Matthew 12:31
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.

First then it may be said, what the sin is not. It cannot be any sin from which men ever have repented; for wherever God has given repentance, He has given pardon; no sin, then, which has ever been repented of, is the unpardonable sin. And yet what very aweful and exceeding sins have been pardoned or might have been pardoned! … .

There is perhaps no where else in Holy Scripture so large a declaration of God’s forgiveness, as here where mention is made of the one sin which finally shuts it out. “I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,” or in part still more emphatically in S. Mark, “all blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.” Ye know, my brethren, what very aweful blasphemies against our Blessed Lord’s sacred Person the Gospels relate; so aweful are they, that we may well shrink from naming them to you and wounding your ears, save when Holy Scripture itself recites them, or ye would meditate on them in awe at His love; yet all, He says with such loving solemnity, “I say unto you,” all shall be forgiven. He against Whom they were uttered, He Who hath power to forgive sin, He the Righteous Judge of quick and dead, Himself says, “all shall be forgiven.” And not these only, but since in that woe, there is no mention of “sins”–for He says, “All sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven,” but He says, “the blasphemy” only, not “sin” against the Holy Ghost–then even sins, committed directly against God the Holy Ghost, are not excepted; and yet more, not even all blasphemies against that Holy Being are unpardonable; for He says, “the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.” …

Let us not be content with checking the overt sin, but trace out every root of it, to pluck it up. Since self-love produces emulation, and emulation envy at God’s grace in another, and envy at God’s grace, denial and disbelief in it, and this again hardness of heart and final impenitence, stop we not, until we have got back to its first root. Deadly it is to impugn known truth, let us shrink from knowing no evil, however painful, which we but suspect in ourselves; impenitence is deadly, never let us entertain for a moment the thought of any pleasurableness in any past sin, and if it arise, meet we it with thoughts of loathing, and of the misery of having offended God, arise we instantly on our falls, bear no delay, confess and seek our Saviour’s healing Face; deadly is envy at a brother’s grace, beware we, how we suspect graces not akin to any thing in ourselves: how we dwell on seeming faults of the good, impute inferior motives, suspect that any are secretly such as ourselves; or doubt the realities of graces, if found in bodies, or institutions, or people, more or less opposed to ourselves, or readily believe or repeat evil of them; or love not, discern not graces, when mingled with what is distasteful to us; or entertain rivalry; or be dissatisfied with our own measures of grace; or not wish that others “our equals” should be higher in heaven than we, and that God’s glory should not be in anyway furthered, though we have the lower place; or not reverence the poor of Christ; and, as the bitter root of all, seek we to uproot self-love …

Or further still, seek we, by God’s grace, to overwhelm and bury the germs of evil by the opposed grace; seek we to love our brethren, not with a common love, but as loving Christ in them, love we and give Him thanks for His graces in them: be we heedful not to speak, I say not against known truth, but not even against such as we may not yet know, against nothing which bears any token of God’s truth, which has any impress of it; love we it, be we glad to detect its features, although it comes to us in a form new to us, or through those alienated from us; love we it as a friend, because it is of God, even the Father, Who is “the God of Truth,” and the Son, Who is “the Truth,” and the Spirit, Who is “the Spirit of Truth;” love we it, because in it which is “immortal” and unchanging and ever is the same, we love Him, from Whom it cometh, Him Who Alone IS, the abiding, unchanging, Ever-blessed Trinity; and while we love truth without us, love we it in us, and as to us; learn we to love slights and disparagement, that so others may have truer thoughts of us, think of us more as God knows us. …

In like way, labour we, through God’s grace, to grow in all other graces which are opposed to each trace and shade of deadly sin; pray we ever for deeper awe, for truer penitence, for loving fear, for fearing love, so shall we in the increase of our inward life have the witness of His Spirit to us that we are not decaying unto death, so shall we after this brief weary struggle enter our everlasting Rest, behold the Everliving Truth, and by His all-pervading love, love Himself in Himself, and all in Him.

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