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Open thine ears to instruction, that thou may be wise." But if he say, I am wise already, and tell thee to hold thy peace, and cease from thy babblings;' then I reply, with Paul, to such a self-conceited fool, “ If any one be ignorant, let him be ignorant,” and behave himself as one that is ignorant; not toss the members of sacred and holy truth, as the wild bull was wont to toss the beautiful women who suffered for the faith of Christ in the early church. I submit these my labours as an interpreter to those who desire to know God's mind, and, in order to become Christ's disciples, have forsaken all. Those who are seeking honour of men, cannot come near the threshhold of the matter. Those who consort with the pride and self-sufficiency of the natural man, must toss and raven like a wild and furious beast. Those that are making the best of the present wretched world, and swilling from the sty of sensual pleasures, are dead while they live. Those who are dressed in the little brief authority of church or of state, knowing not nor serving Jesus therein, are enemies of the truth, and deadly enemies of the interpreters of the truth. And because these classes do contain almost all men, our labours can meet with few approvers; one or two in a city. Be it so. Wisdom is justified of her children. We will labour on, to shew the way of interpretation, and do the work of an interpreter. It is its own reward. Oh, yes ! it is its own reward, and far more than its own reward. The Lord, who is the companion of my meditations, knows how sweet they are unto my taste. I am edified, and the dear flock over which I watch receive me from my study a better and a wiser man than I was when I entered into it. And, ah me! when I think sometimes that I shall come and execute, under Christ, those great things which now by the Spirit of Christ I am interpreting ; that I shall come with Him, to aid and assist in breaking the Assyrian, and ruling the enemies of God with a rod of iron; to break every yoke, and to set every captive free; to bless the nations with wisdom and government; to be unto God for one of his kings and priests ; my heart will hardly abide in its place, it so longeth to burst away and to be free. O my dear brethren, who think not of the Prophets, and yet are called ministers of Christ, I exhort you, I charge you, to give yourselves to these studies, and leave your farms and your merchandize and your ambition and your cloisters and your human learning and your mechanical studies ! ye scorners and ye scoffers, leave your mockings, lest your bands be made strong! ye statesmen, study the Prophets, and know the polity of God! ye kings, be wise, and study the Prophets, which will teach you in what courses kingdoms stand, in what they rise, and in what they fall to rise no more! But men's ears are closed ; the ministers of religion have taken their stand against the Prophecies and the hopes of Israel ; states
men are become scornful or hypocritical, denying God, or counting it unholy for them to name his name; kings' palaces are shut upon their people, and no voice of warning can reach them; the names of those who give heed to God's prophetic word are cast out as evil, and the books through which they would convey instruction are marked and stigmatized as containing poison. Satan hath gotten the field; he hath marshalled his troops; they reject all parley; they fire upon those who bear the olive-branch of peace from God; they reject all terms, they scorn all mediation. Be patient, O my soul! be patient, unto the coming of the Lord. 'Be not overwhelmed, O my soul! for thou shalt stand in thy lot in the end of the days. Be it thine to sigh and to cry, to mourn and to weep, and to be vexed daily with their unrighteous deeds: the Lord knoweth to deliver the righteous out of the temptation, and to reserve the wicked unto the judge ment to be punished.
ON THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST COMMONLY CALLED
(Continued from vol. iii. page 496). Digression. Popular Errors on the subject of the Gift of Tongues. The conclusions to which we have been brought by the careful study of the prophecy of Isaiah (xxx. 9—14), as interpreted by: the xiv th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, concerning the gift of tongues, are at such variance with the popular notion thereof, that we deem it good to pause a little in the progress of our inquiry concerning the gifts of the Holy Ghost; and to throw into the form of a digression some observations which, by the blessing of God, may serve the end of setting the church right in its views of this most important subject. And the more is this called for, as this manifestation of the Holy Ghost hath re-appeared amongst us in that form precisely which is described in Scripture, but which many worthy persons are prevented from recognising, yea, are in danger of rejecting and blaspheming, merely because it answereth not to their ceived notions. These notions are, that the gift of tongues was a supernatural faculty of using languages, conferred upon the Apostles and other primitive preachers of the Gospel, for the purpose of expressing their mind to the people to whom they came, in consideration of their want of learning, and to supersede the labour and the delay of acquiring so many tongues as they are believed to have preached in, and to expedite the spread of the Gospel. And it is argued from this notion, that it could only be for a time, until the endowments of learning were provided for the preachers of the Gospel in a regular way; and, therefore, that the re-appearance of it in these days is to be looked
great suspicion ; and when on inquiry it is found that no persons, neither speakers nor hearers, understand one word or sentence of what is spoken, it is entirely condemned, and nauseated as an incredible presumption, a monstrous delusion, or an enormous profanity. The disgust and loathing with which men, otherwise orthodox and charitable, hear and speak upon this subject, cannot be accounted for, on any other principle than that they have long regarded it as a thing certain and indubitable that the gift of tongues was nothing else than a faculty of using many, or all, the languages of men, for preaching the Gospel to every creature under heaven. If this be a correct notion, then indeed they are right in rejecting these late manifestations, as non-descript, useless, and unmeaning, which, if they claim to be Divine, are to be put down with the high hand of ecclesiastical power, unless they yield to the influence of ridicule and contempt. Now, however much this notion may have prevailed in modern times, it is most certain, first, that it hath no foundation in Scripture, and can easily be shewn from Scripture to be utterly erroneous; next, that it was not held by the early Greek commentators and fathers of the church ; and, lastly, that exact students of the subject in modern times, as the learned Ernesti have also rejected it. The reason why this false notion hath so much prevailed is, that it is the simplest and the easiest to be understood : and there have been no vestiges of the gift in existence, to rectify it by; nor hope nor desire of its re appearance, to make men think it worthy of their particular study. But, now that the case is altered, now that godly men, and to all ordinary appearance full of the Holy Ghost, have appeared amongst us with this endowment after a form differing widely from the popular notion, it well becometh us, before rejecting their claim to honesty and truth, and setting them down as deluded men and deceivers, to examine our own notion by the law and the testimony, lest, instead of being found wise children, we be found mockers and blasphemers of the Holy Ghost. The errors which I find in the common notion are these : first, that the tongues were always understood by the speakers of them ; secondly, that they were always understood by the hearers of them; and thirdly, that their great use, and the end for which they were given, was to preach the Gospel to foreign nations, whose tongues the preacher did not understand. And these errors do almost entirely rest upon a false notion of the thing which took place upon the day of Pentecost, when this wonderful faculty of speaking with tongues first appeared in the church. To correct this notion must be our first endeavour. First popular error : That the gift of tongues was given in the
presence of the heathen, for the purpose of preaching to them. The fact with respect to the first gift of tongues is as follows : After opening the understanding of the eleven and “them that were with them” (Luke xxiv. 33), “ that they might understand the Scriptures” (ver. 45), and constituting them witnesses of his death and resurrection, and preachers of repentance and remission of sins in his name (ver. 46-48), Christ promiseth to send them" the promise of the Father,” and commandeth them to tarry in Jerusalem till they should be endowed with power from on high (ver. 49); and so, having left them at Jerusalem in a state of expectation, he departed into glory. With the recapitulation of this, Luke begins his other treatise, adding some other things. He calls it “ the promise of the Father which ye
have heard of me" (Acts i. 4), referring especially to the promise of the Holy Ghost, which the Father should send in his name; of whose free gift the particulars are recorded Luke xi. 5-14; and his office xii. 10, 12, &c., and in divers parts of the Gospels, but especially in Christ's last discourse, John xiv. xv. xvi., under the name of the other Comforter, who should abide with them for ever. This thing, for which they were to wait in Jerusalem, and which they received not many days thence (that is, ten days after he was taken up; for he tarried with them forty days, and there were just fifty between the Passover, when he was offered, and Pentecost) is also called “ the baptism with the Holy Ghost,” in contradistinction from John's baptism with water (Acts i. 5). Now this was the great thing which he was announced as about to do : “ He it is that shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost :” so that the work done on the day of Pentecost was the great work for which Christ became man, unto which his dying for our sins did only prepare the way. It is also called the
receiving of power,” upon the strength of which they should be able to be His witnesses throughout the whole world (ver. 8). Such was the magnitude and importance of the thing to be done for the church on the day of Pentecost; whereon, in truth, every thing was suspended,--the Father's faithfulness, Christ's fulfilling the end of his coming, and the Church's qualification for witness-bearing.
After these preparations, the narrative proceeds to inform us “ that they were all with one accord in one place” (ii. 1). How many, and who, the all were, hath just been told us (i. 13—16) about one hundred and twenty persons, men and women; who all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication : for what? for that baptism with the Holy Ghost; for that promise of the Father; for that other Comforter, to lead and guide them into all truth ; for that endowment of power from on high, which might qualify such a weak and timorous company for being Christ's witnesses over all the earth. And it doth seem to me, that if we are to receive these endowments anew, it must be in the exercise of the same prayer and supplication. Being thus occupied in faith and prayer upon the word of their risen Lord, "Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting : and there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts ii. 2—4). Here I observe three things. First, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, men and women ; and in this stood the fulfilment of Joel's promise, afterwards quoted by Peter, which prophesied that the Spirit should be poured out upon their daughters, as well as their sons; and that their handmaidens, as well as their servants, should prophesy. It was not upon the Apostles alone, who were only twelve in all, nor upon the men alone, but upon the women also, that the fulness of the Holy Ghost came. This ought a little to reduce the empty cavils of ungenerous men, who misdeem of the present work because women have had such a share in it. The very character of the Holy Ghost's baptism is to make no difference between man and woman, according to Joel's word, in the matter of prophesying. It was a rare thing under the Old Testament, but under the New it was to be the common order, that women should prophesy as well and as much as men : or else there is neither meaning nor truth in Joel's prophecy; nor example and precedent in the day of Pentecost, which, nevertheless, was the great fulfilment of the Lord's mission, as announced by John, and the great endowment of the church with the Father's gift and outfit for the work of testifying over the wide world to his dear Son.-Secondly, I observe that not only were they all filled with the Holy Ghost, but they all spake with tongues, women as well as men, disciples as well as apostles. Now if tongues were chiefly for qualifying preachers, why are they given to the women also, who may not preach or teach? I think this might a little stagger the self-sufficiency of the common opinion, and lead to some further inquiry. Also, if tongues were only for far-travelling Apostles and the like, why bestow them upon all those who formed the nucleus of the mother church in Jerusalem, and of whom it is well known that some never removed a foot-length from that city; and it is believed that none of the Apostles went out upon their travels into foreign parts for at least twelve years. Such is the commonly received tradition. -Thirdly, They all began to speak with other tongues on the