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ing of what difficulties may remain in SER M. them, and for removing fuch Scruples as I. may be apt to arife from them, take leave to add the following Obfervations; ft, ist, That Our Saviour does not fay, The Sin against the Holy Ghoft, but the Blafphemy against the Holy Ghost, fhall not be forgi yen. Neither in This, nor in any other Paffage of Scripture, is there any mention at all of a Sin against the Holy Ghost. For indeed our Saviour is not here fpeaking of a Sin, of a particular Act of Sin; feeing on the contrary he expreffly declares, that All Manner of Sin, nay and all Blafphemy alfo wherewith foever men fall blafpheme, fhall be forgiven unto them; But he fpeaks of a certain incurable malicious Difpofition of Mind, which by venting itfelf under fuch peculiar Circumftances in Blafphemy against the greatest of our Lord's Miracles, plainly difcovered itself to be incapable of Amendment, by any Means which God would vouchfafe to make ufe of. And it was not the particular Act of Blafpheming, that itself rendered the Men unpardonable; But That particular Blaf phemy, in thofe particular Circumstances, C 2


SER M. was a Sign only or an Evidence, which


our Saviour knew and declared to proceed from an incurable and therefore unpardonable malicious Difpofition of Mind. And This is evident from the Words immediately following the Text, whofe connexion ufually is not fufficiently taken Notice of. For thus, when our Saviour had declared the Pharifees Blafpheming against the Holy Ghoft, to be unpardonable; he adds, as a Reafon, in the very next Words, ver. 33; Either make the Tree good, and bis Fruit good; or else make the Tree corrupt, and his Fruit corrupt: For the Tree is known by his Fruit. O generation of Vipers, how can ye, being evil, fpeak good things? For out of the Abundance of the Heart, the Mouth Speaketh. It is evident therefore, that not for the particular Act of Blafphemy, but for That incurably wicked Difpofition of Mind, of which Blafpheming in those Circumftances was a plain Indication, were thefe Pharifees declared to be unpardonable. Nothing therefore can be gathered from this paffage, concerning any particular Sin against the Holy Ghoft, (as Many have without Rea

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fon imagined,) in its own Nature unpar- SER M. For in reality All wilful Sin whatfoever is against the Holy Ghost; against the good Motions, against the guidance and direction of the good Spirit of God; Yet not every; nay not any wilful Sin is upon that Account abfolutely unpardonable; as appears from the whole Tenour of Scripture: Much lefs are blafphemous Thoughts, which melancholy pious perfons are apt to complain of, and which therefore are not wilful at all; much lefs (I fay) are uneafy blafphemous Thoughts, of This highest Malignity; when, generally speaking, they are not so much as chosen or wilful Sins at all. Even thofe wilful Sins against or in oppofition to the Holy Ghost, (which yet is a Phrase never used in Scripture-language,) are in the Gospel always fuppofed pardonable upon true Repentance. The Blafphemy our Saviour here fpeaks of, is a thing of another Nature; it is not fingly finning against the Perfon of the Holy Ghoft, or against his good Motions, but prefumptuously reviling the greatest Works of the Holy Ghost, and so obftinately rejecting

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SER M. the last and folemnest Call to Repentance. And This is further evident from what our Saviour adds, that he who speaks against the Son of Man, might be forgiven; As the Jews, who reproached him as being the Carpenter's Son, as a wine-bibber and a glutton, as a Friend of publicans and Sinners, might be forgiven, if they repented upon the further Conviction that fhould afterward be afforded them: But he that blafphemed against the Holy Ghoft, against the higheft Evidence of our Lord's greatest Miracles, was never to be forgi ven; Not because even This was in itself, and in the Nature of the Thing, abfolutely unpardonable; (For no reafon can be given why speaking against the Person of the Holy Ghost, fhould be in itself of greater Malignity, than speaking against Chrift, or against God the Father Himfelf;) but because it was an obftinate rejecting the laft means of Conviction, and an evident Token of incorrigible Malice. Among the Antient Jews, Heb. x. 28; He that deSpifed Mofes's Law died without Mercy : Our Saviour in like manner declares, that he who by blafpheming against the Works



of the Holy Spirit, defpifes and rejects S & R M. the final Offer of the Gospel, he also shall perish without Mercy. And This poffibly may be the meaning of the other Phrase; that fuch a malicious Temper should not be pardoned, neither in this World neither in the World to come; namely, neither in that prefent Age, which was the Time of the Law; nor in the Age to come, which is the Times of the Meffiah. 2dly, It is reasonable to suppose that this peremptory declaration of our Saviour, concerning the unpardonable Wickedness of those who thus blafphemously rejected the highest Evidence of the Gofpel, ought to be applied and understood of those Perfons only, who themselves faw his Miracles, and rejected them purely out of a wicked Difpofition; namely, the Pharifees, and unbelieving Jews. For, though thofe who live in after Ages. and are not Eye-witneffes of his mighty Works, have indeed nevertheless fufficient Evidence of the Truth of the Gofpel; and in fome few refpects, as I before intimated, have even the Advantage over the greater Part of those who lived at That Time; yet, C 4 Thefe

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