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-mighty hand:it is that fearwhich the spirit of bondage fuggeft.eth,wcb is not a grace of God in us, but a punishment of God Rom.8.15. Jupon us, and we would fain be without it, it is the fear of fervants, and not of fons, yet God ufeth it as a means to bring us home to him again, when we like sheep have gone aftray, and therefore, the prodigall to re-enter himself into his fathers house prayed, fac me unum ex mercenariis, make me as one of thy hired fervants: it may be that fear which in the fchool is called Initialis,which re-entreth us into the service of God, and keepeth us in awe, it is utilis, but not fufficiens, and we would be glad to be delivered out of it, that we might ferve God without fear in holineffe and righteoufneffe.
For fo the Apostle doth recompt it a favour to the Romans, Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the fpirit of adoption.
2 The fear it felf.
This fear was great both in the inward man, and in the outward, it was that fear of which David spake to God, faying, of the heathen, put them in fear, O Lord, that they may know there. felves to be but men.
And David himself was foundly fhaken with it, as his complaint fheweth.
My flesh trembleth for fear of thee and I am afraid of thy judgments. Pfal.119. And we finde the best of the faithfull fervants of God fubject to this fear, and it is cleer in my text, that it may be joyned with faith. For after this cold fit of fear, you shall fee the faith of the Church to quicken it again.
The elect of God are fhaken with fear.
Because they are great Students in the Law of God, for Doct that is a fpeciall mark of a righteous man, he doth exercife Reaf. 1. himself in the Law of God day and night.
And wherefoever the law is wifely understood and applyed rightly, there fear doth arife, for fo long as we are under the Law, we are under a School-mafter, and as the Apostle doth fay, a child differeth very little from a fervant, you know when a young man came to Chrift, to ask him the way to heaven, Chrift referred him to the Law, and the keeping thereof.
That is our firft leffon:it follows fo in the miffion of our Re deemer, he was made of a woman,& made fubject to the Law. The law fheweth us how much we are in Gods debt, and you may note it in the parable of the good Mr. in the gospel. I He called his fervant to accompt, and caft up the debt. 2 Then he put him to it to pay it.
3 When he saw him willing but unable, then he forgave it. God calleth us by the light of the Law, by the fight of our fins, our fins are debts, when we fee them, how can we choose but together vvith them behold the danger of them, and the vvrath due to them, this cannot be done vvithout fear, even great horrour and dejection.
The thief that vvas converted upon the croffe, when he had but a little time, he made an example of great mercy, the onely example in all the Book of God, of fo late a converfion, yet in that short time, he began at the Lavv of God, and said, to his fellovy.
We indeed are justly punished, for we receive the due rewards of
And after that he fought grace: this Lavy vwas the School mafter, that brought him to Chrift, faying, Lord,remember me, when thou commeft into thy Kingdome: for
Until we compare our felves with the law of righteousness,we cannot know how unjust wee are, and what need we have of a -Saviour.
We may fee it in our first parents, who no fooner had funned but they hid themselves from God, because they favy their fault by the light of the Lavv,vvhich they had tranfgreffed.
Real our fight,and fetteth before our eys the vvrath to come: fo the
This fear bringeth us to repentance, it putteth our fins in
generation of vipers vvere firft put in fear, by warning given them of the anger to come, and upon that foundation he buildeth his doctrine of repentance: ferte ergò fructus dignos pœnitentia, bring forth therefore fruits vvorthy of repentance: it is time to amend when fin ftandeth at the door, that is the vvages of fin to punish all, or fome nevy temptation to fin, to make it more; fear vvill tell us that time is pretiaus, yve mult
lofe none of it from our true repentance and conversion to God.
3 This fear ferveth for caution against the time to come, Reaf.3. for pifcis ictus fapit, one that hath been once foundly fhaken with a strong fit of this fear, will be the more weary to decline. and avoid it another time. For there is nothing that fo much agonizeth the foul and body of man, as the fenfe and confcience of the wrath of God.
4 It is one of the arguments, as you have heard, by which Reaf.4. we do prove certain great Articles of faith; as,
1 It proveth that there is a God, for that power which the confcience of man doth fear as an avenger of evill, is God.
2 It proveth the refurrection of the body, for as the Apoftle faith,if in this life onely we have hope,fo we may say,if for this life onely we have fear, it can be no great matter, for the judgments of God cannot take fufficient vengeance of fin here. 3. It proveth the finall judgment, for all the afflictions of a temporall life are but the fore-unner of the laft judgment. But here it is objected that this may wel hold in the repro- Quæft. bate, but to fee this earth quake of trembling in the Church, and amongst the holy ones of God, as it is here defcribed, this feemeth too hard a portion for Gods beloved & chofen ones.
To this I anfwer, that judgment beginneth at the houfe of Sol. God, and the righteous are hardly faved, they that have no other hell but in this terrour of the Lord here, do most smart in this world, and there is great reafon for it
In refpect of God, to fhew him no accepter of the perfons of men, but an equall hater of evill in all that commit it, as David faith; If Iregard wickedneffe in my heart, God will not hear me.
2 In refpect of the fin committed by his chofen, that God may declare the danger of it for terrour to others, and his justice in avenging it, that men may fear and do no more fo.
3 In refpect of the wicked, that they may have example of fear in the fmart of others, to bring them to the obedience and fervice of God.
This doth ferve, firft for exhortation to ftir us up to confi- fe 1
der our God, in the way of his judgments, and to bethink us what evill may hang over our heads for fin, the Church hath ever found this a profitable courfe:
Ifai.26 8. In the way of thy judgments, ô Lord, have we waited for thee, the defire of our foul is to thy name and to the remembrance of thee.
The profit that groweth hence, is there confeft by the 9. Church: When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteoufnese.
This doth ferve to put difference, between the children of God,and the children of this world, for the ungodly are not afraid of the hand of God, but the finner contemneth, but the righteous layeth it to his heart,fo faith the Church: Lord, when Verfet. thy haud is lifted up they wil not fee,but they shall fee and be ashamed. Use 3. This alfo ferveth for confolation of the Church, for let them not be too much dejected with confideration either of Gods. revealed wrath, or their own juft fear, no, though their fear do shake and stagger their very faith for a time, for God will not forfake them unto despair, but will let fome of the beams of grace fhine even through the clouds of fear to comfort them, Pfal.56.3. David felt it, and confeft it,faying: What time I am afraid, I will truft in thee. See how they grow together, fear and faith.
But this is objected as an argument against that doctrine of the assurance of falvation,that a child of God may have in this life, for it is urged: Can a man that ftandeth affured of the favour of God to him in Christ Jesus be fo fhaken with fear, as the Church here confeffeth.
1. That fear of temporall fmart in this life is naturall, and may be in the fons of God, it was in the Sonne of God Jefus Chrift, and it may be without fin, and the elect, although they fear the judgments of God on earth, yet they doubt not, but that their names are written in heaven.
2 That fear is not again't faith, which is quick and fenfible of the wrath and judgments of God: it is Cos fidei the Whet ftone of faith, it puts a better edg upon it, and ferves to teach us to lay fo much the fafter hold upon Jefus Chrift. De Courage either to refift an evill ingruent without a right
knowledg of it, or to bear an evill incumbent, without a right understanding both of the Authour of it, the cause of it, or the end of it, or the measure of it, is not courage but ftupidity
But when we do rightly know God to lay his hand on us for fin, or hear him threaten us with the rod is it not time to fear, and to pray with feremie: Be not a terrour to me, for thou Jer.17.17. art my hope in the day of evill.
3 Fear and faith go together, in respect of the temporall judgments of God, because the threatnings of temporall judgments are not always peremptory, but oft-times conditionall, therefore the King of Niniveh proclaiming a generall Faft and repentance in Ninivek, had this encouragement: Who can tell, Jonah 3.9. if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger that we perish not? God himself hath put us into this comfort. T
At what inftant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concer- Jcr.13.7. ning a Kingdome, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it. : If that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their 8. evill, I will repent of the evill that I thought to do unto them
So that this fear of the temporall judgments of God, doth no way weaken the faithfull affurance that we have conceived of eternall falvation, rather it ftrengtheneth it, yea, the more that we either taft or fear the punishing hand of God here,the more do we defire the release of us hence, which is reft from all labours.
4 They that take this fear to be contrary to faith, and affurance of the favour of God do miftake it, for it is true, that a doubtfull and defpairing fear doth deftroy faith, but the faithfull cannot fall into that fear, because God preffeth not his temptations above that which his children are able to
And fear in them is but contrary to prefumption, it is not contrary to faith, which thus appears, because this fear doth not make the servauts of God give over the work of their falvation, rather it makes them double their endevours, and re-! deem the time. ni.flore
But in the reprobate their fear doth make them give heaven gone from them, and profeffe it left labour to ferve God.