Quotations for December, 2018
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Commemoration of Charles de Foucauld, Hermit, Servant of the Poor, 1916
Whilst you are divided betwixt God and the world, you have neither the pleasures of religion, nor the pleasures of the world; but are always in the uneasiness of a divided state of heart. You have only so much religion as serves to disquiet you; to check your enjoyments; to show you a handwriting on the wall; to interrupt your pleasures; and to appear as a death’s-head at all your feasts; but not religion enough to give you a taste and feeling of its proper pleasures and satisfactions. You dare not wholly neglect religion; but then you take no more than is just sufficient to keep you from being a terror to yourself; and you are as loath to be very good, as you are fearful to be very bad.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Perfection , London: W. Baynes, 1807, p. 335-336
(see the book; see also Rev. 3:15; Josh. 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21; Isa. 29:18; Zeph. 1:4-6; Matt. 6:24; 10:37; Luke 14:27; Jas. 1:6-8; 4:8; Rev. 2:4; more at Fear, God, Goodness, Pleasure, Religion, Satisfaction, Terror, World)
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Gilbert West and his friend, Lord Lyttleton, both men of acknowledged talents, had imbibed the principles of infidelity from a superficial view of the Scriptures. Fully persuaded that the Bible was an imposture, they were determined to expose [it]. Mr. West chose the Resurrection of Christ, and Lord Lyttleton the conversion of St Paul, for the subject of hostile criticism. Both sat down to their respective tasks full of prejudice, and a contempt for Christianity. The results of their separate endeavours was that they were both converted by their attempts to overthrow the truth of Christianity! They came together, not as they had expected, to exult over an imposture exposed to ridicule, but to lament their folly, and congratulate each other on their joint conviction, that the Bible was the word of God. Their able enquiries have furnished two most valuable treatises in favour of revelation; one, entitled “Observations on the Conversion of St Paul,” and the other, “Observations on the Resurrection of Christ.”
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Commenting and Commentaries, New York: Sheldon, 1876, p. 237-238
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:1-3; 1 Cor. 1:23; Eph. 4:14; 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 3:16-17; Tit. 1:13-14; 2 Pet. 1:16-21; 3:3; Jas. 1:18; more at Bible, Contempt, Conversion, Folly, Historical, Prejudice, Resurrection, Scripture, Truth)
Monday, December 3, 2018
Commemoration of Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies, Missionary, 1552
It is a rare campus indeed where the Christian universe of discourse is the shared basis of allegiance and the common currency of intellectual exchange. More likely, the Christian faith is an archaic facade, a bit of Victorian fretwork on the front of the house, of which polite note is made at Commencement, but not the common premise of teaching and research and learning.
... W. Waldo Beach (1916-2000), “Where Do We Meet?”
(see also 2 Tim. 4:4; Prov. 1:32; Zech. 7:11; Acts 7:57-58; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; more at Authenticity, Faith, Teach)
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Commemoration of Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637
Suffer all, and conquer all.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), in a letter, March 30, 1771, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, v. X, New York: J. & J. Harper, 1827, p. 442
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:36-37; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; 1 John 4:4; 5:3-5; Rev. 12:10-12; 21:7; more at Adversity, Suffer, Victory, Weakness)
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
If we see a speck in a brother’s eye, we must first see if there is a log in our own eye; perhaps that speck in our brother’s eye is only a reflection of the beam in our own.
... David Watson
(see also Matt. 7:3-5; 2 Sam. 12:5-7; Ps. 50:16-21; Luke 6:41-42; 18:11; John 8:7-9; Rom. 2:1,21-23; Gal. 6:1; more at Humility, Obedience, Pride, Sight)
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Feast of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c.326
The world will not be saved merely because people go to church, ours or any other’s. If we seem to say [that the world will be so saved] to the tormented nations, this is only a measure of our failure to see that the Anglican Communion is not an end in itself. And what an impertinence it is when we fail to see that... —when we seem to say to the world that their only hope is in the tepid conventions of our club.
... Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), “The Challenge of the Frontiers: Organizing for Action (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 192
(see the book; see also Heb. 10:23; Mark 16:15-16; John 3:36; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 3:11; Col. 1:22-23; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 1 John 5:11-12; more at Church, Failure, Hope, Salvation)
Friday, December 7, 2018
Feast of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher, 397
Wealth, which leads men the wrong way so often, [should be] seen less for its own qualities than for the human misery it stands for... The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds—and also big enough to shut out the voice of the poor! ... The poor man cries before your house, and you pay no attention. There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there, confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.
... St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), De Nabuthe Jezraelite [ca.395], in Journal of the History of Ideas, v. III, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1942, XIII.56, p. 461
(see the book; see also Luke 12:15; 1 Kings 21:1-19; Ps. 62:10; 119:36-37; Pr. 23:4-5; Luke 8:14; 16:14; Col. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:7-10; more at Man, Poverty, Pride, Shame, Sin, Way, Wealth, Wrong)
Saturday, December 8, 2018
I cannot think that God would be contentTo view unmoved the toiling and the strain,The groaning of the ages, sick and spent,The whole creation travailing in pain.The suffering God is no vast cosmic force,That by some blind, unthinking, loveless powerKeeps stars and atoms swinging in their course,And reckons naught of men in this grim hour.Nor is the suffering God a fair idealEngendered in the questioning hearts of men,A figment of the mind to help me steelMy soul to rude realities I ken.God suffers with a love that cleanses dross;A God like that, I see upon a cross.
... Georgia Harkness (1891-1974), included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 308
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:4-8; Rom. 5:6-8; 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; 3:18; more at Blindness, Cross, Easter, God, Ideal, Love, Sickness, Star, Suffer, Toil)
Sunday, December 9, 2018
If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider “not spiritual work” I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 43
(see the book; see also John 13:12-15; Matt. 10:42; Mark 9:41; 2 Cor. 8:12; 1 Tim. 5:4; Jas. 1:26-27; more at Calvary, Love, Thought, Truth, Weakness, Work)
Monday, December 10, 2018
Commemoration of Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968
Our knowledge of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on his saving and merciful knowledge of us. It is in proportion, as we are known to him that we find our real being and identity in Christ. We know him in and through ourselves in so far as his truth is the source of our being and his merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), The Climate of Monastic Prayer, Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1973, p. 113-114
(see the book; see also Ps. 139:23-24; Deut. 8:16; Zech. 13:9; Ps. 100:5; 117:2; 136:1-3; Acts 17:27-28; 1 Pet. 1:7; more at Christ, Existence, God, Knowing God, Knowledge, Life, Mercy, Truth)
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Whoever preaches with love preaches sufficiently against heresy, though he may never utter a controversial word.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), in The Spirit of S. Francis de Sales, Jean Pierre Camus, London: Rivingtons, 1880, p. 282
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:14; John 13:34; more at Church, Heresy, Love, Preach)
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
[The Church] sees that human life must be lived in the quite fearless recognition of this insecurity of relationship between one man and another.Now, once again may I ask you the question, Is the Church cruel when she points this out, and demands that men should see it and take account of it in all the arrangements of this life? Surely the cruelty lies with those who talk glibly about the brotherhood of man, and superficially about peace, and romantically about marriage, as though the disturbances in Church and state and family were introduced into human life by a few evil-minded men. This is the real cruelty. How will you face up later to your married life, to your administration of affairs, to your life in the Church, in fact to any real part of your lives, if you are taught to think that your “neighbour” will or ought to agree with you in all points, will accept your solutions of his problems, will in fact be a reflection of your image? Once we get this stuff and nonsense into our heads, we shall never be able to live with anyone or with any group of men. We shall sulk when we are crossed, or run away from the Other, for Other they are. We shall certainly remove ourselves from the Church when we find it full of friction and yet proclaiming the love of God.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), Cambridge Sermons, London: SPCK, 1938, p. 110-111
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 8:10-13; Pr. 2:3-6; Luke 11:13; Phil. 3:15; Jas. 1:5; more at Brotherhood, Church, Family, God, Life, Love, Man, Marriage, Peace, Preach, Security)
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Feast of Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
Commemoration of Samuel Johnson, Writer, Moralist, 1784
O God, Who hast ordained that whatever is to be desired, should be sought by labour, and Who, by Thy blessing, bringest honest labor to good effect; look with mercy upon my studies and endeavours. Grant me, O Lord, to design only what is lawful and right, and afford me calmness of mind, and steadiness of purpose, that I may so do Thy will in this short life, as to obtain happiness in the world to come, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, July 25, 1776, p. 124-125
(see the book; see also 2 Thess. 3:7-8; John 6:27; Rom. 16:12; Acts 18:1-3; 20:34; Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11; more at Endeavor, Happiness, Labor, Life, Mercy, Prayers, Purpose, Will of God)
Friday, December 14, 2018
Feast of John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591
Never was fount so clear, undimm’d and bright;From it alone, I know, proceeds all lightAlthough ’tis night.
... St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, v. II, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1935, p. 454
(see the book; see also John 1:7-9; Isa. 9:2; John 8:12; 9:4-5; 2 Cor. 4:4,6; more at Jesus, Light, Messiah, Night)
Saturday, December 15, 2018
The last and highest result of prayer is not the securing of this or that gift, the avoiding of this or that danger. The last and highest result of prayer is the knowledge of God—the knowledge which is eternal life—and by that knowledge, the transformation of human character and of the world.
... George John Blewett (1873-1912), The Christian View of the World, Yale University Press, 1912, p. 249
(see the book; see also Hos. 6:6; Ps. 51:10; 85:9-13; Jer. 22:16; Eze. 36:26; Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10; Tit. 3:4-5; 1 John 2:3; 3:6; more at Danger, Eternal life, Gifts, Knowing God, Prayer)
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Be sure [that] it is a mistaken devotion which interferes with the duties of your natural state of life.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 21
(see the book; see also Gal. 6:9; 1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Thess. 3:13; Jas. 5:7; more at Devotion, Duty, Life, Prayer)
Monday, December 17, 2018
Commemoration of Dorothy Sayers, Teacher and Spiritual Writer, 1957
Commemoration of Eglantyne Jebb, Social Reformer, Founder of ‘Save the Children’, 1928
Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 66
(see the book; see also 1 Tim. 4:7; Acts 24:16; 1 Tim. 6:11; Tit. 2:11-13; Heb. 5:14; 2 Pet. 1:5-8; more at God, Hope, Humility, Obedience, Trust, Weakness)
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down.
... George Whitefield (1714-1770), in a letter, 1735, in The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, M.A., v. I, London: Edward and Charles Dilly, 1771, p. 8
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:9-17; Ps. 51:10; Rom. 12:1-2; 13:14; 1 Cor. 6:19; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10; more at Builder, Conversion, Renewal, Temple)
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
The evangelical... wants such peace as men can attain to have some kind of relationship to justice. He observes many different kinds of peace prevailing in the world he inhabits. Not all of them are good. For example, there is the peace that death brings, the peace of the tomb. Today it could be called the peace of Auschwitz. Hitler tried to “make peace” with the Jews by seeking their “final solution;” but the evangelical would fight rather than submit to such a peace. There is also the peace of slavery and subjection, the Pax Romana. Dictators are very fond of the Roman peace. Today it could be called the peace of Tibet. The nation of Tibet has been completely stripped of its personality in our generation by Communist China without a single protest being made in front of a single embassy... Again, there is peace that is artificially induced in men. Among individuals it is the peace of the tranquilizer, the peace of withdrawal and schizophrenia, the peace of the brainwashed prisoner. Should large-scale chemical warfare break out, we are told, whole cities could be sprayed and pacified by such drugs. The evangelical is not interested in paying such high prices for the sake of peace. He would rather stay free, and alive, and in his right mind, prepared to fight.
... Sherwood Eliot Wirt (1911-2008), The Social Conscience of the Evangelical, New York: Harper & Row, 1968, p. 117-118
(see the book; see also John 14:27; Ps. 29:11; 85:10; Isa. 9:6; 32:15-17; Jer. 6:14; Luke 2:14; 12:51; John 16:33; Acts 10:16; Eph. 2:14-17; more at Death, Fight, Justice, Peace, Prisoner, Social, Submission)
Thursday, December 20, 2018
The fear of Hell, or aiming to be blest,Savors too much of private interest.This moved not Moses, nor the zealous Paul,Who for their friends abandoned soul and all.
... Edmund Waller (1606-1687), Works of Edmund Waller, Esq: in verse and prose, Dublin: W. G. Jones, 1768, p. 168
(see the book; see also Rom. 9:1-4; Ex. 32:31-32; Acts 13:26; Rom. 11:1; Gal. 1:8; more at Fear, Hell, Mission, Soul, Zeal)
Friday, December 21, 2018
So here we are again, a few billion miles farther along our mysterious path among the immensities. What a comfort it is to know the Man in charge of it all. Without Him, it would be easy to think that the whole of time and space, and life itself, are without reason, purpose, or meaning—as H. G. Wells said, that it is “a bad joke beyond our understanding, a flare of vulgarity, an empty laugh braying across the mysteries.” With Jesus forever between God and us, we can understand a few things, and trust Him for the rest. After all, He is one of us: a baby once, as we all were; then, and forever after, a Man, as we all shall always be.
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985), letter 
(see also Heb. 1:6; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-21; Heb. 2:9-10; more at Christmas, Eternal life, God, Incarnation, Jesus, Knowledge, Purpose, Trust, Understanding)
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The Shepherds’ Plain
Blessed night, when first that plainEchoed with the joyful strain,—“Peace has come to earth again!”
Blessed hills, that heard the songOf the glorious angel-throng,Swelling all your slopes along.
Happy shepherds, on whose earFell the tidings glad and dear,—“God to man is drawing near.”
Happy, happy, Bethlehem,Judah’s least but brightest gem,Where the rod from Jesse’s stem.
Scion of a princely race,Sprung in Heaven’s own perfect grace,Yet in feeble lowliness.
This, the woman’s promised seed,Abram’s mighty son indeed;Succorer of earth’s great need.
This the victor in our war,This the glory see afar,This the light of Jacob’s star!
Happy Judah, rise and ownHim, the heir of David’s throneDavid’s Lord, and David’s Son.
Let the dayspring from on high,That arose in Judah’s sky,Cover earth eternally.
Babe of Bethlehem, to Thee,Infant of eternity,Everlasting glory be!
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), Hymns of Faith and Hope, first series, New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1866, p. 240-245
(see the book; see also Luke 2:13-14; Isa. 40:9; 52:7; 61:1-2; Mic. 5:2; Luke 1:19; 8:1; Acts 13:32-33; more at Angel, Christmas, Eternity, Gladness, Glory, God, Happiness, Heaven, Man, Night, Peace, Star, Tidings)
Sunday, December 23, 2018
This is the irrational seasonWhere love blooms bright and wild.Had Mary been filled with reasonThere’d have been no room for the child.
... Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007), “After Annuciation”, from Weather of the Heart, Wheaton, Ill.: Harold Shaw Publications, 1978, 2001, p. 69
(see the book; see also Luke 1:38; Isa. 7:14; Luke 1:41-42,46-55; more at Child, Christmas, Love, Reason)
Monday, December 24, 2018
A God must have a God for company.And lo! thou hast the Son-God to thy friend.Thou honour’st his obedience, he thy law.Into thy secret life-will he doth see;Thou fold’st him round in live love perfectly—One two, without beginning, without end;In love, life, strength, and truth, perfect without a flaw.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul, London: by the author, 1880, p. 261
(see the book; see also John 1:1-5; Gen. 1:26; John 12:49-50; Heb. 5:7-9; more at Friend, God, Honor, Jesus, Law, Life, Love, Obedience, Perfection, Strength, Truth)
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Thou hast not made, or taught me, Lord, to careFor times and seasons—but this one glad dayIs the blue sapphire clasping all the lightsThat flash in the girdle of the year so fair—When thou wast born a man, because alwayThou wast and art a man through all the flightsOf thought, and time, and thousandfold creation’s play.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul, London: by the author, 1880, p. 261
(see the book; see also Luke 2:15-18; Ps. 2:7; Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:33; 24:36-43; 1 John 4:2-3; 5:1; more at Christmas, Creation, Day, Gladness, Thought, Time)
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Feast of Stephen, Deacon, First Martyr
There is not a heart but has its moments of longing,—yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now.
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
(see the book; see also Ps. 84:2; 42:1-2; 63:1-2; 119:81; 143:6; more at Apologetics, Heart, Holiness, Knowledge, Longing, Yearn)
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Feast of John, Apostle & Evangelist
It is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.
... David Brainerd (1718-1747), Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven: S. Converse, 1822, p. 246
(see the book; see also Ps. 23:4; 119:105; Isa. 42:6-7; 60:1-3; Matt. 4:13-16; Luke 1:76-79; more at Darkness, Discouragement, Duty, Goodness, Obedience, Virtue)
Friday, December 28, 2018
Feast of the Holy Innocents
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)
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Feast of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach Thy handFor I am drowning in a stormier seaThan Simon on the lake of Galilee:The wine of life is spilt upon the sand,My heart is as some famine-murdered landWhence all good things have perished utterly,And well I know my soul in Hell must lieIf I this night before God’s throne must stand.
“He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase,Like Baal, when his prophets howled that nameFrom morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.”Nay, peace! I shall behold, before the night,The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame,The wounded hands, the weary human face.
... Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), from Rosa Mystica The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, v. IV, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 39-40
(see the book; see also Mark 4:37-39; 1 Kings 18:26-27; Ps. 69:3; 130:1-4; John 20:26-29; more at Christ, Hell, Peace, Prayers, Sea, Soul, Voyage)
Sunday, December 30, 2018
The very strength and facility of the pessimists’ case at once poses us a problem. If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator? Men are fools, perhaps; but hardly so foolish as that. The direct inference from black to white, from evil flower to virtuous root, from senseless work to a workman infinitely wise, staggers belief. The spectacle of the universe as revealed by experience can never have been the ground of religion: it must have always been something in spite of which religion, acquired from a different source, was held.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 3
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:17-18; Gen. 1:31; Matt. 12:33-35; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19; Jas. 1:17; more at Apologetics, Evil, Experience, Folly, Man, Religion, Universe, Wisdom)
Monday, December 31, 2018
Commemoration of John Wycliffe, Reformer, 1384
[John] Wycliffe’s doctrine of “dominion founded in grace” was a peculiar feature of his system. He taught that God, as the great feudal superior of the universe, allotted to all earthly authorities their rule in fief as subject to Himself. The priesthood was not an office of dominion, but of service, and its prerogatives ceased when service was not rendered. Dominion was not granted to one person as God’s Vicar on earth, but the King was as much God’s Vicar as the Pope; nay, every Christian held his rights immediately of God.
... W. H. Summers, Our Lollard Ancestors, London: National Council of Evangelical Free Churches, 1904, p. 28
(see the book; see also Rom. 13:1-7; Ps. 2:7-12; Pr. 8:15-16; Dan. 2:19-23; John 19:11; more at Earth, God, Greatness, Historical, King, People, Service)
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