Speaking In Tongues
By D. N. JACKSON
I have chosen to speak on the subject, “Speaking in Tongues.” In dealing with this subject, as with all other Bible Questions, we must be honest with God, the Bible and ourselves. We must allow the Bible to be our standard of faith and practice. Our purpose is not necessarily to show that people who claim nowadays to be endued with the power to speak in tongues are mistaken, but to point out in the Bible itself what is taught along this line. Of course, we maintain that- no such gift is bestowed upon any people today, which fact we will also sustain by the Scriptures before finishing this discourse. So lay aside all prejudice, if you have any, and let us seek the truth between the lids of the Bible.
The tongues movement, as set forth by some in modern times, had an outbreak in the second century, A. D., and again in the fourth; then occasionally it experienced a spasmodic uprising until it sought to form itself into a sect, in 1830-35, under the leadership of Edward Irving, of London, a Presbyterian minister who made an effort to restore the apostolic gifts. He called his sect the Apostolic Catholic Church. His movement finally ended in disaster. The Latter Day Rain or Tongues Movement then emerged, teaching that the sole evidence of the baptism of the Spirit of God is “speaking in tongues.” In more recent times similar movements have sprung up. It might be well to call attention to the fact that only a very few people in all the days of Bible times ever spoke in tongues in a miraculous manner. Not once from righteous Abet to Malachi do we read of a Bible character being so endued as to speak in a foreign language without having gained some knowledge of it. We do not read where Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel or any of the Bible patriarchs or prophets ever spoke in “tongues,” although God did give Daniel knowledge to interpret the strange hand writing on the palace wall of Belshazzar. Yet these men walked with God, talked with Him and went forth as His servants doing His biddings. Looking again through the Old Testament, we fail to find one type or symbol, rite or ceremony, either in the Tabernacle or later in the Temple, either in religious worship or work, that in anyway is the least foreshadowing of tongues, al- though every truth essential to the work and worship of God today was in some way embodied in an Old Testament picture. However, in Psalm 68:18 prophetic mention is made of gifts coming to men, but the gift of tongues is not mentioned.
But what about Isaiah 28:11? cries the tongues theorist. All right, we will examine it in the light of its meaning. Here it is: “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” While that is the best that can be produced for the tongues theory in the Old Testament, it has no bearing at all on the question under discussion. The meaning is clear. God had taught the people the right way by the prophets in their own language, but refusing to heed the counsels of God through the prophets, the Lord permitted the people to be carried away into a foreign country where they were spoken to by people in a foreign tongue –“For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.”
The Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah in his first letter to the Corinthians, Chap. 14:21 – “In the law it is written, with men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for, all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.” Yes, the prophets instructed, reproved and corrected the people by divine authority, but they became so disobedient that God allowed them to be taken into the Babylonian captivity. Then they had a people to teach, correct and reprove them, whose language they did not understand, and yet for all this, they did not humble themselves before their Maker that their affliction might be removed. Only a comparatively small number returned to Jerusalem through repentance. The passage is wholly foreign to the claim of the tongues people today, because – God promised to speak in a foreign language through a foreign people to the captives of Israel. It was God speaking by means of foreigners and by way of punishment to a disobedient people, not the people themselves speaking. To suit the modern tonguers, the Scripture should read that the people themselves were endued with power to speak in the foreign language, but they could not speak it unless they learned it.
God used the affair as a whip of chastisement on account of the people’s disobedience. If this is taken as a proof-text for the tonguers, then it proves too much for them, as it would make them out as a group of disobedient children of God being severely punished for their rejection of the truth. Which horn of the dilemma will they take hold of?
New Testament Characters
Coming to the New Testament, the new dispensation is opened by the-ministry of John the Baptist, who not one time ever spoke in “tongues,” neither did those pious old saints before John came on the stage of action. Zacharias, who prayed with such power that an angel visited him from heaven; Elizabeth, mighty in faith; blessed old Simeon, waiting ,and praying in the Temple that he might live to see the Deliverer of Israel; Anna, a sweet spirited old soul, the prophetess who served God day and night in the Temple; and others, still no mention is made at all of any of them speaking in “tongues”. And what shall we further say of Jesus himself and His disciples while He ministered personally on earth? Not a one of them ever spoke in “tongues” so long as their Master was on earth.
Jesus sent His disciples forth with power against evil spirits and diseases, but not once did He tell them to speak in “tongues”. In Matthew 10:19, He says to them: “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” This was not speaking in “tongues,” or other languages, but the Spirit of God enabling them to speak the truth at the right time, in the right way, in their own language. In other words, they would be inspired of God to speak for Him, employing the exact words which He would give them. The Bible having been given by inspiration and 9 completed when John on the Isle of Patmos wrote the book of Revelation, ministers do not now speak as directly inspired of God. Hence the Apostle Paul enjoins upon us to “study to show thyself approved of God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Ministers now, while they may have the presence and help of the Holy Spirit, yes, indeed, His very presence, must, study if they are able to divide the word aright. Most any divide the word, but only those who prayerfully study it can RIGHTLY divide it. Some may say all they have to do to preach is to open their mouth without studying, and God will fill it. Yes, it will be filled, but as a rule it is with “hot air”. Yes, study the Bible, pray to God and you will have His blessed Spirit’s presence to aid you in rightly understanding it and dividing it as you present it.
Tongues in the Bible
In Mark 16-17 we find a promise that “new tongues” would be spoken, which we find fulfilled on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ. The gift of tongues was one sign that was to follow the believers, not that they would be endued to perform miracles after the closing of the apostolic age, but that the signs would follow them as a monument to their faith. For instance, the heroic struggles of Washington and his army still follow the American people as a sign of their liberty and glorious heritage, but we are not now fighting the battles of this Revolution fought in the Eighteenth Century. So while miracles as a gift to men ceased with the Bible characters, the signs of a supernatural power still follow God’s children as a token of their faith based on miraculous power.
But some may urge that the gift of tongues is included in the promise recorded in Acts 2:38 – “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
How unfair it would be to impose on that quotation the gift of tongues. Not a word is said about tongues, neither does the language demand this gift. If it does, then EVERYBODY who repented would be enabled to speak in tongues, whereas we know, as the Bible so manifestly explains, the gift of tongues came to only a few of God’s children.
The “gift of the Holy Spirit” is inclusive, if implying whatever God may bestow upon a believer as an endowment; to all believers the gift of service is bestowed, and this is extended to “even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (verse 39), and this holds good today as well as in the apostolic times, but special gifts of miracles were extended to certain believers during the days of the apostles closing with the ministry of John who wrote the book of Revelation. In this light Paul says: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit” (I. Cor. 12:4). Notice, if you please, Peter says that ALL who repented would receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit,” not gifts. The gift of God’s Spirit is extended to us today, but not gifts of miracles.
However, in the light of the promise of God in verses 38 and 39 as reflected in other passages, the “gift of the Holy Spirit” does not primarily imply a spiritual endowment for service, but the possession of the Spirit himself in His quickening power, that is, salvation or eternal life, which is received at the instance of repentance of sin and faith in Christ as one’s Saviour. John says: “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:25). Paul says: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). This gracious gift, not dependent on baptism or good works, is extended through the quickening power of God’s Spirit, as says Paul: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). This promise is all inclusive as touching the races of men, for it was extended to the Jews and their descendants, “and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” It is another way of saying: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
Instances of Tongues
The four and only instances in the Bible where tongues were spoken are found three times in the book of Acts and once at Corinth, as recorded in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. To be more explicit, here are the four times “tongues” were used:
1. At Pentecost Acts 2:4: “They . . . began to speak with other tongues”.
2. At Caesarea, Acts 10:46: “They heard them speak with tongues”.
3. At Ephesus, Acts 19:6: “And they spake with tongues.”
4. At Corinth, 1. Cor., Chapters 12-14, where the gift of tongues was exercise.
The use of ‘tongues” on these four different occasions is clearly seen. At Pentecost the church, which was then composed of Jews, was blessed by the Lord bestowing this gift upon the members. But the Jews alone must not lay claim to the gift, for in the second instance of the use of tongues, the gift was manifested about eight years’ after Pentecost by those in the Gentile household of Cornelius, at Caesarea, and Acts 10:45, 46 says the Jews “were astonished, as’ many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentile also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost, for they heard them speak with tongues.”
In the third instance, about twelve or fifteen years after Peter had preached to the household of Cornelius, the “twelve disciples” at Ephesus were given the power to speak with tongues, Acts 19:1-7. These twelve disciples were in some way followers of John the Baptist, claiming they had been baptized unto John’s baptism. Of course John had not baptized them, and John’s baptism was Christian, as that was the only kind Jesus and His apostles ever received, but still there was some misunderstanding, and after Paul had led them to the truth, they were baptized in water and received the miraculous gift of the Spirit to speak in tongues. The Jewish church at Pentecost, the Gentiles at Caesarea and now the former disciples of John living at Ephesus received the gift of tongues. No discrimination is shown by the Lord.
And then, in the last instance, we see the gifts exercised by certain members of the Corinthian church, although this gift had been abused by this church as the Lord’s Supper had been. The city of Corinth was given over to idolatry, and the people of the city outside of the church had given themselves over to demon-worship. Many of the heathen Corinthians spoke in “tongues” in adoration of their goddess, Venus. The Corinthian church was composed, in the main, of converted demon-worshipers, and certain ones of the church fell into the abuse of the power to speak in tongues, and while some enabled to manifest in a true way the gift of God in contradistinction to the idolatrous practice, others abused it. Paul wrote to correct this abuse as he did concerning the Lord’s Supper. Now we can clearly see the use of tongues in all four instances, and why Paul had to correct the abuses at Corinth, for he said in I Cor. 12:31 that he would show unto them a more excellent way.
Meaning of Tongues
But now let us answer the question: “What is meant by speaking in tongues?” The answer is easy according to the Bible. By a tongue is meant a language, and those who were endued with power to speak in tongues spoke in other Languages – foreign languages, if you please. Let us prove this statement by the Bible itself, and if so, that should forever settle the question.
Open your Bible to Acts 2:4. It says: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The original Greek from which this was translated is lalein heterais glossais, and is defined by standard lexicons as meaning foreign tongues or languages. But it is also so explained by the Bible itself. Read verse 6: “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” The original word translated “language” in this verse is dialektos, which means “language or tongue peculiar to any people.” Verse 6, then, explains what is meant by verse 4, the “other tongues” of verse 4 being foreign languages. But to clinch the nail beyond any question of doubt, read verse 8: “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, WHEREIN WE WERE BORN.” Notice, the people of God spoke in tongues or languages in which others were born, that is, their vernacular, or mother tongue, if you please. You and I were born in the English tongue, the French were born in the French tongue, and the Spanish were born in the Spanish tongue. By this you can clearly see that they were speaking in a language, an intelligible speech which was understood by sinners who were converted to God through it.
This Scripture says that the people at Jerusalem, Jewish sinners who had come to attend the Feast of Pentecost, heard, notice HEARD the disciples of the Lord. They not only heard a noise but they could understand what was said. The same word here translated “hear” or “heard” is used in Romans 10:14—“How shall, they HEAR without a preacher?” The speech was intelligible.
Honestly and to be sincere before your God, those of you who say you speak in tongues today, are you speaking in a tongue or language that some one can understand—can hear? An unintelligible jabbering is not the sort of tongues speaking done by the New Testament saints. It was a miracle of the tongue, the speakers being enabled to speak in languages spoken by the people who had come to Jerusalem. Now if you do not speak in a language, you are not speaking like they did, for a confused mumbling of incoherent words or sentences is not like the divine pattern, and therefore cannot be of God, for the Bible says God is not the author of confusion.
This is in line with the other instances of tongues speaking in the Bible. In the case of the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius, they spoke with tongues, lalein glossais, used here, however, as a participle, “heard them speaking (lalounton) with tongues.” This, like the Pentecost affair, was an intelligible language, or tongue, not a mere jargon. And so it was at Ephesus, the twelve disciples spoke in a tongue which was intelligible. It, too, was lalein glossais. The same use of words with a slight variation to take care of the different form.
The “Unknown” Tongue
But some may be asking right now, “Did not the Corinthians speak in an UNKNOWN- tongue?” Turn now to I Cor. 14th Chapter, if you please. Are you ready with your Bible opened? read verse 2: “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.”
Look closely at the word “unknown.” Do you not see that it is printed in a different kind of type to the other words of the verse? That is called italics, and the word is thus printed also in verses 4, 13, 14, 19 and 27. Read them. When you see a word in your Bible printed in italics, it means that it was supplied by the translators because there was no word for it in the original Greek from which your Bible and mine were translated. I have before me as I speak Wescott and Hort’s Greek New Testament, that is, the New Testament in the original Greek language, and there is no word in the verses just named to be translated “unknown.
So there is no such thing in the Bible as an “unknown tongue.” Do not ever say again that your Bible or “my Bible,” says “unknown tongue.” Your Bible says-nothing of the kind, the translators putting that little word “unknown” before tongue in Corinthians, but the Lord who inspired the Apostle Paul to write that letter in the Greek language did not furnish any word meaning “unknown” before the word tongue.
No one can speak in an “unknown” tongue for the reason no such thing could possibly exist. If it were unknown, it could not be a tongue or language. As in the New Testament instances of speaking in other tongues, the tongues were unknown to the speakers, as God gave them a gift to speak in the languages, but they are not unknown to the hearers, for the Pentecostal – people said- “How hear we every man in his own tongue, wherein we were born?” They could not have been born in an unknown tongue.
But you may say: “Does not Paul explain In verse 2, Chapter 14, of I Corinthians: “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God?” Certainly so, as it was at Corinth. Now just forget the word “unknown,” because that word is not in the original Bible language. The reason Paul said the Corinthians spoke not to men but to God in tongues was that they all spoke the same language there, and if any one should exercise the gift of tongues, then they would not be speaking to men, for none there could understand, but to God, for He alone would know the language the speaker was using. For instance, if it were possible for one to speak in another
tongue in one of our English speaking churches in our city, or elsewhere, perhaps not one of them would understand it. While Paul did not strictly forbid the exercise of the gift even at Corinth still he said for no one to speak in a foreign language unless there was present on who interpret it. He also said: “In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue,” that is, in another language. Notice that Paul says “in the church,” meaning people joined together there at Corinth, who spoke the same language.
Furthermore, Paul says in verse 9: “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” There you have it from the mouth of the apostle himself. When you speak so that people cannot understand, you speak into the air, which means when a person hops up and carries on in an unintelligible, performance, he is wasting his efforts in the air. That is what Paul says, not D. N. Jackson. And be fair with your people and your God and with me, and do not say that D. N. Jackson is making an unjust charge, for I am quoting the Bible, neither say that D. N. Jackson is taking from the Bible because he says the word “unknown” before tongue is not in the Bible. Get you an American Standard Version of the Bible and see if I am not telling the truth, if you can not check up on it in the original Greek. The word “unknown” is NOT in the Bible in connection with the word “tongue.” IT IS NOT THERE.
The Purpose of Tongues
The true purpose of speaking in other tongues shows beyond a question of doubt that the tongues speaking was not done in a so-called-unknown tongue, for Paul says: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (I Cor. 14:22). What good would jabbering do a sinner? If a sinner were present who spoke another language, then the speaker would do him good by preaching the gospel to him in his language, as was done on the day of Pentecost, but why preach in another language when no, one present can understand it? Paul says such would be speaking in the air. Preaching and worshiping are for a purpose, not wind-beating.
Women and Tongues
The Lord strictly commanded women not to speak in tongues in the Corinthian church. Paul says by inspiration of the Lord: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (I Cor. 14:34).
Women forbidden to speak? Yes, but what sort of speaking is meant? They were forbidden to speak in tongues. That is what Paul is talking about. It does not forbid them testifying of their love of God, or singing in church, for certainly a woman could not sing if she had to keep total silence. What is meant is that women were forbidden to speak in tongues in the Corinthian church. So if you see a woman pretending to be speaking in tongues, in the first place, she is not speaking in a tongue now; but if she should be, she is violating the plain word of God. Paul says: “It is a shame for women to speak in the church,” meaning, as already explained to speak in tongues. A shame for a woman to speak in tongues in the church. In no sense can any one twist the meaning of Joel’s prophecy recorded in its fulfillment in Acts 2:17, saying: “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” to mean that women should speak in tongues, for that prophecy says absolutely nothing about tongues. It does say they shall prophesy, but Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, distinguishes between prophecy and tongues– He that prophesieth speaketh unto men unto edification” (I Cor. 14:3), whereas speaking in tongues where no one present could understand meant one would be merely speaking to God, and, as explained by Paul, so far as doing others any good is concerned, it was speaking in the air. For his own good, he was not speaking in the air but to God; but so far as the good of others was concerned, it was speaking to the wind.
Regarding Joel’s prophecy and its fulfillment to the effect that women shall prophesy, we call attention to the fact that the exercise of this gift by women on the day of Pentecost or afterwards was no sign of their ever having done so as “ordained” ministers. Neither by precept nor example in the New Testament are churches authorized to “ordain” women to preach, although they have the right to proclaim or testify to the love and goodness of God. They have a function in the Lord’s work which none should dare take from them. (See Acts 18:26; Phil. 4:3.)
Ceasing of Tongues
The gift of tongues must serve out its purpose and then cease. Some hungry souls are misled by the plea that if they will go far enough with God, they will come into possession of the gift to speak in tongues. Be not deceived, for it matters not how close you walk with God now, you will never speak with other tongues as a miraculous gift from God.
We believe in a close walk with God; we believe in the power of God as strongly as any man, but after tongues have ceased, then God will not bestow the gift. It is not necessary to have the gift of tongues in order to live close to God. Enoch walked so close to God that he was taken on to a better home, still we do not read where he ever spoke in tongues. Do you think you will ever walk closer to God than Enoch? Noah walked with God, was moved by fear to prepare an ark to the saving of his house, still we do not read where he ever spoke in tongues. Are we better than Noah? Joseph, whose life is the very symbol of purity and honor, and who was exalted from the walks of a slave to the governorship of a great country, still no mention is made of his speaking in tongues. Are we closer to God than Joseph? Moses walked with God so closely that he forsook the wealth, pleasures, social life and political fortunes of the richest country in the world at that time to endure sufferings for Jehovah. Nowhere do we read where he spoke in tongues. David, a man after God’s own heart, and the sweet singer in Israel, whose melodious strains of music seem to cause all nature to stop to listen, walked so close to his Maker that he breathed his soul into heaven’s parting skies, yet no mention is made of his ever having spoken in tongues. And leaping across a vast period of time, we behold that tender, loving John, who leaned so closely upon the bosom of his Master, we see him on the lonely, craggy brow of Patmos Island looking through the celestial doors standing ajar, but not one time in that finishing book of revelation did he say a solitary word about tongues. If it is so essential that you have the gift of tongues, why, 0 why, is it so noticeably overlooked by the inspired writers?
All missionaries who go to foreign fields must study the language of the people to whom they go before they can preach in the language. Surely if any one is close to God a foreign missionary should be, and yet not one of them can speak in the language except he studies and learns it. But on the day of Pentecost, Peter and others spoke in the languages and dialects of the seventeen different nations represented at that Pentecostal festivity. So if the missionaries have to learn foreign languages before they can speak them, why do you think you have to speak in tongues as a sign of your close walk with God? But you may say you do not talk in a foreign language. I am sure you are right, but whatever it may be, do you think it is more important for you to speak in an unintelligible jabbering than for a foreign missionary to speak in a different language to win souls to Christ? Think of it, my friends, and stand by a sensible viewpoint in the interpretation of the Holy Word of God.
Let the proponents of the tongues theory produce one unmistakable proof of their claim today. It is not sufficient for some old woman or some weak-minded man to arise in a congregation of English-speaking people and deliver some strange jargon and call it an “unknown tongue” to be interpreted by some other weak-minded fanatic. This sort of thing is a travesty upon the Christian profession rather than a commendation.
In Shelby county, Iowa, September 20, 1877, “during an evening prayer service,” while the “gifts” were being enjoyed by a congregation claiming to possess them, a sister arose in the large audience and “spoke in tongues.” When she sat down, a brother Preacher) gave the “interpretation” but another minister not being satisfied with the effort, said: “Brethren, if you will pray for me I will give you the interpretation of Sister J’s tongue, for the Spirit says that Bro. J. did not give it,” and then proceeded to give the interpretation. Comment is unnecessary, as we are sure the Holy Spirit did not cross Himself up that way.
But when does the Bible say the gift of tongues will cease? Read I Corinthians 13:8-10: “Charity (love) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
Tongues shall cease. When? “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” Tongues were in part, as all did not possess this gift. Read I Cor. 12:4, 10: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit . . . To another divers kinds of tongues.”
When that which is perfect is come, – notice it says THAT, not He who is Perfect. This does not refer to the coming of Christ, but to the time when the Bible – the complete and perfect revelation of God is to come. When Paul wrote the Corinthians, the Bible had not all been written, but when John wrote the book of Revelation, then the full and complete and perfect thing had come the miraculous gifts to men, including, tongues, ceased. In 2 Timothy 3:16; 17, Paul tells us the Scriptures are the complete and perfect revelation of God, a book based upon miraculous power, and in which we have all the evidence necessary to the knowledge of a miraculous revelation from God to man.
Paul, in the closing verse of Chapter 12 of I Corinthians, says: “Covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” That more excellent way is channeled in love as the endless grace of God. After stating in Chapter 13 that the things done in part should cease it the coming of the perfect thing, Paul settles down to say: “And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13). Notice, NOW, not when Christ comes, NOW abideth faith, hope and love, these THREE. If tongues still abide as a gift to the church, then Paul was wrong by counting only THREE. He should have said: “Now abideth faith, hope, love and tongues, these FOUR.” But he said “these three,” and the three do not include tongues.
In conclusion, let me admonish you to be sensible with your religious views. Yes, I truly believe in God’s precious presence, in His mighty power enabling us to go forth as brave soldiers of the cross and unfurl the banner of Prince Immanuel even with hands dripping with martyr’s blood and with a soul aflame with His Illuminating love, but do not impose yourself on the high honor and dignity of the Christian profession by claiming to possess certain miraculous gifts from God when no such gifts are bestowed today. By living close to our Lord we will be soul winners for Him, and we may even shout His Praise and grow up to full manhood in His work.
We may be mighty in works but not in miracles. Jesus says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).
A greater work we may do now because it is eminently greater to raise a soul from the spiritual grave than to raise his body from the earthly grave, or effect a cure of his disease. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,” says Paul to people who had been raised from the spiritual grave, which is the greatest work known to man. I had rather be a genuine soul winner for my Lord than to be king or ruler of the nations of the earth. The only way you and I can cast out devils today is by preaching the gospel and, letting people be saved by the grace of God, and no one can any more readily possess the gift of speaking in tongues today than he can possess the power to raise a dead body or cast out devils.
“On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”