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in vol. ii. p. 638 ; which we repeat' over in few words : That as the tongue or word of man is the sign of the mind within him ; so, when another spirit, the Spirit of God, enters into him, Hesignifieth His presence by another tongue from that which the person himself useth. There are many more uses of the gift of tongues, some of which we have recounted (vol ii: pp. 657-661); but this is the only one which is before us at this time.
Taking all this with us, let us apply it to the exposition of this prophecy. The Spirit of Christ had already spoken in the Prophets, and appeared in its fulness in Christ himself. These all constituted together a body of interpreters, speaking forth the mind of God to their several generations; and God gave them witness, by diverse miracles, and signs, and wonders. But still there was no direct sign, declaring that another spirit than their own was in them. This the people were led to gather from the moral character of what they spoke, the works which they did, and, when it concerned the future, the fulfilment of what they predicted. But when Christ was glorified, and the Holy Ghost was given, there remained yet another mode, and that more unequivocal, of manifesting the finger of God, which is, “their speaking with new tongues.” And to this, as a great event in the history of Divine revelation, and as a new evidence for receiving the word which God speaketh from heaven, our prophet referreth, and adds, " yet they would not hear.” Unless it were an additional argument of God's presence in the speaker, it could not be an argument of additional hardness of heart, that the hearers did not receive it: 'and upon this, the simple and obvious view of the subject, the Apostle's argument comes out simply and clearly.“ Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” Those who believe not the word which God speaketh by any of his servants, are addressed in a tongue, that they may be convinced that it is not the man, but the Holy Ghost in the man, who speaketh. If, for example, I, listening to any brother prophesying in the church, should begin to doubt or disbelieve that the thing spoken was of God; the sign by which God would remove that doubt would be, to give him to speak some words in a tongue, which might convince me that it was the Spirit of God which both spake the things preceding and the things following after. It is clear to me, both from what I have witnessed and from what I see written in the word of God concerning this thing, that it was only subsidiary to the work of prophesying, or magnifying God, or testifying that Jesus is Lord. The great and chief thing was, the declaration of God's mind in an intelligible tongue; the unknown tongue was only the sign that it was God's mind which the person was declaring. The prophet therefore, speaking in the Spirit, doth declare, that, when God should change the manner of his ministry, and speak unto the children of men as unto babes, he would speak to them glad tidings of rest and refreshment to their wearied souls; and, that they might surely know it was He, and no other, who spake to them, he would adopt a style of his own, called "stammering lips and other tongues," by the Apostle “other tongues and other lips,” which should exhaust even God's utmost resources of self-demonstration. But yet even thus they would not hear; and not only would they cast away all his gracious ingenious methods of bringing them to himself, but even make them occasions of stumbling, and falling, and being snared, and taken ;-teaching us that this mode of testimony was the greatest and the last, and that there remained no other in the power of God; the last arrow in his quiver for carrying conviction to the heart of an unbelieving generation : there is no further parley, but straightway the judgment of God taketh its effect. “Wherefore, hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.” To the people in Jerusalem, to the priests and the Scribes and the learned doctors, this promise was particularly addressed; and to them the accomplishment of it came, in a manner the most wonderful and notorious, on the day of Pentecost, till which time the Lord had commanded his disciples to tarry there. He spake to them in other tongues and with other lips : but they would not hear him; and so the destruction came upon them to the uttermost. All this is most true, and answereth precisely to the prophecy. And if so be that in the Church of Scotland the Lord hath begun to speak in this same way, let her consider these things, and tremble for her approaching judgment if she reject the Lord thus speaking. These then are the two views of the gift of tongues which we gather from the prophet. Let us now turn to the context of the New Testament where it is quoted, and endeavour to discover what more light is afforded to us from thence.
II. The conviction expressed above, concerning the use of the gift of tongues is borne in upon my mind, not only by the use of further evidence which both the Prophet and Apostle declare to be in tongues, and by the nature of the sign itself, but also by the fact, that, in all cases where it is mentioned in the Acts, it is connected with prophesying and magnifying God. But still more from the fourteenth chapter of the Corinthians is it manifest that tongues were but the sign, and that the message of God was the thing signified, which the person speaking with the tongue went on straightway to declare. This is not so clear from our translation of some of the passages, which I shall therefore render exactly after the original. “And be zealous for spiritual gifts; the rather however, to the end ye may prophesy.” That it is speaking with tongues which he hath in his eye, is manifest from what follows: "For he speaking with a tongue speaketh not to men, but to God; for no one heareth: in spirit indeed he speaketh mysteries. But he prophesying, speaketh to men for edification, and exhortation, and comfort." A tongue, therefore, is for communication between a man's soul and God, which ought to pass on secretly, and not in the audience of third parties, save where there is an interpreter at hand, or an unbeliever who will not give heed to what is spoken in the common language, and needs to be attracted to recognise God by some words of a tongue introduced into the bosom of a discourse. Yet these things, spoken in the unknown tongue, are not unmeaning words or sentences ; but precious mysteries of God, by the presence and utterance of which in his soul he himself is greatly edified; though he cannot edify the church unless he prophesy; as the next verse expressly declareth: “He speaking with a tongue edifieth himself
, but he prophesying edifieth the church." Therefore it is nothing to be doubted, that tongues are a great instrument for personal edification, however mysterious it may seem to us; and they are on that account greatly to be desired, altogether independently of their being a sign unto others. And to me it
seemeth "reasonable to believe, that they will be conferred in i private exercises of devotion, and earnest longings after edifi
cation; and, being given, ought especially to be occupied in secret actings of the soul towards God; and in public only as subsidiary to the work of prophesying. This latter use further appears in the next verse : “ I wish, however, all of you to speak with tongues ; the rather, however, to the end ye may prophesy : for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except indeed he interpret, to the end the church may receive edification.” There can be no doubt, therefore, that speaking with tongues is a most desirable thing, seeing the Apostle desireth it for them all; and in another place (ver. 18) gives thanks that he spake with tongues more than they all ; and, again, notwithstanding the abuses of this gift in the church, commands (ver. 39) that they “ forbid not to speak with tongues.” But, withal, there is an ultimate end to be aimed at, beyond present enjoyment and personal edification, which is, that they may prophesy and edify the church when they shall themselves have been edified. In what way, he expresseth in the next verse: “ Now, however, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what will I profit you, if I shall not speak to you either in revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophecy, or in teaching ?” These now are the forms of communication from God, and the gift of tongues was a sign to authenticate them as being from God. The first,“ revelation,” I understand of some secret thing hidden in the word of God, and
thus opened, answereth, I think, very much to the word of wisdom. The second is "knowledge;' that is, the communication of things which may be read and known of all men : what we call tradition, or learning. The third is “ prophecy;” which hath been already defined to be for edification, exhortation, and comfort of the church. And the fourth is “teaching," for the end of bringing forward the children, and instructing the ignorant in Christ Jesus. To fit and qualify those who filled these offices, the gift of tongues was a great means in God's hand, as we have shewn above ; but when they had been thus prepared, God expected that they should give themselves to the work of building up the church, perfecting the saints, and ministering the word of God. And if they did, at a time, in the public assembly use the gift of tongues, it was for the purpose of convincing the incredulous that they had both commission and information from God ; that God was in them of a truth.
The six following verses we pass over, as bringing no additional light, but serving merely to illustrate the folly and unprofitableness of using these gifts of tongues in the meetings of the church, in the way of convincing those wbo doubt, or altogether disbelieve that God spake by them. At the 13th verse the subject is thus resumed : “ Therefore, let him who speaketh with a tongue pray that he may interpret ;” to the end he may be intelligible to those who hear; but it is added (ver. 28), “ If there be not an interpreter, let him keep silence in the church, and speak to himself, and to God.” He is not prevented from exercising his gift; for it is to his edification to do so; but not aloud, unless there be some one at hand who hath the gift of interpretation, or he himself, in answer to his prayer, shall receive that gift at the time: then he may speak aloud and interpret; as he proceedeth : “ For if I pray with a tongue, my spirit prayeth ; my mind, however, is unfruitful." Here is a great distinction taken, between the spirit, which may be,
yea and is, all alive and fruitful in these spiritual exercises of speaking with tongues; and the understanding, or mind, which is without any advantage in itself, or fruit-bearing towards God or others. In this distinction standeth, as I judge, the use of the name “spirituals,” which throughout these chapters is applied to a certain class of gifts, or occupations, distinguished from charity on the one hand, and from prophecy on the other. These I understand to be functions of the renewed spirit, which it is capable of, altogether independent of the understanding; whose help it calleth not for, until out of charity it desireth to minister unto others the benefit which it hath partaken in itself. There is much mystery in this, which I am not careful to discover, being more intent upon knowing and teaching the certainty of the thing, to the end the church may ear
nestly seek the communication of these spiritual functions from God and her Head the Lord Jesus Christ. The reality of the thing further appeareth in the following verses : “What then is there? I will pray with the Spirit; I will pray, however, also with the mind : I will sing with the Spirit; I will sing, however, also with the mind.” Prayer in a tongue is prayer in the Spirit, and so also of singing: it is true prayer and true praise; and not to be despised of the person, nor yet of the church, and truly acceptable with God: but because it passeth not into the forms of the understanding by intelligible speech, he preferreth it not in the church, neither will use it there, for the reason which he addeth : “ Since, if thou bless in the Spirit, how shall he filling the place of the unlearned say the Amen to thy thanksgivings, since he knoweth not what thou sayest? For thou, indeed, rightly giveth thanks, but the other is not edified:” and therefore cannot give thanks, nor even say Amen. To one who believes what the Apostle writeth, there can be no doubt whatever that the gift of tongues was a means of worshipping God acceptably in all ways, which ofttimes was so used in the public meetings of the church. This, not approving, he rebuketh, because it perplexed those in the congregation who were raw and rude, and but beginners in the Christian discipline. The word by which these are named is translated unlearned ; whereby the impression is conveyed that the knowledge of these tongues depended somehow or other upon learning. This is a common error fatal to the understanding of this subject. It is not material to the question whether these tongues were tongues of men or of angels, or whether they were in use by any creature at all. The likelihood is, from the instance of the day of Pentecost, that they were spoken by the nations of the earth. But it is a gross error to suppose that the use of them was at all analogous to that which by learning a man acquires of a foreign language. Their mind was not in the tongue at all: they understood it not, neither could they interpret it, otherwise than by a supernatural gift. No one understood what they said. Their spirit perceived the matter, and held communion with God in acts of spiritual worship through the tongue, which indicates the closest contact with God, a drinking from the breasts of his instruction. But, withal, this did not serve for the instruction of others; which essaying, they must use the common language, as Peter also did on the day of Pentecost. In order to guard against the false association of learning with the use of a tongue, I incline rather to render the word, diwrns, as in Acts iv. 13, “ ignorant ;” or, as in 2 Cor. xi. 6, “rude;" the only two places where it occurs, except in this chapter. I think it means one unacquainted with the discipline of the church, and the manner of the Spirit: one, in short, unversed in spirituals. That these