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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

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“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

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more, who, though active and astir on that your calamity; I will mock when your fear
living scene of population which is around cometh. When your sear cometh as deso
us, have an iron hardness upon their souls, lation, and your destruction cometh as a
which makes them, in reference to the things whirlwind; when distress and anguish
of God, dark and sullen as the grave, and cometh upon you: then shall they call
fast locks them in all the insensibility of upon me, but I will not answer; they shall
spiritual death. Is there no old man of your seek me early, but they shall not find me."
acquaintance, who realizes this sad picture You see, then, how a man may shut
of one left to himself that we have now at- against himself all the avenues of reconci-
tempted so rapidly to set before you? Then liation. There is nothing mysterious in the
know, that by every deed of wilful sin, that kind of sin by which the Holy Spirit 'is
by every moment of wilful delay in the tempted to abandon him to that state in
great matter of repentance, that by every which there can be no forgiveness, and no
stilled warning of conscience, that by every return unto God. . It is by a movement of
deafening of its authoritative voice among conscience within him, that the man is made
the temptations of the world, and the riot sensible of sin--that he is visited with the
of lawless acquaintances, you are just mov- desire of reformation-that he is given to
ing yourself to the limits of this helpless and feel his need both of mercy to pardon, and
irrecoverable condition. We have no doubt, of grace to help him-in a word, that he is
that you may have the intention of making drawn unto the Saviour, and brought into
a violent step, and suddenly turning round that intimate alliance with him by faith,
to the right path ere you die. But this you which brings down upon him both accep-
will not do but by an act of obedience to tance with the Father, and all the power of
the reproaches of a conscience that is ever a new and a constraining impulse, to the
getting harder. This you will not do with-way of obedience. But this movement is a
out the constraining influence of that Spirit, suggestion of the Spirit of God, and if it be
who is gradually dying away from you. resisted by any man, the Spirit is resisted.
This you will not do but in virtue of some The God who offers to draw him unto
overpowering persuasion from that monitor, Christ, is resisted. The man refuses to be-
who is now stirring within you, but with lieve, because his deeds are evil; and by
whom you are now taking the most effectual every day of perseverance in tliese deeds,
method of drowning his voice, and disarm- the voice which tells him of their guilt, and
ing him of all his authority. Do not you / urges him to abandon them, is resisted;
perceive, that in these circumstances, every and thus, the Spirit ceases to suggest, and
act of delay is madness-that you are getting the Father, from whom the Spirit proceed-
by every hour of it into deeper water-that eth, ceases to draw, and the inward voice
you are consolidating a barrier against your ceases to remonstrate; and all this because
future return to the paths of righteousness, their authority has been so osten put forth,
which you vainly think you will be able to and so often turned from. This is the deadlý
surmount when the languor and infirmity offence which has reared an impassable wail
of old age have got hold of you--that you against the return of the obstinately impeni-
are strengthening and multiplying around tent. This is the blasphemy to which no
you the wiles of an entanglement, which forgiveness can be granted, because in its
all the strugglings of deathbed terror cannot very nature, the man who has come this
break asunder--that you are insulting the length, feels no movement of conscience
Spirit of God by this daily habit of stifling towards that ground on which alone for
and neglecting the other and the other call giveness can be awarded to him-and where
that he is sounding to your moral ear, it is never refused even to the very worst
through the organ of conscience. And O and most malignant of human iniquities.
the desperate hazard and folly of such a This is the sin against the Holy Ghost. It
calculation! Think you, think you, that is not peculiar to any one age. It does not
this is the way of gaining his friendly pre- lie in any one unfathomable mystery. It
sence at that awful moment, when the may be seen at this day in thousands and
urgent sense of guilt and of danger forces thousands more, who, by that most familiar
from the sinner an imploring cry as he and most frequently exemplified of all ha-
stands on the brink of eternity?

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

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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

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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.

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There has a world of mischief been done ceive to occur but seldom in the history of
by the modifications that have been laid on human wickedness. They would say, that
the obvious meaning of Scripture, with the there is forgiveness to no sin whatever but
purpose of rendering it more palatable to on the faith and the repentance of him who
our independent views of what is right, and has incurred it-and we must, therefore,
wise, and reasonable. This, in fact, is de- suppose this, and qualify the clause by this
posing the word of God from that primitive indispensable condition, and thus make the
authority.which belongs to it, as the court clause to tell us, how such is the power of
of highest appeal--all whose decisions are the Gospel, that all the sin and blasphemy
final and irreversible. Grant us that there is shall be forgiven of those who have em-
no contradiction between what we find in braced it-save that one sin against the
the book of God's counsel, and what we Holy Ghost, for the remission of which, not
know by the evidence of our own experi- even their acceptance of the Gospel of Chris!
ence, or the overbearing testimony of others could avail them.
-and such we hold to be the ignorance of Now, the explanation we have given of
man about the whole of that spiritual and this sin renders all this work of annexing
unseen world which lies beyond the circle terms and modifications to this verse of the
of his own observation, that we count it not Bible unnecessary, and gives, we think, even
merely his most becoming piety, but we to its literal and unrestricted meaning, a
count it also his soundest and most en- most lucid consistency with all that is lead-
lightened philosophy, to sit down with the ing and that is undeniable in the doctrine
docility of a little child to all that is inti- of the New Testament. If the sin against
mated and made known to him by a well- the Holy Ghost be just that sin, in virtue of
attested revelation, After the deductions we which the calls and offers of the Gospel are
have just now made, we know of no other so rejected, as to be finally and irreversibly
principle on which we should ever offer to put away from us, then it is true, it is abso-
modify a verse or a clause of the written lutely and unreservedly true, that all other
record; but the principle of that entire con- manner of sin shall be forgiven but this one
sistency which must reign throughout all only. All who'so reject this Gospel, hare
its communications. We know of no other sinned against the Holy Ghost-and none
cross-examination which we have a right to who accept this Gospel have incurred this
set up on this witness to the invisible things sin, nor shall they want the forgiveness that
of faith--than to try it by itself, and to con- is there provided for them. It is quite in
demn it, if possible, out of its own mouth, vain to think, that the sin against the Holy
by confronting together its own depositions. Ghost is confined to that period of the world
We are only at freedom to sustain or to at which our Saviour made his personal ap-
qualify the literal sense of one of its an-pearance in it. The truth is, that it is since
nouncements, by the literal and equally au-Christ withdrew from the world, that he
thoritative sense of some other of its an- now carries forward by the Spirit, as his
nouncements. And such is our respect for agent and substitute, the business of press-
the paramount authority of Scripture, that ing home upon men the acceptance of the
we know of no discovery more pleasing, Gospel, by working with their consciences.
than that by which the apparent inconsis- | He employs the Spirit as his witness, since
tency between two places, is so cleared up, he himself has gone away from us; and as
that all necessity for encroaching upon the in the business of entertaining the calls and
literal sense of either of them is completely | the offers of the New Testament, our doings
done away-for it goes to establish our are more exclusively with this Spirit, and
every impression of the unviolable sanc- not at all with the Saviour himself personally,
tity of its various communications, and to we are surely as much in the way of now
heighten our belief that every semblance of committing the sin in question, as in those
opposition between the particulars of the days when the Holy Ghost was not so
divine testimony, exists not in the testimony abundantly given, because Jesus Christ was
itself, but in the misapprehension of our own not then glorified. All those, be assured,
dark and imperfect understandings. who refuse the Gospel now, do so because

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



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