Spiritual (or Ecclesiastical) Courts
Spiritual (Or Ecclesiastical) Courts are those having jurisdiction in spiritual or ecclesiastical matters. Besides the courts of ARCHDEACON SEE ARCHDEACON (q.v.) and ARCHES SEE ARCHES (q.v.), they are the following:
1. The Court of Augmentation was created in 27 Henry VIII for determining suits and controversies relating to monasteries and abbey lands. The court was dissolved by Parliament, 1 queen Mary. The Augmentation Office, however, still exists, in which there are a variety of valuable records connected with lands formerly belonging to monasteries and abbeys.
2. The Bishop's or Consistory Court is held in the cathedral of each diocese for the trial of ecclesiastical causes within that diocese.
3. The Court of Conscience or Requests (Curia Conscientioe) was erected in 9 Henry VIII in London, and an act of common council then appointed commissioners to sit in the court twice a week to determine all matters between citizens and freemen of London in which the debt or damage was under forty shillings. This act of common council was confirmed by 1 James I. By this the court issues its summons, the commissioners examine on oath, and decide by summary process, making such orders touching debts "as they should find to stand to equity and good conscience." The commissioners may commit to prison for disobedience of their summons. Various subsequent acts have regulated and extended these powers.
4. The Court of High Commission originated in the Act of Supremacy, passed in 1559, which empowered queen Elizabeth to choose commissioners who might exercise supreme jurisdiction in spiritual or ecclesiastical matters. The court so formed claimed a preeminence over the ordinary courts of the bishops. The rack and other means of torture were weapons confided to them. They were bound by no rules or precedents in receiving evidence or in imposing penalties, but acted as they pleased, and soon became odious as a terrific and lawless inquisition. In 1610 a court of this nature was erected by James VI in Scotland, and reerected in 1664, the last consisting of nine prelates and thirty-five laymen. It was armed with highest authority, and had a military force at its command. It had also an organized espionage, with agents everywhere. It ruined many financially by the heavy fines imposed, banished others to unhealthy districts, and even sold some as slaves.
5. The Court of Faculties belongs to the archbishop of Canterbury. Its power is to grant dispensations for the marriage of persons without the publication of banns, to ordain a deacon under the canonical age, to enable a son to succeed his father in a benefice, or one person to hold two or more benefices incompatible with each other.
6. The Court of Prerogative is held at Doctors' Commons, in London, in which all wills and testaments are proved, and administrations granted on the estates of persons dying intestate, etc.
7. The Court of Teinds is that portion of the judges of the Court of Session that administer the law as to the revenues of the Scottish Established Church.
Meetings of Session, Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly are usually termed Courts. Spiritual Gifts (τὰ πνευματικά suppl. χαρίσματα), a phrase used to denote those endowments which were conferred on persons in the primitive Church, and which were manifested in acts and utterances of a supernatural kind. The phrase is taken from 1Co 12:1, where the words περὶ τῶν πνευματικῶν are rendered in the A.V. "concerning spiritual gifts." The accuracy of this rendering is generally admitted; for, though some would take πνευματικῶν as masculine, and understand it, as in 14:37, of persons spiritually endowed, the tenor of the entire passage shows that it is of the gifts themselves, and not of the parties endowed with them, that the apostle speaks in this chapter (comp. 14:1). It is from the apostle's statements in this chapter that our information concerning the spiritual gifts of the primitive Church is chiefly drawn.
1. The first thing to be noted is what may be called the fundamental condition and test of these gifts. This is the acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as Lord. "I give you to understand," says the apostle, "that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost" (1Co 12:3). The denunciation of Jesus as an impostor, whether that came forth in the shape of an imprecation (ἔστω ἀνάθεμα) or in the shape of an assertion (ἔστιν ἀνάθεμα), having reference to his having died as one accursed (comp. Ga 3:13), proved sufficiently that the party uttering it was not under the influence of the Spirit; while, on the other hand, the recognition of Jesus as the Lord — i.e. the admission of his Messianic claims and the submission to his supreme authority-formed the antithesis to this, and was a proof that the party was under the power of the Holy Ghost. The primary condition, then, of the possession of spiritual gifts was sincere adherence to Jesus as the Messiah. Apart from this there might be the arts of the magician or soothsayer, but no effects produced by the Spirit of God.
2. The source of these spiritual gifts was God's grace, and the agent by whom they were produced was the Holy Ghost. They were χαρίσματα, or grace gifts; and the apostle expressly says that amid diversity of gifts it is one and the same Spirit by whom they are bestowed, and amid diversity of services it is one and the same Lord by whom they are appointed, and amid diversity of operations it is one God who energizes all in all (1Co 12:4-6).
3. When the apostle speaks here of χαρίσματα, διακονίαι, and ἐνεργήματα, the inquiry is suggested how these three expressions are to be taken. Are they intended to mark off three distinct classes of spiritual gifts? or do they describe the same objects under different aspects? or is the first the generic class under which the other two are subsumed as species? Each of these views has found advocates. — The Greek fathers generally regard them as simply different names for the same object (comp. Chrysostom, ad loc.), but most recent writers regard them as relating to distinct classes. (For different classifications on this principle, see Aquinas, Summa Theol. 2, 2, qu. 171; Estius, On 1 Corinthians 12; Olshausen on do., etc.) The objection to all the arrangements on this principle is that they are all more or less arbitrary, so that what is placed by one under one head is with equal plausibility placed by another under another. The opinion that Charisma is the genus of which Diakoniai and Energemata are species is open to the objection that to make diakoniai a kind of charisma is somewhat forced; and, besides, it does not accord with the parallelized structure of the apostle's statement, which plainly makes these three objects collateral with each other. The opinion which has most in its favor is that we have here only one object presented under different aspects. On this principle the three classes may be arranged thus: These endowments of the primitive Church are,
(1) Gifts of divine grace, as the principle of the new life which, with its manifold capabilities, is communicated by the indwelling Spirit of God;
(2) Ministries, as means by which one member serves for the benefit of others; and
(3) Operations, effects, by which the charismata manifest their active power.
This seems a highly probable explanation of the apostle's words; nor do we see the harshness in it of which Kling, from whom we have taken it, complains.
4. Side by side with this parallel arrangement of the gifts, the apostle places in another series of parallels the agency by which each of these is produced and sustained. The two series may be tabulated thus:
Charismata (given by) the Spirit. Ministries (directed by) the Lord. Effects produced by the Father.
In the first two of these parallel propositions there is an ellipsis of the verb, but this the mind naturally supplies from the analogy of the last in which the verb is enunciated (see Henderson, On Inspiration, p. 181).
5. It has appeared to some that there is a correspondence between the gifts enumerated in 1Co 12:8-10 and the Church offices enumerated in ver. 28 (Horsley, Sermons, 14, Appendix). The number of both is the same; there are nine gifts and nine offices. But beyond this the correspondence only very partially exists, and in order to give it even a semblance of existing throughout, not only must very fanciful analogies be traced, but some palpable errors in interpretation committed (Henderson, On Inspiration, p. 183).
6. The suggestion of Beza that the enumeration of gifts in 1Co 12:8-10 is divided into coordinate groups, distinguished by the pronouns ῳ μέν, ver. 8; ἑτέρῳ δέ, ver. 9; ἑτέρῳ δέ, ver. 10, has been very generally followed by interpreters. Hence Meyor arranges them in the following scheme:
I. Charisms which relate to intellectual power.
1, λόγος σοφίας 2, λόγος γνώσεως.
II. Charisms which are conditioned by heroic faith (Glaubensheroismus).
1. The πίστις itself; 2. The operation of this in act — a. ἰάματα; b. δυνάμεις; 3. The operation of this in word, προφητεια; 4. The critical operation of this, διάκρισις πνευμάτων.
III. Charisms relating to the γλῶσσαι.
1. Speaking with tongues; 2. Interpreting of tongues.
Henderson adopts substantially the same arrangement (Inspiration, p. 185 sq.), like Meyer, laying stress on the use of the pronoun ἑτέρῳ in place of ἄλλῳ by the apostle in his enumeration ("ἑτέρῳ is selected because a distinct class follows; only thus can we account for the apostle's not proceeding with ἄλλῳ" — Meyer; comp. Tittmann, Synonyms, 2, 28). To all such attempts at classification De Wette objects:
(1.) That ῳ μέν, ἑτέρῳ δέ ἑτέρῳ δέ, do not stand in relation to each other, but ἑτέρῳ δέ is always opposed to the nearest preceding ἄλλῳ δέ, so that neither can the one denote the genus nor the other the species.
(2.) If anything could mark a division, it would be the repeated κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ πνεῦμα, ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ πν., with the concluding πάντα δὲ ταῦτα of 1Co 12:11; but even thus we should gain nothing, for in ver. 10 heterogeneous objects are united.
(3.) There is no reason to expect a classification, for the enumeration is not complete (see ver. 28).
(4.) The classification proposed (by Meyer) is in itself unsatisfactory; plainly the speaking with tongues is more closely akin to prophesying than to gifts of healing; and, as Kling observes, the διακρίσεις πνευμάτων and the ἐρμηνεία γλωσσῶν relate to the understanding, and not to heroic faith. In these reasons there is much force; and though the apostle's arrangement has the aspect of a classified scheme, we feel constrained to conclude with Kling that we must leave it undecided whether and how they can be classified. Neander, followed by Billroth and Olshausen substantially, without insisting on the apostle's words, contents himself with the obvious division of these charisms into two great classes — the one of which embraces such gifts as manifest themselves by word, and the other such as manifest themselves by deed; and each of these presents two subordinate classes, determined by the relation of the man's own mental culture and capacity to the working on him of the Spirit, so that in a man of high culture and intellectual power the λόγος γνώσεως would be manifested, while to one of less culture the Holy Spirit would come with a power which overwhelms his self consciousness and makes him the almost mechanical utterer of what does not pass through the medium of his own intelligence (Apostol. Zeitalt. 1, 174 sq. [Eng. transl. 1, 132]).
7. Taking in order as they stand in the text the gifts enumerated, we have —
(1.) The Word of Wisdom (λόγος σοφίας) and the Word of Knowledge (λόγος γνώσεως). Λόγος is used here, as frequently elsewhere in the New Test., as = sermo, discourse, utterance. To σοφία and γνῶσις various meanings have been attached. A common explanation is that σοφία is the practical and γνῶσις the theoretical or speculative presentation of truth; but this, though adopted by Neander, Olshausen, and others, as well as the antithetical opinion advanced by Bengel, Storr, Rosenmüller, etc., that σοφία is the theoretical and γνῶσις the practical, is sufficiently refuted by the consideration that the practical and the theoretical apprehension and exposition of the truth, merely as such, cannot be properly regarded as coming among the miraculous gifts of the Spirit; such attainments are not κατὰ πνεῦμα in the sense in which Paul uses that phrase here. Meyer makes σοφία the higher Christian wisdom as such; γνῶσις the speculative, deeper, more penetrating knowledge of it; while Estius reverses this, making λόγος σοφίας"gratiam de iis quae ad doctrinam religionis ac pietatis spectant disserendi ex causis supremis," and λόγος γνώσεως "gratia disserendi de rebus Christianae religionis ex iis quae sunt humanae scientiae aut experientiae," i.e. of bringing principles of human philosophy or facts of human experience to bear on the illustration of divine truth. Henderson takes σοφία to be comprehensive of "the sublime truths of the Gospel directly revealed to the apostles, of which the λόγος was the supernatural ability rightly to communicate them to others;" and by γνῶσις the possession by divine communication of an exact and competent knowledge of the truths which God had already revealed through the instrumentality of the prophets and apostles, in consequence of which those who possessed it became qualified, independently of the use of all ordinary means, forth with to teach the Church" (p. 188 sq.). Osiander makes σοφία the apprehension of divine truth in its totality, of the ends and purposes of God, of the plan and work of redemption, of the revelation of salvation through Christ in its connection, its divine system and organism; and γνῶσις the penetrating knowledge of particulars given by God, with their inward appropriation and experience (Joh 6:69; Joh 17:3; Php 3:8). This last seems to be, on the whole, the least arbitrary and most probable interpretation, it being of course kept in view that the apprehension and experience of divine truth, whether as a whole or in its parts, as well as the power of giving this forth in discourse, is not such as mere human intelligence and study could attain, but such as was κατὰ πνεῦμα.
(2.) Faith (πίστις). — All are agreed that this cannot be understood of that faith which saves — justifying faith; and most regard it as a fides miraculosa, such as our Lord speaks of (Mt 17:20; Mt 21:21), and to which Paul refers (1Co 13:2) — a firm persuasion that on fitting occasions the divine power would be put forth to work miracles. Meyer thinks this too narrow, because under πίστις are ranked not only ἰάματα and δυνάμεις, but also προφητεία and διακρίσεις πνευματων. He would therefore understand by πίστις here "a high degree of faith in Christ — a faith heroism whose operation in some was in healings, etc." As, however, such faith in Christ must mean faith in him as the risen Lord, the source of miraculous power, whether exercised in healing diseases or in utterances of knowledge, this opinion seems to resolve itself into a substantial identity with the other.
(3.) Gifts of Healings (χαρ. ίαμάτων). — This all are agreed in understanding as the power of healing disease directly without the aid of therapeutic applications. The plural is used to indicate the variety of diseases, and the various gifts of healing them possessed in the Church.
(4.) Workings of Powers (ἐνεργήμ. δυνάμεων). — This is generally referred to the working of miracles of a higher kind than the healing of disease — miracles which consist not in the performing without means what means may effect, but in the performance of what no means can effect, such as the raising of the dead, the exorcism of daemons, the infliction, by a word, of death as a punishment, etc.
(5.) Prophecy (προφητεία). — This refers not to ordinary religious discourses for the edification of the Church, but to such a forth speaking of the mind of God in relation to truth, duty, or coming events as the inward action of the Holy Spirit on the mind may produce (Chrysost. ὁ προφητεύων πάντα ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος φθέγγεται).That the gift of predicting future events was possessed in the early Church, we see from such instances as Ac 2:27-28; Ac 21:11, etc.; but the προφητεία of the New Test. does not generally relate to this it usually has reference to the utterance of doctrine given by revelation from God (comp. 1Co 11:3; 1Co 14:26-33, etc.).
(6.) Discernings of Spirits (διακρίσεις πνευμάτων). From 1Co 14:29 (comp. 1Th 5:21; 1Jo 4:1) we learn that professed prophetic utterances were to be subjected to trial, that nothing unchristian or unedifying might pass under that name; and it is to this that the gift now before us relates. Even apostles would seem to have submitted their doctrine to the judgment of these gifted critics (1Co 14:37).
(7.) Kinds of Tongues (γένη γλωσσῶν). — That this refers to the λαλεῖν γλῶσσῃ or γλῶσσαις which existed in the Corinthian Church, and indicates that of these γλῶσσαι there were various kinds, is undoubted; but in what this gift consisted is a question involved in great difficulty, and to which very different answers have been given. We may at once dismiss some of these as not deserving serious consideration — viz., 1, that of Bardili and Eichhorn, who take γλῶσσα in the literal sense of tongue, and suppose that the λαλεῖν was a sort of inarticulate babble, an ecstatic utterance of mere sounds made by the tongue — an opinion which is irreconcilable with the idea of this being a gift of the Holy Ghost, with the possibility of an interpretation of the sounds uttered, with what Paul says (1Co 14:18), and with the use of the plural in the phrase γλῶσσαις λαλεῖν; 2, that of Bleek, who takes γλῶσσα in the sense of gloss — i.e. archaic, poetical, or provincial word or idiom — a meaning which belongs to the technicalities of the grammarians, and is quite foreign to the language of the New Test.; and 3, that of Billroth, who supposes γλῶσσα to mean a composite language formed of the elements of various tongues, and in its composition affording a symbol of the uniting power and universality of Christianity — which is at the best only a pleasing fancy. The only two opinions worth considering are the old view that these γλῶσσαι were actual foreign tongues which the gifted persons spoke without having learned them, and the opinion, subject to various modifications, that they were new and divinely inspired utterances of a kind transcending the ordinary capacity and intelligence of men. — Kitto.
Before entering on the consideration of these views, it may be well to state accurately the various peculiarities of this gift. These may be gathered from the statements of the apostle. From these we learn that it was a gift of the Spirit (1Co 12:11,28,30); that it belonged only to some in the Church (ver. 11, 30); that it stood in some relation to the gift of prophesying was inferior to it in point of utility, but afforded greater scope for display (14:5, 6, 18, 19); that it was exercised in acts of prayer and praise (ver. 2, 14, 15, 16, 17); that it was not exercised through the medium of the intelligence (νοῦς), and so was unintelligible without an interpretation, which the party exercising it might not be capable of supplying, as it was the result of a distinct gift, which might or might not accompany the other (ver. 5, 6, 13, 16, 23); that it might appear to one unaccustomed to it a frenzy (ver. 23); that it had the effect of an instrument giving an uncertain sound, or was no better than the speaking of a barbarian or the clang of a cymbal when not interpreted (ver. 7-9; 13:1); and that its use was to serve as a sign (or evidence of God's presence) to those who did not believe (14:22).
Let us now turn to the former of the two opinions above noticed those who hold this to be γλῶσσα in the sense of language support their opinion by an appeal to our Lord's promise to his disciples that, as a sign of his presence with them, they should speak with new tongues (καίναις γλῶσσαις, Mr 16:17), and to the occurrences of the day of Pentecost when the apostles spake with other tongues (ἑτέραις γλ., Ac 2:4 sq.). It seems altogether probable that the event of the day of Pentecost was a fulfilment of the promise of Christ to his disciples, and if we assume (as the narrative seems to intimate) that on that occasion the apostles did receive the faculty of speaking foreign tongues through the agency of the Spirit, there is great plausibility in the conclusion that the gift of tongues bestowed on the primitive Church consisted in the possession of this faculty. It is frivolous to object to this, as De Wette and Meyer do, that the speaking of a language one has never learned is psychologically impossible, for, if divine interposition be admitted, it is idle to set limits to its operation. "With God all things are possible," and he who caused "the dumb ass to speak with man's voice" could surely employ the organs of a man to utter a foreign tongue of which he was ignorant. In the way of the conclusion, however, above stated, that the gift of which the apostle treats in writing to the Corinthians is the same as that promised by our Lord, and received by the apostles on the day of Pentecost, there are some serious difficulties. If the apostles possessed the power of speaking foreign tongues miraculously, they appear to have made very little use of it for the purposes of their mission, for, with the exception of the instance of the day of Pentecost, we do not read of their ever using this gift for the purpose of addressing foreigners. There seems to be an a priori improbability that such a faculty would be miraculously conferred when it was one for which no special need existed, the Greek tongue being so widely diffused that the first preachers of Christianity were not likely to go where it was not known. But it is probable, although not recorded, that they eventually used this faculty in preaching to heathens. As to the day of Pentecost; though the gift of tongues came upon the disciples when they were alone, yet it was immediately available to foreigners. It is an unwarranted assumption that these persons all understood a common language, or that to all of them at once Peter spoke on the same day without an interpreter. The most serious objections, however, to the opinion that the Glossolalia of the Corinthians was a speaking in foreign tongues are derived from what the apostle says about it in writing to them.
(1.) The phrase γλῶσσῃ λαλεῖν does not necessarily mean "to speak a foreign language;" but it is evidently tantamount (comp. Ac 10:46; Ac 19:6 with Ac 2:4). The statements in Acts ii are conclusive that these tongues in that case were vernacular with the polyglot audience.
(2.) The Glossolalia was unintelligible to everyone till interpreted (1Co 14:2). But this may only refer to the absence of any one with whom it was vernacular.
(3.) It is thought that this gift was used in individual prayer to God, and Paul, who possessed this gift above others, used it chiefly in secret can we understand this of a speaking to God in foreign tongues? But of this assumption there is little evidence.
(4.) The apostle places the Glossolalia in opposition, not to speaking in the vernacular tongue, but to speaking intelligibly, or ἐν ἀποκαλύψει ἢ ἐν γνώσει, ἢ ἐν προφητείᾷ, ἢ ἐν διδάχῃ (14:6). He likewise compares the glossai with foreign tongues, which assumes that they were not the same (ver. 10 sq.). But foreign languages surely are unintelligible, and in ver. 10 the wider term φωναί is used.
(5.) Had the apostle had the speaking of foreign tongues in view, he would have made the exercise of them dependent on the presence of those by whom they were understood, not on their bearing on the edification of the Church. But the latter could only I have been effected through the former. The other objections raised by Dr. Poor in the American edition of Lange's Commentary (ad loc.) are as little to the point.
(6.) So far as these phenomena bore on unbelievers, they were a sign of reprobation (ver. 11). But that was true only when no one was present to interpret.
(7.) Its special use was for the possessor's own benefit in prayer and praise. Such, certainly, was not the case on the day of Pentecost.
(8.) Any foreigner present who understood the language could have acted as interpreter without a special gift; but he would hardly have been accepted as an authoritative exponent in the Christian sense.
(9.) Corinth, being the resort of foreigners, had need of this gift less than other localities. On the contrary, this was the very reason why a polyglot was required.
(10.) Paul desired that all might have, this gift. This he might naturally wish, whatever were its nature.
(11.) The phrase "a tongue" seems to imply some individual peculiarity rather than an external demand. Rather it shows that the tongues were varied in different cases.
(12.) It is nugatory to ask such questions as, How was this speaking in different foreign tongues conducted? Did the gifted persons all speak at once? or did they speak one after the other? If the former, would not the confusion of sounds be such as to render their speaking a mere Babel? if the latter, would not a longer time have been requisite for the whole to speak than the conditions of the narrative allow us to suppose?
(13.) In fine, supposing the disciples to have spoken intelligibly to these people in their respective languages, why should they have appeared to any of the bystanders as men filled with new wine? Does not this imply an excited utterance and gesticulation altogether foreign to the case of men who had simply to tell their fellow men such truths as those which these disciples had to publish? These difficulties have been so magnified by some as to lead them to impugn the authenticity of the passage; while others have been induced by them to accept the hypothesis that the disciples spoke in Greek or Aramaic, but were miraculously understood by the hearers each in his own language. But they are mostly answered by the facts in the case, which certainly show that the speaking of foreign languages did sometimes attend the gift of tongues, if this was not its invariable and distinctive peculiarity.
We now turn to the consideration of the opinion that the tongues were new languages in the sense of being ecstatic utterances, inspired and dictated by the Holy Spirit, and of a kind above what the ordinary faculties of the individual could reach. We may pass by the opinion of Rossteuscher and Thiersch that these tongues were angel tongues, and that the gift consisted in the privilege of communing with God as the angels do; for this is a mere conjecture without any foundation in the statements of the apostle, the allusion in 1Co 13:1 to the "tongues of angels" being merely a rhetorical device to heighten the contrast the apostle is instituting. Schulz restricts the tongues to ecstatic utterances of praise to God; but this is too narrow a view, as is evident from 14:13-17. Neander thus describes the state of the speaker with tongues — "The soul was immersed in devotion and adoration. Hence prayer, singing God's praise, testifying of the great doings of God, were suited to this state. Such a one prayed in the Spirit; the higher spiritual and emotional life predominated in him, but a development of the understanding was wanting. The consequence was that since out of his peculiar feelings and views he formed a peculiar language for himself, he wanted the facility of so expressing himself as to be understood by the mass" (Apostol. Zeitalt. 1, 179). Olshausen adopts substantially the same view, but he differs from Neander in supposing that the speaking of foreign languages was included in the speaking with tongues. Meyer understands by "the γλῶσσαις λαλεῖν such devotional utterances in petition, praise, and thanksgiving as were so ecstatic that the action of the person's own understanding was suspended, while the tongue, ceasing to be the organ of the individual reflection, acted independently of this, as it was moved by the Holy Ghost." Hence he thinks the term γλῶσσα came to be applied to this gift, the tongue acting, as it were, independently of the understanding and for itself. Hence, also, he accounts for the use of the plural γλῶσσαις λαλεῖν and the γένηγλωσσῶν, as in such a case there would doubtless be varieties of utterances, arising from differences of degree, direction, and impulse in the ecstasy. The German interpreters in general regard it as being an ecstatic power of speech, the result of the man's being lifted out of himself and made to give utterance in broken, fragmentary, excited outbursts of thoughts and feelings, especially of rapturous devotion, beyond the ordinary range of humanity. Some think that there is an allusion to such ecstatic devotions in the στεναγμοῖς ἀλαλήτοις of Ro 8:26. We cannot but think such a view abhorrent to the spirit of intelligent Christianity. SEE TONGUES, GIFT OF.
(8.) Interpretation of Tongues (ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν). As the γλῶσσα transcended the νοῦς, it could be made to convey edification to the hearers only as it was explained (by translation or otherwise); and for this purpose the Holy Spirit gave some persons the faculty of comprehending it, and thereby of giving its meaning to others. This gift sometimes was bestowed on the same person that had the gift of tongues.
8. Such were the gifts of the Spirit enjoyed by the primitive Church. They were different and variously distributed according to the sovereign will of the giver. But amid all this diversity the Church remained one the indivisible body of Christ pervaded and influenced by the one Spirit of all grace. Hence all these gifts were to be subordinated to the end of edifying the Church, and, more than all of them, charity was to besought (1Co 12:11-31).
9. Literature. — The commentaries on 1 Corinthians of Meyer, Olshausen, Billroth, Osiander, and Kling; De Wette's Excursus on Acts 2; Neander, Apostol. Zeitalt. vol. 1; Henderson, Lectures on Inspiration; Bleek, in the Studien u. Kritiken for 1829, 1830; Wieseler, in the Studien u. Kritiken for 1838; Schulz, in the Studien u. Kritiken for 1839; Thiersch, Kirche im apostol. Zeitalt.; Rossteuscher, Gabe d. Sprachen im apostol. Zeitalt. 1850. SEE GIFTS, SPIRITUAL.