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once gets place, it will bring in every known duty, and set the soul at a distance from all known sin.
5. It would free you of other fears that are tormenting, in whatever degree it gets place in your hearts. Fear of men and devils is so entertained by many, that it becomes a tormenting passion, frighting them out of the way of duty to God. This is the first expedient to get rid of these. Allow the great God his own room in the heart, and let him be thy fear and thy dread, and so the creature will prove contemptible in comparison of him. · 6. Consider the precious promises made to, and the benefits bestowed on, those that fear the Lord. If thou be a fearer of God, go matters as they will, with thee it shall be well, Eccles. viii. 12. 13. “ Though a finner do evil an hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him ; but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he feareth not before God.” It prolongs men's days, in so far as it keeps them in the way of holiness, Prov. X. 27.; see a cluster of promises, Psal. xxv. 12.-14. ; compare Prov. xix. 23. and Psal. xxxiv. 9. which you may read at your leisure.
Lastly, The want of the fear of God is an infallible sign of a wicked graceless heart; it looses the reins to wickedness of heart and life, and betrays men into ruin, Psal. xxxvi. 1.--4, « These that fear not God now, will be made to fear him hereafter, when there shall be no escaping out of the hand of their terrible Judge.
Some may fay, O! how shall I attain to this holy, fear of God? With a view to promote this
attainment, I would offer the following DIRECTIONS.
1. Labour to know God, who and what he is, 1 Kings, viii. 43. “ That all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel.” It is a benefit of the second covenant, to know the Lord, Hofea, ii. 20. “I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.” God, to the most of the world, is like a prince in disguise amongst his subjects, they treat him rudely because they do not know him; an unknown God will not be feared. While ignorance of God reigns in the heart, there is no place for holy fear; for that will make men count darts as stubble, and laugh at the snaking of the spear.
2. Stir up in your hearts a desire to fear him; it is a token for good, when one is willing to entertain the fear of God, Neh. i. 11. « Thy fervants who desire to fear thee.” This defire hath the promise, and it will be accompanied with suitable endeavours after it. Many fight against the fear of God, that they may live at ease, and may be able to give themselves loose reins to their sinful practices ; no wonder their hearts be hardened from it. And hence, if at any time they be taken with the fear of God, they do what they can to be freed of it, as they would pluck out arrows out of their flesh.
3. Take God for your God in Chrift, and devote yourselves to him. 'The God we chose for our God, we will fear; Micah, iv. 5 « For all people will walk every one in the name of his God, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.” And fo, when men set up their idols of jealousy in the Lord's room, these get the fear that is due to God. So the worldling fears his clay god, his life is in its smiles, and its frowns
are his death. But take the Lord for your God, I say, in Christ ; for no otherwise he offers himfelf to us in the covenant, 2 Cor. v. 19. This is the way to holy fear: For, (1.) It is a promised benefit of the covenant, Jer. xxxii. 40. “ I will put my fear in their hearts." Whoever comes into God's covenant of grace, the fear of God is, by the holy Spirit, stamped upon their hearts, whereby it may be known that they belong to God as children; and they devote themselves, on the other hand, to his fear, Pfal. cxix. 38. They are his fervants, devoted to his fear. They give themselves to it, and make it their great study. (2.) This covenant is a covenant of peace and friendship betwixt God and the ) guilty creature, through a Mediator, Heb. xii. 22. -24. so that thy state is changed, the moment that thou comest into the covenant, from enmity to peace with God, Eph. ii. 19 they become fellow-citizens with the saints, and are of the household of God. This happily joins love and dread of God together, producing holy fear and reverence of God; whereas, while God is apprehended certainly as an enemy to us, fear him we may with flavish fear, but not with holy fear, since we cannot love him.
4. Be much in the exercise of repentance. Sorrowing after a godly fort for sin, as it dishonours God, is offensive to his majesty, separates the finner from God, and exposes the foul to his anger, is the ready way to produce holy fear for the time to come, 2 Cor. vii. 11. Yea, what fear, says Paul, namely, as the effect of sorrow after a godly fort ; they that are burnt dread the fire ; and they that feel the bitterness of fin, will fear God, and ftand at a distance from it. The looking into our frightful acts of sin, will awe our hearts with a VOL. I. .