Owen, Of Communion With God, File 7
    (... continued from File 6)

     Chapter 2. What it is wherein we have peculiar fellowship 
                with the Lord Christ - This is in grace - This 
                proved, John 1: 14,16,17; 2 Cor. 13: 14; 2 
                Thess. 3: 17, 18 - Grace of various accepta-
                tions - Personal grace in Christ proposed to 
                consideration - The grace of Christ as Mediator 
                intended, Ps. 45: 2 - Cant. 5: 10, Christ, how 
                white and ruddy - His fitness to save, from the 
                grace of union - His fulness to save - His 
                suitableness to endear - These considerations 
         II. Having manifested that the saints hold peculiar 
    fellowship with the Lord Jesus, it neatly follows that we show 
    wherein it is that they have this peculiar communion with him. 
        Now, this is in GRACE. This is everywhere ascribed to him 
    by the way of eminency. John 1: 14, "He dwelt among us, full 
    of grace and truth;" grace in the truth and substance of it. 
    All that went before was but typical and in representation; in 
    the truth and substance it comes only by Christ. "Grace and 
    truth came by Jesus Christ," verse 17; "and of his fulness 
    have all we received, and grace for grace," verse l6; - that 
    is, we have communion with him in grace; we receive from him 
    all manner of grace whatever; and therein have we fellowship 
    with him. 
        So likewise in that apostolical benediction, wherein the 
    communication of spiritual blessings from the several persons 
    unto the saints is so exactly distinguished; it is grace that 
    is ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ, 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." 
        Yea, Paul is so delighted with this, that he makes it his 
    motto, and the token whereby he would have his epistles known, 
    2 Thess. 3: 17, 18, "The salutation of Paul with mine own 
    hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The 
    grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all." Yea, he makes 
    these two, "Grace be with you," and, "The Lord Jesus be with 
    you," to be equivalent expressions; for whereas he affirmed 
    the one to be the token in all his epistles, yet sometimes he 
    useth the one only, sometimes the other of these, and 
    sometimes puts them both together. This, then, is that which 
    we are peculiarly to eye in the Lord Jesus, to receive it from 
    him, even grace, gospel-grace, revealed in or exhibited by the 
    gospel. He is the head-stone in the building of the temple of 
    God, to whom "Grace, grace," is to be cried, Zech. 4: 7. 
        Grace is a word of various acceptations. In its most 
    eminent significations it may be referred unto one of these 
    three heads: - 
        1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness. So we say, 
    "A graceful and comely person," either from himself or his 
    ornaments. This in Christ (upon the matter) is the subject of 
    near one-half of the book of Canticles; it is also mentioned, 
    Ps. 45: 2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is 
    poured into thy lips." And unto this first head, in respect of 
    Christ, do I refer also that acceptation of grace which, in 
    respect of us, I fix in the third place. Those inconceivable 
    gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and 
    brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency; as 
    will afterward appear. 
        2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. "By this grace we 
    are saved;" that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation 
    of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent 
    expression, "If I have found grace in thy sight;" that is, if 
    I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he "giveth 
    grace" (that is, favour) "unto the humble," James 4: 6; Gen. 
    39: 21, 41: 37; Acts 7: 10; 1 Sam. 2: 26; 2 Kings 25: 27, etc. 
        3. The fruits of the Spirit, sanctifying and renewing our 
    natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so 
    termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, "his grace was sufficient 
    for him;" that is, the assistance against temptation which he 
    afforded him, Col. 3: 16; 2 Cor. 8: 6, 7; Heb. 12: 28. 
        These two latter, as relating unto Christ in respect of us 
    who receive them, I call purchased grace, being indeed 
    purchased by him for us; and our communion with him therein is 
    termed a "fellowship in his sufferings, and the power of his 
    resurrection," Phil. 3: 10. 
        1. Let us begin with the first, which I call personal 
    grace; and concerning that do these two things: - (1.) Show 
    what it is, and wherein it consisteth; I mean the personal 
    grace of Christ. And, - (2.) Declare how the saints hold 
    immediate communion with him therein. 
        (1.) To the handling of the first, I shall only premise 
    this observation: - It is Christ as mediator of whom we speak; 
    and therefore, by the "grace of his person," I understand not, 
        [1.] The glorious excellencies of his Deity considered in 
    itself, abstracting from the office which for us, as God and 
    man, he undertook. 
        [2.] Nor the outward appearance of his human nature, 
    neither when he conversed here on earth, bearing our 
    infirmities (whereof, by reason of the charge that was laid 
    upon him, the prophet gives quite another character, Isa. 52: 
    14), concerning which some of the ancients were very poetical 
    in their expressions; nor yet as now exalted in glory; - a 
    vain imagination whereof makes many bear a false, a corrupted 
    respect unto Christ, even upon carnal apprehensions of the 
    mighty exaltation of the human nature; which is but "to know 
    Christ after the flesh," 2 Cor. 5: 16, a mischief much 
    improved by the abomination of foolish imagery. But this is 
    that which I intend, - the graces of the person of Christ as 
    he is vested with the office of mediation, this spiritual 
    eminency, comeliness, and beauty, as appointed and anointed by 
    the Father unto the great work of bringing home all his elect 
    unto his bosom. 
        Now, in this respect the Scripture describes him as 
    exceeding excellent, comely, and desirable, - far above 
    comparison with the chiefest, choicest created good, or any 
    endearment imaginable. 
        Ps. 45: 2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men: 
    grace is poured into thy lips" He is, beyond comparison, more 
    beautiful and gracious than any here below, "yafyafita"; the 
    word is doubled, to increase its significance, and to exalt 
    its subject beyond all comparison. "shofaracha malka Meshicha 
    'adif nivney nasha", says the Chaldee paraphrase: "Thy 
    fairness, O king Messiah, is more excellent than the sons of 
    men." "Pulcher admodum prae filiis hominum;" - exceeding 
    desirable. Inward beauty and glory is here expressed by that 
    of outward shape, form, and appearance; because that was so 
    much esteemed in those who were to rule or govern. Isa. 4: 2, 
    the prophet, terming of him "The branch of the Lord," and "The 
    fruit of the earth," affirms that he shall be "beautiful and 
    glorious, excellent and comely;" "for in him dwelleth all the 
    fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2: 9. 
        Cant. 5: 9, the spouse is inquired of as to this very 
    thing, even concerning the personal excellencies of the Lord 
    Christ, her beloved: "What is thy Beloved" (say the daughters 
    of Jerusalem) "more than another beloved, O thou fairest among 
    women? what is thy Beloved more than another beloved?" and she 
    returns this answer, verse 10, "My Beloved is white and ruddy, 
    the chiefest among ten thousand;" and so proceedeth to a 
    particular description of him by his excellencies to the end 
    of the chapter, and there concludeth that "he is altogether 
    lovely," verse 16; whereof at large afterward. Particularly, 
    he is here affirmed to be "white and ruddy;" a due mixture of 
    which colours composes the most beautiful complexion. 
        1st. He is white in the glory of his Deity, and ruddy in 
    the preciousness of his humanity. "His teeth are white with 
    milk, and his eyes are red with wine," Gen. 49: 12. Whiteness 
    (if I may so say) is the complexion of glory. In that 
    appearance of the Most High, the "Ancient of days," Dan. 7: 9, 
    it is said, "His garment was white as snow, and the hair of 
    his head like the pure wool;" - and of Christ in his 
    transfiguration, when he had on him a mighty lustre of the 
    Deity, "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was 
    white as the light," Matt. 17: 2; which, in the phrase of 
    another evangelist, is, "White as snow, so as no fuller on 
    earth can white them," Mark 9: 3. It was a divine, heavenly, 
    surpassing glory that was upon him, Rev. 1: 14. Hence the 
    angels and glorified saints, that always behold him, and are 
    fully translated into the image of the same glory, are still 
    said to be in white robes. His whiteness is his Deity, and the 
    glory thereof. And on this account the Chaldee paraphrase 
    ascribes this whole passage unto God. "They say," saith he, 
    "to the house of Israel, 'Who is the God whom thou wilt 
    serve?'" etc. Then began the congregation of Israel to declare 
    the praises of the Ruler of the world, and said, 'I will serve 
    that God who is clothed in a garment white as snow, the 
    splendour of the glory of whose countenance is as fire." He is 
    also ruddy in the beauty of his humanity. Man was called Adam, 
    from the red earth whereof he was made. The word here used 
    points him out as the second Adam, partaker of flesh and 
    blood, because the children also partook of the same, Heb. 2: 
    14. The beauty and comeliness of the Lord Jesus in the union 
    of both these in one person, shall afterward be declared. 
        2dly. He is white in the beauty of his innocence and 
    holiness, and ruddy in the blood of his oblation. Whiteness is 
    the badge of innocence and holiness. It is said of the 
    Nazarites, for their typical holiness, "They were purer than 
    snow, they were whiter than milk," Lam. 4: 7. And the prophet 
    shows us that scarlet, red, and crimson, are the colours of 
    sin and guilt; whiteness of innocence, Isa. 1: 18. Our Beloved 
    was "a Lamb without blemish and without spot," 1 Pet. 1: 19. 
    "He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth," 1 Pet. 
    2: 22. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from 
    sinners," Heb. 7: 26; as afterward will appear. And yet he who 
    was so white in his innocence, was made ruddy in his own 
    blood; and that two ways: - Naturally, in the pouring out of 
    his blood, his precious blood, in that agony of his soul when 
    thick drops of blood trickled to the ground, Luke 22: 44; as 
    also when the whips and thorns, nails and spears, poured it 
    out abundantly: "There came forth blood and water," John 19: 
    34. He was ruddy by being drenched all over in his own blood. 
    And morally, by the imputation of sin, whose colour is red and 
    crimson. "God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin," 2 
    Cor. 5: 21. He who was white, became ruddy for our sakes, 
    pouring out his blood an oblation for sin. This also renders 
    him graceful: by his whiteness he fulfilled the law; by his 
    redness he satisfied justice. "This is our Beloved, O ye 
    daughters of Jerusalem." 
        3dly. His endearing excellency in the administration of 
    his kingdom is hereby also expressed. He is white in love and 
    mercy unto his own; red with justice and revenge towards his 
    enemies, Isa. 63: 3; Rev. 19: 13. 
        There are three things in general wherein this personal 
    excellency and grace of the Lord Christ does consist: - (1st.) 
    His fitness to save, from the grace of union, and the proper 
    necessary effects thereof (2dly.) His fulness to save, from 
    the grace of communion; or the free consequences of the grace 
    of union. (3dly.) His excellency to endear, from his complete 
    suitableness to all the wants of the souls of men: - 
        (1st.) His fitness to save, - his being "hikanos", a fit 
    Saviour, suited to the work; and this, I say, is from his 
    grace of union. The uniting of the natures of God and man in 
    one person made him fit to be a Saviour to the uttermost. He 
    lays his hand upon God, by partaking of his nature, Zech. 13: 
    7; and he lays his hand upon us, by being partaker of our 
    nature, Heb. 2: 14, 16: and so becomes a days-man, or umpire 
    between both. By this means he fills up all the distance that 
    was made by sin between God and us; and we who were far off 
    are made nigh in him. Upon this account it was that he had 
    room enough in his breast to receive, and power enough in his 
    spirit to bear, all the wrath that was prepared for us. Sin 
    was infinite only in respect of the object; and punishment was 
    infinite in respect of the subject. This ariseth from his 
        Union is the conjunction of the two natures of God and man 
    in one person, John 1: 14; Isa. 9: 6; Rom. 1: 3, 9: 5. The 
    necessary consequences whereof are, - 
        [1st.] The subsistence of the human nature in the person 
    of the Son of God, having no subsistence of its own, Luke 1: 
    35; 1 Tim. 3: 16. 
        [2dly.] "Koinonia idiomaton", that communication of 
    attributes in the person, whereby the properties of either 
    nature are promiscuously spoken of the person of Christ, under 
    what name soever, of God or man, he be spoken of, Acts 20: 28, 
    3: 21. 
        [3dly.] The execution of his office of mediation in his 
    single person, in respect of both natures: wherein is 
    considerable, "ho energon", - the agent, Christ himself, God 
    and man. He is the principium quo, "energetikon", - the 
    principle that gives life and efficacy to the whole work; and 
    then, 2dly, The principium quod, - that which operates, which 
    is both natures distinctly considered. 3dly. The "energeia", 
    or "draskike tes fuseos kinesis", - the effectual working 
    itself of each nature. And, lastly, the "energema", or 
    "apotelesma', - the effect produced, which ariseth from all, 
    and relates to them all: so resolving the excellency I speak 
    of into his personal union. 
        (2dly.) His fulness to save, from the grace of communion 
    or the effects of his union, which are free; and consequences 
    of it, which is all the furniture that he received from the 
    Father by the unction of the Spirit, for the work of our 
    salvation: "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that 
    come unto God by him," Heb. 7: 25; having all fulness unto 
    this end communicated unto him: "for it pleased the Father 
    that in him should all fulness dwell," Col. 1:19; and he 
    received not "the Spirit by measure," John 3: 34. And from 
    this fulness he makes out a suitable supply unto all that are 
    his; "grace for grace," John 1: 16. Had it been given to him 
    by measure, we had exhausted it. 
        (3dly.) His excellency to endear, from his complete 
    suitableness to all the wants of the souls of men. There is no 
    man whatever, that has any want in reference unto the things 
    of God, but Christ will be unto him that which he wants: I 
    speak of those who are given him of his Father. Is he dead? 
    Christ is life. Is he weak? Christ is the power of God, and 
    the wisdom of God. Has he the sense of guilt upon him? Christ 
    is complete righteousness, - "The Lord our Righteousness." 
    Many poor creatures are sensible of their wants, but know not 
    where their remedy lies. Indeed, whether it be life or light, 
    power or joy, all is wrapped up in him. 
        This, then, for the present, may suffice in general to be 
    spoken of the personal grace of the Lord Christ: - He has a 
    fitness to save, having pity and ability, tenderness and 
    power, to carry on that work to the uttermost; and a fulness 
    to save, of redemption and sanctification, of righteousness 
    and the Spirit; and a suitableness to the wants of all our 
    souls: whereby he becomes exceedingly desirable, yea, 
    altogether lovely; as afterward will appear in particular. And 
    as to this, in the first place, the saints have distinct 
    fellowship with the Lord Christ; the manner whereof shall be 
    declared in the ensuing chapter. 
        Only, from this entrance that has been made into the 
    description of him with whom the saints have communion, some 
    motives might be taken to stir us up whereunto; as also 
    considerations to lay open the nakedness and insufficiency of 
    all other ways and things unto which men engage their thoughts 
    and desires, something may be now proposed. The daughters of 
    Jerusalem, ordinary, common professors, having heard the 
    spouse describing her Beloved, Cant. 5: 10-16, etc., instantly 
    are stirred up to seek him together with her; chap. 6: 1, 
    "Whither is thy Beloved turned aside? that we may seek him 
    with thee." What Paul says of them that crucified him, may be 
    spoken of all that reject him, or refuse communion with him: 
    "Had they known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of 
    glory;" - Did men know him, were they acquainted in any 
    measure with him, they would not so reject the Lord of glory. 
    Himself calls them "simple ones," "fools," and "scorners," 
    that despise his gracious invitation, Prov. 1: 22. There are 
    none who despise Christ, but only they that know him not; 
    whose eyes the god of this world has blinded, that they should 
    not behold his glory. The souls of men do naturally seek 
    something to rest and repose themselves upon, - something to 
    satiate and delight themselves withal, with which they [may] 
    hold communion; and there are two ways whereby men proceed in 
    the pursuit of what they so aim at. Some set before them some 
    certain end, - perhaps pleasure, profit, or, in religion 
    itself, acceptance with God; others seek after some end, but 
    without any certainty, pleasing themselves now with one path, 
    now with another, with various thoughts and ways, like them, 
    Isa. 57: 10 - because something comes in by the life of the 
    hand, they give not over though weary. In what condition 
    soever you may be (either in greediness pursuing some certain 
    end, be it secular or religious; or wandering away in your own 
    imaginations, wearying yourselves in the largeness of your 
    ways), compare a little what you aim at, or what you do, with 
    what you have already heard of Jesus Christ: if any thing you 
    design be like to him, if any thing you desire be equal to 
    him, let him be rejected as one that has neither form nor 
    comeliness in him; but if, indeed, all your ways be but vanity 
    and vexation of spirit, in comparison of him, why do you spend 
    your "money for that which is not bread, and your labour for 
    that which satisfieth not?" 
        Use. 1. You that are yet in the flower of your days, full 
    of health and strength, and, with all the vigour of your 
    spirits, do pursue some one thing, some another, consider, I 
    pray, what are all your beloveds to this Beloved? What have 
    you gotten by them? Let us see the peace, quietness, assurance 
    of everlasting blessedness that they have given you? Their 
    paths are crooked paths, whoever goes in them shall not know 
    peace. Behold here a fit object for your choicest affections, 
    - one in whom you may find rest to your souls, - one in whom 
    there is nothing will grieve and trouble you to eternity. 
    Behold, he stands at the door of your souls, and knocks: O 
    reject him not, lest you seek him and find him not! Pray study 
    him a little; you love him not, because you know him not. Why 
    does one of you spend his time in idleness and folly, and 
    wasting of precious time, perhaps debauchedly? Why does 
    another associate and assemble himself with them that scoff at 
    religion and the things of God? Merely because you know not 
    our dear Lord Jesus. Oh, when he shall reveal himself to you, 
    and tell you he is Jesus whom you have slighted and refused, 
    how will it break your hearts, and make you mourn like a dove, 
    that you have neglected him! and if you never come to know 
    him, it had been better you had never been. Whilst it is 
    called Today, then, harden not your hearts. 
        Use 2. You that are, perhaps, seeking earnestly after a 
    righteousness, and are religious persons, consider a little 
    with yourselves, - has Christ his due place in your hearts? is 
    he your all? does he dwell in your thoughts? do you know him 
    in his excellency and desirableness? do you indeed account all 
    things "loss and dung" for his exceeding excellency? or 
    rather, do you prefer almost any thing in the world before it? 
    But more of these things afterward.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 8...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-07.txt