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COMMUNION WITH GOD
FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST,
EACH PERSON DISTINCTLY;
LOVE, GRACE, AND CONSOLATION:
THE SAINTS' FELLOWSHIP
THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY GHOST,
God is love. 1 John iv. 8.
O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest. Cant. i. 7. Make baste my beloved. Cant. viii. 14. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption.
Eph. iv. 30. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of
administrations, but the same Lord, and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God. 1 Cor. xii, 4-6.
It is now six years past, since I was brought under an engagement of promise for the publishing of some meditations on the subject which thou wilt find handled in the ensuing Treatise. The reasons of this delay, being not of public concernment, I shall not need to mention. Those who have been in expectation of this duty from me, have for the most part been so far acquainted with my condition and employments, as to be able to satisfy themselves, as to the deferring of their desires. That which I have to add at present is only this; having had many opportunities, since the time I first delivered any thing in public on this subject (which was the means of bringing me under the engagements mentioned), to reassume the consideration of what I had first fixed on, I have been enabled to give it that improvement, and to make those additions to the main of the design and matter treated on, that my first debt, is come at length to be only the occasion of what is now tendered to the saints of God. I shall speak nothing of the subject here handled; it may, I hope, speak for itself, in that spiritual savour and relish which it will yield to them, whose hearts are not so filled with other 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 perusal 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 unto them that are interested in the good things mentioned therein.
TO THE READE R.
Alphonsus, king of Spain, is said to have found food and physic in reading Livy: and Ferdinand, king of Sicily, in reading Quintus Curtius. But thou hast here nobler entertainments, vastly richer dainties, incomparably more sovereign medicines; I had almost said, the very highest of angel's 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 subject; 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 sound Christians; though no better than stone and serpent to Socinians and their fellow-commoners.
Importunity hath drawn me to say thus much more than I could think needful to be said concerning any work of Dr. Owen's. Needful in our day itself; a day wherein, 'pauci sacras scripturas, plures nomina rerum, plurimi nomina magistrorum sequuntur.' 'Few do cleave to the Holy Scriptures ; many do rest in scholastic senseless sounds; and most men do hang their faith upon their rabbi's sleeves.'
This only I add ; of the swarms every day rising, there are few books but do want their readers. Yet if I understand aright, there are not many readers but do want this book.