Quotations for December, 2022
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Commemoration of Charles de Foucauld, Hermit, Servant of the Poor, 1916
The law of nature is nothing but the law of God, given to mankind for the conservation of his nature, and the promotion of his perfective end. A law of which a man sees a reason and feels a necessity: God is the lawgiver.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), The Rule of Conscience, bk. 2, in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. XII, London: Ogle, Duncan & Co., 1822, p. 213
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:11-12,28; 2:19-20; Job 12:7-10; Ps. 8:1-9; 19:1-6; Acts 14:17; Rom. 1:18-20; more at God, Law, Man, Nature, Reason)
Friday, December 2, 2022
Silence, as to every motion proceeding from the love of money, and an humble waiting upon God, to know his will concerning us, hath now appeared necessary: he alone is able to strengthen us to dig deep, to remove all which lies between us and the safe foundation, and so direct us in our outward employments, that pure universal love may shine forth in our proceedings.
... John Woolman (1720-1772), The Works of John Woolman, Philadelphia: Benjamin & Jacob Johnson, 1800, p. 231
(see the book; see also Isa. 40:31; Matt. 6:24; Luke 6:48; 16:13; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Eph. 3:16; Phil. 4:13; 1 Tim. 6:10-11; Jas. 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16; more at God, Humility, Love, Money, Safety, Silence)
Saturday, December 3, 2022
Commemoration of Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, Missionary, 1552
No matter what we pray for, whether it be temporal or spiritual things, little things or great things, gifts for ourselves or for others, our prayers should really resolve themselves into a quiet waiting for the Lord in order to hear what it is that the Spirit desires to have us pray for at that particular time.
... O. Hallesby (1879-1961), Prayer, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1943, reprint, Augsburg Fortress Books, 1975, 1994, p. 99
(see the book; see also Ps. 37:7; 85:8; 130:5; Isa. 40:31; Rom. 8:26; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 12:25; more at Gifts, God, Holy Spirit, Listening, Prayer, Silence)
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Commemoration of Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637
The blessed and inviting truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and in our worship of Him we should find unspeakable pleasure.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Whatever Happened to Worship?, Christian Publications, 1985, p. 28
(see the book; see also Ezra 6:15-16; Ps. 5:11-12; 27:4-6; Rom. 15:13; more at Blessing, God, Pleasure, Truth, Worship)
Monday, December 5, 2022
True humility does not affect to be humble, and is not given to make a display in lowly words.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.v, p. 149
(see the book; see also Isa. 2:11-12; John 13:14-16; 2 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:3; 1 Pet. 5:5-6; more at Authenticity, Humility)
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Feast of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326
Heaven is not a far-away place to which we hope to go; it is the presence of God in which we ought to live.
... William R. Inge (1860-1954), Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924, p. 85
(see the book; see also Gen. 28:16; Deut. 4:39; Ps. 139:7-10; Isa. 57:15; Jer. 23:23-24; Hos. 6:6; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 17:24-28; more at Heaven, Hope, Life, Presence of God)
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Feast of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher, 397
Whatsoever thou dost conceive concerning the Father—yea, be it even His eternity—thou canst not conceive aught concerning Him save by the Son’s aid, nor can any understanding ascend to the Father save through the Son.
... St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), Exposition of the Christian Faith, tr. H. de Romestin, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, second series, v. X, Philip Schaff & Henry Wace, ed., New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896, I.x, par. 63, p. 211
(see the book; more at Eternity, Father, Son, Understanding)
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Now this is the great rule, not only for servants, but for all the servants of God, in what state soever, to set the Lord always before them, and to study with St. Paul, to have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men; to eye, and to apply constantly to their actions and their inward thoughts, the command of God; to walk by that rule abroad, and at home in their houses, and in the several ways of their calling; (as an exact workman is ever and anon laying his rule to his work, and squaring it;) and for the conscience they have towards God, to do and suffer His will cheerfully in every thing, being content that He choose their condition and their trials for them; only desirous to be assured, that He hath chosen them for His own, and given them a right to the glorious liberty of the children of God.
... Robert Leighton (1611-1684), A Practical Commentary Upon the First Epistle of St. Peter, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1849, p. 397-398
(see the book; see also Ps. 16:8; Acts 24:16; Rom. 8:21; 1 Pet. 2:18-20; more at Commandment, Conscience, Glory, God, Liberty, Rule, Way, Will of God)
Friday, December 9, 2022
[Jesus] knows our sorrows, not merely as he knows all things, but as one who has been in our situation, and who, though without sin himself, endured when upon earth inexpressibly more for us than he will ever lay upon us. He has sanctified poverty, pain, disgrace, temptation, and death, by passing through these states; and in whatever states his people are, they may by faith have fellowship with him in their sufferings, and he will by sympathy and love have fellowship and interest with them in theirs.
... John Newton (1725-1807), letter, Nov. 29, 1776, The Works of the Rev. John Newton, v. II, New York: Williams and Whiting, 1810, p. 20
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:4-5; Luke 22:28; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 5:2; more at Death, Faith, Jesus, Pain, Poverty, Sanctification, Sin, Sorrow, Temptation)
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Commemoration of Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968
Too often, people who take the spiritual life seriously may waste all their efforts on the scaffolding, making it more and more solid, permanent and secure, and paying no attention to the building itself. They do so out of a kind of unconscious fear of the real responsibilities of the Christian life, which are solitary and interior. These are difficult to express, even obliquely. They are almost impossible to communicate to anyone else. Hence one can never be “sure” whether he is right or wrong. One has very little evidence of progress or perfection in this interior sphere—while in the exterior, progress can be more easily measured and results can be seen. They can also be shown to others for their approval and admiration. The most important, the most real, and lasting work of the Christian is accomplished in the depths of his own soul. It cannot be seen by anyone, even by himself. It is known only to God.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Life and Holiness, Herder and Herder, 1963, p. 68
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:48; Mark 9:50; Luke 6:45; John 4:13-14; 15:19; Rom. 2:28-29; 11:16; 12:1-2,9; 2 Cor. 10:5; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:21-22; 4:22-24; Phil. 4:8; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:7; 1 Tim. 6:6; Tit. 1:15; more at Achievement, Fear, God, Responsibility, Security, Soul, Spiritual life, Work)
Sunday, December 11, 2022
All men have the same Creator and the same nature. The Christian man can accept all that the modern liberal means by the brotherhood of man. But the Christian knows also of a relationship far more intimate than that general relationship of man to man and it is for this more intimate relationship that he reserves the term “brother.” The true brotherhood, according to Christian teaching, is the brotherhood of the redeemed.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), Christianity and Liberalism, The Macmillan Company, 1923, p. 157-158
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:22; Matt. 12:50; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 1:22; more at Brotherhood, Creation, Man, Redemption, Truth)
Monday, December 12, 2022
Trust no emotions, no religious experiences, but only Him to whom they turn.
... Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), The Holy of Holies, London: Alexander & Shepheard, 1890, p. 365
(see the book; see also Ps. 62:8; Matt. 7:21-22; 13:20-21; Luke 6:46; Phil. 3:18-19; more at Jesus, Trust)
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Feast of Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
Commemoration of Samuel Johnson, Writer, Moralist, 1784
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), from The Rambler, #79, Dec. 18, 1750, The Works of Samuel Johnson, L. L. D., v. V, New York: William Durell, 1811, p. 66
(see the book; see also Ps. 38:19; 69:4; Matt. 5:10-12,46-47; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:20; 3:13-14; 4:14-16; more at Happiness, Suffer, Trust, Wrong)
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Feast of John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591
Sometimes, when the soul least thinks of it, and when it least desires it, God touches it divinely causing certain recollections of Himself.
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), The Ascent of Mount Carmel, London: Thomas Baker, 1906, p. 208
(see the book; see also Ps. 77:11; Matt. 26:74-75; Luke 22:19; John 2:22; 12:16; 14:26; 1 Cor. 11:23-25; more at God, Knowing God, Memory, Soul, Thought)
Thursday, December 15, 2022
If our knowledge of God is clearer than that of heathen; if prophecies which were dark to Jews are plain to us; if a fellowship and communion with our Father in heaven are granted to us which they could not claim; if the mystery of our sins and our forgiveness is declared to us in the Cross of Jesus Christ; if the hope of what is to come is opened to us, as not even good and holy men under the old covenant were allowed to have it; if we know more of heaven, if we see clearer through death, if we can trust more surely in trials and temptations—it is because for us the Spirit of God has been given.
... R. W. Church (1815-1890), Village Sermons, New York: Macmillan Company, 1897, p. 119-120
(see the book; see also Ps. 104:30; Acts 2:1-4,38-39; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 2:11-13; Eph. 3:4-6; 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 3:24; more at Communion, Cross, Death, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Hope, Jesus, Knowing God, Prophecy)
Friday, December 16, 2022
The Incarnation would be equally a miracle however Jesus entered the world.
... P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), The Holy Father and the Living Christ, Dodd, Mead and Co., 1898, p. 19
(see the book; see also Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:20-23; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2-3; more at Incarnation, Jesus, Miracle, World)
Saturday, December 17, 2022
Commemoration of Eglantine Jebb, Social Reformer, Founder of ‘Save the Children’, 1928
It seems to me, as time goes on, that the only thing that is worth seeking for is to know and to be known by Christ—a privilege open alone to the childlike, who, with receptivity, guilelessness, and humility, move Godward. The Babe on your Christmas card says this to me.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), from a letter, Dec. 26, 1913, Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, v. 26, Church Historical Society., 1957, p. 131
(see the book; see also Ps. 131:1-2; Matt. 18:3; Mark 10:14-15; Luke 18:16-17; more at Christ, Christmas, Humility, Knowing God)
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Christmas turns things tail end foremost. The day and the spirit of Christmas rearrange the world parade. As the world arranges it, usually there come first in importance—leading the parade with a big blare of a band—the Big Shots. Frequently they are also the Stuffed Shirts. That’s the first of the parade. Then at the tail end, as of little importance, trudge the weary, the poor, the lame, the halt, and the blind. But in the Christmas spirit, the procession is turned around. Those at the tail end are put first in the arrangement of the Child of Christmas.
... Halford E. Luccock (1885-1960), “Whoops! It’s Christmas”, in the Halford Luccock Treasury, New York: Abingdon, 1963, p. 381-382
(see the book; see also Matt. 19:30; 20:16; Mark 9:35-37; 10:31; Luke 13:30; more at Blindness, Christmas, Poverty, Spirit, Weary, World)
Monday, December 19, 2022
Our Saviour Christ was bornThat we might have the rose without the thorn;All through His desert lifeHe felt the thorns of human sin and strife.His blessed feet were bareTo every hurting brier; He did not spareOne bleeding footstep on the wayHe came to trace for us, until the dayThe cruel crown was pressed upon the Brow,That smiles upon us from His glory now. And so He won for usSweet, thornless, everlasting flowers thus!He bids our desert wayRejoice and blossom as the rose to-day.There is no hidden thornIn His good gifts of grace; He would adornThe lives that now are His alone,With brightness and with beauty all His own.Then praise the Lord who came on Christmas DayTo give the rose and take the thorn away.
... Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), The Poetical Works of Frances Ridley Havergal, New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1888, p. 165-166
(see the book; see also Isa. 35:1-2; Matt. 27:28-29; Mark 15:17-18; John 19:1-5; Heb. 6:7-8; more at Christ, Christmas, Everlasting, Glory, Savior, Sin, Strife)
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
As Christians, we must maintain day in and day out that peace is not something to be achieved by our power. Rather peace is a gift of God that comes only by our being a community formed around a crucified savior—a savior who teaches us how to be peaceful in a world in rebellion against its true Lord.
... Stanley Hauerwas (b. 1940), The Peaceable Kingdom, University of Notre Dame Press, 1983, p. 12
(see the book; see also Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Rom. 8:6; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 2:13-17; Phil. 4:6-7; Col. 1:19-20; 3:15; 2 Thess. 3:16; more at Community, Peace, Savior, World)
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Loving looks the large-eyed cow,Loving stares the long-eared assAt Heaven’s glory in the grass!Child, with added human birthCome to bring the child of earthGlad repentance, tearful mirth,And a seat beside the hearthAt the Father’s knee—Make us peaceful as thy cow;Make us patient as thine ass;Make us quiet as thou art now;Make us strong as thou wilt be.Make us always know and seeWe are his as well as thou.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), The Poetical Works of George MacDonald, v. 2, London: Chatto & Windus, 1893, p. 191
(see the book; see also Luke 2:6-12,16; 21:19; Eph. 4:1-2; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 4:2-3; more at Child, Christmas, Heaven, Patience, Peace, Prayers, Repentance, Strength)
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Father eternal, Ruler of creation,Spirit of life, which moved ere form was made,Through the thick darkness covering every nation,Light to man’s blindness, O be Thou our aid. Races and peoples, lo, we stand divided,And, sharing not our griefs, no joy can share;By wars and tumults Love is mocked, derided;His conquering cross no nation wills to bear. Envious of heart, blind-eyed, with tongues confounded,Nation by nation still goes unforgiven,In wrath and fear, by jealousies surrounded,Building proud towers which shall not reach to heaven. Lust of possession worketh desolations;There is no meekness in the powers of earth;Led by no star, the rulers of the nationsStill fail to bring us to the blissful birth. How shall we love Thee, holy hidden Being,If we love not the world which Thou hast made?O give us brother-love for better seeingThy Word made flesh and in a manger laid.
... Laurence Housman (1865-1959),  Songs of Praise, enl. ed., Ralph Vaughan Williams, et al., ed., Oxford University Press, 1931, p. 98
(see the book; see also Gen. 11:9; Luke 2:6-12; 14:27; John 1:14; 10:10; more at Blindness, Christmas, Creation, Cross, Father, Holiness, Light, Love, Nation, Spirit, War)
Friday, December 23, 2022
We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for every one who has a conscience.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), A Testament to Freedom: the essential writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Geffrey B. Kelly, F. Burton Nelson, eds., HarperCollins, 1995, p. 185
(see the book; see also Luke 2:9; 1:19,30,35; 8:1; Rev. 3:20; more at Christmas, Conscience, Fear, Gladness, Glory of God, God, Love, Tidings)
Saturday, December 24, 2022
For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all;No palace too great, no cottage too small.The angels who welcome Him sing from the height,“In the city of David a King in His might.”Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night! Then let every heart keep its Christmas within,Christ’s pity for sorrow, Christ’s hatred of sin,Christ’s care for the weakest, Christ’s courage for right,Christ’s dread of the darkness, Christ’s love of the light.Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Christmas Songs and Easter Carols, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1904, p. 17-18
(see the book; see also Luke 2:9-14; more at Angel, Christ, Christmas, Courage, Love, Master, Pity, Sin)
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Rejoice, for this day the holy bread, that is to say, God has made himself food for men, in order to satisfy, with His body, all that hunger. Rejoice; for, this day is born the Redeemer of the world, the Saviour of sinners. Rejoice; for, this day an immortal God is born, in order that mortal man may live for ever. Rejoice, for the Lord of the universe lay poor in a stable, in order that our poverty might be changed into riches. Rejoice, dearly-beloved, that the predictions of the prophets and of the saints have been fulfilled. Rejoice, for the omnipotent Father and the Son, abounding in wisdom and grace, are given to us, that glory may be to God on high, and on earth peace, good-will toward men.
... John Huss (1369-1415), in a letter, Christmas day, 1411, Letters of John Huss, written during his exile and imprisonment, Edinburgh: W. Whyte, 1846, p. 52-53
(see the book; see also Isa. 9:6-7; Matt. 26:26; Luke 2:7,14; 22:19; John 6:35,53-58; more at Bread, Christ, Christmas, Father, Fulfillment, Redemption, Satisfaction, Savior, Treasure)
Monday, December 26, 2022
Feast of Stephen, Deacon, First Martyr
Let us cultivate the spirit of prayer which is even better than the habit of prayer. There may be seeming prayer where there is little devotion. We should begin to pray before we kneel down, and we should not cease when we rise up.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), The Treasury of David, v. I, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883, p. 49
(see the book; see also Ps. 5:1; 17:1; Rom. 8:26; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 John 5:14-15; more at Devotion, Prayer, Spirit)
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Feast of John, Apostle & Evangelist
For true peace of heart is to be found in resisting passion, not in yielding to it. And therefore there is no peace in the heart of a man who is carnal, nor in him who is given up to the things that are without him, but only in him who is fervent towards God and living the life of the Spirit.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.vi., p. 38
(see the book; see also Jer. 8:11; Rom. 8:6-10; 14:17-19; 1 Cor. 3:3; Phil. 4:6-7; more at God, Heart, Holy Spirit, Life, Man, Peace, Self-control, Truth)
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Feast of the Holy Innocents
If it is an extraordinary blindness to live without investigating what we are, it is a terrible one to live an evil life, while believing in God.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #495, p. 165
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 6:39; Acts 8:13-23; 1 Cor. 15:2; Gal. 5:13; Tit. 1:15-16; Jas. 2:14,17-20,26; Jude 1:4; more at Belief, Blindness, Evil, Life)
Thursday, December 29, 2022
Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
The Bible is appointed to be read in churches, where the voice struggles helplessly against the handicaps of an Elizabethan vocabulary, a solemn occasion, an overpowering background, a mute assembly, and acoustics with a two-second echo. The more “beautifully and impressively” it is read, the more unreal it sounds. Most unreal of all is the speech of the story’s central character—every word a “familiar quotation,” pulpit-dissected, sifted, weighed, burdened with a heavy accretion of prophetic and exegetical importance. In a sense not contemplated by the Evangelist, we feel it to be true that never man spake as this man, for by this time the words have lost all likeness to the speech of a living person.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), Unpopular Opinions, London: Gollancz, 1946, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1947, p. 19-20
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:23,37; Luke 11:48; Acts 7:51-53; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:3-5; Tit. 3:9; more at Bible, Church, Helplessness, Life, Man, People)
Friday, December 30, 2022
If your God can allow you to remain complacently the poor thing that you are; if He tells you soothingly not to worry—that He, for His part, is not making a fuss about your faults and failures, will not overpress such matters...—then there is something essentially wrong. For all who know God by more than mere hearsay are at one in this— that He hates sin, that He can’t abide it, that He will let no friend of His settle down in it in peace.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 54-55
(see the book; see also Ps. 94:12; 119:75; 1 Cor. 11:32; Heb. 12:5-7; Rev. 3:19; more at Complacency, God, Hatred, Peace, Sin, Worry)
Saturday, December 31, 2022
Commemoration of John Wycliffe, Reformer, 1384
Hitherto the corpse of John Wickliffe had quietly slept in his grave, about one-and-forty years after his death, till his body was reduced to bones, and his bones almost to dust...But now, such the spleen of the Council of Constance , as they not only cursed his memory, as dying an obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones... to be taken out of the ground, and thrown far off from any Christian burial.In obedience hereunto, [the local bishop] sent his officers... to ungrave him accordingly. To Lutterworth they come,  ... take what was left out of the grave, and burnt them to ashes, and cast them into Swift, a neighbouring brook running hard by. Thus this brook hath conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Church History of Britain, v. I, London: Thomas Tegg and Son, 1837, p. 493
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:19-20; Mark 13:9-11; Luke 12:11-12; 21:12-15; Acts 5:28-29; more at Death, Dust, God, Historical, Sea, Victory, World)
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