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is to creator God to among the
this mcaos the raging lults of the hearts of men, and procaring rest and comfort for us in the world this way.
2. The use of inful fear. This is formally evil and lintul in its owo nature, as well as the fruit of lin, and offspring of finful pature; yet the Lord • knows how to over-rute it in his providential government of
the world to his own wise and holy purposes. And he doch fo,
1. By making it his scourge to punisn his enemies. If men will not fear God, they shall fear men ; yea, they shall be made a terror to themselves. Aad indeed it is a dreadful punishment for God to deliver a man up into the hands of his own fears, I think there is scarce a greater torment to be found in the world, than for a man to be his own tormentor, and his mind made a rack and engine of torture to his body. We read in 2 Kings xvii. 25. that God seut lions among the people; but certainly that is not lo bad as for God to let loose our own fear's upon us. No lion is fo cruel as this passion, and therefore David esteemed it fo great a deliverance to be delivered from all his fears, Plal. xxxiv. 4. It is a dreadful threatening which is recorded in Deut. xxviii. 65, 66, 67. against the disobedient and rebellious, " Thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole “ of thy foot have rest, but the Lord Mall give thee there a trem“ bling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind, and thy “ life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day " and night, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the “ morning thou shalt fay, Would God it were even ; and at “ cvep ihou Malt say, Would God it were morning, for the fear “ of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the light of " thine eyes which thou fhílt fee.” When fear hath once feized the heart, you may fee death's colours displayed in the face. What a dismal life do they live, who have neither any peace by day, nor rest by night, but wearisome days and nights are appointed them! The days of such men are tiresome days; they wilh for the night, hoping it may give them a little rest; but their fears go to bed with them, their hearts pant and meditate terror; and then, Oh that it were day again!
2. By fear God punisheth his enemies in hell : it is that llagellum Dei, terrible scourge of God, by which a great part of the torment of the damaed is indlicted on them. Divines ule to make this tripartite diftinétion of hell-torments, and tell us, God punishes the wicked there partly by remembrance of what is past, viz. the mercies and means they once had, but are there iirccoverably lost; partly by the sense of things present, even the
wrath of God overlaying soul and body; and partly by the fear
the misery of these wretched cast-aways. Oh that fearful I expectation of fiery indignation ! more and more of God's wrath still coming on, as the waves of the sea, thrusting forward one on another; yea, this is that which makes the devils tremble, James ii. 19. Petrcfon, the word signifies such a noise as the roar of the sea, or the roaring of the waves when thcy break themselves against the rocks, and this is occasioned by the fears which are continually held as a whip over them.
3. Providence makes use of the flavilh fears and terrors of wicked men, to dissipate and scatter them, when they are com, bined, and confederated against the people of God; by these have they been routed, and put to fight, when there hath been no other vifible power to do it: it is said Plalm lxxviii. 55. God cast out the heathen before his people Israel; and by what means were those mighty nations subdued ? Not by the strength of multitudes of the Israelites, but by their own fears; for it is said, Josh. xxiv. 11, 12. ^ The Lord sent the hornet before " them, which drave them out *.” These hornets were the fears and terrors of their own guilty and presaging mind, which buzzed and fwarmed in their own breasts, and stung them to the heart, worse than the swords of the Israelites could do." + The“ odoret relates a memorable story of Sapores king of Persia, “ who had besieged many Chrillians in the city Nisibis, and put " them to great liraits, to that little hopes of safety were left " them; but in the depth of their distress, God feat an army of “ hornets, and gnats, among their enemies, which got into the “ trunks of their elephants, and ears, and noftrils of their hora “ fes; which so enraged them, that they brake their harness, “ cast their riders, and put them all to the rout, by which pro. " vidence the Christians escaped." These horacts were terrible to them, but fears, which are hornets in a figure, are ten thou
| The mind, anxious about futurity, is in a calamitous state, and miserable before miseries come. Sen.
* Hornets, by a metaplior, signify sudden fear which was raised in their guilty minds by Cod. Lavat, on the place,
+ Sapores rex Percarum cum urbem Nisibin in qua erant Chriftiani, obsedilet; eamque affligeret, magna vis crabonum et culicum repente venit, et in proinus cides cavas Elephantorum corfedit, complevitque aures equoruin, ita ut selores excuferint, 6t turbutores erdines in fugain converterint, Hilt, lib. 2. cap. 30,
19 fear, O. Lor
out of a thoufand es to be but
fand times more terrible; they will quell, and fink the very hearts of the foutest men; yea, they will quickly make those that in their pride, and haughtiness, took themselves rather to be gods, and almighty powers, to know themselves to be but med, as it is, Pfal ix. 20. “ Pụt them in fear, O Lord, that they may “ kaow themselves to be but men.” Ooe fright will scare them out of a thousand food conceits and idle dreams.
3. The use of religious fear. If God can make such fruit to grow upon such a bramble as the sinful, flavilh fear of man is, what may we expect from religious fear; a choice root of his own Spirit's 'plaatiog? The ules, and benefits hereof, are innumerable, and inestimable ; but I muft contract, and will only instance in three fpecial uses of ir.
1. By this fear the people of God are excited to, and confirmed in the way of their duty. Ecclef. xii. 13." Fear God, " and keep his commandments.” It is, cuftos utriusque tabulae, the kecper of both tables, because the duties of both tables are jofluenced by it. It is this fear of God that makes us have a due respect to all his commands, and it is as powerful to, confirm us in, as it is to excite us to our duties. Jer. xxxii. 40.“ I will put my fear into their inwards, and they shall not “ depart from me.” Look, as he thar foweth doth not regard the winds, but goes on in his labour, whatever weather the face of heaven threatens ; fo he that fears God, will be found in the way of his duty, let the aspect of the times be never sa lowring, and discouragiog: and, truly, this is no fmall advan. tage, in times of frights, and distractions. Slavish fear fets a man upon the devil's ground, religious fear upon God's ground: And, how vast an odds is there in the choice of our ground, when we are to endure a great fight of affli&tion! · 2. Another excellent ule of this fear is, to preserve the purity. and peace of our consciences, by preventing grief and guilt therein, Prov. xvi. 6.“ The fear of the Lord is to depart from “ evil.” See how it kept Joseph, Gen, xxxix. y. and Nehemiah, chap. v. 15. And this benefit is invaluable, especially in a day of outward calamity and distress. Look, in what degree the fear of God prevails in our hearts, answerable thereuoto wilk the serenity, peace, and quietnefs of our consciences be ; and proportionable unto that will our ftreogth and comfort be in the evil day, and our courage and confidence to look dangers, in the face.
3. To conclude, a principal use of this fear of God is, to avaked us to make timely provisions for future distresses, that
whensoever they come, they may not come by way of surprize upon us. Thus “ Noah, being moved with tear, prepared an · “ ark,” Heb, xi. 7. It was the instrument of his and his fami. lies falvation. Some men owe their death to their fears, but good men, in a sense, owe their lives to their fears; sinful fears have Nain fome, and godly fears have saved others. “ A wife " man feareth and departeth from evil, (faith Solomon) but a' “ fool rageth and is confident." His fears give him a timely alarm before the enemy falls into his quarters, and beat them up; by this means he hath time to get into his chambers of security and sest, before the storm fall : “ But the fool rageth, and is confi
dent;" he never fears till he begins to feel; yea, most times he is past all hope before he begin to have any fear.
These are some of the uses God makes of the leveral kinds of fear.
CH A P. IV. Wherein the springs and causes of finful fear are searched out,
and the evils of such fears thence discovered. ScEt. 1. H AVING shewn before, the kinds, and uses of fear ;
- it remains, that Dext we search out the springs from which these waters of Marah are derived, and fed. And,
Cause 1. First, We shall find the finful fears of most good men to fpring out of their ignorance, and the darkness of their
bethe night. Then his sword uponai: 8. how Solocalike intelfills Thbilh is a bear, night is the friehhis thigh, becaule a's life.
lectual darkness. You read, Capt. iii. 8. how Solomon's life. guard had every map bis sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night. The night is the frightful season, in the dark every bush is a bear; we sometimes fmile by day, to see what filly things those were that scared us in the night. So it is here; were our judgments but duely informed, how soon would our hearts be quieted ?
Now there is a five-fold ignorance, out of which our fears are generated : : 1. Ignorance of God: Either we know not, or at least do pot duely consider his Almighty Power, vigilant care, upspotted faithfulness, and how they are all engaged, by covenant, for bis people. This igoorance, and inconsiderateness, lay at the root of their fears, lla. xl. 27, 28. “ My way (faith Zion) is q bid from the Lord, and my judgment passed over from my
God: Words importing a suspicion that God hath left her
out of the account of his providence, and the catalogue of those whom he would look after, and take care for.
But were it once, thoroughly understood, and believed, wbac power there is in God's hand to defend us, what tenderness in his bowels to commiserate us, what faithíulpels in all the promiles, in which they are made over to us, o how quiet and calm would our hearts be! Our courage would quickly be up, and our fears down. · 2. Our ignorance of meo generates our fears of men; we fear them, because we do not know them; if we understood them better, we would fear them less; we over-value them, and then fright at them. They say the lion is painted more fierce than he is; I am sure our fancy paints out man more dreadful than indeed he is; if wicked men, especially if multitudes of wicked men be confederated against us, our hearts fail, and presently apprehend inevitable ruin. “ The floods of " the ungodly made me afraid,” faith David, fi. e.) the multudes of them which he thought, like a food or mighty tor. rent of water, mult needs sweep away such a straw, such a feather, as he was, before them; but, in the mean time, we know, or consider not that they have no power against us, but what is given them from above, and that it is ulual with God 10 cramp their hands, and clap on the bands of refraint upon them, when their hearts are fully set in them to do mischief: did we fee, and consider them as they are in the hand of our God, we should not tremble at them as we do.
3. Ignorance of ourselves, and the relation we have to God. creates Navish fears in our hearts, Ifa. li. 12. for did believers but thoroughly understand how dear they are to God, what relations they luftain to him, of what account, and value, they are in his eyes, and how well they are secured by his faithful promises, and gracious presence, they would not start and tremble at every noise, and appearance of danger, as they do. God reckoned it enough to cure all Abraham's sinful fears, when he told him how his God stood engaged for his defence, Gen. xv. 1. “ Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield.” * And noble Nehemiah valued himself in times of danger and fear, by his interest in God, as his words import, Neh. vi. 11.
The conspiracy against him was strong, the danger he and the faithful with him at that time were in, was extraordinary; fome, therefore, adviled to flee to the temple, and barracado themselves there, against the enemy : But Nehemiah understood himself betier; Should such a man as I fice? And who, being as I am, should flee? faith b., 4.d. A mas so called of God to this service,
now, or come was, betoneeds tweep like a food fi aj hoods of