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those dangers the prophet from the Lord's owo month had threata
And, as one creature is apt inordinately and fofolly thus to
And this was the evil against which Christ cautioned his own disciples, in Matth. X. 28. “ Fear not them which kill the body, “ but are not able to kill the foul; but rather fear hiin, which is “ able to destroy both foul and body in hell ;” 9.d. Have e care you never fear any man, be he armed with never so much power and rage; as if the power of making or marring you for ever were in his hands, as if you lay at the feet of his will and pleasure to be saved or ruined for ever : fear not him that can only touch your bodies, as if he could damn your fouls ; invest not any creature with the fovereign and incommunicable power of God. . 4. The finfulness of fear confifts in the distracting influence
it hath upon the hearts of men, whereby it discom poseth and pofits them for the discharge of their duties.. :, · Fear sometimes puts men into such ao hurry, and their thoughts into such disorder, that for the present they have scarce any fuccour or relief from their graces, or from their reason; for under an extraordinary fear both grace aod reason, like the wheels of a watch, wound above its due height, stand still, and have Do motion at all. It is rare to fiod a man of that largeness and constancy of heart and mind, in a day of fear, that was found in Jeholhaphat, 2 Chroo. xx. 2, 3. “ Then there came fome " that told Jeholhaphat, faging, There cometh a great multi“ tude against thee from beyond the sea, oo this side Syria, and “ behold they be in Hazazon-Tamar, which is Engedi; and je. Je hoshaphat feared, and let himself to seek the Lord.” He fet himself, i. e, he composed and fixed his heart for prayer in the time of so great a fright, and terrible alarm : but it is rare to find such constancy and evenness of mind as this; in like cases it is with most in great frights, as the prophet describes the condition of the Jews, Isa. xxii. 2, 3. when the city of Jerufa. dem was besieged, and the enemy came under the walls of it; that which a little before was the joyous city, or as some read, the revelling city, is now in such a panic fear, that it is full of ftirs and tumults, some run up to the tops of the houses, either to hide or bewail themselves, or take a view of the dreadful enemy without ; others prevent the sword of the enemy, and die by fear before-hand, their own apprehensions of misery killed them before the Sword of any other enemy once touched them ; but you read of none that ran into their closets to seek the Lord; the city was full of firs, but none of prayers, alas, fear made them cry to the mountains, rather than to God, ver, s. The best men find it hard to keep their thoughts from wanderiog, and their minds from distraction, in the greatest calm of peace, but a thousand times harder in the hurries and tumults of fear. '
5. The fiofulness of fear consists in the power it hath to difpose and iocline men to the use of fipful means to put by their daoger, and to cast them into the hands and power of temptation. « The fear of man bringeth a snare,” Prov. xxix. 25. or puts and lays a snare before him : Satan spreads thc pet, and fear, like the stalking-horse, drives med right into it. It was fear which drew Abraham, that great believer, into the soare of diffimulation, to the great disparagement of religion ; for it was somewhat an odd sight to fee Abimelech, an Heathen, so schooling an Abraham for it, as he did, Gen. XX. 9. And for
their minds from to keep their th
calm of peace
the fame evil you find God chiding his people, in Ira. Ivii: 11, " And of whom haft thou been afraid, or feared, that thou " haft lied, and hast not remembered me?” There is a double lie occasioned by fear, one in words, and another in deeds : hypocrisy is a lie done, a practical lie, aod our church-history abounds with fad examples of diffimulation through fear : it is Satan's great engine to make his temptations victorious and suc. cessful with men.
Sect. III. There is an holy and laudable fear, a fear which is our treasure, not our torment; the chief ornament of the foul, its beauty and perfection, not its infelicity or fin, viz. the awful filial fear of God; natural fear is a pure and simple passion of the foul ; sinful fear is the disordered and corrupe passion of the foul; but this is the natural passion faoctified, and thereby changed and baptized into the game and nature of a spiritual grace. This fear is also mentioned in my text, and prescribed as ao antidote against fioful fears; it devours carnal fears, as Moses's ferpent did those of the enchanters. It is one of the forest judgments to be in the fear of man day and night, Deut. xxvïï. 65, 66, 67. and one of the sweetest mercies to be in the fear of God all the day long, Prov. xxiii. 17. The fear of man shortens our days, Ifa. xxü. 34. but the fear of the Lord prolongeth our days, Prov. x. 27. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, Prov. xiv. 27. But the fear of man a fourtaio of mischiefs and miseries : By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil, Prov. xvi. 6. but, by the fear of man, men run themselves into evil, Prov. xxix. 25.
This fear is a gracious habit or principle planted by God in the foul, whereby be foul is kept under an holy awe of the eye of God, and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleaseth him, and to-foun and avoid what foever he forbids and bates. . .'
. 1. It is plaored in the soul as a permanent and fixed habit ; it is not of the gatural growth and production of man's heart, but of supernatural iofusion and implaocation, Jer. xxxii. 40. “ I will " put my fear into their inward parts." To fear man is natural, but to fear God is wholly supernatural.
2. This gracious fear puts the soul under the awe of God's ege, Pfal. cxix. 161. “ My heart standeth in awe of thy " word.” 'Tis the reproach of the servants of men to be eye. servants, but it is the praise and honour of God's servants to be fo.
. . : 3. This respect to the eye of God, inclides them to perform 3d do whatfoever pleaseth him, zod'is commanded by him: Hence, fearing God, and working righteousness, are connected and linked together, Acts x. 35. If we truly fear God, we dare pot but do the things he commands; and if his fear be exalted in our hearts to an high degree, it will enable us to obey him in duties accompanied with deepest felf-denial, Gen. xxii, 12. “ Now I know thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld “ thy son, thine only fon from me."
4. This fear engageth, and in some degree enableth the soul, in which it is, to Thun and avoid whatsoever is displeasing to God, and forbidden by him ; in this Job discovered himself a true fearer of God, he would not touch what God had forbid. den, and therefore was honoured with this excellent character, * He was one that feared God, and eschewed evil,” Job i. 3. · And thus of the feveral kinds of fear.
C HA P. III. Shewing the various uses of Fear, both natural, sinful, and religi. . ous, in the government of the world by Providence.
H AVING taken a brief view of the several kinds and forts 1 of fear that are found among men, our next work will be to open the uses of them in the government of this world ; for one way or other they all subserve the most wise and holy purposes of God therein. And we will first enquire into
1. The use of natural fear. Bu · Which if we well consider, it will be found exceeding neces. fary and useful to make maa a governable creature by law, and confequently the order, comfort and tranquillity of the world necessarily depend upon it. How immorigerous and intraétable would the corruptions of man's nature make him, uncapable of any moral restraint from the most flagitious and barbarous crimes, had not God planted fuch a paffion as this in his Dature, which, like a * bridle, curbs in the corrupt propenfi‘Ons thereof. If fear did oot clap its manacles and fetters upon
down all inilder motives, and break loose from all ingenuous bands of restrains; the world would inevitably be filled with diforders, tumults, rapines, thefts, murders, and all manner
* Fear is like a bridle, by which the horse is governed: if this paffion of fear is removed, all other restraints will be broken down, Ladat, 077 Prou. xxix. 25.
of uocleanness and unrighteousness, nec hofpes ab hofpite tutus, i.ethe lodger is not lafe from the person entertaining him;
men would become like the fishes of the sea, as the prophet complaias, Habbak. i. 14. where the greater swallow up a mol. titude of the smaller fry alive at one gulp; propriety could not be maintained in the world, ao man's person could be lafe or inviolate; power and opportunity to do mischief would measure out to men their lot and inheritance, and consequently all societies muft dilband and break up. We say, and the observation is fure, He that fears not his own, may easily be master of another man's life. It is the law, and fear of pu. Dishment, that keeps the world in order : men are afraid to do evil, because they are afraid to suffer it; they see the law hath inseparably lioked pedal and moral evils together ; if they will presume upon the one, they must necessarily pull the other upon -them too ; and this keeps them in fume order and decorum : there would be no order or security without law; but if laws had not apnexed penalties to enforce them, and give them their fanction, as good there were no laws; they would have no more power to restrain the corruptions of mens hearts, than the dew cords or green withs had to bind Sampson. And yet, if the feverest peoalties in the world were apoexed to, or appointed by the law, they could signify nothing to the ends of the govern. meat without fear. This is that tender fencible power, or passion, on which threatenings work, and so brings men under moral goveromeat and restraint, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. “Magistrates are a “ terror to evil works; wilt thou not then be afraid of the “ power ? But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he “ beareth not the sword in vain." And by this mcans a world of evils is restrained and prevented in the world.
It was the custom and policy of the Persians, (I cannot say laudable) at the death of their kings, to give every man liberty for the space of five days, to do what he would ; and such mil. chiefs were done every-where by the unbridled lufts of men in those days, that it made the people long and pray for the instalment of their next king: it exceedingly endeared goveroment to them. Blessed be God for law and government, tor curbing by
† An intelligent creature, as a creature, has a Superior, to whose providence and disposal it is subjected; and as it is intelligent, it is capable of moral government, by which it may be directed to good, and restrained from evil; and such a law is absolutely necessary to it, that it may live suitably to its nature, Suares of laws, book 1. 6. 3.