The Reality of Experiential Communion with God

I John 1:3
       Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): All true Christians enjoy a kind of fellowship or communion with God and Christ, to which mankind are, in their natural state, total strangers. Though I doubt not, that there are many here present, who from their own happy experience have learned the truth of this assertion, yet there are probably still more who will ridicule and deny it.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): Communion with Christ is frequent in the lips of many men, but a hidden mystery to the souls of most men.

EDWARD PAYSON: Those who are entirely unacquainted with experimental religion, and who deny the power of godliness, while they possess the form of it, will and must consider all pretenses to communion with God as the effects of superstition and enthusiasm, the dreams and reveries of weak and deluded minds. When the profane scoffer, the cold hearted infidel, the formal hypocrite, and the self righteous moralist, hear the Christian conversing on these subjects, they are ever ready to exclaim, with a mixture of indignation and contempt, “Thou art beside thyself; too much false religion has made thee mad!” With the utmost justice and propriety, however, may the Christian deny the charge; for he is not mad, nor enthusiastic, nor superstitious; but speaks the words of truth and soberness. That communion with God, of which he speaks, and which constitutes his supreme felicity, is no fancied delusion, no enthusiastic dream, but a blessed reality; it is heaven begun in the soul, and is enjoyed in a greater or less degree by all without exception, who will ever be admitted into the kingdom of heaven.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): They who worship Him in spirit, and in truth, have a real fellowship and communion with Him, that is known only to themselves. The world can neither understand nor believe it.

JOHN FLAVEL: There is a mutual, sweet, and intimate communion betwixt Jesus Christ and believers in this world…This atheistical age scoffs at, and ridicules it as enthusiasm and fanaticism; but the saints find that reality and incomparable sweetness in it, that they would not part with it for ten thousand worlds.

COLONEL JAMES GARDINER (1688-1745): There are some full communications from God as seem almost to swallow up the actings of faith from whence they take their rise.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): I have sometimes had a sense of the excellent fullness of Christ, and His meetness and suitableness as a Saviour; whereby He has appeared to me, far above all, the chief of ten thousand. His blood and atonement have appeared sweet, and His righteousness sweet; which was always accompanied with ardency of spirit; and inward strugglings, and breathings, and groanings that cannot be uttered, to be emptied of myself, and swallowed up in Christ. Once as I rode out into the woods for my health, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and His wonderful, great, full, pure, and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared also ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception―which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated, to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love Him with a holy and pure love; to trust in Him; to live upon Him; to serve and follow Him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have several other times had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): God often manifests Himself to His people when they are out of the noise and hurry of this world. Silence and solitude befriends our communion with God.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): You may perhaps have read in the life of holy John Flavel, the extraordinary instance he records of the love of Christ being poured into his soul. He says that he was riding on a horse, going to some engagement, and he had such a sense of the love of Christ that he completely lost himself for several hours; and when he came to himself again, he found his horse standing quiet still, and discovered that he had been sitting on horseback all those hours, utterly lost to everything but a special revelation of the wonderful love of Jesus. You may also have heard of Gilbert Tennant, the mighty American preacher, and friend of George Whitefield, who was found, lost and absorbed, in a wood, to which he had retired, and his friends had to call him back, as it were, from the sweet fellowship he had been enjoying with Christ. You may remember, too, John Welsh, the famous Scotch preacher, who had to cry out, “Hold, Lord, hold! I am but an earthen vessel, and if I feel more of thy glorious love, I must e’en die; so stay thy hand a while.”
      There are such experiences as these, and I will not enquire whether you have ever known them; but if you have, I will tell you one thing. All the infidels in the world and all the devils in hell will never make you doubt the truth of the Scriptures if you have once been face to face with Christ, and have spoken with your Master as a man speaketh with his friend. Such things have happened unto those whose cloud-piercing eyes have been so fixed upon Christ that He at last has felt the mighty fascination of their loving and believing glances, and has revealed Himself in still greater measure unto them and made them even more blest than they were before.

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1778): There are golden seasons when the soul is on the mount of communion with God; when the Spirit of His Son shines into our hearts, giving us boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. Moreover, a person who is at all conversant with the spiritual life, knows as certainly whether he indeed enjoys the light of God’s countenance, or whether he walks in darkness, as a traveller knows whether he travels in sunshine or in rain.

JOHN FLAVEL: Certainly there is a felt presence of God, which no words can make another to understand…If there be truth in any thing in the world, there is truth in this, that there are real intercourses betwixt the visible and invisible world; betwixt Christ and the souls of believers, which we here call communion: “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Christ Jesus.” It is really and truly so. We impose not upon the world―we tell you no more than we have felt.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): O for felt sense of His presence, for a gracious manifestation thereof to the soul!


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