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teftament fignifies the same as the fear of God in the old) must believe that be is; and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. There can be no fear of God, unless we believe that he is worthy to be fear’d.
It is some excellency, either real or supposed, which is the foundation of all honour and reverence. The reason why we honour any of our fellowcreatures, is because we believe them to be possessed of fome perfections, and to have some valuable endowments. Even fo that fupreme honour and reverence which we pay to the divine being, must be founded upon the belief of his fupreme glory and excellency. He must be regarded by us as the self-existent being, eternal and omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. But this is not åll : it is likewise essential to the fear of God, that we should believe his providence, as well as his existence. For it is not very likely that we shall have much regard for å being who, we imagine, has no regard for us, and thinks us beneath his notice and observance. Therefore he that fears God must not conceive of him as an idle spectator of human affairs; but must believe that he concerns himself in the government of
this world ; that he narrowly observes our actions, and will call us to an account for them, and render happiness or misery to us, according as we behave ourselves virtuously or viciously. These are the principles which are necessary to be believed by one who fears the Lord. But he must not rest here. For,
II. He who would make good the character of fearing God, must obey the laws of God.
He must do jusly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with God. He must love the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all bis strength. He must worship him in spirit, and in truth. He must pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks. He must acquiesce in all the dispensations of providence. He must not despise the chastning of the Lord, nor faint when he is rebuked of him. He must not fret bimself because of evil doers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity. Although the fig-tree should not blossom, and there should be no fruit in the vines ; although the labour of the olive Mould fail, and the fields Mould yield no meat ; although the flock Should be cut off from the fold, and there should be no berd in the
stalls ; yet be should
rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his Salvation. This should be the temper of his mind with regard to his Maker.
And then for his fellow-creatures, many duties are incumbent on
him with regard to them. He must love bis neighbour as himself. What foever he would that men should do to him, be must do even so to them. He must not go beyond or defraud his brother in any matter : and if he hath taken any thing from any man, he is bound to make restitution. He must put away from him all bitterness, and wrath, and
and clamour, and evil speaking, with all ma
and he must put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering. He must deal bis bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out, to his house ; when be sees the naked, he must cover him, and must not bide himself from his own flesh. He must do good unto all men, as he bath opportunity ; especially unto them who are of the houshold of faith.
And then with respect to himself, he must be pure and chaste, sober and temperate ; he must keep under his body, and bring it into subjection; he must mortify his members which are upon the
earth ; and crucify the flesh with the affections and lufts. He must purify himself even as God is pure; and cleanse himself from all filthiness of flesh and Spirit. He must keep his heart with all diligence. He should banish from his mind all vain and wicked thoughts : he should be much in the contemplation of divine things : his treasure should be in heaven ; and where his treasure is, there will his heart be also. He should set bis affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
This is the character of a religious man, or of one who fears the Lord. He believes that there is a God, and a future state of rewards and punishments: and the belief of these principles makes him very watchful over his own conduct. He considers himself as continually under the eye of God; and therefore he abftains from e'very thing that would provoke his wrath and indignation ; and practises those things which will recommend him to his favour and approbation. This shall suffice for a description of the fear of the Lord. I will now,
Secondly, Prove that the fear of the Lord is wisdom. This I shall do first
from scripture, and secondly from reafon.
1. From scripture. And I will begin with the text, which pofitively afferts it. Unto man be said, bebold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding. Pfalm CXI. 10. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom ; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. Prov. I. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of, knowledge ; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Prov. IX. 10. The 'fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Prov. XV. 33. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, or that which wisdom teaches and instructs us in.
Solomon almost perpetually in his writings speaks of religion by the names of wisdom, discretion, knowledge, understanding ; and of lin by the name of folly. Good men he calls wise, and wicked men fools. The new testament speaks in the same style. In the XVth chapter of Luke, which contains the parable of the prodigal son, his recovery from a lewd and vicious course to sentiments of religion and piety is called a coming to himself; as if he had not been in his right mind before, whilst he