Quotations for April, 1996
Monday, April 1, 1996
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
We can do nothing, we say sometimes, we can only pray. That, we feel, is a terribly precarious second best. So long as we can fuss and work and rush about, so long as we can lend a hand, we have some hope, but if we have to fall back upon God, ah, then things must be critical indeed!
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 75
(see the book; see also John 14:13-14; 16:23-24; Eph. 2:17-18; Heb. 4:16; more at Attitudes, Fall, God, Hope, Prayer, Work)
Tuesday, April 2, 1996
Jesus once declared that God is “kind toward the unthankful and evil” (St. Luke 6:35), and I remember preaching a sermon on this text to a horrified and even astonished congregation who simply refused to believe (so I gathered afterwards) in this astounding liberality of God. That God should be in a state of constant fury with the wicked seemed to them only right and proper, but that God should be kind towards those who were defying or disobeying His laws seemed to them a monstrous injustice. Yet I was but quoting the Son of God Himself, and I only comment here that the terrifying risks that God takes are part of His Nature. We do not need to explain or modify His unremitting love towards mankind.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Making Men Whole, London: Highway Press, 1952, p. 27-28
(see the book; see also Luke 6:35; more at Disobedience, Evil, God, Grace, Jesus, Kindness, Knowing God, Love)
Wednesday, April 3, 1996
In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of Scripture be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity, that if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture, should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward; lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them.
... Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Summa Theologica , Pars Prima, Quaest. lxviii, art. primus
(see the book; see also 2 Chr. 36:15-16; Matt. 12:7; Acts 17:18-32; more at Bible, Question, Salvation, Scripture, Skeptic, Teach, Truth)
Thursday, April 4, 1996
There are many things which a person can do alone, but being a Christian is not one of them. As the Christian life is, above all things, a state of union with Christ, and of union of his followers with one another, love of the brethren is inseparable from love of God. Resentment toward any human being cannot exist in the same heart with love to God. The personal relation to Christ can only be realized when one has “come to himself” as a member of His Body, the Christian fellowship.
... William T. Ham, “Candles of the Lord”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 169
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:9,10; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Fellowship, Heart, Love)
Friday, April 5, 1996
But when does flesh receive the bread which He calls His flesh? The faithful know and receive the Body of Christ if they labor to be the body of Christ; and they become the body of Christ if they study to live by the Spirit of Christ: for that which lives by the Spirit of Christ is the body of Christ.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, vol. ii, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. xi of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1884, tract. 26.13, p. 376
(see the book; see also John 6:51; Rom. 8:14,29-30; 1 Cor. 12:12; 2 Tim. 2:15; more at Body of Christ, Communion, Faith, Historical, Holy Spirit, Life)
Saturday, April 6, 1996
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564
Twelve marks of spiritual health [in] our communion with God: (1) God’s children ought to walk in constant amazement of spirit as to God, His nature, and works. (2) The glorifying of God is the great work of God’s children. (3) Delightful privacy with God argues strong affection. (4) Frequent prayer an argument of much of God’s Spirit; True prayer is the pouring out of the heart to God; God’s children are most in private with God; The prayers of God’s people most respect spiritual mercies; God’s people wait for and rest in God’s answer. (5) God’s people are sensible of their unworthiness. (6) God Himself is regarded as the portion of His people. (7) Ready obedience to God. (8) The patience of God’s children under God’s hand. (9) The mournful confession of God’s people. (10) God’s people long after God in an open profession of His ordinances. (11) Their hearts are ready and prepared. (12) God’s people’s sense of their own insufficiencies.
... Roger Williams (1603?-1683), Experiments of Spiritual Life & Health , reprinted, Sidney S. Rider, Providence, 1863, p. 17-31
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31; more at Abasement, Communion, Confession, God, Health, Historical, Obedience, Patience, Spiritual life)
Sunday, April 7, 1996
Our imitation of God in this life—that is, our willed imitation, as distinct from any of the likenesses which He has impressed upon our natures or our states—must be an imitation of God Incarnate: our model is the Jesus, not only of Calvary, but of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this, so strangely unlike anything we can attribute to the Divine life in itself, is apparently not only like, but is, the Divine life operating under human conditions.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Four Loves, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 6
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:48-49; 2 Thess. 3:10; more at Calvary, Crowd, God, Incarnation, Jesus, Life)
Monday, April 8, 1996
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877
Nobody seriously believes the universe was made by God without being persuaded that He takes care of His works.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, I.xvi.1, p. 183
(see the book; see also Ps. 33:6,13; Jer. 10:12; more at Apologetics, Belief, Creation, God, Universe)
Tuesday, April 9, 1996
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945
The deceit, the lie of the devil consists of this, that he wishes to make man believe that he can live without God’s Word. Thus he dangles before man’s fantasy a kingdom of faith, of power, and of peace, into which only he can enter who consents to the temptations; and he conceals from men that he, as the devil, is the most unfortunate and unhappy of beings, since he is finally and eternally rejected by God.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Temptation, London: SCM Press, 1955, p. 25
(see the book; see also Luke 4:3,4; John 8:44; Heb. 3:13; more at Belief, Devil, Faith, God, Peace, Power, Sin, Temptation, Unfortunate)
Wednesday, April 10, 1996
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
What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussions concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should this profit thee without the love and grace of God?
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.i.3, p. 29-30
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:1,2; 1 Pet. 3:4; more at Attitudes, Authenticity, Bible, Contrition, God, Grace, Holiness, Humility, Life, Love, Philosophy, Upright)
Thursday, April 11, 1996
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
When an unskillful servant gathers many herbs, flowers, and seeds in a garden, you gather them out that are useful, and cast the rest out of sight. Christ deals so with our performances. All the ingredients of self that are in them on any account He takes away, and adds incense to what remains, and presents it to God. This is the cause that the saints at the last day, when they meet their own duties and performances, they know them not, they are so changed from what they were when they went out of their hand. “Lord, when saw we Thee naked or hungry?” So God accepts a little, and Christ makes our little a great deal.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 603
(see the book; see also Ex. 30:36; Ps. 130:4; Hos. 11:3-4; Matt. 25:37-40; more at Christ, Duty, God, Jesus, Knowledge, Saint, Self)
Friday, April 12, 1996
Let no man deceive you with vain words, or with vain hopes, or with false notions of a slight and sudden repentance: as if heaven were a hospital founded on purpose to receive all sick and maimed persons, that when they can live no longer to the lusts of the flesh and the sinful pleasures of this world, can but put up a cold and formal petition to be admitted there.No, no, as sure as God is true, they shall never see the Kingdom of God, who, instead of seeking it in the first place, make it their last refuge and retreat.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. III, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LIV, p. 574
(see the book; see also Eccl. 12:1; Matt. 6:33; Luke 8:14; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 5:5-6; more at Authenticity, Heaven, Kingdom, Refuge, Repentance, Search, Sin, Vanity)
Saturday, April 13, 1996
Now men say, “I am in no wise prepared for this work, and therefore it cannot be wrought in me,” and thus they find an excuse, so that they neither are ready nor in the way to be so. And truly there is no one to blame for this but themselves. For if a man were looking and striving after nothing but to find a preparation in all things, and diligently gave his whole mind to see how he might become prepared; verily God would well prepare him, for God giveth as much care and earnestness and love to the preparing of a man, as to the pouring in of His Spirit when the man is prepared.
... Theologia Germanica , Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXII
(see the book; see also Heb. 11:13-16; more at Obedience)
Sunday, April 14, 1996
This was the fulness of time, when Christ Jesus did come, that the Messiah should come.It was so to the Jews, and it was so to the Gentiles too...Christ hath excommunicated no nation, no shire, no house, no man; He gives none of His ministers leave to say to any man, thou art not redeemed; He gives no wounded or afflicted conscience leave to say to itself, I am not redeemed.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. I, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon III, p. 42,53
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:18-21; John 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 6:20; Gal. 4:4-5; more at Christ, Christmas, Conscience, Nation, Redemption, Time)
Monday, April 15, 1996
Are we not all members of the same Body and partakers of the same Spirit and heirs of the same blessed hope of eternal life?... Why do we not, as becomes brethren, dwell together in unity? but are so apt to quarrel and break out into heats, to crumble into sects and parties, to divide and separate from one another upon every trifling occasion.Give me leave... in the name of our dear Lord ... to recommend to you this new commandment of his, that ye love one another. Which is almost a new commandment still, and hardly the worse for wearing; so seldom is it put on, and so little hath it been practised among Christians.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. II, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon XX, p. 247-248
(see the book; see also John 13:34-35; Rom. 6:8,9; 15:5-7; 1 John 4:20; more at Body of Christ, Church, Commandment, Eternal life, Hope, Love, Quarrel, Sect, Unity)
Tuesday, April 16, 1996
Repentance is but a kind of table-talk, till we see so much of the deformity of our inward nature, as to be in some degree frightened and terrified at the sight of it...A plausible form of an outward life, that has only learned rules and modes of religion by use and custom, often keeps the soul for some time at ease, though all its inward root and ground of sin has never been shaken or molested, though it has never tasted of the bitter waters of repentance, and has only known the want of a Saviour by hearsay.But things cannot pass thus: sooner or later, repentance must have a broken and a contrite heart; we must with our blessed Lord go over the brook Cedron, and with Him sweat great drops of sorrow, before He can say for us, as He said for Himself: “It is finished.”
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 152-153
(see the book; see also Ps. 51:17; Luke 22:44; John 18:1; 19:30; Rom. 2:3-4; Jas. 4:8-10; Rev. 2:5; 3:19; more at Contrition, Custom, Fear, Religion, Repentance, Savior, Sight, Sin, Sorrow)
Wednesday, April 17, 1996
We have taught our people to use prayer too much as a means of comfort. Not in the original and heroic sense of uplifting, inspiring, strengthening, but in the more modern and baser sense of soothing sorrow, dulling pain, and drying tears. The comfort of the cushion, not the comfort of the Cross.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Hardest Part, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919, p. 111
(see the book; see also Eze. 14:22-23; Ps. 71:21; John 14:1,18,27; Acts 14:21-23; more at Comfort, Cross, Inspiration, Prayer, Strength, Teach)
Thursday, April 18, 1996
They haled him trembling to the Judgment Seat.“O Lord, the man who made the nails that pierced Thy hands and feet!”The Master laid a thin, scarred hand upon the shame-bowed head.“They were good nails,” he said.
... Kenneth W. Porter (1905-1981), The High Plains: poems by Kenneth Porter, New York: John Day, 1938, p. 84
(see the book; see also John 20:24-29, Col. 2:13,14; more at Easter, Judgment, Master, Passion of Christ)
Friday, April 19, 1996
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
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)
Saturday, April 20, 1996
Even though I never did an evil deed, yet, if I have the will to do evil, I have the sin as if I had done the deed; and I could, by a total will, do as great a sin as if I had killed the whole world, though I never actually did anything. Why, would the same not be possible to a good will? Yes, indeed, and even much more so. Surely, I can do all things with the will. I can bear the sorrow of all men and feed all the poor and do the work of all men and whatever else you may think of. If it be not the will that fails you, but only the power, then truly, before God, you have done it all, and no man can take it from you or even hinder you for a moment; for to will to do as soon as I can is the same before God as having done it.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Treatises and Sermons, Harper, 1958, p. 74-75
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:27-28,48; 19:21; Mark 9:41; Gal. 6:9; Jas. 1:13-15; 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17; more at Deed, Good will, Intention, Sin, Work)
Sunday, April 21, 1996
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
In the Cross, God gathers up all history into a movement of time, and shows to us the meaning of it. It is the act in time which reveals to us the eternal activity of suffering and redeeming love all down the ages.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Hardest Part, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919, p. 62
(see the book; see also Mark 10:45; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Gal. 2:20; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; more at Cross, Easter, Everlasting, Love, Redemption, Suffer)
Monday, April 22, 1996
God could, if I may so say, more easily have made a new world of innocent creatures, and have governed them by the old covenant, than have established this new one for the salvation of poor sinners; but then, where had been the glory of forgiveness? It could never have been known that there was forgiveness with Him. The old covenant could not have been preserved and sinners pardoned. Wherefore, God chose to leave the covenant than sinners unrelieved, than grace unexalted and pardon unexercised...Will we continue on the old bottom of the first covenant? All that we can do therein is but to set thorns and briars in the way of God, to secure ourselves from His coming against us and upon us with His indignation and fury. Our sins are so, and our righteousness is no better. And what will be the issue? Both they and we shall be trodden down, consumed, and burnt up. What way, then, what remedy is left unto us? Only this of laying hold on the arm and strength of God in that covenant wherein forgiveness of sin is provided.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX , in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 475
(see the book; see also Ps. 32:1-2; 51:7-9; 130:4; Isa. 27:2-5; Rom. 4:6-8; 1 John 2:1-2; more at Choices, Forgiveness, God, Salvation, Sin, Sinner)
Tuesday, April 23, 1996
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988
I do a great wrong in His sight, when I beseech Him that He will hear my prayer, which as I give utterance to it I do not hear myself. I entreat Him that He will think of me; but I regard neither myself nor Him. Nay, what is worse, turning over corrupt and evil thoughts in mine heart, I thrust a dreadful offensiveness into His presence.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Selections from His Letters, Meditations, Sermons, Hymns and Other Writngs, tr. Horatio Grimley, CUP Archive, n.d., p. 195
(see the book; see also Hos. 4:7-8; Amos 5:21-24; John 3:19-20; more at Corruption, Evil, God, Heart, Prayer, Thought, Wrong)
Wednesday, April 24, 1996
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624
Sad, indeed, would the whole matter be if the Bible had told us everything God meant us to believe. But herein is the Bible greatly wronged. It nowhere lays claim to be regarded as the Word, the Way, the Truth. The Bible leads us to Jesus, the inexhaustible, the ever-unfolding Revelation of God. It is Christ “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” not the Bible, save as leading to Him.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Higher Faith”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 52-53
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:1-4; John 14:5-6; 20:29; Col. 2:1-3; more at Bible, Christ, Knowledge, Treasure, Truth, Way, Wisdom)
Thursday, April 25, 1996
Feast of Mark the Evangelist
The reason we can hope to find God is that He is here, engaged all the time in finding us. Every gleam of beauty is a pull toward Him. Every pulse of love is a tendril that draws us in His direction. Every verification of truth links the finite mind up into a Foundational Mind that undergirds us. Every deed of good will points toward a consummate Goodness which fulfills all our tiny adventures in faith. We can find Him because in Him we live and move and have our being.
... Rufus M. Jones (1863-1948), Pathways to the Reality of God, New York: Macmillan, 1931, p. xi-xii
(see the book; see also Ps. 139:7-12; Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:28; Heb. 7:25; more at Beauty, Faith, Good will, Goodness, Knowing God, Life, Love, Truth)
Friday, April 26, 1996
That thou mayest win to the sweetness of God’s love, I set here three degrees of love, in the which thou shouldst be aye waxing. The first is called insuperable, the second inseparable, the third singular. Thy love is insuperable when nothing may overcome it, that is, neither weal, nor woe, nor anguish, just of flesh nor the liking of this world... Thy love is inseparable when all thy thoughts and thy wills are gathered together and fastened wholly in Jesus Christ, so that thou mayest no time forget Him, but aye thou thinkest on Him... Thy love is singular when all thy delight is in Jesus Christ and in no other thing finds joy and comfort.
... Richard Rolle (1290?-1349), The Commandments, in English Spirituality in the Age of Wyclif, David Lyle Jeffrey, tr., Regent College Publishing, 1988, p. 156
(see the book; see also John 14:21; 15:9-12; 16:33; more at Affliction, Anguish, Comfort, Forget, Jesus, Joy, Knowing God, Love, Victory, World)
Saturday, April 27, 1996
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894
We cannot attain to the understanding of Scripture either by study or by the intellect. Your first duty is to begin by prayer. Entreat the Lord to grant you, of His great mercy, the true understanding of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of this Word, as He Himself has said, “They shall be all taught of God.” (John 6:45) Hope for nothing from your own labors, from your own understanding: trust solely in God, and in the influence of His Spirit. Believe this on the word of a man who has experience.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), in a letter (see What Luther Says: An Anthology, #233), quoted in History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in Germany, Jean Henri Merle d’Aubigné, London: Walther, 1838, p. 320
(see the book; see also John 6:45; Isa. 54:13; John 3:9,10; Rom. 8:16; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:21; Rev. 2:7; 19:10; more at Bible, Duty, God, Holy Spirit, Hope, Labor, Mercy, Prayer, Trust, Understanding)
Sunday, April 28, 1996
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841
The Day of Jesus Christ is the Day of all days; the brilliant and visible light of this one point is the hidden invisible light of all points; to perceive the righteousness of God once and for all here is the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5) everywhere and at all times. By the knowledge of Jesus Christ all human waiting is guaranteed, authorized and established; for He makes it known that it is not men who wait, but God—in His faithfulness.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 96
(see the book; see also Lam. 3:24; Rom. 8:25; Gal. 5:5; more at God, Jesus, Light, Righteousness, Worship)
Monday, April 29, 1996
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)
Tuesday, April 30, 1996
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922
One great remedy against all manner of temptation, great or small, is to open the heart and lay bare its suggestions, likings, and dislikings before some spiritual adviser; for, ... the first condition which the Evil One makes with a soul, when he wants to entrap it, is silence.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, IV.vii, p. 308
(see the book; see also Ps. 38:18; Prov. 28:13; Matt. 5:23-24; 10:26; 18:15; John 3:19; Jas. 5:16; more at Confession, Evil, Heart, Repentance, Silence, Temptation)
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