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aution. The fear of reverence is an inseparable affection and character of a saint : “ hear the prayers of thy servants who desire to fear thy name.” The desires include the sincerity of this grace, in opposition to hypocrisy and pretences, for they are the unfeigned issues of the soul : and the freeness of the affection in opposition to violence and constraint. The name of God implies his excellent attributes, the proper motives of holy fear. His majesty is adored by the angels “ in their humble posture before his high throne.” Isa. 6. His purity, wherein God does 80 excel, and we are so defective, excites the most awful respects of him. “Who would not fear thee, for thou art holy? Holy and reverend is his name.” His goodness to a holy ingenuous soul is a motive of fear : they shall“ fear the Lord and his good

If fear declines and slumbers, there is present danger of losing the purest sweetness of love and joy that proceeds from intercourse and communion with God. His omniscience, and the recompences of his justice and power keep the soul cautious, lest we should offend him. What stupidity, what fury, to provoke so dreadful an adversary, who can dispatch a sinner to the grave and hell in a moment? Some object, that it is unsuitable to the gracious dispensation of the gospel, for the children of God to reflect upon his terrible attributes. But are they wiser than God, who uses this discipline as medicinal, either to prevent sin, or to correct them into their duty: are they more evalgelical than our Saviour, who counselled his disciples, “ I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that can kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do? But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear, fear him which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; I say unto you, fear him." Are they more spiritual than St. Paul ? who from the consideration of our being accountable for all things done in the body, before the enlightened tribunal of Christ, infers, “knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men. This influenced him to a zealous discharge of his duty. · It may seem very difficult to reconcile the exercise of holy fear, with faith, and the sanctified affections of love, hope, and joy, But it will appear they are very consistent.

1. Fear is the product of faith : and assurance of God's favour is preserved by the fear of his displeasure. Fear is not contrary to faith, but to presumption : “ be not high-minded,

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but fear." A jealousy of ourselves, lest we should provoke God, is joined with a more entire and pure trust in his grace and mercy.

2. The love and fear of God have a mutual causality on each other. The love of God excites thoughts of his continual presence and perfections, that cause an awful esteem of him, by which love is maintained. Desires proceed from love, and it is expressed in the forecited place, “thy servants who desire to fear thy name.” The “ fear of the Lord is their treasure, not their torment,” for their fear to offend him, is from their pure love to please him. Indeed servile fear, that is merely froin the consideration of his anger and power, is consistent with the love of sin, and inconsistent with the love of God: it is a judicial and violent impression on conscience, that carnal men would fain deface, that they might freely enjoy their desired objects, and it is by fits, for God sometimes thunders in the conscience as well as in the air. But filial fear is the habitual constitution of a saint, he is voluntary and active to preserve it in continual exercise.

3. The fear of God, and hope, are joined in scripture, and in the hearts of believers. “ The Lord delights in those that fear him, and hope in his mercy.” Fear and hope contemper each other : fear without hope is slavish, and hope without feat is secure. As the growth of things in nature, flowers and fruits, is from the heat of the days, and the cold moisture of the nights, so growth in grace is by the warm encouragements of hope, and the chilling influence of fear. A regular hope in the promises, is joined with an humble fear and subjection to his commands.

4. Holy fear is mixed with joy. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Carnal joy, and carnal fear and sorrow, are contrary extremes that proceed from contrary causes. A prosperous state in this world, and the satisfaction of the sensual desires, is the root from whence carnal joy springs, and is nourished: and the being deprived of temporal good things, disabled by sickness to enjoy them, or the prospect of some imminent disaster, are the cause of fear and guilt. But the exercise of spiritual joy and holy fear, is consistent at the same time; for the serious reflection on the divine attributes, excites both those affections. We read that when Mary Magdalen, with the other Mary, came to the sepulchre of Christ, at the bright ap

pearance of an angel that declared his resurrection, “ they went away with fear and great joy. Sinful affections are opposite to grace, but gracious affections are inseparable. The fear of offending God is a preservative of our joy in him : as a hedge of thorns is a fence to a garden of roses. In the kingdom of love and joy, the reverend fear of God is in its exaltation.

There is a fear of caution, that is always joined with the other, and excites us to walk circumspectly and exactly, that we may be always approved and accepted of God. “ The fear of the Lord is clean," effectively. This will prevent secret sins which are only known to God. “ Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor lay a stumbling block before the blind, but fear the Lord.” Fear is an internal guardian, that keeps the heart pure, of which God is the inspector and judge. It will not suffer us to sin freely in thought, nor foully in act. When fear draws the lines of our duty, our steps will be regular. Fear keeps us close to God, by the persuasion of his all-seeing eye, and is opposed to the forgetfulness of God, the cause of all the errors of our lives. ly fear will make us to perform our duty in those degrees that are commanded, to please God. It is the principle of perseverance : thus God assures his people, “ I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall never depart from me.” The causes of backsliding are allurements and terrors : pleasant temptations sometimes so strongly insinuate into the affections, that love ealls in fear to its assistance to repel them: for strong fear and delight are inconsistent. If terrors are objected to drive us from our duty, the greater fear will overrule the less; the fear of God will expel the fearfulness of man : for the most flaming anger of men is more tolerable, than a spark of his displeasure.

· From hence it is evident, that the fear of God is the fountain of heroic courage, and fortifies the spirit, that the threatenings of men cannot supplant our constancy. If our residence were perpetual in this world, it were a point of wisdom to secure the favour of men ; but since we must shortly die, ás surely as we livé, it is extreme folly, by compliance and low respects to men, to lose our interest in God, and provoke him, with whom we must be either in his favourable and felicitating presence, or in his terrible présence for ever. The rage of man cannot reach beyond the grave, but the wrath of God extends to eternity. “ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," who lives for ever, and can punish for ever.

Let us therefore be exhorted to “ pass the time of our sojourning in fear.” Temptations are frequent, and we are frail, and are never safe without circumspection. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom ;” the principal part of it. Wisdom is not employed about trivial things, but affairs of moment. Now what is there of such consequence in the world, as the directing the soul to eternal blessedness ? How to escape the most imminent and destructive evil, and to obtain the most desirable good.

Indeed the passion of fear, when exorbitant and overwhelming, causes a wretched neglect of the means of salvation. If á ship springs a leak, and the waters pour faster into it, than the mariners can pump it out, and they see nothing but the sea ready to swallow them up, their hearts and hands faint, and they give over all labour. If men are desperate, they will be disobedient : but we can never raise our fears of God too high, if we retain a firm belief of his “ mercy that rejoices over judgment.” This will not infringe our liberty, but enlarge it; for it is the most ignominious slavery to be under the dominion of sin, and the just apprehensions of its terrible consequences.

The fear of God engages him to be our friend, and rescues us from all the perplexities to which we are liable in this open state. Many sins are committed from fear of the anger of men, and presumption of the nercy of God; but it is often found, that a religious constancy gains more friends than carnal obsequiousness. “ When a man's ways please the Lord, he will make his enemies to be at peace with him.”,

Especially in all acts of worship, this grace should be in its highest exercise. It is the apostle's direction, “ let us draw near with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire." We inust solemnly consider the greatness of God, “who dwells in light inaccessible, and is a consuming fire to all that disparage him by slight and careless addresses. “Shall not his excellency make us afraid ?” In prayer let us draw near to his throne in the deepest sense of our meanness and unworthiness ; and tremble at the hearing of his word. This, disposition will make us acceptable in his eyes. The Lord saith," the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool ; to him will I look, who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.

And in times of temptation, when pleasing lusts are imperious and violent, then it is necessary to control them by the fearful remembrance, “ that for all these things God will bring us to judgment.” This will clear the mind from the eclipses and clouds of the carnal passions, and keep the senses under the dominion of the superior and surer faculties.

“ Blessed is the man that fears always, that is continually vigilant in secret, and society; who considers that God's eyes are always upon him, in order to judgment, and whose eyes are always upon God, in order to acceptance.

CHAP. X.

That promise, that God will be our father, a powerful inducement to strive

after the perfection of holiness. The dignity and happiness of the relation. The pardon of sin, an adoptive freedom in prayer, and interest in the eternal inheritance, are the privileges of God's children. The influence of this relation to make us entirely holy considered. An inquiry whether we are proceeding to perfection; the vanquishing sin, an indication of the power of grace. The habitual frame of the heart, and fixed regularity of the life, discovers our progress in holiness. According to our love to God, and things that have the nearest resemblance to him, we may judge of our spirituality. The spiritual law of God, the spiritual worship of God, the spiritual image of God in the saints, are the principal objects of the love of the spiritually minded. To preserve an equal temper of mind in the changes of the present state, discovers excellent degrees of ho. Jipess.

III. I AM now come to the third general lead, the motives to enforce the duty of striving after pure and perfect holiness; the promises specified in the antecedent chapter, " that the Lord almighty will receive us, and we shall be his sons and daughters; that he will dwell in us, his living temples, and walk in us.' This divine relation, and communion the consequent of it, should keep the state of perfection always in our design and view, and

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