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length to be on the occafion of what is now tendred to the faints of God. I shall speak nothing of the fubject here handled; it may I hope speak for itself, in that spiritual favour and relish which it will yield to them, whofe hearts are not so filled with other things, as to render the fweet things of the gospel bitter to them. The defign of the whole treatise, thou wilt find Chriftian 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 fupplications, for its usefulness unto them that are interested in the good things menti
Oxon. Ch. Ch. Coll.
July 10. 1657.
JOHN OWE N.
REA DE R.
LPHONSUS, King of Spain, is faid to have found food and phyfick in reading Livy: And Ferdinand King of Sicily, in reading Quintus Curtius. But thou haft here nobler entertainments, vaftly richer dainties, incomparably more fovereign medicines; I had almost faid, the very higheft of angels food is here fet before thee. And, as Pliny fpeaks, permifta deliciis auxilia: Things that minifter unto grace and comfort; to holy life and livelinefs.
Such is this treatife. This which is the only one extant, upon its great and neceffary fubject. This, whofe praise hath been long in the churches; and hath gone enamelled with the honourable reproaches of more than one English Bolfec. This whofe great author, like the fun, 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 Chriftians; tho' no better, than stone and ferpent to Socinians and their fellow-
Importunity hath drawn me to fay thus much more, than I could think needful to be faid, concerning any work of Dr. Owen's. Needful in our day it felf; a day wherein pauci facras fcripturas, plures nomina rerum, plurimi nomina magiftrorum fequuntur. Few do cleave to the holy fcriptures; many do reft in fcholaftick fenfelefs founds:: And moft men do hang their faith upon their Rabbi's fleeves,
This only I add; 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 cenfure, I think, I am no tyrant, (which the Philofopher names the worst of wild beafts:) and I am fure, I am no flatterer, (which he calls as justly, the worst of tame beafts.)
Let the fimple fouls (the pauciffima lectionis mancipia) who take the doctrine of diftinct communion with the divine perfons, to be a new fangled one, and uncouth; obferve the words of the Reverend Mr. Sam. Clark (the annotator on the Bible) in his fermon on 1 John i. 7. It is to be noted, that there is a diftinct fellowship with each of the perfons of the bleffed Trinity. Let them attend what is faid by Mr. Lewis Stucley, in his preface to Mr. Polwheil's book of quenching the Spirit;It is a moft glorious truth, tho' confidered but by few, that believers have, or may have, diftinct communion with the three perfons, Father, Son and Spirit. This is attefted 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 fecond chapter of this treatife, and its hoped that then they shall no longer contra antidotum infanire; no longer rage against God's holy medicinal truth, as St. Auftin faith he did, while he was a Manichee; teftifying in fo many words, his error was his very God.
Reader, I am,
Thy Servant in Chrift Jefus,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft.
CHA P. I.
That the faints have communion with God, 1 John i. 3. confidered to that purpose. Somewhat of the nature of communion in general.
N the first epistle of John, chap i. ver. 3. the apostle affures them to whom he wrote, that the fellowship of believers is with the Father and with his Son Jefus Christ: and this he doth with fuch an unusual kind of expreffion as bears the force of an affeveration, whence we have rendered it, Truby 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, feems to be expofed to many contrary reafonings, and objections: what benefit is there in communion with them? Is it any thing elfe but to be fharers in troubles, reproaches, fcorns, 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 fome earnestness of expreflion, that notwithstanding all the difadvantages their fellowship lay under, unto a carnal view, yet in truth it was, and would be found to be, (in reference to fome with whom they held it) very honourable, glorious and defireable: For truly, faith he, our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jejus Chrift.
This being fo earneftly and directly afferted by the apostle, we may boldly follow him with our affirmation, viz. That the faints of God have communion with him and an holy and fpiritual communion it: is, as fhall be declared. How this is fpoken diftinctly, in reference to the Father, and the Son; must: afterwards be fully opened, and carried on.
By nature, fince the entrance of fin, no man hath any communion with God. He is light, we are darknefs, 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 fuch a condition, have neither Chrift, 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. Whilft there is this diftance between God and man, there is no walking together for them in any fellowship, or communion. Our first intereft in God, was fo loft by fin, as that there was left un