Quotations for January, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
There is a stream, whose gentle flowSupplies the city of our God;Life, love, and joy still gliding through,And watering our divine abode: That sacred stream, thine holy word,That all our raging fear controls;Sweet peace thy promises afford,And give new strength to fainting souls.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms of David Imitated , in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, Ps. 46, first part, p. 121
(see the book; see also Ps. 46:4; 1:2; 36:8-9; Isa. 35:6-10; Eze. 47:1-12; John 4:13-14; 7:37-39; Rev. 22:1-3; more at Bible, City, Joy, Love, Promise, Strength)
Friday, January 2, 2009
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833
Do not, as is usually the case, thrust the care of the common weal upon your neighbor; then, as each one in his own thoughts makes light of the matter, all find to their surprise that they have drawn upon themselves through their neglect a personal misfortune.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), Saint Basil, the Letters, tr. Roy Joseph Deferrari, Martin Rawson, Patrick McGuire, London: William Heinemann, 1950, p. 169
(see the book; see also Acts 6:1-6; 2 Cor. 8:1-4; Gal. 2:10; Heb. 13:16; 1 John 3:17; more at Historical, Neglect, Neighbor, Unfortunate)
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970
[Leaders of the anarchist movement in Amsterdam] call their public demonstrations “Happenings.” These paintings, these poems, and these demonstrations... are the expression of men who are struggling with their appalling lostness. Dare we laugh at such things? Dare we feel superior when we view their tortured expressions in their art? Christians should stop laughing and take such men seriously. Then we shall have the right to speak again to our generation. These men are dying while they live, yet where is our compassion for them? There is nothing more ugly than an orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The God Who is There , in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 34
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:16; more at Apologetics, Art, Compassion, Laughter)
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Jesus Christ is the end of all, and the centre to which all tends. Whoever knows Him knows the reason of everything.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #556, p. 185
(see the book; see also Col. 1:16-17; John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; more at Jesus, Knowing God, Reason)
Monday, January 5, 2009
The New Testament is uniformly consistent in seeing something as being wrong in man himself... These analyses of man are based on man’s responsibility for his evil actions; they are not saying that it is simply his emotions that have gone astray: it is man’s will which is the central problem.
... Denis Alexander, Beyond Science, Berkhamsted: Lion Pub., 1972, reprint, A. J. Holman Co., 1973, p. 163-164
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:33-34; John 3:19; more at Action, Bible, Evil, Fall, Man, Sin, Wrong)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Invisible in His own nature [God] became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, He chose to come within our grasp.
... Leo I “the Great” (390?-461), from St. Leo’ epistle to Flavian, in On Faith and the Creed, Charles Abel Heurtley, Parker and Co., 1886, p. 200
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:46-49; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:7; more at God, Providence, Sight)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The new age cannot live on naturalism or on secularism. Life becomes sterile and futile without the depth and power which come from participation in eternal realities. But this new age cannot any more successfully live on religious faiths that are out of harmony with known truth, or that hang loose in the air, cut apart from the fundamental intellectual culture of the age. The hour has struck for the serious business of rediscovering the foundations, and of interpenetrating all life and thought with the truths and realities of a victorious religious faith.
... Rufus M. Jones (1863-1948), A Preface to Christian Faith in a New Age, New York: Macmillan Co., 1932, p. 42
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:34-35; more at Apologetics, Culture, Everlasting, Philosophy, Religion)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956
The pastoral charge [does not] consist merely in administering the sacraments, chanting the canonical hours, celebrating masses—though even these are not properly done by hirelings—; it consists also in feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, covering the naked, receiving guests, visiting the sick and those in prison. By the doing of these things is the people to be instructed in the holy duties of an active life.
... Robert Grosseteste (c.1170-1253), Bp., in a letter , in Church and State in the Middle Ages, Arthur Lionel Smith, Oxford: Clarendon, 1913, p. 123
(see the book; see also Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Cor. 6:1; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; more at Charity, Church, Duty, Holiness, Instruction, Mercy, Minister, Prison, Sacrament, Sickness)
Friday, January 9, 2009
A conversion is incomplete if it does not leave Jesus Christ in the central place in one’s life. The shortest possible description of a Christian—a description with which the New Testament would fully agree—is that a Christian is a person who can say: “For me Jesus Christ is Lord.”Herbert Butterfield’s words about facing the future are good: “Hold to Christ, and for the rest be totally uncommitted.” Any alleged conversion which does not leave one totally committed solely to Jesus Christ is incomplete and imperfect. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Barclay (1907-1978), In the Hands of God, New York: Harper & Row, 1967, Westminster Press, 1981, p. 40
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:3; more at Bible, Commitment, Conversion, Future, Jesus)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
[Continued from yesterday]A conversion is incomplete if it does not leave one integrated into the Church. By this we do not mean any particular part of the Church; what we do mean is that conversion must leave one linked in loving fellowship with one’s fellow believers. Conversion is not something simply between a man and Jesus Christ, with no other person involved. True, it may start in that way; but it cannot end in that way.Conversion is not individualistic. It is in fact the opposite. It joins man to his fellow men, and certainly does not separate him from them. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Barclay (1907-1978), In the Hands of God, New York: Harper & Row, 1967, Westminster Press, 1981, p. 40
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:17; more at Church, Conversion, Fellowship, Love)
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
[Continued from yesterday]A conversion is incomplete if it does not leave one with an intense social consciousness, if it does not fill one with a sense of overwhelming responsibility for the world. It has been said... truly that the Church exists for those outside of itself.The Church must never be in any sense a little huddle of pious people, shutting their doors against the world, lost in prayer and praise, connoisseurs of preaching and liturgy, busy mutually congratulating themselves on the excellence of their Christian experience.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), In the Hands of God, New York: Harper & Row, 1967, Westminster Press, 1981, p. 41
(see the book; see also Eph. 3:10-11; more at Conversion, Experience, Praise, Prayer, Preach, Responsibility, Social, World)
Monday, January 12, 2009
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
I think I have never heard a sermon preached on the story of Mary and Martha that did not attempt, somehow, somewhere, to explain away its text. Mary’s, of course, was the better part—the Lord said so, and we must not precisely contradict Him. But we will be careful not to despise Martha. No doubt, He approved of her, too. We could not get on without her, and indeed (having paid lip-service to God’s opinion) we must admit that we greatly prefer her, for Martha was doing a really feminine job, whereas Mary was just behaving like any other disciple; and that is a hard pill to swallow.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Unpopular Opinions, London: Gollancz, 1946, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1947, p. 148
(see the book; see also Luke 10:41-42; more at Bible, Disciple, Jesus, Sermon)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603
[He said] that our sanctification did not depend upon our changing our works, but upon our doing that for God’s sake which commonly we do for our own. That it was lamentable to see how many people mistook the means for the end, addicting themselves to certain works, which they performed very imperfectly, by reason of their human or selfish regards.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fourth Conversation, p. 16
(see the book; see also Rev. 7:13-14; Rom. 14:6; Col. 3:17,23-24; 1 Pet. 4:11; more at Authenticity, God, People, Sanctification, Selfish, Work)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
In the long run, the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is... a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that that is what He does.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 116
(see the book; see also Luke 12:8-9; more at Calvary, Forgiveness, Hell, Providence, Question, Sin)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The final reality, and the ultimate fact of our total situation to which we need to be adjusted, is God. That indeed would be my definition of God: God is He with whom we have ultimately to do, the final reality to which we have to face up, and with whom we have in the last resort to reckon.
... John Baillie (1886-1960), Christian Devotion, Scribner, 1962, p. 67
(see the book; see also Luke 12:38-40; more at God, Knowing God, Ultimate reality)
Friday, January 16, 2009
The scientist who lives laborious days in the disinterested pursuit of truth, the artist who will starve in a garret if only he may express the beauty he has seen, the martyr who will obey God in the scorn of consequence, are all religious men or, at least, are men who illustrate that principle which lies behind religion. Truth, Beauty, Goodness—these are sacred, the object of man’s true love and reverence. He to whom nothing is sacred, all questions are open, and the distinction between right and wrong is blurred, is an enslaved, not an emancipated, spirit.
... Nathaniel Micklem (1888-1976), The Theology of Politics, London: Oxford University Press, 1941, p. 58
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:7; more at Beauty, Consecration, Love, Martyr, Reverence, Social, Truth)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
I suppose these are the three main dangers to which ecclesiastical developments are liable: (1) The danger of undue accommodation to natural religion or to the indolence and superstitious tendencies of human nature, from which result undue and unguarded accretions upon Christian doctrine and perversions of it. (2) There is the danger of one-sidedness by accommodation to the particular tendencies of a particular age. (3) There is the danger of an arrested development, because ecclesiastical authority acting hastily or unguardedly solidifies the one-sidedness or undue accommodation of a particular moment of the Church into a premature and unjustifiable dogma. There is, I venture to think, for all these dangers one remedy, and one remedy only, and that the most old-fashioned; and yet it is with this that is bound up all that is most true, all that is most free, all that is most spiritual in the Church. The remedy to which I refer is ... the continual recurrence to the original pattern, the continual appeal to antiquity and Scripture. Such an appeal limits the dogmatic authority and in a sense the whole authority of the Church. But it is by the maintenance of this appeal, and only so, that you can safeguard what is, after all, the most important thing, that is, the real power of the Church to be true to its own best spirit, to reassert the original teaching in all its freedom and largeness of application, without being trammelled and contracted by the errors and narrownesses of particular periods.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), in a lecture delivered December 6, 1900
(see the book; see also Jas. 4:8; more at Church, Culture, Danger, Dogma, Error, Freedom, Nature, Religion, Teach)
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951
If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 47
(see the book; see also Eph. 5:1-2; more at Calvary, Love, Soul, Spirit, Suffer, Weakness)
Monday, January 19, 2009
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
The truth is that so long as we hold both sides of the proposition together they contain nothing inconsistent with orthodoxy, but as soon as one is divorced from the other, it is bound to prove a stumbling-block. “Only those who believe obey” is what we say to that part of a believer’s soul which obeys, and “only those who obey believe” is what we say to that part of the soul of the obedient which believes. If the first half of the proposition stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of cheap grace, which is another word for damnation. If the second half stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of salvation through works, which is also another word for damnation.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 68
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:17-18; more at Belief, Danger, Grace, Obedience, Truth)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349
O Holy Spirit, Who breathe where you will, come into me and snatch me up to yourself. Fortify the nature you have created, with gifts so flowing with honey that, from intense joy in your sweetness, it may despise and reject all which is in this world, that it may accept spiritual gifts, and through melodious jubilation, it may entirely melt in holy love, reaching out for uncircumscribed Light.
... Richard Rolle (1290?-1349), Concerning the Love of God , tr. Richard Misyn, ch. 11
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 4:8; John 3:8; 8:12; 2 Cor. 5:8; more at Gifts, Holy Spirit, Joy, Love, Prayers, Strength, World)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304
I shall think it mercy to my soul, if my faith shall out-watch all this winter-night, and not nod or slumber till my Lord’s summer-day dawn upon me.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Jan. 6, 1637. p. 155
(see the book; see also John 9:4; more at Dawn, Faith, God, Historical, Mercy, Sleep)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it... Be importunate, Jesus says—not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God’s door before he’ll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there’s no way of getting to your door.
... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, Harper & Row, 1973, revised, HarperCollins, 1993, p. 70
(see the book; see also Luke 11:5-8; more at Door, God, Jesus, Perseverance, Prayer)
Friday, January 23, 2009
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893
The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through to see that which is beyond.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), The Sermons of Henry Ward Beecher in Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, second series, New York: J. B. Ford, 1873, p. 5
(see the book; see also Rom. 1:1-4; more at Bible, Sight, Understanding, World)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
Be patient, not only with respect to the main trials which beset you, but also under the accidental and accessory annoyances which arise out of them. We often find people who imagine themselves ready to accept a trial in itself who are impatient of its consequences.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.iii, p. 137-138
(see the book; see also Jas. 1:19-20; more at Imagination, Patience, People, Trial, Weakness)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Feast of the Conversion of Paul
Our method in proclaiming salvation is this: to point out to every heart the loving Lamb, who died for us and, although He was the Son of God, offered Himself for our sins... by the preaching of His blood, and of His love unto death, even the death of the cross; never, either in the discourse or in the argument, to digress even for a quarter of an hour from the loving Lamb; to name no virtue, except in Him and from Him and on His account; to preach no commandment except faith in Him; no other justification but that He atoned for us; no other sanctification but the privilege to sin no more; no other happiness but to be near Him, to think of Him and do His pleasure; no other self denial but to be deprived of Him and His blessings; no other calamity but to displease Him; no other life but in Him.
... Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), in a letter, 1742, recorded in The Early History of the Church of the United Brethren (Unitas Fratrum) Commonly Called Moravians in North America, A. D. 1734-1748, Levin Theodore Reichel, Nazareth, PA: The Moravian Historical Society, 1888, p. 116-117
(see the book; see also Mark 7:35; Phil. 2:5-11; more at Faith, Justification, Mission, Preach, Salvation, Sanctification)
Monday, January 26, 2009
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
The... task of the ministry is, not to undertake some specialist activity from which the rest of the faithful are excluded, but to pioneer in doing that which the whole church must do. And the ministry itself is no originator, but receives its task from Christ. The ordained ministers only exercise the ministry which Christ himself has first exercised, and which he continues to exercise through them, and through their activity in the whole church also.
... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Pioneer Church, SCM, 1961, p. 72
(see the book; see also Phil. 1:8; more at Christ, Church, Minister, Ordination, Task)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I implore you in God’s name, not to think of Him as hard to please, but rather as generous beyond all that you can ask or think.
... Abbé de Tourville (1842-1903), Letters of Direction, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005, p. 59
(see the book; see also John 10:10; 2 Cor. 4:15; more at Attitudes, Generosity, God, Thought)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
The end of all my labors has come. All that I have written appears to me as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Butler’s Lives of the Saints , Alban Butler & Michael J. Walsh, Burns & Oates, 1956, reprint, HarperCollins, 1991, p. 29
(see the book; see also Luke 3:21-22; more at Historical, Labor, Revelation)
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Ye holy angels bright,Who wait at God’s right hand,Or through the realms of lightFly at your Lord’s command,Assist our song;For else the themeToo high doth seemFor mortal tongue. Ye blessed souls at rest,Who ran this earthly race,And now, from sin released,Behold the Saviour’s face,God’s praises sound,As in his sight,With sweet delight,Ye do abound. Ye saints, who toil below,Adore your heavenly King.And onward as ye goSome joyful anthem sing;Take what he givesAnd praise him still,Through good or ill,Who ever lives! My soul, bear thou thy part,Triumph in God above:And with a well-tuned heartSing thou the songs of love!Let all thy daysTill life shall end,Whate’er he send,Be filled with praise.
... Richard Baxter (1615-1691), The Poor Man’s Family Book, in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, v. IV, G. Virtue, 1838, p. 288
(see the book; see also Ps. 47; 66:1-4; 100; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Angel, Life, Praise, Savior, Song, Soul, Worship)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
There has been a tendency of late to interpret alienation from faith in intellectual rather than experiential terms. Academically oriented Christians especially tend to think that the barriers to faith should be removed by repackaging the content of the message in a way more congenial to the modern outlook. But it is quite possible that we are dealing not so much with a failure of intellect, as with a failure of experience, an alienation from the experiential roots of Christianity itself so amply attested in the New Testament.
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Reason Enough, Exeter: Paternoster, 1980, p. 48-49
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Matt. 24:12; 2 Tim. 3:1-4; more at Bible, Experience, Failure, Faith)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888
The Abrahamic Covenant is not only totally different from the Mosaic Covenant, but there is no “throw-back” of any feature of the Mosaic period in Genesis. Abraham and Moses not only lived in two uniquely different worlds, but no Old Testament editor tried in any way to soften the glaring contrasts between the two spiritual giants. Abraham had no Tabernacle, with its minute ritual and special clergy. Abraham was given nothing like the detailed code of life demanded by the Sinai Covenant. Abraham was not even furnished with the basic Ten Commandments. And yet, when we turn to the New Testament, it is Abraham who holds the place of honor, and not Moses! Abraham is mentioned over seventy times in the New Testament, and half of these are in the Gospels.
... James Kelso (1892-1978), “Abraham as Archaeology Knows Him” , in Bible and Spade, reprinted in Perspective, v. XIII, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 1972, p. 16
(see the book; see also Gen. 17:3-8; more at Bible, Commandment, Honor, Spiritual life, Way)
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