Page images

Fourthly. That this is the manifestation of a universal truth which every pious soul knows; namely, that God feeds us by the Holy Ghost, proceeding from Christ, without any intervention of book or other person, by meditation, lifting up of the soul, and, in one word, communion. And this utterance is the consequence of the inspiration, the word spoken flowing from the word in dwelling: the knowledge in the reason out of which the word cometh, is itself the production of God working in the spirit, or will, which is the fountain-head wherein all the well springs of thought and word are contained, and out of which they all flow.

Fifthly. That when this inworking of the Holy Ghost in the spirit of a man getteth vent, not in an unknown tongue, but in the forms of the reason through natural speech of man, it becomes prophecy of one form or another, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, word of teaching, &c.; and when it keeps the form of the unknown tongue, and is interpreted by one who hath the Holy Ghost for interpretation, it standeth to the church exactly in the same place as prophecy, though it be not profitable to the mind of the persons through whom it proceedeth.

Sixthly. In either of these cases the church is to hear with reverence, but not to receive without discrimination. They are to try the thing by the word of God abiding in their conscience, or written in the Scriptures of truth. And if it consort not with the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy, they are to reject it either as presumptuous or as the inspiration of an unclean spirit. And this duty the church oweth to Christ and to the Holy Ghost, who taketh nothing but Christ's things to shew them to our souls, and to the Father who hath given all things into the Son's hands,“ so that all which the Father hath are his” (John xvi. 2); and “no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal him” (Matt. xi). The church dare not blindly receive any thing from any man or spirit, be he or do he what he may; but must weigh it in the balances of the sanctuary, which is the word of God, opened to us by the Holy Ghost, whereof every believer hath the seal.

Seventhly. That because this gift of tongues and prophesying, which is its fruit, are the constant demonstrations of God dwelling in a man, and teaching him all spiritual things by the Holy Ghost, without help of any third thing or third party, to the great undervaluing and entire disannulling of the powers of natural reason and speech as a fountain-head of divine instruction: therefore they must ever be fatal to the pride of intellect, to the prudence and wisdom of the world, to the scheming, counselling, and wise dealing of the natural man; to all mere philosophers, theologians, poets, sages, and wits of every name; yea, makes war upon them, brings them to nought, and utterly defeats their pretensions to do any thing for man in the way of the glorious rest and the refreshing. It is needful therefore that all scribes and learned men, philosophers and statesmen, and men of worldly gifts, and all men whatsoever, should become as little children ; as those who are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breast, in order to be fed and nourished of God in this spiritual way, which is the only real way, and of which speaking with tongues is only the manifestation.

Eighthly. That so becoming, there is not any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who ought not to desire and to pray for, and who may not expect, the gift of tongues for his own spiritual edification ; and being received he ought to use it privately and frequently for his own spiritual edification, but not in the meetings of the church, unless there be interpretation at hand. Yet in the meetings of one or two brethren, who are ignorant of the gift, and desire reverently to witness the exercise thereof, he may without offence exercise it: at the same time desiring that a word of interpretation should be given, or the power of prophesying in the known tongue, which also I believe will always be afforded when the gift is thus piously and for edification occupied.

Ninthly. That, though it be not received, we should not be disheartened, as if we were rejected of the Holy Ghost, and had not the Holy Ghost dwelling in us : because it is but the sign of a universal truth, concerning the communication between God and man, through Christ and the Holy Ghost, without any intervention; and that this is the only way through which the weary and heavy laden sinner can come to rest; wherefore also the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter. If any person, therefore, having laid hold of this truth, is living in the faith and enjoyment of it, he is to be assured of his salvation, and to be at peace : yet is he to desire to speak with tongues, in order to convince an unbelieving and ignorant world, who will be ever trusting to book-reading, or man-teaching, or self-sufficiency, or some other form of error, instead of trusting to the in-dwelling operation of the Spirit of Christ. The tongue is but the sign and manifestation to the unbeliever : to the believer it is a means of grace, for the end of edifying himself, that he may edify the whole body of the saints.

Tenthly. That with all this down-throwing of the natural faculties of reason, and reasonable speech, which the gift of tongues doth bring along with it, it is only to the end of their true edification on the sure basis of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the power and the wisdom of God : inasmuch as the Apostle teacheth us that it is not good the understanding should be unfruitful; but requires that it should put forth its utmost energies


under the guidance of the spirit informed by the Holy Ghost. And now comes the scope of eloquence, and the creativeness of poetry, and the pathos of love, and the ardours of entreaty, and the range of knowledge, and the revelation of wisdom, and every thing else whereby man standeth aloft at the summit of creation's scale.

Eleventhly. That the true reason why the gift of tongues bath ceased to be in the church is, the exaltation of the natural methods of teaching above, or into copartnery with, the teaching of the Holy Ghost, the meanness of our idea, and the weakness of our faith, concerning the oneness of Christ glorified, with his church on earth; the unworthiness of our doctrine concerning the person and office of the Holy Ghost, to knit the believer into complete oneness with Christ, every thread and filament of our mortal humanity with his humanity immortal and glorious; to bring down into the church a complete Christ, and keep him there, ever filling her bosom, and working in her members; the shortcoming of our knowledge, in respect to the gifts themselves ; our having ceased to lament their absence, and to pray for their return; our want of fasting, and humiliation, and crying unto the Lord ; our contentment to be without them; our base and false theories to account for their absence, without taking guilt to ourselves. Any one of these causes were sufficient, all of them are far more than sufficient, to account for their long absence from the bosom of the church. These are the true reasons; and the commonly given reason, that they were degned only for a short time, is utterly false and most pernicious.

For, finally, the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. What he created man to be, man is responsible for, and shall yet yield-namely, the image of God, and a subdued world : what he gave to Abraham and his seed by promise, Abraham and his seed are responsible for, and shall yet possess in the land of Canaan, and prove the blessing of all nations of the earth : and what he gave to the church when he gave us a risen Jesus to be ours in full possession, by the continual dwelling with, and dwelling in us, of the Holy Ghost, the church is responsible for, and shall for ever possess. All these, through wickedness, mankind, the Jews, and the church, have lost hold of, and they are slipt out of our hand. But who dares to say that God intended man to be good only for a short time, and that man's badness is not his crime and guilt, but God's original intention? or who dares preach to the Jew that his expatriation and misery is not due to his sinfulness? and who, then, dares preach to the church that her present loss of her gifts, and hiding of her glorious power, and inexperience of a risen and glorified Christ, is not due to her sin and unfaithful

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


ness? Oh, the multitude of preachers who are publishing this know not how they vex and dishonour God, how they impoverish and oppress the church. But those who attribute this our nakedness, to our own sin, and guilt, and sloth, and saying that our Lord is a hard master, having nothing but doubts to give ; and who call upon the church to awake and arouse herself from the dust, and put on her beautiful garments; who cry aloud and confess her sin, and intercede with the Lord for forgiveness ; who fast and put on sackcloth, and give the Lord no rest; these are the people, be they ministers or members of Christ, who shall soon see the salvation of the Lord.


” con

A PAMPHLET, printed, but not published, at Worcester, containing two different essays, has been forwarded to us; from one of which we shall proceed to make some extracts for the edification of our readers. We should be glad to do this in the words of the writer himself, if we were quite sure that we always understood him ; and in trying to render what we conceive to be his meaning more clear, we may misrepresent him. _We shall therefore chiefly make use of the information the “Tract suggesting an Hypothesis of some prophetical Periods” veys, without quoting his own words; begging our readers to understand, that all which is original belongs to our author, and all that is trite and common-place to ourselves.

The author well exposes the folly, not to say impiety, of those who maintain that the chief use of prophetic warnings is, not for our guide during their progress, but only for our conviction after the predicted events are fulfilled. The argument proves those who make use of it to be utterly ignorant of the prophecies of Holy Writ; since, in order to be valid, it must assume that the prophecies speak of some isolated fact which is to take place on a particular day, until which time arrives nothing analogous to it shall be going on upon the earth. But the prophecies of Scripture declare the continued and uninterrupted course of God's dealings with mankind, in all ages, and during every day ; tending, by minute but incessant and (to those who will look for them) visible means, to the accomplishment of a great pre-ordained and declared purpose.

* All the prophecies testify of facts which require a certain ' line of conduct, at, or previous to, their fulfilment; and though . they are evidence of themselves as a Revelation, and of the ' value of the prophetical fact, there are few instances of this

being of importance after their fulfilment. Besides, many of 'them unequivocally relate to the closing period of the world ; ' and it would be hard to say that these could be for the purpose stated ; and further, almost all those which are considered as fulfilled prophecies by those who use this argument, were expressly delivered as testimonies to the consciences of men immediately concerned in them, previously to their ful! filment. Will any one say that the directions of our Lord to

his disciples were of no interest, and not important to be un• derstood previous to the destruction of Jerusalem, and merely " that that destruction might accredit his testimony ? Were Jeremiah's urgent remonstrances and warnings not to be inquired into before the Chaldeans took the city ? and shall it be said that the solemn testimony to Israel 'put them under no responsibility, but were useless declamations, till the kings of

Assyria, &c. ? Or do they argue that God is less concerned in 'the church now, or that the Lord will not do good, neither • will he do evil?'. p. 17.

The object of the author, however, is not to go into unfulfilled prophecy; and if he touch upon it, it is merely as a train of light which follows the body of the other. · The mode • I have adopted,' he says, 'in pursuit of the matter before me,

was to endeavour to find some data which should not be par'ticular, nor of man's fixing, but general ones, and of God's ' fixing; and if there were any such, I felt assured they would 'fix other terms, (that is, with the data also of scriptural

numbers of years) by them.' In pursuance of this mode, the expression of a week, of a thousand years to a day, both in Scripture and the Fathers, was first examined.

scheme is only filled by two days, and two days, except in " the third, and the interval of the last affords no expectation of its being so. * Abraham was born about the year of the world 2000 Our Lord

4000 Assuming the world to be six days of 1000 years each, its end will be

6000 • The dedication of Solomon's Temple intervenes • between Abraham and Christ

3000 The end of the first day is unmarked, to my knowledge, unless it be by the translation of Enoch, which falls about that period. The distance of two days, and two days, is, however, marked by the eminence of the dispensation, and of course by a ripeness for its appearing. Now I observe the addition of seventy-five years to be also a period in every one of the divisions of 2000 years each. At seventy-five years old, Abraham is called, and the world thus judged: seventy-five

3 s

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »