Quotations for December, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Commemoration of Charles de Foucauld, Hermit, Servant of the Poor, 1916
Whilst you are divided betwixt God and the world, you have neither the pleasures of religion, nor the pleasures of the world; but are always in the uneasiness of a divided state of heart. You have only so much religion as serves to disquiet you; to check your enjoyments; to show you a handwriting on the wall; to interrupt your pleasures; and to appear as a death’s-head at all your feasts; but not religion enough to give you a taste and feeling of its proper pleasures and satisfactions. You dare not wholly neglect religion; but then you take no more than is just sufficient to keep you from being a terror to yourself; and you are as loath to be very good, as you are fearful to be very bad.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Perfection , London: W. Baynes, 1807, p. 335-336
(see the book; see also Rev. 3:15; more at Religion)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Gilbert West and his friend, Lord Lyttleton, both men of acknowledged talents, had imbibed the principles of infidelity from a superficial view of the Scriptures. Fully persuaded that the Bible was an imposture, they were determined to expose [it]. Mr. West chose the Resurrection of Christ, and Lord Lyttleton the conversion of St Paul, for the subject of hostile criticism. Both sat down to their respective tasks full of prejudice, and a contempt for Christianity. The results of their separate endeavours was that they were both converted by their attempts to overthrow the truth of Christianity! They came together, not as they had expected, to exult over an imposture exposed to ridicule, but to lament their folly, and congratulate each other on their joint conviction, that the Bible was the word of God. Their able enquiries have furnished two most valuable treatises in favour of revelation; one, entitled “Observations on the Conversion of St Paul,” and the other, “Observations on the Resurrection of Christ.”
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Commenting and Commentaries, New York: Sheldon, 1876, p. 237-238
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:1-3; more at Historical)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Commemoration of Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, Missionary, 1552
It is a rare campus indeed where the Christian universe of discourse is the shared basis of allegiance and the common currency of intellectual exchange. More likely, the Christian faith is an archaic facade, a bit of Victorian fretwork on the front of the house, of which polite note is made at Commencement, but not the common premise of teaching and research and learning.
... W. Waldo Beach (1916-2000), “Where Do We Meet?”
(see also 2 Tim. 3:7;4:4; more at Authenticity)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Commemoration of Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637
Suffer all, and conquer all.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), in a letter, March 30, 1771The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. X, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1827, p. 442
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:36,37; more at Weakness)
Friday, December 5, 2008
If we see a speck in a brother’s eye, we must first see if there is a log in our own eye; perhaps that speck in our brother’s eye is only a reflection of the beam in our own.
... David Watson
(see also Matt. 7:3-5; more at Obedience)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Feast of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326
If one could talk absolutely humanly about Christ, one would have to say that the words: “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” are impatient and untrue. They can only be true if God says them, and consequently also when the God-Man says them. And indeed—since it is true, it is the very limit of suffering.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 301
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:1; Matt. 27:46; more at Easter)
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Feast of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher, 397
Wealth, which leads men the wrong way so often, [should be] seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for... The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds—and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor! ... The poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there, confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.
... St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), De Nabuthe Jezraelite [ca.395], in Journal of the History of Ideas, v. III, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1942, XIII.56, p. 461
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 21:1-19; Luke 12:15; more at Man, Poverty, Pride, Shame, Sin, Way, Wealth, Wrong)
Monday, December 8, 2008
I cannot think that God would be contentTo view unmoved the toiling and the strain,The groaning of the ages, sick and spent,The whole creation travailing in pain.The suffering God is no vast cosmic force,That by some blind, unthinking, loveless powerKeeps stars and atoms swinging in their course,And reckons naught of men in this grim hour.Nor is the suffering God a fair idealEngendered in the questioning hearts of men,A figment of the mind to help me steelMy soul to rude realities I ken.God suffers with a love that cleanses dross;A God like that, I see upon a cross.
... Georgia Harkness (1891-1974), included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 308
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:7,8; more at Easter)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider “not spiritual work” I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 43
(see the book; see also John 13:12-15; more at Weakness)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Commemoration of Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968
Our knowledge of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on his saving and merciful knowledge of us. It is in proportion, as we are known to him that we find our real being and identity in Christ. We know him in and through ourselves in so far as his truth is the source of our being and his merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), The Climate of Monastic Prayer, Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1973, p. 113-114
(see the book; see also Ps. 139:23,24; more at Knowing God)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
For some extraordinary reason, the Church moves in an atmosphere of antiquity. I have no doubt that it makes for dignity; I have also no doubt that there are times when it makes for complete irrelevance; for, if there is one thing that is true of religion it is that it must always be expressible in contemporary terms. Religion fails if it cannot speak to men as they are.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), In the Hands of God, New York: Harper & Row, 1967, Westminster Press, 1981, p. 85
(see the book; see also Mark 1:29-32; more at Religion)
Friday, December 12, 2008
[The Church] sees that human life must be lived in the quite fearless recognition of this insecurity of relationship between one man and another.Now, once again may I ask you the question, Is the Church cruel when she points this out, and demands that men should see it and take account of it in all the arrangements of this life? Surely the cruelty lies with those who talk glibly about the brotherhood of man, and superficially about peace, and romantically about marriage, as though the disturbances in Church and state and family were introduced into human life by a few evil-minded men. This is the real cruelty. How will you face up later to your married life, to your administration of affairs, to your life in the Church, in fact to any real part of your lives, if you are taught to think that your “neighbour” will or ought to agree with you in all points, will accept your solutions of his problems, will in fact be a reflection of your image? Once we get this stuff and nonsense into our heads, we shall never be able to live with anyone or with any group of men. We shall sulk when we are crossed, or run away from the Other, for Other they are. We shall certainly remove ourselves from the Church when we find it full of friction and yet proclaiming the love of God.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), Cambridge Sermons, London: SPCK, 1938, p. 110-111
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:10-13; more at Church)
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Feast of Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
Commemoration of Samuel Johnson, Writer, Moralist, 1784
O God, Who hast ordained that whatever is to be desired, should be sought by labour, and Who, by Thy blessing, bringest honest labor to good effect; look with mercy upon my studies and endeavours. Grant me, O Lord, to design only what is lawful and right, and afford me calmness of mind, and steadiness of purpose, that I may so do Thy will in this short life, as to obtain happiness in the world to come, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, July 25, 1776, p. 124-125
(see the book; see also 2 Thess. 3:7,8; more at Prayers)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Feast of John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591
Never was fount so clear, undimm’d and bright;From it alone, I know, proceeds all lightAlthough ’tis night.
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, v. II, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1935, p. 454
(see the book; see also John 1:7-9; more at Light)
Monday, December 15, 2008
The last and highest result of prayer is not the securing of this or that gift, the avoiding of this or that danger. The last and highest result of prayer is the knowledge of God—the knowledge which is eternal life—and by that knowledge, the transformation of human character and of the world.
... George John Blewett (1873-1912), The Christian View of the World, Yale University Press, 1912, p. 249
(see the book; see also Ps. 85:9-13; Hos. 6:6; more at Prayer)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Be sure [that] it is a mistaken devotion which interferes with the duties of your natural state of life.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 21
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:9; more at Prayer)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Commemoration of Eglantine Jebb, Social Reformer, Founder of ‘Save the Children’, 1928
Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 66
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 4:7; more at God, Hope, Humility, Obedience, Trust, Weakness)
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The defense, for myself and for those for whom I am responsible, must be a conscious defense. We cannot assume that, because we are Christians in the full biblical sense, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, automatically we shall be free from the influence of what surrounds us. The Holy Spirit can do what He will, but the Bible does not separate His work from knowledge; nor does the work of the Holy Spirit remove our responsibility as parents, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, or teachers.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The God Who is There , in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 152
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:12; more at Holy Spirit)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Whoever preaches with love preaches sufficiently against heresy, though he may never utter a controversial word.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), in The Spirit of S. Francis de Sales, Jean Pierre Camus, London: Rivingtons, 1880, p. 282
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:17; more at Church)
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The fear of Hell, or aiming to be blest,Savors too much of private interest.This moved not Moses, nor the zealous Paul,Who for their friends abandoned soul and all.
... Edmund Waller (1606-1687), Works of Edmund Waller, Esq: in verse and prose, Dublin: W. G. Jones, 1768, p. 168
(see the book; see also Rom. 9:1-4; more at Mission)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So here we are again, a few billion miles farther along our mysterious path among the immensities. What a comfort it is to know the Man in charge of it all. Without Him, it would be easy to think that the whole of time and space, and life itself, are without reason, purpose, or meaning—as H. G. Wells said, that it is “a bad joke beyond our understanding, a flare of vulgarity, an empty laugh braying across the mysteries.” With Jesus forever between God and us, we can understand a few things, and trust Him for the rest. After all, He is one of us: a baby once, as we all were; then, and forever after, a Man, as we all shall always be.
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985), letter 
(see also Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-21; Heb. 1:6; 2:9,10; more at Christmas)
Monday, December 22, 2008
The Shepherds’ Plain Blessed night, when first that plainEchoed with the joyful strain,—“Peace has come to earth again!” Blessed hills, that heard the songOf the glorious angel-throng,Swelling all your slopes along. Happy shepherds, on whose earFell the tidings glad and dear,—“God to man is drawing near.” Happy, happy, Bethlehem,Judah’s least but brightest gem,Where the rod from Jesse’s stem. Scion of a princely race,Sprung in Heaven’s own perfect grace,Yet in feeble lowliness. This, the woman’s promised seed,Abram’s mighty son indeed;Succorer of earth’s great need. This the victor in our war,This the glory see afar,This the light of Jacob’s star! Happy Judah, rise and ownHim, the heir of David’s throneDavid’s Lord, and David’s Son. Let the dayspring from on high,That arose in Judah’s sky,Cover earth eternally. Babe of Bethlehem, to Thee,Infant of eternity,Everlasting glory be!
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), Hymns of Faith and Hope, first series, New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1866, p. 240-245
(see the book; see also Luke 2:13,14; more at Christmas)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This is the irrational seasonWhere love blooms bright and wild.Had Mary been filled with reasonThere’d have been no room for the child.
... Madeline L’Engle (1918-2007), “After Annuciation”, from Weather of the Heart, Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw Publications, 1978, 2001, p. 69
(see the book; see also Luke 1:38; more at Christmas)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
A God must have a God for company.And lo! thou hast the Son-God to thy friend.Thou honour’st his obedience, he thy law.Into thy secret life-will he doth see;Thou fold’st him round in live love perfectly—One two, without beginning, without end;In love, life, strength, and truth, perfect without a flaw.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul, London: by the author, 1880; Arthur C. Fifield, 1905, p. 92
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:26; John 1:1-5; 12:49-50; Heb. 5:7-9; more at Jesus)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Thou hast not made, or taught me, Lord, to careFor times and seasons—but this one glad dayIs the blue sapphire clasping all the lightsThat flash in the girdle of the year so fair—When thou wast born a man, because alwayThou wast and art a man through all the flightsOf thought, and time, and thousandfold creation’s play.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul, London: by the author, 1880; Arthur C. Fifield, 1905, p. 93
(see the book; see also Luke 2:15-18; more at Christmas)
Friday, December 26, 2008
Feast of Stephen, Deacon, First Martyr
There is not a heart but has its moments of longing,—yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
(see the book; see also Ps. 84:2; more at Apologetics, Heart, Holiness, Knowledge, Longing, Yearn)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Feast of John, Apostle & Evangelist
It is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.
... David Brainerd (1718-1747), Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven: S. Converse, 1822, p. 246
(see the book; see also Ps. 23:4; more at Obedience)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Feast of the Holy Innocents
The present moment always reveals the presence and the power of God.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence, I.ii.10
(see the book; see also Ex. 3:2-6; more at Providence)
Monday, December 29, 2008
Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach Thy handFor I am drowning in a stormier seaThan Simon on the lake of Galilee:The wine of life is spilt upon the sand,My heart is as some famine-murdered landWhence all good things have perished utterly,And well I know my soul in Hell must lieIf I this night before God’s throne must stand. “He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,Like Baal, when his prophets holed that nameFrom morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.”Nay, peace! I shall behold, before the night,The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame,The wounded hands, the weary human face.
... Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), from Rosa Mystica The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, v. IV, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 39-40
(see the book; see also Mark 4:37-39; more at Prayers)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664)
(see also Prov. 3:11,12, Phil. 1:12-26; more at Affliction, Blessing, God, Weakness)
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Commemoration of John Wycliffe, Reformer, 1384
[John] Wycliffe’s doctrine of “dominion founded in grace” was a peculiar feature of his system. He taught that God, as the great feudal superior of the universe, allotted to all earthly authorities their rule in fief as subject to Himself. The priesthood was not an office of dominion, but of service, and its prerogatives ceased when service was not rendered. Dominion was not granted to one person as God’s Vicar on earth, but the King was as much God’s Vicar as the Pope; nay, every Christian held his rights immediately of God.
... W. H. Summers, Our Lollard Ancestors, London: National Council of Evangelical Free Churches, 1904, p. 28
(see the book; see also Rom. 13:1-7; more at Historical)
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