Owen, Of Communion With God, File 22
    (... continued from File 21)

    Chapter 4. The general consequences in the hearts of  
               believers of the effects of the Holy Ghost before 
               mentioned - Consolation; its adjuncts, peace, joy 
               - How it is wrought immediately, mediately. 
        Having proceeded thus far in discovering the way of our
    communion with the Holy Ghost, and insisted on the most noble
    and known effects that he produceth, it remains that it be
    declared what general consequences of these effects there are
    brought forth in the hearts of believers; and so we shall at
    least have made mention of the main heads of his dispensation
    and work in the economy of grace. Now, these (as with the
    former) I shall do little more than name; it being not at all
    in my design to handle the natures of them, but only to show
    what respects they bear to the business in hand: -  
        1. Consolation is the first of these: "The disciples
    walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the consolation of the
    Holy Ghost," Acts 9: 31, "Tei paraklesei tou Hagiou
    Pneumatos", He is "ho parakletos', and he gives "paraklesin":
    from his work towards us, and in us, we have comfort and
    consolation. This is the first general consequent of his
    dispensation and work. Whenever there is mention made of
    comfort and consolation in the Scripture given to the saints
    (as there is most frequently), it is the proper consequent of
    the work of the Holy Ghost towards them. Comfort or
    consolation in general, is the setting and composing of the
    soul in rest and contentedness in the midst of or from
    troubles, by the consideration or presence of some good,
    wherein it is interested, outweighing the evil, trouble, or
    perplexity that it has to wrestle withal. Where mention is
    made of comfort and consolation, properly so called, there is
    relation to trouble or perplexity; so the apostle, 2 Cor. 1:
    5, 6, "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our
    consolation also aboundeth by Christ." Suffering and
    consolation are opposed, the latter being a relief against the
    former; so are all the promises of comfort, and all the
    expressions of it, in the Old and New Testament still proposed
    as reliefs against trouble.  
        And, as I said, consolation ariseth from the presence or
    consideration of a greater good, that outbalances the evil or
    perplexity wherewith we are to contend. Now, in the effects or
    acts of the Holy Ghost before mentioned lie all the springs of
    our consolation. There is no comfort but from them; and there
    is no trouble that we may not have comfort in and against by
    them. That a man may have consolation in any condition,
    nothing is required but the presence of a good, rendering the
    evil wherewith he is pressed inconsiderable to him. Suppose a
    man under the greatest calamity that can possibly befall a
    child of God, or a confluence of all those evils numbered by
    Paul, Rom. 8: 35, etc.; let this man have the Holy Ghost
    performing the works mentioned before towards him, and, in
    despite of all his evils, his consolations will abound.
    Suppose him to have a sense of the love of God all the while
    shed abroad in his heart, a clear witness within that he is a
    child of God, accepted with him, that he is sealed and marked
    of God for his own, that he is an heir of all the promises of
    God, and the like; it is impossible that man should not
    triumph in all his tribulations.  
        From this rise of all our consolation are those
    descriptions which we have of it in the Scripture, from its
    properties and adjuncts; as, -  
        (1.) It is abiding. Thence it is called "Everlasting
    consolation," 2 Thess. 2: 16, "God, even our Father, which has
    loved us, and given us everlasting consolation;" that is,
    comfort that vanisheth not; and that because it riseth from
    everlasting things. There may be some perishing comfort given
    for a little season by perishing things; but abiding
    consolation, which we have by the Holy Ghost, is from things
    everlasting: - everlasting love, eternal redemption, an
    everlasting inheritance.  
        (2.) Strong. Heb. 6: 18, "That the heirs of the promise
    should receive strong consolation." As strong opposition lies
    sometimes against us, and trouble, whose bands are strong, so
    is our consolation strong; it abounds, and is unconquerable, -
    "ischura paraklesis". It is such as will make its way through
    all opposition; it confirms, corroborates, and strengthens the
    heart under any evil; it fortifies the soul, and makes it able
    cheerfully to undergo any thing that it is called unto: and
    that because it is from him who is strong.  
        (3.) It is precious. Hence the apostle makes it the great
    motive unto obedience, which he exhorts the Philippians unto,
    chap. 2: 1, "If there be any consolation in Christ;" - "If you
    set any esteem and valuation upon this precious mercy of
    consolation in Christ, by those comforts, let it be so with
        And this is the first general consequent in the hearts of
    believers of those great effects of the Holy Ghost before
    mentioned. Now, this is so large and comprehensive, comprising
    so many of our concernments in our walking with God, that the
    Holy Ghost receives his denomination, as to the whole work he
    has to perform for us, from hence, - he is the Comforter; as
    Jesus Christ, from the work of redemption and salvation, is
    the Redeemer and Saviour of his church. Now, as we have no
    consolation but from the Holy Ghost, so all his effects
    towards us have certainly this consequent more or less in us.
    Yea, I dare say, whatever we have in the kinds of the things
    before mentioned that brings not consolation with it, in the
    root at least, if not in the ripe fruit, is not of the Holy
    Ghost. The way whereby comfort issues out from those works of
    his, belongs to particular cases. The fellowship we have with
    him consists, in no small portion of it, in the consolation we
    receive from him. This gives us a valuation of his love;
    teacheth whither to make applications in our distress, - whom
    to pray for, to pray to, - whom to wait upon, in perplexities.
        2. Peace ariseth hence also. Rom. 15: 13, "The God of hope
    fill you with all peace in believing, that you may abound in
    hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." The power of the
    Holy Ghost is not only extended to hope, but to our peace also
    in believing. So is it in the connection of those promises,
    John 14: 26, 27, "I will give you the Comforter:" and what
    then? what follows that grant? "Peace," saith he, "I leave
    with you; my peace I give unto you." Nor does Christ otherwise
    leave his peace, or give his peace unto them, but by bestowing
    the comforter on them. The peace of Christ consists in the
    soul's sense of its acceptation with God in friendship. So is
    Christ said to be "our peace," Eph. 2: 14, by slaying the
    enmity between God and us, and in taking away the handwriting
    that was against us. Rom. 5: 1, "Being justified by faith, we
    have peace with God." A comfortable persuasion of our
    acceptation with God in Christ is the bottom of this peace; it
    inwraps deliverance from eternal wrath, hatred, curse,
    condemnation, - all sweetly affecting the soul and conscience.
        And this is a branch from the same root with that
    foregoing, - a consequent of the effects of the Holy Ghost
    before mentioned. Suppose a man chosen in the eternal love of
    the Father, redeemed by the blood of the Son, and justified
    freely by the grace of God, so that he has a right to all the
    promises of the gospel; yet this person can by no seasonings
    nor arguing of his own heart, by no considerations of the
    promises themselves, nor of the love of God or grace of Christ
    in them, be brought to any establishment in peace, until it be
    produced in him as a fruit and consequent of the work of the
    Holy Ghost in him and towards him. "Peace" is the fruit of the
    Spirit, Gal. 5: 22. The savour of the Spirit is "life and
    peace," Rom. 8: 6. All we have is from him and by him.  
        3. Joy, also, is of this number. The Spirit, as was
    showed, is called "The oil of gladness," Heb. 1: 9. His
    anointing brings gladness with it, Isa. 61: 3, "The oil of joy
    for mourning." "The kingdom of God is righteousness, and
    peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," Rom. 14: 17; "Received the
    word with joy in the Holy Ghost," 1 Thess. 1: 6, - "with joy,"
    as Peter tells believers, "unspeakable and full of glory," 1
    Epist. 1: 8. To give joy to the hearts of believers is
    eminently the work of the comforter; and this he does by the
    particulars before instanced in. That "rejoicing in hope of
    the glory of God," mentioned Rom. 5: 2, which carries the soul
    through any tribulation, even with glorying, has its rise in
    the Spirit's "shedding abroad the love of God in our hearts,"
    verse 5. Now, there are two ways whereby the Spirit worketh
    this joy in the hearts of believers: -  
        (1.) He does it immediately by himself; without the
    consideration of any other acts or works of his, or the
    interposition of any seasonings, or deductions and
    conclusions. As in sanctification he is a well of water
    springing up in the soul, immediately exerting his efficacy
    and refreshment; so in consolation, he immediately works the
    soul and minds of men to a joyful, rejoicing, and spiritual
    frame, filling them with exultation and gladness; - not that
    this arises from our reflex consideration of the love of God,
    but rather gives occasion whereunto. When he so sheds abroad
    the love of God in our hearts, and so fills them with gladness
    by an immediate act and operation (as he caused John Baptist
    to leap for joy in the womb upon the approach of the mother of
    Jesus), - then does the soul, even from hence, raise itself to
    a consideration of the love of God, whence joy and rejoicing
    does also flow. Of this joy there is no account to be given,
    but that the Spirit worketh it when and how he will. He
    secretly infuseth and distils it into the soul, prevailing
    against all fears and sorrows, filling it with gladness,
    exultations; and sometimes with unspeakable raptures of mind. 
        (2.) Mediately. By his other works towards us, he gives a
    sense of the love of God, with our adoption and acceptation
    with him; and on the consideration thereof enables us to
    receive it. Let what has been spoken of his operations towards
    us be considered, - what assurance he gives us of the love of
    God; what life, power, and security; what pledge of our
    eternal welfare, - and it will be easily perceived that he
    lays a sufficient foundation of this joy and gladness. Not
    that we are able, upon any rational consideration, deduction,
    or conclusion, that we can make from the things mentioned, to
    affect our hearts with the joy and gladness intended; it is
    left no less the proper work of the Spirit to do it from
    hence, and by the intervenience of these considerations, than
    to do it immediately without them. This process of producing
    joy in the heart, we have, Ps. 23: 5, 6, "Thou anointest my
    head with oil." Hence is the conclusion, as in the way of
    exultation, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me." Of
    this effect of the Comforter, see Isa. 35 throughout.  
        4. Hope, also, is an effect of those workings of the Holy
    Ghost in us and towards us, Rom. 15: 13. These, I say, are the
    general consequent of the effects of the Holy Ghost upon the
    hearts of believers; which, if we might consider them in their
    offspring, with all the branches that shoot out from them, in
    exultation, assurance, boldness, confidence, expectation,
    glorying, and the like, it would appear how far our whole
    communion with God is influenced by them. But I only name the
    heads of things, and hasten to what remains. It is the general
    and particular way of our communion with the Holy Ghost that
    should neatly ensue, but that some other considerations
    necessarily do here interpose themselves.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 23...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-22.txt