Subscribe via RSS Feed

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


Later that year, in the autumn of 1830, all of London was startled by the remarkable healing of Elizabeth Fancourt, the daughter of an Anglican clergyman.125 She had been a cripple for eight years, and for two years all hope for her recovery had been abandoned. She was tired and had lost much weight, and had to be carried. The day she was healed, a friend, Mr. Graves, who had been thinking of her for some time visited and commanded her in the name of Jesus to rise and walk, which she did.126

On April 30, 1831, Mrs. J.B. Cardale spoke in prophetic utterance in her home in London, never having witnessed anything of the kind.127


Edward Irving

The following month, a Presbyterian minister, Edward Irving (AD 1792-1834), who had heard reports of some of these incidents, began conducting early morning prayer meetings at his church on Regent Square, London, with a view toward seeking gifts of the Spirit. By July of 1831, Irving had reported in a letter to a friend that two of the people in his congregation had received the gifts of tongues and prophecy.128

By the end of 1831, Edward Irving’s church had received a great deal of publicity and had become pivotal, in the public eye, to the charismatic movement that had begun in London the previous year. George Canning had given a speech in the House of Commons in which he had stated that he had heard Irving preach the most eloquent sermon that he had ever heard.129 As a result, it became fashionable for some of the most noteworthy people in London to attend Irving’s church. The following year, Samuel Taylor Coleridge had become a close friend of Irving. Another of his friends was Thomas Carlyle, also a great literary figure.130


Observations of Horace Bushnell

In the United States, Horace Bushnell (AD 1802-1876), the great Congregational minister and theologian, wrote Nature and the Supernatural (1858), in which he argues for the existence of miracles throughout all the history of the church. In the fourteenth chapter of that work, he provides a number of examples of miracles that he had personally witnessed. With respect to the gift of tongues he writes:

Nothing is further off from the Christian expectation of our New England communities than the gift of tongues. So distant is their practical habit from any belief in the possible occurrence, that not even the question occurs to their thought. And yet, a very near Christian friend, intelligent in the highest degree, and perfectly reliable to me as my right hand, who was present at a rather private, social gathering of Christian disciples, assembled to converse and pray together, as in reference to some of the higher possibilities of Christian sanctification, related that, after one of the brethren had been speaking, in a strain of discouraging self-accusation, another present shortly rose, with a strangely beaming look, and, in fixing his eye on the confessing brother, broke out in a discourse of sounds, wholly unintelligible, though apparently a true language, accompanying the utterances with a very strange and peculiarly impressive gesture, such as he never made at any other time; coming fully to a kind of pause, and commencing again, as if at the same point, to go over in English, with exactly the same gestures, what had just been said. It appeared to be an interpretation, and the matter of it was, a beautifully emphatic utterance of the great principle of self-renunciation, by which the desired victory over self is to be obtained. There had been no conversation respecting gifts of any kind, and no reference to their possibility. The circle were astounded by the demonstration, not knowing what to make of it.131

Bushnell continues with several accounts of healings, then provides an account of the operation of the gift of prophecy, in which a prophet revealed to Bushnell the secrets of his own heart and laid bare his sins.132


Pin It
Page 3 of 512345

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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).

  • Connect with

    Subscribe via Twitter Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pasto...

    Invitation: Stories about transformation

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Studies in Acts

    Daniel A. Brown, PhD, planted The Coastlands, a church near Santa Cruz, California, serving as Senior Pastor for 22 years. Daniel has authored four books and numerous articles, but h...

    Will I Still Be Me After Death?