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Spirit's coming upon them and filling them. There was no audience whatever; they were all speakers, and no listeners: and yet there was no sin in this, for it was the Holy Ghost which gave them to do it. If any one had entered, would they not have said that they were mad? What was the use of it? There was no foreigner present; no, not one; they were all Galileans. This may a little reduce the confidence of those who speak about the nonsense and folly of men speaking what there is nobody to listen to; for here were the fathers and mothers of the church all moved by the Holy Ghost to do this very thing. And it may also check the severity of those who sit in such cool condemnation of women speaking with tongues in the assemblies of men, when they are moved by the Holy Ghost; also of men speaking if there be no interpreter, as if such a work of confusion could not be of the Holy Ghost, whereas it was thus that the Holy Ghost began the work : and if the Holy Ghost be now recommencing the work, we may be prepared for something of the same appearances ; at least, when we see them we are not hastily to condemn: and when the edification of the church is hindered by the multiplicity and abundance of the gift, we should address ourselves to the work of good husbandry, but not use the pruning-hook so soon as the fig-tree begins to put forth its buds. Above all, we are not to go, and, with the high hand of ignorant dogmatism, put it all down as madness, because there are no foreigners present to be profited by it, as they are pleased to think that it was for profiting foreigners. Oh that men would put their ignorance to school at the word of God. -Fourthly, The being filled with the Holy Ghost is not one thing, and the speaking with tongues another thing, but they are parts of the same thing; the one the inward operation, the other the outward manifestation. As ordinary speech is the manifestation of the inward operation of thought, so this extraordinary speech is the manifestation of the inward operation of the Holy Ghost: as a man is silent when his soul is not much occupied, but when it is filled and stirred up with thought speaks out, so when these disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost they gave vent to it in another tongue. And why not in their
be said ? Because that would not have been the sign of another person, Christ, working by the Holy Ghost in me, but a sign of my own person working by my own spirit. And, moreover, they were not only set a-speaking by the Holy Ghost, but thus continued to speak under his influence
as they were moved with the Holy Ghost;" “ as the Holy Ghost gave them to utter forth.” It was true prophecy, which is defined thus, “ The prophecy came not of old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” only it was in an unknown tongue. Now let me but compare this, the inspired account of speaking with tongues, with that popular notion which they have taken up. They suppose it is merely a faculty of language which lies in me, and which I use when there is occasion, as a scholar would French or Italian, Latin or Greek, to serve his purposes : the Scripture says, it is a consequence of being filled with the Holy Ghost, and an action of which the Holy Ghost is the energy. They suppose it a gift which a preacher going into a far country may receive, and only he: here it is a gift which all the church receive, men and women, dwelling, and most of them to dwell, in their own land, and many of them neither Apostles nor preachers. They suppose it to be a thing for particular and extraordinary use by a few commissioned men : here it is a thing attendant upon the fulness of the Holy Ghost, for no use of edifying others, but a sign that they themselves are edified, filled with power, and able to utter the marvellous works of God.
This is properly the account of the baptism with the Holy Ghost;
this was the form and the manner of it. The giving of it was all concluded at this meeting, and it afterwards never appeared in its proper form of the cloven tongues of fire, except perhaps in Cornelius's case. The multitude of Medes, and Parthians, &c., . saw nothing of the cloven tongues of fire, or of this wonderful communication of God. They were not present; no, not one of them. It was not till this was noised abroad that the multitude came together, and recognised the tongues to be the language of their own country. The scene, the very remarkable and important scene, which followed, between the baptized church and the unbaptized world, all remarkable and important as it is, was but an accidental thing. When I say accidental, I do not mean but that it was ordained of God for very great purposes, which we shall search out; but that it was not essential to the bestowal of the gift, nor a part of God's act in bestowing it: it was not even one of the circumstances connected with the bestowal of it, but only an occurrence which took place thereupon and thereafter. It was the first historical act of the baptized church, but not attendant upon, or necessary to, that baptism. This is a point of
very great importance; because the common notion is, that in the presence of these nations, and for their special benefit, was this great act of God done; and therefore they argue, What need of it, then, in Scotland, or here in England, where there is no such gathering of people?' Now, so long as they will give themselves up to be deceived in this matter, they shall never be able to receive the truth of God. But the matter of fact standeth the same, let there be never so many deceivers or deceived ones; and it is, that there was not a foreigner present when this gift was conferred upon the church; nor was it directly for their behoof, but a consequence of being filled with
VOL. IV.NO, I.
the Holy Ghost. This is a matter of such vast importance in the argument, that I count it good to strengthen it by shewing the other instances of the conferring of this gift recorded in the Book of Acts. But first I would say a word or two upon the circumstances with which the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and its sign the speaking with tongues, were attended : viz. the mighty rushing wind, and the cloven tongues of fire.
This is the more to be remarked because it differs so widely from the sign of our Lord's baptism with the Holy Ghost, which was the meek and harmless dove; answering well to the words of the Prophet by which he himself interpreted the same: “The 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 deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preachthe acceptable year of the Lord” (Lukeiv. 18,19). He went no further with the quotation, which, if continued, would have run on," and the day of vengeance of our God.” But the same Jesus declared, that, when the Holy Ghost should come, he would “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me: of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more: of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John xvi. 8---11). Pointing out thereby a very remarkable addition in the commission of his church made to that which he fulfilled himself, and containing those "greater things" which his disciples were to do “because he went unto the Father.” While, therefore, I deem that the breathing upon his disciples, before he ascended up on high, in virtue of which they received the Holy Ghost (John xx. 22), did indicate that it was He through whom, as it is the Father from whom, the Spirit of power cometh ; the new emblem, of a mighty rushing wind and cloven tongues of fire, doth betoken that new form of power, and function of ministering, which his church was to serve, in addition to that which in the days of his flesh he served in his own person ;-the one being proper to him personally and alone, as the Image of God's mercy void of judgment; the other being proper to him as the Head of the church with the church ; as the Head and body through which God would put forth the whirlwind of his power and the fire of his holiness. The mighty rushing wind is the symbol of power in violent action, capable of rooting up and tearing down, of subverting and surmounting all things. The cloven tongues of fire are the symbol of the penetrating word, the holy dividing word of God; which, like fire, should search through and purify all things. Their being cleft, doth signify that they would be gifted with other tongues besides their own: that their tongue would be cleft and divided ; or that they should speak with diversity of speech. That it hath some reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel, I have oft suspected, but have as yet attained to no clear light upon that view of the subject. But this is manifest, that whereas the Holy Ghost in the church chose for himself the form of cloven tongues of fire, and those on whom they sat were filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with new tongues, God did thereby identify the gift of tongues with holiness, and signify that it should be a never-failing sign of the Holy Spirit. And I believe that no unclean spirit can counterfeit that sign; and that, if it is counterfeited, it must be by the direct will of the person so doing : he is to be set down as one that is practising deception--that is, wilfully and knowingly playing a cheat—not as one that is himself deluded by an evil spirit. The Holy Ghost thus enfixing himself in the cloven tongues of fire, doth surely point out the gift of tongues as the standing sign of his presence in the church. I do not mean to say that the gift of tongues is the sign of infallibility; but that it is the sign of the baptism with the Holy Ghost; the outward and visible sign of that inward and invisible grace which the baptism of the Holy Ghost conferreth; and that every one who hath not received this sign should look upon himself as having yet the gift of power to receive. He may have. John's baptism, for repentance and remission of sins; that is, his heart may be changed, and his life sanctified, and his understanding may have
been opened to understand the Scriptures; but he hath not yet * received power from on high, the words of power and penetration,
which will go to the heart like piercing swords, and prick through the reins of a man; and is not qualified to be a witness of Jesus in the place where he dwells and throughout the whole earth. And, accordingly, how very limited hath been the work of conversion since the days of the cessation of this sign; and now, that it hath appeared again, we may expect a great extension of the Redeemer's kingdom, as well as a great increase of power within it. But our object is not to enter into a regular dissertation upon these symbols, but simply to gather from them what light they cast upon the subject of the gift of tongues, and proceed. Behold, then, how this manifestation is connected with a certain inward operation of the Holy Ghost; how constantly, closely, and I think inseparably-yes, inseparably, for I would rather say so, though it should convict all of us of shortcoming, than qualify my language when I see no ground in Scripture for qualifying it. But mind that I say there may be repentance and remission of sins, yea, and understanding in the Scriptures, without it, though all in a state of weakness, lowness, and limitation. When the tide runs full and free in any direction, it will find its level in every other.
We return now to the other instances of the giving of the Holy Ghost recorded in the Scriptures, to shew that the con
clusions deduced above from the day of Pentecost hold of them all, and that the gift of tongues is the constant sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and not the mere faculty of speaking languages. The instance recorded in the end of the iv th chapter of Acts is good for shewing how the Apostles felt that their boldness in preaching the word depended upon God's “ stretching forth his hand to heal, and granting that signs and wonders might be done in the name of his holy child Jesus.” There had been as yet but one miracle done by them since the Lord's departure. They felt how much they had been strengthened by it, and they cry to God for more ; and the Lord granteth them their request; for it is recorded in the next chapter" that by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people" (v. 12). Now observe, that the prayer for signs and wonders the Lord answereth by shaking the place where they were assembled together: "and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake the word with boldness.” There is no mention of the cloven tongues of fire a second time appearing, nor yet of the mighty rushing wind, but of a powerful shaking of the place where they were, because it was powers which they besought to strengthen their hearts and confirm their words. This shews us still more, that the cloven tongues of fire and the speaking with tongues are, the one the symbol, the other the sign, of the power of the word, and pertain to the office of witness-bearing. 'I cannot help expressing my conviction, that those who have received this gift are marked out thereby for the work of being Christ's witnesses, and speaking his word with power. A tongue of fire is a word of piercing, pervading, cleansing virtue ; a cloven tongue of fire is the same power and destination, signified by the external sign of another tongue than that which is natural to us.
The next instance recorded is at the bringing in of the Gentiles in the person of Cornelius, and “many that were gathered together, his kinsmen and near friends” (Acts x. 24, 27); and besides these there were none present, save Peter and
“ certain brethren from Joppa ;" and, behold, upon all of them the Holy Ghost fell“ as on us at the beginning.” (Acts xi. 15). “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which beard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, .and magnify God” (Acts x. 44-46). Here was no foreign audience, no work of preaching, no interpreter, no ordained man, but the kindred of a Roman centurion, most likely both men and women; and, behold, upon them all falleth this gift of tongues, in accompaniment of the power of the Holy Ghost. Peter and the men of Joppa, Cornelius and the men of Cesarea, were all of one country and