Quotations for March, 2004
Monday, March 1, 2004
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601
The scandal of the Bible does not lie so much in its claim to record the Word of God, as in its insistence that the Word of God is to be heard in a particular historical happening, in a particular locality—and only there. To put it in a provocative manner: the Bible is theology. It is historical theology. It can reveal its meaning only to those who regard it as the Word of God, and are able to preserve a strict confidence in the universal significance of particular historical occasions.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 58
(see the book; see also Matt. 17:5; more at Bible, God, Historical, Meaning, Theology)
Tuesday, March 2, 2004
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
Devotional poetry... has to do with devotedness, with trust merged into faith, with love’s steadfastness. It finds men’s worthwhileness deep laid in relationship to God’s worthwhileness, and this devotion is expressed in communication. It finds this world precious insofar as it... symbolizes God’s love and therefore it runs counter to our national sin of distrust in God. (And yet, how can we trust Him without knowing and living unto Him and loving Him?)
... Samuel Bradley
(see also Ps. 66:8,9; more at Devotion, Faith, Love, Nation, Sin, Social, Trust)
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion ... has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. X, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1827, p. 150
(see the book; see also Matt. 19:23-26; more at Industry, Pride, Religion, Sin, Virtue, Wealth, World)
Thursday, March 4, 2004
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647
He who forgives not is not forgiven, and the prayer of the Pharisee is as the weary beating of the surf of hell, while the cry of a soul out of its fire sets the heart-strings of love trembling.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Sir Gibbie, v. I , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1880, p. 60
(see the book; see also Luke 11:4; more at Fire, Forgiveness, Hell, Love, Pharisaism, Prayer, Soul)
Friday, March 5, 2004
My father had never lost his temper with us, never beaten us, but we had for him that feeling often described as fear, which is something quite different and far deeper than alarm. It was that sense which, without irreverence, I have thought to find expressed by the great evangelists when they speak of the fear of God. One does not fear God because He is terrible, but because He is literally the soul of goodness and truth, because to do Him wrong is to do wrong to some mysterious part of oneself, and one does not know exactly what the consequences may be.
... Joyce Cary (1888-1957), Except the Lord, London: Michael Joseph, 1953, reprint, New Directions Publishing, 1985, p. 47
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:7-9; more at Weakness)
Saturday, March 6, 2004
Instead of allowing yourself to be so unhappy, just let your love grow as God wants it to grow. Seek goodness in others. Love more persons more—love them more impersonally, more unselfishly, without thought of return. The return, never fear, will take care of itself.
... Henry Drummond (1851-1897)
(see the book; see also Luke 6:35; more at Goodness, Growth, Love, Sadness, Unselfish)
Sunday, March 7, 2004
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
We, and all things, exist in God’s infinitude now; our individuality battens within it; our personality grows strong because of it; and we know, if we know anything, that while the more we approach the good the more we please God, at the same time the more men approach the good the more nobly distinctive, the more beautifully individual, do their characters become.
... Lily Dougall (1858-1923), The Undiscovered Country, in Immortality: an essay in discovery, co-ordinating scientific, psychical, and Biblical research, Burnett Hillman Streeter, Arthur Clutton-Brock, Cyril William Emmet, James Arthur Hadfield, & Lily Dougall, Macmillan, 1917, p. 370
(see the book; see also Ps. 1:1-3; more at Providence)
Monday, March 8, 2004
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929
We have forgotten that evil is infectious, as infectious as small-pox; and we do not perceive that if we allow whole departments of our life to become purely secular, and to create and maintain moral or immoral standards of their own, in time the whole of life is bound to become corrupt.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 225-226
(see the book; see also Ps. 14:1-3; Matt. 15:11; Mark 7:20-23; Rom. 1:18-23; 8:20-21; Gal. 6:8; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2:18-19; more at Corruption, Evil, Forget, Ideal, Immorality, Life, Morality, Sin, Time)
Tuesday, March 9, 2004
If we are to live unto God at any time, or in any place, we are to live unto Him at all times and in all places. If we are to use any thing as the gift of God, we are to use every thing as His gift.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 74
(see the book; see also Gal. 2:19,20; more at Obedience)
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
The smallest things become great when God requires them of us; they are small only in themselves; they are always great when they are done for God, and when they serve to unite us with Him eternally.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Letters to Men and Women, P. Owen, 1957, p. 55
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:41-42; 18:3-5; 25:40; Mark 9:41; 12:42-44; Luke 6:35; John 6:9-13; Acts 11:29; 2 Cor. 8:12; 9:6; Heb. 6:10; more at Eternity, God, Greatness, Obedience, Unity)
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Expressions of sharp and even violent criticism of religion and the church have been welcomed [in this collection], for they usually imply sincerity of thought. If caustic criticism of religious institutions and practices is irreligious, then Amos, Isaiah, and Jesus were very irreligious men. In fact, that is exactly what many of their contemporaries took them to be.
... Halford E. Luccock (1885-1960) & Frances Brentano, The Questing Spirit, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 42
(see the book; see also Isa. 1:13-17; 1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 51:16; Pr. 21:27; Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Mic. 6:7-8; Matt. 9:13; 12:1-3; 23; 26:64-66; John 19:7; more at Bible, Church, Criticism, Jesus, Religion, Thought)
Friday, March 12, 2004
I do not believe any man ever yet genuinely, humbly, thoroughly gave himself to Christ without some other finding Christ through him.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1878, p. 16-17
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:16; more at Conversion)
Saturday, March 13, 2004
The power and attraction Jesus Christ exercises over men never comes from him alone, but from him as Son of the Father. It comes from him in his Sonship in a double way, as man living to God and God living with men. Belief in him and loyalty to his cause involve men in the double movement, from world to God and from God to world. Even when theologies fail to do justice to this fact, Christians living with Christ in their cultures are aware of it. For they are forever being challenged to abandon all things for the sake of God; and forever being sent back into the world to teach and practice all the things that have been commanded them.
... H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), Christ and Culture, New York: Harper, 1951, reprint, Harper & Row, 1956, p. 29
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:19,20; more at Social)
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Don’t imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he won’t be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who’s always telling you that, of course, he’s nobody. Probably all you’ll think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him, it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility; he won’t be thinking about himself at all. There I must stop. If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you’re not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Christian Behavior, London: Geoffrey Bles, Macmillan, 1943, p. 49
(see the book; see also Prov. 13:10; Matt. 5:6; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 1:51-53; more at Envy, Humility, People, Pride, Sin, Thought)
Monday, March 15, 2004
If [it] yields to the drift of the age and surrenders its hold of the awful but glorious individualism of the Christian salvation,... the Church itself will not be much enriched by an accession of panic-stricken fugitives from a Personal God. And many unhappy young people are discovering now that Church membership is not the equivalent of being reconciled to God, and a kind of Confirmation is not a substitute for Conversion.
... William Russell Maltby (1866-1951), Obiter Scripta, London: Epworth Press, 1952, p. 117-118
(see the book; see also Eph. 1:11-12; Luke 19:2-10; Acts 8:30-36; 13:48; Rom. 5:11; 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 5:17-19; Eph. 1:4-6; Philemon 1:10; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Authenticity, Church, Conversion, Discovery, God, Reconciliation, Salvation)
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
We are apt to overlook the hand and heart of God in our afflictions, and to consider them as mere accidents, and unavoidable evils. This view makes them absolute and positive evils, which admit of no remedy or relief. If we view our troubles and trials aside from the divine design and agency in them, we cannot be comforted.
... Nathaniel Emmons (1745-1840)
(see the book; see also Isa. 51:12,13; more at Affliction, Comfort, Evil, Trial, Weakness, Will of God)
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460
It is generally true that all that is required to make men unmindful of what they owe God for any blessing is that they should receive that blessing often and regularly.
... Richard Whately (1787-1863), New Penny Magazine, v. 1, n. 1, J. Crockford, 1861, p. 50
(see the book; see also Deut. 6:10-16; 8:11-17; more at Blessing, Gifts, God, Gratitude, Man)
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Man does not live for himself alone in this mortal body, in order to work on its account, but also for all men on earth; nay, he lives only for others, and not for himself. For it is to this end that he brings his own body into subjection, that he may be able to serve others more sincerely and more freely... Thus it is impossible that he should take his ease in this life, and not work for the good of his neighbors, since he must needs speak, act, and converse among men, just as Christ... had His conversation among men...It is the part of a Christian to take care of his own body for the very purpose that by its soundness and wellbeing he may be enabled to labor... for the aid of those who are in want, that thus the stronger member may serve the weaker member, and we may be children of God, and busy for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Treatise on Christian Liberty , p. 335-336
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:2; John 15:13; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:7-8; 1 Cor. 6:15-20; Phil. 2:3; 1 Tim. 5:23; Rev. 14:13; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Life, Man, Mortality, Purpose, Service, Stewardship, Strength, Work)
Friday, March 19, 2004
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth
It is the custom of unbelievers to speak as if the air of Palestine were then surcharged with belief in the supernatural, miracles were everywhere. Thus they would explain away the significance of the popular belief that our Lord wrought signs and wonders. But in so doing they set themselves a worse problem than they evade. If miracles were so very common, it would be as easy to believe that Jesus wrought them as that He worked at His father’s bench, but also it would be as inconclusive. And how then are we to explain the astonishment which all the evangelists so constantly record? On any conceivable theory, these writers shared the beliefs of that age. And so did the readers who accepted their assurance that all were amazed, and that His report “went out straightway everywhere into all the region of Galilee.” These are emphatic words, and both the author and his readers must have considered a miracle to be more surprising than modern critics believe they did.Yet we do not read that any one was converted by this miracle. All were amazed, but wonder is not self-surrender. They were content to let their excitement die out—as every violent emotion must—without any change of life, any permanent devotion to the new Teacher and His doctrine.
... G. A. Chadwick (1840-1923), The Gospel According to St. Mark, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, p. 33
(see the book; see also Mark 1:23-28; more at Apologetics, Belief, Conversion, Devotion, Jesus, Miracle, Wonder)
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687
Rational conviction, even when it can be had, is very different from commitment... Commitment to Christ is a matter for the entire person, not for his mind alone; and intellectual conviction (if, indeed, it can be had at all without the whole person being involved) is not the whole business. But the whole business, precisely because it concerns the whole person, can never be achieved in defiance of the intellect. Reason, though not the whole, is part of personal response.
... C. F. D. Moule (1908-2007), The Phenomenon of the New Testament, v. I, London: SCM, 1967, p. 5-6
(see the book; see also Acts 8:13,18-21; more at Christ, Commitment, Conversion, Conviction, Mind, People, Reason)
Sunday, March 21, 2004
The primary cause of these [denominational] divisions is the institutionalism and organizationalism of the churches and missions, which instead of helping the life of the believers in them, smothers or drives it out. This gradually produces mere dead institutions instead of the living Ekklesia.Christians who really have life in Christ cannot exist within such a corpse and usually will finally come out of it. But, sad to say, in most cases those who leave dead institutions simply set out to build another “better” institution or embrace other rituals and ceremonies, thus repeating the same error. Instead of turning to Christ Himself as their center, they again seek to find fellowship and spiritual security on the very same basis that failed. [Continued tomorrow]
... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 5
(see the book; see also John 17:22,23; 2 Cor. 3:5,6; more at Christ, Church, Error, Failure, Fellowship, Life, Mission, Security)
Monday, March 22, 2004
[Continued from yesterday]Even the Bible itself is interpreted and understood in various ways and often becomes the cause of sectarianism. In the same way, dogmas and creeds cannot bring Christian unity, because human minds are not so uniformly created that they can unite in a single dogma or creed. Even our understanding of Christ Himself cannot be the basis of unity, because He is too big to be understood fully by any one person or group. Our limited understandings do not always coincide. One emphasizes this point about Christ, another that, and this again becomes the cause of division.Only as we take our fellowship with Christ as the center of Christian faith, will all Christians realize their oneness... Is not our fellowship, however varied, with the same Lord? Is not the same Savior our one Head?
... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 5
(see the book; see also John 17:22,23; more at Bible, Christ, Church, Creed, Dogma, Fellowship, Savior, Unity)
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Whoever hath an interest in any one promise hath an interest in them all, and in the fountain-love from whence they flow. He to whom any drop of their sweetness floweth may follow it up into the spring. Were we wise, each taste of mercy would lead us to the ocean of love. Have we any hold on a promise?—we may get upon it, and it will bring us to the main, Christ Himself and the Spirit, and so into the bosom of the Father. It is our folly to abide upon a little, which is given us merely to make us press for more.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance Explained and Confirmed , in Works of John Owen, v. XI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1853, ch. V, p. 223
(see the book; see also Gen. 32:26-30; John 14:16-17,26; Gal. 4:6; more at Love)
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
Every moment and every situation challenges us to action and to obedience. We have literally no time to sit down and ask ourselves whether so-and-so is our neighbour or not. We must get into action and obey—we must behave like a neighbour to him. But perhaps this shocks you. Perhaps you still think you ought to think out beforehand and know what you ought to do. To that, there is only one answer. You can only know and think about it by actually doing it. It is no use asking questions; for it is only through obedience that you come to learn the truth.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 77
(see the book; see also Heb. 5:8; more at Neighbor, Obedience, Truth)
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary
Even the most traditional theologian will be anxious to point out that the classical images which have been used, with more or less success, to depict different aspects of Redemption—the winning of a battle, the liberation of captives, the payment of a fine or a debt, the curing of a disease, and so on—are not to be interpreted literally, any more than, when we say that the eternal Word “came down from Heaven,” we are describing a process of spatial translation. For here we are dealing with processes and events which, by the nature of the case, cannot be precisely described in everyday language...The matter is quite different with such a statement as that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary; for, whatever aspects of the Incarnation outstrip the descriptive power of ordinary language, this at least is plainly statable in it. It means that Jesus was conceived in his mother’s womb without previous sexual intercourse on her part with any male human being, and this is a straightforward statement which is either true or false. To say that the birth... of Jesus Christ cannot simply be thought of as a biological event and to add that this is what the Virgin Birth means is a plain misuse of language; and no amount of talk about the appealing character of the “Christmas myth” can validly gloss this over.
... E. L. Mascall (1905-1993), The Secularization of Christianity, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966, p. 157
(see the book; see also Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 2:19; John 3:13; 6:38-58; more at Bible, Christ, Christmas, Incarnation, Jesus, Myth, Redemption, Simplicity, Theology)
Friday, March 26, 2004
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883
When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on this earth.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 86
(see the book; see also Rev. 3:20; more at Knowing God)
Saturday, March 27, 2004
To put it shortly, the Church forgets that Christianity is not an attitude of mind, but a type of life: a man’s spirit is not known by his opinion (creeds etc.) but by his action and general conduct.
... William Temple (1881-1944), William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury: his life and letters, Frederic Athelwold Iremonger, Oxford University Press, 1948, p. 99
(see the book; see also 1 Sam. 2:3; Ps. 62:11-12; 94:4; Matt. 5:16; 7:24; 16:27; 25:34-46; Gal. 5:6; 6:7-8; Col. 4:6; Jas. 1:22; 1 John 3:23-24; more at Action, Attitudes, Church, Conduct, Life, Man)
Sunday, March 28, 2004
During the last year or so, I have come to appreciate the “worldliness” of Christianity as never before. The Christian is not a homo religiosus but a man, pure and simple, just as Jesus was man... It is only by living completely in this world that one learns to believe. One must abandon every attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, a converted sinner, a churchman, a righteous man, or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. This is what I mean by worldliness—taking life in one’s stride, with all its duties and problems, its successes and failures, its experiences and helplessness... How can success make us arrogant or failure lead us astray, when we participate in the sufferings of God by living in this world?
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and Papers from Prison, London: Macmillan, 1962, p. 226-227
(see the book; see also John 17:15-18; more at Repentance)
Monday, March 29, 2004
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974
No creature can be a child of God but because the goodness of God is in it; nor can it have any union or communion with the goodness of the Deity till its life is the Spirit of Love. This is the one only band of union betwixt God and the creature... Here the necessity is absolute; nothing will do instead of this will; all contrivances of holiness, all forms of religious piety, signify nothing, without this will to all goodness. For as the will to all goodness is the whole nature of God, so it must be the whole nature of every service or religion that can be acceptable to him.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 5
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:28; more at Child, Communion, God, Goodness, Holiness, Weakness)
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
If there were a righteousness which a man could have of his own, then we should have to concern ourselves with the question of how it can be imparted to him. But there is not. The idea of a righteousness of one’s own is the quintessence of sin.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998)
(see also Prov. 14:12; Isa. 5:21; 64:6; Matt. 5:20; 23:29-31; Luke 16:14,15; Rom. 10:3; 2 Cor. 10:17,18; more at Man, Righteousness, Self-righteousness, Sin)
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in and invite God, and His Angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and His Angels for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, p. 477-478
(see the book; see also Mark 14:37,38; more at Angel, God, Neglect, Prayer)
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