Christ, our Light

Quotations for April, 2021

Thursday, April 1, 2021
Maundy Thursday
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872

Love’s as hard as nails,
Love is nails:
Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing he had done,
Seeing (with all that is)
Our cross, and his.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Poems, ed., Walter Hooper, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 124 (see the book; see also Matt. 10:37-38; Luke 23:33; 1 Cor. 1:18; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Cross, Jesus, Knowledge, Love, Sight)

Friday, April 2, 2021
Good Friday

Those who think God did this almost incredible thing call it Good Friday because only an extremely good God could do a thing like that. All religions attempt to bridge the gulf between the terrific purity of God and the sinfulness of man, but Christianity believes that God built that bridge Himself. This particular Friday commemorates His deliberate action in allowing Himself to be caught up in the sin-suffering-death mechanism which haunts mankind.
He didn’t let it end there, for He went on, right through death. But the men who believe in Him can’t forget the kind of Person such an act reveals. That’s why they call it Good Friday.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Is God at Home?, London: Lutterworth Press, 1957, p. 56 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:2-11; John 19:16-30; Rom. 6:2-10; 1 Cor. 15:17; Col. 2:11-12; 3:1-3; more at Easter, Good Friday, Man, Remembrance, Revelation, Sin, Suffer)

Saturday, April 3, 2021
Holy Saturday

Nails were not enough to hold God-and-man nailed and fastened on the Cross, had not love held Him there.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Saint Catherine of Siena as seen in her letters, J. M. Dent, 1906, p. 42 (see the book; see also Heb. 12:1-2; Matt. 27:35-50; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 2:13-14; Heb. 2:10; more at Cross, Easter, Love, Shame, Strength)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Upon the Sepulchre of our Lord.
Here, where our Lord once laid his Head,
Now the grave lies burièd.
... Richard Crashaw (1613-1649), from “Divine Epigrams”, The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw, London: J. R. Smith, 1858, p. 16 (see the book; see also Mark 16:1-7; Hos. 13:14; John 11:25-26; Rom. 6:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; more at Death & Resurrection, Jesus, Victory)

Monday, April 5, 2021

The way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation; was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before. If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul would now have refused it. I wondered that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ.
... David Brainerd (1718-1747), Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven: S. Converse, 1822, p. 47 (see the book; see also Rom. 9:30-33; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:20; 11:6; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:3-5; more at Blessing, Christ, Righteousness, Salvation, Way, Wisdom, Wonder)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564

I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546) (see the book; see also Prov. 3:5-6; Matt. 6:19-21,33; 2 Tim. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:6-7; more at Faith, God, Possession, Providence, Trust)

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

No indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Robert Falconer, v. III, London: Hurst and Blackett, 1868, p. 128 (see the book; see also Phil. 2:4; 1 Cor. 8:9; 10:23-24; 13:3; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; more at Selfish, Sin, Spiritual life)

Thursday, April 8, 2021
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877

After Calvary, God has the right to be trusted; to be believed that He means what He says; and that His love is dependable.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), In the Secret Place of the Most High, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947, p. 55 (see the book; see also Mark 15:25-37; Ps. 110:4; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:1-2; Heb. 4:7; 6:13-18; 1 John 4:19; more at Belief, Calvary, God, Good Friday, Love, Trust)

Friday, April 9, 2021
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945

When evil befalls you, it is not you who are in danger, but the others who do you evil; and if you don’t help them, they will perish in it. Therefore, for the others’ sake, and because of your responsibility to them—repay no one evil for evil. For has God ever repaid you in such a way?
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), A Testament to Freedom: the essential writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Geffrey B. Kelly, F. Burton Nelson, eds., HarperCollins, 1995, p. 286 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:17; Matt. 5:7,39; Luke 6:36; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Danger, Evil, God, Responsibility)

Saturday, April 10, 2021
Feast of William Law, Priest, Mystic, 1761
Commemoration of William of Ockham, Franciscan Friar, Philosopher, Teacher, 1347
Commemoration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Priest, Scientist, Visionary, 1955

How many saints has adversity sent to Heaven? And how many poor sinners has prosperity plunged into everlasting misery? A man seems then to be in the most glorious state, when he has conquered, disgraced, and humbled his enemy; though it may be, that same conquest has saved his adversary and undone himself.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life [1728], London: Methuen, 1899, p. 396 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:10; Matt. 5:5; 20:16; 21:31; Mark 9:35; Luke 13:28-30; John 12:19-21; Rom. 9:30-33; more at Adversity, Glory, Heaven, Humility, Poverty, Prosperity, Saint, Sinner)

Sunday, April 11, 2021
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878

Our calling is not primarily to be holy women, but to work for God and for others with Him. Our holiness is an effect, not a cause; so long as our eyes are on our own personal whiteness as an end in itself, the thing breaks down. God can do nothing while my interest is in my own personal character—He will take care of this if I obey His call. In learning to love God and people as He commanded us to do, obviously your sanctification cannot but come, but not as an end in itself.
... Florence Allshorn (1887-1950), The Notebooks of Florence Allshorn, London: SCM Press, 1957, p. 27-28 (see the book; see also Rev. 7:13-14; Acts 26:14-18; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Heb. 9:14; more at Call, God, Holiness, Knowing God, Love, Obedience, Sanctification, Service, Woman, Work)

Monday, April 12, 2021

The witness has never failed. Repeatedly, the light has shone forth in the darkness, held aloft by hands that perished in the destruction of the institution that failed. Christians tend to defend the institution of their own creation with tenacity. It is institutional Christianity that repeatedly shackled the Church. The Church again and again has to lose itself in order to find itself. It falls to rise; it fails in order to fight better. Many of the missionary institutions of the Church are expendable. They should always be treated as expendable.
... Leonard M. Outerbridge, The Lost Churches of China, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1952, p. 10-11 (see the book; see also Acts 5:29; Dan. 6:10; John 1:4-5; Matt. 22:16-21; Acts 4:19; more at Church, Darkness, Failure, Fight, Light, Mission, Missionary, Witness)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

He may well be loved, but not thought. By love may He be gotten and held; but by thought never. And therefore, though it be good sometimes to think of the kindness and the worthiness of God especially, and although it be a light and a part of contemplation: nevertheless yet in this work it shall be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting. And thou shalt step above it stalwartly, but deftly, with a devout and a pleasing stirring of love, and try to pierce that darkness above thee. And smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love; and do not give up, whatever befalleth.
... The Cloud of Unknowing, 14th century, ed. Evelyn Underhill, ch. 6 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:6; Isa. 55:8-9; Matt. 11:25; Rom. 11:33; 1 John 4:13; more at Contemplation, Forget, God, Goodness, Kindness, Knowing God, Longing, Love, Thought)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Now the great thing is this: we are consecrated and dedicated to God in order that we may thereafter think, speak, meditate, and do, nothing except to his glory. For a sacred thing may not be applied to profane uses without marked injury to him.
... 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, III.vii.1, p. 619 (see the book; see also Eph. 4:22-24; Ps. 119:11; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 5:1; more at Attitudes, Consecration, Dedication, Glory, God)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

No one can approach God without withdrawing from the world. By withdrawal I do not mean change of physical dwelling place, but withdrawal from worldly affairs. The virtue of withdrawal from the world consists in not occupying your mind with the world.
... St. Isaac of Syria (d. c. 700), quoted in Early Fathers from the Philokalia, Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), comp. & E. Kadloubovsky, Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer, trs., Faber and Faber, 1959, p. 183 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:11; Matt. 6:25-34; Mark 8:35-37; Luke 17:33; John 15:19; Rom. 12:2; Phil. 3:18-19; Tit. 2:11-14; Jas. 4:4; more at Attitudes, God, Mind, Virtue, World, Worldly)

Friday, April 16, 2021

If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), The Ministry of Intercession: a plea for more prayer, New York: Revell, 1898, p. 192 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 18:1; 21:36; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; more at Health, Holy Spirit, Power, Prayer, Spiritual life)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Christian life properly began with Baptism, for Baptism was the convert’s confession before men, the soldier’s oath (sacramentum) which enlisted him in the service of Christ. Till that decisive step was taken, he could not be more than a friendly heathen.
... Henry M. Gwatkin (1844-1916), Early Church History to A.D. 312, v. I, London: Macmillan, 1912, p. 248 (see the book; see also Gal. 3:26-27; Mark 1:8; 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:36-38; 10:47-48; Rom. 6:3-4; more at Baptism, Christ, Conversion, Heathen, Life, Service)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The offertory is the first essential action of the Liturgy, because in it we make the costly and solemn oblation, under tokens, of our very selves and all our substance; that they may be transformed, quickened, and devoted to the interests of God.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice, New York: Longmans, Green, 1938, p. 29 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:1-2; Gen. 22:12; Matt. 5:23-24; 19:21; Heb. 13:15-16; more at Devotion, God, Self-sacrifice, Worship)

Monday, April 19, 2021
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012

The church is to judge whether a man is a Christian on the basis of his doctrine, the propositional content of his faith, and then his credible profession of faith. When a man comes before a local church that is doing its job, he will be quizzed on the content of what he believes. If, for example, a church is conducting a heresy trial (the New Testament indicates there are to be heresy trials in the church of Christ), the question of heresy will turn on the content of the man’s doctrine. The church has a right to judge, in fact it is commanded to judge, a man on the content of what he believes and teaches.
... Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The Mark of the Christian, Inter-Varsity Press, 1976, p. 16 (see the book; see also 2 John 1:9-11; Matt. 7:15; Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 1:6-7; 3:1; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:3; Tit. 3:10-11; more at Belief, Bible, Christ, Church, Faith, Heresy, Judgment, Man, Teach, Trial)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

While extremely sensitive as to the slightest approach to slander, you must also guard against an extreme into which some people fall who, in their desire to speak evil of no one, actually uphold and speak well of vice. If you have to do with one who is unquestionably a slanderer, do not excuse him by calling him frank and free-spoken; do not call one who is notoriously vain, liberal and elegant; do not call dangerous levities mere simplicity; do not screen disobedience under the name of zeal; or arrogance of frankness; or evil intimacy of friendship. No, my friends, we must never, in our wish to shun slander, foster or flatter vice in others: but we must call evil evil, and sin sin, and so doing we shall serve God’s glory.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.xxix, p. 246 (see the book; see also Prov. 11:9; Ps. 97:10; Amos 5:15; Jas. 1:19,26; Jude 1:4-5,14-16; more at Arrogance, Attitudes, Enlighten, Evil, Sin)

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109

Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we are aware of.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Seventh Letter, p. 34 (see the book; see also Ps. 145:18; 25:1-2; 34:18; Matt. 26:26; Luke 24:30; John 14:23; 1 Tim. 2:8; Jas. 4:8; more at Awareness, Heart, Knowing God, Remembrance, Thanksgiving)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Is the leadership of the world-wide church in the hands of men and women who know how to lead others one by one to Jesus Christ? We are so concerned with planning and administration that there is a danger lest we allow these things to serve as an excuse for not doing the one thing on which all else depends.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), “The Church in a Revolutionary World”, in International Review of Mission, v. XXXVI, p. 451 (see the book; see also Acts 8:4; Matt. 10:23; John 4:21-24; Acts 11:19; 14:2-7; 1 Thess. 2:2; more at Church, Conversion, Danger, Evangelization, Gospel, Leader)

Friday, April 23, 2021
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988

May the Spirit of God help you to give of yourself as recklessly for the cause of Christ throughout the whole world as God “recklessly” gave His Son, Jesus Christ.
... Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision (see also Rom. 8:32; Isa. 53:10; John 3:16,17; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:21; more at Attitudes, Christ, Giving, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Son, World)

Saturday, April 24, 2021
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624

Faith, if it be a living faith, will be a working faith.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. VI-VII, in Works of John Owen, v. XXII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1855, p. 163 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:14-17; 1 Thess. 1:3; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Pet. 1:5-9; more at Faith, Life, Work)

Sunday, April 25, 2021
Feast of Mark the Evangelist

What is Christ’s joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in foreknowing and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because we did not then exist; it began to be in us, when He called us. And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed, which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), from Tractate 83 on the Gospel of John as quoted in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, vol. III, John Peter Lange & tr. Philip Schaff, New York: C. Scribner & Co., 1871, p. 485 (see the book; see also John 17:24; 15:11; Eph. 1:3-8; Heb. 12:1-2; more at Blessing, Call, Christ, Faith, Fellowship, Jesus, Joy, Resurrection)

Monday, April 26, 2021

It is thought that unconditional grace is unsafe. Man will feel free to go on sinning. On the contrary, unconditional forgiveness is the only rope that is long enough to reach to the bottom of the pit into which we have fallen.
... Edward Judson (1844-1914), “Life under pressure: a Lenten sermon”, in The Outlook, v. XCVII, Lyman Abbott, ed., Outlook Co., 1911, p. 749 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:1-2; Matt. 10:7-8; Rom. 3:22-24; 6:14; Eph. 1:4-8; more at Antinomianism, Forgiveness, Grace, Man, Sin)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894

A Better Resurrection
I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.
My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk;
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.
My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perished thing,
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 62 (see the book; see also Ps. 143:11; 1 Cor. 3:15; Heb. 11:35; 12:29; more at Cup, Easter, Heart, Jesus, King, Life, Resurrection, Soul, Water)

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841

The Lord makes excellent uses even of your infirmities and failings to do you good, and makes them turn to your unexpected advantage: for, by these defects he hides pride from your eyes; he [goads] from self-dependence; he makes you to admire the riches of free grace: he makes you to long more ardently for heaven, and entertain the sweeter thoughts of death: and doth not the Lord then make blessed fruits to spring up to you from such a bitter root? O the blessed chemistry of heaven, to extract such mercies out of such miseries!
... John Flavel (1628-1691), Serm. XXX from The Method of Grace, in The Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. II, London: J. Mathews, 1799, p. 420 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:9-10; Isa. 43:1-3; Deut. 8:11-14; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Gal. 4:13-14; more at Bitterness, Blessing, Death, God, Goodness, Grace, Heaven, Longing, Mercy, Weakness)

Thursday, April 29, 2021
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380

It is not enough to hold that God did great things for our fathers: not enough to pride ourselves on the inheritance of victories of faith: not enough to build the sepulchres of those who were martyred by men unwilling as we may be to hear new voices of a living God. Our duty is to see whether God is with us; whether we expect great things from Him; whether we do not practically place Him far off, forgetting that if He is, He is about us, speaking to us words which have not been heard before, guiding us to paths on which earlier generations have not been able to enter. There is, most terrible thought, a practical atheism, orthodox in language and reverent in bearing, which can enter a Christian Church and charm the conscience to rest with shadowy traditions, an atheism which grows insensibly within us if we separate what cannot be separated with impunity, the secular from the divine, the past and the future from the present, earth from heaven, the things of Caesar from the things of God.
... Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), The Historic Faith, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1883, p. 40-41 (see the book; see also Mark 12:14-17; Isa. 31:1; Jer. 2:17; John 8:36-44; Rom. 1:19-20; 8:16-17; more at Atheism, Conscience, Inheritance, Martyr, Religion, Reverence, Tradition)

Friday, April 30, 2021
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922

Sometimes thou shalt be forsaken of God, sometimes thou shalt be troubled by thy neighbors; and what is more, oftentimes thou shalt be wearisome even to thyself. Neither canst thou be delivered or eased by any remedy or comfort; but so long as it pleaseth God, thou oughtest to bear it. For God will have thee learn to suffer tribulation without comfort, and that thou subject thyself wholly to Him, and by tribulation become more humble. No man hath so cordial a feeling of the Passion of Christ, as he that hath suffered the like himself.
The Cross therefore is always ready, and everywhere waits for thee. Thou canst not escape it, whithersoever thou runnest; for wheresoever thou goest, thou carriest thyself with thee, and shalt ever find thyself. Both above and below, without and within, which way so ever thou dost turn thee, everywhere thou shalt find the Cross; and everywhere of necessity thou must hold fast patience, if thou wilt have inward peace, and enjoy an everlasting crown.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.xii, p. 107 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 3:10-13; Ps. 22:1; Luke 9:23; 1 Cor. 15:30-31; Heb. 12:5-11; more at Comfort, Deliverance, Humility, Neighbor, Passion of Christ, Patience, Peace, Suffer, Trouble, Weakness)


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