Matthew 12:31. All manner of sin and blasphemy The word rendered blasphemy: denotes injurious expressions, whether against God or man. When God is the object, it is properly rendered blasphemy. It is evident that, in this passage, both are included, as the different kinds are compared together: consequently the general term detraction, or injurious speech, ought to be employed, which is applicable alike to both; whereas the term blasphemy, with us, is not used of any verbal injury that is not aimed directly against God. Shall be forgiven unto men That is, on condition of true repentance, and faith in the mercy of God through Christ; or, as the words evidently mean, may be forgiven unto men; for we are not to understand our Lord as asserting that every such sin shall actually be pardoned, but that it is, in the divine economy, capable of being pardoned. But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men By the blasphemy here spoken of, we are evidently to understand injurious or impious speaking against the Spirit of God, such as the Pharisees were now guilty of; that is, attributing to the devil those miracles which Christ gave full proof that he wrought by the Holy Spirit. That this, and nothing but this, is the sin here intended, is manifest from the connection in which the words stand in this place; and more especially still from the parallel passage, Mark 3:28-30, in which the evangelist, assigning the reason of our Lord’s making this declaration, adds, Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit; that is, “hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils casteth out devils.” This, then, and this only, is the sin, or blasphemy, as it should rather be called, (and as the Scriptures always call it,) against the Holy Ghost. It is an offence of the tongue; it is committed not by thinking, but by speaking, by evil-speaking, by belying, slandering, or reviling the Divine Spirit, by which our Lord wrought his miracles, ascribing them to the devil: which in fact was calling the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of the one living and true God, the devil: a more heinous crime than which is not to be conceived.
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