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he had occasion to reside in London. Whilst there he went one day to hear Edmund Calamy; but instead of the famous preacher there entered the pulpit a country minister, who, after a fervent prayer, gave out for his text—“Why are ye fearful, Oye of little faith ?” The sermon was a very plain one, and Owen never ascertained the preacher's name; but the perplexities with which he had long been harassed disappeared, and in the joy of a discovered gospel and an ascertained salvation, the natural energy of his character and the vigour of his constitution found again their wonted play.
Soon after this happy change, his first publication appeared. It was a " Display of Arminianism," and, attracting the attention of the Parliamentary "Committee for purging the Church of Scandalous Ministers,” it procured for its author a presentation to the living of Fordham, in Essex. This was followed by his translation to the more important charge of Coggeshall, in the same county; and so rapidly did his reputation rise, that besides being frequently called to preach before the Parliament, he was, in 1649, selected by Cromwell as the associate of his expedition to Ireland, and was employed in remodelling and resuscitating Trinity College, Dublin. Most likely it was owing to the ability with which he discharged this service that he was appointed Dean of Christ Church in 1651, and in the following year Vice-Chancellor of Oxford. It was a striking incident to find himself thus brought back to scenes which, fourteen years before, he had quitted amidst contempt and poverty, and a little mind would have been apt to signalise the event by a vain-glorious ovation or a vindictive retribution. But Owen returned to Oxford in all the elevation of a Godfearing magnanimity and a Christian patriotism, and his only solicitude was to fulfil the duties of his office. Although himself an Independent, he promoted well-qualified men to responsible posts, notwithstanding their Presbyterianism or their Prelacy; and, although the law gave him ample powers to
DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH.
disperse them, such were his respect for the rights of conscience, and his love of all good men, that he never molested the liturgical meetings of his Episcopalian neighbours. From anxiety to promote the spiritual welfare of the students, in addition to his engagements as a divinity lecturer and the resident head of the University, along with Dr Goodwin he undertook to preach, on alternate Sabbaths, to the great congregation in St Mary's. And such was the zeal which he brought to bear on the studies and the secular interests of the place, that the deserted courts were once more populous with ardent and accomplished students, and in alumni like Sprat, and South, and Ken, and Richard Cumberland, the Church of England received from Owen’s Oxford some of its most distinguished ornaments; whilst men like Philip Henry, John Howe, and Joseph Alleine, went forth to perpetuate Owen’s principles ; and in founding the English schools of metaphysics, architecture, and medicine, Locke, and Wren, and Sydenham, taught the world that it was no misfortune to have been the pupils of the Puritan. It would be pleasant to record that Owen's generosity was reciprocated, and that if Oxford could not recognise the Nonconformist, neither did she forget the Republican who patronised the Royalists, and the Independent who befriended the Prelatists. According to the unsuspected testimony of Grainger, and Burnet, and Clarendon, the University was in a most flourishing condition when it passed from under his control; but on the principle which excludes Cromwell's statue from Westminster Palace, the picture-gallery at Christ Church finds no place for the greatest of its Deans. *
* In his notice of Henry Stubb, the second keeper of the Bodleian, who took his degree in the days of Owen, Anthony à Wood, a very unexceptionable witness, records"While he continued under-graduate, it was usual with him to discourse in the public schools very fluently in the Greek tongue. But since the King's restoration, we have had no such matter, which shews that education and discipline were more severe then than after, when scholars were given more to liberty and frivolous studies.”
The retirement into which he was forced by the Restoration was attended with most of the hardships incident to an ejected minister, to which were added sufferings and sorrows of his
He never was in prison, but he knew what it was to lead the life of a fugitive; and, after making a narrow escape from dragoons sent to arrest him, he was compelled to quit his rural retreat, and seek a precarious refuge in the capital. In 1676 he lost his wife, but before this they had mingled their tears over the coffins of ten out of their eleven children ; and the only survivor, a pious daughter, returned from the house of an unkind husband, to seek beside her father all that was left of the home of her childhood. Soon after he married again; but though the lady was good, and affectionate, and rich withal, no comforts and no kind tending could countervail the effects of bygone toils and privations, and from the brief remainder of his days weakness and anguish made many a mournful deduction. Still the busy mind worked on. To the congregation, which had already shewn at once its patience and its piety by listening to Caryl's ten quartos on Job, and which was afterwards to have its patience further tried and rewarded in the long but invalid incumbency of Isaac Watts, Dr Owen ministered as long as he was able; and, being a preacher who had "something to say," it was cheering to him to recognise among his constant attendants persons so intelligent and influential as the late Protector's brother-in-law and son-in-law, Colonel Desborough and Lord Charles Fleetwood, Sir John Hartopp, the Hon. Roger Boyle, Lady Abney, and the Countess of Anglesea, and many
other hearers who adorned the doctrine which their pastor expounded, and whose expectant eagerness gave zest to his studies and animation to his public addresses. Besides, during all this interval, and to the number of more than thirty volumes, he was giving to the world those masterly works which have invigorated the theology and sustained the devotion of unnumbered readers in either hemisphere. Amongst others,
LAST LABOURS AND DEATH.
folio by folio, came forth that "Exposition of the Hebrews," which, amidst all its digressive prolixity, and with its frequent excess of erudition, is an enduring monument of its author's robust understanding and spiritual insight, as well as his astonishing industry. At last the pen dropped from his hand, and on the 23d of August 1683, he dictated a note to his likeminded friend, Charles Fleetwood : “I am going to Him whom my soul has loved, or rather who has loved me with an everlasting love, which is the whole ground of all my consolation. I am leaving the ship of the Church in a storm; but while the great Pilot is in it, the loss of a poor under-rower will be inconsiderable. Live, and pray, and hope, and wait patiently, and do not despond; the promise stands invincible, that He will never leave us nor forsake us. My affectionate respects to your lady, and to the rest of your relations, who are so dear to me in the Lord. Remember your dying friend with all fervency.” The morrow after he had sent this touching message to the representative of a beloved family was Bartholomewday, the anniversary of the ejection of his two thousand brethren. That morning a friend called to tell him that he had put to the press his “Meditations on the Glory of Christ.” There was a moment’s gleam in his languid eye, as he answered, “I am glad to hear it : but, O brother Payne ! the long-wishedfor day is come at last, in which I shall see that glory in another manner than I have ever done, or was capable of doing in this world.” A few hours of silence followed, and then that glory was revealed. On the 4th of September, a vast funeral procession, including the carriages of sixty-seven noblemen and gentlemen, with long trains of mourning coaches and horsemen, took the road to Finsbury; and there, in a new burying-ground, within a few paces of Goodwin's grave, and near the spot where, five years later, John Bunyan was interred, they laid the dust of Dr Owen. His
is with us to this day; but in the crowded Golgotha, surrounded with workshops, barracks, and blind brick walls, with London cabs and omnibuses whirling past the gate, few pilgrims can distinguish the obliterated stone which marks the resting place of the mighty Nonconformist. *
Some of our readers may remember Robert Baillie's description of Dr Twiss, the Prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly : "The man, as the world knows, is very learned in the questions he has studied, and very good-beloved of all, and highly esteemed—but merely bookish, ... and among the unfittest of all the company for any action.” In this respect Dr Owen was a great contrast to his studious contemporary; for he was as eminent for business talent as most ministers are conspicuous for the want of it. It was on this account that he was selected for the task of re-organising the universities of Dublin and Oxford ; and the success with which he fulfilled his commission, whilst it justified his patron's sagacity, shewed that he was sufficiently master of himself to become the master of other minds. Of all his brethren few were so tion.” To the same cause to which he owed this practical ascendency, we are disposed to ascribe his popularity as a preacher; for we agree with the latest of his biographerst in thinking that Owen's power in the pulpit must have been greater than is usually surmised by his modern readers. Those who knew him describe him as a singularly fluent and persuasive speaker; and they also represent his social intercourse as peculiarly vivacious and cheerful. From all which our inference is, that Owen was one of those happy people who, whether for business or study, whether for conversation or
A copious Latin epitaph was inscribed on his tomb-stone, of which Mr Orme speaks, in 1826, as "still in fine preservation.” (“Memoirs," p. 346.) We are sorry to say that three letters, faintly traceable, are all that can now be deciphered. The tomb of his illustrious colleague, Goodwin, is in a still more deplorable condition : not only is the inscription effaced, but the marble slab, having been split by lightning, has never been repaired.
i Dr A. Thomson in his “ Life of Owen,” p. cvi.
“ fit for ac