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kept in sight, it is impossible legitimately to apply facts, that took place when the apostles were the instruments by which the Lord wrought his "signs and wonders," to any time posterior to their existence, without the most explicit Scripture testimony. The apostles, as such, were infallible in speech and mighty in action; which can be said of none since their day: and it is on this principle that we discover the divine character of their mission and conduct, simply as the Apostles of Christ. Where the Scriptures therefore do not descriptively affirm, we must be careful not to assume as matter of fact what at best is very dark conjecture.
III. COLLATERAL "C OBJECTIONS, drawn from other Scriptures. am not aware that it is admitted, that the influences of the Spirit (i. e. the grace) are the same as his gifts. Certainly they are very distinct. Officially any one could have the gifts;-witness Judas and those mentioned in Heb. vi, 4,—6: but as it is grace that saves, no one can be the subject of grace but those truly redeemed with the " precious blood of Christ." The apostles' gifts prove their mission to be of God; but it was not the miraculous power they possessed, abstractedly viewed, that proved their personal salvation: they were command ed by the Lord to rejoice, not in the gifts, but in the grace of God.9 With regard to those of whom it is said, “These signs shall follow them that believe,'r be it remembered, that all the world was paganized at that time; and that paganism, in all nations, is a system of pretended wonderful miracles. Now arguments with superstition are useless. It was therefore necessary that very plain, tangible, matter-of-fact evi
dence, which would at once carry conviction to the outward natural senses, should demonstrate who were true believers in that Gospel which the eleven were commissioned, direct by the Lord, to preach.
It is by no means correct to say, that those who contend for the "limitation of those miraculous signs to the apostles and their immediate successors" must, to be " consistent, limit faith and salvation to them also;" for positive facts to the present day disprove this position. Here I must again press distinctly upon the attention of your Readers the necessity of remarking the whole narration concerning the persons to whom the Lord gave this command.
Afterward he appeared to the ELEVEN as they sat at meat—and I said, go YE. Now it is an assumption that cannot be tolerated, when there is no vestige of Scripture to support it, that this extraordinary apostolic commission, delivered by the Lord in person, is applicable to all that shall preach the Gospel in every subsequent age. The Lord at this time gave them their commission: and then, as named in Acts i, they were not to depart from Jerusalem, until they had received the qualifications. This may be distinctly seen in verses 2-4: the Holy Ghost came upon the very eleven named by our Lord.
q Luke x, 20. * Mark xvi, 15, &c.
Now there are two facts, than which no two can be more evident, namely: that there were miraculous gifts in the apostles' days, together with the signs which it is said should follow upon believing; and, secondly, that after the apostles and their immediate successors were dead, even down to our own day, there have been believers, true believers, through every age.-men and women, eminent for strong
faith, great holiness of character,living very near to God,-who yet have not possessed those gifts, and who could not perform one of the five miraculous signs which were to
follow the faith of the first believers through the word of the apostles. Matter of fact must never yield to matter of argument or opinion. To me it is as clear as the light, that this was the fulfilment of our Lord's words, greater works than these shall he do because I go unto the Father.'s
Let it not be forgotten, that not one who believed on our Lord, when he himself was the preacher, did perform a single miracle simply as the fruit of his faith. This is a point of paramount moment here. And it is certainly very clear from our Lord's prayer in John xvii, that miraculous gifts were not designed for the Church at large; for our Lord never hints any thing of the kind. His prayer includes, in this world, personal union-sanctification through the word--preservation from evil; and in the future age, that they may be with Christ to behold His glory; and the Lord evidently alludes to the preached word when he says, I pray for all that shall believe on me through their word,"-taking in the whole duration of the christian Church, who shall believe through the word written or preached, to the end of the present dispensation. Also we read, "that it has pleased God by 'the foolishness of preaching to save 'them that believe." CC "t Preach the word" is the Apostle's command; and in no case is there any thing about miraculous gifts in the Gentile Church, save and except the Corinthian; in which, be it observed, they are censured for their carnality and divisions. And even in that
s John xiv, 12.
Epistle, it is not a prophecy of what should exist after the Apostle's days; but simply a detail of a then existing state of things. This is a point worthy of observation, seeing the evidence is so very obvious, that miraculous powers have not been in incessant operation ever since: whereas God has ever had a truly spiritual Church in the midst of the mere professing one, however small it may have been.
Seriously, Mr. Editor, let me ask your Correspondent, does he know one devoted minister of Christ in our own day, who would like, in his own individual instance, to have his authority for being a christian minister tried by the standard of Mark xvi, 15 to the end? I trow not. Yet it would be a daring assertion to say, that God has no true ministers now, or that he does not bless their ministry, because such signs” do not follow faith in the preached Word. Further I would have it remembered, that a direct explicit address to the Gentiles as a body is not to be found at all in the first twelve chapters of the Acts. See chap. xiii, 46 to 48; and then there is not a word of miracle with respect to those who believed.
Finally, I remark, that it does not at all remove the immense difficulty to say," that the promise appears to be forgotten by the great Head of the Church, is probably because it has not been claimed !" This appears to me a strange phrase from a christian's penpen" The Head of the Church APPEARING to forget"-God to forget his Church, and punish the truly spiritual for the faults of the carnal! O this be far from thee, Lord." No, no; Quæsitor must remember, that as far as the Gentiles who received
t 1 Cor. i, 18, 22.
the Holy Ghost were concerned, instead of claiming it as a "promise," it came upon them unexpectedly,-not after repeated prayers for it, but without even any mention of their once asking for it. Whereas we find in our day, that there are some praying for it again and again, and still they have it not; an evident proof, that they have mistaken the Scriptures in this point altogether. Let Quæsitor accept the following challenge given to him in christian love ;-let him produce one qualified scriptural prediction, concerning the Gentiles, in the third person, with regard to any miraculous powers for either christian ministers or churches after the decease of the apostles and their immediate successors, through all ages of the Church ;-for this is the pith of his position. Let him also remember, that, in the apostolic churches, there was no form used of laying on of hands or any thing else, that had not a tangible, visible, experimental, matter-of-fact substance, analogous to that form, be it what it might.
Your Correspondent Quæsitor's object is, to prove that the " gifts of the Holy Spirit" imply something more than its sanctifying influences. This is granted by your present Correspondent cheerfully. But his attempt to prove, that the boon" to miraculous gifts are a the Church in perpetuity, is a complete failure, demonstrated by the positive fact, that for seventeen centuries the Church has not had them. And the anomaly, how cerboon" tain gifts" could be a to the Church for such a long series of years, and yet the Church not actually possess them,-whilst God is unchangeable and his gifts and calling without repentance,I must leave Quæsitor" to elucidate. I have written, christian Sir, as far as I know my own heart, with esteem and love for my differing brethren. It is not the gifts but the grace of the Holy Spirit that makes the Church one in Christ Jesus in this grace may it be our mercy daily to grow. Yours very faithfully, Εις των αδελφων.
It is a remark, as old certainly as the time of Horace, that in avoiding one extreme men frequently run into the opposite. I see in the mass of the world around me a growing spirit of infidelity;—a want of faith, which I believe to be one of the signs of the times;-it so surpasses the unbelief of all past ages, that I cannot but regard it as the forerunner of some great event: When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" But, Sir, I cannot help suspecting, that many excellent persons, de
To the Editor of the Investigator.
sirous of avoiding even the appearance of infidelity, have gone a little out of the safe midway, and have fallen into credulity: "Incidit in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim.'
I allude particularly to the credence given by many to the accounts of miraculous cures the casting out of devils, &c.—now current among us. I observe that a Correspondent of yours has noticed this subject in Number VI of the Investigator. He has brought forward several very remarkable passages of Scripture; and has argued fairly and forcibly from
them in proof, that the gift of tongues, &c. was a gift to the Church in perpetuity. He has not however pronounced any opinion upon the pretensions lately put forward to the possession of this gift.
The cessation of miracles in the Church for 1700 years is somewhat unaccountable, if we suppose that the power of working them still remained in her. Were the fathers of the Church men of less faith than we? By no means," it will it will be replied; but they never asked for the miraculous powers with which the Church was endowed in perpetuity: if they had, they would have obtained them.' But surely," I rejoin, "if the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost were a gift desirable for the Church, (and to suppose them attainable though not desirable were almost blasphemy,) how is it that God, throughout so many centuries, never put it into the hearts of his children to ask for them?"
Still, with such texts before me, as those alleged by Quæsitor, I dare not deny that the power of working miracles has continued: but conceding so much, I nevertheless reserve to myself the right of judging, what are miracles and what are not; and I must say, that what pass for such in our days, fall very far below the standard by which I measure them. I do not pretend to know all that may have taken place; but such as have come to my knowledge are not a whit more miraculous than the effects which followed Wesley's preaching as recorded in Southey's life. I have not that interesting book by me at present; but the novel and exciting preaching of the first Methodist seems to have produced on the bodies of his hearers
(particularly his female hearers, whose nerves were weaker than those of the stronger sex) effects as strange and wonderful as the best authenticated modern miracles.
I spoke of a standard, by which I am disposed to measure every act pretending to the miraculous. I would compare them with the miracles of Christ and his apostles. Their miracles were palpable and could not for a moment be questioned: the deaf hear, the dumb speak, &c."a In such wonderful acts as these, there could be no room for doubt. The Jews, hardened and blinded as they were, did not attempt to deny the miraculous nature of the Lord's mighty acts: they admitted it; but they attributed the preternatural agency displayed in those deeds of his to a wrong author-" He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the prince of the devils." The same may be said of the apostles, whose mighty acts were also too palpable to be questioned. When Peter had restored the "man lame from his mother's womb," the Sanhedrim admit the miracle at once.b Now Sir, I have heard of no such acts as these among moderns; and till I do hear of such acts,-till I do witness deeds such as mortal power beyond question cannot accomplish, I must be sceptical: it is only a deed incontestably preternatural that will force me to exclaim-“ This is the finger of God."
I must observe too, that the weapon, on which the persons in question chiefly depend for their supportviz. John xiv, 12-will be found to cut two ways. Now, Sir, have greater works than those wrought by our Lord been performed by our modern believers? I have heard of none that can for a moment be com
pared with them. But if they would have the advantage of this passage, surely they are bound to shew that. their works do surpass those of the Lord in magnitude-"Greater works than these shall he do," &c.
To what conclusion then do I come? Unconvinced by all that I have seen and heard of our reputed miracles, I yet do not mock-Ï dare not ridicule or even speak lightly of them-lest haply I should be found to oppugn the sacred energies of the Holy Ghost. I endeavour to
1. That divers kinds of tongues, spoken by persons who learned them in the usual way, are the special and miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.-"To another divers kinds of tongues; 'to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh 'that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." 1 Cor. xii, 10, 11.
2. That they may be tongues unknown to the speaker before the gift was bestowed, yet the vernacular language of other inhabitants of the earth. "Parthians and Medes and Elamites," &c. &c. all acknowledged, We do hear them speak in our own tongues 'the wonderful works of God." Acts ii, 8-11.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE GIFT OF TONGUES,
As recorded in the New Testament.
3. That they may be new tongues,' such as were never spoken by men before." They shall speak with new tongues. (Mark xvi, 17.) They may be the "tongues of angels." (1 Cor. xiii, 1.) Certainly such as the speaker could not understand with
keep my mind open and unbiassed on this interesting subject; whilst at the same time I would put a keener edge than usual upon my reason and judgment. I would be heedful and prayerful, in hope that the Lord may keep his servant from error on the right hand and on the left: so that he may neither condemn the generation of His children, nor be led astray by the excitement and enthusiasm which these eventful times must produce, even in a well regulated mind.
K. G. V.
out an interpreter; for if he understood the tongue, he could surely interpret it into his mother tongue, and need not pray that he might interpret, at least not in his native country. If the tongues had been spoken for centuries by any of the inhabitants of this world, they might with propriety be called other tongues and divers kinds of tongues; but with what propriety could they be called new ? If a kind benefactor were to present his poor neighbour with an old garment, it might be in a certain sense new to the receiver; but if men were called to decide whether the garment were new or old, they would unanimously pronounce it old. "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." xiv, 13, 14.
4. That the interpretation of tongues is a distinct and separate gift from that of speaking with