(James W. Alexander, “Consolation” 1852)
“But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will
send in My name–He will teach you all things, and
bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Divine Truth is an instrument in the hand of the Spirit, for
the accomplishment of His work of consolation. If we would
be comforted, we must seek it by the truth. The Comforter
is the Spirit of truth. The consoling process is carried on by
the application of Scriptural truth. Therefore, the Word of
God is beyond all other volumes–the Book of Consolation.
The precious doctrines concerning God, Christ, salvation,
and heaven–are the principal means which the Holy Spirit
uses for the support of the soul under heavy afflictions.
Thus we are enabled to perceive more clearly and fully, how
the adorable Spirit comes in Christ’s name. He teaches what
Christ taught. He takes of the things of Christ, and reveals
them unto us. From the infinite fund of Scriptural wisdom and
knowledge–He draws and dispenses, according to the diversified
necessities of His people. It is scarcely a change of teacher. The
Spirit gives the same lessons as Jesus. He repeats and revives
them. He brings out afresh in the chambers of memory, the
truths which had faded. He touches the sluggish heart to awaken
it to new impressions of Scriptural truth. All this is by a direct
influence on the soul by the Spirit–opening the mind and
pouring in light. It is this which accounts for the difference
between believers; and between different states of the same
In order that truth be effectual, especially to consolation, something more is necessary than that it should be revealed in the Bible; something more than that it should be understood by the intellect. It must be powerfully brought home to the mind and heart. And to do this is the especial work of the Holy Spirit.
No effect will be produced in reading Scripture, except so far as the Holy Spirit takes, shows, and impresses them to the heart. And this He graciously does to many a broken-hearted Christian.
The experienced and godly Christian, long tried in the ‘school
of sorrows’–is made to know that the soul may be comforted
amidst the deepest afflictions. In some unexpected moment,
the divine Illuminator reveals to him the great abiding truths
of Scripture; truths which are as precious and as satisfying–in
adverse as in prosperous days. By a process of holy attraction,
his thoughts are drawn away from self and all its sorrows and
losses–to be fixed and absorbed . . .
by the character of God,
by His mighty works,
by the person of the adorable Redeemer,
by the work of redemption,
by the glory yet to be revealed.
Filled and animated and tranquilized by these blessed truths,
he is led to forget his private griefs; and thus the Comforter
performs His office by means of the truth. “The things of Christ,”
applied to the heart by the Spirit, direct the mind from its earthly
pangs, and to a certain extent afford a foretaste of the celestial joy.