Quotations for February, 2016
Monday, February 1, 2016
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525
No man can look with undivided vision at God and at the world of reality so long as God and the world are torn asunder. Try as he may, he can only let his eyes wander distractedly from one to the other. But there is a place at which God and the cosmic reality are reconciled, a place at which God and man have become one. That and that alone is what enables man to set his eyes upon God and the world at the same time. This place does not lie somewhere out beyond reality in the realm of ideas. It lies in the midst of history as a divine miracle. It lies in Jesus Christ, the reconciler of the world.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Ethics, tr. Reinhard Krauss, Charles C. West, Douglas W. Stott, Fortress Press, 2005, reprint, Simon and Schuster, 2012, p. 82
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:10-11; Matt. 12:25; John 1:9-14; Rom. 8:6-8; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 1:19-22; Heb. 2:17; 7:25; more at God, Historical, Jesus, Miracle, Reconciliation, Vision, World)
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE
A lawsuit, however just, can never be rightly prosecuted by any man, unless he treat his adversary with the same love and good will as if the business under controversy were already amicably settled and composed. Perhaps someone will interpose here that such moderation is so uniformly absent from any lawsuit that it would be a miracle if any such were found. Indeed, I admit that, as the customs of these times go, an example of an upright litigant is rare; but the thing itself, when not corrupted by the addition of anything evil, does not cease to be good and pure.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, IV.xx.18, p.651-652
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 6:1-8; Matt. 5:25-26,41,44-46; Luke 12:58-59; 14:31-32; Jas. 4:1-3; more at Corruption, Custom, Evil, Good will, Love, Social)
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865
Let a man but separate himself from all contingencies and from all works, and there will come over him in this state of emptiness a peace which is very great, lovely, and agreeable, and which is in itself no sin since it is part of our human nature. But when it is taken for a veritable possessing of God, or unity with God, then it is a sin; for it is in reality nothing else than a state of thorough passivity and apathy untouched by the power from on high, which any man can attain without special grace of God. It is a purely negative state from which (if one in arrogance calls it divine) nothing follows but blindness, failure of understanding, and a disinclination to be governed by the rules of ordinary righteousness.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), quoted in The Meaning of God in Human Experience: a philosophic study of religion, William Ernest Hocking, Yale University Press, 1912, p. 576
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:8-12; Deut. 15:7-8; Isa. 58:7; Luke 3:11; 1 John 1:6; 2:10-11; 3:17; more at Arrogance, Authenticity, Blindness, Emptiness, Failure, God, Nature, Peace, Sin, Unity, Work)
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
The minister is the servant of his people, who has to help them discern for themselves the will of God for their real work in the real world. It will often be his duty, therefore, to establish a certain economy in the internal life of the Church, so that people are released to give time and energy to fulfilment of their Christian duty in the worlds of industry or politics or business or professional life, where their most determinative decisions have to be taken. A new puritanism is urgently needed in most churches, which cuts away ruthlessly from their life all organizations and activities which prevent their members from grappling with their real task.
... Daniel Jenkins (1914-2002), The Protestant Ministry, London: Faber & Faber, 1958
(see the book; see also Acts 20:33-35; Jer. 4:3; Matt. 6:24-25; 13:18-23; Luke 12:29-30; 21:34; 1 John 2:15-16; more at Church, Duty, Life, Minister, Task, Time, Will of God, Work, World)
Friday, February 5, 2016
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597
He that sees the beauty of holiness, or true moral good, sees the greatest and most important thing in the world... Unless this is seen, nothing is seen that is worth seeing; for there is no other true excellence or beauty.
... Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), Treatise concerning Religious Affections , in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M., v. I, London: William Ball., 1839, p. 284
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:14-16; Lev. 19:2; Matt. 5:48; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 1:27; 2:14-16; Heb. 12:14; more at Beauty, Goodness, Holiness, Morality, Sight, Truth)
Saturday, February 6, 2016
The deepest need of men is not food and clothing and shelter, important as they are. It is God. We have mistaken the nature of poverty, and thought it was economic poverty. No, it is poverty of soul, deprivation of God’s recreating, loving peace. Peer into poverty and see if we are really getting down to the deepest needs, in our economic salvation schemes. These are important. But they lie farther along the road, secondary steps toward world reconstruction. The primary step is a holy life, transformed and radiant in the glory of God.
... Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941), A Testament of Devotion, London: Quaker Home Service, 1941, reprint Harper, Collins, 1996, p. 123
(see the book; see also Prov. 16:8; Hag. 2:8; Matt. 6:19-21; Col. 2:1-3; more at Authenticity, Glory of God, God, Holiness, Love, Man, Need, Peace, Poverty, Soul)
Sunday, February 7, 2016
The missionary goes out to men of other faiths and of no faith, not to argue, not to make comparisons, never to claim a superior knowledge or revelation, but to tell of a glorious deed, of the New Creation that has occurred and of the New Being that has appeared and into which men may enter. This is testimony, the apostolic testimony, and this, with the energy of love, is the missionary motive. The insistent task of missionary education and responsibility is to engender this motive throughout the Church, a task that can only be accomplished as men are confronted anew with the message of the Bible and with its supreme and central story, the story of the cross.
... Douglas Webster (1920-1986), Local Church and World Mission, New York: Seabury, 1964, p. 71-72
(see the book; see also Acts 3:13-15; Rom. 1:14-15; 1 Cor. 9:16; 2 Cor. 4:13,14; 5:11-21; 2 Thess. 1:10; more at Evangelization, Mission, Missionary, Salvation)
Monday, February 8, 2016
What I am concerned with here is not to write a new life of Jesus, but to set down my witness to the continued shocks which his words and deeds gave me as I approached the Gospels uninsulated by the familiar cover of beautiful language. The figure who emerged is quite unlike the Jesus of conventional piety, and even more unlike that imagined hero whom members of various causes claim as their champion. What we are so often confronted with today is a “processed” Jesus. Every element that we feel is not consonant with our “image” of him is removed, and the result is more insipid and unsatisfying than the worst of processed food.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 91-92
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:34-38; Luke 12:49-53; John 7:40-49; Acts 13:45-50; 14:1-4; more at Authenticity, Jesus, Life, Witness)
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Those who charged the Christians with burning down Rome with firebrands were slanderers; but they were, at least, far nearer to the nature of Christianity than those among the moderns who tell us that the Christians were a sort of ethical society, being martyred in a languid fashion for telling men they had a duty to their neighbours, and only mildly disliked because they were meek and mild.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), The Everlasting Man, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1925, Wilder Publications, 2008, p. 201
(see the book; see also Luke 19:45-48; Matt. 21:45-46; 24:9; Mark 11:18; 13:12; Luke 11:49-51; 21:16-17; John 12:25; Rom. 8:36; Rev. 12:11; more at Duty, Fire, Historical, Meekness, Philosophy, Social)
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543
“The Kingdom of Heaven,” said the Lord Christ, “is among you.” But what, precisely, is the Kingdom of Heaven? You cannot point to existing specimens, saying, “Lo, here!” or “Lo, there!” You can only experience it. But what is it like, so that when we experience it we may recognize it? Well, it is a change, like being born again and relearning everything from the start. It is secret, living power—like yeast. It is something that grows, like seed. It is precious like buried treasure, like a rich pearl, and you have to pay for it. It is a sharp cleavage through the rich jumble of things which life presents: like fish and rubbish in a draw-net, like wheat and tares; like wisdom and folly; and it carries with it a kind of menacing finality; it is new, yet in a sense it was always there—like turning out a cupboard and finding there your own childhood as well as your present self; it makes demands, it is like an invitation to a royal banquet—gratifying, but not to be disregarded, and you have to live up to it; where it is equal, it seems unjust; where it is just it is clearly not equal—as with the single pound, the diverse talents, the labourers in the vineyard, you have what you bargained for; it knows no compromise between an uncalculating mercy and a terrible justice—like the unmerciful servant, you get what you give; it is helpless in your hands like the King’s Son, but if you slay it, it will judge you; it was from the foundations of the world; it is to come; it is here and now; it is within you. It is recorded that the multitudes sometimes failed to understand.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, London: Golanz, 1963, p. 281
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:47-48,24-30,33,44-46; 20:1-16; 22:1-14; Mark 4:26-29; Luke 13:20-21; 15:8-10; 16:1-9; John 3:3-8; more at Christ, Experience, Folly, Jesus, Kingdom, Seed, Treasure, Wisdom)
Thursday, February 11, 2016
When the will abandons what is above itself and turns to what is lower, it becomes evil—not because that is evil to which it turns, but because the turning itself is wicked. Therefore it is not an inferior thing which has made the will evil, but it is itself which has become so by wickedly and inordinately desiring an inferior thing.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. I , Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 1 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871, XII.vi, p. 488-489
(see the book; see also Eccl. 10:3; Matt. 15:11,17-20; Mark 7:15,18-23; Luke 11:38-41; Tit. 1:15; more at Evil, Intention, Sin)
Friday, February 12, 2016
If a poet or an artist puts himself into his Productions he is criticised. But that is exactly what God does, he does so in Christ. And precisely that is Christianity. The creation was really only completed when God included himself in it. Before the coming of Christ God was certainly in the creation, but as an invisible sign, like the watermark in paper. But the creation was completed by the Incarnation because God thereby included himself in it.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 324
(see the book; see also John 1:32-34; Matt. 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; Mark 1:1,11; Luke 3:22; John 1:14,18,49; 3:16-18; 10:30; 1 John 2:23; 4:9; more at Creation, God, Incarnation, Jesus)
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Sin is a base and ill-natured thing, and renders a man not so apt to be affected with the injuries he hath offered to God, as with the mischief which is likely to fall upon himself.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLX, p. 287
(see the book; see also Matt. 15:10-11; Ps. 32:5; 38:18; 51:3; 52:2-4; Pr. 28:13; Isa. 59:12-15; Matt. 15:18-20; Jas. 3:5-8; more at Complacency, God, Sin)
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
My father had never lost his temper with us, never beaten us, but we had for him that feeling often described as fear, which is something quite different and far deeper than alarm. It was that sense which, without irreverence, I have thought to find expressed by the great evangelists when they speak of the fear of God. One does not fear God because He is terrible, but because He is literally the soul of goodness and truth, because to do Him wrong is to do wrong to some mysterious part of oneself, and one does not know exactly what the consequences may be.
... Joyce Cary (1888-1957), Except the Lord, London: Michael Joseph, 1953, reprint, New Directions Publishing, 1985, p. 47
(see the book; see also Ps. 19:7-9; Gen. 22:12; Ps. 34:8-9,11-14; 111:10; 112:1; Pr. 1:7; 9:10; Eccl. 12:13; John 14:6; 1 Pet. 2:2-3; more at Evangelization, Father, Fear, God, Goodness, Truth, Weakness, Wrong)
Monday, February 15, 2016
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730
Don’t imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he won’t be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who’s always telling you that, of course, he’s nobody. Probably all you’ll think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him, it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility; he won’t be thinking about himself at all. There I must stop. If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you’re not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Christian Behavior, London: Geoffrey Bles, Macmillan, 1943, p. 49
(see the book; see also Luke 1:51-53; Pr. 13:10; Matt. 5:6; Mark 12:38-40; more at Envy, Humility, People, Pride, Sin, Thought)
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
They, therefore, who are hasty in their devotions and think a little will do, are strangers both to the nature of devotion and the nature of man; they do not know that they are to learn to pray, and that prayer is to be learnt as they learn other things, by frequency, constancy, and perseverance.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Perfection , London: W. Baynes, 1807, p. 283
(see the book; see also Luke 11:1; Ps. 10:17-18; 19:14; Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:5-10; 18:2-7; John 14:13-14; Rom. 8:26-27; Jas. 4:2-3; Jude 1:20; more at Devotion, Man, Obedience, Perseverance, Prayer)
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977
The will directs the tongue or the hand to act, and the evil word is spoken or the evil deed done. Every time we sin, it is the whole of us that sins, and not just a part. The body is only the instrument of the mind and the will. All that God made, including the body with all its desires and instincts, is good in itself. But it has to be kept under control and used in the right way.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 83-84
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:22-23; Pr. 17:27; 21:23; 1 Cor. 9:25; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:4; Tit. 1:8; Jas. 1:26; 3:13; 2 Pet. 1:5-6; ; more at Evil, Goodness, Self-control, Sin)
Thursday, February 18, 2016
There are many people like us, who speak to God in prayer, but hardly ever listen to Him, or else listen to Him only vaguely.
... Paul Tournier (1898-1986), The Meaning of Persons, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 168
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:9; Ex. 15:26; Deut. 6:4-5; Ps. 85:8; Hab. 2:1; Heb. 12:25; Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; more at God, Listening, Prayer)
Friday, February 19, 2016
The Kingdom of Heaven is not for the well-meaning: it is for the desperate.
... James Denney (1856-1917), quoted in The Gospel of Matthew, v. 2, William Barclay, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1958, p. 9
(see the book; see also Ps. 142:6-7; 18:6; 22:2; 40:1; 44:24-26; 143:7; Matt. 8:24-26; 11:12-15; 1 John 4:19; more at Despair, Heaven, Kingdom, Sin)
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906
At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.iii.5, p.35
(see the book; see also Rev. 16:7; Matt. 7:24; 12:50; Luke 6:46-48; 11:28; 12:47-48; John 13:17; Rom. 2:13; Col. 3:17; Jas. 1:22; 4:17; 1 John 2:3; more at Action, Day, Judgment, Obedience)
Sunday, February 21, 2016
There is no one in the world who cannot arrive without difficulty at the most eminent perfection by fulfilling with love the obscure and common duties.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence, II.iv.3
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:13; Micah 6:8; Rom. 7:5; 8:13-14; Matt. 11:29-30; 1 John 5:3-4; more at Duty, Fulfillment, Love, Obedience, Perfection)
Monday, February 22, 2016
Two movements merge in the real act of communion. First, the creature’s profound sense of need, of incompleteness: its steadfast desire... Next, a humble and loving acceptance of God’s answer to that prayer of desire, however startling, disappointing, and unappetizing it may be.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice, New York: Longmans, Green, 1938, p. 64
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:16-17; John 6:53-58; Acts 2:46-47; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:3,27; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11; 1 John 1:3; more at Church, Communion, Humility, Need, Prayer)
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155
The less you feel and the more firmly you believe, the more praiseworthy is your faith and the more it will be esteemed and appreciated; for real faith is much more than a mere opinion of man. In it we have true knowledge: in truth, we lack nothing save true faith.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Treatises and Sermons, Harper, 1958, p. 93
(see the book; see also Gal. 2:16; Ps. 130:3-4; 143:2; Luke 10:25-29; Gal. 2:19; 3:11; more at Belief, Faith, Knowledge, Truth)
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Faith is the source of energy in the struggle of life, but life still remains a battle which is continually renewed upon ever new fronts. For every threatening abyss that is closed, another yawning gulf appears. The truth is—and this is the conclusion of the whole matter—the Kingdom of God is within us. But we must let our light shine before men in confident and untiring labour that they may see our good works and praise our Father in Heaven. The final ends of all humanity are hidden within His hands.
... Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923), The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches, New York: Harper, 1960, v. II, p. 1013
(see the book; see also Luke 17:20-21; Matt. 5:16; Rom. 14:17-18; Col. 1:27; 1 John 1:5-7; more at Faith, God, Kingdom, Labor, Life, Light, Praise, Sight, Struggle)
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Where every day is not the Lord’s, the Sunday is his least of all. There may be a sickening unreality even where there is no conscious hypocrisy.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Donal Grant, London: George Routledge and Sons, 1883, p. 73
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:5; Matt. 12:1-13; Luke 11:39-41; 1 Cor. 10:23,31; Tit. 1:15-16; more at Day, God, Hypocrisy, Legalism, Sunday)
Friday, February 26, 2016
Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God and he is instantly free. No one can hinder him. If we understand our first and sole duty to consist of loving God supremely and loving everyone, even our enemies, for God’s dear sake, then we can enjoy spiritual tranquillity under every circumstance.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Root of the Righteous, Christian Publications, 1955, p. 129
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:22; Matt. 5:43-45; 22:36-40; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 5:1; more at Duty, Enemy, Freedom, God, Heart, Love, Tranquility, Will of God)
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633
Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:Such a Way, as gives us breath:Such a Truth, as ends all strife:Such a Life, as killeth death. Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:Such a Light, as shows a feast:Such a Feast, as mends in length:Such a Strength, as makes his guest. Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:Such a Joy, as none can move:Such a Love, as none can part:Such a Heart, as joyes in love.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 199
(see the book; see also John 14:6; 10:10; 1 Cor. 2:9-10; 15:54-57; Eph. 3:20-21; 1 Tim. 1:14; more at Death, Heart, Jesus, Joy, Life, Light, Love, Strength, Truth, Way)
Sunday, February 28, 2016
We can reach the point where it becomes possible for us to recognize and understand Original Sin, that dark counter-center of evil in our nature—that is to say, though it is not our nature, it is of it—that something within us which rejoices when disaster befalls the very cause we are trying to serve, or misfortune overtakes even those we love.Life in God is not an escape from this, but the way to gain full insight concerning it. It is not our depravity which forces a fictitious religious explanation upon us, but the experience of religious reality which forces the “Night Side” out into the light.It is when we stand in the righteous all-seeing light of love that we can dare to look at, admit, and consciously suffer under this something in us which wills disaster, misfortune, defeat to everything outside the sphere of our narrowest self interest.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 149
(see the book; see also Gen. 4:9; 37:32; Ps. 10:13-14; Pr. 28:13; John 8:44; Rom. 3:23; more at Darkness, Defeat, Evil, Light, Nature, Righteousness, Sin, Suffer)
Monday, February 29, 2016
As against Thee, as without Thee, man is a thing of naught; ... as of Thee, man is a pearl of price, the reflection of Thy own personal infinity, the child and heir of immortality. He was formed in Thy creative counsels, O Thou Lover of man, to transcend death forever, and to persist, not in a part of his being only, but in its indissoluble ideal whole, unto the life of the world to come.
... Handley Moule (1841-1920)
(see also Ps. 8; Gen. 2:7; Matt. 13:45-46; John 3:16; Rom. 8:17; more at Immortality, Man, Prayers, Providence)
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