Sermon 30. The Power of the Holy Ghost
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, June 17, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"The power of the Holy Ghost."-Romans 15:13.
POWER is the special and peculiar prerogative of God, and God alone. "Twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God."God is God; and power belongeth to him. If he delegates a portion of it to his creatures, yet still it is his power. The sun, although he is "like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run his race,"yet has no power to perform his motions except as God directs him. The stars, although they travel in theirorbits, and none could stay them, yet have neither might nor force, except that which God daily infuses into them. Thetall archangel, near his throne, who outshines a comet in its blaze, though he is one of those who excel in strength, andhearken to the voice of the commands of God, yet has no might except that which his Maker gives to him. As for Leviathan,who so maketh the sea to boil like a pot, that one would think the deep were hoary; as for Behemoth, who drinketh up Jordanat adraught, and boasteth that he can snuff up rivers; as for those majestic creatures that are found on earth, they owe theirstrength to him who fashioned their bones of steel, and made their sinews of brass. And when we think of man, if he has mightor power, it is so small and insignificant, that we can scarcely call it such; yea, when it is at its greatest-when he swayshis sceptre, when he commands hosts, when he rules nations-still the power belongeth unto God; and it is true, "Twicehave I heard this, that power belongeth unto God." This exclusive prerogative of God, is to be found in each of the threepersons of the glorious Trinity. The Father hath power; for by his word were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them;by his strength all things stand, and through him they fulfil their destiny. The Son hath power; for, like his Father, heis the Creator of all things; "Without him was not anything made that was made," and "by him all things consist." And theHoly Spirithath power. It is concerning the power of the Holy Ghost that I shall speak this morning; and may you have a practicalexemplification of that attribute in your own hearts, when you shall feel that the influence of the Holy Ghost is being pouredout upon me, so that I am speaking the words of the living God to your souls, and bestowed upon you when you are feeling theeffects of it in your own spirits.
We shall look at the power of the Holy Ghost in three ways this morning. First, the outward and visible displays of it; second, the inward and spiritual manifestations of it; and third, the future and expected works thereof. The power of the Spirit will thus, I trust, be made clearly present to your souls.
I. First, then, we are to view the power of the Spirit in the OUTWARD AND VISIBLE DISPLAYS OF IT. The power of the Sprit hasnot been dormant; it has exerted itself. Much has been done by the Spirit of God already; more than could have been accomplishedby any being except the Infinite, Eternal, Almighty Jehovah, of whom the Holy Spirit is one person. There are four works whichare the outward and manifest signs of the power of the Spirit; creation works; resurrectionworks; works of attestation, or of witness; and works of grace. Of each of these works I shall speak very briefly.
1. First, the Spirit has manifested the omnipotence of his power in creation works; for though not very frequently in Scripture, yet sometimes creation is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as well as to the Fatherand the Son. The creation of the heavens above us, is said to be the work of God's Spirit. This you will see at once by referringto the sacred Scriptures, Job 26, 13th verse, "By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crookedserpent." All the stars of heaven are said to have been placed aloft by the Spirit, and one particular constellation calledthe "crooked serpent," is specially pointed out as his handiwork. He looseth the bands of Orion; he bindeth the sweet influencesof the Pleiades, and binds Arcturus with his suns. He made all those stars that shine in heaven. The heavens were garnishedby his hands, and he formed the crooked serpent by his might. So, also, in those continued acts of creation which arestill performed in the world; as the bringing forth of man and animals, their birth and generation. These are ascribedalso to the Holy Ghost. If you look at the 104th Psalm, at the 29th verse you will read, "Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled;thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thourenewest the face of the earth." So that the creation of every man is the work of the Spirit; and the creation of all life,and all flesh-existence in this world, is as much to be ascribed to the power of the Spirit, as the first garnishing ofthe heavens, or the fashioning of the crooked serpent. But if you look in the first chapter of Genesis, you will there seemore particularly set forth that peculiar operation of power upon the universe which was put forth by the Holy Spirit; youwill then discover what was his special work. In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, "And the earth waswithoutform, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be-certainly many millions of years before the time ofAdam. Our planet has passed through various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface,all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch,theCreator gave up the world to confusion. He allowed the inward fires to burst up from beneath, and melt all the solid matter,so that all kinds of substances were commingled in one vast mass of disorder. The only name you could give to the world, then,was that it was a chaotic mass of matter; what it should be, you could not guess or define. It was entirely "without formand void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." The Spirit came, and stretching his broad wings, bade the darknessdisperse, and as he moved over it, all the different portions of matter came into their places, and it was no longer "withoutform, and void;" but became round, like its sister planets, and moved, singing the high praises of God-not discordantly, asit had done before, but as one great note in the vast scale of creation. Milton very beautifully describes this work of theSpirit, in thus bringing order out of confusion, when the King of Glory, in his powerful Word and Spirit, came to createnew worlds:-
"On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore
They viewed the vast, immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turned by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's height, and with the centre mix the pole.
"Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,
Said then the Omnific Word; your discord end.
Then on the watery calm,
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid mass."
This you see, then, is the power of the Spirit. Could we have seen that earth all in confusion, we should have said, "Whocan make a world out of this?" The answer would have been, "The power of the Spirit can do it. By the simple spreading ofhis dove-like wings, he can make all the things come together. Upon that there shall be order where there was naught but confusion."Nor is this all the power of the Spirit. We have seen some of his works in creation. But there wasone particular instance of creation in which the Holy Spirit was more especially concerned; viz., the formation of thebody of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a woman, and made in the likeness of sinful flesh,yet, the power that begat him was entirely in God the Holy Spirit-as the Scriptures express it, "The Holy One of Israel shallovershadow thee." He was begotten, as the Apostles' Creed says, begotten of the Holy Ghost. "That holy thing which is bornofthee shall be called the Son of the Highest." The corporeal frame of the Lord Jesus Christ was a master-piece of the HolySpirit. I suppose his body to have excelled all others in beauty; to have been like that of the first man, the very patternof what the body is to be in heaven, when it shall shine forth in all its glory. That fabric, in all its beauty and perfection,was modeled by the Spirit. "In his book were all the members written, when as yet there were none of them." He fashioned andformed him; and here again we have another instance of the creative energy of the Spirit.
2. A second manifestation of the Holy Spirit's power is to be found in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If ye have ever studied this subject, ye have perhaps been rather perplexed to find that sometimes the resurrection of Christis ascribed to himself. By his own power and godhead he could not be held by the bond of death, but as he willingly gave uphis life he had power to take it up again. In another portion of Scripture, you find it ascribed to Godthe Father: "He raised him up from the dead:" "Him hath God the Father exalted." And many other passages of similar import.But, again, it is said in Scripture that Jesus Christ was raised by the Holy Spirit. Now, all these things were true. He wasraised by the Father Because the Father said, "Loose the prisoner-let him go. Justice is satisfied. My law requires no moresatisfaction-vengeance has had its due-let him go." Here he gave an official message which delivered Jesus from thegrave. He was raised by his own majesty and power, because he had a right to come out; and he felt he had, and therefore"burst the bonds of death: he could be no longer holden of them." But he was raised by the Spirit as to that energy whichhis mortal frame received, by the which it rose again from the grave after having lain there for three days and nights. Ifyou want proofs of this you must open your Bibles again, 1 Peter 3:18. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for theunjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit." And a further proofyou may find in Romans 8:11-(I love sometimes to be textual, for I believe the great fault of Christians is that they do not search the Scriptures enough,and I will make them search them when they are here if they do not do so anywhere else.)-"But if the Spirit of him that raisedup Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall alsoquicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
The resurrection of Christ, then, was effected by the agency of the Spirit! And here we have a noble illustration of his omnipotence.Could you have stepped, as angels did, into the grave of Jesus, and seen his sleeping body, you would have found it cold asany other corpse. Lift up the hand; it falls by the side. Look at the eye; it is glazed. And there is a death-thrust whichmust have annihilated life. See his hands: the blood distills not from them. They are cold andmotionless. Can that body live? Can it start up? Yes; and be an illustration of the might of the Spirit. For when thepower of the Spirit came on him, as it was when it fell upon the dry bones of the valley, "he arose in the majesty of hisdivinity, and, bright and shining, astonished the watchmen so that they fled away; yea, he arose no more to die, but to liveforever, King of kings and Prince of the kings of the earth."
3. The third of the works of the Holy Spirit, which have so wonderfully demonstrated his power, are attestation works. I mean by this-works of witnessing. When Jesus Christ went into the stream of baptism in the river Jordan, the Holy Spiritdescended upon him like a dove, and proclaimed him God's beloved son. That was what I style an attestation work. And whenafterwards Jesus Christ raised the dead, when he healed the leper, when he spoke to diseases and theyfled apace, when demons rushed in thousands from those who were possessed of them, it was done by the power of the Spirit.The Spirit dwelt in Jesus without measure, and by that power all those miracles were worked. These were attestation works.And when Jesus Christ was gone, you will remember that master attestation of the Spirit, when he came like a rushing mightywind upon the assembled apostles, and cloven tongues sat upon them; and you will remember how he attested their ministry,bygiving them to speak with tongues as he gave them utterance; and how, also, miraculous deeds were wrought by them, howthey taught, how Peter raised Dorcas, how he breathed life into Enticus, how great deeds were wrought by the apostles as wellas their Master-so that "mighty signs and wonders were done by the Holy Ghost, and many believed thereby." Who will doubtthe power of the Holy Spirit after that? Ah! Those Socinians who deny the existence of the Holy Ghost and his absolutepersonality, what will they do when we get them on creation, resurrection, and attestation? They must rush in the veryteeth of Scripture. But mark! It is a stone upon which if any man fall he shall be bruised; but if it fall upon him, as itwill do if he resists it, it shall grind him to powder. The Holy Spirit has power omnipotent, even the power of God.
4. Once more, if we want another outward and visible sign of the power of the Spirit, we may look at the works of grace. Behold a city where a soothsayer hath the power-who has given out himself to be some great one, a Philip enters it and preachesthe Word of God; straightway a Simon Magus loses his power and himself seeks for the power of the Spirit to be given to him,fancying it might be purchased with money. See, in modern times, a country where theinhabitants live in miserable wigwams, feeding on reptiles and the meanest creatures; observe them bowing down beforetheir idols and worshiping their false gods, and so plunged in superstition, so degraded and debased, that it became a questionwhether they had souls or not; behold a Moffat go with the Word of God in his hand, hear him preach as the Spirit gives himutterance, and accompanies that Word with power. They cast aside their idols-they hate and abhor their former lusts; theybuildhouses, wherein they dwell; they become clothed, and in their right mind. They break the bow, and cut the spear in sunder;the uncivilized become civilized; the savage becomes polite; he who knew nothing begins to read the Scriptures: thus out ofthe mouths of Hottentots, God attests the power of his mighty Spirit. Take a household in this city-and we could guide youto many such-the father is a drunkard; he has been the most desperate of characters; see him in his madness, and you mightjust as well meet an unchained tiger as meet such a man. He seems as if he could rend a man to pieces who should offendhim. Mark his wife. She, too, has a spirit in her, and when he treats her ill she can resist him; many broils have been seenin that house. And often has the neighborhood been disturbed by the noise created there. As for the poor little children-seethem in their rags and nakedness, poor untaught things. Untaught, did I say? They are taught and well taught in the devil'sschool, and are growing up to be the heirs of damnation. But some one whom God has blessed by his Spirit is guided tothe house. He may be but an humble city missionary, perhaps, but he speaks to such a one: "Oh!" says he, "come and listento the voice of God." Whether it is by his own agency, or a minister's preaching, the Word, which is quick and powerful, cutsto the sinner's heart. The tears run down his cheeks-such as had never been seen before. He shakes and quivers. The strongman bowsdown-the mighty man trembles-and those knees that never shook begin to knock together. That heart which never quailedbefore now begins to shake before the power of the Spirit. He sits down on an humble bench by the penitent; he lets his kneesbend, whilst his lips utter a child's prayer; but, whilst a child's prayer, a prayer of a child of God. He becomes a changedcharacter. Mark the reformation in his house! That wife of his becomes the decent matron. Those children are the credit ofthehouse, and in due time they grow up like olive branches round his table, adorning his house like polished stones. Passby the house-no noise or broils, but songs of Zion. See him-no drunken revelry; he has drained his last cup, and, now forswearingit, he comes to God and is his servant. Now, you will not hear at midnight the bacchanalian shout; but should there be a noise,it will be the sound of the solemn hymn of praise to God. And, now, is there not such a thing as the power of theSpirit? Yes! And those must have witnessed it, and seen it. I know a village, once perhaps the most profane in England-avillage inundated by drunkenness and debauchery of the worst kind, where it was impossible almost for an honest traveler tostop in the public house without being annoyed by blasphemy; a place noted for incendiaries and robbers. One man, the ringleaderof all, listened to the voice of God. That man's heart was broken. The whole gang came to hear the gospel preached, andthey sat and seemed to reverence the preacher as if he were a God, and not a man. These men became changed and reformed;and every one who knows the place affirms that such a change had never been wrought but by the power of the Holy Ghost. Letthe gospel be preached and the Spirit poured out, and you will see that it has such power to change the conscience, to amelioratethe conduct, to raise the debased, to chastise and to curb the wickedness of the race, that you must glory in it. I say,there is naught like the power of the Spirit. Only let that come, and, indeed, everything can be accomplished.
II. Now for the second point, THE INWARD AND SPIRITUAL POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. What I have already spoken of may be seen;what I am about to speak of must be felt, and no man will apprehend what I say with truth unless he has felt it. The other,even the infidel must confess; the other, the greatest blasphemer cannot deny, if he speaks the truth; but this is what theone will laugh at as enthusiasm, and what the other will say is but the invention of our fevered fancies.However, we have a more sure word of testimony than all that they may say. We have a witness within. We know it is thetruth, and we are not afraid to speak of the inward spiritual power of the Holy Ghost. Let us notice two or three things whereinthe inward and spiritual power of the Holy Ghost is very greatly to be seen and extolled.
1. First, in that the Holy Ghost has a power over men's hearts. Now, men's hearts are very hard to affect. If you want to get at them for any worldly object, you can do it. A cheatingworld can win man's heart; a little gold can win man's heart; a trump of fame and a little clamor of applause can win man'sheart. But there is not a minister breathing that can win man's heart himself. He can win his ears and make them listen; hecan win his eyes, and fix those eyesupon him; he can win the attention, but the heart is very slippery. Yes! The heart is a fish that troubles all gospelfishermen to hold. You may sometimes pull it almost all out of the water; but, slimy as an eel, it slippeth between your fingers,and you have not captured it after all. Many a man has fancied that he has caught the heart, but has been disappointed. Itwould take a strong hunter to overtake the hart on the mountains. It is too fleet for human foot to approach. The Spirit alonehas power over man's heart. Do you every try your power on a heart? If any man thinks that a minister can convert thesoul, I wish he would try. Let him go and be a Sabbath School teacher. He shall take his class, he shall have the best booksthat can be obtained, he shall have the best rules, he shall draw his lines of circumvallation about his spiritual Sebastopol,he shall take the best boy in his class, and if he is not tired in a week I shall be very much mistaken. Let him spend fourorfive Sabbaths in trying; but he will say, "the young fellow is incorrigible." Let him try another. And he will have totry another, and another and another before he will manage to convert one. He will soon find "it is not by might nor power,but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." Can a minister convert? Can he touch the heart? David said, "Your hearts are as fat asgrease." Aye, that is quite true; and we cannot get through so much grease at all. Our sword cannot get at the heart, it isencased inso much fatness; it is harder than a nether millstone. Many a good old Jerusalem blade has been blunted against the hardheart. Many a piece of the true steel that God has put into the hand of his servants has had the edge turned by being setup against the sinner's heart. We cannot reach the soul, but the Holy Spirit can. "My beloved can put in his hand by the holein the door, and my bowels will move for sin." He can give a sense of blood-bought pardon that shall dissolve a heart of stone.Hecan
"Speak with that voice which wakes the dead
And bids the sinner rise;
And makes the guilty conscience dread
The death that never dies."
He can make Sinai's thunders audible; yea, and he can make the sweet whisperings of Calvary enter into the soul. He has powerover the heart of man. And here is a glorious proof of the omnipotence of the Spirit that he has rule over the heart.
2. But if there is one thing more stubborn than the heart, it is the will. "My lord Will-be-will," as Bunyan calls him in his "Holy War," is a fellow who will not easily be bent. The will, especiallyin some men, is a very stubborn thing; and in all men, if the will is once stirred up to opposition, there is nothing canbe done with them. Free-will somebody believes in. Free-will many dream of. Free-will! Wherever is that to be found? Once there wasFree-will in Paradise, and a terrible mess Free-will made there; for it spoiled all Paradise and turned Adam out of thegarden. Free-will was once in heaven; but it turned the glorious archangel out, and a third part of the stars of heaven fellinto the abyss. I want nothing to do with Free-will, but I will try to see whether I have got a Free-will within. And I findI have. Very free will to evil but very poor will to that which is good. Free-will enough when I sin, but when I would dogood,evil is present with me, and how to do that which I would I find not. Yet some boast of Free-will. I wonder whether thosewho believe in it have any more power over persons' wills than I have? I know I have not any. I find the old proverb verytrue, "One man can bring a horse to the water but a hundred cannot make him drink." I find that I can bring you all to thewater, and a great many more than can get into this chapel; but I cannot make you drink; and I don't think a hundred ministerscouldmake you drink. I have read old Rowland Hill, and Whitefield, and several others, to see what they did; but I cannot discovera plan of turning your will. I cannot coax you, and you will not yield by any manner of means. I do not think any man haspower over his fellow-creature's will, but the Spirit of God has. "I will make them willing in the day of my power." He makeththe unwilling sinner so willing that he is impetuous after the gospel; he who was obstinate now hurries to the cross. He wholaughed at Jesus now hangs on his mercy; and he who would not believe is now made by the Holy Spirit to do it, not onlywillingly, but eagerly; he is happy, is glad to do it, rejoices in the sound of Jesus' name, and delights to run in the wayof God's commandments. The Holy Spirit has power over the will.
3. And yet there is one thing more which I think is rather worse than the will. You will guess what I mean. The will is somewhatworse than the heart to bend, but there is one thing that excels the will in its naughtiness, and that is the imagination. I hope that my will is managed by Divine Grace. But I am afraid my imagination is not at times. Those who have a fair shareof imagination know what a difficult thing it is to control. You cannot restrain it. It willbreak the reins. You will never be able to manage it. The imagination will sometimes fly up to God with such a power thateagles' wings cannot match it. It sometimes has such might that it can almost see the King in his beauty, and the land whichis very far off. With regard to myself, my imagination will sometimes take me over the gates of iron, across the infiniteunknown, to the very gates of pearl, and discover the blessed glorified. But, if it is potent one way, it is another: formyimagination has taken me down to the vilest kennels and sewers of earth. It has given me thoughts so dreadful, that, whileI could not avoid them, yet I was thoroughly horrified at them. These thoughts will come; and when I feel in the holiest frame,the most devoted to God, and the most earnest in prayer, it often happens that that is the very time when the plague breaksout the worst. But I rejoice and think of one thing, that I can cry out when this imagination comes upon me. I know it issaid in the Book of Leviticus, when an act of evil was committed, if the maiden cried out against it, then her life wasto be spared. So it is with the Christian. If he cries out, there is hope. Can you chain your imagination? No; but the powerof the Holy Ghost can. Ah, it shall do it! And it does do it at last, it does it even on earth.
III. But the last thing was, THE FUTURE AND DESIRED EFFECTS; for, after all, though the Holy Spirit has done so much, he cannotsay, "It is finished." Jesus Christ could exclaim concerning his own labor-"It is finished." But the Holy Spirit cannot saythat. He has more to do yet: and until the consummation of all things, when the Son himself becomes subject to the Father,it shall not be said by the Holy Spirit, "It is finished." What, then, has the Holy Spirit to do?
1. First, he has to perfect us in holiness. There are two kinds of perfection which a Christian needs: one is the perfection of justification in the person of Jesus;and the other is, the perfection of sanctification worked in him by the Holy Spirit. At present corruption still rests evenin the breasts of the regenerate. At present the heart is partially impure. At present there are still lusts and evil imaginations.But, oh! My soul rejoices to know that the dayis coming when God shall finish the work which he has begun; and he shall present my soul, not only perfect in Christ,but perfect in the Spirit, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. And is it true that this poor depraved heart is tobecome as holy as that of God? And is it true that this poor spirit, which often cries, "O, wretched man that I am, who shalldeliver me from the body of this sin an death!" shall get rid of sin and death? I shall have no evil things to vex my ears,and nounholy thoughts to disturb my peace. Oh happy hour! May it be hastened! Just before I die sanctification will be finished;but not till that moment shall I ever claim perfection in myself. But at that moment when I depart, my spirit shall have itslast baptism in the Holy Spirit's fire. It shall be put in the crucible for its last trying in the furnace; and then, freefrom all dross, and fine, like a wedge of pure gold, it shall be presented at the feet of God without the least degree ofdrossor mixture. O glorious hour! O blessed moment! Methinks I long to die if there were no heaven, if I might but have thatlast purification come up from Jordan's stream most white from the washing. Oh! To be washed white, clean, pure, perfect!Not an angel more pure than I shall be-yea, not God himself more holy! And I shall be able to say, in a double sense, "GreatGod, I am clean-through Jesus' blood I am clean, through the Spirit's work I am clean too!" Must you not extol the power oftheHoly Ghost in thus making us fit to stand before our Father in heaven?
2. Another great work of the Holy Spirit, which is not accomplished, is the bringing on of the latter-day glory. In a few more years-I know not when, I know not how-the Holy Spirit will be poured out in a far different style from thepresent. There are diversities of operations; and during the last few years it has been the case that the diversified operationshave consisted in very little pouring out of the Spirit. Ministers have gone on in dull routine,continually preaching-preaching-preaching, and little good has been done. I do hope that perhaps a fresh era has dawnedupon us, and that there is a better pouring out of the Spirit even now. For the hour is coming, and it may be even now is,when the Holy Ghost shall be poured out again in such a wonderful manner, that many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shallbe increased-the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the surface of the great deep; when hiskingdom shall come, and his will shall be done on earth even as it is in heaven. We are not going to be dragging on foreverlike Pharoah, with the wheels off his chariot. My heart exults, and my eyes flash with the thought that very likely I shalllive to see the outpouring of the Spirit; when "the sons and the daughters of God again shall prophesy, and the young menshall see visions and the old men shall dream dreams." Perhaps there shall be no miraculous gifts-for they will not berequired; but yet there shall be such a miraculous amount of holiness, such an extraordinary fervor of prayer, such areal communion with God, and so much vital religion, and such a spread of the doctrines of the cross, that every one willsee that verily the Spirit is poured out like water, and the rains are descending from above. For that let us pray; let uscontinually labor for it, and seek it of God.
3. One more work of the Spirit, which will especially manifest his power-the general resurrection. We have reason to believe from Scripture, that the resurrection of the dead, whilst it will be effected by the voice ofGod and of his Word(the Son), shall also be brought about by the Spirit. The same power which raised Jesus Christ from thedead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies. The power of the resurrection is, perhaps, one of the finest proofs of the worksof the Spirit. Ah! My friends, if this earth could but have its mantle torn away for a little while, if the green sodcould be cut from it, and we could look about six feet deep into its bowels, what a world it would seem! What should we see?Bones, carcasses, rottenness, worms, corruption. And you would say, Can these dry bones live? Can they start up? Yes! "Ina moment! In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the dead shall be raised." He speaks; they are alive! See them scattered!Bone comes to his bone! See them naked; flesh comes upon them! See them still lifeless; "Come from the four winds, O breath,and breathe upon these slain!" When the wind of the Holy Spirit comes, they live; and they stand upon their feet an exceedinggreat army.
I have thus attempted to speak of the power of the Spirit, and I trust I have shown it to you. We must now have a moment ortwo for practical inference. The Spirit is very powerful, Christian! What do you infer from that fact? Why, that you neverneed distrust the power of God to carry you to heaven. O how that sweet verse was laid to my soul yesterday!
"His tried Almighty arm
is raised for your defense;
Where is the power can reach you there?
Or what can pluck you thence?"
The power of the Holy Spirit is your bulwark, and all his omnipotence defends you. Can your enemies overcome omnipotence?Then they can conquer you. Can they wrestle with Deity, and hurl him to the ground? Then they might conquer you. For the powerof the Spirit is our power; the power of the Spirit is our might.
Once again, Christians, if this is the power of the Spirit, why should you doubt anything? There is your son. There is that wife of yours, for whom you have supplicated so frequently; do not doubt the Spirit's power."Though he tarry, wait for him." There is thy husband, O holy woman! And thou hast wrestled for his soul. And though he isever so hardened and desperate a wretch, and treats thee ill, there is power in the Spirit. And, O ye who have come from barrenchurches, with scarcely a leaf upon the tree, do not doubt the power of the Spirit to raise you up. For it shall be a"pasture for flocks, a den of wild asses," open but deserted, until the Spirit is poured out from on high. And then the parchedground shall be made a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; and in the habitations of dragons, where each lay shallbe grass with reeds and rushes. And, O ye members of Park Street! Ye who remember what your God has done for you especially,never distrust the power of the Spirit. Ye have seen the wilderness blossom like Carmel, ye have seen the desert blossomlike the rose, trust him for the future. Then go out and labor with this conviction, that the power of the Holy Ghost is ableto do anything. Go to your missionary enterprise; go to your preaching in your rooms, with the conviction that the power ofthe Spirit is our great help.
And now, lastly, to you sinners:-What is there to be said to you about this power of the Spirit? Why, to me, there is somehope for some of you. I cannot save you; I cannot get at you. I make you cry sometimes-you wipe your eyes, and it is all over.But I know my Master can. That is my consolation. Chief of sinners, there is hope for thee! This power can save you as wellas anybody else. It is able to break your heart, though it is an iron one; to make your eyes runwith tears, though they have been like rocks before. His power is able this morning, if he will, to change your heart,to turn the current of all your ideas; to make you at once a child of God, to justify you in Christ. There is power enoughin the Holy Spirit. Ye are not straightened in him, but in your own bowels. He is able to bring sinners to Jesus; he is ableto make you willing in the day of his power. Are you willing this morning? Has he gone so far as to make you desire his name;tomake you wish for Jesus? Then, O sinner! Whilst he draws you, say, "Draw me, I am wretched without thee." Follow him,follow him; and, while he leads, tread you in his footsteps, and rejoice that he has begun a good work in you, for there isan evidence that he will continue it even unto the end. And, O desponding one! Put thy trust in the power of the Spirit. Reston the blood of Jesus, and thy soul is safe, not only now, but throughout eternity. God bless you, my hearers. Amen.