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And, as it is required of us that we should love God with a superlative Affection, so also that we should fear him with the
profoundeft Reverence. It is a Command frequently repeated in the Divine Law, Thou fhalt fear the Lord thy God. Deut. vi. 13. X. 12, 20. Agreeable to this is that Exhortation of the Prophet, Sanctify the Lord of Hofts himself, and let him be your Fear, and let him be your Dread. If. viii. 13. Let us kave Grace, faith the Apostle, whereby we may serve God acceptably with Reverence and godly Fear. Heb. xii. 28. This is so necessary and of such Importance, that the Fear of God is in Scripture-Language frequently put for the Whole of true Religion. This may seem to make an unamiable Representation of it. But it must be confi. dered, that the Fear of God, which true Religion tendeth to inspire, is a quite different Thing from that servile Horror, the Effect of Superstition, which ariseth from wrong and unworthy Apprehensions of the Deity, and is a perpetual Source of Uneali-ness and Anxiety. The Fear that God requireth is a filial Awe, such a Veneration mixed with Love, as floweth from the highest Esteem of the supreme Being, and a just Sense of his sovereign Dominion and incomparable Perfections. Accordingly it is represented as the genuine Temper of the People of God, that they fear the Lord and his Goodness. Hof. iii. 5: It is such a Fear of God as causeth us to dread his Displeafure above all Things, and maketh us careful not to offend him, and desirous to shun every Thing which is contrary to his holy Will and Law. And hence to fear the Lord, and to depart from Evil, are represented as inseparably connected, and as in Effect the same Thing. Yob xxviii. 28. The Fear of the Lord, that
is Wisdom ; and to depart from Evil is Understanding This holy Fear of God hath a natural Tendency to check the Vanity and Levity of the Mind, to repress the tumultuous Motions of the disorderly Appetites and Passions, and to keep every Thing quiet and in good Order within; and consequently it tendeth to produce an inward happy Composure and peace, ful Tranquillity. And the great Benefit and Satisfaction arising from this is very evident, especially when it is confidered, that, inProportion as the Soul is under the Influence of a well-regulated Fear of God, it will be raised above the Disturbance of all other Fears. An habitual awful Sense of the Divine Majesty, deeply impressed upon the Heart, will cause a Man to think little comparatively of the Power or Terror of
Creatures like himself ; so that this part of the Divine Law is also manifestly conducive to our Happiness, and we cannot do a better Thing for ourselves, than to endeavour to get our Souls thoroughly possessed with a reverential Regard to the Lord Jebovah. In order to this we should frequently realise him to our Minds in his universal Sovereignty, his immense Greatnego his almighty Power, his boundless Goodness, his impartial Righteousness, and spotless Purity." This glorious Afsemblage of Excellencies and Perfections naturally tendeth to strike the Mind with a sacred Awe of God, and represents him as infinitely venerable as well as amiable.
Another Disposition towards God, which is also of great Importance in Religion, is an absolute Submission to his Authority and Resignation to his Will. And this indeed naturally follows from such a superlative Love to God, and reverential Awe of his Divine Majefty, and Fear of offending him, as have been mentioned. important and comprehensive Precept, Submit yourselves to God. Jam. iv. 7. This is to be understood of a willing complacential Submission, not as of Necessity and Compulsion, but from Inclination and Choice ; and it must be absolute and intire, without
M 3 Exception,
That is a very
Exception, Limitation, or Reserve : For abfolute Dominion, in Conjunction with infinite Goodness and unlimited Perfection, is most justly intitled to absolute unreserved Submission and Obedience. It ought to be the Language, not merely of our Lips, but of our Hearts, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Acts ix. 6. Here am I, let the Lord do to me as feeneth good unto him. 2 Sam, xv. 26. The Will of the Lord be done. Acts xxi. 14. It should be the Matter of our daily Prayer, that his Will may be done on Earth, as it is done in Heaven. We must do what we can that our obstinate Self-will may be fubdued, and that our Wills may be wholly regulated and determined by the good and holy Will of God, resolving to make it our fincere and constant Endeavour to walk in Obedience to all his Commands, and to acquiesce in all his Appointments. This is a Temper of Mind highly reasonable, and fuited to the Relations between him and us, as he is our Maker and absolute Proprietor, and we are his Creatures, his constant Dependents and Beneficiaries, and the Subjects of his moral Government. And how happy is it to have our Souls thus wrought into a submissive obediential Frame, and our Wills resolved into the Divine ! To relign ourfelves to the Conduct of the infinitely perfect Being, and embrace what the supreme
Wisdom Wisdom and Goodness feeth to be really best and fittest for us!
This leadeth me to add, that we are required in the Divine Law to exercise a firin Trust in God, and a fiducial Dependence upon him. To engage us to this is the Design of those excellent Precepts, Wait upon the Lord, and be shall strengthen thine Heart ; wait, I say, on the Lord. Pf. xxvii. 14. Commit thy Way unto the Lord; trust also in bim; and Le fhall bring it to pass. Pl. xxxvii. 5. Caft thy Burden upon the Lord, and he shall fustain thee; he shall never Juffer the Righteous to be inoved. Pf. lv. 22. Trust in the Lord with all thine Heart, and lean not unto thine own Understanding ; in all thy Ways acknowledge him, and he hall direx tły Paths. Prov. iii. 5, 6.
We are res quired not to trust in uncertain Riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all Things to enjoy. 1 Tim. vi. 17. And to commit- the Keeping of our Souls to bim, in Well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1 Pet.
. And surely the very - Mention of these Duties of Religion is sufficient to Thew their Reasonableness and Excellency, and the great Advantage and Satisfaction which will arise from the Observation of them. If we were to contrive Laws for our own Benefit, they could not possibly be better