Right Fear defined in Pilgrim's Progress
Hope. I do believe as you say, that fear tends much to men's good, and to make them right, at their beginning, to go on pilgrimage.
Chr. Without all doubt it doth, if it be right; for so says the Word, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'' "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." Psalm 111:10
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Proverbs 9:10
Hope. How will you describe right fear?
Chr. True, or right fear, is discovered by three things:
1. By its rise. It is caused by saving convictions for sin.
2. It drives the soul to lay fast hold of Christ for salvation.
3. It begets and continues in the soul a great reverence of God, His Word, and ways; keeping it tender, and making it afraid to turn from them, to the right hand or to the left; to anything that may dishonour God, break its peace, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak reproachfully
CHR. ... let us return to our matter.
Now, the ignorant know not that such conviction as tend to put them in fear, are for their good, and therefore they seek to stifle them.
HOPE. How do they seek to stifle them?
1. They think that those fears are wrought by the devil, (though indeed they are wrought of God,) and thinking so, they resist them, as things that directly tend to their overthrow.
2. They also think that these fears tend to the spoiling of their faith; when, alas for them, poor men that they are, they have none at all; and therefore they harden their hearts against them.
3. They presume they ought not to fear, and therefore, in despite of them, wax presumptuously confident.
4. They see that those fears tend to take away from them their pitiful old self- holiness, and therefore they resist them with all their might.
Pilgrim's Progress The Tenth Stage end