Quotations for February, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525
(Continued from yesterday)[We look for a time when Christians] will consider and practically remember, that all Christians are “called [to be] Saints,” and endued with the Holy Spirit of God; not indeed to inspire them with a new revelation, or to confer any miraculous gifts, (which do not either prove, or make, the possessor the more acceptable in God’s sight,) but to enable them to purify their own hearts and lives. The wicked Balaam was a prophet; and the traitor Judas worked miracles. These extraordinary powers, therefore, are neither any proof of superior personal holiness, nor any substitute for it in God’s sight. Nor is the absence of these miraculous gifts in ourselves, any argument that a less degree of Christian virtue will suffice for our salvation, than was required of the Apostles.
... Richard Whately (1787-1863), A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State , Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1857, p. 159-160
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:20; 16:1-4; Luke 10:17-20; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; more at Gifts, Holy Spirit, Miracle, Prophet, Saint, Salvation, Virtue)
Thursday, February 2, 2012
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE
Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realising them as parts of one whole. If our practical life is centred on our own interests, cluttered up by possessions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, beset by a sense of our own rights and importance, or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success, we need not expect that our spiritual life will be a contrast to all this. The soul’s house is not built on such a convenient plan; there are few sound-proof partitions in it. Only when the conviction—not merely the idea—that the demand of the Spirit, however inconvenient, comes first and IS first, rules the whole of it, will those objectionable noises die down which have a way of penetrating into the nicely furnished little oratory, and drowning all the quieter voices by their din.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Spiritual Life, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1937, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1985, p. 33-34
(see the book; see also Luke 16:8; 1 Cor. 3:19-20; Jas. 3:13-17; 1 John 2:16; Jude 1:17-19; more at Ambition, Anxiety, Holy Spirit, Practical Christianity, Prayer, Spiritual life)
Friday, February 3, 2012
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865
Peruse the books of philosophers, with all their pomp of diction: how meager, how contemptible they are when compared with the Scriptures! The majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration.
... Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Emile, or, On education, UPNE, 2009, p. 147
(see the book; see also Isa. 55:10-11; more at Book, Philosophy, Scripture)
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
No worst thing ever done in the name of Christianity, no vilest corruption of the Church, can destroy the eternal fact that the core of it is the heart of Jesus. Branches innumerable may have to be lopped off and cast into the fire, yet the word “I am the Vine” remaineth.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Malcolm: a romance, Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott, 1875, p. 248
(see the book; see also Matt. 3:10; John 15:1-6; 2 Pet. 2:20; 1 John 2:19; more at Body of Christ, Church, Corruption, Fire, Jesus)
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597
The greatest miracle that Christianity has to proclaim is that the love that suffered agonies on that hill outside the city walls was the love of God himself, the love of God for his creation, which is a love that has no limit, not even the limit of death.
... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), The Magnificent Defeat, Seabury Press, 1966, p. 89
(see the book; see also John 3:16-17; Rom. 5:8; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 4:10; more at Death, God, Love, Miracle, Preach, Suffer)
Monday, February 6, 2012
Our Master was his own Gospel. Men came to Him one by one attracted by the winsomeness of Jesus. He spake, of course, as never man spake, and He was as never man was, and, as has been well said by one who has a right to speak upon such subjects, he reversed our ordinary experience about our human ideals. The nearer we draw to an individual, as a rule the more plainly we see the flaws and the crevices in his character; but the nearer men drew to Jesus the more His faultless excellence declared itself; they were drawn to Him, they hardly knew why, with a reverence and a devotion unexampled in the history of the world.
... R. J. Campbell (1867-1956), City Temple Sermons, New York: F. H. Revell company, 1903, p.195
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:6-7; 27:54; Mark 12:14; John 1:14; 3:2; more at Devotion, Gospel, Jesus, Man, Reverence)
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
I think St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans the most profound work in existence; and I hardly believe that the writings of the old Stoics, now lost, could have been deeper... You will smile, after this, if I say that I think I understand St. Paul; and I think so, because, really and truly, I recognize a cogent consecutiveness in the argument—the only evidence I know that you understand any book.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk, 2nd ed., London: John Murray, 1836, p. 237
(see the book; see also Matt. 22:29; Rom. 8:1-2; Heb. 5:11; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; more at Argument, Book, Knowledge, Thought, Understanding)
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Christian life ... is a continual discovery of Christ in new and unexpected places. And these discoveries are sometimes most profitable when you find Him in something you had tended to overlook or even despise.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), The Journals of Thomas Merton, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 563
(see the book; see also Matt. 25:37-40; Mark 9:35; Luke 9:47-48; 2 Cor. 2:10-11; Eph. 3:1; more at Christ, Discovery, Life)
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Every complexion of the inward man, when sanctified by humility, and suffering itself to be tuned, and struck, and moved by the Holy Spirit of God, according to its particular frame and turn, helps mightily to increase that harmony of divine praise, thanksgiving, and adoration, which must arise from different instruments, sounds, and voices. To condemn this variety in the servants of God, or to be angry at those who have not served him, in the way that we have chosen for ourselves, is but too plain a sign, that we have not enough renounced the elements of selfishness, pride, and anger.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 172-173
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:4-6,14-18; Eph. 4:17; Phil. 2:3; 1 Pet. 5:5; 1 John 2:16; more at Holy Spirit, Humility, Man, Praise, Pride, Sanctification, Selfish, Thanksgiving)
Friday, February 10, 2012
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543
A basic trouble is that most Churches limit themselves unnecessarily by addressing their message almost exclusively to those who are open to religious impressions through the intellect, whereas ... there are at least four other gateways—the emotions, the imagination, the aesthetic feeling, and the will, through which they can be reached.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 216
(see the book; see also Ps. 40:6-8; Jer. 36:7; Luke 12:11-12; John 7:16-17; more at Art, Church, Gospel, Imagination)
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Those who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus—love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.xi., p. 104
(see the book; see also Job 13:15; Ps. 23:4; Rom. 8:38-39; more at Anguish, Blessing, Comfort, Consolation, Jesus, Love, Power, Purity, Trial)
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691
It makes very little difference how much or how little of the creeds of the Church the Modernist preacher affirms, or how much or how little of the Biblical teaching from which the creeds are derived. He might affirm every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession, for example, and yet be separated by a great gulf from the Reformed Faith. It is not that part is denied and the rest affirmed; but all is denied, because all is affirmed merely as useful or symbolic and not as true.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), What is Faith? , The Macmillan Company, 1925, reprint Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1962, p. 34
(see the book; see also Luke 24:9-11; Acts 8:18-24; 2 Tim. 4:3; more at Creed, Faith, Teach, Truth)
Monday, February 13, 2012
One notable limitation of the sphere assigned to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, as compared with Hebrew and Jewish literature, is that it is nowhere described as the agent of creation or as a cosmic principle. It does not act upon external nature, and it stands in no causal relation to the physical universe. God made the world and all things therein (Acts 17:24; Rom. 1:20); and both Paul and John conceive Christ or the Logos as the medium of creation and as the reason and end of the universe (1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; John 1:3; cf. Heb. 1:2). But in their teaching, as in the rest of the New Testament, the Holy Spirit acts only upon humanity. In one instance only was it conceived as acting in any way in the physical sphere, where it mediated the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35), and that act lay within the sphere of human life. Otherwise its operations lay entirely within the field of conscious experience. The Christian Church realised the fact of the Spirit first as a living, present, overpowering, unique, and exalted experience.
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 84
(see the book; see also Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35; John 1:3; Acts 17:24; Rom. 1:20; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; more at Action, Creation, Experience, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Miracle)
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
I come now to declare what it is wherein peculiarly and eminently the saints have communion with the Father; and this is LOVE,—free, undeserved, and eternal love. This the Father peculiarly fixes upon the saints; this they are immediately to eye in him, to receive of him, and to make such returns thereof as he is delighted withal. This is the great discovery of the gospel: for whereas the Father, as the fountain of the Deity, is not known any other way but as full of wrath, anger, and indignation against sin, nor can the sons of men have any other thoughts of him,—here he is now revealed peculiarly as love, as full of it unto us; the manifestation whereof is the peculiar work of the gospel.
... 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. 19
(see the book; see also Ps. 5:4-6; Isa. 33:13-14; Hab. 1:13; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 2:3-4; Tit. 3:4; more at Communion, Father, Gospel, Love, Revelation, Sin)
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730
Thou hadst no youth, great God,An Unbeginning End Thou art;Thy glory in itself abode,And still abides in its own tranquil heart:No age can heap its outward years on Thee:Dear God! Thou art Thyself Thine own eternity!
... Frederick William Faber (1814-1863), Hymns, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1877, p. 18-19
(see the book; see also Lam. 5:19; Hab. 1:12; Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; 2 Pet. 3:8; more at Eternity, Glory, God, Heart, Year)
Thursday, February 16, 2012
How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it, we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred. Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world. Let us make no peace with it. Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it. It is “the abominable thing which God hateth.” Happy is he who is of one mind with God, and can say, I “abhor that which is evil.”
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Luke, v. I, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1858, p. 209
(see the book; see also Jer. 44:4; Luke 7:11-17; Rom. 5:12; 12:9; more at Evil, God, Happiness, Hatred, Peace, Sin, World)
Friday, February 17, 2012
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977
“For not all those are Israelites who are of Israel” nor are all those straightway washed with the Holy Spirit who are washed with water; just as, conversely, those who are numbered among the catechumens are not all deprived and bereft of the Holy Spirit. For I find in the divine Scriptures several catechumens who were held worthy of the Holy Spirit and that others after receiving baptism were unworthy of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Cornelius was a catechumens and before he came to the water he desired to receive the Holy Spirit. Simon [Magus] had received baptism but he was refused the gift of the Holy Spirit because he approached the grace with hypocrisy.
... Origen (185?-254?), from Hom. in Numeros, iii.1, in The Early Christian Fathers, Henry Scowcroft Bettenson, London: Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 342
(see the book; see also Num. 3:5-39; Acts 8:9-24; 10:1-3,44-48; Rom. 9:6; more at Baptism, Gifts, Grace, Holy Spirit, Hypocrisy, Scripture, Water)
Saturday, February 18, 2012
The dear Lord accepts imperfect surrender, ignorant faith and love, of which He knows that it will soon turn to denial. Oh! if He did not, what would become of us all? We reject half hearts; we will not have a friendship on which we cannot rely. The sweetness of vows is all sucked out of them to our apprehension, if we have reason to believe that they will be falsified in an hour. But the patient Master was willing to put up with what you and I will not put up with; and to accept what we reject; and be pleased that they gave Him even that. His “charity suffereth long, and is kind.” Let us not be afraid to bring even imperfect consecration... to His merciful feet.
... Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), The Holy of Holies, London: Alexander & Shepheard, 1890, p. 364
(see the book; see also Pr. 10:12; John 16:29-32; 1 Cor. 13:4; Titus 3:4-5; 1 John 3:1; more at Charity, Consecration, Faith, Heart, Kindness, Love, Mercy, Vow)
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I will die. And the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the day of judgment. Our salvation is “from outside ourselves”. I find salvation not in my life story, but only in the story of Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 62
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:17; 8:10-11; 10:8-9; 1 Cor. 15:12-14; more at Christ, Death, Hope, Jesus, Judgment, Life, Salvation)
Monday, February 20, 2012
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906
If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered. Prayer stamps with its indelible mark our actions and demeanor. A tranquillity of bearing, a facial and bodily repose, are observed in those whose inner lives are thus enriched. Within the depths of consciousness a flame kindles. And man sees himself. He discovers his selfishness, his silly pride, his fears, his greeds, his blunders. He develops a sense of moral obligation, intellectual humility. Thus begins a journey of the soul toward the realm of grace. [Continued tomorrow]
... Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), “Prayer is Power”, from The Reader’s Digest, March, 1941, included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 645
(see the book; see also Job 1:20-22; more at Beginning, Grace, Journey, Prayer, Sincerity)
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
[Continued from yesterday]Too many people regard prayer as a formalized routine of words, a refuge for weaklings, or a childish petition for material things. We sadly undervalue prayer when we conceive it in these terms, just as we should underestimate rain by describing it as something that fills the birdbath in our garden. Properly understood, prayer is a mature activity indispensable to the fullest development of personality—the ultimate integration of man’s highest faculties. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious assembly of body, mind and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strength.
... Alexis Carrel (1873-1944), “Prayer is Power”, from The Reader’s Digest, March, 1941, included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 645
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:7; more at Harmony, Material things, Mind, Prayer, Rain, Spirit, Strength)
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
It is not possible to say, “I shall pray” or “I shall not pray,” as if it were an act according to our own good pleasure. To be a Christian and to pray are one and the same thing; it is a matter that cannot be left to our caprice. It is a need, a kind of breathing necessary to life.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), Prayer, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, p. 15
(see the book; see also Job 42:5-6; Ps. 42:1-2; more at Action, Life, Need, Pleasure, Prayer)
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155
Thou didst call, and cry aloud, and break through my deafness. Thou didst blaze forth, and shine, and scatter my blindness. Thou wert fragrant, and I drew in my breath, and pant for Thee. I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, X.xxvii, p. 263-264
(see the book; see also Isa. 6:9-10; Ps. 34:8; 42:1-2; Matt. 11:4-6; John 9:25; more at Blindness, Call, Deafness, Knowing God, Love, Peace)
Friday, February 24, 2012
Christ [is] the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is the congregation or meeting-place of all the waters in the world: so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet.
... John Flavel (1628-1691), Serm. XII from The Method of Grace, in The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. II, London: J. Mathews, 1799, p. 215
(see the book; see also Ps. 45:2; Song of Solomon 5:16; more at Christ, Congregation, Pleasure, World)
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Forgiveness can spring only from a self-forgetfulness that is more concerned about another’s well being than about its own, and that longs for the renewal of fellowship even when fellowship has been flouted and destroyed by the willful aggression of another.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), A Genuinely Human Existence: Towards a Christian Psychology, Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1959, p. 211
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Mark 11:25; Eph. 4:32; Jas. 2:12-13; more at Fellowship, Forgiveness, Renewal)
Sunday, February 26, 2012
When [Moses] relates that Rachel stole her father’s idols, he speaks as of a common corruption. Whence we may infer, that the mind of man is, if I may be allowed the expression, a perpetual manufactory of idols. After the deluge, there was, as it were, a regeneration of the world; but not many years elapsed before men fabricated gods according to their own fancy.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, I.xi.8, p. 104
(see the book; see also Gen. 31:34-35; Acts 17:29-30; 1 Cor. 12:2-3; Phil. 3:18-19; Col. 3:5; more at Corruption, Idol, Man, Regeneration)
Monday, February 27, 2012
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633
The God of love my shepherd is,And he that doth me feed:While he is mine and I am his,What can I want or need?
He leads me to the tender grasse,Where I both feed and rest;Then to the streams that gently passe:In both I have the best.
Or if I stray, he doth convert,And bring my minde in frame:And all this not for my desert,But for his holy name.
Yea, in deaths shadie black abodeWell may I walk, not fear:For thou art with me, and thy rodTo guide, thy staffe to bear.
Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,Ev’n in my enemies’ sight;My head with oyl, my cup with wineRunnes over day and night.
Surely thy sweet and wondrous loveShall measure all my dayes;And as it never shall remove,So neither shall my praise.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 219-220
(see the book; see also Ps. 23; 2 Cor. 5:1; Eph. 3:20-21; Phil. 4:19; more at Cup, Day, Enemy, Gentleness, God, Guidance, Leader, Love, Praise)
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Progress is Providence without God. That is, it is a theory that everything has always perpetually gone right by accident. It is a sort of atheistic optimism, based on an everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), What I Saw in America, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1922, p. 236
(see the book; see also Isa. 64:4; Luke 12:27-31; 2 Cor. 4:18; 9:8-11; more at Atheism, God, Miracle, Optimism, Progress, Providence)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Broadly speaking, I learned to recognize sin as the refusal to live up to the enlightenment we possess—to know the right order of values and deliberately to choose the lower ones; I learnt that, however much these values may differ with different people at different stages of spiritual growth, for one’s self there must be no compromise with that which one knows to be the lower value.
... Margaret Bondfield (1873-1953), A Life’s Work, Hutchinson, 1948, p. 355
(see the book; see also John 5:39-40; Rom. 7:12-13; 14:5-8; more at Choices, Enlighten, Growth, Knowledge, Sin)
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