Quotations for March, 1999
Monday, March 1, 1999
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601
Is a mediator between the eternal spirit and the finite an unreality, an intrusion? The mystic soul may impatiently think so, but the moral soul finds such mediation the way to reality; and the mystic experience is not quite trustworthy about reality. The pagan gods had not mediators, because they were not real or good gods; but the living God has a living Revealer. To know the living God is to know Christ, to know Christ is to know the living God. We do not know God by Christ but in Him. We find God when we find Christ; and in Christ alone we know and share His final purpose. Our last knowledge is not the contact of our person with a thing or a thought; it is intercourse of person and person.
... P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), This Life and the Next, New York: MacMillan, 1918, p. 62
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:18; John 14:7-9; more at Knowing God)
Tuesday, March 2, 1999
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
Do those who say, lo here, or lo there, are the signs of His coming, think to be too keen for Him, and spy His approach? When He tells them to watch lest He find them neglecting their work, they stare this way and that, and watch lest He should succeed in coming like a thief!
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Word of Jesus on Prayer”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 61-62
(see the book; see also Matt. 24:44; more at Jesus, Neglect, Second Coming, Thought, Work)
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
“The Kingdom of Heaven,” said the Lord Christ, “is among you.” But what, precisely, is the Kingdom of Heaven? You cannot point to existing specimens, saying, “Lo, here!” or “Lo, there!” You can only experience it. But what is it like, so that when we experience it we may recognize it? Well, it is a change, like being born again and relearning everything from the start. It is secret, living power—like yeast. It is something that grows, like seed. It is precious like buried treasure, like a rich pearl, and you have to pay for it. It is a sharp cleavage through the rich jumble of things which life presents: like fish and rubbish in a draw-net, like wheat and tares; like wisdom and folly; and it carries with it a kind of menacing finality; it is new, yet in a sense it was always there—like turning out a cupboard and finding there your own childhood as well as your present self; it makes demands, it is like an invitation to a royal banquet—gratifying, but not to be disregarded, and you have to live up to it; where it is equal, it seems unjust; where it is just it is clearly not equal—as with the single pound, the diverse talents, the labourers in the vineyard, you have what you bargained for; it knows no compromise between an uncalculating mercy and a terrible justice—like the unmerciful servant, you get what you give; it is helpless in your hands like the King’s Son, but if you slay it, it will judge you; it was from the foundations of the world; it is to come; it is here and now; it is within you. It is recorded that the multitudes sometimes failed to understand.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, London: Golanz, 1963, p. 281
(see the book; see also Matt. 13:47,48; more at Jesus)
Thursday, March 4, 1999
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647
Sin is a base and ill-natured thing, and renders a man not so apt to be affected with the injuries he hath offered to God, as with the mischief which is likely to fall upon himself.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLX, p. 287
(see the book; see also Ps. 38:18; Matt. 15:10-11; more at Sin)
Friday, March 5, 1999
No wonder if the Christians made an impression out of all proportion to their numbers. Conviction in the midst of waverers, fiery energy in a world of disillusion, purity in an age of easy morals, firm brotherhood in a loose society, heroic courage in a time of persecution, formed a problem that could not be set aside, however polite society might affect to ignore it: and the religion of the future turned on the answer to it. Would the world be able to explain it better than the Christians, who said it was the living power of the risen Saviour?
... Henry M. Gwatkin (1844-1916), Early Church History to A.D. 312, v. I, London: Macmillan, 1909, p. 234
(see the book; more at Historical)
Saturday, March 6, 1999
Silence, indeed, is the one form of worship which is almost universally thought intolerable by Dissenting clergy. Despite their not-too-distant affinity to the Quakers, they think they will be heard for their much speaking. And since their organists too are equally reluctant to let any liturgical action pass without a ruminative obbligato on the Swell manual, congregations are subjected to unrelieved noise during a service which may well have begun with the reading of the sentence, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 24-25
(see the book; see also Hab. 2:20; more at Worship)
Sunday, March 7, 1999
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
We may look into a church, almost any church, and discover someone who, though he is offered a gospel of love, must subtly convert it into a gospel of hate before he can receive it. The gospel of love—with its emphasis upon brotherhood, equality before God, the dignity of every human being, and man’s social responsibility toward man—does not satisfy the lack that he urgently feels. That calls for something altogether different, for an assurance that he is superior, that he is right where others are wrong—a kind of cosmic teacher’s pet.
... Bonaro W. Overstreet (1902-1985), “For the Spirit’s Hunger,” part 2, “In the Beginning: the Need Felt“, in The PTA Magazine, v. XLVI, n. 2 (October, 1951), Chicago: National Parent-Teacher, Inc., 1951, p. 15
(see the book; see also Matt. 23:13-15; more at Assurance, Authenticity, Brotherhood, Church, Gospel, Hatred, Love, Man, Responsibility, Satisfaction, Social)
Monday, March 8, 1999
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929
The tremendous power of mass-suggestion, which we call the world, can only be confronted, and its victims cured, if they are received into a body which is filled with a vivid, vigorous, and conscious community life of the Spirit. Individuals are powerless to cope with a power so subtle and all-pervasive as this mass-suggestion is. If we are to save and rescue sinners, there must grow up in our Church a Spirit of Love and Brotherhood, a Christian community-life, transcending class and national distinctions, as pungent, as powerful, as impossible to escape as the Spirit of the world. No Apostolic Succession, no Ecclesiastical correctness, no rigidity of orthodox doctrine, can be themselves and in themselves give us this; it comes, and can only come, from a clearer vision of the Christ, a more complete surrender to His call and to the bearing of His Cross.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 193
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:17,18; more at Church)
Tuesday, March 9, 1999
A really patient servant of God is as ready to bear inglorious troubles as those which are honorable. A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander, and false accusations from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life , London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.iii, p. 137
(see the book; see also Rom. 15:2,3; Jas. 5:10,11; more at Weakness)
Wednesday, March 10, 1999
When we look out towards this love that moves the stars and stirs in the child’s heart and claims our total allegiance and remember that this alone is Reality and we are only real so far as we conform to its demands, we see our human situation from a fresh angle; and we perceive that it is both more humble and dependent, and more splendid, than we had dreamed. We are surrounded and penetrated by great spiritual forces, of which we hardly know anything. Yet the outward events of our life cannot be understood, except in their relation to that unseen and intensely living world, the Infinite Charity which penetrates and supports us, the God whom we resist and yet for whom we thirst; who is ever at work, transforming the self-centred desire of the natural creature into the wide-spreading, outpouring love of the citizen of Heaven.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The School of Charity, New York: Longmans, Green, 1934, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1991, p. 11
(see the book; see also Ps. 42:1-2; more at Love)
Thursday, March 11, 1999
At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.iii.5, p.35
(see the book; see also Rev. 16:7; more at Action, Day, Judgment, Obedience)
Friday, March 12, 1999
I have heard professing Christians of our own day speak as though the historicity of the Gospels does not matter—all that matters is the contemporary Spirit of Christ. I contend that the historicity does matter, and I do not see why we, who live nearly two thousand years later, should call into question an Event for which there were many eye-witnesses still living at the time when most of the New Testament was written. It was no “cunningly devised fable” but an historic irruption of God into human history which gave birth to a young church so sturdy that the pagan world could not stifle or destroy it.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 40-41
(see the book; see also 2 Pet. 1:16; more at Bible, Church, God, Historical, Pagan, Witness)
Saturday, March 13, 1999
If a poet or an artist puts himself into his Productions he is criticised. But that is exactly what God does, he does so in Christ. And precisely that is Christianity. The creation was really only completed when God included himself in it. Before the coming of Christ God was certainly in the creation, but as an invisible sign, like the watermark in paper. But the creation was completed by the Incarnation because God thereby included himself in it.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 324
(see the book; see also John 1:32-34; more at Jesus)
Sunday, March 14, 1999
I am persuaded that some have scarce any better or more forcible argument to satisfy their own minds that they are in the right in religion, than the inclination they find in themselves to hate and persecute them whom they suppose to be in the wrong.
... John Owen (1616-1683), “Indulgence and Toleration Considered” , in Works of John Owen, v. XIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 538
(see the book; see also Rom. 14:1-4; more at Argument, Hatred, Persecution, Religion, Wrong)
Monday, March 15, 1999
The real conviction of the living Christ was not carried to the world by a book nor by a story. Men might allege that they had seen the risen Lord; that was nothing till they themselves were known. The witness of the resurrection was not the word of Paul (as we see at Athens) nor of the Eleven; it was the new power in life and death that the world saw in changed men...The legend of a reputed resurrection of some unknown person in Palestine nobody needed to consider; but what were you to do with the people who died in the arena, the re-born slaves with their newness of life in your own house? And when you “looked into the story,” it was no mere somebody or other of whom they told it. The conviction of the people you knew, amazing in its power of transforming character and winning first the goodwill and the trust and then the conversion of others, was supported and confirmed by the nature and personality of the Man of whom they spoke, of whom you read in their books. “Never man spake like this man,” you read, nor thought like this man, nor like this man believed in God. I can not but think that the factors that make a man Christian to-day were those that won the world then, our age and that age, in culture, in hopes and fears in loss of nerve, are not unlike. [Continued tomorrow]
... T. R. Glover (1869-1943), The Influence of Christ in the Ancient World, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929, p. 96,98-99
(see the book; see also John 5:21; 7:46; more at Apologetics)
Tuesday, March 16, 1999
[Continued from yesterday]Belief in immortality for us does not depend on a story, however well attested, in an ancient book... No, here was a sequence of great character and emancipated spirit, all attached to and explained by such a personality as the world never saw; and the central doctrine of the risen Christ squared with the rationality and the goodness of God... The wise said that God and the godlike could have no contact with suffering, but Jesus was no phantom feigning to be crucified; he truly suffered on the cross, he truly rose. Suffering is a language all can understand, and none can quite exhaust; and the suffering Christ, victorious over pain and death, meant for all who grasped his significance a new faith in God, a new freedom of mind in God.
... T. R. Glover (1869-1943), The Influence of Christ in the Ancient World, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1929, p. 99
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:8-10; more at Apologetics)
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460
Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love their cow—for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God, when they love Him for their own advantage. Indeed, I tell you the truth, any object you have in your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost Truth.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), quoted in Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 52
(see the book; see also Luke 16:13; more at Authenticity)
Thursday, March 18, 1999
The great unity which true science seeks is found only by beginning with our knowledge of God, and coming down from Him along the stream of causation to every fact and event that affects us.
... Howard Crosby (1826-1891)
(see the book; see also Prov. 2:3-5; more at Social)
Friday, March 19, 1999
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth
It be a certain truth, that none can understand [the prophets’ and apostles’] writings aright, without the same Spirit by which they were written.
... George Fox (1624-1691), Journal, v. I, Philadelphia: B. & T. Kite, 1808, p. 110
(see the book; see also John 16:13; more at Bible)
Saturday, March 20, 1999
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687
It is no longer the fashion to suffer for the sake of God, and to bear the Cross for Him; for the diligence and real earnestness, that perchance were found in man, have been extinguished and have grown cold; and now no one is willing any longer to suffer distress for the sake of God.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The Inner Way, Sermon XXII
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:13-14; more at Sin)
Sunday, March 21, 1999
As against Thee, as without Thee, man is a thing of naught; ... as of Thee, man is a pearl of price, the reflection of Thy own personal infinity, the child and heir of immortality. He was formed in Thy creative counsels, O Thou Lover of man, to transcend death forever, and to persist, not in a part of his being only, but in its indissoluble ideal whole, unto the life of the world to come.
... Handley Moule (1841-1920)
(see also Ps. 8; more at Prayers, Providence)
Monday, March 22, 1999
The reconciliation of man to God begins when God accepts the child of man, exactly as he is, into a relationship with himself—“this grace wherein we stand.” This He does for the sake of what man is to inherit, to become. And for the means, He gives him over to a Person, Christ, and a community, the Church; and in attachment to these, personality grows, freedom is attained, sin is forgiven, estrangement is ended, capacities for relationship extend. Reconciliation is the Spirit’s liberating work of love, exercised through a Person and a community of persons.
... G. R. Dunstan
(see also Rom. 5:1,2; 11:13-15; Col. 1:20-22; Heb. 2:16-18; more at Community, God, Grace, Inheritance, Love, Man, Reconciliation)
Tuesday, March 23, 1999
Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength, before going out to face the world again.“The thoughtful soul to solitude retires,” said the poet * of other and quieter times; but where is the solitude to which we can retire today? ... “Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still,” is a wise and healing counsel; but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television? These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all. What was intended to be a blessing has become a positive curse. No spot is now safe from the world’s intrusion...The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. What the world will do about it is their problem. Apparently the masses want it the way it is, and the majority of Christians are so completely conformed to this present age that they, too, want things the way they are. They may be annoyed a bit by the clamor and by the goldfish-bowl existence they live, but apparently they are not annoyed enough to do anything about it.* from Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, stanza IV
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Of God and Men, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1960, p. 103,105
(see the book; see also Ps. 4:4; more at Prayer)
Wednesday, March 24, 1999
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
Supply-and-demand,—alas! For what noble work was there ever yet any audible demand in that poor sense? The man of Macedonia, speaking in vision to the Apostle Paul, “Come over and help us,” did not specify what rate of wages he would give.
... Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Past and Present, London: Chapman and Hall, 1843, p. 160
(see the book; see also Acts 16:9,10; 1 Cor. 9:12; more at Mission)
Thursday, March 25, 1999
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary
The Old Testament does not occupy itself with how Israel thought of God. Its concern is with how Israel ought to think of God. To it, the existence of God is not an open question; nor his nature; nor the accessibility of knowledge of him. God himself has taken care of that. He has made himself known to his people, and their business is not to feel after him if haply they may fumblingly find him, but to hearken to him as he declares to them what and who he is. [Continued tomorrow]
... Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921), “God’s Revelation of Himself to Israel”, in Sunday School Times, August 4, 1907, p. 289
(see the book; see also Ex. 20:2; Amos 1:1; more at Bible)
Friday, March 26, 1999
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883
[Continued from yesterday]The fundamental note of the Old Testament, in other words, is Revelation. Its seers and prophets are not men of philosophic minds who have risen from the seen to the unseen, and, by dint of much reflection, have gradually attained to elevated conceptions of him who is the author of all that is. They are men of God whom God has chosen, that he might speak to them and through them to his people. Israel has not in and by them created for itself a God. God has through them created for himself a people.
... Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921), “God’s Revelation of Himself to Israel”, in Sunday School Times, August 4, 1907, p. 289
(see the book; see also Eph. 1:11-12; more at Bible)
Saturday, March 27, 1999
Providence is a greater mystery than Religion. The state of the world is more humiliating to our reason, than the doctrines of the Gospel. A reflecting Christian sees more to excite his astonishment and to exercise his faith in the state of things between Temple Bar [in Dublin] and St. Paul’s [in London], than in what he reads from Genesis to Revelation.
... Richard Cecil (1748-1810), The Works of the Rev. Richard Cecil, v. III, Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1825, p. 405
(see the book; see also Jas. 4:13-15; more at Providence)
Sunday, March 28, 1999
In the person of Christ, the formidable law of God, which by itself appalls us by its vast comprehensiveness and truth, and makes us hide ourselves from its dread sanctity, is brought down into the life of a brother, ... and we see it illustrated and ratified in human action, we see righteousness that makes us feel more bitterly our sin, that makes us look more disparagingly upon our own efforts, yet leaves in us a longing to be like Him, as if we ought to be as He is.
... E. E. Jenkins (1820-1905), Life and Christ 
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; Phil. 3:8-11; more at Jesus)
Monday, March 29, 1999
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974
What will move you? Will pity? Here is distress never the like. Will duty? Here is a Person never the like. Will fear? Here is wrath never the like. Will remorse? Here are sins never the like. Will kindness? Here is love never the like. Will bounty? Here are benefits never the like. Will all these? Here they be all, ... all in the highest degree.
... Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), “Sermon on Good Friday”, in Ninety-six Sermons, v. II, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841, p. 154
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:7; 21:12,13; Mark 6:34; Luke 6:34,35; 11:37-54; more at Gospel)
Tuesday, March 30, 1999
From the very first, the conviction that Jesus had been raised from death has been that by which [the Christians’] very existence has stood or fallen. There was no other motive to account for them, to explain them... At no point within the New Testament is there any evidence that the Christians stood for an original philosophy of life or an original ethic. Their sole function is to bear witness to what they claim as an event—the raising of Jesus from among the dead... The one really distinctive thing for which the Christians stood was their declaration that Jesus had been raised from the dead according to God’s design, and the consequent estimate of him as in a unique sense Son of God and representative man, and the resulting conception of the way to reconciliation.
... C. F. D. Moule (1908-2007), The Phenomenon of the New Testament, v. I, London: SCM, 1967, p. 11,14,18
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:22-23; more at Death, Easter, Jesus, Philosophy, Reconciliation, Resurrection, Son, Witness)
Wednesday, March 31, 1999
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
Though natural men, who have induced secondary and figurative consideration, have found out this... emblematical use of sleep, that it should be a representation of death, God, who wrought and perfected his work, before Nature began, (for Nature was but his Apprentice, to learn in the first seven days, and now is his foreman, and works next under him) God, I say, intended sleep only for the refreshing of man by bodily rest, and not for a figure of death, for he intended not death itself then. But man having induced death upon himself, God hath taken man’s creature, death, into his hand, and mended it; and whereas it hath in itself a fearfull form and aspect, so that Man is afraid of his own creature, God presents it to him, in a familiar, in an assiduous, in an agreeable, and acceptable form, in sleep, that so when he awakes from sleep and says to himself, shall I be no otherwise when I am dead, than I was even now, when I was asleep, he may be ashamed of his waking dreams, and of his melancholy fancying out a horrid and an affrightful figure of that death which is so like sleep. As then we need sleep to live out our threescore and ten years, so we need death, to live that life which we cannot outlive.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, XV, p. 566
(see the book; see also 1 Thess. 4:13-15; more at Providence)
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