Quotations for January, 2016
Friday, January 1, 2016
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus
Why does He make our hearts so strangely still,Why stands He forth so stately and so tall?Because He has no self to serve, no willThat does not seek the welfare of the All.
... Edwin Markham (1852-1940), New Poems: eighty songs at eighty, Doubleday, Doran, 1933, p. 99
(see the book; see also John 5:30; Matt. 11:28-30; John 4:34; 5:19; 6:38; 8:15-16,28,50; 14:10; 17:4; Rom. 2:2; 8:28; 15:3; more at Heart, Jesus, Self, Service)
Saturday, January 2, 2016
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833
The labours of the farm do not seem strange to the farmer; the storm at sea is not unexpected by the sailor; sweat causes no wonder to the hired labourer; and so to those who have chosen to live the life of piety the afflictions of this world are not unforeseen. Nay, to each of the aforesaid is joined a labour that is appropriate and well known to those who share it—a labour that is not chosen for its own sake, but for the enjoyment of expected blessings. For hopes, which hold and weld together man’s entire life, give consolation for the hardships which fall to the lot of each of these.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), Saint Basil, the Letters, tr. Roy Joseph Deferrari, Martin Rawson, Patrick McGuire, London: William Heinemann, 1950, p. 119
(see the book; see also Heb. 6:10-12; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 23:4; Matt. 10:42; 25:40; Mark 9:41; John 13:20; 16:32-33; Acts 10:4; 14:21-22; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 8:1-2; 2 Thess. 1:6-7; 2 Tim. 1:16-18; more at Affliction, Blessing, Consolation, Labor, Weakness)
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970
When we look out towards this love that moves the stars and stirs in the child’s heart and claims our total allegiance and remember that this alone is Reality and we are only real so far as we conform to its demands, we see our human situation from a fresh angle; and we perceive that it is both more humble and dependent, and more splendid, than we had dreamed. We are surrounded and penetrated by great spiritual forces, of which we hardly know anything. Yet the outward events of our life cannot be understood, except in their relation to that unseen and intensely living world, the Infinite Charity which penetrates and supports us, the God whom we resist and yet for whom we thirst; who is ever at work, transforming the self-centred desire of the natural creature into the wide-spreading, outpouring love of the citizen of Heaven.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 11
(see the book; see also Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1; John 4:13-14; 7:37; Rom. 8:5-10; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rev. 22:1; more at Charity, Greatness, Heart, Heaven, Humility, Infinite, Love)
Monday, January 4, 2016
In the person of Christ, the formidable law of God, which by itself appalls us by its vast comprehensiveness and truth, and makes us hide ourselves from its dread sanctity, is brought down into the life of a brother, ... and we see it illustrated and ratified in human action, we see righteousness that makes us feel more bitterly our sin, that makes us look more disparagingly upon our own efforts, yet leaves in us a longing to be like Him, as if we ought to be as He is.
... E. E. Jenkins (1820-1905), Life and Christ 
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; Phil. 3:8-11; more at Christ, Christlikeness, God, Jesus, Law, Life, Righteousness, Sin, Truth)
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
We find not in the Gospel, that Christ hath anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.
... Roger Williams (1603?-1683), The Bloudy Tenent , London: J. Haddon, 1848, p. 224
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:12-18; Ps. 133:1; Matt. 23:8; Acts 4:32; Rom. 12:16; 15:5-6; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:3; Phil. 1:27; 2:1-2; more at Christ, Church, Gospel, Unity)
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Do you think you love your children better than He who made them? Is not your love what it is because He put it into your heart first? Have you not often been cross with them? Sometimes unjust to them? Whence came the returning love that rose from unknown depths in your being, and swept away the anger and the injustice? You did not create that love. Probably you were not good enough to send for it by prayer. But it came. God sent it. He makes you love your children.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 201
(see the book; see also Matt. 18:10; 1 Cor. 7:14; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; more at Child, God, Grace, Heart, Love, Prayer)
Thursday, January 7, 2016
We may look into a church, almost any church, and discover someone who, though he is offered a gospel of love, must subtly convert it into a gospel of hate before he can receive it. The gospel of love—with its emphasis upon brotherhood, equality before God, the dignity of every human being, and man’s social responsibility toward man—does not satisfy the lack that he urgently feels. That calls for something altogether different, for an assurance that he is superior, that he is right where others are wrong—a kind of cosmic teacher’s pet.
... Bonaro W. Overstreet (1902-1985), “For the Spirit’s Hunger,” part 2, “In the Beginning: the Need Felt“, in The PTA Magazine, v. XLVI, n. 2 (October, 1951), Chicago: National Parent-Teacher, Inc., 1951, p. 15
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:13-15; Ps. 50:16-20; Matt. 23:2-3; Rom. 2:19-23; Phil. 1:15; more at Assurance, Authenticity, Brotherhood, Church, Gospel, Hatred, Love, Man, Responsibility, Satisfaction, Social)
Friday, January 8, 2016
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956
If God would grant us the vision, the word “sacrifice” would disappear from our lips and thoughts; we would hate the things that seem now so dear to us; our lives would suddenly be too short; we would despise time-robbing distractions and charge the enemy with all our energies in the name of Christ. May God help us to judge ourselves by the eternities that separate the Aucas from a comprehension of Christmas and Him, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor so that we might, through His poverty, be made rich.
... Nate Saint (1923-1956), in End of the Spear, by Steve Saint, Tyndale House, 2010, p. 309
(see the book; see also John 12:25; Matt. 12:47-50; Luke 14:26-27; Acts 20:24; Rev. 12:11; more at Blessing, Christ, Christmas, Judgment, Poverty, Sacrifice, Vision)
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Every time that the words contrition or humility drop from the lips of prophet or psalmist, Christianity appears.
... Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), Literature and Dogma, New York: The Macmillian Company, 1875, p. 70
(see the book; see also Isa. 66:1-2; Ps. 51:17, Isa. 57:15; 61:1; Micah 6:8; Matt. 5:3-4; 11:29; Luke 18:10-14; John 13:14-15; Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; more at Authenticity, Bible, Contrition, Faith, Humility, Prophet)
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Supply-and-demand,—alas! For what noble work was there ever yet any audible demand in that poor sense? The man of Macedonia, speaking in vision to the Apostle Paul, “Come over and help us,” did not specify what rate of wages he would give.
... Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Past and Present, London: Chapman and Hall, 1843, p. 160
(see the book; see also Acts 16:9-10; 20:34; 1 Cor. 9:12,16; 2 Cor. 12:13-14; 1 Thess. 2:6-9; 2 Thess. 3:7-9; more at Mission, Vision, Work)
Monday, January 11, 2016
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915
Give me an open ear, O God, that I may hear Thy voice calling me to high endeavor.Give me an open mind, O God, a mind ready to receive and to welcome such new light of knowledge as it is Thy will to reveal to me.Give me open eyes, O God, eyes quick to discover Thine indwelling in the world which Thou hast made.Give me open hands, O God, hands ready to share with all who are in want the blessings with which Thou hast enriched my life.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 63
(see the book; see also Col. 4:2-4; Matt. 13:16; Luke 10:23-24; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:18-19; 2:10; Phil. 3:8-9; more at Blessing, Call, Giving, God, Knowledge, Light, Mind, Prayers, Share, World)
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
God’s unchangeableness is the very foundation of desire, and hope, and activity, in things religious as in things natural. The uniformity of nature’s operations in the one, and the constancy of God’s promises in the other, give aim and calculation and certainty to events.
... Edward Irving (1792-1834), “The Reasonableness and Rule of Prayer” in The Collected Writings of Edward Irving, v. III, London: Alexander Strahan, 1865, p. 4
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:89-91; Num. 23:19-20; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:17-20; 13:8; Jas. 1:17; more at Certainty, God, Hope, Nature, Promise, Providence)
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603
No wonder if the Christians made an impression out of all proportion to their numbers. Conviction in the midst of waverers, fiery energy in a world of disillusion, purity in an age of easy morals, firm brotherhood in a loose society, heroic courage in a time of persecution, formed a problem that could not be set aside, however polite society might affect to ignore it: and the religion of the future turned on the answer to it. Would the world be able to explain it better than the Christians, who said it was the living power of the risen Saviour?
... Henry M. Gwatkin (1844-1916), Early Church History to A.D. 312, v. I, London: Macmillan, 1912, p. 234
(see the book; see also Heb. 2:10-12; Ps. 22:22; Acts 3:15; 1 Cor. 1:18; 4:10; 15:56-58; Heb. 12:2; more at Brotherhood, Christ, Courage, Historical, Love, Purity, Resurrection, Savior, Social, World)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915
After a trip to Mexico [in 1984]... I fell ill... The illness was protracted... I suffered a mild depression... When [an Episcopal priest] prayed for my recovery, I choked up and wept. The only prayer I knew word for word was the Pater Noster. On that day and in the days after it, I found myself repeating the Lord’s Prayer, again and again, and meaning every word of it. Quite suddenly, when I was awake one night, a light dawned on me, and I realized what had happened... After many years of affirming God’s existence and trying to give adequate reasons for that affirmation, I found myself believing in God.
... Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001), quoted in Philosophers Who Believe, Kelly James Clark, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993, p. 215-216
(see the book; see also John 4:41; Matt. 4:4; 6:9-13; 7:28-29; Luke 4:32; John 6:63; 7:46; Acts 8:12; 15:3; Rom. 10:14-15,17; 1 Cor. 2:4-5; more at Belief, Depression, Existence, God, Historical, Prayer, Priest, Reason, Weep)
Friday, January 15, 2016
The laity living in the world as an integral part of it is the primary body through which the reality of the phrase “the Church is service” has to be manifested in all spheres of secular life: the Church has to show in her own life and attitude towards others the evidences of the redemptive order which is in Christ an operative fact: Christ the Lord is also Christ the servant: the Church which is the lord of all life is also the servant of all life, and the lordship is shown only through the service. The world wants to see redemption: it is not interested in being talked to about it. A church which is not outward looking... has ceased to be a church as the Body of Christ and has instead become a club for the benefit of its members.
... Douglas Rhymes (1914-1996), “The Place of the Laity in the Parish”, in Layman’s Church, ed. John A. T. Robinson, London: Lutterworth Press, 1963, p. 28
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:5; Matt. 20:25-27; Luke 22:25-26; John 17:11; 1 Cor. 9:23; 2 Tim. 2:10; more at Attitudes, Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Life, Redemption, Service, World)
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Providence is a greater mystery than Religion. The state of the world is more humiliating to our reason, than the doctrines of the Gospel. A reflecting Christian sees more to excite his astonishment and to exercise his faith in the state of things between Temple Bar [in Dublin] and St. Paul’s [in London], than in what he reads from Genesis to Revelation.
... Richard Cecil (1748-1810), The Works of the Rev. Richard Cecil, v. III, Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1825, p. 405
(see the book; see also Jas. 4:13-15; Pr. 27:1; Isa. 56:10-12; Luke 12:16-21; more at Dogma, Faith, Gospel, Providence, Scripture, Truth)
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
Any such distinction between disreputable and respectable sins... Jesus Christ absolutely refuses to allow. In His eyes avarice, pride, contempt, refusal to forgive, hypocrisy, are at least as bad as fornication or adultery or violence.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), Christ and Society, London: Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1928, p. 50
(see the book; see also Mark 7:15, Matt. 23:5-7; Mark 7:21-22; 10:42-44; 12:38-40; Luke 1:51-52; 11:43; 20:46-47; Rom. 1:29-30; 12:3-16; 1 Cor. 13:4; Phil. 2:3; more at Christ, Contempt, Greed, Hypocrisy, Jesus, Pride, Sin)
Monday, January 18, 2016
Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951
From subtle love of softening things,From easy choices, weakenings,(Not thus are spirits fortified;Not this way went the Crucified;)From all that dims Thy Calvary,O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way,The faith that nothing can dismay,The hope no disappointments tire,The passion that will burn like fire;Let me not sink to be a clod:Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God!
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), written in India, 1912, Gold Cord: the story of a fellowship, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1952, p. x
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:22-25; Ps. 104:4; Song of Solomon 8:7; 1 Thess. 5:19; Jude 1:23; more at Calvary, Choices, Deliverance, Easter, Faith, Fire, Flame, God, Hope, Lamb, Love)
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095
People who think that, if God rules the world, He should lead His church from success to success have not understood the secret of Calvary yet. God does not lead His children around hardship, but leads them straight through hardship. But He leads! And amidst the hardship, He is nearer to them than ever before.
... Otto Dibelius (1880-1967), from a sermon
(see the book; see also Acts 14:21-22; Matt. 16:24; Luke 24:26; John 12:25-26; 16:33; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; 3:12-13; 1 Pet. 4:12-16; more at Affliction, Body of Christ, God, Leader, Weakness)
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349
It is of no use to say that Christ as exhibited in the Gospels is not historical and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been superadded by the tradition of his followers... Who among his disciples or among their proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived, as they always professed that it was derived, from the higher source.
... John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Three Essays on Religion, New York: Henry Holt, 1874, p. 253-254
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:28-29; 13:54; 28:18; Mark 1:22; 6:2; Luke 4:22,32; 19:47-48; 21:12-15; John 7:15,46; 21:24-25; Heb. 4:12-13; more at Bible, Christ, Disciple, Goodness, Historical, Imagination, Jesus, Knowledge, Revelation, Tradition)
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304
A Christian man is most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Treatise on Christian Liberty , p. 312
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:18; Ps. 116:16; 119:32,45; Matt. 20:25-28; Mark 9:35; 10:42-45; Luke 14:8-11; John 8:32,36; Rom. 6:14,19-23; Gal. 5:1; 1 Pet. 2:16; more at Freedom, Man, Service, Social)
Friday, January 22, 2016
That when an occasion of practicing some virtue offered, he addressed himself to God, saying, “Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me;” and that then he received strength more than sufficient.That when he had failed in his duty, he simply confessed his fault, saying to God, “I shall never do otherwise if Thou leavest me to myself; it is Thou who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss.” That after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.
... Joseph de Beaufort (17th C), The Character of Brother Lawrence, in The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 10
(see the book; see also Ps. 32:1-5; 51:1-5; Jas. 5:16; 1 John 1:8-10; more at Confession, Failure, God, Historical, Strength, Virtue)
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893
If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing: it is an infinitely foolish thing.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 138
(see the book; see also Luke 12:16-21; Ps. 14:1; Prov. 14:16; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Folly, God, Man, Prayer)
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622
Our business is to love what God would have [us do]. He wills our vocation as it is: let us love that, and not trifle away our time in hankering after other people’s vocation.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), A Selection from the Spiritual Letters of St. Francis de Sales , New York: E. P. Dutton, 1876, p. 56
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 4:1,4-6; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Call, God, Love, Obedience, People)
Monday, January 25, 2016
Feast of the Conversion of Paul
The life of faith does not earn eternal life; it is eternal life. And Christ is its vehicle.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Readings in St. John’s Gospel, London: Macmillan, 1939, 1952, p. 93
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:4; John 3:14-15; 6:35; Rom. 6:23; 7:6; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 John 2:6; more at Christ, Eternal life, Faith)
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963
Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her laws?She tells them of Life and Death, and of all they would forget.She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they like to be soft.She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.They constantly try to escapeFrom the darkness outside and withinBy dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.
... T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), Chorus VI from The Rock , The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1952, p. 106
(see the book; see also Luke 20:17-18; 1 Cor. 1:17-25; 1 Pet. 2:6-8; more at Church, Evil, Goodness, Instruction, Law, Love, Man, Sin)
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Jesus used the term abba (which means father or “daddy” in his Aramaic mother tongue), as an address in his prayers to God. There are no other examples of this usage in contemporary Judaism, but Jesus always addressed God in this way. The others perhaps regarded it as child’s talk, a form of expression too disrespectful to be so used. But for Jesus, abba expressed the filial intimacy he felt toward his Father. As the divine Son of the Father, Jesus enjoyed a unique relationship with him, and his mission in the world consisted in opening up the blessings of sonship to those who believe.
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Reason Enough, Exeter: Paternoster, 1980, p. 82
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:15-16; Matt. 5:48; 6:8-9; Mark 14:36; Gal. 4:6; more at Belief, Blessing, Father, Jesus, Mission, Prayer, Son)
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274)
(see also Mark 15:3-5; Isa. 53:7; Acts 7:22-24; 1 Cor. 6:7; 1 Pet. 2:19-20; more at Bearing, Patience, Perfection, Sin)
Friday, January 29, 2016
Prayer and action, therefore, can never be seen as contradictory or mutually exclusive. Prayer without action grows in powerless pietism, and action without prayer degenerates into questionable manipulation. If prayer leads us into a deeper unity with the compassionate Christ, it will always give rise to concrete acts of service. And if concrete acts of service do indeed lead us to a deeper solidarity with the poor, the hungry, the sick, the dying, and the oppressed, they will always give rise to prayer. In prayer we meet Christ, and in him all human suffering. In service we meet people, and in them the suffering Christ.
... Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996), Compassion, London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1982, Random House, 2005, p. 117-118
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Isaiah 40:11; Col. 1:24; 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:13; more at Action, Christ, Compassion, People, Poverty, Prayer, Service, Sickness, Suffer)
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998
It is common to hear churchmen speak as though they did not really regard Christian unity as a serious question this side of the End. This is a disastrous illusion. Christians cannot behave as though time were unreal. God gives us time, but not an infinite amount of time. It is His purpose that the Gospel should be preached to all nations, and that all men should be brought into one family in Jesus Christ. His purpose looks to a real End, and therefore requires of us real decisions. If we misconstrue His patience, and think that there is an infinity of time for debate while we perpetuate before the world the scandal of our dismemberment of the Body of Christ, we deceive ourselves. In an issue concerning the doing of the will of God there is no final neutrality.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Reunion of the Church, London: SCM Press, 1960, p. xiii-xiv
(see the book; see also John 17:20-21; Matt. 11:15; John 10:16; Acts 4:32; 1 Cor. 1:10; 12:27; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil. 2:1-5; Col. 3:11-14; 1 Pet. 3:8-9; more at Body of Christ, Church, God, Gospel, Illusions, Jesus, Preach, Purpose, Question, Time, Unity, Will of God, World)
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888
O brethren, it is sickening work to think of your cushioned seats, your chants, your anthems, your choirs, your organs, your gowns, and your bands, and I know not what besides, all made to be instruments of religious luxury, if not of pious dissipation, while ye need far more to be stirred up and incited to holy ardour for the propagation of the truth as it is in Jesus.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons, Passmore & Alabaster, 1856, p. 83-84
(see the book; see also Jas. 5:1-5; Mark 4:13-20; 12:38-40; John 14:6; more at Authenticity, Evangelization, Jesus, Need, Pleasure, Sloth, Truth)
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