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t is fair to say that Charles Haddon Spurgeon is one of the best-known preachers in the history of the world. It is definite that he was England’s best-known preacher for the second half of the 19th century.He took Christ as his Lord and Saviour in 1850 and just four years later was called to be the pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church. It was under his pastoral care that this Church outgrew its building and had to move to new premises. This new site gave rise to a new name, one that is renowned even today, the Metropolitan Tabernacle.We are delighted to present to you Spurgeon’s sermons in this new series of publications.This book is the collection of 25 of C.H. Spurgeon’s sermons, faithfully recorded and edited for publication. The subject of these sermons is the most important matter of the Holy Spirit. These sermons form Spurgeon’s teaching on Pneumatology. This is a subject associated with much controversy in the modern day Church.It is our hope and prayer that these sermons will bless you just as they did those who listened to the ‘Prince of Preachers’ over a century ago. This is still a treasure of wisdom and encouragement for the 21st century.This volume is beautifully formatted with a complete set of active table of contents.
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SPURGEON’S TEACHING ON THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Charles H. Spurgeon
PART I - WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE COVENANT
THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT COMPARED TO THE WIND
THE SUPERLATIVE EXCELLENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
PART II - THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT GLORIFYING CHRIST (Part 1)
THE HOLY SPIRIT GLORIFYING CHRIST (Part 2)
THE TEACHING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CHIEF OFFICE
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INTERCESSION
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S THREEFOLD CONVICTION OF MEN
PART III - KNOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT
RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
OUR URGENT NEED OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE INDWELLING AND OUTFLOWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE ENTREATY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT
PART IV - HELP FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT
PRAYING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT—THE NEED OF THE AGE
THE HOLY SPIRIT—THE GREAT TEACHER
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE ONE CHURCH
A MOST NEEDFUL PRAYER CONCERNING THE HOLY SPIRIT
WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE COVENANT
THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT COMPARED TO THE WIND
THE SUPERLATIVE EXCELLENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE COVENANT
“And I will put My Spirit within you.”
A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning: 1856
THE Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Covenant. We have considered “God in the Covenant” and “Christ in the Covenant” [See Sermons #93 and 103, Volume 2–GOD IN THE COVENANT and CHRIST IN THE COVENANT–Read/download the entire sermon, free of charge, at http://www.spurgeongems.org.] and now, this morning, we have to consider the Holy Spirit in the Covenant. For, remember, it is necessary that the Triune God should work out the salvation of the Lord’s people if they are to be saved at all. And it was absolutely requisite that when the Covenant was made, all that was necessary should be put into it and, among the rest, the Holy Spirit, without whom all things done even by the Father and by Jesus Christ would be ineffectual, for He is needed as much as the Savior of men, or the Father of spirits. In this age, when the Holy Spirit is too much forgotten, and but little honor is accorded to His sacred Person, I feel that there is a deep responsibility upon me to endeavor to magnify His great and holy name. I almost tremble, this morning, in entering on so profound a subject, for which I feel myself so insufficient. But, nevertheless, relying on the aid, the guidance and the witness of the Holy Spirit, Himself, I venture upon an exposition of this text, “I will put My Spirit within you.”
The Holy Spirit is given, in the Covenant, to all the children of God and received by each in due course. And yet upon our Lord Jesus Christ did the Spirit first descend and alighted upon Him as our Covenant Head, “like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The Father has given the Holy Spirit without measure unto His Son–and from Him, in measure, though still in abundance, do all “the brethren who dwell together in unity” (or union with Christ) partake of the Spirit. This holy anointing flows down from Jesus, the Anointed One, to every part of His mystical body, to every individual member of His Church. The Lord’s declaration concerning Christ was, “I have put My Spirit upon HIM.” And He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon ME, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted.” The Spirit was first poured upon Christ and from Him descends to all those who are in union with His adorable Person. Let us bless the name of Christ if we are united to Him–and let us look up to our Covenant Head, expecting that from Him will flow down the heavenly unction which shall anoint our souls!
My text is one of the unconditional promises of Scripture. There are many conditional promises in the Word of God given to certain characters, although even these promises are in some sense unconditional, since the very condition of the promise is by some other promise secured as a gift–but this one has no condition whatever. It does not say, “I will put My Spirit within them if they ask for Him.” It says plainly, without any reservation or stipulation, “I will put My Spirit within them.” The reason is obvious. Until the Spirit is put within us we cannot feel our need of the Savior, neither can we ask for or seek Him and, therefore, it is necessary that there should be an absolutely unconditional promise made to all the elect children of God–that they should have given to them the waiting Grace, the desiring Grace, the seeking Grace, the believing Grace which shall make them pant and hunger and thirst after Jesus! To everyone who is like Christ–“chosen of God and precious”–to every redeemed soul, however sunken in sin, however lost and ruined by the Fall, however much he may hate God and despise his Redeemer, this promise still holds good, “I will put My Spirit within you” and, in due course, every one of them shall have that Spirit who shall quicken them from the dead, lead them to seek pardon, induce them to trust in Christ and adopt them into the living family of God!
The promise is also concerning an internal blessing to be bestowed–“I will put My Spirit within you.” Remember,we have the Spirit of God in His written Word and with every faithful minister of the Gospel the Spirit is likewise vouchsafed to us in the ordinances of Christ’s Church. God is perpetually giving the Spirit to us by these means. But it is in vain for us to hear of the Spirit, to talk of Him, or to believe in Him unless we have a realization of His power within us! Here, therefore, is the promise of such an internal blessing–“I will put My Spirit within you.”
We come now to consider this promise in all its comprehensiveness. May the Holy Spirit Himself assist us in so doing! We shall take the various works of the Holy Spirit, one by one, and shall remember that in all the works which He performs, the Spirit is put in the Covenant to be possessed by every Believer.
In the first place we are told by Christ, “IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT QUICKENS.”
Until He is pleased to breathe upon the soul, it is dead to any spiritual life. It is not until the Spirit, like some heavenly wind, breathes upon the dry bones and puts life into them, that they can ever live. You may take a corpse and dress it in all the garments of external decency. You may wash it with the water of morality–yes, you may bedeck it with the crown of profession and put upon its brow a tiara of beauty. You may paint its cheeks until you make it like life itself. But remember, unless the Spirit is there, corruption will, before long, seize on the body. So, Beloved, it is the Spirit who is the Quickener–you would have been as “dead in trespasses and sins” now as ever you were if it had not been for the Holy Spirit who made you alive! You were lying, not simply “cast out in the open field,” but worse than that–you were the very prey of mortality! Corruption was your father, the worm was your mother and your sister–you were noxious in the nostrils of the Almighty. It was thus that the Savior beheld you in all your loathsomeness and said to you, “Live.” In that moment you were “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Life entered into you at His bidding–then it was that the Spirit quickened you! The words of Jesus, so He told His disciples, “They are Spirit, and they are life.” You were made alive entirely through the might of the quickening Spirit–
“The Spirit, like some heavenly wind
Blows on the sons of flesh–
Creates a new–a heavenly mind
And forms the man afresh.”
If, then, you feel at any time death working in you, as doubtless you will, withering the bloom of your piety, chilling the fervor of your devotions and quenching the ardor of your faith, remember that He who first quickened you must keep you alive. The Spirit of God is the sap that flowed into your poor, dry branch because you were grafted into Christ. And as by that sap you were first made green with life, so it is by that sap, alone, you can ever bring forth fruit unto God. By the Spirit you drew your first breath when you cried out for mercy–and from the same Spirit you must draw the breath to praise that mercy in hymns and anthems of joy! Having begun in the Spirit, you must be made perfect in the Spirit. “The flesh profits nothing.” The works of the Law will not help you. The thoughts and devices of your own hearts are of no avail. You would be cut off from Christ, you would be more depraved than you were before your conversion, you would be more corrupt than you were previous to your being regenerated–“twice dead, plucked up by the roots”–if God the Holy Spirit were to withdraw from you! You must live in His life, trust in His power to sustain you and seek of Him fresh supplies when the tide of your spiritual life is running low.
II. WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT AS AN ASSISTANT SPIRIT IN ALL THE DUTIES WE HAVE TO PERFORM.
The most common Christian duty is that of prayer, for the meanest child of God must be a praying child. Remember,then, that it is written, “The Spirit also helps our infirmities, for we know not what to pray for as we ought.” The Spirit of God is in the Covenant as the Great Aid to us in all our petitions to the Throne of Grace. Child of God, you know not what to pray–rely, then, on the Spirit as the Inspirer of prayer who will tell you how to pray! Sometimes you know not how to express what you desire–rely upon the Spirit, then, as the One who can touch your lips with the “live coal from off the altar,” whereby you shall be able to pour out your fervent wishes before the Throne of God. Sometimes even when you have life and power within you, you cannot express your inward emotions–then rely upon that Spirit to interpret your feelings, for He “makes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered.” When, like Jacob, you are wrestling with the Angel and are nearly thrown down, ask the Holy Spirit to nerve your arms. The Holy Spirit is the chariot wheel of prayer. Prayer may be the chariot, the desire may draw it forth, but the Spirit is the very wheel whereby it moves. He propels the desire and causes the chariot to roll swiftly on and to bear to Heaven the supplication of the saints when the desire of the heart is “according to the will of God.”
Another duty to which some of the children of God are called is that of preaching. And here, too, we must have the"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.“ It is a solemn thing to enter upon the work of the ministry. I will just make an observation here for in this place there are young men who are striving to enter into the ministry before they scarcely know the alphabet of the Gospel. They set themselves up as preachers of God’s Word when the first thing they ought to do is to join the infant class in a school and learn to read properly. I know there are some to whom God has given the desire to seek the glory of His name and the welfare of souls and who humbly wait till He has opened the way. God bless them and speed them! But–would you believe it?–a young man was baptized and received into the Church one Sunday–and he positively went off to a College on the Monday or Tuesday to ask if they would receive him! I asked him whether he had ever preached before, or addressed half-a-dozen Sunday scholars. He said, "No.” But what surprised me most was that he said he was called to the work before he was converted! It was a call from the devil, I verily believe–not a call from God in the least degree! Take heed that you touch not God’s Ark with unholy fingers! You may all preach if you can, but take care that you do not set yourselves up in the ministry without having a solemn conviction that the Spirit from on high has set you apart–for if you do, the blood of souls will be found on your skirts! Too many have rushed into the Holy Place uncalled of God who, if they could have rushed out of it on their dying beds would have had eternal cause for gratitude! But they ran presumptuously, then preached unsent and, therefore, unblessed! And when dying, they felt a greater condemnation from the fact that they had taken on themselves an office to which God had never appointed them! Beware of doing that! But if God has called you, however little talent you may have, fear not anyone’s frown or rebuke. If you have a solemn conviction in your souls that God has really ordained you to the work of the ministry and if you have obtained a seal to your commission in the conversion of even one soul, let not death or Hell stop you–go straight on and never think you must have certain endowments to make a successful preacher! The only endowment necessary for success in the ministry is the endowment of the Holy Spirit.
When preaching in the presence of a number of ministers last Friday, I told the Brothers, when one of them asked how it was God had been pleased to bless me so much in this place, “There is not one of you whom God could not bless ten times as much if you had ten times as much of the Spirit.” For it is not any ability of the man–it is not any human qualification–it is simply the influence of God’s Spirit that is necessary! And I have been delighted to find myself abused as ignorant, unlearned and void of eloquence–all which I knew long before, but so much the better–for then all the glory belongs to God! Let men say what they please, I will always confess to the truth of it. I am a fool! “I have become a fool in glorying,” if you please. I will take any opprobrious title that worldlings like to put upon me, but they cannot deny the fact that God blesses my ministry, that harlots have been saved, that drunks have been reclaimed, that some of the most abandoned characters have been changed and that God has worked such a work in their midst as they never saw before in their lives! Therefore, give all the Glory to His holy name! Cast as much reproach as you like on me, you worldlings–the more honor shall there be to God who works as He pleases, and with what instrument He chooses, irrespective of man!
Again, dearly-Beloved, whatever is your work, whatever God has ordained you to do in this world, you are equally certain to have the assistance of the Holy Spirit in it. If it is the teaching of an infant class in the Sunday school, do not think you cannot have the Holy Spirit! His succor shall be granted as freely to you as to the man who addresses a large assembly. Are you sitting down by the side of some poor dying woman? Believe that the Holy Spirit will come to you there as much as if you were administering the sacred elements of the Lord’s Supper. Let your strength for the lowliest work as much as for the loftiest be sought from God! Spiritual plowman, sharpen your plowshare with the Spirit! Spiritual sower, dip your seed in the Spirit so it shall germinate–and ask the Spirit to give you Grace to scatter it that it may fall into the right furrows! Spiritual warrior, whet your sword with the Spirit and ask the Spirit, whose Word is a two-edged sword, to strengthen your arm to wield it!
III. The next point we refer to shall be that THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GIVEN TO THE CHILDREN OF GOD AS A SPIRIT OF REVELATION AND OF INSTRUCTION.
He brings us “out of darkness into marvelous light.” By nature we are ignorant, extremely so, but the Holy Spirit teaches the family of God and makes them wise. “You have an unction from the Holy One,” said the Apostle John, “and you know all things.” Student in the School of Christ, would you be wise? Ask not the theologian to expound to you his system of divinity, but, sitting down meekly at the feet of Jesus, ask that His Spirit may instruct you. For I tell you, student, though you should read the Bible many a year and continually turn over its pages, you would not learn anything of its hidden mysteries without the Spirit. But perhaps, in a solitary moment of your study, when suddenly enlightened by the Spirit, you may learn a Truth of God as swiftly as you see the lightning flash. Young people, are you laboring to understand the Doctrine of Election? It is the Holy Spirit alone who can reveal it to your heart and make you comprehend it. Are you tugging and toiling at the Doctrine of Human Depravity? The Holy Spirit must reveal to you the depth of wickedness of the human heart. Are you wanting to know the secret of the life of the Believer as he lives by the faith of the Son of God and the mysterious fellowship with the Lord he enjoys? It will always be a mystery to you unless the Holy Spirit shall unfold it to your heart. Whenever you read the Bible, cry to the Spirit, “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law.” The Spirit gives eye-salve to the blind and if your eyes are not now open, seek the eye-salve and so you shall see–yes, and see so clearly that he who has only learned in man’s school, shall ask, “How knows this man letters, having never learned?”
Those who are taught of the Spirit often surpass those who are taught of man. I have met with an entirely uninstructed clod-hopper in the country who never went to school for one hour in his life–who yet knew more about the Holy Scriptures than many a clergyman trained at the University! I have been told that it is a common practice for men in Wales, while they are at work breaking stones on the road, to discuss difficult points in theology which many a Divine cannot master! How? Because they humbly read the Scriptures, trusting only to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, believing that He will lead them into all Truth–and He is pleased so to do. All other instruction is very well. Solomon says “that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good.” We should all seek to know as much as can be known, but let us remember that in the work of salvation real knowledge must be obtained by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. And if we would learn in the heart and not merely in the head, we must be taught entirely by the Holy Spirit. What you learn from man, you can unlearn–but what you learn of the Spirit is fixed indelibly in your heart and conscience–and not even Satan himself can steal it from you. Go, you ignorant ones, who often stagger at the Truths of Revelation–go and ask the Spirit, for He is the Guide of benighted souls! Yes, and the Guide of His own enlightened people, too, for without His aid, even when they have been “once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift,” they would not understand all Truths of God unless He led them into it.
IV. I desire further to mention that GOD WILL GIVE THE SPIRIT TO US AS A SPIRIT OF APPLICATION.
Thus it was that Jesus said to His disciples, “He shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” To make the matter still more plain, our Lord added, “All things that theFather has are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” Let me remind you how frequently Jesus impressed on His disciples the fact that He spoke to them the words of His Father–“My Doctrine,” said He, “is not Mine, but His that sent Me.” And again, “The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works.” As Christ thus made known the will of God the Father to His people, so the Holy Spirit makes known to us the words of Christ. I could almost affirm that Christ’s words would be of no use to us unless they were applied to us by the Holy Spirit! Beloved, we need the application to assure our hearts that they are our own, that they are intended for us and that we have an interest in their blessedness! And we need the unction of the Spirit to make them bedew our hearts and refresh our souls.
Did you ever have a promise applied to your heart? Do you understand what is meant by application as the exclusive work of the Spirit? It is as Paul says the Gospel came to the Thessalonians, “not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance.” Sometimes it comes all of a sudden–your heart may have been the scene of a thousand distracting thoughts, billow dashing against billow till the tempest rose beyond your control. But soon some text of Scripture, like a mighty fiat from the lips of Jesus, has stilled your troubled breast and immediately there has been a great calm–and you have wondered from where it came. The sweet sentence has rung like music in your ears. Like a wafer made of honey it has moistened your tongue. Like a charm it has quelled your anxieties while it has dwelt uppermost in your thoughts all day–reining in all your lawless passions and restless strivings. Perhaps it has continued in your mind for weeks! Wherever you went, whatever you did, you could not dislodge it nor did you wish to do so, so sweet, so savory was it to your soul. Have you not thought of such a text as that as the best in the Bible, the most precious in all the Scriptures? That was because it was so graciously applied to you!
Oh, how I love applied promises! I may read a thousand promises as they stand recorded on the pages of this Sacred Volume and yet get nothing from them. My heart would not burn within me for all the richness of the store–but one enough for forty days for many of the Lord’s Elijahs! How sweet it is, in the times of deep affliction, to have this promise applied to the heart–“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon you”! Perhaps you say, “That is all enthusiasm.” Of course it appears so to you, if, as natural men you discern not the things of the Spirit! But we are talking about spiritual things to spiritual men and to them it is no mere enthusiasm–it is often a matter of life or death. I have known numerous cases where almost the only plank on which the poor troubled saint was able to float was just one text of which, somehow or other, he had got so tight a grasp that nothing could take it away from him! Nor is it only His Word which needs to be applied to us. “He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you,” may be referred, likewise, to our Savior’s precious blood. We sometimes sing–
“There is a Fountain filled with blood”–
and we talk of bathing in it. Now faith does not apply the blood to the soul–that is the work of the Spirit. True, I seek it by faith, but it is the Spirit who washes me in “the fountain opened…for sin and for uncleanness.” It is the Spirit who receives of the things of Christ and shows them to me. You would never have a drop of blood sprinkled on your heart unless it was sprinkled by the hand of the Spirit. So, too, the robe of Christ’s righteousness is entirely fitted on us by Him. We are not invited to appropriate the obedience of Christ to ourselves–but the Spirit brings all to us which Christ has made for us. Ask, then, of the Spirit, that you may have the Word applied, the blood applied, pardon applied andGrace applied–and you shall not ask in vain–for Jehovah has said, “I will put My Spirit within you.”
But now we have to mark another very important point. WE MUST RECEIVE THE SPIRIT AS A SANCTIFYING SPIRIT.
Perhaps this is one of the greatest works of the Holy Spirit–sanctifying the soul. It is a great work to purge the soul from sin. It is greater than if one should wash a leopard till all his spots were obliterated, or an Ethiopian till his sable skin became white, for our sins are more than skin-deep–they have entered into our very nature! Should we be outwardly washed white this morning, we would be black and polluted before tomorrow! And if all the spots were taken away today, they would grow again tomorrow, for we are black all through! You may scrub the flesh, but it is black to the last–our sinfulness is a leprosy that lies deep within. But the Holy Spirit sanctifies the soul. He enters the heart, beginning the work of sanctification by conversion. He keeps possession of the heart and preserves sanctification by perpetually pouring in fresh oil of Grace till at last He will perfect sanctification by making us pure and spotless, fit to dwell with the blest inhabitants of Glory!
The way the Spirit sanctifies is this–first He reveals to the soul the evil of sin and makes the soul hate it. He shows it to be a deadly evil, full of poison–and when the soul begins to hate it, the next thing the Spirit does is to show it that the blood of Christ takes all the guilt away and, from that very fact, to lead it to hate sin even more than it did when it first knew its blackness. The Spirit takes it to “the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.” And there He tolls the death-knell of sin as He points to the blood of Christ and says, “He shed this for you, that He might purchase you unto Himself to be one of His peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Afterwards, the Holy Spirit may, at times, allow sin to break out in the heart of the child of God that it may be more strongly repressed by greater watchfulness in the future. And when the heir of Heaven indulges in sin, the Holy Spirit sends a sanctifying chastisement upon the soul until the heart, being broken with grief by the blueness of the wound, evil is cleansed away and Conscience, feeling uneasy, sends the heart to Christ who removes the chastisement and takes away the guilt!
Again, remember Believer, all your holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit. You have not a Grace which the Spirit did not give you! You have not a solitary virtue which He did not work in you. You have no goodness which has not been given to you by the Spirit. Therefore, never boast of your virtues or of your Graces. Have you now a sweet temper, whereas you once were passionate? Boast not of it–you will be angry if the Spirit leaves you. Are you now pure, whereas you were once unclean? Boast not of your purity, the seed of which was brought from Heaven–it never grew within your heart by nature–it is God’s gift. Is unbelief prevailing against you? Do your lusts, your evil passions and your corrupt desires seem likely to master you? Then I will not say, “Up, and at ‘em!” but I will say–Cry mightily unto God that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit–so shall you conquer at last and become more than conqueror over all your sins–seeing that the Lord has engaged to put His Spirit “within you.”
VI. When I have spoken of two more points, I shall conclude. THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS PROMISED TO THE HEIRS OF HEAVEN AS A DIRECTING SPIRIT to guide them in the path of Providence.
If you are ever in a position in which you know not what road to take, remember that your “strength is to sit still,” and your wisdom is to wait for the directing voice of the Spirit saying to you, “This is the way, walk you in it.” I trust I have proved this myself and I am sure every child of God who has been placed in difficulties must have felt, at times, the reality and blessedness of this guidance. And have you never prayed to Him to direct you? If you have, did you ever find that you went wrong afterwards? I do not mean the sort of prayers that they present who ask counsel, but not of the Lord–“who walk to go down into Egypt…to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh,” and then ask God to bless them in a way that He never sanctioned. No, you must start fairly by renouncing every other trust. It is only thus that you can make proof of His promise, “Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Take with you, then, child of God, an open confession. Say, “Lord, I desire, like a sheet of water, to be moved by the breath of the Spirit. Here I lie, ‘passive in Your hands.’ Gladly would I know no will but Yours. Show me Your will, O Lord! Teach me what to do and what to refrain from doing.”
To some of you this may seem all fanaticism. You believe not that God the Holy Spirit ever guides men in the way they should take. So you may suppose if you have never experienced His guidance. We have heard that when one of our English travelers in Africa told the inhabitants of the intense cold that sometimes prevailed in his country, by which water became so hard that people could skate and walk upon it, the king threatened to put him to death if he told anymore lies, for he had never felt or seen such things. And what one has never seen or felt is certainly fit subject for doubt and contradiction. But with regard to the Lord’s people who tell you that they are led by the Spirit, I advise you to give heed to their sayings and seek to make the trial for yourselves! It would be a good thing if you were just to go to God, as a child, in all your distresses. Remember that as a Solicitor whom you may safely consult, as a Guide whose directions you may safely follow, as a Friend on whose protection you may safely rely, the Holy Spirit is personally present in the Church of Christ and with each of the disciples of Jesus! And there is no fee to pay but the fee of gratitude and praise, because He has directed you so well!
VII. Just once more–THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BE GIVEN TO GOD’S CHILDREN AS A COMFORTING SPIRIT.
This is peculiarly His office. Have you ever felt, immediately before a great and grievous trouble, you have had a most unaccountable season of joy? You scarcely knew why you were so happy or so tranquil. You seemed to be floating upon a very Sea of Elysium–there was not a breath of wind to ruffle your peaceful spirit, all was serene and calm. You were not agitated by the ordinary cares and anxieties of the world. Your whole mind was absorbed in sacred meditation. By-and-by, the trouble comes and you say, “Now I understand it all. I could not, before, comprehend the meaning of that grateful lull, that quiet happiness, but I see now that it was designed to prepare me for these trying circumstances. If I had been low and dispirited when this trouble burst upon me, it would have broken my heart. But now, thanks be to God, I can perceive through Jesus Christ how this ‘light affliction, which is but for a moment,’ works for me, ‘a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’” But, mark you, I believe that it is worthwhile to have the troubles in order to get the comfort of the Holy Spirit–it is worthwhile to endure the storm in order to realize the joys!
Sometimes my heart has been shaken by disgrace, shame and contempt, for many a brother minister, of whom I thought better things, has reviled me–and many a Christian has turned on his heels away from me because I had been misrepresented to him and he has hated me without a cause. But it has so happened that at that very time, if the whole Church had turned its back on me and the whole world had hissed me, it would not have greatly moved me, for some bright ray of spiritual sunshine lit up my heart and Jesus whispered to me those sweet words, “I am My Beloved’s, and My Beloved is Mine.” At such times the consolations of the Spirit have been neither few nor small with me! O Christian, if I were able, I would bring you yet further into the depths of this glorious passage but, as I cannot, I must leave it with you. It is full of honey–only put it to your lips and get the honey from it. “I will put My Spirit within you.”
In winding up, let me add a remark or two. Do you not see here the absolute certainty of the salvation of everyBeliever? Or rather, is it not absolutely certain that every member of the family of God’s Israel must be saved? For it is written, “I will put My Spirit within you.” Do you think that when God puts His Spirit within men, they can possibly be damned? Can you think God puts His Spirit into them and yet they perish and are lost? You may think so if you please, Sir, but I will tell you what God thinks–“I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes; and you shall keep My judgments, and do them.” Sinners are far from God by wicked works and they will not come unto Him that they may have life. But when God says, “I will put My Spirit within you,” He compels them to come to Him!
What a vain pretense it is to profess to honor God by a Doctrine that makes salvation depend on the will of man! If it were true, you might say to God, “We thank You, O Lord, for what You have done–You have given us a great many things and we offer You Your wages of praise, which are justly due to Your name, but we think we deserve more, for the deciding point was in our free will.” Beloved, do not any of you swerve from the free Grace of God, for the babblings about man’s free agency are neither more nor less than lies, right contrary to the Truth of Christ and the teachings of the Spirit.
How certain, then, is the salvation of every elect soul! It does not depend on the will of man–he is “made willing” in the day of God’s power. given by God to Mr. Spurgeon in his sleep, during the night of Saturday, April 12, 1856, and preached by him the next morning!] He shall be called at the set time and his heart shall be effectually changed, that he may become a trophy of the Redeemer’s power. That he was unwilling before is no hindrance, for God gives him the will, so that he is then of a willing mind. Thus, every heir of Heaven must be saved because the Spirit is put within him and thereby his disposition and affections are molded according to the will of God!
Once more, how useless is it for any persons to suppose that they can be saved without the Holy Spirit! Ah, dearFriends, men sometimes go very near to salvation without being saved–like the poor man who lay by the side of the pool of Bethesda, always close to the water, but never getting in. How many changes in outward character there are which very much resemble conversion but, not having the Spirit in them, they fail after all! Deathbed repentances are often looked upon as very sincere, although too frequently, we fear, they are but the first gnawing of the worm that never dies. I have read, this week, an extraordinary anecdote, told by Dr. Campbell, of a woman who, many years ago, was condemned to death for murdering her child and was hung in the Grass Market at Edinburgh. She very diligently improved the six weeks allowed her by the Scottish law, previous to her execution, and the ministers who were with her continually gave it as their opinion that she died in the sure and certain hope of salvation. The appointed day came. She was hung, but it being very rainy, and no awning having been prepared, those who had the charge of her execution were in a great hurry to complete it and get under shelter–so she was cut down before the legal time and, as the custom is, the body was given up to her friends to be buried. A coffin was provided and she was moved in it to East Lothian where her husband was going to bury her. They stopped at a public-house on the road, to refresh themselves, when, to their great surprise and alarm, in rushed a boy and said he heard a noise in the coffin! They went out and found that the woman was alive! The vital powers had been suspended, but the life was not extinct and the jolting of the cart had restored her circulation. After a few hours she became quite well. They moved their residence and went to another part of the country. But the sad part of the tale is that the woman was as bad a character afterwards as she ever was before and, if anything, worse. She lived as openly in sin and despised and hated religion even more than she had previously done.
This is a most remarkable case. I believe that you would see that the great majority of those who profess to repent on their deathbeds, if they could rise again from their graves, would live a life as profane and godless as ever. Rely on this–it is nothing but the Grace of the Spirit of God that makes sure work of your souls. Unless He shall change you, you may be changed, but it will not be a change that will endure! Unless He shall put His hand to the work, the work will be marred, the pitcher spoiled on the wheel. Cry unto Him, therefore, that He may give you the Holy Spirit, that you may have the evidence of a real conversion and not a base counterfeit! Take heed, Sirs, take heed! Natural fear, natural love, natural feelings are not conversion! Conversion, in the first instance, and by all subsequent edification, must be the work of the Holy Spirit and of Him alone! Never rest comfortable, then, until you have the Holy Spirit’s operations most surely effected in your hearts!
Part I - Who Is The Holy Spirit
THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever: even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him for He dwells with you and shall be in you.”
John 14:16, 17
A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning: 21 January 1855
You will be surprised to hear me announce that I do not intend this morning to say anything about the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. I propose to reserve that for a special Sermon this evening. In this discourse I shall endeavor to explain and enforce certain other doctrines which I believe are plainly taught in this text and which I hope God the Holy Spirit may make profitable to our souls.
Old John Newton once said that there were some books which he could not read, they were good and sound enough, but, he said, “they are books of halfpence–you have to take so much in quantity before you have any value. There are other books of silver and others of gold, but I have one book that is a book of bank notes. And every leaf is a bank note of immense value.”
So I found with this text–that I had a bank note of so large a sum, that I could not preach on it all this morning. I should have to keep you several hours before I could unfold to you the whole value of this precious promise–one of the last which Christ gave to His people.
I invite your attention to this passage, because we shall find in it some instruction on four points, first, concerning the true and proper personality of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, concerning the united agency of the glorious Three Persons in the work of our salvation. Thirdly, we shall find something to establish the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the souls of all Believers. And fourthly, we shall find out the reason why the carnal mind rejects the Holy Spirit.
First of all, we shall have some little instruction concerning the proper PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We are so much accustomed to talk about the influence of the Holy Spirit and His sacred operations and graces that we are apt to forget that the Holy Spirit is truly and actually a Person–that He is a subsistence–an existence. Or as we Trinitarians usually say, one Person in the essence of the Godhead. I am afraid that though we do not know it, we have acquired the habit of regarding the Holy Spirit as an emanation flowing from the Father and the Son, but not as being actually a Person Himself. I know it is not easy to carry about in our mind the idea of the Holy Spirit as a Person.
I can think of the Father as a Person, because His acts are such as I can understand. I see Him hang the world in ether. I behold Him swaddling a newborn sea in bands of darkness. I know it is He who formed the drops of hail, who leads forth the stars by their hosts and calls them by their name, I can conceive of Him as a Person because I behold His operations. I can realize Jesus, the Son of Man, as a real Person because He is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It takes no great stretch of my imagination to picture the Babe in Bethlehem, or to behold the, “Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief.” I can easily realize the King of martyrs, as He was persecuted in Pilate’s hall, or nailed to the accursed tree for our sins.
Nor do I find it difficult at times to realize the Person of my Jesus sitting on His Throne in Heaven. Or girt with clouds and wearing the diadem of all creation, calling the earth to judgment and summoning us to hear our final sentence. But when I come to deal with the Holy Spirit–His operations are so mysterious, His doings are so secret, His acts are so removed from everything that is of sense and of the body–that I cannot so easily get the idea of His being a Person.
But a Person He is. God the Holy Spirit is not an influence, an emanation, a stream of something flowing from the Father. He is as much an actual Person as either God the Son, or God the Father. I shall attempt this morning a little to establish the doctrine and to show you the truth of it–that God the Holy Spirit is actually a Person.
The first proof we shall gather from the pool of holy Baptism. Let me take you down, as I have taken others, into the pool. It is now concealed, but I wish it were always open to your view. Let me take you to the baptismal font, where Believers put on the name of the Lord Jesus and you shall hear me pronounce the solemn words, “I baptize you in the name,”–mark–“in the name,” not names–“of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Everyone who is baptized according to the true form laid down in Scripture must be a Trinitarian–otherwise his Baptism is a farce and a lie and he himself is found a deceiver and a hypocrite before God.
As the Father is mentioned and as the Son is mentioned, so is the Holy Spirit and the whole is summed up as being a Trinity in unity, by its being said, not the names, but the “name”–the glorious name–the Jehovah name, “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Let me remind you that the same thing occurs each time you are dismissed from this house of prayer. In pronouncing the solemn closing benediction, we invoke on your behalf the love of Jesus Christ, the grace of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And thus, according to the Apostolic manner, we make a manifest distinction between the Persons showing that we believe the Father to be a Person, the Son to be a Person and the Holy Spirit to be a Person. Were there no other proofs in Scripture, I think these would be sufficient for every sensible man. He would see that if the Holy Spirit were a mere influence, He would not be mentioned in conjunction with two whom we all confess to be actual and proper Persons.
A second argument arises from the fact that the Holy Spirit has actually made different appearances on earth. The Great Spirit has manifested Himself to man. He has put on a form so that while He has not been beheld by mortal men, He has been so veiled in appearance that He was seen, so far as that appearance was concerned, by the eyes of all beholders. Do you see Jesus Christ our Savior? There is the river Jordan, with its shelving banks and its willows weeping at its side. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descends into the stream and the holy Baptist, John, plunges Him into the waves.
The doors of Heaven are opened. A miraculous appearance presents itself–a bright light shinning from the sky, brighter than the sun in all its grandeur–and down in a flood of glory descends something which you recognize to be a dove. It rests on Jesus–it sits upon His sacred head and as the old painters put a halo round the brow of Jesus, so did the Holy Spirit shed a resplendence around the face of Him who came to fulfill all Righteousness and therefore commenced with the ordinances of Baptism. The Holy Spirit was seen as a dove–to mark His purity and His gentleness–and He came down like a dove from Heaven to show that it is from Heaven alone that He descends.
Nor is this the only time when the Holy Spirit has been manifest in a visible shape. You notice that company of disciples gathered together in an upper room–they are waiting for some promised blessing–by-and-by it shall come. Hark, there is a sound as of a rushing mighty wind! It fills all the house where they are sitting. Astonished, they look around them, wondering what will come next. Soon a bright light appears, shining upon the heads of each–cloven tongues of fire sat upon them. What were these marvellous appearances of wind and flame but a display of the Holy Spirit in His proper Person? I say the fact of an appearance manifests that He must be a Person. An influence could not appear–an attribute could not appear–we cannot see attributes–we cannot behold influences. The Holy Spirit must, then, be a Person–since He was beheld by mortal eyes and came under the cognizance of mortal sense.
Another proof is from the fact that personal qualities are, in Scripture, ascribed to the Holy Spirit. First, let me read to you a text in which the Holy Spirit is spoken of as having understanding. In the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter2, you will read, “But as it is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit–for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.”
Here you see an understanding–a power of knowledge is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Now, if there are any persons here whose minds are of so preposterous a complexion that they would ascribe one attribute to another and would speak of a mere influence having understanding–then I give up! But I believe every rational man will admit that when anything is spoken of as having an understanding it must be an existence–it must, in fact, be a Person. In the 12th Chapter,11th verse of the same Epistle, you will find a will ascribed to the Holy Spirit. “But all these work that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.”
So it is plain the Spirit has a will. He does not come from God simply at God’s will, but He has a will of His own, which is always in keeping with the will of the infinite Jehovah, but is, nevertheless, distinct and separate. Therefore I say He is a Person. In another text power is ascribed to the Holy Spirit and power is a thing which can only be ascribed to an existence. In Romans 15:13, it is written, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” I need not insist upon it, because it is self-evident, that wherever you find understanding, will and power–you must also find an existence. It cannot be a mere attribute. It cannot be a metaphor. It cannot be a personified influence. It must be a Person.
But I have a proof which, perhaps, will be more telling upon you than any other. Acts and deeds are ascribed to the Holy Spirit–therefore He must be a Person. you read in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, that the Spirit brooded over the surface of the earth, when it was as yet all disorder and confusion. This world was once a mass of chaotic matter. There was no order. It was like the valley of darkness and of the shadow of death. God the Holy Spirit spread His wings over it. He sowed the seeds of life in it–the germs from which all beings sprang were implanted by Him. He impregnated the earth so that it became capable of life.
Now it must have been a Person who brought order out of confusion. It must have been an existence who hovered over this world and made it what it now is. But do we not read in Scripture something more of the Holy Spirit? Yes, we are told that “holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” When Moses penned the Pentateuch, the Holy Spirit moved his hand. When David wrote the Psalms and discoursed sweet music on his harp, it was the Holy Spirit that gave his fingers their Seraphic motion. When Solomon dropped from his lips the words of the Proverbs of wisdom, or when he hymned the Canticles of love it was the HOLY SPIRIT who gave him words of knowledge and hymns of rapture.
Ah, and what fire was that which touched the lips of the eloquent Isaiah? What hand was that which came upon Daniel? What might was that which made Jeremiah so plaintive in his grief? Or what was that which winged Ezekiel and made him, like an eagle, soar into mysteries aloft and see the mighty unknown beyond our reach? Who was it that made Amos, the herdsman, a Prophet? Who taught the rough Haggai to pronounce his thundering sentences? Who showed Habakkuk the horses of Jehovah marching through the waters? Or who kindled the burning eloquence of Nahum? Who caused Malachi to close up the book with the muttering of the word “curse”? Who was in each of these, save the Holy Spirit? And must it not have been a Person who spoke in and through these ancient witnesses? We must believe it. We cannot avoid believing it, when we recall that, “holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
And when has the Holy Spirit ceased to have an influence upon men? We find that still He deals with His ministers and with all His saints. Turn to the Acts and you will find that the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work.” I never heard of an attribute saying such a thing! The Holy Spirit said to Peter, “Go to the centurion and what I have cleansed, that call not you common.” The Holy Spirit caught away Philip after he had baptized yon eunuch and carried him to another place. And the Holy Spirit said to Paul, “you shall not go into that city, but shall turn into another.” And we know that the Holy Spirit was lied unto by Ananias and Sapphira, when it was said, “you have not lied unto man, but unto God.”
Again, that power which we feel every day who are called to preach–that wondrous spell which makes our lips so potent–that power which gives us thoughts which are like birds from a far-off region, not the natives of our soul. That influence which I sometimes strangely feel, which, if it does not give me poetry and eloquence, gives me a might I never felt before and lifts me above my fellow man. That majesty with which He clothes His ministers, till in the midst of the battle they cry, aha! like the war-horse of Job and move themselves like leviathans in the water. That power which gives us might over men and causes them to sit and listen as if their ears were chained, as if they were entranced by the power of some magician’s wand–that power must come from a Person–it must come from the Holy Spirit.
But is it not said in Scripture and do we not feel it, dear Brethren, that it is the Holy Spirit who regenerates the soul? It is the Holy Spirit who quickens us. “You has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” It is the Holy Spirit who imparts the first germ of life, convicting us of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come. And is it not the Holy Spirit who after that flame is kindled, still fans it with the breath of His mouth and keeps it alive? Its Author is its Preserver. Oh, can it be said that it is the Holy Spirit who strives in men’s souls, that it is the Holy Spirit who brings them to the foot of Sinai and then guides them into the sweet place that is called Calvary–can it be said that He does all these things and yet is not a Person? It may be said, but it must be said by fools. For he never can be a wise man who can consider that these things can be done by any other than a glorious Person–a Divine Person.
Allow me to give you one more proof and I shall have done. Certain feelings are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, which can only be understood upon the supposition that He is actually a Person. In the 4th Chapter of Ephesians, verse 30, it is said that the Holy Spirit can be grieved–“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.” In Isaiah 63:10 it is said that the Holy Spirit can be vexed–“But they rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit, therefore He was turned to be their enemy and He fought against them.” In Acts 7:51 you read that the Holy Spirit can be resisted–“you stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”
And in the 5th verse of the same book, you will find that the Holy Spirit may be tempted. We are there informed that Peter said to Ananias and Sapphira, “How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?” Now, these things could not be emotions which might be ascribed to a quality or an emanation–they must be understood to relate to a Person. An influence could not be grieved. It must be a Person who can be grieved, vexed, or resisted. And now, dear Brethren, I think I have fully established the point of the personality of the Holy Spirit.
Allow me now, most earnestly, to impress upon you the absolute necessity of being sound unto the doctrine of the Trinity. I knew a man, a good minister of Jesus Christ he was–I believe he was before he turned aside unto heresy–he began to doubt the glorious divinity of our blessed Lord and for years did he preach the heterodox doctrine. Then one day he happened to hear a very eccentric old minister preaching from the text, “But there the glorious Lord shall be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. Your tackle is loosed–they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail.”
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