Archive for the ‘John Owen’ Category

John Owen On Stimulating Contemplation of the Glory of Christ

October 29, 2007

In his book, Meditations on the Glory of Christ [1684] (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, 2004 reprint), John Owen gives several helpful (and needed) directions to his readers on how to stimulate contemplation on the glory of Jesus Christ. I found them important for the strengthening of the saints in the fight of faith and the constant war they must wage against worldliness, that damning relationship that slowly lures us away from what the Scriptures tell us is truly good, righteous, and true. I commend his pastoral guidance to you here, briefly:

  1. Do Not Waste Your Thoughts: “Let us get it fixed on our souls and in our minds, that this glory of Christ in the divine constitution of his person is the best, the most noble, useful, beneficial object that we can be conversant about in our thoughts, or cleave to in our affections” (78).
  2. Study the Scripture: “To behold [the glory of Christ], is not a work of fancy or imagination; it is not conversing with an image framed by the art of men without, or that of our own fancy within, but of faith exercised on divine revelations. …And we are in the best frame of duty, when the principal motive in our minds to contend earnestly for retaining the possession of the Scripture against all that would deprive us of it, or discourage us from daily diligent search into it, is this, that they would take from us the only glass in which we may behold the glory of Christ” (81, 84; italics mine).
  3. Be Disciplined in Meditation: “It is to be feared that there are some who profess religion with an appearance of strictness, who never separate themselves from all other occasions, to meditate on Christ and his glory; and yet, with a strange inconsistency of apprehensions, they will profess that they desire nothing more than to behold his glory in heaven forever. …It is impossible that he who never meditates with delight on the glory of Christ here in this world, who labours not to behold it by faith as it is revealed in the Scripture, should ever have any real gracious desire to behold it in heaven. They may love and desire the fruition of their own imaginations; they cannot do so of the glory of Christ, of which they are ignorant, and with which they are unacquainted” (85).
  4. Take Every Opportunity to think of Christ: “Let your occasional thoughts of Christ be many, and multiplied every day. …And a great rebuke it ought to be to us, when Christ has at any time in a day been long out of our minds” (85, 88).
  5. Admire, Adore, and Give Thanks: “The design of this discourse [Rev 5:9-13] is no more, but that when by faith we have attained a view of the glory of Christ, in our contemplations on his person, we should not pass it over as a notion of truth which we assent to, namely, that he is thus glorious in himself, but endeavour to affect our hearts with it, as that in which our own principal interest lies; in which it will be effectual to the transformation of our souls into his image” (90).

Another Word from Owen

July 28, 2007

John Owen’s The Glory of Christ continues to teach me how vital it is to live a Godward, Christ-savoring life. Every page thunders with magnificent truth about the Savior as Owen spills over what was wrought in his own communion with God. Moreover, he persistenly beckons his readers to behold Christ’s glory now, even doing so with a sense of urgency, always holding before them that not doing so only finds its end in eternal destruction. Below is another quote from him that I hope helps you to lay hold of the glory of Christ in the Gospel again on this day.

“No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter, who does not in some measure behold it by faith here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight. Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Nay, persons not disposed hereby to it cannot desire it, whatever they pretend; they only decieve their own souls in supposing that so they do. Most men will say with confidence, living and dying, that they desire to be with Christ, and to behold his glory; but they can give no reason why they should desire any such thing only they think it somewhat that is better than to be in that evil condition which otherwise they must be cast into for ever, when they can be here no more. If a man pretend himself to be enamoured with, or greatly to desire, what he never saw, nor was ever represented to him, he but dotes on his own imaginations. And the pretended desires of many to behold the glory of Christ in heaven, who have no view of it by faith whilst they are here in this world, are nothing but self-decieving imaginations” (The Glory of Christ [Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications, 2004], 45-46).

Are you truly beholding and savoring the glory of Christ by faith in this present age?

A Word from John Owen

March 19, 2007

Aside from some serious studying and meditation for an exegetical paper on Romans 9:14-18 over Spring Break, I was able to begin reading John Owen’s Meditations On The Glory of Christ (more recently published by Christian Focus Publications, 2004). One of the most helpful quotes I have read thus far is noted below. After speaking of the many trials of this life Owen’s writes,

“It will in this, and in the discharge of this duty, be made evident how slight and inconsiderable all these things [the trials] are from whence our troubles and distress do arise. For they all grow on this root of an over-valuation of temporal things. And unless we can arrive to a fixed judgment that all things here below are transitory and perishing, reaching only to the outward man, or the body, (perhaps to the killing of it), that the best of them have nothing that it truly substantial or abiding in them, that there are other things, in which we have an assured interest, that are incomparably better than they, and above them, it is impossible but that we must spend our lives in fears, sorrows, and distractions. One real view of the glory of Christ, and of our own concern in it, will give us a full relief in this matter. …a due contemplation of the glory of Christ will restore and compose the mind, bring it into a sedate, quiet frame, in which faith will be able to say to the winds and waves of distempered passions, ‘Peace, be still!’ and they shall obey it” (30-31). 

Owen’s reminds us who believe of Colossians 3:1-4: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”