Fear of God – quotes

Admonish men to fear God. By God! This fear is the chief commander of the army of thy Lord. Its hosts are a praiseworthy character and goodly deeds. Through it have the cities of men’s hearts been opened throughout the ages and centuries, and the standards of ascendancy and triumph raised above all other standards.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 121)

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Adorn ye the temple of dominion with the ornament of justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Thus counselleth you He Who is the Dayspring of Names, as bidden by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 20-21)

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Adorn your heads with the garlands of trustworthiness and fidelity, your hearts with the attire of the Fear of God, your tongues with absolute truthfulness, your bodies with the vesture of courtesy. These are in truth seemly adornings unto the temple of the cord of servitude unto God, the True One, for thereby your stations shall be made manifest, your names written and preserved, your ranks raised and your memory exalted in the Preserved Tablet. Beware lest the dwellers on earth hinder you from this glorious and exalted station. Thus have We exhorted you in most of our Epistles and now in this, Our Holy Tablet, above which hath beamed the Day-star of the Laws of the Lord, your God, the Powerful, the All-Wise.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 24)

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And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 58)

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And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter THE VALLEY OF KNOWLEDGE and come out of doubt into certitude, and turn from the darkness of illusion to the guiding light of the fear of God. His inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved; he will set ajar the gate of truth and piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys, p. 11)

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And it was this peerless Source of wisdom that at the beginning of the foundation of the world ascended the stair of inner meaning and when enthroned upon the pulpit of utterance, through the operation of the divine Will, proclaimed two words. The first heralded the promise of reward, while the second voiced the ominous warning of punishment. The promise gave rise to hope and the warning begat fear. Thus the basis of world order hath been firmly established upon these twin principles.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 66)

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Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith.
(Benjamin Franklin)

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Children, Fear God; that is to say, have an holy awe upon your minds to avoid that which is evil, and a strict care to embrace and do that which is good.
(William Penn)

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Every Man is guided both by the Love of God and by the Fear of God.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 499)

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Fear God, and be not of those who are shut out as by a veil. Burn ye away the veils with the fire of My love, and dispel ye the mists of vain imaginings by the power of this Name through which We have subdued the entire creation.

(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 66)

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Fear God, and follow not your desires which have altered the face of creation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 74)

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Fear God, and follow not your idle fancies. Nay, rather follow the bidding of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Wise.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 13)

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Fear God and God will give you knowledge.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys, p. 3)

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Fear God and you need not fear anyone else. 
(Woodrow Wilson)

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Fear God, and where you go men shall think they walk in hallowed cathedrals.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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Fear God, and your enemies will fear you.
(Benjamin Franklin)

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Fear God, O followers of the Spirit, and walk not in the footsteps of every divine that hath gone far astray.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 10)

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Fear ye God and abandon vain imaginings to the begetters thereof and leave superstitions to the devisers thereof and misgivings to the breeders thereof. Advance ye then with radiant faces and stainless hearts towards the horizon above which the Day-Star of certitude shineth resplendent at the bidding of God, the Lord of Revelations.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 104-105)

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Fear ye God and commit not such deeds as would cause My loved ones on earth to lament.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 197)

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Fear ye God and follow not your idle fancies and corrupt imaginings, but rather follow Him Who is come unto you invested with undeniable knowledge and unshakeable certitude.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 61)

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Fear ye not God Who hath created you, and fashioned you, and caused you to attain your strength, and joined you with them that have resigned themselves to Him?
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 225)

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Fear ye the merciful Lord.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 40)

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Free men freely work: Whoever fears God, fears to sit at ease.
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

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God verily will test them and sift them.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqan, p. 255)

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He should cleanse his heart from all evil passions and corrupt desires, for the fear of God is the weapon that can render him victorious, the primary instrument whereby he can achieve his purpose.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 272)

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Hold fast to the fear of God and firmly adhere to what is right.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 219-220

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I give you my advice, and it is this: Train these children with divine exhortations. From their childhood instill in their hearts the love of God so they may manifest in their lives the fear of God and have confidence in the bestowals of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 53)

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In explaining the fear of God to children, there is no objection to teaching it as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá so often taught everything, in the form of parables. Also the child should be made to understand that we don’t fear God because He is cruel, but we fear Him because He is Just, and, if we do wrong and deserve to be punished, then in His Justice He may see fit to punish us. We must both love God and fear Him.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 237)

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In formulating the principles and laws a part hath been devoted to penalties which form an effective instrument for the security and protection of men. However, dread of the penalties maketh people desist only outwardly from committing vile and contemptible deeds, while that which guardeth and restraineth man both outwardly and inwardly hath been and still is the fear of God. It is man’s true protector and his spiritual guardian.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 93)

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In several Tablets Bahá’u’lláh has described the fear of God as the cause of nearness to Him. This statement may be difficult for some to appreciate. For why should a loving God be feared? Fear is engendered in man when he feels inadequate to deal with a situation, and confidence is generated when he finds himself completely in control. For example, a man who has been given a responsibility but has failed to fulfil his obligations will be filled with fear when he meets his superiors, because he knows that they will deal with him with justice. Man, in this life, fails to carry out the commandments of God. He commits sins and violates the laws of God. In such a case how can he feel at ease when he knows that one day he will be called on to account for his deeds? If man does not fear God, it is a sign either that he is without shortcomings or that he has no faith in the next life when he will have to answer for his wrong-doings.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 94)

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In the treasuries of the knowledge of God there lieth concealed a knowledge which, when applied, will largely, though not wholly, eliminate fear. This knowledge, however, should be taught from childhood, as it will greatly aid in its elimination.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 32)

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In this Revelation the hosts that can render it victorious are the hosts of praiseworthy deeds and upright character. The leader and commander of these hosts hath ever been the fear of God, a fear that encompasseth all things and reigneth over all things.
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pg.101-134)

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In truth, religion is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which is good, and shun all evil.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 125)

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It is a vital and urgent duty of the Assemblies, both National and Local, not only to apply the Laws of Bahá’u’lláh with justice and firmness, but to increase the believers’ understanding of and devotion to these Laws. In this way they will obey them not through fear of punishment but out of love for Bahá’u’lláh and because their whole lives have been transformed and re-oriented in the Way of God.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 342)

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It is clear and evident that all men shall, after their physical death, estimate the worth of their deeds, and realize all that their hands have wrought. I swear by the Day Star that shineth above the horizon of Divine power! They that are the followers of the one true God shall, the moment they depart out of this life, experience such joy and gladness as would be impossible to describe, while they that live in error shall be seized with such fear and trembling, and shall be filled with such consternation, as nothing can exceed.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 171)

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It is man’s duty to love and to fear God, even without hope of reward or fear of punishment.
(Maimonides)

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Know ye that true wisdom is to fear God, to know Him, and to recognize His Manifestations. This wisdom, however, can be attained only by those who detach themselves from the world, and who walk in the ways of the good pleasure of their Lord.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 234-235)

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Let thine heart be afraid of none except God.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 323)

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Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
(Solomon)

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Me alone, therefore, should ye fear.
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 98)

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Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the Oneness of His Being.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab p. 77-78)

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That which is of paramount importance for the children, that which must precede all else, is to teach them the oneness of God and the Laws of God. For lacking this the fear of God cannot be inculcated, and lacking the fear of God and infinity of odious and abominable actions will spring up, and sentiments will be uttered that transgress all bounds.
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 236)

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The covetous man feareth not God. This also is plain from the word because it setteth covetousness and the fear of God in direct opposition. Men that fear God are said to hate covetousness, Exod. xviii. 21. Besides the covetous man is called an idolater and is said to have no part in the kingdom of Christ and of God, Col. iii. 5. And again; ‘The wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire and blesseth the covetous whom the Lord abhorreth,’ Psa. x. 3.
(John Bunyan)

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The days of your life shall roll away, and all the things with which ye are occupied and of which ye boast yourselves shall perish, and ye shall, most certainly, be summoned by a company of His angels to appear at the spot where the limbs of the entire creation shall be made to tremble, and the flesh of every oppressor to creep. Ye shall be asked of the things your hands have wrought in this, your vain life, and shall be repaid for your doings. This is the day that shall inevitably come upon you, the hour that none can put back. To this the Tongue of Him that speaketh the truth and is the Knower of all things hath testified.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 199)

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The essence of wisdom is the fear of God, the dread of His scourge and punishment, and the apprehension of His justice and decree.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 155)

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… the fear of God, a fear that encompasseth all things, and reigneth over all things.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 26)

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The fear of God hath ever been a sure defence and a safe stronghold for all the peoples of the world. It is the chief cause of the protection of mankind, and the supreme instrument for its preservation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 62)

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The fear of God hath ever been the prime factor in the education of His creatures.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 26)

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The fear of God is the shield that defendeth His Cause, the buckler that enableth His people to attain to victory. It is a standard that no man can abase, a force that no power can rival. By its aid, and by the leave of Him Who is the Lord of Hosts, they that have drawn nigh unto God have been able to subdue and conquer the citadels of the hearts of men.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 272)

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The fear of God will withhold him from committing forbidden and culpable action.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 72)

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The fears and agitation which the revelation of this law provokes in men’s hearts should indeed be likened to the cries of the suckling babe weaned from his mother’s milk, if ye be of them that perceive.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 175)

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
(Solomon)

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The heart must be sanctified from every form of selfishness and lust, for the weapons of the unitarians and the saints were and are the fear of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 45)

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The one is guided by the principle: “Fear ye God; God will teach you”.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqan, p. 69)

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Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 125)

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They must manifest the fear of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 13)

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This station conferreth the true standard of knowledge, and freeth man from tests. In this realm, to search after knowledge is irrelevant, for He hath said concerning the guidance of travelers on this plane, “Fear God, and God will instruct thee.” And again: “Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 53-54)

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Those believers who are adorned with the fear of God may be shielded from the dire consequences foreshadowed in His ominous warnings, may become the recipients of His assured blessings and be enabled to partake of the outpourings of His infallible spiritual grace.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 520)

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Those who follow their corrupt desires and lay aside the fear of God are indeed in grievous error.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 95)

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Thou art He, O my God, Who hath commanded them in Thy great Book, and said: “Fear ye the Most Merciful, O people of the Bayan, and deny not Him for Whom I have ordained the Bayan to be one of the leaves of His Paradise.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 284)

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Thou wilt be blamed for My sake; people will attribute to thee infidelity for My sake; thou wilt bear trouble for My sake. Be encouraged, and do not fear. It happened like this also in the time of Jesus Christ.
(Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 501)

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To all that dwell on earth I cry aloud and say: “Fear ye God, O ye servants of God, and suffer not yourselves to be kept back from this pure Wine that hath flowed from the right hand of the throne of the mercy of your Lord, the Most Merciful. I swear by God! Better for you is what He possesseth than the things ye yourselves possess and the things ye have sought and are now seeking in this vain and empty life. Forsake the world, and set your faces towards the all-glorious Horizon. Whoso hath partaken of the wine of His remembrance will forget every other remembrance, and whoso hath recognized Him will rid himself of all attachment to this life and to all that pertaineth unto it.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 187)

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Verily I say: The fear of God hath ever been a sure defence and a safe stronghold for all the peoples of the world. It is the chief cause of the protection of mankind, and the supreme instrument for its preservation.
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 236)

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Verily I say, fear of God is the greatest commander that can render the Cause of God victorious, and the hosts which best befit this commander have ever been and are an upright character and pure and goodly deeds.  Indeed, there existeth in man a faculty which deterreth him from, and guardeth him against, whatever is unworthy and unseemly, and which is known as his sense of shame. This, however, is confined to but a few; all have not possessed and do not possess it.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 222)

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Walk ye in the fear of God, and be ye of them that lead a godly life.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 190)

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We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.
(Gilbert K. Chesterton)

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We have admonished Our loved ones to fear God, a fear which is the fountainhead of all goodly deeds and virtues. It is the commander of the hosts of justice in the city of Bahá. Happy the man that hath entered the shadow of its luminous standard, and laid fast hold thereon. He, verily, is of the Companions of the Crimson Ark, which hath been mentioned in the Qayyúm-i-Asmá.
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pg.101-134)

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We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear.
(Saint Francis de Sales)

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Were men to discover the motivating purpose of God’s Revelation, they would assuredly cast away their fears, and, with hearts filled with gratitude, rejoice with exceeding gladness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 175)

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When men no longer fear God, they transgress His laws without hesitation. The fear of consequences is no deterrent when the fear of God is gone.
(Aiden Wilson Tozer)

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When we fear God, then we shall fear no man, however high-placed he may be.
(Mahatma Gandhi)

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Whoso hath known God shall know none but Him, and he that feareth God shall be afraid of no one except Him, though the powers of the whole earth rise up and be arrayed against him.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 202)

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You ask him about the fear of God: perhaps the friends do not realize that the majority of human beings need the element of fear in order to discipline their conduct? Only a relatively very highly evolved soul would always be disciplined by love alone. Fear of punishment, fear of the anger of God if we do evil, are needed to keep people’s feet on the right path. Of course we should love God – but we must fear Him in the sense of a child fearing the righteous anger and chastisement of a parent; not cringe before Him as before a tyrant, but know His Mercy exceeds His Justice!
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 237)

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You have asked the exact meaning of the term ‘Fear of God’ mentioned in Bahá’í Sacred Writings; it often means awe, but has also other connotations such as reverence, terror and fear.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 237)

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  • It is my firm conviction which I now express with all sincerity and candor, that the dignity and unity of the Cause urgently demands—particularly throughout the American continent—that the friends should in their words and conduct emphasize and give absolute prominence to the constructive dynamic principles of Bahá’u’lláh, rather than attach undue importance to His negative Teachings. With hearts cleansed from the least trace of suspicion and filled with hope and faith in what the spirit of love can achieve, we must one and all endeavor at this moment to forget past impressions, and with absolute good-will and genuine cooperation unite in deepening and diffusing the spirit of love and service that the Cause has thus far so remarkably shown to the world.
    (Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 17)