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blaspheming against the holy scriptures, as well as by directly blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, by whom they were divinely inspired. Blasphemy against the church of Christ, by those who acknowledge, that its members are born of God, is indirect blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. . Maliciously declaring that this world is a pernicious system, and was created by Beelzebub; and that it is under the direction of the infernal Spirits; would probably be considered as of the nature of the unpardonable sin.
1. It is natural to enquire, why this kind of sin is unpardonable P. Why any sin should be unto death, is not for us to decide. God giveth not an account of this matter. But it is perhaps, both lawful and useful to enquire, why it should be this particular sin. It is not because this sin exceeds the merit of Christ's blood. For the merit of his blood is infinite. Nor is this, or any other sin, unpardonable, for the want of a disposition in the divine mind to exercise mercy. For the mercy of the Lord is infinite ; and it endureth forever. In an important sense, it is said, that he is not willing that any should perish; but that all should come to repentance. “ For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God.” Why then is this sin against the Holy Ghost unpardonable P. It is so, probably, because it is the greatest of all sins. Since there must be a sin, never to be forgiven, it appears to be a dictate of justice and propriety, that this should be the greatest of all sins, The greatest of all crimes are made capital, rather than smaller crimes, in civil government. The murderer, rather than the petty thief, must surely be put to death, The work of the Holy Spirit, especially in the conversion of sinners, who have utterly rejected the Saviour, is the last effort of infinite love and mercy. If this be maliciously rejected and blasphemed, what can be expected, but “a certain, fearful looking for of judgment,
and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adver-
sin, and are said to be past feeling, have no tenderness of
heart, no sense of sin and guilt. They pretend to be
Finally; It is to be considered, that the time draws near, when all the sin of the finally impenitent, will become unpardonable. The inhabitants of the world of woe will be forever given up to the unpardonablesin. It is therefore incumbent upon all, not only to avoid the sin unto death; but to repent of all their sins; and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to embrace, and enjoy, the hope of eternal life. . . .
IN attending to the doctrines of election and reprobation, we have found, that God has not chosen any sinful men to salvation, unconditionally, and at all events. For it is expressly declared in scripture, that he “hath chosen them in Christ, before the foundation of the
world, that they should be holy, and without blame before
him in love.” And that he hath “chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” We are also exhorted by the Apostle, to “ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” We find therefore, thät faith and holiness, and sanctification of heart, are the becessary conditions of salvation. And the particular acts and exercises of holiness, which are noted in the scriptures of truth, as the special conditions of salvation; are repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord .Jesus Christ. Repentance and Conversion may therefore, be the subjects, now to be discussed. These are so nearly the same thing, as may render a separate consideration of them entirely unnecessary. Repentance, according to the most literal meaning of the word, in its common use, is a deep regret, and sorrow of heart for sin; and this, not so much on account of its fatal consequences to ourselves, as on account of its odious and hateful nature; and of its tendency to the dishonor of God, and to the ruin of his holy kingdom. Repentance, according to the strict meaning of the word, in the original language, seems to be, or to imply, a change of mind, a change of counsel, or a coming to one's senses, and to a right mind, and right feelings towards the law and government of Jehovah. Conversion also signifies turning about ; and in a religious sense,
turning from sinful courses, and sinful objects. In an
appropriate sense, it signifies returning unto the Lord. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him, return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”. Sinners, in , their impenitency, depart from God, and pursue the paths of error and iniquity. They wander, and love to wander. They follow after vanity, and choose the road to death. By repentance and conversion, they, both in heart and practice, return unto the Lord. Repentance, if it be distinguishable, from conversion, is a term which has more particular reference...to, the exercises of the heart;
but conversion is a term, which, has more particular ref
erence to the external practice. . Repentance, and conoversion, are evidently, the first fruits of regeneration by the Holy Spirit; by which a principle of holiness is begotten in the hearts of God's elect. Of course, these are holy exercises. As such they are required in the book of Ezekiel. “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” “ Turn yourselves, and live ye.”
As a further illustration of this subject, we notice, that repentance is said to be towards. God, probably meaning, that is more particularly towards God the Father. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and, conversion, which are towards God, have not so particularly Christ and his atonement, and “the apprehension of the mercy of God in him,” for their object; as God the Father, who is the great law-giver and governor of the universe. Repentance and conversion to God, imply a special and cordial acknowledgment of the justice of the law, and an approbation of the divine government. “The law of the Lord is perfect,” says the true penitent, “ converting the soul.” The truly penitent soul returns to God, with humility of heart, and godly sorrow; not so much from the hope of forgiveness and salvation, as from a sense of the justice and importance of the divine law, and the hatefulness of all transgression. Repentance implies self-loathing, and self abhorrence. “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” It implies true submission, unconditional submission to God. “Not my will, but thine be done.” It implies a hearty approbation of his righteous judgments. “Seven times a day will I praise thee, because of thy righteous judgments.” Thus it appears; that true repentance, and conversion to God are the first, and the immediate fruits of that change of heart, which is effected by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. All who are the happy subjects of renewing and sanctifying grace, find themselves and one another walking in a new course, pursuing new objects; renouncing in a good measure, the things of the world; seeking first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof. “Old things are passed away, and, behold ! all things are become new,
EXPLANATORY AND PRACTICAL REMARKS.
1. Repentance and conversion to God, are evidently, the free and voluntary exercises of the human mind! In these exercises, the true penitentis not passive, but altogether active. On this ground it is, that sinners are exhorted and commanded, immediately to repent, and turn from all their transgressions. “God now commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent.” A summary of all that God requires of sinners, is no less than this, “That