Quotations for August, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service.
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer , Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 164
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:1-3; more at Abasement, Christ, Repentance, Service)
Sunday, August 2, 2009
You may fancy the Lord had His own power to fall back upon. But that would have been to Him just the one dreadful thing. That His Father should forget him!—no power in Himself could make up for that. He feared nothing for Himself; and never once employed His divine power to save Himself from His human fate. Let God do that for Him if He saw fit. He did not come into the world to take care of Himself... His life was of no value to Him but as His Father cared for it. God would mind all that was necessary for Him, and He would mind the work His Father had given Him to do. And, my friends, this is just the one secret of a blessed life, the one thing every man comes into this world to learn.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 207-208
(see the book; see also Matt. 27:46; John 5:19-20,30; more at Blessing, Father, Fear, Jesus, Obedience, Passion of Christ, Power)
Monday, August 3, 2009
They haled him trembling to the Judgment Seat.“O Lord, the man who made the nails that pierced Thy hands and feet!”The Master laid a thin, scarred hand upon the shame-bowed head.“They were good nails,” he said.
... Kenneth W. Porter (1905-1981), The High Plains: poems by Kenneth Porter, New York: John Day, 1938, p. 84
(see the book; see also John 20:24-29, Col. 2:13-14; more at Easter, Judgment, Master, Passion of Christ)
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
From Thee all skill and science flow,All pity, care and love,All calm and courage, faith and hope;O pour them from above. And part them, Lord, to each and all,As each and all shall need,To rise like incense, each to Thee,In noble thought and deed. And hasten, Lord, that perfect day,When pain and death shall cease;And Thy just rule shall fill the earthWith health and light and peace.
... Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), Poems, London: Macmillan, 1907, p. 332
(see the book; see also Matt. 9:11-12; 14:14; Mark 6:34; Rev. 21:3-4; more at Compassion, Light, Peace, Perfection, Providence, Rule)
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
Break Thou the bread of life,Dear Lord, to me,As Thou didst break the loavesBeside the sea;Within thy sacred pageI seek Thee, Lord;My spirit pants for Thee,O living Word! Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,To me—to me—As Thou didst bless the breadBy Galilee;Then shall all bondage cease,All fetters fall;And I shall find my peace,My All-in-All.
... Mary A. Lathbury (1841-1913), The Poems of Mary Artemisia Lathbury, Chautauqua Laureate, Minneapolis, Nunc Licet Press, 1915, p. 39
(see the book; see also Matt. 14:19; John 6:32-35; more at Bible, Bondage, Bread, Communion, Jesus, Peace)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Hard it is, very hard,To travel up the slow and stony roadTo Calvary, to redeem mankind; far betterTo make but one resplendent miracle,Lean through the cloud, lift the right hand of powerAnd with a sudden lightning smite the world perfect.Yet this was not God’s way, Who had the power,But set it by, choosing the cross, the thorn,The sorrowful wounds. Something there is, perhaps,That power destroys in passing, something supreme,To whose great value in the eyes of GodThat cross, that thorn, and those five wounds bear witness.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Devil to Pay, V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 68
(see the book; see also John 19:16-18; more at Calvary, Cross, Passion of Christ, Perfection, Power, Way)
Friday, August 7, 2009
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
’Tis the day of resurrection!Earth! tell it out abroad!The Passover of gladness!The Passover of God!From death to life eternal,—From this world to the sky,Our Christ has brought us over,With hymns of victory. Our hearts be pure from evil,That we may see arightThe Lord in rays eternalOf Resurrection-Light:And, listening to His accents,May hear, so calm and plain,His own—All hail!—and, hearing,May raise the victor strain! Now let the heavens be joyful!Let earth her song begin!Let the round world keep triumph,And all that is therein:Invisible and visible,Their notes let all things blend,—For Christ the Lord has risen,—Our joy that hath no end.
... John of Damascus (c.676-749) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), in Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 95
(see the book; see also Luke 24:1-12,36-49; more at Christ, Easter, Everlasting, Gladness, Resurrection, Victory)
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
If it be all for naught, for nothingnessAt last, why does God make the world so fair?Why spill this golden splendor out acrossThe western hills, and light the silver lampOf eve? Why give me eyes to see, and soulTo love so strong and deep? Then, with a pangThis brightness stabs me through, and wakes withinRebellious voice to cry against all death?Why set this hunger for eternityTo gnaw my heartstrings through, if death ends all?If death ends all, then evil must be good,Wrong must be right, and beauty ugliness.God is a Judas who betrays His Son,And with a kiss, damns all the world to hell,—If Christ rose not again.
... Anonymous, Unknown soldier, killed in World War I, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 205
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:13-14; more at Beauty, Death, Easter, Eternity, Resurrection, Sight, Wrong)
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921
CHRIST IN THE UNIVERSE With this ambiguous earthHis dealings have been told us. These abide:The signal to a maid, the human birth,The lesson, and the young Man crucified. But not a star of allThe innumerable host of stars has heardHow he administered this terrestrial ball.Our race has kept their Lord’s entrusted Word. Of his earth-visiting feetNone knows the secret, cherished, perilous,The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet,Heart-shattering secret of his way with us. No planet knows that thisOur wayside planet, carrying land and wave,Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss,Bears, as its chief treasure, one forsaken grave. Nor, in our little day,May his devices with the heavens be guessed,His pilgrimage to thread the Milky WayOr his bestowal there be manifest. But in the eternities,Doubtless we shall compare together, hearA million alien Gospels, in what guiseHe trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear. O, be prepared, my soul!To read the inconceivable, to scanThe million forms of God those stars unrollWhen, in our turn, we show to them a Man.
... Alice Meynell (1847-1922), Collected Poems of Alice Meynell, London: Burns & Oates, 1913, p. 58
(see the book; see also Isa. 52:7; more at Crucifixion, Jesus, Pilgrim, Treasure)
Monday, August 10, 2009
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258
There are doubtless many reasons for the degeneration of Christianity into churchiness, and the narrowing of the Gospel for all mankind into a set of approved beliefs; but the chief cause must be the worship of an inadequate god—a cramped and regulated god who is a ‘good churchman’ according to the formulas of the worshipper. For actual behaviour infallibly betrays the real object of the man’s worship.All Christians, whatever their Church, would of course instantly repudiate the idea that their god was a super-example of their own denomination, and it is not suggested that the worship is conscious. Nevertheless, beneath the conscious critical level of the mind it is perfectly possible for the Anglo-Catholic, for example, to conceive God as particularly pleased with Anglo-Catholicism, doubtful about Evangelicalism, and frankly displeased by all forms of Nonconformity... The ultra-low Churchman on the other hand must admit, if he is honest, that the God whom he worships disapproves most strongly of vestments, incense, and candles on the altar. The tragedy of these examples—which could be reproduced ad nauseam any day of the week—is not difference of opinion, which will probably be with us till the Day of Judgment, but the outrageous folly and damnable sin of trying to regard God as the Party Leader of a particular point of view.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 38-39
(see the book; see also Acts 10:34,35; Deut. 10:17; John 4:23; Rom. 2:11; 1 Cor. 1:11-13; Col. 3:11; Jas. 2:9; more at Church, Criticism, Folly, Gospel, Judgment, Sin, Worship)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890
We were made for action, and for right action—for thought, and for true thought. Let us live while we live; let us be alive and doing; let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish. Let us believe what we do not see and know. Let us forestall knowledge by faith. Let us maintain before we have proved. This seeming paradox is the secret of happiness. Why should we be unwilling to go by faith? We do all things in this world by faith in the word of others. By faith only we know our position in the world, our circumstances, our rights and privileges, our fortunes, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our age, our mortality. Why should religion be an exception? Why should we be unwilling to use for heavenly objects what we daily use for earthly?
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), John Keble (1792-1866) & Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Tracts for the Times, v. V, William Palmer, Richard Hurrell Froude & Isaac Williams, London: Rivington, 1840, p. 84-85
(see the book; see also John 1:40-41; more at Action, Faith, Knowledge, Paradox, Religion, Thought)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Our forgiving of others will not procure forgiveness for ourselves; but our not forgiving others proves that we ourselves are not forgiven.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 497
(see the book; see also Ps. 130:4; Matt. 6:14,15; more at Forgiveness, Practical Christianity, Proof, Sin)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Feast of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down & Connor, Priest, Teacher, 1667
Commemoration of Florence Nightingale, Social Reformer, 1910
Commemoration of Octavia Hill, Worker for the Poor, 1912
O eternal God, who from all eternity dost behold and love thy own glories and perfections infinite, and hast created me to do the work of God after the manner of men, and to serve thee in this generation and according to my capacities; give me thy grace, that I may be a curious and prudent spender of my time, so as I may best prevent or resist all temptation, and be profitable to the Christian commonwealth, and by discharging all my duty may glorify thy name. Take from me all slothfulness, and give me a diligent and an active spirit, and wisdom to choose my employment; that I may do works proportionable to my person, and to the dignity of a Christian, and may fill up all the spaces of my time with actions of religion and charity; that, when the devil assaults me he may not find me idle, and my dearest Lord at his sudden coming may find me busy in lawful, necessary, and pious actions; improving my talent entrusted to me by thee, my Lord; that I may enter into the joy of my Lord, to partake of his eternal felicities, even for thy mercy’s sake, and for my dearest Saviour’s sake. 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. 29
(see the book; see also Matt. 24:42; more at Eternity, Prayers, Service, Sloth)
Friday, August 14, 2009
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941
The dual role of personification of the past and preserver of a subcultural ethos, a role clergymen play quite avidly, takes its toll when they speak of God. Because of the role they have been willing to play, when they use the word God it is heard in a certain way. It is heard, often with deference and usually with courtesy, as a word referring to the linchpin of the era of Christendom (past) or as the totem of one of the tribal subcultures (irrelevant). The only way clergy can ever change the way in which the word they use is perceived is to refuse to play the role of antiquarian and medicine man in which the society casts them; but this is difficult, because it is what they are paid for.
... Harvey Cox (b. 1929), The Secular City, New York: MacMillan Company, 1965, p. 246
(see the book; see also Mark 7:5-8; more at God, Minister, Social)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Morning has broken like the first morning,Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word! Sweet the new rain’s fall sunlit from heaven,Like the first dewfall on the first grass.Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,Spring in completeness where His feet pass. Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morningBorn of the one light Eden saw play!Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning,God’s re-creation of the new day!
... Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), The New Book of Days, H. Z. Walck, 1961, p. 105
(see the book; see also Ps. 5:3; 119:147; Mark 1:35; 2 Pet. 1:19; more at Day, Eden, Grass, Heaven, Light, Morning, Praise, Rain, Worship)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Of course all advance depends upon money, when we depend upon paid workers for any advance. Teach men as one of their first lessons in the gospel that pastoral work and evangelistic work ought to be paid, and will they not believe it? They would all believe it if the Holy Ghost did not dispute our teaching. It is a powerful proof of the presence and grace of the Holy Ghost that they do not all believe it and act accordingly.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), The Case for Voluntary Clergy, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1930, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 182
(see the book; see also Acts 8:29-31; more at Church, Evangelization, Holy Spirit, Money, Teach)
Monday, August 17, 2009
We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as “faith,” with the idea that this will somehow ensure the granting of our prayer. We have probably all done this as children. But the state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 60
(see the book; see also Rom. 10:17; Eph. 2:8-9; more at Faith, Imagination, Mind, Prayer, Work)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer, published in the 1850’s as a pamphlet, American Tract Society, 1867, sec. VI
(see the book; see also Ps. 88:1; Isa. 33:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Bible, Marriage, Practical Christianity, Prayer, Sermon)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
When Christ reveals Himself there is satisfaction in the slenderest portion, and without Christ there is emptiness in the greatest fulness.
... Alexander Grosse (1595/6-1654), quoted in The Treasury of David, v. I, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883, p. 44
(see the book; see also Ps. 4:6; more at Christ, Emptiness, Fullness, Satisfaction)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890
O Jesus, King most wonderful!O Conqueror renowned!O Source of peace ineffable,In whom all joys are found: When once you visit darkened heartsThen truth begins to shine,Then earthly vanity departs,Then kindles love divine. O Jesus, light of all below,The fount of life and fire,Surpassing all the joys we know,All that we can desire: May ev’ry heart confess your name,Forever you adore,And, seeking you, itself inflameTo seek you more and more! Oh, may our tongues forever bless,May we love you aloneAnd ever in our lives expressThe image of your own!
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) & Edward Caswall (1814-1878), Lyra Catholica, New York: E. Dunigan and Brother, 1851, p. 103-104
(see the book; see also John 1:4; more at Attributes of God, Blessing, Jesus, Light, Love, Prayers, Truth)
Friday, August 21, 2009
I cannot pray in the name of Jesus to have my own will; the name of Jesus is not a signature of no importance, but the decisive factor. The fact that the name of Jesus Christ comes at the beginning does not make it a prayer in the name of Jesus; but it means to pray in such a manner that I dare name Jesus in it, that is to say, [dare to] think of Him, think of His holy will together with whatever I am praying for.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 336-337
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 5:19,20; Phil. 2:9,10; Col. 3:17; more at Authenticity, Jesus, Prayer, Will of God)
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Nothing burneth in hell but self-will. Therefore it hath been said, “Put off thine own will, and there will be no more hell.”
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXXIV
(see the book; see also Ps. 75:5; Acts 7:51; 2 Pet. 2:10; more at Hell, Self, Self-sacrifice, Selfish)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617
Fallacies about Christianity must always be faced as deterrents to right living, and not merely as mistakes in the mind, for it is the effect they have on our actions which matters most. So soon as we abstract them from our lives and think of them only as faults in our mental machinery, we tend to embrace the greatest fallacy of all—which is to think of Christianity as a way of looking at life instead of a way of changing it.
... Donald O. Soper (1903-1998), Popular Fallacies about the Christian Faith, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938, p. 76
(see the book; see also Acts 17:32; more at Authenticity, Danger, Life, Regeneration, Thought)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
The defenders of the jargon and phrases of the Church’s traditions hold that there must of necessity be a specialized vocabulary, just as there is in any other specialized form of human activity, whether it is music, architecture, or electronic engineering. To me, at least, this is a thoroughly unsound argument, for Christ did not come into the world to bring men “specialized activity,” but life, fuller and more satisfying than it had ever been before. If the churches have made Christianity appear to be some kind of specialized spiritual performance so much the worse for them. The real purpose of Christ, the real relevance of the Gospel, is surely to enable men to live together as sons of God. Human beings, like children, love to have secrets, love to be “in the know.” But the Christian religion was never meant to be a secret recipe for living, held by a few. It is Good News for all mankind and, because it is that, the more clearly and intelligibly it can be presented, the more faithfully it is following its Master’s purpose.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Is God at Home?, London: Lutterworth Press, 1957, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also Acts 4:13,14; more at Authenticity, Church, Faith, Knowledge, Purpose)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It fortifies my soul to knowThat though I perish, Truth is so;That, howsoe’er I stray and range,Whate’er I do, Thou dost not change.I steadier step when I recallThat, if I slip, Thou dost not fall.
... Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861), Arthur Hugh Clough: Selected Poems, New York: Routledge, 2003, p. 57
(see the book; see also Ps. 23; 37:23-24; 145:14; more at Fall, Knowledge, Providence, Security, Steadfast, Truth)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
What is in ruins? The invisible church, composed of all Spirit-baptized persons, is indefectible, it cannot be ruined; against it “the gates of Hades shall not prevail.” The local assembly may indeed be sadly ruined; but it can be restored, as, by the grace of God, has been seen times without number—at Corinth, for example. The only other institution in question is that agglomeration of sects that is called “Christendom.” But that is unrecognized by the New Testament—it is not of God at all: and that it is “in ruins” is no matter for our regret.
... G. H. Lang (1874-1958)
(see also Matt. 16:15-18; more at Bible, Church, Grace, Renewal, Sect)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
What art Thou then, my God? What, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the Proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and over-spreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. [Continued tomorrow]
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.iv, p. 3-4
(see the book; see also Ex. 34:14; Ps. 18:31; Isa. 55:8,9; more at Attributes of God, God, Goodness, Mercy, Omnipotence, Prayers)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430
[Continued from yesterday]Thou lovest, without passion; art jealous, without anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged; receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting usury. Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts, owing nothing; remittest debts, losing nothing. And what have I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.iv, p. 4
(see the book; see also Ps. 65:1; Heb. 6:7-8; more at Attributes of God, Debt, God, Holiness, Joy, Love, Prayer)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
God wants us to know that when we have Him we have everything.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:27,28; 2 John 9; more at Fullness, God, Knowing God, Knowledge)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
To live of love, it is when Jesus sleepsTo sleep near Him, though stormy waves beat nigh.Deem not I shall awake Him! On these deepsPeace reigns, like that the Blessed know on high.To Hope, the voyage seems one little day;Faith’s hand shall soon the veil between remove;’Tis Charity that swells my sail alway.I live of love!
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 9
(see the book; see also Luke 8:23-24; John 14:27; 1 Cor. 13:13; more at Charity, Faith, Hope, Love, Peace, Sleep, Voyage)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688
After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant-for-truth was taken with a summons, by the same post as the other; and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain.” When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then, said he, I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I have got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder. When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, “Death, where is thy sting?” And as he went down deeper, he said, “Grave, where is thy victory?” So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), The Pilgrim’s Progress  The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. III, London: Blackie, 1862, p. 243
(see the book; see also Eccl. 12:6; 1 Cor. 15:55; more at Call, Courage, Death, Fight, Historical, Pilgrim, Sword, Victory)
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