Owen, Of Communion With God, File 6
    (... continued from File 5)

     Part 2. Of Communion with the Son Jesus Christ 
      Chapter 1. Of the fellowship which the saints have with 
                 Jesus Christ the Son of God - That they have 
                 such a fellowship proved, 1 Cor. 1: 9; Rev. 
                 3: 20; Cant. 2: 1-7 opened; also Prov. 9: 1-5.  

        Of that distinct communion which we have with the person
    of the Father we have treated in the foregoing chapters; we
    now proceed to the consideration of that which we have with
    his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now the fellowship we have
    with the second person, is with him as Mediator, - in that
    office whereunto, by dispensation, he submitted himself for
    our sakes; being "made of a woman, made under the law, to
    redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the
    adoption of sons," Gal. 4: 4, 5. And herein I shall do these
    two things: - I. Declare that we have such fellowship with the
    Son of God. 2: Show wherein that fellowship or communion does
    consist: -
        I. For the first, I shall only produce some few places of
    Scripture to confirm it, that it is so: - 1 Cor. 1: 9, "God is
    faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his
    Son Jesus Christ our Lord." This is that whereunto all the
    saints are called, and wherein, by the faithfulness of God,
    they shall be preserved, even fellowship with Jesus Christ our
    Lord. We are called of God the Father, as the Father, in
    pursuit of his love, to communion with the Son, as our Lord.
        Rev. 3: 20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: 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." Certainly this is
    fellowship, or I know not what is. Christ will sup with
    believers: he refreshes himself with his own graces in them,
    by his Spirit bestowed on them. The Lord Christ is exceedingly
    delighted in tasting of the sweet fruits of the Spirit in the
    saints. Hence is that prayer of the spouse that she may have
    something for his entertainment when he comes to her, Cant. 4:
    16, "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my
    garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my Beloved
    come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits." The souls
    of the saints are the garden of Jesus Christ, the good ground,
    Heb. 6: 7; - a garden for delight; he rejoices in them; "his
    delights are with the sons of men," Prov. 8: 31; and he
    "rejoices over them," Zeph. 3: 17; - and a garden for fruit,
    yea, pleasant fruit; so he describes it, Cant. 4: 12-14, "A
    garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a
    fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates,
    with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and
    saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense;
    myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices." Whatever is sweet and
    delicious for taste, whatever savoury and odoriferous,
    whatever is useful and medicinal, is in this garden. There is
    all manner of spiritual refreshments, of all kinds whatever,
    in the souls of the saints, for the Lord Jesus. On this
    account is the spouse so earnest in the prayer mentioned for
    an increase of these things, that her Beloved may sup with
    her, as he has promised. "Awake, O north wind," etc.; - "O
    that the breathing and workings of the Spirit of all grace
    might stir up all his gifts and graces in me, that the Lord
    Jesus, the beloved of my soul, may have meet and acceptable
    entertainment from me." God complains of want of fruit in his
    vineyard, Isa. 5: 2; Hos. 10: 1. Want of good food for
    Christ's entertainment is that the spouse feared, and labours
    to prevent. A barren heart is not fit to receive him. And the
    delight he takes in the fruit of the Spirit is unspeakable.
    This he expresses at large, Cant. 5: 1, "I am come," saith he;
    "I have eaten, I am refreshed." He calls it "periy megadim",
    "The fruit of his sweetnesses;" or most pleasant to him.
    Moreover, as Christ sups with his saints, so he has promised
    they shall sup with him, to complete that fellowship they have
    with him. Christ provides for their entertainment in a most
    eminent manner. There are beasts killed, and wine is mingled,
    and a table furnished, Prov. 9: 2. He calls the spiritual
    dainties that he has for them a "feast," a "wedding," "a feast
    of fat things, wine on the lees," etc. The fatted calf is
    killed for their entertainment. Such is the communion, and
    such is the mutual entertainment of Christ and his saints in
    that communion.
        Cant. 2: 1-7, "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of
    the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the
    daughters. As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so
    is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with
    great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste," etc.
        In the two first verses you have the description that
    Christ gives, first of himself, then of his church. Of
    himself, verse l; that is, what he is to his spouse: "I am the
    rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys." The Lords Christ
    is, in the Scripture, compared to all things of eminency in
    the whole creation. He is in the heavens the sun, and the
    bright morning star: as the lion among the beasts, the lion of
    the tribe of Judah. Among the flowers of the field, here he is
    the rose and the lily. The two eminencies of flowers,
    sweetness of savour and beauty of colour, are divided between
    these. The rose for sweetness, and the lily for beauty
    ("Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of
    these"), have the pre-eminence. Farther, he is "the rose of
    Sharon," a fruitful plain, where the choicest herds were fed,
    1 Chron. 27: 29; so eminent, that it is promised to the church
    that there shall be given unto her the excellency of Sharon,
    Isa. 35: 2. This fruitful place, doubtless, brought forth the
    most precious roses. Christ, in the savour of his love, and in
    his righteousness (which is as the garment wherein Jacob
    received his blessing, giving forth a smell as the smell of a
    pleasant field, Gen. 27: 27), is as this excellent rose, to
    draw and allure the hearts of his saints unto him. As God
    smelled a sweet savour from the blood of his atonement, Eph.
    5: 2; so from the graces wherewith for them he is anointed,
    his saints receive a refreshing, cherishing savour, Cant. 1:
    3. A sweet savour expresses that which is acceptable and
    delightful, Gen. 8: 21. He is also "the lily of the valleys;"
    that of all flowers is the most eminent in beauty, Matt. 6:
    29. Most desirable is he, for the comeliness and perfection of
    his person; incomparably fairer than the children of men: of
    which afterward. He, then, being thus unto them (abundantly
    satiating all their spiritual senses) their refreshment, their
    ornament, their delight, their glory; in the next verse he
    tells us what they are to him: "As the lily among thorns, so
    is my beloved among the daughters." That Christ and his church
    are likened unto and termed the same thing (as here the lily),
    is, as from their union by the indwelling of the same Spirit,
    so from that conformity and likeness that is between them, and
    whereunto the saints are appointed. Now she is a lily, very
    beautiful unto Christ; "as the lily among thorns:" - 1. By the
    way of eminency; as the lily excelleth the thorns, so do the
    saints all others whatever, in the eye of Christ. Let
    comparison be made, so will it be found to be. And, - 2. By
    the way of trial; the residue of the world being "pricking
    briers and grieving thorns to the house of Israel," Ezek. 28:
    94. "The best of them is as a brier, the most upright is
    sharper than a thorn hedge," Mic. 7: 4. And thus are they
    among the daughters, - even the most eminent collections of
    the most improved professors, that are no more but so. There
    cannot be in any greater comparison, a greater exaltation of
    the excellency of any thing. So, then, is Christ to them
    indeed, verse l; so are they in his esteem, and indeed, verse
    2. How he is in their esteem and indeed, we have, verse 3.
        "As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my
    Beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great
    delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." To carry on
    this intercourse, the spouse begins to speak her thoughts of,
    and to show her delight in, the Lord Christ; and as he
    compares her to the lily among the thorns, so she him to the
    apple-tree among the trees of the wood. And she adds this
    reason of it, even because he has the two eminent things of
    trees, which the residue of them have not: - 1. Fruit for
    food; 2. Shade for refreshment. Of the one she eateth, under
    the other she resteth; both with great delight. All other
    sons, either angels, the sons of God by creation, Job 1: 6,
    38: 7, or the sons of Adam, - the best of his offspring, the
    leaders of those companies which, verse 2, are called
    daughters, or sons of the old creation, the top branches of
    all its desirable things, - are to an hungry, weary soul (such
    alone seek for shade and fruit) but as the fruitless, leafless
    trees of the forest, which will yield them neither food nor
    refreshment. "In Christ," saith she, " there is fruit, fruit
    sweet to the taste; yea, 'his flesh is meat indeed, and his
    blood is drink indeed,'" John 6: 55. " Moreover, he has
    brought forth that everlasting righteousness which will
    abundantly satisfy any hungry soul, after it has gone to many
    a barren tree for food, and has found none. Besides, he
    aboundeth in precious and pleasant graces, whereof I may eat;
    yea, he calls me to do so, and that abundantly." These are the
    fruits that Christ beareth. They speak of a tree that bringeth
    forth all things needful for life, in food and raiment. Christ
    is that tree of life, which has brought forth all things that
    are needful unto life eternal. In him is that righteousness
    which we hunger after; - in him is that water of life, which
    whoso drinketh of shall thirst no more. Oh, how sweet are the
    fruits of Christ's mediation to the faith of his saints! He
    that can find no relief in mercy, pardon, grace, acceptation
    with God, holiness, sanctification, etc., is an utter stranger
    to these things (wine on the lees) that are prepared for
    believers. Also, he has shades for refreshment and shelter; -
    shelter from wrath without, and refreshment because of
    weariness from within. The first use of the shade is to keep
    us from the heat of the sun, as did Jonah's gourd. When the
    heat of wrath is ready to scorch the soul, Christ,
    interposing, bears it all. Under the shadow of his wings we
    sit down constantly, quietly, safely, putting our trust in
    him; and all this with great delight. Yea, who can express the
    joy of a soul safe shadowed from wrath under the covert of the
    righteousness of the Lord Jesus! There is also refreshment in
    a shade from weariness. He is "as the shadow of a great rock
    in a weary land," Isa. 32: 2. From the power of corruptions,
    trouble of temptations, distress of persecutions, there is in
    him quiet, rest, and repose, Matt. 11: 27, 28.
        Having thus mutually described each other, and so made it
    manifest that they cannot but be delighted in fellowship and
    communion, in the next verses that communion of theirs is at
    large set forth and described. I shall briefly observe four
    things therein: - (1.) Sweetness. (2.) Delight. (3.) Safety.
    (4.) Comfort.
        (1.) Sweetness: "He brought me to the banqueting-house,"
    or "house of wine." It is all set forth under expressions of
    the greatest sweetness and most delicious refreshment, -
    flagons, apples, wine, etc. "HE entertains me," saith the
    spouse, "as some great personage." Great personages, at great
    entertainments, are had into the banqueting-house, - the house
    of wine and dainties. These are the preparations of grace and
    mercy, - love, kindness, supplies revealed in the gospel,
    declared in the assemblies of the saints, exhibited by the
    Spirit. This "love is better than wine," Cant. 1: 2; it is
    "not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in
    the Holy Ghost." Gospel dainties are sweet refreshments;
    whether these houses of wine be the Scriptures, the gospel, or
    the ordinances dispensed in the assemblies of the saints, or
    any eminent and signal manifestations of special love (as
    banqueting is not every day's work, nor used at ordinary
    entertainments), it is all one. Wine, that cheereth the heart
    of man, that makes him forget his misery, Prov. 31: 6, 7, that
    gives him a cheerful look and countenance, Gen. 49: 12, is it
    at which is promised. The grace exhibited by Christ in his
    ordinances is refreshing, strengthening, comforting, and full
    of sweetness to the souls of the saints. Woe be to such full
    souls as loathe these honey-combs! But thus Christ makes all
    his assemblies to love banqueting-houses; and there he gives
    his saints entertainment.
        (7.) Delight. The spouse is quite ravished with the
    sweetness of this entertainment, finding love, and care, and
    kindness, bestowed by Christ in the assemblies of the saints.
    Hence she cries out, verse 5, "Stay me with flagons, comfort
    me with apples; for I am sick of love." Upon the discovery of
    the excellency and sweetness of Christ in the
    banqueting-house, the soul is instantly overpowered, and cries
    out to be made partaker of the fulness of it. She is "sick of
    love:" not (as some suppose) fainting for want of a sense of
    love, under the apprehension of wrath; but made sick and
    faint, even overcome, with the mighty acting of that divine
    affection, after she had once tasted of the sweetness of
    Christ in the banqueting-house. Her desire deferred, makes her
    heart sick; therefore she cries, "Stay me," etc.; - "I have
    seen a glimpse of the 'King in his beauty,' - tasted of the
    fruit of his righteousness; my soul melteth in longing after
    him. Oh! support and sustain my spirit with his presence in
    his ordinances, - those 'flagons and apples of his
    banqueting-house,' - or I shall quite sink and faint! Oh, what
    hast thou done, blessed Jesus! I have seen thee, and my soul
    is become as the chariots of Ammi-nadib. Let me have something
    from thee to support me, or I die." When a person is fainting
    on any occasion, these two things are to be done: - strength
    is to be used to support him, that he sink not to the ground;
    and comfortable things are to be applied, to refresh his
    spirits. These two the soul, overpowered and fainting with the
    force of its own love, (raised by a sense of Christ's,)
    prayeth for. It would have strengthening grace to support it
    in that condition, that it may be able to attend its duty; and
    consolations of the Holy Ghost, to content, revive, and
    satiate it, until it come to a full enjoyment of Christ. And
    thus sweetly and with delight is this communion carried on.
        (3.) Safety: "His banner over me was love," verse 4. The
    banner is an emblem of safety and protection, - a sign of the
    presence of an host. Persons belonging to an army do encamp
    under their banner in security. So did the children of Israel
    in the wilderness; every tribe kept their camps under their
    own standard. It is also a token of success and victory, Ps.
    20: 5. Christ has a banner for his saints; and that is love.
    All their protection is from his love; and they shall have all
    the protection his love can give them. This safeguards them
    from hell, death, - all their enemies. Whatever presses on
    them, it must pass through the banner of the love of the Lord
    Jesus. They have, then, great spiritual safety; which is
    another ornament or excellency of their communion with him.
        (4.) Supportment and consolation, verse 6, "His left hand
    is under my head, and his right hand does embrace me." Christ
    here has the posture of a most tender friend towards any one
    in sickness and sadness. The soul faints with love, -
    spiritual longings after the enjoyment of his presence; and
    Christ comes in with his embraces. He nourisheth and
    cherisheth his church, Eph. 5: 29; Isa. 63: 9. Now, "the hand
    under the head," is supportment, sustaining grace, in
    pressures and difficulties; and "the hand that does embrace,"
    the hand upon the heart, is joy and consolation; - in both,
    Christ rejoicing, as the "bridegroom rejoiceth over the
    bride," Isa. 62: 5. Now, thus to lie in the arms of Christ's
    love, under a perpetual influence of supportment and
    refreshment, is certainly to hold communion with him. And
    hereupon, verse 7, the spouse is most earnest for the
    continuance of his fellowship, charging all so to demean
    themselves, that her Beloved be not disquieted, or provoked to
        In brief, this whole book is taken up in the description
    of the communion that is between the Lord Christ and his
    saints; and therefore, it is very needless to take from thence
    any more particular instances thereof
        I shall only add that of Prov. 9: 1-5, "Wisdom has builded
    her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has killed
    her beasts; she has mingled her wine; she has also furnished
    her table. She has sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the
    highest places of the city, Whose is simple, let him turn in
    hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to
    him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have
        The Lord Christ, the eternal Wisdom of the Father, and who
    of God is made unto us wisdom, erects a spiritual house,
    wherein he makes provision for the entertainment of those
    guests whom he so freely invites. His church is the house
    which he has built on a perfect number of pillars, that it
    might have a stable foundation: his slain beasts and mingled
    wine, wherewith his table is furnished, are those spiritual
    fat things of the gospel, which he has prepared for those that
    come in upon his invitation. Surely, to eat of this bread, and
    drink of this wine, which he has so graciously prepared, is to
    hold fellowship with him; for in what ways or things is there
    nearer communion than in such?
        I might farther evince this truth, by a consideration of
    all the relations wherein Christ and his saints do stand;
    which necessarily require that there be a communion between
    them, if we do suppose they are faithful in those relations:
    but this is commonly treated on, and something will be spoken
    to it in one signal instance afterward.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 7...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-06.txt