Quotations for February, 1998
Sunday, February 1, 1998
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525
We should not draw too sharp a distinction between this “barren land” or “wilderness” of our pilgrimage, and the sweet home that God has prepared. We all know the changes and chances of this troublous life; but we can also know in this vale of tears the healthful spirit of His grace. Health for the whole man is God’s gracious purpose for us here and now, often frustrated, often prevented by unbelief. The life of the saints in light must not emphasize for us simply the contrast between their state and ours, but rather the beginning of the gift of eternal life and all its benefits of inner strength and peace amid earthly vicissitudes.
... David Head, Shout for Joy, New York: MacMillan Co., 1962, p. 128
(see the book; see also Deut. 32:10-11; Rom. 7:22-24; 8:1-2; 1 Tim. 1:16; Heb. 11:37-40; more at Affliction, Conversion, Eternal life, Peace, Pilgrim, Strength)
Monday, February 2, 1998
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE
Every single time a sacrament is celebrated, God takes action, there and then—does something, not on Calvary, but in that church. And what He does is to come to each soul partaking in the Sacrament and to assure it that He stands to the best and biggest of His promises and to the fullness of His grace in Christ; ... de-universalizes the Scriptures and individualizes them, makes them a personal promise, couched no longer in general terms but offered to very you, and very me, as individually as if they covered no other but referred to you and me alone. We may be cold and dead and unresponsive. None the less, something happens in the Sacrament. For God stands to His side of the Covenant, whether we stand to ours or not.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 166
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:13; Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Matt. 24:35; 1 Cor. 5:8; Heb. 6:17-18; more at Action, Assurance, Christ, Church, Fullness, God, Grace, Promise, Sacrament, Scripture)
Tuesday, February 3, 1998
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865
The Church is an organism that grows best in an alien society.
... C. Stacey Woods (d. 1983)
(see also Ps. 39:12; Acts 1:8; 8:1,5-8,40; 11:20-21; 15:7-8; more at Church, Growth, Social)
Wednesday, February 4, 1998
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
To realize that you are safe and happy standing at God’s side, with His love encompassing you because you are forgiven; too happy to take offense any more; too much in love with life to want to be made miserable with an unforgiving heart, and that now every conflict is a chance to learn more of the exceeding beauty of Love: that is worth living for, and surely worth dying to this misery-making self for. [Continued tomorrow]
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 67
(see the book; see also Rom. 12:17-21; Gen. 50:20; Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 14:27; Acts 13:37-39; Rom. 6:6-8,11; 2 Cor. 4:10-11; more at Forgiveness, God, Happiness, Heart, Love, Safety)
Thursday, February 5, 1998
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597
[Continued from yesterday]And let us be grateful beyond words for this: that God will not let us alone until we have learnt it and stand by His side. He troubles us, He brings His disturbing light back and back to us, showing us how coarse and heavy the dying self, seeking her own, is. How horrible it is that any feeling of unforgiveness, accepted and held on to, towards our brother, drives God from our side; how quickly we must do all we can to heal the separation, because we are out in the cold and the dark indeed, if divorced from that Love.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 67
(see the book; see also Col. 3:13; Matt. 5:44-45; 6:14-15; Mark 11:25; Acts 13:37-39; Eph. 4:32; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Affliction, Forgiveness, God, Gratitude, Love, Trouble)
Friday, February 6, 1998
Prayer is the expression of a good desire. The human heart is full of restless desires, and the prayers of men consist for the most part of the unsifted petitions which are urged by their varying passions... To desire what is right, and to desire it consistently, and passionately, is the first condition of true living. The desires can be corrected only by truth, the mind must apprehend God, and then it will say, “There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.”
... James Hastings (1852-1922), The Christian Doctrine of Prayer, Edinbugh: T. & T. Clark, 1915, p. 25
(see the book; see also Ps. 73:25; 42:1-2; 143:6; Isa. 26:8-9; Acts 20:24; Rom. 8:18,26; Phil. 3:8-9; 2 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 5:20; more at Apprehension, God, Goodness, Heart, Mind, Prayer, Truth)
Saturday, February 7, 1998
Constantly practice [the] habit of inwardly gazing upon God. You know that something inside your heart sees God. Even when you are compelled to withdraw your conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs, there is within you a secret communion always going on.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 90
(see the book; see also Eph. 1:18-19; Isa. 6:1-8; John 14:23; 2 Cor. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Communion, God, Heart, Knowledge, Prayer, Sight)
Sunday, February 8, 1998
Here he tells us that the new birth is first of all “not of blood.” You don’t get it through the blood stream, through heredity. Your parents can give you much, but they cannot give you this. Being born in a Christian home does not make you a Christian.
... E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), Conversion, New York: Abingdon Press, 1959, p. 37
(see the book; see also John 3:5-6; Luke 20:35-36; John 1:12-13; Rom. 8:19,23; 1 Cor. 2:12; 1 John 2:29; 5:1,6; more at Blood, Conversion, Giving, Home, New birth)
Monday, February 9, 1998
Who rises from prayer a better man, his prayer is answered.
... George Meredith (1828-1909), The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1900, p. 75
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:6; more at Growth, Man, Prayer)
Tuesday, February 10, 1998
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543
All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired, although not in the hour or in the measure, or the very thing which they ask; yet they will obtain something greater and more glorious than they had dared to ask.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Watchwords for the Warfare of Life, Elizabeth Rundle Charles, ed., New York: M. W. Dodd, 1869, p. 71
(see the book; see also Mark 11:23-24; Matt. 7:7; 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9-10; John 16:24; 2 Cor. 12:8-9; 1 John 5:14-15; more at Faith, Fulfillment, God, Heart, Prayer)
Wednesday, February 11, 1998
We should always act with as much energy, as those who expect everything from themselves; we should always pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God.
... Charles C. Colton (1780-1832), Lacon: or, Many things in few words: addressed to those who think, London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1837, p. 104
(see the book; see also John 15:7; more at Action, God, Prayer, Strength, Trust)
Thursday, February 12, 1998
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691
1. When there is a want of brotherly love and Christian confidence among professors of religion, then a revival is needed. Then there is a loud call for God to revive his work. When Christians have sunk down into a low and backslidden state, they neither have, nor ought to have, nor is there reason to have, the same love and confidence toward each other, as when they are all alive, and active, and living holy lives...2. When there are dissensions, and jealousies, and evil speakings among professors of religion, then there is great need of a revival. These things show that Christians have got far from God, and it is time to think earnestly of a revival. Religion cannot prosper with such things in the church, and nothing can put an end to them like a revival.3. When there is a worldly spirit in the church: it is manifest that the church is sunk down into a low and backslidden state, when you see Christians conform to the world in dress, equipage, parties, seeking worldly amusements, reading novels and other books such as the world reads. It shows that they are far from God, and that there is a great need of a Revival of Religion. [Continued tomorrow]
... Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), Lectures on Revivals of Religion, New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1835, p. 21-22
(see the book; see also Ps. 22:29-31; 85:6; Zech. 8:20; more at Church)
Friday, February 13, 1998
[Continued from yesterday]4. When the church finds its members falling into gross and scandalous sins, then it is time for the church to awake and cry to God for a Revival of Religion. When such things are taking place as give enemies of religion an occasion for reproach, it is time for the church to ask God, “What will become of Thy great name?”5. When there is a spirit of controversy in the church or in the land, a revival is needful. The spirit of religion is not the spirit of controversy. There can be no prosperity in religion, where the spirit of controversy prevails.6. When the wicked triumph over the church, and revile them, it is time to seek for a Revival of Religion.7. When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is for the firemen to awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city. The church ought to put out the fires of hell which are laying hold of the wicked. Sleep! Should the firemen sleep, and let the whole city burn down, what would be thought of such firemen? And yet their guilt would not compare with the guilt of Christians who sleep while sinners around them are sinking stupid into the fires of hell.
... Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), Lectures on Revivals of Religion, New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1835, p. 22-23
(see the book; see also Ps. 85:6; more at Church)
Saturday, February 14, 1998
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
God generally gives spiritual Blessings and Deliverances as He does temporal; that is, by the Mediation of an active and a vigorous Industry. The Fruits of the Earth are the Gift of God, and we pray for them as such; but yet we plant, and we sow, and we plow, for all that; and the Hands which are sometimes lift up in Prayer must at other times be put to the Plow, or the Husbandman must expect no Crop. Every Thing must be effected in the Way proper to its Nature, with the concurrent Influence of the divine Grace, not to supersede the Means, but to prosper and make them effectual.
... Robert South (1634-1716), Twelve Sermons and Discourses on Several Subjects and Occasions, v. VI , London: J. Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, 1727, p. 361
(see the book; see also Gen. 3:17-19; more at Blessing, Earth, Gifts, God, Grace, Industry, Prayer, Prosperity, Sow)
Sunday, February 15, 1998
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730
It is the Church’s mission to confront the world from the Godward side of life with the Christian principles of a free and just society. The dignity, the value, and the importance of every individual are made abundantly clear by the Son of God. He has shown us what human life is intended to be, and we must be willing to stand against whatever is amiss in the temper and disposition of the world, or of any segment of it.
... Robert R. Brown (1910-1994), “Totalitarianism, Communism, Secularism,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 34
(see the book; see also 1 John 5:4; 1 Pet. 2:11,12; more at Church, Evil, Mission, Social, Son, World)
Monday, February 16, 1998
When we are saved, we are at home in the universe; and, in principle and in the main, feeble and timid creatures as we are, there is nothing anywhere within the world or without it that can make us afraid.
... Bernard Bosanquet (1848-1923), What Religion Is, London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1920, p. 4-5
(see the book; see also John 14:27; more at Fearless, Salvation, Weakness, World)
Tuesday, February 17, 1998
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977
We shall benefit very much from the Sacrament if this thought has been impressed and engraved upon our minds: that none of the brethren can be injured, despised, rejected, abused, or in any way offended by us, without [our] injuring, despising, and abusing Christ by the wrongs we do; that we cannot disagree with our brethren without at the same time disagreeing with Christ; that we cannot love Christ without loving Him in the brethren; that we ought to take the same care of our brethren’s bodies as we take of our own; for they are members of our body; and that, as no part of our body is touched by any feeling of pain which is not spread among all the rest, so we ought not to allow a brother to be affected by any evil, without being touched with compassion for him.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, IV.xvii.38, p. 573
(see the book; see also John 15:12; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Communion, Compassion, Love, Pain)
Wednesday, February 18, 1998
So long as we stand “under the Law,” we cannot perceive this hidden unity of all the commandments. It is part of legalism that the will of God must appear to it as a multiplicity of commandments. In actual fact, it is one and indivisible; God wants nothing else except love because He Himself is love.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Letter to the Romans, Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1959, p. 111-112
(see the book; see also Mark 12:29-31; Deut. 6:4; 10:12; 30:6; Hos. 6:6, Luke 10:26-27; more at Commandment, Law, Legalism, Love, Unity, Will of God)
Thursday, February 19, 1998
[Christians], at their best, know that often they don’t know. They do not have all the answers. They do not have God in their pocket. We cannot answer every question that any bright boy in the back row might ask. We have only light enough to walk by.
... 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. 232
(see the book; see also John 1:9; more at Faith, Knowledge, Light, Question)
Friday, February 20, 1998
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906
The Church has no mission of its own. All we can have by ourselves is a club or a debating society; and our only hope, left to ourselves, is to win as many members for our own club and away from other clubs as we can. And whatever this is, it is not Mission. Mission belongs to God. The Mission was His from the beginning; it is His; it will always be His. He has His purposes from the foundation of the world, and the means to fulfill them; and the only part the Church has in this is obedience—a share in the eternal and life-giving obedience of the Son of God... And the most terrible judgment on the Church comes when God leaves us to our own devices because He is tired of waiting for our obedience—leaves us to be the domestic chaplains to a comfortable secular world—and goes Himself into the wilderness of human need and injustice and pain. This judgment does come on churches and nations, when they forget that God is in command, that He does the choosing.
... Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), An Anglican Turning Point, Austin: Church Historical Society, 1964
(see the book; see also John 6:44; 1 Chr. 16:23-24; Ps. 96; Isa. 43:7; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 13:2-4,47; Rev. 14:6-7; more at Church, Fulfillment, Mission, Need, Obedience, Social, World)
Saturday, February 21, 1998
And do these objectors mean to say that, because God has redeemed us from the curse of the law, therefore we owe him nothing, we have no duty now to him? Has not redemption rather made us doubly debtors? We owe him more than ever: we owe his holy law more than ever; more honor, more obedience. Duty has been doubled, not canceled, by our being delivered from the law; and he who says that duty has ceased, because deliverance has come, knows nothing of duty, or law, or deliverance.
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), God’s Way of Holiness, London: J. Nisbet, 1864, p. 67
(see the book; see also Rom. 6:1-4; 7:6; 8:11-14; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:17,22-24; 5:8-10; Phil. 2:3-7; Col. 1:10-12; 3:9-10; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:4-9; 1 John 2:6; more at Debt, Deliverance, Duty, Law, Legalism, Obedience, Redemption)
Sunday, February 22, 1998
There are still those who would add to the faith human traditions and fancies, thus cluttering it up and obscuring it; and those who would take away from it, rejecting (often with little thought) whatever may seem to them to be out of harmony with the so-called modern mind; and others who would distort it, making it one way or another a pretext for injustice and oppression. But, if we are to be effective in contending for the faith against false teachings, we must certainly contend for it by striving ourselves to understand it ever more truly and more fully.
... C. E. B. Cranfield (1915-2015), I & II Peter and Jude, London: SCM Press, 1960, p. 155-156
(see the book; see also Jude 1:3; Acts 20:29; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:3; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 4:6; Jude 1:17-19; Rev. 22:18-19; more at Apologetics, Contention, Faith, Labor, Tradition, Understanding)
Monday, February 23, 1998
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155
Jesus evidently felt deeply the emptiness and futility of much of the religious talk. He was interested only in those emotions and professions which could get themselves translated into character and action. Words have always been the bane of religion as well as its vehicle. Religious emotion has enormous motive force, but it is the easiest thing in the world for it to sizzle away in high professions and wordy prayers. In that case, it is a substitute and counterfeit, and a damage to the Reign of God among men.
... Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918), The Social Principles of Jesus, New York: Association Press, 1916, p. 67
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:7-8; more at Religion)
Tuesday, February 24, 1998
Many people not only lose the benefit, but are even the worse for their mortifications [i.e., sacrifices, abstensions]. It is because they mistake the whole nature and worth of them. They practice them for their own sakes, as things good in themselves; they think them to be real parts of holiness, and so rest in them, and look no further, but grow full of a self-esteem, and self-admiration for their own progress in them. This makes them self-sufficient, morose, severe judges of all those that fall short of their mortifications.And thus their self-denials do only that for them, which indulgences do for other people—they withstand and hinder the operation of God upon their souls; and instead of being really self-denials, they strengthen and keep up the kingdom of self.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer , London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 77-78
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:16-18; more at Holiness, Kingdom, Legalism, Nature, Progress, Self)
Wednesday, February 25, 1998
The apologetic of the New Testament, and of the early centuries generally, was addressed to men who had been brought up within one or other of the great pre-Christian religious systems and who staunchly defended their own inherited traditions against the innovation of the Christian outlook; whereas any apologetic that is to be effective in this country today must be addressed to men who stand within the inheritance of the Christian tradition and know nothing, save by hearsay, of any other, but who have now in varying degrees disengaged themselves from this tradition and whose quarrel with Christianity is therefore undertaken from the point of view either of no religion at all or of some very vague and tenuous residuum of Christian religiosity.
... John Baillie (1886-1960), Invitation to Pilgrimage, Oxford University Press, 1942, and New York: Scribner, 1942, p. 7-8
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:1-12; Matt. 12:39; Acts 2:40; 17:21; Rom. 1:20-21; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; more at Apologetics, Bible, Inheritance, Knowledge, Religion, Salvation, Today, Tradition)
Thursday, February 26, 1998
Looking into my heart, which is perhaps the best way of looking into other men’s, I know that the Savior I want is one of whom I can say with Thomas of old, “My Lord and my God.” It would not suffice for my need that He should be only an heroic brother, man divinely inspired. I owe Him my soul, He fills my whole spiritual horizon, I seek to lose myself in Him that I may find myself eternally in life and love divine.
... R. J. Campbell (1867-1956), The Call of Christ, London: Skeffington & Son, n.d. (before 1932)
(see the book; see also Matt. 16:24-25; John 20:28-29; Rev. 19:9-10; more at God, Heart, Inspiration, Jesus, Life, Love, Man, Need, Savior)
Friday, February 27, 1998
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633
If I be bound to pray for all that be in distress, surely I am bound, so far as it is in my power, to practise what I pray for.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert and Sanderson, Izaak Walton, London: Ingram, Cooke, and Co., 1853, p. 77
(see the book; see also John 9:31; more at Prayer)
Saturday, February 28, 1998
The men of faith might claim for their positions ancient tradition, practical usefulness, and spiritual desirability, but one query could prick all such bubbles: Is it scientific? That question has searched religion for contraband goods, stripped it of old superstitions, forced it to change its categories of thought and methods of work, and in general has so cowed and scared religion that many modern-minded believers... instinctively throw up their hands at the mere whisper of it... When a prominent scientist comes out strongly for religion, all the churches thank Heaven and take courage, as though it were the highest possible compliment to God to have Eddington believe in Him. Science has become the arbiter of this generation’s thought, until to call even a prophet and a seer ‘scientific’ is to cap the climax of praise.
... Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969), As I see Religion, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1932, p. 123
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:16; Jas. 1:27; 4:4; more at Faith, Prophet, Religion, Science, Tradition)
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