John Owen, an English divine, born at Stad-ham, Oxfordshire, in 1616, died at Ealing, near London, Aug. 24, 1683. At the age of 12 he was entered at Queen's college, Oxford, receiving his bachelor's degree at 16, and his master's degree at 19. The lead which he took in resisting Archbishop Laud's new academical regulations brought upon him the ill will of the high church party; and the support of an uncle being withdrawn, he was compelled to leave his place at Oxford, to accept orders in the church, and to support himself by private teaching and by officiating as chaplain. His mind was greatly exercised by doubts concerning his religious state and his duty in national affairs, which resulted finally in his open adhesion to the side of the parliament against the king. The type of faith which he chose was strict Calvinism, and his first work was the "Display of Arminianism " (1642). In reward for it he received from the committee of parliament the living of Fordham in Essex, where he gained fame as a pulpit orator. This was increased when he removed to Coggeshall; and his change while here from the Presbyterian to the Independent form of church government only made him more popular.
In April, 1646, he was first called to preach before the parliament, and he had the dangerous honor of addressing them on the day after the execution of Charles I. Cromwell favored him, took him as private chaplain on his expeditions to Ireland and Scotland, and, when he had received the office of dean in Christchurch college, made him in addition vice chancellor of the university. The five years in which he held this office were years of great activity; he preached constantly and published several of his most important works, receiving in 1653 the degree of D. D. After the death of Cromwell Presbyterian opposition deprived him of his offices, and at the restoration he retired to his native town; but he persevered in addressing assemblies and in expounding the principles of that Savoy confession which he had assisted in preparing. While in Newtown he published a work entitled Fiat Lux, which attracted the notice of Lord Clarendon, who offered him immediate preferment if he would conform; but he refused.
From 1667 to 1670 he took charge of a congregation in Leadenhall street, London, where his eloquence secured the favor of many of the nobility, and even for a time of the king and his Catholic brother; and he had repeated interviews with Charles II. The last 12 years of his life were a period of weakness and pain. His work on "The Glory of Christ" was hardly prepared for the press when he died. Owen's works are voluminous and on many subjects. There were 7 volumes in folio, 20 in quarto, and 30 in octavo. A complete edition was edited by Thomas Russell, with a life by William Orme (21 vols., London, 1826). There is also an edition published in Edinburgh (24 vols. 8vo, 1859).