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cause, their great astonishment sprang that illiterate Galileans should speak in languages they had never acquired by natural means and the knowledge of which must have been suddenly bestowed upon them by supernatural agency (Acts 2: 6,11). Even commentators of the rationalistic school cannot deny that the account plainly delivers such a meaning. If, then, we refuse to recognise any difference between the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost and that bestowed on the church of Corinth, and to adopt the supposition that the disciples spake strange languages which they could not possibly have acquired by actual study; we will be compelled either to acknowledge an unhistorical, mythical element in the account of Luke_and this both internal and external reasons forbid--or a self-deception on the part of the bearers whose impressions the narrator has impartially recorded without passing his private judgment on their credibility. As regards ibis latter view, we might either suppose that the disciples, having been filled with divine energy, spake in an entirely new language originated by the Holy Spirit, though more closely allied, perhaps, to the Aramaic than to any other, language, with such intense enthusiasm and inspiring force that the susceptible hearers involuntarily translated what they heard into their respective vernacular tongues, just as though it had originally been delivered in them, and that the barriers which sundered the different languages of the earth were momentarily renioved by a participation in the communion of the Holy Spirit. Or, according to another supposition, we may suppose that the Apostles spake the primitive language which the arrogance of those who essayed to climb the heavens by building the tower of Babel had caused to be divided into a multitude
а of single distinct tongues. In gracious condescension to the humility manifested by the members of the renewed Zion, God had given them power to gather its scattered fragments and relicts and restore its primeval unity. On this memorable Pentecostal day its enlivening tones sank deep into the inmost recesses of the hearts of the hearers; reminding them of the happi
'As Neander dues, Hist. Apos. I, p. 28. This is one of the instances in his history of the Apostles-and more may be found in his Life of Christ -in which this venerable theologian whose profound experience of the living power of Christianity oth se separates him at an almost infinite distance,we might say, from the dangerous tenets of Rationalism, has yielded too much force to the results of Modern Criticism.
ness enjoyed in the Paradasaical period and encouraging them with cheering hopes for the future.
It must be confessed, however, that these attempts at a psychological explanation of the miracle of tongues do not afford entire satisfaction. We feel disposed to place implicit confidence in the verbal meaning immediately derived from the record contained in the Acts, and give it as our opinion that, at the first manifestation of this gift and in presence of an immense multitude congregated from all parts of the habitable globe, the Holy Spirit in order to stamp the deepest possible impression on the minds of those whose dispositions were susceptible of it,' elevated the minds of the disciples to an unusual pitch of spiritual excitement and discernment and gave them power, temporarily, to understand and to use with facility the different languages of the several nations then represented. Nor is it a difficult task to ascertain the symbolical meaning of this astounding event. It was a practical demonstration of the universalness of the Christian system which embraces within its compass all nations and countries, and of the fact that in no long time the tidings of salvation would be proclaimed in every language spoken on earth. Now, that the Church and the Bible promulgate the glorious deeds of Jehovah in every clime and every tongue, the single Christian has no necessity for the gift of tongues for a right understanding of the truth. Already in the Apostolical period did the power of speaking with other tongues, though in substance the same, lose its original form. For it is not possible to understand the reason why this gift as employed in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10: 46; comp. 19: 67 or in the church of Corinth, should have been exercised in the use of foreign languages. In the Roman empire where Christianity achieved its
"Adopting this or a similar explanation we may say with the venerable Bede: Unitatem linguarum, quam superbia Babylonis disperserat, humilitas ecclesiae recolligit, or with Grotius: Poena linguarum dispersit homines ; donum lin. guarum dispersos in unum populum recollegit It would seem then as if in the first beginning of the Church the end of her progress had been propheti. cally anticipated, when there shall be not only one Shepherd and one fold but one language also of the Holy Spirit.
* If we could place any reliance on the speaking with tongues of the Irvingites as a reasonable analogy, we would have a similar elevation in their case, because aecording to the above cited report of Hohl the ecstatic speeches were first delivered in foreign sounds like unto the Hebrew, and, when the inspiration had abated somewhat of its vigor, in the vernacular English.
principal victories, the preachers of the Gospel could make their thoughts almost universally intelligible by means of the Greek and Latin languages, and the style of Paul's expression in Greek proves that he had acquired a knowledge of it by natural means. Nor do the old missionary reports afford any proof that the rapid spread of the Gospel was brought to pass, or, in any way, assisted by the supernatural gift of tongues.
At any rate this much is certain, that the Bible considers the rise of several distinct languages as a penalty inflicted on man for perverseness of nature (Gen. 11), and that Christianity can not only accommodate itself to all languages and nations but has power also to remove all the barriers which sin has erected to obstruct the progress of Society, to gather into one fold the scattered sheep of God's selection, and to unite them in the bonds of a single language-the language of the Spirit.
$3. The Sermon af Peter and its Result. The astonishment of the susceptible hearers who were overpowered by such wonderful phenomena and the disdainful reproach of unbelievers who attributed the speaking with other tongues to the influence of intoxicating drinks, compelled the Apostles to speak in vindication of their character and of the event itself. The argument they pronounced in favor of the truth, constituting as it did their first independent testimony, was spoken from a firm conviction that the fulness of the Spirit dwelt within them, and proved to be the efficient signal for the ingathering of the first fruits of the new spiritual creation. In imme. diate connection thus with the founding of the Church was established the office of preaching which henceforth constituted the chief agent for the propagation of the kingdom of God. The witness of the Holy Spirit
confirmed its power in those who were His representatives. In conformity to the character portrayed of him in the Gospel the impetuous, rash Peter whose constitutional disposition admirably qualified him for a leader and spokegman, stood forth in the name of the rest of the Apostles and of the entire Church and gave practical demonstration of the truth that he was the rock on whose courageous confession of the faith the Lord had promised to build His Church. His speech to the assembled multitude, delivered most probably in the Hebrew laguage, is uncommonly simple and in beautiful harmony with the significance of the day. It was neither a direct polemical assault upon Judaism, nor a systematic exhibition of doctrine,
but a simple proclamation of historical facts, particularly, of the rəsurrection of Christ; it was a plain but powerful testimony of the most assured experience that issued directly from the spiritual life of the speaker. Worthy of special note because of its remarkableness, is the contrast between the exalted inspiration of the speaking with tongues that preceded and the considerate discretion and sparkling clearness of this sermon. But it is the harmonious union of both that constitutes a characteristic trait in the lives of the Apostles who were alike removed from a cold, calculating formality and an extravagant, sentimental fanaticism. With humble affability and a mildness worthy of imitation Peter first refutes the unkind charge of drunkeness with the very modest and apparently trivial, but popular and convincing argument, that it was but the third hour of the day (9 o'clock in the morning), before which time the Jews took good care to abstain from every indulgence and even drunkards were ashamed to give way to the vice of intemperance. This phenomenon, he goes on to remark, is rather to be regarded as the glorious fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel who predicted that the outpouring of the Spirit would be attended with remarkable natural appearances and would not be confined to single ambassadors of God of pre-eminent piety and talent, as was the case under the reign of the old covenant, but extended to all, the rich and the poor, the learned and the unlearned. This communication of the Spirit has been effected by Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah, who as such has been powerfully authenticated, in your presence and for your good, by deeds and miracles. You have, it is true, in obedience to the eternal design and foreknowledge of God, delivered him up and caused him to be nailed to the cross by the hands of idolatrous Romans;
'On the part of God the death of Christ was the fulfillment of His eternal decree for the salvation of men, of Christ, a voluntary act of love, of the Jews, a crime for which they could justly be held responsible, the climax of their sins against Jehovah. In this instance only the first and the last reference come into view. Peter charges upon all present the murder of Jesus, because the act of the government is the act of the people repre• sented by it, who besides were directly implicated, for they cried out: "Crucify, crucify him!” and because the death of Christ on account of the general depravity of man is an act caused and guilt incurred by the entire human family. When Meyer in his commentary on Acts 2: 23, objects to the validity of this last reason that, if correct, Peter, including himself of nurse, would have spoken in the first instead of the second, person, he
rlooks the fact that the Apostle here speaks in the name of God and of rist and that he as a believer had been pronounced free from all particion in that guilt.
but God has raised him up again from the dead, in fulfillment of the prophecy contained in ihe sixteenth psalm,' of which we all are living witnesses. Elevated to the right hand of God the risen Saviour has poured out upon us his disciples His Spirit, as you yourselves see. Let it be known, therefore, unto you that God himself has demonstrated with irrefragible evidence Him to be the Messiah whom you have crucified and from whom you as Israelites expect salvation. It was evidently of prime importance to prove, in few but convincing words, from present facts in connection with the plain predictions of the Old Testament which the hearers themselves recognized, that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and, at the same time, by referring to the crucifixion which the Jews had virtually accomplished, to stir them up to an exercise of true, hearty repentance. The sermon of the Apostle did not fall short of its intended effect. Earnestly coveting the blessing of salvation the convicted hearers asked: " What shall we do?” Peter called upon them to repent of sin and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, that they too might obtain the same Holy Spirit whose miraculous power they saw so strikingly exemplified in the case of the Aposiles. For the promise had been designed for them and their children and even for those Gentiles? whom the Lord
* David composed this Psalm with a conscious knowledge of the Theocraoy which God had promised should enjoy an imperishable existence, and looked forward with the eye of prophecy to the Messiah who would vanquish the power of the grave and of death and bring to pass the ideal Theocracy. Olshausen thus explains the subject : “ The dread of annihilation and of the dark valley of deaih excited in David an earnest longing after complete victory over death, and this triumph the Spirit of prophecy allowed bim to see achieved in the person of Christ.” Hengstenberg, in his commentary on the Psalms vol. 1. p. 301 ff., follows the opinion of Calvin and regards the pious singer as the immediate subject of the sixteenth Psalm; but as David v. 10, iriumphs over death and the grave in the consciousness of his union with God, the Psalm must have reference to the Messiah, because he could enjoy this satisfaction oniy as a member of the body of Christ. “Sundered from Christ” says Hengstenberg, p. 337, • this hope must be regarded as fanatical the futility of which results will render abundantly evident. David served God in his day and generation, then died, was buried, and returned to dust. In Christ, however, who brought life and immortality to light, this hope has its real truth. David in Christ had a perfect right to speak as he does in this Psalm. Christ overcame death not only for him. self but for his members also. His resurrection is our resurrection."
* Thus we understand the roio éis paxpay Acts 2: 39, comp. Zachar 6: 25. Peter knew then that the Gentiles were called to take part in the Gos. pel, but supposed that they must first become Jews till the vision (c. 10) enlarged his view and rectified his error.