(Thomson, Life of Dr. Owen. part 7) 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?'" Dr Owen had only reached the confines of old age when he died; but the wonder is, that a life of such continuous action and severe study had not sooner burned out the lamp. It may be remarked of him, as Andrew Fuller used to say of himself, that "he possessed a large portion of being." He is said to have stooped considerably during the later years of his life; but when in his full vigour, his person was tall and majestic, while there was a singular mixture of gravity and sweetness in the expression of his countenance. His manners were courteous; his familiar conversation, though never deficient in gravity, was pleasantly seasoned with wit; and he was admired by his friends for his remarkable command of temper under the most annoying provocations, and his tranquil magnanimity in the midst of all the changes of fortune to which, in common with all his great Puritan contemporaries, he was exposed. "His general frame was serious, cheerful, and discoursive,-- his expressions savouring nothing of discontent, much of heaven and love to Christ, and saints, and all men; which came from him so seriously and spontaneously, as if grace and nature were in him reconciled, and but one thing." Such is the portrait of Owen that has descended to us from those who best "knew his manner of life;" and our regret is all the greater, that we are constrained to receive the description in this general form, and that biography has opened to us so few of those glimpses of his domestic and social life which would have enabled us to "catch the living manners as they rose," and to fill up for ourselves the less strongly defined outlines of his character. Our business, however, is more with Dr Owen in his various public relations, and it seems to be a fit conclusion of this Memoir, that we should now attempt, in a few closing paragraphs, to express the estimate which a review of his conduct in these relations warrants us to form of his character. One of the most natural errors into which a biographer is in danger of being betrayed, is that of asserting the superiority of the individual who has been the subject of his memoir to all his contemporaries; and it would probably require no great stretch of ingenuity or eloquent advocacy to bring out Dr Owen as at least "primus inter pares." In finding our way, however, to such conclusions, almost every thing depends on the particular excellence on which we fix as our standard of judgment; and we are persuaded that were we allowed to select a separate excellence in each case our standard, we could bring out each of the three great Puritans as, in his turn, the greatest. Let impressive eloquence in the pulpit and ubiquitous activity out of it be the standard, and all this crowned with successes truly apostolical, and must not every preacher of his age yield the palm to Richard Baxter? Or let our task be to search for the man in that age of intellectual giants who was most at home in the philosophy of Christianity, whose imagination could bear every subject he touched upwards into the sunlight, and cover it with the splendours of the firmament, and would we not lay the crown at the feet of the greatly good John Howe? But let the question be, who among all the Puritans was the most remarkable for his intimate and profound acquaintance with the truths of revelations who could shed the greatest amount of light upon a selected portion of the Word of God, discovering its hidden riches, unfolding its connections and harmonies, and bringing the most abstruse doctrines of revelation to bear upon the conduct and the life who was the "interpreter, one amongst a thousands" or let other excellencies that we are about to specify be chosen as the standard, and will not the name of Dr Owen, in this case, obtain au unhesitating and unanimous suffrage? Such a mode, therefore, of expressing our estimate is not only invidious, but almost certain to fail, after all, in conveying a distinct and accurate conception of the character we commend. We prefer, therefore, to contemplate Dr Owen in his principal relations and most prominent mental features, and to paint a portrait without fashioning an idol. The first excellence we have to name is one in regard to which, we are persuaded, the modern popular estimate has fallen considerably below the truth. We refer to the qualities of Owen as a preacher. No one who is familiar with his printed sermons, and has marked the rich ore of theology with which they abound, will refuse to him the praise of a great sermon-maker; but this gift is not always fold united in the same person with that other excellence which is equally necessary to constitute the preacher,--the power, namely, of expressing all the sentiment and feeling contained in the words by means of the living voice. And the general impression seems to be, that Dr Owen was deficient in this quality, and that his involved sentences, though easily overlooked in a composition read in secret, must, without the accompaniments of a most perfect delivery, have been fatal to their effect upon a public audience. It is even supposed that his intellectual habits must have been unfavourable to his readiness as an orator, and that wile, like Addson, he had abundance of gold in the bank, he was frequently at a loss for ready money. But Owen's contemporaries report far differently; and the admiring judgment of some of them is the more to be relied on, that, as in the case of Anthony Wood, it was given with a grudge. Their descriptions, indeed, would lead us to conclude his eloquence was of the persuasive and insinuating, rather than, like Baxter's, of the impassioned kind,--the dew, and not the tempest; but in this form of eloquence he appears to have reached great success. His amiable colleague, Mr Clarkson, speaking of "the admirable facility with which he could discourse on any subject," describes him as "never at a loss for language, and better expressing himself extempore than others with premeditation;" and retaining this felicity of diction and mastery of his thoughts "in the presence even of the highest persons in the nation." We have already had occasion to quote Wood's representation of Owen's oratory, as "moving and winding the affections of his auditory almost as he pleased;" and a writer of great judgment and discrimination, who had often heard Owen preach, speaks of him as "so great an ornament to the pulpit, that, for matter, manner, and efficacy on the hearers, he represented indeed an ambassador of the Most High, a teacher of the oracles of God. His person and deportment were so genteel and graceful, that rendered him when present as affecting, or more than his works and fame when absent. This advanced the lustre of his internal excellencies, by shining through so bright a lantern." Indeed, the sermons of Owen and his compeers, not only compel us to form a high estimate of the preachers, but of the hearers of those times, who could relish such strong meat, and invite its repetition. And seldom perhaps on earth has a preacher been called to address more select audiences than Owen. We do not now refer to the crowding multitudes that hailed his early ministry at Fordham and Coggeshall, or to those little secret audiences meeting in upper chambers, to whom truth was whispered rather than proclaimed, but to those high intellects that were wont to assemble around him at Oxford, and to those helmed warriors and heroes of the commonwealth, who, on days of public fasting and thanksgiving, or on high occasions of state, would stand in groups to hear the great Puritan discourse. Many of these earnest souls were no sciolists in dignity themselves, and had first drawn their swords to secure the liberty of prophesying and uncontrolled freedom of worship. We should form a very imperfect estimate of the character of Dr Owen, and of the beneficent influence which he exerted, did we not advert to his greatness as a man of affairs. In this respect we need have no hesitation in asserting his superiority to all the Puritans Attached from principle to that great party whose noble mission it was to assert and to vindicate the rights of conscience and freedom of worship, he soon rose to be its chief adviser on all occasions of great practical exigency. He combined in a remarkable degree that clear perception and firm grasp of great abstract principles, that quick discernment of character and detection of hidden motive in others, which acts in some men with all the promptitude and infallibility of instinct,--that fertility of resources, that knowledge of the times for vigorous action and of the times in which to economize strength, which, when found in great prominence and happy combination in the politician, fit him for the high duties of statesmanship. He was the man who, by common consent, was called to the helm in a storm. Baxter was deficient in more than one of those qualities which are necessary to such a post; while his ardent nature would, on some occasions, have betrayed him into practical excesses, and at other times his love of nice and subtle distinction would have kept him discussing when he should have been acting;--while Howe's elevation above the affairs of daily life, his love of solitude, which made him almost wish even to die alone in some unfrequented wood, or on the top of some far remote mountain, disinclined, if it did not unfit him, for the conduct of public affairs. But Owen's singular excellence in this respect was early manifested,--and to no eye sooner than to that of Cromwell. We have seen him inviting his counsels on the affairs of Dublin University; taking him with him to Scotland, not only as his chaplain, but as his adviser in the affairs of that campaign, when he found it more difficult to manage its theologians than to conquer its armies; and at length intrusting to him the arduous and almost desperate enterprise of presiding over Oxford, and raising it from its ruins. And throughout more than thirty years of the long struggle of the Puritans and Nonconformists, he was the counsellor and presiding mind, to whom all looked in the hour of important action and overwhelming difficulty. Some have accused Owen and other Nonconformists of his age as too political for their office. But who made them such? Was it not the men who were seeking to wrest from them their dearest civil rights, and to make it a crime to worship God according to their consciences? With such base ingenuity of reproach were the Huguenots of France accused of holding secret meetings, after they had been forbidden to meet in public. It was no small part of Owen's praise, that he saw and obeyed the necessity of his position; and that perhaps, of all the Puritans of his age, he was the most quick to "observe the signs of the times, and to know what Israel ought to do." This is the estimate we should be disposed to form from a simple retrospect of the facts of our narrative; but it appears to have been the judgment which some of the best of Owen's contemporaries were not slow to express. In that admirable letter to Baxter from which we have already quoted, referring more particularly to Owen's vice-chancellorship, the writer says, "And though his years, piety, principles, and strait discipline, with the interest he adhered to, affected many of the heads and students with contempt, envy, and enmity at the first; his personal worth, obliging deportment, and dexterity in affairs that concerned him in that station, so mastered all, that the university grew not only content with, but proud of such a vice-chancellor. And, indeed, such were his temper and accomplishments, that whatever station or sort of men his lot, choice, or interest, should place him in or among, it were no small wonder that he were not uppermost:-- that was his proper sphere, which those with whom he was concerned generally courted him into, and few envied or rivalled." But the aspect in which we most frequently think of Owen, and from which our highest estimate of him is formed, is that of a theological writer. Even the mere material bulk of his works fills us with surprise; and when we consider the intensely active life which Owen led, their production strikes us as almost incredible. In Russell's editions together with the edition of his "Exposition" by Wright, his works fill no fewer than twenty-eight goodly octave volumes, though we almost sympathize with the feeling that the folio form, in which many of them originally appeared, more fitly represents their intellectual stature. "Hew down the pyramids," says Sir James Stephen, with a feeling which every lover of the old divinity will understand,--"Hew down the pyramids into a range of streets! divide Niagara into a succession of water privileges!--but let not the spirits of the mighty dead be thus evoked from their majestic shrines to animate the dwarfish structures of our bookselling generation." It is only, however, when we have acquired some considerable familiarity with the contents of these volumes, and when we remember that on almost every one of the great controversies,--such as the Armenian, the Socinian, the Popish, and the Episcopalian,--he has produced works which, after the lapse of nearly two centuries, are still regarded by unanimous consent as masterpieces on the themes on which they treat, that we feel unhesitating confidence in placing the name of Owen among the first names of that age of amazing intellectual achievement. In some of his controversies he had to do with men of inferior ability, of whom it might be said, as of some of Fuller's opponents, that "they scarcely served him for a breakfast;" but in other controversies, such as that with Goodwin on the perseverance of the saints, he was called to grapple with some of the best and most accomplished men of his age. But he never quailed before any opponent. More than one of his works put an end to the controversy by driving his adversaries to despair; and only once--viz., in his rash encounter with Walton--did he retire undeniably vanquished from the field. It is unnecessary to repeat observations that have been made in the narrative on Owen's various works; but this seems to be the place at which to indicate what seem to have been the most distinguishing qualities of Owen as a theological writer. Perhaps no better word could be found to express one of the most striking characteristics of Owen, than that which Mackintosh has used to describe the writings of Bentham,--exhaustiveness. He goes through his subject "in the length thereof, and in the breadth thereof." It was his custom to read all the works that had been written on his particular subject,--especially the writings of opponents,--and then to path deliberately from point to point of his theme, and bring the whole concentrated light of Scripture to bear upon its elucidation and establishment. He leaves nothing to be added by one who shall follow in the same path, not even little gleanings at the corners of the field.--We venture to describe another feature of Owen's works by the phrase, Theological conservatism. In an age remarkable for its intellectual excitement, which gave birth to all manner of extravagances in opinion, like the ocean in a storm, bringing to the surface monsters, and hydras, and chimeras dire, and then producing in due season a reaction into the shallows of Rationalism, Owen displayed no disposition to change. There is no writer in whose opinions throughout life there is more of consistency and unity. There is everywhere visible strong intellect and profound thought; but it is intellect, not sporting itself with novelties, and expending itself in presumptuous speculation, but reasoning out and defending what apostles taught, and feeling that there is enough in this to fill an angel's grasp. Various causes combined to work out this quality in Owen, especially his profound reverence for the authority of Scripture, leading him to travel over its ample field, but restraining him from passing beyond it; the influence of the truth upon his own heart, as a living power writing its divine witness within him; and also his vast learning, which enabled him to trace opinions to their source, and to detect in that which the ignorant and half-learned looked upon as a dazzling discovery, the resurrection of an exploded error, whose only novelty was in its name. Allied to this, and in part accounting for it, was what we would style the devout Calvinism of Owen's cast of thought. Baxter and he held substantially the same truths, their views, even when they seemed the most divergent, differing in form and complexion more than in substance; but still it is evident that the two great men had each his distinct and favourite standing-point. With Baxter, the initial thought was man in need of a great restorative system; and this led him outwards and upwards, from step to step of the Christian salvation. The initial thought with Owen was God in the past eternity devising a scheme of salvation through a Mediator; which he unfolded in its wondrous arrangements and provisions from age to age of the world, and whose glorious results were to continue to be enjoyed for ever and ever. This gave a comprehensiveness and an elevation to Owen's whole theology, and accounts in part for the fact that Baxter seems greatest when bearing upon the duties of the sinner, and calling him to repentance,--"now or never;" while Owen comes forth in his greatest strength when instructing and building up those who have already believed. And this suggests another of his most remarkable excellencies,--the power, namely, of bringing the various doctrines of the Christian system, even the most abstruse, to bear, in the form of motive and consolation, upon the affections and active powers of our human nature. Great as Owen is when we see him as the gigantic polemic, putting forth his intellectual might in "earnestly contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints;" behave not seen him in all his greatness until, in such practical works as his treatise on the "Mortification of Sin in Believers," he brings the truth into contacts not so much with the errors of the heretic, as with the corruption and deceitfulness of the human heart. Then we have hesitated which most to admire,--his intimate knowledge of the Word of God, or his profound acquaintance with the heart of man, or the skill with which he brings the one into vigorous and healing action upon the other; while all his great qualities, as the expositor of the Scriptures, as the defender of the faith, as the profound theologian, and as the wise practical instructor, have seemed to manifest themselves at once in single and united greatness, in that noble intellectual pyramid, his "Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews." Yet some of the excellencies that we have named stand closely connected with Owen's chief defect,--which is to be found in his manner, rather than in his matter. His wish to exhaust his particular theme has made him say every thing on a subject that could be said, and betrayed him into an occasional prolixity and discursiveness, the absence of which would have made his works far more popular, and far more useful. He wants perspective in composition, and does not seem to know the secret of touching on themes, without labouriously handling them. This, with an occasionally involved and parenthetical style, has formed, as we conceive, the chief barrier to Owen's yet wider acceptance. The sentiment of Dr Vaughan is a just one, that had the fluency and elegance of Bates been united to the massive thoughts of Owen, we should have had a near approach to the perfect theological writer. But let us admit this occasional defect; and let us even farther concede, that in other qualities he is not equal to others of the Puritans,--that he is surpassed by Biter in point and energy, by Flavel in tenderness, by Howe in majesty, by both the Henries in proverb and epigram, by Bates in beautiful similitudes;--still, where shall we find, in the theological voters of his own or of any age, so much of the accumulated treasures of a sanctified learning,--of the mind of God clearly elucidated and invincibly defended,--of profound and massive thought? His works are like a soil which is literally impregnated with gold, and in which burnished masses of the virgin ore are sure to reward him who patiently labours in it. John Owen belonged to a class of men who have risen from age to age in the church, to represent great principles, and to revive in the church the life of God. The supreme authority of the Scriptures in all matters of religion,--the headship of Christ,--the rights of conscience,-- religion as a thing of spirit, and not of form, resulting from the personal belief of certain revealed truths, and infallibly manifesting itself in a holy life,--the church as a society distinct from the world;- -these principles, often contended for in flames and blood, were the essence of that Puritanism which found one of its noblest examples in Owen. Puritanism, it has been finely said, was the feeling of which Protestantism was the argument. But even then, it was an old spirit under a new name, which, heaven-enkindled, has ever borne the two marks of its celestial origin, in blessing the world and being persecuted by it. It was the spirit which breathed in the collards of Germany; in the Hussites of Bohemia,--in those saints, who "On the Alpine mountains cold, Kept God's truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones;" in the Huguenots of France; and in the stern Scottish Covenanters;--and which God has sometimes sent down since, like a benignant angel, when the church at any time has begun to stagnate in a cold orthodoxy, to trouble the waters of the sanctuary, that the lame might be healed. It is a spirit which the inert orthodoxy and the superficial evangelism of the church even now greatly needs to have breathed into it from heaven. And the labourious and prayerful study of the writings of the Puritans might do much to restore it. Only let the same truths be believed with the same faith, and they will produce the same men, and accomplish the same intellectual and moral miracles. A due appreciation of the most pressing wants of our age, and a timely discernment of its most serious perils, would draw from us the prayer which is said to have once escaped the lips even of the cold and calculating Erasmus,--"O, sit anima mea cum Puritanis Anglicanis!" Appendix to the Life of Dr Owen 1. Epitaph on his Monument Epitaph inscribed on the Monument of Dr Owen in Bunhill-fields John Owen, D.D., born in the county of Oxford, the son of an eminent minister, himself more eminent, and worthy to be enrolled among the first divines of the age; furnished with human literature in all its kinds, and in its highest 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, practice, 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 economy of redeeming grace, revealed 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 Scriptures, transfused into his own bosom. Superior to all terrene pursuits, he constantly cherished, and largely experienced, that blissful communion with Deity he so admirable 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 Zion, 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, emaciated 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. 2. Some letters The following Letters embrace all the Correspondence of Dr Owen which has been preserved, and is of any importance To M. Du Moulin Sir,-- I have received your strictures upon our Confession, wherein you charge it with palpable contradiction, nonsense, 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 all 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. 3 art. 6, and chap. 30 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 word,--that is, some of all sorts,--and never dreamt of any contradiction in their assertion. But your mistake is worse; for in chap. 30 art. 2, which you refer to, there is not one word mentioned 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 propitiation for the sins of all the elect." The words you urge out of 2 Pet.2:1, 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. 6 art. 6, where I think you suppose we do not distinguish between the "reatus" and "macula" of sin; and do think that we grant the defilement of Adam's person, and consequently of all intermediate 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 satisfaction. In your next instance, which you refer unto chap. 19 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. 20 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 converted 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 Armenians, you do not believe 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. 11 art. 1, speaking, as you say, of the active 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 Confession;--for we say not, as you allege, that Christ by his obedience in death did acquit us, and not by his fulfilling of the law; but we 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 righteousness. But you add a reason, whereby you design to disprove this doctrine of our 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 seasonings 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 subject, I will tell you more of my mind. In the meantime I tell you, we are by the death of Christ freed from all sufferings as they are purely penal, and the effect 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 elsewhere. 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 presume he judges to be good and wholesome; but I beg your pardon that I cannot comply with it, although I shall not reflect with any severity upon them who are of another judgment; and, to tell you the truth, the immethodical new method introduced to give countenance to universal grace, is, in my judgment, suited to draw us off from all due conceptions 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 divines, 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 Switzerland, 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 either a corrupt copy of our Confession or the reasonings of other men have given you so many mistaken conceptions about our Confession.--I am, Sir, yours, J. Owen To the Lady Hartopp 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 duties, to grieve the Spirit, to prejudice your lives; for it tends to death. God in Christ will be better to you than ten children, and will so preserve your remnant, and to 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 you, my prayers shall be for you, and I am, dear madam, your most affectionate friend and unworthy pastor, J. Owen To Mrs Polhill 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 my 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 if 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 communicate. 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 (continued in part 8...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: owlife-7.txt .