Christ, our Light

Quotations for March, 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601

God has not cared that we should anywhere have assurance of His very words; and that not merely, perhaps, because of the tendency in His children to word-worship, false logic, and corruption of the truth, but because He would not have them oppressed by words, seeing that words, being human, and therefore but partially capable, could not absolutely contain or express what the Lord meant, and that even He must depend for being understood upon the spirit of His disciple. Seeing that it could not give life, the letter should not be throned with power to kill.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Knowing of the Son”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 26-27 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:6-9; Deut. 27:26; Rom. 3:20; 7:6; Gal. 3:10-12,21; more at Assurance, Corruption, God, Legalism, Life, Logic, Power, Spirit, Truth)

Saturday, March 2, 2019
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672

Let God operate in thee; hand the work over to Him and do not disquiet thyself as to whether or no He is working with nature or above nature, for His are both nature and grace.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Works of Meister Eckhart, London: J. M. Watkins, 1924, p. 41 (see the book; see also Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25-34; Luke 12:27; 21:34-35; Phil. 4:6; more at Grace, Nature, Obedience, Work)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

No man safely goeth abroad who loveth not to rest at home. No man safely talketh but he who loveth to hold his peace. No man safely ruleth but he who loveth to be subject. No man safely commandeth but he who loveth to obey.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xx.2, p. 60 (see the book; see also Ps. 143:5-6; 42:1-2; 63:1; 84:2; Isa. 55:1; Matt. 5:6; John 7:37; more at Attitudes, Man, Obedience, Peace, Rest, Safety)

Monday, March 4, 2019
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647

Formal prayer is a practical device, not a spiritual necessity. It makes direct suggestions to our souls: it reminds us of realities which we always tend to forget.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Concerning the Inner Life, London: Methuen, 1927, p. 61 (see the book; see also Ps. 119:108; 116:17-19; Isa. 12:1-2; Hos. 14:2; Eph. 5:19-20; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15; 1 Pet. 4:11; more at Forget, Prayer, Soul)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

We do not very often come across opportunities for exercising strength, magnanimity, or magnificence; but gentleness, temperance, modesty, and humility, are graces which ought to colour everything we do. There may be virtues of a more exalted mould, but... these are the most continually called for in daily life.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.i, p. 125 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:3; Pr. 15:1; Matt. 11:29; Rom. 12:15-16; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 4:2; Phil. 4:5; 1 Pet. 5:5; more at Attitudes, Gentleness, Grace, Humility, Opportunity, Strength, Temperance)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Ash Wednesday

It is impossible that God should ever be the end, if He is not the beginning. We lift our eyes on high, but lean upon the sand; and the earth will dissolve, and we shall fall while looking at the heavens.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #488, p. 163-164 (see the book; see also Rev. 1:8; Gen. 1:1; Ps. 46:6,10; Isa. 43:10; 44:6; 48:12; John 1:1; Rev. 1:17; 21:6; 22:13; more at Beginning, Earth, God, Providence)

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203

God may thunder His commands from Mount Sinai and men may fear, yet remain at heart exactly as they were before. But let a man once see his God down in the arena as a Man, suffering, tempted, sweating, and agonized—finally dying a criminal’s death—and he is a hard man indeed who is untouched.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small [1953], Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 109 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:3-5; Ex. 20:2-18; Jer. 5:1-2; Matt. 27:54-55; Mark 15:39-41; Luke 23:47-49; John 11:35-36; more at Commandment, Death, God, Suffer, Weakness)

Friday, March 8, 2019
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929

He that hath seen Christ has seen the Father, and Christ not only died, but conquered death and rose again. God the Father is suffering, striving, crucified, but unconquerable. We see His triumph now in Nature’s glory, and we hear Him calling to us to join Him in the task of conquering the evils which arise from the necessities of creation. He calls us to combat floods and famine and pestilence and disease. He hates them, and wills with us to overcome them, and they shall be overcome. The Doctor, the Pioneer, the Scientist, are workers with God like the Priest. All good work is God’s work, and all good workers do God’s will. They are labouring to make a world.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Hardest Part, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919, p. 28-29 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:28; John 6:27; 1 Cor. 15:58; 1 Thess. 4:11; Rev. 14:13; more at Christ, Father, God, Industry, Labor, Obedience, Resurrection, World)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

All Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware that they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it. What causes this odd state of affairs? The root cause is the same as in most cases of error in the Church—the intruding of rationalistic speculations, the passion for systematic consistency, a reluctance to recognize the existence of mystery and to let God be wiser than men, and a consequent subjecting of Scripture to the supposed demands of human logic. People see that the Bible teaches man’s responsibility for his actions; they do not see how this is consistent with the sovereign Lordship of God over those actions. They are not content to let the two truths live side by side, as they do in the Scriptures, but jump to the conclusion that, in order to uphold the biblical truth of human responsibility, they are bound to reject the equally biblical and equally true doctrine of divine sovereignty, and to explain away the great number of texts that teach it. The desire to over-simplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries is natural to our perverse minds, and it is not surprising, that even good men should fall victim to it.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God [1961], Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1991, p. 16-17 (see the book; see also Rom. 9:15-16; Isa. 41:9; Jer. 6:13-15; Matt. 12:35-36; John 16:7-11; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 3:13-15; 4:6; 2 Cor. 4:1-2; Eph. 1:4-5; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Bible, Church, Error, God, Imagination, Logic, Providence, Responsibility, Scripture, Teach)

Sunday, March 10, 2019

[My father’s] common salutation of his family or friends, on the Lord’s day in the morning, was that of the primitive Christians:—The Lord is risen; He is risen indeed; making it his chief business on that day to celebrate the memory of Christ’s resurrection.
... Matthew Henry (1662-1714), The life of the Rev. Philip Henry, A.M. [1697], London: B. J. Holdsworth, 1825, p. 50 (see the book; see also Luke 24:33-34; Matt. 28:5-7; Mark 16:6-7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8,14 ; more at Easter, Family, Father, Morning, Resurrection, Sunday)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Come, Holy Ghost (for moved by thee
The prophets wrote and spoke);
Unlock the truth, thyself the key,
Unseal the sacred book.
... Charles Wesley (1707-1788), [1740], The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, v. I, John Wesley, London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1868, p. 239 (see the book; see also Acts 1:8; Matt. 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 22:45; John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13; Acts 2:30-31; 2 Cor. 4:3-5; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Book, Holy Spirit, Prophet, Truth, Understanding)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Visit, I beseech Thee, O Lord, this habitation with Thy mercy, and me with Thy grace and salvation. Let Thy holy angels pitch their tents round about and dwell here, that no illusion of the night may abuse me, the spirits of darkness may not come near to hurt me, no evil or sad accident oppress me; and let the eternal Spirit of the Father dwell in my soul and body, filling every corner of my heart with light and grace. Let no deed of darkness overtake me; and let Thy blessing, most blessed God, be upon me for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... 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. 40 (see the book; see also Isa. 9:2; Ps. 4:8; 46:1-3; 91:1; Pr. 18:10; John 3:19-21; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11; 1 Thess. 5:1-8; more at Blessing, Grace, Light, Mercy, Prayers, Salvation, Security)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

It is not that we keep His commandments first, and that then He loves; but that He loves us, and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace, which is revealed to the humble, but hidden from the proud.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, vol. ii, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. xi of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1884, tract. LXXXII.3, p. 308 (see the book; see also John 15:8-11; Matt. 11:25-26; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:3-5; Tit. 3:3-5; 1 John 4:10,19; more at Commandment, Grace, Humility, Love, Obedience, Pride)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A man who is well-grounded in the testimonies of the Scripture is the bulwark of the Church.
... St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah, 54:12 in loc. [Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 73A, 612] (see also Gal. 3:22; Ps. 119:97,163-165; Matt. 22:29; Mark 12:24; John 5:39-40; Rom. 5:20-21; Gal. 3:8-10,23; more at Bible, Church, Man, Scripture, Strength)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Scripture nowhere condemns the acquisition of knowledge. It is the wisdom of this world, not its knowledge, that is foolishness with God... The history of philosophy is a story of contradictory, discarded hypotheses... Many of them have failed to avail themselves of that which would unravel every knot and solve every problem, namely, the revelation of God in Christ as given in the Holy Scriptures.
... Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951), Philippians and Colossians, [reprint] Kregel Publications, 2007, p. 147-148 (see the book; see also Col. 2:8-10; Matt. 16:17; 1 Cor. 1:19-27; Rev. 1:10-11; more at Bible, Christ, Folly, God, Historical, Knowledge, Philosophy, Revelation, Scripture, World)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The popular craving [for an English Bible] could not be stifled, and the sixteenth century saw the pioneering works of Tyndale and Coverdale; then, two years after Coverdale, the real “authorized version” appeared in 1537, when a mysterious translator called “Thomas Matthew” had his works not only dedicated to but licensed by Henry VIII. In the long run, what put the Bible into the hands of the common people was the influence exerted on public opinion and authority by the reformation of the church.
... 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. xxxviii (see the book; see also Rev. 5:9-10; Rom. 10:14-17; Eph. 4:15; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:13; more at Bible, Church, Historical, Influence, People, Reformation)

Sunday, March 17, 2019
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460

If... you are ever tempted to think that we modern Western Europeans cannot really be so very bad because we are, comparatively speaking, humane—if, in other words, you think God might be content with us on that ground—ask yourself whether you think God ought to have been content with the cruelty of past ages because they excelled in courage or chastity. You will see at once that this is an impossibility. From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling of how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Problem of Pain, New York: Macmillan, 1944, p. 52 (see the book; see also Isa. 64:5-6; Gen. 3:21; Ps. 51:5; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 7:18; Eph. 2:1-2; more at Contentment, God, Historical, Humane, Temptation)

Monday, March 18, 2019

We have observed that in at least two cases the sayings of our Lord imply an appeal behind the Law of Moses to the order of creation. While, therefore, the Law of Moses is from one aspect the first stage of revelation, leading up to the Law of Christ, in another aspect it is a temporary expedient on the way from the Law of Nature to the Law of Christ, serving certain limited purposes, which fulfilled, it may be set aside, leaving mankind in Christ confronted by the original law of his creation.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), New Testament Studies, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1953, p. 141 (see the book; see also Rom. 2:14-15; Jer. 31:31-34; 2 Cor. 3:3; Gal. 3:15-22; more at Christ, Creation, Fulfillment, Impermanence, Jesus, Law, Purpose, Revelation)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth

The Pauline teaching is the means through which God Himself wants to teach us; Paul’s epistle to the Romans is a letter from God to us, mankind to-day. It remains the great problem of interpretation, hitherto never entirely solved, how to unite these two things: the keen attention to what Paul wanted to say to that Community then, and the search for what God wants to say to us through Paul to-day. In the end, the question is whether the reader will really allow God to speak to him, or whether he evades God by hiding behind “Paul,” behind “the past.”
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Letter to the Romans, Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1959, p. 12 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:33; Ps. 22:30-31; 78:5-6; 102:18; Rom. 1:1-4,16-17; 3:21-24; 4:20-23; 8:1-2; 11:30-31; 16:25-27; more at Bible, Community, God, Man, Past, Teach, Today)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

If I ask to be delivered from trial rather than for deliverance out of it, to the praise of His glory; if I forget that the way of the Cross leads to the Cross and not to a bank of flowers; if I regulate my life on these lines, or even unconsciously my thinking, so that I am surprised when the way is rough and think it strange, “Think it not strange, Count it all joy,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 66 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:2-3; 1 Cor. 3:12-13; 10:13; 1 Thess. 3:2-4; 2 Tim. 3:12; Heb. 12:2,5-7; 1 Pet. 4:12; 5:8-9; more at Calvary, Cross, Deliverance, Forget, Knowledge, Love, Way, Weakness)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The words divine service should be reassigned and no longer used for attending church, but only for good deeds.
... G. C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799), Aphorisms & Letters, London: Jonathan Cape, 1969, p. 54 (see the book; see also Luke 22:25-27; Matt. 20:26-28; 23:8-12; Luke 12:35-38; John 13:5-16; Rom. 12:2; 1 Pet. 5:2-3; more at Church, Deed, Obedience, Service)

Friday, March 22, 2019

The reason we can hope to find God is that He is here, engaged all the time in finding us. Every gleam of beauty is a pull toward Him. Every pulse of love is a tendril that draws us in His direction. Every verification of truth links the finite mind up into a Foundational Mind that undergirds us. Every deed of good will points toward a consummate Goodness which fulfills all our tiny adventures in faith. We can find Him because in Him we live and move and have our being.
... Rufus M. Jones (1863-1948), Pathways to the Reality of God, New York: Macmillan, 1931, p. xi-xii (see the book; see also Ps. 139:7-12; Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:28; Heb. 7:25; more at Beauty, Faith, Good will, Goodness, Knowing God, Life, Love, Truth)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Every man thinketh he is rich enough in grace, till he take out his purse, and... then he findeth it but poor and light in the day of a heavy trial. I found I had not enough to bear my expenses, and I should have fainted, if want and penury had not chased me to the store-house of all.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 20, 1637, p. 193 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:4-5; Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 2:11; 3:4-7; more at Grace, Poverty, Trial, Weakness)

Sunday, March 24, 2019
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953

Arguments for the existence of God are very restricted; some of them are more restricted and limited than others. They do not prove beyond all question the existence of the God of the Bible. Furthermore, it must be remembered that man’s mind, his thinking process, has been affected by his fall into sin. This means that there are definite limitations to God’s revelation in nature. The problem is not in the revelation but in the receiver of the revelation.
... Robert P. Lightner (1931-2018), The God of the Bible [1973], Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978, formerly published as The First Fundamental: God, p. 21 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:12; Ps. 8:3-4; 19:1-4; John 10:14-15; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 5:7; Jas. 1:23-24; 1 John 3:2; more at Bible, Existence, God, Man, Mind, Proof, Revelation, Sin, Thought)

Monday, March 25, 2019
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary

Resolution is no strange and extraordinary thing; it is one of the most common acts that belong to us as we are men; but we do not ordinarily apply it to the best purposes. It is not so ordinary for men to resolve to be good, as to be rich and great; not so common for men to resolve against sin, as to resolve against poverty and suffering. It is not so usual for men to resolve to keep a good conscience, as to keep a good place.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLXVII, p. 422 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 4:5; Job 34:31-32; 2 Tim. 2:3; Heb. 12:3; more at Attitudes, Conscience, Goodness, Man, Poverty, Resolve, Sin, Suffer)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Feast of Harriet Monsell of Clewer, Religious, 1883

For the Scriptures then, the existence of God is both a historical truth (God acted into history), and an existential truth (God reveals himself to every soul). His existence is both objectively and subjectively evident. It is necessary logically because our assumption of order, design, and rationality rests upon it. It is necessary morally because there is no explanation for the shape of morality apart from it. It is necessary emotionally because the human experience requires an immediate and ultimate environment. It is necessary personally because the exhaustion of all material possibilities still cannot give satisfaction to the heart. The deepest proof for God’s existence, apart from history, is just life itself. God has created man in his image, and men cannot elude the implications of this fact. Everywhere their identity pursues them. Ultimately, there is no escape.
... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Set Forth Your Case, Chicago: Moody Press, 1971, p. 111 (see the book; see also Ps. 139:7-8; Gen. 1:26; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 65:1; Jer. 23:23-24; Obad. 1:4; Jon. 1:1-4; Heb. 4:12-13; more at Apologetics, Existence, God, Historical, Man, Morality, Proof, Scripture, Truth)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The demand that the Atonement shall be exhibited in vital relation to a new life in which sin is overcome... is entirely legitimate, and it touches a weak point in the traditional Protestant doctrine. Dr. [Thomas] Chalmers tells us that he was brought up—such was the effect of the current orthodoxy upon him—in a certain distrust of good works. Some were certainly wanted, but not as being themselves salvation, only, as he puts it, as tokens of justification. It was a distinct stage in his religious progress when he realised that true justification sanctifies, and that the soul can and ought to abandon itself spontaneously and joyfully to do the good that it delights in... An atonement that does not regenerate... is not an atonement in which men can be asked to believe.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 40-41 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:17; Ps. 51:10; Eze. 11:19; Matt. 12:33; Rom. 6:4-6; 8:9-10; Eph. 2:10; 4:22-24; Col. 3:1-3; more at Atonement, Forgiveness, Good works, Regeneration)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

O Lord our God,
Who has called us to serve You,
In the midst of the world’s affairs,
When we stumble, hold us;
When we fall, lift us up;
When we are hard pressed with evil, deliver us;
When we turn from what is good, turn us back;
And bring us at last to Your glory.
... St. Alcuin (c. 735-804) (see the book; see also Matt. 21:42; Isa. 8:14; Mark 12:10; 1 Cor. 8:13; more at Call, Deliverance, God, Goodness, Prayers, Service, World)

Friday, March 29, 2019
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974

The desire for certitude is natural enough and explains the human tendency to mistake faith for certainty. This is not a specially religious mistake. We think of supernaturalism when faith is mentioned, but the naturalistic description of the world also operates on assumptions that require a faith as robust as does the most soaring mysticism. The usual efforts to skirt faith beg all the questions there are. A psychiatrist, for instance, who points out to you that you believe in God the Father because you need a father, or that you became a missionary to expiate your guilt feelings, may be quite correct, but he has not touched on the prior question as to whether there is, in fact, a cosmic father figure who is the archetype of all other fathers, or whether there is an evangel worth spending your life promulgating.
... Thomas Howard (b. 1935), Christ the Tiger, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1967, p. 97 (see the book; see also Rev. 5:11-12; Ps. 20:7; 94:20-22; Matt. 7:11; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 15:9; more at Certainty, Faith, Father, God, Guilt, Life, Missionary, Nature, Need)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Gleanings Among the Sheaves, New York: Sheldon, 1869, p. 7 (see the book; see also Ps. 126:5-6; 2 Tim. 2:11-13; Heb. 12:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:10; more at Affliction, God, Obedience)

Sunday, March 31, 2019
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631

God who is Almighty, Alpha and Omega, First and Last, that God is also love itself; and therefore this love is Alpha and Omega, first and last too. Consider Christ’s proceeding with Peter in the ship, in the storm; first he suffered him to be in some danger in the storm, but then he visits him with that strong assurance, “Be not afraid, It is I”, any testimony of his presence rectifies all. This puts Peter into that spiritual confidence and courage, “Lord bid me come to thee;” he hath a desire to be with Christ, but yet stays his bidding: he puts not himself into an unnecessary danger, without commandment: Christ bids him, and Peter comes: but yet, though Christ were in his sight, and even in the actual exercise of his love to him, so soon as he saw a gust, a storm, “He was afraid,” and Christ lets him fear, and lets him sink, and lets him cry, but he directs his fear and his cry to the right end, “Lord, save me;” and thereupon he stretched forth his hand and saved him...
God puts his children into good ways, and he directs and protects them in those ways; for this is the constancy and perseverance of the love of Jesus Christ to us, as he is called in this text (Matt. 21:44), a stone.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. V, London: John W. Parker, 1839, “Sermon preached to the nobility” [1619], Sermon CXVI, p. 31-32 (see the book; see also Matt. 21:44; 14:24-33; Mark 6:47-51; John 6:18-21; Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13; more at Assurance, Christ, Commandment, Confidence, Courage, Danger, Fear, God, Jesus, Love, Providence, Salvation, Strength, Way)


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