Christ, our Light

Quotations for August, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

We are enjoined to forgive, to be merciful, to be as our father in heaven. Two rights cannot possibly be opposed to each other. If God punish sin, it must be merciful to punish sin; and if God forgive sin, it must be just to forgive sin. We are required to forgive, with the argument that our father forgives. It must, I say, be right to forgive. Every attribute of God must be infinite as himself. He cannot be sometimes merciful, and not always merciful. He cannot be just, and not always just. Mercy belongs to him, and needs no contrivance of theologic chicanery to justify it.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Justice”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 119 (see the book; see also Luke 6:36; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 86:5; 62:12; 116:5; more at Father, Forgiveness, God, Mercy, Punishment, Sin)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

It is taken for granted by many that this house of clay was never intended either to be repaired or beautified by the renewing Spirit. The caged-eagle theory of man’s existence is widely prevalent—the notion that the soul is imprisoned in flesh, and is beating its bars in eager longing to fly away and be at rest—all of which may be very good poetry, but is very bad divinity... The redemption of the body, not its dissolution, resurrection not death is set before us in the gospel as the true goal of victory.
... A. J. Gordon (1836-1895), The Ministry of Healing, Boston: H. Gannett, 1883, p. 194 (see the book; see also John 5:28-29; Acts 4:2; 1 Cor. 15:12-14,49; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; Phil. 3:10-11,20-21; 2 Tim. 2:18; 1 John 3:2; more at Death, Existence, Goal, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Redemption, Resurrection, Soul, Victory)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why doth the Lord Christ, at any time, thus hide himself in his glory from the faith of believers, that they cannot behold him? ... Though what he doth is supposed an act of sovereign, unaccountable wisdom, yet there are many holy ends of it, and consequently reasons for it. I shall mention one only. He doth it to stir us up in an eminent manner unto a diligent search and inquiry after him. Woeful sloth and negligence are apt to prevail in us in our meditations on heavenly things. Though our hearts wake, in a valuation of Christ, his love, and his grace, yet we sleep as unto the due exercise of faith and love towards him... He knows that those with whom he hath been graciously present,—who have had views of his glory, although they have not valued the mercy and privilege of it as they ought, yet can they not bear a sense of his absence and his hiding himself from them.
... John Owen (1616-1683), The Glory of Christ [1684, 1691], in Works of John Owen, v. I, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1850, p. 391 (see the book; see also Job 23:8-9; Ps. 89:46; Song of Solomon 5:2; Isa. 45:15; 55:6-7; Matt. 6:33; John 14:22; more at Christ, Diligence, Faith, Glory, Grace, Heaven, Love, Mercy, Search, Sleep, Sloth, Wisdom)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859

In the evening [I] enjoyed some comfort and satisfaction; and especially had some sweetness in secret prayer. This duty was made so agreeable to me, that I loved to walk abroad, and repeatedly engage in it. Oh, how comfortable is a little glimpse of God!
... David Brainerd (1718-1747), Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven: S. Converse, 1822, p. 377 (see the book; see also Eph. 3:12; Mic. 6:8; Eph. 2:13; John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; more at Comfort, God, Prayer, Satisfaction)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642

For the searchings of those who are weary of a meaningless freedom, which becomes so easily the bondage of self-centeredness, this faith is likewise an answer. They find that Christ offered peace, not in the sense of freedom from disturbance, but in the midst of the disturbance, and that he offered it at the price of the glad acceptance of discipline. The truth which makes men free is not a gift, but comes as a result of abiding in his word. “Take my yoke upon you,” he said, “and learn of me...and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Our tragedy, and even our stupidity, is that we think we can have peace without wearing the yoke.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Life We Prize, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951, p. 207-208 (see the book; see also John 8:32; Ps. 23:5; Matt. 11:29; John 14:27; 16:33; more at Bondage, Christ, Discipline, Faith, Freedom, Gifts, Man, Peace, Self, Tragedy, Truth)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

God is never silent excepting when silence speaks more clearly than a voice.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in the World [1899], London: Longmans Green, 1914, p. 38 (see the book; see also Matt. 27:14; 1 Kings 19:11; Ps. 22:1-2; 35:22; more at God, Silence)

Friday, August 7, 2015
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866

In the Law the types lay shaded:
In the promised End they faded,
CHRIST, Who all things consummates;
CHRIST, Whose Blood aside hath turned
That devouring sword which burned,
Waving wide, at Eden’s gates.
Jonah, by the tempest followed,
Whom the whale of old time swallowed,
Type of our True Jonah giving,
Three days pass’d, is rendered living
From that dark and narrow space.
Now the myrrh of Cyprus groweth,
Widelier spreadeth, sweetlier bloweth;
Law its withered blossoms throweth
That the Church may take their place.
... Adam of Saint Victor (d. 1146) & John Mason Neale (1818-1866), Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, London: Joseph Masters, 1863, 119,121 (see the book; see also Gen. 3:23-24; Jon. 1:17; Matt. 11:27; 12:40; Luke 10:22; John 1:3; 13:3; Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 9:24; more at Blood, Church, Eden, Law, Promise, Resurrection, Sword)

Saturday, August 8, 2015
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221

With our heads, we believe that the church ought to be one truly “classless society,” with all men standing on a plane of perfect equality at the foot of the Cross. But if in our hearts we do not genuinely want it, the unwanted know it well enough, count us as their enemies, and turn to other faiths. [Continued tomorrow]
... Lewis J. Sherrill (1892-1957), Lift Up Your Eyes, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1949, p. 159 (see the book; see also Luke 7:44-47; 18:10-14; Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:9-11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; Jas. 2:3-5; more at Belief, Church, Cross, Equality, Heart, Knowledge, Social)

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921

[Continued from yesterday]
We know with our heads that the Bible and the Gospel have a bearing, sooner or later, upon every issue in life, every problem, every relationship, every practice. But is it not true that in our hearts we are afraid that the full-orbed, unfiltered revelation of God will disturb some custom, some privilege, some status by which we benefit in society, business, occupation, or government? And knowing that we are profiting by the blood, sweat, and tears of the many, we feel wrath rising in us whenever it is proposed that religion touches the thing in question.
... Lewis J. Sherrill (1892-1957), Lift Up Your Eyes, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1949, p. 159 (see the book; see also Luke 12:2-3; Ps. 139:7-12; Matt. 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 1 Cor. 4:5; more at Bible, Church, Custom, God, Gospel, Knowledge, Life, Religion, Revelation, Social)

Monday, August 10, 2015
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258

One ought to keep hold of God in everything and accustom his mind to retain God always among his feelings, thoughts, and loves. Take care how you think of God. As you think of him in church or closet, think of him everywhere. Take him with you among the crowd and turmoil of the alien world.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), quoted from Talks of Instruction, in A Journey Through Christian Theology, William P. Anderson, ed., Fortress Press, 2000, p. 86 (see the book; see also Acts 17:27-28; Gen. 16:13; Ps. 139:3-10; Isa. 57:15; Jer. 23:23-24; Matt. 28:19-20; John 14:23; 1 Cor. 12:6; Eph. 1:22-23; Rev. 3:20; more at God, Love, Mind, Thought, World)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890

A system of doctrine has risen up during the last three centuries, in which faith or spiritual-mindedness is contemplated and rested on as the end of religion, instead of Christ. I do not mean to say that Christ is not mentioned as the author of all good, but that stress is laid rather on the believing than on the object of belief, on the comfort and persuasiveness of the doctrine than on the doctrine itself. And in this way religion is made to consist of contemplating ourselves instead of Christ; not simply in looking to Christ, but in ascertaining that we look to Christ; not in His Divinity and Atonement, but in our conversion and faith in Him... [Continued tomorrow]
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1892, p. 324-325 (see the book; see also John 1:23-36; Isa. 45:22; Matt. 10:32; Luke 12:8; Heb. 3:1; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; more at Atonement, Belief, Christ, Contemplation, Conversion, Faith, Gospel, Religion, Simplicity)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

[Continued from yesterday]
The fashion of the day has been ... to attempt to convert by insisting on conversion; to exhort men to be converted; to tell them to be sure they look at Christ, instead of simply holding up Christ to them; to tell them to have faith, rather than to supply its Object; to lead them to ... work up their minds, instead of impressing upon them the thought of Him who can savingly work in them; to bid them to be sure their faith is justifying, not dead, formal, self-righteous, and merely moral, instead of delineating Him whose image, fully delineated, destroys deadness, formality, self-righteousness; to rely on words, vehemence, eloquence, and the like, rather than to aim at conveying the one great idea, whether in words or not.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1892, p. 325-326 (see the book; see also Heb. 12:1-2; John 6:40; 9:32-38; Rom. 10:9-11; 1 Cor. 12:3; Heb. 4:14; 1 John 1:1-3; more at Christ, Conversion, Death, Faith, Gospel, Morality, Self, Self-righteousness, Simplicity)

Thursday, August 13, 2015
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

Be careful thou dost not speak a lie in thy prayers, which, though not observed, is frequently practised by careless persons, especially in the forms of confession, affirming things which they have not thought, professing sorrow which is not, making a vow they mean not.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), The Golden Grove, London: A. Wilson, 1811, p. 50 (see the book; see also 1 John 2:4; Ps. 32:5; Pr. 28:13; Acts 19:18; 1 John 1:6; more at Careless, Confession, Prayer, Sorrow, Thought, Vow)

Friday, August 14, 2015
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941

God’s guidance is not a gimmick that we can keep on tap for our own gain. It is not there to enable us to beat our competitors. We cannot invoke it to help us win bets on football matches or horse races or to prove that something is theologically correct. While it is available to every person who walks with God, it is not at our disposal as we see fit without regard to the purposes of God’s government. Nor should it be, for that would be very dangerous.
... Dallas Willard (1935-2013), Hearing God, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999, p. 70 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:24-26; Acts 8:9-24; Rom. 8:4-5,26; Jas. 4:2-4; more at Danger, God, Guidance, People, Theology)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

There must be no dallying with an attachment which is incompatible with the Love of God.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.xxi, p. 211 (see the book; see also 1 John 2:15-16; John 15:19; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; 1 Tim. 6:10; Jas. 4:4-5; 1 Pet. 2:11; more at God, Love, World)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I dislike the frequent use of the word virtue, instead of righteousness, in the pulpit; in prayer or preaching before a Christian community, it sounds too much like pagan philosophy.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Aids to Reflection [1825], London: W. Pickering, 1839, p. 6, fn. (see the book; see also Matt. 5:6,20,48; Acts 17:18; Rom. 1:17; 3:21-24; 4:3; 6:18; 2 Cor. 10:5; Col. 2:8,16-19; 1 Tim. 6:20-21; 2 Tim. 3:16; more at Church, Pagan, Philosophy, Prayer, Preach, Righteousness, Virtue)

Monday, August 17, 2015

How can you expect God to speak in that gentle and inward voice which melts the soul, when you are making so much noise with your rapid reflections? Be silent, and God will speak again.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Selections from Fénelon, ed. Mary Wilder Tileston, Boston: Roberts Bros., 1879, p. 38 (see the book; see also Hab. 2:20; Ps. 46:10; 85:8; Zech. 2:13; Heb. 12:25; more at Gentleness, God, Silence, Soul)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Compassion is an inward movement of the heart, stirred by pity for the bodily and ghostly griefs of all men. This compassion makes a man suffer with Christ in His passion; for he who is compassionate marks the wherefore of His pains and the way of His resignation; of His love, His wounds, His tenderness; of His grief and His nobleness; of the disgrace, the misery, and the shame He endured; of the way in which He was despised; of His crown; of the nails; of His mercifulness; of His destruction and dying in patience. These manifold and unheard-of sorrows of Christ, our Saviour and our Bridegroom, move all kindly men to pity and compassion with Christ.
... Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381), Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, I.xviii (see the book; see also Hos. 6:6; Isa. 40:11; 42:3; 53:4; 63:7-9; Matt. 8:2-3; 9:36; 14:14; Mark 6:34; 2 Cor. 8:9; Heb. 4:15; more at Christ, Compassion, Grief, Kindness, Pity, Savior, Shame, Sorrow, Suffer)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trials ... are medicines, which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes, because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires... Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.
... John Newton (1725-1807), in a letter, 1787, The Aged Pilgrim’s Triumph over Sin and the Grave, p. 43-44 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:32; Heb. 12:5-7; Eze. 20:37; John 16:20; Heb. 12:5-8; Jas. 1:2-3; more at Grace, Physician, Trial, Trust, Weakness)

Thursday, August 20, 2015
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890

To preach the Gospel is to feed the sheep. Do the work of an evangelist, and you have done the work of a shepherd.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), On Consideration, tr. George Lewis, Clarendon Press, 1908, IV.iii.6, p. 104 (see the book; see also John 21:15-17; Ps. 89:15; Isa. 40:11; Matt. 4:23; 28:18-20; Acts 5:20; 10:36; Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 3:8; more at Evangelization, Gospel, Minister, Preach, Work)

Friday, August 21, 2015

All things are perceived in the light of charity, and hence under the aspect of beauty; for beauty is simply Reality seen with the eyes of love.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), Mysticism, Doubleday, 1911, p. 206 (see the book; see also Mark 14:3-9; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 10:21; 1 Cor. 13; more at Beauty, Charity, Light, Love, Perception)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The one reason for missions is Christ. He only is the motive, God’s presence in Him the one sufficient cause.
The fact is, belief in missions and belief in Christ stand and fall together... The concern for world evangelization is not something tacked on to a man’s personal Christianity, which he may take or leave as he chooses. It is rooted in the character of the God who has come to us in Jesus. Thus, it can never be the province of a few enthusiasts, a sideline or a specialty of those who happen to have a bent that way. It is the distinctive mark of being a Christian.
... James S. Stewart (1896-1990), Thine is the Kingdom, Edinburgh: St. Andrews Press, 1956, p. 14-15 (see the book; see also Luke 2:17-18; John 1:40-42; 4:28-29; Acts 2:38; 4:19-20; 8:12; 11:20-21; 1 John 1:3; more at Christ, Evangelization, God, Jesus, Mission, World)

Sunday, August 23, 2015
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617

In order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must first apply to Him with some diligence; but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Second Conversation, p. 10 (see the book; see also Isa. 55:6; Ps. 4:3; 32:6; 119:150-151; Matt. 28:20; Acts 17:27-28; 2 Cor. 6:2; Eph. 1:22-23; more at Diligence, God, Love, Prayer)

Monday, August 24, 2015
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle

In praying for enemies, we are not hurling holy thoughts at them or petitioning God to make them into copies of ourselves. Rather we are bringing our enemies into that part of ourselves that is deepest and most vulnerable. We are begging God for the good of those whom, at other times, we wished ill or wished to harm. In praying for enemies, we are asking God to use us for the well-being of those we fear.
... Jim Forest (b. 1941), Loving Our Enemies, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014, p. 98 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:43-45; Luke 6:27-29; Rom. 12:14,20-21; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Enemy, Fear, God, Goodness, Prayer)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The nominal Christian, then, will see Jesus as a name, a representative, a symbol, a personification, a prototype, a figure, a model, an exemplar for something else. The nominal Christian pays homage to something about Jesus, rather than worshiping the man himself. For this reason, nominal Christians will extol the moral teachings of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, the personality of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the world view of Jesus, the self-understanding of Jesus, etc. None of these worships Jesus as the Christ, but only something about him, something peripheral to the actual flesh-and-blood man. This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing, in order that men would be forced into the crucial decision about him alone and would not be able to worship anything about him.
... Robert L. Short (1932-2009), The Parables of Peanuts [1968], New York: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 166-167 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 13:4; Luke 2:6-7; 22:43-44; Rom. 6:8-11; 1 Cor. 15:43; 2 Cor. 4:7-11; 12:9-10; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 5:2; more at Compassion, Example, God, Jesus, Morality, Weakness, Worship)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Holy Spirit never enters a man and lets him live like the world. You can be sure of that.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), from a sermon ca. 1930, (see the book; see also Acts 5:29; John 15:19; 17:14; Acts 2:17-18; Rom. 1:8; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Jas. 1:27; 4:4; 1 Pet. 1:14; 2:11; 1 John 2:15-17; 4:1-6; more at Holy Spirit, Life, Man, World)

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

Verily, if thou desirest to have the Creator of all creatures, thou must renounce all creatures; for it cannot be otherwise, but only insomuch as thy soul is emptied and bared; the less of the creature, the more of God: this is but a [fair] bargain.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The Inner Way, Sermon II (see the book; see also John 3:30; Isa. 9:7; 53:2-3; Luke 14:26; John 12:25; Acts 13:36-37; 1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 2:5-7; Col. 1:18; Heb. 3:2-6; more at Emptiness, God, Renunciation, Repentance, Soul)

Friday, August 28, 2015
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430

The love, therefore, wherewith God loveth, is incomprehensible and immutable. For it was not from the time that we were reconciled unto Him by the blood of His Son that He began to love us; but He did so before the foundation of the world, that we also might be His sons along with His Only-begotten, before as yet we had any existence of our own.
... 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. CX.6, p. 460 (see the book; see also Eph. 1:4-6; Jer. 1:5; John 15:16; 17:20-23; Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; 1 John 4:19; more at Beginning, Blood, Existence, God, Love, Reconciliation)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Persistence in prayer for someone whom we don’t like, however much it goes against the grain to begin with, brings about a remarkable change in attitude.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), Hard Sayings of the Bible, InterVarsity Press, 2009, p. 364 (see the book; see also Luke 6:27-28; 23:34; Acts 7:60; Rom. 12:14; 1 Cor. 4:12-13; Jas. 3:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Attitudes, Perseverance, Prayer)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Of all the evidences of the real work of the Spirit, a habit of hearty private prayer is one of the most satisfactory that can be named. A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books and make fine speeches and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is in earnest. The Lord himself has set his stamp on prayer as the best proof of true conversion.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer, published in the 1850’s as a pamphlet, American Tract Society, 1867, p. 10 (see the book; see also Acts 9:11; Deut. 4:29; Ps. 32:6; 130:1-3; Pr. 15:8; Jon. 2:2; Luke 11:9-10; Acts 2:21; 1 Thess. 5:17; more at Conversion, God, Good works, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Preach, Proof, Work)

Monday, August 31, 2015
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 advocateship of Jesus Christ declares us to be sorry creatures; for that office does, as it were, predict that some time or other we shall basely fall, and by falling be undone, if the Lord Jesus stand not up to plead. And as it shows this concerning us, so it shows concerning God that he will not lightly or easily lose his people. He has provided well for us—blood to wash us in; a priest to pray for us, that we may be made to persevere; and, in case we foully fall, an advocate to plead our cause, and to recover us from under, and out of all that danger, that by sin and Satan, we at any time may be brought into.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), “The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate”, in The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. I, London: Blackie, 1862, p. 157-158 (see the book; see also Heb. 7:23-25; Ps. 23:3; Lam. 3:58; Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 1 John 2:1; more at Fall, God, Jesus, People, Perseverance, Sin)


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