Christ, our Light

Quotations for August, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

[Continued from yesterday] The humblest and—in the ecclesiastical sense—lowest Congregational or Methodist chapel is as vulnerable as any to priestcraft, even if it possesses no ordained minister to play the role of the priest, for it can and usually does allow the very absence of a minister to limit unnecessarily the ministry of its members, both in the church and in the community. Such chapels, indeed, quite often openly put forward their lack of a paid, professional minister as an excuse for their introversion. “We can’t possibly do this ... study this ... attend that. We haven’t got a minister.” The corrosive influence is especially visible in these churches’ pattern of worship. Whoever is actually conducting the services, ordained minister or visiting lay preacher, the pattern is irretrievably sacerdotal, the congregation neither speaking by itself nor performing an action from start to finish. Even the Lord’s Prayer is commonly “led” in a loud voice from the pulpit, presumably in case the congregation forgets the words.
... Christopher Driver (1932-1997), A Future for the Free Churches?, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 100-101 (see the book; see also Acts 8:14-17; Matt. 23:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Gal. 1:15-17; Eph. 3:6-8; more at Church, Minister, Preacher, Priest, Service, Worship)

Monday, August 2, 2010

God is present by Love alone. By Love alone He is great and glorious. By Love alone He liveth and feeleth in other persons. By Love alone He enjoyeth all the creatures, by Love alone He is pleasing to Himself, by Love alone He is rich and blessed... The Soul is shrivelled up and buried in a grave that does not love. But that which does love wisely and truly is the joy and end of all the world, the King of Heaven, and the Friend of God.
... Thomas Traherne (1637?-1674), Centuries of Meditations, edited and published by Bertram Dobell, in London, 1908, “2nd century”, 50, p. 116 (see the book; see also Deut. 4:39; Isa. 57:15; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 1:22-23; 2:4-5; 1 John 4:8-13; 1 Pet. 1:22-23; more at Blessing, Friend, God, Joy, Love, Pleasure, Weakness)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There is that in the Gospel with which no one is allowed to argue. All we can do is believe ... or to disbelieve; to give it in our life the place of the final reality to which everything else must give way, or to refuse it that place. Many people ... would like to talk the Word of God over. It raises in their minds various questions they would willingly discuss. It has aspects of interest and of difficulty which call for consideration; and so on. Perhaps there are some that confusedly shield themselves against the responsibilities of faith and unbelief by such thoughts. All that such thoughts prove, however, is that those who cherish them have never yet realized that what we are dealing with in the Gospel is God. When God speaks in Christ, He reveals His gracious will without qualification. And without qualification, we have to believe in it, or refuse to believe, and so decide ... the controversy between ourselves and Him. God has not come into the world in Christ ... to be talked about, but to become the supreme reality in the life of men, or to be excluded from that place.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Way Everlasting: Sermons, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1911, 266-267 (see the book; see also Acts 19:8-10; Matt. 7:13-14; Acts 17:18; Rom.14:1; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 1 John 3:21-23; more at Argument, Belief, Faith, God, Gospel, Question, Revelation, Unbelief)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859

We have to repent of our blindness, our lukewarmness, and our disobedience, and turn back to the central truth of Christ as Lord and Saviour; an ethical system will not save us here, nor a timid sentimentalism, nor an excited emotional return, nor a dilettante mysticism.
We have to find that deep contrition which is the condition of His abiding.
Repentance is not a mere feeling of sorrow or contrition for an act of wrongdoing. The regret I feel when I act impatiently or speak crossly is not repentance... Repentance is contrition for what we are in our fundamental beings, that we are wrong in our deepest roots because our internal government is by Self and not by God.
And it is an activity of the whole person. Unless I will to be different, the mind will not follow.
True repentance brings an urge to be different, because of the sense of the incessant movement of what I am, forming, forming, forming what I shall be in the years to come.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 104 (see the book; see also Rev. 3:15-16; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; Luke 5:31-32; 2 Cor. 7:10; Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Blindness, Contrition, Disobedience, God, Repentance, Self)

Thursday, August 5, 2010
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642

Every virtue is a form of obedience to God. Every evil word or act is a form of rebellion against Him. This may not be clear at first; but, if we think patiently, we shall find that it is true. Why were you angry? You will probably find that it was because you were not willing to accept the world as God has made it; or because you were not willing to leave it to God to deal with the people that He has made.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), The Christian Character, London: Lutterworth Press, 1955, p. 17 (see the book; see also Luke 12:47-48; John 9:41; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; 2:17-21; more at Evil, Faith, God, Obedience, Patience, Virtue)

Friday, August 6, 2010

To him that chose us first,
Before the world began;
To him that bore the curse
To save rebellious man;
To him that form’d
Our hearts anew
Is endless praise
And glory due.
The Father’s love shall run
Through our immortal songs;
We bring to God the Son
Hosannahs on our tongues:
Our lips address
The Spirit’s name
With equal praise,
And zeal the same.
Let every saint above,
And angel round the throne,
For ever bless and love
The sacred Three in One;
Thus heav’n shall raise
His honors high,
When earth and time
Grow old and die.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs [1707], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book III, hymn 39, p. 494-495 (see the book; see also Rom. 5:8; Isa. 53:3-5; Eph. 1:4-6; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 5:12; more at Bearing, Father, Immortality, Love, Predestination, Salvation, Zeal)

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you yourself shall be the miracle.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Twenty Sermons, New York: E.P. Dutton, 1887, p. 330 (see the book; see also John 4:48-53; Luke 18:30; John 20:29; Rom. 15:18-19; more at Miracle, Prayer, Task, Work)

Sunday, August 8, 2010
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221

I never knew all there was in the Bible until I spent those years in jail. I was constantly finding new treasures.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), quoted in A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, p. 27 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:11-13; Matt. 13:52; 1 Cor. 15:3; Col. 2:2-3; 1 Thess. 2:13; 5:27; 2 Pet. 3:2,15-16; Heb. 4:12; more at Bible, Prisoner, Treasure, Year)

Monday, August 9, 2010
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921

If bodies please thee, praise God on occasion of them, and turn back thy love upon their Maker; lest in these things which please thee, thou displease. If souls please thee, be they loved in God: for they too are mutable, but in Him they are firmly established.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, IV.xii, p. 70 (see the book; see also Ps. 103:2-3; Acts 17:24-26 Heb. 11:3; 1 Pet. 1:23; more at God, Historical, Love, Praise, Soul)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258

Sermons should not be preached in churches. It harms Christianity in a high degree and alters its very nature, that it is brought into an artistic remoteness from reality, instead of being heard in the midst of real life, and that precisely for the sake of the conflict (the collision). For all this talk about quiet, about quiet places and quiet hours, as the right element for Christianity is absurd.
So then sermons should not be preached in churches but in the midst of life, of the reality of daily life, weekday life.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), quoted in Kierkegaard’s Attack upon “Christendom,” 1854-1855, tr., Walter Lowrie, Princeton University Press, 1968, p. 2 (see the book; see also Heb. 10:37-39; Matt. 10:26-27; Luke 4:18-19; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:1; more at Church, Life, Practical Christianity, Preach, Sermon)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890

Insofar as theology is an attempt to define and clarify intellectual positions, it is apt to lead to discussion, to differences of opinion, even to controversy, and hence to be divisive. And this has had a strong tendency to dampen serious discussion of theological issues in most groups, and hence to strengthen the general anti-intellectual bias inherent in much of revivalistic Pietism... “Fundamentalism” in America, among other things, was a movement that tried to recall these denominations to theological and confessional self consciousness. But it was defeated in every major denomination, not so much by theological discussion and debate as by effective political manipulations directed by denominational leaders to the sterilizing of this “divisive” element.
... Sidney E. Mead (1904-1999), Church History, v. XXIII, American Society of Church History, 1953, p. 291-320 (see the book; see also Matt. 16:15-16; 18:15-17; 21:24-27; John 3:2; 12:42-43; 19:38; 2 Cor. 12:20; more at Call, Contention, Defeat, Theology)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Man... cuts the wine of paradox with the water of consistency. The mystery of God and things is tamed to the simplicity of God or things; [man] builds himself a duller, skimpier world.
If he is a pagan, he abolishes the secular in favor of the sacred. The world becomes filled with gods. To improve his wine, he searches, not for purer strains of yeast, but for better incantations, friendlier gods. He spends his time in shrines and caves, not chemistry. Things, for him, become pawns in the chess game of heaven. Religion devours life.
On the other hand, if he is a secularist, he insists that God must have no part in the world at all. That God has made Saccharomyces ellipsoideus competent enough to ferment sugar on its own, becomes, for him, a proof that He never made it at all. Poor man! To be so nearly right, and so devastatingly wrong. To hit so close, and yet miss the mark completely. Yeast, without God to give it as a gift, ceases to be good company. It becomes merely useful—a mechanism contributory to other mechanisms. And those, in turn, to the vast mechanism of the whole. And that, at last, to—well, he is hard put to say just what.
... Robert Farrar Capon (1925-2013), The Supper of the Lamb, New York: Doubleday, 1969, p. 87 (see the book; see also Deut. 8:19; Luke 17:33; John 12:25; Rom. 1:18-23; 2 Cor. 6:4-10; 12:9-10; Phil. 3:7; more at Gifts, God, Goodness, Knowing God, Paradox, Religion, Simplicity, World, Wrong)

Friday, August 13, 2010
Feast of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down & Connor, Priest, Teacher, 1667
Commemoration of Florence Nightingale, Social Reformer, 1910
Commemoration of Octavia Hill, Worker for the Poor, 1912

If you do not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, WingSpread Publishers, 2006, p. 9 (see the book; see also Col. 2:20-23; Matt. 6:5-6; 15:7-9; 23:27-28; Luke 18:10-14; John 4:21-23; more at Day, God, Heaven, Sunday, Worship)

Saturday, August 14, 2010
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941

Luther’s rejection of Papal authority was not due to any difficulty he may have experienced in reconciling the claims made for the Petrine office with the character of the men who occupied the Papal throne in his time, nor to any confusion caused by the Conciliar Movement. His objections went much deeper and sprang, not from the concrete existential situation of his time, but from his theological principles. Luther saw quite early that his theory of justification by faith alone implied a denial of any divinely appointed hierarchy in the Church. Already in 1518 he had accepted the Hussite doctrine that the True Church, the Church of the promises and the Mystical Body of Christ, is invisible. Luther’s saving faith is the response of the individual soul to the Word of God revealed in Scripture; in his theology there is no place for any created activity to mediate to men God’s saving action nor for any active sharing by men in the dispensation of grace or divine truth.
... George H. Duggan (1912-2012), Hans Küng and Reunion, Westminster, Md., Newman Press, 1964, p. 21-22 (see the book; see also Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22-24; 8:27,34; Eph. 2:18; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Body of Christ, Church, Faith, Grace, Justification, Mystic, Salvation, Theology, Truth)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The student should beware lest he overlook the momentous issues involved in the refusal of the State to allow any society or club to exist which had not first obtained official recognition, and the equally momentous refusal of the Church to obtain such recognition. The question is not one of legal technicalities or procedure, or the “sheer obstinacy,” as Marcus Aurelius would have phrased it, of Christian fanatics, but points rather to one of those root antagonisms of principle the influence of which, in different forms, may be felt in the twentieth as much as in the second century. By Roman theory, the State was the one society which must engross every interest of its subjects, religious, social, political, humanitarian, with the one possible exception of the family. There was no room in Roman law for the existence, much less the development on its own lines of organic growth, of any corporation or society which did not recognize itself from the first as a mere department or auxiliary of the State. The State was all and in all, the one organism with a life of its own. Such a theory the Church, as the living kingdom of Jesus, could not possibly accept either in the first century or the twentieth.
... H. B. Workman (1862-1951), Persecution in the early church: a chapter in the history of renunciation, 2nd ed., London: Charles H. Kelly, 1906, p. 71-72 (see the book; see also Ps. 103:19; 133:1; Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 4:16-18; more at Church, Historical, Jesus, Kingdom, Law, Social)

Monday, August 16, 2010

You are a man, not God; you are human, not an angel. How can you expect to remain always in a constant state of virtue, when this was not possible even for an angel of heaven, nor for the first man in the Garden?
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, III.lvii., p. 227 (see the book; see also Gen. 3:12-13; Job 40-41; Ps. 119:137; more at Angel, God, Man, Sin, Virtue)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I do not want bishops to practice the ordination of voluntary clergy [merely] as a plausible policy, for which something can be said. If by persuasive speech I could induce all the bishops in the world to adopt that practice, I think that I should refuse. I do not believe that Christian men should base their action upon such a foundation: I believe that the first blast of difficulty would overthrow them if they did. I try to set forth a truth of Christ which demands obedience. I call upon the church not to adopt a plausible policy, but to repent of a sin; for to make void the word of Christ is sin.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), The Case for Voluntary Clergy, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1930, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 137-138 (see the book; see also Acts 15:8; Matt. 15:3-8; Acts 6:2-6; Rom. 4:14-16; more at Church, Minister, Obedience, Ordination, Repentance, Sin, Truth, Vow)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It is absolutely unimportant in the eyes of God how many people follow the “Anglican tradition” of belief and practice. It is of the greatest importance how many people there are who have come to know and love our Lord because of what we Anglicans have said and done.
... Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), “The Challenge of the Frontiers: Organizing for Action (Theme Address),” included in Anglican Congress 1963: Report of Proceedings, Eugene Rathbone Fairweather, ed., Editorial Committee, Anglican Congress, 1963, p. 187 (see the book; see also Luke 11:33; Matt. 5:16; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; more at Belief, God, Knowing God, Love, Tradition, Ultimate reality)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What man ever had more renown? The whole Jewish people foretell Jesus before His coming. The Gentile people worship Him after His coming. The two peoples, Gentile and Jewish, regard Him as their centre.
And yet what man enjoys this renown less? Of thirty-three years, He lives thirty without appearing. For three years He passes as an impostor; the priests and the chief people reject Him; His friends and His nearest relatives despise Him. Finally, He dies, betrayed by one of His own disciples, denied by another, and abandoned by all.
What part, then, has He in this renown? Never had man so much renown; never had man more ignominy. All that renown was only of use to us, to help us to recognize Him; it was of no use to Him.
... Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées (Thoughts) [1660], P.F. Collier & Son, 1910, n. 792, p. 279 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:16-19; Isa. 53:3-4; Luke 5:29-35; 7:31-35; Rev. 5:12; more at Betrayal, Death, Disciple, Friend, Jesus, Worship)

Friday, August 20, 2010
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890

Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest:
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil and not to seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.
... St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491/5-1556), included in A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations, Charles Langworthy Wallis, ed., Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1950, [1548] p. 61 (see the book; see also Phil. 1:29-30; Prov. 10:16; Col. 1:24; 1 Pet. 4:13-14; more at Fight, Giving, Labor, Service, Teach, Toil, Will of God)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. But what is Repentance? Not the last and noblest and most refined achievement of the righteousness of men in the service of God, but the first elemental act of the righteousness of God in the service of men; the work that God has written in their hearts and which, because it is from God and not from men, occasions joy in heaven; that looking forward to God, and to Him only, which is recognized only by God and by God Himself.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 68 (see the book; see also Luke 15:4-7,10; Matt. 18:12-14; Rom. 2:14-15; more at God, Heart, Heaven, Joy, Repentance, Righteousness, Sinner)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The very Nazis look at you with wonderment and an open contempt! For even they are sure that to live for nothing higher than oneself is to lose life; that life, to be called life, can be found only in serving something bigger than one’s personal interests; something that crowds these out of mind and heart, till one forgets about them and lives wholly, and without exception, for that other, worthier thing... It is long since Aristotle told us that only barbarians have as their ideal the wish to live as they please, and to do what they like. And the New Testament gravely sets us down before the Cross, and bids us gaze, and still gaze, and keep gazing, till the fact has soaked itself into our minds that that, not less than that, is now the standard set us, and that whatever in our lives clashes with that is sin.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 91-92 (see the book; see also Col. 2:13-14; Matt. 10:39; John 8:28; Rom. 6:12-14; more at Bible, Cross, Ideal, Life, Sin)

Monday, August 23, 2010
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617

The renovation of our social system is a work so vast that no one of us, nor all of us put together, can define all the measures that will have to be taken before we attain even the Cab-Horse Ideal of existence for our children and our children’s children. All that we can do is attack, in a serious, practical spirit, the worst and most pressing evils, knowing that if we do our duty, we obey the voice of God. He is the Captain of our Salvation. If we but follow where he leads we shall not want for marching orders, nor need we imagine that he will narrow the field of operations.
I am laboring under no delusions as to the possibility of inaugurating the millennium by any social specific. In the struggle of life, the weakest will go to the wall, and there are so many weak. The fittest, in tooth and claw, will survive. All that we can do is to soften the lot of the unfit and make their suffering less horrible than it is at present. No outside propping will make some men stand erect. All material help from without is useful only in so far as it develops moral strength within. And some men seem to have lost even the very faculty of self-help. There is an immense lack of common sense and of vital energy on the part of multitudes. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Booth (1829-1912), In Darkest England, London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1890, p. 43-44 (see the book; see also John 3:19; Isa. 60:2; Rom. 12:9; more at Duty, Evil, Obedience, Renewal, Salvation, Social, Struggle)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle

[Continued from yesterday] Insoluble [the problem] is, I am absolutely convinced, unless it is possible to bring new moral life into the soul of these people. This should be the first object of every social reformer, whose work will only last if it is built on the solid foundation of a new birth, to cry, “You must be born again!”
At the risk of being misunderstood and misrepresented, I must assert in the most unqualified way that it is primarily and mainly for the sake of saving the soul that I seek the salvation of the body.
But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive? You might as well give a tract to a shipwrecked sailor who is battling with the surf which has drowned his comrades and threatens to drown him. He will not listen to you. Nay, he cannot hear you. The first thing to do is to get him at least a footing on firm ground, and to give him room to live. Then you may have a chance. At present you have none.
... William Booth (1829-1912), In Darkest England, London: Funk & Wagnalls, 1890, p. 44-45 (see the book; see also John 3:6-7; Amos 5:15; Matt. 8:24-27; more at Gospel, Listening, Morality, New birth, Preach, Reform, Salvation, Social, Soul, Struggle)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
Hears thee, by cruel men and impious, call’d
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose th’ enthrall’d
From exile, public sale, and slav’ry’s chain.
Friend of the poor, the wrong’d, the fetter-gall’d,
Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain!
Thou hast achiev’d a part; hast gain’d the ear
Of Britain’s senate to thy glorious cause;
Hope smiles, joy springs, and tho’ cold caution pause
And weave delay, the better hour is near,
That shall remunerate thy toils severe
By peace for Afric, fenc’d with British laws.
Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and love
From all the just on earth, and all the blest above!
... William Cowper (1731-1800), The Works of William Cowper: his life, letters, and poems, New York: R. Carter & Brothers, 1851, p. 643 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:7; Isa. 61:1-2; Matt. 5:9; Luke 4:14-21; more at Exile, Hope, Joy, Labor, Love, Poverty, Slave, Zeal)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The relevance of the laity received the greatest emphasis in the sectarian apostolic movements after the 12th century, and especially in the 14th century through Wycliffe. The specific significance of this peculiar set of protests and movements is that their inspiration was purely religious. They squarely confronted the “ecclesiastical-hierarchical” line with the “biblical” one. They were, of course, not wholly unaffected by repercussions of the conflict between the worldly-conceived papal theocracy and the nationalistic demands of the nations and their rulers for an independent status, but their heart lay really with a reform of the Church in the light of the Word of God.
fn. Looking back on these struggles, one is again and again struck by the daring and independence of mind shown in the Middle Ages, a time which is always considered to be marked by submissiveness, especially to authority claimed on religious grounds as necessary to salvation. This amazement increases when one takes into consideration our own time, which regards itself by definition as the time of non-submissiveness. Nevertheless, whatever movements of protest and conflict there may be to-day against the hierarchy, they are very weak in daring and independence in comparison with those of the Middle Ages. In our secularistic age, in which submissiveness is devalued on principle, submissiveness to the hierarchical claims of the Church has never before been so undisputed.
... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 60-61 (see the book; see also Eph. 4:11-15; Luke 9:57-62; Jas. 1:5-6; more at Bible, Church, Independence, Reform, Salvation, Struggle)

Friday, August 27, 2010
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

I can let Christ grip me; but I cannot grip him. I love... to sit on Christ’s knee; but I cannot set my feet to the ground, for afflictions bring the cramp upon my faith. All I now do is to hold out a lame faith to Christ, like a beggar holding out a stump, instead of an arm or leg, and cry, Lord Jesus, work a miracle.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Feb. 9, 1637, p. 178 (see the book; see also Mark 9:23-24; Matt. 11:4-6; 15:30-31; Luke 7:22-23; Acts 14:8; more at Affliction, Christ, Faith, Miracle, Weakness)

Saturday, August 28, 2010
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, vol. i, Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. x of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1873, tract. XXIX.6, p. 405 (see the book; see also John 6:44-45; Jer. 31:34; John 6:38-40; 7:14-18; 16:13; more at Belief, Faith, Understanding)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Luther, in speaking of the good by itself and the good for its expediency alone, instances the observance of the Christian day of rest,—a day of repose from manual labour, and of activity in spiritual labour,—a day of joy and cooperation in the work of Christ’s creation. “Keep it holy,”—says he,—“for its use’ sake—both to body and soul! But if anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake,—if anywhere anyone sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it—to do anything that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit and liberty.”
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk, 2nd ed., London: John Murray, 1836, May 19, 1834, p. 298 (see the book; see also Matt. 12:7-8; Exod. 20:8; Mark 2:27; Gal. 4:9-11; more at Day, Goodness, Holiness, Law, Legalism, Liberty, Sabbath, Spirit, Work)

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Day of Jesus Christ is the Day of all days; the brilliant and visible light of this one point is the hidden invisible light of all points; to perceive the righteousness of God once and for all here is the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5) everywhere and at all times. By the knowledge of Jesus Christ all human waiting is guaranteed, authorized and established; for He makes it known that it is not men who wait, but God—in His faithfulness.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), The Epistle to the Romans, translated from the 6th edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns, London: Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1933, 6th ed., Oxford University Press US, 1968, p. 96 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:24-25; Lam. 3:24; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 5:5; Heb. 11:1; more at God, Jesus, Light, Righteousness, Worship)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688

The wives of the fishermen were going in procession to make a tour of the ships, carrying candles and singing what must certainly be very ancient hymns of a heart-rending sadness. Nothing can give any idea of it. I have never heard anything so poignant, unless it were the song of the boatmen on the Volga. There the conviction was suddenly borne in upon me that Christianity is pre-eminently the religion of slaves, that slaves cannot help belonging to it, and I among others.
... Simone Weil (1909-1943), Waiting for God, Emma Craufurd, tr., Putnam, 1951, p. 67 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 7:20-23; Rom. 8:15; Phil. 4:22; Phlmn. 1:15-16; more at Conviction, Religion, Sadness, Slave, Song)


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