« ZurückWeiter »
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 Sam. xx. 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 communicationo 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 the Father of our Lord
and Saviour 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 fulness of his salvation, and the eternal fruition of him in glory.
That the saints have this communion distinctly with the Father, Son, and Spi
rit. 1 John v. 7. opened to this purpose. Also, 1 Cor. xii. 4–6. Eph. ii. 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 v. 9, 10. and love towards him. J John ji. 15. Mal. i. 6. So is prayer and praise. It is so likewise with the Son ; John xiv. 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 appropiation of this distinct communion unto the several persons, doth consist, must in the first place be made manifest.
1 John v. 7. the apostle tells us, there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.' 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 Cor. xii. 4–6. the apostle, speaking of the distribution of gifts and graces unto the saints, ascribe them distinctly in respect of the fountain of their communication unto the distinct persons. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit:” the one and the selfsame Spirit, that is, the Holy Ghost; ver. 12. ‘ and there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord :' the same Lord Jesus; ver. 3. * and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God,” &c, even the Father; Eph. iv. 6. So graces and gifts are bestowed, and so are they received. And not only in the emanation of grace from God, and the elapses of the Spirit on us, but also in all our approaches unto God, is the same distinction observed.” “For through Christ, we have an access by one Spirit, unto the Father;’ Eph. ii. 18. Our access unto God (wherein we have communion with him) is 8tá Xploroú, ‘through Christ, iv truévuart “in the Spirit,' and irpèc rov trarápa, unto the Father.” The persons being here considered, as engaged distinctly into 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 i. 3. ‘Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.’ The particle “and” is both distinguishing and uniting. Also, John xiv. 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 Cor. i. 9. ‘God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his only Son Jesus Christ our Lord.’ And Rev. iii. 10. “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 Cor. xiii. 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 before-hand. 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," 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, &c. are the matural 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 the Father. Faith, love, obedience, &c. are peculi
* Hic tibi praecipue sit pura mente colendus.
arly, 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 v. 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 ver. 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,” 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) makes him a liar. ‘Ye believe in God,” saith our Saviour, John xiv. 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 whereinto all divine faith is ultimately resolved, is not to be considered intoorarikóc, as peculiarly expressive of any person, but oilaw8öc, 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 on me.’ The like also is said of love. 1 John ii. v. 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 is a yátruroi trarpèc; 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 “honour;' Mal. i. 6. * . Farther, These graces as acted in prayer and praises, and * Isa. ix. 6. 1 Cor. i. 30. Matt. v. 16. 45. vi. 1. 4.68. vii. 21. xii. 50. Luke
xxiv. 49. John iv. 23. vi. 45.xii. 26. xiv. 6. 21. 23.xv. 1. xvi. 25.27. xx. 17. Gal. i. 1.3, Eph. ii. 18. v. 20. 1 Thess. i. 1. James i. 17. 1 Pet. i. 17. 1 John ii. 13, &c.