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are dear to you, an injury, no doubt, most difficult to be endured, consign the offender over to the insulted laws of his country; a proceeding, which will overwhelm him with more shame, and give him greater cause to repent of his injus. tice, than any measure of resentment you may take, or any summary vengeance you inay execute

his

person. . Should the nature of his offence be such, that the laws cannot reach it, leave him to the contempt which he deserves, and will receive; leave him to the remorse of a guilty conscience; leave him to the punishment of Him, who judgeth righteously, and who hath said, *" Vengeance is mine, I will repay;" for why should you put yourselves upon an equality with one who has wronged you? why should you suffer an evil action in another to urge you to sin against Heaven in endeavouring to take away his life? and why should you wish to inflict death on him, whose additional offence against you has made him less fit to die?

upon

# Rom. xii. 19.

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In fine, be assured of these truths, however they may be derided by a misjudg. ing world, that the most deadly injury can never justify an act of vengeance; that grievous sin attaches to the soul that attempts to entrench

upon tive of the Almighty; and that the mo. ment you seek the punishment of an offender by an act which religion forbids, you prove that you have cast away that fear of God which religion enjoins.

Having endeavoured to impress on your hearts and understandings this very important part of my subject, I proceed to offer some further observations relating to the Fear of God.

We have in Scripture, for here we must look for every thing that is truly noble, interesting, and worthy of imitation, in human conduct, numerous instances of men refusing to do evil, and resolving to do well, through fear of the divine displeasure. I shall mention a few.

When Pharaoh, King of Egypt, ordered the midwives to destroy the menchildren of the Israelites, they neglected lo obey his commands, and at the hazard

of their lives saved them from his cruelty. They did this, not from the sole impulse of a natural compassion, or merely from an abhorrence of so inhuman a mandate, but as Scripture assures us, because* “ they feared God.”

Neither the malicious assaults of Satan, nor the impious counsel of his wife, nor the harsh reproofs of his friends, could shake the principles of the pious Job, nor induce him to f " let

go

his righteousness." He endured with patience the afflicting visitations of Heaven, still professed his confidence in God and his hope in his Redeemer, and vindicated the ways

and wisdom of the divine Provi. dences ; for the fear of God, which he had so abundantly shown in the hour of his prosperity, was now, in the time of his adversity, the principle that kept him firm to his duty, and gave him strength and resolution to resist every attempt to draw him into sin.

Joseph was solicited to make a sacrifice of his virtue at the shrine of illicit

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* Exod. i. 17.

+ Job, xxvii. 6.

sion; but the fear of God, that was rooted in his breast, proved the preservative of his honour in the hour of trial. He nobly resisted the allurement, and reasoned thus: *How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" · When Nehemiah was appointed Ruler over Judæa, he would not, like the former Governors, p. “ be chargeable unto the people,” nor suffer his “ servants to bear rule over them.” “ So did not 1," said he, “ because of the Fear of God.”

David, when he had Saul in his power, would not destroy him because he feared to " stretch forth his hand against the

本 Lord's Anointed.”

& Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednegos so feared the God of Israel, that they would not consent to serve the gods of Nebuchadnezzar, nor worship the golden image which he had set up. They chose to be cast into the burning fiery furnace, rather than disobey their God by a per version of worship which his Word forbad.

Gen. xxxix. 9.

† Neh. v. 15.
§ Dan. iii. 18.

I i Sam. xxvi. 29.

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The Apostles, when brought before tho Rulers, and Elders, and Scribes, who had lately succeeded in putting their beloved Master to a cruel and ignominious death, filled with the fear of God and the knowledge of the truth, disregarded the power and malice of their enemies, and boldly declared, * “ Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye; for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." “ We ought to obey God rather than men."

Who has not read of the undaunted conduct of Paul before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa ; of his travels, his perils, his hardships, his persecutions ; all undergone in the fear of God, and without fear of man, for the sake of Christ and his Religion ? And who has not heard of the persevering labours and patient sufferings of the Holy Martyrs, all voluntarily undertaken and manfully sustained, in the same cause, from the same motives, and with the same awful impressions of obedience to God?

Acts, iv. 19, 20.-v. 29.

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