« PoprzedniaDalej »
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. 66 And if I cast out devils, and perform miracles by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you;" and you 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 agency 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. It follows, therefore, that the sin unto death may be committed in various ways. It may be committed by maliciously cursing and blaspheming against the holy scriptures, as well as by directly blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, by whom they were divinely inspired. Blaspheny 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? 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. 66 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? 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 adversaries p"
2. From the view we have taken of the unpardonable sin, it is evident, that no person who has a tender conscience and a trembling heart, is yet guilty of it. It is the hardened, presumptuous, audacious wretch, who has been guilty of the sin unto death. He is past feeling and abandoned of God. Those who are guilty of this sin, and are said to be past feeling, have no tenderness of heart, no sense of sin and guilt. They pretend to be above such childish, and effeminate anxieties. They, therefore, who have the greatest anxiety and the most terrible apprehensions, are in the least danger of final reprobation
3. We learn, that no one ought to despair of salvation, on account of a deep and overwhelming 'sense of sin and guilt. This is so far from a state of reprobation, that it is the very state of mind, into which sinners are generally brought, previous to a saving conversion to Christ.
4. It appears from the subject, that the unpardonable sin is probably committed by multitudes, and committed much more frequently at the present day, than it was in the days of Christ and the Apostles. As light increases, from age to age, the corruptions of the human heart are, of course, more and more excited ; and more frequently do the cavilling enemies of God break out in malicious opposition to the work of divine power and grace. Especially is there great danger of the sin which shall never be forgiven, in seasons of special awakening. Then the distinguishing and sovereign grace of God is made manifest; and the enmity of many hearts is enkindled. As was said concerning the ministry of Christ, so may it be said concerning all special seasons of awakening, that the thoughts of many hearts are revealed. And some hearts are revealed with awful symptoms of reprobation. Do not some even boast, that having had experience of all that there is in religion, they have found it to be a cheat? Do they not speak lightly, and even blasphemously of the special work of the Holy Ghost ? And may we not fear, that their case is hopeless?
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 unpardonable sin. It is therefore incumbent upon alt, 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.
Repentance and Conversion.
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 6 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 66 chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." We are also exhorted by the Apostle, to 6 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." We find therefore, that faith and holiness, and sanctification of heart, are the pecessary 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 vuin 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 reference to the external practice. . Repentance and con
version, 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.”
66 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