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366 The Apostle would pray with the Spirit, and Underfandin Sect. 26. that Prudence and good Sense which ought al
ways to govern in my Addresses to God, and 1 Cor. XIV. act so childish and foolish a Part, that the Reason
of a Man may seem at that Time to have deserted 15 me.
What then is (my Duty] in these Circum 15 What is it then? stances.? Truly it is plain enough; it requires me and I will pray with the
will pray with the Spiric to say, I will pray with the Spirit, exercising the Understanding allo: I will Faculties of my own Soul in Devotion; but I fing with the Spirit, and will pray with the Understanding also (g).' I will will fing with the Unde
great Care to mingle no foolish trifling Ac-
fome Respects act so foolish a Part. 16
Moreover, whoever thou art, who actest in this 16 Else when thou thak oftentatious Manner, consider a little, for the far- bless with the Spirit, how ther Iilustration of this Argument, the Situation Room of the Unlearned,
shall he that occupieth the of one of thine own Hearers. If thou givest say, Amen at thy giving Thanks, for Instance, in the Spirit, in the Man- of Thanks, seeing he un
derstandeth not what thou ner that we now suppose it to be done, that is,
publick and folemn Manner their Consent to, and
Thanks we will grant, that thou indeed givest Thanks well
, and that there is nothing improper either in the
could be abused, if the Perfon exercising it was under such an extraordinary Impulse of the
(a). Pray with Understanding.) Mr. Locke, and most other Commentators, seem here to have lost the Sense and high Spirit of the Apostle in this Clause, when they explains vos, as if it merely signified a Manner intelligible to others. I apprehend, it is designed farther to intimate, what a Want of Manly Sense, and right Understanding it must betray, to talk in a Language the Hearers could not talk in, how.sublime foever the Discourse might be. This the 20th Verse, and especially the Use of Titob, there, strongly suggests.
And speak in Christian Asemblies to Edification. 367 Thanks well, but the other Sentiments or Expressions, if they were under- Sert, 26. is not edified
stood; nevertheless the other is not at all edified, or
cessary, that he should know what is said.
blessed Being, from whom all my Gifts and Ta-
you all, even the whole Society taken toge-
ledge of the Gospel, and persuade them to em-
tion of those who were joining with me, than ten
IM P R O V E M E N T.
OW weak and poor a Thing is Pride and Oftentation, and how Ver. 27-129
wise and honourable, Charity and Humility! Who that has a right Discernment, would not rather have been the obscurest Christian, that now, almost unseen, joins our Assemblies, and in Heart at least, humbly puts his Amen to the Petitions presented there, than the most Auent Talker at Corintb; abusing the special Gifts of the Spirit, and trifling away, in an unseasonable Display of his own, then unprofitable, Endowments, the precious Moments, which were destined to the highest
Reflections on the Absurdity of praying in unknown. Zongues. Sect. 26. Purposes of religious Edification! Who must not lament to fee Pride and
Vain-glory, so early insinuating themselves into Christian Societies Who must not, from lo fad an Instance, learn to be greatly watchful over their own Hearts, on a Side where they are subject to such dangerous
Attacks! Ver. 13.-16.
Had the most able and zealous Protestant Divine endeavoured to ex pose the Absurdity of praying in an unknown Tongue, as practised in the Church of Rome; it is difficult to imagine, what he could have writ, more fully to the Purpose, than the Apostle hath here done. And when it is . considered, how perversely the Papists retain the Usage of such Prayers, it will seem no Wonder, they should keep the Scriptures in an unknown Language too. But they proclaim at the same Time, their Superstition and Idolatry in so universal a Language, that even a Barbarian might perceive and learn it in their Affemblies. Let us pity, and pray
for them, that God may give their prejudiced Minds a juster and happier Turn. And since we see, the unreasonable and pernicious Humour of immutably adhering to ancient Customs, prevailing to maintain, in the Church of Rome, fo flagrant an Absurdity, as praying in an unknown Tongue; let it teach us to guard against every Degree of the like Difpofition; and not so much consider, what hath been the Practice of any Church, in which we were educated, or have chosen to worship, as what the Rea
son of Things, and the Authority of Scripture concur to dictate. Ver. 18, 19
Of this wife and benevolent Apostle let us learn, to estimate the Value of Gifts by their Usefulness; and to seek above all Things the Edification of our Brethren ; especially if we are providentially called to minister in Publick. There is perhaps a Manner of speaking in an unknown Tongue, even when the Language of our own Country is used; a Height of Composition, an Abstruseness of Thought, an Obscurity of Phrase, which common Christians cannot understand. Let not the Ministers of the humble Jesus seek such high Things; but in this important Sense of the Exhortation, condescend to Men of low Estate. If the Ignorant may be instructed, if the Careless may be convinced, if the Vicious may be reformed, if the Devotion of our Christian Brethren may be excited, their Love to each other cherilhed, and their holy Resolutions confirmed, the great Ends of Divine Ordinances are answered ; and that Plainness of Speech, which may be most like to promote them, is rather the Glory, than Reproach, of the Christian Orator.
Ver. 3, 4:
They fould use their Spiritual Gifts with Understanding.
St. Paul gives proper Advices for preventing that Abuse of
the Gift of Tongues, which he had been reproving in the preceding Section. 1 Cor. XIV. 20, to the End.
CORINTHIANS XIV. 20.
I CORINTHIANS XIV, 20. BRethren, be not Chil Y Brethren, permit me to be the happy Sect. 27.
dren in Understanding : Howbeit, in Malice be ye
Means of forming you to a more noble Children, but in Understand and manly Way of thinking, with Respect to 1 Cor. XIV. ing be Men.
these fpititual Gifts, which are the Occasions of
desire to be distinguished in the Church?
ing any of the natural Faculties, rather exalts and 21 In the Law it is writ- and noblest Use.
improves them, and directs them to the highest ten, With Men of other
To return to the Subject we 21 Tongues and other Lips were upon, you know it is written in the Law,
will that is, in the Old Testament, (Isai. xxviii. 11, 12.
where God had been complaining of the un-
(a) Children in Understanding.] This is an admirable Stroke of true Oratory, adapted to strike and bring down the Height of their Spirits, by representing those Things, in which they were most ready to pride themselves, as comparatively childish.
-The Word νηπιαζε refers to Infants, and is not sufficiently expressed by the Word Children, for they are sometimes vain and sometimes malicious too. Tendo fignifies full grown Men ; intimating, it was a Kind of Boyishness, if I may be allowed to use that Word, to emulate and quarrel with one another.
Q) In foreign Language, &c.] Most Criticks refer these Words, as they stand in Isaiah to the Babylonians, who thould come and speak to the Jews in a Language unintelligible to VOL. IV.
370 The Confufion attending their Abuse of the.Gift of Tongues,
“ will speak unto this people; and even so they will I speak unto this p
«« will not bear me, faith the Lord.” which may, they not hear me, faith the 1 Cor. XIV. be considered and interpreted as an Intimation of Lord:
the Purpose God had, of fending one last Mef
sage to them, by his Servants, endued with the 22 Gift of Tongues. So that according to this
22 Wherefore, Tongues Intimation, Tongues are a Sign not to Believers, that believe, but to them
are for a Sign not to them but to Infidels. The Gift was intended to propa- that believe not: Bứt progate the Gospel among those, who were Stran- phesying ferveth not for gers to it, not to edify those that had
already be for chem which believe them that believe not, but
): lieved. Whereas on the contrary, Prophecy [is] designed not for Infidels, but Believers, to edify
Churches already gathered ; in which Respect it 23 is nobler, and more worthy your Pursuit. But 23 If therefore the whole as there is a Manner of using this Gift of Tongues, into one Place, and all speak
Church be come together which would even pervert the original End for with Tongues, and there which it was given, and obstruct, rather than come in those that are unpromote the Conversion of Infidels, I must ob learned, or Unbelievers, will .
they not say that ye are mad! serve therefore, that if the whole Church be come together into one Place, and all speak with a Variety of unknown Tongues, and any of the uninjtructed, or in other Words the Infidels; come in, when they hear such a confused Jargon as this must be, will they not presently fay, that you are distracted, and adopt the Censure which was at first fo rafhly passed in the Day of Pentecost, that
these Men are full of new Wine? (Acts ii. 13.) 24. Whereas if all prophesy, and an Infidel, or ignorant
24 But if all prophely,
; Man; (for I esteem every one ignorant, who is and there come in one that uninstructed in the great Mysteries of the Gospel, ed, he is convinced of all, whatever else he may know,) comes in, he is con- he is judged of.allovicted by all who thus speak; be is judged by all;
every one says something, to which his Con2:5 science bears witness : And so the Secrets of his: 25 And thus are the seHeart are made manifest (c), in a Manner to him. crets- of his Heart made ma
them ; in which. Sense the Phrase is used elsewhere, Deut xxviii. 49. Jer. v. 15. Diodati thinks the Meaning is, “ Because they would not attend to.plain Meffages, God would:
speak to them by such as they could not understand :" And then the Apostle's Argument: will be, “Since God threatens this as a Curse, do not voluntarily bring it upon the Church
merely to make Oftentation of your own Gifts.” But perhaps the Apostle in this Application intends to give us the true, tho' not most obvious Interpretation of the Words. (1) Secrets of his Heart are made manifeft.). It is very poslable, that, (as in the known