Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/432

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

appeared anonymously, as also did his able ‘Animadversions’ on the ‘Fiat Lux’ of Vincent Canes [q. v.], published the same year (London, 8vo). The latter work was acknowledged by Owen in the ‘Vindication’ of it which he published in 1664. So signal was the service which by these works he was thought to have rendered to the protestant religion that Lord Clarendon offered him high preferment if he would conform to the church of England. He remained true to his principles, however, and in 1664–5 was indicted at Oxford for holding religious assemblies in his house. He escaped without imprisonment, and removed to London. There he pleaded the cause of religious liberty in several anonymous tracts: ‘Indulgence and Toleration considered’ and ‘A Peace Offering or Plea for Indulgence,’ both published in 1667, 4to; and ‘Truth and Innocence vindicated’ (1669, 8vo), a reply to Samuel Parker's ‘Discourse on Ecclesiastical Polity.’ There, too, he published (also anonymously) ‘A Brief Instruction on the Worship of God and Discipline of the Churches of the New Testament’ (1667, 12mo); ‘The Nature, Power, Deceit, and Prevalency of the Remainders of Indwelling Sin in Believers’ (1668, 8vo); and, with his name, in 1669, ‘A Practical Exposition on Psalm cxxx’ (4to), and a ‘A Brief Declaration and Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity’ (12mo), both of which have been frequently reprinted (see bibliographical note, infra). His elaborate ‘Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews,’ of which the first volume appeared in 1668 (fol.), were completed in four volumes, of which the last was not published until after his death (London, 1684, fol.). In 1670 a minute by Owen on the Conventicle Bill was submitted to the House of Lords. In 1671 he issued an argument on behalf of the strict observance of the Sunday, entitled ‘Exercitations concerning the Name, &c., of a Day of Sacred Rest’ (London, 8vo); and in 1672 a dissuasive against the practice of occasional conformity adopted by some of the less strict dissenters, entitled ‘A Discourse concerning Evangelical Love, Church Peace, and Unity’ (London, 8vo).

Owen had powerful friends at court, among them Sir John Trevor, secretary of state in the Cabal; George, first earl of Berkeley [q. v.]; Roger Boyle, first earl of Orrery [q. v.]; Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey; and Philip, fourth lord Wharton [q. v.], whom he frequently visited at Wooburn, Buckinghamshire. In 1674 the Duke of York whiled away a vacant hour at Tunbridge Wells in discussing with him the rights and wrongs of nonconformity; and Charles II gave him a private audience at London, and a thousand guineas for distribution among the sufferers by the penal laws. Hence, notwithstanding the Conventicle Act and the revocation of the declaration of indulgence, by which its operation had been at first suspended, Owen was suffered to preach; and, after dallying with Baxter's project for a union of the presbyterians and independents, accepted in 1673 the pastorate of an independent congregation in Leadenhall Street. Among his flock were Fleetwood, Desborough, and Sir John Hartopp [q. v.] In 1674 appeared his ‘Vindication of Some Passages in a Discourse concerning Communion with God from the Exceptions of William Sherlock’ (London, 8vo). In his ‘Πνευματολογία; or a Discourse concerning the Holy Spirit,’ published the same year (fol.), his ‘Nature of Apostasie from the Profession of the Gospel, and the Punishment of Apostates declared’ (1676, 8vo), as also in his ‘Reason of Faith’ (1677, 8vo), and ‘Doctrine of Justification by Faith through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ’ (1677, 4to), his ‘Χριστολογία; or a Declaration of the Glorious Mystery of the Person of Christ, God and Man,’ &c. (1679, 4to), his ‘Church of Rome no Safe Guide’ (1679, 4to), and his ‘Union among Protestants’ (1680, 4to), he bent his whole strength to the task of arresting the movements towards Rome on the one hand, and rationalism on the other.

In 1680 an attack on dissenters by Stillingfleet, in one of his sermons, drew from Owen an anonymous ‘Brief Vindication of the Nonconformists from the Charge of Schisme’ (4to), to which Stillingfleet replied by a ‘Discourse of the Unreasonableness of Separation.’ Owen rejoined with ‘An Enquiry into the Original Nature, Institution, Power, Order, and Communion of Evangelical Churches’ (1681, 4to), wherein he endeavoured to prove that the ecclesiastical polity of the first two centuries was congregational. This proved to be Owen's last controversy. In 1681 he published at London ‘Φρονήμα τοῦ Πνεύματος; or the Grace and Duty of being Spiritually-Minded’ (4to); and anonymously in the following year ‘A Brief and Impartial Account of the Nature of the Protestant Religion’ (4to, reprinted in 1690); and a tract ‘Of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer’ (8vo). He was engaged in passing through the press his ‘Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,’ when a protracted and painful illness—he suffered from both stone and asthma—terminated his life on St. Bartholomew's Day, 24 Aug. 1683. His remains were