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[THE following Article may be found at the close of Dr. L. J. Rückert's Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Leipsic, 1836. A brief notice of the author, together with some account of his principles of interpretation, may be seen in a subsequent part of this volume.

The subject of the gift of tongues is confessedly one of great difficulty. As it has been remarked, we have lost the things which the terms were intended to denote. A great variety of particulars which were perfectly familiar to the primitive church are now covered with darkness. We can by no means determine the exact limits of the different miraculous gifts. We have not sufficient data to reconcile, on every point, the notices on the gift of tongues in the Acts of the Apostles, with those in the Pauline Epistles. In short, a state of things is alluded to, (not described), which ceased with the life of the apostles, or soon afterwards. All attempts perfectly to reproduce or describe it must fail. The principal theories on the subject of the gift of tongues are the following:

1. The Holy Spirit miraculously imparted to the apostles and to many of their disciples the power to use foreign languages, which they had never learned. The terms 'tongues,'' other tongues,' etc. mean foreign languages, or languages which had not been acquired in the ordinary way. It is supposed to have been a permanent faculty of the individual, which he could employ according to his own discretion, and to have been miraculous only in the mode of its ac

quisition in the first instance. It is also regarded as one of the principal supernatural aids granted to the first preachers of Christianity, and which enabled them so soon to diffuse it through the world. The interpretation,' ¿qunveia, was needed for the sake of those who were present during the address of one endued with the gift of tongues, and who did not understand the language in which he spoke. This general theory has been almost universally received in this country and in Great Britain. It is supported by the use of the epithets xavais, 'new,' in Mark 16: 12, and étéçais,other,' in Acts 2:4; also by the entire tenor of the account in the second chapter of Acts, and by Paul's citation of Isa. 28: 11 in 1 Cor. 14: 21. On the other hand, it has been urged, that it represents the miracle as one of an entirely external character, and imposed upon individuals mechanically. Besides, it is not easy to unfold the idea of it, nor to point out its real object. If we imagine that object was to facilitate the efforts of the apostles and early Christians in propagating the gospel in distant lands, by means of the knowledge of foreign languages which this gift conveyed, in that case, we go beyond the record. In the inspired narratives the gift is mentioned as manifesting itself only in prayers and discourses in the church.

2. Another theory maintains that yoσa is the tongue, or the physical organ, and that yλwoon laλeir means, to speak only with the tongue,' i. e. to utter inarticulate sounds which give no meaning. According to this theory we must conceive of the gift as an inspired babbling or stammering. It is wholly incompatible, however, with the passage in Mark xvi, and with the history in Acts ii. What kind of an effect would such a senseless babbling have had upon intelligent hearers; or how could the Holy Spirit have communicated it, or Paul given precepts for its regulation?

3. The theory adopted by Herder and De Wette, and strenuously defended by Bleek, is the following: ylwoods are peculiar expressions, belonging to a language or dialect not in common use, and therefore, not known to all, but of which the poets, or those speaking under the influence of inspiration, might make use. This theory, it is said, is strongly supported by the usage of the word yλora in the Greek and Roman profane writers. Bleek has made a copious collection of illustrative passages. In those writers, the word sometimes denotes antiquated expressions, which had dropped out of common use, and which, when again employed, required a particular ex

planation. Sometimes also the word means idiotisms, or provincial expressions which are employed and understood only in certain districts. Bleek thus describes the application of the term: “When a believer made use of a language, as decidedly different from that of common life, as the highly poetic language of the lyric poets was from that of simple prose, and, when from his natural gifts and previous education, no such style of speaking as that employed by him could have been expected; then must this have appeared, of necessity, as something supernatural, and as the effect of that miraculous inspiration by which they saw themselves in general influenced. When, moreover, all their discourses were on religious subjects; when in all, they proclaimed the praise of God who had proved so gracious, and of the Saviour through whom that grace was extended to them, as well as the blessedness they had found in believing on him,-how could any one fail to find in such a ylwooαis laλsiv an effect of the Spirit whom the Lord had promised to send to his people?" Conclusive arguments against this theory are adduced in the sequel by Rückert.

Olshausen and Neander differ somewhat from Bleek. The former, Theol. Stud. u. Krit. III. 64—66, admits that the speaking in glosses was a speaking in an elevated poetical strain; but, on the other hand, he supposes also, that it sometimes rose to be actually a speaking in foreign tongues. This occurred, he imagines, when individuals were present, who understood the respective tongues.

"In the gift of tongues," says Neander," the high and ecstatic consciousness in respect to God alone predominated, while the consciousness of the world was wholly withdrawn. In this condition, the medium of communication between the deeply moved inward man and the external world, was wholly wanting. What he spoke in this condition, from the strong impulse of his emotions and inward views, was not a connected discourse, nor an address adapted to the wants and circumstances of others." "He was wholly occupied with the relation of his own soul to God. The soul was absorbed in adoration and devotion. Hence to this condition are ascribed prayer, songs of praise to God, and the attestation of his mighty deeds. Such an one prayed in spirit; the higher life of the soul and spirit predominated in him. When therefore in the midst of his peculiar emotions and spiritual contemplations he formed for him

self a peculiar language, he was wanting in the power so to express himself as to be understood by the greater number."

It is not necessary, however, to proceed further with our notices of the peculiar views of the Germans on this subject. Those who may wish for additional information will do well to consult J. A. Ernesti, Opuscula Theol. Lips. 1773, 457-476; Heydenreich, Comm. in prior. Pauli ad Corinth. Epist. II. 249-270; Billroth, Comm. zum Corintherbriefe, 1833, 166-180; the Translation of the same in the 23d No. of the Edinburgh Bib. Cabinet, 13-35; Neander in Bib. Repos. IV. 249; and Olshausen, Comm. über das N. T.JII. 582 seq. There is an Article on the subject in Vol. II. of the Stud. u. Krit. 1829, pp. 3-78, by Prof. Bleek of Bonn. Some strictures are offered by Olshausen on these views of Bleek in the same volume, pp. 538-549. To these Bleek replied in the following year, 1830, Vol. III. pp. 45-64. Some brief observations are appended by Olshausen, pp. 64-66, in which he seems to approach nearer to the opinion of Bleek. We now proceed to the essay of Rückert, who, it will be perceived, coincides substantially with the commonly received opinion.-TR.]


In the Commentary on the fourteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, I took pains to present as clearly as possible all those marks which might serve to define the nature of those spiritual gifts, which are now to be more closely examined. The inquiry will be pursued in the following treatise, so as to exhibit in connection what was before considered only in detached parts. I shall also compare what is found on the subject elsewhere in the New Testament, weigh the views of preceding writers, and from all these, present, as far as possible, a picture of the gifts as a whole. This cannot indeed be completed with the fulness which a monogram would admit. It may, however, be done in such a manner

1 [Charismen, zagiouara. We prefer the old words, 'gifts,' 'spiritual gifts,' to the terms Charisma, Charismata, which have been sometimes employed by English writers.-TR.]

that it will not be the author's fault, if the reader should quit the investigation without having found the knowledge which was sought.


The solution of the problem in respect to prophecy is easy. It can be stated in a few lines, and without reference to the labors of others. Even in Eph. 4: 11, the idea of a christian prophet, as gathered from the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles, is accurately marked. It is this: a prophet was a man who, without any definite office, without any call made to him outwardly, spoke, from the impulse of the Divine Spirit dwelling within him, words which would serve for the information, encouragement and strengthening of believers. He likewise uttered predictions of future events, if the Spirit suggested such to him. He differed from an apostle in this, that he was not sent like him to make known the message of salvation to unbelievers. They were alike, however, in respect to the nature of what they did say. Thus the apostle was also a prophet; but the prophet as such was not an apostle. We learn from our epistle to recognize prophecy as a gift conferred on man by the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12: 10, according to his good pleasure, verse 11. Man himself, therefore, could neither impart nor acquire it, though it was possible for him to strive for the attainment of it.1 All Christians did not possess it.2 Inasmuch, however, as Paul desired that it might be enjoyed by all verse 5, he did not consider an universal participation in it impossible. The nature of the declaration to be made was revealed to the prophet, and this revelation certainly could take place in a moment.3 Various as it may have been, still the manifestation of the hidden secrets of the human heart is given as an elementary part of the prophetic discourse. The form in which the prophecy appeared was that of a language generally understood. Thus, doubtless, the language of the country which was in everyday use was employed. The effect which it produced was particularly directed to believers verse 23, and consisted in the edification and spiritual improvement of the church. Unbelievers, however, might be deeply affected by it, and be brought to self-knowledge and to the worship of the true God. It was not designed for a contin11 Cor. 14: 1, 39. 4 1 Cor. 14: 24, 25.

21 Cor. 12: 29.

31 Cor. 14: 13.

51 Cor. 14: 3, 4.

1 Cor. 14: 24, 25.

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