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does what his father desires, not for fear of being disinherited if he disobeys, but because it would pain him to displease one whom he loves. In like manner the believer complies with the will of God, not merely because he fears hell, but because he fears to offend this merciful Father, to whom he is so much indebted. This fear then has as its source, love and gratitude. The mercy, the compassion, the grace of God, are the sources whence it is derived. This is the sentiment which David describes when he cries, “ There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared;" to this Hosea alluded when he predicted, that on peculiar displays of divine mercy, which were afterwards to be manifested, the pious should " fear the Lord and his goodness.” This is indeed the most generous source of holiness and virtue. To abstain from sin that we may obtain the approbation of men, is the attainment of many of the unregenerate; to do so only from the fear of punishment, is the conduct of a slave who obeys his master only under the lifted rod; to do so because sin is degrading to our natures, was the motive even of some pagan philosophers; but, not to sin because we love God, and wish not to displease him, is ingenuous, generous, and affectionate. It was this fear, resulting from a display of the divine goodness, which Jacob felt on the consecrated field of Luz. When he had beheld that splendid vision, in which heaven was opened to him; when he had seen the Lord and his angels; when God had promised him protection, the choicest temporal mercies, and the richest spiritual blessings, to himself and his posterity, Jacob's soul vibrated between amazement and delight; for the historian immediately adds, ** And Jacob was afraid, and said, How dreadful is




this place! This is none other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven.” It was this that Moses felt, when that illustrious and cheering display of the divine goodness was made unto him; (Ex. xxxiv.) for after the Lord had passed by, and proclaimed his name in accents ever calculated to give confidence and trust in him, “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin,” we are immediately informed that “ Moses made haste, and bowed his head to the ground, and worshipped.” It is this fear, resulting from the divine goodness, which you, believers, have often felt, when, after special manifestations of the divine favour, after a full assurance of the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart, after you have had the Spirit witnessing with you ; you have shuddered at sin; you have, more than ever, dreaded to displease God; you have trembled at the ingratitude of violating the laws, or opposing the will of

benefactor. With respect to the other kind of fear of apprehension, of which we have spoken, that which is founded only on the dread of future punishments, it is considered absolutely and in itself) neither morally good nor evil. Not morally good, since we see it every day felt by the most wicked, and since the devils themselves tremble under it. Not morally evil, since it is a sentiment that reason would require; since God has used the threatenings of this punishment to deter men from sin; and since our Redeemer has expressly sanctioned it by his command : “ Fear not them that can kill the body, and after that have nothing else that they can do: but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him who, after he


hath killed, hath power to cast both body and soul into hell: Yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” It becomes morally good, only when united with filial fear. It is morally evil, when accompanied with love of sin, with distrust, and despair. It then acquires the name of servile fear.

My brethren, if you have faithfully attended to the reflections that have been made in this discourse, you may decide whether you have complied with the injunction in the text, and whether, in a holy manner, you fear God. .

To you who have this disposition, the scripture speaks in the most engaging language : it presents you with promises calculated to support you in every situation, and fill your hearts with joy. No temporal blessing that is really useful, that will promote your best happiness, shall be wanted by you.

66 O fear the Lord, ye his saints, for there is no want to them that fear him.” (Ps. xxxiv. 9, 10.) Are you in a lowly situation in life, and destitute of the outward enjoyments of

many of the enemies of God? Be not disquieted, for a better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great riches, and trouble therewith." (Prov. xv. 16.) Are you encompassed by dangers ? Providence has engaged to defend you, and his angels perpetually minister unto you. “ The angel of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Ps. xxxiv. 7.) You are accepted by the Lord; your persons and your services through the Redeemer: “Of a truth,” said Peter, “ I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him.” (Acts x. 34, 35.) The Lord regards you with tenderness and compassion, and sympathizes with you in all


your trials and distresses: “ The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." (Ps. xxxiii. 18. ciii. 13.) The Saviour shall often

. come unto you with his light and consolation, with a sense of his pardoning love and mercy: for “ unto you that fear my name, says the Lord, shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (Mal. iv. 2.) Beyond the grave there is secured to you a felicity worthy of the tenderness of that God whom you fear and love, worthy of that Redeemer in whom you confidently trust: for “surely his salvation is nigh unto them that fear him ;” (Ps. lxxxv. 9.) and the Lord hearkens and hears, and a book of remembrance is written before him for them that fear the Lord; and they shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a Father spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Mal. iii. 16, 17.)

These are but a small portion of the promises made to you; but are not these abundantly sufficient to make you cry out with David, “O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for those that fear thee?” (Ps. xxxi. 19.) Bless God, who by his Spirit and his grace has implanted this disposition within you; thank him for those privileges annexed to it; cultivate it by prayer and communion with the Lord; and, fearing God, rise superior to all other fear. And you, whose consciences attest that

you are destitute of this sentiment, at last awake to a sense of your condition. Does not God deserve these emotions from


? Does he not sustain to you all those relations that are calculated to excite a reverential and filial fear? Would it not make

Would it not make your life

more safe and happy, and your death more serene? Must you not hereafter tremble at his bar, if you now do not fear him? Oh! then, no longer trifle with the living God! earnestly implore from him this blessing, and use those means calculated to procure it in humble dependence upon him. .



Mark xii. 30.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and

with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.

Such, according to the declaration of our blessed Redeemer, is “ the first and great commandment.” The indispensable necessity of complying with it cannot for a moment be doubted by a reasonable man or a Christian. It is the compendium of all our duty; it is the object for the attainment of which both the law and the gospel are designed; it is at once “ the old, the new, and the great commandment, and all the commandments, since it is, according to St. Paul, the fulfilling of the law.” It is the

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