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of the same nature with the Racovian, written by Valen. tinus Smalcius, which also the Doctor takes into examina. tion, being willing to give a full confutation of Socinian errors. Hitherto the eminent learning, prudence, and piety of this great man, had displayed their lustre in a public and honourable station; but the time was now come when he inust retire to a more private capacity, wherein he failed not to preserve and improve the same excellent qualifica. tions, and spread his usefulness both from the pulpit and the press. About this time he published that excellent book, “ Communion with God," of which we need say the less, since it has for so many years recommended itself to the spiritual taste of serious and judicious Christians. He was vice-chancellor of the university till 1657, when he gave place to Dr. Conant*; and in 1659, Dr. Edward Reynolds, afterwards bishop of Norwich, succeeded him in the deanery of Christ Church.
The Doctor had now quitted his public station at Oxford, and retired to Stadham, the place of his birth in that county, where he was possessed of a good estate : here he lived privately for some time, till the persecution grew so hot, that he was obliged to remove from place to place, and at last came to London. All which time he was not idle, but employed his talents like a faithful servant of Christ, in preaching as he had opportunity, and in writing several valuable and useful books, to serve the common interest of religion and learning. In 1661 he published that elaborate and learned treatise, “THEOLO. GOUMENA; De naturâ, ortu, progressu et studio veræ Theologiæ," which was afterwards reprinted at Bremen, in Germany.
The next year come out a book, called “ Fiat Lux," written by John Vincent Lane, a Franciscan frier ; wherein, under the pretence of recommending moderation and charity, he with a great deal of subtilty invites men over to the church of Rome, as the only infallible cure of all church divisions ;' too impressions of this book were printed off before the Doctor had seen it;' at length it was sent him by a person of honour, who desired him to write an answer to it; which he did in a very short time: This answer bears the title of “ Animadversions on Fiat Lux, by a Protestant';" which being generally accepted, " Whose life see above, vol. i. p. 565.
made the frier very angry, so that he published a sheet or two by way of reply, which produced the Doctor's answer; entitled, A Vindication of Animadversions on Fiat Lux,” to which never any reply was given. Dr.
Owen, * There was some difficulty in obtaining a licence for this last book, when the bishops who were appointed by act of parliament the principal licencers of divinity books had examined it: they made two objections against it. (1.) That upon all occasions when he mentions the evangelists and apostles, evev St. Peter himself, he left out the title of saint. (2.) That he endeavours to prove, that it could not be determined thai St. Peter was ever at Romc. To the first, the Doctor replied, that the title of evangelist, or apostle, by which the Scripture names them, was much more glorious than that of saint'; for in that paine all the people of God were alike honoured; yet to please them be yielded to that addition, but as to the other objections, he would by no means consent to any alteration, unless they could prove him to be mistaken in his assertion, and rather chose his book should never see the light, than to expunge what he had written upon that subject; and in all probability it had never been printed, liad not sir Edward Nicholas, one of his majesty's principal secretaries of state, who was informed of this matter, wrote to the bishop of London to licence it notwithstanding this objection. This took recommended him to the esteem of the Lord Chancellor Hyde, who, by sir Bulstrode Whitlocke, sent for him, and acknowledged the service of his late books against “ Fiat Lux;" assuring him that he had deserved the best of any English Protestant of late years; and that for these performances the church was bound to own and advance him; and at the same time he offered bim preferment if he would accept it: the chancellor moreover told him, there was one thing lie much wondered at, that he being so learned a man, and so well acquainted with church history, should einbrace that novel opinion of Independency, for which, in his judgement, so little could be said. The Doctor replied, that indeed he had spent some part of his time in reading over the history of the church, and made this offer to his lordship, if he pleased, to prove that this was that way of goveroment which was practised in the church for four hundred years after Christ, against any bishop he should think fit to bring to a disputation with him upon this subject. Say you so (said the chancellor) then I am much mistaken. Other discourses passad between them, particularly about liberty of conscience: the lord chancellor asked bin what he would desire with respect to liberty and for, bearance in the matters of religion: to which the Doctor replied, " That the liberty he desired was for Protestants, who assented to the doctrine of the Church of England." How the chancellor related this passage is pot known, but in all probability from hence was that calumny raised on the Doctor, as if he would have no other persons permitted to live in England; which he never said nor thought, yea, upon all 'occasions he has constantly declared it as his judgement, that no peace able persons holding the foundation of the Christian faith; ought, by the rule of the Scriptures, or right reason, to have any violence offered to theip for their profession of religion in the exercise of their con
Owen, notwithstanding his services, was persecuted from place to place, which perpetual trouble inclined him to think of leaving his native country, having received an invitation from his brethren in New England to go thither; end in 1665 he made preparations for that voyage : but the providence of God diverted him from that purpose: for now the dreadful plague begun, which swept away above one hundred thousand; and the lamentable fire broke out in our metropolis, that consumed-so great a part of it.
The Doctor, who had lived privately in London for some years, went to visit his old friends at Oxford, and to attend some affairs of his own estate not far from thence; but, notwithstanding all his privacy, he was observed, and intelligence was given of the very house where he lay: upon which some troopers came and knocked at the dvor; the mistress of the house came down and boldly opened the door, asking, “ What they would have?" “Who thereupon enquired of her, “ Whether she had any lodgers in her house?” Instead of giving a direct answer to the question, she asked, “ Whether they were seeking for Doctor Owen?” “ Yes,” said they ; she told them, “He went from my house this morning betimes." Then they immediately rode away : in the mean time the Doctor, who she really thought had been gone, (as he told her he intended) arose and went into a field near the house, whither he ordered his horse to be brought, and then rode to London. Fresh invitations were now given him to go to New England, but he had too great a love for his native country, to quit it so long as there was any opportunity of being serviceable here ; whilst the liberty which had been granted to Dissenters continued, he was assiduous in preaching; and it was no small encouragement that now the people who had been awakened by the several judgeinents that they had felt, and convinced of the peacefulness of the nonconformists, of enemies now became their friends and advocates; being ready to protect those whom they used to persecute. Now the Doctor had sciences towards God; and though he had sufficient reason at that time to make bis proposal for such Protestants, yet he did it not then, or at any time, with any design of severity on others, nor would give so much as any tacit consent to the persccuting of any peaceable persons for the profession of their faith, and their worshipping of God according to their consciences.
opportunity of preaching publicly, and setting up a lecture, to which many persons of quality, and eminent citizens resorted; and his time was filled up with other useful studies, which produced several yaluable books, both learned and practical
In 1668 he published his excellent exposition of the cxxxth Psalm. It was calculated for the service of poor distressed souls in their depths of spiritual trouble; there he has treated largely of Gospel forgiveness; and in the whole he has with all plainness, yet with a most pene trating spiritual judgement, consulted the relief of such souls, who of all persons in the world stand most in need of compassion; and we shall only add, that it is a book that has been blessed for the advantage and comfort of many, and ever grateful to the spiritual taste of all good persons, In this year also he published the first volume of his exposition on the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the three others followed in their order, the last coming out in 1684. It is not easy for us to give a full account of the value and usefulness of this work: it is filled with a great variety of learning, particularly rabbinical, which he has made serviceable to give light into the subject matter chiefly treated of in this Epistle; and withall he bas taken care to adapt his exposition to the service of the faith and comfort of Christians, and to recommend the practice of the substantial duties of religion, so that it is hard to say, whether the scholar or the divine shine brightest, through this excellent work. Besides the exposition itself there are very learned and accurate exercitations, which serve to illustrate many difficult parts of Scripture, and to answer the design of the whole work ; we shall observe, farther, that here the Doctor has enumerated all the arguments, and answered all the main objections of the Socinians, Gverthrown entirely their whole scheme, and driven them out of the field ; so that whoever reads this work needs scarcely any other for the assailing of their pernicious errors. About the sitting of the parliament, November, 1669, Samuel Parker wrote his “ Discourse of Ecclesiastical Polity;" and the “Power of the Civil Magis. trate in the Matters of Religion," To this Dr. Owen wrote an answer. Afterwards Andrew Marvell wrote against Parker's book in a very witty and satirical way. . There was nothing done this session of parliament
against the Dissenters, but at their next meeting they drew up a severer bill than ever, which with some difficulty was at length past : when the bill was sent up to the Jords and debates arose upon it, the Doctor was desired to draw up some reasons against it in the intended sercrity of it: he did so and it was laid before the lords by several eminent citizens and gentleinen of distinction. This paper is called, “ The State of the Kingdom, with respeci to the present Bill against Conventicles;” but it did not prevail: the bill was carried and past into an act; all the bishops were for it but iwo, viz. Doctor Wilkins, bishop of Chester, and Doctor Rainbow, bishop of Carlisle, whose names ought to be mentioned with honour for their great inoderation. This was executed with severity to the utrer ruin of many persons and families. His “Discoörse concerning the Holy Spirit," which he published in 1678, comes next under our particular observation; " It is a subject very difficult to manage, being in itself abstruse and mysterious, (as he himself observes in the preface,) and besides the opposition to it has been carried on with much scorn and public contempt.” At that time the opposition to the Deity, and personality of the Holy Ghost, and all his operations with respect to the new creation, rose to a very great height, and happy it was for the church of God, that this excellent person was raised up, who was so well fitted to explain and defend this doctrine. We cannot but observe, that this learned and judicious person has not only fully vindicated the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and his operations from the cavil of adversaries, and the contempt of profane men, but he has suited his discourse (as he tells us) to the edification of them that believe, and directed it to their furtherance in spiritual obedience and true holiness.
Thus we see with what faithfulness and diligence this great man employed his excellent talents for the service of the church; he was frequently writing some book or other that might contribute to that noble design : and though it might seem too tedious in the history of his life to take notice of every one of them, yet we judge it very necessary to illustrate his character in giving a particular account of those which have deservedly gained a great interest in the esteem of learned and good inen. Ainong which we must reckon that incomparable creatise be published in 1677, entitled “ The Doctrine of Justitication by Faith through the