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festival of Whit-Sunday. It was as on that day, the old Jewish Feast of Pentecost, that God did teach the hearts of His faithful people by sending to them the light of His Holy Spirit,-sending Him in a visible manner, in the likeness of fiery tongues, typical of the power of speech which followed, and by which the Apostles were enabled to preach successfully the Gospel to all nations.
But here already, on the fourth Sunday after Easter, and again on the Ascension Day and the Sunday following, our Church draws our attention to this great subject,—to the coming of the Holy Ghost, and to His coming as our Comforter :: If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
Now, besides His office as Comforter, the Holy Ghost has many other functions assigned to Him in the Scriptures. He is called the “Spirit of truth," and the “Guide into all truth,"—the Sanctifier, the Enlightener. He is to convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. But, leaving all mention of these, let us for the present look only to His greatest and chiefest office of Comforter. Many are the occasions on which we need such a Comforter; and in all these occasions we shall find that He is able and ready to bestow the consolation that we require,-nigh unto all who call upon Him for it! For take some of the commonest occasions on which our heart yearns for comfort. And, first, there are those sharp sorrows caused in every home by that great separater, Death. Never are we long without encountering this sorrow. As we advance in life, we have to mourn more and more frequently the loss of kinsfolk and friends. Father, mother, wife, child,-his own familiar and most dear friend,- the man who lives long has to weep in turn for each. No sooner is one grievous wound that Death has inflicted partially healed, but he strikes another blow; and the aged who survive are marked all over with the scars and traces of past sorrows!
For such sufferers the surest refuge is in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. And how does He comfort them? Why, by taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to us; assuring us that Jesus Christ has overcome death, -overcome it for Himself and for all His faithful people.
That, surely, is the way to find consolation under the heavy sorrow of bereavement—to pray to God the Holy Ghost that He would establish our hearts in a firm belief in our Lord's resurrection, and of our own, and of our departed friends, as rising out and built upon His !
For when this is done, - when we fully, and without all doubt, can grasp the mighty truth of a Risen and Living Saviour, the sorrow caused
у death is greatly relieved. We no longer sorrow as men that have no hope. We no longer feel that aching void in our heart which they must feel who say there is no resurrection. We pass the graves, yet recent, of our kindred, and linger over them,— troubled, indeed, but not in despair. “Yet a little while,” is the whisper of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter,—"yet a little while, and we shall see them again! Because He liveth, these shall live also !”
Again, another common cause of sorrow is that which comes from deep poverty, want, bodily pain, and sickness. However, by God's mercy, we may be free ourselves from any of these evils, they abound everywhere in the world. Even in this wealthy land there are those who have not always a bare sufficiency of daily bread,—who starve in the midst of plenty, and are housed in homes most injurious to health,—worse lodged than the
beasts. Others there are who are tried, and sorely tried, with bodily pain and sickness ; whose life — for no fault of theirs—from being of a weak natural constitution, is one long scene of suffering. With these, every fresh day is but a sad repetition of the day before it,-a day that has to be got through as best they are able, -a day that brings its accustomed burden of
exhaustion and weakness,- yes, and to many, of acute bodily anguish.
Such sufferers are common, than the world thinks. For it is not always that those who suffer the most complain the most. Often quite otherwise. Often the spirit of a man triumphs over his bodily weakness, and he bears an uncomplaining demeanour, even when he is ill at ease, and inwardly smitten.
And here, again, both in the trial of poverty and in the trial of sickness, comes to our help the Holy Ghost the Comforter.
We have seen that He can, and does comfort those that mourn; and no less powerful is He to help under these afflictions. The poor cry, and the sick cry, and the Lord heareth them, yea, and
— delivereth them - stands by and succours them. It is not that He alters their condition at
He does not make a poor man suddenly rich, or a sick man suddenly well. No; but He gives to both, in answer to prayer, the grace of patience,-strength according to their need. He enables them to bear the present by the hope He instils of the future. He lightens the burden of their immediate lot by showing them things to come, - by holding up to their faith the glory that is to be revealed the rest that remaineth for the people of God !
That is the work of the Holy Ghost the Comforter,—a work He works in many a sufferer's heart,-a real work,-a work which is one of the strongest evidences of the truth of the Gospel,a witness to the world that what the Lord promised has come to pass,—that He whom He said He would send has been sent, and is an abiding presence in the world; even the Holy Ghost, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him : but these—these poor, these patient ones, know Him, for He dwelleth with them and is in them!
Again, take another cause of sorrow,sorrow under which we greatly need a comforter -the sorrow that springs from our sins; when, after long provocation, we awake at last to a sense of our misery, and guilt, and lost condition. Take that sorrow—the sorrow of the sinner possessed by his sins-pricked and tormented by his aroused conscience-haunted by the terror of God's judgment. What shall comfort a man in such a plight ? Where shall he betake himself for refuge ? Who shall save him from despair ? Again I answer, God the Holy Ghost, that blessed Spirit whose office it is to bring comfort, when nothing else can, to the sin-stricken soul.
From Him, in the first instance, come those godly 'motions,—that stirring of the sinner's