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fice that could atone for such a sin. In this sense, as things then stood with them, their sin was an unpardonable one. But then it is not to be concluded from hence, that, if they repented of this blasphemy, they could not obtain forgiveness. The observation of Athanasius is very material:- Christ does not say to him that blasphemeth and repenteth; but, to him that blasphemeth: and therefore, he means, to him that continueth in his blasphemy; for with God, there is no sin that is unpardonable.' And the truth of this observation will appear from the following instances. Jesus said in Matt. x. 33, 'Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father;' where the threatening is as strong as this in the case of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost: and yet, when Peter shortly afterwards denied Jesus before men three times, joining oaths and curses with his denials, yet upon his repenting, and weeping bitterly, he was not only forgiven, but continued in his apostleship. Again, when Jesus was on the cross, some of the rulers derided him, saying,' he saved others, let him save himself, if he be the Christ, the chosen of God,' (Luke xxiii. 35.) By which words it appears, that they acknowledged Jesus to have wrouglat miracles, and yet rejected him, denying that he wrought them by the Holy Spirit of God. And yet Jesus prayed to his Father that they might be forgiven, (Luke xxiii. 34.) To this may be added, that in this chapter, verses 38—40, these Pharisees, who had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, asked for a sign, and our Saviour gave one to them, viz. the sign of the prophet Jonas. And what could this sign be given for, unless for their conviction, and for disposing them to repent, and in consequence of this to be forgiveu. From all which, it may, I think, be concluded, that to speak against the Holy Ghost, as those Pharisees did, was therefore not to be forgiven in that age, or in the age to come, because no means of obtaining forgiveness for it was to be found, either in the Jewish law, or under
the Christian dispensation : but that lowever, upon their repentance, they might be forgiven and admitted to the Divine favour.” Pearce, on Matthew xii. 32.
I insert the whole of this long Note, though I do not agree with some of the sentiments expressed in it by the learned Bishop: because it powerfully corroborates some of the ideas maintained in the discourses; and because it gives a full view of the argument by which the interpretation of the particular clause which it is introduced to support, is sustained. I do not agree with the Bishop in thinking that the Pharisees were guilty of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Nor do I perceive the consistency of maintaining that it might not be forgiven either by the law or the Gospel; and yet that it might be forgiven, if repented of. This is no more than what may be affirmed of every sin; and therefore it sets aside all the peculiarity which belongs to this offence. No sin, unless repented of, can be forgiven; but I fully agree with the Bishop, that all offences, of whatever character, which are repented of, and mercy implored for them, through the blood of Christ, may be pardoned.
His view of the phrase in question, as meaning Jewish and Christian dispensation, I think mistaken. It is not necessary to dispute his interpretation of the word alwv age. It is often used as he alleges in the New Testament, for the Mosaic and the Christian dispensations. But it is most frequently employed for the whole course of time, as opposed to eternity; and always thus I think when there is a direct or implied reference to another state. The reader may consult for his satisfaction the following passages : Mark x. 30. Lake xx. 34, 35. Eph. i. 21. Tit. iii. 12. Gal. i. 5.
What puts the mear of the expression, as used by our Lord, beyond all doubt, is the phraseology of Mark iii. 29 : “ He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath nerer forgiveness, ουκ έχει άφεσιν εις τον αιώνα ; but is ob
moxious to eternal dimnution, åll' čvoxós éotiv aiwviou κρίσεως. . I believe these expressions, and that which has led to these remarks, form the strongest negative which can be conveyed by any language. There shall not be forgiveness for this offence in time or in eternity. Some sins are punished in this world only; some only in the world to come; and some are punished in both. A sin which is not remitted in the present or the future state is punished in both. That for which there is no forgiveness here or hereafter, must necessarily involve eternal perdition.
Note [D]. p. 16.
“ If I, by the Spirit of God, cast out devils,” &c. £v Tvetrate Osoū. I am not certain that our Lord, by this phrase, refers to the Holy Spirit, though it is not necessary to my argument to deny it. I know that all our Lord's works and teaching were the fruit of that Spirit by which he was qualified for his earthly ministry at his baptism; but I think he rarely refers to his agency in a direct manner while he was on earth. “ The phrase," says Dr. Middleton, may signify no more than by divine co-operation; and if so, avevua is here used in the fifth sense assigned it on Matt. i. 18.” The learned reader will remark, the avevua is used without the article ro. The adjective, holy, is also omitted. In the passage of his own work to which Dr. Middleton refers, he maintains, that where the Holy Spirit is intended, the article is invariably used : “ there being but one Holy Spirit he could not be spoken of indefinitely.”—“ But though the Holy Spirit himself be but one, his influences and operations may be many : lience πνεύμα and πνεύμα άγιον, are in this sense always anarthrous, the case of renewed mention, or other
reference being of course excepted.” Middleton on the Greek Article, p. 168.
This view of the meaning of the phrase is strongly confirmed by the parallel passage in Luke: “ If I, by the finger of God (év daktólw Okoũ) cast out devils,” &c. It is very clear the finger of God is a figurative expression for his power; and that Luke means the same thing, by the finger of God, that Matthew intends—by the Spirit of God.! The great object of Jesus on this occasion is not so much to call the atten. tion to the Holy Spirit working by him, as to the divinity of his own inission, so clearly established by his miraculous works.
“ The Son of Mun.” O vios tov avOpwrov. I have met with nothing which, to my mind, appears fully and satisfactorily to explain the origin and design of this important and pecn. liar phrase. It occurs more than eighty times in the New Testament, but it is never employed except by our Lord himself—and is never used even by him after his resurrection. The apostles, with only one exception, never use it, either when speaking to or concerning the Redeemer. Once it is employed by Stephen; but the allusion is so plainly to the language used by our Lord himself, that it can scarcely be regarded as an exception. “Behold,” said the first martyr, “ I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts vii. 56. Compare John i. 51; Matt. xxvi. 64.
Daniel vii. 13; Rev. i. 13; and xiv. 14, are not exceptions, as in all these places, the phrase is without the article; Úlos åv pánov, a son of man, which is a Syriasm for man. The person described in them is indeed the Messiah, but the
phrase is intended to convey simply the idea, that the Being presented had a human form or appearance, and not what is emphatically meant by the phrase, “ the Son of Man.” When applied to Jesus, it always has the article, and is thus distinguished from the compellation so often employed in the prophets-son of man. One exception to this occurs in John v. 27. On which Bishop Middleton remarks :
« The term ο υιός του ανθρώπου has already occurred above seventy times, but now for the first time without either of the articles : and on this circumstance some stress has been laid by Beza, Michaelis, Campbell, and others. They contend, that the articles are here purposely omitted, for that our Saviour meant only to assert, that the person to whom power was thus given, was himself a man : and that here, by a common Syriası, son of man and man are synonymous. The Syrians,' says Michaelis (Anmerk ad loc.) cannot express the word man otherwise than by son of man: accordingly, 1 Cor. xv. 47, Adam, in the Syriac Version, is called the first Son of Mun, though no mortal was his father.' I am fully aware that 4;) and les ;3 are used for äv&pwnos, and mean no more than the Latin homo or the German menseh : but, if I mistake not, the Syriac expressions are no where employed by the authors of the Peshito as equivalent to ó ÚLÒS TOū ανθρώπου, nor even to the υιός ανθρώπου of the present verse. This term (for I consider the absence of the articles as making no difference) they every where translate by
: whence it may be inferred, that in the verse under review, no less than in other places, they held ÚLÒS ův párov applied to Christ, to be significant of something different from äv@pwroc.—It appears then that the argument founded on the Syriasm is rather against the conclusion, which it was meant to establish : the omission, however, of the Greek articles ought to be explained from the Greek usage,