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John Owen

      John Owen was born of Puritan parents at Stadham in Oxfordshire in 1616. At Oxford University, which he entered in 1628 at twelve years of age, John pored over books so much that he undermined his health by sleeping only four hours a night. In old age he deeply regretted this misuse of his body, and said he would give up all the additional learning it brought him if only he might have his health back. Naturally, he studied the classics of the western world, but also Hebrew, the literature of the Jewish rabbis, mathematics and philosophy. His beliefs at that time were Presbyterian, however, his ambition, although fixed on the church, was worldly.

      John was driven from Oxford in 1637 when Archbishop Laud issued rules that many of England's more democratically-minded or "low" church ministers could not accept. After this, John was in deep depression. He struggled to resolve religious issues to his satisfaction. While in this state, he heard a sermon on the text "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" which fired him with new decisiveness.

      After that, John wrote a rebuke of Arminianism (a mild form of Calvinism which teaches that man has some say in his own salvation or damnation although God is still sovereign). Ordained shortly before his expulsion from Oxford, he was given work at Fordham in Essex. After that he rose steadily in public affairs. Before all was over, he would become one of the top administrators of the university which expelled him and he even sat in Parliament.

      He became a Congregationalist (Puritan) and took Parliament's side in the English Civil Wars. Oliver Cromwell employed him in positions of influence and trust, but John would not go along when Cromwell became "Protector." Nonetheless, many of Parliament's leaders attended John's church.

      John's reputation was so great that he was offered many churches. One was in Boston, Massachusetts. John turned that down, but he once scolded the Puritans of New England for persecuting people who disagreed with them.

      He also engaged in controversy with such contemporaries as Richard Baxter and Jeremy Taylor. Through it all, John focused his teaching on the person of Christ. "If Christ had not died," he said, "sin had never died in any sinner unto eternity." In another place he noted that "Christ did not die for any upon condition, if they do believe; but he died for all God's elect, that they should believe."

      John wrote many books including a masterpiece on the Holy Spirit. Kidney stones and asthma tormented him in his last years. But he died peacefully in the end, eyes and hands lifted up as if in prayer.

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SermonA Christian, God's Temple
      "For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughter
SermonA Fast Sermon: - Christian Duty Under The Hidings Of God's Face
      Preached January 1, 1676. The end of our meeting here this day is to bemoan, if God would help us, the withdrawing of God from among us, and to beg his returning unto us. It is not about any particular or any small occasion; but it is about the greatest concern of the glory of God and our own souls that we can ever be engaged or concerned in thi
SermonChrist's Pastoral Care
      "Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old." -- Mic. vii. 14. [377] It is not much I shall offer unto you from these words; yet I cannot give you a right apprehension of the mind of God in them, and what I intend
SermonEnoch's Walk With God
      [The date of this sermon appears to be October 8, 1675.] "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." -- Gen. v. 24. This Enoch here spoken of hath the most considerable circumstances of any one of the patriarchs before the flood, nor was there any more but one afterwards, under the law, equal unto him; for he was a prophet,
SermonFaith's Answer To Divine Reproofs
      Preached January 5, 1672. "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the
SermonGifts To Men - sermon part 1
      "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." -- Eph. iv. 8. [395] The design of these words is to show that the gift of the ministry, and of ministers, -- of the office, and persons to discharge that is an eminent fruit of the exaltation of Christ, and a great expression and pledge of his
Gifts To Men - sermon part 2
      "But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." -- 1 Cor. xii. 11. [396] You are a church of ancient standing, and therefore are acquainted both with the duty and practice of it. God hath guided you to call them to office over and among you who have been long experienced in the work of the m
Gifts To Men - sermon part 3
      "And I will give you pastors according to my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." -- Jer. iii. 15. [397] All the names of the officers of the church under the New Testament have a double signification, -- a general and more large signification, and a special signification. As, for instance diakonos, a "deacon," hath a g
Gifts To Men - sermon part 4
      To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. [401] "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer," etc. -- Ps. xlv. 1-3. The whole Book of Psalms hath a peculiar respect unto Jesus Christ, either directly or in t
Gifts To Men - sermon part 5
      "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty." -- Ps. xlv. 1-3. [40
Gifts To Men - sermon part 6
      "Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever." -- Ps. xlv. 2. [403] I have given you an account of the general design and scope of this psalm already, and spoken something from the title of it, "To the chief Musician," etc.; and opened the 1st verse, and spoken something to th
Gifts To Men - sermon part 7
      "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty." -- Ps. xlv. 3. [404] In the 2d verse we have a description of the person of Christ, and of the ground of God's blessing and accepting of him in his work, the psalm having a double design; -- first, To show the glory of Christ in his kingly office; secondly, To show t
SermonGod The Saints' Rock - sermon part 1
      "From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." -- Ps. lxi. 2. [373] There are two things in the words:-- First, The state wherein the psalmist was. Secondly, The course that he steered in that state. His estate is doubly expressed:-- 1. From the place where he was, --
God The Saints' Rock - sermon part 2
      "From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." -- Ps. lxi. 2. [374] In my former discourse upon this text, I told you that there were three reasons why faith betakes itself to the nature of God for relief in overwhelming distresses. The first was taken from the circumsta
SermonGod's Withdrawing His Presence, The Correction Of His Church
      "O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance." -- Isa. lxiii. 17. [380] These are words that carry a great deal of dread in them; -- tremendous words, methinks, as any in the book of God. And, according as our concernment shall be found i
SermonGospel Charity
      "And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." Col. iii. 14. [375] The word agape, which we here translate "charity," is the only word used in the [New Testament to signify "love." And I wish we had always rendered it so, because in our common use of speech, charity is restrained to one effect of love, in relievin
SermonHoliness Urged From The Liability Of All Things To Dissolution
      Preached July 11, 1673. "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" -- 2 Pet. iii. 11. My design is only to go over a few texts of Scripture that may give us light into that instruction which is wrapped up in these words, and a little, if it may be, whet
SermonHuman Power Defeated
      "The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands. -- Ps. lxxvi. 5. [367] The common circumstances of this psalm, concerning the penman, title, and the like, I shall not at all inquire after. The time of its being given to the church is alone to us considerable; and yet all the knowl
SermonNational Sins And National Judgments
      Preached April 11, 1679. "For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory. The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves." --
SermonOf Walking Humbly With God - sermon part 1
      "And to walk humbly with thy God." -- Mic. vi. 8. The beginning of this chapter contains a most pathetical expostulation of God, by the prophet, with his people, about their sins and unworthy walking before him. Having, with an apostrophe to the mountains and hills, verses 1, 2, stirred up their attention, and raised them to the consideration of

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