Christ, our Light

Quotations for May, 2003

Thursday, May 1, 2003
Feast of Philip & James, Apostles

We should be very sure that the ruined soul is not one who has missed a few more or less important theological points and will flunk a theological examination at the end of life. Hell is not an “oops!” or a slip. One does not miss heaven by a hair, but by constant effort to avoid and escape God. “Outer darkness” is for one who, everything said, wants it, whose entire orientation has slowly and firmly set itself against God and therefore against how the universe actually is. It is for those who are disastrously in error about their own life and their place before God and man. The ruined soul must be willing to hear of and recognize its own ruin before it can find how to enter a different path, the path of eternal life that naturally leads into spiritual formation in Christlikeness.
... Dallas Willard (1935-2013), The Renovation of the Heart, Colorado Springs, Colo.: Navpress, 2002, p. 59 (see the book; see also Matt. 8:10-12; 1 Kings 16:30-31; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 5:8; 6:12; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Christlikeness, Darkness, Eternal life, Heaven, Providence, Soul)

Friday, May 2, 2003
Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher, 373

Those on both sides who continue to hold to the historic view concerning the Bible should say “I’m sorry” where it is needed. Both sides should let history be history and not reopen the old sores, except to learn not to repeat the same mistakes in an even more complicated and subtle age. The broader group should realize that a line must be drawn with love, yet drawn. The other side should realize that harshness is not to be confused with standing for holiness and that, in an age like our own, surrounded by a relativistic culture and by a relativistic church, which bends the Bible to the changing whims of this age, the chasm should be kept in the right place, with all our strongly believed-in distinctives on this side of the chasm, rather than making the distinctives the chasm.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), foreword to Foundation of Biblical Authority, ed. James Montgomery Boice, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978, p. 18-19 (see the book; see also Tit. 2:15; Eph. 4:1-3,15; 2 Tim. 4:2; Tit. 3:10-11; 2 John 10-11; Rev. 3:19; more at Bible, Confusion, Discord, Historical)

Saturday, May 3, 2003

Generous love makes [a good man] hold others innocent in his heart; even when he sees infirmity or fault in his neighbour, he reflects that very likely all is not as it seems on the outside, but the act may have been done with a good intention; or else he thinks that God may have permitted it to take place for an admonition and lesson to himself; or again, as an opportunity for him to exercise self-control, and to learn to die unto himself by the patient endurance of and forbearance towards the faults of his neighbours, even as God has often borne many wrongs from him and had patience with his sins. And this would often tend more to his neighbour’s improvement than all the efforts he could make for it in the way of reproofs or chastisements, even if they were done in love, (though indeed we often imagine that our reproofs are given in love, when it is in truth far otherwise). For I tell thee, if thou couldst conquer thyself by long-suffering and gentleness and the pureness of thy heart, thou wouldst have vanquished all thine enemies.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler of Strasbourg, Charles Kingsley, pref. & Susanna Winkworth, tr., New York: Wiley & Halsted, 1858, “Sermon for St. Peter’s Day”, p. 463 (see the book; see also Heb. 13:12-14; 2 Tim. 4:2; Tit. 3:1-2; Jas. 3:17; more at Forebear, Generosity, Gentleness, Intention, Love, Sin, Weakness)

Sunday, May 4, 2003
Feast of English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation

I am, indeed, far from agreeing with those who think all religious fear barbarous and degrading and demand that it should be banished from the spiritual life. Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things—ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out our fear.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The World’s Last Night [1960], Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 109 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:18-19; Rom. 8:15; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 12:28-29; 1 John 4:12; more at Attitudes, Fear, Love, Perfection, Spiritual life)

Monday, May 5, 2003

Now if thou compare deed to deed, there is difference betwixt washing of dishes, and preaching of the word of God; but as touching to please God, none at all: for neither that nor this pleaseth, but as far forth as God hath chosen a man, hath put his Spirit in him, and purified his heart by faith and trust in Christ.
Let every man therefore wait on the office wherein Christ hath put him, and therein serve his brethren.
... William Tyndale (1492?-1536), “Parable of the Wicked Mammon” [1527], in Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions, Cambridge: The University Press, 1848, p. 102 (see the book; see also Luke 13:30; Mark 9:35; John 13:14-16; 1 Cor. 12:28; more at Christ, Deed, Faith, God, Obedience, Pleasure, Preach, Purity, Service)

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.
... William Cowper (1731-1800), The Works of William Cowper: his life, letters, and poems, New York: R. Carter & Brothers, 1851, p. 676 (see the book; see also Heb. 4:16; Matt. 16:15-18; Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-7; 2 Cor. 12:9; more at Fear, Prayer, Satan, Weakness)

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

For my generation I must have the oracles of God in fresh terms.
... Jim Elliot (1927-1956), The Journals of Jim Elliot, ed. Elisabeth Elliot, Revell, 1990, p. 166 (see the book; see also Acts 7:37-38; 17:23; Heb. 5:12; 1 Pet. 4:11-13; Jude 3; more at Bible, God, Prophecy, Teach)

Thursday, May 8, 2003
Feast of Juliana of Norwich, Mystic, Teacher, c.1417
Commemoration of Dallas Willard, Teacher, Spiritual Writer, 2013

Whilst pride, sensuality, covetousness, and ambition, had only the authority of the heathen world, Christians were thereby made more intent upon the contrary virtues. But when pride, sensuality, covetousness, and ambition, have the authority of the Christian world, then private Christians are in the utmost danger, not only of being shamed out of the practice, but of losing the very notion of the piety of the Gospel.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 323-324 (see the book; see also Obad. 1:3-4; Mark 10:42-45; 1 Tim. 6:17; 1 John 2:16; more at Ambition, Danger, Gospel, Heathen, Pride, Shame, Sin, Virtue, World)

Friday, May 9, 2003

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went,
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and ah! bright wings.
... Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), Poems and Prose of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Penguin Classics, 1953, p. 27 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:2; Eccl. 1:8-9; 2:16-18; John 15:26; more at Futility, Holy Spirit, Man, Nature, Toil)

Saturday, May 10, 2003

We must become “narrow” in the right way—“narrow” in the sense that we live only for Christ. I do not mean at all that our lives should show more religiosity. There is no one as broadhearted as the crucified Christ, whose outstretched arms seek all men. It is a matter of decisiveness in one’s heart, of living only for Christ. If we have this decisiveness, we will have broad hearts, though not, of course, in the worldly sense of tolerance for anything and everything.
... J. Heinrich Arnold (1913-1982), Discipleship, Farmington, PA: Plough Pub. House, 1994, p. 30-31 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:13-14; Isa. 65:1; Luke 13:24; 19:9-10; John 4:23; more at Attitudes, Christ, Heart, Life, Tolerance, Worldly)

Sunday, May 11, 2003

As in our daily walk we come nearer towards heaven, He will open to us more of heaven.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Parochial Sermons, v. III, London: Rivingtons, 1873, p. 206 (see the book; see also Gen. 5:24; Deut. 5:33; Ps. 1:1,6; Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 5:7; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 21:23-24; more at Heaven and Hell, Revelation, Way)

Monday, May 12, 2003
Commemoration of Aiden Wilson Tozer, Spiritual Writer, 1963

Meditate on Jacob’s wrestling with the angel all night: be thou also importunate with God for a blessing, and give not over till He hath blessed thee.
Meditate on the angel passing over the children of Israel, and destroying the Egyptians for disobedience and oppression; pray for the grace of obedience and charity, and for the divine protection.
Meditate on the angel who destroyed in a night the whole army of the Assyrians for fornication; call to mind the sins of thy youth, the sins of thy bed; and say with David, “My reins chasten me in the night season, and my soul refuseth comfort:” pray for pardon and the grace of chastity.
Meditate on the agonies of Christ in the garden, his sadness and affliction all that night; and thank and adore Him for His love, that made Him suffer so much for thee; and hate thy sins which made it necessary for the Son of God to suffer so much.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), Holy Living [1650], in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. III, London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1847, p. 41 (see the book; see also Ps. 119:59-60; Gen. 32:22-30; Ex. 11:4-12:30; Ps. 1:2; 16:7; 19:14; 63:5-6; 77:12; 104:34; 119:11; 143:5; Isa. 37:33-36; Matt. 26:36-50; Mark 14:32-46; Luke 22:39-49; Jude 1:23; more at Affliction, Angel, Comfort, Disobedience, God, Israel, Meditation, Prayer, Sin, Suffer)

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

To live of love, ’tis Mary’s part to share,
To bathe with tears and odorous perfume
Thy holy feet, to wipe them with my hair,
To kiss them; then still loftier lot assume,—
To rise, and by Thy side to take my place,
And pour my ointments on Thy holy head.
But with no balsams I embalm Thy Face!
’Tis love, instead!
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 12 (see the book; see also John 12:3-8; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:37-38; 23:55-24:1; more at Easter, Holiness, Humility, Love)

Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Feast of Matthias the Apostle

In Romans 1:17, we are accustomed to find the words, “The just shall live by faith.” This declaration has been a clarion call to faith and has been the text for many a sermon on the necessity of continued faith throughout life. It is true that this verse may have this meaning, but it is more probable that it means, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” This is in keeping with the whole emphasis of Paul throughout Romans, which has as its theme “justification by faith” (Romans 5:1). Paul does not present two themes in Romans: the one, “living by faith,” and the other, “justification by faith.” His purpose was to emphasize one great primary truth of Christian doctrine: the righteousness which comes by faith in God. It is a kind of imputed righteousness, which has its origin in the grace of God and its response in the faith of man. Not only is this translation more in keeping with the Pauline context, but it is more faithful to the Hebrew of Habakkuk 2:4, of which it is a quotation.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 73 (see the book; see also Hab. 2:4; John 3:36; Rom. 1:17; 5:1; Gal. 3:11; Phil. 3:8-9; Heb. 10:36-39; 11:6; more at Bible, Faith, Grace, Justification, Life, Righteousness, Truth)

Thursday, May 15, 2003
Commemoration of Charles Williams, Spiritual Writer, 1945

The history of Christendom itself would have been far happier could we all have remembered that rule of intelligence—not to believe a thing more strongly at the end of a bitter argument than at the beginning, not to believe it with the energy of the opposition rather than one’s own.
... Charles Williams (1886-1945), The Descent of the Dove: a history of the Holy Spirit in the church, Meridian Books, 1956, p. 193 (see the book; see also Gal. 2:11; Luke 11:53-54; Phil. 1:27-28; 2 Tim. 2:22-24; Heb. 12:15; more at Argument, Belief, Bitterness, Church, Historical, Strength)

Friday, May 16, 2003
Commemoration of Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877

Our fear of congregationalism is, I shrink from saying it, only another name for our fear of independence. We think it quite impossible that a native [Anglican] Church should be able to exist without the paternal care of an English overseer. If it were financially independent, it might be tempted to dispense with his services, and then, we are persuaded, it would at once fall into every error of doctrine and practice.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 60 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 11:8-14; 12:14-18; Phil. 4:14-16; Col. 1:22-23; more at Error, Fear, Independence, Mission, Temptation)

Saturday, May 17, 2003

It is true that the New Testament uses the term ekklesia for the spiritual reality of the body of Christ and also for the assembly, in which the genuineness of the spiritual reality of every individual professing member cannot be known. To this extent, the exact membership of any individual church and the universal church at large cannot be known and is thereby invisible. But even this invisible membership is very visible in the reality of life. As for membership in an invisible church without fellowship with any local assembly, this concept is never contemplated in the New Testament. The universal church was the universal fellowship of believers who met visibly in local assemblies.
... Robert L. Saucy (1930-2015), The Church in God’s Program, Chicago: Moody Press, 1972, p. 17 (see the book; see also Ps. 37:28-29; John 10:27-30; Rom. 11:2-5; 1 Cor. 8:3; 2 Tim. 2:19; more at Bible, Body of Christ, Church, Fellowship, Life)

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The attentive reader will notice two items about the New Testament, as he comes to the end of it. For one thing, there is no book of church order, laying down a code of rules for the worship and organization of the communities: [there is] no book corresponding to the Book of Leviticus. The other thing is that the writings are all meant for communities, not for individuals: they reflect and presuppose the life of a society or fellowship. Even the private notes of Paul to Philemon and of the presbyter John to Gaius are addressed to these individuals as members of the church; and Luke’s two volumes are intended primarily—but only primarily—for the Christian education of his friend and patron Theophilus.
... James Moffatt (1870-1944), A New Translation of the Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935, New York: Harper, 1935, Introduction, p. xxxv (see the book; see also Luke 1:1-4; Gal. 1:1-2; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1-2; 1 Thess. 1:1; more at Bible, Church, Community, Education, Fellowship, Rule, Worship)

Monday, May 19, 2003
Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988

While the local church is not the total body of Christ, it must be seen to be [that body’s] particular expression in its worship, ministry, and mission. It has authority to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments, but does not possess that authority in isolation, only as part of the total catholic Church. The authority of the local church can never, therefore, be absolute or autonomous, for, if it [asserts such authority], it denies that it is a part of the larger body and confuses the Church of God with its particular expression in the local church. It therefore requires a structure which allows it to act with the authority of the Church of God, because it must be Christ to its local community—while, at the same time, demonstrating that it possesses such authority only because it is part of the total Church of God whose authority is derived from its organic relationship with Christ, its Head.
... Ian P. M. Cundy (1945-2009), “The Church as Community”, in The People of God, Ian Cundy, ed., vol. 2 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 36 (see the book; see also Matt. 23:8-11; John 15:5-6; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15-16; Col. 1:16-18; 2:18-19; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Church, Community, Confusion, God, Gospel, Minister, Mission, Preach, Sacrament, Worship)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Before I can accede to your pretensions I must see, not only that the Church was such in the beginning, but, moreover, that it is according to God’s will that it be restored to its primitive glory, now that man’s sin has tarnished and departed from that glory; and, furthermore, that a voluntary union of “two or three” or two or three and twenty, or several such bodies, are each of them entitled, in any locality, to take the name of the Church of God, when that Church originally was an assemblage of all believers in any given locality.
You must, moreover, make it clear to me, if you assume such a place, that you have so succeeded by the gift and power of God in gathering together believers that you can rightfully treat those who refuse to answer to your call as schismatics, self-condemned, and strangers to God’s Church. And let me here dwell on a most important consideration, which they who are bent on making churches have overlooked. They have had their thoughts so fully engaged in their churches that they have almost lost sight of the Church. According to Scripture, the whole sum of the churches here on earth compose the Church, at least the Church on earth; and the Church in any given place was no other than the regular association together of whatever formed part of the entire body of the Church, that is to say, of the complete body of Christ here on earth; and he who was not a member of the Church in the place in which he dwelt, was no member of Christ’s Church at all.
... John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), The Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, v. I, London: G. Morrish, 1867-1900?, p. 218-219 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2-3; Gal. 1:6-9; more at Beginning, Body of Christ, Church, Earth, God, Scripture)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Feast of Commemoration of Helena, Protector of the Faith, 330

I sometimes have a bright dream of reunion engulfing us unawares, like a great wave from behind our backs, perhaps at the very moment when our official representatives are still pronouncing it impossible. Discussions usually separate us; actions sometimes unite us.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 16 (see the book; see also Ps. 133:1; Acts 4:32; 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27; 2:1-2; 1 Pet. 3:8; more at Action, Church, Dispute, Dream, Unity)

Thursday, May 22, 2003

In the surrender of separation only one thing must be abandoned, namely, a failure in obedience to Christ, hitherto unrealised, in which a Church, in common... with a neighbor Church, or with all the severed Churches, has had a share of guilt in that trouble which is the multiplicity of the Churches. Its share has possibly lain in the fact that the normal and necessary multiplicity of communities, gifts, and persons within the Church has by the agency of the evil one been perverted; possibly in this, that undue place and import have been attributed to what is racial, to elements of human mentality and ethic, or of historical persistence. This would be the disobedience which the Church would have to consider, as it listened afresh to the voice of Christ.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Church and the Churches [1936], Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005, p. 43-44 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:8-9; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 1:13; 11:18; Eph. 2:19-20; Jas. 2:3-4; more at Church, Community, Disobedience, Evil, Gifts, Guilt)

Friday, May 23, 2003
Commemoration of Petroc, Abbot of Padstow, 6th century

If [instead of beginning with the fellowship,] we begin by saying that the Church exists where the Word is truly preached and the Sacraments rightly administered, we are immediately involved in the attempt to answer the question, “What is correct doctrine and correct administration?” In fact, the latter question has tended to drop out of the centre of Protestant discussion, for the Word was really central and the Sacrament was conceived essentially as the Word made visible. “The Word,” says Luther, “is the one perpetual and infallible mark of the Church.” The natural result of this position is that the question of doctrinal correctness becomes the all important one. And, ex hypothesi, this question has to be discussed in isolation, apart from consideration of the character of the fellowship in which the doctrine is taught. The Church is defined in terms of agreement about doctrine, and this doctrinal agreement must be agreement on paper. A written theological statement becomes the one determinative centre of the Church’s life [instead of the unity of the believers in Christ].
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 51 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:8; Matt. 12:1-8; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:3; Heb. 10:25; more at Church, Existence, Fellowship, Gospel, Preach, Sacrament, Theology, Unity)

Saturday, May 24, 2003
Feast of John and Charles Wesley, Priests, Poets, Teachers, 1791 & 1788

LORD, who hast taught to us on earth
This lesson from above,
That all our works are nothing worth,
Unless they spring from love;
Send down thy Spirit from on high,
And pour in all our hearts
That precious gift of charity,
Which peace and joy imparts:
The healing balm, the holy oil
Which calms the waves of strife,
The drop which sweetens every toil,
The breath of our new life.
Without this blessed bond of peace
God counts the living dead:
O heavenly Father, grant us this,
Through Christ, the living Head.
Let all who love the Lord join hands
To aid the common good,
And knit more close the sacred bands
Of Christian brotherhood.
Make all thy pastors one, O Lord,
In heart, in mind, in speech,
That they may set forth thy pure word,
And live the life they preach.
Let all hold fast the truths whereby
A church must stand or fall;
In doubtful things grant liberty,
Show charity in all.
Thus shall we to our sacred name
Our title clearly prove,
While even our enemies exclaim,
”See how these Christians love.”
... Richard Massie (1800-1887), A Collection of Hymns, for the use of the people called Methodists, John Wesley, London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1876, #822, p. 744-745 (see the book; see also John 13:34-35; 15:12,17; 1 Cor. 13; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 John 3:23-24; 2 John 1:5-6; more at Charity, Church, Joy, Love, Peace, Prayers, Preach, Spirit, Teach, Truth, Work)

Sunday, May 25, 2003
Feast of the Venerable Bede, Priest, Monk of Jarrow, Historian, 735
Commemoration of Aldhelm, Abbot of Mamsbury, Bishop of Sherborne, 709

Some pretending highly to moderation on both sides, especially among the Protestants, hope that [peace] may be attained by mutual condescension of the parties at variance, contemperation of opinions and practices unto the present distant apprehensions and interests of the chief leaders of either side: what issue and event their desires, hopes, and attempts will have, time will show to all the world. For my part, until, by a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God from on high, I see Christians in profession agreeing in pursuing the ends of Christianity, endeavouring to be followers of Jesus Christ in a conversation becoming the Gospel, without trusting to the parties wherein they are engaged, I shall have very little hopes to see any unity amongst us that shall be one jot better than our present differences. [Continued tomorrow]
... John Owen (1616-1683), “A Vindication of the Animadversions on ‘Fiat Lux’” [1664], in Works of John Owen, v. XIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 312 (see the book; see also Rom. 15:5-7; Phil. 2:1-2; 3:15-16; 1 Pet. 3:8; more at Church, Endeavor, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Hope, Peace, Unity)

Monday, May 26, 2003
Feast of Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Commemoration of Arthur John Gossip, Spiritual Writer, 1954

[Continued from yesterday]
The present face of Christianity makes the world a wearisome wilderness; nor should I think any thing a more necessary duty than it would be for persons of piety and ability to apologize for the religion of Jesus Christ, and to show how unconcerned it is in the ways and practices of the most that profess it, and how utterly another thing it is from what in the world it is represented to be, ... were it not that I suppose it more immediately incumbent on them and us all to do the same work in a real expression of its power and excellency, in such a kind of goodness, holiness, righteousness, and heavenliness of conversation, as the world is only as yet in secret acquainted withal. When this is done, the way for a further agreement will be open and facile; and until it be so, ... we shall have no end of our quarrels.
... John Owen (1616-1683), “A Vindication of the Animadversions on ‘Fiat Lux’” [1664], in Works of John Owen, v. XIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 312-313 (see the book; see also John 10:16; 17:21-23; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:10; more at Church, Goodness, Holiness, Kindness, Quarrel, Righteousness, World)

Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Commemoration of John Calvin, renewer of the Church, 1564

Dreadful are those descriptions in which Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Habakkuk, and others, deplore the disorders of the Church of Jerusalem. There was such general and extreme corruption in the people, in the magistrates, and in the priests, that Isaiah does not hesitate to compare Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah. Religion was partly despised, partly corrupted. Their manners were generally disgraced by thefts, robberies, treacheries, murders, and similar crimes. Nevertheless, the prophets on this account neither raised themselves new churches, nor built new altars for the oblation of separate sacrifices; but whatever were the characters of the people, yet because they considered that God had deposited his word among that nation, and instituted the ceremonies in which he was there worshipped, they lifted up pure hands to him even in the congregation of the impious. If they had thought that they contracted any contagion from these services, surely they would have suffered a hundred deaths rather than have permitted themselves to be dragged to them. There was nothing therefore to prevent their departure from them, but the desire of preserving the unity of the Church. But if the holy prophets were restrained by a sense of duty from forsaking the Church on account of the numerous and enormous crimes which were practised, not by a few individuals, but almost by the whole nation,—it is extreme arrogance in us, if we presume immediately to withdraw from the communion of a Church where the conduct of all the members is not compatible either with our judgment, or even with the Christian profession.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, IV.i.18, p. 239 (see the book; see also Rom. 15:7-12; Isa. 3:8-9; Jer. 13:9-10; Matt. 10:40; Mark 9:37; Rom. 14:1-3; more at Church, Communion, Corruption, Jerusalem, Priest, Prophet, Purity, Sacrifice, Worship)

Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Commemoration of Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1089

What so spoke to [Paul] from the third chapter of Genesis was not a ... story of how death invaded Paradise, but the profound experience of the human race expressed in the story, an experience in which sin and death interpenetrate, and in a sense constitute each other. To us, they are what they are only in relation to each other, and when we deny the relation we see the reality of neither. This is the truth, as I apprehend it, of all we are taught, either in the Old Testament or the New, about the relation of sin and death. It is part of the greater truth that what we call the physical and spiritual worlds are ultimately one, being constituted with a view to each other; and most of the objections which are raised against it are special cases of the objections which are raised against the recognition of this ultimate unity.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 68 (see the book; see also Rom. 5:12-15; Gen. 3; Isa. 55:8-9; John 3:16; 4:10; 1 Cor. 15:45-47; more at Bible, Death, Experience, Fall, Sin, Spiritual life, Unity)

Thursday, May 29, 2003

This Ascension Day is properly the most solemn feast of our Lord Jesus: for this day first in His manhood He began to sit on the Father’s right hand in bliss and took full rest of all His pilgrimage before.
Also this is properly the feast of all the blessed spirits in heaven: for this day they had a new joy of their Lord whom they saw never before there in His manhood.
... The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, tr. Nicolas Love, Michael G. Sargent, Westminster: William Caxton, 1490, critical edition, Garland Pub., 1992, p. 219 (see the book; see also Luke 24:50-51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9; Eph. 1:18-21; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:3; more at Ascension, Blessing, Father, Heaven, Jesus, Joy)

Friday, May 30, 2003
Feast of Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Commemoration of Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431
Commemoration of Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist, 1933

Clear shining from God must be at the bottom of deep labouring with God. What is the reason that so many in our days set their hands to the plough, and looked back again?—begin to serve Providence in great things, but cannot finish?—give over in the heat of the day? They never had any such revelation of the mind of God upon their spirits, such a discovery of His excellencies, as might serve for a bottom of such undertakings.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. VIII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, Serm. II, p. 90 (see the book; see also Luke 9:62; Amos 3:7; Hab. 3:1-9; John 12:35; Rev. 16:10; more at Authenticity, Beginning, God, Providence, Revelation, Service)

Saturday, May 31, 2003

That thou mayest win to the sweetness of God’s love, I set here three degrees of love, in the which thou shouldst be aye waxing. The first is called insuperable, the second inseparable, the third singular. Thy love is insuperable when nothing may overcome it, that is, neither weal, nor woe, nor anguish, just of flesh nor the liking of this world... Thy love is inseparable when all thy thoughts and thy wills are gathered together and fastened wholly in Jesus Christ, so that thou mayest no time forget Him, but aye thou thinkest on Him... Thy love is singular when all thy delight is in Jesus Christ and in no other thing finds joy and comfort.
... Richard Rolle (1290?-1349), The Commandments, in English Spirituality in the Age of Wyclif, David Lyle Jeffrey, tr., Regent College Publishing, 1988, p. 156 (see the book; see also John 15:9-12; 14:21; 15:17-19; 16:33; more at Affliction, Anguish, Comfort, Forget, Jesus, Joy, Knowing God, Love, Victory, World)


Christ, our Light

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