Quotations for July, 2005
Friday, July 1, 2005
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873
If we allow the consideration of heathen morality and heathen religion to absolve us from the duty of preaching the gospel we are really deposing Christ from His throne in our own souls. If we admit that men can do very well without Christ, we accept the Saviour only as a luxury for ourselves. If they can do very well without Christ, then so could we. This is to turn our backs upon the Christ of the gospels and the Christ of Acts and to turn our faces towards law, morality, philosophy, natural religion.We look at the moral teaching of some of the heathen nations and we find it higher than we had expected... Or we look at morality in Christian lands, and we begin to wonder whether our practice is really much higher than theirs, and we say, “They are very well as they are. Leave them alone.”When we so speak and think we are treating the question of the salvation of men exactly as we should have treated it had Christ never appeared in the world at all. It is an essentially pre-Christian attitude, and implies that the Son of God has not been delivered for our salvation. It suggests that the one and only way of salvation known to me is to keep the commandments. That was indeed true before the coming of the Son of God, before the Passion, before the Resurrection, before Pentecost; but after Pentecost that is no longer true. After Pentecost, the answer to any man who inquires the way of salvation is no longer “Keep the law,” but “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
... 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. 37
(see the book; see also Acts 2:36,38; more at Apologetics)
Saturday, July 2, 2005
Our deepest insight into the nature of God is expressed with a family analogy. He is both Father and Son bound together in one Spirit. We are created to be brothers under God, the Father. The human family is our best illustration of how each person grows in his unique potentialities by sharing in the loving care of a society of other persons. Yet each member of the family discovers what it is to give of himself for the sake of the others. The human family is only an analogy both for our thought about God and about society; but no Christian thought gets very far away from it.
... 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. 85
(see the book; more at Family)
Sunday, July 3, 2005
Feast of Thomas the Apostle
I know what it is to doubt and question. And I suspect that every Christian who takes the time to think seriously about his faith, does so too.
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Reason Enough, Exeter: Paternoster, 1980, p. 107
(see the book; more at Faith)
Monday, July 4, 2005
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too selfsufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
... Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), Proclamation for a fast, in Life of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States, Frank Crosby, Philadelphia: J.E. Potter, 1865, p. 224
(see the book; more at Prayer)
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
The world, indeed, seems to be weary of the just, righteous, holy ways of God, and of that exactness in walking according to His institutions and commands which it will be one day known that He doth require. But the way to put a stop to this declension is not by accommodating the commands of God to the corrupt courses and ways of men. The truths of God and the holiness of His precepts must be pleaded and defended, though the world dislike them here and perish hereafter. His law must not be made to lackey after the wills of men, nor be dissolved by vain interpretations, because they complain they cannot, indeed, because they will not, comply with it. Our Lord Jesus Christ came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them, and to supply men with spiritual strength to fulfill them also. It is evil to break the least commandment; but there is a great aggravation of that evil in them that shall teach men so to do.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews, pt. IV ff, in Works of John Owen, v. XIX, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 440
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:21; John 13:17; Rom. 1:18-32; more at Sin)
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1413
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535
We must always speak of the efficacy of the ministry in such a manner that the entire praise of the work may be reserved for God alone.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, v. I, W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1948, p. 289
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:29-31; 1 Cor. 9:1-12; Eph. 4:11-13; 2 Tim. 4:16,17; more at Church, God, Minister, Praise, Work)
Thursday, July 7, 2005
When all is done, there is no such error or heresy, nothing so fundamentally opposite to religion as a wicked life.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. I, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon VII, p. 502
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:19; more at Sin)
Friday, July 8, 2005
Devotion is not a passing emotion—it is a fixed, enduring habit of mind, permeating the whole life, and shaping every action. It rests upon a conviction that God is the Sole Source of Holiness, and that our part is to lean upon Him and be absolutely guided and governed by Him; and it necessitates an abiding hold on Him, a perpetual habit of listening for His Voice within the heart, as of readiness to obey the dictates of that Voice.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 9
(see the book; see also Rom. 11:16; 12:1-2; Gal. 5:22-25; Phil. 1:9-11; 1 John 5:1-4; 2 John 1:6; Jude 1:21; more at Conviction, Devotion, Holiness, Listening, Mind, Obedience)
Saturday, July 9, 2005
Since you have forsaken the world and turned wholly to God, you are symbolically dead in the eyes of men; therefore, let your heart be dead to all earthly affections and concerns, and wholly devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ. For you must be well aware that if we make an outward show of conversion to God without giving Him our hearts, it is only a shadow and pretence of virtue, and no true conversion. Any man or woman who neglects to maintain inward vigilance, and only makes an outward show of holiness in dress, speech, and behavior, is a wretched creature. For they watch the doings of other people and criticize their faults, imagining themselves to be something when in reality they are nothing. In this way they deceive themselves. Be careful to avoid this, and devote yourself inwardly to His likeness by humility, charity, and other spiritual virtues. In this way you will be truly converted to God.
... Walter Hilton (1330?-1396), The Scale of Perfection [early 15th century], ed. Serenus Cressy, Book I, I.i
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:1-6,10,11; 8:10; more at Conversion, Death, Devotion, God, Heart, Holiness, Jesus, Neglect, Virtue, World)
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Assumptions based on faith are apparently an ever-present component in any system of belief—whether those assumptions include the existence of a personal God, or whether they begin with non-rational directionally-emergent forces governed by statistical probabilities. Our argument does not claim that evidences are so clear that faith is not needed. We do intend to imply, however, that the choice of a set of assumptions is a moral choice. Adherence to an epistemology is not something which merely “happens to” a person, but instead it reflects a component of his moral development. In some sense he is, in my judgment, morally responsible for adopting an epistemology even though it can be neither proved nor disproved to the satisfaction of those who oppose it.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001), With Heart and Mind, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, p. 16
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:20-21; more at Apologetics)
Monday, July 11, 2005
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550
Christian history looks glorious in retrospect; but it is made up of constant hard choices and unattractive tasks, accepted under the pressure of the Will [of God].
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Abba, New York: Longmans, Green, 1940, p. 44-45
(see the book; more at Choices, Glory, Historical, Task, Will of God)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Christ says that not alone in the Church is there forgiveness of sins, but that where two or three are gathered together in His name they shall have the right to promise to each other comfort and the forgiveness of sins.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Protestant Thought Before Kant, A. C. McGiffert, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1911, p. 44
(see the book; more at Forgiveness)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
If you were to rise early every morning, as an instance of self-denial, as a method of renouncing indulgence, as a means of redeeming your time, and fitting your spirit for prayer, you would find mighty advantages from it. This method, though it seem such a small circumstance of life, would in all probability be a means of great piety. It would keep it constantly in your head, that softness and idleness were to be avoided, that self-denial was a part of Christianity... It would teach you to exercise power over yourself, and make you able by degrees to renounce other pleasures and tempers that war against the soul.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 239-240
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:24; Tit. 2:11-14; more at Prayer, Renunciation, Self-control, Soul, Weakness)
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866
Sun of my soul! Thou Saviour dear,It is not night if Thou be near;O may no earth-born cloud ariseTo hide Thee from thy servant’s eyes.
... John Keble (1792-1866), The Christian Year , G. W. Doane, ed., Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1842, p. 20
(see the book; more at Prayers)
Friday, July 15, 2005
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274
It is necessary to die, but nobody wants to; you don’t want to, but you are going to, willy-nilly. A hard necessity that is, not to want something which cannot be avoided. If it could be managed, we would much rather not die; we would like to become like the angels by some other means than death. “We have a building from God,” says St. Paul, “a home not made with hands, everlasting in heaven. For indeed we groan, longing to be clothed over with our dwelling from heaven; provided, though we be found clothed, and not naked. For indeed we who are in this dwelling place groan, being burdened; in that we do not wish to be stripped, but to be covered over, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” We want to reach the kingdom of God, but we don’t want to travel by way of death. And yet there stands Necessity saying: “This way, please.” Do you hesitate, man, to go this way, when this is the way that God came to you?
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), “Exposition II, Sermon I on Psalm 30” in Expositions on the Book of Psalms, v. I, Oxford: Parker, 1847, p. 248-249
(see the book; see also Deut. 31:14; Ps. 31:1-9; 2 Cor. 5:1; more at Death & Resurrection)
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099
It is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up “our own” when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud, He would hardly have us on such terms.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 85
(see the book; more at Repentance)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 9
(see the book; see also Mal. 2:7; Luke 1:76-79; Phil. 3:8; more at Bible, Church, Experience, God, Heart, Satisfaction, Teach, Truth)
Monday, July 18, 2005
... I heard a good man say long since, “Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame, if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago.”
... John Wesley (1703-1791), The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. IV, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826, p. 24
(see the book; more at Historical)
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379
You will tell me that I am always saying the same thing. It is true, for this is the best and easiest method I know; and as I use no other, I advise all the world to it. We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 37
(see the book; more at Knowing God)
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566
If God said, “I forgive you,” to a man who hated his brother, and if (as is impossible) that voice of forgiveness should reach the man, what would it mean to him? How would the man interpret it? Would it not mean to him, “You may go on hating. I do not mind it. You have had great provocation, and are justified in your hate”? No doubt God takes what wrong there is, and what provocation there is, into the account; but the more provocation, the more excuse that can be urged for the hate, the more reason, if possible, that the hater should be delivered from the hell of his hate, that God’s child should be made the loving child that He meant him to be. The man would think, not that God loved the sinner, but that He forgave the sin, which God never does. Every sin meets its due fate—inexorable expulsion from the paradise of God’s Humanity.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “It Shall Not Be Forgiven”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 85
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:12,14,15; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 17:3,4; more at Forgiveness)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
It is not God’s way that great blessings should descend without the sacrifice first of great sufferings. If the truth is to be spread to any wide extent among the people, how can we dream, how can we hope, that trial and trouble shall not accompany its going forth.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Sermons Preached on Various Occasions, London, Longmans, Green, 1898, sermon X, p. 178
(see the book; see also Son. 2:10-12; more at Weakness)
Friday, July 22, 2005
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles
Love can forbear, and Love can forgive, ... but Love can never be reconciled to an unlovely object... He can never therefore be reconciled to your sin, because sin itself is incapable of being altered; but He may be reconciled to your person, because that may be restored.
... Thomas Traherne (1637?-1674), Centuries of Meditations, edited and published by Bertram Dobell, in London, 1908, p. 102-103
(see the book; more at Love)
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373
“In pastures green?” Not always; sometimes He,Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth meIn weary ways, where heavy shadows be. And “by still waters?” No, not always so;Oft times the heavy tempests round me blow,And o’er my soul the waves and billows go. But when the storm beats loudest, and I cryAloud for help, the Master standeth by,And whispers to my soul, “Lo, it is I.” So, where He leads me, I can safely go,And in the blest hereafter I shall knowWhy in His wisdom He hath led me so.
... Henry H. Barry, included in Leaves of Healing, compiled by Katharine Paine Sutton, American Unitarian Association, 1892, p. 206-207
(see the book; more at Bible)
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471
If thou shalt remain faithful and zealous in labour, doubt not that God shall be faithful and bountiful in rewarding thee. It is thy duty to have a good hope that thou wilt attain the victory: but thou must not fall into security lest thou become slothful or lifted up.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xxv.1, p. 76
(see the book; more at Attitudes)
Monday, July 25, 2005
Feast of James the Apostle
Upon a little reflection one can see that no concepts which are restricted to Christianity could possibly be found in a language spoken only by pagans. How could pagans have developed words for Christian ideas which have never occurred to them? This identical situation existed when the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament. At that time many pagan words, with pagan-thought background, were used in Christian contexts; by the contexts the present Christian meaning eventually built up, until it was possible to express all the Christian meaning in the pagan terms.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001), With Heart and Mind, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, p. 129
(see the book; see also Acts 2:6; more at Bible)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Keep us, Lord, so awake in the duties of our callings, that we may sleep in Thy peace, and wake in Thy glory.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. V, London: John W. Parker, 1839, p. 623
(see the book; see also Acts 7:60; more at Prayers)
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011
Be not afraid to pray—to pray is right.Pray if thou canst with hope; but ever pray,Though hope be weak, or sick with long delay; ...Whatev’r is good to wish, ask that of Heaven; ...But if for any wish thou darest not pray,Then pray to God to cast that wish away.
... Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849), Poems, v. I, London: Moxon, 1851, p. 343
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:12; more at God, Goodness, Heaven, Hope, Prayer, Weakness)
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750
You, too, are called to be an open letter, as Paul puts it, written by Christ’s own hand, showing those round about you what things Christ can do. We are to go into the world and so to live our ordinary lives that, all unconsciously to us, those among whom we move will look at us again, and will begin to say, You know I used to doubt if there was much in Christianity save talk. But I have revised my opinion. There’s So-and-so (that’s you, you understand), that is a man in whom the thing is obviously working out. He used to be so touchy, so opinionative, so mean and shabby in his views, so dully ordinary. Yet now, undoubtedly, the man has won to self-control and a large generous mind, and—yea, I know it’s a queer thing to say—but he has won to something more, something that somehow—though he never speaks about those things—makes you remember Jesus Christ!
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 28
(see the book; see also Eph. 1:4; more at Authenticity, Call, Doubt, Generosity, Jesus, Remembrance, Salvation, Self-control)
Friday, July 29, 2005
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord
Ideological notions are strongest amongst people who have lost their traditional religious faith, and they provide a kind of pseudo-religion to take its place. Ideology may well be defined as religion-substitute. The fact that religious faith always expresses itself in the particular ideological forms current in any given period is no reason why we should confuse religion with ideology; and, even though it requires a penetrating and candid investigation to distinguish between the genuinely religious and the merely ideological elements in the outlook of a particular period or individual, this does not mean that religion itself is an aspect of ideology. The core of religious belief is not ideological, whatever may be said of the soft pulp in which it is often wrapped up.
... Alan Richardson (1905-1975), Christian Apologetics, London: SCM Press, 1947, p. 70
(see the book; more at Apologetics)
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833
The generality of nominal Christians... are almost entirely taken up with the concerns of the present world. They know indeed that they are mortal but they do not feel it. The truth rests in their understandings, and cannot gain admission into their hearts. This speculative persuasion is altogether different from that strong practical impression of the infinite importance of eternal things, which, attended with a proportionate sense of the shortness and uncertainty of all below, while it prompts to activity from a conviction that “the night cometh when no man can work,” produces a certain firmness of texture, which hardens us against the buffetings of fortune, and prevents our being very deeply penetrated by the cares and interests, the good or evil of this transitory state.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 170
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:3,4; more at Sin)
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556
Sin is not only manifested in certain acts that are forbidden by divine command. Sin also appears in attitudes and dispositions and feelings. Lust and hate are sins as well as adultery and murder. And, in the traditional Christian view, despair and chronic boredom—unaccompanied by any vicious act—are serious sins. They are expressions of man’s separation from God, as the ultimate good, meaning, and end of human existence.
... Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001)
(more at Sin)
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