Christ, our Light

Quotations for August, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Son of God did not come from above to add an external form of worship to the several ways of life that are in the world, and so to leave people to live as they did before, in such tempers and enjoyments as the fashion and the spirit of the world approve; but as He came down from heaven, altogether Divine and heavenly in His own nature, so it was to call mankind to a Divine and heavenly life; to the highest change of their own nature and temper; to be born again of the Holy Spirit; to walk in the wisdom and light and love of God, and to be like Him to the utmost of their power, to renounce all the most plausible ways of the world, whether of greatness, business, or pleasure; to a mortification of their most agreeable passions; and to live in such wisdom, purity, and holiness as might fit them to be glorious in the enjoyment of God to all eternity. [Continued tomorrow]
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 157 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:21; John 3:3; Matt. 10:37; Luke 14:26; Phil. 3:8; more at Christlikeness, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Pleasure, Renunciation, Repentance, Worship)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

[Continued from yesterday]
Whatever, therefore, is foolish, ridiculous, vain, or earthly, or sensual, in the life of a Christian is something that ought not to be there, that is a spot and a defilement that must be washed away with tears of repentance. But if any thing of this kind runs all through the course of our life, if we allow ourselves in things that are either vain, foolish, or sensual, we renounce our profession.
For as sure as Jesus Christ was wisdom and holiness, as sure as He came to make us like Himself and to be baptized into His Spirit, so sure is it, that none can be said to keep to their Christian profession but they who, to the utmost of their power, live a wise and holy and heavenly life. This, and this alone, is Christianity, a universal holiness in every part of life, a heavenly wisdom in all our actions, not conforming to the spirit and temper of the world, but turning all worldly enjoyments into means of piety and devotion to God.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 157-158 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 6:1-2; Ps. 51:7,10; John 15:18; Rom. 12:1-2; Phil. 4:8; more at Baptism, Devotion, Jesus, Renunciation, Repentance, Spirit)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

As sure as ever God puts his children in the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Gleanings Among the Sheaves, New York: Sheldon, 1869, p. 10 (see the book; see also Dan. 3:19-25; Ps. 118:6-7; Isa. 43:2; Acts 18:9-10; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; Col. 1:24; Jude 1:22-23; more at God, Obedience, Presence of God)

Friday, August 4, 2017
Feast of John Vianney, Curè d’Ars, 1859

Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers, London: Collins, 1959, p. 21 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:7-8, 1 Kings 19:11-13; Isa. 53:7; Hab. 2:20; John 20:19; Rom. 12:1; more at God, Listening, Offering, Peace, Power, Prayer, Security, Silence, Way)

Saturday, August 5, 2017
Feast of Oswald, King of Northumbria, Martyr, 642

Meanwhile, little people like you and me, if our prayers are sometimes granted, beyond all hope and probability, had better not draw hasty conclusions to our own advantage. If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated. If we were braver, we might be sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer [1958], Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, back cover (see the book; see also Eph. 6:10-18; Matt. 9:37; 10:16; Luke 21:15; Rom. 16:19; 2 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 5:15-17; Col. 4:5; more at Battle, Hope, Prayer, Strength)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I read in Shakespeare of the majesty of the moral law, in Victor Hugo of the sacredness of childhood, in Tennyson the ugliness of hypocrisy, in George Eliot the supremacy of duty, in Dickens the divinity of kindness, and in Ruskin the dignity of service. Irving teaches me the lesson of cheerfulness, Hawthorne shows me the hatefulness of sin, Longfellow gives me the soft, tranquil music of hope. Lowell makes us feel that we must give ourselves to our fellow men. Whittier sings to me of divine Fatherhood and human brotherhood. These are Christian lessons: who inspired them? Who put it into the heart of Martin Luther to nail those theses on the church door of Wittenberg? Who stirred and fired the soul of Savonarola? Who thrilled and electrified the soul of John Wesley? Jesus Christ is back of these all.
... Lyman Pierson Powell (1866-1946), quoted in International Journal of Religious Education, v. 21, April, 1945, p. 27 (see also 1 Cor. 2:12-14; John 1:1; Rom. 2:14-15; Col. 1:15-17; more at Attitudes, Brotherhood, Hope, Inspiration, Jesus, Service, Sin)

Monday, August 7, 2017
Commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, Poet, 1866

For all the vigour of his polemic, St. Paul does not content himself with the denunciation of error, but finds the best defense against its insidious approaches in a closer adherence to the love of God and faith in Christ.
... F. F. Bruce (1910-1990), The Apostolic Defense of the Gospel, London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1959, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959, p. 83 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:4-6; Rom. 3:31; 5:21; 6:1-4; Phil. 3:8-9; more at Bible, Error, Faith, God, Love)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Feast of Dominic, Priest, Founder of the Order of Preachers, 1221

The mystery revealed, in a unique degree and form, in Christ’s life, is really a universal spiritual-human law: the law of suffering and sacrifice, as the one way to joy and possession, which has existed, though veiled till now, since the foundation of the world.
... Friedrich von Hügel (1852-1925), The Mystical Element of Religion: Introduction and biographies, J. M. Dent & sons, 1923, p. 34 (see the book; see also Matt. 16:24-25; Eph. 5:1-2; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:6; 3:16; more at Christ, Jesus, Joy, Law, Life, Revelation, Sacrifice, Suffer)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Feast of Mary Sumner, Founder of the Mothers’ Union, 1921

When evangelicals call the Bible “inerrant,” part at least of their meaning is this: that, in exegesis and exposition of Scripture and in building up our biblical theology from the fruits of our Bible study, we may not (1) deny, disregard, or arbitrarily relativize, anything that the biblical writers teach, nor (2) discount any of the practical implications for worship and service that their teaching carries, nor (3) cut the knot of any problem of Bible harmony, factual or theological, by allowing ourselves to assume that the inspired writers were not necessarily consistent either with themselves or with each other. It is because the word “inerrant” makes these methodological points about handling the Bible, ruling out in advance the use of mental procedures that can only lead to reduced and distorted versions of Christianity, that it is so valuable and, I think, so much valued by those who embrace it.
... James I. Packer (1926-2020), in Foundation of Biblical Authority, ed. James Montgomery Boice, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978, p. 77 (see the book; see also Mark 12:35-37; Isa. 55:10-11; 2 Cor. 4:2; 10:4-5; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23; more at Bible, Harmony, Inspiration, Meaning, Scripture, Service, Teach, Theology, Worship)

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Feast of Lawrence, Deacon at Rome, Martyr, 258

Teach me. O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life to-day that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience:
Let me use success as material for thankfulness:
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance:
Let me use danger as material for courage:
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering:
Let me use praise as material for humility:
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance:
Let me use pains as material for endurance.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 101 (see the book; see also Ps. 25:4-5; 5:8; 86:11; 119:27; Isa. 30:18; John 6:45; more at Courage, Danger, Disappointment, Holiness, Humility, Patience, Perseverance, Praise, Prayers, Sin, Success, Teach)

Friday, August 11, 2017
Feast of Clare of Assisi, Founder of the Order of Minoresses (Poor Clares), 1253
Commemoration of John Henry Newman, Priest, Teacher, Tractarian, 1890

In the first ages, [catechizing] was a work of long time; months, sometimes years, were devoted to the arduous task of disabusing the mind of the incipient Christian of its pagan errors, and of moulding it upon the Christian faith. The Scriptures indeed were at hand for the study of those who could avail themselves of them; but St. Irenaeus does not hesitate to speak of whole races who had been converted to Christianity, without being able to read them. To be unable to read or write was in those times no evidence of want of learning; the hermits of the deserts were, in one sense of the word, illiterate, yet the great St. Anthony, though he knew not letters, was a match in disputation for the learned philosophers who came to try him.
... John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), “What is a University?”, in The Office and Work of Universities, London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1856, p. 22-23 (see the book; see also Acts 4:13; Matt. 11:25; John 7:15-17; 1 Cor. 1:22-24, 27; more at Conversion, Devotion, Error, Faith, Knowledge, Mind, Pagan, Philosophy, Scripture, Work)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Any single verse of the Bible, taken in isolation, may actually be dangerous to your spiritual health. Every part of it must be read in relation to the whole message.
... Louis Cassels (1922-1974), Christian Primer, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964, p. 39 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:19-20; John 15:15; Acts 20:27; Rom. 3;2; 15:4; 1 Cor. 11:23; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Bible, Danger, Spiritual life)

Sunday, August 13, 2017
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

The kingdom of God did not then consist in words, but in power, the power of Godliness; though now we are fallen upon another method, we have turned all religion into faith, and our faith is nothing but the production of interest or disputing;—it is adhering to a party and a wrangling against all the world beside; and when it is asked of what religion he is, we understand the meaning to be what faction does he follow, what are the articles of his sect, not what is the manner of his life: and if men be zealous for their party and that interest, then they are precious men, though otherwise they be covetous as the grave, factious as Dathan, schismatical as Korah, or proud as the fallen angels.
... Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., v. VI, London: Ogle, Duncan & Co., 1822, Sermon III, p. 283-284 (see the book; see also Num. 16:1-3; Rom. 1:16; 14:17; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; 2:4-5; 4:20; 2 Cor. 10:4-5; 12:20; Gal. 5:19-21; Tit. 3:10; Jas. 2:24; more at Faith, God, Kingdom, Power, Pride, Religion, Sect, Zeal)

Monday, August 14, 2017
Commemoration of Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan Friar, Priest, Martyr, 1941

Whether God revealed Himself to the patriarchs by oracles and visions, or suggested, by means of the ministry of men, what should be handed down by tradition to their posterity, it is beyond a doubt that their minds were impressed with a firm assurance of the doctrine, so that they were persuaded and convinced that the information they had received came from God... But since we are not favored with daily oracles from heaven, and since it is only in the Scriptures that the Lord hath been pleased to preserve His truth in perpetual remembrance, it obtains the same complete credit and authority with believers, when they are satisfied of its divine origin, as if they heard the very words pronounced by God Himself... Let it be considered, then, as an undeniable truth, that they who have been inwardly taught by the Spirit feel an entire acquiescence in the Scripture, and that it is self-authenticated, carrying with it its own evidence, and ought not to be made the subject of demonstration and arguments from reason; but it obtains the credit which it deserves with us by the testimony of the Spirit.
... 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.1,5, p. 72-73,75,79-80 (see the book; see also Isa. 43:10-13; 59:21; John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 10:15-17; 1 John 5:6; more at God, Holy Spirit, Reason, Revelation, Scripture, Truth, Vision)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I can see no intellectual objection to the statement that God’s power is not limited by anything outside His own creative purpose: in that sense He is omnipotent, but it is even impossible for Him to exercise that power in certain ways without thereby ceasing to be our Father. In that sense God is not omnipotent: He is limited by His own nature, by His perfect goodness and mercy; for the omnipotence of God means nothing apart from His Fatherly love. In particular, this limitation of the power of God is to be found in the measure of freedom which, as His children, we enjoy. God shares His power with us so that, for a time at least, if we so determine, we can break His laws and frustrate His plans, but also so that we can give to Him, if we choose, the free allegiance of our hearts and minds, and become children at His Family Table, drawn together by the compulsion of His love, and not the exercise of His might.
... Donald O. Soper (1903-1998), Popular Fallacies about the Christian Faith, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1938, p. 19-20 (see the book; see also Ps. 85:10-11; Nah. 1:3; Matt. 7:21; 12:46-50; 19:26; Mark 3:35; Luke 8:21; 11:28; more at Choices, Father, Freedom, God, Goodness, Heart, Love, Mind, Omnipotence, Perfection, Power)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nothing shall be lost that is done for God or in obedience unto Him.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews, pt. IV ff, in Works of John Owen, v. XIX, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 483 (see the book; see also Mark 13:31; Matt. 10:42; 19:29; Acts 10:4,31; Heb. 6:10; more at Action, God, Obedience)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A science which does not bring us nearer to God is worthless.
... Simone Weil (1909-1943), Gravity and Grace, Arthur Wills, tr., Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, 1997, p. 105 (see the book; see also Luke 12:54-56; Matt. 11:25; 16:3; 24:32-33; 1 Cor. 8:1-3; more at God, Knowing God, Science)

Friday, August 18, 2017

My biological work convinced me that the One who was declared dead by Nietzsche, and silent by Sartre, actually is very much alive and speaking to us through all things.
... C. J. Briejèr (1901-1986) (see also Gen. 1:20-22; Ps. 8:2-3; Rom. 10:16-18; more at Apologetics, Death, Life, Resurrection, Silence)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Grace tried is better than grace, and it is more than grace, it is glory in its infancy. I now see godliness is more than the outside and this world’s passments and their buskings [i.e., ornaments and fine dress]. Who knoweth the truth of grace without a trial? Oh how little getteth Christ of us, but that which he winneth (to speak so,) with much toil and pains! And how soon would faith freeze without a cross?
... Samuel Rutherford (1600-1664), Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh: William Whyte & Co., 1848, letter, Jan. 1, 1637, p. 135 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 4:8; Rom. 12:12; 1 Tim. 6:6; Heb. 12:5-11; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; more at Christ, Cross, Faith, Glory, Godly, Grace, Pain, Toil, Trial, Truth, Weakness)

Sunday, August 20, 2017
Feast of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Teacher, 1153
Commemoration of William & Catherine Booth, Founders of the Salvation Army, 1912 & 1890

Bernard [of Clairvaux] did not stop with love for God or Christ, he insisted also that the Christian must love his neighbors, including even his enemies. Not necessarily that he must feel affection for them—that is not always possible in this life, though it will be in heaven—but that he must treat them as love dictates, doing always for others what he would that they should do for him.
... A. C. McGiffert (1861-1933), A History of Christian Thought, v. II [1932], New York, London: C. Scribner’s sons, 1960, p. 232 (see the book; see also Luke 6:31; Matt. 5:44-45; 7:12; 22:39; Luke 6:27,35; Rom. 12:14,20-21; Gal. 5:14; more at Christ, Enemy, God, Historical, Love, Neighbor)

Monday, August 21, 2017

We rest on Thee, our shield and our defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
... Edith Gilling Cherry (1872-1897) (see the book; see also Ps. 33:20; 115:9-12; 144:1-2; 2 Chr. 14:11; Isa. 40:28-31; Matt. 11:28-30; more at Battle, Church, Eternity, Praise, Rest, Victor)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our deepest insight into the nature of God is expressed with a family analogy. He is both Father and Son bound together in one Spirit. We are created to be brothers under God, the Father. The human family is our best illustration of how each person grows in his unique potentialities by sharing in the loving care of a society of other persons. Yet each member of the family discovers what it is to give of himself for the sake of the others. The human family is only an analogy both for our thought about God and about society; but no Christian thought gets very far away from it.
... Daniel Day Williams (1910-1973), Interpreting Theology, 1918-1952, Daniel Day Williams, London: SCM Press, 1953, ed. 3, under alternative title, New York: Harper, 1959, p. 85 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:44-45; 6:9; 7:11; 12:49-50; 23:9; Luke 11:2,13; John 1:12-14; Rom. 8:14; Eph. 2:19-20; more at Discovery, Family, Father, Giving, God, Social, Son)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Commemoration of Rose of Lima, Contemplative, 1617

Four things a man must learn to do
If he would make his record true:
To think without confusion clearly,
To love his fellow men sincerely,
To act from honest motives purely,
To trust in God and heaven securely.
... Henry van Dyke (1852-1933), The Poems of Henry Van Dyke, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1920, p. 277 (see the book; see also Mic. 6:8; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 6:36; Col. 3:12; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; more at Confusion, God, Heaven, Love, Man, Obedience, Purity, Sincerity, Thought, Trust, Truth)

Thursday, August 24, 2017
Feast of Bartholomew the Apostle

The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), Man: The Dwelling Place of God, Harrisburg, Penn.: Christian Publications, Inc., 1966, p. 112 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 2:9-16; Rom. 11:33-34; 1 Cor. 1:17; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:6,20-21; more at Bible, Inspiration, Understanding)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Never was a book so full of incredible sayings—everywhere the sense of mystery dominates; unless you feel that mystery, all becomes prosaic—nothing about God is prosaic.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 80 (see the book; see also Matt. 13:34-35; John 1:16; Rom. 11:33; Eph. 3:8-11,16; Col. 1:27; 2:2; more at Bible, Book, God)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Have you noticed this? Whatever need or trouble you are in, there is always something to help you in your Bible, if only you go on reading till you come to the word God specially has for you. I have noticed this often. Sometimes the special word is in the portion you would naturally read, or in the Psalm for the day, ... but you must go on till you find it, for it is always somewhere. You will know it the moment you come to it, and it will rest your heart.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), Edges of His Ways [1955], London: SPCK, 1957, p. 41 (see the book; see also Ps. 119:97-99; Matt. 11:28-29; John 16:33; Heb. 4:9-11; more at Adversity, Bible, Heart, Knowledge, Trouble)

Sunday, August 27, 2017
Feast of Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387

Here is the truly Christian life, here is faith really working by love: when a man applies himself with joy and love to the works of that freest servitude, in which he serves others voluntarily and for nought; himself abundantly satisfied in the fulness and richness of his own faith.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Treatise on Christian Liberty [1520], p. 47 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:5; Matt. 20:25-27; Luke 22:25-26; John 13:14-15; Rom. 15:1-2; more at Faith, Life, Love, Obedience, Service, Work)

Monday, August 28, 2017
Feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher, 430

Too late came I to love thee, O thou Beauty so ancient and so fresh, yea too late came I to love thee. And behold, thou wert within me, and I out of myself, where I made search for thee: I ugly rushed headlong upon those beautiful things thou hast made. Thou indeed wert with me; but I was not with thee: these beauties kept me far enough from thee: even those, which unless they were in thee, should not be at all.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, X.xxvii, p. 263 (see the book; see also Job 12:7-12; Zech. 12:10; Acts 9:3-6; Rom. 11:25-27; 1 Cor. 15:5-8; more at Beauty, Love, Prayers)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

[Dietrich Bonhoeffer] challenged the church to rethink its own mission in the radically secular world of the twentieth century... The nonbelieving brave men he met in the anti-Nazi underground, the stark realities of prison life, and his disappointment in the professional churchmen of Germany, all may have influenced Bonhoeffer to see real Christianity as “non-religious” and “worldly.”.. The opposition between sacred and secular, supernatural and natural, seemed unreal to him—the apparent opposites are united in Jesus Christ.
... John D. Godsey (1922-2010), The Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960, p. 17 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Ps. 39:6; 73:20; Isa. 40:6-8; Jas. 1:10-11; 4:14; 1 John 2:17; more at Church, Disappointment, Historical, Jesus, Mission, Prison, Unity)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Be not afraid to pray—to pray is right.
Pray if thou canst with hope; but ever pray,
Though hope be weak, or sick with long delay; ...
Whatev’r is good to wish, ask that of Heaven; ...
But if for any wish thou darest not pray,
Then pray to God to cast that wish away.
... Hartley Coleridge (1796-1849), Poems, v. I, London: Moxon, 1851, p. 343 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:12; Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9; Rom. 8:26; Jas. 4:3; more at God, Goodness, Heaven, Hope, Prayer, Weakness)

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Feast of Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 651
Commemoration of Cuthburga, Founding Abbess of Wimborne, c.725
Commemoration of John Bunyan, Spiritual Writer, 1688

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have upon each of them the dew of Heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other’s roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of one another.
... John Bunyan (1628-1688), The Whole Works of John Bunyan, v. I, London: Blackie, 1862, p. xxviii (see the book; see also Gal. 5:13-14; Deut. 32:2; Isa. 55:10-11; Rom. 15:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:6-8; Eph. 5:19-20; 1 John 3:16-19; more at Church, Fellowship, Flower, Teach)


Christ, our Light

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