Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

“Sorry! ’monmywaytochurch.”
The deepest sins are camouflaged as holiness.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001) (see also Luke 10:29-37; Pr. 20:6; Matt. 5:23-24; 6:1-8; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; 13:15; more at Holiness, Religion, Sin)

Friday, February 2, 2018

It belongs to the very nature of the gospel that the Church is built across cultural, social, and racial barriers. There are siren voices (as well as gut reactions) telling Christians that the way to success in evangelism is to follow the natural divisions, and to try to build churches along cultural, social and racial divisions. In doing so, they ignore the “success” in the New Testament in crossing these lines; more importantly, they are in fact stressing success more highly than the truth of the gospel. To buy success at the price of treating the fundamental nature of the gospel as dispensable is to follow a false gospel.
... David Bronnert, “The Gospel and Culture”, in The Changing World, Bruce Kaye, ed., vol. 3 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 125 (see the book; see also John 5:36-40,46; Matt. 22:29; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 2:10; 16:27-31; Rom. 1:16; 3:29-30; 10:12-15; Gal. 3:28; 5:6; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Church, Culture, Evangelization, Gospel, Heresy, Social, Success)

Saturday, February 3, 2018
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

While it is right to stress the dangers of the permissive society, the argument from danger is not in itself a good argument, because it seems to imply that, if the danger could be removed, if there was no risk of a child and no peril of infection, then the objection would be removed, too. It tends to imply that the objection is to the attendant dangers and not to the thing itself. But, if sexual intercourse before and outside marriage is against the teaching of Jesus, then the thing is not only dangerous, it is wrong in itself.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), Ethics in a Permissive Society, New York: Harper & Row, 1971, Fontana, 1971, p. 208-209 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:4-6; Acts 15:29; Rom. 1:24; 1 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 5:3; more at Attitudes, Danger, Jesus, Marriage, Teach)

Sunday, February 4, 2018
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

Theirs is an endless road, a hopeless maze, who seek for goods before they seek for God.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), On Loving God, CCEL, p. 190 (see the book; see also Luke 18:22; Matt. 6:19-20; 19:23; Luke 12:16-21, 33-34; 1 Tim. 6:17-19; more at Attitudes, God, Hopelessness, Worldly)

Monday, February 5, 2018
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

Incarnate Word! Thou Word of God alone!
To live of love, ’tis to abide with Thee.
Thou knowest I love Thee, Jesus Christ, my Own!
Thy Spirit’s fire of love enkindleth me.
By loving Thee, I draw the Father here
Down to my heart, to stay with me always.
Blest Trinity! Thou art my prisoner dear,
Of love, to-day.
... Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), Poems of St. Teresa, Carmelite of Lisieux, Boston, Angel Guardian Press, 1907, “To Live of Love”, n. 2 (see the book; see also John 1:14; 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 3:16,24; 4:9-10,19; more at Christ, Father, Holy Spirit, Incarnation, Jesus, Love, Trinity)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Prayer should be short, without giving God Almighty reasons why He should grant this or that: He knows best what is good for us. If your boy should ask you [for] a suit of clothes, and give you reasons, ... would you endure it? You know his needs better than he: let him ask a suit of clothes.
... John Selden (1584-1654), Table-Talk [1689], Whitefriars: Davidson, 1821, p. 110 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:5-8,32; Ps. 38:9; Luke 12:30; John 16:23-27; Rom. 8:26; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; Phil. 4:6; more at Giving, God, Goodness, Knowledge, Prayer, Reason)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honours of thy name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
He speaks, and, listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.
Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Saviour come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.
Look unto him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.
See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.
Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash you purest white.
With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.
... Charles Wesley, from Hymns and Sacred Poems [1740] (see the book; see also Ps. 33:1-4; Ps. 96:1-2; 98:1-6; 144:9-10; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Rev. 5:9; more at God, Grace, Honor, Jesus, Lamb, Praise, Prisoner, Redemption, Sinner, Worship)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

To live is nothing, unless to live be to know Him by whom we live.
... John Ruskin (1819-1900), Modern Painters, v. II, New York: John Wiley, 1852, p. 7 (see the book; see also Phil. 3:7-9; Job 19:25; John 11:25-26; Acts 17:27-28; Col. 1:15-17; 2 Tim. 1:12; more at Knowing God, Knowledge, Life)

Friday, February 9, 2018

The man who has never had religion before, no more grows religious when he is sick, than a man who has never learned figures can count when he has need of calculation.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. IV [1791], James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, p. 302 (see the book; see also Luke 13:24; Matt. 11:12; John 6:27; Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 4:11-12; more at Man, Religion, Sickness, Worship)

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

Come [to the Bible], not to study the history of God’s divine action, but to be its object; not to learn what it has achieved throughout the centuries and still does, but simply to be the subject of its operation.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), The Sacrament of the Present Moment, Harper & Row, 1982, p. 73 (see the book; see also Acts 6:7; Matt. 22:29; John 5:39-40,46; Acts 8:32-35; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; more at Achievement, Action, Bible, God, Historical, Submission)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

For man to turn his back on God is to turn towards death; it involves ultimately the renunciation of every aspect of life...
To deny God, man must ultimately deny that there is any law or reality. The full implications of this were seen in the [19th] century by two profound thinkers, one a Christian and the other a non-Christian. [Friedrich W.] Nietzsche recognized fully that every atheist is an unwilling believer to the extent that he has any element of justice or order in his life, to the very extent that he is even alive and enjoys life. In his earlier writings, Nietzsche first attempted the creation of another set of standards and values, affirming life for a time, until he concluded that he could not affirm life itself nor give it any meaning, any value, apart from God. Thus Nietzsche’s ultimate counsel was suicide; only then, [he asserted] can we truly deny God: and in his own life, this brilliant thinker, one of the clearest in his description of modern Christianity and the contemporary issue, did in effect commit a kind of psychic suicide.
The same concept was powerfully developed by [Fyodor M.] Dostoyevski, particularly in The Possessed, or, more literally, the Demon-Possessed. Kirilov, a thoroughly Nietzschean character, is very much concerned with denying God, asserting that he himself is God and that man does not need God. But at every point, Kirilov finds that no standard or structure in reality can be affirmed without ultimately asserting God, that no value can be asserted without being ultimately derived from the Triune God. As a result, Kirilov committed suicide as the only apparently practical way of denying God and affirming himself—for to be alive was to affirm this ontological deity in some fashion.
... Rousas J. Rushdoony (1916-2001), Intellectual Schizophrenia, Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1961, p. 25-26 (see the book; see also Deut. 30:15-19; Pr. 1:32; Mark 16:16; John 3:16,19-21; 2 Tim. 4:4; Heb. 3:12; 1 John 5:11-12; more at Atheism, Death, God, Historical, Justice, Life, Man, Renunciation)

Monday, February 12, 2018
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

Is not the popular idea of Christianity simply this, that Jesus Christ was a great moral teacher and that, if only we took his advice, we might be able to establish a better social order and avoid another war? Now, mind you, that is quite true; but it tells you much less than the whole truth about Christianity and it has no practical importance at all.
It is quite true that, if we took Christ’s advice, we should soon be living in a happier world. You need not even go as far as Christ. If we did all that... Confucius told us, we should get on a great deal better than we do. And so what?... If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. A bit more makes no difference.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 155-156 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:12; 21:11-13; 21:46; Mark 12:29-34; Luke 7:16-17; John 4:19; 6:14-15; Acts 7:51-53; Gal. 5:13-14; Jas. 2:10-13; more at Apologetics, Futility, Goodness, Morality, Social, Truth, World)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

To pious and peaceable persons [Augustine] gives this advice: that they should correct in mercy whatever they can; that what they cannot, they should patiently bear, and affectionately lament, till God either reform and correct it, or, at the harvest, root up the tares and sift out the chaff. All pious persons should study to fortify themselves with these counsels, lest, while they consider themselves as valiant and strenuous defenders of righteousness, they depart from the kingdom of heaven, which is the only kingdom of righteousness. For since it is the will of God that the communion of his Church should be maintained in this external society, those who, from an aversion to wicked men, destroy the token of that society, enter on a course in which they are in great danger of falling from the communion of saints.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, IV.i.16, p. 238 (see the book; see also 2 John 1:9; Matt. 13:24-30; 25:32; Rom. 12:18; 1 Cor. 4:5; 12:18-20,25; Phil. 2:1-2; more at Church, Communion, Harvest, Kingdom, Mercy, Patience, Righteousness, Social, Weakness, Will of God)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Ash Wednesday
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

The Christian must be consumed with the infinite beauty of holiness and the infinite damnability of sin.
... Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) (see also Isa. 60:1-3; Deut. 4:24; Isa. 6:3; Matt. 23:33; Heb. 12:29; more at Attitudes, Beauty, Holiness, Infinite, Mind, Sin)

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

Faith is rest, not toil. It is the giving up all the former weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon; and the calm reception of the truth so long rejected, that God is not waiting for any such inducements, but loves and pardons of His own goodwill, and is showing that goodwill to any sinner who will come to Him on such a footing, casting away his own poor performances or goodnesses, and relying implicitly upon the free love of Him who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.
... Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), The Everlasting Righteousness, London: James Nisbet and Co., 1873, p. 116 (see the book; see also Heb. 6:19-20; Ps. 42:11; 62:5-6; John 3:16-17; Rom. 3:25-26; 4:16; 5:5-6; Col. 1:5-6; more at Faith, Giving, Good will, Love, Rest, Sinner, Toil, Truth, World)

Friday, February 16, 2018

There is nothing safe in religion, but in such a course of behaviour, as leaves nothing for corrupt nature to feed, or live upon; which can only then be done, when every degree of perfection we aim at, is a degree of death to the passions of the natural man.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 169 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:24; Ps. 42:1-2; Matt. 10:37; 24:12; Mark 12:30; Luke 14:26; Rom. 6:6; 8:13; Gal. 6:14; Col. 3:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:11; more at Death, Obedience, Perfection, Religion, Safety, Sin)

Saturday, February 17, 2018
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

As a sinful man looking at death and beyond it, into the eternal world, I need salvation. Nothing else will meet my case. There is something genuinely at stake in every man’s life, the climax whereof is death. Dying is inevitable, but arriving at the destination God offers to me is not inevitable. It is not impossible to go out of the way and fail to arrive. Christian doctrine has always urged that life eternal is something which may conceivably be missed. It is possible to neglect this great salvation and to lose it eternally, even though no man may say that anything is impossible with God or that his grace may ultimately be defeated.
I know it is no longer fashionable to talk about Hell, one good reason for this being that to make religion into a prudential insurance policy is to degrade it. The Faith is not a fire-escape. [Continued tomorrow]
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 186 (see the book; see also John 3:13-15; Job 14:2; Ps. 39:4-6; Matt. 19:25-26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27; Jas. 4:14; more at Apologetics, Death, Eternal life, Faith, Grace, Hell, Need, Salvation)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

[Continued from yesterday]
But in rejecting the [Bible’s illustrations of eternal punishment] as grotesque and even immoral, many people make the mistake of rejecting the truth it illustrated (which is rather like rejecting a book as untrue because the pictures in it are bad). It is illogical to tell men that they must do the will of God and accept his gospel of grace, if you also tell them that the obligation has no eternal significance, and that nothing ultimately depends on it. The curious modern heresy that everything is bound to come right in the end is so frivolous that I will not insult you by refuting it. “I remember,” said Dr. [Samuel] Johnson on one occasion, “that my Maker has said that he will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.” That is a solemn truth which only the empty-headed and empty-hearted will neglect. It strikes at the very roots of life and destiny.
... John S. Whale (1896-1997), Christian Doctrine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 186-187 (see the book; see also Matt. 25:31-33; 23:33; 25:46; John 10:28; Heb. 2:2-3; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 20:14-15; more at Apologetics, Bible, Gospel, Grace, Heresy, Neglect, Punishment, Will of God)

Monday, February 19, 2018

We cannot find in the Old Testament the fondly drawn distinction of our latter days between the natural and the supernatural, for the whole of the natural order is so directly linked with God that its conservation must be regarded as a kind of continuous creation, quite as dependent on God’s creative Word as when first the heavens and the earth were made.
... E. C. Rust (1910-1991), Nature and Man in Biblical Thought, London: Lutterworth Press, 1953, p. 69 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:29-30; Ps. 23; Luke 12:24-28; more at Bible, Creation, God, Nature)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

The church has failed to follow her appointed pathway of separation, holiness, heavenliness and testimony to an absent but coming Christ; she has turned aside from that purpose to the work of civilizing the world, building magnificent temples, and acquiring earthly power and wealth, and, in this way, has ceased to follow in the footsteps of Him who had not where to lay His head.
... C. I. Scofield (1843-1921), Addresses on Prophecy, New York : Gaebelein, 1910, Gospel Hour, 1967, p. 52 (see the book; see also Matt. 8:19-20; 5:48; 23:13-33; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 2 Pet. 1:16; Rev. 2:4; more at Builder, Christ, Church, Failure, Jesus, Power, Temple, Wealth, Worldly)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), The Ministry of Intercession: a plea for more prayer, New York: Revell, 1898, p. 210 (see the book; see also Mark 4:35-41; Matt. 8:23-27; 14:28-33; 15:31; 19:26; Mark 1:27; 7:37; Luke 1:37; 4:18-19; more at Arrogance, Attitudes, God, Knowledge, Prayer, Unbelief)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Those of a strong doctrinal background... assumed that Christ tied the knot when the catechism was memorized and parroted correctly. The result: a generation so obsessed with saying it right, they hardly dare say it at all.
... Paul G. Johnson 1931-2013, Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 102 (see the book; see also Tit. 2:1-5; Matt. 6:5-6; Luke 12:11-12; 21:15; Acts 4:29-31; 6:9-10; Jas. 1:5; more at Christ, Fear, Legalism, Teach)

Friday, February 23, 2018
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

If God said, “I forgive you,” to a man who hated his brother, and if (as is impossible) that voice of forgiveness should reach the man, what would it mean to him? How would the man interpret it? Would it not mean to him, “You may go on hating. I do not mind it. You have had great provocation, and are justified in your hate”? No doubt God takes what wrong there is, and what provocation there is, into the account; but the more provocation, the more excuse that can be urged for the hate, the more reason, if possible, that the hater should be delivered from the hell of his hate, that God’s child should be made the loving child that He meant him to be. The man would think, not that God loved the sinner, but that He forgave the sin, which God never does. Every sin meets its due fate—inexorable expulsion from the paradise of God’s Humanity.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “It Shall Not Be Forgiven”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 85 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:20; Matt. 6:12,14-15; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 17:3-4; 1 John 2:9-11; more at Child, Forgiveness, God, Hatred, Hell, Love, Man, Paradise, Sin, Sinner)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Faith is not so much belief about God as it is total, personal trust in God, rising to a personal fellowship with God that is stronger than anxiety and guilt, loneliness and all manner of disaster. The Christian’s faith in Christ is trust in a Living Person, once crucified, dead, and buried, and now living forevermore. Call it, if you will, an assumption that ends as an assurance, or an experiment that ends as an experience, Christian faith is in fact a commitment that ends as a communion.
... Frederick Ward Kates (1910-1987), A Moment Between Two Eternities, New York: Harper & Row, 1965, p. 96 (see the book; see also Acts 16:30-32; John 6:29; 12:44; 14:1; Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 10:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:8-9; 1 John 5:10-13; more at Anxiety, Belief, Commitment, Communion, Crucifixion, Faith, Fellowship, God, Guilt, Loneliness, Resurrection, Trust)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

He who loveth God with all his heart feareth not death, nor punishment, nor judgment, nor hell, because perfect love giveth sure access to God. But he who still delighteth in sin, no marvel if he is afraid of death and judgment.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xxiv., p. 75 (see the book; see also Rev. 2:11; Matt. 10:28; Rom. 8:1-2,5-6; Heb. 2:14-15; more at Death, God, Heart, Hell, Judgment, Love, Providence, Punishment, Sin)

Monday, February 26, 2018

This is great literature and great religious literature, this collection of ancient writings we call the Bible, and any translator has a deep sense of responsibility as he undertakes to transmit it to modern readers. He desires his transcript to be faithful to the meaning of the original, so far as he can reach that meaning, and also to do some justice to its literary qualities. But he is well aware that his aim often exceeds his grasp. Translation may be a fascinating task, yet no discipline is more humbling. You may be translating oracles, but soon you learn the risk and folly of posing as an oracle yourself. If your readers are dissatisfied at any point, they may be sure that the translator is still more dissatisfied, if not there, then elsewhere—all the more so, because, in the nature of the case, he has always to appear dogmatic in print.
... James Moffatt (1870-1944), A New Translation of the Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935, New York: Harper, 1935, Introduction, p. v (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 4:11; Luke 24:45; Rom. 3:2; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:19; 3:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; more at Awareness, Bible, Faith, Humility, Meaning)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

Love is that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), from The Agony in The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 43 (see the book; see also Mark 14:23-24; Matt. 26:28; Luke 22:20; John 6:53-56; 1 Cor. 10:16; more at Church, Communion)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Prayer is the creator as well as the channel of devotion. The spirit of devotion is the spirit of prayer. Prayer and devotion are united as soul and body are united, as life and the heart are united. There is no real prayer without devotion, no devotion without prayer.
... E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), Preacher and Prayer, Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, Dallas, Tex., 1907, p. 61 (see the book; see also Luke 2:36-38; Neh. 1:11; Jer. 33:3; Dan. 6:10; 9:3; 1 Tim. 5:5; Jas. 5:16-18; more at Devotion, Heart, Life, Prayer, Spirit, Unity)


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