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fore, pourtrays his majesty in flames of terror, which no man dares approach unto. a fear as this is far removed from that true and religious fear, which is here recommended. It is rather the child of guilt and ignorance, which, knowing not how to worship God aright, has recourse to superstitious and vain rites, to flattering and childish devotions, or to ostentatious works of penance or supererogation. And from this servile fear, sprang all that innumerable çatalogue of heathen Deities, which disgrace the annals of Paganism: “Primos in orbe Deos fecit “ timor,” said the poet very justly: and from the same fruitful source their temples were erected, their groves consecrated, their images adored, and their shrines enriched.
But though we are no where commanded to entertain this base and abject dread of the power and justice of God, yet there are sufficient reasons to induce every thinking person to preserve that filial awe and reverence of him, which the sacred writings every where inculcate.
The first I shall mention is, that all the kind promises and blessings of God, both to individuals and communities, are every where expressly annexed to it, and depend upon it.
They that “ honour him, he will honour, and they that
despise !! despise him, shall be lightly esteemed,” is the constant and invariable language of holy. writ. And this is no less true with regard to kings, than subjects. For as by God alone kings reign, so also, by him alone they reign in glory. And the whole strain of sacred history bears testimony to the truth of this, in every period. Thus, when the froward and uns thinking Israelites had rejected that wonderful theocracy, by which they had long been guided and preserved, the first injunction laid upon them was, “to fear the Lord, and to serve him “ in truth, and with all their heart;” an injunction strengthened by this alarming denunciation, that “if they did wickedly they should “ be consumed both they and their king.”And this both king and people found to be true by melancholy experience: for when they had forsaken his covenant, and broken down his altars, he also forsook them, and brake the strength of their martial prowess : he made them flee, when no man pursued, and gave them over for a prey unto their enemies : he smote them with diseases of body, perplexity of mind, with poverty, oppression, and captivity; so that, like their present wretched descendants, they became a hissing and a bye-word, among all nations where they were scattered. From these judgments of God, therefore, let all the nations of
the earth learn righteousness ; learn to fear God; and serve him in truth, and with all their heart, lest both they and their kings should be consumed.
But, besides this reason for fearing God, grounded on a regard for the public welfare, there are also other considerations, no less important, which will lead us to fear and serve him, out of a regard for our own private happiness. $" O fear the Lord,” says holy David, “ye that
are his saints: for they that fear him lack " nothing.” And again:
- He hath given « meat to them that fear him : he will ever be " mindful of his covenant. God is therefore
very greatly to be feared in the council of " the saints, and to be had in reverence of " all them that are round about him;" as being the spring and fountain of every temporal blessing
And if, to these, we add the spiritual 'advantages derived from the fear of God, the argument will rise still higher, and press more forcibly upon us. “ The secret of the Lord is among
them that fear him," says the royal Psalmist,“ and he will shew them his covenant." -“ His salvation is nigh them that fear him, " that glory may dwell in our land.” Can there
be be more glorious privileges annexed to any duty? Can there be stronger arguments to recommend the fear of God?
If, again, we consider the natural effect of fearing God, upon the several members of civil society, what abundant cause have we to wish, that the practice of this duty were universal. Justice might then sheath her avenging sword, and the solemn poinp of judicature would no longer strike terror into every feeling breast. We should then see the happy accomplishment of that prediction of the future kingdom of the Messias, so beautifully described by the prophet Isaiah :
« The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, “ and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; " and the calf, and the young lion, and the fat
ling together, and a little child shall lead “ them: they shall not hurt nor destroy in all
my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full “ of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters
cover the sea." And where this fear or knowledge of God is wanting, how vain and fruitless is every other fence, against the invasion of secret depredation or open violence! Our penal laws are multiplied, beyond the example of former ages and nations: our executions (though, from the natural humanity of our gracious sovereign, justice is amply tempered with mercy)
are doubled; new modes of punishment are devised also : and yet, notwithstanding all this, neither life nor property, at least in the vicinity of the metropolis, neither the dwellings of man, nor the altars of God himself, are for a moment safe; our prisons swarm with abandoned wretches, the robber still walketh in darkness, and the ruffian destroyeth at noon-day; nay, to such a pitch of wickedness are we arrived, that audacious villany laughs at the impotent terrors of legal vindiction, and legislative wisdom is unable to provide adequate remedies for the new, and various, and multiplying frauds of artful deception.
Secondly, After this necessary fear of God, the wise author of my text recomiends the duty of fearing, or honouring, the king.
And for the performance of this duty, however little, at present, regarded, among the numerous demagogues who are daily starting out of the prolific soil of faction, many and cogent reasons may be assigned.
1st, Kings are God's deputies, or vice-gerents, here upon earth. They derive their power from / him, and are the instruments, which his providenec has made choice of, to govern and pro