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language : there were no foreigners to preach to; there were none to instruct, for they upon whom He fell were the instructed, and not the instructors ; and yet, notwithstanding this, they are filled with the Holy Ghost, and cannot refrain themselves that they should not speak with tongues and magnify God. There is a manifest difference between these two acts. While they spake with tongues, it is not possible, as we shall see in the sequel, that Peter and his company should have understood them; their magnifying God must therefore have been in the common language: that is, they spake partly in the new tongue and partly in the mother tongue; as we find those who are possessed with the gift of tongues do in this day. The next instance is that of Ephesus, in which there was no audience, that we read of, but Paul himself; yet " they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”. I do not insist upon these instances, but merely cite them to shew that what we have seen with respect to the first instance was constant as to all the others recorded ; which were given in the church, before the church, and to all the church ; and were instantly exercised, without fear or scruple, or reproof by the Apostle, though there was neither any one to preach to who understood the language, nor any command for them to go forth to such.
It clearly appears, therefore, that the gift of speaking with tongues, however in its secondary uses it may serve the purposes of the unbeliever, was in its primary use for the church, and the church only: that it was as much the sign of the Holy Ghost acting within a man, as speaking in our mother-tongue is the sign of our own spirit acting within us. Common speech is the sign of our own intelligent spirit: another speech is the sign of another intelligent spirit from our own; which is the Spirit of the Father. If we understood it, and did merely use it as another language, it would no more be the sign of God's Spirit, than my speaking French or Latin, in addition to my mothertongue, would be the sign of God's Spirit. It might, indeed, be a miracle to possess me of it; but being possessed of it, the use of it would be my own action, and not God's. But the intention of the gift of tongues is always, whenever it is used, to evidence God's Spirit; and when interpretation can be had, the word conveyed to our knowledge is as truly God's word, as that which was spoken from heaven upon Christ at his baptism. It must, therefore, be beyond the understanding of the person speaking, in order to evidence another Spirit than his own to be in him; and that it was commonly beyond the understanding of the hearers, is manifest from the gift of interpretation being necessary to their entering into it. How, then, could it be for preaching, which is an intelligent act on the part of the speaker and of the hearers also.
But, then, it is asked, What serveth the second part of the record of the day of Pentecost, when all those nations came together, and heard every one in his own language the wonderful works of God ?* This will appear in the examination of the Second popular error, which is, That the tongues were under
stood by the speakers of them, word for word. The vulgar notion of the gift of tongues is, as we have said, that it was a supernatural faculty, given to the Apostles, of expressing their mind in the language of the people to whom they went preaching the Gospel, superseding the labour and the delay which would have been necessary to acquire so many dialects as they are believed to have preached in. This notion commonly rests itself upon the account given in the narrative of the day of Pentecost, recorded in the iid chapter of the Acts, when the assembled multitude of many countries testified, saying, “ Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? and how hear we every one in our own tongue wherein we were born? we do hear them speak the wonderful works of God.” This declaration is proof sufficient to establish that the tongues with which the disciples were then gifted were the very tongues spoken in those various regions of the world over which the Jews had spread abroad, and from which they were at that time gathered to the Feast of Tabernacles. It is of force to prove that the hearers understood what was spoken, but it is of no force at all to prove that the speakers understood what they spake. It is also of force enough to prove that the things uttered were great truths of God, the record of his marvellous works; and so demonstrative that the spirit by which they spoke was a good spirit, and the end for which they spoke a godly end; but there is no evidence in all this chapter that the disciples knew the meaning of the strange words which, being Galileans, they were made to utter. The most easy hypothesis is that they did, because amongst men there is no speaking but through the understanding and with the understanding of the words which are spoken ; and this, accordingly, is the supposition which pervades the church, with what truth we are now further to examine.
Nothing can be inferred from Peter's sermon immediately following, which, being addressed to all the people of those different nations, and understood by them all, must have been spoken in the common language of Jerusalem and Judea, the only one known to them all, in which the service of religion and the business of life was carried on: unless, indeed, the strange notion, which I have sometimes heard, be adopted, that the gift
* For a more full account of the Day of Pentecost, we refer to a tract now in the press, entitled, “ The Day of Pentecost, or the Baptism with the Holy Ghost."
of tongues lay in the same tongue being made to sound to different persons as if it were his own tongue;-a notion which, as it seems to me, makes it a gift of hearing, and not of the speaking of tongues; bestowed, not upon the speaker, but the hearers. This being, to my mind, very unlikely, it'follows that Peter, using one tongue to the natives of so many assembled nations, must have used the tongue which was best known to all, that is, the tongue used in the land of Judea and the city of Jerusalem : to the inhabitants of which places also he particularly addressed himself; “Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem." The new tongues, therefore, bestowed upon Peter on that occasion, whatever they were, were not used by him in preaching that sermon, but the common tongue of the country people amongst whom he stood. And to what, then, it might be asked, did the tongues serve? This is another question; but the answer is simple: For a sign to those who had not yet believed that the Holy Ghost, spoken of by Joel, was in these persons; that they were filled with the Spirit, and not with new wine; according to the word of the Lord, “ These signs shall follow those that believe, They shall speak with new tongues.” The conclusion to which we are necessarily brought in the particular instance of the day of Pentecost, that the tongues were for a sign of the Holy Ghost inhabiting the man, and not for the use of preaching, hath been extended to all cases by Ernesti, in a very learned and luminous tract upon the subject, of which a translation will be found in the present number of the Morning Watch.
In the other instances recorded (Acts x. 46, xix. 6), there is nothing to help us to the resolution of this question, whether those who spake with tongues did themselves understand what was said, and therefore we pass on to the xiith and xiv th chapters of the First of Corinthians, where the question is put beyond doubt. For, first, there was a distinct order of men for interpreting the tongue which was spoken: “To another the interpretation of tongues.” “ Do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” (xii. 10, 30). Now, if the members of the church of Corinth, or Ephesus, or Jerusalem, who spake with tongues, understood what they spake, they surely could have interpreted it themselves, and there was no necessity of appointing
a standing order of interpreters in the church. If it be said, that there might be persons present who understood neither the new tongue nor the vulgar tongue, strangers coming and going, for whose sake an order of interpreters might be kept up; the answer is manifold - 1st. This would only be a further gift of tongues, and not a distinct gift of interpretation ; for the interpreter is merely one who understands the tongue spoken and another tongue besides, viz. the tongue of those to whose ear he would interpret it. 2dly. There would never be a standing order of gifted
men for such a casual occurrence as the coming in of a stranger ignorant of the language of the country where he was sojourning. I do not say such a thing might not occur. It may occur in my own church, perhaps, once in a year;
but I say it is a very foolish thing to suppose an order of interpreters endowed in the church for the sake of such rare occurrences. 3dly. If God wished such to teach, it is clear, from the day of Pentecost, he would do it directly by means of a tongue, and not by the circuitous method of a tongue and an interpretation.-Setting to a side, therefore, this idle hypothesis, which I should not have noticed but for the stiffness with which I have heard it argued more than once; the establishment in the church of an order of interpreters, through whom the words spoken in the unknown tongue by a Corinthian or Ephesian were rendered intelligible to a Corinthian or Ephesian congregation, is proof sufficient that the Apostles understood not what they themselves said. Add to this the following distinct averments of the Holy Ghost: “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God, for no man understandeth” (1 Cor. xii. 2); "wherefore, let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may 'interpret ;” proving that the ability to interpret was a distinct gift ; not included in the gift of speaking with a tongue, but sometimes bestowed of God in answer to prayer of faith. “If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (1 Cor. xiv. 14). This shews further that the inability to put it into the vulgar language stood not in the want of words, but in the want of understanding the thing spoken. Again : speaking with tongues and with the understanding, are put in contrast with one another: “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 (xiv. 18, 19). Any one who, after reading these passages, will keep by the vulgar error that speaking with a tongue was merely the supernatural possession of a language which the person used through his understanding, as I would if speaking Latin or Greek, must be left in his error, for there is no further dealing with him in the way of argument. . It is asked then, And to what served the gift of tongues,
if the speaker understood not? The answer is, As a sign that another power than his own was in him, even the power of God, who worketh all the gifts in all the persons. The tongue is that which connecteth my invisible mind with the intelligent world around me; through my tongue my mind reveals its being and its form. When, therefore, my tongue is used in a manner which my mind apprehendeth not, the proof is certain that another mind than my own is in me, revealing through me its
being and its form. This mind is the Holy Ghost, which is the mind of God transferred through the human form of Jesus Christ unto me. But if my mind were active in the matter, then it could not be discerned that it was another mind : and thus it comes to pass, that for the speaker not to understand is essential to the very end of speaking with tongues. These truths are not for table-talk or argument, but for thought and meditation,-the rarest things in this age of folly, mockery, and cruelty. Third Error, That the tongues were understood by the hearers
of them, word for word. The facts of the day of Pentecost are thought to be conclusive of this point. Nevertheless, we have no doubt that this is a vulgar error, as well as the former. The facts of the day of Pentecost prove simply this, that the tongues were real tongues, spoken by men upon the earth, and not unmeaning sounds; and for this end, I believe, it was, amongst others, that the gift was bestowed at a time when so many nations were assembled together in Jerusalem. But the gift was not given in their presence, nor first exerted in their presence, but in the upper room where the Apostles were wont to assemble together; and in the instant of the giving of it, it began to be exercised : “They began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” There was no auditory then and there present to understand the things spoken. It was not till this was noised abroad-perhaps after the interval of days—that the multitude came together, and recognised the tongues to be their native languages. This was merely an accidental circumstance—no doubt an important one—but in no wise connected with the common use of the tongue. For, besides that the brethren had been using it before among themselves even on that occasion, there is not an instance recorded in which there is not almost a certainty that it was not understood by any one of the auditors. In the case of Cornelius and his company, Acts x., the whole audience consisted of Peter and certain brethren from Joppa, of whom it is well to be believed that they were neither travelled men, nor learned in the tongues, but natives of the place; believers in Christ Jesus, at a time when not many noble, not many wise men, not many mighty, were called. In the case of the Ephesians, Acts xix., when there seems to have been no audience but Paul himself, and perhaps Apollos, the twelve brethren spake with tongues and prophesied. In the case of the Corinthian church, which
is only an example of“ all the churches," before the people could understand they needed the interpretation; and if there were no interpreter present, he that spake with tongues must pray for interpretation, or else hold his peace. I simply refer again to the passages quoted above, in proof that the people understood not the thing spoken. A man who will read the xivth of the First of Corinthians,
VOL. IV.-NO, I.