Quotations for May, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles
Christianity is a religion which concerns us as we are here and now, creatures of body and soul. We do not “follow the footsteps of his most holy life” by the exercise of a trained religious imagination, but by treading the firm, rough earth, up hill and down dale.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 52
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:3; more at Holiness, Imagination, Obedience, Religion, Work)
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373
A man’s personality actuates and quickens his whole body. If anyone said it was unsuitable for the man’s power to be in the toe, he would be thought silly, because, while granting that a man penetrates and actuates the whole of his body, he denied his presence in the part. Similarly, no one who admits the presence of the Word of God in the universe as a whole should think it unsuitable for a single human body to be by Him actuated and enlightened.
... St. Athanasius (293?-373), The Incarnation of the Word of God [4th century], St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996, XLII, p. 77
(see the book; see also John 5:26; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; more at Church, Enlighten, Man, Power, Universe)
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Dear Jesus! ’tis Thy Holy FaceIs here the star that guides my way;Thy countenance, so full of grace,Is heaven on earth, for me, to-day.And love finds holy charms for meIn Thy sweet eyes with tear-drops wet;Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,And in Thy griefs my pains forget.
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “Canticle to the Holy Face”
(see the book; see also Luke 9:29; more at Guidance, Holiness, Jesus, Love, Star)
Monday, May 4, 2009
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation
It was not a marriage only, but a marriage-feast to which Christ conducted His disciples. Now, we cannot get over this plain fact by saying that it was a religious ceremony: that would be mere sophistry. It was an indulgence in the festivity of life; as plainly as words can describe, here was a banquet of human enjoyment. The very language of the master of the feast about men who had well drunk, tells us that there had been, not excess, of course, but happiness there and merry-making.Neither can we explain away the lesson by saying that it is no example to us, for Christ was there to do good, and that what was safe for Him might be unsafe for us. For if His life is no pattern for us here in this case of accepting an invitation, in what can we be sure it is a pattern? Besides, He took His disciples there, and His mother was there: they were not shielded, as He was, by immaculate purity. He was there as a guest at first, as Messiah only afterwards: thereby He declared the sacredness of natural enjoyments... For Christianity does not destroy what is natural, but ennobles it. To turn water into wine, and what is common into what is holy, is indeed the glory of Christianity.
... Frederick W. Robertson (1816-1853), Sermons, v. II, Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1861, v. 2, p. 259
(see the book; see also John 2:1-11; more at Example, Holiness, Jesus, Marriage, Messiah)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Tempting God is the precise opposite of faith. Faith is a complete founding of the whole man upon what God has said and done, upon His self-revelation. Tempting God means trying to get more assurance than God has given.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 29
(see the book; see also Ex. 17:7; more at Assurance, Faith, God, Revelation, Temptation)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I cannot imagine a much greater misfortune for a man, not to say a clergyman, than not to know, or knowing, not to minister to, any of the poor.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 110-111
(see the book; see also Luke 7:22-23; Isa. 61:1-3; Zeph. 3:12; Luke 4:18-19; Gal. 2:10; Jas. 2:5; more at Church, Minister, Poverty, Unfortunate)
Thursday, May 7, 2009
A century since or so, they spoke of sharing our Lord with the heathen, and the world rocked with laughter at so crazy a scheme, with the Church joining loudly in the merriment. Yet today, who laughs now? We ought to be the gladdest and the most exultant people in the world; for we have found the key to our difficulties, and it turns; have come on a solution of life’s problems, and it works.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 38
(see the book; see also Acts 22:21; Hos. 8:1; more at Evangelization, Heathen, Laughter, Mission)
Friday, May 8, 2009
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
Commemoration of Dallas Willard, Teacher, Spiritual Writer, 2013
He said not: Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be distressed; but He said: Thou shalt not be overcome.
... Juliana of Norwich (1342?-1417), Revelations of Divine Love, Grace Harriet Warrack, ed., Methuen, 1901, xviii.ii
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:4; John 16:33; Rom. 12:21; 2 Cor. 4:8-10; Jas. 1:12; more at Affliction, Defeat, Trouble, Weakness)
Saturday, May 9, 2009
He has gone away, the Well-Beloved,For our sake!He is risen, the Well-Beloved,For our sake!He has prayed, the Well-Beloved,For our sake!He has spoken, He has sung,The Word was with God.Praises of the Father,Substance of the Father,The stamp and issue forever,In Love!Word of Love!
... Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), Three Small Liturgies of the Divine Presence , Paris: Editions Durand & Cie., c1952, sec. II
(see the book; see also John 14:2; more at Ascension, Easter, Father, Love, Resurrection)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Sad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life that he is living, with the thoughts that he is thinking, with the deeds that he is doing, when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is a child of God.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 67
(see the book; see also Acts 21:12-13; more at Attitudes, Child, Contentment, Deed, Knowledge, Thought)
Monday, May 11, 2009
If thou art willing to suffer no adversity, how wilt thou be the friend of Christ?
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.i., p. 85
(see the book; see also Matt. 24:9; more at Adversity, Christ, Friend, Suffer, Weakness)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963
If New Testament Christianity is to reappear today with its power and joy and courage, men must recapture the basic conviction that this is a Visited Planet. It is not enough to express formal belief in the “Incarnation” or in the “Divinity of Christ,” the staggering truth must be accepted afresh—that in this vast, mysterious Universe, of which we are an almost infinitesimal part, the great Mystery, Whom we call God, has visited our planet in Person. It is from this conviction that there springs unconquerable certainty and unquenchable faith and hope. It is not enough to believe theoretically that Jesus was both God and Man; not enough to admire, respect, and even worship Him; it is not even enough to try to follow Him. The reason for the insufficiency of these things is that the modern intelligent mind, which has had its horizons widened in dozens of different ways, has got to be shocked afresh by the audacious central Fact—that, as a sober matter of history, God became one of us.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, chapt. iii, p. 29
(see the book; see also John 1:1-9,14; Luke 1:31-35; Rom. 1:2-4; 9:5; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6-8; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 2:11-17; 1 John 4:2-3; ; more at Courage, God, Incarnation, Jesus, Power)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
We cannot know whether we love God, although there may be strong reason for thinking so; but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or no. Be sure that, in proportion as you advance in fraternal charity, you are increasing your love of God, for His Majesty bears so tender an affection for us that I cannot doubt He will repay our love for others by augmenting, in a thousand different ways, that which we bear for Him.
... Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), The Interior Castle , tr., E. Allison Peers, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961, p. 128
(see the book; see also Mark 12:29-31; 1 John 4:20; more at Charity, God, Love, Neighbor)
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Feast of Matthias the Apostle
I shall not value his prayers at all, be he never so earnest and frequent in them, who gives not alms according to his ability.
... John Owen (1616-1683), I.3 in The Grace and Duty of being Spiritually Minded , in Works of John Owen, v. VII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 296
(see the book; see also Jas. 2:15-16; Acts 10:31; Jas. 1:27; more at Charity, Giving, Obedience, Prayer)
Friday, May 15, 2009
Commemoration of Charles Williams, Spiritual Writer, 1945
And by ‘knowledge’ here [II Peter 1:2,5,8;2:20;3:18] is not to be understood a mere theoretical knowledge of the truths of Christianity or the gnosis of the Gnostics; but a realization of these truths influencing the practice and leading to holiness of life.
... Paton J. Gloag (1823-1906), Introduction to the Catholic Epistles, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1887, p. 232
(see the book; see also 2 Peter 1:2,5-8; 2:20; 3:18; more at Holiness, Knowledge, Life, Truth)
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877
Make sure that you let God’s grace work in your souls by accepting whatever He gives you, and giving Him whatever He takes from you. True holiness consists in doing God’s will with a smile.
... Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910-1997), A Gift for God: prayers and meditations, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 37
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:6-8; more at Giving, Grace, Holiness, Obedience, Will of God)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
[God] is ever seeking to get down to us—to be the divine man in us. And we are ever saying, “That be far from Thee, Lord!” We are careful, in our unbelief, over the divine dignity, of which He is too grand to think. Better pleasing to God ... is the audacity of Job, who, rushing into His presence, and flinging the door of His presence-chamber to the wall, like a troubled—it may be angry—but yet faithful child, calls aloud in the ear of Him whose perfect Fatherhood he has yet to learn, “Am I a sea or a whale, that Thou settest a watch over me?”... The devotion of God to His creatures is perfect; He does not think about Himself, but about them; He wants nothing for Himself, but finds His blessedness in the outgoing of blessedness.Ah! it is a terrible—shall it be a lonely glory, this? We will draw near with our human response, our abandonment of self in the faith of Jesus. He gives Himself to us—shall we not give ourselves to Him? Shall we not give ourselves to each other whom He loves?
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Child in the Midst”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 20-21
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:22-23; more at Devotion, Father, Giving, Knowing God, Perfection, Unbelief)
Monday, May 18, 2009
The Word of God is the informing power of the revelation of God in the finite world. The Word of God is not, by any figure, to be identified with a book, or a temple, or a minister, or a shrine.
... Elisha Mulford (1833-1885), The Republic of God , Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1893, p. 215
(see the book; see also Eph. 6:17; 2 Tim. 2:8-9; more at Authenticity, Book, Minister, Revelation, Temple)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
INSCRIPTION FOR A PULPIT “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.”The hungry sheep that crave the living BreadGrow few, and lean, and feeble as can be,When fed not Gospel, but philosophy;Not Love’s eternal story, no, not this,But apt allusion, keen analysis.Discourse well framed—forgot as soon as heard—Man’s thin dilution of the living Word. O Preacher, leave the rhetorician’s arts;Preach Christ, the Food of hungry human hearts;Hold fast to science, history, or creed,But preach the Answer to our human need,That in this place, at least, it may be saidNo hungry sheep looks up and is not fed.
... Robert Hammond Adams (1883-1975) (my grandfather)
(see also Acts 20:28; John 6:51; 21:15-17; more at Bread, Christ, Church, Minister, Preacher)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
One way to recollect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and preserve it more in tranquillity, is not to let it wander too far at other times. You should keep it strictly in the Presence of God; and, being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Eighth Letter, p. 35-36
(see the book; see also Isa. 11:9; Phil. 4:8; more at Calm, Prayer, Presence of God, Tranquility)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330
Wherever we turn in the church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle, and end of everything to us... There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous, which He is not to His servants. No one need be poor, because, if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession. No one need be downcast, for Jesus is the joy of heaven, and it is His joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that are to be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done—but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with Him, and we desire nothing more.
... Frederick William Faber (1814-1863), All for Jesus, London: Richardson & Son, 1854, p. 1-2
(see the book; see also John 21:25; more at Eternity, Heaven, Jesus, Joy, Providence)
Friday, May 22, 2009
Evil-doers delight in hiding themselves; shun appearing; are bewildered when discovered; being accused, deny; not even when tortured, readily or always confess; certainly mourn when condemned; sum up against themselves, impute either to fate or to the stars the impulses of a wicked mind; for they will not have that to be their own, which they acknowledge to be evil. But what doth the Christian like this? None is ashamed, none repenteth, save indeed that he was not such long ago. If he be marked down, he glorieth; if accused, maketh no defense; being questioned, confesseth even of his own accord; being condemned, giveth thanks. What manner of evil is this, which hath not the natural marks of evil, fear, shame, shrinking, penitence, sorrow? What manner of evil is this, whereof he that is accused rejoiceth?
... Tertullian (Quintus S. Florens Tertullianus) (160?-230?), Tertullian: Apologetic and practical treatises [2nd-3rd century], Oxford: J. H. Parker, 1842, p. 3-4
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:38-39; more at Confession, Evil, Fate, Historical, Joy)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century
You have no questions to ask of any body, no new way that you need inquire after; no oracle that you need to consult; for whilst you shut yourself up in patience, meekness, humility, and resignation to God, you are in the very arms of Christ, your whole heart is His dwelling-place, and He lives and works in you as certainly as He lived in, and governed that body and soul, which He took from the Virgin Mary.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 125
(see the book; see also Rev. 3:20; more at Heart, Humility, Meekness, Patience, Weakness)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788
The cause of [the cessation of the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost] was not, ... “because there was no more occasion for them,” because all the world was become Christians... The real cause was, “the love of many,” almost of all Christians, so called, was “waxed cold.” The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ, than the other heathens. The Son of man, when he came to examine his church, could hardly “find faith upon earth.” This was the real cause, why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church; because the Christians were turned heathens again, and had only a dead form left.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), Sermons on Several Occasions, v. II, New York: Carlton & Phillips, 1855, Sermon XCIV. “The More Excellent Way,” vol. 2, p. 266
(see the book; see also Matt. 24:12-13; 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1; Phil. 3:8; more at Death, Gifts, Heathen, Holy Spirit, Love)
Monday, May 25, 2009
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709
When we inculcate, that faith ought to be certain and secure, we conceive not of a certainty attended with no doubt, or of a security interrupted by no anxiety; but we rather affirm, that believers have a perpetual conflict with their own diffidence, and are far from placing their consciences in a placid calm, never disturbed by any storms. Yet, on the other hand, we deny, however they may be afflicted, that they ever fall and depart from that certain confidence which they have conceived in the Divine mercy.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.ii.17, p. 507
(see the book; see also Ps. 116:7; more at Affliction, Anxiety, Certainty, Confidence, Doubt, Faith, Mercy, Security)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, Spiritual Writer, 1954
I am verily persuaded the Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of his holy Word. For my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the Reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw; ... and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things... I beseech you, remember, it is an Article of your church-covenant, that you be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written Word of God. 
... John Robinson (1576?-1625), quoted in The History of the Puritans, or Protestant Noncomformists, Daniel Neal, Harper, 1844, vol. 1, p. 269
(see the book; see also Acts 17:11; Luke 12:57; 1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thes. 5:21; more at Bible, God, Reformation, Revelation, Truth)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564
It behooves us to accomplish what God requires of us, even when we are in the greatest despair respecting the results.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), in a letter to Philip Melanchthon, March 5, 1555, Letters of John Calvin, v. III, Jules Bonnet, ed., New York: B. Franklin, 1972, p. 158
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:22; Luke 22:31-32; Heb. 2:1; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Achievement, Despair, Obedience)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089
I should be very sorry that any man living should outgo me in desires that all who fear God throughout the world, especially in these nations, were of one way as well as of one heart. I know I desire it sincerely; but I do verily believe that when God shall accomplish it, it will be the effect of love, and not the cause of love. It will proceed from love, before it brings forth love.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. IX, New York: R. Carter, 1851, Sermon XXI. “Gospel Charity,”, vol. IX, p. 269
(see the book; see also John 17:11; Col. 3:14; more at Love, Mission, Unity)
Friday, May 29, 2009
A good preacher should have these properties and virtues: first, to teach systematically; secondly, he should have a ready wit; thirdly, he should be eloquent; fourthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, a good memory; sixthly, he should know when to make an end; seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine; eighthly, he should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honor, in the Word; ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Table-Talk , CCCXCVII.
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Cor. 4:10-13; 1 Tim. 3:1-15; Heb. 13:9; more at Bible, Church, Humor, Knowledge, Memory, Preacher, Suffer, Teach)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933
I would have the whole of my experience one continued sense—first, of my nothingness, and dependence on God; second, of my guiltiness, and desert before Him; third, of my obligations to redeeming love, as utterly overwhelming me with its incomprehensible extent and grandeur.
... Charles Simeon (1759-1836), Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon, Pittsburgh: R. Carter, 1847, letter to Miss Mary Elliott, Nov. 21, 1834, p. 430
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:14-15; John 3:30; more at Attitudes, Dependence, Guilt, Redemption)
Sunday, May 31, 2009
With what presumption have we dared to voice“Thank You for home (although we hold the deed),Our acre, trees, and flowers (ours by choice),Our faithful dog and cat (though it’s agreedNo one can own the latter), each good book(A gift, or purchased), all else we foresawThat we should cherish, and have made to lookOurs by possession (nine points of the law).” With what presumption have we called them ours,And even felt unselfish when we shared them—When, if the truth be known, they have been YoursFrom the beginning, Lord! You have prepared themFor us to borrow, using as our own:So thank You, Father, for this generous loan.
... Elaine V. Emans
(see also Ps. 100:1-3; more at Attitudes, Father, Generosity, Home, Thanksgiving)
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