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    CHAPTER 1. That the saints have communion with God — 1 John 1:3 considered to that purpose — Somewhat of the nature of communion in general. IN the First Epistle of John, chap. 1, verse 3, the apostle assures them to whom he wrote that the fellowship of believers “is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ:” and this he doth with such an unusual kind of expression as bears the force of an asseveration; whence we have rendered it, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

    The outward appearance and condition of the saints in those days being very mean and contemptible, — their leaders being accounted as the filth of this world, and as the offscouring of all things, — the inviting others unto fellowship with them, and a participation of the precious things which they did enjoy, seems to be exposed to many contrary reasonings and objections: “What benefit is there in communion with them? Is it any thing else but to be sharers in troubles, reproaches, scorns, and all manner of evils?” To prevent or remove these and the like exceptions, the apostle gives them to whom he wrote to know (and that with some earnestness of expression), that notwithstanding all the disadvantages their fellowship lay under, unto a carnal view, yet in truth it was, and would be found to be (in reference to some with whom they held it), very honorable, glorious, and desirable. For “truly,” saith he, “our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

    This being so earnestly and directly asserted by the apostle, we may boldly follow him with our affirmation, — namely, “That the saints of God have communion with him.” And a holy and spiritual communion it is, as shall be declared. How this is spoken distinctly in reference to the Father and the Son, must afterward be fully opened and carried on.

    By nature, since the entrance of sin, no man hath any communion with God. He is light , ( 1 John 1:5; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; John 5:21; Matthew 22:32; Ephesians 2:1; 1 John 4:8; Romans 8:7.) we darkness; and what communion hath light with darkness? He is life, we are dead, — he is love, and we are enmity; and what agreement can there be between us? Men in such a condition have neither Christ, nor hope, nor God in the world, Ephesians 2:12; “being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them,” chapter 4:18. Now, two cannot walk together, unless they be agreed, Amos 3:3. Whilst there is this distance between God and man, there is no walking together for them in any fellowship or communion. Our first interest in God was so lost by sin, ( Ecclesiastes 7:29; Jeremiah 13:23; Acts 4:12; Isaiah 33:14.) as that there was left unto us (in ourselves) no possibility of a recovery. As we had deprived ourselves of all power for a returnal, so God had not revealed any way of access unto himself; or that he could, under any consideration, be approached unto by sinners in peace.

    Not any work that God had made, not any attribute that he had revealed, could give the least light into such a dispensation.

    The manifestation of grace and pardoning mercy, which is the only door of entrance into any such communion, is not committed unto any but unto him alone in whom it is, by whom that grace and mercy was purchased, through whom it is dispensed, who reveals it from the bosom of the Father. Hence this communion and fellowship with God is not in express terms mentioned in the Old Testament. The thing itself is found there; but the clear light of it, and the boldness of faith in it, is discovered in the gospel, and by the Spirit administered therein. By that Spirit we have this liberty, 2 Corinthians 3:17,18. Abraham was the friend of God, Isaiah 41:8; David, a man after his own heart; Enoch walked with him, Genesis 5:22; — all enjoying this communion and fellowship for the substance of it. But the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest whilst the first tabernacle was standing, Hebrews 9:8. Though they had communion with God, yet they had not parjrJhsi>an , — a boldness and confidence in that communion. This follows the entrance of our High Priest into the most holy place, Hebrews 4:16, 10:19. The veil also was upon them, that they had not ejleuqeri>an freedom and liberty in their access to God, 2 Corinthians 3:15,16, etc. But now in Christ we have boldness and access with confidence to God, Ephesians 3:12. This boldness and access with confidence the saints of old were not acquainted with. By Jesus Christ alone, then, on all considerations as to being and full manifestation, is this distance taken away. He hath consecrated for us a new and living way (the old being quite shut up), “through the veil, that is to say, his flesh,” Hebrews 10:20; and “through him we have access by one Spirit unto the Father,” Ephesians 2:18. “Ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ, for he is our peace,” etc., verses 13,14. Of this foundation of all our communion with God, more afterward, and at large. Upon this new bottom and foundation, by this new and living way, are sinners admitted unto communion with God, and have fellowship with him. And truly, for sinners to have fellowship with God, the infinitely holy God, is an astonishing dispensation. To speak a little of it in general: — Communion relates to things and persons. A joint participation in any thing whatever, good or evil, duty or enjoyment, nature or actions, gives this denomination to them so partaking of it. A common interest in the same nature gives all men a fellowship or communion therein. Of the elect it is said, Ta< paidi>a kekoinw>nhke sarko , Hebrews 2:14, “Those children partook of” (or had fellowship in, with the rest of the world) “flesh and blood,” — the same common nature with the rest of mankind; and, therefore, Christ also came into the same fellowship: Kai< aujtowv uete>sce tw~n aujtw~n , There is also a communion as to state and condition, whether it be good or evil; and this, either in things internal and spiritual, — such as is the communion of saints among themselves; or in respect of outward things. So was it with Christ and the two thieves, as to one condition, and to one of them in respect of another. They were ejn tw~| kri>mati , — under the same sentence to the cross, Luke 23:40, “ejusdem doloris socii.' They had communion as to that evil condition whereunto they were adjudged; and one of them requested (which he also obtained) a participation in that blessed condition whereupon our Savior was immediately to enter. There is also a communion or fellowship in actions, whether good or evil. In good, is that communion and fellowship in the gospel, or in the performance and celebration of that worship of God which in the gospel is instituted; which the saints do enjoy, Philippians 1:5; which, as to the general kind of it, David so rejoices in, Psalm 42:4.

    In evil, was that wherein Simeon and Levi were brethren, Genesis 49:5.

    They had communion in that cruel act of revenge and murder. Our communion with God is not comprised in any one of these kinds; of some of them it is exclusive. It cannot be natural; it must be voluntary and by consent. It cannot be of state and conditions; but in actions. It cannot be in the same actions upon a third party; but in a return from one to another.

    The infinite disparity that is between God and man, made the great philosopher conclude that there could be no friendship between them. f9 Some distance in the persons holding friendship he could allow, nor could exactly determine the bounds and extent thereof; but that between God and man, in his apprehension, left no place for it. Another says, indeed, that there is “communitas homini cum Deo,” — a certain fellowship between God and man; but the general intercourse of providence is all he apprehended. Some arose to higher expressions; but they understood nothing whereof they spake. This knowledge is hid in Christ; as will afterward be made to appear. It is too wonderful for nature, as sinful and corrupted. Terror and apprehensions of death at the presence of God is all that it guides unto. But we have, as was said, a new foundation, and a new discovery of this privilege.

    Now, communion is the mutual communication of such good things as wherein the persons holding that communion are delighted, bottomed upon some union between them. So it was with Jonathan and David; their souls clave to one another ( 1 Samuel 20:17) in love. There was the union of love between them; and then they really communicated all issues of love mutually. In spiritual things this is more eminent: those who enjoy this communion have the most excellent union for the foundation of it; and the issues of that union, which they mutually communicate, are the most precious and eminent.

    Of the union which is the foundation of all that communion we have with God I have spoken largely elsewhere, and have nothing farther to add thereunto.

    Our communion, then, with God consisteth in his communication of himself unto us, with our returnal unto him of that which he requireth and accepteth, flowing from that union which in Jesus Christ we have with him. And it is twofold: — 1. Perfect and complete, in the full fruition of his glory and total giving up of ourselves to him, resting in him as our utmost end; which we shall enjoy when we see him as he is; — and, 2. Initial and incomplete, in the first-fruits and dawnings of that perfection which we have here in grace; which only I shall handle.

    It is, then, I say, of that mutual communication in giving and receiving, after a most holy and spiritual manner, which is between God and the saints while they walk together in a covenant of peace, ratified in the blood of Jesus, whereof we are to treat. And this we shall do, if God permit; in the meantime praying the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who hath, of the riches of his grace, recovered us from a state of enmity into a condition of communion and fellowship with himself, that both he that writes, and they that read the words of his mercy, may have such a taste of his sweetness and excellencies therein, as to be stirred up to a farther longing after the fullness of his salvation, and the eternal fruition of him in glory.

    CHAPTER 2. That the saints have this communion distinctly with the Father, Son, and Spirit — 1 John 5:7 opened to this purpose; also, Corinthians 12:4-6, Ephesians 2:18 — Father and Son mentioned jointly in this communion; the Father solely, the Son also, and the Holy Ghost singly — The saints' respective regard in all worship to each person manifested — Faith in the Father, John 5:9,10; and love towards him: 1 John 2:15, Malachi 1:6 — So in prayer and praise — It is so likewise with the Son, <431401>John 14:1 — Of our communion with the Holy Ghost — The truth farther confirmed. THAT the saints have communion with God, and what communion in general is, was declared in the first chapter. The manner how this communion is carried on, and the matter wherein it doth consist, comes next under consideration. For the first, in respect of the distinct persons of the Godhead with whom they have this fellowship, it is either distinct and peculiar, or else obtained and exercised jointly and in common. That the saints have distinct communion with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit (that is, distinctly with the Father, and distinctly with the Son, and distinctly with the Holy Spirit), and in what the peculiar appropriation of this distinct communion unto the several persons doth consist, must, in the first place, be made manifest. f14 1 John 5:7, the apostle tells us, “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.”

    In heaven they are, and bear witness to us. And what is it that they bear witness unto? Unto the sonship of Christ, and the salvation of believers in his blood. Of the carrying on of that, both by blood and water, justification and sanctification, is he there treating. Now, how do they bear witness hereunto? even as three, as three distinct witnesses. When God witnesseth concerning our salvation, surely it is incumbent on us to receive his testimony. And as he beareth witness, so are we to receive it. Now this is done distinctly. The Father beareth witness, the Son beareth witness, and the Holy Spirit beareth witness; for they are three distinct witnesses. So, then, are we to receive their several testimonies: and in doing so we have communion with them severally; for in this giving and receiving of testimony consists no small part of our fellowship with God. Wherein their distinct witnessing consists will be afterward declared. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, the apostle, speaking of the distribution of gifts and graces unto the saints, ascribes them distinctly, in respect of the fountain of their communication, unto the distinct persons. “There are diversities of gifts, but the sameSPIRIT,” — “that one and the selfsame Spirit;” that is, the Holy Ghost, verse 11. “And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord,” the same Lord Jesus, verse 5. “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God,” etc., even the Father, Ephesians 4:6. So graces and gifts are bestowed, and so are they received.

    And not only in the emanation of grace from God, and the illapses of the Spirit on us, but also in all our approaches unto God, is the same distinction observed. “For through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father,” Ephesians 2:18. Our access unto God (wherein we have communion with him) is dia< Cristou~ , “through Christ,” ejn Pneu>mati , “in the Spirit,” and prora , “unto the Father;” — the persons being here considered as engaged distinctly unto the accomplishment of the counsel of the will of God revealed in the gospel.

    Sometimes, indeed, there is express mention made only of the Father and the Son, 1 John 1:3, “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The particle “and” is both distinguishing and uniting.

    Also John 14:23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” It is in this communion wherein Father and Son do make their abode with the soul.

    Sometimes the Son only is spoken of, as to this purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    And, Revelation 3:20, “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me;” — of which place afterward.

    Sometimes the Spirit alone is mentioned. 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.”

    This distinct communion, then, of the saints with the Father, Son, and Spirit, is very plain in the Scripture; but yet it may admit of farther demonstration Only this caution I must lay in beforehand: — whatever is affirmed in the pursuit of this truth, it is done with relation to the explanation ensuing, in the beginning of the next chapter.

    The way and means, then, on the part of the saints, whereby in Christ they enjoy communion with God, are all the spiritual and holy actings f17 and outgoings of their souls in those graces, and by those ways, wherein both the moral and instituted worship of God doth consist. Faith, love, trust, joy, etc., are the natural or moral worship of God, whereby those in whom they are have communion with him. Now, these are either immediately acted on God, and not tied to any ways or means outwardly manifesting themselves; or else they are farther drawn forth, in solemn prayer and praises, according unto that way which he hath appointed.

    That the Scripture doth distinctly assign all these unto the Father, Son, and Spirit, — manifesting that the saints do, in all of them, both as they are purely and nakedly moral, and as farther clothed with instituted worship, respect each person respectively, — is that which, to give light to the assertion in hand, I shall farther declare by particular instances: — 1. For theFATHER. Faith, love, obedience, etc., are peculiarly and distinctly yielded by the saints unto him; and he is peculiarly manifested in those ways as acting peculiarly towards them: which should draw them forth and stir them up thereunto. He gives testimony unto, and beareth witness of, his Son, 1 John 5:9, “This is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” In his bearing witness he is an object of belief.

    When he gives testimony (which he doth as the Father, because he doth it of the Son) he is to be received in it by faith. And this is affirmed, verse 10, “He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself.” To believe on the Son of God in this place, is to receive the Lord Christ as the Son, the Son given unto us, ( Isaiah 9:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Matthew 5:16,45, <400601> 6:1,4,6,8, 7:21, 12:50; Luke 24:49; John 4:23, 6:45, 12:26, 14:6,21,23, <431501> 15:1, 16:25,27, 20:17; Galatians 1:1,3; Ephesians 2:18, 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; James 1:17; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 2:13, etc.) for all the ends of the Father's love, upon the credit of the Father's testimony; and, therefore, therein is faith immediately acted on the Father. So it follows in the next words, “He that believeth not God” (that is, the Father, who bears witness to the Son) “hath made him a liar.” “Ye believe in God,” saith our Savior, John 14:1; that is, the Father as such, for he adds, “Believe also in me;” or, “Believe you in God; believe also in me.” God, as the prima Veritas, upon whose authority is founded, and whereunto all divine faith is ultimately resolved, is not to be considered uJpostatikw~v , as peculiarly expressive of any person, but oujsiwdw~v , comprehending the whole Deity; which undividedly is the prime object thereof. But in this particular it is the testimony and authority of the Father (as such) therein, of which we speak, and whereupon faith is distinctly fixed on him; — which, if it were not so, the Son could not add, “Believe also in me.”

    The like also is said of love. 1 John 2:15, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him;” that is, the love which we bear to him, not that which we receive from him. The Father is here placed as the object of our love, in opposition to the world, which takes up our affections hJ ajga>ph tou~ Patro>v . The Father denotes the matter and object, not the efficient cause, of the love inquired after. And this love of him as a Father is that which he calls his “honor,” Malachi 1:6.

    Farther: these graces as acted in prayer and praises, and as clothed with instituted worship, are peculiarly directed unto him. “Ye call on the Father,” 1 Peter 1:17, Ephesians 3:14,15, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”

    Bowing the knee compriseth the whole worship of God, both that which is moral, in the universal obedience he requireth, and those peculiar ways of carrying it on which are by him appointed, Isaiah 45:23, “Unto me,” saith the Lord, “every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Which, verses 24,25, he declareth to consist in their acknowledging of him for righteousness and strength. Yea, it seems sometimes to comprehend the orderly subjection of the whole creation unto his sovereignty. ( Romans 14:10,11; Philippians 2:10.) In this place of the apostle it hath a far more restrained acceptation, and is but a figurative expression of prayer, taken from the most expressive bodily posture to be used in that duty.

    This he farther manifests, Ephesians 3:16,17, declaring at large what his aim was, and whereabouts his thoughts were exercised, in that bowing of his knees. The workings, then, of the Spirit of grace in that duty are distinctly directed to the Father as such, as the fountain of the Deity, and of all good things in Christ, — as the “Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    And therefore the same apostle doth, in another place, expressly conjoin, and yet as expressly distinguish,, the Father and the Son in directing his supplications, 1 Thessalonians 3:11, “God himself even our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.”

    The like precedent, also, have you of thanksgiving, Ephesians 1:3,4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc. I shall not add those very many places wherein the several particulars ( Jeremiah 10:10, 17:5,6; Galatians 4:8.) that do concur unto that whole divine worship (not to be communicated unto any, by nature not God, without idolatry) wherein the saints do hold communion with God, are distinctly directed to the person of the Father. 2. It is so also in reference unto theSON. John 14:1, “Ye believe in God,” saith Christ, “believe also in me;” — “ Believe also, act faith distinctly on me; faith divine, supernatural, — that faith whereby you believe in God, that is, the Father.” There is a believing of Christ, — namely, that he is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. That is that whose neglect our Savior so threatened unto the Pharisees, John 8:24, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” In this sense faith is not immediately fixed on the Son, being only an owning of him (that is, the Christ to be the Son), by closing with the testimony of the Father conceiving him. But there is also a believing on him, called “Believing on the name of the Son of God,” 1 John 5:13; so also John 9:36; — yea, the distinct affixing of faith, affiance, and confidence on the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, as the Son of God, is most frequently pressed. John 3:16, “God” (that is, the Father) “so loved the world, ..... that whosoever beheveth in him” (that is, the Son) “should not perish.” The Son, who is given of the Father, is believed on. “He that believeth on him is not condemned,” verse 18. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” verse 36. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent,” John 6:29,40; 1 John 5:10. The foundation of the whole is laid, John 5:23, “That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.

    He that honoreth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”

    But of this honor and worship of the Son I have treated at large elsewhere; and shall not in general insist upon it again. For love, I shall only add that solemn apostolical benediction, Ephesians 6:24, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,” — that is, with divine love, the love of religious worship; which is the only incorrupt love of the Lord Jesus.

    Farther: that faith, hope, and love, acting themselves in all manner of obedience and appointed worship, are peculiarly due from the saints, ( Psalm 2:7,12; Daniel 3:25; Matthew 3:17, 17:5, 22:4,5; John 3:36, 5:19-26, 3:36; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 1:16, 4:6; John 2:22-24, 5:10-13; Hebrews 1:6; Philippians 2:10; John 5:23.) and distinctly directed unto the Son, is abundantly manifest from that solemn doxology, Revelation 1:5,6, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

    Which yet is set forth with more glory, chapter 5:8, “The four living creatures, and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints:” and verses 13,14, “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” The Father and the Son (he that sits upon the throne, and the Lamb) are held out jointly, yet distinctly, as the adequate object of all divine worship and honor, for ever and ever. And therefore Stephen, in his solemn dying invocation, fixeth his faith and hope distinctly on him, Acts 7:59,60, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;” and, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge;” — for he knew that the Son of man had power to forgive sins also. And this worship of the Lord Jesus, the apostle makes the discriminating character of the saints, 1 Corinthians 1:2, “With all,” saith he, “that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours;” that is, with all the saints of God. And invocation generally comprises the whole worship of God. ( Isaiah 56:7; Romans 10:12-14.) This, then, is the due of our Mediator, though as God, as the Son, — not as Mediator. 3. Thus also is it in reference unto theHOLY SPIRIT of grace. The closing of the great sin of unbelief ( Acts 7:51.) is still described as an opposition unto, and a resisting of that Holy Spirit. And you have distinct mention of the love of the Splint, Romans 15:30. The apostle also peculiarly directs his supplication to him in that solemn benediction, 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”

    And such benedictions are originally supplications. He is likewise entitled unto all instituted worship, from the appointment of the administration of baptism in his name, Matthew 28:19. Of which things more afterward.

    Now, of the things which have been delivered this is the sum: — there is no grace whereby our souls go forth unto God, no act of divine worship yielded unto him, no duty or obedience performed, but they are distinctly directed unto Father, Son, and Spirit. Now, by these and such like ways as these, do we hold communion with God; and therefore we have that communion distinctly, as hath been described.

    This also may farther appear, if we consider how distinctly the persons of the Deity are revealed to act in the communication of those good things, wherein the saints have communion with God. As all the spiritual ascendings of their souls are assigned unto them respectively, so all their internal receivings of the communications of God unto them are held out in such a distribution as points at distinct rises and fountains (though not of being in themselves, yet) of dispensations unto us. Now this is declared two ways: — (1.) When the same thing is, at the same time, ascribed jointly and yet distinctly to all the persons in the Deity, and respectively to each of them.

    So are grace and peace, Revelation 1:4,5, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,” etc.

    The seven Spirits before the throne, are the Holy Spirit of God, considered as the perfect fountain of every perfect gift and dispensation. All are here joined together, and yet all mentioned as distinguished in their communication of grace and peace unto the saints. “Grace and peace be unto you, from the Father, and from,” etc. (2.) When the same thing is attributed severally and singly unto each person. There is, indeed, no gracious influence from above, no illapse of light, life, love, or grace upon our hearts, but proceedeth in such a dispensation. I shall give only one instance, which is very comprehensive, and may be thought to comprise all other particulars; and this is TEACHING.

    The teaching of God is the real communication of all and every particular emanation from himself unto the saints whereof they are made partakers.

    That promise, “They shall be all taught of God,” inwraps in itself the whole mystery of grace, as to its actual dispensation unto us, so far as we may be made real possessors of it. Now this is assigned, — [1.] Unto the FATHER. The accomplishment of that promise is peculiarly referred to him, John 6:45, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” This teaching, whereby we are translated from death unto life, brought unto Christ, unto a participation of life and love in him, — it is of and from the Father: him we hear, of him we learn, ( Matthew 11:25; John 1:13; James 1:18.) by him are we brought unto union and communion with the Lord Jesus. This is his drawing us, his begetting us anew of his own will, by his own Spirit; and in which work he employs the ministers of the gospel, Acts 26:17,18. [2.] Unto theSON. The Father proclaims him from heaven to be the great teacher, in that solemn charge to hear him, which came once [and] again from the excellent glory: “This is my beloved Son; hear him.” The whole of his prophetical, and no small part of his kingly office, consists in this teaching; herein is he said to draw men unto him, as the Father is said to do in his teaching, John 12:32; which he doth with such efficacy, that “the dead hear his voice and live.” ( Matthew 3:17, 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17; Deuteronomy 18:15-20, etc.; Acts 3:22,23; John 5:25; Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18,19.) The teaching of the Son is a life-giving, a spiritbreathing teaching; — an effectual influence of light, whereby he shines into darkness; a communication of life, quickening the dead; an opening of blind eyes, and chaning of hard hearts; a pouring out of the Spirit, with all the fruits thereof. Hence he claims it as his privilege to be the sole master, Matthew 23:10, “One is your Master, even Christ.” [3.] To theSPIRIT. John 14:26, “The Comforter, he shall teach you all things.” “But the anointing which ye have received,” saith the apostle, “abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him,” 1 John 2:27. That teaching unction which is not only true, but truth itself, is only the Holy Spirit of God: so that he teacheth also; being given unto us “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God,” 1 Corinthians 2:12.

    I have chosen this special instance because, as I told you, it is comprehensive, and comprises in itself most of the particulars that might be annumerated, — quickening, preserving, etc.

    This, then, farther drives on the truth that lies under demonstration; there being such a distinct communication of grace from the several persons of the Deity, the saints must needs have distinct communion with them.

    It remaineth only to intimate, in a word, wherein this distinction lies, and what is the ground thereof. Now, this is, that the Father doth it by the way of original authority; the Son by the way of communicating from a purchased treasury; the Holy Spirit by the way of immediate efficacy. 1st. The Father communicates all grace by the way of original authority: “He quickeneth WHOM HE WILL,” John 5:21. “ OF HIS OWN WILL begat he us,” James 1:18. Life-giving power is, in respect of original authority, invested in the Father by the way of eminency; and therefore, in sending of the quickening Spirit, Christ is said to do it from the Father, or the Father himself to do it. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send,” John 14:26. “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father,” John 15:26; — though he be also said to send him himself, on another account, John 16:7. 2dly. The Son, by the way of making out a purchased treasury: “Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace,” John 1:16. And whence is this fullness? “It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19. And upon what account he hath the dispensation of that fullness to him committed you may see, Philippians 2:8-11. “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of theLORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isaiah 53:10,11. And with this fullness he hath also authority for the communication of it, John 5:25-27; Matthew 28:18. 3dly. The Spirit doth it by the way of immediate efficacy, Romans 8:2, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Here are all three comprised, with their distinct concurrence unto our quickening. Here is the Father's authoritative quickening, — “He raised Christ from the dead, and he shall quicken you; and the Son's mediatory quickening, — for it is done in “the death of Christ; and the Spirit's immediate efficacy, — “He shall do it by the Spirit that dwelleth in you.” He that desires to see this whole matter farther explained, may consult what I have elsewhere written on this subject. And thus is the distinct communion whereof we treat both proved and demonstrated.

    CHAPTER 3. Of the peculiar and distinct communion which the saints have with the Father — Observations for the clearing of the whole premised — Our peculiar communion with the Father is in love — 1 John 4:7,8; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 16:26,27; Romans 5:5; John 3:16, 14:23; Titus 3:4, opened to this purpose — What is required of believers to hold communion with the Father in love — His love received by faith — Returns of love to him — God's love to us and ours to him — Wherein they agree — Wherein they differ. HAVING proved that there is such a distinct communion in respect of Father, Son, and Spirit, as whereof we speak, it remains that it be farther cleared up by an induction of instances, to manifest what [it is], and wherein the saints peculiarly hold this communion with the several persons respectively: which also I shall do, after the premising some observations, necessary to be previously considered, as was promised, for the clearing of what hath been spoken. And they are these that follow: — 1. When I assign any thing as peculiar wherein we distinctly hold communion with any person, I do not exclude the other persons from communion with the soul in the very same thing. Only this, I say, principally, immediately, and by the way of eminency, we have, in such a thing, or in such a way, communion with some one person; and therein with the others secondarily, and by the way of consequence on that foundation; for the person, as the person, of any one of them, is not the prime object of divine worship, but as it is identified with the nature or essence of God. Now, the works that outwardly are of God (called “Trinitatis ad extra”), which are commonly said to be common and undivided, are either wholly so, and in all respects, as all works of common providence; or else, being common in respect of their acts, they are distinguished in respect of that principle, or next and immediate rise in the manner of operation: so creation is appropr iated to the Father, redemption to the Son. In which sense we speak of these things. 2. There is a concurrence of the actings and operations of the whole Deity in that dispensation, wherein each person concurs to the work of our salvation, unto every act of our communion with each singular person.

    Look, by what act soever we hold communion with any person, there is an influence from every person to the putting forth of that act. As, suppose it to be the act of faith: — It is bestowed on us by the Father: “It is not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8. It is the Father that revealeth the gospel, and Christ therein, Matthew 11:25. And it is purchased for us by the Son: “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, to believe on him,” Philippians 1:29. In him are we “blessed with spiritual blessings,” Ephesians 1:3. He bestows on us, and increaseth faith in us, Luke 17:5. And it is wrought in us by the Spirit; he administers that “exceeding greatness of his power,” which he exerciseth towards them who believe, “according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,” Ephesians 1:19,20; Romans 8:11. 3. When I assign any particular thing wherein we hold communion with any person, I do not do it exclusively unto other mediums of communion; but only by the way of inducing a special and eminent instance for the proof and manifestation of the former general assertion: otherwise there is no grace or duty wherein we have not communion with God in the way described. In every thing wherein we are made partakers of the divine nature, there is a communication and receiving between God and us; so near are we unto him in Christ. 4. By asserting this distinct communion, which merely respects that order in the dispensation of grace which God is pleased to hold out in the gospel, I intend not in the least to shut up all communion with God under these precincts (his ways being exceeding broad, containing a perfection whereof there is no end), nor to prejudice that holy fellowship we have with the whole Deity, in our walking before him in covenant-obedience; which also, God assisting, I shall handle hereafter.

    These few observations being premised, I come now to declare what it is wherein peculiarly and eminently the saints have communion with the Father; and this is LOVE, — free, undeserved, and eternal love. This the Father peculiarly fixes upon the saints; this they are immediately to eye in him, to receive of him, and to make such returns thereof as he is delighted withal. This is the great discovery of the gospel: for whereas the Father, as the fountain of the Deity, is not known any other way but as full of wrath, anger, and indignation against sin, nor can the sons of men have any other thoughts of him ( Romans 1:18; Isaiah 33:13,14; Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:4-6; Ephesians 2:3), — here he is now revealed peculiarly as love, as full of it unto us; the manifestation whereof is the peculiar work of the gospel, Titus 3:4. 1. 1 John 4:8, “God is love.” That the name of God is here taken personally, and for the person of the Father, not essentially, is evident from verse 9, where he is distinguished from his only begotten Son whom he sends into the world. Now, saith he, “The Father is love;” that is, not only of an infinitely gracious, tender, compassionate, and loving nature, according as he hath proclaimed himself, Exodus 34:6,7, but also one that eminently and peculiarly dispenseth himself unto us in free love.” So the apostle sets it forth in the following verses: “This is love,” verse 9; — “This is that which I would have you take notice of in him, that he makes out love unto you, in 'sending his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.'“ So also, verse 10, “He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” And that this is peculiarly to be eyed in him, the Holy Ghost plainly declares, in making it antecedent to the sending of Christ, and all mercies and benefits whatever by him received. This love, I say, in itself, is antecedent to the purchase of Christ, although the whole fruit thereof be made out alone thereby, Ephesians 1:4-6. 2. So in that distribution made by the apostle in his solemn parting benediction, 2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, THE LOVE OF GOD, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”

    Ascribing sundry things unto the distinct persons, it is love that he peculiarly assigns to the Father. And the fellowship of the Spirit is mentioned with the grace of Christ and the love of God, because it is by the Spirit alone that we have fellowship with Christ in grace, and with the Father in love, although we have also peculiar fellowship with him; as shall be declared. 3. John 16:26,27, saith our Savior, “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.” f24 But how is this, that our Savior saith, “I say not that I will pray the Father for you,” when he saith plainly, chapter 14:16, “I will pray the Father for you?” The disciples, with all the gracious words, comfortable and faithful promises of their Master, with most heavenly discoveries of his heart unto them, were even fully convinced of his dear and tender affections towards them; as also of his continued care and kindness, that he would not forget them when bodily he was gone from them, as he was now upon his departure: but now all their thoughts are concerning the Father, how they should be accepted with him, what respect he had towards them. Saith our Savior, “Take no care of that, nay, impose not that upon me, of procuring the Father's love for you; but know that this is his peculiar respect towards you, and which you are in him: 'He himself loves you.' It is true, indeed (and as I told you), that I will pray the Father to send you the Spirit, the Comforter, and with him all the gracious fruits of his love; but yet in the point of love itself, free love, eterual love, there is no need of any intercession for that: for eminently the Father himself loves you. Resolve of that, that you may hold communion with him in it, and be no more troubled about it. Yea, as your great trouble is about the Father's love, so you can no way more trouble or burden him, than by your unkindness in not believing of it.” So it must needs be where sincere love is questioned. 4. The apostle teaches the same, Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.”

    God, whose love this is, is plainly distinguished from the Holy Ghost, who sheds abroad that love of his; and, verse 8, he is also distinguished from the Son, for it is from that love of his that the Son is sent: and therefore it is the Father of whom the apostle here specially speaketh. And what is it that he ascribes to him? Even love; which also, verse 8, he commendeth to us, — sets it forth in such a signal and eminent expression, that we may take notice of it, and close with him in it. To carry this business to its height, there is not only most frequent peculiar mention of the love of God, where the Father is eminently intended, and of the love of the Father expressly, but he is also called “The God of love,” 2 Corinthians 13:11, and is said to be “love:” so that whoever will know him, l John 4:8, or dwell in him by fellowship or communion, verse 16, must do it as “he is love.” 5. Nay, whereas there is a twofold divine love, beneplaciti and amicitioe, a love of good pleasure and destination, and a love of friendship and approbation, they are both peculiarly assigned to the Father in an eminent manner: — (1.) John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that he gave,” etc.; that is, with the love of his purpose and good pleasure, his determinate will of doing good. This is distinctly ascribed to him, being laid down as the cause of sending his Son. So Romans 9:11,12; Ephesians 1:4,5; Thessalonians 2:13,14; 1 John 4:8,9. (2.) John 14:23, there is mention of that other kind of love whereof we speak. “If a man love me,” saith Christ, “he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The love of friendship and approbation is here eminently ascribed to him. Says Christ, “We will come,” even Father and Son, “to such a one, and dwell with him;” that is, by the Spirit: but yet he would have us take notice, that, in point of love, the Father hath a peculiar prerogative: “My Father will love him.” 6. Yea, and as this love is peculiarly to be eyed in him, so it is to be looked on as the fountain of all following gracious dispensations. Christians walk oftentimes with exceedingly troubled hearts, concerning the thoughts of the Father towards them. They are well persuaded of the Lord Christ and his good-will; the difficulty lies in what is their acceptance with the Father, — what is his heart, towards them? “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” John 14:8. Now, this ought to be so far away, that his love ought to be looked on as the fountain from whence all other sweetnesses flow. Thus the apostle sets it out, Titus 3:4, “After that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.” It is of the Father of whom he speaks; for, verse 6, he tells us that “he makes out unto us,” or “sheds that love upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior.'' And this love he makes the hinge upon which the great alteration and translation of the mints doth turn; for, saith he, verse 3, “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” All naught, all out of order, and vile. Whence, then, is our recovery? The whole rise of it is from this love of God, flowing out by the ways there described. For when the kindness and love of God appeared, — that is, in the fruits of it, — then did this alteration ensue. To secure us hereof, there is not any thing that hath a loving and tender nature in the world, and doth act suitably thereunto, which God hath not compared himself unto. Separate all weakness and imperfection which is in them, yet great impressions of love must abide. He is as a father, a mother, a shepherd, a hen over chickens, and the like, <19A313> Psalm 103:13; Isaiah 63:16; Matthew 6:6; Isaiah 66:13; Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 23:37.

    I shall not need to add any more proofs. This is that which is demonstrated: — There is love in the person of the rather peculiarly held out unto the saints, as wherein he will and doth hold communion with them.

    Now, to complete communion with the Father in love, two things are required of believers: — (1.) That they receive it of him. (2.) That they make suitable returns unto him. (1.) That they do receive it. Communion consists in giving and receiving.

    Until the love of the Father be received, we have no communion with him therein. How, then, is this love of the Father to be received, so as to hold fellowship with him? I answer, By faith. The receiving of it is the believing of it. God hath so fully, so eminently revealed his love, that it may be received by faith — “Ye believe in God,” John 14:1; that is, the Father.

    And what is to be believed in him? His love; for he is “love,” 1 John 4:8.

    It is true, there is not an immediate acting of faith upon the Father, but by the Son. “He is the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by him,” John 14:6.

    He is the merciful high priest over the house of God, by whom we have access to the throne of grace: by him is our manuduction unto the Father; by him we believe in God, 1 Peter 1:21. But this is that I say, — When by and through Christ we have an access unto the Father, we then behold his glory also, and see his love that he peculiarly bears unto us, and act faith thereon. We are then, I say, to eye it, to believe it, to receive it, as in him; the issues and fruits thereof being made out unto us through Christ alone. Though there be no light for us but in the beams, yet we may by beams see the sun, which is the fountain of it. Though all our refreshment actually lie in the streams, yet by them we are led up unto the fountain.

    Jesus Christ, in respect of the love of the Father, is but the beam, the stream; wherein though actually all our light, our refreshment lies, yet by him we are led to the fountain, the sun of eternal love itself. Would believers exercise themselves herein, they would find it a matter of no small spiritual improvement in their walking with God.

    This is that which is aimed at. Many dark and disturbing thoughts are apt to arise in this thing. Few can carry up their hearts and minds to this height by faith, as to rest their souls in the love of the Father; they live below it, in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds. All here is serene and quiet. But how to attain to this pitch they know not. This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love.

    This is that which Christ came to reveal, — God as a Father, John 1:18; that name which he declares to those who are given him out of the world, John 17:6. And this is that which he effectually leads us to by himself, as he is the only way of going to God as a Father, John 14:5,6; that is, as love: and by doing so, gives us the rest which he promiseth; for the love of the Father is the only rest of the soul. It is true, as was said, we do not this formally in the first instant of believing. We believe in God through Christ, 1 Peter 1:21; faith seeks out rest for the soul. This is presented to it by Christ, the mediator, as the only procuring cause. Here it abides not, but by Christ it has an access to the Father, Ephesians 2:18, — into his love; finds out that he is love, as having a design, a purpose of love, a good pleasure towards us from eternity, — a delight, a complacency, a goodwill in Christ, — all cause of anger and aversation being taken away.

    The soul being thus, by faith through Christ, and by him, brought into the bosom of God, into a comfortable persuasion and spiritual perception and sense of his love, there reposes and rests itself. And this is the first thing the saints do, in their communion with the Father; of the due improvement whereof, more afterward. (2.) For that suitable return which is required, this also (in a main part of it, beyond which I shall not now extend it) consisteth in love. God loves, that he may be beloved. When he comes to command the return of his received love, to complete communion with him, he says, “My son, give me thine heart,” Proverbs 23:26, — thy affections, thy love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind,” Luke 10:27; this is the return that he demandeth. When the soul sees God, in his dispensation of love, to be love, to be infinitely lovely and loving, rests upon and delights in him as such, then has it communion with him in love.

    This is love, that God loves us first, and then we love him again. I shall not now go forth into a description of divine love. Generally, love is an affection of union and nearness, with complacency therein. So long as the Father is looked on under any other apprehension, but only as acting love upon the soul, it breeds in the soul a dread and aversation. Hence the flying and hiding of sinners, in the Scriptures. But when he who is the Father is considered as a father, acting love on the soul, thine raises it to love again.

    This is, in faith, the ground of all acceptable obedience, Deuteronomy 5:10; Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 10:12, 11:1,13, 13:3.

    Thus is this whole business stated by the apostle, Ephesians 1:4, “According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”

    It begins in the love of God, and ends in our love to him. That is it which the eternal love of God aims at in us, and works us up unto. It is true, our universal obedience falls within the compass of our communion with God; but that is with him as God, our blessed sovereign, lawgiver, and rewarder: as he is the Father, our Father in Christ, as revealed unto us to be love, above and contrary to all the expectations of the natural man; so it is in love that we have this intercourse with him. Nor do I intend only that love which is as the life and form of all moral obedience; but a peculiar delight and acquiescing in the Father, revealed effectually as love unto the soul.

    That this communion with the Father in love may be made the more clear and evident, I shall show two things: — [1.] Wherein this love of God unto us and our love to him do agree, as to some manner of analogy and likeness. [2.] Wherein they differ; which will farther discover the nature of each of them. [1.] They agree in two things: — 1st . That they’ are each a love of rest and complacency. (1st.) The love of God is so. Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.”

    Both these things are here assigned unto God in his love, —REST and\parDELIGHT. The words are, ytb;h\aæB] vyrij\yæ , — “He shall be silent because of his love.” To rest with contentment is expressed by being silent; that is, without repining, without complaint. This God does upon the account of his own love, so full, so every way complete and absolute, that it will not allow him to complain of any thing in them whom he loves, but he is silent on the account thereof Or, “Rest in his love;” that is, he will not remove it, — he will not seek farther for another object. It shall make its abode upon the soul where it is once fixed, for ever. AndCOMPLACENCY orDELIGHT: “He rejoiceth with singing;” as one that is fully satisfied in that object he has fixed his love on. Here are two words used to express the delight and joy that God has in his love, — cyciy; and lygiy; . The first denotes the inward affection of the mind, joy of heart; and to set out the intenseness hereof, it is said he shall do it “ hj;m]ciB] , — in gladness, or with joy. To have joy of heart in gladness, is the highest expression of delight in love.

    The latter word denotes not the inward affection, but the outwards demonstration of it: ajgallia|~n seems to be formed of it. It is to exult in outward demonstration of internal delight and joy; — “Tripudiare,” to leap, as men overcome with some joyful surprisal. And therefore God is said to do this hG;riB] — with a joyful sound, or singing. To rejoice with gladness of heart, to exult with singing and praise, argues the greatest delight and complacency possible. When he would express the contrary of this love, he says oujk eujdo>khse , — “he was not well pleased,” Corinthians 10:5; he fixed not his delight nor rest on them. And, “If any man draw back, the Lord’s soul has no pleasure in him,” Hebrews 10:38; Jeremiah 22:28; Hosea 8:8; Malachi 1:10. He takes pleasure in those that abide with him. He sings to his church, “A vineyard of red wine:

    I the LORD do keep it,” Isaiah 27:2,3; <19E711> Psalm 147:11, 149:4. There is rest and complacency in his love. There is in the Hebrew but a metathesis of a letter between the word that signifies a love of will and desire bhæa; is so to love), and that which denotes a love of rest and acquiescence (which is, hb;a; ); and both are applied to God. He wills good to us, that he may rest in that will. Some say, ajgapa~|n , “to love,” is from a]gan po>qesqai perfectly to acquiesce in the thing loved. And when God calls his Son ajgaphto>n , “beloved,” Matthew 3:17, he adds, as an exposition of it, ejn w=| eujdo>khsa , “in whom I rest well pleased.” (2ndly.) The return that the saints make unto him, to complete communion with him herein, holds some analogy with his love in this; for it is a love also of rest and delight. “Return unto thy rest, my soul,” says David, <19B607> Psalm 116:7. He makes God his rest; that is, he in whom his soul does rest, without seeking farther for a more suitable and desirable object. “Whom have I,” saith he, “in heaven but thee and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee,” Psalm 73:25. Thus the soul gathers itself from all its wanderings, from all other beloveds, to rest in God alone, — to satiate and content itself in him; choosing the Father for his present and eternal rest. And this also with delight. “Thy loving-kindness,” saith the psalmist, “is better than life; therefore will I praise thee,” Psalm 63:3. “Than life,” µyYijæme — before lives. I will not deny but life in a single consideration sometimes is so expressed, but always emphatically; so that the whole life, with all the concernments of it, which may render it considerable, are thereby intended. Austin, on this place, reading it “super vitas,” extends it to the several courses of life that men engage themselves in. Life, in the whole continuance of it, with all its advantages whatever, is at least intended. Supposing himself in the jaws of death, rolling into the grave through innumerable troubles, yet he found more sweetness in God than in a long life, under its best and most noble considerations, attended with all enjoyments that make it pleasant and comfortable. From both these is that of the church, in Hosea 14:3, “Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy”.

    They reject the most goodly appearances of rest and contentment, to make up all in God, on whom they cast themselves, as otherwise helpless orphans. 2ndly . The mutual love of God and the saints agrees in this, — that the way of communicating the issues and fruits of these loves is only in Christ. The Father communicates no issue of his love unto us but through Christ; and we make no return of love unto him but through Christ. He is the treasury wherein the Father disposeth all the riches of his grace, taken from the bottomless mine of his eternal love; and he is the priest into whose hand we put all the offerings that we return unto the Father. Thence he is first, and by way of eminency, said to love the Son; not only as his eternal Son, — as he was the delight of his soul before the foundation of the world, Proverbs 8:30, — but also as our mediator, and the means of conveying his love to us, Matthew 3:17; John 3:35, 5:20, 10:17, 15:9, 17:24. And we are said through him to believe in and to have access to God. (1st.) The Father loves us, and “chose us before the foundation of the world;” but in the pursuit of that love, he “blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3,4. From his love, he sheds or pours out the Holy Spirit richly upon us, through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:6. In the pouring out of his love, there is not one drop falls besides the Lord Christ. The holy anointing oil was all poured on the head of Aaron, <19D302> Psalm 133:2; and thence went down to the skirts of his clothing. Love is first poured out on Christ; and from him it drops as the dew of Herman upon the souls of his saints. The Father will have him to have “in all things the pre-eminence,” Colossians 1:18; “it pleased him that in him all fullness should dwell,” verse 19; that “of his fullness we might receive, and grace for grace,” John 1:16. Though the love of the Father’s purpose and good pleasure have its rise and foundation in his mere grace and will, yet the design of its accomplishment is only in Christ.

    All the fruits of it are first given to him; and it is in him only that they are dispensed to us. So that though the saints may, nay, do, see an infinite ocean of love unto them in the bosom of the Father, yet they are not to look for one drop from him but what comes through Christ. He is the only means of communications. Love in the Father is like honey in the flower; — it must be in the comb before it be for our use. Christ must extract and prepare this honey for us. He draws this water from the fountain through union and dispensation of fullness; — we by faith, from the wells of salvation that are in him. This was in part before discovered. (2ndly.) Our returns are all in him, and by him also. And well is it with us that it is so. What lame and blind sacrifices should we otherwise present unto God! He bears the iniquity of our offerings, and he adds incense unto our prayers. Our love is fixed on the Father; but it is conveyed to him through the Son of his love. He is the only way for our graces as well as our persons to go unto God; through him passeth all our desire, our delight, our complacency, our obedience. Of which more afterward.

    Now, in these two things there is some resemblance between that mutual love of the Father and the saints wherein they hold communion. [2.] There are sundry things wherein they differ: — 1st . The love of God is a love of bounty; our love unto him is a love of duty. (1st.) The love of the Father is a love of bounty, — a descending love; such a love as carries him out to do good things to us, great things for us.

    His love lies at the bottom of all dispensations towards us; and we scarce anywhere find any mention of it, but it is held out as the cause and fountain of some free gift flowing from it. He loves us, and sends his Son to die for us; — he loves us, and blesseth us with all spiritual blessings.

    Loving is choosing, Romans 9:11,12. He loves us and chastiseth us. [It is] a love like that of the heavens to the earth, when, being full of rain, they pour forth showers to make it fruitful; as the sea communicates its waters to the rivers by the way of bounty, out of its own fullness, — they return unto it only what they receive from it. It is the love of a spring, of a fountain, — always communicating; — a love from whence proceeds every thing that is lovely in its object. It infuseth into, and creates goodness in, the persons beloved. And this answers the description of love given by the philosopher. “To love,” saith he, “e]sti bou>lesqai tini< a[ oJi>etai ajgaqa> , kai< kata< du>namin praktikotwn .” He that loves works out good to them he loveth, as he is able. God’s power and will are commensurate; — what he willeth he worketh. (2ndly.) Our love unto God is a love of duty, the love of a child. His love descends upon us in bounty and fruitfulness; our love ascends unto him in duty and thankfulness. He adds to us by his love; we nothing to him by ours. Our goodness extends not unto him. Though our love be fixed on him immediately, yet no fruit of our love reacheth him immediately; though he requires our love, he is not benefited by it, Job 35:5-8, Romans 11:35, Job 22:2,3. It is indeed made up of these four things: — 1. Rest; 2. Delight; 3. Reverence; 4. Obedience.

    By these do we hold communion with the Father in his love. Hence God calls that love which is due to him as a father, “honor,” Malachi 1:6, “If I be a father, where is mine honor?” It is a deserved act of duty. 2ndly . They differ in this: — The love of the Father unto us is an antecedent love; our love unto him is a consequent love. (1st.) The love of the Father unto us is an antecedent love, and that in two respects: — [1st.] It is antecedent in respect of our love,1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” His love goes before ours. The father loves the child, when the child knows not the father, much less loves him. Yea, we are by nature qeostugei~v , Romans 1:30, — haters of God. He is in his own nature fila>nqrwpov , — a lover of men; and surely all mutual love between him and us must begin on his hand. [2ndly.] In respect of all other causes of love whatever. It goes not only before our love, but also any thing in us that is lovely. Romans 5:8, “God commendeth his love towards us, in that whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

    Not only his love, but the eminent fruit thereof, is made out towards us as sinners. Sin holds out all of unloveliness and undesirableness that can be in a creature. The very mention of that removes all causes, all moving occasions of love whatever. Yet, as such, have we the commendation of the Father’s love unto us, by a most signal testimony. Not only when we have done no good, but when we are in our blood, does he love us; — not because we are better than others, but because himself is infinitely good.

    His kindness appears when we are foolish and disobedient. Hence he is said to “love the world;” that is, those who have nothing but what is in and of the world, whose whole [portion] lies in evil. (2ndly.) Our love is consequential in both these regards: — [1st.] In respect of the love of God. Never did creature turn his affections towards God, if the heart of God were not first set upon him. [2ndly.] In respect of sufficient causes of love. God must be revealed unto us as lovely and desirable, as a fit and suitable object unto the soul to set up its rest upon, before we can bear any love unto him. The saints (in this sense) do not love God for nothing, but for that excellency, loveliness, and desirableness that is in him. As the psalmist says, in one particular, <19B601> Psalm 116:1, “I love theLORD,BECAUSE!” so may we in general; we love the Lord,BECAUSE! Or, as David in another case, “What have I now done? is there not a cause?” If any man inquire about our love to God, we may say, “What have we now done? is there not a cause?” 3rdly . They differ in this also: — The love of God is like himself, — equal, constant, not capable of augmentation or diminution; our love is like ourselves, — unequal, increasing, waning, growing, declining. His, like the sun, always the same in its light, though a cloud may sometimes interpose; ours, as the moon, has its enlargements and straitenings. (1st.) The love of the Father is equal, etc.; whom he loves, he loves unto the end, and he loves them always alike. “The Strength of Israel is not a man, that he should repent.” On whom he fixes his love, it is immutable; it does not grow to eternity, it is not diminished at any time. It is an eternal love, that had no beginning, that shall have no ending; that cannot be heightened by any act of ours, that cannot be lessened by any thing in us. I say, in itself it is thus; otherwise, in a twofold regard, it may admit of change: — [1st.] In respect of its fruits. It is, as I said, a fruitful love, a love of bounty. In reference unto those fruits, it may sometimes be greater, sometimes less; its communications are various. Who among the saints finds it not [so]? What life, what light, what strength, sometimes! and again, how dead, how dark, how weak! as God is pleased to let out or to restrain the fruits of his love. All the graces of the Spirit in us, all sanctified enjoyments whatever, are fruits of his love. How variously these are dispensed, how differently at sundry seasons to the same persons, experience will abundantly testify. [2ndly.] In respect of its discoveries and manifestations. He “sheds abroad his love in our hearts by the Holy Ghost,” Romans 5:5, — gives us a sense of it, manifests it unto us. Now, this is various and changeable, sometimes more, sometimes less; now he shines, anon hides his face, as it may be for our profit. Our Father will not always chide, lest we be cast down; he does not always smile, lest we be full and neglect him: but yet, still his love in itself is the same. When for a little moment he hides his face, yet he gathers us with everlasting kindness.

    Objection . But you will say, “This comes nigh to that blasphemy, that God loves his people in their sinning as well as in their strictest obedience; and, if so, who will care to serve him more, or to walk with him unto well-pleasing?”

    Answer . There are few truths of Christ which, from some or other, have not received like entertainment with this. Terms and appellations are at the will of every imposer; things are not at all varied by them. The love of God in itself is the eternal purpose and act of his will. This is no more changeable than God himself: if it were, no flesh could be saved; but its changeth not, and we are not consumed. What then? loves he his people in their sinning? Yes; his people, — not their sinning. Alters he not his love towards them? Not the purpose of his will, but the dispensations of his grace. He rebukes them, he chastens them, he hides his face from them, he smites them, he fills them with a sense of [his] indignation; but woe, woe would it be to us, should he change in his love, or take away his kindness from us! Those very things which seem to be demonstrations of the change of his affections towards his, do as clearly proceed from love as those which seem to be the most genuine issues thereof. “But will not this encourage to sin?” He never tasted of the love of God that can seriously make this objection. The doctrine of grace may be turned into wantonness; the principle cannot. I shall not wrong the saints by giving another answer to this objection: Detestation of sin in any may well consist with the acceptation of their persons, and their designation to life eternal.

    But now our love to God is ebbing and flowing, waning and increasing. We lose our first love, and we grow again in love; — scarce a day at a stand.

    What poor creatures are we! How unlike the Lord and his love! “Unstable as water, we cannot excel.” Now it is, “Though all men forsake thee, I will not;” anon, “I know not the man.” One day, “I shall never be moved, my hill is so strong;” the next, “All men are liars, I shall perish.” When ever was the time, where ever was the place, that our love was one day equal towards God?

    And thus, these agreements and discrepancies do farther describe that mutual love of the Father and the saints, wherein they hold communion.

    Other instances as to the person of the Father I shall not give, but endeavor to make some improvement of this in the next chapter.

    CHAPTER -Inferences on the former doctrine concerning communion with the Father in love.

    Having thus discovered the nature of that distinct communion which we have with the Father, it remaineth that we give some exhortations unto it, directions in it, and take some observations from it: — 1. First, then, this is a duty wherein it is most evident that Christians are but little exercised, — namely, in holding immediate communion with the Father in love. Unacquaintedness with our mercies, our privileges, is our sin as well as our trouble. We hearken not to the voice of the Spirit which is given unto us, “that we may know the things that are freely bestowed on us of God.” This makes us go heavily, when we might rejoice; and to be weak, where we might be strong in the Lord. How few of the saints are experimentally acquainted with this privilege of holding immediate communion with the Father in love! With what anxious, doubtful thoughts do they look upon him! What fears, what questioning are there, of his goodwill and kindness! At the best, many think there is no sweetness at all in him towards us, but what is purchased at the high price of the blood of Jesus. It is true, that alone is the way of communication; but the free fountain and spring of all is in the bosom of the Father. “Eternal life was with the Father, and is manifested unto us.” Let us, then, — (1.) Eye the Father as love; look not on him as an always lowering father, but as one most kind and tender. Let us look on him by faith, as one that has had thoughts of kindness towards us from everlasting. It is misapprehension of God that makes any run from him, who have the least breathing wrought in them after him. “They that know thee will put their trust in thee.” Men cannot abide with God in spiritual meditations. He loseth soul’s company by their want of this insight into his love. They fix their thoughts only on his terrible majesty, severity, and greatness; and so their spirits are not endeared. Would a soul continually eye his everlasting tenderness and compassion, his thoughts of kindness that have been from of old, his present gracious acceptance, it could not bear an hour’s absence from him; whereas now, perhaps, it cannot watch with him one hour. Let, then, this be the saints’ first notion of the Father, — as one full of eternal, free love towards them: let their hearts and thoughts be filled with breaking through all discouragements that lie in the way. To raise them hereunto, let them consider, — [1.] Whose love it is. It is the love of him who is in himself all sufficient, infinitely satiated with himself and his own glorious excellencies and perfections; who has no need to go forth with his love unto others, nor to seek an object of it without himself. There might he rest with delight and complacency to eternity. He is sufficient unto his own love. He had his Son, also, his eternal Wisdom, to rejoice and delight himself in from all eternity, Proverbs 8:30. This might take up and satiate the whole delight of the Father; but he will love his saints also. And it is such a love, as wherein he seeks not his own satisfaction only, but our good therein also; — the love of a God, the love of a Father, whose proper outgoings are kindness and bounty. [2.] What kind of love it is. And it is, — 1st . Eternal. It was fixed on us before the foundation of the world. Before we were, or had done the least good, then were his thoughts upon us, — then was his delight in us; — then did the Son rejoice in the thoughts of fulfilling his Father’s delight in him, Proverbs 8:30. Yea, the delight of the Father in the Son, there mentioned, is not so much his absolute delight in him as the express image of his person and the brightness of his glory, wherein he might behold all his own excellencies and perfections; as with respect unto his love and his delight in the sons of men. So the order of the words require us to understand it: “I was daily his delight,” and, “My delights were with the sons of men;” that is, in the thoughts of kindness and redemption for them: and in that respect, also, was he his Father’s delight. It was from eternity that he laid in his own bosom a design for our happiness. The very thought of this is enough to make all that is within us, like the babe in the womb of Elizabeth, to leap for joy. A sense of it cannot but prostrate our souls to the lowest abasement of a humble, holy reverence, and make us rejoice before him with trembling. 2ndly . Free. He loves us because he will; there was, there is, nothing in us for which we should be beloved. Did we deserve his love, it must go less in its valuation. Things of due debt are seldom the matter of thankfulness; but that which is eternally antecedent to our being, must needs be absolutely free in its respects to our well-being. This gives it life and being, is the reason of it, and sets a price upon it, Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:3,4; Titus 3:5; James 1:18. 3rdly . Unchangeable. Though we change every day, yet his love changeth not. Could any kind of provocation turn it away, it had long since ceased.

    Its unchangeableness is that which carrieth out the Father unto that infiniteness of patience and forbearance (without which we die, we perish), 2 Peter 3:9, which he exerciseth towards us. And it is, — 4thly . Distinguishing. He has not thus loved all the world: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Why should he fix his love on us, and pass by millions from whom we differ not bye nature, — that he should make us sharers in that, and all the fruits of it, which most of the great and wise men of the world are excluded from? I name but the heads of things. Let them enlarge whose hearts are touched.

    Let, I say, the soul frequently eye the love of the Father, and that under these considerations, — they are all soul-conquering and endearing. (2.) So eye it as to receive it. Unless this be added, all is in vain as to any communion with God. We do not hold communion with him in any thing, until it be received by faith. This, then, is that which I would provoke the saints of God unto, even to believe this love of God for themselves and their own part, — believe that such is the heart of the Father towards them, — accept of his witness herein. His love is not ours in the sweetness of it until it be so received. Continually, then, act thoughts of faith on God, as love to thee, — as embracing thee with the eternal free love before described. When the Lord is, by his word, presented as such unto thee, let thy mind know it, and assent that it is so; and thy will embrace it, in its being so; and all thy affections be filled with it. Set thy whole heart to it; let it be bound with the cords of this love. If the King be bound in the galleries with thy love, shouldst thou not be bound in heaven with his? (3.) Let it have its proper fruit and efficacy upon thy heart, in return of love to him again. So shall we walk in the light of God’s countenance, and hold holy communion with our Father all the day long. Let us not deal unkindly with him, and return him slighting for his goodwill. Let there not be such a heart in us as to deal so unthankfully with our God. 2. Now, to further us in this duty, and the daily constant practice of it, I shall add one or two considerations that may be of importance whereunto; as, — (1.) It is exceeding acceptable unto God, even our Father, that we should thus hold communion with him in his love, — that he may be received into our souls as one full of love, tenderness, and kindness, towards us. Flesh and blood is apt to have very hard thoughts of him, — to think he is always angry, yea, implacable; that it is not for poor creatures to draw nigh to him; that nothing in the world is more desirable than never to come into his presence, or, as they say where he has any thing to do. “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” say the sinners in Zion. And, “I knew thou wast an austere man,” saith the evil servant in the gospels. Now, there is not any thing more grievous to the Lord, nor more subservient to the design of Satan upon the soul, than such thoughts as these. Satan claps his hands (if I may so say) when he can take up the soul with such thoughts of God: he has enough, — all that he does desire. This has been his design and way from the beginning. The first blood that murderer shed was by this means. He leads our first parents into hard thoughts of God: “Has God said so? has he threatened you with death? He knows well enough it will be better with you;” — with this engine did he batter and overthrow all mankind in one; and being mindful of his ancient conquest, he readily useth the same weapons wherewith then he so successfully contended.

    Now, it is exceeding grievous to the Spirit of God to be so slandered in the hearts of those whom he dearly loves. How does he expostulate this with Zion! “What iniquity have ye seen in me?” saith he; “have I been a wilderness unto you, or a land of darkness?” “Zion said, The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman,” etc. The Lord takes nothing worse at the hands of his, than such hard thoughts of him, knowing full well what fruit this bitter root is like to bear, — what alienations of heart, — what drawings back, — what unbelief and tergiversations in our walking with him. How unwilling is a child to come into the presence of an angry father! Consider, then, this in the first place, — receiving of the Father as he holds out love to the soul, gives him the honor he aims at, and is exceeding acceptable unto him. He often sets it out in an eminent manner, that it may be so received: — “He commendeth his love toward us,” Romans 5:8. “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us!” 1 John 3:1. Whence, then, is this folly? Men are afraid to have good thoughts of God. They think it a boldness to eye God as good, gracious, tender, kind, loving: I speak of saints; but for the other side, they can judge him hard, austere, severe, almost implacable, and fierce (the very worst affections of the very worst of men, and most hated of him, Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3), and think herein they do well.

    Is not this soul-deceit from Satan? Was it not his design from the beginning to inject such thoughts of God? Assure thyself, then, there is nothing more acceptable unto the Father, than for us to keep up our hearts unto him as the eternal fountain of all that rich grace which flows out to sinners in the blood of Jesus. And, — (2.) This will be exceeding effectual to endear thy soul unto God, to cause thee to delight in him, and to make thy abode with him. Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God, — that there is still an indisposedness of spirit unto close walking with him. What is at the bottom of this distemper? Is it not their unskilfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love? So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in him, and no more.

    Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him; but if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto him. This, if any thing, will work upon us to make our abode with him. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will? Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in him. I dare boldly say, believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams. You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.

    Objection 1. But some may say, “Alas! how shall I hold communion with the Father in love? I know not at all whether he loves me or no; and shall I venture to cast myself upon it? How if I should not be accepted? should I not rather perish for my presumption, than find sweetness in his bosom? God seems to me only as a consuming fire and everlasting burnings; so that I dread to look up unto him.”

    Answer . I know not what may be understood by knowing of the love of God; though it be carried on by spiritual sense and experience, yet it is received purely by believing. Our knowing of it, is our believing of it as revealed. “We have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love,” 1 John 4:16. This is the assurance which, at the very entrance of walking with God, thou mayest have of this love. He who is truth has said it; and whatever thy heart says, or Satan says, unless thou wilt take it up on this account, thou does thy endeavor to make him a liar who has spoken it, 1 John 5:10.

    Obj. 2. “I can believe that God is love to others, for he has said he is love; but that he will be so to me, I see no ground of persuasion; there is no cause, no reason in the world, why he should turn one thought of love or kindness towards me: and therefore I dare not cast myself upon it, to hold communion with him in his special love.”

    Ans. He has spoken it as particularly to thee as to any one in the world.

    And for cause of love, he has as much to fix it on thee as on any of the children of men; that is, none at all without himself. So that I shall make speedy work with this objection. Never any one from the foundation of the world, who believed such love in the Father, and made returns of love to him again, was deceived; neither shall ever any to the world’s end be so, in so doing. Thou art, then, in this, upon a most sure bottom. If thou believest and receives the Father as love, he will infallibly be so to thee, though others may fall under his severity. But, — Obj. 3. “I cannot find my heart making returns of love unto God.

    Could I find my soul set upon him, I could then believe his soul delighted in me.”

    Ans. This is the most preposterous course that possibly thy thoughts can pitch upon, a most ready way to rob God of his glory. “Herein is love,” saith the Holy Ghost, “not that we loved God, but that he loved us” first, 1 John 4:10,11. Now, thou wouldst invert this order, and say, “Herein is love, not that God loved me, but that I love him first.” This is to take the glory of God from him: that, whereas he loves us without a cause that is in ourselves, and we have all cause in the world to love him, thou wouldst have the contrary, namely, that something should be in thee for which God should love thee, even thy love to him; and that thou shouldst love God, before thou knowest any thing lovely in him, — namely, whether he love thee or no. This is a course of flesh’s finding out, that will never bring glory to God, nor peace to thy own soul. Lay down, then, thy seasonings; take up the love of the Father upon a pure act of believing, and that will open thy soul to let it out unto the Lord in the communion of love.

    To make yet some farther improvement of this truth so opened and exhorted unto as before; — it will discover unto us the eminency and privilege of the saints of God. What low thoughts soever the sons of men may have of them, it will appear that they have meat to eat that the world knows not of. They have close communion and fellowship with the Father. They deal with him in the interchange of love. Men are generally esteemed according to the company they keep. It is an honor to stand in the presence of princes, though but as servants. What honor, then, have all the saints, to stand with boldness in the presence of the Father, and there to enjoy his bosom love! What a blessing did the queen of Sheba pronounce on the servants of Solomon, who stood before him, and heard his wisdom! How much more blessed, then, are they who stand continually before the God of Solomon, hearing his wisdom, enjoying his love! Whilst others have their fellowship with Satan and their own lusts, making provision for them, and receiving perishing refreshments from them, (“whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,”) they have this sweet communion with the Father.

    Moreover, what a safe and sweet retreat is here for the saints, in all the scorns, reproaches, scandals, misrepresentations, which they undergo in the world. When a child is abused abroad in the streets by strangers, he runs with speed to the bosom of his father; there he makes his complaint, and is comforted. In all the hardy censures and tongue-persecutions which the saints meet withal in the streets of the world, they may run with their meanings unto their Father, and be comforted. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you,” saith the Lord, Isaiah 66:13. So that the soul may say, “If I have hatred in the world, I will go where I am sure of love. Though all others are hard to me, yet my Father is tender and full of compassion: I will go to him, and satisfy myself in him. Here I am accounted vile, frowned on, and rejected; but I have honor and love with him, whose kindness is better than life itself. There I shall have all things in the fountain, which others have but in the drops. There is in my Father’s love every thing desirable: there is the sweetness of all mercies in the abstract itself, and that fully and durably.”

    Evidently, then, the saints are the most mistaken men in the world. If they say, “Come and have fellowship with us;” are not men ready to say, “Why, what are you? a sorry company of seditious, factious persons. Be it known unto you, that we despise your fellowship. When we intend to leave fellowship with all honest men, and men of worth, then will we come to you.” But, alas! how are men mistaken! Truly their fellowship is with the Father: let men think of it as they please, they have close, spiritual, heavenly refreshing, in the mutual communication of love with the Father himself. How they are generally misconceived, the apostle declares, Corinthians 6:8-10, “As deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

    And as it is thus in general, so in no one thing more than this, that they are looked on as poor, low, despicable persons, when indeed they are the only great and noble personages in the world. Consider the company they keep: it is with the Father; — who so glorious? The merchandise they trade in, it is love; — what so precious? Doubtless they are the excellent on the earth, Psalm 16:3.

    Farther; this will discover a main difference between the saints and empty professors: — As to the performance of duties, and so the enjoyment of outward privileges, fruitless professors often walk hand in hand with them; but now come to their secret retirements, and what a difference is there! There the saints hold communion with God: hypocrites, for the most part, with the world and their own lusts; — with them they converse and communicate; they hearken what they will say to them, and make provision for them, when the saints are sweetly wrapt up in the bosom of their Father’s love. It is oftentimes even almost impossible that believers should, in outward appearance, go beyond them who have very rotten hearts: but this meat they have, which others know not of; this refreshment in the banqueting house, wherein others have no share; — in the multitude of their thoughts, the comforts of God their Father refresh their souls.

    Now, then (to draw towards a close of this discourse), if these things be so, “what manner of men ought we to be, in all manner of holy conversation?” Even “our God is a consuming fire.” What communion is there between light and darkness? Shall sin and lust dwell in those thoughts which receive in and carry out love from and unto the Father? Holiness becometh his presence for ever. An unclean spirit cannot draw nigh unto him; — an unholy heart can make no abode with him. A lewd person will not desire to hold fellowship with a sober man; and will a man of vain and foolish imaginations hold communion and dwell with the most holy God?

    There is not any consideration of this love but is a powerful motive unto holiness, and leads thereunto. Ephraim says, “What have I to do any more with idols?” when in God he finds salvation. Communion with the Father is wholly inconsistent with loose walking. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth,” 1 John 1:6. “He that saith, I know him” (I have communion with him), “and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” chap. 2:4.

    The most specious and glorious pretense made to an acquaintance with the Father, without holiness and obedience to his commandments, serves only to prove the pretenders to be liars. The love of the world and of the Father dwell not together.

    And if this be so (to shut up all), how many that go under the name of Christians, come short of the truth of it! How unacquainted are the generality of professors with the mystery of this communion, and the fruits of it! Do not many very evidently hold communion with their lusts and with the world, and yet would be thought to have a portion and inheritance among them that are sanctified? They have neither new name nor white stone, and yet would be called the people of the Most High.

    May it not be said of many of them, rather, that God is not in all their thoughts, than that they have communion with him? The Lord open the eyes of men, that they may see and know that walking with God is a matter not of form, but power! And so far of peculiar communion with the Father, in the instance of love which we have insisted on. “He is also faithful who has called us to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;” of which in the next place.

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