Imágenes de páginas


They should defire Spiritual Gifts in order to prophesy; 361 all Languages and Gifts, fo all Knowledge and Faith is vain, if it be sepa- Sect. 25. rate from Love, by which true Faith always operates.

Let us cultivate Love more and more; and so much the rather, as it Ver. I, 3. is a Plant of the celestial Paradise; which will there for ever flourish, Ver. 8,-10. when Tongues shall cease, and that Knowledge, on which Men value themselves highly, Mall utterly vanish. The Ripeness of adult Age, and the Knowledge of the most improved Sciences, human or divine, is but as the Trifling of an Infant, when compared with that manly and perfect Ver. 11. State after which we are aspiring. The dim Mirror of Faith shall then Ver. 12. be laid aside; and the Truth of the Objects, now so imperfectly difcerned, shall in full Lustre be presented to our Eye, purged from every Film, and strengthened for a Brightness which would now overwhelm it. In the mean Time, attending humbly to the narrow Limits, and necefsary Obscurity, of our present Knowledge, let us not be puffed up selves, let us not despise others; but by a modest Estimate, and a faithful Improvement, of such Degrees of Light, as God shall be pleased to afford us, let us preis on towards the Regions of eternal Day; where in bis Light we shall see Light, and where, amidst the fullest Communications of his Love, we shall for ever love him, and each other, with Ardors, which the best Hearts in their best Moments on Earth, can neither attain, nor conceive.

in our

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Apostle cautions the Corinthians against that vain Osten

tation of the Gift of Tongues, which was so prevalent among
them; and reasons with them concerning the Absurdity of
the Manner, in which that Gift was abused by some of them.
I Cor. XIV. 1,---19.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

(a) Pursue Love.] The Word dowxált, properly signifies « to pursue with an Eagerness like " that with which Hunters follow their Game.” And it may be intended to intimate, how hard it is to obtain, and preserve, such a truly benevolent Spirit, in the main Series of Life ;

Vol. IV.

Z. z




And that for the Edification of the Churcb : Sect. 26. tivate it to the utmost of your Power, in your but rather babye may

ye pre own Breasts, and in all around you, not grudging phéfy. 1 Cor, XIV. any Labour necessary to promote so excellent a

Cause. Yet I would not lead you to flight any
inferior Endowment, by which the Edification
of the Church may be promoted. I permit you
therefore, zealously to defire Spiritual [Gifts,] so
far as Submission to God, the great Dispenser of
them, and Love to your Brethren, may admit.
But I would especially urge you to desire and pray,
that ye may be enabled to prophesy, in that Sense
of the Word, in which we commonly use it, to
express the Gift, whereby we are enabled to ex-

Scripture, and publickly to discourse of Di-
vine Things, in an instructive and edifying Man-
ner; for by this you may hope to do the greatest
Good. For be that speaketh in a Tongue (6),

2 For be that speaketh unknown to the Auditory to whom he addresses speaketh not unto Men, but

in an unknown Tongue, himself, spraks in Effect not to Men, but to GOD; unto God For no Man for no one else present understands [him ;] and as understandeth him; howbeSud alone knows the Truth and Importance of it in the Spirit he speakech

what he says, so it is all lost on the Audience,
thoin the Spirit be speak the most sublime Myste-

ries :

Whereas be that prophesieth, in the Sense But he that prophesiin which I now use the Word, that is, discourses eth, speaketh unto Men to

Edification, and Exhortaof Divine Things in a known Language, Speaketh tion and Comfort. to Men, and affords 'them Edification, and Exbor

tation, and Comfort, according to the particular 4

Tenor and Contents of what he says. And 4 He that fpeakech in an thus, on the most favourable Conceffions that

unknown Tongue, edifieth

himself: can be made, be that speaketh with a Tongue, edifies himself (c) only, if peradventure his own




on it.

considering on the one Hand, how many Provocations we are like to meet with, and on the other, the Force of Self-love, which will in so many Instances be ready to break in up

(6) He that speaketh in a Tongue unknown, &c.] Dr. Whitby thinks, that the Gifts of Languages, and Prophecy, were always to be found in the fame Person ; but that the fisft was permanent, the other tranfient. Yet it seems to me very conceivable, either 'might Be without the other. The miraculous instamping, as it were, on a Man's Mind a new Language, would indeed enable him to speak all he knew in it ; but his Fitness to discourse in Publick, as well as his Capacity of predicting future Events, were Matters quite of another Nature. (c) Edifieth himself.] After all, that is said in the Paraphraf, to prove that this might be


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Now Prophecy is preferable to speaking with a Tongue ; 363 himself : But he that pro- good Affections may be awakened by the Truth Sect. 26. pheliegh, edifieth theChurch. he fervently delivers, and the Consciousness of

that miraculous Power which he feels work- 1 Cor. XIV.
ing in him, may farther establish his Faith in
Christianity ; but be that prophesies, while he has
a Share of this Advantage, edifies the Church also,
by taking those Methods which are most likely
to promote the Number of its Converts, and
to do Good to those who are already gathered

into it.
5 I would that ye all For my own Part, far from envying any of 5
spake with Tongues, but
rather that ye prophesied : your Gifts, I wish them increased, and indeed that
For greater is he that pro- ye all spake with Tongues, in as great a Variety as I
phesieth, than he that speak- myself can, or as God hath imparted the Gift to
eth with Tongues, except any Man living : But on the whole, I had much
he interpret, that the Church
may receive edifying

rather, that ye might all prophesy; for when we
come to consider the different Effects and Ten-
dencies of these different Gifts, we must own
that, with Respect to the Prospects of Usefulness,
by which these Things are much to be estimated,
be that propbeseth [is] greater than be who speak-
eth with Tongues (d), which the Auditory cannot
understand, except be interpret what he says, that
the Church may receive Edification ; and even then,
his speaking with an unintelligible Tongue is but
an unnecessary Incumbrance, which it would be

much more modest and prudent to omit.
6 Now, Brethren, if I Now, as perhaps you will apprehend this bet-

6 come unto you speaking with ter by an Example, suppose it were your own

Tongues, Case, Brethren : 'If I came to you, the next Time
I make you a Visit at Corinth, Speaking to you


poflible, it was much more probable, that a Man might be hurt, than edified, by the Exercise of this Gift, when attended with such oftentatious Circumstances. But the Apostle, according to that happy Address, for which he was so remarkable, makes his Supposition moft honourable and favourable to the Person reproved. As Hector ascribes the Retreat of Paris from the Battle to Resentment against the Trojans, rather than to Cowardice. Horn. Iliad. Lib. vi. Verse 326. and Eustath in Loc.

(d) He that prophesieth, &c.] How happily does the Apostle teach us to estimate the Value of Gifts and Talents, not by their Brilliancy, but usefulness

. Speaking with Tongues, was indeed very serviceable for spreading the Gospel abroad; but for thole who ftaid at Home, it was much more desirable to be able to discourse well on useful Subjects in their own Language; which might ferve more for the Improvement of the Society they belonged to, and the Conviction of such of their unbelieving Neighbours, as might out of Curiosity happen to step into their Assemblics. Compare Verse 23,--25.

Z z 2

() Reven


Which, if unknown to the Hearer, is speaking to the Sect. 26. with a Variety of unknown Tongues, what shall I Tongues, what Thalí pro

profit you, who are supposed not to understand fit you, except I hal peak I Cor. XIV.

to you either by Revelations, • me, unless I speak not merely in your Hearing, or by Knowledge, or by 6.

but to you, that is, in a Language with 'which Prophefying, or by Doce
you are acquainted ? Else all is absolutely lost trine ?
whatever my Message may be, whether I speak by
the Revelation of some Gospel-doctrine and My-
stery, or by Knowledge (e) in the Explication of
some controverted Text in the Old Testament, or
by Prophecy in the Prediction of some future
Event, or by Doctrine for the Regulation of Life

and Manners.

- So also inanimate Things which give a Sound, 7 And even Things with whether it be Pipe or Harp, or any other Instru- out Life giving Sound, whement of Musick, unless they give a due Distinction they give a Diftinaion in in the Variety of Sounds proceeding from them, the Sounds, how thall is how can it be known what is piped, or harped? be known what is piped or How should Dancers be directed by Musick, un

harped ?
less the proper Tone and Modulation be duly
8 maintained ? Moreover, in War, if the Trum 8 For if the Trumpet
pet give an uncertain Sound, so that there is an give an uncertainSound, who

Thall prepare himself to the
undistinguishable Mixture of various Kind of Battle?
Notes who mould prepare himself to Battle ?
Could Soldiers know, when to advance, or when

to retreat, unless the Trumpet's Sound be adjust-
9 el and constantly adhered to ? So likewise, in 9 So likewise you, except

your religious Assemblies, unless ye utter by the ye utter by the Tongue
Tongue fignificant Words, to which the Ear of stood, how thall it be
your Auditory are accustomed, bow Mall it be known what is spoken? For
known what you speak ? For ye sall be in that ye shall speak into the Air.
Case, as those that speak to the Air, or make a
mere inarticulate Noise ; and I leave you to judge,
how absurd it would be, to bring such unmean-
ing Sounds into the Worship of God, as ye
would not endure in the common Affairs of



[ocr errors]

(e) Revelation, or Knowledge, &c.] I am not certain, how far different Ideas are to be affixed to each of these Words; or supposing that, how far these are the appropriate Ideas intended by eachs but I could think of no more proper Explication, and must number this among the many Texts, which I dare not pretend fully to understand.



And the Speaker and Hearers will be Barbarians to each other. 365

10 There are, it may be, There may be ever so many Sorts of Language Sect. 26. so many kinds of Voices in the World, perhaps as many, as there are Perin the World, and none of them is withoutSignification. sons in your most numerous Assemblies; aud 1 Cor. XIV.

11спе of them is without its proper Signification among those that use it; there are great Numbers that

inhabit the same Region, who perfectly under-
si Therefore, if I know stand it. Yet unless I know the proper Force and II
not the Meaning of the
Voice, I shall be unto him Import of the particular Language which is used
that speaketh a Barbarian; in my Hearing, no one can converse with me;
and he that speaketh shall be and I shall in vain ask an Explication in my own;
a Barbarian unto me.

for 1 shall be to him that speaketh a Barbarian, and
be that speaketh [mall be] a Barbarian to me ;
and if the Language be ever so copious, harmo-
nious, expressive, and polite, I shall hardly be able

to distinguish it from that of the most unpolished
12 Even so ye, foraf- Savage. So that on the whole, I must urge it 12
much as ye are zealous of
spiritual Gifts, seek that ye upon you also, that seeing you desire spiritual [Gifts,]
may excel to the edifying of and are ready to vie with each other in the Ex-
-the Church.

cellence of them, ye seek to abound [in them] for
the Edification of the Church, and not merely for
your own Honour, according to those Rules of
Honour, which you may too rafhly lay down to

13 Wherefore, let him Therefore let him that speaketh in a Tongue gene- 13
that speaketh in an unknown rally unknown to the Congregation, to which he
Tongue, pray that he may would address himself, pray that he may be able ra-

ther to interpret the Discourse of another, than to
amuse, or indeed, amaze and weary the Audi-
ence by the oftentatious Exercise of the Gift he

has already received, and with which he is fond 14 For if I pray in an un- of making a vain Parade. For if I pray in a prayeth, but 'my Under- strange and unknown Tongue, without making Itanding is unfruitful. Use of any Explication, my Spirit indeed prays,

and I may have true Devotion of Heart towards
God, as I understand the Language myself; but
my Understanding is in this Respect unfruitful as
to others (f), and I perform an Action void of


in a 14

(f) Understanding, unfruitful to others.] This I think a more natural Interpretation, than that which supposes the Apostle to suggest a Thought, which the Papists urge to palliate the Absurdity of Prayers in an unknown Tongue, namely, “ there may he fome general good

Affections working, where the Person praying does not particularly uuderstand what he fays.” But this would make it almost impoffible to conceive, how the Gift of Tongues


« AnteriorContinuar »