The Holy Spirit acting in the Old Testament

August 23, 2021 • 2 min

From Parochial and Plain Sermons, in 8 volumes, page 218

On this Festival I propose, as is suitable, to describe as scripturally as I can, the merciful office of God the Holy Ghost, towards us Christians; and I trust I may do so, with the sobriety and reverence which the subject demands.


The Holy Spirit has from the beginning pleaded with man. We read in the Book of Genesis, that, when evil began to prevail all over the earth before the flood, the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man;” implying that He had hitherto striven with his corruption.

Again, when God took to Him a peculiar people, the Holy Spirit was pleased to be especially present with them. Nehemiah says, “Thou gavest also Thy Good Spirit to instruct them,” and Isaiah, “They rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit.”

Further, He manifested Himself as the source of various gifts, intellectual and extraordinary, in the Prophets, and others. Thus at the time the Tabernacle was constructed, the Lord filled Bezaleel “with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works” in metal, stone, and timber.

At another time, when Moses was oppressed with his labours, Almighty God vouchsafed to “take of the Spirit” which was upon him, and to put it on seventy of the elders of Israel, that they might share the burden with him. “And it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.”

These texts will be sufficient to remind you of many others, in which the gifts of the Holy Ghost are spoken of under the Jewish covenant. These were great mercies; yet, great as they were, they are as nothing compared with that surpassing grace with which we Christians are honoured; that great privilege of receiving into our hearts, not the mere gifts of the Spirit, but His very presence, Himself, by a real not a figurative indwelling.

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