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unrighteousness.” The Apostle, to the church of Thes-
Again, we observe, It is an overt and external sin—a sin which cannot be committed o in the heart. It is a blasphemy, or something equal to blasphemy against
the Holy Ghost. Some have supposed that it must be a
sin of the tongue, and cannot be committed by any other means but evil speaking. But Paul, who so narrowly escaped the sin unto death, was not only a blasphemer, but also a persecutor, and injurious; and it is intimated, that in all his wicked opposition to the church, and to the glorious work of divine grace, he approximated to the unpardonable sin. When he stood by, and consented: to the death of Stephen, and when he punished Christians, oft, in every synagogue; and when he made havoc of the church, and, entering into every house, haled men and women, and committed them to prison; and when they were put to death, gave his voice against them; and when he received a commission and authority from the chief priests and rulers, to go to Damascus, to bind and imprison and destroy all that called on the name of the Lord; it was his general line of conduct, and not simply his evil speaking, which exposed him to the sin unto death. It is a just maxim, that actions speak louder than words. The unpardonable sin is doubtless, an external sin committed with great malice of heart; but not limited to the tongue. * We observe further; it is a sin against great light; and against the clear dictates of a well informed conscience. “This is the condemnation,” said the Saviour to the reprobate Jews, “that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.” To sin perversely, against a clear conviction of gospel truth, and against the known and acknowledged operations of the Holy Spirit, is the most presumptuous and desperate wickedness, of which we are capable. When the Saviour pronounced, respecting the enlightened and perverse Jews, that they “had no. cloak for their sins;” the meaning was, that they were reprobate; or judicially hardened. * * * One thing further respecting the unpardonable sin, is, that it is the fruit and effect of great malice of heart; and especially in view of the sovereignty of divine grace, in the conversion, only of the elect. How great and desperate must be the malice of the heart, to induce a man, in open and daring defiance of the conviction of his own conscience; and in the full expectation of working out his own damnation; to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost! There is doubtless, in all impenitent sinners, a strong opposition of heart to God, to his government, and to the dispensation of his grace. Through the ignorance that is in them, because of unbelief, and the
indness of their hearts, many sinners, like the persecuting Saul of Tarsus, strenuously and zealously oppose, even the work of the Holy Spirit. They declaim against awakenings, and revivals of religion; and even persecute the zealous advocates for the work of grace. These, how
ever, may be far from a state of final reprobation. Onl
let their eyes be opened, to see and realize the truth, as it is exhibited in the scriptures; and to see the awful depravity of their hearts; and they feel, as Paul did when the commandment came. “When the command
ment came, sin revived, and I died.” Small and feeble,
is the malice of the common enemies of Christ, compared with that of the desperado, who commits the unpardonable sin, by doing violence to his own conscience. We have now, in a way of explanation of this capital sin, found, that it is a sin o against the Holy Ghost—that it is an overt and actual sin, consisting in blasphemy or something equally malignant—that it is a sin against great light and conviction of the truth; and that it is the fruit and effect of great malice of heart. Further light may be cast on this subject, by what Paul
says respecting his own wicked conduct, before his con
version. His statement is, that he was a persecutor, a blasphemer, and injurious But, says he, “I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief: Plain!
implying, that, had he done the same things ico.
ingly, and with a clear couviction, that, by opposing the
wonderful work of divine grace, he was opposing the Holy Ghost, and sealing his own damnation; he could never have obtained mercy. His ignorance, though but
a slender excuse for his audacious conduct, was a palliation of his guilt, and rendered his sin pardonable. Again; We have clear light and instruction respecting the sin unto death, from the reply of our Lord to the cavil of the chief priests and scribes, that he cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. In reply to this cavil, our Lord, by the most conclusive reasoning, convicted the malicious cavillers, even on their own principles; and pronounced them guilty of the unpardonable sin. “How can Satan cast out Satan? For a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out Po’ By whom do the children or o of Israel, perform miracles P. By whom did oses and the prophets perform miraculous works, to attest to their divine authority ? It is an established point, and justly taken for granted by you, and by all the Jews, that miracles are a sure testimony of divine power and authority. By miracles were all your scriptures authenticated. Accordingly, Nicodemus, one of our chief rulers, frankly made to me this concession, “We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do the miracles that thou dost, except God be with him.” You know that I establish my claims, and vindicate my cause, in the same way, and by the same means by which Moses and the prophets have established their claims, and vindicated their cause. Even ye yourselves, convened in solemn council, have been altogether non-plussed, and have been constrained to say one to another, “What shall we do P for this man doth many miracles. If we let him thus alone all men will believe on him; and the Romans will indeed come, as he has rophesied, and take away both our place and nation.” t is a given point, according to your own principle, that all men ought to believe on me. You know, that your cavil about my miracles goes as far to destroy the authority of Moses and the prophets, as to destroy my authoro You see the same evidence of the power and agency of God in my miracles, as in the miracles of Moses and the prophets. You allow and maintain, that all their miracles were wrought by the Spirit of God; and you have now full conviction in your consciences, that I also work miracles by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God, as you well know, is the immediate agent, by which I work miracles, as he was the immediate agent, by whom Moses wrought miracles. . For he is the immediate agent, by whom every work is effected. . “And if I cast out devils, and perform miracles by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you;” and : resist the kingdom of God at the hazard of your SOUlS. The Saviour having concluded his argument, and confounded the cavillers, solemnly charged them with the unpardonable sin, in the following words, “Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” In Mark’s gospel it is more plain. “He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation; because they said, he hath an unclean Spirit.” Because they said, that he cast out devils by Beelzebub. - Thus it appears, that the cavilling scribes and chief priests were guilty of the unpardonable sin; and this plain case casts light on the general subject. From this, we are led to conclude, that the direct and immediate ency of God, on the minds of mankind, is the agency of the Holy Ghost. Also the agency of God, by which miracles are wrought, is as particularly considered to be the agency of the Holy Ghost, as that by which the holy scriptures were divinely inspired. With equal propriety, we may conclude that the immediate agency, by which the world was created, and is preserved and governed, is particularly, that of the Holy Ghost. lt follows, therefore, that the sin unto death may be committed in various ways. It may be committed by maliciously cursing and