Quotations for April, 2022
Friday, April 1, 2022
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
“The Bible,” we are told sometimes, “gives us such a beautiful picture of what we should be.” Nonsense! It gives us no picture at all. It reveals to us a fact; it tells us what we really are; it says, This is the form in which God created you, to which He has restored you; this is the work which the Eternal Son, the God of Truth and Love, is continually carrying on within you.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Prayer-Book and the Lord’s Prayer, London: Macmillan, 1880, p. 221
(see the book; see also Acts 3:26; Rom. 3:23; Tit. 3:4-5; more at Bible, God, Love, Renewal, Sanctification, Son, Truth)
Saturday, April 2, 2022
If, then, we would pray aright, the first thing that we should do is to see to it that we really get an audience with God, that we really get into His very presence. Before a word of petition is offered, we should have the definite and vivid consciousness that we are talking to God, and should believe that He is listening to our petition and is going to grant the thing that we ask of Him. This is only possible by the Holy Spirit’s power, so we should look to the Holy Spirit to really lead us into the presence of God, and should not be hasty in words until He has actually brought us there.
... R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), How to Pray, Fleming H. Revell, 1900, p. 33-34
(see the book; see also Mark 14:36; Luke 6:12; John 16:13; Eph. 6:18; more at God, Holy Spirit, Listening, Prayer, Presence of God)
Sunday, April 3, 2022
I have no desire to change the opinion of man or woman. Let everyone for me hold what he pleases. But I would do my utmost to disable such as think correct opinion essential to salvation from laying any other burden on the shoulders of true men and women than the yoke of their Master; and such burden, if already oppressing any, I would gladly lift. Let the Lord himself teach them, I say. A man who has not the mind of Christ—and no man has the mind of Christ except him who makes it his business to obey him—cannot have correct opinions concerning him; neither, if he could, would they be of any value to him: he would be nothing the better, he would be the worse for having them. Our business is not to think correctly, but to live truly; then first will there be a possibility of our thinking correctly.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Justice”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 134-135
(see the book; see also Ps. 62:11-12; Eccl. 12:13; Matt. 16:27; John 14:15; Rom. 2:6-8; 14:5,23; 1 Cor. 2:16; 8:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:10; Phil. 2:5; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17; 1 John 3:18-20; more at Burden, Christ, Mind, Obedience, Salvation, Teach, Thought)
Monday, April 4, 2022
The Conob Indians of northern Guatemala... describe love as “my soul dies.” Love is such that, without experiencing the joy of union with the object of our love, there is a real sense in which “the soul dies.” A man who loves God according to the Conob idiom would say “my soul dies for God.” This not only describes the powerful emotion felt by the one who loves, but it should imply a related truth—namely, that in true love there is no room for self. The man who loves God must die to self. True love is, of all emotions, the most unselfish, for it does not look out for self but for others. False love seeks to possess; true love seeks to be possessed. False love leads to cancerous jealousy; true love leads to a life-giving ministry.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 126-127
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:16-17; more at Death, God, Joy, Love, Minister, Possession, Self, Soul)
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’ while really it is finding its place in him.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Screwtape Letters, Macmillan, 1944, p. 143
(see the book; see also Deut. 8:10-14; Job 12:5; Hos. 13:6; Matt. 16:25-26; Luke 21:34; Tit. 2:11-12; 1 John 2:15-17; more at Man, Prosperity, World)
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564
The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed,If Thou the spirit give by which I pray:My unassisted heart is barren clay,That of its native self can nothing feed:Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,That quickens only where Thou sayest it may:Unless Thou shew to us Thine own true way,No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead.Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mindBy which such virtue may in me be bredThat in Thy holy footsteps I may tread;The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,That I may have the power to sing of Thee,And sound Thy praises everlastingly.
... Michelangelo Buonarrotti (1475-1564), translated by William Wordsworth in The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, William Wordsworth, Philadelphia: Troutman & Hayes, 1851, p. 220
(see the book; see also Isa. 64:8; Rom. 8:26; 9:21; 2 Cor. 12:9; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; 6:18; Jude 1:20; more at Goodness, Holiness, Praise, Prayer, Prayers, Truth, Virtue, Way)
Thursday, April 7, 2022
When scientists are honest, as most of them are, they are well aware of the fact that their competence in science does not give them a clue to the problem of how their science should be used in the service of man. The sensitive visitor to the mesas of Los Alamos is almost sure to meditate on the experience of that gifted man, Klaus Fuchs. Though his work in the laboratories was outstanding, his decision concerning the use of what he knew was disastrous. What if, in addition to his scientific competence, the younger Fuchs had shared something of the Christian conviction of his father, Emil Fuchs? Much of the subsequent history of our earth might then have been different.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Incendiary Fellowship, New York: Harper, 1967, p. 95
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 4:30-34; Matt. 16:1-4; 1 Tim. 6:20; more at Conviction, Historical, Knowledge, Practical Christianity, Science, Service)
Friday, April 8, 2022
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877
Humility is the bloom and the beauty of holiness. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), Humility: the Beauty of Holiness, New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1895, p. 74
(see the book; see also Isa. 57:15; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 18:2-5; 23:12; Luke 7:6-9; Rom. 11:17-18; Jas. 1:9-10; more at Beauty, Holiness, Humility)
Saturday, April 9, 2022
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945
Only the obedient believe. If we are to believe, we must obey a concrete command. Without this preliminary step of obedience, our faith will only be pious humbug, and lead us to the grace which is not costly. Everything depends on the first step. It has a unique quality of its own. The first step of obedience makes Peter leave his nets, and later get out of the ship; it calls upon the young man to leave his riches. Only this new existence, created through obedience, can make faith possible.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 64
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:24; 18:21-22; 19:21-22; Luke 6:32-36; John 13:34-35; more at Belief, Commandment, Dependence, Faith, Grace, Obedience, Wealth)
Sunday, April 10, 2022
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
Whatever else is true, it is emphatically not true that the ideas of Jesus of Nazareth were suitable to his time, but are no longer suitable to our time. Exactly how suitable they were to his time is perhaps suggested in the end of his story.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), The Everlasting Man, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1925, Wilder Publications, 2008, p. 123
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 22:8; Ps. 69:8-9; Isa. 56:6-7; Jer. 7:11; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:16; more at Jesus, Passion of Christ, Truth)
Monday, April 11, 2022
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
It is better for a man to be obscure and to attend to his salvation than to neglect it and work miracles.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xx..6, p. 61
(see the book; see also Ex. 7:10-12; Deut. 13:1-4; Matt. 7:21-23; 24:23-24; Acts 8:9-11,18-23; 2 Thess. 2:9-12; more at Man, Miracle, Neglect, Salvation)
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts,Thou fount of life, thou Light of men,From the best bliss that earth impartsWe turn unfilled to Thee again. We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,And long to feast upon Thee still;We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,And thirst our souls from Thee to fill. O Jesus, ever with us stay,Make all our moments calm and bright;Chase the dark night of sin away,Shed o’er the world Thy holy light.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), ascribed, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 248
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; John 6:51; more at Bread, Heart, Holiness, Jesus, Joy, Light, Love)
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
My shoulders ache beneath my pack(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back). I march with feet that burn and smart(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart). Men shout at me who may not speak(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek). I may not lift a hand to clearMy eyes of salty drops that sear. (When shall my fickle soul forgetThe Agony of Bloody Sweat!) My rifle hand is stiff and numb(From Thy pierced palms red rivers come). Lord, Thou didst suffer more for meThan all the hosts of land and sea. So let me render back againThis millionth of Thy gift. Amen.
... Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), Joyce Kilmer: Memoir and Poems, v. I, New York: George H. Doran Company, 1918, p. 109
(see the book; see also Matt. 27:22-32; Mark 15:12-20; Luke 22:44; more at Blood, Cross, Fickle, Heart, Man, Passion of Christ, Suffer)
Thursday, April 14, 2022
And He answered them nothing. Mighty Nothing! unto thee,Nothing, we owe all things that be.God spake once when He all things made,He saved all when He Nothing said.The world was made of Nothing then;’Tis made by Nothing now again.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 22
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:2-3; Matt. 27:12; Acts 8:32-33; more at Affliction, Creation, God, Salvation, World)
Friday, April 15, 2022
Of all the beings other than Christ of whom the Gospel tells us, the good thief is by far the one I most envy.
... Simone Weil (1909-1943), Waiting for God, Emma Craufurd, tr., Putnam, 1951, p. 59
(see the book; see also Joel 2:32; Luke 23:39-43; Rom. 8:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:18; Gal. 2:19-20; Eph. 2:4-5; more at Envy, Gospel, Passion of Christ)
Saturday, April 16, 2022
It is, of course, impossible to exaggerate the importance of the historicity of what is commonly known as the Resurrection. If, after all His claims and promises, Christ had died and merely lived on as a fragrant memory, He would only be revered as an extremely good but profoundly mistaken man. His claims to be God, His claims to be Himself the very principle of life, would be mere self-delusion. His authoritative pronouncements on the nature of God and Man and Life would be at once suspect. Why should He be right about the lesser things if He was proved to be completely wrong in the greater?
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 110
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:14,20; more at Death, Easter, God, Goodness, Life, Promise, Resurrection, Reverence)
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Let us not mock God with metaphor,analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;making of the event a parable, a sign painted in thefaded credulity of earlier ages:let us walk through the door.
... John Updike (1932-2009), from “Seven Stanzas at Easter”, in Telephone Poles and Other Poems, New York: A. Knopf, 1963, p. 72
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1-17; Acts 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:12-14,17; more at Depravity, God, Religion)
Monday, April 18, 2022
We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him.” If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects that he might learn to feel our pain. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, II.xvi.19, p. 475-476
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:30; Acts 4:12; 8:6; Heb. 2:17; Gal. 3:3; Heb. 2:18; 4:15,16; more at Anoint, Gentleness, Gifts, Jesus, Judgment, Purity, Redemption, Resurrection, Sacrifice, Spirit, Strength)
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
As the light of the sun has only one common nature towards all objects that can receive it, so God has only one common nature of goodness, towards all created nature, breaking forth in infinite flames of love, upon every part of the creation, and calling everything to the highest happiness it is capable of.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 156
(see the book; see also Ps. 31:19; 33:5; 34:8; 100:5; Isa. 63:7; Matt. 7:11; Luke 6:35; 1 John 4:8; more at God, Goodness, Happiness, Love, Nature)
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
All miracles are simply feeble lights like beacons on our way to the port where shines the light, the total light of the resurrection. All miracles finally refer to this one and find their explanation in it. It is the miracle.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Judgment of Jonah, tr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1971, p. 65
(see the book; see also Deut. 4:33-35; 29:3-6; Amos 4:6-11; Matt. 12:28; John 2:11; Acts 2:22; Rom. 1:4; 4:24-25; 2 Cor. 13:4; 1 Thess. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 1:18; more at Light, Miracle, Resurrection)
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
Awake, I beseech thee, O my soul, and let the fire of a heavenly love be kindled in thy heart, and wisely consider the beauty which Thy Lord God hath bestowed upon thee, and in considering love it, and in loving do it reverence with the service of a holy conversation. For doth not He who maketh thee to abide in Him, and hath condescended to dwell in thee, clothe thee, cover thee, adorn thee with Himself?
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), Devotions of Saint Anselm, Meditation I.iv
(see the book; see also Isa. 61:10; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:26-27; more at Beauty, Fire, God, Heart, Love, Reverence, Service)
Friday, April 22, 2022
All theological language is necessarily analogical, but it was singularly unfortunate that the Church, in speaking of punishment for sin, should have chosen the analogy of criminal law, for the analogy is incompatible with the Christian belief in God as the creator of Man.Criminal laws are laws-for, imposed on men, who are already in existence, with or without their consent, and, with the possible exception of capital punishment for murder, there is no logical relation between the nature of a crime and the penalty inflicted for committing it.If God created man, then the laws of man’s spiritual nature must, like the laws of his physical nature, be laws-of—laws, that is to say, which he is free to defy but no more free to break than he can break the law of gravity by jumping out of the window, or the laws of biochemistry by getting drunk—and the consequences of defying them must be as inevitable and as intrinsically related to their nature as a broken leg or a hangover.To state spiritual laws in the imperative—Thou shalt love God with all thy being, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself—is simply a pedagogical technique, as when a mother says to her small son, “Stay away from the window!” because the child does not yet know what will happen if he falls out of it.
... W. H. Auden (1907-1973), A Certain World, London: Faber and Faber, 1971, p. 180-181
(see the book; see also Deut. 6:4-5; Rom. 7:14-23; 8:1-2; Gal. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:11; more at Freedom, God, Knowledge, Law, Love, Man, Nature, Punishment, Sin, Theology)
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988
If ever we intend to take one step towards any agreement or unity, it must be by fixing this principle in the minds of all men,—that it is of no advantage to any man whatever church or way in Christian religion he be of, unless he personally believe the promises, and live in obedience unto all the precepts of Christ; and that for him who doth so, that it is a trampling of the whole gospel under foot to say that his salvation could be endangered by his not being of this or that church or way, especially considering how much of the world hath inmixed itself into all the known ways that are in it.
... John Owen (1616-1683), “A Vindication of the Animadversions on ‘Fiat Lux’” , in Works of John Owen, v. XIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 312
(see the book; see also John 10:27,28; Heb.12:14; Tit. 2:1-13; more at Belief, Church, Culture, Gospel, Promise, Salvation, World)
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624
Not that Jesus’s concept of Messiahship corresponded to Jewish expectations. His notion reflected his view of God’s eschatological kingdom, which he preached as a reality brought into being by his own ministry. He saw the kingdom as a new relationship between penitent sinners and God as their heavenly Father, a relationship achieved through commitment to himself as their sovereign Saviour; and he saw his lordship as based on his call to be God’s suffering servant, the innocent one who, having died for the others’ sins, is then vindicated by being restored to life.
... James I. Packer (b. 1926), “Jesus Christ the Lord”, in The Lord Christ , John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 41
(see the book; see also Ps. 110:1; Isa. 53; Luke 8:1-2; John 18:36; Rom. 14:17-18; more at Death, Father, Jesus, Kingdom, Messiah, Sinner, Suffer)
Monday, April 25, 2022
Feast of Mark the Evangelist
As the Christian prays, he actually anticipates his own liberation from anxiety even when engulfed by it. Praying to God, he can no longer have it, nor be possessed by it.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), Church Dogmatics, v. IV, part 3 , Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, p. 673
(see the book; see also Ps. 55:22; 94:19; Rom. 5:3; 12:12; 13:14; Phil. 2:12; 4:6-7; 1 Thess. 3:2-3; Tit. 3:4-5; Jas. 5:11,13; 1 Pet. 5:6-7; more at Anxiety, God, Liberty, Prayer)
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
[Matthew] lost a comfortable job, but he found a destiny. He lost a good income, but he found honor. He lost a comfortable security, but he found an adventure of the like of which he had never dreamed. It may be that if we accept the challenge of Christ, we shall find ourselves poorer in material things. It may be that the worldly ambitions will have to go. But beyond doubt we will find a peace and a joy and a thrill in life that we never knew before. In Jesus Christ a man finds a wealth beyond anything that he may have to abandon for the sake of Christ.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of Matthew, v. 1, Westminster John Knox Press, 2001 (revised), p. 383
(see the book; more at Ambition, Destiny, Honor, Jesus, Joy, Life, Material things, Peace, Security, Worldly)
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894
“He died for me: what can I offer Him?Toward Him swells incense of perpetual prayer:His court wear crowns and aureoles round their hair:His ministers are subtle Cherubim;Ring within ring, white intense SeraphimLeap like immortal lightnings through the air.What shall I offer Him? defiled and bare,My spirit broken and my brightness dim.”—“Give Me thy youth.”—“I yield it to Thy rod,As Thou didst give Thy prime of youth for me.”—“Give Me thy life.”—“I give it breath by breath;As Thou didst give Thy life so give I Thee.”—“Give Me thy love.”—“So be it, my God, my God,As Thou hast loved me even to bitter death.”
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Poems of Christina Rossetti, London: Macmillan, 1904, p. 57
(see the book; see also Rom. 13:8; 1 Cor. 9:25; Rev. 5:8; more at Death, Giving, Immortality, Life, Love, Prayer, Spirit, Youth)
Thursday, April 28, 2022
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841
That we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation to think of trifles and fooleries.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, First Conversation, p. 8
(see the book; see also 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:7-10; Acts 17:27-28; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:17; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; Tit. 3:8-9; Heb. 1:3; more at God, Neglect, Prayer)
Friday, April 29, 2022
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380
The obedient man speaks words of peace all his life, and at his death receives that which was promised him at his death by his superior, that is to say, eternal life, the vision of peace, and of supreme and eternal tranquillity and rest, the inestimable good which no one can value or understand, for, being the infinite good, it cannot be understood by anything smaller than itself.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dialog of Catherine of Siena , Treatise of Obedience, ix.
(see the book; see also Ps. 85:8; Matt. 10:12-13; 11:28-30; Luke 10:5-6; John 14:27; more at Death, Eternal life, Goodness, Infinite, Life, Obedience, Peace, Rest, Tranquility, Vision)
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922
The criteria [for distinguishing the spirits] which Paul therefore sets forth for the guidance of the Church, that it may know where the Holy Spirit works, and what spiritual phenomena are its gifts, are the first three: the constant recognition of Christ’s lordship in the individual life, the realisation of His love in the Church, and living His life in all moral relations. Where Christ reigns, where brothers serve one another in the order and unity of love, and where they live the high morality of Christ’s gospel, there, and nowhere else, the Spirit always dwells and works. These tests may still be subjective and indefinite, but they have the merit of measuring “spiritual things by spiritual things” (1 Cor. 2:13), and Paul refrained from attempting to delimit the action of the Spirit by any external and formal boundaries, whether of sacrament, order, or dogma.
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 90
(see the book; see also Rom. 7:18; 1 Cor. 2:13; Gal. 4:6; 5:22-25; more at Christ, Church, Guidance, Holy Spirit, Knowledge, Love, Spirit, Unity, Work)
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