Quotations for September, 2006
Friday, September 1, 2006
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
I think that most Christians would be better pleased if the Lord did not inquire into their personal affairs too closely. They want Him to save them, to keep them happy, and to take them off to heaven at last, but not to be too inquisitive about their conduct or services.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), That Incredible Christian, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1964, p. 105
(see the book; see also John 3:20-21; more at Authenticity)
Saturday, September 2, 2006
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
It is fatally easy to think of Christianity as something to be discussed and not as something to be experienced. It is certainly important to have an intellectual grasp of the orb of Christian truth; but it is still more important to have a vital, living experience of the power of Jesus Christ. When a man undergoes treatment from a doctor, he does not need to know ... the way in which the drug works on his body in order to be cured. There is a sense in which Christianity is like that. At the heart of Christianity there is a mystery, but it is not the mystery of intellectual appreciation; it is the mystery of redemption.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 123
(see the book; see also John 3:7-8; more at Conversion)
Sunday, September 3, 2006
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
All that which our blessed Saviour wrought in his mortal body, he did it for our example and instruction, to the end that, following his steps, according to our poor ability, we might without offense pass over this present life.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, P. L. Warner, 1911; Arx Publishing, LLC, 2010, p. 33
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:21; more at Example, Instruction, Jesus, Life, Savior)
Monday, September 4, 2006
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
I have seen and read somewhat of the writings of learned men concerning the state of future glory; some of them are filled with excellent notions of truth, and elegancy of speech, whereby they cannot but much affect the minds of them who duly consider what they say. But I know not well whence it comes to pass, in the reading of such discourses, they are like a man who “beholds his natural face in a glass, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was...” The things spoken do not abide nor incorporate with our minds. They please and refresh for a little while, like a shower of rain in a dry season, that soaketh not unto the roots of things; the power of them doth not enter into us. Is it not from hence, that their notions of future things are not educed out of the experience which we have of the beginnings of them in this world? ... Yea, the soul is disturbed, not edified, in all contemplations of future glory, where things are proposed to it whereof in this life it hath neither foretaste, sense, experience, nor evidence. No man ought to look for anything in heaven, but what one way or other he hath some experience of in this life.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Glory of Christ [1684, 1691], in Works of John Owen, v. I, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1850, p. 290
(see the book; see also John 17:24; Rom. 5:3-5; 2 Cor. 4:17; more at Attitudes)
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness which is not now either arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 55
(see the book; see also Eccl. 11:10; Isa. 35:10; 2 Cor. 7:10,11; more at Attitudes, Pity, Repentance, Sadness, Sin)
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
Undoubtedly, messengers had often to be sent with letters round the congregations of the province. In the earlier stages of Church development, probably, those messengers were volunteers, discharging a duty which among the pagans was almost entirely performed by slaves: just as Luke and Aristarchus, when they travelled with St. Paul to Rome, must have voluntarily passed as his servants, i.e. as slaves, in order to be admitted to the convoy. In such cases, it is apparent how much this sense of duty ennobled labour and raised the social standing of the labourer, who was now a volunteer, making himself like a slave in the service of the Church. In this there is already involved the germ of a general emancipation of slaves and the substitution of free for slave labour.
... Sir William M. Ramsay (1851-1939), The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1904, p. 33
(see the book; see also Mark 10:43-44; Acts 19:29; Col. 4:10; Philem.1:10-13,24; more at Church, Congregation, Duty, Emancipation, Historical, Labor, Service, Slave, Travel)
Thursday, September 7, 2006
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul,May keep the path, but will not reach the goal;While he who walks in love may wander far,But God will bring him where the Blessed are.
... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920, p. 275
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 1:5; more at Goal, God, Heaven, Knowing God, Love, Salvation)
Friday, September 8, 2006
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
They, therefore, who are hasty in their devotions and think a little will do, are strangers both to the nature of devotion and the nature of man; they do not know that they are to learn to pray, and that prayer is to be learnt as they learn other things, by frequency, constancy, and perseverance.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Perfection , London: W. Baynes, 1807, p. 283
(see the book; see also Luke 11:1; more at Devotion, Man, Obedience, Perseverance, Prayer)
Saturday, September 9, 2006
Is it unfair to suggest that, in some of us at least, [Christianity] hasn’t fully worked so far, simply because, at the pinch, at the decisive moment, we don’t want it to work or ourselves to be lifted up above the failings and disloyalties we find so alluring, but rather to be enabled to continue them without the ugly consequences of so doing, to have the inexorable laws of life bent aside in our favour, so that we can squeeze through and escape, without reaping what we have sown; because, as we misunderstand it, the whole point of the good news our Lord brings is the, to us, gladsome announcement that God is happily much more morally indifferent than our consciences had thought, and is not going to make a fuss about our sins and such-like trivial peccadilloes, but will surely let us off; because, in fact, we have not grasped that the core and essence of the Gospel... is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it—is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 69
(see the book; see also Ps. 101:3; more at Authenticity)
Sunday, September 10, 2006
God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
(see the book; see also Luke 12:16-23; more at Forgiveness, God, Procrastination, Promise, Repentance, Tomorrow)
Monday, September 11, 2006
There have always been two kinds of Christianity—man’s and Christ’s. Does anyone today remember how the emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion? It is said that he had a vision—saw a cross in the sky with the inscription, “In this sign shalt thou conquer.” He accepted the new faith promptly, because he thought it would defeat his enemies for him. That is man’s Christianity, a means to earthly triumph. And in our present crisis we are appealing to it to defeat the Russians for us. We hear of the life-and-death struggle between Christianity and Communism, the necessity of saving the world once for all, the religious duty of “keeping God alive as a social force”—as if our Lord could not survive a Soviet victory!It is a poor sort of faith that imagines Christ defeated by anything men can do.
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 135
(see the book; see also Acts 10:34-35; more at Historical)
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
We religious leaders need to look very much more deeply. We can so easily have talks with people, and they can say we have helped, write us grateful letters, even stand steady for a time till the juice we have put into them has run out; but, we may have brought them no hunger for God (because that hunger is no ache in our own heart) nor [brought them] anywhere near to the end of self.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 23
(see the book; see also John 7:37-38; more at Weakness)
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up in life. These are words by which the slanderers of the nature of the body, the impeachers of our flesh, are completely overthrown... We do not wish to cast aside the body, but corruption: not the flesh, but death. The body is one thing, corruption another; the body is one thing, death another... What is foreign to us is not the body but corruptibility.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), from On the Resurrection of the Dead, quoted in The New Christian Year, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 108
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:44, 2 Cor. 5:1-4; more at Corruption, Death, Life, Mortality, Nature, Weakness)
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Feast of the Holy Cross
If we ever are to attain to true Divine Peace, and be completely united to God, all that is not absolutely necessary, either bodily or spiritually, must be cast off; everything that could interpose itself to an unlawful extent between us and Him, and lead us astray: for He alone will be Lord in our hearts, and none other; for Divine Love can admit of no rival.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The Inner Way, Sermon XV
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:24; more at God, Heart, Love, Peace, Repentance, Unity)
Friday, September 15, 2006
It may seem absurd to some that all desires by which man is by nature affected are so completely condemned—although they have been bestowed by God himself, the author of nature. To this I reply that we do not condemn those inclinations which God so engraved upon the character of man at his first creation, that they were eradicable only with humanity itself; but only those bold and unbridled impulses which contend against God’s control.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.iii.12, p. 544
(see the book; see also 1 John 2:15-17; more at Sin)
Saturday, September 16, 2006
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
As St. Cyprian well said, we may judge how ready He is to give us those good things which He Himself solicits us to ask of Him. Let us pray then with faith, and not lose the fruits of our prayers by a wavering uncertainty which, as St. James testifies, hinders the success of them. The same apostle advises us to pray when we are in trouble because thereby we should find consolation; yet we are so wretched that this heavenly employment is often a burden instead of a comfort to us. The lukewarmness of our prayers is the source of all our other infidelities.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Pious Reflections for Every Day in the Month, London: H. D. Symonds, 1800, p. 27-28
(see the book; see also Jas. 1:5-8; Rev. 3:14-16; more at Prayer)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
That earth and that heaven, which spent God himself, Almighty God, six days in furnishing, Moses sets up in a few syllables, in one line: In the beginning God created heaven and earth. If a Livie or a Guicciardine, or such extensive and voluminous authors, had had this story in hand, God must have made another world, to have made them a library to hold their books, of the making of this world. Into what wire would they have drawn out this earth? Into what leaf-gold would they have beat out these heavens? It may assist our conjecture herein to consider, that amongst those men, who proceed with a sober modesty, and limitation in their writing, and make a conscience not to clog the world with unnecessary books; yet the volumes which are written by them, upon this beginning of Genesis, are scarce less than infinite. God did no more but say, Let this and this be done; and Moses doth no more but say, that upon God’s saying it was done. God required not Nature to help him to do it; Moses required not Reason to help him to be believed.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. IV, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon CIX, p. 491
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:26; 2:1,2; more at Providence)
Monday, September 18, 2006
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
Take care that all your offerings be free, and of your own, that has cost you something; so that ye may not offer of that which is another man’s, or that which ye are entrusted withal, and not your own.
... George Fox (1624-1691), Journal, v. II, Philadelphia: B. & T. Kite, 1808, p. 323
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:1-4; more at Attitudes, Freedom, Man, Offering)
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous. It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character. You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or “touchy” disposition. This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics... No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to unChristianize society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom off of childhood, in short, for sheer, gratuitous misery-producing power; this influence stands alone.
... Henry Drummond (1851-1897), “The Greatest Thing in the World”, in Addresses, H. Altemus, 1891, p. 39-41
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:31-32; Jas. 1:19,20; more at Community, Greed, Home, Man, Morality, Sin, Social, Virtue)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Suffering is sometimes a mystery. We must affirm both the mystery and God. The paradox remained, but now at least, Job knew that it belonged there—that it is built into the moral and physical orders, and into the very nature of God as He has permitted us humans to perceive Him. In a world where the universal principle is cause-effect, the book of Job reminds us that the principle is a reflection of the mysterious, self-revealing God. It is subsumed under Him, however, and He cannot be subsumed under it. The God-speeches remind us that a Person, not a principle, is Lord.
... C. Hassell Bullock (b. 1939), Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books, Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1979, p. 108-109
(see the book; see also Job 38:1-7; 40:2-5; 42:1-6; more at Affliction, Bible, God, Nature, Paradox, Revelation, Suffer)
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
If we are directed only by our particular natures, and regulate our inclinations by no higher rule than that of our reasons, we are but moralists; Divinity will still call us heathens. Therefore this great work of charity must have other motives, ends, and impulsions. I give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfil and accomplish the will and command of my God; I draw not my purse for his sake that demands it, but his that enjoined it; I relieve no man upon the rhetoric of his miseries, nor to content mine own commiserating disposition, for this is still but moral charity, and an act that oweth more to passion than reason.
... Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), Religio Medici , W. Murison, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1922, II.2, p. 85-86
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 9:12-14; more at Charity, Commandment, Heathen, Obedience, Reason, Rule)
Friday, September 22, 2006
The situation in which we find ourselves in this world seems to be a condition of estrangement from God, with little feeling of contact with Him, yet a curious nostalgic feeling that somewhere He exists and that our life would be much more complete if we were in relationship with Him. The deep, seemingly indestructible awareness of something like homesickness for God is the natural basis for believing in some kind of “fall”—we seem to remember something better and to be possessed to recapture it. There appears to be a gap, a chasm, between God and us which must be crossed if we are to be in relationship with him. We know that our own wrongdoing can widen the chasm: we are not so sure what will close it. Yet our first great need is not for a set of rules about how to be good: it is for something to bridge that yawning canyon between us and the God we dimly seem to remember but cannot entirely forget.
... Samuel M. Shoemaker (1893-1963), The Experiment of Faith, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 10
(see also John 9:1-3; more at Existence, Fall, Forget, Knowing God, Need, Remembrance)
Saturday, September 23, 2006
That Jones shall worship the “god within him” turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 138-139
(see the book; see also Isa. 64:6; Luke 18:9-14; 2 Cor. 10:17,18; Gal. 6:3; more at Apologetics, God, Light, Man, Worship)
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Those old Greek gods are not just poetry and legend. In them the Ancients personified living realities—intelligence, beauty, love, or lust, which are still at work in our hearts, and which fashion our person. The language they speak is that of image and myth, which touches the person much more directly than the explicit language of science and the intellectual dialectic of the modern world. It is also the language of the Bible, of the parables of Christ, which the rationalist of today finds it so difficult to understand, of the Word of God which demands of us not a discussion but a personal decision.
... Paul Tournier (1898-1986), The Meaning of Persons, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 132
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:10-13; more at Beauty, Bible, Christ, Love, Myth, Today)
Monday, September 25, 2006
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
The characteristic of our modern Christianity, which correlates it with all apostolic times, is the substitution of loyalty to a person in place of belief in doctrines as the essence and test of Christian life. This is the simplicity and unity by which the Gospel can become effective.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Life and letters of Phillips Brooks, v. II, Alexander V. G. Allen, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1901, p. 333
(see the book; see also Acts 4:24-28; more at Belief, Christ, Dogma, Gospel, Loyalty, Simplicity, Unity)
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
There is no longer any room in the world for a merely external form of Christianity, based upon custom... The world is entering upon a period of catastrophe and crisis when we are being forced to take sides, and in which a higher and more intense kind of spiritual life will be demanded from Christians.
... Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948), Freedom and the Spirit, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1935, 1944, p. 268
(see the book; see also Matt. 9:10-13; more at Adversity, Custom, Spiritual life, Weakness, World)
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
If I mistake, He will forgive me. I do not fear Him; I only fear lest, able to see and write these things, I should fail of witnessing, and myself be, after all, a castaway—no king but a talker; no disciple of Jesus, ready to go with Him to the death, but an arguer about the truth.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Kingship”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 104
(see the book; see also John 18:37; more at Death, Disciple, Fear, Forgiveness, Jesus, King, Truth)
Thursday, September 28, 2006
They cast their nets in Galilee, just off the hills of brown;Such happy, simple fisherfolk, before the Lord came down.Contented, peaceful fishermen, before they ever knewThe peace of God that filled their hearts brimful, and broke them too. Young John who trimmed the flapping sail, homeless in Patmos died.Peter, who hauled the teeming net, head-down was crucified.The peace of God, it is no peace, but strife closed in the sod;Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing—the marvelous peace of God.
... William Alexander Percy (1885-1943), Enzio’s Kingdom: and other poems, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924, p. 9
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:39; more at Attitudes, Crucifixion, Death, Happiness, Heart, Knowing God, Peace, Prayer, Strife)
Friday, September 29, 2006
Feast of Michael & All Angels
When a man really gives up trying to make something out of himself—a saint, or a converted sinner, or a churchman, a righteous or unrighteous man, ... when in the fullness of tasks, questions, success or ill-hap, experiences and perplexities, a man throws himself into the arms of God... then he wakes with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, and it is thus that he becomes a man and Christian.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:46; more at Christ, Conversion, Faith, Righteousness, Saint, Sinner, Task)
Saturday, September 30, 2006
We have been so desperately anxious to secure a moral gymnasium in which the righteous rich could exercise their souls—not by selling all and giving to the poor, but by giving away what they do not really want—that we have failed to remember the effect of their patronage upon the poor. The strong have reserved to themselves the blessing of giving without receiving. The amount that is given away in charity in a single year in this country [U.K.], or in direct relief—which is the name by which we hide our shame of charity—is positively staggering. And yet people are not fed, and by that means never will be. By Charity alone can the world be saved, but this is not charity. It tends to obscure rather than to realise the Brotherhood of Man, it is—and thank God we increasingly feel it to be—a put-off, a refusal of the way of the Cross. It is not Christianity; it is an excuse for not being Christian.More and more the quality of our modern mercy becomes exceedingly strained. It does not drop as the gentle dew from heaven, but is screwed from the pockets of shamefaced people, uncomfortably conscious of the poverty-stricken places beneath. It is twice cursed: it curseth him that gives and him that takes, and is meanest in the mightiest, because they feel it least.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 151-152
(see the book; see also Mark 12:42-44; more at Historical)
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