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ercised 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.
1 John v. 7. The apoitle 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 fonship of Christ, and the salvation of believers in his blood. Of the carrying on of that, both by blood and water, jufi-ication and fanctification, 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, 5, 6. The apostle speaking of the distribution of gifts and graces unto the faints, afcribes them distinctly in respect of the Fountain of their communication unto the distinct persons. There are diversities of gifts, but the fame Spirit. The one and felf-fame Spirit that is the Holy Ghost, V. 12. And there are differences of administrations, : but the same Lord, the fame Lord Jesus, v. 3. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the fame 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. v. 18. Our access unto God (wherein we have communion with him) is through Christ in the Spirit, and unto the Father. The persons being herein 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. 2 3. 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, i Cor. i. 9. God is faithful by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. And, Rev. ii. 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 afterwards. Sometimes the Spirit alone is mentioned, 2 Cor.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the conmunion of the Holy Ghost be
with you all. This distinct communion then of the faints 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 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 fouls in thofe graces, and by those ways, wherein both the moral, and instituted worship of God doth consist. Faith, love, trust, joy, &c. 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 tyed to any ways or means outwardly manifesting themselves, or else they are farther drawn forth in folemn 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 cloathed with instituted worthip, respect each person respectively, is thar, which to give light to the affertion in hand, 1 thall farther declare by particular instances.
1. For the Father: Faith, love, obedience, &c. are peculiarly, and di&tinctly 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 inereunto." He gives. testimony unro, and beareth witness of his Son, 1 John v.9. This is the witness of jod which he hath testified of bis 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 à liar . you believe in God, (faith 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 autho-- is rity is founded, and whereinto all divine faith is ultimately resolved, is not to be considered as peculiarly expressive of any perfon, but 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 fuch) therein, of which we speak, and whereupon faith is diftinetly fixed on himn : which if it were not so, the Son could not add; believe alfa.in me..
The like alfo is said of love, 1 John 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; the Father denotes the matter and object, not the effi-cient cause of the love enquired after. And this love of him as a Father, is that which he calls his honour, Mal. i. 6.
Further, These graces as acted in prayer and praises, and as cloathed with instituted worship, are peculiarly directed unto him. We call on the Fa. ther, 1 Pet. i. 17. Eph. 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, comprizeth the whole worship of God, both thai which is moral, in the universal obedience he requireth, and thofe peculiar ways of carrying it on, which are by him appointed, Ifa. xlv. 23. Unto me (faith the Lord) every knee Mall bow, and every tongue mall swear. Which, xxiv. 25. he declareth to consist in their acknowleging of him, for righteousness, and strength. Yea, it seems sometimes to comprehend the orderly subjection of the whole creation unto his sovereignty. In this place of the apostle, it haih a far more restrained acceptation, and is but a figurative expresfion of prayer, taken from the most expressive bodily posture to be used in that duty. This he farther manifests, ver. 15, 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 dury, are distinctly directed to the Father as such, as the fountain of the Deity, and of all goal things in Christ; as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore the same apostle doth in another place, exprefly conjoin, and yet as exprelly distinguish the Father and the Son in directing his fupplications,
Thef. ii. 11. God himself even our Father, and ur Lord Jesus Christ direct our way unto you. The ike president also have you of thanksgiving; Erh.
1. 3, 4.