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Tongues and Other Miraculous Gifts in the Second Through Nineteenth Centuries, Part 5: The 18th and 19th Centuries


The Cane Ridge Revival

The frequency of such phenomena during the eighteenth century suggests that earlier eras of the history of the church may also have been filled with as many similar phenomena.

The gift of tongues is also associated with the Cane Ridge meetings during the Second Awakening in America, AD 1800. These meetings in the Kentucky frontier became the birthplace of American camp meetings. The revival in the west had begun in 1797 in three Presbyterian churches pastored by James McGready. The Cane Ridge camp meetings were described by Bernard Weisberger as follows:

Even if there had been only these things—the shouts, the wagons, the murmurous, plastic crowds, surging in the half darkness under the rain-beaten branches, Cane Ridge would have burned itself for life into the memories of men who were there. But stranger things were said to have happened; the power of the Lord was shown as it was when cloven tongues of fire sat upon the apostles and amid a rushing, mighty wind they spoke to an untoward generation of Parthians, Medes and Elamites, each in his own tongue. For at Cane Ridge, many men testified to the physical power of the Holy Spirit’s baptism, which unstrung the knees and melted, with fervent heat, the hearts of the worshippers.118


Europe and Great Britain

Because of its proximity to our own time, the nineteenth century was filled with various incidents of the operation of prophetic gifts for which we still have considerable documentation. In Karlshuld, Bavaria, for example, under the Roman Catholic parish priest Johann Evangelist Georg Lutz, a revival came about in 1827. One day in Lent of that year, his church was thronged with parishioners who came desiring to confess their sins and enter upon a new life. On February 20, 1828 these people spoke in prophetic utterances, the substance of this prophesying being the second advent, the restoration of spiritual gifts of the primitive church, and the early ministries including that of apostles.119

Gifts of the Spirit were also reported to have been experienced in Scotland in 1830. In late March of that year, Mary Campbell of Fernicarry, who had lain sick with consumption for some time, began to seek the Lord with her sister and a friend, “spending the whole day in humiliation, and fasting, and prayer before God, with a special respect to the restoration of the gifts.”120 According to a description of the events given by Edward Irving:

When in the midst of their devotion, the Holy Ghost came with mighty power upon the sick woman as she lay in her weakness, and constrained her to speak at great length, and with superhuman strength, in an unknown tongue, to the astonishment of all who heard, and to her own great edification and enjoyment in God.121

A few weeks later, on April 144, 1830, Mary McDonald, a friend of Mary Campbell, was healed of a long-standing illness after James, her brother, had commanded her to “arise, and stand upright,” and she obeyed. James then wrote a letter to Mary Campbell, commanding her “in the name of the Lord to arise,” which she did, completely healed of her consumption.122 Immediately after her recovery, Mary Campbell visited the McDonald home, “declaring herself perfectly whole.”123 Soon after this, both James MacDonald and his brother George spoke in tongues.124


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Category: Church History, Fall 1999

About the Author: Richard M. Riss (as of Fall 1998) is Assistant Professor of Church History at Zarephath Bible Institute in Zarephath, New Jersey. He holds a Master of Christian Studies degree from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia (1979) and a Master of Arts in Church History from Trinity Divinity School (1988). He is currently finishing a Ph.D. degree in Church History at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Richard M. Riss has authored several books including The Evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (1977), The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 and the Mid-Twentieth Century Evangelical Awakening (1987), A Survey of 20th-Century Revival Movements in North America and with Kathryn J. Riss, Images of Revival (1997).

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