Christ, our Light

Quotations for September, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710

The Lord (whose tender mercies are over all his works, and whose ear is open to the cries and groans of the oppressed) is graciously moving on the hearts of people, to draw them off from the desire of wealth, and bring them into such a humble, lowly way of living, that they may see their way clearly to repair to the standard of true righteousness; and not only break the yoke of oppression, but know him to be their strength and support in a time of outward affliction.
... John Woolman (1720-1772), The Works of John Woolman, Philadelphia: Benjamin & Jacob Johnson, 1800, p. 198 (see the book; see also Ps. 40:11; Isa. 61:1-3; Hos. 11:4; John 6:44; 12:32; 2 Cor. 5:14; more at Affliction, God, Greed, Humility, Mercy, Prayer, Righteousness, Wealth)

Sunday, September 2, 2012
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942

The whole earth will have dwindled, and would have gone out, were it not for one glowing spot,—Calvary. For that mountain it shall stand forever, and, glowing through all space, shine as a mighty jewel that God hath set as a memorial of his everlasting love!
... Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), Eyes and Ears, Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1862, p. 58 (see the book; see also John 13:31-32; Matt. 27:33-34; Mark 15:22-23; Luke 23:33; John 3:16-17; 12:16,23,28-32; 17:4-5; 19:17-18; Acts 3:13; Heb. 13:12-13; more at Calvary, Everlasting, Glory, God, Love)

Monday, September 3, 2012
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604

If we are really convinced of the truth of our message, then we can proclaim it before a world of enemies, then the very difficulty of our task, the very scarcity of our allies becomes an inspiration, then we can even rejoice that God did not place us in an easy age, but in a time of doubt and perplexity and battle. Then, too, we shall not be afraid to call forth other soldiers into the conflict.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), The Princeton Theological Review, v. 11, 1911, p. 13 (see the book; see also Ps. 23:5-6; Matt. 5:44-45; 10:6-15,34-36; Luke 6:27-28,35; Acts 20:27; Rom. 5:10; Phil. 3:17-18; more at Battle, Certainty, Enemy, Faith, God, Preach, Truth)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650

“There is no God,” the foolish saith,
But none, “There is no sorrow.”
And nature oft the cry of faith
In bitter need will borrow:
Eyes which the preacher could not school,
By wayside graves are raised;
And lips say, “God be pitiful,”
Who ne’er said, “God be praised.”
... Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, London: MacMillan, 1899, p. 259 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 1:22-29; Ps. 14:1; 46:1; Luke 12:16-20; 16:19-31; Jas. 4:14; more at Atheism, Faith, God, Pity, Praise, Sorrow)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Be sure that you will look to death, according to your manner of life. If a pure heart and mortified spirit have broken down the earthly barrier between you and God; if trial and sacrifice have brought you into a close realisation of the Cross, to union with God, you cannot fear death; you will see it from His Side only, and in no way from your own, all that is fearful is lost when merged in His Holy Will. Death is wholly loveable and peaceful seen in the Light of His Love.
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803), The Hidden Life of the Soul, London: Rivingtons, 1870, p. 253 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:28; 1 Cor. 15:55-57; 1 Thess. 4:14-15; Heb. 13:14; 1 John 4:18; more at Cross, Death, God, Heart, Life, Love, Purity, Will of God)

Thursday, September 6, 2012
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965

The mildest assertion of Christian truth today sounds like a thunderclap because the well-polished civility of our religious talk has kept us from hearing much of this kind of thing.
... David F. Wells (b. 1939), No Place for Truth, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1993, p. 10 (see the book; see also John 7:46; Isa. 1:11-17; 6:10-13; Matt. 7:28-29; 23:34-39; Mark 6:2; Luke 11:42; 20:19-20; more at Religion, Social, Today, Truth)

Friday, September 7, 2012
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957

When I say that people are not good, I am not adopting a Christian or a moral standpoint. I am saying that their two great characteristics, no matter what their society or education, are covetousness and the desire for power. We find these traits always and everywhere. If, then, we give people complete freedom to choose, they will inevitably seek to dominate someone or something and they will inevitably covet what belongs to others, and a strange feature of covetousness is that it can never be assuaged or satisfied, for once one thing is acquired it directs its attention to something else.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), Anarchy and Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1991, p. 20 (see the book; see also Eph. 5:5; Matt. 6:20; Col. 3:5; Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; Heb. 13:5; more at Choices, Freedom, Goodness, Morality, People, Power, Satisfaction)

Saturday, September 8, 2012
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855

“Who hates his neighbor has not the rights of a child.” And not only has he no rights as a child, he has no “father.” God is not my father in particular, or any man’s father (horrible presumption and madness!); no, He is only father in the sense of father of all, and consequently only my father in so far as He is the father of all. When I hate someone or deny that God is his father—it is not he who loses, but I: for then I have no father.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 411 (see the book; see also Gal. 3:26-27; Isa. 64:8; Matt. 5:44-45,48; 6:8-9; John 20:17; Gal. 4:6; more at Child, Father, God, Hatred, Love, Neighbor)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jesus met a person at his point of need. We should, too. If his need is in the area of marriage, God has good news for him. If he is struggling with guilt, God has good news for him. Likewise God has good news for the person who needs love and affection, security or esteem... A caring friend who meets them with the gospel at a point of need is often the only way they will see through the caricatures to the real Christ.
... Joseph C. Aldrich (1941-2009), Lifestyle Evangelism, Multnomah Press, 1981, p. 88 (see the book; see also Luke 5:30-32; Isa. 53:4; Matt. 4:23; 8:14-17; 9:12; 14:15-21; Mark 2:4-12,16-17; 7:24-30; Luke 5:12-13; 7:22; John 4:7-24; 5:6-9; more at Affection, Christ, God, Gospel, Guilt, Jesus, Love, Marriage, Need, People, Security, Sight)

Monday, September 10, 2012

There are few who have not their idols, which their hearts adore, in which they put their trust, and place their happiness. The worst of all is ourselves.
... Thomas Wilson (1663-1755), Maxims of Piety and of Christianity, London: Macmillan, 1898, p. 71 (see the book; see also 1 John 5:21; Hab. 2:18-20; Matt. 16:25-26; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 10:24; Gal. 6:2; Phil. 2:4; 3:18-19; Col. 3:5; 1 John 2:15; more at Happiness, Heart, Idol, Selfish, Trust)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We hear much in our day of the “rest of faith”, but there is such a thing as the fight of faith in prayer as well as in effort. Those who would have us think that they have attained to some sublime height of faith and trust because they never know any agony of conflict or of prayer, have surely gotten beyond their Lord, and beyond the mightiest victors for God, both in effort and prayer, that the ages of Christian history have known.
... R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), How to Pray, Fleming H. Revell, 1900, p. 36 (see the book; see also Rom. 15:30; Dan. 9:3; Hos. 6:6; Hab. 1:2; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:5-8; 18:1-6; 22:41-45; Rom. 8:26; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 5:7-10; Jas. 5:15-16; more at Adversity, Faith, God, Historical, Prayer, Rest, Trust)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Prayer is the highest use to which speech can be put.
... P. T. Forsyth (1848-1921), The Soul of Prayer [1916], Regent College Publishing, 2002, p. 18 (see the book; see also Col. 4:2; Matt. 21:22; Luke 11:1-4; 18:1; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 3:12; 6:18-20; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17-18; 1 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 4:16; 1 John 4:19; Jude 1:20; more at Contemplation, Devotion, Prayer, Worship)

Thursday, September 13, 2012
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407

He is “a natural man,” who attributes every thing to reasonings of the mind and considers not that he needs help from above; which is a mark of sheer folly. For God bestowed it that it might learn and receive help from Him, not that it should consider itself sufficient unto itself. For eyes are beautiful and useful, but should they choose to see without light, their beauty profits them nothing; nor yet their natural force, but even doth harm. So if you mark it, any soul also, if it choose to see without the Spirit, becomes even an impediment unto itself.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), Homily VII, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, v. XII, ed. Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Company, 1889, p. 38 (see the book; see also Ps. 14:1; 53:1; Matt. 13:13-15; 1 Cor. 1:21-23; 2:6-7,12-14; more at Folly, Futility, God, Holy Spirit, Man, Sight)

Friday, September 14, 2012
Feast of the Holy Cross

Christian community is not an ideal that we must realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our community is in Jesus Christ alone, the more calmly shall we think of our community and pray and hope for it.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 38 (see the book; see also Phil. 2:1-2; Jer. 45:5; Acts 2:42; Heb. 3:1; 1 John 1:7; more at Christ, Community, God, Hope, Ideal, Jesus, Prayer, Promise)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

[God] is helping me to rejoice in our adverse circumstances, in our poverty, in the retirement of our Mission. All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestation of His grace, power, and love.
... J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Publishers, 2009, p. 183 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 5:9-10; Matt. 5:4; John 16:33; Acts 14:21-22; 2 Cor. 4:17; 1 Pet. 1:6; 4:13-14; more at Adversity, God, Grace, Love, Mission, Poverty, Power)

Sunday, September 16, 2012
Feast of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, 258
Commemoration of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, Apostle to the Picts, c. 430
Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, tractarian, 1882

We do not, of course, any of us, nearly thank God enough. I fear that what will surprise us most, when we see our Lord, will be the extent of our own ingratitude.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Spiritual Letters of Edward Bouverie Pusey, London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1898, p. 299 (see the book; see also Col. 2:6-7; Matt. 14:19; 26:26-27; Rom. 14:6; Eph. 5:4; Col. 3:15; 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:18; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Heb. 13:15; more at Fear, God, Regret, Thanksgiving)

Monday, September 17, 2012
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179

No man safely rejoiceth but he who hath the testimony of a good conscience within himself. The boldness of the Saints was always full of the fear of God. Nor were they the less earnest and humble in themselves, because they shone forth with great virtues and grace. But the boldness of wicked men springeth from pride and presumption, and at the last turneth to their own confusion.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xx.3, p. 60 (see the book; see also Tit. 1:15; Acts 24:14-16; Rom. 14:23; 2 Cor. 5:11; 1 Tim. 1:5,18-19; 3:9; Heb. 13:18; 1 Pet. 3:15-16,21; more at Confusion, Conscience, Evil, Fear, God, Grace, Humility, Man, Pride, Safety, Saint)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905

The notion that the salvation of Jesus is a salvation from the consequences of our sins, is a false, mean, low notion. The salvation of Christ is salvation from the smallest tendency or leaning to sin. It is a deliverance into the pure air of God’s ways of thinking and feeling. It is a salvation that makes the heart pure, with the will and choice of the heart to be pure. To such a heart, sin is disgusting. It sees a thing as it is,—that is, as God sees it, for God sees everything as it is. The soul thus saved would rather sink into the flames of hell than steal into heaven and skulk there under the shadow of an imputed righteousness. No soul is saved that would not prefer hell to sin. Jesus did not die to save us from punishment; he was called Jesus because he should save his people from their sins.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Justice”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 132-133 (see the book; see also Matt. 1:21; Ps. 62:11-12; Mark 2:17; Heb. 2:17-18; more at Deliverance, God, Heart, Jesus, Purity, Salvation, Sin)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690

Temptation ... cannot be sin; and the truth is, it is no more a sin to hear these whispers and suggestions of Satan in our souls, than it is for us to hear the swearing or wicked talk of bad men as we pass along the street. The sin only comes in either case by our stopping and joining in with them.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 139 (see the book; see also Heb. 4:15; Matt. 6:13; 26:41; Heb. 2:18; Jas. 1:2-3,12; 2 Pet. 2:9; 3:17; 1 John 4:4; more at Evil, Man, Satan, Sin, Soul, Temptation, Truth)

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871

Jesus [did] not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), for Apr. 5, Morning by Morning, New York: Sheldon & Co., 1867, p. 96 (see the book; see also John 19:17; Matt. 10:38; 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-37; Luke 9:23; 14:27; 23:26; more at Affliction, Bearing, Cross, Sin, Sorrow, Suffer)

Friday, September 21, 2012
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

The Christian hope is the hope which has seen everything and endured everything, and still has not despaired, because it believes in God. The Christian hope is not hope in the human spirit, in human goodness, in human endurance, in human achievement; the Christian hope is hope in the power of God.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), Letter to the Romans, Westminster Press, 1957, p. 215 (see the book; see also Rom. 15:4; 4:23-24; Gal. 5:5; Eph. 1:18-21; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; more at Achievement, Belief, God, Goodness, Hope, Perseverance, Power)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ask not, therefore, whether we are saved by faith, or by works; for we are saved by neither of them: faith and works are at first only preparatory to the new birth; afterwards they are the true genuine fruits and effects of it. But the new birth, a life from heaven, the new creature, called Christ in us, is the one only salvation of the fallen soul. Nothing can enter into heaven, but this life which is born of, and comes from heaven.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Prayer [1749], London: E. Justins for Ogles, Duncan, and Cochran, 1816, p. 32 (see the book; see also Rev. 21:27; John 1:12-13; 3:5-7; Rom. 3:22-24; 11:5-6; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:4-5,8-9; 4:22-24; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 5:6; more at Christ, Faith, Heaven, Life, New birth, Salvation, Work)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 122 (see the book; see also 1 John 2:5-6; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Tim. 6:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:22; Heb. 12:1,14; 2 Pet. 3:11-12; Rev. 19:8; more at Action, Holiness, Road, World)

Monday, September 24, 2012

We moderns tend to underestimate the intelligence of people like Paul. Because such a man had never seen a bicycle, a typewriter, or a television set, we, perhaps unconsciously, look down on him as living in some sort of twilight ignorance. We forget that he lived in point of time very close to the historic events described in the New Testament, and that he had plenty of opportunity to check their authenticity from many eyewitnesses. We forget, too, that he knew the philosophies of Greece not merely as textbook subjects but as systems of thought being taught and practiced in his day. When he wrote to the Colossians and warned them of “philosophy and vain deceit,” he was not being anti-intellectual. He knew from observation as well as from personal knowledge of human beings that philosophy, however attractive intellectually, is sterile and impotent when it comes to changing human disposition.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 52 (see the book; see also Col. 2:8; Luke 1:1-2; Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 1:17-23; 2:13; 15:3-8; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; 2 Pet. 1:16; more at Authenticity, Bible, Historical, Ignorance, Knowledge, Philosophy, Teach, Thought, Vanity)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392

Every time we say ‘for Thy name’s’ sake, or for Christ’s sake, we are making use of another’s claim, another’s merit, and conceding or accepting the whole doctrine of imputed righteousness. Every man is daily getting, in some way or other, what he personally has no title to. When a son gets an inheritance from his father, he gets what does not belong to him, and what could easily and legally be diverted from him. When one who is not a son gets an estate by will, he gets what he has no claim to, simply by a legal deed. Human jurisprudence recognises these transferences as competent and proper, not fictitious or absurd. Man daily acts on these principles of getting what he has no right to, simply because a fellow-man wills it, and law acknowledges that will. Why then should he speak of fictitious transferences in spiritual blessings, proceeding on precisely the same principle? Why should he deny the law or process of the divine jurisprudence, by which forgiveness of sin is conferred on him according to the will of another, and secured to him by the claims of another? If earthly law deals thus with him in earthly things, why should not heavenly law deal thus with him in heavenly things?
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), The Everlasting Righteousness, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1873, p. 180, fn. (see the book; see also John 15:16; Matt. 7:7-8; 21:22; John 14:12-13; 16:23-24; more at Blessing, Christ, Forgiveness, Grace, Heaven, Inheritance, Law, Righteousness)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942

How utterly opposed to the thought of Jesus Christ is all asceticism, all religious isolation and retreat from the world. His aim was not to get his followers out of the world, but to get them into the world. Society, not solitude, is the natural home of Christianity.
... Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), Thoughts for Every-day Living, New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1901, p. 42 (see the book; see also Luke 5:29-35; Matt. 11:15-19; Luke 7:31-35; John 2:1-2; 12:2-8; Acts 14:1; 18:9-10; 19:8; 28:30-31; more at Jesus, Social, Solitude, World)

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660

The way to please men, and be popular, always was, and always will be, Amaziah’s way; to tell men that they may worship God and the golden calf at the same time, that they may worship God and money, worship God and follow the ways of this wicked world which suit their fancy and their interest; to tell them the kingdom of God is not over you now, Christ is not ruling the world now; that the kingdom of God will only come when Christ comes at the last day, and meanwhile, if people will only believe what they are told, and live tolerably respectable lives, they may behave in all things else as if there was no God, and no judgments of God.
... Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), from “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel”, in All Saints’ Day, and other sermons, ed. William Harrison, London: Kegan Paul, 1878, p. 15 (see the book; see also Amos 7:10-17; Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Rom. 1:19-20; Gal. 1:10; more at Atheism, God, Idol, Judgment, Kingdom, Life, Pleasure, Worship)

Friday, September 28, 2012

If this is indeed all the power that God has—the power of an idea—then who in Hell is interested in him? In Hell—just there—who is interested in a God without power? Of course the answer is that everyone is: everyone is interested in a God without power, interested, and there is the end of it. In fact Hell might he described as the place or condition where men find God interesting and where this is all that they find; where they look at the Cross and are interested. And by this definition anyway, Hell is not altogether unfamiliar to any of us. How many preachers, for instance, make this their Sunday proclamation to the faithful: How interesting is God! How interesting to apply the idea of God to this and that, to the international situation, to family relations, or what have you. I shudder to think how often I have done it myself.
... Frederick Buechner (1926-2022), The Magnificent Defeat, Seabury Press, 1966, p. 31 (see the book; see also Matt. 23:27-28; 12:38-39; 23:23-24; Mark 8:11-12; 9:17-29; Luke 11:29; Acts 2:36-40; more at Cross, God, Power, Preacher, Sunday, Thought)

Saturday, September 29, 2012
Feast of Michael & All Angels

The general rule of interpreting Scripture is this: the literal sense of every text is to be taken, if it be not contrary to some other texts. But in that case, the obscure text is to be interpreted by those which speak more plainly.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, v. III, The Epworth Press, 1931, p. 129 (see the book; see also Luke 24:27; Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:44-45; Acts 13:27; Rom. 3:1-2; Phil. 2:14-16; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Heb. 4:12; more at Instruction, Rule, Scripture)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

There is, indeed, or at least there hath been, much good, useful good, done by others, on various convictions and for various ends; but there is one flaw or other in all they do. Either superstition, or vain-glory, or selfishness, or merit, or one thing or other, gets into all the good that is done by unholy persons, and brings death into the pot; so that although it may be of some use in particulars, unto individual persons, in some seasons, it is of none unto the general good of the whole. He that bears the likeness of God, and in all that he doth acts from that principle, he alone is truly useful, represents God in what he doth, and spoils it not by false ends of his own.
... John Owen (1616-1683), V.1 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 583-584 (see the book; see also Pr. 11:4; Deut. 8:11-14; Ps. 12:8; 37:16; 49:10-12; Pr. 30:8-9; Matt. 6:19-21; 19:23-26; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; more at Death, God, Goodness, People, Selfish)


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