Natives in India speak in tongues



Dhond, Poona, India, March 21.


About six months ago we began to hear of Christian believers in different places and countries receiving the gift of speaking in a new tongue, which they had never known before. Our hearts were much stirred by these accounts, some of them having come from those whom we had known for years as most humble, earnest and devoted servants of the Lord.

One week ago today, I visited the Mukil Mission at Kedgaon, 13 miles from here, which is under the superintendence of Pan** Miss Abrams asked me if I would not like to go in the room where about 20 girls were praying. After entering I knelt on one side, with closed eyes. Presently I heard some one near me, praying very distinctly in English. Among the petitions were.-"O Lord, open the mouth; O Lord open the mouth; O Lord open the heart; O Lord, open the heart; O Lord, open the eyes; O Lord open the eyes; O the Blood of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus; O, give complete victory! O, such a blessing! O, such a glory!" I was struck with astonishment, as I knew there was no one in the room who could speak English, besides Miss Abrams. I opened my eyes, and within three feet of me, on her knees, with closed eyes and raised hand, was ----- whom I had baptized in Kedgaon in 1899 nearly 8 years ago, and whom my wife and I had known intimately since, as a devoted Christian worker. Her mother-tongue was Marathi, and she could speak a little Hindustani. But she was utterly unable to speak or understand English such as she was using.

When I heard her speaking English idiomatically, distinctly and fluently, I was impressed very much as I would have been, had I seen one whom I knew to be dead, raised to life. A few others, illiterate Marathi women and girls were speaking in English and some were speaking in other languages, which none of us at Kedgaon understood. This was not gibberish, but it closely resembled the speaking of foreign languages, to which I have listened but did not understand. Again I was at Mukti last Saturday and Lord's day, when some 24 different persons had received the gift of tongues. Quite a number had received the ability to speak in English, a language before unknown to them.

Just why God enabled these women and girls of India to speak in English, instead of Tamil, Telugu, Bengail or some other language of India, unknown to them, I cannot say. But I have an idea that it is in mercy to us poor missionaries from Europe and America, who as a class seem to be doubting Thomases in regard to the gifts and working of the Spirit, and are not receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, as we ought, and as we shall wish that we had done, when we are entered into the world to come.

On Saturday I was much impressed with the speaking of B--------, a Hindi women; who was rescued in the famine of 1897. She was illiterate, but able to read the Bible in Marathi stumblingly. During the year of 1899 while my wife and I were living at Mukti, we saw much of B--------, and knew her as one capable and very faithful in attending to the secular duties entrusted to her. On Saturday she was praying in English. Among other things she was saying, "O, the love! the love! the love! the love! O, the love of Jesus! O, my precious Lord! my precious Lord! My precious child!" One not knowing her history would not see the force of the last sentence. She has an only child, from whom she has been separated for 10 years, and with whom she is not allowed to have communication. I was struck with the English which she used as being idiomatic, and the words which she spoke being of a class which she would not have used had she been learning by study. And I have no doubt from what I knew of her that she by her own powers could no more have spoken in English as she did then than she could have taken wings and flown. There was abundant evidence that God was working in a wonderful way. Those speaking in tongues gave evidence that their souls were flooded with blessing from God.

Those who are attributing the power of the Lord's servants, to speak in other tongues, to demons or evil spirits, seem to me to put themselves in the place of the Pharisees of old, who attributed Christ's supernatural power to the same source. See Matt. XII. 24-32; Mark III. 23-30.

Here at Dhond some of us are waiting on God for the bestowment of all the Spirit's gifts, which He has for us. And we have been already blessed by this spirit of waiting and prayer. We ask the prayers of our friends that we may know by blessed experience the uttermost of all God has for us, through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.-Albert Norton.


From: The Apostolic Faith, Vol. I N. 7, Los Angeles, Cal. April 1907