Quotations for March, 2005
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601
There is nothing capricious about religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does not exercise his arm, he develops no biceps muscles and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigour of moral fibre, nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character—the Christ-like nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.
... Henry Drummond (1851-1897), “The Greatest Thing in the World”, in Addresses, H. Altemus, 1891, p. 51-52
(see the book; see also Tit. 2:11-14; more at Christlikeness, Love, Morality, Practical Christianity, Religion, Spiritual life, Strength)
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
Peace comes when there is no cloud between our lives and God. Peace is the consequence of forgiveness, God’s removal of that which obscures His face, and [so] breaks union with Him. The happy sequence culminating in fellowship with God is penitence, pardon, and peace—the first we offer, the second we accept, and the third we inherit.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in Prayer, London: Jacobs & Co., 1907, p. 53
(see the book; see also Eze. 34:25; 1 John 1:3,9; more at Fellowship, Forgiveness, God, Peace, Penitence)
Thursday, March 3, 2005
Pride calls me to the window, gluttony to the table, wantonness to the bed, laziness to the chimney-corner; ambition commands me to go upstairs, and covetousness to come down. Vices, I see, are as well contrary to themselves as to virtue. Free me, Lord, from this distracted case; fetch me from being sin’s servant to be Thine, whose “service is perfect freedom,” for Thou art but one, and ever the same.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Good Thoughts in Bad Times , Chicago: United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston, 1898, Mixt Contemplations, VIII.
(see the book; see also Gal. 5:1; more at Sin)
Friday, March 4, 2005
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647
Christ claims our help in many a strange disguise:Now, fever ridden, on a bed He lies;Homeless He wanders now beneath the stars;Now counts the number of His prison bars;Now bends beside us, crowned with hoary hairs.No need have we to climb the heavenly stairsAnd press our kisses on His feet and hands;In every man that suffers, He, the Man of Sorrows, stands.
... Anonymous, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 251
(see the book; see also Matt. 25:44,45; more at Weakness)
Saturday, March 5, 2005
When we have, through Christ, obtained mercy and grace for our persons, we need not fear but that we shall have suitable and seasonable help for our duties.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. III-V, in Works of John Owen, v. XXI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 438
(see the book; see also Ps. 72:13,14; Heb. 4:16; more at Christ, Duty, Grace, Mercy, Weakness)
Sunday, March 6, 2005
A Christian marriage is [not] one with no problems or even a marriage with fewer problems. (It may well mean more problems.) But it does mean a life in which two people are able to accept each other and love each other in the midst of problems and fears. It means a marriage in which selfish people can accept selfish people without constantly trying to change them—and even accept themselves, because they realize personally that they have been accepted by Christ.
... Keith Miller (b. 1927), The Taste of New Wine, Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1965, p. 48
(see the book; more at Attitudes)
Monday, March 7, 2005
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
Accustom yourself then by degrees thus to worship Him, to beg His grace, to offer Him your heart from time to time, in the midst of your business, even every moment, if you can. Do not always scrupulously confine yourself to certain rules, or particular forms of devotion, but act with a general confidence in God, with love and humility.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 34-35
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:1; more at Worship)
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929
Peace does not mean the end of all our striving,Joy does not mean the drying of our tears.Peace is the power that comes to souls arrivingUp to the light where God Himself appears. Joy is the wine that God is ever pouringInto the hearts of those who strive with Him,Light’ning their eye to vision and adoring,Strength’ning their arms to warfare glad and grim.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Hardest Part, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919, p. 187
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:17; more at Attitudes, Gladness, God, Joy, Peace, Power, Strength, Strife, Tear)
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Sin is nothing else than that the creature willeth otherwise than God willeth, and contrary to Him.
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXXVI
(see the book; more at Sin)
Thursday, March 10, 2005
I inquired what iniquity was, and found it to be no substance, but the perversion of the will, turned aside from Thee, O God, the Supreme, towards these lower things.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, VII.xvi, p. 162
(see the book; see also Ps. 125:4,5; more at God, Prayers, Sin)
Friday, March 11, 2005
In case our sins have been public and scandalous, both reason and the practice of the Christian Church do require, that, when men have publicly offended they should give public satisfaction and open testimony of their repentance.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLX, p. 284-285
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:12; 38:18; Jas. 5:16; Rev. 3:19; more at Sin)
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Evil is the soul’s choice of the not-God. The corollary is that damnation or hell, is the permanent choice of the not-God. God does not (in the monstrous old-fashioned phrase) “send” anybody to hell; hell is that state of the soul in which its choice becomes obdurate and fixed; the punishment (so to call it) of that soul is to remain eternally in that State which it has chosen.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, London: Golanz, 1963, p. 230
(see the book; see also Gen. 6:5-8; more at Sin)
Sunday, March 13, 2005
It is appalling to think of a power so strong that it can annihilate with the irresistible force of its grinding heel; but it is inspiring to consider an Almightiness that transforms the works of evil into the hand-maidens of righteousness and converts the sinner into the saint. And it is this latter power which eternal Love possesses and exhibits. He persistently dwells in the sinner until the sinner wakes up in His likeness and is satisfied with it.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in the World , London: Longmans Green, 1914, p. 141
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:3-5; more at Sin)
Monday, March 14, 2005
It is possible that for a Jew nothing more was required than the assurance that his sins were ‘remitted,’ ‘blotted out’; he might thereafter feel himself automatically restored to the relation of favour on God’s part and confidence on his own, which was the hereditary prerogative of his people. But it was different with those who could claim no such prerogative, and with those Jews who had become uneasy as to the grounds of such a relation and their validity, in a word, with any who had been led by conscience to take a deeper view of the consequences of sin. So long as these were found mainly in punishment, suffering, judgment, so long ‘remission of sins’ letting off the consequences, might suffice. But when it was recognized that sin had a far more serious consequence in alienation from God, the severing of the fellowship between God and His children, then Justification... ceased to be sufficient. ‘Forgiveness’ took on a deeper meaning; it connoted restoration of the fellowship, the establishment or re-establishment of a relation which could be described on the one side as fatherly, on the other as filial.
... Anderson Scott (1859-1941), Christianity According to St. Paul, Cambridge: The University Press, 1927, CUP Archive, 1959, p. 74-75
(see the book; see also 1 John 1:5-7; more at Sin)
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
When I consider how my light is spentEre half my days, in this dark world and wide,And that one talent which is death to hide,Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bentTo serve therewith my Maker, and presentMy true account, lest He returning chide,“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”I fondly ask. But Patience, to preventThat murmur, soon replies: “God doth not needEither man’s work, or His own gifts; who bestBear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His stateIs kingly: Thousands at his bidding speed,And post o’er land and ocean without rest;They also serve who only stand and wait.”
... John Milton (1608-1674), composed 1655, The Complete Poems of John Milton, New York: P. F. Collier, 1909, p. 86
(see the book; see also Matthew 25:14-30; more at Gifts, God, Need, Obedience, Patience, Service, Talent)
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Any alleged Christianity which fails to express itself in cheerfulness, at some point, is clearly spurious. The Christian is cheerful, not because he is blind to injustice and suffering, but because he is convinced that these, in the light of the divine sovereignty, are never ultimate.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Humor of Christ, London: Libra Book, 1965, p. 32
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:21-24; more at Sin)
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460
Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 181
(see the book; see also Ps. 136; 1 Thess. 5:18; Rev. 5:11-13; more at Dumbness, Heaven, Repentance, Thanksgiving)
Friday, March 18, 2005
OUR SUNDAY-SCHOOL TEACHERS Often, though not always, they work in inadequate buildings, with limited budgets, with insufficient backing from church officers, with indifferent support from parents, and at times even under a minister who cares for none of these things. Usually the workers themselves have had insufficient training for the job they are asked to perform. And always they work in a secularized culture, in the midst of spiritual illiteracy, where the most commonplace terms in the Bible and the most elemental ideas concerning the Kingdom of God sound strange even to otherwise well-educated adults.
... Lewis J. Sherrill (1892-1957), Lift Up Your Eyes, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1949, p. 69
(see the book; see also Neh. 8:8; more at Church)
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth
Some day, we hope, study will be as much a part of churchmanship as worship and financial support are today. To be sure, the church of Jesus Christ must be more than just a “studying” church. But it cannot be less than a studying church and still be faithful to its Lord.
... Carl R. Smith & Robert W. Lynn, “Experiment in Suburbia”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 163
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:15; more at Church)
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687
The desire for certitude is natural enough and explains the human tendency to mistake faith for certainty. This is not a specially religious mistake. We think of supernaturalism when faith is mentioned, but the naturalistic description of the world also operates on assumptions that require a faith as robust as does the most soaring mysticism. The usual efforts to skirt faith beg all the questions there are. A psychiatrist, for instance, who points out to you that you believe in God the Father because you need a father, or that you became a missionary to expiate your guilt feelings, may be quite correct, but he has not touched on the prior question as to whether there is, in fact, a cosmic father figure who is the archetype of all other fathers, or whether there is an evangel worth spending your life promulgating.
... Thomas Howard (b. 1935), Christ the Tiger, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1967, p. 97
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:9; Rev. 5:11,12; more at Faith)
Monday, March 21, 2005
This wide and generous spirit of love, not the religious egotist’s longing to get away from the world to God, is the fruit of true self-oblation; for a soul totally possessed by God is a soul totally possessed by Charity. By the path of self-offering, the Church and the soul have come up to the frontiers of the Holy. There we are required, not to cast the world from us, but do our best for all others as well as ourselves.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice, New York: Longmans, Green, 1938, p. 32
(see the book; see also Col. 3:14; more at Abasement, Charity, Generosity, Love, Self-sacrifice, Soul, Spirit)
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
It was on the last night of His life, when His enemies were all around Him, that He spoke to His disciples of the joy that no man taketh away. Read again the story of His Passion: Jesus is seen throughout as calm, quiet, and confident. His last word is, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.” Someone may say, “Yes, but He knew that He was going to rise from the dead.” But have we not the same promise for ourselves? [Continued tomorrow]
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 33
(see the book; see also Luke 23:46; John 16:19-22,33; Heb. 12:2; more at Church)
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
[Continued from yesterday]The ordinary group of worshipping Christians, as the preacher sees them from the pulpit, does not look like a collection of very joyful people, in fact, they look on the whole rather sad, tired, depressed people. It is certain that such people will never win the world for Christ... It is no use trying to pretend: we may speak of joy and preach about it: but, unless we really have the joy of Christ in our hearts and manifest it, our words will carry no conviction to our hearers.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 33-34
(see the book; see also John 16:33; more at Church)
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
Even if all the things that people prayed for happened, which they do not, this would not prove what Christians mean by the efficacy of prayer. For prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them. Invariable “success” in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something more like magic—a power in certain human beings to control, or compel, the course of nature.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer , Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, p. 4
(see the book; see also Lev. 19:31; John 17:1-5; 2 Cor. 12:8,9; more at Prayer)
Friday, March 25, 2005
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary
Our Blessed Lord hath recommended His love to us as the pattern and the example of our love to one another. As therefore He is continually making intercession for us all, so ought we to intercede and pray for one another.“A new commandment,” saith He, “I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.”The newness of this precept did not consist in this, that men were commanded to love one another; for this was an old precept, both of the law of Moses and of nature. But it was new in this respect, that it was to initiate a new and, till then, unheard-of example of love; it was to love one another as Christ had loved us.And if men are to know that we are disciples of Christ, by thus loving one another according to His new example of love, then it is certain that if we are void of this love, we make it as plainly known unto men, that we are none of His disciples.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 391-392
(see the book; see also John 13:33-35; more at Commandment, Disciple, Example, Intercession, Jesus, Love)
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883
Sing, men and angels, sing, for God our Life and KingHas given us light and spring and morning breakingNow may man’s soul arise as kinsman to the skies,And God unseals his eyes to an awaking. Sing, creatures, sing; the dust that lives by lure and lustIs kindled by the thrust of life undying;This hope our Master bare has made all fortunes fair,And man can on and dare, his death defying. After the winter snows a wind of healing blows,And thorns put forth a rose, and lilies cheer us;Life’s everlasting spring has robbed death of his sting,Henceforth a cry can bring our Master near us.
... John Masefield (1878-1967),  Songs of Praise, enl. ed., Ralph Vaughan Williams, et al., ed., Oxford University Press, 1931, n. 165, p. 48
(see the book; see also Col. 3:16; more at Worship)
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Because upon the first glad Easter dayThe stone that sealed His tomb was rolled away,So, through the deepening shadows of death’s night,Men see an open door ... beyond it, light!
... Ida Norton Munson (1877-1968)
(see also Matt. 4:15-16; John 10:9; Rom. 13:12; more at Death, Door, Easter, Gladness, Light, Night)
Monday, March 28, 2005
What makes life worth living is the mutual enrichment of people through understanding, intelligence and affection.It is just here that our awareness that Jesus is our contemporary and that Calvary is relevant to our present human situation ought to help us greatly. And that is not merely because in his relationships with others during his earthly life in Palestine Jesus exemplified all that I have tried to say about human relationships. In every genuine human encounter with another person we may become aware of Jesus, and meet with him. This may sound fanciful, but there is much in the Scriptures and in Christian experience which suggests that Jesus is frequently met in the traffic of person with person, provided that there is a genuine encounter between them. Jesus himself showed that for this to happen demands courage and a willingness to move from a life that is centred in itself. So if we are to pass out of that lonely world of isolation then we must be prepared to take the risks that are always involved when we allow persons to confront us as persons and do not regard them as things. Yet, dangerous though it may be to live in this way, it is the only way to live.
... Ambrose Reeves (1899-1980), Calvary Now, London: SCM Press, 1965, p. 76-77
(see the book; see also Matt. 19:13-15; 25:34-40; 1 John 3:14; more at Jesus)
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974
Let us remember how very soon the missionary character of the Church was forgotten, and the Church, instead of obeying the commandment of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations (in fact, that it was chiefly a missionary association), neglected this great and important calling... It is astonishing how a commandment so simple and distinct, and how a duty which you would have imagined would be eagerly greeted by the impulse of gratitude, of affection, and of compassion, was forgotten for so long a time, in the churches of the Reformation especially. Now we are accustomed to hear of mission work among the heathen nations, and to find that a great multitude of people are interested in it, and regard it with respect; but it was only at the commencement of the last century, and with great difficulty, [that] the attention of the Church was roused to this important duty; and even in the... Church of Scotland there were a number of ministers who thought that the state of heathenism was so utterly corrupt, and that there was so much to be done in our own country, that it was altogether a Utopian project to think of converting the idolaters, and that it was not our imperative duty to trouble ourselves with their wretched condition.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 83-84
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:19,20; more at Call, Church, Commandment, Conversion, Corruption, Duty, Jesus, Mission, Missionary, Obedience, Reformation)
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
See in the meantime that your faith bringeth forth obedience, and God in due time will cause it to bring forth peace.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 563
(see the book; see also Ps. 130:3-4; John 14:27; Rom. 5:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:12; more at Faith, Obedience, Peace)
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
He was the Word that spake it;He took the bread and brake it;And what that Word did make itI do believe, and take it.
... John Donne (1573-1631), but also ascribed by contemporaries to Elizabeth I
(see also John 6:32-35, 47-51; more at Church, Communion)
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