Owen - BX9315 O81

OT CHRIST IN HEAVEN. 145 Christ, being with Christ forever, in the presence and immediate enjoyment of him. The light of the stars is useful and relieving in a dark night as we are on our way, but what are they when the sun ariseth? Will any man think it a loss, that upon the rising of the sun he shall not enjoy their light any more, though in the night he knew not what to have done without it? It may be we cannot conceive how it will be best for us, to forego the use ofsacraments, ministry, and the scripture itself. But all the virtue of the streams is in the fountain; and the immediate enjoyment ofChrist, unspeakably exceeds whatever by any means we can be made partakers of here below. In this blessed state have the holy apostles, all the primitive martyrs and believers from the time of their dissolution, enjoyed full satisfaction and solace, in the 1 glorious assembly above, Rev. vii. 15, 16, 17, &c. 3dly, Hereby there is a continuation of communion between the church triumphant above, and that yet mili- tant, herebelow. That there is such a communion be- tween glorified saints and believers in this world, is an article of faith. Both societies are but one church, one mystical body, haveone Head, and amutual concernment in each other. Yea, the spring and means of this com- munion is nosmall partof thegloryof thegospel. Forbe- fore the saints under the Old testament had the mystery of the glory of God in Christ, with our redemption there- by, revealed unto them, in the way before declared, this communion was very obscure; but we are now tak- en into the light and glory of it, as the apostle declares, Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24. 1 know some have perverted the notions of this com- munion unto idolatrous superstition; and so have all o- ther truths of the gospel been abused, and wrested unto the destruction of the souls of men; all the scriptures have been so dealt withal, 2 Pet. iii. 16. But they de- ceived themselves in this matter, the truth deceiveth none. Upon a supposition of communion, they gather- ed that there must of necessity bean immediatecom- munication between them above, and us below. And if so, they knew no way for it, no means of it, but by our praying unto them, and their praying for us. But they were under the power of their own deceivinga Communion doth not require immediatemutual com- munication, unless it be among persons in the same state, and that in such acts as wherein they are mutual- ° o ly assisting, and helpful unto one another. But our different states will admit ofno such intercourse, nor do we stand in need ofany relief from them, or can be helped by any acts of their love, as we may aid and help one another here below. Wherefore the centre of this communion is in Christ alone and our exercise of it is upon him only, with respect unto them. Yet hereon some deny that there is any such commu- nion between the members of the church, or the mysti cal body of Christ in these divers states. And they sup. pose it is so declared in thatof the prophet, Isa. lxiii. 16, Doubtless, thou art our father, though. Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not." But . there is nothing of any such importance in these words. The church under a deep senseof its present state, in its unworthy walking and multiplied provocations, pro- fess themselves to be such, as that their. forefathers in covenant could not own them as their children and pos- terity in the faith. Hereupon they appeal unto the in finite mercy and faithfulnessofGod, which extend them. selves even unto that condition of unworthiness, which was enough to render them utterly disowned by the best of men, howeverotherwise concerned in them. But to suppose the 'church above, which bath passed through its course of faith and obedience in afflictions, tribula- tions, and persecutions, to be ignorant of the state of the church here below in general, and unconcerned in it; to bewithout desires of its success, deliverance and - prosperity unto the glory ôf Christ, is to lay them a- sleep in a senseless state without the exercise of anygrace, or any interest in the glory of God. And if they cry for vengeance on the obdurate persecuting world, Rev. vi. 10. shall we suppose they llave no consideration nor knowledge of the state of the church suffering the same things which they did themselves? And to put it out of question, they are minded of it in the next verse by Christ himself, ver. 11. But that which at present I alone intend, is thejoint communion of the whole church in the worship of God in Christ. Were all that die in the Lord, immediate- ly received into that state wherein God shall be all in all, without any use of the mediation of Christ, or the worship of praise and honour given Unto God by him, without being exercised in theascription of honour,glo- ry, power and dominion unto him, on the account of the past and present discharge of his office, there could S