Quotations for March, 2007
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601
To preach the Gospel requires that the preacher should believe that he is sent to those whom he is addressing at the moment, because God has among them those whom He is at the moment calling: it requires that the speaker should expect a response.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 74
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:19; 20:16; more at Gospel)
Friday, March 2, 2007
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
God is always present, and always working towards the life of the soul, and its deliverance from captivity under flesh and blood. But this inward work of God, though never ceasing or altering, is yet always, and only hindered by the activity of our own nature and faculties, by bad men through their obedience to earthly passions, and by good men through their striving to be good in their own way, by their natural strength and a multiplicity of holy labours and contrivances.Both these sorts of people obstruct the work of God upon their souls. For we can cooperate with God no other way than by submitting to the work of God, and seeking, and leaving ourselves to it.
... William Law (1686-1761), letter II, to Rev. Mr. S., Works of Rev. William Law, v. IX, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 121
(see the book; see also Gal. 5:24; more at Deliverance, God, Goodness, Nature, Obedience, Strength, Submission, Work)
Saturday, March 3, 2007
If Christ and His work and His sacrifice do not result in Christlikeness in you and me, then for us it is quite valueless, and has entirely failed; and, insofar as you and I are concerned, Christ was thrown away in vain. How, then, is it with you and me? Be very sure that upon Calvary it was no strange, immoral favouritism that came into operation, whereby because of some beliefs that remain mere dead letters, that produce no change whatever in their characters, some people living the same kind of life as others and following the same selfish ends and interests as they, are given a destiny entirely different. That is the vainest of vain dreams. Rather is this the supreme revelation of a new way of living life; and only those who, blunderingly, it may be, yet honestly, seek to adopt and imitate it can be counted really Christian folk.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 171
(see the book; see also John 12:24; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; 2 Cor. 3:6; 5:17; Eph. 4:20-24; more at Calvary, Christ, Christlikeness, Dream, Jesus, Life, People, Revelation, Sacrifice, Vanity, Way)
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647
May the Lord lead further and further those who do in earnest want to live the Joshua [i.e., transformed] life. It means a daily dying to self and what self wants—a daily turning to our Master with a “Yes, Lord” to everything, even to what is most against the grain. May He quicken those who have not yet begun to live this life to see what they are missing, before it is too late.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Edges of His Ways , London: SPCK, 1957, p. 102
(see the book; see also Luke 5:36; more at Authenticity)
Monday, March 5, 2007
For God, ... declaring that he will be gentle and kind to all, gives to the utterly miserable, hope that they will get what they have sought. Accordingly we must note the general forms by which no one from first to last (as people say) is excluded, provided sincerity of heart, dissatisfaction with ourselves, humility, and faith are present in order that our hypocrisy may not profane God’s name by calling upon him deceitfully. Our most gracious Father will not cast out those whom he not only urges, but stirs up with every possible means, to come to him.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xx.14, p. 93
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:76; more at Authenticity)
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
It may well be that the world is denied miracle after miracle and triumph after triumph because we will not bring to Christ what we have and what we are. If, just as we are, we would lay ourselves on the altar of the service of Jesus Christ, there is no saying what Christ could do with us and through us. We may be sorry and embarrassed that we have not more to bring—and rightly so; but that is not reason for failing or refusing to bring what we have and what we are. Little is always much in the hands of Christ.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 207-208
(see the book; see also John 6:11-13; more at Altar, Christ, Miracle, Obedience, Offering, Service, Unbelief, World)
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
God in His providence has not allowed the survival of actual physical objects. But we have infinitely more than this, for instead of dead relics, however “authentic” and well preserved, we have a living life-line, stretching unbroken to Christ Himself. We have all the comfort and security that comes from historic tradition, but instead of being given the sad nostalgia of looking at an object and saying, “Look, how wonderful! This is what He touched then,” we are given an evergreen memorial [in communion] which says, “This is what He touches now.”
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Appointment with God, New York, Macmillan, 1954, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:23-26; more at Communion, Providence)
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929
Religion leaves a million questions unanswered and apparently unanswerable. Its purpose and object is not to make a man certain and cocksure about everything but to make him certain about those things of which he must be certain if he is to live a human life at all. Religion does not relieve us from the duty of thought; it makes it possible for a man to begin thinking. It does not put an end to research and enquiry, it gives a basis from which real research is made possible and fruitful of results; a basis without which thinking only means wandering round in circles, and getting nowhere in the end, and research means battering at a brass door that bruises our knuckles, and does not yield by the millionth part of an inch.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 33-34
(see the book; see also Luke 6:39; more at Religion)
Friday, March 9, 2007
If we would talk less and pray more about them, things would be better than they are in the world; at least, we should be better enabled to bear them.
... John Owen (1616-1683), A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. VI-IX , in Works of John Owen, v. IV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 319
(see the book; see also Ps. 17:1; 28:1,2; 70:5; Dan. 9:3; Luke 18:1-7; more at Adversity, Affection, Prayer, Strength, World)
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Every true prayer has its background and its foreground. The foreground of prayer is the intense, immediate desire for a certain blessing which seems to be absolutely necessary for the soul to have; the background of prayer is the quiet, earnest desire that the will of God, whatever it may be, should be done. What a picture is the perfect prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane! In front burns the strong desire to escape death and to live; but, behind there stands, calm and strong, the craving of the whole life for the doing of the will of God... Leave out the foreground—let there be no expression of the wish of Him who prays—and there is left a pure submission which is almost fatalism. Leave out the background—let there be no acceptance of the will of God—and the prayer is only an expression of self-will, a petulant claiming of the uncorrected choice of Him who prays. Only when the two, foreground and background, are there together,—the special desire resting on the universal submission, the universal submission opening into the special desire,—only then is the picture perfect and the prayer complete!
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), The Light of the World, and Other Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1904, p. 120-121
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:39; more at Prayer)
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Prayer opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love—nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul’s imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, II.i, p. 64
(see the book; see also Eph. 2:18; more at Prayer)
Monday, March 12, 2007
Prayer is co-operation with God. It is the purest exercise of the faculties God has given us—an exercise that links these faculties with the Maker to work out the intentions He had in mind in their creation. Prayer is aligning ourselves with the purposes of God...Prayer is commitment. We don’t merely co-operate with God with certain things held back within... We, the total person, co-operate. This means that co-operation equals commitment. Prayer means that the total you is praying... Your whole being reaches out to God, and God ... reaches down to you...Prayer is communion. Prayer is a means, but often it is an end in itself... There are times when your own wants and the needs of others drop away and you want just to look on His face and tell Him how much you love Him...Prayer is commission. Out of the quietness with God, power is generated that turns the spiritual machinery of the world. When you pray, you begin to feel the sense of being sent, that the divine compulsion is upon you.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Growing Spiritually, New York: Abingdon, 1953, p. 290,295,296,298
(see the book; see also Ps. 63:1-4; 1 Cor. 3:9; Gal. 4:6; Jas. 4:8; more at Prayer)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I have come to see that I do not limit my mind enough simply to prayer that I always want to do something myself in it, wherein I do very wrong and wish most definitely to cut off and separate my mind from all that, and to hold it with all my strength, as much as I can, to the sole regard and simple unity. By allowing the fear of being ineffectual to enter into the state of prayer, and by wishing to accomplish something myself, I spoilt it all.
... Jeanne Françoise de Chantal (1572-1641)
(see also 2 Cor. 12:9; more at Prayer)
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Prayer is a wine which makes glad the heart of man.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)
(see also Ps. 32; 104:14-15; Eph. 5:18; more at Prayer)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The primary object of prayer is to know God better; we and our needs should come second.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 96
(see the book; see also Prov. 1:7; Hos. 6:6; Jude 1:20,21; more at Prayer)
Friday, March 16, 2007
I have called my material surroundings a stage set... In this I can act.And you may well say “act.” For what I call “myself” (for all practical, everyday purposes) is also a dramatic construction; memories, glimpses in the shaving glass, and snatches of the very fallible activity called “introspection,” are the principal ingredients. Normally I call this construction “me,” and the stage set “the real world.”Now the moment of prayer is for me—or involves for me as its condition—the awareness, the reawakened awareness, that this “real world” and “real self” are very far from being rock-bottom realities. I cannot, in the flesh, leave the stage, either to go behind the scenes or to take my seat in the pit; but I can remember that these regions exist. And I also remember that my apparent self—this clown or hero or super—under his grease-paint is a real person with an off-stage life. The dramatic person could not tread the stage unless he concealed a real person: unless the real and unknown I existed, I would not even make mistakes about the imagined me. And in prayer this real I struggles to speak, for once, from his real being, and to address, for once, not the other actors, but—what shall I call Him? The Author, for He invented us all? The Producer, for He controls all? Or the Audience, for He watches, and will judge, the performance?
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 80-81
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:1-2; more at Prayer)
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460
As a physician, I have seen men, after all other therapy has failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer. It is the only power in the world that seems to overcome the so-called “laws of nature;” the occasions on which prayer has dramatically done this have been termed “miracles.” But a constant, quieter miracle takes place hourly in the hearts of men and women who have discovered that prayer supplies them with a steady flow of sustaining power in their daily lives.
... Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), “Prayer is Power”, from The Reader’s Digest, March, 1941, included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 645
(see the book; see also Jas. 5:13-15; more at Prayer)
Sunday, March 18, 2007
When a man has had so much benefit from the gospel, as to know his own misery, his want of a Redeemer, who he is, and how is he to be found; there everything seems to be done, both to awaken and direct his prayer, and make it a true praying in and by the Spirit. For when the heart really pants and longs after God, its prayer is a praying, as moved and animated by the Spirit of God; it is the breath or inspiration of God, stirring, moving, and opening itself in the heart. For though the early nature, our old man, can oblige or accustom himself to take heavenly words at certain times into his mouth; yet this is a certain truth, that nothing ever did, or can have the least desire or tendency to ascend to heaven, but that which came down from heaven; and therefore nothing in the heart can pray, aspire, and long after God, but the Spirit of God moving and stirring in it.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 152
(see the book; see also Ps. 84:1-2; more at Holy Spirit, Prayer)
Monday, March 19, 2007
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth
Jeremy Taylor (q.v.) gives us some fundamental rules for prayer. And the chief of them is this: “Do not lie to God.” And that curt piece of advice, so bluntly thrown down for us, is indeed all-important. Do not burn false fire upon God’s altar; do not pose and pretend, either to Him or to yourself, in your religious exercises; do not say more than you mean, or use exaggerated language that goes beyond the facts, when speaking to Him whose word is truth.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), In the Secret Place of the Most High, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947, p. 26-27
(see the book; see also Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2; more at Altar, Fire, God, Prayer, Rule, Truth)
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687
Although we ought always to raise our minds upwards towards God, and pray without ceasing, yet such is our weakness, which requires to be supported, such our torpor, which requires to be stimulated, that it is requisite for us to appoint special hours for this exercise, hours which are not to pass away without prayer, and during which the whole affections of our minds are to be completely occupied; namely, when we rise in the morning, before we commence our daily work, when we sit down to food, when by the blessing of God we have taken it, and when we retire to rest. This, however, must not be a superstitious observance of hours, by which, as it were, performing a task to God, we think we are discharged as to other hours; it should rather be considered as a discipline by which our weakness is exercised and stimulated. [Continued tomorrow]
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xx.50, p. 137-138
(see the book; see also Heb. 13:15; more at Prayer)
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
[Continued from yesterday]It must be our anxious care, whenever we are ourselves pressed, or see others pressed by any trial, instantly to have recourse to God. And again, in any prosperity of ourselves or others, we must not omit to testify our recognition of God’s hand by praise and thanksgiving. Lastly, we must in all our prayers carefully avoid wishing to confine God to certain circumstances, or prescribe to him the time, place, or mode of action. In like manner, we are taught by [the Lord’s] prayer not to fix any law or impose any condition upon him, but leave it entirely to him to adopt whatever course of procedure seems to him best, in respect of method, time, and place. For, before we offer up any petition for ourselves, we ask that his will may be done, and by so doing place our will in subordination to his, just as if we had laid a curb upon it, that, instead of presuming to give law to God, it may regard him as the ruler and disposer of all its wishes.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xx.50, p. 138
(see the book; see also Ps. 116:1-2; more at Prayer)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
A man who prays without ceasing, if he achieves something, knows why he achieved it, and can take no pride in it; for he cannot attribute it to his own powers, but attributes all his achievements to God, always renders thanks to him and constantly calls upon him, trembling lest he be deprived of help.
... Dorotheus of Gaza (505-565), quoted in Early Fathers from the Philokalia, Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), comp. & E. Kadloubovsky, Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer, trs., Faber and Faber, 1959, p. 157
(see the book; see also Ps. 51:15; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Prayer)
Friday, March 23, 2007
THE ELEMENTS OF PRAYERIts ground: God, by whose goodness it springeth in us.Its use: to turn our will to His will.Its end: to be made one with Him and like to Him in all things.
... Grace Harriet Warrack, in the introduction to Revelations of Divine Love, Juliana of Norwich, Methuen, 1901, p. lii
(see the book; see also Ps. 130:1-6; Rom. 8:26; more at Prayer)
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
In our praying, we should speak to God about Himself—that is praise; about His gifts—that is thanksgiving; about other people—that is intercession; about our sins—that is confession and penitence; about our needs—that is petition. Prayer has five fingers, like a hand, and each in turn must be pointed to God, that our prayer may be full and complete.
... Frederick Ward Kates (1910-1987), A Moment Between Two Eternities, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, p. 86
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 2:8; more at Confession, Gifts, Intercession, Penitence, Praise, Prayer, Sin, Thanksgiving)
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary
Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers, London: Collins, 1959, p. 21
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 19:11-13; Matt. 6:7,8; more at Prayer)
Monday, March 26, 2007
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883
It was not the pleasant things in the world that came from the devil, and the dreary things from God! It was “sin brought death into the world and all our woe;” * as the sin vanishes, the woe will vanish too. God Himself is the ever-blessed God. He dwells in the light of joy as well as of purity, and instead of becoming more like Him as we become more miserable, and as all the brightness and glory of life are extinguished, we become more like God as our blessedness becomes more complete. The great Christian graces are radiant with happiness. Faith, hope, charity—there is no sadness in them:—and if penitence makes the heart sad, penitence belongs to the sinner, not to the saint.* from Paradise Lost, book 1, line 3, by John Milton
... Robert W. Dale (1829-1895), Week-day Sermons , London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1888, p. 117-118
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:12-15; more at Repentance)
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
[Christian Unity] is not a secular unity, and must be prompted by no secular motive. The unity we seek is deeper than anything that the world offers. Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, and even Shintoism have proved their ability to bind men together in a common enterprise with great devotion and self-sacrifice; but these are secular ideals, intermixed with self-interest, the love of mastery, and the use of force. Christian Unity can only be “in Christ.” It is based on the New Birth and New Life in Christ, and upon the oneness of all the members in the Christ who is the Head. Therefore, “the quest for the unity of the Church must in fact be identical with the quest for Jesus Christ as the concrete Head and Lord of the Church.” *What kind of unity, then, do we ask? It must be God’s kind, that for which Christ prayed, and which, therefore, must be in the line of God’s purpose. Will He not then take the initiative? It is for us to wait upon Him, and to go through the gates which He opens, to cast up the highway, to gather out the stones of stumbling, to lift up the standard, and to prepare the way of the Lord. (Isa. 62:10)* Karl Barth, The Church and the Churches, p. 18
... G. T. Manley, Christian Unity, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1945, p. 86
(see the book; see also Isa. 62:10; Rom. 8:19-21; 1 Cor. 1:30,31; more at Church)
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
To the spiritual perplexity which exercised so many of the rarest souls of the nineteenth century, God appeared as a Being whom men desired to find but could not. But such a formula, though it truly represented one side of their situation, can never represent the whole of any human situation. For God is also a Being whom it ill suits any of us to find but from whom we cannot escape. Part of the reason why men cannot find God is that there is that in Him which they do not desire to find, so that the God whom they are seeking and cannot find is not the God who truly is. Perhaps we could not fail to find God, if it were really God whom we were seeking. And indeed the deepest reality of the situation is that contained in the discovery, which alone is likely at last to resolve our perplexity, that when we were so distressfully seeking that which was not really God, the true God had already found us, though at first we did not know that it was He by whom we had been found. There is a saying, “Be careful what you seek; you might find it.” And some who have sought God only as a complacent ally of their own ambitions have found Him a consuming fire.
... John Baillie (1886-1960), Invitation to Pilgrimage, Oxford University Press, 1942, and New York: Scribner, 1942, p. 23-24
(see the book; see also Deut. 4:23-24; John 3:18,19; Heb. 12:27-29; more at Attitudes)
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974
My God, how endless is Thy love!Thy gifts are ev’ry ev’ning new;And morning mercies from aboveGently distill like early dew. Thou spread’st the curtains of the night,Great guardian of my sleeping hours;Thy sov’reign word restores the light,And quickens all my drowsy pow’rs. I yield my pow’rs to Thy command,To Thee I consecrate my days;Perpetual blessings from Thine handDemand perpetual songs of praise.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs , in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book I, hymn 81, p. 333-334
(see the book; see also Isa. 45:7; Lam. 3:21-23; more at Providence)
Friday, March 30, 2007
Because they were prejudiced against the meanness of our Saviour’s birth and condition, and had upon false grounds (though, as they thought, upon the infallibility of tradition, and of Scripture interpreted by tradition) entertained quite other notions of the Messiah from what he was really to be; because they were proud, and thought themselves too wise to learn of him: and because his doctrine of humility, and self-denial, did thwart their interest, and bring down their authority and credit among the people; therefore they set themselves against him with all their might, opposing his doctrine, and blasting his reputation and persecuting him to the death; and all this while did bear up themselves with a conceit of the antiquity and privileges of their church, and their profound knowledge in the laws of God, and a great external show of piety and devotion, and an arrogant presence and usurpation of being the only church and people of God in the world.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. IV, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXXII, p. 524-525
(see the book; see also John 8:37-40; 16:2; more at Social)
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence; says the Apostle, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Yet there was a case, in which David found an ease, to fall into the hands of God, to escape the hands of men: When God’s hand is bent to strike, It is a fearefull thing, to fall into the hands of the living God; but to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon LXXVI, p. 385-386
(see the book; see also Isa. 30:33; Mark 16:16; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Heb. 10:31; more at Providence)
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