“God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” -Psalm 67:7
There flows from this grace of fear, hope in the mercy of God. “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Ps. 147:11). The latter part of the text is an explanation of the former; as if the Psalmist had said, Those are the men that fear the Lord, even those that hope in His mercy; for true fear produces hope in God’s mercy. And it is further manifest thus: Fear, true fear of God inclines the heart to a serious inquiry after that way of salvation which God Himself has prescribed; now the way that God has appointed, by which the sinner is to obtain the salvation of his soul, is His mercy as set forth in the Word; and godly fear has special regard to the Word. To this way, therefore, the sinner with this godly fear submits his soul, rolls himself upon it, and so is delivered from that death into which others, for want of this fear of God, do headlong fall. It is the nature of godly fear to be very much putting the soul upon the inquiry which is, and which is not the thing approved of God, and accordingly to embrace it, or shun it. Now this fear, having put the soul upon a strict and serious inquiry after the way of salvation, at last it finds it to be by the mercy of God in Christ; therefore this fear puts the soul upon hoping also in Him for eternal life and blessedness; by which hope he not only secures his soul, but becomes a person in whom God delights. “The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy”.
About John Bunyan:
John Bunyan (1628-1688) is probably the most famous of the English Puritans. He is well-known for his The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), which has gone through more than 1,300 editions and has appeared in more than 200 languages. It is regarded as the seventeenth century’s most popular work of prose fiction, and the most influential work of any Puritan on either continent. Bunyan was largely self-taught and did not know Greek or Hebrew, but his skill in preaching to the common man was so well known that such an esteemed theologian as John Owen said of him: “If I could possess the tinker’s abilities to grip men’s hearts, I would gladly give in exchange all my learning.” Bunyan was imprisoned several times for his itinerant preaching, and though this brought much hardship to his family, it was in prison where some of his most notable works came to fruition. This month’s readings are from Bunyan’s A Treatise of the Fear of God (1679).
*Excerpted from Daily Readings – The Puritans (Christian Heritage, 2012).
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