Quotations for September, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.
... Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910-1997), Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Malcolm Muggeridge, London: Collins, 1971, p. 66
(see the book; see also Rom. 15:30; more at Gifts, God, Heart, Prayer)
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
Love... makes the whole difference between an execution and a martyrdom.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 55
(see the book; see also Acts 7:60; more at Easter, Love, Martyr)
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
Some think that the Old Testament is stricter than the New, but they are judging wrongly: they are fooling themselves. The old Law did not punish the desire to hold onto wealth: it punished theft. But now the rich man is not condemned because he has taken the property of others: rather, he is condemned for not giving his own property away.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), from Homily 40
(see the book; see also Luke 16:20-31; Eph. 4:28; more at Bible, Condemnation, Giving, Judgment, Law, Punishment)
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
“Homesickness for the [One True Church]” is genuine and legitimate only in so far as it is a disquietude at the fact that we have lost and forgotten Christ and with Him have lost the unity of the Church.Thus we must be on our guard, all along the line, lest the motives which stir us today lead us to a quest that looks past Him. Indeed, however rightful and urgent those motives are, we could well leave them out of our reckoning. We shall do well to realize that in themselves they are well-meaning but merely human desires, and that we can have no final certainty that they are rightful, no unanswerable claim for their fulfillment. Unless we regard them with a measure of holy indifference we are ill placed for a quest after the unity of the Church.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Church and the Churches , Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, p. 15-16
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:19; more at Christ, Church, Forget, Quest, Unity)
Friday, September 5, 2008
The seven works of bodily mercy be these: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and needy, harbour the houseless, comfort the sick, visit prisoners, bury the dead. The seven works of spiritual mercy be these: teach men the truth, counsel men to hold with Christ’s law, chastise sinners by moderate reproving in charity, comfort sorrowful men by Christ’s passion, forgive wrongs, suffer meekly reproofs for the right of God’s law, pray heartily for friend and for foe.
... Middle English Sermons, Woodburn O. Ross, ed. by H. Milford, London: Oxford University Press, 1940, included in The New Christian Year, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 63
(see the book; see also Luke 14:12-14; more at Comfort, Counsel, Death, Forgiveness, Giving, Historical, Meekness, Mercy, Prayer, Prisoner, Sickness, Sinner, Teach, Truth, Work)
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
Of the access for us, at any rate, to the spirit of life, us who were born in Christendom, and are in touch, conscious or unconscious, with Christianity, this is the true account. Questions over which the churches spend so much labour and time—questions about the Trinity, about the godhead of Christ, about the procession of the Holy Ghost—are not vital; what is vital is the doctrine of access to the spirit of life through Jesus.
... Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), (first printed in Fortnightly Review, 1887) Works of Matthew Arnold, v. IV, London: Macmillan, 1903, p. 210
(see the book; see also Heb. 10:19-22; more at Christ, Church, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Labor, Question, Spirit, Time, Trinity)
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
I am glad ye have been acquainted from your youth with the wrestlings of God, being cast from furnace to furnace, knowing if you were not dear to God, and if your health did not require so much of him, he would not spend so much physic upon you. All the brethren and sisters of Christ must be conformed to his image in suffering, Rom. 8:17, and some do more clearly resemble the copy than others.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Jan. 15, 1629, p. 8
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:17; more at God, Health, Historical, Knowing God, Suffer)
Monday, September 8, 2008
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
The world will not be saved merely because people go to church, ours or any other’s. If we seem to say [that the world will be so saved] to the tormented nations, this is only a measure of our failure to see that the Anglican Communion is not an end in itself. And what an impertinence it is when we fail to see that... —when we seem to say to the world that their only hope is in the tepid conventions of our club.
... Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), “The Challenge of the Frontiers: Organizing for Action (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 192
(see the book; see also Heb. 10:23; more at Church, Failure, Hope, Salvation)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
There are those who in their very first seeking of it are nearer to the kingdom of heaven than many who have for years believed themselves [to be] of it. In the former there is more of the mind of Jesus, and when he calls them, they recognise him at once and go after him; while the others examine him from head to foot, and finding him not sufficiently like the Jesus of their conception, turn their backs, and go to church or chapel or chamber to kneel before a vague form mingled of tradition and fancy.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Thomas Wingfold, Curate , New York: George Routledge & Son, 1876, p. 229-230
(see the book; see also John 10:27; more at Call, Church, Conversion, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom, Mind, Tradition)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Those who talk of reading the Bible “as literature” sometimes mean, I think, reading it without attending to the main thing it is about; like reading Burke with no interest in politics, or reading the Aeneid with no interest in Rome... But there is a saner sense in which the Bible—since it is, after all, literature—cannot properly be read except as literature, and the different parts of it as the different sorts of literature they are. Most emphatically, the Psalms must be read as poems—as lyrics, with all the licenses and all the formalities, the hyperboles, the emotional rather than logical connections, which are proper to lyric poetry... Otherwise we shall miss what is in them and think we see what is not.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Reflections on the Psalms, Edinburgh: James Thin, 1958; G. Bles, 1958, p. 3
(see the book; see also Ps. 134; more at Bible, Thought, Understanding)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
When a comparison is made of the variant readings of the New Testament with those of other books which have survived from antiquity, the results are little short of astounding. For instance, although there are some 200,000 “errors” among the New Testament manuscripts, these appear in only about 10,000 places, and only about one-sixtieth rise above the level of trivialities. Westcott and Hort, Ezra Abbot, Philip Schaff, and A. T. Robertson have carefully evaluated the evidence and have concluded that the New Testament text is over 99 percent pure. In the light of the fact that there are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, some 9,000 versions and translations, the evidence for the integrity of the New Testament is beyond question.
... Norman L. Geisler (b. 1932) & William E. Nix, From God to Us, Chicago: Moody Press, 1974, p. 180
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:10,11; more at Bible, Book, Error, Integrity)
Friday, September 12, 2008
The mystical union, on the one hand. The resurrection of the body, on the other. I can’t reach the ghost of an image, a formula, or even a feeling, that combines them. But the reality, we are given to understand, does. Reality [is] the iconoclast once more. Heaven will solve our problems—but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.
... N. W. Clerk, A Grief Observed, penname of C. S. Lewis, Seabury Press, 1963, p. 56
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 4:16,17; more at Death & Resurrection, Heaven, Mystic)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407)
(see also Matt. 25:35; more at Death, Mercy, Obedience, Work)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Feast of the Holy Cross
Does not every man feel, that there is corruption enough within him to drive him to the commission of the greatest enormities, and eternally to destroy his soul? He can have but little knowledge of his own heart who will deny this. On the other hand, who that is holding on in the ways of righteousness, does not daily ascribe his steadfastness to the influence of that grace which he receives from God; and look daily to God for more grace, in order that he may be “kept by his power through faith unto salvation?” No man can in any measure resemble the scripture saints, unless he be of this disposition. Why then must these things be put in opposition to each other, so that every advocate for one of these points must of necessity controvert and explode the other? Only let any pious person... examine the language of his prayers after he has been devoutly pouring out his soul before God, and he will find his own words almost in perfect consonance with the foregoing statement.
... Charles Simeon (1759-1836), Horae Homileticae, v. I, London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1832, p. xvii
(see the book; see also Zech. 4:9; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; more at Corruption, Devotion, Faith, Grace, Heart, Prayer, Righteousness, Salvation, Sin, Soul)
Monday, September 15, 2008
The various moral and theological and sociological disputes of the day, however progressively resolved with ecclesiastical connivance, have nothing to say to this spiritual hunger, which is not assuaged by legalized abortion and homosexuality, solaced by contraception, or relieved by majority rule. Nor will it take comfort in the thought that God is dead, or that mankind has come of age, or even in ecumenical negotiations for writing off Papal Infallibility against the validity of Anglican Orders. The only means of satisfying it remains that bread of life which Jesus offered, with the promise that those who are of it should never hunger again. The promise stands.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Jesus Rediscovered, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969, p. xiii
(see the book; see also John 6:35; more at Apologetics, Bread, Ecumenical, God is dead, Jesus, Life, Morality, Promise, Satisfaction, Theology)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
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
No one is strong in his own strength, but he is safe by the grace and mercy of God.
... St. Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (?-258), Treatise IV. On the Lord’s Prayer , in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, v. V, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, trs., Buffalo: Christian Literature Company, 1886, par. 14, p. 451
(see the book; see also Ps. 27:1; Isa. 40:31; Matt. 6:9-13; Gal. 6:16; more at God, Grace, Mercy, Providence, Safety, Strength)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
(Peter) Waldo, a business-man in Lyons, France, in about A.D. 1170 became intensely curious as to the content of the Scriptures. But he could not read Latin, and so the Scriptures were a closed book to him. However, he hired two money-minded priests, who, in violation of strict regulations, translated the Bible for him into Provençal, the language of southern France. The content of the Word of God made such an impression upon this earnest man that he gave up his business, took upon himself a vow of poverty, and dedicated himself to the simple preaching of the contents of God’s Word...The Latin of the Church only mystified its hearers [but] Waldo’s humble preaching edified the souls of men. His words were not spectacular but powerful, as he pleaded with them to repent. Much of his preaching and that of his followers consisted in reciting long passages of Scripture in the vernacular. Many of them could not afford an expensive handwritten copy of the Bible, and the ecclesiastical authorities could too easily rob them of such a book; but they could not erase the words which were treasured in the heart.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 82-83
(see the book; see also Rom. 15:4; 2 Cor. 3:3; more at Bible, Dedication, Heart, Poverty, Preach, Repentance, Scripture, Vow)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery; if stupid people fret me and the little ruffles set me on edge; if I make much of the trifles of life, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 44
(see the book; see also Ps. 37:1-3; 103:10; Prov. 24:17-20; more at Calvary, Fret, Love, Weakness)
Friday, September 19, 2008
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
I find more marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.
... Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
(see the book; see also Dan. 10:21; more at Authenticity, Bible, Historical)
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Knowing God is more than knowing about Him; it is a matter of dealing with Him as He opens up to you, and being dealt with by Him as He takes knowledge of you. Knowing about Him is a necessary precondition of trusting in Him, but the width of our knowledge about Him is no gauge of the depth of our knowledge of Him.
... James I. Packer (b. 1926), Knowing God, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1973, p. 39
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:12; more at Authenticity, Knowing God, Knowledge, Trust)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
Modern Christianity is crucially weak at three vital points. The first is its compromised, deficient understanding of revelation. Without Biblical historicity and veracity behind the Word of God, theology can only grow closer to Hinduism. Second, the modern Christian is drastically weak in an unmediated, personal, experiential knowledge of God. Often, what passes for religious experience is a communal emotion felt in church services, in meetings, in singing or contrived fellowship. Few Christians would know God on their own. Third, the modern church is often pathetically feeble in the expression of its focal principle of community. It has become an adult social club, preaching shop, or minister-dominated group. With these weaknesses, modern Christianity cannot hope to understand why people have turned to the East, let alone stand against the trend and offer an alternative.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 209
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:12-14; more at Attitudes, Church, Community, Experience, Knowing God, Revelation, Weakness)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Taken as practical counsel for survival, the Fifth Commandment is now almost a dead letter. Yet if our world were truly Christian, the change might be a reason for rejoicing. We no longer need our families—we are therefore free to love them with complete unselfishness. Now at last it is possible to honour our parents genuinely, because they no longer have the power to kill us if we don’t. The old sort of honour was sometimes an ugly sham: the son who respects Father only out of fear of punishment is not much of a son, just as the Christian who worships God only out of fear of hell is precious little of a Christian. But the new sort of honour can be a beautiful and holy thing. There are many sweet and sane families bound together by love; there are plenty of experts who remind us that only love can make the modern family work at all. And one must admit that there are plenty of parents very willing to be honoured.The catch is that not so many of them are willing to be honourable.
... Joy Davidman (1915-1960), Smoke on the Mountain, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1955, reprint, Westminster John Knox Press, 1985, p. 67-68
(see the book; see also Ex. 20:12; Matt. 15:4-6; more at Family, Hell, Honor, Love, Obedience, Punishment, Unselfish, Worship)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Gospels cannot explain the Resurrection; it is the Resurrection which alone explains the Gospels.
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 73
(see the book; see also John 5:25; more at Easter, Gospel, Resurrection)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
It is easy to recognize, in the relational rigidities of many chapel-going people, the “negative reflex actions” of a character structure which has survived the destruction of its intellectual and moral foundations. But equally, no one can go far in the Free Churches without lighting upon the new or newish cult of “sincerity as an end in itself”—the first refuge of minds too lazy to rebuild their intellectual foundations—and the sentimental distrust of “orthodoxy” and “authority,” in theological contexts at least.
... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 65
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:2; more at Church, Morality, Sincerity, Theology)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
The manifestation of God in the flesh the Evangelists set down by way of a history; the Apostle goes farther, and finds a deep mystery in it, and for a mystery commends it to us. Now there is difference between these two, many—this for one; that a man may hear a story, and never wash his hands, but a mystery requires both the hands and heart to be clean that shall deal with it.
... Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), sermon for Christmas day, 1607, Ninety-six Sermons, v. I, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841, p. 32
(see the book; see also Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:25-27; I Tim. 3:16; more at Bible, Cleanse, Gospel, Heart, Historical)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
There is [in these Wesleyan hymns] the solid structure of historic dogma; there is the passionate thrill of present experience; but there is, too, the glory of a mystic sunlight coming directly from another world. This transfigures history and experience. This puts past and present into the timeless, eternal NOW. This brings together God and man until Wesley talks with God as a man talks with his friend. This gives to the hymn-book its divine audacity, those passages only to be understood by such as have sat in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and, being caught up into paradise, have heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
... Bernard Lord Manning (1892-1941), The Hymns of Wesley and Watts, London: Epworth Press, 1942, p. 29
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 12:2-4; more at Dogma, Experience, Heaven, Historical, Jesus, Paradise)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
The gospel comprises indeed, and unfolds the whole mystery of man’s redemption, as far forth as it is necessary to be known for our salvation: and the corpuscularian or mechanical philosophy strives to deduce all the phenomena of nature from adiaphorous matter, and local motion. But neither the fundamental doctrine of Christianity nor that of the powers and effects of matter and motion seems to be more than an epicycle ... of the great and universal system of God’s contrivances, and makes but a part of the more general theory of things, knowable by the light of nature, improved by the information of the scriptures: so that both these doctrines... seem to be but members of the universal hypothesis, whose objects I conceive to be the natural counsels, and works of God, so far as they are discoverable by us in this life.
... Robert Boyle (1627-1691), The Excellency of Theology , Works, v. IV, p. 19
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:1-6; more at God, Gospel, Nature, Redemption, Salvation, Scripture)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
One attempt to reconcile the Gnostic doctrine [of the unreality or evilness] of matter with the apostolic teaching about Christ was the theory that the body which our Lord took at His coming into the world was not a real body but a phantom one. He only seemed to inhabit a material body, and from the Greek word dokein, which means “to seem”, people who held this theory were known as Docetists.But if Christ’s incarnation was unreal, His death and resurrection were also unreal; and the whole gospel message was thus emptied of its truth and power. One unhappy legacy of this short-lived phase of Christian heresy ... remains to bedevil Christian witness to Muslims up to the present day. For when the Koran says of Jesus that “they did not kill Him, nor did they crucify Him: it was made a semblance to them”, we may infer that Muhammad was indebted for this idea to a Christian source tainted with Docetism.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990/1), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 83-84
(see the book; see also Matt. 27:57-60; more at Christ, Death & Resurrection, Easter, Gospel, Heresy, Incarnation)
Monday, September 29, 2008
Feast of Michael & All Angels
We would fain be humble; but not despised. To be despised and rejected is the heritage of virtue. We would be poor too, but without privation. And doubtless we are patient, except with hardships and with disagreeables. And so with all the virtues.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 45
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:3,4; Matt. 5:3-11; more at Humility, Patience, Poverty, Virtue, Weakness)
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
One of the results of the Reformation,... which is somewhat difficult of explanation, was the attitude of the Protestant Church of the Reformation to missions during the Reformation period (1517-1650).Having themselves been emancipated from the superstitions and slavery of a false doctrine and a harsh ecclesiastical government, it would be thought most natural that the reformers and those who followed them should promptly turn their attention to spreading these glad tidings among non-Christian peoples; but here a strange anomaly is found in the fact that there had been hardly any period, in the entire history of the Christian Church, so destitute of any concerted effort to spread the gospel in heathen lands [as] just this period of the Reformation.
... Alfred D. Mason (1855-1923), Outlines of Missionary History , New York: Doran, 1921, p. 53
(see the book; see also 2 Thess. 3:1; more at Attitudes, Church, Evangelization, Gospel, Historical, Mission, Reformation)
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