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labour with all diligence to make our call- | Lord God merciful and gracious-to call ing and election sure. We call upon you, in you to the service of Christ, that great Masthe language of the Apostle, to have faith, ier of the household of faith-10 urge it and to this faith add virtue, and knowledge, upon you, that you must renounce every and temperance, and patience, and godli- other master, and, casting all your idols, ness, and brotherly kindness, and charity and vanities, and iniquities away from you, It is by the doing of these things, that you to close with the invitation, and be diligent are made sure of your calling and election, in all the duties and performances of the “ for if ye do these things," says Peter, “ye Gospel. If you resist, or put off—if, blind to shall never fail, and an entrance shall be the goodness of God in Christ Jesus, you ministered unto you abundantly into the suffer it not to lead you to repentance--if everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Sa- the call of "awake to righteousness, and sin viour Jesus Christ."
not," make no practical impression on you If there be any of you who have not fol-) --if the true assurance of pardon for the lowed this train of observation-if it still sins of the past, do not fill your heart with remain one of those things of Paul which the desire of sanctification for the futùreare hard to be understood--let us beseech) is the word of Christ be not so received by you, at least, that you wrest it not to your you as to lead to the doing of it then you own destruction, by remitting your activity, are just leaving undone those things, of and your diligence, and your pains-taking which we say in the words of the text, in the service of Christ. Why, the doctrine "Except these things be done, ye cannot be of election leaves our duty to exhort, and saved"-and to all the guilt of your past your duty to obey, on the same footing on disobedience, you add the aggravation of which it found them. We are commissioned putting away from you both the offered to lay before you the free offer of the Gos- atonement and the commanded repentance pel-to press it on the acceptance of one of the Gospel, and "how can you escape if and all of you-to assure every individual you neglect so great" a salvation ? amongst you of a hearty welcome from the
“Wherefore I gay unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blas• phemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaket
n him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." - Matthew xii. 31, 32.
Let us never suspend the practical in- / feebler voice; and coming always nearer - fluence of what we do know, by.idly ram- and nearer to that point in the history of
bling in a vain and impertinent pursuit after every determined sinner, when, left to his what we do not know. Thus much we own infatuation, he can hold up a stubbora know from the Bible, that God refuses not and unyielding front to all that instrumenhis Holy Spirit to them who ask it--that tality of advice and of expostulation which every right movement of principle within is brought to bear upon him. The preacher us is from him—that when we feel an im- plies him with his weekly voice, but the pulse of conscience, we feel the Spirit of Spirit refuses to lend it his constraining God knocking at the door of our hearts, and energy; and all that is tender, and all that challenging from us that attention and that is terrifying in his Sabbath argument plays obedience which are due to the great Law-around his heart, without reaching it. The giver-that if we follow not the impulse, judgments of God go abroad against him, we provoke and dissatisfy him who is the and as he carries his friends or his children Author of it--and that there is such a thing to the grave, a few natural tears may bear as tempting him to abandon us altogether, witness to the tenderness he bore themand to surrender the friendly office of plying but that Spirit who gives to these judgments us any longer with his admonitions and his all their moral significancy, withholds from warnings. Hence, an emphatic argument him the anointing which remaineth, and the for immediate repentance. By every mo-man relapses as before into all the obstinate ment of delay, we hasten upon ourselves habits, and all the uncrucified affections the awful crisis of being let alone. The con- which he has hitherto indulged in. The disscience is every day getting harder; and he case gathers upon him, and gets a more who sits behind, and is the unseen Author rooted inveteracy than ever; and thus it is, of all its instigations, is listing every day al that there are thousands and thousands
more, who, though active and astir on that your calamity; I will mock when your fear
bits, a habit of resistance to a sense of duty, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love have at length stifled it altogether, and drisimplicity, and the scorners delight in their ven their inward monitor away from them, scorning, and fools hate knowledge ? Turn and have sunk into a profound moral letharye at my reproof. Behold I will pour out gy, and so will never obtain forgivenessmy spirit unto you; I will make known my not because forgiveness is ever refused to words unto you. Because I have called, any who repent and believe the Gospel, but and ye refused; I have stretched out my because they have made their faith and their hand, and no man regarded; but ye have repentance impracticable. They choose not set at nought all my counsel, and would to repent; and this choice has been made none of my reproof: I also will laugh at so often and so perseveringly, that the Spirit
has let them alone. They have obstinately guilt that can meet with no forgiveness, is clung to their love of darkness rather than not that one or all of your sins are of a die of light, and the Spirit has at length turned so deep and so inveterate, that the cleansing away from them since they will have it so. power of the Saviour's atonement cannot They wish not to believe, because their overmatch them. Let the invitation to the deeds are evil, and that Spirit has ceased to fountain that is opened in the house of Justrive with them, who has so often spoken |dah, circulate among you as freely as the to them in vain; and whose many remon- preacher's voice; for sure we are, that there strances have never prevailed upon them to does not stand, at this moment, within the abandon the evil of their doings.
reach of hearing us, any desperado in vice, Take all this attentively along with you, so sunk in the depths of his dark and unand the whole mysteriousness of this sin natural rebellion, that he is not welcome if against the Holy Ghost should be done he will. But, if ye will not come that ye away. Grant him the office with which he may have life, this is your sin. is invested in the Word of God, even the This is the barrier in the way of your foroffice of instigating the conscience to all its giveness. Grant us repentance and faith, reprovals of sin, and to all its admonitions and we know not of a single mysterious of repentance-and then, if ever you wit-crime in the whole catalogue of human denessed the case of a man whose conscience pravity, that the atoning blood of our Sahad fallen into a profound and irrecoverable viour cannot wash away. But withhold sleep, or, at least, had lost to such a degree from us repentance and faith-let us see the its power of control over him, that he stood man who stands unrebuked out of his wickout against every engine which was set up edness by all that conscience has reproached to bring him to the faith and the repentance him with unmoved out of the hardness of of the New Testament--behold in such a his unbelief by all that power of tenderness, man a sinner against conscience to such a which should have softened his unrelenting woful extent, that conscience had given up bosom, when told of the Saviour who had its direction of him; or, in other words, a poured out his soul unto the death for him sinner against the Holy Ghost to such an --if all this contempt and resistance of his extent, that he had let down the office of has been so long and so grievously persisted warning him away from that ground of in, that the Spirit has ceased to strive-then, danger and of guilt on which he stood so it is not the power of the Gospel that is in immovably posted; or, of urging him on- fault, but the obstinacy of him who has reward to that sure road of access, where is a jected it. The sufficiency of the Gospel is man seek for pardon, he will never miss it, not detracted from by so much as a jot or a and where, if he cry for the clean heart and tittle. To this very hour may we proclaim the right spirit, he will not cry in vain. it as the savour of life unto life, to the very
And as there is nothing dark or incom- worst of sinners who receive it. But if he prehensible in the nature of this sin, so there so turn aside from its invitations, and the is nothing in it to impair the freeness of the habit be so fixed with him, and conscience Gospel, or the universality of its calls and get into a state of such immovable dormanof its offers, or its power of salvation to all cy, that the Spirit gives him over, it is not who will, or that attribute which is expressly that the Gospel does not carry a remedy ascribed to it, that where sin abounded, grace along with it for one and all of his offences, did much more abound. It is never said but because he refuses that Gospel, that it that pardon through that blood, which is is to him the savour of death unto death. distinctly stated to cleanse from all sin—it is A king publishes a wide and unexpected nowhere said, that this pardon is extended amnesty to the people of a rebellious disto any but to those who believe. If you do trict in his empire, upon the bare aci of not believe, you do not get pardon-and if each presenting himself within a limited you will not believe, because you love dark- period, before an authorized agent, and proness rather than light-if you will not be- fessing his purposes of future loyalty. Does lieve, because you will not abandon those it at all detract from the clemency of this evil deeds which the Spirit tells you through deed of grace, that many of the rebels feel the conscience, that you must forsake in a strong reluctance to this personal exhibicoming unto Christ-if his repeated calls tion of themselves; and thai the reluctance have been so unheeded and so withstood by strengthens and accumulates upon them by you, that he has at length ceased from strip- every day of their postponement; and that ing, then the reason why your sin is unpar- even before the season of mercy has expired, donable, is just because you have refused | it has risen to such a degree of aversion on the Gospel salvation. The reason why your their part, as to form a moral barrier in the case is irrecoverable, is just because you way of their prescribed return, that is alla have refused the method of recovery so I gether impassable? Will you say, because long, and so often, that every call of repen- there is no forgiveness to them, that there tance has now come to play upon you in is any want of amplitude in that charter of vain. The reason . why you lie under al forgiveness which is proclaimed in the hear
ing of all; or, that pardon has not been pro- which has been felt upon the subject, by vided for every offence, because some of many a bewildered inquirer. You cannot fenders are to be found, with such a degree take a review of the years that are gone, and of perverseness and of obstinacy in their fetch up this mysterious sin to your remembosom, as constrains them to a determined brance out of the history of the sins that refusal of all pardon?
are past. There is not one of them, which, The blood of Christ cleanseth from all if turned away from, in the faith of that sin; and there is not a human creature, who, pardon that is through the blood of the let him repent and believe, will ever find atonement—there is not one of them beyond the crimson inveteracy of his manifold of the reach of the great redemption of the fences to be beyond the reach of its purify-Gospel. The sin against the Holy Ghost is ing and its peace-speaking power. And not some awful and irrevocable deed, around tell us if it detract by a single iota from the which a disordered fancy has thrown its omnipotence of this great Gospel remedy, superstitious array, and which beams in that there are many sinners in the world deeper terror upon the eye of the mind, who refuse to lay hold of it. To the hour from the very obscurity by which it is enof death it is within the reach of all and of compassed. There ought to be no darkness any who will. This is the period in the and no mystery about it. The sin against history of each individual, at which this the Holy Ghost is such a daring and obstigreat act of amnesty expires, and to the last nate rebellion against the prerogatives of minute of his life, it is competent for me conscience—that all its calls to penitency and for every minister of the Gospel to urge have been repelled--and all the urgency of it upon him, in all the largeness and in all its admonitions to flee to the offered Saviour, the universality which belong to itand to has been withstood-and all this obstinacy assure him, that there is not a single deed of resistance has been carried forward to of wickedness with which his faithful mé- such a point in the history of the unhappy mory now agonizes him, not one habit of man, that his conscience has ceased from disobedience that now clothes his retrospect the exercise of its functions; and the Holy of the past in the sad colouring of despair, Spirit has laid down his office of prompting all the guilt of which, and all the condemna-it; and the tenderness of a beseeching God tion of which, the blood of the offered Sa-may be sounded in his ear-but unaccomviour cannot do away. But, though we may panied as it is by that power which makes offer, that is not to say that he will accept. a willing and obedient people, it reaches not Though we may proclaim, and urge the his-sullen and inflexible heart. And instead, proclamation in his hearing, with everytherefore, of looking for that sin among tone of truth and of tenderness, that is not those imaginary few who mourn and are in to say, that our voice will enter with power, distress, under an overwhelming sense of or make its resistless way through those its enormity, I look for it to those thouavenues of his heart, where he has done so sands, who, trenched among the secularimuch to rear a defending barrier, that may ties of the world, or fully set on the mad prove to be impenetrable. Though there be career of profligacy, are posting their caretruth in our every announcement, that is less and infatuated way-and suffering Sabnot to say, that the demonstration of the baths and opportunities to pass over them Spirit will accompany it-even that Spirit and turn with contempt from the foolishness who long ere now may have left to himself | of preaching—and hold up the iron front of the man, who, his whole life long, has insensibility against all that is appalling in grieved and resisted him. It is still true, the judgments of God-and cling to this that the pardon lies at his acceptance: and perishable scene under the most touching it may be as true, that there can be no par- experiences of its vanity--and walk their don to him because he has brought such an unfaltering path amid all the victims which inveterate blindness upon his soul, that he mortality has strewn around them and will neither receive the truth, nor love it, every year drink deeper into the spirit of nor feel those genuine impulses by which it the world--till the moral disease rises to softens the heart of man to repentance. And such an inveteracy, that all the engines of thus it is, that while the blood of Christ conversion, unaided as they are, by that cleanseth the every sin of every believer, peculiar force and demonstration which is the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be from on high, fall powerless as infancy upon forgiven, because with this sin, and with its them, and every soul amongst them, sunk consequences upon him, man wills not, and in torpor immovable, will never, never be repents not, and believes not..
made to know the power and the life of a And now for the interesting question,- spiritual resurrection. How am I to know that I have committed We know nothing that goes farther to this sin, that is said to be beyond the reach' nullify the Bible, than the habit of subjectof forgiveness? We are sure that the righting the interpretation of its passages to any solution of this question, if well understood, other principle, than that all its parts must would go to dissipate all that mclancholy consist and be in harmony with each other.
There has a world of mischief been done ceive to occur but seldom in the history of
Now, if you look to the 31st verse of the they refuse the testimony of this witness12th chapter of Matthew, you will perceive, do so because they stifle within them the that all who think the sin against the Holy urgency of his rebuke, when he tells them Ghost to lie in the commission of some rare of faith and of repentance-do so when he and monstrous, but at the same time spe- offers to convince them on principles that cific iniquity, cannot admit the first clause would be clear to themselves, could they of the verse without qualifying it by some only be so far arrested by the imperious of the undeniable doctrines of the New Tes- claims of God and of eternity, as to attend to tament. They would say, it is not true them-convince them that they are indeed that all manner of sin shall be forgiven unto on a way of guilt and of alienation, which, men, with the exception of this blasphemy | if not turned from, through the revealed against the Holy Ghost, which they con- | Mediator, will land them in the condemna