Christ, our Light

Quotations for September, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016
Commemoration of Giles of Provence, Hermit, c.710

Here in Pilgrim’s Progress there is the ultimate human nostalgia for that City of God, which is the restless heart’s true home. And even the cynical, the unbelieving and half-believing reader who goes with Christian to the end of the road must be a little shaken, may tremble to see something like a gate and also some of the glory of the place, and, glimpsing something of the company within the golden gates, may wish himself among them.
... Gordon Rupp (1910-1986), “John Bunyan”, in Six makers of English Religion, 1500-1700 [1957], Ayer Publishing, 1974, p. 101 (see the book; see also Rev. 21:9-27; Gal. 4:26-27; Eph. 2:19-20; 3:6; Phil. 3:20-21; Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 21:2; more at City of God, Glory, Historical, Pilgrim, Sight)

Friday, September 2, 2016
Commemoration of Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, 1942

There is no longer any room in the world for a merely external form of Christianity, based upon custom... The world is entering upon a period of catastrophe and crisis when we are being forced to take sides, and in which a higher and more intense kind of spiritual life will be demanded from Christians.
... Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948), Freedom and the Spirit, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1935, 1944, p. 268 (see the book; see also Matt. 9:10-13; 5:46-47; 24:6-7; John 9:31; 1 Tim. 1:13-16; more at Adversity, Custom, Spiritual life, Weakness, World)

Saturday, September 3, 2016
Feast of Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Teacher, 604

All that which our blessed Saviour wrought in his mortal body, he did it for our example and instruction, to the end that, following his steps, according to our poor ability, we might without offense pass over this present life.
... St. Gregory the Great (540?-604), The Dialogues of Saint Gregory, P. L. Warner, 1911; Arx Publishing, LLC, 2010, p. 33 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:21; John 13:15; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 John 2:6; 3:16; more at Example, Instruction, Jesus, Life, Savior)

Sunday, September 4, 2016
Commemoration of Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester (Oxon), Apostle of Wessex, 650

As God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find any acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken by the mouth of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts, to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what has been divinely commanded.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I [1559], tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, I.vii.4, p. 79 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 2:9-11; John 5:39-40; 8:13-19; 15:26; Rom. 8:16; Heb. 10:15-17; Jude 1:3; more at Bible, God, Heart, Prophet, Spirit, Witness)

Monday, September 5, 2016

If we ever are to attain to true Divine Peace, and be completely united to God, all that is not absolutely necessary, either bodily or spiritually, must be cast off; everything that could interpose itself to an unlawful extent between us and Him, and lead us astray: for He alone will be Lord in our hearts, and none other; for Divine Love can admit of no rival.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The Inner Way, Sermon XV (see the book; see also Matt. 6:24; Ps. 119:113; 1 Sam. 7:3; Luke 16:13; Rom. 6:17-18; Gal. 1:10; Jas. 1:6-8; 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16; more at God, Heart, Love, Peace, Repentance, Unity)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Commemoration of Allen Gardiner, founder of the South American Missionary Society, 1851
Commemoration of Albert Schweitzer, Teacher, Physician, Missionary, 1965

Christ came, not so much to preach the Gospel, as that there might be a Gospel to preach.
... Robert W. Dale (1829-1895), parapharsed from The Atonement, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1875, p. 46 (see the book; see also John 3:17; 1:17; 14:6; Rom. 3:21-22; 5:20-21; 2 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 9:22; Rev. 5:9-10; more at Gospel, Incarnation, Preach)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957

That fear which keeps from sin and excites the soul to cleave more firmly to God, be the object of it what it will, is no servile fear, but a holy fear and due reverence unto God and His word.
... John Owen (1616-1683), IV.5 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 461 (see the book; see also Prov. 16:6; Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; more at Fear, God, Holiness, Reverence, Sin)

Thursday, September 8, 2016
Commemoration of Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855

To the Christian, love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is really an un-Christian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian, love is the works of love. Christ’s love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what-not: it was the work of love which was his life.
... Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Journals, ed. Alexander Dru, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 317 (see the book; see also Luke 10:30-37; Matt. 20:26-28; John 3:16; 10:14-15; 15:13; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10; more at Christ, Heart, Kindness, Love, Work)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Is it unfair to suggest that, in some of us at least, [Christianity] hasn’t fully worked so far, simply because, at the pinch, at the decisive moment, we don’t want it to work or ourselves to be lifted up above the failings and disloyalties we find so alluring, but rather to be enabled to continue them without the ugly consequences of so doing, to have the inexorable laws of life bent aside in our favour, so that we can squeeze through and escape, without reaping what we have sown; because, as we misunderstand it, the whole point of the good news our Lord brings is the, to us, gladsome announcement that God is happily much more morally indifferent than our consciences had thought, and is not going to make a fuss about our sins and such-like trivial peccadilloes, but will surely let us off; because, in fact, we have not grasped that the core and essence of the Gospel... is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it—is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), Experience Worketh Hope, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1945, p. 69 (see the book; see also Ps. 101:3; Pr. 8:13; Amos 5:15; Rom. 12:9; Heb. 1:9; more at Authenticity, Conscience, Heart, Indifference, Morality, Revelation, Sin)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The denominations, churches, sects, are sociological groups whose principle of differentiation is to be sought in their conformity to the order of social classes and castes. It would not be true to affirm that the denominations are not religious groups with religious purposes; but it is true that they represent the accommodation of religion to the caste system. They are emblems, therefore, of the victory of the world over the church, of the secularization of Christianity, of the church’s sanction of that divisiveness which the church’s gospel condemns.
... H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962), The Social Sources of Denominationalism, Hamden, Conn.: Holt, 1929, reprint, Meridian Books, 1960, p. 25 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 5:21; Matt. 23:8; John 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:11-13; Eph. 4:3; more at Church, Gospel, Religion, Social, World)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our faith and our friendships are not shattered by one big act, but by many small neglects.
... J. Gustav White (b. 1881) (see the book; see also 2 Kings 22:8-13; Luke 11:42; Rom. 12:6-8,12; 2 Cor. 9:6; 1 John 4:20; more at Action, Faith, Friend, Neglect)

Monday, September 12, 2016

If we are directed only by our particular natures, and regulate our inclinations by no higher rule than that of our reasons, we are but moralists; Divinity will still call us heathens. Therefore this great work of charity must have other motives, ends, and impulsions. I give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfil and accomplish the will and command of my God; I draw not my purse for his sake that demands it, but his that enjoined it; I relieve no man upon the rhetoric of his miseries, nor to content mine own commiserating disposition, for this is still but moral charity, and an act that oweth more to passion than reason.
... Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), Religio Medici [1643], W. Murison, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1922, II.2, p. 85-86 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 9:12-14; Matt. 5:42; 2 Cor. 10:5; Heb. 13:16; 1 John 3:17; more at Charity, Commandment, Heathen, Obedience, Reason, Rule)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Feast of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407

Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up in life. These are words by which the slanderers of the nature of the body, the impeachers of our flesh, are completely overthrown... We do not wish to cast aside the body, but corruption: not the flesh, but death. The body is one thing, corruption another; the body is one thing, death another... What is foreign to us is not the body but corruptibility.
... St. John Chrysostom (345?-407), from On the Resurrection of the Dead, quoted in The New Christian Year, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 108 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:44; 15:54; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; Eph. 4:22-24; 1 John 3:2; more at Corruption, Death, Life, Mortality, Nature, Weakness)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Feast of the Holy Cross

Be not afraid that thou art tempted, for the more thou art assailed by temptations, the greater friend and servant of God do I hold thee, and the greater love do I bear thee. Verily, I say to thee, let no man deem himself the perfect friend of God until he have passed through many temptations and tribulations... I am ready to endure patiently all things that my Lord would do with me.
... Ugolino of Montegiorgio (d.1274), quoting St. Francis, The Little Flowers of St. Francis, London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1912, p. 106,113 (see the book; see also Jas. 1:2-4; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1-2; Heb. 2:10,18; 1 Pet. 1:6-8; more at God, Patience, Perfection, Service, Temptation, Weakness)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Christ did not die for society, but for humanity.
... Kathryn Lindskoog (1934-2003), C. S. Lewis, Mere Christian, Glendale, Cal.: G/L Publications, 1973, reprint, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1981, p. 75 (see the book; see also Ps. 2:8-12; 22:27; Isa. 11:1-5,10; John 3:16-17; Rom. 8:22; more at Christ, Death, Man, Social)

Friday, September 16, 2016
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 have need of patience with ourselves and with others; with those below and those above us, and with our own equals; with those who love us, and those who love us not; for the greatest things and for the least; against sudden inroads of trouble, and under daily burdens; [against] disappointments as to the weather or the breaking of the heart; in the weariness of the body, or the wearing of the soul; in our own failure of duty, or others’ failure towards us; in every day wants, or in the aching of sickness or the decay of old age; in disappointment, bereavement, losses, injuries, reproaches; in heaviness of the heart, or its sickness amid delayed hopes... In all these things, from childhood’s little troubles to the martyr’s sufferings, patience is the grace of God, whereby we endure evil for the love of God.
... Edward B. Pusey (1800-1882), Parochial Sermons, v. II, London: Rivingtons, 1868, p. 80-81 (see the book; see also Col. 1:11-12; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3-5; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Eph. 4:2; 2 Tim. 2:3; Heb. 12:1-2; Jas. 1:2-4; more at Bereavement, Disappointment, God, Heart, Love, Patience, Sickness, Weakness, Weary)

Saturday, September 17, 2016
Feast of St. Hildegard, Abbess of Bingen, Visionary, 1179

The more we fear crosses, the more reason we have to think that we stand in need of them: let us not be dejected when the hand of God layeth heavy ones upon us. We ought to judge of the violence of our disease by the violence of the remedies which our spiritual physician prescribes us. It is a great argument of our wretchedness and of God’s mercy, that, notwithstanding the difficulty of our recovery, He vouchsafes to undertake our cure.
... François Fénelon (1651-1715), Pious Reflections for Every Day in the Month, London: H. D. Symonds, 1800, p. 33-34 (see the book; see also Mark 2:9-11; Gen. 18:14; Ps. 41:4; 147:3; Hos. 14:4; Matt. 9:12-13; 17:20; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31; 14:27; Phil. 3:21; 4:12; more at Cross, Fear, God, Judgment, Mercy, Need, Physician, Weakness)

Sunday, September 18, 2016
Commemoration of George MacDonald, Spiritual Writer, 1905

If I mistake, He will forgive me. I do not fear Him; I only fear lest, able to see and write these things, I should fail of witnessing, and myself be, after all, a castaway—no king but a talker; no disciple of Jesus, ready to go with Him to the death, but an arguer about the truth.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Kingship”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 104 (see the book; see also John 18:37; 7:17; 8:47; 1 Pet. 1:22; more at Death, Disciple, Fear, Forgiveness, Jesus, King, Truth)

Monday, September 19, 2016
Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690

I think that most Christians would be better pleased if the Lord did not inquire into their personal affairs too closely. They want Him to save them, to keep them happy, and to take them off to heaven at last, but not to be too inquisitive about their conduct or services.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), That Incredible Christian, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1964, p. 105 (see the book; see also John 3:20-21; Amos 5:10; Luke 11:45; John 7:7; Jas. 1:23-25; more at Amusement, Attitudes, Authenticity, Conduct, God, Salvation, Service)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Feast of John Coleridge Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia, & his Companions, Martyrs, 1871

Belief in God through Christ is the most important of all aids to the following of Christ, but (let us never forget) the following is the great thing. To those who, by whatever means they are attracted to Him, really seek to do God’s will as He revealed it, Christ will prove a Saviour—a Saviour from sin, a Saviour from the power of sin here, and from the misery which sin brings with it here and hereafter.
... James Hastings Rashdall (1858-1924), Principles and Precepts, Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1927, p. 127 (see the book; see also Matt. 4:19; 1:21; 8:19-23; 16:24; 19:21; Mark 1:17; 8:34; 10:21; Luke 5:27-28; 9:23,57-62; 14:27; 18:22; John 1:43; 10:3-4,27; 1 Cor. 11:1; more at Belief, Christ, Conversion, Disciple, God, Power, Savior, Sin, Will of God)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Feast of Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

We religious leaders need to look very much more deeply. We can so easily have talks with people, and they can say we have helped, write us grateful letters, even stand steady for a time till the juice we have put into them has run out; but, we may have brought them no hunger for God (because that hunger is no ache in our own heart) nor [brought them] anywhere near to the end of self.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 23 (see the book; see also John 7:37-38; Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1-2; 84:1-2; 143:6-7; Isa. 26:8-9; 44:3; 59:21; John 4:14; 6:51; Gal. 5:22; more at Apologetics, God, Heart, Self, Selfish, Weakness)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Because they were prejudiced against the meanness of our Saviour’s birth and condition, and had upon false grounds (though, as they thought, upon the infallibility of tradition, and of Scripture interpreted by tradition) entertained quite other notions of the Messiah from what he was really to be; because they were proud, and thought themselves too wise to learn of him: and because his doctrine of humility, and self-denial, did thwart their interest, and bring down their authority and credit among the people; therefore they set themselves against him with all their might, opposing his doctrine, and blasting his reputation and persecuting him to the death; and all this while did bear up themselves with a conceit of the antiquity and privileges of their church, and their profound knowledge in the laws of God, and a great external show of piety and devotion, and an arrogant presence and usurpation of being the only church and people of God in the world.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. IV, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXXII, p. 524-525 (see the book; see also John 8:37-40; 5:39-40; 16:2; more at Arrogance, Death, Humility, Knowledge, Law, Messiah, Persecution, Savior, Scripture, Social, Tradition)

Friday, September 23, 2016

When a man listens to the voice of the tempter within him, he is inclined to do as others do, not to resist when the temptation seems great. But when he looks into the law of God and hears the words of Christ, his natural sense of right and wrong is restored to him, and he becomes elevated, purified, sanctified.
... Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893), Sermons on Faith and Doctrine, London: John Murray, 1901, p. 259 (see the book; see also Mark 4:23; Matt. 11:15; Mark 4:9; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Tim. 4:13; Heb. 2:18; Rev. 2:7; more at Christ, God, Law, Listening, Purity, Renewal, Sanctification, Sin, Temptation)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Those old Greek gods are not just poetry and legend. In them the Ancients personified living realities—intelligence, beauty, love, or lust, which are still at work in our hearts, and which fashion our person. The language they speak is that of image and myth, which touches the person much more directly than the explicit language of science and the intellectual dialectic of the modern world. It is also the language of the Bible, of the parables of Christ, which the rationalist of today finds it so difficult to understand, of the Word of God which demands of us not a discussion but a personal decision.
... Paul Tournier (1898-1986), The Meaning of Persons, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 132 (see the book; see also Matt. 13:10-13; 25:29; Luke 8:18; John 15:2-5; more at Beauty, Bible, Christ, Love, Myth, Today)

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Feast of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626
Commemoration of Sergius of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392

What will move you? Will pity? Here is distress never the like. Will duty? Here is a Person never the like. Will fear? Here is wrath never the like. Will remorse? Here are sins never the like. Will kindness? Here is love never the like. Will bounty? Here are benefits never the like. Will all these? Here they be all, ... all in the highest degree.
... Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), preached April 6, 1604, “Sermon on Good Friday”, in Ninety-six Sermons, v. II, Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841, p. 154 (see the book; see also Mark 6:34; Matt. 5:7; 21:12,13; Luke 6:34,35; 11:37-54; more at Duty, Fear, Gospel, Kindness, Love, People, Pity, Remorse, Sin)

Monday, September 26, 2016
Commemoration of Wilson Carlile, Priest, Founder of the Church Army, 1942

It is fatally easy to think of Christianity as something to be discussed and not as something to be experienced. It is certainly important to have an intellectual grasp of the orb of Christian truth; but it is still more important to have a vital, living experience of the power of Jesus Christ. When a man undergoes treatment from a doctor, he does not need to know ... the way in which the drug works on his body in order to be cured. There is a sense in which Christianity is like that. At the heart of Christianity there is a mystery, but it is not the mystery of intellectual appreciation; it is the mystery of redemption.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Gospel of John, v. 1, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1965, p. 123 (see the book; see also John 3:7-8; Matt. 9:5-6; 16:2-4; Mark 2:17; Luke5:31-32; Acts 2:4,41; more at Christ, Conversion, Experience, Jesus, Life, Mystic, Redemption, Truth)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Feast of Vincent de Paul, Founder of the Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists), 1660

Man is challenged to participate in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world.
He must therefore plunge himself into the life of a godless world, without attempting to gloss over its ungodliness with a veneer of religion or trying to transfigure it. He must live a ‘worldly’ life and so participate in the suffering of God. He may live a worldly life as one emancipated from all false religions and obligations. To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to cultivate some particular form of asceticism (as a sinner, a penitent, or a saint), but to be a man. It is not some religious act which makes a Christian what he is, but participation in the suffering of God in the life of the world.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Letters and Papers from Prison, London: Macmillan, 1962, p. 174 (see the book; see also Col. 1:24; Matt. 5:11; Acts 5:41; Rom. 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 1:8; Phil. 2:17; 1 Thess. 2:14-16; Heb. 2:18; 5:8-10; 1 Pet. 2:21; more at Affliction, Challenge, God, Life, Man, Penitence, Saint, Sinner, Suffer, Weakness, World)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

They cast their nets in Galilee, just off the hills of brown;
Such happy, simple fisherfolk, before the Lord came down.
Contented, peaceful fishermen, before they ever knew
The peace of God that filled their hearts brimful, and broke them too.
Young John who trimmed the flapping sail, homeless in Patmos died.
Peter, who hauled the teeming net, head-down was crucified.
The peace of God, it is no peace, but strife closed in the sod;
Yet, brothers, pray for but one thing—the marvelous peace of God.
... William Alexander Percy (1885-1943), Enzio’s Kingdom: and other poems, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924, p. 9 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33; John 12:25; 14:27; Rom. 5:1-2; Phil. 4:7; more at Attitudes, Crucifixion, Death, Happiness, Heart, Knowing God, Peace, Prayer, Strife)

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Feast of Michael & All Angels

If those who say that we must preach the same message as Paul and the other apostles mean that we should also exhibit the same adaptability and sensitivity to the background culture, then they are right... If, however, they mean that we should expect results merely by repeating the actual phrases found in the New Testament, then they are mistaken. They are making, in fact, one of the basic mistakes in verbal communication, which is to confuse words with what they describe. The gospel is something God has done, not a series of phrases describing it.
Saying this does not undermine the Christian’s belief in the inspiration of the Bible, for the important thing about the Bible is what it talks about, rather than the way it does the talking. If we considered that there was the same degree of essential inspiration in the way it does the talking, then we would have to insist that every Christian learn Hebrew and Greek. The mere fact that we in the Western world read translations of the scriptures is a clear admission that times and cultures have changed.
... Gavin Reid (b. 1934), The Gagging of God, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969, p. 65 (see the book; see also Acts 17:16-23; Isa. 28:9-12; Acts 2:7-11; 1 Cor. 14:21; more at Bible, Confusion, Culture, Gospel, Inspiration, Preach, Scripture)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Here [Mark 11:27-33] they discerned a flaw, a heresy; and they would force Him either to make a fatal claim, or else to moderate His pretensions at their bidding, which would promptly restore their lost influence and leadership.
Nor need we shrink from confessing that our Lord was justly open to such reproach, unless He was indeed Divine, unless He was deliberately preparing His followers for that astonishing revelation, soon to come, which threw the Church upon her knees in adoration of her God manifest in flesh.
... G. A. Chadwick (1840-1923), The Gospel According to St. Mark, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891, p. 131 (see the book; see also Mark 11:27-33; Matt. 23:21-27; 26:3-4; Luke 20:1-8; 20:40; 22:2; John 5:18; 7:1; more at Church, God, Heresy, Jesus, Revelation)


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