Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.2

SERM. XXXII.] OR REMEDIES AGAINST FEAR. 33 calmness under all the gloomy and painful events of pro vidence. Without this firmness of spirit you can never practise what Christ commands his disciples, and that is, " to possess their souls in patience in the hour of their distress," Luke xxi. 19. But we may keep up the go- vernment of ourselves by a holy fortitude and calm sub- mission to the will of God. This will make sorrows lighter, and the heaviest afflictions become more tole- rable. Whereas, if we give a loose to fear, it throws the whole frame of nature into a tumultuous hurry and con- fusion, it takes away the use of prudence to contrive the proper means for our escape, it cuts the sinews of our most active powers, and enfeeblesour whole nature, so that we become an easy prey to everyadversary. The more we are affrighted, the less able are we to defend ourselves. Fear is a dreadful bondage of the soul, and it holds the man in chains: Therefore in the test just now cited, the spirit of fear is ,called a spirit of bondage. It, is this that brings the soul down to taste the bitterness, and to feel the smart ofthose very evils which affright us at-a distance, and which perhaps never comenear us. Those very sufferings which are prevented by the mercyof God; we endure them in'our thoughts; and feel the pain of them by an indulgence ofan excessive fear. We 'suffer an affliction once, ifwe are overwhelmed with the terror of it: And if at last it does really overtake us, we double the suffering, and make the pain the longer. ,Oftentimes in cases of bodily distempers, the fear itself brings the disease, and aggravates all the symptoms. If we could read the records of thegrave, we should' find that many a person has been oppressed, and sunk down to death, by the excessive fear of dying. The last remedy of fear which I shall mention, is this, suppose the worst that can come, and be calmly prepared for it : This will be a mighty relief against the tyranny of our fears. You are afraid of losing your honour among men, afraid to bear the scourge of their tongues and bitter re- proaches : But think with yourselves, when slander. and falsehood have done their worst, it is but the wind of the breath of man, and this cannot huit your best interest; VOL. II. D