To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and it was created with the faithful in the womb.
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Augustine of Hippo
Isaiah the prophet presents us with those seven well-known spiritual gifts. He begins with wisdom and ends with the fear of God, as though he were coming down from the heights to our level. He does this to teach us to climb back up again. Thus, he began from where we want to finish, and he arrived at the point where we should begin. "Here will rest on him," he says, "the Spirit of God, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and courage, the Spirit of knowledge and piety, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord." Therefore, just as he descended from wisdom to fear"not because he was slipping back but in order to teach"we in the same way must climb from fear to wisdom. We do this not as a matter of pride but in order to progress. "For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." - "Sermon 347.2"
Since grace has been given to us to flee from superstitious error and to be joined to the truth and to serve the living and true God and to rise above creation"passing by all that is subject to time and motion"let us look at and reason on God and divine things in a way that corresponds to this grace given us. But let us begin our discussion of them from the most fitting point. And the most fitting is what Solomon laid down for us: The beginning of wisdom, he says, is to get wisdom. And what this is he tells us: The beginning of wisdom is fear. For we must not begin with contemplation and leave off with fear"for an unbridled contemplation would perhaps push us over a precipice. Rather, we must be grounded and purified and so to say made light by fear, and thus we may be raised to the height. For where fear is there is keeping of commandments, and where there is keeping of commandments there is purifying of the flesh, that cloud that covers the soul and does not allow it to see the divin...