Quotations for August, 2019
Thursday, August 1, 2019
There are only two kinds of men: the righteous, who believe themselves sinners; the rest, sinners, who believe themselves righteous.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #534, p. 174
(see the book; see also Mark 2:16-17; Matt. 9:11-12; more at Attitudes, Righteousness, Sinner)
Friday, August 2, 2019
[In nineteenth-century America] religion became a matter of conduct, of good deeds, of works, with only a vague background of faith. It became highly functional, highly pragmatic; it became a guarantee of success, moral and material... “The proper study of mankind is man,” [Alexander Pope (1688-1744), An Essay on Man] was the evasion by which many American divines escaped the necessity for thought about God.
... Denis Brogan (1900-1974), The American Character, New York: A. A. Knopf, 1944, p. 102
(see the book; see also Lam. 3:25-26; Ps. 1:1-3; more at Conduct, Deed, Faith, God, Goodness, Man, Morality, Religion, Success, Work)
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Time isToo Slow for those who Wait,Too Swift for those who Fear,Too Long for those who Grieve,Too Short for those who Rejoice;But for those who Love,Time is not.
... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920, p. 259
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13; more at Fear, Grief, Joy, Love, Time)
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859
From Thee all skill and science flow,All pity, care and love,All calm and courage, faith and hope;O pour them from above. And part them, Lord, to each and all,As each and all shall need,To rise like incense, each to Thee,In noble thought and deed. And hasten, Lord, that perfect day,When pain and death shall cease;And Thy just rule shall fill the earthWith health and light and peace.
... Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), Poems, London: Macmillan, 1907, p. 332
(see the book; see also Matt. 9:11-12; 14:14; Mark 6:34; Rev. 21:3-4; more at Compassion, Light, Peace, Perfection, Providence, Rule)
Monday, August 5, 2019
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642
Break Thou the bread of life,Dear Lord, to me,As Thou didst break the loavesBeside the sea;Within thy sacred pageI seek Thee, Lord;My spirit pants for Thee,O living Word! Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,To me—to me—As Thou didst bless the breadBy Galilee;Then shall all bondage cease,All fetters fall;And I shall find my peace,My All-in-All.
... Mary A. Lathbury (1841-1913), The Poems of Mary Artemisia Lathbury, Chautauqua Laureate, Minneapolis, Nunc Licet Press, 1915, p. 39
(see the book; see also Matt. 14:19; John 6:32-35; more at Bible, Bondage, Bread, Communion, Jesus, Peace)
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
It is as impossible for us to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.
... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, Harper & Row, 1973, revised, HarperCollins, 1993, p. 31
(see the book; see also Judges 13:17-18; John 1:18; 6:46; 8:19; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; 1 John 2:12-17; 4:12; more at Existence, God, Proof)
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866
’Tis the day of resurrection!Earth! tell it out abroad!The Passover of gladness!The Passover of God!From death to life eternal,—From this world to the sky,Our Christ has brought us over,With hymns of victory. Our hearts be pure from evil,That we may see arightThe Lord in rays eternalOf Resurrection-Light:And, listening to His accents,May hear, so calm and plain,His own—All hail!—and, hearing,May raise the victor strain! Now let the heavens be joyful!Let earth her song begin!Let the round world keep triumph,And all that is therein:Invisible and visible,Their notes let all things blend,—For Christ the Lord has risen,—Our joy that hath no end.
... John of Damascus (c.676-749) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), in Hymns of the Eastern Church, London: J. T. Hayes, 1870, p. 95
(see the book; see also Luke 24:1-12,36-49; more at Christ, Easter, Everlasting, Gladness, Resurrection, Victory)
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221
A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service.
... C. T. Studd (1860-1931), C. T. Studd—Cricketer and Pioneer , Norman P. Grubb, World-Wide Revival Prayer Movement, 1947, p. 164
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:1-3; more at Abasement, Christ, Repentance, Service)
Friday, August 9, 2019
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921
CHRIST IN THE UNIVERSE With this ambiguous earthHis dealings have been told us. These abide:The signal to a maid, the human birth,The lesson, and the young Man crucified. But not a star of allThe innumerable host of stars has heardHow he administered this terrestrial ball.Our race has kept their Lord’s entrusted Word. Of his earth-visiting feetNone knows the secret, cherished, perilous,The terrible, shamefast, frightened, whispered, sweet,Heart-shattering secret of his way with us. No planet knows that thisOur wayside planet, carrying land and wave,Love and life multiplied, and pain and bliss,Bears, as its chief treasure, one forsaken grave. Nor, in our little day,May his devices with the heavens be guessed,His pilgrimage to thread the Milky WayOr his bestowal there be manifest. But in the eternities,Doubtless we shall compare together, hearA million alien Gospels, in what guiseHe trod the Pleiades, the Lyre, the Bear. O, be prepared, my soul!To read the inconceivable, to scanThe million forms of God those stars unrollWhen, in our turn, we show to them a Man.
... Alice Meynell (1847-1922), Collected Poems of Alice Meynell, London: Burns & Oates, 1913, p. 58
(see the book; see also Isa. 52:7; more at Crucifixion, Jesus, Pilgrim, Treasure)
Saturday, August 10, 2019
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258
You may fancy the Lord had His own power to fall back upon. But that would have been to Him just the one dreadful thing. That His Father should forget him!—no power in Himself could make up for that. He feared nothing for Himself; and never once employed His divine power to save Himself from His human fate. Let God do that for Him if He saw fit. He did not come into the world to take care of Himself... His life was of no value to Him but as His Father cared for it. God would mind all that was necessary for Him, and He would mind the work His Father had given Him to do. And, my friends, this is just the one secret of a blessed life, the one thing every man comes into this world to learn.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 207-208
(see the book; see also Matt. 27:46; John 5:19-20,30; more at Blessing, Father, Fear, Jesus, Obedience, Passion of Christ, Power)
Sunday, August 11, 2019
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890
We were made for action, and for right action—for thought, and for true thought. Let us live while we live; let us be alive and doing; let us act on what we have, since we have not what we wish. Let us believe what we do not see and know. Let us forestall knowledge by faith. Let us maintain before we have proved. This seeming paradox is the secret of happiness. Why should we be unwilling to go by faith? We do all things in this world by faith in the word of others. By faith only we know our position in the world, our circumstances, our rights and privileges, our fortunes, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our age, our mortality. Why should religion be an exception? Why should we be unwilling to use for heavenly objects what we daily use for earthly?
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), John Keble (1792-1866) & Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Tracts for the Times, v. V, William Palmer, Richard Hurrell Froude & Isaac Williams, London: Rivington, 1840, p. 84-85
(see the book; see also John 1:40-41; more at Action, Faith, Knowledge, Paradox, Religion, Thought)
Monday, August 12, 2019
The task of the people of God is to proclaim the kingdom of God, which is a universal kingdom extending to every aspect of human life. In a secular society, religion cannot remain a department of life. It must be the expression of a faith that extends over the whole of life, or it will be nothing.
... John Lawrence (1873-1968), “The Church’s Mission to the World: On the Cultural Frontier (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 90
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:23; more at Church, Faith, God, Kingdom, Life, Preach)
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Feast of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down & Connor, Priest, Teacher, 1667
Commemoration of Florence Nightingale, Social Reformer, 1910
Commemoration of Octavia Hill, Worker for the Poor, 1912
O eternal God, who from all eternity dost behold and love thy own glories and perfections infinite, and hast created me to do the work of God after the manner of men, and to serve thee in this generation and according to my capacities; give me thy grace, that I may be a curious and prudent spender of my time, so as I may best prevent or resist all temptation, and be profitable to the Christian commonwealth, and by discharging all my duty may glorify thy name. Take from me all slothfulness, and give me a diligent and an active spirit, and wisdom to choose my employment; that I may do works proportionable to my person, and to the dignity of a Christian, and may fill up all the spaces of my time with actions of religion and charity; that, when the devil assaults me he may not find me idle, and my dearest Lord at his sudden coming may find me busy in lawful, necessary, and pious actions; improving my talent entrusted to me by thee, my Lord; that I may enter into the joy of my Lord, to partake of his eternal felicities, even for thy mercy’s sake, and for my dearest Saviour’s sake. Amen.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living , in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 29
(see the book; see also Matt. 24:42; more at Eternity, Prayers, Service, Sloth)
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941
The dual role of personification of the past and preserver of a subcultural ethos, a role clergymen play quite avidly, takes its toll when they speak of God. Because of the role they have been willing to play, when they use the word God it is heard in a certain way. It is heard, often with deference and usually with courtesy, as a word referring to the linchpin of the era of Christendom (past) or as the totem of one of the tribal subcultures (irrelevant). The only way clergy can ever change the way in which the word they use is perceived is to refuse to play the role of antiquarian and medicine man in which the society casts them; but this is difficult, because it is what they are paid for.
... Harvey Cox (b. 1929), The Secular City, New York: MacMillan Company, 1965, p. 246
(see the book; see also Mark 7:5-8; more at God, Minister, Social)
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Indeed, all Christians are priests, and all priests are Christians. Worthy of anathema is any assertion that a priest is anything else than a Christian.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Church and Ministry II, as v. XL of Works of Martin Luther, v. XL, Concordia Pub. House, 1986, p. 19
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; more at Body of Christ, Priest)
Friday, August 16, 2019
Nor is the fact that a particular form was good in a particular age a proof that it is also good for another age. The history of the organization of Christianity has been in reality the history of successive readjustments of form to altered circumstances. Its power of readjustment has been at once a mark of its divinity and a secret of its strength.
... Edwin Hatch (1835-1889), The Organization of the Early Christian Churches , London: Longmans, Green, 1918, p. 218
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 9:19-22; more at Body of Christ, Church, Historical, Strength)
Saturday, August 17, 2019
He that sees the beauty of holiness, or true moral good, sees the greatest and most important thing in the world, which is the fulness of all things, without which all the world is empty, no better than nothing, yea, worse than nothing. Unless this is seen, nothing is seen that is worth the seeing; for there is no other true excellency or beauty.
... Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), The Works of President Edwards, v. IV, Worcester: Isaiah Thomas, Jun., 1808, p. 210-211
(see the book; see also Ps. 29:2; 96:8-9; 110:3; Isa. 52:7; more at Beauty, Goodness, Holiness, Morality, Truth, World)
Sunday, August 18, 2019
My windows open to the autumn night,In vain I watched for sleep to visit me:How should sleep dull mine ears, and dim my sight,Who saw the stars, and listened to the sea? Ah, how the City of our God is fair!If, without sea, and starless though it be,For joy of the majestic beauty there,Men shall not miss the stars, nor mourn the sea.
... Lionel P. Johnson (1867-1902), Poems, London: Elkin Mathews, 1895, p. 77
(see the book; see also Rev. 21:23,24; more at Beauty, City, Joy, Knowing God, Sea, Sleep, Star)
Monday, August 19, 2019
When Christ reveals Himself there is satisfaction in the slenderest portion, and without Christ there is emptiness in the greatest fulness.
... Alexander Grosse (1595/6-1654), quoted in The Treasury of David, v. I, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883, p. 44
(see the book; see also Ps. 4:6; more at Christ, Emptiness, Fullness, Satisfaction)
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890
O Jesus, King most wonderful!O Conqueror renowned!O Source of peace ineffable,In whom all joys are found: When once you visit darkened heartsThen truth begins to shine,Then earthly vanity departs,Then kindles love divine. O Jesus, light of all below,The fount of life and fire,Surpassing all the joys we know,All that we can desire: May ev’ry heart confess your name,Forever you adore,And, seeking you, itself inflameTo seek you more and more! Oh, may our tongues forever bless,May we love you aloneAnd ever in our lives expressThe image of your own!
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) & Edward Caswall (1814-1878), Lyra Catholica, New York: E. Dunigan and Brother, 1851, p. 103-104
(see the book; see also John 1:4; more at Attributes of God, Blessing, Jesus, Light, Love, Prayers, Truth)
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Bibles read without prayer; sermons heard without prayer; marriages contracted without prayer; journeys undertaken without prayer; residences chosen without prayer; friendships formed without prayer; the daily act of prayer itself hurried over, or gone through without heart: these are the kind of downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows them to have a tremendous fall.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer, published in the 1850’s as a pamphlet, American Tract Society, 1867, sec. VI
(see the book; see also Ps. 88:1; Isa. 33:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Bible, Marriage, Practical Christianity, Prayer, Sermon)
Thursday, August 22, 2019
To live of love, it is when Jesus sleepsTo sleep near Him, though stormy waves beat nigh.Deem not I shall awake Him! On these deepsPeace reigns, like that the Blessed know on high.To Hope, the voyage seems one little day;Faith’s hand shall soon the veil between remove;’Tis Charity that swells my sail alway.I live of love!
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 9
(see the book; see also Luke 8:23-24; John 14:27; 1 Cor. 13:13; more at Charity, Faith, Hope, Love, Peace, Sleep, Voyage)
Friday, August 23, 2019
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617
Fallacies about Christianity must always be faced as deterrents to right living, and not merely as mistakes in the mind, for it is the effect they have on our actions which matters most. So soon as we abstract them from our lives and think of them only as faults in our mental machinery, we tend to embrace the greatest fallacy of all—which is to think of Christianity as a way of looking at life instead of a way of changing it.
... Donald O. Soper (1903-1998), Popular Fallacies about the Christian Faith, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938, p. 76
(see the book; see also Acts 17:32; more at Authenticity, Danger, Life, Regeneration, Thought)
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle
This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden, under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see—brigands on the high roads, pirates on the seas; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; under all roofs misery and selfishness. It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet in the midst of it I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasures of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians—and I am one of them.
... St. Cyprian (Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus) (?-258), a letter in A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, p. 59
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:20-21; more at Historical, Holiness, Joy, People, Persecution, Pleasure, Sin)
Sunday, August 25, 2019
I hear men praying everywhere for more faith, but when I listen to them carefully and get to the real heart of their prayer, very often it is not more faith at all that they are wanting, but a change from faith to sight... Faith says not, “I see that it is good for me, so God must have sent it,” but, “God sent it, and so it must be good for me.” Faith walking in the dark with God only prays Him to clasp its hand more closely.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), The Light of the World, and Other Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1904, p. 351-352
(see the book; see also Deut. 31:7; more at Darkness, Faith, God, Goodness, Prayer, Sight)
Monday, August 26, 2019
What is in ruins? The invisible church, composed of all Spirit-baptized persons, is indefectible, it cannot be ruined; against it “the gates of Hades shall not prevail.” The local assembly may indeed be sadly ruined; but it can be restored, as, by the grace of God, has been seen times without number—at Corinth, for example. The only other institution in question is that agglomeration of sects that is called “Christendom.” But that is unrecognized by the New Testament—it is not of God at all: and that it is “in ruins” is no matter for our regret.
... G. H. Lang (1874-1958)
(see also Matt. 16:15-18; more at Bible, Church, Grace, Renewal, Sect)
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
What art Thou then, my God? What, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the Proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and over-spreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. [Continued tomorrow]
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.iv, p. 3-4
(see the book; see also Ex. 34:14; Ps. 18:31; Isa. 55:8,9; more at Attributes of God, God, Goodness, Mercy, Omnipotence, Prayers)
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430
[Continued from yesterday]Thou lovest, without passion; art jealous, without anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged; receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting usury. Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts, owing nothing; remittest debts, losing nothing. And what have I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions , Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.iv, p. 4
(see the book; see also Ps. 65:1; Heb. 6:7-8; more at Attributes of God, Debt, God, Holiness, Joy, Love, Prayer)
Thursday, August 29, 2019
In the absence of so many vital points—the spiritual understanding of the Law, and the consciousness of sin, the unity and all-sufficiency of Scripture, and the expectation of the Messiah—we cannot wonder that the idea of God, as it lived in faithful Israel of old, was also obscured. Instead of the living, loving, self-manifesting God of the Old Testament, Israel now took hold of the abstract idea of the unity, or rather the unicity, of God, as if that were God. Before—when they lived in communion with God, when God was known to them as a Person, speaking, acting, blessing, who had chosen them, who was educating them, and who was going to fulfill His promises—they declared, in opposition to the idolatrous nations that surrounded them, that this God of Israel was one God, that there are not many gods; but when they lost communion with God, in order to show what distinguished them from the nations of the earth, and especially from Christians, they emphasized that God in Himself was only one Person, and not as He is revealed to us in the Scripture: Sender, Sent, and Spirit. It is the boast of the modern Jewish synagogue that their great mission is to testify to the world the unity of God. But it is a striking fact that the Gentile nations who have, since the dispersion of Israel, been converted from idolatry, have been influenced, not by the synagogue, but by the congregations of Jesus Christ, and were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost... It is one thing to believe in justification by faith, it is another thing to be justified by faith; and so it is one thing to believe in God, who is One, and it is another to believe in the numerical abstraction, in the mere idea of unicity.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 72-73
(see the book; see also Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29-32; Rom. 7:14; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; more at Faith, Holy Spirit, Israel, Jesus, Justification, Law, Messiah, Monotheism, Scripture, Sin, Unity)
Friday, August 30, 2019
I know there are many who have pitied my beginnings, thinking it tragic that I had to endure such traumas both as a child and throughout my life, but I confess that I have rather pitied those who have never tasted the bitterness of a trial “too severe.” For how is one to appreciate the contrast of light’s dawning hope if his soul has never trembled through the dark hours of a nightmare’s watch? Or how can one prove God’s faithfulness if he never is granted the privilege of wandering through a barren desert, where only pools of Christ’s Presence can possibly provide survival? It is a great honor to be apportioned pain. Christ Himself, though God incarnate, learned obedience through what He suffered. Dare we assume that we as His children can be taught by any wiser or kinder instructor than the severity of unwanted pain? We dare not steel ourselves against our trials, running away from the fires where our pruned branches crumble to ashes. For if we escape those flames, we will risk barrenness of soul and will miss out on the beauty that only is born through the ashes of yesterday’s grief.
... Cammie Van Rooy (b. 1979), "Beauty From Ashes" 
(see the book; see also Isa. 61:1-3; more at Beauty, Bitterness, Darkness, Flame, Grief, Hope, Light, Pain, Pity, Suffer, Weakness)
Saturday, August 31, 2019
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688
After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant-for-truth was taken with a summons, by the same post as the other; and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain.” When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then, said he, I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I have got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder. When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, “Death, where is thy sting?” And as he went down deeper, he said, “Grave, where is thy victory?” So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), The Pilgrim’s Progress  The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. III, London: Blackie, 1862, p. 243
(see the book; see also Eccl. 12:6; 1 Cor. 15:55; more at Call, Courage, Death, Fight, Historical, Pilgrim, Sword, Victory)
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