I have been reading a little Henry Ward Beecher and I ran across this piece on "fear". His description is about as thorough as any I've ever read. The chapter is on the comfort of God, but this part of it simply describes one of the emotions where we need comfort.
“This view of comfort which is contained in our text, (2 Thess. ,17) may be carried out in many particulars. Christian life is ordained to comfort us in our struggles, for instance, with fear. “Fear hath torment.” It is a tormentor. It haunts men, night and day.
Great fears may come seldom; but the poison emery, the dust of fear, comes in, as it were, at every crevice, and settles down upon every fair thing in life. There are innumerable petty fears. There are ten thousand little hauntings. How full is life of fear which takes away from men the enjoyment of their prosperity! Fear stands by the cradle, and threatens the mother; and all her love and thankfulness cannot make her happy while fear scowls and threatens. The specter of fear hovers between lovers, and they dread and suffer. It shoots like a meteor along the twilight meditations of evening. It hides the sun at noonday with clouds. It threatens health with sickness and sickness with death, and death with numberless terrors. Cares are the offspring of fear. They sting like noxious insects in tropical nights. Fear discourages poverty. It takes ease away from riches. It is the persecutor of ambition. It is the parasite of conscience. It plants upon conscience its own evil growth, until sometimes conscience is but an inquisitor, with a whip of scorpions. Fear perpetually exaggerates. It is always changing, and coming up in new forms, and always dread forms. It is full of illusions. All the way through it is undermining, undermining, the joys and hopes of life. And all this, too, in the realm where Christ has been revealed. Go from house to house and mark down how large a play there is of fear; how much of motive is fear; how largely men work for fear of more suffering than they choose to have. And see how men are restrained by fear, standing in the place of conscience. See how fear is like broken glass, every particle of which cuts the foot that treads on it. How is fear the destroyer of men’s peace, perpetually rasping them, and beating them with small whips, or large ones; as the case may be. One would think that the name of God who governs this world was Fear.
Right over against the gloomy face of fear stands the Lord Jesus Christ, and these words of ineffable cheer: “Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts!” That is just what hearts that are sick want – comfort; and they have it in Christ Jesus, and in the fatherhood of God, and nowhere else, in such measure, or with such pertinency of application”.
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