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kept in sight, it is impossible legiti- dence, which would at once carry mately to apply facts, that took conviction to the outward natural place when the apostles were the
should demonstrate who instruments by which the Lord were true believers in that Gospel wrought his "signs and wonders," which the eleven were commissioned, to any time posterior to their exist- direct by the Lord, to preach. ence, without the most explicit It is by no means correct to say, Scripture testimony. The apostles, that those who contend for the “lias such, were infallible in speech mitation of those miraculous signs and mighty in action ; which can be to the apostles and their immediate said of none since their day : and
must, to be consistit is on this principle that we dis- ent, limit faith and salvation to cover the divine character of their them also;" for positive facts to the mission and conduct, simply as the present day disprove this position. Apostles of Christ. Where the Here I must again press distinctly Scriptures therefore do not descrip- upon the attention of your Readers tively affirm, we must be careful not the necessity of remarking the whole to assume as matter of fact what at narration concerning the persons to best is very dark conjecture.
whom the Lord gave this command. III. COLLATERAL
Afterward he appeared to the drawn from other Scriptures. I
ELEVEN as they sat at meat-and am not aware that it is admitted, said, go ye.”
Now it is an asthat the influences of the Spirit sumption that cannot be tolerated, (i. e. the grace) are the same as when there is no vestige of Scriphis gifts. Certainly they are very ture to support it, that this extraordistinct. Officially any one could dinary apostolic commission, delihave the gifts ;-witness Judas and vered by the Lord in person, is apthose mentioned in Heb. vi, 4,—6: plicable to all that shall preach the but as it is grace that saves, no one Gospel in every subsequent age. can be the subject of grace but those The Lord at this time gave them truly redeemed with the “precious their commission : and then, as blood of Christ. The apostles' named in Acts i, they were not to gifts prove their mission to be of depart from Jerusalem, until they God; but it was not the miracu- had
had received the qualifications. lous power they possessed, abstract. This may be distinctly seen in verses edly viewed, that proved their per- 2–4: the Holy Ghost came upon sonal salvation: they were commande the very eleven named by our Lord. ed by the Lord to rejoice, not in Now there are two facts, than the gifts, but in the grace of God.9 which no two can be more evident, With regard to those of whom it is namely : that there were miraculous said, “ These signs shall follow them gifts in the apostles' days, together that believe,”r be it remembered, with the signs which it is said that all the world was paganized at should follow upon believing; and, that time; and that paganism, in secondly, that after the apostles and all nations, is a system of pretended their immediate successors wonderful miracles. Now argu- dead, even down to our own day, ments with superstition are useless. there have been believers, true beIt was therefore necessary that very lievers, through every age,-men plain, tangible, matter-of-fact evi- and women, eminent for strong
9 Luke x, 20.
I Mark xvi, 15, &c.
faith, great holiness of character, Epistle, it is not a prophecy of what living very near to God, --who yet should exist after the Apostle's have not possessed those gifts, and days; but simply a detail of a then who could not perform one of the existing state of things. This is a five miraculous signs which were to point worthy of observation, seeing follow the faith of the first believers the evidence is so very obvious, through the word of the apostles. that miraculous powers have not Matter of fact must never yield to
been in incessant operation ever matter of argument or opinion. since : whereas God has ever had a To me it is as clear as the light, truly spiritual Church in the midst that this was the fulfilment of our of the mere professing one, however Lord's words, greater works than small it may have been. these shall he do because I go unto Seriously, Mr. Editor, let me the Father."'S
ask your Correspondent, does he Let it not be forgotten, that not know one devoted minister of Christ one who believed on our Lord, in our own day, who would like, in when he himself was the preacher, his own individual instance, to have did perform a single miracle simply his authority for being a christian as the fruit of his faith. This is a minister tried by the standard of point of paramount moment here. Mark xvi, 15 to the end ? I trow And it is certainly very clear from not. Yet it would be a daring our Lord's prayer in John xvii, that assertion to say, that God has no miraculous gifts were not designed true ministers now, or that he does for the Church at large ; for our not bless their ministry, because Lord never hints any thing of the such“ signs” do not follow faith in kind.
His prayer includes, in this the preached Word. Further I world, personal union—sanctifica- would have it remembered, that a tion through the word--preservation direct explicit address to the Genfrom evil, and in the future age, tiles as a body is not to be found at that they may be with Christ to all in the first twelve chapters of the behold His glory; and the Lord Acts. See chap. xiii, 46 to 48; evidently alludes to the preached and then there
and then there is not a word of word when he says, “ I pray for all miracle with respect to those who that shall believe on me through believed. their word,”--taking in the whole Finally, I remark, that it does duration of the christian Church, not at all remove the immense diffiwho shall believe through the word culty to say,—" that the promise written or preached, to the end of appears to be forgotten by the great the present dispensation. Also we Head of the Church, is probably read, " that it has pleased God by because it has not been claimed !''
the foolishness of preaching to save This appears to me a strange phrase ' them that believe.”t « Preach the from a christian's penword" is the Apostle's command; Head of the Church APPEARING to and in no case is there any thing forget”—God to forget his Church, about miraculous gifts in the Gentile and punish the truly spiritual for Church, save and except the Co- the faults of the carnal | “O this rinthian; in which, be it observed, be far from thee, Lord.” No, no; they are censured for their carnality Quæsitor must remember, that as and divisions. And even in that far as the Gentiles who received
s John xiv, 12.
t 1 Cor. i, 18, 22.
ON THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
the Holy Ghost were concerned, Your Correspondent Quæsitor's instead of claiming it as a “promise," object is, to prove that the “ gifts it came upon them unexpectedly,—not of the Holy Spirit" imply someafter repeated prayers for it, but thing more than its sanctifying influwithout even any mention of their
This is granted by your once asking for it. Whereas we present Correspondent cheerfully. find in our day, that there are some But his attempt to prove, that the praying for it again and again, and miraculous gifts are a boon” to still they have it not; an evident the Church in perpetuity, is a comproof, that they have mistaken the plete failure, demonstrated by the Scriptures in this point altogether. positive fact, that for seventeen Let Quæsitor accept the following centuries the Church has not had challenge given to him in christian them. And the anomaly, how cerlove ;-let him produce one un- tain " gifts” could be a boon" qualified scriptural prediction, con- to the Church for such a long series cerning the Gentiles, in the third of years, and yet the Church not person, with regard to any miracu- actually possess them,—whilst God lous powers for either christian is unchangeable and his gifts ministers or churches after the and calling without repentance,decease of the apostles and their I must leave ! Quæsitor” to eluciimmediate successors, through all date. I have written, christian Sir, ages of the Church ;-for this is the as far as I know my own heart, pith of his position. Let him also with esteem and love for my differremember, that, in the apostolic ing brethren. It is not the gifts churches, there was no form used but the grace of the Holy Spirit of laying on of hands or any thing that makes the Church
one in else, that had not a tangible, visible, Christ Jesus : in this grace may experimental, matter-of-fact sub- it be our mercy daily to grow. stance, analogous to that form, be it what it might.
Yours very faithfully,
To the Editor of the Investigator. Sir, It is a remark, as old certainly sirous of avoiding even the appearas the time of Horace, that in ance of infidelity, have gone a little avoiding one fre- out of the safe midway, and have
Incidit in quently run into the opposite. I fallen into credulity : see in the mass of the world Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim.” around me a growing spirit of in- I allude particularly to the crefidelity ;-a want of faith, which dence given by many to the acI believe to be one of the signs counts of miraculous cures—the of the times;-it so surpasses the casting out of devils, &c.—now unbelief of all past . ages, that current among us.
I observe that I cannot but regard it as the a Correspondent of yours has noforerunner of some great event : ticed this subject in Number VI of
When the Son of Man cometh, the Investigator. He has brought shall he find faith on the earth ?” forward several very remarkable But, Sir, I cannot help suspecting, passages of Scripture ; and has that many excellent persons, de- argued fairly and forcibly from
them in proof, that the gift of (particularly his female hearers, tongues, &c. a gift to the whose nerves were weaker than Church in perpetuity. He has not those of the stronger sex) effects as however pronounced any opinion strange and wonderful as the best upon the pretensions lately put authenticated modern miracles. forward to the possession of this I spoke of a standard, by which I gift.
am disposed to measure every act The cessation of miracles in the pretending to the miraculous. I Church for 1700 years is somewhat would compare them with the unaccountable, if we suppose that miracles of Christ and his apostles. the power of working them still Their miracles were palpable and remained in her. Were the fathers could not for a moment be quesof the Church men of less faith tioned : the deaf hear, the dumb than we? By no means,” it will speak, &c."a In such wonderful be replied ; “but they never asked acts as these, there could be no for the miraculous powers with room for doubt. The Jews, hardwhich the Church was endowed ened and blinded as they were, did in perpetuity: if they had, they not attempt to deny the miraculous would have obtained them.” But nature of the Lord's mighty acts : surely,” I rejoin, “if the miracu- they admitted it; but they attributed lous powers of the Holy Ghost were the preternatural agency displayed a gift desirable for the Church, (and in those deeds of his to a wrong to suppose them attainable though author—" He casteth out devils not desirable were almost blas- through Beelzebub the prince of phemy,) how is it that God, through the devils.” The same may be out so many centuries, never put it said of the apostles, whose mighty into the hearts of his children to ask acts
also too palpable to for them?"
be questioned. When Peter had Still, with such texts before me, restored the man lame from his as those alleged by Quæsitor, I dare mother's womb,” the Sanhedrim adnot deny that the power of working mit the miracle at once.b Now Sir, miracles has continued: but con- I have heard of no such acts as ceding so much, I nevertheless re- these among moderns; and till I serve to myself the right of judging, do hear of such acts,—till I do witwhat are miracles and what are not; ness deeds such as mortal power beand I must say, that what pass for yond question cannot accomplish, such in our days, fall very far below I must be sceptical : it is only a the standard by which I measure deed incontestably preternatural that them. I do not pretend to know will force me to exclaim-" This is all that may have taken place; but the finger of God.” such as have come to my knowledge
I must observe too, that the weapare not a whit more miraculous than on, on which the persons in question the effects which followed Wesley's chiefly depend for their support, preaching as recorded in Southey's viz. John xiv, 12—will be found to
I have not that interesting cut two ways. Now, Sir, have book by me at present; but the greater works than those wrought novel and exciting preaching of the by our Lord been performed by our first Methodist seems to have pro- modern believers? I have heard of duced on the bodies of his hearers none that can for a moment be com
a Matt. xi.
b Acts iv, 16.
pared with them. But if they would keep my mind open and unbiassed have the advantage of this passage,
on this interesting subject; whilst surely they are bound to shew that. at the same time I would put a their works do surpass those of the keener edge than usual upon my Lord in magnitude-“Greater works reason and judgment. I would be than these shall he do,' &c.
heedful and prayerful, in hope that To what conclusion then do I the Lord may keep his servant from come ? Unconvinced by all that I error on the right hand and on the have seen and heard of our reputed left: so that he may neither conmiracles, I yet do not mock-I dare demn the generation of His children, not ridicule or even speak lightly of nor be led astray by the excitement them-lest haply I should be found and enthusiasm which these eventto oppugn the sacred energies of ful times must produce, even in a the Holy Ghost. I endeavour to well regulated mind.
K. G. V.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE GIFT OF TONGUES,
As recorded in the New Testament.
1. That divers kinds of tongues, out an interpreter ; for if he underspoken by persons
stood the tongue, he could surely learned them in the usual way, interpret it into his mother tongue,
the special and miraculous and need not pray that he might gifts of the Holy Spirit.—" To interpret, at least not in his native
another divers kinds of tongues ; country. If the tongues had been ' to another the interpretation of spoken for centuries by any of
tongues : but all these worketh the inhabitants of this world, they * that one and selfsame Spirit, di- might with propriety be called viding to every man severally as other tongues and divers kinds of he will.” 1 Cor. xii, 10, 11. tongues; but with what propriety
2. That they may be tongues could they be called new? If a unknown to the speaker before kind benefactor were to present his the gift was bestowed, yet the poor neighbour with an old garvernacular language of other in- ment, it might be in a certain sense habitants of the earth. Parthians new to the receiver ; but if men and Medes and Elamites," &c. &c. were called to decide whether the all acknowledged, We do hear garment were new or old, they · them speak in our own tongues would unanimously pronounce it the wonderful works of God.” old. Wherefore let him that Acts ii, dll.
speaketh in an unknown tongue 3. That they may be
pray that he may interpret. For tongues," such
if I pray in an unknown tongue, spoken by men before.—“They my spirit prayeth, but my undershall speak with new tongues. standing is unfruitful.” 1 Cor. (Mark xvi, 17.) They may be xiv, 13, 14. the “ tongues of angels.” (1 Cor.
4. That the interpretation of xiii, 1.) Certainly such as the tongues is a distinct and separate speaker could not understand with gift from that of speaking with