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Summa Theologica by Aquinas

Whether servile fear remains with charity?

Objection 1: It would seem that servile fear does not remain with charity. For Augustine says (In prim. canon. Joan. Tract. ix) that |when charity takes up its abode, it drives away fear which had prepared a place for it.|

Objection 2: Further, |The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, Who is given to us| (Rom.5:5). Now |where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty| (2 Cor.3:17). Since then freedom excludes servitude, it seems that servile fear is driven away when charity comes.

Objection 3: Further, servile fear is caused by self-love, in so far as punishment diminishes one's own good. Now love of God drives away self-love, for it makes us despise ourselves: thus Augustine testifies (De Civ. Dei xiv, 28) that |the love of God unto the contempt of self builds up the city of God.| Therefore it seems that servile fear is driven out when charity comes.

On the contrary, Servile fear is a gift of the Holy Ghost, as stated above (A). Now the gifts of the Holy Ghost are not forfeited through the advent of charity, whereby the Holy Ghost dwells in us. Therefore servile fear is not driven out when charity comes.

I answer that, Servile fear proceeds from self-love, because it is fear of punishment which is detrimental to one's own good. Hence the fear of punishment is consistent with charity, in the same way as self-love is: because it comes to the same that a man love his own good and that he fear to be deprived of it.

Now self-love may stand in a threefold relationship to charity. In one way it is contrary to charity, when a man places his end in the love of his own good. In another way it is included in charity, when a man loves himself for the sake of God and in God. In a third way, it is indeed distinct from charity, but is not contrary thereto, as when a man loves himself from the point of view of his own good, yet not so as to place his end in this his own good: even as one may have another special love for one's neighbor, besides the love of charity which is founded on God, when we love him by reason of usefulness, consanguinity, or some other human consideration, which, however, is referable to charity.

Accordingly fear of punishment is, in one way, included in charity, because separation from God is a punishment, which charity shuns exceedingly; so that this belongs to chaste fear. In another way, it is contrary to charity, when a man shrinks from the punishment that is opposed to his natural good, as being the principal evil in opposition to the good which he loves as an end; and in this way fear of punishment is not consistent with charity. In another way fear of punishment is indeed substantially distinct from chaste fear, when, to wit, a man fears a penal evil, not because it separates him from God, but because it is hurtful to his own good, and yet he does not place his end in this good, so that neither does he dread this evil as being the principal evil. Such fear of punishment is consistent with charity; but it is not called servile, except when punishment is dreaded as a principal evil, as explained above (AA,4). Hence fear considered as servile, does not remain with charity, but the substance of servile fear can remain with charity, even as self-love can remain with charity.

Reply to Objection 1: Augustine is speaking of fear considered as servile: and such is the sense of the two other objections.

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