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Monday, July 30, 2012

Some quotations on fear

Genesis 3:9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (All Bible quotations from the World English Bible, public domain)

As it was, she was surprised into looking into the Beast's face.
The contrasts she found there were too great: wisdom and despair, power and weakness, man and animal. These made him far more terrible than any hungry lion, any half-tamed hydra, any angry sorcerer, terrible as something that should not exist is terrible, because to recognize that it does exist shakes that faith in the foundations of the natural world which human beings must have to bear the burden of their rationality. Robin McKinley, Rose Daughter. New York: Ace, 1998, p. 87. ("she" is Beauty.)

1 Peter 3:13 Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.”

I was in the chapel over the burial-vault of my race.  I called aloud:  "If any of the dead are moving here, let
them take pity upon me, for I, alas! am still alive; and let some dead woman comfort me, for I am a stranger in the land of the dead, and see no light."  A warm kiss alighted on my lips through the dark.  And I said, "The dead kiss well; I will not be afraid."  And a great hand was reached out of the dark, and grasped mine for a moment, mightily and tenderly.  I said to myself:  "The veil between, though very dark, is very thin." (George MacDonald, Phantastes, public domain)

GHOST, n. The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.

. . . Accounting for the uncommon behavior of ghosts, Heine mentions somebody's ingenious theory to the effect that they are as much afraid of us as we of them. Not quite, if I may judge from such tables of comparative speed as I am able to compile from memories of my own experience.
There is one insuperable obstacle to a belief in ghosts. A ghost never comes naked: he appears either in a winding-sheet or "in his habit as he lived." To believe in him, then, is to believe that not only have the dead the power to make themselves visible after there is nothing left of them, but that the same power inheres in textile fabrics. Supposing the products of the loom to have this ability, what object would they have in exercising it? And why does not the apparition of a suit of clothes sometimes walk abroad without a ghost in it? These be riddles of significance. They reach away down and get a convulsive grip on the very tap-root of this flourishing faith. (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, public domain)

LONGEVITY, n. Uncommon extension of the fear of death. (The Devil's Dictionary)

My first religion was pure Paganism, which among sincere men is more shortly described as extreme fear. Then there succeeded a state of mind which is quite real, but for which no proper name has ever been found. The ancients called it Stoicism, and I think it must be what some German lunatics mean (if they mean anything) when they talk about Pessimism. It was an empty and open acceptance of the thing that happens—as if one had got beyond the value of it. And then, curiously enough, came a very strong contrary feeling—that things mattered very much indeed, and yet that they were something more than tragic. It was a feeling, not that life was unimportant, but that life was much too important ever to be anything but life. I hope that this was Christianity. At any rate, it occurred at the moment when we went crash into the omnibus. (G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles, public domain)

Revelation 6:15 The kings of the earth, the princes, the commanding officers, the rich, the strong, and every slave and free person, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains. 16 They told the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” 

Thanks for reading.

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