John 14:16
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever--
Sermons
Another ComforterJ. Vaughan, M. A.John 14:16
Another ComforterNewman Hall, LL. B.John 14:16
Another ComforterT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 14:16
Another ComforterV. R. Thomas.John 14:16
Another ComforterJohn Milne.John 14:16
Another ComforterJ.R. Thomson John 14:16
Comfort by the Support of the Indwelling SpiritT. H. Leary, D. C. L.John 14:16
God in UsBp. S. Wilberforce.John 14:16
The ComforterW. R. Clark.John 14:16
The ComforterT. Lessey.John 14:16
The Comforter GivenAlexander MaclarenJohn 14:16
The Function of the Spirit of Truth in Relation to Revealed TruthT. Chalmers, D. D.John 14:16
The Gift of the Spirit and the Gift of the Son ComparedD. Thomas, D. D.John 14:16
The Indwelling of the SpiritC. Hodge, D. D.John 14:16
The Office of the SpiritD. Moore, M. A.John 14:16
The ParacleteJ. Brown, D. D.John 14:16
The ParacleteH. Bonar, D. D.John 14:16
The ParacleteC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:16
The Parting PromiseD. Moore, M. A.John 14:16
The Personality of the Holy GhostCharles Haddon Spurgeon John 14:16
The Praying Christ, the Giving Father, and the Abiding SpiritA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:16
The Saint and the SpiritC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:16
The Spirit of TruthH. Melvill, B. D.John 14:16
The Spirit of TruthJ. P. Lange, D. D.John 14:16
The Spirit with You and in YouD. Thomas, D. D.John 14:16
The Two ParacletesC. Clemance, D. D.John 14:16
Willingness to Know the Truth a Condition of the Reception of the TruthW. Denton, M. A.John 14:16
Love and ObedienceB. Thomas John 14:15-17
Another ComforterD. Young John 14:16-18
This designation of the Holy Spirit brings forward into prominence his work on earth and his relation to men. And this is the aspect in which the Spirit of God has most interest for us. The theologian properly studies the Third Person of the Trinity in relation to the Father and the Son. But to the Christian desirous of appropriating the blessings revealed by religion, there is great encouragement in this designation, "another Comforter."

I. THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF HUMAN NEEDS. Why should a "Comforter" be provided? There must be something in the condition of men which makes the promise of a Divine Friend so appropriate and welcome. Men suffer from ignorance and proneness to error and delusion. They are encompassed with temptations which act powerfully, sometimes fatally, upon their frail and feeble nature. And those who are bent upon attaining true knowledge and practicing true virtue are exposed to the bitter hostility and opposition of the world.

II. THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF THE CHARACTER AND THE OFFICES OF CHRIST HIMSELF. In promising another Comforter to come upon his own departure, Jesus was really claiming to be a Comforter, whose loss must needs be sorely felt. And such he was. He had been very much in the society of his disciples, was always sympathetic, always wise in counsel, always faithful in admonition, always gracious in encouragement. Nor, indeed, did he cease to be the Paraclete, the Advocate, of his people, when he quitted the world which he visited in order to befriend and save its guilty and helpless inhabitants.

III. THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH. The Paraclete is One who is called to the side of him who is in need, an Advocate who undertakes the cause Of the defenseless, a Patron exercising a wise protection, a Strengthener or Comforter communicating his power to the feeble. It is implied in the designation that the Holy Spirit is a Person, and that he is Divine. He teaches, guides, assists; he is living, acting, gracious. As he came on the Day of Pentecost - the promise of the Father - so he has ever resided in his Church, to quicken, to purify, to bless.

IV. THE PROMISE IS SUGGESTIVE OF THE PECULIAR ADAPTATION OF THE SPIRIT TO THE WANTS OF THE RANSOMED HUMANITY. Our Lord's mission to earth, and in the body, was a local and temporary mission. In both respects the mission of the Comforter was more suited to the condition of the Church. Whilst the ministry of Jesus was confined to one land, the influences of the Holy Spirit are felt wherever the gospel is preached, wherever Christian society is established. Whilst the ministry of Jesus lasted but for a few years, the abiding mission of the Comforter endures forever. Wherever and whenever human spirits call, in necessity and under the prompting of faith, upon the unseen God for strength and help, the Spirit of might and wisdom and grace, ever near and ever compassionate, comes to their aid, and proves himself their Comforter indeed. - T.







I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.
The "and" shows us that these words are a consequence of some preceding steps. The ladder that has its summit in heaven has for its rungs, first, "believe"; second, "love"; third, "obey." And thus the context carries us from the very basis of the Christian life up into its highest reward. And there is another very striking link. There are, if I may so say, two telephones across the abyss that separates the ascended Christ and us. One is, "If ye ask anything in My name I will do it"; the other, "If ye keep My commandments I will ask." Love on this side of the great cleft sets love on the other side of it in motion in a two-fold fashion. If we ask, He does; if we do, He asks.

I. THE PRAYING CHRIST AND THE GIVING FATHER.

1. "I Will ask and He will give" seems a strange drop from the lofty claims in the earlier verses. The voice that spake the perfect revelation of God lowers its tones into petition. Now apparently diverse views lying so close together cannot have seemed contradictory to the utterer, and there is no explanation which does justice to these two sides of Christ's consciousness, except that He is God manifest in the flesh, who prays in His Manhood and hears prayer in His Divinity. The bare humanistic view which emphasizes such utterances as these of my text does not know what to do with the other ones.

2. His intercession is the great hope of the Christian heart. The High Priest passes within the veil, bearing in His hand the offering, and by reason of that offering, and of His powerful presence before the mercy seat, all the spiritual gifts which redeem and regenerate and sanctify humanity are forever coming forth. Note —(1) Christ's quiet assumption that all through the ages He knows, at the moment of their being done, His servants' deeds.(2) He puts the Father's act in pledge to us, and assures us that His prayer brings ever its answer. "Father! I will that they whom Thou hast given Me be with Me." How far beyond the warrantable language of man! And how impossible for a fisherman of Bethsaida to imagine that strange blending of submission and of authority which speaks in such words.(3) That which puts in motion Christ's intercessory activity is the obedience of a Christian man. If you obey He will pray, and the Father will send. So the reward of imperfect obedience is the larger measure given to us of that Divine Spirit by whose indwelling obedience becomes possible, and self-surrender a joy and a power.

II. THE ABIDING GIFT.

1. "Comforter" means not only One who administers sweet whispers of consolation. We have to look not merely for a vague influence, but a Divine Person who will be by our side on condition of our faith, love, and obedience, to be our Strength in all weakness, our Peace in all trouble, our Wisdom, Guide, Comforter and Cherisher, Righteousness, the Victor over our temptations, and the Companion and Sweetener of our solitude? The metaphors with which Scripture represents this great personal Influence are full of instruction and beauty. He comes as "The Fire," which melts, warms, cleanses, quickens; as the "rushing, mighty Wind," which hears health upon its wings, and sometimes breathes gently as an infant's breath, and sometimes sweeps with irresistible power; as the "Oil," gently flowing, lubricating, making every joint supple, nourishing; as the "Water of Life," refreshing, vitalizing, quickening all growth. He comes fluttering down as the Dove of God, the bird of peace that will brood upon our hearts. He is the Spirit of holiness, truth, wisdom, power, love, a sound mind, sonship, supplication, etc.

2. And this Strengthener and Advocate is to replace Christ and to carry on His work. "Another Comforter." All that that handful of men found of sweetness and shelter and assured guidance, and stay for their weakness, and companionship for their solitude, and a breast on which to rest their heads, and love in which to bathe their hearts, all these this Divine Spirit will be to each of us if we will.

3. This strong continuation of Christ's presence will be a permanent companion. He was comforting the disciples who were trembling at the thought of His departure. Here is the abiding Guest, that nothing but your own sin will ever cast out from your hearts.

4. And Christ tells us how this great Spirit will do His work. He is the "Spirit of Truth," not as if He brought new truth. To suppose that opens the door to all manner of fanaticism, but the truth, the revelation of which is all summed and finished in the person and work of Jesus Christ, is the weapon by which the Divine Spirit works all His conquests, the staff on which He makes us lean and be strong.

III. THE BLIND WORLD. There is a tone of deep sadness in Christ's words. A savage stares at the sunshine and sees nothing. And worldly men, who are bound by this visible diurnal round, lack the organ that enables them to see that Divine Spirit moving round about them. Whether you have put your eyes out by fleshly lusts, or by intellectual self-sufficiency and conceit, you are stone blind to all the best realities of the universe; and if you look out upon the history of the Church, or upon the present condition of Christendom, and say, "I see no Divine Spirit working there"; well, then, the only thing that is to be said to you is, "Go to an oculist, your sight is bad. Perhaps there is solid land, as some of us see it, where you see only mist."

IV. THE RECIPIENT DISCIPLES. Observe that the order of clauses is reversed. The world cannot receive, because it does not know. The disciple knows, because He receives. Possession and knowledge reciprocally interchange places, and may be regarded as cause and effect of one another. At bottom they are one and the same thing, Knowledge is possession, and possession is the only knowledge. "He dwelleth with you now, and He shall be in you" hereafter. There is a better form of possession opening before them, which came at Pentecost, and has lasted ever since.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

(text and John 3:16): — It is a much overlooked, but nevertheless true, fact that the Divine love is as much displayed in the gift of the Spirit as in the gift of the Son.

I. THE SPIRIT IS AS INTRINSICALLY GREAT AS THE SON. The same attributes, prerogatives, words belong to both.

II. THE SPIRIT IS AS ACTIVELY ENGAGED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WORLD AS THE SON. Did He not strive with the old world? Did He not inspire the prophets, etc.? Has there ever been a soul regenerated without His agency? Has there ever been a conscience that He has not touched? In every solemn thought and expression is He not working?

III. THE SPIRIT HAS BEEN AS WICKEDLY TREATED BY THE WORLD AS THE SON. The people of Judaea alone personally ill-treated Christ; the population of the whole world "do always resist the Spirit." About thirty-three years measured the period of the Saviour's personal ill-treatment, but that of the Spirit extends over well-nigh twice that number of centuries.

IV. THE SPIRIT IS AS NECESSARY TO MANKIND AS THE SON. Two things are necessary to man's salvation: deliverance from the guilt, and from the power of sin. Christ was necessary for the first, the Spirit for the second. It is said that man wants nothing but sufficient evidence and the free use of his faculties to believe.

1. But there are circumstances antagonistic to faith which need to be removed. There is —(1) Moral habit. The habits contracted by most, before the gospel comes fairly under attention, are such that the whole tenor of its truths condemn, and when assailed marshal every power of the soul to their defence.(2) Servile fear. The man who feels that he is hastening to insolvency is frequently reluctant to go into his accounts. Nothing but sheer urgency will induce him to open his ledger. Is there not something similar to this in a man's soul in relation to the Bible. Often has conscience whispered that a fearful debt has been contracted, and that there is nothing to pay, and the Bible which confirms that is shunned.(3) Social influence.(4) Satanic agency. "The god of this world blindeth the eyes of men."

2. All this being true, the Spirit is necessary, in a sense, apart from truth, and apart from His dwelling in the truth. He is a personal power, using the truth and making it effective in the minds and hearts of men.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Among the many sources of trouble which disquieted the disciples we can distinguish four. And for each of these our Lord provides an adequate consolation.

1. The pang of separation from a beloved Master. For this His consolation is, that such separation shall not be forever (vers. 2, 3).

2. The fear lest, in proclaiming their message, they should not be able to appeal to those "mighty signs and wonders" with which our Lord Himself had demonstrated the Divine origin of His mission. For this He gives them the assurance that they should even perform greater wonders (ver. 12).

3. That they should not have their Divine Master to fly to when they might require protection and provision. The answer to this was that our Lord would secure to them a perpetual access to God in prayer (ver. 13).

4. The painful consciousness that they should no longer have the wisdom of their Master to guide them in their proclamation of the gospel. For this our Lord provided in the text. Consider this blessing —

I. IN ITS SOURCE: as it arises from the mediation of Christ Himself. "I will pray the Father." This does not mean that the Father is unwilling to bestow, but that in the order of the eternal counsels Christ must "ascend up on high" to "receive gifts for men." Large and blessed as were the results of our Lord's personal ministry, yet all the blessings which attend the promulgation of the gospel spring directly from the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, the result of Christ's intercession.

II. IN ITS EFFICACY: as able to impart a consolation equal to that of Christ Himself. Large and dreary must have been the void created by Christ's departure. But He would not go away until He had provided "another Comforter." "I will send One to you, who shall achieve for you mightier, more abundant, more lasting benefits. I will send that blessed Spirit, whose office shall be to seal and to hind upon your souls all those comforting promises which you have heard from Me; who shall recall all My discourses to you, and enable you to pour out your prayers to God by reason of His 'groanings which cannot be uttered.'"

III. IN HIS PARTICULAR OFFICE OF SPIRITUAL ILLUMINATION we are to have "the Spirit of Truth" —

1. To instruct us in all points of doctrine. It is the office of the Spirit to take of the things of Christ and to show them to the soul; to reveal the mysteries of redemption. Thus we see that this office of the Spirit must be a great comfort to those destitute of human learning. Having One to "guide into all truth," the poor and the wayfaring have the assurance that the whole mind of God shall be made plain to them, as much as to the greatest genius that ever tenanted the soul of man.

2. To direct us in all the practical concerns of life. "He shall teach you all things."

IV. IN ITS EXCLUSIVENESS: as applying to all true believers. Christ does not say, "Whom the Lord will not give"; but, "Whom the world cannot receive." Why cannot the world receive Him? "Because it seeth Him not." Why does not the world see the Spirit? Is it from deficiency of evidence? No, but because they will not see. They close the shutter, and complain of darkness. Every worldly man is permitted to witness the daily operations of God's Spirit in the world. Let him look abroad and see the transforming power of religion, the revivals in many Christian Churches, the changed habits of many families, and of many souls, brought under the power of God's Spirit. Seeth it not! — might he not as well say that he seeth not the wind? He sees the ocean roused into tempest, etc.; will he tell us he cannot see the wind?

V. IN ITS PERMANENCE. He is not a stranger to visit; He is not a traveller, to sojourn for a season; but He is a friend, to abide and dwell.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

The etymological meaning of the word is, "One called to be beside another." The word is used in classical Greek, and a word of similar etymology, from which our word "advocate" is derived, is used in classical Latin to denote a person who patronises another in a judicial cause, and who appears in support of him. It was the custom, before the ancient tribunals, for the parties to appear in court, attended by one or more of their most powerful and influential friends, who were called "paracletes" — the Greek — or "advocates" — the Latin term. They were not advocates in our sense of the term — feed counsel; they were persons who, prompted by affection, were disposed to stand by their friend; and persons in whose knowledge, wisdom, and truth the individual having the cause had confidence. These paracletes, or advocates, gave their friends — "prospelates," or "clients," as they were called — the advantages of their character and station in society, and the aid of their counsel. They stood by them in the court, giving them advice, and speaking in their behalf when it was necessary. Jesus had been the Paraclete of His disciples while He was with them. He had made their cause His own. He had taught them how to manage their cause with God. He had taught them to pray; and He had prayed for them. He had taught them how to manage their cause with the wicked one; bidding them watch and pray, lest they should enter into temptation; and He had prayed for them, that their faith should not fail. When the scribes and Pharisees attacked them, He was ever ready to defend them. In the great cause which was at once His and theirs He was their great helper. He instructed them what to say, and how to act. He gave them miraculous powers, and taught them how to use them. Thus He had been their patron — their paraclete. And He was not to cease to be so; He was, in His Father's house of many mansions, "ever living to interpose in their behalf" (1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25). But He was to cease to be their Paraclete on earth; and therefore, knowing how much they needed such a patron and adviser, and monitor and helper, He says, "I will pray to the Father, and He will send you another Paraclete." "Instead of losing, you are to gain by My removal." They had, in becoming His disciples, identified themselves with His cause. They stood pledged to establish the right which their Master's principles had to be universally embraced and submitted to. And all the resources of Judaism and Paganism, all the subtlety of philosophy, all the seductions of idolatry, all the power of kingdoms and empires, all the craft, and activity, and energy of hell, were against them. And what were they? poor, unlearned, obscure men? Truly, they needed a powerful patron, a wise adviser. And such a paraclete was He whom the Saviour promises. He cannot want power, through whose plastic influence the world was formed; He cannot want wisdom, who "searches all things, even the deep things of God"; and we know how He guided them, and enabled them to bring to a triumphant issue their mighty litigation. He filled their minds with the pure light of Divine truth, and their hearts with the holy fire of Divine love, and He poured grace and power into their lips; and when brought before counsels and synagogues, and governors, and kings, He gave them a force of reason and a power of eloquence that could not be withstood. "They spake with tongues, as He gave them utterance," and proclaimed the mysteries of the kingdom, "not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Ghost."

(J. Brown, D. D.)

It means one who calls us to his side, as a father does his child when he has some special thing to say.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. HOW THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS THE PARACLETE.

1. The Holy Spirit is to be to us all that Jesus was to His disciples. What a valiant leader is to an army, the shepherd to the sheep, Jesus Christ was to His people. As the Orientals say of the palm tree, that every fragment of it is of use, and there is scarcely any domestic arrangement into which the palm tree in some form or other does not enter, even so Jesus Christ is good for everything to His people, and there is nothing that they have to do or feel or know but Jesus Christ enters into it. What would that little company have been without their Lord? Now, all that Jesus was, the Spirit of God is now. If there be any power in the Church, any light in her instruction, life in her ministry, glory gotten to God, good wrought among men, it is entirely because the Holy Spirit is still with her. And we shall do well to treat the Holy Spirit as we would have treated Christ. Our Lord's disciples told Him their troubles; we must trust the Comforter with ours. Whenever they felt baffled by the adversary, they fell back upon their Leader's power; so must we call in the aid of the Holy Spirit. When they needed guidance, they sought direction from Jesus; we also must seek and abide by the Spirit's leadings. When, knowing what to do, they felt themselves weak, they waited upon their Master for strength; and so must we upon the Spirit of all grace.

2. The Holy Spirit comforts by His presence and indwelling (ver. 17).

3. He comforts us by His teaching (ver. 26). We can, so far as the letter goes, learn from the Scriptures the words of Jesus for ourselves; but to understand them is the gift of the Spirit of God. What comfort is there equal to the words of Jesus, "the consolation of Israel," when they are really understood?

4. Through the Holy Spirit we obtain peace (ver. 27). He who is taught of God naturally enjoys peace, for if I be taught that my sins were laid on Jesus, and the chastisement of my peace was upon Him, how can I help having peace?

5. The Holy Spirit, according to John 16:13, guides us into all truth, which is more than teaching us all truth. There are caverns full of sparkling stalactites. Now, it is a good thing, when you are travelling, to be taught where each of these caverns is — that is teaching you truth; but it is a better thing when the guide, with his flaming torch, conducts you down into the great subterranean chambers, while ten thousand crystals, like stars, vicing in colour with the rainbow, flash their beams upon you. So the Spirit of God will convince you that such and such a teaching is truth, and that is very much to know; but when he leads you into it, so that you experimentally know it, taste it, and feel it, oh, then you are admitted to the innermost cave of jewels, where "the diamond lights up the secret mine." A great many Christians never get into the truth. They sit on the outside of it, but do not enter in.

6. The Spirit (John 16:14) glorifies Christ by "taking of the things of Christ and showing them to us." Could infinite wisdom select a sweeter topic for a disconsolate heart than "the things of Christ"? You may bring me the things of Moses and of David, of Solomon and of Daniel, but what are they to me compared with the things of Christ?

II. THE NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT'S COMFORT.

1. He never dissociates His comfort from character (see ver. 15). The Spirit of God never comforts a man in his sin. See what sin it is that makes you sorrow — obey, and ye shall be comforted.

2. He does not aim at working mere comfort by itself and alone. He does not comfort us as a fond mother who does not teach the child anything, nor cleanse its body or purify its heart in order to comfort it, but who neglects these to please the little one; but the Holy Spirit never acts so unwisely. When a man is feeling pain he is very desirous that the surgeon should administer some drug which will stop the unpleasant sensation immediately; yet the surgeon refuses to do anything of the kind, but endeavours to remove the cause of the evil, which lies far lower than the pain. Do not expect to get comfort by merely running to sweet texts or listening to pleasing preachers, but expect to find comfort through the holy, reproving, humbling, strengthening, sanctifying processes which are the operation of the Divine Paraclete.

3. His comfort is not founded upon concealment. Some have obtained consolation by conveniently forgetting troublesome truth. Now, the Holy Spirit lays the whole truth open before us; therefore our consolation is not of fools, but of wise men; peace, which age and experience will not invalidate, but which both these will deepen, causing it to grow with our growth and strengthen with our strength.

4. It is a comfort always in connection with Jesus.

5. It is comfort which is always available. It does not depend upon health, strength, wealth, position, or friendship; the Holy Spirit comforts us through the truth, and the truth does not change; through Jesus, and He is "yea and amen"; therefore our comforts may be quite as lively when we are dying as when we are in vigorous health, when the purse is empty, and the cruse of oil low, as when all worldly store and cheer abound to us.

III. SOME OBSERVATIONS UPON THE WHOLE SUBJECT.

1. To the believer —(1) Honour the Spirit of God as you would honour Jesus Christ if He were present.

2. Never impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to Him.

3. In all your learning ask Him to teach you, in all your suffering ask Him to sustain you, in all your teaching ask Him to give you the right words, in all your witness-bearing ask Him to give you constant wisdom, and in all service depend upon Him for His help. Believingly reckon upon the Holy Spirit.

4. To the unconverted — if thou art ever to be saved, the Holy Spirit is essential to thee. Except thou be born again from above, thou canst never see the kingdom of God, much less enter it.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. "THERE IS A COMFORTER."

1. So our high festival of the Holy Ghost comes round, and meets the wants which the year has been accumulating. Just as Good Friday came and met another year's guilt, Whit-Sunday comes to meet another year's grief. Some have wept alone, and have had no earthly solace. Some have had comforters; but their well-intentioned comfortings mocked you. Or, the human comforting was very precious and very true, and you know what that word "comforter" means; but here is that which exceeds it all, as the fountain exceeds one of its own smallest drops — "a Comforter."

2. Christ said, "Another Comforter." Who is it? The Father? Yes; for He is "the God of all comfort." The Son? Yes; "I will not leave you comfortless." Then, a Trinity of Comforters. Is that the way we travel to "God is love"? Through a Comforter I ask a Comforter to send a Comforter. Or more truly, two Comforters, of themselves, send a Comforter. You are a deep mourner. But see how you are encircled. And can any sorrow outreach that comforting?

II. THE MODE OF HIS COMING.

1. It is the comforting of a Spirit. Therefore He mingles with our spirit. He does not need that there should pass any actual words. Every one who has ever passed through very deep sorrow will appreciate this. There are times when all language is poor and rude. How often have we longed that our minds could throw themselves into another's mind without speaking. The Holy Ghost does that.

2. And what power there is in that thought, that He is the Holy Ghost! It wants holiness to deal with a wounded mind. Nothing but what is very holy ought ever to come near sorrow.

3. Still, the Spirit uses instruments, and almost always the Word. It is not always a promise. Sometimes it is a doctrine, whose grandeur fills, and raises, and assures the Spirit. Sometimes it is a command, and the comfort is the sense of duty. The Comforter never forgets that He is the Sanctifier, and the Sanctifier never forgets that He is the Comforter. Therefore, if you would be comforted, obey the impulse of the Spirit, and go and be much with your Bible, and be jealous that the first thing you seek is holiness.

4. He does not make you forget, but He draws happiness out of the unhappiness; He makes the subject of your tears the element of your smile; He does not take away the cloud, but He makes a rainbow of the shower; the pain does not go, but gradually the pain has so much of Christ in it that you scarcely wish to part with it.

5. He always displays Christ — makes you find what you want, not in man, but in Christ. If the thought which is presented to your mind does not draw you nearer to Christ — if you are not led to do something for Christ's sake — it is not the true Comforter who has been speaking to you. Jesus is the balm of life, and the comfort of the Spirit is the revealing of Christ.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The Divine Spirit is —

I. A HOLY COMFORTER. There can be no comfort apart from goodness. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." His name indicates His work. By Him the soul is regenerated. Christians are "elect through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience."

II. AN INSTRUCTIVE COMFORTER. By His inspiration all Holy Scripture was given for our learning. Not by methods opposed to or ignoring our intellectual nature; not by mere excitement of the emotions; but by conveying truth to the mind, and enabling us to understand and feel it, the Holy Spirit acts as "another Comforter." By His help we believe, and then, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God," and enjoy that "peace which passeth all understanding."

III. A PERSUASIVE COMFORTER. By revealing Jesus to the soul the Holy Spirit produces that love which is the strongest motive to holiness, and which is the fulfilling of the law. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." And "the love of Christ constraineth us to live not to ourselves, but to Him who died for us and rose again." The Comforter, as a faithful guide, in places of difficulty takes the traveller by the hand, and in addition to words of counsel, restrains him when he would step into danger, and kindly compels him to proceed when through fear or thoughtlessness he hesitates and may be overtaken by storm or darkness.

IV. A STRENGTHENING COMFORTER. He "helpeth our infirmities." He comes to our succour when we are too heavily burdened, and lightens the weight or gives us strength to bear it. We are "strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." The result of such strengthening is Christ "dwelling in our hearts by faith," the being "rooted and grounded in love," "knowing the love of Christ which passeth knowledge," and being "filled with all the fulness of God." And what consolation can surpass that which must result from such strengthening! Especially are we taught to expect this help in prayer (Romans 8:26). He helps us to obtain comfort by teaching us what to pray for, by enabling us to pray aright, by overcoming the doubts which hinder us in the exercise, by creating within us earnest longings after God, by exciting in us desires which we may be unable to express in words, but which bring down the refreshing showers upon the mown grass, and cause us to say, "I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplication,"

V. AN ASSURING COMFORTER. What consolation can be greater than to know that Jesus is our Saviour and that we are His friends, and that through Him we can look upward and with confidence say, "My God! my Father!" (Romans 8:14-16).

VI. A HOPE-INSPIRING COMFORTER. We "abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 8:17-19). Practical lessons:

1. Let us regard the Holy Spirit, not with dread, but with loving confidence.

2. Let our actions respond to His methods of help. Does He comfort by teaching? let us be diligent learners; by persuasion? let us yield to His influence; by guiding? let us follow; by promoting our holiness? let us strive against sin; by helping us to know our high vocation? let us "give diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end."

3. Let all be encouraged to seek His help, for "If ye, being evil," etc.

(Newman Hall, LL. B.)

I. THE BEING SPOKEN OF.

1. Spiritual (ver. 17).

2. Personal. Not a mere influence or energy, as according to the Monarchians, Patripassians, Unitarians, but a Person as truly as Christ was. That Christ taught this is apparent from —(1) The use of the personal pronoun (ver. 26; chap. John 15:26).(2) The names given Him.

3. Divine. Christ could not be represented by or commit the interests of His Church to a creature.

4. Distinct, as against Sabellians and Swedenborgians. "Another."

II. THE RELATION IN WHICH HE STANDS —

1. To the Father.(1) Ontologically: one with Him, equal in being, wisdom, power, and glory, and yet proceeding from Him (John 15:26).(2) Historically. He is sent (ver. 26) and given (ver. 16) by the Father.

2. To the Son.(1) Essentially the Son's as the Father's equal, He is nevertheless —(2) Historically exhibited as sent forth by the Father at the Son's intercession.

3. To the Truth. Spirit of Truth may signify the Spirit whose essence is the Truth, whose operations concern the Truth, whose office it is to testify of Him who is the Truth (John 15:26), and to guide into all the Truth (John 16:13).

4. To the disciples. A presence —(1) Inward; not with and by, but in them (1 Corinthians 3:16).(2) Permanent; not temporary, as Christ's had been.(3) Helpful (Matthew 10:20).

5. To the world (ver. 17; John 16:8).

III. THE CONDITIONS OF RECEIVING HIM.

1. Loving obedience to Christ (ver. 15).

2. Believing recognition of the Spirit (ver. 17). The world had closed its eyes and steeled its heart against Him.Learn —

1. That all a saint obtains on earth he owes to the Saviour's intercession (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

2. That the highest gift a human spirit can receive is the Holy Ghost as a Divine Being, an all-sufficient Helper, a heavenly Teacher, an unchanging Friend.

3. That the world's unbelief of the Spirit is no proof that He does not exist.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. THE WORK OF CHRIST AS IMPLIED IN THE ALLUSION TO HIMSELF. Christ is a Comforter.

1. In the needs He came to meet. To have had no mission for the sorrowful would have been to neglect the most evident of the world's wants.

2. In the predictions concerning Him — "He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted," etc.

3. In the nature of His words and works. To alleviate pain, to console bereavement, to meet doubt, to lighten death, He set Himself with all the absorbing interest of a master passion.

II. THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT RESEMBLES THAT OF CHRIST. The life of Jesus is an index of the work of "the Comforter."

1. What we read of Jesus doing as a consoler, we read also of the Holy Spirit doing.

2. What men saw Jesus doing in Judaea, we may see and feel is being done by the Spirit now. As Christ led, inspired, soothed, and elevated human hearts, so the Spirit will ever do.

III. THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT TRANSCENDS THE SIMILAR WORK OF CHRIST.

1. In its permanence. Jesus Christ "went away." His stay was only for "a little while." But the Spirit abides "forever."

2. In its universality. Jesus was only known to the comparative few who were around Him. But on every shore, and under every sky, the Spirit dwells with men.

3. In its nearness. Those who came nearest to Christ but kissed His feet or lay in His bosom. This is distant in comparison with the Spirit's indwelling.

(V. R. Thomas.)

I. OUR NEED OF A COMFORTER. We live in a world of sorrow and suffering.

II. IS THERE A REMEDY? God is love; and it is impossible that He should intend His creatures to sink under such a burden.

1. Shall we seek for it in the influences of nature?

2. Shall we seek for it in our fellow men? Many seem to think so.

3. It may be said, indeed, that there is no need, even if we feel that all these earthly stays and solaces are insufficient, to think of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. We have "consolation in Christ," and we need no other. We need a present Comforter to make them efficacious.

III. HOW, THEN, DOES THE HOLY GHOST COMFORT US? When we first approach the consideration of the work of the Comforter, we meet with certain views of that work which seem to be the reverse of comforting. How can He who convinces us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, be a Comforter to us who are sinners? The friend who is found to be the truest and most trustworthy comforter is not he who whispers merely pleasant things in our ears; but he who tells us the truth, who, by telling us the truth, prepares us to understand what is wrong with us and to seek for a remedy. And how does He administer to the necessities which He thus makes apparent?

1. By revealing the fulness and sufficiency of Christ for all our spiritual wants. We say the work of comfort must begin here; for it is plain that, unless there be a supply for those deepest wants of our nature, we can have no real comfort or happiness. How, for instance, can a man be happy, or what kind of comfort can he enjoy, while he is laden with the burden of unforgiven sin?

2. By giving grace and strength in temptation.

3. And as it is in our spiritual trials, so also He comforts us in the ordinary troubles of life.

(W. R. Clark.)

Christ Himself was a Comforter, a true Barnabas, a brother born for adversity. His disciples found Him such.

I. The Spirit is an INDWELLING Comforter. "Dwelleth with...shall be in you." Most of our comforts are external, outside of us. Our souls are empty, weak, unsatisfied; and we need to look outward for strength and consolation. Even Christ's bodily presence was without, and sometimes He and His disciples were separated from each other. But the Holy Ghost is in you; He goes where you go; He dwells with you; He makes your bodies temples of the Holy Ghost; He makes your souls wells of living water; He is the glory in the midst, in the heart, of each of you.

II. The Spirit is an ABIDING Comforter (ver. 16). Change is written upon all things here. Health and strength fail, friends die, riches fly away. Even Christ, as to His bodily presence, was only a sojourner on earth. But the Spirit abides; He will never leave the soul of which He has taken saving possession.

III. The Spirit is an UNWORLDLY Comforter (ver. 17). He is spirit, and so the world cannot see Him, cannot handle Him. Even if He could become visible and tangible, the world would neither know Him nor receive Him. The world can have no sympathy with Him, for He does not speak of earthly things; it is not with them that He seeks to comfort sorrowful, longing souls. If He spoke of earthly things, He could not be a Comforter to God's poor, humbled, broken, wearied ones. The true believer has left all for Christ, has sold all to get the treasure, and now nothing but Christ can satisfy him. And so the Holy Ghost, when He wishes to comfort, speaks of Christ (chap. John 15:26; 16:14).

IV. The Spirit is an EFFECTUAL Teacher (ver. 26). Christ was a Teacher; He was always at work, in public and private.

(John Milne.)

I. THE OFFICE OF THE SPIRIT. This term signifies to call to one's self. A person is in distress on account of ignorance, and he calls to him a learned person; a person ignorant in the law, who wants to appear in a court of justice, calls a person learned in the law; a person who is in distress on account of any disease calls a physician.. So the Holy Spirit. In the season of distress He comes to us at our call. The Holy Spirit performs this office —

1. By the attestation of pardon.

2. By the production of a new and holy nature.

3. By maturing the Christian character.

4. By the assistance He affords in devotional exercises.

5. By fortifying the mind against the fear of death.

II. THE PERIOD OF HIS CONTINUANCE. His continued residence —

1. Constitutes the great distinction and difference between the Church and the world (ver. 17).

2. Gives efficiency and success to the means of grace.

3. Is an assurance of the ultimate triumph of the Church.

III. THE MODE OF HIS ATTAINING THIS OFFICE. We are indebted to Jesus Christ for the gift of the Holy Ghost, because —

1. It is the reward of His sufferings.

2. The reward of His intercession, Therefore —

3. We have a pledge and an assurance that Christ will pray the Father.

(T. Lessey.)

If you thoroughly exhaust a vessel of the air it contains, the pressure of the air outside will break that vessel into perhaps millions of pieces, because there is not a sufficiency of air within to resist and counteract the weight of the atmosphere from without. A person who is exercised by severe affliction, and who does not experience the Divine comforts and supports in his soul, resembles the exhausted receiver above described; and it is no wonder if he yields, and is broken to shivers, under the weight of God's providential hand. But affliction to one who is sustained by the inward presence of the Holy Ghost resembles the aerial pressure on the outer surface of an unexhausted vessel. There is that within which supports it and preserves it from being destroyed by the incumbent pressure from without.

(T. H. Leary, D. C. L.)

Their mutual and distinctive relation to the work of redemption, to the life of believers, and to the service of the Church.

I. WHAT DOES THE WORD "PARACLETE" MEAN? Nearly all the ancient interpreters render it comforter or consoler. This accords with one use of it and its related words in both the Old Testament and the New. It does not cover the whole ground, since the Holy Ghost not only comforts, but does a great deal more than that. In some cases the word is equivalent to master, teacher, interpreter. In other cases it means a pleader or advocate — one engaged to take up a cause and to carry it through. Hence the word comes to mean — one by whose grace and love the entire case and cause of men are undertaken: who will soothe, comfort, advocate, plead, teach, interpret — yea, who will stand by us and render any needed aid whatever! For this reason the word "advocate" is, like the word "comforter," too restricted. We want a word of wider significance than either. The word helper is the best that we can find.

1. A helper — a large and beautiful word, which, in the fulness of its meaning as here used, nought but the experience of God's love can unfold to us.

2. A Divine Helper. And we have two Divine Helpers, both working together to make the help complete. But who are they who have causes in hand that need such help? Manifold and complex is our need. We want help in every form. As sinners, we want such help as One can give who has a right to say, "Thy sins are forgiven thee." As penitents, we want One who can grant us access to the Father. As learners, we want One who can take of the things of God and show them to us. As suppliants, we want One who can receive and answer our requests. As believers, we want One who can lead, sustain, and inspire. As confessors of Christ and ambassadors for Him, we need One who can convict men of sin, and who can speed our words directly to their hearts. Strong, constant, varied help do we want.

II. Then let us look at our TWO HELPERS AND SEE HOW THEY COMPLETE EACH OTHER'S WORK.

1. One Helper is in heaven, is a link joining on heaven to earth; the other Helper is on earth, as a link uniting earth to heaven. Hence one Helper remains for us above; the other remains in us below.

2. The help of the Son is by the appointment of the Father; the help of the Spirit is through the ministration of the Son.

3. By the help of the one Helper we have a great sacrifice for sin; by the work of the other Helper men are convicted of sin.

4. Hence another and not less striking correspondence appears. The Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself to us as the object of faith; the Holy Ghost, working within us, enters into the region of an inward experience, and enables us by the power of a spiritual intuition to verify what we believe.

5. Further: In every detail of Christian truth and life these two Divine Helpers supplement and complete each other's work. Christ reveals the Father to us; the Holy Ghost creates the spirit of adoption in us, so that we cry, Abba, Father. Christ gives us, when we believe, the right of being sons of God; the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that such we are. Christ is in Himself the truth; the Holy Ghost gives us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Christ is the object in whom we rejoice, but the joy itself is imparted by the Holy Ghost.

6. One Helper intercedes with the Father; the other Helper intercedes in the children. In one case the scriptural expressions are, "We have an Advocate with the Father"; "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." In the other case, "The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

7. But we must not omit to give distinctness to the thought of the advocacy of our two Helpers. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Advocate, Pleader, and Defender of our cause above; the Holy Ghost is the Advocate, Pleader, and Defender of our cause below. Christ above, that sin may not bar us from the throne; the Spirit below, that the world may not put us to shame.

8. One Helper is graciously preparing a place for us; the other Helper is engaged in preparing us for the place.

III. In view of the combined work of these two Divine Helpers, we can see THE COMPLETENESS OF REDEMPTION'S PLAN. Had our Redeemer wrought alone, His work had been unappreciated by man; but let another Helper come, creating men anew, convicting, regenerating, enlightening, educating, and training, then we see the Divine completeness of the Redeemer's mighty work, and learn how surely the Redeemer will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. On recognizing and laying hold of both these Helpers will depend our completeness as Christians. Our own piety and power in Christ are a prime condition of power for Christ. The degree to which the Spirit of God works by us surely depends on the measure in which He works in us. So also the efficiency of Church life depends on realizing and utilizing this double help. Not merely has soundness in faith to be guarded, but vigour of life has to be carefully watched. On this double help depends the efficiency of private members. It is also, and only, in the full use of this double help that the Christian ambassador is completely equipped. While we hold up Christ as the Light of the world, let us also equally extol the Holy Ghost as the Power of the Church.

(C. Clemance, D. D.)

Even the Spirit of Truth.
I. THE NEED OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH. It was by a lie that evil gained entrance into the world. Satan is both a liar and a murderer...Evil first introduced by means of a lie has been continually promulgated through the same instrumentality. Alas! the dominion of falsehood has been almost universally established! — false notions of God, of ourselves, of happiness; false estimates of good and evil; false dealings in the intercourse of life. Who is not conscious of these and other forms of it. It is amongst the most melancholy proofs of our fallen estate, that often, with children, the earliest exercise of the gift of speech is an endeavour at deceiving their parents. And as we grow up, it cannot be denied, that a rigid and unvarying adherence to truth is the most difficult of our duties. Hence the suspicion and mistrust between man and man. We admit, indeed, that a liar is held in general abhorrence. Men have naturally an admiration of courage in whatever way displayed; and therefore they despise a liar as they do the poltroon. And over and above the cowardice which is manifested by a lie, there is the injury which is done to society. Therefore, it may be little more than a consciousness that its own permanence is identified with adherence to truth, which induces society to be so vehement in its rebuke of a lie. But even if the contempt in which a liar is held might be referred to the very highest principles, whatever indignation at falsehood is excited, it exists in a degree which proves this indignation but little efficacious in destroying its empire. There is not the land where false principles are not wielding an influence which should belong only to true. There is not a family within whose circle there is no admiration for false theories in regard of duty and interest. There is not a heart so thoroughly hallowed into a sanctuary for truth that it is always closed against the intrusion of false opinions and false expectations. The whole creation groaneth for the establishment of truth.

II. HOW IN HIS RESIDENCE WITH THE CHURCH THE HOLY GHOST HAS EARNED THIS TITLE.

1. It is curious and interesting to observe how truth of every kind has advanced hand in hand with religion. Not, indeed, that it was the office of the Holy Ghost to instruct the world in natural philosophy. He came to unfold redemption, and so to strengthen the human understanding, that it might be able to bear the vast truths of the Mediatorial work. But, nevertheless, it did come to pass — that the understanding, so strengthened, found itself strengthened also to investigate creation. The Christian era has been distinguished by a rapid advance made in every branch of science; by the emancipation of mind from a thousand trammels; by the discovery of truths which seemed to lie beyond the scope of human intelligence. In the dark ages when Christianity was almost buried beneath superstition, ignorance of every kind oppressed the earth; but when better days dawned; science revived and the arts again flourished. And besides this, there is the same strict alliance between all kinds of truth as between all kinds of falsehood. And it ought not therefore to excite surprise that science and Christianity should have marched side by side. The "rushing mighty wind," which swept superstition before it, swept also much of the cloud which had rested on natural things. In clearing the moral firmament, that the "Sun of Righteousness" might be discovered, it took the mist from the material heavens.

2. But, at the same time, the great business on which the Holy Ghost came was the instructing the world in the mysteries of redemption —(1) The Holy Ghost was "the Spirit of truth" to the apostles. We do not know that it is more amazing to hear so soon as the Spirit had descended, the twelve speaking fluently all the languages of the earth, than the preacher expounding to the multitude the blessed gospel of Christ. He made good this character by enabling them to preach the truth: and also by enabling them to write the truth. We know too well the treachery of the memory, and might reasonably say, that where the writing had been so long deferred, the narrative would be imperfect. But this is our security — the fact that it was "the Spirit of Truth" which guided the evangelists.(2) If the Spirit were thus "the Spirit of Truth" in regard of apostles, is He not still such in regard of every real Christian? There is naturally gross darkness on the mind, and the most gifted of our race is unable to discern things so long as he is left to his unassisted powers. Mental as well as moral power has been put out of joint through apostacy; the affections strongly biassed towards evil exert a disastrous power over the will, and the will does the same with the understanding. And then the understanding will often reject the clearest evidence and fail to comprehend the simplest truth. It is the office of this Divine person to rectify the disorder of the moral and mental constitution, and thus to communicate that sort of inner light in which alone can be discerned the great truths of religion. And when a man has once submitted himself to the teaching of the Holy Ghost, "the Spirit of Truth," guides him into truth, and leads him from one stage to another of knowledge, showing him, successively, the mysteries of redemption, and never allowing him to open the Bible without finding fresh matter for thought and for thankfulness. There remains much, very much, for this Spirit to teach. But observe, our Lord says — "He shall abide with you forever." But we are now only in the infancy of being. No marvel then if we master only the rudiments of truth. And if this Spirit is to abide with us "forever," why may we not expect the completion of what is thus commenced? He has all Eternity to teach in.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The Holy Ghost is the living, personal, Divine unity of complete revelation, and, as such, the Spirit of Truth. He is the Spirit of Truth inasmuch as He makes objective truth subjective in believers, in order to a knowledge of the truth.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

When a telescope is directed to some distant landscape, it enables us to see what we could not otherwise have seen; but it does not enable us to see anything which has not a real existence in the prospect before us. The natural eye saw nothing but blue land stretching along the distant horizon. By the aid of the glass, there bursts upon it a charming variety of fields, and woods, and spires, and villages. And so of the Spirit. He does not add a single truth or character to the book of Revelation. He enables the spiritual man to see what the natural man cannot see; but the spectacle which he lays open is uniform and immutable. It is the Word of God which is ever the same; and he whom the Spirit of Truth has enabled to look to the Bible with a clear and affecting discernment, sees no phantom passing before him; but amid all the visionary extravagance with which he is charged, can for every article of his faith, and every duty of his practice, makes his triumphal appeal to the law and to the testimony.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

A celebrated French beauty was smitten with smallpox, and as she became convalescent, her friends, fearing the consequences, would not tell her of her disfigurement. But one day, not getting an answer to her questions, she called for a mirror, and when she saw the calamitous fact that her beauty was gone, in a fit of passion, smashed the glass. It had told her the truth about herself. So the Spirit of Truth tells us about ourselves; and some people, rather than believe His witness, deny His existence. Whom the world cannot receive. — The world — that is, worldly men, minds full of worldliness — cannot receive, cannot see or know the Spirit, because He is wholly heavenly. As a mirror which is unclean cannot reflect clearly the image which is before it, so the heart that is impure, and which clings to the things of earth, cannot see with the eye of faith the Spirit of Truth, and so cannot receive Him. Worldliness receives Him not —(1) Because it does not and cannot see Him intellectually, which is the only mode by which it is accustomed to perceive anything that is not corporeal.(2) Because it does not see Him corporeally; for such a temper of mind receives only what it sees: sight and the other senses are the instruments of reception, not faith; and hence, since He cannot be apprehended by the senses, such men did not receive Him, and cannot love Him, for the knowledge which is here spoken of includes love.

(W. Denton, M. A.)

But ye know Him.
The Holy Spirit, although the most active, potent, and real worker in the world, is not discerned by the mass of mankind, who are affected only by what they see, or hear, or feel. The vital distinction between the man of God and the man of the world is this: the man of God knows the Holy Spirit, for He is with him and dwelleth in him; but the man of the world knows not the Holy Ghost.

I. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS KNOWN TO BELIEVERS THROUGH HIS OPERATIONS IN THEM AND UPON THEM.

1. We have seen the operations of the Holy Spirit in the Church at large —(1) It was the Holy Spirit who at the very first formed the Church; who called out the chosen ones, quickened them, made them living stones fit to be builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit; who binds these living stones together, for all Christian unity comes from Him as the Spirit of peace, the Holy Dove proceeding from the Father.(2) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church is as manifest to many of us as any other great fact can possibly be. Even when we have doubted whether we ourselves possessed the Spirit, we have been charmed to see his work in others. We have seen conversions which nothing but Omnipotence could have wrought; we have seen graces exemplified which unaided human nature could not have produced.

2. The works of the Holy Spirit within a regenerate man find an illustration in the work of the Holy Spirit upon the person of our Lord, our Covenant Head and Representative.(1) Christ was not born at Bethlehem without the Spirit of God, neither is He born in our hearts.(2) Although Christ was baptized by man with water, He was also baptized with the Holy Ghost; and it is only in the power of His Divine anointing that we can have power to minister in the Lord's house.(3) Then the power by which Christ wrought miracles, and preached, is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me," etc. Did the Master work in the power of the Spirit of God, and shall not the servants do so?(4) The resurrection of Christ is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. You are promised that the same power which "raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies."

3. If we know the Spirit of God at all, we shall know Him as having convinced us of sin. No one ever came to Christ until he felt his need of Him.

4. If you know the Holy Spirit, you will also know Him as the great revealer of Christ.

5. Since that, have we not often known the Spirit as our helper in prayer?

6. Then, when we rose from our knees, we opened the Scriptures, the Spirit of Truth acted as interpreter. He wrote the book, and therefore He understands it meaning.

7. You know not the Spirit unless you have often recognized Him as the great calmer and quieter of His people's minds when under distractions.

8. More especially is the Spirit known to believers as their sanctifier.

II. THEY KNOW HIM BY HIS PERSONAL INDWELLING IN THEIR SOULS. The Holy Spirit gives us His operations and His influences for which we should be very grateful, but the greatest gift is Himself, which "dwelleth with you and shall be in you." This is —

1. Wondrously condescending;

2. Singularly effective. There is no way of doing work well, except doing it yourself; and when the Master comes and gives personal attendance, it is sure to be done.

3. Delightfully encouraging, "If God actually dwells in me, then what may I not expect?"

4. Potently sanctifying. If God dwell in us, let us not defile these bodies. When Ignatius stood before the judges, they said, "You are called the God bearer, Theophorus; what mean you by this? He said, "God dwells in me." When the persecutor looked at him and said he blasphemed, he replied that the Holy Spirit dwelt in him. Ah! but Ignatius proved it. If you and I dare to say God dwells in us, we must prove it too; perhaps not by a cruel death, but by what is far more difficult — a holy life.

III. WE SHALL KNOW HIM BETTER SOON. We shall be more instructed; and the instructed disciple knows the Master better than he who is in the A B C class. We shall be more fully sanctified, and the more pure we become, the more clearly shall we see the great Purifier. I do not know what we may be even here. We become warped and crippled by our small conceptions of the possible in grace.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I. THE ASSURANCE OF A NEARER RELATION TO THE DIVINE BEING CONVEYED BY THIS PROMISE. The indwelling of the Spirit is declared to be a mere metaphor, as when we say of a philosopher, there is in him the soul of science; or of a poet, that he has the spirit of song. The disciples at this time needed comfort, they were about to lose the support of their Master's personal presence. What mockery to have been told that they should be so inspirited with truth as to compensate them abundantly for all their loss. A literal indwelling, then, being contended for, notice some of the included blessings.

1. It is a standing pledge of the Divine presence and protection. The Divine Spirit dwelling in us is God Himself coming back to that temple. He had dwelt in it once before; but this once living temple lost its purity, and in that same hour lost the presence of God. The rebuilding of this temple, the preparatory step for bringing back God to His forsaken sanctuary, was the awful mystery of the Incarnation. By this one act the human nature became an honoured and noble thing. Through the power of the Spirit it had enshrined Godhead. The indwelling of the Spirit is an abiding pledge of restored and continuing confidence between God and man.

2. It is the vital principle of union betwixt Christ and His people. Our being made one in Christ is one of the great junction facts of the Gospel system. It connects the sinner with his hope, the elect with the covenant, and both originates and effects that vital relation to God which brings the faithful within the reach of the mediatorial designs and purposes. The Spirit initiates that union, for "by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body." He assures us of the union remaining unbroken, "Thereby we know that Christ abideth in us by the Spirit which He hath given us" (Romans 8:11). "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

II. THE PERMANENT INFLUENCE PROMISED AS IT BEARS UPON OUR HAPPINESS AND ADVANCEMENT IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

1. It assures to us a constant supply of enlightening and directing influences. "He will guide you into all truth." He enlarges the range of our spiritual knowledge, and reveals, as if by a new spiritual sense, the great mystery of godliness.

2. It influences the moral affections also. This imparted life makes the heart to burn, while it opens the understanding.

3. It gives to all our services a filial and loving character — "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage," etc. There is a service which is not happy. It may be sincere, and earnest, and costly, and self-denying; but it is the service not of a son, but of a bondsman. The Spirit in us changes constraint into cheerfulness and duty into happiness, and the restless activities of a self-devised worship into a calm repose and a commanded and accepted sacrifice.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. A MAN MAY HAVE THE DIVINE SPIRIT WITH HIM, BUT NOT IN HIM. The Divine Spirit was with the disciples in the person of Christ. Every man has the Spirit with him.

1. In the operations of nature.

2. In the revelations of the Bible.

3. In the events of history.

4. In the lives of all good men.

II. IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE FOR A MAN TO HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD WITH HIM. We have one who is ready to —

1. Guide;

2. Protect;

3. Strengthen;

4. Perfect us.

III. IT IS A GREATER PRIVILEGE FOR A MAN TO HAVE THE DIVINE SPIRIT IN HIM. Christ had unfolded to His disciples an infinite system of truth, but it lay cold and dead in their memories. He deposited precious seed in the soil; but the soil lacked the warmth and sunshine that the Spirit of God alone could give. Compare the difference between the disciples before and after Pentecost. When the Spirit of God is in you you have spiritual

1. Life.

2. Satisfaction.

3. Power.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

God is said to dwell in heaven; among the children of men; in Zion; among His people; in believers. The Spirit is said to dwell in His Church which is thus a temple of God, and in believers individually, who are severally His temple. It follows, then, that where the Spirit dwells His presence is indicated by certain specific effects.

I. KNOWLEDGE. This is one of the chief ends for which He was promised. This knowledge includes correct intellectual convictions and spiritual discernment. To this are due orthodoxy, love of truth and adherence to it under all circumstances. To this source, also, we are indebted for the unity as well as the preservation of the faith. This is a ground of conviction beyond the reach of scepticism, and unassailable by infidelity.

II. HOLINESS in all its forms.

1. Faith, confidence in God, in His word, promises, favours, etc.

2. Love —

(1)To God.

(2)To Christ.

(3)To the brotherhood.

(4)To all men.

3. Temperance.

4. Meekness.

5. Long suffering.

III. HOPE, JOY, AND PEACE. The consolations of the Spirit which sustain the soul under all sorrow; whether from conviction of sin or from affliction.

IV. ACTIVITY IN RESISTING SIN AND IN DOING GOOD. He is the source not only of inward spiritual life, but of outward acts of devotion and obedience to God.

V. GUIDANCE.

1. By the Word.

2. By inward operation on the mind, guiding its thoughts, shaping its conclusions and exciting right feelings; not by impulse or any magic methods.Duties flowing from this doctrine —

1. To cherish the conviction that we in a special sense belong to God.

2. To reverence and obey the admonitions of the indwelling Spirit.

3. To preserve our soul and body pure as the temple of the Holy Ghost.

4. A grateful sense of this unspeakable blessing and dignity.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

I. ALL THE CONDITIONS OF THE DIVINE LIFE IN MAN BASE THEMSELVES ULTIMATELY ON THE NECESSARY AND ETERNAL RELATIONS OF THE EVER-BLESSED GODHEAD, OF THE TRINITY IN UNITY. The gradualness of God's revelation of Himself enables us to trace out something of this mystery.

1. For many generations the revelation of the everlasting Father covered the canvas, and that form of awful majesty was shrouded everywhere in clouds and darkness. The utterance was, "I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect."

2. To this succeeded the revelation of the co-eternal Son. At first, wrapped, up in the types and figures of the old law: then struggling like the sun through the mists of the morning, as by the chant of Psalms, and the voice of prophecy, the ever-brightening form was declared to the waiting soul of humanity; until the fulness of the time was come, and the eternal Son stood incarnate upon the earth. Humanity had now reached altogether a new stags; God was manifest in the flesh; yet still God was external to man. The brightness of the uncreated glory shone before his eyes, but his eyes were not quickened to receive it.

3. One mighty further step was yet to be reached, and it is with the promise of this that the Lord here upholds their hearts. The Paraclete "shall be in you." The external revelation was to be replaced by the internal. Accordingly, when the coming of the Holy Ghost was perfectly accomplished, all additions to the external revelation ceased. Miracles were but visible attestations of the outward kingdom passing into the inward, and one by one they expired as the inward kingdom was established. Even the external revelation of the heavenly mysteries soon ceased. The canon was closed.

II. FROM THIS FOLLOWS THE PECULIAR CHARACTER OF OUR PROBATION. For though the Spirit of God works as a most free agent, quickening whom He will; yet does He work on humanity according to the law under which God has created it; not destroying its free agency, but, in the mystery of man's freedom, working with his spirit, and not by external force, overpowering its proper action. The energy of the Spirit's working is enlarged or restrained as man yields himself to it, or resists it. In the first preaching of the gospel this great distinction of the new dispensation was emphatically declared. "Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, 'that the times of refreshing may come, from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus.'" This is —

1. A promise to the whole Church. The stirring of the indwelling power was openly manifested, and through all times since the same law may be traced as pervading the Church's history. It does not set before us one equally prolific age, but times of utter coldness and weariness alternating with blessed seasons of refreshing. Ease, success, quietness, has often bred a deadly lethargy in the Church, and the Spirit seems to have left her; but when danger, or persecution, has brought her back to repentance, at once the Spirit stirred within her, and the times of refreshing were restored. This has been, all along its history, the distinctive criterion of the Church. No dead empire has ever lived again; no exhausted school of philosophy has ever revived; no sect has ever recovered again its early strength after falling into decrepitude. The Church of Christ alone has thus renewed her strength, and mounted up from her decay with wings as eagles, because in her only is this hidden presence of God the Holy Ghost, and therefore for her only these times of refreshing are possible.

2. The law of the life of separate souls. With what energy does it awake when the heart turns really to God. Who has not known hearts, which seemed dead, the mere slaves of selfishness, burnt out, — like exhausted volcanoes buried in their ashy scoriae, — which have suddenly revived, under the breathing of the Spirit, and put forth again, like the earth in the blessed spring-time, the manifested glories of an irrepressible life?

III. FROM THIS GREAT MYSTERY THERE FOLLOW SOME PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES.

1. As this is the characteristic of the dispensation of the Spirit, how do they lose the glory and the blessedness of life who do not know it in its fulness? What earthly joy can be compared with these Divine refreshings? How different a life is this from the cold, doubting, questioning, colourless life which the greater number of those who call themselves Christians are leading. What know they, alas! in life or in death, of this word of promise, "He shall be in you?"

2. This indwelling of God must, with all its unspeakable blessedness, be accompanied by correlative perils. So the word of God distinctly teaches us when it speaks of sin against the Holy Ghost as marked with such a peculiar malignity of charity, and leading to so terrible and hopeless an end.(1) For other sins are committed against God as external to the soul, these are committed against Him within us.(2) But beyond this. He who did not believe in the Son of Man, great as was his guilt, might under the power of the Holy Ghost be won to penitence; but he who blasphemes that Holy Spirit, on whose presence within us depends the faculty of seeing, destroys in his soul the very power of vision itself. He can never see the truth; he can never be won to repentance, and so he hath never forgiveness, neither in this life, nor in that which is to come.(3) Again, the progress of this deadly sin is from its peculiar character preeminently insidious. Every external act of wickedness has of necessity about it some note of warning. But the separate actings of these sins against the Holy Spirit are so inward and secret, that men may pass through the whole series without any external sign awakening their alarm.(4) The end of such a course, and the secret history of that spiritual decay, may sometimes be read in those terrible cases of what seem to be the sudden falls into gross iniquity of those who have long stood upright. The evil has, we may be sure, been long festering within. There may, perhaps, be no very marked outward change in the conduct, It is but that they are colder than they were in all the religious life: that is, God the Holy Ghost has left them. Then some sudden gust of temptation falls suddenly upon them, and their utter failure under it reveals to light and day the fearful secret. Conclusion: With such capacities of ruin involved in the very blessedness of our regenerate life, surely the lesson of lessons is for us the need of perpetual watchfulness: of guarding jealously that secret indwelling of God within us which is our glory, but which we can make our destruction,

(Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

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