Quotations for August, 2006
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
As the genuine religious impulse becomes dominant, adoration more and more takes charge. “I come to seek God because I need Him,” may be an adequate formula for prayer. “I come to adore His splendour, and fling myself and all that I have at His feet,” is the only possible formula for worship.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Worship, London: Nisbet & Co., Ltd., 1951, p. 9
(see the book; see also Rev. 14:7; Ezra 9:5; Hos. 6:6; John 4:23-24; more at God, Need, Prayer, Worship)
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
He who has found his soul’s life in God is happy—not in truth with perfect happiness; that is not granted to men in this world, but a foretaste thereof—he has a secret joy which is beyond the reach of temptation, unrest and sorrow; a quiet confidence and steadfastness which abide even while the waves and storms of life sweep over him... When the soul has sincerely given itself up to God, He fills it with His own peace, a peace which makes all earthly things indifferent—as before His Presence, absorbing the heart. It is our strength, our comfort, our guide, the deeper and more confirmed it becomes, the greater our spiritual perfection; so that in truth to obtain and preserve this peace is the real secret of the interior life.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 143,145-146
(see the book; see also Isa. 26:3; Ps. 85:8; John 14:27; 16:33; Eph. 2:14; Phil. 4:7; more at God, Happiness, Life, Peace, Submission, Weakness)
Thursday, August 3, 2006
If our common life is not a common course of humility, self-denial, renunciation of the world, poverty of spirit, and heavenly affection, we don’t live the lives of Christians.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 10-11
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:1-2; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 11:1; 14:1; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 John 2:15; more at Affection, Attitudes, Humility, Life, Poverty, Renunciation, Self-sacrifice)
Friday, August 4, 2006
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “On Forgiveness” , in Fern-seed and Elephants, Walter Hooper, Fontana, 1975, p. 43
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:12,14-15; 18:21-35; Hos. 6:6; Mark 5:25,26; Luke 6:37; 11:4; 17:3-4; more at Charity, Forgiveness, God, Meaning, Mercy, Offering, Prayer, Remembrance)
Saturday, August 5, 2006
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
It has pleased God that divine verities should not enter the heart through the understanding, but the understanding through the heart.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), from “The Art of Persuasion”, in Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, p. 406
(see the book; see also Acts 16:14; more at Knowing God)
Sunday, August 6, 2006
Well, to begin with, you can pray. Pray!, you say scornfully, pray! I knew it would all fizzle out, and come to nothing. I could pray!Yes, you could pray, and, whatever you may think about it, using it as a poor makeshift of a thing much lower than a second-best, not really a best at all, on which men fall back only when they can do nothing effectively, and are too fidgety to be able to do nothing at all, Christ holds that prayer is a tremendous power which achieves what, without it, was a sheer impossibility. And this amazing thing you can set into operation. And the fact that you are not so using it, and simply don’t believe in it and its efficiency and efficacy as our fathers did, and that so many nowadays agree with you, is certainly a major reason why the churches are so cold, and the promises seem so tardy of fulfilment.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 58
(see the book; see also John 16:23-24; 1 Sam. 1:15; 1 Tim. 2:8; more at Christ, Church, Power, Prayer, Promise)
Monday, August 7, 2006
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
Christ was common to all in love, in teaching, in tender consolation, in generous gifts, in merciful forgiveness. His soul and His body, His life and His death and His ministry were, and are, common to all. His sacraments and His gifts are common to all. Christ never took any food or drink, nor anything that His body needed, without intending by it the common good of all those who shall be saved, even unto the last day.
... Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381), Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, II.xlv
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 2:5-7; Luke 20:38; 2 Cor. 4:13-15; 5:14-15; more at Christ, Consolation, Forgiveness, Intention, Love, Mercy, Minister, Sacrament, Salvation, Teach)
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
Theologically, we have been discovering anew that the Church is not an appendage to the Gospel: it is itself a part of the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be separated from that new people of God in which its nature is to be made manifest.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), Christian Faith and Other Faiths, London: Oxford U.P., 1970, p. 208
(see the book; see also Eph. 3:8-10; Matt. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 12:28; 14:12,26; Eph. 1:22-23; more at Church, God, Gospel, People, Theology)
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921
Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust, not in the living God but in dying men. The unbeliever denies the self-sufficiency of God and usurps attributes that are not his. This dual sin dishonors God and ultimately destroys the soul of the man.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Knowledge of the Holy, Harper & Row, 1975, p. 42
(see the book; see also Heb. 3:12; Gen. 8:21; Jer. 18:21; Lam. 3:17-18; Matt. 17:17; Mark 7:21-23; 16:14; John 20:27; more at Dishonor, Faith, God, Man, Sin, Trust, Unbelief)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258
As Christians, and followers of Jesus, we have not taken pride half seriously enough. But the Devil has. The Devil knows that as long as he can control human pride it does not matter how many prayer meetings, how many services, how much devotion goes on—he can still wreck any group of Christians sooner or later, and frustrate God’s purpose for them; and for the world.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 43
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:18-20; Isa. 5:21; Rom. 12:16; 1 Cor. 1:18-21; 4:10; 8:1-2; Gal. 6:3; more at Devil, Devotion, God, Jesus, Prayer, Pride, Purpose, Service, Sin)
Friday, August 11, 2006
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890
Never... think we have a due knowledge of ourselves till we have been exposed to various kinds of temptations, and tried on every side. Integrity on one side of our character is no voucher for integrity on another. We cannot tell how we should act if brought under temptations different from those we have hitherto experienced. This thought should keep us humble. We are sinners, but we do not know how great. He alone knows who died for our sins.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Parochial Sermons, v. 1, New York: D. Appleton, 1843, p. 30
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:16-17; Matt. 4:1; 26:39; 1 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 6:1; Heb. 2:18; 1 Pet. 4:19; more at Death, Integrity, Knowledge, Sin, Sinner, Temptation, Weakness)
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Joy was a characteristic of the Christian community so long as it was growing, expanding, and creating healthfully. The time came when the Church ceased to grow, except externally in wealth, power, and prestige; and these are mere outward adornments, or hampering burdens, very likely. They do not imply growth, or creativeness. The time came when dogmatism, tyranny, and ignorance strangled the free intellectual activity of the Church, and worldliness destroyed its moral fruitfulness. Then Joy spread her wings and flew away. The Christian graces care nothing for names and labels; where the Spirit of the Lord is, there they abide, but not in great Churches that have forgotten Him. How little of Joy there is in the character of the religious bigot or fanatic, or in the prudent ecclesiastical statesman! A show of cheerfulness they may cultivate, as they often do; but it is like the crackling of thorns under a pot: we cannot mistake it for the joy of the Lord which is the strength of the true Christian.
... William R. Inge (1860-1954), Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 66
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 8:1-2; John 14:16-18; Acts 20:24; 1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Pet. 1:8-9; more at Church, Community, Grace, Growth, Holy Spirit, Joy, Power, Tyranny, Wealth)
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Feast of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down & Connor, Priest, Teacher, 1667
Commemoration of Florence Nightingale, Social Reformer, 1910
Commemoration of Octavia Hill, Worker for the Poor, 1912
Avoid idleness, and fill up all the spaces of thy time with severe and useful employment: for lust easily creeps in at those emptinesses where the soul is unemployed and the body is at ease; no easy, healthful, idle person was ever chaste, if he could be tempted. But of all employments, bodily labour is the most useful, and of the greatest benefit for driving away the devil.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living , in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 65
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 4:11-12; Acts 20:33-35; 1 Cor. 4:12; Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:7-12; Tit. 3:14; more at Attitudes, Chastity, Devil, Labor, Temptation, Weakness)
Monday, August 14, 2006
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941
That fear which keeps from sin and excites the soul to cleave more firmly to God, be the object of it what it will, is no servile fear, but a holy fear and due reverence unto God and His word.
... John Owen (1616-1683), IV.5 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V , in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 461
(see the book; see also Prov. 16:6; Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; more at Fear, God, Holiness, Reverence, Sin)
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The period which marked the enormous statistical success of the revival churches was also the period which saw membership standards decline almost to the vanishing point. Today the [various denominations] don’t even have enough authority to keep their members out of mob violence, let alone hold them to difficult standards of theological or ethical or moral excellence.
... Franklin H. Littell (1917-2009), From State Church to Pluralism, Chicago: Aldine Publishers, 1962, reprinted by Transaction Publishers, 2007, p. 125
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:19; more at Church, Discipline, Morality, Success, Theology, Today)
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
By a man’s reaction to Jesus Christ, that man stands revealed. By his reaction to Jesus Christ his soul is laid bare. If he regards Christ with love, even with wistful yearning, for him there is hope; but if in Christ he sees nothing lovely he has condemned himself. He who was sent in love has become to the man, judgment.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 131
(see the book; see also John 12:44-48; Matt. 10:40; Mark 9:37; John 13:20; 1 Pet. 1:21; more at Christ, Gospel, Hope, Jesus, Judgment, Love, Man, Revelation)
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mahomet, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke words of life such as never were spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and sweet songs of praise, than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. Born in a manger, and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world, and rules a spiritual empire which embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe. There never was in this world a life so unpretending, modest, and lowly in its outward form and condition, and yet producing such extraordinary effects upon all ages, nations, and classes of men. The annals of history produce no other example of such complete and astounding success in spite of the absence of those material, social, literary, and artistic powers and influences which are indispensable to success for a mere man.
... Philip Schaff (1819-1893), The Christ of the Gospels and the Romance of M. Renan., Napoléon Roussel, London: Religious Tract Society, 1866, p. 20-21
(see the book; see also Col. 2:13-15; more at Jesus)
Friday, August 18, 2006
All things are God’s already; we can give him no right, by consecrating any that he had not before, only we set it apart to his service: just as a gardener brings his master a basket of apricots, and presents them; his lord thanks him, and perhaps gives him something for his pains, and yet the apricots were as much his lord’s before as now.
... John Selden (1584-1654), Table-Talk , Whitefriars: Davidson, 1821, p. 45
(see the book; see also Ps. 97:1-6; 93:1; 96:10-11; 99:1; Obad. 1:21; Matt. 6:10; Luke 17:7-10; Rev. 11:17; more at Consecration, God, Master, Providence, Service)
Saturday, August 19, 2006
However important it may be to have a creed that is sound or an emotion that is warm, the Christian life, according to the Gospels, is primarily determined by the direction of the will, the fixing of the desire, the habit of obedience, the faculty of decision. Are you determined in your purpose? Have you the will to do the will? Then, even with half a creed and less than half a pious ecstasy, you are at least in the line of the purpose of Jesus Christ, and as you will to do the will, may come some day to know the teaching.
... F. G. Peabody, Mornings in the College Chapel, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907, p. 201-202
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:21; Isa. 30:20-21; Jer. 31:33-34; Matt. 11:26-27; Mark 4:23; John 10:27; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rev. 11:17; more at Creed, Direction, Jesus, Obedience, Purpose, Will of God)
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890
And now be careful to be found a wise and faithful servant, and communicate the heavenly bread to your fellow servants without envy or idleness. Do not take up the vain excuse of your rawness of inexperience which you may imagine or assume. For sterile modesty is never pleasing, nor that humility laudable which passes the bounds of reason. Attend to your work; drive out bashfulness by a sense of duty, and act as a master... But I am not sufficient for these things, you say. As if your offering were not accepted from what you have, and not from what you have not. Be prepared to answer for the single talent committed to your charge, and take no thought for the rest... For he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Give all, as assuredly you shall pay to the uttermost farthing; but of a truth out of what you have, not what you have not.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), The Life and Times of St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, A.D. 1091-1153, James Cotter Morison, London: Macmillan, 1889, p. 203
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 8:12; Ps. 51:16-17; Matt. 25:14-26; Acts 20:35; more at Duty, Giving, Obedience, Offering, Service, Talent, Vanity, Work)
Monday, August 21, 2006
The real presence of Christ’s most precious Body and Blood is not to be sought for in the Sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the Sacrament.
... Richard Hooker (1554?-1600), The Ecclesiastical Polity and Other Works of Richard Hooker, v. II, London: Holdsworth & Ball, 1830, V.lxvii, p. 288
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:27-31; Ps. 26:2-3; Lam. 3:40; Hag. 1:5-7; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 6:4-5; 1 John 3:19-20; more at Blood, Christ, Church, Sacrament)
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
God is present by Love alone. By Love alone He is great and glorious. By Love alone He liveth and feeleth in other persons. By Love alone He enjoyeth all the creatures, by Love alone He is pleasing to Himself, by Love alone He is rich and blessed. O why dost not thou by Love alone seek to achieve all these, by Love alone attain another self, by Love alone live in others, by Love attain thy glory? The Soul is shriveled up and buried in a grave that does not Love. But that which does love wisely and truly is the joy and end of all the world, the King of Heaven, and the Friend of God, the shining Light and Temple of Eternity, the Brother of Jesus Christ, and one Spirit with the Holy Ghost.
... Thomas Traherne (1637?-1674), Centuries of Meditations, edited and published by Bertram Dobell, in London, 1908, #50, p. 116
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:31; 13; Gal. 5:6; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 John 4:7; more at Glory, God, Greatness, Holy Spirit, King, Love, Temple, Wisdom)
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617
There is no one in the world who cannot arrive without difficulty at the most eminent perfection by fulfilling with love the obscure and common duties.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence, II.iv.3
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:13; Micah 6:8; Rom. 7:5; 8:13-14; Matt. 11:29-30; 1 John 5:3-4; more at Duty, Fulfillment, Love, Obedience, Perfection)
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
How readily we assume that the Church is the only channel of divine action among men! Common sense tells us this assumption is wrong—and nothing in the Bible supports such a conclusion.Believing that God is the Lord of history, we believe that God is at work now in the development of industry and commerce throughout the world, in the experiments and researches of the scientists, in the deliberations of the United Nations, and in the course of events in Berlin and Havana, in Moscow and Peiping and Detroit. One might say, then that He seems to be doing some very strange and contradictory things! But, though we cannot claim to know God’s purpose in all this, we do believe that God acts in all these circumstances. The revolutionary changes of our time are not all a mistake. They are not taking place without God.
... Arthur Lichtenberger (1900-1968), The Day is at Hand, New York: Seabury Press, 1964, p. 107
(see the book; see also Isa. 7:17-20; more at Belief, Bible, Church, God, Historical, Nation, Providence, Purpose, World)
Friday, August 25, 2006
For a small reward, a man will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a single step.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, III.iii.3, p.118
(see the book; see also Matt. 19:16-26; Ps. 49:16-19; Matt. 6:5-6; 13:22; Mark 10:17-27; Luke 12:15-21; 18:18-27; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; more at Eternal life, Journey, Man, Sloth, Worship)
Saturday, August 26, 2006
People should think less about what they ought to do and more about what they ought to be. If only their being were good, their works would shine forth brightly. Do not imagine that you can ground your salvation upon actions; it must rest on what you are. The ground upon which good character rests is the very same ground from which man’s work derives its value, namely, a mind wholly turned to God. Verily, if you were so minded, you might tread on a stone and it would be a more pious work than if you, simply for your own profit, were to receive the Body of the Lord and were wanting in spiritual detachment.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), quoted in The Perennial Philosophy , Aldous Huxley, New York: HarperCollins, 2004, p. 178
(see the book; see also Heb. 9:13-14; Ps. 51:7,10; 1 Cor. 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 1 John 1:7; more at Action, God, Goodness, Mind, Obedience, Salvation, Work)
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
Christianity is pre-eminently the religion of the heart. It does not always ask words, but it always wants work. The motives and not the means are the things on which it passes judgment. And the man who shows by his life that he is not ashamed of the Gospel will assuredly one day find that the Gospel is not ashamed of him. There is much more which might be said, but I refrain. Ere I close, you will let me add my emphasis to the fact that it is in our life and conduct that we must show our devotion to Christ. The silent Gospel reaches further than the grandest rhetoric.
... Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), included in Leaves of Gold, Evan S. Coslett & Clyde Francis Lytle, ed. , Honesdale, Pa.: Coslett Publishing Company, 1938, p. 165
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:8-10; more at Obedience)
Monday, August 28, 2006
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430
Ye have enemies; for who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves: love them. In no way can thy enemy so hurt thee by his violence, as thou dost hurt thyself if thou love him not... And let it not seem to you impossible to love him... Believe first that it can be done, and pray that the will of God may be done in you. For what good can thy neighbor’s ill do to thee? If he had no ill, he would not even be thine enemy. Wish him well, then, that he may end his ill, and he will be thine enemy no longer. For it is not the human nature in him that is at enmity with thee, but his sin.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Sermon VI in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, v. VI, Philip Schaff, ed., New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888, p. 278
(see the book; see also Luke 6:35; Matt. 5:44; 6:9-13; Luke 23:34; Rom. 12:14,20-21; 1 Cor. 4:12-13; 13:4-8; 1 Pet. 2:23; 3:9; more at Enemy, Life, Love, Neighbor, Prayer, Sin, Will of God)
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
We must not measure the reality of love by feelings, but by results. Feelings are very delusive. They often depend on mere natural temperament, and the devil wrests them to our hurt. A glowing imagination is apt to seek itself rather than God. But if you are earnest in striving to serve and endure for God’s Sake, if you persevere amid temptation, dryness, weariness, and desolation, you may rest assured that your love is real.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 137
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:1-2; John 13:34; 1 Cor. 16:14; Eph. 4:2,15; Col. 3:14; 1 Thes. 4:9; 1 Pet. 4:8; 1 John 3:11; more at Assurance, Desolation, God, Illusions, Imagination, Love, Perseverance, Service, Strife, Temptation, Weary)
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
As to deliberate mortifications—I take it you do feel satisfied that you accept fully those God sends. That being so, you might perhaps do one or two little things, as acts of love, and also as discipline? I suggest by preference the mortification of the tongue—as being very tiresome and quite harmless to the health. Careful guard on all amusing criticisms of others, on all complaints however casual and trivial; deliberately refraining sometimes from saying the entertaining thing.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Letters of Evelyn Underhill, Charles Williams, ed., London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1991, p. 259
(see the book; see also Ps. 34:13; 39:1; Pr. 18:21; Matt. 12:35-37; Jas. 1:19,26; 3:5-10; more at Discipline, Love, Obedience, Satisfaction, Self-control)
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688
[John Bunyan] had to live through that obscure night—“wide, vast, and lonely”—which fell upon St. John of the Cross before; like him, he knew that grace would enter “the dark caverns where the senses live.” In the meantime, Bunyan tossed to and fro, as it were between heaven and hell. It has been said that he paints too dark a picture of his moral condition when a young man, that he exaggerates his wickedness at this period, and afterwards wrestles with phantoms of his vivid imagination. But spiritual sins, though not so obvious as those that are sensual, may be just as real; and Bunyan’s intensity of feeling and expression arose from the intensity of his spiritual nature.
... Arthur Stanley (c. 1873-1961), The Bedside Bunyan: an anthology of the writings of John Bunyan, John Bunyan, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1947, p. 126
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:16; Ps. 107:10-14; Isa. 9:1-2; 42:6-7; 60:1-3; Mic. 7:8; Matt. 9:12-13; Luke 1:76-79; 2:30-32; more at Darkness, Evil, Grace, Heaven, Hell, Historical, Night, Sin)
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