Owen on the saints’ communion with the Father in love

Busyness recently has made this blog quieter than I’d have liked. It isn’t quite over yet, but in lieu of some in-depth thought, here are some quotes from John Owen’s Communion with God, his book on the Trinity. If you haven’t read it, rejoice that you still have that pleasure before you (and go buy a copy!). Owen is a man who walked closely with his God in rich delight, and it’s a privilege to glimpse some of that relationship.

“The saints’ communion with the Father in love” is not optional in the Christian life:

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God – that there is still an indisposedness of spirit to close walking with Him…So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more. Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him; but if the heart be once much taken up with this, the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared to Him…Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in Him…Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams. You who have run from Him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.

And, while time is in short supply and I’m becoming tempted to prioritise fulfilling my duties, rather than dwelling with God in love, a much-needed correction:

…this will discover a main difference between the saints and empty professors [i.e. those who claim to be Christians but aren’t]: as to the performance of duties, and so the enjoyment of outward privileges, fruitless professors often walk hand in hand with them; but now come to their secret retirements, and what a difference is there! There the saints hold communion with God: hypocrites,  for the most part, with the world and their own lusts…when the saints are sweetly wrapped up in the bosom of their Father’s love. It is oftentimes even almost impossible that believers should, in outward appearance, go beyond them who have very rotten hearts: but this meat they have, which others know not of; this refreshment in the banqueting house, wherein others have no share; in the multitude of their thoughts, the comforts of God their Father refresh their souls.

Oh for grace to remember that the outward form of things, without their inward reality, is empty and worthless, however well-praised and rewarded by the world. And for grace to dwell, in the busyness, “sweetly wrapped up in the bosom of their Father’s love”…

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