« AnteriorContinua »
Julian Pe- 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like Jerusalem.
the present day the gifts of tongues would be disregarded, and
Those infidels who now scoru the evidence of prophecy which
The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit being vouchsafed for one especial purpose only, the benefit of the Christian Church; as soon as that Church was established, and the canon of Scripture completed, were gradually withdrawn. While the ordinary operations, without which no child of Adam can “ be renewed unto holiness,” are to be continued for ever, “ even unto the end of the world.” This was the consoling and gracious promise our Lord gave to his disciples, before he was visibly parted from them. He informs them of his depar. ture; and at the same time declares, “ I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you:” and again in another Evangelist, “ Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” This most merciful promise was at first given to the apostles, and through their ministry to the Universal Church; Christ himself having appointed outward means of grace, by which be bas engaged to maintain a constant communion with his Church, through the operations of the Holy Ghost. The spirit of Christ through the Holy Ghost still acts in the admi. nistration of holy orders, in the study of the revealed word, in public and private worsbip, and in the sacraments, (1 Cor. vi. il, John vi. 55. 63. Thess. ii. 13. Ephes. v. 25, 26. &c. &c. &c.) These are the means of grace by which the ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost are imparted; and these are the sources from which alone we have reason to expect those continued and spi. ritual gifts which are essentially necessary to the renovation of fallen man, and his reconciliation with God. Every amiable feeling and affection, every virtue, and every grace, are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 'He alone, by a secret and internal operation, changes and transforms the spirit of our mind,'' and enlarges and improves every faculty of our soul, healing all its sicknesses. He checks the solicitations of sense, counteracts our natural propensities, arms us against the flatteries and allurements of the world, and against those spiritual enemies which are ever on the watch to assail our weaknesses, and to tempt our virtue. “ He,” to use the words of the eloquent Barrow, “ sweetly warmeth our cold affections, inflaming our hearts with devotion towards God; he qualitieth us, and encourageth us to approach the throne of grace, breeding in us faith and humble confidence, prompting in us fit matter of request, becoming our Advocate and Intercessor for the good success of our prayers." He is our orly Comforter and Intercessor on earth-through Him alone we can attain to “that most excellent gift of charity wbich never failetb, wbicb believ
Julian Pe. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and Jerusal
eth all things, and hopeth all things," surviving the wreck of
A variety of opinions have been advanced respecting this
Others contend that it was but temporary, and intended to answer only an immediate purpose; that the miracle was not wrought upon the apostles themselves, but upon the people only, who were suddenly enabled to understand in their own various dialects, the words which were spoken by the apostles in the Galilean language.
Others attempt to do away the miracle altogether. Eichhorn suggests, that to speak with tongues, means only, that some of the apostles uttered indistinct and inarticulate sounds; and those who uttered foreign, or new, or other words, were Jews who had come to Jerusalem, from the remote provinces of the empire, and being excited by the general fervour of the people, united with them in praising God in their own languages. Herder is of opinion that the word yawora is used to express only obsolete, foreign, or unusual words. Paulus conjectures, that those who spoke with different tongues were foreign Jews, the hearers Galileans. Meyer, that they either spoke in terms or language not before used; in an enthusiastic manner, or united Hebrew modes of expression, with Greek or Latin words. Heinrichsius, or Heinrich, that the apostles suddenly spoke the pure Hebrew language, in a sublime and elevated style. Kleinius, that the apostles, excited by an extraordinary enthusiasm, expressed their feelings with more than usual warmth and eloquence. Such are the ways in which the modern Ger. man theologians endeavour to remove the primitive and ancient belief in the literal interpretation of Scripture. “Thinking themselves wise, they become fools.” Learning so perverted by the inventions of paradoxes, which can tend only to darken the light of Scripture under the pretence of illustrating its sacred contents, becomes more injurious to the consecrated cause of truth than the most despicable ignorance, or the most wilful blindness. The errors of ignorance, the fancies of a disordered imagination, the misinterpretations of well intending theories, are comparatively harmless, when contrasted with the baleful light which renders the Scripture useless, by producing doubt in the attempt to overthrow facts.
Byrom of Manchester, also, and others, have endeavoured to lessen the force of this miracle, by representing that the influence of the Spirit was not so imparted to the apostles as to enable them to speak in various languages, but that when the apostles addressed the multitude in their native Galilean dialect, the Parthians, Medians, &c. who were present, understood them each severally in their own language. It is well remarked by Thilo, that if this had been the case, the words of St. Luke would have been λαλέσιν αυτοί, ακαόντων ημών ταϊς ημετέραις γλώσσαις, whereas his expression is λαλέντων αυτών ταις ημετέ. pais yaworaus, unde etiam patet, miraculum hoc non fuisse in audientibus, sed in apostolis loquentibus. He then goes on to prove that they spoke successively the various languages of the hearers and spectators of the miracle-they began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance, kaows tò πνεύμα εδίδε αυτοίς (αποςόλοις) αποφθέγγεσθαι, non έδιδε αυτούς
Julian Pee began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave Jerusalem.
(áxpoatais) cioarsoai. B. Schmidius-Syrus, loquebantur lin-
(a) See Nolan's Sermons on the Operations of the Holy Ghost; also
6 The words here used by St. Luke, kai ly tū oupa npzobai την ημέραν της πεντεκοσής» are thus happily translated by B. Dn. Erasmus Schmidt (in not. ad loc.) et cum completum esset, tempus usque ad diem festum Pentecostes" And wben the time was fulfilled, even up to the day of Pentecost.” The Jews reckoned the day of Pentecost to begin fifty days after the first of anleavened bread, which was observed the day after the Paschal Lamb was offered. The law relative to this feast is found in Levit. xxiii. 15, 16. Perhaps the Evangelist is thus particular in pointing out the time, on account of the striking analogy that exists between the old and new dispensations in this and other great events.
In the former the Paschal Lamb of the Passover was broken, and fed upon, in remembrance of the great deliverance of the children of God from the hands of their temporal enemies, by whom they were detained in bondage and subjection. In the latter at the celebration of this figurative feast, Christ our passover was slain to deliver all that would believe on Him from the great enemies of their salvation, Satan, sin, and death, and to rescue their spirits from the unhappy thraldom of these cruel task-masters. He died for us that we might be spiritually fed by bis body and blood. In the former dispensation, at the day of Pentecost, God gave his law on Mount Sinai, with thunder and lightning, fire, storm and tempest, with all the awful demonstrations of at offended Deity. In the fulness of time, at the feast of Pentecost God again manifested himself, and reveal. ed a more perfect law--on both occasions circumstances characteristic of the peculiar nature of the law were observed--the same divine power was demonstrated, but in the latter instance robbed of its terrors. On both occasions the presence of God was manifested by the sound of rushing winds supernaturally excited, by fire descending from heaven, and as some suppose by the sudden thunder which accompanied the Bath Col. The account of St. Luke is so very brief, that we cannot be certain whether the latter proof of the presence of God was given ; but it is the most probable opinion, and is very strenuously defended by Harenburgh, in the 13th volume of the Critici Sacri (a). At the passover, Christ proved his buman pature by submitting to the most ignominious death to which that nalure could be exposed: at the day of Pentecost he gave evidence of his divine nature and exaltation, by miracle, and by power, and by fulfilling to the utmost the promise he made to his disciples whilo with them upon earth. (John xiv. 16. 18.) “ He humbled bimself, that he might be exalted."
In the Jewish tabernacle God testified his acceptance of the first sacrifice that was offered on the holy altar by the descent of fire from heaven. When Cbrist made a sacrifice of his body on the altar of the cross, thereby abolishing all burnt offerings of bulls and of goats: the apostles, as priests and ministers of his
Julian Pe- 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout Jerusalem. riod, 4742. men, out of every nation under heaven. ValgarÆra, 29.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed, and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
. 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
new covenant, as the living sacrifices acceptable to God, re.
(a) The opinion is principally founded on the words in Acts ii. 6.
9 Various opinions have prevailed respecting the place where this miracle occurred. The temple, the house of Mary the motber of John, of Simon the leper, of Joseph of Arimathea, of Nicodemus, have each been alternately fixed upon. This point must ever remain in a great degree a matter of doubt; I am however induced, by the arguments of the celebrated Joseph Mede, to think that this miracle took place in an upper room of some private house, set apart for religious services, rather than in the temple which was so soon to be destroyed, and its figurative service superseded by a spiritual worship and purer discipline.
It is not probable that the despised followers of the crucified Jesus should be allowed, as an associated body, to assemble together in the temple, for the purpose of joining in a new act of devotion, by those priests who bad so short a time since, been the persecuting instruments of their blessed Master's condemnation and crucifixion (a).
(a) See Schoetgen and Mede's Dissertation on the Churches of the Apostolic Age.
Jelian Pe 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our Jerusalem. mad, 4742.
the wonderful works of God. ValguÆra,
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine .
ACTS ii. 14-36.
10 Markland supposes that instead of “ these men are full of
This, however, seems to be a strange remark of Markland: the witnesses of the miracle at Pentecost were Jews; and though some of them who were Hellenists, had resided in Greece or Rome, it does not appear probable that they would make an allusion to the mythology of the heathens in preference to their own traditions. In which they read that there was a demon called dipurap, which possossed those who were drunk with new wine, which gave the drinker not only wit and gaiety, but the power of speaking other languages (b); and to this agent we may justly suppose the Jews would have ascribed the eloquence and fluency of the apostles if they had attempted to account for the effects of the Holy Spirit by any superpatural influence. But as we find that this was not the case, and as the only evidence that a reference was made to the Heathen Mythology can be derived from the word YEūkos, the present translation of the passage may be considered, I think, as giving its genuine signification (c).
(a) Ap. Bowyer in loc. (6) See Lightfoot, Pitman's edition, vol. viii. p. 377. (c) Hesychius ap. Schoetgen, l'À£ūkos, tò árosáyua Tas sapulns, apiv karnın, illud, quod ab uva distillat, antequam calcetar. See Schoetgen, Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 412. and the Dissertation on the word Tlūkos, in the Critici Sacri.
" St. Peter bere particularly addresses himself to these érepol (ver. 13.) who reproached the apostles as drunkards, to the Jews of Judea and Jerusalem, because those who were assembled from distant parts might not have been so well acquainted with the prophecy of Joel, (ii. 28.) which he now declares to have been fully accomplished on this occasion. And he urges opon those who hear him this predicted promise of the Holy Spirit, as a glorious evidence of the exaltation and resurrection of the crucified Jesus, who was “both Lord and Christ.” Let those who doubt the inspiration of Peter, compare what he now