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Article Nine

Whether Fear is a Gift of the Holy Spirit

We proceed to the ninth article thus:

1. It seems that fear is not a gift of the Holy Spirit. No gift of the Holy Spirit is opposed to a virtue, which is also from the Holy Spirit, since otherwise the Holy Spirit would be opposed to itself. But fear is opposed to hope, which is a virtue. It follows that fear is not a gift of the Holy Spirit.

2. Again, it is the property of a theological virtue that it has God as its object. Now fear has God as its object, in so far as it is God that is feared. Fear is therefore a theological virtue, not a gift.

3. Again, fear is the result of love. Now love is reckoned as a theological virtue. Fear is therefore a theological virtue also, since it pertains to the same thing.

4. Again, Gregory says that “fear is given as a protection from pride” (2 Moral. 26). Now the virtue of humility is opposed to pride. Hence fear is comprehended under a virtue.

5. Again, the gifts are more perfect than the virtues, since they are given in order to support the virtues, as Gregory says (2 Moral., ibid.). Now hope is a virtue, and it is more perfect than fear, since hope looks to what is good while fear looks to what is evil. Hence it should not be said that fear is a gift.

On the other hand: the fear of the Lord is numbered with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in Isa., ch. 11.

I answer: there are many kinds of fear, as we said in Art. 2. But as Augustine says, “human fear is not a gift of God” (De Grat. et Lib. Arb. 18). For this is the fear which caused Peter to deny Christ, whereas the fear which is a gift of God is that of 323which it is said in Matt. 10:28: “but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Neither is servile fear to be numbered with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, even though it may be due to the Holy Spirit. For servile fear can be combined with the will to sin, as Augustine says (De Nat. et Grat. 57), whereas gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot be combined with the will to sin, since they are not without charity, as we said in 12ae, Q. 68, Art. 5. It remains, therefore, that the fear of God which is numbered with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is filial fear, or chaste fear.

In 12ae, Q. 68, Arts. 1 and 3, we said that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are habitual perfections of the powers of the soul, in consequence of which these powers can be readily moved by the Holy Spirit, just as its appetitive powers can be readily moved by reason in consequence of the moral virtues. Now the first thing that is necessary if anything is to be readily moved by any mover is that it should be subject to the mover, and not repelled by it, since antipathy towards the mover on the part of the thing moved impedes the movement. This is achieved by filial or chaste fear, by which we reverence God and fear to be separated from him. Filial fear thus holds the first place in the ascending order of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the last place in their descending order, as Augustine says in 1 Sermo Domini in monte, cap. 4.

On the first point: filial fear is not opposed to the virtue of hope. For by filial fear we do not fear lest we should fail in that which we hope to obtain through divine help, but fear lest we should separate ourselves from this help. Filial fear and hope thus hold to one another, and perfect one another.

On the second point: the proper and principal object of fear is the evil which one fears. God cannot be the object of fear in this way, as we said in the first article. In this way he is the object of hope, and of the other theological virtues also. For by the virtue of hope we depend on God’s help not only to obtain all other good things, but to obtain God himself as the principal good. The same is true of the other theological virtues.

On the third point: although love is the principle from which fear arises, it does not follow that fear of God is not a habit distinct from charity, which is love of God. Love is the principle of all affections, but we are nevertheless perfected in different affections by different habits. Love has more of the nature of a virtue than has fear. For it is plain from what we said in Pt. I, Q. 60, Arts. 3 and 4, that love looks to the good, to which 324virtue is principally ordained by its own nature. Hope is reckoned as a virtue for this same reason. Fear, on the other hand, looks principally to what is evil, and implies flight from it. It is therefore something less than a theological virtue.

On the fourth point: as it is said in Ecclesiasticus 10:12: “the beginning of man’s pride is to stand apart from God,” that is, to refuse to submit to God. This is opposed to filial fear, which reverences God, and is given as a protection from pride because it excludes the beginning of pride. Yet it does not follow that fear is the same as the virtue of humility, but rather that it is the beginning of this virtue. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are indeed the beginnings of the intellectual and moral virtues, as we said in 12ae, Q. 68, Arts. 5 and 8. But the theological virtues are the beginnings of the gifts, as we said in 12ae, Q. 69, Art. 4, ad 3.

From this the answer to the fifth point is clear.

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