“Take heed to yourselves lest you should be void of the grace of God which you offer to others. Take heed to yourselves lest you live in those actual sins which you preach against in others. Will you preach God’s laws and deliberately break them? If sin be evil, why do you live in it? If it be not, why do you dissuade men from it?
“Take heed to your studies to screw the truth into men’s minds and Christ into their affections.
“Take heed to yourselves lest your example contradict your doctrine and lest you lay such stumbling blocks before the blind as may be the occasion of their ruin. Maintain your innocence and walk without offence. Let your lives condemn sin and persuade men to duty.”
– Quote from Puritan churchman and writer Richard Baxter (1615-1691); illustration of Robert E. Howard’s Puritan hero, Solomon Kane, by Gary Gianni.
“God has taken your money to live with Him in Heaven.”
– David Owen in “What Happened to My Money?,” collected in Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker (2001).
Postcard by Gerhard Glück, “Wovon Werber träumen” (“What advertisers dream”), with thanks to the Rev. John Backe.
It is not often in the Conan stories of Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) that we find the noted barbarian in a philosophical frame of mind, but in “Queen of the Black Coast” (1934) he has this conversation with Bêlit, the pirate queen:
“Conan, do you fear the gods?”
“I would not tread on their shadow… Some gods are strong to harm, others, to aid; at least so say their priests. Mitra of the Hyborians must be a strong god… But even the Hyborians fear Set. And Bel, god of thieves, is a good god. When I was a thief in Zamora I learned of him.”
“What of your own gods? I have never heard you call on them.”
“Their chief is Crom. He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man’s soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?”
“But what of the world beyond the river of death?” she persisted.
“There is no hope here or hereafter in the cult of my people,” answered Conan. “In this world men struggle and suffer vainly, finding pleasure only in the bright madness of battle; dying, their souls enter a gray misty realm of clouds and icy winds, to wander cheerlessly throughout eternity.”
Bêlit shuddered. “Life, as bad as it is, is better than such a destiny. What do you believe, Conan?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”
Conan, as we are accustomed to seeing him, by Frank Frazetta
The 18-foot-tall Good Shepherd window, located above the altar of Trinity Lutheran Church in Keene, New Hampshire. Commissioned in 1882 by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Davenport, Iowa, the window was installed there in 1902; the church eventually became the home of the Third Mission Baptist Church, and when they moved to a new building in 1998, they had the window sold at auction. Trinity Lutheran, being optimistic, bought the window but had no building for it until March of 2013. Now it has a new home.
“There was in Tsukushi a certain man, a constable of the peace it would seem, who for many years had eaten two broiled radishes each morning under the impression that radishes were a sovereign remedy for all ailments. Once some enemy forces attacked and surrounded his constabulary, choosing a moment when the place was deserted. Just then, two soldiers rushed out of the building, and engaged the enemy, fighting with no thought for their lives until they drove away all the enemy troops. The constable, greatly astonished, asked the two soldiers, ‘You have fought most gallantly, gentlemen, considering I have never seen you here before. Might I ask who you are?’ ‘We are the radishes you have faithfully eaten every morning for so many years,’ they answered, and with these words they disappeared. So deep was his faith in radishes that even such a miracle could occur.”
– No. 68 in Essays in Idleness (circa 1330) by Kenko
Ecce Homo (1871) by Antonio Ciseri (1821-1891)
“Ecce Homo” were the words used by Pontius Pilate, according to the 4th century Vulgate (Latin) translation of John 19:5, when Pilate presented a scourged Jesus Christ to the hostile crowd. The King James Version of the Bible translates the phrase into English as “Behold the man!”
I love the art on HEM incense packages.
I got mine at Incense Warehouse.
A celebration of freedom of religion from Ganapati Studios, Seattle, Washington, with thanks to the Rev. John Backe.