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greatest of miracles to God, the inference is plain, that they ascribed them to devils. That they also did this in malice, is clear, both from the general spirit of their persecutions, and from the martyrdom of Stephen.
If none of these men, therefore, these • worst of all flesh,'* did at any period of their natural lives, blaspheme against the Holy Ghost; we may safely affirm, that this crime never was, nor ever will be perpetrated by man, while inhabiting this globe.
Thirdly. The Redeemer never prayed for the mere partial forgiveness of any one. Jesus Christ never said • Thy sin,' but Thy sins, are forgiven thee.'
Sins are remitted as soon as they are purged away : repentance goes before pardon. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.' •If he say he repent, thon shalt forgive him.'
If he that offends in one point, is guilty of all ; by the same rule, he that is cleansed, and consequently forgiven, in one point, is cleansed and forgiven in all. • A little leven leveneth the whole lamp.'
We are now returned to our starting post.
Fourthly. And when they came to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors; one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father forgive them ; for they know not what they do.' Luke xxiii. 33. 34.
We have already seen, that although the Jewish rulers had no cloak for their sin; yet they killed the Prince of Life, through ignorance.
* So Dr. Price calls them.
• For they know not what they do.' As this reason, assigned by our Saviour, to show why his murderers should be forgiven, extended to all who conspired his death, all must have been embraced in his last intercession.
• Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' From what has now been observed, it is clear, beyond a doubt, that the Scribes, Pharisees, and Jewish rulers, were included in this dying petition of our Lord: those worst of all flesh- to whom he had said, Ye shall die in your sins-to whom he had exclaimed. Ye serpents ! ye generation of vipers ! bow can ye escape the damnation of hell !_and who had either already committed blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, or would commit this most enormous of crimes, before they could obtain the pardon for which he interceded.
Now, since our great Intercessor never prayed for mere partial forgiveness, and since he has declared to his Father, • I know that thou always hearest me ;' the full remission of all the sins, of every person, for whom he interceded, must, sooner or later, assuredly be granted.
It may be added, that for those very leaders of the Jews, those prime ministers of hell, Stephen interceded with the effectual prayer of faith(for he was full of the Holy Ghost-when he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.'
We would now ask-if these Scribes, Pharisees, and rulers of Israel—who died in their sins —who could not escape the damnation of hellwho committed blasphemy against the Holy Ghost -than for whom, our Lord in effect declared, it should be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, at the day of judgment..... if these most unpar
donable sinners, will, nevertheless, be ransomed from the grave, cleansed from all their crimes, and enter into the joy of their Lord; who can doubt the eventual salvation of the universal whole ?*
Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do.' As if the ó suffering Son of God had said, “They know me not--they believe not in me —on me hast thou laid their iniquities. This intercession of our Saviour included, therefore, in reality, the whole world. All we like sheep have gone astray: and thou hast laid on him the iniquities of us all. If
ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also.'
• This is life eternal, to know thee, the only living and true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' • He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life.
It follows, that although our Lord truly said of his countrymen, They know not what they do ;' yet, again to adopt his language, they had no cloak for their sin ; that their crime was neither more nor less than unbelief. For what was their ignorance of the character of their Saviour, but that unbelief, in which all are involved, which comprehends all sin, and in which • God hath included all, that he might have mercy upon all.'
Forasmuch, therefore, as unbelief is a sufficient reason for the forgiveness of the Jews; it is also a sufficient reason
for the pardon and salvation of the whole human race. • For thy naine's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity ; for it is great.'
* The universal whole is an expression perhaps redundant; but certainly not to be censured by those who limit the whole to a small part.
There is no room for presuming, that had the Israelites been free from that ignorance, which their Intercessor pleaded in their behalf, they could have crucified him; and that consequently it is possible to sin beyond final pardon. For St. Paul informs us, that none of the princes of the world knew the hidden wisdom of God: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory,'
THE MAIN OBJECTIONS REFUTED.
“ Future punishments are strictly eternal."
1. In the Old Testament, the words everlasting, and for ever, frequently signify only limited duration.
God has laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. But we are informed, nevertheless, that these foundations • shall perish. Psalm civ. 5. Heb. i. 10. 11.-• The everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow.' Habak. iii. 6.- Thou shalt bore his ear, and he shall serve him for ever. Ex. xxi. 6.-The covenant made with Abraham is called an everlasting covenant; but that covenant, it is agreed on all hands, has long since expired. I went down' (says Jonah) to the bottom of the mountains : the earth with her bars was about me for ever.' The reader will please to recollect, that these bars were about Jonah, for three days, and three nights.