Charles Simeon.

The offices of the Holy Spirit : four sermons, preached before the University of Cambridge, in the month of November, 1831 online

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First American, from the Second London Edtticto.:


No. 152 Broadway.

1832. ;';!







No. 8 Thames-street.



If any man have not the Spirit of Christy he is none
of his.

On a remote occasion, similar to the present,
I endeavoured to set forth, in this place, the
Law ; and on a subsequent occasion, the Gospel.
These two subjects, taken together, form a
whole, so far as relates to Christianity as a
system. But for the full development of our
holy religion, in its spiritual operations and
practical results, the office of the Holy Spirit
should be separately and distinctly considered.
This part, therefore, it is now my intention to
supply. But, m entering on a subject so deeply
mysterious as this, 1 may well ask, " Who is
sufficient for these things f" Besides, in refer-
ence to it, there is a still further ground of
discouragement, arising from the opposition
which the subject itself meets with in the

j£uman mind. To a person who has never
experienced any thing of a work of grace upon
his own heart, the work of the Spirit appears
po be little better than an enthusiastic conceit;
and when pressed upon his conscience as a
matter to be experienced at the peril of his
soul, it excites, I had almost said, a feeling
of indignation, inasmuch as it requires of him
a greater degree of submission to God than he
is willing to yield, and a closer intercourse with
God than he has any inclination to attain.

I think this admits of an easy illustration.
It is an indisputable fact, that we are, by
nature, altogether alienated from the life of
God. Now we all feel, that, when alienated
from a fellow-creature, however we may bear
with him in a crowd, we are indisposed to
have much personal intercourse with him alone.
So also we feel in reference to God. We can
hear of him at a distance, and not be disturbed,
but, by reason of our alienation from him,
we are averse to be brought into very near
communion with him. We can bear with a
display of his perfections in the universe, because,
though we see him as our Creator, he is not
suth'cieniiy near us to exercise any material

control over us : but when he is brought nigh
to us in the Law, as our Governor ', we feel
somewhat of a painful constraint, because of
our responsibility to him, and the account we
must one day give of ourselves to him at his
tribunal. Let him then be brought still nearer
to us in the Gospel, as our incarnate and suffering
God, and our inquietude is proportionably in-
creased ; because we are made to realize more
deeply the terrors of his wrath which demanded
such a sacrifice, and the personal obligation
which lies upon ug to surrender up ourselves
unreservedly to him. But, in the offices and
operations of the Holy Spirit, we are led to
view him, not merely as God, in the universe,
displaying himself around us ; or as God, in his
church, declaring his will to US'; or as God, in
our nature, interposing for us ; but as God, in
our hearts, dwelling and operating in us: and
this brings him into such immediate contact
with us, and requires of us such a minute
attention to all our ways, that we shrink back
from every part of the subject, and, for the
pacifying of our own minds, cast reflections
upon it, as visionary, unintelligible, absurd. I
do not mean to say that there is in the minds
of men a distinct consciousness of such a pro^

cess, but only that there is in reality such a
process in the human mind, though men are
not exactly aware of it. Men do not like to
have God too near to them ; and the nearer he
is brought to them, the more they show their
aversion to that which is the means of present-
ing him to their minds. Under such circum-
stances, I scarcely know how to enter upon the
work which I have undertaken. Indeed I am
strongly reminded of the feelings of St. Paul,
himself, when, in reference to his ministrations
at Corinth, he said, " I was among you in
weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling."*
Yet, from so interesting a subject, especially
whilst I judge it necessary to complete the plan
which I had originally proposed, I dare not
draw back. The importance of it will plead
my apology, if any apology be required, for
" declaring to you the whole counsel of God."
Indeed, we need go no farther than to the
words of my text, to see the inconceivable
importance of the subject which I am bringing
before you. What! " If any man have not the
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his!" What
can this mean ? Who is this " Spirit ?" What

■ 1 Cor. ii. 3.

is it to " have" him? Why is the having him
so indispensable to my welfare ? What must
I do in order that I may get possession of him ?
And what must become of me, if I possess him
not? I say, to any man that has the least
concern about his soul, these thoughts must
force themselves with an overwhelming power
upon his mind. And it is in the hope that
God may in his tender mercy make use of me,
for the exciting and the satisfying of these
inquiries, that I now address myself to this
deep and comprehensive subject. But let me
entreat, not only your candour, (for of that I
am, from long and uniform experience, well
assured,) but your prayers also, that God may
enable me so to speak, as to approve myself
to him ; and enable you so to hear, that you
may derive eternal benefit to your souls; so
that both " I who sow, and you who reap, may
rejoice together in heaven for evermore."

For the unfolding of the subject, I shall en-
deavour to show, distinctly and separately, in
my four discourses, —

I. Who is that Spirit whom all of us, as
Christians, are expected to possess.


II. Why the possessing of that Spirit is in-
dispensable to our being Christ's accepted

III. What that Spirit will work in us in order
that we may be Christ's.

IV. What he will work in us when we are

And, whilst I speak, may " the word go forth
with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven,"
and " come in demonstration of the Spirit
and of power"* to the hearts of all who hear

I. Who is that Spirit whom all of us, as
Christians, are expected to possess ? The Holy
Spirit here spoken of, is the Third Person of
the ever-blessed Trinity. As such he is set
forth in the ordinance of baptism, which is
administered in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. t And as
*uch he is addressed in that benediction uttered
by St. Paul, " The grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and the love of God, and the communion
of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. A men."}

* 1 Pet. 1. 12. 1 Cor. ii. 4. t Matt, xxviii. 19.

t 2 Cor. xiii. 14.


In both these passages his distinct personality
is recognised, and his proper Deity acknow-
ledged. Had he been a mere quality, as some
have imagined, it is not to be conceived that
his name would have been united with that of
the Father and of the Son in these solemn acts
of worship. But, in fact, the whole Scriptures-
bear witness to him as God, equally with the
Father and the Son. Ananias, " in lying to
the Holy Ghost, lied unto God.'"* And we, in
being his temples, are the temples of the living
GodA But, whilst in his essential Godhead he
is equal with the Father and the Son, in his
office he is inferior to them both, and acts, if
I may so say, a subordinate part under the
Gospel dispensation. And this accounts for his
being called The Spirit of the Father ,f and The
Spirit of the So?i,§ under which latter designa-
tion we are at this time called more particularly
to consider him.

My text says, " If any man have not the
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Now it
is of importance to ascertain why this name
is given to the Holy Spirit. I conceive that

* Acts v. 3, 4. t 1 Cor. iii. 17, with vi. lft

J Matt, x, 20. John xv. 2G. $ Gal. iv. 6.


the following reasons may fitly be assigned for.
it. He is so called, I apprehend,

1. Because of his peculiar agency in reference
to Christ himself.

2. Because of his subserviency to Christ in
the economy of redemption.

3. Because of its being his special office to
glorify Christ.

He is called The Spirit of Christ, 1st, because
of his peculiar agency in reference to Christ
himself It was he who formed the human
nature of Christ in the Virgin's womb. Mary
was told by the angel Gabriel, that she should
conceive in her womb, and bring forth a son,
and call his name Jesus: and, on her inquiring
of him how that saying of his should be accom-
plished, seeing that she was a virgin, the angel
answered her, saying, " The Holy Ghost shall
come upon thee, and the power of the Highest
shall overshadow thee : therefore also that holy
thing which shall be born of thee, shall be
called the Son of God."*

The endowments of the Lord Jesus for his

" Luke i. 35.


heavenly commission were also communicated
to him from the same source; as the prophet
Isaiah very distinctly foretold: " Tlie Spirit of
the Lord God shall rest upon him, the spirit
of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of
counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make
him of quick understanding in the fear of the
Lord."* Indeed our Lord himself, when entering
upon his ministerial office, purposely referred
to another passage in the same prophet, ex-
pressive of the same truth, and declared to his
audience, that that very Scripture was then
fulfilled in their ears : " TJie Spirit of the Lord
is upon me, because he hath anointed me to
preach the Gospel to the poor ; he hath sent
me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach de-
liverance to the captives, and recovering of
sight to the blind ; to set at liberty them that
are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of
the Lord."f

The solemn consecration also of the Lord
Jesus to his office at the time of his baptism,
was visibly attested and confirmed by this same

' Jsa. xi. 2, 3 t Luke iv, 18, 19, with Isa. hi. 1, 2,


divine Agent : " Tfie Holy Ghost descended in
a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a
voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art
my beloved Son ; in thee I am well pleased."*

Further, it was " by the Spirit that he was
led into the wilderness to be tempted of the
devil ;"t and by that same Spirit was enabled
to vanquish that mighty foe ; as our Lord him-
self declared : " If I cast out devils by the Spirit
of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto
you. "| By the same divine Agent also was he
assisted in offering himself a sacrifice upon the
cross ; for " through the eternal Spirit, he offered
himself without spot to God:"§ by him also
was he afterwards raised up from the grave, to
which his crucified body had been consigned :
" He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened
by the Spmt."\\

Now, as ministering thus to the Lord Jesus,
from the first moment of his existence to the
period of his restoration from the grave, the
Holy Ghost is peculiarly entitled to the name
given him in my text, " The Spirit of Christ."

'• Luke iii. 22. t Matt. iv. 1. * Matt. xii. 28

§ Heb. ix. 14. (f 1 Pet. iii. 18.


But this name further pertains to him on
account of his subserviency to Christ in the
economy of redemption, Christ, as Mediator,
was sent by the Father, and acted in all things
as a servant to his Father,* doing nothing, and
speaking nothing, but in accordance with the
Father's will, and in obedience to the Father's
commands. He himself says, " I have not
spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me,
he gave me a commandment, what I should
say, and what I should speak. "f And precisely
thus did the Lord Jesus Christ send the Holy
Ghost to effect his will. It was by the Holy
Ghost that Christ spake in the ministry of
Noah to the antediluvian world, and instructed
all his people in the wilderness.! It was by
the Holy Ghost that he moved the prophets in
succeeding ages to declare future events, § and
especially to predict " his sufferings, and the
glory that should follow." And in reference to
this very thing, St. Peter calls the Holy Ghost,
" The Spirit of Christ ."j| On all these occasions
Christ acted by the instrumentality of the Holy
Spirit, who, according to the plan fixed in the

Isa. xlii. 1, and liii. 11. t John xii. 49.

X 1 Pet. iii. 18—20. Neh. ix. 20. (s 2 Pet. i. 21.

H 1 Pet. i. 11.



divine counsels, was deputed to fulfil the Will
of Christ. This was made manifest by our
blessed Lord whilst he was yet on earth : for,
on many different occasions, he promised to his
disciples to " send them the Holy Ghost."* He
told them also that the Father would send
them the Holy Ghost in his name -A yea, in an
authoritative manner, " he breathed on them,
and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost : M j and
on the day of Pentecost, he, according to his
promise, sent forth the Holy Ghost on all his
disciples, as it is said: " Being by the right
hand of God exalted, and having received of
the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he
hath shed forth this which ye both see and
hear."§ I* 1 every thing which from that period
the Holy Ghost enabled the Apostles to do and
teach, he acted as the deputy of Christ, not
himself originating what he revealed, or speak-
ing it of himself but declaring to them what
Christ himself had heard and received from the
Father, || and what he, the Holy Spirit, had
heard and received from Christ. Our Lord
himself says, in one place—" The words that
I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but

* John xvi. 7. t John xiv. 26. t John xx. 23.
§ Acis ii. 33. H John xvi. 13.


the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the
works:"* and again, " The word which ye
hear, is not mine, but the Father's who sent
me :"f and then afterwards, respecting the
Holy Spirit, he says, " When he, the Spirit of
truth is come, he will guide you into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever
he shall hear, that shall he speak : and he will
show you things to come. He shall glorify me :
for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it
unto you."t

But there is a yet further reason for the
Holy Spirit being called " the Spirit of Christ,"
viz. that ft? him was delegated the express office of
glorifying Christ. Our Lord, as you have just
heard, said, " He shall glorify me: for he shall
take of mine, and shall show it unto you."
Accordingly we rim!, that all the miracles which
were wrought by the Apostles for the confirming
of the doctrines which they preached, were
wrought by the agency of the Holy Ghost, § and
that, too, for the express purpose of bearing
witness to Christ as the true Messiah. II It was

* John xiv. 10. + John xiv. 24.

t John xvi. 13 — 15. $ Heb. ii. 4.

i| John xv. 26.


- ; that one and the self-same Spirit who wrought
all in all."* The different graces also which
were exercised by the saints for the honouring
of Christ, were formed in them by this same
divine Agent ; on which account they are called
" the fruits of the Spirit. "1" In fact, as Christ
was the fountain from which, in all cases, the
living water flowed,! and the reservoir from
whence the holy oil descended through the
golden pipes of divine ordinances upon all God's
waiting and obedient people,^ so in every thing
which the Holy Spirit either then did, or at the
present moment does, impart to men, in a way
either of gifts or graces, his object has ever
been the same, viz. to bear testimony to Christ,
and to fix our regards on Christ, as our only
and all-sufficient Saviour.

See this exemplified at the time of Peter's
mission to Cornelius. Peter commending to
Cornelius the Lord Jesus as the only Saviour,
whether of Jews or Gentiles, says, " To him
give all the prophets witness, that through his
name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive
remission of sins." Then we are told, that

■ 1 Cor. xii. 7— 11. tGal. t.22.

| John vii. ?7— 30. $ Zecb. iv. 6, 11, 12.


instantly, '* while Peter yet spake these words ,
the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the
word," precisely as he had done on the Apostles
at the day of Pentecost.* Thus, in all that is
now revealed to the souls of men respecting
Christ, or that is imparted to them as the
purchase of his blood, it is communicated to
them by the Spirit ; so that all, without excep-
tion, must say, " We have received not the
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of
God; that we might know the things that are
freely given to us of God."f

In this mode of speaking of the Holy Spirit,
we may, possibly, be thought to have made him
inferior to the Father and the Son. But the
inferiority is not personal, but official; not as
the Sacred Three subsist in themselves, but as
they sustain and execute their respective offices
in the economy of redemption. As bearing
what may be called a subordinate part in the
mysterious work of man's salvation, a disparity
may be ascribed to him ; and he may be called
" the Spirit of the Father," and " the Spirit of
Christ :" but, in himself, he is equal both with

• Acts x. 43, 44, and xi. 15. i 1 Cor. ii. 10, \%



the Father and the Son, and is in every way
entitled to the same respect, and " love," and
confidence, as they.*

Be it then remembered, that this is He,
whom every Christian must have dwelling and
abiding in him. St. Paul expressly calls him
" The Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us."f And
if we mark carefully the whole passage from
whence my text is taken, we shall find him
designated by those different names, The Spirit
of God, and The Spirit of Christ, and Christ
himself Hear the Apostle's words : " Ye are
not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that
the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any
man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead
because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of
righteousness; (i. e. if Christ be in you, though
your hodies shall suffer the penalty of death,
your souls shall never die.) But if the Sjiirit of
hint 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 dwelltth in you."\

■ Rom. xv. 30. J 2 Tim. i. 14. Rom. viii. 9— Ih.


Now then this Spirit we must all " have;'*
and if we have him not, we cannot belong to

But here it will be asked, What is meant by
" having" the Spirit? Are we all to possess
the power of " working miracles, and speaking
divers kinds of tongues?"* No: the time for
such things is long since passed. That they
may be renewed at the time when God's ancient
people shall be restored to his favour, and the
whole Gentile world shall be converted to the
faith of Christ, is probable enough: but no such
power exists at this day, except in the conceit
of a few brainsick enthusiasts; nor, if it did,
would it have any bearing upon the subject
before us. The possession of that power would
not constitute us Christ's : for we have reason
to think that Judas wrought miracles, as well as
the other Apostles; and yet, as our Lord telle
us, he was no better than a devil all the while. t
That possession of the Spirit of which my text
speaks, is of such a discriminating nature, that
no man who has it can fail to belong to Christ,
and no man who has it not can have any part

MCor. xii.10. tJohnvi. 79,


or lot with him. The Spirit of God is promised
to us, to dwell in us as in his temple; for we are
to be "the habitation of God through the
Spirit;"* and he is further to operate in us
effectually for all the ends and purposes of our
salvation, producing in us all " the fruits of
goodness, and righteousness, and truth. "t His
motions may not unfitly be compared with the
operations of the soul in the human body. With-
out the soul, the body cannot perform any vital
function whatever: but when that spiritual in-
habitant is present with us, and discharges its
proper offices, we show, by the various exercises
of our mind and body, that it really dwelleth in
us. Now the Spirit of God performs in the soul
an office somewhat analogous to this. The soul
by itself has respect only to things visible and
temporal ; but, when filled by the Spirit of God,
it occupies itself about things invisible and
eternal. And precisely as the body needs the
presence and operation of the soul for the dis-
charge of its offices in relation to this world, so
does the soul need the influences of the Holy
Spirit for the discharge of its duties in reference
to the world to come.

■ Eph. ii. 22. i Eph. v. &


To a carnal mind, this may appear strange.
But it corresponds exactly with what St. Paul
says: — " I am crucified with Christ: neverthe-
less I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."*
And again, he says, " When Christ, icho is our
life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with
him in glory. "t

The particular operations of the Spirit of
Christ will come under our consideration here-
after. My present object is merely to show who
that blessed Spirit is, whom we are to have
dwelling in us, and for what ends and purposes
he is promised to us. He is none other than God
himself; and, as I have said, he operates as
really and effectually in our souls, as our souls
operate in our bodies.

I am aware that this is a truth but little
considered ; a truth, the very mention of which
is, by the generality of Christians, accounted
visionary at least, if not impious and profane.
But if this truth be not admitted, yea, and
admitted too as a matter of primary importance,
all that we shall have to advance, in our remain-
ing discourses, will only create disgust. I beg,

* Gal. ii. 20. i Col. iii. 4.


therefore, that this be duly weighed; that the
text, in conjunction with the context, be diligently
studied; and that prayer be offered by us all to
Almighty God, who has promised to " give
wisdom to those who ask it at his hands ;* that
so our minds may be led to receive the word
with candour, and our hearts be opened to
embrace it. If we enter not into a candid
investigation of this subject, the word will only
prove a stumbling-block to our feet, and " be-
come a savour of death unto death," instead
of being, as I would wish it, "a savour of
life unto life."t Verily there is a great fault,
both amongst Christian ministers and Christian
hearers, in relation to it. Ministers in general
enter not, by any means, with sufficient clear-
ness and fulness into this part of divine truth.
Many, who, at the time of their ordination, have
professed that they were " moved by the Holy
to take upon them tiie ministerial office,
and have joined in that heavenly anthem, —

" Come. Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire:
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy Bevenfold gift* impart:
Thy blessed unction from above,
!«■• comfort, life, and fire of love:"

* Jaraes i. 5. {2 Cor. ii 16.

I say, many who have thus, in the presence of
the whole church, professed their faith as in
perfect accordance with our subject, in their
ministrations altogether overlook it, except at
the time appointed by the church for the special
consideration of it ; and, even then, they touch it
but superficially, and bring it forward only lest
the expectation of the people, who look for some
instruction respecting it, should be disappointed.
And Christian hearers feel no lack, though they
pass the whole remainder of the year without
ever being reminded of the truth of which my
text speaks ; i. e, of the necessity of having the
Holy Ghost imparted to us in order to our final
salvation. Nay, even " masters of Israel," of
whom better things might be hoped, are yet
ignorant of these things; and, when told that
they must be born again of the Spirit, too often
reply, with iNicodemus, " How can these things
be?"* In fact, we of the Church of England,
having a season consecrated to the special con-
sideration of this subject, have, from this very
circumstance, our guilt greatly aggravated. We
have heard, from year to year, the declaration
in my text ; and yet perhaps have never once
put the question to ourselves, " Have I received

* John iii. 9, 10.

the Holy Ghost ? have I the Spirit of Christ

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Online LibraryCharles SimeonThe offices of the Holy Spirit : four sermons, preached before the University of Cambridge, in the month of November, 1831 → online text (page 1 of 5)