Quotations for September, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do—to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst—is by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from. You can even prevail on your own. But you cannot become human on your own.
... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), The Sacred Journey, San Fransisco: Harper & Row, 1982, p. 46
(see the book; see also 1 John 3:23,24; more at Affliction, Conversion, Life, Power, Security, Suffer, Trouble)
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
I know there are many who have pitied my beginnings, thinking it tragic that I had to endure such traumas both as a child and throughout my life, but I confess that I have rather pitied those who have never tasted the bitterness of a trial “too severe.” For how is one to appreciate the contrast of light’s dawning hope if his soul has never trembled through the dark hours of a nightmare’s watch? Or how can one prove God’s faithfulness if he never is granted the privilege of wandering through a barren desert, where only pools of Christ’s Presence can possibly provide survival? It is a great honor to be apportioned pain. Christ Himself, though God incarnate, learned obedience through what He suffered. Dare we assume that we as His children can be taught by any wiser or kinder instructor than the severity of unwanted pain? We dare not steel ourselves against our trials, running away from the fires where our pruned branches crumble to ashes. For if we escape those flames, we will risk barrenness of soul and will miss out on the beauty that only is born through the ashes of yesterday’s grief.
... Cammie Van Rooy (b. 1979), "Beauty From Ashes" 
(see the book; see also Isa. 61:1-3; more at Beauty, Bitterness, Darkness, Flame, Grief, Hope, Light, Pain, Pity, Suffer, Weakness)
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
There are many trades in which a man can hardly work—or simply cannot work—without sinning.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), in Devotions Commemorative, tr. F. Oakeley, London: J. Burns, 1842, p. lxxv
(see the book; see also Rom. 1:28-32; Jude 1:22,23; more at Historical, Man, Sin, Work)
Friday, September 4, 2009
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
I belong and will ever belong to “The Great God Party.” I will have nought to do with “The Little God Party...” Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible.
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer , Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 164-165
(see the book; see also Ps. 48:1; more at Christ, Greatness, Miracle, Power, Providence)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
It is sottish ignorance and infidelity to suppose that, under the Gospel, there is no communication between God and us but what is, on His part, in laws, commands, and promises; and on ours, by obedience performed in our strength, and upon our convictions unto them. To exclude hence the real internal operations of the Holy Ghost, is to destroy the Gospel.
... John Owen (1616-1683), II.5 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V , in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 200
(see the book; see also John 14:6; Acts 4:31; Rom. 8:14,26-27; 1 Pet. 1:21; more at Commandment, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Ignorance, Law, Obedience)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
But first I said, ... “Some people think it is not proper for a clergyman to dance. I mean to assert my freedom from any such law. If our Lord chose to represent, in His parable of the Prodigal Son, the joy in Heaven over a repentant sinner by the figure of ‘music and dancing’, I will hearken to Him rather than to men, be they as good as they may.”For I had long thought that the way to make indifferent things bad, was for good people not to do them.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 179
(see the book; see also Luke 15:6,22-25; more at Authenticity, Goodness, Joy, Prodigal, Repentance, Sinner)
Monday, September 7, 2009
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
When once a man begins to build a system, the very gifts and qualities which might serve in the investigation of truth, become the greatest hindrances to it. He must make the different parts of the scheme fit into each other; his dexterity is shown, not in detecting facts, but in cutting them square... I hope you will never forget that the Bible is the history of God’s acts to men, not of men’s thoughts about God. It begins from Him. He is acting and speaking in it throughout.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), Ecclesiastical History, London: Macmillan, 1854, p. 222, 2
(see the book; see also Heb. 4:12; more at Action, Bible, God, Historical, Truth)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
My windows open to the autumn night,In vain I watched for sleep to visit me:How should sleep dull mine ears, and dim my sight,Who saw the stars, and listened to the sea? Ah, how the City of our God is fair!If, without sea, and starless though it be,For joy of the majestic beauty there,Men shall not miss the stars, nor mourn the sea.
... Lionel P. Johnson (1867-1902), Poems, London: Elkin Mathews, 1895, p. 77
(see the book; see also Rev. 21:23,24; more at Beauty, City, Joy, Knowing God, Sea, Sleep, Star)
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Nothing is small or great in God’s sight; whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling, and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 217
(see the book; see also Dan. 3; Jas. 1:21; more at Conscience, God, Greatness, Providence, Will of God)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
[Jesus] did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work which God gave Him to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place, we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with equanimity and leave them with God.
... Charles E. Hummel (1923-2004), The Tyranny of the Urgent, Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, 1967, included in Discipline Yourself for Godliness, John Barnett, BFM Books, 2004, p. 254
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:21; John 19:30; more at God, Jesus, Knowledge, Obedience, Task, Will of God)
Friday, September 11, 2009
That wisdom which cannot teach me that God is love, shall ever pass for folly.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost , in Works of John Owen, v. II, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 82
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 4:8; more at Authenticity, Folly, God, Love, Wisdom)
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Hearts that are “fit to break” with love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to or understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the Presence of God and they reported what they saw there. They were prophets, not scribes: for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells us what he has seen.The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen, there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes; but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 40
(see the book; see also Son. 2:14; more at Church, God, Heart, Man, Presence of God, Prophet, Saint, Sight, Tender, Wonder)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
It is not possible ever to exhaust the mind of the Scriptures. It is a well that has no bottom.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom on Acts, v. I, Oxford: J. Parker, 1851, XIX, p. 281
(see the book; see also Matt. 21:42; Rom. 15:4; Acts 8:26,27; 1 Cor. 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at Bible, Infinite, Wisdom)
Monday, September 14, 2009
Feast of the Holy Cross
Learned men and great scholars have devoted great effort and prolonged study to the Holy Scriptures... employing the gifts which God gives to every person who has the use of reason.This knowledge is good... but it does not bring with it any spiritual experience of God, for these graces are granted only to those who have a great love for Him. This fountain of love issues from our Lord alone, and no stranger may approach it. But knowledge of this kind is common to good and bad alike, since it can be acquired without love, ... and men of a worldly life are sometimes more knowledgeable than many true Christians although they do not possess this love. St. Paul describes this kind of knowledge: “If I had full knowledge of all things and knew all secrets, but had no love, I should be nothing.”Some people who possess this knowledge become proud and misuse it in order to increase their personal reputation, worldly rank, honours and riches, when they should use it humbly to the praise of God and for the benefit of their fellow Christians in true charity. St. Paul says of this kind of knowledge: “Knowledge by itself stirs the heart with pride, but united to love it turns to edification.”By itself this knowledge is like water, tasteless and cold. But if those who have it will offer it humbly to our Lord and ask for His grace, He will turn the water into wine with His blessing.
... Walter Hilton (1330?-1396), The Scale of Perfection [early 15th century], ed. Serenus Cressy, Book I, I.iv
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:1; 13:2; more at Bible, Grace, Holiness, Knowledge, Love, Worldly)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Just suppose members of our churches were voted on, like the members of certain civic clubs. Suppose three unexcused absences required that the individual’s name be automatically dropped from the roll, and he could be reinstated only by special vote of the body. Suppose absences from services had to be made up by attending services in some other place, or by carrying out some special project. Suppose church members had to be re-elected to membership each year, and that their attendance and participation in the program of activities determined how the vote went. Oh, well—just suppose.
... Anonymous, from The Baptist Messenger
(see also 1 Tim. 5:1,2; more at Body of Christ, Church, Devotion, Discipline, Year)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882
This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden, under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see—brigands on the high roads, pirates on the seas; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; under all roofs misery and selfishness. It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet in the midst of it I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasures of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians—and I am one of them.
... St. Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (?-258), a letter in A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, p. 59
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:20-21; more at Historical, Holiness, Joy, People, Persecution, Pleasure, Sin)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
Reading is good, hearing is good, conversation and meditation are good; but then, they are only good at times and occasions, in a certain degree, and must be used and governed with such caution as we eat and drink, and refresh ourselves, or they will bring forth in us the fruits of intemperance. But the Spirit of Prayer is for all times and occasions; it is a lamp that is to be always burning, a light to be ever shining: everything calls for it; everything is to be done in it, and governed by it, because it is and means and wills nothing else but the whole totality of the soul, not doing this or that, but wholly, incessantly given up to God to be where and what and how He pleases.
... William Law (1686-1761), letter XI in Works of Rev. William Law, v. IX, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 183
(see the book; see also Ps. 18:28; more at God, Goodness, Intemperance, Light, Meditation, Prayer)
Friday, September 18, 2009
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
If thou hadst once entered into the mind of Jesus, and hadst tasted, yea, even a little of his tender love, then wouldst thou care nought for thine own convenience or inconvenience, but wouldst rather rejoice at trouble brought upon thee, because the love of Jesus maketh a man to despise himself. He that loveth Jesus and is inwardly true and free from inordinate affections, is able to turn himself readily unto God, and to rise above himself in spirit.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.i.6, p. 85
(see the book; see also John 14:23; 1 Cor. 2:16; more at Freedom, Jesus, Love, Mind, Tender, Trouble)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
A temple may be defined as an edifice dedicated to the worship of a deity. Whether this deity be true or false, the temple as such becomes a meeting-place for people who desire to worship as they understand it. For the ancient Hebrews, the Temple in Jerusalem was the house of God, the place where God dwelt symbolically, and met with people who came to worship. Jesus called it “My Father’s house.” For the Christian, the word ‘church’ has become the symbol for the edifice built and dedicated for the worship of God. But unless it is so dedicated and so used, it may be considered only a mere building or club-house. However beautiful its design and architecture, a church is a true temple only as it is frequented by God’s people who come to “worship Him in spirit and in truth,” and who there hold forth “the word of life.” [Continued tomorrow]
... Milford C. Olson
(see also John 4:23-24; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 John 1:1; more at Church, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Temple, Truth, Worship)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
[Continued from yesterday]But the word ‘temple’ took on a deeper significance when Jesus referred to His own body as ‘this temple.’ He thus definitely declared Himself to be the personal embodiment of the living God. Later the Apostle Paul applied this term to Christians... “Ye are God’s building... Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” And again, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and that ye are not your own?” Paul taught that it is God’s people who constitute the true church of God, and wherever they have fellowship in the Gospel, God is there. Moreover, he emphasized that as members of this true church it is our privilege to be “laborers together with God.” It is our privilege to build upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ, with gold, silver, precious stones—the kind of Christian service which abides for recognition at the judgment seat of Christ. Again, it is our responsibility to be consecrated for holy living and faithful service, “for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; so we must shun evil, and, since we have been bought with a price, we must glorify God in body and spirit.
... Milford C. Olson
(see also John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 3:9-17; 6:20; more at Body of Christ, God, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Judgment, Temple)
Monday, September 21, 2009
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
Wherever God’s Word may be preached, His precepts remain a letter and dead words so long as they are not received by men with a pure heart; only where they pierce to the soul do they become, so to speak, changed into Spirit. (paraphrase of Calvin’s Institutes, I.ix.3)
... John Calvin (1509-1564), quoted in The Letter to the Romans, Emil Brunner, Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1959, p. 23
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:6-8; Rom. 2:28-29; more at God, Heart, Holy Spirit, Preach, Purity)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
It may fortune thou wilt say, “I am content to do the best for my neighbor that I can, saving myself harmless.” I promise thee, Christ will not hear their excuse; for He himself suffered harm for our sakes, and for our salvation was put to extreme death. I wis, if it had pleased Him, He might have saved us and never felt pain; but in suffering pains and death He did give us example, and teach us how we should do one for another, as He did for us all; for, as He saith himself, “He that will be Mine, let him deny himself, and follow Me, in bearing My cross and suffering My pains.” Wherefore we must needs suffer pain with Christ to do our neighbor good, as well with the body and all his members, as with heart and mind.
... Hugh Latimer (1485?-1555), in The World’s Orators, Guy Carleton Lee, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900, p. 160-161
(see the book; see also Luke 9:59-62; Matt. 16:24; Heb. 10:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:21; more at Christ, Cross, Death, Neighbor, Pain, Suffer, Weakness)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
[St. Paul] always contrived to bring his hearers to a point. There was none of the indeterminate, inconclusive talking, which we are apt to describe as “sowing the seed.” Our idea of sowing the seed seems to be rather like scattering wheat out of a balloon... Occasionally, of course, grains of wheat scattered out of a balloon will fall upon ploughed and fertile land and will spring up and bear fruit; but it is a casual method of sowing. Paul did not scatter seeds, he planted. He so dealt with his hearers that he brought them speedily and directly to a point of decision, and then he demanded of them that they should make a choice and act on their choice. In this way he kept the moral issue clearly before them, and made them realize that his preaching was not merely a novel and interesting doctrine, but a life. [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 74-75
(see the book; see also Josh. 24:14-15; Matt. 13:3-9,18-23; more at Evangelization, Mission, Preach, Seed, Sow)
Thursday, September 24, 2009
[Continued from yesterday]The possibility of rejection was ever present. St. Paul did not establish himself in a place and go on preaching for years to men who refused to act on his teaching. When once he had brought them to a point where decision was clear, he reminded that they should make their choice. If they rejected him, he rejected them... He did not simply “go away;” he openly rejected those who showed themselves unworthy of his teaching. It was part of the Gospel that men might “judge themselves unworthy of eternal life.” It is a question which needs serious consideration whether the Gospel can be truly presented if this element is left out.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 75
(see the book; see also Acts 13:46-47; 18:6; more at Choices, Eternal life, Evangelization, Gospel, Mission, Preach, Teach)
Friday, September 25, 2009
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
Pierce that in you, that was the cause of Christ’s piercing, that is, sin and the lusts thereof... Look and be pierced with love of Him, who so loved you, that He gave Himself in this sort to be pierced for you.Look upon Him, and His heart opened, and from that gate of hope promise yourself, and look for all manner of things that good are.. the deliverance from the evil of our present misery [and] the restoring to the good of our primitive felicity... Look back upon it with some pain; for one way or other, look upon it we must.
... Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), Ninety-six Sermons, v. II, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841, p. 131-133,135
(see the book; see also Isa. 49:16; Zech. 12:10; John 19:32-34; more at Christ, Deliverance, Love, Pain, Sin)
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
A man’s physical hunger does not prove that that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating, and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. A man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called “falling in love” occurred in a sexless world.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Weight of Glory, and other addresses, Macmillan Co., 1949, p. 6
(see the book; see also Ps. 42:1-4; Matt. 5:6; John 7:37-39; more at Apologetics, Bread, Love, Paradise, Proof)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
The greatest curse which can be entailed upon mankind is a state of war. All the atrocious crimes committed in years of peace—all that is spent in peace by the secret corruptions or by the thoughtless extravagances of nations, are mere trifles compared with the gigantic evils which stalk over the world in a state of war. God is forgotten in war—every principle of Christian charity is trampled upon.
... Sydney Smith (1771-1845), Wit and wisdom of the Rev. Sydney Smith, New York: Redfield, 1856, p. 276
(see the book; see also Isaiah 7:20-23; Dan. 4:31; Matt. 24:12; more at Charity, Corruption, Forget, God, Nation, Peace, Social, War)
Monday, September 28, 2009
At the resurrection the substance of our bodies, however disintegrated, will be united. We must not fear that the omnipotence of God cannot recall all the particles that have been consumed by fire or by beast, or dissolved into dust and ashes, or decomposed into water, or evaporated into air.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. II, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 2 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, XII.xx, p. 515
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:14; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thess. 4:16; more at Fear, God, Omnipotence, Providence, Resurrection)
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Feast of Michael & All Angels
The Law cuts into the core of the evil, it reveals the seat of the malady, and informs us that the leprosy lies deep within.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), from Sermon no. 37, 1855
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:20; Gal. 3:24; more at Depravity, Epiphany, Evil, Law, Sin)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It is come, I know not how, to be taken for granted, by many persons, that Christianity is not so much as a subject of inquiry; but that it is, now at length, discovered to be fictitious. And accordingly they treat it, as if, in the present age, this were an agreed point among all people of discernment; and nothing remained, but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and ridicule.
... Joseph Butler (1692-1752), The Analogy of Religion , New York: Ivison, Blakeman Taylor & Co., 1872, p. 27
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 1:12-14; 2 Pet. 3:3-5; more at Atheism, Knowledge, People, Religion, Scorn)
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