"The power of the Holy Ghost."—Romans 15:13.
POWER is the special and peculiar prerogative of God, and God alone. "Twice
have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God." God is God; and power
belongeth to him. If he delegates a portion of it to his creatures, yet
still it is his power. The sun, although he is "like a bridegroom coming
out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run his race," yet
has no power to perform his motions except as God directs him. The stars,
although they travel in their orbits, and none could stay them, yet have
neither might nor force, except that which God daily infuses into them.
The tall archangel, near his throne, who outshines a comet in its blaze,
though he is one of those who excel in strength, and hearken to the voice
of the commands of God, yet has no might except that which his Maker gives
to him. As for Leviathan, who so maketh the sea to boil like a pot, that
one would think the deep were hoary; as for Behemoth, who drinketh up Jordan
at a draught, and boasteth that he can snuff up rivers; as for those majestic
creatures that are found on earth, they owe their strength to him who fashioned
their bones of steel, and made their sinews of brass. And when we think
of man, if he has might or power, it is so small and insignificant, that
we can scarcely call it such; yea, when it is at its greatest—when he sways
his sceptre, when he commands hosts, when he rules nations—still the power
belongeth unto God; and it is true, "Twice have I heard this, that power
belongeth unto God." This exclusive prerogative of God, is to be found
in each of the three persons of the glorious Trinity. The Father hath power;
for by his word were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them; by his
strength all things stand, and through him they fulfil their destiny. The
Son hath power; for, like his Father, he is the Creator of all things;
"Without him was not anything made that was made," and "by him all things
consist." And the Holy Spirit hath power. It is concerning the power of
the Holy Ghost that I shall speak this morning; and may you have a practical
exemplification of that attribute in your own hearts, when you shall feel
that the influence of the Holy Ghost is being poured out upon me, so that
I am speaking the words of the living God to your souls, and bestowed upon
you when you are feeling the effects of it in your own spirits.
We shall look at the power of the Holy Ghost in three ways this morning.
First, the outward and visible displays of it; second, the inward and spiritual
manifestations of it; and third, the future and expected works thereof.
The power of the Spirit will thus, I trust, be made clearly present to
I. First, then, we are to view the power of the Spirit in the OUTWARD
AND VISIBLE DISPLAYS OF IT. The power of the Sprit has not been dormant;
it has exerted itself. Much has been done by the Spirit of God already;
more than could have been accomplished by any being except the Infinite,
Eternal, Almighty Jehovah, of whom the Holy Spirit is one person. There
are four works which are the outward and manifest signs of the power of
the Spirit; creation works; resurrection works; works of attestation, or
of witness; and works of grace. Of each of these works I shall speak very
1. First, the Spirit has manifested the omnipotence of his power in
creation works; for though not very frequently in Scripture, yet sometimes
creation is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as well as to the Father and the
Son. The creation of the heavens above us, is said to be the work of God's
Spirit. This you will see at once by referring to the sacred Scriptures,
Job 26, 13th verse, "By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand
hath formed the crooked serpent." All the stars of heaven are said to have
been placed aloft by the Spirit, and one particular constellation called
the "crooked serpent," is specially pointed out as his handiwork. He looseth
the bands of Orion; he bindeth the sweet influences of the Pleiades, and
binds Arcturus with his suns. He made all those stars that shine in heaven.
The heavens were garnished by his hands, and he formed the crooked serpent
by his might. So, also, in those continued acts of creation which are still
performed in the world; as the bringing forth of man and animals, their
birth and generation. These are ascribed also to the Holy Ghost. If you
look at the 104th Psalm, at the 29th verse you will read, "Thou hidest
thy face, they are troubled; thou takest away their breath, they die, and
return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created;
and thou renewest the face of the earth." So that the creation of every
man is the work of the Spirit; and the creation of all life, and all flesh-existence
in this world, is as much to be ascribed to the power of the Spirit, as
the first garnishing of the heavens, or the fashioning of the crooked serpent.
But if you look in the first chapter of Genesis, you will there see more
particularly set forth that peculiar operation of power upon the universe
which was put forth by the Holy Spirit; you will then discover what was
his special work. In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read,
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face
of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be—certainly
many millions of years before the time of Adam. Our planet has passed through
various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived
on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that
era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator
gave up the world to confusion. He allowed the inward fires to burst up
from beneath, and melt all the solid matter, so that all kinds of substances
were commingled in one vast mass of disorder. The only name you could give
to the world, then, was that it was a chaotic mass of matter; what it should
be, you could not guess or define. It was entirely "without form and void;
and darkness was upon the face of the deep." The Spirit came, and stretching
his broad wings, bade the darkness disperse, and as he moved over it, all
the different portions of matter came into their places, and it was no
longer "without form, and void;" but became round, like its sister planets,
and moved, singing the high praises of God—not discordantly, as it had
done before, but as one great note in the vast scale of creation. Milton
very beautifully describes this work of the Spirit, in thus bringing order
out of confusion, when the King of Glory, in his powerful Word and Spirit,
came to create new worlds:—
"On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore
They viewed the vast, immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turned by furious winds
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
Heaven's height, and with the centre mix the pole.
"Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,
Said then the Omnific Word; your discord end.
Then on the watery calm,
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid mass."
This you see, then, is the power of the Spirit. Could we have seen that
earth all in confusion, we should have said, "Who can make a world out
of this?" The answer would have been, "The power of the Spirit can do it.
By the simple spreading of his dove-like wings, he can make all the things
come together. Upon that there shall be order where there was naught but
confusion." Nor is this all the power of the Spirit. We have seen some
of his works in creation. But there was one particular instance of creation
in which the Holy Spirit was more especially concerned; viz., the formation
of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though our Lord Jesus Christ was
born of a woman, and made in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet, the power
that begat him was entirely in God the Holy Spirit—as the Scriptures express
it, "The Holy One of Israel shall overshadow thee." He was begotten, as
the Apostles' Creed says, begotten of the Holy Ghost. "That holy thing
which is born of thee shall be called the Son of the Highest." The corporeal
frame of the Lord Jesus Christ was a master-piece of the Holy Spirit. I
suppose his body to have excelled all others in beauty; to have been like
that of the first man, the very pattern of what the body is to be in heaven,
when it shall shine forth in all its glory. That fabric, in all its beauty
and perfection, was modeled by the Spirit. "In his book were all the members
written, when as yet there were none of them." He fashioned and formed
him; and here again we have another instance of the creative energy of
2. A second manifestation of the Holy Spirit's power is to be found
in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. If ye have ever studied this
subject, ye have perhaps been rather perplexed to find that sometimes the
resurrection of Christ is ascribed to himself. By his own power and godhead
he could not be held by the bond of death, but as he willingly gave up
his life he had power to take it up again. In another portion of Scripture,
you find it ascribed to God the Father: "He raised him up from the dead:"
"Him hath God the Father exalted." And many other passages of similar import.
But, again, it is said in Scripture that Jesus Christ was raised by the
Holy Spirit. Now, all these things were true. He was raised by the Father
Because the Father said, "Loose the prisoner—let him go. Justice is satisfied.
My law requires no more satisfaction—vengeance has had its due—let him
go." Here he gave an official message which delivered Jesus from the grave.
He was raised by his own majesty and power, because he had a right to come
out; and he felt he had, and therefore "burst the bonds of death: he could
be no longer holden of them." But he was raised by the Spirit as to that
energy which his mortal frame received, by the which it rose again from
the grave after having lain there for three days and nights. If you want
proofs of this you must open your Bibles again, 1 Peter 3:18. "For Christ
also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might
bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit."
And a further proof you may find in Romans 8:11—(I love sometimes to be
textual, for I believe the great fault of Christians is that they do not
search the Scriptures enough, and I will make them search them when they
are here if they do not do so anywhere else.)—"But if the Spirit of him
that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ
from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that
dwelleth in you."
The resurrection of Christ, then, was
effected by the agency of the Spirit! And here we have a noble illustration
of his omnipotence. Could you have stepped, as angels did, into the grave
of Jesus, and seen his sleeping body, you would have found it cold as any
other corpse. Lift up the hand; it falls by the side. Look at the eye;
it is glazed. And there is a death-thrust which must have annihilated life.
See his hands: the blood distills not from them. They are cold and motionless.
Can that body live? Can it start up? Yes; and be an illustration of the
might of the Spirit. For when the power of the Spirit came on him, as it
was when it fell upon the dry bones of the valley, "he arose in the majesty
of his divinity, and, bright and shining, astonished the watchmen so that
they fled away; yea, he arose no more to die, but to live forever, King
of kings and Prince of the kings of the earth."
3. The third of the works of the Holy Spirit, which have so wonderfully
demonstrated his power, are attestation works. I mean by this—works of
witnessing. When Jesus Christ went into the stream of baptism in the river
Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and proclaimed
him God's beloved son. That was what I style an attestation work. And when
afterwards Jesus Christ raised the dead, when he healed the leper, when
he spoke to diseases and they fled apace, when demons rushed in thousands
from those who were possessed of them, it was done by the power of the
Spirit. The Spirit dwelt in Jesus without measure, and by that power all
those miracles were worked. These were attestation works. And when Jesus
Christ was gone, you will remember that master attestation of the Spirit,
when he came like a rushing mighty wind upon the assembled apostles, and
cloven tongues sat upon them; and you will remember how he attested their
ministry, by giving them to speak with tongues as he gave them utterance;
and how, also, miraculous deeds were wrought by them, how they taught,
how Peter raised Dorcas, how he breathed life into Enticus, how great deeds
were wrought by the apostles as well as their Master—so that "mighty signs
and wonders were done by the Holy Ghost, and many believed thereby." Who
will doubt the power of the Holy Spirit after that? Ah! Those Socinians
who deny the existence of the Holy Ghost and his absolute personality,
what will they do when we get them on creation, resurrection, and attestation?
They must rush in the very teeth of Scripture. But mark! It is a stone
upon which if any man fall he shall be bruised; but if it fall upon him,
as it will do if he resists it, it shall grind him to powder. The Holy
Spirit has power omnipotent, even the power of God.
4. Once more, if we want another outward and visible sign of the power
of the Spirit, we may look at the works of grace. Behold a city where a
soothsayer hath the power—who has given out himself to be some great one,
a Philip enters it and preaches the Word of God; straightway a Simon Magus
loses his power and himself seeks for the power of the Spirit to be given
to him, fancying it might be purchased with money. See, in modern times,
a country where the inhabitants live in miserable wigwams, feeding on reptiles
and the meanest creatures; observe them bowing down before their idols
and worshiping their false gods, and so plunged in superstition, so degraded
and debased, that it became a question whether they had souls or not; behold
a Moffat go with the Word of God in his hand, hear him preach as the Spirit
gives him utterance, and accompanies that Word with power. They cast aside
their idols—they hate and abhor their former lusts; they build houses,
wherein they dwell; they become clothed, and in their right mind. They
break the bow, and cut the spear in sunder; the uncivilized become civilized;
the savage becomes polite; he who knew nothing begins to read the Scriptures:
thus out of the mouths of Hottentots, God attests the power of his mighty
Spirit. Take a household in this city—and we could guide you to many such—the
father is a drunkard; he has been the most desperate of characters; see
him in his madness, and you might just as well meet an unchained tiger
as meet such a man. He seems as if he could rend a man to pieces who should
offend him. Mark his wife. She, too, has a spirit in her, and when he treats
her ill she can resist him; many broils have been seen in that house. And
often has the neighborhood been disturbed by the noise created there. As
for the poor little children—see them in their rags and nakedness, poor
untaught things. Untaught, did I say? They are taught and well taught in
the devil's school, and are growing up to be the heirs of damnation. But
some one whom God has blessed by his Spirit is guided to the house. He
may be but an humble city missionary, perhaps, but he speaks to such a
one: "Oh!" says he, "come and listen to the voice of God." Whether it is
by his own agency, or a minister's preaching, the Word, which is quick
and powerful, cuts to the sinner's heart. The tears run down his cheeks—such
as had never been seen before. He shakes and quivers. The strong man bows
down—the mighty man trembles—and those knees that never shook begin to
knock together. That heart which never quailed before now begins to shake
before the power of the Spirit. He sits down on an humble bench by the
penitent; he lets his knees bend, whilst his lips utter a child's prayer;
but, whilst a child's prayer, a prayer of a child of God. He becomes a
changed character. Mark the reformation in his house! That wife of his
becomes the decent matron. Those children are the credit of the house,
and in due time they grow up like olive branches round his table, adorning
his house like polished stones. Pass by the house—no noise or broils, but
songs of Zion. See him—no drunken revelry; he has drained his last cup,
and, now forswearing it, he comes to God and is his servant. Now, you will
not hear at midnight the bacchanalian shout; but should there be a noise,
it will be the sound of the solemn hymn of praise to God. And, now, is
there not such a thing as the power of the Spirit? Yes! And those must
have witnessed it, and seen it. I know a village, once perhaps the most
profane in England—a village inundated by drunkenness and debauchery of
the worst kind, where it was impossible almost for an honest traveler to
stop in the public house without being annoyed by blasphemy; a place noted
for incendiaries and robbers. One man, the ringleader of all, listened
to the voice of God. That man's heart was broken. The whole gang came to
hear the gospel preached, and they sat and seemed to reverence the preacher
as if he were a God, and not a man. These men became changed and reformed;
and every one who knows the place affirms that such a change had never
been wrought but by the power of the Holy Ghost. Let the gospel be preached
and the Spirit poured out, and you will see that it has such power to change
the conscience, to ameliorate the conduct, to raise the debased, to chastise
and to curb the wickedness of the race, that you must glory in it. I say,
there is naught like the power of the Spirit. Only let that come, and,
indeed, everything can be accomplished.
II. Now for the second point, THE INWARD AND SPIRITUAL POWER OF THE
HOLY SPIRIT. What I have already spoken of may be seen; what I am about
to speak of must be felt, and no man will apprehend what I say with truth
unless he has felt it. The other, even the infidel must confess; the other,
the greatest blasphemer cannot deny, if he speaks the truth; but this is
what the one will laugh at as enthusiasm, and what the other will say is
but the invention of our fevered fancies. However, we have a more sure
word of testimony than all that they may say. We have a witness within.
We know it is the truth, and we are not afraid to speak of the inward spiritual
power of the Holy Ghost. Let us notice two or three things wherein the
inward and spiritual power of the Holy Ghost is very greatly to be seen
1. First, in that the Holy Ghost has a power over men's hearts. Now,
men's hearts are very hard to affect. If you want to get at them for any
worldly object, you can do it. A cheating world can win man's heart; a
little gold can win man's heart; a trump of fame and a little clamor of
applause can win man's heart. But there is not a minister breathing that
can win man's heart himself. He can win his ears and make them listen;
he can win his eyes, and fix those eyes upon him; he can win the attention,
but the heart is very slippery. Yes! The heart is a fish that troubles
all gospel fishermen to hold. You may sometimes pull it almost all out
of the water; but, slimy as an eel, it slippeth between your fingers, and
you have not captured it after all. Many a man has fancied that he has
caught the heart, but has been disappointed. It would take a strong hunter
to overtake the hart on the mountains. It is too fleet for human foot to
approach. The Spirit alone has power over man's heart. Do you every try
your power on a heart? If any man thinks that a minister can convert the
soul, I wish he would try. Let him go and be a Sabbath School teacher.
He shall take his class, he shall have the best books that can be obtained,
he shall have the best rules, he shall draw his lines of circumvallation
about his spiritual Sebastopol, he shall take the best boy in his class,
and if he is not tired in a week I shall be very much mistaken. Let him
spend four or five Sabbaths in trying; but he will say, "the young fellow
is incorrigible." Let him try another. And he will have to try another,
and another and another before he will manage to convert one. He will soon
find "it is not by might nor power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."
Can a minister convert? Can he touch the heart? David said, "Your hearts
are as fat as grease." Aye, that is quite true; and we cannot get through
so much grease at all. Our sword cannot get at the heart, it is encased
in so much fatness; it is harder than a nether millstone. Many a good old
Jerusalem blade has been blunted against the hard heart. Many a piece of
the true steel that God has put into the hand of his servants has had the
edge turned by being set up against the sinner's heart. We cannot reach
the soul, but the Holy Spirit can. "My beloved can put in his hand by the
hole in the door, and my bowels will move for sin." He can give a sense
of blood-bought pardon that shall dissolve a heart of stone. He can
"Speak with that voice which wakes the dead
And bids the sinner rise;
And makes the guilty conscience dread
The death that never dies."
He can make Sinai's thunders audible; yea, and he can make the sweet
whisperings of Calvary enter into the soul. He has power over the heart
of man. And here is a glorious proof of the omnipotence of the Spirit that
he has rule over the heart.
2. But if there is one thing more stubborn than the heart, it is the
will. "My lord Will-be-will," as Bunyan calls him in his "Holy War," is
a fellow who will not easily be bent. The will, especially in some men,
is a very stubborn thing; and in all men, if the will is once stirred up
to opposition, there is nothing can be done with them. Free-will somebody
believes in. Free-will many dream of. Free-will! Wherever is that to be
found? Once there was Free-will in Paradise, and a terrible mess Free-will
made there; for it spoiled all Paradise and turned Adam out of the garden.
Free-will was once in heaven; but it turned the glorious archangel out,
and a third part of the stars of heaven fell into the abyss. I want nothing
to do with Free-will, but I will try to see whether I have got a Free-will
within. And I find I have. Very free will to evil but very poor will to
that which is good. Free-will enough when I sin, but when I would do good,
evil is present with me, and how to do that which I would I find not. Yet
some boast of Free-will. I wonder whether those who believe in it have
any more power over persons' wills than I have? I know I have not any.
I find the old proverb very true, "One man can bring a horse to the water
but a hundred cannot make him drink." I find that I can bring you all to
the water, and a great many more than can get into this chapel; but I cannot
make you drink; and I don't think a hundred ministers could make you drink.
I have read old Rowland Hill, and Whitefield, and several others, to see
what they did; but I cannot discover a plan of turning your will. I cannot
coax you, and you will not yield by any manner of means. I do not think
any man has power over his fellow-creature's will, but the Spirit of God
has. "I will make them willing in the day of my power." He maketh the unwilling
sinner so willing that he is impetuous after the gospel; he who was obstinate
now hurries to the cross. He who laughed at Jesus now hangs on his mercy;
and he who would not believe is now made by the Holy Spirit to do it, not
only willingly, but eagerly; he is happy, is glad to do it, rejoices in
the sound of Jesus' name, and delights to run in the way of God's commandments.
The Holy Spirit has power over the will.
3. And yet there is one thing more which I think is rather worse than
the will. You will guess what I mean. The will is somewhat worse than the
heart to bend, but there is one thing that excels the will in its naughtiness,
and that is the imagination. I hope that my will is managed by Divine Grace.
But I am afraid my imagination is not at times. Those who have a fair share
of imagination know what a difficult thing it is to control. You cannot
restrain it. It will break the reins. You will never be able to manage
it. The imagination will sometimes fly up to God with such a power that
eagles' wings cannot match it. It sometimes has such might that it can
almost see the King in his beauty, and the land which is very far off.
With regard to myself, my imagination will sometimes take me over the gates
of iron, across the infinite unknown, to the very gates of pearl, and discover
the blessed glorified. But, if it is potent one way, it is another: for
my imagination has taken me down to the vilest kennels and sewers of earth.
It has given me thoughts so dreadful, that, while I could not avoid them,
yet I was thoroughly horrified at them. These thoughts will come; and when
I feel in the holiest frame, the most devoted to God, and the most earnest
in prayer, it often happens that that is the very time when the plague
breaks out the worst. But I rejoice and think of one thing, that I can
cry out when this imagination comes upon me. I know it is said in the Book
of Leviticus, when an act of evil was committed, if the maiden cried out
against it, then her life was to be spared. So it is with the Christian.
If he cries out, there is hope. Can you chain your imagination? No; but
the power of the Holy Ghost can. Ah, it shall do it! And it does do it
at last, it does it even on earth.
III. But the last thing was, THE FUTURE AND DESIRED EFFECTS; for, after
all, though the Holy Spirit has done so much, he cannot say, "It is finished."
Jesus Christ could exclaim concerning his own labor—"It is finished." But
the Holy Spirit cannot say that. He has more to do yet: and until the consummation
of all things, when the Son himself becomes subject to the Father, it shall
not be said by the Holy Spirit, "It is finished." What, then, has the Holy
Spirit to do?
1. First, he has to perfect us in holiness. There are two kinds of perfection
which a Christian needs: one is the perfection of justification in the
person of Jesus; and the other is, the perfection of sanctification worked
in him by the Holy Spirit. At present corruption still rests even in the
breasts of the regenerate. At present the heart is partially impure. At
present there are still lusts and evil imaginations. But, oh! My soul rejoices
to know that the day is coming when God shall finish the work which he
has begun; and he shall present my soul, not only perfect in Christ, but
perfect in the Spirit, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. And
is it true that this poor depraved heart is to become as holy as that of
God? And is it true that this poor spirit, which often cries, "O, wretched
man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this sin an death!"
shall get rid of sin and death? I shall have no evil things to vex my ears,
and no unholy thoughts to disturb my peace. Oh happy hour! May it be hastened!
Just before I die sanctification will be finished; but not till that moment
shall I ever claim perfection in myself. But at that moment when I depart,
my spirit shall have its last baptism in the Holy Spirit's fire. It shall
be put in the crucible for its last trying in the furnace; and then, free
from all dross, and fine, like a wedge of pure gold, it shall be presented
at the feet of God without the least degree of dross or mixture. O glorious
hour! O blessed moment! Methinks I long to die if there were no heaven,
if I might but have that last purification come up from Jordan's stream
most white from the washing. Oh! To be washed white, clean, pure, perfect!
Not an angel more pure than I shall be—yea, not God himself more holy!
And I shall be able to say, in a double sense, "Great God, I am clean—through
Jesus' blood I am clean, through the Spirit's work I am clean too!" Must
you not extol the power of the Holy Ghost in thus making us fit to stand
before our Father in heaven?
2. Another great work of the Holy Spirit, which is not accomplished,
is the bringing on of the latter-day glory. In a few more years—I know
not when, I know not how—the Holy Spirit will be poured out in a far different
style from the present. There are diversities of operations; and during
the last few years it has been the case that the diversified operations
have consisted in very little pouring out of the Spirit. Ministers have
gone on in dull routine, continually preaching—preaching—preaching, and
little good has been done. I do hope that perhaps a fresh era has dawned
upon us, and that there is a better pouring out of the Spirit even now.
For the hour is coming, and it may be even now is, when the Holy Ghost
shall be poured out again in such a wonderful manner, that many shall run
to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased—the knowledge of the Lord
shall cover the earth as the waters cover the surface of the great deep;
when his kingdom shall come, and his will shall be done on earth even as
it is in heaven. We are not going to be dragging on forever like Pharoah,
with the wheels off his chariot. My heart exults, and my eyes flash with
the thought that very likely I shall live to see the outpouring of the
Spirit; when "the sons and the daughters of God again shall prophesy, and
the young men shall see visions and the old men shall dream dreams." Perhaps
there shall be no miraculous gifts—for they will not be required; but yet
there shall be such a miraculous amount of holiness, such an extraordinary
fervor of prayer, such a real communion with God, and so much vital religion,
and such a spread of the doctrines of the cross, that every one will see
that verily the Spirit is poured out like water, and the rains are descending
from above. For that let us pray; let us continually labor for it, and
seek it of God.
3. One more work of the Spirit, which will especially manifest his power—the
general resurrection. We have reason to believe from Scripture, that the
resurrection of the dead, whilst it will be effected by the voice of God
and of his Word(the Son), shall also be brought about by the Spirit. The
same power which raised Jesus Christ from the dead, shall also quicken
your mortal bodies. The power of the resurrection is, perhaps, one of the
finest proofs of the works of the Spirit. Ah! My friends, if this earth
could but have its mantle torn away for a little while, if the green sod
could be cut from it, and we could look about six feet deep into its bowels,
what a world it would seem! What should we see? Bones, carcasses, rottenness,
worms, corruption. And you would say, Can these dry bones live? Can they
start up? Yes! "In a moment! In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump,
the dead shall be raised." He speaks; they are alive! See them scattered!
Bone comes to his bone! See them naked; flesh comes upon them! See them
still lifeless; "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these
slain!" When the wind of the Holy Spirit comes, they live; and they stand
upon their feet an exceeding great army.
I have thus attempted to speak of the power of the Spirit, and I trust
I have shown it to you. We must now have a moment or two for practical
inference. The Spirit is very powerful, Christian! What do you infer from
that fact? Why, that you never need distrust the power of God to carry
you to heaven. O how that sweet verse was laid to my soul yesterday!
"His tried Almighty arm
is raised for your defense;
Where is the power can reach you there?
Or what can pluck you thence?"
The power of the Holy Spirit is your bulwark, and all his omnipotence
defends you. Can your enemies overcome omnipotence? Then they can conquer
you. Can they wrestle with Deity, and hurl him to the ground? Then they
might conquer you. For the power of the Spirit is our power; the power
of the Spirit is our might.
Once again, Christians, if this is the power of the Spirit, why should
you doubt anything? There is your son. There is that wife of yours, for
whom you have supplicated so frequently; do not doubt the Spirit's power.
"Though he tarry, wait for him." There is thy husband, O holy woman! And
thou hast wrestled for his soul. And though he is ever so hardened and
desperate a wretch, and treats thee ill, there is power in the Spirit.
And, O ye who have come from barren churches, with scarcely a leaf upon
the tree, do not doubt the power of the Spirit to raise you up. For it
shall be a "pasture for flocks, a den of wild asses," open but deserted,
until the Spirit is poured out from on high. And then the parched ground
shall be made a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; and in the
habitations of dragons, where each lay shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
And, O ye members of Park Street! Ye who remember what your God has done
for you especially, never distrust the power of the Spirit. Ye have seen
the wilderness blossom like Carmel, ye have seen the desert blossom like
the rose, trust him for the future. Then go out and labor with this conviction,
that the power of the Holy Ghost is able to do anything. Go to your missionary
enterprise; go to your preaching in your rooms, with the conviction that
the power of the Spirit is our great help.
And now, lastly, to you sinners:—What is there to be said to you about
this power of the Spirit? Why, to me, there is some hope for some of you.
I cannot save you; I cannot get at you. I make you cry sometimes—you wipe
your eyes, and it is all over. But I know my Master can. That is my consolation.
Chief of sinners, there is hope for thee! This power can save you as well
as anybody else. It is able to break your heart, though it is an iron one;
to make your eyes run with tears, though they have been like rocks before.
His power is able this morning, if he will, to change your heart, to turn
the current of all your ideas; to make you at once a child of God, to justify
you in Christ. There is power enough in the Holy Spirit. Ye are not straightened
in him, but in your own bowels. He is able to bring sinners to Jesus; he
is able to make you willing in the day of his power. Are you willing this
morning? Has he gone so far as to make you desire his name; to make you
wish for Jesus? Then, O sinner! Whilst he draws you, say, "Draw me, I am
wretched without thee." Follow him, follow him; and, while he leads, tread
you in his footsteps, and rejoice that he has begun a good work in you,
for there is an evidence that he will continue it even unto the end. And,
O desponding one! Put thy trust in the power of the Spirit. Rest on the
blood of Jesus, and thy soul is safe, not only now, but throughout eternity.
God bless you, my hearers. Amen.