The beginner in Christian Science sometimes wonders at the approval given to "the fear of the Lord" in the Scriptures. He perhaps recalls the text, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," or similar texts, when he asks an older student how such approval is possible when Christian Science expressly declares fear to be evil.

In answering such a question, it should be recognized that when the fear of the Lord is recommended, such a statement does not mean that men are to be afraid of the Almighty, that they are to dread His presence and power. John makes it plain that "perfect love casteth out fear." If men were advised to be afraid of God, they could not be expected to love Him. The word fear thus used to explain man's proper mental attitude toward God, is evidently equivalent to the word respect or reverence, certainly not to fright or terror. We are bidden to stand in obedient awe before the Principle governing the universe, but this awe is akin to unquestioning confidence, deep-seated joy, profound love. This point of view is in accord with the psalmist's joyous verse, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" also with Jesus' touching injunction to his disciples, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

The mental fault which is described as fear and stigmatized as evil by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health, is something quite different from the fear of the Lord which the Scriptures approve, for here we read: "Fear is the fountain of sickness, and you master fear and sin through divine Mind; hence it is through divine Mind that you overcome disease" (p. 391). That false belief which is a component part of every sin and every case of sickness, and also (as is beginning to be more generally understood by mankind at large) of every disaster and calamity, is thus exposed for destruction by Truth. This fear is based upon the belief of life in matter. It relies upon the allurement of personal sense and desire; upon a supposed validity of material or physical law; and it admits the existence of a government apart from God which is believed to be ruthless and relentless, of a blind force handling man as a defenseless being separated from Principle, Life, Truth, and Love, and thus the mere sport of circumstance.

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July 19, 1913

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