Owen - BX9315 O81

THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR. HE derived his pedigree from Lewis Owen, of Kywn, near Dollegelle, Esq. who was lineally descended from a younger son of Kewelyn ap Gwrgan, prince of Gla- morgan, lord of Cardiffe; this being the last family of the five regal tribes of Wales. Henry Owen, the fa- ther of the Dr. was for some time minister at Stadham in Oxfordshire, and reckoned a strict puritan. John Owen was his second son, who was born at Stadham, 1616. Such was his proficiency in learning, that he was admitted to the university at about 12 years of age. He then pursued his studies with such diligence that for several years he allowed himself but four hours sleep in a night. His whole aim and ambition was, as he himself afterwardsconfessed with shame and sorrow, to rise to some eminence in church or state, to each of which he was indifferent. When Laud imposed sever- al superstitious rites on the universityof Oxford, Mr. Owen had received so much light that his conscience could not submit to them; and God had now made such gracious impressions on his heart as inspired him with a zeal for the purity of his worship, and reformation in the church. The change of his judgment soon dis- covered itself on this occasion; whereupon his friends forsook him as one infected with puritanism, and hebe- came so obnoxious to the Laudensian party that he was forced to leave the college. About this time he was exercised with many perplexing thoughts about his spi- ritual state, which with his outward troubles, threw him into a deep melancholy which lasted three months, and it was near five years before he attained to asettled peace. When the civil war commenced, he owned the parliament's cause; which his uncle, who had supported him at college, being a zealous royalist, so vehemently resented, that he turned him at once out of his favour, and settled his estate upon another person. Ile then lived as chaplain with a person of honour, who though a royal- ist, used him with great civility; but he going at length into the king's army, Mr. Owen went to London, where he was a perfect stranger. He went one L.ord's-day to .ldermanbury church with a view to hear Mr. Calamy; but after waitinga long time, a country minister (of whom he never could hear any thing any more) came into the pulpit, and preachedon Matth. viii. 26. which discourse was blest for the removing of his doubts, and laid the foundation of that solid peace and comfort which he afterwards enjoyed as long as he lived. His bodily health was now restored, and he wrote his book called A Display of Arminianism, which made way for his advancement. The committee for ejecting scandalous ministers presented him, on account of it, with the living of Fordham in Essex, where be continued a year and a half, to the great- satisfaction of the parish and country round about. On a report that the sequestrated incumbent was dead, the patron, who had no regard. for Mr. Owen, presented the living to another; where- upon the people at Coggeshall, about five miles dis- tant, invited him to be their minister, and the earl of Warwick, the patron, readily gave him the living; where he preached to a more judicious and more nume- rous congregation, (seldom fewer than 2000) withgreat success. Hitherto he had been a Presbyterian; but upon further inquiry he was convinced that the congre- gational plan was most agreeable to the New Testa.. ment; he accordingly formed a church upon it, which long flourished, and subsists in good condition to this _ day. So great a man could not beconcealed. He was sent for to preach before the parliament, which he did April 29, 1646, on Acts xvi. 2. and several timesafter- wards on special occasions, particularly the very day after the death of Charles I. His discourse was on, Jer. xv. 19, 20. which deserves to be recorded as aper- petual monument of his integrity, wisdom, and modesty. Soon after, calling upon General Fairfax, (with whom he became acquainted at the siege of Colchester) he met with Cromwell, who laying his hands upon his shoul- ders, said to him, « Sir, you are tare person 'must be ac- quainted witk;" and from this time contracted an inti- mate friendship with hint, which continued to his death. He informed him of his intended expedition into Ire- land, and insisted upon his company there to reside in.