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Article Ten

Whether Fear Diminishes as Charity Increases

We proceed to the tenth article thus:

1. It seems that fear diminishes as charity increases. For Augustine says: “the more charity increases, the more fear decreases” (Tract. 9 in Joan.).

2. Again, fear diminishes as hope increases. Now it was said in Q. 17, Art. 8, that hope increases as charity increases. It follows that fear diminishes as charity increases.

3. Again, love implies union, and fear implies separation. Now separation diminishes as union increases. It follows that fear diminishes as the love of charity increases.

On the other hand: Augustine says: “the fear of God is not only the beginning of the wisdom whereby one loves God above all things and one’s neighbour as oneself, but perfects it” (83 Quaest. Evang. Q. 36).

I answer: as we said in Arts. 2 and 4, there are two kinds of fear of God. There is the filial fear by which one fears to offend a father, or to be separated from him. There is also the servile fear by which one fears punishment. Filial fear is bound to increase as charity increases, as an effect increases along with its cause. For the more one loves someone, the more does one fear lest one should offend him, or be separated from him. The servility of servile fear is entirely removed by the advent of charity. Yet the substance of the fear of punishment remains, as we said in Art. 6. This last is diminished as charity increases, 325most of all in regard to its act. For the more one loves God, the less does one fear punishment: in the first place because one is the less concerned about one’s own good, to which punishment is opposed; secondly because one is the more confident of one’s reward the more firmly one adheres to God, and consequently has less fear of punishment.

On the first point: Augustine is speaking of the fear of punishment.

On the second point: it is the fear of punishment that decreases as hope increases. Filial fear increases as hope increases, since the more certainly one expects to obtain some good thing through the help of another, the more does one fear lest one should offend the other, or be separated from him.

On the third point: filial fear does not imply separation from God. Rather does it imply submission to God, and fears separation from submission to him. It implies separation in the sense that it does not presume to be equal with God, but submits to him. Separation in this sense is also found in charity, since charity loves God more than itself and above all things. Hence the reverence of fear does not diminish as the love of charity increases, but increases together with it.

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