The Personality of the Holy Ghost – John 14:16-17 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippets)

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
—John 14:16, 17.

First of all, we shall have some little instruction concerning the proper personality of the Holy Spirit. I am afraid that, though we do not know it, we have acquired the habit of regarding the Holy Ghost as an emanation flowing from the Father and the Son, but not as being actually a person himself. [H]is operations are so mysterious, his doings are so secret, his acts are so removed from everything that is of sense, and of the body, that I cannot so easily get the idea of his being a person; but a person he is.

The first proof we shall gather from the pool of holy baptism. “I baptize thee in the name,”—mark, “in the name,” not names,—“of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’

A second argument arises from the fact, that the Holy Ghost has actually made different appearances on earth. The Holy Ghost was seen as a dove, to mark his purity and his gentleness. You see that company of disciples gathered together in an upper room; they are waiting for some promised blessing, by-and-by it shall come. Hark! there is a sound as of a rushing mighty wind; it fills all the house where they are sitting; and astonished, they look around them, wondering what will come next. Soon a bright light appears, shining upon the heads of each: cloven tongues at fire sat upon them. An influence could not appear—an attribute could not appear: we cannot see attributes—we cannot behold influences.

Another proof is from the fact, that personal qualities are, in Scripture, ascribed to the Holy Ghost[;] understanding (1 Cor 2), will (12:11), power (Rom 15:13), acts and deeds (Gen 1). [W]e are told that “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” [T]he Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work.” The Holy Ghost caught away Philip after he had baptised thee unuch (sic). [T]he Holy Ghost said to Paul. “Thou shalt not go into that city, but shalt turn into another.

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? And is it not the Holy Spirit who after that flame is kindled, still fans it with the breath of his mouth and keeps it alive? [C]an it be said that he does all these things, and yet is not a person? it may be said, but it must be said by fools; for he never can be a wise man who can consider that these things can be done by any other than a glorious person—a divine existence.

Certain feelings are ascribed to the Holy Ghost, which can only be understood upon the supposition that he is actually a person. the Holy Ghost can be grieved (Eph 4:30). [T]he Holy Ghost can be vexed (Is 63:10). [T]he Holy Ghost can be resisted (Acts 7:51). The Holy Ghost may be tempted (5:9). [I]t must be a person who can be grieved, vexed, or resisted.

[A]llow me now, most earnestly, to impress upon you the absolute necessity of being sound upon the doctrine of the Trinity. A gospel without a Trinity!—it is a pyramid built upon its apex. A gospel without the Trinity!—it is a rope of sand that cannot hold together. A gospel without the Trinity!—then, indeed, Satan can overturn it. But, give me a gospel with the Trinity, and the might of hell cannot prevail against it; no man can any more overthrow it, than a bubble could split a rock, or a feather break in halves a mountain.

Now for the second point—the united agency of the three persons in the work of our salvation. “I will pray,” says the Son. “I will send,” says the Father. “I will comfort,” says the Holy Ghost. [I]t is a glorious trio of Godlike ones, and the three declare, unitedly. “We will save man.” Do not then say, “I am grateful to the Son,”—so you ought to be, but God the Son no more saves you than God 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 flow towards his people. Oh, no. One loves as much as the other; the three are conjoined in the great 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…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 together mutually promise on one another’s behalf.

Our third point is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in believers. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is a subject so profound, and so having to do with the inner man, that no soul will be able truly and really to comprehend what I say, unless it has been taught of God. If you cannot comprehend me, I am much afraid it is because you are not of Israelitish extraction; you are not a child of God nor an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. That man is no Christian who is not the subject of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; he may talk well, he may understand theology and be a sound Calvinist; he will be the child of nature finely dressed, but not the living child.

“But ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Ah! you think you cannot tell whether you have the Holy Spirit or not. Can I tell whether I am alive or not? If I were touched by electricity, could I tell whether I was or not? [H]ow it pulls back the hand of the saint when he would touch the forbidden thing; how it prompts him to make a covenant with his eyes; how it binds his feet, lest they should fall in a slippery way; how it restrains his heart, and keeps him from temptation.

Now we have to close up with a brief remark on the reason why the world rejects the Holy Ghost. It is said, “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” all in a carnal state are not able to procure themselves this divine influence. The unregenerate world of sinners despises the Holy Ghost. “because it seeth him not.” Yes, I believe this is the great secret why many laugh at the idea of the existence of the Holy Ghost—because they see him not. The doctor said there was no soul, and he 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—“I feel I have one within me.” “Well,” said the doctor, “there are four senses against one: you have only 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 a pain?” “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 feel it. You say that is fanaticism, and that we never felt it. Suppose you tell me that honey is bitter, I reply, “No, I am sure you cannot have tasted it; taste it, and try” So with the Holy Ghost; if you did but feel his influence, you would no longer say there is no Holy Spirit, because you cannot see it. Are there not many things, even in nature, which we cannot see? Did you ever see the wind? Did ye ever see electricity?

Saints of the Lord! ye have this morning heard that God the Holy Ghost is a person; ye have had it proved to your souls. What follows from this? Why, it followeth how 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 should cry earnestly unto him; for he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think. See this mass of people; what is to convert it?

Then to the ungodly, I have this one closing word to say. Ever be careful how you speak of the Holy Ghost. There is danger; there is a pit which our ignorance has covered by sand; tread carefully! you may be in it before the next hour. 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, “There is no forgiveness, neither in this world, nor in the world which is to come.”

Let us think of this; and let us not at any time trifle either with the words, or the acts, of God the Holy Ghost.


The Sin of Unbelief – 2 Kings 7:19 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippet)

“And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes but shalt not eat thereof.”—2 Kings 7:19.

For Elisha’s sake the Lord sent the promise that the next day, food which could not be obtained at any price, should be had at the cheapest possible rate—at the very gates of Samaria. However, the lord on whom the king leaned expressed his disbelief. We hear not that any of the common people, the plebeians, ever did so; but an aristocrat did it. Strange it is, that God has seldom chosen the great men of this world. High places and faith in Christ do seldom well agree.

This great man said, “Impossible!” and, with an insult to the prophet, he added, “If the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be.” His sin lay in the fact, that after repeated seals of Elisha’s ministry, he yet disbelieved the assurances uttered by the prophet on God’s behalf. Whereupon God pronounced his doom by the mouth of the man who had just now proclaimed the promise: “thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.”

His sin was unbelief.
Unbelief hath more phases than the moon, and more colors than the chameleon. At one time I see unbelief dressed out as an angel of light. It calls itself humility, and it saith, “I would not be presumptuous; I dare not think that God would pardon me; I am too great a sinner.” We call that humility, and thank God that our friend is in so good a condition. At other times we detect unbelief in the shape of a doubt of God’s immutability: “The Lord has loved me, but perhaps he will cast me off to-morrow. Sometimes this infidelity is embodied in a doubt of God’s power. We see every day new straits, we are involved in a net of difficulties, and we think “surely the Lord cannot deliver us.” But the most hideous of all is the traitor, in its true colours, blaspheming God, and madly denying his existence. Infidelity, deism, and atheism, are the ripe fruits of this pernicious tree; they are the most terrific eruptions of the volcano of unbelief.

Oh! sirs believe me, could ye roll all sins into one mass,—could you take murder, and blasphemy, and lust, adultery, and fornication, and everything that is vile, and unite them all into one vast globe of black corruption, they would not equal even then the sin of unbelief.

[Unbelief] is the parent of every other iniquity. There is no crime which unbelief will not beget. I think that the fall of man is very much owing to it.

[I]f there can be one sin more heinous than the unbelief of a sinner, it is the unbelief of a saint. But it is because my faith is weak, that I sin. Once take away faith, the reins are broken; and who can ride an unbroken steed without rein or bridle?

[U]nbelief not only begets, but fosters sin. [H]ow is it that when the sinner hears the tremendous threatenings of God’s justice, still he is hardened, and walks on in his evil ways? I will tell you; it is because unbelief of that threatening prevents it from having any effect upon him.

Methinks the tale of Calvary is enough to break a rock. Rocks did rend when they saw Jesus die. Methinks the tragedy of Golgotha is enough to make a flint gush with tears, and to make the most hardened wretch weep out his eyes in drops of penitential love; but yet we tell it you, and repeat it oft, but who weeps over it?

Unbelief disables a man for the performance of any good work. You shall never hear me say a word against morality; you shall never hear me say that honesty is not a good thing, or that sobriety is not a good thing; on the contrary, I would say they are commendable things; but I will tell you what I will say afterwards—these virtues may be current here below, but not above. If you have not something better than your own goodness, you will never get to heaven. All these things put together, without faith, do not please God. Virtues without faith are whitewashed sins. Obedience without faith, if it is possible, is a gilded disobedience. Not to believe, nullifies everything.

Faith fosters every virtue; unbelief murders every one. Thousands of prayers have been strangled in their infancy by unbelief.

[U]nbelief has been severely punished. By faith Noah escaped from the flood. By unbelief the rest were drowned. And, oh! do you not know that unbelief kept Moses and Aaron out of Canaan? Zechariah…doubted, and the angel struck him dumb.

[Unbelief] is the damning sin. There is one other sin for which Christ never made atonement. Mention every crime in the calendar of evil, and I will show you persons who have found forgiveness for it. But ask me whether the man who died in unbelief can be saved, and I reply there is no atonement for that man.

There is an atonement made for the unbelief of a Christian, because it is temporary; but the final unbelief—the unbelief with which men die—never was atoned for. You may turn over this whole Book, and you will find that there is no atonement for the man who died in unbelief; there is no mercy for him. Had he been guilty of every other sin, but believed, he would have been pardoned; but this is the damning exception—he had no faith.

[T]he real reason why God’s people do not feed under a gospel ministry, is, because they have not faith. If you believed, if you did but hear one promise, that would be enough; if you only heard one good thing from the pulpit, here would be food for your soul, for it is not the quantity we hear, but the quantity we believe, that does us good—it is that which we receive into our hearts with true and lively faith, that is our profit.

[T]o the unconverted[:] A great work is going on in this chapel, but some of you do not know anything about it; you have no work going on in your hearts, and why? Because ye think it is impossible; ye think God is not at work. It is not the wrath now you have to fear, but the wrath to come; and there shall be a doom to come, when “ye shall see it with your eyes, but shall not eat thereof.”

I beseech you lay these things to heart, and remember that if you are damned, it will be unbelief that damns you. If you are lost, it will be because ye believed not on Christ; and if you perish, this shall be the bitterest drop of gall—that ye did not trust in the Saviour.