Owen, Of Communion With God, File 19
    (... continued from File 18)

    Part 3. Of Communion with the Holy Ghost. 
    Chapter 1. The foundation of our communion with the Holy ghost 
               (John 16: 1-7) opened at large - "Parakletos", a  
               Comforter; who he is - The Holy Ghost; his own will 
               in his coming to us; sent also by Christ - The  
               Spirit sent as a sanctifier and as a comforter -  
               The adjuncts of his mission considered - The  
               foundation of his mission, John 15: 26 - His  
               procession from the Father twofold; as to  
               personality, or to office - Things considerable in 
               his procession as to office the manner of his  
               collation - He is given freely; sent authoritative-
               ly - The sin against the Holy ghost, whence  
               unpardonable - How we ask the Spirit of the Father 
               - To grieve the Spirit, what - Poured out - How the 
               Holy Ghost is received; by faith - Faith's acting  
               in receiving the Holy Ghost - His abode with us,  
               how declared - How we may lose our comfort whilst  
               the Comforter abides with us. 

        The foundation of all our communion with the Holy Ghost
    consisting in his mission, or sending to be our comforter, by
    Jesus Christ, the whole matter of that economy or dispensation
    is firstly to be proposed and considered, that so we may have
    a right understanding of the truth inquired after. Now, the
    main promise hereof, and the chief considerations of it, with
    the good received and evil prevented thereby, being given and
    declared in the beginning of the 16th chapter of John, I shall
    take a view of the state of it as there proposed. 
        Our blessed Saviour being to leave the world, having
    acquainted his disciples, among other things, what
    entertainment in general they were like to find in it and meet
    withal, gives the reason why he now gave them the doleful
    tidings of it, considering how sad and dispirited they were
    upon the mention of his departure from them. Verse 1, "These
    things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be
    offended." - "I have," saith he, "given you an acquaintance
    with these things (that is, the things which will come upon
    you, which you are to suffer) beforehand, lest you who, poor
    souls! have entertained expectations of another state of
    affairs, should be surprised, so as to be offended at me and
    my doctrine, and fall away from me. You are now forewarned,
    and know what you have to look for. Yea," saith he, verse 2,
    "having acquainted you in general that you shall be
    persecuted, I tell you plainly that there shall be a
    combination of all men against you, and all sorts of men will
    put forth their power for your ruin." - "They shall cast you
    out of the synagogues; yea, the time comes that whosoever
    killeth you will think that he does God service." - "The
    ecclesiastical power shall excommunicate you, - they shall put
    you out of their synagogues: and that you may not expect
    relief from the power of the magistrate against their
    perversity, they will kill you: and that you may know that
    they will do it to the purpose, without check or control, they
    will think that in killing you they do God good service; which
    will cause them to act rigorously, and to the utmost." 
        "But this is a shaking trial," might they reply: "is our
    condition such, that men, in killing us, will think to approve
    their consciences to God?" "Yea, they will," saith our
    Saviour; "but yet, that you be not mistaken, nor trouble your
    consciences about their confidences, know that their blind and
    desperate ignorance is the cause of their fury and
    persuasion," verse 3, "These things will they do unto you,
    because they have not known the Father, nor me." 
        This, then, was to be the state with the disciples. But
    why did our Saviour tell it them at this season, to add fear
    and perplexities to their grief and sorrow? what advantage
    should they obtain thereby? Saith their blessed Master, verse
    4, "There are weighty reasons why I should tell you these
    things; chiefly, that as you may be provided for them, so,
    when they do befall you, you may be supported with the
    consideration of my Deity and omniscience, who told you all
    these things before they came to pass," verse 4, "But these
    things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may
    remember that I told you of them." "But if they be so
    necessary, whence is it that thou hast not acquainted us with
    it all this while? why not in the beginning, - at our first
    calling?" "Even," saith our Saviour, "because there was no
    need of any such thing; for whilst I was with you, you had
    protection and direction at hand." - "'And these things I said
    not at the beginning, because I was present with you:' but now
    the state of things is altered; I must leave you," verse 4.
    "And for your parts, so are you astonished with sorrow, that
    you do not ask me 'whither I go;' the consideration whereof
    would certainly relieve you, seeing I go to take possession of
    my glory, and to carry on the work of Your salvation: but your
    hearts are filled with sorrow and fears, and you do not so
    much as inquire after relief," verses 5, 6. Whereupon he
    adjoins that wonderful assertion, verse 7, "Nevertheless I
    tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:
    for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
    but if I depart, I will send him unto you." 
        This verse, then, being the peculiar foundation of what
    shall afterward be declared, must particularly be considered,
    as to the words of it and their interpretation; and that both
    with respect to the preface of them and the asseveration in
    them, with the reason annexed thereunto. 
        1. The preface to them: - 
        (1.) The first word, "alla", is an adversative, not
    excepting to any thing of what himself had spoken before, but
    to their apprehension: "I know you have sad thoughts of these
    things; but yet, nevertheless." 
        (2.) "Ego ten aleteian lego humin", "I tell you the
    truth." The words are exceedingly emphatical, and denote some
    great thing to be ushered in by them. First, "Ego", - "I tell
    it you, this that shall now be spoken; I who love you, who
    take care of you, who am now about to lay down my life for
    you; they are my dying words, that you may believe me; I who
    am truth itself, I tell you." And, - 
        "Ego ten aleteian lego", - "I tell you the truth." "You
    have in your sad, misgiving hearts many misapprehensions of
    things. You think if I would abide with you, all these evils
    might be prevented; but, alas! you know not what is good for
    you, nor what is expedient. 'I tell you the truth;' this is
    truth itself; and quiet your hearts in it." There is need of a
    great deal of evidence of truth, to comfort their souls that
    are dejected and disconsolate under an apprehension of the
    absence of Christ from them, be the apprehension true or
        And this is the first part of the words of our Saviour,
    the preface to what he was to deliver to them, by way of a
    weighty, convincing asseveration, to disentangle thereby the
    thoughts of his disciples from prejudice, and to prepare them
    for the receiving of that great truth which he was to deliver.
        2. The assertion itself follows: "Sumferei humin, hina ego
    apelto", - It is expedient for you that I go away." 
        There are two things in the words: - Christ's departure;
    and the usefulness of it to his disciples: - 
        For his departure, it is known what is intended by it; -
    the withdrawing his bodily presence from the earth after his
    resurrection, the "heaven being to receive him, until the
    times of the restitution of all things," Acts 3: 21; for in
    respect of his Deity, and the exercise of love and care
    towards them, he promised to be with them to the end of the
    world, Matt. 28: 20. Of this saith he, "Sumferei humin", - "It
    conduceth to your good; it is profitable for you; it is for
    your advantage; it will answer the end that you aim at." That
    is the sense of the word which we have translated "expedient;"
    - "It is for your profit and advantage." This, then, is that
    which our Saviour asserts, and that with the earnestness
    before mentioned, desiring to convince his sorrowful followers
    of the truth of it, - namely, that his departure, which they
    so much feared and were troubled to think of, would turn to
    their profit and advantage. 
        3. Now, although it might be expected that they should
    acquiesce in this asseveration of truth itself, yet because
    they were generally concerned in the ground of the truth of
    it, he acquaints them with that also; and, that we may confess
    it to be a great matter, that gives certainty and evidence to
    that proposition, he expresses it negatively and positively:
    "If I go not away, he will not come; but if I depart, I will
    send him." Concerning the going away of Christ I have spoken
    before; of the Comforter, his coming and sending, I shall now
    treat, as being the thing aimed at. 
        "Ho parakletos": the word being of sundry significations,
    many translations have thought fit not to restrain it, but do
    retain the original word "paracletus;" so the Syrian also:
    and, as some think, it was a word before in use among the Jews
    (whence the Chaldee paraphrase makes use of it, Job 16: 20);
    and amongst them it signifies one that so taught others as to
    delight them also in his teaching, - that is, to be their
    comforter. In Scripture it has two eminent significations, -
    an "advocate" and a "comforter;" in the first sense our
    Saviour is called "parakletos", 1 John 2: 1. Whether it be
    better rendered here an advocate or a comforter may be
        Look into the foregoing occasion of the words, which is
    the disciples' sorrow and trouble, and it seems to require the
    Comforter: "Sorrow has filled your hearts; but I will send you
    the Comforter;" - look into the next words following, which
    contain his peculiar work for which he is now promised to be
    sent, and they require he should be an Advocate, to plead the
    cause of Christ against the world, verse 8. I shall choose
    rather to interpret the promise by the occasion of it, which
    was the sorrow of his disciples, and to retain the name of the
        Who this Comforter is, our blessed Saviour had before
    declared, chap. 15: 26. He is "Pneuma tes aleteias", "the
    Spirit of truth;" that is, the Holy Ghost, who revealeth all
    truth to the sons of men. Now, of this Comforter two things
    are affirmed: - (1.) That he shall come. (2.) That Christ
    shall send him. 
        (1.) That he shall come. The affirmative of his coming on
    the performance of that condition of it, of Christ going away,
    is included in the negation of his coming without its
    accomplishment: "If I go not away, he will not come;" - "If I
    do go ("eleusetai"), he will come." So that there is not only
    the mission of Christ, but the will of the Spirit, in his
    coming: "He will come," this own will is in his work. 
        (2.) "Pempso auton", - "I will send him." The mystery of
    his sending the Spirit, our Saviour instructs his disciples in
    by degrees. Chap. 14: 16, he saith, "I will pray the Father,
    and he shall give you another Comforter;" in the progress of
    his discourse he gets one step more upon their faith, verse
    26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the
    Father will send in my name;" but, chap. 15: 26, he saith, "I
    will send him from the Father;" and here, absolutely, "I will
    send him." The business of sending the Holy Ghost by Christ -
    which argues his personal procession also from him, the Son
    was a deep mystery, which at once they could not bear; and
    therefore he thus instructs them in it by degrees. 
        This is the sum: - the presence of the Holy Ghost with
    believers as a comforter, sent by Christ for those ends and
    purposes for which he is promised, is better and more
    profitable for believers than any corporeal presence of Christ
    can be, now he has fulfilled the one sacrifice for sin which
    he was to offer. 
        Now, the Holy Spirit is promised under a twofold
    consideration: - [1.] As a Spirit of sanctification to the
    elect, to convert them and make them believers. [2.] As a
    Spirit of consolation to believers, to give them the
    privileges of the death and purchase of Christ: it is in the
    latter sense only wherein he is here spoken of. Now, as to his
    presence with us in this regard, and the end and purposes for
    which he is sent, for what is aimed at, observe, - 1st. The
    rise and fountain of it; 2dly. The manner of his being given;
    3dly. Our manner of receiving him; 4thly. His abiding with us;
    5thly. His acting in us; 6thly. What are the effects of his
    working in us: and then how we hold communion with him will
    from all these appear. 
        What the Scripture speaketh to these particulars, shall
    briefly be considered: - 
        1st. For the fountain of his coming, it is mentioned, John
    15: 26, "Para tou Patros ekporeuetai", "He proceedeth from the
    Father;" this is the fountain of this dispensation, he
    proceedeth from the Father. Now there is a twofold
    "ekporeusis", or "procession" of the Spirit: - 
        (1st.) "Fusike", or "hupostatike", in respect of substance
    and personality. 
        (2dly.) "Oikonomike", or dispensatory, in respect of the
    work of grace. 
        Of the first - in which respect he is the Spirit of the
    Father and the Son, proceeding from both eternally, so
    receiving his substance and personality - I speak not: it is a
    business of another nature than that I have now in hand.
    Therein, indeed, lies the first and most remote foundation of
    all our distinct communion with him and our worship of him;
    but because abiding in the naked consideration hereof, we can
    make no other progress than the bare acquiescence of faith in
    the mystery revealed, with the performance of that which is
    due to the person solely on the account of his participation
    of the essence, I shall not at present dwell upon it. 
        His "ekporeusis" or proceeding, mentioned in the place
    insisted on, is his economical or dispensatory proceeding, for
    the carrying on of the work of grace. It is spoken of him in
    reference to his being sent by Christ after his ascension: "I
    will send him which proceedeth," - namely, "then when I send
    him." As God is said to "come out of his place," Isa. 26: 21,
    not in regard of any mutation in him, but of the new work
    which he would effect; so it follows, the Lord comes out of
    his place "to punish the inhabitants of the earth." And it is
    in reference to a peculiar work that he is said to proceed, -
    namely, to testify of Christ: which cannot be assigned to him
    in respect of his eternal procession, but of his actual
    dispensation; as it is said of Christ, "He came forth from
    God." The single mention of the Father in this place, and not
    of the Son, belongs to the gradation before mentioned, whereby
    our Saviour discovers this mystery to his disciples. He speaks
    as much concerning himself, John 16: 7. And this relation ad
    extra (as they call it) of the Spirit unto the Father and the
    Son, in respect of operation, proves his relation ad intra, in
    respect of personal procession; whereof I spake before. 
        Three things are considerable in the foundation of this
    dispensation, in reference to our communion with the Holy
    Ghost: - 
        [1st.] That the will of the Spirit is in the work:
    "Ekporeuetai", - "He comes forth himself". Frequent mention is
    made (as we shall see afterward) of his being sent, his being
    given, and poured out; [but] that it might not be thus
    apprehended, either that this Spirit were altogether an
    inferior, created spirit, a mere servant, as some have
    blasphemed, nor yet merely and principally, as to his
    personality, the virtue of God, as some have fancied, he has
    "idiomata hupostatika", personal properties, applied to him in
    this work, arguing his personality and liberty. "Ekporeuetai",
    - "He, of himself and of his own accord, proceedeth." 
        [2dly.] The condescension of the Holy Ghost in this order
    of working, this dispensation, to proceed from the Father and
    the Son, as to this work; to take upon him this work of a
    Comforter, as the Son did the work of a Redeemer: of which
        [3dly.] The fountain of the whole is discovered to be the
    Father, that we may know his works in the pursuit of electing
    love, which everywhere is ascribed to the Father. This is the
    order here intimated: - First, there is the "protesis" of the
    Father, or the purpose of his love, the fountain of all; then
    the "erotesis", the asking of the Son, John 14: 16, which
    takes in his merit and purchase; whereunto follows
    "ekporeusis", or willing proceeding of the Holy Ghost. And
    this gives testimony, also, to the foundation of this whole
    discourse, - namely, our peculiar communion with the Father in
    love, the Son in grace, and the Holy Ghost in consolation.
    This is the door and entrance of that fellowship of the Holy
    Ghost whereunto we are called. His gracious and blessed will,
    his infinite and ineffable condescension, being eyed by faith
    as the foundation of all those effects which he works in us,
    and privileges whereof by him we are made partakers, our souls
    are peculiarly conversant with him, and their desires,
    affections, and thankfulness, terminated on him: of which more
    afterward. This is the first thing considerable in our
    communion with the Holy Ghost. 
        2dly. The manner of his collation or bestowing, or the
    manner of his communication unto us from this fountain, is
    herein also considerable; and it is variously expressed, to
    denote three things: - 
        (1st.) The freeness of it: thus he is said to be GIVEN,
    John 14: 16; "He shall give you another comforter." I need not
    multiply places to this purpose. The most frequent adjunct of
    the communication of the Spirit is this, that he is given and
    received as of gift: "He will give his Holy Spirit to them
    that ask him." That which is of gift is free. The Spirit of
    grace is given of grace: and not only the Spirit of
    sanctification, or the Spirit to sanctify and convert us, is a
    gift of free grace, but in the sense whereof we speak, in
    respect of consolation, he is of gift also; he is promised to
    be given unto believers. Hence the Spirit is said to be
    received by the gospel, not by the law, Gal. 3: 2; that is, of
    mere grace, and not of our own procuring. And all his workings
    are called "charismata", - "free donations." He is free]y
    bestowed, and freely works; and the different measures wherein
    he is received, for those ends and purposes of consolation
    which we shall consider, by believers, which are great,
    various, and inexpressible, arise from hence, that we have him
    by donation, or free gift. And this is the tenure whereby we
    hold and enjoy him, a tenure of free donation. So is he to be
    eyed, so to be asked, so to be received. And this, also, faith
    takes in and closes withal, in our communion with the
    Comforter: - the conjunction and accord of his will with the
    gift of Father and Son; the one respecting the distinct
    operation of the Deity in the person of the Holy Ghost; the
    other, the economy of the whole Trinity in the work of our
    salvation by Jesus Christ. Here the soul rejoiceth itself in
    the Comforter, - that he is willing to come to him, that he is
    willing to be given him. And seeing all is will and gift,
    grace is magnified on this account. 
        (2dly.) The authority of it. Thence he is said to be SENT.
    chap. 14: 26, "The Father will send him in my name;" and,
    chap. 15: 26, "I will send him unto you from the Father;" and,
    "Him will I send unto you," chap. 16: 7. This mission of the
    Holy Ghost by the Father and the Son, as it answers the order
    of the persons' subsistence in the blessed Trinity, and his
    procession from them both, so the order voluntarily engaged in
    by them for the accomplishment, as was said, of the work of
    our salvation. There is in it, in a most special manner, the
    condescension of the Holy Ghost, in his love to us, to the
    authoritative delegation of Father and Son in this business;
    which argues not a disparity, dissimilitude, or inequality of
    essence, but of once, in this work. It is the office of the
    Holy Ghost to be an advocate for us, and a comforter to us; in
    which respect, not absolute]y, he is thus sent authoritatively
    by Father and Son. It is a known maxim, that "inaequalitas
    officii non tollit aequalitatem naturae." This subjection (if
    I may so call it), or inequality in respect of office, does no
    ways prejudice the equality of nature which he has with Father
    and Son; no more than the mission of the Son by the Father
    does his. And on this authoritative mission of the Spirit does
    the right apprehension of many mysteries in the gospel, and
    the ordering of our hearts in communion with him, depend. 
        [1st.] Hence is the sin against the Holy Ghost (what it is
    I do not now dispute) unpardonable, and has that adjunct of
    rebellion put upon it that no other sin has, - namely, because
    he comes not, he acts not, in his own name only, though in his
    own also, but in the name and authority of the Father and Son,
    from and by whom he is sent; and therefore, to sin against him
    is to sin against all the authority of God, all the love of
    the Trinity, and the utmost condescension of each person to
    the work of our salvation. It is, I say, from the
    authoritative mission of the Spirit that the sin against him
    is peculiarly unpardonable; - it is a sin against the
    recapitulation of the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit. And
    from this consideration, were that our present business, might
    the true nature of the sin against the Holy Ghost be
    investigated. Certainly it must consist in the contempt of
    some operation of his, as acting in the name and authority of
    the whole Trinity, and that in their ineffable condescension
    to the work of grace. But this is of another consideration. 
        [2dly.] On this account we are to pray the Father and the
    Son to give the Spirit to us. Luke 11: 13, "Your heavenly
    Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Now
    the Holy Ghost, being God, is no less to be invocated, prayed
    to, and called on, than the Father and Son; as elsewhere I
    have proved. How, then, do we ask the Father for him, as we do
    in all our supplications, seeing that we also pray that he
    himself would come to us, visit us, and abide with us? In our
    prayers that are directed to himself, we consider him as
    essentially God over all, blessed for evermore; we pray for
    him from the Father and Son, as under this mission and
    delegation from them. And, indeed, God having most plentifully
    revealed himself in the order of this dispensation to us, we
    are (as Christians generally do) in our communion to abound in
    answerable addresses; that is, not only to the person of the
    Holy Ghost himself, but properly to the Father and Son for
    him, which refers to this dispensation. 
        [3dly.] Hence is that great weight, in particular, laid
    upon our not grieving the Spirit, Eph. 4: 30, - because he
    comes to us in the name, with the love, and upon the
    condescension, of the whole blessed Trinity. To do that which
    might grieve him so sent, on such an account, for that end and
    purpose which shall afterward be mentioned, is a great
    aggravation of sin. He expects cheerful entertainment with us,
    and may do so justly, upon his own account, and the account of
    the work which he comes about; but when this also is added,
    that he is sent of the Father and the Son, commissioned with
    their love and grace, to communicate them to their souls, -
    this is that which is, or ought to be, of unspeakable esteem
    with believers. And this is that second thing expressed in the
    manner of his communication, - he is sent by authority. 
        (3dly.) He is said to be poured out or SHED on us, Tit. 3:
    6, "Hou ekseche-en ef' hemas plousios", that Holy Ghost which
    he has richly poured out upon us, or shed on us abundantly.
    And this was the chief expression of his communication under
    the Old Testament; the mystery of the Father and the Son, and
    the matter of commission and delegation being then not so
    clearly discovered. Isa. 32: 15, "Until the Spirit be poured
    upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field,
    and the fruitful field be counted for a forest;" that is, till
    the Gentiles be called, and the Jews rejected. And chap. 44:
    3, "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon
    thine offspring." That eminent place of Zech. 12: 10 is always
    in our thoughts. Now, this expression, as is known, is taken
    from the allusion of the Spirit unto water; and that in
    relation to all the uses of water, both natural and typical. A
    particular relation of them I cannot now insist on; perhaps
    efficacy and plenty are chiefly intended. 
        Now, this threefold expression, of giving, sending, and
    pouring out, of the Spirit, gives us the three great
    properties of the covenant of grace: - First, That it is free;
    he is given. Secondly, That it is orderly, ordered in all
    things, and sure, from the love of the Father, by the
    procurement of the Son; and thence is that variety of
    expression, of the Father's sending him, and the Son's sending
    him from the Father, he being the gift of the Father's love,
    and purchase of the blood of the Son. Thirdly. The efficacy of
    it, as was last observed. And this is the second thing
        3dly. The third, which is our receiving him, I shall speak
    more briefly of. That which I first proposed of the Spirit,
    considered as a Spirit of sanctification and a Spirit of
    consolation, is here to be minded. Our receiving of him as a
    Spirit of sanctification is a mere passive reception, as a
    vessel receives water. He comes as the wind on Ezekiel's dead
    bones, and makes them live; he comes into dead hearts, and
    quickens them, by an act of his almighty power: but now, as he
    is the Spirit of consolation, it is otherwise. In this sense
    our Saviour tells us that the "world cannot receive him," John
    14: 17, "The world receiveth him not, because it seeth him
    not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth
    with you, and shall be in you." That it is the Spirit of
    consolation, or the Spirit for consolation, that here is
    promised, is evident from the close of the verse, where he is
    said then to be in them when he is promised to them. He was in
    them as a Spirit of quickening and sanctification when
    promised to them as a Spirit of comfort and consolation, to
    abide with them for that purpose. Now, the power that is here
    denied to be in the world, with the reason of it, that they
    cannot receive the Spirit, because they know him not, is
    ascribed to believers; - they can receive him, because they
    know him. So that there is an active power to be put forth in
    his reception for consolation, though not in his reception for
    regeneration and sanctification. And this is the power of
    faith. So Gal. 3: 2, they received the Spirit by the hearing
    of faith; - the preaching of the gospel, begetting faith in
    them, enabled them to receive the Spirit. Hence, believing is
    put as the qualification of all our receiving the Holy Ghost.
    John 7: 39, "This he spake of the Spirit, which they that
    believe on him should receive." It is believers that thus
    receive the Spirit; and they receive him by faith. Now, there
    are three special acts of faith, whereby it goes forth in the
    receiving of the Spirit. I shall but name them: - 
        (1st.) It considers the Spirit, in the economy before
    described, as promised. It is faith alone that makes profit of
    the benefit of the promises, Heb. 4: 2. Now he is called the
    Spirit of that promise, Eph. 1: 13, - the Spirit that in the
    covenant is promised; and we receive the promise of the Spirit
    through faith, Gal. 3: 14: so that the receiving of the Spirit
    through faith, is the receiving of him as promised. Faith eyes
    the promise of God and of Jesus Christ, of sending the Spirit
    for all those ends that he is desired; thus it depends, waits,
    mixing the promise with itself, until it receive him. 
        (2dly.) By prayer. He is given as a Spirit of
    supplication, that we may ask him as a Spirit of consolation,
    Luke 11: 13; and, indeed, this asking of the Spirit of God, in
    the name of Christ, either directly or immediate]y, or under
    the name of some fruit and effect; of him, is the chiefest
    work of faith in this world. 
        (3dly.) It cherisheth him, by attending to his motions,
    improving his acting according to his mind and will; which is
    all I shall say to this third thing, or our receiving of the
    Spirit, which is sent of Jesus Christ. We do it by faith,
    looking on him as purchased by Jesus Christ, and promised of
    the Father; we seek him at the hands of God, and do receive
        4thly. The next considerable thing is, his abode with us.
    Now this is two ways expressed in the Scripture: - 
        (1st.) In general. As to the thing itself, it is said he
    shall abide with us. 
        (2dly.) In particular. As to the manner of its abiding, it
    is by inhabitation or indwelling. Of the inhabitation of the
    Spirit I have spoken fully elsewhere, nor shall I now insist
    on it. Only whereas the Spirit, as has been observed, is
    considered as a Spirit of sanctification, or a Spirit of
    consolation, he is said to dwell in us chiefly, or perhaps
    solely, as he is a Spirit of sanctification: which is evident
    from the work he does, as indwelling, - he quickeneth and
    sanctifieth, Rom. 8: 11; and the manner of his indwelling, -
    as in a temple, which he makes holy thereby, 1 Cor. 6: 19; and
    his permanency in his so doing, - which, as is evident,
    relates to sanctification only: but yet the general notion of
    it in abiding is ascribed to him as a comforter, John 14: 16,
    "He shall abide with you for ever." Now, all the difficulty of
    this promise lies in this, that whereas the Spirit of
    sanctification dwells in us always, and it is therefore
    impossible that we should lose utterly our holiness, whence is
    it that, if the Comforter abide with us for ever, we may yet
    utterly lose our comfort? A little to clear this in our
    passage: - 
        [1st.] He is promised to abide with the disciples for
    ever, in opposition to the abode of Christ. Christ, in the
    flesh, had been with them for a little while, and now was
    leaving them, and going to his Father. He had been the
    comforter immediately himself for a season, but is now upon
    his departing; wherefore, promising them another comforter,
    they might fear that he would even but visit them for a little
    season also, and then their condition would be worse than
    ever. Nay, but saith our Saviour, "Fear it not: this is the
    last dispensation; there is to be no alteration. When I am
    gone, the Comforter is to do all the remaining work: there is
    not another to be looked for, and I promise you him; nor shall
    he depart from you, but always abide with you." 
        [2dly.] The Comforter may always abide with us, though not
    always comfort us; he who is the Comforter may abide, though
    he do not always that work. For other ends and purposes he is
    always with us; as to sanctify and make us holy. So was the
    case with David, Ps. 51: 11, 12, "Take not thy Holy Spirit
    from me." The Holy Spirit of sanctification was still with
    David; but saith he, "Restore unto me the joy of thy
    salvation;" that is, the Spirit of consolation, that was lost,
    when the promise was made good in the abode of the other. 
        [3dly.] The Comforter may abide as a comforter, when he
    does not actually comfort the soul. In truth, as to the
    essence of holiness, he cannot dwell in us but withal he must
    make us holy; for the temple of God is holy; - but as to his
    comforting, his acting therein are all of his sovereign will;
    so that he may abide, and yet not actually comfort us. 
        [4thly.] The Spirit often works for it, and tenders
    consolation to us, when we do not receive it; the well is
    nigh, and we see it not, - we refuse to be comforted. I told
    you that the Spirit as a sanctifier comes with power, to
    conquer an unbelieving heart; the Spirit as a comforter comes
    with sweetness, to be received in a believing heart. He
    speaks, and we believe not that it is his voice; he tenders
    the things of consolation, and we receive them not. "My sore
    ran," saith David, "and my soul refused to be comforted." 
        [5thly.] I deny that ever the Holy Spirit does absolutely
    and universally leave a believing soul without consolation. A
    man may be darkened, clouded, refuse comfort, - actually find
    none, feel none; but radically he has a foundation of
    consolation, which in due time will be drawn forth: and
    therefore, when God promises that he will heal sinners, and
    restore comfort to them, as Isa. 57: 18, it is not that they
    were without any, but that they had not so much as they
    needed, that that promise is made. To insist on the several
    ways whereby men refuse comfort, and come short of the strong
    consolation which God is willing that we should receive, is
    not my purpose at present. Thus, then, the Spirit being sent
    and given, abideth with the souls of believers, - leaves them
    not, though he variously manifest himself in his operations:
    of which in the next place.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 20...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-19.txt