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the soul should be set anew be- favourite pursuits, and the dearfore the mind, his bounty, his est objects of your heart, placing mercy, his forbearance, and his all that is most delightful in fair chastisements. The soul may view of the mind, detach your now recollect its wanderings, its heart from them, give them up, ingratitude, its impiety, its im- bid them a last adieu, and with penitence, or its faith and obe- the greatest solemnity and cheerdience. Now should be ascer- fulness give yourself to God, saytained the spiritual state of the ing, “What have I to do any soul. Perhaps you have enjoy- more with pleasures, with honsd a hope of the divine favour, ours, with the praise of men, and of your own gracious state. with the enchantments of sense ? If so, review, re-examine the I will give myself to God; it is ground of that hope. Were all I can do. Now, oh my God,. your convictions genuine ? Was I am thine, forever thine.” your enmityslain ? Have you Now, as well as before, it is known the joys of pardoned sin, proper, especially if any doubts of peace with God, of fellowship or spiritual troubles cloud the. with saints? Have you been ho- mind, to call in a minister of the ly in heart and life? Have you gospel, or if this favour cannot given diligence to make your be enjoyed, some experienccalling and election sure? Do ed Christian, to counsel, and you know in whom you have be- comfort you in your serious lieved, and whether he be able' situation. His more impartial to keep what you have commit- and dispassionate view of your ted to him? Can you say not state may be of immense advanonly, that the time of your departe tage. Such a minister or Chrisure is al hand ; but, that you are tian may solve distressing doubts, ready to be offered ?
answer perplexing inquiries, reIn ascertaining your spiritual lieve from great distresses, and state, it will be necessary to con- in some sense prepare you to die. fess before God, and repent of After this, it may be duty all known sins. Not one sin must to spend the residue of life, be remembered with pleasure. chiefly in secret devotion. Your Not one lust must be spared. affecting situation, your serious You must judge and condemn prospects must impel you to yourself, and repent in dust and make known your desires in. ashes, loathing and abhorring “strong, cries.” You may, in yourself. This must be done sighs and tears express those sincerely, with a deep, affecting wants, which cannot be uttered. sense of God, the day of judg- Your words are the breathings of ment, and eternity on the mind. dependence, of danger, of dis
Your repentance must be ac- tress, of affection ; “ If it be not companied with a dedication of possible to save me from this, yourself to God in the name of hour, O my Father, not my will, Jesus Christ. To consecrate but thine be done.” Now may yourself to God is proper at all you also commit your family to times, but when your soul is on the mercy of God, your friends, the wing for another world it is ministers of the gospel, the necessary. Recollecting your church, and the world.
Vol. I. No. 10. Iii
· It may be of infinite import- for the remission of other sins. ance to leave your dying testimo- Whatever this sin may be, it' ity in behalf of Cod and religion. certainly is a sin open, notoriThe words of the dying are ous, capable of being known ; weighty ; they command the otherwise there would be no confidence of listening friends ground for the caution against and acquaintance. When ueparto praying for those, who have been ing fron life, it is supposed men guilty of it. speak'as they feel. It is an hone. The apostle doubtless alludes est hour. If the power of utter- to the sin mentioned by our Saance permit, if light and comfort viour in the 12th chapter of cheer thy soul; say to your Matthew. The Pharisees, seefriends, "Now I know that God ing Jesus cast out a devil, reis good. I have a witness in my“ proached him as casting out self. He is not a barren trees devils by Beelzebub the prince Praying breath is never spent of devils. Jesus, having shewn* in vain. My hope is an anchor the absurdity of this imputation, to my soul I know in whom I takes occasion to warn them have bolieved. I am ready to der against the sin of blaspheming part. I have fought a good fight, the Holy Ghost. “ All manner I have kept the faith. A crown of sin and blasphemy shall be of glory is laid up for me.” forgiven auto men ; but the
: The last act of a dying man is blasphemy against the Holy to commit his soul to God. Ghost shall not be forgiven. Stephen, dying, said, “ Lord Jer And whosoever speaketh a word SHs, receive my spirit." The agaiust the Son of Man, it shall Saviour himself in his last mo- be forgiven; but whosoever ment cried, “ Father, into thine speaketh against the Holy Ghost, tand } commend my spirit.” it sball not be forgiven, Reither Reader, may you be enabled to in this world, nor in the world say, “ Come, Lord Jesus, come to come." quickly.” “ Now lettest thou To understand the distinction thy servant depart in peace.” here made between speaking “The world recedes, it disappears, against the Son of Man, and Heaven opens on my eyes,
speaking against the Holy Ghost, My ears with sounds seraphic rings
we must remember, that Christ, Lend, lend, your wings,
while he was on earth, performI'mount, I Av, Oh, death, where is thy sting? *ed many miracles, and empowerOh, grave, where is thy victory ?" ed his apostles to perform the
EUSEBIUS. same in his name ; such as heal
ing the sick, raising the dead and casting out devils ; and these
were called the works of the ON THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST
Spirit. But he promised them, • THE HOLY GHOST. ! that after his ascension, he would
shed down on them the gifts and The apostle John speaks of a powers of the Holy Ghost; and sin unto death, for the remission that then, not only the works of which he does not advise which he had done, but greatChristians to pray, as they prayer works than these should they
do, because he went to the Fa, the gospel in those extraordinary ther. Those greater works were powers, which were communispeaking with tongues, inter- cated after Christ's ascension, preting of tongues, prophesying and which were eminently called and discerning of spirits. In re- the gifts of the Holy Ghost, i . spect of these it was said, before The Pharisees, when they Christ's ascension, “ The Holy imputed to Christ a confederacy Ghost was not yet givço, because with devils, spake against the that Jesus was not yet glarified." Son of Man; but not against the St. John says, there are three Holy Ghost ; for, in the sense that bear witness, on earth, the intended by our Saviour, “the Spirit, the water and the blood. Holy Ghost was not yet given ;'. And there are three that bear re- but was to be given after he went cord in keaver, the Father, the to, the Father. Word, and the Holy Ghost. He As the fullest evidence had not here makes a distinction between yet been given of the truth of the miracles performed while the gospel, so there was hope, Christ was on earth; and the that many might be, and it was gifts bestowed after his ascension a fact, that many were brought to heaven ; the former he calls to the faith after Christ's ascenche witness of the Spirit ; the sion, who had been unbelievers latter the testimony of the Holy before. For after he went to the Ghost. The agent is the same, Father, greater works were done, but the operations are different. than had been done, while ho, In relation to works performed abode on earth. And from the by the apostles on others, the di- perverseness which the Phari.; vine agent is simply called the sees discovered in imputing his Spirit; in relation to internal works to an infernal power, he gifts and endowments he is called took occasion to warn them of the Holy Ghost. Those external the fatal consequence of blasmiracles were a strong evidence; pheming that greater evidence, but these internal gifts were to which yould afterward be given, those who possessed them, and of the truth, when he should even to those who saw the effects: send down the Holy Ghost in, of them, a much stronger evi. spiritual gifts. , dence of the truth of the gospel. This sin, though it begins in These supernatural gifts were impiety and perverseness of pot confined to saints, but often heart, is not completed without Touchsafed to upgodly men. words. It is called blaspheming, Some who prophesied in Christ's, and speaking a word against the name, were workers of iniquity., Holy Ghost. Simon the magi.. Some, who had, all knowledge, cian həd vile:conceptions of the md even faith to remove moun-, Holy Ghost ; but the apostle ex- : tains, and who could speak with, horts him to repent and pray i the tongue of angels, had not God, if perhaps the thought of charity.
his heart might be forgiven him. : By speaking against the Holy They who practise the works, , Ghost is intended speaking and indulge the lusts of the flesh,, against this last and highest clem- defile the temple of the Holy bostration given to the truth of Ghost; but such are advised to
repent of the uncleanness and ent day? I answer, it cannot be lasciviousness, which they have committed under all the same committed. The full com circumstances, which might have pletion of the sin unto death lies attended it in the apostles' days. in iinpious and blasphemous But certainly even now, there words spoken or written. may be such a case, as a man's
The true reason why this sin resisting and rejecting the high.' is irremissible, is because they, est means, the clearest evidence, who are guilty of it, åre incapable and the strongest influence that of repentance. They have re. God will afford for his convic. ceived all the light, and enjoyed tion. There are those who reall the advantages, which God ject the counsel of God against sees fit to afford them. They themselves, and who rebel and have seen the fullest evidence of vex the Holy Spirit, until God is the truth. They have felt some turned to be their enemy, takes internal convictions of the weight his Spirit from them, and gives and power of this evidence. If them over to a reprobate mind. after all this, they not only reject And if I should see a man, who the gospel, but impiously and had been well instructed in the maliciously revile and blaspheme doctrines of the gospel, who in it, what more can be done for the former part of his life had them? What farther means can appeared to be impressed with a be used with them? They have sacred reverence for them, and sinned wilfully after they have who had openly professed his received the knowledge of the faith in them, if I should see truth, and there remaineth no this man boldly disavow all remore sacrifice for sin; but a gard to religion, mock at spiritfearful looking for of judgment. ual things, treat the scriptures Of such the apostle speaks, when and all divine ordinances with he says, “ It is impossible for contempt, give himself to prothose, who were once enlight- faneness, and use all his io. ened, and have tasted of the fluence to corrupt the principles, heavenly gift, and were made and vitiate the morals of others, partakers of the Holy Ghost, and I should conclude, that, if he have tasted the good word of had not actually committed the God, and the powers of the sin under consideration, yet be world to come, if they shall fall had made awful approaches toaway, to be renewed again to ward it. repentance, seeing they crucify to From the account, which themselves afresh the Son of God, we have given of the sin uno and put him to an open shame." to death, it appears, that none
This sin then consists in re are to conclude themselves guil: jecting and blaspheming the ty of it, while they retain a belief highest evidence which God will of the gospel, and feel a disposi. give, and the last and most tion in favour of it; or while powerful means, which he will they are exercised with a sensi. use for the conviction and re- ble conviction of their sins, and covery of sinners.
a strong desire to obtain an inter. If it be asked, whether any can est in the grace of God. be guilty of this sin in the prese' It appears also, that those
doubts, which people may some- and which fill them with fearfut times feel concerning particular apprehensions of unpardonable doctrines of the gospel, or the guilt, may be their infirmities, gospel itself, partake not of the rather than real sins. The ab. nature of this sin ; for doubts, horrence, which accompanies which are afflicting while they them, shews them to be involunexist, and are usually removed tary. by humble inquiry, are very dif. But then, as there is a sin unto ferent from that perverse and death, every one should be malicious temper, which spurns afraid of the least approximation and blasphemes the gospel to it. If the sin itself is fatal,
Nor are we to consider every every approach toward it is danrelapse into stupidity after hope- gerous. ful convictions, as amounting to Profane language hardens the this sin ; for there may be such heart, begets, first, an indiffera falling away, where no blas. ence, and then an opposition to phemy is uttered with the the truth. He, who begins to mouth, or conceived in the heart; indulge it, knows not to what and though such relapses are lengths he may run. ' dangerous, they are not always Scoffing at religion, and at the
exemplary piety of those, who Nor is every deliberate sin profess it, is scoffing at the fruits against knowledge, the sin unto of the Spirit, and may lead on to death ; for though deliberation real despite against the Spirit itin the commission of sin aggra- self. vates guilt, it does not exclude the He, who wilfully suppresses possibility of repentance and the the convictions awakened in his hope of pardon. David and Pe- conscience, and deliberately vioter sinned presumptuously, but lates the resolutions formed in a they repented and were forgiven. serious hour, opposes, resists and
Nor does a direct opposition grieves that Spirit, which Christ to Christianity, where there has has sent to convince men of sin, not been actual conviction of its and renew them to repentance. truth, implicate men in unpar Let none dare to make light donable guilt. Paul was a perse- of the holy scriptures. They cutor and blasphemer ; was ex were given by inspiration of the ceedingly mad against the cause Spirit to make men wise to salvaof Christ, and compelled men to tion; and he, who mocks these, blaspheme it ; yet he obtained mocks that Spirit by whose inspimercy, because he did it igno- ration they were given, and that rantly in unbelief.
salvation of which these are the Least of all are we to suppose, means. that blasphemous thoughts, hor. Finally. Let every one be rible suggestions, or temptations afraid to continue in sin ; for sin to shocking crimes, are the sin, of any kind, persisted in, is unto or any evidence of the sin under death. Considering how short consideration, for the sin is not and uncertain the time of probacompleted in thoughts and sug. tion is, every sinner should be gestions. And those thoughts, afraid to delay his repentance for which people often complain of, a single day. Who would not