Christ, our Light

Quotations for February, 2022

Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525

(Continued from yesterday)
[We look for a time when Christians] will consider and practically remember, that all Christians are “called [to be] Saints,” and endued with the Holy Spirit of God; not indeed to inspire them with a new revelation, or to confer any miraculous gifts, (which do not either prove, or make, the possessor the more acceptable in God’s sight,) but to enable them to purify their own hearts and lives. The wicked Balaam was a prophet; and the traitor Judas worked miracles. These extraordinary powers, therefore, are neither any proof of superior personal holiness, nor any substitute for it in God’s sight. Nor is the absence of these miraculous gifts in ourselves, any argument that a less degree of Christian virtue will suffice for our salvation, than was required of the Apostles.
... Richard Whately (1787-1863), A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State [1829], Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1857, p. 159-160 (see the book; see also Luke 10:17-20; Matt. 5:20; 16:1-4; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; more at Gifts, Holy Spirit, Miracle, Prophet, Saint, Salvation, Virtue)

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realising them as parts of one whole. If our practical life is centred on our own interests, cluttered up by possessions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, beset by a sense of our own rights and importance, or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success, we need not expect that our spiritual life will be a contrast to all this. The soul’s house is not built on such a convenient plan; there are few sound-proof partitions in it. Only when the conviction—not merely the idea—that the demand of the Spirit, however inconvenient, comes first and IS first, rules the whole of it, will those objectionable noises die down which have a way of penetrating into the nicely furnished little oratory, and drowning all the quieter voices by their din.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Spiritual Life, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1937, reprinted, Morehouse Publishing, 1985, p. 33-34 (see the book; see also 1 John 2:16; Luke 16:8; 1 Cor. 3:19-20; Jas. 3:13-17; Jude 1:17-19; more at Ambition, Anxiety, Holy Spirit, Practical Christianity, Prayer, Spiritual life)

Thursday, February 3, 2022
Feast of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

Peruse the books of philosophers, with all their pomp of diction: how meager, how contemptible they are when compared with the Scriptures! The majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration.
... Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Emile, or, On education, UPNE, 2009, p. 147 (see the book; see also Isa. 55:10-11; more at Book, Philosophy, Scripture)

Friday, February 4, 2022
Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189

No worst thing ever done in the name of Christianity, no vilest corruption of the Church, can destroy the eternal fact that the core of it is the heart of Jesus. Branches innumerable may have to be lopped off and cast into the fire, yet the word “I am the Vine” remaineth.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Malcolm: a romance, Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott, 1875, p. 248 (see the book; see also Matt. 3:10; John 15:1-6; 2 Pet. 2:20; 1 John 2:19; more at Body of Christ, Church, Corruption, Fire, Jesus)

Saturday, February 5, 2022
Commemoration of Martyrs of Japan, 1597

The greatest miracle that Christianity has to proclaim is that the love that suffered agonies on that hill outside the city walls was the love of God himself, the love of God for his creation, which is a love that has no limit, not even the limit of death.
... Frederick Buechner (1926-2022), The Magnificent Defeat, Seabury Press, 1966, p. 89 (see the book; see also John 3:16-17; Rom. 5:8; Tit. 3:4-7; 1 John 4:10; more at Death, God, Love, Miracle, Preach, Suffer)

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Almost everywhere political secularization was accompanied at length by a general decrease in religious observance. Theological matters ceased to be, if they had ever genuinely been, the main interest of the people. This does not mean that religion died out: far from it. But it became the interest, not of the whole, but of a section of the people. The Church, instead of being a recognized ruling authority, became what its Founder said it was, a little yeast in a large lump of dough. In some countries it barely maintained the right to exist; in others it had to adapt its methods to new conditions. But wherever possible it has continued openly to pursue the same ends, and has not ceased to declare what it believes to be the will of God even in the political sphere. Indeed, we may recognize a gain in the new situation. What it could once do by authority, it now seeks to do by persuasion.
... J. W. C. Wand (1885-1977), The Church Today, Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1960, p. 31-32 (see the book; see also Matt. 13:33; Isa. 42:6-7; 60:1-3; Acts 26:25-29; 2 Cor. 5:11; more at Attitudes, Church, Culture, Historical, Theology, Will of God)

Monday, February 7, 2022

I think St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans the most profound work in existence; and I hardly believe that the writings of the old Stoics, now lost, could have been deeper... You will smile, after this, if I say that I think I understand St. Paul; and I think so, because, really and truly, I recognize a cogent consecutiveness in the argument—the only evidence I know that you understand any book.
... Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk, 2nd ed., London: John Murray, 1836, p. 237 (see the book; see also 2 Pet. 3:15-16; Matt. 22:29; Rom. 8:1-2; Heb. 5:11; more at Argument, Book, Knowledge, Thought, Understanding)

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Christian life ... is a continual discovery of Christ in new and unexpected places. And these discoveries are sometimes most profitable when you find Him in something you had tended to overlook or even despise.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), The Journals of Thomas Merton, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 563 (see the book; see also Mark 9:35; Matt. 25:37-40; Luke 9:47-48; 2 Cor. 2:10-11; Eph. 3:1; more at Christ, Discovery, Life)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Every complexion of the inward man, when sanctified by humility, and suffering itself to be tuned, and struck, and moved by the Holy Spirit of God, according to its particular frame and turn, helps mightily to increase that harmony of divine praise, thanksgiving, and adoration, which must arise from different instruments, sounds, and voices. To condemn this variety in the servants of God, or to be angry at those who have not served him, in the way that we have chosen for ourselves, is but too plain a sign, that we have not enough renounced the elements of selfishness, pride, and anger.
... William Law (1686-1761), Christian Regeneration [1739], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. V, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 172-173 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:4-6,14-18; Eph. 4:17; Phil. 2:3; 1 Pet. 5:5; 1 John 2:16; more at Holy Spirit, Humility, Man, Praise, Pride, Sanctification, Selfish, Thanksgiving)

Thursday, February 10, 2022
Commemoration of Scholastica, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

A basic trouble is that most Churches limit themselves unnecessarily by addressing their message almost exclusively to those who are open to religious impressions through the intellect, whereas ... there are at least four other gateways—the emotions, the imagination, the aesthetic feeling, and the will, through which they can be reached.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 216 (see the book; see also Ps. 40:6-8; Jer. 36:7; Luke 12:11-12; John 7:16-17; more at Art, Church, Gospel, Imagination)

Friday, February 11, 2022

Those who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks. What power there is in pure love for Jesus—love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.xi., p. 104 (see the book; see also Job 13:15; Ps. 23:4; Rom. 8:38-39; more at Anguish, Blessing, Comfort, Consolation, Jesus, Love, Power, Purity, Trial)

Saturday, February 12, 2022
Commemoration of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Nicolas Herman), spiritual writer, 1691

It makes very little difference how much or how little of the creeds of the Church the Modernist preacher affirms, or how much or how little of the Biblical teaching from which the creeds are derived. He might affirm every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession, for example, and yet be separated by a great gulf from the Reformed Faith. It is not that part is denied and the rest affirmed; but all is denied, because all is affirmed merely as useful or symbolic and not as true.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), What is Faith? [1925], The Macmillan Company, 1925, reprint Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1962, p. 34 (see the book; see also Luke 24:9-11; Acts 8:18-24; 2 Tim. 4:3; more at Creed, Faith, Teach, Truth)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

One notable limitation of the sphere assigned to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, as compared with Hebrew and Jewish literature, is that it is nowhere described as the agent of creation or as a cosmic principle. It does not act upon external nature, and it stands in no causal relation to the physical universe. God made the world and all things therein (Acts 17:24; Rom. 1:20); and both Paul and John conceive Christ or the Logos as the medium of creation and as the reason and end of the universe (1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; John 1:3; cf. Heb. 1:2). But in their teaching, as in the rest of the New Testament, the Holy Spirit acts only upon humanity. In one instance only was it conceived as acting in any way in the physical sphere, where it mediated the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35), and that act lay within the sphere of human life. Otherwise its operations lay entirely within the field of conscious experience. The Christian Church realised the fact of the Spirit first as a living, present, overpowering, unique, and exalted experience.
... Thomas Rees (1869-1926), The Holy Spirit in Thought and Experience, New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1915, p. 84 (see the book; see also Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:18; John 1:3; Acts 17:24; Rom. 1:20; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; more at Action, Creation, Experience, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Miracle)

Monday, February 14, 2022
Feast of Cyril & Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 & 885
Commemoration of Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269

I come now to declare what it is wherein peculiarly and eminently the saints have communion with the Father; and this is LOVE,—free, undeserved, and eternal love. This the Father peculiarly fixes upon the saints; this they are immediately to eye in him, to receive of him, and to make such returns thereof as he is delighted withal. This is the great discovery of the gospel: for whereas the Father, as the fountain of the Deity, is not known any other way but as full of wrath, anger, and indignation against sin, nor can the sons of men have any other thoughts of him,—here he is now revealed peculiarly as love, as full of it unto us; the manifestation whereof is the peculiar work of the gospel.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost [1657], in Works of John Owen, v. II, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1851, p. 19 (see the book; see also Hab. 1:13; Ps. 5:4-6; Isa. 33:13-14; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 2:3-4; Tit. 3:4; more at Communion, Father, Gospel, Love, Revelation, Sin)

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Commemoration of Thomas Bray, Priest, Founder of SPCK, 1730

Thou hadst no youth, great God,
An Unbeginning End Thou art;
Thy glory in itself abode,
And still abides in its own tranquil heart:
No age can heap its outward years on Thee:
Dear God! Thou art Thyself Thine own eternity!
... Frederick William Faber (1814-1863), Hymns, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1877, p. 18-19 (see the book; see also Lam. 5:19; Hab. 1:12; Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 6:15-16; 2 Pet. 3:8; more at Eternity, Glory, God, Heart, Year)

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it, we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred. Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world. Let us make no peace with it. Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it. It is “the abominable thing which God hateth.” Happy is he who is of one mind with God, and can say, I “abhor that which is evil.”
... J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Luke, v. I, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1858, p. 209 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:9; Jer. 44:4; Luke 7:11-17; Rom. 5:12; more at Evil, God, Happiness, Hatred, Peace, Sin, World)

Thursday, February 17, 2022
Feast of Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Martyr, 1977

“For not all those are Israelites who are of Israel” nor are all those straightway washed with the Holy Spirit who are washed with water; just as, conversely, those who are numbered among the catechumens are not all deprived and bereft of the Holy Spirit. For I find in the divine Scriptures several catechumens who were held worthy of the Holy Spirit and that others after receiving baptism were unworthy of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Cornelius was a catechumens and before he came to the water he desired to receive the Holy Spirit. Simon [Magus] had received baptism but he was refused the gift of the Holy Spirit because he approached the grace with hypocrisy.
... Origen (185?-254?), from Hom. in Numeros, iii.1, in The Early Christian Fathers, Henry Scowcroft Bettenson, London: Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 342 (see the book; see also Rom. 9:6; Num. 3:5-39; Acts 8:9-24; 10:1-3,44-48; more at Baptism, Gifts, Grace, Holy Spirit, Hypocrisy, Scripture, Water)

Friday, February 18, 2022

Joy is peace for having done that which we ought to have done: and therefore it is well expressed... To have something to do, to do it, and then to rejoice in having done it, to embrace a calling, to perform the duties of that calling, to joy and rest in the peaceful testimony of having done so; this is christianly done, Christ did it; angelically done, angels do it; godly done, God does it.
... John Donne (1573-1631), Works of John Donne, vol. V, London: John W. Parker, 1839, Sermon CXXXI, p. 346 (see the book; see also Isa. 62:1; Zeph. 3:17; Matt. 7:24; Mark 3:35; Luke 10:21; 15:10; John 4:34; 6:38-40; Rom. 12:2; more at Angel, Call, Christ, Duty, God, Joy, Peace, Rest)

Saturday, February 19, 2022

The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I will die. And the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the day of judgment. Our salvation is “from outside ourselves”. I find salvation not in my life story, but only in the story of Jesus Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 62 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:12-14; Rom. 5:17; 8:10-11; 10:8-9; more at Christ, Death, Hope, Jesus, Judgment, Life, Salvation)

Sunday, February 20, 2022
Commemoration of Cecile Isherwood, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1906

Assumptions based on faith are apparently an ever-present component in any system of belief—whether those assumptions include the existence of a personal God, or whether they begin with non-rational directionally-emergent forces governed by statistical probabilities. Our argument does not claim that evidences are so clear that faith is not needed. We do intend to imply, however, that the choice of a set of assumptions is a moral choice. Adherence to an epistemology is not something which merely “happens to” a person, but instead it reflects a component of his moral development. In some sense he is, in my judgment, morally responsible for adopting an epistemology even though it can be neither proved nor disproved to the satisfaction of those who oppose it.
... Kenneth L. Pike (1912-2001), With Heart and Mind, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962, p. 16 (see the book; see also 1 Tim. 6:20-21; Isa. 29:14; Acts 17:18-21; 1 Cor. 1:19-23; 2:6; 3:18-20; Col. 2:8; more at Apologetics, Belief, Existence, Faith, God, Morality, Proof, Responsibility)

Monday, February 21, 2022

Progress is Providence without God. That is, it is a theory that everything has always perpetually gone right by accident. It is a sort of atheistic optimism, based on an everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle.
... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), What I Saw in America, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1922, p. 236 (see the book; see also Luke 12:27-31; Isa. 64:4; 2 Cor. 4:18; 9:8-11; more at Atheism, God, Miracle, Optimism, Progress, Providence)

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

But lo’ the snare is broke, the captive’s freed,
By faith on all the hostile powers we tread,
And crush through Jesus’ strength the Serpent’s head.
Jesus hath cast the cursed Accuser down,
Hath rooted up the tares by Satan sown:
All nature bows to His benign command,
And two are one in His almighty hand.
One in His hand, O may we still remain,
Fast bound with love’s indissoluble chain;
(That adamant which time and death defies,
That golden chain which draws us to the skies!)
His love the tie that binds us to His throne,
His love the bond that perfects us in one,
His only love constrains our hearts t’ agree,
And gives the rivet of Eternity.
... Charles Wesley (1707-1788), from “An Epistle to the Rev. Mr. G. Whitefield,” in The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, v. VI, John Wesley, London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1870, p. 70 (see the book; see also Gen. 3:14-15; Ps. 146:7-9; Matt. 13:24-30, 36-42; Luke 4:18-19; Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 1:13-14; more at Eternity, Faith, Gospel, Heart, Jesus, Love, Strength)

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Feast of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155

The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 75 (see the book; see also Heb. 12:1-2; Matt. 5:11-12; Mark 16:19; John 14:2; 2 Pet. 3:13; more at Builder, Conversion, Heaven, Man, Slave)

Thursday, February 24, 2022

The dear Lord accepts imperfect surrender, ignorant faith and love, of which He knows that it will soon turn to denial. Oh! if He did not, what would become of us all? We reject half hearts; we will not have a friendship on which we cannot rely. The sweetness of vows is all sucked out of them to our apprehension, if we have reason to believe that they will be falsified in an hour. But the patient Master was willing to put up with what you and I will not put up with; and to accept what we reject; and be pleased that they gave Him even that. His “charity suffereth long, and is kind.” Let us not be afraid to bring even imperfect consecration... to His merciful feet.
... Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), The Holy of Holies, London: Alexander & Shepheard, 1890, p. 364 (see the book; see also Luke 22:56-62; Pr. 10:12; John 16:29-32; 1 Cor. 13:4; Titus 3:4-5; 1 John 3:1; more at Charity, Consecration, Faith, Heart, Kindness, Love, Mercy, Vow)

Friday, February 25, 2022

The whole point of the story of Cornelius and of the admission of the Gentiles lies in the fact that these people had not accepted what up to that moment had been considered a necessary part of the Christian teaching. The question was whether they could be admitted without accepting the teaching and undergoing the rite [of circumcision]. It was that question which was settled by the acknowledgement that they had received the Holy Spirit... The difficulty today is that Christians acknowledge that others have the Spirit, and yet do not recognize that they ought to be, and must be—because spiritually they are—in communion with one another. Men who hold a theory of the Church which excludes from communion those whom they admit to have the Spirit of Christ simply proclaim that their theory is in flat contradiction to the spiritual fact.
... Roland Allen (1869-1947), Pentecost and the World, London: Oxford University Press, 1917, included in The Ministry of the Spirit, David M. Paton, ed., London: World Dominion Press, 1960, p. 57 fn. (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Gen. 12:1-3; 22:16-18; Matt. 12:18-21; John 17:22-23; Acts 11:15-18; 15:28-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; more at Church, Communion, Holy Spirit, Preach, Question, Teach)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face, but art now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the lustre of His grace.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), for Apr. 15, Morning by Morning, New York: Sheldon & Co., 1867, p. 106 (see the book; see also 2 Sam. 22:29; Deut. 31:6; Ps. 22:1; 38:12; Isa. 9:2; John 1:4; more at Darkness, God, Grace, Life, Soul)

Sunday, February 27, 2022
Feast of George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633

The God of love my shepherd is,
And he that doth me feed:
While he is mine and I am his,
What can I want or need?
He leads me to the tender grasse,
Where I both feed and rest;
Then to the streams that gently passe:
In both I have the best.
Or if I stray, he doth convert,
And bring my minde in frame:
And all this not for my desert,
But for his holy name.
Yea, in deaths shadie black abode
Well may I walk, not fear:
For thou art with me, and thy rod
To guide, thy staffe to bear.
Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,
Ev’n in my enemies’ sight;
My head with oyl, my cup with wine
Runnes over day and night.
Surely thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my dayes;
And as it never shall remove,
So neither shall my praise.
... George Herbert (1593-1633), The Poetical Works of George Herbert, New York: D. Appleton, 1857, p. 219-220 (see the book; see also Phil. 4:19; Ps. 23; 2 Cor. 5:1; Eph. 3:20-21; more at Cup, Day, Enemy, Gentleness, God, Guidance, Leader, Love, Praise)

Monday, February 28, 2022

The music of the gospel must precede the words of the gospel and prepare the context in which there will be a hunger for those words. What is the music of the gospel? The music of the gospel is the beauty of the indwelling Christ as lived out in the everyday relationships of life.
... Joseph C. Aldrich (1941-2009), Lifestyle Evangelism, Multnomah Press, 1981, p. 20 (see the book; see also Eph. 3:4-6; Matt. 5:14-16; 1 Cor. 14:15; 2 Cor. 4:10; 13:5; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:27; 3:16; Rev. 3:20; more at Beauty, Christ, Gospel, Music)


Christ, our Light

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