Owen, Of Communion With God, File 3
    (... continued from File 2)

    Chapter 2. That the saints have this communion distinctly with   
               the Father, Son, and Spirit, 1 John 5: 7 opened to 
               this  purpose; also, 1 Cor. 12: 4-6, Eph. 2: 18 - 
               Father and Son mentioned jointly in this communion; 
               the Father solely, the Son also, and the Holy Ghost 
               singly - The saints' respective reward in all wor-
               ship to each manifested - Faith in the Father, John 
               5: 9, 10; and love towards  him, 1 John 2: 15, Mal. 
               1: 6 - So in prayer and praise - It is so likewise 
               with the Son, John 14: 1 - Of our communion with the
               Holy Ghost -  The truth farther confirmed.   
        That the saints have communion with God, and what  
    communion in general is, was declared in the first chapter.  
    The manner how his communion is carried on, and the matter  
    where in it does consist, comes next under consideration. For  
    the first, in respect of the distinct persons of the Godhead  
    with whom they have this fellowship, it is either distinct and  
    peculiar, or else obtained and exercised jointly and in  
    common. That the saints have distinct communion with the  
    Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (that is, distinctly  
    with the Father, and distinctly with the Son, and distinctly  
    with the Holy Spirit), and in what the peculiar appropriation  
    of this distinct communion unto the several persons does  
    consist, must, in the first place, be made manifest.   
        1 John 5: 7, the apostle tells us, "There are three that  
    be a record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy  
    Ghost." In heaven they are, and bear witness to us. And what  
    is it that they bear witness unto? Unto the sonship of Christ,  
    and the salvation of believers in his blood. Of the carrying  
    on of that, both by blood and water, justification and  
    sanctification, is he there treating. Now, how do they bear  
    witness hereunto? even as three, as three distinct witnesses.  
    When God witnesseth concerning our salvation, surely it is  
    incumbent on us to receive his testimony. And as he beareth  
    witness, so are we to receive it. Now this is done distinctly.  
    The Father beareth witness, the Son beareth witness, and the  
    Holy Spirit beareth witness; for they are three distinct  
    witnesses. So, then, are we to receive their several  
    testimonies: and in doing so we have communion with them  
    severally; for in this giving and receiving of testimony  
    consists no small part of our fellowship with God. Wherein  
    their distinct witnessing consists will be afterward declared.  
        1 Cor. 12: 4-6, the apostle, speaking of the distribution  
    of gifts and graces unto the saints, ascribes them distinctly,  
    in respect of the fountain of their communication, unto the  
    distinct persons. "There are diversities of gifts, but the  
    same Spirit," - "that one and the self same Spirit;" that is,  
    the Holy Ghost, verse 11. "And there are differences of  
    administrations, but the same Lord," the same Lord Jesus,  
    verse 5. "And there are diversities of operations, but it is  
    the same God," etc., even the Father, Eph. 4: 6. So graces and  
    gifts are bestowed, and so are they received.  
        And not only in the emanation of grace from God, and the  
    illapses of the Spirit on us, but also in all our approaches  
    unto God, is the same distinction observed. "For through  
    Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father," Eph. 2:  
    18. Our access unto God (wherein we have communion with him)  
    is "dia Christou", "through Christ," "en Pneumati", "in the  
    Spirit," and "pros ton Patera", " unto the Father;" - the  
    persons being here considered as engaged distinctly unto the  
    accomplishment of the counsel of the will of God revealed in  
    the gospel.  
        Sometimes, indeed, there is express mention made only of  
    the Father and the Son, a John 1: 3, "Our fellowship is with  
    the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." The particle "and"  
    is both distinguishing and uniting. Also John 14: 23, "If a  
    man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love  
    him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."  
    It is in this communion wherein Father and Son do make their  
    abode with the soul.  
        Sometimes the Son only is spoken of, as to this purpose. 1  
    Cor. 1: 9, "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the  
    fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." And, Rev. 3: 20,  
    "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in  
    to him, and will sup with him, and he with me;" of which place  
        Sometimes the Spirit alone is mentioned. 2 Cor. 13: 14,  
    "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and  
    the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all." This  
    distinct communion, then, of the saints with the Father, Son,  
    and Spirit, is very plain in the Scripture; but yet it may  
    admit of farther demonstration. Only this caution I must lay  
    in beforehand: - whatever is affirmed in the pursuit of this  
    truth, it is done with relation to the explanation ensuing, in  
    the beginning of the next chapter.  
        The way and means, then, on the part of the saints,  
    whereby in Christ they enjoy communion with God, are all the  
    spiritual and holy actings and outgoings of their souls in  
    those graces, and by those ways, wherein both the moral anal  
    instituted worship of God does consist. Faith, love, trust,  
    joy, etc., are the natural or moral worship of God, whereby  
    those in whom they are have communion with him. Now, these are  
    either immediately acted on God, and not tied to any ways or  
    means outwardly manifesting themselves; or else they are  
    farther drawn forth, in solemn prayer and praises, according  
    unto that way which he has appointed. That the Scripture does  
    distinct]y assign all these unto the Father, Son, and Spirit,  
    - manifesting that the saints do, in all of them, both as they  
    are purely and nakedly moral, and as farther clothed with  
    instituted worship, respect each person respectively, - is  
    that which, to give light to the assertion in hand, I shall  
    farther declare by particular instances: -  
         1. For the Father. Faith, love, obedience, etc., are  
    peculiarly and distinctly yielded by the saints unto him; and  
    he is peculiarly manifested in those ways as acting peculiarly  
    towards them: which should draw them forth and stir them up  
    thereunto. He gives testimony unto, and beareth witness of,  
    his Son, 1 John 5: 9, "This is the witness of God which he has  
    testified of his Son." In his bearing witness he is an object  
    of belief. When he gives testimony (which he does as the  
    Father, because he does it of the Son) he is to he received in  
    it by faith. And this is affirmed, verse 10, "He that  
    believeth on the Son of God, has the witness in himself." To  
    believe on the Son of God in this place, is to receive the  
    Lord Christ as the Son, the Son given unto us, for all the  
    ends of the Father's love, upon the credit of the Father's  
    testimony; and, therefore, therein is faith immediately acted  
    on the Father. So it follows in the next words, "he that  
    believeth not God" (that is, the Father, who bears witness to  
    the Son) "has made him a liar." "Ye believe in God," saith our  
    Saviour, John 14: l; that is, the Father as such, for he adds,  
    "Believe also in me;" or, "Believe you in God; believe also in  
    me." God, as the prima Veritas, upon whose authority is  
    founded, and whereunto all divine faith is ultimately  
    resolved, is not to be considered "hupostatikos", as  
    peculiarly expressive of any person, but "ousiodos",  
    comprehending the whole Deity; which undividedly is the prime  
    object thereof. But in this particular it is the testimony and  
    authority of the Father (as such) therein, of which we speak,  
    and whereupon faith is distinctly fixed on him; - which, if it  
    were not so, the Son could not add, "Believe also in me."  
        The like also is said of love. 1 John 2: 15, "If any man  
    love the world, the love of the Father is not in him;" that  
    is, the love which we bear to him, not that which we receive  
    from him. The Father is here placed as the object of our love,  
    in opposition to the world, which takes up our affections "he  
    agape tou Patros". The Father denotes the matter and object,  
    not the efficient cause, of the love inquired after. And this  
    love of him as a Father is that which he calls his "honour,"  
    Mal. 1: 6.  
        Farther: these graces as acted in prayer and praises, and  
    as clothed with instituted worship, are peculiarly directed  
    unto him. "Ye call on the Father," 1 Pet. 1: 17. Eph. 3:  
    14,15, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our  
    Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and  
    earth is named." Bowing the knee compriseth the whole worship  
    of God, both that which is moral, in the universal obedience  
    he requireth, and those peculiar ways of carrying it on which  
    are by him appointed, Isa. 45: 23, "Unto me," saith the Lord,  
    "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Which,  
    verses 24, 25, he declareth to consist in their acknowledging  
    of him for righteousness and strength. Yea, it seems sometimes  
    to comprehend the orderly subjection of the whole creation  
    unto his sovereignty. In this p]ace of the apostle it has a  
    far more restrained acceptation, and is but a figurative  
    expression of prayer, taken from the most expressive bodily  
    posture to be used in that duty. This he farther manifests,  
    Eph. 3: 16, 17, declaring at large what his aim was, and  
    whereabout his thoughts were exercised, in that bowing of his  
    knees. The workings, then, of the Spirit of grace in that duty  
    are distinctly directed to the Father as such, as the fountain  
    of the Deity, and of all good things in Christ, - as the  
    "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And therefore the same  
    apostle does, in another place, expressly conjoin, and yet as  
    expressly distinguish, the Father and the Son in directing his  
    supplications, 1 Thess. 3: 11, "God himself even our Father,  
    and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you." The like  
    precedent, also, have you of thanksgiving, Eph. 1: 3, 4,  
    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc.  
    I shall not add those very many places wherein the several  
    particulars that do concur unto that whole divine worship (not  
    to be communicated unto any, by nature not God, without  
    idolatry) wherein the saints do hold communion with God, are  
    distinctly directed to the person of the Father.  
        2. It is so also in reference unto the Son. John 14: 1,  
    "Ye believe in God," saith Christ, "believe also in me;" -  
    "Believe also, act faith distinctly on me; faith divine,  
    supernatural, - that faith whereby you believe in God, that  
    is, the Father. There is a believing of Christ, namely, that  
    he is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. That is that  
    whose neglect our Saviour so threatened unto the Pharisees,  
    John 8: 24, "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in  
    your sins." In this sense faith is not immediately fixed on  
    the Son, being only an owning of him (that is, the Christ to  
    be the Son), by closing with the testimony of the Father  
    concerning him. But there is also a believing on him, called  
    "Believing on the name of the Son of God," 1 John 5: 13; so  
    also John 9: 36; - yea, the distinct affixing of faith,  
    affiance, and confidence on the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of  
    God, as the Son of God, is most frequently pressed. John 3:  
    16, "God" (that is, the Father) "so loved the world,.. that  
    whosoever believeth in him" (that is, the Son) "should not  
    perish." The Son, who is given of the Father, is believed on.  
    "He that believeth on him is not condemned," verse 18. " He  
    that believeth on the Son has everlasting life," verse 36. "  
    This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he has  
    sent," John 6: 29, 40; 1 John 5: 10. The foundation of the  
    whole is laid, John 5: 23, "That all men should honour the  
    Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the  
    Son honoureth not the Father which has sent him." But of this  
    honour and worship of the Son I have treated at large  
    elsewhere; and shall not in general insist upon it again. For  
    love, I shall only add that solemn apostolical benediction,  
    Eph. 6: 24, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus  
    Christ In sincerity," - that is, with divine love, the love of  
    religious worship; which is the only incorrupt love of the  
    Lord Jesus.  
        Farther: that faith, hope, and love, acting themselves in  
    all manner of obedience and appointed worship, are peculiarly  
    due from the saints, and distinct]y directed unto the Son, is  
    abundantly manifest from that solemn doxology, Rev. 1: 5, 6,  
    "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his  
    own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his  
    Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."  
    Which yet is set forth with more glory, chap. 5: 8, "The four  
    living creatures, and the four and twenty elders fell down  
    before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden  
    vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:" and  
    verses 13, 14, "Every creature which is in heaven, and on the  
    earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and  
    all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honour,  
    and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the  
    throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." The Father and  
    the Son (he that sits upon the throne, and the Lamb) are held  
    out jointly, yet distinctly, as the adequate object of all  
    divine worship and honour, for ever and ever. And therefore  
    Stephen, in his solemn dying, invocation, fixeth his faith and  
    hope distinctly on him, Acts 7: 59, 60, "Lord Jesus, receive  
    my spirit;" and, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge;" -  
    for he knew that the $on of man had power to forgive sins  
    also. And this worship of the Lord Jesus, the apostle makes  
    the discriminating character of the saints, 1 Cor. 1: 2, "With  
    all," saith he, "that in every place call upon the name of  
    Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;" that is, with  
    all the saints of God. And invocation generally comprises the  
    whole worship of God. This, then, is the due of our Mediator,  
    though as God, as the Son, - not as Mediator.  
        3. Thus also is it in reference unto the Holy Spirit of  
    grace. The closing of the great sin of unbelief is still  
    described as an opposition unto, and a resisting of that Holy  
    spirit. And you have distinct mention of the love of the  
    Spirit, Rom. 15: 30. The apostle also peculiarly directs his  
    supplication to him in that solemn benediction, 2 Cor. 13: 14,  
    "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and  
    the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." And such  
    benedictions are originally supplications. He is likewise  
    entitled unto all instituted worship, from the appointment of  
    the administration of baptism in his name, Matt. 28: 19. Of  
    which things more afterward.  
        Now, of the things which have been delivered this is the  
    sum: - there is no grace whereby our souls go forth unto God,  
    no act of divine worship yielded unto him, duty or obedience  
    performed, but they are distinctly directed unto Father, Son,  
    and Spirit. Now, by these and such like ways as these, do we  
    hold communion with God; and therefore we have that communion  
    distinctly, as has been described.  
        This also may farther appear, if we consider how  
    distinctly the persons of the Deity are revealed to act in the  
    communication of those good things, wherein the saints have  
    communion with God. As all the spiritual ascending of their  
    souls are assigned unto them respectively, so all their  
    internal receiving of the communications of God unto them are  
    held out in such a distribution as points at distinct rises  
    and fountains (though not of being in themselves, yet) of  
    dispensations unto us. Now this is declared two ways: -  
        (1.) When the same thing is, at the same time, ascribed  
    jointly and yet distinctly to all the persons in the Deity,  
    and respectively to each of them. So are grace and peace, Rev.  
    1: 4, 5, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and  
    which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits  
    which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the  
    faithful witness," etc. The seven Spirits before the throne,  
    are the holy Spirit of God, considered as the perfect fountain  
    of every perfect gift and dispensation. All are here joined  
    together, and yet all mentioned as distinguished in their  
    communication of grace and peace unto the saints. "Grace and  
    peace be unto you, from the Father, and from," etc.  
        (2.) When the same thing is attributed severally and  
    singly unto each person. There is, indeed, no gracious  
    influence from above, no illapse of light, life, love, or  
    grace upon our hearts, but proceedeth in such a dispensation.  
    I shall give only one instance, which is very comprehensive,  
    and may be thought to comprise all other particulars; and this  
    is Teaching. The teaching of God is the real communication of  
    all and every particular emanation from himself unto the  
    saints whereof they are made partakers. That promise, "They  
    shall be all taught of God," inwraps in itself the whole  
    mystery of grace, as to its actual dispensation unto us, so  
    far as we may be made real possessors of it. Now this is  
    assigned, -  
        [1.] Unto the Father. The accomplishment of that promise  
    is peculiarly referred to him, John 6: 45, "It is written in  
    the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man  
    therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes  
    unto me." This teaching, whereby we are translated from death  
    unto life, brought unto Christ, unto a participation of life  
    and love in him, - it is of and from the Father: him we hear,  
    of him we learn, by him are we brought unto union and  
    communion with the Lord Jesus. This is his drawing us, his  
    begetting us anew of his own will, by his Spirit; and in which  
    work he employs the ministers of the gospel, Acts 26: 17, 18.  
        [2.] Unto the Son. The Father proclaims him from heaven to  
    be the great teacher, in that solemn charge to hear him, which  
    came once [and] again from the excellent glory: "This is my  
    beloved Son; hear him." The whole of his prophetical, and no  
    small part of his kingly office, consists in this teaching;  
    herein is he said to draw men unto him, as the Father is said  
    to do in his teaching, John 12: 32; which he does with such  
    efficacy, that "the dead hear his voice and live." The  
    teaching of the Son is a life-giving, a spirit-breathing  
    teaching; - an effectual influence of light, whereby he shines  
    into darkness; a communication of life, quickening the dead;  
    an opening of blind eyes, and changing of hard hearts; a  
    pouring out of the Spirit, with all the fruits thereof. Hence  
    he claims it as his privilege to be the sole master, Matt. 23:  
    10, "One is your Master, even Christ."  
         [3.] To the Spirit. John 14: 26, "The Comforter, he shall  
    teach you all things." "But the anointing which ye have  
    received," saith the apostle, "abideth in you, and ye need not  
    that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you  
    of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has  
    taught you, ye shall abide in him," 1 John 2: 27. That  
    teaching unction which is not only true, but truth itself, is  
    only the Holy Spirit of God: so that he teacheth also; being  
    given unto us "that we might know the things that are freely  
    given to us of God," 1 Cor. 2: 12. I have chosen this special  
    instance because, as I told you, it is comprehensive, and  
    comprises in itself most of the particulars that might be an  
    numerated, - quickening, preserving, etc.  
        This, then, farther drives on the truth that lies under  
    demonstration; there being such a distinct communication of  
    grace from the several persons of the Deity, the saints must  
    needs have distinct communion with them.  
        It remaineth only to intimate, in a word, wherein this  
    distinctions lies, and what is the ground thereof. Now, this  
    is, that the Father does it by the way of original authority;  
    the Son by the way of communicating from a purchased treasury;  
    the Holy Spirit by the way of immediate efficacy.  
        1st. The Father communicates all grace by the way of  
    original authority: He quickeneth WHOM HE WILL, John 5: 21.  
    "OF HIS OWN WILL begat he us," James 1: 18. Life-giving power  
    is, in respect of original authority, invested in the Father  
    by the way of eminency; and therefore, in sending of the  
    quickening Spirit, Christ is said to do it from the Father, or  
    the Father himself to do it. "But the Comforter, which is the  
    Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send," John 14: 26. "But when  
    the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the  
    Father," John 15: 26; - though he be also said to send him  
    himself, on another account, John 16: 7.  
        2dly. The Son, by the way of making out a purchased  
    treasury: "Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for  
    grace," John 1: 16. And whence is this fulness? "It pleased  
    the Father that in him should all fulness dwell," Col. 1: 19.  
    And upon what account he has the dispensation of that fulness  
    to him committed you may see, Phil. 2: 8- 11. "When thou shalt  
    make his soul an offering for sin, he shall prolong his days,  
    and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He  
    shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:  
    by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for  
    he shall bear their iniquities," Isa. 53: l0,11. And with this  
    fulness he has also authority for the communication of it,  
    John 5: 25-27; Matt. 28: 18.  
        3dly. The Spirit does it by the way of immediate efficacy,  
    Rom. 8: 11, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus  
    from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the  
    dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that  
    dwelleth in you." Here are all three comprised, with their  
    distinct concurrence unto our quickening. Here is the Father's  
    authoritative quickening, - "He raised Christ from the dead,  
    and he shall quicken you;" and the Son's mediatory quickening,  
    - for it is done in "the death of Christ;" and the Spirit's  
    immediate efficacy, - "He shall do it by the Spirit that  
    dwelleth in you." He that desires to see this whole matter  
    farther explained, may consult what I have elsewhere written  
    on this subject. And thus is the distinct communion whereof we  
    treat both proved and demonstrated.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 4...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-03.txt