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Chapter 39.—The Spirit of Fear a Great Gift of God.

The apostle also says to Timothy, “For God hath not given to us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”31723172     2 Tim. i. 7. Now in respect of this passage of the apostle, we must be on our guard against supposing that we have not received the spirit of the fear of God, which is undoubtedly a great gift of God, and concerning which the prophet Isaiah says, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon thee, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the spirit of the fear of the Lord.”31733173     Isa. xi. 2. It is not the fear with which Peter denied Christ that we have received the spirit of, but that fear concerning which Christ Himself says, “Fear Him who hath power to destroy both soul and body in hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him.”31743174     Luke xii. 5. This, indeed, He said, lest we should deny Him from the same fear which shook Peter; for such cowardice he plainly wished to be removed from us when He, in the preceding passage, said, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.”31753175     Luke xii. 4. It is not of this fear that we have received the spirit, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. And of this spirit the same Apostle Paul discourses to the Romans: “We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.”31763176     Rom. v. 3, 4, 5. Not by ourselves, therefore, but by the Holy Ghost which is given to us, does it come to pass that, through that very love, which he shows us to be the gift of God, tribulation does not do away with patience, but rather produces it. Again, he says to the Ephesians, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith.”31773177     Eph. vi. 23. Great blessings these! Let him tell us, however, whence they come. “From God the Father,” says he immediately afterwards, “and the Lord Jesus Christ.”31783178     John i. 5. These great blessings, therefore, are nothing else than God’s gifts to us.

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