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will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John xiv. 23.) He expresseth the active part of communion with God by our loving him, and keeping his commandments ;" and the passive part, by "his own and his Father's coming to us to make their abode with us." The apostle John expresseth them by "our dwelling in God, and God's dwelling in us." (1 John iv. 16.) We dwell in God either by faith in him, whereby we make him the object of our trust, confidence, and dependence; or especially by our love to him, as he there expresseth it: "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God;" and then God's dwelling in us is communion with God in the other part of it, consisting in a communication of himself to us.

But this communion with God-we must think soberly of it. It is not a transformation of the soul of man into the Divine Essence and being; as if man was made God, swallowed up into him, and lost his own existence and being in God. Neither is it a mixture of God's being with the being of the creature; as water and wine are mingled together, so that the nature of them both is lost in that mixture. For it is not thus with angels in heaven, or the glorified spirits there; for they still retain their own distinct nature and being, though they are in the highest communion with God. Neither is it thus between the human and the divine nature of Christ; as if these two were mingled together, and did lose their proper and distinct natures, in each other, though the human and divine nature of Christ have a most near union and communion with each other.

But this communion is a sacred and mutual intercourse that is between God and his people, whereby they go forth and act in the divine exercise of their faculties toward him, and he comes forth in the communication of himself in light, life, and love to them.

SECOND GENERAL.

II. I next proceed to speak of some distinctions about communion

with God.

1. Communion with God may be considered either with respect to this world, or the world to come; the one is imperfect, the other is perfect; one is mediate, the other immediate; the one is inconstant and often interrupted, the other is constant, fixed, and uniform, without any interruption for ever.

2. This communion with God hath higher and lower degrees both in the nether and upper world; both among the saints here below, and the saints and angels above. As there are orders of angels in heaven, and some nearer to the throne of God than others, and receive higher communications of God to them, so it is with the saints made perfect in that heavenly state.

3. This communion with God is either internal, or external; by internal I mean that sacred intercourse between God and the soul which is managed only in the inward man; and by external I mean this communion with God managed in some external ordinance of his worship in the communion of saints.

THIRD GENERAL.

III. I next proceed to show how this communion with God is attained, and then maintained.

I answer in general, It is attained only in that way which God himself hath appointed thereunto.

The Heathen did aim at having fellowship with their gods; and therefore they built them temples to dwell in, erected oracles for them to speak to them by, and they built altars to sacrifice to them, and appointed priests to be their mediators, or Aroupyo iλas, "ministers of friendship" between them and their gods. They used several charms to bring their gods to them, and keep them with them. They made use of various modes and rites of worship, which they thought best pleased their gods, and whereby they might invite their favour to them, and presence with them. Yea, they worshipped several creatures, though not as gods, but yet that, in worshipping them, they might have some communion with those gods that they thought did preside over those creatures [which] they worshipped, as Vulcan over the fire, Neptune over the sea, Ceres over the fruits of the earth, &c. But, notwithstanding these vain apprehensions of the Heathen by such means to have fellowship with their gods, yet the apostle says, "They sacrificed to devils, and not to God," and had "fellowship with devils." "I would not, "saith he, "that ye should have fellowship with devils." (1 Cor. x. 20.)

But the ways of this communion, as I said, must be those which God himself hath appointed; the principal whereof are Jesus Christ himself, and the Holy Spirit.

1. By Jesus Christ. Who was figured upon this account by Jacob's ladder that stood betwixt heaven and earth, as the person wherein heaven and earth are united, God and man have communion with each other. Who was also figured by the temple, whither the people came up to meet, and have communion with God, and God with them. And particularly by the mercy-seat, where God promised to meet his people, and commune with them; and therefore the apostle addeth here in the text: "Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ:" for, on our part, all our access to God is by him. Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." (Eph. ii. 18.)

All God's approaches to us are also through him. All that light, life, and love, which God communicates to his people, is through him alone. And we have this communion through Christ with God,

First. By virtue of his incarnation.-He assumed our nature into union and communion with God, and so made way for our persons. Secondly. By virtue of his life [which] he lived here in the world. -Considered either in the holy example [that] he hath left us to walk by, or the doctrine that he here preached: by both which he did guide and lead men in the right way to fellowship with his Father.

Thirdly. By virtue of his death, and making reconciliation for us by his blood.--For if there had not been a reconciliation and an

agreement made between God and us, we could never have had communion with him. How "can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos iii. 3.) This communion with God is some lower entrance into the holiest of all in this world; and this is said to be by the blood of Jesus; as the apostle speaks: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Heb. x. 19—22.)

Fourthly. By virtue of his resurrection, whereby believers come to be raised up to newness of life. (Rom. vi. 4.)—And it is only in this new life that we have all our communion with God; the "old man in us is not capable of it, nor the powers of nature, till they be renewed, raised, and quickened through the power of Christ's resurrection.

Fifthly. By virtue also of his ascension into heaven.-From whence descends upon believers a Divine Influence and Power through faith, whereby they are carried up above this world, and ascend up to heaven, and into communion with God; as the apostle argues : "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Col. iii. 1.)

Sixthly. By virtue of his intercession. For this is one great thing that he intercedes for with his Father in heaven, that his people might have union and communion with them; as appears by what Christ prays for in the behalf of his disciples: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us," (John xvii. 21,) and so have communion with us.

So that all these things [which] I have spoken concerning Christ, ye see, tend to this great end, -to bring up the saints of God into this communion with him.

2. This communion with God is also by the Spirit of God.-As the apostle speaks of "the communion of the Holy Ghost:" "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." (2 Cor. xiii. 14.) The grace of Christ and the love of God are communicated by the Holy Ghost: so that all our fellowship with the Father and the Son is by the Spirit. Now the Spirit doth effect this communion with God,

(1.) By sanctifying our hearts, and assimilating our natures to the nature of God.-For there can be no communion where there is no likeness of nature. "What communion hath light with darkness," or fire with water? Because there is no similitude in their natures. As the elements that have symbolical qualities, and some likeness in their nature, do easily pass one into the other by a natural transmutation; in this communion with God, there must be some suitableness and likeness between God and the soul; and that enmity and contrariety which is in our natures to him, must be removed by the sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit in us.

man.

(2.) By elevating and raising the soul above its natural power and reach. The apostle distinguisheth between the soul and spirit in The spirit is the superior part of the so; and it is in the spirit that we have our communion with God, who "is a Spirit." As the union and communion between the soul and the body in nature is by the superior and most refined part of the body, which are the vital, natural, and animal spirits; so our union and communion with God is by the spirit, the supreme part of the soul, and that elevated and raised, by the Spirit of God, above its own natural capacity or power.

These are the principal ways for communion with God. But then, there are subordinate ways, which are the ordinances and institutions of God for that end. For God hath in all ages been training up his people to this, to have communion with himself; and therefore he did appoint ordinances for that end under the law. There were sacrifices, and altars, and solemn feasts appointed of God, especially the sabbath-day; and a sanctuary erected, &c., and all for this end,that his people might therein draw nigh to him, and have communion with him. And so, in the New Testament, God hath his ordinances also appointed for this end; as prayer, hearing the word, singing of psalms, baptism, and especially the Lord's supper, which is therefore called "the communion," as that ordinance wherein we have a more special communion with Christ, and with God in him.

QUESTION.

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But what is to be done more particularly on our part to obtain it, and maintain it also?"

ANSWER I. In general, we are to desire it and pant after it, as the most beneficial and necessary thing in the world.-Many have it not, because they desire it not. They satisfy themselves in their converse with things below, and the communion they have with things sensible and natural; and desire not this communion with God.

ANSWER II. You are to make it your scope and end in all the ordinances you approach to, to have therein communion with God.Many come to them out of custom, some out of curiosity, and others in hypocrisy; and so find not that communion with God which else they might obtain if they did make it their great scope and end. David testifies his great longing that he had after the sanctuary of God; but it was for this end,—that he might there meet with God, and have communion with him; as he expresseth it in Psalm xxvii. 4: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." And again: "O God, my God! early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, as I have seen thee in thy sanctuary;' (Psalm lxiii. 1, 2;) which is, in effect, that he might there have communion with God. But to speak to this more particularly:

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1. If we would have communion with God, we must keep up the exercise of faith in Christ.-For it is, as I said, by him that we have

all our communion with God; therefore Christ had his name Immanuel given to him, which signifies "God with us." Let faith look upon God as in Christ, and so we may behold him reconciled; we may behold him coming down to us in our own nature; we may behold him upon a throne of grace, and as entered into a covenant of grace, whereby we may with a greater freedom and boldness have access unto him: which is the active part of this communion with God. And, through faith in Christ, God also communicates himself by his Spirit to his people in light, life, and love: which is this communion in the passive part of it. The apostle saith to this purpose : "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." (1 John iv. 15.) This confession is an act of faith; and if it be not only from the mouth, but from the heart, it leadeth the soul into this communion with God; expressed, on our part, by our dwelling in God, and, on God's part, by his dwelling in us.

2. Keep up a daily exercise of repentance.-That so no new sin, nor the guilt of it in the conscience, may hinder and interrupt our communion with God. For "who can say, My heart is clean, I am pure from sin?" (Prov. xx. 9 :) and therefore there is need of daily repentance, that sin may not interrupt our communion with God; which it will do, if we abide impenitently under it. The apostle speaks in this chapter of fellowship with God, and here in the text; and afterwards adds: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (Verse 8.) So that this communion with God may consist with the being of sin, but not with impenitence under it; and therefore [he] adds: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins;" (verse 9 ;) and we know that confession of sin is one great part of repentance; and when sin is thus confessed and forgiven, it need not hinder our fellowship with God. The apostle also mentioneth, in my text, fellowship with God, and "the cleansing us from sin by the blood of Christ." Both these are put together; so that, to maintain this fellowship with God, we must be cleansed from sin; which is done meritoriously by the blood of Christ, but on our part upon the conditions of faith and repentance.

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3. Keep up a constant course of prayer, and praising God.

(1.) Prayer.-Prayer is a special ordinance for communion with God, and therefore so much commanded in scripture. "Pray without ceasing," saith the apostle in one place. (1 Thess. v. 17.) Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit," as he speaks in another place. (Eph. vi. 18.) For if it be not " a prayer in the Spirit," accompanied with faith and fervour of soul, we may pray, and yet have no communion, with God. Prayer is compared to incense; but it doth not ascend to heaven but in the fire of holy affection kindled by the Spirit. And Christ therefore propounded several parables to put men upon fervency, faith, and perseverance in prayer; which are so well known that I need not mention them. the soul draws nigh to God in any duty, it will be in this; and so

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