The Fear of God

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last and Living one.

— Revelation 1:17-18

If God were no longer ruler of the world, and there were another stronger than he, then would be the time to stand in dread of power. But even then the bad man would have no security against the chance of crossing some scheme of the lawless moment, and being ground up and destroyed by the Power of darkness. And then would be the time for the good, not to tremble, but to resolve with the Lord of light to endure all, to let every billow of evil dash and break upon him, nor do the smallest ill, tell the whitest lie for God—knowing that any territory so gained could belong to no kingdom of heaven, could be but a province of the kingdom of darkness. But Good only can create; and if Evil were ever so much the stronger, the duty of men would remain the same—to hold by the Living one, and defy power to its worse—like Prometheus on his rock, defying Jove, and forever dying—thus forever foiling the Evil. For Evil can destroy only itself and its own; it could destroy no enemy—could at worst but cause a succession of deaths, from each of which the defiant soul would rise to loftier defiance, to more victorious endurance—until at length it laughed Evil in the face, and the demon-god shrunk withered before it. In those then who believe that good is the one power, and that evil exists only because for a time it subserves the good, what place can there be for fear? The strong and the good are one; and if our hope coincides with that of God, if it is rooted in his will, what should we do but rejoice in the radiant glory of the First and the Last?