Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2006

Saturday, April 1, 2006
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

It is the “terror of the Lord” that causes us to “persuade” others, but it is the “love of Christ that constraineth us” to live to Him.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance Explained and Confirmed [1654], in Works of John Owen, v. XI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1853, ch. X, p. 395 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:10-11,14; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 10:24; 17:31; 1 Pet. 4:5; 1 John 4:10; more at Christ, Fear, God, Life, Love, Obedience, Terror)

Sunday, April 2, 2006

The will directs the tongue or the hand to act, and the evil word is spoken or the evil deed done. Every time we sin, it is the whole of us that sins, and not just a part. The body is only the instrument of the mind and the will. All that God made, including the body with all its desires and instincts, is good in itself. But it has to be kept under control and used in the right way.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 83-84 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:22-23; Pr. 17:27; 21:23; 1 Cor. 9:25; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:4; Tit. 1:8; Jas. 1:26; 3:13; 2 Pet. 1:5-6; ; more at Evil, Goodness, Self-control, Sin)

Monday, April 3, 2006

It is Truth which we must look for in Holy Writ, not cunning of words. All Scripture ought to be read in the spirit in which it was written. We must rather seek for what is profitable in Scripture, than for what ministereth to subtlety in discourse.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.v.1, p. 37 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 4:1-4; Ps. 19:8; 119:105; Pr. 6:23; John 8:45; 1 Cor. 2:4; Col. 1:28-29; 1 Thess. 5:20; 2 Pet. 1:9; more at Bible, Scripture, Spirit, Truth)

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

It was an unhappy division that has been made between faith and works; though in my Intellect I may divide them; just as in the candle I know there is both light and heat: but yet put out the candle, and they are both gone.
... John Selden (1584-1654), Table-Talk [1689], Whitefriars: Davidson, 1821, p. 56 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:14,17-18,26; Rom. 14:23; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:5-9; more at Faith, Light, Work)

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

That when an occasion of practicing some virtue offered, he addressed himself to God, saying, “Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me;” and that then he received strength more than sufficient.
That when he had failed in his duty, he simply confessed his fault, saying to God, “I shall never do otherwise if Thou leavest me to myself; it is Thou who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss.” That after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.
... Joseph de Beaufort (17th C), The Character of Brother Lawrence, in The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 10 (see the book; see also Ps. 32:1-5; 51:1-5; Jas. 5:16; 1 John 1:8-10; more at Confession, Failure, God, Historical, Strength, Virtue)

Thursday, April 6, 2006
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

It is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord... In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God...
Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation.
... Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007), The Seventh Seal, Lorrimer, 1984, introduction, p. 8 (see the book; see also Ps. 145:10-11; Rom. 1:20-21; Gal. 6:3; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; more at Art, Glory of God, Worship)

Friday, April 7, 2006

Men say, “How are we to act, what are we to teach our children, now that we are no longer Christians?” You see, gentlemen, how I would answer that question. You are deceived in thinking that the morality of your father was based on Christianity. On the contrary, Christianity presupposed it. That morality stands exactly where it did; its basis has not been withdrawn for, in a sense, it never had a basis. The ultimate ethical injunctions have always been premises, never conclusions. Kant was perfectly right on that point at least, the imperative is categorical. Unless the ethical is assumed from the outset, no argument will bring you to it.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “On Ethics”, in Christian Reflections, ed. Walter Hooper, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1967, p. 55-56 (see the book; see also Deut. 6:1-7; 11:18-19; Ps. 71:18; 78:4-6; Pr. 22:6; Eph. 6:4; more at Argument, Atheism, Morality, Question, Religion, Teach)

Saturday, April 8, 2006
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

If, when God sends judgments upon others, we do not take warning and example by them; if instead of reflecting upon ourselves, and [questioning] our ways, we fall [to] censuring others; if we will pervert the meaning of God’s providences, and will not understand the design and intention of them; then we leave God no other way to awaken us ... to a consideration of our evil ways but by pouring down his wrath upon our heads, so that he may convince us that we are sinners by the same argument from whence we have concluded others to be so.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. X, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CCLIII, p. 154-155 (see the book; see also Ps. 110:5-6; Mic. 6:9; Luke 13:5; Rom. 11:33; more at Argument, Awakening, Evil, Example, God, Intention, Judgment, Providence, Sinner)

Sunday, April 9, 2006
Palm Sunday
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

Not only the young Christian but also the adult Christian will complain that the Scripture reading is often too long for him, and that much therein he does not understand. To this it must be said that, for the mature Christian, every Scripture reading will be “too long,” even the shortest one, [for] the Scripture is a whole, and every word, every sentence, possesses such multiple relationships with the whole that it is impossible always to keep the whole in view when listening to details. It becomes apparent, therefore, that the whole of Scripture, and hence every passage in it as well, far surpasses our understanding. It is good for us to be daily reminded of this fact.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 61 (see the book; see also 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Ps. 1:2-3; 19:7-9; 119:97; Luke 16:29-31; 24:44; John 5:39-40; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; 2 Pet. 3:16; more at Bible, Scripture, Understanding)

Monday, April 10, 2006
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

Christianity does not consist in any partial amendment of our lives, any particular moral virtues, but in an entire change of our natural temper, a life wholly devoted to God.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Perfection [1726], London: W. Baynes, 1807, p. 34 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:4-7; Isa. 26:13; John 8:34-36; Rom. 8:3-4; 12:1-2; Col. 2:11-12; more at Devotion, God, Life, Morality, Repentance, Virtue)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

Is it not plain that all spiritual apathy comes not from over-trust but from unbelief, either doubting that sin is present death, or else that holiness is life and that Jesus has a gift to bestow, not in heaven, but promptly, which is better to gain than all the world? Therefore salvation is linked with faith, which earns nothing but elicits all, like the touch that evokes electricity, but which no man supposes to have made it.
... G. A. Chadwick (1840-1923), The Gospel According to St. Mark, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, p. 48-49 (see the book; see also Mark 2:1-12; Matt. 8:6-13; 9:2-7,20-22; Luke 5:18-26; 7:44-50; 9:24-25; Rom. 3:22-24; more at Death, Doubt, Faith, Gifts, Holiness, Jesus, Salvation, Sin, Unbelief)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Since such uncultivated and rude simplicity [with which the Gospel was communicated] inspires greater reverence for itself than any eloquence, what ought one to conclude except that the force of Sacred Scripture is manifestly too powerful to need the art of words?
... 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, I.viii.1 (see the book; see also Amos 7:14-15; Matt. 11:25; John 7:14-16; Acts 4:13; 1 Cor. 1:26-29; 1 John 5:9; more at Art, Bible, Power, Reverence, Scripture, Simplicity)

Thursday, April 13, 2006
Maundy Thursday

In the whole range of history there is no more striking contrast than that of the Apostolic churches with the heathenism around them. They had shortcomings enough, it is true, and divisions and scandals not a few, for even apostolic times were no golden age of purity and primitive simplicity. Yet we can see that their fullness of life, and hope, and promise for the future was a new sort of power in the world. Within their own limits they had solved almost by the way the social problem which baffled Rome, and baffles Europe still. They had lifted woman to her rightful place, restored the dignity of labour, abolished beggary, and drawn the sting of slavery. The secret of the revolution is that the selfishness of race and class were forgotten in the Supper of the Lord, and a new basis for society found in love of the visible image of God in men for whom Christ died.
... Henry M. Gwatkin (1844-1916), Early Church History to A.D. 312, v. I, London: Macmillan, 1912, p. 73 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:28-29; Matt. 22:19-21; Mark 12:15-17; Luke 20:24-25; John 1:18; James 3:17; 1 John 4:12; more at Communion, Historical, Labor, Power, Selfish, Social, Woman, World)

Friday, April 14, 2006
Good Friday

Good Friday in my heart! Fear and affright!
My thoughts are the disciples when they fled,
My words the words that priest and soldier said,
My deed the spear to desecrate the dead.
And day, Thy death therein, is changed to night.
Then Easter in my heart sends up the sun.
My thoughts are Mary, when she turned to see.
My words are Peter, answering, “Lov’st thou me?”
My deeds are all Thine own drawn close to Thee.
And night and day, since thou dost rise, are one.
... Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907), Poems, London: Elkin Mathews, 1908, p. 148-149 (see the book; see also John 21:15-17; Ps. 51:7; Isa. 53:2-11; Matt. 26:56; Mark 14:50; John 16:32; 19:34; more at Easter, Good Friday, Resurrection)

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Holy Saturday

All night had shouts of men and cry
Of woeful women filled His way;
Until that noon of sombre sky
On Friday, clamour and display
Smote Him; no solitude had He.
No silence, since Gethsemane.
Public was death; but Power, but Might,
But Life again, but Victory,
Were hushed within the dead of night,
The shutter’d dark, the secrecy.
And all alone, alone, alone
He rose again behind the stone.
... Alice Meynell (1847-1922), A Father of Women: and other poems, Burns & Oates, 1917, p. 30 (see the book; see also Matt. 28:5-7; 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; John 19:25-27; more at Crucifixion, Darkness, Death, Easter, Victory)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Morning breaks upon the tomb,
Jesus dissipates its gloom.
Day of triumph through the skies—
See the glorious Saviour rise.
Christians dry your flowing tears,
Chase those unbelieving fears;
Look on his deserted grave,
Doubt no more his power to save.
Ye who are of death afraid,
Triumph in the scatter’d shade:
Drive your anxious cares away,
See the place where Jesus lay.
... William Bengo Collyer (1782-1854), Hymns, partly collected and partly original, London: Longman, Hunt, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1812, p. 887 (see the book; see also Luke 24:1-12; Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-10; John 20:1-17; more at Belief, Death, Easter, Jesus, Morning, Salvation, Savior, Sight)

Monday, April 17, 2006

It was undoubtedly a real body. Hundreds of people could not have been so mistaken, especially when Jesus offered clear evidence of it. But it was not an earthbound body. It was something that bore a developmental relationship to an earthly human body, but it was not identical with it. There was clearly a continuity of life between the body of Jesus and the body of the resurrected Jesus, but in the time between his death and resurrection it had undergone a very fundamental change. That, at least, seems clear.
So much for the list of dissimilarities: the body of Jesus after the resurrection had a different appearance and also a different form. It was like the previous body, it had some sort of developmental relationship to it, but it was obviously not identical with it.
Now we must consider the similarities. Strangely, they all came down to one factor, but that factor is so important that it outweighs all the dissimilarities. It is simply this: Jesus before and after the resurrection was undeniably the same person. No matter what extraordinary changes had taken place in his bodily form, all who knew him well had no doubt at all who he was. They “knew” it was the Lord.
... David Winter, Hereafter, Wheaton, Ill.: Shaw Publishers, 1972, p. 58-59 (see the book; see also John 21:9-12; Luke 24:30-31,36-43; John 20:26-27; more at Doubt, Easter, Jesus, Knowledge, Life, Resurrection)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As [Christ] drew near to [death], He Himself trembled. It was an experience of all His creation, but He had never felt it. To His humanity, His assumed flesh, it seemed terrible. Gethsemane bears witness how terrible it seemed; but He passed into it for love of us.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1878, p. 215 (see the book; see also Luke 22:41-44; Heb. 12:1,2; more at Easter)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

So long as we are full of self, we are shocked at the faults of others. Let us think often of our own sin, and we shall be lenient to the sins of others.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715) (see the book; see also Luke 6:41-42; more at Hypocrisy, Self, Sin, Thought)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The criterion for our intercessory prayer is not our earnestness, nor our faithfulness, nor even our faith in God, but simply God Himself. He has taken the initiative from the beginning, and has built our prayers into the structure of the universe. He then asks us to present these requests to Him that He may show His gracious hand.
... Charles H. Troutman (1914-1990) (see also Eph. 3:14-19; Ps. 38:9; Matt. 6:8,32; Luke 12:30; John 16:23-27; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; 1 John 5:16; more at God, Grace, Intercession, Prayer, Universe)

Friday, April 21, 2006
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire Thee with our whole heart; that, so desiring, we may seek, and seeking find Thee; and so finding Thee may love Thee; and loving Thee, may hate those sins from which Thou hast redeemed us.
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), included in The New Christian Year, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 44 (see the book; see also Luke 11:9-10; Ps. 27:8; 34:4; 105:3-4; Jas. 4:8; Rev. 3:20; 21:6; 22:17; more at God, Grace, Hatred, Heart, Love, Prayers, Redemption, Sin)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Many worthy people, and many good books, with no doubt the best intentions, ... have represented a life of sin as a life of pleasure; they have pictured virtue as self-sacrifice, austerity as religion... Even in everyday life we meet with worthy people who seem to think that whatever is pleasant must be wrong, that the true spirit of religion is crabbed, sour, and gloomy; that the bright, sunny, radiant nature which surrounds us is an evil and not a blessing; a temptation devised by the Spirit of Evil and not one of the greatest delights showered on us in such profusion by the Author of all Good.
... Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913), The Use of Life, Macmillan & Co., 1894, p. 15 (see the book; see also Phil. 4:4; Matt. 6:16-18; Rom. 8:13; 12:12; Phil. 3;1; 1 Thess. 5:16-18; more at Blessing, Doubt, Intention, Pleasure, Religion, Self-sacrifice, Sin, Temptation, Truth, Virtue, Wrong)

Sunday, April 23, 2006
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

The Christian’s life is lived in the open, not in a pious cubby-hole. As Christ gives Himself to feed us, so we have to incarnate something of His all-loving, all-sacrificing soul. If we do not, then we have not really received Him. That is the plain truth. It has been said that there are many ways and degrees of receiving the Blessed Sacrament. It really depends on how wide we open our hearts. A spiritually selfish communion is not a communion at all.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Light of Christ, New York: Longmans, Green, 1949, p. 89 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:26-27; Matt. 5:37; Acts 5:20; 2 Cor. 3:12; more at Christ, Communion, Incarnation, Legalism, Life, Selfish)

Monday, April 24, 2006
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

Utopias of historical progress cannot seduce those who believe in Christ. Utopias are the straws to which those cling who have no real hope; utopias are as unattractive as they are incredible, for those who know what real hope is. Utopias are not a consequence of true hope but a poor substitute for it and therefore a hindrance and not a help. The hope that is in Jesus Christ is different from all utopias of universal progress. It is based on the revelation of the crucified one. It is, therefore, not an uncertain speculation about the future but a certainty based upon what God has already revealed. One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without knowing for certain that God’s victory over all powers of destruction, including death, is the end towards which the time process moves as its own end.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Scandal of Christianity, London: SCM Press, 1951, reprint, John Knox Press, 1965, p. 111 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 3:14-15; Col. 1:27; Tit. 1:1-2; Heb. 3:6; 6:18-19; 1 Pet. 1:3-4; more at Belief, Certainty, Death, Historical, Hope, Knowledge, Progress, Revelation, Victory)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

To love another as oneself is only the halfway house to Heaven, though it seems as far as it was prudent to bid man go. The “greater love than this” of which our Lord speaks, though He does not command it, is to give oneself for one’s friends. And when one does this, or is ready to do this, prayer even for “us” seems too selfish—and it is unnecessary, for we then possess all that God Himself can give us. The easy renunciation of self for the Beloved becomes the very breath of life.
... Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), Memoirs and Correspondence of Coventry Patmore, v. II, London: George Bell & Sons, 1900, p. 88 (see the book; see also John 15:13; Lev. 19:18; John 10:11-15; Rom. 5:6-8; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 John 4:7-11; more at Commandment, God, Heaven, Life, Love, Possession, Prayer, Renunciation)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

To take the fact of evil seriously is to take the fact of morality seriously... I am unable to see how the fact of the moral consciousness, and, in particular, the fact of the opposition between “is” and “ought,” between desire and duty, can be explained in terms of purely natural causation... [They] can be explained only on the assumption that, in addition to the natural, there is also a non-natural order of the universe which is immanent in and on occasion intrudes actively into the natural.
... C. E. M. Joad (1891-1953), The Recovery of Belief, London: Faber and Faber, 1952, p. 76-78 (see the book; see also Gen. 3:2-6; Josh. 7:20-21; Jer. 14:13-14; Acts 26:27; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; more at Duty, Evil, Morality, Nature, Sin)

Thursday, April 27, 2006
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

Love is strong as death
“I have not sought Thee, I have not found Thee,
I have not thirsted for Thee:
And now cold billows of death surround me,
Buffeting billows of death astound me,—
Wilt Thou look upon, wilt Thou see
Thy perishing me?”
“Yea, I have sought thee, yea, I have found thee,
Yea, I have thirsted for thee,
Yea, long ago with love’s bands I bound thee:
Now the Everlasting Arms surround thee,
Thro’ death’s darkness I look and see
And clasp thee to Me.”
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 372 (see the book; see also Ps. 23; 22; Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15-16; 4:3; more at Darkness, Death, Everlasting, Love, Strength, Weakness)

Friday, April 28, 2006
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

We can reach the point where it becomes possible for us to recognize and understand Original Sin, that dark counter-center of evil in our nature—that is to say, though it is not our nature, it is of it—that something within us which rejoices when disaster befalls the very cause we are trying to serve, or misfortune overtakes even those we love.
Life in God is not an escape from this, but the way to gain full insight concerning it. It is not our depravity which forces a fictitious religious explanation upon us, but the experience of religious reality which forces the “Night Side” out into the light.
It is when we stand in the righteous all-seeing light of love that we can dare to look at, admit, and consciously suffer under this something in us which wills disaster, misfortune, defeat to everything outside the sphere of our narrowest self interest.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 149 (see the book; see also Gen. 4:9; 37:32; Ps. 10:13-14; Pr. 28:13; John 8:44; Rom. 3:23; more at Darkness, Defeat, Evil, Light, Nature, Righteousness, Sin, Suffer)

Saturday, April 29, 2006
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

No indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Robert Falconer, v. III, London: Hurst and Blackett, 1868, p. 128 (see the book; see also Phil. 2:4; 1 Cor. 8:9; 10:23-24; 13:3; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; more at Selfish, Sin, Spiritual life)

Sunday, April 30, 2006
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

The truth is neither mine nor his nor another’s; but belongs to us all whom Thou callest to partake of it, warning us terribly, not to account it private to ourselves, lest we be deprived of it.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, XII.xxv, p. 342 (see the book; see also Gal. 2:5; John 14:6; 1 Cor. 14:4; Gal. 4:16; Eph. 1:13; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; more at Call, Community, Prayers, Truth)


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