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and experienced Man, in all his Writings ftiles the Man fearing God, and obeying him, the only wise Man; and the Person that neglects this Duty, the only Fool and mad Man.
And yet it is strange to see how little this is thought of or believed in the World: Nay, for the most part he is thought the wisest Man who hath the least of this principle of Wifdom appearing in him; thar fhakes off the fear of God, or the sense of his presence, or the Obedience to his Will, and the Discipline of Conscience, and by Craft, or Subtilty, or Power, or Oppression, or by whatsoever Me thod may be most conducible, pursues his Ends of Profit, or Power, or Pleasure, or what else his own vain thoughts and the mistaken estimate of the Generality of Men ren der desirable in this World: And on the other side he that governs himself, his Life, his Thoughts, Words, Actions, Ends, and Purposes with the Fear of Almighty God, with a sense and awe of his Presence, according to his Word, that drives at a nobler End than ordinarily the World thinks of ; namely Peace with Almighty God, and with his own Heart and Conscience, the Hope and Expectation of Eternity, such a Man is counted a shallow, empty, inconsiderate, toolish" Man; one that carries no Stroak in the World; a Man laden with a melancholy Delufion, letting a great Rate upon a World he sees not, and neglecting the Opportunities of the World he fees. But upon
a sound and true Examination of this Business, we shall find that the Man that feareth God is the wifeft Man, and he that upon that Account departs from Eyil, is the Man of greatelt Understanding. I shall fhew chere: fore these two things; 1. What it is to fear God; 2. That this fear of God is most demonstratively the best Wifdoni of Mankind, and makes a Man truly and really wile Man.
I. Touching the first of these, Fear is an Affe&tion of the Soul that is as much diversified as any one Affection whatsoever ; which Diversification of the Affection ari, fach from the Diversification of thole Objects by which this Affectionis moved. I shall mention these Four :
1. Fear of Despondency or Desperation ; which ariseth from the Fear of fome great and important Danger that is unavoidable, or at least so apprehended, and this is not che Fear that is here commended to Mankind.
2. Fear of Terror or Affrightment; which is upon the fense of fome great important Danger, that though posfibly it may be avoided, yet it carries with it a great Probability and immediate Impendency; as the fear of Mariners in a Storm; or a fear that befals a Man in some time or place of great Confusion or visible Calamity. And this kind of fear of Almighty God is sometimes effectual and useful to bring Men to Repentance after some great Dipleasure of Almighty God by Sin or Apoftacy, but this is not that Fear that is here, at least primarily and principally meant, but these two that follow.
3. A Fear of Reverence or Awefulness, and this Fear is raised principally upon the sense of lome Object, full of Glory, Majelty, Greatness, though po'libly there is no caufe of expecting any hurt from the Person or thing thus feared. Thus a Subject bears a Reverential Fear to his Prince, from the sense of his Majesty and Grandeur : and thus much more the Majesty and Greatness of Almighty God excites Reverence and Awefulness, though there were no other ingredient in that Fear. Jer. 5.21. Will not fear me, faith the Lord? Will ye not tremble at my Frosence ? &c. Jer. 10.7. Who would not fear thee, O King of Nations ?
4. A Fear of Caution or Watchfulness. This is that which the Wise Man commends, Prov. 28. 14. Blessed is The Man that feareth always. And this fear of Caucion is a due Care and Vigilancy not to displease that Perion from whom we enjoy or hope for Good; the fear of a Benefactor, or of thar Person from whom we may, upon some just Cause or Demerit, expect an Evil, as the fear of a juft and righteous Judge. And these Two lacter kinds of Fear; namely, the Fear of Reverence, and the Fear of Caution, are those that are the principal Ingredients constituting this Fear of God that thele excellent Men commend to us as true Wisdom.
Now this Fear of God ariseth froin those right and true Apprehensions concerning Almighty God, that do with a kind of connaturality and suitableness excite both thefe Two kinds of Fear; and those seem to be principally these Three
1. A true and deep sense of the Being of God; namely, That there is a most excellent and perfect Being, which we call God, the only true God, the Maker of all things : But this is not enough to constitute this Fear, for Epicurus and Lucian did believe that there was a God, yer were without the Fear of him.
2. A true and deep Sense, Knowledge, and consideration of the Attribute of God. And although all the Attributes of God are but so many Expressions and Declarations of bis Pe; fection and Excellency, and thereof all contribute to advance and in prove this Fear, especially of Reverence ; yet there are some Attributes that seem in a more special manner to excite and raise this Affection of Fear, as well the Fear of Reverence, as that of Caytion and Vigilance: Asnamely, 1. The Majesty and Glory of God, at which the very Angels of Heaven, that are confirmed in an unchangeable Estate of Happiness, carry an inward, and express an outward Reverence. Majesty and Glory without Power is not perfect; therefore-the Sense and Knowledge of the Almighty Power of God is a great Object of our Fear : He doth whatsoever he pleaseth, all things had their Being from him, and have their Dependance on him.
3. The deep Knowledge of the Goodness of God, and that Goodness not only Immanent in himself, but Emanent and Communicative : And from this Diffusive and Communicative Goodness of God all things had their a&ual Being, and from him they do enjoy it. And both thefe Goodnesles of God, the Immanent and Emanent Goodnesses are the noblest Exciters of the nobleft Fear, a Fe.ir springing from Love, and that Love fixing upon the Immanent Goodness of God, which is altogether lovely and perfect, and so upon the Emanent and Communicative Goodness of God, as he is our
Benefactor ; and where ever there is Love, there is the Fear both of Reverence and Caution. We cannot choose but honour and reverence, and be careful to observe and please whatsoever we thus love ; the intrinsick Nature of that which we love for its own Worth and Perfection, binds us by a kind of natural Bond or Result to Reverence and Honour; and the extrinsick Emanation of that Goodness to us, binds us to reverence and esteem, and honour it as our Benefa&or, by a double Bond, viz. first, of Gratitude or Benevolence to him that communicates this Good ; fecondly, by a Bond of Prudence and Self
preservation, not to disoblige him from whom we have our Good, and upon whom we have our Dependance, lest a Disobligation should occasion his fubftraction or abatement of that Good from us. Wheresoever there is Dependance, as there must be natural Love to that upon which is our Dependance, so there must be necessarily a Fear both of Reverence and Caution, even upon Principles of Selflove, if there were nothing else to command it. 4. A deep Sense, Knowledge, and Consideration of the Divine Omniscience. If there were all the other Motives of Fear imaginable, yet if this were wanting, the Fear of God would be in a great measure abated; for what availeth Reverence or Caution, if he to whom it is intended do not know it? And what Damage can be sustained by a neglect or omission of that Fear, if God Almighty knew it not? The want of this Consideration hath made even those Atheists that yet acknowledged a God; such were Epicuriss, Diagoras, Lucretius, Lucian and others among the Philofo. phers; and such was Eliphaz his Oppressor, fob 22. 13: How doth God know ? and can be judge through the thick Cloud? or David's Fool, Psal. 94.7. The Lord shall not see, neither
shall the God of Jacob regard. But the All-knowing God searcheth the very Thoughts, and knows the Heart, and all the Actions of our Lives; Not a Word in our Tongue but he beareth it, and know our Thoughts afar off. 5. A deep sense of the Holiness and Pyrity of God, which must needs cause in him an averseness unto, and abhorrence of whatfoever is sinful or impure. Lastly, The
sence of the Fustice of God, not only an inherent Justice, which is the re&itude of his Nature; but a transient or distributive Justice, that will most certainly distribute Rewards to Obedience, Observance, and the fear of his Name, but Punishments to the Disobedient, and those that have no fear of him before their Eyes. The deep consideration and sense of these Attributes of the Divine Perfections, must needs excite both the fear of Reverence and the fear of Caution, or fear of offending either by commission of what may displease God, or of omitting of what is pleasing to him.
3. But although this knowledge of Almighty God and his Attributes, may justly excite a Fear both of Reverence and Caution; yet withoat the knowledge of something else, that Fear will be extravagant and disorderly, and sometimes begets Superstition or strange Exorbitancy in this Fear, or in the expressions of it, and a want of regularity of duty or obedience; if a Man know that Almighty God is juft, and will reward obedience and punish disobedience; yet if he knows not what he will have done or omitted, he will indeed fear to displease him, but he will not know how to please or to obey him: therefore besides the former, there must be a Knowledge of the Will or Law of God in things to be done or omitted. This Law of God hath a double Inscription; 1. in Nature, and that is again twofold; first, The natural Rudiments or Morality and Piety written in the heart: fecondly, such as are deducible by the exercise of natural Reason and Light; for even from the Notion of God there do result certain Confequences of Natural Piety and Religion, as, that he is to be prayed unto, to be praised, that he is to be imitated as far forth as is posible by us; therefore as he is holy, beneficent, good, and merciful, so must we be. 2. But we have a more excellent Transcript of the Divine Will, namely, the Holy Scriptures; which therefore a Man that fears God will study, obferve, and practice, as being the best Rule how to obey him. And the very fear of God arising upon the sense of his Being and Attributes will make that Man very folicious to know the Will of God,