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THE MYSTERY OF SPEAKING WITH TONGUES.
HAVING described in former papers the form and manner of the gift now bestowed upon the church, and identified it with that which is written of in the Scriptures, we undertake now to express in few words the result of our meditations upon the purpose and intention thereof from God unto his church. A person speaking with another tongue is in this condition: his mind and his body are in a quiescent, dark, inconscious, and as it were separated state;-his spirit is possessed by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which is the Holy Ghost, and made a partaker with him of his own feelings and affections, with the enjoyment of which being filled, it doth by the tongue express the same unto the ears of the incomprehensible and invisible God. Whereby many wonderful conclusions of orthodox doctrine are realized in the form of a positive fact, of which these be the principal.
1. That Jesus, the Head of the church, doth by the Holy Ghost maintain a real presence in and communion of feeling and affection with his people; the union between the Head and the members is made manifest as a real actual thing; the crucified man is proved to be alive and present in the hearts of many persons, it might be of all persons, in all ages, until he come again and being so that he is in all the saints present, then must they all be present to one another in him, which is the orthodox doctrine of the communion of the saints, one of the great heads of the catholic faith. When to the speaking in a tongue is added the interpretation of the same by another member of Christ, or when, as on the day of Pentecost, witness is taken on the ear of an assembled world, and it is discovered that the things expressed in the tongue are the wonderful works of God, then doth it further appear that Jesus useth the church for expressing unto God the praises which are due from the creation whereof he is the Head, unto its invisible Creator; or in other words, that the church is the body into which the Lord of all poureth his fulness, to the end that she may be filled with the fellowship of the same, and by her tongue express it unto the Father: and this in a language of which the byestanding creation is utterly unintelligent; that is to say, the church is taken into the circle of the Divine life, or made a partaker of the Divine nature, through the incarnation of the Son of God in our flesh, and our union to him by the Holy Ghost. A brother or a sister speaking in an unknown tongue, is therefore to me the sublimest object of contemplation and the deepest subject of meditation, being no less than a symbol of what the whole church through eternity shall be the wife of the Lamb-one spirit, one flesh with him-ever receiving out of his fulness and ministering it unto God. Yea, it is nothing else than the subsistence of the
three persons of the Godhead made manifest by the church. The invisible Father pouring his fulness of love into the Son by the Spirit, and the Son returning his fulness of duty unto the Father by the same Spirit; this the eternal subsistence of the Godhead is made manifest by the incarnation of the Son, and the church united unto him. The incarnation of the Son exhibits the Son self-emptied, in order to manifest the Father's continual filling of him with his own fulness; and the church, which is the manifestation of the Holy Ghost doth exhibit the Son returning back that fulness again into the bosom of the Father. This, all this, is seen revealed in a fact when a person speaketh with a tongue. But into this I go not further.
2. A great and steady light is cast upon the nature of man; his two-foldness, of spirit and dust, together with the eternal distinctness of these two parts, in union though they be; the one for the conscious habitation of God's being, the other for a means by which to convey the knowledge and enjoyment of the same to the outward and inferior creation. This the mystery of man's being is exhibited as a fact in the speaking with tongues; for here is the creature man, in an actually divided state, one part conscious unto God, and telling out that consciousness in exuberant utterance; the other part of him a dead letter, thinking nothing, remembering nothing, knowing nothing of all that is coming into, and going out of, the diviner part of him. The imagination of him is at rest-the memory is suspended-the reasoning faculty is dead-the whole organization of what is called the mind is set to a side as not competent to this kind of communion, which Jesus the Head of the worshippers would carry on through his members towards his Father: "My spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (1 Cor. xiv). And what then is that mind of which man maketh his boast, with its poetry, and its eloquence, and its argument, but a dumb organ constructed of the dust by a cunning workman, who when he had made it sent forth the breath of his own nostrils to make sweet and varied harmony throughout the many pipes thereof. And was that spirit given merely to bring music out of the organic nature? Nay verily, but to keep up distinct, separate, and divine communion with God, the fountain head of its being, after whose image it was fashioned, to be the delight of his heart for ever. Öf that communion we have an instance in the speaking with tongues, wherein all that is of the dust is dead as a stone, and all that is of God is quick with the spirit of life and joy. This demonstrates the doctrine of the soul's subsistence in a separate state by exhibiting it as a fact, and shews that therein it will have full enjoyment of Jesus upon the one hand to receive from, and of God upon the other hand to return unto. Also it exhibits how God may be in communion with
the spirit of a man who is out of his mind and out of his senses; also how a child may be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb, and may hope while hanging upon his mother's breast. It demonstrates in one word, that spiritual communion is wholly independent of the operations of the mind and of the body, which serve only to convey them outwardly to others, but are not necessary for communicating with God and Christ.
3. But while the speaking with tongues doth thus bring to light the dignity and the office of that spiritual part of man which was breathed into him from God, and set it apart from, and high above, that carnal part of him which was created from the dust of the ground, in order to be the organ through which the Spirit may express itself outwardly to other intelligences, and downwardly address itself to the lower creatures over which man is appointed the Lord and the keeper; it doth, at the same time, reveal the connection between the spiritual and the carnal parts, the divine and the earthly, inasmuch as, through this very act of speaking with tongues, it is that the man is builded up within himself from the condition of a weaned child into the full estate of a perfect man. "He that speaketh with a tongue, edifieth himself." "If there be no interpreter, let him speak unto himself, and unto God." And, in another place of the same xivth chap. of 1 Corinthians, which is mistranslated by us, Paul declareth of himself, "I thank (serve, eucharist, or praise) my God, speaking more in tongues than you all; but in the church I had rather," &c.; signifying that he found it a most precious and profitable thing to wait upon the Lord in tongues when he was alone, being more edified in that than in any other way. And to this agree the words of the prophet Isaiah, concerning the speaking with other tongues; namely, that it was designed for those who were weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts, food proper to rear them up unto the stature of the perfect man in Christ. And it is very obvious how to be made the conscious channel of communion between the Lord Jesus and God the Father should strengthen the spirit mightily and enlarge its various faculties of love and desire and joy and sorrow and hatred, and make it of a divine temper and strength to stand up in its proper dignity and order all within the house of man, commanding and disposing the faculties of the mind and the members of the body, to work together for the glory of God. Because regeneration doth find a man under the dominion of the carnal mind and of the very bodily senses, degrading the ethereal spirit which the Almighty breathed into him, beneath the brutal sense and the natural understanding. Into a man thus governed by expedients of worldly prudence, entertained with appearances of the sense and imaginings of the mind, tutored by arguments of the reason, and involved in all the mazes of a false philosophy, in all of which God is not present,-into
such a man, and this is our best estate anterior to the work of regeneration behold the regenerating word of the Lord is breathed into us, and the child of the Spirit is conceived. Only think what a work it has to do in order to put down this strong confederacy of the natural powers of body and mind, all trained to war against God, and led on to the battle by Satan and his angels. Most profitable it is, therefore, to this child of Christ, that the curtains of the understanding should be let down and all the chambers of its imagery darkened; that the avenues should be shut, and all the high ways from the world into the soul barricaded, and the harmless innocent babe of the Spirit left to drink at its parent's breast, and be dandled upon its parent's knee. Ah, me! I wonder not that the spiritual person should be so much enwrapped into God, when speaking with tongues, or enraptured when speaking of their fellowship with God at such a season: nor do I wonder that the Corinthians, who enjoyed that gift, should be so fond, on all occasions, to bring it into use. It was not parade so much as delight which led them to obtrude it unseasonably upon their brethren. Ah, me! when in my closest, nearest devotions, I find the words which I use, continually bearing upon their wings the marks of the land from which they came, suggesting to me the natural objects and sentiments and thoughts which they ordinarily represent; how glad am I to cease from words altogether, and pray in silent thought. But this is stillness; It is not fulness. Man cannot be full and silent at the same time, without great violence to himself; therefore, as the tide flows, I seek back to words; but these words come still, loaded with their unspiritual associations, and tempt me away into wanderings of the mind over the wicked world of the sense and the wilderness of the intellect. At such a time God cometh to the help of his servants, and furnisheth them with a tongue which shall be hidden both from the intellect and the sense; where they may express undisturbed the emotion with which Jesus, by his Spirit, doth fill their soul towards his Father and their Father, his God and their God. Thus the Spirit grows by use of the unknown tongue, and therefore is it espe cially the ordinance for self-edification. "He that speaketh with a tongue, edifieth himself;" and that we may be edified, we are commanded to "covet to speak with tongues," and not "to forbid to speak with tongues."" But having entered at large into this subject in a former paper, I need to say less of it in this place. Yet I cannot take leave of this part of the subject without observing, what a work of Satan it hath been to make this altogether to be forgotten in the idea which prevaileth concerning speaking with tongues, and to have brought in the notion that they are only for preaching in. He hath thereby taken the milk from the babes. He hath taken away the table from the
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little children. And thus it is that "our table hath become our snare." Speaking with tongues, I say it again, is the table of the children of the Spirit, for nursing them into strength and fitting them for bearing office in the house, and lo! it hath become the snare of this generation whereat they are all stumbling and calling it folly and madness; all because it is not understood by the speakers, the very thing as we have shewn which makes it so nourishing to the spirit of him that speaketh. For if he understood the word, then would he be assailed from the intellect and the sense with every temptation, all the same as if he were speaking his own language. It is not the straitness of the language, but the not understanding of it, which makes it a means of self-edification. Truly, O Lord, thou hast made their table to become their snare. Cease from scoffing, thoughtless man, when thou readest these things, and betake thyself to meditation and prayer.
4. Then commenceth the subjection of the carnal mind and the bodily sense, according as the spirit is edified by its proper ordinance of speaking and praying in tongues. The ordering of the body and the carnal mind according to the will of God maketh progress just in proportion as the spirit is strengthened by being made the channel of communication between the Lord Jesus and the Father. The spirit is not otherwise strengthened. A brother speaking through his mind, into our spirit through our mind, may lead us unto Jesus to be edified by the communication of his Spirit; but he cannot edify us of himself by ever so much spiritual discourse; much less can a dumb book do this. No one can edify but Jesus, and the only substance of edification is the Holy Spirit communicated from Jesus, and working in us oneness of mind with Him towards the Father. And according as the spirit is in this way strengthened it beginneth to bring the carnal mind and the fleshly members under its dominion, and to order them according to the mind of God. This holy obedience proceedeth outwardly through the inward operation of God in the Spirit, and the abounding of the Spirit from the great Head of the church. The understanding being subdued, is then made obedient, first crucified and then raised from the dead. And it grows apace into manly strength, and is able to fill office in the house of Christ, and do service for the Master of the house. Therefore the Apostle would have the Corinthians not always to be speaking with tongues, which were to keep the understanding in a childish state; but he would have them also to prophecy, and so to become men in understanding. The beginning of the Spirit's utterance through the understanding is "with stammerings of lips," as saith Isaiah; "in fear and weakness, and much trembling," as saith the Apostle Paul; to exhibit