Owen, Of Communion With God, File 25
    (... continued from File 24)

    Chapter 7. The general ways of the saints' acting in communion  
               with the Holy Ghost. 
        As in the account given of the acting of the Holy Ghost in
    us, we manifested first the general adjuncts of his acting, or
    the manner thereof; so now, in the description of the returns
    of our souls to him, I shall, in the first place, propose the
    general acting of faith in reference to this work of the Holy
    Ghost, and then descend unto particulars. Now, there are three
    general ways of the soul's deportment in this communion,
    expressed all negatively in the Scripture, but all including
    positive duties. Now these are, - First, Not to grieve him.
    Secondly, Not to quench his motions. Thirdly, Not to resist
        There are three things considerable in the Holy Ghost: -
    1. His person, as dwelling in us; 2. His acting by grace, or
    his motions; 3. His working in the ordinances of the word, and
    the sacraments; - all for the same end and purpose.  
        To these three are the three cautions before suited: - 1.
    Not to grieve him, in respect of his person dwelling in us. 2.
    Not to quench him, in respect of the acting and motions of his
    grace. 3. Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of
    Christ, and his gifts for their administration. Now, because
    the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with
    the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall
    handle them severally: -  
        1. The first caution concerns his person immediately, as
    dwelling in us. It is given, Eph. 4: 30, "Grieve not the Holy
    Spirit of God." There is a complaint, Isa. 63: 10, of them who
    vexed or grieved the Spirit of God; and from thence does this
    caution seem to be taken. That it is the person of the Holy
    Ghost which is here intended, is evident, -  
        (1.) From the phrase, or manner of expression, with a
    double article, "To Pneuma to Hagion", - "That Holy Spirit;"
    and also, -  
        (2.) From the work assigned to him in the following words,
    of "sealing to the day of redemption;" which, as has been
    manifested, is the work of the Holy Ghost. Now, whereas this
    may be understood of the Spirit in others, or in ourselves, it
    is evident that the apostle intends it in the latter sense, by
    his addition of that signal and eminent privilege which we
    ourselves enjoy by him: he seals us to the day of redemption. 
        Let us see, then, the tendency of this expression, as
    comprising the first general rule of our communion with the
    Holy Ghost, - "Grieve not the Spirit."  
        The term of "grieving," or affecting with sorrow, may be
    considered either actively, in respect of the persons
    grieving; or passively, in respect of the persons grieved. In
    the latter sense the expression is metaphorical. The Spirit
    cannot be grieved, or affected with sorrow; which infers
    alteration, disappointment, weakness, - all incompatible with
    his infinite perfections; yet men may actively do that which
    is fit and able to grieve any one that stands affected towards
    them as does the Holy Ghost. If he be not grieved, it is no
    thanks to us, but to his own unchangeable nature. So that
    there are two things denoted in this expression: -  
        First, That the Holy Ghost is affected towards us as one
    that is loving, careful, tender, concerned in our good and
    well-doing; and therefore upon our miscarriages is said to be
    grieved: as a good friend of a kind and loving nature is apt
    to be on the miscarriage of him whom he does affect. And this
    is that we are principally to regard in this caution, as the
    ground and foundation of it, - the love, kindness, and
    tenderness of the Holy Ghost unto us. "Grieve him not."  
        Secondly, That we may do those things that are proper to
    grieve him, though he be not passively grieved; our sin being
    no less therein than if he were grieved as we are. Now, how
    this is done, how the Spirit is grieved, the apostle declareth
    in the contexture of that discourse, verses 21-24. He presseth
    to a progress in sanctification, and all the fruits of
    regeneration, verses 25-29. He dehorts from sundry particular
    evils that were contrary thereto, and then gives the general
    enforcement of the one and the other, "And grieve not the Holy
    Spirit of God;" that is, by coming short of that universal
    sanctification which our planting into Christ does require.
    The positive duty included in this caution, of not grieving
    the Holy Spirit, is this, - that we pursue universal holiness
    with regard unto, and upon the account of, the love, kindness,
    and tenderness, of the Holy Ghost. This is the foundation of
    our communion we have in general. When the soul considers the
    love, kindness, and tenderness of the Holy Ghost unto him;
    when he considers all the fruits and acts of his love and
    good-will towards him; and on that account, and under that
    consideration, because he is so concerned in our ways and
    walkings, to abstain from evils, and to walk in all duties of
    holiness, - this is to have communion with him. This
    consideration, that the Holy Ghost, who is our comforter, is
    delighted with our obedience, grieved at our evils and
    follies, being made a continual motive to, and reason of, our
    close walking with God in all holiness, is, I say, the first
    general way of our communion with him.  
        Here let us fix a little. We lose both the power and
    pleasure of our obedience for want of this consideration. We
    see on what account the Holy Ghost undertakes to be our
    comforter, by what ways and means he performs that office
    towards us; what an unworthy thing it is to grieve him, who
    comes to us on purpose to give us consolation! Let the soul,
    in the whole course of its obedience, exercise itself by faith
    to thoughts hereof, and lay due weight upon it: "The Holy
    Ghost, in his infinite love and kindness towards me, has
    condescended to be my comforter; he does it willingly, freely,
    powerfully. What have I received from him! in the multitude of
    my perplexities how has he refreshed my soul! Can I live one
    day without his consolations? And shall I be regardless of him
    in that wherein he is concerned? Shall I grieve him by
    negligence, sin, and folly? Shall not his love constrain me to
    walk before him to all well-pleasing?" So have we in general
    fellowship with him.  
        2. The second is that of 1 Thess. 5: 19, "Quench not the
    Spirit." There are various thoughts about the sense of these
    words. "The Spirit in others, that is, their spiritual gifts,"
    say some; but then it falls in with what follows, verse 20,
    "Despise not prophesying." "The light that God has set up in
    our hearts," say others; but where is that called absolutely
    "To Pneuma", - "The Spirit?" It is the Holy Ghost himself that
    is here intended, not immediately, in respect of his person
    (in which regard he is said to be grieved, which is a personal
    affection); but in respect of his motions, acting, and
    operations. The Holy Ghost was typified by the fire that was
    always kept alive on the altar. He is also called a "Spirit of
    burning." The reasons of that allusion are manifold; not now
    to be insisted on. Now, the opposition that is made to fire in
    its acting, is by quenching. Hence the opposition made to the
    acting of the Holy Ghost are called "quenching of the Spirit,"
    as some kind of wet wood will do, when it is cast into the
    fire. Thence are we said, in pursuance of the same metaphor,
    "anadzoturein", - to "stir up with new fire," the gifts that
    are in us. The Holy Ghost is striving with us, acting in us,
    moving variously for our growth in grace, and bringing forth
    fruit meet for the principle he has endued us withal. "Take
    heed," saith the apostle, "lest, by the power of your lusts
    and temptations, you attend not to his workings, but hinder
    him in his good-will towards you; that is, what in you lies." 
        This, then, is the second general rule for our communion
    with the Holy Ghost. It respects his gracious operations in us
    and by us. There are several and various ways whereby the Holy
    Ghost is said to act, exert, and put forth his power in us;
    partly by moving upon and stirring up the grace we have
    received; partly by new supplies of grace from Jesus Christ,
    falling in with occasions for their exercise, raising good
    motions immediately or occasionally within us; - all tending
    to our furtherance in obedience and walking with God. All
    these are we carefully to observe and take notice of, -
    consider the fountain whence they come, and the end which they
    lead us unto. Hence have we communion with the Holy Ghost,
    when we can consider him by faith as the immediate author of
    all supplies, assistance, and the whole relief we have by
    grace; of all good acting, risings, motions in our hearts; of
    all strivings and contending against sin. When we consider, I
    say, all these his acting and workings in their tendency to
    our consolation, and on that account are careful and watchful
    to improve them all to the end aimed at, as coming from him
    who is so loving, and kind, and tender to us, we have
    communion with him.  
        This is that which is intended, - every gracious acting of
    the blessed Spirit in and towards our souls, is constantly by
    faith to be considered as coming from him in a peculiar
    manner; his mind, his goodwill is to be observed therein.
    Hence, care and diligence for the improvement of every motion
    of his will arise; thence reverence of his presence with us,
    with due spiritual regard to his holiness, does ensue, and our
    souls are wonted to intercourse with him.  
        3. The third caution concerns him and his work, in the
    dispensation of that great ordinance of the word. Stephen
    tells the Jews, Acts 7: 51, that they "resisted the Holy
    Ghost." How did they do it? Why, as their fathers did it: "As
    your fathers did, so do ye." How did their fathers resist the
    Holy Ghost? Verse 52, "They persecuted the prophets, and slew
    them;" their opposition to the prophets in preaching the
    gospel, or their showing of the coming of the Just One, was
    their resisting of the Holy Ghost. Now, the Holy Ghost is said
    to be resisted in the contempt of the preaching of the word;
    because the gift of preaching of it is from him. "The
    manifestation of the Spirit is given to profit." Hence, when
    our Saviour promiseth the Spirit to his disciples, to be
    present with them for the conviction of the world, he tells
    them he will give them a mouth and wisdom, which their
    adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist, Luke 21:
    15; concerning which, in the accomplishment of it in Stephen,
    it is said that they "were not able to resist the Spirit by
    which he spake," Acts 6: 10. The Holy Ghost then setting up a
    ministry in the church, separating men thereto, furnishing
    them with gifts and abilities for the dispensation of the
    word; the not obeying of that word, opposing of it, not
    falling down before it, is called resisting of the Holy Ghost.
    This, in the examples of the wickedness of others, are we
    cautioned against. And this inwraps the third general rule of
    our communion with the Holy Ghost: - in the dispensation of
    the word of the gospel, the authority, wisdom, and goodness of
    the Holy Ghost, in furnishing men with gifts for that end and
    purpose, and his presence with them, as to the virtue thereof,
    is to be eyed, and subjection given unto it on that account.
    On this reason, I say, on this ground, is obedience to be
    yielded to the word, in the ministerial dispensation thereof -
    because the Holy Ghost, and he alone, does furnish with gifts
    to that end and purpose. When this consideration causeth us to
    fall low before the word, then have we communion with the Holy
    Ghost in that ordinance. But this is commonly spoken unto.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 26...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-25.txt