Owen on Changing His Mind
He that can glory that in fourteen years he has not altered his conceptions of some things, shall not have me for his rival.
Owen charged with inconsistency in his views
But Cawdry had more objects than one to accomplish by his work. It contained an Appendix shewing the inconstancy of the Doctor and the inconsistency of his former and present opinions. The proof of Owen’s inconstancy and inconsistency is that in 1643, being then connected with the Presbyterians, he published a Treatise in which he speaks on some points as a Presbyterian. In 1657 having been an Independent for at least ten years, as all the world knew, he published a book which contains sentiments bearing upon Independency. Ergo Owen is inconsistent and unstable. Alas for the logic of poor Daniel Cawdry. By such pitiful means do men sometimes endeavour to bring an opponent into disgrace.
Owen was not backward to reply. In the course of a few weeks he produced “A Review of the true nature of Schism with a Vindication of the Congregational Churches in England from the imputation thereof unjustly charged on them by Mr Daniel Cawdry” (Ox 1657 12mo pp 181 TM). He assures us in the Preface that it was the work of only four or five days which was all the time he could devote to it and all that he thought it deserved. With much firmness he meets and repels the charges of his adversary and strengthens his original position. He informs us That such was his unhappiness or rather happiness in the constant intercourse he had with Presbyterians both Scotch and English utterly of another frame of spirit that till he saw this treatise he did not believe that there had remained one godly person in England of such dispositions in reference to present differences. He shews successfully that Cawdry had completely failed in making out his charge of Schism and inconsistency against his brethren and himself and concludes the defence of his changes which we have fully narrated by simply remarking “He that can glory that in fourteen years he has not altered in his conceptions of some things shall not have me for his rival”