Quotations for May, 2005
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles
Come Love, come Lord, and that long dayFor which I languish, come away;When this dry soul those eyes shall see,And drink the unseal’d source of Thee;When glory’s sun faith’s shades shall chase,Then for Thy veil give me Thy face.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 192
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:13-16; more at Jesus)
Monday, May 2, 2005
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373
Our thoughtful observer who is outside the Churches has done a good deal of thinking on his own. The discoveries of modern physical and biological science, of astronomy, and of psychology, have profoundly influenced his conception of the “size” of God. If there be a Mind behind the immense complexities of the phenomena that man can observe, then it is that of a Being tremendous in His power and wisdom: it is emphatically not that of a little god. It is perfectly conceivable that such a Being has a moral purpose which is being worked out on the stage of this small planet. It is even possible to believe that such a God deliberately reduced Himself to the stature of humanity in order to visit the earth in Person, as all Christians affirm.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 39-40
(see the book; see also Phil. 2:5-11; more at Apologetics)
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Men love to trust God (as they profess) for what they have in their hands, in possession, or what lies in an easy view; place their desires afar off, carry their accomplishment behind the clouds out of their sight, interpose difficulties and perplexities,—their hearts are instantly sick,—they cannot wait for God; they do not trust Him,—nor ever did. Would you have the presence of God with you? Learn to wait quietly for the salvation you expect from Him.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. XI, p. 448
(see the book; see also 2 Chr. 15:2; Ps. 37:7; 145:15,16; Isa. 28:16; Lam. 3:24; Mic. 7:7; Hab. 2:3-4; more at Affliction, Faith, God, Possession, Presence of God, Salvation, Sight, Trust)
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as “faith,” with the idea that this will somehow ensure the granting of our prayer. We have probably all done this as children. But the state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 60
(see the book; see also Rom. 10:17; Eph. 2:8-9; more at Faith, Imagination, Mind, Prayer, Work)
Thursday, May 5, 2005
What is it to serve God and to do His will? Nothing else than to show mercy to our neighbor. For it is our neighbor who needs our service; God in heaven needs it not.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), quoted in Protestant Thought Before Kant, A. C. McGiffert, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1911, p. 35
(see the book; see also Hos. 6:6; more at God, Mercy, Need, Neighbor, Obedience, Service)
Friday, May 6, 2005
God meets me everywhere, or I never meet Him. If I think I meet Him only in Bible and Sacrament, and in the Christian fellowship, then I do not know who it is I meet.
... M. A. C. Warren (1904-1977), “The Church’s Mission to the World: On the Religious Frontier (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 20-21
(see the book; see also Col. 1:26,27; more at Bible, Fellowship, Knowing God, Sacrament)
Saturday, May 7, 2005
The abstract metaphysical monotheism, the constant emphasis laid on God’s unity and infinite and incomprehensible essence, could not give light to the mind or peace to the heart... How human is the God of the Old Testament—the God who appears, speaks, guides, who loves and is loved, even as the Man of the New Testament, Christ Jesus, is divine! This difference between the idea of an absolute and infinite God and the God of Scripture is, after all, that which separates the true believer and Christian from the natural man.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 8
(see the book; see also Heb. 1:1-4; 3:1,6; more at Bible)
Sunday, May 8, 2005
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
Wealth and riches; that is, an estate above what sufficeth our real occasions and necessities, is in no other sense a blessing than as it is an opportunity put into our hands, by the providence of God, of doing more good.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VI, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CXLII, p. 551
(see the book; see also Luke 12:15; Gal. 6:9-10; Jas. 2:6,7; 1 John 3:17; more at Providence)
Monday, May 9, 2005
Thou wilt never be spiritually minded and godly unless thou art silent concerning other men’s matters and take full heed to thyself.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.v.2, p. 91
(see the book; see also Prov. 17:27; more at Weakness)
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The mark of modern unbelieving man as a whole is that he has felt astonishingly much at home in his earthly surroundings. He has taken a cheerful view of the prospects of the race and of the future of human history, staying his soul upon the promise of further “evolution” of the human individual, the continuous upward progress of civilization, or perhaps the confident expectation of a completely revolutionized order of society—a communist Utopia beyond the class struggle or something else of that same general kind. Where such hopes remain unchastened by the cold touch of reality, there is little prospect of the Christian Gospel recommending itself to men’s minds, and any wordy defense of it is likely to be quite useless.
... John Baillie (1886-1960), Invitation to Pilgrimage, Oxford University Press, 1942, and New York: Scribner, 1942, p. 94-95
(see the book; see also Luke 6:47-49; more at Apologetics)
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The interior journey of the soul from the wilds of sin into the enjoyed presence of God is beautifully illustrated in the Old Testament tabernacle... Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 33
(see the book; see also Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; more at Presence of God)
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963
Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love. If I do not love a person I am not moved to help him by proofs that he is in need; if I do love him I wait for no proof of a special need to urge me to help him. Knowledge of Christ is so rich a treasure that the spirit of love must necessarily desire to impart it. The mere assurance that others have it not is sufficient proof of their need. This spirit of love throws aside intellectual arguments that they can do very well without it. But if this spirit is not present, a man is easily persuaded that to impart a knowledge of Christianity (for it is noteworthy that such men always speak of Christianity rather than of Christ) is not necessary, nay, is superfluous expense of energy which might be better used in other ways.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 35
(see the book; see also Ps. 18:49; Isa. 43:5-11; Matt. 13:44; John 3:16,17; more at Enlighten, Knowing God, Love, Missionary, Treasure)
Friday, May 13, 2005
I dislike the frequent use of the word virtue, instead of righteousness, in the pulpit; in prayer or preaching before a Christian community, it sounds too much like pagan philosophy.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Aids to Reflection , London: W. Pickering, 1839, p. 6, fn.
(see the book; see also Col. 2:16-19; more at Church)
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Feast of Matthias the Apostle
Life is not long enough for a religion of inferences; we shall never have done beginning, if we determine to begin with proof. We shall ever be laying our foundations; we shall turn theology into evidences, and divines into textuaries... Life is for action. If we insist on proofs for everything, we shall never come to action: to act you must assume, and that assumption is faith.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, v. 8, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 556
(see the book; see also 1 John 2:1-3; more at Faith)
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Commemoration of Charles Williams, Spiritual Writer, 1945
I thirst, but not as once I did,The vain delights of earth to share;Thy wounds, Emmanuel, all forbidThat I should seek my pleasures there. It was the sight of thy dear crossFirst wean’d my soul from earthly things;And taught me to esteem as drossThe mirth of fools and pomp of kings. I want that grace that springs from thee,That quickens all things where it flows,And makes a wretched thorn like meBloom as the myrtle or the rose. Dear fountain of delight unknown!No longer sink below the brim;But overflow and pour me downA living and life-giving stream! For sure, of all the plants that shareThe notice of thy Father’s eye,None proves less grateful to his care,Or yields him meaner fruit than I.
... William Cowper (1731-1800), The Works of William Cowper: his life, letters, and poems, New York: R. Carter & Brothers, 1851, p. 682
(see the book; see also John 4:12-14; more at Jesus)
Monday, May 16, 2005
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877
I can see no intellectual objection to the statement that God’s power is not limited by anything outside His own creative purpose: in that sense He is omnipotent, but it is even impossible for Him to exercise that power in certain ways without thereby ceasing to be our Father. In that sense God is not omnipotent: He is limited by His own nature, by His perfect goodness and mercy; for the omnipotence of God means nothing apart from His Fatherly love. In particular, this limitation of the power of God is to be found in the measure of freedom which, as His children, we enjoy. God shares His power with us so that, for a time at least, if we so determine, we can break His laws and frustrate His plans, but also so that we can give to Him, if we choose, the free allegiance of our hearts and minds, and become children at His Family Table, drawn together by the compulsion of His love, and not the exercise of His might.
... Donald O. Soper (1903-1998), Popular Fallacies about the Christian Faith, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938, p. 19-20
(see the book; see also Ps. 85:10-11; Nah. 1:3; Matt. 19:26; more at Choices, Father, Freedom, God, Goodness, Heart, Love, Mind, Omnipotence, Perfection, Power)
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
It is not in the power of the devil to do so much harm, as God can do good; nay, we may be bold to say, it is not in the will, not in the desire of the devil to do so much harm, as God would do good.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, p. 93
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:8-10; more at Providence)
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
That appearance on earth as an individual is the crisis in the history both of Christ Himself and of the humanity He saves and leads. The ministry of Jesus, therefore, culminating in His death, is essential to Paul’s whole thought. If in certain aspects of his theology it is the death that bulks most largely—because it seemed to him to be the purest and most moving expression of what the whole life meant—he is quite aware that the ethical impulse given by the example and teaching of Jesus is of the very stuff of the Christian life. He alludes to the Gospel story but sparingly, but those who study his teaching most closely become aware that he is himself acting and speaking all through under the impulse of the life and teaching of Jesus. If he refuses to “know Christ after the flesh,” it means that he will not risk a harking back to the temporary conditions of the Galilean ministry when the Spirit of Christ is clearly leading out into new fields. The issues of that ministry have been gathered up in the new experience of “Christ in me,” and that experience gives a living Christ, who leads ever onward those who will adventure with Him, and not a prophet of the past, whose words might pass into a dead tradition.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 92
(see the book; see also Col. 1:19-22; more at Jesus)
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
Eternal Lord, how faint and smallOur greatest, strongest thoughts must seemTo Thee, who overseest all,And leads us through Life’s shallow stream. How tangled are our straightest ways;How dimly flares our brightest star;How earthbound is our highest praiseTo Thee, who sees us as we are. Our feet are slow where Thine are fast;Thy kiss of grace meets lips of stone;And we admit Thy love at lastTo hearts that have none of their own.
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985)
(more at Jesus)
Friday, May 20, 2005
If Christ and His work and His sacrifice do not result in Christlikeness in you and me, then for us it is quite valueless, and has entirely failed; and, insofar as you and I are concerned, Christ was thrown away in vain. How, then, is it with you and me? Be very sure that upon Calvary it was no strange, immoral favouritism that came into operation, whereby because of some beliefs that remain mere dead letters, that produce no change whatever in their characters, some people living the same kind of life as others and following the same selfish ends and interests as they, are given a destiny entirely different. That is the vainest of vain dreams. Rather is this the supreme revelation of a new way of living life; and only those who, blunderingly, it may be, yet honestly, seek to adopt and imitate it can be counted really Christian folk.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 171
(see the book; see also John 12:24; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; 2 Cor. 3:6; 5:17; Eph. 4:20-24; more at Calvary, Christ, Christlikeness, Dream, Jesus, Life, People, Revelation, Sacrifice, Vanity, Way)
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
The kingdom of heaven is not come even when God’s will is our law; it is fully come when God’s will is our will.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), David Elginbrod, vol. 2 , Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1871, p. 194
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:45-46; more at Legalism)
Sunday, May 22, 2005
We have peace with God by the righteousness of Christ, and peace of conscience by the fruits of righteousness in ourselves.
... Thomas Manton (1620-1677), A Practical Commentary, or an Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of James, London: R. Gladding, 1840, p. 215
(see the book; see also Rom. 3:24-26; Gal. 5:22,23; Eph. 2:14-17; Jas. 2:18; more at Christ, Conscience, God, Jesus, Peace, Righteousness)
Monday, May 23, 2005
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
Wherever the missionary character of the doctrine of election is forgotten; wherever it is forgotten that we are chosen in order to be sent; wherever the minds of believers are concerned more to probe backwards from their election into the reasons for it in the secret counsel of God, than to press forward from their election to the purpose of it, ... that they should be Christ’s ambassadors and witnesses to the ends of the earth, wherever men think that the purpose of election is their own salvation rather than the salvation of the world: then God’s people have betrayed their trust.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 111
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Betrayal, Counsel, Earth, Forget, God, Mission, Missionary, Purpose, Salvation, Trust, Witness)
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
The grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), entry for Aug 15, 1750, Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, v. II, London: J. Kershaw, 1827, p. 161
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:6; more at Contempt, Faith, Gifts, Historical, Holiness, Miracle)
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
If you will here stop, and ask your self, why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you, that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 18
(see the book; see also Rom. 7:14-17; more at Obedience)
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, spiritual writer, 1954
You can also offer your prayers, obedience and endurance of dryness to Our Lord, for the good of other souls—and then you have practised intercession. Never mind if it all seems for the time very second-hand. The less you get out of it, the nearer it approaches to being something worth offering—and the humiliation of not being able to feel as devout as we want to be, is excellent for most of us. Use vocal prayer... very slowly trying to realise the meaning with which it is charged and remember that... you are only a unit in the Chorus of the Church and not responsible for a solo part so that the others will make good the shortcomings you cannot help.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Letters of Evelyn Underhill, Charles Williams, ed., London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1991, p. 190
(see the book; see also Eph. 6:17,18; more at Body of Christ, Humility, Intercession, Obedience, Offering, Prayer)
Friday, May 27, 2005
Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564
Therefore Adam could have stood if he wished, seeing that he fell solely by his own will. But it was because his will was capable of being bent to one side or the other, and was not given the constancy to persevere, that he fell so easily. Yet his choice of good and evil was free.
... 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.xv.8, p. 181
(see the book; see also Gen. 3; Deut. 30:19,20; more at Free will)
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart has turned to stone.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Seeds of Contemplation, London: Hollis & Carter, 1949, New Directions. 1949, p. 140
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:36-39; Mark 14:34-36; more at Prayer)
Sunday, May 29, 2005
[If] there be any difference among professed believers as to the sense of Scripture, it is their duty to tolerate such difference in each other, until God shall have revealed the truth to all.
... John Milton (1608-1674), from “A Treatise on Christian Doctrine,” in The Prose Works of John Milton, v. IV, London: Bohn, 1853, p. 444
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:5; more at Church)
Monday, May 30, 2005
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933
Groups that require little of their membership count for little outside their membership. Real spiritual capacity requires at least as much concentration and training as learning to play a musical instrument. Nobody has ever drifted into a genuine Christian experience.
... William T. Ham, “Candles of the Lord”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 171
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:12; more at Church)
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The Spirit is Love expressed towards man as redeeming love, and the Spirit is truth, and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. Redemption is inconceivable without truth and holiness. But the mere fact that the Holy Spirit’s first recorded action in the gospels is an expression of redeeming love should cause us to suspect a teaching which represents His work as primarily, if not solely, the sanctification of our own souls to the practical exclusion of His activity in us towards others. It is important to teach of Him as the Spirit of holiness; it is also important to teach of Him as the Spirit which in us labours for the salvation of men everywhere.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 27-28
(see the book; see also Acts 1:8; 2:1-6; 9:31; Tit. 3:4-6; more at Holiness, Holy Spirit, Labor, Love, Mission, Pentecost, Redemption, Salvation, Sanctification, Teach)
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