Faith versus Fear

Many good Christian people have called attention to the numerous occasions where the command "Fear not" is found in the Bible, especially in connection with the teachings of Christ Jesus. At the very beginning of mortal history, after the spiritual creation was pronounced complete and perfect, we read the story, evidently allegorical, of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and the fear which beset them when they were summoned to appear before divine Truth. Respecting this Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 532), "Fear was the first manifestation of the error of material sense. Thus error began and will end the dream of matter." Daily experience shows us that fear is inseparable from the belief of life, substance, and intelligence in matter, and, as the apostle tells us, "fear hath torment," though he immediately assures us that "perfect love casteth out fear." The Christian Scientist then addresses himself to the task of attaining to the spiritual condition indicated by St. John, which results not in fear but in fearlessness, a synonym for true heroism.

It is true that we are sometimes enjoined in the Scriptures to fear God and keep His commandments. This, however, does not mean that we should fear evil, but fear to do evil. Our revered Leader tells us that we must gain spiritual understanding in order to overcome the belief in matter and disease, and, this attained, she says, "You will never fear again except to offend God" (Science and Health, p. 425). The remedy for fear can never come from anywhere but from God, from the spiritual side, and as we study the Bible we find again and again inspiring assurances of divine Love, such as the one spoken to Isaac in an hour of need: "Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee." This shows us that faith is the antidote for fear, and long ago Habakkuk declared that "the just shall live by his faith," a text cited by Paul on several occasions, and which brought to Luther a great awakening to the power of good to overcome evil.

When we come to the ministry of the great Teacher, we ofttimes find him rebuking fear and calling for faith,—on the tempest-tossed sea, in the grief-stricken home of Jairus, and at the grave of Lazarus; but how many are there today among Jesus' professed followers who are willing to exercise the kind of faith which he demanded? This cannot indeed be done so long as it is held that matter is a solid reality and that material law rules the occasion. Whether it be a storm, a disease, or impending death that threatens, the command "Fear not" holds good. When the birth of Jesus was announced to Mary, these words were part of the angel's salutation, and the shepherds who were "sore afraid" when the light of spiritual being shone upon them, were reassured by the "Fear not" of the angel who brought to earth "good tidings of great joy." Again, when the glorious ministry of Christ Jesus was fulfilled, the guardian angel by the empty tomb said to the loving but sorrowing women, "Fear not ye," and erelong faith received its age-abiding reassurance, when the risen Lord said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," which as understood in Christian Science means that evil was proved powerless.

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February 7, 1914

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