Quotations for April, 2017
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
God has brought us into this time; He, and not ourselves or some dark demon. If we are not fit to cope with that which He has prepared for us, we should have been utterly unfit for any condition that we imagine for ourselves. In this time we are to live and wrestle, and in no other. Let us, humbly, tremblingly, manfully look at it, and we shall not wish that the sun could go back its ten degrees, or that we could go back with it. If easy times are departed, it is that the difficult times may make us more in earnest; that they may teach us not to depend upon ourselves. If easy belief is impossible, it is that we may learn what belief is, and in whom it is to be placed.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Prayer-Book and the Lord’s Prayer, London: Macmillan, 1880, p. 374
(see the book; see also Heb. 10:32-33; Ps. 9:10; 2 Cor. 4:6; Phil. 3:8-10; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 3:6,14; 4:14; 1 Pet. 4:19; more at Affliction, Belief, Dependence, God, Time, Weakness)
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Beside Jesus, the whole lot of us are so contemptible... But God is like Jesus, and like Jesus, He will not give up until we, too, are like Jesus.
... Frank C. Laubach (1884-1970), Letters by a Modern Mystic: excerpts, Student Volunteer Movement, 1937, p. 35-36
(see the book; see also 1 John 2:6; Ps. 85:13; John 13:15; Rom. 6:4-5; 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Pet. 2:21; more at Christlikeness, Jesus, Providence)
Monday, April 3, 2017
Silence promotes the presence of God, prevents many harsh and proud words, and suppresses many dangers in the way of ridiculing or harshly judging our neighbors... If you are faithful in keeping silence when it is not necessary to speak, God will preserve you from evil when it is right for you to talk.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 10-11
(see the book; see also Zech. 2:13; Ps. 46:10; Hab. 2:20; Zeph. 1:7; more at Faith, God, Judgment, Neighbor, Obedience, Presence of God, Silence)
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
“In pastures green?” Not always; sometimes He,Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth meIn weary ways, where heavy shadows be. And “by still waters?” No, not always so;Oft times the heavy tempests round me blow,And o’er my soul the waves and billows go. But when the storm beats loudest, and I cryAloud for help, the Master standeth by,And whispers to my soul, “Lo, it is I.” So, where He leads me, I can safely go,And in the blest hereafter I shall knowWhy in His wisdom He hath led me so.
... Henry H. Barry, included in Leaves of Healing, compiled by Katharine Paine Sutton, American Unitarian Association, 1892, p. 206-207
(see the book; see also Ps. 23; Rom. 8:28; more at Bible, God, Kindness, Leader, Master, Soul, Way, Weary, Wisdom)
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
To the spiritual perplexity which exercised so many of the rarest souls of the nineteenth century, God appeared as a Being whom men desired to find but could not. But such a formula, though it truly represented one side of their situation, can never represent the whole of any human situation. For God is also a Being whom it ill suits any of us to find but from whom we cannot escape. Part of the reason why men cannot find God is that there is that in Him which they do not desire to find, so that the God whom they are seeking and cannot find is not the God who truly is. Perhaps we could not fail to find God, if it were really God whom we were seeking. And indeed the deepest reality of the situation is that contained in the discovery, which alone is likely at last to resolve our perplexity, that when we were so distressfully seeking that which was not really God, the true God had already found us, though at first we did not know that it was He by whom we had been found. There is a saying, “Be careful what you seek; you might find it.” And some who have sought God only as a complacent ally of their own ambitions have found Him a consuming fire.
... John Baillie (1886-1960), Invitation to Pilgrimage, Oxford University Press, 1942, and New York: Scribner, 1942, p. 23-24
(see the book; see also Deut. 4:23-24; Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9; John 3:18-19; Heb. 12:27-29; more at Attitudes, Complacency, Fire, God, Knowing God, Search, Truth)
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564
O God in heaven, have mercy on us! Lord Jesus Christ, intercede for your people, deliver us at the opportune time, preserve in us the true genuine Christian faith, collect your scattered sheep with your voice, your divine Word as Holy Writ calls it. Help us to recognize your voice, help us not to be allured by the madness of the world, so that we may never fall away from you, O Lord Jesus Christ.
... Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), from his journal , quoted in The Triumph of the Cross: the Passion of Christ in theology and the arts, Richard Viladesau, Oxford University Press US, 2008, p. 285
(see the book; see also John 10:14-16; Matt. 17:5; John 10:27; Acts 22:14; Rev. 3:20; more at Bible, Faith, Intercession, Mercy, Prayers, World)
Friday, April 7, 2017
Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not. He may be a blot radiating his dark influence outward to the very circumference of society, or he may be a blessing spreading benediction over the length and breadth of the world. But a blank he cannot be: there are no moral blanks; there are no neutral characters.
... John Cumming (1807-1881), [Often ascribed to Thomas Chalmers] Voices of the Dead, Boston: John P. Jewett & Co., 1854, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also Mark 9:39-40; Pr. 4:18; Isa. 60:1-3; Matt. 5:16; Rom. 13:11-14; Phil. 2:14-15; more at Influence, Intention, Mission, Missionary, Morality)
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877
For the saints in the world to come there can be no change in the object of their faith and hope and love. They have Christ, they have God, and they are satisfied. There can be no monotony in the contemplation and worship of the Infinite. Their great possession is unchangeable, but also inexhaustible; no change is possible where all is love and truth. The centre of the heavenly life is fixed and immovable, but the circumference may ever be advancing towards the centre, the saints may ever be drawing nearer and nearer to a goal which they can never reach. There may be progress in knowledge, progress in enjoyment, progress in service—a progress which at every point will open up new wonders, new opportunities, new outlooks into a greater future, and as that future unfolds itself, new and unexpected scopes for the energies of redeemed men, new ways of fellowship with God in Christ, new companionships with the good and great of past generations, and with angelic beings who have watched and guarded us in life, and rejoiced over our repentance, and are ready to welcome us into the eternal mansions, and will share our worship and our work, our service and our joy, in the ages to come.
... Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917), The Life of the World to Come, London: Society for the Promoting of Christian Knowleldge, 1918, p. 106-107
(see the book; see also Eph. 2:6-7; Rom. 6:4-5; 2 Cor. 4:17; Eph. 1:18-21; Col. 3:1-3; more at Christ, Faith, Future, Goal, God, Heaven, Hope, Love, Opportunity, Progress, Repentance, Service, Truth, Worship)
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945
It is not experience of life but experience of the Cross that makes one a worthy hearer of confessions. The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of men. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother, I can dare to be a sinner.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together , tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 115
(see the book; see also Lam. 3:40-42; Jer. 3:13; Matt. 3:5-6; Luke 7:2-10; Acts 19:18; Jas. 5:16; more at Confession, Cross, Experience, Failure, Forgiveness, Knowledge, Life, Sin, Sinner, Weakness, Wisdom)
Monday, April 10, 2017
Feast of William Law, Priest, Mystic, 1761
Commemoration of William of Ockham, Franciscan Friar, Philosopher, Teacher, 1347
Commemoration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Priest, Scientist, Visionary, 1955
The pure, mere love of God is that alone from which sinners are justly to expect that no sin will pass unpunished, but that His love will visit them with every calamity and distress that can help to break and purify the bestial heart of man and awaken in him true repentance and conversion to God. It is love alone in the holy Deity that will allow no peace to the wicked, nor ever cease its judgments till every sinner is forced to confess that it is good for him that he has been in trouble, and thankfully own that not the wrath, but the love of God, has plucked out that right eye, cut off that right hand, which he ought to have done, but would not do for himself and his own salvation.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 80-81
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:29-30; Job 5:17; Ps. 32:1; Matt. 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-48; 1 John 4:8; more at Awakening, God, Goodness, Judgment, Love, Repentance, Salvation)
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself, as our own inherent spirit of resistance to it.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 183
(see the book; see also Jas. 1:12; Ps. 94:12; 119:71; Heb. 12:7-8; Jas. 1:2-4; 5:11; Rev. 3:19; more at Adversity, Affliction, Suffer, Trial, Weakness)
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
We cannot expect [people] to take seriously our belief in objective truth, if in our practice we indicate only a quantitative difference between all men who are in ecclesiastical structures or who use theological language. I do not mean that we should not have open dialogue with men; my words and practice emphasize that I believe love demands it. But I do mean that we should not give the impression in our practice that, just because they are expressed in traditional Christian terminology, all religious concepts are on a graduated, quantitative spectrum—that in regard to central doctrine no chasm exists between right and wrong.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), Death in the City, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1969, Good News Publishers, 2002, p. 74
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:20-21; Pr. 1:7; Isa. 5:21; Rom. 1:22-23; 12:16; 1 Cor. 1:19-23; 2:6; 3:19; 8:1; Col. 2:8; more at Apologetics, Belief, Truth, Wrong)
Thursday, April 13, 2017
To live in a fully predictable world is not to be a true man, and Christ was a true man. His prayer in Gethsemane, his sweat of blood, show that the preceding anxiety is a part of human affliction, which we must try to accept with some sort of submission.
... Kathryn Lindskoog (1934-2003), C. S. Lewis, Mere Christian, Glendale, Cal.: G/L Publications, 1973, reprint, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1981, p. 141
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:37-39; Ps. 116:3-5; Isa. 53:3-10; Rom. 8:32; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18; more at Affliction, Anxiety, Blood, Jesus, Man, Prayer, Submission)
Friday, April 14, 2017
Good Friday Am I a stone, and not a sheepThat I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,And yet not weep? Not so those women lovedWho with exceeding grief lamented Thee;Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;Not so the thief was moved; Not so the Sun and MoonWhich hid their faces in a starless sky,A horror of great darkness at broad noon—I only I. Yet give not o’erBut seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;Greater than Moses, turn and look once moreAnd smite a rock.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 180-181
(see the book; see also Heb. 3:1-4; Eze. 11:19; 36:26; Matt. 27:55-56; Luke 22:61-62; 23:49; more at Blood, Cross, Darkness, Easter, Good Friday, Love, Prayers, Weep)
Saturday, April 15, 2017
If there had anywhere appeared in spaceAnother place of refuge where to flee,Our hearts had taken refuge in that place,And not with Thee. For we against creation’s bars had beatLike prisoned eagles, through great worlds had soughtThough but a foot of ground to plant our feet,Where Thou wert not. And only when we found in earth and air,In heaven or hell, that such might nowhere be—That we could not flee from Thee anywhere,We fled to Thee.
... Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1886), Poems, London: Macmillan, 1874, p. 152
(see the book; see also Ps. 91:1-2; 46:1-3; 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24; more at Creation, Earth, Heart, Heaven, Hell, Providence, Refuge)
Sunday, April 16, 2017
I greet Thy sepulchre, salute Thy grave,That blest enclosure, where the angels gaveThe first glad tidings of Thy early light,And resurrection from the earth and night.I see that morning in Thy convert’s tears,Fresh as the dew, which but this dawning wears.I smell her spices; and her ointment yieldsAs rich a scent as the now primros’d fields:The Day-star smiles, and light, with the deceased,Now shines in all the chambers of the East.
... Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), The Poetical Works of Henry Vaughan, Boston: Osgood, 1871, p. 179-180
(see the book; see also John 20:11-18; Matt. 28:1-7; Luke 24:1-7; John 20:1-8; 1 Cor. 15:13-14; more at Easter, Light, Morning, Resurrection, Tidings)
Monday, April 17, 2017
All the references to the empty tomb come in the Gospels, which were written for Christians who wanted to know the facts. In the public preaching, to those who were not yet convinced, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, there was an insistent emphasis on the resurrection, but not a single reference to the tomb. For this I can see only one explanation. There was no point in speaking of the empty tomb, for everyone—friend and foe alike—knew that it was empty. The only points worth arguing about were why it was empty, and what its emptiness proved.
... J. N. D. Anderson (1908-1994), Christianity: the Witness of History, Tyndale Press, 1969, p. 96
(see the book; see also John 20:8-9; Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:29-32; 13:34-37; Rom. 6:9; more at Argument, Easter, Knowledge, Preach, Proof, Resurrection)
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The Son of God... suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Consuming Fire”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 41
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:13-14; Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:10; Phil. 3:10-11; Col. 1:24; more at Death, Easter, Jesus, Man, Suffer)
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
Someone gave me a bit of brick and a little slab of marble from Rome. It was wonderful to touch one of them and think, Perhaps the Apostle Paul or one of the martyrs touched this as they passed. But how much more wonderful is it to think that we have, for our own use, the very same sword our Lord used when the Devil attacked Him. [Brooke Foss] Westcott says “the Word of God” in Ephesians 6:17 means “a definite utterance of God.” We know these “definite utterances”—we have the same Book that He had, and we can do as He did. So let us learn the “definite utterances” that they may be ready in our minds; ready for use at the moment of need—our sword which never grows dull and rusty, but is always keen and bright. So once more I say, let us not expect defeat but victory. Let us take fast hold and keep fast hold of our sword, and we shall win in any assault of the enemy.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Edges of His Ways , London: SPCK, 1957, p. 39-40
(see the book; see also Heb. 4:12; Num. 15:40,41; Eph. 6:17 2 Tim. 2:15; Jas. 1:21-23; more at Bible, Defeat, Knowledge, Sword, Victory, Weakness)
Thursday, April 20, 2017
It is the recognition of this divine necessity—not to forgive, but to forgive in a way which shows that God is irreconcilable to evil, and can never treat it as other or less than it is—it is the recognition of this divine necessity, or the failure to recognise it, which ultimately divides interpreters of Christianity into evangelical and non-evangelical, those who are true to the New Testament and those who cannot digest it.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 82
(see the book; see also Rom. 3:20-24; Matt. 6:12,14-15; Luke 17:3-4; Rom. 10:4; Phil. 3:8-9; more at Bible, Evil, Forgiveness, God, Truth)
Friday, April 21, 2017
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
For us in the Pacific, in Asia, in India, and in Africa, Christian unity is not an optional extra. It is an urgent necessity, for our divisions are a real stumbling-block to the proclamation of the Gospel...Mission is at the heart of the divine reality. It is the will of God and the Kingdom of God which are to be made known. Wherever we are, our purpose is not to propagate the Church as an end in itself, but to proclaim Christ as Lord of all life and as Saviour of all men.
... John C. Vockler (1924-2014), “Sermon at the Mass Meeting of Missionary Witness,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 148-149
(see the book; see also Ps. 96:1-4; John 17:22-23; Rom. 15:5-6; Eph. 4:3; more at Christ, Gospel, Mission, Preach, Purpose, Savior, Unity, Will of God)
Saturday, April 22, 2017
This last section of Psalm 22 [i.e., verses 27-31] reminds us of Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The “joy” that was set before Jesus was, we feel, knowing of the riches which would come to his brethren out of his death. In short, we are his joy, set before him when on the cross. As we have seen, only as the circle of the love of Jesus becomes world wide and as big as history will it be complete.
... John R. Cogdell, “The humanity of Jesus Christ, as revealed in certain Psalms”, section IV
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:27-31; Isa. 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Phil. 2:8-11; Heb. 12:2; more at Church, Cross, Faith, Jesus, Joy, World)
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988
By afflictions, God is spoiling us [i.e., taking away from us] of what otherwise might have spoiled us. When he makes the world too hot for us to hold, we let it go.
... Thomas Powell
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:9-11; Ps. 118:18; Pr. 19:18; 2 Cor. 4:17; 12:9; more at Affliction, God, Renunciation, Weakness, World)
Monday, April 24, 2017
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624
To preach the Gospel requires that the preacher should believe that he is sent to those whom he is addressing at the moment, because God has among them those whom He is at the moment calling: it requires that the speaker should expect a response.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 74
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:19; 20:16; Mark 1:17-18; Luke 5:10-11; Acts 2:41,47; 5:14; 6:7; 1 Cor. 9:20-22; more at Belief, Call, God, Gospel, Preach)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Feast of Mark the Evangelist
So long as we judge ourselves by human comparisons, there is plenty of room for self-satisfaction, and self-satisfaction kills faith, for faith is born of the sense of need. But when we compare ourselves with Jesus Christ, and through Him, with God, we are humbled to the dust, and then faith is born, for there is nothing left to do but to trust to the mercy of God.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 201
(see the book; see also John 5:44-47; more at Dust, Faith, God, Humility, Jesus, Mercy, Satisfaction, Self, Self-righteousness)
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Common experience declares... how momentary and how useless are those violent fits and gusts of endeavours which proceed from fear and uncertainty, both in things spiritual and temporal, or civil. Whilst men are under the power of actual impressions from such fears, they will convert to God, yea, they will [turn in a moment], and perfect their holiness in an instant; but so soon as that impression wears off (as it will do on every occasion, and upon none at all) such persons are as dead and cold towards God as the lead or iron, which ran but now in a fiery stream, is when the heat is departed from it.
... John Owen (1616-1683), V.2 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V , in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 603
(see the book; see also Judg. 21:25; Heb. 6:10-20; more at Authenticity, Conversion, Death, Endeavor, Experience, Fear, God, Holiness, Uncertainty)
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894
There are, of course, interesting questions that can be asked about the nature of the transformation which our Lord’s body underwent in his resurrection, and if we know anything about physics and biology we are quite likely to ask them. But, since we are concerned with an occurrence which is [by hypothesis] unique in certain relevant aspects, we are most unlikely to be able to give confident answers to them. [Paul M.] van Buren’s remarks about biology and the twentieth century are nothing more than rhetoric or, at best, are simply empirical statements about his own psychology. The first century knew as well as the twentieth that dead bodies do not naturally come to life again, and no amount of twentieth-century knowledge about natural processes can tell us what may happen by supernatural means.
... E. L. Mascall (1905-1993), The Secularization of Christianity, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966, p. 79-80
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:9-12; John 6:39,40; more at Death, Easter, Knowledge, Life, Nature, Resurrection)
Friday, April 28, 2017
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841
We should not draw too sharp a distinction between this “barren land” or “wilderness” of our pilgrimage, and the sweet home that God has prepared. We all know the changes and chances of this troublous life; but we can also know in this vale of tears the healthful spirit of His grace. Health for the whole man is God’s gracious purpose for us here and now, often frustrated, often prevented by unbelief. The life of the saints in light must not emphasize for us simply the contrast between their state and ours, but rather the beginning of the gift of eternal life and all its benefits of inner strength and peace amid earthly vicissitudes.
... David Head, Shout for Joy, New York: MacMillan Co., 1962, p. 128
(see the book; see also Deut. 32:10-11; Rom. 7:22-24; 8:1-2; 1 Tim. 1:16; Heb. 11:37-40; more at Affliction, Conversion, Eternal life, Peace, Pilgrim, Strength)
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380
You, O eternal Trinity, are a deep sea, into which the more I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek. The soul cannot be satiated in your abyss, for she continually hungers after you, the eternal Trinity, desiring to see you with the light of your light. As the hart desires the springs of living water, so my soul desires to leave the prison of this dark body and see you in truth.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dialog of Catherine of Siena , Treatise of Obedience, xi.
(see the book; see also John 4:10; more at Prayers, Trinity)
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922
He had no qualms; “for,” said he, “when I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, ‘I am used to do so; I shall never do otherwise if I am left to myself’. If I fail not, then I give God thanks, acknowledging that the strength comes from Him.”
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Second Conversation, p. 13
(see the book; see also Ps. 46:1-3; more at Duty, Failure, God, Strength, Weakness)
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