Quotations for June, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Feast of Justin, Martyr at Rome, c.165
Commemoration of Angela de Merici, Founder of the Institute of St. Ursula, 1540
Visit, I beseech Thee, O Lord, this habitation with Thy mercy, and me with Thy grace and salvation. Let Thy holy angels pitch their tents round about and dwell here, that no illusion of the night may abuse me, the spirits of darkness may not come near to hurt me, no evil or sad accident oppress me; and let the eternal Spirit of the Father dwell in my soul and body, filling every corner of my heart with light and grace. Let no deed of darkness overtake me; and let Thy blessing, most blessed God, be upon me for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living , in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 40
(see the book; see also Isa. 9:2; Eph. 5:11; more at Blessing, Grace, Light, Mercy, Prayers, Salvation, Security)
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
If errors must be tolerated, say some, then men may do what they please, without control. No means, it seems, must be used to reclaim them. But is gospel conviction no means? Hath the sword of discipline no edge? Is there no means of instruction in the New Testament established, but a prison and a halter?
... John Owen (1616-1683), Of Toleration , in Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 170
(see the book; see also 2 Thess. 3:6; more at Error, Gospel, Instruction, Tolerance)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Feast of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, Teacher, 1910
Commemoration of Martyrs of Uganda, 1886 & 1978
The very uniqueness of the Resurrection as a historical event always causes problems when we try to describe it, just as it did for the original writers. Nevertheless, the background to the New Testament is one of expectation of resurrection, and only the historical rising again of Jesus makes sense of the narrative in this context.
... Michael Sadgrove (b. 1950) & N. T. Wright (b. 1948), “Jesus Christ the Only Saviour”, in The Lord Christ , John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 73
(see the book; see also Ps. 16:9-10; more at Easter, Historical, Jesus, Resurrection)
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some followers of the Rev. R. J. Campbell, in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street. The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and Man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 24
(see the book; see also Rom. 3:18; more at God, Humor, Philosophy, Sin, Theology)
Friday, June 5, 2009
Feast of Boniface (Wynfrith) of Crediton, Archbishop of Mainz, Apostle of Germany, Martyr, 754
The Pauline teaching is the means through which God Himself wants to teach us; Paul’s epistle to the Romans is a letter from God to us, mankind to-day. It remains the great problem of interpretation, hitherto never entirely solved, how to unite these two things: the keen attention to what Paul wanted to say to that Community then, and the search for what God wants to say to us through Paul to-day. In the end, the question is whether the reader will really allow God to speak to him, or whether he evades God by hiding behind “Paul,” behind “the past.”
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Letter to the Romans, Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1959, p. 12
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:33; more at Bible, Community, God, Man, Past, Teach, Today)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Commemoration of Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945
He said to Judas, when he betrayed Him: “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Just as if He had said: “Thou hatest me, and art mine enemy, yet I love thee, and am thy friend.” ... As though God in human nature were saying: “I am pure, simple Goodness, and therefore I cannot will or desire or rejoice in, or do or give anything but goodness. If I am to reward thee for thy evil and wickedness, I must do it with goodness, for I am and have nothing else.”
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXXIII
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:50; more at Betrayal, Easter, Enemy, Evil, Goodness, Love)
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Some will not believe in miracles because the laws of nature work uniformly. But their uniformity is undisturbed by human operations; the will of man wields, without cancelling, these mighty forces which surround us: and why may not the will of God do the same?
... G. A. Chadwick (1840-1923), The Gospel According to St. Mark, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, p. 316
(see the book; see also Mark 11:27-33; John 10:22-26; more at Apologetics, Law, Miracle, Nature, Will of God)
Monday, June 8, 2009
Feast of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath & Wells, Hymnographer, 1711
Commemoration of Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947
[My father’s] common salutation of his family or friends, on the Lord’s day in the morning, was that of the primitive Christians:—The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed; making it his chief business on that day to celebrate the memory of Christ’s resurrection.
... Matthew Henry (1662-1714), The life of the Rev. Philip Henry, A.M. , W. Ball, 1839, p. 50
(see the book; see also Luke 24:33-34; more at Easter, Family, Father, Morning, Resurrection, Sunday)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Feast of Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597
Commemoration of Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymnographer, Teacher, 373
If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham’s testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us; just one and an alternative, but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 30
(see the book; see also Gen. 12:1-4; more at Choices, Future, Historical, Knowing God, Renunciation, Trial)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
All antinomianism is a radical denial of Christ and of God. And antinomianism is by no means merely a thing of the past. It is present wherever zeal for the Christian religion, for worship, theology, and all manner of other Church activities is unaccompanied by moral earnestness, wherever Christians can complacently and without any sense of incongruity combine piety with indifference to their neighbours’ needs and a comfortable acquiescence in social and political injustice.
... C. E. B. Cranfield (b. 1915), I & II Peter and Jude, London: SCM Press, 1960, p. 158
(see the book; see also Jude 1:4; more at Antinomianism, Justice, Neighbor, Religion, Worship, Zeal)
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Feast of Barnabas the Apostle
A united confession of the Name, a united Worship of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit,—such a Confession,—such a Worship as the past contains only a dim shadow and prophecy of—we have a right to look for. It may come when we least expect it; it will probably come after a period of darkness, fierce contention, utter disbelief. But the confession will only be united when we cease to confound our feeble expressions of trust and affiance, our praises and adorations, with Him to whom they rise, from whom they proceed; when we are brought to nothingness, that He may be shown to be all in all.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), Lincoln’s Inn Sermons, v. II , London: Macmillan, 1891, v. 2, p. 144
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 12:8-9; more at Church, Confession, Contention, Darkness, Unity)
Friday, June 12, 2009
But as many things entice us to apostasy, so that it is difficult to keep us faithful to God in the end, [Jude] calls the attention of the faithful to the last day. For the hope of that alone ought to sustain us, so that we may at no time despond; otherwise, we must necessarily fail every moment.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentaries on the catholic epistles , tr. J. Owen, Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1855, p. 447
(see the book; see also Jude 21; more at Apostasy, Death, Failure, Faith, Hope)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Commemoration of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Apologist and Writer, 1936
Let God operate in thee; hand the work over to Him and do not disquiet thyself as to whether or no He is working with nature or above nature, for His are both nature and grace.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 41
(see the book; see also Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:27; 21:34-35; Phil. 4:6; more at Grace, Nature, Obedience, Work)
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Commemoration of Richard Baxter, Priest, Hymnographer, Teacher, 1691
I apprehend it is a matter of great necessity to imprint true catholicism on the minds of Christians, it being a most lamentable thing to observe how few Christians in the world there be, that fall not into one sect or other... And if they can but get to be of a sect which they think the holiest (as the Anabaptists and the Separatists), or which is the largest (as the Greeks and the Romans), they think then that they are sufficiently warranted to deny others to be God’s Church, or at least to deny them Christian love and communion.
... Richard Baxter (1615-1691), The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, v. I, ed. William Orme, London: J. Duncan, 1830, p. 595-596
(see the book; see also Ps. 133:1; Acts 4:32; more at Church, Communion, Holiness, Love, Sect, Unity)
Monday, June 15, 2009
Feast of Evelyn Underhill, Mystical Writer, 1941
Formal prayer is a practical device, not a spiritual necessity. It makes direct suggestions to our souls: it reminds us of realities which we always tend to forget.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Concerning the Inner Life, London: Methuen, 1927, p. 61
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:108; more at Forget, Prayer, Soul)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Feast of Richard of Chichester, Bishop, 1253
Commemoration of Joseph Butler, Bishop of Durham, Moral Philosopher, 1752
The purpose of the covenant, in the Hebrew Bible and some subsequent writings, was never simply that the creator wanted to have Israel as a special people, irrespective of the fate of the rest of the world. The purpose of the covenant was that, through this means, the creator would address and save his entire world. The call of Abraham was designed to undo the sin of Adam.
... N. T. Wright (b. 1948), What Saint Paul Really Said, Grand Rapids Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997, p. 33
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:17-18; more at Bible, Fall, Israel, Salvation, Sin, World)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Commemoration of Samuel & Henrietta Barnett, Social Reformers, 1913 & 1936
[The Christian] refuses to give his heart to, or be taken in by, the values and pleasures of this passing world. He does not hesitate to use all that is good and beautiful and true, partly because he knows that his God gives him “richly all things to enjoy,” and partly because he knows that in all life’s impermanent beauties and pleasures, there is the promise of the real and permanent which he is thoroughly convinced will exceed his wildest expectations. [Continued tomorrow]
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, ch. v, p. 67
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:17; more at Beauty, Goodness, Knowing God, Permanence, Pleasure, Promise, Truth)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
[Continued from yesterday]But even the Christian, for all this satisfying and hopeful conviction, does not know the meaning of the mystery of life, and if he is wise he does not pretend to. He has enough light to light him on his way, but there are a great many gaps in his knowledge. When he says, “one day we shall understand”, he is by no means always uttering a pious platitude. Quite frequently he is voicing a solid conviction, a genuine facet of hope. At present his vision is severely limited, and that is probably just as well if his sanity is to be preserved. But when he is free from the limitations of temporal life, he has every hope of being able to know as surely as he is at present known.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, ch. v, p. 67
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:105; 1 Cor. 13:12; more at Conviction, Hope, Knowing God, Knowledge, Light, Way, Wisdom)
Friday, June 19, 2009
Commemoration of Sundar Singh of India, Sadhu, Evangelist, Teacher, 1929
From my ten years’ experience I can unhesitatingly say that the Cross bears those who bear the Cross
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), quoted in Sádhu Sundar Singh, Called of God, Rebecca Jane Parker, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co. 1920, p. 85
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:38; 16:24,25; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; more at Bearing, Cross, Obedience)
Saturday, June 20, 2009
If by fate anyone means the will or power of God, let him keep his meaning but mend his language: for fate commonly means a necessary process which will have its way apart from the will of God and of men.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. I , Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 1 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, V.i, p.178
(see the book; see also Deut. 10:14; Ps. 24:1; Matt. 10:29; 1 Tim. 6:17; more at Attitudes, Fate, Power, Will of God)
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there will be nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words ... never really speaking to others.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 98
(see the book; see also Prov. 17:27; 29:20; Tit. 1:10-11; Eph. 4:29; more at Authenticity, Listening, Spiritual life, Sympathy)
Monday, June 22, 2009
Feast of Alban, first Martyr of Britain, c.209
The words divine service should be reassigned and no longer used for attending church, but only for good deeds.
... G. C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799), Aphorisms & Letters, London: Jonathan Cape, 1969, p. 54
(see the book; see also Luke 22:25-27; more at Church, Deed, Obedience, Service)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Feast of Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, c.678
One might think that with the Bible as the center of Christianity, the unity of Christians could be easily realized. Unfortunately this has not proved true, though we can consider it fortunate that, as this inability to unify proves, the letter of the Bible cannot really replace the living Christ as the center of our faith.The Bible is the expression of the life and work of God, and since “life” is greater than its manifestation, it cannot be expressed completely in any logical or theological form. Therefore, the Bible itself cannot escape being understood in many different ways. Thus we see how in the wisdom of God it is impossible in practice to make the Scriptures the end or final authority in themselves, for they only express God’s authority to those who live in fellowship with the Spirit.
... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 3
(see the book; see also Ps. 135:5; more at Bible, Church, Fellowship, Holy Spirit, Unity)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist
The Present is the point at which Time touches Eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone, freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with Eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself; or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Screwtape Letters, Macmillan, 1944, p. 76
(see the book; see also Acts 4:33-35; more at Conscience, Cross, Eternity, Grace, Pleasure, Thanksgiving, Time, Today)
Thursday, June 25, 2009
In vain does any man pretend that he will be a martyr for his religion, when he will not rule an appetite, nor restrain a lust, nor subdue a passion, nor cross his covetousness and ambition, for the sake of it, and in hope of that eternal life “which God that cannot lie hath promised.’ He that refuseth to do the less is not like to do the greater. It is very improbable that a man will die for his religion, when he cannot be persuaded to live according to it. He that cannot take up a resolution to live a saint, hath a demonstration within himself, that he is never like to die a martyr.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. IV, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXVII, p. 451-452
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:3,11-12; more at Authenticity, Martyr, Saint, Self-control, Vanity)
Friday, June 26, 2009
Men perish with whispering sins, nay with silent sins, sins that never tell the conscience that they are sins, as often as with crying sins; and in hell there shall meet as many men that never thought what was sin, as that spent all their thoughts in the compassing of sin.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. I, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon XIV, p. 276
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:12; more at Condemnation, Conscience, Hell, Silence, Sin)
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Christ’s call is ... to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; He came not to call scoffers but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers and artistic musical performances, but to capture men from the devil’s clutches and snatch them from the very jaws of Hell. But this can be accomplished only by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered Holy Ghost religion, where neither man nor traditions are worshipped or preached, but only Christ and Him crucified.
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), quoted in C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer , Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 163
(see the book; see also Matt. 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31-32; 15:7; 1 Cor. 1:23; more at Call, Christ, Crucifixion, Holy Spirit, Mission, Music, Repentance, Sinner, Tradition)
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Feast of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher, Martyr, c.200
Too many Christians still live with crossed fingers, sweating out their good luck as a portent of calamity. To see them, you would never guess that God’s good pleasure, and not the goddess of fate, rules human destiny.
... Edmund P. Clowney (1917-2005)
(see also Ps. 46:1-3; more at Attitudes, Destiny, Fate, Providence)
Monday, June 29, 2009
Feast of Peter & Paul, Apostles
The desire for unity has haunted me all my life through; I have never been able to substitute any desire for that, or to accept any of the different schemes for satisfying it which men have desired.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Life of Frederick Denison Maurice: Chiefly Told in His Own Letters, v. 1, ed. John Frederick Maurice, London: Macmillan, 1885, p. 41
(see the book; see also Ps. 133:1; Matt. 23:8; John 17:22,23; Rom. 15:5,6; more at Church, Satisfaction, Unity)
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
He, who begins by loving Christianity, better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Aids to Reflection , London: W. Pickering, 1839, Aphorism XXV, p. 74
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:13; Luke 11:39-52; 2 Cor. 10:17,18; more at Attitudes, Love, Pride, Sect, Self, Truth)
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