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tion of God standeth sure, having this seal; the Lord knoweth them that are his !" 2 Tim. ii. 19. This therefore comes in for a part, and that a very principal part in the leading doctrines of grace; Jehovah's choice of his people is personal. It is not from any thing lovely, or unlovely, in them; neither merit nor demerit hath ought to do in the choice. "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious!" This answereth every other enquiry. "Grace was given to the church in Christ Jesus before the world began," 2 Tim. i. 9. As the Lord said to Moses, so in effect is said to all the church in Christ; "I know thee by name," Exod. xxxiii. 17.
From these preliminary observations, which may be considered as so many standards in the covenant of grace, it will at once appear, that the goings forth of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons in acts of personal communion with his church in Christ, must be the source of all blessedness, both in relation to the life that now is, and of that which is to come. I have saluted the church at the opening of the new year with the prayer of "health to the church from the fountain of health, Jesus Christ;" so now I would follow up that prayer, with shewing under one or two particulars, how Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons is unceasingly ministering to that health in his church, and people, by communications of himself, in all those acts of grace which flow from "fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ," through the Holy Ghost.
And first. In that most sacred sitting of the Holy Trinity, (as one calls it) when in those ancient settlements of eternity, Jehovah purposed to go forth in acts of creation, and to raise up a church for his glory; each divine Person took part in those vast designs, and adopted this most gracious plan of wisdom, of making each Person to be distinctly known, and personally in sweet communion to be enjoyed, by every individual member of Christ's mystical body. And while thus
affording the means for every regenerated child of God to lean upon, and hold communion with each glorious Person, to behold the whole as constituting one and the same infinite and eternal God," who is one Lord, and his name One," Zech. xiv. 9. Hence we are taught, that God the Father is pleased to be revealed as himself personally" choosing, adopting, and accepting the church in his dear Son, before the foundation of the world," Eph. i. 3-6. God the Son hath personally married the church before all time, and thereby personally endeared himself to the affections of his people; and as his own, he hath redeemed them also from the Adam-fall transgression by his blood, and made them holy in his righteousness, Isa. liv. 5. Eph. i. 7. 1 Cor. i. 30. And God the Holy Ghost hath manifested his equal love of the church, in anointing both head and members, when the Father chose the church, and the Son married the church, before all time; by which the Son of God was called Christ in whom the church was chosen, Eph. i. 4. "And grace was given to the church in Christ before the world began," 2 Tim. i. 9. And the personal province of God the Holy Ghost is yet further known, and proved, in regenerating every individual of Christ's mystical body from the Adam-fall transgression, when dead in trespasses and sins, to a new and spiritual life in Christ. And in proof of those glorious acts of grace from each, and from all, and of the perfect equality in the several Persons in the Godhead, both in divine perfections, and of divine love to the church in Christ; and that Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons would have those acts of grace in the Godhead known, and enjoyed by the Lord's people, he hath appointed, that the church in every individual of Christ's mystical body shall be baptized in the joint name, and be blessed in the joint blessing of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. See Matt. xxviii. 19. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. So palpable a testimony can need no further evidence, than that as
the Holy Three in One are all equal; have all manifested equal love to the church; have all taken equal part in the covenant of grace; and are all equally revealed as carrying on the one undivided work in bringing home the church to glory; equal praise is due to each and all: and the goings forth of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons in acts of personal communion with his church in Christ, can be the only source of blessedness to the people of God, both in the life that now is, and in that which is to come.
Secondly. As it is the privilege of the church of God, to be unceasingly brought under the sweet and gracious manifestations of the Holy Three in One, during a whole life of grace, until brought home to glory; so is it the happiness of the church of God in every regenerated member of Christ's mystical body, to be living in the constant enjoyment of it, and personally to know the Father, Son, and Spirit, in those daily, yea, sometimes hourly acts of grace, and love, revealed to them. I must not indulge myself with entering largely into particulars, but let a few of the manifestations of each glorious Person by way of sample suffice.
God the Father in his goings forth to his people, makes himself known under this tender name of Father. The highest note in heaven, and to all eternity, is, and will be," the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named!" Ephes. iii. 14-15. And during the time-state of the church on earth, this is the highest and most blessed name by which the church can call him, or know him. And hence all the acts of God the Father to his church in Christ his dear Son, are made to the people in this fatherly way. Having first put himself into this relationship in Christ, and become our Father, as a Father he is unceasingly manifesting himself in love. Hence he is specially and personally called "the Father of lights,” James i. 17. The "Father of glory," Eph. i. 17.
The "Father of mercies," 2 Cor. i. 3. As if (and which is indeed the case) as a father he begets all these, and every other as his children need; yea, they come from himself, and are part of himself. For he not only communicates every blessing, but is himself the blessing. And having made his chosen in Christ part of himself, from having taken them into union with himself in Christ his dear Son, he hath made himself over to them; and continually is engaged, and doth most blessedly fulfil it, in going forth in acts of communion and fellowship, daily, and all the day, in blessing them " with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
God the Son in like manner, in his goings forth from everlasting, as the prophets describe him, hath been invariably shewing forth in acts of grace and love, that "his delights have been with the sons of men.' His very name is mercy, and his whole heart is love. The very purpose for which he took our nature into union with his divine, was to open, and keep open, a continual intercourse, communion, and fellowship with his people. And in that double nature which he hath, God and Man in one person, he is eminently qualified to go forth in acts of personal communion every moment. For as Man, he knows and feels what our nature is by his own. And as God, he hath all the power and grace of God to communicate what is needful for ever. Oh! what a summary is contained in that one description of him by the Holy Ghost; "the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of Him which filleth all in all!" Eph. i. 22, 23.
God the Holy Ghost comes forth with equal glory and equal grace to the church. Indeed, in relation to his manifestations, all, and every act of love from the Person of the Father, and the Son, to the church in Christ, for the full and sweet enjoyment of them, became the immediate work of the Person of the Holy Ghost. He is the great source of all spiritual life; and
those influences of his, the cause of all our enjoyment of all spiritual blessings. He it is which first opens our spiritual apprehensions of the Father's love and the Son's grace; and when he hath warmed our souls with such apprehensions of both, most blessedly doth he lead forth our souls into the enjoyment of what he hath taught; and thus opens, and keeps open, holy communion and “fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." There is a peculiar glory in that verse of scripture, and indeed I cannot express all that I have found of blessedness in it; I mean that verse in which the Lord Jesus, speaking of the Holy Ghost, saith," he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak !" John xvi. 13. And how very sweetly doth every regenerated child of God prove this, in all the instances of prayer or of praise; pleading the promises, or acting faith upon any of the revelations of God? It is by him that "we know the things which are freely given to us of God!" And I would add, that I have also found a peculiar blessedness in the Holy Ghost's name of Comforter. For in the exercise of this precious office work in the covenant of grace, the church receives all the comforts of the covenant. God our Father is called, and is indeed," the God of all comfort," 2 Cor. i. 3. And God the Son is himself, and so called, "the consolation of Israel," Luke ii. 25. But he, who emphatically is called “the Comforter," even God the Holy Ghost, is he who makes the whole of the Father's comfort, and the Son's consolation, effectual in the souls of his people by his personal ministry, and is therefore the Comforter; he sheds the love of God abroad in the heart. He takes of the things of Christ and shews to us. He is therefore truly the Comforter.
Thirdly. In addition to those observations of the goings forth of Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons in acts of personal communion with his church in Christ,