Christ, our Light

Quotations for November, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Feast of All Saints

Where, then, does happiness lie? In forgetfulness, not indulgence, of the self. In escape from sensual appetites, not in their satisfaction. We live in a dark, self-enclosed prison, which is all we see or know if our glance is fixed ever downward. To lift it upward, becoming aware of the wide, luminous universe outside—this alone is happiness. At its highest level, such happiness is the ecstasy that mystics have inadequately described. At more humdrum levels, it is human love; the delights and beauties of our dear earth, its colors and shapes and sounds; the enchantment of understanding and laughing, and all other exercise of such faculties as we possess; the marvel of the meaning of everything, fitfully glimpsed, inadequately expounded, but ever present.
... Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), Jesus Rediscovered, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969, p. 159 (see the book; see also Acts 12:6-11; Isa. 61:1-3; 60:1-5; Acts 2:46-47; 1 Cor. 13:12; more at Beauty, Earth, Happiness, Laughter, Love, Meaning, Satisfaction, Self, Understanding)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Feast of All Souls

A repenting man is more angry at his own heart that consented to sin than he is at the devil who did tempt him to sin.
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Quaint Sermons of Samuel Rutherford: hitherto unpublished, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1885, p. 123 (see the book; see also Eph. 4:26-27; Heb. 2:18; 4:15; Jas. 1:13-15; 1 John 2:16; more at Devil, Heart, Repentance, Sin, Temptation)

Thursday, November 3, 2011
Feast of Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher, 1600
Commemoration of Martin of Porres, Dominican Friar, 1639

The righteousness wherein we must be found, if we will be justified, is not our own; therefore we cannot be justified by any inherent quality. Christ hath merited righteousness for as many as are found in him. In him God findeth us, if we be faithful; for by faith we are incorporated into Christ.
... Richard Hooker (1554?-1600), The Work of Mr. Richard Hooker, v.III, London: W. Clarke, 1821, p. 341 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9; Col. 3:3; more at Christ, Faith, God, Righteousness)

Friday, November 4, 2011

[Mr. Gifford] made it much his business to deliver the people of God from all those false and unsound rests that, by nature, we are prone to take and make to our souls. He pressed us to take special heed that we took not up any truth upon trust—as from this, or that, or any other man or men—but to cry mightily to God that He would convince us of the reality thereof, and set us down therein, by his own Spirit in the holy Word.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners [1666] The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. I, London: Blackie, 1862, p. 20 (see the book; see also Mark 9:24; Acts 17:32-34; Rom. 14:5; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at God, Historical, Holy Spirit, Trust, Truth)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

We all profess that we are bound for heaven, immortality, and glory; but is it any evidence we really design it, if all our thoughts are consumed about the trifles of this world, which we must leave behind us, and if we have only occasional thoughts of things above?
... John Owen (1616-1683), I.4 in The Grace and Duty of being Spiritually Minded [1681], in Works of John Owen, v. VII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 303 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:28; 19:21-24; Mark 4:18-19; Luke 12:16-21; 18:22-25; more at Glory, Heaven, Immortality, Thought, Worldly)

Sunday, November 6, 2011
Feast of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1944

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, [and] to devote the will to the purpose of God.
... William Temple (1881-1944), The Hope of a New World, London: Macmillan, 1941, p. 30 (see the book; see also Ps. 5:7; 22:22; 26:6-8; 84:1-4; 103:1-5; 122:1; 1 Cor. 14:15; more at Beauty, Conscience, God, Heart, Holiness, Imagination, Love, Purpose, Will of God, Worship)

Monday, November 7, 2011
Feast of Willibrord of York, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia, 739

There is a great difference between a lofty spirit and a right spirit. A lofty spirit excites admiration by its profoundness; but only a right spirit achieves salvation and happiness by its stability and integrity.
Do not conform your ideas to those of the world. Scorn the “intellectual” as much as the world esteems it. What men consider intellectual is a certain facility to produce brilliant thoughts. Nothing is more vain. We make an idol of our intellect as a woman who believes herself beautiful worships her face. We take pride in our own thoughts. We must reject not only human cleverness, but also human prudence, which seems so important and so profitable. Then we may enter—like little children, with candor and innocence of worldly ways—into the simplicity of faith; and with humility and a horror of sin we may enter into the holy passion of the cross.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), paraphrased, Selections from the Writings of Fenelon, Boston: Hilliard, Gray, Little, and Wilkins, 1829, p. 246-247 (see the book; see also Hab. 2:4; Luke 11:13; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:20-21; more at Child, Faith, Greatness, Happiness, Humility, Idol, Innocence, Integrity, Pride, Salvation, Scorn, Spirit, Thought, World)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England

It is no small honour that God for our sake has so magnificently adorned the world, in order that we may not only be spectators of this beauteous theatre, but also enjoy the multiplied abundance and variety of good things which are presented to us in it. Our gratitude in yielding to God the praise which is his due, is regarded by him as a singular recompense.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on the Book of Psalms, v. IV, Ediburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1847, p. 169 (see the book; see also Ps. 19:1-5; 30:1; 104:31; Matt. 6:28-29; John 10:10; more at Beauty, Creation, God, Goodness, Gratitude, Honor, Praise, World)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Commemoration of Margery Kempe, Mystic, after 1433

Let [the student of Scripture] approach the New Testament, not with an unholy curiosity, but with reverence; bearing in mind that his first and only aim and object should be that he may catch and be changed into the spirit of what he there learns. It is the food of the soul; and to be of use, must not rest only in the memory or sink into the stomach, but must pierce through the very depths of the heart and mind.
... Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), quoted from the introduction to his Greek New Testament, in “The Reformers of 1498”, ch. VI, by Frederic Seebohm, The Fortnightly Review, v. VI, George Henry Lewes, ed., London: Chapman and Hall, 1866, p. 185 (see the book; see also Neh. 8:5-6; Ps. 1:2; 119; Matt. 22:42-43; Rom. 1:1-2; 3:2; 2 Cor. 4:2; Eph. 6:17; Col. 4:15-16; Heb. 4:12; more at Heart, Memory, Mind, Reverence, Scripture, Soul, Spirit)

Thursday, November 10, 2011
Feast of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461

It is easy to criticise the many failings of the Church; it is all too easy to criticise the lives of those who profess and call themselves Christians; but I should say that it is almost impossible to read the Gospels thoroughly with adult, serious attention and then dismiss the central Figure as a mere human prophet or a tragic idealist. The reaction to such a study may indeed prove to be conversion or open hostility, but it would at least mean the end of childish and ill-informed attacks upon what is supposed to be the Christian religion.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), New Testament Christianity, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1956, chapt. i, p. 12 (see the book; see also Jer. 9:3; Matt. 16:13-17; Luke 9:18-20; more at Apologetics, Church, Conversion, Hostility, Prophet)

Friday, November 11, 2011
Feast of Martin, Monk, Bishop of Tours, 397

Our religion is not a system of ideas about Christ. It is Christ.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), The Light of the World, and Other Sermons, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1904, p. 23 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:6; 1 Cor. 1:22-23; 2 Cor. 4:4-5; Gal. 6:14; Col. 2:8; 2 Pet. 1:16; more at Christ, Religion, Theology, Thought)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

To the children of God everything comes directly from their Father’s hand, no matter who or what may have been the apparent agents. There are no “second causes” for them.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 84 (see the book; see also Dan. 2:21; 6:27; Matt. 7:11; 10:29-31; Jas. 1:17; more at Child, Father, God, Providence)

Sunday, November 13, 2011
Feast of Charles Simeon, Pastor, Teacher, 1836

We are born knowing nothing and with much striving we learn but a little; yet all the while we are bound by laws that hearken to no plea of ignorance, and measure out their rewards and punishments with calm indifference. In such a state, humility is the virtue of men, and their only defense; to walk humbly with God, never doubting, whatever befall, that His will is good, and that His law is right.
... Paul Elmer More (1864-1937), Pages from an Oxford Diary, Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1972, c1937, excerpt included in The Questing Spirit, Halford E. Luccock & Frances Brentano, New York: Coward-McCann, 1947, p. 602 (see the book; see also Eccl. 8:16-17; 12:12; Mic. 6:8; Ps. 19:7-9; 1 Cor. 13:9,12; more at Doubt, Goodness, Humility, Ignorance, Law, Virtue, Weakness)

Monday, November 14, 2011
Commemoration of Samuel Seabury, First Anglican Bishop in North America, 1796

O drink and bread,
Which strikes death dead,
The food of man’s immortal being!
Under veils here
Thou art my cheer,
Present and sure without my seeing.
... Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), The Poetical Works of Henry Vaughan, Boston: Osgood, 1871, p. 262 (see the book; see also Matt. 26:26-30; 1 Cor. 10:16-17;11:23-32; John 6:32-35; Heb. 10:34; 1 Pet. 4:13; more at Bread, Certainty, Communion, Death, Immortality, Sight)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Commemoration of Oswald Chambers, spiritual writer, 1917

There is one ... aspect of St. Paul’s preaching which is often taken for granted, but is certainly not true—that the Gospel of St. Paul was purely individualistic. To the heathen crowd St. Paul addressed himself as to a mass of souls from amongst which he was to gather the elect children of God. But he did not approach them as an isolated prophet: he came as an Apostle of the Church of God, and he did not simply seek to gather out individual souls from amongst the heathen; he gathered them into the society of which he was a member. He did not teach them that they would find salvation by themselves alone, but that they would find it in the perfecting of the Body of Christ. Souls were not invited to enter into an isolated solitary religious life of communion with Christ: they were invited to enter the society in which the Spirit manifested Himself and in which they would share in the communication of His life. [Continued tomorrow]
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 76 (see the book; see also Acts 2:41; 13:46; Gal. 1:1-2 ; more at Body of Christ, Church, Communion, Crowd, God, Gospel, Heathen, Holy Spirit, Preach, Salvation, Solitude)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Feast of Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093
Commemoration of Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240

[Continued from yesterday] It was inconceivable that a Christian taught by St. Paul could think of himself as obtaining a personal salvation by himself. He became one of the brethren. He shared in the common sacraments. The Church was not an invisible body formed of unknown ‘believers’. Men were admitted by their baptism into a very visible society, liable to be attacked by very visible foes. The Apostle who preached to them was a member of it, and he preached as a member of it, and as a member of it he invited them to enter it, to share its privileges and its burdens, its glory and its shame. Entrance into it was guarded by a very definite and unmistakable sacrament.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 76 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:14; Rom. 6:3-4; 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 6:2-3; more at Baptism, Body of Christ, Church, Foe, Man, Preach, Sacrament, Salvation, Share, Social, Teach)

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Feast of Hugh, Carthusian Monk, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200

“Resurrection” is the word that, of all words in the Bible, wants to tell us in the strongest and most unambiguous way: God is not a thought, God is not a word, God is not a feeling. God is the Great One, the True One, the Real and Living One, who waits to meet us precisely at that point where our thoughts about him end.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), from “He Himself” in Come Holy Spirit: Sermons, New York: Round Table Press, 1933, reprint, Mowbrays, 1978, p. 162 (see the book; see also John 11:25-26; 1 Cor. 6:14; Phil. 3:10-11; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Tim. 1:8-10; more at God, Life, Resurrection, Thought, Truth)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
... Jan Struther (1901-1953), first published in Songs of Praise, enl. ed., Ralph Vaughan Williams, et al., ed., Oxford University Press, 1931, n. 564, p. 164 (see the book; see also Ps. 127:2; 1:1-3; 96:1,2; Matt. 6:25; 2 Cor. 9:8; more at Faith, Gentleness, Grace, Heart, Jesus, Joy, Peace, Prayer, Trust)

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Feast of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Commemoration of Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, Philanthropist, 1231
Commemoration of Mechtild, Bèguine of Magdeburg, Mystic, Prophet, 1280

Holy Orders is not a profession which we enter expecting an advance, or some sort of recognition as a right after so many years of work. But it is rather the giving up of self into the hands of God, without stint and without reserve, and letting Him set the work. It is the recognition of the fact that God has many kinds of work to be done, and that the best paid are not always the most honourable... To enter or exercise the ministry with a view to preferment is like marrying for money and not for love.
... W. C. E. Newbolt (1844-1930), Speculum Sacerdotum, London: Longmans, Green, 1894, p. 112-113,144 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:2-3; John 3:34; 10:12-13; more at Church, Giving, God, Minister, Self, Work)

Sunday, November 20, 2011
Feast of Edmund of the East Angles, Martyr, 870
Commemoration of Priscilla Lydia Sellon, a Restorer of the Religious Life in the Church of England, 1876

Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.v., p. 5 (see the book; see also Rev. 3:20; Ps. 19:12-13; 32:5; 101:2; 116:10; 130:3; Rom. 11:32; Col. 1:19-20; more at Prayers, Presence of God, Soul)

Monday, November 21, 2011

It is useless to preach the Kingdom when we do not carry into the centre of life the control of a King. The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master. And the first charge of every Church is to offer, nay to mediate, Him.
... P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), Positive Preaching and Modern Mind, New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1907, p.42 (see the book; see also Matt. 23:8; 8:19; Rom. 6:18; Gal. 5:1; more at Church, Duty, Freedom, Kingdom, Master, Preach)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Commemoration of Cecilia, Martyr at Rome, c.230
Commemoration of Clive Staples Lewis, Spiritual Writer, 1963

I have been asked to tell you what Christians believe, and I am going to begin by telling you one thing that Christians do not need to believe. If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 35 (see the book; see also Acts 26:24-29; 10:1-2; 17:22; Rom. 2:14-15; more at Atheism, Belief, Religion, Truth, Wrong)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Commemoration of Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100

Holiness is nothing but the implanting, writing and realizing of the Gospel in our souls.
... John Owen (1616-1683), IV.1 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 370-371 (see the book; see also John 17:17; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:22-24; 1 Thess. 4:1-6; Tit. 1:1; more at Gospel, Holiness, Soul)

Thursday, November 24, 2011
Thanksgiving (U.S.)

No clocks keep time tomorrow. Springs push and hands point now. Now is the appointed time for clocks as well as people. God never helped anyone tomorrow. He is a very present help. What is eternity, but God’s now? Let us then live the eternal life with God now.
... Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), Thoughts for Every-day Living, New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1901, p. 44-45 (see the book; see also Ps. 46:1; Ex. 3:14; John 8:58; more at Eternal life, God, People, Providence, Time, Tomorrow)

Friday, November 25, 2011
Commemoration of Katherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century

Arm yourself like a man against the devil’s assaults. Curb your appetite and you will more easily curb every inclination of the flesh. Never be completely unoccupied, but read or write or pray or meditate or do something for the common good.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xix.5, p. 57-58 (see the book; see also Eph. 6:11; 2 Thess. 3:11-12; Heb. 6:10-11; 1 Pet. 1:13; more at Devil, Goodness, Meditation, Prayer, Self-control)

Saturday, November 26, 2011
Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748

The Divine Perfections.
How shall I praise th’ eternal God,
That Infinite Unknown?
Who can ascend his high abode,
Or venture near his throne?
The great invisible! He dwells
Conceal’d in dazzling light:
But his all-searching eye reveals
The secrets of the night.
Those watchful eyes that never sleep,
Survey the world around;
His wisdom is the boundless deep,
Where all our thoughts are drown’d.
He knows no shadow of a change,
Nor alters his decrees;
Firm as a rock his truth remains,
To guard his promises.
Justice, upon a dreadful throne,
Maintains the rights of God;
While mercy sends her pardons down,
Bought with a Saviour’s blood.
Now to my soul immortal King,
Speak some forgiving word;
Then ’twill be double joy to sing
The glories of my Lord.
... Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymns and Spiritual Songs [1707], in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, ed. Samuel Melanchthon Worcester, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1834, book II, hymn 166, p. 470 (see the book; see also Ps. 66:2; 1 Sam. 15:29; Ps. 1:6; 121:1-4; Rom. 11:33; Jas. 2:12-13; 1 John 1:5; more at God, Infinite, Joy, Justice, King, Mercy, Omniscience, Praise, Promise, Wisdom, Worship)

Sunday, November 27, 2011
Advent I

Well, here it is Advent, and the Christmas season will soon be upon us. When He came the first time, it was as a Baby—showing us an aspect of His nature very suited to our understanding. Now that we are grown (even if not very mature), we look forward to the return of that same Jesus who went away for a while: Man when He left, Man still, Man when He shall come back. May we all see Him as He is, now and forever.
... Robert MacColl Adams (1913-1985), from a letter, 1975 (see also Dan. 7:13-14; Mark 13:26; 14:61-62; John 14:18; 1 John 1:1-3; 3:2; Rev. 1:7; more at Christmas, Growth, Jesus, Man, Nature, Understanding)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do not think you can do any work for Christ and hope to succeed if you are not impelled by love.
... Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899), “To the work! To the work!”: Exhortations to Christians, Chicago: F. H. Revell, 1884, p. 31 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:7-8; John 13:34-35; 1 Cor. 13:1-8; 14:1; 16:14; Col. 2:2-3; Tit. 2:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:17; 2 John 1:5; more at Christ, Love, Work)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Unsaintly saints are the tragedy of Christianity. People of the world usually pass through the circle of disciples to reach Christ, and if they find those disciples severe and sharp-tongued they can hardly be blamed if they sigh and turn away from Him... The low state of religion in our day is largely due to the lack of public confidence in religious people.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Of God and Men, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1960, p. 85 (see the book; see also Mark 10:42-44; Matt. 23:2-4; Luke 18:10-14; more at Christ, Confidence, Disciple, Religion, Saint, Sin, Tragedy)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Feast of Andrew the Apostle

Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from grace.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, III.xiii.1, p. 140 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:14; 1 John 2:17; 3:24; more at Grace, Obedience, Strife)


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