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to us, in ourselves, no possibility of a recovery. As we had deprived ourselves of all power for a returnal, fo 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 difpensed, 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 administred therein. By that Spirit, we have this liberty, 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. Abraham was the friend of God: Ifa. xli. 8. David a man after his own heart, Enoch walked with him, Gen. V. 24. 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, Heb. ix. 8. Though they had communion with God, yet they had not a boldness and confidence in that cominuni
This follows the entrance of our High Priest into the most holy place, Heb. iv. 16. and x. 9. The vail also was upon them, that they had not freedom and liberty in their access to God; 2 Cor iii. 15, 16. &c. But now in Christ, we have boldness and access with confidence, to God, Eph. i This boldness and accefs with confidencē, th
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 bath confecrated for us a new and living way (the old being quite fut up) through the. vail
, that is to say his flesh, Heb. x. 20. And through him we have an access by one Spirit unto the Father, Eph. ii. 18. We who fometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ, for he is our peace, &c. ver. 13, 14. Of this foundation of all our communion with God, more afterwards and at large. Upon this new bottom and foundation, by, this new and living way, are finners admitted unto communion with God, and have fellowship with him. And truly for finners 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 fame nature gives all men a fellowship or communion therein. Of the elect it is faid, Heb. ii. 14. those children partook of, (or had fellowship in with the rest of the world) fresh and blood; the same common nature with the rest of mankind; and therefore Christ also came into the same fellowship: 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 com munion of saints among themselves; or in respect of outward things; fo was it with Christ and the two thieves, as to one condition, and to one of them in respect of another. They were under the same sentence to the cross, Luke xxxii. 40. ejusdem doloris focii. They had communion as to that evil condition whereunto they were adjudged. And one of them requested, which he obtained, a participation in that blessed condition, whereupon our Saviour 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 fellowship of God, which in the gospel is instituted, which the faints do enjoy; Phil. i. 5. which as to the general kind of it, David fo rejoices in, Psal. xlvi. 4. Evil was that, wherein Simeon and Levi were brethren, Gen. xlix. 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 confent: 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. 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 knowlege is hid in Christ, as will afterwards be made to appear. It is too wonderful for nature, as sinful and corrupted. Terror and apprehensions of death at the prefence of God, is all that it guides unto.
have, as was said, a new foundation, with a new difa covery 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 ghem. Soit 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 fpiritual 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, confifteth in his communication of himself unto us, with our re. turnal unto him, of that which he requireth and accepteth, flowing from the union which in Jesus Christ we have with him: and it is twofold, 1. Per. fect and compleat, in the full fruition of his glory, and total giving up of ourselves to him, resting in him, as our utmost end, which wě fhall enjoy, when we fee him as he is : and 2. Initial and incompleat, in the firft fruits and dawnings of that perfection, which we have here in grace, which only I fhall 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 faints 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 mean time, Praying the God and 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 him.• self, that both he that writes, and they that read the ' words of this 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 distinëtly with
the Father, Son, and Spirit, i John v. 7. opened to this purpose. Aljo i Cor. xii. 4, 5, 6. Eph. ii. 18. Father and Son mentioned jointly in this communion. The Father solely : the Son also and the Hoiy Ghost finidy. The saints respective regard in all worship to each person manifested. Faith in the Father, John v. 9, 10. and love towards him, John ii. 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,
HAT the faints have communion with God,
what communion in gelieral is, was declared in the first chapter. The manner how this communion is carried on, and the inatter wherein is doth confift, 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 ex.