Owen, Of Communion With God, File 21
    (... continued from File 20)

    Chapter 3. Of the things wherein we have communion with the  
               Holy Ghost - He brings to remembrance the things  
               spoken by Christ, John 14: 26 - The manner how  
               he does it - The Spirit glorifies Christ in the  
               hearts of believers, John 16: 14, sheds abroad  
               the love of God in them - The witness of the  
               Spirit, what it is, Rom 8: l6 - The sealing of  
               the Spirit, Eph. 1: 13 - The Spirit, how an  
               earnest; on the part of God, on the part of the  
               saints - Difference between the earnest of the  
               Spirit and tasting of the powers of the world to  
               come - Unction by the Spirit, Isa. 11: 2, 3 -  
               The various teachings of the Holy Ghost - How  
               the Spirit of adoption and of supplication. 
        The things which, in the foregoing chapters, I called
    effects of the Holy Ghost in us, or towards us, are the
    subject-matter of our communion with him, or the things
    wherein we hold peculiar fellowship with him as our comforter.
    These are now proposed to consideration: -  
        1. The first and most general is that of John 14: 26, "He
    shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
    remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." There are two
    parts of this promise: - (1.) Of teaching. (2.) Of bringing to
    remembrance. Of his teaching I shall speak afterward, when I
    come to treat of his anointing us.  
        His bringing the things to remembrance that Christ spake
    is the first general promise of him as a comforter:
    "Hupomnesei humas panta", - "He shall make you mind all these
    things." Now, this also may be considered two ways: -  
        [1.] Merely in respect of the things spoken themselves. So
    our Saviour here promiseth his apostles that the Holy Ghost
    should bring to their minds, by an immediate efficacy, the
    things that he had spoken, that by his inspiration they might
    be enabled to write and preach them for the good and benefit
    of his church. So Peter tells us, 2 Epist. 1: 21, "Holy men of
    God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (that is, in
    writing the Scripture); "hupo Pneumatos Hagiou feromenoi", -
    borne up by him, carried beyond themselves, to speak his
    words, and what he indited to them. The apostles forgot much
    of what Christ had said to them, or might do so; and what they
    did retain, in a natural way of remembrance, was not a
    sufficient foundation to them to write what they so remembered
    for a rule of faith to the church. For the word of prophecy is
    not "idias epiluseos", - from any man's proper impulse; it
    comes not from any private conception, understanding, or
    remembrance. Wherefore, Christ promises that the Holy Ghost
    shall do this work; that they might infallibly give out what
    he had delivered to them. Hence that expression in Luke 1: 3,
    "Purekoloutekoti anoten", is better rendered, "Having obtained
    perfect knowledge of things from above," noting the rise and
    spring of his so understanding things as to be able infallibly
    to give them out in a rule of faith to the church, than the
    beginning of the things themselves spoken of; which the word
    itself will not easily allow of.  
        [2.] In respect of the comfort of what he had spoken,
    which seems to be a great part of the intendment of this
    promise. He had been speaking to them things suited for their
    consolation; giving them precious promises of the supplies
    they should have from him in this life, - of the love of the
    Father, of the glory he was providing for them, the sense and
    comfort whereof is unspeakable, and the joy arising from them
    full of glory. But saith he, "I know how unable you are to
    make use of these things for your own consolation; the Spirit,
    therefore, shall recover them upon your minds, in their full
    strength and vigour, for that end for which I speak them." And
    this is one cause why it was expedient for believers that
    Christ's bodily absence should be supplied by the presence of
    the Spirit. Whilst he was with them, how little efficacy on
    their hearts had any of the heavenly promises he gave them!
    When the Spirit came, how full of joy did he make all things
    to them! That which was his peculiar work, which belonged to
    him by virtue of his office, that he also might be glorified,
    was reserved for him. And this is his work to the end of the
    world, - to bring the promises of Christ to our minds and
    hearts, to give us the comfort of them, the joy and sweetness
    of them, much beyond that which the disciples found in them,
    when Christ in person spake them to them; their gracious
    influence being then restrained, that, as was said, the
    dispensation of the Spirit might be glorified. So are the next
    words to this promise, verse 27, "Peace I leave with you. My
    peace I give unto you." The Comforter being sent to bring what
    Christ said to remembrance, the consequent of it is peace, and
    freedom from trouble of heart; - whatever peace, relief,
    comfort, joy, supportment, we have at any time received from
    any work, promise, or thing done by Christ, it all belongs to
    this dispensation of the Comforter. In vain should we apply
    our natural abilities to remember, call to mind, consider, the
    promises of Christ; without success would it be, - it is so
    daily: but when the Comforter does undertake the work, it is
    done to the purpose. How we have peculiar communion with him
    herein, in faith and obedience, in the consolation received in
    and by the promises of him brought to mind, shall be afterward
    declared. This, in general, is obtained: - our Saviour Jesus
    Christ, leaving the efficacy even of those promises which in
    person he gave to his apostles in their great distress, as to
    their consolation, unto the Holy Ghost, we may see the
    immediate spring of all the spiritual comfort we have in this
    world, and the fellowship which we have with the Ho]y Ghost
        Only here, as in all the particulars following, the manner
    of the Spirit's working this thing is always to be borne in
    mind, and the interest of his power, will, and goodness in his
    working. He does this, - 1st. Powerfully, or effectually;
    2dly. Voluntarily; 3dly. Freely.  
        1st. Powerfully: and therefore does comfort from the words
    and promises of Christ sometimes break in through all
    opposition into the saddest and darkest condition imaginable;
    it comes and makes men sing in a dungeon, rejoice in flames,
    glory in tribulation; it will into prisons, racks, through
    temptations, and the greatest distresses imaginable. Whence is
    this? "To Pneuma energei", - the Spirit works effectually, his
    power is in it; he will work, and none shall let him. If he
    will bring to our remembrance the promises of Christ for our
    consolation, neither Satan nor man, sin nor world, nor death,
    shall interrupt our comfort. This the saints, who have
    communion with the Holy Ghost, know to their advantage.
    Sometimes the heavens are black over them, and the earth
    trembles under them; public, personal calamities and
    distresses appear so full of horror and darkness, that they
    are ready to faint with the apprehensions of them; - hence is
    their great relief, and the retrievement of their spirits;
    their consolation or trouble depends not on any outward
    condition or inward frame of their own hearts, but on the
    powerful and effectual workings of the Holy Ghost, which by
    faith they give themselves up unto.  
        2dly. Voluntarily, - distributing to every one as he will;
    and therefore is this work done in so great variety, both as
    to the same person and divers. For the same person, full of
    joy sometimes in a great distress, full of consolation, -
    every promise brings sweetness when his pressures are great
    and heavy; another time, in the least trial [he] seeks for
    comfort, searches the promise, and it is far away. The reason
    is, "Pneuma diairei katos bouletai", - the Spirit distributes
    as he will. And so with divers persons: to some each promise
    is full of life and comfort; others taste little all their
    days, - all upon the same account. And this faith especially
    regards in the whole business of consolation: - it depends on
    the sovereign will of the Holy Ghost; and so is not tied unto
    any rules or course of procedure. Therefore does it exercise
    itself in waiting upon him for the seasonable accomplishment
    of the good pleasure of his will.  
        3dly. Freely. Such of the variety of the dispensation of
    consolation by promises depends on this freedom of the
    Spirit's operation. Hence it is that comfort is given
    unexpectedly, when the heart has all the reasons in the world
    to look for distress and sorrow; thus sometimes it is the
    first means of recovering a backsliding soul, who might justly
    expect to be utterly cast off. And these considerations are to
    be carried on in all the other effects and fruits of the
    Comforter: of which afterward. And in this first general
    effect or work of the Holy Ghost towards us have we communion
    and fellowship with him. The life and soul of all our comforts
    lie treasured up in the promises of Christ. They are the
    breasts of all our consolation. Who knows not how powerless
    they are in the bare letter, even when improved to the
    uttermost by our considerations of them, and meditation on
    them? as also how unexpectedly they sometimes break upon the
    soul with a conquering, endearing life and vigour? Here faith
    deals peculiarly with the Holy Ghost. It considers the
    promises themselves; looks up to him, waits for him, considers
    his appearances in the word depended on, - owns him in his
    work and efficacy. No sooner does the soul begin to feel the
    life of a promise warming his heart, relieving, cherishing,
    supporting, delivering from fear, entanglements, or troubles,
    but it may, it ought, to know that the Holy Ghost is there;
    which will add to his joy, and lead him into fellowship with
        2. The next general work seems to be that of John 16: 14,
    "The Comforter shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine,
    and shall show it unto you." The work of the Spirit is to
    glorify Christ: whence, by the way, we may see how far that
    spirit is from being the Comforter who sets up himself in the
    room of Christ; such a spirit as saith he is all himself: "for
    as for him that suffered at Jerusalem, it is no matter that we
    trouble ourselves about him. This spirit is now all. This is
    not the Comforter. His work is to glorify Christ, - him that
    sends him. And this is an evident sign of a false spirit,
    whatever its pretence be, if it glorify not that Christ who
    was now speaking to his apostles; and such are many that are
    gone abroad into the world. But what shall this Spirit do,
    that Christ may be glorified "He shall," saith he, "take of
    mine," - "ek tou emou lepsetai". What these things are is
    declared in the next verse: "All things that the Father has
    are mine; therefore I said he shall take of mine." It is not
    of the essence and essential properties of the Father and Son
    that our Saviour speaks; but of the grace which is
    communicated to us by them. This Christ calls, "My things,"
    being the fruit of his purchase and mediation: on which
    account he saith all his Father's things are his; that is, the
    things that the Father, in his eternal love, has provided to
    be dispensed in the blood of his Son, - all the fruits of
    election. "These," said he, "the Comforter shall receive; that
    is, they shall be committed unto him to dispose for your good
    and advantage, to the end before proposed." So it follows,
    "anangelei", - He shall show, or declare and make them known
    to you." Thus, then, is he a comforter. He reveals to the
    souls of sinners the good things of the covenant of grace,
    which the Father has provided, and the Son purchased. He shows
    to us mercy, grace, forgiveness, righteousness, acceptation
    with God; letteth us know that these are the things of Christ,
    which he has procured for us; shows them to us for our comfort
    and establishment. These things, I say, he effectually
    declares to the souls of believers; and makes them know them
    for their own good, - know them as originally the things of
    the Father, prepared from eternity in his love and goodwill;
    as purchased for them by Christ, and laid up in store in the
    covenant of grace for their use. Then is Christ magnified and
    glorified in their hearts; then they know what a Saviour and
    Redeemer he is. A soul does never glorify or honour Christ
    upon a discovery or sense of the eternal redemption he has
    purchased for him, but it is in him a peculiar effect of the
    Holy Ghost as our comforter. "No man can say that Jesus is the
    Lord, but by the Holy Ghost," 1 Cor. 12: 3.  
        3. He "sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts," Rom.
    5: 5. That it is the love of God to us, not our love to God,
    which is here intended, the context is so clear as nothing can
    be added thereunto. Now, the love of God is either of
    ordination or of acceptation, - the love of his purpose to do
    us good, or the love of acceptation and approbation with him.
    Both these are called the love of God frequently in Scripture,
    as I have declared. Now, how can these be shed abroad in our
    hearts? Not in themselves, but in a sense of them, - in a
    spiritual apprehension of them. "Ekkechutai", is "shed
    abroad;" the same word that is used concerning the Comforter
    being given us, Tit. 3: 6. God sheds him abundantly, or pours
    him on us; so he sheds abroad, or pours out the love of God in
    our hearts. Not to insist on the expression, which is
    metaphorical, the business is, that the Comforter gives a
    sweet and plentiful evidence and persuasion of the love of God
    to us, such as the soul is taken, delighted, satiated withal.
    This is his work, and he does it effectually. To give a poor
    sinful soul a comfortable persuasion, affecting it throughout,
    in all its faculties and affections, that God in Jesus Christ
    loves him, delights in him, is well pleased with him, has
    thoughts of tenderness and kindness towards him; to give, I
    say, a soul an overflowing sense hereof, is an inexpressible
        This we have in a peculiar manner by the Holy Ghost; it is
    his peculiar work. As all his works are works of love and
    kindness, so this of communicating a sense of the love of the
    Father mixes itself with all the particulars of his acting.
    And as we have herein peculiar communion with himself, so by
    him we have communion with the Father, even in his love, which
    is thus shed abroad in our hearts: so not only do we rejoice
    in, and glorify the Holy Ghost, which does this work, but in
    him also whose love it is. Thus is it also in respect of the
    Son, in his taking of his, and showing of it unto us, as was
    declared. What we have of heaven in this world lies herein;
    and the manner of our fellowship with the Holy Ghost on this
    account falls in with what was spoken before.  
        4. Another effect we have of his, Rom. 8: 16, "The Spirit
    itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the
    children of God." You know whose children we are by nature, -
    children of Satan and of the curse, or of wrath. By the Spirit
    we are put into another capacity, and are adopted to be the
    children of God, inasmuch as by receiving the Spirit of our
    Father we become the children of our Father. Thence is he
    called, verse 15, "The Spirit of adoption." Now, sometimes the
    soul, because it has somewhat remaining in it of the principle
    that it had in its old condition, is put to question whether
    it be a child of God or no; and thereupon, as in a thing of
    the greatest importance, puts in its claim, with all the
    evidences that it has to make good its title. The Spirit comes
    and bears witness in this case. An allusion it is to judicial
    proceedings in point of titles and evidences. The judge being
    set, the person concerned lays his claim, produceth his
    evidences, and pleads them; his adversaries endeavouring all
    that in them lies to invalidate them, and disannul his plea,
    and to cast him in his claim. In the midst of the trial, a
    person of known and approved integrity comes into the court,
    and gives testimony fully and directly on the behalf of the
    claimer; which stops the mouths of all his adversaries, and
    fills the man that pleaded with joy and satisfaction. So is it
    in this case. The soul, by the power of its own conscience, is
    brought before the law of God. There a man puts in his plea, -
    that he is a child of God, that he belongs to God's family;
    and for this end produceth all his evidences, every thing
    whereby faith gives him an interest in God. Satan, in the
    meantime, opposeth with all his might; sin and law assist him;
    many flaws are found in his evidences; the truth of them all
    is questioned; and the soul hangs in suspense as to the issue.
    In the midst of the plea and contest the Comforter comes, and,
    by a word of promise or otherwise, overpowers the heart with a
    comfortable persuasion (and bears down all objections) that
    his plea is good, and that he is a child of God. And therefore
    it is said of him, "Summarturei toi Pneumati hemon". When our
    spirits are pleading their right and title, he comes in and
    bears witness on our side; at the same time enabling us to put
    forth acts of filial obedience, kind and childlike; which is
    called "crying, Abba, Father," Gal. 4: 6. Remember still the
    manner of the Spirit's working, before mentioned, - that he
    does it effectually, voluntarily, and freely. Hence sometimes
    the dispute hangs long, - the cause is pleading many years.
    The law seems sometimes to prevail, sin and Satan to rejoice;
    and the poor soul is filled with dread about its inheritance.
    Perhaps its own witness, from its faith, sanctification,
    former experience, keeps up the plea with some life and
    comfort; but the work is not done, the conquest is not fully
    obtained, until the Spirit, who worketh freely and
    effectually, when and how he will, comes in with his testimony
    also; clothing his power with a word of promise, he makes all
    parties concerned to attend unto him, and puts an end to the
        Herein he gives us holy communion with himself. The soul
    knows his voice when he speaks, "Nec hominem sonat." There is
    something too great in it to be the effect of a created power.
    When the Lord Jesus Christ at one word stilled the raging of
    the sea and wind, all that were with him knew there was divine
    power at hand, Matt. 8: 25-27. And when the Holy Ghost by one
    word stills the tumults and storms that are raised in the
    soul, giving it an immediate calm and security, it knows his
    divine power, and rejoices in his presence.  
        5. He seals us. "We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of
    promise, Eph. 1: 13; and, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby
    ye are sealed unto the day of redemption," chap. 4: 30. I am
    not very clear in the certain peculiar intendment of this
    metaphor; what I am persuaded of the mind of God in it I shall
    briefly impart. In a seal two things are considered: - (1.)
    The nature of it. (2.) The use of it.  
        (1.) The nature of sealing consists in the imparting of
    the image or character of the seal to the thing sealed. This
    is to seal a thing, - to stamp the character of the seal on
    it. In this sense, the effectual communication of the image of
    God unto us should be our sealing. The Spirit in believers,
    really communicating the image of God, in righteousness and
    true holiness, unto the soul, sealeth us. To have this stamp
    of the Holy Chest, so as to be an evidence unto the soul that
    it is accepted with God, is to be sealed by the Spirit; taking
    the metaphor from the nature of sealing. And in this sense is
    our Saviour said to be sealed of God, John 6: 27, even from
    that impression of the power, wisdom, and majesty of God that
    he had upon him in the discharge of his office.  
        (2.) The end of sealing is twofold: -  
        [1.] To confirm or ratify any grant or conveyance made in
    writing. In such cases men set their seals to make good and
    confirm their grants; and when this is done they are
    irrevocable. Or to confirm the testimony that is given by any
    one of the truth of any thing. Such was the manner among the
    Jews: - when any one had given true witness unto any thing or
    matter, and it was received by the judges, they instantly set
    their seals to it, to confirm it in judgement. Hence it is
    said, that he who receives the testimony of Christ "sets to
    his seal that God is true," John 3: 33. The promise is the
    great grant and conveyance of life and salvation in Christ to
    the souls of believers. That we may have full assurance of the
    truth and irrevocableness of the promise, God gives us the
    Spirit to satisfy our hearts of it; and thence is he said to
    seal us, by assuring our hearts of those promises and their
    stability. But, though many expositors go this way, I do not
    see how this can consist with the very meaning of the word. It
    is not said that the promise is sealed, but that we are
    sealed; and when we seal a deed or grant to any one, we do not
    say the man is sealed, but the deed or grant.  
        [2.] To appropriate, distinguish, or keep safe. This is
    the end of sealing. Men set their seals on that which they
    appropriate and desire to keep safe for themselves. So,
    evidently, in this sense are the servants of God said to be
    sealed, Rev. 7: 4; that is, marked with God's mark, as his
    peculiar ones, - for this sealing answers to the setting of a
    mark, Ezek. 9: 4. Then are believers sealed, when they are
    marked for God to be heirs of the purchased inheritance, and
    to be preserved to the day of redemption. Now, if this be the
    sealing intended, it denotes not an act of sense in the heart,
    but of security to the person. The Father gives the elect into
    the hands of Christ to be redeemed; having redeemed them, in
    due time they are called by the Spirit, and marked for God,
    and so give up themselves to the hands of the Father.  
        If you ask, now, "Which of these senses is chiefly
    intended in this expression of our being sealed by the Holy
    Ghost?" I answer, The first, not excluding the other. We are
    sealed to the day of redemption, when, from the stamp, image,
    and character of the Spirit upon our souls, we have a fresh
    sense of the love of God given to us, with a comfortable
    persuasion of our acceptation with him. But of this whole
    matter I have treated at larger elsewhere.  
        Thus, then, the Holy Ghost communicates unto us his own
    likeness; which is also the image of the Father and the Son.
    "We are changed into this image by the Lord the Spirit," 2
    Cor. 3: 18; and herein he brings us into fellowship with
    himself. Our likeness to him gives us boldness with him. His
    work we look for, his fruits we pray for; and when any effect
    of grace, any discovery of the image of Christ implanted in
    us, gives us a persuasion of our being separated and set apart
    for God, we have a communion with him therein.  
        6. He is an earnest unto us. 2 Cor. 1: 22, He has "given
    the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts;" chap. 5: 5, "Who
    also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit;" as also,
    Eph. 1: 13, 14, "Ye are sealed with that Holy Spirit of
    promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance." In the two
    former places we are said to have the earnest of the Spirit;
    in the latter, the Spirit is said to be our earnest: "of the
    Spirit," then, in the first place, is, as we say, "genitivus
    materiae;" denoting not the cause, but the thing itself; - not
    the author of the earnest, but the matter of it. The Spirit is
    our earnest; as in the last place is expressed. The
    consideration of what is meant by the "Spirit," here, and what
    is meant by an "earnest," will give some insight into this
    privilege, which we receive by the Comforter: -  
        (1.) What grace, what gift of the Spirit, is intended by
    this earnest, some have made inquiry; I suppose to no purpose.
    It is the Spirit himself, personally considered, that is said
    to be this earnest, 2 Cor. 1: 22. It is God has given the
    earnest of the Spirit in our hearts: an expression directly
    answering that of Gal. 4: 6, "God has sent forth the Spirit of
    his Son into your hearts;" that is, the person of the Spirit;
    for nothing else can be called the Spirit of his Son: and in
    Eph. 1: 14, he has given the Spirit ("hos" for "ho"); which is
    that earnest. The Spirit of promise himself is this earnest.
    In giving us this Spirit he gives us this earnest.  
        (2.) An earnest it is, - "arraton". Neither the Greek nor
    the Latin has any word to express directly what is here
    intended. The Latins have made words for it, from that
    expressed here in the Greek, "arrha" and "arrabo." The Greek
    word is but the Hebrew "herabon" ["'eravon"]; which, as some
    conceive, came amongst them by the Syrian merchants, being a
    word of trade. It is by some rendered, in Latin, "pignus," a
    "pledge;" but this cannot be here intended. A pledge is that
    property which any one gives or leaves in the custody of
    another, to assure him that he will give him, or pay him, some
    other thing; in the nature of that which we call a "pawn."
    Now, the thing that is here intended, is a part of that which
    is to come, and but a part of it, according to the trade use
    of the word, whence the metaphor is taken; it is excellently
    rendered in our language, an "earnest." An earnest is part of
    the price of any thing, or part of any grant, given beforehand
    to assure the person to whom it is given that at the appointed
    season he shall receive the whole that is promised him.  
        That a thing be an earnest, it is required, -  
        [1.] That it be part of the whole, of the same kind and
    nature with it; as we do give so much money in earnest to pay
    so much more.  
        [2.] That it be a confirmation of a promise and
    appointment; first the whole is promised, then the earnest is
    given for the good and true performance of that promise.  
        Thus the Spirit is this earnest. God gives us the promise
    of eternal life. To confirm this to us, he giveth us his
    Spirit; which is, as the first part of the promise, to secure
    us of the whole. Hence he is said to be the earnest of the
    inheritance that is promised and purchased.  
        And it may be considered how it may be said to be an
    earnest on the part of God, who gives him; and on the part of
    believers, who receive him: -  
        1st. He is an earnest on the part of God, in that God
    gives him as a choice part of the inheritance itself, and of
    the same kind with the whole, as an earnest ought to be. The
    full inheritance promised, is the fulness of the Spirit in the
    enjoyment of God. When that Spirit which is given us in this
    world shall have perfectly taken away all sin and sorrow, and
    shall have made us able to enjoy the glory of God in his
    presence, that is the full inheritance promised. So that the
    Spirit given us for the fitting of us for enjoyment of God in
    some measure, whilst we are here, is the earnest of the whole.

        God does it to this purpose, to assure us and secure us of
    the inheritance? Having given us so many securities without
    us, - his word, promises, covenant, oath, the revelation and
    discovery of his faithfulness and immutability in them all, -
    he is pleased also graciously to give us one within us, Isa.
    59: 21, that we may have all the security we are capable of.
    What can more be done? He has given us of the Holy Spirit; -
    in him the first-fruits of glory, the utmost pledge of his
    love, the earnest of all.  
        2dly. On the part of believers he is an earnest, in that
    he gives them an acquaintance with, -  
        (1st.) The love of God. Their acceptation with him makes
    known to them their favour in his sight, - that he is their
    Father, and will deal with them as with children; and
    consequently, that the inheritance shall be theirs. He sends
    his Spirit into our hearts, "crying, Abba, Father," Gal. 4: 6.
    And what is the inference of believers from hence? Verse 7,
    "Then we are not servants, but sons; and if sons, then heirs
    of God." The same apostle, again, Rom. 8: 17, "If children,
    then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." On
    that persuasion of the Spirit that we are children, the
    inference is, "Then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with
    Christ." We have, then, a right to an inheritance, and an
    eviction of it. This is the use, then, we have of it, - even
    the Spirit persuading us of our sonship and acceptation with
    God our Father. And what is this inheritance of glory? "If we
    suffer with him, we shall be glorified together." And that the
    Spirit is given for this end is attested, 1 John 3: 24,
    "Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he
    has given us." The apostle is speaking of our union with God,
    which he expresseth in the words foregoing: "He that keepeth
    his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him;" of that
    union elsewhere. Now, this we know from hence, even by the
    Spirit which he has given us, - the Spirit acquaints us with
    it. Not that we have such an acquaintance, but that the
    argument is good and conclusive in itself, "We have of the
    Spirit; therefore he dwells in us, and we in him:" because,
    indeed, his dwelling in us is by that Spirit, and our interest
    in him is from thence. A sense of this he giveth as he
        (2dly.) The Spirit being given as an earnest, acquaints
    believers with their inheritance, 1 Cor. 2: 9, 10. As an
    earnest, being part of the whole, gives knowledge of it, so
    does the Spirit; as in sundry particulars might be
        So is he in all respects completely an earnest, - given of
    God, received by us, as the beginning of our inheritance, and
    the assurance of it. So much as we have of the Spirit, so much
    we have of heaven in perfect enjoyment, and so much evidence
    of its future fulness. Under this apprehension of him in the
    dispensation of grace do believers receive him and rejoice in
    him. Every gracious, self-evidencing act of his in their
    hearts they rejoice in, as a drop from heaven, and long for
    the ocean of it. Not to drive every effect of grace to this
    issue, is to neglect the work of the Holy Ghost in us and
    towards us.  
        There remains only that a difference be, in a few words,
    assigned between believers receiving the Spirit as an earnest
    of the whole inheritance, and hypocrites "tasting of the
    powers of the world to come," Heb. 6: 5. A taste of the powers
    of the world to come seems to be the same with the earnest of
    the inheritance. But, -  
        [1st.] That by "the powers of the world to come" in that
    place is intended the joys of heaven, there is, indeed, no
    ground to imagine. They are nowhere so called; nor does it
    suitably express the glory that shall be revealed, which we
    shall be made partakers of. It is, doubtless, the powerful
    ministry of the ordinances and dispensations of the times of
    the gospel (there called to the Hebrews according to their own
    idiom), the powers or great effectual things of the world to
    come, that is intended. But, -  
        [2dly.] Suppose that by "the powers of the world to come"
    the glory of heaven is intended, there is a wide difference
    between taking a vanishing taste of it ourselves, and
    receiving an abiding earnest from God. To take a taste of the
    things of heaven, and to have them assured of God as from his
    love, differ greatly. A hypocrite may have his thoughts raised
    to a great deal of joy and contentment in the consideration of
    the good things of the kingdom of God for a season,
    considering the things in themselves; but the Spirit, as he is
    an earnest, gives us a pledge of them as provided for us in
    the love of God and purchase of his Son Jesus Christ. This by
    the way.  
        7. The Spirit anoints believers. We are "anointed" by the
    Spirit, 2 Cor. 1: 21. We have "an unction from the Holy One,
    and we know all things," 1 John 2: 20, 27. I cannot intend to
    run this expression up into its rise and original; also, I
    have done it elsewhere. The use of unctions in the Judaical
    church, the meaning and intendment of the types attended
    therewith, the offices that men were consecrated unto thereby,
    are at the bottom of this expression; nearer the unction of
    Jesus Christ (from whence he is called Messiah, and the
    Christ, the whole performance of his office of mediatorship
    being called also his anointing, Dan. 9: 24, as to his
    furnishment for it), concurs hereunto. Christ is said to be
    "anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows," Heb. 1:
    9; which is the same with that of John 3: 34, "God giveth not
    the Spirit by measure unto him." We, who have the Spirit by
    measure, are anointed with the "oil of gladness;" Christ has
    the fulness of the Spirit, whence our measure is communicated:
    so he is anointed above us, "that in all things he may have
    the pre-eminence." How Christ was anointed with the Spirit to
    his threefold office of king, priest, and prophet; how, by
    virtue of an unction, with the same Spirit dwelling in him and
    us, we become to be interested in these offices of his, and
    are made also kings, priests, and prophets to God, is known,
    and would be matter of a long discourse to handle; and my
    design is only to communicate the things treated of:  
        I shall only, therefore, fix on one place, where the
    communications of the Spirit in this unction of Christ are
    enumerated, - of which, in our measure, from him and with him,
    by this unction, we are made partakers, - and that is, Isa.
    11: 2, 3, "The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the
    Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and
    might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the LORD,"
    etc. Many of the endowments of Christ, from the Spirit
    wherewith he was abundantly anointed, are here recounted.
    Principally those of wisdom, counsel, and understanding, are
    insisted on; on the account whereof all the treasures of
    wisdom and knowledge are said to be in him, Col. 2: 3. And
    though this be but some part of the furniture of Jesus Christ
    for the discharge of his office, yet it is such, as, where our
    anointing to the same purpose is mentioned, it is said
    peculiarly on effecting of such qualifications as these: so 1
    John 2: 20, 27, the work of the anointing is to teach us; the
    Spirit therein is a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of
    counsel, knowledge, and quick understanding in the fear of the
    Lord. So was the great promise of the Comforter, that he
    should "teach us," John 14: 26, - that he should "guide us
    into all truth," chap. 16: 13. This of teaching us the mind
    and will of God, in the manner wherein we are taught it by the
    Spirit, our comforter, is an eminent part of our unction by
    him; which only I shall instance in. Give me leave to say,
    there is a threefold teaching by the Spirit: -  
        (1.) A teaching by the Spirit of conviction and
    illumination. So the Spirit teacheth the world (that is, many
    in it) by the preaching of the word; as he is promised to do,
    John 16: 8.  
        (2.) A teaching by the Spirit of sanctification; opening
    blind eyes, giving a new understanding, shining into our
    hearts, to give us a knowledge of the glory of God in the face
    of Jesus Christ; enabling us to receive spiritual things in a
    spiritual light, 1 Cor. 2: 13; giving a saving knowledge of
    the mystery of the gospel: and this in several degrees is
    common to believers.  
        (3.) A teaching by the Spirit of consolation; - making
    sweet, useful, and joyful to the soul, the discoveries that
    are made of the mind and will of God in the light of the
    Spirit of sanctification. Here the oil of the Spirit is called
    the "oil of gladness," that which brings joy and gladness with
    it; and the name of Christ thereby discovered is a sweet
    "ointment poured forth," that causeth souls to run after him
    with joy and delight, Cant. 1: 3. We see it by daily
    experience, that very many have little taste and sweetness and
    relish in their souls of those truths which yet they savingly
    know and believe; but when we are taught by this unction, oh,
    how sweet is every thing we know of God! As we may see in the
    place of John where mention is made of the teaching of this
    unction, it respects peculiarly the Spirit teaching of us the
    love of God in Christ, the shining of his countenance; which,
    as David speaks, puts gladness into our hearts, Ps. 4: 6, 7.  
        We have this, then, by the Spirit: - he teacheth us of the
    love of God in Christ; he makes every gospel truth as wine
    well refined to our souls, and the good things of it to be a
    feast of fat things; - gives us joy and gladness of heart with
    all that we know of God; which is the great preservative of
    the soul to keep it close to truth. The apostle speaks of our
    teaching by this unction, as the means whereby we are
    preserved from seduction. Indeed, to know any truth in the
    power, sweetness, joy, and gladness of it, is that great
    security of the soul's constancy in the preservation and
    retaining of it. They will readily change truth for error, who
    find no more sweetness in the one than in the other. I must
    crave the reader's pardon for my brief passing over these
    great things of the gospel; my present design is rather to
    enumerate than to unfold them. This one work of the Holy
    Ghost, might it be pursued, would require a fuller discourse
    than I can allot unto the whole matter in hand. All the
    privileges we enjoy, all the dignity and honour we are
    invested withal, our whole dedication unto God, our nobility
    and royalty, our interest in all church advantages and
    approaches to God in worship, our separation from the world,
    the name whereby we are called, the liberty we enjoy, - all
    flow from this head, all are branches of this effect of the
    Holy Ghost. I have mentioned only our teaching by this
    unction, - a teaching that brings joy and gladness with it, by
    giving the heart a sense of the truth wherein we are
    instructed. When we find any of the good truths of the gospel
    come home to our souls with life, vigour, and power, giving us
    gladness of heart, transforming us into the image and likeness
    of it, - the Holy Ghost is then at his work, is pouring out of
    his oil.  
        8. We have adoption also by the Spirit; hence he is called
    the "Spirit of adoption;" that is, either he who is given to
    adopted ones, to secure them of it, to beget in their hearts a
    sense and persuasion of the Father's adopting love; or else to
    give them the privilege itself, as is intimated, John 1: 12.
    Neither is that opposite hereunto which we have, Gal. 4: 6;
    for God may send the Spirit of supplication into our hearts,
    because we are sons, and yet adopted by his Spirit. But of
    this elsewhere.  
        9. He is also called the "Spirit of supplication;" under
    which notion he is promised, Zech. 12: 10; and how he effects
    that in us is declared, Rom. 8: 26, 27, Gal. 4: 6; and we are
    thence said to "pray in the Holy Ghost." Our prayers may be
    considered two ways: -  
        (1.) First, as a spiritual duty required of us by God; and
    so they are wrought in us by the Spirit of sanctification,
    which helps us to perform all our duties, by exalting all the
    faculties of the soul for the spiritual discharge of their
    respective offices in them.  
        (2.) As a means of retaining communion with God, whereby
    we sweetly ease our hearts in the bosom of the Father, and
    receive in refreshing tastes of his love. The soul is never
    more raised with the love of God than when by the Spirit taken
    into intimate communion with him in the discharge of this
    duty; and therein it belongs to the Spirit of consolation, to
    the Spirit promised as a comforter. And this is the next thing
    to be considered in our communion with the Holy Ghost, -
    namely, what are the peculiar effects which he worketh in us,
    and towards us, being so bestowed on us as was declared, and
    working in the way and manner insisted on. Now, these are, -
    his bringing the promises of Christ to remembrance, glorifying
    him in our hearts, shedding abroad the love of God in us,
    witnessing with us as to our spiritual estate and condition,
    sealing us to the day of redemption (being the earnest of our
    inheritance), anointing us with privileges as to their
    consolation, confirming our adoption, and being present with
    us in our supplications. Here is the wisdom of faith, - to
    find out and meet with the Comforter in all these things; not
    to lose their sweetness, by lying in the dark [as] to their
    author, nor coming short of the returns which are required of

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 22...)

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