365 days with Newton

16 AUGUST (PREACHED 16 AUGUST 1767)

The fear of man

‘The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.’ Proverbs 29:25
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Proverbs 29:1–27

All opposition to the ways and people of God are originally from the devil. To this purpose he bestirs himself more or less as he is permitted so soon as a soul begins to seek salvation by Jesus. Many can witness what they have suffered from his suggestions because they would no longer live in his service. Some are more harassed in this way by his own immediate influence. Against others, or against the same person at other times, he employs his great instrument—the world—and with but too much success, because the fear of man is a principle deeply rooted in our human nature. We are departed from God and are naturally prone to serve, love, trust and fear the creature more than the Creator. The heart of man is so at enmity against God, that whoever will be the Lord’s servant, will on that account stand exposed to the resentment and displeasure of men.
The fear of man bringeth a snare. This hurries many on in a course of sin. It is not so much for the pleasure they find, as that they are influenced by others. They depend upon their favour, or are afraid of their frown. This keeps many from confessing the truth, who are convinced of it in their hearts (as in John 12). This draws many away from the people of God who had for a season joined them. They are afraid of their anger, afraid of their reviling. If it cannot be maintained without breaking the peace of their families, endangering their worldly interest, or exposing them to suffer, they will give it up.
A snare. It works secretly and gradually—leads to a train of vain reasoning. People do not give up all at once, but, by endeavouring to keep fair with God and the world together, they grow worse and worse. Therefore take heed of beginnings. Every compliance will lead you farther.
FOR MEDITATION:
When any turn from Zion’s way,
What anguish has that question stirred,
(Alas! what numbers do!)
If I will also go?
Methinks I hear my Saviour say,
Yet, LORD, relying on thy word,
‘Wilt thou forsake me too?’
I humbly answer, No!

SERMON: PROVERBS 29:25 [1/2]

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