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the gift of tongues in ecclesiastical history. - One who hath written the life of Pachomius, a monk in the fourth century, says, among other things equally marvellous and equally.credible, that the saint had received a power to . speak all sorts of languages. See Bollandus and Tillemont. Jortin, Eccles. Hist. I. 318.
Chrysostom distinctly denies that the gift was known in his time. Δια τί τότε γλωσσαϊς ελαλούν πάντες οι βαπτιSouévos, vũv dè oux étı ; vol. V. p. 606. edit. Sav. The whole passage, as relates to the miraculous powers claimed in those days, is very curious.
“ Quis enim nunc hoc expectat, ut ii, quibus manus ad accipiendum Spiritum Sanctum imponitur, repente inci“piant linguis loqui.” August. de Bapt. III. 16.
Xavier confessed this difficulty. “Faxit Deus ut ad “ divinarum explicationem rerum linguam condiscamus
quamprimum; tum demum aliquam Christianæ rei “navabimus operam.” Dr. Milner, in his End of Controversy, animadverting on Bishop Douglas's Criterion, contradicts this statement; but, instead of producing any extracts from Xavier's own writings, appeals to the overwhelming authority of the bull of his canonization. Bouhours, in his life of Xavier, (translated by Dryden,) finds himself in an awkward predicament, perpetually compelled to acknowledge the saint's ignorance of the native languages, but equally compelled to defer to the authority of his church, which has declared that he possessed the gift of tongues.
1 Cor. i. 23.
But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a
stumblingblock, to the Greeks foolishness. SUPPOSE now, that flushed with their success, precarious and imperfect as it was, in their native country; having at the cost of incessant labour, and some actual suffering, and at the perpetual risk of their lives, converted some thousands of Jews and Samaritans, the apostles proceed to develope more completely their ambitious scheme of propagating their doctrines throughout the world. They have acquired two coadjutors of considerable importance, one Barnabas, a man of education and property, the other, Paul, however of unquestioned ability, odious to the Jews as an apostate, liable to suspicion among the Christians, as having been a persecutor. Where however do we trace their earliest progress ? in barbarous and uncivilized countries, where the ignorant, athirst, as it were, for wonders, are imposed upon by the shallowest pretender to supernatural power; where their manifest and acknowledged superiority in the useful arts secures them respect, if not veneration; where the morals were in a favourable state for the reception of their purer doctrines, and where the established religion was without attraction, and mingled little in the common details of life; where the sublime topics on which they argued, the nature of God, the immortality of the soul, the state of existence after death, never having been discussed, were as commanding from their novelty, as full of interest from their importance ? on the scene selected for their labours did the laws secure, and the spirit of the people guarantee the toleration of men preaching such a religion ? lastly, if they chose the more enlightened regions of the world, did they work in obscurity among the lowest orders; shun publicity; steal from family to family, “ leading cap“ tive silly women;" avoid every occasion of confronting the reasoning and intelligent part of the community; shrink from detection, and dread the possibility of confutation? We find them in luxurious Antioch, in dissolute Corinth, among the philosophers of Athens, the proud, ferocious, and unprincipled aristocracy of Rome. We hear them discoursing in the open synagogues, pleading before Agrippa and the Roman governor of Judæa; desirous of attacking idolatry in its head quarters, in the theatre at Ephesus, arguing with equal intrepidity in the enlightened Areopagus. We see them daring, defying, enduring the persecution of the inflamed populace, dragged before the judgment seat of the public authorities, appealing to Cæsar himself. We find them making converts on the tribunal of g
government in the case of Sergius Paulus; leading disciples from the camp of philosophy, in the person of Dionysius the Areopagite.
But, it may be objected, the world was in so favourable a state for the reception of a new religion; the old superstitions were so entirely worn out, that the inbred necessity of intercourse with the immaterial world, inseparable from the nature of man, in other words, the religious wants of human kind, imperiously demanded some new and powerful excitement. Is it wonderful then, that a system of doctrine so simple, yet so sublime, which united the better parts of the Grecian philosophy with the lofty Jewish tenet of the unity of God, addressed in any manner to minds in this darkling and unsatisfactory state, should make rapid and unresisted progress ? Add to all this, the state of the world; the dispersion of the Jews in all quarters; the extent of the Greek language; the universal dominion of the Romans, and the gradual extension of civilization. When therefore the doctrines of Christianity were advocated by men of pure and unexceptionable morals; when they boldly asserted the certainty of those sublime and welcome tenets, the life to come, and the immortality of the soul, far from being surprised at the rapid advancement of Christianity, we may be inclined to ascribe it to the natural progress of human opinion.