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same source we learn, that *." the fear of the Lord is to hate evil;" consequently, the fear of the Lord is wisdom. Is it wise to seek and embrace that, which gives us promise of good days on earth, and of happiness in Heaven, and which fills us with satisfaction, and secures us against the judgments of the Almighty? If so, it is wise to seek and embrace the fear of the Lord; for this fearf tendeth to life, and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.”
This fear is “ the beginning of wisdom." Hence arises real piety in the soul. Hence, as from a fountain, spring those firm and holy principles, those strong and vital impulses, those correct, sound, and virtuous sentiments, which direct the course of action into the channel of uprightness and truth, And hence flow, " whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
Prov. viii. 13.
+ Prov. xix. 23. | Phil. iv. 8.
things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good report.”
It is worse than vanity to talk of your right dispositions and good intentions, while you are living in the practice of what is wrong and wicked. It is hypocrisy to say, you love God, while you are proving by the evil you commit, that you
have not the fear of him before your eyes. You must hate and forsake evil, not only from your knowledge and apprehension of its fatal consequences, but also and principally from the pious dread of offending God. If you have this feeling within you,
there is strong reason to hope that you will
way of godliness and virtue; if not, it is in vain we expect from you any sincerity of faith, any consistency of conduct, or any progress in goodness. Till the fear of God is established in your hearts, no good can dwell in them, nor proceed from them.
This fear is not a servile fear, not a fear that excites painful apprehensions, not a fear that awakens perturbations of spirit and misgivings of heart, and would with, draw the thoughts, as much as possible,
go on in the
from the contemplation of God; but it is a pious awe and reverence spread over the whole soul, impressing it with a proper sense of his Majesty, of his Justice, of his Holiness, of his Omnipoténce, of his Omniscience, of his Omnipresence, of his hatred of sin, of his aversion from those who wilfully transgress his laws, and of his determination to punish all, who with hardened and impenitent hearts reject the overtures of his mercy. It is a holy trembling accompanied with a holy joy, at once exciting within us an abhorrence of evil, and an ardent desire to merit, by a faithful service, the approbation of a gracious Master, whose reward is pardon and peace, and whose * "
gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” It is a solemn sensation that draws us towards God, that fixes our thoughts continually upon him, that attends us in all our conversations, ways, and doings, and that impels us with a force, to which we cheerfully yield, to laud and magnify his glorious name.
* Rom. vi. 23
If we consider God, as a cruel and tyrannical Master; if we cannot think of him without dreading his judgments; if, when we contemplate him as an Omnipotent Being, we feel no accompanying satisfaction of mind, no inspiring gladness of heart, we may rest assured, that we love the fellowship which is enmity with him, and that we are conscious of lying under his divine displeasure. For as God is neither cruel nor tyrannical; as he never visits with his judgments any but wilful transgressors, and as he never fails to fill the souls of his faithful servants with holy delight; there must be something very perverse in the heart, and wicked in the conduct, when a man attributes to God a spirit which he does not, and which he cannot, possess, when he is constantly hearing the thunder of divine wrath rolling over his head, and when, at the thought of a Being, infinite in power, and mighty in operation, he starts back alarmed, appalled, and confounded.
The fear of offending God has led to the noblest actions recorded in the History of Man. Many, carried away with the love of human praise, and inspired with the fame of glorious deeds, have wrought such achievements, and exhibited such courage, as have transmitted their names with admiration to posterity. But the wise man, whose principles and opinions are founded upon the truths of religion, who makes the gospel of his Saviour the criterion of his judgment, and the ground of his decisions, does not look for the noblest actions among those of the warrior and the hero. He is not, as the multitude generally are, to be dazzled with the glitter of military renown. He seeks not for transcendent merit and magnanimity amidst the horrors of carnage, and the desolations of empires ; nor does he place, as worthies in his temple of fame, the conqueror of nations and the destroyer of human kind. He looks, with a just and discriminating eye, for deeds really glorious in the man, who ventures every thing for the sake of God, and for the honour of his holy name. He searches for courage truly great in the Christian Hero; in him, who, by a firm resistance