Whether Initial Fear Differs Substantially from Filial Fear
Whether Initial Fear Differs Substantially from Filial Fear

We proceed to the eighth article thus:

1. It seems that initial fear differs substantially from filial fear. For filial fear is caused by love, whereas initial fear is the beginning of love, according to Ecclesiasticus 25:12: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of love." Initial fear is therefore other than filial fear.

2. Again, initial fear fears punishment, which is the object of servile fear. Thus it seems that initial fear is the same as servile fear. But servile fear is other than filial fear. Hence initial fear is substantially other than filial fear.

3. Again, a mean differs equally from both extremes. Now initial fear is a mean between servile fear and filial fear. It therefore differs from both of them.

On the other hand: the perfect and the imperfect do not diversify the substance of a thing. Now as Augustine explains (Tract.9 in Joan.), initial and filial fear differ in respect of the perfection and the imperfection of charity. Hence initial fear does not differ substantially from filial fear.

I answer: fear is said to be initial because it is a beginning. Both servile fear and filial fear may in a manner be called initial, since each of them is in a manner the beginning of wisdom. Initial fear is not so called because it is distinct from servile and from filial fear. It is so called because it applies to the state of beginners, in whom filial fear is begun through the beginning of charity, but is not in them perfectly since they have not yet attained to the perfection of charity. Initial fear thus bears the same relation to filial fear as imperfect charity bears to perfect charity. Now perfect and imperfect charity do not differ in their substance, but only in their state. We must therefore say that initial fear, as we here understand it, does not differ substantially from filial fear.

On the first point: as Augustine says (Tract.9 in Joan.), the fear which is the beginning of love is servile fear, which introduces charity, as the bristle introduces the thread. If this refers to initial fear, it means that fear is the beginning of love not absolutely, but in so far as it is the beginning of the state of perfect charity.

On the second point: initial fear does not fear punishment as its proper object. It fears punishment because something of servile fear is conjoined with it. When its servility has been removed, the substance of servile fear remains, together with charity. The act of servile fear remains, together with imperfect charity, in one who is moved to do well not only by love of justice, but also by fear of punishment. But this act ceases in one who has perfect charity, since "perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18).

On the third point: initial fear is a mean between servile and filial fear as the imperfect is a mean between perfect being and not-being, as it is said in 2 Metaph., text 7, not as a mean between two things of the same genus. Imperfect being is the same in substance with perfect being, but differs altogether from not-being.

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