Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
~ 2 Peter 1:13-14
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:1-4
Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
~ Isaiah 45:8
Letter of John Owen to Charles Fleetwood.
I received yours, and am glad to heare of your welfare. There is more than ordinary mercy in every days preservation. My wife, I bless God, is much revived, soe that I do not despair of her recovery; but for my selfe I have been under the power of various distempers for fourteen days past, and do yet soe continue. God is fastening his instruction concerning the approach of that season wherein I must lay downe this tabernacle. I think my mind has been too much intent upon some things, which I looked on as services for the church; but God will have us know that he has no need of me nor them, and is therefore calling me off from them. Help me with your prayers, that I may, through the riches of his grace in Christ, be in some measure ready for my account. The truth is, if we cannot see the latter rain in its season as we have seen the former, and a latter spring thereon, death, that will turne in the streams of glory unto our poor withering souls, is the best relief. I begin to feare that we shall die in the wilderness; yet ought we to labour and pray continually that the heavens would drop downe from above, and the skies poure downe righteousness – that the earth may open and bring forth salvation, and that righteousness may spring up together. If ever I return to you in this world, I beseech you to contend yet more earnestly than ever I have done, with God, with my own heart, with the church, to labour after spiritual revivalls. Our affectionate services unto your Lady, and to all your family that are of the household of God. My wife received a letter from your daughter M 1 and much acknowledges her kindness therein. Soe soon as she is able she will returne her thanks with her owne hand.
I am, dearest Sir,
Yours most affectionately whilst I live, Stadham, J. OWEN
July 8th. (1674?) 2
1 This was either his own daughter Mary or his daughter-in-law, Mary Hartopp, who was married to his son, Smith Fleetwood.
2 Owen was preaching at Stadhampton in the summer of 1674. Cf. Works, Vol. IX, p. 484.