Sermon 4. The Personality of the Holy Ghost
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 21, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spiritof truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth withyou, and shall be in you."-John 14:16-17
You will be surprised to hear me announce that I do not intend this morning to say anything about the Holy Spirit as the Comforter.I propose to reserve that for a special Sermon this evening. In this discourse I shall endeavor to explain and enforce certainother doctrines, which I believe are plainly taught in this text, and which I hope God the Holy Ghost may make profitableto our souls. Old John Newton once said, that there were some books which he could notread;-they were good and sound enough; but, said he, "they are books of halfpence;-you have to take so much in quantitybefore you have any value; there are other books of silver, and others of gold; but I have one book that is a book of banknotes; and every leaf is a bank-note of immense value." So I found with this text: that I had a bank-note of so large a sum,that I could not tell it out all this morning. I should have to keep you several hours before I could unfold to you the wholevalue of this precious promise-one of the last which Christ gave his people.
I invite your attention to this passage because we shall find in it some instruction on four points: first, concerning thetrue and proper personality of the Holy Ghost; secondly, concerning the united agency of the glorious Three Persons in thework of our salvation; thirdly we shall find something to establish the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in thesouls of all believers; and fourthly, we shall find out the reason why the carnal mind rejects the HolyGhost.
I. First of all, we shall have some little instruction concerning the proper personality of the Holy Spirit. We are so much accustomed to talk about the influence of the Holy Ghost and his sacred operations and graces, that we areapt to forget that the Holy Spirit is truly and actually a person-that he is a subsistence-an existence; or, as we Trinitariansusually say, one person in the essence of the Godhead. I am afraid that, though we do not know it, we haveacquired the habit of regarding the Holy Ghost as an emanation flowing from the Father and the Son, but not as being actuallya person himself. I know it is not easy to carry about in our mind the idea of the Holy Spirit as a person. I can think ofthe Father as a person, because his acts are such as I can understand. I see him hang the world in ether; I behold him swaddlinga new-born sea in bands of darkness; I know it is he who formed the drops of hail, who leadeth forth the stars by theirhosts, and calleth them by their name; I can conceive of Him as a person, because I behold his operations. I can realizeJesus, the Son of Man, as a real person, because he is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It takes no great stretch ofmy imagination to picture the babe in Bethlehem, or to behold the "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," of the kingof martyrs, as he was persecuted in Pilate's hall, or nailed to the accursed tree for our sins. Nor do I find it difficultat timesto realize the person of my Jesus sitting on his throne in heaven; or girt with clouds and wearing the diadem of all creation,calling the earth to judgment, and summoning us to hear our final sentence. But when I come to deal with the Holy Ghost, hisoperations are so mysterious, his doings are so secret, his acts are so removed from everything that is of sense, and of thebody, that I cannot so easily get the idea of his being a person; but a person he is. God the Holy Ghost is not aninfluence, an emanation, a stream of something flowing from the Father; but he is as much an actual person as either Godthe Son, or God the Father. I shall attempt this morning a little to establish the doctrine, and to show you the truth ofit-that God the Holy Spirit is actually a person.
The first proof we shall gather from the pool of holy baptism. Let me take you down, as I have taken others, into the pool,now concealed, but which I wish were always open to your view. Let me take you to the baptismal font, where believers puton the name of the Lord Jesus, and you shall hear me pronounce the solemn words, "I baptize thee in the name,"-mark, "in thename," not names-"of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Every one who is baptizedaccording to the true form laid down in Scripture, must be a Trinitarian: otherwise his baptism is a farce and a lie,and he himself is found a deceiver and a hypocrite before God. As the Father is mentioned, and as the Son is mentioned, sois the Holy Ghost; and the whole is summed up as being a Trinity in unity, by its being said, not the names, but the "name"the glorious name, the Jehovah name, "of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Let me remind you that the samethingoccurs each time you are dismissed from this house of prayer. In pronouncing the solemn closing benediction, we invokeon your behalf the love of Jesus Christ, the grace of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; and thus, accordingto the apostolic manner, we make a manifest distinction between the persons, showing that we believe the Father to be a person,the Son to be a person, and the Holy Ghost to be a person. Were there no other proofs in Scripture, I think these would besufficient for every sensible man. He would see that if the Holy Spirit were a mere influence, he would not be mentionedin conjunction with two whom we all confess to be actual and proper persons.
A second argument arises from the fact that the Holy Ghost has actually made different appearances on earth. The Great Spirithas manifested himself to man: he has put on a form, so that, whilst he has not been beheld by mortal men, he has been soveiled in appearance that he was seen, so far as that appearance was concerned, by the eyes of all beholders. See you JesusChrist our Saviour? There is the river Jordan, with its shelving banks and its willows weeping at itsside. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, descends into the stream, and the holy Baptist, John, plunges him into the waves.The doors of heaven are opened; a miraculous appearance presents itself; a bright light shineth from the sky, brighter thanthe sun in all its grandeur, and down in a flood of glory descends something which you recognize to be a dove. It rests onJesus-it sits upon his sacred head, and as the old painters put a halo round the brow of Jesus, so did the Holy Ghost shedaresplendence around the face of him who came to fulfil all righteousness, and therefore commenced with the ordinance ofbaptism. The Holy Ghost was seen as a dove, to mark his purity and his gentleness, and he came down like a dove from heaven to show that it is from heaven alone that he descendeth. Nor is this the only time when the Holy Ghost has been manifestin a visible shape. You see that company of disciples gathered together in an upper room; they are waiting for some promisedblessing, and bye-and-bye it shall come. Hark! there is a sound as of a rushing mighty wind; it fills all the house wherethey are sitting; and astonished, they look around them, wondering what will come next. Soon a bright light appears, shiningupon the heads of each: cloven tongues of fire sat upon them. What were these marvelous appearances of wind and flame buta display of the Holy Ghost in his proper person? I say the fact of an appearance manifests that he must be a person. An influencecould not appear-an attribute could not appear: we cannot see attributes-we cannot behold influences. The Holy Ghost must,then, have been a person; since he was beheld by mortal eyes, and he came under the cognizance of mortal sense.
Another proof is from the fact, that personal qualities are, in Scripture, ascribed to the Holy Ghost. First, let me readto you a text in which the Holy Ghost is spoken of as having understanding. In the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, chap. ii., you will read, "But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepare for them that love him. But God have revealedthem unto us by hisSpirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, savethe spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." Here you see an understanding-apower of knowledge is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. Now, if there be any persons here whose minds are of so preposterous a complexionthat they would ascribe one attribute to another, and would speak of a mere influence having understanding,then I give up all the argument. But I believe every rational man will admit, that when anything is spoken of as havingan understanding, it must be an existence-it must, in fact, be a person. In the 12th chap., 11th verse of the same Epistle,you will find a will ascribed to the Holy Spirit. "But all these worketh that one and the self-same spirit, dividing to every man severally ashe will." So it is plain that the Spirit has a will. He does not come from God simply at God's will,but he has a will of his own, which is always in keeping with the will of the infinite Jehovah, but is, nevertheless,distinct and separate; therefore, I say he is a person. In another text, power is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and power is a thing which can only be ascribed to an existence. In Romans 15:13, it is written, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through thepower of the Holy Ghost." I need not insist upon it, becauseit is self-evident, that wherever you find understanding, will, and power, you must also find an existence; it cannotbe a mere attribute, it cannot be a metaphor, it cannot be a personified influence; but it must be a person.
But I have a proof which, perhaps, will be more telling upon you than any other. Acts and deeds are ascribed to the Holy Ghost;therefore, he must be a person. You read in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, that the Spirit brooded over the surfaceof the earth, when it was as yet all disorder and confusion. This world was once a mass of chaotic matter, there was no order;it was like the valley of darkness and of the shadow of death. God the Holy Ghost spread hiswings over it; he sowed the seeds of life in it; the germs from which all beings sprang were implanted by him; he impregnatedthe earth so that it became capable of life. Now, it must have been a person who brought order out of confusion: it must havebeen an existence who hovered over this world and made it what it now is. But do we not read in Scripture something more ofthe Holy Ghost? Yes, we are told that "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." When Moses penned thePentateuch, the Holy Ghost moved his hand; when David wrote the Psalms, and discoursed sweet music on his harp, it wasthe Holy Spirit that gave his fingers their seraphic motion; when Solomon dropped from his lips the words of the proverbsof wisdom, or when he hymned the Canticles of love, it was the Holy Ghost who gave him words of knowledge and hymns of rapture.Ah! and what fire was that which touched the lips of the eloquent Isaiah? What hand was that which came upon Daniel? Whatmightwas that which made Jeremiah so plaintive in his grief? or what was that which winged Ezekiel and made him like an eagle,soar into mysteries aloft, and see the mighty unknown beyond our reach? Who was it that made Amos, the herdsman, a prophet?Who taught the rugged Haggai to pronounce his thundering sentences? Who showed Habakkuk the horses of Jehovah marching throughthe waters? or who kindled the burning eloquence of Nahum? Who caused Malachi to close up the book with the muttering of theword curse? Who was it in each of these, save the Holy Ghost? And must it not have been a person who spake in and throughthese ancient witnesses? We must believe it. We cannot avoid believing it, when we read that "holy men of old spake as theywere moved by the Holy Ghost."
And when has the Holy Ghost ceased to have an influence upon men? We find that still he deals with his ministers and withall his saints. Turn to the Acts, and you will find that the Holy Ghost said, "Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work."I never heard of an attribute saying such a thing. The Holy Spirit said to Peter, "Go to the Centurion, and what I have cleansed,that call not thou common." The Holy Ghost caught away Philip after he had baptized the Eunuch, andcarried him away to another place; and the Holy Ghost said to Paul; "Thou shalt not go into that city, but shall turninto another." And we know that the Holy Ghost was lied unto by Ananias and Sapphira, when it was said, "Thou hast not liedunto man, but unto God." Again, that power which we feel every day, who are called to preach-that wondrous spell which makesour lips so potent-that power which gives us thoughts which are like birds from a far-off region, not the natives of oursoul-that influence which I sometimes strangely feel, which, if it does not give me poetry and eloquence, gives me a mightI never felt before, and lifts me above my fellow-man-that majesty with which he clothes his ministers, till in the midstof the battle they cry aha! like the war-horse of Job, and move themselves like leviathans in the water-that power which givesus might over men, and causes them to sit and listen as if their ears were chained, as if they were entranced by thepower of some magician's wand-that power must come from a person; it must come from the Holy Ghost.
But is it not said in Scripture, and do we not feel it, dear brethren, that it is the Holy Ghost who regenerates the soul?It is the Holy Ghost who quickens us. "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." It is the Holy Spiritwho imparts the first germ of life, convincing us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. And is it not the HolySpirit, who, after that flame is kindled, still fans it with the breath of his mouth and keeps it alive? Itsauthor is its preserver. Oh! can it be said that it is the Holy Ghost who strives in men's souls; that it is the HolyGhost who brings them into the sweet place that is called Calvary-can it be said that he does all these things, and yet isnot a person? It may be said, but it must be said by fools; for he never can be a wise man who can consider these things canbe done by any other than a glorious person-a divine existence.
Allow me to give you one more proof, and I shall have done. Certain feelings are ascribed to the Holy Ghost, which can onlybe understood upon the supposition that he is actually a person. In the 4th chapter of Ephesians, v. 30, it is said that theHoly Ghost can be grieved: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." In Isaiah,chap. lxiii, v. 10, it is said that the Holy Ghost can be vexed: "But they rebelled, and vexed his HolySpirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy., and he fought against them." In Acts, chap. vii. v. 51, you read thatthe Holy Ghost can be resisted: "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost;as your fathers did, so do ye." And in the 5th chapter, v. 9, of the same book, you will find that the Holy Ghost may be tempted.We are informed that Peter said to Ananias and Sapphira, "How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of theLord?" Now, these things could not be emotions which might be ascribed to a quality or an emanation; they must be understoodto relate to a person; an influence could not be grieved, it must be a person who can be grieved, vexed, or resisted.
And now, dear brethren, I think I have fully established the point of the personality of the Holy Ghost; allow me now, mostearnestly, to impress upon you the absolute necessity of being sound on the doctrine of the Trinity. I knew a man, a goodminister of Jesus Christ he is now, and I believe he was before he turned his eyes unto heresy-he began to doubt the gloriousdivinity of our blessed Lord, and for years did he preach the heterodox doctrine, until one day hehappened to hear a very eccentric old minister preaching from the text, "But there the glorious Lord shall be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship passthereby. Thy tacklings are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail." "Now," saidthe old minister, "you give up the Trinity, and your tacklings are loosed, you cannot strengthen your masts. Once give upthe doctrine of threepersons, and your tacklings are all gone; your mast, which ought to be a support to your vessel, is a rickety one, andshakes." A gospel without the Trinity! it is a pyramid built upon its apex. A gospel without the Trinity! it is a rope ofsand that cannot hold together. A gospel without the Trinity! then, indeed, Satan can overturn it. But give me a gospel withthe Trinity, and the might of hell cannot prevail against it; no man can any more overthrow it than a bubble could split arock, or afeather break in halves a mountain. Get the thought of the three persons, and you have the marrow of all divinity. Onlyknow the Father, and know the Son, and know the Holy Ghost to be one, and all things will appear clear. This is the goldenkey to the secrets of nature; this is the silken clue of the labyrinths of mystery, and he who understands this, will soonunderstand as much as mortals e'er can know.
II. Now for our second point-the united agency of the three persons in the work of our salvation. Look at the text, and you will find all the three persons mentioned. "I"-thatis the Son-"will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter." There are the three persons mentioned, all ofthem doing something for our salvation. "I will pray," says the Son. "I will send," says the Father. "I will comfort," saysthe Holy Ghost. now, let us, for a fewmoments, discourse upon this wondrous theme-the unity of the three persons with regard to the great purpose of the salvationof the elect. When God first made man, he said, "Let us make man," not let me, but, "Let us make man in our own image." The covenant Elohim said to each other, "Let us unitedly become the creator ofman." So, when in ages far gone by, in eternity, they said, "Let us save man:" it was not the Father who said, "Let me save man, "but the three personsconjointly said, with one consent, "Let us save man." It is to me a source of sweet comfort to think that it is not one person of the Trinity that is engaged for mysalvation; it is not simply one person of the Godhead who vows that he will redeem me; but it is a glorious trio of Godlikeones, and the three declare, unitedly, "We will save man."
Now, observe here, that each person is spoken of as performing a separate office. "I will pray," says the Son; that is intercession."I will send," says the Father; that is donation. "I will comfort," says the Holy Spirit; that is supernatural influence.O! if it were possible for us to see the three persons of the Godhead, we should behold one of them standing before the throne,with outstretched hands, crying day and night, "O, Lord, how long?" We should see one girtwith Urim and Thummim, precious stones, on which are written the twelve names of the tribes of Israel; we should beholdhim, crying unto his Father, "Forget not thy promises, forget not thy covenant;" we should hear him make mention of our sorrows,and tell forth our griefs on our behalf, for he is our intercessor. And could we behold the Father, we should not see hima listless and idle spectator of the intercession of the Son, but we should see him with attentive ear listening to everywordof Jesus, and granting every petition. Where is the Holy Spirit all the while? Is he lying idle? O no; he is floatingover the earth, and when he seas a weary soul, he says, "Come to Jesus, he will give you rest;" when he beholds an eye filledwith tears, he wipes away the tears, and bids the mourner look for comfort on the cross; when he sees the tempest-tossed believer,he takes the helm of his soul and speaks the word of consolation; he helpeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up theirwounds; and, ever on his mission of mercy, he flies around the world, being everywhere present. Behold, how the threepersons work together. Do not then say, "I am grateful to the Son"-so you ought to be, but God the Son no more saves you thanGod the Father. Do not imagine that God the Father is a great tyrant, and that God the Son had to die to make him merciful.It was not to make the Father's love towards his people. Oh, no. One loves as much as the other; the three are conjoined inthegreat purpose of rescuing the elect from damnation.
But you must notice another thing in my text, which will show the blessed unity of the three-the one person promises to theother. The Son says, "I will pray the Father." "Very well," the disciples may have said, "we can trust you for that." "Andhe will send you." You see, here is the Son signing a bond on behalf of the Father. "He will send you another Comforter."There is a bond on behalf of the Holy Spirit too. "And he will abide with you forever." One person speaksfor the other, and how could they, if there were any disagreement between them? If one wished to save, and the other not,they could not promise on another's behalf. But whatever the Son says, the Father listens to; whatever the Father promises,the Holy Ghost works; and, whatever the Holy Ghost injects into the soul, that God the Father fulfils. So, the three togethermutually promise on one another's behalf. There is a bond with three names appended-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. By threeimmutable things, as well as by two, the Christian is secured beyond the reach of death and hell. A Trinity of securities,because there is a Trinity of God.
III, Our third point is, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in believers. Now, beloved, these first two things have been matters of pure doctrine; this is the subjectof experience. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is a subject so profound, and so having to do with the inner man, that nosoul will be able truly and really to comprehend what I say, unless it has been taught of God. I have heard of an old minister,who told a fellow of one of the Cambridge colleges,that he understood a language that he never learned in all his life. "I have not," he said, "even a smattering of Greek, and I know no Latin, but thank God, Ican talk the language of Canaan, and that is more than you can." So, beloved, I shall now have to talk a little of the languageof Canaan. If you cannot comprehend me, I am much afraid it is because you are not of Israelitish extraction; you are nota child of God, nor an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
We are told in the text, that Jesus would send the Comforter, who would abide in the saints forever; who would dwell withthem, and be in them. Old Ignatius, the martyr, used to call himself Theophorus, or Godbearer, "because," said he, "I bearabout with me the Holy Ghost." And truly every Christian is a Godbearer. "Know ye not that ye are the temples of the HolyGhost? for he dwelleth in you?" That man is no Christian who is not the subject of the indwelling of the HolySpirit; he may talk well, he may understand theology, and be a sound Calvinist; he will be the child of nature finelydressed, but not the living child. He may be a man of so profound an intellect, so gigantic a soul, so comprehensive a mind,and so lofty an imagination, that he may dive into all the secrets of nature, may know the path which the eagle's eye hathnot seen, and go into depths where the ken of mortals reacheth not, but he shall not be a Christian with all his knowledge,he shallnot be a son of God with all his researches, unless he understands what it is to have the Holy Ghost dwelling in him andabiding in him; yea, and that for ever.
Some people call this fanaticism, and they say, "You are a Quaker; why not follow George Fox?" Well, we would not mind thatmuch: we would follow any one who followed the Holy Ghost. Even he, with all his eccentricities, I doubt not, was, in manycases, actually inspired by the Holy Spirit; and whenever I find a man in whom there rests the Spirit of God, the spirit withinme leaps to hear the spirit within him, and we feel that we are one. The Spirit of God in oneChristian soul recognizes the Spirit in another. I recollect talking with a good man, as I believe he was, who was insistingthat it was impossible for us to know whether we had the Holy Spirit within us or not. I should like him to be here this morning,because I would read this verse to him, "But ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Ah! you think youcannot tell whether you have the Holy Spirit or not. Can I tell whether I am alive or not? If I were touched byelectricity, could I tell whether I was or not? I suppose I should; the shock would be strong enough to make me know whereI stood. So, if I have God within me-if I have Deity tabernacling in my breast-if I have God the Holy Ghost resting in myheart, and making a temple of my body, do you think I shall know it? Call it fanaticism if you will, but I trust that thereare some of us who know what it is to be always, or generally, under the influence of the Holy Spirit-always in one sense,generally in another. When we have difficulties, we ask the direction of the Holy Ghost. When we do not understand a portionof Holy Scripture, we ask God the Holy Ghost to shine upon us. When we are depressed, the Holy Ghost comforts us. You cannottell what the wondrous power of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost is; how it pulls back the hand of the saint when he wouldtouch the forbidden thing; how it prompts him to make a covenant with his eyes; how it binds his feet, lest they should fallin a slippery way; how it restrains his heart, and keeps him from temptation. O ye, who know nothing of the indwellingof the Holy Ghost, despise it not. O despise not the Holy Ghost, for it is the unpardonable sin. "He that speaketh a wordagainst the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, but he that speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgivenhim, either in this life, or that which is to come." So saith the Word of God. Therefore tremble, lest in anything ye despisetheinfluences of the Holy Spirit.
But before closing this point, there is one little word that pleases me very much, that is "forever." You knew I should notmiss that; you were certain I could not let it go without observation. "Abide with you forever." I wish I could get an Armenianhere to finish my sermon. I fancy I see him taking that word "forever." He would say, "for-forever;" he would have to stammerand stutter; for he could never get it out all at once. He might stand and pull it about, and atlast he would have to say, "The translation is wrong." And I suppose the poor man would have to prove that the originalwas wrong too. Ah! but blessed be God we can read it-"He shall abide with you forever." Once give me the Holy Ghost, and Ishall never lose him till "forever" has run out; till eternity has spun its everlasting rounds.
IV. Now we have to close up with a brief remark on the reason why the world rejects the Holy Ghost. It is said, "Whom theworld cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." You know what is sometimes meant by "the world"-thosewhom God in his wondrous sovereignty passed over when he chose his people: the preterite ones; those passed over in God'swondrous preterition-not the reprobates who were condemned to damnation by some awful decree; but thosepassed over by God, when he chose out his elect. These cannot receive the Spirit. Again, it means all in a carnal stateare not able to procure themselves this divine influence; and, thus it is true, "Whom the world cannot receive."
The unregenerate world of sinners despises the Holy Ghost, "because it seeth him not." Yes, I believe this is the great secretwhy many laugh at the idea of the existence of the Holy Ghost-because they see him not. You tell the worldling, "I have theHoly Ghost within me." He says, "I cannot see it." He wants it to be something tangible-a thing he can recognize with hissenses. Have you ever heard the argument used by a good old Christian against an infidel doctor? Thedoctor said there was no soul, and asked, "Did you ever see a soul?" "No," said the Christian. "Did you ever hear a soul?""No." "Did you ever smell a soul?" "No." "Did you ever taste a soul?" "No." "Did you ever feel a soul?" "Yes," said the man-"Ifeel I have one within me." "Well," said the doctor, "there are four senses against one; you only have one on your side.""Very well," said the Christian, "Did you ever see a pain?" "No." "Did you ever hear a pain?" "No." "Did you ever smell apain?" "No." "Did you ever taste a pain?" "No." "Did you ever feel a pain?" "Yes." "And that is quite enough, I suppose,to prove there is a pain?" "Yes." So the worldling says there is no Holy Ghost, because he cannot see it. Well, but we feelit. You say that is fanaticism, and that we never felt it. Suppose you tell me that honey is bitter, I reply, "No, I am sureyou cannot have tasted it; taste it and try." So with the Holy Ghost; if you did but feel his influence, you would no longersaythere is no Holy Spirit, because you cannot see it. Are there not many things, even in nature, which we cannot see? Didyou ever see the wind? No; but ye know there is wind, when you behold the hurricane tossing the waves about, and rending downthe habitations of men; or when, in the soft evening zephyr, it kisses the flowers, and maketh dew-drops hang in pearly coronetsaround the rose. Did ye ever see electricity? No; but ye know there is such a thing, for it travels along the wires forthousands of miles, and carries our messages; though you cannot see the thing itself, you know there is such a thing.So you must believe there is a Holy Ghost working in us, both to will and to do, even though it is beyond our senses.
But the last reason why worldly men laugh at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, is, because they do not know it. If they knowit by heartfelt experience and if they recognized its agency in the soul; if they had ever been touched by it; if they hadbeen made to tremble under a sense of sin; if they had had their hearts melted, they would never have doubted the existenceof the Holy Ghost.
And now, beloved, it says, "He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." We will close up with that sweet recollection-theHoly Ghost dwells in all believers and shall be with them.
One word of comment and advice to the saints of God, and to sinners, and I have done. Saints of the Lord! ye have this morningheard that God the Holy Ghost is a person; ye have had it proved to your souls. What follows from this? Why, it followethhow earnest ye should be in prayer to the Holy Spirit, as well as for the Holy Spirit. Let me say that this is an inference that you should lift up your prayers to the Holy Ghost: that you shouldcry earnestly untohim; for he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can speak or think. See this mass of people. What is to convertit? See this crowd? Who is to make my influence permeate through the mass? You know this place now has a mighty influence,and, God blessing us, it will have an influence not only upon this city, but upon England at large; for we now employ thepress as well as the pulpit; and certainly, I should say, before the close of the year, more than two hundred thousand ofmyproductions will be scattered through the land-words uttered by my lips, or written by my pen. But how can this influencebe rendered for good? How shall God's glory be promoted by it? Only by incessant prayer for the Holy Spirit; by constantlycalling down the influence of the Holy Ghost upon us; we want him to rest upon every page that is printed, and upon everyword that is uttered. Let us then be doubly earnest in pleading with the Holy Ghost, that he would come and own our labors;thatthe whole church at large may be revived thereby, and not ourselves only, but the whole world share in the benefit.
Then, to the ungodly, I have this one closing word to say. Ever be careful how you speak of the Holy Ghost. I do not knowwhat the unpardonable sin is, and I do not think any man understands it; but it is something like this: "He that speaketha word against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven him." I do not know what that means; but tread carefully! Thereis danger; there is a pit which our ignorance has covered by sand; tread carefully! you may be in it before thenext hour. If there is any strife in your heart to-day, perhaps you will go to the ale-house and forget it. Perhaps thereis some voice speaking in your soul, and you will put it away. I do not tell you will be resisting the Holy Ghost, and committingthe unpardonable sin; but it is somewhere there. Be very careful. O, there is no crime on earth so black as the crime againstthe Holy Spirit! Ye may blaspheme the Father, and ye shall be damned for it, unless ye repent; ye may blaspheme the Son,and hell shall be your portion, unless ye are forgiven; but blaspheme the Holy Ghost, and thus saith the Lord: "Thereis no forgiveness, either in this world nor in the world which is to come." I cannot tell you what it is; I do no professto understand it; but there it is. It is the danger signal; stop! man, stop! If thou has despised the Holy Spirit- if thouhast laughed at his revelations, and scorned what Christians call his influence, I beseech thee, stop! This morning seriouslydeliberate. Perhaps some of you have actually committed the unpardonable sin; stop! Let fear stop you; sit down. Do notdrive on so rashly as you have done, Jehu! O slacken your reins! Thou who are such a profligate in sin-thou who hast utteredsuch hard words against the Trinity, stop! Ah! it makes us all stop. It makes us all draw up, and say, "Have I not perhapsso done?" Let us think of this; and let us not at any time stifle either with the words or the acts of God the Holy Ghost.