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Commandments of the Lord, or the infallible Dictates of the Spirit, I Cor. vii. 10, 12, 25, 40. The Holy Ghost taught the Apostles all things, and brought all things to their remembrance, John xiv. 26. and guided them into all Truth, John xvi. 13. and the Unction from the holy One instructed 'em to know all things, 1 John ii. 20. that is, all things pertaining to Salvation ; this is said of their Disciples, and therefore may in a more especial manner be affirmed of the Apostles theinselves; insomuch that the words themselves are ascribed to the Holy Ghost, which things also we speak not in the words which Man's Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, i Cor.ii.13. For they were under the conduct and influence of the Holy Ghost in the choice of every word they used, tho' not so, as to be inspired with a new Style and Dialect ; the words themselves were not always suggested, but they were always inspired in the use of them; and tho' they might be permitted to chuse their own Words and Expressions, yet it was with this limitation, that they were never permitted to make choice of such, as would not fully and infallibly express the Mind of the Holy Ghost.
And therefore, i Cor. xiv. 13. the Apostle gives this direction, Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown Tongue, pray that he may interpret ; that is, let him pray , that he may have the Divine Inspiration to allīst him in expressing himself in a known Tongue, by which he is enabled to speak in an unknown one, and that he may be infallible in rendring that in his own Tongue, which he infallibly speaks in another. Which makes it evident, that when they spoke by Inspiration in their own Language, they had the Guidance and Inspiration of the Holy Ghoit in the use of their words; and this was the reason why those that fpoke by Inspiration in a strange Tongue, durft not presume to interpret the words, which the Holy Ghost dictated to them in that Tongue, so as to give them
out for Divine Revelation, unless they were particularly empowered to render them in their own Language with the same exactness, with which they were inspired to speak in a strange Tongue. For that the necessity of praying that they might interpret , could not proceed from any inability to interpret, by reason of the force and heat of the Rapture which was upon 'em, that made 'em unable to utter their Conceptions in their own Language, or to retain the sense of them in their minds afterwards, feems plain from verfe 27. If any Man speak in an unknown Tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret, &c. For if they had been acted by such rapturous Heats and Extasies, they could have been as little able to refrain, when the Rapture was upon them, and to remember what they had to deliver, when their course came to speak, as they are suppofed to have been to remember what they were inspired to speak in one Language, when they went to express it in another. Neither were they ignorant themselves of what they spoke. But when it is said ver. 14. for if I pray in an unknown Tongue, my Spirit prayeth, but my Understanding is unfruitful į the meaning of that is, that it was of no benefit to others, tho' he that speaketh in an unknown Tongue, edifieth himself, ver. 4. Some Men were inspired to speak in strange Tongues with as much readiness, and more exactness than they could do in their native Language; but this was insignificant to such as understood not the Tongue in which they spoke. What is it then? I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the Understanding also, ver. 15. i.e. I will pray by the Guidance and Infpiration of the Holy Ghost, but in my own Language, in which my Understanding is employed, and the words are not all directly suggested to me by the Spirit (as they must be in a Language which I speak meerly by Inspiration) but I am only so far guided and assisted in the choice and use of my words, as to
speak speak infallibly the mind of the Spirit; Else when thou shalt bless with the Spirit, &c. ver. 16. Those who had the Gift of Tongues were, it seems, so puff'd up with it, that they would worship God in no other but in those Languages, tho' none of the Assembly understood them, and would be always unnecessarily and unseasonably repeating the Revelations, which they had received in strange Languages : The Apostle tells such Men, that it was very improper and absurd to deliver their Revelations in an unknown Tongue, or to Pray or give Thanks in a Language not understood by those that heard them, but that they should pray that they might interpret, or forbear the use of the Gift of Tongues, unless before them who understood the Tongues in which they spoke, that it might be for Edification. For in their Inspirations, they were confined at certain times to some particular I anguage, as the Spirit gave them utterance; and it might have done great prejudice to the Truth of Religion, if they of themselves had ventured to render that into their own Language, which was revealed to them in a strange Tongue : and for this reason it was not permitted those, who spoke with Tongues, to speak in any but that, in which the Revelation was made to them, unless they were enabled to do it by being inspired with a Power of Interpretation. For to with Tongues, and to interpret, were distinct Gifts, i Cor. xij. 10, 30. and whatever Gift any one had received, he was confined to the exercise of it, and might not presume to pretend to another, which he had not received.
The Gift of Tongues, and of the Interpretation of Tongues, being so particularly distinguished, this must imply, that the Apostles (who are supposed to have had all the Gifts, which others had but in part) were guided by the Spirit in their Words and Expressions, since those who spoke by the Spirit, were unable to interpret without a particular Gift; for no Interpre
tation was sufficient, but such as render'd the Sense with infallible truth and exactness; and if this exactness of words was requisite in their Assemblies, it must be inuch rather necessary in the Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists. Among other Gifts of the Holy Ghost, are reckon’d the Word of Wisdom, and the Word of Knowledge, 1 Cor. xii. 8. the former Grotius understands of speaking Wife Sayings, and the latter of Knowledge in History; and to the rest was added the Gift of discerning of Spirits, ver. 10. And as there were several Gifts, so there were several Offices in the Church, Ephef. iv. 11, 12. Now the several Gifts of the Holy Ghost were not all bestowed ordinarily upon the same Person, but such as were necessary for that Office and Employment which he was to execute. But as the Apostolical Power comprehended in it the Powers of every
other Office, so it was requisite that they should possess the Gifts proper for the performance of whatever was to be done by them. And when God, by his providence and disposal of things, gave the Apostles and Evangelists occasions of writing upon such and such Subjects, and to such and such Persons, or Churches, he by his Spirit inwardly excited and allifted them in it, bestowing upon them the Gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge, and of writing and speaking either in their own or any other Language, in which they were required to write or speak : For we are not to suppose that any Gifts were bestowed upon others, and yet denied to them, to whom they were most useful and necessary, in order to the delivering of that Faith and Doctrine, which was to be the standing Rule for the attainment of Salvation to all Christians unto the end of the World. When others had the Gift of speaking and interpreting strange Languages, it cannot be conceived that the writers of the Holy Scriptures should be refused that necessary Alistance in the Languages in which they wrote, that might preserve them from Error; and if
any, without the Gifts proper for it, had undertaken any Office or Ministration, the Gift of discerning of Spirits was a Security to the Church from any hurt that might ensue by the pretences of such Úndertakers.
We may be certain, that all the Gifts, which were bestowed for the Edification of the Church, were (as far as they were needful) vouchsafed more especially to all such, as were to leave behind them, for the benefit of the Church in all Ages, an account of the Gospel of Christ, and the terms of the Salvation to be obtained thereby; and that no such Guidance and Direction of the Holy Ghost was wanting, as might preserve them from Error in any particular : for there is no particular, but it will fall under some one of those Gifts, which were bestowed upon the first Disciples. They were not necessarily to write in an exact and elegant Stile, but in such as was secured from Error in whatever they delivered. To what purpose else had been so many several Gifts ? To keep them from gross Errors, and fundamental Mistakes, there could have been no need of such a variety of Gifts: but when every sort of Error, which Men are prone to, had a Remedy provided to prevent it, we may be assured that no Error was suffered in those Writings, which were the most important Work of the Apostolical Function, and designed for the edifying of the Body of Christ, not in one Age and Nation only, but throughout all Ages, and in all parts of the World.
II. I shall now proceed to make such Inferences, as may afford a sufficient Answer to the Objections al ledged upon this Subject.
1. The Inspiration of the Writers of the Scriptures, did not exclude humane Means, such as Information in Matters of Fact, either by their own Senses, or by the Testimony of others; or Reasoning from their own Notions and Observations : but the Holy Ghost guided them infallibly in the use of all such Means,