CONSOLATION IN CHRIST
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, DECEMBER 2, 1860,
BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT EXETER HALL, STRAND
“If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy.”
THE language of man has received a new coinage of words since the time of his perfection in Eden. Adam could scarce have understood the word consolation for the simple reason that he did not understand in Eden the meaning of the word sorrow. O how has our language been swollen through the floods of our griefs and tribulations! It was not sufficiently wide and wild for man when he was driven out of the Garden into the wide, wide world. After he had once eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as his knowledge was extended so must the language be by which he could express his thoughts and feelings.
But, my Hearers, when Adam first needed the word consolation, there was a time when he could not find the fair jewel itself. Until that hour when the first Promise was uttered, when the Seed of the woman was declared as being the coming Man who should bruise the serpent’s head Adam might masticate and digest the word sorrow. But he could never season and flavor it with the hope or thought of consolation—or if the hope and thought might sometimes flit across his mind like a lightning flash in the midst of the tempest’s dire darkness—yet it must have been too transient, too unsubstantial, to have made glad his heart, or to soothe his sorrows.
Consolation is the dropping of a gentle dew from Heaven on desert hearts beneath. True consolation, such as can reach the heart, must be one of the choicest gifts of Divine mercy. And surely we are not erring from sacred Scripture when we avow that in its full meaning, consolation can be found nowhere except in Christ who has come down from Heaven and who has again ascended to Heaven to provide strong and everlasting consolation for those whom He has bought with His blood.
You will remember, my dear Friends, that the Holy Spirit, during the present dispensation, is revealed to us as the Comforter. It is the Spirit’s business to console and cheer the hearts of God’s people. He does convict of sin. He does illuminate and instruct. But still the main part of His business lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak and lifting up all those that are bowed down. Whatever the Holy Spirit may not be, He is evermore the Comforter to the Church and this age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit in which Christ cheers us not by His personal presence, as He shall do by-and-by, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Spirit the Comforter.
Now, mark—as the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, Christ is the Comfort. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the Consolation. If I may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Christ is the Medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ’s name and grace. He takes not of His own things, but of the things of Christ. We are not consoled today by new revelations, but by the old Revelation explained, enforced and lit up with new splendor by the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. 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 the Paraclesis. If the one is the Comforter the other is the Comfort.
I shall try this morning, first, to show how Christ in His varied positions is the Consolation of the children of God in their varied trials. Then we shall pass on, secondly, to observe that Christ in His unchanging nature is the Consolation to the children of God in their continual sorrows. And lastly, I shall close by dwelling awhile upon the question as to whether Christ is a consolation to us—putting it personally, “Is Christ a present and available consolation for me.”
I. First, CHRIST IN HIS VARIED POSITIONS IS THE CONSOLATION FOR THE MANY ILLS OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
Our Master’s history is a long and eventful one. But every step of it may yield abundant comfort to the children of God. If we track Him from the highest Throne of Glory to the Cross of deepest woe and then through the grave up again the shining steeps of Heaven and onward through His mediatorial kingdom, on to the day Continue reading