Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2001

Sunday, April 1, 2001
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

Infant Baptism... has been a witness for the Son of Man and the universality of His Kingdom, like no other. It has taught parents that to bring children into the world is not a horrible crime. It has led them to see Christ and His redemption of humanity through all the mists of our teachings and our qualifications. It has explained the nature of His Kingdom to the hearts of the poorest. Christ has preached at the fonts, when we have been darkening counsel in the pulpits.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Kingdom of Heaven [1864], London: Macmillan, 1893, p. 282-283 (see the book; see also Ps. 8:2; Matt. 21:15-16; Luke 18:16-17; more at Baptism, Child, Christ, Church, Kingdom, Redemption, Teach, Witness)

Monday, April 2, 2001

There is a major disaster when a person allows some success to become a stopping place rather than a way station on to a larger goal. It often happens that an early success is a greater moral hazard than an early failure.
... Halford E. Luccock (1885-1960), The Questing Spirit, Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947 (see the book; see also Luke 11:5-8; more at Attitudes, Failure, Goal, Morality, Success)

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Lord, since Thou hast taken from me all that I had of Thee, yet of Thy grace leave me the gift which every dog has by nature: that of being true to Thee in my distress, when I am deprived of all consolation.
... Mechthild of Magdeburg (ca. 1212-ca. 1282), The Revelations of Mechthild of Magdeburg, Longmans, Green, 1953, p. 55 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 1:3-6; Ps. 32:7; 34:2-6; Isa. 40:1; Phil. 1:14; Heb. 12:12; more at Consolation, Faith, Grace, Prayers)

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

There is an evil power, a Satanic power, which holds souls in error, and which persists.
It is interesting to note that in the first centuries of the Christian era many demoniacal phenomena appeared in countries in the course of being converted from idolatry to Christianity. The same is true of pagan civilisation today. In my research into the fourth century, I was surprised to find a great recrudescence of magical practices at the very moment when Roman civilization under Constantine was about to be snatched away bodily from paganism and enter... into the kingdom of the Son; at that time, all the rites of sorcery took on an incredible virulence.
... Jean Daniélou (1905-1974), The Salvation of the Nations, London: Sheed & Ward, 1949, p. 42 (see the book; see also Rev. 13:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; 1 Pet. 5:8; more at Conversion, Evil, Historical, Idol, Kingdom, Pagan, Power)

Thursday, April 5, 2001

No literary fact is more remarkable than that men, knowing what these writers knew, and feeling what they felt, should have given us chronicles so plain and calm. They have nothing to say as from themselves. Their narratives place us without preface, and keep us without comment, among external scenes, in full view of facts, and in contact with the living person whom they teach us to know... Who can fail to recognize a divine provision for placing the disciples of all future ages as nearly as possible in the position of those who had been personally present at “the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God?”
... T. D. Bernard (1815-1904), The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament, London: Macmillan, 1864, p. 37 (see the book; see also Mark 1:1; Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8,21-22; 2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:41; 1 Cor. 15:3-8; 1 Pet. 5:1; more at Beginning, Bible, Christ, Disciple, Future, Gospel, Jesus, Knowledge)

Friday, April 6, 2001
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

Man cannot make a redemptive art, but he can make an art that communicates what he experiences of redemption as a man and what he knows of it as an artist. God in his infinite wisdom may use an art work as an instrument of redemption, but what serves or can serve that purpose is beyond the knowledge of man.
... John W. Dixon, Jr. (1919-2004), in Christian Faith and the Contemporary Arts, ed. Finley Eversole, New York: Abingdon Press, 1962, p. 6 (see the book; see also Col. 3:23-24; Ex. 35:30-35; Matt. 16:16-17; Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; more at Art, God, Knowledge, Providence, Redemption, Service, Wisdom)

Saturday, April 7, 2001

One of the most striking parts of the Day of Atonement is that of the scapegoat. The high priest placed both his hands on the head of a goat and confessed all the sins of the nation. Then the goat carrying the sins of the people is sent off into the wilderness. But it is not just a piece of history!
There is in the modern world a quest for scapegoats though with one enormous difference. Whenever there is an accident or a tragedy, there is a search for someone to blame. Often all the modern means of communication join in; accusations, resignations, demands for compensation and the rest. If a guilty person is found, then an orgy of condemnation and vilification. Rarely a sense of, there but for the grace of God go I. Instead of dealing gently with one another’s failure because of our own vulnerability to criticism, there is the presumption that we are in a fit condition to judge and to condemn.
The enormous difference? The original scapegoat followed a confession of the sins of the people. There was no blaming of someone else, but an admission of guilt and a quest for the forgiveness of God. The goat wasn’t hated, but was a dramatic picture of the carrying away sins. It was the very opposite of a selfrighteous victimisation of someone else.
Ever since 200 A.D., Christians have seen the scapegoat as a picture of Jesus. As it was led out to die in the wilderness bearing the sins of the people, so he was crucified outside Jerusalem for our sins. We are to be both forgiven and forgiving people.
... David Bronnert, in a personal communication from the author (see also Lev. 16:8-26; Ps. 32:1,2; Isa. 53:9-10; Rom. 2:1; Heb. 10:1-14; more at Atonement, Condemnation, Confession, Criticism, Failure, Forgiveness, Historical, Judgment, Nation, Sin)

Sunday, April 8, 2001
Palm Sunday
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

The entrance into Jerusalem [on Palm Sunday] has all the elements of the theatre of the absurd: the poor king; truth comes riding on a donkey; symbolic actions—even parading without a permit! Also, when Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem,” what was involved was direct action, an open confrontation and public demonstration of the incompatibility of evil with the Kingdom of God.
... David Kirk (1935-2007), Quotations from Chairman Jesus, Springfield, Ill.: Templegate Publishers, 1969, p. 61 (see the book; see also Luke 9:51-52; Matt. 21:1-9; Luke 12:49-50; 19:37-40; Acts 20:22-24; 21:11-14; 1 Pet. 4:1; more at Action, Easter, Evil, God, Jerusalem, Jesus, King, Kingdom, Palm Sunday)

Monday, April 9, 2001
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

Furthermore, [the unchristian environment] is the place where we find out whether the Christian’s meditation has led him into the unreal, from which he awakens in terror when he returns to the workaday world, or whether it has led him into a real contact with God, from which he emerges strengthened and purified. Has it transported him for a moment into a spiritual ecstasy that vanishes when everyday life returns, or has it lodged the Word of God so securely and deeply in his heart that it holds and fortifies him, impelling him to active love, to obedience, to good works? Only the day can decide.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 92 (see the book; see also Ps. 139:17-18; 1:2; 104:34; 119:11; Isa. 55:8-9; 1 Tim. 4:15; more at Awakening, God, Good works, Love, Meditation, Obedience, Prayer, Purity, Scripture, Strength)

Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Feast of William Law, Priest, Mystic, 1761
Commemoration of William of Ockham, Franciscan Friar, Philosopher, Teacher, 1347
Commemoration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Priest, Scientist, Visionary, 1955

Read what chapter, or doctrine of Scripture you will, be ever so delighted with it, it will leave you as poor, as empty and unreformed as it found you, unless it has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit of God, and strengthened your union with and dependence upon Him.
... William Law (1686-1761), Works of Rev. William Law, v. IX, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 6 (see the book; see also Ps. 40:6-8; 1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 51:16-17; Jer. 7:21-23; Hos. 6:6; Matt. 9:13; John 4:34; Rom. 7:22; Heb. 10:5-12; more at Bible, Dependence, Emptiness, Holy Spirit, Poverty, Scripture)

Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

Come all crosses, welcome, welcome! so I may get my heartful of my Lord Jesus.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 20, 1637, p. 191 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:37-38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23-24; 14:29; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Phil. 1:29-30; more at Cross, Heart, Jesus, Weakness)

Thursday, April 12, 2001
Maundy Thursday

We usually think of Jesus in the upper room as calmly and patiently preparing his disciples for their coming crisis; only in the garden are we shown his deep anguish over what lies ahead for himself. But if this verse (“They hated me without a cause.” Ps. 69:4) occurred to Jesus as describing his enemies, surely he was also identifying with the rest of [Psalm 69] with its vivid description of overwhelming troubles and importune cries to God for deliverance. What in the upper room was still under the surface was openly expressed in the garden.
... John R. Cogdell, “The humanity of Jesus Christ, as revealed in certain Psalms”, section V (see the book; see also Ps. 69:1-4; Matt. 26:18,38-39; Mark 14:32-34; Luke 22:42-43; John 15:23-25; 1 Pet. 2:22-23; more at Calm, Deliverance, Easter, Enemy, Jesus, Patience)

Friday, April 13, 2001
Good Friday

Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us, and the recognition of the cross as the substitute for all the want on our part... The whole work is His, not ours, from first to last.
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), The Everlasting Righteousness, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1873, p. 116-117 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:16-17; Ps. 148:13; Rom. 3:23; 2 Cor. 4:15; 1 John 1:8; more at Cross, Faith, God, Goodness, Work)

Saturday, April 14, 2001
Holy Saturday

When Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross, it was not the blood of a martyr; or the blood of one man for another; it was the life of God poured out to redeem the world.
... Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Isa. 53:4-7; Matt. 20:26-28; 26:28; Acts 20:28; Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 9:12-14; 1 Pet. 2:22-24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; Rev. 5:9; more at Blood, Christ, Cross, God, Gospel, Jesus, Martyr, Redemption)

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Almighty and everlasting God, Who hast preserved me by Thy fatherly care through all the years of my past life, and now permittest me again to commemorate the sufferings and merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; grant me so to partake of this holy rite, that the disquiet of my mind may be appeased, that my faith may be increased, my hope strengthened, and my life regulated by Thy Will. Make me truly thankful for that portion of health which Thy mercy has restored, and enable me to use the remains of life to Thy glory and my own salvation. Take not from me, O Lord, Thy Holy Spirit. Extinguish in my mind all sinful and inordinate desires. Let me resolve to do that which is right, and let me by Thy help keep my resolutions. Let me, if it is best for me, at last know peace and comfort; but whatever state of life Thou shalt appoint me, let me end it by a happy death, and enjoy eternal happiness in Thy presence, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, April 15, 1770, p. 79-80 (see the book; see also John 20:19-22; Ps. 51:10-11; John 3:16; Rom. 12:2; Tit. 3:4-6; more at Death, Everlasting, Faith, God, Happiness, Hope, Life, Mind, Prayers, Will of God)

Monday, April 16, 2001

Genuine outrage is not just a permissible reaction to the hard-pressed Christian; God himself feels it. And so should the Christian in the presence of pain, cruelty, violence, and injustice. God, who is the Father of Jesus Christ, is neither impersonal nor beyond good and evil. By the absolute immutability of His character, He is implacably opposed to evil and outraged by it.
... Os Guinness (b. 1941), The Dust of Death, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p. 386 (see the book; see also Nah. 1:6; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 119:142; Heb. 10:30-31; more at Evil, Father, God, Indifference, Sin)

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

The scientific age with its urban-industrial culture is, for all its magnificent achievements and intoxicating success, in a very real sense a dark age. Its complete bondage to nature has enclosed the mind and spirit of man in a fast prison out of which, try as he may, he can find no way of escape. The inability to perceive any longer the reality of things invisible and unseen is a sickness of the soul which cries out to be cured. The only way to dispel the darkness of the present age and liberate it from the prison within which it has become bound is to restore the proper relationship of nature to supernature and of time to eternity as an essential feature of external reality. Until this can be accomplished, there is really very little that the Church or Christianity in general has to offer to this age.
... W. G. Pollard (1911-1989), “Urbanization, Industrialization, Automation,” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 102 (see the book; see also Ex. 3:13-14; Eccl. 3:10-11; Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 1:16; more at Bondage, Culture, Darkness, Eternity, Prison, Sickness, Sin, Soul, Success, Time)

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

As they that know any thing in this world know that, as the first great opposition of hell, the world, and corrupt nature, is against faith to God by Christ; so the next great opposition made against us, is against our love.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen, v. IX, New York: R. Carter, 1851, Sermon XXI, p. 261 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:31; Matt. 24:22; John 13:34; 15:12; Rom. 12:10; 1 Pet. 1:22; Rev. 2;4; more at Christ, Corruption, Faith, Hell, Knowledge, Love, Weakness, World)

Thursday, April 19, 2001
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

The centre of trouble is not the turbulent appetites—though they are troublesome enough. The centre of trouble is the personality of man as a whole, which is self-centred and can only be wholesome and healthy if it is God-centred.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Nature, Man and God, London: Macmillan, 1934, 1949, p. 367 (see the book; see also Phil. 2:12-13; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 12;1-2; 2 Cor. 10:5; 1 Pet. 1:14; more at Devotion, Health, Selfish, Sin, Trouble)

Friday, April 20, 2001

Sacrifice, contrary to much popular opinion, was not to the Hebrew some crude, temporary and merely typical institution, nor simply a substitute for that dispensation until better things were to be provided later. Sacrifice was then the only sufficient means of remaining in harmonious relation to God. No Hebrew dared neglect this obligation. It was adequate for the period in which God intended it should serve. This is not the same as saying, however, that Levitical sacrifice was on an equal with the sacrifice of Christ, nor that the blood of bulls and goats could, from God’s side, take away sins; but it is recognizing the reality of the divine institution of Mosaic worship, and looking, as too often Old Testament interpreters fail to do, at sacrifice and priestly ritual from the viewpoint of the Hebrew in the Old Testament dispensation. Sacrifice, to the pious Hebrew, was not something insignificant, nor simply a perfunctory ritual, but it was an important element in his moral obedience to the revealed will of God. Sacrifice was by its very nature, which involved faith and repentance on the part of the worshiper and the putting to death of his substitute victim, intensely personal, ethical, moral, and spiritual, because it was intended to reflect the attitude of the heart and will toward God.
... Hobart E. Freeman (1920-1984), An Introduction to the O. T. Prophets, Chicago: Moody Press, 1968, p. 45 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:4; more at Repentance)

Saturday, April 21, 2001
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

I hear men praying everywhere for more faith, but when I listen to them carefully and get to the real heart of their prayer, very often it is not more faith at all that they are wanting, but a change from faith to sight... Faith says not, “I see that it is good for me, so God must have sent it,” but, “God sent it, and so it must be good for me.” Faith walking in the dark with God only prays Him to clasp its hand more closely.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), The Light of the World, and Other Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1904, p. 351-352 (see the book; see also Deut. 31:7; Dan. 10:19; John 20:29; Eph. 6:10; more at Darkness, Faith, God, Goodness, Prayer, Sight)

Sunday, April 22, 2001

For God to explain a trial would be to destroy its purpose, calling forth simple faith and implicit obedience.
... Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), Elisha the Prophet: the lessons of his history and times, Religious Tract Society, 1882, p. 156 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:35-37; John 15:10; Eph. 6:6-8; Jas. 1:22-25; more at Affliction, Faith, God, Obedience, Purpose, Simplicity, Trial, Weakness)

Monday, April 23, 2001
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

There are no crown wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Gleanings Among the Sheaves, New York: Sheldon, 1869, p. 57 (see the book; see also Luke 9:23-24; Matt. 10:38; 16:24-25; 1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 4:9-11; more at Bearing, Coronation, Cross, Heaven, Obedience)

Tuesday, April 24, 2001
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

Having tried, we must hold fast [to the truth], upon [the penalty of] the loss of a crown; we must not let go for all the fleabitings of the present afflictions, etc. Having bought truth dear, we must not sell it cheap, not the least grain of it for the whole world; no, not for the saving of souls, though our own most precious; least of all for the bitter sweetening of a little vanishing pleasure.
... Roger Williams (1603?-1683), The Bloudy Tenent [1644], London: J. Haddon, 1848, p. 9 (see the book; see also Rev. 3:11; 1 Cor. 9:24-25; 1 Thes. 5:21; 2 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 4:14; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 2:25; more at Affliction, Perseverance, Pleasure, Truth, Weakness)

Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

But if the holy prophets had scruples against separating themselves from the church because of many great misdeeds, not of one man or another but of almost all the people, we claim too much for ourselves if we dare withdraw at once from the communion of the church just because the morals of all do not meet our standard, or even square with the profession of Christian faith.
... 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. 240 (see the book; see also Jas. 4:11-12; Matt. 7:1; Rom. 2:1; 14:4,13; 1 Cor. 4:4-5; Eph. 4:3; more at Church, Communion, Morality, People, Prophet, Sin)

Thursday, April 26, 2001

I have no rest, but in a nook, with the Book.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), quoted in The Treasury of David, v. I, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883, p. 7 (see the book; see also Ps. 1:1-2; 119:11,15,97-99; Josh. 1:8; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; more at Bible, Rest)

Friday, April 27, 2001
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

What can I give Him
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would give Him a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man,
I would do my part,—
But what I can, I give Him,
Give my heart.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 211 (see the book; see also John 10:11; Ps. 23; Isa. 40:11; Col. 1:27; 1 Pet. 2:25; Rev. 3:20; more at Christmas, Giving, Heart, Poverty)

Saturday, April 28, 2001
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

I know the road to Jericho,
It’s in a part of town
That’s full of factories and filth.
I’ve seen the folks go down.
Small folk with roses in their cheeks
And starlight in their eyes;
And seen them fall among the thieves,
And heard their helpless cries.
The priests and Levites speeding by
Read of the latest crimes
In headlines spread in black and red
Across The Evening Times.
How hard for those in limousines
To heal the heart of man!
It was a slow-paced ass that bore
The Good Samaritan.
... Edwin McNeill Poteat (1892-1955), in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 427-428 (see the book; see also Luke 10:26-37; 16:15; 18:9-14; more at Crime, Goodness, Heart, Helplessness, Jesus)

Sunday, April 29, 2001
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

O abyss, O eternal Godhead, O sea profound, what more could You give me than Yourself? You are the fire that burns without being consumed; You consume in Your heat all the soul’s self-love; You are the fire which takes away cold; with Your light You illuminate me so that I may know all Your truth... Clothe me, clothe me with yourself, eternal truth, so that I may run this mortal life with true obedience, and with the light of your most holy faith.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dialogue 167 from Dialog of Catherine of Siena [1378], Treatise of Obedience, xi. (see the book; see also Jer. 23:29; Ex. 3:2; John 1:1-5; Heb. 12:1-2,27-29; more at Everlasting, Faith, Fire, God, Holiness, Illumination, Life, Obedience, Prayers, Truth)

Monday, April 30, 2001
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

Ultimate confidence in the goodness of life cannot rest upon confidence in the goodness of man. If that is where it rests, it is an optimism which will suffer ultimate disillusionment. Romanticism will be transmuted into cynicism, as it has always been in the world’s history. The faith of a Christian is something quite different from this optimism. It is trust in God, in a good God who created a good world, though the world is not now good; in a good God, powerful and good enough finally to destroy the evil that men do and redeem them of their sins. This kind of faith is not optimism. It does not, in fact, arise until optimism breaks down and men cease to trust in themselves that they are righteous.
... Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), Beyond Tragedy, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1937, p. 131 (see the book; see also Pr. 3:5; Gen. 1:31; 3:17; Ps. 118:9; Luke 18:9-14; John 15:18-19; Rom. 10:3; Col. 1:13-15; more at Evil, Faith, Goodness, Optimism, Redemption, Righteousness, Sin, Suffer, Trust)


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