Christ, our Light

Quotations for January, 2003

Wednesday, January 1, 2003
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus

For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Preface to the Prophets [1532], in What Luther Says: an anthology, v. I, Ewald Martin Plass, ed., Concordia Pub. House, 1959, p. 83 (see the book; see also Neh. 8:2-4; 2 Kings 22:8-13; Neh. 8:18; Ps. 1:2-3; 119:97-104; Matt. 13:51-52; 1 Tim. 4:13; more at Bible, Knowledge, Tree, Year)

Thursday, January 2, 2003
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833

The fool for Christ holds a prophetic role in Christianity, from the early church to Russian Orthodox “pilgrims” and such later fools as Luther, Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky, who were seekers after the true, the good, the holy, the beautiful. They were insane—not in a clinical sense, but in the madness of the Holy, an insanity which ordinary sanity refuses to admit.
... David Kirk (1935-2007), Quotations from Chairman Jesus, Springfield, Ill.: Templegate Publishers, 1969, p. 132-133 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:18-27; Matt. 11:16-19; Luke 11:9-10; Acts 17:24-27; more at Beauty, Fool, Goodness, Holiness, Pilgrim, Prophet, Truth)

Friday, January 3, 2003
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970

George Brush, the hero of [Thornton Wilder’s] “Heaven’s My Destination,” a textbook salesman and evangelist extraordinary, is the innocent fool, in the kindliest sense of both the noun and the adjective. He is striving to be the fool in Christ, sowing the inevitable amazement, consternation and wrath that must ensue when Christ’s fool runs at large among the worldly wise.
... Edmund Fuller (1914/15-2001), “Thornton Wilder: the Notation of the Heart”, originally in American Scholar, September, 1959, pp 210-217, included in Books with Men Behind Them, New York: Random House, 1959, p. 49-50 (see the book; see also Luke 4:28-30; Mark 3:20-21; John 15:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:20-25; 2:14; 3:18; more at Christ, Evangelization, Fool, Innocence, Sow, Strife, Wisdom, Worldly)

Saturday, January 4, 2003

If we think that Jesus did not rise, but “lives” and “reigns” only in his followers’ memories and imaginations, and is not actively and objectively “there” in the place of power, irrespective of whether he is acknowledged or not, we should give up hope of our own rising, and of Jesus’ public return, and admit that the idea of churches and Christians being sustained by the Spirit-giving energy of a living Lord was never more than a pleasing illusion. And, in that case, we ought frankly to affirm that, though the New Testament is an amazing witness to the religious creativity of the human spirit, its actual message is more wrong than right, more misleading than helpful; and we must reconstruct our gospel accordingly. Only a weak, muddled, or cowardly mind will hesitate to do this.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), “Jesus Christ the Lord”, in The Lord Christ [1980], John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 34 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:20; 1 Cor. 15:17; 1 John 2:6; 4:2-3; more at Bible, Church, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Illusions, Jesus, Power, Witness, Wrong)

Sunday, January 5, 2003

It is quite true that the Greek word ekklesia comes from two roots which mean literally “called out.” Many preachers have made use of this fact to point out helpful spiritual implications, and yet, by New Testament times, the word carried no such denotation as “called out.” It was simply the word for “assembly” or “congregation.” It so happened that in the Greek city-states an assembly of the citizenry resulted from the people being called out of their city and summoned from their farms to participate in such gatherings. Even though the etymology of the word remains, its real meaning is just “assembly,” and a Greek-speaking person of New Testament times would be no more inclined to understand ekklesia in its original etymological value of “called out” than we today would recognize “God be with you” in “good-by,” which, as we may learn from the dictionary, was derived from the longer phrase.
... Eugene A. Nida (1914-2011), God’s Word in Man’s Language, New York: Harper, 1952, p. 61 (see the book; see also Acts 2:46-47; Matt. 18:20; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:20; Eph. 5:29-30; Heb. 10:25; more at Bible, Church, Congregation, Meaning, Preacher)

Monday, January 6, 2003

It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue but the strongest incentive to its practice; and has exerted so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.
... W. E. H. Lecky (1838-1903), History of European Morals, v. II [1869], New York: D. Appleton, 1910, p. 8-9 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:37-48; John 1:14,17-18; 3:16; Heb. 1:1-2; Jas. 5:12; more at Apologetics, Ideal, Inspiration, Love, Philosophy, Regeneration, Virtue)

Tuesday, January 7, 2003

[Johannes] Brahms chose his own texts [for his German Requiem] from Luther’s Bible to illustrate the Protestant conviction that man must hear and respond to God’s word in man’s own language, and that every believer must be free to deal with the Biblical text apart from priestly veto... For the word “German” he would gladly have substituted the word “human” because he was concerned to comment on “the primary text of human existence,” finding there, as in the Bible, the universal themes of suffering and joy.
... Paul S. Minear (1906-2007) (see also Ps. 39:4-7; 84:1-2,4; 126:5-6; Isa. 35:10; 40:6-7; 66:13; Matt. 5:4; John 16:22; 1 Cor. 15:51-52,54-55; Heb. 13:14; Jas. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:24-25; Rev. 4:11; 14:13; more at Bible, Conviction, Existence, God, Historical, Joy, Man, Priest, Suffer)

Wednesday, January 8, 2003
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956

A man’s physical hunger does not prove that that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating, and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. A man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called “falling in love” occurred in a sexless world.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Weight of Glory, and other addresses, Macmillan Co., 1949, p. 6 (see the book; see also John 7:37-39; Ps. 42:1-4; Matt. 5:6; more at Apologetics, Bread, Love, Paradise, Proof)

Thursday, January 9, 2003

[Thomas Carlyle] believed that every man had a special duty to do in this world. If he had been asked what specially he conceived his own duty to be, he would have said that it was to force men to realize once more that the world was actually governed by a just God; that the old familiar story, acknowledged everywhere in words on Sundays and disregarded or openly denied on week-days, was, after all, true. His writings, every one of them, ... were to the same purpose and on the same text—that truth must be spoken and justice must be done; on any other conditions, no real commonwealth, no common welfare, is permitted or possible.
... James A. Froude (1818-1894), Life of Carlyle [1884], New York: Scribner, 1904, p. 240 (see the book; see also Nah. 1:3; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 19:9; Heb. 6:10; Rev. 15:3; 16:5-7; 19:1-2; more at Duty, God, Historical, Justice, Man, Truth, World)

Friday, January 10, 2003

The shameful apostasy of Israel is unparalleled among the heathen nations of the world, God charges (Jer. 2:9-13). Search through every pagan nation, inquire in every idol temple, investigate the religious life of the idolaters of the world, and there will be found a fidelity to these false gods that will put Israel’s unfaithfulness to her God to shame. Israel’s conduct was unheard of even among the heathen. The idolatrous nations remained true to their gods, in spite of the fact that they did not actually exist and could not help them in any way. God, as it were, marvels at Israel’s unbelief.
... Hobart E. Freeman (1920-1984), An Introduction to the O. T. Prophets, Chicago: Moody Press, 1968, p. 238 (see the book; see also Jer. 2:9-13; Matt. 11:21-24; Mark 6:4-6; John 7:37; more at Apostasy, Bible, Heathen, Idol, Israel, Nation, Pagan, Unbelief)

Saturday, January 11, 2003
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915

It is vain for bishops and pious bigwigs to discuss what dreadful things will happen if wild skepticism runs its course. It has run its course. It is vain for eloquent atheists to talk of the great truths that will be revealed if once we see free thought begin. We have seen it end. It has no more questions to ask; it has questioned itself. You cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves. You cannot fancy a more skeptical world than that in which men doubt if there is a world. It might certainly have reached its bankruptcy more quickly and cleanly if it had not been feebly hampered by the application of indefensible laws of blasphemy or by the absurd pretense that modern England is Christian. But it would have reached the bankruptcy anyhow.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), Orthodoxy, London, New York: John Lane Company, 1909, p. 65-66 (see the book; see also Mal. 3:13-15; Job 22:17; Ps. 14:1-3; Zeph. 1:12; Matt. 23:37-38; Luke 13:34-35; more at Agnosticism, Apologetics, Atheism, Blasphemy, Doubt, Question, Self, Vanity, World)

Sunday, January 12, 2003
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689

Pain is a kindly, hopeful thing, a certain proof of life, a clear assurance [that] all is not yet over, that there is still a chance. But if your heart has no pain, well, that may betoken health, as you suppose. But are you certain that it does not mean that your soul is dead?
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 277 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:11-12; Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:22,28; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; more at Assurance, Death, Heart, Kindness, Pain, Proof, Soul, Weakness)

Monday, January 13, 2003
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603

It is one thing to fear God as threatening, with a holy reverence, and another to be afraid of the evil threatened.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. XI ff, in Works of John Owen, v. XXIV, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1855, p. 50 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:7; Ps. 23:4; 119:120; Hab. 3:16; Mal. 2:5; Heb. 4:1; 5:7-8; more at Evil, Fear, God, Holiness, Reverence, Sin)

Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915

When law and sin ceased to be distinguished in Israel, compassion induced Him to appoint judges again. If these are gifted with heroic qualities, to vanquish the oppressors of Israel, it is nevertheless not this heroism that forms their principal characteristic. That consists in judging. They restore... the authority of the law. For this reason, God raises up judges, not princes. The title sets forth both their work and the occasion of their appointment. Israel is free and powerful when its law is observed throughout the land.
... Paulus Cassell (1821-1892), from The Book of Judges, tr. P. H. Steenstra, in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, vol. IV, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, John Peter Lange, New York: C. Scribner & Co., 1871, p. 61 (see the book; see also Judg. 2:14-19; 5:1-3; 6:12-16; more at Authenticity, Bible, Compassion, God, Heroism, Israel, Judgment, Law, Nation, Sin)

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

There is a continuum of values between the churches and the general community. What distinguishes the handling of these values in the churches is mainly the heavier dosage of religious vocabulary involved... Another way of putting this is to say that the churches operate with secular values while the secular institutions are permeated with religious terminology... An objective observer is hard put to tell the difference (at least in terms of values affirmed) between the church members and those who maintain an ‘unchurched’ status. Usually the most that can be said is that the church members hold the same values as everybody else, but with more emphatic solemnity. Thus, church membership in no way means adherence to a set of values at variance with those of the general society; rather, it means a stronger and more explicitly religious affirmation of the same values held by the community at large.
... Peter L. Berger (1929-2017), The Noise of Solemn Assemblies, Garden City: Doubleday, 1961, p. 41 (see the book; see also John 9:5; Isa. 1:13-16; Matt. 5:13-16; Luke 11:33-35; Phil. 2:14-16; more at Authenticity, Church, Community, Religion, Social)

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Lord Jesus Christ! A whole life long didst thou suffer that I too might be saved; and yet thy suffering is not yet at an end; but this too wilt thou endure, saving and redeeming me, this patient suffering of having to do with me, I who so often go astray from the right path, or even when I remained on the straight path stumbled along it or crept so slowly along the right path. Infinite patience, suffering of infinite patience. How many times have I not been impatient, wished to give up and forsake everything; wished to take the terribly easy way out, despair: but thou didst not lose patience. Oh, I cannot say what thy chosen servant says: that he filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh; no, I can only say that I increased thy sufferings, added new ones to those which thou didst once suffer in order to save me.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 361 (see the book; see also Heb. 9:26-28; Luke 1:17-19; John 19:1-3; Col. 1:24; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Affliction, Christ, Patience, Prayers, Redemption, Salvation, Suffer)

Friday, January 17, 2003
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932

Now what ought to have been the attitude of thoughtful Christians towards ecclesiastical authority, resulting from our Lord’s whole attitude towards it? I think that the Catholic Church ought to have maintained and used ecclesiastical and sacerdotal authority, but that its maintenance and its use ought to have been accompanied with a continual fear. Because they had before them this fact, that however divinely authoritative, however securely resting on a basis of legitimate and genuine inspiration, yet the ecclesiastical authority of the Old Covenant, by no process of sudden revolution, but simply by a process of gradual development, was capable of becoming something so utterly alien in spirit from what it was intended to be, that when the Christ came, to prepare for whom and to welcome whom was the one reason for which it existed, it did in fact reject Him utterly.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932) (see also 1 Cor. 11:27; Matt. 13:54-58; 23:13-39; Luke 4:28-30; 24:19-20; Acts 7:51-53; more at Attitudes, Christ, Church, Inspiration, Intention, Spirit)

Saturday, January 18, 2003
Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951

Joy is not gush: joy is not jolliness. Joy is simply perfect acquiescence in God’s will, because the soul delights itself in God Himself... Rejoice in the will of God, and in nothing else. Bow down your heads and your hearts before God, and let the will, the blessed will of God, be done.
... Hanmer William Webb-Peploe (1837-1923), included in Springs in the Valley, ed. Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997, p. 163 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:16; Neh. 8:10-12; Nah. 1:15; Acts 2:45-47; 2 Cor. 1:24; 8:2; Phil. 4:4; more at Abasement, God, Heart, Joy, Obedience, Will of God)

Sunday, January 19, 2003
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095

As for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them that, on the contrary, he was surprised that there were not more, considering the malice sinners were capable of. For his part, he prayed for them; but, knowing that God could remedy the mischiefs they did when He pleased, he gave himself no further trouble.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, First Conversation, p. 8-9 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:19-21; Luke 6:27-28; Acts 7:60; Rom. 12:14; more at Confidence, Malice, Providence, Sin, Sinner, Trouble, World)

Monday, January 20, 2003
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349

The Christian is the real radical of our generation, for he stands against the monolithic, modern concept of truth as relative. But too often, instead of being the radical, standing against the shifting sands of relativism, he subsides into merely maintaining the status quo. If it is true that evil is evil, that God hates it to the point of the cross, and that there is a moral law fixed in what God is in Himself, then Christians should be the first into the field against what is wrong.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The God Who is There [1968], in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 118 (see the book; see also John 14:6; 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:3-4; more at Apologetics, Cross, Evil, God, Morality, Truth, Wrong)

Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304

That is where they meet, the Upper Room, scene of the Last Supper, scene of the Resurrection appearances when the doors were shut, scene now of their waiting for the Spirit. Whose is it? The clue lies in Acts 12, where St. Peter, strangely freed from Herod’s prison, knows at whose house they will be gathered for prayer. He knocks, startles the gate-girl Rhoda. It was “the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark”—the young man who was to write the earliest of the gospels. The first meeting place of any Christian congregation was the home of a woman in Jerusalem.
Something of the sort happens everywhere. The church in Caesarea centres upon Philip the Evangelist. “Now this man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.” ... Joppa church depends on Tabitha, “a woman full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.” Follow St. Paul about the Mediterranean. He crosses to Europe because he dreams of a man from Macedonia who cries, “Come over and help us.” But when he lands at Philippi it is not a man, but a woman. “Lydia was baptized and her household”—his first convert in Europe, a woman. Everywhere women are the most notable of the converts, often the only ones who believe. In Thessalonica there are “of the chief women not a few;” Beroea, “Greek women of honourable estate;” Athens, only two names, one of them, Damaris, a woman. At Corinth Priscilla and Aquila come into the story, the pair always mentioned together, and four times out of the six with the wife’s name first, a thing undreamed of in the first century. Why? Because she counted for more in church affairs—hostess of the church in her houses in Corinth, Ephesus and Rome, chief instructress of Apollos the missionary, intimate of the greatest missionary of all, St. Paul. Six times in the Epistles greetings are sent to a house-church, and in five cases the church is linked with a woman’s name.
... John Foster (1898-1973), Five Minutes a Saint, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1963, p. 39 (see the book; see also Acts 12:11-16; 16:14-15; 17:12,34; 18:24-28; Rom. 16:1-3,6,12; Col. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:19; more at Bible, Church, Conversion, Evangelization, Home, Missionary, Prison, Prophet, Woman)

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

If Dr. [John A. T.] Robinson is right in saying that “God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get on very well without him,” then the Church has no need to say anything whatever to secularized man, for that is precisely what secularized man already believes.
... E. L. Mascall (1905-1993), in The Observer, March 24, 1963, reproduced in The Honest to God Debate, David L. Edwards, ed., London, SCM Press, 1963, p. 93 (see the book; see also Num. 11:18-22; Rom. 11:7-8; Eph. 2:11-13; 2 Tim. 4:3; more at Apologetics, Belief, Church, God, Man)

Thursday, January 23, 2003
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893

In prayer we express deep penitence and contrition for our shortcomings, using sorrowful and self-accusing words. And this often in all sincerity. But, at other times, we are not really much disturbed about it; or, at least, not nearly so much as our heaped-up language would imply. What we imagine that we are achieving through this unreality I do not know. We shall not fool the All-wise; nor induce Him to believe that we are anything other, or better, than we actually are! Were it not saner to tell Him the truth, exactly as it is—not that we are overwhelmed with sorrow for our sinfulness, if it is not so; but rather this, that, to all our other sinfulness, we have added this last and crowning sinfulness, that we are not much worried about it, or, at least, not nearly as much as we ought to be. Be pleased, in pity, to grant us such measure of sorrow for our failures as will lead us to a true repentance; and, through that, to a new way of life.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), In the Secret Place of the Most High, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947, p. 27-28 (see the book; see also Hag. 1:5-6; Mark 2:17; Luke 10:13; 13:1-5; Rom. 2:1-5; Eph. 5:13-14; more at Contrition, Failure, Imagination, Penitence, Prayer, Repentance, Sorrow, Way)

Friday, January 24, 2003
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622

We must not be unjust and require from ourselves what is not in ourselves... Do not desire not to be what you are, but desire to be very well what you are.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Spiritual Maxims, Longmans, Green, 1954, p. 138,114 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Matt. 3:2; 19:11-12; 12:1; Rom. 6:11-14; 14:6-8; Col. 3:5; more at Achievement, Humility, Obedience, Providence)

Saturday, January 25, 2003
Feast of the Conversion of Paul

In [Father Smith’s] opinion the leaders of the Church had grown so used to the spectacle of the world neglecting the wisdom of Christ that they had ceased to be shocked by it and what was wanted was a renewal of the apostolic spirit among cardinals and archbishops and papal nuncios. It was no use preaching the gospel only to those who came to church to hear it. The gospel ought to be preached to those who didn’t want to hear it as well: to industrialists in their offices, to clubmen in their windows, to workers in their yards and factories, to bibbers in their taverns, to harlots in their doorways, to all those should the sweet tidings of Christ be taught. It was a sorry matter for reflection that it was only heretics who dared to brave the sneers of the mob by crying aloud the Name of Jesus at street corners and in the market place.
... Bruce Marshall (1899-1987), The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1945, p. 127 (see the book; see also John 17:8; Ps. 119:169-172; Matt. 9:12-13; 13:15-16; Luke 19:10; 1 Tim. 1:15; more at Christ, Gospel, Jesus, Neglect, Preach, Renewal, Wisdom)

Sunday, January 26, 2003
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963

I do not think I am fanciful in discerning among some of those who most earnestly plead against the Christian social movement a feeling that there is something fundamentally intractable, inscrutable, mysterious about the world, and that no more can be hoped for than an heroic protest in the name of Christ, made in obedience but with no sort of hope that anything can come of it. I hope I am not wrong in saying that there is nothing Christian in such an attitude. It savours of the Paganism that saw behind the world a kind of ironical malice; that made Polycrates throw his ring into the sea, and called the Furies the Kindly Ones, if haply they might be so appeased.
But we stand outside this world of darkness, for we have learnt that all things were created by the eternal Word, who is Christ Jesus. We know, in the Pauline phrase, that it is in Him that the whole universal order of things consists or holds together. Those who have come to know that, know in consequence that they are in their Father’s house. It is a big house, and they have begun to explore only a little of it. It has great reaches, and some of them are still shadowy. But it is His house, all of it.
... William Paton (see also Col. 1:15-17; John 1:1-3; 8:58; 14:2; 17:5; 1 Cor. 8:6; more at Christ, Father, Hope, Knowledge, Malice, Obedience, Social, World)

Monday, January 27, 2003

Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; we do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #548, p. 177 (see the book; see also Jer. 17:9; Ps. 26:2; 139:23-24; Pr. 17:3; John 14:9; 2 Cor. 13:5-8; more at Christ, Jesus, Knowing God, Self-examination)

Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274

The tendency of the religions of all time has been to care more for religion than for humanity; Christ cared more for humanity than for religion—rather, His care for humanity was the chief expression of His religion. He was not indifferent to observances, but the practices of the people bulked in His thoughts before the practices of the Church. It has been pointed out as a blemish on the immortal allegory of Bunyan that the Pilgrim never did anything—anything but save his soul. The remark is scarcely fair, for the allegory is designedly the story of a soul in a single relation; and, besides, he did do a little. But the warning may well be weighed. The Pilgrim’s one thought, his work by day, his dream by night, was escape. He took little part in the world through which he passed. He was a Pilgrim travelling through it; his business was to get through safe. Whatever this is, it is not Christianity.
... Henry Drummond (1851-1897), The Programme of Christianity, New York: J. Potts, 1891, p. 9 (see the book; see also Matt. 23:13,23; Gal. 5:22-25; Jas. 1:27; 2 Pet. 1:5-9; more at Church, Pilgrim, Religion, Safety, Salvation, Soul, Thought, Travel)

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Pride has a greater share than goodness of heart in the remonstrances we make to those who are guilty of faults; we reprove, not so much with a view to correcting them, as to persuade them that we are exempt from those faults ourselves.
... François La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), Moral Reflections, Sentences and Maxims of Francis, Duc de la Rochefoucauld, New York: W. Gowans, 1851, p. 15 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:1-2; Pr. 16:5; Rom. 1:32; 2:1-5; 11:20; 1 Cor. 10:12-13; Gal. 6:1; Heb. 2:2-3; 12:25; more at Attitudes, Goodness, Guilt, Heart, Pride, Self-examination, Sin)

Thursday, January 30, 2003
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998

This therefore is a certain truth, that hell and death, curse and misery, can never cease or be removed from the creation, till the will of the creature is again as it came from God, and is only a Spirit of Love that wills nothing but goodness. All the whole fallen creation, stand it never so long, must groan and travail in pain, till every contrariety to the divine will is entirely taken from every creature.
Which is only saying, that all the powers and properties of nature, are a misery to themselves, can only work in disquiet and wrath, till the birth of the Son of God brings them under the dominion and power of the Spirit of Love.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 8 (see the book; see also Rom. 2:5; Ps. 63:1-2; Rom. 8:22-23; Matt. 28:18; Heb. 3:13; Rev. 6:16-17; more at Creation, Fall, Love, Nature, Power, Providence, Spirit, Truth)

Friday, January 31, 2003
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888

“Secret sins,” such as are not known to be sins, it may be, to ourselves, make way for those that are “presumptuous.” Thus pride may seem to be nothing but a frame of mind belonging unto our wealth and dignity, or our ... abilities; sensuality may seem to be but a lawful participation of the good things of this life; passion and peevishness, but a due sense of the want of respect that we must suppose owing unto us; covetousness, a necessary care of ourselves and of our families. If the seeds of sin are covered with such pretences, they will in time spring up and bear bitter fruit in the minds and the lives of men. And the beginning of all apostasy, both in religion and in morality, lies in such pretences. Men plead that they can do so-and-so lawfully, until they can do things openly unlawful.
... John Owen (1616-1683), A Treatise of the Dominion of Sin and Grace [1688], in Works of John Owen, v. VII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 559 (see the book; see also Ps. 19:12,13; Matt. 12:33-35; Rom. 2:12-13; 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:3,4; more at Antinomianism, Apostasy, Law, Morality, Religion, Sin)


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