Owen visited a church where the well-known Puritan, Edmund Calamy, was expected to preach:

He waited for his coming up into the pulpit but, at length, it was known that Mr. Calamy was prevented by some extraordinary occasion, upon which, many went out of the church.  But Mr. Owen resolved to abide there, though his cousin would fain have persuaded him to go and hear Mr. Jackson, then an eminent preacher in the city.  It not being certain whether there would be any person to supply Mr. Calamy’s place, Mr. Owen, being well-seated and too much indisposed for any farther walk, resolved, after some stay, if no preacher came, to go to his lodgings.  At last, there came up a country minister to the pulpit, a stranger not only to Mr. Owen, but to the parish who, having prayed fervently, took, for his text, these words: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith” (Matthew 8.26).  The very reading of the words surprised Mr. Owen, upon which he secretly put up a prayer that God would please, by him, to speak to his condition.  And his prayer was heard for, in that sermon, the minister was directed to answer those very objections which Mr. Owen had commonly formed against himself.  And, though he had formerly given the same answers to himself without any effect, yet now the time was come when God designed to speak peace to his soul.  And this sermon (though otherwise a plain, familiar discourse) was blessed for the removing of all his doubts, and laid the foundation of that solid peace and comfort which he afterwards enjoyed as long as he lived.  It is very remarkable that Mr. Owen could never come to the knowledge of this ministry, though he made the most diligent enquiry.

From: John Owen and English Puritanism: Experiences of Defeat by Crawford Gribben; Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 41-42.



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