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us), that the praising of God in foreign languages was more becoming, than it now appears to us. In the same way may the case stand in relation to verses 10, 12. While we read Paul's epistles alone, what is there said may decide us against the idea of languages; but if we recollect, that the occurrence at the Pentecost is conceivable only on the supposition of foreign languages, and that we cannot allow ourselves to lose sight of the presupposition, that the phenomenon with which Paul had to do, was essentially like the one which first comes before us in the Acts, then we may indeed wonder how he could have expressed himself as he has done in the Epistle; but though it is not impossible that he has committed a logical fault, we do not believe ourselves called upon to overthrow everything which we have elsewhere recognized, until we have evidence that he is guilty of such a fault. It therefore follows, that the passage in the Corinthians contains nothing, which makes it absolutely impossible to understand the gift of tongues as a power, in particular moments of high inspiration, to praise God in languages which one had never before learned.
What now is the result 2 In my opinion it is this. All which we have above ascertained, pp. 93–7, on the nature of the mysterious gift, remains untouched. Hence it is not needful that it should be repeated. In respect to the unintelligibleness of its form we cannot come to perfect certainty; still from the notices which the history of the Pentecost supplies, a strong probability arises in favor of the theory of foreign languages; the observations also, which Paul makes in our Epistle in relation to it, in part easily fall in with this supposition, and in part do not stand in such opposition as to compel us in consequence to give up what, from the narration of the first introduction of the gift, appears to follow inevitably. Therefore, without being able to say, that we know the precise circumstances of the case, we have still arrived at so much as this, we know to what conclusion the single authorities which we have at our command will lead us; and at that point, I believe, we must stop, while all the advance which we might make would remove us from that position which we regard as the only possible one for such an investigation. At this point we therefore stop.
[Rückert frequently refers, in the preceding article, to his Commentary on the chapters in the first epistle to the Corinthians which treat of the spiritual gifts. We here subjoin one or two extracts from his Commentary. They will serve for an outline of the apostle's course of thought. On Chap. XII, Rückert remarks: “Paul speaks of things which were then perfectly well known. He addressed the persons among whom these things occurred. He employed expressions which were in every-day use. His object was not to explain the nature of these gifts to the Corinthians, but to give them directions in respect to the value of the gifts. It was not his design to communicate information to those who should live in subsequent centuries, but to check the abuse of the gifts at the time. Every trace of the things which Paul here handles was lost in the progress of time. We know nothing of them except what can be drawn from the discussion itself, compared with some passages in the Acts of the Apostles.” . The thought which serves as the basis of the argument in Chap. XII is, “that everywhere in Christianity, the Divine Spirit is the agent, operating as the cause or principle of the Christian life. Paul then proceeds to the special object of the inquiry, namely, the value of the particular manifestations of the Holy Spirit's agency, and the preference which should be given to one or to another of the gifts in question. Paul thus, indeed, allows that there is a diversity in the gifts, but, in tracing back one and all of them to the same source— the Spirit, he calls attention to the common value of all, and points out the object which all should promote, namely, the general good of the Christian body.” “The 13th Chapter is a delineation of the “more excellent way,’ or an illustration of the fact, that love is that one among the graces of the Christian, without which no gift, no virtue has any real value. Love is the best and noblest of all the graces, the fountain of all true virtue. It shall remain when all other gifts shall fail.” Rückert thus sums up Chap. XIV. The gifts of the Spirit are various; yet the God who bestows them is but one, and the design of all is the common good. While the body of man has many members, there is yet but one body. One member is not independent of another. All are intended for one harmonious whole. So the Church of Christ is one body of the Lord. All Christians are members of this body. They have different offices, but each is to labor for the good of the others, and thus promote the well-being of the whole. All cannot have the same business; each one might, however, strive after the highest gifts, but still there is a more excellent blessing—love. Without this, no gift, no knowledge, no power, no virtue even would be of any value. The Corinthians should rather desire prophecy than speaking with tongues. The one who spoke with tongues edified himself only, since no one could understand him; the prophet edified the church. Paul desired indeed that all might enjoy the gift of tongues, but rather that they should prophesy, since the former consisted in unintelligible words, and, without interpretation, was useless, etc. In addition to the authors, before mentioned, who have written on the Gift of Tongues, we may name Baur and Steudel in the Tübingen Zeitschrist, 1830; and Bäumlein, in Klaiber's Stud. der Evang. Geistlichkeit Würtemb. WI. No. 2, 1834—TR.]