Quotations for July, 2006
Saturday, July 1, 2006
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873
For Christian consciousness, paradise is the Kingdom of Christ and is unthinkable apart from Christ. But this changes everything. The cross and the crucifixion enter into the bliss of paradise. The Son of God and the Son of Man descends into hell to free those who suffer there... To conquer evil, the good must crucify itself.
... Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948), The Destiny of Man, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1937, Hyperion Press, 1979, p. 292
(see the book; see also Luke 23:43; John 14:2,3; 1 Pet. 3:18,19; more at Easter)
Sunday, July 2, 2006
Paul’s argument in First Corinthians 1:18-25 is equally relevant when we come to ask why men cannot understand the Bible. Any attempts to hide behind the excuse that it is too difficult, when what we mean is that its word is too hard for us to bear, meets the just remark of a pastor from Communist Germany: “How can they say that the Bible is difficult, when young Communists are poring over much more difficult and much more technical literature to discover what Communism is all about?”Sometimes the Biblical teaching is crystal-clear, but we dare not understand it. The Christian Church has a vested interest in its present forms, and Christian people, like others, have their pleasant prejudices. This unwillingness to hear some new thing, except in times of great disturbance, plays a bigger part in weakening the voice of God through the Bible than we are prepared to admit.
... E. H. Robertson (1912-2007), The Recovery of Confidence, London: S. C. M. Press, 1960, p. 60
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:18-25; more at Bible)
Monday, July 3, 2006
Feast of Thomas the Apostle
Those who make it a reproach to Christianity that it taught no new morality and invented no new kind of Deity could not be more laughably wide of the mark. What it did was to guarantee that the old morality was actually valid, and the old beliefs literally true. “Ye worship ye know not what, but we know what we worship,” “that which we have seen with our eyes and our hands have handled”—“He suffered under Pontius Pilate.” God died—not in a legend, not in a symbol, not in a distant past nor in a realm unknown, but here, [in the crucifixion of Christ]; the whole great cloudy castle of natural religion and poetic prophecy is brought down to earth and firmly cemented upon that angular and solid cornerstone.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Man Born to be King, London: V. Gollancz, 1943, reprint, Ignatius Press, 1990, p. 22
(see the book; see also 1 John 1:1-3; more at Christ, Cornerstone, Crucifixion, Easter, Knowledge, Morality, Suffer, Teach, Truth)
Tuesday, July 4, 2006
Democracy is necessitated by the fact that all men are sinners; it is made possible by the fact that we know it.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), Foundations for Reconstruction, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946, p. 105
(see the book; see also Rom. 3:9; more at Knowledge, Sinner, Social)
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Force is always, and everywhere, a sign of fear—that is, a sign of weakness. Behind the vast armies and navies which we call the great powers of the world, there is fear. Fear it is that drives us out to war. Fear is the father of ferocity, and the forger of the sword. From the Creative point of view, which is God’s point of view, force is weakness, and only Love is power.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 86
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:18; more at Love)
Thursday, July 6, 2006
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1413
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535
We sometimes come to God, not because we love Him best, but because we love our possessions best; we ask Christ to “save Western civilization,” without asking ourselves whether it is entirely a civilization that Christ could want to save. We pray, too often, not to do God’s will, but to enlist God’s assistance in maintaining our “continually increasing consumption.” And yet, though Christ promised that God would feed us, he never promised that God would stuff us to bursting.
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 126
(see the book; see also Amos 3:13-15; more at Christ, God, Love, Possession, Promise, Providence, Salvation, Will of God)
Friday, July 7, 2006
Honor and glory are indeed due to God and to Him alone, but He will accept neither of them if they be not preserved in the honey of love. Love is sufficient of itself; it pleases by itself and on its own account. It is itself merit and is itself its own reward. Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit. It is its own fruit, its own enjoyment. I love because I love; I love that I may love. Love is a great thing provided it recurs to its beginning, returns to its origin, and draws always from that fountain which is perpetually in flood. Of all the feelings and affections of the soul, love is the only one by which the creature, though not on equal terms, is able to respond to the Creator and to repay what it has received from Him... For when God loves us He desires nothing but to be loved. He loves for no other reason, indeed, than that He may be loved, knowing that by their love itself those who love Him are blessed.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Cantica Canticorum (Sermons of the Song of Songs), in Bernard of Clairvaux: selected works, Gillian Rosemary Evans, tr., Paulist Press, 1987, 83:4, p. 272-273
(see the book; see also Mark 12:32-34; Rom. 5:5; 8:28; 1 John 5:1-3; Rev. 4:11; more at Blessing, Glory, God, Honor, Love)
Saturday, July 8, 2006
A man may blaspheme against the Son of Man and be forgiven; ... but the sin against the Spirit of Truth—what can God Himself do with or for the man who will not acknowledge the truth he knows, or follow the light he sees?
... Alexander Miller (1908-1960), The Renewal of Man, New York: Doubleday, 1955, p. 137
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10; more at Blasphemy, Forgiveness, Knowledge, Light, Man, Sight, Sin, Truth)
Sunday, July 9, 2006
And think of the appeal Christ made to men and women! He had many, but His favourite was to their chivalry and valour. Often He underlines the difficulties of discipleship, warns us what it will cost, that it means risk and loss and sacrifice, and pulling hard against fierce currents; and then He turns and looks at us, with that honouring trust of His in us that sets the blood tingling, and makes the cheeks flush with pride. That, He says quietly, is why I am so sure that you will come: you are too big to keep out of it! And, indeed, in His own day, it was only daring and adventurous spirits who would risk declaring for Him, as it is only daring and adventurous spirits still who have the pluck to try to follow so original and unpopular a Master in the real living-out of life.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 168
(see the book; see also Luke 14:28-33; Heb. 11:13; more at Authenticity)
Monday, July 10, 2006
Victorious living does not mean freedom from temptation, nor does it mean freedom from mistakes. We are personalities in the making, limited, and grappling with things too high for us. Obviously we, at very best, will make many mistakes, but these mistakes need not be sins. Our actions are the results of our intentions and our intelligence. Our intentions may be very good, but, because the intelligence is limited, the action may turn out to be a mistake—a mistake, but not necessarily a sin, for sin comes out of a wrong intention. And therefore the action carries a sense of incompleteness and frustration, but not of guilt. Victorious living does not mean perfect living in the sense of living without flaw, but it does mean adequate living, and that can be consistent with many mistakes.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Victorious Living, NY: Abington Press, 1936, p. 78
(see the book; see also John 16:33; more at Weakness)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550
It might help us in our thinking if we drew a distinction between preaching, which the New Testament talks about as a continuing activity in society at large, and sermonising, which we have made into a special activity in the church premises...A great many people sermonising in our churches today would be better off and of greater service if they absolved themselves from the bondage and disciplines of the pulpit and came down among their congregations, teaching informally on sounder educational principles. After all, the vital matter in the ministry of the Word is not that a clergyman delivers himself of a discourse but that the people to whom he ministers end up being taught something.The tragedy is that the professional clergy have been trained to sermonise and they seem overwhelmed with fears and a sense of insecurity when they contemplate other methods.A further problem, of course, is that most of our churches contain a significant number of people who become emotionally disturbed at any departure from what they have always done in the past. To them, the sermon is part of their Christianity—even if it bores them stiff!
... Gavin Reid (b. 1934), The Gagging of God, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969, p. 33-34
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:23; more at Church)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
I take it that every Christian delivers himself up wholly to God in his baptism, when he renounces all the pomps and vanities of Satan, and enlists himself as a soldier to fight under Christ’s banner all his life after. And Saint Paul, speaking of those that die with Christ, that they may live no longer to themselves, but to Him that died for them; does not mean this of monks only, but of Christians universally.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), The Colloquies of Erasmus, v. II, London: Reeves & Turner, 1878, p. 286
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:9-11; more at Conversion)
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Do right, and God’s recompense to you will be the power of doing more right. Give, and God’s reward to you will be the spirit of giving more: a blessed spirit, for it is the Spirit of God Himself, whose Life is the blessedness of giving. Love, and God will pay you with the capacity of more love; for Love is Heaven—Love is God within you.
... Frederick W. Robertson (1816-1853), Expository Lectures on St. Paul’s Epistles to the Corinthians, London: Smith, Elder, 1860, p. 481
(see the book; see also Acts 20:35; 2 Cor. 8:16-24; 9:1-15; more at Providence)
Friday, July 14, 2006
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866
God’s own work must be done by God’s own ways. Otherwise, we can take no comfort in obtaining the end, if we cannot justify the means used thereunto.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Cause and Cure of a Wounded Conscience , “Historical Applications”, VIII
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:1-2; more at Providence)
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274
Since God offers to manage our affairs for us, let us once and for all hand them over to His infinite wisdom, in order to occupy ourselves only with Himself and what belongs to Him.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence, II.ii.1
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:31-33; more at Providence)
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099
To us, our denomination is a source of pride: we feel an intimate link with our fellow church-member in Fiji, and we think how wonderful it is that we belong to a communion which spans the entire globe. We do not normally reflect that this sense of solidarity is very often gained at the expense of the unity which we ought to be experiencing with our fellow-Christian next door who belongs to a different denomination.
... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Church of the Servant, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 120
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:8; John 17:20,21; Phil. 1:27-28; 1 Pet. 3:8; more at Church)
Monday, July 17, 2006
Receive therefore every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God’s goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account: and under the sense of so great a blessing, let your joyful heart praise and magnify so good and glorious a Creator.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 248-249
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:22; more at Blessing, Easter, God, Goodness, Heart, Life, Praise, Resurrection)
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
As God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find any acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken by the mouth of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts, to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what has been divinely commanded.
... 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.vii.4, p. 79
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 2:9-11; more at Bible)
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379
Many people have a very strangely childish notion, that “praying in the name of Christ” means simply the addition of the words “through Jesus Christ our Lord” at the end of their prayers. But depend upon it, they do not by adding these words, or any words, bring it about that their prayers should be in the name of Christ. To pray in the name of Christ means to pray in such a way as represents Christ. The representative always must speak in the spirit and meaning of those for whom he speaks. If Christ is our representative, that must be because He speaks our wishes, or what we ought to make our wishes; and if we are to pray in the name of Christ, that means that we are, however far off, expressing His wishes and intentions.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The Sermon on the Mount , London: John Murray, 1905, p. 132-133
(see the book; see also John 14:13; more at Prayer)
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566
After all, Brethren, the whole end of Theology is love. It seems hard to realize that that is so, but so it is. If your theology does not make you loving, it has not Christianized you and to that extent is not a Christian theology. All ecclesiasticism, and all doctrinalizing, is in order to [form] character, and the soul of character is love. Preach the truth in love, and for the development of love.
... Nathaniel J. Burton (1822-1887), In Pulpit and Parish, Boston: Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society, 1896, p. 149
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:8; more at Love)
Friday, July 21, 2006
He prays well who is so absorbed with God that he does not know he is praying.
... François de Sales (1567-1622)
(see also Gen. 5:24; Isa. 30:20,21; more at Contemplation, Forget, God, Knowledge, Prayer)
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles
The more vigor you need, the more gentleness and kindness you must combine with it... All stiff, harsh goodness is contrary to Jesus.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 79,47
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 16:14; more at Attitudes)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373
If the wounds of millions are to be healed, what other way is there except through forgiveness?Jesus, at least, leaves us no alternative. The command is stern. The terms are set: “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), Beyond Our Selves, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, p. 126
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:14,15; more at Forgiveness)
Monday, July 24, 2006
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471
Truth, not eloquence, is to be sought for in Holy Scripture. Each part of the Scripture is to be read with the same Spirit wherewith it was written. We should rather search after profit in Scriptures, than subtilty of speech. We ought to read plain and devout books as willingly as high and profound. Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw thee to read. Search not who spoke this or that, but mark what is spoken. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remaineth forever.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.v.1, p. 37
(see the book; see also Luke 24:44-45; more at Bible)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Feast of James the Apostle
The spiritual life is a stern choice. It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence, but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God and bear the cost.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 6
(see the book; see also John 14:21; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:1;4:8-10; more at Weakness)
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Gladly shall I come whenever bodily strength will allow to join my testimony with yours in Olney pulpit, that God is love. As yet I have not recovered from the fatigues of my American expedition. My shattered bark is scarce worth docking any more. But I would fain wear, not rust, out. Oh! my dear Mr. Newton, indeed and indeed I am ashamed that I have done and suffered so little for Him that hath done and suffered so much for ill and hell-deserving me.
... George Whitefield (1714-1770), letter to John Newton, in John Newton: a biography, Bernard Martin, Heinemann, 1950, p.212
(see the book; see also Phil. 3:7,8; more at Historical)
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011
The idea of “conviction” is complex. It involves the conceptions of authoritative examination, of unquestionable proof, of decisive judgment, of punitive power. Whatever the final issue may be, he who “convicts” another places the truth of the case in dispute in a clear light before him, so that it must be seen and acknowledged as truth. He who then rejects the conclusion which the exposition involves, rejects it with his eyes open and at his peril. Truth seen as truth carries with it condemnation to all who refuse to welcome it.
... Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), The Gospel According to St. John, London: John Murray, 1882, p. 228
(see the book; see also Jer. 7:28; John 3:20; 6:44,45; Eph. 5:13; 2 Thess. 2:10; Jas. 2:9; more at Condemnation, Conversion, Conviction, Judgment, Peril, Truth)
Friday, July 28, 2006
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750
Let us go and wake up the universe... and sing His praises.
... Mariam Baouardy (1846-1878)
(see the book; see also Rev. 4:11; 5:11-14; 14:7; more at Worship)
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord
[Paul] makes use of the symbolism of baptism, which in the East was performed by the complete immersion of the believer in water. “We were buried with Christ through our baptism (and so entered) into a state of death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the splendour of the Father, we too might walk in the newness which belongs to (real) life.” To the rite as such Paul did not attach overwhelming importance. “Christ,” he says, “did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” ... Paul recognized in the idea a most suggestive figure for the change wrought by faith in Christ. He found it necessary to guard against the crude sacramentalism which found in the mere physical process, as such, the actual impartation of new life, quite apart from anything taking place in the realm of inward experience. The Israelites in the wilderness ... received baptism in the Red Sea and in the cloud which overshadowed them; and yet they were disobedient, “the majority of them God did not choose,” and they perished miserably. The inference is plain. No sacramental act achieves anything unless it is an outward symbol of what really happens inwardly in experience. The test of that is the reality of the new life as exhibited in its ethical consequences. “How can we who are dead to sin live any longer in sin?” If baptism is a real dying and rising again, then it is indeed a profound revolution in the personal life, a revolution which is simply bound to show itself in a new moral character.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 118-119
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:1-11; 1 Cor. 1:1-11,13-17; 10:1-5; Col. 2:10-13; more at Conversion)
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833
It is indeed a most lamentable consequence of the practice of regarding religion as a compilation of statutes, and not as an internal principle, that it soon comes to be considered as being conversant about external actions rather than about habits of mind. This sentiment sometimes has even the hardiness to insinuate and maintain itself under the guise of extraordinary concern for practical religion; but it soon discovers the falsehood of this pretension, and betrays its real nature. The expedient indeed of attaining to superiority in practice, by not wasting any of the attention on the internal principles from which alone practice can flow, is about as reasonable, and will answer about as well, as the economy of the architect, who should account it mere prodigality to expend any of his materials in laying foundations, from an idea that they might be more usefully applied to the rising of the superstructure. We know what would be the fate of such an edifice.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 167
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:24-27; more at Attitudes)
Monday, July 31, 2006
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556
As the devil showed great skill in tempting men to perdition, equal skill ought to be shown in saving them. The devil studied the nature of each man, seized upon the traits of his soul, adjusted himself to them and insinuated himself gradually into his victim’s confidence—suggesting splendours to the ambitious, gain to the covetous, delight to the sensuous, and a false appearance of piety to the pious—and a master of saving souls ought to act in the same cautious and skillful way.
... St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491/5-1556), quoted in Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, Paul Van Dyke, C. Scribner’s Sons, 1927, p. 87
(see the book; see also Eph. 6:11,12; more at Sin)
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