Owen, Of Communion With God, File 26
    (... continued from File 25)

    Chapter 8. Particular directions for communion with the  
               Holy Chest. Before I name particular directions  
               for our communion with the I must premise some  
               cautions, as far as the directions to be given, 
               concerning his worship. 
        First. The divine nature is the reason and cause of all
    worship; so that it is impossible to worship any one person,
    and not worship the whole Trinity. It is, and that not without
    ground, denied by the schoolmen, that the formal reason and
    object of divine worship is in the persons precisely
    considered; that is, under the formally- constitutive reason
    of their personality, which is their relation to each other.
    But this belongs to the divine nature and essence, and to
    their distinct persons as they are identified with the essence
    itself. Hence is that way of praying to the Trinity, by the
    repetition of the same petition to the several persons (as in
    the Litany), groundless, if not impious. It supposeth that one
    person is worshipped, and not another, when each person is
    worshipped as God, and each person is so; - as though we first
    should desire one thing of the Father, and be heard and
    granted by him, then ask the same thing of the Son, and so of
    the Holy Ghost; and so act as to the same thing three distinct
    acts of worship, and expect to be heard and have the same
    thing granted three times distinctly, when all the works of
    the Trinity, ad extra, are indivisible.  
        The proper and peculiar object of divine worship and
    invocation is the essence of God, in its infinite excellency,
    dignity, majesty, and its causality, as the first sovereign
    cause of all things. Now, this is common to all the three
    persons, and is proper to each of them; not formally as a
    person, but as God blessed for ever. All adoration respects
    that which is common to all; so that in each act of adoration
    and worship, all are adored and worshipped. The creatures
    worship their Creator; and a man, him in whose image he was
    created, - namely, him "from whom descendeth every good and
    perfect gift:" all this describing God as God. Hence, -  
        Secondly. When we begin our prayers to God the Father, and
    end them in the name of Jesus Christ, yet the Son is no less
    invocated and worshipped in the beginning than the Father,
    though he be peculiarly mentioned as mediator in the close, -
    not as Son to himself, but as Mediator to the whole Trinity,
    or God in Trinity. But in the invocation of God the Father we
    invocate every person; because we invocate the Father as God,
    every person being so.  
        Thirdly. In that heavenly directory which we have, Eph. 2:
    18, this whole business is declared. Our access in our worship
    is said to be "to the Father;" and this "through Christ," or
    his mediation; "by the Spirit," or his assistance. Here is a
    distinction of the persons, as to their operations, but not at
    all as to their being the object of our worship. For the Son
    and the Holy Ghost are no less worshipped in our access to God
    than the Father himself; only, the grace of the Father, which
    we obtain by the mediation of the Son and the assistance of
    the Spirit, is that which we draw nigh to God for. So that
    when, by the distinct dispensation of the Trinity, and every
    person, we are led to worship (that is, to act faith on or
    invocate) any person, we do herein worship the whole Trinity;
    and every person, by what name soever, of Father, Son, or Holy
    Ghost, we invocate him. So that this is to be observed in this
    whole matter, - that when any work of the Holy Ghost (or any
    other person), which is appropriated to him (we never exclude
    the concurrence of other persons), draws us to the worship of
    him, yet he is not worshipped exclusively, but the whole
    Godhead is worshipped.  
        Fourthly. These cautions being premised, I say that we are
    distinctly to worship the Holy Ghost. As it is in the case of
    faith in respect of the Father and the Son, John 14: 1,
    "Believe in God, believe also in me," this extends itself no
    less to the Holy Ghost. Christ called the disciples for the
    acting of faith on him, he being upon the accomplishment of
    the great work of his mediation; and the Holy Ghost, now
    carrying on the work of his delegation, requireth the same.
    And to the same purpose are their distinct operations
    mentioned: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Now, as
    the formal reason of the worship of the Son is not his
    mediation, but his being God (his mediation being a powerful
    motive thereto), so the formal reason of our worshipping the
    Holy Ghost is not his being our comforter, but his being God;
    yet his being our comforter is a powerful motive thereunto.  
        This is the sum of the first direction: - the grace,
    acting, love, effects of the Holy Ghost, as he is our
    comforter, ought to stir us up and provoke us to love,
    worship, believe in, and invocate him; - though all this,
    being directed to him as God, is no less directed, on that
    account, to the other persons than to him. Only by the fruits
    of his love towards us are we stirred up unto it.  
        These things being presupposed, let the saints learn to
    act faith distinctly on the Holy Ghost, as the immediate
    efficient cause of all the good things mentioned; - faith, I
    say, to believe in him; and faith in all things to believe him
    and to yield obedience to him; faith, not imagination. The
    distinction of the persons in the Trinity is not to be
    fancied, but believed. So, then, the Scripture so fully,
    frequently, clearly, distinctly ascribing the things we have
    been speaking of to the immediate efficiency of the Holy
    Ghost, faith closes with him in the truth revealed, and
    peculiarly regards him, worships him, serves him, waits for
    him, prayeth to him, praiseth him; - all these things, I say,
    the saints do in faith. The person of the Holy Ghost,
    revealing itself in these operations and effects, is the
    peculiar object of our worship. Therefore, when he ought to be
    peculiarly honoured, and is not, he is peculiarly sinned
    against. Acts 5: 3, Ananias is said to lie to the Holy Ghost,
    - not to God; which being taken essentially, would denote the
    whole Trinity, but peculiarly to the Holy Ghost. Him he was to
    have honoured peculiarly in that especial gift of his which he
    made profession of; - not doing it, he sinned peculiarly
    against him. But this must be a little farther branched into
    particulars: -  
        Let us, then, lay weight on every effect of the Holy Ghost
    in any of the particulars before mentioned, on this account,
    that they are acts of his love and power towards us. This
    faith will do, that takes notice of his kindness in all
    things. Frequently he performs, in sundry particulars, the
    office of a comforter towards us, and we are not thoroughly
    comforted, - we take no notice at all of what he does. Then is
    he grieved. Of those who do receive and own the consolation he
    tenders and administers, how few are there that consider him
    as the comforter, and rejoice in him as they ought! Upon every
    work of consolation that the believer receives, this ought his
    faith to resolve upon, - "This is from the Holy Ghost; he is
    the Comforter, the God of all consolation; I know there is no
    joy, peace, hope, nor comfort, but what he works, gives, and
    bestows; and, that he might give me this consolation, he has
    willingly condescended to this office of a comforter. His love
    was in it, and on that account does he continue it. Also, he
    is sent by the Father and Son for that end and purpose. By
    this means come I to be partaker of my joy, - it is in the
    Holy Ghost; of consolation, - he is the Comforter. What price,
    now, shall I set upon his love! how shall I value the mercy
    that I have received!"  
        This, I say, is applicable to every particular effect of
    the Holy Ghost towards us, and herein have we communion and
    fellowship with him, as was in part discovered in our handling
    the particulars. Does he shed abroad the love of God in our
    hearts? does he witness unto our adoption? The soul considers
    his presence, ponders his love, his condescension, goodness,
    and kindness; is filled with reverence of him, and cares
    [takes care] not to grieve him, and labours to preserve his
    temple, his habitation, pure and holy.  
        Again: our communion with him causeth in us returning
    praise, and thanks, and honour, and glory, and blessing to
    him, on the account of the mercies and privileges which we
    receive from him; which are many. Herein consists our next
    direction. So do we with the Son of God on the account of our
    redemption: "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our
    sins in his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever
    and ever," Rev. 1: 5, 6. And are not the like praises and
    blessings due to him by whom the work of redemption is made
    effectual to us? who with no less infinite love undertook our
    consolation than the Son our redemption. When we feel our
    hearts warmed with joy, supported in peace, established in our
    obedience, let us ascribe to him the praise that is due to
    him, bless his name, and rejoice in him.  
        And this glorifying of the Holy Ghost in thanksgivings, on
    a spiritual sense of his consolations, is no small part of our
    communion with him. Considering his free engagement in this
    work, his coming forth from the Father to this purpose, his
    mission by the Son, and condescension therein, his love and
    kindness, the soul of a believer is poured out in thankful
    praises to him, and is sweetly affected with the duty. There
    is no duty that leaves a more heavenly savour in the soul than
    this does.  
        Also, in our prayers to him for the carrying on the work
    of our consolation, which he has undertaken, lies our
    communion with him. John prays for grace and peace from the
    seven Spirits that are before the throne, or the Holy Ghost,
    whose operations are perfect and complete. This part of his
    worship is expressly mentioned frequently in Scripture; and
    all others do necessarily attend it. Let the saints consider
    what need they stand in of these effects of the Holy Ghost
    before mentioned, with many such others as might be insisted
    on; weigh all the privileges which we are made partakers of;
    remember that he distributes them as he will, that he has the
    sovereign disposal of them; and they will be prepared for this
        How and in what sense it is to be performed has been
    already declared: what is the formal reason of this worship,
    and intimate object of it, I have also manifested. In the duty
    itself is put forth no small part of the life, efficacy, and
    vigour of faith; and we come short of that enlargedness of
    spirit in dealing with God, and are straitened from walking in
    the breadth of his ways, which we are called unto, if we learn
    not ourselves to meet him with his worship in every way he is
    pleased to communicate himself unto us. In these things he
    does so in the person of the Holy Ghost. In that person do we
    meet him, his love, grace, and authority, by our prayers and
        Again: consider him as he condescends to this delegation
    of the Father and the Son to be our comforter, and ask him
    daily of the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. This is the
    daily work of believers. They look upon, and by faith
    consider, the Holy Ghost as promised to be sent. In this
    promise, they know, lies all their grace, peace, mercy, joy,
    and hope. For by him so promised, and him alone, are these
    things communicated to them. If, therefore, our live to God,
    or the joy of that life, be considerable, in this we are to
    abound, - to ask him of the Father, as children do of their
    parents daily bread. And as, in this asking and receiving of
    the Holy Ghost, we have communion with the Father in his love,
    whence he is sent; and with the Son in his grace, whereby he
    is obtained for us; so with himself, on the account of his
    voluntary condescension to this dispensation. Every request
    for the Holy Ghost implies our closing with all these. O the
    riches of the grace of God!  
        Humbling ourselves for our miscarriages in reference to
    him is another part of our communion with him. That we have
    grieved him as to his person, quenched him as to the motion of
    his grace, or resisted him in his ordinances, is to be mourned
    for; as has been declared. Let our souls be humbled before him
    on this account. This one considerable ingredient of godly
    sorrow, and the thoughts of it, are as suitable to the
    affecting of our hearts with humiliation, and indignation
    against sin, as any other whatever. I might proceed in the
    like considerations; as also make application of them to the
    particular effects of the Holy Ghost enumerated; but my design
    is only to point out the heads of things, and to leave them to
    the improvement of others.  
        I shall shut up this whole discourse with some
    considerations of the sad estate and condition of men not
    interested in this promise of the Spirit, nor made partakers
    of his consolation: -  
        1. They have no true consolation or comfort, be their
    estate and condition what it will. Are they under affliction
    or in trouble? - they must bear their own burden; and how much
    too weak they are for it, if God be pleased to lay on his hand
    with more weight than ordinary, is easily known. Men may have
    stoutness of spirit, and put on great resolutions to wrestle
    with their troubles; but when this is merely from the natural
    spirit of a man, -  
        (1.) For the most part it is but an outside. It is done
    with respect to others, that they may not appear low-spirited
    or dejected. Their hearts are eaten up and devoured with
    troubles and anxiety of mind. Their thoughts are perplexed,
    and they are still striving, but never come to a conquest.
    Every new trouble, every little alteration in their trials,
    puts them to new vexation. It is an ungrounded resolution that
    bears them up, and they are easily shaken.  
        (2.) What is the best of their resolves and enduring? It
    is but a contending with God, who has entangled them, - the
    struggling of a flea under a mountain. Yea, though, on outward
    considerations and principles, they endeavour after patience
    and tolerance, yet all is but a contending with God, - a
    striving to be quiet under that which God has sent on purpose
    to disturb them. God does not afflict men without the Spirit,
    to exercise their patience; but to disturb their peace and
    security. All their arming themselves with patience and
    resolution, is but to keep the hold that God will cast them
    out of, or else make them the nearer to ruin. This is the best
    of their consolation in the time of their trouble.  
        (3.) If they do promise themselves any thing of the care
    of God towards them, and relieve themselves thereby, - as they
    often do, on one account or another, especially when they are
    driven from other holds, - all their relief is but like the
    dreaming of an hungry man, who supposeth that he eateth and
    drinketh, and is refreshed; but when he awaketh, he is empty
    and disappointed. So are they as to all their relief that they
    promise to receive from God, and the support which they seem
    to have from him. When they are awaked at the latter day, and
    see all things clearly, they will find that God was their
    enemy, laughing at their calamity, and mocking when their fear
    was on them.  
        So is it with them in trouble. Is it any better with them
    in their prosperity? This, indeed, is often great, and is
    marvellously described in Scripture, as to their lives, and
    oftentimes quiet, peaceable end. But have they any true
    consolation all their days? They eat, drink, sleep, and make
    merry, and perhaps heap up to themselves; but how little do
    these things make them to differ from the beasts that perish!
    Solomon's advantage, to have the use and know the utmost of
    these things, much beyond any of the sons of men of our
    generation, is commonly taken notice of. The account also that
    he gives of them is known: "They are all vanity and vexation
    of spirit." This is their consolation: - a crackling of thorns
    under the pot, a sudden flash and blaze, that begins but to
    perish. So that both adversity- and prosperity slayeth them;
    and whether they are laughing or crying, they are still dying.
        2. They have no peace, - no peace with God, nor in their
    own souls. I know that many of them, upon false bottoms,
    grounds, and expectations, do make a shift to keep things in
    some quietness, neither is it my business at present to
    discover the falseness and unsoundness of it; but this is
    their state. True and solid peace being an effect of the Holy
    Ghost in the hearts of believers (as has been declared), they
    who are not made partakers of him have no such peace. They may
    cry, "Peace, peace," indeed, when sudden destruction is at
    hand. The principles of their peace (as may be easily evinced)
    are, darkness or ignorance, treachery of conscience,
    self-righteousness, and vain hope. To these heads may all the
    principles of their peace be reduced; and what will these
    avail them in the day when the Lord shall deal with them?  
        3. I might say the same concerning their joy and hope; -
    they are false and perishing. Let them, then, consider this,
    who have satisfied themselves with a persuasion of their
    interest in the good things of the gospel, and yet have
    despised the Spirit of Christ. I know there are many that may
    pretend to him, and yet are strangers from his grace; but if
    they perish who in profession use him kindly, and honour him,
    if he dwell not in them with power, where shall they appear
    who oppose and affront him? The Scripture tells us, that
    unless the Spirit of Christ be in us, we are dead, we are
    reprobates, - we are none of Christ's. Without him you can
    have none of those glorious effects of his towards believers
    before mentioned; and you are so far from inquiring whether he
    be in you or no, as that you are ready to deride them in whom
    he is. Are there none who profess the gospel, who have never
    once seriously inquired whether they are made partakers of the
    Holy Ghost or no? You that almost account it a ridiculous
    thing to be put upon any such question, who look on all men as
    vain pretenders that talk of the Spirit, the Lord awake such
    men to a sight of their condition before it be too late! If
    the Spirit dwell not in you, if he be not your Comforter,
    neither is God your Father, nor the Son your Advocate, nor
    have you any portion in the gospel. O that God would awake
    some poor soul to the consideration of this thing, before the
    neglect and contempt of the Holy Ghost come to that despising
    of him from which there is no recovery! that the Lord would
    spread before them all the folly of their hearts, that they
    may be ashamed and confounded, and do no more presumptuously! 

    Owen, Of Communion With God

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-26.txt