Owen, Of Communion With God, File 13
    (... continued from File 12)


    Chapter 5. Other consequential affections: - 1. On the part 
               of Christ - He values his saints - Evidences of 
               that valuation: - (1.) His incarnation; (2.)
               Exinanition, 2 Cor. 8: 9; Phil. 2: 6, 7; (3.)
               Obedience as a servant; (4.) In his death. His 
               valuation of them in comparison of others. 2. 
               Believers' estimation of Christ: - (1.) They 
               value him above all other things and persons; 
               (2.) Above their own lives; (3.) All spiritual 
               excellencies. The sum of all on the part of 
               Christ - The sum on the part of believers. The 
               third conjugal affection - On the part of Christ, 
               pity or compassion - Wherein manifested - Suffer-
               ing and supply, fruits of compassion - Several 
               ways whereby Christ relieves the saints under 
               temptations - His compassion in their afflictions. 
               Chastity, the third conjugal affection in the 
               saints. The fourth - On the part of Christ, 
               bounty; on the part of the saints, duty. 

        II. Christ values his saints, values believers (which is
    the second branch of that conjugal affection he bears towards
    them), having taken them into the relation whereof we speak. I
    shall not need to insist long on the demonstration hereof;
    heaven and earth are full of evidences of it. Some few
    considerations will give life to the assertion. Consider them,
    then, - 1. Absolutely; 2. In respect of others; and you will
    see what a valuation he puts upon them: -
        1. All that ever he did or does, all that ever he
    underwent or suffered as mediator, was for their sakes. Now,
    these things were so great and grievous, that had he not
    esteemed them above all that can be expressed, he had never
    engaged to their performance and undergoing. Take a few
    instances: -
        (1.) For their sakes was he "made flesh;" "manifested in
    the flesh." Heb. 2: 14, "Forasmuch then as the children are
    partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took
    part of the same." And the height of this valuation of them
    the apostle aggravates. Verse 16, "Verily he took not on him
    the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham;"
    he had no such esteem of angels. Whether you take
    "epilamtanestai", properly to "take," or to "take hold of," as
    our translators, and so supply the word "nature," and refer
    the whole unto Christ's incarnation, who therein took our
    nature on him, and not the nature of angels; or for
    "analamtanestai", to "help," (he did not help nor succour
    fallen angels, but he did help and succour the seed of
    Abraham,) and so consider it as the fruit of Christ's
    incarnation, - it is all one, as to our present business: his
    preferring the seed of Abraham before angels, his valuing them
    above the other, is plainly expressed. And observe, that he
    came to help the seed of Abraham, - that is, believers. His
    esteem and valuation is of them only.
        (2.) For their sakes he was so made flesh, as that there
    was an emptying, an exinanition of himself, and an eclipsing
    of his glory, and a becoming poor for them, 2 Cor. 8: 9, "Ye
    know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was
    rich, yet for our sakes he became poor." Being rich in eternal
    glory with his Father, John 17: 5, he became poor for
    believers. The same person that was rich was also poor. That
    the riches here meant can be none but those of the Deity, is
    evident, by its opposition to the poverty which as man he
    undertook. This is also more fully expressed, Phil. 2: 6, 7,
    "Who being in the form of God, counted it no robbery to be
    equal to God, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a
    servant, and being made in the fashion of a man, and found in
    form as a man," etc. That the "form of God" is here the
    essence of the Deity, sundry things inevitably evince; as, -
        [1.] That he was therein equal to God; that is, his
    Father. Now, nothing but God is equal to God. Not Christ as he
    is mediator, in his greatest glory, - nothing but that which
    is infinite, is equal to that which is infinite.
        [2.] The form of God is opposed to the form of a servant;
    and that form of a servant is called the "fashion of a man,"
    verse 8, - that fashion wherein he was found when he gave
    himself to death, wherein as a man he poured out his blood and
    died. "Morfen doulou laton", (he "took the form of a
    servant"), is expounded in the next words, "en homoiomati
    antropon genomenos", - an expression used to set out his
    incarnation, Rom. 8: 3. God sent him "en homoiomati sarkos
    hamartias", in taking true flesh, he was in the "likeness of
    sinful flesh." Now, in thus doing, it is said "heautou
    ekenose", - "he humbled, emptied himself, made himself of no
    reputation." In the very taking of flesh, there was a
    condescension, a debasing of the person of the Son of God; it
    could not be without it. If God humbled himself to "behold the
    things that are in heaven, and in the earth," Ps. 113: 6, then
    certainly it was an inconceivable condescension and abasement,
    not only to behold, but take upon him (into personal union)
    our nature with himself. And though nothing could possibly be
    taken off from the essential glory of the Deity, yet that
    person appearing in the fashion of a man, and form of a
    servant, the glory of it, as to the manifestation, was
    eclipsed; and he appeared quite another thing than what indeed
    he was, and had been from eternity. Hence he prays that his
    Father would "glorify him with the glory he had with him
    before the world was," John 17: 5, as to the manifestation of
    it. And so, though the divine nature was not abased, the
    person was.
        (3.) For their sakes he so humbled and emptied himself, in
    taking flesh, as to become therein a servant, - in the eyes of
    the world of no esteem nor account; and a true and real
    servant unto the Father. For their sakes he humbled himself,
    and became obedient. All that he did and suffered in his life
    comes under this consideration; all which may be referred to
    these three heads: - [1.] Fulfilling all righteousness. [2.]
    Enduring all manner of persecutions and hardships. [3.] Doing
    all manner of good to inert. He took on him, for their sakes,
    a life and course pointed to, Heb. 5: 7, 8, - a life of
    prayers, tears, fears, obedience, suffering; and all this with
    cheerfulness and delight, calling his employment his "meat and
    drink," and still professing that the law of this obedience
    was in hiss heart, - that he was content to do this will of
    God. He that will sorely revenge the least opposition that is
    or shall be made to him by others, was content to undergo any
    thing, all things, for believers.
        (4.) He stays not here, but (for the consummation of all
    that went before) for their sakes he becomes obedient to
    death, the death of the cross. So he professeth to his Father,
    John 17: 19, "For their sakes I sanctify myself;" - "I
    dedicate myself as an offering, as a sacrifice, to be killed
    and slain." This was his aim in all the former, that he might
    die; he was born, and lived, that he might die. He valued them
    above his life. And if we might stay to consider a little what
    was in this death that he underwent for them, we should
    perceive what a price indeed he put upon them. The curse of
    the law was in it, the wrath of God was in it, the loss of
    God's presence was in it. It was a fearful cup that he tasted
    of, and drank of, that they might never taste of it. A man
    would not for ten thousand worlds be willing to undergo that
    which Christ underwent for us in that one thing of desertion
    from God, were it attended with no more distress but what a
    mere creature might possibly emerge from under. And what
    thoughts we should have of this himself tells us, John 15: 13,
    "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his
    life for his friends." It is impossible there should be any
    greater demonstration or evidence of love than this. What can
    any one do more? And yet he tells us in another place, that it
    has another aggravation and heightening, Rom. 5: 8, "God
    commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet
    sinners, Christ died for us." When he did this for us we were
    sinners, and enemies, whom he might justly have destroyed.
    What more can be done? - to die for us when we were sinners!
    Such a death, in such a manner, with such attendancies of
    wrath and curse, - a death accompanied with the worst that God
    had ever threatened to sinners, - argues as high a valuation
    of us as the heart of Christ himself was capable of.
        For one to part with his glory, his riches, his ease, his
    life, his love from God, to undergo loss, shame, wrath, curse,
    death, for another, is an evidence of a dear valuation; and
    that it was all on this account, we are informed, Heb. 12: 2.
    Certainly Christ had a dear esteem of them, that, rather than
    they should perish, - that they should not be his, and be made
    partakers of his glory, - he would part with all he had for
    their sakes, Eph. 5: 25, 26.
        There would be no end, should I go through all the
    instances of Christ's valuation of believers, in all their
    deliverances, afflictions, in all conditions of sinning and
    suffering, - what he has done, what he does in his
    intercession, what he delivers them from, what he procures for
    them; all telling out this one thing, - they are the apple of
    his eye, his jewel, his diadem, his crown.
        2. In comparison of others. All the world is nothing to
    him in comparison of them. They are his garden; the rest of
    the world, a wilderness. Cant. 4: 12, "A garden enclosed is my
    sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed." They
    are his inheritance; the rest, his enemies, of no regard with
    him. So Isa. 43: 3, 4, "I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of
    Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and
    Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast
    been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give
    men for thee, and people for thy life." The reason of this
    dealing of Christ with his church, in parting with all others
    for them, is, because he loves her. She is precious and
    honourable in his sight; thence he puts this great esteem upon
    her. Indeed, he disposeth of all nations and their interests
    according as is for the good of believers. Amos 9: 9, in all
    the siftings of the nations, the eye of God is upon the house
    of Israel; not a grain of them shall perish. Look to heaven;
    angels are appointed to minister for them, Heb. 1: 14. Look
    into the world; the nations in general are either blessed for
    their sakes, or destroyed on their account, - preserved to try
    them, or rejected for their cruelty towards them; and will
    receive from Christ their final doom according to their
    deportment towards these despised ones. On this account are
    the pillars of the earth borne up, and patience is exercised
    towards the perishing world. In a word, there is not the
    meanest, the weakest, the poorest believer on the earth, but
    Christ prizes him more than all the world besides. Were our
    hearts filled much with thoughts hereof, it would tend much to
    our consolation.
        To answer this, believers also value Jesus Christ; they
    have an esteem of him above all the world, and all things in
    the world. You have been in part acquainted with this before,
    in the account that was given of their delight in him, and
    inquiry after him. They say of him in their hearts
    continual]y, as David, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and
    none upon earth I desire beside thee." Ps. 73: 25. Neither
    heaven nor earth will yield them an object any way comparable
    to him, that they can delight in.
        1. They value him above all other things and persons.
    "Mallem,", said one, "ruere cum Christo, quam regnare cum
    Caesare. Pulchra terra, pulchrum coelum, sed pulcherrimus
    dominus Jesus;" - Christ and a dungeon, Christ and a cross, is
    infinitely sweeter than a crown, a sceptre without him, to
    their souls. So was it with Moses, Heb. 11: 26, "He esteemed
    the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in
    Egypt." The reproach of Christ is the worst consequent that
    the wickedness of the world or the malice of Satan can bring
    upon the followers of him. The treasures of Egypt were in
    those days the greatest in the world; Moses despised the very
    best of the world, for the worst of the cross of Christ.
    Indeed, himself has told believers, that if they love any
    thing better than him, father or mother, they are not worthy
    of him. A despising of all things for Christ is the very first
    lesson of the gospel. "Give away all, take up the cross and
    follow me," was the way whereby he tried his disciples of old;
    and if there be not the same mind and heart in us, we are none
    of his.
        2. They value him above their lives. Acts 20: 24, "My life
    is not dear, that I may perfect my course with joy, and the
    ministry I have received of the Lord Jesus;" - "Let life and
    all go, so that I may serve him; and, when all is done, enjoy
    him, and be made like to him." It is known what is reported of
    Ignatius when he was led to martyrdom: "Let what will," said
    he, "come upon me, only so I may obtain Jesus Christ." Hence
    they of old rejoiced when whipped, scourged, put to shame, for
    his sake, Acts 5: 41; Heb. 11. All is welcome that comes from
    him, or for him. The lives they have to live, the death they
    have to die, is little, is light, upon the thoughts of him who
    is the stay of their lives and the end of their death. Were it
    not for the refreshment which daily they receive by thoughts
    of him, they could not live, - their lives would be a burden
    to them; and the thoughts of enjoyment of him made them cry
    with Paul, "Oh that we were dissolved!" The stories of the
    martyrs of old and of late, the sufferers in giving witness to
    him under the dragon and under the false prophet, the neglect
    of life in women and children on his account, contempt of
    torments, whilst his name sweetened all, have rendered this
    truth clear to men and angels.
        3. They value him above all spiritual excellencies, and
    all other righteousness whatever, Phil. 3: 7, 8, "Those things
    which were advantage to me, I esteemed loss for the excellency
    of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whose sake I
    have lost all things, and do esteem them common, that I may
    gain Christ, and be found in him." Having recounted the
    excellencies which he had, and the privileges which he
    enjoyed, in his Judaism, - which were all of a spiritual
    nature, and a participation wherein made the rest of his
    countrymen despise all the world, and look upon themselves as
    the only acceptable persons with God, resting on them for
    righteousness, - the apostle tells us what is his esteem of
    them, in comparison of the Lord Jesus. They are "loss and
    dung," things that for his sake he had really suffered the
    loss of; that is, whereas he had for many years been a zealot
    of the law, - seeking after a righteousness as it were by the
    works of it, Rom. 9: 32, - instantly serving God day and
    night, to obtain the promise, Acts 26: 7, - living in all good
    conscience from his youth, acts 23, - all the while very
    zealous for God and his institutions, - now [he] willingly
    casts away all these things, looks upon them as loss and dung,
    and could not only be contented to be without them, but, as
    for that end for which he sought after them, he abhorred them
    all. When men have been strongly convinced of their duty, and
    have laboured many years to keep a good conscience, - have
    prayed, and heard, and done good, and denied themselves, and
    been zealous for God, and laboured with all their might to
    please him, and so at length to come to enjoy him; they had
    rather part with all the world, life and all, than with this
    they have wrought. You know how unwilling we are to part with
    any thing we have laboured and beaten our heads about? How
    much more when the things are so excellent, as our duty to
    God, blamelessness of conversation, hope of heaven, and the
    like, which we have beaten our hearts about. But now, when
    once Christ appears to the soul, when he is known in his
    excellency, all these things, as without him, have their paint
    washed off, their beauty fades, their desirableness vanisheth,
    and the soul is not only contented to part with them all, but
    puts them away as a defiled thing, and cries, "In the Lord
    Jesus only is my righteousness and glory." Prov. 3: 13-15,
    among innumerable testimonies, may be admitted to give witness
    hereunto, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man
    that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is
    better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof
    than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the
    things that thou canst desire are not to be compared unto
    her." It is of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the eternal
    Wisdom of the Father, that the Holy Ghost speaks; as is
    evident from the description which is given hereof, chap. 8.
    He and his ways are better than silver and gold, rubies, and
    all desirable things; as in the gospel he likens himself to
    the "pearl in the field," which when the merchant man finds,
    he sells all that he has, to purchase. All goes for Christ; -
    all righteousness without him, all ways of religion, all goes
    for that one pearl. The glory of his Deity, the excellency of
    his person, his all-conquering desirableness, ineffable love,
    wonderful undertaking, unspeakable condescensions, effectual
    mediation, complete righteousness, lie in their eyes, ravish
    their hearts, fill their affections, and possess their souls.
    And this is the second mutual conjugal affection between
    Christ and believers; all which, on the part of Christ, may be
    referred unto two heads: -
        1. All that he parted withal, all that he did, all that he
    suffered, all that he does as mediator; he parted withal, did,
    suffered, does, on the account of his love to and esteem of
    believers. He parted with the greatest glory, he underwent the
    greatest misery, he does the greatest works that ever were,
    because he loves his spouse, - because he values believers.
    What can more, what can farther be spoken? how little is the
    depth of that which is spoken fathomed! how unable are we to
    look into the mysterious recesses of it! He so loves, so
    values his saints, as that, having from eternity undertaken to
    bring them to God, he rejoices his soul in the thoughts of it;
    and pursues his design through heaven and hell, life and
    death, by suffering and doing, in mercy and with power; and
    ceaseth not until he bring it to perfection. For, -
        2. He does so value them, as that he will not lose any of
    them to eternity, though all the world should combine to take
    them out of his hand. When in the days of his flesh he foresaw
    what opposition, what danger, what rocks they should meet
    withal, he cried out, "Holy Father, keep them," John 17: 11; -
    "Let not one of them be lost;" and tells us plainly, John 10:
    28, that no man shall take his sheep out of his hand. And
    because he was then in the form of a servant, and it might be
    supposed that he might not be able to hold them, he tells them
    true, as to his present condition of carrying on the work of
    mediation, his "Father was greater than he;" and therefore to
    him he committed them, and none should take them out of his
    Father's hand, John 10: 29. And whereas the world,
    afflictions, and persecutions, which are without, may be
    conquered, and yet no security given but that sin from within,
    by the assistance of Satan, may prevail against them to their
    ruin; as he has provided against Satan, in his promise that
    the gates of hell shall not prevail against them, so he has
    taken care that sin itself shall not destroy them. Herein,
    indeed, is the depth of his love to be contemplated, that
    whereas his holy soul hates every sin (it is a burden, an
    abomination, a new wound to him), and his poor spouse is
    sinful (believers are full of sins, failings, and
    infirmities), he hides all, covers all, bears with all, rather
    than he will lose them; by his power preserving them from such
    sins as a remedy is not provided for in the covenant of grace.
    Oh, the world of sinful follies that our dear Lord Jesus bears
    withal on this account! Are not our own souls astonished with
    the thoughts of it? Infinite patience, infinite forbearance,
    infinite love, infinite grace, infinite mercy, are all set on
    work for this end, to answer this his valuation of us.
        On our part it may also be referred to two heads: -
        1. That, upon the discovery of him to our souls, they
    rejoice to part with all things wherein they have delighted or
    reposed their confidence, for him and his sake, that they may
    enjoy him. Sin and lust, pleasure and profit, righteousness
    and duty, in their several conditions, all shall go, so they
    may have Christ.
        2. That they are willing to part with all things rather
    than with him, when they do enjoy him. To think of parting
    with peace, health, liberty, relations, wives, children; it is
    offensive, heavy, and grievous to the best of the saints: but
    their souls cannot bear the thoughts of parting with Jesus
    Christ; such a thought is cruel as the grave. The worst
    thoughts that, in any fear, sin desertions, they have of hell,
    is, that they shall not enjoy Jesus Christ. So they may enjoy
    him here, hereafter be like him, be ever with him, stand in
    his presence; they can part with all things freely,
    cheerfully, be they never so beautiful, in reference to this
    life or that which is to come.
        III. The third conjugal affection on the part of Christ is
    pity and compassion. As a man "nourisheth and cherisheth his
    own flesh, so does the Lord his church," Eph. 5: 29. Christ
    has a fellow feeling with his saints in all their troubles, as
    a man has with his own flesh. This act of the conjugal love of
    Christ relates to the many trials and pressures of afflictions
    that his saints meet withal here below. He does not deal with
    believers as the Samaritans with the Jews, that fawned on them
    in their prosperity, but despised them in their trouble; he is
    as a tender father, who, though perhaps he love all his
    children alike, yet he will take most pains with, and give
    most of his presence unto, one that is sick and weak, though
    therein and thereby he may be made most froward, and, as it
    should seem, hardest to be borne with. And (which is more than
    the pity of any father can extend to) he himself suffers with
    them, and takes share in all their troubles.
        Now, all the sufferings of the saints in this world,
    wherein their head and husband exerciseth pity, tenderness,
    care, and compassion towards them, are of two sorts, or may be
    referred to two heads: - 1. Temptations. 2. Afflictions.
        1. Temptations (under which head I comprise sin also,
    whereto they tend); as in, from, and by their own infirmities;
    as also from their adversaries without. The frame of the heart
    of Christ, and his deportment towards them in this condition,
    you have, Heb. 4: 15, "We have not an high priest which cannot
    be touched with the feeling of our infirmities". We have not
    such a one as cannot. The two negations do vehemently affirm
    that we have such an high priest as can be, or is, touched.
    The word "touched" comes exceedingly short of expressing the
    original word; it is "sumpatesai", - to "suffer together." "We
    have," saith the apostle, "such an high priest as can, and
    consequently does, suffer with us, - endure our infirmities."
    And in what respect he suffers with us in regard of our
    infirmities, or has a fellow-feeling with us in them, he
    declares in the next words, "He was tempted like as we are,"
    verse 15. It is as to our infirmities, our temptations,
    spiritual weakness; therein, in particular, has he a
    compassionate sympathy and fellow-feeling with us. Whatever be
    our infirmities, so far as they are our temptations, he does
    suffer with us under them, and compassionates us. Hence at the
    last day he saith, "I was an hungered," etc. There are two
    ways of expressing a fellow-feeling and suffering with
    another: - (1.) Per benevolam condolentiam, - a "friendly
    grieving." (2.) Per gratiosam opitulationem, - a "gracious
    supply:" both are eminent in Christ: -
        (1.) He grieves and labours with us. Zech. 1: 12, "The
    angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long
    wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem?" He speaks as one
    intimately affected with the state and condition of poor
    Jerusalem; and therefore he has bid all the world take notice
    that what is done to them is done to him, chap. 2: 8, 9; yea,
    to "the apple of his eye."
        (2.) In the second he abounds. Isa. 40: 11, "He shall feed
    his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his
    arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead them that
    are with young." Yea, we have both here together, - tender
    compassionateness and assistance. The whole frame wherein he
    is here described is a frame of the greatest tenderness,
    compassion, condescension that can be imagined. His people are
    set forth under many infirmities; some are lambs, some great
    with young, some very tender, some burdened with temptations,
    - nothing in any of them all strong or comely. To them all
    Christ is a shepherd, that feeds his own sheep, and drives
    them out to pleasant pasture; where, if he sees a poor weak
    lamb, [he] does not thrust him on, but takes him into his
    bosom, where he both easeth and refresheth him: he leads him
    gently and tenderly. As did Jacob them that were burdened with
    young, so does our dear Lord Jesus with his flock, in the
    several ways and paths wherein he leads them. When he sees a
    poor soul, weak, tender, halting, ready to sink and perish, he
    takes him into his arms, by some gracious promise administered
    to him, carries him, bears him up when he is not able to go
    one step forward. Hence is his great quarrel with those
    shepherds, Ezek. 34: 4, "Woe be to you shepherds! the diseased
    have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which
    was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken,
    neither have ye brought again that which was driven away,
    neither have ye sought that which was lost." This is that
    which our careful, tender husband would have done.
        So mention being made of his compassionateness and fellow-
    suffering with us, Heb. 4: 15, it is added, verse 16, that he
    administers "charin eis eukairon boeteian", - seasonable
    grace, grace for help in a time of need. This is an evidence
    of compassion, when, like the Samaritan, we afford seasonable
    help. To lament our troubles or miseries, without affording
    help, is to no purpose. Now, this Christ does; he gives
    "eukairon boeteian", seasonable help. Help being a thing that
    regards want, is always excellent; but its coming in season
    puts a crown upon it. A pardon to a malefactor when he is
    ready to be executed, is sweet and welcome. Such is the
    assistance given by Christ. All his saints may take this as a
    sure rule, both in their temptations and afflictions: - when
    they can want them, they shall not want relief; and when they
    can bear no longer, they shall be relieved, 1 Cor. 10: 13.
        So it is said emphatically of him, Heb. 2: 18, "In that he
    himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them
    that are tempted." It is true, there is something in all our
    temptations more than was in the temptation of Christ. There
    is something in ourselves to take part with every temptation;
    and there is enough in ourselves to tempt us, though nothing
    else should appear against us. With Christ it was not so, John
    14: 30. But this is so far from taking off his compassion
    towards us, that, on all accounts whatever, it does increase
    it; for if he will give us succour because we are tempted, the
    sorer our temptations are, the more ready will he be to
    succour us. Take some instances of Christ's giving "eukairon
    boeteian", - seasonable help in and under temptations unto
    sin. Now this he does several ways: -
        [1.] By keeping the soul which is liable to temptation and
    exposed to it, in a strong habitual bent against that sin that
    he is obnoxious to the assaults of. So it was in the case of
    Joseph: Christ knew that Joseph's great trial, and that
    whereon if he had been conquered he had been undone, would lie
    upon the hand of his mistress tempting him to lewdness;
    whereupon he kept his heart in a steady frame against that
    sin, as his answer without the least deliberation argues, Gen.
    39: 9. In other things, wherein he was not so deeply
    concerned, Joseph's heart was not so fortified by habitual
    grace; as it appears by his swearing by the life of Pharaoh.
    This is one way whereby Christ gives suitable help to his, in
    tenderness and compassion. The saints, in the course of their
    lives, by the company, society, business, they are cast upon,
    are liable and exposed to temptations great and violent, some
    in one kind, some in another. Herein is Christ exceedingly
    kind and tender to them, in fortifying their hearths with
    abundance of grace as to that sin unto temptations whereunto
    they are most exposed; when perhaps in other things they are
    very weak, and are often surprised.
        [2.] Christ sometimes, by some strong impulse of actual
    grace, recovers the soul from the very borders of sin. So it
    was in the case of David, 1 Sam. 24: 4-6. "He was almost
    gone," as he speaks himself; "his feet had well-nigh slipped."
    The temptation was at the door of prevalence, when a mighty
    impulse of grace recovers him. To show his saints what they
    are, their own weakness and infirmity, he sometimes suffers
    them to go to the very edge and brow of the hill, and then
    causeth them to hear a word behind them saying, "This is the
    right way, walk in it," - and that with power and efficacy;
    and so recovers them to himself.
        [3.] By taking away the temptation itself, when it grows
    so strong and violent that the poor soul knows not what to do.
    This is called "delivering the godly out of temptation," 2
    Pet. 2: 9, as a man is plucked out of the snare, and the snare
    left behind to hold another. This have I known to be the case
    of many, in sundry perplexing temptations. When they have been
    quite weary, have tried all means of help and assistance, and
    have not been able to come to a comfortable issue, on a
    sudden, unexpectedly, the Lord Christ, in his tenderness and
    compassion, rebukes Satan, that they hear not one word more of
    him as to their temptation. Christ comes in in the storm, and
    saith, "Peace, be still."
        [4.] By giving in fresh supplies of grace, according as
    temptations do grow or increase. So was it in the case of
    Paul, 2 Cor. 12: 9, "My grace is sufficient for thee." The
    temptation, whatever it were, grew high; Paul was earnest for
    its removal; and receives only this answer, of the sufficiency
    of the grace of God for his supportment, notwithstanding all
    the growth and increase of the temptation.
        [5.] By giving them wisdom to make a right, holy, and
    spiritual improvement of all temptations. James bids us "count
    it all joy when we fall into divers temptations," James 1: 2,
    which could not be done were there not a holy and spiritual
    use to be made of them; which also himself manifests in the
    words following. There are manifold uses of temptations, which
    experienced Christians, with assistance suitable from Christ,
    may make of them. This is not the least, that by them we are
    brought to know ourselves. So Hezekiah was left to be tried,
    to know what was in him. By temptation, some bosom, hidden
    corruption is oftentimes discovered, that the soul knew not of
    before. As it was with Hazael in respect of enormous crimes,
    so in lesser things with the saints. They would never have
    believed there had been such lusts and corruptions in them as
    they have discovered upon their temptations. Yea, divers
    having been tempted to one sin, have discovered another that
    they thought not of; as some, being tempted to pride, or
    worldliness, or looseness of conversation, have been startled
    by it, and led to a discovery of neglect of many duties and
    much communion with God, which before they thought not of. And
    this is from the tender care of Jesus Christ, giving them in
    suitable help; without which no man can possibly make use of
    or improve a temptation. And this is a suitable help indeed,
    whereby a temptation which otherwise, or to other persons,
    might be a deadly wound, proves the lancing of a festered
    sore, and the letting out of corruption that otherwise might
    have endangered the life itself. So, 1 Pet. 1: 6, "If need be
    ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations."
        [6.] When the soul is at any time more or less overcome by
    temptations, Christ in his tenderness relieves it with mercy
    and pardon; so that his shall not sink utterly under their
    burden, 1 John 2: 1, 2.
        By one, more, or all of these ways, does the Lord Jesus
    manifest his conjugal tenderness and compassion towards the
    saints, in and under their temptations.
        2. Christ is compassionate towards them in their
    afflictions: "In all their affliction he is afflicted," Isa.
    63: 9; yea, it seems that all our afflictions (at least those
    of one sort, - namely, which consist in persecutions) are his
    in the first place, ours only by participation. Col. 1: 24, We
    "fill up the measure of the afflictions of Christ." Two things
    evidently manifest this compassionateness in Christ: -
        (1.) His interceding with his Father for their relief,
    Zech. 1: 12. Christ intercedeth on our behalf, not only in
    respect of our sins, but also our sufferings; and when the
    work of our afflictions is accomplished, we shall have the
    reliefs he intercedes for. The Father always hears him; and we
    have not a deliverance from trouble, a recovering of health,
    ease of pain, freedom from any evil that ever laid hold upon
    us, but it is given us on the intercession of Jesus Christ.
    Believers are unacquainted with their own condition, if they
    look upon their mercies as dispensed in a way of common
    providence. And this may, indeed, be a cause why we esteem
    them no more, are no more thankful for them, nor fruitful in
    the enjoyment of them: - we see not how, by what means, nor on
    what account, they are dispensed to us. The generation of the
    people of God in the world are at this day alive, undevoured,
    merely on the account of the intercession of the Lord Jesus.
    His compassionateness has been the fountain of their
    deliverances. Hence oftentimes he rebukes their sufferings and
    afflictions, that they shall not act to the utmost upon them
    when they are under them. He is with them when they pass
    through fire and water, Isa. 43: 2, 3.
        (2.) In that he does and will, in the winding up of the
    matter, so sorely revenge the quarrel of their sufferings upon
    their enemies. He avenges his elect that cry unto him; yea, he
    does it speedily. The controversy of Zion leads on the day of
    his vengeance, Isa. 34: 8. He looks upon them sometimes in
    distress, and considers what is the state of the world in
    reference to them. Zech. 1: 11, "We have walked to and fro
    through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still,
    and is at rest," say his messengers to him, whom he sent to
    consider the world and its condition during the affliction of
    his people. This commonly is the condition of the world in
    such a season, "They are at rest and quiet, their hearts are
    abundantly satiated; they drink wine in bowls, and send gifts
    to one another." Then Christ looks to see who will come in for
    their succour, Isa. 59: 16,17; and ending none engaging
    himself for their relief, by the destruction of their
    adversaries, himself undertakes it. Now, this vengeance he
    accomplishes two ways: -
        [1.] Temporally, upon persons, kingdoms, nations, and
    countries; (a type whereof you have, Isa. 63: 1-6); as he did
    it upon the old Roman world, Rev. 6: 15, 16. And this also he
    does two ways: -
        1st. By calling out here and there an eminent opposer, and
    making him an example to all the world. So he dealt with
    Pharaoh: "For this cause have I raised thee up," Exod. 9: 16.
    So he does to this day; he lays his hand upon eminent
    adversaries, - fills one with fury, another with folly, blasts
    a third, and makes another wither, or destroys them utterly
    and terribly. As a provoked lion, he lies not down without his
        2dly. In general, in the vials of his wrath which he will
    in these latter days pour out upon the antichristian world,
    and all that partake with them in their thoughts of vengeance
    and persecution. He will miserably destroy them, and make such
    work with them in the issue, that whosoever hears, both his
    ears shall tingle.
        [2.] In eternal vengeance will he plead with the
    adversaries of his beloved, Matt. 25: 41-46; 2 Thess. 1: 6;
    Jude 15. It is hence evident that Christ abounds in pity and
    compassion towards his beloved. Instances might be multiplied,
    but these things are obvious, and occur to the thoughts of
        In answer to this, I place in the saints chastity unto
    Christ, in every state and condition. That this might be the
    state of the church of Corinth, the apostle made it his
    endeavour. 2 Cor. 11: 2, 3, "I have espoused you to one
    husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve
    through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from
    the simplicity that is in Christ." And so is it said of the
    followers of the Lamb, on mount Sion, Rev. 14: 4, "These are
    they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins."
    What defilement that was they were free from, shall be
    afterward declared.
        Now, there are three things wherein this chastity
    consists: -
        1. The not taking any thing into their affections and
    esteem for those ends and purposes for which they have
    received Jesus Christ. Here the Galatians failed in their
    conjugal affection to Christ; they preserved not themselves
    chaste to him. They had received Christ for life, and
    justification, and him only; but being after a while overcome
    with charms, or bewitched, they took into the same place with
    him the righteousness of the law. How Paul deals with them
    hereupon is known. How sorely, how pathetically does he
    admonish them, how severely reprove them, how clearly convince
    them of their madness and folly! This, then, is the first
    chaste affection believers bear in their heart to Christ: -
    having received him for their righteousness and salvation
    before God, for the fountain, spring, and well-head of all
    their supplies, they will not now receive any other thing into
    his room and in his stead. As to instance, in one particular:
    - We receive him for ours acceptance with God. All that here
    can stand in competition with him for our affections, must be
    our own endeavours for a righteousness to commend us to God.
    Now, this must be either before we receive him, or after. [As]
    for all duties and endeavours, of what sort soever, for the
    pleasing of God before our receiving of Christ, you know what
    was the apostle's frame, Phil. 3: 8-10. All endeavours, all
    advantages, all privileges, he rejects with indignation, as
    loss, - with abomination, as dung; and winds up all his aims
    and desires in Christ alone and his righteousness, for those
    ends and purposes. But the works we do after we have received
    Christ are of another consideration. Indeed, they are
    acceptable to God; it pleaseth him that we should walk in
    them. But as to that end for which we receive Christ, they are
    of no other account than the former, Eph. 2: 8-10. Even the
    works we do after believing, - those which we are created unto
    in Christ Jesus, those that God has ordained that believers
    "should walk in them," - as to justification and acceptance
    with God, (here called salvation), are excluded. It will one
    day appear that Christ abhors the manglings of men about the
    place of their own works and obedience, in the business of
    their acceptation with God; nor will the saints find any peace
    in adulterous thoughts of that kind. The chastity we owe unto
    him requires another frame. The necessity, usefulness, and
    excellency of gospel obedience shall be afterward declared. It
    is marvellous to see how hard it is to keep some professors to
    any faithfulness with Christ in this thing; - how many
    disputes have been managed, how many distinctions invented,
    how many shifts and evasions studied, to keep up something, in
    some place or other, to some purpose or other, that they may
    dally withal. Those that love him indeed are otherwise minded.
        Herein, then, of all things, do the saints endeavour to
    keep their affections chaste and loyal to Jesus Christ. He is
    made unto them of God "righteousness;" and they will own
    nothing else to that purpose: yea, sometimes they know not
    whether they have any interest in him or no, - he absents and
    withdraws himself; they still continue solitary, in a state of
    widowhood, refusing to be comforted, though many things offer
    themselves to that purpose, because he is not. When Christ is
    at any time absent from the soul, when it cannot see that it
    has any interest in him, many lovers offer themselves to it,
    many woo its affections, to get it to rest on this or that
    thing for relief and succour; but though it go mourning never
    so long, it will have nothing but Christ to lean upon.
    Whenever the soul is in the wilderness, in the saddest
    condition, there it will stay until Christ come for to take it
    up, until it can come forth leaning upon him, Cant. 8: 5. The
    many instances of this that the book of Canticles affords us,
    we have in part spoken of before.
        This does he who has communion with Christ: - he watcheth
    diligently over his own heart, that nothing creep into its
    affections, to give it any peace or establishment before God,
    but Christ only. Whenever that question is to be answered,
    "Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and appear before the
    high God?" he does not gather up, "This or that I will do;"
    or, "Here and there I will watch, and amend my ways;" but
    instantly he cries, "In the Lord Jesus have I righteousness,
    All my desire is, to be found in him, not having on my own
        2. In cherishing that Spirit, that holy Comforter, which
    Christ sends to us, to abide with us in his room and stead. He
    tells us that he sends him to that purpose, John 16: 7. He
    gives him to us, "vicariam navare operam," saith Tertullian, -
    to abide with us for ever, for all those ends and purposes
    which he has to fulfil toward us and upon us; he gives him to
    dwell in us, to keep us, and preserve us blameless for
    himself. His name is in him, and with him: and it is upon this
    account that whatever is done to any of Christ's is done to
    him, because it is done to them in whom he is and dwells by
    his Spirit. Now, herein do the saints preserve their conjugal
    affections entire to Christ, that they labour by all means not
    to grieve his Holy Spirit, which he has sent in his stead to
    abide with them. This the apostle puts them in mind of, Eph.
    4: 30, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit."
        There be two main ends for which Christ sends his Spirit
    to believers: - (1.) For their sanctification; (2.) For their
    consolation: to which two all the particular acts of purging,
    teaching, anointing, and the rest that are ascribed to him,
    may be referred. So there be two ways whereby we may grieve
    him: - [1]. In respect of sanctification; [2.] In respect of
    consolation: -
        (1.) In respect of sanctification. He is the Spirit of
    holiness, - holy in himself, and the author of holiness in us:
    he works it in us, Tit. 3: 5, and he persuades us to it, by
    those motions of his which are not to be quenched. Now, this,
    in the first place, grieves the Spirit, when he is carrying on
    in us and for us a work so infinitely for our advantage, and
    without which we cannot see God, that we should run cross to
    him, in ways of unholiness, pollution, and defilement. So the
    connection of the words in the place before mentioned
    manifests, Eph. 4: 28-31; and thence does Paul bottom his
    powerful and most effectual persuasion unto holiness, even
    from the abode and indwelling of this Holy Spirit with us, 1
    Cor. 3: 16,17. Indeed, what can grieve a loving and tender
    friend more than to oppose him and slight him when he is most
    intent about our good, - and that a good of the greatest
    consequence to us. In this, then, believers make it their
    business to keep their hearts loyal and their affections
    chaste to Jesus Christ. They labour instantly not to grieve
    the Holy Spirit by loose and foolish, by careless and
    negligent walking, which he has sent to dwell and abide with
    them. Therefore shall no anger, wrath, malice, envy, dwell in
    their hearts; because they are contrary to the holy, meek
    Spirit of Christ, which he has given to dwell with them. They
    attend to his motions, make use of his assistance, improve his
    gifts, and nothing lies more upon their spirits, than that
    they may walk worthy of the presence of this holy substitute
    of the Lord Jesus Christ.
        (2.) As to consolation. This is the second great end for
    which Christ gives and sends his Spirit to us; who from
    thence, by the way of eminency, is called "The Comforter." To
    this end he seals us, anoints us, establishes us, and gives us
    peace and joy. Of all which I shall afterward speak at large.
    Now, there be two ways whereby he may be grieved as to this
    end of his mission, and our chastity to Jesus Christ thereby
    violated: -
        [1.] By placing our comforts and joys in other things, and
    not being filled with joy in the Holy Ghost. When we make
    creatures or creature comforts - any thing whatever but what
    we receive by the Spirit of Christ - to be our joy and our
    delight, we are false with Christ. So was it with Demas, who
    loved the present world. When the ways of the Spirit of God
    are grievous and burdensome to us, - when we say, "When will
    the Sabbath be past, that we may exact all our labours?" -
    when our delight and refreshment lies in earthly things, - we
    are unsuitable to Christ. May not his Spirit say, "Why do I
    still abide with these poor souls? I provide them joys
    unspeakable and glorious; but they refuse them, for perishing
    things. I provide them spiritual, eternal, abiding
    consolations, and it is all rejected for a thing of nought."
    This Christ cannot bear; wherefore, believers are exceeding
    careful in this, not to place their joy and consolation in any
    thing but what is administered by the Spirit. Their daily work
    is, to get their hearts crucified to the world and the things
    of it, and the world to their hearts; that they may not have
    living affections to dying things: they would fain look on the
    world as a crucified, dead thing, that has neither form nor
    beauty; and if at any times they have been entangled with
    creatures and inferior contentment, and have lost their better
    joys, they cry out to Christ, "O restore to us the joys of thy
        [2.] He is grieved when, through darkness and unbelief, we
    will not, do not, receive those consolations which he tenders
    to us, and which he is abundantly willing that we should
    receive. But of this I shall have occasion to speak afterward,
    in handling our communion with the Holy Ghost.
        3. In [keeping] this institutions, or matter and manner of
    his worship. Christ marrying his church to himself, taking it
    to that relation, still expresseth the main of their chaste
    and choice affections to him to lie in their keeping his
    institutions and his worship according to his appointment. The
    breach of this he calls "adultery" everywhere, and "whoredom."
    He is a "jealous God;" and he gives himself that title only in
    respect of his institutions. And the whole apostasy of the
    Christian church unto false worship is called "fornication;"
    and the church that leads the others to false worship, the
    "mother of harlots." On this account, those believers who
    really attend to communion with Jesus Christ, do labour to
    keep their hearts chaste to him in his ordinances,
    institutions, and worship; and that two ways: -
        (1.) They will receive nothing, practice nothing, own
    nothing his worship, but what is of his appointment. They know
    that from the foundation of the world he never did allow, nor
    ever will, that in any thing the will of the creatures should
    be the measure of his honour or the principle of his worship,
    either as to matter or manner. It was a witty and true sense
    that one gave of the second commandment: "Non image, non
    simulachrum prohibetur; set non facies tibi;" - it is a making
    to ourselves, an inventing, a finding out, ways of worship, or
    means of honouring God, not by him appointed, that is so
    severely forbidden. Believers know what entertainment all will
    worship finds with God: "Who has required these things at your
    hand?" and, "In vain do you worship me, teaching for doctrines
    the traditions of men," - his the best it meets with. I shall
    take leave to say what is upon my heart, and what (the Lord
    assisting) I shall willingly endeavour to make good against
    all the world, - namely, that that principle, that the church
    has power to institute and appoint any thing or ceremony
    belonging to the worship of God, either as to matter or to
    manner, beyond the orderly observance of such circumstances as
    necessarily attend such ordinances as Christ himself has
    instituted, lies at the bottom of all the horrible
    superstition and idolatry, of all the confusion, blood,
    persecution, and wars, that have for so long a season spread
    themselves over the face of the Christian world; and that it
    is the design of a great part of the Revelation to make a
    discovery of this truth. And I doubt not but that the great
    controversy which God has had with this nation for so many
    years, and which he has pursued with so much anger and
    indignation, was upon this account: - that, contrary to that
    glorious light of the gospel which shone among us, the wills
    and fancies of men, under the name of order, decency, and the
    authority of the church (a chimera that none knew what it was,
    nor wherein the power of it did consist, nor in whom reside),
    were imposed on men in the ways and worship of God. Neither
    was all that pretence of glory, beauty, comeliness, and
    conformity, that then was pleaded, any thing more or less than
    what God does so describe in the church of Israel, Ezek. 16:
    25, and forwards. Hence was the Spirit of God in prayer
    derided; hence was the powerful preaching of the gospel
    despised; hence was the Sabbath decried; hence was holiness
    stigmatised and persecuted; - to what end? That Jesus Christ
    might be deposed from the sole privilege and power of
    law-making in his church; that the true husband might be
    thrust aside, and adulterers of his spouse embraced; that
    taskmasters might be appointed in and over his house, which he
    never gave to his church, Eph. 4: 11; that a ceremonious,
    pompous, outward show worship, drawn from Pagan, Judaical, and
    Antichristian observations, might be introduced; - of all
    which there is not one word, little, or iota, in the whole
    book of God. This, then, they who hold communion with Christ
    are careful of: - they will admit of nothing, practice
    nothing, in the worship of God, private or public, but what
    they have his warrant for; unless it comes in his name, with
    "Thus saith the Lord Jesus," they will not hear an angel from
    heaven." They know the apostles themselves were to teach the
    saints only what Christ commanded them, Matt. 28: 20. You know
    how many in this very nation, in the days not long since past,
    yea, how many thousands, left their native soil, and went into
    a vast and howling wilderness in the utmost parts of the
    world, to keep their souls undefiled and chaste to their dear
    Lord Jesus, as to this of his worship and institutions.
        (2.) They readily embrace, receive, and practice every
    thing that the Lord Christ has appointed. They inquire
    diligently into his mind and will, that they may know it. They
    go to him for directions, and beg of him to lead them in the
    way they have not known. The 119th Psalm may he a pattern for
    this. How does the good, holy soul breathe after instruction
    in the ways and ordinances, the statutes and judgements, of
    God! This, I say, they are tender in: whatever is of Christ,
    they willingly submit unto, accept of, and give up themselves
    to the constant practice thereof; whatever comes on any other
    account they refuse.
        IV. Christ manifests and evidences his love to his saints
    in a way of bounty, - in that rich, plentiful provision he
    makes for them. It has " pleased the Father that in him should
    all fulness dwell," Col. 1: 19; and that for this end, that "
    of his fulness we might all receive, and grace for grace,"
    John 1: 16. I shall not insist upon the particulars of that
    provision which Christ makes for his saints, with all those
    influences of the Spirit of life and grace that daily they
    receive from him, - that bread that he gives them to the full,
    the refreshment they have from him; I shall only observe this,
    that the Scripture affirms him to do all things for them in an
    abundant manner, or to do it richly, in a way of bounty.
    Whatever he gives us, - his grace to assist us, his presence
    to comfort us, - he does it abundantly. You have the general
    assertion of it, Rom. 5: 20, " Where sin abounded, grace did
    much more abound." If grace abound much more in comparison of
    sin, it is abundant grace indeed; as will easily be granted by
    any that shall consider how flirt has abounded, and does, in
    every soul. Hence he is said to be able, and we are bid to
    expect that he should do for us " exceeding abundantly above
    all that we ask or think," Eph. 3: 20. Is it pardoning mercy
    we receive of him? why, he does " abundantly pardon," Isa. lo.
    7; he will multiply or add to pardon, - he will add pardon to
    pardon, that grace and mercy shall abound above all our sins
    and iniquities. Is it the Spirit he gives us? he sheds him
    upon us richly or " abundantly," Tit. 3: 6; not only bidding
    us drink of the water of life freely, but also bestowing him
    in such a plentiful measure, that rivers of water shall flow
    from them that receive him, John 7: 38, 39, - that they shall
    never thirst any more when have drank of him. Is it grace that
    we receive of him? he gives that also in a way of bounty; we
    receive "abundance of grace," Rom. 5: 17; he " abounds toward
    us in all wisdom and prudence," Eph. 1: 8. Hence is that
    invitation, Cant. 5: 1. If in any things, then, we are
    straitened, it is in ourselves; Christ deals bountifully with
    us Indeed, the great sin of believers is, that they make not
    use of Christ's bounty as they ought to do; that we do not
    every day take of him mercy in abundance. The oil never
    ceaseth till the vessels cease; supplies from Christ fail not
    but only when our faith fails in receiving them.
        Then our return to Christ is in a way of duty. Unto this
    two things are required: -
        1. That we follow after and practice holiness in the power
    of it, as it is obedience unto Jesus Christ. Under this
    formality, as obedience to him, all gospel obedience is
    called, "whatsoever Christ commands us," Matt. 28: 20; and
    saith he, John 15: 14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever
    I command you;" and it is required of us that we live to him
    who died for us, 2 Cor. 5: 15, - live to him in all holy
    obedience, - live to him as our Lord and King. Not that I
    suppose there are peculiar precepts and a peculiar law of
    Jesus Christ, in the observance whereof we are justified, as
    the Socinians fancy; for surely the gospel requires of us no
    more, but "to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and
    all our souls," which the law also required; - but that, the
    Lord Jesus having brought us into a condition of acceptance
    with God, wherein our obedience is well-pleasing to him, and
    we being to honour him as we honour the Father, that we have a
    respect and peculiar regard to him in all our obedience. So
    Tit. 2: 14, he has purchased us unto himself. And thus
    believers do in their obedience; they eye Jesus Christ, -
        (1.) As the author of their faith and obedience, for whose
    sake it is "given to them to believe," Phil. 1: 29; and who by
    his Spirit works that obedience in them. So the apostle, Heb.
    12: 1, 2; in the course of our obedience we still look to
    Jesus, "the author of our faith." Faith is here both the grace
    of faith, and the fruit of it in obedience.
        (2.) As him in, for, and by whom we have acceptance with
    God in our obedience. They know all their duties are weak,
    imperfect, not able to abide the presence of God; and
    therefore they look to Christ as him who bears the iniquity of
    their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers
    out all the weeds of their duties, and makes them acceptable
    to God.
        (3.) As one that has renewed the commands of God unto
    them, with mighty obligations unto obedience. So the apostle,
    2 Cor. 5: 14, 15, "The love of Christ constraineth us;" of
    which afterward.
        (4.) They consider him as God, equal with his Father, to
    whom all honour and obedience is due. So Rev. 5: 13. But these
    things I have, not long since, opened in another treatise,
    dealing about the worship of Christ as mediator. This, then,
    the saints do in all their obedience; they have a special
    regard to their dear Lord Jesus. He is, on all these accounts,
    and innumerable others, continually in their thoughts. His
    love to them, his life for them, his death for them, - all his
    kindness and mercy constrains them to live to him.
        2. By labouring to abound in fruits of holiness. As he
    deals with us in a way of bounty, and deals out unto us
    abundantly, so he requires that we abound in all grateful,
    obediential returns to him. So we are exhorted to "be always
    abounding in the work of the Lord," 1 Cor. 15: 58. This is
    that I intend: - the saints are not satisfied with that
    measure that at any time they have attained, but are still
    pressing, that they may be more dutiful, more fruitful to
        And this is a little glimpse of some of that communion
    which we enjoy with Christ. It is but a little, from him who
    has the least experience of it of all the saints of God; who
    yet has found that in it which is better than ten thousand
    worlds; who desires to spend the residue of the few and evil
    days of his pilgrimage in pursuit hereof, - in the
    contemplation of the excellencies, desirableness, love, and
    grace of our dear Lord Jesus, and in making returns of
    obedience according to his will: to whose soul, in the midst
    of the perplexities of this wretched world, and cursed
    rebellions of his own heart, this is the great relief, that
    "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." "The
    Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that readeth say,
    Come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 14...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-13.txt