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Today Tuesday 23 December 2014 00:06:17

Like a lion, I look, that He will break all my bones. From morning till evening, Thou wilt make an end of me." But people are apt to forget this. And therefore they fall into two mistakes. They think of the Holy Spirit as only a gentle, and what they call a dove-like being; and they forget what a powerful, awful, literally formidable being He is. They lose respect for the Holy Spirit. They trifle with Him; and while they sing hymns about His gentleness and sweetness, they do things which grieve and shock Him; forgetting the awful warning which He, at the very outset of the Christian Church, gave against such taking of liberties with God the Holy Ghost:--how Ananias and Sapphira thought that the Holy Spirit was One whom they might honour with their lips, and more, with their outward actions, but who did not require truth in the inward parts, and did not care for their telling a slight falsehood that they might appear more generous than they really were in the eyes of men; and how the answer of the Holy Spirit of God was that He struck them both dead there and then for a warning to all such triflers, till the end of time. Another mistake which really pious and good people commit, is, that they think the Holy Spirit of God to be merely, or little beside, certain pleasant frames, and feelings, and comfortable assurances, in their own minds. They do not know that these pleasant frames and feelings really depend principally on their own health: and, then, when they get out of health, or when their brain is overworked, and the pleasant feelings go, they are terrified and disheartened, and complain of spiritual dryness, and cry out that God's Spirit has deserted them, and are afraid that God is angry with them, or even that they have committed the unpardonable sin: not knowing that God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent; that God is as near them in the darkness as in the light; that whatever their own health, or their own feelings may be, yet still in God they live, and move, and have their being; that to God's Spirit they owe all which raises them above the dumb animals; that nothing can separate them from the love of Him who promised that He would not leave us comfortless, but send to us His Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us to the same place whither He has gone before. Now, why do I say all this? To take away comfort from you? To make you fear and dread the Spirit of God? God forbid! Who am I, to take away comfort from any human being! I say it to give yon true comfort, to make you trust and love the Holy Spirit utterly, to know Him--His strength and His wisdom as well as His tenderness and gentleness. You know that afflictions do come--terrible bereavements, sorrows sad and strange. My sermon does not make them come. There they are, God help us all, and too many of them, in this world. But from whom do they come? Who is Lord of life and death? Who is Lord of joy and sorrow? Is not that the question of all questions? And is not the answer the most essential of all answers? It is the Holy Spirit of God; the Spirit who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; the Spirit of the Father who so loved the world that He spared not His only begotten Son; the Spirit of the Son who so loved the world, that He stooped to die for it upon the Cross; the Spirit who is promised to lead you into all truth, that you may know God, and in the knowledge of Him find everlasting life; the Spirit who is the Comforter, and says, I have seen thy ways and will heal thee, I will lead thee also, and restore comforts to thee and to thy mourners. I speak peace to him that is near, and to him that is far off, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.
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