FACTS CONNECTED WITH RECENT
MANIFESTATIONS OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
BY THE REV. EDWARD IRVING.
(Extracted from Fraser's Magazine) 1832
four years ago, about the time of the opening of the National Scotch Church, when teaching to my people the orthodox and Catholic doctrine of the holy sacraments, I shewed from the constitution of Christian baptism (Acts, ii. 38, 39), that the baptised Church is still held by God to be responsible for the full and perfect gift of the Holy Ghost, as the same had been received by our blessed Lord upon his ascension unto glory, and by Him shed down upon his church on the day of Pentecost, and by them exercised in all the ways recorded in the book of Acts and the epistles of the holy apostles. The doctrine, as I then taught it, maybe found briefly set forth in the second of the Homilies on Baptism, which I published shortly after, and more fully in a Treatise on the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, whereof the first part was published a few weeks ago. From that time to this, (and indeed since ever I read the Word of God for the building up of my own faith), I have never ceased to believe that the spiritual gifts and the spiritual office-bearers, as they are enumerated in Scripture (1 Cor. xii. 4—11 ; Eph. iv. 7—17. Rom. xii. G—9 ; 1 Pet. iv.10, 11, &c.), together with the various supernatural methods of operation recorded in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, are not accidental and temporary occurrences of a miraculous kind, for certain special ends and occasions, but substantial and permanent forms of operation proper to the Holy Ghost, and in no wise to be separated from Him or from the Church, which is his chosen residence and temple, the "body of Christ," and "the fulness of Him who filleth all in all." With this faith firmly rooted in my heart, I did not doubt that the only reason for the disappearance of those endowments from the visible Church, or rather from the face of her history, was the evil heart of unbelief, and the hiding of "the light of the world" under " the bushel" of human systems and ordinances, and the " burying of our talent in the earth" of the natural man,—a condition of things which ought not to be wondered at, seeing our Lord had expressly forewarned his Church against it; nor did I hesitate to preach this as a great head of Christian faith, needful to be believed for the honour of the risen Lord, for the completeness of the Spirit's work, and for the consolation and establishment of the Church; and I was never loath, on any fitting occasion, to maintain the argument with any of my clerical brethren, whether of my own Church or the Church of England, as some to whose eye this may come will bear me witness. The consequence of this distinct and explicit witness-bearing was, to prepare a people for receiving the manifestations when they did appear, and also to prepare my own mind for taking the decisive steps which I have taken after I was persuaded that they were come into the midst of us.
But while I was convinced so long ago of the undoubted right which the church hath in all the manifestations of the Holy Ghost made by Christ and his apostles, and that her unfaithfulness was the only cause for their disappearance, it was not so clear to me that they would be restored again anterior to the time of his second advent, when all things shall be reconstituted (Acts ii.21), and the complete inheritance shall be brought to us, whereof this seal of the Spirit is only the earnest and the first fruits (Eph. i.14). For though I saw clearly and beyond question that this, like all the “gifts and callings of God, is without repentance" (Rom. xi. 29) on his part, it was then doubtful to my mind whether or not the Church of Christ, like the Jewish nation, might not have been ejected from her rightful possessions, and left to famine and misery of spiritual good until the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send forth Jesus Christ, "which before was preached unto us" (Acts, iii. 19, 20). If I had applied myself steadily to the resolution of this doubt, it would speedily have cleared away before the express promises of the Holy Ghost the Comforter(John xiv. xv. xvi.) made, not to the Church as a whole, but to every one who believeth, for the performance of all " the works which Christ did, and for greater works than these, because he went unto the Father" (John, xiv. 12); for preaching and for prophesying (John, vii.37), and in particular for "casting out devils, speaking with new tongues, taking up serpents, and drinking of deadly things without being hurt, and laying hands on the sick that they might recover" (Mark, xvi. 17, 18). But the way had to be prepared by the full preaching of Christ's coming in our
flesh, and his coming again in glory— the two great divisions of Christian doctrine which had gone down into the earth, out of sight and out of mind, and which must be revived by preaching before the Holy Spirit could have any thing to witness unto; for he doth not witness to any system of man, Calvinistic or Arminian, or to any ordinance of man, Episcopalian or Presbyterian ; but to Jesus, who suffered for us in the flesh, who shareth with us his life and power, and cometh with us in glory. Being occupied with the ministry of these two great truths— Christ's union with us by the one flesh, and our present union with him by the one Spirit-— I had not made sure to my own mind, nor taught my people to look or to pray for the restoration of the spiritual gifts, but confined myself to the confession of our sins and the sins of our fathers, for which they had ceased, and to the bewailing of our low and abject state before the Lord. Thus we stood. when the tidings of the restoration of the gift of tongues in the west of Scotland burst upon us like the morning star heralding the approach of day, and turned our speculations upon the true doctrine into the examination of a fact.
If some fond parents, having parted from their children for a time, should hear of their being all cast away and lost at sea, while on their return to their paternal home and inheritance, how their hearts would grieve under the sore bereavement; and if, after long years of sorrow, they should hear of a family of children with their attendants having been discovered upon some island of those seas, answering in feature and in form, in age and in number, to their dear offspring whose loss they had so long lamented —what joyful hope, what trembling anxiety, what earnest and careful search would fill their hearts and occupy all their minds! I cannot say that my feelings were altogether such, but they belonged to this class. I did rejoice with great joy when the tidings were read to me, coming through a most authentic channel, that the bridal attire and jewels of the Church had been found again. It was as health to my navel, as marrow and fatness to my bones. And I felt it to be a matter of too great concern to yield up my faith to any thing but the clearest evidence, and at the same time of so great importance as not to leave a stone unturned in order to
come at the truth; for if it should turn out to be true, I perceived at once that it would revolutionise the Church, and make such an upturning as the world had not seen. I had the amplest means of obtaining information, first from eye and ear witnesses, men of reputation, elders of the church, then from many of the most spiritual members of my flock, who went down to see and hear, and finally from the gifted persons themselves. And the particulars of the work in Scotland are as follow.
In the west of Scotland the thick and dark veil which men have cast over the truth had been taken away, chiefly by the preaching of that faithful man of God, John Campbell, late minister of Row, who was deposed by the last General Assembly for teaching that God loves every man, and that Christ died to redeem all mankind. His word leavened all that land, and took firm and fast hold of many to the saving of their souls. But he had received no insight, nor held any discourse with the people on this subject; only he had prepared them for every thing by teaching them the boundless love of God, and the full and free gift of Jesus with all the riches of glory which he contained. To another preacher of the Gospel, now also deposed by the same Assembly for postponing the Confession of Faith to the Holy Scriptures, presiding at present over the Scotch congregation at Woolwich, it was reserved to sow the seed which hath borne this precious fruit. He was at that time my fellow-labourer in the National Scotch Church, being our missionary to preach to the poor of this city; and as we went in and out together, he used often to signify to me his conviction that the spiritual gifts ought still to be exercised in the Church; that we are at liberty, and indeed bound to pray for them, as being baptised into the assurance of the "gift of the Holy Ghost," as well as of " repentance and remission of sins'' (Acts, ii. 38). When I used, on these occasions, to propose to him my difficulty, as stated above, lest for our fathers' transgressions we should have been adjudged to the loss of our inheritance until our Redeemer should come, he never failed to make answer, that though we were baptised into one body, the Church, we were called to act thereon upon our several responsibility as persons; that the promise is to every believer personally, who, receiving of the same, do by their several gifts constitute the body and membership of the Church. Though I could make no answer to this, and it is altogether unanswerable, I continued still very little moved to seek myself or to stir up my people to seek these spiritual treasures. Yet I went forward to contend and to instruct whenever the subject came before me, in my public ministrations of reading and preaching the word, that the Holy Ghost ought to be manifested amongst us all, the same as ever he was in any one of the primitive churches.
Towards the end of the year 1829, our excellent missionary—whose mind God was more and more confirming on this head, and enabling to disentangle the subject of the baptism with the Holy Ghost from the work of regeneration, with which it is commonly confounded, whereof the latter cometh from the incarnation, and the former from the glorification of the Son of God—being called down to Scotland upon some occasion, and residing for a while at his father's house, which is in the heart of that district of Scotland upon which the light of Mr. Campbell's ministry had arisen, he was led to open his mind to some of the godly people in those parts, and, among others, to a young woman who was at that time lying ill of a consumption, from which afterwards, when brought to the very door of death, she was raised up instantaneously by the mighty hand of God. Being a woman of a very fixed and constant spirit, he was not able, with all his power of statement and argument, which is unequalled by that of any man I have ever met with, to convince her of the distinction between regeneration and baptism with the Holy Ghost; and when he could not prevail, he left her with a solemn charge to read over the Acts of the Apostles with that distinction in her mind, and to beware how she rashly rejected what he believed to be the truth of God. By this young woman it was that God, not many months after, did restore the gift of speaking with tongues and prophesying to the Church; and that man might have no hand in such a work. He took from our missionary the honour of convincing her, and from her the honour of having readily opened her ear to instruction ; reserving to Himself both the work of teaching her and inclining her heart to be taught. Her disease went on rapidly increasing, and to all appearance hurrying her into eternity; and her communion with God grew apace as her hope of being removed to his rest drew nigh. But, though there were not as yet any supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost in those parts, there appeared about this time, in the death-bed experience of certain holy persons, very wonderful instances of the power of God's Spirit, both in the way of discernment and utterance, and also apparent glory. They were able to know the condition of God's people at a distance, and to pray for the very things which they needed; they were able to search the hearts of persons in their presence; they were above measure strengthened to hold out both in prayer and exhortation. In one instance, the countenance shone with a glorious brightness, as if it had been the face of an angel; they spake much of a bright dawn about to arise in the Church ; and one of them, just before death, signified that he had received the knowledge of the thing that was about to be manifested, but he was too far gone to give it utterance. It came like a halo over the soul of the departing saint, to cheer him on his way; but it was not intended for communication. I knew this man ; I had conversed with him a few months before, when I went into that neighbourhood preaching the coming and kingdom of the Lord. He was a saint of the first degree. The particulars of these death-beds, more especially that of James Grubb, were regularly communicated to me by one of the deacons of my Church, a native of that district, who with all his father's house fear the Lord, and was wont to receive by letter from his kindred very full details of these matters. My friend and fellow-labourer also, upon his return, confirmed all which I had previously heard, and was stronger than ever in his conviction that the gifts of the Holy Ghost would be restored, and that speedily.
In the month of December of the same year, 1829, the handmaid of the Lord, to whom reference hath been made above, was led by the Spirit of God to read with a new light that blessed portion of his Word which is written in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of the Gospel according to John, and to find therein that seed of faith and hope which afterwards bore fruit in the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. She saw there the truth of our Lord's human nature, which in itself was no other than our own, and derived the virtues of immaculate holiness and superhuman power from no passive quality, but from an active operation thereon of the Son of God by the Holy Ghost. She came to see what for six or seven years I had been preaching in London, that all the works of Christ were done by the man anointed with the Holy Ghost, and not by the God mixing himself up with the man. The person is the Son of God; the bounds which he hath consented to speak and act in are the bounds of mortal manhood; the power by which, when within these narrow bounds, he doth such mighty things, against and above the course of nature, death, and hell, is the power of the Holy Ghost; and the end of the whole mystery of his incarnation is to shew unto mortal men what every one of them, through faith in his name, shall be able to perform ; as it is written in the first of these chapters, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works which I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father" (John, xiv. 12). The effect of this discovery upon her, I have heard her tell, was such as to fill her soul by night and by day for some time, to the exclusion almost of her natural rest. And these words of Peter's sermon to Cornelius were constantly in her mind:—"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." (Acts, x. 38.) She straightway argued, if Jesus as a man in my nature thus spake and thus performed mighty works by the Holy Ghost, which he even promiseth to me, then ought I in the same nature, by the same Spirit, to do likewise "the works which he did, and greater works than these." I have now before me the original letter which she wrote to a friend soon after this, bearing date the 16th of January,1830, which, however, I will not transcribe, lest I should swell the narrative too much, and introduce into it spiritual things too sacred for the common eye. It contains the first overflowings of a soul filled with the glorious truth, that every baptised man should, through the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, and the presence of the Comforter, shew forth the same signs and wonders as Christ did, " that the Father might be glorified in the Son;" as it is written (Mark, xvi. 17), "And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." This letter is remarkable as containing the true view of bodily suffering as a manifestation of Satan's power in this sinful flesh of ours, which Christ took in order to cast him and keep him out of it. With these emphatic, and, in her own case, prophetic words, the letter concludes:—"You cannot conceive the effect which this view of suffering has upon me. I am indeed most painfully exercised in mind when I think of it, and am sometimes forced to exclaim, Why should I, seeing I am a daughter of Abraham, be so long bound by the devil? Pray for me, my dear friend, in reference to this thing."
I am writing a record of the working's of God for the eye of a most unbelieving generation, who would fain persuade themselves that God hath forsaken the earth, and left it to be managed by infidel statesmen, falsehearted churchmen, and lying prophets ; but they are all my brethren, and some of them may, by God's grace, be delivered from the snare of Antichrist by what I write; therefore I will write every thing as if I were speaking it from my own pulpit, with the single love of truth in my heart, and fear of God before my eyes.
There was no manifestation of the Holy Ghost until the end of March, that is, about two months from the date of this letter; but how surely the sound doctrines stated above had struck their roots into the heart of this young woman is made manifest from another letter, bearing date the 23d of March, of which the original is still preserved, and lies now before me. Along with some others, she had conceived the purpose of a mission to the heathen, and so was brought into the very condition in which the apostles were anterior to the day of Pentecost, when they had received their commission to go forth into all nations and preach the Gospel, but were commanded to tarry in Jerusalem until they should receive power from on high. The following is an extract from a letter communicating this missionary design:—" The former rain was first poured out on ‘unlearned and ignorant men,’ that the excellency of the power, might appear to be of God, that no flesh might glory in his presence. And I am taught of the Holy Ghost to believe the ‘ latter rain' will first descend on those of God's children who are esteemed the weakest and the basest. It is needful God should select such instruments to advance his glory, that even Christians may behold what mighty victories simple unlimited confidence in God will effect." The sentiment expressed in this quotation I can no longer doubt, after what I behold proceeding in the seats of learning and high places of power within the Church, which are but one great confederacy against the truth as it is in Jesus — the smiting with the fist of wickedness every faithful man, and casting him forth with indignity from their apostate and apostating synagogues. When I see the Presbyteries of the North, and the Bishops of the South, and the heads of the populace among the dissenting bodies, uniting to silence every watchman who hath in him any discernment or faithfulness, what can I conclude, but that God will rather stain their pride than suffer his Son's glory to be by them overthrown. Saul, the son of Kish, than whom there was no goodlier person in Israel, has wearied the Lord, and he is proceeding once more to bring David from feeding the ewes with young to feed his people Israel. I believe that the day of carpenters and fishermen is come again, and the day of masters in arts and doctors in divinity is gone by. " Not by might nor by strength, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."
The letter from which the above extract is made is very long, and almost entirely taken up with the subject of missions, and, indeed, was written to persuade a faithful brother in the Lord to undertake that service for Christ and his Church. This purpose hath not yet obtained its fulfilment; but I have no doubt will in its own time. So, also, the setting apart of the Apostles to go to the heathen, though anterior to the day of Pentecost, obtained not its accomplishment till several years after the baptism of power, for witness-bearing was accomplished upon them on the day of Pentecost. They had a previous work to do within the bounds of the Church; the work of reviving the decayed life of the true members, and separating the false members thereof. For to this double end, of cherishing the humble, and utterly disgusting the proud, prophesying with the sign of another tongue doth serve, as saith the prophet Isaiah, " Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine ? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: for with stammering lips, and another tongue, will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."— (Isa. xxviii. 9—13). No doubt the baptism with the Holy Ghost, whereof the sign is speaking with another tongue, doth qualify for bearing witness for Christ to all lands, as our Lord in divers places expressly de-clareth (Luke, xxiv. 49; Acts, i. 8); but it hath also a special application to the Church, being God s simple and childish food to restore the constitution of his people, debilitated with the strong drink of man's opinions, and his snare to take captive and utterly make away with all those proud hypocrites, who prefer the traditions and arguments of men to his own precious and simple truth. And of these two offices, served by the ordinances of prophesying with the stammering lip and the sign of another tongue, the latter is that which God will first set himself about; because he loveth not to cast off nor to separate from his people until he hath made all efforts to retain them in their love and obedience. And accordingly, both in the days of the apostles and in these our days, he hath begun his work, first at home, and is labouring in it with all speed; and when he hath prevailed to separate the living from the dead, and to nourish up the living into some stature and strength fit for foreign travel, he will send them forth into all lands to preach the everlasting Gospel unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, saying, " Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." The army must first be enlisted and disciplined at home, before it is sent abroad to the field of warfare. The Lord first gave to his disciples the promise of the baptism of the Comforter, in the 14th, 15th, and l6th chapters of John; so brought he the minds of those in our days, whom he was preparing to baptise into the understanding of that divine discourse; he then, during the forty days between his resurrection and his ascension, gave them their commission to go to the heathen; and the like spiritual desire and self-devotion did he awaken in this case. Finally, after he had ascended to his glory, he poured down his Spirit on the day of Pentecost upon his disciples, who straightway spake with tongues and magnified God; so also, as we now proceed to tell, did he revive this wondrous gift, so long dormant in his Church.
Sometime between the 23 of March 1830, the date of the letter from which the last extract is made, and the end of that month, on the evening of the Lord's day, the gift of speaking with tongues was restored to the Church. " Then he restored that which he took not away." (Psa. lxix.) The handmaiden of the Lord of whom he made choice on that night to manifest forth in her his glory, had been long afflicted with a disease which the medical men pronounced to be a decline, and that it would soon bring her to her grave, whither her sister had been hurried by the same malady some months before. Yet, while all around were anticipating her dissolution, she was, in the strength of faith, meditating missionary labours among the heathen; this night she was to receive the preparation of the Spirit,—the preparation of her body she received not till some days after. It was on the Lord's day; and one of her sisters, along with a female friend, who had come to the house for that end, had been spending the whole day in humiliation, and fasting, and prayer before God, with a special respect to the restoration of the gifts. They had come up in the evening to the sick chamber of their sister, who was laid on a sofa, and, along with one or two others of the household, they were engaged in prayer together. When, in the midst of their devotion, the Holy Ghost came with mighty power upon the sick woman as she lay in her weakness, and constrained her to speak at great length, and with superhuman strength, in an unknown tongue, to the astonishment of all who heard, and to her own great edification and enjoyment in God ; " for he that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself." She has told me that this first seizure of the Spirit was the strongest she ever had; and that it was in some degree necessary it should have been so, otherwise she would not have dared to give way to it. For once " the spirit of the prophets was [not] subject to the prophets." It was so also the first time that silence was broke in my church. I have put the question directly, and been answered by the person who was raised for that purpose, that she never had so strong an impulse; which, thinking to restrain, she fled out of the church into the vestry, but found it quite irresistible, and was forced to give vent to that volume of majestic sound which passed through two closed doors, and filled the whole church. And so, according to the example of the Scriptures, it ought to be; seeing that when it came upon the Church on the day of Pentecost, they did not, and could not, refrain themselves, but all spake with tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance, though there was no audience to hear or profit by them. So also in the cases of Cornelius and his company (Acts, x.), and of the Ephesian brethren (Acts, xix.)
And having thus brought my narrative down to the great event of the Holy Spirit's again making his voice to be heard, I shall stay here a little; and, before proceeding further, make one or two observations, which could not be so well introduced into the narrative. The first is concerning the manner of its bestowal, without any outward sign or demonstration, as on the day of Pentecost, and without the laying on of the hands of an apostle ; but in the exercise of faith and prayer. That the Holy Ghost was commonly bestowed in the exercise of faith and prayer, without any visible sign, is not only manifest from the express promise of the Lord (Luke, xi. 5—14); but also from the example of the Samaritan church (Acts, viii. 15). And because faith and prayer come by preaching, the Holy Ghost descended upon the Gentiles at the conclusion of Peter's sermon to them (Acts, x. 45); and in the case of the Ephesian church it attended upon baptism. In two of these cases the laying on of the hands of the apostles did intervene, but in the other it intervened not, which proveth that it is not necessary. When any one will shew me a passage of Scripture expressly declaring that the laying on of the hands of the apostles is necessary to the receiving of spiritual gifts, I will give heed to him ; but till then I will believe the Lord, who declares that nothing is necessary but to ask and to seek, and importunately to knock (Luke, xi.) ; I will believe Peter, who declares that nothing is necessary but to be baptised into the name of Jesus Christ (Acts, ii. 38, 39); I will believe Paul, who makes the ministration of the Spirit dependent only upon the hearing of faith (Gal. iii. 2, 5, 14; Eph. i. 13). And believing these declarations accordant with all the Scriptures, I will preach, in the expectation of my people receiving the Spirit in the act of hearing; and I will lead them to pray, in the sure faith of receiving the Holy Ghost in answer to their importunate prayers. At the same time, I see the place in the divine economy given to the apostles, to the end that their dignity and authority, as having the true doctrine, might be authenticated against all pretenders and usurpers ; and also that the gift might be known, not only to come immediately from Christ, but mediately through the faithful members of his truth. That it might be seen immediately to proceed from himself, the two capital instances, of the day of Pentecost for the Jews, and of Cornelius for the Gentiles, came down without any intervention; but that, if apostles were again raised up—as I believe they will be—they may again have this effectual laying on of hands for the seal of their office, I take not upon me to dispute, but that we are to tarry for it. But when they shall come they will not assuredly supersede Christ, but stand humbly under him, as prepared channels through which his virtue may pass.
In the next place, as it was never intended that there should be any giving of the law but one ; whereby Josiah shaped his proceedings when he restored the religion of Judah; and but one ordering of the temple, according to which Zerubbabel wrought when he restored its ruins; and but one incarnation of the Son of God for sin destroying, which he then preached over again at the resurrection—so is there but one day of Pentecost with its signs of the mighty rushing wind and the cloven tongues of fire, and the witnessing nations; and to expect another is folly and delusion. The gifts then came into the Church, and are in the baptised Church now as ever, and shall be, without repentance, until Christ come, yea and for ever; for the Comforter is to abide for ever. They shall perfect themselves : the partial shall give way to the perfect, but the substance of the power and glory shall abide for ever. We might as well expect a resurrection of Christ over again, to satisfy their scepticism, as expect another day of Pentecost, with the witness-bearing nations to attest the tongues. It is of the essence of the tongue that it should be unknown; and the definition of it is, " He that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth. " (I Cor.xiv. 2.) If it were understood by the speaker or by the hearer, it would not serve its end of proving that the speaker is not man, but the Holy Ghost. For if he understand it himself, then it is he who may be using it; if others understand it, then he may have learnt it; and this would draw a suspicion which would militate against the end of God; which is to shew, that not the person or speaker, but the Holy Ghost, fills the spirit of the person; filling his spirit, but not touching his understanding, so as that he himself is edified, but incapable of edifying others, until the Holy Ghost, having given the sign of his personal presence and agency, begin to speak in the native tongue. While the unknown tongue is uttered, "he edifieth himself," but not others : while the native tongue is uttering, he and all that hear are edified alike. But while it is of the essence of the tongue, in order that it may be a sign, that it should be unknown, just as of a miracle it is of the essence that it should be supernatural, there must be added to the tongue words intelligible, either from the same mouth or from another, in the way of interpretation, in order that the end of all signs, which is edification, may be accomplished. And so at Cesarea they not only spake with tongues, but magnified God; and at Ephesus they spake with tongues and prophesied. And so it is in these days. Of the hundreds of manifestations which I have heard, there have been a few without the introductory sign of the unknown tongue, but there never was one without the main substance of testifying to Jesus, and exhorting unto holiness in our own tongue. On the day of Pentecost there is no mention that the utterance was twofold, partly unknown and partly known, although the symbol of the cloven tongue would lead to such a supposition. But if it were not so, there were at hand the very natives whose tongues were spoken, to attest the reality and interpret the substance of the thing spoken. And perhaps utterance was withheld in the language of Jerusalem in order to arrest the attention of the people the more. This, however, is a matter of little importance. Suffice it to observe, that the experiment then made of these tongues which the Holy Ghost moved men to speak, doth attest them for ever to be true tongues of men : and this being once attested, he who insists to have it over again, might as well insist to have the attestation of Christ's life, and miracles, and death, and resurrection, over again. I say once more to this most ignorant and self-conceited generation, that the tongue would in no way serve the purpose of proving the Holy Ghost to be the speaker, unless it were unknown alike to the speaker and to the hearers of it. There could never be but one day of Pentecost; a second would have invalidated the first. This is a riddle to the shallow men whom I am writing to. I leave them a month to discover it. But not one in a thousand will give it as much time as children do to a guess by the fireside. For the men of this generation are but impatient overgrown children. Why then write to them at all ? In order to rebuke them, and haply to win some stragglers from the reading mob back again to the proper occupation of man, which is, to think and act, to meditate and contemplate. Reading, and writing, and casting accounts, are doing more to unman mankind than many— than almost all other causes. The only book worth reading is the Bible ; and that can be read only with the honest heart, which almost all other books do tend to take away. But this is not within my present occupation.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED IN A SECOND PAPER.
(Extracted from Fraser's Magazine.)
having narrated the circumstances under which this jewel of inestimable price was found amidst the neglected and forgotten stores of the Church, I must now describe as I can the beauty, and the worth, and the various glorious uses for which it is intended. The gift of speaking with other tongues, which hath been the occasion of so much sin to this generation of mockers, is the subject which, above all, hath rewarded my meditation with much fruit, whereof I shall in this paper endeavour to lay some part before my brethren. But first I would endeavour to describe the manner of it to those who have not had the opportunity of witnessing it—to many, alas ! who have thought it beneath their notice, but will, I hope, think otherwise when they have read this paper. After describing it according to the forms in which I have seen it exhibited hundreds of times, I will shew its perfect identity with that which is written of in the Scriptures, then set forth the results of my meditations upon it, and close with some reflections upon the gifts of the Spirit in general, and the obligations of the Church for the same.
From these words of the apostle Paul (1 Cor. xiv. 6), " Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?" it would seem that there be four forms or uses of speaking with tongues: the first for revealing things hidden in the Word, concerning which we have much information in the second chapter of this Epistle; the second for bringing to the knowledge of the Church things which are taking place beyond the reach of ordinary communication, whereof we have many instances in the life of Christ, which was the complete manifestation of the Holy Ghost; the third for prophesying to the edification and comfort and exhortation of the Church, for the conviction and judgment, heart-searching and conversion, of the unbeliever, concerning which the fourteenth chapter of the Epistle quoted above is chiefly written; the fourth for doctrine, or teaching of those things which belong to the first principles and daily practice of the Christian life—a gift proper to the office of the pastor or teacher, concerning which we have hints in divers parts of Scripture, as Rom. xii. 7; Eph. iv. 11, 12; Heb. v. 12—vi. 3. To these four forms of communication this gift of tongues was subservient, not so much to convey the intelligible matter, which it never could do in the Church, save when the gift of interpretation was also vouchsafed, as to shew that the person speaking from revelation, or from knowledge, or from prophesying, or from doctrine, was not speaking of himself, but by the Holy Ghost. Therefore he is set on to speak in a tongue "which no man understandeth," which speaketh "not unto men, but unto God," and comes out of that state into intelligible speech with an utterance, which you thereby know to proceed from the same hidden and invisible power which uttered the words unknown. That this is the case is manifest to the observer, and it is made sure by asking the speaker, who always declareth that the words uttered in English are as much by power supernatural, and by the same power supernatural, as the words uttered in the language unknown. But no one hearing and observing the utterance could for a moment doubt it, inasmuch as the whole utterance, from the beginning to the ending of it, is with a power and strength and fulness, and sometimes rapidity of voice, altogether different from that of the person’s ordinary utterance in any mood; and I would say, both in its form and in its effects upon a simple mind, quite supernatural. There is a power in the voice to thrill the heart and overawe the spirit after a manner which I have never felt. There is a march, and a majesty, and a sustained grandeur in the voice, especially of those who prophesy, which I have never heard even a resemblance to, except now and then in the sublimest and most impassioned moods of Mrs. Siddons and Miss O'Neil. It is a mere abandonment of all truth to call it screaming or crying: it is the most majestic and divine utterance which I have ever heard, some parts of which I never heard equalled, and no part of it surpassed, by the finest execution of genius and of art exhibited at the oratorios in the Concerts of Ancient Music. And when the speech utters itself in the way of a psalm or spiritual song, it is the likest to some of the most simple and ancient chants in the cathedral service; insomuch that I have been often led to think that those chants, of which some can be traced up as high as the days of Ambrose, are recollections and transmissions of the inspired utterances in the primitive Church. Most frequently the silence is broke by utterance in a tongue, and this continues for a longer or a shorter period, sometimes occupying only a few words, as it were filling the first gush of sound, sometimes extending to five minutes, or even more, of earnest and deeply-felt discourse, with which the heart and soul of the speaker is manifestly much moved, to tears and sighs and unutterable groanings, to joy and mirth and exultation, and even laughter of the heart. So far from being unmeaning gibberish, as the thoughtless and heedless sons of Belial have said, it is regularly formed, well pronounced, deeply-felt discourse, which evidently wanteth only the ear of him whose native tongue it is to make it a very masterpiece of powerful speech. But as the apostle declareth that it is not spoken to the ear of man, but to the ear of God—" he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men but unto God : for no man understandeth" (1 Cor. xiv. 2)—we ought to stand in awe, and endeavour to enter into spiritual communion with that member of Christ, who is the mouth of the whole Church unto God. Ah me! what a solemn thing it is to witness this utterance going forward knowing that it is the Spirit of Jesus carrying on a discourse with the invisible Father through one of our brethren, who therein representeth the whole Church, and standeth as our foreman speaking and pleading unto God. They who are impatient, and set light by this part of the utterance or scoff at it, know not what they do and should be pitied, as you would pity a clown who should thrust himself forward into the presence-chamber of the king to gaze and laugh—should be rebuked, as you would the profane wretch who went up to the altar to scatter abroad the bread and spill the wine which the priest was consecrating. How often have I had to sit under this offence! my only consolation, They know not what they do.
But, say they, of what use to listen to that which we understand not? The answer is manifold : to him who uttereth it it is very useful; " for he that speaketh in a tongue, edifieth himself," through the speech, "though the understanding be unfruitful;" and thou oughtest to rejoice in thy brother's edification, especially if in a few seconds or minutes he is about to edify thee with a message brought from God. Useful, brother?—It is most useful for thee, in order to get the better of thine unbelief and irreverence—to abate thy trust in thine understanding, by shewing thee a thing which it cannot enter into—to make thee feel and acknowledge a present God speaking by his Spirit—to make sure unto thee the union of Christ with his people, speaking in them and by them, not as empty instruments, but as conscious spiritual creatures. Ah me ! it is the standing symbol of the "communion of the saints, and their fellowship with the Father and the Son, " not by means of intelligence, but by means of the Holy Ghost. But because intellect cannot grasp it, intellect would dash it to the ground, and deny that there is a spirit in man deeper than the intellect— that there is a Holy Ghost binding God to Jesus, and Jesus to the Church, and the Church with one another, and back again to God. The unknown part of the discourse is the symbol of the fountain secret, unseen and unknown—the known part, of the stream which issues from the fountain to cherish the life of all creatures. Doth a man refuse to drink of the clear, flowing stream, because he knows not the hidden and secret cavern within the bowels of the earth from which it hath flowed out? Ah ! what a miscreant generation it is, and what misdeeds they have done under the sight of these sorrowful eyes ! I have seen God's sanctuary profaned, God's mysteries gazed on and laughed at, God's gentle and entreating voice set at nought—all because it issued from a fountain of unknown speech which they could not understand. In their ignorance they understand not that all which is known issueth from the unknown, in order that all knowledge may lead us to all worship.
" When I am praying in my native tongue," said one of the gifted persons to me, "however fixed my soul be upon God, and him only, I am conscious to other thoughts and desires, which the very words I use force in before me. I am like a man holding straightforward to his home full in view, who, though he diverge neither to the right hand nor to the left, is ever solicited by the many well-known objects on every hand of him. But the moment I am visited with the Spirit, and carried out to God in a tongue which I know not, it is as if a deep covering of snow had fallen on all the country round, and I saw nothing but the object of my desire and the road which leadeth into it. I am more conscious than ever to the presence of God. He and he only is in my soul. I am filled with some form of the mind of God, be it joy or grief, desire, love, pity, compassion, wrath, or indignation; and I am made to utter it in words which are full of power over my spirit; but not being accessible to my understanding, my devotion is not interrupted by associations or suggestions from the visible or intellectual world : I feel myself, as it were, shut in with God into his own pavilion, and hidden close from the invasions of the world, the devil, and the flesh." In these few words the mystery and the end of the gift of tongues are accurately set forth.
In. the same breath, in perfect continuance, sometimes in constant sequence, as word followeth word in common discourse, sometimes with such a pause as a speaker makes to take his breath, the English part flows forth in the same fulness of voice, majesty of tone, and grandeur of utterance. This is that with which we have properly to do— God and the speaker with the other: and as God speaketh in the Church for edification, this is always the largest part, four times, or ten times, or even twenty times, as much being known as is unknown. The unknown is, so far as concerneth us, the sign that the known is a message from God, prophesying under the power of the Spirit; speaking as one is moved by the Holy Ghost, and not any offering of the enlightened and pious mind for the benefit of the brethren—that it is Jesus, the Head of the Church, occupying the speech, and using the tongue of his servant, to speak the things which he desireth at that time to be spoken and heard. Wherein the person is not used as a trumpet merely for speaking through, but as an intelligent, conscious, loving, holy creature, to be possessed in these his inward parts, and used by the Lord of All, the indwelling Head of the Church. He yieldeth his will unto Jesus, to be used thus in his act of faith, self-resigning; and Jesus, using his will, doth, through the spirit and by the tongue of the man, utter forth what words he pleaseth to utter. In uttering the unknown, and in uttering the known part of the prophesying, he is equally and alike under the power of Jesus until the word comes forth—in both cases equally conscious in his speech to the thing which is uttered— filled with the joy or grief, with the love or hatred, with the entreaty, or reproof, or indignation—in one word, with the spirit of it. There is no difference in the state of the speaker; he is equally unconscious, equally unintelligent, equally possessed, and equally consenting to be possessed— aye, and until the word be uttered. He can refuse his will, and so quench the Spirit; or, being commanded by those who have the rule over him, he can cease to give his will, and so arrest the utterance of the Spirit. He is all the while a responsible agent; and according to his degree of willingness or unwillingness doth permit or prevent the largeness of the Spirit's utterance. He is all the while pleasing or offending Jesus ; and Jesus hath delight and the Church profit in him accordingly—he himself satisfaction and clearness of conscience in the use of his gift. But the work of responsibility is entirely confined to the spirit or will of the person, which is, in fact, the only seat of responsibility, the mind, the understanding, and the feeling, or, as it is commonly called, the heart, being only a serving creature—a thing of the flesh, without which the spirit shall exist in the separate state—with which the spirit hath nothing to do but to keep it to its work and entreat it kindly—from which the spirit is as widely separated as God is from the dust. God is the fountain of the spirit, the dust the origin of the fleshly creature. I am not writing metaphysically, but describing a reality; yet such a reality as hath given me more insight into metaphysics than all books which I have read, and all lectures which I have heard. It seems to me always to realise the views of man's being that I was wont to hear from the mouth of that most gifted philosopher and most profound thinker, our dear Coleridge, whom may the Lord abundantly bless in the decline of his days! as he hath blessed me with more instruction than any other uninspired man, living or dead.
There is no difference, I have said, between the actual state of the speaker in uttering the unknown and the known words, the one being as pure an utterance of the Holy Gliost as is the other. And when the intelligible words are uttered, they become vehicles of meaning to his mind and to his heart, just as they are to the mind and the heart of the hearers. The unknown words are just as much unknown to him as to us, and the known words are just as much known. He becomes the subject of Christ's teaching just as we are, and he is now responsible for the lessons taught just as we are. This, no doubt, makes a great difference as to the degree of absorption which he hath in God, for now he is assailed by the associations and feelings which are connected with the thing he is uttering. And his faithfulness is put to a sterner proof: for as word draweth on word, and sentence followeth sentence, he may shrink from the consequences of going forward. His feelings of love, and friendship, and favour, to those whom he is called upon to rebuke, may arrest the current of his willingness. Every opinion, every prejudice, every passion, every affection, every infirmity, every fibre of the flesh which remaineth uncrucified, will now arise to prevent the Spirit from uttering what it is his mind to utter; for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit. The utterance in English is far more trying than the utterance in the unknown tongue to him who uttereth it. I can conceive a thousand temptations in the way of hinderance, and as many in the way of hastening beyond the mind and temper of the Spirit. We may minister to Him —nay, what even of the flesh is living will serve in to him fuel of its own; and it is only by the strong hand of the Lord upon the prophet that the utterance is not marred or mangled. But his care for his Church will, I believe, prevent such intermingling; as we see was the case of Balaam, who, if they would have given him the whole world, could not go beyond the word of the Lord.
Of those who have exercised the gift of tongues in my church, it is remarkable that the females have it in the form of prophesying alone; the men have it in all the four forms mentioned by Paul, of revelation, of knowledge, of prophecy, and of doctrine. And this is according to the Scriptures, where it is prophesied that in the last days, which Peter declared to have begun at the day of Pentecost, " our sons and daughters should prophesy, and our servants and our handmaidens." (Joel, ii. 28; compared with Acts, xi. 17.) And, at the same time, women are forbidden to teach (1 Tim. ii.12.); nor to raise questions upon the things which are said in the Church (1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35); but to keep silence in all respects, except when moved by the Spirit to pray or to prophesy: in which case particular instructions are given to them (1 Cor. xi. 1—16) how to carry themselves, so as still to preserve their place of subjection to the man. Some would have it, that women are to keep silence always in the churches, even when the Holy Ghost comes upon them with power, interpreting the injunction in 1 Cor. xiv. as absolute and unlimited. This, I have no hesitation in saying, is an unsound interpretation, against the intention of the gift of prophecy, which is for edifying the Church—against the apostolic instructions concerning the manner of their prophesying (1 Cor. xi.)—against the spirit of the texts (1 Cor. xiv. 34; 1 Tim. ii. 11) quoted in its favour, which have both reference to taking authority upon themselves, and stepping out of their place—against the scriptural manner of speaking concerning persons under the Holy Ghost, which is, that not they but the Holy Ghost speaks (Matt. x. 20; Acts, ii. 4; v. 32 ; xx. 23 ; xxi. 11 ; John, xv. 26) —against the judgment of many interpreters, as Grotius, Locke, Scott, Brown, and the practice of the primitive Church, as expressly declared both by Tertullian and Cyprian—and against the practice of all churches, whereof no one using a liturgy imposeth silence upon women, or preventeth them speaking when even the men may speak in prayer. I am not arguing this matter at present, nor justifying the order which I have taken in the Church concerning it, but simply recording the fact, that while the speaking with tongues hath come to the men, seeking their utterance in all the four heads, it hath only come to women, seeking their utterance in the one head of prophesying; which, therefore, I conclude the Spirit intendeth they should occupy, at all times and places, and in all presences, where it pleaseth the Spirit to bring the power upon them. If that word of the apostle (1 Cor. xiv. 24) had been intended of prophesying, it would have been written either "let not your prophetesses speak," or, "let not your women prophesy;" but being " let not your women speak," it plainly intendeth, let them not break silence of their own mind, nor take upon them in the understanding to utter any thing. To apply it to the Holy Ghost speaking in them, would be entirely to preclude them from the use of the gift; because a church, in the apostolic and true sense, means any two or three met together in the name of the Lord. It would actually reduce the women to silence, save when alone, and so subvert the proper nature of prophecy, which is for the edifying of the Church (1 Cor. xiv. 4, 31). Nothing more fully shews me what a letter-killed state the Church is come into, than the way in which the whole work of God has been resisted, upon the strength of that single precept, that " women should keep silence," which no Church till now hath interpreted in the letter since the world began. But, indeed, there is no longer a Church interpreting the word of God by the Spirit, but a number of intellects hammering away at the letter of a book. The Roman Catholic use of the Scriptures is nothing so frightful as the use which Protestants are now making of them. But to return to our delineation of the gifts.
The difference between the gift of prophesying, which is exercised mostly by the women amongst us, and the gift of revelation, standeth chiefly in this, that the former hath the Church, the latter the word of God, for its object. The prophet or prophetess speaketh from no text or passage of Scripture to reveal the mystery or the doctrine contained in it, as doth he who useth tongues for revelation, but doth address words of exhortation, edification, and comfort to the Church (1 Cor xiv. 3), most frequently introduced by words in an unknown tongue, which are the sign of inspiration to those who have love enough to believe, or discernment enough to perceive, or previous acquaintance enough to know that the person speaking is not making feigned words, in order to pass off some invention of his own for an inspiration of God. To the Church, who recognise the speaker to be a brother or sister in Christ, the tongue answereth for a sign that he is coming forth with something from God—that he is speaking as he is moved by the Holy Ghost. And lest, after he cometh to the English part, we should relapse again into infidelity, and be hearing as if it were the word of the speaker only, it happeneth not unfrequently that he is carried back into the tongue for a short while, as it were to carry us back into the presence of the Holy Ghost, from which we are too ready to slip away. But in the case of revelation it is quite different. The person needeth to have the word of God before him, or to be listening to the reading it: the former is the most fruitful way of it. Then, even as he readeth, the spirit like inspiration darteth light into his mind, when it is revelation, or love into his heart, when it is teaching; and he uttereth most commonly in a tongue first, then in English, then in a tongue again, and again in English, short sentences as it were, turn and turn about; every thing coming thus sealed with the demonstration of the Spirit. This operation of the Holy Ghost is very wonderful to behold : the fulness of the mind and heart, the rapidity of the utterance, the difficulty and sometimes struggling of the organs to get disburdened of it, are not more demonstrative of supernatural agency, than is the matter uttered demonstrative that this agency is that of the Holy Ghost. Such depths of doctrine, such openings of truth, such eagle-glances into the mind of God, such purity of love, such, earnestness of exhortation, and, in one word, such heavenly exaltation of spirit, heard I never from man’s lips, as I have heard from those speaking in this manner by the Holy Ghost. And the same of those prophesying: the heavenly holiness, the blessed unity, the living and life-giving spirit of their discourse, passeth all understanding. I knew it not to be of man, by that which stumbled so many, because there were none of the peculiarities of a system— none of the speculations of the age— none of the idiosyncrasies of the person in it. It was after no kind but the Catholic kind of God—it is living water—it is marrow and fatness. And the man who feels it not to be so, may be a sound-minded man, orthodox, evangelical, eloquent, argumentative, or any thing else, but he lacketh one thing, and that the chief thing, vis. spiritual discernment—the unction of the Holy One—the mind of Christ. Of this I have no doubt, and without any qualification I do express it. I say not, therefore, that he is not a Christian ; but that he is not spiritual, I do unhesitatingly say. He is like the Corinthians, of whom Paul spake thus: "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able; for ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (I Cor. iii. 1—3.)
There is another distinction to be made before the thing which we have received in our Church is fully understood. It is not the gift of tongues, or the speaking with tongues, properly so called, but the gift of prophecy, as distinguished from the speaking with tongues in the apostolic enumeration of the gifts (1 Cor. xii. 10, and contrasted therewith throughout the 14th chapter). It is the superior gift of prophecy which we have received, and for which we desire to be thankful. The difference standeth in this, that he who "spake with tongues" in the Church, did nothing else than utter words, unknown alike to himself and to all the people; and therefore there was needed another, with the gift of interpretation. The one did, as it were, dream the dream of Pharaoh, which went from him and was not known; the other, like Joseph, did receive the interpretation thereof direct from God. As the speaker spake the unknown words, the meaning thereof arose upon the interpreter's heart, and the proper native words came upon his lips. But he was all the while as ignorant of the foreign words as the utterer and. the hearers of them. It was a spiritual gift, and not an act of translation from one tongue into another. In this that poor man, Mr. Pilkington, who hath written his own shame and infamy to the world, deceived himself, not me or any one else, labouring by a smattering of languages, and an enthusiastic mind, thinking he did God service, to come at the purport of the words which were uttered in the tongue. He tried it by translation and enthusiasm. Had he been ingenuous, I could have set him right at once, having written, fully a year ago, upon the nature of these gifts, and understood them then substantially as I understand them now ; but receiving a mixed and confused account from him, that the words came to him by a spiritual influence, and not by an intellectual labour, I was afraid to prejudge the matter, knowing that a man might receive a gift who was not able to render a distinct account of it; and therefore took time, and gave him all opportunities of proving the matter, till I could fairly say it is not of the Holy Ghost, but of thine own enthusiastic fancy and erroneous understanding. The gift of interpretation of tongues is needful to make the gift of speaking with tongues to be of any profit to the Church; and therefore the apostle requireth that it should not be used unless there were an interpreter present, and even in such a case it should be by short sentences of two or three words, turn and turn about. These two collateral and co-efficient gifts, thus exercised, are profitable for bringing messages direct from the Spirit, without any possibility of being curtailed or exaggerated in the utterance of them; to which prophecy is liable more or less, according to the holiness and faithfulness of the prophet, except God specially interfere to prevent. For he speaking in a tongue knoweth not a word he speaketh, and he interpreting knoweth not what is to follow ; and being taken together, they form an entire check upon one another, and are therefore profitable for bringing messages from God as from an oracle. It seemeth to me to be an infallible method of carriage for messages which God would have to come with all the weight of his own authority; whereas, prophesying he would, have to depend upon the faithfulness of the speaker, and the discernment of the hearer—not to come, as the written word, with infallible authority, to which we must stoop down at once obedient, but as an utterance not to be despised but much to be valued, yet always to be proved by the Church : " Despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good." " Covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." Wherefore also certain tests are given by the Lord (Matt. vii. 15—21), and by the apostles (1 Cor. xii. 2 ; 1 John, iv. 1—6 ; 1 Tim. iv. 1—4; 1 Pet. ii. &c.), whereby the true prophet is to be discerned from the false, and all these tests he in the substance of the thing uttered, not in any sign or manner, teaching us that the hearer is as responsible as the utterer of prophecy, for discerning the Spirit by which it is uttered. This gift of prophecy, and not the speaking with tongues, is that which we have received. It is commonly preceded by a tongue, and occasionally mingled with it; but nine parts out of ten are in our own tongue, spoken for edification, exhortation, and comfort. Therefore all these objections against using it in the Church without an interpreter, fall to the ground, like those against women speaking. The only two refuges of those who dislike the whole subject, and would fain find a shelter against it in the word of God, are thus taken away.
And here endeth our first head of description, which I would follow up with one reflection, that the peculiar and proper name of Christ, as the Head of the Church, is "He which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost," and that this office was not fulfilled till the day of Pentecost, in what manner and with what effect is set forth in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and that it is the distinguishing promise and express prerogative of Christian baptism to convey the same, and that all the churches were introduced into that divine and supernatural standing, and that the whole body of Scripture speaketh of it as the proper calling of the Church in all ages to put forth the same,—ought we not to be exceedingly grieved and afflicted to find ourselves in the poor, miserable, purblind, cold-hearted and powerless state in which we are ? Ought we not to humble ourselves before the Lord on account of our misuse of this precious gift and endowment, and to mourn and weep because, through our unbelief and un-faithfulness, the Lord Jesus and his glory have been hidden from the sight and knowledge of men? And when, not only from the constant testimony of the Scriptures, and the necessary consequences of the doctrine of our union with Christ, but from the fact of the return of the gifts, it is put beyond all question that the destitution of all grace, and goodness, and power, into which we are come, is owing—as in the case of man's fall from paradise into the deluge, of Israel's fall from the head of kingdoms to grinding misery —not to any change of God's mind concerning the Church, or to any temporary purpose which he set up for a few years with the view of taking away again, " for his gifts and callings are without repentance," but singly and solely to our unbelief of his goodness, and to our unfaithfulness in the gift committed to our trust;—we ought to be sore afflicted, and to cry unto him day and night, for the transgressions which we and our fathers have transgressed against him, in grieving, quenching, and almost blaspheming his Holy Spirit. If the Jews, against the day of their recognising Jesus of Nazareth, whom their fathers crucified, and the children of their fathers have blasphemed, when " they look upon him whom they have pierced, shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for a first-born'' (2ecn. xii. 10), then how should we mourn now that we have discovered that for fifteen hundred years and more the Church hath been shutting her door against the glory of Christ, rejecting the spirit of power, and keeping herself in misery and the world in darkness— hiding from the sight of men the beauty and blessedness of Christ in his church—prostituting herself in her ignorance and wickedness to the kings of the earth, and doing every thing to provoke the eyes of his jealousy and glory! Oh! if in that day when God poureth out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, and they come to recognise the glory of him they have so long rejected, there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo, verily, verily, how much more in the Church, which beginneth now to discover the sad reality, that for long long ages she hath been living in the rejection of Christ glorified, and in the despite of the Holy Spirit of Grace—knowing Christ some little in the flesh, but refusing to know him in the spirit—ignorant of the power of his resurrection, not baptized into the fellowship of his sufferings, and little conformed to his death. Oh! for the spirit of wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of God ! Oh ! that the eyes of our understanding were enlightened, that we might know what is the hope of our calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power with us who believe, "according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come : and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body; the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Ah me! if Paul spake these words by the Holy Ghost, if this be the true delineation of the Church, her dignity and her occupation, her privilege and her fulness, then I ask to what a pass are we brought, and in what a miserable condition have we been for these sixteen centuries? And now that God is awakening us out of our dream, and shewing us what fruitless encumberers of the ground we are, and what unprofitable servants—oh! now that he is calling us to account for our stewardship, which we have squandered and prostituted—what repentance and godly sorrow ought there to be felt amongst us, and what continuation of prayer and fasting, until the Lord take off the load of our guilt, and return to us in mercy and in loving-kindness!
Ah me! there is a Fast approaching : I bless God for it. Let this sin of having rejected the work of the Holy Ghost be above all others remembered ; for as the Holy Ghost is the author of all holiness, and blessedness, and glory to a people, so the quenching and the grieving, the shortening and the hindering of him in his holy operations, is the cause of all sin and misery, of all disease and wretchedness. For an example of what the mourning should be of those who hear these things, let me again refer to the sorrow of Jerusalem when she cometh to discover that Jesus whom they crucified is the Lord of glory: " And the land shall mourn every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart; and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart." And to all those who rightly apprehend the nature of this transgression, and humble themselves for the guilt thereof, I believe that the Lord will return in great mercy and loving-kindness, in great power and glory. For the time to visit Zion is fully come, and the wall of Jerusalem shall be rebuilt in these troublous times. We stand upon the very threshold of glorious times to those who know their God, who shall do exploits in the wide world, even proceeding forth in the spirit and power of Elias to preach the everlasting Gospel of the kingdom to every nation and kindred upon the earth, saying, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come. That hour is fully come, and the ambassadors must go forth from the side of Jesus the Lord of glory, with powers plenipotentiary, to sound the trumpet around the world, and lift up the voice with strength, saying to the nations of the earth, Prepare to meet your God. They shall go, and none shall let them; they shall speak, and none shall put them to silence; they shall command, and kings shall tremble and obey: because it is the time of God's witness-bearing. "And if any man will hurt" those witnesses whom he is about to send forth, " fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." To warn this nation, to warn the world as far as I have power to do it, is the reason for which I take up my pen to write in this publication, which, though I approve not in some things, is read by immortal souls; and my commission is to every creature under heaven. 0 Lord! who canst convert all things to thy glory, do thou make this also to become a vehicle of thy truth !
THE SAME SUBJECT CONCLUDED IN A THIRD PAPER..
(Extracted from Fraser's Magazine.)
I would come far short of a true and faithful account of this solemn matter, did I leave my readers with the impression that we had merely received one of the many gifts enumerated in the list given by the apostle, while I believe that we have received that which is the root and the stem of them all, out of which they all grow, and by which they are all nourished. It is, I believe, the same form of utterance which was first given to the Church on the day of Pentecost, for her strengthening and enlargement, to the end she might be taught by the Holy Ghost, and trained up from childhood, into the estate of manhood, when, in the various members, the various gifts and capacities appeared. Let it be observed how the prophet Isaiah, prophesying of this (Isa. xxviii. 9—14; compared with 1 Cor. xiv. 21), declareth that God was to use this method for training up weaned children into the estate of manhood, at a time when the Church in general would be running after the strong drink of man's doctrines, commended with all the forms of lip-eloquence and natural understanding. To bring discredit upon all which human argument, and to cast down the hypocritical spirit of man from the usurped place of divine authority. God declareth that he would speak with stammering lips, precept upon precept, and line upon line, after the manner of a nurse to her weaned child ; all the while giving forth, in this contemptible way, under the guise of this " foolishness of God," the "rest and the refreshment" wherewith those weary of the uncertainty and perplexity of man’s teaching, might be brought to rest in the very truth of God, separate and away from the manner wherein it was expressed. But to make certain that it was all the while from God, words of a tongue were added to it, which neither speaker nor hearer (except in the case of Pentecost) understood, and which, to every man who had confidence in the speaker as an honest man, yea, and from the very manner of it, was proof enough that it was supernatural. Even so now, in a day when we have as many sects, and systems, and gospels, as we have able and ingenious preachers—when men are attracted, not by the truth of God, but by the eminency of the preacher, by the oratory, the argument, the eloquence, the natural fervour and power of utterance,—God, that he might prepare a church for the stern duties and trials which are before her, and separate from her the impurities of man's traditions, whereof she is full, and send adrift all speculators in religion, hath brought forth the self-same instrument out of his armoury, raising up obscure persons — weak women and uneducated men—endowing them with the very same gift of speaking in " other tongues," and with "stammering of lip," and with frequent repetitions, " line upon line, line upon line; precept upon precept, precept upon precept;" and it hath been attended with the effect of driving away, in utter disgust, all but the simple-hearted, single-minded disciples, who love the truth for its own sake. These it hath gathered, these it hath refreshed—to these it hath taught their infantile and helpless condition: it is building them up in faith and. holiness, it is rooting and grounding them in. love, and it will, like good food strengthened as we need it, bring the Church unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Those things which are the popular objections to the work, viz. the unintelligibleness of the tongues, and the inartificial style of the utterance in English, and the frequent repetitions, are, in truth, the very marks of its identity with that which is prophesied of by the prophet Isaiah, and described by the apostle Paul. And before leaving this, I may observe, that the effects also which it hath produced are the very effects prophesied by Isaiah, and experienced by the apostle; viz. the gathering out from the Jewish Church of a remnant according to the election of grace, by whom the nations might be evangelised, and the stumbling of all the rest, according to the word of Isaiah in the same place, " that they might stumble and fall back, and be snared and taken." So will it prove, yea, and hath in a manner already proved amongst us, to be for the rising of a few and for the falling of many in Israel; and for a similar end, the end, viz. of standing up against and by force of holiness, exposing the sevenfold coverlet of hypocrisy -which is in the Church, especially that called evangelical—of detecting the mystery of iniquity, the spirit of Antichrist, in all departments of church, and state, and civil society, literature, and science, and art, education, benevolence, and religious associations—of building up a Church to stand firm and steadfast upon the Rock of Ages, when all things established are scattered like smoke before the wind—and, finally, of spreading the members of that Church abroad, to carry the full Gospel of the kingdom into all lands, just before the hour of the judgment arriveth, as it is prophesied in the two witnesses who resist Antichrist (Rev. xi.), and in the angel who, just before the judgment, flies through the midst of heaven, " having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people; saying, with a loud voice, fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come : and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. xiv. 6-7.)
Besides this appeal to the radical prophecy of Isaiah, to shew that the thing which we have received is the very gift of tongues bequeathed on the day of Pentecost, there are one or two other considerations quite decisive. The character of God in all respects, but especially in respect of the giving of the Holy Ghost, is contained in these words of the Lord : " And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion ? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?" (Luke, xi. 9—13.) We asked him, we entreated and besought him for the Holy Ghost, we met morning after morning and confessed our sins, and perused his word, and exhorted one another, and pleaded the cause of his Church before him ; we lamented and bewailed our low and lost estate; we waited patiently before the Lord at all times, and ceased not: and is it to be believed that the Lord, instead of the Holy Ghost should send us a delusion of the mind, or a possession of Satan? We have not such thoughts of God, we know better in whom we have believed. Had we gone to him without a warrant in his word, had we asked for what is above our privileges —for what the Church never had, or never was intended to have, we might have been punished for our profane ambition; but asking for the Holy Ghost, as he was heretofore possessed by the Church, as we are baptised into the hope of him—asking this gift for holy uses, and asking it in true catholic love to the whole Church of God— which we know in all sincerity and purity of conscience we did—we cannot think such thoughts of God—we dare not—as that he hath cheated and deceived us. Neither will we suffer any one to make such a thing in our hearing. For we can no more bear to have it said of God, that he would cheat his humble and sincere servants asking bread by giving them a stone, asking a fish by giving them a serpent, than we can suffer it to be said of any dear friends; but we will ever resent such a thing as a most gross insult and ignominious slander of outmost faithful God. Nay, more, we believe that he hath such a care over us, that if we were to ask any thing unworthy of him to grant, or harmful to ourselves to receive, he would withhold it, as a father would withhold a weapon from his child, however he might desire to have it and to use it.
It is most true, indeed, that our God doth visit wicked people with the fruit of their own wickedness; and when they come to ask and inquire of him, setting before them the stumbling-blocks of their iniquity, he doth answer them to their own destruction, as is fully taught in the prophet Ezekiel (ch. xiv.) We know, also, that the Lord himself doth deceive prophets who prophesy flattering and smooth things ; yea, and he doth sometimes send forth a lying spirit into the mouth of many wicked prophets, in order to cause the people to err (1 Kings, xxii.); and we know, also, that the time is coming, or, rather, is fully come, when the Lord is about to send strong delusion upon all Christendom, that they might believe a lie—that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. ii. 11, 12) ; and we are even now prepared for the coming forth of false Christs and false prophets, with signs and wonders, such as would almost deceive the very elect. (Matt. xxiv.) These things we know, but we stand up fearlessly in the face of all men, and say we are not such persons as the Lord will thus deal with: even our enemies being judges we are a people of a blameless walk and
conversation, who have suffered, and do daily suffer, much for the truth's sake. We frequent not the saloons of the noble, nor the tables of the rich; but our resorts are the house of God and the habitations of the poor, to teach them the ways of godliness. Against whom have infidels, and free-thinkers, and heretics of every name, lifted up the hand ? Who have stood for the meaning of God's ordinances in church, and state, and social life? Who have maintained the integrity of the faith as it was once delivered to the saints ? Who have wrestled for it? Who have suffered the loss of good name, of honourable place, of friends, and of kindred, as we have done? We do not boast in this, but give God the glory; but we are forced to make mention of it, in order to prevent the slander and malice of our enemies from prevailing with the simple-minded.
There is another consideration, which would be stronger than all these put together with this suspicious generation, which examineth religious questions as an Old Bailey lawyer doth a thief. It is this, that the universal notion current in the Church concerning tongues was, that they were always understood and merely used for preaching in; and, therefore, this thing cannot be imposture, for it is like nothing that men looked for under the name " gift of tongues," but the very contradiction of all their notions. Now no one doth strike a man a blow upon the face and call him a liar, when he is going to palm himself upon him as an old friend and acquaintance. Imposture it cannot be, for it offendeth all, imposeth upon no one. Secondly, it cannot be deception, for it begins by opening the eyes of every one, and setting us all to rights upon the matter of the gift of tongues in the Church. And, thirdly, it cannot be from Satan, because it leads men from a popular error, that tongues were merely given to preach in, and brings them to know a great truth of Scripture, that they are for communion with God, and edification of the soul in holiness. Now Satan is a hider, and not an ex-poser of the truth—a leader from God, and not a leader to God. These things I cannot pursue into their details; but it is an argument of great force.
It appears from the narrative given above, that the doctrine which had power to revive the manifestations of the Spirit in the body of Christ, which is the Church, is the doctrine of our union with him by the Holy Ghost,— the union between the Head enthroned in power and glory and the members on the earth encompassed about with infirmities and temptations. In virtue of which union we, though weak and mortal in the flesh, are quickened in the Spirit with all power to put forth and manifest the office and virtues which are resident in Him. This doctrine of " the power of his resurrection" hath not been preached in the Church since the days of the primitive Church as it hath been preached within these few years : with the knowledge the putting forth of the power did cease, and with the revival of the one came the revival of the other.
If it be true, as the Scriptures teach, and all orthodox divines have ever held, that there is a real union by the Spirit between Christ and his Church, after the nature of the union between the head and the members, which did manifest itself in the primitive Church by the fellowship of his holiness and love, and mind, and power; then, as this union dependeth not upon time, place, and circumstance, but is spiritual, and essential to the church, the wonder is not that there should in our time be the like manifestations of Christ in the body as there were in the apostolical times, but that they should ever have ceased: and I feel assured that, if the Scriptures are to be taken as the rule of Christian faith and the principle of all Christian argument, the burden of proof lies all upon those who maintain they were not intended to continue, and not with those who expect and believe in their revival; for the word of God beareth one, and only one, testimony, which is, that the gifts of the Spirit are as much the property of the Church as are the graces ; nay, that these two are not separate the one from the other, but the outward and inward forms of the same in-dwelling of Christ. Wherever the gifts of the Spirit are mentioned in the Scriptures, they are spoken of as part and parcel of the Church's endowment, until the time of her perfection come, and never divided from those moral and spiritual graces, which all confess to be of a permanent endurance. For example, in the institution of Christian baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, which Christ had entered into by going to the Father, and shed down upon the disciples in the form of cloven tongues of fire, is promised as the end and reward of that Holy Sacrament, in connexion with repentance and remission of sins. " Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Now, no one doubteth that Christian baptism doth convey to the believer the gift of repentance or change of mind towards God, and the remission or putting away of our sins by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit of Jesus ; and why should they doubt that it doth convey also the baptism with the Holy Ghost for speaking with tongues, and prophesying, and other supernatural manifestations of power; seeing that this, no less positively than the other, is held forth to all whom the Lord shall call to the knowledge of his Son. Nay, far more specifically and peculiarly do the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost belong to Christian baptism than repentance and remission of sins, which are common to us with John (Mark, i. 4). They who preach baptism as containing no more than regeneration, are but disciples of John the Baptist; for Christ baptiseth, not with water (John, iv. 1), but with the Holy Ghost (8), after the manner which took place on the day of Pentecost (Acts, i. 5). And if the Christian Church be baptised into the thing which took place on the day of Pentecost, we should expect to find that same thing everywhere acknowledged to be in her throughout the apostolic writings. And so it is. After the Church of Jerusalem, which was baptised by Christ himself into this heavenly gift, cometh the Church of Samaria (Acts, viii.), which having been evangelised by Philip the deacon, and baptised, was not suffered to remain without the gift of the Holy Ghost, but, being straightway visited by the apostles, was, by the laying on of their hands, endowed with power from on high. Next comes the Church of the Gentiles, first called in the person of Cornelius, the good centurion, and his household (Acts, x. xi.), who, having heard the Gospel at Peter's mouth, and believed it, were baptised with the Holy Ghost by Christ himself, and then with water by the apostle. Next comes the Church of Ephesus (Acts, xix.), which Paul found walking in the power of John's baptism of repentance and remission of sins, but as yet entirely ignorant of that work of the Holy Ghost, which began from the day of Pentecost, upon all of whom, having laid his hands, they spake with tongues and prophesied. Besides these, we can specify the Churches of Galatia, among whom Paul " ministered the Spirit and wrought miracles" (Gal. iv. 5) ; and the Church of Corinth, whose endowments are given at length (1 Cor. xii. xiii.xiv.); and the Church of Rome (Rom. xii.), and all the Churches to which Peter's catholic epistle was addressed (1 Pet. iv. 10, 11.) By these instances, against which there cannot be brought one instance to the contrary, it is put beyond question, that to be baptised with the Holy Ghost, and to put forth supernatural powers of the Divine nature, both inwardly in the holiness and enjoyment of the soul, and outwardly in the works of the Church, is as truly an essential privilege of the Christian Church as to be washed from her sins in the blood of Christ, or to be born again of water and of the Spirit, or to feed upon the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. And that it was the experience of all the churches, as well as of those instanced above, to be endowed with power from on high, and to manifest the gifts of the Holy Ghost, is put beyond question by incidental expressions, occurring everywhere throughout the apostolical writings. For example, in writing to the Corinthians, among whom the gifts were in full exercise, Paul saith, " That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge ; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gifts, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This shews that " utterance and knowledge" was the seal and confirmation of the preached and believed Gospel, and that the gifts of the Corinthians were common in the churches, so that they were nothing behind the rest, and that the end of the knowledge, utterance, and gifts, was to keep them waiting for the coming of the Lord. Again, "Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers" (Eph. iv.)—gifts from the true Christ—are declared to be by him given " for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," until it come to its perfection, and to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that is, until the body be completed in all its members, until the number of the elect be accomplished. Again, " tasting of the heavenly gift," and " being made partakers of the Holy Spirit," and "the power of the world 'to come, " all of which signify the supernatural power, are classed among the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, in company with the enlightening of baptism, and the nourishment of the word, and the resurrection of the dead, &c. (Heb. vi.); and, finally, in Cor. xiii., it is expressly said, that speaking with tongues and prophesying, and the other gifts, still continue, until " that which is perfect be come;" and that this is now come, no one but a self-blinded fool will dare to aver.