And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
I. HOW THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS THE PARACLETE.
1. The Holy Spirit is to be to us all that Jesus was to His disciples. What a valiant leader is to an army, the shepherd to the sheep, Jesus Christ was to His people. As the Orientals say of the palm tree, that every fragment of it is of use, and there is scarcely any domestic arrangement into which the palm tree in some form or other does not enter, even so Jesus Christ is good for everything to His people, and there is nothing that they have to do or feel or know but Jesus Christ enters into it. What would that little company have been without their Lord? Now, all that Jesus was, the Spirit of God is now. If there be any power in the Church, any light in her instruction, life in her ministry, glory gotten to God, good wrought among men, it is entirely because the Holy Spirit is still with her. And we shall do well to treat the Holy Spirit as we would have treated Christ. Our Lord's disciples told Him their troubles; we must trust the Comforter with ours. Whenever they felt baffled by the adversary, they fell back upon their Leader's power; so must we call in the aid of the Holy Spirit. When they needed guidance, they sought direction from Jesus; we also must seek and abide by the Spirit's leadings. When, knowing what to do, they felt themselves weak, they waited upon their Master for strength; and so must we upon the Spirit of all grace.
2. The Holy Spirit comforts by His presence and indwelling (ver. 17).
3. He comforts us by His teaching (ver. 26). We can, so far as the letter goes, learn from the Scriptures the words of Jesus for ourselves; but to understand them is the gift of the Spirit of God. What comfort is there equal to the words of Jesus, "the consolation of Israel," when they are really understood?
4. Through the Holy Spirit we obtain peace (ver. 27). He who is taught of God naturally enjoys peace, for if I be taught that my sins were laid on Jesus, and the chastisement of my peace was upon Him, how can I help having peace?
5. The Holy Spirit, according to John 16:13, guides us into all truth, which is more than teaching us all truth. There are caverns full of sparkling stalactites. Now, it is a good thing, when you are travelling, to be taught where each of these caverns is — that is teaching you truth; but it is a better thing when the guide, with his flaming torch, conducts you down into the great subterranean chambers, while ten thousand crystals, like stars, vicing in colour with the rainbow, flash their beams upon you. So the Spirit of God will convince you that such and such a teaching is truth, and that is very much to know; but when he leads you into it, so that you experimentally know it, taste it, and feel it, oh, then you are admitted to the innermost cave of jewels, where "the diamond lights up the secret mine." A great many Christians never get into the truth. They sit on the outside of it, but do not enter in.
6. The Spirit (John 16:14) glorifies Christ by "taking of the things of Christ and showing them to us." Could infinite wisdom select a sweeter topic for a disconsolate heart than "the things of Christ"? You may bring me the things of Moses and of David, of Solomon and of Daniel, but what are they to me compared with the things of Christ?
II. THE NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT'S COMFORT.
1. He never dissociates His comfort from character (see ver. 15). The Spirit of God never comforts a man in his sin. See what sin it is that makes you sorrow — obey, and ye shall be comforted.
2. He does not aim at working mere comfort by itself and alone. He does not comfort us as a fond mother who does not teach the child anything, nor cleanse its body or purify its heart in order to comfort it, but who neglects these to please the little one; but the Holy Spirit never acts so unwisely. When a man is feeling pain he is very desirous that the surgeon should administer some drug which will stop the unpleasant sensation immediately; yet the surgeon refuses to do anything of the kind, but endeavours to remove the cause of the evil, which lies far lower than the pain. Do not expect to get comfort by merely running to sweet texts or listening to pleasing preachers, but expect to find comfort through the holy, reproving, humbling, strengthening, sanctifying processes which are the operation of the Divine Paraclete.
3. His comfort is not founded upon concealment. Some have obtained consolation by conveniently forgetting troublesome truth. Now, the Holy Spirit lays the whole truth open before us; therefore our consolation is not of fools, but of wise men; peace, which age and experience will not invalidate, but which both these will deepen, causing it to grow with our growth and strengthen with our strength.
4. It is a comfort always in connection with Jesus.
5. It is comfort which is always available. It does not depend upon health, strength, wealth, position, or friendship; the Holy Spirit comforts us through the truth, and the truth does not change; through Jesus, and He is "yea and amen"; therefore our comforts may be quite as lively when we are dying as when we are in vigorous health, when the purse is empty, and the cruse of oil low, as when all worldly store and cheer abound to us.
III. SOME OBSERVATIONS UPON THE WHOLE SUBJECT.
1. To the believer —
(1) Honour the Spirit of God as you would honour Jesus Christ if He were present.
2. Never impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to Him.
3. In all your learning ask Him to teach you, in all your suffering ask Him to sustain you, in all your teaching ask Him to give you the right words, in all your witness-bearing ask Him to give you constant wisdom, and in all service depend upon Him for His help. Believingly reckon upon the Holy Spirit.
4. To the unconverted — if thou art ever to be saved, the Holy Spirit is essential to thee. Except thou be born again from above, thou canst never see the kingdom of God, much less enter it.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;