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this means the raging lufts of the hearts of men, and procaring rest and comfort for us in the world this way.
2. The use of finful fear. This is formally evil and fiatul in its owo nature, as well as the fruit of fin, and offspring of fioful nature; yet the Lord knows how to over-rute it in bis providential government of the world to his own wise and holy purpoles. And he doch fo,
1. By making it his fcourge to punisn his enemies. If men will not fear God, they shall fear med; 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 to bad as for God to let loose our own fear's upon us. No lion is fo cruel as this paflion, 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 cafe, 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 thall 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
even 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 fhilt see.” When fear hath once seized 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 reft 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 punilheth his enemies in hell : it is that flagellum Dei, terrible scourge of God, by which a great part of the torment of the damaed is inilisted on them. Divines ule to make this tripartite distinction of hell-torments, and tell us, God punishes the wicked there partly by remembrance of what is part, viz. the mercies and means they once had, but are there jiricoverably lol; partly by the sense of things present, eren' the
wrath of God overlaying soul and body; and partly by the fear of what is to come; and sure this is not the least part of the misery of these wretched cal-aways. Oh that fearful I ex. pectation of fiery indignation ! more and more of God's wrath Atill coming on, as the waves of the fea, thrusting forward one on another ; yea, this is that which makes the devils tremble, James ii. 19. Perfect, the word sigoifies such a noise as the roar of the sea, or the roaring of the waves when they break themfelves against the rocks, and this is occafioned by the fears which are continually held as a whip over them.
3. Providence makes use of the Navish 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 1xxviii. 55. God cast out the heather before his people lsrael; 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 *.” Thele 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 Nory of Sapores king of Persia, “ who had besieged many Chrillians in the city Nisibis, and put " them to great tiraits, fo that little hopes of safety were left " them; but in the depth of their distress, God sent an army of “ hornets, and gnats, among their enemies, which got into the • trunks of their elephants, and cars, and nostrils of their hor“ ses; 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 horncts were terrible to them, but fears, which are hornets in a figure, are ten thou
The miod, anxious about futurity, is in a calamitous state, and miserable before miseries come. Sen.
* Hornets, by a metaphor, 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 Chri. ftiani, obfediset; eamque afiigeret, magna vis crabonum et culicum repente venit, et in promucides cavas Elephantorum confedit, complevitque aures equorun, ita ut lefores excuferint, et turbutores erdines in fugam converterint, Jlift, lib. 2. cap. 30.
sand 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 koow themselves to be but med, as it is, Plal ix. 20. " Put them in fear, O Lord, that they may “ know 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 fuch fruit to grow upon such a bramble as the fioful, flavilh fear of man is, what may we expect from re. ligious fear; a choice root of his own Spirit's plantiog? The ules, and benefits hereof, are innumerable, and inestimable ; but I muft contract, and will only inftance in three fpecial uses of it.
1. By this fear the people of God are excited to, and confirmed in the way of their daty. Ecclef. xii. 13. “ Fear God, “ and keep his commandments." It is, cuftos utriusque tabulae, the keeper of both tables, because the duries of both tables are jpfluenced by ito 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 ioto their iowards, and they shall not
depart from me." Look, as he thar foweth doth not regard the winds, but goes on in his labour, whatever weaiher 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 są lowring, and discouragiog: and, truly, this is no small advantage, in times of frights, and distractions. Slavish fear sets a man upon the devil's ground, religious fear upon God's ground: And, how valt an odds is there in the choice of our ground, when we are to endure a great fight of affliction !
2. Another excellent use of this fear is, to preserve the purity and peace of our consciences, by preventing grief and guilé 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 thereunto will the ferenity, peace, and quietness of our consciences be ; and proportionable unto that will our ftrength 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 aVaken us to make timely provisions for future distresses, that
whenfoever they come, they may not come by way of surprize
Thus “Noah, being moved with fear, 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 Naim 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 rest, 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 part all hope before he begin to have any fear.
These are some of the uses God makes of the leveral kinds of fear.
c H A P. IV. Wherein the springs and causes of finful fear are searched out,
and the evils of such fears thence discovered.
Sect. 1. HAVING shewn before, the kinds, and uses of fear;
it remains, that next 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 spring out of their ignorance, and the darkness of their own minds; all darkness disposes to fear, but none like iotellectual darkness. You read, Capt. iii. 8. how Solomon's life. guard had every man his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night. The night is the frightful seafon, in the dark every bush is a bear; we fometimes smile 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 foon 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 Dot duely consider his Almighty Power, vigilant care, unspotted faithfulness, and how they are all engaged, by covenant, for bis people. This ignorance, and inconliderateness, lay at the root of their fears, Ifa. xl. 27, 28. “My way (faith Zion) is
bid from the Lord, and my judgment passed over from my God: Words importing a fufpicion that God hath left hier
out of the account of his providence, and the catalogue of those whom he would look after, and take care for.
Bot were it once thoroughly understood, and believed, what power there is in God's hand to defend us, what tenderness in his bowels to commiserate us, what faithíuloess in all the promises, 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 flood or mighty tor. sent of water, mult needs sweep away such a fraw, 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 see, 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, Isa. 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 fecured by his faithful promises, and gracious presence, they would not start and iremble at every noise, and appearance of danger, as they do. God reckoned it enough to cure all Abraham's finful 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 ftrong, the danger he and the faithful with him at that time were in, was extraordinary; fome, therefore, advised to fice to the temple, and barracado themselves there, against the enemy : But Nehemiah understood himself betier; Should such a man as I flee? And who, being as I am, should fee? fith bs, 4.d. A man so called of God to this service,