Quotations for April, 2020
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
Do we habitually remember how it offends our Lord to see divisions in the Christian Church, nations nominally Christian armed to the teeth against one another, class against class and individual against individual in fierce and relentless competition, jealousies among clergy and church-workers, communicants who forget that the sacrament of union with Christ is the sacrament of union with their fellow men?Christians are to be the makers of Christ’s peace. Something we can all do [is] to reconcile individuals, families, classes, churches, nations. The question is, Are we, as churchmen and citizens, by work and by prayer, in our private conduct and our public action, doing our utmost with deliberate, calculated, unsparing effort? If so, our benediction is of the highest: it is to be, and to be acknowledged as being, sons of God.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The Sermon on the Mount , London: John Murray, 1905, p. 43
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:9,23-26; Rom. 8:14; 15:5-7; 1 Cor. 1:13; more at Church, Conduct, Peace, Prayer, Reconciliation, Remembrance, Sacrament, Son, Work)
Thursday, April 2, 2020
On April 16, 1521, German reformer Martin Luther, 34, arrived at the Diet of Worms, where he afterward defended his theological position behind the “Ninety-Five Theses” (first advanced in 1517). It was at this assembly where Luther concluded his defense with the historic words: “Hier stehe ich; ich kann nicht anders tun. Gott hilffe mir. Amen.” (“Here I stand! I can do nothing else. God help me! Amen.”)
... Bill Blake
(see also Luke 11:28; 1 Cor. 2:12-15; more at God, Historical, Steadfast, Theology)
Friday, April 3, 2020
The nearness of God may inspire awareness of his activity, mystery and order in the most ordinary and “non-sacred” places. Therefore, Christians working in any kind of college must pray for and cultivate delicate sensitivity to God’s unexpected disclosures in the ordinary and even in the profane areas of life. The temptation of those who exalt the unrestricted activity of God in any and all places is that they may become overly diffuse in their outlook, seeing him where he does not deign to disclose himself or scorning the customary or conventional places of public worship. These, strangely enough, are the places where the very distance of God leads us. [Continued tomorrow]
... Wallace Gray, “Philosophy and Worship”
(see also Matt. 25:40; more at Awareness, God, Mystic, Prayer, Temptation, Worship)
Saturday, April 4, 2020
[Continued from yesterday]Because God has been so far from us, we feel the need to draw nigh to him. We use sacred word, sacred rite, and sacred music to celebrate his previous disclosures of his character and will for us. We perhaps await his further word and guidance. We certainly confess our faith that he is the answer or the resolution of our questions, the guide or the disturber of our conduct, the peace or the sword of our spirits. Confessions of faith tend to become specific and explicit. At their best, they win converts, rekindle loyalty, and place the confessors of creeds at the mercy and disposal of the almighty God. At their worst, creeds alienate the alien seeker in our midst, deaden our spontaneity, and protect us from adventuring beyond God’s previous calls. If the wideness of God’s possible revelations can be perverted into an idolatry of the world, the narrowness of an inflexible use of traditional forms of worship can also be perverted into its own kind of idolatry—the idolatry of book, altar, preacher, and propriety.
... Wallace Gray, “Philosophy and Worship”
(see also Ps. 135:15-18; Hab. 2:18; John 4:23-24; Rom. 1:25; more at Altar, Book, Consecration, Creed, Idol, Preacher, Worship)
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Hosanna to the royal SonOf David’s ancient line!His natures two, his person one,Mysterious and divine. The root of David here, we find,And Offspring are the same;Eternity and time are join’dIn our Immanuel’s name. Bless’d he that comes to wretched menWith peaceful news from heaven!Hosannas of the highest strainTo Christ the Lord be giv’n! Let mortals ne’er refuse to takeTh’ hosanna on their tongues,Lest rocks and stones should rise, and breakTheir silence into songs.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs , in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book I, hymn 16, p. 301
(see the book; see also Isa. 55:12; 7:14; Matt. 1:23; 21:9; Luke 19:38,40; more at Blessing, Christ, Jesus, Peace, Praise, Song, Worship)
Monday, April 6, 2020
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564
Almighty and most merciful Father, I am now about to commemorate once more, in Thy presence, the redemption of the world by our Lord and Savior Thy Son Jesus Christ. Grant, O most merciful God, that the benefit of His sufferings may be extended to me. Grant me faith, grant me repentance. Illuminate me with Thy Holy Spirit. Enable me to form good purposes, and to bring these purposes to good effect. Let me so dispose my time, that I may discharge the duties to which Thou shalt vouchsafe to call me, and let that degree of health, to which Thy mercy has restored me, be employed to Thy Glory. O God, invigorate my understanding, compose my perturbations, recall my wanderings, and calm my thoughts, that having lived while Thou shalt grant me life, to do good and to praise Thee, I may when Thy call shall summon me to another state, receive mercy from Thee, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, Easter Day, 1771, p. 84-85
(see the book; see also Gal. 3:13-14; Eph. 1:7; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Rev. 5:9; more at Christ, Duty, Easter, Jesus, Life, Mercy, Prayers, Repentance, Savior)
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Sweep away the illusion of time; glance, if thou have eyes, from the near moving cause to its far distant mover. The stroke that came transmitted through a whole galaxy of elastic balls, was it less a stroke than if the last ball only had been struck, and sent flying? Oh, could I transport thee direct from the beginnings to the endings, how were thy eyesight unsealed, and thy heart set flaming in the light-sea of celestial wonder! Then sawest thou that this fair universe, were it in the meanest province thereof, is in very deed the Stardomed City of God; that through every star, through every grass-blade, and most through every living soul, the glory of a present God still beams. But Nature, which is the time-vesture of God, and reveals Him to the wise, hides Him from the foolish.
... Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Sartor Resartus, 2nd ed., Philadelphia: Munroe & Co., 1837, p. 267-268
(see the book; see also Prov. 9:8; more at Glory of God, Providence, Time, Universe, Wonder)
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877
He said to Judas, when he betrayed Him: “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Just as if He had said: “Thou hatest me, and art mine enemy, yet I love thee, and am thy friend.” ... As though God in human nature were saying: “I am pure, simple Goodness, and therefore I cannot will or desire or rejoice in, or do or give anything but goodness. If I am to reward thee for thy evil and wickedness, I must do it with goodness, for I am and have nothing else.”
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXXIII
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:50; more at Betrayal, Easter, Enemy, Evil, Goodness, Love)
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945
The eve His life of love drew near its end,Thus Jesus spoke: “Whoever loveth Me,And keeps My word as Mine own faithful friend,My Father, then, and I his guests will be;Within his heart will make Our dwelling above.Our palace home, true type of heaven above.There, filled with peace, We will that he shall rest,With us, in love.”
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 1
(see the book; see also John 14:23-27; Rev. 3:20; more at Easter, Faith, Friend, Heaven, Jesus, Love, Peace)
Friday, April 10, 2020
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
God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.”
... Billy Graham (b. 1918), The Quotable Billy Graham, Droke House, 1966, p. 82
(see the book; see also John 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 4:9-10,19; more at Christ, Cross, Death, Easter, God, Love, Proof, World)
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
If [Jesus] were God and nothing else, his immortality means nothing to us; if he were a man and no more, His death is no more important than yours or mine. But if He really was both God and man, then when the man Jesus died, God died too, and when the God Jesus rose from the dead, then man rose too, because they were one and the same person.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Christian Letters to a Post-Christian World, Eerdmans, 1969, p. 16
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:21-22; 2 Cor. 5:21; more at Death, Easter, God, Incarnation, Jesus, Man)
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Ye choirs of New Jerusalem,Your sweetest notes employ,The Paschal victory to hymnIn songs of holy joy! For Judah’s Lion burst his chainsAnd crushed the serpent’s head;Christ cries aloud through death’s domainsTo wake the imprisoned dead. Triumphant in his glory now,To him all power is given;To him in one communion bowAll saints in earth and heaven. All glory to the Father be,All glory to the Son,All glory to the Spirit beWhile endless ages run.
... Fulbert of Chartres (d. 1028), tr. Robert Campbell (1814-1868), Songs of Praise, enl. ed., Ralph Vaughan Williams, et al., ed., Oxford University Press, 1931, p. 44
(see the book; see also Gen. 3:15; 49:9,10; Matt. 28:18; John 20:18; Rev. 5:5-10; more at Christ, Death, Easter, Glory, Joy, Power, Song, Victory)
Monday, April 13, 2020
The only saving faith is that which casts itself on God for life or death.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, p. 116
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:8; Phil. 1:21; Heb. 2:14-15; more at Death, Faith, God, Life, Salvation)
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
The Gospels cannot explain the Resurrection; it is the Resurrection which alone explains the Gospels.
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 73
(see the book; see also John 5:25; more at Easter, Gospel, Resurrection)
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
You can also offer your prayers, obedience and endurance of dryness to Our Lord, for the good of other souls—and then you have practised intercession. Never mind if it all seems for the time very second-hand. The less you get out of it, the nearer it approaches to being something worth offering—and the humiliation of not being able to feel as devout as we want to be, is excellent for most of us. Use vocal prayer... very slowly trying to realise the meaning with which it is charged and remember that... you are only a unit in the Chorus of the Church and not responsible for a solo part so that the others will make good the shortcomings you cannot help.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Letters of Evelyn Underhill, Charles Williams, ed., London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1991, p. 190
(see the book; see also Eph. 6:17,18; more at Body of Christ, Humility, Intercession, Obedience, Offering, Prayer)
Thursday, April 16, 2020
[Jesus] does not waste a word in talking about immortality, as to whether it actually is or not; he states what it is, that it is the separation between the just and the unjust.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Christian Discourses, tr. Walter Lowrie, New York: Oxford University Press, 1961, p. 214
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:37; 25:31-46; Mark 8:38; Luke 3:17; 12:2-5; 2 Cor. 2:15-16; more at Immortality, Jesus, Judgment, Justification)
Friday, April 17, 2020
We Lutherans... have paid the doctrine of pure grace divine honours unparalleled in Christendom; in fact, we have exalted the doctrine to the position of God Himself. Everywhere Luther’s formula has been repeated, but its truth perverted into self-deception. So long as our Church holds the correct doctrine of justification, there is no doubt whatever that she is a justified Church! So they said, thinking that we must vindicate our Lutheran heritage by making this grace available on the cheapest and easiest terms. To be “Lutheran” must mean that we leave the following of Christ to the Nomians, the Calvinists, and the Anabaptists—and all this for the sake of grace! We justified the world, and condemned as heretics those who tried to follow Christ. The result was that a nation became Christian and Lutheran, but at the cost of true discipleship... We poured forth unending streams of grace. But the call to follow Jesus was hardly ever heard.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 53-54
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:32-39; Luke 14:26-27; John 1:17; Rom. 6:14; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 2:8-10; more at Call, Christ, Church, Disciple, Grace, Jesus, Self)
Saturday, April 18, 2020
All of the early Christians were missionaries. They did not leave the evangelistic task either to professional evangelists or to pastors to whom they paid salaries, for these did not exist... The early Church did not have a missionary arm; it was a missionary movement.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Incendiary Fellowship, New York: Harper, 1967, p. 112
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 13:10; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 13:47; more at Church, Evangelization, Missionary)
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
“I am learning never to be disappointed, but to praise,” Arnot of Central Africa wrote in his journal long ago... I think it must hurt the tender love of our Father when we press for reasons for His dealings with us, as though He were not Love, as though not He but another chose our inheritance for us, and as though what He chose to allow could be less than the very best and dearest that Love Eternal had to give.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Rose from Brier , London: SPCK, 1950, p. 116
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:31-34; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11-14; Phil. 4:11; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 Tim. 6:6-9; Heb. 13:5-6; more at Disappointment, Father, Inheritance, Love, Praise, Tender, Weakness)
Monday, April 20, 2020
Hear how the God of nature himself speaks of this matter: “Behold, I have set before thee life and death, fire and water,—choose whither thou wilt.” Here lies the whole of the divine mercy; ’tis all on this side the Day of Judgment: till the end of time, God is compassionate and long-suffering, and continues to every creature a power of choosing life or death, water or fire; but when the end of time is come, there is an end of choice, and the last judgment is only a putting everyone into the full and sole possession of that which he has chosen.
... William Law (1686-1761), An Appeal to All that Doubt , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VI, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 98
(see the book; see also Deut. 30:15-17; Gal. 6:7; Jas. 5:11; 2 Pet. 3:9; more at Choices, Compassion, Day, Death, Judgment, Life, Mercy, Providence)
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
My God and my Lord, my hope and the joy of my heart, speak unto my soul and tell me whether this is the joy of which thou tellest us through thy Son: Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24). For I have found a joy that is full, and more than full. For when heart, and mind, and soul, and all the man, are full of that joy, joy beyond measure will still remain. Hence, not all of that joy shall enter into those who rejoice; but they who rejoice shall wholly enter into that joy.
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), Discourse on the Existence of God, Chicago: The Opencourt Publishing Co, 1903, p. 33
(see the book; see also Hab. 3:18; John 16:23-24; 1 Thess. 1:4-6; 5:16; 1 Pet. 4:13; 1 John 1:4; more at God, Heart, Hope, Joy, Mind, Son, Soul)
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Without the historical Jesus, the Christ of the church is hollow, a radiant shell, a mythical hero without historical weight. On the other hand, anyone who clings to the historical Jesus alone is blind, for without the light of the Easter creed, he is swallowed up by the darkness of the cross.
... Otto Betz (1917-2005), What Do We Know About Jesus?, translation of Was wissen wir von Jesus?, 1965, London, S.C.M. Press, 1968, p. 113
(see the book; see also Acts 2:36; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2 Pet. 1:16; more at Creed, Cross, Darkness, Easter, Historical, Jesus, Light)
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988
See in the meantime that your faith bringeth forth obedience, and God in due time will cause it to bring forth peace.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 563
(see the book; see also Ps. 130:3-4; John 14:27; Rom. 5:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:12; more at Faith, Obedience, Peace)
Friday, April 24, 2020
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624
Long before I believed Theology to be true, I had already decided that the popular scientific picture at any rate was false. One absolutely central inconsistency ruins it... The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought-laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory—in other words, unless Reason is an absolute—all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world-picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based. The difficulty is to me a fatal one; and the fact that when you put it to many scientists, far from having an answer, they seem not even to understand what the difficulty is, assures me that I have not found a mare’s nest but detected a radical disease in their whole mode of thought from the very beginning. The man who has once understood the situation is compelled henceforth to regard the scientific cosmology as being, in principle, a myth—though no doubt a great many true particulars have been worked into it.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “Is Theology Poetry?”, in They Asked for a Paper, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962, p. 162
(see the book; see also Prov. 3:5; 14:12; Acts 17:2-3; 1 Cor. 1:18; more at Belief, Man, Myth, Reason, Social, Theology, Thought, Truth)
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Feast of Mark the Evangelist
It is essential to our life as Christians, that we should recognize cheerfully and realistically that no worth-while work is accomplished without patience and sacrifice; and more important still, that we should realize with a sudden quickening of the pulses that the cost we bear is, not a kind of occupational nuisance, but the honour of sharing God’s cost in bringing men to Himself and changing them from being wayward human beings into sons of Himself.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Making Men Whole, London: Highway Press, 1952, p. 45
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:4; 2 Cor. 1:5-7; Col. 1:24; Heb. 10:36; 12:1; more at Achievement, Honor, Kindness, Patience, Sacrifice, Share, Work)
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Yet still, over all these limitations and humiliations, I felt astonishingly and profoundly free; I felt a flame, a secret little life of liberty beating away inside me, a liberty I could never lose. They could keep me locked up; they could take me to a Concentration Camp to-morrow, but they could never touch the sanctuary where my soul watched, where I was alone master. They might deceive me, abuse me, weaken me; they might get words out of me when my mind staggered from their cruelty, words which they could take as an admission; they could kill me. But they could never force my will, for it could never belong to them; it was between myself and God, and no one else could ever touch it.
... Henri Perrin (1914-1954), Priest-Workman in Germany, London: Sheed & Ward, 1947, p. 181-182
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:28; 16:26; Mark 8:36-37; John 8:35-36; more at Affliction, Historical, Liberty, Life, Soul)
Monday, April 27, 2020
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894
An Easter Carol. Spring bursts today,For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play. Flash forth, thou Sun,The rain is over and gone, its work is done. Winter is past,Sweet spring is come at last, is come at last. Bud, Fig and Vine,Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine. Break forth this mornIn roses, thou but yesterday a thorn. Uplift thy head,O pure white lily through the winter dead. Beside your damsLeap and rejoice, you merry-making Lambs. All Herds and FlocksRejoice, all Beasts of thickets and of rocks. Sing, Creatures, sing,Angels and Men and Birds, and everything, All notes of DovesFill all our world: this is the time of loves.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 363-364
(see the book; see also Son. 2:11-13; Matt. 6:28; 1 Cor. 15:42-45; 1 John 5:20; more at Christ, Easter, Love, Resurrection, Spring, Today)
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841
We profess that we know God, but by works we deny Him; for beatitude doth not consist in the knowledge of divine things, but in a divine life, for the devils know them better than man.
... Walter Raleigh (1552?-1618), The Works of Sir Walter Ralegh, Kt., v. II, Oxford: The University press, 1829, p. 32
(see the book; see also Prov. 1:7; Matt. 10:33; 26:69-75; Acts 3:14; Jas. 2:14-19; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 2:22-23; more at Blessing, Devil, Goodness, Knowing God, Knowledge, Man, Work)
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380
He has loved us without being loved... We are bound to Him, and not He to us, because before He was loved, He loved us... There it is, then: we cannot... love Him with this first love. Yet I say that God demands of us, that as He has loved us without any second thoughts, so He should be loved by us. In what way can we do this, then? ... I tell you, through a means which he has established, by which we can love Him freely; ... that is, we can be useful, not to Him—which is impossible—but to our neighbour... To show the love that we have for Him, we ought to serve and love every rational creature and extend our charity to good and bad, as much to one who does us ill service and criticizes us as to one who serves us. For, ... His charity extends over just men and sinners.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Saint Catherine of Siena as seen in her letters, J. M. Dent, 1906, p. 83
(see the book; see also John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:10; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 John 4:11-12, 16-21; more at Charity, God, Goodness, Love, Reason, Service, Sinner)
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922
We see in the risen Christ the end for which man was made, and the assurance that the end is within reach.
... Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), The Revelation of the Risen Lord, London: Macmillan, 1881, p. xiv
(see the book; see also Ps. 23:4; Eph. 3:12; Col. 2:2-3; more at Assurance, Christ, Easter, Man)
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