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


D. L. Moody

Later in the nineteenth century, the gift of tongues was associated with the ministry of Dwight L. Moody.133 In The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, R.A. Torrey wrote of Moody as follows:

At three o’clock we gathered in front of Mr. Moody’s mother’s house; there were 456 of us in all, all men from the eastern colleges. We commenced to climb the mountainside. After we had gone some distance, Mr. Moody said, “I do not think we need to go farther. Let us stop here. . . . I can see no reason why we should not kneel down here now and ask God that the Holy Spirit may fall on us as definitely as He fell on the Apostles at Pentecost. Let us pray.” We knelt down on the ground; some of us lay on our faces on the pine needles….The Holy Ghost fell upon us. It was a wonderful hour. There are many who will never forget it.134

Another biography of Dwight L. Moody written in 1876 specifically alludes to the gifts of tongues and prophecy. E. J. Goodspeed, in A Full History of the Wonderful Career of Moody and Sankey in Great Britain and America, wrote as follows of Moody’s ministry in July, 1873 at Sunderland, England:

At length a delegation of young men from the Y.M.C.A. of Sunderland, waited upon the evangelists at their lodgings, and one of them tells the story of their reception in the following fashion: “…On the following Sunday night, when I got to the rooms of the Young Men’s Christian Association, I found the meeting on fire. The young men were speaking with tongues, prophesying. What on earth did it all mean? Only that Moody had been addressing them that afternoon.”135


Other accounts of prophetic gifts and tongues in the nineteenth century abound. One summary of such phenomena was compiled by Stanley H. Frodsham in the first chapter of his book With Signs Following.136 A discussion of all of his examples is beyond the scope of this paper, but 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, of which records are no longer available. Perhaps it is appropriate to exclaim with John the evangelist that there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, even the world itself would not contain the books about them.





113 John Greenfield, Power From on High (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1931), p. 14.

114 George H. Williams and Edith Waldvogel, “A History of Speaking in Tongues and Related Gifts,” in Michael P. Hamilton, The Charismatic Movement (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975), pp. 76-77.

115 John Wesley to Dr. Conyers Middleton, January 4, 1749, in The Letters of John Wesley, ed. John Telford (London: Epworth Press, 1931), vol. 2, pp. 363-364.

116 Ibid., p. 365.

117 Thomas Walsh, Diary, March 8, 1750, as quoted by Stanley H. Frodsham, With Signs Following (Springfield: Gospel Publishing House, 1946), p. 258.

118 Bernard A. Weisberger, They Gathered at the River (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1958), p. 32.

119 L. W. Scholler, Some Remarkable Spiritual Occurrences in 1827-8 Among Peasants in Bavaria (London, 1893) as cited by P. E. Shaw, The Catholic Apostolic Church (Morningside Heights, NY: King’s Crown Press, 1946), p. 27.

120 Margaret O. W. Olphant, The Life of Edward Irving, 4th ed. (London: Hurst and Blackett, n.d.), p. 287.


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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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