Evening, October 12, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.” — John 14:26 (KJV)
This age is significantly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in which Jesus encourages us, not by his personal presence, as he shall do eventually, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Spirit, who is forever the Comforter of the church. It is his function to console the hearts of God’s people. He convicts of sin; he illuminates and instructs; but still the main part of his work lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak, and lifting up all those that are bowed down. He does this by revealing Jesus to them. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If we may use the metaphor, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Jesus is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ’s name and grace. He revels not in his own things, but of the things of Christ. So, if we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of Paraclesis. If the one is the Comforter, the other is the Comfort. Now, with such rich provision for his need, why should the Christian be sad and despondent? The Holy Spirit has graciously engaged to be your Comforter: do you imagine, O you weak and fearing believer, that he will be negligent of his sacred trust? Can you suppose that he has undertaken what he cannot or will not perform? If it is his special work to strengthen you, and to comfort you, do you suppose he has forgotten his business, or that he will fail in the loving office which he sustains towards you? No, do not think so little of the tender and blessed Spirit whose name is “the Comforter.” He delights to give the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Trust in him, and he will surely comfort you till the house of sorrow is closed forever, and the marriage feast has begun.
Editor’s note: The word “Paraclete,” translated here “comforter,” is nearly universally translated “helper” or “advocate” (in a legal sense, as an attorney before a judge) today. The word is somewhat obscure, but Jesus makes the role of the Holy Spirit clear: “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”