Quotations for November, 2002
Friday, November 1, 2002
Feast of All Saints
You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. IV, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826, p. 377
(see the book; see also Acts 4:29; more at Evangelization, Obedience, Salvation, Soul, Work)
Saturday, November 2, 2002
Feast of All Souls
To some men it is hard seeing a call of God through difficulties; when if it would but clothe itself with a few carnal advantages, how apparent it is to them! They can see it through a little cranny.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. VII, p. 237
(see the book; see also Matt. 9:38; more at Call, Duty, God, Hypocrisy, Sight, Weakness)
Sunday, November 3, 2002
Feast of Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher, 1600
Commemoration of Martin of Porres, Dominican Friar, 1639
There is in Scripture therefore no defect, but that any man... may have thereby the light of his natural understanding so perfected... that there can want no part of needful instruction unto any good work which God himself requireth.
... Richard Hooker (1554?-1600), The Works of that Learned and Judicious Divine, Mr. Richard Hooker, Oxford: University Press, 1841, p. 271
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:14-15; more at Bible, God, Goodness, Instruction, Scripture, Understanding, Work)
Monday, November 4, 2002
Grant to us, O Lord, to know that which is worth knowing, to love that which is worth loving, to praise that which pleaseth Thee most, to esteem that which is most precious unto Thee, and to dislike whatsoever is evil in Thine eyes.Grant us with true judgment to distinguish things that differ, and above all to search out and do what is well pleasing unto Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, III.l.7, p. 211
(see the book; see also Mal. 3:17-18; more at Evil, Judgment, Knowledge, Love, Praise, Prayers)
Tuesday, November 5, 2002
Learned men and great scholars have devoted great effort and prolonged study to the Holy Scriptures... employing the gifts which God gives to every person who has the use of reason.This knowledge is good... but it does not bring with it any spiritual experience of God, for these graces are granted only to those who have a great love for Him. This fountain of love issues from our Lord alone, and no stranger may approach it. But knowledge of this kind is common to good and bad alike, since it can be acquired without love, ... and men of a worldly life are sometimes more knowledgeable than many true Christians although they do not possess this love. St. Paul describes this kind of knowledge: “If I had full knowledge of all things and knew all secrets, but had no love, I should be nothing.”Some people who possess this knowledge become proud and misuse it in order to increase their personal reputation, worldly rank, honours and riches, when they should use it humbly to the praise of God and for the benefit of their fellow Christians in true charity. St. Paul says of this kind of knowledge: “Knowledge by itself stirs the heart with pride, but united to love it turns to edification.”By itself this knowledge is like water, tasteless and cold. But if those who have it will offer it humbly to our Lord and ask for His grace, He will turn the water into wine with His blessing.
... Walter Hilton (1330?-1396), The Scale of Perfection [early 15th century], ed. Serenus Cressy, Book I, I.iv
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:1; 13:2; more at Bible, Grace, Holiness, Knowledge, Love, Worldly)
Wednesday, November 6, 2002
Feast of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1944
If we are travelling heavenwards, we are already in heaven.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Readings in St. John’s Gospel, v. II, London: Macmillan, 1940, p. 228
(see the book; see also John 14:2-4; more at Heaven, Heaven and Hell, Journey, Travel)
Thursday, November 7, 2002
Feast of Willibrord of York, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia, 739
There never was a pain that befell a man, no frustration or discouragement, however insignificant, that, transferred to God, did not affect God endlessly more than man, and was not infinitely more contrary to Him. So, if God puts up with it for the sake of some good He foresees for you, and if you are willing to suffer what God suffers, and to take what comes to you through Him, then whatever it is, it becomes divine in itself; shame becomes honor, bitterness becomes sweet, and gross darkness, clear light. Everything takes its flavor from God and becomes divine; everything that happens [reveals] God when a man’s mind works that way; things all have this one taste; and therefore God is the same to this man alike in life’s bitterest moments and sweetest pleasures.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 17
(see the book; see also Heb. 2:14-16; more at God, Life, Pain, Suffer, Weakness)
Friday, November 8, 2002
Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England
It was not dogma that moved the world, but life. Frequently, when rival parties and rival nations fought with one another as to which of two opposed dogmas was the truth, they had been arrayed against one another by more deep-seated and vital causes, and merely inscribed at the last the dogmas on their standards or chose them as watchwords or symbols. We are tired of those elaborate discussions of the fine, wire-drawn, subtle distinctions between sects, and those elaborate discussions of the principles involved in heresies, and we desire to see the real differences in life and conduct receive more attention.
... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904, p. 347
(see the book; see also 1 Thes. 5:22; Rev. 2:25-26; more at Choices, Conduct, Dogma, Fight, Heresy, Historical, Life, Sect, Truth)
Saturday, November 9, 2002
Commemoration of Margery Kempe, Mystic, after 1433
Too many of us have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience. We think we are doing our duty when we’re only talking about it.
... Charles F. Banning
(see also Matt. 7:21-22; 9:13; Luke 17:7-10; more at Authenticity, Duty, Experience, Thought)
Sunday, November 10, 2002
Feast of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461
Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called—the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 82
(see the book; see also Matt. 14:22-27; John 18:20; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1; Rom. 9:24-25; Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25; more at Bearing, Being alone, Call, Christ, Church, Community, Congregation, Cross, Fellowship, Jesus)
Monday, November 11, 2002
Feast of Martin, Monk, Bishop of Tours, 397
No one can deny that the New Testament has variety as well as unity. It is the variety which gives interest to the unity... What is it in which these people, differing as widely as they do, are vitally and fundamentally at one, so that through all their differences they form a brotherhood and are conscious of an indissoluable spiritual bond? There can be no doubt that that which unites them is a common relation to Christ—a common faith in Him, involving religious convictions about Him.
... James Denney (1856-1917), Jesus and the Gospel: Christianity justified in the mind of Christ, New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1908, p. 11
(see the book; see also John 14:11; more at Bible, Christ, Conviction, Faith, Spiritual life, Unity)
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
What use is it to us to hear it said of a man that he has thrown off the yoke, that he does not believe there is a God to watch over his actions, that he reckons himself the sole master of his behavior, and that he does not intend to give an account of it to anyone but himself? Does he think that in that way he will have straightway persuaded us to have complete confidence in him, to look to him for consolation, for advice, and for help, in the vicissitudes of life? Do such men think that they have delighted us by telling us that they hold our souls to be nothing but a little wind and smoke—and by saying it in conceited and complacent tones? Is that a thing to say blithely? Is it not rather a thing to say sadly—as if it were the saddest thing in the world?
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #194, p. 74
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:3-6; Ps. 14:1; Matt. 11:15; more at Apologetics, Darkness, God, Sadness, Self-righteousness, Unbelief)
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Feast of Charles Simeon, Pastor, Teacher, 1836
By constantly meditating on the goodness of God and on our great deliverance from that punishment which our sins have deserved, we are brought to feel our vileness and utter unworthiness; and while we continue in this spirit of self-degradation, everything else will go on easily. We shall find ourselves advancing in our course; we shall feel the presence of God; we shall experience His love; we shall live in the enjoyment of His favour and in the hope of His glory... You often feel that your prayers scarcely reach the ceiling; but, oh, get into this humble spirit by considering how good the Lord is, and how evil you all are, and then prayer will mount on wings of faith to heaven. The sigh, the groan of a broken heart, will soon go through the ceiling up to heaven, aye, into the very bosom of God.
... Charles Simeon (1759-1836), Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon, Pittsburgh: R. Carter, 1847, p. 382
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:26-28; more at Evil, God, Goodness, Humility, Love, Meditation, Prayer, Presence of God, Sin, Weakness)
Thursday, November 14, 2002
Commemoration of Samuel Seabury, First Anglican Bishop in North America, 1796
The fall was simply this, that some creature, that is, something which is not God, took His place with man; and man, trusting the creature more than God, walked in its light or darkness rather than in fellowship with God. Righteousness comes back when man by faith is brought to walk with God again, and to give Him His true place by acting or being acted upon in all things according to His will. Anything therefore not of faith is sin. And all such sin is bondage. Self-will is bondage, for ... self-will or independence of God means dependence on a creature; and we cannot be dependent on a creature, be it what it may, without more or less becoming subject to it. What has not been given up for money, or for some creature’s love? But who has ever thus served the creature more than the Creator without awaking at last to feel he is a bondman? I say nothing of the worse bondage which comes from our self-will, in the indulgence of our own thoughts, or passions, or affections. Even the very energies of faith, while, as yet unchastened, it acts from self, ... may only bring forth more bondage... Who but God can set men free? And He sets them free as they walk with Him. All independence of Him is only darkness.
... Andrew Jukes (1815-1901), The New Man and the Eternal Life, London: Longmans, Green, 1881, p. 121
(see the book; see also Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 14:23; Gal. 4:3-9; 1 John 3:4; more at Action, Darkness, Faith, Fall, God, Man, Righteousness, Sin, Trust)
Friday, November 15, 2002
This coherence of the Bible itself, and of the Bible and the Church, is a coherence and a unity set in opposition to the world existing beyond its borders, and outside its influence, so that there comes into being a tension between the world as it actually is and the Church, in so far as the Church rests upon the Biblical revelation of God.But this tension is not something which concerns the Church and the world as though they are things which exist outside us and apart from us, which we can consider and observe and discuss and have theories about. The tension between the Church and the world exists within us and is the very fibre of our being, and neither the one nor the other is superficial or trivial. For we are, all of us, of the earth, earthy, and we are also baptized members of Christ and His Church. It is precisely because we belong to two worlds that our lives consist in insecurity—that we are, in fact, a drama, the final act of which, the judgment of reward or punishment, heaven or hell, is hidden from us.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 96-97
(see the book; see also John 15:19; Acts 10:39-41; Gal. 4:3; more at Baptism, Bible, Church, Earth, Judgment, Revelation, Unity)
Saturday, November 16, 2002
Feast of Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093
Commemoration of Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240
We are building many splendid churches in this country, but we are not providing leaders to run them. I would rather have a wooden church with a splendid parson, than a splendid church with a wooden parson.
... Samuel Smith Drury (1878-1938), included in Leaves of Gold, Evan S. Coslett & Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. , Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 62
(see the book; see also Num. 12:3; Prov. 3:34; Mark 10:43-44; Phil. 4:12; more at Builder, Church, Leader, Preacher)
Sunday, November 17, 2002
Feast of Hugh, Carthusian Monk, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200
Let me love Thee so that the honour, riches, and pleasures of the world may seem unworthy even of hatred—may not even be encumbrances.
... Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), The Rod, the Root, and the Flower , London: G. Bell and Sons, 1907, p. 222
(see the book; see also Phil. 3:8; more at Honor, Knowing God, Love, Pleasure, Wealth, World)
Monday, November 18, 2002
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Christian Behavior, London: Geoffrey Bles, Macmillan, 1943, p. 42
(see the book; see also Prov. 16:18; Luke 11:39-52; 1 Cor. 3:18; more at Devil, Evil, Humility, Morality, Pride, Sin)
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Feast of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Commemoration of Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, Philanthropist, 1231
Commemoration of Mechtild, Bèguine of Magdeburg, Mystic, Prophet, 1280
[At the Garden of Olives Monastery]“Why are you all so quiet all the time?” I say, still whispering at him in this hoarse voice.“We are teachers and workers,” he says, “not talkers.”“Workers, O.K.,” I say, “but how can a teacher be quiet all the time and teach anybody anything?”“Christ was the best,” he says, thinking of something. “He lived thirty-three years. Thirty years he kept quiet; three years he talked. Ten to one for keeping quiet.”
... Franc Smith, Harry Vernon at Prep, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1959, p. 134
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:34; Luke 2:51-52; more at Christ, Jesus, Silence, Teach, Work)
Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Feast of Edmund of the East Angles, Martyr, 870
Commemoration of Priscilla Lydia Sellon, a Restorer of the Religious Life in the Church of England, 1876
It is to be acknowledged that many passages in the Bible are abstruse, and not to be easy to be understood. Yet we are not to omit reading the abstruser texts, which have any appearance of relating to us; but should follow the example of the Blessed Virgin, who understood not several of our Saviour’s sayings, but kept them all in her heart. Were we only to learn humility thus, it would be enough; but we shall come by degrees to apprehend far more than we expected, if we diligently compare spiritual things with spiritual, darker expressions with clearer, that are like or opposite to them; for contraries illustrate one another.
... George D’Oyly (1778-1846) & Richard Mant (1776-1848), Holy Bible According to the Authorized Version, Introduction to, London: SPCK, 1839, p. 18
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:11-13; Luke 2:19,48-51; 1 Tim. 4:13-15; 2 Pet. 3:15,16; more at Bible, Diligence, Heart, Humility, Savior, Spiritual life)
Thursday, November 21, 2002
Without realizing what was happening, most of us gradually came to take for granted the premises underlying this philosophy of optimism. We proceeded to live these propositions, though we would not have stated them as blandly as I set them forth here:Man is inherently good.Individual man can carve out his own salvation with the help of education and society through progressively better government.Reality and values worth searching for lie in the material world that science is steadily teaching us to analyze, catalogue, and measure. While we would not deny the existence of inner values, we relegate them to second place.The purpose of life is happiness, [which] we define in terms of enjoyable activity, friends, and the accumulation of material objects.The pain and evil of life—such as ignorance, poverty, selfishness, hatred, greed, lust for power—are caused by factors in the external world; therefore, the cure lies in the reforming of human institutions and the bettering of environmental conditions.As science and technology remove poverty and lift from us the burden of physical existence, we shall automatically become finer persons, seeing for ourselves the value of living the Golden Rule.In time, the rest of the world will appreciate the demonstration that the American way of life is best. They will then seek for themselves the good life of freedom and prosperity. This will be the greatest impetus toward an end of global conflict.The way to get along with people is to beware of religious dictums and dogma. The ideal is to be a nice person and to live by the Creed of Tolerance. Thus we offend few people. We live and let live. This is the American Way.
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), Beyond Our Selves, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, p. 5-6
(see the book; see also Rom. 3:10,23; 1 John 5:19; more at Education, Goodness, Greed, Happiness, Hatred, Ignorance, Man, Optimism, Philosophy, Poverty, Power, Purpose, Science, Sin, Social, World)
Friday, November 22, 2002
Commemoration of Cecilia, Martyr at Rome, c.230
Commemoration of Clive Staples Lewis, Spiritual Writer, 1963
God’s omnipotence means [His] power to do all that is not intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say, “God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,” you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words “God can.” It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities. It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives—not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 16
(see the book; see also Gen. 18:13-14; more at Attributes of God, God, Meaning, Miracle, Omnipotence, Power, Providence, Truth)
Saturday, November 23, 2002
Commemoration of Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100
There are great limits upon the human imagination. We can only rearrange the elements God has provided. No one can create a new primary color, a third sex, a fourth dimension, or a completely original animal. Even by writing a book, planting a garden, or begetting a child, we never create anything in the strict sense; we only take part in God’s creation.
... Kathryn Lindskoog (1934-2003), C. S. Lewis, Mere Christian, Glendale, Cal.: G/L Publications, 1973, reprint, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1981, p. 48
(see the book; see also Gen. 2:15; more at Creation, God, Imagination, Philosophy)
Sunday, November 24, 2002
Jesus once declared that God is “kind toward the unthankful and evil” (St. Luke 6:35), and I remember preaching a sermon on this text to a horrified and even astonished congregation who simply refused to believe (so I gathered afterwards) in this astounding liberality of God. That God should be in a state of constant fury with the wicked seemed to them only right and proper, but that God should be kind towards those who were defying or disobeying His laws seemed to them a monstrous injustice. Yet I was but quoting the Son of God Himself, and I only comment here that the terrifying risks that God takes are part of His Nature. We do not need to explain or modify His unremitting love towards mankind.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Making Men Whole, London: Highway Press, 1952, p. 27-28
(see the book; see also Luke 6:35; more at Disobedience, Evil, God, Grace, Jesus, Kindness, Knowing God, Love)
Monday, November 25, 2002
Commemoration of Katherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century
In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of Scripture be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity, that if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture, should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward; lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Summa Theologica , Benziger Bros. edition, 1947, Pars Prima, Quaest. lxviii, art. primus
(see the book; see also 2 Chr. 36:15-16; Matt. 12:7; Acts 17:18-32; more at Bible, Question, Salvation, Scripture, Skeptic, Teach, Truth)
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748
There are many things which a person can do alone, but being a Christian is not one of them. As the Christian life is, above all things, a state of union with Christ, and of union of his followers with one another, love of the brethren is inseparable from love of God. Resentment toward any human being cannot exist in the same heart with love to God. The personal relation to Christ can only be realized when one has “come to himself” as a member of His Body, the Christian fellowship.
... William T. Ham, “Candles of the Lord”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 169
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:9,10; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Fellowship, Heart, Love)
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
But when does flesh receive the bread which He calls His flesh? The faithful know and receive the Body of Christ if they labor to be the body of Christ; and they become the body of Christ if they study to live by the Spirit of Christ: for that which lives by the Spirit of Christ is the body of Christ.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, vol. i, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. x of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1873, tract. XXVI.13, p. 376
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:14; John 6:41-59; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 12:12; 2 Tim. 2:15; more at Body of Christ, Communion, Faith, Historical, Holy Spirit, Life)
Thursday, November 28, 2002
Nobody seriously believes the universe was made by God without being persuaded that He takes care of His works.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, I.xvi.1, p. 183
(see the book; see also Ps. 33:6,13; Jer. 10:12; more at Apologetics, Belief, Creation, God, Universe)
Friday, November 29, 2002
We can do nothing, we say sometimes, we can only pray. That, we feel, is a terribly precarious second best. So long as we can fuss and work and rush about, so long as we can lend a hand, we have some hope, but if we have to fall back upon God, ah, then things must be critical indeed!
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 75
(see the book; see also John 14:13-14; 16:23-24; Eph. 2:17-18; Heb. 4:16; more at Attitudes, Fall, God, Hope, Prayer, Work)
Saturday, November 30, 2002
Feast of Andrew the Apostle
Poor human reason, when it trusts in itself, substitutes the strangest absurdities for the highest divine concepts.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407)
(see also Rom. 8:6-7; more at Apprehension, Reason, Trust)
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