Quotations for September, 2020
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710
It has been a frequent trait in Christian theologians down the ages to commit themselves whole-heartedly to the fashionable philosophies of their day, while passing severe judgments on their predecessors for adopting precisely the same attitude.
... E. L. Mascall (1905-1993), The Secularization of Christianity, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966, p. 103
(see the book; see also Col. 2:8; 1 Cor. 2:6-10; more at Attitudes, Heresy, Judgment, Philosophy, Theology)
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942
The Christian ethic ... is not a recipe for righteousness; it is not a synthesis of Christian faith and the world’s values; it is not a way of enabling Christians to live without the Holy Spirit. It is the very opposite of all this.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Presence of the Kingdom, tr. Olive Wyon, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1951, p. 23
(see the book; see also Song of Solomon 8:7; Eph. 4:29-30; 1 Thess. 5:19; Heb. 6:4-6; more at Holy Spirit, Morality, Righteousness, Way, World)
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604
When anger enters the mind, wisdom departs.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Hortulus Rosarum, quoted in The Story of the “Imitatio Christi”, Leonard Abercrombie Wheatley, London: Elliot Stock, 1891, IV.ii, p. 212
(see the book; see also Ps. 4:4; Prov. 29:11; Rom. 12:19-21; more at Mind, Self-control, Sin, Wisdom)
Friday, September 4, 2020
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650
Constantly practice [the] habit of inwardly gazing upon God. You know that something inside your heart sees God. Even when you are compelled to withdraw your conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs, there is within you a secret communion always going on.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 90
(see the book; see also Isa. 6:1-8; John 14:23; Eph. 1:18-19; more at Communion, God, Heart, Knowledge, Prayer, Sight)
Saturday, September 5, 2020
I endeavour to keep all Shibboleths, and forms and terms of distinction out of sight, as we keep knives and razors out of the way of children; and if my hearers had not some other means of information, I think they would not know from me that there are such creatures as Arminians and Calvinists in the world. But we [would] talk a good deal about Christ.
... John Newton (1725-1807), in a letter quoted in John Newton: a biography, Bernard Martin, Heinemann, 1950, p. 275
(see the book; see also Rom. 16:17; John 17:21-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-7; 11:16-19; more at Attitudes, Child, Christ, Knowledge)
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965
Life provides all kinds of astonishingly effective anodynes and narcotics, all of which are nothing but misused gifts of God. But now in hell, that is, beyond a fixed boundary set by God, all the securities and safeguards disappear into thin air. What here is only a tiny flame of secret self-reproach that flickers up occasionally and is quickly smothered, there becomes a scorching fire. What here is no more than a slight ticking sound in our conscience suddenly becomes the trumpet tone of judgment which can no longer be ignored. Lazarus is permitted to see what he believed, but the rich man is compelled to see what he did not believe.
... Helmut Thielicke (1908-1986), The Waiting Father: the parables of Jesus, New York: Harper & Row, 1975, p. 48
(see the book; see also Luke 16:19-31; more at Belief, Conscience, God, Hell, Judgment, Providence)
Monday, September 7, 2020
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
If I say, “Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,” as though God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 40
(see the book; see also Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Calvary, Forget, Forgiveness, God, Knowledge, Love, Memory)
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
Sermons should not be preached in churches. It harms Christianity in a high degree and alters its very nature, that it is brought into an artistic remoteness from reality, instead of being heard in the midst of real life, and that precisely for the sake of the conflict (the collision). For all this talk about quiet, about quiet places and quiet hours, as the right element for Christianity is absurd.So then sermons should not be preached in churches but in the midst of life, of the reality of daily life, weekday life.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), quoted in Kierkegaard’s Attack upon “Christendom,” 1854-1855, tr., Walter Lowrie, Princeton University Press, 1968, p. 2
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:26-27; Luke 4:18-19; Heb. 10:37-39; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:1; more at Church, Life, Practical Christianity, Preach, Sermon)
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Ten minutes went by, nearly two complete triangles. I had not prayed, not really prayed, for many years, and the habit came hard. Lord, please get me out of this bloody mess... No, you mustn’t talk like that to Him. “Our Father, which art in Heaven—” He’d heard that a thousand times, would be hearing it another thousand times tonight. What do you say to Him when you want help? Please, God, make somebody notice me up here; please make someone see me flying in triangles, and send up a shepherd to help me down to a safe landing. Please help me, and I promise—What on earth could I promise Him? He had no need of me, and I, who now had need of Him, had taken no notice of Him for so long that He’d probably forgotten all about me.
... Frederick Forsyth (b. 1938), The Shepherd, Viking Press, 1976, p. 51
(see the book; see also Ps. 23:1; John 10:11,14-15; Rom. 10:13; more at Forget, God, Need, Prayer, Promise, Safety)
Thursday, September 10, 2020
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 by two Ta’amireh shepherds produced more changes in the life of the tribe than it did in the text of the Old Testament.
... Paul W. Lapp (d. 1970), in Biblical Archaeology Review, v. IV, n. 1, March, 1978, p. 16
(see the book; see also Ps. 99:7; Hos. 8:12; Matt. 5:18; Rom. 3:1-2; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Pet. 1:12; 2 Pet. 1:21; more at Bible, Discovery, Inspiration, Life)
Friday, September 11, 2020
The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity... If we want to see mighty works of Divine grace and power wrought, in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let [us] answer God’s standing challenge, “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
... J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), included in Good News for Russia, ed. Jesse Wendell Brooks, Chicago: The Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1918, p. 32
(see the book; see also Jer. 33:3; Matt. 17:20; Luke 17:5-6; more at Challenge, God, Grace, Power, Prayer, Work)
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Just as at sea those who are carried away from the direction of the harbor bring themselves back on course by a clear sign, so Scripture may guide those adrift on the sea of life back into the harbor of the divine will.
... St. Gregory of Nyssa (331?-396?), The Life of Moses, Paulist Press, 1978, p. 32
(see the book; see also Jonah 2:8-9; Matt. 8:24-27; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at Bible, Guidance, Life, Scripture, Sea, Will of God)
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
Poor human reason, when it trusts in itself, substitutes the strangest absurdities for the highest divine concepts.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407)
(see also Rom. 8:6-7; more at Apprehension, Reason, Trust)
Monday, September 14, 2020
Feast of the Holy Cross
I have no reason to complain of any crosses, because they are the bitter fruit of my sin. Nothing shall hurt us but sin; and that shall not hurt us, if we can repent of it. And nothing can do us good but the love and favour of God in Christ; and that we shall have if we seek it in good earnest. Afflictions are God’s potions, which we may sweeten by faith and prayer; but we often make them bitter, by putting into God’s cup the ill ingredients of impatience and unbelief. There is no affliction so small but we shall sink under it, if God uphold us not: and there is no sin so great but we shall commit it, if God restrain us not. A man who hath the spirit of prayer hath more than if he hath all the world. And no man is in a bad condition, but he who hath a hard heart and cannot pray.
... John Dod (c.1549-1645), as quoted in The Lives of the Puritans, v. III, Benjamin Brook, London: J. Black, 1813, p. 3
(see the book; see also Jer. 46:28; Ps. 103:8-10; Isa. 6:9-10; Matt. 9:13; 12:34; 1 Thess. 3:2-3; Jas. 4:8; 1 Pet. 4:13-14; Rev. 3:19; more at Affliction, Bitterness, Christ, Cross, Faith, Goodness, Love, Patience, Prayer, Sin, Unbelief)
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
It is good to have some brief words of a Psalm, some thought of prayer, which thou mayest use at any moment of leisure. Ye would often have prayed, had ye known what to pray; while ye have been thinking what to pray, the time was gone.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), “Do all to the Lord Jesus” in Parochial Sermons, preached and printed on various occasions, London: Walter Smith, 1884, p. 92
(see the book; see also Ps. 4:8; 46:1-3; 85:8; Col. 3:17; more at Prayer, Scripture, Thought, Time)
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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
If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life, that we give to the question of what to do with two weeks’ vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.
... Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958)
(see the book; see also Matt. 3:8; 7:16-20; Luke 8:8; John 15:1-2; more at Attitudes, Life, Question, Thought)
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179
Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but when it never returned at all.
... Edward Robinson (1794-1863), from Job, ascribed by M. G. Easton
(see the book; see also Gen. 8:8-12; Matt. 6:5-6; Luke 22:40; Jas. 5:16; more at Blessing, Faith, Hope, Prayer)
Friday, September 18, 2020
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905
Faith is that which, knowing the Lord’s will, goes and does it; or, not knowing it, stands and waits, content in ignorance as in knowledge, because God wills; neither pressing into the hidden future, nor careless of the knowledge which opens the path of action.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Temptation in the Wilderness”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 147
(see the book; see also Ps. 37:7; 130:5; Matt. 4:1-11; 21:28-31; Mark 1:11,12; Heb. 11:6,8; more at Faith, God, Ignorance, Knowledge, Will of God)
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
What makes life worth living is the mutual enrichment of people through understanding, intelligence and affection.It is just here that our awareness that Jesus is our contemporary and that Calvary is relevant to our present human situation ought to help us greatly. And that is not merely because in his relationships with others during his earthly life in Palestine Jesus exemplified all that I have tried to say about human relationships. In every genuine human encounter with another person we may become aware of Jesus, and meet with him. This may sound fanciful, but there is much in the Scriptures and in Christian experience which suggests that Jesus is frequently met in the traffic of person with person, provided that there is a genuine encounter between them. Jesus himself showed that for this to happen demands courage and a willingness to move from a life that is centred in itself. So if we are to pass out of that lonely world of isolation then we must be prepared to take the risks that are always involved when we allow persons to confront us as persons and do not regard them as things. Yet, dangerous though it may be to live in this way, it is the only way to live.
... Ambrose Reeves (1899-1980), Calvary Now, London: SCM Press, 1965, p. 76-77
(see the book; see also 1 John 3:14; Matt. 19:13-15; 25:34-40; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 10:29-37; 18:15-17; John 13:35; Heb. 13:1; 1 Pet. 1:22; 3:8; 1 John 4:7-8; 5:2; more at Affection, Calvary, Courage, Jesus, Life, People, Scripture, Understanding, Way)
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
So long as a man confines his ideas of Christ to a rather misty hero figure of long ago who died a tragic death, and so long as his ideas of Christianity are bounded by what he calls the Sermon on the Mount (which he has almost certainly not read in its entirety since he became grown-up), then the living truth never has a chance to touch him. This is plainly what has happened to many otherwise intelligent people. Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people, many of them of higher intellectual calibre than my own, who quite obviously had no idea of what Christianity is really about. I was in no case trying to catch them out: I was simply and gently trying to find out what they knew about the New Testament. My conclusion was that they knew virtually nothing. This I find pathetic and somewhat horrifying. It means that the most important Event in human history is politely and quietly bypassed. For it is not as though the evidence had been examined and found unconvincing: it had simply never been examined.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 16
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:6-7; more at Apologetics, Bible, Historical, Knowledge, Life, People, Sermon)
Monday, September 21, 2020
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
The Church is her true self only when she exists for humanity. As a fresh start, she should give away all her endowments to the poor and needy. The clergy should live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and Papers from Prison, London: Macmillan, 1962, p. 239
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:40-42; 19:21; 25:34-40; 2 Cor. 4:5; 8:1-15; 9:6-9; more at Church, Giving, Minister, Poverty)
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Love is as strong as death; but nothing else is as strong as either; and both, love and death, met in Christ. How strong and powerful upon you, then, should that instruction be, that comes to you from both these, the love and death of Jesus Christ!
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon LIX, p. 18
(see the book; see also Ps. 32:8; Song of Solomon 2:5; John 3:16,17; 1 John 4:9-10,19; more at Christ, Death, Instruction, Jesus, Love, Strength)
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
It is no straining of metaphor to say that the love of God and the wrath of God are the same thing described from opposite points of view. How we shall experience it depends upon the way we shall come up against it: God does not change; it is man’s moral state that changes. The wrath of God is a figure of speech to denote God’s unchanging opposition to sin; it is His righteous love operating to destroy evil. It is not evil which will have the last word, but good; not sorrow, but joy; not hate, but love.
... R. J. Campbell (1867-1956), The Call of Christ, London: Skeffington & Son, n.d. (before 1932), p. 27
(see the book; see also Num. 14:11; Ps. 7:11; 76:7; 103:8-9; Matt. 25:31; 1 Cor. 3:11-14; more at Evil, God, Goodness, Joy, Love, Man, Morality, Righteousness, Sin, Sorrow)
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Rejoice in God, O ye tongues; give the glory to the Lord, and the Lamb.Nations, and languages, and every creature, in which is the breath of Life.Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together.Let Noah and his company approach the throne of Grace, and do homage to the Ark of their Salvation.Let Abraham present a Ram, and worship the God of his Redemption.Let Jacob with his speckled Drove adore the good Shepherd of Israel....Let Daniel come forth with a Lion, and praise God with all his might, through faith in Christ Jesus....Let David bless with the bear—The beginning of victory to the Lord—to the Lord the perfection of excellence—Hallelujah from the heart of God, and from the hand of the artist inimitable, and from the echo of the heavenly harp in sweetness magnifical and mighty.
... Christopher Smart (1722-1771), Jubilate Agno , R. Hart-Davis, 1954, p. 30
(see the book; see also Gen. 6:8-22; 7; 8; 22:13; Lev. 26:6; Ps. 9:1,2; 63:11; Isa. 11:6; Dan. 6:3-23; Rev. 5:12; more at Glory, God, Heart, Israel, Jesus, Lamb, Nation, Perfection, Redemption, Salvation, Victory, Worship)
Friday, September 25, 2020
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
Clear shining from God must be at the bottom of deep labouring with God. What is the reason that so many in our days set their hands to the plough, and looked back again?—begin to serve Providence in great things, but cannot finish?—give over in the heat of the day? They never had any such revelation of the mind of God upon their spirits, such a discovery of His excellencies, as might serve for a bottom of such undertakings.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. II, p. 90
(see the book; see also Amos 3:7; Hab. 3:1-9; Luke 9:62; John 12:35; Rev. 16:10; more at Authenticity, Beginning, God, Providence, Revelation, Service)
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942
There is a covenant, ... and God is faithful to His covenant. But the substance of that covenant is all pure mercy and grace. If men presume to claim for themselves, upon the basis of the covenant, some relationship with God other than that of the sinner needing God’s grace, the covenant has been perverted. And where that has happened, God, in the sovereign freedom of His grace, destroys these pretensions, calls “No people” to be His people, breaks off natural branches and grafts in wild slips, filling them with the life which is His own life imparted to man. There is no law in His Kingdom save the law of pure grace. That is why they come from east and west to sit down with Abraham and Isaac, while the sons of the Kingdom are cast out; for the sons of the Kingdom have no place there unless they are willing to sit down with all whom the Lord of the feast shall call, and to receive His mercy in exactly the same way as the publicans and sinners.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 90-91
(see the book; see also Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 9:11-13; Rom. 11:22-24; 1 Pet. 2:10; more at God, Grace, Kingdom, Law, Mercy, Sinner)
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660
Jesus Christ can so interfere in a human life that it can look up and say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,” even in the midst of sorrow or suffering.
... Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision
(see also Ps. 103:1-5; 146:1-3; Luke 1:46-47; more at Blessing, Christ, Jesus, Life, Sorrow, Suffer, Weakness)
Monday, September 28, 2020
Humility and love are precisely the graces which the men of the world can understand, if they do not comprehend doctrines. They are the graces about which there is no mystery, and they are within reach of all classes. The poorest... Christian can every day find occasion for practicing love and humility.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. John, v. III, London: William Hunt, 1873, p. 16
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:16; Rom. 3:12; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Pet. 3:4; more at Grace, Humility, Love)
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Feast of Michael & All Angels
As a good Christian should consider every place as holy, because God is there, so he should look upon every part of his life as a matter of holiness, because it is to be offered unto God.The profession of a clergyman is a holy profession, because it is a ministration in holy things, an attendance at the altar. But worldly business is to be made holy unto the Lord, by being done as a service unto Him, and in conformity to His Divine will.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 46
(see the book; see also Ex. 3:1,2; Rom. 14:6-8; Phil. 2:14,15; Col. 3:3; more at Holiness, Life, Minister, Obedience, Service)
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
What think ye, is the Word of God to be fulfilled? Do you believe the Word of God? Do you believe what is fulfilled in the Word of God because it is fulfilled? or do you believe because God has said so? If you believe the past fulfillment because it is past, then you do not believe God. If you believe God, you must believe the future as well as the past.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 129
(see the book; see also Ps. 27:1-3; 37:33; John 14:1-4; 1 Cor. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; more at Belief, Faith, Fulfillment, Future, God, Past, Prophecy)
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