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length to be 01.), the occasion of what is now tendred to the saints of God. I fall speak nothing of the subject here handled; it may I hope speak for itself, in that spiritual favour and relish which it will yield to them, whose hearts are not so filled with ether things, as to render the sweet things of the gospel bitter to them. The design of the whole treatise; thou wilt find Christian reader, in the first chapters of the first part: and I shall not detain thee here: with the perufal of any thing which in its proper place will offer itself unto thee: know only, that the whole of it hath been recommended to the grace of God in many supplications, for its usefulness unta them that are interested in the good things menti
Oxon. Ch. Ch. Coll.
July 10. 1657.
R E A D E R.
LPHONSUS, King of Spain, is said to
have found food and phyfick in reading Livy: And Ferdinand King of Sicily, in reading Quintus Curtius. But thou hast here nobler entertain. ments, vastly richer dainties, incomparably more sovereign medicines; I had almost faid, the very highest of angels food is here set before thee. And, as Pliny speaks, permista deliciis auxilia: Things that minister unto grace and comfort; to holy life and liveliness.
Such is this treatise. This which is the only one extant, upon its great and necessary fubject. This, whose praise hath been long in the churches; and hath gone enamelled with the honourable reproaches of more than one English Bolsec. This whose great author, like the sun, is well known to the world, by eminence of heavenly light and labours.. This which, as his many other works, can be no other than manna unto found Christians; tho' no better, than stone and ferpeilt to Socinians and their fellow-commoners.
Importunity hach drawn me to say thùs much more, than I could think needful to be faid,"concerning any work of Dr. Owen's.. Needful in our day it self; a day wherein pauci sacras fçripturas, plures nomina rerum, plurimi nomina magistrorum séquuntur. Few do cleave to the holy scriptures; many do rest in scholastick fenseless founds: And most men do hang their faith upon their Rabbi's : fleeves,
This only I ald; of the fwarms every day rifing, there are few books but do want their readers. Yet if I understand aright, there are not many readers but do want this book.
In which censure, I think, I am no tyrant, (which the Philosopher names the worst of wild beasts :) and I am sure, I am no flatterer, (which he calls as justly, the worst of tame beasts.)
Let the simple souls (the pauciffimæ le&tionis mancipia) who take the doctrine of distinct communion with the divine persons, to be a new fangled one, and uncouth; obferve the words of the Reverend Mr. Sam. Clark (the annotator on the Bible) in his sermon on 1 John i. 7. It is to be noted, that there is a distinct fellowship with each of the perfons of the bleffed Trinity. Let them attend what is said by Mr. Lewis Siucley, in his preface to Mr. Polwheil's book of quenching the Spirit ; . It is a most
glorious truth, tho' considered but by few, that • believers have, or may have, distinct communion
with the three perfons, Father, Son and Spirit. • This is attested by the finger of God, and folemn• ly owned by the first and best age of christianity." To name no more; let them read heedfully but the second chapter of this treatife, and its hoped that then they shall no longer contra antidotum insanıre ; no longer rage against God's holy medicinas truth, as St. Austin faith he did, while he was a Manichee; testifying in so many words, his error was his very
Reader, I am,
Thy Servant in Christ Jefus,
That the saints have communion with God, i John
i. 3. considered to that purpose. Somewhat of the nature of communion in general.
N the first epistle of John, chap i. ver. 3. the
apostle assures them to whom he wrote, that the fellowship of belicvers is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Chrift: and this he doth with such an unusual kind of expression as bears the force of an asseveration, whence we have rendered it, Truły our fellowship, &c.
The outward appearance and condition of the faints 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 coinmunion 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 expreflion, 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 honourable, glorious and desireable: For truly, faith he, our fellowship is with the Fatrer, and with his Son Jejus Christ..
This being so earnestly and directly asserted by the apostle, we may boldly follow him with our affirmation, viz. That the saints of God have communion: with him and an holy and spiritual communion it: is, as shall be declared. How this is spoken diftinctly, in reference to the Father, and the Son; must: afterwards be fully opened, and carried on.
By nature, since the entrance of sin, no man: hath any communion with God. He is light, we are darkness, and what communion hath light with : darkness? He is life, we are dead. He is love, 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, Eph. ii. 12. Being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, Chap. iv. 18. Now, two cannot walk together unless they be agreed, Amos iii. 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
Tod, was so loft by sin, as that there was left un