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On Communion with the Persons in God.-With the Father in his Love, with the Son in his Salvation, and with the Holy Ghost in his gifts, graces, and consolations.
N THE RECORD OF GRACE, which is contained in the inspired Word, the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to give us an infallible account of his work, presence, and gracious influences within and upon the souls of the regenerate. Of which indeed He only can give a perfect description; He being the Author and finisher thereof. The energy, with which the word is accompanied, and the graces, fruits, and effects, which it produces, are fully known to Him, and can only be properly described by him. He, speaking of a Christian, styles him a man in Christ,—a new creature in Christ Jesus,—a temple of the living God, and one in whom God dwelleth. From which exprefsions much light and knowledge into the great subject of the agency of the eternal Spirit in his divine and supernatural efficacy in the hearts of believers may be received; and also from those peculiar forms of speech with which the scriptures abound, which belong to.
what is strictly and personally experimental. I allude to such as these;" It pleased God to reveal his Son in me,' "Christ formed in you,' "Christ in you." The first of which exprefses an act of God the Father towards a regenerate person. The apostle when speaking in his Epistle to the Galatians concerning the revelation of the knowledge of Christ, which he had received, calls it "Revealing Christ in him"." It was a revealing Christ to him that he might. preach him to others. "It pleased God "to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen." JEHOVAH, the Father, gave Paul an intimate knowledge of Christ in his own. heart. The knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ did shine into his heart, that he might preach it to others. Therefore when he saith, "He "revealed his Son in me," it is as if he had said, he revealed the gospel; for it was that he might preach it. So as it respects believers, this exprefsion implies the true knowledge of Christ received from the gospel by faith. The Holy Spirit createth light in the renewed understanding, and by this light, through the revelation which God hath made of his Son in the gospel, the regenerate person takes in such ideas and apprehen
a Ch. i. 17.
sions of Christ, as never entered into a And thus God reveals his Son; and this revelation and knowledge of the Son of God are life eternal.
The exprefsion Christ formed in you respects the true formation of Christ, as he is revealed in the gospel, in the minds of the regenerate. It respects their being fully evangelized. So the phraseology Christ in you implies the knowledge of the LORD JESUS CHRIST derived from the gospel; which knowledge received from the ANOINTING, which teacheth all things, is the greatest evidence of future glory. And Christ thus revealed in the soul is well expressed in the apostle's prayer on behalf of the believing Ephesians, "That Christ
might dwell in their hearts by faith.' As the object dwells in the eye; so Christ dwells in the heart by faith. The Holy Ghost gives that sight of Christ to faith, that makes him real and present to a man's soul. So that he is as really present to faith, as set forth in the written word, as he is to the sense of the blefsed in glory.
There are other exprefsions consecrated by the Holy Ghost in the sacred volume, such as these, "He," i. e. Christ, "abideth in us,"" I am apprehended of Christ," which shew what an imPhil. iii. 12.
1 John iii. 24.
portant reality there is in all the acts of the Eternal Three put forth within us, and fully demonstrate the believer to be a real partaker of a spiritual and supernatural birth; that he is quickened with eternal life, and that he has a supernatural knowledge of God, and spiritual and intimate fellowship with him. Hence John says, "Truly our fellowship is with "the Father, and with his Son Jesus "Christ." This inestimable blefsing he speaks of as belonging to all the holy brethren: therefore he adds, "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." We can never too strictly attend to the words which the Holy Ghost makes use of on these great, mysterious, and divine realities, nor study them too closely; nor can they be understood to our spiritual profit, but as he leads us into his own mind and will as exprefsed in them. It is an eternal truth, that what he sets forth concerning the whole subject of grace is most truly divine, and that every part and branch of it is exprefsed in the apostolic writings. It is "not in the words which "man's wisdom teacheth, but which the "Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spi"ritual things with spiritual." Thus Growth in Grace is exprefsed by "creasing in the knowledge of our Lord "and Saviour Jesus Christ;" and perse1 John i. 4.
verance in holiness by being "strong in "the Lord and in the power of his
might." Union with Christ is the foundation of all communion with him. In consequence of it, the Holy Ghost lives and dwells in us. His indwelling influence and energy in the souls of the regenerate are the effect of their being one with Christ, and his being one with them; and spiritual growth and communion are divinely increased and promoted by the word. We expect to grow into Christ by our own experience, and conceive, that, if we knew more of ourselves and our innate sinfulnefs and corruption, we should most certainly grow in grace; but this is a mistake: for we can only grow into Christ by faith in the word which reveals him. As the Holy Ghost is pleased to enable us to take in views of Christ from it, and mix faith with the revelation of him therein; we thereby grow into an increasing knowledge and fellowship with him, and with the Father in him. Paul exprefses his own spiritual growth thus, "I follow af
ter, if that I may apprehend that for "which also I am apprehended of Christ "Jesus." From the apostle's words we learn that Christ's apprehending him and putting forth his influential power in his soul were the means of his cone Phil. iii. 12.