The Fear of God: VVhat it is, And EXHORTED TO As one of the Great Lessons God calls upon men to learn by his great Dispensations in the last days.

In a Sermon Preached unto the Church of Christ meeting in Petty France London, the Tenth day of the Sixth Month. Anno 1656.

By that faithful Servant of Christ John Pendarves a little before his Death.

LONDON: Printed by R. I. for Livewell Chapman, and are to be sold at the Crown in Popes-head Alley. 1657.

TO THE Church of God, WHICH He hath purchased with his own Bloud, meeting at ABINGDON

Precious and Beloved:

THis Sermon is especially commen­ded to your view, as being those which I judge have most right unto it, because of that near relation which was be­tween you and the Author of it, a taste of whose savoury spi­rit you may here behold, near his Death, which you have often heard and seen in his [Page] Life; it is doubtless a losse, yea a very great losse, as to Sion in general, so especially to you in particu­lar, to have such a painful Labourer taken out of the Vineyard, but I hope you have learned as in other things, so in this, to say,Act. 21.14. the Will of the Lord be done; this is our comfort, that GodMal. 2.15. hath a re­sidue of the Spirit, and hee will never want Instru­ments to doe his work by; if he take away Moses hee will raise up aJosh. 1.1, 2. Joshua, and if he take away an Elijah, he will2 King. 2.9: double his Spirit upon some E­lisha; and who knows but God may take away such tall Cedars, that some low Shrubs may grow up, and be active for God, in their generation. Surely, every such Dispensation, as it is a spectacle of our Mortali­ty, so it loudly calls us to our duty toJoh. 9.4. work whiles it is day, that with Paul, wee may have2 Tim. 4 7. fought our fight before we shall finish our course; and with David, Acts 13.36. we may serve our generation, (by the Will of God) before we fall asleep.

As touching the Work it self, which you are here presented with, it treats concerning the fear of God, (a Subject) which I desire may be as profitable, as it is seasonable in this our day; wherein though Gods JudgementsIsa. 26.9 have been abroad in the earth, yet the inhabitants of the World will not learn Righte­ousness,Psa. 36.1 and the transgressions of the wicked doe plainly declare, that there is no fear of God be­fore their eyes; and if wee look into the Lives of Professors, we have cause to fear that there is but little of this filial fear to be found among them, which should cause them toPsa. 4.4. stand in awe, and not sin; and too many there are that profess to fear God, that yet [Page] fear not to sin, against him; but how much soever, this being neglected, yet it appears to bee our duty, and that which God calls for from us, by vertue of his Supremacy over us: If I bee a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of Hosts, Malachy 1.6. but I shall not Expatiate upon this point, but referre you to the Discourse it self; for further information, con­cerning which the Reader is to bee further premoni­shed, that this Sermon being not intended by the Au­thor for the Press, nor his Notes left behind him, neither being alive to correct it, it may want some­what of that lustre, which otherwise might have atten­ded it; yet however, to satisfie the desire of some god­ly Friends, as also for the general profit, it is here presented to Publick view, as fully as it could be taken out of one Short-hand Copy, written from his mouth, and I desire that theDeut. 33.16. blessing of him that dwelt in the Bush, may goe along with it; that the fear of God may hereby be wrought where it is not, and in­creased where it is, that those that fear not God, may be made to fear him, and those that doe fear God, may fear him more, and more.

And now (Dear Brethren) I shall leave it with you, as the words of your dying Pastor, not doubting but it will be of weight upon your spirits, and some satisfaction to you, to read his Works, when you can­not hear his words; this only I shall adde, as my de­sire to you, and of you, that you would not on­ly read the words, but doe the works, that his words may be read in your works, and your Lives may bee as so many Volumes of his Labours; [Page] that as on Earth you were his joy, so in Heaven you may bee his Crown; and as hee is gone be­fore, you may follow after, and at last meet toge­ther, and sit down together in the Kingdome of Glory; to which place, and portion, that you with my self may have a safe Conduct, is the ardent desire, and prayer of

Yours in our Head Christ, JOHN COX

The Fear of God: Opened, and exhorted too, from Revel. 15. the former part of the fourth verse. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy name!

BEfore I come to speak more particularly to these words, I shall offer something in a more general way in relation to this Book of the Revelations; which wee finde com­mended especially, to the Churches of Christ, as you may see in Chap. 1. vers. 11. What thou seest write in a Book, and send it to the seven Churches, &c. You may take notice of the way, and order, wherein the Spirit of God walked in the discovery of Truth to the Saints under the Gospel: and it is worthy your observa­tion, how that first the Spirit of Jesus Christ, being poured out upon the Apostles, did in the first place by them, instruct the people to whom they preached, touching those foundation truthes (as I may so call them) which did especially set forth Gospel-faith; and you may observe, how the Wisdome of God is very glori­ous in this way, and method, wherein the Lord did lead forth the Apostles, those Primitive Preachers of the Gospel, and those that were under the conduct of the Apostles in their days.

First, The Lord made known to them, the Doctrine [Page 2] of Grace, in order to their beleeving in the Lord Jesus Christ: And then,

Secondly, They were instructed in the Doctrine of Baptisme, and after this,

Thirdly, They were gathered into Church Order, to waite upon God for further discoveries of truth.

Fourthly, After God had by the Apostles, and o­thers in their days, set the Churches of Christ in order; then Jesus Christ sends this Book of the Revelation to them, and I finde it not given to them till then; and doubtless that confusion that over-spread that part of the World called Christendome, hath sprung very much from those that have preached truth, in that they did not first lay down those foundations, truths of Faith, and Order.

And though I would not ascribe over much to order, yet you must know it is not without infinite wisdome in God, which dispenseth his Truths in such an order to the Sons of men.

And though I would not hold you long (in the Pre­face) yet I would speak a little further to this, because I see many in this day at a great loss, for want of ob­serving the order of truth, that God hath layed down in his Word; some are very much troubled about Bap­tisme, before they are really setled upon Jesus Christ; and some are very much busying themselves about the matters of Worship, before they close with Christ, the foundation; and so having not closed with Jesus Christ, they build as men without a foundation; Others againe, when they come to be instructed in matters of Faith, are apt to minde other Ordinances that are further off, as Breaking of Bread; whereas the order of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, is, that the very next thing after beleeving, [Page 3] is, to be Baptized, in the Name of the Lord Jesus; which persons not observing, but missing the true way of God, they are tossed to and fro, and know not where to fix, not taking notice of the due order: wherein the Lord lays down truth in his blessed Word.

And possibly some (also) may be under the tempta­tion, of neglecting those truthes, which concerne the foundation in matters of Faith, and Order (nay it is frequently so seen of many (of whom I desire to speak tenderly, supposing they do it weakly) that they are busying themselves in the understanding of the highest discoveries of God in this Book of the Revelations) and yet are not setled upon the foundation of the Gospel, nor brought into the order of it; and therefore as to many that are soaring high in these things, I desire they would consider, whether they have not unadvisedly leaped over those foundation truthes, which they should have minded in their going on to those glorious Truths, revealed in the Revelation.

I will not say God is tied up to this order, but yet I say, this is the way, God would have his people waite upon him in; and God bringing his people out of Babylon, will (I doubt not) lead them, to observe truth in that order wherein it was laid down, in the first dispen­sation of the Gospel.

And (therefore) I being now to speak unto a Church of Christ already planted in the Faith, and order of the Gospel, I hope none will bee offended at my making choyce of a portion of Scripture in this Book of the Revelations, if any be, I may make my Apology from the eleventh verse of the first Chapter, which holds forth unto us: that this Book, with the things therein re­vealed, is sent unto the Churches; I Jesus have sent [Page 4] mine Angel to testifie these things in the Churches, and hee that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; which you have severall times repeated in the second and third Chapters of this Book, so that you see, the things held forth in this Book, are such as the Churches of Christ are specially to hearken unto, be­cause Christ hath in a special manner commended these things to the Churches.

And let me adde, that this Book hath a glorious blessing annexed to the reading and hearing of it, and the keep­ing those things which are written therein, you have not such a Blessing annexed to every Book as to this; and oh! that it were not the Sin of many Churches, that they are so backward in looking into the things writ­ten in this Book of the Revelations, when as God sends it especially, and particularly unto them.

And indeed, I judge it is a matter of duty, especially for the Angels, Messengers, and Pastors of Churches, to be diligently searching into (in order to the finding out of) those Truths that are written therein, and according to the measure of the gift of Christ, to hold them forth to the Churches; for truly, I grieve to think how much Church-members are unacquainted with many things written therein, as what the Beast is, what is his Mark, and the Number of his Name, when as such dreadful Judgements are pronounced against such as worship the Beast, or his Image, or receive his Mark in their fore-heads, or in their hands; yet alas! how few Members in Churches are there, that labour to bee in­formed in these things, surely hee that knows not of a danger, where it is, and how it lies: is in danger of fal­ling into it unawares.

But to come to my Text, in this fifteenth Chapter [Page 5] you read of a Victory obtained over the Beast, and not only so, but over his Image, Mark, and the number of his Name, by a Party standing on the Sea of Glass, having the Harps of God, vers. 2. their Song follows; and they sang the Song of Moses, the Servant of God, and the Song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy Works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints, who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy name?

Before I come to the words themselves, I would in a general way lay down something for your informati­on from the Context; that which I suppose will bee the great inquiry upon the view of this Scripture, is, what the Beast is, and who they are that get the victory over him, his Mark and Image? and therefore I shall briefly hint something concerning this Beast, and the conquering Party that shall prevail over him.

That which to me is the best help to discover the Beast, his Mark, and Image: especially the Beast, what he is, are the several qualifications of those which get the victory over him; you may partly know the Beast by his opposites, those which rejoyce at the over­coming of him, now who they are that have had, and maintained a controversie with this Beast, you may see described in the second, third, and fourth verses of this Chapter, and their frames, and qualifications may be judged, by several Characters given to them.

1 They are a People attained to some measure of purity, therefore set forth standing upon a Sea of Glass.

2 They are a People bent to praise God for his great Works, they have the Harps of God, and they sing, &c. They are a people that dare not slight Gods great Works, if God bring them out of Egypt they have it [Page 6] much upon their hearts, and they sing the Song of Moses, and the Song of the Lamb, like those in Exod. 15. and you know upon what account it was that Moses sang that Song, it was when Gods Israel was brought out of Egypts bondage, and the Egyptians destroyed; whence it appears,

3 That these are a people seriously minding of, and much affected with Gods wonderful Works, in their deliverance from Spiritual Egyptian bondage, and there­fore they cry out, Great and marvellous are thy Works, Lord God Almighty.

4 They are a People that ascribe all to God, and give him the praise of all his Works. I suppose all will grant, that the great Works God is to doe in the World, will be done by Instruments, yet this people doe not extoll man in this work, but cry out, Great and marvellous are THY Works, Lord God Almighty.

5 They are a People that justifie God in all his Works, and ways, both of deliverance to his People, and judgement upon his enemies; which shews that they are such as compare Gods Word, and his Works to­gether, and have also been seriously exercised in the ob­servation of the sins of the Enemy, that they thus justi­fie God in his Judgements towards them, it being what they had deserved, and hee had spoken, and therefore they cry out [Just and true] are thy ways. But,

6 They acknowledge Christ to bee King of Saints, Thou King of Saints.

7 They are a People truly fearing God, and standing up for the glory of his Name, and this you have in the Text, Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy name? they are a people of serious spirits, truly fearing God, and such as stand for the glory of God, and not their [Page 7] own advantages in the world, but that God may have glory; this is that which they have most in their eye, and upon their hearts, that God may have a great Name in the world; Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy name? So that you see, those which shall get the victory over the Beast, are not a People of a loose and wanton conversation; I take Antichrist his Power, and false Ministery, which have stood up in Christendome, (so called) for many Generations, to be the Off-spring of those, which Peter, and Jude spake of in their Epistles, which you have there described, but those that shall get the victory over them are persons of a contrary spirit— But againe

8 It appears they are a People of great Light, and much Faith in the Prophesies, concerning the coming in of the Nations to Worship God, and own Jesus Christ, for this is a part of their Song, All Nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy Judgements are made manifest; they are not a narrow spirited People (which contest with the Beast) such as only desire that Christ should bee exalted in the Nations, Cities, or places wherein they live, or in their own Church, but through­out all the earth; so zealous are they for the honour of Christ above their own private, and personal interests: These are their qualifications.

And therefore if you consider where these qualifica­tions are most to be found, and who they are that op­pose them, it may help you to finde out the Beast, in his most Refined Habit.

But to return to that part of the Song that I pro­pounded to speak unto, in these words, Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy name?

[Page 8]Two things there are which are very much upon the heart of this People, that get victory over the Beast; the

First is, to Fear the Lord.

Secondly, To exalt the greatness of his name, and this upon the account of his Judgements being made manifest; so that the observation I shall give you from the words is this:

Obs. That the two great Lessons that God calls upon men to learn by his great Dispensations in the last days, when hee brings his Judgements upon the wicked, is, to fear God, and give glory to his name.

This may be concluded from this holy Expostulation of theirs, in their Spiritual rejoycing, this they had learned themselves, and this they rejoyce in, that o­thers should learn to fear God, and give glory to his name; so that I say, these are the two Lessons God would learn the Sons of men, when he is bringing Judgements upon his enemies, namely, to fear him, and glorifie his name.

That this is so, you may see clearly in Revel. 14.6, 7. And I saw another Angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, and to every Nation, and Kindred, and Tongue, and People, saying, Fear God, and give glory to him. (Why so) for the hour of his Judgement is come; so that you see these are the two great Lessons that God calls upon men to learn, when his Judgements are going forth in the earth; as if (indeed) in these two things were summed up the whole duty of man in the last days.

But I shall briefly lay before you some things further to clear this truth, that these are the two Lessons God calls men to learn, from the Dispensation of his great Works in the last days; and it may further appear upon this ground.

[Page 9] Reas. 1. Because these are the two Lessons, which being learned, doe very much serve to fit and prepare men for those great designes which God hath to bring to pass in the last days; now, those qualifications God especially looks after, and requires of the Sons of men, (at any time and season) which may best fit them for the Work God hath to doe at such a season: Now, what qualifications are there that more fitly serve for the car­rying on of Gods great Works, than to fear God, and have respect unto his name?

1 For the fear of God, you shall finde, when God had any Work to doe of old, this was one chief qualifi­cation that God looked at, if it were but to a Civil Office, between men and men, God requires this, that they should be men fearing God; consider that counsel that was given by Jethro (the Prophet of the Lord) to Moses, Exod. 18, 21. Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, ha­ting covetousness, and place such over them, Rulers of hun­dreds, of fifties, and tens, and let them judge the people [to wit, Israel] at all seasons; (and oh that men would walk after the Laws of this blessed people, whose Laws were extolled by God above all Laws given to any Nation un­der heaven, Deut. 4.8. What Nation is there (saith God) so great that hath Statutes, and Judgements so righteous, as all this Law which I set before you this day) and the truth is, men of great abilities, that have not the fear of God in their hearts, they are but the greater enemies to the great Designes, and Works of the God of heaven.

And therefore this is a sweet and blessed qualification, that God would have in every one that shall bee set up for him; see 2 Sam. 23.2, 3. which are the words of the Spirit of the Lord by his servant David, and this is [Page 10] often inculcated, The Spirit of the Lord spake by mee, and his word was in my tongue; The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to mee, hee that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

And this hath been (formerly) much set upon the hearts of many, that have been great instruments, in the work of God in this Nation, that if they put any in place or office in the Nation, they should bee men fear­ing God; And hath not God made way for such to Rule, having converted so many in the Nation.

But again, consider, That this glorious qualification of the fear of God, fitted Christ for the great work of his Mediatorship, Mal. 2.5. My Covenant was with him of life and peace, for the fear wherewith he feared mee, and was afraid before my Name: And in Isaiah 11.2, 3. which is a Prophesie of Christ, it is said, The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdome and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord: And doubtless this is a most blessed qualification, to fit a man for any work for God, hee that hath the fear of God in his heart, dares not take the gain of oppression, nor do any thing that is evill, and unrighteous: See it in good Nehemiah, Chap. 5. vers. 15. speaking of the former Governors, how they oppressed and tyrannized over the people; but (saith he) So did not I, because of the Fear of God: That man that truly fears God, trembles before him, and stands in awe of the Great God continually: And thus you see how this Fear of God, fits men to serve Gods designs, in their generation, and therefore this is one lesson, that God would have men to learn, by his great works in these last dayes. — But,

Secondly, The other is like to this, viZ. To have re­spect [Page 11] to the glory of Gods Name; God hath alwayes laid aside a people that were selfish and did not minde the advancement of his Name: See Mal. 1.10, 11. saith God, Who is there even a­mong you, that would shut the door for nought, nei­ther do you kindle a fire on my Altar for nought, [What follows?] I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of Hoasts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand, [Why so] For from the rising of the Sun, to the going down of the same, my NAME shall bee great among the Gentiles, &c. as if God should say, These are not a people, which will bee seeking my Name, and my glory, and will do nothing in my service, without a present re­ward, therefore I will shake them off, and will not accept an offering from their hand.

A narrow hearted self-seeking man, is unfit to follow God in his great works, for those which will honour God, and give glory to his Name, they must trust God for their daily bread, and above all things minde the hallow­ing and advancing of Gods Name, and if they will make it good in earnest, that they are fol­lowers of Christ, they must be ready to follow the Lord, to the loss of ALL. For saith Christ, He that hates not father and mother, wife, and chil­dren, brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple, Luke 14.26.

And this is made by God, the distinguishing difference between those that fear God, and those that fear him not, Mal. 3.14, 15, 16. you may there read of a people, that though they gave God some outward service, yet they look­ed [Page 12] not at the glory of God, but their own ad­vantage, and therefore they cry out, It is in vain to serve God, and what profit is it that wee have kept his Ordinances? &c. And this is that which a hypo­crite looks at, in his serving God, even his own profit and advantage: And here I would a little note to you the practise of this Nation, especi­ally their Ministry, that Ordinances which brings no profit to the Ministers, as namely the great Ordinance of Excommunication, which tends to vindicate the Name of God in the earth, and to distinguish the precious, from the vile; yet because this Ordinance of casting out, brings them no profit; how have they cast it out from among them, whiles other things that bring them in profit, they appear zealous for. And are there not many that seem ready to serve God, and his cause? but if wee look thoroughly upon them, is not their Eye rather upon their own profit, than Gods glory?

But to return to Malachy, you have also men­tion there made of a people that Feared the Lord, and what they did in that day, verse 17. of which one thing is, That they thought upon Gods Name.

And you may see what notice God takes of it, and how hee will reward them for it; and this is the distinguishing difference between the righteous, and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not, vers. last.

And thus you may see how these blessed qualifications of the Fear of God and Respect to [Page 13] his Name, will fit persons to bee used in the great works God hath to do in the last dayes; and therefore they are the two great Lessons he requireth of them.

I might for further demonstration of the truth of the point, adde a

2 Reason, Grounded upon Gods severity against persons for the neglect of these things; Gods great controversie with men all along, hath been upon this score, for not fearing him, and giving glory to his Name, because they did not fear God before all, and honour God above all. See Jeremiah 5.24. &c. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, &c. And at the 29. verse, see what God saith, Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord, and shall not my soul bee avenged on such a Nation as this? So Mal. 3.5. I will be a swift witness against Sor­cerers and Adulterers, and false swearers, and those that turn aside the stranger from their right, and Fear not mee, saith the LORD of Hosts.

And that the judgements of God in the lat­ter dayes shall come upon men for this, see that forecited text, Rev. 14.7. Fear God, and give glory to him, for the Hour of his Judgement is come; and therefore the way to escape the just Judge­ments of God that are coming forth, Is to fear God, and give glory to his Name.

Quest. But some may ask, as to the first thing God requires, What this fear of God is, which is so often spoken of in the Scriptures, as that which God doth so much delight in.

[Page 14] Answ. I shall at present, tender you with some description of it, according to that light, and experience, (which I hope I may truly say) the Lord hath communicated to me; and you may take it as followeth.

Description, It is a precious effect of the Spirit of Christ, in the heart of a Beleever, whereby (through the discovery of the glory of God in his word, and works by Christ, and in consideration of the vast disproportion between God and the creature) he is made to think highly of God in all his Attributes, and to have respect unto all his Commandements.

The definition is something long, but I shall prove the particulars to you, and

1 I say, It is a precious effect of the Spirit of Christ in the heart of a Beleever, hee is the subject of it, and there is none else, that hath this fear of God in him, the Apostle speaking of the wicked, Rom. 3.18. saith, There is no fear of God before their eyes; And David tells us the like, Psal. 36.1. they have not this true Son-like fear, natural men are unacquainted with it.

2 That this fear comes by union with Christ, and his Spirit, that is the cause of it, you may see, Psal. 86.11. Vnite my heart to fear thy name; this fear of God it comes by vertue of an union with Jesus Christ by faith, for the spirit of the fear of the Lord it is given to Christ, Isa. 11.2. And he received of that an­noynting to shed it abroad amongst his Mem­bers, [Page] and to give it to those that are united to him, and no further then we live in union with Christ by faith, can we bee partakers of this gracious frame of spirit, to fear the Lord in truth; this is a Lesson which the Spirit teaches, and therefore it was by the Spirit that David cries out, Come yee children and hearken unto mee, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord, Psa. 34.11, and this God hath promised to give to his peo­ple, Jerem. 32.40. I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me. But if you ask me, how the Spirit works this in the heart of a Beleever?

3 I say, it is through the discovery of the glory of God, in his Word and Works by Christ; by the Glory of God I understand his Attributes; when Moses desired to see Gods Glory, he shews him his Attributes, in Exod. 34.5, 6. he proclaimed the Name of the Lord; and what is it? why, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. This is the discovery of Gods Glory, the discovery of his Name.

1 Hee begins with his Attribute, that denotes his Soveraignty, and Dominion [The Lord] Salomon tells us, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdome; and [indeed] until a Soul understands something of the Soveraignty and Dominion of God over him, hee never comes to make a right use of Gods love, and goodness, for until the Soul comes to see, that God orders all things in Heaven and [Page 16] Earth, and that he is in the hands of the great God, to dispose of him as he will, and that he can destroy him, and cast him to Hell if hee pleaseth; he cannot finde any sweetness in the tenders of Grace in the Gospel, nor apply his Soul in reality to them; and therefore I finde that when the Prophets of God, of old time, brought Gods Message to the Sons of men, they usually spake to them as from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord; you have it sometimes twice in a verse, setting forth Gods right of Soveraignty over them to whom they delivered their Message; and this is that which is excee­ding needful to bee set upon the hearts of the Sons of men, when they come to hear Gods Word, or have any thing to doe in his Works; when the Soul considers Gods Soveraignty over him, it causes him to stand in awe, and fear be­fore him; and therefore by this you may try your selves, whether this fear of God be in you or no; Did the Lord ever shew himself to you, as the Soveraigne Lord? and make you to lye at his feet as dust and ashes? and as clay in the hands of the Potter? for if ever God have wrought this fear in your heart this was your frame, I know many have a notional knowledge of Gods Soveraignty, and are able to write Books of it; but are your hearts really affected with it, so as to lye low before the Lord in the apprehensions of it; I finde it hard in every action, to know this God to be the Soveraigne Lord of all, and that he ruleth in all things, and [Page 17] wee are to obey him in thought, word, and deed, and to fear continually before him. But,

2 There is Gods goodness, which is another thing wherein his glory appears, he is the Lord God, merciful, and gracious, and this follow­ing the former, much conduces to fear him, when the Soul considers, that the great God (that made the Heavens, and the Earth, and before whom all Nations are but as the drop of a Bucket) should offer tenders of Grace and Mercy, to be reconciled to such a poor sinfull Creature; this inclines the heart to hearken to him, and fear before him, knowing this, that he is the Lord that exerciseth loving kindness, judgement, and righteousness in the earth, Jerem. 9.24. and that he is good to all those that fear him, Psal. 34.9, 10, 11. this brings the heart over to God indeed, when Gods greatness and good­ness is displayed before the Soul together, this works up the heart in reality towards God; O how doth David admire Gods love, when he considers the great Works of God, in Psal. 8.3. When I consider the heavens, the works of thy fingers, the Moon, and the Stars which thou hast made, what is man that thou art mindful of him? and the Son of man that thou visitest him? and at vers. 9. O Lord! how excellent is thy name in all the earth. he could not but admire, and fear; and fear, and admire Gods great name: — But again,

3 Let us also consider Gods power, which much conduces in the hand of the Spirit, to [Page 18] work this fear of God, in our hearts, and there­fore you shall finde when God calls upon his people to hearken to him, hee useth such kinde of expressions as these, Thus saith the Lord, that made the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, that they cannot bee moved: And what a strong influence it hath, you may see in Jer., 12, 13. There is none like unto thee, Oh Lord, thou art great, and thy Name is great in might, Who would not Fear thee, thou King of Na­tions, the Lord is the true God, and the everlasting King, at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the Nations shall not be able to abide his indignation, he hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdome, and hath stretched forth the heavens by his discretion, hee maketh lightning with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. Very gloriously you see the Prophet sets forth the greatness of Gods power, when he comes to declare a message to the people from him.

So also the Prophet Isaiah in the 40. Chap. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. sets forth Gods Power, as he hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the Mountains in scales, and the Hills in a ballance; Behold the Nations before him, are but as the drop of a bucket, and as the small dust of the ballance, he taketh up the Isles as a very little thing, and all Nations before him are as nothing: And (if that bee not enough) he tells you, They are [Page 19] counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. So vers. 22. It is hee that sitteth upon the Circle of the earth, and the Inhabitants thereof are as grashoppers, that stretcheth out the Heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; That bring­eth Princes to nothing, and maketh the Judges of the earth, as vanity. Thus you see Gods Power which is another of his Attributes; and did but persons consider this, who would not fear and tremble before him.

Again, This fear of God is very much kept in the hearts of the children of God, by eying the Providences of God, and the Works of God (as it is in the description) there is a hand of God in all things that come to pass in the world: But oh, how many are there that live in the world like Atheists, not eying God at all, or else perhaps a little at morning and evening (I do not speak against this) but their fault is, they do not eye God continually, and therefore if they have got a little of the fear of God upon their hearts after prayer in the morning, they quickly lose it by going out into the world; and therefore it is of excellent use to keep the fear of God alive in the heart, to see God in every business wee are imployed in, with David, to set the Lord alwayes before us; and you may see in that 107. Psalm at large, how excellently the Provi­dences of God are set forth, relating to various conditions, to raise up the hearts of persons to fear him, and love him, and praise him: Oh then, what's the reason that Professors are found [Page 20] so light and vain in their conversations, but be­cause they do not eye God in his Providences, the fear of the Lord is not really in their hearts, and continually before their eyes: if it were, they durst not bee so light and vain in their spi­rits, as oft-times they are; and so also the great work of Redemption, is that which cau­seth souls indeed to fear God, as I might abun­dantly shew you; but I must hasten, and there­fore shall pass on to a

4 Thing in the description, which (further) relates to the manner how this fear of God is wrought in the heart, and that is by the consi­deration of the vast disproportion which is be­tween God and the Creature, this is that which tends much to the begetting of the fear of God in the heart, consider those expressions used by that Servant of the Lord, Abraham, in his drawing nigh to God, in Gen. 18.27. Be­hold! now I have [taken upon me] to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes; he did not look upon it as a small matter, to come and pray to God, and speak to God, as too many poor Creatures do, that come to God without that reverence of him in their hearts, and such a gesture in their bodies (both publickly and in their Families, and Closets) as becomes per­sons in their drawing nigh to God by prayer, and so Salomon presseth us to reverence, and fear, upon this account, Eccles. 5.2. Be not rash with thy mouth, nor let thy heart be hasty to utter any thing before God, for God is in heaven, and thou art [Page 21] upon earth, therefore let thy words be few; and also that fore-mentioned place, Isa. 40. sets forth the disproportion between God and the creature, Behold all Nations before him are but as the drop of a bucket, and as the small dust of the ballance, hee ta­keth up the Isles, as a very little thing: And there­fore if men, did but consider, what this great God is, they durst never walke proudly before him, nor speak proudly against him, but would even cast themselves upon the ground, as those of old did, when they spake to God. And oh! that the consideration of Gods greatness, and that vast disproportion that is between him & us, were more upon our hearts, that so we may fear before him continually, and so I shal come in the

Fifth place to speak to this fear of God, with respect to the nature of it, and the fruits and effects of it, which is set forth in the Des­cription by two things,

First, A thinking highly of God in all his Attributes.

Secondly, A having respect to all his Com­mandements.

1 This fear of God is that whereby the soul is made to think highly of God in all his Attributes, it brings a soul to thinke highly of Gods Name, which is his Attributes; see it in David, a man fearing, God, Psal. 111.9, 10. Holy and Reverent is his Name, and hee subjoyns, The fear of the Lord, &c.

2 This fear of God causes the soul to have respect to all Gods Commandements, the man [Page 22] that truly fears God, he trembleth at the word of God, hath God said it, it shall be done, saith the poor humble soul, what ever it bee, that God commands, though it bring never so much loss, or shame, or suffering upon mee, yet if the fear of God be in my heart, I shall do it: A soul that truly fears God, will endeavour to avoid in thought, word, or deed, what ever offends God, and dishonours God, as hee would avoid hell: And therefore Solomon tells us, The fear of the Lord is to depart from evill, Prov. 3.7. Yea to hate evill, Prov. 8.13. And therefore take a soul that hath the fear of God upon his heart, and hee looks upon it as a dreadful thing to sin against God, and to dishonour God in thought, word, or deed, and therefore as much as may bee, such a soul will avoid the occasions of sin; you may see it in Agur, in Prov. 30.8, 9. saith he, Give me neither poverty, nor riches; and why? because both those states were dange­rous temptations to sin against God, and the best way to avoid the sin, is to avoid the temptation: But alas! How many are there in this our day, that are bold and venterous upon temptations, that will rush in upon them without fear; How few are there that have this in their prayers to God, Lord give mee not riches, but on the con­trary, how do many run into multitude of bu­siness in the world, which so takes up their time, and hearts, that they are not fit to serve God in their Generation: Not considering that of our Saviour, How hardly shall they that have riches, [Page 23] enter into the Kingdome of Heaven? But the fear of God it teaches the soul to avoid the occasi­ons of sin, and to abstain from all appearances of evill, according to that of Paul, in 1 Thess. 5.22. And surely, if wee are to pray, Not to bee led into temptation, then wee are not to lead our selves into temptation; But first to seek the King­dome of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all these things shall be added unto you: And thus the Fear of God teaches to abstain from what God hath forbidden, and to do what God hath re­quired, to thinke highly of God in all his Attri­butes, and to have respect to all his Comman­dements.

And thus you have the Description opened, and proved, concerning the fear of God, I can­not come to the other duty of giving glory to his name, and therefore shall make some Ap­plication of what hath been spoken to our own souls.

Use. If it be so that the fear of God is one of those great Lessons God calls upon men to learn by his great Works in the latter dayes, Then let mee exhort, and beseech you all to learn this blessed Lesson of the Fear of God: It is surely a very desirable thing; It may bee many of you will take it in scorn to bee taught this, and bee ready to say, What, are wee yet to learn this? Let mee tell you, it is much to bee feared, That many that have made a long pro­fession of God, are yet void of this true filial fear of the Name of God; and therefore to [Page 24] help you a little in it, I shall give you but some Motives, and some Directions, and so con­clude.

Motive 1. Consider the excellency of the fear of God, it is Prov. 1.7. Psal. 111.10. the be­ginning of wisdome; and it is good for persons to observe a method and order in what they doe; whiles thou art void of this fear, thou art void of true spiritual wisdome; and therefore Job also telleth us, That the fear of the Lord, that is wisdome, Job 28. last v. And therefore you that are void of spiritual wisdome, and have not the fear of God imprinted upon your hearts, the first lesson you are to learn, is the fear of God, and as you would bee wise men, and women, take heed of light and vain spirits, for Solomon tells us, A fool is known by much laughter, Eccles. 7.6.

Motive 2. Consider that this fear of God, is that which will fit Saints for that glorious state God will bring them into; and by the signes of Christs coming it seems to bee nigh; that distress that is upon the Nations, speaks some­thing to it: Oh friends, wee are not fit for that familiarity, Saints shall then have with God if this fear of God be not upon our hearts. Notions of love will but lead to vanity, and lightness, without they bee ballanced by this fear, and therefore to fit, and prepare persons for Christs appearing, and that familiarity, wee shall have with him at his coming, this fear of God is absolutely necessary; and therefore [Page 25] those that profess to bee most inlightned in the truth of Christs appearing, and Kingdome, ought much to live in this fear; for you shall finde this is the use David makes of it in Psal. 2. Having treated of the Kingdome of Christ, and the subjection of the Nations to him, hee con­cludes with this, vers. 11. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoyce with trembling.

Motive 3. Consider, The Lord taketh plea­sure in them that fear him, Psal. 147.11. Gods de­light is in such a man, and hee reckons such a­mong his Jewels, Mal. 3.17, 18. So when God would triumph of a man, as hee did of his ser­vant Job, saying, There is none like him in all the earth, one that [Feareth God] and escheweth evill, Job 1.8. But on the contrary, God takes no­tice of light, and proud, and vain professors, they are not worthy of a name in his book by way of Approbation: And when that discerning time comes spoken of in Malachy 3.18. When God makes up his Jewels, then shall men discern between them that fear God, and those that fear him not; The fear of God, and the love of his Name, are the two great things, by which souls shall then be distinguish­ed; that soul that can trust God for his daily bread here, and for eternal life, and glory here­after, and the carnal Professor shall then, bee distinguished, each from other; and when Saints come to have a more discerning spirit, they shall see that none are rightly spirited for God, but those which have this Fear of God, [Page 26] and can look at Gods glory above all things; and the people of God shall be much known by this, that they are willing to forbear any thing that tends to their own advantage, when it may dishonour Gods Name, because they fear God, and love Gods Name; and I beleeve God will put such a difference between Ishmael and Isaac, and their children, between Professors and Pro­fessors, that they shall bee much discerned, and discovered by this very thing, the one of seek­ing alone Gods glory, and the advancement of his Name above all; and the other seeking the inriching themselves, and onely minding their own advancement in the earth, such as these, God will manifest his displeasure against; But hee taketh pleasure in them that fear him. — Again as a

4 Motive, To press you to this fear of God, consider the judgements threatned against those that fear him not; for let mee tell you, That notwithstanding all your outward Profession of the Name of God, yet if this fear of God, bee not in your hearts, you will not bee able to escape, the great judgements of the great God against those that fear him not, I will be a swift witness against them that fear not mee, saith the Lord, Mal. 3.5. But to this man will hee look even to him that trembles at his word, Isa. 66.2. And therefore as a

5 Motive, Consider the many precious pro­mises God hath made to them that fear him, They shall bee mine, saith the Lord, and when hee [Page 27] makes up his Jewels, he will remember those that fear him; Yea he hath his book of remembrance for such souls, hee will be sure not to forget them, Mal. 3.16, 17. And blessed is the man that fear­eth alwayes, Prov. 28.14. And you may finde David pressing to the fear of God upon this account, Psal. 34 9, 10. O fear the Lord, all yee his Saints, for there is no want to them that fear him, the young Lions shall lack and suffer hunger, but they that fear the Lord shall want no good thing.

And you may further note, That the great reward that will bee given at the last day, is promised unto those that have this fear: See it in Rev. 11.18. Hee will reward his servants the Pro­phets, and those that fear his Name, small and great; And it is for some singular goodness manifested to them that they are called upon to praise God, in Rev. 19.5. Praise our God all yee his servants, and those that fear him both small and great: And so God hath promised to hear the prayers, yea to fulfill the desires of them that fear him, Psal. 145.19. And are not these great priviled­ges, which are promised to those that fear God? And therefore let all these Motives bee usefull to work the fear of God where it is not, and to increase it where it is.

Quest. But perhaps some may say, This fear of God is an excellent thing, but how shall wee come by it, wee are not able to plant this plant in our owne souls.

Answ. It is true, This fear of God is a flower that doth not grow in Natures garden; but it [Page 28] is a precious effect of the Spirit of Christ in the heart, as I shewed you in the Description, but let mee say this to you, That since the fear of God is so excellent a thing, take heed that you do not sleight it, that you are not like those that in Prov. 1.29. hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord. But if you do really desire to fear God, to help you forward in it, I shall give you somewhat by way of Direction, which if you observe, and practise, may bee useful by Gods blessing to work this fear in your hearts.

Direct. 1. Then bee much in the considera­tion of Gods Sovereignty, and power over thee, and his great Works of Creation and Redemption, and Preservation, what a God hee is with whom you have to do, and the vast dis­proportion that is between you and him; con­sider his absolute Power, and Authority over you, how you are in his hands, who can do with you what he pleases; and as soon as thou hast had any vain thought, or spoke any vain word, or done any sinfull action, hee can, if he pleases, send thee immediately to Hell, without giving thee leave for one moment longer to breathe in the world; and therefore consider this, and this may cause you to stand in awe of him, and to fear to offend him. But again,

Direct. 2. That which will further conduce to the working of this fear is the serious con­sideration of Gods goodness, For there is mercy with him that he may be feared, Psal. 130.4. And in­deed [Page 29] the soul cannot have a true filial fear with­out this, but when the soul seeth the great God in whose hands he is, to invite him to be recon­ciled to him, and tendring grace to his soul, promising him forgiveness if hee will but fear him, this melts the heart. Oh! to consider that the great God of Heaven and Earth, should offer to give himself to poor souls with all his fulness for a supply of their wants, if they will but fear him; surely this, if beleeved, and considered, will cause you to love God, and serve God, and fear to offend this God, which is so good and gracious unto you.

Direct. 3. Again, If thou wouldest have the fear of God wrought in thy heart, Go to the Word of God, bee much in reading, and hear­ing, and meditating of it, that will shew you your duty, and the many arguments to it; and possibly hereby God may work this fear.

Direct. 4. Be also much in the observation of Gods hand of Providence abroad, and at home, labour to eye God in every dispensation that befalls our selves or others; see God in mercies, and eye God in afflictions when his chastising hand is upon us, for were our hearts in such a frame, as to eye God continually, it would much work, and increase this fear; But then,

Direct. 5. In the next place, go to God for this fear, cry to him, and pray to him to work, and increase this holy fear; This was Davids prayer, Psal. 86.11. Unite my heart to fear thy Name: And therefore all you that have any bud­dings [Page 30] of the Spirit in you, in any measure make it your continual request to God, to put this fear in your hearts, and therefore be diligent in the use of all these means, in order to the begetting and increasing of this fear, and I shall conclude with that of Salomon, Prov. 2.4, 5. If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for bid trea­sures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and finde the knowledge of God.

Quest. But perhaps some tender hearts that have the fear of God, in truth, may bee apt to say, I much question, whither yet I have the fear of God in my heart in truth?

Answ. Now, as this question may proceed from some tender hearts, and conscientious souls that have the fear of God in them, I would apply that word in Nehemiah, which I have found much comfort in, to my own soul, and would commend it unto you, it is in the first of Nehem. the last verse, Let now thy ear be at­tentive unto thy Servant, that [desires] to fear thy name; Nehemiah a good man, yet when hee comes before the Lord, he durst not own that he feared him, but his desires was that he might fear him; and therefore if thou canst not take the comfort of such Promises as are made to those that fear the Lord, yet if thou hast desire in thy soul to fear him, and pressest after this fear of God, thou maist take comfort in the saying of this good man Nehemiah, who was one that had a desire to fear Gods name.

But let none deceive himself with this, for [Page 31] every common Protestant will say that hee de­sires to fear God; but if you desire it in truth, your souls will bee much in seeking to God for it, and endeavouring after it, and to such souls, I would commend that word in Jer. 32.40. I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from mee; which promise belongs not to the Jews onely, but to the Gentiles also, who are fellow heirs with them, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel, Eph. 3.6. and therefore apply this promise to thy soul: It may bee thou hast a light vain spirit, and art apt to forget what thou hearest, and to turn aside and depart from God; but God hath pro­mised to put his fear into the hearts of his people; and then (saith hee) They shall never de­part from mee.

The fear of God, it will keep a soul from a backsliding spirit, and therefore if thou wouldest have this fear, look upon this promise, and pray over it, as David did upon a word of God, as you may see, 1 Chron. 17.25. For thou, Oh my God, hast told thy servant, that thou wilt build him an house, therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee. And if wee would have our hearts brought into a praying frame, wee must fasten upon the promises, and see what promises God hath made, that suit our condition, and plead the promise with him; and when you finde free promises made through Christ with­out any worth on merit in the creature.

Oh come to God by faith in those promises, [Page 32] and plead them with God; ask God what his wayes are, wherein hee will make good his promises, and wait upon him therein, and par­ticularly as to the matter in hand concerning the feare of God, say as David did in another case, Lord thou hast promised to put thy fear into my heart, and therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray unto thee; Good Lord, let it bee accord­ing to thy word: Wilt thou put thy fear in my heart, that I may never depart from thee?

And now let mee beseech you, to receive this Exhortation, as in the fear of God; and apply your hearts with all your might, to learn this great Gospel Lesson of the Feare of God. Consider that Promise and Prophesie in Hosea 3. last. where it is said of a people, They shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter dayes: And oh that the fear of the Lord may rest up­on every heart that hears before him this day: Surely his judgements call upon us to fear him, and his mercies call upon us to fear him, 1 Sam. 12.24. Onely fear the Lord and serve him, in truth, and with a perfect heart, for consider how great things hee hath done for you.

Oh that you might now go away with seri­ous spirits, weighty spirits (for God weigheth the spirits) that you may bee no more light, and vain, but may make this your first prayer to God, how you may most honour God, and bring glory to him in your Generation.

But so much for this time.

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