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praise had so lately triumphed. Christian, “ This is not your rest." The children of Israel, even when established in their promised land, because it was only a temporal kingdom, typity your spiritual state. No sooner does the awakened and seeking mind find itself attracted by divine grace, but it labours to establish a peaceable reign on earth : it endeavours to destroy the altars, and break down the high places ; to mortify corrupt affections, and destroy the images of false worship it has bowed down before; and to bring the sacrifice of a meek and lowly spirit at the feet of Jesus. Here it reposes itself, and begins to experience the dawnings of praise ; - here it tastes something of divine enjoyment; - and here, in this sweet quiescent posture it would rest. But no: whilst he seeks the Lord with all his heart, and prospers, the Assyrians, i.e, the pleasures, the allurements, the temptations, and, it may be, the persecutions of the world, encamp against him; and, forgetful of the past, fearfulness oppresses, and doubt obscures his soul, Here let us notice the conduct of the good King Hezekiah : he takes counsel with his princes, and stops the fountains and rivers of water, strengthens hinself, retires into the city, exhibits the grace of faith, and utters this exhortation :-" Be not afraid of the King of Assyria, with bim is an arm of Aesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us." Believer, apply this example for conduct and encouragement. pressed by tears, assailed wiili temptations, and vexed with the vanities of life, - cut off the fountains of sin, the pride, the desires, the propensities of the natural heart, and stop the rivers; retire froin the world, commune with thine own heart, and in thy chainber be still. Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he shall undertake for thee. With the world there may be an arm of Aesh to barrass and to vex thine heart, and even to menace thee with destruction; but take encouragement, “ There be more with thee than against thee; for with thee is the Lord thy God, to help thee.”
Sin and the world, with various art,
Awake my conscious fears;
And sees my sorrowing tears.
His promise cheers my breast;
TIL STOLEN LAMB.
Not long since, il man possessing an uncommon degree piers, vac, with his wife and several children, reduced to the Jowest ebb of poverty, almost to a state of starvation. Through the iniluence of the enemy of souls, together with the constant solicitations of his nuinerous family, almost fainishing for food, he was tenpred one night, to take a lamb out of the Rock of a respertable farmerin his neighbourhood. The lamb was brought home, killed, and part of it immediately dressed and brought upon the table; but when the poor tempted soul was about 10 ask a blessing upon it, Conscience did its office, and smote him: be looked at his hungry family, and said, “ How can I ask my God to bless that provision which I have feloniously taken from my neighbour? I will not partake of it, neither shall you ; I will go and return the whole as it is, confessing my sin.” He did so, and obtained the farmer's pardon; and a gracious and faithful God, in his kind providence, supplied him and his family that day and ever afterwards.
One of the former Lords Say and Sele having invited good old Mr. Dodd, who lived in the same neighbourhood, to dine with him ; - dinner not being quite ready, his Lordship asked him to take a walk in the garden, to fill up that interval. Accordingly they both went, and after viewing its productions and rarities, his Lordship exclaimed ihus: “Well, Mr. Dodd, you see I want for nothing: I have all that heart can wish for.” But Mr. Dodd musing, and making no reply, his Lordship asked him the reason. Why, please your Lordship,” added the venerable man,“ I have been thinking that a man may have all these, and go to Hell after all.” The worils powerfully struck him, and terininated in a sound conversion.
An old Antinomian bigot, of Bristol, was once in company with the late Res. Mr. Thomas, of that place; and Nir. Thomas was remonstratiug with hiin against the sin of drunkenness, which he was frequently guilty of: the poor creature replied, “Do you suppose, Sir, that a little beer will wash away the love of God:” - These are they who bring the precious doctrines of the Bible into disgrace, and cause them to be evil spoken of, both by professor and profane.
The last words that a Mrs. S-, of Louth, was heard to utter, were these : “ Are the Guineas weight?”—How uniserable is the situation of those, whose only God is gold !
Oh, cursed lust of gold, when for thy sake
ON THE SIN AGAINST TIIE HOLY GHOST.
To the Editor. Wuen questions are proposed from conscientious and pious motives, it becomes the friends of religion to give them tie best solution in their power, that the groundless fears of the feeble-minded
be removed, and the simple enquirers for Christ and salvation may be established. Impelled by these motives, 1 present the following lines, in answer to two questions which some time ago appeared *, " On the Sin against the Holy Spirit,” and “ On Heb. vi. t;" in which questions appear to be involved a peculiar case of conscience, and a formidable occasion presented to the adversary to tempt many poor souls to despair.
Many definitions of this sin have been given, some of which are so absurd, that it would be wasting time to notice them; yet there is one, commonly received by the people of God, which may deserve particular investigation. Most of the Calvinists have maintained, that light in the head and enmity in the heart, combined in opposing the truth, form the very essence of the unpardonable sin; and Calvin himself says, “ I say, therefore, that they sin against the Holy Ghost, who of set purpose resist the truth of God, with the brightness whereof they are so dazzled, that they cannot pretend ignorance ;” and proceeds to maintain, that knowledge and unbelief, coinbined in persecution, or contempt of the truth, is the sin which excludes from all possibility of forgiveness.
Far be it from me to extenuate the guilt of such an aggravated sin, or to make light of such a near approach to the nature of the Devil; but if we were to conclude every degree of the sin described to be unpardonable, what dreadful havock would it make in the present day of infidelity and blasphemy! How many youths of godly parents, brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, have embraced the principles of Deism, and the spirit of infidelity and blasphemy too! What shall we say to the parents in the midst of their distress and anguish? shall we tell them, there is no possible hope in such a case? that their iniquity can never be pardoned, and that it would be presumption even to pray for them? Or shall we say to the unhappy youths themselves, There is no hope? that whatever the gospel says to sinners of a smaller magnitude, it speaks nothing but wrath to them? Shall we not rather exhort them to forsake their wicked ways, and turn unto the Lord, that he may have mercy upon them; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon?
. See our last Vol. p. 232,
To prove that there is hope for such as these, let us produce a case in point, from the precious word of God, as recorded in the instance of Manasseh. He was born of godly parents ; he had no doubt a godly regency during his minority to guide his councils and instruct his mind : perhaps the prophet Isaiah was his tutor, and one of his counsellors. How great were the adventages of this young hing! but, awful to relate, he fell froin all this light, and from all these mercies, into a gulph of the most desperate wickedness and hardness of heart! A fourfold cord of desperate depravity bound his heart fast to the service of the Devil, idolatry, sacrilege, sorcery, and cruelty ; forsaking the service of the Most High, to worship the vanities of the heathen, insulting the holy place, bringing the abominations into God's own courts, making his own son pass through the fire to Moloch; and, to complete all, the blood of God's dear saints must flow down the streets in crimson tides ! “Ile obtained inerey,” that God inight shew forth all long-suffering in him, as a patteru to them who should bereafter believe.
For who of mercy need despair,
Since he has mercy found ? (HART.) Chave drawn this sketch, to shake the credit of the old definition of the unpardonable sin, that the most desperate wickedness, after light received, did not shut mp Manasseh in hopeless despaii. His beavenly Father saw him in his sin, and brought him into affliction, that he might reveal bimself to him as the Lord God, merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.
But let us attempt a true definition of the horrible transgression that shall not be forgiven unto men,
the direct presumptuous blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. And first, let me observe, that the visible display of the Divine Majesty and power of the Holy Spirit, bas seldom been made to the sons of inen; and when it his appeared, it seemed principally to bear witness to the truth of the gospel, or for some such wonderful purpose; so thet when he comes to give visible demonstration to the word of his grace, it is then only possible for daring sinners to commit this horrible wickedness. Our Lord bimself first called the unpard nable sin“ the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost;" trbich, I think, shewed it to be a inalicious and wiliui confronting the visible display of his divine power in testifying of Christ and the truth of the gospel. As these wonderful demonstrations have not been always necessary, and have long ceased, it appears, that the possibility to commit this sin has cesser also: und if so, there must be a material difference between the crime of those who opposed the gospel at first, and of those that resist it now; for the Holy Spirit is not now known to the vuregenerate, in any certain way whatever, contining himsell' to the invisible operations of his grace
in the hearts of his people, and works unseen: “Whom the world cannot receive, for it seeth him not, neither knoweth him." I conceive, therefore, that it is called the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, because, when he pleases to bear testimony to the word of his grace in the mission of his servants, by infallible signs and wonders, the desperate presuming wretch comes forward to overthrow his testimony, knowing at the same time that it is the finger of God. Such was the conduct of the chief priests and Pharisees, many of whom knew who the Saviour was, and said within themselves, “ This is the Heir, come let us kill him."
This sin, though it be but one piece of iniquity, is, nevertheJess, a compound transgression ; therefore, it must bave essential parts; one of which being wanting, it ceases to be the sin in question. First, It must be against the Holy Ghost; directly against hisdivine power and Godhead manifested. Secondly,The party must be convinced. This must be the case; for there were many who saw his wonders, yet were perfectly blind as to this matter, and knew not what they did. Thirdly, Profound malice against the truth of God in his dispensations of mercy; and, fourthly, Deliberate opposition and blasphemy openly avowed; for a corrupt beart might on a sudden precipitate itself into such opposition, and bethink itself, and do so no more. In these four things consist this awfulsin; and if one of these essential
parts we wanting, it ceases to be unpardonable. I come now to consider the nature of this sin as described in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and to shew that it exactly agrees with what has been already laid down, though it has dejected many poor backsliders at first sight, and almost drove tiiem to despair.
I must first observe, that our Lord describes a man committing this sin against the Holy Spirit in his visible glory and power upon others; but the apostle describes a man committing it against the visible demonstrations of the Spirit upon himselt, doing despite to the Spirit; so that if all things are considered, it will appear that the apostle describes a more dreadful degree of this awful transgression. His description is in brief, A public professor turning public apostate, adversary, and blasphemer. "Perhaps a short paraphrase on the passage referred to, may not be improper: “ For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,” &c. Here is a professor endowed with the miraculous gitis of the Holy Spirit, enlightened in the doctrinal mysteries of salvation, having tasted of the heavenly gift, made partaker of the Holy Ghost, working macles ini the name of Jesus, tasting the good word of God, being a preacher ot' it, or baving ihe gift of prophecy, as Balaain and others had.
“ And of the powers of the world to come;" not a foretaste of Heaven in the enjoyment of Gud; but the gospel