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S E R M. tion arid manner of Life,they did not think XI- k possible that any Wisdem could be found

{*r*^J in Them, or any Knowledge proceed from their lips. Exactly as they had formerly said of their Master, when he went up into the Temple and taught, St fob. vii. 14. How knoweth this man letters, hailing never learned"? And St Mar. vi. 2. From whence has this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him? Is not this the carpenter the Son of Mary, the Brother of fames and fofes, and of fuda and Simon? and are not his sisters here with' us? Herein therefore consisted the Greatness of the Miracle, that men of no Education spake different languages perfectly; and that they did it immediately and at once, without any Time, Instruction, or Study. Neither Was there any room for any Fallacy or Deceit in this matter: For this thing was not done in a Corner, but publickly in the midst of ferusalem, and in the presence of innumerable witnesses j and that not once only, but with a continued and permanent Effect. The Witnesses also


that were present, were the best and most Serm. r XI.

competent Judges that could be; being XI

persons of different Nations, gathered together at Jerusalem upon account of the Feast, to whom all the languages which the Apostles spoke, were severally natural; so that they could not be deceived, or imposed upon in this whole proceeding. The Natives of Jerusalem, who understood not the tongues which were spoken, nor knew whether they were really any languages at all; might indeed mock, and fay that these men were full of new ivine. Acts ii. 13. but the foreigners, who heard each his own proper language, could not but be justly filled with wonder and amazement. The Inhabitants of Jerusalem^ were witnesses that the Apostles were illiterate men, and understood no language but their Mother-tongue, nor were capable of using any Art or Fraud in this matter; and the Strangers were witnesses, that what they uttered were true and real languages, and therefore could not be the effect of wine or madness. The Testimony therefore of Both together, made


S E R M. the miracle certain, unquestionable and '*I- manifest; and accordingly the Effect of it, was proportionably great, r or io we read, Afts ii. ver. 41. that the same day, there were converted about three thousand Souls. This was the immediate EJsecJ of the gift of Tongues at that very Time; and the Usefulness of it afterwards, was peculiar and more remarkable, than of all other Miracles whatsoever. For this enabled the Apostles to preach the Gospel to all Nations, with such speed and incredible success, that though men of other Religions endeavoured to make Converts as well they, and some Sects of the Jews particularly were infinitely industrious and would compass Sea and Land to gain a Proselyte} yet the Preaching of the Apostles, like the day spring from on high, like the moniing-lighf, which in a moment dispels the darkness from under one end of Heaven to the other, propagated the Gospel in a very few years to a vastly larger extent, than ever any other religion was propagated in the compass of many Ages. This gift of Tongues


ceased indeed after some time, as otherSerm. Miracles did: because all these sort of ?*- . gifts were bestowed not for their own fake or intrinsick worth, but only in order to the propagation of the Gospel, and to convince men of the Truth of that Religion, whose principal end and design consisted in those gifts and graces of the Spirit which were to continue for ever. Which end being once obtained, and the Gospel established in the World, these miraculous gifts ceased; having been given, as St Paul expresses it, not for them that believe, but for them that believe not. But those gifts of the Spirit, in which consists the renewal of the mind of man, and which are the Springs of all virtues which make us like unto God; these are to continue through all Ages; and are so much more excellent and more desirable than the former, as the End is better and more excellent than the Means. In our Saviour's and in the Apostle's time, it was very natural to the Weakness of Men, to be most ambitious of such gifts, as made the greatest appearance, and could not but


Serm- gain the greatest esteem and applause iri XI. the eyes of the World: But our Saviour

I^V^J himself cautioned his Disciples, not to rejoice so much 'at their being indued with a power of working Miracles, as at their Names being written in Heaven: And St Paul afterwards took great pains to convince his hearers, that though it was indeed lawful to covet miraculous gifts, yet he could still Jhow unto them a more excellent way; that it was a greater and far more deiirable thing, to instruct men in their plain and necessary duty, than to work the most stupendous miracle; and that Love and Goodness, Righteousness and Holiness, Meekness and Charity, were things more excellent and valuable in themselves, than to be able to speak with all the Tongues, either of Men or Angels. The reason is plain, because the one is beneficial only to Others, but the other to ourselves likewise; He that works a Miracle or speaks with Tongues to convince another, may yec possibly himself have no title to the rewards of the Gospel j but He that is indued with those gifts which 'are

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