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with peculiar rapture. As a Christian, his life and con duct were, “ as becometh the Gospel of Christ.” He was kind, affable, and generous. The poor, in him, lost a friend and an unwearied benefactor. To do good to the souls of inen, and to promote their temporal and eternal happiness, were the grand ends of his life, in subordination to the glory of God.
OWEN, JOHN, D. D. was second son of Henry Owen, esq. originally of Dolgelle, in Merionethshire, North Wales, and was born at Stadham, ini Oxfordshire, where his father was minister, in the year 1616*. He had such an extraordinary genius, and made so quick a profia ciency in his studies at school, that he was adınitted into Queen's College at about twelve years of age, and when he was but nineteen, commenced M. A. 1635. He pursued his studies with incredible diligence, allowing himself for several years not above four hours sleep in a night. While he continued in the college, his whole aim was to raise himself to some eminence in the church or state, to either of which he was then indifferent. It was his own acknow. ledgement since, concerning himself, that being naturally of an aspiring mind, affecting popular applause, and very desirous of honour and preferment, he applied himself closely to his studies, to accomplish the ends he had in view; and he was ready to confess with shaine and corrow, that then the honour of God, or serving his country, othere. wise than he might thereby serve biinself, were reinote from his intentions. His father having a large family, could not afford hiin any considerable maintenance at the university, but he was liberally supplied by an uncle, one of his father's brothers, a gentleman of good estate in Wales; who having no children of his own, designed to have made him his heir. He lived in the college till he was twenty-one years of age, from which time he met with extraordinary changes, which through the unsearch able wisdom of God, turned to his great advantage, and made way for his future advancement, and eminent usefulness. About this time Ds. Laud, abp. of Canterbury, and chancellor of Oxford, imposed several superstitious rites on the university
• Dr. Owen derived his pedigree from Llewellyn ap Gwrgan, prioce of Glamorgan, lord of Cardiff; this being the last family of the five regal tribes of Wales.
upon pain of expulsion. Mr. Owen had then received such light, that his conscience could not submit to those impositions ; however temporal interest might plead for his compliance, yet other more weighty considerations of a religious nature prevailed; for now God was forining imprese sions of grace upon his soul, which inspired him with a zeal for the purity of his worship, and what he thought to be reformation in the church. This change of his judgement soon discovered itself upon this occasion, and was observed by his friends, who thereupon forsook himn as one infected with Puritanişin ; and upon the whole, he was become so much the object of resentment froin the Laudensian party, that he was forced to leave the college. ;
When the wars in England broke out, he owned the parliament's cause, which his uncle, who had maintained bim at the college, being a zealous royalist, so vehemently resented, that he turned hiin at once out of his favour, settled his estate upon another, and died without leaving him any thing. He lived then as chaplain with a person of honour, who, though he was for the king, used him with great civility; but he going at last to the king's army, Mr. Owen left his house, and caine to London : he took lodge ings in Charter House Yard, where he was a perfect stranger. During his abode there, he wrote his book called, "A Display of Arminianisın;" which met with such acceptance, as made way for his advancement. It ca:ne out in 1642, a very seasonable time, when those errors had spread themselves very much in this nation; so that the book was the more taken notice of, and highly approved by many. There were soine considerable persons who had a just sense of the value of this work, and did not fail to give real, and particular inarks of their respect to so learned an author. For, soon afier its publication, the committee for purging the church of scandalous ministers, · paid such a regard to'it, that Mr. White, chairman of that coinmittee, sent a special messenger to Mr. Owen, to present hiin the living of Fordham, in Essex; which offer he the inore chearfully embraced, as it gave him an opportu. nity for the stated exercise of his ministry. He continued at this place about a year and a half, where his preaching was so acceptable, that people resorted' to his ininistry from other parishes; and great was the success of his labours in the reformation and conversion of many. Soon after he came to Fordham, he married a gentlewoman, by whom he had several children, all which the Doctor out-lived. In 1644 he published his discourse, “Of the Duty of Pastors and People.”
Upon a report that the sequestered incumbent of Ford. hain was dead, the patron, who had no kindness for Mr. Owen, presented another to the living ; whereupon the people at Coggeshall, a market town about five miles from ihence, earnestly invited him to be their minister; and the earl of Warwick, the patron, readily gave him the living ; which favour of opening a door for preaching the Gospel, in that place, he thankfully acknowledged; for here he taught a more numerous and judicious congregation, seldom fewer than two thousand, where he found the people generally sober, religious, and discreet, Hitherto Mr. Owen had followed the Presbyterian mode; but after a due search, and study into the nature of church governinent, he was fully convinced that the congregational way was most agreeable to the rule of the New Testament. His judgement, in this matter has been printed, with the several reasons for it, in two quartos. Several ministers of the Presbyterian denomination were dissatisfied with this change of Mr. Owen's judgement, and particularly Mr. Cawdry re-, proached hiin very unhandsomely, to whom he gave a much more civil answer. He had formed a church at Coggeshall upon congregational principles, which conti. nued long. The worth of so great a man, so eminent a: light, could no longer be concealed; his fame and - réputation spread both through city and country. He was sent for to preach before the parliament: this sermon is entitled, " A Vision of free Mercy, &c.” on Acts xvi, 11.' April 29, 1646. He pleaded for liberty of conscience and moderation, towards men of different persuasions, &c. in an “ Essay for the Practice of Church Gorernment in the Country,” which he subjoined to that sermon. In 1643 hé published “ Salus Electorum, Sanguis Jesu: or, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ." This is a noble undertaking, carried on with all the vigour of argument and learning, of which himself was so conscious, that though the most modest and humble of all writers, yet he scrupled not to declare, that “ He did not believe be should live to see a solid answer given to it.”
Colchester was about this tiine besieged, and lord Fair.
• fax, general of the parliament's forces. quartering at Cogges
hall some days, he became acquainied there with Mr. Owen, and: likewise four cominíssioners sent by the house into Essex, to look after their affairs in that county, entered into a conversation with him. About this time also he became knowu to Cromwell, who happened to hear him preach and solicited his friendship. He acquainted Mr. Owen with his inteuded expedition into Ireland, and desired his company to reside there in the college at Dublin; but he answered, the charge of the church at Coggeshall would not perinit him to coinply with his request : Cromwell was not satisfied with the objection, and would have no denial; but at last from desires he proceeded to commands, and resolved he should go; at the same time telling him, that his younger brother (whom he dearly loved) was to go as standardbearer in the same army : he not only engaged his brother to 'persuade him to a compliance, but also wrote to the church at Coggeshall, to desire leave that he might go with hiin to Ireland ; which letter was read publicly amongst them, yet they were utterly unwilling to part with him on this occasion; but at length Cromwell told them plainly, he must and should go. Mr. Owen consulted several ministers about it, and they all agreed in their advice for his • going; upon which he prepared for his journey, not with the army, but more privately. He arrived at Dublin, and took up his lodgings in the college, preaching there, and overseeing the affairs of that eminent school of learning. Here he staid about half a year, and, with Cromwell's leave, returned into England, and went to Coggeshall, where he was joyfully received. He had scarcely time to take breath there, before he was called to preach at Whitehall, which order he obeyed,
In September, 1650, Cromwell required Mr. Owen to go with him into Scotland, but he being averse to this journey also, the general procured an order of parliament, which left no room for any objections. He staid at Edin. burgh about half a year, and then returning into England, he went once more to his people at Coggeshall. There are two sermons printed which he preached, the one at Berwick, and the other at Edinburgh, entitled, “The Branch of the Lord, the Beauty of Zion," upon (saiah lvi. 7,“ Mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” He hoped upon his return to Coggeshall after
this journey, to have spent the remainder of his days there; , but he inust now leave his private service of being overseer to a congregation in the country, to preside over a college in Oxford, and after that over the university there. The . first intelligence he had of this matter was by one of the weekly newspapers at Coggeshall; where he read words to this effect : « The house taking into consideration the worth and usefulness of Mr. John Owen, student of Queen's College, master of arts, has ordered that he be settled in the deanery of Christ's College, in Oxford, in the room of,” &c. and soon after he received a letter from the prin. cipal students of that college, signifying their desire of his coming, and their great satisfaction in the choice the house .) had made of him to be iheir dean. With the consent of his church he went to Oxford, and settled there, in 1651, and in the following year he was chosen vice-chancellor of that university; and adınitted September 26, 1652; in which office he continued successively five years. About this time also he was diplomated doctor of divinity. He took care in managing this trust, 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 that university was reduced into good order, and flourished with a number of excellent scholars, and persons of distinguished piety. The Doctor's governa ment, as vice-chancellor, took up a great part of his time, together with other avocations which daily attended him in that station; yet notwithstanding he redeemed time for his studies; preaching every other Lord's day at St. Mary's, and often at Stadham, and other places in the country, and moreover he wrote some excellent books. In 1654 he published “ The Saint's Perseverance,” in an answer to Mr. John Goodwin's “ Redemption Redeemed.” It is a masterpiece of this kind, full of close and strong reasoning, whereby he has enervated all the subtle arguments, and answered all the objections of the adversary, confirming the truth by the Scripture evidence, and in the whole has given the world an example of a rare : Christian temper in the management of controversy, .
In 1655 he published, “Vindiciæ Evangelicæ ; or, The Mystery of the Gospel vindicated, and Socinianisin examined," which was chiefly designed against John Biddle, a Socinian, who had published iwo Socinian Catechisms
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