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preter at hand.
and say that the people understood the person speaking with tongues, must needs be beyond the reach of any thing which I can say. Still I think I can explain wherefore people are so blind as to read that clear passage of Divine revelation without perceiving this. They have got it into their heads, that the gift of tongues was only for the use of the Apostles, and preachers who went into foreign parts, of whom they suppose that now and then some might be passing to and fro among the churches, and as they rested at a place were tempted to exhibit their gift, which the Apostle forbids them to do unless there were an inter
But this hypothesis is entirely erroneous, for it is to the resident members of the church that the Apostle expresses himself thus: “I would that ye all spake with tongues "covet spiritual gifts”-“forbid not to speak with tongues”" I speak with tongues more than ye all,” &c. &c. Besides, it is so silly and absurd to suppose that an Apostle or Prophet would go to the Corinthian church and
begin to speak amongst them with the tongue of an Elamite or Egyptian, when he could have spoken to them in their native Greek, or, if he could not speak that almost universal language, then in his own native tongue. If, as they suppose, the gift of tongues were for preaching in, he would have the tongue of the Greek when speaking to Greeks, and such a thing as speaking in an unknown tongue could never have occurred, and such a person as an interpreter could never have been needed. The hypothesis is all out of joint; it has not a foot to stand on: either it must give way or the Holy Scriptures, for they are diametrically opposed to one another. Fourth Error, That the unknown tongue was commonly used for
preaching in. This, also, is a vulgar error, for which there is no evidence in Scripture, but much proof against it. We have already shewn that Peter's discourse on the day of Pentecost was, like the others recorded in the book of Acts, delivered in the common speech of Jerusalem. While the Apostles spake with tongues, the people, no doubt, heard ; and so many of them as understood the language were edified by what they heard; and we do not intend to deny that Paul, and the other Apostles having the gift of tongues, when speaking the marvellous works of God did edify those who happened to understand the language: but we affirm, beyond doubt, that the work of preaching the Gospel to the natives was not at all carried on by this means. The proofs of this are manifold. First: The “word of wisdom" and the word of knowledge” were two distinct gifts from that of speaking with tongues; and, beyond question, these were the gifts which endowed a man for preaching the Gospel; the former serving to open the hidden mysteries of the Old Testament, of creation and of providence; the latter serving to furnish the teacher for instructing the ignorant, and rearing up the babes unto perfection, and edifying all, by bringing out of the storehouses of his mind the past doings of God, and recording them for a testimony in the church. Now, speaking with a tongue being unintelligible to the speaker, and to the hearer also, was utterly foreign to, yea, and incompatible with, the bringing forth either of wisdom or of knowledge, incompatible with exhortation, edification, teaching, or consolation, or any other offices of a church minister, all of which require the understanding to be in an active and a fruitful state. Speaking with tongues is a shutting up of the understanding altogether: your wisdom, your knowledge, your very will itself, are for the time being absorbed in God, deriving nourishment from the breasts of his consolation and love. Thus, no doubt, were the preachers fed as well as others; but thus could they not feed another, unless one with the gift of interpretation were at hand, or unless the people understood the voice, of which there is not an instance on record save that of the day of Pen tecost.
Secondly, The express declaration, “ He that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God,” together with the injunction, that " if there be no interpreter let him speak unto himself and unto God,” sheweth that nothing was so far from the Apostle's mind as the vulgar notion that tongues were for the use of preaching. Such a notion never enters into his mind, but the very contrary, even their utter inadequacy to any such purpose, and a positive interdict against using them in the church at all, save when there was the gift of interpretation at hand. Preaching, or prophesying—that is, the work of edifying, comforting, and exhorting the church-is always set over against the gift of tongues; that being for edifying others, this for edifying one's-self.
Thirdly, The Apostle declares, that if he came to them speaking with tongues, he would be of no service to them, “ unless he should speak to them by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophecy, or by teaching” (ver. 6), all of which were carried on in the common tongue, because they imply intelligence in him that useth them, and are fruits of the mind informed with the Holy Ghost. Now that when a man spake with tongues he had no understanding of what he said, and that the unknown tongue was utterly incompetent to teach in, is declared in these words, “ I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all : yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (1 Cor. xiv. 18, 19). It is beyond a question, therefore, that the notion commonly entertained, that the tongue was given in order to preach the Gospel withal, is a vulgar error, which has arisen from the low way of regarding the whole subject in which the church has so long indulged. It may be given as an aphorism, To speak with tongues is to speak without understanding; and as another, To. preach the Gospel is to declare what the Spirit hath taught you through the understanding : and the two yield this conclusion, Therefore the Gospel was never preached by speaking with tongues.
With respect, then, to the manifestations which have been made of this gift in Scotland and in England, they are not to be judged by the popular notion, which is utterly inconsistent with the Scriptures in all points--and those who have rashly concluded against them on that account, would do well to retract their condemnation, lest they should be found preferring a popular falsehood to the truth of God. It is not my present purpose to go into the question of the genuineness of these manifestations, but to furnish the materials of a right judgment. We are fulfilling the office of the judge, who chargeth the jury; not of the jury, who bring in the verdict: we are gathering from the statute-book of God all the information which is to be found upon the issue now before the church, and endeavouring to prevent wrongous judgment from proceeding. And it is very gratifying and encouraging to us to perceive how the haste of most grave men hath been stayed, and the convictions of many wellinformed men have been gained. For those who rail and write against us, as if we were a set of madmen because we give weight to obscure hints and notices in the prophecies of Isaiah and Joel, and who look upon a man who expects an answer to his prayer to be well-nigh beside himself, we have nothing to say, but that they are incompetent to questions of this kind altogether, which requires a firm faith in the word and promises of God. We join no issue with them. They are profane and wreckless men, who have nothing to lose, and as little to gain in the controversy. With us it is a matter of life and death, of God's glory, of Christ's truth, and of the church's salvation: with them it is a mere matter of speculation, and witticism, and raillery. We have nothing to do with that warfare and with these weapons. When they will enter the sanctuary of God as worshippers, we will receive them, and entertain them with the word of God, which is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; but as long as they remain mockers and raillers, the door of the sanctuary must be shut against them: they must not be suffered to enter and commit the sin of sacrilege. We feel that we may not tempt such men into this controversy, lest they commit the sin against the Holy Ghost; for it is the manifestation of His work which is in question. Whatever, therefore, others against whom they rail may do, my purpose is to be silent, and to receive their blows without answering a word. But to every candid and God-fearing man, who has his difficulties upon this great subject, I will do my útmost in all ways to make his path clear before him. And no way so good for attaining this end, as that which we have chosen, of opening the prophecies concerning the gifts of the Holy Ghost, especially such as we find interpreted by the Holy Ghost in the New Testament. To this work we now cheerfully return from this Digression, and proceed to take up the prophecy of the lxist chapter of Isaiah (vers. 1, 2), as applied by our Lord to the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which he received at his baptism, (Luke iv. 16, 21, compared with Acts x. 38).
End of the Digression.
ERNESTI ON THE GIFT OF TONGUES.
(Translated from his Opuscula Theologica.) God having laid open to the mind and soul of man two paths to truth, the one through the organ of sight, the other through that of hearing, hath allotted to each of these its peculiar province, within which, aided by their instrumentality, the mind may pursue and investigate truth. To the sight is allotted the visible universe, which may be called the kingdom of God in nature; to the hearing, that invisible world, the kingdom of Divine grace, constituted by Christ Jesus the Son of God. For the kingdom of nature is, as it were, a picture merely, but the kingdom of grace may rather be characterized as a scenic representation; inasmuch as in the former, the mind, in viewing the Divine operations and acts of goodness, ought to be led to the spiritual contemplation of the invisible Author of all things, in his universal majesty (Rom. i. 20); but in the latter, through hearing of the word of God, it receives at once the notion of God and of divine things, and the knowledge of the Divine counsels pertaining to man's salvation brought forth by Jesus Christ (Rom. x. 16). Hence the Gospel is said to be the word of hearing (loyos akons) ; and by the word of hearing is expressed whatsoever in the Divine counsel avails for accomplishing the purposed salvation. Thus much may suffice to manifest how much easier and clearer is that path to truth opened through the hearing, than that through the sight. True it is that the grand spectacles of nature far excel in a splendour calculated to captivate the eyes and excite wonder in the beholders; while the Gospel is a scene containing few incidents, simple, and with nothing to commend it to the senses of man. Nevertheless, the very splendour of the former brings an obscurity on the lights of the soul, vitiated as they are by the pravity of nature and habit, and blunts the keenness of the intellectual eye, so that neither capacity nor will remains to look for or perceive the hidden truth : while the simplicity of the latter, uncloaked as it were of all sensible ornament, clears the way to truth, and conveys the soul by a nearer and more rapid course to its understanding and reception. We see that this same unusual scene of new tongues, by which the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ was either inaugurated or proclaimed to the whole race of man, rather overwhelmed the soul with astonishment at it. than disposed to the perception of truth; but, when at length aided by the preaching of Peter, possessed the power both of teaching and of convincing. For the other miracles of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, performed before the eyes of men, but unaccompanied with words addressed calmly to the hearing and mind, had no effect in persuading; and their own intrinsic power was wholly wasted in the excitement of stupor and senseless amazement in those who, when they witnessed them, employed no faculty but sight. But men carried away by the vanity of the mind mostly give greater weight to, and bestow more admiration on, those things in which there is some sensible magnificence which strikes the soul, though without any beneficial effect, than on those which have no such outward manifestation. And thus the Corinthians, to keep to the subject we propose to ourselves, sought rather that gift of the Holy Ghost whereby, without any communication of instruction, they might speak in tongues unknown to themselves, than those whereby they might rightly explain and teach the word of God. On this gift of the Holy Ghost, so astonishing in itself, and the manifestation of which was first given on the day we shall celebrate to-morrow, it will not be an unseasonable opportunity to discourse, and endeavour to discover some middle course, which, while we avoid the difficulties involved in the common opinions on the subject, may lead us to the true view thereof.
In the earliest periods, at no great distance from the Apostle's age, the accounts respecting the gift of tongues, and its nature, were so uncertain and indistinct, that the doctors of the church argued on conjectures only, and those, as usual, little agreeing together. The cause of this was, that the gift was not in vigorous exercise beyond the Apostolic age; nor in that or the succeeding age were there any who have given a full description of it, as exercised in their own memory, and commonly known; nor have the writers of the next succeeding age, who probably received information from them, taken care to hand it down to posterity. The earliest writer, so far as our knowledge and ob