« ForrigeFortsett »
Chrift, and shift his offer ; since God hath openly declared, that " this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, Christ came to save finners, whereof I am chief.” Even he who is chief of finners in his own apprehenfion is bound to believe and“ accept this saying.
Object. My fins have some aggravating circumftances beyond the same fins in other persons, which doth much terrify me.
Anf. What can the aggravations of thy sins be, which are not parallel in the forecited examples ? Is thy fin against great light ? fo behoved many of these we spake of before. Was it against fingular mercies and deliverances ? fo was that of Lot's and Noah's drunkenness. Was thy sin done with much deliberation ? fo was David's, whilft he wrote the letter against Uriah. Was it against or after any fingular manifestation of God ? fo was Solomon's. Wasit by a small and despicable temptation ? so was that of Jonah and of Peter ; if we confider the heinousness of their transgression. Hast thou reiterated the fin, and committed it over again ? so did Lot, so did Peter, so did Jehoshaphat in joining with Ahab and Jehoram, 1 Kings xxii. 2 Kings iii. Are there many gross fins concurring together in thee? fo were there in Manasseh. Hast thou stood long out in rebellion ? (that, as the former, is thy shame : but) fo did the “thief on the cross;" he stood it out to the last galp, Luke xxiii. 42, 43.
If yet “ thou haft an ear to hear, ' thou art commanded to “ hear.” Although thou haft Jong “ spent thy money for that which is not bread," thou hast the greater need now to make halte, and to flee for refuge; and if thou do so, he shall welcome thee, and « in no wise caft thee oui," especially, fince he hath used to prescription of time in scripture. So that all those aggravations of thy fin will not excufe thy shifting of the Lord's offer.
Obje&t. In all these instances given you have not named the particulars whercof I am guilty ; nor know I
any who ever obtained mercy before God being guilty of such things as are in me.
Answ. It is hard to condescend upon every particular transgression which may vex the conscience; yea, lesfer fins than some of those I have mentioned may hugely disquiet, if the Lord blow the fire. But for thy fatisfaction, I shall condescend upon some truths of Scripture, which do reach sins and cases more universally than any man can do particularly. See Exod. xxxiv. 7. “ God pardoneth iniquity, transgression and fin; that is, all manner of fin. “ If a man turn from all his wickedness, it shall no more be remembered, or prove his ruin.” 66 Him that cometh, he will in no wise cast out;" that is, whatsoever be bis fins, or the aggravations of them. 66 Whosoever believeth shall have everlasting life :” that is, without exception of any sin, or any case." "He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him :" no man can sufficiently declare what is God's uttermost. 66 All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; that is, there is no sort of fin, whereof one instance shall not be forgiven in one person or other, “except the fin against the Holy Ghost.” These and the like Scriptures do all sorts of sin before them : so that let thy fins be what they will, or can be, they may be sunk in one of these truths: so as thy sin can be no excuse to thee for shifting the offer of peace and salvation through Christ since “ any man who will," is allowed to “ come and take."
We will not multiply words: the great God of heaven and earth hath sovereignly commanded all who see their need of relief to betake themselves unto Christ Jefus, and to close cordially with God's device of saving finners by hiin, laying alide all objections and excuses, as they shall be answerable unto him in the day he shall judge the quick and the dead, and shall drive away out of his presence all these who would dare to say, their fins and condition were such as that they durft not adventure
upon Christ's perfect righteousness for their relief, noiwithstanding of the Lord's own command often interposed, and in a manner his credit engaged.
Of the Sin against the Holy Ghost.
I SUSPECT I am guilty of the
Object. “ fin against the Holy Ghoft," and fo am incapable of pardon; and therefore I need not think of believing on Christ Jesus for saving of my
soul. Anfw. Although none should charge this sin on themselves, or on others, unless they can prove and instruct the charge according to Christ's example, Mat. xii. 259 26, 32, yet, for satisfying of the doubt, I shall
, ist, shew what is not the fin against the Holy Ghost, properly fo called, becaufe there be fome grofs fins which people do unwarrantably judge to be this unpardonable fin. 2dly, I shall shew what is the fin against the Holy Ghost. 3dly, I shall draw some conclusions in answer directly to the objection.
As for the first, There be many gross fins, which although, as all other fins, they be fins against the Holy Ghost, who is God equal and one with the Father and the Son, and are done against some of his operations and motions : yet are they not "the fin against the Holy Ghost,” which is the unpardonable fin. As ift, Blafpheming of God under bodily tortures is not that sin; for some faints fell into this, nas xxvi. 11. “ And I punished them oft in every fynagogue, and compelled ihem to blafphene:" much less blaspheining of God in a fit of distraction or frenzy; for a man is not a free rational agent at that time: and he that spareth his people, as a father doth the son that serveth him," " and pitieth them that fear him, as a father pitieth his chile dren," so doth he spare and pity in these rovings ; for so would our fathers according to the flesh do, if we blafphemed them in a fit of distraction. Much less are horrid blasphemies against God darted in upon the foul, and not allowed there, this unpardonable sin; for such things were offered to Christ, Mat. iv. and are often caft in upon the saints.
2dly, The hating of good in others, whilst I am not convinced that it is good, but in my light do judge it to be evil; yea, the speaking against it, yea, the perfecuting of it in that case, is not the fin against the Holy Ghoft; for all these will be found in Paul before he was converted and he obtained mercy, because he did these things ignorantly.
3dly, Heart-rising at the thriving of others in the work and way of God whilft I love it in myself; yea, the rising of heart against Providence, which often ex. presseth itself against the creatures nearest our hand : yea, this rising of heart entertained and maintained, (although they be horrid things leading towards that unpardonable fin, yet) are not that fin; for these may be in the saints, proceeding from felf-love, which cannot endure to be darkened by another, and proceeding from fome cross in their idol under a fit of temptation : the most part of all this was in Jonah, chap. iv.
4thly, Not only are not decays in what once was in the man, and falling into gross fins against light after the receiving of the truth, this unpardonable fin; for then many of the saints in scripture were undone : but further apostacy from much of the truth is not that sin; for that was in Solomon, and in the church of Corinth and Galatia : yea, denying, yea, forswearing of the most fundamental truth under a great temptation is not this fin; for then Peter had been undone.
5thly, As resisting, quenching, grieving, and vexing of the Spirit of God by many sinful ways, are not this unpardonable fin ; for they are charged with these who are called to repentance in Scripture, and not fhut out as guilty of this fin; fo neither reiterating fin against
the Holy Ghost, although it leadeth towards it ; for such was Peter's sin in denying Christ; so was Jehoshaphat's sin in joining with Ahab and Jehoram.
6thly, Purposes and essays of self-murder, and even purposes of murdering godly men, the party beingrunder a fad fit of temptation; yea, actual felf-murder, (although probably it often joineth in the issue with this unpardonable fin, which ought to make every soul look upon
very temptation to it with horror and abhorrence, yet) is not the fin against the Holy Ghoft. The Jailor intended to kill himselfupon a worse account than many poor people do, in the light and fense of God's wrath, and of their own sin and corruption; yet that Jailor obtained pardon, Atts xvi. 27, 34; and Paul, before his effectual calling, was accessary unto the murder of many saints, and intended to kill more as himself granteth, A&s xxvi. 9, 10, 11, 12.
Although all these are dreadful fins, each of them deserving wrath everlasting, and not being repented of, bring endless vengeance;
especially the last cuts off hope of relief, for ought can be expected in an ordinary way; yet none of these is the unpardonable fin against the Holy Ghost : and so under any of these there is hope to him that hath an ear to hear the joyful sound of the co
All manner of fuch fin and blafphemy may be forgiven, as is clear in the Scripture, where these things are mentioned.
As for the second thing. Let us see what the sin against the Holy Ghost is. It is not a fimple act of transgreffion, but a complex of many mischievous things, involving foul and body ordinarily in guilt. We thus defcribe it : “ It is a rejecting and opposing of the chief gospel-truth, and way of salvation, made out fingularly to a man by the spirit of God, in the truth and good thereof; and that avowedly, freely, wilfully, maliciously, and despitefully, breeding hopeless fear.” There be three places of scripture which do speak most of this fin, and thence we will prove every part of this description,