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condemnation contained in the words of the text: “. All manner of sin and blas
phemy shall be forgiven unto men; “ but the blasphemy against the Holy - Ghost shall not be forgiven.”
It is plain therefore, from a review of the whole circumstances, that the sin of the Pharisees, against which our Saviour pronounced this severe anathema, consisted in this : That when they had sufficient evidence to convince them, that the miracles he wrought were performed by the finger of God, they wilfully and maliciously persevered in ascribing them to the
power of the devil.
This will appear still clearer, if we consider the manner, in which St. Mark relates the same fact: Verily,” says he, “ I say unto you, all sins shall be for
given unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewithsoever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath
never forgiveness, but is in danger of " eternal damnation :" And he then im
mediately adds, that Jesus spake this, “ because they said, he hath an unclean “ spirit.” Now, as our Saviour's miracles were the most authentic proof that could be given of his being sent from God, and that his doctrine was divine; and as the crime of the Pharisees consisted in ascribing his miracles to the devil, because they would not believe his doctrine, nor own him for the Messias ; we may therefore conclude, that the leading and principal part of the sin against the Holy Ghost consists in rejecting a religion, as false and founded on diabolical agency and imposture, which comes to us recommended and confirmed by strong and authentic proofs of a divine original,
But, in order to give you a clearer and more distinct idea of this sin, I shall examine what is said of it, in two places of the epistle to the Hebrews, which are generally understood to have relation to this point,
The first is in the 6th chapter, where the Apostle expresses himself in these
terms: “ It is impossible for those, who .
were once enlightened, and have tasted
of the heavenly gift, and were made “ partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have “ tasted the good word of God, and the
powers of the world to come, if they " shall fall away, to renew them again “ unto repentance; seeing they crucify to " themselves the Son of God afresh, and “ put him to an open shame.” The sense of which words I apprehend to be this: it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, that is, who have come to a true knowledge of the Christian faith and the doctrine of the gospel; and have tasted of the heavenly gift, that is, who have been sensible of the sweet effects of those promises of grace
are made to repenting sinners under the gospel dispensation; and were made partakers of the Iloly Ghost, either of its inward effects upon their own minds, or of its outward agency in producing miraculous operations for the conversion of unbelievers; and lastly, who have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, that is, who have known
the gospel to be more excellent than the law, and have been acquainted with; the powers and wonders of the first
of the church, which was to succeed the dispensation of Moses, and is therefore called pésrwv diwv, the world, or more properly; the age, to come.
It is impossible, says the Apostle, that they, who have enjoyed all these privileges, if they fall away and apostatize, should ever be renewed again unto repentance.
The other passage of St. Paul is in the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Ilebrews, where he says, If we sin wilfully, “ after that we have received the know
ledge of the truth, there remaineth no
more sacrifice for, sins, but a certain “ fearful looking for of judgment and
fiery indignation, which shall derour $6 * the adversaries.". From which words we may clearly draw these two conșequences: first, that they who, after they have embraced Christianity, and made a public profession of its doctrine, afterwards entirely renounce it by a total apostacy, with a deliberate mind, wilfully and
against against the dictates of their conscience, are not to expect that a sin of so deep a dye will ever be pardoned; for it is unpardonable; and therefore the Apostle says, there remains only a certain fearful looking for of judgment: it is such as the High-priest of old was not allowed to expiate by sacrifice; and therefore he adds, “ there remaineth no more sacrifice 66 for sins.”
The second consequence deducible from the words of St. Paul is, that they, who, after they have known the gospel, and even at the very time they are making a profession of Christianity, fall into an universal corruption of manners, and give themselves to all kinds of wickedness, deliberately and with a full consent of their will, and without remorse, have no reason to hope for pardon ; and that the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, which is the only means by which they could obtain it, will be of no benefit to them, because they wilfully reject and de