To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.
Dread, which Julian uses often here, is still a complex word but nowadays we reduce it to fewer meanings, principally using it for extreme fear. In the 14th century, according to its context, it was used to convey respect, awe, wonder, etc. allowing an admixture of other emotions. We have not lost all this; Christians, Jews and Muslims understand the term ‘fear God’ very much in this multi-emotive way, although sadly a few seem to use it to use it mainly as being scared of His punishing us for sin.
Ther ben four manner of drede, but reverent drede is a lovely true that never is without meke love; and yet thei be not both one; and how we should pray God for the same.
For I understand four forms of awe.
One is the alarm that comes to us from frailty.
This does good for it helps to purge us,
as do bodily sickness or pains that are not sin.
Taken patiently, all such pains help us.
The second is that of suffering, whereby man is stirred,
wakened from drowsy dullness to sin,
unable to know the Holy Spirit’s soft comfort
until he understands the fear of pain,
bodily death and spiritual enemies.
This awe stirs and helps us seek comfort and God’s mercy,
enabling contrition by the Holy Spirit’s blissful touch.
The third is that of doubt.
Our awe of doubt draws us to despair,
which God wishes to be turned into love
by our knowing and understanding love;
that is to say, by turning doubt’s bitterness
to sweet kindred love by grace.
For it can never please our Lord
for His servants to doubt his goodness.
The fourth is reverent awe.
Reverent awe is the most pleasing to God,
it is completely gentle,
the more it is had, the less is it felt,
for sweetness of love.
Love and awe are brothers,
rooted in us by our maker’s goodness;
and shall never be taken from us.
It is our nature to love, and we have grace to love;
awe is in our nature, and we have grace to be in awe.
It is the Lord and Father’s right to be revered,
as is the Lord and Father’s goodness to be loved.
We, His servants and His children must revere Him
for His lordship and fatherhood,
as we must love Him for goodness.
This reverent awe and love, though not divided,
are not one but two, in nature and working.
Neither may be had without the other.
Therefore I am sure that he that loves
also dreads, though he may feel it little.
All fears we have, other than reverent awe,
though having the colour of holiness,
are not so true, and so may be told apart.
That dread that makes us flee hastily
from all that is not good,
falling into our Lords breast
as the child into the mother’s bosom,
with all our intent, with all our mind,
knowing our feebleness and our great need,
knowing His everlasting goodness,
His blissful love, looking only to Him for salvation,
cleaving to Him with secure trust –
that dread is natural, gracious, good, and true.
All that is opposed to this,
is either wrong or mixed with wrong.
This is the remedy: to know them both
and refuse the wrong.
The natural benefit of the dread
we have here by the Holy Spirit’s grace,
shall also be in Heaven before God,
gentle, courteous, and wholly delectable.
And there we shall, in love, be homely,
near to God, and, in respect and awe,
equally gentle and courteous to Him.
We desire to fear our Lord God reverently,
love Him meekly, and trust Him mightily.
When we dread Him, loving Him reverently,
meekly, our trust is never in vain;
the more and mightier we trust our Lord,
the more we please and worship Him we trust.
And if, God forbid, we fail in this,
in this reverent dread, in this meek love,
our trust shall quickly become unruly for a time.
And so we must pray greatly to our Lord of grace
that we may have this reverent dread and meek love
as His gift in heart and action,
for without this no man may please God.
Us nedith love, longing, and pite; and of three manner of longing in God which arn in us; and how in the day of dome the joy of the blissid shal ben incresid, seing verily the cause of all thyng that God hath don, dredfully tremeland, and thankand for joye, mervelyng the gretnes of God and littlenes of all that is made. Seventy-fifth chapter.
I saw that God may do all we need.
And we need three things of which I shall talk:
love, longing, pity.
Pity, or piety, in love holds us
safe in the time of our need,
and longing, in that same love,
draws us into Heaven.
For God thirsts to have all mankind in Him.
His thirst drew all His saints, now in bliss;
and for us on earth, His living members,
He forever draws and drinks,
yet still He thirsts and longs.
I saw three forms of longing in God,
all to one purpose which we share,
the same virtue, and the same end.
First, He longs to teach us to know Him,
to love Him forever, as is suitable and beneficial to us.
Second, He longs to have us up in His bliss
as souls taken out of pain into Heaven.
Third, to fulfil us in bliss,
which shall be fulfilled on the last day, everlastingly.
For I saw, as it is known in our faith,
that pain and sorrow shall be ended
for all that shall be saved.
We shall not only receive the same bliss
that souls before have had in Heaven,
but we new bliss, into and fulfilling us,
plentifully flowing from God.
These are the gifts He has ordained for us
from without beginning;
they are treasured and hidden in Himself,
for until that time no creature is mighty enough
or worthy to receive them.
In them we shall see the true cause of all He has done,
and see evermore the cause of all He has suffered.
The bliss and fulfilling shall be so deep and high
that, for the wonder and marvel, all creatures
shall have for God so great reverent dread,
surpassing what has been seen and felt before,
that the pillars of Heaven shall tremble and quake;
but this trembling and dread shall have no pain.
It belongs to God’s worthy might
to behold His creatures in awe,
trembling and quaking for meekness of joy,
marvelling at God, the maker’s greatness,
over the littleness of all creation.
Beholding this makes the creature
marvellously meek and mild, which God desires,
and it belongs to us by kinship and grace,
to be certain of and acknowledge this,
desiring this sight and His work.
For it leads us in the right way,
and keeps us in true life,
and unites us with God.
As good as God is and as great He is,
as much as it belongs to His Godhead to be loved,
so it belongs to His greatness to be dreaded;
with that reverent dread, the fair courtesy
that is in Heaven before God’s face.
And as much as He shall then be known
and loved beyond what He is now,
so shall He be feared beyond what He is now.
All Heaven and earth shall tremble and quake
when its pillars shall tremble and quake
in meekness and joy.