Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

We do not ... cease to be children because we are disobedient children.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Kingdom of Christ, 1837, p. 266-267 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:1-5; Matt. 13:37-39; Rom. 9:22-24; Col. 3:7-11; 1 Pet. 1:14; more at Child, Obedience, Permanence, Perseverance)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

There are only two kinds of men: the righteous, who believe themselves sinners; the rest, sinners, who believe themselves righteous.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, #534, p. 174 (see the book; see also Mark 2:16-17; Matt. 9:11-12; Luke 5:30-32; 15:7; 16:14-15; Rom. 3:10-20; 5:20; more at Attitudes, Righteousness, Sinner)

Friday, April 3, 2009

The perfection of His relation to us swallows up all our imperfections, all our defects, all our evils; for our childhood is born of His fatherhood. That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and his desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, “Thou art my refuge, because Thou art my home.”
Such a faith will not lead to presumption. The man who can pray such a prayer will know better than another, that God is not mocked; that He is not a man that He should repent; that tears and entreaties will not work on Him to the breach of one of His laws; that for God to give a man because he asked for it that which was not in harmony with His laws of truth and right, would be to damn him—to cast him into the outer darkness.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Child in the Midst”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 24-25 (see the book; see also Ps. 91:9-10; Num. 23:19; Mark 9:36-37; Gal. 6:7; more at Faith, Knowing God, Perfection, Prayer)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let them pretend what they please, the true reason why any despise the new birth is because they hate a new life. He that cannot endure to live to God will as little endure to hear of being born of God.
... John Owen (1616-1683), III.1 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 216 (see the book; see also John 1:12-13; Ps. 51:5; John 3:5,8,36; Rom. 3:19; 5:15-18; Eph. 2:3; Tit. 3:3-4; 1 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 3:9; 5:1-4,18; more at Attitudes, New birth, Sanctification, Truth)

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Palm Sunday

No man ever did, nor ever shall, truly go forth to convert the nations, nor to prophesy in the present state of witnesses against Antichrist, but by the gracious inspiration and instigation of the Holy Spirit of God... I prejudice not an external test and call, which was at first and shall be again in force at the resurrection of the churches, ... but in the present state of things I cannot but be humbly bold to say that I know no other true sender but the most Holy Spirit. And when He sends, His messengers will go, His prophets will prophesy, though all the world should forbid them.
... Roger Williams (1603?-1683), The Hireling Ministry, London, 1652, p. 3-4 (see the book; see also Luke 12:11-12; Ex. 4:10-12; Luke 21:12-15; Acts 4:8; 6:8-10; 13:1-4; more at Evangelization, Holy Spirit, Nation, Prophet, World)

Monday, April 6, 2009
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

Sweep away the illusion of time; glance, if thou have eyes, from the near moving cause to its far distant mover. The stroke that came transmitted through a whole galaxy of elastic balls, was it less a stroke than if the last ball only had been struck, and sent flying? Oh, could I transport thee direct from the beginnings to the endings, how were thy eyesight unsealed, and thy heart set flaming in the light-sea of celestial wonder! Then sawest thou that this fair universe, were it in the meanest province thereof, is in very deed the Stardomed City of God; that through every star, through every grass-blade, and most through every living soul, the glory of a present God still beams. But Nature, which is the time-vesture of God, and reveals Him to the wise, hides Him from the foolish.
... Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Sartor Resartus, 2nd ed., Philadelphia: Munroe & Co., 1837, p. 267-268 (see the book; see also Prov. 9:8; Deut. 4:19; Ps. 8:1-4; 33:6-9; Matt. 5:45; John 1:18; Rom. 1:20; more at Glory of God, Providence, Time, Universe, Wonder)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920, p. 259 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13; 2 Cor. 5:14; Gal. 5:6; 1 Thess. 1:3; 1 John 3:14; 4:18-19; more at Fear, Grief, Joy, Love, Time)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

Now, if our hopes, whatever we protest, really lie in this world instead of in the eternal order, we shall find it difficult to accept the New Testament teaching of the Second Coming. In our eyes the job is not yet done, and such an action would be, though we would not put it so, an interference. But suppose our hope rests in the purpose of God, then we safely leave the timing of the earthly experiment to Him. Meanwhile we do what we were told to do—to be alert and to work and to pray for the spread of His Kingdom.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, chapt. v, p. 70 (see the book; see also Matt. 24:30-31,36,42-44; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 16:27-28; 25:13; 26:64; Mark 13:26,33-37; Luke 12:40; 21:27,36; 2 Thess. 1:6-7; more at Attitudes, Everlasting, Hope, Kingdom, Prayer, Second Coming, Work, World)

Thursday, April 9, 2009
Maundy Thursday
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

There remains for us only the very narrow way, often extremely difficult to find, of living every day as though it were our last, and yet living in faith and responsibility as though there were to be a great future.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), “After Ten Years”, in A Testament to Freedom: the essential writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Geffrey B. Kelly, F. Burton Nelson, eds., HarperCollins, 1995, p. 484 (see the book; see also John 16:33; Jer. 32:15; Matt. 6:34; John 14:27; Heb. 13:5-6; more at Faith, Future, Life, Way)

Friday, April 10, 2009
Good Friday
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

There is no wrath that stands between God and us, but what is awakened in the dark fire of our own fallen nature; and to quench this wrath, and not His own, God gave His only begotten Son to be made man. God has no more wrath in Himself now than He had before the creation, when He had only Himself to love... And it was solely to quench this wrath, awakened in the human soul, that the blood of the Son of God was necessary; because nothing but a life and birth, derived from Him into the human soul, could change this darkened root of a self-tormenting fire into an amiable image of the Holy Trinity as it was at first created.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, par. 110-112 (see the book; see also John 3:36; Rom. 1:18-19; 4:14-15; 5:9; Gal. 3:10; Eph. 5:6; 1 Thess. 5:9; Rev. 6:16-17; more at Blood, Darkness, Salvation, Sin, Trinity)

Saturday, April 11, 2009
Holy Saturday
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

Jesus hath many lovers of His heavenly Kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross. He hath many desirous of consolation, but few of tribulation... Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall them.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.xi, p. 103 (see the book; see also Luke 14:27; Matt. 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-37; Luke 9:23; 2 Tim. 3:12; more at Adversity, Bearing, Cross, Kingdom, Love)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission, there is no Church.
... Emil Brunner (1889-1966), The Word and the World, London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1931, p. 108 (see the book; see also Acts 2:3-4; Gen. 18:18; Ps. 66:16; 72:17; 96; Matt. 24:14; Acts 13:48; Rom. 15:13; more at Church, Existence, Fire, Mission)

Monday, April 13, 2009

As no scripture is of private interpretation, so is there no feeling in [a] human heart which exists in that heart alone, which is not, in some form or degree, in every heart.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Abba, Father!”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 116 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:15; 2 Pet. 1:20; more at Attitudes, Heart, Scripture)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I believe that pure thinking will do more to educate a man than any other activity he can engage in. To afford sympathetic entertainment to abstract ideas, to let one idea beget another, and that another, till the mind teems with them; to compare one idea with others, to weigh, to consider, evaluate, approve, respect, correct, refine; to join thought with thought like an architect till a whole edifice has been created within the mind; to travel back in imagination to the beginning of the creation and then to leap swiftly forward to the end of time; to bound upward through illimitable space and downward into the nucleus of an atom; and all this without so much as moving from our chair or opening the eyes—this is to soar above all the lower creation and come near to the angels of God.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Man: The Dwelling Place of God, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1966, p. 145 (see the book; see also Phil. 4:8; Matt. 23:27; 2 Cor. 10:5; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; more at Angel, Attitudes, Imagination, Mind, Thought)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great is the difference betwixt a man’s being frightened at, and humbled for, his sins. One may passively be cast down by God’s terrors, and yet not willingly throw himself down as he ought at God’s footstool.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Cause and Cure of a Wounded Conscience [1655], Dial. VI. (see the book; see also Jas. 4:10; Job 9:28-31; Ps. 51:1-4; Isa. 1:15-17; Matt. 23:13-15; Mark 12:40; more at God, Humility, Repentance, Terror)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Should I worship Him from fear of hell, may I be cast into it. Should I serve Him from desire of gaining heaven, may He keep me out. But should I worship Him from love alone, may He reveal Himself to me, that my whole heart may be filled with His love and presence.
... Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1929), Meditations on Various Aspects of the Spiritual Life [1926], London Macmillan & Co., 1926, p. 9-10 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:18; Ps. 88:15-16; Matt. 5:48; Luke 16:22-31; Rom. 2:7-8; Jas. 2:19; more at Attitudes, Fear, Heaven, Hell, Love, Worship)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them;—every day begin the task anew.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), The Beauties of St. Francis de Sales, London: Cowing, 1829, p. 220 (see the book; see also Jas. 5:7-8; Luke 8:15; Rom. 8:24-25; 15:14; 1 Cor. 16:13; Gal. 6:9; Col. 1:10-12; Heb. 3:6; 12:1-3; more at Attitudes, Courage, Patience, Task)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The conception of the Church which we tend to reproduce as the fruit of our missionary work is so much a replica of our own, so much that of a fundamentally settled body existing for the sake of its own members rather than that of a body of strangers and pilgrims, the sign and instrument of a supernatural and universal salvation to be revealed, that our missionary advance tends to follow the lines of cultural and political expansion, and to falter when that advance stops.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 166 (see the book; see also Heb. 11:13-14; Acts 20:21; 1 Cor. 1:23; 1 Pet. 1:17; 2:11; more at Church, Culture, Missionary, Salvation, Stranger)

Sunday, April 19, 2009
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

The higher faiths call their followers to strenuous moral effort. Such effort is likely to be arduous and painful in proportion to the height of the ideal, desperate in proportion to the sensitiveness of the conscience. A morbid scrupulousness besets the morally serious soul. It is anxious and troubled, afraid of evil, haunted by the memory of failure. The best of the Pharisees tended in this direction, and no less the best of the Stoics. And so little has Christianity been understood that the popular idea of a serious Christian is modelled upon the same type of character. [Continued tomorrow]
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 112 (see the book; see also Rom. 3:20-21; Ps. 55:22; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 1:20; 1 Thes. 2:13; more at Ideal, Legalism, Morality, Pharisaism, Philosophy)

Monday, April 20, 2009

[Continued from yesterday]
The ascetic believed that, because he was becoming so holy the Devil was permitted special liberties with him, and he found in his increasing agony of effort a token of divine approval. Not along this track lies the path of moral progress. Christianity says: face the evil once for all, and disown it. Then quiet the spirit in the presence of God. Let His perfections fill the field of vision. In particular, let the concrete embodiment of the goodness of God in Christ attract and absorb the gaze of the soul. Here is righteousness, not as a fixed and abstract ideal, but in a living human person. The righteousness of Christ is a real achievement of God’s own Spirit in man.
... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 113 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:6; John 5:17; 1 Cor. 3;7; Eph. 1:18-21; 3:20-21; Heb. 13:20-21; more at Devil, Ideal, Legalism, Perfection, Presence of God, Righteousness)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

Those blessed ones of thine... shall rejoice according as they shall love; and they shall love according as they shall know. How far they will know thee, Lord, then! and how much they will love thee!
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), Discourse on the Existence of God, Chicago: The Opencourt Publishing Co, 1903, p. 33 (see the book; see also Rom. 15:14; Jer. 31:34; 1 John 4:16; more at Knowing God, Love, Prayers)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Deep unto deep, O Lord,
Crieth in me,
Gathering strength I come,
Lord, unto Thee.
Jesus of Calvary,
Smitten for me,
Ask what Thou wilt, but give
Love to me.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 78 (see the book; see also Ps. 42:7-8; 130:1-2; 145:1-2; Isa. 30:29; Rom. 8:35-39; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17-18; 5:1-2,25; 1 John 3:16; more at Jesus, Love, Prayers)

Thursday, April 23, 2009
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

The belief in baptismal regeneration of infants, which had... become almost universal [in the middle ages], and the reliance on mysterious sacramental efficacy for sanctification and heavenly admission, strongly militated against regeneration and spiritual reality within the Church. The complete professionalization of a priestly ministry largely eliminated laymen from direct evangelism and robbed them of the missionary spirit, since they were not to be trusted to teach and could not validly administer the saving symbols. The reliance on organization and ceremonial grace, along with the growing concept of the representative relation of the Pope on earth to the Christ in heaven, involved a practical ignoring of the Holy Spirit as the divinely ordained Counterpart of the Christ and the informing soul of the Church... The vast territorial extent of Christianity and the very general ignorance of world geography made it possible for Christians to lose sight of the non-Christian world and to feel, even if somewhat vaguely, that the Christian task was complete, so far as its world occupation was concerned. The Mohammedan growth had encircled the Christian territories. The relations between Christendom and the Mohammedan world fostered anything else than a spirit of helpfulness and a disposition to give the blessings of the one to the other. Christian information about the heathen world was largely cut off by... Mohammedanism; and in order to reach the heathen, missionaries would have to make their way through Mohammedan territory.
... William Owen Carver (1868-1954), The Course of Christian Missions, New York, Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1932, p. 77-78 (see the book; see also Matt. 24:14; Luke 24:46-47; Rom. 15:18-21; 16:25-27; Col. 1:5-6; Rev. 14:6; more at Baptism, Evangelization, Heathen, Historical, Holy Spirit, Minister, Missionary, Priest, Regeneration, Sacrament)

Friday, April 24, 2009
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

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

Saturday, April 25, 2009
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

Modern attempts to get away from the sheer historical facts of the Resurrection are, at best, based on a total misunderstanding. The whole Bible proclaims the need for, and the achievement of, a salvation that will remake creation (not one that will ignore it or escape from it), and it is just such a salvation, at once supernatural and historical, that was won on Easter Day. If the Resurrection narratives are [merely] a subtle way of convincing us that God still loves us, or that there is a life (albeit, a non-material one) beyond death, they must be reckoned among the oddest and most ill-conceived stories ever written.
... Michael Sadgrove (b. 1950) & N. T. Wright (b. 1948), “Jesus Christ the Only Saviour”, 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. 73 (see the book; see also Acts 3:13-15; Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:11-18; more at Apologetics, Death & Resurrection, Easter, Historical, Salvation)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If I am a son of God, nothing but God will satisfy my soul; no amount of comfort, no amount of ease, no amount of pleasure, will give me peace or rest. If I had the full cup of all the world’s joys held up to me, and could drain it to the dregs, I should still remain thirsty if I had not God.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Wicket Gate, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923, p. 38-39 (see the book; see also Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1-2; 84:2; Isa. 26:8-9; Hag. 2:6-7; Matt. 5:6; Eph. 2:19; 1 John 3:1-2; more at Attitudes, God, Peace, Satisfaction, Son)

Monday, April 27, 2009
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

Heaven overarches earth and sea,
Earth-sadness and sea-bitterness;
Heaven overarches you and me:
A little while and we shall be
(Please God) where there is no more sea
Nor barren wilderness.
Heaven overarches you and me
And all earth’s gardens and her graves:
Look up with me, until we see
The day break and the shadows flee;
What tho’ tonight wrecks you and me,
If so tomorrow saves?
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 871 (see the book; see also 1 Chr. 29:14-15; Matt. 14:25-31; John 14:18; Acts 27:21-26; Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 10:13; more at Heaven, Providence, Salvation, Sight, Tomorrow)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

The [Roman] imperial coinage (which was regularly used as a propaganda medium)... is full of the characteristic motifs of Advent and Epiphany, celebrating the blessings which the manifestation of each successive divine emperor was to bring to a waiting world. Among the adulatory formulas with which the emperor was acclaimed, [Prof. Ethelbert Stauffer] mentions, as going back probably to the first century, “Hail, Victory, Lord of the earth, Invincible, Power, Glory, Honour, Peace, Security, Holy, Blessed, Great, Unequalled, Thou Alone, Worthy art Thou, Worthy is he to inherit the Kingdom, Come, come, do not delay, Come again” (p. 155). [in Christ and the Caesars, Ethelbert Stauffer (1955)]. Indeed, one has only to read Psalm 72, “in Latin, in the official language of the empire, to see that it is largely the same formal language which is used alike in the Forum for the advent of the emperor and in the catacombs for the celebration of the Epiphany of Christ”. Here there could be no compromise. Who was worthy to ascend the throne of the universe and direct the course of history? Caesar, or Jesus?
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 65 (see the book; see also Ps. 72; Matt. 2:1-12; 3:13-17; 22:15-22; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; 23:2-3; John 2:11; more at Apologetics, Christmas, Epiphany, Historical, Jesus)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

Can we believe that God ever really modifies His action in response to the suggestions of men? For infinite wisdom does not need telling what is best, and infinite goodness needs no urging to do it. But neither does God need any of those things that are done by finite agents, whether living or inanimate. He could, if He chose, repair our bodies miraculously without food; or give us food without the aid of farmers, bakers, and butchers; or knowledge without the aid of learned men; or convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead, He allows soils and weather and animals and the muscles, minds, and wills of men to cooperate in the execution of His will. “God,” says Pascal, “instituted prayer in order to lend to His creatures the dignity of causality.” But it is not only prayer; whenever we act at all, He lends us that dignity. It is not really stranger, nor less strange, that my prayers should affect the course of events than that my other actions should do so.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer [1958], Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, p. 9-10 (see the book; see also Eph. 6:18; Ps. 6:9; 66:18-20; 116:1-2; Luke 18:1-7; Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 5:7; Jude 1:20; more at Action, Cooperation, Prayer, Wisdom)

Thursday, April 30, 2009
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers, a straw under my knees, a noise in mine ear, a light in mine eye, an any thing, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayers.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. III, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon LXXX, p.477 (see the book; see also Luke 18:1-7; Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:5-13; John 11:21; Rom. 8:26; 1 John 5:14-15; more at Memory, Prayer, Tomorrow, Trouble, Yesterday)


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