Christ, our Light

Quotations for July, 2019

Monday, July 1, 2019
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873

When I trouble myself over a trifle, even a trifle confessed—the loss of some little article, say—spurring my memory, and hunting the house, not from immediate need, but from dislike of loss; when a book has been borrowed of me and is not returned, and I have forgotten the borrower, and fret over the missing volume, ... is it not time that I lost a few things when I care for them so unreasonably? This losing of things is the mercy of God; it comes to teach us to let them go. Or have I forgotten a thought that came to me, which seemed of the truth? I keep trying and trying to call it back, feeling a poor man until that thought be recovered—to be far more lost, perhaps, in a notebook into which I shall never look again to find it! I forget that it is live things that God cares about.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Cause of Spiritual Stupidity”, in Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1886, p. 53-43 (see the book; see also Mark 8:17-21; Ps. 94:8; Matt. 8:21-22; 16:8-11; Mark 6:51-52; Luke 9:59-62; more at Affliction, Attitudes, Memory, Mercy, Patience, Providence, Thought, Truth)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

All angels, all saints, all the devils, all the world shall know all the deeds that ever thou didest, though thou have been shriven of them and contrite. But this knowledge shall be no shame to thee if that thou be saved, but rather a [witness to God], right as we read of the deeds of Mary Magdalene to her worship and not to her reproof.
... Middle English Sermons, Woodburn O. Ross, ed. by H. Milford, London: Oxford University Press, 1940, included in The New Christian Year, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 77 (see the book; see also Luke 8:17; Ps. 32:1-2; 85:2; Isa. 43:25; 44:22; Luke 8:2; 24:9-10; John 20:14-18; Rom. 4:6-8; 8:1-2; more at Contrition, Deed, Repentance, Salvation, Sin, Witness)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Feast of Thomas the Apostle

Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there will be nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words ... never really speaking to others.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 98 (see the book; see also Tit. 1:10-11; Prov. 10:19; 17:27; 29:20; Eph. 4:29; Jas. 1:19-20,26; more at Authenticity, Listening, Spiritual life, Sympathy)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

What else is the meaning of our present chaos, of humanity in sorrow, but this—that contemporary man is tried before the bar of the Eternal, and found wanting? Nor can any nation survive, or re-establish lasting peace, if it rests on those foundations on which contemporary nations have been built—our own included. What are those crumbling foundations? Conceit, self-will, denial of discipline, self-expressionism, secularism, this-worldliness, greed, entrenched privilege, defiance of God’s desire. On base absurdities have we built. Have we now moral courage to face our common sin, or are we content to trust in one form of armed wickedness to overcome the evils of another form of the same mad folly? Merely by smashing our enemies we shall not remake the world. By Beelzebub no devils are cast out.
... Bernard Iddings Bell (1886-1958), Still Shine the Stars, New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1941, p. 16 (see the book; see also Eccl. 2:26; Ps. 133:1; Matt. 23:8; Mark 3:22-26; more at Builder, Courage, Devil, Discipline, Evil, God, Morality, Nation, Peace, Self, Sin, Sorrow, Worldly)

Friday, July 5, 2019

Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes. He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until he be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so will he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to the death.
... John Owen (1616-1683), IV.8 in A Discourse Concerning Holy Spirit, bk. I-V [1674], in Works of John Owen, v. III, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, p. 546-547 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:29-30; Rom. 6:6-7,12,19; 1 Cor. 6:15; Gal. 2:20; 5:24-25; Col. 2:11; 3:5; more at Death, Quarrel, Sin, Strife)

Saturday, July 6, 2019
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1415
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535

Almighty and most gracious God, have mercy on N and N, and on all that bear evil to me, and wish me harm; and by every such easy, tender, and merciful means as Thine infinite goodness best can devise, vouchsafe to amend and redress them: and make us saved souls together in heaven, where we may ever live and love together with Thee and Thy blessed saints, This grant, O sacred and glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Lord and Saviour Christ. Amen.
... Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Sir Thomas More: a selection from his works, ed. William Joseph Walter, Baltimore: F. Lucas, 1841, p. 305 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:43-47; Luke 6:27-28,35; Rom. 12:14,20-21; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Enemy, Forgiveness, Heaven, Mercy, Passion of Christ, Prayers, Reconciliation)

Sunday, July 7, 2019

O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee; mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
... Collect for the first Sunday after Trinity, in The Book of Common Prayer [1790, U.S.], New York: Protestant Episcopal Press, 1835, p. 100-101 (see the book; see also Isa. 12:2; Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5; Isa. 64:6; Matt. 15:17-20; Mark 7:18-23; Rom. 7:18-21; Eph. 2:1-5; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; more at Mortality, Prayers, Strength, Trust, Weakness)

Monday, July 8, 2019

Happily for us, the fundamental Christian message concerns not what we ought to do, but what God has done and what God is willing to do. In fellowship with Him and with others who are likewise trying to be like Him, we can be lifted up above our native possibilities.
... Hugh Martin (1890-1964) (see also Rom. 16:25-27; Ps. 66:5; Matt. 13:45-46; Rom. 1:16-17; more at Christlikeness, Fellowship, Gospel, Grace, Nature)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens. Give me a willing heart to bear the burdens of others. Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee, O Lord.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 113 (see the book; see also Gal. 6:1-5; Ps. 55:22; Matt. 11:29; Acts 5:29; Rom. 15:1; Eph. 3:12; Heb. 4:16; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Bearing, Belief, Burden, Giving, Heart, Prayers)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Nobody seriously believes the universe was made by God without being persuaded that He takes care of His works.
... 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.xvi.1, p. 183 (see the book; see also Ps. 33:6,13; 104:27-28; 145:15-16; Jer. 10:12; Matt. 6:26; Luke 12:6-7; more at Apologetics, Belief, Creation, God, Universe)

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550

To be prayerless is to be without God, without Christ, without grace, without hope, and without heaven.
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), A Call to Prayer, published in the 1850’s as a pamphlet, American Tract Society, 1867, sec. I, p. 6 (see the book; see also Jer. 10:21; Ps. 10:4; Jer. 8:9; Isa. 43:22-24; 64:6-7; Zeph. 2:3; John 10:12-13; Rom. 3:10-11; more at Christ, God, Grace, Heaven, Hope, Prayer)

Friday, July 12, 2019

I did not expect to hear that it could be, in an assembly convened for the propagation of Christian knowledge, a question whether any nation uninstructed in religion should receive instruction; or whether that, instruction should be imparted to them by a translation of the holy-books into their own language. If obedience to the will of God be necessary to happiness, and knowledge of his will be necessary to obedience, I know not how he that withholds this knowledge, or delays it, can be said to love his neighbour as himself. He, that voluntarily continues ignorance, is guilty of all the crimes which ignorance produces; as to him that should extinguish the tapers of a light-house, might justly be imputed the calamities of shipwrecks. [Continued tomorrow]
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. I [1791], James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, p. 419 (see the book; see also Acts 10:34-35,47-48; 11:18; Rom. 1:14-15; 10:17; 1 Cor. 9:16; more at Bible, Guilt, Happiness, Historical, Ignorance, Knowledge, Obedience, Will of God)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

[Continued from yesterday]
Christianity is the highest perfection of humanity; and as no man is good but as he wishes the good of others, so no man can be good in the highest degree, who wishes not to others the largest measures of the greatest good. To omit for a year, or for a day, the most efficacious method of advancing Christianity [i.e., the Bible], in compliance with any purposes that terminate this side of the grave, is a crime [the like] of which I know not that the world has yet had an example.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., v. I [1791], James Boswell, New York: Derby & Jackson, 1858, letter, 1766, p. 419 (see the book; see also Acts 17:29-30; 4:20; 26:16-18; Rom. 10:12-15; 1 Cor. 1:18-24; more at Crime, Goodness, Historical, Kingdom, Knowledge)

Sunday, July 14, 2019
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866

One of the catchwords in contemporary Protestantism is that religion must aid man in “becoming human” or even “truly human,” whatever that means, and the “model” is Christ. Take the “obvious things” about Christ as listed by a contemporary minister:
He was a popular and controversial preacher;
He gathered a group of followers;
He spent most of his time with the disinherited;
He taught with authority;
He never married;
He never (as far as we know) held a job;
He did not participate responsibly in public affairs;
He did not have income, property, or a fixed address;
He was in bitter and frequent conflict with the religious and political authorities;
He seemed to expect that the world would be eminently, radically, and supernaturally transformed;
He attacked the traditions and values of his own people;
He practically forced the authorities to prosecute and execute him.
There is nothing exclusively religious, much less Christian, in this description, which, with a few exceptions, might apply also to Socrates or to “Che” Guevara. I asked many socially oriented ministers why they were Christians at all. Some said through faith, and some said that Christianity gave them courage and the motivation to endure (but so do other beliefs). Some said they hardly knew and [that] if another, more acceptable ideology came along, they would embrace it.
... Arthur Herzog (1927-2010), The Church Trap, New York: Macmillan, 1968, p. 166-167 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 4:1-5; John 4:32-34; Rom. 12:12; 1 Tim. 4:15-16; more at Christ, Courage, Religion, Social, Tradition)

Monday, July 15, 2019
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274

Outward as well as inward morality helps to form the idea of a true Christian freedom. We are right to lay stress on inwardness, but in this world there is no inwardness without an outward expression.
... Meister Eckhart (1260?-1327?), Meister Eckhart’s Sermons, tr., Claud Field, H. R. Allenson, London, 1909, p. 56 (see the book; see also Luke 6:43-45; Matt. 5:21-22; 27-28; 7:16-20; 12:33; 1 Cor. 15:10; more at Freedom, Good works, Goodness)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099

Once I knew what it was to rest upon the rock of God’s promises, and it was indeed a precious resting place, but now I rest in His grace. He is teaching me that the bosom of His love is a far sweeter resting-place than even the rock of His promises.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, M. E. Dieter, ed., Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan 1994, p. 27 (see the book; see also John 14:18; Hos. 6:3; Matt. 18:20; 28:20; more at Grace, Love, Promise, Providence, Rest)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Our union with God—his presence with us, in which our aloneness is banished and the meaning and full purpose of human existence is realized—consists chiefly in a conversational relationship with God while we are each consistently and deeply engaged as his friend and colaborer in the affairs of the kingdom of the heavens.
... Dallas Willard (1935-2013), Hearing God, Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999, p. 56 (see the book; see also Matt. 9:37-38; 1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 John 4:13; more at Being alone, Existence, Friend, God, Kingdom, Knowing God, Labor, Practical Christianity, Purpose)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Wonderful is the depth of thy words, whose surface is before us, gently leading on the little ones: and yet a wonderful deepness, O my God, a wonderful deepness. It is awe to look into it; even an awfulness of honour, and a trembling of love.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, XII.xiv, p. 328 (see the book; see also Rom. 11:33; Ps. 31:19; 107:15; 139:1-6; Eph. 3:8,16-19; Col. 1:27; 2:2-3; more at Bible, Gentleness, Honor, Love, Prayers)

Friday, July 19, 2019
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379

When religion is in the hands of the mere natural man, he is always the worse for it; it adds a bad heat to his own dark fire, and helps to inflame his four elements of selfishness, envy, pride, and wrath. And hence it is that worse passions, or a worse degree of them, are to be found in persons of great religious zeal, than in others that made no pretences to it. History also furnishes us with instances of persons of great piety and devotion, who have fallen into great delusions, and deceived both themselves and others. The occasion of their fall was this: ... They considered their whole nature, as the subject of religion, and divine graces; and therefore their religion was according to the workings of their whole nature, and the old man was as busy, and as much delighted in it, as the new.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 168 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 11:18-19; Matt. 23:25-26; Eph. 4:17-27; more at Devotion, Envy, Nature, Pride, Religion, Selfish)

Saturday, July 20, 2019
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566

This total and entire conversion of the inner man, this absolute doing away of the old and acceptance of the new life, being in its nature a real breach and not a formal one, necessarily involved a corresponding outward breach with the old form of life. Of this breach baptism was the sacrament. In baptism the change was effected and realized in fact. Baptism was not a mere formal external act, a symbol of a spiritual fact which was already complete without it. A Spiritual conversion which was not also a conversion of life was no conversion at all, but a delusion... With the heart man believes, with the mouth he confesses; but a mouth which does not confess disproves the existence of a heart that believes. The soul cannot be God’s and the life not God’s at the same time. The soul can not be recreated and the life remain unchanged. The spiritual breach is proved and realized and completed in the outward breach. Where there is no outward change, it is safe to deny an inward change. Faith without baptism and all that baptism involved was consequently no part of St. Paul’s teaching.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or ours?, London: World Dominion Press, 1927, reprinted, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1962, p. 71-72 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:3-4; 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:11-20; more at Baptism, Confession, Conversion, Sacrament, Spiritual life)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 52 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:20-22; 10:1; Gal. 4:3-5; Heb. 2:14-15; more at Bondage, Deliverance, Disappointment, Liberty, Love, Weakness)

Monday, July 22, 2019
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

In science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Miracles, New York: Macmillan, 1947, p. 212 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:1; 2:1; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 8:3-4; 19:1; 33:6-9; Jer. 10:12; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2,10; more at Christ, Passion of Christ, Science)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.
... Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), The Life and Remains, Letters, Lectures, and Poems of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, Andrew Alexander Bonar, New York: R. Carter, 1866, p. 138 (see the book; see also John 14:16-20; 17:9,15,20-21; Rom. 8:26-27; Heb. 7:25; more at Christ, Enemy, Fear, Prayer)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471

When we are troubled with temptation and evil thoughts, then we see clearly the great need we have of God, since without him we can do nothing good... No one is so good that he is immune to temptation; we will never [in this life] be entirely free of it.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xii-xiii, p. 45-46 (see the book; see also Rom. 7:18-21; Matt. 15:19; Eph. 2:1-5; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 4:1-2; 1 John 1:9; more at Evil, Goodness, Need, Sight, Sin, Temptation, Thought)

Thursday, July 25, 2019
Feast of James the Apostle

God wants us to know that when we have Him we have everything.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:27-28; Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:22-23; Heb. 3:14; 1 John 1:3; 2 John 1:9; more at Fullness, God, Knowing God, Knowledge)

Friday, July 26, 2019

We cannot divide either man or the universe... into two parts which move on different planes and have no vital relations; we cannot... limit the divine reaction against sin, or the experiences through which, in any case whatever, sin is brought home to man as what it is, to the purely spiritual sphere. Every sin is a sin of the indivisible human being, and the divine reaction against it expresses itself to conscience through the indivisible frame of that world, at once natural and spiritual, in which man lives. We cannot distribute evils into the two classes of physical and moral, and subsequently investigate the relation between them: if we could, it would be of no service here. What we have to understand is that when a man sins he does something in which his whole being participates, and that the reaction of God against his sin is a reaction in which he is conscious, or might be conscious, that the whole system of things is in arms against him.
... James Denney (1856-1917), The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903, p. 59-60 (see the book; see also Luke 3:8-9; Jer. 7:5-10; Amos 4:4-11; 8:11; Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; more at Conscience, Evil, Guilt, Morality, Nature, Sin)

Saturday, July 27, 2019
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011

Our starting point is Scripture, which we accept as God’s unique and trustworthy revelation. Yet, in seeking with loyalty to conserve this truth from God, we attribute no infallibility to our own evangelical traditions. We desire, rather, to re-examine them radically, that is to say, with a thoroughness which digs down even to their roots. If we seem to the reader to be always sure about the truthfulness of Scripture but sometimes less than sure in our understanding of how to apply it to complex contemporary questions, then he has accurately grasped our mood.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), general introduction to The Lord Christ [1980], John Stott, ed., vol. 1 of Obeying Christ in a Changing World, John Stott, gen. ed., 3 vol., London: Fountain, 1977, p. 7 (see the book; see also 2 Pet. 3:2; Luke 24:44; John 10:35-36; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Jude 1:3; more at Bible, God, Scripture, Tradition, Truth, Understanding)

Sunday, July 28, 2019
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750

The Church knew what the Psalmist knew: music praises God. Music is as well or better able to praise Him than the building of a church and all its decoration; it is the Church’s greatest ornament.
... Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Conversations with Igor Stravinsky [1958], Robert Craft, Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1959, p. 141 (see the book; see also Ps. 81:1-2; 33:3; 95:1-2; 96:1; 140:1; Isa. 42:10; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Jas. 5:13; Rev. 5:9-12; more at Art, Church, Music, Praise, Worship)

Monday, July 29, 2019
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord

The desire for unity has haunted me all my life through; I have never been able to substitute any desire for that, or to accept any of the different schemes for satisfying it which men have desired.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), The Life of Frederick Denison Maurice: Chiefly Told in His Own Letters, v. 1, ed. John Frederick Maurice, London: Macmillan, 1885, p. 41 (see the book; see also John 17:22-23; Ps. 133:1; Matt. 23:8; Rom. 15:5-6; more at Church, Satisfaction, Unity)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833

In an age wherein it is confessed and lamented that infidelity abounds, do we observe in [Christians] any remarkable care to instruct their children in the principles of faith which they profess, and to furnish them with arguments for the defense of it? They would blush, on their child’s coming out into the world, to think him defective in any branch of that knowledge, or of those accomplishments, which belong to his station in life; and accordingly these are cultivated with becoming assiduity. But he is left to collect his religion as he may: the study of Christianity has formed no part of his education; and his attachment to it, where any attachment to it exists at all, is, too often, not the preference of sober reason and conviction, but merely the result of early and groundless prepossession.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 76 (see the book; see also Ex. 10:1-2; Num. 15:38-39; Deut. 6:6-7; Ps. 34:11; Pr. 22:6; Eph. 6:4; more at Child, Conviction, Education, Infidelity, Instruction, Religion, Teach)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556

The “good” man, the man whose god is righteousness, has as his life’s ambition the keeping of rules and commandments and the keeping of himself uncontaminated by the world. This sounds admirable, but, as the truth of Christ showed, the whole of such living, the whole drive and ambition, the whole edifice, is self-centred. That entire process of effort must be abandoned if a man is to give himself in love to God and his fellows. He must lose his life if he is ever going to find it.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 40 (see the book; see also John 12:25; Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:23-24; 17:33; Acts 20:24; more at Ambition, Giving, Legalism, Life, Pharisaism, Practical Christianity, Self-righteousness, Selfish)


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