Volume Four contains the second part of Owen’s work on the Holy Spirit. Here Owen connects the Holy Spirit to illumination, supplication, and consolation. He also examines the Holy Spirit's role as the author of spiritual gifts.
For solidity, profundity, massiveness and majesty in exhibiting from Scripture God’s ways with sinful mankind there is no one to touch him.
—J. I. Packer, author
To have known the pastoral ministry of John Owen . . . (albeit in written form) has been a rich privilege; to have known Owen’s God an even greater one.
—Sinclair Ferguson, professor, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, Texas
John [Owen], English theologian, was without doubt not only the greatest theologian of the English Puritan movement but also one of the greatest European Reformed theologians of his day, and quite possibly possessed the finest theological mind that England ever produced.
—C. R. Trueman
John Owen was born at Stadhampton, Oxfordshire in 1616. He entered Queen's College, Oxford, at the age of twelve and completed his M.A. in classics and theology in 1635 at the age of nineteen. He was ordained shortly thereafter and left the university to be a chaplain to the family of a noble lord. His first parish, in 1637, was at Fordham in Essex, to which he went while England was involved in civil war. It was here that he became convinced that the Congregational way was the scriptural form of church government. In the 1640s he became chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, the new "Protector of England," and traveled with him on his expeditions to Ireland and Scotland. Between 1651 and 1660, he played a prominent part in the religious, political, and academic life of the nation. In 1651 he was appointed dean of Christ Church and in 1652 made Vice-Chancellor of Oxford—positions which allowed him to train ministers for the Cromwellian state church. He lost his position in 1660, however, when the restoration of the monarchy began after the death of Cromwell in 1658. Owen moved to London and led the Puritans through the bitter years of religious and political persecution—experiences which shaped his theological inquiry, pastoral reflection, and preaching. He also declined invitations to the ministry in Boston in 1663, and declined an offer to become president of Harvard in 1670. He died in August, 1683.
“My principal design is, to manifest that every believer may, in the due use of the means appointed of God for that end, attain unto such a full assurance of understanding in the truth, or all that knowledge of the mind and will of God revealed in the Scripture, which is sufficient to direct him in the life of God, to deliver him from the dangers of ignorance, darkness, and error, and to conduct him unto blessedness.” (Pages 122–123)
“First, Supernatural revelation is the only objective cause and means of supernatural illumination.” (Page 7)
“Prayer at present I take to be a gift, ability, or spiritual faculty of exercising faith, love, reverence, fear, delight, and other graces, in a way of vocal requests, supplications, and praises unto God: ‘In every thing … let your requests be made known unto God,’ Phil. 4:6.” (Page 271)
“2. Saving grace proceeds from, or is the effect and fruit of, electing love” (Page 429)
“Whenever, therefore, they are called πνευματιχά, there χαρίσματα, denoting their general nature, is to be supplied; and where they are called χαρίσματα only, πνευματιχά is to be understood, as expressing their especial difference from all others. They are neither natural nor moral, but spiritual endowments; for both their author, nature, and object, are respected herein. Their author is the Holy Spirit; their nature is spiritual; and the objects about which they are exercised are spiritual things.” (Pages 423–424)