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those dangers the prophet from the Lord's own mouth had threatened them with : but, to take them off from this fiotul and iaordinate dependence on the creature, he tells them, ver. 3. “ Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses " flesh, and not fpirit: when the Lord thail stretch forth his “ hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen “ Thall fall down, and they shall fall together.” q. d. It is a finful and dangerous mistake for one creature, to give that trust and dependence to another creature, which is due oply to God, to look upon men as it they were gods, and horses as if they were fpirits : all creatures, even the strongest, are but as the bop, the vine, or the ivy; if they clafp about the pole, the wall or the oak, they may be supported, as you may also by leaning upon God; but if they depend and entangle themselves one upon another, as you and the Egyptians do, you shall fail, and fall all together.
And, as one creature is apt inordinately and finfally thus to traft and lean upon another, so there is as great a profaneness in the creatures inordinately to fear and dread each other, as if the creature feared were rather a god than a man, rather a spirit than flesh; and thus our fear magnifies and exalts the creatore, and puts it, as it were, into the room and place of God. This was the fin which God rebuked in his owo people, Isa. li. 12, 13. “I, even I, am he that comforteth thee: Who art thou, " that thou shouldft be afraid of a man that shall die, and of “ the son of man who shall be made as grats ? and forgetteft “ the Lord thy maker," &c. See how fear exalts man, and depresseth God; it thinks upon the noxious .power of men so much, that it forgets the saving power of God, as if that stood for nothing : thus a mortal worm, that shall perifh as the grafs, eclipses the glory of the great God, that Iretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth.
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;" q.d. Have the 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 fovereiga and incommunicable power of God.
4. The fiafulness of fear copists in the distracting influence
it hath upon the hearts of men, whereby it discomposeth and uofits 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 and reason, like the wheels of a watch, wound above its due height, stand still, and have Do motion at all. It is rare to find a man of that largeness and constancy of heart and mind, in a day of fear, that was found in Jchoshaphat, 2 Chron. xx. 2, 3. “ Then there came fome " that told Jeholhaphat, faying, There cometh a great multi“ tude against thee from beyond the sea, on this side Syria, and
behold they be in Hazazon-Tamar, which is Engedi ; and Je“ hoshaphat feared, and set 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 is great frights, as the prophet describes the condition of the Jews, Ila. xxii. 2, 3. when the city of Jerofa. lem 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 aow in such a panic fear, that it is full of firs and tumults, some run up to the tops of the houses, either to hide or bewail themfelves, 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 stirs, but none of prayers, alas, fear made them cry to the mountains, rather than to God, ver, 5. The best men find it hard to keep their thoughts from wandering, and their minds from distraction, in the greateft calm of peace, but a thousand times harder in the hurries and tumults of fear,
5. The sinfulaess of fear consists in the power it hath to difpose and incline men to the use of fipful means to put by their danger, and to cast them into the bands and power of temptation, “ The fear of man bringeth a fnare,” Prov. xxix. 25. or puts and lays a fnare before him: Satan spreads the net, and fear, like the stalking-horse, drives men right into it. It was fear which drew Abraham, that great believer, into the soare of dissimulation, to the great disparagement of religion ; for it was somewhat an odd light to fee Abimelech, an Heathen, so schooling an Abraham for it, as he did, Gen. XX. 9. And for the fame evil you find God chiding his people, in Ifa. lvii11. "And of whom haft thou been afraid, or feared, that thou " haft lied, and hast Dot remembered me?” There is a double lie occafioned by fear, one in words, and another in deeds : hypocrify is a lie done, a practical lie, and our church-history abounds with fad examples of diffimulation through fear : it is Satan's great engine to make his temptations victorious and fuc. 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 soul, its beauty and perfection, not its infelicity or fin, viz. the aw. ful filial fear of God; natural fear is a pure and simple passion of the foul ; sinful fear is the disordered and corrupt passion of the foul; but this is the natural passion fanctified, and thereby changed and baptized into the name and nature of a spiritual grace. This fear is also mentioned in my text, and prescribed as ao antidote against fipful 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. Xxviï. 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 miferies : 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 soul, whereby be foul is kept under an holy awe of the eye of God, and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleafeth him, and to-foun and avoid whatsoever he forbids and bates.
1. It is planted in the fool as a permanent and fixed habit ; it is not of the natural growth and production of man's heart, but of supernatural infufion and implancation, ser. 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, Psal. cxix. 161. “ My heart standeth in awe of thy si word.” 'Tis the reproach of the servants of men to be eyefervants, but it is the praise and honour of God's servants to be fo.
z. This respect to the eye of God, ioclioes them to perform and do whatfoever pleaseth him, zod'is commanded by him: Hence, fearing God, and working righteousness, are connected aad 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 haft 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 shua 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 several kinds of fear.
сн А Р. III. Shewing the various uses of Fear, both natural, sinful, and religi.
ous, in the government of the world by Providence.
HAVING taken a brief view of the several kinds
and forts 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 wife and holy purposes of God therein. And we will first enquire into
1. The use of natural fear. Which if we well consider, it will be found exceeding neceffary and useful to make man 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 nature, which, like a * bridle, curbs in the corrupt propenfiOns thereof. If fear did oot clap its magacles and fetters upon the wild and boisterous lufts of men, they would certainly bear down all milder motives, and break loose from all ingenuous bands of restrains; the world would inevitably be filled with disorders, 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, on Preu xxix. 25.
of vocleanness and unrighteousness, nec hofpes ab hofpite tutus, i. a. the lodger is not lafe from the person entertaining him;
men would become like the fishes of the sea, as the prophet complains, Habbak. i. 14. where the greater swallow up a mul. titude of the smaller fry alive at one gulp; propriety could not be maintained in the world, ao man's person could be fafe or inviolate; power and opportunity to do mischief would measure out to men their lot and inheritance, and consequently all societies must disband and break up. We fay, 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. Bihment, 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 penal 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 annexed penalties to enforce them, and give them their fanction, as good there were no laws; they would have do more power to restrain the corruptions of mens hearts, than the new cords or green withs had to bind Sampson. And yet, if the severcst peoalties in the world were andexed to, or appointed by the law, they could fignify nothing to the ends of the governé meat without fear. This is that tender sensible power, or passion, on wbich threatenings work, and so brings men under moral government 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.“ Aod 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 government to them. Bleffed 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. c. 3. VOL. IV.