One of the things that I find myself enjoying from time to time is reading from dead men. It’s how, in my opinion, men (and women) who have passed on to the next life can still speak. Upon graduating from Seminary, I gave myself a gift. This was the one thing that I wanted and something I was setting out to accomplish in my lifetime: A.) Purchase the works of John Owen. B.) Read these Works.
I was first introduced to John Owen in my class on the Trinity. I was required to read Communion with God, and may I just say – almost every line has been marked in that little book. From there, I was introduced to The Mortification of Sin. Every Christian should read this book. No, really – stop reading this blog and go read that book. It will be good for your soul.
John Owen was a Puritan – which really doesn’t mean much to you or I these days. Essentially, these men were “passionately concerned with God and godliness… Puritanism was essentially a movement for church reform, pastoral renewal and evangelism, and spiritual revival. . . ” (A Quest for Godliness , JI Packer) That’s the kind of man I would want to read. In pouring over his works, over and over I see Jesus being exalted and framing all of his life and work. Here are some quotes that point this out:
“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.”
“Many poor creatures are aware of their needs, but do not know where to find the remedy. Indeed, whether it be life or light, power of joy, all is wrapped up in Christ.” (Communion with God, pg 50).
“Our communion with God lies in his giving himself to us and our giving ourselves and all that he requires to him. This is communion with God flows from that union which is in Christ Jesus.” (Communion with God, pg 3).
“The vigour, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.” (The Mortification of Sins, chapter 1).
“What the Holy Spirit means to show us is that the word of Christ is sweet, fragrant and precious to believers. Believers see Christ to be excellent, desirable and beautiful in his commands, promises, exhortations and even in the most bitter warning.” (Communion with God, pg 74).
All this being said, I have much respect for the dead man. In 1644, John married Mary Rooke and they had eleven children, ten whom died as babies. Their only daughter to survived adulthood died of tuberculosis. I hope you find time in your day and life to read at lest a little something from this great man.
As a side note, I have not completed the works, but I’m making my way through them.