Acts. ii. 1-4.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as office, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
"When the day of Pentecost" here "was fully come," (ver.1,) "they were all filled," says the text, (ver. 4,) "and began to speak." Now the day is fully come again; we also are " full of matter," as Elihu told Job, and we must speak. For it is a day of tongues, a day to speak in, and a day to speak of too, to speak magnolia in it, and of it, of the great things of God, and the great things of the day, "the wonderful works of God," which were this day wrought by the descent of the Holy Spirit. To this end the Spirit descended, to this end the tongues came, to this end both appeared--that we might learn to use our tongues and spirits to set forth his praise, every one according as the Spirit gives him utterance, according to the gift and place that God has given him: we, as the apostles and ministers of the Spirit; you, as disciples to be taught by us; you, to ask with those hearers (ver. 37), "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"--we, as S. Peter (ver.38), to tell you what to do; we, faithfully to preach the [256/257] word, "the remission of sins, and the gifts of the holy Ghost" ver. 38). You "gladly to receive, it (ver. 41); we to begin the anthem, you to make the chorus for the service of this day's solemnity; both of us to hear our parts to-day in praises and thanksgivings, for the benefits we receive from this day's business.
We base the last year begun to speak of it out of this text; We begin again to speak of it hence this year, shall do as the Spirit shall give us utterance. To hold our peace to-day were to sin against the Spirit, who this day gave us all our tongues to speak; and I hope nor we nor you will be silent of his glory; no such evil shall befal us.
For a day of good tidings it is, was so when it came first, will be so now it is come again, and whenever it comes about; was so to the disciples, will be so, I hope, to us to hear the voice of a Comforter, to see his appearance, or but hear of it. The text is the story of it, the relation of the coming of the Comforter, the descent of the Holy Ghost. In it, when time was, we observed these four particulars:-
1. The disposition of them the Spirit comes upon.
11. The way, and manner, and order he comes after.
111. The effect and issue that comes upon it. And,
IV. The time when it came to pass.
I. The disposition of those the Spirit comes upon is such as makes much to be of one accord, that brings them all to one place, upon such days as Pentecost, on the solemn feasts; makes them then and there sit quietly and orderly expect-ing Christ; a unanimous, Church-like, orderly, devout, and religious disposition. Upon such, and such only, is it that the Holy Spirit comes.
II. The way, manner, and order of his coming, is as a "mighty wind," and like as " fire." Suddenly he came; came (1) as a sound, as a sound from heaven, as a sound of a "rush-ing mighty wind," and such a one too as " filled all the house." Came (2) as fire, as tongues of fire, as "cloven tongues" of fire; such fire yet as sate upon them and did no hurt, heavenly and celestial fire. Thus he came to-day.
III. The effect and issue is filling; the filling of all that then were present with ghost and spirit, Holy Ghost and Spirit; then with words, and tongues, and speech, even [257/258] according to the measure or pleasure of the Spirit. This the issue of the Holy Spirit's coming,--fulness, and spirit, and ability, and utterance; new hearts and new spirits, new languages, and sobriety to use them.
1V. The time, the time of Pentecost, when it "was fully come," when all was ready, persons, and place, and time, fully disposed and fit; then comes the Holy Spirit, then came all these things to pass. I put this last, though it stands first, that I might close up all at least in good time and order.
There wants nothing now, O blessed Spirit, to go on and finish, but that thou shouldst come and order all our thoughts and spirits, that we may humbly receive the sound of thy holy word; that I, thy servant, may have utterance, this thy people give thee audience, all of us obedience, and all our hearts and tongues be so thoroughly heated with thy holy fire, that they may be filled with thy praise and honour all the day long!
That we may do so, here are tongues given in the text,---"cloven tongues, as it were, of fire;" there we left, there we begin again, at the second way and manner of the Holy Spirit's coming down to-day. And "there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sate upon each of them." Where, (1,) of the order; (2,) of the ap-pearance; (3,) of the manner itself; and, lastly--of the con-tinuance of it.
For the order, (i.) it is the second way of the Spirit's coming here: first in the wind, then in the fire. The holy fire within us is not kindled but with a mighty wind; the divine spark, or soul, cannot be blown up into a fire till some mighty wind has shaken all our powers, blown off the dust and ashes, those earthly, worldly affections that choked and covered it, till it has raised a tumult in all the corners of us, dispersed the vanities and. irregularities of all our motions, and scattered everything that hindered it from the obedience to the Spirit; then, and not till then, the fire bursts forth, and, as the Psalmist, we speak with our tongues.
For the order (ii.) is the same between the "sound" and the "tongues." The "sound" first, the "tongues " second. We are first to hear before we speak, so the Spirit's order tells us here. Not turn teachers at the first dash; not [258/259] presume to teach others before we are thoroughly taught ourselves; that is none of the Spirit's way of teaching, how spiritual soever they think themselves that do so; that speak what they have neither seen nor heard, their own fancies and imaginations, the devisings of their own hearts, such as the Christian world never heard before, whereof there is not so much as the sound, or anything sounding like it, in all the writings of the Church.
The sound too (iii.) before the fire. The Spirit manifests itself by degrees, first more obscurely to the ear, then more evidently to the eye. "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear," says Job; that was a favour: "but now mine eye seeth thee"- that is a greater. The Spirit comes by degrees. God's favours rise upon us in order. There comes first "a great and strong wind that rends the mountains and breaks in pieces the rocks" before him, that throws down our mountainous thoughts and projects, breaks them all in pieces, crosses our designs, thwarts them with some great affliction or some strange thing or other, breaks our very hearts, our stony hearts; then follows an earthquake in all our faculties; we begin to shake and tremble with the fear of the Almighty; then comes the fire and burns up all the chaff, scorches our very bones, and warns us even at the heart; whereupon presently there issues out "a still small voice" out of our lips, the "tongues" follow upon the "fire," or are even with it. This was signified to us thus by God's appearing to Elijah, and the same order the holy Spirit of God uses here to the Apostles; the same method still he keeps with us. For he thrusts not in upon us unprepared; he makes himself a way into us, gives us not so clear an evidence as seeing him at the first, not till the "sound" has well awakened us, and the wind well brushed and cleansed our houses for him. Yet then appear he does.
For we now presently hear of his appearance. "There appeared tongues." The "manifestation of the Spirit," says S. Paul, "is given to every man to profit withal." Not the "Spirit" only, but the "manifestation" too. If the spirit with-out some manifestation. If the spirit be an extraordinary spirit the manifestation will be so too; if it be but ordinary the manifestation will be no more.
[259/260](i.) If God sends any with au extraordinary commission to preach or teach, he enables them with an extraordinary spirit, appears with them after some extraordinary fashion; tongues, or miracles, or sonic high heavenly fires come with them. They but blaspheme the Spirit, and usurp upon the office, who take it upon them without such a warrant; they "run without sending,'' says God; their tongues are but their own, and,--howsoever those perverse fellows in the infer they are "they that ought to speak, who is Lord over them?"- they ought not to speak, there is a Lord over them, whatever they think, that will one day call then to account, and make them know it; their fire they bring is but Nadab's and Abihu's; their zeal, without knowledge; they have no tongue but what their mother taught them, the Holy Spirit has taught them none, made no appearance to them either by "fire" or by " tongues;" they are filled with some other spirit, the spirit of pride, of division, or rebellion, or some- what worse; where the Spirit sends with au extraordinary commission, it will appear by some gift extraordinary and miraculous, -somewhat at will appear.
But (ii.) if our mission be but ordinary, the ordinary way that the Spirit has now left in the power and authority of the Church will be sufficient; yet that must appear too, our authority appear thence; our tongues serve to it too, to "the edifying of the Church," to the building of it up, not to the pulling of it down. Every gift of the Holy Spirit is to have its manifestation, tongues and interpretation, and prayer, and prophecy, and all the rest, yet all in order. Every one to employ, not hide his talent; he who has a ministry, to wait on that; he that is to exhort, to attend to that; he that is to teach, to busy himself in that, though "all according to proportion," all to appear to the glory of God.
Yet, even those saving graces of the Spirit are not always to be kept within, they are to appear in "tongues" or ''fire," so shine that others may glorify, so speak and act that others seeing our good conversation may be affected with it, and persuaded to grace and virtue by it. The Spirit is not given to be hid under a bushel; the wind cannot, the fire will not, the tongue is not usual to be kept in so. They all appeared here after their way, the "wind" after its way, [260/261] the "tongues" and "fire" after theirs; in this verse to the sight, the most certain of the senses, that we might not be deceived by pretended spirits, might have somewhat manifest to judge by, to tell us that the graces of the Spirit, whether those for edification of others, or sanctification of ourselves, are for manifestation, to appear to others as well as to our-selves; we receive them to that purpose, to profit others and to approve ourselves.
These may serve for reasons why the Spirit appears: but why the Spirit appears now first, and not before; now first visibly to the world, is worth inquiry. And it is, to show the preeminence of the Gospel above the Law. That stood only in "meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances," says the Apostle; was but "the law of a carnal commandment:" the Gospel is a law of spirit and life: the law of Moses a dead, a "killing letter," but the Gospel of Christ a "quickening Spirit;" the law a course of shadows, the Gospel only the true light. It will appear so by the next particular we are to handle--the manner of his appearing. In tongues, in Cloven tongues, in "tongues as it were of fire." I shall invert the order, for the fire it is that gives light unto the tongues to make them for to appear. Of the fire, then, first, to show them the better.
For the Spirit to appear as wind or breath is nothing strange. It carries them in its name. Spiritus a spirando, every one can tell you. But that this breath should not only blow up a fire, but be itself also blown into it, the Spirit here appear as fire, that is somewhat hard at first, perhaps, to understand: yet you shall see many good reasons for it. Four great ones I shall give you, which comprehend more under them: (1.) To show the analogy and corre-spondence of God's dealings and dispensations, how they agree both with themselves and with one another. (2.) To insinuate to us the nature and condition of the Holy Spirit. (3.) To signify the several gifts and graces of it. (4.) To declare its operations also and effects.
(1) The Holy Ghost here appeared like fire, (i.) that we might see it is the same God that gave both Law and Gospel, the same Spirit in both Testaments. The Law was promulgated by fire; "the Lord descended" on Mount Sinai then [261/262] "in fire." The Gospel also here is first divulged by tongues as it were of fire, in Mount Sion. The difference only is that there were here no lightnings, thunders, clouds, or smoke, as there were there; nothing terrible, nothing dark or gloomy here; all light, and peace, and glory.
(ii.) Under the Old 'Testament, the Prophets oft were commissionated by fire to their offices; the Angel takes a live coal from off the altar and lays it upon Isaiah's mouth. Elijah the prophet " stood up as fire." Ezekiel's first vision was of appearances of fire. The commissions therefore of the Apostles were drawn here also, as it were, with pens of fire, that they might the more lively answer and the better express the Spirit of the prophets.
(iii.) That the nature of the law they were to preach might he expresses too. It was the law of love, and the holy fire of charity was it they were sent to kindle in the world.
(iv.) It was to teach them what they were to expect in the world themselves, fire and fagot, affliction and tribulation, the lot and portion both of them and of their followers ever since.
(v.) It was to teach them what they were to be, "burning and shining lights" to lead others into heaven.
Lastly. That so all righteousness, Law and Prophets, might he fulfilled, the types of the one and the promises of the other, from the first of them to the last, to S. John Baptist's, "that they should be baptized with the holy Ghost and with fire," that the fire that Christ came to send into the earth, and was then already kindled, might now burn out into the world. And all this to show the Almighty wisdom, who thus agreeably orders all his doings from the first unto the last, that we might with the greater confidence embrace the doctrine of the Gospel which so evenly consented with the Law, and was added only to bring it to perfection, to raise up the fire of devotion and charity to the height.
(2.) But not only to manifest the wisdom of the Father, and perform the promise of the Son, but, secondly, to intimate the nature of the Holy Spirit.
Fire (i.) is the purest element. The Holy Spirit is pure and incorruptible: "Thine incorruptible Spirit," says the wise man. No evil can dwell with it. It will not mingle with [262/263] human interests; by this you may know it from all other spirits. They intermix with private humours and self respects and great ones' fancies. The Holy Spirit is a fire, and will not mix, it must dwell alone; has not a tongue now for this, and then for that, to please men and ease itself; but is always pure and incorrupt.
Fire (ii.) is the subtilest element, it pierces into every part; and "whither can I go then from thy Spirit,'' says holy David; "if I climb up into heaven, thou art there; if I go down to hell thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also will it find me out." Darkness cannot cover me, thick darkness cannot hide me, night itself cannot conceal me from thee, O thou divine Spirit! Oh keep me, therefore, that I may do nothing that may make me ashamed and hide myself, seeing thy eyes will quickly pierce into me!
(iii.) Fire is an active nature, always stirring, always mov-ing. Nothing can be found better to express the nature of the Holy Spirit. It moved from the beginning, actuated the first matter into all the shapes we see, breathed an active principle into them all; renewed again the face of the earth when the waters had defaced it; blows, and the waters flow; blows again, and dries them up; guides the patriarchs, inspires the prophets, rests upon the governors of the people, from Moses to the seventy elders; gives spirit and courage to the martyrs. Non permanebit Spiritus meus in vagina, says God. My Spirit will not endure to be always as in a rusty sheath; it will be lightening the understanding, it will be warming the affections it will be stirring of the passions, it will be working in the heart, it will be acting in the hand, it will be moving in the feet, it will be quickening all the powers to the service of the Almighty; nothing so busy as this holy fire, nothing so active as this Spirit. Though the nature and essence of it cannot be fully expressed, it is thus very powerfully resembled.
(3.) The gifts of it more easily by this fire. Seven there are numbered of them out of Isaiah xi. 2: "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and [263/264] ghostly strength, the Spirit of knowledge and true god-liness, and the Spirit of holy fear," all very naturally re-presented to us by so many properties I shall observe to you of the fire. Fire, it ascends, it penetrates, it tries, it hardens, it enlightens, it warms, it melts. You have all these again in the seen gifts of the Spirit: for (i.) the Holy Spirit elevates our souls by the spirit of wisdom, cælestia sapere, as it is Col. iii. 2, to "those things that are above." Sapientia est rerum altissimarum, says the divine philosopher, "Wisdom is of things of the highest nature," of a high ascending strain. (ii.) It penetrates and pierces like the fire by the spirit of understanding, understands that which the spirit of man cannot understand, the very "things of God," pierces into them all. (iii.) It tries like fire, by the spirit of counsel and advice, teaches us to prove all things and choose the best. (iv.) It hardens us against all the evils that can befall us, as fire does the brick against all weather, by the spirit of fortitude and ghostly strength. (v.) It enlightens the darkness of our souls by the spirit of knowledge, teaches us to know the things that belong unto our peace, the ways and methods of salvation. (vi.) It heats the coldness of our affections by the spirit of piety and true godliness, inflames us with devotion and zeal to God's service. And (vii.) it softens our obdurate hearts by the spirit of holy fear, that we melt into tears and sights at the apprehension of God's displeasure, even as wax melteth before the fire. The highest, hardest, rockiest mountains melt and flow down at his pre-sence, when once his Spirit does but cast a ray upon them. These are the seven gifts of the Spirit represented to us by so many properties of the fire.
(l.) There are seven other operations and effects of the same Spirit, as lively also expressed by it, and make the fourth reason why the Holy Ghost appears under the sem-blance of "fire."
(i.) Fire it burns; and the Prophet Isaiah calls this Spirit a ''spirit of burning." It makes ''our hearts burn within us," as it did the disciples going to Emmaus; puts us to a kind of pain, raises sorrow and contrition in us, makes the scalding water gush out of our eyes; you may even feel it burn you.
[264/265] (ii.) With this burning it purifies and purges too. As things are purified by the fire, so are our spirits, and souls, and bodies purified by the Spirit.
(iii.) For purify it must needs; for it devours all the dross, the chaff, the hay, and stubble that is in us; purges our sins, burns up everything before it that offends, is a "consuming fire;" so is God, so is his Spirit.
(iv.) Yet, as it is a consuming, so it is a renewing fire. Fire makes things new again. And do but "send out thy Spirit, O Lord, and they are made;'' we are all made; for so it is that "thou renewest the face of the earth," the face of this dull earth of ours, by putting into it the Holy Spirit.
(v.) To this purpose it makes, that like as fire it separates things of divers natures, silver from tin, metals from dross. Separare heterogenea is one of the effects of fire, says the philosopher, to distinguish and divide between things of dif-ferent kinds. And Spiritus judicii et discretionis the prophet styles the Spirit; "a spirit of judgment" it is, a discerning spirit; teaches us to discern between dross and gold, truth and error, between good and evil, and without it we discern nothing. This the Apostle reckons as a peculiar donation of it, the " discerning of spirits."
(vi.) Yet, as it separates things of different natures, so it unites things of the same kind, just as the fire does several pieces of the same metal into one body. This Holy Spirit is a spirit of unity. They that "separate," they "have not the Spirit." Schisms and divisions, "strife, heresies, and seditious," are the works of the flesh, not of the Spirit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love and peace," says S. Paul there. And "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" we hear of too. Into one Spirit we are baptized all, for there is but one; "one Spirit, one body, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God," one all that are of God; nothing so contrary to the Holy Spirit as divisions of the members from the head, or from one another; a shrewd witness this against the spirits of our age, and an evidence that to what spirit soever they lay claim, they lay false claim to this, they belong hoot to this Spirit, which is so much for uniting all the parts of the body of Christ together.
(vii.) And this it can do when it sees its time; for, lastly, [265/266] it is an invincible Spirit; it bears down all before it; turns all into it; like the fire, of all the elements the most victorious and triumphant. There is no standing out against this Spirit; it is an almighty Spirit, that can do what it will: it inflames the air into a fire--vain, airy spirits into celestial flames of love and charity; it dries up the water, the raw waterish humours of our souls, and fixes all waverings and inconstancies; it burns up our earth, and all the grass and hay and sprouts whatever that stand against it; it sets whole houses all a-fire, sets us all a-fire for heaven and heavenly business. Thus it burns, it purifies, it consumes and renews again, it separates and it gathers, and it carries all before it; does what it will in heaven and earth; subdues sceptres, vanquishes kingdoms, converts nations, throws down infernal powers, and turns all into the obedience of Christ. To this purpose it is that it now also here comes in tongues;--the second manner we noted of his appearance. And that for three reasons: (1) nothing more convenient to express either our business, or him whose it is.
The tongue is the instrument of speech, the word is ex-pressed by it; Christ is the Word; the Holy Spirit, as it were, the tongue to express him,--comes to-day with an host of tongues to send this word abroad into all the world.
Nothing more necessary, for the Apostles were to be the preachers of it, had received a commission to go and preach, wanted yet their tongues, some new enablements, went not, therefore, till they were this day brought them; and a more necessary thing the Holy Ghost could not bring them for that purpose.
Yet they had need (2) be of fire, sharp, piercing tongues, like the little flames of fire, such as would pierce into the soul, reveal the inmost secrets of the heart" and spirits; and it seems, so they proved, "piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow."
Tongues of fire (3) to warm the cold affections of men into a love of Christ; every tongue is not able to do that; it must be a tongue set on fire from heaven that can do that. Tongues, and tongues of fire, sharp, piercing tongues, warm with heavenly heat, are the only tongues for the business of Christ.
[266/267] Yet "cloven" they must be too. It is not a single tongue will do it. The Apostles were to preach to the world, and in the world there were a world of tongues; that they might therefore so preach as to be understood, as many tongues were necessary to be given them, as there were people with whom they were to deal.
Behold the greatness of God's goodness here. Tongues were divided for a curse at first; lo, he turns them into a blessing; then they were sent to divide the world, now they are given to unite it; then they wrought confusion, now they are given to unite it. Thus God can turn our curses into blessings when he pleases. And fit it is that we then should turn our tongues to his praise and glory.
This we may do with one tongue alone; but they who would be preachers and teach others, had need of more. Tongues, though they come not now suddenly, like the wind, yet come they must as they can come, by our industry and God's blessing. God would not have sent so many tongues, if more than one had not been necessary for his work; though not now, perhaps, to preach, yet to understand surely what we preach. It is a bold adventure to presume to the office o£ a teacher with a single tongue. He is not able to teach children to spell true that knows no more, much less to spell the mysteries of the Gospel to men, who understands not so much as that one tongue he speaks, if he understand no more. Unless we be wiser than Christ and his Holy Spirit, we cannot think any sufficiently endued to preach them, but such as have received the gift of tongues, more than one or two; the gift, I say, for though to speak with tongues be not given now miraculously, as it was here, yet given it is to us, it is the gift still of the Holy Spirit, as a blessing upon our labours.
But there are other tongues besides which come from this day's mercy. The tongue that speaks right things, the tongue that comforts the afflicted soul, the tongue that recalls the wandering step, the tongue that defends the fatherless and widow, the tongue that pours itself out in prayers and praises, the tongue that speaks continually of holy things, the tongue that speaks no evil, nor does no hurt, the tongue that speaks nothing but a meek and humble and obedient [267/268]spirit; these are the tongues of the Holy Spirit, and even from this day they have their rise; these are for all orders and sorts of men; and if those men who now take to themselves to be teachers had but learnt to speak with these tongues, they would have spoke to far better purpose, and more to God's acceptance, than now they do in speaking as they do; they had not thus blasphemed the Holy Spirit to entitle him to the extravagancy of their tongues.
Yet fire and tongues, and tongues of fire, are not all the wonders that this day produced. These fell not only like a flash of lightning upon the Apostles, but they sate upon them, or rather, "it sate upon them," says the text.
All these tongues, as divided and cloven as they were, like so many flames or tongues of fire at top, they were all united in one root below,--with "one mouth," with "one voice,"- they spake all but the same thing. They are not the tongues of the Spirit (1) that speak may one thing, now another, that agree not in the foundation, at the least.
Nor is that fire of the Holy Ghost's enkindling, that cannot sit; for to the fire we may (2) refer this "it." The holy flame is not like the fire of thorns, that are always crackling and making a noise; it can sit quietly in the heart, and on the lips, and on the head-sometimes in the one, and sometimes on the other: it sits upon the heads, and singes not a hair; it sits in the heart, and scalds it not at all; it sits upon the lips, yet makes them not burst out into a heat: the fiery zeal that is so much cried up for spirit in the world is too unquiet, too hot, too raging, to be of this day's fire.
Yet (3) we may refer this "it" to the Holy Spirit itself. That sate upon each of them too.
It sate (i.) first upon each of them as a crown of glory, so S. Cyril. The Apostles were the crowns and glory of the Churches; and so this installed them.
It sate (ii.) upon them as in a chair of state, to fix authority upon then, to set them in their chairs, to give them power to govern and guide the Church.
It sate (iii.) upon them so, to call into their mind the promise of their Master, that he would send one to sit in counsel with them, and be with then "always, to the end of the world;" [268/269] for sitting is a posture to denote constancy, establishment, and continuance.
It sate, (iv.) as it were, to teach us to be settled and con-stant too, to be established and grounded in our faith, hoot to be wavering, and carried about with every wind of doc-trine. There is no greater evidence against error than that it is not constant to itself; no greater argument against these great pretended spirits than that they cannot sit, know not where to fix, are always moving, as if the Psalmist's curse had taken hold upon them (as it does, and will do, without doubt, upon all that "take the houses of God in possession," that usurp upon the office or portion of the Church); as if "God had made them like a wheel, and as stubble before the wind,"--that can sit nowhere, rest at nothing, but turn about from one uncertainty to another. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit that will sit still, and be at peace, continue and abide.
It sate (v.) upon each, to teach each of us peace and quiet in all our passions, constancy and continuance in truth and goodness, and a settled and composed behaviour in all conditions, blow the winds never so high, burn the fires of perse-cution never so hot against us.
It were well how if we could say, as it follows next, concerning the Apostles, that we were filled with this Spirit, that we were "filled with the Holy Ghost," that we might arrive at that point within ourselves, though we cannot now arrive at that particular in the text.
The only filling now that I have time to tell you of, is that before us, and it is a good one, the filling us with the body and blood of Christ, which is a signal filling us with the Spirit. Go we will then about it, so to fill our souls. The tongues and fire in the text we may well apply to it, we may have use of there.
For tongues (i.) are not to speak with only, but taste with too. Oh taste we then how good and gracious the Lord is there, that vouchsafes so graciously to come under our roofs, to come upon tongues. And
Tongues (ii.) are to help to digest as well as taste; there, in the mouth, is a kind of first digestion made. Ruminate we then, and meditate upon Christ, when we have tasted him. [269/270] Let it be our business to spend much of our time and days henceforth in meditation of him; that is the way indeed to be filled with his Spirit, while we thus digest him and chew upon him in our spirits.
Nor is (iii.) fire improper any way to bring to that holy table. The fire of charity is to kindle our devotion there, to warm our affections and desires to it.
There (iv.) our tongues are to be warmed into praises, that they may run a mumble descant upon his benefits, and move apace to the glory of his name. Thus are our tongues to be employed, and thus is the fire to he kindled in us, that we may speak with our tongues. This is the way to be filled with the Holy Spirit, this blessed sacrament the means to it.
Come thou, therefore, O blessed Spirit, into our hearts and tongues; lighten our understanding with thy heavenly light; warm our affections with thy Holy fire; purge away all our dross, burn up all our chaff; renew our spirits; separate our sins and evils from us; unite us in thy love; subdue us to thyself; teach our hearts to think, our tongues to speak, our hands to act, our feet to move only to thy will; settle thyself in us henceforward, and dwell with us; so teach us with all our tongues and powers to praise thee here upon earth, that we may one day praise thee with them in heaven for ever-more!