Quotations for November, 2004
Monday, November 1, 2004
Feast of All Saints
No doubt the gospel is quite free, as free as the Victoria Cross, which anyone can have who is prepared to face the risks; but it means time, and pains, and concentrating all one’s energies upon a mighty project. You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one’s leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting... It takes all one’s strength, and all one’s heart, and all one’s mind, and all one’s soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint. This is a business for adventurous spirits; others would shrink out of it. And so Christ had a way of pulling up would-be recruits with sobering and disconcerting questions, of meeting applicants, breathless and panting in their eagerness, by asking them if they really thought they had the grit, the stamina, the gallantry, required. For many, He explained, begin, but quickly become cowed, and slink away, leaving a thing unfinished as a pathetic monument of their own lack of courage and of staying power.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 230-231
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:13-14; 10:22; 24:12-13; Mark 4:18-19; 13:13; Luke 18:18-27; 22:31-32; John 8:31-32; 15:4; more at Christ, Christlikeness, Courage, Gospel, Heart, Mind, Pain, Soul, Spirit, Strength)
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
Feast of All Souls
We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 62
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:150,151; more at God, Prayer, Presence of God, Thought)
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
Feast of Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher, 1600
Commemoration of Martin of Porres, Dominican Friar, 1639
Faith keeps the soul at a holy distance from these infinite depths of divine wisdom, where it profits more by reverence and holy fear than any can do by their utmost attempt to draw nigh to that inaccessible light wherein these glories of the divine nature do dwell.
... John Owen (1616-1683), A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. VI-IX , in Works of John Owen, v. IV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 369
(see the book; see also Rev. 4:7-9; more at Faith, Fear, Holiness, Infinite, Light, Reverence, Soul, Wisdom)
Thursday, November 4, 2004
For many years the Christians met in homes and never possessed any special buildings for their gatherings. As religio illicita, no thought could be had of a permanent structure for gatherings. This would only facilitate matters for the Roman government in its merciless persecutions. The early Church was very conscious of its pilgrim character in a world which was at enmity with God.
... Donald L. Norbie, New Testament Church Organization, Interest, Chicago: 1955, p. 21
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 16:19; Ps. 137:4; Luke 9:54-58; John 15:18-20; Acts 16:14,15; Rom. 5:10; 8:7; 16:5; Col. 4:15; Philem. 1:2; Heb. 11:16; 1 John 3:13; more at Church, God, Home, Permanence, Pilgrim, War)
Friday, November 5, 2004
What then are we afraid of? Can we have too much of God? ... Is it a misfortune to be freed from the heavy yoke of the world, and to bear the light burden of Jesus Christ? Do we fear to be too happy, too much delivered from ourselves, from the caprices of our pride, the violence of our passions, and the tyranny of a deceitful world?
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Pious Reflections for Every Day in the Month, London: H. D. Symonds, 1800, p. 78-79
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:28-30; more at Bearing, Burden, Deliverance, Fear, God, Happiness, Jesus, Pride, Tyranny, Weakness, World)
Saturday, November 6, 2004
Feast of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1944
Gambling challenges that view of life which the Christian Church exists to uphold and extend. Its glorification of mere chance is a denial of the Divine order of nature. To risk money haphazard is to disregard the insistence of the Church in every age of living faith that possessions are a trust, and that men must account to God for their use. The persistent appeal to covetousness is fundamentally opposed to the unselfishness which was taught by Jesus Christ and by the New Testament as a whole. The attempt (inseparable from gambling) to make a profit out of the inevitable loss and possible suffering of others is the antithesis of that love of one’s neighbour on which our Lord insisted.
... William Temple (1881-1944), before the Royal Commission on Lotteries and Betting, 1932Punch, v. 240, Mark Lemon, et al., Punch Publications Ltd., 1961, p. 671
(see the book; see also Luke 6:30; more at Bible, Faith, Gambling, Jesus, Love, Money, Possession, Sin, Suffer, Teach, Trust, Unselfish)
Sunday, November 7, 2004
Feast of Willibrord of York, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia, 739
The great need today among the young is the strengthening of belief in things spiritual, for in spite of the superhuman advances in science, invention, and culture, none of this is attributed to God’s gift to man; in fact, the increase of knowledge and the cult of education have but given to youth a self-reliant independence where religion has no place, and beyond admitting that Christ was “the best man that ever lived,” there are few who concede any other tribute to the Creator. And yet the saving principles of the world are rooted in Christ, implanted in him; the Truth by which men live is the Truth as taught and lived by Jesus.
... Helen Olney, Thoughts
(see also John 14:6; more at Culture, Education, God, Jesus, Need, Religion, Science, Spiritual life, Teach, Truth)
Monday, November 8, 2004
Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”And he replied:“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”
... Minnie L. Haskins (1875-1957), from The Desert (privately printed c.1908), introduction, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 92
(see the book; see also Ps. 16:11; Isa. 41:10; 59:1; Eph. 5:13-14; more at Darkness, Faith, God, Light, Safety, Way)
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Commemoration of Margery Kempe, Mystic, after 1433
The Lord’s dealings and method with others are not our rule. It is the cause of much doubting and disquietness that persons, reading inattentively in books the Lord’s way to others, hence cut out this channel to themselves, and think, Thus and thus I must be dealt with, or else not at all.
... James Fraser of Brea (1639-1698), Select Biographies, v. II, W. K. Tweedie, ed., Ediburgh: The Wodrow Society, 1847, p. 270
(see the book; see also 2 Kings 5:11; Matt. 16:1-4; more at Attitudes, Book, Doubt, God, Thought, Way)
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Feast of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461
Perhaps there cannot be a better way of judging of what manner of spirit we are of, than to see whether the actions of our life are such as we may safely commend them to God in our prayers.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Perfection , London: W. Baynes, 1807, p. 78
(see the book; see also Job 35:12,13; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 15:8; Zech. 7:12,13; Jas. 1:6,7; 4:3; more at Action, Judgment, Life, Prayer, Spirit)
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Feast of Martin, Monk, Bishop of Tours, 397
In short: in all his ways and walks, whether as touching his own business, or his dealings with other men, he must keep his heart with all diligence, lest he do aught, or turn aside to aught, or suffer aught to spring up or dwell within him or about him, or let anything be done in him or through him, otherwise than were meet for God, and would be possible and seemly if God Himself were verily made Man.
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. LII
(see the book; see also Heb. 4:15; more at Authenticity, Diligence, God, Heart, Man, Way)
Friday, November 12, 2004
The Partisan Review, a journal of literary opinion representing a section of advanced secular thought, recently published a series of papers answering the question, “Why has there been a turn toward religion among intellectuals?” The asking of the question is significant. Few writers dispute the fact implied by it. Most of the contributors, whether they count themselves among those who have “turned to religion” or not, find the principal reason for it in the collapse of the optimistic hope that modern science and human good will would bring the world into an era of peace and justice. The confidence in that outcome has been so violently shaken that men must ask whether there are not higher resources than man’s to sustain courage and hope. The faith of the Bible points to such sources. God works within the tragic destiny of human efforts with a healing power, and a reconciling spirit. Even those who have felt completely superior to all “outworn” religious notions, must look today at least wistfully to the possibility that such a God lives and works.
... Daniel Day Williams (1910-1973), Interpreting Theology, 1918-1952, Daniel Day Williams, London: SCM Press, 1953, ed. 3, under alternative title, New York: Harper, 1959, p. 25
(see the book; see also Ps. 46:6,7; more at Apologetics, Confidence, God, Peace, Question, Reason, Reconciliation, Religion, Science, Thought)
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Feast of Charles Simeon, Pastor, Teacher, 1836
It is further objected that [Jesus] hath left us no example of that, which by many is esteemed the only religious state of life; viz. perfect retirement from the world, for the more devout serving of God, and freeing us from the temptations of the world, such as is that of monks and hermits; this, perhaps, may seem to some a great oversight and omission: but our Lord in great wisdom thought fit to give us a pattern of a quite different sort of life, which was, not to fly the conversation of men, and to live in a monastery or a wilderness, but to do good among men, to live in the world with great freedom, and with great innocency. He did, indeed, sometimes retire himself for the more free and private exercise of devotion, as we ought to do; but he passed his life chiefly in the conversation of men, that they might have all the benefit that was possible of his instruction and example. We read, that “he was carried into the wilderness to be tempted;” but not that he lived there to avoid temptation. He hath given us an example of denying the world, without leaving it.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VIII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CXC, p. 274
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:1,12-17; Luke 4:1-2,14-15; 22:27; John 13:15; 2 Cor. 8:9; Eph. 5:1-2; Heb. 12:3; 1 Pet. 2:21; 4:1; 1 John 2:6; more at Devotion, Example, Instruction, Jesus, Man, Temptation)
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Commemoration of Samuel Seabury, First Anglican Bishop in North America, 1796
[Dr. Johnson to a Quaker:] Oh, let us not be found, when our Master calls us, ripping the lace off our waistcoats, but the spirit of contention from our souls and tongues.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. IV , James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, p. 12 fn
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:23; Matt. 23:23-24; Luke 11:42; 1 Cor. 1:8; 13:2; Tit. 3:9; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:14; more at Call, Contention, Historical, Jesus, Second Coming, Soul, Spirit)
Monday, November 15, 2004
[Jesus’] life and utterance were the proclamation of this new order of things, of this new force by which man was to be ruled. When, unarmed and defenseless, He said to the Roman power, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” He spoke the word of inauguration. Over the kingdom of the elemental forces, over the kingdom of the animal, over the kingdom of the intellect, He beheld rising, with Himself as prophet and embodiment, that kingdom of the spiritual whose forces should be those of purity and sacrifice, love and trust, obedience and service. It is the last of the kingdoms because it is the highest; it will be the most enduring for there is nothing that can take its place.
... J. Brierley (1843-1914), The Life of the Soul, London: James Clarke & Company, 1912, p. 16
(see the book; see also Luke 1:30-33; John 18:36; more at Jesus, Kingdom, Life, Love, Obedience, Power, Preach, Prophet, Purity, Sacrifice, Service, Trust)
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Feast of Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093
Commemoration of Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240
If ‘religion’ is understood... as man’s search for God on man’s own terms, as his effort to make some kind of adjustment to the ‘ground of being’ on a level less radical than that of the self-forgetful commitment of faith, it clearly can become faith’s greatest enemy, the last bastion of human pride to hold out against God. The experience of the Jews in relation to Jesus, and of the churches throughout the ages, demonstrates that this is the most persistent and far-reaching temptation which confronts men. To call attention to this is always an urgently necessary part of the prophetic ministry within the Church.
... Daniel Jenkins (1914-2002), “Religion and Coming of Age”, in The Honest to God Debate, David L. Edwards, ed., London, SCM Press, 1963, p. 210
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:37,38; more at Church, Enemy, Faith, Jesus, Minister, Pride, Prophecy, Religion, Temptation)
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Feast of Hugh, Carthusian Monk, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200
More things are wrought by prayerThan this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voiceRise like a fountain for me night and day.For what are men better than sheep or goatsThat nourish a blind life within the brain,If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayerBoth for themselves and those who call them friend?For so the whole round earth is every wayBound by gold chains about the feet of God.
... Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), The Works of Tennyson, London: Macmillan, 1913, p. 465
(see the book; see also Ps. 141:2; more at Prayer)
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Any one can believe that Jesus was a god—what is so hard to credit is that He who hung upon the cross was the God. That is what you are asked as Christians to believe.And it is the sword, glittering but fearful. It must cut your life away from the standards of this world, away from its thought and its measures, no less than its aims and hopes. Hard and bitter is the separation; and you will be parted from many great and noble men, some perhaps your own teachers, who can accept about Jesus everything but the one thing needful. The Christian faith, if accepted, drives a wedge between its own adherents and the disciples of every other philosophy or religion, however lofty or soaring. And they will not see this; they will tell you that really your views and theirs are the same thing, and only differ in words, which, if only you were a little more highly trained, you would understand. Even among Christ’s nominal servants there are many who think a little goodwill is all that is needed to bridge the gulf—a little amiability and mutual explanation, a more careful use of phrases, would soon accommodate Christianity to fashionable modes of speaking and thinking, and destroy all causes of provocation. So they would. But they would destroy also its one inalienable attraction: that of being... a wonder, and a beauty, and a terror—no dull and drab system of thought, no mere symbolic idealism.
... John Neville Figgis (1866-1919), The Gospel and Human Needs, London: Longman’s, Green & Co., 1911, p. 149-150
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:34-36; Mark 13:12,13; more at Gospel)
Friday, November 19, 2004
Feast of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Commemoration of Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, Philanthropist, 1231
Commemoration of Mechtild, Bèguine of Magdeburg, Mystic, Prophet, 1280
Our own curiosity often hindereth us in the reading of holy writings, when we seek to understand and discuss, where we should pass simply on. If thou wouldst profit by thy reading, read humbly, simply, honestly, and not desiring to win a character [i.e., reputation] for learning.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.v.2, p. 37
(see the book; see also Luke 21:38; more at Bible)
Saturday, November 20, 2004
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
To have heard the Bible speak is to be prepared not for maturity, balance, poise, riches, but for the poverty and distress and uncertainty of thought and action that are so desperately characteristic of human life. The Bible takes human mortality seriously, that mortality which the preacher does not hide from you even when you stand on the threshold of life. To wrestle with the theme of the Scriptures is your proper preparation for the rough things of human life, as we see it, and observe it, and are immersed in it. The Truth which is being spoken to you most clearly in the Scriptures is your only protection against cynicism and skepticism, just as it is your only protection against that false romanticism which is the modern cruel substitute for faith in God.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 8
(see the book; see also Isa. 40:6-8; Job 13:15; Ps. 90:5-6; 102:11-12; Matt. 24:35; 1 Cor. 1:20-21; Jas. 1:10-11; more at Bible, Faith, God, Life, Mortality, Poverty, Scripture, Thought, Truth, Uncertainty)
Sunday, November 21, 2004
He enters by the door who enters by Christ, who imitates the suffering of Christ, who is acquainted with the humility of Christ, so as to feel and know that, if God became man for us, men should not think themselves God, but men. He who, being man, wishes to appear God, does not imitate Him who, being God, became man. Thou art not bid to think less of thyself than thou art, but to know what thou art.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Sermon 87(137).4 (NPNF 16::518), in Catena aurea, v. VI, Thomas Aquinas, Oxford: J. Parker, 1874, p. 344-345
(see the book; see also John 10:1-5; 14:6-7; 17:14-23; Phil. 2:5-11; more at Christ, Door, God, Humility, Jesus, Knowledge, Man, Suffer)
Monday, November 22, 2004
Commemoration of Cecilia, Martyr at Rome, c.230
Commemoration of Clive Staples Lewis, Spiritual Writer, 1963
What we have been told is how we men can be drawn into Christ—can become part of that wonderful present which the young Prince of the universe wants to offer to His Father—that present which is Himself and therefore us in Him. It is the only thing we were made for. And there are strange, exciting hints in the Bible that when we are drawn in, a great many other things in Nature will begin to come right. The bad dream will be over: it will be morning.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 200
(see the book; see also Ps. 30:4,5; more at Conversion)
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Commemoration of Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100
One can believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and feel no personal loyalty to Him at all—indeed, pay no attention whatever to His commandments and His will for one’s life. One can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer and never do any praying.
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), Beyond Our Selves, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, p. 71
(see the book; see also Jas. 2:19; more at Authenticity)
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
It is as reasonable to suppose it the desire of all Christians to arrive at Christian Perfection, as to suppose, that all sick men desire to be restored to perfect health; yet experience shows us, that nothing wants more to be pressed, repeated, and forced upon our minds, than the plainest rules of Christianity.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 481
(see the book; see also Gen. 17:1; Matt. 5:48; more at Weakness)
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Commemoration of Katherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century
“The Law,” he says, “was our ‘pedagogue’, until Christ should come.” Those words have been interpreted as though they described the Law as a preparatory education, continued at a higher stage by Christ. That, however, is not quite what Paul meant. The “pedagogue” in Greek society was not a schoolmaster, he did not give lessons... He was a slave who accompanied a boy to school, and both waited upon him and exercised a supervision which interfered with the boy’s freedom of action. He is, in fact, a figure in the little allegory which Paul gives us to illustrate the position of the People of God before Christ came. There was a boy left heir to a great estate. He was a minor, and so must have guardians and trustees. He was as helpless in their hands as if he had been a slave. He must live on the allowance they gave him, and follow their wishes from day to day. They gave him a “pedagogue” to keep him out of mischief. He could not please himself, or realize his own purposes and ambitions. Yet all the time he was the heir; the estate was his, and no one else’s. Just so the People of God, the Divine Commonwealth, was cramped and fettered by ignorance and evil times. It remained in uneasy expectation of one day coming into active existence. At last the heir came of age: guardians and trustees abdicated their powers, and the grown man possessed in full realization all that was his. So now the fettered life of the Divine Commonwealth bursts its bonds and comes into active existence... The intervention of law was not a reversal of God’s original and eternal purpose of pure love and grace towards men, it only subserved that purpose, while it seemed to contradict it, just as the presence of the “pedagogus” might seem to the high-spirited young heir quite contrary to the rights secured to him by his father’s will.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 79-80
(see the book; see also Lev. 25:42; Matt. 5:17-18; John 8:32-35; Rom. 3:20-22; 7:7-9; Gal. 3:21-24; more at Christ, Education, Grace, Helplessness, Law, Love, Slave)
Friday, November 26, 2004
Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748
The great question for us now is, Do we believe in that love of God which Christ taught by His words, and of which His followers saw in His voluntary death a crowning manifestation? And remember that even belief in the love of God will do us no good unless it awakes answering love in ourselves—unless it adds to our hatred of the sin which separates us from God and increases our love of other men.
... James Hastings Rashdall (1858-1924), Principles and Precepts, Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1927, p. 126
(see the book; see also Ps. 97:10; Amos 5:15; John 15:13; Rom. 5:6-8,20-21; 7:13; 12:9; Heb. 1:8-9; Jas. 1:13-15; more at Belief, Christ, Death, God, Hatred, Love, Question, Sin, Teach)
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Lord, I am glad for the great gift of living,Glad for Thy days of sun and of rain;Grateful for joy, with an endless thanksgiving,Grateful for laughter—and grateful for pain. Lord, I am glad for the young April’s wonder,Glad for the fulness of long summer days;And now when the spring and my heart are asunder,Lord, I give thanks for the dark autumn ways. Sun, bloom, and blossom, O Lord, I remember,The dream of the spring and its joy I recall;But now in the silence and pain of November,Lord, I give thanks to Thee, Giver of all!
... Charles Hanson Towne (1877-1949), The Speaker: a quarterly magazine v. IV, n. 13-16, Pearson Brothers, 1910, p. 200
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:1; Eph. 5:19,20; more at Prayers)
Sunday, November 28, 2004
There is in St. Paul’s definite, soul-stirring assertion of the wrath of God and the reality of the judgment at hand, a truth more profound than any that underlies our somewhat enfeebled ideas of universal benevolence and the determined progress of the race. There is something more true in his denunciation of idolatry as sin than in our denial that it is possible for a man to worship an idol, or in our suggestion that all idolatry is only a road to spiritual worship of the one true God... One day I think we shall return to these stern doctrines, realizing in them a truth more profound than we now know, and then we shall preach them with conviction, and being convinced ourselves we shall convince others.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 73
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:14,19-22; more at Conviction, God, Idol, Judgment, Preach, Sin, Truth, Worship)
Monday, November 29, 2004
The heart must be kept tender and pliable; otherwise agnosticism converts to skepticism. In such a case, the value of apologetics is voided, for apologetics is aimed at persuading doubters, not at refuting the defiant. He who demands a kind of proof that the nature of the case renders impossible, is determined that no possible evidence shall convince him.
... Edward John Carnell (1919-1967), The Case for Orthodox Theology, Philadelphia: Westminister, 1959, p. 84
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:38-41; more at Agnosticism, Apologetics, Nature, Proof, Skeptic)
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Feast of Andrew the Apostle
I would very earnestly ask you to check your conception of Christ, the image of Him which as a Christian you hold in your mind, with the actual revealed Person who can be seen and studied in action in the pages of the Gospels. It may be of some value to hold in our minds a bundle of assorted ideals to influence and control our conduct. But surely we need to be very careful before we give that “bundle” the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 8
(see the book; see also Eph. 1:13,14; more at Jesus)
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