Sin and Grace Works of John Owen- Volume VIISin and Grace Works of John Owen- Volume VII
John Owen
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John Owen was born in England in 1616. Of all his achievements, he is best known for his writings. These cover the range of doctrinal, ecclesiastical and practical subjects. They are characterized by profundity, thoroughness and, consequently, authority. Andrew Thomson said that Owen 'makes you feel when he has reached the end of his subject, that he has also exhausted it'. Although many of his works were called forth by the particular needs of his own day, they all have a uniform quality of timelessness. Owen's works wre republished in full in the nineteenth century. The value of this new series of reprints derives from the author's position as the greatest British theologian of all time. Contents of this volume: The Nature and Causes of Apostasy, Spiritual-Mindedness, and The Dominion of Sin and Grace.
     

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    But the sense of these words hath been the subject of great contests on other occasions also; for some do suppose and contend that they are real and true believers who are deciphered by the apostle, and that their character is given us in and by sundry inseparable adjuncts and properties of such persons.  Hence they conclude that such believers may totally and finally fall from grace, and perish eternally; yea, it is evident that this hypothesis of the final apostasy of true believers is that which influenceth their minds and judgment to suppose that such are here intended.  Wherefore others whol will not admit that, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, true believers can perish everlastingly, do say that either they are not here intended for if they are, that the words are only comminatory, wherein, although the consequence in them in a way of arguing be true, namely, that on the supposition laid down the inference is certain, yet the supposition is not asserted in order unto a certain consequent, whence it should follow that true belivers might so really fall away and absolutely perish.  And these things have been the matter of many contests among learned men.

    Again; there have been sundry mistakes in the practical application of the intention of these words unto the consciences of men, mostly made by themselves who are concerned; for whereas, by reason of sin, they have been surprised with terrors and troubles of conscience, they have withal, in their darkness and distress, suppose themselves to be fallen into the condition here described by our apostle, and consequently to be irrecoverably lost.  And these apprehensions usually befall on two occasions; for some having overtaken with some great actual sin against the second table, after they have made a profession of the gospel, and having their consciences harassed with a sense of their guilt (as it will fall out where men are not greatly hardened through the deceitfulness of sin), they judge that they are fallen under the sentence denounced in this Scripture against such sinners, as they suppose themselves to be, whereby their state is irrevocable.  Others do make the same judgment of themselves, because they have fallen from that constant compliance with their convictions which formerly led them unto a strict performance of duties and this is in some course of long continuance.

    Now, whereas it is certain that the apostle in the this discourse gives no countenance unto that severity of the Novatians whereby they excluded offenders everlastingly from the peace and communion of the church; nor to the final apostasy of true believers, which he testifieth against in this very chapter, in compliance with innumerable other testimonies of Scripture to the same purpose; nor doth he teach any thing whereby the conscience of any sinner who desires to return God and to find acceptance with him should be discouraged or disheartened; we must attend unto the exposition of the words in the first place, so as not to break in upon the boundaries of other truths nor transgress against the analogy of faith.  And we shall find that this whole discourse, compared with other scriptures, and freed from the prejudices that men have brought unto it, is both remote from administering any just occasion to the mistakes before mentioned and is a needful, wholesome commination, duly to be considered by all professors of the gospel.