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impartial judgment of God upon men according to their works. This also is manifest from the text mentioned before: "And give to every man according to his ways," or works, " that they may fear thee." This is also manifest by that passage of Peter; "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear," 1 Pet. i. 17. He that hath godly conviction of this, will fear God, will fear before him; by which fear their hearts are poised, and works directed with trembling, according to the will of God.
Thus you see what a weighty and great grace this grace of the holy fear of God is, and how all the graces of the Holy Ghost yield mutually their help and strength to the nourishment and life of it; and also how it flows from them all, and hath a dependance upon every one of them, for its due working in the heart of him that hath it. And thus much to show you from whence it flows.
THE EFFECTS OF GODLY FEAR.
Having showed you what godly fear flows from, I come now to show you what proceeds or flows from this godly fear of God, when it is seated in the heart of man.
1. There flows from this godly fear, a devout reverence of God. David says, " God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints," Psa. lxxxix. 7. God, as I have already showed you, is the proper object of godly fear; it is his person and majesty that this fear always causeth the eye of the soul to be upon. "Behold," said David, "as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us," Psa. cxxiii. 2.
Nothing aweth the soul that feareth God so much as doth the glorious majesty of God. His person is above all things feared by them; " I fear God," said Joseph, Gen. xlii. 18; that is, more than any other; I stand in awe of him; he is my dread, he is my fear; I do all my actions as in his presence, as in his sight; I reverence his holy and glorious majesty, doing all things as with fear and trembling before him.
This fear also makes them have a very great reverence of his word; for that also, I told you, was the rule of their fear. " Princes," said David, "have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word," Psa. cxix. 161.
From this grace of fear, therefore, flows reverence of the words of God. Of all laws, that man feareth the word; and no law that is not agreeing therewith.
There flows from this godly fear tenderness of God's glory. This fear, I say, will cause a man to afflict his soul, when he seeth that by professors dishonour is brought to the name of God, and to his word. "Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?" said Jeremiah, "for to thee doth it appertain," Jer. x. 1. He speaks it as being affected with that dishonour, that by the body of the Jews was continually brought to his name, his word, and ways; he also speaks it of a hearty wish that they once would be otherwise minded. The same saying, in effect, hath also John in the Revelation; "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?" Rev. xv. 4; clearly concluding, that godly fear produceth a godly tenderness of God's glory in the world, for that appertaineth unto him: that is, it is due unto him, it is a debt which we owe unto him. "Give unto the Lord," said David, "the glory due unto his name," Psa. xxix. 2. Now, if there be begotten in the heart of the godly, by this grace of fear, a godly tenderness of the glory of God, then it follows, of consequence, that where those that have this fear of God, do see his glory diminished by the wickedness of the children of men, there they are grieved and deeply distressed. "Rivers of waters," said David, " run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law," Psa. cxix. 136. Let me give you for this these following instances.
How was David provoked when Goliath defied the God of Israel! 1 Sam. xvii. 45, 46. Also, when others reproached God, he tells us that such reproach was even as a sword in his bones, Psa. xlii. 10. David, also, for the love that he had to the glory of God's word, ran the hazard and reproach of all the mighty people, Psa. lxxxix. 50. How was Hezekiah afflicted when Rabshakah railed upon his God! Isa. xxxvii. 3, 4. How tender of the glory of God were Eli, Daniel, and the three children, in their day! Eli died with fear and trembling of heart when he heard that the ark of God was taken, 1 Sam. iv. 18. Daniel ran the danger of the lions' mouths, for the tender love that he had to the word and worship of God, Dan. vi. 10—16. The three children ran the hazard of a burning fiery furnace, rather than they would dare to dishonour the way of their God, Dan. iii. 13—30.
This, therefore, is one of the fruits of this godly fear, namely, a reverence of his name, and tenderness of his glory.
2. There flows from this godly fear, watchfulness: as it is said of Solomon's servants, they watched about his bed because of fear in the night, Sol. Song, iii. 1; so it may be said of those that have this godly fear, it makes them a watchful people.
It makes them watch their hearts, and take heed to keep them with all diligence, lest they should, by one or another of its sleights, lead them to do that which in itself is wicked.
It makes them watch, lest some temptation from hell should enter into their heart to the destroying of them.
It makes them watch their mouths, and keep them also, sometimes as with a bit and bridle, that they offend not with their tongue, knowing that the tongue is apt, being an evil member, soon to catch the fire of hell, to the defiling of the whole body, James iii. 2—10.
It makes them watch over their ways, look well to their goings, and to make strait paths for their feet, Psa. xxxix. 1; Heb. xii. 13.
Thus this godly fear puts the soul upon its watch, lest from the heart within, or from the devil without, or from the world, or some other temptation, something should surprise, and overtake the child of God, to defile him, or to cause him to defile the ways of God, and so offend the saints, open the mouths of men, and cause the enemy to speak reproachfully of religion.
3. There flows from this fear a holy provocation to a reverential converse with saints in their religious and godly assemblies, for their further progress in the faith and way of holiness. "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another:" spake, that is of God, and his holy and glorious name, kingdom, and works, for their mutual edification. "And a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name," Mal. iii. 16.
The fear of the Lord in the heart, provoketh to this in all its acts, not only of necessity, but of nature; it is the natural effect of this godly fear, to exercise the church in the contemplation of God, together and apart. All fear, good and bad, hath a natural propensity in it to incline the heart to contemplate the object of fear, and though a man should labour to take off his thoughts from the object of his fear; whether that object were men, hell, devils, etc.,