Quotations for July, 1997
Tuesday, July 1, 1997
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873
This is the age of the conference and study group—people talking about what they know they should be doing. In a subtle way, talking about something becomes an excuse for not doing it. This new bolt-hole of the conference and study group is not confined to the local congregation. It is a painful fact of life in the central structures of the churches. We have a welter of reports, commissions, surveys, liaison bodies, and so on. They have the appearance of progressive thinking and readiness to face change, combined with the function of being delaying devices. They are the sacraments of current Christianity, and its dilemma.Outreach is a move from power structures to meekness structures, and, in spite of the fact that Christians believe that it is the meek who shall inherit the earth, they show (as in the ecumenical movement) a distinct reluctance to relinquish power-structure thinking.
... Gavin Reid (b. 1934), The Gagging of God, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969, p. 91
(see the book; see also Col. 2:8; more at Church)
Wednesday, July 2, 1997
“Into God’s hands,” let us now, for the coming year, and for all the years of time, and for eternity, “commend our spirits.” Whether for the Church or for ourselves, let us not take ourselves into our own hands, or choose our own lot. “My times are in Thy hands.” He loveth the Church, which He died to purchase, His Own Body, and all the members of His Own Body, better than we can; He loveth us better and more wisely than we ourselves; He who made us, loveth us better than we who unmade ourselves; He who died for us, better than we who destroy ourselves; He who would sanctify us for a Holy Temple unto Himself, better than we who have defiled what He has hallowed. Fear we not anything which threateneth; shrink we not back from anything which falleth on us. Rather let us, though with trembling, hold up our hearts to Him, to make them His Own, in what way He willeth.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Sermons during the season from Advent to Whitsuntide, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1848, p. 104
(see the book; see also Ps. 31:15,16; more at Faith)
Thursday, July 3, 1997
Feast of Thomas the Apostle
We have still much to learn as to the laws according to which the mind and body act on one another, and according to which one mind acts on another; but it is certain that a great part of this mutual action can be reduced to general laws, and that the more we know of such laws the greater our power to benefit others will be. If, when, through the operation of such laws, surprising events take place, [we may] cry out, ... “Such is the will of God,” instead of setting ourselves to inquire whether it was the will of God to give us power to bring about or prevent such results, then our conduct is not piety but sinful laziness.
... George Salmon (1819-1904), “A Sermon on the Work of the Holy Spirit”, Appendix, in The Evidences of the Work of the Holy Spirit, Dublin: Hodges, Smith, 1859, p. 30
(see the book; see also Gen. 1:28,29, John 3:24; more at Holy Spirit)
Friday, July 4, 1997
The most difficult task facing us today is to persuade the person who is enjoying Christian culture and Christian standards that these do not survive of themselves.
... Godfrey Cowan
(see also Matt. 13:20,21; more at Authenticity, Culture, People, Providence, Task, Today)
Saturday, July 5, 1997
The whole point of the story of Cornelius and of the admission of the Gentiles lies in the fact that these people had not accepted what up to that moment had been considered a necessary part of the Christian teaching. The question was whether they could be admitted without accepting the teaching and undergoing the rite [of circumcision]. It was that question which was settled by the acknowledgement that they had received the Holy Spirit... The difficulty today is that Christians acknowledge that others have the Spirit, and yet do not recognize that they ought to be, and must be—because spiritually they are—in communion with one another. Men who hold a theory of the Church which excludes from communion those whom they admit to have the Spirit of Christ simply proclaim that their theory is in flat contradiction to the spiritual fact.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 57 fn.
(see the book; see also Gen. 12:1-3; 22:16-18; Matt. 12:18-21; John 17:22-23; Acts 11:15-18; 15:28-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 12:12-13; more at Church, Communion, Holy Spirit, Preach, Question, Teach)
Sunday, July 6, 1997
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1413
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535
Sorrow for sin and sorrow for suffering are ofttimes so twisted and interwoven in the same person—yea, in the same sigh and groan—that sometimes it is impossible for the party himself so to separate and divide them in his own sense and feeling, as to know which proceeds from the one and which from the other. Only the all-seeing eye of an infinite God is able to discern and distinguish them.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Cause and Cure of a Wounded Conscience , Dialogue I.
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:26; more at God, Guilt, Knowledge, People, Sin, Sorrow, Suffer)
Monday, July 7, 1997
The word “Comforter” as applied to the Holy Spirit needs to be translated by some vigorous term. Literally, it means “with strength.” Jesus promised His followers that “The Strengthener” would be with them forever. This promise is no lullaby for the faint-hearted. It is a blood transfusion for courageous living.
... E. Paul Hovey (b. 1908), The Treasury of Inspirational Anecdotes, Quotations, and Illustrations, Revell, 1959, p. 211
(see the book; see also Isa. 40:31; John 14:16,17; more at Holy Spirit)
Tuesday, July 8, 1997
God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 71
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:14,15; more at Bible, Book, God, Life, Power)
Wednesday, July 9, 1997
A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again;” and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 108-109
(see the book; see also Matt. 10:29-31; more at Providence)
Thursday, July 10, 1997
They were in a better condition, acknowledging only a terror above them, flaming on that unknown mountain height, than stooping to worship the idol below them. Fear is nobler than sensuality. Fear is better than no God, better than a god made with hands. In that fear lay deep hidden the sense of the infinite. The worship of fear is true, although very low; and though not acceptable to God in itself, for only the worship of spirit and of truth is acceptable to him, yet even in His sight it is precious. For he regards men not as they are merely, but as they shall be; not as they shall be merely, but as they are now growing, or capable of growing, towards that image after which He made them that they might grow to it. Therefore a thousand stages, each in itself all but valueless, are of inestimable worth as the necessary and connected gradations of an infinite progress. A condition which of declension would indicate a devil, may of growth indicate a saint.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Consuming Fire”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 36-37
(see the book; see also Heb. 12:28,29; more at Weakness)
Friday, July 11, 1997
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550
And have the bright immensitiesReceived our risen LordWhere light-years frame the PleiadesAnd point Orion’s sword?Do flaming suns his footsteps traceThrough corridors sublime,The Lord of interstellar spaceAnd Conqueror of time? The heaven that hides Him from our sightKnows neither near nor far:An altar candle sheds its lightAs surely as a star;And where His loving people meetTo share the gift divine,There stands He with unhurrying feet,And Heaven’s splendors shine.
... Howard Chandler Robbins (1876-1952), , included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 260
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:18; more at Providence)
Saturday, July 12, 1997
Must we then have strange music... unlike the world’s music, and a special language with an imagery that illuminates the minds only of the religious? Or dare we do what our Lord did, and see the Name hallowed in all life that is real and honest and good? Indeed, it was a scandal to the religious men of Jesus’ day when they saw what He did with sacred things. With Jesus all life was sacred and nothing was profane until sin entered in. And so it was that the word “common,” which used to mean profane and unclean, became the New Testament word for the Communion of Saints and for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
... Howard Hewlett Clark (1903-1983), “Sermon at the Opening Service,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 11
(see the book; see also Mark 12:38-40; more at Bible, Communion, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Music, Profane, Sin, Worship)
Sunday, July 13, 1997
The Churches belong together in the Church. What that may mean for our ecclesiastical groupings we do not know. We have not discovered the kind of outward manifestation which God wills that we shall give to that inner unity. But we must seek it.
... Hugh Martin (1890-1964)
(see also Rom. 3:21,22; more at Church)
Monday, July 14, 1997
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866
The deaf may hear the Saviour’s voice,The fettered tongue its chains may break;But the deaf heart, the dumb by choice,The laggard soul that will not wake,The guilt that scorns to be forgiven—These baffle e’en the spells of heaven.
... John Keble (1792-1866), The Christian Year , G. W. Doane, ed., Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1842, p. 186
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:15; more at Sin)
Tuesday, July 15, 1997
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274
We must frankly face the fact that there is in this teaching [that the church lives solely by the power of the Holy Spirit] a revolutionary element which could be dangerously subversive of our existing ways of thought. Let us admit that it is part of the fallen human nature of ecclesiastics, no less than of others in responsible positions, to desire always criteria of judgment which can be used without making too heavy demands upon the delicate faculty of spiritual discernment, clear-cut rules by which we may hope to be saved from making mistakes, or rather from being obviously and personally responsible for the mistakes. We are uncomfortable without definite principles by which we may guide our steps. We fear uncharted country, and the fanatics of all kinds who, upon the alleged authority of the Holy Spirit, summon us with strident cries in all directions simultaneously. Only those who have never borne the heavy burden of pastoral responsibility will mock at the cautious spirit of the ecclesiastic.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 106
(see the book; see also Acts 15:7-9; more at Weakness)
Wednesday, July 16, 1997
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099
These things I did not see by the help of man, nor by the letter, though they are written in the letter; but I saw them in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by his immediate Spirit and power, as did the Holy men of God, by whom the Holy Scriptures were written. Yet I had no slight esteem of the Holy Scriptures; they were very precious to me, for I was in that Spirit by which they were given forth; and what the Lord opened in me, I afterwards found was agreeable to them.
... George Fox (1624-1691), Journal, v. I, Philadelphia: B. & T. Kite, 1808,  p. 111
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:6,7; more at Bible)
Thursday, July 17, 1997
Though you may think yourselves ever so dull, and incapable of sublime attainments, yet by prayer the possession and enjoyment of God is easily obtained; for He is more desirous to give Himself to us than we can be to receive Him.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Mme. Guyon (1648-1717), William Backhouse (1779/80-1844) & James Jansen (1784-1821), A Guide to True Peace , Pendle Hill by Harper & Brothers, 1946, p. 15
(see the book; see also Acts 10:9; more at Prayer)
Friday, July 18, 1997
We ought not to forget that the whole Church, quite as much as any part of it, exists for the sole reason of finally becoming superfluous. Of heaven St. John the Divine said, “I saw no temple therein.”
... Howard A. Johnson (1915-1974), “The Vocation of the Anglican Communion (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 227
(see the book; see also Rev. 21:22; more at Church)
Saturday, July 19, 1997
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379
As long as I live, I will never appeal for money for the mission of God in this world. This is a degradation of God and of ourselves, which has pauperized us in every way over the centuries. God has no need, and if the mission is God’s, then we do not ask for help to give God a boost; therefore we do not appeal for funds. We allow people to take a share in God’s work, and this is a very different thing.
... Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), Comments on “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 130
(see the book; see also Luke 10:2-7; Acts 4:33-37; 13:2-3; 2 Cor. 7-9; 8:1-2; 9:10-13; 11:9; Phil. 4:11-19; more at Giving, God, Life, Mission, Money, Share, Work)
Sunday, July 20, 1997
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566
An essential part of the ordination exam ought to be a passage from some recognized theological work set for translation into vulgar English—just like doing Latin prose. Failure on this part should mean failure on the whole exam. It is absolutely disgraceful that we expect missionaries to the Bantus to learn Bantu, but never ask whether our missionaries to the Americans or English can speak American or English. Any fool can write learned language: the vernacular is the real test. If you can’t turn your faith into it, then either you don’t understand it or you don’t believe it.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), God in the Dock , ed. Walter Hooper, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994, p. 338
(see the book; more at Faith)
Monday, July 21, 1997
Instead of so knowing Christ that they have Him in them saving them, they lie wasting themselves in soul-sickening self-examination as to whether they are believers, whether they are really trusting in the atonement, whether they are truly sorry for their sins—the way to madness of the brain and despair of the heart...Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have, this day, done one thing because He said, Do it, or once abstained because He said, Do not do it. It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe, in Him, if you do not do anything He tells you.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Truth in Jesus”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 244-245
(see the book; see also Eph. 4:20-23; more at Obedience)
Tuesday, July 22, 1997
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles
It is for Christ’s sake that we believe in the Scriptures, but it is not for the Scriptures’ sake that we believe in Christ.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546)
(see the book; see also John 1:1; more at Belief, Bible, Christ)
Wednesday, July 23, 1997
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373
Faith is not a refuge from reality. It is a demand that we face reality, with all its difficulties, opportunities, and implications. The true subject matter of religion is not our own little souls, but the Eternal God and His whole mysterious purpose, and our solemn responsibility to Him.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 105
(see the book; see also Hab. 2:4; Luke 12:22-32; 17:6; 1 John 4:4; more at Faith, God, Purpose, Religion, Responsibility, Truth)
Thursday, July 24, 1997
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471
Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.ii.1, p. 31
(see the book; see also Ps. 25:14; more at God, Humility, Knowing God, Knowledge, Man, Neglect, Pride, Service, Soul)
Friday, July 25, 1997
Feast of James the Apostle
Our Christian experience must agree with the Bible. We will be taught by the Bible and fed by the Bible. But we do not believe in Christ because He is in the Bible: we believe in the Bible because Christ is in us.
... Claxton Monro (1914-1991)
(see also Matt. 4:4; Luke 24:45; more at Belief, Bible, Christ, Experience, Teach)
Saturday, July 26, 1997
God is none other than the Saviour of our wretchedness. So we can only know God well by knowing our iniquities. Therefore those who have known God without knowing their wretchedness, have not glorified him, but have glorified themselves.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) , P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #547. p. 177
(see the book; see also John 9:39-41; 1 Cor. 1:21; more at Depravity, God, Knowing God, Savior, Sin)
Sunday, July 27, 1997
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011
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)
Monday, July 28, 1997
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750
Jesu, priceless treasure,Source of purest pleasureTruest friend to me!Long my heart has panted,Till it well-nigh fainted,Thirsting after Thee!Thine I am, O spotless Lamb!I will suffer naught to hide Thee,Ask for naught beside Thee. In Thine arm I rest me,Foes who would molest meCannot reach me here;Though the earth be shakingEvery heart be quaking,Jesus calms my fear;Sin and hell in conflict fellWith their heaviest storms assail me,Jesus will not fail me. Hence, all thoughts of sadness,For the Lord of gladness,Jesus, enters in!Those who love the Father,Though the storms may gather,Still have peace within;Yea, whate’er we here must bear,Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,Jesu, priceless treasure!
... Johann Franck (1618-1677), Christian Singers of Germany, Catherine Winkworth, New York: Macmillan & Co., 1869, p. 228-229
(see the book; see also John 15:14; more at Worship)
Tuesday, July 29, 1997
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord
It was an unhappy division that has been made between faith and works; though in my Intellect I may divide them; just as in the candle I know there is both light and heat: but yet put out the candle, and they are both gone.
... John Selden (1584-1654), Table-Talk , Whitefirars: Davidson, 1821, p. 56
(see the book; see also Jas. 2:14,17-18; more at Faith, Light, Work)
Wednesday, July 30, 1997
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833
It seems to be an opinion pretty generally prevalent, that kindness and sweetness of temper; sympathizing, benevolent, and generous affections; attention to what in the world’s estimation are the domestic, relative, and social duties; and, above all, a life of general activity and usefulness, may well be allowed, in our imperfect state, to make up for the defect of what, in strict propriety of speech, is termed religion.Many indeed will unreservedly declare, and more will hint the opinion, that “the difference between the qualities above-mentioned and religion, is rather a verbal or logical, than a real and essential difference; for in truth, what are they but religion in substance if not in name? Is it not the great end of religion, and in particular the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate, and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends, and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties? We do not deny that, in the general mass of society, and particularly in the lower orders, such conduct and tempers cannot be diffused and maintained by any other medium than that of religion. But if the end be effected, surely it is only unnecessary refinement to dispute about the means. It is even to forget your own principles; and to refuse its just place to solid practical virtue, while you assign too high a value to speculative opinions.”
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 197-198
(see the book; see also Gal. 5:22,23; more at Social)
Thursday, July 31, 1997
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556
You go to your saint and find God working and manifest in him. He got near to God by some saint of his that went before him, or that stood beside him, in whom he saw the divine presence. That saint again lighted his fire at some flame before him; and so the power of the sainthoods animates and fills the world.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1878, p. 122
(see the book; see also Phil. 4:8,9; more at Historical)
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