view of the principles or spirit 
of the party with which they were connected; but when 
similar sentiments and temper are discovered in the public 
and united proceedings of the body, the matter is very dif- 
ferent. That this was the case with the Presbyterians, at 
this time, is too evident from many facts. The Presbyte- 
rian party in the Westminster Assembly defeated the at- 
tempt, recommended by the committee of the Lords and 
Commons, to promote a union, if possible, with the Inde- 
pendents. They refused even to tolerate their churches. 
Baxter acknowledges that they were so little sensible of 
their own infirmities, that they would not agree to tolerate 
those who were not only tolerable, but worthy instruments 
and members in the churches.' When they found the Com- 
mons would not support their violent and unreasonable 

k Edward's Gangrena, part i. p. 58, ' Neal jii. cli. vi, pp. 302—310. 

DR. OWEN. ' 33 

demands to suppress all other sects, they brought forward 
the Scots' parliament to demand that their advices should be 
complied with, and to publish a declaration against tolera- 
tion."' The whole body of the London ministers addressed 
a letter to the Assembly, in which they most solemnly de- 
clare how much they ' detest and abhor the much endea- 
voured toleration.'" The ' Jus divinum of church govern- 
ment,' published by the same body, argues for ' a compul- 
sive, coactive, punitive, corrective power to the political 
magistrate in matters of religion.'" The provincial assem- 
bly of London, the ministers of Warwickshire and Lan- 
cashire, published declarations or addresses to the same 

Enough on so unpleasant a subject. Whatever difter- 
ences existed in this party about other things, a perfect 
harmony seems to have prevailed on this. They were evi- 
dently startled and alarmed at the strange appearances of 
the religious world. They apprehended nothing less than 
the utter destruction of religion from the liberty which men 
had begun to enjoy. Their fears magnified the danger, and 
their attachment to the cause of God led them to express 
themselves in the unwarrantable manner which we have 
seen. It is only matter of thankfulness that they were not 
permitted to grasp the sword, otherwise something more 
dreadful than intemperate language would probably have 

Their violent sentiments and proceedings must have 
alienated many from their cause, and led moderate men to 
doubt the foundation of a system which seemed to require 
such support. These, in fact, were the things which en- 
tirely ruined their interest. ' If the leading Presbyterians 
in the Assembly and city had come to a temper with the In- 
dependents, on the footing of a limited toleration, they had 
in all likelihood prevented the disputes between the army - 
and parliament, which were the ruin of both ; they might 
then have saved the constitution, and made their own terms 
with the king ; but they were enchanted with the beauties 
of covenant uniformity y and the Divine right of Presby- 

" Neal, iii. ch. vi. pp. 310, 311. " Crosby, i. p. 188. 

o p. 73. '^ P Jb. 190. 

VOL. I. D 


tery, which, after all, the parliament would not admit in its 
full extent.'^ 

It required, indeed, considerable enlargement of mind, 
to examine impartially the causes of the confusion of prac- 
tice and conflict of opinion, which were then operating on 
the country. Few were capable of looking through the 
tempest which was then howling, to a period of peace 
which would certainly follow ; when the novelty of liberty 
should subside into the enjoyment of its sweets ; and when 
the ebullitions of party should give place to ' quietness 
and assurance for ever.' Milton took the true view of the 
state of the country, when he exclaimed, in all the felicity 
of the poet and the fervour of the patriot, ' Metbinks I see 
a noble and puissant nation rousing herself, like a strong 
man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks. Me- 
tbinks I see her, as an eagle, muing her mighty youth, and 
kindling her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam; 
purging and unsealing her long abused sight at the foun- 
tain itself of heavenly radiance ; while the whole noise of 
timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the 
twilight, flutter about, amazed at what she means, and in 
their envious gabble would prognosticate a year of sects 
and schisms."^ 

We have no reason to think that Owen ever approved 
of the sentiments and spirit of the body with which he was, to 
appearance, for a time connected. It seems rather proba- 
ble that its violent temper tended to shake any attachment 
he ever had to it. The moderation of his views, even while 
a Presbyterian, appeared in the next production of his pen, 
and which was published not long after his settlement in 
Fordham : this was ' The Duty of Pastors and People dis- 
tinguished, touching the administration of things command- 
ed in Religion, especially concerning the means to be used 
by the people of God, distinct from Church Officers, for the 
increasing of Divine knowledge in themselves and others,' 
&c. 4to, pp. 56, 1644.^ Though it has the date of 1644, it 
was published in 1643. It is dedicated to his ' Truly 
noble and ever honoured friend. Sir Edward Scot of Scots 

1 Neal, iii. ch. vi. pp. 309, 310. " Areopagitica, Works, p. 393. Ed. 1697. 
» Works, vol. xix. p. ] . 



Hall, in Kent, Knight of the honourable order ot the Bath.' 
In the dedication he tells Sir Edward that he had published 
it in consequence of the solicitations of some judicious men 
who were acquainted with its contents; and thanks him for 
many favours, and especially for the free ' proffer of an 
ecclesiastical preferment, then vacant, and in his dona- 
tion;' but which circumstances had prevented him from 
accepting. I know nothing of Sir Edward Scot, but Owen 
makes most honourable mention of him in this address. 
From one passage it would seem that he had been some 
time in Sir Edward's family ; and as it does credit to the 
worthy Knight, and shews something of the troubled state 
of the country, it is worth quoting. ' Twice, by God's pro- 
vidence, have I been with you when your county has been 
in great danger to be ruined ; once by the horrid insurrec- 
tion of a rude, godless multitude ; and again by the inva- 
sion of a potent enemy prevailing in the neighbour county. 
At both which times, besides the general calamity justly 
feared, particular threatenings were daily brought to you. 
Under which sad dispensations, I must crave leave to say, 
that I never saw more resolved constancy, or more cheer- 
ful, unmoved Christian carriage in any man.' 

His object in this treatise is to steer a middle course 
between those who ascribed too much power to ministers, 
and those who gave too much to the people. ' Some,' says 
he, ' would have all Christians to be almost ministers, others 
none but ministers to be God's clergy : those would give 
the people the keys, these use them to lock them out of 
the church. The one ascribing to them primarily all ec- 
clesiastical power for the ruling of the congregation, the 
other abridging them of the performance of spiritual duties, 
for the building of their own souls. As though there were 
no habitable earth between the valley, I had almost said, 
the pit of democratical confusion, and the precipitous rock 
of hierarchical tyranny." His design, therefore, is to shew 
how ' The sacred calling may retain its ancient dignity, 
though the people of God be not deprived of their Chris- 
tian liberty.'" 

In prosecuting this discussion he declares himself to be 
of 'the belief of that form of church government, which is 

• Works, vol. xix. p, 8, " Ibid. 



commonly called Presbyterial, in opposition to Prelatical 
on the one side, and that which is commonly called Inde- 
pendent on the other.' He was then, as appears from what 
we have already quoted, very ignorant of Independency, but 
was more nearly allied to it in sentiment than he himself 
knew. Hence referring afterwards to this very tract he 
says, ' Upon a review of what I had there asserted, I found 
that my principles were more suited to what is the judg- 
ment and practice of the Congregational men, than those 
of the Presbyterian. Only, whereas I had not received 
any farther clear information in these ways of the worship 
of God, which since I have been engaged in, I professed 
myself of the Presbyterian judgment, in opposition to de- 
mocratical confusion ; and, indeed, so I do still, and so do 
all the Congregational men in England that I am acquainted 
with. So that when I compare what I then wrote with my 
present judgment, I am scarce able to find the least difi"er- 
ence between the one and the other ; only a misapplica- 
tion of names and things by me, gives countenance to this 

An examination of the tract itself confirms this view 
of it. It is very difterent from the Reformed Pastor of 
Baxter, or the Pastoral Care of Burnet. Both these small 
works, which contain much important matter, are occupied 
with stating and enforcing the duties of ministers ; while 
Owen's is devoted to pointing out the rights and duties of 
the people. The greater part of it is employed in prelimi- 
nary disquisition respecting the condition of the people of 
God before the coming of Christ; so that it is only towards 
the end of it, that he treats of their duty now, in extraordi- 
nary and ordinary circumstances. Without seeming to ad- 
vocate lay preaching, he argues from various considera- 
tions, that * truth revealed to any carries along with it an 
immoveable persuasion of conscience, that it ought to be 
published and spoken to others.' From Acts viii. 1—4. he 
says it appears * that all ihe faithful members of the church, 
being thus dispersed, went everywhere preaching the word, 
having no warrant, but the general engagement of all Chris- 
tians to further the propagation of Christ's kingdom.' In 
extraordinary or peculiar circumstances, therefore, he con- 

'' Works, vol. xix. p. 273. 

DR. OWEN. 37 

tends that it is the duty of every man to make known as 
extensively as possible, the portion of truth with which he 
is acquainted. In ordinary circumstances he maintains, 
that it is the duty of the people of God, ' for the improving 
of knowledge, the increasing of charity, and the furtherance 
of that holy communion that ought to be among the bre- 
thren, of their own accord to assemble together, to consider 
one another, to provoke unto love and to good works, to 
stir up the gifts that are in them, yielding and receiving 
mutual consolation by the fruits of their most holy faith.' 
He endeavours to shew that such practices soberly con- 
ducted, are not interferences with the pastoral office ; but 
ought to be encouraged by all the servants of Jesus Christ, 
as much calculated to promote the progress of knowledge 
and holiness. While he every where discovers sufficient 
respect for the institution of the gospel ministry, there is 
none of that selfish and narrow jealousy of encroachment 
upon its rights ; none of that morbid fear of its honour and 
dignity; — none of that supercilious treatment of the people 
— the Laity, which have so frequently been discovered by 
men in office, and which savour more of the pride of power, 
and the spirit of corporation, than the liberality of Chris- 
tianity, and disinterested zeal for the salvation of men. 

In the course of this Treatise, Owen mentions twice a 
Latin tract, ' De sacerdotio Christi contra Armin. Socin. 
et Papistas.' Besides treating of the priesthood of Christ, 
it seems to have been intended as an answer to the views of 
the Dutch Remonstrants on Liberty of Prophesying. This 
production was designed, at first, for the satisfaction of a 
few private friends, and was, he tells us, ' nondum edito,' 
when he published his Duties of Pastor and People. Nor 
does it appear to have been ever published ; as before this 
could take place, his rnind underwent an important change 
on the subject of religious liberty. As every thing on this 
subject is interesting, the candid avowal of his change of 
sentiment on this important topic, contained in the follow- 
ing passage, is worthy of attention : — 

' I reipember about fifteen years ago, that meeting with 
a learned friend, we fell into some debate about the liberty 
that began then to be claimed by men, differing from what 
had been (Episcopacy), and what was then likely to be cs- 



tablished (Presbytery) ; having, at that time, made no far- 
ther inquiry into the grounds and reasons of such liberty, 
than what had occurred to me in the writings of the Re- 
monstrants — I delivered my judgment in opposition to the 
liberty pleaded for, which was then defended by my learned 
friend. Not many years after, discoursing the same diifer- 
ence with the same person, we found immediately that we 
had changed stations ; I pleading for an indulgence of 
liberty, he for restraint. Whether that learned and worthy 
person be of the same mind that then he was, I know not 
directly. My change I here own ; my judgment is not the 
same in this particular that it was fourteen years ago, and 
in my change, I have good company, whom I need not 
name. I shall only say, it was at least twelve years before 
the Petition and Advice,^ wherein the Parliament of the 
three nations is come up to my judgment.'* 

This passage exhibits the openness and candour of 
Owen in a very interesting light ; and also shews that his 
changes did not follow, but precede the revolutions of pub- 
lic opinion. It must have been no small gratification to him 
to see his sentiments afterwards embraced by so large and 
enlightened a portion of the community. And it is grati- 
fying to the biographer of Owen to have it in his power to 
state, that the changes of sentiment and progress of public 
opinion during more than a century and a half since Owen's 
alteration, so far from detecting the mistakes, or exposing 
the danger of his sentiments, have only more fully eluci- 
dated their importance, and established their truth beyond 
controversy, and he trusts, also, beyond danger. 

Previously to Owen's introduction to the parish of Ford- 
ham, the parish itself, and the surrounding country, had 
been exceedingly neglected. Immediately, therefore, on 
obtaining the living, he set himself most resolutely to cor- 
rect the evils in which it was immersed. Publicly, and 
privately, he appears to have laboured for the people's 
good. Among other means which he employed, was that 
of catechising them from house to house ; a mode of in- 
struction peculiarly adapted to their condition, and which 

« The Petition and Advice were presented to Parliament in 16.57. So that Owen's 
change of sentiment about religions liberty, must have taken place in, or about, Iti-JJj. 

» Preface to Defence of Cotton against Cawdry, Works, vol. xix. p. 367: pub- 
lished in 1658. 

DR. OWEN. 3d 

has often been blessed to the souls of men. To enable him 
more effectually to prosecute this plan, in the end of the 
year 1645, he published, " The Principles of the Doctrine 
of Christ, unfolded in two short Catechisms ; wherein those 
principles of religion are explained, the knowledge whereof 
is required by the late ordinance of Parliament, before any 
be admitted to the Lord's_Supper.' 12mo. pp. 60.'' The first 
part of this small production he calls the lesser Catechism, 
intended for young persons, and to be committed to me- 
mory ; the second, the greater Catechism, designed for the 
instruction of the grown up people, and to assist them in 
instructing their families. They are both tolerably simple, 
and on the whole, well adapted to the purpose for which 
they were prepared. 

The Address to his ' Loving Neighbours and Christian 
Friends,' discovers the deep anxiety he felt for their spi- 
ritual welfare, and notices some of the means he had em- 
ployed to promote it. ' My heart's desire and request unto 
God for you is, that ye may be saved : I say the truth in 
Christ also, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in 
the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness, and conti- 
nual sorrow in my heart, for them amongst you, who as yet 
walk disorderly, and not as beseemeth the gospel, little la- 
bouring to acquaint themselves with the mystery of godli- 
ness. You know, brethren, how I have been amongst 
you, and in what manner, for these few years past; and 
how I have kept back nothing that was profitable unto 
you ; but have shewed you and taught you publicly, and 
from house to house, testifying to all repentance towards 
God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. With 
what sincerity this hath been by me performed, with what 
issue and success by you received, God, the righteous 
Judge, will one day declare. In the mean time, the desire 
of my heart is, to be servant to the least of you in the 
work of the Lord ; and that in any way, which I can con- 
ceive profitable unto you, either in your persons or your 
families.' This language shews how much he was in ear- 
nest about his work, and discovers the same spiritual and 
benevolent mind, which he cultivated and maintained to the 
end of his course. 

Both Catechisms are strictly of a doctrinal nature : the 

b Works, vol. V. p. 5. 


omission of moral duties he explains, by declaring his in- 
tention to publish, in a short time, an Exposition of the 
Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, with the Ar- 
ticles of the Creed, in the same form. Before this inten- 
tion could be executed, however, he was either removed 
from Fordham, or his mind had undergone a change which 
prevented the fulfilment of his promise. 

The fame of Owen was now beginning to extend, which 
occasioned his being called to appear in a wider field of 
labour and influence. On the twenty-ninth of April, 1646, 
being the day of the monthly fast, observed by Parliament, 
he was appointed to preach before that august assembly. 
The sermon, which was published by command of the 
House, and for which he received its thanks, by Mr. Fen- 
ner, and Sir Peter Wentworth, was founded on Acts xvi. 
9., and is entitled, * A vision of unchangeable free mercy, 
in sending the means of grace to undeserving sinners.''^ It 
contains a great variety of matter, and toward the end an 
earnest expostulation about the destitute state of Wales, 
and some other parts of the country. ' When manna fell 
in the wilderness from the hand of the Lord,' he exclaims, 
'every one had an equal share. I would there were not 
now too great an inequality, when in the hand of man. 
Some have all, and others none ; some sheep daily picking 
the choice flowers of every pasture, others wandering upon 
the barren mountains, without guide or food.' 

His dedication of the sermon to the long Parliament is 
in Latin, and on account of the high eulogium which it pro- 
nounces on that body, deserves to be here introduced. 
' Amplissimo Senatui, &c. &c. To the most noble Senate, 
the most renowned assembly of England; — most deserv- 
edly celebrated through the whole world, and to be held in 
everlasting remembrance by all the inhabitants of this 
island ; — for strenuously, and faithfully, asserting the 
rights of Englishmen ; — for recovering the liberty of their 
country, almost ruined by the base attempts of some; — for 
administering justice boldly, equally, moderately, impar- 
tially ; — for dissolving the power of a hierarchical tyranny 
in ecclesiastical aftairs, and abolishing the popish newly 
invented antichristian rites ; — for restoring the privileges of 
the Christian people ; — for enjoying the powerful preserv- 

•^ Works, Tol. XV. p. 5. 

Dll. OAVEN. 41 

ation of the Most High in all these, and in innumerable 
other things in council and war, at home and abroad : — ^To 
the illustrious, honourable, select Gentlemen of the Com- 
mons in Parliament assembled, this Discourse, humble, in- 
deed, in its pretensions ; but being preached before them 
by their desire, is now by their command published,' &c. 

It must be acknowledged that this is not ordinary praise. 
But when we consider the conduct of the long Parliament 
till this period ; how natural it was for a lover of liberty, 
justice, and religion, to view all its conduct in the most fa- 
vourable light ; and the admissions even of its enemies in 
its favour ; the language of Owen will occasion less sur- 
prise. Lord Clarendon acknowledges, 'that there were 
many great and worthy patriots in the House, and as emi- 
nent as any age had ever produced; men of gravity, of 
wisdom, and of large and plentiful fortunes.' Hume, al- 
most in the words of Owen, calls it a 'famous Assembly, 
which had filled all Europe with the renown of its actions.' 
After this, it will not excite wonder that Milton should 
praise its 'illustrious exploits against the breast of tyranny, 
and the prosperous *issue of its noble and valorous coun- 
sels.' Without bestowing unlimited or indiscriminate ap- 
probation, it may be safely affirmed, that it comprehended 
many whose stern integrity, and high independence of 
mind, would have done honour to the proudest periods of 
Roman glory ; and that many of its measures have never 
been excelled in the wisdom with which they were framed, 
the boldness with which they were advocated, or the intre- 
pidity and perseverance with which they were executed. 

But the chief value of Owen's discourse now, is the as- 
sistance it affords us in tracing the progress of his mind, 
on some of the subjects which then agitated the country, 
and at which we have already glanced. From the Sermon, 
and a ' Country Essay for the practice of Church Govern- 
ment' annexed to it, it appears that though he still re- 
mained in the Presbyterian body, it could scarcely be 
said that he was of it. The discourse itself contains his 
decided disapprobation of the views and spirit of many 
in that profession. ' They are,' he says, ' disturbed in their 
optics, or having got false glasses, all things are repre- 
sented to them in dubious colours. Which way soever 


they look, they can see nothing but errors, errors of all 
sizes, sorts, sects, and sexes, from beginning to end ; which 
have deceived some men, not of the worst, and made them 
think, that all before was nothing, in comparison of the 
present confusion.' Referring to the same thing in the 
Essay, he says: *Once more, conformity is grown the 
touchstone amongst the greatest part of men, however 
otherwise of different persuasions. Dissent is the only 
crime, and where that is all that is culpable, it shall be 
made all that is so.' 

About this time it appears that he had much discussion 
with the ministers of the county of Essex, on the subject 
of Church Government. This occasioned his being very 
variously represented, and led him at the suggestion of 
others to put together, in a great hurry, his thoughts on 
Church Government, and publish them with his sermon. 
The substance of it had a good while before been circulated 
in manuscript; and the great object of it is to try to unite both 
parties — the Presbyterian and Independent ; or, at least, to 
moderate their warmth. While he professes to belong to, 
or hold some of the principles of the former, he, at the same 
time, explicitly declares, 'that he knew no church government 
in the world, already established, of the truth and necessity 
of which he was in all particulars convinced.' The details 
of the plan, however, contain more of Independency than 
of the other system; perhaps, as much of it as could be 
acted on, along with obedience to Parliamentary injunc- 
tions. He intimates also his conviction that ^ all national 
disputes about Church Government would prove birthless 

The tract contains an explicit declaration of his senti- 
ments on two important subjects, — the folly and useless- 
ness of contention about uniformity, and the necessity and 
importance of toleration. He protests against giving men 
odious appellations, on account of their religious senti- 
ments; and exposes the absurdity of that species of exag- 
geration in which both parties then indulged. * Our little 
differences may be met at every stall, and in too many pul- 
pits, swelled by unbefitting expressions to such a formida- 
ble bulk, that poor creatures are startled at their horrid 
looks and appearance ; while our own persuasions are set 

DR. OWEN. 43 

out in silken words and gorgeous apparel, as if we sent 
them into the world a-wooing. Hence, whatever it is, it 
must be temple-building, — God's government, — Christ's 
sceptre, throne, kingdom, — the only way — that for want of 
which, errors, heresies, sins, spring among us; plagues, 
judgments, punishments, come upon us. Such big words 
as these have made us believe, that we are mortal adversa- 
ries, that one kingdom, communion, heaven, cannot hold 
us.' He had given great offence by refusing, it appears, to 
subscribe petitions to Parliament about Church Govern- 
ment, for which he assigns very satisfactory reasons : but 
which shew that he was far alienated from the religious 
party then in power. 

On the subject of toleration he had made great advances, 
though he had not yet arrived at the maturity of his senti- 
ments on this subject. * Toleration,' he says, * is the alms of 
authority, yet men who beg for it think so much at least 
their due. I never knew one contend earnestly for a tole- 
ration of dissenters who was not one himself; nor any for 
their suppression, who were not themselves of the persua- 
sion which prevaileth.' He does not, however, maintain 
the necessity of a universal toleration ; and yet when his 
limitations come to be examined, and the means he would 
employ in repressing error, and supporting truth, attended 
to, his views are, on the whole, highly enlightened and li- 
beral. He uses some strong language about the iniquity of 
putting men to death for heresy, declaring that he ' had al- 
most said, it would be for the interest of morality to con- 
sent generally to the persecution of a man maintaining such 
a destructive opinion.' ' I know,' says he, ' the usual pre- 
tences for persecution, — *' such a thing is blasphemy :" but 
search the Scriptures, look at the definitions of divines, and 
you will find heresy, in what head of religion soever it be, 
and blasphemy very different. — *' To spread such errors 
will be destructive to souls :" so are many things which yet 
are not punishable with death ; let him that thinks so, go kill 
Pagans and Mahometans. — "Such a heresy is a canker:" 
but it is a spiritual one, let it be prevented by spiritual 
means; cutting off men's heads is no proper remedy for it. 
If state physicians think otherwise, I say no more, but that 
I am not of the college. ' 



There is a prodigious contrast between these senti- 
ments, and those of the Presbyterian writers quoted in this 
chapter. Their violence and illiberality appear more 
dreadful and improper, when brought into contact with the 
moderation and liberality of Owen. His mind was rapidly 
maturing in the knowledge of the great principles of civil 
and religious freedom; by advocating which he was de- 
stined to acquire to himself a distinguished reputation, 
and to confer on his country a most invaluable boon. He 
was already in the career of discovery advanced conside- 
rably beyond most men of his time. — Undismayed by the 
collisions and disorders which seemed to arise out of the 
enjoyment of liberty, his generous soul exulted in the 
important blessing, and confidently anticipated from it the 
most glorious ultimate results. Satisfied that the cause 
of God required not the support of man's puny arm, or the 
vengeance of his wrath, he fearlessly committed it to him 
who has engaged to preserve it, and who hath said, * To me 
belongeth vengeance, I will repay.' 

On a report that the sequestered incumbent of Fordham 
was dead, the patron presented ano-ther to the living, and 
dispossessed Owen. From this it would appear that in 
such cases, the parliamentary presentations did not per- 
manently interfere with the' rights of the patron; and that 
a person presented in the room of one who was ejected for 
insufficiency, held the parish only during the life of the se- 
questered minister. With the loss of Fordham terminated 
Owen's connexion with the Presbyterians ; for which, his 
mind had been for some time in a state of preparation. 

Every change of religious sentiment is important to 
the person who makes it, and ought to be gone into with 
cautious deliberation. To be given to change is a great 
evil, and indicates a weak and unsettled mind. On the 
other hand, to be afraid of change is frequently the result 
of indifierence to truth, or of sinful fear of consequences. 
It is the duty of every Christian to follow the teaching of 
the Spirit in the word of revelation, and to recollect that 
for his convictions he must be accountable at last. The 
attempt to smother them is always improper ; and when 
successful, must injure the religious feelings of their sub- 
ject. To allow hopes or fears of a worldly nature to over- 

DR. OWEN. 45 

come our persuasion of what the word of God requires, is 
to forget the important intimation of our Lord, — that, if any 
thing is loved more than Himself, it is impossible to be his 
disciple. By such conduct the tribulations of the kingdom 
may often be avoided, but the consolations and rewards of 
it will also be lost. * If any man serve me, let him follow 
me ; and where I am, there shall also my servant be ; If 
any man serve me, him will my Father honour.' 


OweiCs settlement at Coggeshall — View of Independency — The Brownists 
— Causes which retarded and promoted the progress of Independency in 
England — Owen becomes an Independent — Publishes Eshcol — A Trea- 
tise on Redemption — His views on this subject — Controversy occasioned 
by it — Publishes two Discourses on the deliverance of Essex — Remarks 
on some sentiments contained in them. 

Owen's deprivation of Fordham was attended with no 
loss, either of a pecuniary or spiritual nature. As soon as 
the people of Coggeshall, which is only about live miles 
distant from Fordham, heard of it, they sent him a pressing 
invitation to become their minister; to which the Earl of 
Warwick, the patron, immediately acceded by presenting 
hira with the living. Coggeshall is a considerable market 
town in Essex, about forty-five miles distant from London, 
and was once a manufacturing place of some note. The 
church, which is still standing, is a spacious and lofty edi- 
fice, dedicated to St. Peter ; and the pulpit in which Owen 
preached, though not now used, yet remains. 

His immediate predecessors in this place were John 
and Obadiah Sedgwick, brothers, who successively occu- 
pied this charge. They were respectable Presbyterian mi- 
nisters, and authors of various works, which were then ex- 
tensively read. The latter, whom Owen succeeded, was a 
member of the Assembly; he became preacher at St. Paul's, 
Coveut Garden, 1646 ; was in 1653 appointed one of the 
Tryers, and died at Marlborough, his native place, to which 
he had retired, after resigning all his preferments, in 1658. 

Coggeshall afforded Owen a more extensive field of use- 


fulness than he had enjoyed at Fordhara. The congrega- 
tion consisted of nearly two thousand persons ; who were 
generally sober, religious, and intelligent. Between him 
and them a very intimate and ardent attachment soon took 
place, which was productive of much mutual satisfaction. 
His ministry was attended with considerable success ; and 
nothing, probably, but circumstances which he could not 
control, would have removed him from this beloved flock. 
It was here, that he began to act as an Independent or 
Congregationalist, by forming a church on the principles 
of that profession. Before stating the circumstances which 
led to Owen's uniting himself with this body of Christians 
(as these Memoirs embrace his religious connexions), it 
will not, I trust, be deemed a digression to give a brief 
sketch of its sentiments, and an outline of its early history 
to the period of his joining it. 

The distinguishing principle of Independency may be 
expressed in a single sentence; viz. That a church of Christ 
is a voluntary society of Christians, regularly assembling in 
one place, and with its oflicers possessing the full power of 
government, worship, and discipline in itself As a volun- 
tary society no man can, or ought to be compelled to join 
it; nor can it be compelled by external authority to receive, 
or retain, any individual in its communion. As a Christian 
society those only are fit to enjoy its privileges, who ap- 
pear to have believed the truth, imbibed the spirit, and sub- 
mitted to the authority of Christ. To admit persons of a 
different description, must tend to defeat the object of its 
association, which is entirely of a spiritual nature, and to 
introduce corruption and disorder. It is a regular, and not 
an ambulatory or occasional assembly. For conducting its 
spiritual offices, bishops or pastors are appointed; and 
deacons or servants, to manage its few temporal concerns. 
Without persons suitably qualified for these duties, and 
conscientiously discharging them, its constitution must be 
imperfect, and all its procedure will be marked with irre- 
gularity and disorder. It has the power of conducting its 
worship in such a manner, as may, consistently with the 
Scriptures, tend most to general edification. In its govern- 
ment and discipline, it is accountable to the Great Head of 
the church ; but not to any other tribunal. This view of 

DR. OWEN. 47 

the character and constitution of a church, is presumed to 
be characterized by that simplicity which distinguishes 
every arrangement in the kingdom of Christ ; to be adapted 
to the endlessly diversified circumstances in which Chris- 
tianity may be placed in the world ; to answer every pur- 
pose of religious association; and to be supported by the 
general principles, the particular precepts, or the recorded 
example of the apostles and primitive believers. A society 
of this description can be governed only by the authority 
of the word of God, cannot be compelled to receive for 
doctrines the commandments of men, and never can admit 
of alliance with, or incorporation into a temporal kingdom. 
It is our object to state, not to advocate, at present, the 
principles of Independency. Among its friends there have 
been diversities of judgment on minor points, but every 
consistent Independent has held substantially the senti- 
ments above expressed. 

That this was the constitution of the primitive churches, 
for at least the two first centuries of the Christian era, 
others, as well as Independents, have successfully shewn.* 
It appears gradually to have merged in a species of Epis- 
copacy, and was finally swallowed up with every thing 
valuable in Christianity, in the vortex of papal abomina- 
tion. The constitution of the church was among the last 
subjects the Reformers were likely to study, and, from their 
peculiar circumstances, the one they were most likely to 
misunderstand. Believing, as they did, that Christianity 
could scarcely exist without state patronage, and that con- 
science might be the subject of human legislation, the sim- 
ple form of Independency was not likely to occur to them, 
or if it did occur, would be speedily rejected as unsuitable 
to the state of the church, and of the world. 

As far as a name can fasten reproach, it has often been 
attempted to render the Independents odious by tracing 
their origin to Robert Brown ; who, after having professed 
the sentiments of the body, and suflfered grievously foE. 
them, returned to the bosom of the church of England, and 
died miserably at a very advanced age.'' Although Browa 

* Mosheim's Commentaries on the affairs of the Christians before the time of 
Constantine, vol. i. pp. 263 — 267; translated by Vidal. Campbell's Lectures on 
Ecclesiastical Hist, i, lect. vi, et passim, Owen's Inquiry, &c. chap. v. 

'> Fuller's Ch, Hist, book ix. pp. 167—169. Baillie's Dissuasive, pp. 13—15. 


was, for a time, a very zealous defender of this form of ec- 
clesiastical polity, there is no reason for ascribing to him, 
either the merit or the disgrace of originating it. Long be- 
fore he was heard of, perhaps before he was born, there 
were persons in England who held and acted on these sen- 
timents, as far as was practicable in their circumstances. 
Bolton, though not the first in this way, was an elder of a 
separate church in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's days.*= 
George Gyflfard, minister of God's m ord at Maldon, who 
published in 1590 his . ' Plain Declaration that our Brown- 
ists be full Donatists,' says, ' Many men think that they be 
sprung up but of late ; but whereas, in very deed, it is well 
known, that there was a church of them in London twenty 
years past.' Brown's publications first appeared at Mid- 
dleburgh, in 1582; but twelve years before this, accord- 
ing to Gyffard, there was a church in London. John Smyth 
said in 1609, ' Popery had the prescription of a thousand 
years against Calvin; but Calvin had not had the prescrip- 
tion of one hundred years against the separation — nay, I 
suppose not above fifty years.' Calvin was born in 1509; 
fifty years added to this brings us to 15C0, which was the 
second year of Elizabeth's reign. Penry, in his address to 
Queen Elizabeth, says, ' If we had Queen Mary's days, I 
think we should have been as flourishing a church at this 
day as ever any ; for it is well known that there were then 
in London, and elsewhere in exile, more flourishing churches 
than any tolerated by your authority.''^ In the year 15G7, 
a number of persons were imprisoned belonging to a society 
of about a hundred, who appear to have been of this per- 
suasion.® In a speech made by Sir Walter Raleigh in the 
House of Commons, 1692, on a law to transport the 
Brownists; he observes, ' If two or three thousand Brown- 
ists meet at the sea-side, at whose charge shall they be 
transported ? Or whither will you send them ? I am sorry 
for it, but I am afraid there are near twenty thousand of 
them in England; and when they are gone, who shall main- 
tain their wives and children? '^ If their number was such 
at this date, they must have been in the country many years 
before. These testimonies satisfactorily prove, that Ro- 

« Robinson's Justification, p. 50. <• Brook's Lives, Art. Penry, vol. ii. p. 51. 
* Ibid. Art. Hawkins, vol. i. pp. 133—149. fTownshend's Historical Col. p. 176. 

DM. OMM'-.X. 4^ 

bert Brown was not the founder of this religious sect; and 
that it must have existed in England at no distant period 
from the Reformation. 

The Brownists, as they have been nicknamed, were 
treated with great severity both by Churchmen and Non- 
conformists. They were the first consistent dissenters from 
tlie Church of England, though they undoubtedly carried 
some things farther than moderate men in moderate times 
would approve. There were a few forward fiery spirits 
among them, who expressed themselves with too much 
asperity of others. This produced discord ainong them- 
selves, and exposed them to the vengeance of their adver- 
saries ; who, with an equal want of religion and humanity, 
gloried over their faults, and insulted their misfortunes. In 
palliation of their real or supposed improprieties, however, 
much may be said. They were placed in circumstances 
entirely new, and had no experience in the mode of ma- 
naging the principles they had adopted. They were sur- 
rounded by enemies, whose conduct often tended to inflame 
and exasperate, but seldom to enlighten or convince. The 
evils they had endured from a worldly persecuting hie- 
rarchy, drove them to the farthest length they could go in 
opposition to it. Some of them were men of learning, and 
the body of them men of principle, who rejoiced to be 
counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ. The 
names of Ainsworth, Canne, and Robinson, will always be 
cherished with respect by the lovers of sacred literature ; 
and the souls of Copping and Thacker, Greenwood and 
Barrow, Penry and Dennis, are now before the altar above, 
for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 
Men who sufi'ered the loss of all things for conscience' 
sake, and who loved not their lives unto death, ought not 
to be wantonly reproached : and it especially ill becomes 
those who belong to a community, which arose out of the 
ashes of Brownism, and which profited by its mistakes 
and its sufferings, to join with others in ridiculing or de- 
faming it. It ought to be recollected too, that the chief 
accounts which we have of the Brownists are from the 
pens of their adversaries. Such testimony should always 
be received with caution ; and when we perceive the vitu- 
peration, indecency, and palpable injustice, which prevail 

50 ME MO I us Ol-' 

in many of the publications issued a^^ainst this much hated 
sect, we must conclude that such authorities as Paget and 
Edwards, and even those of Baillie and Hall, are not enti- 
tled to implicit deference. 

Such as they were, the principles of this body obtained 
considerable publicity before the end of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. A variety of spirited pamphlets, chiefly anonymous, 
were published by members of it; and churches were 
formed, which met mostly in private, till by the Act of 
1593, those who survived the effects of dungeons and gib- 
bets, were condemned to indiscriminate banishment. The 
greater part of them retired to Holland, then the land of 
liberty, aitd in Rotterdam, Middleburgh, Leyden, Amster- 
dam, and Arnheim, were permitted to constitute churches 
according to their own model. There, in 1596, they pub- 
lished a Confession of their Faith, in Latin and English, 
and addressed it to the Continental and British Universi- 
ties. Their conduct in Holland seems to have been in 
general very exemplary, till most of them removed to 
New England, and founded that flourishing colony; into 
which they introduced those enlightened principles of reli- 
gious liberty which have obtained so firm an establishment 
in America. 

John Robinson, who was educated at Cambridge, and 
beneficed near Yarmouth, with some of his people, re- 
nounced their connexion with the Church of England, and 
removed to Holland, where he became pastor of the Con- 
gregational Church, at Leyden, about 1609. So great was 
the number of English exiles at this place, that the church 
at one time consisted of three hundred members. Accord- 
ing to the testimony of friends and enemies, Robinson was 
a learned, amiable, and devoted servant of Christ, and the 
church under him seems to have merited and enjoyed a 
high Christian character.^ 

While Robinson was at Leyden, Henry Jacob, another 
English exile, of eminent learning and talents, was pastor 
of the church at Middleburgh. These two excellent men, 
assisted by the celebrated Dr. William Ames, better known 
by his Latin name Amesius (who had filled with distin- 

8 Prince's Chrori. Hist. i. p. 32. Morton's New Eng. Mem. p. a. Baillie"s 
niss. p. 17. 

DR. OWEN: 51 

g-uished reputation, for many years, the Divinity Chair of 
Franeker, and afterwards became joint pastor of the Con- 
gregational Church at Rotterdam, and colleague to the 
unfortunate Hugh Peters), adopted those views of fellow- 
ship and Government which have since distinguished the 
body of British Independents.*" 

Various circumstances concurred to induce Mr. Jacob 
to return to his native country about 1G16 ; where he im- 
mediately set about forming a church in London, on Con- 
gregational principles. This is generally thought to have 
been the first Church of this description in England ; but 
Edwards asserts that the Church at Duckcnfield, in Che- 
shire, was formed before any of the exiles came over from 
Holland. When we reflect how extensively these princi- 
ples were disseminated through England, it is probable 
that in many parts of it there were persons ready to em- 
brace the first opportunity of reducing to practice the sen- 
timents which they had previously received. 

It may well be supposed that the progress of the Inde- 
pendent Churches, during the despotic reigns of James and 
Charles, must have been very slow. In general they were 
obliged to meet privately, and even then, were liable to 
frequent and violent interruptions. Mr. Jacob's church in 
London, however, seems to have enjoyed a continuity of 
existence through the greater part of this period, and was 
favoured with the labours of a succession of excellent men. 
Mr. Jacob himself continued pastor t'll 1()24, when, with the 
consent of the Church, he removed to Virginia. He was 
succeeded by Mr. John Lathorp, who remained pastor till 
163f>, when the oppressions of the times drove him and a 
number of the church, to take refuge in America. His 
successor was Mr. Henry Jessey, who continued in office 
till the time of which we are now writing.' 

Various causes combined after 1640, to promote the 
increase and respectability of the Independent body 
throughout England. The state of the country became fa- 
vourable to freedom of inquiry on religious subjects. A very 
general disgust prevailed towards Episcopacy, which had 
been long excited by the conduct both of the church and 

^ Brook's Lives, articles Robinson, Jacob, Ames. 
» Wilson's Hist, of the Diss. Churches, 1. pp. 36—43. 

K 2 


the court. Respect for old established forms and re- 
ceived opinions, rapidly gave way; and the minds of men 
received an impulse, which in many instances, no doubt, 
led to error and extravagance ; but was, on the whole, fa- 
vourable to the progress of truth. The influence of error 
is never so destructive as when its subjects are in a state 
of torpor and unconcern. The wildness of fanaticism, and 
the uproar of persecution, are not so unfavourable to the 
march of knowledge, as the gloomy security of a bigoted 
superstition. In the one case, amidst much evil, some 
good will appear ; in the other, the whole mass is sunk in 
hopeless and deathlike apathy. 

The return, at this time, of many individuals from Hol- 
land, where they had been long exiled on account of their 
religious sentiments, excited attention to Congregational 
principles. Many of them who had left England chiefly 
from dissatisfaction with the forms and spirit of Episco- 
pacy, had in Holland become Independents. This change 
had been efl"ected not so much by the zeal of the party pre- 
viously settled there, as by the opportunity afi'orded during 
their residence in that country, to study the Scriptures un- 
biassed by the influence of an established system, and freed 
"from all temptations of a worldly nature. Such at least is 
the account given of their change by Goodwin, Nye, Bur- 
roughs, Simpson, and Bridge, in their celebrated Apologe- 
tical Narrative, presented to the Westminster Assembly. 
The return of such persons, and their influence among 
their former friends and flocks, must have created a consi- 
derable sensation. 

By this time too, the CongregMional cause had obtained 
a firm, footing in New England, and churches were there 
growing up and flourishing under its auspices. American 
pamphlets were imported, which disseminated the senti- 
ments of the churches in that quarter. Thus tlie heresy, 
which had been expelled from England, returned with the 
increased strength of a transatlantic cultivation, and the 
publications of Cotton and Hooker, Norton and Mather, 
were circulated through England, and, during this writing 
and disputing period, produced a mighty eff'ect. 

Another thing which contributed greatly to the spread 
of Independency was the meeting and transactions of the 

• , DR. OWEN. 53 

Westminster Assembly. This celebrated body met by ap- 
pointment of Parliament on the first of July 16 13, and conti- 
nued to meet with more or less of regularity till the twenty- 
second of February 1048-0 : having- held eleven hundred 
and sixty-three sessions during that time. It consisted of 
a number of Ministers and Laymen, of various classes, 
chosen by Parliament to assist by counsel and advice, but 
invested with no power or authority. It was nearly of 
one mind on doctrinal subjects ; but of very different senti- 
ments on church government and discipline. Some were 
decided Episcopalians ; a few were Erastians, who liad no 
fixed sentiments on these subjects; the body at the begin- 
ning were moderate Conformists, but, pushed on by the 
Scots commissioners, would at last be satisfied with no- 
thing short of the Divine right of Presbytery, and a Cove- 
nanted uniformity. Ten or twelve members were wholly 
or partially Independents.'' The character of the Assem- 
bly has been variously represented. Without all question 
it comprised a large portion of religion and learning; while 
its proceedings were often marked with those imperfections 
which uniformly attach to all Assemblies of uninspired 
men. The debates which occurred in this body on the sub- 
ject of government and discipline, called forth the strength 
both of the Presbyterians and the Independents on all the 
leading questions in which the two systems differ. Many 
and long were the discussions which, both in writing and by 
speech, took place ; in which, as might be expected, the In- 
dependents were invariably out-voted; but in which it will 
not be supposed that an Independent will admit that they 
were out-reasoned. The leaders of the Independent party 
were men of as profound learning, talents, and piety as any 
of whom the opposite side could boast ; and their invincible 

^ ^ The names of these persons were : — 

Thos. Goodwin, Peter Sterry, 

Philip Nye, William Carter, 

Jer. Burroughs, Joseph Caryl, 

Sydrach Simpson, John Dury, 

William Bridge, John Philips, 

William Greenhill, William Strong. 

The first five on this lisfwent by the name of the Dissenting Brethren, as they 
generally took the lead in the public discussions, and were mostly euiployed in 
drawing up the pritited papers. There were above one hundred Ministers i.n the 
Assembly, which sufficiently explains the reason why the Independents were usually 


patience, considering the opposition they had to encounter, 
deserves to be honourably mentioned. Truth never suffers 
from discussion. The publication of the Assembly's de- 
bates, and the pamphlets which they occasioned, diffused 
information on the disputed points, and increased the num- 
ber of dissenters from Presbytery and Episcopacy. 

Whatever is due to these causes, it would be wrong- to 
ascribe the progress of Independency entirely to their in- 
fluence. There was another — the most important of the 
whole ; but in stating which I must borrow the words of 
others, to escape the charge of partiality. ' The rapid pro- 
gress of the Independents,' says the impartial Mosheim, 
' was no doubt owing to a variety of causes ; among which 
justice obliges us to reckon the learning of their teachers, 
and the regularity and sanctity of their manners.'' This 
candid admission of Mosheim is corroborated by the testi- 
mony of Baxter, who was very far from being a friend to 
Independents. ' I saw,' says he, ' that most of them were 
zealous, and very many learned, discreet and godly men, 
and fit to be very serviceable in the Church. — Also, 1 saw 
a commendable care of serious holiness and discipline in 
most of the Independent Churches.'" 

Such were some of the causes, which promoted the in- 
crease and respectability of this body, shortly before Owen 
connected himself with it. It was neither its number nor 
its respectability, however, which produced his adoption of 
its sentiments, as will immediately appear. The following 
account is given by Baillie of its state in 1646, the very 
time at which Owen joined it. It partakes of the colouring 
of that writer's party prejudices ; but is on the whole by no 
means discreditable to the Independents, thongh he ascribes 
to political management what may be more easily accounted 
for from the operation of the causes already enumerated. 

.' Of all the bye-paths wherein the wanderers of our time 
are pleased to walk, this is the most considerable ; not for 
the number, but for the quality of the erring persons. There 
be few of the noted sects which are not a great deal more 
numerous; Jjut this way what it wants in number, supplies 
by the weight of its followers. After five years' endeavours 
and great industry, within the lines of the city's communi- 

' C!). History, cent xvii. sect, ii. part ii. »" Baxter's own Life, part ii. p. 140. 

DR. OWEN. 55 

cation, they are said as yet to consist of much within one 
thousand persons — men, women, and all who to this day 
have put themselves in any known congregation of that 
way being reckoned. But setting aside number, for other 
respects they are of so eminent a condition, that not any 
nor all the rest of the sects are comparable to them : for 
they have been so wise as to engage to their party some of 
chief note in both houses of Parliament, in the Assembly 
of divines, in the Army, in the city and country committees ; 
all whom they daily manage with such dexterity and dili- 
gence for the benefit of their cause, that the eyes of the 
world begin to fall upon them more than upon all their 

' Contrary,' says a Scots Historian, * to the progress of 
other sects, the Independent system was first addressed, 
aud apparently recommended by its tolerating principles, 
to the higher orders of social life. It was in the progres- 
sive state of the sect, when in danger from the persecuting 
spirit of the Presbyterians, that it descended to the lower 
classes of the community, where other sectaries begin their 
career. '° 

The Presbyterian interest was about this time rather 
declining. This arose chiefly from its extreme violence, 
and inveterate hostility to the toleration of all other parties. 
The people of England were not generally prepared to en- 
force the uniformity for which it contended ; and as nothing 
else would satisfy, the whole of the other sects, however 
they difi'ered from each other, agreed and united to resist 
it. As the Presbyterian cause declined, that of the Inde- 
pendents rose ; till in the end, the former struggling for 
power, entirely lost its influence ; and the latter seeking 
existence, acquired ascendancy. 

The progress of Owen's mind on the subject of Church 
Government has been already noticed. For a time he ap- 
pears to have hesitated between Presbytery and Inde- 
pendency. It fortunately happens that we can give an ac- 
count of the circumstances which led to his decided adop- 
tion of the latter system in his own words. The follow- 
ing passage is peculiarly important. 

' Not long after (the publication of his Duties of Pastor 

n Dissuasive, p. .W. _ ° Laing's Hist, of Scotland, vol, i. p. 275. 



and People) I set myself seriously to inquire into the con- 
troversies then warmly agitated in these nations. Of the 
Congregational way I was not acquainted with any one 
person, minister or other ; nor had I to my knowledge seen 
any more than one in my life. My acquaintance lay wholly 
with ministers and people of the Presbyterian way. But 
sundry books being published on either side, I perused 
and compared them with the Scriptures and with one an- 
other, according as 1 received ability from God. After a 
general view of them, as was my manner in other contro- 
versies, I fixed on one to take under peculiar consider- 
ation, which seemed most methodically and strongly to 
maintain that which was contrary, as I thought, to my pre- 
sent persuasion. This was Mr. Cotton's book "Of the 
Keys." The examination and confutation of which, merely 
for my own satisfaction, with what diligence and sincerity 
I was able, I engaged in. What progress I made in that 
undertaking, I can manifest to any by the discourses on 
that subject, and animadversions on that book yet abiding 
by me. In the pursuit and management of this work, quite 
beside, and contrary to my expectation, at a time wherein I 
could expect nothing on that account but ruin in this world, 
without the knowledge, or advice of, or conference with any 
one person of that judgment, I was prevailed on to receive 
those principles to which I had thought to have set myself in 
opposition. And indeed this way of impartially examining 
all things by the word, corn-paring causes with causes, aqd 
things with things, laying aside all prejudiced respects to 
persons or present traditions, is a course that I would ad- 
monish all to beware of, who would avoid the danger of 
being made Independents.' 

In answer to Cawdry's charges of inconsistency, he ex- 
presses himself on this subject again as follows: — 'Be it 
here then declared, that whereas I some time apprehended 
the Presbyterial, Synodical Government of Churches, to 
have been fit to be received and walked in (when I knew 
notbut that it answered those principles which I had taken 
up, upon my Jjest inquiry into the word of God), I now 
profess myself to be satisfied that I was then under a mis- 
take ; and that I do now own, and have for many years 

r Review of tlic nature of Schism, in roplv lo Cawilry, vol, xix. p. 274. 

DR. OWEX. 57 

lived in the way and practice of that called Congrega- 

This language requires no comment; it is a manly and 
explicit avowal of his change of sentiment, and a candid 
explanation of the circumstances which led to it. Between 
the years J 644 and 1646, it appears he had been engaged in 
examining the constitution and government of the Church. 
For some time his mind was undecided, but towards the 
latter part of the above period, he fully adopted those views 
in which he continued steadfast, and which from time to 
time, he defended till the end of his life. I have been the 
more particular on this subject, because every thing re- 
lating to the progress of such a mind as Owen's is deserv- 
ing of attention ; because the facts brought forward shew 
that his change was neither a hasty nor an interested one, 
but produced entirely by the force of truth and conviction; 
and, as during the long period of forty years he appeared 
at the head of his brethren of the Congregational order, it 
became the more necessary to state how he had been led 
to embrace their sentiments. As it is also often ignorantly 
asserted that Owen continued through life a Presbyterian, 
justice required that his true sentiments should be exhi- 
bited. It clearly appears from his own words that he never 
was a Presbyterian ; and that at an early period he with- 
drew from all connexion with that body, from some of 
whom, as will afterward be shewn, he received no small 
degree of abuse and ill usage on account of his secession. 

The consequence of his change of sentiment was, his 
forming a church at Coggeshall on Congregational prin- 
ciples, with which he remained till the commonwealth ap- 
pointments broke up the connexion ; but which has conti- 
nued to the present day in a flourishing state. 

Soon after the formation of the Church in this place, he 
published a small treatise : ' Eshcol : or Rules of Direction 
for the walking of the saints in fellowship, according to the 
order of the Gospel,' 1647.' It has since gone through many 
editions. In the preface, he states four principles as the 
basis of his rules, and in which he considered most persons 
were agreed who were seeking a scriptural reformation : — 

- T P/efacc to Cotton's Defence against Cawdiv, vol. xix. p. 366. 
I" Workj, vol. xix. p. 63. 


that particular congregations or assemblies of believers, 
under officers of their own, are of Divine institution : — that 
every believer is bound to join himself to some such con- 
gregation: — that every man's voluntary consent is required 
for his union vs^ith it: — and that it is convenient that all 
believers in one place should, unless too numerous, form 
one congregation. In these principles most Presbyterians 
as well as Independents would agree. The same remark 
is applicable to his rules, which are purposely so expressed 
as to avoid occasion of dispute ; and that Christians of 
every description may derive benefit from them. His sen- 
timents as an Independent, however, appear ; for in ex- 
plaining Matt, xviii. 17. he observes ' that by church can- 
not be understood the Elders of the Church alone, but ra- 
ther the whole congregation.' It is divided into two parts, 
— the first on the duty of Members of Churches to their 
Pastors ; — the second on their duty to one another. The 
former contains seven rules and the latter fifteen: all of 
them judicious, well supported by Scripture, and calculated 
to promote, in an eminent degree, the comfort, edification, 
and usefulness of the Churches of Christ. 

Eshcol was followed by a work of deeper learning and 
research, ' Salus Electorum, Sanguis Jesu; or the death of 
Death, in the death of Christ :' ' A treatise of the redemp- 
tion and reconciliation that is in the blood of Christ, with 
the merit thereof, and the satisfaction wrought thereby, &,c. 
by John Owen, Pastor of the Church of God which is at 
Coggeshall, in Essex.' 1648, 4to. pp. 333.' 

This work is dedicated to the Earl of Warwick, the 
nobleman to whom he had been indebted for the presenta- 
tion to Coggeshall : a man of unexceptionable Christian 
character, and great sweetness of temper; a valuable and 
steady friend to the persecuted Puritans, and knowu before, 
and long after his death, -by the distinguished designation 
of The Good Earl of Warwick, It has the attesta- 
tions of Stanley Gower, and Richard Byfield, Presbyterian 
ministers of considerable eminence, and members of the 
Westminster Assembly. They both speak of the work in 
terms of the highest commendation, though the latter pro- 
fesses to know nothing of Owen, even by name ! 

• Works, vol. v.p.206. 

DR. OWEN. 59 

The work is entirely devoted to an examination of one 
branch of the Arminian controversy, — the nature and ex- 
tent of the death of Christ :— a subject of much import- 
ance in itself, and the fruitful source of numerous and ex- 
tended discussions. The subject had occupied the atten- 
tion of Owen for more than seven years, during which he 
had examined every thing, written in former or later times 
on it, which he could procure.' The volume, which is the 
result of this labour, is distinguished by all that compre- 
hension of thought, closeness of reasoning, and minuteness 
of illustration, which mark the future productions of the 
author. It is divided into four parts : — In the first, he 
treats of the eternal purpose, and distinct concurrence of 
the Father, Son, and Spirit, respecting the work of re- 
demption. In the second, he removes the false and sup- 
posed ends of the death of Christ. The third contains 
arguments against general redemption ; and the' last 
answers the objections of Arminians to particular re- 

In every partof the work, much important and scriptural 
sentiment occurs; but I am disposed to think that Owen 
is more successful in the two latter, than in the former 
parts ; in objecting to the sentiments and language of Armi- 
nians, than in placing the doctrine of Scripture, on the sub- 
ject of which he treats, in its true and simple aspect. There 
is too much minute reasoning on the debtor and creditor hy- 
pothesis. For though sin is in Scripture figuratively repre- 
sented as a debt, it is a moral debt, which cannot be dis- 
charged by a payment in kind ; but which may be compen- 
sated in another way, deemed suitable and satisfactory by 
the offended party. The atonement of Christ is a glorious 
expedient devised by infinite wisdom and mercy, to remedy 
the disorders that have taken place in God's moral govern- 
ment, and to justify his ways to men : — to open the chan- 
nel of mercy, and to maintain the honours of justice : — to 
magnify the Lawgiver, and to glorify the Saviour. Some 
Calvinists maintain that the sacrifice of Christ is, in its 
nature, as well as design, limited to the elect — to procure 
the removal of their transgressions, and to obtain for them 
alone spiritual blessings. Arminians, on the other hand, 

t Preface. 

60 ME MO Ills OF 

maintain that the atonement of Christ, in its intention as" 
well as in its nature, extends to all; and that it is chiefly 
designed to put all mankind into a state capable of being 
saved. On both sides, there seems to be a confounding of 
the death of Christ with the purpose of God respecting its 
extent. The sovereign intention of God in regard to the 
application of the atonement, is distinct from the atone- 
ment itself, though in the Divine plan closely connected 
with it. The same remedy would have been necessary for 
the salvation of one sinner, had God so restricted its appli- 
cation; while, in its own nature, it is sufHcient to save a 
thousand worlds, did Jehovah please so to extend and ap- 
ply it. The sufficiency and suitableness of the remedy 
arise from the fact — that He is worthy for whose sake the 
Father forgives and restores to favour the offending rebel. 
Such is the nature of sin that nothing less than a testimony 
of infinite displeasure against it, would justify the Law- 
giver in shewing mercy to one transgression of even one 
offender; such is the infinite worth of the sacrifice, arising 
from the divine character of the sufferer, that it is enough 
to purge away the transgressions o^ all who believe. 

Inattention, on the part of many Calvinists, to Ihe glo- 
rious sufficiency of the atonement has led to the w ildest 
Antinomianism ; while overlooking the sovereign limita- 
tion of it, or its applied efficiency, has led Arminians to an 
equally objectionable Neonomianism ; or to ascribe salva- 
tion, not so much to the death of Christ, as to the sinner's 
obedience to a new law, which he is enabled to obey by 
being put, through the work of Christ, into a salvable state. 
The Calvinists at the Synod of Dort, appear to me to have 
stated the subject very correctly when they say: — ' Christ's 
satisfaction is of infinite value and price, abundantly suffi- 
cient to expiate the sins of all the world. But the declara- 
tion of the gospel is, that whosoever believeth in Christ 
crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life. Which 
declaration ought promiscuously and indiscriminately to 
be announced to all men to whom God, of his good plea- 
sure, sends the gospel ; and is to be received by faith and 
repentance. But that many who are invited by the gospel 
do neither repent nor believe, but perish in infidelity, arises 
from no defect or insufficiency in the oblation of Christ on 

DR. OM'KX, (51 

the cross, but is entirely their own fault.'" With these , 
views the following passage of Owen's work fully coin- 
cides : — 

* It was the purpose of God that his Son should offer a 
sacrifice of infinite worth and dignity, sufficient in itself for 
the redeeming of all and every man, if it had pleased the 
Lord to employ it to that purpose ; yea, and of other worlds 
also, if the Lord should freely make them and would redeem 
them. This is its own true internal perfection and suffi- 
ciency : that it should be applied unto any, made a price 
for them, and become beneficial to them, is external to it, 
doth not arise from it, but merely depends on the inten- 
tion and will of God.' He proceeds to shew that on this 
ground the gospel ought to be preached to every creature: 
' Because the way of salvation which it declares is wide 
enough for all to walk in. There is enough in the remedy 
it brings to light, to heal all their diseases, to deliver them 
from all their evils : if there were a thousand worlds the 
gospel might on this ground be preached to them all, if so 
be they will only believe in him, which is the only way to 
draw refreshment from this fountain of salvation.' 

Were these views of redemption strictly adhered to, 
which is not done even by Owen himself in this very work, 
the controversy concerning its extent would be reduced 
within narrow limits. The ground on which men are called 
to believe the gospel, is not God's decree of election, — nor 
the assertion that Christ died for them in particular ; but 
the revealed sufficiency of the atonement for all who be- 
lieve in it; which is i^iaffected by any decree of God, and 
remains the same whether men believe it or not. 

Those who would understand the nature of the debate 
on this subject at an early period, will do well to read the 
' Salus Electorum' of Owen ; but such as wish to see the 
modern state of the question, will find, in the masterly 
reasonings of Dr. Williams in his work on Equity and So- 
vereignty, and in his Defence of Modern Calvinism, the 
ablest defence of the views of that part of the Calvinistic 
scheme which are now generally adopted. 

In the course of this work, Owen frequently replies to 
the language of a treatise on the ' Universality of Free 

" Acta Synorli Dordrecliti, p. 2.")1. 



Grace,' by Thomas Moore, who appears to have been an 
illiterate person; and the same whom Edwards describes 
as * a great sectary, that did much hurt in Lincolnshire, 
Norfolk, and Cambridgeshire; who was famous also in 
Boston, Lynn, and even Holland ; and who was followed 
from place to place by many.'^ At the end of the volume 
also is a short appendix, by way of answer to an unde- 
scribed work of Mr. Joshua Sprigge. This gentleman was 
educated at Oxford, and graduated M. A. at Edinburgh. 
He must have been a person of some note, as he married 
in 1673, the widow of Lord Say. He was the author of 
various works, both political and theological; but to which 
of them Owen refers in his appendix 1 have not ascertained.^ 
An answer to this work was published by Mr. John 
Home, entitled ' The Open Door for Man's approach to 
God; or a Vindication of the Record of God, concerning 
the extent of the Death of Christ, in answer to a Treatise 
on that subject, by Mr. John Owen,' 1650, 4to. pp. 318. 
The author was minister at Lynn in Norfolk, from which 
he was ejected in 1662. He was an Arminian on the sub- 
ject of Redemption, but not on some of the other points; 
"and is said to have been a holy, excellent man. He wrote 
a variety, chiefly of controversial pieces, of which a long 
list is given by Palmer.^ This reply to Owen treats him 
very respectfully. In the preface, he says, that he chose 
to reply to his work rather than any other, on account of 
Owen's reputation for ingenuity and learning, in which he 
acknowledges that time, opportunity, and diligence, had 
given him much advantage. He takes up the work chapter 
by chapter, and discovers some portion both of learning 
and acuteness. His arguments are generally the same 
with those of other Arminians, while he yet seems to differ 
from them on the subjects of grace and election. Some of 
his remarks and interpretations of Scripture were not un- 

" Gangrena, part ii. p. 86. This work, by Moore, is a 4lo. volume of 193 pages, 
published in 1643, and according to his own account ' written through urgent im- 
portunity.' ' A refutation' of it was published the same year by ' Thomas White- 
field, Minister of the Gospel at Great Yarmouth ;' who takes care to inform us on 
the title page that ' Thomas Moore was late a weaver in Wills near Wisbitch.' 
Without a;)|)roving of the argument of the wurk, I have no hesitation in saying that 
it is creditable to the talents of ihe weaver, and not discreditable to his piety. Owen 
had more good sense than to endeavour to make his adversary odious because he 
harl been a weaver, or was reckoned a ' Lay preacher.' 

T Wood's Athen. ii. p. 576. » Noncon. Mem. iii. pp. 5 — 7. 

Dl{. OWEN. 63 

worthy of Owen's attention. He, however, thought diffe- 
rently: for he thus speaks of his opponent. * For Mr. 
Home's book, I suppose you are not acquainted with it; 
could I have met with any one uninterested person who 
would have said it deserved a reply, it had not lain so 
long unanswered.''' 

Colchester was, about this time, besieged by the Par- 
liamentary army, and Lord Fairfax, the general, having 
his head-quarters at Coggeshall, became acquainted with 
Owen, who appears for a time to have acted as chaplain to 
him.'' Fairfax was then considered as the head of the 
Presbyterian party; but it appears from the Memoirs of 
Colonel Hutchinson,"^ that he was an Independent at bottom, 
though he allowed himself to be overruled by his wife at 
home, as he was by Cromwell in the council. Of his reli- 
gious character, Owen appears to have had a high opinion: 
Milton eulogizes him as one * who united the utmost for- 
titude with the utmost courage; and the spotless innocence 
of whose life seemed to point him out as the peculiar fa- 
vourite of heaven -y and even Hume says of him; — ' He 
was equally eminent for courage and for hufinanity; and 
though strongly infected with prejudices or principles de- 
rived from party zeal, he seems never, in the course of his 
public conduct, to have been diverted by private interest 
or ambition, from adhering strictly to those principles.'^ 

Owen preached two sermons, one to the army at Col- 
chester on a day of thanksgiving, on account of its sur- 
render; the other at Rumford, to the Parliamentary Com- 
mittee, which had been imprisoned, occasioned by its de- 
liverance. These he afterward published together, as 
they were preached from the same passage, Habakkuk i. 
1 — }). prefixing two dedications, one to Lord Fairfax, and 
the other to the Committee and some of the officers of Par- 
liament. He designated them, ' A memorial of the deliver- 
ance of Essex county and Committee. '^ In these discourses 
are sojne strong statements about the impropriety, and ini- 
quity of human interference with religion. ' Arguments 
for persecution/ says he, ' have been dyed in the blood of 

a Epistle prefixed to Vindiciae Evangelicae. *> Dedication to the Two Sermons. 

« P. 25J, 4to. ed. <i Milton's Prose Works, vol. vi. p. 433. 

e Hist. ofEng. vii. p. 26. f Works, vol. xv, p. 86. 


Christians for a long season; ever since the dragon gave 
his power to the false prophet, they have all died as here- 
tics and schismatics. Suppose you saw, in one view, all 
the blood of the witnesses which has been let out of their 
veins on false pretences; that you heard, in one noise, the 
doleful cry of all pastorless churches, dying martyrs, har- 
bourless children of parents inheriting the promises, wilder- 
ness wandering saints, dungeoned believers; perhaps it 
would make your spirits tender as to this point.' 

There are some passages, which seem to encourage 
more of a warlike spirit than I think quite justifiable on 
Christian principles. To stir up men to defend or fight for 
the privileges which Christ has bestowed on his church, is 
a violation both of the letter and the spirit of his word. To 
view religious rights as civil privileges, and to maintain 
the lawfulness of defending them on this ground, is quite a 
different matter. Christianity justifies no man, as a Chris- 
tian, in fighting for any thing connected with it ; but it is 
perfectly consistent with its principles to defend what be- 
longs to us as men, or as natives of a country, the constitu- 
tion of which, secures the enjoyment of Christian or of civil 
privileges. It bestows no peculiar rights or immunities of 
a civil nature on its professors ; but, on the other hand, it 
deprives of no rights of which they may be previously pos- 

One of these warlike passages, which has given much 
offence, and of which a very unfair use has been made, is 
the following. After noticing that former mercies and de- 
liverances, when thankfully remembered, strengthen faith, 
and prevent despondency, he exclaims: — 'Where is the 
God of Marstone moor, and the God of Naseby ! is an 
acceptable expostulation in a gloomy day. Oh ! what a 
catalogue of mercies hath this nation to plead in a time 
of trouble ! God came from Naseby, and the Holy One 
from the west ! His glory covered the heavens, and the 
earth was full of his praise. He went forth in the north, 
and in the east he did not withhold his hand. The poor 
town wherein I live, is more enriched with a store of 
mercies in a few months, than with a full trade of many 
years,' &c. 

This passage is quoted by L'Estrange as a proof that 

DR. OWEN. 65 

Owen was one of those fanatics, who believe that success 
is an evidence of the goodness of a cause.e Dr. Grey 
also, commenting- on a passage of Hudibras, affirms on 
the same ground, that Owen was of this sentiment.'' But 
this is a gross perversion of his meaning. It is a mere 
rhetorical application of the words of Scripture ; with the 
design of impressing the importance of remembering past 
mercies and deliverances. 

As, however, the sentiment that success is an evidence 
of Divine approbation has been often imputed to Owen, 
and the party with which he acted, it is important that we 
can produce his own reply to the charge. ' A cause is 
good or bad, before it hath success one way or other; and 
that which hath not its warrant in itself, can never obtain 
any from its success. The rule of the goodness of any 
public cause, is the eternal law of reason, with the just le- 
gal rights and interests of men. If these make not a cause 
good, success will never mend it. But when a cause on 
these grounds is so indeed, or is really judged such by 
them that are engaged in it, not to take notice of the pro- 
vidence of God in prospering men in the pursuit of it, is 
to exclude all thoughts of him and his providence from 
having any concern in the government of the world. And 
if I, or any other, have, at any time, applied this unto any 
cause, not warranted by the only rule of its justification, it 
no way reflects on the truth of the principle which I assert; 
nor gives countenance to the false one, which he ascribes 
to me.'' 

If this quotation does not satisfy the reader that Owen, 
and I might add most of the men who acted with him, never 
held the absurd and impious sentiment ascribed to him, he 
must be unreasonably sceptical. Owen had, no doubt, the 
same views with Paul, of the characters of those who do 
evil that good may come ;'' and of whom, even a heathen 
poet tolerably expresses his dislike : 

' Careatsuccessibus opto 

Quisquis ab eventu facta notanda putat.' — Ovid, 

s Dissenters' Sayings, part ii. p. 11. '> Hudibras, part iii. canto ii. 1. 1415. 

• Reflections on a Slanderous Libel, — Works, vol. xxi. p. 572. '' Rom. iii. 8. 

VOL. I. 



Owen preaches before Parliament on the day after the execution of Charles I. 
— The Independents not guilty of p\ittmy the King- to death — Testimonies 
on this subject — Remarks onO^ven's Sermon — Charges against it — Essay 
on Toleration annexed to it — Doctrine of Religious Liberty owes its ori- 
gin to Independents — Writers on this subject — Brownists and Baptists — 
Jeremy Taylor — Owen — Vane — Milton — Locke— Cook's account of the 
origin of Toleration among the Independents — A different account of it 
—Smith and Hume — Neal — Owen preaches again before Parliament — 
His first acquaintance with Cromwell — Is persuaded to accompany him 
to Ireland. 

On the thirty-first of January, 1649, Owen was called to 
preach before Parliament, on the most trying occasion on 
which he ever appeared before that assembly : this was 
the day after the decapitation of Charles I. A lengthened 
discussion respecting the causes which produced, and the 
persons who were engaged in this dismal affair, would be 
foreign from the design of this work ; but as the religious 
party with which Oweai acted, has received a large portion 
of the blame of this transaction, it cannot be deemed im- 
proper to shew, that in this it has been greatly wronged. 
That any body of religious persons should be guilty of such 
lawless and unjustifiable procedure, would be sufficient to 
brand it with deserved and indelible disgrace ; but a little 
acquaintance with the true state of things will evince, that 
no religious sect can justly be charged with the crime of 
putting the king to death. 

The parties immediately concerned in this .tragical 
event, were the army, the parliament, and the high court 
of justice. The army was a collection of all the fierce re- 
publican spirits, which had been produced by the anarchy, 
the excitement, and the success of the preceding years. 
It comprehended a great number of religious persons be- 
longing to various professions, and many of no definite 
profession whatever; who might pretend to religion, but 
who, in reality, fought for revolution and plunder. There 
were in it Presbyterians, and Independents properly so 
called, and under the latter designation a crowd of ano- 
malous fanatics, who took refuge in the general name and 

DK. OWEN. 67 

respectable character of the Congregational body. There 
were Baptists and Fifth Monarchy men. Seekers and An- 
tinomians. Levellers and Ranters, 

' All monstrous, all prodigious things.' 

Cromwell and his officers, who ruled the army, and, as it 
answered their purpose, sometimes wrought on its religious 
feelings, and at other times on its revolutionary frenzy, can 
be considered as belonging decidedly to no religious body; 
though they naturally favoured the Independent rather than 
any other, as from its principles, they could more easily 
manage it in political matters. 

The parliament, by the numerous changes it had under- 
gone, was reduced to a mere caput morfuum by the array. 
After Colonel Pride's purge, ' none were allowed to enter 
it/ says Hume, ' but the most furious and determined of 
the Independents, and these exceeded not the number of 
fifty or sixty.' Hume never distinguishes between the civil 
and the religious Independents, nor would it have answered 
either his political or his religious creed to do so. Some 
of the persons composing the Rump Parliament were, no 
doubt, connected with the religious body known by this 
name ; and to such men as Colonel Hutchinson, however 
much we may think them to have erred, it will not be easy 
to deny the claim of religious character. But many of 
them, we know, never considered themselves, or were con- 
sidered by others, as Independents ; nor can it be shewn, 
that even any considerable number of them were of this 
profession. * 'Tis certain to a demonstration, that there 
were then left in the house men of all parties, Episcopa- 
lians, Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, and 
others; so little foundation is there for the conclusion that 
Independents, and these only, put the king to death.'^ 

The same remarks are equally applicable to the high 
court of justice; which being composed chiefly of officers 
of the army, and members of the commons, partook of 
their respective characters. Few of the individuals who 
composed it, so far as I can discover, ever ranked under 
the banner of the Congregational body. The testimonies 
of Whitelocke, Wellwood, Du Moulin, Baxter, Burnet, 

* Near* Mist, of tlie Pur. iii. p. 5.W. 
F 2 


and of the Convention Parliament itself, which restored 
Charles II., supportthe views now given. The substance 
of these, the reader will find collected in Neal,** who justly 
observes, that the violent writers on the other side ' con- 
stantly confound the Independents with the army, which 
was made up of a number of sectaries, the majority of 
whom were not of that distinguishing character.''^ As 
Neal's testimony, however, may be unjustly suspected of 
partiality, it is gratifying to be able to adduce the lan- 
guage of a writer, who is far removed from all suspicion 
of this kind, and whose opinion on this, as on most other 
suujects of ecclesiastical history, is entitled to the highest 

' I am well aware,' says the candid and impartial Mo- 
sheim, ' that many of the most eminent and respectable 
English writers have given the Independents the denomi- 
nation of Regicides; and if, by the term Independents, they 
mean those licentious republicans, whose dislike of a mo- 
narchical form of government carried them the most per- 
nicious and extravagant lengths, I grant that this denomi- 
nation is well applied. But if, by the term Independents, 
we are to understand a religious sect, the ancestors of those 
who still bear the same title in England, it appears very 
questionable to me, whether the unhappy fate of the worthy 
prince above-mentioned, ought to be imputed entirely to 
that set of men. They who affirm that the Independents 
were the only authors of the death of King Charles, must 
mean one of these two things ; either that the Regicides 
were animated and set on by the seditious doctrines of that 
sect, and the violent suggestions of its members; or that all 
who were concerned in this atrocious deed were themselves 
Independents, zealously attached to the religious commu- 
nity now under consideration. Now, it may be proved 
with the clearest evidence that neither of these was the 
case. There is nothing in the doctrines of this sect, so far 
as they arc known to me, that seems in the least adapted 
to excite men to such a horrid deed ; nor does it appear 
from the history of these times that the Independents w^ere 
a whit more exasperated against Charles, than were the 
Presbyterians. And as to the latter supposition, it is Air 

^ NenIN Hist, of tin- Pur. iii. pp. .549— .554. <■ Ibid. p. .519. 

])K. OU'EN. G9 

from being true, that all those who were concerned in 
bringing this unfortunate prince to the scaffold were Inde- 
pendents; since we learn from the best English writers, 
and from the public declarations of Charles II., that this 
violent faction was composed of persons of different sects. 
That there were Independents among them may be easily 

The subsequent reasonings of this historian respecting 
the distinction between the civil and religious Indepen- 
dents, are also highly important, but too long to be quoted 
here; and though his translator Maclaine, in a note, endea- 
vours to shake the force of his reasonings, the facts of the 
case are all on the side of Mosheim. Echard, and Bates 
the physician, both observe that several of the Indepen- 
dents joined with the Presbyterians, in declaring against 
the design of putting the king to death, in their sermons 
from the pulpit, in conferences, monitory letters, petitions, 
protestations, and public remonstrances.' None of their 
ministers expressed their approbation of it, except Hugh 
Peters, and John Goodwin, neither of whom has strong 
claims to be considered as belonging to the regular body 
of Independents ; not the former, on account of his fana- 
ticism, nor the latter, on account of his Arminianism. It 
deserves also to be noticed, that few of the religious Inde- 
pendents suffered after the restoration, on account of their 
real or supposed connexion with the death of Charles. 

In stating these things to vindicate the Independents 
from the calumnies which have been heaped upon them, I 
consider myself as doing a service to religion in general, 
which always suffers when its professors are reproached. 
The real causes of the king's death are not to be found in 
the principles or conduct of any religious party; but must 
be ascribed to the duplicity and fickleness of Charles him- 
self, — to the unconstitutional and despotic principles per- 
petually instilled into his mind by his immediate attend- 
ants and confidential friends ; and to the perilous circum- 
stances of the democratic leaders, who had gone too far to 
recede, and were driven to this desperate stroke for their 
own salvation. 

With some it may be enough to involve Owen in the 

•i Eccles. Hist. cent, xvii, sect. ii. part ii. Note. <" Neal, iii. p. 6.38. 


guilt of the Regicides, that he was employed by them to 
preach on such an occasion, as the day after the king's 
death. The apology made by him in regard to another 
affair is here, perhaps, the best which can be made. His 
superiors were persons ' whose commands were not to be 
gainsay ed.' They were aware of the importance of having 
their conduct sanctioned, even in appearance, by a preacher 
of Owen's respectability, and on this account, it is proba- 
ble, he was chosen to discharge a function, which it is im- 
possible to suppose he would have coveted. Perhaps, they 
expected he would defend or apologize for their measures. 
If they did, they must have been grievously disappointed, 
as the discourse maintains a profound and studied silence 
on the awful transaction of the preceding day. It is founded 
on Jeremiah xv. 19, 20. ; and was published with the title 
of ' Righteous zeal encouraged by Divine protection;''' from 
which a direct application to the recent events might be 
expected. Extremely little of this, however, occurs. The 
text and context were both very suitable to the circum- 
stances of the country, and in a general way, he uses them 
for this purpose. But he is exceedingly cautious of com- 
mitting himself by expressing an opinion, either of the 
court, or the country party; which plainly implies, that 
while he was not at liberty to condemn, he was unwilling 
to justify. He tells the parliament very faithfully * that 
much of the evil which had come upon the country, had 
originated within their own walls,' and w^arns them against 
' oppression, self-seeking, and contrivances for persecu- 

Mr. Asty, speaking of this discourse, remarks : — * He 
appeared before a numerous assembly ; it was a critical 
juncture, and he was not ignorant of the tempers of his 
principal hearers ; he was then a rising man, and to justify 
the late action was the infallible road to preferment. But 
his discourse was so modest and inoffensive, that his 
friends could make no just exception, nor his enemies take' 
an advantage of his words another day.'e This last obser- 
vation is not quite correct : for this discourse occasioned 
to its author a large portion of abuse and misrepresenta- 
tion. Dr. Grey, in his examination of Ncal's history, en- 

' Works, vol. XV. p. 157. » Memoirs of Owen, p. 8. 

DR. OWEN. 71 

deavours to shew from this sermon, that Owen approved 
of the death of the king. For this purpose two passages 
are detached from their connexion, and that nothing may 
be wanting to fix the guilt of the preacher, words are 
printed in italics, as emphatical, on which he never in- 
tended any emphasis should be laid. Grey shall have the 
full benefit of the alleged evidence without note or com- 
ment from me. 

' The famed Dr. John Owen, in a sermon preached the 
day after the king's murder, has the following remarkable 
passages, which I think plainly discover his approbation 
of that execrable parricide. '' As the flaming sword," says 
he, " turns every way, so God can tuHi it into every thing. 
To those that cry, give me a king, God can give him in 
his anger^ and from those that cry take him away, he can 
take him away in his wrath. — When kings turn seducers, 
they seldom want good store of followers. Now if the 
blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch. 
When kings command unrighteous things, and the people 
suit them with willing compliance, none doubts but the de- 
struction of them both is just and righteous." '^ He must be 
desperately prejudiced against Owen, indeed, who does 
not see that this language bears as hard on the people as 
on the ill-fated king ; and had I been disposed to quote 
passages to shew that Owen disapproved of the death of 
Charles, I should have selected these as well suited for 
this purpose. 

Grey, in the passage we have now quoted, merely fol- 
lows the steps of Anthony Wood, who prefers the same 
charges against Owen's sermon, and on the same grounds. 
He only goes a little farther, and says that Owen ' ap- 
plauded the regicides, and declared the death of that most 
admirable king to be just dnd righteous.'^ Wood himself 
was in this, as in several other instances of his abuse of 
Owen, the servile copyist of Vernon ; whose vile anony- 
mous libel is the storehouse out of which all the future 
defamers of Owen, supplied themselves with accusations 
both in matter and form.*" To sum up the whole, the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, on the twenty-first of July, 1683, in the 

•' Grey's Examination, vol. iii. p. 358. 

k Letter to a Friend, &c. pp. 15—18. 


fervour of its zeal and loyalty, condemned the positions of 
this sermon, as pernicious and damnable, and ordered them 
to be burnt by the Marshal in the school quadrangle, be- 
fore the members of the University.' This act of cowardly 
revenge on a man whose learning, moderation, and piety 
had once graced their highest honours, took place within 
a month of his death ; when he must have been insensible 
alike to their praise or their contumely. It was well their 
power was then feebler than their inclinations, or they 
would probably have substituted the author in the place of 
his waitings."' 

But what renders this discourse chiefly valuable, is the 
Essay on toleration annexed to it.° On this subject, Owen 
had thought long and deeply, and the fruit of his delibera- 
tions he now published ; not when he and his party were 
struggling for existence, but when they had obtained in a 
great measure the protection and support of the supreme 
power. As this is a subject of vast importance, and as I 
consider that the most enlightened views of religious li- 
berty have originated with the Congregationalists, I hope 
to be excused for entering into some detail upon it. 

The right of man to judge for himself on the subject of 
religion, to act according to his convictions, and to use 
all proper means for propagating his sentiments, was not 
understood in any part of the ancient heathen world. In- 
tercommunity of worship was the utmost extent of Pagan 
liberality ; but this is a very different thing from religious 
liberty. It was properly a permission to unite or agree, 
rather than a liberty to differ. The foreigner was allowed 
to practise in private the rites of his own faith; but publicly 
to profess dissent from the established superstition, and to 
attempt the introduction of a new faith, or the worship of 
* strange gods/ were universally held to be crimes justly 

' Decree of the Un. of Ox. 1683. 
" Only two of the twenty-seven propositions of this celebrated Decree are ex- 
tracted from Owen's writings. The rest are from those of Knox, Buchanan, Cal- 
derwood, Goodwin, Baxter, &c. Dr. Jane was the principal promoter of it, and 
•when it was presented to Charles II. in presence of the Duke of York, and the chief 
persons of tlie Court, by Dr. Robert Huntington, afterwards Bishop of Raphoe, it 
was very graciously received. — Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 174. The cause of the 
injured, however, was in due time avenged in the same style, for on the twenty- 
third of March, 1710, the House of Lords ordered the Oxford Decree to be burnt 
by the hand? of the hangman. — Sacheverell's Trial, pp. 163, 164. 326, 327. 
* Works, vol. XV. p. '200. 

DK. OWEP^. 73 

punishable by the judges. On this account, notwithstand- 
ing all the professed indifference of paganism to religious 
worships and opinions, Christianity experienced the ut- 
most rage and fury of intolerance. Its disciples refused to 
unite the service of Jesus with that of Mars or Jupiter; 
and turning from these dumb idols themselves, they sought 
to turn others also away from them. Hence it was spoken 
of as 'a new and raischievous superstition;' and its fol- 
lowers were branded as Atheists in respect of the Gods, 
and as instigated with hatred to men. Their persevering 
adherence to the cause which they believed to be Divine, 
was considered merely a sullen obstinacy, deserving only 
of the severest punishment. The simple declaration in the 
presence of a judge, that they were Christians, was deemed 
quite suflScient to justify his immediately sending them to 
the lions, or the block. But, indeed, while civil liberty 
was so little understood, as it was in the most celebrated 
states of the ancient world, it would have been strange 
had the rights of conscience been respected. 

Unhappily, when Christianity acquired the ascendancy, 
and became blended with secular power, its mistaken or 
pretended friends adopted the same pernicious principles, 
and directed their operation either against idolaters, or 
against the heretical schismatics from their own belief It 
is truly deplorable to think of the Christian blood which has 
been shed by men calling themselves Christians. During 
the entire reign of Papal darkness and tyranny, intolerance 
was displayed in awful scenes of devastation and carnage; 
the blood of saints intoxicated the scarlet-coloured whore, 
and cried for vengeance against her before the altar of God. 
The Reformation, which brought relief from many evils, 
did not altogether remedy this. The Reformers did not 
understand properly the principles of religious liberty ; and 
inconsistently laid claim to a right for themselves, the exer- 
cise of which they denied to others. All the Protestant go- 
vernments held the lawfulness and necessity of punishing 
heretics and idolaters; and ranked dissent from the esta- 
blished faith among crimes against the State. Henry VIII. 
put to death indiscriminately Papists and Protestants, who 
denied his supremacy; Edward VI. urged on by Cranmer, 
imbrued his hands in innocent blood on account of reli- 


gion; and Elizabeth in numerous instances followed the 
unhallowed example of her father. At Geneva, sedition 
and heresy were convertible terms ; and those who did not 
submit to the discipline of the church were subjected to 
civil excision, and deprived of their rights as citizens. 

The great body of the British Puritans, after all they 
had suffered from it, were far from seeing the evil of per- 
secution. Most of them appear to have believed in the 
lawfulness of supporting the true religion by coercive and 
restraining measures. To the Brownists are to be ascribed 
the first correct views of religious liberty ; and from them, 
and the Baptist and Poedo-baptist Independents who 
sprung from them, and who were greatly benefited by their 
residence in the Low Countries, came every thing which 
appeared on this topic for many years. In the year 1614, 
Leonard Busher, one of those people, presented to king 
James and parliament 'Religion's Peace, or a Plea for 
Liberty of Conscience.' The leading object of this treatise, 
is to shew that the true way to make a nation happy is * to 
give liberty to all to serve God according as they are per- 
suaded is most agreeable to his word ; to speak, write, 
print peaceably and without molestation in behalf of their 
several tenets and ways of worship.' This valuable tract 
contains the most scriptural and enlightened views of re- 
ligious liberty ; exposes, in a series of seventeen arguments, 
the iniquity and impolicy of persecution ; and in the most 
moving manner invokes the king and parliament to grant 
the inestimable blessing of toleration. Robinson's 'Justi- 
fication of separation from the Church of England,' pub- 
lished in 1639, contains some most accurate statements, on 
the distinct provinces of civil and spiritual authority. The 
same remark is applicable to an anonymous pamphlet, by 
some Brownist in 1644, entitled ' Queries of Highest Con- 
sideration,' presented to the Dissenting Brethren, and the 
Westminster Assembly. Burton's ' Vindication of the 
Churches commonly called Independent,' produced also 
in 1644, shews ' that the Magistrate must publish evil 
actions, but hath no power over the conscience of any, to 
punish a man for that so long as he makes no other breach 
of God's commandments, or the just laws of the land.' In 
thgit same year, Roger Williams, of New England, an In- 

DR. oa\'i:n. 75 

dependent Baptist, published his * Bloody tenet of Perse- 
cution for the cause of Conscience ;' in which he maintains 
that * persons may with less sin be forced to marry whom 
they cannot love, than to worship where they cannot be- 
lieve ;' and broadly denies that ' Christ had appointed the 
civil sword as a remedy against false teachers.' This gen- 
tleman obtained the first charter for the State of New Pro- 
vidence, of which he was constituted Governor ; and to 
his honour it deserves to be recorded, that he was the first 
Governor who ever pleaded that liberty of conscience was 
the birth-right of man, and granted it to those who differed 
from himself, when he had the power of withholding it. The 
writings of John Goodwin also contributed greatly to dif- 
fuse right sentiments on religious liberty. 

It would be tiresome to mention all the pamphlets which 
appeared about this time from the same quarter; for I have 
not met with any thing written by Episcopalians or Presbyte- 
rians down to this period, which contains even an approach 
to reasonable sentiments on the subject. In the Westminster 
Assembly, it was debated at great length, and with great 
keenness. The Presbyterians and Independents ranked on 
opposite sides in the controversy, and fought, according to 
Baillie, ' Tanquam pro aris et focis.' Toleration was con- 
sidered as the grand and fundamental principle of the Inde- 
pendents — the god of their idolatry ; and happy had it been 
for the world had so bloodless a divinity always been the ob- 
ject of worship. This was in the estimation of many at that 
time, the opprobrium of the party ; it will now perhaps be 
granted as their distinguished honour, that, in the midst of 
much opposition, they manfully advocated one of the most 
important rights of men ; and, when opportunity offered, 
'did to others, as they would that others should do to 

In 1647, Jeremy Taylor published his ' Liberty of Pro- 
phesying ; shewing the unreasonableness of prescribing to 
other men's faith, and the iniquity of persecuting differing 
opinions.' This is the first work, produced by a church- 
man on this subject, which is deserving of notice. It con- 
tains, on the whole, rational and scriptural views of the 
impropriety of exercising authority in religion ; but there 
are some things which detract greatly from its value. 



He argues chiefly from the difficulty of expounding the 
Scriptures, so as to arrive at any certain conchision on 
some subjects — from the incompetency of Popes, Coun- 
cils, or the Church at large, to determine them — from the 
innocency of error in pious persons — and from the anti- 
quity and plausibility of various sentiments or practices 
generally held to be erroneous. It is more on such grounds 
as these, that he rests his defence of toleration, than on the 
natural rights of men, and the plain language of Scripture. 
In many parts of the book, it is difficult to determine whe- 
ther Taylor is arguing from his ovvn personal conviction, 
or merely as an advocate to serve his cause at the time. 
Though a churchman, he was a dissenter from the dominant 
party when the Liberty of Prophesying was written, and 
was then pleading for toleration to Episcopacy. 

We have already noticed the state of Owen's mind re- 
specting liberty of conscience. He had pleaded for it to 
a certain extent before ; others we have seen had published 
some of the same sentiments ; but he has the honour of 
being the first man in England who advocated, ivhen his 
party was uppermost, the rights of conscience, and who 
continued to the last to maintain and defend them. In the 
treatise ' Of Toleration,' annexed to his sermon, he ex- 
amines the arguments against it brought from Holy Writ, 
and from other considerations, and finally states his own 
defence of religious liberty. In the first part, he examines 
particularly the reasons alleged in the testimony of the 
Scots General Assembly, and exposes their fallacy. He 
next considers most of the other arguments, which have 
been alleged in defence of persecution or coercion, and 
proceeds to notice the duty of the Magistrate, — to the 
truth and persons professing it — to those who oppose and 
revile 'it — and to such as dissent from it. Without pro- 
fessing to be of the same mind with him in all the parti- 
culars of the last topic, we must own, there is so much mo- 
deration in his views, and so many exceptions to guard 
against the abuse of them, that it appears as if he himself 
felt the difficulties which were involved in his supposing 
that the civil Magistrate, who had the truth on his side, 
was bound to provide places of worship and means of sup- 
port for those who were engaged in promoting it ; and to 

DR. OWEN. 77 

discourage or remove external inducements to embrace 
false worship. He seems not to have attended to the dif- 
ference between what the Magistrate is bound to do as a 
Christian, if he is one, and what he is called to do as the 
head of the civil community. Notwithstanding his mistake 
here, he explicitly and by a variety of arguments, main- 
tains that the Magistrate has no right to meddle with the 
religion of any person, whose conduct is not injurious to 
society, and destructive of its peace and order. ' Gospel 
constitutions in the case of heresy or error seem not to fa- 
vour any course of violence, I mean, of civil penalties. 
Foretold it is, that heresies must be, but this is for the ma- 
nifesting of those that are approved, not the destroying of 
those that are not. I say destroying, I mean with temporal 
punishment ; for all the arguments produced for the pu- 
nishment of heretics, holding out capital censures, and 
these being the tendency of all beginnings in this kind, I 
mention only the greatest, including all other arbitrary pe- 
nalties, being but steps in walking to the utmost censures. 
Admonitions and excommunications upon rejection of ad- 
monition, are the highest constitutions against such per- 
sons: waiting with all patience on them that oppose them- 
selves, if at any time God will give them repentance to the 
acknowledgment of the truth. Imprisoning, banishing, 
slaying, is scarcely a patient waiting. God doth not so 
wait on unbelievers. Perhaps those who call for the sword 
on earth are as unacquainted with their own spirits, as those 
that called for fire from heaven, Luke xi. And perhaps 
the parable of the tares gives us a positive rule as to this 
whole business ; for the present I shall not fear to assert 
that the answers to it, borrowed by our divines from Bel- 
larmine, will not endure the trial.' 

This passage alone is sufficient to shew the extent and 
liberality of Owen's opinions ; the circumstances in which 
they were published, and the perseverance with which they 
were held, are full evidences of the sincerity of their au- 
thor. While noticing his exertions in this noble cause, I 
cannot allow myself to pass over some other names which 
are entitled to a distinguished place in the list of enlighten- 
ed defenders of religious liberty. The first is the cele- 
brated, deHimed, and unfortunate Sir Henry Vane, who, 


with all his mysticism, appears to have felt the power and 
imbibed the spirit of the gospel ; and who possessed the 
most exalted views of Civil and religious freedom. In his 
' Retired Man's Meditations/ published in 1655, he accu- 
rately defines, in a single sentence, the limits of human au- 
thority, — ' The province of the Magistrate is this world and 
man's body ; not his conscience, or the concerns of eter- 
nity.' Milton, who knew Vane well, in one of his sonnets, 
expresses the high opinion which he entertained of his re- 
ligion, and of his nice discernment on the subject of which 
we are now treating : — 

To know 

Both spiritual pow'r and civil, what each means. 

What severs each, thou hastlearn'd, which few have done : 

The bounds of either sword to thee we owe : 

Therefore on thy firm hand religion leans 

In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.' 

Milton himself must ever be reckoned one of the ablest 
advocates of this important doctrine. In his treatise on 
* Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes' he maintains ' that 
it is not lawful for any power on earth to compel in mat- 
ters of religion,' and that ' two things had ever been found 
working much mischief to the cause of God; force on the 
,one side restraining, and hire on the other side corrupting 
the teachers thereof.' In his 'Way to establish a free 
Commonwealth' he eloquently exclaims, ' Who can be at 
rest, who can enjoy any thing in this world with content- 
ment, who hath not liberty to serve God and save his own 
soul according to the best light which God hath planted in 
him to that purpose, by the reading of his Revealed Will 
and the guidance of his Holy Spirit.' And in his * Speech 
for the liberty of unlicensed printing,' he admirably ex- 
poses the absurdity and iniquity of theological as well as 
political gags and licenses, and pours out a flow of the 
most beautiful and impassioned eloquence on this most 
interesting subject." 

Both Vane and Milton were Independents on the sub- 
ject of Church Government ; and though Locke, whose 
immortal treatise on toleration, in accuracy of statement 
and cogency of reasoning, placed all its predecessors far 

" Milton's Prose Works. 

DR. OWEN. 79 

behind, and has left nothing almost to be done by succeed- 
ing writers — though Locke, I say, was a Churchman, the 
main argument of his treatise is the grand principle of 
Dissent ; and many who extol the Philosopher, forget that 
he plowed with the heifer of an Independent. Locke was 
a student of Christ Church while Owen was Dean ; and to 
the Head of the College, it can scarcely be doubted, he was 
indebted for the germ of his future work. 

The preceding statements will perhaps enable the reader 
to understand the truth of Hume's Observation : ' Of all 
Christian sects, this (of the Independents) was the first, 
which during its prosperity as well as adversity, always 
adopted the principle of^ toleration ; and it is remarkable 
that so reasonable a doctrine owed its origin not to rea- 
soning, but to the height of extravagance and fanaticism.' 
It would, indeed, be very remarkable were it true. But 
with Hume, extravagance and fanaticism are only terms 
of reproach for scriptural sentiments and religious zeal. 
Had Hume been better a-cquainted with some of the Inde- 
pendents, he would have found them not so incapable of 
reasoning as he alleges ; and might have discovered that 
their tolerating principles were the result not of accident 
or caprice, but of the ideas which they entertained on other 
parts of Christianity. 

I am aware that their sentiments on the subject of reli- 
gious liberty are attempted to be accounted for from the 
operation of accidental circumstances. ' The Independ- 
ents,' it has been said, ' were originally few in number; and 
thus subjected to the contempt and severity of persecution, 
they expatiated upon the importance and the blessedness 
of religious freedom. Innumerable sects, many of them 
professing the wildest tenets, and actuated by the most 
gloomy and savage enthusiasm, arose in England during 
the struggles between the King and the Parliament; and 
these sects naturally supported the Independents, and thus 
the ardour for toleration, which had originally been excited 
in them, as it had been in other denominations by eagerness 
to escape from suffering, became from policy and from 
anxiety to check or subdue the Presbyterians, the spirit of 
their system ; and it continued to be so after they had acr 
quired power, because they were aware that the slightest 


departure from it would have separated from them the dif- 
ferent sects, and thus restored preponderance to the enemies 
whom they had so much cause to dread. 'p 

All this may seem very plausible to a person superfi- 
cially acquainted with the period. But it is natural to ask 
why persecution did not drive others, the Presbyterians for 
instance, to advocate toleration ? Why did not political 
motives induce them to make friends by the same means ? 
Were the Independents the only politicians during that 
period of anarchy ? Would not others have been likely to 
see through the veil of hypocrisy now woven for the Inde- 
pendents by Dr. Cook, and not have left to him the honour 
of the discovery? It is evident he has not attended to those 
parts of the system of Independency, which, necessarily 
and independently of all external circumstances, produce 
the love and the defence of religious liberty. 

Till the Professors of Christianity obtained possession 
of secular power, or became the objects of its patronage, 
they never thought of compulsory measures for promoting 
the faith, or restraining the religion of others. The renun- 
ciation of all dependance on civil authority in matters of 
religion, and of all connexion with temporal governments, 
forms an essential part of consistent independency : the 
abandonment of every thing like force for promoting or 
preserving the interests of the Gospel follows as matter of 
course. Another principle of Independency is the neces- 
sity of genuine conversion, to qualify and entitle men to 
enjoy the privileges of the kingdom of Christ. The ab- 
surdity as well as unlawfulness of using any but spiritual 
means to produce thi^ change, and to bring men into the 
church, must be very obvious. So fully were the senti- 
ments of the Independents on this point understood, during 
the period of which we are speaking, that Baillie represents 
them as their capital opinion, and the chief cause of their 
separation from others ;'' and declares that if they were 
acted on, forty for one would be excluded from the best 
reformed churches. "^ In connexion with these leading 
principles of the system, there is a third, which contributes 
to the same result. Every member of an Independent 

P Cook's History of the Church of ScotUind, vol. iii. pp. 94, 9.^. 
H Dissuasive, p. 155. ' Letters and Journals, vol. ij. p. 83. 



Church is understood to take part in the discipline of it. 
He is never required to act but according to his own con- 
victions, and can no longer be retained in it, than he is 
satisfied its procedure is according to the word of God. 
If Independents judge it to be unlawful to compel one 
another to act contrary to their convictions, they must 
hold the unlawfulness of interfering by force to compel or 
restrain others. 

These are the principles out of which the tolerating 
conduct of Independents arises. Their fundamental doc- 
trines are favourable to all that is valuable in the civil and 
religious privileges of men. That members of that com- 
munity have not always understood, or acted upon their 
own principles, is admitted. But a persecuting Independ- 
ent is a monster ; because he is acting in opposition to the 
life and glory of his own system. Others may persecute 
consistently with their principles, but he can only do it in 
the face of his. To withdraw from national churches, pro- 
test against authoritative synods, and refuse subscription 
to human creeds ; and yet to employ the arm of power to 
propagate their own sentiments, or to defend the use of it 
by others, would be an exhibition of the grossest folly, or 
the practice of the greatest knavery, ever known in the 
world. To maintain the necessity of conversion in order 
to the enjoyment of the kingdom of God, and to promote 
conversion at the point of the sword, would be the incon- 
gruities of madmen, and not the actions of rational beings. 

As I have quoted the opinion of one northern philoso- 
pher on Independency, I shall be excused for quoting an- 
other. Dr. Adam Smith, after noticing what would be the 
effect of withdrawing political influence and positive law 
entirely from religion, and leaving the various sects to the 
natural progress of truth or error, observes, ' This plan of 
ecclesiastical government, or more properly of no ecclesi- 
astical government, was what the sect called Independents, 
a sect no doubt of very wild enthusiasts, proposed to 
establish in England toward the end of the civil war. If 
it had been established, though of a very unphilosophical 
origin, it would probably by this time have been productive 
of the most philosophical good temper and moderation with 



regard to every sort of religious principle.'' This passage 
discovers the same philosophical contempt of religions 
persons, and the same unphilosophical mode of ac^ouiit- 
ing for facts and opinions which were beyond the sphere of 
his own understanding, which are marked in the language 
of his friend and countryman Hume. It shews clearly, 
however, that Smith's opinion of the tolerating principles 
of the Independents was the same with that of the historian 
of England. It discovers the strong conviction which the 
philosopher had of the salutary influence of these senti- 
ments. Had Hume and Smith been capable of entering 
into the views we have just been stating, they would pro- 
bably have given the Independents credit for knowing 
something of the philosophy of Christianity, and of man 
too — and might have been led to see that these principles 
are conducive not only to ' philosophical good temper,' — 
but to something of higher and more durable importance. 

I can scarcely allow myself to apologize for this long, 
apparent digression. The subject is one of so much im- 
portance, and the part which Owen took in discussing it, 
was so honourable to his character and talents, that I felt 
it impossible to pass over it slightly. If to the Puritans, 
Britain is indebted in a great measure for her civil li- 
berty, to the Independents she has been indebted for 
all that is rational and important in her views of religious 
FREEDOM. I know it is said, though they possessed better 
theoretical sentiments on the subject of toleration than 
others, when they have possessed power they have acted 
in the same manner as other parties have done. Even 
Neal exclaims, *How defective was their instrument of 
Government under Cromwell! How arbitrary the pro- 
ceedings of their tryers ! How narrow their list of funda- 
mentals ! And how severe their restraints of the press !'' 
The conduct of the New England Congregationalists, to 
Baptists and Quakers, has also been referred to as evi- 
dence of the persecuting disposition of Independents when 
possessed of power. As all these subjects will be noticed 
in subsequent parts of this work, I must waive any consi- 

• Wealth of Natfons, vol. iii. p. 154,— 5th Ed. 1776. 
' Preface to vol. iv. of History of the Puritans. 


deration of them now. I am far from thinking that every 
Independent fully understood and exemplified all his own 
principles; but the more the subject is investigated, the 
more will the preceding statements be found to be cor- 

It does not appear that Owen's silence on the subject 
of the king's death lost him the favour of Parliament; for 
on the nineteenth of April following, we find him again 
preaching before it and the chief ofiicers of the army, when 
he delivered his celebrated Sermon on the ' Shaking and 
translating of heaven and earth ;' for which he next day 
received the thanks of the house, and an order to print it." 
In his dedication to the Commons he apologizes for his 
inability to do justice to the subject, from the little time he 
had to prepare it, and ' the daily troubles, pressures, and 
temptations he had to encounter in the midst of a poor and 
numerous people.' It is a long and important discourse, 
containing many free sentiments expressed with great vi- 
gour and plainness. * The time shall come/ he exclaims, 
as if inspired by the spirit of prophecy, ' when the earth 
shall disclose her slain, and not the simplest heretic shall 
have his blood unrevenged ; neither shall any atonement 
or expiation be allowed for this blood, while a toe of the 
image or a bone of the beast is left unbroken.' Nor does 
he leave us at any loss to ascertain who are the anti- 
christian powers to which he refers. ' Is it not evident/ 
he asks, ' that the whole present constitution of the go- 
vernment of the nations is so cemented with antichristian 
mortar, from the very top to the bottom, that without a 
thorough shaking they cannot be cleansed ? This plainly 
discovers that the work which the Lord is doing relates to 
the untwining of this close combination against himself 
and the kingdom of his dear Son ; and he will not leave it 
till he hath done it. To what degree in the several nations 
this shaking shall proceed I have nothing to determine in 
particular, the Scripture not having expressed it. This 
only is certain, it shall not stop nor receive its period, be- 
for the interest of Antichristianity be wholly separated from 
the power of these nations.' 

It was this sermon, I apprehend, that introduced Owen 

" Works, vol. XV. p. 338. 



to the acquaintance of Cromwell," who then heard him for 
the first time, and was much pleased with the discourse. 
Owen intended to return home within two days after 
preaching, but calling before he left town .to pay his re- 
spects to General Fairfax, with whom he had become 
acquainted at the siege of Colchester, he there accidentally 
met with Cromwell. When Owen waited on his excellency, 
the servants told him, he was so much indisposed that se- 
veral persons of quality had been refused admittance. He 
however sent in his name, requesting it to be mentioned to 
the General, and that he only came to express his obliga- 
tions for the many favours received from him. In the mean 
time Cromwell came in with a number of the ofiicers, who 
seeing Owen, immediately walked up to him, and laying 
his hand upon his shoulder in the familiar manner which 
he was accustomed to use to his friends, said, ' Sir, you 
are the person I must be acquainted with.' Owen modestly 
replied, ' That will be much more to my advantage than 
yours.' ' We shall soon see that,' said Cromwell ; and 
taking him by the hand immediately led him into Fairfax's 
garden ; where he told him of his intended expedition to 
Ireland, and requested that he would accompany him for 
the purpose of regulating the affairs of Trinity college. 
Owen objected, on account of his charge of the church at 
Coggeshall ; but Cromwell would take no denial, and from 
entreaties proceeded to commands. He told him his 
youngest brother was going as standard-bearer in the 
army, and he employed him to use his influence to induce 
compliance. He also wrote to the church at Coggeshall 
on the subject, which was exceedingly averse to part with 
its beloved pastor ; till at length Cromwell told them he 
must, and should go. Owen finding how things stood at 
last, consulted some of his brethren in the ministry, who 
advising him to comply, he finally began to make some 
preparation for the journey .^ 

* Mr. Asty's Memoirs of Owen connects his acquaintance with Crorawcll with 
liis Sermon from Rora. iv, 20. preached Feb. 28, 1649. But this must be a niKstake, 
arising from the confusion sometimes occasioned by the old and new mode of be- 
ginning the year. Tliat Sermon was preaclied in 1650 according to our reckoning. 
On the same day 1649, he dates his address to the house prefixed to his discourse 
after the Kin};'s death, from Coggesliall. And the Sermon on Roiu. iv. itself, shews 
that he had been in Ireland, consequently must Lave been preached subsequently 
to his acquaintance with Cromwell. v Memoirs of Owen, pp. 9, 10. 

DR. OWEN. 85 

Such was the commencement of Owen's inthnacy, and 
connexion with Oliver Cromwell. The friendship now be- 
gun, lasted during the greater part of Cromwell's life, and 
was productive of very important consequences to Owen. 
That Cromwell had a high regard for Owen, is evident from 
the attentions he paid him, and the honours which he confer- 
red on him. That Owen had a reciprocal respect for Crom- 
well, is no less certain, — a respect which was founded on his 
belief in the private worth, the personal talents, and the 
public virtues of that extraordinary man. On few subjects 
is it so difficult to speak with candour and justice, as on 
the character of Cromwell. By his friends, or his enemies, 
he has been represented as a saint, or a demon ; adorned 
with every virtue, or degraded with every vice, of human 
nature. His character was certainly made up of incon- 
sistencies; and his history is full of paradoxes. Whether 
the good or the evil most preponderated in his conduct, 
will, perhaps, be estimated, as men are friends or enemies 
of his political measures. To unmingled praise, he is by 
no means entitled ; and unqualified censure is equally un- 
deserved. He did much to promote the glory of his coun- 
try ; if not a religious man himself (w^hich I am not pre- 
pared to admit), he certainly promoted religion in others, 
and was eminently the friend of religious liberty at home 
and abroad. If he did not always act as he ought, it can 
scarcely be denied, that few who have grasped the rod of 
power, have used it with so much moderation, and so gene- 
rally for the public good, as Oliver Cromwell. 



Owen preaches before Parliament — Joins the army— Character of the army 
— Arrives in Ireland— Labours in Dublin— First controversy with Bax- 
ter — Character of Baxter — Preaches before Parliament on his return 
from Ireland — Measures of the Commonwealth to promote religion in 
that country — Owen appointed to accompany Cromwell into Scotland — 
Preaches in Berwick and Edinburyh—State of religion in Scotland — 
Testimony of the English ministers— Of Binning — Rutherford — Bur- 
net — Neal — Kirkton — Owen's return to Coggeshall — Appointed to the 

, Deanery of Christ Church — Account of this office — Remarks on his ac- 
ceptance of it — Strictures of Milton — Owen preaches before Parliament 
— Death of Ireton — Owen preaches his Funeral Sermon — Character of 
Ireton — Preaches again before Parliament. 

Several months elapsed between the first interview of 
Owen with Cromwell, and his being under the necessity of 
accompanying him to Ireland. On the 7th of June, 1649, 
the city of London gave a grand entertainment in Grocer's 
hall, to the general, the ofl&cers of state, and the house of 
commons, to which they repaired in great pomp, after 
hearing two sermons from Owen and Goodwin. On the 
following day, the house referred it to the Oxford commit- 
tee to prefer the preachers to be heads of colleges in that 
university, and returned thanks for their sermons.'' The 
discourse which Owen preached on this occasion, is enti- 
tled, ' Human power defeated.''' In a note at the foot of the 
first page, it is said to have been occasioned by the defeat 
of the Levellers, at Burford, on the 18th of May preceding. 
To the designs and ruin of that party, there are repeated 
allusions in the discourse. They were a body of fanatical 
desperadoes, who were enemies to civil magistracy, to the 
regular ministry of the gospel, and to all stated ordinances. 
About four thousand of them assembled at Burford, under 
the command of a person of the name of Thomson, formerly 
condemned for sedition, but pardoned by the general. 
Colonel Reynolds, and afterwards Fairfax, and Cromwell 
fell upon them, while unprepared for defence, took four 
hundred of them prisoners, and reduced the rest.'' 

On the 2d of July Owen received his commission from 

» Whitelocke's Mem. p. 371 . i^ Works, vol. xvi. p. 281. '^ Ilumc, vi. p. 125. 



parliament, to go to Ireland as chaplain to Lieutenant 
General Cromwell ; and £100 per annum was ordered to 
be paid to his wife and children in his absence.'^ This was 
no great reward for leaving his family, and an affectionate 
congregation. He sailed with the army, which consisted 
of fourteen thousand men, from Milford Haven, about the 
middle of August. Previously to its embarkation, a day 
of fasting and prayer was observed ; in which, after three 
ministers had prayed, of whom Owen, probably, was one, 
' Cromwell himself, and Colonels Gough and Harrison, ex- 
pounded some parts of Scripture very suitably to the occa- 
sion.' The influence of these exercises, and such conduct 
on the part of its commanders, must have produced a very 
powerful effect on a body so constituted as was the army 
of the Commonwealth. It was under a severe discipline, 
not an oath was to be heard throughout the whole camp ; 
but the soldiers spent their leisure hours in reading their 
bibles, in singing psalms, and religious conferences.^ It 
was formidable to the enemy in the field, but never cruel to 
those who laid down their arms ; it committed no lawless 
ravages on the persons or the property of the inhabitants ; 
who, when they compared their conduct with the turbu- 
lence, the intemperance, the impiety, and the debauchery 
of the Royalists, w^ere wont to salute them as friends, and 
consider them as guests. They were a stay to the good, a 
terror to the evil, and the warmest advocates for every 
exertion of piety and virtue.*^ Nor are we dependent en- 
tirely on the testimony of friends for this view of the par- 
liamentary troops. ' I observed,' says Chillingworth, * a 
great deal of piety in the commanders and soldiers of the 
parliament's army ; I confess their discourse and behaviour 
do speak them Christians; but I can find little of God or 
godliness in our men. They will not seek God while they 
are in their bravery, nor trust him when they are in distress. 
I have much ado to bring them on their knees, to call upon 
God, or to resign themselves up to him when they go upon 
any desperate service, or are cast into any perplexed condi- 
tion.'s The testimony of Lord Clarendon, in which the two 
armies are compared, is much to the same purport. ' The 

d Whitclocke, p. 398. « Neal, iv. p. 4. 

'Milton's Tiobc Works, vol. vi. p, 43.3. e Maizeaux's Life of Chillingworth, p, 331. 


royal army,' he says, ' was a dissolute, undisciplined,wicked, 
beaten array; — whose horse their friends feared, and their 
enemies laughed at; being terrible only in plunder, and 
resolute in running away.'" The other forces he elsewhere 
describes, as * an army to which victory is entailed, and 
which, humanly speaking, could hardly fail of conquest 
whithersoever it should be led — an army whose sobriety 
and manners, whose courage and success, made it famous 
and terrible over the world ; which lived like good hus- 
bandmen in the country, and good citizens in the city.'' 
Such was the army commanded by Cromwell, which gained 
all his battles, and to which, for a time, Owen was attached 
as one of the chaplains. It consisted of a body of warriors, 
which was animated not merely by the amor patriae, but 
by the amor Dei et gloriae eternae, and fought with more 
than mortal courage. 

In the course of the same month in which it embarked, 
it arrived safely in Dublin, where Owen took up his lodg- 
ings in Trinity college. It is no part of my business to 
follow the progress of the army, or to describe its victories. 
Owen remained in Dublin during the greater part of the 
period he spent in Ireland. His health was somewhat 
affected, and * he was burdened with manifold employ- 
ments, and with constant preaching to a numerous multi- 
tude of as thirsting people after the gospel, as ever he con- 
versed with.''' Nor were his labours without fruit. I have 
accidentally discovered two individuals, Dorothy Emett, 
and Major Manvvaring, who ascribe their first convictions 
to his preaching in Dublin. Many more, we may hope, 
will appear at another day. ' Mr. Owen,' says Dorothy 
Emett, ' was the first man by whose means and ministry, I 
became sensible of my condition. I was much cast down, 
and could have no rest within me ; and so I continued till 
his going away from us, and at his going he bid me believe 
in Christ, and be fervent in prayer.' She afterwards ob- 
tained comfort. * I heard Mr. Owen in Dublin,' said Major 
Manwaring, ' who did me mucn good, and made me to see 
my misery in the want of Christ.' I extract these testimo- 
nies from a curious and scarce book, by John Rogers, — 

h Clareud. Rebel, i v. p. 729. • Clarend. Lives of Lord Chancellors, ii. p. 126. 
k Owen's Detilh of Christ, pref. 

DK. OWEN. 89 

* The tabernacle for the Sun;' in which the experience of 
a number of members of an Independent church in Dublin 
is recorded.' I feel the more pleasure in quoting them, as 
they sufficiently confute an unfounded saying ascribed to 
Dr. Owen — that he never knew that he had been useful in 
converting one sinner. Owen, I am very sure, had no rea- 
son for such a discouraging view of his labours. What he 
did in arranging the affairs of Trinity college cannot be 
ascertained, as the registers of the university prior to the 
Restoration no longer exist. Whatever he was entrusted 
with, we are sure he would endeavour conscientiously to 
discharge ; though it must have been extremely difficult in 
the circumstances in which Ireland then was, and during 
a residence of only a few months, to effect any thing of 
great importance. 

While in Dublin, however, amidst all his labours, he 
found time to prepare a reply to some remarks of Baxter, 
on his work on Redemption. This he published in London, 
about May next year. ' Of the death of Christ, the price 
he paid, and the purchase he made^ — and the doctrine con- 
cerning these things, formerly delivered in a treatise against 
universal redemption, vindicated from the exceptions and 
objections of Mr. R. B.' 4to.™ This was the commence- 
ment of a series of discussions and collisions between Bax- 
ter and Owen, which continued on one subject or another 
till the death of both these eminent men. Justice obliges 
me to state, that Baxter was invariably the aggressor ; as 
Owen seems never to have meddled with him but in the 
way of self-defence. Whatever were his reasons, Baxter 
seldom omitted an opportunity of hitting a blot in Owen's 
conduct or writings ; and not content with wrangling dur- 
ing his life, he left a legacy of reproach on the memory of 
his brother, which continued to operate long after his 

The work of Baxter, to which this is a reply, is his 
* Aphorisms of Justification,' in an Appendix to which, 
he had made some animadversions on Owen's views of 
redemption. Baxter was a man of eminent piety and inde- 
fatigable zeal; who laboured hard to make that which was 
crooked straight, and to number that which was wanting ; 

' Book ii. chap. 6. "> AVorks, vol. v. p. 565. " Baxter's own Life, passiiu. 


— to reconcile conflicting opinions, and to harmonize con- 
tending spirits. Pure in his intentions, but often injudi- 
cious in his measures, his labours frequently produced 
only disappointment and trouble. He was the most me- 
taphysical man of his age, constantly employing himself in 
making distinctions where there was no difference, or in 
attempting to shew, that the most opposite sentiments ad- 
mitted of the same explanation. A professed enemy to 
controversy, yet perpetually engaged in it; he multiplied 
disputes by endeavouring to destroy them. He was nei- 
ther aCalvinist, nor an Arminian; and yet at times he was 
claimed by both. He was neither a churchman, nor a 
dissenter; but sometimes wrote against the one, and 
sometimes against the other, till all parties might quote 
him as an advocate, and meet him as an enemy. To no 
man, perhaps, were the words of the heathen satirist ever 
more applicable : — 

Tenet insanabile vulnus 
Scribendi cacoethes. 

Of this he seems to have been at times sensible, as he 
frankly acknowledges, that he had written ' muUitudo libro- 
rum,' which contained "multavana et inutilia.' He was 
nearly of the same standing with Owen, and inferior to him 
in learning; but his equal in acuteness, in patience of re- 
search, and in the abundance of his labours. The dilFe- 
rences between them on various subjects, lay more, per- 
haps, in words than in things ; and it must be regretted, 
that a degree of keenness marked the conduct of their dis- 
cussions, which the importance of the points at issue, and 
the meekness of wisdom, will by no means justify. 

A particular account of Owen's reply to Baxter would 
now be very uninteresting, as he admits himself, that the 
contention lay more about ' expressions than opinions.' It 
is, in fact, a piece of dry scholastic discussion, partaking 
more of the character of theological logomachy, than al- 
most any other performance of our author. To this he 
was doubtless led by the subtilty of his opponent, v\ho em- 
ployed all his acuteness to detect error in his views of the 
death of Christ, and the particularity of its design. Owen, 
however, stoutly defends his original statements, and suc- 
cessfully unravels the web in which his ingenious adversary 

DR. OWEN. 91 

endeavoured to entangle him. More simple reference to 
the plain language of Scripture, and less attachment to 
merely human forms of expression, would certainly have 
been advantageous to both. A prolix contention whether 
the death of Christ was solutio ejusdeni, or only tantundem; 
that is, whether it was a payment of the very thing which, 
by law, we ought to have paid, or of something held by 
God to be equivalent, does not promise much profit or 
gratification to the mind; especially as our views of the 
atonement being the alone ground of acceptance, are not 
likely to be much affected whichever of the sides we em- 
brace. Yet this seems to be the turning point of the pre- 
sent debate between Owen and Baxter. 

Trifling, however, as the difference may appear, to 
Owen's Vindication, Baxter published an answer in the 
' Confession of his Faith,' 4to. 1655; the object of which, 
is to explain himself more fully on the subjects of re- 
pentance, justification, sincere obedience, &,c. In the 
course of this volume he introduces Owen, and tries to 
fasten on him the charge of Antinomianism. To this, 
Owen replied at the end of his Vindiciae Evangelicae, 
vindicating his former sentiments, and complaining of in- 
justice on the part of Baxter; who, determined to have the 
last word, though it should only be in the way of assigning 
reasons for not writing, rejoined and recriminated, in an 
Appendix to his * Five Disputations of right to the Sacra- 
ments,' 4to. 1656. So interminable at times are the debates 
of systematic theologians. Baxter, however, afterwards 
acknowledged that he had meddled too rashly with Owen 
and that he was then too raw to be a writer." 

Immediately after his return from Ireland, he was called 
to preach before parliament on a day of solemn humiliation 
throughout the kingdom, February 28th, 1650. This dis- 
course, entitled, ' The Steadfastness of Promises, and the 
Sinfulness of Staggering, 'p discovers the deep interest he 
took in the welfare of Ireland. ' I would,' says he, ' there 
were, for the present, one gospel preacher for every walled 
town in the English possession in Ireland. The land mourn- 
eth, and the people perish for want of knowledge: many 
run to and fro, but it is upon other designs — knowledge is 

° Life, pari i. p. 107. p Works, vol. xv. p. 254. 


not increased. They are sensible of their wants, and cry 
out for supply. The tears and cries of the inhabitants of 
Dublin after the manifestation of Christ, are ever in my 
view. If they were in the dark, and loved to have it so, 
it might, in some respects, close the door upon the bowels 
of our compassion ; but they cry out of their darkness, and 
are ready to follow any one whatever who has a candle. 
If their being without the gospel move not our hearts, it is 
hoped, their importunate cries will disquiet our rest, and 
extort help as a beggar doth alms.' 

He calls upon parliament not to consider the subjuga- 
tion of Ireland the only object deserving of their attention; 
but to appoint a committee for the consideration of its reli- 
gious state, and to take other steps for supplying the wants, 
and redressing the grievances, of that ill-fated country. In 
consequence of these representations, seconded by those 
of Cromwell, parliament passed an ordinance on the 8th of 
March, for the encouragement of religion and learning in 
Ireland. By this act, certain lands were devoted to the 
support of Trinity college, and the endowment of its pro- 
fessors; for erecting another college in Dublin, and main- 
taining its teachers ; and for the erection of a free school, 
and the support of the master and scholars.'' The univer- 
sity of Dublin being thus revived, and put on a new foot- 
ing, the parliament sent over six of their most acceptable 
preachers, to give it reputation; appointing them two 
hundred pounds per annum out of the bishop's lands ; and 
till that could be duly raised, to be paid out of the public 
revenue. By these methods learning began to revive, and 
in a few years, religion appeared with a better face than it 
had ever done in that kingdom before. "^ Nothing is more 
honourable to the Commonwealth government, than the 
attention it invariably paid to representations respecting 
the state of religion in all parts of the country, and the 
measures it employed to advance the interests of the gos- 
pel. It was, in fact, a college de propaganda fide as much 
as a civil institute ; which provided for the spiritual, as 
well as the temporal welfare of its subjects. It did this 
too without making a particular religious profession the 
test of civil privileges; and never forced the peculiar 

1 Nfal, iv. p. 76. ■■ Ibid, 

DR. OWEN. 93 

sentiments of the governors upon the consciences of the 
governed. Policy, perhaps, dictated some of its religious 
measures ; but never, on the whole, was religion so little 
abused by state enactments, or made so little subservient 
to worldly purposes. I can account for this, only by ad- 
mitting the decidedly Christian character of the body of the 
men then in power. Persons of another description would 
either have pursued different measures, or have given to 
religious objects more of a secular aspect and tendency. 

Cromwell returned to London the end of May, 1650, 
and left it for Scotland the following month. An order, 
some time after, passed the house of commons for Mr. 
Joseph Caryl, and Mr. Owen, to proceed to the army in 
Scotland, agreeably to the desire of the general.^ Accord- 
ing to the declaration of the parliament, the invasion of 
Scotland was occasioned by the Scots declaring themselves 
enemies to the Commonwealth government, and to all who 
adhered to it ; by their folly in proclaiming, in Scotland, 
Charles Stuart, king of England and Ireland, and promising 
him assistance to invade England ; and by other things 
which led the parliament to believe that they would march 
nto England the first opportunity, to avenge the quarrel of 
the covenant, the death of the king, and the loss of their 
influence. This declaration was published by the parlia- 
ment; and another by Cromwell in name of the army, was 
addressed, in the style of the times, ' To all that are saints, 
and partakers of the faith of God's elect in Scotland.' The 
latter contains reasons for putting the king to death, and 
excluding his family from the throne ; for erecting a com- 
monwealth, and rejecting Presbyterian church government, 
with a refutation of the charges of heresy and blasphemy 
charged on the army. Cromwell, however, did not spend 
time in paper manifestoes. The progress of his arms gave 
an energy to his declarations ; and the battle of Dunbar 
decided the fate of Scotland, and opened the gates of its 
metropolis. Owen joined him at Berwick, in obedience to 
the orders of parliament. We have no reason to think 
that he was desirous of the kind of employment thus 
forced upon him. United to an affectionate church, fond 

s Wbitelocke, p. 456. 


of rural retirement, and the head of a growing family ; the 
noise of a camp, and the din of arms, must have been 
revolting to his feelings, and destructive of his studious 
habits. In Ireland, he had remained as short time as pos- 
sible, and his residence in Scotland could not be more con- 
genial to his wishes. The Scots were generally opposed 
to the parliamentary proceedings, and their ministers were 
among the most determined enemies of that form of church 
polity to which Owen was attached. In such circumstances, 
the preaching of an apostle would have been listened to 
with distrust and suspicion ; and conduct however harm- 
less, would scarcely pass without reprehension. 

We have two Sermons preached by Owen during his 
journey to Scotland, and his residence in it. They are both 
from the same text, Isaiah Ivi. 7. ' For mine house shall be 
called an house of prayer for all people." The first was 
preached at Berwick, on the 21st of July," on the advance 
of the army, and the other in Edinburgh. In a dedication 
prefixed to them, addressed * to the Lord General Crom- 
well,' and dated Edinburgh, November 26th, 1650, he tells 
him, that * It was with thoughts of peace he embraced his 
call to this place in time of war,' — that his chief design in 
complying with it, '^Vas to pour out a savour of the gospel 
on the sons of peace in Scotland ; that he hoped this had 
been manifested in the consciences of all with whom he 
had to do in the work of the ministry; and that though 
some were so seasoned with the leaven of contention about 
carnal things, as to disrelish the weightier things of the 
gospel, yet the great owner of the vineyard had not left 
him without a comfortable assurance, that his labour in 
the Lord had not been in vain.' The discourses are enti- 
tled, ' The Branch of the Lord, the Beauty of Zion,' and 
contain scarcely an allusion to the peculiar circumstances 
of Scotland. 

In a letter written during this visit from Musselburgh, 
in the beginning of August, and addressed to Commissioner 
Lisle, he says : — ' I dare not write the particulars of the 
fight, being assured that you have it from better hands: the 

' Works, vol. XV. p. 380. 
" Letter from Cromwell to the Council of State, printed in Original Memoirs, 
written during the civil war. Edin. 1806. p. 225. 

DR. OWEN. 95 

issue was, that they were repulsed by an handful, and an 
hundred and eighty taken prisoners; amongst whom Major 
Strachan himself is reported to be slain ; the whole party 
pursued to their works. Four ministers came out with 
them, but being- not known, received the lot of war, three 
of them killed, and one taken. This was the party they 
most relied upon, as being especially consecrated by the 
Kirk to this service. Their ministers told the people before 
our army came, that they should not need to strike one 
stroke, but stand still, and they should see the sectaries 
destroyed. "" 

This letter was read in the House of Commons, and 
printed along with others by its command. Lisle, to whom 
it was addressed, was then one of the Lords Commissioners 
of the Great Seal. He was the son of Sir W. Lisle, of the 
Isle of Wight ; he was bred to the law, and was chosen a 
member of the Long Parliament. He became one of the 
leading republicans, and assisted Bradshaw as President 
of the High Court of Justice on the trial of the King. He 
held many public places under Cromwell, and seems al- 
ways to have been sufficiently attentive to his worldly in- 
terests. Foreseeing the restoration of Charles, he prudently 
retired to the continent, and took up his residence at Lau- 
sanne; where he was barbarously assassinated, at the in- 
stigation of the royal party, as he was going to church, on 
the 11th of August, 1664.^ 

The fight referred to in the letter was one of the skir- 
mishes, which took place between Leith and Edinburgh, 
previously to the taking of the latter place by Cromwell. 
Colonel Strachan was not killed, as Owen supposed. He 
had formerly been a friend to the Commonwealth, and 
afterwards heartily espoused its cause, as well as the reli- 
gious principles of its leaders. Who the Ministers were, 
who were slain and taken, I know not ; but they had cer- 
tainly nothing to do in disguise in such an affair. The lan- 

^ Original Memoirs, p. 244. 
y Noble's Memoirs, vol. ii. 567. Ludlow, vol. iii. 127. His widow. Lady 
Alicia Lisle, met with treatment even more barbarous than her husband. For the 
unpardonable crime of harbouring a Nonconformist minister, she was sentenced to 
be hanged by the infamous JefFeries, after the jury had thrice brought her in, not 
guilty. The sentence was dianged ; but she was actually beheaded for this offence 
at Winchester ! She died with a heroism worthy of a Christian, expressing her en- 
tire and unshaken confidence in the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. 


guage which the Scots clergy are said to have used about 
the destruction of the English array, was too common with 
all parties at the time. When ministers forget the nature 
of their office, and begin to act as prophets and leaders of 
armies, it is a righteous thing in God to leave them to dis- 

When the English army took possession of Edinburgh, 
the ministers of the city retired for protection to the castle. 
In consequence of this, a very curious correspondence took 
place between Cromwell and them. The General sent 
notice to the Governor of the castle, that the ministers 
might return to the discharge of their duties, that they 
should have full liberty to preach, and that none in the 
army should molest them. They replied, that no security 
being offered for their persons ; they, therefore, resolved 
to reserve themselves for better times, and to wait upon 
him who had hid his face, for a while, from the sons of 
Jacob. To this Cromwell replied, in a letter to the Go- 
vernor, which produced an answer from the ministers, and 
a rejoinder from the General.^ The correspondence affords 
a curious illustration of the sentiments of both parties; but 
as it is printed not only in Thurloe's State Papers, and 
Whitelocke's Memorials, but also in Neal, it is unneces- 
sary here to insert it/ 

As the Presbyterian ministers remained in the castle, 
the ministers of the army took possession of the pulpits, 
where the people heard them with suspicion and wonder.'' 
How long Owen remained in Edinburgh is uncertain, he 
most probably accompanied the army to the west, and 
preached in Linlithgow, Stirling, and other places. In 
Glasgow a curious discussion is said to liave taken place 
between some of the Scots ministers and him, in the pre- 
sence of Cromwell. At this meeting, it is said that Mr. 
Hugh Binning so managed the dispute, that he nonplused 
Cromwell's ministers ; which led Oliver to ask, after the 
meeting was over, who that learned and bold young man 
was ; and on being told his name was Binning, ' He hath 

» Neal, iv. pp. 24—26. 
» ' These letters,' Hume says, ' are the best of Cromwell's wretched compositions 
that remain, and maintain thechief points of the Independent theology.' From their 
phraseology, I strongly suspect them to have been the production of Owen's pen. 
•' Kirkton. 

DR. OWEN. 97 

bound well indeed/ said he, but laying his hand on his 
sword, ' this will loose all again. "= There is nothing im- 
probable in the meeting, and Cromwell's pun quite accords 
with other anecdotes of his conversation. 

The state of religion in Scotland, during the ten years 
which preceded the English invasion, and during the rule of 
the commonwealth afterwards, has been much misunder- 
stood. The zealous friends of Presbyterian discipline, have 
represented the period from 1638 to 1649, as the golden age 
of religion in Scotland, and the following years as exhibiting 
a lamentable falling oflF. And, indeed, if true religion consists 
in the regular meeting of church courts, and the overwhelm- 
ing power Qf ecclesiastical rulers, the former period would 
be very distinguished. But if much of the form may exist 
without the power of religion, we shall be cautious how we 
judge of the state of religion from the proceedings of As- 
semblies. That there were then many excellent men in 
the Presbyterian church is beyond dispute; but that not a 
few of the clergy were destitute of genuine piety, and that 
a vast majority of the people were in no better state, are 
equally unquestionable. The Assemblies were exceed- 
ingly zealous in putting down Episcopacy, in establish- 
ing uniformity, and in passing persecuting laws j^ but had 
much less of the spirit of Christ than their office required. 
The English ministers had but a low opinion of the state 
of religion on their coming into Scotland. According to 
a testimony from the Army, quoted by Whitelocke, the 
Church of Scotland was ' A Kirk whose religion is forma- 
lity, and whose government is tyranny, a generation of 
very hypocrites and vipers.'^ Joseph Caryl, John Oxen- 
bridge, and Cuthbert Sydenham, ministers who attended 
the army, assert that * The experience of the true and de- 
serving shepherds here (the ministers of the church), who 
are as dear to their other brethren as sheep to the wolves, 
doth tell them that almost nine parts of ten in their flock 
are not sheep ; not fit, say they, for civil; much less, say 
we, for spiritual privileges.''' This language shews what 

« Biographia Scoticana, p. 167. — Binning was a man of piety, talents, and learn- 
ing; as his posthumous works evince. His sermons, considering the time at which 
he lived, and that he died in his twenty-sixth year, do him very great honour. 

d Acts of Assembly from 1638 to 1649, printed Edin. 1682, pp. 192. 355, et 
passim. e Mem. p. 456. 

f Preface to ' A Little Stone out of the Mountain,' by Lockyer, 16.'>2. 

VOL. I. H 


was the state of parties in the church then ; the resolii- 
tionists and the remonstrants being something like the mo- 
derate and the orthodox among the clergy now. Should 
it be thought these are the prejudiced statements of ene- 
mies and strangers, an extract or two from the warmest 
and most upright friends of the church will shew that they 
are far from being too strong. ' The scantiness of gracious 
men,' says Hugh Binning, in a discourse preached in 1650, 
* is the spot of judicatories; that there are many children 
of the world, but few children of light in them. This is the 
spot of Assemblies, Synods, Presbyteries, that there are 
few godly ministers. Alas ! that this complaint should be, 
even among those whose oflSce it is to beget m.any children 
to God ; how few of them are begotten, or hath the image 
of their Father.'^ The testimony of Samuel Rutherford, 
whose piety and attachment to the church will not be 
questioned, is equally strong, respecting the secular cha- 
racter and measures of the Assemblies. ' Afterwcird,' re- 
ferring as I understand him to this period, * our work in 
public was too much in sequestration of estates, fining and 
imprisoning, more than in a compassionate mournfulness 
of spirit toward those whom we saw to oppose the work. 
In our Assemblies we were more to set up a state opposite 
to a state; more upon forms, citations, leading of witnesses, 
suspensions from benefices, than sjjiritually to persuade 
and work upon the conscience with the meekness and gen- 
tleness of Christ. The glory and royalty of our princely 
Redeemer and King was trampled on, as any might have 
seen in our Assemblies. What way the array, and the 
sword, and the countenance of nobles and oflScers seemed 
to sway, that way were the censures carried. It had been 
better had there been more days of humiliation and fasting, 
and far less adjourning commissions, new peremptory sum- 
monses, and new drawn-up processes.''' 

If from the clergy and church courts, we pass to the 
people, the view of them given by the friends of the chul-ch 
will not appear more favourable. ' What,' asks Mr. Bin- 
ning, ' is now the great blot of our visible church ? Here it 
is, the most part are not God's children but called so; and 
it is the greater blot that they are called so, and are not.'' 

B Biiining's works, Edin. 1735, p. 518. 
^ Rutherford's Tcstimonjr, Edin. 1713. 'Binning's works, p. 618. 

DR. OWEN. 99 

Addressing them again, he says, ' Set aside your public 
service, and professions, and is there any thing behind in 
your conversation, but drunkenness, lying, swearing, con- 
tention, envy, deceit, wrath, covetousness, and such like? 
Have not the multitude been as civil, and carried them- 
selves as blamelessly as the throng of our visible church ? 
What have ye more than they? What then are the most 
part of you I Ye neither bow a knee in secret nor in your 
families to God.'*' If Principal Baillie's words already 
quoted, have any meaning, not more than one in ' forty of 
the members of his church gave good evidence of grace and 
regeneration." These testimonies shew that there may be 
much professed zeal for the Lord of Hosts — much cla- 
morous contention about Confessions of Faith, Forms of 
Church Government, and extirpation of heretics, and a 
deplorable degree of ignorance, depravity, and irreligion. 

It does not appear that the influence of the English 
army, and of Cromwell's government, was unfavourable to 
the state of religion in Scotland. On the contrary, there 
is reason to believe that true religion was, during this pe- 
riod, in rather a prosperous state. It is true, Cromwell 
put down the Assemblies, and curbed the spirit of interfe- 
rence vpith politics which then so much prevailed among 
the ministers. But he interfered with none of the other 
rights of the church, and encouraged the profession of the 
gospel in all ranks. I ' remember well,' says Bishop 
Burnet, * of three regiments coming to Aberdeen. There 
was an order and discipline, and a face of gravity and 
piety among them, that amazed all people. Most of them 
were Independents and Anabaptists : they were all gifted 
men, and preached as they were moved. But they never 
disturbed the public assemblies in the churches but once. 
They came and reproached the preachers for laying things 
to their charge that were false. I was then present : the 
debate grew very fierce : at last they drew their swords ; 
but there was no hurt done : yet Cromwell displaced the 
governor for not punishing this.'" The power of the church 
was reduced within a narrower compass ; for though it had 
liberty to excommunicate oflfenders, or debar them the 

^ Pinning's works, p. 546. ' Baillie's Letters, vol. ii. p. 8.5. 

" History of his own times, vol. i. p. 80. 

H 2 


communion, it might not seize their estates, or deprive 
them of their civil rights and privileges. No oaths or co- 
venants were to be imposed, but by direction from West- 
minster ; and as all fitting encouragement was to be given 
to ministers of the Established Church ; so others, not sa- 
tisfied with their form of Church Government, had liberty 
to serve God after their own manner. This occasioned a 
great commotion among the clergy, who complained of the 
loss of their covenant and church discipline ; and ex- 
claimed against toleration as opening a door to all kinds 
of error and heresy : but the English supported their friends 
against all opposition." 

But the strongest testimony to the prosperous condi- 
tion of religion in Scotland is from the pen of James 
Kirkton, afterwards one of the ministers of Edinburgh; 
who, from his opportunities was well able to judge, and 
from his sentiments as a Presbyterian, unlikely to overrate 
the salutary influence of the measures of the common- 
wealth. * They did indeed,' he says, ' proclaim a sort of 
toleration to Dissenters among Protestants, but permitted 
the gospel to have its course, and Presbyteries and Synods 
to continue in the exercise of their powers ; and all the 
time of their government, the gospel prospered not a little, 
but mightily. It is also true, that because the generality 
of the Scottish ministers were for the king upon any terms, 
therefore they did not permit the General Assembly to sit 
(and in this I believe they did no bad office), for both the 
authority of that meeting was denied by the Protesters, and 
the Assembly seemed to be more set upon establishing 
themselves than promoting religion. — Errors in some places 
infected some few ; yet were all these losses inconsiderable 
in regard of the great success the word preached had in 
sanctifying the people of the nation. And I verily believe 
there were more souls converted to Christ in that short period 
of time, than in any season since the Reformation, though of 
triple its duration. Nor was there ever greater purity and 
plenty of the means of grace than was in their time. Mi- 
nisters were painful, people were diligent; and if a man had 
seen one of their solemn communions, where many congre- 
gations met in great multitudes ; some dozen of ministers 

" Neal, vol. iv. p. 54. 

DR. OWEN. 101 

used to preach, and the people continued as it were in a 
kind of trance (so serious were they in spiritual exercises), 
for three days at least, he would have thought it a solem- 
nity unknown to the rest of the world. — At the king's re- 
turn every parish had a minister, every village had a school, 
every family almost had a Bible, yea in most of the country 
all the children could read the Scriptures, and were provided 
with Bibles, either by their parents or their ministers.'" 

Nothing requires to be added to these testimonies. 
When the state of things thus described, is contrasted 
with the condition of Scotland during the whole govern- 
ment of the last four Stuarts, it will not be diflScult for any 
one to determine whether the reign of legitimate and cove- 
nanted royalty to which the people were so devoted, or the 
government of a despised and constantly opposed usur- 
pation, deserved most respect. It will also appear, that 
the meetings and enactments of political, intriguing Gene- 
ral Assemblies were by no means so necessary to the ad- 
vancement of true religion as many have supposed. Jus- 
tice also to the party, with which Owen was most closely 
connected, required that I should shew that its measures 
and influence were generally favourable to the interests of 

Owen continued with the army in Scotland till early in 
1651, when he returned to his family and flock at Cogges- 
hall. There, however, he was not allowed long to rest. 
According to the order which passed the House of Com- 
mons more than a year before, to prefer Owen and Good- 
win to be heads of Colleges in Oxford, Goodwin was now 
raised to the I'residency of Magdalen College, and Owen 
made Dean of Christ Church. . The first notice he received 
of this was the appearance of the following order in the 
newspapers of the day. ' On the 18th March, 1651, the 
House taking into consideration the worth and usefulness 
of John Owen, M. A. of Queen's College, ordered that he 
be settled in the Deanery of Christ's Church, in room of 
Dr. Reynolds.' Reynolds liad been put into the Deanery 
of Christ Church, and the Vice-Chancellorship of the Uni- 
versity by the Presbyterian party ; but refusing to take the 
engagement to be true to the Government established with- 

o Kirkton's History of the Church of Scotland, pp. 54., 55—64. 


out King or House of Lords, he was deprived ; and though, 
to save the Deanery, he sometime after offered to take the 
engagement, the Parliament, offended at his conduct, took 
advantage of the forfeiture, and conferred it on Owen.P 
Baxter says it had previously been offered to Caryl, who 
refused it ;'' but of this no evidence appears. Soon after 
Owen's appointment was made public, he received a letter 
from the principal students at Christ Church, expressing 
their great satisfaction at the appointment, and their desire 
that he would come among them. Accordingly, with the 
consent of the Church, he resigned his pastoral office, and 
took up his residence in Oxford in the course of the same 

Christ Church College is one of the best foundations in 
Oxford. It was erected by Cardinal Wolsey, and though 
it has since undergone many changes, it still remains a 
monument of the greatness of that ambitious Churchman. 
The establishment consists of a Dean, eight Canons, eight 
Chaplains, and one hundred students, with inferior officers. 
The office of the Dean is to preside at all meetings of the 
College, and to deliver Divinity Lectures. In the hierarchy, 
he is next in dignity to the Bishop of Oxford ; and the ap- 
pointment is in the Crown. During the commonwealth the 
ecclesiastical functions of the office, and the connexion 
with the church, must have been suspended ; but the tem- 
poralities of the Deanery were not sequestrated along with 
the other Dean and Chapter lands.^ This was probably on 
account of its relation to the University. The emoluments 
of the office are now very considerable, and must have 
been so even in the time of the commonwealth. 

Owen's account of this appointment and of himself are 
characterised by his usual modesty, and Christian humi- 
lity. ' I now clearly found that I who dreaded almost 
every academical employment, as being unequal to the 
task, and at a time too when I had entertained hope, that 
through the goodness of God, in giving me leisure and re- 
tirement, and strength for study, that the deficiency of 
genius and penetration, might be made up by industry and 
diligence, was now so circumstanced that the career of ray 

r Ncal, vol. iv, p. 27. n Life and Times, part i. p. 64. ' Mem. p. x. 

» Neal, vol. iv. 14. 

DR. OWEN. 103 

studies must be interrupted by more and greater impedi- 
ments than ever. For what could be expected from a man 
not far advanced in years, and who had for some time 
been very full oi' employment, and accustomed only to the 
popular mode of speaking ; and who being entirely devoted 
to the investigation of the grace of God through Jesus 
Christ, had taken leave of all scholastic studies; whose 
genius is by no means quick, and who had even forgot, in 
some measure, the portion of polite learning that he might 
have formerly acquired? The most weighty and important 
task of lecturing in public, was put upon me, which would 
strictly and properly require the whole time and attention 
of the most grave and experienced divine ; and in the dis- 
charge of which, unless I had been greatly assisted and en- 
couraged by the candour, piety, submission, and self-denial 
of the auditors, and by their respect for the Divine insti- 
tution, and their love of the truth with every kind of indul- 
gence to the earthen vessel ; I had long lost all hope of 
discharging that province, either to the public advantage 
or my own satisfaction and comfort.'' 

It appears at first rather surprising, that an Indepen- 
dent should have accepted an office that has always been 
reckoned part of the ecclesiastical establishment ; but both 
Baptists and Independents were then in the practice of ac- 
cepting the livings, that is, the temporalities of the Church. 
They did not, however, view themselves as parish minis- 
ters, and bound to administer all the ordinances of religion 
to the parish population. They occupied the parochial 
edifices, and received a portion of the tithes for their 
maintenance ; but in all other respects acted according to 
their own principles. The times were unsettled, the Epis- 
copal clergy were thrown out by the state, either on account 
of their principles or their conduct, the funds of the church 
were not otherwise disposed of, and as the Dissenters were 
discharging the duties of public teachers, many of them, 
among whom was Owen, considered it lawful to receive a 
portion of those provisions to which no other class of men 
had then a better claim. That this state of things would 
soon have introduced very serious evils among them, can- 
not be doubted ; but these were prevented by another re- 

» Pref. Ad Div. Jus. 


volution, which restored Episcopacy, and threw the Dis- 
senters on their own resources. The Dean of Christ Church, 
however, was no farther connected with the Establishment, 
than as President of his College, he held a situation of im- 
portant influence, and was legally entitled to the support 
attached to his office. That he never sought the office, that 
he was actually averse to it, he himself solemnly assures 
us. ' The Parliament of England promoted me, while dili- 
gently employed in preaching the gospel, by their authority 
and influence, though with reluctance on my part, to a 
Chair in the celebrated University of Oxford.'" From such 
declarations, and the former disinterestedness of his con- 
duct, we are bound to believe that a sense of duty alone 
induced him to accept the Academic Chair. But that he 
and his brethren who accepted of the livings of the Church, 
exposed themselves not unfairly to the charge of inconsis- 
tency preferred against them by Milton, I freely acknow- 
ledge. That eloquent writer, with his usual energy, de- 
clared, ' That he hated that Independents should take 
that name, as they may justly from their freedom of Chris- 
tian doctrine, and church discipline subject to no superior 
judge but God only ; and seek to be Dependents on the ma- 
gistrates for their maintenance: which two things Indepen- 
dence and State hire in religion, can never consist long or 
certainly together. For magistrates at one time or other, 
will pay none but such, whom by their committees of exa- 
mination they find conformable to their interests and opi- 
nions. And hirelings will soon frame themselves to that 
interest, and those opinions which they see best pleasing to 
their paymasters : and to seem right themselves, will force 
others as to the truth.'" 

The Dean of Christ Church was called to preach before 
Parliament on the 24th of October 1651, being the thanks- 
giving day appointed for the destruction of thcScotish army 
at Worcester, 'with sundry other mercies.' This celebrated 
victory, 'the crowning mercy' of Cromwell, completed the 
ruin of Charles II. the subjugation of Scotland, and esta- 
blished the authority of the commonwealth in the three 
kingdoms. In the dedication of this sermon to Parliament, 
the Dean expresses himself very strongly concerning the 

Prcf. Ad Div. Jas. * Prose Works, p. 282.— Syniinon's Ed. vol. iii. p. 389. 

DU. OWEN. 105 

principles and conduct of the people of Scotland in the 
war, which the battle of Worcester terminated. 'With 
what deceiveableness of unrighteousness, and lies in hy- 
pocrisy, the late grand attempt in Scotland was carried on, 
is in some measure now made naked, to the loathing of its 
abominations. In digging deep to lay a foundation for 
blood and revenge, in covering private and sordid ends 
with a pretence of things glorious, in limning a face of reli- 
gion upon a worldly stock, in concealing distant aims and 
bloody animosities, to compass one common end, that a 
theatre might be provided to act several parts upon, in 
pleading a necessity from an oath of God to most despe- 
rate undertakings against God, it does not give place to 
any which former ages have been acquainted with.' 

The views of Owen on this subject were no doubt in- 
fluenced by the persons with whom he generally acted ; 
but there were certainly great inconsistencies in the pro- 
ceedings of the Scotish leaders, and many things very pro- 
voking in their conduct to England. Correct religious 
sentiments, and sound policy would have dictated differ- 
ent measures both towards Charles, and the people of Eng- 
land, from those which they had pursued. The sermon 
preached on this occasion is entitled, 'The Advantage of 
the Kingdom of Christ in the Shaking of the Kingdoms of 
the world, or Providential Alterations in their subserviency 
to Christ's Exaltation.'^ It contains many free and elo- 
quent passages, especially on the danger of human govern- 
ments interfering with the principles and rights of the king- 
dom of Christ ; and on the abomination and extent of the 
Antichristian apostasy. ' He that thinks Babylon,' says 
the preacher, * confined to Rome and its open idolatry, 
knows nothing of Babylon, nor of the New Jerusalem. The 
depth of a subtile mystery does not lie in gross visible folly. 
It has been insinuating itself into all the nations for sixteen 
hundred years, and to most of them is now become as the 
marrow in their bones. Before it be wholly shaken out, 
these heavens (ecclesiastical powers) must be dissolved, 
and this earth (civil governments) shaken ; their tall trees 
hewed down and set a howling, and the residue of them 
transplanted IVom one end of the earth to another.' 

y Works, vol. XV. p. 415. 


Henry Ireton, son-in-law to Cromwell, by Bridget, his 
eldest daughter, died while Lord Deputy of Ireland, on the 
26th of November, 1651 ; and his body being brought over 
to England, was buried in Westminster Abbey, on the 6th 
of February, 1652, with great funeral solemnity. ' If he 
could have foreseen what was done,' says Ludlow, 'he 
would certainly have made it his desire, that his body might 
have found a grave where his soul left it, so much did he 
despise those pompous and expensive vanities; having 
erected for himself a more glorious monument, in the hearts 
of good men, by his affection to his country, his abilities of 
mind, his impartial justice, his diligence in the public ser- 
vice, and his other virtues, which were a far greater honour 
to his memory than a dormitory among the ashes of kings.'* 
Owen preached the funeral sermon on this occasion in the 
Abbey Church of Westminster; which was published with 
the title of ' The labouring Saint's dismission to his rest,'"" 
and dedicated to Col. Henry Cromwell, the youngest son 
of the Protector. It is difficult to ascertain the true cha- 
racter of Ireton. According to Burnet, ' he had the prin- 
ciples and temper of a Cassius.' Noble represents him as 
the most artful, dark, deliberate man of all the republicans, 
by whom he was in the highest degree beloved." And 
Hume acknowledges that he was a memorable personage, 
much celebrated for his vigilance, industry, and capacity. 
That he was a man of talents and disinterestedness, is ad- 
mitted by all parties ; that he was a republican need not be 
denied ; that he was a man of piety there is strong reason 
to believe. The testimony of Ludlow, who must have 
known him well, is highly honourable ; that of Heath, 
though intended as a reproach, is scarcely less to his cre- 
dit, — * He was absolutely the best prayer-maker and 
preacher in the array, forWhich he may thank his education 
at Oxford."^ To deserve this character in an army of 
praying and preaching men, argued no ordinary attain- 
ments of a religious nature. Owen, who must have known 
him intimately, expresses in the conclusion of this dis- 
course, his opinion of this republican hero. * My business 
is not to make a funeral oration ; only I suppose that 

• Ludlow's Mem. vol i. p. 331. Ed. 1751. i' Works, vol. xv. p. 450. 

' Mem. of the Prolccl. House of Cromwell, vol. ii. p. '^y8. fi Fiagelliim, p. 124. 

DR. OWEN. 107 

without otFence 1 may desire — that in courage and perma- 
nency of business (which I name in opposition to that un- 
settled, pragmatical, shuffling disposition, which is in some 
men), in ability for wisdom and counsel, in faithfulness to 
his trust and in his trust, in indefatigable industry in the 
pursuit of the work committed to him, in faith on the pro- 
mises of God and acquaintance with his mind in his mighty 
works of providence, in love to the Lord Jesus and all his 
saints, in a tender regard to their interest, delight in their 
society, contempt of himself and all his for the gospel's 
sake, with eminent self-denial in all his concernments, in 
impartiality and sincerity in the execution of justice — that 
in these and the like things, we may have many raised up 
in the power and spirit wherein he walked before the Lord, 
and the inhabitants of this nation.' 

On the thirteenth of October following, he was again 
called to preach before the House on a day of solemn hu- 
miliation. In one passage of this sermon which is entitled, 
' Christ's Kingdom and the Magistrate's Power,'* we have a 
striking picture of the unsettled, chaotic state of religion 
during this period of confusion. * What now, by the lust 
of men, is the state of things ? Say some, there is no gos- 
pel at all. Say others, if there be, you have nothing to do 
with it. Some say, lo here is Christ ; others, lo there. 
Some make religion a colour for one thing, others for an- 
other. Say some, the magistrate must not support the 
gospel ; say others, the gospel must subvert the magis- 
trate. Some say, your rule is only for men as men, you 
have nothing to do with the interest of Christ and his Church; 
others say, you have nothing to do to rule men, but on ac- 
count of their being saints. If you will have the gospel, 
say some, down with the ministers of it; and if you will 
have light, take care that you may have ignorance and 
darkness. Things being carried on as if it were the care 
of men, that there might be no trouble in the world, but that 
the name of religion might lie in the bottom of it.' 

It is surely gross injustice to charge the man who thus 
strongly regrets and deprecates the religious confusion of 
the times, as one of the leading instruments of producing 
that confusion. Owen always had correct views of the 

^ Works, vol. XV. p. 476. 


importance and necessity of order ; and neither his senti- 
ments nor conduct necessarily produced disorder either in 
church or state. But it is no strange thing for the greatest 
benefactors of their country, to be rewarded with reproach 
and misrepresentation. 


Division of the Memoirs ai this period — Owen made Vice-Chancellor — At- 
tends a Meeting in London, called by Cromwell to promote union — Cre- 
ated D.D. — Elected M. P. for the University— CromwelV s Instrument 
of Government — Debate about the Construction of the Article respecting 
Religious Liberty — Remarks on Neal's account of it, and the Meeting of 
Ministers respecting it — Owen appointed an Ejecting Commissioner and 
Tryer — Conduct of the Tryers — Oiven delivers Pococke — Baxter''s ac- 
count of the Tryers — Owen^s measures for securing Oxford — Correspond- 
ence with Thurloe — Attends a Meeting at Whitehall about the Jews — 
Preaches at the Opening of a New Parliament — Again on a Fast day — 
Assists in defeating Cromwell's attempt to make himself King — Deprived 
of the Vice-Chancellorship. 

As the period during which Owen was Vice-Chancellor of 
Oxford, was by far the busiest and most important of his 
life, it will be proper to arrange our memoirs of its trans- 
actions, in such a manner as shall exhibit a correct view of 
his general conduct, his connexions with the University, 
and his several publications. Each of these topics, there- 
fore, will form the subject of a distinct chapter. 

Oliver Cromwell was chosen Chancellor of Oxford in 
the month of January, 1651 ; but being mostly in Scotland 
with the army, and finding it inconvenient to attend to the 
affairs of the University, he, in the following year, dele- 
gated the Dean of Christ Church and some other heads of 
Houses, to manage every thing which required his consent 
as Chancellor of the University. By letters, dated the ninth 
September, 1G52, he nominated Owen to be Vice-Chan- 
cellor in the room of Dr. Dan. Greenwood; and on the 
twenty-sixth of the same month, he was accordingly chosen 
by the unanimous suffrage of the Senate ;" * notwithstand- 
ing his urgent request to the contrary.' He speaks of him- 
self as having undertaken tliis difficult office in deference 

» Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p. 777, 



to the opinions^ the solicitations, and the commands of the 
leading men of the University, and in the State, by whom 
it had been in a great measure forced upon him. ' By ac- 
cepting of which,' he declares, ' he had knowingly sacri- 
ficed his peace, and all his studious pursuits.'' Full credit 
will be allowed him for sincerity in these declarations, 
when the circumstances of the University, which will after- 
wards be noticed, are brought forward. 

On the 25th of August, 1653, he was engaged, along with 
Mr. Cradock, in preaching before Parliament on occasion 
of the thanksgiving for the defeat of the Dutch fleet com- 
manded by Van Trump and De Wit. The British fleet 
was under General Monke, who took and destroyed twenty- 
six of the enemy. This victory contributed to raise the 
celebrity of the arms of the Commonwealth, and to pave 
the way for the peace with Holland which took place the 
following year.*^ 

In the month of October, 1G53, the Vice-Chancellor 
was called to London by Cromwell, to attend a meeting of 
ministers of various denominations, for the purpose of con- 
sidering their difi'erences of sentiment, and of devising, if 
possible, some plan of union. The following curious ac- 
count is given of this meeting in the newspapers of the 
day. ' Several ministers were treated with by his Excel- 
lency, the Lord Gen. Cromwell, to persuade them that hold 
Christ the Head, and so the same in fundamentals, to agree 
in love, that there be no such divisions among people, pro- 
fessing godliness, as hath been, nor railing or reviling each 
other for difference only in forms. There were Mr. Owen, 
Mr. Marshall, (Presbyterian,) Mr. Nye, (Independent,) 
Mr. Jessey, (Baptist,) Mr. Harrison, and others, to whom 
the advice and counsel of his Excellency was so sweet, so 
precious, and managed with such judgment and gracious- 
ness, that it is hoped it will much tend to persuade those 
that fear the Lord in spirit and truth, to labour the union 
of all God's people.'"* 

Whether this was a serious proposal of Cromwell, or 
a political attempt to discover, through the medium of their 
leaders, the sentiments of the various sects, or a mere hy- 

^ Pref. Ad Jus. Div. = Heath's Chron. p. 349. 

"^ Papers collected in the Croniwelliana. 


pocritical farce, got up for the sake of producing a parti- 
cular eflfect, I pretend not to determine. It does not appear 
that the persons who were themselves consulted, suspected 
any evil, and perhaps none was intended. Nothing of im- 
portance, however, resulted from the meeting. It is much 
easier to propose plans of union, than to carry them into 
effect. Religious diffierences will never be healed by state 
interference, or political management. The most likely 
way to effect it, is by teaching men to respect the supreme 
and exclusive authority of the word of God, and by leaving 
every individual to follow the dictates of his conscience 
respecting it. Peace and union are desirable; but not at 
the expense of truth and principle. 

While in London about this business, the University 
conferred on him the degree of Doctor in Divinity. The 
diploma is dated the 22d December, 1653, and describes 
him as ' In Palaestra Theologica exercitatissimus, in con- 
cionando assiduus et potens, in disputando strenuus et 
acutus,' &c. His friend, Thomas Goodwin, President of 
Magdalen College, was diplomated at the same time, and 
described as * In scriptis in re Theologica quam plurimis 
orbi notus.'* Many of the early reformers were decidedly 
opposed to Theological degrees. Carlostadt refused to 
submit to the title of Doctor, and chose rather the desig- 
nation of Brother Andrew. Zuinglius could not hear the 
title without horror. Grynaeus, Sebastian Munster, and 
Myconius never assumed it : the last, indeed, when urged 
to accept the degree, as required by a law of the Univer- 
sity, off'ered rather to resign his professorship than submit 
to it. Melancthon and Oporinus also, both refused to ac- 
cept of it. All these learned men seem to have thought 
such distinctions inconsistent with obedience to our Lord's 
injunction, Matt, xxiii. 8—10.*^ Erasmus, with his usual 
jocularity, said, ' The title of Doctor makes a man neither 
wiser nor better.' It is gratifying to be able to give the 
sentiments of Owen on this subject. At the time in which 
he flourished, such degrees were not so common as they 
have since become, and most of those who received, pro- 
bably deserved, as far as learning and theological attain- 

e Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. pp. 785;, 783. 
' Werenfelsii Opusciila, pp. 304, 305. — Hornbeek, Sum. Cont. pp. 754. 756. 


ments go, to enjoy them. But Owen submitted to the ho- 
nour with great reluctance. Cawdry, in one of his attacks 
on nim, insinuates that he had been offended by his not 
calling him constantly, reverend Author and reverend Doc- 
tor. To this insinuation Owen replies with great spirit. 
' Let this reverend author make what use of it he pleases, I 
cannot but again tell him, that these insinuations become 
neither him nor any man professing the religion of Jesus 
Christ, or that hath any respect to truth or sobriety. Can 
any man think that in his conscience he gives any credit to 
the insinuation which he here makes, that I should thank 
him for calling me reverend Author or reverend Doctor ? 
For the title of reverend, I do give him notice that I have 
very little valued it, ever since I have considered the saying 
of Luther ; " Nunquam periclitatur religio nisi inter Reve- 
rendissimos." So that he may as to me, forbear it for the 
future, and call me as the Quakers do, and it shall suffice. 
And for that of Doctor, it was conferred on me by the Uni- 
versity in my absence, and against my consent, as they have 
expressed it under their public seal ; nor doth any thing 
but gratitude and respect to them make me once own it ; 
and freed from that obligation I should never use it more. 
Nor did I use it until some were offended with me, and 
blamed me for my neglect of them.'s 

Cromwell having dissolved the Long Parliament, found 
it necessary to call another in the year 1654. A writ being 
issued to the University of Oxford to make choice of but 
bne burgess to represent it, on the 27th of June, Dr. Owen 
was chosen the representative. The parliament met on the 
3d of September following ; but his election being ques- 
tioned by the Committee of privileges on account of his 
being in the ministry, he sat only for a short time.'* This 
part of Owen's conduct occasioned some infamous misre- 
presentations. Cawdry asserted, that ' when he was chosen 
a parliament-man, he refused to answer whether he was a 
minister or not ;'' and the truth af this he rested on the 
' vox popnli' — public rumour of Oxford. Wood improves 
the story, and declares, that ' rather than he would be put 
aside because he was a theologist, he renounced his orders, 

8 Preface to Cotton's Defence. ^ Wood's Fasti, edited by Gutch, p, 192. 

' Independency further proved to be a schism. 


and pleaded that he was a mere layman, notwithstanding 
he had been actually created D. D. in the year before."' 
This is carrying the matter to the climax of absurdity and 
villany. To what purpose ask the Vice-Chancellor of 
Oxford, and Dean of Christ Church, whether he was a 
minister? Did not all the world know it? Was it practi- 
cable for the Doctor to renounce his profession, had he 
been disposed ? Need we then wonder at his indignant 
reply to Cawdry? * My refusal to answer whether I were 
a minister, or not, on any occasion in the world, is " purum 
putum mendacium," a scandalous, malignant falsehood ; so 
is it no truer that it was " vox populi " at Oxford, as is 
pretended.'' And having occasion to refer to it again, he 
says, ' It is notoriously untrue, and so remote from any 
thing to give a pretence or colour to it, that I question whe- 
ther Satan have impudence enough to own himself its au- 
thor.'" The anonymous writer of the life of South, pub- 
lished in 1721, repeats the story of Owen's renunciation, 
and ascribes to Dr. South, the merit of ' so managing mat- 
ters with the doctors, bachelors of divinity, and masters 
of arts, the electors, that he was returned Math great diffi- 
culty, and, after a few days sitting, had his election declared 
null and void, because his renunciation was not reputed 

What the Doctor's reasons were for wishing to become 
a member of parliament, cannot now be ascertained. He 
probably considered himself as holding no clerical office 
during his Vice-chancellorship. He might think it was as 
lawful for him to be a member of parliament as to hold a 
civil office in Oxford ; and that in this situation, he might 
be able to render important service to the university, which 
then stood in need of all the friends it could muster. As 
only one member was to be chosen, he was, perhaps, the 
fittest person at the time to represent that learned body ; 
and in all probability he was urged to accept of the situa- 
tion, both by Cromwell and the electors, till he could not 
refuse. Those who reproached him for it, ought to have 
shewn that there was something unlawful in it, or that he 
acted from improper motives. They who claim for bishops 
a seat in the house of lords, can have no religious scruples 

k Athen. Ox. ii. 557. > Pref. to Cot. Def. ni itid. n ibjd. 

DR. OWF.^'. 


at a minister going into parliament. And I need not hesi- 
tate to assert, that few, comparatively, of the ecclesiastical 
legislators of Great Britain, have been fitter for the office 
than Dr. John 0\ven.° 

To this assembly, Oliver presented his Instrument of 
Government — 'A creature of Cromwell's, and his council 
of officers,' says Neal, '^and not drawn up by a proper re- 
presentative of the people,''' This is not very consistent 
with that historian's exclamation against the defectiveness 
of the ' Independents' instrument of government under 
Cromwell.' It could not be the work of the Independents, 
unless they are to be made accountable for every thing 
done by Cromwell and his officers, which would be mani- 
festly unjust. 

This Instrument provided, *That such as piofess faith 
in God by Jesus Christ, though differing in judgment from 
the doctrine, worship, or discipline publicly held forth, shall 
not be restrained from, but shall be protected in the pro- 
fession of their faith, and exercise of their religion, so as 
they abuse not this liberty to the civil injury of others, and 
to the actual disturbance of the public peace on their parts; 
provided this liberty be not extended to popery or prelacy, 
or to such, as under a profession of Christ, hold forth and 
practise licentiousness.''' This act of toleration, though 
by no means perfect, discovers considerable enlargement 
of mind; and it would have been well for the country, had 
the proceedings of its parliaments been always as liberal. 
Popery and prelacy were excluded, not as religious, so 
much as political systems; and because their adherents 
were constantly plotting against tlie Protector's govern- 
ment : and even in regard to them, the laws w ere more in 
terrorem, than intended for execution. 

In the debate which arose in Parliament, on the article 

« In the hurable petition and advice presented to Cromwell in 1657, an article 
was proposed to be inserted, to prohibit preachers from being Members of Parlia- 
ment. To this Oliver objected, as he alleged ' he had been a preacher himself, 
and so had many officers of the army, by whom much good had been done.' In 
consequence of this the article was omitted, and the ancient Jaws of Parliament left 
as formerly. Heath's Chron. p. 409. Whitelock, p. 678. In the parliament pre- 
ceding that in which Owen sat. Dr. Jonathan Goddard, Warden of Werton College, 
was one of the members for Oxford. Heath, p. 361. An amusing view of the 
grounds on which a man who has been once in holy orders is excluded from the 
House of Commons, is given in the Diversions of Parly, by John Home Tooke, 
who was excluded Parliament on that account. 

1' Neal'B Puritans, vol. iv. p. 76. 1 1bid. iv. p. 74. 

VOL. I, I 

114 MEMOIRS Ol- 

of this Instnimeut now quoted, it was contended that the 
clause, ' such as profess faith in God by Jesus Christ/ 
was designed to limit the toleration to such as were agreed 
on the fundamentals of Christianity. This, I apprehend, 
Oliver had not contemplated, as a difference in doctrine is 
the first thing- expressed in the article ; and the proceedings 
of the house on this subject seem, by no means, to have 
gratified him. In whatever way they understood it, it can- 
not be doubted that the most unrestricted liberty of con- 
science was intended by the Protector. But in conse- 
quence of the debate in the house, a committee of fourteen 
was appointed to consider what were fundamentals, and 
that committee was empowered to name each a divine, who 
should meet, and return their opinion on this delicate sub- 
ject. The ministers who met, were Drs. Owen, Goodwin, 
and Cheynel ; Messrs. Marshal, Reyner, Nye, Simpson, 
Vines, Manton, Jacomb, and Baxter. After several meet- 
ings, they at last returned a list of sixteen articles, in a 
paper endorsed, ' The principles of faith, presented by 
Messrs. Thomas Goodwin, Nye, Simpson, and other mi- 
nisters, to the Committee of Parliament for religion, by 
way of explanation to the proposals for propagating the 

Baxter gives a long and tiresome account of this meet- 
ing, ascribing the whole work of it to Dr. Owen, assisted 
by Nye, Goodwin, and Simpson. He assures us there was 
a great deal of wrangling, of which, by his own account, 
he was a principal cause. He says, ' Dr. Owen was hotter 
and better befriended in the assembly than himself;' and 
that ' he was then under great weakness and soporous, or 
scotoraatical, illness of his head.'" He evidently laboured 
under his constitutional malady, disputacious pertinacity. 
What is surprising, he takes credit to himself, lover of 
peace and unity as he professed all his life to be, for de- 
feating the unanimity that would have prevailed had he 
not been there ! 

Neal appears to have misunderstood the nature of this 
meeting, and the design of the framers of these articles.. 
He speaks as if the object of the divines had been to legis- 
late ow the subject o{ toleration, or to direct the parliament 

>• Neal, iv. pp. 97—102. » Baxter's Life, p. ii. pp. 197, 205. Appendix, p. 75. 

DR. OWEK. llo. 

how far it might proceed in granting liberty of conscience. 
But the fact is simply this, they were called together by 
a committee of the house to state, what, in their opinion, 
was fundamental or essential in Christianity. With the 
propriety of tolerating- those who differed from them on the 
points of their declaration, they had nothing to do. The 
use to be made of their paper was no concern of theirs, 
and to the question proposed to them, they religiously ad- 
hered, as they gave no opinion of any kind on the subject 
of religious liberty. Instead of this, we should conclude 
from the title of the document, that it was intended for a 
different purpose, something about the propagation of the 
gospel. Where then is the occasion for Neal's language 
about the narrow list of fundamentals, given in by the In- 
dependents? So far from its being narrow, it seems to me 
to bo very wide, being almost as general as the apostles' 
creed. I believe, most Christians \vould consider that it 
contained rather too little than too much. ' It appears,' 
Neal says, ' by these articles, that these divines intended 
to exclude, not only Deists, Socinians, and Papists, but 
Arians, Antinomians, Quakers, and others.' Exclude from 
what? Not from civil privileges, but from holding the es- 
sentials of Christianity. ' Into such difficulties do wise 
and good men fall when they usurp the kingly office of 
Christ, and pretend to restrain that liberty which is the 
birth-right of every reasonable creature.' The meeting 
under consideration, fell into no difficulties, usurped no 
part of the office of Christ, and did nothing to restrain the 
liberty of others. ' It is an unwarrantable presumption for 
any number of men to declare what is fundamental in the 
Christian religion, any farther than the Scriptures have ex- 
pressly declared it.' If this sentence means that the Bible 
alone can decide what is necessary to salvation ; every 
Christian will assent to it. But if it asserts that we have no 
right to declare what, in our opinion, must be believed in 
order to salvation, it is excessively absurd. Every man 
who preaches the gospel is called to declare this. Every 
society of Christians has a professed or implied belief on 
the subject ; and there can be no impropriety in our giving 
an answer in any circumstances to what is asked us respect- 
ing it. ' Besides,' adds Neal, ' Why should the civil ma- 
I 2 

116 Mii:iMoii{.s oi- 

gistrate protect none but those who profess faith in God 
by Jesus Christ?' I also ask, why? The ministers were not 
called to answer it. Who proposed this as the law of to- 
leration ? Cromwell and his officers, or the parliament, ac- 
cording to our historian himself!' 

Thus the main proof which has been alleged of the into- 
lerant conduct of Independents, when possessed of power, 
completely fails; as this meeting, and its acts, had nothing 
to do with determining the bounds, either of civil or reli- 
gious liberty. And whatever were its views or conduct, it 
should be noticed, that the majority of the ministers were 
Presbyterians. It wiil not be supposed, that these remarks 
are intended to vindicate the propriety of putting religious 
liberty on the footing of even the most enlarged interpreta- 
tion of Oliver's Instrument. Christianity ought, neither in 
part nor in whole, to be made the test of civil privileges. 
It never was intended for any such purpose, and such a 
use of it is only calculated (o corrupt it, by inducing hypo- 
critical professions of belief, and discouraging free inquiry. 

In the end of the year 1653, Owen, Goodwin, Caryl, 
Lockyer, and others, were presented to Parliament to be 
sent commissioners by three, in a circuit, for ejecting and 
settling ministers according to rules then prescribed; but 
this project not taking effect, Commissioners for the ap- 
probation of public preachers were afterwards appointed, 
of whom Owen was one. In 1G54, he was one of the Com- 
missioners who were appointed in every county, for eject- 
ing scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient ministers and 
school-masters." He was, about the same time, appointed 
one of the visitors for the regulation of the University of 
Oxford, and for the promotion of the interests of learning 
in it." These various appointments must have greatly in- 
creased his labours, and multiplied opportunities to adver- 
saries to annoy and reproach him. 

The Tryers, as they were called, were thirty-eight in . 
number, consisting of Independents, Presbyterians, and 
Baptists. They were to inquire particularly ' into the 
grace of God in the candidate, his holy and unblameable 
conversation, also into his knowledge, and utterance, and 
fitness to preach the gospel.' Whatever may be thought 

Xcal, iv. p. ]00. " Atlien. Ov. ii. pp. 556, 557. -'< Srobel's Acts, p. 12,",. 



of government appointing such a board, or ot'some indivi- 
duals forming part of it, every Christian will admit that 
ministers of the gospel ought to possess the above qualifi- 
cations. The greatest injury to the church of Christ has 
arisen from the introduction of ignorant and ungodly men 
into the office of the ministry. In general, the door has 
been too wide rather than too narrow, and attention to per- 
sonal or literary qualifications, has often superseded due 
regard to the more important acquirements of a moral and 
spiritual nature. 

The conduct of the Tryers has been found fault within 
various quarters. Neal exclaims against their arbitrary 
proceedings, and yet, when he comes to detail those pro- 
ceedings, his account amounts almost to a complete vindi- 
cation. Their conduct was not, probably, more arbitrary 
than might be expected from the general nature of their in- 
structions, and the peculiarity of their business. They 
have been burlesqued, as endeavouring 

' To find, in lines of beard and face, 
Tlie pliysiognoray of grace ; 
And by the sound of twang and uose 
If all be sound within disclose.' 

The most grievous complaints have been uttered, and the 
most extravagant expressions of astonishment poured out, 
because they were so fanatical as to speak about grace, 
regeneration, and experience, as if these were the last 
things that ought to be spoken of to ministers of the gos- 
pel! I am not bound to vindicate their proceedings; they 
had a difficult task to perform, and had to deal with persons 
of very different principles, both in religion and in politics; 
and those who were not approved of, would, of course, 
complain. Had this power been lodged with the bishops 
of those times, or their chaplains, or with the high Presby- 
terians, would Ihey not have had their shibboleth, for which 
ill-natured men might have called them a holy inquisition?f 
Of the conduct of Dr. Owen, as one of the ejecting 
Commissioners, we are able to give a very favourable spe- 
cimen, in his behaviour to the celebrated Dr. Pococke, 
Professor of Arabic in Oxford, who vvas brought before 
the Commissioners for the county of Berks, on account of 

y Neal, iv. p, 109. 


a living he had there, and was likely to receive hard mea- 
sure from them. His views of the conduct of these Com- 
missioners will appear from the following extract of a letter 
to Secretary Thurloe. ' There are in Berkshire some few 
men of mean quality and condition, rash, heady, enemies 
of tithes, who are the Commissioners for the ejecting of 
ministers. They alone sit and act, and are, at this time, 
casting out, on slight pietences, very worthy men; one es- 
pecially they intend to eject next week, whose name is Po- 
cocke, a man of as unblameable a conversation as any that 
I know living ; of repute for learning throughout the world, 
being the Professor of Arabic in our university. So that 
they do exceedingly exasperate all men, and provoke them 
to the height. If any thing could be done to cause them 
to suspend acting till this storm be over,^ I cannot bat 
think it would be good service to his Highness and the 
Commonwealth.'^ Not satisfied with writing to Thurloe, 
accompanied by Drs. Ward, Wilkins, and Wallis, he re- 
paired to the spot where the Commissioners met, where 
they all laboured with much earnestness to convince them 
of the strange absurdity of their conduct. Dr. Owen, in 
particular, with some warmth, endeavoured to make them 
sensible of the infinite contempt and reproach, which would 
certainly fall upon them, when it should be said that they 
had turned out a man (or insufficiency, whom all the learned, 
not of England only, but of all Europe, so justly admired 
for his vast knowledge, and extraordinary accomplish- 
ments. And being himself one of the Commissioners ap- 
pointed by the Act, he added, that he was now come to de- 
liver himself, as well as he could, from a share in such dis- 
grace, by protesting against a proceeding so strangely 
foolish and unjust. The Commissioners being very much 
mortified at the remonstrances of so many eminent men, 
especially of Dr. Owen, in whom they had a particular 
confidence, thought it best to put an end to the matter, and . 
discharged Pococke from farther attendance.'' 

The conduct of Mr. Howe to Fuller the historian, in 
somewhat similar circumstances, was no less creditable to 
his judgment and liberality.'^ So much for the arbitrary 

^ Pcnrucldock's Rising. « Thurioe's State Papers, vol. iii. p. 781. 

'' Pocockc's Life, prefixed to his Works, p. 11. 

« Calaniy's Life of Howe, pp. 20, 'zl. 

DR. OM^EN. Ill) 

proceedings oi' some of the Independent Tryeis. If we may 
judge of the necessity of a measure, and the wisdom of its 
management from the results, we should form a very fa- 
vourable opinion of this appointment by the Protector. 
Baxter, who was none of the Commissioners himself, nor 
any friend of their proceedings, acknowledges that ' They 
saved many a congregation from ignorant, ungodly, drunken 
teachers :— that sort of men that intend no more in the 
ministry than to say a sermon, as readers say their common 
prayers, and so patch a few good words together to talk 
the people asleep on Sunday ; and all the rest of the week 
go with them to the ale-house, and harden them in their 
sin :— and that sort of ministers, that either preached against 
a holy life, or preached as men that never were acquainted 
with it : — all those who used the ministry as a common 
trade to live by, and were never likely to convert a soul : — 
all these they usually rejected, and in their stead admitted 
any that were able, serious preachers, and lived a godly 
life, of what tolerable opinion soever they were. So that 
though many of them were somewhat partial to the Inde- 
pendents, Separatists, Fifth Monarchy men, and Anabap- 
tists, and against the Prelatists and Arminians ; yet, so 
great was the benefit above the hurt, which they brought 
to the church, that many thousands of souls blessed God 
for the faithful ministers whom they let in, and grieved 
when the Prelatists afterwards turned them out again.''^ 

In the year 1655, considerable dissatisfaction with 
Cromwell's government existed in different parts of the 
country, and a day of general rising for the royalists was 
appointed. In the West, the conspiracy actually burst 
forth, headed by the unfortunate Colonel Penruddock, who, 
with several others, shortly after suffered for his conduct. 
The vigilance and resolution of the Protector and his 
friends crushed this dangerous conspiracy. On this occa- 
sion the Vice-chancellor of Oxford exerted all his energy 
and influence to preserve the public peace, and to support 
the existing government. In the same letter to Secretary 
Thurloe, from which I have made an extract, he says, 
* We are here in a quiet condition. I have raised, and now 
well settled, a troop of sixty horse, besides (heir officers. 

d Baxter's Life, parti, p. 72. 


The town also has raised some foot for their defence. We 
have some persons in custody on very good grounds of sus- 
picion, and shall yet secure them. There is much riding 
to and fro in the villages near us ; but, as yet, I cannot 
learn any certain place of their meeting ; so I keep a con- 
tinual guard, and hope some good service has been effected 
by our arming ourselves. The [Gentlemen] of the county 
have met, are backward and cold ; but something we have 
gotten them to engage for, toward the raising of some 
troops. Had I a blank commission or two for horse, I 
tfould, as I suppose on good grounds, raise a troop in 
Berkshire ; sundry good ministers, and others, have been 
with me to assist you to that purpose. If you think it ne- 
cessary to have the work go on, as surely it is to engage 
men in such a city as this, wherein self-preservation helps 
on the public interest; pray send me down one or two com- 
missions to the purpose.'* The newspapers of the period 
record, that Dr. Owen had been very active in securing the 
county, and that the university had raised a troop of horse 
under Captain Kent. 

Foreign as such pursuits must have been to his habits, 
and disagreeable, as they could not fail to be, to his feel- 
ings, they discover his active disposition, and his public 
spirit, and shew how determinedly he endeavoured to dis- 
charge the trust which, as Vice-chancellor of the university, 
was committed to him. They afforded, however, a most 
gratifying opportunity to his adversaries to abuse him, and 
were long after remembered to his disadvantage. ' When 
those loyal gentlemen of the west,' says a most virulent re- 
viler, ' made an attempt to redeem their native soil from 
the bondage of their Cromwellian taskmasters, how did this 
Cromwellian Doctor, rather like a Major-General than 
Vice-chancellor, carry God in his scabbard, and religion 
at his sword's point? How did he make his beadles ex- 
change their staves for fighting irons ? How did he turn 
his gown into a cloak, and vaunt it with white powder in 
his hair, and black in his pocket, threatening every one 
vyith disaffection to the government who would not join 
with him in his designs? And so he rode up and down like 
a spiritual Abaddon, breathing out nothing against those 

« Thnrloe's Stale Paper?, iii. p. '^81. 

DR. OWEV. 121 

brave souls but rage and fury, slaughter and blood.'^ The 
charge of carrying a sword, the Doctor repelled by coolly 
declaring, that, ' to his remembrance, he never wore a 
sword in his life.'§ 

x\bout this time, I find him corresponding with Thur- 
loe, and Cromwell himself, respecting his neighbour, Mr. 
Unton Crooke, of Merton in Oxfordshire, whose son was 
very active in Penruddock's affair ; for which his father was 
made a Sergeant at Law, and himself liberally rewarded.'' 
In a letter to Thurloe, dated May 29th, 1C55, the Doctor 
refers to a conversation with the Secretary respecting this 
gentleman, and speaks of him as worthy of a trust, the 
nature of which he does not explain, though I suppose 
it refers to his being made Sergeant. For in a letter to 
Cromwell, dated October 2d, 1655, he speaks of Crooke in 
this capacity, refers to tlie Protector's favour to him not 
long before, in his request on -his behalf; and puts in a 
petition, that as Cromwell was about to make some new 
judges, he might be thought of for that employment, as a 
man of abilities and integrity.' I do not find that Crooke 
was made a judge; but the correspondence shews the ha- 
bits of intimacy on which Owen lived with the Protector, 
and the influence he was supposed to possess. 

On the 12th of December this year, the Doctor was 
called to attend a conference respecting the Jews. It was 
held in a drawing-room at Whitehall, in the presence of 
his Highness ; who laid before the council the proposal of 
Manasseh Ben Israel, a Spanish Jew, resident in Hol- 
land, for permission to his countrymen to settle and 
trade in England. The meeting consisted of two judges, 
seven citizens of London ; among whom were the Lord 
Mayor and the Sheriffs, and fourteen divines; among 
whom were Dr. Owen, Dr. Goodwin, Dr. Whichcot, Dr. 
Cudworth, Mr. Bridge, and Mr. Cradock. The judges 
considered their toleration merely as a point of law, 
declared they knew of no law against it; and that, if it 
were thought useful to the state, they would advise it. The 
citizens viewed it in a commercial light, and, as probably 
they had different trade interests, they were divided in their 

I Letter to a Friend, p. 13. 5 Reflections on a Libel. 

h Noble's Memoirs, ii.p. 533. Ludlow, ii. pp. 71, 72. 

' Thurioe's State Papers, vol, iv. pp. 65,66. 


opinions about its utility. Both these, however, despatched 
the matter briefly ; but most of the diviues violently op- 
posed it, by text after text, for four whole days. Cromwell 
became at length wearied, and told them he had hoped they 
would throw some light on the subject to direct his con- 
science : but, instead of this, they had rendered it more ob- 
scure than before. He desired, therefore, no more of 
their counsels; but, lest he should do any thing rashly, he 
begged a share in their prayers.*" Sir Paul Ricaut, who 
was then a young man, pressed in among the crowd, and 
said he never heard a man speak so well in his life, as 
Cromwell did on that occasion.' 

What part Owen took in this debate wc are not in- 
formed ; but as some of the ministers would have admitted 
the Jews into England on certain conditions, it is pro- 
bable he was- of this number. The Protector's views of 
the subject, on religious grounds, were far from fanatical — 
* Since the conversion of the Jews was promised in Scrip- 
ture, he did not know but the preaching of the gospel in 
England without idolatry, or superstition, might conduce 
to it.' The project failed, but Manasseh received .£200 
from the public purse for his trouble. 

On the 17th September, 1650", the Doctor preached a 
Sermon in Westminster Abbey, at the opening of a new 
parliament, which the Protector had called for the purpose 
of confirming his title to the supreme magistracy, in a more 
constitutional manner than had yet been done. The Ser- 
mon (for which he received the thanks of the House next 
day by, Sir John Berkstcad, and Mr. Maidstone, the stew- 
ard of the Protector's household),"' was published with a 
dedica-tion, as usual, to Cromwell and the parliament, un- 
der the title of* God's work in founding Zion, and his peo- 
ple's duty thereupon.'" In the course of it, he expresses 
his feelings on account of the deliverance which God had 
wrought for his people very strongly. * The people of God 
in this nation,' he exclaims, ' were despised, but are now 
in esteem ; they were under subjection to cruel taskmasters, 
some in prisons, some banished to the ends of the earth, 
merely for the worship of their God ; the consciences of 

^ Public lutcl. for Dec 12th, le.^li. Whitelockc's Mem. p. 618. Neal iv. pp. 
140 — 11'?. ]Jr. Tovcy's Aiigiia Jiulaica. ' Spcncc's Anecdotes, p. 216. 

"' Ilcalli's "Chronicle, p. j82. " Works, vol. xv. p. 3l2. 

DR. OWEN. 123 

all enthralled ; while iniquity and superstition were esta- 
blished by law. But now, the imprisoned are set at liberty; 
the banished are recalled ; they that lay among the pots 
have got dove's wings ; conscience is no more enthralled ; 
their sacrifices are not mixed with their blood; nor do they 
meet with trembling to worship God. O ye messengers of 
the nations, this is what the Lord hath done !' Every real 
Christian must have exulted at the revolution in religion 
which had taken place ; and must have been grateful to 
the instruments by which it had been effected, whatever 
were their motives or characters. His enlightened ideas of 
religious liberty are stated with great precision in this dis- 
course. After noticing what various parties wished the 
magistrate to do, he thus states his own wishes: — ' That 
the people of God be delivered from the hands of their 
cruel enemies, that they may serve the Lord all the days 
of their lives ; — that notwithstanding their differences, they 
may live peaceably one with, or at least, by another, enjoy- 
ing rule and promotion as they are fitted for employment, 
and as he gives promotion in whose hand it is ; — that god- 
liness, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, be preserved, 
protected, and secured from the hand of violence upon it.' 
I question, whether the most enlightened advocate of the 
duties of government, and the liberties of men, could state 
the subject in more appropriate language than this. The 
government of Britain has not yet granted all that the en- 
larged mind of Owen grasped ; but in what has been ob- 
tained, an earnest is enjoyed of the ultimate triumph of 
principle and liberty: when test, and corporation, and even 
toleration acts, shall all be abrogated; — when civil dis- 
tinctions, on account of religious differences, shall for ever 
cease ; — when the peculiar privileges of ecclesiastical cor- 
porations shall be set aside, and the names of churchman 
and dissenter shall occur only in the vocabularies of obso- 
lete terms ; — when the great body politic shall consist of 
men of every religious name, united by the grand and har- 
monizing principle, that conscience is uncontrolablc by 
human laws, and that to worship God according to its dic- 
tates, is the undoubted, unalienable, and most sacred right 
of every rational creature. 

I find Owen preaching again before parliament on the 


30th of October following; being a day of humiliation. The 
discourse, for which he received the thanks of the house, 
by Major-General Kelsey, is entitled, ' God's presence with 
a people the spring of their prosperity.'" I do not observe 
any thing particularly deserving of notice in it, but his 
pleading very earnestly towards the conclusion, for the 
protection and freedom of the people of God, of all par- 
ties ; and his directing the attention of parliament to the 
religious state of Wales. * Where,' he says, ' the unhap- 
piness of almost all men running into extremes, hath dis- 
advantaged the progress of the gospel, when we had great 
ground for the expectation of better things. Some are still 
zealous for the traditions of their fathers, and nothing almost 
will satisfy them, but their old road of beggarly readers in 
every parish. Others again, perhaps out of a good zeal, 
have hurried the people with violence beyond their princi- 
ples, and sometimes it maybe beyond the truth. Between 
complaints on the one side and the other, between mis- 
guided zeal and lormality, the whole work is almost cast to 
the ground ; — the business of Zion, as such, is scarce by 
any cared for.' The parliament had not been inattentive 
to the interests of religion in Wales ; though its measures 
may not always have been productive of benefit to the 
people. The scandalous and ignorant clergy had been 
ejected. Instead of them, one hundred and fifty good 
preachers were planted in the thirteen Welsh counties, 
most of whom preached three or four times a-week. In 
every market-town there was a schoolmaster, and in most 
great towns two. Six preachers were appointed to itinerate 
in each county, who were indefatigable in their labours; 
and the whole tithes of the principality were devoted to 
these purposes, directed by act of parliaraent.P So that, 
considering the previous character of the clergy; the moun- 
tainous and thinly peopled state of the country; and the 
difficulty of finding suitable persons who could instruct the 
people in Welsh, perhaps all was done that human instru- 
mentality at the time could effect. 

For a series of years, the love of rule and of power had 
continually increased in the breast of Oliver Cromwell. 
The dissolution of the long parliamml, the calling and 

■' Works, vol. XV. p.;)47. p Neal, iv. pp, 116. 120. 

on. OWEN, 


dispersing of other packed assemblies, and the f)*equent 
changes of the form of g^overnment, seem all to have been 
preparatory to his laying- hands on the regal sceptre, and 
assuming the forms and titles of majesty. His last parlia- 
ment was undoubtedly called for the purpose of sanction- 
ing this concluding act of his ambition. From the manner 
in which it had been collected it was easily managed; and 
on the proposal being made, that the Protector should have 
the crown with the title of king, it was soon agreed to by 
a considerable majority. A committee was appointed to 
persuade him to accept it, which presented the offer 
in the form of a petition, on the fourth of April. There 
was another party, however, more difficult to manage 
than the parliament, and whose sanction was then fully 
more necessary. This was composed chiefly of the offi- 
cers of the army; among whom were General Fleetwood 
and Colonel Desborough, the former, son-in-law, and the 
latter; brother-in-law to the Protector. They were most 
decidedly opposed to this measure ; and, from their influ- 
ence in the army, Cromw'ell found it necessary to court 
their favour. Still, nothing was likely to prevent his tak- 
ing this foolish step. He had actually appointed the house 
Jo meet him for this purpose, on the, following morning, 
when an occurrence took place which blasted for ever his 
ambitious designs. i 

Having met Colonel Desborough in the park, Cromwell 
acquainted him with his resolution ; on which Desborough 
frankly told him, that he gave him and his family up for 
lost, and that he would not continue to act with him any 
longer. When Desborough went home, he found Colonel 
Pride, whom Cromwell had knighted with a faggot, to whom 
he imparted the information he had received. Pride ex- 
claimed, ' He shall not.' ' But how will you prevent it,' 
rejoined Desborough. — 'Get me a petition drawn up, and 
I v^^iil blast it,' was the reply. On this they both went to 
Dr. Owen, and having acquainted him with what was going 
on, persuaded him to draw up the petition for them. Next 
morning it was presented to the house by Colonel Mason, 
and some other officers, and set forth — ' That they had ha- 
zarded their lives against monarchy, and were still ready 
to do so, in defence of the liberties of the nation : — that 

126 ME MO IKS OI- 

having observed in some men great endeavours to bring 
the nation again under the old servitude, by pressing their 
General to take upon him the title and government of king, 
in order to destroy him, and weaken the hands of those 
who were faithful to the public; they, therefore, humbly 
desired they would discountenance all such persons and 
endeavours, and continue steadfast to the old cause.' This 
petition being supported by the majority of the ofScers in 
town, at once involved the house and Cromwell in the ut- 
most perplexity. But that sagacious politician, on disco- 
vering how things were likely to go, declined, with great 
ostentation of self-denial, the title of king^, and accepted of 
his pomp and power, under the less common, but expres- 
sive designation of Protector.*' 

This disappointment was not likely to be forgotten by 
Cromwell, either in regard to the officers, or to Owen, The 
Doctor w^as most probably applied to, because the officers 
considered him better qualified than themselves for draw- 
ing up a petition. He would frame the petition to suit the 
sentiments of the persons who were to subscribe to it ; it 
must not, therefore, be considered a proper index of his own 
views. At the same time, there can be-little doubt that he 
agreed with them in the main. He must have dreaded the 
consequences of this step, both to Cromwell, and to the 
country. By this time he had become jealous of the 
Protector's ambition ; and must have deprecated the re- 
turn of former scenes of tyranny, or of civil commotion. 
Whatever were his reasons, his conduct did not advance 
his interest at court; for, from this time, he does not appear 
to have been much about Cromwell. At his inauguration 
into the office of Protector, we find Lockyer preaching, and 
Manton, a Presbyterian, praying. The leading Independ- 
ents either did not choose, or were not chosen, to officiate at 
that mock coronation. Cromwell's death took place in the 
same year, and Owen declares that he had not seen him 
for a long time before. All these are evidences of declin- 
ing favour; but the most conclusive proof soon followed. 
On the third of July, the Protector resigned the Chancel- 
lorship of Oxford; his son Richard was chosen successor 
on the eighteenth ; who, in six weeks after, dismissed Owen 

<i Ludlow, ii. pp. 131—134. 



from the office of Vice-chancellor, and appointed Dr. John 
Conant, a Presbyterian, and Rector of Exeter college, in 
his room/ 


Stale of the University during the civil wars, and when Owen was made 
Vice-chancellor — Extract from his first address to it — From his fifth 
address — Specimen of the state of insubordination which prevailed in it — 
Learned men in office during his Vice- chancellor ship — Independents — 
Presbyterians — Episcopalians — Persotis of note then educated — Writers, 
Philosophers, and Statesmen — Dignitaries of the Church — Dissenters — 
Royal Society then founded in Oxford — Clarendon's Testimony on the 
state of learning in it at the Restoration — Owens management of the se- 
veral parties — Conduct to the Students — Preaching — The University pre- 
sents a volume of poetical addresses to Cromivell — Owen's address — Trick 
played by Kynaston at Oxford — Otven's conduct to ttvo Quakers — His 
views of the Lord's Prayer misrepresented — Refuses to swear by kissing 
the book — Wood's account of his dress and manners — Extract from Eve- 
lyn — Owen addresses the new Chancellor, Richard Cromwell— Takes 
leave of the University. 

We now return to take a view of the university of Oxford 
during- this period, and of the conduct of Dr. Owen, as 
Vice-chancellor. This celebrated seat of learning had been 
in most deplorable circumstances during the civil wars. 
The colleges and halls had gone to ruin ; five of them were 
perfectly deserted ; some of them were converted into ma- 
gazines, and the rest were in a most shattered state : while 
the chambers were filled with officers and soldiers, or let 
out to townsmen. There v.as little, or no education of 
youth ; poverty, desolation, and plunder, — the sad effects 
of war, \Nexe to be seen in every corner ; the bursaries were 
emptied of the public money, the plate melted down for 
the king's service, and the colleges involved in debts which 
they were not able to discharge.^ Such was the wretched 
state of the university, when Oxford fell into the hands of 
the parliament in 1646. It was not till after a most reso- 
lute struggle of two years frqm its being subdued, that 
the heads of houses who had espoused the royal cause, al- 
lowed the Presbyterian clergy, appointed to fill their places, 

f NeaL iv. p. 180. a Walker's SufF. of the Clergy, p. 124. Nea!, iii. p. 429. 


to obtain possession of them. It may easily be supposed, 
that during this violent contest, little attention would be 
paid by either party to the interests of the university, or 
the promotion of learning. When the Presbyterians did 
obtain the superiority, from the extreme confusion in which 
they found every thing-, and the excited state of the public 
mind, a long time must have elapsed before they could 
bring matters even into a train of order and management. 
They were scarcely fixed in their chairs, when their con- 
duct and sentiments became disagreeable to the ruling 
powers, and other changes were premeditated. Long before 
Dr. Reynolds and his brethren lost their places, they must 
have foreseen the storm which was approaching, and would 
naturally be discouraged from attempting for the good of 
the university, what they otherwise would have done. 

Such was the unsettled state of Oxford, when Owen was 
appointed to till the office of Vice chancellor. The chairs 
were chiefly occupied by those who were secretly attached 
to royalty and Episcopacy, or by Presbyterians, whose 
aversion to Independents was not less inveterate; but who 
submitted from one motive or another, to the successive 
changes of that fluctuating period. A few Independents 
were put in at the expense of Presbyterian exclusions, 
which could not fail to excite the bitterest enmity. We 
may, therefore, give Owen full credit for accepting «the 
honour with reluctance and anxiety. To perform the part 
of a faithful and skilful pilot in such a storm, to reduce 
such a chaos into order, to plunge into the midst of party 
dissatisfaction and cabal, to please those above, and to sa- 
tisfy those below, required no ordinary courage, self-denial, 
and ability. His views and feelings were thus expressed, 
in his first address to the learned body. 

* I am well aware. Gentlemen of the University, of the 
grief you must feel, that after so many venerable names, 
reverend persons, depositaries and preceptors of the arts 
and sciences, the fates of the university should have, at 
last, placed him as leader of the company who almost 
closes the rear. Neither, indeed, is this state of our afi'airs, 
of whatever kind it be, very agreeable to myself, since I am 
compelled by it, to regard my return, after a long absence, 
to my beloved mother, as a prelude to the duties of a la- 

DR. OWEN. 129 

borious and diflScult situation. But complaints are not re- 
medies of any misfortune. Whatever their situation, groans 
become not grave and honourable men. It is the part of 
an undaunted mind boldly to bear up under a heavy bur- 
den. For, as the comic poet*" says : — 

The life of man 
Is like a game at tables. If the cast 
Which is most necessary be not thrown, 
That which chance sends, you must correct by art. 

The academic vessel too long, alas ! tossed by storms, 
being almost entirely abandoned by all, whose more ad- 
vanced age, longer experience, and well-earned literary 
titles, excited great and just expectations; I have been 
called upon by the partiality and too good opinion of 
him, whose commands we must not gainsay, and with 
whom the most earnest entreaties to be excused were urged 
in vain, and also by the consenting suffrage of this senate; 
and, therefore, although there is, perhaps, no one more unfit, 
I approach the helm. In what times, what manners, what 
diversities of opinion (dissensions and calumnies every 
where raging in consequence of party spirit), what bitter 
passions and provocations, what pride and malice, our 
academical authority has occurred, I both know and lament. 
Nor is it only the character of the age that distracts us, 
but another calamity to our literary establishment, which 
is daily becoming more conspicuous : — the contempt, 
namely, of the sacred authority of law, and of the reverence 
due to our ancestors, the watchful envy of malignants, the 
despised tears and sobs of our almost dying mother, the 
University (with the eternal loss of the class of gownsmen, 
and the no small hazard of the whole institution), the de- 
testable audacity and licentiousness, manifestly Epicurean, 
beyond all the bounds of modesty and piety, in which, 
alas ! too many of the students indulge. Am I, then, able, 
in this tottering state of all things, to apply a remedy to 
this complication of difficulties, in which so many, and so 
great heroes have, in the most favourable times, laboured 
in vain? I am not. Gentlemen, so self-sufficient. Were I 
to act the part of one, so impertinently disposed to flatter 
himself; nay, were the slightest thought of such a nature 

b Terence, Adelpii. iv. vi. 21. 
VOL. I. K 


to enter my mind, I should be quite displeased with my- 
self. I live not so far from home, nor such a stranger to 
myself; I use not my eyes so much in the manner of 
witches, as not to know well, how scantily I am furnished 
with learning, prudence, authority, and wisdom. Anti- 
quity hath celebrated Lucullus as a prodigy in nature, who, 
though unacquainted with even the duty of a common 
soldier, became without any diflSculty an expert General ; 
so that the man whom the city sent out inexperienced in 
fighting, him the army received a complete master of the 
art of war. Be of good courage. Gentlemen, I bring no 
prodigies ; from the obscurity of a rural situation, from the 
din of arms, from journeys for the sake of the gospel into 
the most distant parts of this island, and also beyond sea, 
from the bustle of the court, I have retreated, unskilful la 
the government of a university; unfekilful, also, I am come 

' What madness is this, then, you will say ? Why have 
you undertaken an office, which you are unable to execute, 
far less to adorn ? You have judged very ill for yourself, 
for the university, and for this venerable senate. Softly, 
my hearers, neither hope nor courage wholly fails one who 
is swayed by the judgment, the wishes, the commands, the 
entreaties of the highest characters. We are not ourselves 
the sources of worthy deeds of any kind. " He who minis- 
tereth seed to the sower," and who **from the mouths of 
infants hath ordained strength," is able graciously to sup- 
ply all defects, whether caused from without, or felt within. 
Destitute, therefore, of any strength and boldness of my 
own, and of any adventitious aid, through influence with 
the university, so far as I know, or have deserved ; it ne- 
vertheless remains to me, to commit myself wholly to Him, 
" who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not." He 
hath appointed an eternal fountain of supply in Christ, 
who furnisheth " seasonable help " to every pious endea- 
vour, unless our "littleness of faith" stand in the way: 
thence must I wait, and pray for light, for strength, and 
for courage. Trusting, therefore, in his graciously pro- 
mised presence, according to the state of the times, and 
the opportunity which, through Divine Providence, we 
have obtained ; conscious integrity alone supplying the 

DR. OWEN. 131 

place of arts, and of all embellishments ; without either a 
depressed or servile spirit, I address myself to this under- 

No human powers, or influence, could, in a short time, 
subdue the formidable difficulties of such a situation. Bad 
habits of long standing were not to be soon or easily cor- 
rected ; strong prejudices against learning prevailed among 
some of the persons in power ; and a disposition to inno- 
vate, and to overturn, had got possession of the public 
mind. A combination of firmness and prudence, of per- 
severance and meekness, was peculiarly necessary in the 
existing state, both of the country and the university. An 
attempt was actually made to suppress the universities en- 
tirely, which, had it succeeded, must have been attended 
with the most ruinous consequences. Of this state of 
things, he gives, in a subsequent oration to the university, 
the following description, which at once exhibits the mi- 
serable anarchy of the period, his love of learning, and his 
indignant contempt of the fanatical desperadoes who had 
attempted to re-barbarize the country. 

' For the first two years we were a mere rabble, and a 
subject of talk to the rabble. Our critical situation and 
our common interests were discussed in journals and news- 
papers, by the most ignorant and despicable. Nor was 
any creature so miserably stupid, as not to entertain fears 
or hopes, on account of our situation. Such was the will 
of the Sovereign disposer of events, that mortals might 
learn to value less whatever is mortal ; nor was it perhaps 
right, that, while empires, and the highest ornaments of 
the whole world were withering, the university alone should 
carry an uninjured flower. Meanwhile, our cause, which 
ought to have been held sacred, but was now exposed to 
the greatest danger, very few ventured heartily to defend. 
Nay, such was the pitch of madness, that to have stood up 
for gownsmen, would have been reckoned a violation of 
religion and piety. On the other hand, every thing that 
is reprobated among respectable men, and that is really 
criminal, was most plentifully charged on you every day 
by the malicious. Those who were more favourably dis- 
posed towards us, were nevertheless so much occupied 

" Oratio, i. Works, vol. xxi. pp. .577, ,578. 



with their own affairs, that, deaf to entreaties, and worn 
out with almost continual reproaches, all they could do 
was mere conversation, contriving delays, or uttering such 
pious sentiments as are usual concerning the dead. All 
our affairs, therefore, being in contusion, and in the most 
imminent danger, destitute of all human aid, no wonder was 
achieved for us by the use of means, but our most merciful 
Father looked down on us from heaven. After it had be- 
come but too manifest, to what an extreme, the audacity, 
rage, and ignorance of some, from whom better things might 
have been expected, would have gone; the Governor of 
all things, so quickly defeated all their councils, and all 
their attempts, that with difficulty were those able to pro- 
vide for their own interests, who, three days before, were 
most eagerly intent on swallowing up ours. Of that base 
attempt against the universities, which, with the anger and 
opposition of God, some insane creatures in vain engaged 
in, nothing remains, except the signal disgrace, and the 
never to be forgotten insanity. As long, however, as there 
shall be men, who, with copious eloquence shall be able to 
transmit, in eternal records, the deeds and decrees of the 
brave and wise, together with the infamy of the wicked, 
its authors will probably have reason to repent of that at- 

The exertions of the Vice-Chancellor, we may be as- 
sured, were not wanting to correct these evils, to maintain 
the rights of the University, and to support its claims to the 
character of piety and learning. He set himself vigorously 
to curb the licentiousness of the students. The state of 
morals and order among them, with the degree of firmness 
and authority, which was requisite to keep them in sub- 
jection, may be judged of by the following incident. At a 
public Act, when a student of Trinity College was Terr(B 
films, the Doctor, before he began, told him, that he should 
have liberty to say what he pleased, provided he would 
abstain from profaneness, obscenity, and personalities. 
The Terrcefilius began, but soon transgressed all the rules 
which had been prescribed to him. The Doctor several 
times desired him to forbear, but still he went on ; till at 
last seeing him obstinate, he sent the Beadles to pull him 

<■ Oratio, v. Works, vol. xxi. pp. 610, 611. 

DR. OWEN. 133 

down. On this the scholars interposed and would not suf- 
fer them to come near him. The Doctor determined to 
pull him down himself, and though his friends near him dis- 
suaded him, lest the scholars should do him some mischief, 
* I will not see authority trampled on in this manner,' said 
he, and actually pulled him down, and sent him to Bocardo, 
the prison belonging to the University ; the scholars stand- 
ing off, surprised at his resolution.* He took care, says 
the writer of his life, to restrain the loose, to encourage the 
sober and pious, to prefer men of learning and industry, 
and, under his administration, it was visible that the whole 
body of the University was reduced into good order, and 
flourished with a number of excellent scholars, and per- 
sons of distinguished piety. *" This will appear by a slight 
notice of some of the leading men among the Independents, 
Presbyterians, and Episcopalians then in the University. 

John Owen, himself, was at the head of it as Vice- 
Chancellor, for five years, and filled the next important 
office in it for nine. Dr. Thos. Goodwin, whom Wood de- 
nominates * One of the Atlasses and Patriarchs of Inde- 
pendency,'s^ was President of Magdalen College during the 
same period. As a theologian he was perhaps rather too 
high a Calvinist ; but he was distinguished for his piety, 
learning, and industry, as the five folio volumes of his post- 
humous works bear ample testimony. Thankful Owen 
was President of St. John's College, who, according to 
Wood, had a good command of the Latin tongue,'' and is 
described by Calamy as a man of polite learning, and ex- 
cellent temper, and who was admired for his uncommon 
fluency, easiness, and sweetness, in all his compositions. 
Dr. Owen said of him at his death, which took place in 
1681, ' that he had not left his fellow behind him, for learn- 
ing, religion, and good humour.'' George Porter, Fellow 
of Magdalen College, was Proctor of the University in the 
second year of Owen's Vice-Chancellorship, — a man of 
good learning, great gravity, integrity, self-denial, and 
charity.'' Stephen Charnock was Fellow of New College, 
and in 1652 Senior Proctor. His work on the Divine 
Attributes is a sufficient proof of his talents, piety, and 

e Memoirs, xi. f Ibid. g Ath. Ox. vol. ii. p. 556. 

^ Wood's Fasti, Tol.ii. p. 734. ' Non-con. Mem. vol.i. p. 235. ^Ibid. vol.i.p.217. 


learning.' Samuel Lee, of Magdalen Hall, afterwaids 
Fellow of Wadham College, and Proctor in 165G, was the 
author of several learned and curious works.'" He be- 
came a member of Dr. Owen's Church in London, to 
which he thus dedicates his * Ecclesia Geraens,' in 1677: 

* To the Holy Church of Christ, lately walking in com- 
munion with Mr. Joseph Caryl, and now with Dr. John 
Owen, before whom these exercises were handled, and to 
whom they are now humbly presented, by theirs in the fel- 
lowship of the gospel, S. L.' Ralph Button was Fellow of 
Merton College, and Canon of Christ Church, an excellent 
scholar, says Baxter ; but of greater excellence, as a most 
humble, worthy, godly man." He obtained his Fellow- 
ship of Merton College, in 1633, entirely by his merit, 
which led Dr. Prideaux, then Rector of Exeter College, to 
say, ' that all who were elected beside him were not worth 
a Button.'" Jonathan Goddard, M- D. was Warden of 
Merton College, a man of considerable celebrity as a Che- 
mist and Physician. He was a member of the Royal So- 
ciety, Professor of Physic in Greshara College, and the 
author of various Medical works.? Theophilus Gale, was 
Fellow of Magdalen College. Wood describes him as *a 
person of great reading, an exact Philologist and Philo- 
sopher; a learned and industrious person ;"• of which his 

* Court of the Gentiles,' alone furnishes indubitable evi- 
dence. Thomas Cole, was Principal of St. Mary's Hall, 
and Tutor to John Locke and other celebrated individuals.' 
James Baron, was Divinity Reader of Magdalen College, 
and with Thankful Owen, Editor of Dr. Goodwin's Post- 
humous works.' Francis Howel, was Moral Philosophy 
reader to the University, and Principal of Jesus College.^ 
Lewis Du Moulin, M. D. Cambden Professor of History, 
was a man of great learning and acuteness, and author of 
many works. ' He was,' says Wood, ' a fiery, violent, and 
hot-headed Independent.'" Mr. Francis Johnson, Master 
of University College, and one of Cromwell's Chaplains, 
was a man of learning and ability." John Howe Mas a Fel- 
low of Magdalen College, whose praise I need not pro- 

' Non-con. Mem. vol. i. p. tiO. '" Ibid. p. 105. " Ibid. iii. p. \<ie, 127. 

" South's Life, p. 10. P Ward's Lives, p. 270 273, 

1 Ath. Ox. vol. ii. p. 4.^1. "■ Non-con. Mem. i. p. 249. • Ibid. p. 288 

' Ibid. p. 234. " Fasti, vol. ii. p. 7b3. x Non-con. Mem. vol. i. p. 257. 

DK. OWEN. 135 

nounce, as he is universally admitted to have been one of 
the greatest men this country ever produced .^ Henry 
Stubb, Second Keeper of the Bodleian Library, afterwards 
celebrated for his opposition to the Royal Society, was the 
most noted person of his age, according to Wood, who 
adds, — ' While he continued under-graduate it was usual 
with him to discourse in the public Schools, very fluently 
in the Greek tongue. But since the King's restoration we 
have had no such matter, which shews that education and 
discipline were more severe then than after, when scholars 
were given more to liberty and frivolous studies."^ 

Among the Presbyterians was Dr. Henry Wilkinson, 
Sen., Margaret Professor of Divinity, a man of learning 
and public spirit ; ' A good scholar, a close student, and 
an excellent preacher,' says Wood.'' Dr. Henry Wilkinson, 
Jun. was Principal of Magdalen Hall, and the author of 
several learned works. ' He was ever courteous in speech 
and carriage, communicative of his knowledge, generous 
and charitable to the poor, and always minded the common 
good more than his own interests.''' Dr. Dan. Greenwood 
was Principal of Brazen Nose College, and formerly Vice- 
Chancellor. Neal says he had the reputation of a pro- 
found scholar and divine; and even Wood acknowledges 
that he was a severe and good governor.'^ Dr. Edmund 
Staunton was President of Corpus Christi College. He was 
so well acquainted with the Scriptures, that he was a living 
Concordance to the Bible, and distinguished no less for his 
amiable manners than for the extent of his learning, and 
the greatness of his labours.'* Dr. John Conant was Rector 
of Exeter College, of whom Frideaux, who loved a pun, as 
we have already seen, said, Conanti nihil difficile.^ Dr. 
Robert Harris, President of Trinity College, was a great 
Hebrew scholar, Chronologist, and Historian .f Dr. Henry 
Langley was Master of Pembroke College, and a solid and 
judicious Divine.s Dr. Michael Roberts, of whom Neal 
speaks, was a good scholar.*" John Harraar was Regius 
Professor of Greek in the University. He was a most excel- 

y Calamj's Life of Howe. ^ Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 412. 

» Non-con. Mem. vol. i. p. ■241. ^ Ibid. vol. i. p. 242. <= Neal, vol. iii. p. 468. 

'^ Non-con. Mem. vol. 5. p. 221 — 228. e ibid. p. 229. 

f Neal, vol. iii. p. 469. 8 Ibid. vol. iii. p. 470. '' Ibid. 


lent Philologist, a tolerable Latin Poet, and the author of 
several learned works. He was ejected at the Restoration.' 

Among the Episcopalians, were Dr. Wilkins, Warden of 
Wadham College, who married the sister of the Protector, 
and was, after the Restoration, made Bishop of Chester; 
a man justly celebrated for the extent of his philosophical 
knowledge, his excellent temper, and admirable abilities:'' 
Dr. Seth Ward, afterwards Bishop of Exeter and Salis- 
bury, a timeserver, but the most noted Mathematician 
and Astronomer of his age :^ Dr. John Wallis, who had 
been one of the clerks to the Westminster Assembly, Sa- 
vilian Professor of Geometry, and highly celebrated as a 
Geometrician :™ Dr. Pococke, Professor of Arabic, the 
greatest Oriental scholar of his time :" Dr. Zouch, Princi- 
pal of St. Alban's Hall, a distinguished civilian :° Dr. 
Langbain, Provost of Queen's College, and keeper of the 
records of the University, an excellent linguist, philoso- 
pher, and divine ; the friend of Selden and of Pococke. 
He died in 1G57,p and was succeeded by Dr. Barlow, who 
had been tutor to Owen, and afterwards became Bishop of 
Lincoln : Dr. Paul Hood, Rector of Lincoln College, and 
Chancellor of the University in 1G60 :'^ Dr. Joshua Hoyle, 
Master of University College, and King's Professor of 
Divinity till his death, in 1654. He was a person of great 
reading and memory, and so devoted to his book that he 
was in a great measure a stranger to the world :' Dr. 
Thomas Hyde, afterwards Professor of Arabic, and author 
of the learned work ' De Religione Persarum ;' and Mr. 
Samuel Clarke, another eminent Oriental scholar, and one 
of the most learned coadjutors of Walton in the Polyglot, 
then resided in Oxford ; as did also the ingenious Robert 
Hooke, and the far celebrated Robert Boyle, who took up 
his residence in Oxford, as the only place in England in 
which he could enjoy the benefit of learned society, and 
prosecute to advantage his philosophical studies.^ 

Such were some of the celebrated men in the several 

' Athei). Ox. vol. ii, p. 347. — Non-con. Mem. vol. ii. p. 265. 

•> Allien. Ox. vol. ii. p. 370. ' Ibid. vol. ii. p. 627. "' Neal, vol. iii. p. 472. 

" Pococke's Life, prefixed to his works. <> Wood's Allien, vol. ii. p. 166. 

P Ibid. p. 140. <i Neai, vol. iii. p. 459. 

r Atheii. Ox. vol. ii. p. 113. » Birch's Life of Bovle, pp. 51—56. 

DR. OWEN. 137 

parties who flourished at Oxford during the commonwealth. 
It may be doubted whether that university ever enjoyed a 
greater number of persons eminent in their respective pro- 
fessions, or more distinguished for character, talents, and 
learning. They afford indubitable evidence of the truth of 
Thurloe's account of Cromwell, ' that he sought out men 
for places, and not places for men ;' a remark by no means 
generally applicable to the kings of the earth. The mere 
enumeration of their names is sufficient to shew the just- 
ness of the following eulogium which the Vice-Chancellor 
pronounced in 1653, on the worth and celebrity of his col- 
leagues. After speaking of their piety and candour, he 
thus proceeds : — ' I could not but give such a public testi- 
mony, as a regard to truth and duty required from me, to 
the very respectable and learned men, the heads of the 
Colleges, who have merited so highly of the Church, for 
their distinguished candour, great diligence, uncommon 
erudition, blameless politeness ; many of whom are zea- 
lously studious of every kind of literature, and many, who 
by their conduct in the early period of their youth, give 
the most promising hopes of future merit: so that I would 
venture to affirm, that no impartial and unprejudiced judge 
will believe that our university hath either been surpassed, 
or is now surpassed by any society of men in the world, 
either in point of a proper respect and esteem for piety, 
for manners orderly and worthy of the Christian vocation; 
and for a due regard to doctrines, arts, languages, and all 
sciences that can be ornamental to wise and good men, 
appointed for the public good.'' 

Nor will our opinion of the learning and celebrity of 
Oxford during this period be lowered, if we notice a few 
of the persons who then received a part or the whole of 
their academical education. Some of them were after- 
wards distinguished as philosophers and statesmen ; many 
of them rose to eminent situations in the church, while 
others adorned the humbler ranks of the Non-conformist 
profession. Among the first class were : — John Locke : 
William Penn, the celebrated Quaker, and the enlightened 
founder and legislator of Pensylvania :* Dr. South, who 
enjoyed in early life the friendship and patronage of Dr. 

• Pref. Dis. Jus. « Birch's Life of Tillolson, n. 124. 


Owen, though he afterwards shewed himself unworthy, of 
both:" Sir Thomas Millington, M. D. who was after- 
wards Sedlyan Professor of Natural History :" Dr. Ralph 
Bathurst, afterwards President of Trinity College, and 
nominated to be Bishop of Bristol i^ Joseph Williamson, 
afterwards Secretary of State :" Sir Christopher Wren, the 
celebrated architect :^ Dr. Daniel Whitby, well known for 
his critical acumen, and Anti-Calvinistic zeal:'' Anthony 
A. Wood, the Oxford Antiquary, and the enemy of Puri- 
tans and Dissenters ; to whose learned pages we have often 
been indebted :"= Mr. Joseph Glanville, a distinguished 
writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and one of its most 
strenuous defenders :^ Launcelot Addison, father to the 
celebrated Joseph Addison:* he was Dean of Lichfield, 
and a man of some eminence : Henry Oldenburg, a Saxon; 
afterwards Secretary to the Royal Society. He married 
the only daughter of John Dury, the indefatigable, but un- 
successful advocate of peace and concord among the Pro- 
testant Churches.^ Learning, says Burnet, was then high at 
Oxford ; chiefly the study of the Oriental tongues, which 
was much raised by the Polyglot Bible then set forth. 
They read the Fathers much there ; and Mathematics and 
the New Philosophy were in great esteem.^ 

Many of the dignified clergy of the future reigns were 
also indebted to the Oxford Professors of this period for 
their education. Such as : — Dr. Sprat, Bishop of Roches- 
ter, and Historian of the Royal Society :'' Henry Compton, 
successively a cornet in the guards, and Bishop of Oxford 
and London; a determined supporter of the Revolution:' 
Dr. Nathaniel Crew, Bishop of Oxford and Durham, and 
Grand Inquisitor of the Ecclesiastical Commission, in the 
reign of James IL ; for which he obtained a pardon from 
William, through the intercession of Dr. Bates:" Dr. 
Thomas Cartwright, Bishop of Chester, and another friend 
of James IL, with whom he afterwards fled to France:' 
Samuel Parker, son of a Puritan, and himself known as a 

" South's Life. ^ Life of Anthony Wood, p. 85. y Biog. Diet. 
» Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p. 797. » Ibid. p. 772. ^ Ihid. p. 792. « Wood's Life. 

<J Athcn. Ox. vol. ii. p. 49.5. « Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p. 780. 

'lb. vol. ii. p. 792. — Birch's Life of Boyle, s Hist, of his own Times, vol. i p. 280. 

^ Biog. Diet. ' Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 185. 

k WoodV Fasti, vol. ii. p. 786.— Birch's Life of Tillotson, pp. 137, 138. 

' Athcn. Ox. vol. ii. p. 629. 

DR. OWEN. 139 

grueller at Oxford, but afterwards a violent enemy of the 
Non-conformists, and of Dr. Owen in particular. He was 
made Bishop of Oxford by James TI., and died move than 
suspected of Popery :" Ezekiel Hopkins, Bishop of Raphoe 
and Derry, a man of piety and abilities, whose Exposition 
of the Commandments, and other works, are still popular:" 
Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and afterward 
one of the Nonjurors :° Edward Fowler, Bishop of Glou- 
cester, to which See he was raised for his active services 
at the Revolution. He was the author of several works:? 
Nicholas Stratford, Bishop of Chester:'' Capel Wiseman, 
Bishop of Dromore, and Timothy Hall, Bishop of Oxford :■" 
George Hooper, Bishop of St. Asaph, and of Bath and 
Wells, the writer of several learned works :' Narcissus 
Marsh, Archbishop of Cashel, an amiable and learned Pre- 
late, and founder of a valuable library in Dublin, conducted 
on the most liberal principles :' Robert Huntington, Bishop 
of Kilmore, and distinguished for his attainments in Ori- 
ental literature :" Richard Cumberland, Bishop of Peter- 
borough, well known as the author of a valuable work, ' De 
Legibus Naturae,' and one on Jewish Weights and Mea- 
sures; and as the translator of Sanchoniathon, beside other 
productions:" FrancisTurner,Bishopof Rochester and Ely, 
one of the seven who were sent to the Tower byKing Jam«s; 
but who was afterwards deprived, for not taking the oaths to 
William :y John Lloyd, Bishop of St. David's.^ He was a 
great critic in the Greek and J^atin authors, but chiefly in the 
Scriptures ; of the words and phrases of which he carried 
the most perfect concordance in his memory. Wilkins used 
to say, he had the most learning in ready cash of any one he 
ever knew. He was a great chronologist and historian, and 
a holy, humble, patient man, ever ready to do good when he 
had an opportunity.^ After noticing some of the dignified 
clergy who were formed at Oxford and Cambridge during 
this period, Burnet adds: * These have been the greatest di- 
vines we have had these forty years. They contributed n>ore 
than can be well imagined to reform the way of preaching; 

"> Athen. Ox. vol. ii. pp. 616. 621. " Ibid. vol. ii. p. 647. 

» Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p. 617. P Ibid. vol. ii. p. 780. q Ibid. f Ibid. p. 793. 

s Biog. Diet. ' Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p. 793. " Ibid. — Bipg. Diet. 

* Fasti, vol. ii. p. 796. y Ibid. vol. ii. p. 802 — Burnet's own Times, iv. p. 111). 

* Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 685. » Burnet's own Times, i. p. 273. 


which, among the divines of England, before them, was 
overrun with pedantry, a great mixture of quotations from 
Fathers, and ancient writers, along opening of a text, with 
the concordance of every word in it, and giving all the dif- 
ferent expositions of it, with the grounds of them, conclud- 
ing with some very short practical applications, according 
to the subject or the occasion.''' 

Among the Dissenters who then received their education 
at Oxford, were : — Mr. Thos. Cawton, afterwards minis- 
ter of a church in Westminster, of whom Granger says, 

* he had few equals in learning, and no superior in piety i'*^ 
Mr. Edward Bagshaw, second master of Westminster 
School, while Busby was at its head ; with whom, as well 
as with Baxter, he had some warm controversy. He may 
be said to have lost his life for refusing to take the oath of 
allegiance and supremacy, as he died from the effect of 
imprisonment on this account. He was the friend of Dr. 
Owen, who gives his character in the following epitaph ; 
which is inscribed on his tomb-stone in Bunhill-fields: 

* Here lies interred the body of Mr. Edward Bagshaw, mi- 
nister of the gospel, who received from God faith to em- 
brace it, courage to defend it, and patience to suffer for 
it; when by the most despised, and by many persecuted. 
Esteeming the advantages of birth, education, and learn- 
ing, all eminent i« him, as things of worth, to be accounted 
loss for the knowledge of Christ. From the reproaches 
of pretended friends, and persecutions of professed adver- 
saries he took sanctuary by the will of God in eternal rest, 
the 28th December, 1671:''' Mr. Philip Henry, well known 
as an eminent Non-conformist himself, and as the father of 
the more celebrated Matthew Henry, the Commentator. 
Of his exercises. Dr. Owen used to speak highly when 
Dean of the College of which Mr. Henry was a student. 
His account of the state of religion in the University, while 
he was at it, deserves to be quoted. ' He would often . 
mention, with thankfulness to God, what great helps and 
advantages he had then in the University, not only for 
learning, but for religion and piety. Serious godliness was 
in reputation, and besides the public opportunities they had, 
there were many of the scholars that used to meet together 

^ BurnctV own Times, i. p. 278. -' Biog. Hist. ^ Allien. Ox. vol. ii. p. 491. 

DR. OAVEN. 141 

for prayer, and Christian conference, to the great confirm- 
ing of one another's hearts in the fear and love of God, and 
the preparing of them for the service of the church in their 
generation.'' Mr. George Trosse, afterwards minister in 
Exeter, was a man of unwearied diligence, and considerable 
learning ; he wrote several things, which were esteemed at 
the time, and left in six folio volumes a MS. Exposition of 
the Assembly's Catechism, which still exists. His account 
of religious exercises in Oxford, while he was a student, 
ought to be noticed along with Mr. Henry's, as throwing 
light on the state of the University at this period. ' He at- 
tended Dr. Conant's lectures on Fridays, Dr. Harris's ca- 
techetical lectures on Tuesdays, the lecture kept up by the 
Canons of Christ Church on Thursdays, Mr. Hickman's mi- 
nistry, at St. Olaves, on the Lord's days, and heard also 
many excellent sermons at St. Mary's. He received the 
sacrament sometimes from Mr. Hickman, and sometimes 
from Dr. Langley, the Master of his College. He attended the 
repetition ofSermons, and solemnprayerin the College Hall, 
on the Lord's days before supper : and he himself repeated 
sermons and prayed, with a few young men in his chamber, 
afterwards .''^ John Wesley, who was ejected from White- 
church in Dorsetshire, grandfather of the celebrated foun- 
der of Methodism, to whom, while a student at Oxford, 
Dr. Owen shewed much kindness.^ It is worthy of remai:k, 
that both by his father and his mother, John Wesley, High 
Churchman though he was, sprang from Dissenters: Dr. An- 
nesley, his mother's father also, being a distinguished Non- 
conformist. Mr. John Quick, the well-known author of the 
'Synodicon Gallia Reformata,' and of an unedited MS. in 
three folio volumes, now in the Red Cross Street Library, 
containing lives of eminent Protestant divines, both French 
and English.'' Joseph Alleine, the ejected minister of 
Taunton; a learned and most devoted man, justly cele- 
brated for his ' Call to the Unconverted ;' which has gone 
through innumerable editions.' Thomas Tregrosse, the 
ejected minister of Millar and Mabe in Cornwall, and dis- 
tinguished for his apostolic labours in that country .J John 

• Memoirs of Philip Henry, by his Son, p. 19. 
fCalaray's Continuation, vol. i. p. 385. s Non-con. Mem. vol.ii. p. 165. 
Ibid. vol. ii. p. 9. ' Athcn. Ox. vol. ii. p. 299.— Non-con. Mem. vol. jii. p. 206. 
3 Ciark's Lives. 


Troughton, blind from the fourth year of his age ; yet a 
good school divine, and metaphysician, and much com- 
mended for his disputations when at the University. He 
wrote on Justification, and several things on the Non- 
conformist controversy."" Charles Morton, afterwards a 
celebrated dissenting tutor at Newington Green; but so 
pestered with the Bishops' processes, that he was obliged 
to desist and retire to America, where he died.' Samuel 
Tapper, the friend of Bishops Wilkins and Ward; Thomas 
Danson, Samuel Blower, John Spilsbury, and James 
Ashurst, all Dissenting ministers of some eminence; beside 
many others too numerous to be named in this place."" 

It was during this time, and in Oxford also, that the 
foundation of the Royal Society was laid ; and some of its 
earliest and most distinguished friends either belonged to 
the University, or there received the elements of their edu- 
cation." These facts and testimonies shew the flourishing 
state of learning, religion, and science, during the latter 
part at least of Owen's Vice-Chancellorship ; and the merit 
which is due to him in bringing this important seat of in- 
struction out of the dangers to which, at the beginning of 
his administration, it was evidently exposed from disorder, 
party spirit, and fanaticism. If any additional evidence is 
wanted in support of our representations, and to expose 
the calumnies propagated against Owen and his friends, it 
shall be furnished by Lord Clarendon, whose impartiality 
on such a subject will not be questioned . ' It yielded,' says 
his Lordship, ' a harvest of extraordinary, good, and sound 
knowledge, in all parts of learning: and many who were 
wickedly introduced, applied themselves to the study of 
learning, and the practice of virtue. So that when it 
pleased God to bring King Charles IL back to his throne, 
he found that University abounding in excellent learning, 
and little inferior to what it was before its desolation.'" 

The Doctor managed the different parties in the Uni- • 
versity by his gentlemanly behaviour, and condescension ; 
by his impartiality and decision ; and by his generous dis- 
interestedness. He was moderate, but firm, dignified, and at 

^ Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 511. ' Non-con. Mem. vol. i. p. Sit. 

•" Calamy's Life of Baxter, and Continuation — Non-con. Mem, passim. 

" Thomson's Histor^f of the Royal Society, pp. 1, 2. 

" History of (he Rebellion, vol. iii. p. 57. 

DR. OWEN. 143 

the same time full of gentleness. He gained the good wishes 
of the Episcopalians, by allowing a society of about three 
hundred of them, who used the Liturgy, to meet every 
Lord's day, over against his own door, without disturbance, 
although they were not legally tolerated. He secured the 
support and favour of the Presbyterians by giving away 
most of the vacant benefices in his gift to persons of that 
denomination; and with the Presbyterians of the Univer- 
sity h© held the most intimate intercourse.^ Among the 
students he acted as a father. While he discountenanced 
and punished the vicious, he encouraged and rewarded the 
modest and the indigent. He was hospitable in his own 
house, generous to poor scholars, some of whom he took 
into his family, and others he assisted by presents of money.*' 
Foreigners as well as natives experienced his bounty ; for 
some of them by his favour and that of the Canons of 
Christ Church were admitted to free Commons, and the use 
of the Library.' He was frequently consulted by persons 
of distinction respecting their sons who were placed at the 
University, and entreated to take an interest in them. 

In his own person he gave an example of fidelity and 
laborious diligence, which must have been attended with 
the best effects ; while his labours in the pulpit aided the 
influence of his academical exertions. The University ser- 
mons on the Lord's day afternoons, used to be preached by 
the fellows of the College in their course; but this being 
found not so much for edification, the Vice-Chancellor and 
Dr. Goodwin divided the labour between them.^ St. 
Mary's is a large place of worship, and when the Doctor 
preached in it, he was always attended by a numerous 
congregation. There was an Independent church at Ox- 
ford at this time, of which Goodwin was pastor, but I do 
not suppose that Owen held any office in it. Cawdry 
asserts that he laboured to gather a church in his own 
College ;' and if he did, little doubt can be entertained of 
his success; but this is one of the rumours which that vio- 
lent writer delighted to spread, and is therefore entitled 
to little attention. Every second Sabbath, however, he 

P Memoirs, p. xi. q Ibid. p. xii. 

"■ Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. p, 788. « Life of Philip Henry, p. 17. 

'Independency further proved to be a schism, p. 30. 


preached at Stadham, in the neighbourhood, where he 
bought some property. Thus, between the University 
and the pulpit, beside other labours, which remain to be 
brought forward, his hands must have been very fully oc- 

During Owen's Vice-Chancellorship, several incidents 
of a miscellaneous nature occurred, which serve to display 
his talents, illustrate his principles, or throw some light 
on the state of the times. These I shall now proceed to 

On the occasion of the peace which Cromwell con- 
cluded with the Dutch, in 1654, many addresses and po- 
etical panegyrics were presented to him. Among the rest 
the University of Oxford approached his highness with a 
volume of poems in all languages ; entitled ' Musarum 
Oxoniensium EAAIO^OPIA,' &c. The dedication of this 
volume to Cromwell, by Dr. Owen, as Vice-Chancellor, is 
in prose, and full of expressions of gratitude to the Pro- 
tector for his favour to the University. After which we 
have some verses by the Doctor, which, as they are the 
only specimen existing of his poetical talents, deserve to 
be inserted. 


Pacifica August! quem non fecere poetara ? 
Sanctior, ingenium et musa mihi. Genius : 
Concolor baud cygnis, vano nee percitus oestro. 
Ex humili suhitus vate poeta cano. 
Qiiin raagis ut placeam numero, numerisque refectus 
Advolo : nenipe oranis musa chelisque tua est. 
Quod nisi conciliis Academia fulta fuisset 
Caesaris, Auspiciis Gensque togata tuis; 
Exciderat Au^usti tibi, victoria noctera 
Senserat, baud pads gloria tanta foret. 
Has Tibi pro luusis gratis Academia mittit. 
Qui pax una foris diceris, una domi : 
Nomine utroque, tuas laudes haec pagina gestit 
Tollere, qui pacis nomen et omen babes, 
Accipias faciiis, merito quos reddit bonores, 
Heroi invicto, Pacis Amica cobors. 

Jo. Owen, Acad. Procan." 

" Of these lines 1 have been furnisbed with a poetical version in English by a 

Now peace returns in conquering Caesar's train, 
Who, kindling, dares not the poetic strain ? 

1)H. OWEK. 145 

After the Vice-Chancellor, many members of the Uni- 
versity follow in order, with various degrees of poetical 
merit. Zouch Dr. of the Civil Law, Harmar the Greek 
Professor, and Dr. Ralph Bathurst, names well known in 
the republic of Letters, contribute to this collection, and 
join in eulogising Cromwell. Beside these, we find Bus- 
by, who so long ruled in Westminster School, and complied 
with every change of government in his time ; and Locke, 
the friend of philosophy and liberty. Dr. South also cele- 
brates the praises of the Protector; and yet could after- 
wards represent him as a lively copy of Jeroboam, and say 
of the leading ecclesiastics of the period, — ' Latin was with 
them a mortal crime, and Greek, instead of being owned 
for the language of the Holy Ghost, was looked upon as 
the sin against it ; so that, in a word, they had all the con- 
fusion of Babel among them, without the diversity of 
tongues. 'y But this was Dr. South. The volume is closed 
with some verses from the printer, who styles himself Leo- 
nard Lichfield, Esq. Beadle of Divinity. He lived to per- 
form the same honour to Charles II. as did many of the 
gentlemen above-mentioned. Praise generally follows for- 
tune ; and he who has the power of conferring benefits, 
will never want flatterers. 

In September, 1654, a London merchant of the name 

Ev'n I, devoted to severer themes, 

Nor apt for song, or waking fancy's dreams. 

Struck with no vain poetic rage, aspire; 

And, lo, an humble teacher, grasps the lyre : 

Pregnant, 1 haste the tuneful throng to join ; 

For every muse, and every lyre is thine. 

Had these fair scenes, unshelter'd by thine arm. 

To discord fall'n a prey, and rude alarm. 

Not thou, Augustus, wert secure from shame. 

Unlike thyself and heedless of thy fame ; 

Oblivious shades had vaii'd thy victories. 

And peace appear'd inglorious to our eyes. 
But sav'd by thee, the Muses yet survive, 

And grateful come to bid thy glories live; 

Peace is their song, — restor'd at thy command. 

To bless the British plains and every land ; 

For thee, they twriie the wreath of peace, as due 

To him who bears its name and emblem too. 

Then gracious own, unconquer'd Prince, the lay 

By which these friends of peace their homage pay. 
This curious volume I iexaniined in the British Museum, and extracted from it 
Owen's verses ; but some account of it is furnished by Dr. Harris in the Life of 
Cromwell, pp. 369, 370. v Ser. iii. p. 344. 

VOL. I. L 


of Kinaston came to Oxford, with a long beard, pretend- 
ing to be a patriarch, and that he wanted a model of the 
last reformation. A number of the Royalists repaired to 
him, to obtain his blessing, among whom were Henry 
Langley, and Harmar, who presented a formal Greek ha- 
rangue to him. It turned out, however, to be a trick of 
Lloyd, then a Tutor in Wadham College, and who after- 
ward became successively Bishop of St. Asaph, Lichfield, ■ 
and Coventry. It was chiefly intended against the Royal- 
ists ; but as Dr. Owen and some of the Presbyterians had 
resorted to this Patriarch, or he to them, on account of his 
wished-for model, they were so offended on discovering the 
cheat, that Lloyd was obliged to abscond.^ 

This year, also, Oxford was visited by two female 
Quakers, who created some disturbance, and were rather 
severely treated. Gough, the Historian of the Friends, 
represents the Vice-Chancellor as needlessly interfering, 
and sentencing the poor women to be punished, when the 
Mayor refused. But on referring to Sewel, who is quoted 
by Gough, as his authority, and who, being a Quaker him- 
self, would not have concealed Owen's misconduct, the 
story appears in a difi'erent light. After mentioning how 
the students had treated Elizabeth Heavens, and Elizabeth 
Fletcher, he notices that by two justices they had been 
committed to Bocardo, for speaking in the church after the 
minister had finished his discourse. A meeting of the Jus- 
tices was afterwards summoned, which the Mayor refused 
to attend, and 'whither the Vice-Chancellor also was re- 
quired to come.' Owen charged them with blaspheming 
the name of God, and abusing the Divine Spirit, to which 
the Quakers replied. After they were desired to withdraw, 
the Justices agreed that they should be whipped, which 
was executed accordingly next morning.* It appears from 
this account, that the Quakers were put in prison for dis- 
turbing the public worship, or speaking where they had no 
right to speak ; that Dr. Owen in virtue of the civil ofiice 
which he held in the University, was required to attend a 
meeting of the Justices, to consider their behaviour, and 
that he made some remarks on their religious sentiments 

^ Life of Anthony Wood, pp. 132—136. 
* Sewel's History of the Quakers, pp. 90, 91. 

DR. OWEN. 147 

and conduct : farther than this, Sewel charges him with 
nothing. The punishment was evidently very dispropor- 
tioned to the offence, whoever was the party concerned in 
inflicting it. 

During Owen's Vice-Chancellorship a calumnious re- 
port was raised, of his blaspheming the Lord's Prayer, and 
putting on his hat as a mark of disapprobation, when some 
preacher in Christ Church, concluded the service by re- 
peating it. In consequence of this, Meric Casaubon wrote, 
in 1660, a formal vindication of the Lord's Prayer. As 
soon as the report reached the Doctor, he published a 
solemn denial of its truth, both in French and English. 
Notwithstanding this denial, the charge was repeated and 
aggravated by Vernon in his infamous libel;* which led 
Owen again to notice and repel it, in his letter to Sir 
Thomas Overbury.^ After all this, AVood repeats the 
slander, and contradicts the Doctor's denial by reports.'^ 
So persevering are malice and detraction, and so useless 
is contradiction, when men are determined not to be con- 
vinced. That Dr. Owen did not believe the Lord's Prayer 
was intended to be a standing form of public devotion in 
the Church of Christ, and that he had made some free re- 
marks on the improper repetition of it in the English Li- 
turgy, and on the superstitious views which some persons 
entertained of it, he frankly acknowledges ; but he as so- 
lemnly declares : — * I do, and ever did believe, that that 
prayer is part of the Canonical Scripture, which I would 
not willingly blaspheme. I do believe that it was composed 
by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and have vindicated it 
from being a collection of such petitions as were then in 
use among the Jews, as some learned men had, I think, un- 
advisedly asserted it to be. I do, and ever did believe it 
the most perfect form for prayer that ever was composed ; 
and the words of it so disposed by the Divine wisdom of 
our blessed Saviour, that it comprehends the substance 
of all the matter of prayer to God. I do, and did always 
believe, that it ought to be continually meditated on, that 
we may learn from thence, both what we ought to pray for, 

» Pp. 57, 58. b Works, vol. xxi. p. 563. 

•■ Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 557. 

1. 2 


and in what manner ; neither did I ever think a thought, or 
speak a word, unsuitable to these assertions.''' 

In 1657, he was brought by Mr. Colt into Westminster 
Hall, as a witness against Mr. Button ; and on being de- 
sired to take the oath, he requested the New Testament to 
be opened before him, and said that he would lift up his 
hand ; but refused to submit to the ridiculous ceremony of 
kissing the book. The Jury requested the Court to inform 
them whether this mode of swearing could be admitted; 
on which Lord Chief Justice Glynn told them the Doctor's 
oath was perfectly sufficient.^ This trifling anecdote shews 
how Owen viewed what some, perhaps, may consider but 
a small matter ; but which enters deeply into the awful 
abuse and little influence of oaths, for which England is 
proverbial; and which constitutes a large portion of its 
national guilt. 

The account which Anthony Wood gives of the con- 
duct and manners of Owen, while Vice-Chancellor, is too 
curious to be omitted. * He endeavoured,' says that illi- 
beral writer, * to put down habits, formalities and all cere- 
mony, notwithstanding he before had taken an oath to ob- 
serve the statutes arid maintain the privileges of the Uni- 
versity. While he did undergo the said office, he, instead 
of being a grave example to the University, scorned all for- 
mality, undervalued his office, by going in quirpo, like a 
young scholar, with powdered hair, snake-bone band-strings, 
or band^strings with very large tassels, lawn band, a large 
set of ribands pointed at his knees, and Spanish leather 
boots, with large lawn tops, and his hat mostly cocked.''' 
This most singular representation has the misfortune to be 
scarcely consistent with itself. To be an enemy to pomp, 
and yet a man of dress, to wish to put down form in others, 
and be at the same time very formal himself, are scarcely 
reconcileable. That Owen attached little importance to 
hoods and tippets, and other academical paraphernalia, iji 
which Wood supposed a great part of the glory of an Ox- 

<> Works, vol. xxi. p. 570. In tliis tract ' On Liturgies,' there is a very admira- 
ble passage on the alleged authority for using the Lord's prayer in public worship. 
Works, vol. xix. pp. 409—412. 

« Veroon, p. 22. Ilalliday's Life of Lord Mansfield, p. 172. 
f Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. ,5.56. 

DR. OWEN. 149 

ford education consisted, is true ; but that he did not inter- 
fere with the forms of the University, the following extract 
from Evelyn's Journal will shew. 

* July i), 16*54, Dr. French preached at St. Mary's on 
Matt. xii. 42; advising the students to search after true 
wisdom, not to be found in the books of philosophers, but 
in the Scriptures alone.' In the afternoon the famous In- 
dependent, Dr. Owen, perstringing Episcopacy. On Mon- 
day I went again to the schools to hear the several faculties, 
and in the afternoon tarried out the whole Act in St. Mary's, 
— the long speeches of the Proctors, the Vice-Chancellor, 
the several Professors, — creation of Doctors by the cap, 
ring, kiss, Sjc. these ancient ceremonies and institutions 
being as yet not wholly abolished. Dr. Kendal, now in- 
ceptor, among others, performing his Act incomparably 
well, concluded it with an excellent oration, abating his 
Presbyterian animosities. The Act was closed with a 
speech of the Vice-Chancellor.'s 

On the subject of the University oath, we can let the 
Doctor himself speak: — ' I can say, with some confidence, 
that the intention and design of the oath, were observed by 
me, with as much conscience and diligence, as by any who 
haVe since acted in the same capacity. And, being pro- 
voked by this man (Vernon), I do not fear to say, that con- 
sidering the state of affairs at that time in the nation and the 
University, I do not believe there is any person of learning, 
ingenuity, or modesty, who had relation in these days to 
that place, but will grant at least, that notwithstanding 
some differences from them about things of very small im- 
portance, I was not altogether useless to the interest of 
learning, morality, peace, and the preservation of the place 

Wood's account of Owen's dress is vastly amusing. How 
much should we have been gratified, had he furnished us with 
a drawing of the Vice-Chancellor in his oflScial costume ; 
— his snake-bone band-strings, and lawn boot tops, would 
be invaluable antiquarian relics, could they be recovered.' 

e Evelyn's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 276. '' Works, vol. xxi. p.569. 

' This is not the first time tliat the Independents had been represented as men 
of gaiety and fashion. ' You shall find them the only gallants in the world,' says 
Bastwick, ' so that one who should meet them, would take them for roarers and 
ruffians, rather than saints. Yea, you shall find them with cufts, and those great 


Had Owen been a person of a different description, An- 
thony would have told us of his turnip head, and sepulchral 
face, and sackcloth garb, by which he disgraced the Uni- 
versity, and brought all good breeding into contempt. 
Granger, however, very justly remarks, that Wood's de- 
scription of Owen amounts in his style to no more than 
that he was a man of good person and behaviour, and 
liked to go well dressed." 'We must be extremely cau- 
tious,' adds that acute writer, ' how we form our judgment 
of characters at this period ; the difference of a few modes 
or- ceremonies in religious worship has been the cause of 
infinite prejudice and misrepresentation. The jsractice of 
some of the splenetic writers of this period, reminds me 
of the painter, well known by the appellation of hellish 
Brueghell, who had so accustomed himself to painting of 
witches, imps, and devils, that he sometimes made but 
little difference betwixt his human and infernal figures.' 
Nothing could more accurately describe the manner of the 
Oxford historian. Granger, who was a Churchman, ex- 
presses himself very honourably of Owen. * Supposing it 
to be necessary for one of his persuasion to be placed at the 
head of the University, none was so proper as this person; 
who governed it several years with much prudence and mo- 
deration, when faction and animosity seemed to be a part 
of every religion.'' 

At the installation of Richard Cromwell into the office 
of Chancellor, Owen addressed him in name of the Univer- 
sity, and eulogized in the strongest terms the character of 
his father. * The University of Oxford casts at your feet 
those inferior sceptres, which your great parent was not 
ashamed to have borne in hands that now almost regulate 
the balance of power in all Europe, and which were no 

ones, at their very heels, and with more silver and gold upon their clothes, and at 
their heels (for those upstarts must now have silver spurs), than many great and 
honourable personages have in their purses.' (Bastwick's utter routing of the Inde- 
pendent army : Pref. to the Read.) Who would think that the Independents were 
the grimfaced hypocrites of ihe Commonwealth? But for the counterpart of Owen, 
see Addison's description of an Independent Divine, supposed to be Dr. Goodwin, 
Spectator, No. 494. Among tlie other charges brought against them by Edwards, 
is, 'Their going in such fine fashionable apparel, and wearing long hair, as 'tis a 
shame ; they feast, ride journies, and do servile business on the Fast days: and let 
a man but turn Sectary now-adaies, and within one half year, he is so metamorphosed 
in apparel, hair, &c. that a man hardly knows hiih.' — Gangrena, p. i. p. 62. 
k Biog. Hist. iii. p. 301. ' Ibid. p. 302, 

DR. OWEN. 151 

contemptible omens of his rising glory and honour. If 
the gownsmen shall seem to you, to act with a higher spirit 
than suits their condition, if they shall seem to be puffed 
up with a certain degree of pride, because they are un- 
willing to be under the care and protection of an inferior 
patron ; that must be ascribed to the exceeding great favour 
of him, who, by his affection, compelled them to forget their 
lot, and to aspire to the noblest advantages of every de- 
scription. But it is unnecessary, at present, to expatiate 
on his praise, or to rehearse his good deeds, since all are 
eager to ascribe to him the best blessings they enjoy ; and 
he has himself obtained immortal honour by his conduct. 
I, therefore, purposely omit the eulogy, of the wisest and 
bravest man, which this age, fertile in heroes, has pro- 
duced. Whatever may become of England, it shall ever 
be known, that he was a prince, who had at heart the glory 
of the island, and the honour of religion."" 

Part of his concluding address to the university, after 
Dr. Conant had been appointed his successor, enumerates 
some of the services which had been rendered to it during 
his administration, and will, therefore, form an appropriate 

conclusion to this section of his Memoirs. '■ persons 

have been matriculated; twenty-six admitted to the degree 
of Doctor ; three hundred and thirty-seven to the degree of 
Master of Arts; six hundred and ninety-seven to that of 
Bachelor of Arts;" — Professors' salaries, lost for many 
years, have been recovered and paid ; some offices of re- 
spectability have been maintained ; the rights and privi- 
leges of the university have been defended against all the 
efforts of its enemies ; the treasury is tenfold increased ; 
many, of every rank, in the university have been promoted 
to various honours and benefices ; new exercises have been 
intfoduced and established ; old ones have been duly per- 
for toed ; reformation of manners has been diligently studied, 
in spite of the grumbling of certain profligate brawlers ; 
labours have been numberless ; besides submitting to the 
most enormous expense, often when brought to the brink 
of death on your account, I have hated these limbs and 

™ Oratio ad Richardum Crora. Works, vol. xxi. p. 616. 
n The numbers are left blank m the Oration — 1 have supplied them as far as 
I can from Wood ; but they may not be quite accurate. 


this feeble body, which was ready to desert my mind ; the 
reproaches of the vulgar have been disregarded, the envy 
of others has been overcome : in these circumstances, I 
wish you all prosperity, and bid you farewell. I congra- 
tulate myself on a successor, who can relieve me of this 
burden ; and you on one, who is able completely to repair 
-any injury, which your affairs may have suffered through 

our inattention But, as I know not, whither the 

thread of my discourse might lead me, I here cut it short. 
I seek again my old labours, my usual watchings, my in- 
terrupted studies ; as for you. Gentlemen of the university, 
may you be happy, and fare you well !'° 


Owen publishes his ' Divina Justitia ' — His work ' On the Perseverance of 
the Saints' — John Goodwin — The doctrine u)f jierseverance — Kendal — 
Lamb — Baxter write on this subject — Owen requested, hy the Council of 
State, to answer BiddWs two Catechisms— Biddle — Progress of Soci- 
nianism — The ' Vindiciae Evangelicae ' — Never answered — ' On the Mor- 
tification of Sin' — Controversy with Hammond about Grotius — Death of 
Gataher—Selden— Usher. 

It might be thought, that the Deanery of Christ Church, 
and the Vice-chancellorship of the university; preaching 
regularly on the Lord's day ; attending many meetings in 
London, at the request of Government; and preaching 
frequently before Parliament ; with various other public 
and important employments, would have so completely oc- 
cupied Owen, that no time could have been found for writ- 
ing books. Difficult as it is to conceive how he could, in 
•such circumstances, find leisure for the latter occupation ; 
it was during this period, some of his most valuable and 
elaborate works were produced. Of these, I shall now 
proceed to give some account. 

The first which claims our attention, is a Latin Disser- 
tation on Divine Justice, — ' Diatriba de Divina Justitia, 
etc.; or the claims of Vindicatory Justice asserted, 12rao. 
pp. 296. — Ox. less.'" It originated, the Doctor tells us, in 

» Woiks, vol. xxi. p. (515. a Ibid. vol. ix. [>. 319. 

Dli. OWEN. 153 

one of the public disputations in the university, in which 
it fell to his lot to discourse on the vindicatory justice of 
God, and the necessity of its exercise on the supposition of 
the existence of sin. Though he had the Socinians chiefly 
in his eye, it was understood that some very respectable 
theologians in Oxford, entertained different sentiments 
from those which he then expressed. A good deal of dis- 
cussion ensued, in consequence of which, he published this 
Diatriba. It is almost entirely of a scholastic nature, dis- 
covering, indeed, much acuteness, and a profound ac- 
quaintance with the subject ; but not likely now to be read 
with much interest. It resolves itself entirely into a single 
proposition, — Whether God, considered as a moral Go- 
vernor, could forgive sin without an atonement, or such a 
provision for the honour of his justice, as that which is 
made by the sacrifice of Christ. Owen, as we apprehend, 
scripturally and successfully, maintsiins the negative? of 
this proposition. The affirmative had been held by Dr. 
Twisse of Newbury, Prolocutor of the Westminster As- 
sembly, in a work, entitled * Vindiciae Gratiae, Potestatis, 
ac Providentiae Divinae,' etc. published in reply to Armi- 
nius, in 1632 ; and by Samuel Rutherford of St. Andrews, 
in his * Disputatio Scholastica de Divina Providentia,' 
published at Edinburgh in 1649. Both Twisse and Ruther- 
ford were learned and able men ; but were, in this point, 
on the wrong side, and appear with some disadvantage as 
disputants with Owen. He had been a good deal molested 
by the reference to human authority on this subject, on 
which he very properly remarks — 'That gigantic spectre, 
" It is every where spoken against," should have occasioned 
me no delay, had it not come forth, inscribed with the 
mighty names of Augustin, Calvin, Musculus, Twisse, and 
Vossius. And, although I could not but entertain, for all 
those persons, that reverence and honour to which they are 
entitled ; yet, I easily got rid of that difficulty, partly by 
considering myself as having a right to " that liberty, with 
which Christ has made us free ;" and partly by opposing to 
these the names of other very learned theologians, — as 
Paraeus, Piscator, Molinaeus, Lubbertus, Rivet, Cameron, 
Maccovius, Junius, professor at Samur, and others, who, 
, after the virus of Socinianism had been spread, with great 


accuracy and caution cleared up this truth. '^ The sub- 
ject is confessedly a difficult and abstruse one, in the pre- 
sent imperfect state of our faculties. ' For what we call 
darkness and obscurity in divine things,' says Owen, ' is 
aothing else than their celestial glory and splendour striking 
on our feeble eyes, the rays of which we are unable, in this 
life, which is but a vapour, to bear. Hence, God himself, 
who is light, and " in whom is no darkness at all," and 
" whoclotheth himself with light as with a garment,"^ in re- 
spect of us is said to have made " darkness his pavilion."'" 
Another passage of his preface I cannot deny myself the 
pleasure of (Juoting, both on account of its beauty and its 
truth. * I confess there are many other subjects of our re- 
ligion, on which we might dwell with greater pleasure and 
satisfaction of mind. Such, I mean, as afford freer and 
wider scope for ranging through the most delightful meads 
of the Holy Scriptures, and contemplating in them the 
transparent fountains of life, and rivers of consolation ; — 
subjects, which, unencumbered by the thickets of scholastic 
terms and distinctions, unembarrassed by the impediments 
and sophisms of an enslaving philosophy, lead sweetly and 
pleasantly into pure, unmixed, and delightful fellowship 
with' the Father, and with his Son.' 

The work is dedicated ' To the most illustrious, and 
noble Oliver Cromwell, commander in chief of the army 
of the Parliament of the English Republic, and the most 
honourable Chancellor of the University of Oxford.' It 
went through the press, the printer tells the reader, while 
the ' author was absent in London, about the affairs of the 
university ;' and which accounts for some errors in the 
printing of the book ; a fault which is too chargeable on 
many of the works of Owen. A short ansvi^er to it was 
published, by Thomas Gilbert, then in Shropshire, a par- 
ticular friend of Dr. Owen, and the author of his Epi- 
taph.*^ The design of this Tract, is to shew the possibility 
of pardon without satisfaction; and that the death of 
Christ was not absolutely necessary, but of Divine free 
choice. Baxter says, that he also wrote an answer to that 

i> Works, vol. ix. p. 329. « Ibid. p. 326. 

•i Vindiciae Supremi Dei Domini (cum Deo) Initac: Sive Theses aliquot, ct 
Tliesiura Instantiae opposititae nuper Doct. Audoeni Diatribac de Justitia Peccati 
Viridicatrice, etc. Lond. 1655, 8vo. 

DR. OWEN. 155 

book, in a brief premonition to his Treatise against infidelity, 
to decide that controversy.^ I believe the best decision 
wiH be found in the reasonings of the Epistle to the He- 
brews, chap. X. 1 — 14, which the reader may consult for 
his own satisfaction, with the assistance of Owen's Expo- 
sition. An English translation of the Diatriba, by Mr. 
Hamilton, was published in 1789, with a recommendatory 
preface by Drs. Stafford and Simpson, and Mr. Ryland, 
Sen, * It will be granted,' they say, ' by all competent 
judges, that the author discovers an uncommon acquaint- 
ance with his subject ; that he has clearly explained the 
nature of Divine justice, and demonstrated it to be, not 
merely an arbitrary thing depending upon the sovereign 
pleasure of the supreme Lawgiver, but essential to the Di- 
vine nature.' It is this translation which is published in 
the new edition of his works. It is, on the whole, well ex- 
ecuted, but rather too literal. 

The next work which the Doctor produced, is a more 
elaborate performance, in English. * The doctrine of the 
Saints' Perseverance Explained and Confirmed: or, the 
certain permanency of their acceptation with God, and 
sanctification from God, manifested and proved; from the 
eternal principles, the effectual causes, and the external 
means thereof; in the immutability of the nature, decrees, 
covenant, and promises of God ; the oblation and intercession 
of Jesus Christ; the promises, exhortations, and threaten- 
ings of the gospel : improved in its genuine tendency to 
obedience and consolation ; and vindicated in a full answer 
to the discourse of Mr. John Goodwin against it, in his 
book entitled, ** Redemption redeemed." With some di- 
gressioHS, concerning the immediate efi"ects of the death of 
Christ; personal indwelling of the Spirit; union with Christ; 
. the nature of gospel promises,' &c. Fol. pp. 444. Ox. 1654.*^ 
It deserves to be noticed, that he does not assume the 
title of D. D. on the first page ; a proof of the truth of his 
reply to Cawdry already quoted ; and that he counted it a 
higher honour, to be * John Owen, a servant of Jesus Christ, 
in the work of the gospel,' than a Doctor of Divinity by 
human creation. 

I have given the extended title of the work, because 

<^ Baxter's own Life, part i. p. 116. ^ Works, vols. vi. vii. 


it may serve as an analysis of its contents ; which, were 
it practicable within reasonable limits, it would not an- 
swer the design of these Memoirs, to attempt. We have 
first a dedication to ' His Highness, Oliver, Lord Pro- 
tector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and 
Ireland ;' in which he expresses his confidence in Crom- 
w^ell's Christian character, and his interest in the sub- 
ject of the work. Then follows another, to the * Heads 
of Colleges and Halls in the University ;' in which he 
compliments them on their learning, orthodoxy, and stead- 
fastness in the faith; and assures them, that 'no small 
portion of the work owed its rise to journies, and such 
like avocations from his ordinary course of studies ; with 
some spare hours, for the most part, while absent from all 
books and assistance whatever.' We have then a Pre- 
face to the reader, of forty folio pages, in which he gives a 
sort of history of the doctrine defended ; or of the reception 
it had formerly met with : and by the way, enters the lists 
with Dr. Hammond, on the Episcopal controversy, and the 
epistles of Ignatius. There is a great deal of learning in 
the Preface; but in so exceedingly rugged a state as to 
require no small exercise of patience to labour through it. 
John Goodwin, whom he chiefly opposes, was one of 
the most extraordinary men of his age and profession. 
He was an Arminian, and a republican ; a man of vio- 
lence both in politics and religion : — whose opinions, tar 
lents, and contests, according to Owen, rendered him an 
object of no ordinary attention ; and whose controversial 
powers were of the highest order. He had a great com- 
mand of language, ' trimmed and adorned with all manner 
of signal improvements;' his expressions swell over all 
bounds and limits, — metaphors, similitudes, parables, all 
help on the current, — shallow and wide, but abundantly 
noisy and imposing 

' Monte decurrens velut amnis, imbres 
Quern super notas aluere ripas, 
Fervet, immensusque luit profundo 

Pindarus ore.' — Horace. , 

One great object of his 'Redemption redeemed,' which 
is in fact an Arminian s>'stem of divinity, is to exhibit 
the doctrine of his adversaries, as a dismal, uncomfort- 

DK. OWEN. 157 

able, fruitless, death-procuring system. Owen takes him 
up only on one point, and along with the examination 
of his arguments, brings into view every thing of im- 
portance which had been urged on the subject by men of 
the same sentiments, in former, or in latter times. The 
work contains a very accurate statement, and a most mas- 
terly defence, of the doctrine of perseverance. Every 
scriptural argument is judiciously brought forward, and no 
point or circumstance of importance, calculated to esta- 
blish the doctrine, is omitted. Though there is a good deal 
of controversy,-there is not much of the 'odium theologi- 
cura.' The doctrine is satisfactorily vindicated from its al- 
leged tendency to induce carelessness or ungodliness ; and 
is shewn to be eminently conducive to the comfort and pu- 
rification of the people of God. It is rather surprising, when 
so many of the Doctor's Works have been abridged or re- 
published, that this, till now, remained in the first edition, 
and is less known than its importance demands. It would 
be easy to abstract from it all the temporary argumentation 
with Goodwin, and to leave behind the valuable theolo- 
gical illustration of the doctrine. 

The perseverance of the saints is the last of the five con- 
■ tested points between Calvinisf s and Arminians ; but, like 
all the rest, the defence of it necessarily involves the dis- 
cussion of the other four. If the salvation of a sinner be 
wholly matter of favour, it is not conceivable that this fa- 
vour should commence its operations, and either fail in its 
ultimate design, or be rendered abortive by the untoward 
dispositions, or fickleness of the creature. This would im- 
ply, cither deficiency in the plan of Sovereign mercy, or 
caprice in its administration. It forgets, that gracious in- 
fluence is bestowed to correct the tendencies of human cor- 
ruption, and to preserve from falling, as well as to secure 
eternal happiness. What is the doctrine of perseverance, 
but God's method of preserving and perfecting that which 
he had the exclusive honour to begin? If, indeed, salvation 
commences with man, is carried on by his own efforts, and 
completed by his resolution, the matter is entirely altered ; 
but then nothing would be more contingent, or hopeless, 
than the salvation of any one individual. Whether such a 


scheme has the support of Scripture, is fitted to promote 
the glory of God, or is adapted to the present state of hu- 
man nature, may safely be left to the determination of 
every Christian reader. 

The perseverance of the saints is a doctrine, which, 
rightly understood, has afforded much comfort to Chris- 
tians, and is, in its very nature, fitted to produce this 
effect. The conviction that the unchangeable love, and 
the almighty power of God, are engaged for the preserva- 
tion, and eternal happiness, of a fallen creature, must pro- 
duce the strongest emotions of gratitude, and the highest 
feelings of moral obligation, in those who have scriptural 
evidence that they are the subjects of Divine mercy. That 
the doctrine has often been injudiciously stated, and not 
unfrequently abused, is an admission that will no more in- 
validate its truth, than that of any other doctrine of grace, 
to every one of which, the same remark will apply. Of 
the perverted application of the doctrine, a remarkable il- 
lustration is afforded in the reported conversation between 
Dr. Thomas Goodwin, and the Protector Cromwell on his 
death-bed. Of the truth of the anecdote, as it is told, I am 
far from being satisfied. That such a conversation took 
place, is very probable, and that Goodwin might use some 
expressions rather unsuitable, I do not question. But nei- 
ther Cromwell, nor Goodwin, was so fanatical as to be- 
lieve, that a state of salvation was compatible with living 
in sin, and dying impenitent. We may have been told the 
truth, but not the whole truth; — the omission of a few sen- 
tences may have concealed the explanation given by Good- 
win of the sentiment, he is said to have uttered, and the 
cautions against self-deception, which he very probably 
addressed to the dying Protector. Awfully dangerous 
must be the condition of that man, whose past experience 
of Divine goodness encourages present delinquencj^ ; or 
whom the securities of the covenant of mercy lead to pre- 
sumptuous transgression. 

That Owen had no suspicion of such being the tendency 
of his views of this doctrine, is evident from the whole 
treatise, and especially from the awful description which he 
gives of the fearful apostacy of many who had made a pro- 

DR. OM'EN'. 159 

fession of the truth. These are occurrences which are not 
peculiar to any age or place ; though they may be more 
numerous, and apparent, at one time than at another. 
These are the stumbling-blocks, by which woe comes upon 
an ignorant world; and by which men are prejudiced 
against the doctrine of Christ. But still the foundation of 
God standeth sure. It would be highly criminal to explain 
away important truth, or to deprive the genuine Christian 
of a legitimate source of comfort, because the hypocrite 
may soothe himself to sleep by it, or the licentious profane 
it. It is the glory of the gospel that it provides mercy for 
the very chief of sinners ; but if any man be encouraged by 
this to continue in sin, the same gospel pronounces his 
doom. The doctrine which Owen defends, encourages 
hope in God, but inculcates fear in respect of ourselves ; 
it cherishes confidence, not by looking back on the past, 
but forward to the future ; and justifies the expectation of 
final perseverance, only while men continue to persevere. 
Owen was not the only opponent of Goodwin. — Dr. 
George Kendall attacked the Redemption redeemed, in 
another quarter, in his ' Vindication of the doctrine com- 
monly received in the Reformed churches, concerning 
God's intentions of special grace and favour to his elect, 
in the death of Christ,' &c. fol. 1653. It has Owen's im- 
primatur, as Vice-chancellor, prefixed in Latin ; in which 
he speaks very honourably of the author and his work. 
Another reply came from the pen of a zealous and popular 
Baptist minister, Mr. Thomas Lamb, 4to. 1656. Richard 
Baxter tried his middle course on this, as on other subjects. 
He published, in 10'53, his ' Judgment about the persever- 
ance of believers/ to which Kendall replied, in his ' Sanctis 
Sanciti.' — Dr. Kendall, he says, ' was a little quick-spirited 
man, of great ostentation, and a considerable orator and 
scholar; he thought to advance his reputation, by a tri- 
umph over John Goodwin and me.' Of this Baxter in- 
tended to deprive him ; but for once, allowed his adversary 
to have the last word, by submitting to the arbitration of 
Archbishop Usher, who, he says, owned his judgment, but 
desired us to write against each other no more.s After two 
or three years' consideration, Goodwin returned a scoffing 

, f Baxter's own I-ife, part i. p. 110. 

160 MElilOIRS OF 

reply to so much of the Perseverance of the Saints, as was 
written, according to Owen, in a quarter of an hour.'' 

Before this work was published, Owen had another 
task imposed on him — to reply to John Biddle, the Uni- 
tarian. This singular person, the acknowledged father of 
the English Antitrinitarians, was born at Wotton-under- 
edge, in the county of Gloucester, and educated in Oxford, 
where he obtained the reputation of a good scholar. By 
the influence of leading men in the university, he was, in 
1641, elected Master of a free school in the city of Glou- 
cester; where he soon began to intimate his doubts respect- 
ing the doctrine of the Trinity. The communication of a 
small MS. containing twelve arguments against the Deity 
of the Holy Spirit, led to his imprisonment as the means 
of his conviction. After obtaining his liberty, he was 
brought before Parliament, and by its orders, detained in 
custody for five years. While in prison, however, he pub- 
lished * A confession of Faith, concerning the Holy Tri- 
nity,' 1648. In consequence of this, his life was in immi- 
nent danger; for the Presbyterian party' in the Long Par- 
liament procured an act to be passed, by which, the person 
denying in words or writing, the Being of God, the Deity 
of the Son or Holy Spirit, the distinction of the two natures 
in Christ, or his atonement, should, if the indictment were 
found, and the party not abjure the error, suffer death, 
without benefit of clergy. In other parts of this unmerciful 
statute. Baptists, Independents, Episcopalians, and Armi- 
nians, are subjected to inferior punishments : so that had 
it been enforced, all, except Presbyterians, would have 
been exposed to suffering in their persons, liberty, or pro- 
perty.'' It was in reference to such measures, that Milton 
remarked indignantly, ' New Presbyter is but Old Priest 
writ large.' 

The friends of orthodoxy, however, had not allowed 
Biddle to write unanswered. He was taken up by Ni- 
cholas Estwick, in his * Examination of Mr. Biddle's Con- 
fession of Faith ;' by Matthew Poole, in his * Plea for the 
Godhead of the Holy Ghost;' and by Francis Cheynel, 
in his ' Divine Trinunity of the Father, Son, and Holy 

•> Pref. to the Div. Origin of the Scriptures. ' Neal, vol. iii. p. 497. 

k Scobel's Acts. Crosby's Hist, of the Bap. i. pp. 199—206. 

oil. OWEN. IGl 

Ghost.' This was more to the purpose than imprisoning 
or hanging the unfortunate defender of heresy ; who still 
went on publishing, and produced in 1654, ' a Twofold 
Catechism : the one simply called a Scripture Catechism, 
the other a brief Scripture Catechism for Children.' For 
this last publication, he was again brought before parlia- 
ment, his books condemned to be burned, and himself com- 
mitted once more to prison. Greater extremities would, 
probably, have followed, had not the Protector befriended 
Biddle, and finally sent him out of the way. This unfortu- 
nate man at last, died in prison, after the restoration.' 
Biddle was a man of learning, and of a bold and inde- 
pendent mind ; and by his sufferings, as much as by his 
writings, attracted attention to a creed, then little known 
in England ; but the prevalence of which since, has almost 
blotted out in that country the existence of the party in 
which his sufierings commenced. So mysterious and un- 
expected are the revolutions and arrangements of Provi- 

The progress of Socinianism in England, about this 
time, appears to have excited considerable alarm. Some 
of the foreign divines had interfered in the controversy, as 
Cloppenburg, Professor of Divinity in West Frisia, who 
published a Latin Vindication of the Deity of the Holy 
Spirit, against John Biddle, 4to. 1652. Nicholas Arnold, 
Professor of Theology at Franeker, animadverted on his 
Catechisms, in the Preface to his ' Religio Sociniana,' 
1654. And Maresius, Chief ProfjBssor of Divinity at Gro- 
ningen, very largely attacked them, in his ' Hydra Soci- 
nianismi,' published that same year; in the course of which, 
he deplores the sad state of England, on account of what 
he supposed to be the progress of this destructive sect. At 
home, the provincial Assembly of London issued particular 
instructions for the education and catechising of youth;" 
and the Council of State, conceiving that some more com- 
plete exposure of Socinianism was necessary, laid its com- 
mands on Dr. Owen to undertake this important task. 

The Doctor lost no time in executing the work which 
he had been so honourably invited to write; for the very 

' Biddle's Tracts and Life. Toulmin's Life of Biddle. Athen. Ox. ii. p. 197. 
n> Neal, vol. iv. pp. 135, 136. 
VOL. I- M 


next year he produced u quarto vohimc ot seven hundred 
pages, full of profound erudition. ' Vindiciae Evangelicaj : 
or, the Mystery of the Gospel Vindicated, and Socinianism 
examined; in the consideration and confutation of a Ca- 
techism, called a Scripture Catechism, written by John 
Biddle, M. A. &c. Oxford, 1655.'" It is dedicated to the 
Council of State, at whose request it was published; next 
we have a letter to * his brethren the heads and governors 
of colleges and halls in Oxford;' and then follov/s a histo- 
rical preface of seventy pages, addressed to all ' v^^ho la- 
bour in word and doctrine in Great Britain.' In this part 
of the work, he gives a learned and important narrative of 
the progress of Antitrinitarianism in the world ; but parti- 
cularly since the Reformation. It is replete with curious 
information respecting the characters and proceedings of 
the first founders of the party, and certainly does not place 
them in a very favourable light. How far all the sources 
from which Owen derived his information are to be de- 
pended upon, I have not the means of ascertaining. Some 
deduction ought always to be made from ex parte state- 
ments ; but, I have no doubt, he was fully satisfied with 
the authenticity and correctness of the testimonies on which" 
he depended. After the historical Preface, we have an 
examination of Mr. Biddle's Preface, which extends to 
forty-four pages more of preliminary discussion, and con- 
cludes thus : — ' Having briefly washed the paint from the 
porch of Mr. Biddle's fabric ; and shewn it to be a compo- 
sition of rotten posts and dead men's bones, whose plaister 
being removed, their abomination lies naked to all ; I shall 
enter the building itself, to consider what entertainment he 
has there provided for those, whom in the entrance, he doth 
so subtilely and earnestly invite to turn in, and partake of 
his provisions.' 

In prosecuting this resolution, the Doctor does not 
confine himself to Biddle's Catechisms ; he takes in with it 
the Racovian Catechism, the joint work of the Polish So- 
cinians, Smalcius and Moscorovius; which is considered 
to contain the sentiments of the great body of the foreign 
Antitrinitarians. He notices, also, the Annotations of 
Grotius, as tinctured with the poison of Socinianism ; and 

" Works, vols. viii. and ix. 

DR. o^rE^^ 163 

wherever his commentaries are at variance with the truth, 
or conceal it, the Doctor faithfully points it out, and en- 
deavours to confute them. 

The body of the work is divided into thirty-five chap- 
ters, in which he treats at great lens<'b, and with great 
minuteness and ability, every point of tiie Socinian contro- 
versy. Their sentiments respecting the Scriptures; the Di- 
vine nature and character; the original and present con- 
dition of man ; the person, character, and undertaking of 
Christ ; the doctrines of grace, election, and perfect obedi- 
ence; the resurrection of the dead, and the future condition 
of the wicked, &c. — all undergo the fullest and most rigid 
scrutiny, and are proved to be very contrary to what is 
taught in Scripture, as well as subversive of the founda- 
tions of Christianity. It is among the most complete pro- 
ductions in this department of polemical theology; and, 
considering the circumstances in which it was composed, 
and the short time devoted to it, a memorable proof of the 
powerful intellect, and industrious habits of the celebrated 
author. It is the first work too, in English, in which the 
Socinian system is fully examined, and fairly overthrown, 
on Scriptural principles. And numerous and important as 
are the works on this controversy, which have been since 
published, I hesitate not to affirm, that as far as the argu- 
ment from Scripture is concerned, there is scarcely any 
of them superior in importance or acumen to the Vindiciae 
Evangelicae of Owen. To the honour of the Evangelical 
Dissenters, it ought to be mentioned, that from the period 
of this publication to the present day, they have never 
wanted a man to defend with learning and ability the 
great truths of our common faith. From the Vindiciae 
of the Vice-chancellor of Oxford, to the publications of 
Fuller, and Wardlaw, and Smith, a series of works has ap- 
peared among them, which are not surpassed by the writers 
of any body of Christians, domestic or foreign, in ancient 
or in modern times. 

One thing in the Vindiciae discovers the author's saga- 
city, and looks almost like a prediction. Referring to the 
fearless speculations in which many then indulged, and 
which were the natural results of the freedom, which the 
country had only begun to enjoy from ecclesiastical ty- 
M 2 


ranny, — he asks, ' Are not the doctrines of free-will, uni- 
versal redemption, apostacy from grace, the mutability of 
God, the denial of the resurrection, with the foolish con- 
ceits of many about God and Christ, ready to gather to the 
head of Socinianism?' — ' If ever Satan settle to a stated 
opposition to the gospel, 1 dare boldly say, it will be in 
Socinianism.'" It is a singular fact, that the career of 
many has been substantially what the Doctor here de- 
scribes; from Calvinism to Arminianism, Arianism, and 
finally Socinianism. Biddle himself is an example of this 

In conducting this controversy, I will not say, that 
Owen always maintains that unruffled calmness, and placid 
good-nature, which distinguish many other of his publica- 
tions. At times, he shews in the selection of his epithets, 
and the structure of his sentences, that he was a man of 
like passions with others. There is nothing, however, of 
scurrility or personal abuse. He was too much a Christian 
and a gentleman, to indulge in the temper of malevolence, 
or in the language of reviling. Where important truth 
is concerned, he reproves sharply ; and where he discovers 
a snake in the grass, he makes no scruple to drag it out, 
and to strangle it. He uses no ceremony with the greatest 
names, where the glory of his Master, and the souls of men 
are at stake. He was a stranger to that kind of courtesy 
which compliments men as Christians, whom an apostle 
would have considered enemies to the cross of Christ; but, 
at the same time, he discovers that the object of his hosti- 
lity was their sentiments, not their persons ; and that while 
he could shew no mercy to the former, he could pity and 
pray for the latter. 

The following passage contains so much important in- 
struction on the mode of conducting religious controversy, 
that the reader will, I have no doubt, be glad to meet with 
it. ' That direction, which wilh me is, instar omnium, is 
a diligent endeavour to have the power of the truth con- 
tended for, abiding on our hearts, that we may not contend 
for notions ; but for what we have a practical acquaintance 
with in our own souls. When the heart is cast into the 
mould of the doctrine which the mind embraceth ; when 

" Pref. 



the evidence and necessity of the truth abide in us ; when 
not the sense of the words, but of the things is in our 
hearts; when we have communion with God in the doc- 
trine we contend for, then shall we be garrisoned by the 
grace of God against all the assaults of men. Without 
this, all our contending is of no value to ourselves. What 
am I the better if I can dispute that Christ is God, but 
have no sense that he is a God in covenant with my soul ? 
What will it avail me to evince by testimonies and argu- 
ments, that he hath made satisfaction for sin, if, through 
my unbelief, the wrath of God abides on me? Will it be 
any advantage to me in the issue, to profess and dispute 
that God works the conversion of a sinner, by the irresisti- 
ble grace of his Spirit, if I was never acquainted experi- 
mentally with that opposition to the law of God, which is 
in my own soul by nature, and with the efficacy of the ex- 
ceeding greatness of the power of God, in quickening, en- 
lightening, and bringing forth the fruits of obedience ? It is 
the power of the truth in the heart alone, that will make us 
cleave to it, indeed, in the hour of temptation.'? 

.These remarks are equally applicable to every religious 
discussion, as well as to the Socinian controversy ; and, 
indeed, to the whole system of Christianity. He is not a 
Christian who is one outwardly; religion does not consist 
in a spirit, or even a capacity for disputing about it. We 
have no more Christian knowledge, than what influences 
the dispositions, and regulates the conduct — all the rest is 
but barren speculation, which inflates the mind, and is op- 
posed to the love which buildeth up. It is possible to con- 
tend for truth in a spirit most opposite to its nature; and 
most warmly to advocate the rights of a cause, from which 
we ourselves may derive no benefit. In all cases, it should 
be remembered, that the wrath of man worketh not the 
righteousness of God. 

No answer, that I can find, was ever made to this work. 
Whether this arose from the circumstances of Biddle at 
the time, which certainly were not favourable to the defence 
of his sentiments, or from a conscious inability to meet the 
body of argument contained in the Vindiciae, I know not. 
But so it is — the first complete examination of Socinianisra, 

P Pref. 


published in England, remains to this day unanswered, and 
I may add, will remain unanswerable. 

The next thing which he published, is a short treatise 
* On the Mortification of Sin in Believers/ 1656.i To this he 
was led, by observing the general behaviour of professors, 
the snares by which they were entangled, and the injudi- 
cious attempts of some to mortify sin without the influence 
of gospel principle/ Too much reason has always existed 
for this complaint. Selfishness, the love of ease and of 
pleasure, the fear of the world's frown, and the desire of its 
applause, have a poweful tendency to cherish that self- 
delusion, by which, it is to be feared, too many who pro- 
fess Christianity, are finally destroyed. This treatise is 
the substance of some sermons on Romans viii. 13, which, 
at the desire of those who heard them, he had been induced 
to commit to the press. He was influenced, also, by an- 
other consideration. Having been engaged for some time 
in the discussion of various controversies, in some degree 
imposed upon him; he wished spontaneously to produce 
something of a different nature, and likely to be more ge- 
nerally useful. ' T hope,' he says, ' I may own in sincerity, 
that my heart's desire to God, and the chief object of my 
life, in the station in which the good Providence of God 
has placed me, are, that mortification, and universal holi- 
ness may be promoted in my own life, and in that of others, 
to the glory of God.' It is certainly one of the strongest 
proofs of the greatness of Owen's mind, and of the eminent 
degree of spirituality to which he had attained, that, amidst 
the multiplicity of his public labours, the cultivation of ge- 
neral knowledge, the noise of political, and the perplexities 
of theological warfare, in which he was deeply engaged, he 
found, I do not say time only, but capacity for thinking on 
such subjects as this. To maintain the life of godliness, 
and the ardour of devotional feeling, amidst the bustle of a 
court, or while surrounded by the cooling atmosphere of a 
college, are attainments of no ordinary kind. Yet, if we 
may judge of the state of his mind from the tract before us, 
he must have possessed the faculty of looking ofl" from 
' things seen and temporal ;' when exposed to the full force 
of their influence, ' to things unseen and eternal.' It dis- 

T Works, vol. vii. p. 325. ' Preface. 

DR. OWEN. 167 

covers a profound acquaintance with the corruption of the 
human heart, and the deceitful workings of the natural 
mind. Its principles are equally remote from the super- 
ficiality of general profession, and from ascetic austerity. 
It is not the mortification of a voluntary humility, or the 
infliction of self-devised and unnecessary pain, which it re- 
commends ; but the gradual weakening and final destruc- 
tion of the principle of sin, by the operation of spiritual 
influence, and the application of Divine truth. In this pro- 
cess, the life of Christianity consists ; and where it is not 
going on, neither the practice, nor the enjoyment of the 
gospel will be found. 

About this time, also, he was involved in a controversy 
with Dr. Hammond, concerning the sentiments of Grotius, 
about the Deity and atonement of Christ. Grotius was 
one of the most elegant and distinguished writers of the 
seventeenth century. During a period which abounded 
with critics and commentators, civilians and theologians, 
he appeared in the first rank in all these classes ; and his 
name still carries an influence and authority, which, com- 
paratively, few others enjoy. He, undoubtedly, studied 
the sacred books with deep attention, and brought the vast 
extent of his critical and classical attainments to bear with 
happy effect on many obscure and difficult passages. In 
the elucidation of the Bible from the classic literature of 
Greece and Rome, he may be considered, almost, as the 
founder of a school on the Continent; from which have 
issued many learned and important, and not a few exceed- 
ingly pernicious works on the Scripture : — works, in which 
the sacred volume is considered merely as an ancient 
classic ; — in which its inspiration, and all its peculiar doc- 
trines are either denied, or merged in critical contention 
about its words and idioms ; and all that is interesting to a 
sinner, or a believer, cooled down by a freezing mixture of 
Arianism, Socinianism, and Infidelity. The Scholia of 
Grotius on the Old Testament, were first published in 1644, 
and those on the New, in 1041, 1646, and 1650. The two 
last volumes were posthumous, as their author died in 
1645. They excited, as might be expected, great attention 
in the learned world; but, both in these, and in some other 
of his writings, Grotius exposed himself to various aniraad- 


versions. Suspicions had long been entertained that his 
views of the Divine character, and the atoning sacrifice of 
Christ, were not strictly orthodox ; though these suspi- 
cions were excited, rather by his silence, or very guarded 
language on these subjects, than by what he had actually 
advanced. He had published in 1617, a Defence of the 
Catholic Faith, concerning the satisfaction of Christ, against 
Faustus Socinus; in which, w^hile he opposed the Soci- 
nians, some friends to the atonement, were doubtful whe- 
ther he had rendered any important service to the orthodox 
belief. Ravensperger, a theological professor at Gronin- 
gen, soon after published his 'Judgment' of this ' Defensio 
Fidel,' by Grotius; which occasioned Ger. Jo. Vossius to 
publish an answer, in defence of Grotius. Crellius replied 
to Grotius, on the part of the Socinians; who was answered, 
not by Grotius himself, who wrote a complimentary letter 
to Crellius, and took no farther trouble to put either his 
friends or his enemies right ; but by Essenius, in his ' Tri- 
umphus Crucis;' who, while he defends the atonement, and 
repels Crellius, is extremely sparing of his praises to Gro- 

In the Preface to his Work on the Perseverance of the 
Saints, Dr. Owen had made some observations on the 
epistles of Ignatius, in connexion with the Episcopal con- 
troversy, and also on the Socinian tendency of some of 
the annotations of Grotius. Hammond, the champion of 
Episcopacy at the time, took up both these subjects, in 
' A Defence of Grotius, and an Answer to the Dissertations 
concerning the Epistles of Ignatius.' 1655. Owen, in his 
* Vindiciae,' goes into the sentiments of Grotius more fully. 
Without alleging the evidence against that celebrated man 
from his epistle to Crellius, and his conversation on his 
death-bed, he examines all the passages of Scripture which 
treat of the deity and atonement of Christ ; and as he goes 
along, notices how generally Grotius, in his commentaries, 
agrees with the Socinians : and that there is scarcely a 
passage in the Old or New Testament on these subjects, 
which he does not darken, explain away, or expressly 
contradict. Against these animadversions. Dr. Hammond 
published a second Defence of Grotius, in 1655; which 

• VVHliliii Bil). Sclcctu, toni. i. p. <M2. 

DH. OM'ENc 169 

produced, in 1656, a quarto pamphlet by Owen : ' A Re- 
view of the Annotations ot Grotius, in reference to the 
doctrine of the Deity, and satisfaction of Christ; with a 
defence of the charge formerly laid against them.'' In this 
treatise, he re-affirms, and successfully establishes, what 
he had formerly asserted ; and as Hammond had not met 
the charge against Grotius directly, he intimates, that he 
was likely to continue of the same sentiments, should he 
even see a ' Third Defence.' That, accordingly, soon ap- 
peared in ' A continuation of the Defence of Grotius, in an 
answer to the Review of his Annotations.' 1657. Here 
Hammond rests the defeucie of his hero, on his work ' De 
Satisfactione,' and on the denial, that his posthumous work 
on the epistles was properly his, as it contained sentiments 
contrary to his declared opinions in his life. Without pro- 
nouncing a positive opinion on the subject of dispute, it 
must be admitted, that Grotius afforded strong reasons for 
suspecting that he either did not believe, or that he consi- 
dered the doctrines referred to, as of inferior importance. 
Dr. Hammond, the opponent of Owen on this occasion, 
was a man of talents, learning, and character. He was 
one of the warmest defenders of his church, and a most 
devoted servant of Charles, its royal head ; to whose love 
of power and of popery, he had no serious objections. 
His New Testament shews him to have been a consider- 
able critic, though influenced by strong systematic preju- 
dices. His controversial writings discover more of learn- 
ing than of judgment; and mark a greater deference to the 
authority of Fathers and Councils, than to that of Christ 
and his Apostles. 

It would be improper to conclude this part of the life 
of Owen, without noticing the death of three eminent indi- 
viduals with whom he had some connexion, and who pos- 
sessed the greatest share of learning, perhaps, of any per- 
sons in England during that period. The first of these is 
the well known Puritan, Thomas Gataker, who died in 1654, 
in the 80th year of his age. This learned and laborious 
man was a member of the Westminster Assembly, but 
more celebrated for his critical writings, than for his con- 
nexion with that body. He was, undoubtedly, the most 

' Works, vol. ix. p. 291. 


enlightened biblical critic of his day in England. His trea- 
tise, ' On the Nature and Use of Lots,' 1619, established 
his character as a theologian ; and his ' Dissertatio de 
Novi Instrumenti Stylo,' 1G4S; and his Cinnus, 1651, 
completed by his son in 1659, under the title of ' Adver- 
saria Miscellanea Posthuma,' containing remarks on diffi- 
cult passages of Scripture, and of other Greek and Latin 
writers, exhibit his profound acquaintance with the Bible, 
and with the principles of enlightened interpretation : while 
his admirable edition of the emperor Marcus Antoninus's 
Meditations, with a Latin translation, commentary, and 
introductory dissertation, 1652, exhibit his vast acquaint- 
ance with the ancient philosophy, as well as his entire 
command of Grecian literature. The celebrated Witsius 
published, in 1698, all his critical writings in one volume, 
folio, entitled, * Opera Critica,' which will long remain a 
monument of his vast erudition, and accurate judgment. 
Owen and Gataker are introduced in a rather singular con- 
nexion, as the opponents of that knavish impostor, William 
Lilly, the astrologer. Strange as it may seem, this fellow 
was consulted by some of the greatest men of the age, — 
Lord Fairfax, King Charles I., Gustavus Adolphus of 
Sweden, Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, Cromwell, &c. The 
study of astrology was much cultivated in England about 
this time. John Booker, Dr. Dee, Dr. Forman, Sir Chris- 
topher Heydon, are all noted for their practice and de- 
fences of judicial astrology. The chief opponents of Lilly, 
according to his own account, were Gataker, with whom 
he had a lengthened controversy; Philip Nye, who also 
' bleated forth his judgment publicly, against him and 
astrology; and Dean Owen of Christ Church who,' he says, 
'had sharp invectives against me, in his sermons; I cried 
quittance with him, by urging Abbot Panormitam's judg- 
ment of astrology contrary to Owen's, and concluded, an 
Abbot was an ace above a Dean.'" These are only some 
of the many proofs, that the Puritans and Independents 
were not the visionary fanatics of the age. 

In the same year with Gataker died Selden, the glory 
of England, as a patriot, a lawyer, and a writer. — No lay- 
man of the age possessed half the erudition of Sehicn, and 

" Lilly's Life, by himself, passim. 

DIl. OWEN. 171 

few men have benefited their country so much by their 
pen as he did. His ' Uxor Hebraica/ his ' Libri de Suc- 
cessionibus/ ' De Diis Syris/ ' De Synedriis Veterum He- 
braeorura/ &c. shew his vast acquaintance with Jewish 
and Oriental learning ; while his works * On Tythes,' on 
' Titles of Honour,' and ' Mare Clausum,' or the right of 
Britain to the dominion of the circumjacent seas, afford no 
less powerful evidence, of his researches as an antiquary, 
and his attainments as a general scholar. Along with 
Owen, he was the staunch friend of the university of Ox- 
ford ; and they appear to have combined their influence to 
save it from various dangers to which it was exposed." 

In the year 1656, died the learned and amiable Arch- 
bishop Usher — a lover of peace, of moderation, and of all 
good men. His chronological labours alone, are ample 
proof of his learning and industry ; and some of his minor 
productions afford satisfactory evidence, that his critical 
attainments were far above mediocrity. He was the object 
of Cromwell's favour, who ordered him a public funeral ; 
and the language of Owen in one of his works, shews, that 
there must have been a considerable intimacy between 
Usher and himself." The death of such men must have 
been felt as a public calamity ; their talents were exerted 
for their country's good, their learning adorned the age in 
which they lived, and their venerable piety graced the pro- 
fession of the gospel. 

^ Walker's Suff. of the Clergy, part ii. p. 132. 
y Dedicatory Epist. to the Div. Origin, of the Scriptures. 



The Independents propose to publish a Confession of their Faith— Their 
sentiments on this subject — Coifessions published by them on various 
occasions — Cromwell consents to their meeting for this purpose — They 
assemble at the Savoy — Agree to a Declaration of their Faith and Order 
— Its sentiments on several subjects — Extracts from the Preface written 
by Owen — Baxter displeased at the meeting — Defence of it by Forbes — 
Chief objection to the Declaration — Not much known even among Inde- 
pendents — Death of Cromwell — State of Religion during his Government 
— His influence on Independency — Tillot son's account of a fast in the 
family of Richard Cromwell — Strictures on that accomit — Owen pub- 
lishes his work on Communion — On Schism — /* answered by Hammond 
— by Firmin — by Cawdry — Owens Review of Cawdry — Cawdry's re- 
joinder — Owen's defence of himself and Cotton — Publishes on the Divine 
Original of the Scriptures — His considerations on the Polyglot — Wal- 
ton's Reply — His controversy ivith the Quakers — Richard Cromwell suc- 
ceeds his Father — Owen preaches before his first Parliament — Charged 
with pulling down Richard — Defended from this charge — Assists in 
restoring the long Parliament — Preaches before it for the last time — 
The Independents entertain fears of their liberty from Monk — Send a 
deputation to him to Scotland — His conduct and character — Oweii ejected 
from the Deanery of Christ Church — Remarks on his political conduct. 

In the year 1658, the leadings men among the Independent 
Churches projected a General Meeting for the purpose of 
publishing a united declaration of their faith and order. 
The part which Dr. Owen took in this meeting, the misun- 
derstanding which prevails respecting the sentiments of 
Independents on the subject of Confessions of Faith, and 
the importance of the document published by the Savoy 
Assembly, for ascertaining their sentiments at this time, on 
various points, are sufficient reasons for giving a detailed 
account of this affair. 

No one who requires a Confession of Faith in order to 
the enjoyment of Christian privileges can consistently ob- 
ject to a Church confessing the faith in its corporate capa- 
city. If one Society may lawfully do this, no reasonable 
objection can exist why any number of Societies holding 
the same sentiments, may not exhibit their common belief. 
The public teaching and practice of a Church are constant ^ 
declarations of its principles; and it surely cannot be 

DR. ow tx. 173 

wrong to do that by the press, which is constantly done by 
word and conduct in the place of worship. Independents 
have never held the unlawtulness of publishing declarations 
or expositions of their existing sentiments and practice; and 
if this be all that is meant by Confessions of Faith, it is 
wrong to represent them as enemies to them. But these 
public formularies are generally viewed in a very different 
light. They are used as standards and tests by which the 
faith and orthodoxy of the present and future generations 
are to be tried ; and to which a solemn subscription or oath 
is required, binding the subscriber to abide all his life in 
the principles thus professed.' This, when extending to a 
large book of human composition, when made a test of 
sentiment, a qualification for office, and an evidence of 
unity, is what Independents object to ; as what the law of 
Christ does not enjoin, what has never promoted the peace, 
purity, or unity of the Church, and what has powerfully 
retarded the progress of truth. 

The proper view of a Confession of Faith, and the dis- 
tinction now noticed, are very accurately stated in the 
Preface to the Savoy Declaration. ' The most genuine and 
material use of such Confessions is, that under the same 
form of words they express the substance of the same 
common salvation or unity of their faith; and accordingly 
such a transaction is to be looked upon only as a means of 
expressing their common faith, and no way to be made use 
of as an imposition upon any ; whatever is of force or con- 
straint in matters of this nature, causes them to degenerate 
from the name and nature of Confessions, and turns them 
into exactions and impositions of Faith.' 

With these views. Independents have almost from the 
commencement of their existence, as a body, published 
declarations of their belief. In 1596 was published, 'A 
true Confession of the Faith, and humble acknowledge- 
ment of the allegiance, which we, her Majesty's subjects, 
falsely called Brownists, do hold toward God, and yield to 
her Majesty and all other that are over us in the Lord.' 
In 1604, if not earlier, appeared an ' apology or defence of 
such true Christians, as are commonly, though erroneously, 
called Brownists,' &c. This work was published both in 

a See Dunlop on the euds and uses of Creeds and Confessions ; and the Con- 
fessional of Archdeacon Blackburn, for the jno and con of this subject. 



Latin and English, and was addressed to the Continental 
and British Universities.'' In 1611, ' The English people 
remaining at Amsterdam,' Baptist Independents, published 
a declaration of their Faith. In 1G16, another Confession 
was published by the Independents, with a petition to King 
James for Toleration. In 1G20, King James's ' Loyal 
subjects,' unjustly called Anabaptists, ' presented to him 
and to Parliament a Confession of their Faith.' A Con- 
fession of Faith of seven Baptist Churches in London was 
published in 1646; and another of several Congregations 
in the County of Somerset, in 1656. In all these docu- 
ments the most explicit avowal is made of the doctrines 
of the Gospel, and of the leading points of Christian prac- 
tice. Nor are they less explicit on the subject of obedience 
to Government, than of faith in God. So false have always 
been the charges of disloyalty brought against this body. 

In the year 1648, the Congregational Churches in New 
England held a meeting at Cambridge, where they agreed 
to the doctrinal part of Ihe Westminster Confession, and 
formed a platform of Church discipline suited to their own 
principles. Various reasons might be assigned why the 
British Congregational Churches had not sooner done the 
same. The profession had been long persecuted — mostof the 
Churches owed their origin to peculiar circumstances, were 
far scattered from each other, and had not enjoyed the op- 
portunity of meeting together for any common object. To 
these things they thus allude in the Preface to the Savoy 
Declaration: 'We confess that from the very first, all, or 
at least the generality of our Churches, have been in a 
manner like so many ships, though holding forth the same 
general colours, launched singly, and sailing apart and 
alone on the vast ocean of these tumultuous times, and 
exposed to every wind of doctrine, under no other conduct 

b The designation of Independents is supposed to have been derived from the • 
following sentence in this work. 'Coetuni quenilibet particularem, esse totam, 
integrain, et perfectani ecclesiam ex suis partibus constantem, immediate et hicie- 
pendeiiter (quoad alias ecclesias) sub ipso Christo.' Cap. v. That the denomination 
Independent was not assumed, but given, is evident from the titles of many of the 
early defences of the body, and from their repeated protests against the miscon- 
struction which this term occasioned. They claimed to be Independent of other 
churches merely in the exercise of discipline, in which sense all other churches pro- 
fess to be Independent; as no church allows of the exercise of authority, or the right 
of interference, beyond its own body. The work from which I have quoted the 
above sentence is one of the many proofs that might be adduced, that the Brownists 
were neither destitute of learning, nor enemies to it. 

DR. OWEN. 175 

than that of the word and spirit, and their particular elders 
and principal brethren; without Associations among them- 
selves, or so much as holding- out common lights to others, 
whereby to know where they were. But yet, while we thus 
confess to our shame this neglect, let all acknowledge that 
God has ordered it, for his greater glory, in that his singu- 
lar care and power should have so watched over each of 
these, as that all should be found to have steered their 
course by the same chart, and to have been bound for one 
and the same port, and that upon the general search now 
made, the same holy and blessed truths, of all sorts, which 
are current and warrantable among the other Churches of 
Christ, in the world, should be found to be our lading.' 

During the latter years of Cromwell's government, they 
appear to have felt the necessity, on account of their great 
increase, of publishing their united belief, of exhibiting their 
union in the faith and obedience of Christ, and of putting 
down the many calumnious misrepresentations which had 
been industriously disseminated to their disadvantage. 
For this purpose, they applied for liberty to meet, to the 
Protector, without whose sanction they durst not have 
assembled. Eachard represents Cromwell as granting 
permission with great reluctance. This was perhaps the 
case, though not for the reason which that Historian puts 
into his mouth — ■' that the request must be complied with, 
or they would involve the nation in blood again.'"" Oliver 
knew well that they were not the persons who had involved 
the country in its calamities ; but his security consisted in 
the division of religious parties rather than their union ; 
and as he had discouraged Presbyterian Conventions, 
consistency required that he should not appear friendly to 
Independent Associations. 

His consent being obtained, however, a preparatory 
meeting was called at London, by the following letter, ad- 
dressed to the ministers in the city and its neighbourhood, 
b^ the Clerk of the Protector's Council. 


The Meeting of the Elders of the Congregational 
Churches in and about London, is appointed at Mr. (George) 

<• Neal, vol. iv. p. 188. 


Griffiths (preacher in the Charter House) on Monday next, 
at two o'clock in the afternoon, where you are desired to 
be present. 

Your's to love, and serve you in the Lord, 
June 15, ^65S. Henry Scobell.-i 

This preliminary meeting accordingly took place, and 
by its direction circular letters were addressed by Mr. 
George Griffiths to all the Congregational Churches in 
England and Wales, inviting them to send Messengers to 
constitute a general meeting to be held at the Savoy, on 
the 29th September following.^ From a number of the 
letters in answer to the circular, preserved in Peck's De- 
siderata, it appears that the Churches were generally fa- 
vourable to the measure; but some of them very prudently 
expressed their fears lest any thing of a political nature 
should be concealed under the cover of this proposed As- 
sembly, and lest it was designed to promote some coali- 
tion with the state. The event shewed that nothing of 
this nature was intended. 

About two hundred Elders and Messengers, from above 
one hundred Churches, assembled at the Savoy on the day 
appointed, and continued together till the twelfth of the 
following month. They first observed a day of prayer and 
fasting, after which they considered whether they should 
adopt the Westminster Confession, or draw up an entirely 
original one of their own. They preferred the latter reso- 
lution, but agreed to keep as near the method of the other 
as possible. Mr. Griffiths was chosen Clerk, and Doc- 
tors Owen and Goodwin, Messrs. Nye. Bridge, Caryl, 
and Greenhill were appointed a Committee to prepare the 
heads of agreement, which were brought in every morning, 
discussed, and the statement to be adopted unanimously 
agreed to. The whole was afterwards published in 4to., 
under the title of ' A declaration of the Faith and Order, • 
owned and practised in the Congregational Churches in 

d Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, vol. ii. p. 501. 
•= The Savoy was a large old building in the Strai\d. It had been formerly a 
palace, and toolc its name from an Earl of Savoy, by whom it was founded. It had 
been the habitation of John of Gaunt, and of various persons of distinction. It was 
successively a convent, an hospital, and in the time of Oliver Cromwell was appro- 
priated to the accommodation of some tif the officers of the court, and ether public 
purposes, among which was the meeting of the Independent Divines. 

DR. OWEN. 177 

England ; agreed upon and consented to by their Elders 
and Messengers in their meeting at the Savoy, October 12, 
1658.' The Preface is long, and is said to have been writ- 
ten by Owen, though subscribed by the whole Committee. 
Next year it was translated into Latin by Professor Horn- 
beck, and annexed to his letters to Dury respecting Inde- 
pendency. '^ 

The Savoy Declaration contains the same views of 
Christian doctrine, with the Westminster Confession; but 
omits those parts of it which relate to the power of Synods, 
Church censures, Marriage, and Divorce, and the autho- 
rity of the civil magistrate in matters purely religious, and 
which were never ratified by Parliament." Instead of these, 
it has a chapter at the end, on the Institution of Churches, 
and the order appointed in them ; from which it may be 
proper to extract some passages, which convey the views 
of the Churches at that time, and from which it will ap- 
pear, whether the Independents now hold the same leading 

On the constitution of churches instituted by Christ, it 
declares ; ' To each of these churches, he has given all that 
power and authority, which is any way needful for their 
carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he 
has instituted for them to observe, with commands and 
rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of that 
power.' Sect. 4. ' Besides these particular churches, it 
maintains, there is not instituted by Christ, any church 
more extensive or catholic, entrusted with power for the 
administration of his ordinances, or the execution of any 
authority in- his name.' Sect. 6 * The members of these 
churches/ it declares, * are saints by etfectual calling, visi- 
bly manifested by their profession and walking." Sect. 8. 

Of office-bearers it affirms, — ' That the officers appoint- 
ed by Christ are pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons.' 
Sect. 9. From the terms here employed, it might be sup- 
posed, that four distinct offices were held by the framers, 

f Neal, vol. iv. pp. 189, 190. 
e ' We rather give this notice,' say the Prefacers to the Savoy Declaration, 
' because that copy of the Parliament's, followed by us, is in few men's hands ; the 
other as it came from the Assembly, being approved of in Scotland, was printed and 
hastened into the world, before the Parliament had declared their resolutions about 
it ; and yet hath been, aiid continueth to be, the copy ordinarily only sold, printed 
and reprinted for these eleven years,' 

VOL. I. N 


to be appointed for the church. But in the following sec- 
tions, they speak of the office of pastor, elder, or teacher, 
only as distinct from that of deacon. Whatever distinction 
they might have contended for in the eldership, or Presby- 
tery of a congregation, in the exercise of gifts; they appear 
to have viewed the persons composing it as occupying the 
same office. While the Declaration speaks of laying on of 
hands, along with fasting and prayer, as the usual mode of 
appointment to the pastoral office ; it also declares, ' That 
those who are chosen by the church, though not set apart 
by the imposition of hands, are rightly constituted Ministers 
of Christ.' Sect. 12. And that ' no ordination of others, 
by those who formerly have been ordained, by virtue of 
the power they have received by their ordination, doth con- 
stitute them church-officers, without a previous consent of 
a church.' Sect. 15. In the administration of the church, it 
declares — ' That no person ought to be added to the church, 
but by its own consent ; that so love, without dissimulation, 
may be preserved among all the members.' Sect. 17. 

On the subject of church censures, and combinations of 
churches by their messengers, its language is worthy of at- 
tention. ' The power of censures being seated by Christ 
in a particular church, is to be exercised only towards par- 
ticular members of each church respectively as such ; and 
there is no power given by him to any Synods or ecclesiasti- 
cal assemblies to excommunicate, or by their public edicts 
to threaten excommunication, or other church censures, 
against churches, magistrates, or their people, upon any 
account, no man being obnoxious to that censure, but 
upon his personal miscarriage, as a member of a particu- 
lar church.' Sect. 22. But, ' In cases of difficulties or dif- 
ferences, either in point of doctrine or administrations, 
wherein either the churches, in general, are concerned, or 
any one church, in its peace, union, and edification; or 
any member or members of any church are injured, by any 
proceeding in censures not agreeable to truth and order ; it 
is according to the mind of Christ, that many churches, 
holding communion together, do, by their messengers, meet 
in Synod or council, to consider and give their advice about 
that matter, to be reported to all the churches concerned : 
howbeit, these Synods so assembled, are not entrusted with 

DR. OWEN. 179 

any church power, properly so called, or with diny jurisdic- 
tion over the churches themselves, to exercise any censures, 
either over any churches, or persons, or to impose their de- 
termination on the churches or officers.' — * Besides these 
occasional Synods or Councils, there are not instituted by 
Christ any stated Synods in a fixed combination of churches, 
or their officers, in less or greater assemblies; nor are there 
any Synods appointed by Christ in a way of subordination 
to one another.' Sect. 27. 

This language is so very explicit, that it is scarcely 
possible to misunderstand it. If any be afraid of such 
meetings of messengers, they have only to consider, that 
they are merely for counsel and advice, and are invested 
with no authority or power over the churches. They are 
entirely of a voluntary nature, resulting not from syste- 
matic organization; but from the love, union, and agree- 
ment, existing among the churches. This is a very diffe- 
rent thing from the authority claimed by the ecclesiastical 
assemblies, and the regular gradation of couHs in the Pres- 
byterian body. In the entire system of stated and orga- 
nized subordination, the Savoy Declaration pronounces 
its disbelief. 

Independents have always recognised the propriety of 
meeting, when any serious evil required to be investigated 
or removed; or any general object called for combined 
exertion. To meet without sufficient business, would only 
produce evil, and lead to improper interference. A greater 
degree of union, than prevails in some places, would, per- 
haps, be desirable; but if this can be obtained only by sur- 
rendering the rights of the churches, or by putting power 
into the hands of fallible men, no doubt can be entertained, 
that it is better to be without it. The union of love and 
cordial esteem, and that which is the mere result of system 
or authority, are very different things. 

The preface to the Savoy Declaration, from which some 
extracts have been already made, contains various impor- 
tant statements. It avows that the Independents had always 
maintained, though at the expense of much opposition, — 
' The great principle that, among all Christian states and 
churches, there ought to be vouchsafed, a forbearance, and 
mutual indulgence to saints of all persuasions, that keep 


to, and hold fast, the necessary foundations of faith and 
holiness.'—' This to have been our constant principle, we 
are not ashamed to confess to the whole Christian world.' 
They assert, 'That all professing Christians with their 
errors, that are purely spiritual, and intrench, and over- 
throw not civil society, are to be borne with, and permitted 
to enjoy all ordinances and privileges, according to their 
light, as fully as any of their brethren who pretend to the 
greatest orthodoxy/ And they solemnly declare, ^ That if 
they had all the power, which any of their brethren of dif- 
ferent opinions had desired to have over them, or others, 
they would fredly grant this liberty to them all.' I appre- 
hend this is the first work of the kind, in which these truly 
noble and Christian sentiments are announced. Happily 
it is no longer necessary to defend their justness, or to ad- 
vocate their importance. 

Referring to the prognostications of future evil, which 
men, who were no prophets, had presumed to utter, respect- 
ing the tendencies of Independent principles, the Prefacers 
say ; ' Whereas from the beginning of the rearing of these 
churches, the words of the apostle have been applied to us, 
" That while we promised to others liberty, we, ourselves, 
would become servants of corruption, and be brought in 
bondage to all sorts of fancies and imaginations;" yet, the 
whole world may now see, after the experience of many 
years, that the gracious God hath, not only kept us in that 
common unity of the faith, and knowledge of- the Son of 
God, which the whole community of saints have, but also 
in the same truths, both small and great, that are built 
thereupon, that any of the best reformed churches in their 
best, which were their first times, have arrived to,' The 
short time they were together, with the business they had 
to execute, without any previous concert, and the unanimity 
and harmony which pervaded all their proceedings ; they 
consider an evidence of the presence and goodness of the 
Lord, and a proof that they had not their faith to seek 
when they assembled. 

It would be foolish to expect that this meeting, or its 
proceedings, should escape animadversion. But it is 
rather strange, that so great a lover of peace as Richard 
Baxter, should have been its greatest enemy. His Ian- 



gnage respecting its leading members, particularly Dr. 
Owen, and respecting some of the expressions in its de- 
claration of Faith, is alto2:ether unworthy of his piety and 
his understanding.'' Instead of quoting his ill-natured re- 
flections, which really carry their own confutation along 
with them, the reader will, perhaps, be better pleased with 
the testimony of the Rev. James Forbes of Gloucester, one 
of the members, which was called forth by Baxter's mis- 
representations. Making every reasonable allowance for 
the influence of imagination and party feeling, this Gentle- 
man's account impresses us strongly in favour of the piety 
and solemn procedure of this meeting. 

' In general,' he says, ' I do, in the first place, declare, 
with all the solemn seriousness the case requires, that 
though I am now, through the goodness of God, turned of 
seventy ; and in the days of my pilgrimage have had oc- 
casion to be present at several Synods, and meetings of 
ministers, and messengers of churches, there was the most 
eminent presence of the Lord, with those who were then 
assembled, that ever I knew since I had a being ; the like 
1 never saw before nor since, and I question whether I 
shall see the like on this side glory. It was a kind of hea- 
ven on earth I think to all who were present. Such rare 
elaborate speeches my ears never heard before, nor since. 
All along, there was a most sweet harmony of both hearts 
and judgments amongst them. Mr. Howe, then Chaplain to 
Richard the Protector, sat with them. We had some days 
of prayer and fasting, kept from morning till night ; when 
one had prayed, I speak the truth and lie not, I have 
thought no one could outdo that person, and so in preach- 
ing, yet, ordinarily, they who succeeded, did excel those 
who went before.'* 

If I were disposed to state any particular objection 
against the Savoy Declaration, it would be one, not more 
applicable to it, than to most of the productions of the 
same nature — its too great minuteness. There is too much 
of detail under the general heads, and too many explana- 
tions : as if it were not enough to believe the general doc- 

1' Sylvester's Baxter^ part i. p. 101. Baxter's Catholic Communion Defended, 
part V. p. 8. ' Memoirs of Dr. Owen, pp. 21—22. 


trine, but necessary, also, to receive all the reasons which 
are assigned for it, and every thing it is supposed to imply. 
This speciality has been the occasion of innumerable con- 
tentions; and the multiplication of explanations to prevent 
them, has only rendered them more fertile sources of divi- 
sion. The confessions of faith, recorded in Scripture, are 
all extremely brief, but very comprehensive; and the truths 
necessary to be believed by all Christians, are often sum- 
med up in a single sentence. Had all the compilers of Con- 
fessions studied this Scriptural brevity, instead of syste- 
matic extension, it would have been well for the peace and 
unity of the people of God. 

A copy of this Confession fell into the hands of Peter 
du Moulin, a French Protestant clergyman of some emi- 
nence, which it appears he intended to translate, I sup- 
pose, into French. But having sent over to England some 
remarks on it, either addressed to Owen, or which fell into 
his hands; the Doctor wrote him a letter, which, I appre- 
hend, put a stop to his future animadversions. From this 
letter it is evident he had either got a corrupted copy of 
the Savoy Declaration, or that he was disposed himself to 
corrupt it ; as, in his remarks, it is charged with ' palpable 
contradiction, nonsense, enthusiasm, and false doctrine.' 
The letter has no date, but from its referring repeatedly to 
his work on Justification, it must have been written near 
the end of the Doctor's life. 

The Declaration of Faith and Order, after it had been 
fully agreed to, was presented to the Protector, Richard 
Cromwell, by Dr. Goodwin, 'In the name and by the ap- 
pointment of the Officers and Messengers of above an hun- 
dred Congregational Churches, from several parts of the 
nation.' On this occasion. Dr. Goodwin thus addressed 
his Highness, * And now we present to your Highness 
what we have done, and commit to your trust the common 
faith once delivered to the saints. The Gospel, and the sav- 
ing truths of it, being a national endowment bequeathed by 
Christ himself at his ascension, and committed to the trust 
of some in the nation's behalf; ''committed to my trust," 
saith Paul, " in the name of the ministers ;" and we look 
at the magistrates as custos utriusque tabulae, and so com- 

BK. OWEN. 183 

mit it to your trust, as our chief magistrate, to countenance 
and propagate."' 

Part of this address I do not understand, and the rest 
of it I disapprove. What he means by the gospel being a 
national endowment, I know not ; and as to the magistrate 
being the keeper of both tables of the Law, I can only say, 
it must be understood in a very qualified sense, otherwise 
it would convey an idea, not only dangerous in itself, but 
in opposition to the avowed belief of the framers of the 
Document presented. 

The Savoy Declaration has never been much known, or 
generally used, even among Independents. As it was not 
intended to be a test or bond, and could not be enforced — 
it has never been regarded as an authority. The principles 
of the body are adverse to all such views, or uses, of any 
merely human production. Being substantially the same 
with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, which 
are more easily to be met with, it seems gradually to have 
given place to them.' The reason may in part, also, be 
found, in the very moderate zeal of the Congregational 
body for the promotion of its distinctive principles. Whe- 
ther this circumstance be to its credit or its disgrace, will 
be determined, just as men consider these principles of 
great, or little, or no importance. It is surely desirable, 
that the members of a Christian community should be able 
to give a reason of the faith and practice which they follow ; 
and to the progress of that which he believes to be truth, 
no man ought to feel indiflferent. Christianity teaches that 
the kingdom of God consisteth not in mere external order, 
or ordinances; but it also teaches, that in every thing which 
he observes in the worship of God, ' every man should be 
fully persuaded in his own mind.' 

The preparatory measures for the meeting at the Savoy 
had taken place during the life of Oliver Cromwell; but 
the meeting itself was held after his death. This event 
occurred on the third of September; a day which the Pro- 
tector had been accustomed to reckon fortunate, some of 

'' Catalogue of the places where Richard Cromwell was proclaimed, p. 25. 
' Besides the first edition, printed in 1659, 1 have met with the following editions 
of the Savoy Declaration. An edition in 18rao. 1677; another in 1688; one in 8vo. 
1729; one printed at Ipswich, in 8vo. 174,'); and one in 8vo. published at Oswestry, 
in 1812. 

184 MEMOIRS Ol; 

his most celebrated victories having been achieved on it. 
It is to be hoped it was so, even in the end, notwithstand- 
ing the language and opinions of his enemies respecting 
him. Of this extraordinary man we have frequently spoken. 
It is not the object of this work to detail the deeds of his 
public, or the anecdotes of his private life; to eulogise his 
virtues, or extenuate his faults. The services which he 
rendered to his country, and to religion, are not unknown ; 
and whatever may be thought of his motives, those services 
were neither few nor small. To the last, his private morals 
remained untainted; his public regard for religion, and for 
religious persons, was maintained ; and he died with a 
prayer, becoming a Christian, and not unworthy of the 
Protector of England. Baxter's character of him, though 
he was never intimate with Cromwell, is on the whole, per- 
haps, just; but too long to be inserted here."" The opinion 
of Owen we have frequently quoted; an opinion formed 
from much personal intercourse with the Protector, both 
before and after he rose to that high situation ; an opinion, 
uniformly favourable to Croniwell's character as a man, 
and as a Christian ; and which, though it may have been 
moderated, was never retracted. That he retained it in its 
full extent to the end, I am not prepared to assert. While 
Cromwell appeared humble, disinterested, and sought his 
country's good, Owen gloried in him, and viewed him in 
the light of a saint and a deliverer. When his ambition 
got the better of his patriotism, and made him forget his 
former professions, Owen left him to defend himself, and 
their intercourse was interrupted. When, afterwards, ac- 
cused of being one of those ' who promised Cromwell his 
life, on his last sickness,'" his reply was short, but satisfac- 
tory, ' I saw him not in his sickness, nor in some long time 
before.'^ The reports of the fanatical prayers of Oliver's 
chaplains, are, perhaps, little better founded than this 

Of the true state of religion during the period of Crom- 
well's government, it is difficult to form an accurate esti- 
mate. Judging from certain external appearances, and 
comparing them with the times which followed, the opi- 
nion must he highly favourable. Religion was the lan- 

»» Baxt. Life, part i. pp. 98—101. » Letter to a Friend, p. 9. " Vol. xxi. p. 566. 

DR. OWEN. 185 

giuige, and the garb of the court ; prayer and fasting were 
fashionable exercises ; a profession was the road to prefer- 
ment; not a play was acted in all England for many years, 
and from the prince to the peasant, and common soldier, 
the features of Puritanism were universally exhibited. 
Judging again from the wildness and extravagance of va- 
rious opinions and practices, which then obtained; and 
from the fanatical slang, and hypocritical grimace, which 
were adopted by many, merely to answer a purpose — our 
opinion will necessarily be unfavourable. The truth, per- 
haps, lies between the extremes of unqualified censure, and 
undistinguishing approbation. Making all due allowance 
for the infirmity and sin which were combined with the pro- 
fession of religion ; making every abatement for the in- 
ducements, which then encouraged the use of a religious 
vocabulary; admitting that there was even a large portion 
of pure fanaticism, still, we apprehend, an immense mass 
of genuine religion will remain. There must have been a 
large quantity of sterling coin, when there was such a cir- 
culation of counterfeit. In the best of the men of that 
period, there was, doubtless, a tincture of unscriptural en- 
thusiasm, and the use of a phraseology revolting to the 
taste of modern times ; in many, there was perhaps nothing 
more ; but to infer, that, therefore, all was base unnatural 
deceit, would be unjust and unwise. ' A reformation,' says 
Jortin, ' is seldom carried on, without a heat and vehe- 
mence which borders upon enthusiasm ; as Cicero has ob- 
served, that there never was a great man, sine afflatu divino, 
so in times of religious contests there seldom was a man 
very zealous for liberty, civil and evangelical, and a de- 
clared active enemy to insolent tyranny, blind superstition, 
political godliness, bigotry, and pious frauds, who had not 
a fervency of zeal, which led him, on some occasions, be- 
yond the bounds of sober temperate reason.'? The remarks 
of another profound reasoner, far removed from enthusiasm 
himself, are also deserving of attention. ' Many errors in 
judgment, and some delusions of Satan intermixed with 
the work, are not any argument that the work, in general, 
is not the work of the Spirit of God. However great a 
pouring out of the Spirit there may be, it is not to be ex- 

P Jorlin's Remarks on Ecclt's. Hist. vol. ii. p. 270. 


pected that it should be given now, as it was to the apo- 
stles, infallibly to guide them in points of Christian doc- 
4;rine. And if many delusions of Satan appear, at the same 
time that a great religious concern prevails, it is not an 
argument that the work, in general, is not the work of the 
Spirit of God, any more than it was an argument in Egypt, 
that there were no true miracles wrought there, because 
Jannes and Jambres wrought false miracles at the same 
time, by the hand of the devil. Yea, the same persons 
may be the subjects of much of the influences of the Spirit 
of God, and yet, in some things, be led away by the delu- 
sions of the devil ; and this be no more of a paradox, than 
many other things that are true of real saints in the present 
state, where grace dwells with so much corruption, and 
the new man and the old man subsist together in the same 
person. — If some such as are thought to be wrought upon, 
fall away into gross errors, or scandalous practices, it is 
no argument that the work, in general, is not the work of 
the Spirit. Such things are always expected in a time of 
reformation. If we look into church history, we shall find 
no instance of great revival in religion, but what has been 
attended with many such things. Thus it was with the 
Gnostics in the apostles' time ; and thus it was with the 
several sects of Anabaptists in the time of the reformation : 
so in England when vital religion did much prevail in the 
days of Charles I. and Oliver Cromwell, such things as 
these abounded. '"^ 

The application of these judicious remarks is obvious. 
It is freely admitted, that no religion was necessary to 
make a man talk about ' seeking God ;' or to lead him to 
hear many sermons, and even to make long prayers. All 
these things were done by many, whose conduct discovered 
that their pretensions were more than questionable. But 
when we find along with these, fervent zeal for the fruits 
of righteousness, the glory of God, and the spiritual and . 
temporal well-being of men ; active labours in preaching 
the gospel, or patient sufl'ering on account of it, the aspect 
of religious profession becomes very different. It is im- 
possible to doubt the sincerity of such persons. Yet such 

T Marks of a work of the Spirit of God, \)y Jonathan Edwards, pp. 29, 31. The 
whole Tract is deserving of an attentive perusal. 

BR. OW KX. 187 

were multitudes in the days of Cromwell, who are reckoned 
fanatical precisians, or designing knaves. These very per- 
sons became, in the days of the Second Charles and James, 
confessors and martyrs for the truth. The two thousand 
ejected ministers, and the ten thousands of the people who 
suffered the loss of goods and of liberty — of country, and 
even life itself, were for the most part, the generation of the 
Commonwealth. Their conduct, perseverance, and suffer- 
ings shew, that they were not the sickly dreamers, and vi- 
sionary enthusiasts, they have been reckoned, but men of 
elevated and scriptural piety. 

During the Commonwealth no system of church go- 
vernment can be considered, as having been properly, or 
fully established. The Presbyterian, if any, enjoyed this 
distinction. But the ministers who occupied the parish 
churches, were of very various sentiments. Many of them 
were secret friends to the old Episcopacy, and the liturgy. 
Man)' were for a reformed Episcopal government. Others 
thought no form of ecclesiastical polity of Divine right, or 
gave themselves no concern about the matter. Some were 
Independents, and a few were Baptists."^ Cromwell's po- 
licy encouraged this diversity ; as he dreaded the ascen- 
dency of any one party. If the ministers attended to their 
own duty, and did not interfere with his affairs, their sen- 
timents respecting church government, did not prevent the 
enjoyment of his favour. Such a state of things may be 
considered anarchy and confusion by many, but it may be 
questioned, whether the great ends of the gospel ministry 
were ever more effectually accomplished in this country, 
than during that period. No sacrifice of conscience was 
demanded; no encroachments on religious liberty were 
practised; no bounds were prescribed to zealous exertion 
for the good of the souls of men. Every man sat under his 
vine, and his fig-tree, without fear. The word of the Lord 
had/ree course, and was glorified. 

The influence of the life and death of Cromwell on the 
profession of Independency, which he is supposed pecu- 
liarly to have favoured, has, I apprehend, been greatly 
exaggerated. He has been represented as the chief in- 
strument of promoting the increase and respectability of 

' Baxter's Non-conformist's Plea for Peace, p. 130. 

188 MEMOIRS or 

that party, and his death has been spoken of as the most 
disastrous event that could befall them. In as far as In- 
dependents enjoyed full liberty and protection, and were 
considered capable of serving their country, under the go- 
vernment of Cromwell, they were doubtless indebted to 
him ; and it would be exceedingly ungrateful to deny, that 
these blessings they then enjoyed, in common with others, 
in a much greater degree than they have ever since done. 
For all this, let him receive the praise to which he is en- 
titled. It does not appear that they were indebted to Crom- 
well for any thing more, and, in some respects, his patron- 
age was hurtful, rather than useful to them. As a body, 
they had existed long before his name was known, and 
their increase and respectability arose from causes altoge- 
ther independent of him. He might, indeed, be said to 
have raised himself, in a great measure, by their means. 
He took advantage of their reputation and influence, their 
love of liberty, and hostility to ecclesiastical domination, 
to shelter himself and to gain his own ends. He climbed 
on their shoulders to the summit of ambition, and then un- 
ceremoniously discarded or forgot them. 

The enjoyment of his favour and patronage must, to a 
certain extent, have been injurious to tHe genuine profes- 
sion of apostolical principles. It may appear strange, that 
an Independent should declare, that he has no wish that 
Independents, as such, should become the objects of poli- 
tical patronage. If, indeed, the glory of a Christian pro- 
fession consists in mere numbers, in the enjoyment of 
wealth, or the possession of worldly honours, these views 
must be extremely foolish. But if its glory consists in the 
spiritual character of its members, be they few or many ; 
then the honours of a temporal kingdom have no tendency 
to promote it. ' Pure and genuine Christianity,' says an 
ingenious member of the Church of England, ' never was, 
nor ever can be the national religion of any country upon 
earth. It is a gold too refined to be worked up with any 
human institution, without a large portion of alloy : for, 
no sooner is this small grain of mustard-seed watered with 
the fertile showers of civil emoluments, than it grows up 
into a large and spreading tree, under the shelter of whose 
branches the birds of prey and plunder will not fail to make 

DR. OWEN. 189 

for themselves comfortable habitations, and thence deface 
its beauty and destroy its fruit.'' When any party of Chris- 
tians becomes exclusively the object of state favour, it im- 
mediately operates as a bounty on that profession. Every 
man who wishes, or hopes to rise, has an inducement to 
enrol himself under its banners. There will be a visible 
increase of number and respectability, but a proportionate 
decrease of piety and purity. The Independents never 
were the objects of this exclusive patronage ; but, in so far 
as that profession was considered, during the Common- 
wealth, to be more acceptable to the ruling powers than 
any other, it must have derived injury rather than benefit 
from the circumstance. It induced some of those volatile 
and unprincipled spirits, which always float in the current 
of state favour, to hoist the colours of Independency ; but 
which they pulled down the first change of wind that oc- 
curred. Such adventurers, wlfetever be their rank, add no 
real strength to the eff"ective force of a Christian commu- 
nity ; and their dispersion is a blessing rather than a pu- 

In another point of view, also, the patronage of Crom- 
well and his party, has been injurious to the character of 
Independency. It has confounded it in the opinion of 
many with revolution and republicanism. It is the occa- 
sion, to this day, of representing its adherents as enemies 
to established, or at least to monarchical government. 
That there were Independents then who preferred a re- 
public to a monarchy, especially an unlimited monarchy, I 
feel no concern to deny; as many of the greatest men of 
the age, though not Independents, did the same. But I 
feel concerned to maintain, that between the religious sen- 
timents of Independents, and their views of any form of 
civil government, there is no link of connexion. And if 
the favour of Cromwell has led men to believe, that Inde- 
pendents are naturally, or necessarily, republicans, it has 
done them a material injury. In consequence of this mis- 
take, every thing of a revolutionary and sanguinary nature 
during the above period, has, by some, been fearlessly 
charged on this body. To vindicate it, is now unneces- 
sary. It has flourished, in the Scriptural sense of the 

' Disquisitions on several subjects, by Soanie Jcnvns, p. 164. 


word, more under a monarchy than ever it did under a Pro- 
tector ; and among the friends of the Hanoverian succes- 
sion, and the steady, uniform, and conscientious supporters 
of that illustrious house, has always been reckoned the 
body of British Independents. 

I must advert to one circumstance which occurred 
after the death of Cromwell, in which Owen is alleged 
to have been concerned. 

' Tillotson told me,' says Bishop Burnet,* ' that a week 
after Cromwell's death, he, being by accident at White- 
hall, and hearing that there was to be a fast that day in the 
household, out of curiosity, went into the presence chamber 
where it was held. On one side of a table, Richard, with 
the rest of Cromwell's family was placed, and six of the 
preachers were on the other side — Thomas Goodwin, 
Owen, Caryl, and Sterry, were of the number. There he 
heard a great deal of strangf stuff, enough to disgust a man 
for ever of that enthusiastic boldness, God was, as it 
were, reproached with Cromwell's services, and challenged 
for taking him away so soon. Goodwin, who had pre- 
tended to assure them in a prayer, that he was not to die, 
which was but a very few minutes before he expired, had 
now the impudence to say, ' Thou hast deceived us, and 
we were deceived.' Sterry, praying for Richard, used 
those indecent words, ' Make him the brightness of the 
Father's glory, and the express image of his person.' The 
same story is repeated on the authority of Burnet, in Birch's 
life of Tillotson." 

Without impeaching the veracity, either of Tillotson, or 
of Burnet, there are circumstances, which induce a strong 
suspicion of the accuracy of the anecdote. The gossiping 
disposition of Burnet led him to commit many mistakes, 
and writing down conversations about others long after 
they were held, was no great security for fidelity." That 

t Hist, of his own Time, vol. i. p. 116. " p- 17. 

X ' The Bishop's hearsays,' says Lord Lansdowne, ' are, in most cases, very 
doubtful. His history is little else, but such a one told such a one, and sucli a one 
told me. This sort of testimony is allowed in no case ; nor can the least certainty 
be built upon stories handed about from one to another, which must necessarily 
alter in the several repetitions by different persons.* Lord Lansdowne's Works, vol. 
ii. p. 179.—' 1 have never,' says Sir John Dalrymple, ' tried Burnet's facts by the 
test of dates and original papers, without finding them wrong.'— Memoirs of Great 
Britain, p. M. 

DR. OWEN. 191 

such a meeting took place is highly probable ; but it looks 
somewhat suspicious, that Tillotson should, from mere cu- 
riosity, presume to go into the presence chamber of the 
Protector on such an occasion. Burnet does not seem to 
have adverted to the fact, that Goodwin's words, with 
which Tillotson was offended, are the very words of the 
prophet Jeremiah, chap. xx. 7. ; and that they were used, 
in all probability, in the very sense in which the prophet 
employs them, not as affirming what God had done, but 
only what he had permitted men to do. ' Thou hast suf- 
fered us to deceive ourselves, and we have been deceived,' 
Nothing is put into the mouth of Owen ; and I think it im- 
probable that he was there. "We know from himself, that 
he had not been with Cromwell on his death-bed, nor long- 
before. He was none of the household chaplains, and this 
was a private household fast. He was not a favourite of 
Richard's ; not likely, therefore, to be asked on such an oc- 
casion ; and still less likely to be a volunteer. The entire 
story seems a compound of imperfect recollections, exag- 
gerated in the repetition, with a view to expose the fanati- 
cism of Cromwell's chaplains. The denial, on the part of 
Owen, of assertions, as positively made as the above, leads 
us to receive the testimony of the opposite party with great 
caution ; and where the characters of others are involved, 
the testimony of bishops and archbishops ought to be sub- 
ject to the same laws of evidence, which regulate that of 
other men. 5^ 

Besides the works already noticed, which Dr. Owen 

y Those who arause themselves with the prayers and fasting of the Protector, may 
contrast with the picture drawn by Tillotson, the following scene on the Lord's day 
evening in the court of his royal successor. It is described by Evelyn, a respect- 
able and religious man, but no fanatic, as he was a devoted friend of the Church 
and of the royal family. 'I can never forget the inexpressible luxury and profane- 
iiess, gaming and all dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetfulness of God, it being 
Sunday, which this day se'nnight, I was witness of. The King sitting and toying 
with his concubines; Portsmouth, Cleaveland, and Mazarine, &c. A French" boy 
singing love songs, in that glorious gallery, while about twenty of the great courtiers, 
and other dissolute persons, were at Basset round a large table, a bank of at least 
£2000, in gold, before them ; upon which, the gentlemen who were with me made 
reflections with astonishment.' — Memoirs, vol. i. p. 585. This single scene speaks 
volumes on the dissoluteness and impiety of the court of Charles, and the awful ef- 
fects which it must have produced on the country. Looking back but a few years, 
well might the people exclaim, O tempora ! mores ! The Memoirs of Pepys, 
which have been lately published from his short-hand MS. by Lord Braybrook, 
contain many facts of a similar kind, and which shew the disgraceful state of the 
court, and the deplorable condition of public morals. 


published during his Vice-chv^ncellorship, he had beon en- 
gaged in preparing another elaborate performance, which 
appeared soon after he had relinquished that oflSce, ' Of 
communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
each person distinctly, in love, grace, and consolation, &c.' 
4to. Oxford, 1657/ It appears, from a short preface, that 
he had preached on the subject, and then extended it into 
a considerable treatise. He first shews that the saints 
have communion with God in his manifestations of love 
and grace to them, and in their returns of holy gratitude, 
confidence, and joy. He then endeavours to establish from 
Scripture, that this fellowship is with each of the Divine 
persons distinctly, as the title of his work imports; and 
proceeds, at great length, to illustrate the nature of this fel- 
lowship with the Father in love, with the Son in grace, and 
with the Holy Spirit in consolation. 

There is much delightful and important instruction in 
this work. Though the subject arises from the first prin- 
ciples of the economy of salvation, it embraces matter 
which is only adapted to the higher form of the Christian 
profession ; and for the full understanding of it, requires 
the possession, and the vigorous exercise of that spiritual 
faculty which the natural man does not enjoy; and which 
constitutes the vital principle of the new creature. There 
is nothing in Christianity, indeed, corresponding with the 
mysteries of ancient paganism; there are no esoteric doc- 
trines, which are concealed from the vulgar. But there are 
things, which those, who only stand in the outer court of the 
temple, do not know, and which are the peculiar privilege of 
those who occupy the penetralia. There is an initiation, 
which must take place, the work, not otman, but of God; 
without which, the visible apparatus of the gospel appears 
only like pantomimic exhibition, unintelligible, and unim- 
pressive. The eyes of a sinful creature cannot look at 
the invisible things of God, without undergoing an opera- 
tion similar to unsealing the bodily organs of vision, when 
covered by a film which shuts out the light of heaven. In 
plain terras, the mind of man must undergo an entire moral 
revolution ; a renewal, in order to its understanding, relish- 
ing, and improving the discoveries and felicities of the 

» Works, vol. X. p. 1. 

DR. OWEN. 193 

kingdom of God. The grand object of this dispensation, is 
not to restore the doctrines of natural religion, to exhibit a 
perfect code of moral legislation, or to establish the cer- 
tainty of a future state. All these it embraces ; and in 
these, the mass of men counted learned in Christendom 
rest ; — but its sublime designs reach far beyond these nar- 
row views. They comprehend the communication of a 
Divine nature to a sinful creature, and the gift of all things 
necessary for its support ; till being completely delivered 
from the corruptions of this world, it receives an abundant 
entrance into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord and Sa- 
viour. Sin destroyed and defaced the work of God. It is 
the design of the system of mediation to create a new world, 
consisting of one vast renewed family ; at the head of which 
is placed, not an earthly man, frail and mutable, but the 
only begotten Son — 'the Lord from heaven.' Man's re- 
bellion occasioned disorder in the universe, and interrupted 
the intercourse between the Creator and the creature ; by 
Christ, all things are again reconciled, and re-united ; har- 
mony is again restored, and God once more pronounces 
his work to be very good. 

Only those who are divinely taught,* will enter into 
these views ; and only such are likely to understand the 
work of Owen on Communion. For in what does fellowship 
with God consist, but in God's enjoyment of us, and our 
enjoyment of God, according to the established principles 
of the ministry of reconciliation ? He that is destitute of 
this, knows nothing of the gospel, or its great design. He 
may discuss its evidences, speculate about its doctrines, 
and observe its institations ; but while he is without its 
immortalizing principle — he is only amusing himself with 
the leaves, instead of feeding on the fruits of the tree of 

As an evidence how little understood these sentiments 
are, even by those who think themselves, almost, the only 
true Christians, I may quote the ' account which Wood 
gives of this work. ' In this book he doth strangely affect, 
ambiguous and uncouth words, canting, mystical, and 
unintelligible phrases, to obscure, sometimes, the plainest 
and most obvious truths : and at other times he endea- 

» 1 Thess. iv. 9. 
VOL. I. O 


vours, by such a mist and cloud of senseless terms, t& 
draw a kind of veil over the most erroneous doctrines.''' I 
do not know that there are half-a-dozen words in the whole 
book, which are not perfectly intelligible to every person 
who understands English. Nor is there any peculiarity of 
phraseology, except what distinguishes the author's style 
in all his writings. The darkness of which Anthony com- 
plains, is in the subject, or rather was in himself, in relation 
to that subject. It is not wonderful that a blind man does 
not understand a dissertation on the nature of colours, or 
that a deaf man imperfectly comprehends the doctrine of 
acoustics — the want of the faculty sufficiently explains the 
reason. It is in no degree more surprising, that a man 
who is a Christian, merely by hereditary descent, or nomi- 
nal profession, does not understand the essential glory, or 
excellence of the gospel. * The natural man receiveth not 
the things of the Spirit of God ; neither can he know them, 
because they are spiritually discerned. '•= The deficiency in 
the one case is physical, and in the other moral, which 
equally affect the perceptions of their subjects j but, which 
are materially different in the responsibility which they 
involve : as the one is a misfortune and the other a crime. 
The greatest objection to the work on Communion is,, 
that it is too rigidly systematic. Few, perhaps, will follow 
out the Doctor's views to the extent to which he carries 
them, of distinct fellowship, with the Father, Son, and 
Spirit. The groundwork of his illustrations is, indeed, in 
Scripture; but the same sort of superstructure does not 
seem to be reared on it. Too many nice distinctions in- 
jure the unity and divine harmony, which pervade the sys- 
tem of revealed grace ; and ill correspond with that lovely 
freedom, and unfettered phraseology, which distinguish 
the inspired writings. To be indifferent to the importance 
of expressing ourselves correctly on all the doctrines of 
revelation, and to affect greater accuracy in treating thein, 
than the apostles employ, are extremes equally improper 
and pernicious. If the latter was the fault of Owen, and 
the theological writers of that period, the former is the 
great evil of the present. It was then impossible to misap- 
prehend the sentiments of the leading writers, on every 

•> Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 560. « 1 Cor, ii. 14. 

DR. OWEN. 195 

topic of importance connected with Christianity ; in regard 
to many of our most popular theological writers now, it is 
extremely difficult to ascertain what is their belief on va- 
rious subjects, and those not of trifling importance — yet, in 
this very circumstance they glory! Whether this arises 
from imperfection of knowledge, from undervaluing some 
parts of the Christian system, or from the fear of losing 
their popularity, by the manly avowal of obnoxious truths, 
or from all these combined together, I pretend not to de- 
termine ; but it is deeply to be regretted : and when the 
writings of such persons have a powerful influence in di- 
recting the public mind, the evil alluded to is of serious 

The work on Communion is peculiarly interesting, con- 
sidering the situation of the author while it was composed, 
and as a specimen of the discourses he was in the habit of 
delivering at Oxford. However much he must have been 
involved in ihe dry details of secular business, or profane 
learning, it shews how his mind was chiefly affected. No 
man could more boldly contend for the cause of liberty, or 
more warmly advocate the interests of learning ; to despot- 
ism and Vandalism he was equally an enemy: but the sal- 
vation of Christ, and the spiritual interests of his people, 
were still the grand objects of his attachment and pursuit. 
His heart was in his Master's work, and alive to all the 
glory of his undertaking. No subordinate object was al- 
lowed to occupy that place in his mind, which spiritual 
things, alone, ought to enjoy ; and in none, even of the ex- 
tended controversies, in which he engaged, does he write 
so much con amove, as on communion with God. This in- 
valuable privilege, must have been his solace amidst the 
distracting labours in which, contrary to his inclinations, 
he had become involved ; and of the exercise itself, and 
the labour of writing about it, he could, probably, say 
what the amiable Bishop Home does of his work on the 
Psalms : * The employment detached him from the bustle 
and hurry of life, the din of politics, and the noise of folly; 
vanity and vexation flew away for a season, care and dis- 
quietude came not near his dwelling. He arose fresh as 
the morning to his task ; the silence of the night invited 
him to pursue it ; and he can truly say, that food and rest 
o 2 

196 MEMOIRS 01- 

were not preferred before it. Every part improved infi- 
nitely upon his acquaintance with it, and no one gave him 
uneasiness but the last; for then he grieved that his work 
was done.' 4t the distance of nearly twenty years, this 
work on Communion was very unmercifully assailed, and 
became the subject of a protracted controversy, which will 
afterwards be examined. 

At this time the Independent churches were the sub- 
jects of much reproach and misrepresentation, particularly 
from the higher toned Presbyterians. It would appear 
that some of the Independent ministers thought Dr. Owen, 
and those of his brethren who occupied eminent situations, 
were not so forward as they should be to defend the com- 
mon cause. Under this feeling, Mr. Beverly of Rowel ad- 
dressed a very urgent letter to the Doctor, entreating him 
to advocate and defend the principles and interests of the 
churches. ' Truth itself,' he says, ' so far as we understand 
in this cause, now mainly calls and cries by these impor- 
tunate lines upon you, for a more full vindication. And 
whom, should such a truth, in such an extremity, betake 
herself for relief to, among all her children, rather than 
yourself? or such as you can prevail with and judge, if you 
can justly any, more fit than yourself? — ^even yourself, who 
have such a name in the learned and Christian world al- 
ready, as that your very appearing might be sufficient vin- 
dication ? May I not charge you in Christ's name, to rise 
up once more for Christ, and for this part of his truth also, 
even as in a former church case ? Esther iv. 14. What 
account can be given but that God, foreseeing how useful 
you might be in such a juncture, did choose to set you in 
that signal place at Oxford, even for so signal a service to 
such a signal portion of truth? And can you forbear to ex- 
tend your hand in such a case? Who can despatch so noble a 
work, even verso pollice, with such ease and facility ? What 
wonder if the memory of such a cause rot with posterity, 
when such as have tasted the glorious God therein, do 
themselves so slightly regard it, not improving the least of 
their many talents in vindication of it ? Is this a time, when 
such reproach and gloominess cover the mountain of 
truth — is this a time for you, O ye heads of Colleges, the 
principal of tlic flocks, to dwell in your own ceiled houses. 

DR. OWEN. 197 

and pompous stately possessions? when we poor under 
shrubs have our heads bowed down with grief, and after 
continued implorings of God for his stirring up some emi- 
nent instruments, are resolved rather to die than to desert 
the truth. — What, dear Sir, if we were all, as some such 
as yourself are, personally promoted ? What satisfaction is 
this, when the cause of truth lies bleeding and rotting with- 
out care or vindication? How many empty complimopts 
it is like you have time for, and not vacancy enough for 
such a work as would live after, yea, procure life to the 
cause after your death ? I hope God the Father will at 
length hear the many cries and tears in secret poured 
forth in behalf of what I have thus written. If I lose my 
labour as to man, I shall go softly all my few remaining 
days in the bitterness of my soul ; and at my last gasp, or 
departing sob, rejoice that I am going to the blessed souls 
of Shepherd, Hooker, and Cotton. Pardon, dear Sir, my 
errata in all this, for either matter or form; but as you love 
Christ Jesus, and dread that anathema, 1 Cor. xvi. 22. let 
it be duly improved.''^ 

This very solemn and urgent letter, dated Feb. 24, 1657, 
was not without effect on Owen. For in the course of that 
same year he produced a small work, relating to the sub- 
ject on which Mr. Beverly had written him, and which oc- 
casioned immediately an angry and protracted controversy. 
This was, ' Of Schism, the true nature of it discovered and 
considered, with reference to the present differences in 
religion,' 12mo. pp. 280. Ox. 1657.= This subject, which 
somebody justly observes, has occasioned a schism about 
the meaning of the word, Owen endeavours to illustrate 
entirely by the light of revelation. Having noticed the 
primary import of the term — a rent or separation of parts 
in a united substance ; and its moral or analogical meaning 

d Maurice's Account of the Church at Rowel, pp. 11 — 14. The writer of this 
uncommon letter appears to have been a very excellent man, and much attached to 
the Congregational cause. He had been a tutor in the University of Cambridge, 
and engaged in the service of Christ in diiferent parts of Scotland and England, I 
suppose with the army, before he came to Rowel, in 1655. Here belaboured with 
much zeal and disinterestedness, till the Lord put a period to his services on the 
first of June, IG-'^a. He wrote several things — one in Reply to Wood of St. An- 
drews against Lockyer— another in Latin, in answer to Hornbeck, De Independen- 
tisvin ; and one on free admission, in reply to^ person of the name of Simson. 
Maurice's Account, pp. 1 — 21. Brook's Lives of the Puritans, vol. iii. p. 298. 
e Works, vol. .\ix. p. 109. 


— a division of sentiment, or affection, in a religious or po- 
litical body ; he proceeds to shew, that the apostles use 
the term schism, merely to describe ' causeless differences 
and contentions among the members of a particular church, 
contrary to that love, prudence, and forbearance, which 
ought to be exercised towards one another.' In order that 
any one may be guilty of the sin of schism, he shews that 

* he must be a member of some one church, constituted by 
Jesus Christ; and that in it he raises causeless differences 
with others, to the interruption of Christian love, and to the 
disturbance of tlie due performance of the duties required 
of the church in the worship of God.' Hence it follows, 
that the separation of one church, or of many churches, 
from other churches^Js never described as schism in Scrip- 
ture ; especially if the body seceded from, is not in consti- 
tution of Divine appointment ; and that the separation of 
an individual from a church, on account of what affects 
his conscience, is not the sin of schism. Hence, all the 
abusive language of Romanists against Protestants, and 
Episcopalians against Presbyterians, and of the latter 
against Independents, as schismatics, is utterly misplaced; 
as, whether any be guilty of this evil, depends not on the 
circumstance of separation ; but on the merits of the case, 
and on other parts of conduct. Owen's view of the subject 
is nearly the same with Dr. Campbell's, in his valuable 
dissertation on this word, to which the reader is referred 
for farther satisfaction, as to its scriptural import and use/ 

What a fruitful source of theological altercation would 
be dried up, were this interpretation of the term adhered 
to ! But this would not answer the purpose of such as most 
delight in hurling the hrutum fulmen against others. It is 
a fine way to make an adversary odious, to fix on bim the 
character of a schismatic; though it may, perhaps, more 
justly belong to him whose unchristian conduct is, pro- 
bably, one of the chief reasons that has occasioned the se- 
paration. ' Schism,' says the celebrated Hales of Eaton, 

* has long been one of those theological scare-crows, with 
which they, who wish to uphold a party in religion, use to 
frighten such, as making any inquiry, arc ready to relin- 
quish or oppose it, if it*appear cither erroneous or suspi- 

f Diss. ix. part iii. 

DK. OWEN. 199 

cious/2 It is worthy of remark, that the hideous nature 
of it, is seldom urged, except to those who leave a com- 
munity. Let as many schismatics, from other bodies, 
as please, come into a society; it is never hinted that 
they have been guilty of this crime : a strong proof, that 
the sin of schism is deplored, chiefly when it is an offence 
against men's interests, feelings, or authority. Such per- 
sons should think of the witty Vincent Alsop's remark : — 
* Schism is an ecclesiastical culverine, which being over- 
charged, and ill managed, recoils and hurts the canoneer. 
He that undertakes to play this great gun had need to be 
very careful, and spunge it well, lest it fire at home.''' 

Owen's work, though it had little connexion with any 
party sentiments, as its principle was equally available by 
all parties of Protestants ; all of them being in the ordinary 
sense of the term, schismatics in relation to others, soon 
met with several opponents. The first of these was Dr. 
Hammond, who subjoined to his continuation of the De- 
fence of Grotius, ' A reply to some passages of the Re- 
viewer in his late book of Schism.' This reply relates 
chiefly to the state of Episcopacy, in the times succeeding 
the apostles ; and on this account, Owen took little notice 
of it. 

Another answer was from the pen of Giles Firmin, 
who wrote ' Of Schism, Parochial Congregations, and Or- 
dination by imposition of hands, wherein Dr. Owen's dis- 
covery of the true nature of Schism is briefly and friendly 
examined.' 8vo. pp. 157. 1658. The book corresponds 
with the title, and is written in a very Christian spirit. 
The object of it is to shew, that Schism may be a more 
extensive evil than Dr. Owen's definition admits. — He, 
therefore, defines it, * The solution of that unity, which 
Christ requires in his church,' and which may extend to 
the whole visible profession of Christianity. This, of 
course, depends on the extension of the analogical mean- 
ing of the term. But there is, on the whole, no very mate- 
rial diflerence between Owen and Firmin. Alluding to 
him, the Doctor said, too severely, that Firmin neither un- 
derstood him, nor the things which he wrote about.' Mr. 

g Hales's Works, vol.i. p. 111. ' ^ Melius Inquirend. p. 209. 

' Pref. to Div. Origin, of the Scriptures. 


Firmin had been several years in New England ; but, when 
he wrote this treatise, was pastor of the church at Shalford, 
in Essex. He was a very respectable man; an eminent 
scholar, especially in the Oriental languages; well read in 
the Fathers, Church history, and religious controversies.'' 
If he was a Presbyterian, he was so moderate a one, as to 
be mistaken by Edwards, of Gangrene celebrity, for an 

But the most violent adversary of the Doctor on this 
occasion, was Daniel Cawdry, ' Preacher of the word 
at Billingmagn, Northamptonshire' — a high-flying Presby- 
terian. He produced, in the same year in which the Doc- 
tor's work appeared, a pamphlet, the title of which, at once, 
begs the question, and forestalls the proof; ' Indepen- 
dency a great schism.' 12mo. pp. 200. Lond. 1657. The 
first sentence of this work corresponds with what we have 
said of the use made of the charge of Schism, and with the 
dogmatic title of the book. ' The crime of Schism is so 
heinous in itself, and so dangerous and noxious to the 
cause of God ; that no invectives against the evils of it can 
well be too great or high.' So have all parties exclaimed, 
who arrogate to themselves the exclusive character of the 
true church, against those who have had the temerity to 
call in question their claims, and dissent from their fel- 

When it is stated, that this fiery zealot speaks ' of reap- 
ing with lamentation the cursed fruits of toleration and 
forbearance in religion ;' that he represents toleration as 
' doing more towards the rooting of religion out of the 
hearts of men in seven years, than the enforcing of unifor- 
mity did in seventy ;' and that he generally terms it ' a 
cursed, intolerable toleration ;' — the reader will know 
enough of his spirit, and feel little inclination to examine 
his arguments. The design of the pamphlet, is to prove 
that Independents had been guilty of a great schism, in 
gathering churches out of Presbyterian congregations. This 
was the unpardonable sin of which they were then consi- 
dered guilty. In many instances it was not true : for in 
reply to this very charge, the Prefacers to the Savoy De- 
claration say: — ' Let it be farther considered, thatwc have 

•■ Non-con. Mem, vol. ii. pp. 214 — 216. 



not broke from them, or their order, by these differences, 
but rather they from us, and in that respect we less deserve 
their censure ; our practice being no other, than what it 
was in our breaking from Episcopacy, and long before 
Presbytery, or any such form as now they are in, was 
taken up by them : and we will not say how probable it is, 
that the yoke of Episcopacy had been upon our neck 
to this day, if some such way, as formerly and now is, 
termed Schism, had not with much suffering been practised, 
and since continued in.'' 

But Cawdry had more objects than one to accomplish 
by his work. It contained an Appendix, ' shewing the 
inconstancy of the Doctor ; and the inconsistency of his 
former and present opinions.' The proof of Owen's incon- 
stancy and inconsistency is this; in 1G4-3, being then con- 
nected with the Presbyterians, he published a Treatise, in 
which he speaks on some points as a Presbyterian. In 
1657, having been an Independent, for at least ten years, 
as all the world knew, he published a book, which contains 
sentiments bearing upon Independency: Ergo, Owen is in- 
consistent and unstable ! Alas ! for the logic of poor Daniel 
Cawdry. By such pitiful means do men sometimes en- 
deavour to bring an opponent into disgrace. 

Owen was not backward to reply. In the course of a 
few weeks he produced, ' 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 Cawdry. Ox. 1657.' 12mo. pp. ISl."" 

' The first Presbyterian church in England was constituted at Wandsworth, in 
1572. Neal i. 237. According to a statement already given in this volume, there 
was ail Independent Church in London, in 1570 ; so that, if this be of any import- 
ance. Independency had the precedency of Presbytery in England. It should also 
be remembered, that there was much less difference between Independency and 
Presbytery, when the latter was first erected, than afterwards, when the Scots 
system was adopted, and attempted to be enforced. It is worthy of remark, that 
the English Presbyterian congregation, established by the exiles who fled from 
Queen Mary, had the ultimate determination of all disputes that might arise among 
the office-bearers, or between the office-bearers and the people. By one of the 
articles of their discipline, it was specially provided that in case of such differences, 
the congregation should be assembled, ' and that which they or the major part of 
them so assembling shall judge, or decree, the same to be a lawful decree, or ordi- 
nance, of sufficient force to bind the whole congregation, and every member of the 
same.' By another, it is provided, ' that every member may speak his mind in the 
congregation, so he speak quietly, and not against God's truth.' (Discourse of the 
troubles at Frankfort, printed in the Phoenix, ii. 136, 137.) If this be not Indepen- 
dency, it is at least very like it. 

'" Works, vol. xix. p. '255. 

202 MEMOIRS Oi' 

He assures us in the Preface, that it was the work of only 
four or five days, which was all the time he could devote 
to it, and all that he thought it deserved. With much firm- 
ness he meets, and repels the charges of his adversary, and 
strengthens his original position. He informs us, ' That 
such was his unhappiness, or rather happiness, in the con- 
stant intercourse he had with Presbyterians, both Scotch 
and English, utterly of another frame of spirit ; that till he 
saw this treatise, he did not believe that there had remained 
one godly person in England of such dispositions, in refe- 
rence to present dififerences.' He shews successfully, that 
Cawdry had completely failed in making out his charge of 
Schism and inconsistency against his brethren and him- 
self, and concludes the defence of his changes, which we 
have fully narrated, by simply remarking, * He that can 
glory, that in fourteen years he has not altered in his con- 
ceptions of some things, shall not have me for his rival.' 

The controversy did not terminate here. Next year 
Cawdry returned to the charge, in ' Independency further 
proved to be a Schism,' &c. 12mo. 1658. pp. 158. This 
production abounds with personalities, though the author 
feels that he had already committed himself. Indeed, 
Cawdry seems to have been a contradiction hunter; for 
this is not his first attack, of the same kind, on Indepen- 
dency, and on the personal characters of those who pro- 
fessed it. He had published, in 1G45, a 4to. volume, ' Vin- 
diciae Clavium,' against * Cotton's Keys of the kingdom of 
Heaven.' — And in 1651, another 4to. in vindication of this 
— ' The inconsistency of the Independent way with Scrip- 
ture and itself;' in which he discovers the same rancorous 
spirit against Cotton and Hooker, which he does in his at- 
tack on Owen ; and the same zealous desire to find contra- 
dictions, with little more success. The manuscript of Cot- 
ton's reply to the personal charges of Cawdry, had come 
into Dr. Owen's hands, just as his own answer had gone" 
through the press. Immediately, therefore, after the se- 
cond attack of Cawdry appeared, he published — * A De- 
fence of Mr. John Cotton from the imputation of self-con- 
tradiction, charged on him by Mr. Daniel Cawdry: written 
by himself, not long before his death : To which is prefixed, 
an Answer to a late Treatise of the said Mr. Cawdry, about 

]-)K. OWEN. 203 

the nature of Schism.' 12mo. Ox. 1658." This small trea- 
tise is nearly equally divided between Cotton and Owen. 
The Doctor shews that Cawdry, and his brethren, were as 
loudly, and with more apparent justice, charged with being 
Schismatics by the Episcopalians, as the Independents 
were by the Presbyterians. ' For we deny/ says he, * that 
since the gospel came into England, the Presbyterian go- 
vernment, as by them stated, was ever set up, except in 
the wishes of a party of men : so that here as yet, unless, as 
it lies in particular congregations, where our right is as 
good as theirs, none have separated from it that I know of, 
though many cannot consent to it. The first ages we plead 
our's, the following were unquestionably Episcopal.' p. 79. 
Cotton, whose defence the Doctor published, was a 
person for whom he entertained very high respect. He was 
a man of extensive learning, solid piety, and laborious ex- 
ertion in the cause of Christ. To his writings, Owen had 
been, in part, indebted for his own sentiments as an Inde- 
pendent. He was one of the first of the New England 
Congregationalists, who wrote on the subject of church 
government, and whose writings had a very extensive in- 
fluence, both in that country, and in this. His work, on 
* The Keys of the kingdom of Heaven,' contains the sub- 
stance of the argument for the Independent polity ; though 
he occasionally uses language which no Independent would 
now be disposed to employ, and speaks of the power of 
councils in a way that is not consistent with his leading 
principles. On the subject of the Magistrate's interference 
in religion, also, both his writings and his conduct prove, 
that, in some respects, he was very far from having correct 
or consistent sentiments. This was not the first attack he 
had to sustain on his Work on the Keys. It had been 
taken up by Baillie, in his * Dissuasive from the errors of 
the times ;' in which Cotton and his brethren were loaded 
with calumnies and defamation ; — by Samuel Rutherford, 
with more argument and moderation, in his * Due right of 
Presbyteries ;' and by Cawdry, as I have already noticed, 
in his ' Vindiciae Clavium.' To all these. Cotton replied 
with much Christian temper, in his * Way of the Congrega- 
tional Churches cleared' from the aspersions of Baillie, 

" Works, vol. xix, |). ;339. 


the contradictions of Cawdry, and the misconstructions of 
Rutherford. These works, which are mostly considerable 
volumes, shew how deeply the controversy about Church 
Government then occupied the minds of men ; and how 
keenly some of the leading writers of the period engaged 
in it. Those who wish to know all that is possible to be 
said for Presbytery and Independency, have only to con- 
sult them. They contain, indeed, much extraneous matter, 
and too great a want of moderation on both sides : but they 
literally exhaust the subject, and I should suppose, must 
have exhausted the writers themselves, nearly as much as 
they do now the reader. It is matter of wonder and regret, 
that the subject could not be disposed of with less labour, 
and less acrimony. The last defence of Cotton, and Owen's 
vindicatory preface, put an end to his collisions with Caw- 
dry, and to the Schism controversy: and here terminates 
our account of it. 

In 165S, he published a work * On Temptation ; the na- 
ture and power of it ; the danger of entering into it; and the 
means of preventing that danger,' &c. 12mo." It is the sub- 
stance of some sermons on Matt. xxvi. 41. ; ' Watch and 
pray, that ye enter not into temptation.' It seems, like all 
his experimental writings, to have been called forth by his 
observation on the state of the times. He refers in the 
Preface to the awful providences of which the country 
still continued to be the subject; the spirit of error w^hich 
had spread so widely; the divisions and contentions which 
so extensively prevailed ; the temptations which had over- 
thrown the faith of many; and the general backsliding from 
former holiness and zeal which had taken place. The trea- 
tise, however, has nothing local or temporary in its com- 
position; and will continue to be useful as long as Chris- 
tians shall be exposed to danger from the temptations of 
this world. 

Owen's next work, which was produced partly in 1658, 
and partly in the following year, is a thick 12mo. volume, 
the nature and objects of which are iully explained in the 
extended title-page. 'Of the Divine original, authority, 
self-evidencing light, and power of the Scriptures. With 
an Answer to that Inquiry, How we know the Scriptures 

" Works, vol. vii. |). 131. 

DR. OWEN. 205 

to be the Word of God. Also, a Vindication of the purity 
and integrity of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Old 
and New Testament; in some considerations on the Pro- 
legomena, and Appendix to the late Biblia Polyglotta. 
Whereunto are subjoined, some exercitations about the 
nature and perfection of the Scripture, the right of inter- 
pretation, internal light, revelation, &c.' Oxon.P 

This is rather a curious miscellany, to the whole con- 
tents of which a dedication is prefixed, to * His reverend 
and worthy friends, the Prebends of Christ Church College, 
with all the Students in Divinity in that Society.' In the 
first tract are some very excellent observations, on what is 
generally understood by the internal evidence of the Bible; 
or that which satisfies the mind of a Christian, that in 
trusting to the revealed method of salvation, he is not 
following a cunningly devised fable. The Doctor rests his 
reasonings chiefly on two things — the light and efficacy of 
the truth. As it is the nature of light, not only to make 
other things manifest, but to bring the evidence of its own 
existence along with it; so the beamings of the majesty, 
truth, holiness, and authority of God in the Bible, distin- 
guish it from all counterfeits, and commend it to the con- 
science, which it illuminates, sanctifies, and judges. The 
efi"ects which it produces in the subjugation of human an- 
tipathies to itself, and the cure of moral disease, are also 
strong proofs of its heaven-derived power. It is the force 
of this internal evidence — the perception of the excellence, 
suitableness, and glory of the Divine discovery of mercy in 
the gospel, that induce the great body of Christians to re- 
ceive it. Being made, ' the wisdom and the power of God' 
to their salvation, they have the strongest possible evidence 
of its Divine nature and origin. However complete and 
satisfactory the external testimony is, it does little, com- 
paratively, for the conversion of men; as in most instances 
the gospel is rejected, not from want of evidence, but from 
hatred or indifierence to its subject. The argument of 
Owen has been largely treated by others, though by few 
more fully or satisfactorily than himself. The same views 
are brought forward by Professor Halyburton, in a Trea- 
tise on the reason of Faith, appended to his work on natu- 

P Works, vol. iv. p. 363. 


ral and revealed religion, and by President Edwards, in his 
Treatise on Religious AiFections. 

While this tract was in the press, the Prolegomena and 
Appendix to the London Polyglot, were put into Owen's 
hands ; in consequence of which, he delayed its publication 
till he examined that volume ; and this examination pro- 
duced the second tract in this work.i The object of the 
former treatise was to evince, ' That as the Scriptures 
were immediately given by God himself, his mind being 
in them represented to us ; so by his providential dispen- 
sation his whole word is preserved entire in the original 
languages.' He now contended, that were any corruption 
allowed to have crept into the text of Scripture, all his 
reasonings would be subverted, the foundation of faith 
weakened, and the providence of God would appear to 
have been careless of the preservation of the Divine word. 
He was sadly afraid, if some of Walton's principles were 
admitted, that Popery would obtain advantage on the one 
hand, and infidelity on the other. 

The * Biblia Polyglotta Waltoni,' is by far the most va- 
luable and important biblical work which ever issued from 
the British press ; which has rendered immense service to 
the criticism and interpretation of the Scriptures, and con- 
ferred immortal honour on its projectors and editor. Seve- 
ral works of the same nature had been previously publish- 
ed abroad : as the Complutensian Polyglot of Cardinal 
Ximenes, in 1517 ; the Antwerp Polyglot, published at 
the expense of Philip the Second of Spain, in 1572 ; and 
the Paris Polyglot of Le Jay, in 1645. These works had 
all been edited in the most sumptuous manner, and at 
great expense ; and what is very extraordinary, the world 
had been entirely indebted for them to the zeal and libe- 
rality of Catholic princes, prelates, or private individuals." 
None of the Protestant princes, or patrons of learning, had 
yet attempted any work of this nature. It was reserved for 
England to wipe away this reproach ; and that, not during 
the reign of her royal 'Defenders of the Faith,' and under 
the auspices of her richly beneficed Bishops ; but during 
the reign of fanaticism, and undef the patronage, though 

I Works, vol. iv. p. 449. 
>• Im Long. Bib. Sacra, torn. i. pp. 13. 20. 27—33. Ed. 1709. 



his name was afterwards ungraciously blotted out, of the 
Prince of fanatics — Oliver Cromavell! 

Brian Walton, D. D. afterwards Bishop of Chester, was 
the priiicipal projector and editor of the work; but was as- 
sisted by a number of the learned members of Cambridge 
and Oxford, in conducting it through the press. The Pro- 
tector allowed five thousand reams of paper to be import- 
ed, free of duty, for it ; and otherwise assisted in defraying 
the expense of the edition. It was finished in 1657, and 
by its fulness, accuracy, and convenience for consultation, 
far surpassed all former works of the kind, and remains to 
this day the most complete collection of the sacred writings 
ever published. 

That Dr. Owen should have viewed this work with 
jealousy or disapprobation, appears, at first, somewhat 
surprising. But this surprise will cease when we reflect on 
the school of sacred learning in which he had been bred ; 
to which, from principle, he was still attached; and to 
which the great body of Hebrew scholars then belonged. 
On the revival of learning, Hebrew literature was almost 
entirely in the hands of the Jews. The few Christians who 
acquired from them any acquaintance with it, received im- 
plicitly the dogmas of the Rabbins, who were supposed to 
be profoundly versed in the criticism of their sacred books. 
Two of these dogmas were inculcated as matters of faith, 
as well as questions of fact and criticism: — the immaculate 
purity of the Hebrew text, and the Divine origin of the 
points and accents. Little knowledge of the state of the 
Hebrew manuscripts then existed ; the science of criticism 
was in its infancy : of some of the ancient versions there 
was no knowledge whatever ; and of all of them the know- 
ledge was exceedingly limited and imperfect. The Con- 
troversies between the Catholics and the Reformed, aflfected 
this as well as other subjects. The former unduly extol- 
led the merits of the Vulgate, and depreciated the value 
of the original Scriptures; the latter went to the other ex- 
treme, and treated with unmerited disrespect the Latin 
version, the Septuagint, and all the other early transla- 
tions. It was looked on as a point of the Protestant faith 
to maintain these views, and it was dangerous to an indi- 
vidual's character to deviate far from them. As general 


knowledge increased, the true principles of criticism came 
to be better understood; the importance of the ancient ver- 
sions was more justly estimated; and doubts began to be 
entertained respecting the two positions which had been 
hitherto most surely believed. Several learned men had 
hinted their suspicion of the Divine origin of the Hebrew 
points ; but the first who assailed it at any length, was 
Lewis Capel, Professor of Hebrew in the Protestant col- 
lege of Saumur. His 'Arcanum punctuationis Revelatum,' 
published in 1624; and his ' Critica Sacra,' in 1650, may 
be said to have begun and finished the controversy. The 
latter work — the labour of thirty-six years, brought such a 
mass of learning and evidence to bear upon the contested 
subjects, as left, comparatively, little to be done by others : 
yet such was the state of the literary republic at the time, 
that the work was refused admission to the press by the 
prohibitory principles of foreign Protestants, and after ten 
years' fruitless application for an imprimatur, it was at last 
printed at Paris by his son, who was a Catholic' 

The cause of the points, and of the Hebrew verity, was 
warmly maintained by the Buxtorfs, by the celebrated 
Glassius, and many others. The doctrines of Capellus 
were adopted and defended by Morinus, Vossius, Grotius, 
and other names of great celeljrity. It is no impeachment, 
therefore, of Dr. Owen's learning, that he was of the an- 
cient, rather than of the modern opinion, on this question. 
It was that which was supposed to be most advantageous 
to the Protestant interest, which the lovers of the word of 
God were considered as bound to maintain, and which 
many of the greatest scholars and theologians, then in 
Europe, most warmly supported. The question of the 
various readings has long since been set to rest by the 
immense collections of Mill and Kennicott, of De Rossi 
and Griesbach. On the subject of the points, different 
opinions are still entertained ; but on all sides less im- 
portance is attached to them than when the controversy 
was first agitated. The progress of Hebrew literature has 
discovered, that the fears entertained by Owen, respecting 
the doctrines of the Polyglot were wholly groundless ; and 

6 Walchii Bib. Theol. iv. pp. 268—270. Kennicott'g Hist, of the Heb. Text 
vol. ii. of liis Dissertations. 

DR. OWEN. 209 

his language, that those who asserted that the Scriptures 
had suffered in the same manner with other books, bor- 
dered on atlieism, was rash and improper as the event has 
proved. He disclaims all personal motives in the consi- 
derations he was led to throw out on the Polyglot; professes 
not to have been acquainted with Walton, and but little 
with his chief coadjutors; and pretends to no profound 
acquaintance with the department of literature, to which 
the Prolegomena and Appendix of the Polyglot properly 
belong. It is unnecessary now to canvass his objections. 
His fears magnified his apprehensions of danger, and mul- 
tiplied his difficulties; and neither the cause of sacred 
learning, nor his own fame, would have suffered, had he 
never written a sentence on the subject. 

He was not allowed to pass unanswered. Walton im- 
mediately published an able, but ill-tempered reply. ' The 
Considerator considered, and the Biblia Polyglotta Vindi- 
cated,' &c. 12mo. 1659, pp. 293. It cannot be concealed, 
and ought not to be denied, that Walton had greatly the 
better of his antagonist in this controversy. He possessed 
eminent learning, great critical acumen, and all that patient 
industry which was necessary for the successful prosecution 
of his very arduous undertaking. These qualifications, 
combined with abundance of leisure, with the assistance of 
learned associates, and with enthusiastic devotedness to 
the cause which he espoused, enabled him to bring his ori- 
ginal work to a perfection that left all its predecessors far 
behind, and to meet any antagonist, with advantages, of 
whose importance he was sufficiently aware. The time and 
talents of Owen had been chiefly devoted to very different 
pursuits. In doctrinal, exegetical, and controversial theo- 
logy, he had then but few equals, and no superior. In these 
departments he shone with distinguished lustre, and to 
their cultivation he had consecrated all the faculties, and 
ardour, of no ordinary mind. His public labours, and nu- 
merous writings, must have left him but little time, or in- 
clination, for the dry pursuits of verbal criticism ; and, on 
this account, it would have been better had he left the sub- 
ject to others. But, while I freely concede the palm of 
victory in this contest to Walton, it is impossible to com- 
VOL. f. p 


pliment the spirit with which he fought for, and achieved 
it. He never deigns so much as to name Owen, although 
the work which his work answers was not anonymous. He 
breathes a tone of defiance and contempt, alike uncalled for 
and unsuitable ; but probably dictated as much by the po- 
litical changes in prospect, as by personal dislike of Owen. 
The ex- Vice- chancellor of Oxford though not then ' A son 
of the Church of England/ — a title to which Walton at- 
tached no ordinary importance, was not unworthy to be 
named with the most learned of her progeny ; and even the 
Editor of the Polyglot was not entitled to school him like 
a dunce. His remarks on the motives and designs of Owen, 
are bitter and unchristian, and reflect dishonour only on 
himself. And surely the man, who, after enjoying the fa- 
vour of Cromwell, had the ingratitude to erase his acknow- 
ledgment of it, and to insert the name of Charles, from 
whom his work had derived no benefit (though it afterwards 
procured a bishoprick for its author), has not the highest 
claims to credit for Christian simplicity and sincerity.' 
Let it only be remarked, in conclusion, that if John Owen 
could not have produced the Polyglot, still less could Bi- 
shop Walton have written the Commentary on the He- 

'The Restoration which soon followed,' says Bishop 
Marsh, ' put an end to the controversy ; and within a few 
months after Charles the Second's return. Dr. Walton was 
promoted to the See of Chester. The prejudices excited 
hj Owen's pamphlet, and the false conclusions, which he 
drew from that variety of readings unavoidably resulting 
from a multitude of copies, did not, indeed, immediately 
subside: but those prejudices and apprehensions were, at 

t In the latter part of the Preface to the Polyglot, when it was first published, 
the following passage occurs : — ' Primo auteni conime'morandi, quorum favore 
chartam a vectigalibus inimunem habuimus, quod quinque ab hinc annis a Concilio 
secretiori prinio concessuru, postea a Serenhsimo Protectore, ejusque concilio operis 
proraovendi causa, bcnigne confirraatum ct continuatuni erat.' When the Bible was 
presented to Charles II., in 1660, the two last leaves of the Preface were cancelled, 
and three others substituted in their room, in which the passage runs thus: ' Inter 
hos efFusiore bonitate laborcs nostros prosecuti sunt (praeter cos quorum favore 
chattam a vectigalibus imniuncm habuimus), Sei-enissimus Princeps J). Carolus,' t'cc. 
Few of the copies with the original Preface were published, as Walton, probably, 
foresaw the approaching change; but a republican copy, being a greater rarity, now 
brings a better price than a royal one. Mr. Todd's defence of Walton's conduct, 
both to Owen and Cromwell, is very unsatisfactorj'. 

DR. OWEN. 211 

least, mitigated by the endeavours of Dr. Fell, who pub- 
lished, as he relates in his Preface, an edition of the Greek 
Testament for that purpose.'" 

The third Tract in this volume of Owen, is in Latin,^ 
and is chiefly aimed at the Quakers. It is rather singular 
that he should have criticised the Polyglot in English, and 
the Friends in Latin. This Walton took care to notice, 
not to the advantage of the Doctor. His ' Exercitationes 
adversus Fanaticos,' roused an adversary among the 
Quakers, not less fiery, though less learned, than the 
Editor of the Polyglot. This was Samuel Fisher, origin- 
ally a Minister of the church, afterwards a Baptist, and 
finally a Quaker ; a man, said to have been, of eminent 
virtue, piety, and learning.'s^ The reply to Owen is part 
of a 4to. volume of 600 pages, the title of which, I quote 
for the amusement of the reader. ' The Rustics' Alarm to 
the Rabbles; or, the Country correcting the University 
and Clergy, and not without good cause, contesting for 
the truth against the nursing mothers, and their children ; 
in four apologetical exercitations ; wherein is contained, as 
well a general account to all inquirers, as a general answer 
to all opposers of the most truly Catholic, and most truly 
Christ-like Christians, called Quakers, and of the true Di- 
vinity of their Doctrine. By way of entire intercourse held 
in special with four of the Clergies' chieftains, viz. John 
Owen, D. D. late Dean of Christ Church; Thomas Danson, 
M. A. once Fellow of Magdalen College, since one of the 
Seers for the town of Sandwich ; John Tombes, B. D. once 
of Bewdly, since of Lemster ; Richard Baxter, Minister at 
Kidderminster, another eminent master in this English 
Israel : which four fore-men hold the sense and senseless 
faith of the whole Fry, and write out the sum of what is, 
or is to be, said by the whole fraternity of fiery fighters 
against the true light of Christ, and its true children. By 

» Marsh's Theol. Lect. vii. This edition of the Greek New Testament was 
published at the Oxford press, in 1675. It does not bear the name of Bishop Fell, 
but it was known to be edited by him. It is entitled, ' Novum Testaraentum 
Graece. Accesserunt parallela Scripturae loca, necnon variantes lectiones ex plus 
100 MSS. Codicibus, et antiquis versionibus collectae, cum praefatione de origine 
variantium lectiomLm,' &ic. It is reckoned an excellent critical edition, having a 
greater number of various readings than had before been published. Le-Long. torn, 
i. pp. 500—502. Marsh's Michaelis, vol. ii. 452. ^ Works, iv. p. 539. 

J Crosby's Baptists, vol. i. pp. 359—363. 

p 2 



Samuel Fisher, who sometime went astray, as a lost sheep 
among the many shepherds, but is now returned to the 
Great Shepherd, and Overseer of the soul,' 1660. The con- 
fidence, abusive language, and absurdities of this produc- 
tion, are beyond description. Had Samuel Fisher designed 
to shew how wise and righteous he was in his own estima- 
tion, and how entirely he despised others, he could not have 
taken a more effectual method of doing it, than by writing 
this book. It is extraordinary that a body so measured in 
its phrases, and meek in its manners, as the Quakers ap- 
pear to be, should have produced such fiery spirits as Fisher, 
whose intemperate language affords strong proof that he 
spake by another spirit than that of Jesus. 

Richard Cromwell succeeded in peace to the chair of 
his father ; but not possessing the talents, or the courage, 
which were necessary to occupy it-^soon deserted it for 
the quieter and more comfortable repose of private life. 
To/ollow the ever-shifting scenes of the political stage, 
between the death of Cromwell and the restoration of the 
monarchy, would lead too far away from the immediate 
design of this work ; I shall, therefore, confine myself en- 
tirely to the conduct of Owen, as far as it can be ascer- 
tained, during this busy and perplexing period. 

Among the first acts of Richard's government was the 
summoning of a Parliament, which met on the 27th of Ja- 
nuary, 1659 ; and on the 4th of February following, we find 
Dr. Owen preaching before it at a private fast. The sub- 
ject is, ' The glory and interest of nations professing the 
Gospel.'^ From the dedication to the House, it appears 
that some false reports had been circulated about the sen- 
timents of the discourse, respecting forms of civil govern- 
ment. Nothing of a political nature, however, occurs in 
the sermon; and he declares, that no sentiments of his 
would interfere with any form of civil government on earth, 
righteously administered. The minds of men were then in 
a state of great agitation, and in such circumstances, it is 
scarcely possible to speak publicly without occasioning 
suspicion or misconception. 

The army was divided into two factions ; the Walling- 
ford-house party, which was for a Commonwealth; and 

» Works, vol. xvi. p. 3. 

DR. OWEN. 213 

the Presbyterian, which, with the majority of the Parlia- 
ment, was for the Protector. The former party, of which 
Fleetwood and Desborough were the heads, invited Dr. 
Owen and Dr. Manton to their consultations. Dr. Owen 
went to i3rayer before they entered on business, but Man- 
ton being late before he came, heard a loud voice irom 
within, saying, 'He must doivn, and he shall down.' Manr 
ton knew the voice to be Owen's, and understood him to 
mean the deposing of Richard, and therefore would not go 
in.** Such is Neal's account of a very singular affair. If 
Manton heard no more than the words printed in italics, it 
is strange that he should have put such a construction on 
them. They might allude to the Pope, or the Grand Turk, 
as well as to Richard Cromwell. It is not like Owen's 
usual prudence to vociferate sedition, at a private meeting, 
so loudly as to be heard outside the door; and that before 
the Council had deliberated.*^ 

In Baxter's own life, the most positive charges are pre- 
ferred against Owen, as the grand instrument in pulling 
down Richard. ' He gathered a church at Lieut.-General 
Fleetwood's quarters, consisting of the active officers of 
the army. In this assembly, it was determined that Ri- 
chard's Parliament must be dissolved, and then he quickly 
fell himself. — Dr. Owen was the chief that headed the In- 
dependents in the army, and afterwards had been the great 
persuader of Fleetwood, Desborough, and the rest of the 
officers of the army, who were his gathered church, to com- 
pel Richard to dissolve his Parliament,'"' In attending to 
these statements, it must be remembered, that they proceed 
from a man, who, though honest in his intentions, enter- 
tained against the Independents, and Dr. Owen in particu- 
lar, very violent prejudices. They were not made public 
till after Owen's death, when he could not defend himself; 
and though Sylvester, the Editor of Baxter's life, applied 

•' Neal, vol. iv. p. 209. 
<^ The absurdity of the construction put on the words of Owen's prayer is the 
more evident, when it is acknowledged, that Dr. Manton did not so understand tliem 
till after Picliard's deposition. Non-con. Mem. vol. i. p. '201. Mr. Palmer men- 
tions in the Non-con. Mem. vol. iii. p. 401, that he had met with a manuscript de- 
fence of Mr. Baxter's conduct, in charging the deposition of Richard upon Dr. 
Owen, which he meant lo deposit in the Red Cross-street Library ; but no such ma- 
nuscript was ever lodged there. 

ii Baxter's Life, part i. p. 101. part iii. p. 4i*. 


to the Doctor's Widow to explain these passages if she 
could ; she, probably thinking it an invidious task for any 
one to rake up the ashes of her husband, left him to do 
what he pleased. But the internal evidence is, by no 
means, in favour of the correctness of these statements. It 
would appear from them, that Owen had collected the 
Wallingford-house party, instead of being called in to pray 
at its deliberations, according to Neal : — that this party 
was Owen's church, and that among the other deliberations 
of this body, was introduced the propriety of deposing the 
Protector! Credat Judaeus Apella! Owen had no church 
at Wallingford house ; his stated residence was in Oxford. 
Some of the officers of the party were Independents, and, 
probably, looked up to him for occasional advice ; which, 
I believe, was the amount of his connexion with their pro- 

But we do not need to rest the defence of Owen on 
these general reasonings ; we can adduce evidence of the 
most conclusive nature, in reply to these charges of politi- 
cal interference. He was accused in Fiat Lux, a book of 
which we shall afterwards speak, of being part of that dis- 
mal tempest, which overbore, not only church and state, 
but reason, right, honesty, all true religion, and even good 
nature. To this sweeping charge the Doctor replies : ' Let 
me inform you, that the author of the animadversions, (on 
Fiat Lux) is a person, who never had a hand in, nor gave 
consent to the raising of any war in these nations ; nor to 
any political alterations in them, no — not to any one that 
ivas amongst us during our revolutions: but he acknow- 
ledges that he lived and acted under them, the things in 
which he thought his duty consisted ; and challenges all 
men to charge him with doing the least personal injury to 
any, professing himself ready to give satisfaction to any 
one that can justly claim it.'* In Vernon's letter to a 
Friend, the charge of pulling down Richard is directly prcT 
ferred against him. To which he answers : ' Of the same 
nature is what he affirms— of my being the instrument in 
the ruin of Richard Cromwell, ivith whose setting up and 
pulling down, I had no more to do than himself; and the 
same answer must be returned again, as to the Friar, Men- 

<: Viud. of Aniniad. on Fiat Lux, vol, xviii. p. 237. 



titur impudentissime.'^ Knowing these solemn assevera- 
tions, as Baxter must, or might have known ; and as his 
Editor, Sylvester, probably knew, there is something very 
unchristian in still maintaining, on the authority of re- 
ports, charges of so serious a nature. ' To all these,' says 
the writer of Owen's Memoirs, ' we may add the testimony 
of the Rev. James Forbes of Gloucester, in a letter to a mi- 
nister, now living in London. " There is yet a worthy 
minister alive, who can bear witness that Dr. Owen was 
against the pulling down of Richard Cromwell ; for a mes- 
sage came to him, you must preach for Dr. Owen such a 
day at Whitehall, for he is sick, and the cause of his pre- 
sent illness is his dissatisfaction at what they are doing at 
Wallingford-house." 's 

Notwithstanding the strength and fulness of the above 
evidence, there is in Calamy's continuation of Baxter's Life, 
another laboured attempt to fix the above charge on Dr. 
O wen.i' All the circumstances we have noticed are brought 
forward, and another— an acknowledgment said to have 
been made by Owen to Baxter, that he was an agent in 
pulling down Richard's parliament, and himself. But can 
it be conceived that Owen should have made such an ac- 
knowledgment in private, and publicly declare what Bax- 
ter must have known to be false ? To say nothing of his 
character, there would be a degree of folly in such conduct, 
of which we cannot suppose him to be guilty. From what 
he knew of Baxter's love of scribbling, he could not doubt 
that he would embrace the first opportunity of proclaiming 
from the house-top what had been told in his ear. And, 
accordingly, the Doctor was scarcely in his grave when 
this ungenerous attack on his memory was made.' Baxter 
was a rash man, and his repetition of a conversation many 
years after it had been held, is not to be compared with 
the public, and solemn testimony of a man of Owen's esta- 
blished reputation for religion and uprightness. Dr. Ca- 
lamy's attempt to prove that Owen had told a public lie, is 
by no means honourable to him, and savours strongly of 
that party prejudice, which is marked in several parts of 
his otherwise valuable work. 

f Reflections on a Slanderous Libel, Works, vol, xxi. p. 566. e p. 19. 
ii Vol. ii. pp. 917—922. 'Baxter's answer to Owen's twelve nrguments, p. 27. 


In the memoirs of Ludlow, we have some account of 
the part which Owen took in the restoration of the Long 
Parliament, an event which occurred after the deposition 
of Richard; and which, if Owen favoured, it is a strong 
proof of his disinterestedness, as from the Long Parlia- 
ment, he, and his party, could hope for little favour. From 
Ludlow's account, which we have every reason to believe 
correct, the fall of Richard was occasioned by various con- 
curring circumstances : — the indecision of the Protector 
himself, divisions in the army and offence given by him to 
some of the leading officers, his taking part with the Pres- 
byterians, and exciting fears among the Independents for 
the safety of religion, and religious liberty. After he had 
been brought down and his parliament dissolved, the repub- 
lican party were strongly pressed to restore the Long Parlia- 
ment. It was alleged that there was not a sufficient num- 
ber of members left to make up a parliament. * Upon this 
Dr. John Owen,' says Ludlow, * having desired me to give 
him a list of their names, I delivered him one ; wherein I 
had marked those who had sat in the house since the year 
1648, and were yet alive, amounting to the number of about . 
160. The Doctor having perused it, carried it to those at 
Wallingford-house.'" In the end the Long Parliament was 
restored, and rewarded its restorers with restrictive laws 
and deprivation of places. 

We need not wonder at the misrepresentations to which 
Owen, and others similarly placed, were exposed. The 
period between the death of Oliver and the restoration of 
Charles was exceedingly unsettled . Owen must have been 
filled with various fears and anxieties. The return of a 
civil war, the establishment of Presbyterian uniformity, or 
the restoration of monarchical despotism, must have been 
equally frightful to contemplate ; and yet one or other of 
these events seemed unavoidable. To prevent, if possible, 
the effusion of blood, the reorganization of civil tyranny, or 
the exercise of ecclesiastical oppression, was the duty of 
every man who wished well to his country, and who loved 
religion. To err in such circumstances, by giving a well 
meant, though eventually, it might prove an injudicious ad- 
vice, is more honourable both to the patriot and the Chris- 

'' Ludlow's Mem. vol. ii. p. 181.— Kd. 1751. 

DU. OWEN. 217 

tian than cold neutrality, which looks with indifference on 
the tempest, and afterwards smiles at the calm. 

Owen preached before Parliament for the last time on 
Sabbath, the 8th of May 1659 ; being the second day after 
it had met.' In the month of August following, the Con- 
gregational Churches in London desired leave to raise three 
regiments for the parliament, and obtained its consent to 
do so." They had become exceedingly alarmed for their 
liberty, and not without cause. Monk had for some time 
been playing a part. Formerly he had acted with the In- 
dependents ; now he was seemingly disposed to support 
the Presbyterians. Apprehensions were entertained of the 
march of his army into England ; and to ascertain his real 
sentiments and intentions, Caryl and Barker were des- 
patched to Scotland with a letter to him from Dr. Owen, 
in name of the Independent Churches, to which he was con- 
sidered as belonging. With the ministers were associated 
Col. Whally and Major-General Gough, both members of 
the same communion. At Newcastle they were joined by 
Mr. Hammond, and in Scotland by Mr. Collins, both very 
respectable and useful Independent ministers." They had 
an interview with Monk, and some other officers of the 
army, at Holyrood-house. Caryl told him they came not 
to deliver their sense of the General's proceedings, but the 
sense of the churches; which had given them no com- 
mission to enter into the merits of the cause, nor to debate 
whether Lambert's action in turning out the parliament 
were justifiable or not; but only to present it to his Lord- 
ship, as their opinion, that he had not a call to appear 
against it in that manner; — that his Lordship had only in 
charge to keep Scotland quiet, and was not bound to take 
notice of any differences that should happen in England. 
He proceeded to assign reasons why the General should 
go on no farther ; and, finally, assured him, that whatever 
should happen would be laid at his door, as he would be 
considered the originator of the war.° 

The reasonings of the Commissioners with Monk pro- 
ceed entirely on the ground of the connexion subsisting 
between the churches and him ; by which they considered 

' Whitelocke's Memoirs, p. 679. " Ibid. p. 683. 

" Skinner's Life of Monk, p. 101, • Baker's Cliron. p. 587. Ed. 1733. 


themselves bound to expostulate with him, on the impro- 
priety of involving the nation in war, occasioning much 
evil to his brethren, and, perhaps, being instrumental in 
bringing back a state of things, ruinous both to civil and 
religious freedom. They could make nothing, however, of 
Monk. He sent them back with a letter, addressed to Dr. 
Owen, Mr. Greenhill, and Mr. Hook, full of unmeaning 
compliments, hypocritical professions, and promises never 
intended to be fulfilled.p It must have satisfied them, that 
they had every thing to fear, and nothing to hope, from his 
march into England. His character was a compound of 
selfish&sss and hypocrisy. He swallowed oaths without 
ceremony, and broke them without remorse. He deceived 
all parties, but stood true to his own interest to the end.^ 
The Independents offered to stand by their friends in Par- 
liament, and to force back Monk into Scotland. Owxn 
and Nye had frequent consultations with Whitelocke and 
St. John ; and, at a private treaty with the officers at Wal- 
lingford-house, offered to raise one hundred thousand 
pounds for the use of the army, provided it would protect 
them in their religious liberties ; which they were appre- 
hensive Monk and the Presbyterians designed to subvert. 
But those officers had lost their credit, their measures were 
broken and disconcerted. — One party was for a treaty; 
and another for the sword. Their old veteran regiments 
were dislodged from the city, and Monk in possession."" 

The anxiety of the Independents is easily accounted 
for. Their very existence was at stake; for they had 
nearly as much to fear from the power of the Presbyterians, 
as from the return of the king. They only wanted pro- 
tection and liberty; but these moderate demands they knew 
neither party would agree to, if once it obtained power. 
It does them honour, that they were willing to make any 
sacrifice, rather than part with privileges more valuable 
than life itself. The Presbyterians, however, completely 
predominated. Every thing was in a train for the resto- 
ration of the king, to whom they looked forward with all 
the fondness and confidence of a promised saviour. Among 
other preparations for this event, on the 3d of March 1660, 

1' Ncal, vol. iv. pp. 238—240. 'i Burnet, vol. i. p. 138. 

"■ Ncal, vol. iv. p. 242. 

DR. OWEN. 219 

the question between Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Owen, about 
the Deanery of Christ Church, was referred by the House 
of Commons to a Committee, and on the 13th of the same 
month, by a vote of the House, Owen was discharged, and 
Reynolds restored to his place.' Previously to this, he and 
Goodwin had been removed from preaching at St. Mary's, 
Wood says, by the endeavours of the Presbyterians. If 
this was so, it was a most ungrateful return for the kind- 
ness and liberality, with which Owen had uniformly treated 
that party. The Doctor took his ejection, not very meekly, 
according to Vernon, who represents him as saying : * I 
have built seats at Maries, but let the Doctors find audi- 
tors, for I will preach at Peter's in the east.'' 

Thus terminated Dr. Owen's connexions with the Com- 
monwealth, and with the public politics of his time. That 
they never proved a snare to him, or involved him in con- 
duct and discussions foreign from the business of the 
Christian ministry, I am unable to affirm. That many of 
the scenes, through which he passed, were not to his liking, 
we have his own authority for believing ; and that his mind 
sustained little injury from his circumstances, his writings 
sufficiently prove. The very reports and misrepresenta- 
tions, however, to which his conduct gave rise, shew how 
dangerous a thing it is for a Minister of the Gospel to be 
connected with political parties, or concerned in their pro- 
ceedings. In ordinary circumstances this can be easily 
avoided ; but Owen must have been often so situated, as 
not to have the power of acting entirely in his o\vn hands. 
When this is the case, it becomes us to judge charitably, 
even when we cannot fully approve. With his talents, and 
the degree of popularity, which, in the providence of God, 
he obtained, he probably could seldom have acted very dif- 
ferently from what he did ; and wherever our information 
is sufficient, his conduct admits of defence, rather than 
apology. That his motives were pure, and his aims disin- 
terested ; that he had at heart the interests of religion, and 
the welfare of his country, are beyond a doubt. If he could 
not keep himself entirely unspotted from the world, or at 
all times juStly avoid its censure, we have only to remeki- 
ber what he himself would have been the first to confess, 

* Whhelocke, p. 699. *■ Letter to a Friend, p. 28. 


that he was a sinful, fallible creature, who made no claim 
to perfection. But how few, comparatively, have acted 
such a part on such a theatre, and borne away so large a 
portion of fair and solid reputation ; and were our know- 
ledg^e of his history more perfect, I am satisfied that it 
would be increased, rather than diminished. Henceforth 
we must follow his steps through other scenes ; less splen- 
did in the estimation of the world, but more important in 
themselves, and more glorious in the eye of God; — defend- 
ing the faith from the press, illustrating it in the conven- 
ticle, and exemplifying its influence in the tribulation and 
patience of Jesus Christ. 


Owen retires to Stadham — Effects of the Restoration — Venner's insur^ 
rection — The fifth monarchy men — Difference between Owen and Cla- 
rendon — The Act of Uniformitij — Otoen writes on the Magistrates' 
power in Religion — His Primer for children — His Theologoumena — 
His Animadversions on Fiat Lux — Cane's Reply — Owens Vindication — 
Difficulty of finding a licence for it — Interview with Lord Clarendon — 
Invitation to New England — Sufferings of the Dissenters — Relieved for 
a time by the plague and fire of London — Oicen ivrites various Tracts — 
Preaches more regularly in London — Publishes a Catechism on the Wor- 
ship and Discipline of the Church — Answered by Camfield — Discussions 
between Baxter and Owen, respecting a union of Presbyterians and In- 
dependents — Failure of the attempt — Owen receives a Legacy — Publishes 
on Indwelling Sin — On the 130<A Psalm — The first volume of his Expo- 
sition of the Hebreivs — Review of the whole of that work. 

After the Doctor's deprivation of the Deanery of Christ 
Church, he retired to Stadham, the place of his birth, where 
he had purchased an estate, and where during his residence 
in Oxford, he had collected a small congregation. He 
continued to preach to this society for some time, and was 
resorted to by many from Oxford, to whom perhaps he had 
formerly been useful, and who now followed him to be com- 
forted and instructed by his labours. The congregation, 
however, was in a short time broken up by the Oxford 
Militia, and the persecution became so violent that the 
Doctor had to remove from place to place for security.' 

» Memoirs, p. 32. 

DR. OWEN. 221 

The Restoration of Charles II. brought many woes to 
Britain. He was not only totally destitute of religion, 
but without sincerity; and indifferent to every thing but 
pleasure and sensual gratification. The despotic spirit of 
the Stuarts lost nothing by his misfortunes and sufferings. 
He returned like a conqueror rather than an exile ; to take 
possession of a hereditary throne and an unlimited sceptre, 
instead of accepting the conditional and defined sovereignty 
of a free and independent people. The mania of royalty 
was now as wild as ever the frensy of republicanism had 
been ; and under its excitement the people forgot that they 
bad rights to maintain and conditions to prescribe, as well 
as gifts to bestow. What was thus generously surrendered, 
Charles had neither the honour nor the generosity to re- 
spect. He imported largely of French politics, licen- 
tiousness, and irreligion; so that in a very short time»the 
appearance of the court, and the aspect of the country, 
were entirely changed. The decidedly religious charac- 
ters of the former period held fast their integrity ; but the 
lukewarm, and those who had only adopted the profession 
of the day, either laid it quietly aside, or turned out bitter 
enemies to their former friends. ' But as all was not genuine 
religion which had assumed its appearance during the 
Commonwealth ; so more of it remained afterwards than 
might have been supposed from the open profaneness which 
abounded. A numerous body of enlightened and consci- 
entious men patiently endured the trial of cruel mockings, 
and bonds and imprisonments, and many of them the loss 
of all things for Christ's sake. They steadily resisted the 
torrent of infidelity and corruption, and ultimately obtained 
an important triumph. 

Shortly after the Restoration, the insurrection of Ven- 
ner and the Fifth Monarchy men brought much reproach 
on the Dissenters, and afforded the court a favourable and 
wished-for opportunity to interfere with their privileges. 
Baptists and Quakers as well as the monarchy men were 
forbidden, to assemble publicly; and Independents, though 
not named, were considered as involved in the same con- 
demnation. The respective bodies of Dissenters published 
declarations expressing their detestation of the principles 
and practices of these wild fanatics. The document issued 



by the Independents, disowns the personal reign of Jesus 
on the earth, as dishonourable to him, and prejudicial to 
his church; and expresses its abhorrence of the propa- 
gation of this or any other principle by violence. It refers 
to the Savoy Declaration for the sentiments of the body re- 
specting civil magistracy, and the obligation to obey it ; 
and declares that they cease not to pray for all sorts of 
blessings to the king and his government. This paper is 
signed by twenty-five of their ministers, among whom the 
name of Owen does not occur. It is probable that he was 
in the country when the insurrection took place, and might 
not have an opportunity of being present at the meeting in 
which the declaration was drawn up. His sentiments, 
however, were quite in unison with it.'' 

In justice to the Fifth Monarchy men it ought to be 
stated, that all the patrons of this sentiment cannot be con- 
sidered friendly to the measures of Venner, Harrison, and 
the other fierce republicans and visionaries by whom this 
uproar had been made. The religious sentiment is as old 
as some of the Fathers of the church, and is only a modi- 
fication of the doctrine of the millenium ; which has been 
held by highly respectable individuals of various commu- 
nions both before and since the Commonwealth. The 
learned and celebrated Joseph Mede, and his contemporary 
Dr. Henry More, held sentiments nearly allied to those of 
the persons who contended for the personal reign of Jesus 
on earth. I have now before me a folio volume, by Na- 
thaniel Homes, a fifth monarchy man; 'The Resurrection 
revealed, or the dawning of the day-star,' &c. — a book full 
of curious learning, in which the sentiments of Mede are 
advocated ; but without any of that grossness and carnality 
which are supposed to have distinguished this class of 
persons. Others of them also were deserving of respect 
both for learning and piety. It is only when religious sen- 
timent induces such practices as are incompatible with 
public peace or good morals, that the restraints of autho- 
rity are called for. Among the German Anabaptists, and 
English Fanatics, whose sentiments were on various points 
the same, there were probably many whose private charac- 
ters will be found at another day to have been very different 

b Neal, h'. pp. 311,312. 

DR. OWEN. 223 

from that which the judgment of man has pronounced, and 
which the proceedings of the general body would seem to 

Wood expresses his astonishment that Owen was not 
excepted from the benefit of the Act of Oblivion passed 
after the king's return. But this I suppose was never con- 
templated. The royal party knew too well the character 
and conduct of the Doctor, to involve themselves unneces- 
sarily in the odium of such a measure. The same writer 
tells us, that Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards Lord Claren- 
don, then Chancellor, treated Owen with great kindness 
and respect, and wished him, if he would not conform, to 
employ his time in writing against the Roman Catholics, 
and not to disturb the public peace by keeping conven- 
ticles ; which Owen promised to do. But afterwards being 
found preaching to thirty or forty persons at Stadham, he 
was complained of to the Chancellor. When Owen under- 
.stood this, he wrote to Dr. Barlow, whom he had obliged 
in the same manner in Cromwell's time, to endeavour to 
make his peace with Hyde. In consequence of which. 
Barlow went from Oxford to Cornbury for the purpose ; 
but the Chancellor told him, that Dr. Owen was a perfidious 
person, who had violated his engagements, and therefore 
he would leave him to suffer the penalty of the laws which 
he had broken. '^ 

Independently of any positive evidence, we might, from 
Owen's well known principles, be fully assured that he 
never would have promised to abstain from preaching when 
he had an opportunity. But he meets the charge directly 
himself. Wood's account is borrowed chiefly from Vernon, 
in reply to whom the Doctor says, ' There is not any thing 
in substance or circumstance that can lay the least pretence 
to truth in what he reports to have happened between the 
then Lord Chancellor and me ; which, as I have good wit- 
ness to prove the mistake that fell out between us, not to 
have been occasioned by me, so I much question whether 
this author was informed of the untruths he reports by Dr. 
Barlow; or whether he ever gave his consent to use his 
name publicly to countenance such a defamatory libel.''^ 

"^ Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 557. 
'^ Reflections on a Slanderous Libel. Works, vol. xxi. 


As Owen held no living in the Church, he was not in- 
volved in the consequences of the Act of Uniformity. All 
that he and those with whom he acted sought, was tole- 
ration or liberty of conscience. A comprehension within 
the pale of the establishment was incompatible with their 
principles, and unsuited to their wishes. It does not fall 
within the design of this work to notice the discussions be- 
tween the Court and the Presbyterians, about the Act of 
Uniformity; as the subject of these memoirs had no con- 
nexion with them. But the discussions themselves, and 
the treatment which followed, suggest some important re- 
flections. They shew the folly of attempting to reconcile 
the principles and practice of the kingdom of Christ, with 
those of a worldly government. The Court was determined 
to yield nothing ; the Nonconformists were disposed to 
yield every thing which they could with a good conscience, 
to retain the patronage of the state. Expediency rather 
than Scripture was the rule by which both parties pro- 
ceeded. They did not clearly perceive that the church is 
a society altogether ditferent in its principles and consti- 
tution from the state, and therefore ought to be independ- 
ent of its interference. The Ministers wished too much to 
get the earth to help the woman, while the court was deter- 
mined to make the woman help the earth. Hence the dis- 
putes between them were interminable ; for the farther they 
proceeded the more widely they diverged. 

The Bartholomew ejection was a strong measure, but 
naturally to be expected from the spirit of the court; and, 
except on account of the individual suffering which it oc- 
casioned, ought not to be deplored. The Church of Eng- 
land was unworthy of the men whom she cast out ; while 
they were taught by their ejection better views of the Chris- 
tian dispensation, and in the enjoyment of a pure con- 
science and the liberty of Christ, possessed a happiness 
which the benefices of the church without them could not 
confer. They originated many of those societies which 
have preserved the light of Evangelical truth in the coun- 
try ; and which without that event would not in all proba- 
bility have existed. Their conduct was a noble testimony 
to the power of religion, to which, as might have been ex- 
pected, the seal of Divine approbation was attached. 

D]l. OWEN. 225 

Soon after the Doctor had left Oxford, he wrote a paper 
containing 'Resolutions of certain questions concerning 
the power of the supreme Magistrate about religion and 
the worship of God, with one about tithes.'* Lond. 4to. 1659. 
This tract was written in a great hurry, in answer to three 
questions sent him the night before, by some correspon- 
dent. The Doctor's consistency would have lost nothing 
had he never answered them. He contends for the exer- 
cise of a certain kind of power by the civil magistrate in 
the way of restraint, and also for the lawfulness of tithes, 
or of a legal provision of a similar nature for the ministers 
of the gospel. It is curious enough that these should be his 
avowed sentiments after he had been deprived of all state 
provision. It shews at least that his sentiments never had 
much connexion with his worldly circumstances, and se- 
cures his character against the charge of time-serving, or 
insincerity. It was answered shortly after by a Quaker, 
in a * AVinding sheet for England's ministry, which hath a 
name to live, but is dead.' The following year he pro- 
duced ' a Primer for Children.' 'No copy of this small tract 
is known to be in existence. It was written, according to 
Wood, though he confesses he had not seen it, for the pur- 
pose of training up children in Independency; a very hei- 
nous crime in the opinion of some people, as if it were 
more unlawful to educate children in Independency than 
in any other system. Owen was fully convinced that if 
children were not trained up in the fear of the Lord, it 
would signify little in what else they were instructed. 

His next work was one of his most learned and laboured 
performances, and shews the transitions of which he was 
capable, from writing Tracts and Primers to Latin systems 
of Theology. ' Theologoumena Pantodapa, etc., or six 
Books on the nature, rise, progress, and study of true 
Theology. In which also the origin and growth of true 
and false religious worship, and the more remarkable de- 
clensions and restorations of the Church are traced from 
their first sources. To which are added digressions con- 
cerning Universal grace — the origin of the sciences — notes 
of the Roman Church — the origin of letters — the ancient 
Hebrew letters — Hebrew Punctuation — Versions of the 

• Works, vol. xix. p. 383. 
VOL. I. Q 


Scriptures — Jewish rites, &c.' Oxford, 1661, 4to. pp. 534/ 
It was reprinted at Bremen in 1684, and at Franeker in 
1700. It has no dedication, but there is a long Preface 
and a Latin Poem at the end of it, eulogizing the work, 
and giving a kind of analysis of it, by T. G. whom he calls 
' Clarissimus Sytnmystes,' and whom I suppose to be Tho- 
mas Goodwin. 

The title page of this work, which I have translated at 
length, explains the nature and variety of its contents. It is 
in fact a critical History of Religion, somewhat of the same 
nature with Jurieu's Critical History of Religious worship, 
with some of the discussions of Gale's court of the Gentiles. 

In the first book, he treats of Theology in general, of 
the natural theology of the first man, and oif the corruption 
and loss of it by the entrance of sin. In the second book, 
he discusses the Adamic or Antediluvian Theology. Book 
third treats of the Noachic or Postdiluvian Theology, and 
the progress of Idolatry till the time of Abraham. Book 
fourth is on the Abrahamic and Mosaic Theology. In the 
next book, he examines the corruption, reformation, and 
abolition of the Mosaic system. The last book treats of 
the Evangelical Theology and the proper method of study- 
ing it. The work discovers a vast extent of reading and a 
profound acquaintance with the whole compass of profane 
and sacred learning. On doctrinal subjects it contains the 
same sentiments with his English works ; in the digressions 
are some curious speculative discussions ; his notes of the 
Roman Church accurately mark her character and cor- 
ruption ; and his views of the study of Theology deserve 
the attention of every student. 

This work is very incorrectly printed. In an advertise- 
ment to three pages of errata at the end, the Doctor blames 
the printer for great carelessness, at the same time he men- 
tions, that he was absent during the printing of it, 'a capite 
ad calcem,' There are mistakes or blunders in almost every 
page ; on which account, the continental Editions are pre- 
ferable to the author's own, as they are free from the nu- 
merous errors wliich deform it. A translation of this work 
was partly prepared by the late Rev. John Hooper ; but I 
fear it is not left in a state fit for publication. Unless a 

' This work has not been published in the present edition of his Works. 

DU. OWEN. 227 

good deal of freedom were used with the original, I doubt 
whether it would be a readable book in English ; and the 
information which it contains has long been superseded by 
numerous valuable works in every department of Theology 
of which it treats. 

Following the advice of Lord Clarendon, his next pub- 
lication was on the Popish controversy. In 1661, a 12mo. 
volume appeared, entitled ' Fiat Lux, or a general conduct 
to a right understanding betwixt Papist and Protestant, 
Presbyterian and Independent, by J. V. C. a friend to men 
of all religions.' The author of this work was John Vincent 
Cane, a Franciscan Friar, who had written several things 
before on the Catholic controversy. Fiat Lux contains a 
great display of moderation, and a large portion of craft. 
It proposes to shew that there is no reason for men quarrel- 
ling about religion ; — that every thing is so obscure, no one 
ought to set himself up as a guide to another ;— that the 
various sects of Protestants have no advantage over one 
another, and none of them any over Popery, which is in- 
nocent in its principles and unblameable in its conduct to 
them all. The inference to be drawn from its miscellaneous 
discussions is, that the only remedy for all existing evils 
and differences is returning to the bosom of an infallible 
church. Rome alone is Terra firman and all is sea beside. 

The state of the country rendered a production of this 
nature, however feeble and contemptible in itself, an object 
of attention. The well-known leanings of the court, the 
incessant vigilance and craft of the emissaries of Popery, 
and the tendency of human nature to embrace its most un- 
scriptural and dangerous sentiments, justified an immediate 
reply to this pretended friend of light. It was put into 
Owen's hands by a person of honour, probably Clarendon, 
with a request that he would answer it. Accordingly in 
1662, appeared ' Animadversions on Fiat Lux, by a Protes- 
tant,' 12mo. pp. 440.S In an address to the reader, he says, 
* the author of Fiat seems at first to be a Naphtali giving 
goodly words; but though the voice we hear is sometimes 
that of Jacob, the hands are the hands of Esau.' He ex- 
tracts out of the mass of confusion of which it is composed, 
all the leading principles or statements, and replies to them 

* Works, vol. xviii. p. 1. 

Q 2 


with great spirit and pertinency. He pretends not to de- 
fend the peculiar sentiments of any party, but joins issue 
on the grand principles of Protestantism. It contains a 
larger portion of irony than is usually found in the Doctor's 
writings, which renders it, though on a subject now stale, 
but still important, tolerably pleasant to read. 

To Owen's animadversions, Cane published a short 
reply, in an epistle to the author ; in which he seemed less 
anxious to defend his former treatise than to find out the 
animadverter, and to excite popular odium against him, as 
one of the demagogues of the commonwealth. This led 
Owen to meet him again in a larger work, with his name 
prefixed to it. ' A vindication of the Animadversions on 
Fiat Lux, wherein the principles of the Roman Church, as 
to Moderation, Unity, and Truth, are examined : and sundry 
important controversies concerning the rule of Faith, Papal 
Supremacy, the Mass, Images, &c. are examined/ Lond. 
1664, 8vo. pp. 564.'' From this work we have already ex- 
tracted some passages in reply to the personal charges of 
the Friar, to which it is therefore unnecessary again to 
refer. The work itself is not limited to replying to Cane ; 
it embraces the substance of the Popish controversy. It 
is divided into twenty-four chapters, in each of which he 
treats of some important fact or principle in dispute. It 
abounds with learning and strong reasoning, and shews 
how much the author was at home on the minutest parts 
of that widely extended controversy. Every department 
of theology he had cultivated with diligence, and he had 
only to bend his mind for a little to any one subject to 
make the rich stores of his varied learning bear upon it 
with the happiest effect. 

For this work, strange as it may appear, the Doctor 
found it difficult to procure an imprimatur. The Bishops, 
who were privately enemies to Owen's reputation, and 
some of them secret friends to Popery, had little inclina- 
tion to promote the one, or to assist in injuring the other. 
They alleged that he did not give the title of Saint to the 
apostles and evangelists, and that he attempted to prove 
there was no evidence of Peter having been at Rome ! 
To the first objection the Doctor replied, that the designa- 

•> Work?, vol. xviii. p. 211. 

DR." OWEN. 229 

tion of Apostle was more distinguished than that of 
Saint, in which all the people of God were included. But 
to please them, he yielded to make that addition. He 
would, however, consent to make no alteration on the 
other point, unless they would prove that he was in a mis- 
take ; and he would rather that his work should never see 
the light, than he would expunge what he had written. 
Such was the temper of the Episcopal Inquisition at this 
time, that in all probability his book would have been 
suppressed, had not Sir Edward Nicholas, one of the prin- 
cipal secretaries of state, a man of unblemished character, 
and highly esteemed for his public and private virtues, 
written to the Bishop of London to license it. It accord- 
ingly appeared with the imprimatur of Thomas Greig, do- 
mestic chaplain to his Lordship.* 

These works appear to have gained him the favour of 
Lord Clarendon, who employed Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, 
to procure an interview with him ; in which his Lordship 
expressed his approbation of the service done by the Doc- 
tor's Anti-popish writings, and intimated that he had more 
merit than any English Protestant of the period. He at 
the same time offered him preferment in the church if he 
would conform ; and had he complied, the highest honours 
of the hierarchy would doubtless have been open to him. 
This, however, the Doctor, for obvious reasons, declined. 
He was too much an Independent in every sense, to barter 
his freedom for office, or honour, or wealth. His Lordship 
expressed his surprise that a person of his learning should 
have embraced the novel opinion of Independency. To 
which the Doctor replied, that he had indeed spent some 
part of his time in acquiring an acquaintance with the his- 
tory of the church; and he would engage to prove against 
any Bishop his Lordship would appoint to meet him, that 
the Independent form of Church Government prevailed for 
several hundred years after Christ. They conversed also 
on the subject of religious toleration. The Chancellor 
asked Owen what he would require. — He answered, ' Li- 
berty to those who agreed in doctrine with the Church of 
England.' This was all which he then thought it prudent 

' Mr. Samuel Mather also replied to Fiat Lux, in ' A Defence of the Protestant 
Religion.' Dublin, 1671,410. 


or necessary to mention ; as, with the exception of the Pa- 
pists, there were very few in the country who held doctrines 
different from those of the Church of England. How Cla- 
rendon understood or repeated this remark is uncertain ; 
but it seems to have occasioned a report that the Doctor 
was unfriendly to the toleration of any but those who held 
the doctrinal sentiments of the Church. This, however, 
is so contrary to his avowed sentiments and general con- 
duct, as to require no refutation. He was perhaps un- 
friendly to the toleration of Catholics, for reasons in which 
many of the warmest friends of liberty have agreed with 
him. Popery has been the invariable and constant enemy 
of civil and religious freedom, and the strongest support 
of oppression and arbitrary power. It is a deadly night- 
shade, under whose baneful influence all the moral and 
social virtues of man are either stunted in their growth, 
or entirely destroyed. The very love of liberty induces 
aversion to the encouragement of a sect, which, if consis- 
tent, must wage eternal war with freedom ; and which can 
only flourish by prostrating the understanding, enslaving 
the conscience, and extinguishing the moral feelings of men. 

In 1662, he published * A Discourse concerning Litur- 
gies, and their imposition.' 4to.'' This is a well written and 
well reasoned tract, in ten chapters. His object is not to 
find fault with the Liturgy of the Church of England, or 
with any other prescribed formulary ; but to prove that such 
forms have no foundation for their authority in the word of 
God, and that it is unlawful to impose, and sinful to submit 
to their imposition. The principle which these forms of 
human composition involve, is of vast importance ; and I 
know not where in so small a compass this principle is so 
well stated and so ably opposed as in this work. His 
future colleague, Mr. Clarkson, produced one on the same 
subject, with a very similar title. Owen's work has not 
been answered to my knowledge. 

In the end of the year 1663, the Doctor received an in- 
vitation from the first Congregational Church of Boston, 
in New England, of which Mr. Cotton, and afterwards Mr. 
John Norton, had been Pastor. The latter having died in 
the month of April preceding, the church was desirous of 

'' Works, vol. xix. p. 3'.'5. 

DR. OWEN. 231 

filling up his place with Dr. Owen. Their application was 
seconded by the following- very respectful letter, from the 
General Court of Massachusets, in which he is urged to 
accept the call, from the important field of usefulness 
which it presented, and from the similarity of their senti- 
ments and circumstances to his own : — 

* Reverend Sir, 

It hath pleased the Most High God, possessor of 
heaven and earth, who giveth no account of his matters, 
to take unto himself, that pious and eminent minister of the 
gospel, Mr. John Norton, late teacher of the Church of 
Christ in Boston, whose praise is in all the Churches ; the 
suitable and happy repair of which breach is of great con- 
cernment, not only to that Church, but to the whole coun- 
try. Now, although most of us are strangers to you, yet 
having seen your labours, and heard of the grace and wis- 
dom communicated to you from the Father of lights; we 
thought meet to write these, to second the call and invita- 
tion of that church unto yourself, to come over and help 
us; assuring you it will be very acceptable to this Court, 
and we hope to the whole country, if the Lord shall direct 
your way hither, and make your journey prosperous to us. 
We confess the condition of this wilderness doth present 
little that is attractive, as to outward things ; neither are 
we unmindful, that the undertaking is great, and trials 
many that accompany it ; the persons that call you, are 
unworthy sinful men, of much infirmity, and may possibly 
fall short of your expectation (considering the long and li- 
beral day of grace afforded us) ; yet, as Abraham and 
Moses, being called of God, by faith forsook their country 
and the pleasures thereof, and followed the Lord, the one 
not knowing whither he went, the other to suffer affliction 
with, and bear the manners of the people of God in the 
wilderness: and God was with them and honoured them: 
so we desire that the Lord would clear your call, and give 
you his presence. You may please to consider those that 
give you this call, as your brethren and companions in 
tribulation ; and are in this wilderness for the faith and 
testimony of Jesus ; and that we yet enjoy, through the dis- 
tinguishing favour of God, the pleasant things of Zion in 
peace and liberty. And while the Lord shall see meet to 


entrust us with this mercy, we hope no due care will be 
found wanting: in the Government here established, to en- 
courage and cherish the churches of Christ, and the Lord's 
faithful labourers in his vineyard. Thus praying to the 
God of the spirits of all flesh, to set a man over this con- 
gregation of the Lord, that may go in and out before them, 
and make your call clear, and voyage successful to us ; 
that if the Lord shall vouchsafe to us such a favour, you 
may come to us in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel 
of Christ ; with our very kind love and respect. 

We remain, your very loving friends, 

John Endicott, 
in the name, and by appointment of the General Court, 
sitting at Boston, in New England, the 20th October, 

What answer the Doctor returned immediately to this 
affectionate invitation, I am unable to say; but it would 
seem from a letter of Captain Gookins, one of the Assistant 
Governors of Massachusets, dated July 1066, that he had 
been after some time inclined to comply with the request; 
but certain circumstances deterred him. ' Dr. Owen,' he 
says, * and some choice ones, who intended to come with 
me, are diverted, and that not from hopes of better times 
in England; but from fears of worse in America, which 
some new counsels gave them occasion for : so that in all 
probability a new cloud is gathering, and storm preparing 
for us.'' It is said he was stopped by orders from Court, 
after some of his property was actually embarked." 

The sufferings to which conscientious Dissenters were 
exposed, were every day increasing in severity. It was 
not deemed sufficient to drive them out of the church; it 
was thought necessary to make them miserable afterwards. 

^ This letter was extracted from the Public Records of Massaclmsets, by Dr. 
Gordon, and by him transmitted to the late Mr. Pahner, of Hackney ; who inserted 
it in the Protestant Dissenter's Magazine, vol. iii. p. 477. Mr. Endicott was Go- • 
vernor of the colony, and a very excellent and much resi>ected man. He went to 
Salem in (he year lC'i8. and had the chief command oi those who first settled there, 
in whose difficulties and suiierings he largely participated. He continued there till 
the jurisdiction of Massachusets desired his removal to Boston, for the ni.ore con- 
venient administration of justice, as Governor of the Colony ; to which office he was 
elected for many years with little intermission. He served God and his country, 
till old age and infirmities coming upon him, he fell asleep in the Lord, in 1665, in 
the 77th year of his age. — Morton's New England Mem. pp. 176, 177. 
' Hutchinson's Hist, of Massacliiisels, vol. i. p. 2?6. 
"' Non-con. Mem. vol. t. p. ?0«. 

DR. OWEN. 233 

Dr. Owen had his own share of these sufferings. He 
preached at Stadham as long as he was able, and then re- 
moved to London, where he lived mostly in private, and 
preached as often as he conveniently could. The Act of 
16()4, for suppressing Conventicles, was designed, accord- 
ing to Rapin, to drive the Non- conformists to despair, or 
to commit real crimes against the state. Many were led 
by it to adopt a species of conformity to which Inde- 
pendents and Baptists objected as unscriptural, as coun- 
tenancing the measures of Government, and as approving 
of a persecuting church. Many and ingenious were the 
measures resorted to, to evade the laws, and to enjoy the 
privilege of worshipping God. The Oxford, or five mile 
Act, however, was Intended to cut off all these resources. 
All who refused to swear to passive obedience, in the most 
absolute sense, were prohibited from coming within five 
miles of any corporated town or borough. The iniquity of 
the Act was the greater, that it passed during the plague of 
London, where many of the Non-conformist ministers had 
courageously ventured themselves to preach to the living, 
and administer consolation to the dying. 

The plague was followed by the terrible fire of London, 
in which great part of the city was destroyed, and most of 
the Churches laid in ruins. This disastrous event was 
placed, I believe unjustly, to the charge of the Papists, 
and raised a terrible storm against them ; while it occa- 
sioned a partial mitigation of the laws against Dissenters. 
Temporary places of worship, called tabernacles, w^ere 
fitted up, in which many of the Non-conformists preached 
to crowded and attentive audiences. Owen, Goodwin, 
Nye, Griffiths, Brooks, Caryl, Barker, and other Inde- 
pendents, fitted up rooms or other places for public ser- 
vice, and for a little time, were permitted to meet unmo- 
lested. Baxter says, before this Owen had kept off— as if 
he had been more ashamed or afraid of suffering than his 
brethren. But this is only one of the many instances of 
Baxter's private feeling towards Owen." 

The fall of Lord Clarendon in the following year, who 
had been the chief adviser of the unconstitutional and 
rigorous measures pursued by the Court, together with the 

" Baxter's own Life, part iii. p. 19. 


temporary disgrace of Archbishop Sheldon, and Bishop 
Morley, who were guilty actors in the same proceedings, 
contributed to relax the exertions made to ruin the Dis- 
senters. Clarendon is said to have remarked, that his af- 
fairs never prospered after the Oxford Act. The king be- 
gan, or pretended, to see the selfish and unjust policy of 
some of the late proceedings, and professed a willingness 
to give relief to his persecuted subjects. 

About this time, for I cannot ascertain the exact dates 
of all of them. Dr. Owen wrote seyeral tracts, which.tended 
to enlighten the public mind, and to soften the hearts of 
adversaries. ' An Account of the Grounds and Reasons 
on which the Protestant Dissenters desire their liberty.'" — 
'A Letter concerning the present Excommunications.'P — 
' The present Distresses on Non-conformists examined. 'i 
In 1667, he published ' Indulgence and Toleration Consi- 
dered, in a Letter to a person of honour.' 4to. pp. 31.'^ 
And * A Peace Oflfering, in an Apology and humble plea 
for Indulgence and Liberty of Conscience.' 4to. pp. 37.^ 
The general design of all these tracts is, to promote 
peaceable obedience to the civil enactments of Govern- 
ment; — to shew the injustice and impolicy of subjecting 
conscientious and useful men to suffering on account of 
their religious sentiments; — to expose the unconstitutional 
nature of the proceedings against them, by informers and 
secret emissaries ; — to give a view of the nature and bene- 
fits of toleration, in former ages, and other places ; — to vin- 
dicate it from various charges, and to point out the folly of 
attempting to settle the peace of the country on the basis 
of religious uniformity. They contain some of those en- 
lightened principles and reasonings on the subject of reli- 
gious liberty, which are to be found in his former writings; 
and notice what the event has proved to be true, that there 
is no nation where religious liberty would be more con- 
ducive to tranquillity, trade, and wealth, than England. 
All the tracts were anonymous, for very obvious reasons. 

About this time he appears to have been preaching 
pretty regularly to a congregation of his own forming; 
consisting, among other persons, of many officers of the 

" Vol. xxi. p. 467: 1- Vol. xxi. p. 48 1 . i Vol, xxi. p. 473. 

' Vol. xxi. 1). 373. * Vol. xxi. p. 403. 

DR. OWEN. 235 

army, with whom he had formerly been connected. He 
also set up a lecture, to which many persons of quality, 
and eminent citizens, resorted ; of several of whom some 
account will afterwards be given. Any ease which was 
enjoyed, however, was but of a very temporary nature. 
No legal protection had been obtained, and the most va- 
luable rights and privileges of the community were at the 
mercy of interested informers, and ignorant and intolerant 
magistrates. The Doctor himself made a very narrow 
escape from being apprehended, when on a visit to his 
old friends in the neighbourhood of Oxford. He endea- 
voured to keep as private as possible ; but he was ob- 
served, and information given of the house in which he 
lodged. Some troopers came, and knocked at the door for 
admittance. On the landlady opening it, and demanding 
what they wanted, they told her they sought Dr. Owen. 
She, supposing he had gone off early in the morning, as he 
had intended, told them he was not there. On which, in- 
stead of examining the house, they rode off. The Doctor, 
on learning what had taken place, immediately got his 
horse, and returned to London.' How dreadful must have 
been the state of the country, when such a man was under 
the necessity of sculking and removing from place to place 
for security! 

In 16()7, he published ' A Brief Instruction in the Wor- 
ship of God, and Discipline of the Churches of the New 
Testament, by way of Question and Answer.' 12mo. pp. 
228." It has neither his name, nor that of the printer, nor 
the place of printing, — evidences of the danger of being 
known as the author or publisher of a work on such a 
subject at that time. The style, however, betrays the 
writer in every page. It contains only fifty-three questions, 
the answers to which, with their explications, are of course 
abundantly long, and are frequently divided into several 
sections. His sentiments as an Independent, as might be 
expected, are plainly stated ; but more in the way of prac- 
tical explanation, than of controversy or theoretical defence. 
It contains altogether a very excellent view of the consti- 
tution, officers, and ordinances of a Christian church. 

The publication of this Catechism, Baxter tells us, * was 

' Memoirs, p. 25. " Works, vol. xix. p. 463. 


offensive to many.' Among the rest it gave great offence to 
Benjamin Camfield, Rector of Whitby in Derbyshire; who 
published an octavo volume of 347 pages, in reply to it. 
'A serious examination of the Independents' Catechism, 
and therein of the chief principles of Non-conformity to, 
and separation from, the Church of England.' 1669. By 
this gentleman's account, ' the book examined is the sink 
of all Non-conforming and separating principles, from the 
Protestant religion established in the kingdom!' He is, 
throughout, exceedingly angry with the Catechist, whom 
he declares he neither knows, nor cares to know; and 
labours hard to convict him of error and inconsistency in 
maintaining the suflSciency of the Holy Scriptures ! But 
the body of the Doctor's work remains untouched. 

The publication of the Catechism led Mr. Baxter to 
propose to Dr. Owen a union between the Presbyterians 
and the Independents. That excellent man was for ever 
contrivin^^ schemes of union, but very seldom employed the 
means which were most likely to accomplish them. He 
seems invariably to have forgot that union will never be 
effected by disputing for' it; and that chiding, which he 
called plain dealing, was very unlikely to bring it about. 
His present attempt was not more successful than many 
others. ' I told Dr. Owen,' he says, ' that I must deal 
freely with him, that when I thought of what he had done 
formerly, 1 was much afraid, lest one who had been so 
great a breaker, would not be made an instrument in heal- 
ing.' This was no great encouragement, certainly. * But 
in other respects, I thought him the fittest person in Eng- 
land for the work ; partly because he could understand it, 
and partly because his experience of the humours of men, 
and of the mischiefs of dividing principles and practices 
had been so very great, that if experience should make any 
man wise and fit for a healing work, it should be him.' 
This must have been vastly flattering to the Doctor. ' And 
that a Catechism for Independency, which he had lately 
written, was my chief motive, because he had there given 
up two of the worst principles of popularity' — acknow- 
ledging—* that the people have not the power of the Keys, 
and that they give not this power to the pastor.' He does 
not inform us that Owen admitted he had given up any 

DR. OWEN. 237 

thing, or retracted any sentiment, for which he had for- 
merly contended. Nor had he in fact done so. Owen 
maintains, in the Catechism, ' That whatever the Pastors 
do in the Church according to rule, they do it not in the 
name or by authority of the church by which their power 
is derived to them, nor as members only of the church by 
their own consent ; but in the name and authority of Jesus 
Christ, from whom by virtue of his law and ordinance, their 
ministerial office or power is received.' This is a senti- 
ment, which I believe Owen held from the beginning to the 
end of his career. Stripped of the superfluous language in 
which his ideas are all clothed, it amounts merely to what, 
I apprehend, all Independents hold : that the Pastor of a 
church, in leading it to obey the laws of Christ, acts not 
from a power communicated by the church; but in virtue 
of a special appointment of Christ, whose authority is in- 

Mr. Baxter soon drew up ' abundance of theses, as the 
matter of common concord,' and left them with Owen, who 
objected to their number. On this he produced another 
draught of the things in which Presbyterians and Inde- 
pendents were agreed, to which he requested the Doctor's 
exceptions. Owen wrote him at some length, pointing out 
several things, which would require reconsideration, and 
at the same time expressing his cordial approbation of the 
object, and of the general plan proposed. This produced a 
long letter from Baxter, in reply to his doubts and excep- 
tions. He still insinuates suspicions of Owen's sincerity, 
which must have rendered the correspondence very unplea- 
sant to him; which, with the difficulty of accomplishing the 
object, together with doubts perhaps of the good likely to 
result from the attainment of it, as circumstances then 
stood, seem to have discouraged the Doctor. After more 
than a year's delay, Baxter says, Owen returned the pa- 
pers with these words, ' I am still a well-wisher to these 
mathematics.' A reply sufficiently laconic — expressive of 
his general approbation of the scheme; but of his doubts 
about the calculating process of his ingenious correspon- 
dent. ' This was the issue,' says Baxter, ' of my third at- 
tempt for anion with the Independents.''' 

» Baxter's own Life, part iii. pp. 61 — 69. 


Mr. Baxter's first attempt at union with the Independ- 
ents, seems to have been made with Philip Nye, about 
1655. Of the correspondence between them we have a full 
account in his Life.'^ The second, I suppose, was made 
with George GriflSths, some time after the former.^ Nei- 
ther of those individuals could enter into Baxter's pro- 
posals. It would be very unfair, however, to attach the 
blame of being hostile to union, to Owen, or Nye, or Grif- 
fiths, or the Independents at large ; because they could not 
go into these measures. Mr. Baxter's schemes often looked 
fair and plausible on paper; but their practicability in the 
present state of human nature is a very different thing. The 
Independents were the smaller body, and were naturally 
afraid of being borne down by numbers, if they formed a 
union, by conceding any of their leading principles. To 
external uniformity they attached less importance than 
Baxter and most of his brethren did : and, whatever evils 
occasionally result from disunion — a scheme which would 
comprehend in one body Episcopalians and Baptists, Pres- 
byterians and Independents, is likely to cure them only by 
inflicting a greater evil in their place. The sentiments of 
the Independents on the subject of union, expressed in the 
two last articles of the Savoy Declaration, embrace every 
thing for which it is of importance to contend ; and I believe 
they are the sentiments held and acted on by the body to 
this day. ' Such reforming Churches as consist of persons 
sound in the faith, and of conversation becoming the Gos- 
pel, ought not to refuse the communion of each other, so 
far as may consist with their own principles respectively, 
though they walk not in all things according to the same 
rules of church order. Churches gathered, and walking 
according to the mind of Christ, judging other churches, 
though less pure, to be true churches, may receive into 
occasional communion with them, suc-h members of those 
churches as are credibly testified to be godly, and to live 
without oft'ence.' 

What these eminent persons could not effect by dispu- 
tation, was accomplished shortly after their death, in 1696; 
when the Presbyterian and Independent churches in Lon- 
don and the environs, united on certain general principles.^* 

y Part ii. pp. 188—192. » Ibid, part ii. p. 193. » See Heads of Agreement, 

DR. OWEN. 239 

This illustrates the justness of a remark by Owen, in a 
Sermon preached on the occasion of two Churches uniting. 
' I should be very sorry, that any man living should outgo 
me in desires that all who fear God throughout the world, 
especially in these nations, were of one way as well as of 
one heart. I, know I desire it sincerely ; but I do verily 
believe, that when God shall accomplish it, it will be the 
effect of love, not the cause of love. It will proceed from 
love, before it brings forth love. There is not a greater 
vanity in the world, than to drive men into a particular 
profession, and then suppose that love will be the neces- 
sary consequence of it; to think that if by sharp rebukes, 
by cutting bitter expressions, they can but drive men, into 
such and such practices, that then love will certainly ensue.' 
It is very probable that this language alludes to the failure 
of the attempt between Baxter and himself, and seems to 
explain the true cause of it. Baxter also refers to these 
failures in his Cure of Church Divisions, published in 1670; 
in which he fights the Established Church with the one 
hand, and the Independents with the other. He confesses 
that for twenty years he had been writing, preaching, and 
praying for the Churches' peace, but to no purpose. ' I have 
but made a wedge of my bare hand,' he says, ' by putting 
it into the cleft, and both sides closing upon it to my pain. 
I have turned both parties, which I endeavoured to part in 
the fray, against myself. When each side had but one 
adversary, I had two." Bagshaw replied to the ' Cure ;' 
and Dr. Owen, Baxter says, ' spoke very bitterly against it 
in private, and divulged his dissent from my proposals of 
concord, though he never said more to myself than is before 
expressed.'" Baxter, though a most devoted servant of 
Christ, put too much keenness of temper into all his peace- 
able proposals, and this, no doubt, was one of the main 
reasons of their frequent failure. In promoting love, while 
he always acted from pure and upright motives, he did not 
sufficiently study the principal means of accomplishing it: 

' Ut ameris amabilis esto.' 

In 1668, by the death of his cousin Martyn Owen, a rich 
Brewer in London, the Doctor succeeded to a legacy of 

' Cure, p, 144. " Baxter's own Life, part iii. p. 73. 


five hundred pounds ;" which, together with his landed pro- 
perty, and the proceeds of his numerous writings, enabled 
him to live, while enjoying probably little emolument trom 
his labours in the Gospel. As these must have been very 
irregular, and frequently interrupted, more time v\'as left 
him for private application, which he appears to have em- 
ployed with the most conscientious diligence. Some of his 
most important publications, which had been long in pre- 
paration, made their appearance during this year, and to 
an account of them the remainder of this Chapter shall be 

The first of these, is on ' The nature, power, deceit, and 
prevalency of the remainders of Indwelling-sin in believers,' 
&c. Svo.y This work is the substance, as most of his prac- 
tical writings were, of a series of Sermons : the text is 
Rom. vii. 21. It assumes the hereditary and universal 
nature of human depravity, and confines itself entirely to 
the experience, which believers have of the conflict between 
sin and grace, to which they are perpetually subject. It 
discovers a deep acquaintance with the malignity of sin, 
and the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the hu- 
man heart. It is closely connected in its nature with his 
treatise on Mortitication, to which he refers the reader, and 
of which we have already given some account. There are 
many fine and important passages in the work, an attention 
to which on tlte part of believers would lead to much self- 
examination, watchfulness, and humility. The remains of 
inbred corruption sufiicientiy account for the little progress, 
which is too generally made in the Christian profession ; for 
the fearful misconduct and falls to which men who have 
named the name of Christ are frequently left ; for the want 
of that solid peace and enjoyment of which believers often 
complain ; and for that conformity to the world in its plea- 
sures and vanities which distinguish many, who would be 
offended if their Christian character were called in ques- 
tion. These things were matter of complaint and lamenta- 
tion in the days of Owen, and are no less so now. It is 
true, we have a larger portion of public zeal, and of bustling 
activity in promoting the interests of religion. This is well ; 
what ought to be encouraged — and what must be matter of 

" Perk's Desiderata, vol. ii. p. 437. y Works, vol. xiii. p. 1. 

DR. OWEN. 241 

thankfulness to every sincere Christian. But the deceit- 
fulness of sin may operate as effectually, though less ob- 
viously in many, whosp ' zeal for the Lord of Hosts' may 
appear very prominent, as in times when such exertions 
were not made. It is much easier to subscribe money to 
religious societies, to make speeches at public meetings, to 
unite in plans of associated usefulness, than to sit in judg- 
ment over the heart, or to correct the aberrations of con- 
duct, spirit, and disposition. There may be much public 
professional warmth, and great inward, private decay. 
There may, in short, be a merging of individual, secret re- 
ligion, in the bustle and crowd of general profession and 
public life. These things are suggested, not for the pur- 
pose of discouraging public exertion and association for 
the diffusion of truth ; but for the purpose of leading men 
to consider, that in our circumstances genuine Christianity 
is not necessary to do many things, which are now the ob- 
jects of general approbation; and that such things, how- 
ever excellent in themselves, are but poor substitutes for a 
life of holy obedience, and converse with ourselves and 
with heaven. Such as engage in these objects would do 
well to read Owen on Indwelling-sin. 

This same year he published ' A Practical Exposition 
on the cxxxth Psalm, in which the nature of the forgiveness 
of sin is declared, the truth and reality of it asserted, and 
the case of a soul distressed with the guilt of sin, and re- 
lieved by a discovery of forgiveness with God, is at large 
discoursed.' 4to.^ To the exposition of this Psalm, the 
Doctor was probably led, by the important benefit which 
he ha4 derived from the fourth verse of it, at an early pe- 
riod of his ministry. * I myself preached Christ,' said he, 
* some years, when I had but very little if any experimental 
acquaintance with access to God through Christ ; until the 
Lord was pleased to visit me with sore affliction, whereby 
I was brought to the mouth of the grave, and under which 
ray soul was oppressed with horror and darkness : but God 
graciously relieved my spirit, by a powerful application of 
Psalm cxxx. 4. ' But there is forgiveness with thee, that 
thou mayest be feared.' From whence I received special 
instruction, peace, and comfort, in drawing near to God, 

» Works, xiv. p. 1. 
VOL. 1. , R 


through the Mediator; and preached thereupon immediately 
after my recovery/'' This work partakes largely both of 
the faults and the excellences of its author. It partakes of 
his prolixity, verbosity, and difFusion ; but it possesses also 
a large share of his knowledge of God and of man, and of 
the Divine ways of working with sinful creatures. Consi- 
dering the topics which it embraces, it might have been one 
of the most valuable and useful of his writings— had he 
limited himself to a short illustration of the great leading 
points. But his disposition to weave an entire system into 
every- work, extends his reasonings and illustrations so 
much, that the minds of most of his readers become fatiguerl 
and perplexed long before they arrive at the conclusion. 
The prevailing disposition of the present age is to reduce 
every thing to Tracts. This mode of treating Divine sub- 
jects suits the superficiality and indolence of writers, and 
the trifling habits of readers ; while in other respects it is 
attended with very considerable advantages. In the age 
of Owen, the opposite tendency prevailed; the writers of 
that period seldom knew when to stop. They never sup- 
posed they could exhaust a subject. They were dissatisfied 
till they had produced a folio or a quarto, and had said 
every thing that could be said on the point in hand. This 
did not require all the labour and genius that some may 
suppose. In fact, the bulk of the work was often a saving 
of labour to them. They never thought of dressing or re- 
vising their thoughts. A whole chapter might often have 
been condensed into a paragraph, and have retained all its 
sentiment and a greater portion of spirit. Without meaning 
to detract from the merits of Dr. Owen, I am convinced 
that it would have been much more difficult for him to 
abridge than to expand ; and that he would have been more 
exhausted by the attempt to reconsider and condense his 

* This declaration the Doctor made to Mr. Davis of Rowel, in ronsequenco of 
Mr. Davis consulting him respecting his own experience. Mr. Dftvis after this be- 
came a member of the church in London under ftlr. T. Cole, from which he received 
a very honourable dismission, when invited to the pastoral office in the church of 
Rowel in Northamptonshire. While here some very singular things occurred in the 
church, which occasioned many evil reports and much misrepresentation. They pro- 
duced an injudicious interference of the united ministers of London, and are not cor- 
rectly stated by Calaniy in the Non-conformist's Memorial. A vindication of Mr. 
Davis, with a particular account of these occurrences, was published by Malhias 
Maurice in an interesting pamphlet — ' Monuments of mercy to the Congregational 
Church at Rowel,' 1729. 

DR. OWEN. 243 

reasonings, and to polish his style, than by the first produc- 
tion of any of his works. 

While a judicious Christian, who has much leisure and 
some taste for Theological reading, will derive benefit from 
f such a treatise as this on the 130lh Psalm, there are some 
evils which the very extent of it, as well as the mode of treat- 
ing the subject are calculated to produce on others, which 
it may be of importance to notice. As the points which it 
discusses, embrace the leading subjects of salvation, an in- 
quirer may be impressed with the feeling that they must be 
involved in great obscurity when they require so extended 
an explanation ; — he may be led to doubt whether he will 
ever arrive at a satisfactory knowledge of them. This is a 
very hurtful mistake, which too many of the older works of 
Divinity have tended in no small degree to promote. They 
are unfavourable to those clear and simple views of salva- 
tion, which the Bible itself contains, and which it ought to 
be the great object of writing and preaching to point out. 

A work which describes a minute and extensive process 
of God's manner of dealing with a sinner, or of keeping a 
believer in the truth, is likely to operate injuriously both 
upon sinners and upon believers. On the former, it is ih dan- 
ger of producing the belief that conversion is a work, which 
the sinner has to eifect, either in the way of beginning it, or 
of carrying it on. The author may perhaps guard against 
this abuse of his performance. But while he describes a 
lengthened train of fears that must be experienced — of con- 
victions that must be felt — of difficulties that must be sub- 
dued — of means that must be used — of duties that must be 
performed — there are a thousand chances, that a partially 
enlightened mind will suppose that all these must be gone 
through in order to its finding repose ; and will be ready, 
either to sink into despair from their magnitude, or take 
comfort from brooding over its own feelings and duties, in- 
stead of looking for enjoyment to an Almighty Saviour, and 
a finished redemption. , Such an individual, and even one 
who has obtained peace through faith in the blood of Christ, 
will be in danger of being exceedingly discouraged at not 
finding in himself all those feelings or marks which are at- 
tributed to the children of God ; and if his experience does 
not correspond with the description, he may be ready to 
R 2 

244 ■ M KM 01 us OF 

conclude that something must be materially wrong. A per- 
son of cultivated talents who has been in the habit of pay- 
ing close attention to the workings of his own mind, may 
describe at great length and with much accuracy all his 
own feelings — and what may perhaps be tolerably suited 
to individuals of the same description, placed in similar 
circumstances ; — but what, if made the rule for determining 
God's method of dealing with others, would be found far 
from just or generally applicable. 

We have no doubt that such books as Doddridge's Rise 
and Progress, Alleine's Alarm, Baxter's Call, and Owen's 
130th Psalm have been eminently useful to many. They 
have roused attention, and produced conviction in multi- 
tudes. But we put it to any enlightened Christian, whe- 
ther the attempt to follow out all the directions in these 
books, and the application of all the principles they record 
to the characters and experience of men in general, would 
not be attended with most injurious consequences. God's 
methods of ' convincing of sin, of righteousness, and of 
judgment' are exceedingly diversified. There is a dispo- 
sition in men to make their personal and individual expe- 
rience the rule and the test of that of others. The reve- 
lation of mercy is beautifully simple and plain; — yet the 
process by which we may have arrived at the understand- 
ing of it may have been very circuitous and complicated. 
Should we, instead of directing the attention of others to 
the revelation itself, in the full blaze of its splendour, and 
Ihe unadorned simplicity of its statements, invite them to 
follow the windings of our path while tracing it out, and the 
harassing perplexities of our minds while seeking for rest, 
there can be little doubt that thus we should injure rather 
than benefit them. 

We can make great allowance for enlargement on doc- 
trinal or exegetical theology ; but conciseness is of vast 
importance in an experimental or practical treatise, such as. 
that on the 130th Psalm. To ofter any analysis of a book 
which scarcely admits of it, and which is so generally known, 
would be rendering no service to the reader. Those who 
exercise the patience which a careful perusal of it requires, 
and whose ' senses are exercised to discern between good 
and evil,' will be rewarded with profit. In all the language 

DK. OWEK. 245 

which occurs in it, it would be wrong for us to profess, 
what we do not feel, entire acquiescence. At the same 
time, our difference is not so much with the substance of the 
sentiments, as with the mode of communicating them, and 
with some of the expressions employed. We cannot, for 
instance, see the propriety of the ' distinction between faith 
and spiritual sense,' for which the Doctor contends. Faith 
is opposed to sense, as it is opposed to sight and hearing. 
And it is only in opposition to them that the apostle says, 
' We walk by faith, not by sight.' There can be no spiri- 
tual exercise or enjoyment but through the medium of faith. 
And the stronger faith is, the higher will our enjoyment of 
spiritual blessings rise. We question indeed whether the 
Doctor's views on the subject of faith are always consistent 
with themselves. He sometimes speaks very clearly about 
it, and at other times more mysteriously. This was proba- 
bly occasioned by his propensity to enlarge and to refine, 
where in many cases a simpler adherence to the written re- 
cord, and to the dictates of a common understanding, would 
have been at once a shorter and a more effectual method. 

In this important and busy year also appeared, the first 
volume of his great and long projected work, — on the Epis- 
tle to the Hebrews. As this is the most valuable as well 
as the most extensive of all his writings, it merits as well 
as requires particular notice in this place. It is entitled, 
' An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, — wherein 
the original text is opened and cleared, ancient and modern 
translations are compared and examined—the design of the 
apostle, with his reasonings, arguments, and testimonies is 
unfolded,— the faith, customs, sacrifices, and other usages 
of the Judaical Church, are opened and declared, — the true 
sense of the text is vindicated from the wrestings of it by 
Socinians and others,— and lastly, practical observations 
are deduced and improved. With preliminary Exercita- 
tions :' folio. The second volume appeared in 1674, the 
third in 1680, and the last, which he left fit for the press, 
after his death, in 1684. For the sake of unity, and to pre- 
vent repetitions we shall consider the whole at present.* 

•> I use, for the sake of convenience, the Edition, by the Rev. George Wright, in 
7 vols. 8vo. Edin. 1813. And which may now be considered as completing the 
collection of his Works in octavo. 


The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the most import- 
ant and difficult portions of the New Covenant Scriptures. 
The subjects of it are of peculiar interest, and the manner 
in which they are treated by the inspired author, renders 
no ordinary degree of scriptural information and critical 
acumen necessary for its interpretation. It is devoted to 
the illustration, not of the elements or first principles of 
Christianity, but of its higher departments ; what the apostle 
calls ' the perfection' of the Christian system. The proof 
which it adduces from the Old Testament, of the Supreme 
Divinity of the Son of God, — of his infinite superiority as 
a Prophet, and Lawgiver, to Moses, — and as a Priest to 
Aaron, and all his successors ; the views which it aflfords 
of the mystical design of the ancient dispensation — and of 
the nature and services of the earthly Tabernacle; — its rea- 
sonings respecting the Sacrifice of Christ— his Mediation 
in heaven — and the superior privileges of New Testament 
believers, exhibit the depth of the apostle's knowledge in the 
mystery of Christ, are calculated to exercise the minds of 
the most intelligent Christians, and are eminently fitted to 
enlarge our conceptions of the grandeur of that heavenly 
economy, which was established by the blood of Jesus, 
and is perpetuated by his ministry in the sanctuary above. 
An intimate acquaintance with it, will do more to establish 
the faith, and to comfort the mind of an inquirer, than all 
that has been written on Divine truth since the days of the 

It must be acknowledged, that the interpretation of this 
epistle is attended with difficulties of considerable magni- 
tude. It abounds in peculiarities of style and sentiment ; 
it treats of subjects which are little noticed in other parts 
of the New Testament; and it contains profound and sin- 
gular views of many parts of the Old Testament, and of its 
services. There is also a peculiar closeness in the reason- 
ing, which requires the most fixed attention in tracing it, 
to avoid mistakes. While these things have deterred many 
from attempting to explain it, they have operated as In- 
ducements to others to endeavour to unfold its beauties 
and unveil its obscurities : so that, though much of it has 
been misunderstood, few books of Scripture have had more 
labour bestowed on them by learned and ingenious men. 

DR. OWE.V. 247 

It employed the pens of a number of the ancient writer^, 
and many of the foreign Divines^ both Catholic and Re- 
formed, had, previously to the time of Owen, bestowed 
much attention on it. In our own country too, it had not 
been neglected. In 1635, David Dickson, a Scots minis- 
ter, and the author of several exegetical works, published 
at Aberdeen, a small volume of explanations of this 
epistle. William Jones, D.D. is the author of a commen- 
tary on it, along with one on the epistle to Philemon, and 
on the second and third epistles of John, which appeared 
in one volume folio, in 1636. Thomas Lushingtoii, D.D. 
published in 1646, a folio commentary on the Hebrews. 
William Gouge, D.D. a learned Puritan, and a member of 
the Westminster Assembly, was the author of another which 
appeared in 1655. And in 1662, appeared another folio 
exposition of the epistle, from the pen of Mr. George 

All these elaborate, and some of them valuable works, 
were prior to the attempt of Owen, and were doubtless 
known to him. In his preface, he speaks of some of them 
as ' composed with good judgment, and to very good pur- 
pose.' Referring to the entire body of preceding commen- 
tators on the epistle, he says, ' Some I found had critically 
examined many of the words, phrases, and expressions of 
the writer; some compared his quotations with the places 
in the Old Testament from which they are taken. Some 
had endeavoured an analysis of the several discourses of 
the author, with the nature and force of the arguments in- 
sisted on by him. The labours of some were to apply the 
truths contained in the epistle to practice ; others have 
collected the difficulties which they observed therein, and 
scanned them in a scholastical way, with objections and 
solutions after their manner. Others had an especial re- 
gard to (he places, whose sense is controverted among the 
several parties at variance in the Christian religion ; all in 
their way and manner endeavouring to give light to the in- 
tention of the Holy Ghost, either in particular passages, or 
in the whole epistle.' 

While he was encouraged by the help to be derived from 
all these quarters, for the interpretation of the epistle, he 
was, on the other hand, discouraged from the attempt, for 

248 - MEMOIRS of' 

a time, by the idea that after so much had been done, any 
farther labour was unnecessary. But after he had perused 
all the works he could obtain, * I found,' he says, * the ex- 
cellency of the writing to be such ; the depth of the myste- 
ries contained in it to be so great; the compass of the truth 
asserted, unfolded, and explained, so extensive, and so 
diffused through the whole body of the Christian religion ; 
the usefulness of the things contained in it, so important 
and indispensably necessary ; that I was quickly satisfied 
that the wisdom, grace, and truth treasured in this sacred 
storehouse, are far from being exhausted by the endeavours 
of all that are gone before us. So far did these truths then, 
seem from being all perfectly brought to light by them ; that 
I was assured there was left a sufficient ground, not only 
for renewed investigation after rich ore in this mine, for 
the present generation, but for all them that shall succeed, 
to the consummation of all things.' 

To this important and interesting work, the Doctor 
brought no ordinary qualifications. To eminent piety was 
now added, a mind enriched with all the various stores of 
theological learning, matured by years and experience, and 
enlarged by the correctest and most extensive views of the 
whole scheme of Divine revelation. He possessed an un- 
derstanding naturally acute, and sharpened by constant and 
extended intercourse with enlightened and cultivated so- 
ciety; a habit of application and perseverance of un- 
speakable importance to such an undertaking; and a copia 
verborum which supplied inexhaustible facility of convey- 
ing his sentiments on every subject. How well these ad- 
vantages were employed, even a slight acquaintance with 
the work must shew\ 

The exercitations which accompany this work, and 
which make the first two volumes of Wright's 8vo. edition, 
are peculiarly valuable. They contain a vast treasure of 
solid learning and laborious research; and, independently 
of the Commentary, may be of much service to the eluci- 
dation of other parts of the Sacred record. They examine 
and establish the Canonical authority of the Epistle — 
They inquire into its writer, and shew him to have been Paul 
— They investigate the time when it was written — and shew 
it must have been shortly after Paul's deliverance from his 

DR. OWEN.. 249 

first imprisonment. They consider the language in which 
it was written, and prove it to have been Greek. The 
citations made from the Old Testament are the subject of 
particular attention — the oneness of the Church — the Jew- 
ish distribution of the Old Testament, with their oral law 
and tradition — the Messiah, and the promises of the Old 
Testament concerning him — his appearances under the 
former dispensation — the faith of the ancient Church re- 
specting him — the evidence that he has long since come — 
the consideration and vindication of Daniel's prophecy of 
the seventy weeks — Jewish traditions about the Messiah- 
proofs that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah — Objections 
of Jews against Christianity — the state and ordinances of 
the Church, before, and during the time of the law — The 
law itself— its precepts, promises, and threatenings — The 
Tabernacle, the priesthood, and its sacrifices, are the sub- 
jects of extended and accurate illustration, through the 
first volume. The second volume is entirely occupied 
with the consideration of the Priesthood of Christ, and the 
day of sacred rest. — Respecting the former of these sub- 
jects, he remarks in his preface ; ' It is wholly without the 
compass of my knowledge, if the reader can find any other 
work, in which the doctrine of the Priesthood of Christ 
hath been so handled in its proper order and method, as to 
its origin, causes, nature, and effects.' 

Without professing to be entirely of Dr. Owen's views 
in every part of these prolix Dissertations ; it must be ad- 
mitted that it is but a small and comparatively unimport- 
ant part to which any Christian can object; and the rich- 
ness and scriptural piety which run through the whole, 
render them peculiarly interesting. The subjects are in 
themselves highly delightful, and few human writings exist, 
in which they are so ably treated. They abound, parti- 
cularly the first part of them, in Rabbinical learning. This 
was, perhaps, necessary, as they involve so minute a dis- 
cussion of the Jewish controversy. But I am not aware 
that this branch of learning is of so much importance 
to the elucidation of Scripture, as was then supposed. 
Owen, if any man, was qualified to bring it to bear upon 
the New Testament; and yet I do not perceive that much 
information can be derived from his use of it. Let any 


man examine the writings of Lightfoot, and Pococke, and 
Schoetgen, the great masters of Rabbinical lore, and he 
will perhaps be astonished at the little advantage that ac- 
crues to Biblical interpretation from their labotirs. In- 
deed, it is scarcely reasonable to expect any thing but dis- 
appointment from them. The ancient Jewish writers or 
critics, with the exception of the earlier Talmud s, are all 
lost ; and the more modern Rabbins were a race of dri- 
vellers, whose writings contain the largest portion of trash 
and nonsense to be found in the world. A little acquaint- 
ance with them will gratify curiosity, and at times perhaps 
supply a hint or an argument ; but to expect any thing like 
enlightened criticism, is about as reasonable as to look 
for it from children. 

The Exposition itself may be considered in a three-fold 
light— as an explanation of a portion of Scripture — as a 
body of controversy — and as a practical application of 
Divine truth. As an explanation, or exegetical illustra- 
tion of an important epistle — it is distinguished by the ge- 
neral accuracy of its interpretations, and the conscientious 
manner in which the author has endeavoured to trace out 
the meaning of the Divine writer. There are works of this 
nature, and on this very book, which discover a greater 
parade of learning, and in which the meaning of particular 
texts is more accurately defined. — Pierce and Hallet's 
work on the Hebrews contains more critical learning ; and 
the work of the late Archibald M'Lean of Edinburgh frc^ 
quently corrects the minor mistakes of Owen ; but neither 
of them, as a whole, admits of comparison with his. The 
leaven of Arianisni in the former, and the dryness of the 
latter, render them both less useful, and less interesting. 
The following passage of Owen's preface, deserves the at- 
tention of all his readers, and especially of all who attempt 
to expound the word of God. It gives an admirable view 
of his state of mind, and of the principles on which he 
proceeded in his interpretation. 

* For the exposition of the epistre itself, I confess, as 
was said before, that I have had thoughts of it for many 
years, and have not been without regard to it in the whole 
course of my studies. But yet 1 must now say, that after 
all my searching and reading, prayer and assiduous raedi- 

DR. OWEN. 251 

tation have been my only resoit, and by far the most useful 
means of light and assistance. By these have my thoughts 
been freed from many an entanglement into which the 
writings of others had cast me, or from which they could 
not deliver me. Careful I have been, as of my life and 
soul, to bring no prejudicate sense to the words, to impose 
no meaning of my own or other men's upon them, nor to 
be imposed on by the reasonings, pretences, or curiosities 
of any; but always went nakedly to the word itself, to learn 
humbly the mind of God in it, and to express it as he should 
enable me. To this end, I always considered in the first 
place the sense, meaning, and import of the words of the 
text — their original derivation, use in other authors, espe- 
cially in the LXX. of the Old Testament, in the books of 
the New, and particularly the writings of the same author. 
Oft-times the words expressed out of the Hebrew, or the 
things alluded to among that people, I found to give much 
light to the words of the apostle. To the general rule of 
attending to the design and scope of the place, the subject 
treated of, mediums fixed on for arguments and methods 
of reasoning, I still kept in my eye the time and season of 
writing this epistle, the state and condition of those to 
whom it was written, their persuasions, prejudices, cus- 
toms, light, and traditions; I kept, also, in my view, the 
covenant and worship of the church of old; the translation 
of covenant privileges and worship to the Gentiles upon a 
new account; the course of providential dispensations that 
the Jews were under; the near expiration of their church 
and state; the speedy approach of their utter abolition and 
destruction, with the temptations that befel them on all 
these various accounts; without which it is impossible for 
any one justly to follow the apostle, so as to keep close to 
his design, or fully to understand his menning.' Such 
views, under the Divine blessing, and directed by the judi- 
cious perseverance of Owen, could not fail to be attended 
with the most important result — they embrace every thing 
that could be necessary, or useful, to the interpretation of 

The Exposition contains also a large portion of contro- 
versy, chiefly on two subjects, Judaism and Socinianism. 
It is obvious how the former came to occupy so much of 



his attention ; but the reason of his introducing the latter 
may require some explanation. Against the Scripture 
doctrine of the sacrifice, and priesthood of Christ, the 
Polish Socinians had directed all their strength and inge- 
nuity. They endeavoured to make out that the language 
of Scripture, on that subject, was not to be understood li- 
terally, but metaphorically — of course, that there is no such 
thing as a real sacrifice, or priesthood, belonging to Chris- 
tianity. As Owen considered these things to lie at the 
foundation of all Christian faith and hope; and that they 
constituted the grand subjects of the Epistle, he could not 
allow so fair an opportunity to escape, of vindicating from 
Socinian glosses, the important statements and doctrines 
of revelation. If his zeal, for what he believed to be truth, 
carried him sometimes rather far; and led him occasionally 
to find fault with sentiments, not very remote from truth, 
and to express himself strongly against them, because 
held by persons infected with heresy — it is only what we 
might expect from a mind so ardently attached to evange- 
lical doctrine. Without adopting all Dr. Owen's senti- 
ments, the Christian who wishes to be established in the 
truths controverted by Socinians, will find in this work 
such a body of evidence and argument in their support, 
as must remove every reasonable ground of scepticism and 
unbelief. We hesitate not to aflSrm, that the proper un- 
derstanding of the Epistle to the Hebrews alone, is amply 
sufficient to put to flight all the sophistry and declamation 
of the adversaries of the Deity, sacrifice, and priesthood of 
Christ — from Faustus Socinus to Thomas Belsham. On 
the Jewish controversy, there is almost every thing that is 
of importance ; and, in fact, it will be found that on a num- 
ber of subjects, a satisfactory reply to a Jew is a sufficient 
answer also to a Socinian, 

The practical tendency and application of the whole 
are not the least important features of the work. The emi- 
nent godliness, as well as the learning of the author ap- 
pear conspicuous in every page. * His reasonings al- 
ways terminate in some holy result. After reading the 
criticisms of an accurate scholar, the arguments of a sound 
logician, and the illustrations of a fertile mind, we are 
furnished with directions for self-examination ; or are sent 

^ DK. OWEN. '253 

away to our closets with a warm exhortation to abound in 
prayer, if we hope to understand tlie mind of the Spirit. '^ 
This is just as it ought to be. The theory of Christianity 
without the practice, is like a body without the spirit; the 
practice without the theory, is not a reasonable service. 
To treat the Bible like an ancient classic, is using an un- 
holy freedom with its sacred contents; while an indifference 
to the precise meaning of the Holy Spirit, manifests igno- 
rance of the important connexion that subsists between 
right sentiments and suitable practice in religion; as well 
as a want of regard to the authority of God speaking in 
his word. 

Notwithstanding this threefold division of the work, and 
the intimate connexion of its several parts with each other, 
it is so constructed, that any of the departments may be 
read separately. ' The method of the whole,' says the au- 
thor, ' is so disposed, that any one, by the sole guidance of 
his eye, may carry on his reading of any one part of the 
whole without interruption, or mixing any other discourses 
with it. Thus he may, in the first place, go over our consi- 
deration of the original text, with the examination of an- 
cient and modern translations, and the grammatical con- 
struction and signification of the words, without diverting 
to any thing else that is discoursed on the text. In like 
manner, if any desire to peruse the exposition of the text 
and context, with the declaration and vindication of the 
meaning of the Holy Ghost in them, without the least inter- 
mixture of any practical discourses deduced from them, he 
may, under the same guidance, and with the same labour, 
confine himself to this from the beginning to the end of the 
work. And whereas the practical observations, with their 
improvement, do virtually contain in them the sense and 
exposition of the words, and give light to the intention of 
the apostle in his whole design, for aught I know some may 
be desirous to exercise themselves principally in those dis- 
courses ; which they may do by following the series and 
distinct continuation of them from first to last.' Thus, the 
Critic, the Expositor, and the plain Christian, may all find 
something to their taste, and to exercise their minds. 

To enlarge on the execution of the work, after what has 

y Dr. Wright's Preface, pp. iii. iv. "" 


been already said, and the high rank which it has long held 
among the standard books of exegetical theology, would 
be superfluous labour; more especially, as the improved 
edition of Dr. Wright has now brought it within reach 
of many, who otherwise must have judged of its merits en- 
tirely from report. It may not, however, be unnecessary 
to state, that it is the fruit of more than twenty years' 
labour of the industrious author. A period long and che- 
quered — during which he complains of ' straits and exclu- 
sion from the use of books,' occasioning ' uncertainties, 
failings, and mistakes,' which he prays God * the reader 
may never know by experience.' Without any exaggera- 
tion, we may apply to this undertaking, the elegant and 
pensive language of our great Lexicographer, — ' The expo- 
sition of the Hebrews was written with little assistance of 
the learned, and without any patronage of the great ; not 
in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shelter of 
academic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, 
in sickness and in sorrow.' Such was the importance which 
the author himself attached to it, that he said when it was 
finished — * Now my work is done, it is time for me to die.'*^ 

On the Continent, the work has been long highly valued. 
Walch says of it, ' Egregium est opus hoc, locuples testis 
de auctoris singulari eruditione, atque industria, quam ad 
illud conficiendum adhibuit.' It was translated into Dutch 
and published in quarto, at Rotterdam, in 1733. Le Long 
also mentions the proposal of a Latin translation of it, at 
Amsterdam, in 1700 ; but whether it ever appeared I am 
unable to say.« The late Dr. Williams, of Rotherham, pub- 
blished an abridgment of it in 4 vols. 8vo. in the year 1790. 
This was rendering a service to the cause of sacred litera- 
ture, when the folio edition was so scarce and so expensive. 
Some also may be disposed to read the abridgment rather 
than the extended original. While it merits the praise of 
fidelity, so far as I have observed, those who wish to ascer- . 
tain the sentiments and to enter into the feelings of Dr. 
Owen, will find it necessary to consult the original work. 

I am acquainted with no ancient or modern work of an 
expository nature, that will bear a fair comparison on the 
whole, with the Exposition of the Hebrews. Caryl on Job, 

<! Clarkson'sFun. Ser. «■ Walch Bib. Selccta, iv. p. 733. 

DR. OWEX. 255 

is fully equal to it in magnitnde ; but falls lar short, in the 
interest which it excites, and the ability which it displays. 
Its author, though a learned and pious man was far from 
being equal to Owen ; and the subject on which he chose to 
exercise his own patience, and that of his readers, cannot 
be considered so valuable to the church as that of his friend 
and successor. The celebrated work of Vitringa, on Isaiah, 
has deservedly obtained an equal reputation with that of 
Owen on the Hebrews. It contains a larger portion of cri- 
tical learning, and displays no less of acuteness and talent; 
but it is still more systematic than Owen's work — often 
fanciful — and sometimes erroneous. It is, however, instar 
omnium on Isaiah. The work of Professor Lampe, on the 
Gospel of John, with its valuable dissertations, is some- 
what similar to Owen's. Belonging to the same school, 
possessed of varied learning, — and of patient industry, — he 
is strictly orthodox, and exhausts almost every topic of im- 
portance in the Evangelist ; but he does not always inte- 
rest the mind sufficiently in his discussions, and is occa- 
sionally rather fond of mystical interpretations. 

The chief objection to the Exposition of the Hebrews 
is its vast extent ; four folio, or seven large 8vo. volumes 
on one epistle, and that not the longest in the New Testa- 
ment, aj^pear rather a cumbrous apparatus of explanation. 
— Much of the work, it must be acknowledged is not neces- 
sary to the interpretation of the apostle's language ; yet in 
general the connexion between the text and the commentary 
is neither forced nor unnatural ; and it is surprising how 
little occurs that we could wish had been omitted. It con- 
tains, indeed, like several other of the author's larger pro- 
ductions, a very entire and valuable system of Divinity, 
as there are few points of Divine truth on which the reader 
will not find important information. On this account, the 
index belonging to the octavo edition will be found of pe- 
culiar service. If the fame of Walton rests on the Polyglot, 
and that of Poole on tiie Synopsis, — the Exposition of the 
Hebrews, had its author written nothing else, forms a pe- 
destal on which John Owen will appear an object of admi- 
ration to all future generations. 



Persecuting conduct of the Congregationalists in New England — Remon- 
strances of Owen and his brethren on the subject — Owen publishes on the 
Trinity — His controvers7j with Parker — His Truth and Innocence vin- 
dicated — Publications of others on the same side — Marvel and Parker — 
Conduct of Parliament to the Dissenters — Vernon's attack on Oiven — 
Owen's defence — Alsop — Owen invited to the Presidency of Harvard Col- 
lege — Publishes on the Sabbath — Correspondence on this subject with Eliot 
— Charles publishes a Declaration of Indulgence — Addressfrom the Dis- 
senters on this account presented by Owen — Owen's attention to the mea- 
sures of the Court — Becomes one of the preachers of the Morning Exer- 
cise — Publishes on Evangelical Love — Death of Caryl — Union of Caryl's 
and Owen's Churches under the Doctor — Notices of persons of distinction ... 
who were members of the Church — The Parliament offended with the 
King's Indulgence — Notices of distinguished Noblemen whose friendship 
Owen enjoyed — His interviews with the King and Duke of York — Work 
on Communion attacked by Sherlock — Owen's vindication — Controversy 
occasioned by Sherlock's book — Owen publishes on the Holy Spirit — Re- 
vieiv of all his writings on that subject — Attacked by Clagett — Publishes 
on Apostasy — Marries his second ivife. 

For several years the New England Congregationalists 
had employed very oppressive measures to suppress the 
Baptists and Quakers. Their highly improper and Anti- 
christian conduct has often been alleged as evidence of the 
persecuting dispositions of Independents, as well as others, 
when possessed of power. That Independents may be per- 
secutors, it would be foolish to deny; but that such con- 
duct is inconsistent with the principles and the spirit of In- 
dependency, all who understand it must ever maintain. A 
little acquaintance with the proceedings in New England, 
against which Dr. Owen and his brethren protested, will 
satisfy us that Independency had very little to do with 

The Brownists, who colonized New England, under- 
stood most thoroughly the principles of religious liberty. 
But they removed from Holland to America as a church, 
and little versant in the science of legislation and political 
economy, they formed state laws on the principles of the 
New Testament, and the discipline of the church of Christ. 
They did not perceive (at which we need scarcely be sur- 

DR. OM^EN. 257 

prised),theimpossibility of managing- a growing population, 
in a new country, by such means, without sacrificing the 
liberty of the subject, or the purity of the church. At first, 
the body of the people were Christians, and of one mind; 
and a considerable time elapsed before the erroneous prin- 
ciples on which their legislative code was founded made 
their appearance. It was still longer before they under- 
stood the proper remedy. The subsequent emigrations from 
Britain consisted of many persons of very different senti- 
ments on various subjects, from the original settlers, though 
they fell into their general measures and views. Most of 
the Puritans who went over to New England were attached 
to a species of Presbyterianism, rather than to Independ- 
ency ; and from this arose the peculiar complexion which 
the churches, after a time, exhibited. They had their 
regular meetings of synods and councils, in which the civil 
magistrate occupied a place ; and the laws or regulations of 
which were enforced by his authority. The term Independ- 
ency, is obviously misapplied to such procedure, and it is 
unjust to make it accountable for the consequences.* It is 
not the name, but the spirit and conduct which discover 
the system to which we belong.'' 

So contrary to the word of God was their behaviour 
considered, that on hearing of it, a letter was written by 
the Independent ministers in London, at the head of whom 
was Dr. Owen, remonstrating with their brethren, and en- 
treating them to desist from such proceedings. Without 
entering into the merits of the differences between them and 
the persons who were suffering, they urge a variety of suit- 
able and important considerations to convince them of the 
necessity of altering their measures, and thus conclude : — 
' You have the advantage of truth and order ; you have the 
gifts and learning of an able ministry to manage and defend 
them ; you have the care and vigilance of a very worthy 

* Consistent Independency is not accountable for any thing, but what is done by 
the Churches and their office bearers separately assembled. The proceedings of de- 
legated bodies or representatives in conjunction with civil authority, are obviously at 
variance with its first principles. — It was by meetings of the latter description en- 
tirely that all the persecuting measures in New England were adopted. A full view 
of their injurious nature, as well as of the length of time during which they conti- 
nued to operate, will be found in Backus's Church Hist, of New England, 2 vols. 

'' Neal's New England, vol. i. pansiui. 
VOL. J. S 


magistracy to countenance and protect them, and to pre- 
serve the peace; and, above all, you have a blessed Lord 
and Master, who hath the keys of David, who openeth and 
no man shutteth, living for ever to take care of his own 
concernments among his saints. And assuredly you need 
not be disquieted, though some few persons, through their 
own infirmity and weakness, or through their ignorance, 
darkness, and prejudices, should, to their disadvantage, 
turn out of the way, in some lesser matters, into bye-paths 
of their own. We only make it our hearty request that you 
will trust God with his truth and ways, so far as to suspend 
all rigorous proceedings in corporal restraints or punish- 
ments on persons that dissent from you, and practise the 
principles of their dissent without danger or disturbance to 
the civil peace of the place.''^ This letter, dated the 25th of 
March, 1669, Dr. Mather acknowledges, was not attended 
at the time with all the' effects it ought to have produced ; 
but at length, with other means, it contributed to give .the 
New England churches better views. It shews, however, 
what were the sentiments of Dr. Owen and his brethren, 
respecting coercive measures, and exculpates them from 
all participation in conduct which cannot be too severely 

In lo69, Owen published *A Brief Declaration and 
Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, as also, of the 
Person and Satisfaction of Christ.' 18mo. pp. 252.'* It was 
occasioned, he tells us in the preface, * by no particular 
provocation he had received, nor by any particular work 
in opposition to the doctrine contended for ; but entirely by 
his desire to promote the edification and establishment of 
the plain Ciiristian.' After what has been said on this subject 
in our account of the controversy with Biddle, and as we 
must again resume it, in noticing a larger subsequent per- 
formance, it is unnecessary now to enter on it particularly. 
It contains the same sentiments, stripped of their contro- • 
versial dress, and illustrated simply from the Scriptures 
themselves. It has been frequently reprinted, and was also 
translated into the Dutch language.' 

Next year he was engaged in a very angry contro- 

•= Magnalia Americana, book vii. p. 28. <■ Work?, vol. x. p. 449. 

* Vitringa, Doct. Christ. parN vi. p. 6. Eriif. 1776. 

DR. OWEN, 259 

versy on the subject of Non-conformity. The High Church 
party was constantly increasing in its malignant hostility 
to the poor suffering Dissenters, and resorted to every 
mode of aggression which was likely to make them miser- 
able. It was impossible, however, to ruin them entirely, 
till every principle of liberty was rooted out of the country. 
To consummate this execrable project, Samuel Parker, of 
whom we have before spoken, published ' A Discourse of 
Ecclesiastical Politic, wherein the authority of the Civil 
Magistrate over the Consciences of Subjects in matters of 
external religion, is asserted ; the mischiefs and inconve- 
niences of Toleration are represented, and all pretences 
pleaded in behalf of Liberty of Conscience are fully an- 
swered.' 8vo. pp. 326, 1670. In this vile production, the 
Non-conformists are grossly calumniated, and their senti- 
ments represented as incompatible with the peace and se- 
curity of government. The most extravagant powers in 
all things, civil and religious, are ascribed to the magis- 
trate, and the blindest and most abject submission to his 
authority enjoined. 

To meet this attack was imperiously necessary. Dr. 
Owen applied to Baxter to undertake the defence of Non- 
conformity. But he declined the task, considering himself 
as excepted from the reproaches which had been thrown 
out ; and that if he were to answer Parker, they would soon 
make him as odious as the rest.^ The Doctor, therefore, 
took him up, and acquitted himself with great credit in his 
' Truth and Innocence Vindicated ; in a Survey of a Dis- 
course on Ecclesiastical Polity,' &c. 8vo. pp. 410, 1670.s 
The substance of Parker's work, Owen ludicrously repre- 
sents as summed up in the following Royal decree : — 

'Whereas we have an universal and absolute power 
over the consciences of all our subjects, in things apper- 
taining to the worship of God ; so that, if we please, we 
can introduce new duties never yet heard of, in the most . 
important parts of religion ; and may impose on them in 
,the practice of religion and divine worship, what we please; 
so that in our judgment it doth not countenance vice, nor 
disgrace the Deity : and whereas this power is naturally 
inherent in us, not given or granted to us by Jesus Christ, 

f Baxter's Life, part iii. p. 42. e Works, vol. xxi. p. 161. 

s 2 


but belonged to us or our predecessors before ever he was 
born ; and this being such as Ihat we ourselves, if we would, 
might exercise the special offices or duties of religion la 
our own person, especially that of the Priesthood, though 
we are pleased to transfer the exercise of it unto others; 
and whereas all our prescriptions, impositions, and injunc- 
tions, on these things, do immediately affect and bind the 
consciences of our subjects, because they are ours, whether 
they be right or wrong, true or false, we do enact and or- 
dain as follows : — [Here insert, if you please, the author's 
scheme of religion, given in the second chapter.] That 
every man may, and do think and judge what he pleaseth 
concerning the things enjoined and enacted by us ; for what 
have we to do with their thoughts and judgments ; they are 
under the empire and dominion of conscience, which we 
cannot invade if we would. They may, if they please, 
judge them inconvenient, foolish, absurd, yea contrary to 
the mind, will, and law of God ; our only intention, will, 
and pleasure is, to bind them to the constiint observation 
and practice of them, and that under the penalties of hang- 
ing and damnation."" 

Extravagant as this statute may appear, it is composed 
chiefly of Parker's own words and phrases, and in the sense 
too in which he used them. It is scarcely necessary to say 
that Owen's Vindication is a triumphant exposure of the 
folly and iniquity of such sentiments. Indeed they cannot 
bear examination ; and the chief difficulty in replying to 
them is their intrinsic absurdity and madness. Yet such 
was the confidence or vanity of Parker, that he said, after 
the publication of his Polity, to the Earl of Anglesea, * Let 
us see, my Lord, whether any of your chaplains can answer 
it.' Parker looked upwards for support, and cared not at 
what expen.se he wrote himself into a Bishoprick. The 
substance of his Polity was preached at Lambeth ; and it 
was printed by the orders of Sheldon, a man of similar sen- 
timents and spirit. The Doctor s work tended greatly to 
promote his celebrity among the Dissenters; and did great 
credit to his talents and spirit, as well as good to the cause. 
Besides, by ' Truth and Innocence Vindicated,' Parker was 
very roughly handled by several anonymous antagonists. 

^' Works, vol. xxi. pp. 'MO, 221. 

DR. OWEN. 2G1 

' Insolence and Impudence triumphant : Envy and Fury 
enthroned : the Mirror of Malice and Madness, in a late 
Treatise entitled,' &c. 1670. ' Toleration Discussed in two 
Dialogues.' 1670, ' Animadversions on a new book, en- 
titled Ecclesiastical Polity.' 1670. ' A Free Inquiry into 
the Causes of that very great esteem the Non-conformist 
ministers are in with their followers.' 1673. These are 
only some of the productions which appeared on the side 
of the Non- conformists. 

Next year, Parker published ' A Defence and Conti- 
nuation of the Ecclesiastical Polity,' against Dr. Owen ; 
and in the following year, a still farther attack on him, in 
a preface which he wrote to a posthumous work of Bishop 
Bramhall. These works abounded in the lowest abuse of 
Owen. He calls him the ' Great Bell- weather of disturb- 
ance and sedition.' — ' The viper,' he says, ' is so swelled 
with venom, that it must either burst or spit its poison,' — 
' The dunghill is his only magazine, and calumny his only 
weapon.' He openly avows, ' That if Dr. Owen had been 
treated as ill, or worse than is alleged, yet it can never be 
pretended that he was treated worse than he deserved : for 
he was a person of so pernicious a temper, of so much in- 
solence, of such a restless implacable spirit, of such a 
sworn and inveterate hatred to the government of the 
church and state, that he ought without ceremony or fear 
of incivility, to have been pursued as the greatest pest and 
most dangerous enemy of the church and commonwealth ; 
and whoever wishes well to his country, can never do it 
greater service than by beating down the interest and repu- 
tation of such sons of Belial.' This was speaking out with 
a vengeance, and to such shocking language silence was 
the only reply, Bramhall, to whose defence of himself and 
brethren against the charge of Popery, all this is prefixed, 
was the fast friend of Laud arvd the other Ultras of that 
period, and one of those ardent and secular spirits, who 
mainly assisted in stretching the bow of Ecclesiastical pre- 
rogative until it finally broke in their hands. Parker imi- 
tated his ' Patron Lord,' and produced the same glorious 

Although Owen appeared no more in this controversy, 
it by no means terminated here. The vain-glorious Clergy- 



man was doomed to receive a scourging from the hands of 
a Layman, which must have made him writhe in every nerve. 
Charles and his court were passionately devoted to wit and 
raillery. They gloried in a Butler, whose burlesque poetry 
exposed the Puritans to contempt, and broke the edge of 
public censure against themselves. The other party, how- 
ever, could boast a Marvel ; — a wit and a poet too ; — the 
most patriotic senator of his time, whose ironical muse often 
lashed the follies and the vices of the court. This accom- 
plished writer took up the conceited clergyman, and in his 
* Rehearsal Transprosed,' turned all the laughers against 
him, and from the king down to the tradesman, it was read 
with delight.' There are times and subjects which require 
the use of ridicule; and it will sometimes succeed, if judi- 
ciously managed, when graver argument fails. 

Ridiculum acri 

Fortius, et melius inagnas plerumque secat res.' 

Parker and his party were now driven to the necessity 
of defence against this unexpected mode of repelling them. 
Victory was no longer thought of, if a decent retreat could 
only be effected. They assailed Marvel with all manner of 
weapons. In a twinkling appeared — ' A Reproof to the 
Rehearsal Transprosed.' — ' Rosemary and Bayes.' — * The 
Transproser Rehearsed.' — 'Gregory Father Grey beard, with 
his vizor off.' — * A Common-place Book, out of the Re- 
hearsal Transprosed.' — ' Stoo him Bayes,' &c. &c. &c. 

Marvel, undismayed by such a shower of missiles, re- 
turned to the charge ; and in a second part of the Rehear- 
sal, again overwhelmed his adversaries, and effectually 
silenced their battery. It was generally admitted that the 
odds and victory were on his side ; and it had this effect on 
Parker, says Wood, that he judged it more prudent to lay 
down the cudgels than to enter the lists again with an un- 
towardly combatant, so hugely well versed in the then but 
newly refined art of sporting and jeering buffoonery .'' Al- 
though Parker retreated from any further aKack, after the 
second part of the Rehearsal appeared, he only suppressed 
passions to which he was giving vent in secrecy and silence. 
That, indeed, was not discovered, till a posthumous work 

' Burnet's own Times, vol. i. p. 3B2. •' AthcH. Ox. vol. ii, p. 619. 



of his was published, in which one of the most striking 
parts is a disgusting caricature of his old antagonist. 
Marvel was indeed a republican, the pupil of Milton, and 
adored his master; but his morals and his manners were 
Roman, — he lived on the turnip of Curtius, and he would 
have bled at Philippi, We do not sympathize with the 
fierce spirit of those unhappy times, that scalped the head 
feebly protected by a mitre or a crown : but the private 
virtues and the rich genius of such a man are pure from 
the spirit of party." 

The Parliament which met in 1670, fell upon the Non- 
conformists more furiously than ever. They revived the 
Act against Conventicles, and made it severer than before. 
After it had passed the commons. Dr. Owen was requested 
to draw up some reasons against it, which were laid before 
the house of lords by several persons of distinction. He 
pointed out in plain and strong language its unjust and im- 
politic nature.' But it was all in vain; the bill passed the 
lords, the whole bench of Bishops voting for it, except Wil- 
kins. Bishop of Chester, and Rainbow, Bishop of Carlisle. 
By this iniquitous Act, the persons who attended any other 
meetings for religious worship, than those of the Church 
of England, were made liable to heavy fines; the preacher 
to twenty pounds for the first offence, and forty for the se- 
cond. To encourage informers, they were entitled to one- 
third ; and it was provided that all the clauses in the Act 
should be construed most largely and beneficially for the 
suppressing of Conventicles, and for the justification and 
encouragement of all persons to be employed in the execu- 
tion thereof." 

Neal justly remarks on this Act, that the wit of man 
could hardly invent any thing short of capital punishment 
more cruel and inhuman. Nothing less than the extermi- 
nation of Dissenters seemed to be determined ; and only 
he who restraineth the wrath of man could have prevented 
its having that eft'ect. How men possessing the least par- 
ticle of Christian principle or feeling could take part in 
such a measure is scarcely conceivable. Yet such is the 
blinding influence of power, and the deceitfulness of the 

^ Disraeli's Quarrels of Authors, vol. ii. p. 20l. ' Woiks, vol. xxi. p. 457. 

"' N«al, vol. ir. p. r,.}0. Edit. l?bh. 


heart, that professed Christians have supposed such enact- 
ments a service to the cause of God. These and similar 
deeds of oppression in support of Ecclesiastical establish- 
ments, by men connected with them, have powerfully tend- 
ed to destroy their reputation, and to induce a conviction 
that the cause which requires such support cannot be the 
cause of God. 

Attempts to ruin their fortunes, and injure their useful- 
ness, were combined with the most cruel machinations to 
blacken their private character. So long as the Dissenting 
ministers stood high in public estimation, it was found im- 
possible to accomplish, by state edicts, the destruction of 
their cause. In abuse and detraction, auxiliaries were 
sought to aid the common object. Parker, as we have 
already seen, was a leader in this species of disgraceful 
warfare. He was joined this year by an able and hearty 
coadjutor, to whose pages I have often been indebted — 
The Rev. George Vernon, a Glocestershire Rector, who 
had been educated in Oxford while Owen presided in the 
university." He produced ' A Letter to a Friend, concern- 
ing some of Dr. Owen's principles and practices.' 4to. pp. 
78. Owen is here described as * the Prince, the Oracle, 
the Metropolitan of Independency.' He is denounced as 
' the Ahitophel of Oliver Cromwell — a blasphemer and per- 
jured person, and a libeller of authority after the restoration 
of Charles II.' — He is accused of having ' praised God for 
shedding the blood of Christian kings, and their loyal sub- 
jects — and of being guilty of reiterated perjuries against 
that God, whom he confidently affirmed to be the inspirer 
of all his prayers.' In fine, the state is invoked to take ven- 
geance on a miscreant, whose crimes deserved the highest 
punishment the laws could inflict. 

We are accustomed now to hear the name of John 
Owen pronounced only with respect; but these things 
shew, that he partook largely of the common treatment of ■ 
all the disciples of Christ. His name was cast out as evil, 
and all manner of reproach poured upon him falsely for 
the Son of Man's sake. The verdict of posterity is often 
more favourable, and always more impartial, than that of 
ihe present generation. The memory of the just is blessed, 

'< Allien. Ox. Bliss, iv.— ti(».=>. 



while that of the wicked is left to rot. The violence of this 
attack was such, that the Doctor found it necessary to meet 
it in a short letter to Sir Thomas Overbury, from which we 
have frequently quoted." Vernon had studied attentively 
the vs^icked maxim, 

Calumniare audacter, aliquid haerebit, 

and Owen had learned from Father Valerian the use of 
another phrase, ' mentiris impudejitissime,' which he very 
decidedly applies to his clerical opponent. 

The situation of the poor Dissenters was truly pitiable. 
They were baited by all sorts of antagonists, from the royal 
mastiff, ready to devour, to the contemptible church cur 
who could only bark or snarl. Whatever line of conduct 
they pursued, they were sure to be abused. In the true 
spirit of Procrustes, their enemies were determined to 
stretch them, or lop them. ' They challenge us,' said AI- 
sop, * to a paper duel in the most provoking language, such 
as would set an edge on the most obtuse coward. If mo- 
desty, an ambition for peace, or love of retirement, tempt 
us to decline the coqabat, we are then posted up for cow- 
ardice ; but if we awaken so much spirit as to take up the 
gauntlet, and return the mildest answer, then trusty R. gets 
it in the wind, and immediately summons his hamlets, raises 
the whole posse ecclesiae, and spiritual militia upon us, and 
strangles the helpless infant in the cradle. If it escape, and 
be written with becoming seriousness, they have one reply, 
" this is nothing but whining or raving!" If the style be 
brisk, they have one word ready to confute it, " this is 
drollery, burlesque, buffoonery." Against all which I see 
no other remedy, but silent complaints, or it may be this 
short rejoinder : — 

Tolle Legem, et fiat disputatio.'P 

The learned Charles Chauncey, President of Harvard 
College, having died in the month of February, 1671, it 
must have been about this time that Owen was invited to 
become his successor ; unless on account of Mr, Chauncey's 
age, who was eighty-two at his death, he had been invited 
to the office during his life.'' For such an office Dr. Owen 

° Works, vol. xxi. p. 561. P Epist. ded. to Melius Inquirendum. 

1 ' It does tiof satisfactorily appear that he was invited to the Presidency of 
Harvard College.' Holmes' American Annala, vol. i. p. 321. 

266 xAlEMOlRS OF 

was peculiarly qualified. His learning, his talents, his ex- 
perience, tog^ether with the knowledge he must have pos^ 
sessed of academical afFairs, from his situation in Oxford, 
all pointed him out to his brethren in New England, as a 
most suitable person to fill the important trust. Harvard 
College was founded about 1030, and derived its name 
from John Harvard, a worthy minister, who left a con- 
siderable sum of money to lay the foundation of a fund 
for its support. Many persons in England contributed 
both money and books to the infant institution ; among 
whom were Mr. Baxter, Sir Kenelm Digby, Sir John 
Maynard, Archbishop Usher, Mr. Joseph Hill, and the 
celebrated Theophilus Gale, who left the greater part of 
his valuable library to enrich it. The first President was 
Nathaniel Eaton, who was succeeded in 1640 by Henry 
Dunstar, who continued in office till he became Baptist in 
1654. He was succeeded by Mr. Chauncey, who remained 
till his death. From this college many of the most valuable 
ministers in America have come forth, and it continues to 
enjoy considerable reputation."^ 

Though I have discovered no document ascertaining 
the fact of Owen's invitation to fill the Presidency: yet, as 
the Memoirs prefixed to his Sermons and Tracts assert it, 
as well as that he had an invitation of a similar nature 
from some of the Dutch universities, little doubt can be 
entertained of its truth. In the month of August, 1671, 
the Magistrates and Ministers of Massachusets Bay, ad- 
dressed a letter to their brethren in England, imploring 
assistance for the support of Harvard College, — the supply 
of a President, and that young men might be sent over to 
be educated. A reply to this letter was written, and sub- 
scribed by Dr. Owen, and twelve of the London Independ- 
ent Ministers. It is dated February 5th, 1672. They de- 
plore their great inability to alTord all the relief that was 
needed, but intimate that they were doing something for . 
their assistance, which should afterwards be sent. They 
regret the difficulty of finding a President, and recommend 
Dr. Hoar, — a member of Mr. Collins' church, and who was 
then proceeding to New England. It is an exceedingly 
Christian and affectionate letter, and shews how cordially 

I iM^gniilia Aiiitricniia, book ir. 

DK. OWEN. 267 

the churches on both sides the Atlantic were disposed to 
support and countenance each other. Dr. Hoar' was ac- 
cordingly chosen President ; but in consequence of some 
misunderstanding between him and the students, he resign- 
ed early in 1675, and died soon after. He had been origin- 
ally educated in Harvard College himself, but came over 
to England in 1653, where he took his degree of M, D. and 
married a lady of rank of the name of Lisle.* 

This year, the Doctor published his work on the Sab- 
bath, which he had originally designed to form part of his 
Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews ; but for par- 
ticular reasons he now sent it forth by itself." His great 
object in it, is to establish the authority, and illustrate the 
duties and privileges of the day of sacred rest. The fana- 
tics of the Commonwealth, among their other extrava- 
gances, had disputed its Divine obligation, contended that 
it was a part of the ceremonial law abrogated by Chiast ; 
and from maintaining that every day was alike holy, had 
proceeded to make every day alike profane. The publica- 
tions and conversation of such persons had stumbled and 
shaken many ; but they were not the chief causes of the re- 
laxed observation of the Lord's day, which now prevailed. 
The spirit of the Book of Sports still influenced the British 
court ; and Episcopal writers had done much to shake the 
faith of the country, in the privilege and sacred obligation 
of the Christian rest. The design and tendency of Peter 
Heylin's History of the Sabbath were to destroy its sanc- 
tification, and to root up the principles generally enter- 
tained by Christians on that subject. By the king and his 
ministers, all decent regard for the Sabbath was completely 
thrown off; their private conduct on that day, as appears 
from a note in a former part of this work, was execrably 
immoral ; and when they attended -he worship of God, it 
seemed to be their chief design to afford a public exhibition 
of the highest contempt of God, and sacred things. The 
effect of such example may easily be conceived. The serious 
observation of the first day of the week was a decided evi- 
dence of Puritanism, which was held in more abomination 

' Hutchinson's Col. of Original Papers, pp. 429 — 431. 
' Mass. Coll. for 1799, p. 108. 
" Having been inserted by Dr. Wright in its proper place in connexion with tlie 
work on the Hebrews, vol. ii. it has been omitted in the new edition of his works. 


than the grossest debauchery. A general looseness of man- 
ners began to prevail, and the mighty torrent of iniquity 
threatened to sweep all sobriety and godliness from the 

To counteract this growing, and very dangerous evil, 
was the duty of all who feared God, and desired to promote 
the interests of religion. The work on the Sabbath, was 
peculiarly calculated to repress iniquity, and establish truth. 
It abounds in learned and judicious reasonings : in which, 
in general, without quoting opponents, he demolishes ef- 
fectually their sceptical doubts, or sophistical declamations. 
It discovers his mighty acquaintance with the Scriptures, 
and with all sacred and profane antiquity, as well as with 
the history of the church. He establis,hes, by incontrover- 
tible evidence, the Divine appointment of the first day of 
the week, as the day of holy rest ; and in his illustration of 
its nature, he is equally remote from the ceremonial rigidity 
of judaical worship, and the looseness of popish and prela- 
tical allowance. He notices, on the one hand, the evil 
which ' consists in the accommodation of the laws, and 
precepts, and institutions of God, unto the lusts, and pre- 
sent courses and practices of men. A mystery of iniquity 
unto this purpose hath been discovered of late, tending to 
the utter debauching of the lives and consciences of men. 
A work exceedingly acceptable to all sorts of persons, who, 
if not given up to open atheism, would rejoice in nothing 
more, than in a reconciliation between the rule of their con- 
science, and their lusts, that they might sin freely and 
without remorse.' On the other hand, he acknowledges, 
that some ' have collected whatever they could think of 
that is good, pious, and useful in the practice of religion, 
and prescribed it all in a multitude of instances, as neces- 
sary to the sanctification of this day ; so that a man can 
scarcely, in six days, read over all the duties that are pro- 
posed to be observed on the seventh. They have laboured- 
more to multiply directions about external duties, giving 
them out, as it were, by number or tale, than to direct the 
mind to a due performance of the whole duty of the sancti- 
fication of the day, according to the spirit and genius of 
gospel obedience. And some measuring others by them- 
selves, and their own abilities, have been apt to tie men up 

Ult. OWEN. 


to such long tiresome duties, and rigid abstinences, as have 
clogged their minds, and turned the whole service of the 
day into a wearisome bodily exercise that profiteth little.'" 
These and some other expressions in this work, occa- 
sioned an unpleasant misunderstanding of his meaning, 
among several of his brethren, and brought upon the Doc- 
tor great distress and vexation. He had said, ' That 
the observation of the Lord's day is to be commensurate 
to the use of our natural strength, on any other day; from 
morning to night. The Lord's day is to be set apart to the 
ends of a holy rest unto God, by every one, according as 
his natural strength will enable him to employ himself in 
his lawful occasions any other day of the week.''' We 
should think there is nothing in this language very liable to 
exception, or capable of being misunderstood. That God 
does not require greater exertion in his service on the Sab- 
bath, than we are capable of making in our own on other 
days, would seem to be the doctrine of common sense, as 
well as of the Scriptures. The sentiment, however, pro- 
duced an expostulatory letter from Eliot, the apostle of the 
American Indians, to which the Doctor wrote a reply ; 
which claims our attention, not only because it vindicates 
him from unfounded suspicion of being unfavourable to the 
moral obligation of the Lord's day ; but also because it 
affords a line specimen of the tenderness of his feelings, 
under the sufferings and unjust reproaches with which he 
had been frequently loaded. 

* As to what concerns the natural strength of man, either 
I was under some mistake in my expression, or you seem 
to be so in your apprehension. I never thought, and I 
have not said, that the continuance of the Sabbath is to be 
commensurate to the natural strength of man, but only that 
it is an allowable mean of men's continuance in Sabbath 
duties; which, I suppose, you will not deny, lest you should 
cast the consciences of professors into inextricable difficul- 
ties. When first I engaged in that work, I intended not 
to have spoken one word about the practical observation 
of the day ; but only to have endeavoured the revival of a 
truth, which, at present, is despised among us, and strenu- 

" Vol. ii. of Wright's Ed. of Owen on the Hebrews, pp, 450 — 453. 
y Ibid. p. 455. 


ously opposed by sundry Divines of the United Provinces, 
who call the doctrine of the Sabbath, Figmentum Anglica- 
num. On the desire of some learned men in these parts, 
it was, that I undertook the vindication of it. Having 
now discharged the debt, which in this matter I owed to 
the truth, and to the church of God, though not as I ought, 
yet with such a composition, as, I hope, through the mercy 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, might find acceptance with God, 
and with his saints, I suppose I shall not again engage on 
that subject. 

* I suppose there is scarce any one alive in the world, 
who hath more reproaches cast upon him than I have ; 
though hitherto God has been pleased, in some measure, 
to support my spirit under them. 1 still relieved myself by 
this, that my poor endeavours have found acceptance with 
the churches of Christ. But ray holy, wise, and gracious 
Father sees it needful to try me in this matter also ; and 
what I have received from you, which, it may be, contains 
not your sense alone, hath printed deeper, and left a 
greater impression on my mind, than all the virulent revil- 
ings, and false accusations 1 have met with, from my pro- 
fessed adversaries. I do acknowledge to yon, that I have 
a dry and barren spirit, and I do heartily beg your prayers, 
that the Holy One would, notwithstanding all my sinful 
provocations, water me from above : but that I should now 
be apprehended to have given a wound to holiness in the 
churches, is one of the saddest frowns in the cloudy brows of 
Divine Providence- The doctrine of the Sabbath, I have 
asserted, though not as it ought, yet as well as I could; 
the observation of it in holy duties to the utmost of the 
strength for them, which God shall be pleased to give us, I 
have pleaded for ; the necessity also of a serious prepara- 
tion for it, in sundry previous duties, I have declared. But 
now to meet with severe expressions — it may be, 'tis the 
will of God, that vigour should hereby be given to my former 
discouragements, and that there is a call in it to cease from 
these kinds of labours.''^ 

While we sympathize with Owen in the sufferings which 
this letter describes, and admire the Christian feeling which 
it discovers, we are taught by it the impropriety of forming 

' Madier's Magnalia, b. iii. p. 178. 

])H. OWKN'. 271 

rash judgments, and of condemning a writer for the sup- 
posed meaning of an insolated paragraph, to which his ge- 
neral character and sentiments are decidedly opposed. His 
language respecting his sufferings and reproaches, is fully 
justified by the statements we have given : and place him 
in a point of view in which he is now seldom contemplated 
— a companion with his brethren in the tribulation and pa- 
tience of Jesus Christ. The splendour of an object fre- 
quently diminishes the nearer we approach to it. The glory 
with which a future generation sometimes encircles a de- 
voted minister of heavenly benevolence, is, in many in- 
stances, more the effect of their distance from him, than of 
their just appreciation of his services. It is, at times, as 
dangerous to resist the expression of popular eclat, as it is at 
others to stem the swell of popular prejudice" 

In the beginning of the year l()72, Charles perceiving 
the bad effects of his severity against the Dissenters, or 
desirous of promoting the interests of Popery, issued a 
declaration of indulgence ; in which he assumed the right 
of dispensing with the laws of Parliament in ecclesiastical 
matters. By his own authority, he suspended the execu- 
tion of all the penal laws against Non-conformists and 
popish Recusants, and allowed them to meet for public 
worship, on taking out a licence to be granted for that pur- 
pose. Many of the Non-conformists scrupled about the 
lawfulness of availing themselves of the privilege thus 
granted, as it proceeded from the assumption of an illegal 
power, on the part of the crown. But as it only enabled 
them to enjoy that which they were naturally entitled to, 
and of which they could not be lawfully deprived ; and as 
the enjoyment of this privilege was not an act of injustice to 
others, it seems a pity they should have perplexed them- 
selves on this subject. They were all sufficiently aware 
that the grant was not made from any good will to them ; 

» The necessity of defending the sacred obligation of the day of rest, at this 
time, appears to have impressed others as well as Dr. Owen. Within a few months 
of each other, appeared, besides Owen's work — 'Aphorisms concerning the doctrine 
of the Sabbath,' by the Rev. George Hughes of Plymoath, edited by his son, Oba- 
diah Hughes.— ' the Divine appointment of the Lord's day,' by Richard Baxter. 
Both these works are valuable, and support the same views which are maintained by 
Owen, though neither of ihem treats the subjects so fully, or so ably, as the Doctor. 
Baxter takes particular notice of the dangerous sentiments of Heylin, in liis history 
of the Sabbath, and points out his perversions, both of Scripture testimony, and of 
Christian antiquity, to support his lax principles. 


but it was their business to have accepted the boon, though 
bestowed with an ill grace, or from a bad design. ' We 
did, indeed,' says Owen, '' thankfully accept, and make 
use of this royal favour; and after that, for so many years, 
we had been exposed to all manner of sufferings and pe- 
nalties, whereby multitudes were ruined in their estates, 
and some lost their lives, and that without hopes of any 
remission from the Parliament, by their mistake of the true 
interest of the kingdom, we were glad to take a little 
breathing from our troubles, under his Majesty's royal pro- 
tection, designed only as an expedient, as was usual in 
former times, for the peace and security of the kingdom, 
until the whole matter might be settled in parliament.'^ 

When the Declaration of Indulgence was published, 
the Non-conformist ministers of London, were desirous of 
returning thanks to his Majesty; but found some difficulty 
in agreeing to the terms which they ought to employ. An 
address drawn up by Dr. Seaman and Mr. Jenkins was too 
eulogistic, and could not be agreed to. Baxter says, that 
when they could not come to an agreement about the form, 
they concluded on a cautious acknowledgment of the king's 
clemency, Avhich was delivered extempore, having been in- 
troduced by Lord Arlington to the royal presence for this 
purpose.'^ This, however, is not strictly correct. An ad- 
dress was drawn up by Dr. Owen, agreed to by the minis- 
ters, and presented by him to his Majesty. I am happy to 
be able to present a copy of this document. 

May it please your Majesty, 

We humbly thank you for the favour of this oppor- 
tunity, wherein we may acknowledge that deep sense which 
we ha\e of your gracious clemency, the effects whereof we 
every day enjoy. It is that alone which has interposed 
between the severity of some laws, and some men's princi- 
ples and us, which otherwise would have effected our ruin; 
though we are persuaded that neither the one nor the other, 
could countervail your Majesty's damage thereby. 

It is this principally wherein the kings of the earth may 
render themselves like to the King of heaven, when by their 

^ Owen's Address to the Reader, prefixed to his Answer to Stillingfleet. 
'' liiixter's own Life, part iii. p. \)9. 

i)K. owEX. 273 

power, wisdom, and goodness, they relieve the minds of 
their peaceable subjects from fear, distress, and distracting 
anxieties, and trials on their persons (rendering their lives 
burdensome to themselves, and useless to others), which 
your Majesty has done towards multitudes of your subjects 
in this nation: And we do rejoice in this advantage, to de- 
clare to your Majesty, that as we have a conscientious re- 
spect to all those obligations to loyalty which lie on the 
commonalty of your subjects, so being capable of a, peculiar 
one in the greatest of our concerns, the liberty of our con- 
sciences and assemblies, which others are not (as desiring 
no more, but what they esteem their right by law), we hold 
it our duty which we engage unto before you, not only to be 
partakers with them, but to preserve in our minds a pecu- 
liar readiness to serve on your Majesty's commands, and 
occasions, as we shall be required or advantaged for it. 
And we humbly pray the continuance of your gracious fa- 
vour, and we shall pray that God would continue his pre- 
sence with you in all your aftairs, and continue your royal 
heart in these counsels and thoughts of indulgence, \yhose 
beginnings have restored quietness to neighbours, peace to 
counties, emptied prisons, and filled houses with indus- 
trious workers, and engaged the hands of multitudes unto 
the resolved and endeavoured readiness for your Majesty's 
service, as not knowing anything in this world desirable to 
them, beyond what, under your government, and by your 
favour, they may enjoy.''' 

From Owen's connexions it may easily be supposed 
that he knew more of what was passing at court, and in 
parliament, than most of his contemporaries in the minis- 
try. It is curious to notice the account given by his adver- 
saries of his anxiety to ascertain what was going on, and of 
the use which he made of his information. ' Witness his 
fishing out the king's counsels, and inquiring whether 
things went well as to his great Diana, liberty of con- 
science? How his Majesty stood affected to it? Whether 
he would connive at it, and the execution of the laws 
against it? Who were, or could be made his friends at 

d Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxxi. p. 253. It was sent by a Gentleman, who 
signs himself R. W. and who vouches for its authenticity, and thinks it never was 
published. I suppose this was the Rev. Richard Winter, a Dissenting Minister, in 
London, of high respectability. 

VOL. I. T 


court? What bills were like to be put up in parliament? 
How that assembly was united or divided? &c. And, ac- 
cording to the current and disposition of affairs, he did 
acquaint his under officers, and they, by their letters each 
post, were to inform their fraternity in each corner of the 
kingdom, how things were likely to go with them, how they 
should order their business, and either, for a time, omit or 
continue their conventicles.'^ This account is, no doubt, 
exceedingly exaggerated ; but if every word of it were true, 
it only does honour to the Doctor's vigilance, and disinte- 
rested anxiety to promote the welfare of his brethren. In 
such times, neutrality was criminal, and the man who did 
not employ every honourable means to avert the dangers 
which threatened the cause he had espoused, was guilty of 
betraying it. 

The Indulgence, such as it was, promoted the comfort, 
and increase of the churches. The Independents and 
Presbyterians set up a public weekly lecture to testify their 
union on the most important subjects; and to resist the 
progress of Popery, Socinianism, and Infidelity. These 
lectures were delivered at Pinner's hall, on Tuesday morn- 
ings; and continued to be carried on jointly till 1G95, when 
the two parties divided in consequence of the controversy 
about Crisp. The first lecturers were Doctors Owen, 
Manton, and Bates; and Messrs. Baxter, Jenkins, and 
Collins. Two of the discourses by Dr. Owen, were pub- 
lished in the Morning Exercises. The subject of the first 
is, 'How we may bring our hearts to bear reproofs?'^ 
The second is on the question, ' How is the practical love 
of Truth the best preservative against Popery?' He en- 
titles it, 'The Chambers of Imagery in the Church of 
Rome laid open; or an Antidote against Popery. 's The 
one was preached in 1674, the other in 1G82. The last is 
a very long and very able discourse, in which he traces, to 
its true source, all the apostacy and abominations of the 
papacy, and of every false system of Christianity — the loss 
of the personal power and enjoyment of the truth, and the 
substitution of something external in their place. This af- 
fected their views of the object of worship, of its spiritual 
nature, of the character of the church of Christ, of its pro- 

*■ Letter to a Friend, p. 34. f Works, vol. xvi, p. 2;>. e Ibid. p. 46. 

Dli. OM'EN. 275 

per glory, and its divinely instituted discipline. The dan- 
ger from Popery at any time arises chiefly from the pre- 
valence of ignorance and vice, and from its adaptation to 
the strongest principles of human depravity. Let the Bible 
be loved and circulated, and genuine religion prosper in 
those who have been the subjects of Divine mercy, and no 
danger need be apprehended from Catholic emancipation, 
or any other constitutional right bestowed on any class 
of subjects. 

In 1G72, the Doctor published anonymously, * A Dis- 
course concerning Evangelical love, Church peace, and 
unity. With the occasions and reasons of present differ-' 
ences and divisions about things sacred and religious. 
Written in vindication of the principles and practice of 
some ministers and others.' 8vo. pp. 258. *" This is a very 
excellent work, though less known, perhaps in conse- 
quence of its being without his name, than most of Owen's 
books. His views of love and unity are admirable; and 
are brought to bear on the controversy then warmly agi- 
tated by Baxter, and some others, respecting the Dissen- 
ters attending parish churches; to which Owen, for weighty 
reasons, was decidedly opposed. In the most dispassion- 
ate, and Scriptural manner, he states the corruptions and 
defects of national churches, and the reasons which, he 
conceived, justified his own separation, and that of his 
brethren, from them. The administration — the kind of 
connexion between the ministers and the people which ob- 
tains in them ; the entire destruction of the original terms 
of communion, — viz. evidences of faith, and true conver- 
sion, and the substitution of other things in their place, by 
which the church becomes a mere worldly society, and all 
Christian love and unity are completely destroyed ; — are 
the leading grounds on which he rests the necessity of 
Christians withdrawing from such institutions, and joining 
together in voluntary societies. It is only in churches 
constituted, as the apostolical churches evidently were, of 
spiritual persons, who have the unrestricted management of 
their own affairs, under the regulation of the laws of Christ, 
that all the benefits of Christian fellowship can be enjoyed, 
and all its duties properly discharged. It is strange, that 

'' Works, vol. xxi. p. 1. 
T 2 


men seeking to act simply as the primitive disciples did, 
should be charged with schism, and with introducing all 
manner of evil. That voluntary societies are of apostolical 
institution, and that national churches are a human device 
of a subsequent age, are matters of fact so palpably evi- 
dent, that he who denies them scarcely deserves to be rea- 
soned with. That many should choose to follow the former, 
rather than the latter, cannot be matter of surprise. And 
as it is now so publicly avowed by the advocates of es- 
tablishments, that they are no part of Christianity, but only 
a wall for its protection, or the means of its propagation, it 
can still less be wondered at, that many should object to 
such an unauthorized appendage. The work of Owen is 
constructed on principles, the progress of which has been 
widely extended since his time, and which, as they are 
founded on the invincible basis of Scripture and of fact, 
must ultimately triumph over every secular ecclesiastical 
establishment upon earth. Those who contend for these 
principles, may appear to be the enemies of peace, and 
unity, and love; but in the end, they will be found to have 
been their truest friends. ' Speciosum quidem nomen est 
Pacis, et pulchra opinio unitatis; sed quis ambigat earn 
solamunicam Ecclesiae Pacemesse quae est?'' 

Joseph Caryl died on the 7th of February, 1673. 
He had been pastor of a numerous Congregation, which he 
had collected soon after the Restoration, and which met 
for some years in Leadenhall-street.'' ' His labours,' says 
a friend who knew him well, ' were great ; his studies in- 
cessant; his conversation unspotted; his charity, faith, 
zeal, and wisdom, gave a fragrant smell among the churches 
and servants of Christ. — His sickness, though painful, was 
borne with patience and joy in believing ; and so he parted 
from time to eternity under the full sail of desire and joy 
in the Holy Spirit. He lived his own Sermons. He at 
last desired his friends to forbear speaking to him, that so 
he might retire into hiniself ; which time they perceived 
that he spent in prayer ; oftentimes lifting up his hands a 
little; and at last, they, finding his hands not to move, drew 
near and perceived he was silently departed from them, 

■ Hilary, quoted by Owen on the title page. 
'' Wilson's Hist, of the Diss. Churches, vol. i. p. 252. 



leaving many mourning hearts behind.'' Owen and Caryl 
had long been intimate ; they had frequently been colleagued 
together in the time of the Commonwealth ; their habits 
and sentiments were very similar ; and as their churches 
assembled near each other,-" they proposed uniting toge- 
ther under Dr. Owen, after the death of his esteemed friend 
and brother. As all parties seemed well affected to this 
proposition, the two churches met for the first time, for the 
joint worship of God, on the 5th of June, 1673; when 
Dr. Owen preached a very excellent and appropriate Ser- 
mon, from Colossians iii. 14.° He illustrates the nature 
and exercise of love, as the principal duty required among 
saints, especially as connected in church-fellowship. ' I 
declare,' he says with much solemnity, ' unto this congre- 
gation, this day, that unless this evangelical love be 
exerted, not loosely and generally, but among ourselves 
mutually toward each other, we shall never give up our 
account with joy to Jesus Christ ; nor shall we ever carry 
on the great work of edification among ourselves. And if 
God be pleased but to give this spirit among you, I have 
nothing to fear but the mere weakness and depravity of 
my own heart and spirit.' 

The united church consisted of more than one hundred 
and seventy persons. Of these only thirty-six were pre- 
viously under the care of Dr. Owen ; nearly one hundred 
and forty belonged to Mr. Caryl's church. The united 
body is reckoned a numerous society among Independ- 
ents ; but it was still more distinguished for the rank of 
some of its members, than for its number. Among those 
who were in it at the formation of the union, or who were 
afterwards received, were. Lord Charles Fleetwood; Sir 
John Hartopp; Colonel Desborough, brother-in-law to 
Oliver Cromwell ; Col. Berry, a distinguished officer in 
the Commonwealth army; William Steele, Sergeant at 
Law; Dr. Staines; Col. Ellistone; Richard Lardner, the 
father of Dr. Lardner; Sir Thomas Overbury; and a num- 
ber of the Shute family. Also Lady Abney; Lady Hartopp; 
Lady Vere Wilkinson ; Lady Tompson ; the Countess of 
Anglesea; and the celebrated Mrs. Bendish, grand-daughter 

' Dorney's Div. Contemplations, p. 344. 
n. Wilson's Hist, of the Diss. Churches, vol. i, p. 253. » Works, vol. xvi. p. 465. 


to Cromwell, and remarkably like the Protector in some of 
the strong features of his character." Religion was not 
then so rare among persons of rank and family, as it has 
since become; and even the Non-conformists could reckon 
among their members not a few individuals in the higher 
walks of society, who counted it an honour to share their 
sufferings, as well as their privileges. The persons now 
mentioned continued to adorn the doctrine of Christ for 
many years, and in the oversight of them the Doctor re- 
mained till his death. A few gleanings of the history of 
some of them I shall introduce in this place. 

Charles Fleetwood, son-in-law to Cromwell, descended 
from an ancient family, formerly in Lancashire, He held 
a post in the court of Charles I. but joined the Parliament, 
and soon rose to the highest honours which it could bestow. 
In 1647, he was one of the Commissioners appointed to 
treat with the King, with whose death afterwards he would 
have no concern. On the death of Ireton, he married his 
widow; after which he was made Commander-in-chief of 
the army in Ireland, which he entirely secured. He was 
created one of Oliver's Lords, and is therefore often called 
Lord Charles Fleetwood. He obtained favour after the 
Restoration, and lived privately for the most part at Stoke 
Newington, where he died on the 4th of October 1692. 
He suffered much for his principles as a dissenter, for at 
one time only, the fines imposed on him and Sir John Har- 
topp, who was married to one of his daughters, and a few 
others, amounted to £6000 or £7000.p" To Fleetwood, 
Owen appears to have been strongly attached, as some 
of his letters to him shew.'' He is accused, most un- 
justly, of cowardice; which was not a common vice in 
the leaders of the Commonwealth. Milton celebrates him 
as one *■ of those who had most conspicuously signalized 
themselves in these times ; and whom he had known from 
a boy to the blooming maturity of his military fame; to havp 
been inferior to none in humanity, in gentleness, in benig- 
nity of disposition ; whose intrepidity in the combat, and 

" MS. copy of a list of the Members of the Church in my possession. I obtained 
It subsequently to the publication of the first edition of these Memoirs. It has en- 
abled mc to supply various dates, and to add a few names to those formerly men- 

r Noble's Mem. vol. ii. pp. ."iSS— 318. i Sec Appendix. 

I) II. OWEN. 279 

whose clemency in victory had been acknowledged even 
by the enemy. '"^ Granger says, he had no great skill as a 
soldier, and less as a politician; but he had a very power- 
ful influence over the bigoted part of the array. He 
thought that prayers superseded the use of carnal weapons, 
and that it was sufficient to trust in the hand of Provi- 
dence, without exerting the arm of flesh." This, however, 
is the common style, in which the men of that period are 
reproached, for placing dependence on God for the success 
of their exertions. The measures which, in general, they 
employed sufficiently prove that they knew how to use 
means, as well as to exercise trust. Noble acknowledges 
that * he was religious, and had the greatest veneration for 
civil liberty ;' but, as if determined that what are virtues in 
ordinary men, should be deformities in Fleetwood, he adds 
— ' his ideas of both were so romantic, fantastical, and 
erroneous, that they were blemishes instead of ornaments 
to his character.' 

Major-General Berry (or Col. as he is designated in the 
church list) was originally a clerk in an iron-work, accord- 
ing to Baxter ; a woodmonger in London, according to 
Noble. He was at an early period the bosom friend of Mr. 
Baxter, who highly esteemed him, and says, ' He was a 
man of great sincerity before the wars, and of very good 
natural parts, especially mathematical and mechanical. 
Afi'ectionate in religion, and while conversant with hum- 
bling Providences, doctrines and company, a great enemy 
to pride. But when Cromwell made him his favourite, and 
his extraordinary valour was crowned with extraordinary 
success, bis mind, his aim, his talk, and all was altered.' 
In a word, he became an Independent, by which he lost 
Baxter's good opinion ; but it does not therefore follow that 
he deserved to lose it. He represented the counties of 
Hereford and Worcester in 1656, and was removed to 
Cromwell's upper house the following year. He was a 
leading instrument in pulling down Richard Cromwell, and 
an active member of the Council of State. Baxter admits, 
which is a strong testimony to his character, considering the 
opinion which we have just quoted ; — ' that he lived after, 

"■ Milton's Prose Works. Ed. Symnions, vol. vi. p. 439. 
^ Biog. Hist, vol! iii. p. 18. 


as honestly as could be expected in one that taketh error 
for truth, and evil to be good. He was for some time after 
the Restoration a prisoner in Scarborough Castle; but 
being released he became a gardener.' I know not how to 
reconcile this with the fact, that Parliament ordered him 
to retire from London to such of his seats as was at the 
greatest distance from the city. It is probable he lost much 
of his property, but not likely that he lost the whole. He 
died on the i)th of May 1691. His wife also was a member 
of the church previously to the union with Mr. Caryl's 
society; she died ten years before her husband, on the 9th 
of Dec. 1681. A Mr. John Berry appears to have been 
received into the Church in 1675; it is not improbable that 
he was a son of the Colonel. Miss Ann Berry, who was 
probably a daughter, was received into the Church in Ja- 
nuary 1677, and died in connexion with it in 1725. 

Sir John Hartopp was distinguished both for his Chris- 
tian character, and for the high respectability of his family. 
His grandfather was created a baronet by James I. in 1619, 
only a few years after the institution of the order. He was 
born in 1637, and at an early period of his Hie cast in his 
lot among the Independents. He married the daughter of 
Charles Fleetwood, Esq. and thus became allied to the 
Cromwell family. Lady Hartopp died Nov. 9, 1711. It 
was after her funeral that Dr. Watts preached and pub- 
lished ' The last enemy conquered.'' Sir John lived to 
the advanced age of eighty-live, and on his death, which 
took place April 1, 1722, Dr. Watts preached the most 
beautiful of all his discourses : 'The happiness of separate 
spirits made perfect.' As Sir John and Lady Hartopp 
were not only members of the church of which Dr. AVatts 
was pastor, but as he had resided five years in their house, 
as tutor to their eldest son, the Doctor was peculiarly qua- 
lified for bearing testimony to the character of these esti- 
mable individuals. Of Lady Hartopp he says little, though 
what he does say is highly to her honour ; but he gives a 
full length portrait of Sir John. ' The book of God was 
his chief study, and his divincst delight. His bible lay 
before him night and day, and he was well acquainted 

» An excellent letter from Dr. Owen to Lady Harlopp, on the occasion of the 
death of nm infant daughter, will be found in the Appendix. 

DR. OWEN. 281 

with the writers who explained it best. He was desirous 
of seeing what the Spirit of God said to men in the original 
languages; for this end he commenced some acquaintance 
with the Hebrew, when he was more than fifty years old ; 
and, that he might be capable of judging of any text in the 
New Testament, he kept his youthful knowledge of the 
Greek language in some measure to the period of his life. 
Among the various themes of Christian contemplation, he 
took peculiar pleasure in the doctrines of grace, in the 
display of the glories of the person of Christ, God in our 
nature, and the wondrous work of redemption by his cross. 
His conversation was pious and learned, ingenious and in- 
structive. He was inquisitive into the affairs of the learned 
world, the progress of arts and sciences, the concerns of 
the nation, and the interests of the church of Christ, and 
upon all occasions was as ready to communicate as he was 
to inquire. His zeal for the welfare of his country grnd of 
the church in it, carried him out to the most extensive and 
toilsome services in his younger and middle age. He em- 
ployed his time, his spirits, his interest, and his riches, for 
the defence of this poor nation, when it was in the utmost 
danger of popery and ruin. He was three times chosen 
representative in Parliament, for his county of Leicester- 
shire, in those years when a sacred zeal for religion and 
liberty strove hard to bring in the bill of exclusion to pre- 
vent the Duke of York inheriting the crown of England. 
Nor was he ashamed to own and support the despised in- 
terest of the Dissenters, when the spirit of persecution 
raged highest in the days of Charles, and King James the 
Second. He was a present refuge for the oppressed, and 
the special Providence of God secured him and his friends 
from the fury of the oppressor. He enjoyed an intimate 
friendship with that great and venerable man, Dr. Owen, 
and this was mutually cultivated with zeal and delight on 
both sides, till death divided them. A long and familiar 
acquaintance enabled him also to furnish many memoirs, 
or matters of fact toward that brief account of the Doctor's 
life which was drawn up by another hand. Now, can we 
suppose two su^ch souls to have been so happily intimate 
on earth, and may we not imagine they found each other 
among the brighter spirits on high? May wc not indulge 


ourselves to believe, that our late honoured friend hath 
been congratulated upon his arrival, by that holy man who 
assisted to direct and lead him thither?'" 

Colonel John Desborough was descended from a respect- 
able family, and was originally bred to the law. On the 
breaking out of the civil wars, he joined the army of the 
Parliament, in which, on account of his valour, he soon 
obtained a regiment of horse, and in 1648, rose to the rank 
of a Major-General. He was named one of the High Court 
of Justice for the trial of the King ; but had the courage to 
refuse to sit. He married the sister of Oliver Cromwell, 
and was one of the Lords of his upper house ; but notwith- 
standing this, he opposed the Protector's measures, and 
successfully resisted his attempt to assume the regal dig- 
nity. Milton celebrates him as one of the heroes of the 
Commonwealth, and as next to Lambert.'^ At the Restoration 
he attempted to leave the kingdom, but was arrested, and 
excepted from the act of indemnity, though not to forfeit 
his life. The administrations of Charles and James seem 
to have been very jealous of him, which is not to be won- 
dered at, considering their conduct and his principles. It 
would appear, however, that he lived quietly and privately 
all the latter part of his life ; and died on the 10th Sept. 
1680.^ Granger says, he was clumsy and ungainly in bis 
person, clownish in his manners, and boisterous in his be- 

Lady, or rather Mrs. Abney, as her husband was not 
knighted till after her death, was a daughter of Joseph 
Caryl, and a partaker of the piety of her father. Sir Tho- 
mas was descended from an honourable family at Wilsley, 
in the county of Derby. He was born in January 1639, 
and having lost his mother when young, he was sent to 
school at Loughborough, to be under the care of his aunt. 
Lady Bromley, whose instructions were conducive to those 
religious impressioiis which distinguished him through life.*. 

» Gibbon's Life of Watts, pp. 92—96. Watts' Death and Heaven. 
" Milton's Prose Works, vol. vi. p. 439. 
y Noble's Mem. vol. ii. pp. 243—250. ' Biog. Hist, vol. iii. p. 72. 

a Lady Bromley, of Sheriff Hales in Shropshire, was many years famous for pro- 
moting, by her influence and practice, the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and 
the genuine principles of the Reformation. She was the great patroness of the per- 
secuted Non-conformists in that part of the country. Messrs. Ball, Nicholls, Pier- 
son, Kerring, and others, when harassed and deprived of their ministry, were kindly 

DR. OWEN. 283 

He became a member of the church in Silver-street, under 
the care of Dr. Jacomb, and afterwards of Mr. Howe. He 
was knighted by Kin.^ William, and chosen Lord Mayor of 
London in 1700. As an evidence of his piety, on the even- 
ing of the day on which he entered on his office, he with- 
drew silently from the public assembly at Guildhall, after 
supper, went to his own house, there performed family 
worship, and then returned to the company. After the 
death of his first wife, he married in 1700, the daughter of 
John Gunston, Esq. Lady Abney was a member of the 
church in Bury-street; and while the name of Dr. Isaac 
Watts continues to be respected, those of Sir Thomas and 
Lady Abney, under whose roof he resided for thirty-six 
years, will be cherished with grateful affection. The ac- 
count which the Rev. Jeremiah Smith, the pastor of the 
church when Sir Thomas died, gives of the family religion 
of this Non-conformist Knight, deserves to be quoted for the 
instruction of Christians in similar circumstances. * Here 
were every day the morning and evening sacrifices of prayer 
and praise, and reading the H61y Scriptures. The Lord's 
day he strictly observed and sanctified. God was solemnly 
sought and worshipped, both before and after the family's 
attendance on public ordinances. The repetition of ser- 
mons, the reading of good books, the instruction of the 
household, and the singing of the Divine praises together, 
were much of the sacred employment of the holy day ; va- 
riety and brevity making the whole not burdensome but 
pleasant ; leaving at the same time room for the devotions 
of the closet, as well as for intervening works of necessity 
and mercy. Persons coming into such a family, with a 
serious tincture of mind, might well cry out, ' This is no 
other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven !' 
Besides the ordinary and stated services of religion, occa- 
sional calls and seasons for worship were also muchregarded. 
In signal family mercies and afflictions, in going journeys, 
in undertaking and accomplishing any matters of greater 
moment, God was especially owned by prayer and thanks- 
giving; the assistance of ministers being often called in on 

entertained by this worthy lady. These divines often preached in her neighbour- 
hood, whom she sheltered from the oppressive measures of the prelates as long as 
she was able; and when tiiey durst not preach, they kept days of fasting and humi- 
liation at her house. Brook's Jives, vol. ii. 441. 



such occasions. Through the whole course of his life he 
was priest in his own family, except when a minister hap- 
pened to be present."' 

Lady Tompson, whose maiden name was Powell, was 
wife of John Tompson, Lord Haversham. This Nobleman 
belonged to a republican family, and was himself rather 
attached to that side in politics. He was made a baronet 
by diaries II., and was very active against the measures of 
Court during the two Popish reigns. He accordingly joined 
the Prince of Orange, by whom he was made a Baron, and 
Lord of the Admiralty. Towards the latter part of his life, 
he is said to have changed his principles, and gone over to 
the Church, though he continued sometimes to attend the 
Meeting. His Lordship moved in the House of Peers 
for the Princess Sophia's coming over, as a thing neces- 
sary for the preservation of the Protestant religion.*^ Mr. 
Howe's funeral sermon for Matthew Mead, who died in Oct. 
1699, is dedicated to Lord and Lady Haversham. He 
speaks strongly of the value! which they attached to Mr. 
Mead, and of the intimacy of their friendship. ' Your Lord- 
ship's great respect,' he says, ' to this servant of Christ, was 
even hereditary, and descended to him by you, from your 
family. And your Ladyship's great value of him, though 
it might take its first rise from so dear and judicious a re- 
lative, could not but receive a great increase from his known 
worth, and your own discerning judgment."* Dunton repre- 
sents his Lordship as a man of penetration and deep know- 
ledge in the affairs of Europe; as a patriot who asserted 
the rights of the Church of England, without punishing 
Dissenters ; as possessed of all the tenderness of good na- 
ture, the softness of friendship, and a generous sense of 
the miseries of mankind.* 

Mrs. Polhill, wife of Edward Polhill, Esq. of Burwash 
in Sussex, was also a member of the church. The Doctor 
addresses her in a beautiful letter which he wrote on the 
occasion of her daughter's death, not only as a sister, but 
as the object of special afiection and care.^ Her husband, 
though a friend of Owen, and of the Dissenters, was him- 

>> Gibbon's Life of Watts, p. 103. "= Walpole's Works, vol. i. p. 429. 

<■ Howe's Works, vol. ii. p. 461. 

<^ The Life and Errors of John Diuiton, p. 429. ' Sec Appendix. 

DK. OWEN. 285 

self in the Established Church. All that I know of him and 
his writings will be found in the Appendix. 

Of Lady Vere Wilkinson, I know nothing. She was 
the wife of a Knight, I suppose, as I do not observe any 
title of this description in the Peerage or Baronetage of 
England. She died, Dec. 12, 1708. 

Of Mrs. Bendish, very full and amusing accounts have 
been often given. Dr. Owen, it is said, was her favourite 
author ; but her character was more marked by the pecu- 
liarities of her grandfather, than by the constant influence 
of Owen's principles. Dr. Watts addresses a poem against 
tears to her, and it is to be hoped she is now where all ec- 
centricities for ever cease, and where all tears are for eVer 
wiped away. 

On other persons whose names have been mentioned, 
or who occur in the church book, I might have offered some 
remarks ; but the above must suffice as illustrative of the 
high respectability of Owen's connexions, and of the state 
of Non-conformity at this period. 

The parliament which met in 1673 were highly offended 
with the king's declaration of indulgence, and insisted on 
its being recalled. They began, however, to distinguish 
between Protestant and Popish dissenters, and were willing 
to shew more favour to the former than they had been ac- 
customed to do. They passed the Test Act, by which dis- 
senters \vere rendered incapable of holding places of power 
or trust under government ; and the court soon after re- 
newed its severities, by recalling the licences which had 
been granted to the Non-conformist ministers, and by issuing 
a declaration requiring the execution of the laws against 
Conventicles. By these unrighteous measures many were 
made to suffer most greviously, among the first of whom 
was Mr. Baxter, notwithstanding his rooted dislike to rigid 
dissent." I do not find that Dr. Owen sufl'ered personally, 
but he was far from being unconcerned about the sufferings 
of his brethren. He wrote a very spirited paper of ' Advice 
to the citizens of London,"" in which he expresses very 
strongly his opinion of the unparalleled severities inflicted 
on Protestant dissenters. His safety was very probably 
owing to the high respectability of some of his friends. 

g Baxter's Life, part iii, pp. 153. 135. '' Works, vol. xxi. p. 445. 


He enjoyed the favour and friendship of the Earls of Orrery 
and Angiesea, Lords Willoughby, Wharton, and Berkely, 
and of Sir John Trevor, one of the secretaries of state.* A 
short account of these noblemen, who were distinguished 
for their attentions to the Non-conformists, and some of 
them for their personal piety, will perhaps be acceptable to 
the reader. 

Roger Boyle, fifth son of the great Earl of Cork, and 
brother of the celebrated Robert Boyle, was created Lord 
Broghill when only seven years of age, and under this title 
is well known from the conduct of Cromwell to him on se- 
veral occasions. He was created Earl of Orrery by Charles 
II. soon after the Restoration, which he had zealously pro- 
moted. He was eminent for his attachment to the Protes- 
tant cause, and rose to the highest posts in the government 
of Ireland. He never made a bad figure but as an author. 
As a soldier, his bravery was distinguished, his stratagems 
remarkable. As a statesman, it is sufficient to say, that he 
had the confidence of Cromwell. As a man, he was grate- 
ful, and would have supported the son of his friend. Like 
Cicero and Richelieu, he would not be content without 
being a poet. Like Atticus, he prudently adapted himself 
to the changes of the times ; but not by a timid and cau- 
tious conduct, or securing himself by inaction, much less 
by mean or sordid compliances." 

Arthur Annesley, son of Sir Francis Annesley, Lord 
Mount Norris, was born in Dublin, in 1614. While a 
young man, he was on the side of Charles I., but after- 
wards, he embraced that of the parliament, to which he ren- 
dered some important services. He was not trusted by 
Cromwell, but was made president of the council of state 
after the fall of Richard, in which capacity he was active 
for the Restoration. He enjoyed much of Charles II.'s 
favour, by whom he was made Earl of Angiesea, treasurer 
of the navy, commissioner for resettling Ireland, and Lord ' 
privy seal. He was a Calvinist in his religious sentiments, 
and, from his liberal conduct to men of diflerent parties, left 
it doubtful whether he was a Conformist or Non-confor- 
mist in principle. The dissenters always considered him 

' Memoirs, p. 29. 
^ Wa.'pule's Works, vol. i. p. 514. Granger, vol. iii. p. 226. 

Du. owKx. 287 

as their friend, and as his Lordship and Dr. Samuel Annesley 
were cousins, and some of the Non-conformist ministers 
generally resided as chaplains in his house, he knew much 
about the dissenters, and interested himself greatly on their 
behalf. He left a valuable collection of books, which he 
had procured at great expense, and which, after the exam- 
ple of the De Puys and Colberts, he intended should never 
go out of his family ; but it was sold after his death, which 
took place in 1686. ' The Countess of Anglesea, who was a 
member of Dr. Owen's Church, was so much attached to 
Dr. Owen, that sometime before her death, she requested 
that the Doctor's widow would allow her to be buried in 
the same vault with him ; that dying, as well as living, she 
might testify her regard to him." 

Lord Willoughby of Parham, distinguished himself 
greatly as an officer in the parliamentary army, at the begin- 
ning of the civil war. His father. Lord Lindsay, was killed 
at the battle of Edge-hill, and himself taken prisoner. He 
was made general of the horse under the Earl of Essex. 
But being disgusted by the Commons refusing a personal 
treaty with the king, he assisted the tumults in the city, by 
which the parliament was driven to the army, and for which 
he was afterwards impeached. Not choosing to stand a 
trial, he retired to Holland, where he was made Vice-Ad- 
miral of the fleet fitted out by Charles, then Prince of Wales. 
In 1650, he went out privately to Barbadoes, where he pro- 
claimed Charles II. and assumed the office of governor. 
He defended the island for a time against Cromwell's fleet, 
but at last surrendered on condition of being permitted to 
return to England and enjoy his estate. He was sent out 
to be governor of Barbadoes by Charles in 1666, where he 
died." The Parham family appear to have continued dis- 
senters to a very late period. Henry, Lord Willoughby, 
who died in 1775, in the 79th year of his age, was buried in 
Bunhill-fields, the receptacle of the ashes of the dissenters 
for two hundred years. 

Philip, Lord SVharton, was a Puritan nobleman of con- 
siderable note. He was one of the lay members of the 

' Walpole's Works, vol. i. pp. 411, 412. Athen. Ox. Bliss, vol. iv. pp. 182. 187. 
™ Memoirs of Owren prefixed to the 8vo. Edit, of his Sermons, 1720. 
" Whitelock's Mem. passim. 



Westminster Assembly, and took a most active part in 
supporting the parliament against the King ; for which 
services he was created an Earl by the House. He was 
appointed, with several others, resident commissioner at 
Edinburgh, to attend the Scots parliament. He was sent 
to the Tower for challenging the legality of the Long Par- 
liament of Charles II. After this he travelled abroad, car- 
rying Mr. Howe with him. He seems to have been a de- 
cided Non-conformist, and his house was a refuge for their 
ministers, in the time of persecution. While attending Dr. 
Manton's meeting at one time, the place was beset, and his 
name taken down. The place was fined forty pounds, and 
the minister twenty, which his Lordship paid. Mr. Locke 
describes him as ' an old and expert parliament man, of 
eminent piety and abilities, a great friend to the Protestant 
religion, and interest of England.'" In a postscript to a 
letter written from his house to the church in Bury-street, 
by Dr. Owen, when he was ill, — the Doctor thus expresses 
himself respecting the family : — ' I humbly desire you 
would in your prayers remember the family where I am, 
from whom I have received, and do receive great Christian 
kindness. I may say, as the Apostle, of Onesiphorus, the 
Lord give to them, that they may find mercy of the Lord in 
that day, for they have often refreshed me in my great dis- 
tress.'? The Countess of Wharton, also, appears to have 
been a very excellent woman ; and from the language of 
Mr. Howe, in the dedication of his ' Thoughtfulness for 
the future,' she seems to have been a Non-conformist, if 
not a member of his church. He speaks of her Ladyship 
having been called to serve the Christian interest * in a 
family wherein it had long flourished ; and which it had 
dignified beyond all the splendour that antiquity and secu- 
lar greatness could confer upon it.'i 

George Berkely, created Earl of Berkely, in 1G79, was a 
privy counsellor in the reigns of Charles II. James II, and 
William. He was also Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for 
several years. He bestowed a very valuable library, which 
had been collected by Sir Robert Cooke, on Sion College, 
for the use of the city clergy. If we may judge of his reli- 

•Coliection of Locke's Pieces, p. 116. P Appendix. 

1 Howe's Works, vol. ii. p. 102. 

DR. OMEN'. 289 

gion from a small work which he published in 1670, ' His- 
torical Applications, and Occasional Meditations upon 
several subjects,' \Ve must think very favourably of it. Al- 
luding to this book, and its author, Waller exclaims 

' Bold is tlie man who dares engage 
For piety in such an age.' 

He was a nobleman of strict virtue and piety, and of such 
undistinguishing- affability to men of all ranks and parties, 
as to occasion his being exhibited by Wyclierly in his 
' Plain Dealer,' as Lord Plausible/ 

Sir John Trevor, was a branch of an ancient and noble 
family in Wales ; and both he and his father were particu- 
larly respected by the Protectors, Oliver and Richard, He 
married Ruth, daughtigr of the celebrated Hampden, and 
possessed a portion of his patriotism. Charles either forgot 
his services to the republic, or was desirous of gaining the 
favour of a powerful family; for he not only kniuhted him, 
but sent him, in 1668, Ambassador to the Court of France; 
and after his return, raised him to his privy council, and 
made him one of his principal secretaries of state. His 
former connexions sufficiently explain his partiality for the 
Non-Conformists. He died of a fever in 1672.' 

Nor was it to several of the leading noblemen, or mem- 
bers of administration only, that Owen was known; both 
tlie King and the Duke of York paid him some attentions. 
Being in a very languishing state of health in 1674,' he 
was at Tunbridge Wells when the Duke of York was there. 
The Duke sent for him, and had several conversations with 
him in his tent, about the Dissenters and Conventicles. 
After his return to London, the King himself sent for him, 
and conversed two hours with him, assuring him of his 
favour and respect, and told him that he might have access 
to him whenever he pleased. Charles also made strong 
professions of regard for liberty of conscience, declared 
how sensible he was of the injuries that had been done to 
Dissenters, and as a proof of his good wishes to them, gave 
the Doctor a thousand guineas to distribute among those 
who had suffered most by the late severities. The Doctor 
thankfully received his Majesty's generosity, and faithfully 

» Athen. Ox. Bliss, iv, p. 62!>. Granger, vol.iii. p. 212. 
• Noble's Mem. vol. ii. pp.138— 143. ' Hittciiinson's Col. of Original Papers. 

VOL. I. U 

290 ilEMOIRS OF 

applied it to the objects of his bounty." When this came to 
be known, a great clamour was raised by some Churchmen, 
who reported that Owen and the Dissenters were pensioned 
to serve the Popish interest. To this the Doctor after- 
wards replied with considerable warmth, ' That never any 
one person in authority, dignity or power, in this nation, 
nor any one that had any relation to public affairs, nor any 
of the Papists, or Protestants did ever speak one word to 
him or advise with him about any indulgence or toleration 
to be granted unto Papists, and challenges all the world to 
prove the contrary if they can. The persons are sufficiently 
known of whom they may make their inquiry.'^ Notwith- 
standing this, Burnet asserts that Stillingfleet told him, the 
Court hired the Dissenters to be silent, and that the greater 
part of them were so, and w ere very compliant.'' 

This year, the Doctor sustained a very unexpected 
attack on his work on Communion with God, published 
nearly twenty years before. This came from the pen of 
Dr. Sherlock, known as the author of some works on Pro- 
vidence and Death, which do him more credit than his 
book against Owen ; though none of them discover accurate 
views of the doctrines of the gospel. His strictures on 
Owen are entitled, — ' A Discourse Concerning the Know- 
ledge of Jesus Christ, and our Union and Communion with 
him,' &c. 1674. They are a confused mass of Socinianized 
arminianism, in which the doctrines of imputation and of 
justification by faith are denied; and language employed 
respecting the person of Christ and his work, which I shall 
not stain my pages with quoting. Owen appears to have 
considered it one of the pitiful attempts to run him down, 
and to destroy the credit of his writings, to which he had 
for some time been doomed to submit. He met it, in ' A 
Vindication of some passages in a Discourse concerning 
Communion with God, from the exceptions of William 
Sherlock, Rector of St. George, Buttolph Lane/ pp. 237, 

u This was probably tlie first of those Royal grants to the Dissenters, which have 
since received the designation of the Rcgium Domini. They began to be reeularJy 
paid in tlie year 1723, during the administration of Sir Robert Walpole, and con- 
tinue to be distributed lo tlie present time, amongst poor Dissenting Ministers of (he 
three denominations. A curious account of them will be found ia the London Ma- 
gazine for 1774, and in Dyer's Life of Robinson, p. 2;57. • 

" Memoirs, p. 30. Pref. to Answer to Stillingfleet. 
T Life and Times, vol. ii. p. 16. 

DR. OWEN. 291 

12mo. 1074.^ The work on Communion is so far removed 
from controversy, that it seems wonderful it should have 
excited it ; and, as during the whole period that it had been 
published, it had been well received, it seems the more 
strange. But when matter of accusation is sought, no 
human character or production can be proof against its 
being found. Quoting some of Sherlock's perversions of 
his words and sentiments, he exclaims with considerable 
feeling : ' What doth this man intend ? Doth he either not 
at all understand what I say, or doth he not care what he 
says himself? What have I done to him ? Wherein have 
I injured him? How have I provoked him, that he should 
sacrifice his conscience and reputation to such a revenge ?'* 
In railing and abuse, Sherlock was more than a match for 
Owen ; but in the lists of theological warfare, he was a 
very dwarf in the grasp of a giant. Owen exposes his ig- 
norance, his petulance and vanity, the inconsistency and 
absurdity of his statements, in such a manner as must have 
made him, if he had any sense of shame left, blush that he 
had ever meddled with a subject he so ill understood. 

The controversy was taken up with great spirit by 
several others besides Owen. Robert Ferguson published 
in a thick octavo, ' The Interest of Reason in Religion, 
with the import and use of Scripture Metaphors, and some 
reflections on Mr. Sherlock's writings,' &c. 1675. A second 
attack on Sherlock came from the pen of Edward Polhill, 
Esq. ' An Answer to the Discourse of Mr. William Sher- 
lock,' &c. 8vo. 1675. A third publication on the same side 
came from Vincent Alsop, the South of the Dissenters — 
* Antisozzo, or Sherlocismus enervatus,' &c. This was the 
first work in which Alsop signalized himself, and both by his 
wit and his talents, on this and some other occasions, he 
rendered important service to the cause of truth. ' Specu- 
lum Sherlockianum ; or a Looking Glass in which the ad- 
mirers of Mr. Sherlock may behold the man,' was sup- 
posed to be the production of Henry Hickman, a minister 
of learning and considerable controversial talents, who 
afterwards died in Holland.'' ' Prodromus, or the charac- 
ter of Mr, Sherlock's Book,' was the production of Samuel 
RoUe, who also wrote 'Justification Justified,' in the same 

■^ Works, vol. X. p. 339. a Ibid, p. 357. t Calaroy, vol. ii. p. 69. 

u 2 



controversy. 'A Friendly Debate between Satan and Sher- 
lock,' and a subsequent defence of it, were written by Tho- 
mas Danson, the ejected minister of Sibton. The object 
of his treatises was to shew, that on the principles of Sher- 
lock, Satan might have the same hope of salvation as the 
human race. 

Sherlock replied, in 1675, to Owen and Ferguson, but 
took no notice of his other opponents. Another clergyman 
also, Thos. Hotchkis, Rector of Staunton, interfered in the 
controversy, in ' A Discourse concerning the Imputation of 
Christ's Righteousness to us, and our sins to Him,' &c. 
3675; in which he takes up both Dr. Owen, and Mr. Fer- 
guson. This author seems substantially of Mr. Baxter's 
sentiments, and states the doctrine of imputation, in seve- 
ral places, with considerable accuracy. With these publi- 
cations terminated the Communion controversy. The sub- 
jects discussed were of great importance, and the zeal with 
which the debate was gone into, discovers the interest that 
was then taken in them. It must have contributed greatly 
to the circulation of the work which occasioned it, and which 
has long out-lived the tempest of temporary rage, and the 
chilling damp of personal detraction ; and still remains the 
object of commendation, when its antagonists are forgotten 
and unknown. 

In 1674, he published the second volume of his work 
on the Hebrews ; and in the same year appeared, the first 
part of his elaborate work on the Spirit. It is entitled, ' A 
Discourse concerning the Holy Spirit. In which an ac- 
count is given of his name, nature, personality, dispensa- 
tion, operations, and effects. His whole work in the Old 
and New Creation is explained ; the doctrine concerning 
it vindicated from opposition and reproaches. The nature 
and necessity also of Gospel holiness ; the difference be- 
tween grace and morality, or a Spiritual life to God in 
Evangelical obedience, and a course of moral virtues, is 
stated and declared.' Fol. pp. 575.^ The p^an of this 
work embraced a number of most important subjects, 
either forming part of the direct work of the Spirit, or col- 
laterally related to it. The Doctor not being able to finish 
the whole design at once, published the first part of it in 

"' Works, vol. ii, — iii. 



this large volume; and at considerable intervals the re- 
maining parts of his plan. As it will save repetitions, and 
enable us to form a more complete view of the entire 
scheme, I shall here introduce all the other branches in the 
order in which they were published. The first of them is 
* The Reason of Faith, or an answer to that inquiry, Where- 
fore we believe the Scripture to be the Word of God?' &c. 
8vo. 1677.'^ This is the first part of his view of the Spirit's 
work in illumination. In the following year came out the 
second part of this branch of the subject ; •' 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 interpreta- 
tion of them.' 8vo.* In 1682, came out ' The Work of the 
Holy Spirit in Prayer, with a brief inquiry into the nature 
and use of mental prayer and forms.' 8vo.f And in 1693, 
two posthumous discourses, ' On the Work of the Spirit as 
a Comforter, and as he is the Author of Spiritual Gifts,'^ 
completed the design. 

These works embrace an extensive and interesting view 
of one great department of the Divine administration. As 
they are filled up with the ability and copiousness of their 
author, and are the fruit of his most matured experience, 
they constitute the completest exhibition of the Scripture 
doctrine of Spiritual agency and influence, to be found in 
any language. Any analysis that I could give would afford 
a very imperfect view of the works themselves; nor indeed 
is this necessary, as they are better known, either in the 
originals, or by some useful abridgments, than most of 
Owen's writings. A short notice of the relative connexion 
of the several subjects, therefore, is all I shall attempt. 

The first part is properly occupied with an examination 
of the Divine nature and personality of the Spirit, and of 
his operations in conversion and sanctification. The Doctor 
justly attaches much importance to correct sentiments on 
these subjects ; as the Deity of Christ, the doctrine of 
atonement, and the influence of the Spirit, are closely 
connected together, and constitute the leading truths of 
the Revelation of the Gospel. If the Spirit be not God, he 

'' Works, vol. iii. p. 227. «■ Ibid. p. 367. f Ibid. vol. iv. p. 1. 

; Ibid. p. 155. 


cannot be the author of those effects which are ascribed to 
him ; and ought not to be the object of acknowledgment 
and supplication. On the other hand, if the corruption of 
human nature be as extensive and inveterate as the Scrip- 
tures represent it ; without the provision of an Almighty 
agent, whose influence, when put forth, must prove irre- 
sistible, we could have no security for the reception of the 
atonement, and the application of the grace of Christ in the 
destruction of sin. All these subjects, with every plausible 
objection to them, Owen examines with great carefulness, 
and at great length. The whole strength of his theological 
vigour, now arrived at its highest maturity, is put forth, and 
scarcely any thing is left which we could desire to be said, 
either for illustration or defence. 

From the Spirit and his influence, he is naturally led to 
treat of the Spirit's Revelation in the Scriptures ; the kind 
of evidence on which we believe them to be the word of 
God ; and the consistency of using means for the under- 
standing of them, with dependence on spiritual illumina- 
tion ; together with the kind of means we are required to 
employ. This branch of the subject involves some of the 
nicest and most abstruse points of metaphysical and re- 
vealed theology. To say that Owen has removed every 
difficulty, and disentangled all the intricacies of a subject, 
whose difficulties and obscurities arise — partly from the 
limited capacities of the human constitution — partly from 
the limits which God has prescribed to himself in his com- 
munications to men — and partly from the perverse reason- 
ings of philosophical divines, would be saying too much. 
He has, however, exhibited the doctrine of Scripture fairly 
and fully ; and appealed to general experience for the truth 
of his representations. On the one hand, Owen was no en- 
thusiast, he expected no illapses, or new revelations, or 
extraordinary intimations of the will of God; on the other 
hand, he knew that means are not powers, as laws are riot 
energies; they are merely the media through which a supe- 
rior influence is exerted, and which is in all cases essen- 
tially necessary, to give them a beneficial result. The truth, 
or fact is easily established, the nature of that mysterious 
link which connects Divine influence with human duty, it 
is not perhaps for us to explain. 

DR. OWEN. 295 

To the office of the Spirit in exciting holy desires, form- 
ing religious habits, imparting consolation, and building up 
the people of God, he is naturally led in the last part of his 
undertaking. Here there is much practical instruction, 
combined with valuable illustration of various parts of the 
heavenly economy. Speaking of the whole work, Natha- 
niel Mather, who writes the preface to the posthumous vo- 
lume, says, with much justness and felicity, — ' They are 
not the crude, and hasty, and untimely abortions of a self- 
full, distempered spirit, much less the boilings over of in- 
ward corruption and rottenness, put into fermentation; 
but the mature, sedate, and seasonable issues of a rich 
magazine of le"arning, well digested with great exactness 
of judgment. There is in them a great light reflected on, 
as well as derived from, the Holy Scriptures, those inex- 
haustible fountains of light, in sacred things. They are 
not filled with vain impertinent janglings, nor with a noise 
of multiplied useless distinctions ; nor with novel and un- 
couth terms, foreign to the things of God, as the manner of 
some is ad nauseam usque. But there is in them, a happy 
and rare conjunction of solidity, clearness, and heart- 
searching spirituality.' 

This work was not undertaken merely for the sake of 
writing a book on this important subject ; it was called 
for by the circumstances of the times in which the Doctor 
lived. During the period of England's convulsions, many 
extravagances, and abuses prevailed ; and on no subject 
more than that of Spiritual influence. The wildest doc- 
trines and speculations were sported in the most fearless 
manner, as if men had been resolved to outvie one another 
in outrages on Scripture doctrine and common sense. 
Prophecies and visions, dreams and voices from heaven 
were publicly sported, to the astonishment of the multi- 
tude, the amusement of the scoffer, and the grief of the 
sober and enlightened Christian. New sects were every 
day springing up, each more fanatical or erroneous than 
the former ; and though they had in general but an ephe- 
meral existence, they produced, while they lasted, injurious 
effects on true religion, and left very baneful consequences 
behind them. The violent excitement of this period could 
not be of lasting duration ; but after its strength was spent. 

296* MEMOiltS OF 

its influence might be traced on three distinct classes of 
persons, which, in one form or another, remain to the present 

The pretenders to high illumination, and spiritual en- 
joyment, independently of the Scriptures, and of other ex- 
ternal means, settled under the general denomination of 
Quakers. The incongruous atoms which had floated about 
under diff'erent names and various forms, were at length di- 
gested into a body, combining the elements of mysticism, 
philosophical calmness, and moral propriety in a very sin- 
gular degree. From carrying the doctrine of invisible and 
spiritual agency too far, the extreme of denying it alto- 
gether was easily got into. Hostility to reason as a gift of 
God, as the means of examining the evidence of his reve- 
lation, and of ascertaining its meaning, led naturally to its 
deification, as the alone guide and instructor of man. The 
abettors of these views found an asylum in the cold regions 
of Socinianism. While, by the former class, the Spirit 
was treated as a kind of familiar, and his written commu- 
nications despised ; by the latter, his existence was denied, 
and his operations blasphemed. A third class, forming no 
distinct sect, or known by any specific designation, though 
more numerous than both the former, also arose out of the 
circumstances and changes of the times. A class which 
jjretended respect for religion, and hatred of enthusiasm ; 
but which, under the latter terra of reproach, included some 
of the most sacred truths of Christianity, and its most im- 
portant influence on the human character. Such persons 
did not in words deny the existence of the Spirit, but his 
operations in converting, sanctifying, and comforting a 
sinner, were the objects of their unqualified and never- 
ending hostility. The follies of the former period, and of 
the few fanatics who still survived it, were exaggerated, and 
charged on the many who maintained the proprieties, and 
the doctrines of Christianity. The Court of Charles took 
the lead in this refined system of irreligion. Nothing was 
heard of but philosophy and reason, not as opposed to rant 
and nonsense ; but to Scripture and scriptural piety. Ge- 
nuine religion was run down under the pretence of laugh- 
ing at fanaticism, and decrying sectarian folly. Fawning 
courtiers encouraged the wanton levity of Charles ; while 

DK. OWKX. 297 

worldly ecclesiastics, and hungry poets, furnished his re- 
pasts, and regaled the depraved propensities of the ad- 
miring and deluded crowd. 

Such was the state of the country when Owen formed 
the plan of his work on the Spirit. The objects which it 
embraced, included the errors and vices of- the various 
classes now mentioned. It was designed to furnish infor- 
mation to the ignorant but well meaning enthusiast ; an 
, antidote to the wild sportings of deluded deceivers ; a de- 
fence of the Spirit's character and agency against Soci- 
nians; a vindication of the true doctrine of Spiritual influ- 
ence against the increasing tide of Court infidelity, and 
clerical Arminianism ; and a combined and harmonious 
view of the truths connected with the main subject of dis- 
cussion. The work was loudly demanded, the qualifica- 
tions of the undertaker were beyond any then possessed 
by * his equals in his own nation ;' and besides the success 
which attended it at the time, it has ever since continued 
to render a most important service to the cause of pure 
and undefiled religion. 

It would have been too much to expect that this work 
should pass without opposition. Although it professedly 
wages war with none, it in fact opposes many. Fanatics 
and Socinians, indifferent to its reasonings for opposite 
reasons — the former believing too much, the latter too little, 
allowed it to proceed unnoticed. But the High Church 
partly felt differently. William Clagett, ' Preacher to the 
Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, and one of his Majesty's 
Chaplains in ordinary,' published, 'A Discourse concerning 
the Operations of the Holy Spirit; with a confutation of 
some part of Dr. Owen's book on that subject.' 1678. The 
object of this work is to shew, that Owen is very ignorant of 
the meaning of Scripture, a bungler in reasoning ; and that 
his views of the natural wickedness of man, and of the 
power of God in converting him, are much too strong ! The 
sentiments of Clagett are a confused mixture of Pelagian 
arminianism, which distinguished the body of the English 
clergy in the days of Charles II. 

On this woj-k of Clagett, Mr. John Humfrey, who was 
but a muddy writer himself, made some observations in his 
' Peaceable Disquisitions,' complaining of the uncivil man- 


ner in which Dr. Owen had been treated by his opponent* 
This led Clagett to publish a second volume of his work, 
in which he proceeds in his attack on Owen, and animad- 
verts on Humfrey's attack on himself. He originally de- 
signed his work should extend to three parts. At the end 
of the second, he tells Dr. Owen, ' It remains only to shew 
you, that the ancients are not for your turn (the Doctor 
having quoted thfem occasionally in the margin of his work); 
which through the blessing of God, I intend to do in ano- 
ther part of this discourse, which shall contain a history of 
their judgments on these points.'** This volume the author 
had prepared for the press, but it happened that the manu- 
script was lodged with a friend of his, whose house was 
burned, and the book perished in the flames.' An abridg- 
ment of the two first parts was published in 1719, by Henry 
Stebbing ; but neither the original nor the abridgment was 
ever much known. Clagett himself was a respectable man, 
and one of those whom Bishop Burnet speaks of as an 
honour both to the church and to the age in which they 
lived ; but he certainly did not understand the subject on 
which he undertook to confute Dr. Owen, to whom as a 
theologian he was very far inferior. 

The Doctor anticipated opposition to his work, both 
from his past experience of the humour of the times, and 
from what he knew of man's natural dislike to many of the 
doctrines he had endeavoured to defend and illustrate. In 
the preface to the Reason of Faith, he says, 'Where I difl'er 
in the explanation of any thing belonging to the subject, 
from the conceptions of other men, I have candidly exa- 
mined such opinions, and the arguments by which they are 
confirmed, without straining the words, cavilling at the ex- 
pressions, or reflecting on the persons of the authors. And 
whereas, I have been myself otherwise dealt with by many, 
and know not how soon X may be so again, I do hereby 
free the persons of such humours from all fear of any reply 
from me, or the least notice of what they shall be pleased 
to write or say. Such kind of writing is of the same consi- 
deration with me, as those multiplied false reports, which 
some have raised concerning me, the most of them so ridi- 
culous and foolish, so alien from my principles, practice, 

'' Vol. ii. p. 290. ' Biog. Brit. vol. iii. p. 598. YA. Kippis. 

DR. OWEN. 299 

and course of life, that I cannot but wonder how any per- 
sons pretending to gravity and sobriety, are not sensible 
that their credulity is abused in the hearing and repeating 
of them.' In pursuance of this resolution, and considering 
the work of Clagett in some respects of this nature, he 
treated it with entire silence. 

The next work which Dr. Owen produced, is, 'The 
Nature and Punishment of Apostasy, declared in an Ex- 
position of Hebrews vi. 4 — 6.' 8vo. pp. 612. 1676.'' In the 
preface to this work, he complains most piteously of the 
state into which the Christian profession had sunk, — that 
the pristine glory of the Christian church was gone, and 
that the great body of those who assumed the name of 
Christ were degenerated into cold worldly professors, des- 
titute of the power, and many of them even of the form of 
godliness. The work itself is only an enlarged Exposition 
of that part of the epistle to the Hebrews which treats par- 
ticularly of apostasy, and on which the Doctor was then 
labouring. He thought the circumstances of the times re- 
quired, and the importance of the subject justified, a sepa- 
rate treatise. He examines at considerable length, and 
with great acuteness, the secret causes or reasons of the 
apostasy of churches and professors ; and points out the 
means of prevention or cure, in such a manner as is calcu- 
lated to render the work exceedingly useful. Whether the 
awful evil which is the subject of this treatise, was more 
common in the days of Owen than our own, cannot be as- 
certained ; but that, of the number who set out in early life 
with a tolerably fair profession, a very large proportion 
make shipwreck before they die, must be admitted by all who 
pay any attention to what passes around them. This aban- 
donment of the truth, is sometimes sudden and flagrant; but 
in most cases it is gradual and almost imperceptible, till 
towards the last. It is the result of latent and unperceived 
causes, which operate in secret long before their effects are 
externally visible. A Christian profession is so easily taken 
up, the influence of Divine truth and invisible things is so 
partial, and the power of inward corruption and outward 
temptation so strong, that much as we might deplore it, we 
can scarcely wonder that many become weary of the ways 
of righteousness, and turn again to folly. It is a comfort, 

" Works, vol. xvii. p. 271. 



however, to know that the ' foundation of God staudeth 
sure,' that those who go out from the people of God were 
never actually of them, and that while all are called not to 
be high-minded, but to fear, ' the Lord knoweth them that 
are his/ and will perfect in the day of Christ that which he 
hath here begun. Those who are desirous of examining 
the subject fully, will find much valuable instruction and 
warning in this work of Owen. 

On the 28th of January, 1676, the Doctor sustained a 
heavy afiliction in the loss of his wife. In a letter written 
from Stadham some time before, but unfortunately without 
date, he speaks of her as much revived, so that he did not 
despair of her recovery ;' but in this he was disappointed. 
He remained a widower about a year and a half; when, on 
the 12th of June, 1677, he again entered into the married 
state. His second wife was Mrs. Dorothy D'Oyly, widow 
of Thomas D'Oyly, Esq. of Chiselhampton near Stadham. 
Her own name was Michel, the daughter of a family of 
distinction at Kingston Russel, Dorsetshire. Both she and 
her former husband were members of the Church. She was 
much younger than the Doctor, and had lost her husband, 
Mr. D'Oyly, on the 28th of March, 1675. She was eminent 
for her good sense, piety, and affectionate disposition, and 
brought the Doctor a considerable fortune, which, with his 
own estate, and other property, enabled him to keep his 
carriage, and country house, at Ealing in Middlesex, where 
he mostly lived during the latter years of his life. This 
lady survived the Doctor many years ; dying on the 18th 
of January, 1704. Her funeral sermon was preached by 
Dr. Watts on the 30th of the same month.'" Mr. Gilbert, 
who probably knew her well, gives in the following lines of 
one of his Epitaphs on the Doctor, the character of the 
second as he had given that of the first wife, already 

' Dorothea vice, non ortu, opibus, officiusve, secunda 

Laboribus, Morbis, senioque ipso elanguenti 
Indulgentissiiuam eliani se xiutiicein praestitil.'" 

m Oil tlic Lord's day on which her funeral sermon was prcaciicd, a coilcction 
was made in the church for the relief of the poor ministers in the country. The 
collection amounted to ^£44. The churcli book says, ' it happened on the same day 
our worthy sister, Mrs. Dorothy 0<ven, widow of tlie lute Rev. Dr. Owen, our 
worthy pastor, lia<l a fuuefal sermon preached for her.' » Memoirs, ji. 38. 

J)R. OVV'KN. 301 


Owen's assistauts-^-£'erguson — Shields — Loeffs — Angier — Clarkson — In- 
tercourse between Owen and Bishop Barlow respecting Bunyan — Owen 
publishes on Justification — On the Person of Christ — The Church of 
Rome no safe Guide — Death of Goodwin — Owen publishes on Union 
among Protestants — Controversy with Slillingfleet — Owen's Vindication 
of the Non-conformists — Publications of others on the same suSject — Stil- 
lingfleeCs Unreasonableness of Separation — Oiven's Answer — Other An- 
swers — Unfair conduct of Stillingfiect — Owen publishes on Evangelical 
Churches — His humble Testimony — On Spiritual-mindedness — Account 
of the Protestant Religion — Meditations on the Glory of Christ — His 
declining health — Last sickness — Letter to Fleetivood — Death — Funeral 
— Clarkson' s Sermon on the occasion — Last Will — Sale of his Library — 
Monument and Inscription — Portraits of Owen— General view of his 
character as a Christian — A Minister — A Writer — Conclusion. 

During the latter part of his life, Dr. Owen had generally 
some person to assist him in his public labours, who 
also acted occasionally as his amanuensis. Among these 
we may notice, Robert Ferguson, a native of Scotland, and 
who possessed a living in Kent before the Restoration. 
After his ejectment, he taught University learning at Is- 
lington, and for some time assisted Owen. He afterwards 
involved himself deeply in political intrigues, by which he 
brought himself into danger, and was under the necessity 
of fleeing to Holland. He took an active part in promot- 
ing the Revolution, and returned to England with William, 
by whom he was liberally rewarded. After this he is said 
to have turned Jacobite, and spent his life in continual 
agitation. He died at an advanced age in 1714, poor and 
despised, both by his brethren and the world. He wrote 
several religious works of various merit, and several poli- 
tical treatises, among which was, the Duke of Monmouth's 
manifesto, on his landing at Lynne in 1685.* 

Another of the Doctor's assistants, was Alexander 
Shields, a Scotsman also, and a man who sufiered much in 
the cause of God and his country. He is well known in Scot- 
land as the author of some works which were long popular, 
and contributed much to promote the antipathy of the 
Scots to episcopacy— ' The Hind let loose.' 'Mr. Ren- 
wick's Life, and Vindication of his dying Testimony.' 

* Calamy's Account, vol. ii. p. 383. Continuation, vol. i. p. 544. 


' A Vindication of the solemn League and Covenant/ &c. 
He became minister of St. Andrews after the Revolution, 
and was much esteemed by King William. He was ap- 
pointed to go to Darien as minister of the Scots colony 
there ; but as the attempt failed from want of management, 
and of suflScient support, he went to Jamaica where he 

Isaac Loeflfs or Loafs acted in the same capacity to 
Owen for a time. He was M. A. and Fellow of Peter 
House, Cambridge. He was ejected from the Rectory of 
Shenley in Hertfordshire, after which he came to London. 
From the Church books of Bury-street, it appears that he 
was chosen teacher for a time, either with Dr. Owen, or 
Mr, Clarkson. He was a respectable man, and author of 
a work in 8vo. 'The Soul's ascension in a state of sepa- 
ration.' He died in July, 1689.<= 

Samuel Angier, who had been a student at Christ 
Church, where he continued till the act of Uniformity, also 
assisted Dr. Owen; and lived in the house with him. He 
was exposed to frequent trouble on account of his preach- 
ing. Warrants were often taken out against him, and in 
1680, he was excommunicated at Stockport Church. He 
was an excellent scholar, a judicious and lively preacher, 
an eminent Christian, and zealous of good works. He be- 
came pastor of one of the oldest Independent Churches in 
England, at Duckenfield in Cheshire, where he died in 1713, 
at the age of seventy-five.'* 

His last assistant, and successor in the Church of Bury- 
street, was David Clarkson. This excellent man had been 
educated at Cambridge, and was a fellow of Clare-hall, 
where he had under his charge the celebrated Archbishop 
Tillotson, who maintained the highest respect for his tutor, 
as long as he lived. He was, says Baxter,* a divine of ex- 
traordinary worth for solid judgment, healing moderate 
principles, acquaintance with the fathers, great ministerial, 
abilities, and a godly upright life. Birch speaks of him 
with equal respect, ' He was eminent for his writings, par- 
ticularly one, " No evidence of diocesan Episcopacy in the 
primitive times," in answer to Dr. Stillingfleet; and ano- 

b Riog. Scoticana, pp. 367, 368. « Non-con. Mem. vol. ii. pp. 312,313. 

Ibid. vol. i. pp. 220, 221. f-- Life, part iii. p. 97. 

DR. owp:k. 303 

ther on the same subject was printed after his death." He 
was ejected from the living of Mortlake, in Surry, in 1662, 
after which he lived in concealment for some time. In 
July 1682, he was chosen co-pastor with Dr. Owen, and suc- 
ceeded to the entire charge on his death. Such a colleague 
must have been a great comfort to the Doctor, who speaks 
of him in some of his letters with great respect and af- 
fection. He did not, however, survive him long, as he died 
suddenly on the 14th of June, 1686, in the sixty-fifth year 
of his age. I cannot resist quoting part of the conclusion 
of the beautiful sermon which Dr. Bates preached on the 
occasion of his death.ff 

" He was a man of sincere godliness, and true holiness, 
which are the divine part of a minister, without which all 
other accomplishments are not likely to be effectual for the 
great end of the ministry, which is to translate sinners from 
the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God's dear 
Son. Conversion is the special work of divine grace, and 
it is most likely that God will use those as instruments in 
that blessed work, who are dear to him, and earnestly de- 
sire to glorify him. God ordinarily works in spiritual things 
as in natural: for as in the production of a living creature, 
besides the influence of the universal cause, there must be 
an immediate agent of the same kind for the forming of it; 
so the Divine wisdom orders it, that holy and heavenly 
ministers should be the instruments of making others so. Let 
a minister be master of natural and artificial eloquence, let 
him understand all the secret springs of persuasion, let him 
be furnished with learning and knowledge, yet he is not 
likely to succeed in his employment, without sanctifying 
grace. That gives him a tender sense of the worth of souls, 
that warms his heart with ardent requests to God, and with 
zealous affections to men for their salvation. Besides, an 

f Life of Tillotson, p, 4. This was his ' Primitive Episcopacy, stated and cleared 
from the Holy Scriptures, and ancient Records.' 8vo. 1688. In this work he suc- 
cessfully proves that a Bishop, in the days of the apostles, and for three centuries 
afterwards, was no more than a pastor of a single Congregation. His 'Discourse 
concerning Liturgies,' printed in 1689, shews successfully that no forms of prayer 
were prescribed or imposed during the first four centuries; 'till the state of the 
Church was rather to be pitied than imitated ; and what was discernible therein dif- 
ferent from preceding times were wrecks and ruins rather than patterns,' p. 198. 
Both works abound with valuable learning, and cogent reasonings, and are entitled 
to a distinguished place in the Episcopal controversy. 

e Non-con. Mem. vol. iii. pp. 30.5, 30(i. 


unholy minister unravels in his actions his most accurate 
discourses in the pulpit; and like a carbuncle that seems 
animated with the light and heat of fire, but is a cold dead 
stone; so, though with apparent earnestness he may urge 
men's duties on them, he is cold and careless in his own 
practice, and his example unervatcs the efficacy of his ser- 
mons. But this servant of God was a real saint, a living 
spring of grace in his heart diffused itself in the veins of 
his conversation. His life was a silent repetition of his 
holy discourses. While opportunity lasted, with alacrity, 
and diligence, and constant resolution, he served his blessed 
Master, till his languishing distempers, prevailed upon him. 
But then the best Physician provided him the true remedy 
of patience. His death was unexpected, yet, as he de- 
clared, no surprise to him ; for he was entirely resigned to 
the will of God. He desired to live no longer than he 
could be serviceable. His soul was- supported with the 
blessed hope of enjoying God in glory. With holy Simeon, 
he had Christ in his arms, and departed in j^eace, to tlie 
salvation of God above.''' 

About this time some correspondence took place be- 
tween Owen and his old tutor Barlow, now advanced to 
the Episcopate, respecting John Bunyau. This excellent 
man, more celebrated than most of the persons who ever 
wore a mitre, had suffered long and grievously from impri- 
sonment, by which the servant, but not the word of the 
Lord had been bound : as during his confinement he pro- 
duced those works which have immortalized his name, and 
diffused most extensively the knowledge of Christ, By the 
existing law, if any two persons would go to the bishop of 
the diocese, and offer a cautionary bond that the person 
should conform in half a year, the bishop might release him 
upon the bond. A friend of Bunyan requested Dr. Owen 
to give him a letter of introduction to the bishop on his 
behalf, which he readily granted. When the letter was 
delivered to Barlow, he told the bearer, * that he had a par- 
ticular regard for Dr. Owen, and would deny him nothing 
he could legally do ; and that he would be willing even to 
.stretch a little to serve him. But this, said he, is a new 
thing; I must therefore take a little time to consider it; and 

'' Bates' Works pp. &41, 81?. 

DR. OWEN. 305 

if in my power I will readily do it.' Being waited upon 
about a fortnight after for his answer, he replied — that he 
was informed he might do it ; but as the law provided, that 
in case the bishop refused, application should be made to 
the Lord Chancellor, who thereupon would issue an order 
to the Bishop to take the bond and release the prisoner. 
' Now, as it is a critical time,' said he, ' and I have many 
enemies, I desire you would move the Chancellor in the 
case, and upon his order I will do it.' He was told this 
would be an expensive mode of proceeding, that the man 
was very poor, and that as he could legally release him 
without this order, it was hoped he would remember his 
promise to Dr. Owen. But he would consent on no other 
terms, which at length were complied with, and Bunyan set 
at liberty.' 

I give this anecdote as it occurs in Asty's memoirs of 
Owen, although I find some diflSculty in reconciling it with 
the chronology of the period. Bunyan wAs imprisoned in 
1660, and is said to have been kept in durance about twelve 
years and a half. He must consequently have been released 
in 1673. But Barlow was not made a Bishop till 1675. 
Whether Bunyan's first termof imprisonment was divided, 
or whether he was confined a second time after the first 
twelve years, I cannot ascertain. There must have been 
some foundation for the reported interference of Owen with 
Bishop Barlow, as most of the memoirs of Bunyan, as well 
as those of Owen, take notice of it. It is said that Owen was 
in the practice of frequently hearing Bunyan preach when 
he came to London ; which led Charles II. to express his 
astonishment that a man of the Doctor's learning could 
hear a tinker preach; to which Owen is said to have re- 
plied — * Had I the tinker's abilities, please your Majesty, 
I would most gladly relinquish my learning."' Bunyan ap- 
pears to have been a very popular preacher, and must have 
had something exceedingly attractive in his address. In 
the middle of winter, he would sometimes have more than 
twelve hundred hearers, before seven o'clock in the morn- 
ing of a week-day ; and when he visited the metropolis, 
one day's notice of his preaching would bring many more 

' Jtfemoirs, p. 30. ^ Iviniey's Hist, of the Eng. Bap. vol. ii. p. 41. 

VOL. 1. X 


than the place of worship could contain.' I do not know 
that any thing of the same nature occurred again, till the 
days of Whitefield and Wesley. 

Barlow's conduct in the affair of Bunyan, though not the 
most creditable to himself, did not altogether break up the 
intercourse between him and Owen. Being afterwards to- 
gether, the Bishop asked the Doctor what he could object to 
their liturgical worship. To which Owen replied — ' Means 
appointed by men for attaining an end of Christ, exclusive 
of the means appointed by Christ himself for attaining that 
end, are unlawful : but the worship of the liturgy with all 
its ceremonies is a means appointed for an end of Christ, the 
edification of his church — exclusive of the means appoint- 
ed by Christ for that purpose : therefore it is unlawful.' He 
urged the argument from Ephes. iv. 8 — 12. * He gave 
gifts unto men — for the perfecting of the saints, for the 
work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.' 
The Bishop answered, ' Their ministers might preach and 
pray.' But said the Doctor, * The administration of the 
sacraments is one principal means of the edification of the 
church, but the use of the liturgy is exclusive of the exercise 
of all gifts in the administration of the Lord's Supper.' 
The Bishop paused — ' Don't answer suddenly,' said the 
Doctor, ' but think of it till our next meeting,' which never 
took place."" This is part of his argument in the work on 
Liturgies. They were not introduced into the church, till, 
from its corruption by secular influence, it began to be 
served by persons, who could not lead its devotions. The 
great body of the clergy at the Reformation were in this 
condition. They were unfit to preach, and therefore the 
state provided them with sermons; they were unable to 
pray, and therefore it provided them with a service book. 

The latter years of Owen's life were mostly devoted to 
writing, and the labours of the ministry. He appears to 
have been frequently laid aside from his public work ; but 
every moment of his private retirement must have been 
employed; as during this period, some of his most elabo- 
rate performances were published, or prepared for the 
press. To these, in their order, it will now be proper to 
direct our attention. 

' Gillies' Collections, vol. i. p. 254. "> Memoirs, pp. 30, 31. 

DR. OWEN. 307 

In 1677, he published, * The Reason of Faith,' of which 
we have spoken in our account of his work on the Spirit. 
This year, also appeared, ' The Doctrine of Justification by 
Faith, through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, 
explained, confirmed, and vindicated.' 4to. pp. 560.° The 
subject of this volume embraces the grand truth of the 
Gospel, — what Luther denominated — ' Articulus stantis et 
cadentis Ecclesiae,' — the great evidence of a standing or 
falling Church. From the days of Paul it has met with 
opposition, not from the world only, but from men profess- 
ing godliness, who have not understood it. In proportion 
as this doctrine is known and believed, will the religion of 
an individual be comfortable to himself, and acceptable to 
God ; — and, from the degree of clearness and decision with 
which it is preached, may be inferred the degree in which 
true religion flourishes in any community. Owen had stu- 
died the subject long and profoundly. The doctrine was 
dear to his own heart, and, as he derived from it all his com- 
fort as a sinner, it constituted the favourite theme of his 
public labours. He had examined many controversial 
books on the subject, and attended to the innumerable 
scholastic and metaphysical arguments by which it had 
been either attacked or defended. From these he had de- 
rived little satisfaction. He considered it a doctrine, not 
at all suited to a speculative state of mind. ' But where 
any persons are made sensible of their apostasy from God, 
of the evil of their natures and lives, with the dreadful con- 
sequences that attend thereon in the wrath of God, and 
eternal punishment due to sin,' they cannot judge them- 
selves more concerned in any thing than in the knowledge 
of the Divine way of deliverance from this condition.' For 
the sake of such persons, entirely, he investigates the Di- 
vine revelation on this subject, and endeavours to ascer- 
tain, ' how the conscience of a distressed sinner may obtain 
assured peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' 
To such, and to such alone, will this doctrine appear to 
be of importance. When engaged in the serious inquiry, 
• What must we do to be saved?' every thing that explains 
the nature, certainty, and way of deliverance will be con- 
sidered of unspeakable moment. In prosecuting his investi- 

" Works, vol. xi. p. 1. i- 

X 2 


gation, the Doctor does not allow himself to wander through 
the mazes and contradictions of human opinion ; he keeps 
constantly in view the character of God, as a Judge and a 
Lawgiver, the actual condition of man as a sinner, and the 
glorious provision made by the plan of mercy for seeming 
the honour and harmony of the Divine perfections, in con- 
nexion with extending salvation to the guilty. He examines 
the nature and use of faith, — the import of the terms justi- 
fication, imputed righteousness, and imputation of sin to 
Christ. He points out the difference between personal and 
imputed righteousness; illustrates a number of passages 
of Scripture in which the subject is treated, and refutes 
objections against his views. He maintains the consistency 
of the doctrine with living soberly, righteously, and godly in 
the world ; and shews that between Paul and James there 
is a perfect agreement, as they treat of the subject under 
different aspects. 

The great extent of this work is one of the strongest ob- 
jections to it. Written with the views that he had, it ought 
to have been his study to reduce the subject within the 
narrowest limits possible. An anxious inquirer is in danger 
of losing himself in the multitude of his words, and the 
variety and prolixity of his discussions. But Owen could 
more easily expand than contract, and the present volume 
is much fitter for an established Christian, who knows how 
* to distinguish things that differ,' than for a bewildered, 
distressed sinner, who wishes a simple answer to the ques- 
tion, ' How may I be just before God?' 

The principal works of Owen, indeed, are to be consi- 
dered as so many Bodies or Systems of Divinity; in which 
one leading principle is placed in the centre, and all the 
others ranged round it, to establish its truth, illustrate its 
importance, and exhibit its influence. This remark will 
apply to his work on Perseverance, — his Vindiciae, — the 
Person of Christ, — and the Spirit, — as well as to the pre- 
sent. In this respect, they are very valuable, as they con- 
tain a more expanded illustration of the magnitude and re- 
lative connexions of the grand points in the Revelation of 
Heaven of which they treat, than almost any other human 
productions. While this plan of discussion has important 
advantages, it is attended also with various inconveniences. 

DH. OWEN. 309 

It is unfavourable to that simplicity with which the Bible 
states all its doctrines, and with which it is of importance 
they should ever be viewed. It gives Divine truth too 
much the appearance of artificial or systematic arrange- 
ment, and by the very terms which it employs, exposes it 
to opposition, and oppresses it with explanations that im- 
pede rather than forward its progress. 

Few points in theology have been made more myste- 
rious and apparently inexplicable than those of imputation, 
and justification. Perhaps, could we divest them of the 
embarrassments of theoretical speculation, they would ap- 
pear in a different light. The imputation of guilt and of 
righteousness, in the Scripture use of these phrases, 1 ap- 
prehend amounts chiefly to a transfer, not of character or 
deserving, but of effects or consequences, either in the way 
of enjoyment, or of suffering. Righteousness is imputed, 
or reckoned to us, as sin was imputed to Christ. On our 
account, he, though without sin, was treated as a sinner. 
On his account, we, though sinners, are treated as righte- 
ous. His sufferings were the evidences of the imputation 
of our guilt — our enjoyment of pardon, acceptance, and 
eternal life, are the evidences of the imputation of his 
righteousness to us : that is, it is entirely for his sake, and 
on account of his work, that we receive them. By volun- 
tary engagement, he became subject to the one; by faith 
we partake of the other. Justification is another expres- 
sion for the same thing : for, according to Psalm xxxii. 1, 2, 
quoted Rom. iv. 1 — 8. the justification of a sinner, — the 
imputation of righteousness, — the non-imputation of sin, — 
and the forgiveness, or covering of transgression, are all 
tantamount expressions, conveying substantially the same 
idea. Sanctification is a change of character, — ^justifica- 
tion a change of state or condition. There is no declara- 
tion of innocence, — no transfer of desert, — no commu- 
nication of personal merit, — no grant of right; — but an 
alteration of the relative situation of God and the sinner in 
their views and treatment of one another. As soon as a 
sinner believes the testimony of God concerning Christ's 
work, there is a deliverance from the displeasure of God, 
and from all the penal consequences of his transgressions ; 
he obtains the enjoyment of positive happiness or favour 


from above, and the hope of eternal life. This is God's 
revealed method of treating the ungodly who believe. On 
their part, there is a ceasing to look on God as an enemy, — 
the love of his revealed and gracious character, — an aver- 
sion to sin, — and a readiness to obey Divine authority. 
The sinner is condemned in law, and found guilty by the 
judge ; but is forgiven and restored to favour by the gra- 
cious act of the Sovereign, in consideration of the glorious 
character and mediation of his Son. The continuance of 
this treatment, or perpetuation of this state, is secured by 
the peculiar provisions of the covenant of mercy, and con- 
stitutes that justification which commences with the saving 
belief of the gospel, and will at last be declared before the 
august assembly of the universe ; when the solemn sentence 
of acquittal shall be pronounced from the throne of mercy, 
on the multitude of the redeemed. 

Owen proves successfully, that the object of that faith, 
by which we are justified, is not Divine truth in general, 
to which an assent is given ; and that it is not the belief 
that our sins in particular are pardoned, which is no part 
of the testimony of God; but ' the Lord Jesus Christ him- 
self, as the ordinance of God in his work of mediation for 
the salvation of lost sinners, and as unto that end proposed 
in the promise (testimony) of the gospel.'" It is believing 
on God's authority, that Jesus is the all-sufficient and ap- 
pointed Saviour of sinners. The long chapter which fol- 
lows this, on the nature of justifying faith, is unnecessary, 
and more calculated to perplex than enlighten. His defi- 
nition is clumsy and incorrect. The apostles never entered 
into such definitions or discussions. For, after pointing 
out the proper object of faith, explaining the ground on 
which it is the duty of men to believe on Christ, and the 
genuine effects of it, what use is there in endless disputes 
about the nature of the act of believing? Why not also 
discuss the nature o( understanding, willing, seeing, hoping, 
5jc. ? Such speculations may belong to the science of meta- 
physics, or pneuraatology ; but have no relation to the doc- 
trine of Christ. They only confound the simple, and be- 
wilder the inquirer. Faith is connected with justification, 
because it is by the testimony of God we are made ac- 

» p. 114. 

DK. OWEN. 311 

quainted with the character and work of Christ; and be- 
cause it is only by faith that a testimony can be received. 
Salvation is through faith, merely as faith is opposed to 
work and merit of every kind." * It is of faith, that it might 
be by grace, or favour.' 

A feeble reply was attempted to this work by a clergy- 
man of the name of Hotchkis, who had formerly attacked 
some things on the same subject, in Owen's work on Com- 
munion. The Doctor threw out a few remarks in the course 
of the discussion on Justification, on his, seemingly wilful, 
perversions of his words and sentiments. But he took no 
notice of the second attack, which does not seem to have 
deserved much attention. John Humfrey also animad- 
verted on some parts of it; but he says, *the Doctor, in 
presence of Sir Charles Wolsley, declared that he could 
bear with him in the difference ; and though one chapter of 
the " Peaceable Disquisition" is professedly against the 
Doctor, he never took offence or offered any vindication.'? 
Humfrey was nearly of Baxter's sentiments on the subject 
of Justification. The same remark applies to Sir Charles 
Wolsley, who speaks of Owen's work on Justification, as 
written in reply to one of his.'' This is his 'Justification 
Evangelical : or a plain impartial account of God's method 
in Justifying a sinner.' 16G7. The first part of this small 
work, which treats of justification and imputation, is on 
the whole very excellent ; but in the latter part of it, he 
speaks very improperly on the subject of faith, and on jus- 

o A curious fact respecting this book, is mentioned in the life of Mr. Joseph 
Williams of Kidderminster. ' At last, the time of his (Mr. Grimshaw's, an active 
ciergj-manof the Church of England) deliverance came. At the house of one of his 
friends, he l?iys his hand on a book, and opens it with his face towards a pewter 
shelf. Instantly his face is saluted with an uncommon flash of heat. He turns to 
the title page, and finds it to be Dr. Owen on Justification. Immediately he is sur- 
prised with such another flash. He borrows the book, studies it, is led into God's 
method of justifying the ungodly, hath a new heart given him, and now behold he 
prayeth.' Whether these flashes were electrical or gakanic, as Southey in his Life 
of Wesley supposes, it deserves to be iwticed that it was not Xhe flash, but the book 
which converted Grimshaw. The occurrence which turned his attention to it, is of 
importance merely as the second cause, which, under the mysterious direction of 
Providence, led to a blessed result. p Humf. Mediocria, p. 56. 

"i ' 1 suppose you know his book of Justification was particularly written against 
mine. Very many have pressed me to answer it, which 1 acknowledge to you, I 
did not look upon as duram prcvinciam. The great friendship that was between him 
and me, might well seem sufficient to have biassed me not to reply ; but the true 
reason was, I thought that little cottage I had erected was in no great danger of 
being shocked or demolished by any thing in that book.' — Letter from Sir Charles 
Wolsley to Mr. Humfrey, inserted in the Mediocria. 


tification by performing the conditions of the gospel. Sir 
Charles appears to have been a pious and well-informed 
man, who took a deep interest in the state of religion, and 
in the discussions respecting it, which then agitated the 
country. Besides this work he wrote several others; — 
* The Unreasonableness of Atheism.' 1669. ' The Rea- 
sonableness of Scripture Belief,' 1672; which is a very ex- 
cellent book, and is frequently quoted by Professor H ally- 
burton, in his work on Deism. And ' The Mount of 
Spirits,' 1691, of which I know nothing. The worthy Ba- 
ronet was the eldest son of Sir Robert Wolsley, and suc- 
ceeded his father in 1646. He married the youngest daughter 
of Lord Say and Seal, by whom he had a numerous family. 
He was one of Cromwell's Council of State, and also a 
Lord of his upper house. He had great interest in his own 
county during the Protectorates, and continued to enjoy it 
after the Restoration, serving in several parliaments subse- 
quent to that event. He lived long after the Revolution, 
dying on the 9th of October, 1714, in the eighty-fifth year 
of his age."^ 

In 1679, appeared ' Christologia: or a Declaration of 
the Glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ, God and 
Man ; with the infinite wisdom, love, and power of God, in 
the contrivance and constitution of it. As also, of the 
grounds and reasons of hi!s Incarnation, the nature of his 
Ministry in Heaven, the present state of the Church above 
thereon, and the use of his Person in religion. With an 
account and vindication of the honour, worship, faith, love, 
and obedience due unto him from the Church.' 4to.' The 
preface to this work contains some historical notices of the 
controversies respecting the person of Christ, which had 
agitated the church, and of the means which the friends of 
truth had employed in its defence. Speaking of the Coun- 
cils, which were called in the fourth and following cen- 
turies, for the purpose of declaring the orthodox doctrines, 
and of healing divisions, he says, * They proved the most 
pernicious engines for the corruption of the faith, worship, 
and manners of the church. Yea, from the beginning, they 
were so far from being the only way of preserving the truth, 
that it was almost constantly prejudiced by the addition of 

■■ Noble's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 478. » Works, vol. xii. p. I. 

DR. OWEN. 313 

their authority for confirming it. Nor was there any one of 
them, in which the mystery of iniquity did not work unto 
the laying of some rubbish, in the foundation of that fatal 
apostacy which afterwards openly ensued.'* 

The entire treatise is founded on our Lord's declaration 
to Peter, respecting the foundation of the church, Matth. 
xvi. 16. This declaration, the Doctor conceives to con- 
tain three important truths, — that the person of Christ, the 
Son of the living God, as vested with his ofiices, is the 
foundation of the church : — that the power and policy of 
hell will ever be exerted against the relation of the church 
to this foundation: — but, that the church built on this rock 
shall never be disjoined from it, or destroyed. The work 
is accordingly devoted to the illustration of these, and the 
other topics noticed in the title, which I have given at 

The volume contains many important, and some beau- 
tiful passages, both in the direct discussion of the subject, 
and incidentally introduced. His views of the mediation 
and glory of Christ in Heaven, are uncommonly elevated. 
Losing sight of the refinements of a technical theology, he 
speaks out the feelings of his soul, as one whose faith and 
hope had long been fixed on that which is within the vail, 
and whose heart burned with love to that Redeemer whose 
presence and glory fill the holiest of all. The immortal 
life, and unlimited power of Jesus secure the existence of 
the church, and encourage the most perfect confidence in 
its future triumphs. Amidst all its declensions, and tribu- 
lations, its perpetuity has never been endangered ; and 
whatever may be the scenes of its future condition, we 
know that full provision is made in the scheme of revealed 
love, for the universality of its establishment on earth, and 
the eternity of its glory in heaven. The Doctor's views of 
the person and undertaking of Christ, as motives to love 
him, are also very fine. * These things,' he says, ' have 
not only rendered prisons and dungeons more desirable to 
the people of God, than the most goodly palaces, on future 
accounts ; but have made them really places of such re- 
freshment and joy, as men shall seek in vain to extract out 
of all the comforts that this world can afford.' 

' Works, vol. xii. p, xvii. 


While the work, as a whole, is full of instruction and 
consolation, there are parts of it, which I either imperfectly 
understand, or cannot fully approve. I confess myself 
hostile to all prolix discussions, or attempts at explaining 
the doctrine of the Trinity, or' the mode of subsistence, 
either in Deity, or in the constitution ot the person of Christ. 
In as far as these things are at all revealed, they are matters 
of fact requiring beliel ; in so far as they remain mysteries, 
endeavouring to explain them is useless and absurd. The 
statements of Scripture on these subjects are all very short, 
and abundantly more intelligible than any human disserta- 
tions, which have ever been written on them. When Owen 
speaks of the Divine nature of Christ as God, or of his hu- 
man nature as man, or of these natures united, constituting 
Immanuel, I understand, and go along with him. But 
when he speaks of the ' Eternal generation of the Divine 
person of the Son, being a necessary internal act of the 
Divine nature, in the Person of the Father,' he uses lan- 
guage, which I conceive to be both 'iniscriptural and unin- 
telligible. This is travelling out of the record, the only ef- 
fect of which, in all such cases, is darkening counsel by 
words without knowledge. The language of the ancient 
creeds, and the discussions of the schoolmen have, I be- 
lieve, done more to stumble men at the doctrine of the 
Trinity, than all other things put together. How difficult, 
but how important is it, to follow revelation fully, and to 
be satisfied with its limits ! It is but a very small portion 
of the volume, however, to which any objection can attach; 
a judicious Christian will derive no injury from any part of 
it, and may receive much comfort and establishment from 
the whole. The concluding exhortation of his preface, 
which he quotes from Jerome, demands the attention of all. 
* Whether thou readest or writest, whether thou watchest 
or sleepest, let the voice of love to Christ, sound in thine 
ears: let this trumpet stir up thy soul; being overpowered 
with this love, seek him on thy bed, whom thy soul de- 
sireth and longeth for.'" 

" Should the reader be desirous of examining what is said on the Sonship of 
Christ, lie will find much information, in the following works: — Roel. Diss.de gene- 
ratioric Filii. Faber's Hora; Mosaicas, vol. ii. § "2. chap. ii. Bryant's Phiio-JudaBus, 
p. 2.5.3. Dr. Adam Clarke's note on Luke i. 3h. Ridgiey's Body of Divinity, pp. 
73 — 77. Edit. Glass. 1770. And a Tract on the subject, by the late Mr. Archi- 
bald M'Leau of Edinburgh, 1788. It is worthy of roniark that Mr. Pierce of E.xeter 

DR. OWEN. 315 

This large work was followed, the same year, by a 4to. 
pamphlet of forty-seven pages, 'The church of Rome no 
safe Guide, or reasons to prove that no rational man, who 
takes due care of his own salvation, can give himself up to 
the conduct of that church in matters of religion.''' — It was 
the substance of two discourses preached to a private con- 
gregation, and which he published in consequence of the 
importunities of many who heard them. Instead of recom- 
mending any church as a guide, he advocates the exclusive 
right of the Holy Scriptures to this office, and points out 
the extreme danger of men giving themselves up to the 
blind guidance of the Romish church. As matters then 
stood in the country, a tract of this nature was very neces- 
sary, and much calculated to promote the object he had in 
view. The Morning Exercise against Popery among the 
Dissenters, in which the Doctor was engaged, had been 
established for some years, and had already produced se- 
veral learned discourses on the popish controversy. No 
class of men then opposed so powerful a barrier to the re- 
storation of Popery, or so vigorously exerted themselves 
in defence of the reformed faith, as the Protestant Dissen 
ters. The greatest part of the Church clergy would iiave 
quietly submitted; and though the more respectable class 
of them felt, and owned the services of the Dissenters to 
the common cause, they afterwards deserted them, or 
united with the high church party in oppressive measures 
to crush them. It is thus that the friends of truth are often 
rewarded; their disinterested labours and sufferings are 

extracts eight passages from the Works of Owen, in which he appears to plead for a 
subordination among the persons of the Trinity themselves. (Western Inquisition, p. 
132, 133.) I am satisfied that Owen intended the language quoted by Pierce, to be 
understood in a sense perfectly consistent with the supreme Divinity of the Son and 
Holy Spirit; but the language itself I think highly objectionable. It is a curious 
fact that the most celebrated supporters of the scheme of eternal generation, have in 
the course of their discussions respecting it, been led to euiploy language completely 
subversive of the unoriginated and independent existence of the Son and Spirit — con- 
sequently of their Godhead: for a derived, dependant being, of whatever order or 
rank, cannot be God in the proper sense of the term. I refer to the ' Defensio Fi- 
del' of Bishop Bull— to the ' Exposition of the Creed' by Bishop Pearson — -to Bi- 
shop Usher's Body of Divinity, and to Dr. Scott's Christian Life. — Passages on this 
subject frmn all these writers are collected by Dr. Clark in his ' Scripture Doctrine 
of the Trinity.' — Clark himself who was one of the most profound reasoners of his 
time, appears to have been driven to Arianism by his adoption of this scheme. I 
think it probable that Milton also was led to adopt his Arian sentiments by the same 
process. x Works, vol. xviii. p. 591. 


soon forgotten. But their reward is in heaven, and their 
record on high. 

This year, the Doctor lost his old friend and fellow- 
labourer in Oxford, Dr. Thomas Goodwin, the last survivor 
of the five Independent brethren of the Westminster As- 
sembly. After the Restoration he went to London, where 
he founded the Church which now meets in Fetter Lane. 
He lived very privately, and was employed chiefly in 
writing. The inscription on his tomb-stone in Bunhill 
fields, drawn up by Mr. Gilbert, gives him a very high cha- 
racter; which, however, his numerous writings very amply 
support. He had a most extensive acquaintance with 
church history — was profoundly skilled in the knowledge 
and interpretation of the Scriptures — the matter, form, dis- 
cipline, and all that relates to the constitution of a church 
of Christ, he thoroughly investigated, and was eminently 
useful in his public labours. He died in the 80th year of 
his age, and in his last moments expressed himself with so 
much joy, thankfulness, and admiration of the grace of God, 
as extremely affected all who heard him.y 

In the beginning of 1680, the Doctor produced another 
Ecclesiastico-political tract, in reference to the fears still 
entertained of the return of Eopery. It is entitled, ' Some 
considerations about union among Protestants, and the 
preservation of the interests of the Protestant religion in 
this nation.'^ It consists of only thirteen 4to pages, and has 
no name prefixed. There are some very judicious obser- 
vations in it on the constitutional prerogatives of the 
throne — on the rights and liberties of the subject, and on 
the proper means of preserving the Established Church, and 
the toleration of Dissenters. He protests against the ex- 
ercise of civil power in merely religious affairs. * Let the 
church be protected in the exercise of its spiritual power, 
by spiritual means only; as preaching of the word, ad- 
ministration of the sacraments, and the like; whatever is 
farther pretended as necessary to any of the ends of true 
religion, or its preservation in the nation, is but a cover for 
the negligence, idleness, and insufficiency of some of the 
clergy, who would have an outward appearance of effect- 

y Life prefixed to his Worlts. » Works, vol. xvii. p. 593. 

DR. OWtN. 317 

ing that by external force, which themselves by diligent 
prayer, sedulous preaching of the word, and an exemplary 
conversation, ought to labour for in the hearts of men.* 
He contends, that by magistrates limiting themselves to 
the punishment of the crimes cognizable by human judg- 
ment, and confining the church to the exercise of her spi- 
ritual powers — freedom of opinion and practice being en- 
joyed by others, Popery might be set at defiance, and Pro- 
testantism for ever maintained in Britain. Our past his- 
tory illustrates the wisdom and justness of these senti- 
ments, and any departure from them, must prove equally 
dangerous to the throne and the subject, to religion and 

On the 11th of May, 1680, Dean Stillingfleet, who had 
formerly made himself known by publishing what Robinson 
calls ' an oily book, with a nasty title,''' preached a sermon 
before the Lord Mayor, * On the Mischief of Separation,' 
in which he brands all the Dissenters with the odious crime 
of schism. The peace-maker now became a sower of dis- 
cord, not without suspicion of being influenced by venal 
motives; as, according to Burnet, * he went into the hu- 
mours of the high sort of people, beyond what became him, 
perhaps beyond his own sense of things.' This unexpected 
and uncivil attack, roused all the energies of the Dissenters, 
and in a short time a number of able and spirited replies 
were published. 

Dr. Owen produced 'A brief vindication of the Non- 
conformists from the charge of Schism, as it was managed 
against them in a sermon, by Dr. Stillingfleet.' 4to. pp. 50. 
1680.'' This is a very excellent pamphlet. Some of the 
Dissenters had complained of the unseasonableness of the 
learned Dean's philippic, on account of the danger to the 
Protestant faith, apprehended from Popery. Owen was of 
a diff'erent opinion. ' For it is meet,' he says, ' that honest 
men should understand the state of those things in which 
they are deeply concerned. Non-conformists might possi- 
bly suppose, that the common danger of all Protestants 
had reconciled the minds of the Conforming ministers to 
them, and I was really of the same judgment myself. If it 

a Irenicum, or A weapon salve for the Church's wouuds, 1659. 
b Works, vol. xix. p.569. 


be not so, it is well they are fairly warned what they have 
to expect, that they may prepare themselves to undergo it 
with patience.' He points out the unfairness of charging 
the Non-conformists with the sin of schism, and their mi- 
nisters with insincerity. He shews that the tendency of the 
Dean's discourse was to stir up persecution against the 
Dissenters, of which they had already got quite enough; 
and very fairly argues with him, on the ground he had him- 
self taken, the subject of schismatical separation. Towards 
the close, he replies to the Dean's advice, that the Dis- 
senters ' should not be always complaining of their hard- 
ships and persecutions.' ' After so many of them have died 
in common jails, so many of them endured long imprison- 
ments, not a few being at this time in common durance ; so 
many driven from their habitations into a wandering con- 
dition, to preserve for a while the liberty of their persons ; 
so many have been reduced to want and penury by the 
taking away of their goods, and from some the very instru- 
ments of their livelihood ; after the prosecutions which 
have been against them in all courts of justice in this na- 
tion ; after so many ministers and their families have been 
brought into the utmost outward straits, which nature can 
subsist under ; after all their perpetual fears and dangers — 
they think it hard they should be complained of for com- 
plaining, by them who are at ease.' 

Of this Vindication, Stilliiigfleet said, ' Dr. Owen treat- 
ed me with that civility and decent language, that I cannot 
but return him thanks for them, though I was far from sa- 
tisfied with his reasonings." Owen was followed in the 
controversy by Mr. Baxter, who, in his ' Answer to Dr. 
Stillingfleet's charge of Separation,' did not treat the Dean 
with so much courtesy; who accordingly complains ' of his 
anger and unbecoming passion.' A third reply was from a 
man of better spirit, Mr. John Howe, who, in * A letter 
written from the country to a person of qualify in the city,' 
expressed himself very firmly ; but, as the Dean himself 
acknowledged, ' more like a well-disposed gentleman than 
a divine, without any mixture of rancour, and even with a 
great degree of kindness.' Vincent Alsop opposed his 

<: Unreasonableness of Separation, Pref. p. 69. 

DU. OWEN. 319 

' MiscFiief of Impositions,' to Stillingfleet's Mischiet of Se- 
paration. He briskly turns upon him his own words and 
phrases, and retorts his accusations. The book, said the 
Dean, resembled the bird of Athens, for it seemed to be 
made up of face and feathers. The fifth antagonist, was 
Mr, Barret, of Nottingham, who published an ingenious 
exposure of Stillingfleet's inconsistency and tergiversation 
in 'The Rector of Sutton (Stillingfleet's parish when he 
published the Irenicum), committed with the Dean of St. 
Pauls; or a defence of Dr. Stillingfleet's Irenicum, against 
his late sermon.' This seems to have galled the learned 
Dean exceedingly. He remarked, it was enough to make 
the common people suppose some busy justice of the peace 
had taken the Rector of Sutton, and Dean of St. Pauls, at 
some conventicle. And as a defence of his changes, he 
gravely tells the reader, that the Irenicum had been written 
twenty years before the laws against Dissenters had been 

In the following year, the Dean took up all his oppo- 
nents, in the * Unreasonableness of separation, or an im- 
partial account of the history, nature, and pleas, of the 
present separation from the communion of the church of 
England. To which several letters are annexed of eminent 
Protestant divines abroad, concerning the nature of our 
diflerences, and the way to compose them.' 4to. This wark 
discovers considerable acutcness and research. The his- 
torical part of it displays a minute acquaintance with the 
sentiments and writings of the early separatists from the 
English church, and with the various views of the Presby- 
terian Puritans. He shews successfully, that many of the 
Puritans employed the same arguments against the Brown- 
ists, which the churchmen now urged against themselves. 
It cannot be denied that on the principles of many of his 
adversaries, the Dean had the better of the argument. The 
discussion turned chiefly on this point — Are the parochial 
churches true churches ? If they be, why desert them ? If 
you deny that they are, you are guilty of the uncharitable- 
ness which your forefathers charged on the separatists. If 
you hold occasional communion with them, which many of 
you do, and for the lawfulness of which most of you con- 
tend, why separate from them at all? Such were the di- 


lemmas, on the horns of which, the reverend Dean endea- 
voured to toss his opponents. 

Dr. Owen met him again in reply to this work. — * An 
answer to the Unreasonableness of Separation, and a de- 
fence of the Vindication of the Non-conformists from the 
guilt of schism.' 4to.'^ It was published along with his 
* Inquiry into the nature of Evangelical churches.' In this 
work, Owen endeavours to avoid adopting any of the alter- 
natives, which the Dean had pointed out. He explains 
what he understood as necessary to the character of a true 
church, and declares that wherever the scriptural evidences 
of it were afforded, he would most gladly acknowledge it. 
He also points out what he conceived to affect the charac- 
ter of a church, and that wherever these evils prevailed, he 
could not be. On his side, therefore, he pushes his adver- 
sary to make an election, which must have greatly puzzled 
him. Could he maintain that the parish churches of Eng- 
land generally consisted of ' faithful men.' Could he believe 
that the ministry was generally blameless, that discipline 
was faithfully administered, and that no unlawful imposi- 
tions were laid on the conscience? Although Owen does 
not make any positive assertion on the subject, it is quite 
clear that the established church never was conducted on 
the principles for which he contends; and his views of the 
characters of church members, and the exercise of disci- 
pline alone, must have prevented his fellowship with any 
parochial assembly. 

The controversy still raged, ' More work for the Dean,' 
was published by Mr. Thomas Wall, in answer to some of 
the Dean's reports against the Brownists. Mr. Barret re- 
plied a second time, in an ' Attempt to vindicate the prin- 
ciples of the Non-conformists, not only by Scripture, but 
by Dr. Stillingfleet's Rational Account.' Mr. Lob produced 
his * Modest and Peaceable inquiry;' Mr. Baxter, his ' Se- 
cond True Defence of the mere Non-conformists;' Mr. 
Humphrey, his ' Answer to Dr. Stillingfleet's book, as far 
as it concerned the Peaceable design ;' and Mr. Gilbert 
Rule, as late as 1G89, his * Rational defence of Non-con- 
formity.' The Dean, now made bishop, as the reward of 
his faithful seiTices to the church, was not left to fight her 

"1 Works, vol. XX. p. 251. 

DR. OWEN. 321 

battles alone. An octavo volume appeared from the pen 
of a Presbyter of the Church of England, defending Dr. 
Stillingfleet's Unreasonableness of Separation; which, 
being taken up by some of the Dissenting pamphlets al- 
ready noticed, produced next year, another thick octavo 
in its defence. This Presbyter, according to Baxter, was 
no other than Dr. Sherlock, who, perhaps, was not dis- 
pleased to get secretly at his old adversaries, on account of 
their treatment of his book on the Knowledge of Christ. 
These are all the pamphlets, or volumes, on the Stilling- 
fleet controversy, which I have discovered. They were 
• numerous and prolix enough, it must be admitted ; the 
characters who were engaged in it, and the place it must 
have occupied in the public mind, rendered some account 
of it necessary. Many of the pamphlets were anonymous ; 
but I have assigned them to their respective authors, on 
evidence derived from the replies of their opponents, or for 
other reasons too unimportant to bring forward. 

I cannot dismiss the subject without noticing another 
part of the debate. To Stillingfleet's Unreasonableness of 
Separation, were subjoined some letters from foreign Pres- 
byterians, — Le Moyne, Professor of Divinity at Leyden, 
L'Angle, Minister of Charenton, and the celebrated Claude. 
All these letters seemed to condemn the conduct of the 
English Non-conformists, and were evidently procured for 
the purpose of making it appear, that their separation was 
not the result of principle, but of caprice, or of something 
worse. The behaviour of these foreign Dissenters appeared 
very inexplicable at the time ; and it was not till a volume 
of Claude's letters was published, long after, that it was 
fully explained. Stillingfleet, says Robinson, 'driven to 
great distress, got Compton, Bishop of London, to write to 
Claude, Le Moyne, and other French Presbyterians, for 
their opinion of English Presbyterianism. They gave com- 
plaisant, but wary answers. These letters were published 
by Stillingfleet, as suff"rages for Episcopacy, and against 
Non-coniorraity. There could not be a more glaring ab- 
surdity ; for no art can make that a crime at Dover, which 
is at the same time a virtue at Calais. Episcopacy and 
^Non-conformity rest on the same arguments in both king- 
doms, and a man who does not know this is not fit to write 

VOL. I. V 


on the controversy. Mr. Claude complained bitterly of 
this ungenerous treatment; but the letters that contained 
these complaints were concealed till his death ; when they 
were printed by his son.' After quoting some strong pas- 
sages from these letters to a lady, and to the Bishop of 
London, Robinson justly remarks in conclusion: 'The 
case, then, is this. Episcopalians not being able to main- 
tain their cause by argument, endeavoured to do it by a 
majority of votes. In order to procure these, they sent a 
false state of the case to the French Protestants. The 
French, as soon as they understood the matter, complained 
of having been treated with duplicity, declared against the 
Bishops, and against the cause which they were endea- 
vouring to support.'^ Such tricks are exceedingly despi- 
cable, and only tend, in the issue, to ruin the cause they 
are designed to promote. Truth is equally independent of 
numbers and of names ; but it is infamous to represent those 
as enemies to each other, who are really friends ; and by 
unprincipled artifice to sow suspicion and discord among 

The next work we have to notice, which was published 
partly during the Doctor's life, and partly after his death, 
is the important Treatise on Evangelical Churches. The 
first part of it, entitled 'An Inquiry into the Origin, Na- 
ture, Institution, Power, Order, and Communion of Evan- 
gelical Churches,' was published in 1681.'^ This was com- 
bined, as has been noticed, with his answer to Stillingtleet. 
The second part, entitled 'The True Nature of a Gospel 
Church, and its Government,' did not appear till 1688.s 
It was published with a preface, by I. C. whom I take to 
have been Isaac Chauncey, who succeeded Mr. Clark- 
son, in the pastoral charge of the church in Bury Street. 
He tells us, ' that the Doctor lived to finish it under his 
great bodily infirmities ; whereby he saw himself hastening 
to the end of his race : yet so great was his love to Christ, 
that while he had life and breath he drew not back his 
hand from his service. Through the gracious support of 
Divine power, he corrected the copy before his departure. 
So that the reader may be assured that what is here is his: 

• Robinson's Life of Claude, prefixed to the 2d Edit, of the Translation of his' 
Essay, pp. 66, 67. f Works, vol. xx. p. 1. s Ibid p. S37. 

DR. OWEN. 323 

and likewise, that it ought to be esteemed as his legacy to 
the Church of Christ, being a great partof his dying labours; 
and therefore it is most charitable to suppose that this 
work was written with no other design than to advance the 
glory and interest of Christ in the world ; and that its con- 
tents were matter of great weight on his own spirit.' 

We have ascertained the sentiments of Dr. Owen on the 
subject of the Constitution and Government of the Churches 
of Christ, at an early period of his career. We have seen 
what they were while he enjoyed honour and public sup- 
port. It is gratifying to have so full a view of them at the 
end of his life, and in the very prospect of eternity. He 
adopted his views of the kingdom of Christ, with the pros- 
pect before him of losing all that was dear to him on that 
account ; prosperity effected no change on his sentiments; 
amidst succeeding adversity and trouble he held them fast 
and defended them ; and he took leave of the world with a 
solemn testimony in their support. These things are at 
least proofs of his growing confidence in their truth and 
importance ; and of the sincerity of his own attachment to 

I shall then endeavour to ascertain, from the work now 
before us, what were the last sentiments of the Doctor on 
these subjects. In part first, he examines the origin of a 
church, or church state, — shews that it is a Divine, and 
not a human appointment ; and that all interferences of 
human authority with it are unlawful. ' Unless men by 
their volimtary choice and consent, from a sense of duty to 
the authority of Christ, in his institutions, do enter into a 
church state, they cannot by any other means be so framed 
into it, as to find acceptance with God in it. And the in- 
terpositions that are made by custom, tradition, the insti- 
tutions and ordinances of men, between the consciences of 
those who belong, or would belong to such a state, and the 
immediate authority of God, are highly obstructive of this 
Divine order and all the benefits of it : for hence it comes 
to pass, that most men know neither how nor whereby they 
came to be members of this or that church, but only on 
this ground, that they were born where it did prevail.' 

He denies the existence of a Legislative authority either 
in or over the church of God, an\i after briefly sketching the 


baneful consequences which have resulted from Bishops 
and Councils, and civil Government usurping this power, 
he says : — ' This, therefore, is absolutely denied by us, viz. 
That any men, under any pretence or name soever, have any 
right or authority to constitute any new frame, or order of 
the church, to make any laws of their own for its rule or 
government, that should oblige the disciples of Christ in 
point of conscience to their observation.' He shews fully 
and successfully, that the churches of Christ have laws to 
observe, and not laws to make ; and that the assumption 
of an opposite principle and conduct is derogatory to the 
glory of Christ, to the perfection of Scripture, and incon- 
sistent with the acknowledgment of the infallibility, faith- 
fulness, and Divine authority of the apostles. He goes 
on to inquire into ' The continuation of a church state, and 
of churches, unto the end of the world, and the causes on 
which they depend ;' and shevk^s that they depend on the 
Father's grant of the kingdom to Christ — on the Saviour's 
promise to preserve his church to the end — on the continued 
existence of the word of Christ, and the communication of 
gifts from him. In regard to believers, it depends on their 
sense of duty, the instinct of the new creature, and the fact 
that it is only in churches they can attend to the will of Christ. 
He argues, therefore, that the idea of the continuance of 
the church depending on a regular succession of office- 
bearers from the apostles, is a baseless figment, as unne- 
cessary to the existence of the church, as it is unsupported 
by Scripture, contrary to fact, and pernicious in its ope- 

. In chap. iv. he inquires into the special nature of the 
Gospel Church State appointed by Christ ; which he thus 
defines: — ' An especial society, or congregation of professed 
believers, joined together according to his mind, with 
their officers, guides, or rulers whom he hath appointed;, 
which does, or may meet together for the celebration of all 
the ordinances of Divine worship, the professing or autho- 
ritatively proposing the doctrine of the gospel, with the ex- 
ercise of the discipline prescribed by himself, to their own 
mutual edification, with the glory of Christ, in the preserva- 
tion and propagation of his kingdom in the world.' Having 
thus defined it, he goes on to explain his definition more 

DR. OWEN. 325 

particularly, concluding with asserting *That to such a 
church, and every one of them, belongs of right all the pri- 
vileges, promises, and power that Christ grants unto the 
church in this world.' He then proceeds to prove, that 
Christ hath appointed this church state of a particular, or 
single congregation ; and secondly, that he hath appointed 
no other church state that is inconsistent with this, much 
less destructive of it.' These quotations must satisfy the 
reader, that Owen was not only an Independent, but a firm 
believer in the jus divinum of Independency. Comparing 
them with our statement of the principles of Independency 
in Chapter III. of this work, it will appear how far Dr. 
Owen held those sentiments ; and, comparing them with 
his language in Eshcol, published in 1648, with his lan- 
guage to Cawdry, in 1657, with the language of the Savoy 
declaration, in 1658 ; and with what he says in his Theolo- 
goumena, in 1662, in his Catechism in 1667, in his Dis- 
courses on Christian Love, in 1673, it will be seen that his 
sentiments throughout were radically, and I may say ve*"- 
bally the same. 

In supporting his views of the exclusive appointment 
of Congregational Church Government, he shews that it is 
suited to, and sufficient for, all the Scriptural ends of the 
Divine appointment of a church, and * that it is in Congre- 
gational Churches alone that these ends can be done or ob- 
served.' He maintains that the very meaning of the words 
^np and fKicXrjata determines them to signify a particular con- 
gregation, which he argues at great length, from Matt, xviii. 
17. in connexion with other passages. He maintains, in 
the third place, that ' All the churches instituted by the 
apostles were Congregational, and of no other sort.' Hav- 
ing amply illustrated these various positions, in a way that 
is familiar to all who are acquainted with this controversy, 
in the fifth chapter, he urges the precedent and example of 
the first churches, and endeavours to shew, ' that in no 
approved writers for the space of 200 years after Christ, is 
there any mention made of any other organical, visibly 
professing church, but that only which is Parochial or Con- 

This being'dispatched, he returns to illustrate at greater 
length some of the sentiments previously thrown out. lo 


chap. vi. he shews * that Congregational churches alone 
are suited to the ends of Christ in the institution of his 
church.' This being fully confirmed, the next chapter is 
occupied in proving that ' no other church state is of Di- 
vine institution ; in which he denies that there is any such 
thing as national churches, or churches of office-bearers of 
any kind. The remaining part of the work is occupied in 
pointing out the duty of believers to join themselves in 
church fellowship — and what sort of churches they ought 
to join ; and in shewing the impossibility of conscientiously 
joining the Parish Churches in England, because they con- 
sisted mostly of improper persons, required a reformation 
which they had no power to effect themselves, and involved 
the observation of many things not agreeable to the will 
of Christ. 

The second part, or volume, of the work is divided into 
eleven chapters, in which he treats of the material of a 
church, its formal cause, its polity or discipline, officers and 
their duties, of the rule of a church and the duty of elders, 
of deacons, excommunication, and of the communion of 
churches. There is, in parts of this volume, a want of that 
rigid attention to method or order which sometimes occurs 
in the writings of Owen, and which occasions both repetition 
and confusion, and even an apparent want of consistency. 
He establishes clearly a very important principle, that 
none but those who give evidence of being regenerated, or 
holy persons, ought to be received or counted fit members 
of visible churches, and that where this is wanting, the very 
essence of a church is lost. ' If the corruption of a church,' 
says he, ' as to the matter of it, be such as, that it is incon- 
sistent with and overthroweth all that communion that ought 
to be among the members of the same church, in love with- 
out dissimulation; if the scandals and offences, which must 
of necessity abound in such churches, be really obstructive 
of edification ; if the ways and walking of the generality of 
their members, be dishonourable to the gospel, and the pro- 
fession of it, giving no representation of the holiness of 
Christ or his doctrine; if such churches do not, cannot, will 
not reform themselves, then it is the duty of every man who 
takes care of his own edification, and the future salvation 
of his soul, peaceably to withdraw from the communion of 

DR. OWJiN. 327 

such churches, arid to join in such others, where all the ends 
of church societies, may in some measure be obtained.' 

Two things in this volume have a particular claim on 
our attention: the Doctor's sentiments on the subject of 
ruling Elders, and of the communion of Churches ; which 
have been supposed to be either peculiar, or a species of 
Presbyterianism. Were this the case, it would not follow, 
that either Independency or Presbytery would be right or 
wrong, as the truth on these subjects is entirely independ- 
ent of Owen's sentiments or authority. But it would follow, 
that the Doctor was inconsistent with himself, as we pre- 
sume we have alleged incontrovertible evidence, that he 
held all the great and fundamental principles of Independ- 
ency. There is no room to allege any change of mind on 
his part, as the present volume is only a part of the former 
work on the same subject, and written nearly at the same 
time, though published, on account of his death, several 
years after. And, as the Doctor never hints, in the most 
remote manner, at any change of mind having taken place, 
we are bound to consider his sentiments to have been the 
same to the end of his life. In consequence of the quantity 
which he wrote, the rapidity with which he composed, the 
little attention which he paid to revising or correcting his 
works, and the multitude of words which he generally em- 
ployed on every subject, he is at times liable to be misunder- 
stood; and it would be an easy matter for a captious writer, 
or a contradiction-hunter, like Daniel Cawdry, to fasten the 
charge of inconsistency on a variety of sentiments in his 
numerous productions. Attention, however, to the scope of 
his writing, and a comparison of the parts together, will in 
general satisfy us, that little actual inconsistency or contra- 
diction exists. 

On the subject of Pastors or Elders, and the distinction 
between teaching and ruling Elders, one or two quotations 
will enable us to ascertain his real sentiments. He lays it 
down, as an established position, that the New Testament 
acknowledges no distinction of power, office, or authority 
in the pastoral office. ' In the whole New Testament, Bi- 
shops, and Presbyters, or Elders are every way the same 
persons, in the same office, have the same function, without 
distinction in order or degree.' This is a clear and decisive 


statement, with which every thing else in the work must be 
made consistent. Again he says : * These works of teach- 
ing and ruling may be distinct in several officers, namely, 
of teachers, and rulers ; but to divide them in the same 
office of Pastors, that some Pastors should feed by teaching 
only, but have no right to rule by virtue of their office, and 
some should attend in exercise unto rule onhj, not esteem- 
ing themselves obliged to labour continually in feeding the 
flock, is almost to overthrow this office of Christ's desig- 
nation, and to set up two in the room of it, of men's own 

These passages clearly shew, that Dr. Owen considered 
the pastoral office as one, including both teaching and ruling. 
Now the principles and practice of Presbyterians make 
them two. In the Confession of Faith, under the head of 
Church Government, after the office of Pastor and Teacher 
is spoken of, there is a section designated ' Other Church 
Governors;' whose office it is ' to join with the Minister in 
the Government of the Church, which officers. Reformed 
Churches commonly call Elders.' According, to this state- 
ment, which is confirmed by other chapters, there are three 
offices in every congregation, Pastors, Elders, and Dea- 
cons. This accordingly corresponds with the general fact. 
A Minister, Elders, and Deacons commonly existing in 
every regular congregation, and constituting the Session, 
or first court of inspection. These offices are held to be so 
distinct, that the Ministers alone are considered as Pas- 
tors or Clergymen, and the Elders as mere Laymen ; for 
whom it would be as unlawful to preach, baptize, or dis- 
pense Divine ordinances, as for other members of the con- 
gregation. Whether this plan be Scriptural or not, I do 
not now inquire ; but certainly it was not Dr. Owen's. 

' I do acknowledge,' says he, ' that where a church is 
greatly increased, so as that there is a necessity of many 
Elders in it for its instruction and rule, that decency and 
order do require, that one of them do, in the management 
of all church affairs, preside. Whether the person that is so 
to preside, be directed to by being the first converted or first 
ordained, or on account of age, or of gifts and abilities; 
whether he continue for a season only, and then another be 
deputed to the same work, or for his life, are things in 

DR. OWEN. 329 

themselves indifferent, I shall never oppose this order, 
but rather desire to see it in practice ; viz. that particular 
churches were of such an extent, as necessarily to require 
many Elders, both teaching and ruling, for their instruction 
and government; and among these Elders one should be 
chosen by themselves, with the consent of the Church, not 
into a new order, not into a degree of authority above his 
brethren, but only into his part of the common work in a 
peculiar manner, which requires some kind of precedency. 
Hereby no new officer, no new order of officers, no new 
degree of power or authority is instituted in the Church ; 
only the w^ork and duty of it is cast into such an order, as 
the very light of nature doth require.' 

The ground on which he here evidently rests the ne- 
cessity and importance of a number of persons being asso- 
ciated in the same office, is the extent or number of the 
church. A sentiment, far from peculiar, among Independ- 
ents, to Dr. Owen. It is equally clear, at the same time, 
that he considers them all as holding the same office, names, 
and authority ; though with mutual consent acting more or 
less prominently in the several departments of it. It de- 
serves to be noticed also, in connexion with considering his 
sentiments, that in his own church, in Bury Street, there 
were no ruling Elders ; a proof that he did not consider 
them essential to the management of the church, or that he 
found it easier to maintain his theory than to reduce it to 
practice, by finding a number of persons suitably qualified 
for the office. To such persons, be they few or many, he 
ascribed no power or authority, as a body distinct from 
their brethren, or the church. ' The power of the Keys,' 
says he, ' as unto binding and loosing, and consequently as 
unto all other acts thence proceeding, is expressly granted 
to the vjhole churchy Matt, xviii. 17, 18.' Which right 
he afterwards remarks, * is exemplified in apostolical prac- 

He has a chapter on the office of Teaching Elders, in 
which he discusses various views of the subject ; and in 
which he professes to think that it is ' of the same kind 
with that of the Pastor, though distinguished from it in 
degree.' After noticing the question whether there may 
be one or many officers. Pastors, or Elders in a church, he 


says, ' Wherefore, let the state of the church be preserved, 
and kept unto its original constitution, which is Congrega- 
tional and no other ; and I do judge, that the order of the 
officers, which was so early in the primitive church, viz. of 
one Pastor or Bishop, in one church, assisted in rule and 
all holy ministrations, with many Elders, teaching or ruling 
only, do not so overthrow church order, as to render its 
rule or discipline useless.' 

The amount of the whole of his reasonings seems to be, 
that in every numerous or fully organized church, there 
may, or ought to be an Eldership, or Presbytery of gifted 
persons; all holding substantially the same office, but some 
acting more statedly and distinctly in a particular depart- 
ment of it than the others. That this view of the subject is 
far from peculiar to Dr. Owen, those who are at all ac- 
quainted with the sentiments of Independents well know. 
In fact, Independency has no necessary connexion with the 
question respecting the number of office-bearers. An Inde- 
pendent church may have one, or it may have six Pastors; 
or it may have one Pastor and Teacher, and any number of 
Elders for managing other matters, and still act on the same 

The long chapter on ruling Elders must be explained 
consistently with the sentiments we have shewn to be con- 
tained in the former part of the work ; otherwise the Doctor 
must not have clearly understood himself. In that chapter 
he seems to contend for a distinct office of ruling Elder, or 
for Elders who are called to rule and not to teach, and who 
* had no interest in the pastoral, or ministerial office, as to 
the dispensation of the word and administration of the sa- 
craments.' Let them reconcile these things who can. The 
Doctor himself did not, or could not act on these principles; 
nor do we believe they have ever been acted on in the man- 
ner, or to the extent he pleads for, by any churches, whe- . 
ther Independent or Presbyterian. This is not the place 
for discussing the propriety, or impropriety of any particu- 
lar view of the subject ; those who wish to do so, will easily 
find what can be said, in the numerous works which have 
been published on both sides of the controversy. 

We pass on to his sentiments on the subject of the 
Communion of Churches. From his employing the term 

DR. OWEN. 331 

sifnod, in the sense of council, or meeting for advice, and 
some other phraseology more usual among other bodies 
than Independents ; it has been inferred that the Doctor 
was a believer in the Divine right of ecclesiastical courts, 
or meetings of church rulers, for the purpose of exercising 
authority over their respective churches. That such senti-^ 
ments would be subversive of all his former views, as a 
Congregationalist, inconsistent with the language we have 
already quoted from this volume itself, and would place 
him in the strange predicament of seeking to build again 
the things he had destroyed, must be obvious. That the 
Doctor is not chargeable with these things, farther than 
some peculiarity of phraseology is concerned, will clearly 
appear from a few passages, in which we have printed in 
italics, the words which shew that he contended for no 
meetings of councils, but such as were perfectly consistent 
with the freedom and authority of every particular church. 

He defines the Communion of Churches to be, ' Their 
consent, endeavour, and conjunction in and for the promo- 
tion of the edification of the Catholic Church, and therein 
their own, as they are parts and members of it.' To this 
definition, I presume every Independent will subscribe. 
He contends for the absolute equality, in respect of power 
or privilege, of all churches. Speaking of the Catholic 
Church, he says with great propriety, ' While Evangelical 
faith, holiness, obedience to the commands of Christ, and 
mutual love abide in any on the earth, there is the Catholic 
Church ; and while they are professed, that Catholic Church 
is visible; other Catholic Church upon the earth, I believe 
none; nor any that needs other thiogs to its constitution.' 

When he comes to speak of outward acts of Commu- 
nion among Churches, he refers them to two heads — 
' Advice and Assistance. These are evidently very different 
things from power or authority. * Synods,' he says, * are 
the meetings of divers churches by their messengers or de- 
legates, to consult and determine of such things as are of 
common concern unto them all, by virtue of this commu- 
nion which is exercised in them.' He then proceeds to 
state the grounds on which he conceives the necessity and 
use of them to rest. In the course of which he remarks, 
* No Church, therefore, is so Independent, as that it can al- 


ways, and in all cases, observe the duties it owes to the 
Lord Christ, and the Church Catholic, by all those powers 
which it is able to act in itself distinctly, without conjunc- 
tion with others. And the Church which confines its duty 
to the acts of its own assemblies, cuts itself ofi'from the ex- 
ternal communion of the Church Catholic ; nor will it be 
safe for any man to commit the conduct of his soul to such 
a church.' 

This passage has been often quoted as the suffrage of 
Dr. Owen against Independency. How far it can be so, 
consistently with his sentiments, may be judged from his 
previous language and history. But to what does it 
come? — That the church which has no connexion with 
any other churches — which holds no correspondence with 
them — takes no interest in their affairs or circumstances — 
which refuses all co-operation with them, separates itself 
from the body of the people of God, and must fail in the 
discharge of many important duties ; and, therefore, it can- 
not be safe to be connected with it. But who are the de- 
fenders of this species of Independency ? Need I say, this 
is not the faith or the practice of modern, any more than of 
ancient Independents ? Should I assert, that for every prac- 
tical and important purpose, there is as much union and 
.co-operation among them, as exist in any other body of pro- 
fessing Christians ; and that these are not the less effective, 
because they are voluntary, I should not be afraid of con- 
futation. What is the meaning of their local associations 
— of their meetings at ordinations — of their united support 
of academies — of their union for the support and diffusion 
of the gospel, both at home and abroad? If these are not 
the proofs, and the best fruits of union, let others shew them 
a more excellent way. 

When we call the union of Independent Churches vo- 
luntary, we do not mean to say that they hold it to be 
optional, whether they shall have communion with other 
Churches, or as Dr. Owen expresses it, with the Church 
Catholic, on all proper occasions ; these they acknowledge 
themselves bound to improve for this purpose as matter of 
dutij to the great Head of the Church, and for the good of 
themselves and their brethren. Their only meaning is, that 
they acknowledge no human authority, whether in indivi- 

DR. OWEN. 333 

duals or synods, whether by office or delegation. Dr. Owen 
has been represented, in the above passage, as making a 
singular concession to Presbyterianism, whereas he is ex- 
pressing the genuine principle of Independency. The con- 
nexion to which he belonged, while he lived, and the state 
of it at the present day, is, to say the very least, as far re- 
moved from the insulated and selfish society he describes, 
as any denomination of Christians whatever. 

After the Doctor has noticed some of the ends or uses 
of such meetings, he proceeds to speak of the persons who 
ought to constitute them. ' It must therefore be affirmed,' 
he says, ' that no persons, by virtue of any office merely, 
have right to be members of any Ecclesiastical Synods as 
such. Neither is there either example or reason, to give 
colour to any such pretence. For their is no office-power 
to be exerted in such synods as such, neither conjunctly by 
all the members of them, nor singly by any of them.' Again, 
referring to the meeting at Jerusalem, of which we have an 
account in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts, he says, ' The 
Church of Antioch chose and sent messengers of their own 
number, to advise with the Apostles and Elders of the 
Church at Jerusalem; at which consultation the members 
of the Church also were present. And this is the whole of 
the nature and use of Ecclesiastical synods.' Nothing can 
shew more evidently than this language, that the Doctor 
considered them entirely as voluntary meetings of the 
Churches, for the purpose of advice, consultation, and co- 
operation about matters of common concern. He invests 
them with no power over the churches, or their office- 
bearers, farther than that of advice, or of explaining and 
persuading to obey the will of Christ. 

As an antidote to any use that might be made of his sen- 
timents, or authority on this subject, the following passage 
will evince how little faith he himself had in the good such 
meetings had done, how jealous Christians ought to be of 
them ; and how little authority he was disposed to ascribe 
to them. ' Hence nothing is more to be feared, especially 
in a state of the Church wherein it is declining in faith, 
worship, and holiness, than synods, according to the usual 
way of their calling and convention, where these things 
are absent. For they have already been the principal 


means of leading on and justifying all the Apostasy which 
Churches have fallen into. For never was there yet a synod 
of that nature, which did not confirm all the errors and su- 
perstitions which had in common practice entered into the 
Church, and opened a door to a progress in them ; nor was 
ever the pretence of any of them for outward reformation. 
The authority of a synod determining articles of faith ! — 
Constituting orders and decrees for the conscientious ob- 
servance of things of their own appointment, to be sub- 
mitted to and obeyed on the reason of that authority under 
the penalty of excommunication ; and the trouble by custom 
and tyranny thereto annexed, or acted in a way of juris- 
diction over Churches or persons, is a mere human invention, 
for which nothing can be pleaded but prescription from the 
fourth century of the Church, when the progress of the fatal 
apostasy became visible.'^ 

Those who claim the suffrage of Owen in support of 
Ecclesiastical authority, are now made quite welcome to 
it. It must be very evident what he thought of it, how far 
he would himself have submitted to it, or have recom- 
mended to others to acknowledge it. There is a vast dif- 
ference between the unity of love — the co-operation of vo- 
luntary agreement ; and the union of mere systematic ar- 
rangement; — between application for advice, and the inter- 
ference of uncalled-for authority; — between a simple refe- 
rence to brethren of reputation, for counsel and assistance 
in cases of difficulty, which may occur either among indivi- 
duals or churches; and the multiplied forms, regular grada- 
tions, and interminable appeals of Ecclesiastical courts. 
Those who believe Owen to have been favourable to the 
latter, must have paid little attention to his sentiments or 
history. Those who b-elieve modern Independents to be 
inimical to the former, must know as little about them. 
Apart from some of the language, in which it was customary" 
for Owen to clothe his theological conceptions, we believe 
there are few Independents who do not hold substantially 
the same sentiments on the subject we have now so fully 
stated. That some of his arguments they may doubt, and 
some of his explanations of Scripture they would call in 
question, are only what might be remarked on many other 

1' Works, vol. XX. p. 59'.'. 

DR. OWEN.. 335 

isnbjects as well as this ; and will ever be found where men 
are taught to acknowledge no authority in religion, but that 
of Christ, as exhibited in the revelation of his will. 

An attempt at answering a portion of this work on the 
part of the Episcopalians, was made by Edmund Elys, son 
of a clergyman in Devonshire, under the title of * Animad- 
versions upon some passages in a book entitled, " The 
true nature of the Gospel Church, by J.Owen."'8vo. 1690. 
The oblivion into which it has sunk, is a proof how little 
impression it must have made. 

The next work of our indefatigable author's pen is, ' A 
Humble Testimony to the Goodness and Severity of God, 
in his dealing with Sinful Churches and Nations.' 1681.' 
It is the substance of some discourses on Luke xiii. 1 — 5. 
The period was alarming. The dissolution of the parlia- 
ment, called at Oxford, within seven days of its meeting — 
the evident determination of the Court to support the 
popish succession in the person of the Duke of York — and 
the oppressive measures against the Dissenters, which were 
still continued and increased, produced much alarm and 
suffering in the country. ' On various accounts/ says the 
Doctor, ' there are continual apprehensions of public ca- 
lamities, and all men's thoughts are exercised about the 
ways of deliverance from them. But, as they fix on va- 
rious and opposite means for this end, the conflict of their 
counsels and designs increaseth our danger, and is likely to 
prove our ruin.''' He notices very properly, the interest 
that ministers ought to feel, not only that their congrega- 
tions prosper during their own lives ; but that they might 
be preserved for future generations : and that it is a great 
mistake to suppose, a church can be injured only by 
heresy, tyranny, and false worship ; while * a worldly cor- 
rupt conversation in the generality of its members may be 
no less ruinous.' The Testimony contains much of that 
practical wisdom, which the Doctor had acquired from his 
long and deep study of the word of God, and from his ex- 
tensive experience in the ways of Providence. He very 
cautiously avoids referring to the conduct of the Court, and 
the measures of Government ; being aware how ready they 
were to lay hold on all who took notice of their proceed- 

' Works, rol. xiv. p. 475. ■' Introduction. 


ings, and how little good was likely to result from political 
allusions on his part, and interference on theirs. 

The Testimony was followed by ' The Grace and Duty 
of being Spiritually Minded.' 4to. 1681.' This is one of the 
most valuable and deservedly popular of all the Doctor's 
writings. It was originally the subject of his private me- 
ditations, during a time in which he was entirely unfitted 
for doing any thing for the edification of others, and little 
expecting he should be able to do more in this world. 
After he obtained a partial recovery, he delivered the sub- 
stance of these meditations to his own congregation, partly 
influenced by the advantage he had himself derived from 
the subject, and partly from considering it suitable to the 
circumstances of his people. The same considerations in- 
duced him to publish it for the benefit of others. If Owen 
thought the world too keenly pursued in his time, which 
was probably the case, and that Christians then stood 
much in need of a powerful counteractive to its baneful in- 
fluence ; what would he have thought of the state of things 
now, when the spirit of speculation, the love of grandeur, 
and conformity to the world, seem to be the snares which 
are entangling and trying all them that dwell upon the 
earth? The only remedy, we apprehend, is that which he 
proposed and exemplified. Scriptural spirituality will en- 
able to bear the perplexities and pressure of distress, and 
to resist the elations and other unholy tendencies of pros- 
perity and honour. This state of mind, which is the op- 
posite of earthliness, as well as of carnality ; Avhich is the 
result of the peculiar and habitual influence of the Spirit 
of Christ ; which consists in the constant exercise of faith 
on the Divine testimony, of hope in the certain promises of 
the gospel, and of delightful fellowship, with the Father and 
with his dear Son, is admirably described by Owen. This 
is the life, which every Christian is called to cultivate, and 
without which, no name or profession is of any importance. 
Its operations may be manifested, and its felicities enjoyed 
in a palace or in a cottage. It is the name which only he 
who receives it knows, — the water of life which proceedeth 
from the throne of God and of the Lamb, and of which, he 
who drinks never thirsts again for worldly or sensual hap- 

' Works, vol. xiii. p. 207. 

DR. OWEN. 337 

piness. It is, in a word, that immortal eltistence, which is 
begun on earth, and perfected in heaven. As Owen ap- 
proached nearer and nearer to ' the bosom of his Father 
and his God/ he appears to have improved in spirituality 
of mind himself, and in his desire to impart a relish for it 
to others. His spirit was soon to ascend to the brightness 
of that eternal love and glory on which it had long delighted 
to gaze ; and before its departure, it reflected a portion of 
its heaven-derived lustre for the benefit of his brethren left 
behind. May his mantle rest upon them, and in the enjoy- 
ment of a double portion of his spirit, may they experience 
that the Lord God of Owen is still the same ; and that He 
is able to do for his people infinitely beyond what they can 
ask or think ! 

On the 12th of April, 1G82, the Doctor lost his only sur- 
viving daughter, Mrs. Kennington. It appears that she 
had been under the necessity of separating from her 
husband, and returning to her father's house. She had 
been received into the church, in March, 1674 ; and as her 
illness had been protracted, there is reason to believe that 
there was hope in her death. 

In 1683, he published a quarto pamphlet of 40 pages, 
'A Brief and Impartial Account of the Protestant Religion ; 
its present state in the world ; its strength and weakness,' 
Sec.'" In this tract he points out what he conceives to be 
the grounds of Protestantism as contained in the Bible ; 
examines the danger to which it was exposed, from a ge- 
neral defection, from the operation of force, or from a re- 
conciliation with Rome. While he intimates his fears 
from these causes, he balances them by other grounds of 
confidence ; such as — the honour of Christ to maintain his 
cause, the remnant of his people found among the nations, 
and the magnanimous spirit by which they were actuated. 
He concludes by expressing his full conviction that it would 
ultimately and universally triumph. 

The last work of his pen, was, his ' Meditations and 
Discourses on the glory of Christ,'" which were committed 
to the press on the day in which he died. They consist of 
two parts : the first treats of the Person, Office, and Grace 
of Christ; the second, which did not appear till 1691, con- 

"• Works, vol. xvii. p. 605. " Ibid. vol. xii. p. 341. 

VOL. 1. Z 


sists of the application of the truths contained in the former, 
to sinners and declining believers. Between this publi- 
cation, and the 'Dying Thoughts' of Baxter, a consider- 
able similarity subsists. Whatever were the differences 
between these eminent men on minor points, there was an 
intimate union between them, in spirituality of affections, 
in deadness to the world, and in longing aspirations after 
that heavenly felicity, so large a portion of which they both 
enjoyed and diffused on earth. It has been remarked, that 
disputants will often agree in their prayers, when they differ 
in their writings. — Christians may differ while they live ; 
but will generally agree in their feelings and sentiments 
towards each other in the near prospect of death. Eter- 
nity, when closely viewed, must materially affect our esti- 
mate of the transactions of time ; and one thing alone can 
render the prospect of entering it, delightful to the mind. 
The glory of Christ, like that of the sun, increases in splen- 
dour as we advance upon it. It discovers increasingly 
the meanness and pollution of our earthly residence, and 
sheds a lustre over the ' inheritance of the saints in light,' 
which renders it infinitely attractive. The exercise of 
faith, hope, and love, when long directed towards heavenly 
things, acquires the strength and influence of habit ; futu- 
rity, often contemplated, is felt to be present ; and invi- 
sible things acquire a form and consistency in the mind. 
It does not indeed appear what we shall be ; but as we be- 
come weaned from this sinful world, and feel that our life 
is hid with Christ in God, our earnest of heavenly happi- 
ness not only becomes more sure, but is better understood, 
and more abundant. The love of life loses its power, the 
fear of death diminishes ; knowledge ripens to perfection, 
and the song of victory begins to be sung on the borders 
of the tomb. In this life. Christians suffer immense loss 
from not meditating on the person and glory of Christ, as 
they ought to do. It is a mistake to suppose, that this will 
be easy on a death bed, if the mind has not been previously 
tutored to it. It is a subject which ought to become in- 
creasingly familiar, and increasingly delightful. If it shall 
constitute the perfection and employment of heaven, it 
ought surely to be the subject of chief regard on earth. 
The more that it is so, the more will the conduct be marked 



with the decision of Chvistianity, and the more will the 
mind be imbued by its spirit; till, from sipping- of the 
streams, we rise to the full enjoyment of the ever-living and 
infinite fountain of heavenly joy. ' Now we see through a 
glass darkly ; but then face to face : now w^e know in part ; 
but then shall we know even as we are known.' 

Besides all the works we have noticed, Owen was the 
author of several other productions, which appeared at dis- 
tant intervals, after his death. He also wrote a great num- 
ber of prefaces, or commendatory epistles to the works of 
other writers. Of all these some account, as far as they 
are known to me, will be found in the Appendix. To have 
introduced them here, would have diverted us too long from 
the concluding scenes of his earthly career, to which we 
must now attend. 

The health of Dr. Owen appears to have been much 
broken for several years before his death. His intense 
and unwearied application, the fruits of which appear in his 
numerous and elaborate writings, and his anxious soli- 
citude respecting the affairs of his Master's kingdom, must 
have destroyed the vigour of any constitution. He was 
severely afflicted with the stone, that painful and common 
accompaniment of a studious life. To this was added 
asthma, a complaint peculiarly unfavourable to public 
speaking. These disorders frequently confined him to his 
chamber; but though they often prevented him from 
preaching, they must have interfered little with his writing, 
otherwise so many works could not have been composed 
during the last years of his- life. 

While tried by these painful afflictions, he experienced 
much sympathy from his Christian friends. He had fre- 
quent invitations to the country residences of persons of 
quality, and particularly to that of Lord Wharton, at 
Woburn, in Buckinghamshire. While occasionally at the 
seat of this benevolent and Christian nobleman, he was 
often visited by persons of rank, and enjoyed the company 
of many of his Christian brethren in the ministry, who re- 
sorted thither. From his house, he wrote, during one of 
his severe attacks, a letter to the Church, so characteristic 
of the man, so suitable to the circumstances of the times 
z 2 



and of his people, that the reader will be gratified by 
finding it entire at the end of the volume. 

His infirmities rendering a fixed residence in the country 
necessary, he took a house at Kensington, where he lived 
for some time. During this period, an accident occurred 
which shews the state of the times, and the hardships to 
which Dissenters were then exposed. On going one day 
from Kensington to London, his carriage was seized by 
two informers. This must have been exceedingly painful 
to the Doctor at any time, but especially when in a state 
of health ill capable of bearing the violent excitement of 
such an interference, and its probable consequences. It 
providentially happened, however, that Sir Edmund Bury 
Godfrey, a justice of the peace, was passing at the time, 
who seeing a carriage stopped, and a mob collected, in- 
quired into the matter. He ordered the informers and Dr. 
Owen to meet him at a justice's house in Bloomsbury 
square, on another day, when the cause should be tried. 
In the mean time the Doctor was discharged ; and when 
the meeting took place, it was found that the informers had 
acted so illegally, that they were severely reprimanded, and 
the business dismissed. 

In the last year of his life, when he was probably think- 
ing of another world, rather than of the politics of this, a 
vile attempt was made to involve him, and some of the 
other eminent Non-conformists, in the Rye-house plot. 
Mr. Mead, Mr. Griffiths, and Mr. Carstairs, were charged 
with meditating the assassination of the King and the 
Duke of York ! Several distinguished individuals, among 
whom was the amiable and patriotic Lord Russel, were 
sacrificed for their supposed connexion with this business. 
The ministers, however, seem to have been free from any 
other blame than that of conversing freely with each other, 
about what ought to be done in the event of things coming 
to a crisis." The testimony of lyir. Carstairs, who was more 
connected with the politics of the country than any of the 
other ministers, and who suffered most severely and un- 
justly on account of this sham plot, is full and explicit to 
the innocence of the Dissenters. ' I should be guilty,' he 

"Pierce's Vindication of the Dissenters, pp. 253. 258. 

» DK. OWEN. 341 

says, * of the most horrid injustice, if I should accuse any 
of the worthy gentlemen of my own country, that were my 
fellow prisoners, or any of the English Dissenting ministers, 
of having the least knowledge of, or concern in the abomi- 
nable assassination of the King or his brother ; for I did 
then, as I do now, abhor such practices, nor can I, to this 
hour, tell really what was in that matter, that makes such 
a noise.'p Indeed, there can scarcely be a doubt, that it was 
entirely a contrivance of the court, to involve the friends of 
religion and liberty in disgrace ; and to gain some of its 
own iniquitous ends. The business is of too infamous a 
nature, to induce the smallest suspicion that men of reli- 
gious character or honour could be engaged in it. 

From Kensington, the Doctor removed to Ealing, a few 
miles farther into the country, where he had some property 
and a house of his own ; and where he was destined to 
finish his course. His state of mind in the prospect of 
eternity, might be inferred from his work on spiritual 
mindedness, and his meditations on the glory of Christ; so 
that without any farther evidence we might be convinced 
of the falseness of Anthony Wood's assertion, * That he- 
did very unwillingly lay down his head and die.'i But we 
are not dependent entirely on the evidence of these works, 
for our estimate of the Doctor's feelings in this interesting 
situation. The following letter, dictated the day before he 
died, to his intimate friend, Charles Fleetwood, discovers 
the state of his mind to have been, not only composed, but 
highly animated by the glorious hope of eternal life. 

* Although I am not able to write one word myself; yet 
I am very desirous to speak one word more to you in this 
world, and do it by the hand of my wife. The continuance 
of your entire kindness, knowing what it is accompanied 
with, is not only greatly valued by me, but will be a refresh- 
ment to me, as it is even in my dying hour. I am going to 
him whom my soul has loved, or rather who has loved me, 
with an everlasting love, which is the whole ground of all 
my consolation. The passage is very irksome and weari- 
some, through strong pains of various sorts, which are all 
issued in an intermitting fever. All things were provided to 
carry me to London to-day, according to the advice of my 

P Wodrow's Hist, vol, ii. p. 388. i Athen. Ox. vol. iii. p. 664. 


physicians; but we are all disappointed by my utter disabi- 
lity to undertake the journey. I am leaving the ship of the 
church in a storm ; but while the great Pilot is in it, the 
loss of a poor under-rower will be inconsiderable. Live, and 
pray, and hope, and wait patiently, and do not despond ; 
the promise stands invincible, that he will never leave us 
nor forsake us. I am greatly afflicted at the distempers of 
your dear lady; the good Lord stand by her, and support 
and deliver her. My affectionate respects to her, and the 
rest of your relations, who are so dear to me in the Lord. 
Remember your dying friend with all fervency ; I rest upon 
it that you do so, and am your's entirely.' 

This letter exhibits the ground of the Doctor's hope — 
the tranquillity of his mind — the humility of his disposition 
— his interest in the afflictions of the church, but confidence 
in her security — his attachment to his friends, and the plea- 
sure which he derived from the fellowship of their kindness 
and prayers. It is just such a letter as we might have ex- 
pected, from the preceding life and character of the writer. 

His sufi"erings, previously to his death, appear to have 
been uncommonly severe, arising from the natural strength 
of his constitution, and the complication of his maladies. 
But the truth, which he had long preached to the edification 
and comfort of many, and in defence of which he had writ- 
ten so much and so well, proved fully adequate, not only 
to support him, but to make him triumph in the prospect 
of eternity. On the morning of the day on which he died, 
Mr. William Payne, an eminent tutor and Dissenting minis- 
ter, at Saffron Waldon, in Essex, who had been intrusted 
with the publication of his Meditations on the glory of 
Christ, called to take his leave, and to inform him, that he 
had just been putting that work to the press. ' I am glad 
to hear it,' said the dying Christian, and lifting up his hands 
and eyes, as if transported with enjoyment, exclaimed — 
* But O ! brother Payne ! the long wished for day is come 
at last, in which I shall see that glory in another manner 
than I have ever done, or was capable of doing in this 
world.' This exclamation reminds us of the beautiful lan- 
guage which Cicero puts into the mouth of tlie elder Cato; 
but which have a very different emphasis in the mouth of a 
dying saint, from what th«y have in that of a heathen phi- 

DU. OWEN. 343 

losopher. * O praeclarum diem, cum ad illud divinura ani- 
raorum concilium coetumque proficiscar, cumque ex hac 
turba et colluvione discedam ! proficiscar enim non ad eos 
solum viros, de quibus ante dixi; sed etiam ad Catonem 
meum,' &c/ It was not, however, the prospect of seeing 
a Cato, though that Cato was a beloved son ; or a Paul, 
though that Paul was an apostle, that animated the hopes 
of Owen ; but the prospect of beholding him who once died 
for the guilty, who is the sum of all perfection ; and the 
sight of whom imparts to all who enjoy it immortal happi- 
ness, and heavenly purity. To him, death would be a de- 
liverance from the burden of sin, from the anxieties and 
cares which had long disturbed his repose, and from those 
excruciati^ig pains of body, which had been the long fore- 
runners of dissolution. It would also be, what is more 
than all the rest, absence from the body, to be present with 
the Lord. 

His death took place on the twenty-fourth of August, 
one thousand six hundred and eighty-three, the anniversary 
of the celebrated Bartholomew ejection, and in the sixty- 
seventh year of his age. He was speechless for several 
hours before ; but shewed, by the lifting up of his eyes and 
hands with great devotion, that he retained the use of his 
mental faculties, and his devotional feelings to the last. He 
was attended by Dr. Cox and Dr., afterwards Sir, Edmund 
King, who assigned a physical reason for the extreme se- 
verity of his last agonies. ' Mark the perfect man, and be- 
hold the upright, for the end of that man is peace !' — ' Blessed 
are the dead who die in the Lord — they rest from their la- 
bours ; and their works do follow them.' 

From Ealing, where he died, his body was conveyed to 
a house in St. James's, where it lay some time. On the 
fourth of September, it was conveyed to Bunhill-fields, 
■ attended by the carriages of sixty-seven noblemen and gen- 
tlemen ; besides many mourning coaches and persons on 
horseback. Such a testimony to the memory of a man, 
who died destitute of court and of church favour; who had 
been often abused by the sycophants of tyranny, and the 
enemies of religion, and at a time when it was dangerous 
to take part with the persecuted Non-conformists, was 

' Cic. De Senectutc. 


equally honourable to the dead and the living. He was 
doubtless dear to many, whom he had instructed by his 
preaching, and comforted by his writings. They must have 
sorrowed over the grave which closed upon the remains of 
a valuable and most devoted servant of Christ ; but their , 
sorrow would be mingled with joy, when they reflected on 
his deliverance, and indulged the sure and certain hope of 
his resurrection to eternal life. He indeed left the church 
in a storm, when there were few, comparatively, who cared 
for her state ; but he entered into rest, and she, in a few 
years, obtained deliverance and repose. How would he 
have exulted, had he lived till the Revolution, and enjoyed 
for a little the happy effects of that long and arduous strug- 
gle, in which the country had been engaged, and in which 
he and his brethren bore so prominent a part ! They were 
honoured to sustain the burden and heat of the day, while 
we repose with comfort in the shade. They fought the 
battle, and we reap the fruit of the victory. They, how- 
ever, will have their due reward, when the reproach of the 
world, and the abuse of party prejudice, will be for ever 
destroyed by the applauding approbation of the righteous 

His death was improved to the church on the Lord's 
day after the funeral, by his brother and colleague, Mr. 
Clarkson, from Philippians iii. 21. — * Who shall change 
our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glo- 
rious body.' It is a short, but consolatory discourse. He 
does not enter largely into the Doctor's character, and 
gives nothing of his history. The last paragraph is solemn 
and affecting, and must have sensibly touched the church, 
* His death falleth heaviest and most directly upon this 
congregation. We had a light in this candlestick, which 
did not only enlighten the room, but gave light to others 
far and near : but it is put out. We did not sufficiently 
value it ; I wish I might not say, that our sins have put it 
out. We had a special honour and ornament, such as 
other churches would much prize; but the crown has fallen 
from our heads, yea, may I not add, *' Woe unto us, for we 
have sinned." We have lost an excellent pilot, and lost 
him when a fierce storm is coming on us. I dread the 
conseq.uenccs, considering the weakness of those who arc 

DR. OWEN. 345 

left at the helm. If we are not sensible of it, it is because 
our blindness is great. Let us beg of God, that he would 
prevent what this threatens us with, and that he would 
make up this loss, or that it may be repaired. And let us 
pray in the last words of this dying person to me — " That 
the Lord would double his spirit upon us, that he would 
not remember against us former iniquities; but that his 
tender mereies may speedily prevent us, for we are brought 
very low."' 

By his Will, he left the estate of Eaton, in Berkshire, to 
his wife during her life. Upon her death, that estate and 
another at Stadham, were devised to his brother Henry 
Owen, (who, however, died before himself,) or his son 
Henry, who, I suppose, succeeded to both. Among the 
legacies are twenty pounds to John Collins, the pastor of a 
respectable Independent church in London; five pounds 
a-piece to Mr. David Clarkson, Mr. Robert Ferguson, and 
Mr. Isaac Loafs ; and thirty pounds to one female servant, 
and twenty to another, who had attended him during his 

His Library was sold in May, 1684, by Millington, one 
of the earliest of our book auctioneers.' Considering the 
Doctor's taste as a reader, his age as a minister, and his 
circumstances as a man, his library, in all probability, 
would be both extensive and valuable. He had become 
the possessor of the Greek and Latin MSS. which had be- 
longed to Patrick Young, better known by his Latin name 
Junius : one of the most celebrated Greek scholars of his 
time, who had been keeper of the Royal Library, at St. 
James's, and the author and editor of several learned 

A monument of free stone was erected over the vault in 

» Copy of the Doctor's Will. — Had there been any thing of importance in tlie 
Will, besides what I have noticed, I would have inserted it entire in the Appendix; 
but it is very short, and contains nothing that would interest the reader. 
» Nichol's Lit. Anec. vol.iv. p. 29. 

" Wood's Fasti, vol. i. pp. 793, 794. The Libraries of many of the Dissenting 
ministers of this period, were both extensive and valuable. Dr. Lazarus Seaman's 
Library, the first that was sold by auction, brought £700. The half of Dr. Good- 
win's Library, which was burnt, was valued at ^500. Dr. Jacorab's sold for £1300. 
The collection of Dr. Bates was bought by Dr. Williams, for £300, or £600, to lay 
the foundation of the valuable library now in Red Cross Street. Dr. Evans' Library, 
in the beginning of last century, contained 10,000 volumes. It is probable Dr. 
Owen's was not inferior to some of these. 



Bunhill fields, where his body was laid, on which the fol- 
lowing- Latin Epitaph, drawn up by his old friend Mr. 
Thomas Gilbert, was inscribed, and which still remains in 
fine preservation. 


Agro Oxoniensi Oriundus; 

Patre insigni Tbeologo Theologus ipse Insignior ; 

Et seculi hujus Insignissimis annuraerandus : 

Communibus Humaniorum Literarum Suppetiis, 

Mensura parum Communi, Instructus; 

. Omnibus, quasi bene Ordinata Ancillarum Serie, 

•Ab illo jussis suae Famulari Theologiae : 

Theologiae Polemicae, Practice, et quam vocant Casuom 

(Harum enim Omnium, quae magis sua liabenda erat, arabigitur) 

111 ilia, Viribus plusquam Herculeis, serpentibus tribus, 

Arminio, Socino, Cano, Venenosa Strinxit guttura : 

In ista suo prior, ad verbi Amussim, Expertus Pectore, 

Universara Sp. Scti. (Economiam Aliis tradidit : 

Et, missis Caeteris, Coluit ipse, Sensitque, 

Beatam quam scripsit, cum Deo Coramunionem, 

In terris Viator coraprehensori in caelis proxiraus : 

In Casuum Theologia, Singulis Oraculi instar babitus ; 

Quibus Opus erat, etcopia, Consulendi ; 

Scriba ad Regnum Caelorura usquequoque institutus; 

Multis privates intra Parietes, a Suggest© Pluribus, 

A Prelo omnibus, ad eundem scopum collineantibus, 

Pura Doctrinae Evangelicae Larapas Praeluxit ; 

Et sensim, non sine aliorura, suoque sensu, 

Sic praelucendo Periit, 

Assiduis Infirmitatibus Obsiti, 

Morbis Creberrimis Impetiti, 

Durisque Laboribuspotissimum Attriti, Corporis, 

(Fabricffi, donee ila Quassatae, Spectabilis) Ruinas, 

Deo ultra Fruendi Cupida, Deseruitj 

Die, a Terrenis Potestatibus, Plurimis facto Fatal! ; 

lUi, A Coelesti Nuraine, felici reddito ; 

Mensls Scilicet Angusti XXIV" Anno a Partu Virgineo. 

M.DC.LXXXllIo JEtat. LXVII"." 

X Translaton. — John Owen, D.D. born in the county of Oxford, the son of 
an eminent Minister, himself more eminent, and worthy to bfe enrolled among the 
first Divines of the age. Furnished with human literature in all its kkids, and 
in all its degrees, he called forth all his knowledge in an orderly train to serve 
the interests of Religion, and minister in the Sanctuary of his God. In Divinity, 
practic, polemic, and casuistical, he excelled others, and was in all equal to himself. 
The Arminian, Socinian, and Popish errors, those Hydras, whose contaminated 
breath, and deadly poison infested the church, he, with more than Herculean labour, 
repulsed, vanquished, and destroyed. The whole ecosomy of redeeming grace, re- 
vealed and applied by the Holy Spirit, he deeply investigated and communicated to 
others ; having first felt its divine energy, according to its draught in the Holy Scrip- 
tures, transfused into his own bosom. Superior to all terrene pursuits, he constantly 

DR. OWEN. 347 

Dr. Owen was tall in stature, and toward the latter part 
of his life inclined to stoop . He had a grave majestic coun- 
tenance ; but the expression was sweet rather than austere. 
His appearance and deportment were those of a gentleman, 
and therefore much suited to the situations which he was 
called to fill. Several portraits of him have been executed, 
all of which, though done at different periods of his life, 
exhibit a considerable resemblance to each other. The 
engraving given in the first edition of Palmer's Non-con- 
formist's Memorial, appears to be from the earliest paint- 
ing. It is said to be taken from an original picture in the 
possession of the Rev. Dr. Giflford ; and is now in the 
Library of the Baptist Academy at Bristol. There is a very 
fine engraving by White, which is copied by Vertue, and 
prefixed to the folio collection of his Sermons and Tracts, 
published in 1721. The painting or drawing from which 
this print was taken, must have been done toward the latter 
part of the Doctor's life. The plate is a large oval, in 
which he is represented in his library, and supporting his 
gown with his left hand. Round the margin of the plate 
is engraved, 'Joannes Owen, S. T. P. Decan Md. Chr. et 
per Quinquenn. Vice Cane. Oxon.' In a scroll above the 
oval, ' Queramus Superna,' is inscribed ; in a small tablet 
at the bottom, his arms are inserted, and on a square pe- 
destal supporting the whole, the following lines occur : — 

Umbra refert fragiles, dederunt quas cura dolorque 

Reliquias, stiidiis assiduusque labor 
Mentem hnrailem sacri servantera Limina veri 

Votis supplicibus, qui dedit, ille vidit. 

cherished, ar\d largely experienced, that blissful communion with Deity, he so ad- 
mirably describes in his writings. While on the road to Heaven his elevated mind 
almost comprehended its full glories and joys. When he was consulted on cases of 
conscience his resolutions contained the wisdom of an Oracle. He was a scribe every 
way instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom of God. In conversation, he held 
up to many, in his public discourses, to more, in his publications from the press, to all, 
who were set out for the celestial Zio7i, the effulgent lamp of evangelical truth to 
guide their steps to immortal glory. While he was thus diffusing his divine light, 
with his own inward sensations, and the observations of his afflicted friends, his 
earthly tabernacle gradually decayed, till at length his deeply sanctified soul longing 
for the fruition of its God, quitted the body. In younger age a most comely and 
majestic form ; but in the latter stages of life, depressed by constant infirmities, ema- 
ciated with frequent diseases, and above all crushed under the weight of intense and 
unremitting studies, it became an incommodious mansion for the vigorous exertions of 
the spirit in the service of its God. He left the world on a day, dreadful to the 
Church by the cruelties of men, but blissful to himself by the plaudits of his God, 
August 24, 1683, aged 67 .—Translated by Dr. Gibbons. 


Of these lines, we have an elegant translation from the 
pen of Dr. Watts ; who speaks of them with great appro- 
bation, and as the production of Owen himself. 

This shadow shews the frail remains 
Of sickness care and studious pains. 
The mind in humble posture waits 
' At sacred truth's celestial gates, 

And keeps those bounds with holy fear, 
While he that gave it sees it there.y 

The engraving prefixed to this work, is from a very fine 
painting, done in 1656, when the Doctor was Vice-Chancel- 
lor, and in the fortieth year of his age. Of the painter or 
its history nothing is known; but the proprietor has kindly 
allowed it to be used for these Memoirs, as he had before to 
Mr. Palmer, for the second edition of the Non-conformist's 
Memorial. The fac-simile of Owen's hand writing is taken 
from a letter to Baxter, written in 1668, now in the Red 
Cross Street library. 

From the materials contained in the preceding part of 
this volume, and from the numerous works of Dr. Owen, 
the reader might safely be left to form his own estimate of 
his general character. But as our discussions have fre- 
quently taken a considerable range, an attempt to bring to- 
gether the leading features of his character, as a Christian, 
as a minister of the gospel, and as a writer, will form a suit- 
able conclusion and improvement of the whole. 

One of the first things which appears in Owen's reli- 
gious history, and which constituted a prominent feature 
in his character through life, is his recognition of the su- 
preme authority of the word of God. This led him at an 
early period, to abandon all hope and desire to rise in the 
Episcopal hierarchy, and to take part with the despised 
and persecuted Puritans. The same principle induced him 
afterwards to adopt the sentiments of the Independents, 
then struggling for existence. It was this, which made 
him maintain his adherence to that body through all its 
various fortunes, and to resist with equal perseverance and 
steadiness every inducement to leave it, whether arising 
from the allurements of preferment, or the temptations of 
adversity. ' To the Law and the Testimony,' he uniformly 
bowed with humble and cheerful subjection. Where they 

y Watts' Works, Parson's Edit. vol. ii. p. 389. 

DR. OWEN. 349 

pointed the way, he felt it his duty to follow ; what they 
called him to bear, he willingly sustained. The path was 
often rugged, and the burden heavy ; but the love of Christ 
always smoothed the one, and enabled to bear the other. 
With a conscience alive to every precept of the sacred 
word, and a heart filled with gratitude to its Divine author, 
all things were felt to be easy; and he experienced, what 
all who imitate his conduct will find, that the path of duty, 
even when it leads through tribulation, is the path of safety 
and comfort. 

With conscientious obedience was associated deep hu- 
mility of disposition. Possessed of eminent talents, and 
great enlargement of mind ; placed in the most dignified 
and often envied situations ; consulted, applauded, and 
courted by authority, learning, and rank — he could not be 
altogether unconscious of his own superiority. Yet this 
very rarely appears. There was little of pride or over- 
bearing in his manner. The tendency of his talents and 
honours to elate him, was counteracted by his deep insight 
into the character of God, and the interior of human na- 
ture. He had been completely humbled by the convictions 
of the Divine law, and his knowledge of the gospel deep- 
ened his impressions of the malignity of sin, and the de- 
ceitfulness of the heart. Instead of comparing himself 
with others, he always examined his motives and actions 
by the standard of an unalterable and perfect rule. Con- 
scious of innumerable imperfections which were unper- 
ceived by men, he walked before God, as a sinner, con- 
stantly dependent on sovereign mercy to cover his trans- 
gressions, and on gracious influence to perfect his obe- 
dience. ' What have I, that I have not received,' is a sen- 
timent which he seems constantly to have carried in his 

The account given of his private manners, corresponds 
with the idea we form of him from his writings. He was 
very affable and courteous, familiar and sociable; the 
meanest persons found easy ajccess to his conversation and 
friendship. He was facetious and pleasant in his common 
discourse, but with sobriety and measure. He was a great 
master of his passions, especially that of anger; of a serene 
and even temper, neither elated with honour, credit, friends. 


or estate ; and not easily depressed with troubles and dif- 

He combined, in a manner worthy of imitation, liberal 
love to all the people of God, with firmness and attach- 
ment to his own peculiar sentiments. He walked accord- 
ing to the light which he had himself received, and loved 
those who minded the same things ; but his benedictions 
extended to all the true Israel of God. He was a devoted 
friend to truth ; but a lover of many who did not see every 
part of it as he did : while he only pitied and prayed for 
those who opposed it. Like Melancthon, he contended for 
unity in those truths which are necessary to be believed, 
for liberty in those things which God hath left free, and 
for love to all who bear the image of Christ. He was of 
great moderation in his judgment, willing to think the best 
of all men as far as he could : not censorious, but a lover 
of piety wherever it was exhibited ; not limiting Christian- 
ity to any one party, and ever endeavouring to promote it 
among men of all professions. Those who wish to culti- 
vate the diffusive charities of Christianity, and to be ' lovers 
of all good men,' would do well to imbibe his spirit, and to 
study his character : and those who suppose all principled 
attachment to distinctive sentiments and practices must be 
narrow-minded bigotry, are referred to the conduct of Owen 
for the reproof of their ignorance and folly. No man could 
exhibit more of the blandness of affection to those who dif- 
fered from him on minor points ; and no man could more 
sternly resist all interference with his own sentiments, or 
encroachments on his own liberty. To grant to others the 
same right which we exercise ourselves, is more commonly 
acknowledged to be equitable in principle, than generally 
exemplified in practice. 

Unwearied diligence in the business of the Christian 
profession, is another distinguishing trait in the life of 
Owen. He was a passionate lover of knowledge, espe- 
cially of Divine truth. He pursued it unweariedly through 
painful and wasting studies ; which impaired his health and 
strength, and brought upon him those distempers vdiich 
issued in his death. Some blamed him for this, as a sort 
of intemperance ; but it is, says Mr. Clarkson, the most 

» Memoirs, p. 33. 

DR. OWEN. 351 

excusable of any, and looks like a voluntary martyrdom. » 
His laborious diligence appeared in his varied learning, in 
his preaching, in his writings, and in his numerous and 
diversified labours. Idleness must have been utterly un- 
known to him. Every moment of his time was filled up 
in obedience to the Divine injunction, * whatsoever thy 
hands find to do, do it with thy might.' In the acqui- 
sition and diffusion of knowledge, he found a large portion 
of his earthly reward. 

But that which appears most conspicuous in the cha- 
racter of Owen, is the deep spiritual tone of his mind. To 
this, all the other qualities in his temper, and every other 
attainment must be made to bow. The grand ingredient in 
his practical and experimental writings, is spirituality. In this 
he was superior to most men of his own age, and few com- 
paratively since, have arrived at the measure of his spi- 
ritual stature. His eminence in this grace, or rather com- 
bination of the graces of the Spirit, deserves the more at- 
tention, when we reflect on the circumstances of his life. 
He was no ascetic, living afar from the haunts of men, and 
conversing in solitude with himself, and with God. Nor 
did he spend his days in village labours, amidst a rustic 
population, ' far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife.' 
He did not live, when * the churches had rest and were edi- 
fied,' or when the olive branch of peace was suspended 
over the land. He did not study how he might most qui- 
etly creep through the world, and obtain an unperceived 
dismission from its ills. His circumstances, and ' manner 
of life,' were the very reverse of these. He mixed much 
with the world, moved even among the great of the earth, 
and often stood before the principalities and powers of the 
land. Many of his best days were spent amidst the noise 
of camps, the bickerings of party, and the heat of contro- 
versy. His country was convulsed with intestine wars, 
and religious animosities ; and the churches of Christ either 
agitated by * divers and strange doctrines,' or called to en- 
dure 'a. great fight of afflictions.' In all these circum- 
stances, the soul of Owen remained unmoved ; ' in the land 
of peace, and in the swellings of Jordan,' he maintained an 
undeviating spiritual career. Superior to the influence of 

* Funeral Sermon. 


external things, his pursuits and feelings often exhibit an 
extraordinary contrast with his situation. While govern- 
ing the contending spirits of Oxford, conflicting with the 
turbulent elements of the commonwealth, and discussing 
the intricacies of the Arrainian and Socinian debates, he 
wrote on the Mortification of Sin, and on Communion 
with God. While struggling with oppression, and some- 
times concealing himself for safety, he produced his Ex- 
position of the 130th Psalm, and his work on the Hebrews. 
When racked with the stone, and * in deaths oft,' he com- 
posed his Defence of Evangelical Churches, and his Medi- 
tations on the Glory of Christ. The change of subject, and 
of circumstances, appear to have effected little change on 
his spirits, or on the state of his mind. 

The secret of this enviable attainment is to be found in 
the extraordinary measure of Divine influence which he en- 
joyed. This produced a life of faith, of self-denial, and of 
heavenly tranquillity. When he describes the mortification 
of sin, it was what he himself daily practised. When he 
exhibits the nature and excellences of communion with 
God, we have a view of his own enjoyments. When he en- 
forces the grace and duty of spiritual-mindedness, he illus- 
trates that which he daily loved and sought. His mouth 
spoke from the abundance of his heart, and that which he 
had tasted and felt himself, he was desirous of communi- 
cating to others. * He set the Lord always before him ;' 
which delivered him from the fear of man, and enabled him 
to act the part of a faithful minister of Christ. When con- 
tending for the faith, however, he remembered that ' the ser- 
vant of the Lord must not strive, but in meekness instruct 
those who oppose themselves.' When surrounded by the 
'pomps and vanities of the world,' he thought of their fading 
nature, and on the superior glory of the ' better and more 
enduring inheritance.' When struggling with the tribula- 
tions of the kingdom, he rejoiced in the rest that remain- 
eth for the people of God. When exposed to the strife of 
tongues, and reviled by unreasonable and wicked men, he 
comforted himself with the words of his Lord : * Blessed 
are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and 
say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my name's 
sake.' When fainting with weakness, and dissolving in 

Dii. OWEN. 353 

death, the thoughts of heaven and of him who occupies 
its throne filled him with 'joy unspeakable and full of 

These were the grand principles and springs of his feel- 
ings and conduct. Spirituality of mind was his life and 
his peace. After Owen, let no man find a reason for the 
want of it, in the supposed peculiarity or difficulty of his 
circumstances. Let not public life be an apology for a 
worldly spirit. Let not prosperity excuse pride, or ad- 
versity depression. Let not the contumelies of reproach 
justify a spirit of rancour, or controversy be considered as 
necessarily incompatible with the meekness and gentleness 
of Christ. He seems to have been intended as a specimen 
of what the grace of God can do for an uninspired indi- 
vidual, to encourage others to emulate his virtues, and to 
be followers of his patience and his faith. It would be 
wrong to refer to him as an authority, and sinful to clothe 
him with perfection : but if respect be due to Christian ex- 
cellence, and enlightened obedience be entitled to esteem, 
the character of Owen demands the veneration of all the 
people of God. 

As a Minister of Christ, his character and qualifications 
stand eminently high. Of his learning, knowledge of the 
Scriptures, and piety, the grand requisites of the gospel 
ministry, it is scarcely necessary to say any thing, after 
what has been brought forward. The languages of the 
cross were familiar to him as his mother tongue. To this 
his adversaries bear testimony. ' He was/ says Wood, 
* a person well skilled in the tongues. Rabbinical learning, 
and Jewish rites and customs.' Those who want farther 
evidence have only to refer to his Theologoumena, and his 
work on the Hebrews. Of the use which he made of his 
superior advantages, as a public teacher and the pastor of 
a Christian church, we may still say something. 

His talents, as a public speaker, were of the first order. 
His voice was strong, but not noisy ; sweet, but exceedingly 
manly, with a certain sound of authority in it. His gesture 
was far removed from theatrical affectation, but always 
animated and adapted to his subject.'^ His personal ap- 
pearance aided most powerfully the advantages of his voice, 

c One of Gilbert's Epitaphs. Works, p. 37. 
VOL. I. 2 A 


and all were supported by a presence of mind which seldom 
forsook him, even in the most trying circumstances. ' His 
personage,' says Wood, who knew him at Oxford, ' was 
proper and comely, and he had a very graceful behaviour 
in the pulpit; an eloquent elocution; a winning and insi- 
nuating deportment; and could, by the persuasion of his 
oratory, in conjunction with some other outward advan- 
tages, move and wind the affections of his admiring audi- 
tory, almost as he pleased.''* He seldom used notes. ' He 
had an admirable facility in discoursing on any subject per- 
tinently and decently; and could better express himself 
extempore, than others with premeditation. He was never 
at a loss for want of language, — a happiness few can pre- 
tend to ; and this he could shew in the presence even of the 
highest persons in the nation. He thus shewed that he had 
the command of his learning. His vast reading and ex- 
perience were hereby made useful in resolving doubts, 
cleadng obscurities, and healing breaches which sometimes 
seemed incurable.'^ 

His published discourses are far from unfavourable 
specimens of his pulpit talents. Those redundancies of 
which we complain in reading, must have been more tole- 
rable in their delivery. Though diffuse and generally pro- 
lix, he is often energetic ; and considering the state of the 
language at the time, and his careless habits of composi- 
tion, it is surprising that so many eloquent and touching 
passages should be found in them. Usefulness, however, 
rather than display or efl'ect, was the great object of all his 
public labours. He preached for eternity — 

Ambitious, not to shine or to excel, 

But to treat justly, wliat he loved so well. 

By this rule, therefore, all his pulpit compositions must be 
tried. He considered the' state and circumstances of his 
hearers, and endeavoured to adapt his instructions to them. 
As a good steward, he studied rightly to divide the word of 
truth, and to give to all the members of the family of God 
their due portion. 

His attention to the church, as far as we are now capable 
of judging, seems to have been very exemplary. The Ca- 
techisms which he published to aid the young and the igno- 

'• Athen. Ox. vol. ii. p. 559. * Clarkson's Funeral Sermon. 

DR. OWEN. 355 

rant, the discourses which he addressed to the church on 
particular occasions, the short addresses which he deli- 
vered at private meetings, on practical and experimental 
subjects, and those which he made at the celebration of 
the Lord's Supper, are specimens of the manner in which 
he discharged the functions of his office ; and of his anxiety 
that he might be found faithful to the trust committed to 
him. He prescribed two things to himself, for his regula- 
tion in the work of the ministry : ' To impart those truths 
of whose power he had, in some measure, a real experience, 
and to press those duties which present occasions, tempta- 
tions, and other circumstances rendered necessary to be 
attended to.'^ He exemplified in himself, the correct and 
ample view which he gives of the duty of Pastors in his 
work on the Nature of the Gospel Church ; the fifth chapter 
of which ought most seriously to be considered by all who 
occupy this important office. As many persons of rank 
and fortune were members of his church, the Doctor's cir- 
cumstances, former connexions, and superior understand- 
ing, with his eminent attainments as a Christian, peculiarly 
fitted him for the management of such a body. He knew 
how to combine dignity of deportment as a gentleman, and 
superiority as a scholar, with the meekness and gentleness 
becoming the servant of his brethren for Christ's sake. 
' His conversation was not only advantageous for its plea- 
santness and obligingness ; but there was in it that which 
made it desirable to great persons, natives and foreigners, 
and that by so many that few could have what they de- 
sired. '§ 

His influence among the Non-conformists, and particu- 
larly among his brethren of the Congregational body, was 
very extensive. It is needless to recapitulate the circum- 
stances which naturally promoted this. He outlived the 
greater part of the generation of Independents, which took 
part in the civil commotions. He was looked up to by his 
brethren, both near and at a distance, on all occasions of 
public difficulty; and from his connexions, could be of 
more service in those circumstances than any other indivi- 
dual. He was consulted by his brethren in the ministry, 
when they were perplexed about the path of duty ; and 

f Pref. to Spirit. Mind. e Ciarkson's Funeral Sermon. 


3i>G ]M K M O 1 R S OF 

churches also applied for the assistance of his counsel and 
advice, when differences occurred in them which they found 
it difficult to settle. Thus his usefulness must have ex- 
tended greatly beyond the sphere of his personal labours. 

But it is as a writer. Dr. Owen has been most useful, 
and is now most generally known. Having so often had 
occasion to speak of his publications, it cannot be neces- 
sary now to go into any details respecting them. But a 
general observation or two may still be made, on his faults 
and his merits as an author. The chief deficiency is to be 
found in his style. His sentences are frequently long, per- 
plexed, and encumbered with adjectives, often carelessly 
selected. * Accustomed to dictate Kis ideas, he surveys the 
stores of a mind rich in knowledge ; and perceiving clearly 
the leading truth which he meant to illustrate, he brings 
forward a long series of thoughts, all bearing on the sub- 
ject. The associations which linked them together in his 
mind, were probably most natural; but these thoughts were 
perhaps not all requisite at the time : parentheses frequently 
occur, and the passage becomes perplexed. He had nei- 
ther leisure nor inclination to revise and to retrench ; per- 
haps though he had made the attempt, he was not qualified 
to render his writings much more acceptable by improve- 
ments in style. In general, however, it is not difficult to 
perceive his meaning, and when the sentence is intricate, 
a little attention will commonly enable the reader to dis- 
entangle the several clauses.''' 

This is, perhaps, the best apology that can be offered 
for the obvious defects in the compositions of Owen. It 
may also be added, that even his own editions of his writ- 
ings are, in general, most carelessly printed. No attention, 
almost, has been paid to the punctuation, and every sub- 
sequent edition has adopted and added to the blunders of 
the preceding. The language too, when he wrote, had not 
attained that classical purity and neatness at which it ar- 
rived in the beginning of the following century. I am 
doubtful, however, whether Owen would have studied it, 
though it had. He was inexcusably indifl'erent to the ve- 
hicle of his thoughts. Had he written less, and paid more 
attention to the pruning and arranging of his sentiments 

l" Wright's Preface to his Edition of Owen on the Hebrews. 

DR. OWEN. .357 

und language, he would doubtless have been more useiul. 
But to all ornament in theological writing, he was an enemy 
on principle. ' Know, reader, that you have to do with a 
person, who, provided his words but clearly express the 
sentiments of his mind, entertains a fixed and absolute dis- 
regard of all elegance and ornaments of speech. For 

' Dicite Pontifices, in sacris quid facit aurara !' 

In my opinion indeed, he who in a theological contest 
should please himself with a display of rhetorical flourishes, 
would derive no farther advantage from it, but that his head 
adorned with magnificent garlands and pellets, would fall 
a richer victim to the strokes of the learned.'* 

But it is not of the want of tinsel and glitter that wc 
complain against Owen, it is of simplicity and condensa- 
tion. Most readers murmur at his prolixity and heaviness : 
and though the labour is repaid when persevered in, still, 
it might have been better, had this exercise of self-denial 
been unnecessary. How difierent is his style from the 
chaste and flowing elegance of Bate, and from the point 
and energy of Baxter ; though the latter is far from a model 
of good writing. It is useless, however, now to complain. 
The exterior of the casket has little to attract ; but its 
contents are more valuable than rubies. 

Perhaps no theological writer of the period was better 
known, and, among a large class of Christians,, so greatly 
respected. His Latin works extended his fame on the 
Continent, and led to the translation of several of his Eng- 
lish productions, or induced foreign divines to learn the 
language, that they might enjoy the benefit of them. Many 
travelled into England to see and converse with him ; many 
also were the letters which he received from learned per- 
sons abroad, but which unfortunately cannot now be re- 
covered. Among these correspondents was the celebrated 
Anna Maria Schurmann, whose letters it would have been 
most gratifying to possess ; but they also are lost.'' 

The influence of Owen's works in forming or directing 
the religious opinions, not only of his own age, but of the 
succeeding, was doubtless very great. Of this, the price 
which his larger performances continue to bring, and the 

'Preface to Divine Justice. •' Memoirs, p. 34. 


numerous editions and abridgments of his various writ- 
ings, still published, are alone sutficient proofs. Among 
the Dissenters, they have always been standard books; 
and the evangelical party in the Established Churches now 
equally respect them. Those of his works which continue 
most popular are all on the most important subjects, and 
from the extent to which they have been read, the amount 
of the good which they have etfected, can never be ascer- 
tained in this world. 

I do not know, that Owen ought to be considered an 
original writer. His works do not contain any important 
discoveries in theological science, or any great novelty of 
illustration. He seldom diverges from the common path 
of Calvinistic writers. This is noticed by Clarkson, in his 
Funeral Sermon : ' It is usual with persons of extraordinary 
parts, to straggle from the common road and affect novelty, 
though thereby they lose the best company; as though they 
could not appear eminent unless they march alone. But 
this great person did not affect singularity ; they were old 
truths that he endeavoured to defend, those which were 
delivered by the first Reformers, and owned by the best 
divines of the Church of England.' Indeed, novelty in 
Christianity is not to be expected, nor ought it perhaps to 
be desired. A passage of Scripture may receive a new 
interpretation, an argument may be placed in a stronger 
light, a doctrine or a duty may be enforced by more power- 
ful or more suitable reasonings; but the great truths, which 
constitute the foundation of faith and practice, must ever 
remain the same. 

As a controversial writer, Owen is generally distin- 
guished for calmness, acuteness, candour, and gentlemanly 
treatment of his opponents. He lived during a stormy 
period, and often experienced the bitterest provocation ; 
but he very seldom lost his temper. He often handled the 
arguments of his adversaries very roughly ; but he always 
saved their persons and feelings as much as possible. 
This, the most of them were obliged to acknowledge. 
Wood declares, that ' he was one of the fairest and most 
genteel of the writers who appeared against the Church of 
England ; handling his adversaries with far more civil, de- 
cent, and temperate language than many of his fiery bre- 

DR. OWEN. 359 

thren, and confining himself wholly to the cause, without 
the unbecoming mixture of personal slanders and reflec- 
tions.' Stillingfleet acknowledges, that he ' treated him 
with civility and decent language.' Henry Dodwell ad- 
mits, ' He was of a better temper than most of his brethren.' 
* Dr. Owen,' says John Humfrey, Ms a person whose name 
I honour for his worth, learning, comprehensive parts; and 
one in whom was more of a gentleman as to his deportment 
than any Divine I ever knew among us.' And even Richard 
Baxter, his frequent and troublesome opponent, bears ho- 
nourable testimony to his character. 'I doubt not,' he 
says, 'but he was a man of rare parts and worth. That 
Book of Communion is an excellent Treatise; and his great 
volumes on the Hebrews do all shew his great and eminent 
parts. It was his strange error, if he thought that freedom 
from a Liturgy, would have made most or many ministers, 
like himself, as free, and fluent, and copious of expression. 
In the late time, he had never been so long Dean of Christ 
Church, so oft Vice-chancellor of Oxford ; so highly es- 
teemed in the army, and with the persons then in power, 
if his extraordinary parts had not been known. If this 
excellent man had one mistake, yet he was of late years of 
more complying mildness, and sweetness, and peaceable- 
ness than ever before, or than many others. I doubt not 
but his soul is now with Christ, where tiiere is no darkness, 
no mistakes, no separation of Christ's members from one 

These are honourable testimonies, especially the last. 
Had controversy been always carried on in the spirit of 
Ovt^cn, it would not have been that baneful thing which it 
has so generally proved ; till every book bearing a contro- 
versial title, is the object of disgust to many, who might be 
much benefited by reading both sides of a question. In 
this respect, the generality of modern writers have greatly 
the advantage of those who wrote in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries. There is, however, some danger of 
theological politeness becoming morbid. The disposition 
to please, and to compliment, may be carried too far. To 
abuse and vilify on the pretence of defending truth with 
spirit, and tamely to surrender its interests, from a desire 

' Baxfcr's Reply (o Owen's Twelve Arguments. 

360 mJlMoirs of 

to stand well with its enemies, are very different things, and 
ought to be for ever distant. 

By far the greatest portion of Owen's writings is con- 
troversial. This arose, not so much from the warlike dis- 
position of the man, as from his circumstances. The Ar- 
minian, Socinian, Popish, Episcopalian, and Independent 
debates, occupied his attention, and were the subjects of 
his elaborate illustration. They were all deeply interesting 
then; and none of them have become altogether uninterest- 
ing since his death. One thing appears prominent in all 
his productions of this class — a strong desire to give them 
a practical direction, and to render them as useful as pos- 
sible to his opponents and readers. His appeals to the 
conscience and the heart, and his constant reference to the 
good or evil tendency of particular sentiments, are calcu- 
lated to improve the dispositions, as well as to enlighten 
the understanding. What good end is gained by silencing 
or triumphing over an adversary, if he is not convinced 1 
Should it be evident that a victory is secured, if it be at the 
expense of exciting the malevolent propensities of human 
nature, it calls for humiliation rather than boasting. Men 
sometimes write in such a manner, as if it were their object 
to run down an opponent, rather than to convince, or in- 
struct hira ; and to excite hatred to his person, as much as 
dislike to his opinions. Of this treatment, Owen was re- 
peatedly the object; but nothing which ever fell from his 
pen retaliated it. Against such unprincipled conduct, the 
united voice of the Christian Republic ought to be raised, 
till the very attempt become hazardous to the character, 
or the cause to which it may belong. 

As an expository writer, I have spoken of him at large 
in my account of his Exposition of the Epistle to the He- 
brews. It is as a practical, and especially as an experi- 
mental writer, that Owen is most generally known, and that 
he enjoys the greatest popularity; and it must be allowed, 
that this is the department in which he chiefly excels. Here, 
he was eminently at home. Possessed of the most accurate 
and extensive views of the whole scheme of Redemption, 
of a singularly spiritual mind, and of a high degree of de- 
votional ardour; he enters into the minutest details of the 
Christian character, with the utmost familiarity, and traces 

DK. OWEN. 361 

all its lineaments and graces with the hand of a master. 
He is never so taken up with the ornament or drapery, as 
to daub ' The Christian face divine ;' nor in exhibiting the 
countenance and the figure, is there ^ver any thing distorted 
or disproportioned. Spiritual Life is the vital energy 
which pervades the morality and the practice, recom- 
mended by Owen. It is not the abstraction of a mystical 
devotion, like that of Fenelon or Law; nor is it the enthu- 
siastic raptures of a Zinzendorf; but the evangelical piety 
of Paul, and the heavenly affection of John. For every 
practice, mortification, and feeling, Owen assigns a satis- 
factory, because a scriptural, reason. The service which 
he recommends, is uniformly a reasonable service ; and to 
every required exertion, he brings an adequate and con- 
straining motive. 

In examining the practical writings of such men an 
Hall, Taylor, and Tillotson, we miss that rich vein of 
evangelical sentiment, and that constant reference to the 
living principle of Christianity, which are never lost sight 
of in Owen. They abound in excellent directions, in rich 
materials for self-examination, and self-government; but 
they do not state with suflicient accuracy the connexion 
between gracious influence, and its practical results, from 
which all that is excellent in human conduct must proceed. 
They appear as the anatomists of the skin and the extre- 
mities ; Owen is the anatomist of the heart. ' He dissects 
it with remarkable sagacity, tracing out its course and turn- 
ings in every path that leads from integrity, and marking 
the almost imperceptible steps which conduct to atrocious 
sins.'" While others attend to the faults or the excellences 
of the outer man, he devotes himself chiefly to the sins and 
enjoyments of the inner man ; illustrating at the same time 
how they regulate the exterior behaviour. He uniformly 
begins with the grand principles of Christian action, and 
traces them from their source in the sovereign lov€ of the 
Redeemer, through all their windings in human experience; 
examining all that retards, and noticing all that promotes 
their progress; shewing how they fertilize the soil through 
which they flow with the fruits of righteousness, and finally 

" Arthur Young's Oweaiana, Preface. 


return in the incense of grateful praise to the atmosphere of 

Owen, Goodwin, Baxter, and Howe, were the four 
leading men among the Non-conformist worthies. In as- 
signing the first place to the subject of these memoirs, 1 
am not aware of being improperly influenced, by my par- 
tiality for a favourite author; a partiality which I confess 
has been greatly increased by my researches into his his- 
tory. It is the place which I apprehend to be indisputably 
due to him, and which the general voice of enlightened 
Christians has long conferred." They were ' all honourable 
men,' whose characters and talents would have graced any 
cause. To each of them, Owen was perhaps inferior in 
some prominent feature or attainment ; but none of them 
was equal to him on the whole, or occupied so many 
important fields of labour. Goodwin possessed his learn- 
ing, but not his discernment or his public talents. Baxter 
was his equal in diligence, and perhaps his superior in 
acuteness and in energy ; but possessed not his learning, 
good temper, or accuracy of sentiment. Howe was more 
original, and philosophical ; but had less of the simplicity 
of Gospel doctrine. Comparisons, however, are invidious 
and unnecessary ; each filled with propriety his own sta- 
tion, and shone in his own circle; and all are now enjoying 
together the fruits of their labours and suflferings. ' They 

" Hervey's classification of the leading Non-conforniists, and his character of 
them, nearly corresponds with what is given in the text. ' Dr. Owen, with his cor- 
rect judgment, and an immense fund of learning. ]Mr. Charnock, with his masculine 
style, and an inexhaustible vein of thought. Dr. Goodwin, with sentiments enii- 
nently evangelical, and a most happy talent at opening, siftio^, and displaying the 
hidden riches of Scripture. These I think are the /irst three: — Then con)es Mr. Howe, 
nervous and majestic ; witli all the powers of imagery at his command. Dr. Bates, 
flaent and polished ; with a never-ceasing store of beautiful similitudes. Mr. Flavcl, 
fervent and affectionate ; with a masterly hand at probing the conscience, and strik- 
ing the passions. Mr. Caryl, Dr. Manton, and Mr. Poole, with many others; whose 
works will speak for them ten thousand times better than the tongue of panegyric, or 
the pen of biography.' — Theron and Aspasio, vol. iii. p. 206. Edit. 1767. The liigh 
opinion entertained of Baxter and Owen, by the late Arthur Young, Esq. Secretary • 
to the Board of Agriculture, is evident from the selections from their works which he 
published under the title of Oweiuana and Baxteriana. That of Mr. Wilberforce is 
no less decided. Baxter he classes ' among the brightest ornaments of the Church 
of England.' Others, he says, were men of great erudition, deep views of religion, 
and unquestionable piety ; among whom he mentions in particular Dr. Owen, Mr. 
Howe, and Mr. Flavel. The heavenly-niindedness of Owen, and his work on the 
Mortification of Sin, he strongly recommends. — Wilbcrforce's Practical View, pp. 
•J42, 243. 

DR. OWEN. ■ 363 

were the chiefs of the mighty men/ whom God raised up 
* to strengthen his kingdom for him ;' and who deserve to 
be held in everlasting remembranQe. Should these imper- 
fect Memoirs of him, who occupied the first rank among 
them, induce any to examine his principles, to cultivate 
his dispositions, and to follow his steps ; I shall not consi- 
der that 1 have spent my time in vain, in collecting the 
scanty and widely scattered fragments of the life, writings, 
and connexions of John Owen. 




Letter I. 

I HAVE received your strictures upon our Confession, 
wherein you charge it with palpable contradiction, non- 
sense, enthusiasm, and false doctrine; that is, all the evils 
that can be crowded into such a writing : and I understand 
by another letter since, that you have sent the same paper 
to others, which is the sole cause of the return which I now 
make to you : and I beg your pardon in telling you, that ail 
your instances are your own mistakes, or the mistakes of 
your friend, as I shall briefly manifest to you. 

First, You say there is a plain contradiction between 
chap. iii. art. 6. and chap. xxx. art. 2. In the first place it 
is said, ' None but the elect are redeemed;' but in the other 
it is said, ' The sacrament is a memorial of the one offering of 
Christ upon the cross for all.' I do admire to find this 
charged by you as a contradiction ; for you know full well, 
that all our divines who maintain that the elect only were 
redeemed effectually by Christ, do yet grant that Christ 
died for all in the Scripture sense of the v.ord; that is, 
some of all sorts, and never dreamt of any contradiction in 
their assertion. But your mistake is worse, for in chap. 
xxx. art. 2. which you refer to, there is not one word men- 
tioned of Christ's dying for all; but that the sacrifice which 
he offered, was offered once for all, which is the expression 
of the apostle, to intimate that it was but once offered in 
opposition to the frequent repetitions of the sacrifices of 
the Jews. And pray, if you go on in your translation, do 
not fall into a mistake upon it ; for in the very close of the 


article it is said, ' That Christ's only sacrifice was a pro- 
pitiation for the sins of all the elect.' The words you urge 
out of 2 Pet. ii. 1. are not in the text : they are by your 
quotation, ' denied him that had redeemed them;' but it is 
'denied the sovereign Lord which had bought them;' which 
words have quite another sense. 

Something you quote out of chap. vi. art. J3. where I 
think you suppose we do not distinguish between the 
' reatus' and * macula' of sin : and so think that we grant the 
defilement of Adam's person, and consequently of all inter- 
mediate propagations to be imputed unto us. Pray, Sir, 
give me leave to say, that I cannot but think your mind 
was employed about other things, when you dreamt of our 
being guilty of such a folly and madness; neither is there 
any one word in the Confession which gives countenance 
unto it. If you would throw away so much time as to read 
any part of my late discourse about justification, it is not 
unlikely but that you would see something of the nature of 
the guilt of sin, and the imputation of it, which may give you 

In your next instance which you refer unto, chap. xix. 
art. 3. by some mistake (there being nothing to the purpose 
in that place) you say, * It is presupposed that some who have 
attained age may be elected, and yet have not the knowledge 
of Jesus Christ, which is a pure enthusiasm, and is contrary 
to chap. XX. art. 2.' Why, Sir! that many who are eternally 
elected, and yet for some season, some less, some longer, 
do live without the knowledge of Christ, until they are con- 
verted by the word and Spirit, is not an enthusiasm; but 
your exception is contrary to the whole Scripture, contrary 
to the experience of all days and ages, overthrows the work 
of the ministry, and is so absurd to sense and reason, and 
daily experience, that I know not what to say to it ; only, I 
confess, that if with some of the Arminians you do not be- 
lieve that any are elected from eternity, or before they do 
actually believe, something may be spoken to countenance 
your exception : but that we cannot regard, for it was our 
design to oppose all their errors. 

Your next instance is a plain charge of false doctrine, 
taken out of chap. xi. art. 1 . speaking, as you say, of the ac- 
tive obedience of Christ imputed to us, which is contrary to 


art. 3. where it is said, that Christ acquits by his obedience 
in death, and not by his fulfilling of the law. Sir, you still 
give me cause of some new admiration in all these objections, 
and I fear you make use of some corrupt copy of our Confes- 
sion : for we say not, as you allege, that Christ by his obe- 
dience in death did acquit us, and not by his fulfilling of 
the law : but vv^e say, that Christ by his obedience and death 
did fully discharge the debt of all those who are justified, 
which comprehends both his active and passive righteous- 
ness. But you add a reason, whereby you design to dis- 
prove this doctrine of ours, concerning the imputation of the 
active righteousness of Christ unto our justification. Why, 
you say, it is contrary to reason, for that we are freed from 
satisfying God's justice, by being punished by death, but 
not from the fulfilling of the law; therefore the fulfilling of 
the law by Christ, is no satisfaction for us : we are not freed 
from active obedience, but from passive obedience. Pray, 
Sir, do not mistake that such mistaken reasonings can give 
us any occasion to change our judgments in an article of 
truth of this importance. When you shall have been pleased 
to read my book of Justification, and have answered solidly 
what I have written upon this subjfect, I will tell you more 
of my mind : in the mean time I tell you, we are by the death 
of Christ freed from all sufferings, as they are purely penal, 
and the effects of the curse, though they spring out of that 
root : only, Sir, you and I know full well that we are not freed 
from pains, afflictions, and death itself, which had never been, 
had they not proceeded from the curse of the law. And so. 
Sir, by the obedience of Christ we are freed from obedience 
to the law, as to justification by the works thereof; we are 
no more obliged to obey the law in order to justification, 
than we are obliged to undergo the penalties of the law to 
answer its curse. But these things have been fully debated 

In the last place, your friend wishes it could be avoided 
and declined to speak any thing about universal grace, for 
that it would raise some or most divines against it. I judge 
myself beholden to your friend for the advice, which I pre- 
sume he judges to be good and wholesome : but I beg your 
pardon that I cannot comply with it, although I shall not re- 
flect with any severity upon them who are of another judg- 



ment : and to tell you the truth, the immethodical new me- 
thod introduced to give countenance to universal grace, is, 
in my judgment, suited to draw us off from all due concep- 
tions concerning the grace of God in Jesus Christ, which I 
shall not now stay to demonstrate, though I will not decline 
the undertaking of it, if God gives me strength, at any time. 
And I do wonder to hear you say, that many, if not most di- 
vines will rise against it, who have published in print, that 
there were but two in England that were of that opinion ; and 
have strenuously opposed it yourself. How things are in 
France I know not, but at Geneva, in Holland, in Switzer- 
land, in all the Protestant churches of Germany, I do know 
that this universal grace is exploded. Sir, I shall trouble 
you no farther. I pray be pleased to accept of my desire to 
undeceive you in those things, wherein eithera corrupt copy 
of our Confession, or the reasonings of other men, have 
given you so many mistaken conceptions about our Con- 
fession. I am, Sir, yours, 

J. Owen. 

Letter II. 


Dear Madam, 
Every work of God is good; the Holy One in the midst of 
us will do no iniquity ; and all things shall work together 
for good unto them that love him; even those things which 
at present are not joyous, but grievous; only his time is to 
be waited for, and his way submitted unto, that we seem not 
to be displeased in our hearts, that he is Lord over us. Your 
dear infant is in the eternal enjoyment of the fruits of all our 
prayers, for the covenant of God is ordered in all things, 
and sure : we shall go to her ; she shall not return to us. 
Happy she was in this above us, that she had so speedy an 
issue of sin and misery, being born only to exercise your 
faith and patience, and to glorify God's grace in her eternal 
blessedness. ^ My trouble would be great on the account of 
my absence at this time from you both, but that this also is 
the Lord's doing ; and I know my own uselessness wherever 
I am. But this I will beg of God for you both, that you 


may not faint in this day of trial, that you may have a clear 
view of those spiritual and temporal mercies wherewith you 
are yet intrusted, all undeserved, that sorrow of the world 
may not so overtake your hearts, as to disenable to any du- 
ties,ito grieve the Spirit, to prejudice your lives ; for it tends 
to death. God in Christ will be better to you than ten chil- 
dren, and will so preserve your remnant, and so add to them, 
as shall be for his glory, and your comfort : only consider, 
that sorrow in this case is no duty, it is an effect of sin, 
whose cure by grace we should endeavour. Shall I say, be 
cheerful? I know I may. God help you to honour, grace, 
and mercy, in a compliance therewith. My heart is with 
jou, my prayers shall be for you, and am. 
Dear Madam, 
Your most affectionate friend. 

And unworthy pastor, 

J. Owen. 

Letter III. 

Dear Madam, 
The trouble expressed in yours is a great addition to mine : 
the sovereignty of divine wisdom and grace is all that I have 
at this day to retreat unto ; God direct you thereunto also, 
and you will find rest and peace. It adds to ray trouble 
that I cannot possibly come down to you this week ; nothing 
but engaged duty could keep me from you one hour : yet I 
am conscious how little I can contribute to your guidance 
in this storm, or your satisfaction. Christ is your pilot, and 
however the vessel is tossed whilst he seems to sleep, he 
will arise and rebuke these winds and waves in his own time. 
I have done it, and yet shall farther wrestle with God for 
you, according to the strength he is pleased to communi- 
cate. Little it is which at this distance I can mind you of, 
yet some few things are necessary. Sorrow not too much 
for the dead ; she is entered into rest, and is taken away 
from the evil to come. Take heed lest by too much grief, 
you too much grieve that Holy Spirit, who is infinitely more 
to us than all natural relations. I blame you not that you 

VOL. I. 2 b 


SO far attend to the call of God in this dispensation, as to 
search yourself, to judge and condemn yourself: grace can 
make it an evidence to you, that you shall not be judged or 
condemned of the Lord. I dare not say that this chastise- 
ment was not needful. We are not in heaviness unless need 
be ; but if God be pleased to give you a discovery of the 
wisdom anc' care that is in it, and how needful it was to 
awaken and restore your soul in any thing, perhaps in many 
things, in due time you will see grace and love in it also. I 
verily believe God expects, in this dealing with you, ^that 
you should judge yourself, your sins, and your decays; but 
he would not have you misjudge your condition. But we 
are like froward children, who when they are rebuked and 
corrected, neglect other things, and only cry that their pa- 
rents hat^ and reject them. You are apt to fear, to think 
and say, that you are one whom God regards not, who are 
none of his, and that for sundry reasons which you suppose 
you can plead : But, saith God, this is not the business, this 
is a part of your frowardness ; I call you to quicken your 
grace, to amend your own ways, and you think you have 
nothing to do, but to question my love. Pray, madam, my 
dear sister, child and care, beware you lose not the advan- 
tage of this dispensation ; you will do so, if you use it only 
to afflictive sorrows, or questioning of the love of God, or 
your interest in Christ. The time will be spent in these 
things, which should be taken up in earnest endeavours after 
a compliance with God's will, quickenings of grace, returns 
after backsliding, mortification of sin and love of the world, 
until the sense of it do pass away. Labour vigorously to 
bring your soul to this twofold resolution. (1.) That the 
will c*f God is the best rule for all things, and their circum- 
stances. (2.) That you will bring yourself into a fresh en- 
gagement to live more to him ; and you will find the re- 
mainder of your work easy; for it is part of the yoke of 
Christ. I shall trouble you no farther, but only to give you 
the assurance that you are in my heart continually, which is 
nothing; but it helps to persuade me that you are in the 
heart of Christ, which is all. I am. 
Dear Madam, . 

Your very affectionate servant, 

.T. Ow RN. 


Letter IV. 


Beloved in the Lord, 
Mercy, grace, and peace be multiplied to you from God our 
Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, by the communi- 
cation of the Holy Ghost. I thought and hoped that by 
this time I might have been present with you, according to 
my desire and resolution ; but it has pleased our holy, gra- 
cious Father otherwise to dispose of me, at least for a season. 
The continuance of my painful infirmities, and the increase 
of my weaknesses, will not allow me at present to hope, that 
I should be able to bear the journey. How great an exer- 
cise this is to me, considering the season, he knows, to 
whose will I would in all things cheerfully submit myself. 
But although I am absent from you in body, I am in mind, 
affection, and spirit present with you, and in your assem- 
blies ; for I hope you will be found my crown and rejoicing 
in the day of the Lord : and my prayer for you night and 
day is, that you may stand fast in the whole will of God, 
and maintain the beginning of your confidence without wa- 
vering, firm unto the end. IJinow it is needless for me at this 
distance to write to you, about what concerns you in point 
of duty at this season, that work being well supplied by my 
brother in the ministry ; you will give rae leave, out of my 
abundant affections towards you, to bring some few things to 
your remembrance, as my weakness will permit. 

In the first place, I pray God, it may be rooted and fixed 
in our minds, that the shame and loss we may undergo, for 
the sake of Christ, and the profession of the gospel, is the 
greatest honour which in this life we can be made partakers 
of: so it was esteemed by the apostles ; they rejoiced that 
they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name's 
sake : it is a privilege superadded to the grace of faith, 
which all are not made partakers of. Hence it is reckoned 
to the Philippians in a peculiar manner, that it was given to 
them, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for 


him : that it is far more honourable to suffer with Christ, 
than to reign with the greatest of his enemies: if this be 
fixed by faith in our minds, it will tend greatly to our en- 
couragement. I inention these things only, as knowing 
that they are more at large pressed on you. 

The next thing I would recommend to you at this sea- 
son, is, the increase of mutual love among yourselves ; for 
every trial of our faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, is 
also a trial of our love towards the brethren. This is that 
which the Lord Christ expects from us, namely. That when 
the hatred of the world doth openly manifest and act itself 
against us all, we should evidence an active love among 
ourselves. If there have been any decays, any coldness 
herein, if they are not recovered and healed in such a sea- 
son, it can never be expected. I pray God therefore, that 
your mutual love may abound more and more in all the 
effects and fruits of it towards the whole society, and every 
member thereof. You may justly measure the fruit of your 
present trial by the increase of this grace among you : in par- 
ticular have a due regard to the weak and the tempted; 
that that which is lame may not be turned out of the way, 
but rather let it be healed. 

Furthermore, brethren, I beseech you, hear a word of 
advice in case the persecution increases, which it is like to 
do for a season. I could wish that because you have no 
ruling elders, and your teachers cannot walk about publicly 
with safety, that you would appoint some among yourselves, 
who may continually, as their occasions will admit, go up 
and down, from house to house, and apply themselves pe- 
culiarly to the weak, the tempted, the fearful, those that 
are ready to despond, or to halt, and to encourage them in 
the Lord. Choose out those to this end who are endued 
with a spirit of courage and fortitude; and let them know 
that they are happy whom Christ will honour with this 
blessed work ; and I desire the persons may be of this num- 
ber who are faithful men, and know the state of the church : 
by this means you will know what is the frame of the mem- 
bers of the church, which will be a great direction to you, 
even in your prayers. Watch now, brethren, that, if it be 
the will of God, not one soul may be lost from under your 
care ; let no one be overlooked or neglected ; consider all 


their conditions, and apply yourselves to all their circum- 

Finally, brethren, that I be not at present farther trou- 
blesome to you, examine yourselves, as to your spiritual 
benefit which you have received, or do receive, by your pre- 
sent fears and dangers, which will alone give you the true 
measure of your condition; for if this tends to the exercise 
of your faith, and love, and holiness, if this increases your 
valuation of the privileges of the gospel, it will be an un- 
doubted token of the blessed issue which the Lord Christ 
will give unto your troubles. Pray for me as you do, and 
do it the rather, that, if it be the will of God, I may be re- 
stored to you; and if not, that a blessed entrance maybe 
given to me into the kingdom of God and glory. Salute all 
the church in my name. 1 take the boldness in the Lord 
to subscribe myself. 

Your unworthy Pastor, 

And your Servant for Jesus' sake, 

J. Owen. 

P. S. I humbly desire you would in your prayers re- 
member the family where I am, from whom I have received, 
and do receive, great Christian kindness. I may say as the 
apostle of Onesiphorus, The Lord give to them, that they 
may find mercy of the Lord in that day, for they have often 
refreshed me in my great distress. 

Letter V. 

Dear Sir, 
I RECEIVED yours, and am glad to hear of your welfare ; 
there is more than ordinary mercy in every day's preserva- 
tion. My wife, I bless God, is much revived, so that I do 
not despair of her recovery : but for myself, I have been 
under the power of various distempers for fourteen days 
past, and do yet so continue. God is fastening his instruc- 
tion concerning the approach of that season, wherein I 
must lay down this tabernacle. I think my mind has been 
too much intent upon some things, which I looked on as 


services for the church, but God will have us know, that he 
has no need of me nor them, and is therefore calling me off 
from them. Help me with your prayers, that I may through 
the riches of his grace in Christ, be in some measure ready 
for my account. The truth is, we cannot see the latter rain 
in its season, as we have seen the former, and a latter spring 
thereon : death, that will turn in the streams of glory upon 
our poor withering souls, is the best relief. I begin to fear 
that we shall die in this wilderness ; yet ought we to labour 
and pray continually that the heavens would drop down 
from above, and the skies pour down righteousness, that the 
earth may open and bring forth salvation, and that righte- 
ousness may spring up together. If ever I return to you in 
this world, I beseech you to contend yet more earnestly, 
than ever I have done with God, with my own heart, with 
the church, to labour after spiritual revivals. Our affec- 
tionate service to your Lady, and to all your family that are 
of the household of God. lam. Dearest Sir, 

Yours most affectionately whilst I live, 

J. Owen. 

Stadham, July 8. 

Letter VI. 


Dear Sir, 
The bearer has stayed long enough with us to save you the 
trouble of reading an account of me in my own scribbling : 
a longer stay I could not prevail with him for, though his 
company was a great refreshment to me. Both you, and 
your whole family, in all their occasions and circumstances, 
are daily in my thoughts ; and when I am enabled to pray, 
I make mention of you all without ceasing. I find you and 
I are much in complaining : for my part I must say, and 
is there not a cause ? so much deadness, so much inspiritu- 
ality, so much weakness in faith, coldness in love, insta- 
bility in holy meditations, as I find in myself, is cause suf- 
ficient of complaints ; but is there not cause also of thanks- 
giving, and joy in the Lord ? Are there not reasons for 

Ai'Tiixnix. 375 

them? When I begin to think of them, I am overwhelmed; 
they are great, they are glorious, they are inexpressible. 
Shall 1 now invite you to this great duty of rejoicing more 
in the Lord ? Pray for me that 1 may do so ; for the near 
approach of my dissolution calls for it earnestly; my heart 
has done with this world, even in the best, and most desirable 
of its refreshments: if thejoy of the Lord be not now strength 
unto it, it will fail. But I must have done. Unless God be 
pleased to affect some person or persons, with a deep sense 
of our declining condition, of the temptations and dangers 
of the day, filling them with compassion for the souls of men, 
making them fervent in spirit in their work, it will go but 
ill with us. It maybe these thoughts spring from causeless 
fears ; it may be none amongst us has an evil, a barren heart 
but myself: but bear with me in this my folly ; I cannot lay 
down these thoughts until I die ; nor do I mention them at 
present, as though I should not esteem it a great mercy to 
have so able a supply as Mr, C. but I am. groaning after de- 
liverance ; and being near the centre, do hope I feel the 
drawing of the love of Christ with more earnestness than 
formerly : but my naughty heart is backward in these com- 
pliances. My affectionate service to Sir John Hartopp, and 
his lady, and to the rest of your family, when God shall 
return them unto you. I am. Dear Sir, 

Yours most affectionately. 

In everlasting bonds, 

J. Owen. 

Letter VII. 


Dear Sir, 
I RECEIVED yours by Mr. B. to whom I shall commit this 
return, and hope it will come safely to your hands : for al- 
though I can acknowledge nothing of what you are pleased 
out of your love to ascribe unto me, yet I shall be always 


ready to give you my thoughts in the way of brotherly ad* 
vice, whenever you shall stand in need of it : and at present 
as things are circumstanced, I do not see how yoa can 
wave or decline the call of the church, either in conscience 
or reputation. For to begin with the latter ; should you do 
so upon the most Christian and cogent grounds in your own 
apprehensions, yet wrong interpretations will be put upon 
it, and so far as it is possible we ought to keep ourselves, 
not only 'extra noxam,' but ' suspicionem' also. But the 
point of conscience is of more moment : all things concur- 
ring, the providence of God in bringing you to that place, 
the judgment of the church on your gifts and grace for their 
edification and example, the joint consent of the body of the 
congregation in your call, with present circumstances of a 
singular opportunity for preaching the word, I confess at 
this distance I see not how you can discharge that duty you 
owe to Jesus Christ (whose you are, and not your own, and 
must rejoice to be, what he will have you to be, be it more 
or less) in refusing a compliance unto these manifest indi- 
cations of his pleasure ; only remember that you sit down 
and count what it will cost you, which I know you will not 
be discouraged by ; for the daily exercise of grace, and 
learning of wisdom should not be grievous unto us, though 
some of their occasions may be irksome. For the latter 
part of your letter, I know no difference between a pastor 
and a teacher, but what follows their different gifts ; the 
office is absolutely the same in both ; the power the same, 
the right to the administration of all ordinances every way 
the same; and at that great church at Boston, in New 
England, the teacher was always the principal person ; so 
was Mr. Cotton and Mr. Norton : where gifts make a dif- 
ference, there is a difference ; otherwise there is none. I 
pray God guide you in this great affair ; and I beg your 
prayers for myself in my weak infirm condition. I am 
Your affectionate friend and brother, 

J. Owen. 

London, March 16. 

N. B. We may see the concurrent judgment of those 
two great divines. Dr. Owen, and Dr. Goodwin, about the 

.\PPENDIX. 377 

equal authority and power of a pastor and a teacher in a 
church, as appears by two letters of Dr. Goodwin to the 
same person, upon this subject, printed at the end of the 
fourth volume of his works. 

Letter VIII. 

Dear Sir, 
Although I am not able to write one word myself, yefe^ I 
am very desirous to speak one word more to you in this 
world, and do it by the hand of my wife. The continuance 
of your entire kindness, knowing what it is accompanied 
withal, is not only greatly valued by me, but will be a re- 
freshment to me, as it is even in my dying hour. I am 
going to him whom my soul has loved, or rather who has 
loved me with an everlasting love, which is the whole ground 
of all my consolation. The passage is very irksome and 
wearisome, through strong pains of various sorts, which are 
all issued in an intermitting fever. All things were pro- 
vided to carry me to London to-day, according to the advice 
of my physicians ; but we are all disappointed by my utter 
disability to undertake the journey. I am leaving the ship 
of the church in a storm ; but whilst the great Pilot is in it, 
the loss of a poor underrower will be inconsiderable. Live, 
and pray, and hope, and wait patiently, and do not despond ; 
the promise stands invincible, that he will never leave us, 
nor forsake us. I am greatly afflicted at the distempers of 
your dear lady ; the good Lord stand by her, and support 
and deliver her. My affectionate respects to her, and the 
rest of your relations, who are so dear to me in the Lord. 
Remember your dying friend with all fervency ; I rest upon 
it, that you do so, and am 

Yours entirely, 

J. Owen. 

August 22, 1683. 

N. B. The Doctor died August 24. 


Among the young men, who were placed under his eye 
while at the university, was a son of Judge Puleston, whose 
lady was a relation of the Doctor. In this family Mr. Philip 
Henry lived for some time as chaplain and tutor, and he 
speaks of Lady Puleston as the best friend he had on earth ; 
and as a woman in piety inferior to few, and in learning su- 
perior to most of her sex. She appears to have been a very 
excellent Christian, and died of a painful complaint, on 'the 
29th Sept. 1658.— (Memoirs of Philip Henry, pp. 21—47.) 
The two following letters were kindly furnished me, by the 
Rev. Thomas Stedman, Vicar of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury ; 
and though they contain nothing of importance, as they are 
originals and illustrate a little the connexions of Owen, they 
are entitled to a place. 

Letter IX. 


Whilst I was in hope to have waited upon you, and your 
worthy husband, at your own house ; I reserved my begging 
of your pardon, that I had not made my acknowledgment of 
your favour in owning and minding a relation of kindred, 
and sundry other respects, unto that season. Being by the 
providence of God prevented as to those resolutions, I am 
led to lay hold on this opportunity, of returning my hearty 
thanks for your kind remembrances of him, who is no way 
able to deserve your respects, though he will at all times 
have as hearty and entire an honour and regard to your lady- 
ship, and your noble husband as any person living. Ihope 
you both, with my cousins, your sons, are in health; and am 
resolved (if the Lord please) to see you in the [beginning] 
of this spring. My wife presents her faithful service and 
respects to your ladyship, and is glad to hear of your name. 
For my part, it is some contentment to me, that whilst I am 
in this place, I have some little opportunity to express a re- 
gard to that relation you are pleased to allow me the honour 
of, by taking the best care I can of him who bears the name 


of your family, my young cousin Puleston — I humbly beg 
your pardon of this trouble, and leave to subscribe myself, 
Madam, your most humble servant. 

And affectionate kinsman, 
John Owen. 

My most humble service of respects, with many thanks 
for his kind invitation, to your worthy husband. 

For the truly noble and virtuous Lady Puleston, his 
honoured friend and kinswoman — These. 

Ox: Ch: Ch: Coll: Jan. 26th, 1657. 

Letter X. 

From a copy in the hand -writing of Mr. Philip Henry. 

My much honoured Cousin, (No date.) 

I WAS in hopes I should have seen you here, as you pro- 
posed, the last spring, and am very sorry it fell out other- 
wise. It hath pleased the Lord to lay me low under his 
hand by much pain, and many months' sickness from a cancer 
in my breast, and I am waiting every day till my change 
cometh; but if we meet no more on earth, I hope we shall 
in the arms of Jesus Christ. There is a friend of mine, 
whose name is Edward Thomas, of Wrexham, who brings 
his son to your college, and 1 request you to countenance 
him with your favour. The youth is very hopeful both in 
learning and grace, and his father an ancient professor of 
godliness in these parts, and one of approved integrity ; 
and I know, Sir, that such and what concerns them lie near 
your heart upon far greater and other interests than mine; 
and I persuade myself, what your opportunities will permit 
you to do in his behalf, you will receive a full recompense 
of reward for, from him who hath promised to requite even 
a cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a dis- 

Mr. Henry is here with me, much my comfort in my 
present affliction ; what my husband intends concerning him, 
is not yet settled, but I hope it will shortly be. In the mean 
time, I am loth he should lose a certainty in the ColIec;e, for 



an uncertainty here ; and do, therefore, desire you to con- 
tinue his place to him for a while longer, that seeing the 
Lord hath made him willing to lay out himself in the work 
of the gospel, so far remote from his friends, in this poor 
lost corner of the land, he may not in any thing be preju- 
diced for our sakes, who do esteem him highly in love, and 
desire to do it yet more and more. My husband is at Lon- 
don, or in his way home. We and ours are much indebted 
to you for your love, and I should have been very glad, if it 
might have fallen within the compass of my abilities, to 
make known other than by words, my sense of your many 
kindnesses : but it is the Lord's will I should be your 
debtor. With my unfeigned respects and service to your 
Lady and self, 

I rest, your aftectionate Cousin and Friend, 

E. P. 

Mr. Henry was presented to the parish of Worthenbury, 
where they resided, by the Puleston family, and remained in 
it till he was ejected in 1663. Another very excellent letter, 
from Lady Puleston to Mr. Henry, is inserted in his Me- 
moirs, pp. 24, 25. 

Letter XL 

My duty, my obligations, and my inclinations, do all 

concur in the esteem I have for you both ; and I do make 
mention of you daily in my poor supplications — and that 
with particular respect to the present condition of your 
Lady : that God, who hath revealed himself unto us, as the 
God who heareth prayer, will yet glorify his name, and be a 
present help unto her, in the time of trouble. In the mean 
time, let her, and you, and me, strive to love Christ more, to. 
abide more with him, and to be less in ourselves. He is 
our best friend. I pray God with all my heart that I may 
be weary of every thing else, but converse and communion 
with him ; yea, of the best of my mercies, so far as at any 
time they may be hinderances thereof. My wife presents her 
humble service unto your Lady and yourself, as doth also. 
Sir, &c. 


Letter XII. 

I AM very sorry to find that there is a difference arisen be- 
tween Mr. C and yourself. Since the receipt of yours, 

I received one from him, with an account of the difference, 
and his thoughts upon it at large. I do not therefore judge 
it meet to write any thing at present about it, until I am 
ready to give unto you both an account of my thoughts, 
which, by reason of many avocations, I cannot now do. All 
that I shall therefore say at present, is, that without mutual 
love, and condescension, no interposition of advice will issue 
the business to the glory of Christ and the gospel. I pray 
God, guide you both by that Spirit which is promised to lead 
us into all truth. Upon the first opportunity you will have 
a farther account of his sense, who is, &c. 

January 2, 1679. 

The last two Letters are given from Dr. Williams's account 
of Dr. Owen, prefixed to his Abridgement of the Exposition 
of the Hebrews, by whom they were first published. 

Letter XIII. 

The continuance of ray cold, which yet holds me, with the 
severity of the weather, have hitherto hindered me from an- 
swering my purpose of coming unto you at Acton, but yet 
I hope ere long to obtain the advantage of enjoying your 
company there for a season. In the mean time I return you 
my thanks for the communication of your papers ; and shall 
on every occasion manifest, that you have no occasion to 
question, whether I were in earnest in what I proposed, in 
reference to the concord you design. For the desire of it 
is continually upon my heart, and to express that desire on 
all occasion, I esteem one part of that profession of the gos- 
pel which I am called unto. Could I contribute any thing 
towards the accomplishment of so holy, so necessary a 


work, I should willingly spend myself, and be spent in it. 
For what you design concerning your present essay, I like 
it very well, both upon the reasons you mention in your let- 
ter, as also that all those who may be willing and desirous 
to promote so blessed a work, may have copies by them to 
prepare their thoughts in reference to the whole. 

For the present, upon the liberty granted in your letter 
(if I remember it aright) I shall tender you a few queries; 
which if they are useless or needless, deal with them ac- 

As 1. Are not the severals proposed or insisted on, too 
many for this first attempt? The general heads I conceive 
are not ; but under them, very many particulars are not only 
included, which is unavoidable, but expressed also, which 
may too much dilate the original consideration of the whole. 

2. You expressly exclude the Papists, who will also sure 
enough exclude themselves, and do, from any such agree- 
ment : but have you done the same as to the Socinians, who 
are numerous, and ready to include themselves upon our 
communion ? The creed, as expounded in the four first 
councils will doit. 

3. Whether some expressions suited to prevent future 
divisions and separations, after a concord is obtained, may 
not at present, to avoid all exasperation, be omitted, as 
seeming reflective on former actings, when there was no 
such agreement among us, as is now aimed at? 

4. Whether insisting in particular, on the power of the 
magistrate, especially as under civil coercition and punish- 
ment, in cases of error or heresy, be necessary in this first 
attempt? These generals occurred to my thoughts, upon 
my first reading of your proposals. I will now read them 
again, and set down, as I pass on, such apprehensions in 
particular, as I have of the severals of them. 

To the first answer, under the first question, I assent; 
so also to the first proposal, and the explanation ; likewise 
to the second and third. I thought to have proceeded thus 
throughout; but I foresee my so doing would be tedious 
and useless ; I shall therefore mention only what at present 
may seem to require second thoughts. As. 

1. To Propos. 9. by those instances [what words to use 
in preaching, in what words to pray, in what decent habit] 


do you intend homilies, prescribed forms of prayer, and 
habits superadded to those of vulgar decent use? Present 
controversies will suggest an especial sense under general 

2. Under Pos. 13. Do you think a man may not leave a 
church, and join himself to another, unless it be for such a 
cause or reason, as he supposeth sufficient to destroy the 
being of the church ? I meet with this now answered in 
your 18th Propos. and so shall forbear farther particular re- 
marks, and pass on. 

In your answer to the second question, your 10th Po- 
sition hath in it somewhat that will admit of farther consi- 
deration, as I think. In your answer to the third question 
have you sufficiently expressed the accountableness of 
churches mutually, in case of offence from maladminis- 
tration and church censures? This also I now see in part 
answered, Proposition fifth. I shall forbear to add any thing 
as under your answer to the last question, about the power 
of the magistrate, because I fear, that in that matter of pu- 
nishing, I shall somewhat dissent from you; though as to 
mere coercion I shall in some cases agree. 

Upon the whole matter, I judge your proposals worthy 
of great consideration, and the most probable medium for 
the attaining of the end aimed at, that yet I have pe- 
rused. If God give not a heart and mind to desire peace 
and union, every expression will be disputed, under pretence 
of truth and accuracy : but if these things have a place in 
us answerable to that which they enjoy in the gospel, I see 
no reason why all the true disciples of Christ might not 
upon these, and the like principles, condescend in love unto 
the practical concord and agreement, which not one of 
them dare deny to be their duty to aim at. Sir, I shall 
pray that the Lord would guide and prosper you in all 
studies and endeavours, for the service of Christ in the 
world, especially in this your desire and study for the intro- 
ducing of the peace and love promised amongst them that 
believe, and do beg your prayers. 

Your truly affectionate Brother, 

And unworthy Fellow-servant, 
John Owen. 

Jan. 25, 1668. 



About the time of the Doctor's death, a small manuscript 
was handed about, containing twelve arguments against con- 
formity to worship, not of Divine institution. The leading 
object of these arguments is, to point out the unlawfulness 
of those who had separated from the Church of England, 
uniting in its public services ; as those services are of a very 
different nature from the worship which Christ has appointed. 
This MS. occasioned a very violent discussion. It was sent 
to Baxter as that which had satisfied many of the impropriety 
of joining in the Liturgy. ' I hastily answered them,' he says, 
' but found after, that it had been most prudent to have 
omitted his name; for, on that account, a swarm of revilers, 
in the city, poured out their keenest censures, and three or 
four wrote against me, whom I answered.' No wonder that 
Owen's friends were displeased, as he was scarcely in his 
grave when this attempt was made by Baxter, to convict him 
of no less than forty-two errors in the space of ten pages! 
It reminds us of the controversy between Erasmus and Na- 
talis Bedda. The latter extracted from the writings of Eras- 
mus two hundred erroneous propositions, who revenged 
himself in the same way, by calculating that Bedda had been 
guilty of a hundred and eighty-one lies, three hundred and 
ten calumnies, and forty-seven blasphemies ! Owen's Twelve 
Arguments are printed in the octavo edition of his Sermons, 
published in 1720.* Baxter's Reply is in his * Defence of 
Catholic Communion.' The occasional conformity contro- 
versy gave a great deal of trouble to the Dissenters, both 
then and afterwards, to which Baxter's conduct and writings 
very largely contributed. Owen's Tract is one of the best 
things on the other side. 

'A Treatise on the Dominion of Sin and Grace, 1668.'^ ■ 
This small work was published by the Doctor's widow, and 
edited by Mr. Chauncy, who assures us it was left by the 
author in a state of preparation for the press. It is the sub- 
stance of a few sermons from Rom. vi. 14. He endeavours 
to ascertain in whom the reign of sin exists, how the law 
supports it, and how grace delivers from it, by setting up its 

a Works, vol. xxi. p. 519. *> Ibid. vol. xiv. p; 397. 


dominion in the heart. It discovers the same experimental 
acquaintance with the state of nature and of grace, which 
appears in the other productions of the author, on similar 
subjects. There is nothing of barren speculation in it; but 
the most accurate knowledge of the theory of Christianity, 
combined with its application to the heart and conduct. It 
is well fitted to promote that practical godliness, which is 
the grand end of the dispensation of mercy. 

In 1693 appeared the last part of his work on the Spirit : 
'Two Discourses concerning the Holy Spirit and his work. 
The one, of the Spirit as a Comforter; the other, as he is the 
Author of spiritual gifts.'* There is a preface to it by Natha- 
niel Mather, the son of Richard Mather, President of Harvard 
College, Pastor of the Independent Church in Lime-street. 
' As God gave Dr. Owen transcendent abilities,' he says, ' so 
he gave him also a boundless enlargement of heart, and an 
insatiable desire to do service to Christ and his church, in- 
somuch as he was thereby carried on through great bodily 
weakness, languishing, and pains, besides many other trials 
and discouragements, to bring out of his treasury, like a 
scribe well instructed into the kingdom of heaven, many 
useful and excellent fruits of his studies, much beyond the 
expectation and hope of those who saw how often and how 
long he was near the grave.' 

' The Gospel Grounds and Evidences of the Faith of 
God's Elect,' was published in 1695.'' The preface is written 
by Isaac Chauncy. The leading object of the treatise is, to 
inquire into the nature of saving faith ; and into the evidence 
which a Christian ought to have that his belief is genuine 
or sincere. Had the Tract been entitled** Evidences of ge- 
nuine religion,' or something similar, the subject of it would 
have been more accurately defined ; as much that it con- 
tains is not more connected with faith, than with other 
Christian principles. It furnishes some valuable illustration 
of that state of mind and conduct, which every Christian 
who desires to make his calling and election sure ought to 

In 1721, a folio volume appeared, entitled, ' A complete 
Collection of the Sermons of the Rev. and Learned John 
Owen, D.D. formerly published: with an addition of many 

a Works, vol, iv. p. 153. '' Ibid. vol. xi. p. 494. 

VOL. 1. 2 C 


others never before printed. Also, several valuable Tracts, 
now first published from MS. and some others which were 
very scarce.' There is prefixed to it, Memoirs of the Doctor, 
drawn up by Mr. Asty, pastor of the Church in Rope-Maker's 
Alley, assisted by Sir John Hartopp, to whom the volume is 
dedicated. There is also a preface written by John Nesbitt, 
Matthew Clarke, Thomas Ridgley, D. D. and Thomas Brad- 
bury, Independent ministers in London, and all men of note 
in their day. Besides those things which we have noticed 
in the order in which they appeared, it contains a Funeral 
Sermon for the Doctor, by Mr. Clarkson, which is remark- 
ably barren of information about its object. There are 
twenty-nine Sermons, never before published ; also fourteen 
short Discourses, resolving various cases of conscience, 
delivered at Church meetings between 1672, and 1680.'^ A 
Tract of Marrying after Divorce on account of Adultery, the 
lawfulness of which he maintains. Another of Infant Bap- 
tism and Dipping in which he argues in support of the 
former, and in opposition to the latter."^ The rest of the 
Tracts have been noticed already. 

In 1756, * Thirteen Sermons, preached on various occa- 
sions, by John Owen, D.D.' were published by Mrs. Cooke, 
of Stoke Newington, grand-daughter to Sir John Hartopp. 
Several of them were preached at ordinations, and a few of 
them at Stadham in Oxfordshire. They were all preached 
between 1669, and 1682; and appear to have been taken 
down in short-hand, by Sir John Hartopp, from whose papers 
they were selected.^ 

In 1760, ' Twenty-five Discourses, suitable to the Lord's 
Supper, delivered "by Dr. Owen, just before the administra- 
tion of that sacred ordinance,' were published by Richard 
Winter, minister of the Church in New Court, Carey Street. 
They were furnished from the same source with the former 
volume, and are dedicated to Mrs. Cooke. They also were , 
delivered between 1669, and 1682. From the dates, which 
are regularly prefixed to them, it appears that the Lord's 
Supper was very frequently observed in the Doctor's church, 
often at the interval of a fortnight. For instance. Discourse iv. 
was delivered Dec. 24, 1669, — Discourse v. Jan. 7, 1670. 

"= Works, vol. xvi, p. 507. "^ Ibid. vol. xxi. pp. 5'37, 3'19. 

• Ibid. vol. xvii. p. 1. 


What the Doctor's belief was respecting the frequency of 
observing the Lord's Supper, appears from his Catechism. 
The Independent Churches in England, at the beginning, 
observed the Lord's Supper every first day of the week ; 
when their present practice came to be generally adopted, I 
am unable to say.^ 

Anthony Wood ascribes some other works to Owen, 
which he acknowledges he had not seen ; and which, I am 
satisfied, either were not his, or were other things of Owen's, 
whose titles were mistaken by Wood. 1. * A thanksgiving 
Sermon, before parliament the 15th of August, 1653.' This 
was a day of thanksgiving for a victory over the Dutch. 
Whitelocke mentions it, but takes no notice of the preachers. 
Owen might be one of them, but I suspect the Sermon was 
not published. 2. ' A Sermon on 1 John i. 3. 1658.' This, 
I suppose, is the Doctor's work on Communion, which was 
published about this time, and is founded on the above pas- 
sage. 3. ' A pamphlet called Mene TekeL' Wood refers to 
the Oxford Decree, as attributing this work to Owen. That 
Decree, indeed, refers to Mene Tekel ; but does not speak 
of Owen as its author. The full title of the pamphlet, 
which I have examined, is ' Mene Tekel ; or the Downfall 
of Tyranny. A treatise, wherein liberty and equity are 
vindicated, and tyranny condemned by the law of God and 
right reason : and the people's power and duty to execute 
justice, without, and upon wicked governors, asserted by 
Laopkilus Mysotyrannus, 4to. 1663.' It is a very bold re- 
publican Tract ; but it is only necessary to look into it to 
be satisfied that neither the style nor the sentiments are 

He is represented also, as one of the continuators of 
Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Bible ; but 
he had no hand in that work. 'The Puritan turned Jesuite,' 
4to. 1643, is sometimes stupidly inserted in the list of his 
works, the very title of which is enough to shew that Owen 
could not have written it. 

f Works, vol. xvii. p. 143. 




Besides his own numerous writings. Dr. Owen ushered 
into the world, with Prefaces, or recommendatory Epistles, 
a great number of works by other authors. Of these, as 
far as they are known to me, I shall now proceed to give 
some account, in the order in which they appeared. 

' A Collection of the works of Dr. Thomas Taylor,' one 
of the early Puritans, was published in a folio volume in 
1653 ; to which was prefixed his Life, by Joseph Caryl, and 
a Preface by Goodwin and Owen, which I have never seen. 
The volume contains Tracts and Discourses on a variety of 
subjects ; some of them with very quaint titles — Catechisti- 
cal Exercises — Jailor's Conversion — Famine of the Word 
— Peter's Repentance — The Owle of the Gospel — The 
Stranger at home, &c. &c. &c. The author was a man of 
eminent piety, who suffered much for his principles and his 
zeal. His works are now little known, but were formerly 
much esteemed. He died in 1632. 

'Justification without conditions, by W. Eyre, Minister 
of the gospel, and pastor of a church in the city of New 
Sarum, 8vo. 1653.' To this volume a Preface is prefixed 
by Dr. Owen, dated Westminster, November 7th, 1653. It 
does not appear that he had previously read the work, as he 
speaks of but * a minute of time given him,' to express his 
opinion. It refers, therefore, entirely to the subject, and 
to the general opinion which he had formed of the writer's 
sentiments and character. How far he was justified, in 
sending into the world a production which he had not read, 
is doubtful. I question whether he would have given it his 
sanction had he perused it. The second edition, published in 
1695, omits the Doctor's preface. Many of the sentiments. 
in the work, such as justification before faith— the denial 
that faith is the means of justification — and his views of 
election, and some other subjects, are such as Owen could 
not approve of. It is decidedly Antinomian in its state- 
ments and tendency, and was designed for an answer to 
Messrs. Woodbridge, Cranford, and Baxter. The last of 
whom replied to it the same year, in ' An Admonition to 


Mr. William Eyre.' The author was ejected from St. Ed- 
mund's church in Salisbury. 

' The private Christian's Non ultra, or a Plea for the 
Layman's interpreting the Scriptures, by Philolaoclerus, 
1656.' In his preface to this pamphlet, the Doctor tells us 
the author was unknown to him, and ' that he does not 
build his thesis on those principles, which, in church affairs, 
he owned as the mind of God ; but, he hoped, that what he 
had brought forward would be considered by some, who 
were interested to own it, before they gave in their account.' 
The object of it is much the same with that of the Doctor's 
work, on the duty of pastors and people. The author en- 
deavours to shew, that it is the duty and privilege of Chris- 
tians to meet together to instruct and exhort one another ; 
— a practice which has generally characterized the best 
times of the church, and which, when conducted with pru- 
dence and piety, may be of considerable service. 

* A Defence of Mr. John Cotton, from the imputation of 
self-contradiction, charged on him, by Mr. Dan. Cawdry, 
12mo. 1658.' Of this little work we have spoken repeatedly 
in the text. Owen's preface is as large as the book itself, 
and is a defence of his own work on Schism, against Caw- 
dry's attack on it.s 

' The true idea of Jansenism, both historic and dogmatic, 
by Theophilus Gale. ]2mo. 1669.' The object of this small 
work is to explain the nature, origin, and progress of those 
disputes between the Jansenists and Jesuits ; which had so 
long agitated France — disputes relating to the same points, 
grace, predestination, and free-will, which disturbed the 
Protestant churches. Mr. Gale, during a residence on the 
continent, had enjoyed peculiar opportunities of collecting 
information on the subject, and this volume affords a con- 
densed and correct view of what had been going on. The 
object of Dr. Owen's preface, which is long, is to shew from 
the evidence of this work, that the boasted unity of the 
Church of Rome, is an empty and false assumption ; and 
that it would be easy to prove, that there is scarcely one 
point in which Papists differ from Protestants, on which 
they are agreed among themselves. He exposes the ini- 
quitous policy and practice of the Romish Church in a very 

e Works, vol. xix. p. 339. 


masterly manner, and points out the insidious methods 
which it employed to crush the Jansenists. The sentiments 
of that party were nearly allied, on doctrinal subjects, to 
those of the Protestants, which was, no doubt, the chief 
reason of the ill treatment they received from Rome. Every 
thing from the pen of the author of the Court of the Gen- 
tiles, is worth reading \ but most of his other pieces are 
now remarkably scarce. Among these are * Theophilie ; or 
the Saints' amity with God, 1671.' 'The Anatomy of In- 
fidelity, 1672.' 'A Discourse of the coming of Christ, 
1673.' * IdeaTheologise, tarn contemplativae quam activae, 
1673.' ' Philosophia Generalis, in duas partes, &c. 1676.' 
' A summary of the two Covenants, 1678.' 

* Clavis Cantici, or an Exposition of the Song of Solomon, 
by James Durham, late minister at Glasgow,' 4to. 1669. 
Wood says, Owen wrote the Preface to this work, which was 
printed after the death of the worthy author. Of this, how- 
ever, I am doubtful, as the preface is anonymous, does not 
appear to be Owen's style, and as he wrote a preface to an- 
other work by Durham, which will be noticed immediately, 
it is probable Wood mistook the one for the other. The 
Clavis of Mr. Durham is still a popular book among that 
class of persons who study the mystical design of the Song, 
and who are fond of allegorical interpretation ; but those 
who adhere to the rigid principles of Biblical criticism, will 
not be satisfied with many parts of this exposition. 

* An Introduction to the Holy Scriptures, &c. by Henry 
Lukin, 1669. 12mo.' The author of this small work was a mi- 
nister in Essex before the Actof Uniformity, which threw him 
among the Dissenters. He was the writer of several small 
practical works, which discover an excellent spirit. The 
' Introduction' contains many useful things for the under- 
standing of the Scriptures, but has long since been super- 
seded. The substance of it, indeed, is a translation and 
abridgment of part of the Philologia Sacra of Glassius, to 
which Mr. Lukin acknowledges his obligations, I may 
take this opportunity of recommending that valuable work 
to the theological inquirer, as containing a treasure of Bib- 
lical criticism. The last edition, accommodated by Dathe 
to the present state of Hebrew literature, ought to be pos- 
sessed by every student of thi word of God. Dr. Owen ex- 


presses his high approbation of Lukin's Introduction, and 
the great satisfaction which he derived from the perusal of 
it. * If other readers find the same satisfaction with myself, 
as to the order, method, perspicuity, and sound judgment 
in them all, that the author hath employed and exercised in 
the whole ; they will conclude that he hath acquitted him- 
self as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.' Mr. 
Lukin died in 1719, at the advanced age of 92. 

In 1671, a preface signed J. O. appeared to ' The free- 
ness of the grace and love of God to believers, by W. Bridge.' 
The treatise is the substance of seven sermons, the senti- 
ments of which are good, but the language quaint, and 
sometimes low. The preface glances at the attempt to make 
the author ridiculous, by satirising his homely phraseology. 
This roused the indignation of Dr. John Echard, who in a 
letter to Dr. Owen, treats the Doctor with contempt, and 
Mr. Bridge with scurrility. 'As I always looked upon Mr. 
B.' says he, * to be very sickly and crazy, so I think you are 
stark mad for being an occasion that any such sermons as 
these should be sent into the world.' It so happened, 
however, that Dr. Owen was not the writer of this preface ; 
for in his epistle to Caryl's sermons, he declares that he 
should have known nothing of the book, had not his accuser 
pointed it out to him. Dr. Echard in consequence left out 
of the next edition of his work, the letter to J. O. Mr. 
Bridge was one of the Independent brethren of the Assem- 
bly, and minister of a congregation at Yarmouth, where he 
died in 1670. The other writings of the author, shew that 
he was capable of producing something of more value, both 
in matter and form, than these sermons. 

' Sermons on the whole Epistle of St. Paul to the Colos- 
sians, by Mr. Daille, translated into English by F. S. with 
Dr. Thomas Goodwin's, and Dr. John Owen's Epistles re- 
commendatory, 1672. fol.' The author of this work was 
minister of the Reformed Church at Paris, and is now 
known chiefly as the author of a work on the ' Right use of 
the Fathers,' which is one of the ablest treatises on the 
Popish controversy, and gave the church of Rome more 
trouble than most books of the period. Of this work, 
Bishop Warburton, who was no mean judge on such a sub- 
ject, affirms, * It may truly be said to be the storehouse. 



from whence all who have since written popularly on the 
character of the Fathers, have derived their materials.' — (In- 
troduction to Julian, vii.) Daille wrote a series of discourses 
on the 3d chapter of John, and on the 10th chapter of the 
first Epistle to the Corinthians — besides this series on the 
Epistle to the Colossians, which is the only portion of his 
sermons rendered into English. Both Goodwin and Owen 
express their favourable opinion of the sentiments and use- 
ful tendency of the work. 

In 1673, he introduced, with a preface, an edition of 
Vavasor Powell's ' New and useful Concordance to the Holy 
Bible.' This edition contained about 9000 Scriptures omit- 
ted in the former editions. It is but a small work, and fur- 
nishes only the principal word in the sentence. Of the 
usefulness of such works it is not necessary to speak, and 
all former Concordances in English have been so long set 
aside by the invaluable work of Cruden, that former la- 
bourers in this department of knowledge are now almost 
forgotten, Powell was a laborious Baptist minister in 
Wales, where he suffered much on account of his senti- 
ments. He died in 1670, in the eleventh year of his im- 
prisonment, and the fifty-third of his age. — (Crosby, vol. i. 
p. 373.) Owen was very much offended to find that no 
sooner had he produced the preface, than it was published 
that he had completed the work, whereas he declares he 
neither added to, nor altered a syllable of it. (Preface to 
Caryl's Sermons.) 

'The Divine will considered in its eternal decrees, and 
holy execution of them, by Edward Polhill,' 8vo. 1673. Of 
this excellent person, I expected to have been able to furnish 
some account, but all my inquiries respecting him have failed. 
• He was a very learned gentleman, and a j ustice of the peace, 
of very great esteem among all men in his own county, where 
he lived in full and constant communion with the church of 
England. — He was zealously concerned for truth and serious 
religion, not for a party. On all occasions he shewed him- 
self to be of a truly Christian, that is of a catholic temper, 
and was a sincere lover of all good men.' — (Address to the 
reader prefixed to his posthumous discourse of Schism.) This 
work was published in 1694; so that he must have died 
before. In a preface to the work on the Divine will, by 


Dr. Lazarus Seaman, Mr. Polhill is represented as one of the 
sages of the law, and an oracle in the country where he lives ; 
as conformable himself, yet minding the power of godli- 
ness, more than the form thereof; and as eminent for his 
domestic piety, and exemplary conduct. 

From Owen's preface, it appears that he was unacquainted 
with Polhill when he wrote it. He expresses his great respect 
for the author, though * otherwise utterly unknown to him ;' 
a respect which ' was increased when he found he was no 
minister or churchman ; but a gentleman actuated by a vo- 
luntary concern for truth and piety.' 'The argumentative 
part of the book,' he says, ' is generally suited to the genius 
of the past age, wherein accuracy and strictness of reason 
bore sway, the language of it to this.' Before his death the 
author had lost his sight, as appears from a very excellent 
letter dictated by him to a friend, inserted in the Congrega- 
tional Magazine, for 1819 — p. 693. The work to which Owen 
writes a preface, seems to have been the first production of 
Mr. Polhill's pen. His next work was his * Answer to Sher- 
lock,' on the Communion controversy, and in defence of 
Owen, 1675. The same year he produced ' Precious faith 
considered in its nature, working, and growth.' 8vo. In 
1678, appeared by him, ' Speculum Theologiae in Christo: or 
a view of some Divine truths,' &c. 4to. He published 
* Christus in Corde : or the mystical union between Christ 
and Believers,' 8vo. 1680. In 1682, he produced * Armatura 
Dei: or preparation for suffering,' 8vo. This is an excellent 
and well written practical treatise ; and the last which the 
author lived to publish. The work on the Decrees, which 
Owen prefaced, shews how far Polhill entered into the Cal- 
vinistic views of Christian doctrine; and discovers more than 
ordinary ability in defending them. It was highly esteemed 
by the late Dr. Williams of Rotherham, with whose sentiments 
on various points it nearly accords. All Polhill's works are 
valuable, and deserve a place in every theological library. 

' The nature and principles of love as the end of the com- 
mandment; declared in some of the last sermons of Mr. 
Joseph Caryl ; with an epistle prefixed by John Owen, D. D.' 
12mo. 1673. These discourses were taken down from the 
mouth of Mr. Caryl by a hearer, and therefore appear with 
more than the ordinary disadvantages of posthumous writ- 



ings. The prefatory epistle of Dr. Owen is chiefly occupied 
in defending himself against some of the many slanders 
which were then propagated against him. Some notice has 
been taken of these, and of the Doctor's answers to them, in 
other parts of this work. 

In 1674, he wrote a preface to the eleventh edition of 
Scudder's ' Christian's Daily Walk.' The Author was some- 
time pastor of a Church in Collingborn-ducis, in Wiltshire ; 
and the work was one of the most popular practical treatises 
among the Non-conformists of the seventeenth century. 
Dr. Owen states that he had first read it above thirty years 
before, and that the impressions made upon him in his youth 
continued in grateful remembrance upon his mind. There is 
also a prefatory recommendation by Baxter, who speaks of 
it in still stronger terms of eulogy. The book is still known 
and esteemed by pious persons of the old school ; and were 
the sentiments and precepts with which it abounds more at- 
tended to, the interests of pure and undefiled religion would 
be promoted. This work was translated into Dutch, by 
Theodore Haak. 

' The difference between the Old and New Covenant, 
stated and explained : by Samuel Petto, Minister of the 
Gospel,' 12mo. 1674. This is a very excellent little work, 
which the Doctor, in a pretty long preface, warmly recom- 
mends to the attentive perusal of the reader. Much per- 
plexing and unmeaning language has been used about the 
Covenants of God; and though Mr. Petto's treatise is not 
altogether free from it, its leading views are scriptural and 
consolatory. The author was ejected from the living of 
Sandcroft in Suffolk, and afterwards became pastor of a 
Congregation at Sudbury. His grandson was minister of 
the Church in Coggeshall, which Owen founded. 

' The Surest and Safest way of Thriving, by Thos. Gouge,' 
1674. This little, but valuable work, has no less than four, 
prefaces, by Owen, Manton, Baxter, and Bates. It contains 
many excellent things on the nature and good effects of 
Christian liberality, with illustrations of its beneficial re- 
sults even in this world, to those who exercise it. The 
respectable author, who was one of the ejected ministers, 
was an eminent example of the virtue he recommended to 
others. His personal property, which was originally consi- 


derable, he devoted almost entirely to works of benevolence 
and mercy. The four prefacers all speak of the author and 
the w^ork in the strongest manner. 

' The Best Treasure, or the way to be made truly rich, 
by Bartholomew Ashwood,' 167-.' I know not the year in 
which the first edition, with Owen's Preface, appeared. It 
is a discourse on Ephesians iii. 8. in which the unsearchable 
riches of Christ are explained and recommended to saints 
and sinners, as the best treasure to all who would be happy 
here and hereafter. The Doctor says, ' the most learned will 
find nothing in it to be despised, and the generality of be- 
lievers will meet with that which will be to their use and ad- 
vantage.' Mr. Ashwood was ejected from Axminster, in 
Devonshire; and is represented by Calamy, as a judicious, 
godly, and laborious Divine. 

* The Law Unsealed, or a Practical Exposition of the 
Ten Commandments. By James Durham, late Minister of 
the Gospel at Glasgow.' 8vo. Edin. 1676. This is the third 
edition of the work, to which prefaces by Mr. Jenkyn and 
Dr. Owen are prefixed, for the first time. It is a more satis- 
factory book than the one on Solomon's Song; as the ground 
on which its author treads is more solid, and the practical 
tendency of the exposition more evident. Owen praises the 
work for its plainness, for its general adaptation to the cir- 
cumstances of Christians, and for the constant attention 
which the author pays to the inward principle as well as to 
the outward conduct. It discovers much knowledge of the 
word of God, and of the character and state of man. Mr. 
Durham was a useful and highly respectable minister in 
his day. 

* The Ark of the Covenant Opened : or a treatise of the 
Covenant of Redemption, between God and Christ, as the 
foundation of the Covenant of Grace, &c. By a Minister of 
the New Testament,' 4to. 1677. The author of this work 
was Mr. Patrick Gillespie, one of the Ministers of Glasgow, 
and Principal of the University during the Commonwealth. 
Wodrow says, ' he was blamed for his compliances with the 
Usurper, and there is no doubt he was the minister in Scot- 
land who had the greatest sway with the English when thev 
ruled here, yea almost the only Presbyterian minister who 
was in with them.' — (Hist, of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. 


p. 76.) On this account, it is probable, Owen and he had 
first become acquainted. The Doctor, in his preface, speaks 
of ' his long Christian acquaintance and friendship with the 
author;' who was dead before this work appeared. It is 
only a small part of the design which he had formed, and 
indeed prepared, for the press. The work, though scarcely- 
known, contains a large portion of scriptural knowledge and 
good sense, and is fully entitled to all the commendation 
which Owen bestows on it. 

' A Practical Discourse of God's Sovereignty, with other 
material points, &-c. by Elisha Coles,' 1678. This is the 
production of a person who never enjoyed the benefit of a 
learned education, and who had no knowledge of any lan- 
guage but English. He appears to have been the friend of 
Dr. Goodwin, who, in a preface, bears testimony to the cha- 
racter of the author, founded on a knowledge of him for 
twenty-eight years. The other preface is subscribed by Dr. 
Owen and Sam. Annesley. It must have galled John Wesley 
exceedingly to perceive that his grandfather, for whom he 
had a very high respect, was the patron of one of the most 
Calvinistic books ever published. The reading of this work, 
Dr. Kippis says, occasioned his first renunciation of Calvin- 
ism. — (Biog. Brit. vol. iv. p. 3.) The substance of the work, 
I have no doubt, is scriptural ; but it is neither an accurate 
nor a guarded book, and by no means fit to be put into the 
hands of an inquirer. The author does not limit sovereignty 
sufficiently to the exercise of benevolence; and thus leaves it 
exposed to very formidable objections. An enlightened 
Christian, however, may derive much comfort and instruc- 
tion from it. Those who wish to see the subject stated 
in the best and most delightful manner will be amply gratified 
by consulting a sermon, entitled ' Spiritual Blessings,' &c. 
1814, by the Rev. Joseph Fletcher. 

' The Glory of Free Grace Displayed, by Stephen Lob,' 
12mo. 1680. To this Treatise a preface was written by Dr. 
Owen, at the request of Mr. Lob, to vindicate the Inde- 
pendents from the charge of Antinomianism, and from being 
supporters of Crisp's errors, which about this time were 
making sad havoc among the Dissenters. The preface, 
however, says little directly on the subject, farther than ex- 
])ressing the Doctor's opinion of the work, and his approba- 


tiori of Mr. Lob's character and ministry. The performance 
itself, is, on the whole, a judicious one, very far removed 
from Antinomianism, and points out very plainly some of 
Dr. Crisp's most pernicious mistakes respecting sin, grace, 
election, imputation, &,c. ; but which the modern Antino- 
mians with an equal disregard of Scripture, common sense, 
and all that has been previously written, go on fearlessly to 
repeat. The sentiments of Owen were certainly widely dif- 
ferent from Antinomianism; but I do regret that he should 
have lent his name to certain productions, whose tendency 
that way is by no means obscure. 

' The Holy Bible, with Annotations and Parallel Scrip- 
tures, &c. by Samuel Clark, fol. 1690.' There is a preface 
by Dr. Owen, dated Feb. 14th, 1683. Another by Baxter, 
and a joint preface by Bates, and Howe. The author was a 
man of learning, piety, and diligence ; and all the prefacers 
speak highly of the Annotations. They are exceedingly 
short, but for the most part very judicious. The Parallel 
Scriptures are selected with much care ; and were it not su- 
perseded by more extensive works, this Bible might still be 

Besides these published prefaces, the Doctor wrote a 
commendatory preface to Ness's Antidote to Arminianism, 
of which the author speaks, though he does not give it. 
Augustine Plumsted, an ejected minister, and afterwards 
pastor of the Congregational Church at Wrentham, in Suf- 
folk, compiled, with great labour, a double Concordance, 
containing the English and also the Hebrew and Greek words 
of the Bible. A prospectus and specimen were published, 
and an attestation to the merits of the work annexed by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and other distinguished persons. 
Dr. Owen also wrote an epistle to be prefixed to it ; but the 
work never appeared, either from want of patronage, or 
from the death of the author. — (Calamy's Cont. vol. ii. 
pp. 806. 809.) 



Dr. Calamy mentions, that Mr. John Singleton, pastor of 
the Independent Church, which was originally formed by- 
Philip Nye, and in which Mr. Neal was afterwards minister, 
was nephew to Dr. Owen. It is probable, therefore, that 
Owen had more than one sister, though I can procure no 
account of Mr. Singleton's parents. It appears that he was 
educated at Christ Church, Oxford, during the period of his 
Uncle's residence in the University ; and that he lost his 
student's place at the Restoration. After this, he went to 
Holland and studied medicine, which he occasionally prac- 
tised. After his return, he lived with Lady Scot in Hertford- 
shire, and preached to some Dissenters in Hertford. He 
was also at Stretton, and Coventry, and finally removed to 
London, to an Old Independent Church, in which he was 
pastor from 1698, to 1706. He kept also an Academy at 
Hoxton and Islington. In the Britannia Rediviva, Oxon 
1660, there is an English poem by him; and one Sermon in 
the Continuation of the Morning Exercises, On the best way 
to prepare to meet God in the way of his judgments or mer- 
cies. — (Calanjy'sContinuation,Vol. I. p. 105. — Wilson's Diss. 
Churches, Vol. III. pp. 89, 90.) 

On a black stone Pavement of Remnam Church, where 
William Owen, eldest brother to the Doctor, was minister, 
there is a Latin Inscription, perpetuating his name, and 
which describes him, as ' Humillimus Evangelii Christi Mi- 
nister.' — It mentions that he died on the 16th of the 4th 
month, A. D. 1660, setat 41 ; and also that an infant son of 
William, died the 10th day of the 7th month, 1654, aged 3 
months. Below, are six Latin verses on the death of the child. 


The Synod of Dort and its proceedings, occupied a consi- 
derable portion of attention, during the early part of the 
seventeenth century. The accounts which have been given 
of it are very various. While I entertain no doubt in ge- 
neral, respecting the doctrinal sentiments which it main- 
tained, I as firmly believe, that little good resulted from its 


conduct and decisions. These were too much influenced 
by party politics to have weight with opposers ; and some 
of its proceedings and their consequences, were highly im- 
proper. Brandt, who gives the fullest account of the Synod, 
was a Remonstrant, and must therefore be read with caution. 
Helyn's violent anti-calvinistic, and anti-presbyterian pre- 
judices, gave a decided colouring to all his statements re- 
specting it, both in his Quinquarticular history and his 
history of the Presbyterians. The best account, as far as 
it goes, is that furnished by Hales of Eaton, who was secre- 
tary to the English Ambassador then at the Hague. Even 
his letters by no means prepossess us in the Synod's favour. 
He thus introduces the last of them : — ' Our Synod goes on 
like a watch, the main wheels upon which the whole business 
turns, are least in sight ; for all things of moment, are acted 
in private sessions ; what is done in public, is only for show 
and entertainment.' (Hales' works. Vol. III. p. 148.) In the 
* Acta Si/nodi Dordrechti,' published by the Synod, and the 
' Acta et Scripta Synodalia Remonstrantimn,' all the docu- 
ments on both sides will be found. But the former is a 
large folio, and the latter a thick quarto, which few have 
either time or inclination to consult. An abstract of the 
former was published in English in 1818, by the Rev. Tho- 
mas Scott; on which a very smart critique appeared in the 
Eclectic Review, for Dec. 1819; which well deserves the at- 
tention of the reader. 


A DISPASSIONATE and impartial History of the Assembly 
of Divines at Westminster, is yet a desideratum. Lord 
Hailes observes, (Remarks on the History of Scotland, p. 
236.) * it would be a work curious and useful : it is probable, 
however, that we shall never see such a work; for the writer 
must be one who neither hates, nor contemns, nor admires 
that Assembly.' I do not know that there is so much ground 
for despondency on this subject, as his Lordship expresses. 
The materials for such a work are very ample. Lord Hailes 
mentions a Journal of the Assembly, drawn up by Mr. George 
Gillespie, one of the Scots Commissioners, among the Wo- 
drow MSS. It begins 2d Feb. 164*, and proceeds to the 



14th May, 1645. There is then a blank. It recommences 
4th September, 1645, and proceeds to 25th Oct. 1645. Bail- 
lie's Journals and Letters contain much important and au- 
thentic information. The printed pamphlets of the period 
are exceedingly numerous, and many of them curious. The 
lives of the members of the Assembly, also throw light on 
its sentiments and proceedings. It is generally reported, 
that the minutes of the Assembly are deposited in the Red 
Cross Street Library; but I suspect this is a mistake. Dr. 
Thomas Goodwin, one of the Dissenting brethren, is said to 
have left notes of its transactions in 14 or 15 small volumes. 
—(Palmer's Non-Con. Mem. vol. i. p. 239.) What has be- 
come of these volumes does not appear. There is in the Red 
Cross Street Library, a MS. supposed to be the minutes of 
the Assembly. This MS. is in three thick volumes folio, 
which appear to have been bound uniformly, about the be- 
ginning of the last century. On turning them over, they 
appear to contain each four or five distinct series of notes. 
Goodwin's notes were in small volumes, the MS. is in folio. 
I do not think it is the Minute book of the Assembly. It 
is worth inquiring, whether the minutes are not in the Li- 
brary of Sion College. 

Very different accounts have been given of the Assembly. 
Baxter's and Neal's opinions of it are highly favourable ; 
those of Clarendon, and other high church writers, quite 
the opposite. Lord Hailes, in the work already quoted, gives 
a curious extract from Gillespie's MS. of the Assembly's 
statement of its own sins, with a view to a solemn fast. 
' I'he sins of the Assemble/ in nine points. 1. Neglecting at- 
tendance in the Assembly, though the affairs be so important; 
late coming. 2. Absence from the prayers. 3. Reading 
and talking in time of debates. 4. Neglect of committees. 
5. Some speak too much, others too little. 6. Indecent be- 
haviour. 7. Unseemly language and heats upon it. 8. Neg- 
lect of trying ministers. 9. Members of Assembly drawing 
on parties, or being frightened with needless jealousies.' 
p. 239. Milton's account of the Assembly is exceedingly 
severe, and evidently written under strong feelings of irrita- 
tion, excited by the Assembly's hostility to religious liberty. 
— (Milton's History of England, quoted in Symmon's Life 
of Milton, p. 401.)" 



I HAyE been able to glean only a few particulars respecting 
the first appearances of Independency in Ireland. Some of 
the Brownists are said to have reached Ireland, and there to 
have left some disciples. In 1650, Dr. Samuel Winter vt^ent 
over with four parliamentary commissioners. He relinquished 
a living of £400 per annum, in England, for an appointment 
of £100 that he might promote the interests of the Gospel in 
Ireland. He was made Provost of Trinity College, which 
he found almost desolate and forsaken; but which, under 
his care, became a valuable seminary of piety and learning. 
He was pastor of an Independent church in Dublin, at the 
same time. The Restoration drove him from the College, 
and from Ireland. — (Calamy, vol. ii. pp. 544. 546.) Dr. 
Thomas Harrison went over with Henry Cromwell, and 
preached for several years in Christ Church, Dublin. He 
returned to England a short time before the Restoration, but 
afterwards went back to Dublin, where he died, lamented by 
the whole city. Lord Thomond used to say of him, ' that 
he would rather hear Dr. Harrison say grace over an egg, 
than hear the Bishops pray and preach.' — (Ibid. vol. ii. p. 
122.) Mr. Stephen Charnock went over at the same time 
with Dr. Harrison, and usually had persons of the greatest 
distinction for his hearers. He returned about 1660. — 
(Noncon. Mem. vol. i. p. 208.) Mr. Samuel Mather also 
went over about the same time, and became colleague with 
Dr. Winter. He preached every Lord's day morning at the 
church (of St. Nicholas ; and, once every six weeks, before 
the Lord Deputy and his council. Though an Independent, 
even Wood acknowledges he was a man of much moderation, 
and civil to Episcopalians even when he had the power of 
injuring them. When the Deputy gave a commission to 
him and others to displace the Episcopal clergy of the pro- 
vinces of Munster and Dublin, he declined acting, alleging 
that he had come to Ireland to preach the Gospel, not to 
hinder others from doing it. He had before preached for 
two years in Leith. He died in Dubhn in 1671. — (Ibid, 
vol. ii. pp. 355. 357.) Hugh Peters went with the arn)y of 
Cromwell to Ireland, but soon returned to England. Of 
VOL. 1. 2d 


this man, who has been the object of incessant reproach, 
and whose character has been loaded with every crime, I 
may be permitted to speak a little good. He resided five 
years at Salem, in New England, during which the rapid im- 
provement made in the place, is ascribed to him. ' The arts 
were introduced; a water-mill was erected: a glass-house ; salt 
works; the planting of hemp was encouraged, and a regular 
market was established. An almanack was introduced to 
direct their affairs. Commerce had unexampled glory. He 
formed the plan of the fishery; of the coasting voyages ; of 
the foreign voyages, and, among many other vessels, one of 
300 tons was undertaken under his influence.' — (Holmes' 
American Annals, vol. i. p. 263.) Such was his influence in 
Holland, where he had resided for some time, that he raised 
£30,000 in it, for the relief of the suffering Protestants in 
Ireland. He was also a diligent and earnest solicitor for the 
distressed Protestants in the vallies of Piedmont. — (Ludlow, 
vol. iii. p. 61.) These things are not like the actions of a 
fool or a profligate. ' I travelled into Germany/ he says, 
' with that famous Scotsman, Mr. John Forbes, and enjoyed 
in him, for about six years, much love and sweetness ; from 
whom I never had but encouragement, though we differed in 
the way of our churches. The learned Amesius breathed 
his last into my bosom, who left his professorship, in Friez- 
land, to live with me, because of my church's independency, 
at Rotterdam. He was my colleague and chosen brother to 
the church, where I was an unworthy pastor.' — (Peters' Last 
Report of the English wars, 1646.) His Legacy to his 
daughter breathes the spirit of Christianity, and solemnly 
professes his innocence of the grievous charges which were 
heaped upon him; and his conduct on the scaffold fully sup- 
ported the previous heroism of his character. But Peters 
was a soldier, as well as a preacher of Christianity ; and, 
for violating, by this improper combination, the principles of 
his Master's kingdom, he, perhaps, brought on himself the 
execution of his Master's threatening; — * They that take the 
sword shall perish by the sword.' 

John Rogers was pastor of a church in Dublin, of which 
Colonel Hewson, the governor of Dublin, was a member. 
John Eyewater, and Thomas Huggins, preachers of the Word, 
joined this church in 1651. (Roger's Tabernacle for the Sun, 


p. 302.) From the same book it appears, there was a Bap- 
tist church at Waterford, which addresses a letter to the 
saints in Dublin on that subject, signed by twelve persons. 
Of this church, Mr. Thomas Patient was minister ; he was 
some time co-pastor of the Baptist church in London with 
Mr. Kiffin ; he went over to Ireland with General Fleetwood, 
and usually preached in the Cathedral. He was very active 
in promoting the interests of the Baptists; and Crosby 
thinks, was the founder of a Baptist church in Cloughkeat- 
ing, which became very nunierous. (Crosby's Baptists, vol. 
iii. pp. 42, 43.) From Ivimey's History of the Baptists, (vol. 
i. p. 240.) it appears that there were Baptist churches in 
Dublin, Waterford, Clonmell, Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick, 
Galloway, Wexford, besides disciples in other places. They 
do not appear to have been numerous, but seem to have had 
some active men among them. Mr. John Murcot removed 
from West Kerby to Ireland, and was very useful the short 
time he lived. He preached generally in Dublin, and for 
some time in Cork ; where he assisted at a public dispute on 
the subject of Baptism, in which he and Dr. Worth were on 
the one side, and Dr. Harding on the other. — (Murcot's Life, 
prefixed to his works.) 

There was a church in Youghall, in which Mr. Joseph 
Eyres laboured for some time ; and afterwards removed to a 
church in Cork. — (Ibid.) Mr. Timothy Taylor, pastor of 
a church at Duckenfield in Cheshire, went to Ireland, and 
became pastor of a church in Carrickfergus. At the Resto- 
ration, he removed from the parochial edifice, and preached 
the Gospel in his own hired house to all who came to him 
In 1668, he went to Dublin, and became colleague, first to 
Mr. Samuel Mather, and at his death, to his brother Na- 
thaniel Mather, till his death. — (Athen. Oxon. vol. ii. p. 
508.) In 1655, Claudius Gilbert, pastor of a Congregational 
church in Limerick, Edward Reynolds, Min. and J.Warren, 
Min. &c. unite with Dr. Winter in a letter to Mr. Baxter, as 
the associated Ministers of Christ in Ireland. — (Baxter's 
Life, part i. p. 107.) Mr. Jenneralso was pastor of a church 
in Tredagh. — (Ibid.) These few particulars may perhaps 
induce some, whose information is more extensive than 
mine, to pursue the subject, and communicate the results. 




In the year 1584, Robert Brown, from whom the first Inde- 
pendents derived their designation, came out of the Low 
Countries into Scotland with a number of his followers. 
Having taken up his residence in the Canongate of Edin- 
burghj he began to disseminate his peculiar opinions, and to 
circulate writings, in which all the reformed churches were 
stigmatized as unscriptural and Antichristian societies. The 
Court took this rigid sectary under their protection, and en- 
couraged him, for no other conceivable reason, than his ex- 
claiming against the ministers, and calling in question their 
authority. On his return to England, Brown published a 
book, into which he introduced various invectives against 
the ministers and government of the Church of Scotland. — 
(Calderwood, quoted by M'Crie in his Life of Melville, vol. 
i. p. 326.) King James, in his Basilicon Doron, alleges 
that Brown, Penry, and other Englishmen, had, when in 
Scotland, * sown their popple,' and that ' certain brain-sick, 
and heady preachers,' had imbibed their spirit; although, 
adds Dr. M'Crie, he could not but know that these rigid 
sectaries were unanimously opposed by the Scottish minis- 
ters, and that the only countenance which they received, 
was from himself and his courtiers. — (Ibid. vol. ii. p. 163.) 

In 1591, Penry, who afterwards suffered in England, re- 
tired to Scotland for safety ; and continued there till 1593. 
•From thence he addressed two letters to Queen Elizabeth, 
not couched in very courtly terms, and the petition, for which 
he was executed. — (Brook's Lives, vol. ii. p. 50. — Paget's 
Heresiography, pp. 271 — 275.) 

The next account we have of Independents in Scotland, 
brings us down to about the year 1642. ' About this time 
there came in quietly to Aberdeen, one called Othro Ferren- 
dail, an Irishman, and a skinner to his calling, favoured by 
Mr. Andrew Cant, and by his moyan (means) admitted free- 
man. He was trapped for preaching on the night in some 
houses of the town before their families, with close doors, 
nocturnal doctrine or Brownism.' — (Spalding's History of 
the Troubles in Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 45, 46.) Ferrendail 
was, perhaps, a disciple of Ainsworth's, who, according to 


Hornbeck, — (Sum. Con. p. 740.) visited Ireland. Mr. Cant 
was one of the ministers of Aberdeen, and more favourable 
to innovation than some of his brethren. In the provincial 
assembly at Aberdeen, 1642, there was ' great business about 
Brownism lately crept into Aberdeen and other parts.' Be- 
sides Ferrendail, William Maxwell, Thomas Pont, Gilbert 
Gordon of Tilliefroskie, his wife, children, and servants, and 
hail family, and John Ross, minister of Birse, were com- 
plained of. Mr. John Oswald also, one of the ministers of 
Aberdeen, was thought not to dislike it. — (Spalding, vol. ii. 
p. 52.) Ferrendail was got to abjure and subscribe the co- 
venant, and was 'received as a good Bairn.' — (Ibid. 64.) 
The Presbytery, however, were not satisfied with Ferrendail's 
repentance, and referred him to the General Assembly. — 
(Ibid. 68.) * Maxwell, who was also accused of Brownism, 
was a silly wheel-wright to his calling ; this man was sought 
for, and all men forbidden out of the pulpit to receive him, 
which was done by our minister, Mr. William Strachan, upon 
Sunday the 5th of February.' — (Ibid. p. 70.) Gordon, of 
Tilliefroskie, was taken afterwards on the streets of Edin- 
burgh, and put in prison for maintaining some points of 
Brownism. — (Ibid. p. 102.) 

The General Assembly of 1647, passed an Act prohibit- 
ing the importation of all books and pamphlets containing 
Independency, and Anabaptism, and forbidding reading the 
same ; or harbouring any persons infected with such errors. 
Presbyteries and Synods are enjoined to process such as 
shall offend against these injunctions : and civil magistrates 
are recommended to aid and assist ministers in every thing 
to that effect. — (Acts of Assemblies from 1638 to 1649, 
printed in Edin. 1682.) These were the blessed days of 
Presbyterian supremacy ; and such was the use which they 
made of their power. 

The English army entering Scotland soon after this, pre- 
vented the execution of this unjust law, and imported Inde- 
pendency in such a way as could not be resisted. Many of 
the ofiicers and soldiers of the army were preachers, and 
ambulatory churches existed among the troops, in which 
Independency was both preached and exhibited. Ni- 
cholas Lockyer, who accompanied the English army, pub- 
lished at Leith, a small work on Independency : ' A little 
Stone out of the Mountain, or Church order briefly opened. 


1652.' It has an Epistle dedicatory, dated from Dalkeith^ 
April 22, 1652, by Joseph Caryl, John Oxenbridge, and 
Cuthbert Sydenham. It was answered by James Wood, 
professor of Theology in St. Andrews. — ' A little Stone, pre- 
tended to be out of the Mountain, tried and found to be a 
Counterfeit,' 4to. Edin. 1654. From Wood's work, it ap- 
pears that some ' ministers and others in Aberdeen,' had for- 
saken the church, and adopted the principles of Independ- 
ency. In 1653, was printed at Leith, *A Confession of 
Faith of the Baptist Churches in London ;' the preface to 
which is dated ' Leith, the tenth of the first month, vulgarly 
called March, and signed by Thomas Spenser, Alex. Holmes, 
Thomas Powell, John Brady, in the name and by the ap- 
pointment of the Church of Christ, usually meeting at Leith 
and Edinburgh.' 

In July, 1652, the English Commissioners presented to 
the General Assembly, * A Declaration in favour of Congre- 
gational Discipline, purity of Communion, and Toleration;' 
to which the Assembly replied rather indignantly. — (White- 
locke, pp. 514, 515.) A number of the protesting ministers 
seem to have been somewhat favourable to Independency ; 
among the chief of whom was Mr. Patrick Gillespie. An 
Independent was settled in Kilbride, and another of the 
name of Charters in Kirkintilloch. — (Sewel's History of the 
Quakers, p. 94.) 

In 1659, the Presbytery of Edinburgh, published *A 
Testimony and Warning against a late Petition ;' the object 
of which was to procure the * abolishing of all civil sanctions 
establishing the doctrine, discipline, and government of this 
Church,' p. 4. This Warning produced • Some sober Ani- 
madversions to Vindicate the Truth, and undeceive the 
Simple,' 1659. From this pamphlet it appears, that several 
persons for dissenting from the Church Courts had been 
very cruelly and iniquitously used. Christian Blyth, a Bap- 
tist, Mrs. Adair, Gordon of Tilliefroskie, Mr. Tayes, and 
Mr. Flint, are referred to, as ' excommunicated, imprisoned, 
banished, hunted from place to place, to the loss of all they 
had, and the making of their very lives bitter,' pp. 11, 12. 
Col. Strachan also, and Lord Swinton, Mr. Dundas, Major 
Abernethy, and Captain Griffin, were treated much in the 
same way, according to this account, for no other crime than 
that of being reckoned sectaries. It is a very excellent 


pamphlet, and written probably by some of the persons wh© 
had been ill used. 

These facts embrace almost every thing known to me 
respecting the first appearances of Independency in Scot- 
land. With the return of the army to England, and the Re- 
storation, all traces of it disappeared; and the people of 
Scotland were soon called to encounter more terrible cala- 
mities, from a quarter from which they expected nothing 
but happiness. I offer no commentary on the facts brought 
forward: every enlightened Christian will form a decided 
opinion respecting both parties ; and what would have been 
the probable consequences of the establishment of Presby- 
terian uniformity in England. 


His immediate successor was Constantine Jessop, son of 
Mr. John Jessop, minister of Pembroke, educated at Oxford, 
He did not remain long at Coggeshall, but removed first to 
Wimborn in Dorsetshire, and then to Tyfield,in Essex, where 
he died in 1660. — (Brook's Lives of the Puritans, vol. iii. p. 
375.) He was succeeded by Mr. John Samms, who had been 
educated in New England. The Act of Uniformity ejected 
him from the parish living; but he gathered a separate 
church in it, of those who approved of his ministry, of which 
he died pastor about 1675. — (Non-con. Mem. vol.ii.p. 191.) 
Mr. Thomas Browning, of Rowel, was a member of this 
church in his time, and was encouraged by him to enter 
into the ministry. T6 him, Owen gave a very important ad- 
vice, which he appears to have followed himself. ' Study 
things, acceptable words will follow.' — (Ibid. vol. iii. p. 271.) 
He was succeeded by Mr. Robert Gouge, of Christ College, 
Cambridge. He had preached, and taught a school, for 
some time at Maiden, in Essex. From thence he removed 
to Ipswich, where he was silenced. He laboured at Cogge- 
shall till laid aside by the decay of his intellects, but in what 
year this took place, is uncertain. Edward Bently was 
pastor of the church in 1721, and died on the 9th of June, 
1740, in the 60th year of his age. I know not what year he 
entered into ofiice in Coggeshall, or whether there was any 


one between Mr. Gouge and him. Mr. John Farmer, brother 
to the celebrated Hugh Farmer, was ordained pastor, March 
28th, 1739. His mother was daughter of Mr. Hugh Owen, 
one of the ejected ministers, and he received, it is probable, 
as his brother did, his classical education from Dr. Charles 
Owen, of Warrington, and prosecuted his academical studies 
afterwards under Dr. Doddridge. In 1730, he was chosen 
assistant to Mr. Rawlin, at Fetter-lane, and continued in that 
situation till he removed to Coggeshall. He published a 
volume of Sermons in 1756, which possess some merit, but 
are now little known. In consequence of mental derange- 
ment, he was rendered incapable of any stated ministerial ser- 
vice, and several years before his death retired to London. 
He is said to have a been a very excellent Greek scholar. — 
(Life of Hugh Farmer, and Wilson's Hist, of Diss. Churches, 
vol. iii. p. 457.) 

It is uncertain in what year Mr. Henry Petto succeeded 
Mr. Farmer; but he died in 1776, or 1777. Mr. Mordecai 
Andrews was ordained about 1774, and died at Southamp- 
ton, in September, 1799. Mr. J. Fielding went to Coggeshall 
in 1797. In his time, a very unpleasant difference took 
place between the church and him, in consequence of which, 
some pamphlets were published ; — the church books were 
lost, which has prevented me from obtaining more particular 
information of the state of the church during the last cen- 
tury ; and Mr. Fielding was finally necessitated to retire. 
Mr. Algernon Wells, from Hoxton academy, went to Cogges- 
hall, in 1818, and was ordained to the pastoral office on the 
7th of April, 1819. The church and congregation are again 
in a promising state. 


The Doctor's immediate successor was his colleague, Mr.' 
Clarkson, who died in 1686. Isaac Loeffs, who had been 
colleague for some time with Mr. Clarkson, succeeded him 
as sole pastor, and died in 1689. Of bx)th these excellent 
men, we have already given some account. The next pastor 
was Isaac Chauncey, eldest son of the venerable President 
of Harvard College, in New England. In his time the church 
fell ofi' exceedingly, owing to his want of popularity as n 


preacher, and his preaching often on the subject of Church 
Order, He resigned his office in the church in 1701, and was 
soon after appointed tutor of the Independent Academy, 
which still exists at Homerton, and which has numbered 
among its tutors and pupils some of the most learned of 
the English dissenters. In this situation Dr. Chauncey re- 
mained till his death. He edited some of Owen's posthu- 
mous writings, and published several things of his own. 

His successor was Dr. Isaac Watts, whose history requires 
no illustration, and whose name admits not of eulogy from 
me. Mr. Edward Terry had been assistant for a time to Dr. 
Chauncey. Before Dr. Watts had been long in the ministry 
he was attacked by a painful and lingering illness, which ren- 
dered assistance absolutely necessary. Mr. Samuel Price 
was therefore chosen to this office ; and acted as assistant and 
co-pastor for more than forty years. Dr. Watts died in 1748, 
and Mr. Price in 1756. It is praise enough to say that he 
was worthy of being united in office with Watts. During the 
latter years of his life he was assisted by Meredith Towns- 
hend; and was succeeded by Samuel Morton Savage, D. D. 
a man of learning and high respectability, but not very suc- 
cessful as a preacher. He was tutor for many years of the 
academy formerly at Hoxton, now removed to Wyraondley. 
He preached only in the mornings at Bury Street, and was 
assisted in the afternoons, first, by Mr. Thomas Porter, and 
afterwards by Mr. Josiah Thompson. The congregation, in 
1782, was reduced to a very low state, when it invited Mr. 
Beck, the present minister, to succeed Dr. Savage. There is 
a good endowment belonging to the church; which has now 
removed from the meeting-house, which is occupied by a dif- 
ferent congregation. — (Wilson's Hist, of the Diss. Churches, 
vol. i. pp. 251. 328.) In referring to this work, I beg here 
to acknowledge my occasional obligations to it. While I 
bear testimony to the curious and interesting information 
which it contains, I cannot help expressing my astonishment 
at the little support it has received from the body on whose 
history it has bestowed so much labour; and my hope that 
the respectable author will yet be encouraged to lay the fifth 
volume before the public, which, I understand, has long since 
been fully prepared. 







* This Sermon was preached the next Lord's day after the doctor's interment. 



Who shall change our vile lady, that it may he fashioned like unto his 
glorious body. — Phil. iii. 21. 

A HE occasion why I pitch upon these words at this time, 
you are not unacquainted with. The apostle in the be- 
ginning of this chapter, warns the PhiHppians to beware of 
false teachers, he enforceth this with several arguments, the 
principal of which are drawn from his own example, in the 
body of the chapter ; and then he concludes it with an ele- 
gant antithesis, opposing them to himself, and those that 
faithfully follow Christ with him : he makes use of this to 
enforce the dissuasive in a subserviency to his main scope, 
ver. 19 — 21. 'Whose end is destruction, whose God is their 
belly, whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things. 
But our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for 
the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our 
vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious 
body.' You may observe an antithesis in all this ; they 
mind earthly things, but our conversation is in heaven ; 
their god is their belly, but we look for the Saviour, the 
Lord Jesus Christ, their end is destruction, but our end is 
glory; their glory is shameful, they glory in their shame, 
but our glory shall be like that of our Lord Jesus Christ j 
that which they courrt most glorious, is shameful, but that 
which is vilest amongst us, shall be glorious: 'Who shall 
change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his 
glorious body.' 

The observation from hence is this : 

Observ. The bodies of the saints shall be conformed, and , 
made like unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ. 

The bodies of the saints, how vile soever now, shall at 
the resurrection be made and fashioned like unto the glo- 
rious body of Christ. The apostle gives a particular ac- 


count of this, 1 Cor. xv. which I may take notice of in 
some particulars afterward. 

For the present, the great inquiry for the explaining of 
this truth is : how the bodies of deceased saints shall be 
like to the glorious body of Christ? 

1. Negatively, 

(1.) Not by any substantial change. 

The substance of their bodies shall not be changed, as 
one of the ancients thought, by a mistake of the word jueto- 
axYinaTiaH used here, inferring that the bodies of the saints 
at the resurrection, shall not be of the same substance as 
they are now, but they shall then have etherial bodies ; 
whjBreas both the words a^fxa and juop^?) denote quality, a 
change in quality, not such a substantial change, as they 

(2.) They shall be like, not equal. 

The words do import a resemblance, not an equality, 
they shall not be equally glorious with the body of Christ. 
The Lord of glory in all things must have the pre-eminence, 
as he was ' anointed with th® oil of gladness above his fel- 
lows,' so he shall be exalted with greater glory. But then, 

2. Positively : How shall they be fashioned like unto 
his glorious body ? 

You must not expect an exact account of this, it re- 
quires the tongue of an angel, or of some translated saint, 
that hath seen, and been invested with this glory, or hath 
had some full view of it. This is of the number of those 
things, we must believe though we see not, though we 
know not; it is an object of faith, not of sight, and so is 
incomprehensible to us, who walk by faith, not by sight. 
* Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into 
the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for those 
that love him.' If this be true of what is offered us in the 
gospel, much more of what is reserved in glory. * Now are 
we the sons of God,' saith the apostle, and it doth not ap- 
pear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall 
appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is ;' 
1 John iii. 2. And who can describe that which doth not 
appear? Here 'we see but as in a glass, darkly,' we have 
but a dim sight, such a sight of the kingdom of glory, as 
the ancient people of God had of the kingdom of the 


Messiah: 'Abraham saw his day afar off, and rejoiced.' 
The wisdom of God hath drawn a veil before that glory, and 
he hath drawn it in great wisdom. If so be we had the 
full discovery of that glory that shall be put upon the bodies 
of the saints (not to speak of that upon the soul) if we had 
the full discovery of it here upon earth, it would be as hard 
to persuade the saints to be content to live on earth, as it 
is to persuade the men of the world to die. As in judg- 
ment to them, so in mercy to us, the veil still remaineth 
upon us ; but though the veil be not quite withdrawn, yet 
the Lord is pleased in the Scripture to lift up, as it were, a 
corner of the veil, that we may see some glimmerings of 
that glory which hereafter we shall see face to face, of 
which I shall give an account in some particulars. 

The raised bodies of the saints shall be like the glorious 
body of Christ in these six or seven respects. 

(1.) In respect of perfection, the body of Christ is per- 
fect, so shall theirs be perfect, both in respect of parts, and 

Their bodies shall have integrality of parts in exact pro- 
portion, there shall be no defect of members, no not of 
those that are now wanting; those that could find no remedy 
for lameness, or blindness, or mutilation on earth, shall find 
it in heaven ; their bodies shall be raised in glory. So the 
apostle tells us, 1 Cor. xv. 43. ' It shall be a glorious body :' 
but it would not be so glorious if these imperfections and 
defects were not removed : and it shall have exact propor- 
tion too, there shall be no distinction in heaven between small 
and great ; as there shall be no infant of days, so no de- 
crepit old age, but all shall be reduced to a perfect stature, 
either to the stature of the first man Adam (for the resur- 
rection shall be as a new creation) or to the stature of the 
Lord from heaven, as the apostle calls our Lord Jesus. There 
shall be a conformation to the image of the heavenly, and 
so shall not want its proportion. The word fiop(pri in the 
text, signifies ' outward form,' and axvfia denotes ' external 
figure.' Now there could be no resemblance of the body of 
Christ in external form and figure, without such proportions. 

(2.) The bodies of the saints shall be like the glorious 
body of Christ, in respect of impassibleness. 

The body of Christ is now impassible ; that is, it is not 


liable to any sufferings, and so shall the bodies of the saints 
be ; they shall be secured from all hurtful impressions from 
without, and all distempers from within ; there shall be no 
hunger, nor thirst, no pain, no sickness, nor suffering what- 
soever ; the body shall suffer no disturbance, no inconveni- 
ence from earthly melancholy, or from dull phlegm, or fiery 
choler, or from the levity of a sanguine humour, but all 
shall be brought to such an exact temperament, as shall 
place them above any sufferings imaginable. The body 
will not be passible, nor liable to corruption, or suffering ; 
for that which is liable to suffering, is more or less liable to 
corruption, in whole, or in part ; but the bodies of the saints 
will be incorruptible: "It is sown in corruption, but is 
raised in incorruption;' 1 Cor. xv. 42.; their bodies shall be 
secured from whatever may blemish their glory, or impair 
their perfection, or any way disorder the constitution of it. 
(3.) The bodies of the saints shall be like the glorious 
body of Christ, in respect of immortality. 

, The body of Christ is immortal, as the apostle expresses 
it, Rom. vi. 9. 'Christ dieth no more, death hath no more 
dominion over him ;' so it shall be with the bodies of the 
saints, ' mortality shall then put on immortality,' as the 
apostle expresses it, 1 Cor. xv. 53. when the bodies of the' 
saints shall be raised, they shall commence, take the degree 
of souls, that is, they shall be immortal ; they shall be more 
secured from death in heaven, than our first parents, while 
innocent, were secure from death in paradise ; there-shall 
not only be a 'posse non mori,' ' a possibility not to die ;' 
but a ' non posse mori,' ' an impossibility of dying,' and that 
not arising from the nature of the body, but from the decree 
and purpose of God, from the victory of Christ, and from 
an immunity from sin ; ' Death shall then be swallowed up 
of victory;' death shall then lie under the feet of glorified 
ones, while they sing that song, 1 Cor. xv. 54 — 57. ' Death 
is swallowed up in victory: Oh, death where is thy sting ! 
Oh, grave where is thy victory ! The sting of death is sin, 
the strength of Sin is the law ; but thanks be to God which 
giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' 

(4.) The bodies of the saints shall be like that glorious 
body of Christ, in respect of agility ; that quickness, nim- 
bleness, and wonderful celerity of glorified bodies, an in- 


stance whereof we have in the ascent of Christ's body from 
earth to heaven. The distance between the highest heaven, 
and the earth, is computed by astronomers to be some hun- 
dred millions of miles, so that if he finished that distance 
in a day, and we have no reason to think it so long, his body 
must move some millions of miles in an hour. But not to 
insist upon that, the bodies of the saints shall move when, 
where, how, and as fast as the soul pleases, without any re- 
luctancy, without any toil or trouble to the body. The 
body shall be then immediately subject to the soul, as the 
soul shall be subject to God; nor will this motion be any 
disturbance to them. For wha.t one of the ancients saith 
of the angels, shall be true of the bodies of the saints : 
" Wherever they move, they move not out of the blessed 
presence, out of the inhappying presence of Christ." 

(5.) The bodies of the saints shall be like the glorious 
body of Christ, in respect of spirituality. 

The body of Christ is now a spiritual body, not that it is 
changed into the nature of a spirit : Christ prevents that 
mistake, Luke xxiv. 39. ' Behold my hands and my feet, that 
it is I myself, handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh 
and bones as you see me have.' The body is not changed 
into the nature of a spirit, but it is said to be spiritual, be- 
cause it is elevated to the highest degree of perfection and 
excellency that the body is capable of, brought as near to 
'the angelical nature, as is consistent with the essence of a 
body. So the bodies of the saints shall be spiritual bodies, 
not changed into the nature of spirits, but they shall be 
purged, defecated, and cleansed from all the dross, and mud, 
and feculency of an earthly temper, and their senses shall be 
refined to heavenly, all their acts and motions shall be ad- 
vanced to a spiritual perfection : there shall be none of those 
parts, none of those actions from which the body is deno- 
minated a natural, or an animal body : ' It is sown a natural 
body, it is raised a spiritual body :' there will be no need of 
meat, drink, or sleep. Our Lord Jesus Christ calls the 
raised bodies, ladyyeXoi, like to the angels in this respect, 
for in the resurrection, * They shall neither marry, nor are 
given in marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven ;' 
Matt. xxii. 30. 


(6.) The bodies of the saints shall be like the glorious 
body of Christ, in respect of splendour and beauty. 

He gave a glimpse of that glory to his disciples in his 
transfiguration ; Matt. xvii. 1, 2. * He took some of his dis- 
ciples into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured be- 
fore them ; his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment 
was white as the light;' it was glistering, saith the other 
evangelist; so shall the bodies of the saints be, they shall 
shine as the firmament and stars; Dan. xii. 3. 'They that 
are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and 
they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever 
and ever ;' not only as the firmament and stars, but as the 
sun ; Matt. xiii. 43. ' Then shall the righteous shine forth 
as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father.' The purest and 
most lovely complexion, the most exquisite beauty on earth, 
is but darkness and deformity to that which shall shine forth 
in the glorified bodies of the saints : they shall shine as the 
sun, with a brighter lustre than that of the sun, with such a 
splendour as shall never be clouded, never be eclipsed, never 
obscured. If the glory of Solomon did transport the queen 
of Sheba, when she saw him, so that it is said, ' there was no 
more spirit left within her,'l Kings x. 5. how ravishing 
will the sight of those glorious bodies be, whose splendour, 
whose glory shall as far exceed that of Solomon's, as the 
glory of the sun exceeds that of a lily? If a little converse 
with God put such a glory upon Moses's face, that the 
people were not able to behold it, their eyes were too weak ; 
what glory will shine forth in the bodies of the saints, of 
those that converse with God for ever, who will see him face 
to face unto all eternity? 'And we all with open face,' saith 
the apostle, * beholding the glory of the Lord, as in a glass, 
are thereby changed from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of 
the Lord.' By this we may guess, indeed we can do little 
more than guess as to these things, farther than the Scrip- 
ture leads us, but by this we may conjecture, how these 
bodies that are now so vile, should have such a glory de- 
rived upon them. The moon is of itself a dark, gross, 
opacous body, much like the earth, as it is now generally 
concluded, and capable of demonstration ; but the sun dart- 
ing its beams upon it, makes it a lightsome and glorious 


planet ; so the bodies of the saints, though vile in themselves, 
yet by the glory of Christ darting on them, shall be made 
glorious bodies. 

(7.) They shall be like him in respect of glorious dignities 
and privileges. 

It is the glorious privilege of Christ, that he sits on the 
right hand of God, as Mediator, in respect of his human na- 
ture : ' The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right 
hand. Him hath God exalted to be a prince. King of kings, 
and Lord of lords ;' and he hath glorious regalities, ensigns 
of royalty, he hath a throne, and a crown, and a sceptre : 
' Thy throne, O God' (it is spoken of Christ, as Mediator) 
' endures for ever, the sceptre of thy kingdom, it is a right 
sceptre, a sceptre of righteousness.' And he shall exercise 
his royal powder in a glorious manner, in a judiciary way, 
when he shall descend corporally to judge both the quick 
and the dead. Now the saints shall partake of these glo- 
rious privileges, or of something like them ; they shall stand 
at the right hand of Christ : * Upon thy right hand did stand 
the queen in gold of Ophir;' Psal. xlv. 9. The bodies of 
the saints shall have possession of a glorious kingdom, a 
kingdom of glory : 'Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's 
good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' And they have 
glorious ensigns of royalty ascribed to them. They have a 
crown : when the chief Shepherd shall appear, we shall re- 
ceive *a crown of glory ;' yea, the Lord himself will be their 
crown, as the expression is, Isa. xxviii. 5. ' In that day shall 
the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem 
of beauty to the residue of his people.' How glorious will 
it be for them, not only to be crowned by the Lord, but to 
have the Lord himself to be their crown? And they shall 
partake with him in the glory of judging quick and dead; 
they shall sit with him in his throne : * To him that over- 
cometh will I give to sit with me on my throne, as I also 
overcame, and am sat down with my Father on his throne.' 
They shall join with Christ as assessors in that glorious act 
of judgment ; they shall not only judge the world, but the 
angels: 'Know ye not,' saith the apostle, 'that we shall 
judge angels 

And so much for the explication of this truth. 
I might improve it several ways. 


Use 1. By way of inference : If the bodies of the saints 
shall be so glorious, what glory then will be put upon their 
souls? If the body, the vile body shall be advanced to such 
a glory, what glory will be put upon the soul, which is the 
prime receptacle of the image of God? If glory be the por- 
tion of the body, the soul will much more exceed in glory. 

Use 2. Let us here take notice of the love of Christ, the 
wonderful love of Christ, that he will take notice of the 
bodies of his people, of that which is so vile, bodies that are 
vile in themselves, and much more vile as they are instru- 
ments of sin ; bodies that are vile while they live, but much 
viler when they are dead ; noisome by putrefaction, or de- 
voured by vermin, or dissolved into dust. Will the King of 
glory take notice of such vile things ? Can he think thoughts 
of love concerning objects that are so unlovely? Yes, 
thoughts of love indeed, to make things so vile to be glo- 
rious, glorious like himself. Was it not enough that he 
redeemed men from wrath, delivered them from going into 
the pit of destruction? Was it not enough to make their 
souls glorious, but will he make their bodies glorious too ? 
Was it not enough to make their bodies like the stars, or 
the sun, but to make them glorious like himself? Must his 
own glory be the pattern of theirs ? Will nothing less satisfy 
the love of Christ, but imparting to these vile bodies his own 
glory ? O what manner of love is this ! So dear are the 
saints to him, such love he hath for them, as the very vilest 
thing belonging to them shall partake of his own glory, 
shall be made glorious like himself. As Mephibosheth said 
to David : 'What is thy servant that thou shouldest look on 
such a dead dog as I am?' With much more reason may we 
say, and that with astonishment : What are we, O Lord, that 
thou shouldst look upon such vile dust, v/hich is even 
trampled imder the feet of the beasts, that thou shouldst 
advance us to such a height of honour, that Ihou shouldst 
crown us with glory, with such a glory, a glory like thine own? 
Use 3. For inquiry : How shall we know whether we are 
of the number of those whose vile bodies shall be fashioned 
like to the glorious body of Christ ? There are several cha- 
racters in this chapter by which it may be known : I shall 
only name Ihem. 

(1.) Those that worship God in the spirit. 


(2.) Those that rejoice in Christ Jesus. 
(3.) Those whose conversation is in heaven. And, 
(4.) Those that look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus 
Christ ; you have these two last in the verse before my text, 
but I must not insist on them. 

Use 4. This should teach us to mix our grief for the loss 
of deceased relatives (those that die in the Lord) with joy. 
Some sorrow is allowed. They are reckoned among the 
worst of sinners, that are acrropyoi, without natural affection. 
Stoical senselessness is inhuman, it is far from being Chris- 
tian, or evangelical. We may mourn for ourselves in refer- 
ence to the great advantages that we lose by those we are 
bereaved of, especially if they are spiritual advantages : we 
may mourn in reference to the places where they lived, it 
portends evil to those places : ' For the righteous are taken 
away from the evil to come.' When those that should stand 
in the gap are removed, there is wrath breaking in upon that 
people without any remedy : we may mourn in reference to 
ourselves, but in reference to them we have cause to rejoice. 
If we mourn, it should not be as those without hope. Im- 
moderate sorrow hath its rise from self-love. Will you count 
him a friend who grieves at your preferment? The death of 
the saints is the highway to glory. The apostle calls death, a 
seed time, that is, a time of hope, not of mourning ; and a time 
in reference to an expected harvest, is a time of rejoicing. 

But we may mourn, we of this congregation have a par- 
ticular cause to do it. I shall speak something of that ex- 
cellent person that we have lost: but what I shall say, as 
the time will permit me, is but little concerning that great 
worthy. It was my unhappiness that I had so little and late 
acquaintance with him, which makes me not competent for 
such an undertaking ; the account that is due to the world, 
requires a volume, and abetter hand than mine, which I hope 
it will meet with in time : only let me touch some generals, 
which may help us to a sense of our loss, without which we 
are not like to make such an improvement of it, as the Lord 
expects from those upon whom his hand is fallen so heavy. 
A great light is fallen ; one of eminency for holiness, 
learning, parts, and abilities ; a pastor, a scholar, a divine 
of the first magnitude ; holiness gave a divine lustre to his 
other accomplishments, it shined in his whole course, and 
2 e2 


was diffused through his whole conversation. I need not 
tell you of this that knew him, and observed that it was his 
great design to promote holiness in the power, life, and ex- 
ercise of it among you. It was his great complaint that the 
power of it declined among professors. It was his care and 
endeavour to prevent or cure spiritual decays in his own 
flock. He was a burning and a shining light, and you for a 
while rejoiced in his light : alas ! that it was but for a while, 
and that we cannot rejoice in it still ! 

Those practical discourses which he published to the 
world, did give a taste that his spirit and temper was under 
the influence and power of holiness. There are some crea- 
tures that love to bark at the light, instead of making a 
better use of it : he met with such, I mean some that wrote 
against him, who thought themselves concerned to represent 
him odious to the world, but with great advantage to him, 
because they could not do it but by groundless surmises, 
and false suggestions, such as shewed the authors of them 
malicious, and rendered them ridiculous. 

He was master of all parts of learning requisite to an ac- 
complished divine ; those that understood him, and will be 
just, cannot deny him the reputation and honour of a great 
scholar; and those that detract from him in this, seem to be 
led by a spirit of envy, that would not suffer them willingly 
to see so great an ornament among those that are of another 
persuasion. Indeed he had parts able to master any thing he 
applied himself unto, though he restrained himself to those 
studies which might render him most serviceable to Christ, 
and the souls of men. He had extraordinary intellectuals, a 
vastmemory, a quick apprehension, a clear and piercingjudg- 
raent; he was a passionate lover of light and truth, of di- 
vine truth especially, he pursued it unvveariedly, through 
painful and wasting studies, such as impaired his health and 
strength, such as exposed him to those distempers with 
which he conflicted many years : and some may blame him 
for this as a sort of intemperance, but it is the most excus- 
able of any, and looks like a voluntary martyrdom. How- 
ever it shewed he was ready to spend, and be spent, for 
Christ: he did not bury his talenl, with which he was richly 
furnished, but still laid it out for the Lord who had intrusted 
him. He preached while his strength and liberty would 
serve, then by discourse and writing. 


That he was an excellent preacher none will deny who 
knew him, and knew what preaching was, and think it not 
the worse because it is spiritual and evangelical. He had 
an admirable facility in discoursing on any subject, perti- 
nently and decently, and could better express himself ex- 
tempore, than others with premeditation. He was never at 
a loss for want of expression ; a happiness few can pretend 
to ; and this he could shew upon all occasions, in the pre- 
sence of the highest persons in the nation, and from the 
greatest to the meanest. He hereby shewed he had the com- 
mand of his learning. His vast reading and experience was 
hereby made useful, in resolving doubts, clearing what was 
obscure, advising in perplexed and intricate cases, and 
breaches, or healing them which sometimes seemed in- 
curable. Not only we, but all his brethren will have reason 
to bewail the loss of him. His conversation was not only 
advantageous in respect to his pleasantness and obliging- 
ness ; but there was that in it which made it desirable to 
great persons, natives and foreigners, and that by so many, 
that few could have what they desired. 

I need speak nothing of his writings, though that is an- 
other head that I intimated, they commend themselves to 
the world. If holiness, learning, and a masculine unaffected 
style can commend any thing, his practical discourses can- 
not but find much acceptation with those w^ho are sensible 
of their soul concerns, and can relish that which is divine, 
and value that which is not common or trivial. His excel- 
lent Comment upon the Hebrews gained him a name and 
esteem, not only at home, but in foreign countries. When 
he had finished it (and it was a merciful providence that he 
lived to finish it), he said. Now his work was done, it was 
time for him to die. There were several other discourses 
that seem controversial and are so: our loss of him in this 
respect seems to be irreparable, for any thing that is in our 
present prospect. The due management of controversies 
require so great abilities, that there is not one among a hun- 
dred of our divines, are competently qualified for that; and 
the truths of the gospel, which should be dearer to us than 
our outward concerns, are like to be suppressed or adulte- 
rated, unless the Spirit of truth stir up and empower some 
to assert and vindicate them. He had a singular dexterity 
this way, for the managing of controversies ; and those truths 


that he vindicated, were such as were most in danger by the 
apostatizing spirit of this age : some may think his genius 
led him much to study debates, but so far as I have observed, 
he did not affect to be an aggressor, but still was on the de- 
fensive, and proceeded with such temper, that he would ra- 
ther oblige his adversary (if a lover of truth) than exaspe- 
rate him. He made it appear he did not write so much 
against any man's person, as for the truth: I heard one of them 
declare, it would not trouble a man to be opposed in such a 
way as this great doctor did treat his greatest antagonist. 
It is usual with persons of extraordinary parts, to straggle 
from the common road, and affect novelty, though thereby 
they lose the best company ; as though they could not ap- 
pear eminent, unless they march alone. But this great per- 
son did not affect singularity; they were old truths that he 
endeavoured to defend, those that were transmitted to us by 
our first reformers, and owned by the best divines of the 
church of England. What the truth has lost by this, I can- 
not easily say. 

But it falleth heaviest, and most directly upon this con- 
gregation; we had a light in this candlestick; which did not 
only enlighten the room, but gave light to others far and 
near; but it is put out; we did not sufficiently value it; I 
wish I might not say, that our sins have put it out. We 
had a special honour and ornament, such as other churches 
would much prize ; but the crown is fallen from our heads : 
yea, may I not add, woe unto us, for we have sinned, we 
have lost an excellent pilot, and lost him when a fierce storm 
is coming upon us, when we have most need of him. I 
dread the consequences, considering the weakness of those 
that are left at the helm. If we are not sensible of it, it is 
because our blindness is great. Let us beg of God, that he 
would prevent what this threatens us with, and that he would 
make up this loss, or that it may be repaired, or at least that 
the sad consequences of it may be prevented. And let us 
pray in the last words of this dying person to me : ' That 
the Lord would double his Spirit upon us, that he would 
not remember against us former iniquities; but that his ten- 
der mercies may speedily prevent us, for we are brought 
very low.' 


The following Letters were obtained too late for insertion 
in their proper place. 


(From the Original, kindly furnished me hy Mr. Upcot, of 
the London Institution.) 

I RECEIVED yours by the bearer, who has done me the favour 
to call for an answer : and although, at present, I have scarce 
leisure to write a line, yet I was not willing to omit the op- 
portunity of saluting you with one word. I am glad to hear 
of your welfare, and of the peace of the church with you, 
which I pray God to continue. I hope" it is well also with 
you as to spiritual thrift and growth ; and I earnestly desire 
it may be so. For indeed amongst all the tokens of God's 
displeasure that abound in the world, and especially in this 
nation, there are none so sad, as the open evidences which 
we have of his withdrawing his presence from his churches 
and other professors of the gospel, which appear in the fruits 
and effects of it. But I cannot at present give you my dread- 
ful apprehensions of the present state of things in the world ; 
I may possibly have another opportunity for it. My second 
part of Evangelical Churches is finished ; but when it will 
be published, as yet I know not. It doth comprise, not only 
that which you want, but all the cases wherein the practice 
of our way is concerned. I pray excuse my haste, and re- 
member in your prayers him who is labouring with age, in- 
firmities, temptations, and troubles, being 

Your affectionate brother in our dearest Lord, 

J. Owen. 

London, Oct. 29. 

For my ivorthy Friend, Mr. Thomas Whitaker, at Leeds. 


Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. 

(In answer to some reqicestsfor the improvement of the University 

of Dublin.) 
My Lord, 
I received your commands by Mr. Wood, in reference unto 
the statutes of this University, to be sent unto you. I shall. 


with the first convenient opportunity, endeavour to ssend oi 
bring them unto your Lordship. 1 am glad to hear of your 
endeavour to dispose of that University to the interests of 
piety and learning; and am bold to inform your Lordship, 
that our statutes, as those also of the other University, being 
framed to the spirit and road [qu. mode] of studies in former 
days, will scarcely, upon consideration, be found to be the 
best expedients for the promotion of the good ends of god- 
liness and solid literature, which are in your aim. I could 
much rather wish that if the great employments of your 
Lordship's servants in that place will not afford them leisure 
to attend such a work, that you would be pleased to send 
your commands to some of your friends and servants in 
Oxford, men of abilities, wisdom, and piety, to compose a 
body of orders and statutes suited to the present light, inte- 
rest, and discoveries of literature, in the 
ways and expedients of it which we do enjoy, that may be 
submitted to your Lordship's judgment. It is not impossible 
that something not unworthy your owning might be presented 
unto you; and that returning with the advantage of your 
allowance and approbation it might get esteem here also, 
where beaten road, customs, and, in many, an 
affection to an old interest, will not easily permit the most 
evidently useful sort of alteration to take place. 

I hope your Lordship will pardon this boldness in him 
who prays for you daily, and is. 

My Lord, 
Your most humble and most faithful Servant.. 

John Owen. 

Ox. Ch. Ch. Coll. Sept. 9, 1657. 

Fo?' his Excellenci/ the Lord Henrif Cronnvell, — These, 


Dr. Jo. Owen, Oxford, 

Concerning the sending the Statutes of Oxford. 

[Lansdown MSS. in British Museum, 823. 347. Orig.] 







Chap, Vol. 



i. 1. . . . viii. 201 

xvi, 21. 


xvii. 240 

2. . . . ii. 102 

21, 22. 


xi. 43 

26, 27. . . xii. 226 

xxiv. 16. 


XV. 204 

ii. 7. . . ii. 104. StQ 

17. . . viii. 211- 


iii. 8. . . . xiv. 31 

v. 15. 

xvii. 202 

10. . . xiv. 77 

xii. 7, 8. 


viii. 151 

l.S. . . xiii. 72 

xiv. 9. 

XV. 120 

15. . xvi. 396. xii. 151 

xxiv. 4. 

ii. 153 

iv. 4. . . ii. 75. xiv. 174 

vi. 5. . . xiii. 45 


viii. 21. . . vi. 323 

iv. 13. 


xi. 353 

xii. 7. 13. . . XV. 139 

vii. 7, 8. 

XV. 24 

XV. 1,2. . . xvii. 10 

X. 12, 13. 

xvi. 208 

■ 13, 14. . . viii. 191 



V. 166 

xvii. 7. . . vi. 281 

xiii. 1, 2. 


XV. 207 

xviii.18, 19. . viii. 191 

XXX. 6. 

iii. 11 

25. . . ix. 366 

xxxi. 16 — 


viii. 192 

xxviii. 3, 4. . . xvii. 20 

xxxiii. 12. 

vi. 170 

xxxT. 1 — 5. . . xvii. 177 

xxxvii. 4. . xiii. 127 


xxxix. 9. . . xiii. 79 

xlix. 9. . . xvi. 22 

i. 5. 

. vi. 338 

16—18, . . xvii. 11 

vii. 21. 


. 113. 228 

x. 12. 


ii. 160 


xxiv. 19, 


ix, 365 

iii. 2—6. . . xii. 397 


X. 23. . . . ii. 284 

xiii. 21, 22. . . xv. 561 

xi. 30, 31. 

ix, 389 

xiv. 19, 20. 24, . XV. 564 

xiv. 6. 


ii. 165 

xxiii. 20, 21. . XV. 189 

XXX. 22. . xvi. 456 


xxxiii. 19. . . XV. 310 

ii. 30. 

vi. 226. XV. 556 

xxxiv, 6, . . ix. 445 

vii. 2. 

xvi 316 

6,7. . , iii. 151 

xii. 22. 

vi. 341 

7. . . ix. 470 

XXV. 13. 

xiii. 127 

'-'9. , , iii. 387 

XXX. 6. 


XV. 570 



11. SAMUEL. 






xxiii. 5. 

XV. 558. xvii. 5 

xxxi. 10 — 15. 

xvii. 11 


xxxii. 3. 
xxxiii. 5. 

xiv. 63 
xiii. 182 

xiii. 2. 

viii. 192 


. vi. 207 

xxii. 6. 


ii. 18 

xxxiv. 5. 

xii. 581 


viii. 192 

xxxvi. 7—9. 

. xiii. 247 


xxxvii. 7. 
xxxviii. 2. 

xiv. 351 
.vii. 561 

iii. 26,27. 

ix. 393 


. xiii. 49 



x.\xix. 1—3. 

xiii. 345 
xiv. 380 

iv. 10. 

. xiii. 61 

5, 6. 

xiii. 381 

vii. 23. 

xvii. 8 

xl. 6. 

xii. 259 

xii. 32. 


367. 457 

xiii. 6. 

xiii. 4.57 



xiv. 1. 

xiii. 229 
xvii. 73 

XV. 2. 


547. 550 


X. 60 

xvi. 10. 


xiv. 445 


xiii. 290 


xlviii. 12— 14. 
xlix. 11 

xvi. 386 
xiii. 227 

vii. 12—14 

iii. 498 


. xiv. 88 

ix. 6. 

xiv. 60 

Ii. 5. 

V. 124 


Iviii. 3. 

viii. 233 
ii. 394 

iv. 1, 2. 

XV. 524 


xiii. 140 

ix. 17. 

xiv. 191 

Ixi. 2. 

xvi. 442 


Ixiv. 6. 
Ixxvi. 5. 

xiii. 136 
xvi. 281 

iii. 8. 

XV. 524 

Ixxvii. 3. 

xiii. 141 
xiv. 16 


6, 7. . 

xvi. 449 

V. 1. 

xiv. 160 

Ixxviii. 2. 

xii. 478 

xiii. 7. 8. 

viii. 151 


xiii. 231 

xvi. 21. 

xiii, 69 

Ixxxix. 30—37. 

vi. 342 

xxvi. 13. 

ii. 101 

xcii. 12—1.5. 

. xii. 549 

xxviii. 12- 


xii. 265 

xcvi. 10. 

iv. 467 

xxxiii. 8, 9. 


xvi. 201 

cii. 13, 14. 

XV. 104 



xiv. 272 


xii. '468 



xiv. 101 

civ. 36. 

ii. 104 
xiii. 334 


cxix. 18. 

iii. 383 

ii. 7. 


viii. 325 

cxxv. 1 — 3. 

vi. 353 

v. 3. 


xiv. 355 

cxxx. 1 — 8. 

xiv. 8—596 


ix. 471 

cxxxix. 8 — 10. 

xiii. 28 

X. 4. 

xiii. 323 

cxli. 5. 

xvi. 23 

xiv. 1. 
xvi. 7, Ji. 


xiii. 319 
xiii. 347 


xvii. 1.5. 


xii. 515 

i. 17. 

xiii. 1 14 

xviii. 9. 11 


XV. 492 

23. . . . 

ii. 121 


xiii. 177 

~ IV. 23. 

xiii. 1J7 

xix. 12, 13. 

xiii. 60 

viii. 22, 23. 

xii. 71 

xxii. 17. 


iv. 466 


viii. 329 

xxiii. 4 — 6. 

vi. 349 


ii. 103 

xxxi. 9—13. 

xvii. 21 


X. 145 


xiv. 276 

ix, 1—5. 



TEXTS. 427 





Chap. Vol. 

xxiii. 7. 

xiii. 225 

xlix. 14—16. . XV. 278. 322 


xiii. 372 

11. 15, 16. . . xvi. 223 

xxiii. 31. 

xiii. 114 

liii. . . . ix. 74 

xxvi. 14. 

xiii. 110 

11. , xiv. 102. xvii. 214 


xiii. 24 

12. . . v. 273 

xxvii. 17. . xiii. 374 

. xvii. 7.T 

liv. 5 . . . X. 66 

xxix. 9. 

xiii. 30 

7—10. . . vi.360 
9, 10. . . vi. 323 


11. . . xiv. 67 

V. 1. . xiii. 36. 

xvii. 179 

Iv. 7 . . xiv. 145 

ix. 3. . . xiii. 20. 65 

Ivi. 7. . . XV. 380 

xi. 10. 

ii. 396 

Ivii. 1. . . xiii. 134 
5. . . xiii. 51 


10. . . ii. 319 

ii. 1—7. 

X. 51 

15—20. . . iv. 179 


xii. 479 

17, 18. . . XV. 330 

iv. 4. 

xvi. 394 

20. . . xiii. 50. 227 

V. 2. 

xiii. 169 

Iviii. 3. . . xiii. 102 

9. . . . 

X. 60 

lix. 21. . vi. 413. xvii. 48 


X. 87 

Ixi.l. . . . ii. 191 

vi. 12. . xiii. 46. 260. 

xvii. 189 

Ixiii. 10. . . iv. 234 

viii. 6. 

X. 155 

16. . . . -xii. 335 

17. . . xvi. 329 


Ixv. 8, 9. . . xvi. 13 

iv. 1. 

vl. 166 

Ixvi. 1—3. . .xvi. 213 

5. . . . 

xvi. 5 

13. . . iv. 179 

V. 19. 

XV. 492 

2-1. . . ix. 119 

vi. 1, 2. 

xii. 402 


XV. 38 


viii. 19, 20. 

iii. 314 

ii. 19. . . . xiii. 78 


iv. 411 

iii. 15. . . xvii. 60 

xi. 1—3. . ii. 189. x. 303 

22, 23. . . xvii. 25 


xiii. 204 

iv 14. . . xiii. 113. 260 


XV. 524 

V. 3, 4. . . iii. 181 

xiv. 32. 

XV. 516 

viii. 2. . . ii. 100 

xix. 13. 14. 

xvi. 300 

xii. 14. . . xvi. 4.53 

xxvii. 3. 

ii. 462 

XV. 19, 20. . XV. 157. 163 

xxviii. 16. 

XV. 571 

xvii. 9, 10. . . xiii. 22 

xxxii. 2. 

XV. 334 

xviii. 7, 8. . . xiv. 492 


xvi. 17 

xxiii. 6. . viii. 336. xi. 365 

xxxiii. 14. . 

xiv. 77 

28, 29. . . iii. 315 

xxxiv. 16. 

xvi. 394 

xxiv. 2. . . xvi. 393 

xxxix. 8. 

iii. 491 

xxxi. 3. . . vi. 248 


iv. 183 

25. . . xiii. 247 

27—31. . vi. 182 

. xiv. 218 

xxxii. 38—40. . . vi. 285 


xiii. 427 

41. . . xiii. 22 

xli. 14, 15. 

XV. 151 

Ii. 5. „ . xvi. 105 

xliii. 10—12. 

iii. 250 


xiii. 179 


22—26. • 

XV. 329 

iii. 21. . . xiv. 284 

xliv. 1—8. 

vi. 185 

3. 4. 

ii. 465 


xlv. 11—13. 

XV. 368 

i. 3. . . . iv. 391 

xlvi. 9— 11. 

vi. 205 

xiv. 4. . . xvii, 184 

xlvii 10. 

xiii. 181 

9. . . xvi. 3S3 






XVI. 14. 
xvii. 24. 
xviii. 24, 25. 
xviii. 31 
xxxiii. 18. 20. 
xxxvi. 26. 
xxxviii. 10, 11. 
xlvii. 11.