John Owen: “The Promise Stands Invincible”

20 12 2011

The following is a letter published in vol. I of Owen’s works.   It is remarkable on numerous fronts, which I shall let you discover for yourself.  I will point out though, that these great men of the 17th century had a remarkable experience of God the closer they drew to death.  I would point you to Richard Baxter’s “Dying Thoughts,” as well as John Owen’s preface to “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” both of which were written while the two men were close to death.  You’ll notice that what comes across in these writings is not a fixation on death, but rather a fixation on Christ.  That’s what makes them so comforting.

Dear Sir,

Although I am not able to write one word myself, yet I am very desirous to speak one more word to you in this world, and do it by the hand of my wife. The continuance of your entire kindness is not only greatly valued by me, but will be a refreshment to me, as it is, even in my dying hour.

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. The passage is very wearisome, through strong pains of various sorts, which are all issued in an intermittent fever.

All things were provided to carry me to London today, according to the advice of my physicians. But we are all disappointed by my utter disability to undertake the journey.

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.

Remember your dying friend with all fervency. I rest upon it that you do so, and am yours entirely,

John Owen