Quotations for September, 2005
Thursday, September 1, 2005
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
To think of the Communists as the executors of God’s judgment should not strike us as strange if we have read our Bibles. The same study should free us from the assumption that God will always be on our side whatever we do, will always protect His Church from temporal evil, or that He is only concerned with the faithful believers. It was precisely His concern for the wicked Ninevites that so distressed the prophet Jonah.
... David M. Paton (1913-1992), Christian Missions and the Judgment of God, London: SCM Press, 1953, p. 20
(see the book; see also Jonah 4:10,11; more at Providence)
Friday, September 2, 2005
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
I have quitted all forms of devotion and set prayers but those to which my state obliges me. And I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to God, which I may call an actual presence of God; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God, which often causes in me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them, and prevent their appearance to others.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 25
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Prayer)
Saturday, September 3, 2005
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
Purity of heart and simplicity are of great force with Almighty God, who is in purity most singular, and of nature most simple.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, P. L. Warner, 1911; Arx Publishing, LLC, 2010, p. 131
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:8; more at God, Heart, Purity, Simplicity)
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
Prayer is the preface to the book of Christian living; the text of the new life sermon; the girding on of the armor for battle; the pilgrim’s preparation for his journey. It must be supplemented by action or it amounts to nothing.
... Arthur Stevens Phelps (1863-1948), included in Leaves of Gold, Evan S. Coslett & Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. , Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 156
(see the book; see also Ex. 14:15; Ps. 43:3; Luke 18:10-14; Jas. 4:8; more at Prayer)
Monday, September 5, 2005
Study always to have Joy, for it befits not the servant of God to show before his brother or another sadness or a troubled face.
... St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), The Mirror of Perfection [c. 1280], tr. Robert Steele, London: J.M. Dent, 1903, p. 141
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:16-18; more at Attitudes)
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
In this Body of Christ, Paul sees “the ecclesia of God.” Ecclesia is a Greek word with a splendid history. It was used in the old free commonwealths of Greece for the general assembly of all free citizens, by which their common life was governed. When political liberty went, the name still survived in the restricted municipal self-government which the Roman State allowed. It was taken over by the brotherhoods and guilds which in some measure superseded the old political associations. Among the Jews who spoke Greek, this word seemed the appropriate one to describe the commonwealth of Israel as ruled by God—the historical Theocracy. Our translation of it is “Church.” That word, however, has undergone such transformations of meaning that it is often doubtful in what sense it is being used. Perhaps for ecclesia we may use the word—simpler, more general, and certainly nearest to its original meaning—“commonwealth.” [Continued tomorrow]
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 145
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:2; 10:32; 11:22; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:13; 6:16; more at Church)
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
[Continued from yesterday]We have spoken throughout of the Divine Commonwealth. That phrase represents Paul’s “ecclesia of God.” It is a community of loving persons, who bear one another’s burdens, who seek to build up one another in love, who “have the same thoughts in relation to one another that they have in their communion with Christ.” It is all this because it is the living embodiment of Christ’s own Spirit. This is a high and mystical doctrine, but a doctrine which has no meaning apart from loving fellowship in real life. A company of people who celebrate a solemn sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, and all the time are moved by selfish passions—rivalry, competition, mutual contempt—is not for Paul a Church or Divine Commonwealth at all, no matter how lofty their faith or how deep their mystical experience; for all these things may “puff up;” love alone “builds up.”In the very act, therefore, of attaining its liberty to exist, the Divine Commonwealth has transcended the great divisions of men. In principle, it has transcended them all, and by seriously living out that which its association means, it is on the way to comprehending the whole race. Short of that its development can never stop. This is the revealing of the sons of God for which the whole creation is waiting.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 144-145
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:1; Phil. 2:5; more at Church)
Thursday, September 8, 2005
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
Whoever has Christ in his heart, so that no earthly or temporal things—not even those that are legitimate and allowed—are preferred to Him, has Christ as a foundation. But if these things be preferred, then even though a man seem to have faith in Christ, yet Christ is not the foundation to that man.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. II, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 2 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, XXI.26, p. 460
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:4-8; more at Authenticity)
Friday, September 9, 2005
This is our great need, to be more like Christ, that His likeness may be seen in our lives; and this is just what is promised to us as we yield ourselves in full surrender to the working of His Spirit. Then, as we draw nearer to Christ, we shall be drawn nearer to His people; and in our search for unity with the members we shall be drawn closer to the Head.
... G. T. Manley, Christian Unity, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1945, p. 88
(see the book; see also Romans 8:29; more at Church)
Saturday, September 10, 2005
The work of God in converting souls, opening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, raising dead souls to life, and rescuing the miserable captivated souls out of the hands of Satan, was begun soon after the fall of man, has been carried on in the world ever since to this day, and will be to the end of the world. God has always, ever since the first erecting of the church of the redeemed after the fall, had such a church in the world. Though oftentimes it has been reduced to a very narrow compass, and to low circumstances; yet it has never wholly failed.
... Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), The Works of President Edwards, v. II, Worcester: Isaiah Thomas, Jun., 1808, p. 535
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 19:18; Joel 2:32; John 3:16; more at Beginning, Church, Conversion, Fall, God, Redemption, Soul)
Sunday, September 11, 2005
That faith alone will never forsake Christ which springs out of or is built upon a conviction of the need for Him.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Nature and Causes of Apostasy from the Gospel , in Works of John Owen, v. VII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 146
(see the book; see also John 6:44,45; more at Faith)
Monday, September 12, 2005
The Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, II.xvi.11, p. 465
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:1; more at Jesus)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
The surest symbol of a heart not yet fully subdued to God and His will is going to be found in the areas of money, sex, and power; in wanting these things for ourselves. The surest symbol of spiritual earnestness will be the checkbook, the affections, and the ego-drive surrendered to Him. A disciple must have discipline. He must not be afraid of being asked by God for some of the time, the money, and the pleasure he has been in the habit of calling his “own.” This does not mean that there will not be time for the family, and time for some healthy diversion. But it does mean that we are never—on vacation, or wherever we may be—exempt from our primary commitment to Him.
... Samuel M. Shoemaker (1893-1963), The Experiment of Faith, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 37-38
(see the book; see also John 14:15; more at Commitment, Family, Love, Money, Obedience, Pleasure, Power, Time)
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Feast of the Holy Cross
When you hear someone saying unworthy and hard words of you, then it is given to you to drink medicine for your soul from the cup of the Lord.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Hortulus Rosarum, quoted in The Story of the “Imitatio Christi”, Leonard Abercrombie Wheatley, London: Elliot Stock, 1891, VII.i, p. 213
(see the book; see also Luke 6:28; more at Affliction, Cup, Repentance, Self-control, Soul)
Thursday, September 15, 2005
We all need at times, some of us at most times, that Charity from others which, being Love Himself in them, loves the unlovable. But this, though a sort of love we need, is not the sort we want. We want to be loved for our cleverness, beauty, generosity, fairness, usefulness. The first hint that anyone is offering us the highest love of all is a terrible shock. This is so well recognized that spiteful people will pretend to be loving us with Charity precisely because they know that it will wound us. To say to one who expects a renewal of Affection, Friendship, or Eros, “I forgive you as a Christian” is merely a way of continuing the quarrel. Those who say it are of course lying. But the thing would not be falsely said in order to wound unless, if it were true, it would be wounding.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Four Loves, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 131-132
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:4-7; more at Affection, Charity, Forgiveness, Love, Quarrel, Renewal)
Friday, September 16, 2005
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882
God desires and is pleased to communicate with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills, and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the souls of the redeemed men and women is the throbbing heart of the New Testament.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Whatever Happened to Worship?, Christian Publications, 1985, p. 25
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 4:16; more at Knowing God)
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
Seducers we, they say; but they lead men astray. Oh, what a noble seduction ours, that men should change from dissolute to sober living—or towards it; to justice from injustice—or tending that way; to wisdom from being foolish—or becoming such; and from cowardice, meanness and timidity, show courage and fortitude, not least in this struggle for the sake of our religion.
... Origen (185?-254?), Contra Celsum, in After the Apostles, John Foster, SCM Press, 1951, p. 121
(see the book; see also Deut. 31:6; John 12:42,43; more at Historical)
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
Consider what two petitions Christ couples together in His prayer: when my body, which every day is hungry, can live without God’s giving it daily bread, then and no sooner shall I believe that my soul, which daily sinneth, can spiritually live without God’s forgiving it its trespasses.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Cause and Cure of a Wounded Conscience , “Dialogue VI”
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:11,12; more at Bread, Christ, Forgiveness, God, Life, Prayer)
Monday, September 19, 2005
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
To pass from estrangement from God to be a son of God is the basic fact of conversion. That altered relationship with God gives you an altered relationship with yourself—with your brother man, with nature, with the universe... You are no longer working against the grain of the universe—you’re working with it...You have been forgiven by God and now you can forgive yourself. All self hate, self-despising, self-rejection, drop away, and you accept yourself in God, respect yourself, and love yourself...You cease to move into yourself, away from others. You give up your attitude of antagonism... You begin to move toward others in love. God moved toward you in gracious outgoing love, and you move toward others in that same outgoing love.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Conversion, New York: Abingdon Press, 1959, p. 131-132
(see the book; see also Isa. 9:2; more at Attitudes, Conversion, Forgiveness, God, Grace, Love, Nature, Self, Universe, Work)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
For the power Thou hast given me to lay hold of things unseen:For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:I give Thee thanks, O God.For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:For the fullness of Thy glory outpoured in Jesus ChristI give Thee thanks, O God.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 53
(see the book; see also Col. 3:17; more at Prayers)
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
He is the true Gospel-bearer that carries it in his hands, in his mouth, and in his heart... A man does not carry it in his heart that does not love it with all his soul; and nobody loves it as he ought, that does not conform to it in his life.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), The Colloquies of Erasmus, v. II, London: Reeves & Turner, 1878, p. 172-173
(see the book; see also Isa. 52:7; more at Gospel)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
A system of doctrine has risen up during the last three centuries, in which faith or spiritual-mindedness is contemplated and rested on as the end of religion, instead of Christ. I do not mean to say that Christ is not mentioned as the author of all good, but that stress is laid rather on the believing than on the object of belief, on the comfort and persuasiveness of the doctrine than on the doctrine itself. And in this way religion is made to consist of contemplating ourselves instead of Christ; not simply in looking to Christ, but in ascertaining that we look to Christ; not in His Divinity and Atonement, but in our conversion and faith in Him... [Continued tomorrow]
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1892, p. 324-325
(see the book; see also John 1:23-36; more at Gospel)
Friday, September 23, 2005
[Continued from yesterday]The fashion of the day has been ... to attempt to convert by insisting on conversion; to exhort men to be converted; to tell them to be sure they look at Christ, instead of simply holding up Christ to them; to tell them to have faith, rather than to supply its Object; to lead them to ... work up their minds, instead of impressing upon them the thought of Him who can savingly work in them; to bid them to be sure their faith is justifying, not dead, formal, self-righteous, and merely moral, instead of delineating Him whose image, fully delineated, destroys deadness, formality, self-righteousness; to rely on words, vehemence, eloquence, and the like, rather than to aim at conveying the one great idea, whether in words or not.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1892, p. 325-326
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:1-3; more at Gospel)
Saturday, September 24, 2005
There is hardly ever a complete silence in our souls. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God... He is always whispering to us, only that we do not always hear, because of the hurry, noise, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
... Frederick William Faber (1814-1863), “All men have a special vocation” in Spiritual Conferences, London: Thomas Richardson & Son, 1860, p. 408
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 19:11-13; Ps. 46:1-3; more at God, Meditation, Prayer, Silence, Soul, World)
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
The one great fear which is a holy fear is, I think, lest you make your adventure too small, too easy, too self-full, too mediocre. Christianity fails because people will keep on the surface too much, they will not go down to face these deep inner obediences; and that is ultimately to be beaten by themselves.We talk big and play so small. And the world has found it out—the great bulk have discarded Christianity as the way of Hope and put their hope in other things.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 26
(see the book; see also Col. 1:3-6; more at Attitudes)
Monday, September 26, 2005
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
Even those of us who are inside it will agree that, in the main, the Church, and all for which it stands, occupy a palpably smaller place in the life of the average member than it did in former days. We explain it on the ground that life has become fuller, and that, of necessity, our attention nowadays has to percolate over a wide area instead of rushing foam-flecked down a narrower channel—which is to say, in other words, that Christ is getting lost to us in the crush and throng of things, does not loom up as arresting, as unique, as all-important, as He did to our forefathers. Yet that, when you come to think of it, is no bad definition of unspirituality.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 61-62
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:22; Mark 8:27-29; more at Christ, Church, Historical, Life, Meditation, Thought)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
If you have failings, ask God often whether it be His honour and pleasure to take them away from you; for without Him you can do nothing. If he takes them away, thank Him; but if He does not do that, you will bear it no more, however, as the defect of a sin, but as a great trial with which you are to gain merit and practice patience. You should be content, whether or not He accords you His gift.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 39
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:13; 15:10; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; more at Bearing, Contentment, God, Patience, Sin, Thanksgiving, Trial, Weakness)
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
This religious desire and effort of the soul to relate itself and all its interest to God and his will is prayer in the deepest sense. This is essential prayer. Uttered or unexpressed, it is equally prayer. It is the soul’s desire after God going forth in manifestation, ... —the soul striving after God. This is a prayer that may exist without ceasing, consisting, as it does, not in doing or saying this or that, but in temper and attitude of the spirit.
... Borden Parker Bowne (1847-1910), The Essence of Religion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1910, p. 132
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:26; 12:1,2; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Prayer)
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Feast of Michael & All Angels
The nominal Christian, then, will see Jesus as a name, a representative, a symbol, a personification, a prototype, a figure, a model, an exemplar for something else. The nominal Christian pays homage to something about Jesus, rather than worshiping the man himself. For this reason, nominal Christians will extol the moral teachings of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, the personality of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the world view of Jesus, the self-understanding of Jesus, etc. None of these worships Jesus as the Christ, but only something about him, something peripheral to the actual flesh-and-blood man. This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing, in order that men would be forced into the crucial decision about him alone and would not be able to worship anything about him.
... Robert L. Short (1932-2009), The Parables of Peanuts , New York: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 166-167
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 13:4; more at Jesus)
Friday, September 30, 2005
There is a communion with God that asks for nothing, yet asks for everything... And he who seeks the Father more than anything He can give, is likely to have what he asks, for he is not likely to ask amiss.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Man’s Difficulty Concerning Prayer”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 92
(see the book; see also Luke 18:1; more at Prayer)
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