James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 28:14 - 28:14

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James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 28:14 - 28:14

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‘Happy is the man that feareth alway.’ ‘Perfect love casteth out fear.’

Pro_28:14 (with 1Jn_4:18).

Fear has a place in the Gospel, may we but find it. The object of fear may be either a thing or a person.

I. We fear a thing which, being possible, is also undesirable or dreadful.—We do not fear that which is impossible; we do not fear that which is pleasant or neutral. Our Prayer Book, commenting in the Catechism upon the Lord’s Prayer, bids us call three things evil, not pain, not sickness, not loss, not bereavement, not even natural death, but just these only: (1) sin and wickedness; (2) our ghostly enemy; (3) everlasting death. These three things then are the proper objects of Gospel fear.

II. The fear of God as a Person, even the dread of God as a Person, is essentially of a high order.—To feel that there is One above me, a living Being, to Whom I am accountable, if it be but as my Judge, to Whom I am something, if it be but as a malefactor and a victim—there is something elevating in the very conception. But this, if it stop here, is the religion of nature, of fallen nature, of the thing made and corrupted crouching beneath the hand of its maker. This mere dread, though it is a higher thing than indifference, is no part of the Gospel. From this kind of fear the convinced man, if he yields himself to Christ’s teaching, will pass on into a higher.

Dean Vaughan.