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communion with him, and yet have no communion with them.
EVIDENCE 3. The reality of communion between God and the saints is undeniably evinced by the spiritual relations into which God has taken them. Every believer is the child of God and the spouse of Christ. God is the believer's Father, and the church is the Lamb's wife. Christ calls the believer not only his servant, but his friend. “ Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth : but I have called you friends." John 15:15. Now, if God be the believer's Father, and the believer be God's own child, certainly there must be communion between them. If Christ be the believer's husband, and the believer be Christ's spouse, there must be communion between them. What, no communion between the Father and his children, the husband and the wife? We must either renounce and deny all such relation to him, and therein renounce our Bibles; or else yield the conclusion that there is a real communion between Christ and believers.
EVIDENCE 4. The reality of communion with God appears from the institution of the ordinances and duties of religion, to maintain daily communion between Christ and his people. As to instance but one institution, that of prayer—a duty appointed on purpose for the soul's meeting with God, and communion with him : “ Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” James 4:8. Now, to what purpose can such an ordinance be appointed for the soul's drawing nigh to God, and God to it, if there be no such thing as communion to be enjoyed with him ? If communion with God were a mere phantom, as the carnal world thinks it to be, what encouragement have the saints to bow their knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? But surely there is an access to God in prayer: “In whom we have boldness, and access with con
fidence.” Eph. 3 : 12. Access to what? If God be not there, and there can be no communion with him, what means that access?" And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat.” Exod. 25 : 22. Duties had never been appointed, but for the sake of God's communing with us, and we with him. - EVIDENCE 5. This is yet further proved from the mutual desires both of Christ and his people to be in sweet and intimate communion one with the other. The Scripture speaks much of the saints' vehement desires after communion with Christ, and of Christ's desires after communion with the saints, and of both jointly. The saints' desires after communion with him are frequent in the Scriptures ; see Psa. 63 : 1-3 ; 42: 1; 119 : 20, and the like throughout the New Testament. And Christ is no less desirous, yea, he is much more desirous of communion with us than we are with him. Consider that expression of his to the spouse, in Sol. Song 8: 13: “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice ; cause me to hear it.” As if he had said, O my people, you frequently converse one with another, you talk daily together; why shall not you and I converse with each other? You speak often to men; O that you would speak more frequently to me! “Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice ; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” Sol. Song 2: 14. And then these desires are mutually expressed one to another. Christ has said, “Surely I come quickly.” And the church replies, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22: 20. Now, if there be such vehement mutual desires after communion between Christ and his people in this world, then certainly there is such a thing as real communion between them, or else both must live a very restless and dissatisfied life.
EVIDENCE 6. The mutual complaints of the interruption of communion plainly prove there is such a thing. If God complain of his people for their estrangements from
him, and the saints complain to God of his silence to them, and the hidings of his face from them, surely there must be a communion between them, else there could be no ground of complaints for the interruptions of it. But God does complain of his people for their estrangements from him. “ Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals. What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me ?" Jer. 2:2, 5. As if he should say, You and I have been better acquainted in days past; what cause have I given for your estrangements from me? And thus Christ complainis of the church of Ephesus; after he had commended many things in her, one thing grieves him : “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Rev. 2: 4. And then on the other side, when the Lord hides his face and seems to estrange himself from his people, what sad lamentations and moans do they make about it, as an affliction they know not how to bear. Thus the Psalmist : “Lord, why castest thou off my soul; why hidest thou thy face from me?" Psa. 88: 14. “Hide not thy face far from me ; put not thy servant away in anger.” Psa. 27:9. This is what they cannot bear.
EVIDENCE 7. The reality of communion with God is made visible to others, in the effects of it upon the saints who enjoy it. There are visible signs and tokens of it appearing to the conviction of others. Thus that marvellous change which appeared on the very countenance of Hannah, after she had poured out her heart in prayer, and the Lord had answered her: it is said, “The woman went her way, and her countenance was no more sad.” 1 Sam. 1:18. You might have read in her face that God had spoken peace and satisfaction to her heart. Thus, when the disciples had been with Christ, the mark of communion with him was visible to others : “Now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were
unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled ; and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13. It is sweet, Christian, when the cheerfulness and spirituality of thy conversation with men shall convince others that thou hast been with Jesus.
EVIDENCE 8. We may prove the reality of communion with God, from the impossibility of sustaining the troubles which the saints have without it. If prayers did not go up and answers come down, there were no living for a Christian in this world. Prayer is the outlet of the saints' sorrows, and the inlet of their supports and comforts. Rom. 8:26. Say not that other men have their troubles as well as the saints, and yet bear them without the help of communion with God. It is true that carnal men have their troubles, and those troubles are often too heavy for them. The sorrows of the world work death; but carnal men have no such troubles as the saints have, for they have their inward, spiritual troubles, as well as their outward troubles. And inward troubles are the sinking troubles; but thus the strength of God comes to succor them: and except they had a God to go to, and draw comfort from, they could never bear them. “I had fainted, unless I had believed." Psa. 27:13. Paul had sunk under the buffetings of Satan, unless he had gone once and again to his God, and received the answer, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Cor. 12:9.
EVIDENCE 9. We argue the reality of communion with God from the end of the saints' vocation. We read frequently in Scripture of effectual calling; and what is that to which God calls his people, out of the state of nature, but unto fellowship and communion with Jesus Christ ? “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:9. They are called, you see, into a life of communion with Christ : therefore there is such a communion, else the saints are called to the enjoyment of a fancy, instead of a privilege; which is the greatest reproach that can be cast upon the faithful God that called them.
EVIDENCE 10. The characters and description given of the saints in Scripture, evidently show their life of communion with God. The men of this world are, in Scripture, manifestly distinguished from the people of God; they are called, the children of this world ; but the saints, the children of light. Luke 16:8. They are said to be after the flesh, but saints to be after the Spirit. Rom. 8:5. They mind earthly things, but the conversation of the saints is in heaven. Phil. 3:19, 20. By all which it undeniably appears that there is a reality in the doctrine of communion between Christ and his people. We are not imposed upon; it is no cunningly devised fable, but a thing whose foundation is as sure as its nature is sweet.