Quotations for April, 1997
Tuesday, April 1, 1997
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
The truth is that every man is in Christ; the condemnation of every man is that he will not own the truth, he will not act as if it were true, ... that, except he were joined with Christ, he could not think, breathe, live a single hour.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Life of Frederick Denison Maurice: Chiefly Told in His Own Letters, v. 1, ed. John Frederick Maurice, London: Macmillan, 1885, p. 155
(see the book; see also John 1:10; more at Weakness)
Wednesday, April 2, 1997
Like summer seas that lave with silent tides a lonely shore, like whispering winds that stir the tops of forest trees, like a still small voice that calls us in the watches of the night, like a child’s hand that feels about a fast-closed door; gentle, unnoticed, and oft in vain; so is Thy coming unto us, O God.Like ships storm-driven into port, like starving souls that seek the bread they once despised, like wanderers begging refuge from the whelming night, like prodigals that seek the father’s home when all is spent; yet welcomed at the open door, arms outstretched and kisses for our shame; so is our coming unto Thee, O God.Like flowers uplifted to the sun, like trees that bend before the storm, like sleeping seas that mirror cloudless skies, like a harp to the hand, like an echo to a cry, like a song to the heart; for all our stubbornness, our failure and our sin; so would we have been to Thee, O God.Amen.
... William Edwin Orchard (1877-1955), The Temple: a book of prayers, 3rd ed., New York, E. P. Dutton, 1918, p. 149
(see the book; see also Ps. 57:8-10; 1 Kings 19:11-12; Ps. 4:1-4; Matt. 8:24-27; Luke 12:27; 15:21-24; John 6:32-35; Rev. 3:20; more at Bread, Failure, Flower, God, Prayers, Refuge, Sea, Silence, Sin, Tree)
Thursday, April 3, 1997
The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), New Seeds of Contemplation , New Directions Publishing, 1972, p. 194
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:1; more at Church)
Friday, April 4, 1997
Whoever hath an interest in any one promise hath an interest in them all, and in the fountain-love from whence they flow. He to whom any drop of their sweetness floweth may follow it up into the spring. Were we wise, each taste of mercy would lead us to the ocean of love. Have we any hold on a promise?—we may get upon it, and it will bring us to the main, Christ Himself and the Spirit, and so into the bosom of the Father. It is our folly to abide upon a little, which is given us merely to make us press for more.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance Explained and Confirmed , in Works of John Owen, v. XI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1853, ch. V, p. 223
(see the book; see also Gen. 32:26-30; John 14:16-17,26; Gal. 4:6; more at Love)
Saturday, April 5, 1997
A man can not be “friends with” God on any other terms than complete obedience to Him, and that includes being “friends with” his fellow man. Christ stated emphatically that it was quite impossible, in the nature of things, for a man to be at peace with God and at variance with his neighbor. This disquieting fact is often hushed up, but it is undeniable that Christ said it, and the truth of it is enshrined in the petition for forgiveness in the “Lord’s Prayer.”
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small , Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 90
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:23,24; more at Obedience)
Sunday, April 6, 1997
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564
We think of the enormous sacrifices of those early Christians; but what struck them was the immensity of their inheritance in Christ. Take that one phrase (surely the most daring that the mind of man ever conceived), “We are the heirs of God.” That is what they felt about it, that not God Himself could have a fuller life than theirs, and that even He would share all that He had with them! Tremendous words that stagger through their sheer audacity! And yet, here we are, whispering about the steepness of the way, the soreness of the self-denial, the heaviness of the cross, whining and puling, giving to those outside the utterly grotesque impression that religion is a gloomy kind of thing, a dim, monastic twilight where we sit and shiver miserably, out of the sunshine that God made for us, and meant us to enjoy; [that it is] all a doing that nobody would naturally choose, and refraining from what everyone would naturally take; a species of insurance money grudgingly doled out lest some worse thing come upon us.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 8
(see the book; see also Ps. 37:28-29; Acts 20:32; Rom. 8:16-17; Eph. 1:11-14; Tit. 3:7; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 1:5-6; more at Bearing, Church, Giving, Gloom, God, Inheritance, Religion, Sacrifice, Self-sacrifice)
Monday, April 7, 1997
Those who complain that they make no progress in the life of prayer because they “cannot meditate” should examine, not their capacity for meditation, but their capacity for suffering and love. For there is a hard and costly element, a deep seriousness, a crucial choice, in all genuine religion.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 54
(see the book; see also Ps. 119:47,48; Matt. 16:24,25; Col. 3:16,17; more at Choices, Love, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Suffer)
Tuesday, April 8, 1997
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877
To put it shortly, the Church forgets that Christianity is not an attitude of mind, but a type of life: a man’s spirit is not known by his opinion (creeds etc.) but by his action and general conduct.
... William Temple (1881-1944), William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury: his life and letters, Frederic Athelwold Iremonger, Oxford University Press, 1948, p. 99
(see the book; see also 1 Sam. 2:3; Ps. 62:11-12; 94:4; Matt. 5:16; 7:24; 16:27; 25:34-46; Gal. 5:6; 6:7-8; Col. 4:6; Jas. 1:22; 1 John 3:23-24; more at Action, Attitudes, Church, Conduct, Life, Man)
Wednesday, April 9, 1997
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945
During the last year or so, I have come to appreciate the “worldliness” of Christianity as never before. The Christian is not a homo religiosus but a man, pure and simple, just as Jesus was man... It is only by living completely in this world that one learns to believe. One must abandon every attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, a converted sinner, a churchman, a righteous man, or an unrighteous one, a sick man or a healthy one. This is what I mean by worldliness—taking life in one’s stride, with all its duties and problems, its successes and failures, its experiences and helplessness... How can success make us arrogant or failure lead us astray, when we participate in the sufferings of God by living in this world?
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and Papers from Prison, London: Macmillan, 1962, p. 226-227
(see the book; see also John 17:15-18; more at Repentance)
Thursday, April 10, 1997
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
No creature can be a child of God but because the goodness of God is in it; nor can it have any union or communion with the goodness of the Deity till its life is the Spirit of Love. This is the one only band of union betwixt God and the creature... Here the necessity is absolute; nothing will do instead of this will; all contrivances of holiness, all forms of religious piety, signify nothing, without this will to all goodness. For as the will to all goodness is the whole nature of God, so it must be the whole nature of every service or religion that can be acceptable to him.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 5
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:28; more at Child, Communion, God, Goodness, Holiness, Weakness)
Friday, April 11, 1997
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
If there were a righteousness which a man could have of his own, then we should have to concern ourselves with the question of how it can be imparted to him. But there is not. The idea of a righteousness of one’s own is the quintessence of sin.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998)
(see also Prov. 14:12; Isa. 5:21; 64:6; Matt. 5:20; 23:29-31; Luke 16:14,15; Rom. 10:3; 2 Cor. 10:17,18; more at Man, Righteousness, Self-righteousness, Sin)
Saturday, April 12, 1997
Faith is the soul’s consciousness of its Divine relationship and exalted destiny. It is the recognition by man’s higher nature of sources of comfort and hope beyond anything that sense-knowledge discloses. It is the consciousness of a Divine Father toward Whom goes out all that is in affection and highest in moral aspiration; it is the premonition of a future life of which the best attainment here is but the twilight promise. In our day, the sudden and vast revelation of material wonders unsteadies and dims for the moment the spiritual sight; but the stars will shine clear again...The truth-seeking spirit and the spirit of faith, instead of being opposed, are in the deepest harmony. The man whose faith is most genuine is willing to have its assertions tested by the severest scrutiny. And the passion for truth has underlying it a profound conviction that what is real is best; that when we get to the heart of things we shall find there what we most need. Faith is false to itself when it dreads truth, and the desire for truth is prompted by an inner voice of faith.
... George Spring Merriam (1843-1914), A Living Faith , Boston: Lockwood, Brooks, and Company, 1876, p. 15-16
(see the book; see also Heb. 11:1; more at Faith)
Sunday, April 13, 1997
The Lord of all being is far more than the Lord of all beings. He is the Lord of all actual existence. He is the Lord of all kinds of beings—spiritual being, natural being, physical being. Therefore, when we rightly worship Him we encompass all being.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Whatever Happened to Worship?, Christian Publications, 1985, p. 106
(see the book; see also John 4:23,24; more at Worship)
Monday, April 14, 1997
Consider yourself as always wrong, as having gone aside, and lost your right path, when any delight, desire, or trouble, is suffered to live in you, that cannot be made a part of this prayer of the heart to God. For nothing so infallibly shows us the true state of our heart, as that which gives us either delight or trouble; for as our delight and trouble is, so is the state of our heart: if therefore you are carried away with any trouble or delight, that has not an immediate relation to your progress in the divine life, you may be assured your heart is not in its right state of prayer to God... [Continued tomorrow]
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 159
(see the book; see also Matt. 12:35; 1 Cor. 13:1; Gal. 5:22,23; Heb. 9:11-14; more at God, Heart, Prayer, Progress, Trouble, Truth)
Tuesday, April 15, 1997
[Continued from yesterday]The way to be a man of prayer, and be governed by its spirit, is not to get a book full of prayers; but the best help you can have from a book, is to read one full of such truths, instructions, and awakening informations, as force you to see and know who, and what, and where you are; that God is your all; and that all is misery, but a heart and life devoted to him. This is the best outward prayer-book you can have, as it will turn you to an inward book, and spirit of prayer in your heart, which is a continual longing desire of the heart after God, his divine life, and Holy Spirit. When, for the sake of this inward prayer, you retire at any time of the day, never begin till you know and feel, why and wherefore you are going to pray; and let this why and wherefore, form and direct everything that comes from you, whether it be in thought or in word. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 160
(see the book; more at Book, Devotion, Heart, Holy Spirit, Instruction, Life, Prayer, Truth)
Wednesday, April 16, 1997
[Continued from yesterday]No vice can harbor in you, no infirmity take any root, no good desire can languish, when once your heart is in this method of prayer; never beginning to pray, till you first see how matters stand with you; asking your heart what it wants, and having nothing in your prayers, but what the known state of your heart puts you upon demanding, saying, or offering, unto God. A quarter of an hour of this prayer, brings you out of your closet a new man; your heart feels the good of it; and every return of such a prayer, gives new life and growth to all your virtues, with more certainty, than the dew refreshes the herbs of the field: whereas, overlooking this true prayer of your own heart, and only at certain times taking a prayer that you find in a book, you have nothing to wonder at, if you are every day praying, and yet every day sinking farther and farther under all your infirmities. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 161
(see the book; more at Book, Growth, Heart, Life, Man, Prayer, Weakness)
Thursday, April 17, 1997
[Continued from yesterday]For your heart is your life, and your life can only be altered by that which is the real working of your heart. And if your prayer is only a form of words, made by the skill of other people, such a prayer can no more change you into a good man, than an actor upon the stage, who speaks kingly language, is thereby made to be a king: whereas one thought, or word, or look, towards God, proceeding from your own heart, can never be without its proper fruit, or fail of being a real good to your soul. Again, another great and infallible benefit of this kind of prayer is this; it is the only way to be delivered from the deceitfulness of your own hearts. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 161-162
(see the book; more at Deliverance, Goodness, Heart, Life, Prayer)
Friday, April 18, 1997
[Continued from yesterday]Our hearts deceive us, because we leave them to themselves, are absent from them, taken up in outward things, in outward rules and forms of living and praying. But this kind of praying, which takes all its thoughts and words only from the state of our hearts, makes it impossible for us to be strangers to ourselves. The strength of every sin, the power of every evil temper, the most secret workings of our hearts, the weakness of any or all our virtues, is with a noonday clearness forced to be seen, as soon as the heart is made our prayer-book, and we pray nothing, but according to what we read, and find there.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 162
(see the book; more at Evil, Heart, Power, Prayer, Sin, Strength, Virtue, Weakness)
Saturday, April 19, 1997
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.
... A. W. Pink (1886-1952), in a letter, April 14, 1940
(see also Ps. 56:3; 22:9-10; 71:6; 139:14-16; Jer. 1:5; Mark 9:23-24; Luke 23:46; Rom. 1:16-17; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:35; more at Commitment, God, Prayer, Providence)
Sunday, April 20, 1997
Can we believe that God ever really modifies His action in response to the suggestions of men? For infinite wisdom does not need telling what is best, and infinite goodness needs no urging to do it. But neither does God need any of those things that are done by finite agents, whether living or inanimate. He could, if He chose, repair our bodies miraculously without food; or give us food without the aid of farmers, bakers, and butchers; or knowledge without the aid of learned men; or convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead, He allows soils and weather and animals and the muscles, minds, and wills of men to cooperate in the execution of His will. “God,” says Pascal, “instituted prayer in order to lend to His creatures the dignity of causality.” But it is not only prayer; whenever we act at all, He lends us that dignity. It is not really stranger, nor less strange, that my prayers should affect the course of events than that my other actions should do so.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer , Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, p. 9-10
(see the book; see also Ps. 66:18-20; Eph. 6:18; more at Action, Cooperation, Prayer, Wisdom)
Monday, April 21, 1997
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
For I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; but I believe in order that I may understand. For this also I believe,—that unless I believe, I should not understand.
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), Discourse on the Existence of God, Chicago: The Opencourt Publishing Co, 1903, p. 7
(see the book; see also Prov. 28:5; John 7:16-18; Eph. 4:17-18; Col. 1:9; 2:2; more at Belief, Faith, Understanding)
Tuesday, April 22, 1997
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)
Wednesday, April 23, 1997
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988
The Bible tells us very clearly that to “know” God is not an affair of the mind only, but an act in which our whole being, heart, mind, and will, is vitally engaged; so that sheer intellectual speculation would enable us to form certain ideas about God but never to “know” Him. To be grasped, God’s will must be met with a readiness to obey.
... Suzanne de Diétrich (1891-1981), Discovering the Bible , Coonoor, Nilgiris [India]: India Sunday School Union, 1952, p. 34
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:16,17; more at Knowing God, Obedience, Will of God)
Thursday, April 24, 1997
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624
Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who “forgives” you—out of love—takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 197
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:14,15; more at Burden, Forgiveness, Love, Sacrifice)
Friday, April 25, 1997
Feast of Mark the Evangelist
The first article of Christian faith is that man has one and only one true object of worship. There is one Holy God, creator of heaven and earth. He is Lord of all life. To Him we are beholden for our life in all its meaning and its hope. Monotheism for the Christian means that anything else which is put in the place of our loyalty to God is an idol. The worship of national power, or racial prestige, or financial success, or cultural tradition, is a violation of the one truth about our life, that all created things come from God. To commit life to the one true God is to refuse to have any other gods at all. Values there are in abundance, interests, plans, programs, loyalties to family and nation. But these are not gods. They do not save us. They are not holy in themselves.
... Daniel Day Williams (1910-1973), Interpreting Theology, 1918-1952, Daniel Day Williams, London: SCM Press, 1953, ed. 3, under alternative title, New York: Harper, 1959, p. 21
(see the book; see also Ex. 20:3; 1 Kings 18:21-40; Isa. 45:21-22; Jer. 25:6; Matt. 4:10; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Col. 3:5; more at God, Idol, Monotheism, Worship)
Saturday, April 26, 1997
The one use of the Bible is to make us look at Jesus, that through Him we might know His Father and our Father, His God and our God. Till we thus know Him, let us hold the Bible dear as the moon of our darkness, by which we travel toward the east; not dear as the sun whence her light cometh, and towards which we haste, that, walking in the sun himself, we may no more need the mirror that reflected his absent brightness.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Higher Faith”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 55
(see the book; see also John 6:46; more at Bible)
Sunday, April 27, 1997
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894
A Better Resurrection I have no wit, no words, no tears;My heart within me like a stoneIs numbed too much for hopes or fears;Look right, look left, I dwell alone;I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with griefNo everlasting hills I see;My life is in the falling leaf:O Jesus, quicken me. My life is like a faded leaf,My harvest dwindled to a husk;Truly my life is void and briefAnd tedious in the barren dusk;My life is like a frozen thing,No bud nor greenness can I see:Yet rise it shall—the sap of spring;O Jesus, rise in me. My life is like a broken bowl,A broken bowl that cannot holdOne drop of water for my soulOr cordial in the searching cold;Cast in the fire the perished thing,Melt and remould it, till it beA royal cup for Him, my King:O Jesus, drink of me.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 62
(see the book; see also Ps. 143:11; 1 Cor. 3:15; Heb. 11:35; 12:29; more at Cup, Easter, Heart, Jesus, King, Life, Resurrection, Soul, Water)
Monday, April 28, 1997
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841
Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability... Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God!
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Spiritual Letters of Archbishop Fénelon. Letters to men, London: Rivingtons, 1877, p. 205-206
(see the book; see also Ps. 88:1-3; 62:8; 142:2; Lam. 2:19; Mark 14:35-36; Rom. 8:26; Heb. 4:16; more at Blessing, Comfort, Evil, Friend, God, Heart, Joy, Pain, Pleasure, Prayer, Purity, Temptation, Trouble)
Tuesday, April 29, 1997
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380
God is often faulted for creating a world full of suffering and evil. The issue is complex, both philosophically and theologically; but surely it is inappropriate to blame God for a problem He did not initiate, and [that is] in fact, one which He has sought to alleviate, at great cost to Himself. God sent His Son to inaugurate the Kingdom and to “destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” God is not the cause of suffering and sickness; He is its cure! Jesus’ ministry and death guarantee this.
... George Mallone (b. 1944), Those Controversial Gifts, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1983, p. 109
(see the book; see also Heb. 2:14-15; Isa. 25:7-8; 53:4-7; Hos. 13:14; Matt. 12:12; John 12:31-32; Col. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:15; Jas. 5:14-15; Rev. 1:18; more at Death, Devil, Evil, God, Jesus, Kingdom, Sickness, Suffer, Weakness, World)
Wednesday, April 30, 1997
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922
The demand that the Atonement shall be exhibited in vital relation to a new life in which sin is overcome... is entirely legitimate, and it touches a weak point in the traditional Protestant doctrine. Dr. [Thomas] Chalmers tells us that he was brought up—such was the effect of the current orthodoxy upon him—in a certain distrust of good works. Some were certainly wanted, but not as being themselves salvation, only, as he puts it, as tokens of justification. It was a distinct stage in his religious progress when he realised that true justification sanctifies, and that the soul can and ought to abandon itself spontaneously and joyfully to do the good that it delights in... An atonement that does not regenerate... is not an atonement in which men can be asked to believe.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 40-41
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:17; more at Atonement, Forgiveness, Good works, Regeneration)
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