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Summa Theologica by Aquinas

Whether fear is a gift of the Holy Ghost?

Objection 1: It would seem that fear is not a gift of the Holy Ghost. For no gift of the Holy Ghost is opposed to a virtue, which is also from the Holy Ghost; else the Holy Ghost would be in opposition to Himself. Now fear is opposed to hope, which is a virtue. Therefore fear is not a gift of the Holy Ghost.

Objection 2: Further, it is proper to a theological virtue to have God for its object. But fear has God for its object, in so far as God is feared. Therefore fear is not a gift, but a theological virtue.

Objection 3: Further, fear arises from love. But love is reckoned a theological virtue. Therefore fear also is a theological virtue, being connected with the same matter, as it were.

Objection 4: Further, Gregory says (Moral. ii, 49) that |fear is bestowed as a remedy against pride.| But the virtue of humility is opposed to pride. Therefore again, fear is a kind of virtue.

Objection 5: Further, the gifts are more perfect than the virtues, since they are bestowed in support of the virtues as Gregory says (Moral. ii, 49). Now hope is more perfect than fear, since hope regards good, while fear regards evil. Since, then, hope is a virtue, it should not be said that fear is a gift.

On the contrary, The fear of the Lord is numbered among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost (Is.11:3).

I answer that, Fear is of several kinds, as stated above (A). Now it is not |human fear,| according to Augustine (De Gratia et Lib. Arb. xviii), |that is a gift of God| -- -for it was by this fear that Peter denied Christ -- -but that fear of which it was said (Mat.10:28): |Fear Him that can destroy both soul and body into hell.|

Again servile fear is not to be reckoned among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, though it is from Him, because according to Augustine (De Nat. et Grat. lvii) it is compatible with the will to sin: whereas the gifts of the Holy Ghost are incompatible with the will to sin, as they are inseparable from charity, as stated above (FS, Q, A).

It follows, therefore, that the fear of God, which is numbered among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, is filial or chaste fear. For it was stated above (FS, Q, AA,3) that the gifts of the Holy Ghost are certain habitual perfections of the soul's powers, whereby these are rendered amenable to the motion of the Holy Ghost, just as, by the moral virtues, the appetitive powers are rendered amenable to the motion of reason. Now for a thing to be amenable to the motion of a certain mover, the first condition required is that it be a non-resistant subject of that mover, because resistance of the movable subject to the mover hinders the movement. This is what filial or chaste fear does, since thereby we revere God and avoid separating ourselves from Him. Hence, according to Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4) filial fear holds the first place, as it were, among the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in the ascending order, and the last place, in the descending order.

Reply to Objection 1: Filial fear is not opposed to the virtue of hope: since thereby we fear, not that we may fail of what we hope to obtain by God's help, but lest we withdraw ourselves from this help. Wherefore filial fear and hope cling together, and perfect one another.

Reply to Objection 2: The proper and principal object of fear is the evil shunned, and in this way, as stated above (A), God cannot be an object of fear. Yet He is, in this way, the object of hope and the other theological virtues, since, by the virtue of hope, we trust in God's help, not only to obtain any other goods, but, chiefly, to obtain God Himself, as the principal good. The same evidently applies to the other theological virtues.

Reply to Objection 3: From the fact that love is the origin of fear, it does not follow that the fear of God is not a distinct habit from charity which is the love of God, since love is the origin of all the emotions, and yet we are perfected by different habits in respect of different emotions. Yet love is more of a virtue than fear is, because love regards good, to which virtue is principally directed by reason of its own nature, as was shown above (FS, Q, AA,4); for which reason hope is also reckoned as a virtue; whereas fear principally regards evil, the avoidance of which it denotes, wherefore it is something less than a theological virtue.

Reply to Objection 4: According to Ecclus.10:14, |the beginning of the pride of man is to fall off from God,| that is to refuse submission to God, and this is opposed to filial fear, which reveres God. Thus fear cuts off the source of pride for which reason it is bestowed as a remedy against pride. Yet it does not follow that it is the same as the virtue of humility, but that it is its origin. For the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the origin of the intellectual and moral virtues, as stated above (FS, Q, A), while the theological virtues are the origin of the gifts, as stated above (FS, Q, A, ad 3).

This suffices for the Reply to the Fifth Objection.

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