Quotations for August, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Lord, often have I thought to myself, I will sin but this one sin more, and then I will repent of it, and of all the rest of my sins together. So foolish was I, and ignorant. As if I should be more able to pay my debts when I owe more: or as if I should say, I will wound my friend once again, and then I will lovingly shake hands with him; but what if my friend will not shake hands with me?
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Good Thoughts in Bad Times , Chicago: United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston, 1898, Personal Meditations, XXIII
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:16-18; Isa. 30:1; Jer. 9:3; 2 Tim. 3:12-13; more at Debt, Folly, Friend, Prayers, Repentance, Sin)
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The wonder of the life of Jesus is this—and you will find it so and you have found it so if you have ever taken your New Testament and tried to make it the rule of your daily life—that there is not a single action that you are called upon to do of which you need be, of which you will be, in any serious doubt for ten minutes as to what Jesus Christ, if He were here, Jesus Christ being here, would have you do under those circumstances and with the materials upon which you are called to act.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 126
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:6-9; 9:4-6; 18:21-22; Mark 6:34; 1 John 5:19-20; more at Action, Bible, Christ, Doubt, Jesus, Rule)
Sunday, August 3, 2008
The idea of endless and limitless progress and development seems unsatisfying both philosophically and religiously; a process only finds its meaning in its goal. However far off be the Beatific Vision, to see the King in His glory, “to know Thee and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent”—this is heaven, and “it were a well-spent journey though seven deaths lay between.”** from letters of Samuel Rutherford
... Nathaniel Micklem (1888-1976), Prayers and Praises, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1941, p.36
(see the book; see also Mark 13:26-27; Matt. 24:30-31; John 14:2-3; 17:3; 1 John 3:2; more at Glory, Goal, Heaven, Jesus, Journey, King, Knowing God, Meaning, Progress, Sight, Vision)
Monday, August 4, 2008
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
I am, indeed, far from agreeing with those who think all religious fear barbarous and degrading and demand that it should be banished from the spiritual life. Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things—ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out our fear.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The World’s Last Night , Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 109
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:18-19; Rom. 8:15; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 12:28-29; 1 John 4:12; more at Attitudes, Fear, Love, Perfection, Spiritual life)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
To have faith is to rely upon Christ, the Person, with the whole heart. It is not the understanding of the mind, not the theological opinion, not creed, not organization, not ritual. It is the koinonia of the whole personality with God and Christ. This experience of communion with Christ is itself the continual attitude of dependence on the Saviour which we call faith.
... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 8
(see the book; see also Phil. 4:13; Matt. 8:5-10; John 14:23; Rom. 8:35-37; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Gal. 2:20; more at Christ, Communion, Creed, Dependence, Faith, Theology, Understanding)
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
A basic trouble is that most Churches limit themselves unnecessarily by addressing their message almost exclusively to those who are open to religious impressions through the intellect, whereas ... there are at least four other gateways—the emotions, the imagination, the aesthetic feeling, and the will, through which they can be reached.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 216
(see the book; see also Ps. 40:6-8; Jer. 36:7; Luke 12:11-12; John 7:16-17; more at Art, Church, Gospel, Imagination)
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
Think [it] not hard if ye get not your will, nor your delights in this life; God will have you to rejoice in nothing but himself.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb 1, 1630, p. 17
(see the book; see also Ex. 34:14; Deut. 5:7; Ps. 43:4; Rom. 7:21; Rev. 4:10-11; 22:3; more at God, Happiness, Joy, Life)
Friday, August 8, 2008
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
Some there are who presume so far on their wits that they think themselves capable of measuring the whole nature of things by their intellect, in that they esteem all things true which they see, and false which they see not. Accordingly, in order that man’s mind might be freed from this presumption, and seek the truth humbly, it was necessary that certain things far surpassing his intellect should be proposed to man by God.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Summa Contra Gentiles , Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1923, I.v, p. 10
(see the book; see also Eccl. 3:11; Dan. 4:35; Ps. 40:5; 92:5; 97:2; Isa. 55:8-9; Matt. 7:7-8; Rom. 11:33-34; more at Apologetics, Certainty, God, Nature, Sight, Thought, Truth)
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921
We must be willing to accept the bitter truth that, in the end, we may have to become a burden to those who love us. But it is necessary that we face this also. The full acceptance of our abjection and uselessness is the virtue that can make us and others rich in the grace of God. It takes heroic charity and humility to let others sustain us when we are absolutely incapable of sustaining ourselves.We cannot suffer well unless we see Christ everywhere—both in suffering and in the charity of those who come to the aid of our affliction.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), No Man is an Island, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955; reprint, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 93-94
(see the book; see also Luke 17:12-19; Isa. 53:3,4; Mark 1:40-41; 1 Cor. 10:27; 1 John 3:16; more at Affliction, Charity, Grace, Humility, Suffer, Weakness)
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258
Our critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life; I thank him, that prays for me when my bell tolls; but I thank him much more, that catechizes me, or preaches to me, or instructs me how to live.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. VI, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon CLVIII, p. 291
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 2:3-4; Ps. 68:20; Isa. 40:11; John 6:26-27; Rom. 12:4-8; more at Attitudes, Day, Death, Instruction, Judgment, Life, Prayer, Preach)
Monday, August 11, 2008
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890
It is our great relief that God is not extreme to mark what is done amiss, that he looks at the motives, and accepts and blesses in spite of incidental errors.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman, v. I, London: Longmans, Green, 1903, p. 205
(see the book; see also Matt. 21:28-31; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; Isa. 57:15-18; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 6:5; 18:3; ; more at Blessing, Error, God, Intention)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Setting aside the scandal caused by His Messianic claims and His reputation as a political firebrand, only two accusations of personal depravity seem to have been brought against Jesus of Nazareth. First, that He was a Sabbath-breaker. Secondly, that He was “a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners”—or (to draw aside the veil of Elizabethan English that makes it all sound so much more respectable) that He ate too heartily, drank too freely, and kept very disreputable company, including grafters of the lowest type and ladies who were no better than they should be. For nineteen and a half centuries, the Christian Churches have laboured, not without success, to remove this unfortunate impression made by their Lord and Master. They have hustled the Magdalens from the Communion-table, founded Total Abstinence Societies in the name of Him who made the water wine, and added improvements of their own, such as various bans and anathemas upon dancing and theatre-going. They have transferred the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, and, feeling that the original commandment “Thou shalt not work” was rather half-hearted, have added to it a new commandment, “Thou shalt not play.”
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Unpopular Opinions, London: Gollancz, 1946, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1947, p. 3
(see the book; see also Luke 7:33-35; Matt. 11:16-19; 26:6-12; John 2:7-11; more at Church, Commandment, Jesus, Sabbath, Sinner, Social, Unfortunate)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
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
[From an old Jewish story] When Abraham sat at his tent door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers, he espied an old man stooping and leaning on his staff, weary with age and travail, coming towards him, who was a hundred years of age; he received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, caused him to sit down; but observing that the old man ate and prayed not, nor begged a blessing on his meat, he asked him why he did not worship the God of heaven. The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, and acknowledged no other God. At which answer Abraham grew so zealously angry, that he thrust the old man out of his tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night, and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. He replied, “I thrust him away, because he did not worship thee.” God answered him, “I have suffered him these hundred years, though he dishonoured me; and wouldst thou not endure him one night?”
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), The Liberty of Prophesying , in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. VIII, London: C. & J Rivington, 1828, p. 232
(see the book; see also Jas. 5:10-11; Job 1:22; 13:15; Matt. 5:11-12; 23:34-37; Luke 13:34-35; Acts 7:52; Heb. 11:32-38; more at Attitudes, Bible, God, Perseverance, Worship)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941
We distrust the providence of God, when, after we have used all our best endeavours, and begged His blessing upon them, we torment ourselves about the issue and event of things.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. V, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXXIX, p. 77
(see the book; see also Heb. 3:14; Luke 12:6-7,15; Rom. 8:28; more at Blessing, Endeavor, God, Providence, Will of God)
Friday, August 15, 2008
“The Bible,” we are told sometimes, “gives us such a beautiful picture of what we should be.” Nonsense! It gives us no picture at all. It reveals to us a fact; it tells us what we really are; it says, This is the form in which God created you, to which He has restored you; this is the work which the Eternal Son, the God of Truth and Love, is continually carrying on within you.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Prayer-Book and the Lord’s Prayer, London: Macmillan, 1880, p. 221
(see the book; see also Acts 3:26; Rom. 3:23; Tit. 3:4-5; more at Bible, God, Love, Renewal, Sanctification, Son, Truth)
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which he imparts to us.
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), Reality and Religion: meditations on God, man, and nature, London: Macmillan, 1924, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also Luke 14:34; Lev. 2:13; Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5; Matt. 5:13; Mark 9:50; Col. 4:6; more at Christ, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Love, Water)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
We may with complete detachment study and form a judgment upon a religion, but we cannot maintain our detachment if the subject of our inquiry proves to be God Himself. This is, of course, why many otherwise honest intellectual people will construct a neat by-pass around the claim of Jesus to be God. Being people of insight and imagination, they know perfectly well that once to accept such a claim as fact would mean a readjustment of their own purposes and values and affections which they may have no wish to make. To call Jesus the greatest Figure in History or the finest Moral Teacher the world has ever seen commits no one to anything. But once to allow the startled mind to accept as fact that this man is really focused-God may commit anyone to anything! There is every excuse for blundering in the dark, but in the light there is no cover from reality. It is because we strongly sense this, and not merely because we feel that the evidence is ancient and scanty, that we shrink from committing ourselves to such a far-reaching belief as that Jesus Christ was really God.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 83
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:13-19; Ps. 110:1; John 1:1-5; 10:10; Phil. 2:5-11; more at Apologetics, Commitment, God, Historical, Jesus, Knowledge, Morality, Religion)
Monday, August 18, 2008
The problem is not that the churches are filled with empty pews, but that the pews are filled with empty people.
... Charlie Shedd (1915-2004), quoted in The Greening of the Church, Findley B. Edge, Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1971, p. 9
(see the book; see also John 6:26-27; Isa. 9:2; Amos 8:11-13; Luke 1:53; John 1:5; 3:19; Eph. 4:18; more at Authenticity, Church, Emptiness, People)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
God, though present everywhere, has His special residence, as being a pure Spirit, in our minds. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” He is somewhere in the recesses of our soul, in the springs of our existence, in that mysterious, dark, cavernous region of our nature where the wishes, feelings, thoughts, emotions take their earliest rise... The mind is a sanctuary, in the center of which the Lord sits enthroned, the lamp of the consciousness burning before Him.
... Edward Meyrick Goulburn (1818-1897), Thoughts on personal religion, Rivingtons, 1871, p. 257-258
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:6-7; Job 12:10; John 11:25; Acts 17:24-28; Rev. 5:8; more at God, Knowing God, Mind, Sanctuary, Soul, Spirit, Thought)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890
Faith is not an opinion, but a certitude. “The substance of things hoped for,” says the Apostle—not the phantasies of empty conjecture. You hear the substance. You may not dispute on the faith as you please; you may not wander here and there through the wastes of opinion, the byways of error. By the name, “substance,” something certain and fixed is placed before you; you are enclosed between boundaries, you are restrained within unchanging limits.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), iv.9, Treatise on the Errors of Abeilard , in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, New York: Scribners, 1908, p. 16, article on Abeilard
(see the book; see also Heb. 11:1; 2 Cor. 4:18; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:22; 11:13; 1 Pet. 1:7; 2 Pet. 1:1; more at Certainty, Dispute, Emptiness, Faith)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful... To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion; and we may reflect that a good deal of the attention of totalitarian states has been devoted with a steadiness of purpose not always found in democracies, to providing their national life with a foundation of morality—the wrong kind, perhaps, but a good deal more of it. It is not enthusiasm, but dogma, that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.
... T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Idea of a Christian Society, London: Faber, 1939, reprint, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 46-47
(see the book; see also Acts 8:18-20; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 15:12-14; John 5:39-40; more at Danger, Dogma, Life, Morality, Nation, Pagan, Purpose, Religion, Social, Truth, Wrong)
Friday, August 22, 2008
We feel that other churches must accept, as the pre-conditions of fellowship, such changes as will bring them into conformity with ourselves in matters which we regard as essential, and that a failure to insist on this will involve compromise in regard to what is essential to the Church’s being. But for precisely the same reason, we cannot admit a demand from others for any changes in ourselves which would seem to imply a denial that we already possess the esse of the Church.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 150-151
(see the book; see also Col. 3:12-13; Rom. 12:5,15; Eph. 4:15-17; Gal. 6:1-2; more at Church, Ecumenical, Fellowship, Reason)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617
Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we are aware of.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Seventh Letter, p. 34
(see the book; see also Ps. 145:18; 25:1-2; 34:18; Matt. 26:26; Luke 24:30; John 14:23; 1 Tim. 2:8; Jas. 4:8; more at Awareness, Heart, Knowing God, Remembrance, Thanksgiving)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
We may suffer the sins of our brother; we do not need to judge. This is a mercy for the Christian; for when does sin ever occur in the community that he must not examine and blame himself for his own unfaithfulness in prayer and intercession, his lack of brotherly service, of fraternal reproof and encouragement—indeed, for his own personal sin and spiritual laxity, by which he has done injury to himself, the fellowship, and the brethren? Since every sin of a member burdens and indicts the whole community, the congregation rejoices, in the midst of all the pain and the burden that the brother’s sin inflicts, that it has the privilege of bearing and forgiving.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 102
(see the book; see also John 15:1-8; Ps. 46:4-5; Rom. 2:15-29; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5; more at Bearing, Burden, Church, Community, Congregation, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Intercession, Judgment, Pain, Sin, Suffer)
Monday, August 25, 2008
Men expect that religion should cost them no pains, that happiness should drop into their laps, without any design and endeavour on their part, and that, after they have done what they please while they live, God should snatch them up to heaven when they die. But though “the commandments of God be not grievous,” yet it is fit to let men know, that they are not thus easy.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. I, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon VI, p. 482-483
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:1-4; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 11:28-29; Luke 14:26-30; 2 John 1:6; more at Commandment, Death, God, Happiness, Heaven, Pain, Religion, Weakness)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
How often do we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 353
(see the book; see also Ps. 107:21-30; Matt. 8:24-27; Mark 4:36-41; Rom. 8:28; more at Affliction, God, Guidance, Life, Weakness)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
In the pure soul, although it sing or pray,The Christ is born anew from day to day.The life that knoweth Him shall bide apartAnd keep eternal Christmas in the heart.
... Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911), included in The Marching Morrows, Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, Boston: Merrymount Press, 1901, p. 178
(see the book; see also Luke 1:31-33,37-38; 2:1-40; John 1:14; 1 John 4:10-14; more at Christ, Christmas, Everlasting, Heart, Purity)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430
None can become fit for the future life, who hath not practiced himself for it now.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Expositions on the Book of Psalms, v. VI, Oxford: Parker, 1857, Ps. CXLVIII, p. 415-416
(see the book; see also Ps. 148:2-5; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23; John 3:16-18; 4:35-36; 6:27; 17:3; more at Future, Life, Obedience, Regeneration)
Friday, August 29, 2008
The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, they say, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in this, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not.
... Robert Leighton (1611-1684), A Practical Commentary Upon the First Epistle of St. Peter, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1849, p. 368
(see the book; see also Acts 5:41; Jer. 14:9; Rom. 14:4; Phil. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:17; Jas. 2:7; more at Attitudes, Blood, Christ, God, Grace, Religion)
Saturday, August 30, 2008
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; Ps. 16:11; Matt. 19:16-20; John 5:39-40,46; more at Goal, God, Heaven, Knowing God, Love, Salvation)
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688
Afflictions make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound, and so, more able to hold, to contain, and beat more.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), “Of the Resurrection of the Dead”, in The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. II, London: Blackie, 1862, p. 102
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:16-17; Ps. 30:5; 119:71; Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 3:8; 1 Pet. 1:6; more at Affliction, Heart, Knowledge, Weakness)
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