Quotations for September, 2019
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do—to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst—is by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from. You can even prevail on your own. But you cannot become human on your own.
... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), The Sacred Journey, San Fransisco: Harper & Row, 1982, p. 46
(see the book; see also 1 John 3:23-24; more at Affliction, Conversion, Life, Power, Security, Suffer, Trouble)
Monday, September 2, 2019
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as “faith,” with the idea that this will somehow ensure the granting of our prayer. We have probably all done this as children. But the state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 60
(see the book; see also Rom. 10:17; Eph. 2:8-9; more at Faith, Imagination, Mind, Prayer, Work)
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
There are many trades in which a man can hardly work—or simply cannot work—without sinning.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), in Devotions Commemorative, tr. F. Oakeley, London: J. Burns, 1842, p. lxxv
(see the book; see also Rom. 1:28-32; Jude 1:22,23; more at Historical, Man, Sin, Work)
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
But what is worship? What ought to result from it? What is the point and peak and heart and centre of it? Is it the offering we bring to God of praise and adoration, of thanksgiving and sacrifice, our praise, our sacrifice to Him? That has its place, not legitimate only, but imperative. And yet to put that in the foreground is to make the service fundamentally man-centered and subjective, which, face to face with God, is surely almost unthinkably unseemly. Or is the ideal we should hold before us that other extreme, so ardently pressed on us these days, that, face to face with the Lord God Almighty, High and Holy, it is for us to forget ourselves and, leaving behind our petty little human joys and needs and sins, rising above thanksgiving and petition and confession, to lose ourselves in an awed adoration of God’s naked and essential being, blessing and praising Him, not even for what he has done for us, and been for us, but for what, in Himself, He is.To me, that seems not an advance, but a pathetic throw-back to the primitive of Brahmanism. We shall not learn to know God better, nor how to worship Him more worthily, by careful rubbing out from memory every item of the wonder of Christ’s revelation of Him. [Continued tomorrow]
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 24
(see the book; see also Ps. 85:8; John 14:7; Heb. 13:15,16; more at Christ, Forget, Offering, Praise, Revelation, Sacrifice, Thanksgiving, Worship)
Thursday, September 5, 2019
[Continued from yesterday]The redeemed in Heaven crying continually, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” give, say the scriptures, an adoration which, in depth and fullness, no angel of them all can ever equal.Yet even then, we have not reached the centre. For when we worship, we are in God’s presence, and it is what He says and does to us that is the all-important thing, not what we say and do toward Him. Since He is here and speaking to us, face to face, it is for us, in a hush of spirit, to listen for, and to, His voice, reproving, counselling, encouraging, revealing His most blessed will for us; and, with diligence, to set about immediate obedience. This and this, upon which He has laid His hand, must go; and this and this to which He calls, must be at once begun. And here and now I start to it. That is the heart of worship, its very core and essence.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also John 14:6,15-21; Rev. 1:5-6; more at Angel, Counsel, Diligence, Encouragement, Heaven, Listening, Obedience, Worship)
Friday, September 6, 2019
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
If thou hadst once entered into the mind of Jesus, and hadst tasted, yea, even a little of his tender love, then wouldst thou care nought for thine own convenience or inconvenience, but wouldst rather rejoice at trouble brought upon thee, because the love of Jesus maketh a man to despise himself. He that loveth Jesus and is inwardly true and free from inordinate affections, is able to turn himself readily unto God, and to rise above himself in spirit.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.i.6, p. 85
(see the book; see also John 14:23; 1 Cor. 2:16; more at Freedom, Jesus, Love, Mind, Tender, Trouble)
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
When once a man begins to build a system, the very gifts and qualities which might serve in the investigation of truth, become the greatest hindrances to it. He must make the different parts of the scheme fit into each other; his dexterity is shown, not in detecting facts, but in cutting them square... I hope you will never forget that the Bible is the history of God’s acts to men, not of men’s thoughts about God. It begins from Him. He is acting and speaking in it throughout.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), Ecclesiastical History, London: Macmillan, 1854, p. 222, 2
(see the book; see also Heb. 4:12; more at Action, Bible, God, Historical, Truth)
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
I cannot pray in the name of Jesus to have my own will; the name of Jesus is not a signature of no importance, but the decisive factor. The fact that the name of Jesus Christ comes at the beginning does not make it a prayer in the name of Jesus; but it means to pray in such a manner that I dare name Jesus in it, that is to say, [dare to] think of Him, think of His holy will together with whatever I am praying for.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 336-337
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 5:19,20; Phil. 2:9,10; Col. 3:17; more at Authenticity, Jesus, Prayer, Will of God)
Monday, September 9, 2019
Nothing is small or great in God’s sight; whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling, and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 217
(see the book; see also Dan. 3; Jas. 1:21; more at Conscience, God, Greatness, Providence, Will of God)
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
[Jesus] did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work which God gave Him to do. The only alternative to frustration is to be sure that we are doing what God wants. Nothing substitutes for knowing that this day, this hour, in this place, we are doing the will of the Father. Then and only then can we think of all the other unfinished tasks with equanimity and leave them with God.
... Charles E. Hummel (1923-2004), The Tyranny of the Urgent, Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, 1967, included in Discipline Yourself for Godliness, John Barnett, BFM Books, 2004, p. 254
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:21; John 19:30; more at God, Jesus, Knowledge, Obedience, Task, Will of God)
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
That wisdom which cannot teach me that God is love, shall ever pass for folly.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost , in Works of John Owen, v. II, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 82
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:8; 1 Cor. 1:21; more at Authenticity, Folly, God, Love, Wisdom)
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Hearts that are “fit to break” with love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to or understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the Presence of God and they reported what they saw there. They were prophets, not scribes: for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells us what he has seen.The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen, there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are today overrun with orthodox scribes; but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the Wonder that is God.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 40
(see the book; see also Son. 2:14; more at Church, God, Heart, Man, Presence of God, Prophet, Saint, Sight, Tender, Wonder)
Friday, September 13, 2019
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
It is not possible ever to exhaust the mind of the Scriptures. It is a well that has no bottom.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom on Acts, v. I, Oxford: J. Parker, 1851, XIX, p. 281
(see the book; see also Matt. 21:42; Rom. 15:4; Acts 8:26,27; 1 Cor. 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at Bible, Infinite, Wisdom)
Saturday, September 14, 2019
Feast of the Holy Cross
It behooves us to accomplish what God requires of us, even when we are in the greatest despair respecting the results.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), in a letter to Philip Melanchthon, March 5, 1555, Letters of John Calvin, v. III, Jules Bonnet, ed., New York: B. Franklin, 1972, p. 158
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:22; Luke 22:31-32; Heb. 2:1; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Achievement, Despair, Obedience)
Sunday, September 15, 2019
As in our daily walk we come nearer towards heaven, He will open to us more of heaven.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Parochial Sermons, v. III, London: Rivingtons, 1873, p. 206
(see the book; see also Gen. 5:24; Deut. 5:33; Ps. 1:1,6; Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 5:7; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 21:23-24; more at Heaven and Hell, Revelation, Way)
Monday, September 16, 2019
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882
The defenders of the jargon and phrases of the Church’s traditions hold that there must of necessity be a specialized vocabulary, just as there is in any other specialized form of human activity, whether it is music, architecture, or electronic engineering. To me, at least, this is a thoroughly unsound argument, for Christ did not come into the world to bring men “specialized activity,” but life, fuller and more satisfying than it had ever been before. If the churches have made Christianity appear to be some kind of specialized spiritual performance so much the worse for them. The real purpose of Christ, the real relevance of the Gospel, is surely to enable men to live together as sons of God. Human beings, like children, love to have secrets, love to be “in the know.” But the Christian religion was never meant to be a secret recipe for living, held by a few. It is Good News for all mankind and, because it is that, the more clearly and intelligibly it can be presented, the more faithfully it is following its Master’s purpose.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Is God at Home?, London: Lutterworth Press, 1957, p. 8-9
(see the book; see also Acts 4:13,14; more at Authenticity, Church, Faith, Knowledge, Purpose)
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
Reading is good, hearing is good, conversation and meditation are good; but then, they are only good at times and occasions, in a certain degree, and must be used and governed with such caution as we eat and drink, and refresh ourselves, or they will bring forth in us the fruits of intemperance. But the Spirit of Prayer is for all times and occasions; it is a lamp that is to be always burning, a light to be ever shining: everything calls for it; everything is to be done in it, and governed by it, because it is and means and wills nothing else but the whole totality of the soul, not doing this or that, but wholly, incessantly given up to God to be where and what and how He pleases.
... William Law (1686-1761), letter XI in Works of Rev. William Law, v. IX, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 183
(see the book; see also Ps. 18:28; more at God, Goodness, Intemperance, Light, Meditation, Prayer)
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
But first I said, ... “Some people think it is not proper for a clergyman to dance. I mean to assert my freedom from any such law. If our Lord chose to represent, in His parable of the Prodigal Son, the joy in Heaven over a repentant sinner by the figure of ‘music and dancing’, I will hearken to Him rather than to men, be they as good as they may.”For I had long thought that the way to make indifferent things bad, was for good people not to do them.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I , London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 179
(see the book; see also Luke 15:6,22-25; more at Authenticity, Goodness, Joy, Prodigal, Repentance, Sinner)
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
A temple may be defined as an edifice dedicated to the worship of a deity. Whether this deity be true or false, the temple as such becomes a meeting-place for people who desire to worship as they understand it. For the ancient Hebrews, the Temple in Jerusalem was the house of God, the place where God dwelt symbolically, and met with people who came to worship. Jesus called it “My Father’s house.” For the Christian, the word ‘church’ has become the symbol for the edifice built and dedicated for the worship of God. But unless it is so dedicated and so used, it may be considered only a mere building or club-house. However beautiful its design and architecture, a church is a true temple only as it is frequented by God’s people who come to “worship Him in spirit and in truth,” and who there hold forth “the word of life.” [Continued tomorrow]
... Milford C. Olson
(see also John 4:23-24; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 John 1:1; more at Church, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Temple, Truth, Worship)
Friday, September 20, 2019
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
[Continued from yesterday]But the word ‘temple’ took on a deeper significance when Jesus referred to His own body as ‘this temple.’ He thus definitely declared Himself to be the personal embodiment of the living God. Later the Apostle Paul applied this term to Christians... “Ye are God’s building... Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” And again, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and that ye are not your own?” Paul taught that it is God’s people who constitute the true church of God, and wherever they have fellowship in the Gospel, God is there. Moreover, he emphasized that as members of this true church it is our privilege to be “laborers together with God.” It is our privilege to build upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ, with gold, silver, precious stones—the kind of Christian service which abides for recognition at the judgment seat of Christ. Again, it is our responsibility to be consecrated for holy living and faithful service, “for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; so we must shun evil, and, since we have been bought with a price, we must glorify God in body and spirit.
... Milford C. Olson
(see also John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 3:9-17; 6:20; more at Body of Christ, God, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Judgment, Temple)
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
If your every human plan and calculation has miscarried, if, one by one, human props have been knocked out, and doors have shut in your face, take heart. God is trying to get a message through to you, and the message is: “Stop depending on inadequate human resources. Let me handle the matter.”
... Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), Apostolic Ministry: Sermons and Addresses, John Scott Lidgett, London: Charles H. Kelly, 1909, p. 26
(see the book; see also John 15:5; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; 2 Tim. 1:12; more at Dependence, Encouragement, Faith, God)
Sunday, September 22, 2019
I observe that Christ and His forerunner John in their parabolic discourses were wont to allude to things present. The old prophets, when they would describe things emphatically, did not only draw parables from things which offered themselves, as from the rent of a garment, ... from the vessels of a potter, ... but also, when such objects were wanting, they supplied them by their own actions, as by rending a garment, ... by shooting, ... etc. By such types the prophets loved to speak. And Christ, being endued with a nobler prophet spirit than the rest, excelled also in this kind of speaking, yet so as not to speak by His own actions, [which would have been] less grave and decent, but to turn into parables such things as offered themselves. On occasion of the harvest approaching, He admonishes His disciples once and again of the spiritual harvest. Seeing the lilies of the field, He admonishes His disciples about clothing. In allusion to the present season of fruits, He admonishes His disciples about knowing men by their fruits. In the time of the Passover, when trees put forth their leaves, He bids His disciples, “learn a parable from the fig-tree.”
... Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Commentary on Daniel, Darby and Browne, 1733, p. 60, fn.
(see the book; see also 1 Sam. 15:27-29; 2 Kings 13:14-19; Jer. 18:3-6; Matt. 6:28; 7:16; 9:37; 24:32; Luke 10:1,2; John 4:35; more at Bible, Christ, Disciple, Harvest, Knowledge, Prophet)
Monday, September 23, 2019
Art—if it is to be reckoned as one of the great values of life—must teach men humility, tolerance, wisdom, and magnanimity. The value of art is not beauty, but right action.
... W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), Mr. Maugham Himself, Doubleday, 1954, p. 673
(see the book; see also 1 Chr. 15:16; Ps. 27:4; Isa. 52:7; more at Action, Art, Attitudes, Beauty, Humility, Teach, Wisdom)
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
It is easy to recognize, in the relational rigidities of many chapel-going people, the “negative reflex actions” of a character structure which has survived the destruction of its intellectual and moral foundations. But equally, no one can go far in the Free Churches without lighting upon the new or newish cult of “sincerity as an end in itself”—the first refuge of minds too lazy to rebuild their intellectual foundations—and the sentimental distrust of “orthodoxy” and “authority,” in theological contexts at least.
... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 65
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:2; more at Church, Morality, Sincerity, Theology)
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
Pierce that in you, that was the cause of Christ’s piercing, that is, sin and the lusts thereof... Look and be pierced with love of Him, who so loved you, that He gave Himself in this sort to be pierced for you.Look upon Him, and His heart opened, and from that gate of hope promise yourself, and look for all manner of things that good are.. the deliverance from the evil of our present misery [and] the restoring to the good of our primitive felicity... Look back upon it with some pain; for one way or other, look upon it we must.
... Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), preached March 25, 1597, on Good Friday, Ninety-six Sermons, v. II, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841, p. 131-133,135
(see the book; see also Isa. 49:16; Zech. 12:10; John 19:32-34; more at Christ, Deliverance, Love, Pain, Sin)
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
Nothing burneth in hell but self-will. Therefore it hath been said, “Put off thine own will, and there will be no more hell.”
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXXIV
(see the book; see also Ps. 75:5; Acts 7:51; 2 Pet. 2:10; more at Hell, Self, Self-sacrifice, Selfish)
Friday, September 27, 2019
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
The greatest curse which can be entailed upon mankind is a state of war. All the atrocious crimes committed in years of peace—all that is spent in peace by the secret corruptions or by the thoughtless extravagances of nations, are mere trifles compared with the gigantic evils which stalk over the world in a state of war. God is forgotten in war—every principle of Christian charity is trampled upon.
... Sydney Smith (1771-1845), Wit and wisdom of the Rev. Sydney Smith, New York: Redfield, 1856, p. 276
(see the book; see also Isaiah 7:20-23; Dan. 4:31; Matt. 24:12; more at Charity, Corruption, Forget, God, Nation, Peace, Social, War)
Saturday, September 28, 2019
[C. S. Lewis] was leery of too many prayers that leave all the work to God and other people.
... Kathryn Lindskoog (1934-2003), C. S. Lewis, Mere Christian, Glendale, Cal.: G/L Publications, 1973, reprint, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1981, p. 125
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:1-8; Heb. 11:24-25; more at God, Obedience, Prayers, Sloth, Work)
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Feast of Michael & All Angels
The Law cuts into the core of the evil, it reveals the seat of the malady, and informs us that the leprosy lies deep within.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), from Sermon no. 37, 1855
(see the book; see also Rom. 5:20; Gal. 3:24; more at Depravity, Epiphany, Evil, Law, Sin)
Monday, September 30, 2019
It is come, I know not how, to be taken for granted, by many persons, that Christianity is not so much as a subject of inquiry; but that it is, now at length, discovered to be fictitious. And accordingly they treat it, as if, in the present age, this were an agreed point among all people of discernment; and nothing remained, but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and ridicule, for its have for so long interrupted the pleasures of the world.
... Joseph Butler (1692-1752), The Analogy of Religion , New York: Ivison, Blakeman Taylor & Co., 1872, p. 27
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 1:12-14; 2 Pet. 3:3-5; more at Atheism, Knowledge, People, Religion, Scorn)
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