Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2005

Friday, April 1, 2005
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

It is far better, safer, truer language to speak of individual depravity than of universal depravity. By individual depravity I mean my own. I find it out in myself; or rather, He who searcheth me and trieth my ways, finds it out in me. That sense of depravity implies the recognition of a law which I have violated, of an order from which I have broken loose, of a Divine image which my character has not resembled. It is the law and the order which are universal. It is this character of Christ which is the true human character. It is easy enough to own [to] a general depravity; under cover of it you and I escape.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), Lincoln’s Inn Sermons, v. V, London: Macmillan, 1892, p. 267 (see the book; see also 1 John 1:8; Ps. 32:5; 38:18; 41:4; 51:1-10; 106:6; 130:1-3; John 3:19; Rom. 5:18; Jas. 5:16; 1 John 1:9-10; more at Christ, Depravity, Law, Sin)

Saturday, April 2, 2005

We have no cause to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; but the Gospel of Christ may justly be ashamed of us.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VI, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CXVIII, p. 30 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:6; Rom. 1:16-18; more at Bible, Christ, Gospel, Shame)

Sunday, April 3, 2005

There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, X.xxii, p. 260 (see the book; see also Jude 1:24-25; Isa. 48:22; John 11:25-26; 14:6; Acts 3;15; Rom. 15:13; Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:4; 1 Pet. 4:13; 1 John 5:12; more at Devotion, Happiness, Joy, Life, Love, Prayers)

Monday, April 4, 2005

The merit of persons is to be no rule of our charity; but we are to do acts of kindness to those that least of all deserve it.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 116 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:1-4; Matt. 5:3; 25:40; Luke 14:8-11; 1 John 3:17-18; more at Charity, Kindness, Love, People, Rule, Social)

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Christ and the Pagan
I had no God but these,
The sacerdotal trees,
And they uplifted me,
“I hung upon a Tree.”
The sun and moon I saw,
And reverential awe
Subdued me day and night,
“I am the perfect light.”
Within a lifeless stone—
All other gods unknown—
I sought Divinity,
“The Corner-stone am I.”
For sacrificial feast
I slaughtered man and beast,
Red recompense to gain.
“So I, a Lamb, was slain.”
“Yea, such My hungering Grace
That whereso’er My face
Is hidden, none may grope
Beyond eternal Hope.”
... John Banister Tabb (1845-1909), Later Poems, New York: M. Kennerley, 1910, p. 11-12 (see the book; see also Matt. 21:42-44; Ps. 118:22; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; 1 Pet. 3:15; Rev. 5:12; more at Apologetics, Everlasting, Grace, Hope, Lamb, Pagan, Tree)

Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

On the Brink of Death.
Now hath my life across a stormy sea,
Like a frail bark, reached that wide port where all
Are bidden, ere the final reckoning fall
Of good and evil for eternity.
Now know I well how that fond phantasy
Which made my soul the worshipper and thrall
Of earthly art is vain; how criminal
Is that which all men seek unwillingly.
Those amorous thoughts which were so lightly dressed,
What are they when the double death is nigh?
The one I know for sure, the other dread.
Painting nor sculpture now can lull to rest
My soul, that turns to His great love on high,
Whose arms to clasp us on the cross were spread.
... Michelangelo Buonarrotti (1475-1564), The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, v. II, J. A. Symonds, London: J. C. Nimmo, 1893, p. 309 (see the book; see also Ps. 30:11-12; John 6:51; Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 9:25; 1 John 2:17; more at Art, Cross, Death, Historical, Life, Love, Rest, Sea, Vanity, Voyage)

Thursday, April 7, 2005

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, April 8, 2005
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

Wherever... thou shalt be, pray secretly within thyself. If thou shalt be far from a house of prayer, give not thyself trouble to seek for one, for thou thyself art a sanctuary designed for prayer. If thou shalt be in bed, or in any other place, pray there; thy temple is there.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Selections from His Letters, Meditations, Sermons, Hymns and Other Writngs, tr. Horatio Grimley, CUP Archive, n.d., p. 194 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Ps. 3:5; 63:6; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:8; more at Devotion, Prayer, Sanctuary, Temple)

Saturday, April 9, 2005
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

What do I mean by “interpret in a religious sense?” In my view, that means to speak on the one hand metaphysically, and on the other individualistically. Neither of these is relevant to the Bible message or to the man of today. Is it not true to say that individualistic concern for personal salvation has almost completely left us all? Are we not really under the impression that there are more important things than bothering about such a matter? (Perhaps not more important than the matter itself, but more than bothering about it). I know it sounds pretty monstrous to say that. But is it not, at bottom, even Biblical?... It is not with the next world that we are concerned, but with this world as created and preserved and set subject to laws and atoned for and made new. What is above the world is, in the Gospel, intended to exist for this world—I mean that not in the anthropocentric sense of liberal, pietistic, ethical theology, but in the Bible sense of the creation and of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), A Testament to Freedom: the essential writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Geffrey B. Kelly, F. Burton Nelson, eds., HarperCollins, 1995, p. 504 (see the book; see also Mark 12:28-31; Deut. 6:4; 10:12; 30:6; John 3:16-17; Rom. 8:32; 1 Tim. 1:5; more at Atonement, Crucifixion, Existence, Gospel, Jesus, Knowledge, Resurrection, Salvation, Theology, Truth, World)

Sunday, April 10, 2005
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

The life of prayer is just love to God and the custom of being ever with Him.
... Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Santa Teresa, an Appreciation, Alexander Whyte, ed., London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1897, p. 75 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17-18; 1 Sam. 12:23; Ps. 55:16-17; 109:4; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12; 18:1; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; more at God, Life, Love, Prayer)

Monday, April 11, 2005
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called—the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 82 (see the book; see also Matt. 14:22-27; John 18:20; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1; Rom. 9:24-25; Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25; more at Bearing, Being alone, Call, Christ, Church, Community, Congregation, Cross, Fellowship, Jesus)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

He that seeks God in everything is sure to find God in everything. When we thus live wholly unto God, God is wholly ours, and we are then happy in all the happiness of God; for by uniting with Him in heart, and will, and spirit, we are united to all that He is and has in Himself. This is the purity and perfection of life that we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, that God’s kingdom may come and His will be done in us, as it is in Heaven. And this we may be sure is not only necessary, but attainable by us, or our Saviour would not have made it a part of our daily prayer.
... William Law (1686-1761), Works of Rev. William Law, v. VI, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 33 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:10; Luke 6:21; 11:2-4; more at God, Happiness, Kingdom, Life, Perfection, Prayer, Purity, Unity)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

In darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light.
... Augustus William Hare (1792-1834) & Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855), Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, second series, London: Taylor and Walton, 1848, p. 209 (see the book; see also Luke 2:29-32; Mal. 4:2; John 1:4-9; Eph. 5:13-14; more at Choices, Christ, Darkness, Jesus, Light)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Few things are more striking than the change which has taken place during my own lifetime in the attitude of the intelligentsia towards the spokesmen of Christian opinion. When I was a child, bishops expressed doubts about the Resurrection, and were called courageous. When I was a girl, G. K. Chesterton professed belief in the Resurrection, and was called whimsical. When I was at college, thoughtful people expressed belief in the Resurrection “in a spiritual sense,” and were called advanced; (any other kind of belief was called obsolete, and its professors were held to be simpleminded). When I was middle-aged, a number of lay persons, including some poets and writers of popular fiction, put forward rational arguments for the Resurrection, and were called courageous. Today, any lay apologist for Christianity... whose works are sold and read, is liable to be abused in no uncertain terms as a mountebank, a reactionary, a tool of the Inquisition, a spiritual snob, an intellectual bully, an escapist, an obstructionist, a psychopathic introvert, an insensitive extrovert, and an enemy of society. The charges are not always mutually compatible, but the common animus behind them is unmistakable, and its name is fear. Writers who attack these domineering Christians are called courageous.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, London: Golanz, 1963, p. 69 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:11-12; more at Apologetics, Argument, Belief, Courage, Enemy, Resurrection)

Friday, April 15, 2005

General wisdom is not a threat to the gospel, because everything good traces to God. God is merciful and kind; he bestows truth, as well as rain and sunshine, upon the just and the unjust. Christ is the “true light that enlightens every man.” This bestowal should inspire feelings of joy, not resentment, in the heart of a Christian. Aristotle said many wise things about logic, Confucius many wise things about morals. When a Christian attacks general wisdom in the name of the gospel, the natural man will attack the gospel in the name of general wisdom.
... Edward John Carnell (1919-1967), The Case for Orthodox Theology, Philadelphia: Westminister, 1959, p. 128 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:44-45; 1 Kings 3:7-9; Ps. 145:9; Pr. 1:20-33; 8; 9; Matt. 11:18-19; Luke 2:52; John 1:9; Acts 14:17; more at Apologetics, Christ, Enlighten, God, Goodness, Gospel, Joy, Light, Logic, Morality, Rain, Truth, Wisdom)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Every Christian, by virtue of membership in the Church, has a vocation to share in the ministry of Christ to the world which has been entrusted to the Church. The vocation is answered in the home and office and factory and field. There it is that the People of God bears its witness to the vocation of the People of God, a people with a people’s diversity and complex vitality, a people comprising a multiplicity of cultures and histories and colours and tongues, a people and not a collection of individuals, a people bound together in allegiance to one King and in obedience to one purpose.
... F. C. Synge, “The Challenge of the Frontiers: Training for Action (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 156 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:12; Isa. 42:10; 66:19; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 4:13; 1 Tim. 3:13; more at Christ, Church, King, Minister, Obedience, People, Purpose, Witness, World)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

It is to be feared lest our long quarrels about the manner of His presence cause the matter of His absence, for our want of charity to receive Him.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Good Thoughts in Bad Times [1645], Chicago: United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston, 1898, Mixt Contemplations, II. (see the book; see also Rom. 14:19-21; 1 Cor. 13; 1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:3-4,11-12; Tit. 3:9; more at Charity, Church, Communion, Fear, Quarrel)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Impersonal realities do indeed exercise over me some kinds of constraint, as does the wind when it constrains me to battle against it or the rain when it compels me to take shelter. But the constraint of which I have been speaking is of a wholly different kind; it is a constraint to be pure-minded and loyal-hearted, to be kind and true and tender, and to love my neighbour as myself. And what could possibly be meant by saying that any reality of an impersonal kind could exercise over me such a constraint as that? I have never been able to see that it could mean anything at all. I have never been able to see how any being that is not a person could possess a moral and spiritual claim over me.
... John Baillie (1886-1960), Invitation to Pilgrimage, Oxford University Press, 1942, and New York: Scribner, 1942, p. 45 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:14; more at Goodness)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

Faith knows nothing of external guarantees, that is, of course, faith as an original experience of the life of the Spirit. It is only in the secondary exoteric sphere of the religious life that we find guarantees and a general attempt to compel faith. To demand guarantees and proofs of faith is to fail to understand its very nature by denying the free, heroic act which it inspires. In really authentic and original religious experience, to the existence of which the history of the human spirit bears abundant witness, faith springs up without the aid of guarantees and compelling proofs, without any external coercion or the use of authority.
... Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948), Freedom and the Spirit, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1935, 1944, p. 105 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:1; more at Faith)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I [1559], tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.ii.7, p. 496 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:4-5; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:14-17; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14; Heb. 11:1; more at Faith, Heart, Holy Spirit, Knowledge, Promise, Revelation)

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you:
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children;
Often you weep over our sins and our pride:
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgment.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds:
in sickness you nurse us,
and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life:
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness:
through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead:
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us:
in your love and tenderness remake us.
In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness:
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer, Charles C. Hefling, Cynthia L. Shattuck, eds., Oxford University Press US, 2006, p. 457 (see the book; see also Luke 13:34; Col. 2:9-12; Heb. 7:19; more at Prayers)

Friday, April 22, 2005

That perfect devoting ourselves entirely to God, from which devotion hath its name, doth not only require that we should do the will of God, but also that we do it with love. He loveth a cheerful giver, and without the heart, no obedience is acceptable to Him.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Pious Reflections for Every Day in the Month, London: H. D. Symonds, 1800, p. 11 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 9:7; more at Obedience)

Saturday, April 23, 2005
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

Faith is not the holding of correct doctrines, but personal fellowship with the Living God... What is offered to man’s apprehension in any specific Revelation is not truth concerning God but the Living God Himself.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Nature, Man and God, London: Macmillan, 1934, 1949, p. 322 (see the book; see also Matt. 23:2-3; John 3:18-19; 8:24,39; Heb. 11:6; more at Apprehension, Authenticity, Faith, Fellowship, God, Knowing God, Revelation)

Sunday, April 24, 2005
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

The Church has always found it easier to fulfill her priestly than her prophetic role. The temptation to institutionalism is always with us, and who will profess himself guiltless? We reduce Christianity to the service of an institution, the Church, for this enables us to be active in what is fondly called “the work of the Lord,” while at the same time failing to grapple with the fundamental problem for all Christians, that of winning our generation for Christ. In our little circle of like-minded people we condemn outsiders because they do not come in. Perhaps we even make half-hearted attempts to get them to come in. And then we snuggle down again in the warmth of our fellowship, comforted that we have done all that might reasonably be expected of men in our situation. Fortified with this consolation we concentrate on keeping the institution, the Church, running as it should.
... Leon Morris (1914-2006) (see also 1 Cor. 15:31-34; more at Church)

Monday, April 25, 2005
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God and he is instantly free. No one can hinder him. If we understand our first and sole duty to consist of loving God supremely and loving everyone, even our enemies, for God’s dear sake, then we can enjoy spiritual tranquillity under every circumstance.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Root of the Righteous, Christian Publications, 1955, p. 129 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:22; Matt. 5:43-45; 22:36-40; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 5:1; more at Duty, Enemy, Freedom, God, Heart, Love, Tranquility, Will of God)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

It is for us, in whom the Christian Church is at this moment partially embodied, to declare that Christianity, that the Christian faith, the Christian manhood, can do that for the world which the world needs. You say, “What can I do?” You can furnish one Christian life. You can furnish a life so faithful to every duty, so ready for every service, so determined not to commit every sin, that the great Christian Church shall be the stronger for your living in it, and the problem of the world be answered, and a certain great peace come into this poor, perplexed phase of our humanity as it sees that new revelation of what Christianity is.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 22 (see the book; see also Acts 15:32; Luke 22:32; John 14:21; Acts 15:32; 1 Thess. 3:2-3; Heb. 12:11-13; more at Church, Commitment, Duty, Faith, Life, Revelation, Service, World)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

A Rose Plant in Jericho.
At morn I plucked a rose and gave it Thee,
A rose of joy and happy love and peace,
A rose with scarce a thorn:
But in the chillness of a second morn
My rose bush drooped, and all its gay increase
Was but one thorn that wounded me.
I plucked the thorn and offered it to Thee;
And for my thorn Thou gavest love and peace,
Not joy this mortal morn:
If Thou hast given much treasure for a thorn,
Wilt Thou not give me for my rose increase
Of gladness, and all sweets to me?
My thorny rose, my love and pain, to Thee
I offer; and I set my heart in peace,
And rest upon my thorn:
For verily I think to-morrow morn
Shall bring me Paradise, my gift’s increase,
Yea, give Thy very Self to me.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 224 (see the book; see also Rev. 21:3-5; Matt. 7:13-14; 27:28-29; Mark 15:17; John 14:27; 2 Cor. 12:7; more at Gladness, God, Joy, Love, Pain, Peace, Treasure, Weakness)

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

The missionary goes out to men of other faiths and of no faith, not to argue, not to make comparisons, never to claim a superior knowledge or revelation, but to tell of a glorious deed, of the New Creation that has occurred and of the New Being that has appeared and into which men may enter. This is testimony, the apostolic testimony, and this, with the energy of love, is the missionary motive. The insistent task of missionary education and responsibility is to engender this motive throughout the Church, a task that can only be accomplished as men are confronted anew with the message of the Bible and with its supreme and central story, the story of the cross.
... Douglas Webster (1920-1986), Local Church and World Mission, New York: Seabury, 1964, p. 71-72 (see the book; see also Acts 3:13-15; Rom. 1:14-15; 1 Cor. 9:16; 2 Cor. 4:13,14; 5:11-21; 2 Thess. 1:10; more at Evangelization, Mission, Missionary, Salvation)

Friday, April 29, 2005
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

It seems to me to be the best proof of an evangelical disposition, that persons are not angry when reproached, and have a Christian charity for those that ill deserve it.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), The Colloquies of Erasmus, v. II, London: Reeves & Turner, 1878, p. 298 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:17; Pr. 22:9; Amos 5:12-15; Matt. 5:11,42; 25:34-40; Luke 6:22; 12:33-34; Rom. 12:3,13; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Eph. 4:2; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; Heb. 13:16; 1 Pet. 4:14,16; 5:5-6; 1 John 3:17-18; more at Charity, Love, People, Proof)

Saturday, April 30, 2005
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

What keeps most men in “Christian” countries from being heretics in this sense is that they do not publicly avow their disbelief: it is in better taste to be casual about lost beliefs, and a note of wistfulness generally ensures forgiveness. Obstinacy is rare. Millions do not even know that they deny essential Christian doctrines: they have never bothered to find out what the essential doctrines are. In extenuation they may plead that the evasiveness and the multiplicity of churches create a difficulty; but to be deterred by this when one’s eternal destiny is said to be at stake bespeaks a glaring lack of seriousness.
... Walter Kaufmann (1921-1980), The Faith of a Heretic, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961, p. 15 (see the book; more at Belief, Church, Destiny, Everlasting, Forgiveness, Knowledge)


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