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HAPPY IS THE MAN, THAT FEAR
ETH ALWAYS: But he that hardenetb his heart, fall fall into mischief.
L L know, that a large part of the book of Proverbs consists of sentences unconnected, or ob
servations and maxims independent on each other. Where that is the case, little light is afforded by the coherence.
Serm. Nevertheless I shall read the verse immeXVIII. diatly preceding. And if any connexion was nintended,
intended, possibly we may perceive it, at left
14. He that coveretb bis hins, shall not profper : but whoso confefsetb and forsaketh them, shall have mercie. Happy is the man, that feareth always : but be that bardenetb bis beart, Mall
fall into mischief. In discoursing on this text
1. I shall describe the fear here recom
mended. II. I would Thew the happinesse of him,
who feareth always. II. I fhall endeavot to Thew, how this
fear conduces to a man's happinesse. IV: After which I intend to mention some remarks and observations
this subject, and conclude.
1. In the first place I should describe the
fear, here recommended : or Thew, what
is meant by fearing always. There is a good counsel of Solomon in the twenty third chapter of this book: Let
not thy heart envy finers : but be thou in the SERM.
XVIII. fear of the Lord all the day long. This is our duty and interest.
Whatever advantages Pr. xxii. fome may gain by unrighteousnesse, we 17. should never be thereby induced to imitate their ways : but should still persevere in the service of God, and the way of virtae, which in time will be rewarded.
But it does not appear very likely, that this is what is here particularly intended by the Wife Man. The fear, here spoken of, seems to be apprehensiveneffe, diffidence, with the fruits thereof, care, caution, and circumspection: as opposite to security, inconsideration, confidence and prefumption. In this text is meant a temper of mind, which is often recommended by the Wise Man in other words. The fimple believeth ... xiv. every word: but the prudent man looketh well 15. to his goings. And, Keep thy heart with all ...in. 23. diligence : for out of it are the issues of life... Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look strait before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy paths be eftablished.
This property, of fearing always, may be expedient and useful in a variety of occa
:. 25. 26.
Serm. fions: in the things of this present life, and XVIII. in the great concerns of our salvation.
It would undoubtedly be of bad confequence, with regard to the affairs and bugnefse of this world, for men to be void of thought and consideration : to presume upon successe, and depend upon good treatment, and honest dealings from all men; and relye upon the kind and faithful assistances of friends, and servants, and others with whom we may be concerned, without any previous trial or examination.
And it must be expedient and useful for men, to be so far apprehensive of dangers and accidents, so sensible of the changes and viciffitudes that attend all earthly things, and so far aware of the unskilfulnesse, unfaithfulnesse, art and subtlety, of other men, as Thall induce them to take care of their own affairs themselves, and use a prudent caution and circumspection.
A like temper may be very useful in the things of religion. And to this the words of Solomon may be applied, if they are not to be directly interpreted in this sense.
Indeed there is a fearfulnesle, and timorousnefse of mind, which religion condemns :
which is mean, and unreasonable, groundless SERM.
But there is a fear and apprehension,