Category Archives: John Owen

“If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?” by John Owen

“This will be exceeding effectual to endear thy soul unto God, to cause thee to delight in Him, and to make thy abode with Him.

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God;—that there is still an indisposedness of spirit unto close walking with Him.

What is at the bottom of this distemper? Is it not their unskilfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love?

So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more. Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him.

But if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto Him.

This, if any thing, will work upon us to make our abode with Him. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?

Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in Him.

I dare boldly say, believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams.

You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 35-36.

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“Meditation on Christ produces a thriving heart for Christ” by John Owen

“The gospel hath a reflection upon it of all the glories of Christ, and makes a representation of them unto us.

What is our work and business? Why, it is to behold this glory, that is, to contemplate upon it by faith, to meditate upon it,—which is here called making ‘things touching the King,’ (Psalm 45:1).

This is also called ‘Christ’s dwelling in us,’ (Eph. 3:17) and, ‘The word of Christ dwelling richly in us,’ (Col. 3:16);—which is, when the soul abounds in thoughts of Christ.

I have had more advantage by private thoughts of Christ than by anything in this world.

And I think when a soul hath satisfying and exalting thoughts of Christ Himself, His person and His glory, it is the way whereby Christ dwells in such a soul.

If I have observed anything by experience, it is this: a man may take the measure of his growth and decay in grace according to his thoughts and meditations upon the person of Christ, and the glory of Christ’s kingdom, and of His love.

A heart that is inclined to converse with Christ as He is represented in the gospel is a thriving heart.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 9: Sermons to the Church (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 9: 474-475.

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“Be ruining sin in prayer, or sin will be ruining prayer” by John Owen

“Know, therefore, that there is no more effectual preservative of the soul from the power of sin than a gracious readiness for and disposition unto this duty of prayer in private and public, according to its proper seasons.

This is an observation confirmed by long experience: If prayer does not constantly endeavour the ruin of sin, sin will ruin prayer, and utterly alienate the soul from it.

This is the way of backsliders in heart; as they grow in sin they decay in prayer, until they are weary of it and utterly relinquish it.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 7: Sin and Grace (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 7: 531.

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“Gospel truth is the only root whereon gospel holiness will grow” by John Owen

“These things are inseparable. Gospel truth is the only root whereon gospel holiness will grow.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 7: Sin and Grace (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 7: 188.

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“Give Me thy burden, give Me all thy sins” by John Owen

“How do the saints hold communion with Christ as to their acceptation with God?

They hearken to the voice of Christ calling them to Him with their burden, “Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden.’

‘Come with your burdens; come, thou poor soul, with thy guilt of sin.’ Why? What to do?

‘Why, this is mine,’ saith Christ, ‘this agreement I made with My Father, that I should come, and take thy sins, and bear them away: they were my lot. Give Me thy burden, give Me all thy sins. Thou knowest not what to do with them; I know how to dispose of them well enough, so that God shall be glorified, and thy soul delivered.”

They lay down their sins at the cross of Christ, upon His shoulders.

This is faith’s great and bold venture upon the grace, faithfulness, and truth of God, to stand by the cross and say:

“Ah! He is bruised for my sins, and wounded for my transgressions, and the chastisement of my peace is upon Him. He is thus made sin for me. Here I give up my sins to Him that is able to bear them, to undergo them. He requires it of my hands, that I should be content that He should undertake for them; and that I heartily consent unto.”

This is every day’s work; I know not how any peace can be maintained with God without it. If it be the work of souls to receive Christ, as made sin for us, we must receive Him as one that takes our sins upon Him.

Not as though He died any more, or suffered any more; but as the faith of the saints of old made that present and done before their eyes which had not yet come to pass (Heb. 11:1), so faith now makes that present which was accomplished and past many generations ago.

This it is to know Christ crucified.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 194.

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“His sufferings and His glory” by John Owen

“These are the two heads whereunto all the prophecies and predictions concerning Jesus Christ under the Old Testament are referred– namely, His sufferings, and the glory that ensued thereon (1 Peter 1:11).

All the prophets testified beforehand ‘of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.’

So when He Himself opened the Scriptures unto His disciples, He gave them this as the sum of the doctrine contained in them, ‘Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?’ (Luke 24:26). The same is frequently expressed elsewhere in Rom. 14:9 and Phil. 2:5–9.

So much as we know of Christ, His sufferings, and His glory, so much do we understand of the Scripture, and no more.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 342–343.

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“Where the lamb may wade and the elephant may swim” by John Owen

“We look on the Scripture and receive it not as the word of men, but as it is indeed, the word of the living God… In those very fords and appearing shallows of this river of God where the lamb may wade, the elephant may swim. Everything in the Scripture is so plain as that the meanest believer may understand all that belongs unto his duty or is necessary unto his happiness; yet is nothing so plain but that the wisest of them all have reason to adore the depths and stores of divine wisdom in it.”

–John Owen, “The Causes, Ways and Means of Understanding the Mind of God,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 4: The Work of the Spirit (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1678/2004), 4: 193.

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