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vered, the woman to wear the usual covering on the head.
There is one passage, however, which can leave no doubt on the mind of any person who has not previously received the strongest bias on the subject, that social prayer in the manner now in use, that is, of one individual delivering the prayer in the name of all, and the congregation signifying their participation and concurrence by the response, Amen, was the habitual practice of Christians in general in the apostolic age. "Let him that speaketh in an unknown language, pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown language, my spirit prayeth, but my meaning is unprofitable. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit," that is, with my spirit, as in the preceding verse, understanding myself, "and with the understanding also," or with meaning, so as to be understood by others. "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Otherwise when thou shalt bless God with the spirit," with thy mind, understanding thyself, but not understood by others c,
a 1 Cor. xiv. 13, &c.
"This does not necessarily refer to the gift of speaking different languages, given on the day of Pentecost, and which was so essential to the apostles in preaching to different nations: a foreigner might speak in a language unknown to the rest of the assembly, and it seems strange, if an individual possessed the miraculous power of speaking an unknown language, that he should not at the same time be enabled to interpret that language.
See Locke on the passage. This sagacious and skilful
"how shall he that filleth the place of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, since he knoweth not what thou sayest? For thou indeed givest thanks well; but the other is not edified 2. "" Were there no other text on the subject in the New Testament, this would be sufficient.
It is not easy to imagine a more puerile attempt to evade the proof afforded by this passage, that social prayer was the common practice of Christians in their assemblies at this time, than that which has been made by some observations on the use of the word amen, as if it were not intended to express a participation in the prayer at the conclusion of which it was uttered. Every one knows that amen is a Hebrew word, signi fying truth, and that it is properly translated verily at the beginning of many of our Lord's so
commentator, however, understands by my spirit in the 14th verse, the mind of the worshiper; but by spirit in the next verse supernatural assistance to pray in an unknown language. But what sufficient reason can there be for changing the meaning of the same word so suddenly in the same passage? The repetition of the pronounny was not necessary. The signification seems to be the same here as in our Lord's expression addressed to the woman of Samaria, of worshiping God in spirit and in truth, that is, with the mind and sincerely.
a Vitringa quotes this text, among others, in order to show that the worship of the Synagogue and of Christian assemblies was essentially the same, both including prayers, thanksgivings, and benedictions, with the responses of the people, by saying Amen. The chief difference appears to have been, that the Christians did not use forms of prayer, or read the law. Vitringa de Syn. Vet. lib. iii. pars ii. cap. xix. p. 1100.
lemn affirmations recorded in the gospels. But every one knows also that, by common consent, when it is used by those who hear, at the end of a prayer delivered in their presence, this use of it implies, not their approbation only, but their concurrence, their participation in what the speaker has uttered. That this was the ancient as well as modern sense in which it was so used, is unquestionable. The common response, says Vitringa, in the Jewish Synagogue, was amen; by which the whole congregation replied to the minister's prayers and benedictions; and thereby signified their concurrence with him ("suum eo consensum testatus cum precante”). He has a distinct section on this use of the word, in which he enumerates the several circumstances insisted upon by the Talmudic writers as requisite to render it acceptable to God, among which one at least was proper, namely, that it should be accompanied by a firm persuasion that God heareth prayer a.
St. Paul's direction to Timothy (1 Tim. ii. 1-8) has also been quoted as affording another instance in evidence that social prayer was the common practice of Christians when that epistle was written. "I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in high station; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness · Vitringa, page 1092.
and gravity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our saviour.-I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without anger and disputing." Not only because Paul is here giving directions to Timothy how to conduct himself in reference to Christian churches, but from the nature of these exhortations, and the whole form of the expressions, these supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all men, &c. we have no doubt were intended to be made in their assemblies for religious purposes. They were altogether social in their nature, and most suitable for public worship.
There is also a passage in the epistle to the Romans, (xv. 5 and 6,) which clearly alludes to social prayer as at that time practised among Christians. "Now the God of patience and comfort grant you to be of the same mind among yourselves, according to the will of Jesus Christ:
That such was the light in which Christians immediately succeeding the age of the apostles considered these exhortations, is evident from a passage in Tertullian, where he is giving an account of their social worship. His words are; "Coimus in cœtum et aggregationem ut ad Deum, quasi manu factâ, precationibus ambiamus orantes. Hæc vis Deo grata Öramus etiam pro imperatoribus, pro ministris eorum, ac potestatibus, pro statu seculi, pro rerum quiete, pro mora finis." If there be not in this last sentence a direct allusion to the words of St. Paul to Timothy, it at least describes a practice founded upon them in their public assemblies, convened expressly for social prayer with great fervour of devotion, which he speaks of as highly acceptable to God. See his Apol., cap. xxxix.
that with one consent, and with one mouth, ye may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The word which is here translated with one consent, is the same which occurs in Acts i. 14, signifying in conjunction, and referring in all the places in which it occurs in the New Testament to social acts. So that there can be no doubt the apostle's prayer in this passage, that the Christians at Rome might be of the same mind among themselves, that with one consent (in conjunction), and with one mouth, they might glorify God, refers to their social worship.
There are a few other passages in the New Testament, of less importance, relative to this subject; but enough surely has been adduced to prove that social prayer is fully sanctioned by the example and instructions of Christ and his apostles, as well as by the universal practice of Christians in the apostolic age.
That social prayer is a practice to which the apostles and their converts were accustomed, is indeed so clearly and decisively proved by the passages which have been quoted, that it is difficult to conceive it possible any one should doubt the reality of this fact, after having perused them with common impartiality. There is but one method of attempting to render this evidence nugatory; and of that some notice has already been taken; but as it is the only reply that can be