Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2021

Monday, February 1, 2021
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

Whilst pride, sensuality, covetousness, and ambition, had only the authority of the heathen world, Christians were thereby made more intent upon the contrary virtues. But when pride, sensuality, covetousness, and ambition, have the authority of the Christian world, then private Christians are in the utmost danger, not only of being shamed out of the practice, but of losing the very notion of the piety of the Gospel.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 323-324 (see the book; see also Obad. 1:3-4; Mark 10:42-45; 1 Tim. 6:17; 1 John 2:16; more at Ambition, Danger, Gospel, Heathen, Pride, Shame, Sin, Virtue, World)

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Lord, when the sense of Thy sweet grace
Sends up my soul to seek Thy face,
Thy blessed eyes breed such desire,
I die in love’s delicious fire.
O Love! I am thy sacrifice,
Be still triumphant, blessed eyes;
Still shine on me, fair suns! that I
Still may behold though still I die.
Though still I die, I live again,
Still longing so to be still slain;
So gainful is such loss of breath,
I die even in desire of death.
Still live in me this loving strife
Of living death and dying life:
For while Thou sweetly slayest me,
Dead to myself, I live in Thee.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 204 (see the book; see also Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6-8; 8:3-4; 12:1-2; Gal. 5:24; Col. 2:11-14; more at Blessing, Death, Grace, Life, Love, Sacrifice, Strife)

Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

The world’s theology is easy to define. It is the view that human beings are basically good, that no one is really lost, that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation. Such capitulation is common in some church circles. When I was speaking at [certain conferences], a section of my paper had to do with human lostness. I discussed it as a motivation for mission: we take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others because they are lost without it. In every consultation, that point in my paper aroused anger on the part of those listening. Some were infuriated. Nearly all were dissatisfied. Each time, as I moved into that section of the paper, people began to shift, cough, move. When I finished, it was the part of the paper they brought up for objection.
... James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000), Foundation of the Christian Faith, InterVarsity Press, 1986, p. 674 (see the book; see also Acts 4:12; Matt. 18:11-14; John 3:16-18; Rom. 1:22-23; 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10; more at Belief, Goodness, Gospel, Jesus, Mission, Salvation, Theology)

Thursday, February 4, 2021
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man’s arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort, disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength. And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ’s side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways. But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 17 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:20-22; Deut.30:17-18; Matt. 23:27-28; Acts 4:18-20; Rom. 2:20-24; 2 Tim. 3:2-5; Tit. 1:15-16; more at Christ, Conversion, Faith, Self-sacrifice, Zeal)

Friday, February 5, 2021
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful... To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion; and we may reflect that a good deal of the attention of totalitarian states has been devoted with a steadiness of purpose not always found in democracies, to providing their national life with a foundation of morality—the wrong kind, perhaps, but a good deal more of it. It is not enthusiasm, but dogma, that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.
... T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Idea of a Christian Society, London: Faber, 1939, reprint, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1960, p. 46-47 (see the book; see also Acts 8:18-20; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 15:12-14; John 5:39-40; more at Danger, Dogma, Life, Morality, Nation, Pagan, Purpose, Religion, Social, Truth, Wrong)

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Do you so love the truth and the right that you welcome, or at least submit willingly to the idea of an exposure of what in you is yet unknown to yourself—an exposure that may redound to the glory of the truth by making you ashamed and humble?... Are you willing to be made glad that you were wrong when you thought others were wrong?... We may trust God with our past as heartily as with our future. It will not hurt us so long as we do not try to hide things, so long as we are ready to bow our heads in hearty shame where it is fit that we should be ashamed. For to be ashamed is a holy and blessed thing. Shame is a thing to shame only those who want to appear, not those who want to be. Shame is to shame those who want to pass their examination, not those who would get into the heart of things... To be humbly ashamed is to be plunged in the cleansing bath of truth.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “The Final Unmasking”, in Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, London: Longmans, Green, 1889, p. 235-236, 238 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 3:8-9; Eccl. 12:14; Matt. 10:26; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17; 12:2; Rom. 1:16; 2:16; 2 Cor. 5:10; more at Attitudes, Blessing, Future, God, Holiness, Humility, Longing, Love, Past, Shame, Trust, Truth, Wrong)

Sunday, February 7, 2021

If we are really convinced of the truth of our message, then we can proclaim it before a world of enemies, then the very difficulty of our task, the very scarcity of our allies becomes an inspiration, then we can even rejoice that God did not place us in an easy age, but in a time of doubt and perplexity and battle. Then, too, we shall not be afraid to call forth other soldiers into the conflict.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), The Princeton Theological Review, v. 11, 1911, p. 13 (see the book; see also Ps. 23:5-6; Matt. 5:44-45; 10:6-15,34-36; Luke 6:27-28,35; Acts 20:27; Rom. 5:10; Phil. 3:17-18; more at Battle, Certainty, Enemy, Faith, God, Preach, Truth)

Monday, February 8, 2021

Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude, ... but delight to be alone and single with Omnipresency.
... Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), Christian Morals [op. post. 1716], London: Henry Washbourne, 1845, p. 45 (see the book; see also Jer. 23:23-24; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 139:2,7-13; Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 1:45; Luke 5:16; John 14:16-18; 16:32; 1 Cor. 3:16; Col. 2:9-10; Rev. 21:3; more at Being alone, Presence of God, Solitude)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

On God’s part, a gift, not a debt, as wages is to the servant or soldier, but charisma, a gracious gift. Though we should serve God a thousand years, we cannot merit to be one half-day in heaven. There it is a gift to those who do most exactly persevere in holiness; the best have no other claim, but the mercy of the donor.
... Thomas Manton (1620-1677), The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, v. 11, London: James Nisbet & Co., 1873, serm. xxiv, p. 378 (see the book; see also Rom. 3:22-24; Matt. 7:11; Rom. 4:4-5; 6:23; 11:28-29; Tit. 3:5-7; Jas. 1:17; more at Gifts, Grace, Heaven, Holiness, Mercy, Service)

Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

The love of Jesus is at once avid and generous. All that He has, all that He is, He gives; all that we are, all that we have, He takes.
... Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381), quoted in The Path of Eternal Wisdom: A Mystical Commentary on the Way of the Cross [1911], Evelyn Underhill, London: John M. Watkins, 1911, p. 47 (see the book; see also Matt. 9:35-36; Isa. 40:11; Eze. 11:19; John 6:27; 10:11; 13:34; 14:23; Rom. 6:13; 8:32; 12:1; 2 Cor. 8:5; Gal. 2:20; 2 Pet. 1:3; 1 John 3:16; more at Dedication, Generosity, Giving, Jesus, Love)

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Men have, for the most part, done with lamenting their lost faith. Sentimental tears over the happy, simple Christendom of their fathers are a thing of the past. They are proclaiming now their contempt for Christ’s character, and their disgust at the very name of love.
Scorn and hatred, difference and division, must be more than ever our lot, if we would be the followers of Christ in these days. Conventional religion and polite unbelief are gone forever.
... John Neville Figgis (1866-1919), The Gospel and Human Needs, London: Longman’s, Green & Co., 1911, p. 152 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:6-8; John 15:18-19; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2 Pet. 3:3-4; 1 John 2:15-17; more at Christ, Contempt, Faith, Hatred, Love, Religion, Scorn, Tear, Unbelief)

Friday, February 12, 2021
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

The truth to which they gave utterance [that “He has done all things well!”], is full of deep and unspeakable comfort; and ought to be daily remembered by all true Christians.
Let us remember it, as we look back over the past days of our lives, from the hour of our conversion. “Our Lord has done all things well!” In the first bringing us out of darkness into His marvelous light,—in humbling us and teaching us our weakness, guilt, and folly,—in stripping us of our idols, and choosing all our portions,—in placing us where we are, and giving us what we have—how well everything has been done! How great the mercy—that we have not had our own way! [continued tomorrow]
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Mark, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1857, p. 151 (see the book; see also Mark 7:37; Isa. 60:1-2; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 5:8-10; 1 Pet. 2:9; more at Conversion, Humility, Idol, Light, Mercy, Remembrance, Truth)

Saturday, February 13, 2021

[Continued from yesterday] Let us remember it as we look forward to the days yet to come. We know not what they may be: bright or dark, many or few. But we do know that we are in the hands of Him who does all things well! He will not err in any of His dealings with us. He will take away and give,—He will afflict and bereave,—He will move and He will settle, with perfect wisdom, at the right time, in the right way. The great Shepherd of the sheep makes no mistakes! He leads every lamb of His flock by the right way, to the city of habitation.
We shall never see the full beauty of these words, until the resurrection morning. We shall then look back over our lives, and know the meaning of everything that happened from first to last. We shall remember all the way by which we were led, and confess that all was “well done!” The why and the wherefore, the causes and the reasons of everything which now perplexes, will be as clear and plain as the sun at noon-day. We shall wonder at our own past blindness, and marvel that we could ever have doubted our Lord’s love!
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Mark, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1857, p. 152 (see the book; see also Job 1:21; Ps. 23:1; 107:7; John 10:11; 1 Cor. 13:12-13; more at Affliction, Bereavement, Blindness, Darkness, Knowledge, Leader, Meaning, Perfection)

Sunday, February 14, 2021
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

There was no point of controversy between Jesus and the Jews; Jesus brought no new doctrine unto them. Jesus said, What the masters in Israel teach, what the Pharisees and the Scribes teach, is perfectly correct. There was no dogma which was the cause of controversy between Jesus and the nation; there was no new custom that Jesus introduced: He went into the Temple every day, He observed the ordinances and festivals of Israel. What was the subject of dispute and controversy between Jesus and the Jews? It was no doctrine, it was no innovation, it was Jesus Himself whom they rejected. There was an antipathy in them to the person of Jesus: it was the Lord Himself whom they hated, because they hated the Father...
But Jesus knew... that it was because He was one with God, because He was the express image of His being, because He was the perfect manifestation of the character of God, that they hated Him; and therefore Jesus was pained, not because they hated Him, but because they hated in Him the Father.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 122-123 (see the book; see also John 1:11-12; Luke 8:20-21; John 8:42-45; 15:23-25; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 1:9; more at Custom, Dispute, Dogma, Father, God, Hatred, Israel, Jesus, Teach, Temple)

Monday, February 15, 2021
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

How unfair! Shouldn’t the thief have been asked to repent, to make amends, to at least declare he was sorry? No lectures, no sermons, no teaching or demands for repentance, Jesus just ushers the man into the kingdom of God. Shouldn’t we be more careful with the requirements for receiving grace? Apparently not.
... Mike Yaconelli (1942-2003), Messy Spirituality [2002], Zondervan, 2007, p. 166 (see the book; see also Luke 23:42-43; Ex. 33:19; Matt. 9:2; Rom. 9:15-18; more at God, Grace, Jesus, Kingdom, Man, Repentance, Sermon, Teach)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

There are, no doubt, passages in the New Testament which may seem at first sight to promise an invariable granting of our prayers. But that cannot be what they really mean. For in the very heart of the story we meet a glaring instance to the contrary. In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not. After that the idea that prayer is recommended to us as a sort of infallible gimmick may be dismissed.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Efficacy of Prayer” in The World’s Last Night [1960], Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 5 (see the book; see also Matt. 21:22; 7:7-8; 26:39-44; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; more at Bible, Cup, Holiness, Prayer, Prayers)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Ash Wednesday
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

The ‘works’ done in virtue of, and in consequence of, the Christian ethic ought to appear in the light of Jesus Christ as veritable good works. Of itself the world is incapable of seeing these good works. It can only do so in this light, and we must see to it that our works proceed so directly from the action of Jesus Christ in us, that the world will see them in their true light.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), The Presence of the Kingdom, tr. Olive Wyon, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1951, p. 22 (see the book; see also John 3:20-21; Matt. 5:16; John 1:4,9; 12:46; Acts 10:38; 1 Tim. 5:25; more at Christ, Good works, Jesus, Light, Sight, World)

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily community of many years, Christian community is solely this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 31 (see the book; see also Rom. 13:8; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:10; 15:7; Gal. 3:26-27; 5:13; Eph. 2:19-20; 3:6; 4:32; Heb. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; 1 John 1:7; more at Body of Christ, Christ, Community, Jesus)

Friday, February 19, 2021

That God loves us in spite of our sin is the Gospel truth, but this truth can only be shared by words, since good deeds are easily [taken to show] the opposite—that we love God. Faith is not understood when [it is] only demonstrated by life. The more sanctified a life without the verbal witness, the greater the danger of the Christian’s goodness getting in the way. Should a person by the grace of God become easier to live with, he doesn’t need to call attention to it: it will speak for itself. He can instead seek to balance the reverse effect of the good image by occasionally speaking of the unfavorable realities within, those parts that are still changing. In this way, his external behavior by contrast can point to the power of God, rather than to the effort of man. When we decrease, He can increase, but not until.
... Paul G. Johnson 1931-2013, Buried Alive, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1968, p. 148 (see the book; see also John 3:30; Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 1:12; Phil. 3:12-15; Col. 1:10-12; more at Apologetics, Faith, God, Grace, Life, Love, Power, Sanctification, Sin, Truth, Witness)

Saturday, February 20, 2021
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

True it is that every man willingly followeth his own bent, and is the more inclined to those who agree with him. But if Christ is amongst us, then it is necessary that we sometimes yield up our own opinion for the sake of peace. Who is so wise as to have a perfect knowledge of all things? Therefore trust not too much to thine own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinions of others. Though thine own opinion be good, yet if for the love of God thou foregoest it, and followest that of another, thou shalt the more profit thereby.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.ix.2, p. 41 (see the book; see also Eph. 5:21; Rom. 12:3; 14:13-15; 1 Cor. 3:18-20; Jas. 1:19-20; 3:17-18; more at Attitudes, Christ, God, Knowledge, Love, Peace, Truth, Wisdom)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Jesus, like all other religious leaders, taught men to pray, that is, He taught them to look away from the world of ordinary sense impressions and to open the heart and spirit to God, yet He is always insistent that religion must be related to life. It is only by contact with God that a better quality of living can be achieved—and Jesus Himself, as the records show, spent many hours in communion with God—yet that new quality of life has to be both demonstrated and tested in the ordinary rough-and-tumble of plain living. It is in ordinary human relationships that the validity of a man’s communion with God is to be proved.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), When God was Man, London: Lutterworth Press:, 1954, p. 22 (see the book; see also Mark 1:35; Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 5:16; 11:1-4; 18:1; more at Communion, God, Heart, Jesus, Life, Prayer, Spirit)

Monday, February 22, 2021

It is impossible for a man to be a Christian without having Christ; and if he has Christ he has at the same time all that is in Christ.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), remarks on Thesis 37, Resolutiones et Responsiones, 1518History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in Germany, Jean Henri Merle d’Aubigné, London: Walther, 1838, p. 379-380 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:12-13; Rom. 7:4; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; Col. 2:2-3,9-10; 3:11; 1 John 5:11-12; 2 John 9; more at Christ, Jesus, Man, Spiritual life)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

He that is furnished with love, stands at a distance from all sin.
... Polycarp (69?-155?), Letter to the Philippians A.D. 110-140, 3:3 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 13:6; Prov. 16:6; 1 John 5:18; Jas. 5:19-20; more at Love, Sin)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

To have faith is to rely upon Christ, the Person, with the whole heart. It is not the understanding of the mind, not the theological opinion, not creed, not organization, not ritual. It is the koinonia of the whole personality with God and Christ. This experience of communion with Christ is itself the continual attitude of dependence on the Saviour which we call faith.
... Kokichi Kurosaki (1886-1970), One Body in Christ, Kobe, Japan: Eternal Life Press, 1954, ch. 8 (see the book; see also Phil. 4:13; Matt. 8:5-10; John 14:23; Rom. 8:35-37; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Gal. 2:20; more at Christ, Communion, Creed, Dependence, Faith, Theology, Understanding)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

In fulfilling these duties we are always sure of possessing the “better part” because this holy will is itself the better part, it only requires to be allowed to act and that we should abandon ourselves blindly to it with perfect confidence. It is infinitely wise, powerful and amiable to those who trust themselves unreservedly to it, who love and seek it alone, and who believe with an unshaken faith and confidence that what it arranges for each moment is best, without seeking elsewhere for more or less, and without pausing to consider the connexion of these exterior works with the plans of God.
... Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), Abandonment to Divine Providence, I.i.5 (see the book; see also John 6:38-40; Matt. 26:39; Mark 3:32-35; John 4:34; Rom. 8:28; 12:1-2; more at Action, Belief, Confidence, Duty, Faith, Goodness, Perfection, Power, Spiritual life, Will of God, Wisdom)

Friday, February 26, 2021

The God Speeches remind us that the universe is essentially theocentric. Further, although much about divine justice had not been clear to Job, God had not left the world quite so destitute of moral implications as Job had alleged. The natural world with its beauty and orderly design presents man with an indicator of an ordered moral universe even though it be beyond man’s cognitive perception. By revealing transcendence in meticulous details, the Lord simultaneously revealed His immanence. So near is He to man that He appeared to Job personally. So near is He to His world that He causes the rain to fall on the subhuman creatures even though man knows nothing about His activity there.
... C. Hassell Bullock (b. 1939), Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books, Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1979, p. 108 (see the book; see also Job 38; 39; 40; 41; Matt. 5:45; Rom. 1:19; more at Beauty, God, Knowledge, Morality, Nature, Universe, World)

Saturday, February 27, 2021
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

Prayer, the Church’s banquet, Angel’s age,
God’s breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;
Engine against th’ Almighty, sinner’s tower,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six days world-transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted Manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well dressed,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,
The land of spices, something understood.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 61 (see the book; see also Isa. 25:6-8; John 3:3; 19:34; Eph. 3:4-6; Col. 1:25-27; more at Bread, Creation, Gladness, Heaven, Kindness, Man, Prayer, Sinner)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

We distrust the providence of God, when, after we have used all our best endeavours, and begged His blessing upon them, we torment ourselves about the issue and event of things.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. V, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXXIX, p. 77 (see the book; see also Heb. 3:14; Luke 12:6-7,15; Rom. 8:28; more at Blessing, Endeavor, God, Providence, Will of God)


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