The Holy Spirit a Comforter
Sermons By C.H.
God the Holy Ghost is a very loving Comforter. I am in distress, and want
consolation. Some passer-by hears of my sorrow, and he steps within, sits down
and essays to cheer me; he speaks soothing words; but he loves me not, he is a
stranger, he knows me not at all, he has only come in to try his skill; and what
is the consequence? His words run o'er me like oil upon a slab of marble—they
are like the pattering rain upon the rock; they do not break my grief; it stands
unmoved as adamant, because he has no love for me. But let someone who loves me
dearly as his own life come and plead with me, then truly his words are music;
they taste like honey; he knows the password of the doors of my heart, and my
ear is attentive to every word; I catch the intonation of each syllable as it
falls, for it is like the harmony of the harps of heaven.
Oh, there is a voice
in love, it speaks a language which is its own, it is an idiom and an accent
which none can mimic; wisdom cannot imitate it; oratory cannot attain unto it;
it is love alone which can reach the mourning heart; love is the only
handkerchief which can wipe the mourner's tears away. And is not the Holy Ghost
a loving Comforter? Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves
thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the
affection of His soul towards thee? Go, measure heaven with thy span; go, weigh
the mountians in the scales; go, take the ocean's water, and tell each drop; go,
count the sand upon the seals wide shore; and when thou hast accomplished this,
thou canst tell how much He loveth thee. He has loved thee long; He has loved
thee well; He loved thee ever; and He still shall love thee. Surely He is the
person to comfort thee, because He loves. Admit Him, then, to your heart, O
Christian that He may comfort you in your distress.
He is a faithful Comforter. Love sometimes proveth unfaithful. "Oh, sharper than
a serpent's tooth" is an unfaithful friend! Oh, far more bitter than the gall of
bitterness, to have a friend to turn from me in my distress! Oh, woe of woes, to
have one who loves me in my prosperity forsake me in the dark day of my trouble!
Sad indeed: but such is not God's Spirit. He ever loves, and loves even to the
end—a faithful Comforter. Child of God, you are in trouble! A little while ago
you found Him a sweet and loving Comforter; you obtained relief from Him when
others were but broken cisterns; He sheltered you in His bosom, and carried you
in His arms. Oh, wherefore dost thou distrust Him now? Away with thy fears; for
He is a faithful Comforter. "Ah! but," thou sayest, "I fear I shall be sick, and
shall be deprived of His ordinances." Nevertheless, He shall visit thee on they
sick bed, and sit by thy side to give thee consolation. "Ah! but I have
distresses greater than
You can conceive of; wave upon wave rolleth over me; deep calleth unto deep at
the noise of the Eternal's waterspouts." Nevertheless, He will be faithful to
His promise. "Ah! but I have sinned." So thou hast, but sin cannot sever thee
from His love; He loves thee still. Think not, O poor downcast child of God,
because the scars of thine old sins have marred thy beauty, that He loves thee
less because of that blemish. Oh, no! He loved thee when He foreknew thy sin; He
loved thee with the knowledge of what the aggregate of thy wickedness would be;
and He does not love thee less now. Come to Him in all boldness of faith; tell
Him thou hast grieved Him, and He will forget thy wandering, and will receive
thee again; the kisses of His love shall be bestowed upon thee, and the arms of
His grace shall embrace thee. He is faithful: trust Him ; He will never deceive
you; trust Him, He will never leave you.
He is an unwearied Comforter. I have sometimes tried to comfort persons that
have been tried. You now and then meet with the case of a nervous person. You
ask, "What is your trouble?" You are told, and you essay, if possible, to remove
it, but while you are preparing your artillery to batter the trouble, you find
that it has shifted its quarters, and is occupying quite a different position.
You change your argument and begin again; but lo, it is again gone, and you are
bewildered. You feel like Hercules cutting off the ever-growing heads of the
Hydra, and you give up your task in despair.
You meet with persons whom it is
impossible to comfort, reminding one of the man who locked himself up in fetters
and threw the key away, so that nobody could unlock him. I have found some in
the fetters of despair. "O, I am the man," say they "that has seen affliction;
pity me, pity me, O my friends;" and the more you try to comfort such people,
the worse they get; and therefore, out of all heart, we leave them to wander
alone among the tombs of their former joys. But the Holy Spirit is never out of
heart with those whom He wishes to comfort. He attempts to comfort us, and we
run away from the sweet cordial; He gives some sweet draught to cure us, and we
will not drink it; He gives some wondrous portion to charm away all our
troubles, and we put it away from us. Still He pursues us; and though we say
that we will not be comforted, He says we shall be, and when He has said, He
does it; He is not to be wearied by all our sins, not by all our murmurings.
And oh, how wise a Comforter is the Holy Ghost! Job had comforters, and I think
he spoke the truth when he said, "Miserable comforters are ye all." But I dare
say they esteemed themselves wise; and when the young man Elihu rose to speak,
they thought he had a world of impudence. Were they not "grave and reverend
seniors?" Did not they comprehend his grief and sorrow? If they could not
comfort him, who could? But they did not find out the cause. They thought he was
not really a child of God, that he was self-righteous: and they gave him the
wrong physic. It is a bad case when the doctor mistakes the disease and gives a
wrong prescription, and so, perhaps, kills the patient.
Sometimes, when we go
and visit people we mistake their disease, we want to comfort them on this
point, whereas they do not require any such comfort at all, and they would be
better left alone than spoiled by such unwise comforters as we are. But oh, how
wise the Holy Spirit is! He takes the soul, lays it on the table, and dissects
it in a moment; He finds out the root of the matter, He sees where the complaint
is, and then He applies the knife where something is required to be taken away,
or puts a plaster where the sore is; and He never mistakes. Oh, how wise, the
blessed Holy Ghost! From every comforter I turn and leave them all, for thou art
He who alone givest the wisest consolation.
Then mark how safe a Comforter the Holy Ghost is. All comfort is not safe; mark
that. There is a young man over there very melancholy. You know how he became
so. He stepped into the house of God and heard a powerful preacher, and the Word
was blessed, and convinced him of sin. When he went home, his father and the
rest found there was something different about him, "Oh," they said, "John is
mad; he is crazy;" and what said his mother? Send him into the country for a
week; let him go to the ball or to the theatre." John, did you find any comfort
there? "Ah no; they made me worse, for while I was there, I thought hell might
open and swallow me up." Did you find any relief in the gaieties of the world?
"No," say you, "I thought it was idle waste of time."
Alas! this is miserable
comfort, but it is the comfort of the worldling; and when a Christian gets into
distress, how many will recommend him this remedy and the other! "Go and hear
Mr. So-and-so preach; have a few friends at your house; read such-and-such a
consoling volume;" and very likely it is the most unsafe advice in the world.
The devil will sometimes come to men's souls as a false comforter, and he will
say to the soul, "What need is there to make all this ado about repentance? You
are no worse than other people;" and he will try to make the soul believe that
what is presumption is the real assurance of the Holy Ghost; thus he deceives
many by false comfort. Ah! there have been many, like infants, destroyed by
elixirs given to lull them to sleep; many have been ruined by the cry of "Peace,
peace," when there is no peace, hearing gentle things when they ought to be
stirred to the quick. Cleopatrals asp was brought in a basket of flowers; and
men's ruin often lurks in fair and sweet speeches. But the Holy Ghost's comfort
is safe, and you may rest on it. Let Him speak the word, and there is a reality
about it; let Him give the cup of consolation, and you may drink it to the
bottom, for in its depths there are no dregs, nothing to intoxicate or ruin, it
is all safe.
Moreover, the Holy Ghost is an active Comforter: He does not comfort by words,
but by deeds. Some comfort by "Be ye warmed and be ye filled, giving nothing."
But the Holy Ghost gives, He intercedes with Jesus; He gives us promises, He
gives us grace, and so He comforts us. He is always a successful Comforter; He
never attempts what He cannot accomplish. Then He is an ever-present Comforter,
so that you never have to send for Him. Your God is always near you, and when
you need comfort in your distress, behold, the Word is nigh thee, it is in thy
mouth, and in thy heart; He is an ever-present help in time of trouble.