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believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive; for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed ; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."*

These were the men, who, persisting in this conduct, were guilty of the unpardonable offence; for they contradicted the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and blasphemed his last and crowning dispensation of mercy. They had formerly, perhaps, despised the Saviour, and rejected his claims,they had slandered his character, and dyed their hands in his blood. But for this-all this, there was salvation through his cross—did they only repent and believe in him. This they persisted in refusing; and for this, there was and could be no remedy. The apostles turned from them, as men given over to a reprobate mind. They had done all that they had in their power to do-proclaimed their message, established its truth, and pressed its reception.-For this, they were visited with hatred, calumny, and desperate and outrageous abuse. They said nothing; they endured the per

* Acts xxviii. 24-27.

sonal insult; but they could do no more. With hearts overcharged with sorrow, they sought other subjects among whom to exercise their ministry, and other trophies of their Saviour's power and grace.

The remaining part of the subject, I shall resume and endeavour to finish in another Dis




MATTHEW xii. 31.

Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and

blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men : but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

In the former discourse on this subject, I endeavoured to explain the meaning of the word blasphemy, and the manner in which it is employed in the Scriptures. It was then shown that it always signifies the employment of injurious and opprobrious language, proceeding from hatred towards its object, and uttered with a view to injure him in the estimation of others. I proceeded to notice, that from the circumstances related by the Evangelist, it appears that the Pharisees were guilty of this crime against our Lord Jesus Christ; and that his object in the text is to charge it upon them, and to warn them of the danger to which they would be exposed, if afterwards they should treat the Floly Spirit, who should bear witness to


him, in the same manner in which they had treated himself. Following out this view of the matter, I endeavoured to show, that the phrase, the Son of Man, belongs properly to the incarnate state and ministry of the Redeemer, and not to him as the glorified Mediator ;-that the Holy Ghost belongs to the completing part of the divine dispensation; and therefore, that, though offences committed against the person and mission of Christ might be forgiven, as a part of the remedial scheme of God was still to follow, when that part of the plan did arrive, those who treated it as they had done Christ, should be incapable of forgiveness. Hence it followed, that though the Jews, who reviled and blasphemed Jesus, were not excluded from forgiveness on that account, and were subsequently called to repentance by the apostles ; when they treated their message with contradiction and blasphemy, they instantly turned from them, having nothing further to offer, and nothing more which they could do.

If I am asked then, whether I consider the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit to be the same thing with the rejection of the Gospel, I answer decidedly–No. Their eternal consequences may be the same; but they are different offences in themselves.

The Gospel is rejected by multitudes, from ignorance of its nature and its claims; but the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be committed by persons of this description. When I speak of ignorance, I do not mean a total destitution of

all knowledge of Christianity, such as that which belongs to the heathen; but that species of ignorance which belongs to the body of persons in a Christian country, who care little about religion. It is astonishing the degree of ignorance which is frequently to be found among such persons. You will find themy in the habit of hearing about Christianity all their lives, and listening to its instructions in public with tolerable regularity, while they can tell you nothing almost about the matter. They have no consistent view of its doctrines-no right apprehension of its moral glory, and no perception whatever either of the strength of its evidence, or its indispensible necessity to their salvation. Their ignorance is inexcusable, and their guilt most awful ;-still it is not the blasphemy of the Divine Spirit.

That offence, it seems evident, involves some degree of knowledge and conviction of the truth. This was clearly the case with the Pharisees, who were guilty of reviling our Lord. He told them this most plainly: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin : but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among

them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.”* They professed that they did know him—that they were capable of judging him, and that they rejected

* John xv. 22-24.

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