Christ, our Light

Quotations for March, 1998

Sunday, March 1, 1998
Feast of David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601

There is nothing capricious about religion. We do not get the soul in different ways, under different laws, from those in which we get the body and the mind. If a man does not exercise his arm, he develops no biceps muscles and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigour of moral fibre, nor beauty of spiritual growth. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion. It is a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the whole round Christian character—the Christ-like nature in its fullest development. And the constituents of this great character are only to be built up by ceaseless practice.
... Henry Drummond (1851-1897), “The Greatest Thing in the World”, in Addresses, H. Altemus, 1891, p. 51-52 (see the book; see also Tit. 2:11-14; more at Christlikeness, Love, Morality, Practical Christianity, Religion, Spiritual life, Strength)

Monday, March 2, 1998
Feast of Chad, Abbot of Lastingham, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672

Peace comes when there is no cloud between our lives and God. Peace is the consequence of forgiveness, God’s removal of that which obscures His face, and [so] breaks union with Him. The happy sequence culminating in fellowship with God is penitence, pardon, and peace—the first we offer, the second we accept, and the third we inherit.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in Prayer, London: Jacobs & Co., 1907, p. 53 (see the book; see also 1 John 1:9; Deut. 7:9; Ps. 51:1-2; Eze. 34:25; 37:26; 1 Cor. 1:9; Tit. 2:12-14; Heb. 13:20; 1 John 1:3,7; more at Fellowship, Forgiveness, God, Peace, Penitence)

Tuesday, March 3, 1998

Pride calls me to the window, gluttony to the table, wantonness to the bed, laziness to the chimney-corner; ambition commands me to go upstairs, and covetousness to come down. Vices, I see, are as well contrary to themselves as to virtue. Free me, Lord, from this distracted case; fetch me from being sin’s servant to be Thine, whose “service is perfect freedom,” for Thou art but one, and ever the same.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Good Thoughts in Bad Times [1645], Chicago: United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston, 1898, Mixt Contemplations, VIII. (see the book; see also Gal. 5:1; more at Sin)

Wednesday, March 4, 1998
Commemoration of Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647

Christ claims our help in many a strange disguise:
Now, fever ridden, on a bed He lies;
Homeless He wanders now beneath the stars;
Now counts the number of His prison bars;
Now bends beside us, crowned with hoary hairs.
No need have we to climb the heavenly stairs
And press our kisses on His feet and hands;
In every man that suffers, He, the Man of Sorrows, stands.
... Anonymous, included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 251 (see the book; see also Matt. 25:44,45; more at Weakness)

Thursday, March 5, 1998

When we have, through Christ, obtained mercy and grace for our persons, we need not fear but that we shall have suitable and seasonable help for our duties.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. III-V, in Works of John Owen, v. XXI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 438 (see the book; see also Ps. 72:13,14; Heb. 4:16; more at Christ, Duty, Grace, Mercy, Weakness)

Friday, March 6, 1998

A Christian marriage is [not] one with no problems or even a marriage with fewer problems. (It may well mean more problems.) But it does mean a life in which two people are able to accept each other and love each other in the midst of problems and fears. It means a marriage in which selfish people can accept selfish people without constantly trying to change them—and even accept themselves, because they realize personally that they have been accepted by Christ.
... Keith Miller (1927-2012), The Taste of New Wine, Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1965, p. 48 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 7:12-17; Deut. 33:27-29; Ps. 37:24; 119:116-117; John 10:28-30; Rom. 8:38-39; 14:4; more at Attitudes, Christ, Love, Marriage, People, Selfish)

Saturday, March 7, 1998
Feast of Perpetua, Felicity & their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203

Accustom yourself then by degrees thus to worship Him, to beg His grace, to offer Him your heart from time to time, in the midst of your business, even every moment, if you can. Do not always scrupulously confine yourself to certain rules, or particular forms of devotion, but act with a general confidence in God, with love and humility.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Seventh Letter, p. 34-35 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:1-2; Eph. 3:12; Heb. 4:16; 10:35; 1 John 3:21-22; more at Confidence, Devotion, God, Heart, Humility, Love, Offering, Rule, Worship)

Sunday, March 8, 1998
Commemoration of Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929

Peace does not mean the end of all our striving,
Joy does not mean the drying of our tears.
Peace is the power that comes to souls arriving
Up to the light where God Himself appears.
Joy is the wine that God is ever pouring
Into the hearts of those who strive with Him,
Light’ning their eye to vision and adoring,
Strength’ning their arms to warfare glad and grim.
... G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929), The Hardest Part, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919, p. 187 (see the book; see also Rom. 14:17-18; more at Attitudes, Gladness, God, Joy, Peace, Power, Strength, Strife, Tear)

Monday, March 9, 1998

Sin is nothing else than that the creature willeth otherwise than God willeth, and contrary to Him.
... Theologia Germanica [1518], Anonymous, ascribed to Johannes de Francfordia, (1380?-1440) & Susanna Winkworth, tr., published anonymously by Martin Luther, ch. XXXVI (see the book; see also Jas. 4:4-5; more at God, Sin, Will of God)

Tuesday, March 10, 1998

I inquired what iniquity was, and found it to be no substance, but the perversion of the will, turned aside from Thee, O God, the Supreme, towards these lower things.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, VII.xvi, p. 162 (see the book; see also John 4:34; Ps. 32:2; 36:1-3; 125:4-5; 141:4; Matt. 6:10; Mark 3:35; John 6:38-40; Rom. 12:2; more at God, Prayers, Sin)

Wednesday, March 11, 1998

In case our sins have been public and scandalous, both reason and the practice of the Christian Church do require, that, when men have publicly offended they should give public satisfaction and open testimony of their repentance.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLX, p. 284-285 (see the book; see also Rev. 3:19; Ps. 19:12; 38:18; Jas. 5:16; more at Church, Reason, Repentance, Satisfaction, Sin)

Thursday, March 12, 1998

Evil is the soul’s choice of the not-God. The corollary is that damnation, or hell, is the permanent choice of the not-God. God does not (in the monstrous old-fashioned phrase) “send” anybody to hell; hell is that state of the soul in which its choice becomes obdurate and fixed; the punishment (so to call it) of that soul is to remain eternally in that State which it has chosen.
... Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement, London: Golanz, 1963, p. 230 (see the book; see also Gen. 6:5-8; Deut. 30:19; Ps. 1:6; 37:20; Pr. 16:4; more at Evil, Hell, Punishment, Sin, Soul)

Friday, March 13, 1998

It is appalling to think of a power so strong that it can annihilate with the irresistible force of its grinding heel; but it is inspiring to consider an Almightiness that transforms the works of evil into the hand-maidens of righteousness and converts the sinner into the saint. And it is this latter power which eternal Love possesses and exhibits. He persistently dwells in the sinner until the sinner wakes up in His likeness and is satisfied with it.
... Charles H. Brent (1862-1929), With God in the World [1899], London: Longmans Green, 1914, p. 141 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:3-5; more at Sin)

Saturday, March 14, 1998

It is possible that for a Jew nothing more was required than the assurance that his sins were ‘remitted,’ ‘blotted out’; he might thereafter feel himself automatically restored to the relation of favour on God’s part and confidence on his own, which was the hereditary prerogative of his people. But it was different with those who could claim no such prerogative, and with those Jews who had become uneasy as to the grounds of such a relation and their validity, in a word, with any who had been led by conscience to take a deeper view of the consequences of sin. So long as these were found mainly in punishment, suffering, judgment, so long ‘remission of sins’ letting off the consequences, might suffice. But when it was recognized that sin had a far more serious consequence in alienation from God, the severing of the fellowship between God and His children, then Justification... ceased to be sufficient. ‘Forgiveness’ took on a deeper meaning; it connoted restoration of the fellowship, the establishment or re-establishment of a relation which could be described on the one side as fatherly, on the other as filial.
... Anderson Scott (1859-1941), Christianity According to St. Paul, Cambridge: The University Press, 1927, CUP Archive, 1959, p. 74-75 (see the book; see also 1 John 1:5-7; Ps. 32:1-2; 85:4; Isa. 43:25; Mic. 7:18-19; Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 4:6-8; 8:1-4; 1 John 4:20; more at Assurance, Conscience, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Judgment, Punishment, Renewal, Sin, Suffer)

Sunday, March 15, 1998

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work, or His own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: Thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
... John Milton (1608-1674), composed 1655, The Complete Poems of John Milton, New York: P. F. Collier, 1909, p. 86 (see the book; see also Matthew 25:14-30; more at Gifts, God, Need, Obedience, Patience, Service, Talent)

Monday, March 16, 1998

Any alleged Christianity which fails to express itself in cheerfulness, at some point, is clearly spurious. The Christian is cheerful, not because he is blind to injustice and suffering, but because he is convinced that these, in the light of the divine sovereignty, are never ultimate.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Humor of Christ, London: Libra Book, 1965, p. 32 (see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:21-24; Ps. 9:2; Matt. 5:11-12; Luke 6:22-23; 10:20; Rom. 5:1-5; 8:18; 12:15; Phil. 4:4; 1 Pet. 4:13; more at Cheer, Optimism, Sin, Suffer)

Tuesday, March 17, 1998
Feast of Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460

Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 181 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:18; Ps. 28:7; 30:11-12; 75:1; 136; Eph. 5:19-20; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:17; Rev. 5:11-13; more at Dumbness, Heaven, Repentance, Thanksgiving)

Wednesday, March 18, 1998

Often, though not always, they work in inadequate buildings, with limited budgets, with insufficient backing from church officers, with indifferent support from parents, and at times even under a minister who cares for none of these things. Usually the workers themselves have had insufficient training for the job they are asked to perform. And always they work in a secularized culture, in the midst of spiritual illiteracy, where the most commonplace terms in the Bible and the most elemental ideas concerning the Kingdom of God sound strange even to otherwise well-educated adults.
... Lewis J. Sherrill (1892-1957), Lift Up Your Eyes, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1949, p. 69 (see the book; see also Neh. 8:8; more at Church)

Thursday, March 19, 1998
Feast of Joseph of Nazareth

Some day, we hope, study will be as much a part of churchmanship as worship and financial support are today. To be sure, the church of Jesus Christ must be more than just a “studying” church. But it cannot be less than a studying church and still be faithful to its Lord.
... Carl R. Smith & Robert W. Lynn, “Experiment in Suburbia”, in Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups, John L. Casteel, ed., NY: Association Press, 1957, p. 163 (see the book; see also 2 Tim. 2:15; more at Bible, Church, Faith, Today, Worship)

Friday, March 20, 1998
Feast of Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

The desire for certitude is natural enough and explains the human tendency to mistake faith for certainty. This is not a specially religious mistake. We think of supernaturalism when faith is mentioned, but the naturalistic description of the world also operates on assumptions that require a faith as robust as does the most soaring mysticism. The usual efforts to skirt faith beg all the questions there are. A psychiatrist, for instance, who points out to you that you believe in God the Father because you need a father, or that you became a missionary to expiate your guilt feelings, may be quite correct, but he has not touched on the prior question as to whether there is, in fact, a cosmic father figure who is the archetype of all other fathers, or whether there is an evangel worth spending your life promulgating.
... Thomas Howard (b. 1935), Christ the Tiger, Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1967, p. 97 (see the book; see also Rev. 5:11-12; Ps. 20:7; 94:20-22; Matt. 7:11; Rom. 8:15; 1 Cor. 15:9; more at Certainty, Faith, Father, God, Guilt, Life, Missionary, Nature, Need)

Saturday, March 21, 1998

This wide and generous spirit of love, not the religious egotist’s longing to get away from the world to God, is the fruit of true self-oblation; for a soul totally possessed by God is a soul totally possessed by Charity. By the path of self-offering, the Church and the soul have come up to the frontiers of the Holy. There we are required, not to cast the world from us, but do our best for all others as well as ourselves.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice, New York: Longmans, Green, 1938, p. 32 (see the book; see also Col. 3:14; more at Abasement, Charity, Generosity, Love, Self-sacrifice, Soul, Spirit)

Sunday, March 22, 1998

God may thunder His commands from Mount Sinai and men may fear, yet remain at heart exactly as they were before. But let a man once see his God down in the arena as a Man, suffering, tempted, sweating, and agonized—finally dying a criminal’s death—and he is a hard man indeed who is untouched.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small [1953], Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 109 (see the book; see also Isa. 53:3-5; Ex. 20:2-18; Jer. 5:1-2; Matt. 27:54-55; Mark 15:39-41; Luke 23:47-49; John 11:35-36; more at Commandment, Death, God, Suffer, Weakness)

Monday, March 23, 1998

Wherever... thou shalt be, pray secretly within thyself. If thou shalt be far from a house of prayer, give not thyself trouble to seek for one, for thou thyself art a sanctuary designed for prayer. If thou shalt be in bed, or in any other place, pray there; thy temple is there.
... Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, Selections from His Letters, Meditations, Sermons, Hymns and Other Writngs, tr. Horatio Grimley, CUP Archive, n.d., p. 194 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Ps. 3:5; 63:6; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:8; more at Devotion, Prayer, Sanctuary, Temple)

Tuesday, March 24, 1998
Feast of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980
Commemoration of Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953

Even if all the things that people prayed for happened, which they do not, this would not prove what Christians mean by the efficacy of prayer. For prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them. Invariable “success” in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something more like magic—a power in certain human beings to control, or compel, the course of nature.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer [1958], Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, p. 4 (see the book; see also John 17:1-5; Lev. 19:31; 2 Cor. 12:8,9; more at Folly, Power, Prayer, Proof, Success, Wisdom)

Wednesday, March 25, 1998
Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord to the Virgin Mary

The life of prayer is just love to God and the custom of being ever with Him.
... Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), Santa Teresa, an Appreciation, Alexander Whyte, ed., London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1897, p. 75 (see the book; see also 1 Thess. 5:17-18; 1 Sam. 12:23; Ps. 55:16-17; 109:4; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12; 18:1; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; more at God, Life, Love, Prayer)

Friday, March 27, 1998

He that seeks God in everything is sure to find God in everything. When we thus live wholly unto God, God is wholly ours, and we are then happy in all the happiness of God; for by uniting with Him in heart, and will, and spirit, we are united to all that He is and has in Himself. This is the purity and perfection of life that we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, that God’s kingdom may come and His will be done in us, as it is in Heaven. And this we may be sure is not only necessary, but attainable by us, or our Saviour would not have made it a part of our daily prayer.
... William Law (1686-1761), Works of Rev. William Law, v. VI, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 33 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:10; Luke 6:21; 11:2-4; more at God, Happiness, Kingdom, Life, Perfection, Prayer, Purity, Unity)

Saturday, March 28, 1998

What makes life worth living is the mutual enrichment of people through understanding, intelligence and affection.
It is just here that our awareness that Jesus is our contemporary and that Calvary is relevant to our present human situation ought to help us greatly. And that is not merely because in his relationships with others during his earthly life in Palestine Jesus exemplified all that I have tried to say about human relationships. In every genuine human encounter with another person we may become aware of Jesus, and meet with him. This may sound fanciful, but there is much in the Scriptures and in Christian experience which suggests that Jesus is frequently met in the traffic of person with person, provided that there is a genuine encounter between them. Jesus himself showed that for this to happen demands courage and a willingness to move from a life that is centred in itself. So if we are to pass out of that lonely world of isolation then we must be prepared to take the risks that are always involved when we allow persons to confront us as persons and do not regard them as things. Yet, dangerous though it may be to live in this way, it is the only way to live.
... Ambrose Reeves (1899-1980), Calvary Now, London: SCM Press, 1965, p. 76-77 (see the book; see also 1 John 3:14; Matt. 19:13-15; 25:34-40; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 10:29-37; 18:15-17; John 13:35; Heb. 13:1; 1 Pet. 1:22; 3:8; 1 John 4:7-8; 5:2; more at Affection, Calvary, Courage, Jesus, Life, People, Scripture, Understanding, Way)

Sunday, March 29, 1998
Commemoration of Jack Winslow, Missionary, Evangelist, 1974

Let us remember how very soon the missionary character of the Church was forgotten, and the Church, instead of obeying the commandment of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations (in fact, that it was chiefly a missionary association), neglected this great and important calling... It is astonishing how a commandment so simple and distinct, and how a duty which you would have imagined would be eagerly greeted by the impulse of gratitude, of affection, and of compassion, was forgotten for so long a time, in the churches of the Reformation especially. Now we are accustomed to hear of mission work among the heathen nations, and to find that a great multitude of people are interested in it, and regard it with respect; but it was only at the commencement of the last century, and with great difficulty, [that] the attention of the Church was roused to this important duty; and even in the... Church of Scotland there were a number of ministers who thought that the state of heathenism was so utterly corrupt, and that there was so much to be done in our own country, that it was altogether a Utopian project to think of converting the idolaters, and that it was not our imperative duty to trouble ourselves with their wretched condition.
... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 83-84 (see the book; see also Matt. 28:19-20; Ps. 22:27-31; 98:2-3; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 2:38-39; 10:45-48; 13:46-47; 28:28; Col. 1:22-23; more at Call, Church, Commandment, Conversion, Corruption, Duty, Jesus, Mission, Missionary, Obedience, Reformation)

Monday, March 30, 1998

See in the meantime that your faith bringeth forth obedience, and God in due time will cause it to bring forth peace.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition upon Psalm CXXX [1668], in Works of John Owen, v. VI, New York: R. Carter & Bros., 1851, p. 563 (see the book; see also Ps. 130:3-4; 25:11; 86:5; 103:2-5; Isa. 1:18; Jer. 31:34; John 14:27; Rom. 5:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:12; 10:5; more at Faith, Obedience, Peace)

Tuesday, March 31, 1998
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631

He was the Word that spake it;
He took the bread and brake it;
And what that Word did make it
I do believe, and take it.
... John Donne (1573-1631), but also ascribed by contemporaries to Elizabeth I (see the book; see also John 6:32-35, 47-51; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-25; more at Bread, Church, Communion)


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