Bits Of John Owen

John Owen (1616-1683) was an English pastor and Puritan theologian. Below are just a few quotes from the many works that he wrote and published. He often took an unpopular stand on issues but his influence extended into the political realm of Parliament. It is easy for us to forget, living in the relative freedoms of America, that many have paid a serious price for their faith in centuries past. We would do well to learn from the wisdom they have left behind so that we do not repeat the same spiritual mistakes of our forefathers.

“Common experience declares how momentary and how useless are those violent fits
and gusts of endeavours which proceed from fear and uncertainty, both in things spiritual and things temporal, or civil. Whilst men are under the power of actual impressions from such fears, they will convert to God, yea, they will turn in a moment, and perfect their holiness in an instant; but so soon as that impression wears off (as it will do on every occasion, and upon none at all) such persons are as dead and cold towards God as the lead or iron, which but now ran in a fiery stream, is now when the heat is departed from it.”

“It is not the distance of the earth from the sun, nor the sun’s withdrawing itself, that makes a dark and gloomy day; but the interposition of clouds and vaporous exhalations. Neither is thy soul beyond the reach of the promise, nor does God withdraw Himself; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do cloud thee.”

“When someone acts weak, negligent, or casual in a duty-performing it carelessly or lifelessly, without any genuine satisfaction, joy, or interest-he has already entered into the spirit that will lead him into trouble. How many we see today who have departed from warmhearted service and have become negligent, careless, and indifferent in their prayer life or in the reading of the Scriptures. For each one who escapes this peril, a hundred others will be ensnared. Then it may be too late to acknowledge, “I neglected private prayer,” or “I did not meditate on God’s Word,” or “I did not hear what I should have
listened to.”

“See in the meantime that your faith brings forth obedience, and God in due time
will cause it to bring forth peace.”

“A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but
what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and
no more.”

“Let our hearts admit, “I am poor and weak. Satan is too subtle, too cunning, too
powerful; he watches constantly for advantages over my soul. The world presses
in upon me with all sorts of pressures, pleas, and pretences. My own corruption is violent, tumultuous, enticing, and entangling. As it conceives sin, it wars within me and against me. Occasions and opportunities for temptation are innumerable. No wonder I do not know how deeply involved I have been with sin. Therefore, on God alone will I rely for my keeping. I will continually look to Him.”

“If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: “God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.” When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.”

“Your state is not at all to be measured by the opposition that sin makes to you,
but by the opposition you make to it.”

“Temptations and occasions put nothing into a man, but only draw out what was in
him before.”

“God has work to do in this world; and to desert it because of its difficulties and entanglements, is to cast off His authority. It is not enough that we be just, that we be righteous, and walk with God in holiness; but we must also serve our generation, as David did before he fell asleep. God has a work to do; and not to help Him is to oppose Him.”

“The most tremendous judgment of God in this world is the hardening of the hearts of men.”

“Unless we are thoroughly convinced that without Christ we are under the eternal curse of God, as the worst of His enemies, we shall never flee to Him for refuge.”

“We all profess that we are bound for heaven, immortality, and glory: but is it any evidence that we really design it if all our thoughts are consumed about the trifles of this world, which we must leave behind us, and have only occasional thoughts of things above?”

“Only what God has commanded in His Word, should be regarded as binding; in all else there may be liberty of actions.”

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved