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John Owen

John Owen (1616 - 1683)

Read freely text sermons and articles by the speaker John Owen in text and pdf format.John Owen, called the “prince of the English divines,” “the leading figure among the Congregationalist divines,” “a genius with learning second only to Calvin’s,” and “indisputably the leading proponent of high Calvinism in England in the late seventeenth century,” was born in Stadham (Stadhampton), near Oxford. He was the second son of Henry Owen, the local Puritan vicar. Owen showed godly and scholarly tendencies at an early age. He entered Queen’s College, Oxford, at the age of twelve and studied the classics, mathematics, philosophy, theology, Hebrew, and rabbinical writings. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1632 and a Master of Arts degree in 1635. Throughout his teen years, young Owen studied eighteen to twenty hours per day.

Pressured to accept Archbishop Laud’s new statutes, Owen left Oxford in 1637. He became a private chaplain and tutor, first for Sir William Dormer of Ascot, then for John Lord Lovelace at Hurley, Berkshire. He worked for Lovelace until 1643. Those years of chaplaincy afforded him much time for study, which God richly blessed. At the age of twenty-six, Owen began a forty-one year writing span that produced more than eighty works. Many of those would become classics and be greatly used by God.

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1 Corinthians i. 30
      1 Cor. i. 30. Christ, how of God made righteousness unto us — Answer of Bellarmine unto this testimony removed — That of Socinus disproved — True sense of the words evinced The next place I shall consider in the epistles of this apostle is, — 1 Cor. ... read more

2 Corinthians v. 21
      2 Cor. v. 21. In what sense Christ knew no sin — Emphasis in that expression — How he was made sin for us — By the imputation of sin unto him — Mistakes of some about this expression — Sense of the ancients — Exception of Bellarmine unto this testimony an ... read more

A due consideration of God necessary
      Secondly, A due consideration of God, the Judge of all, necessary unto the right stating and apprehension of the doctrine of justification, Rom. viii. 33; Isa. xliii. 25; xlv. 25; Ps. cxliii. 2; Rom. iii. 20 — What thoughts will be ingenerated hereby in t ... read more

An humble Inquiry into, and Prospect of, the infinite Wisdom of God, in the Constitution of the Person of Christ
      From the consideration of the things before insisted on, we may endeavour, according unto our measure, to take a view of, and humbly adore, the infinite wisdom of God, in the holy contrivance of this great “mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. ... read more

Chap. I. — Of the Scripture
      Ques. 1. What is Christian religion? Ans. The aonly way of1 2 knowing God aright, and bliving unto him. aJohn xiv. 5, 6, xvii. 3; Acts iv. 12. bCol. i. 10; 2 Cor. v. 15; Gal. ii. 19, 20. Q. 2. Whence is it to be learned? A. From the holy3 Script ... read more

Chap. II. — Of God
      Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach concerning God? A. First, what he is, or his nature; secondly, what he doth, or his works. Exod. iii. 14; Isa. xlv. 6; Heb. i. 1–3, xi. 6. Q. 2. What is God in himself? A. An aeternal, binfinite,8 9 10 cincompr ... read more

Chap. III. — Of the Holy Trinity
      Q. 1. Is there but one God to whom these properties do belong? A. aOne only, in respect of his essence and being, but one bin three distinct persons, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. aDeut. vi. 4; Matt. xix. 17; Eph. iv. 5, 6. bGen. i. 26; 1 John v. 7; ... read more

Chap. IV. — Of the Works of God; and, First, of those that are Internal and Immanent
      Q. 1. What do the Scriptures teach concerning the works of God? A. That they are of two sorts; first, internal,20 in his counsel, decrees, and purposes, towards his creatures; secondly, external, in his works over and about them, to the praise of his o ... read more

Chap. IX. — Of the Incarnation of Christ
      Q. 1. Shall all mankind, then, everlastingly perish? A. No; God, of his free grace, hath prepared a way to redeem and save his elect. John iii. 16; Isa. liii. 6. Q. 2. What way was this? A. By sending his own Son43 Jesus Christ in the likeness o ... read more

Chap. V. — Of the Works of God that outwardly are of Him
      Q. 1. What are the works of God that outwardly respect his creatures? A. First, of creation; secondly, of27 actual providence. Ps. xxxiii. 9; Heb. i. 2, 3. Q. 2. What is the work of creation? A. An act or work of God’s almighty power, whereby of ... read more

Chap. VI. — Of God’s actual Providence
      Q. 1. What is God’s actual providence? A. The effectual working of his32 33 34 power, and almighty act of his will, whereby he sustaineth, governeth, and disposeth of all things, men and their actions, to the ends which he hath ordained for them. Exo ... read more

Chap. VII. — Of the Law of God
      Q. 1. Which is the law that God gave man at first to fulfil? A. The same which was afterwards37 written with the finger of God in two tables of stone on Mount Horeb, called the Ten Commandments. Rom. ii. 14, 15. Q. 2. Is the observation of this law ... read more

Chap. VIII. — Of the State of Corrupted Nature
      Q. 1. How came this weakness and disability upon us? A. By the sin and40 shameful fall of our first parents. Rom. v. 12, 14. Q. 2. Wherein did that hurt us, their posterity? A. Divers ways; first, ain that we were all guilty of the same breach o ... read more

Chap. X. — Of the Person of Jesus Christ
      Q. 1. What doth the Scripture teach us of Jesus Christ? A. Chiefly two things first, his44 person, or what he is in himself; secondly, his offices, or what he is unto us. Q. 2. What doth it teach of his person? 479A. That he is truly God, and per ... read more

Chap. XI. — Of the Offices of Christ; and, First, of His Kingly
      Q. 1. How many are the offices of Jesus Christ? A. Three; first, of a aKing; secondly, of ba45 46 Priest; thirdly, of a cProphet. aPs. ii. 6. bPs. cx. 4. cDeut. xviii. 15. Q. 2. Hath he these offices peculiar by nature? A. No; he only received t ... read more

Chap. XII. — Of Christ’s Priestly Office
      Q. 1. By what means did Jesus Christ undertake the office of an eternal priest? A. By athe decree, ordination, and will of God his Father, bwhereunto he yielded voluntary obedience; so cthat concerning this there was a compact and covenant between them ... read more

Chap. XIII. — Of Christ’s Prophetical Office
      Q. 1. Wherein doth the prophetical office of Christ consist? A. In his embassage60 from God to man, revealing from the bosom of his Father the whole mystery of godliness, the way and truth whereby we must come unto God. Matt. v.; John i. 18, iii. 32, ... read more

Chap. XIV. — Of the Two-fold Estate of Christ
      Q. 1. In what estate or condition doth Christ exercise these offices? A. In a two-fold estate; first, of humiliation62 63 64 or abasement; secondly, of exaltation or glory. Phil. ii. 8–10. 484Q. 2. Wherein consisteth the state of Christ’s humiliati ... read more

Chap. XIX. — Of Justification
      Q. 1. Are we accounted righteous and saved for our faith, when we are thus freely called? A. No, but merely by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith; for which alone the Lord accepts us as holy and righteous. ... read more

Chap. XV. — Of the Persons to whom the Benefits of Christ’s Offices do belong
      Q. 1. Unto whom do the saving benefits of what Christ performeth, in the execution of his offices, belong? A. Only to his elect.65 66 67 John xvii. 9; Isa. lxiii. 9; Heb. iii. 6, x. 21. Q. 2. Died he for no other? A. None, in respect of his Fath ... read more

Chap. XVI. — Of the Church
      Q. 1. How are the elect called, in respect of their obedience unto Christ, and union with him? A. His church. Acts xx. 28; Eph. v. 32. 485Q. 2. What is the church of Christ? A. The whole company of God’s68 69 70 71 72 elect, acalled bof God, cby ... read more

Chap. XVII. — Of Faith
      Q. 1. By what means do we become actual members of this church of God? A. By a lively justifying faith,74 whereby we are united unto Christ, 486the head thereof. Acts ii. 47, xiii. 48; Heb. xi. 6, xii. 22, 23, iv. 2; Rom. v. 1, 2; Eph. ii. 13, 14. ... read more

Chap. XVIII. — Of our Vocation, or God’s Calling us.
      Q. 1. How come we to have this saving faith? A. It is freely bestowed upon us and wrought in us by the Spirit of God, in our vocation or calling. John vi. 29, 44; Eph. ii. 8, 9; Phil. i. 29; 2 Thess. i. 11. Q. 2. What is our vocation, or this calli ... read more

Chap. XX. — Of Sanctification
      Q. 1. Is there nothing, then, required of us but faith only? A. Yes; arepentance, and bholiness or new obedience. aActs xx. 21; Matt. iii. 2; Luke xiii. 3. b2 Tim. ii. 19; 1 Thess. iv. 7; Heb. xii. 14. Q. 2. What is repentance? A. Godly asorrow ... read more

Chap. XXI. — Of the Privileges of Believers
      Q. 1. What are the privileges of those that thus believe and repent? A. First, union with Christ; secondly, adoption of children; thirdly, Christian liberty; fourthly, a spiritual, holy right to the seals of the new covenant; fifthly, communion with al ... read more

Chap. XXII. — Of the Sacraments of the New Covenant in particular
      Q. 1. What are the seals of the New Testament? A. Sacraments instituted of Christ to be visible seals and pledges, whereby God in him confirmeth the promises of the covenant to all believers, re-stipulating of them growth in faith and obedience. Mark ... read more

Chap. XXIII. — Of Baptism
      Q. 1. Which are these sacraments? A. Baptism and the Lord’s supper. Q. 2. What is baptism? A. An aholy action, appointed95 96 of Christ, whereby being the sprinkled with water in name of the whole Trinity, by a lawful minister of the church, bwe ... read more

Chap. XXIV. — Of the Lord’s Supper
      Q. 1. What is the Lord’s supper? A. An aholy action instituted and97 appointed by Christ, bto set forth his death, cand communicate unto us spiritually his body and blood by faith, being drepresented by bread and wine, eblessed by his word, and prayer, ... read more

Chap. XXV. — Of the Communion of Saints, — the Fifth Privilege of Believers
      Q. 1. What is the communion of saints? A. An holy conjunction102 between all God’s people, wrought by their participation of the same Spirit, whereby we are all made members of that one body whereof Christ is the head. Cant. vi. 9; Jer. xxxii. 39; Joh ... read more

Chap. XXVI. — Of Particular Churches
      Q. 1. What are particular churches? A. Peculiar aassemblies103 104 of professors in one place, bunder officers of Christ’s institution, cenjoying the ordinances of God, dand leading lives beseeming their holy calling. aActs xi. 26; 1 Cor. iv. 17, xi. ... read more

Chap. XXVII. — Of the Last Privilege of Believers, — being the Door of Entrance into Glory
      Q. 1. What is the resurrection of the flesh? A. An act of the106 mighty power of God’s Holy Spirit, applying 494unto us the virtue of Christ’s resurrection, &c; whereby, at the last day, he will raise our whole bodies from the dust, to be united again ... read more

Chapter I. Justifiying faith; the causes and object of it
      Justification by faith generally acknowledged — The meaning of it perverted — The nature and use of faith in justification proposed to consideration — Distinctions about it waived — A twofold faith of the gospel expressed in the Scripture — Faith that is ... read more

Chapter II. The nature of justifying faith
      The nature of justifying faith in particular, or of faith in the exercise of it, whereby we are justified — The heart’s approbation of the way of the justification and salvation of sinners by Christ, with its acquiescency therein — The description given, ... read more

Chapter III. The use of faith in justification; its especial
      Use of faith in justification; various conceptions about it — By whom asserted as the instrument of it; by whom denied — In what sense it is affirmed so to be — The expressions of the Scripture concerning the use of faith in justification; what they are, ... read more

Chapter IV. Of justification; the notion and signification
      Unto the right understanding of the nature of justification, the proper sense and signification of these words themselves, justification and to justify, is to be inquired into; for until that is agreed upon, it is impossible that our discourses concerning ... read more

Chapter IX. The formal cause of justification, or the
      Principal controversies about justification:— 1. Concerning the nature of justification, stated; 2. Of the formal cause of it; 3. Of the way whereby we are made partakers of the benefits of the mediation of Christ — What intended by the formal cause of ju ... read more

Chapter V. The distinction of a first and second
      Distinction of a first and second justification — The whole doctrine of the Roman church concerning justification grounded on this distinction — The first justification, the nature and causes of it, according unto the Romanists — The second justification, ... read more

Chapter VI. Evangelical personal righteousness, the
      Evangelical personal righteousness; the nature and use of it — Whether there be an evangelical justification on our evangelical righteousness, inquired into — How this is by some affirmed and applauded — Evangelical personal righteousness asserted as the ... read more

Chapter VII. Imputation, and the nature of it; with the
      Imputation, and the nature of it — The first express record of justification determines it to be by imputation, Gen. xv. 6 — Reasons of it — The doctrine of imputation cleared by Paul; the occasion of it — Maligned and opposed by many — Weight of the doct ... read more

Chapter VIII. Imputation of the sins of the church unto
      Imputation of sin unto Christ — Testimonies of the ancients unto that purpose — Christ and the church one mystical person — Mistakes about that state and relation — Grounds and reasons of the union that is the foundation of this imputation — Christ the su ... read more

Chapter X. Arguments of justification by the imputation
      Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ — Our own personal righteousness not that on the account whereof we are justified in the sight of God — Disclaimed in the Scriptures, as to any such end — The truth and reality o ... read more

Chapter XI. The nature of the obedience that God requires of us. The eternal obligation of the law thereunto.
      Nature of the obedience or righteousness required unto justification — Original and causes of the law of creation — The substance and end of that law — The immutability or unchangeableness of it, considered absolutely, and as it was the instrument of the ... read more

Chapter XIII. The nature of justification proved from the
      That which we plead in the third place unto our purpose is, the difference between the two covenants. And herein it may be observed, — 1. That by the two covenants I understand those which were absolutely given unto the whole church, and were all to br ... read more

Chapter XIV. The exclusion of all sorts of works from
      All works whatever are expressly excluded from any interest in our justification before God — What intended by the works of the law — Not those of the ceremonial law only — Not perfect works only, as required by the law of our creation — Not the outward w ... read more

Chapter XIX. Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation of righteousness of Christ. Personal holiness and obedience not obstructed, but furthered by it.
      Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ — Nature of these objections — Difficulty in discerning aright the sense of some men in this argument — Justification by works, the end of all declension fro ... read more

Chapter XV. Faith alone
      The truth which we plead has two parts:— 1. That the righteousness of God imputed to us, unto the justification of life, is the 291righteousness of Christ, by whose obedience we are made righteous. 2. That it is faith alone which on our part is required t ... read more

Chapter XVI. The truth pleaded farther confirmed by
      Testimonies of Scripture confirming the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ — Jer. xxiii. 6, explained and vindicated That which we now proceed unto, is the consideration of those express testimonies of Scripture ... read more

Chapter XVII. Testimonies out of the evangelists
      Testimonies out of the evangelists considered — Design of our Saviour’s sermon on the mount — The purity and penalty of the law vindicated by him — Arguments from thence — Luke xviii. 9–14, the parable of the Pharisee and publican explained and applied to ... read more

Chapter XVIII. The nature of justification as declared in
      Testimonies out of the Epistles of Paul the apostle — His design in the third, fourth and fifth chapters to the Romans — That design explained at large, and applied to the present argument That the way and manner of our justification before God, with a ... read more

Chapter XX. The doctrine of the apostle James
      Seeming difference, no real contradiction, between the apostles Paul and James, concerning justification — This granted by all — Reasons of the seeming difference — The best rule of the interpretation of places of Scripture wherein there is an appearing r ... read more

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