Christ, our Light

Quotations for November, 1998

Sunday, November 1, 1998
Feast of All Saints

Let men in whose hearts are the ways of God seriously consider the use that hath been made, under the blessing of God, of the conscientious observation of the Lord’s day, in the past and present ages, unto the promotion of holiness, righteousness, and religion universally, in the power of it; and if they are not under invincible prejudices, it will be very difficult for them to judge that it is a plant which our heavenly Father hath not planted. For my part, I must not only say, but plead whilst I live in this world, and leave this testimony to the present and future ages, if these papers see the light and do survive, that if I have ever seen any thing in the ways and worship of God wherein the power of religion or godliness hath been expressed, any thing that hath represented the holiness of the gospel and the Author of it, any thing that hath looked like a preludium unto the everlasting Sabbath and rest with God, which we aim through grace to come unto, it hath been there and with them where and amongst whom the Lord’s day hath been had in highest esteem, and a strict observation of it attended unto, as an ordinance of our Lord Jesus Christ.
... John Owen (1616-1683), Exercitations on the Epistle to the Hebrews, pt. IV ff, in Works of John Owen, v. XIX, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 428 (see the book; see also Ex. 20:8; more at Sabbath)

Monday, November 2, 1998
Feast of All Souls

If you should ask me how I believe in God—that is to say, how God creates Himself in me and reveals Himself to me—my answer may, perhaps, provoke your smiles or your laughter, or it may even scandalize you. I believe in God as I believe in my friends, because I feel the breath of His affection, feel His invisible and intangible hand drawing me, leading me, grasping me.
... Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936), quoted in The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and in Peoples, Macmillan and Co., 1926, p. 194 (see the book; more at Affection, Belief, Friend, Knowing God, Leader)

Tuesday, November 3, 1998
Feast of Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher, 1600
Commemoration of Martin of Porres, Dominican Friar, 1639

It is, of course, impossible to exaggerate the importance of the historicity of what is commonly known as the Resurrection. If, after all His claims and promises, Christ had died and merely lived on as a fragrant memory, He would only be revered as an extremely good but profoundly mistaken man. His claims to be God, His claims to be Himself the very principle of life, would be mere self-delusion. His authoritative pronouncements on the nature of God and Man and Life would be at once suspect. Why should He be right about the lesser things if He was proved to be completely wrong in the greater?
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Your God is Too Small [1953], Simon and Schuster, 2004, p. 110 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:14,20; Luke 24:38-43; John 8:58; 14:8-11; more at Death, Easter, God, Goodness, Life, Promise, Resurrection, Reverence)

Wednesday, November 4, 1998

Before I can have any joy in being alone with God I must have learned not to fear being alone with myself...
Shrinking from any deep self-scrutiny is by no means an uncommon thing, and often goes far to explain the feverish restlessness with which a world-loving heart plunges into perpetual rounds of gaieties and dissipations. They serve as an escape from troublesome questions about the soul, and help to get rid of the clamours of conscience.
... G. H. Knight (1835-1917), In the Secret of His Presence, Rock Island, Ill.: Augustana Book Concern, 1934, p. 59 (see the book; see also Acts 24:16; 1 Cor. 4:4; 2 Cor. 4:2; 1 Tim. 1:5; 3:9; Tit. 1:15; Heb. 9:14; 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:21; more at Being alone, Conscience, Heart, Prayer, Question, Soul)

Thursday, November 5, 1998

God’s manifestation of Himself has not been for our personal experience only, but all creation, and all time, all mankind and all man’s life upon the earth, are manifestations of God; and the man turns to barrenness and folly who limits himself to his own narrow thoughts and futile endeavours. All human experience is revelation if the great purpose of life is the discipline of souls and the one unchanging guidance for all men is duty.
... John Oman (1860-1939), Vision and Authority, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1928, p. 57 (see the book; see also Col. 1:16-17; 2:6,7; more at Creation, Duty, God, Guidance, Man, Obedience)

Friday, November 6, 1998
Feast of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1944

In an age when it is tacitly assumed that the Church is concerned only with another world than this, and in this world with nothing but individual conduct as bearing on prospects in that other world, hardly anyone reads the history of the Church in it exercise of political influence. It is assumed that the Church exercises little influence and ought to exercise none; it is further assumed that this assumption is self-evident and has always been made by reasonable men. As a matter of fact [the assumption] is entirely modern and extremely questionable.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Christianity and Social Order, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1942, p. 7 (see the book; see also Matt. 12:18-21; Isa. 60:2-3; Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:24; Luke 2:30-32; Acts 11:18; 13:46-48; Rom. 15:8-12; ; more at Church, Historical, Influence, Reason, Social, World)

Saturday, November 7, 1998
Feast of Willibrord of York, Archbishop of Utrecht, Apostle of Frisia, 739

Other sins find their vent in the accomplishment of evil deeds, whereas pride lies in wait for good deeds, to destroy them.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The Letters of Saint Augustine, v. II, Marcus Dods, tr., as vol. XIII of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1875, Ep. ccxi, p. 396 (see the book; see also Rev. 3:17-18; Matt. 23:2-12; Luke 9:46-48; 18:9-14; Gal. 6:5; more at Deed, Evil, Goodness, Pride, Sin)

Sunday, November 8, 1998
Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England

It frequently happens that the value of a thing lies in the fact that someone has possessed it. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value, if it has been possessed by some famous person. In any museum we will find quite ordinary things—clothes, a walking-stick, a pen, pieces of furniture—which are only of value because they were possessed and used by some great person. It is the ownership which gives them worth. It is so with the Christian. The Christian may be a very ordinary person, but he acquires a new value and dignity and greatness because he belongs to God. The greatness of the Christian lies in the fact that he is God’s.
... William Barclay (1907-1978), The Letters of James and Peter, Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1976, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, p. 230 (see the book; see also Matt. 20:25-28; 1 Pet. 2:4-10; more at Authenticity, God, Greatness, People, Possession)

Monday, November 9, 1998
Commemoration of Margery Kempe, Mystic, after 1433

If you believe, where are your works? Your faith is something everyone knows, for everyone knows that Christ was [crucified], and that everywhere men pray to Him. The whole world knows that His glory has not been spread by force and weapons, but by poor fishermen. O wise man, do you think the poor fishermen were not clever enough for this? Where they worked, there they made hearts better; where they could not work, there men remained bad; and therefore was the faith true and from God. The signs which the Lord had promised followed their teaching: in His name they drove out the devil; they spoke in new tongues; if they drank any deadly drink, they received therefrom no harm. Even if these wonders had not occurred, there would have been the wonder of wonders, that poor fishermen without any miracle could accomplish so great a work as the faith. It came from God, and so is Christ true, and Christ is thy God, who is in heaven and awaits thee.
... Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), The World’s Orators, Guy Carleton Lee, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900, p. 60 (see the book; see also Jas. 2:14-17; 2 Kings 4:39-41; Acts 4:13; Matt. 17:20; Mark 16:17-18; more at Belief, Christ, Faith, Heaven, Historical, Teach, Truth, Wonder, Work)

Tuesday, November 10, 1998
Feast of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 461

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified;
Not this way went the Crucified;)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God!
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), written in India, 1912, Gold Cord: the story of a fellowship, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1952, p. x (see the book; see also Rom. 8:22-25; Ps. 104:4; Song of Solomon 8:7; 1 Thess. 5:19; Jude 1:23; more at Calvary, Choices, Deliverance, Easter, Faith, Fire, Flame, God, Hope, Lamb, Love)

Wednesday, November 11, 1998
Feast of Martin, Monk, Bishop of Tours, 397

When no tensions are confronted and overcome, because insiders or outsiders of a certain class or group meet happily among themselves, then the one new thing, peace, and the one new man created by Christ, are missing; then no faith, no church, no Christ, is found or confessed. For if the attribute “Christian” can be given sense from Eph. 2, then it means reconciled and reconciling, triumphant over walls and removing the debris, showing solidarity with the “enemy” and promoting not one’s own peace of mind but “our peace.”
When this peace is deprived of its social, national, or economic dimensions, when it is distorted or emasculated so much that only “peace of mind” enjoyed by saintly individuals is left—then Jesus Christ is being flatly denied. To propose, in the name of Christianity, neutrality or unconcern on questions of international, racial, or economic peace—this amounts to using Christ’s name in vain.
... Markus Barth (1915-1994), The Broken Wall, Chicago: Judson Press, 1959, Regent College Publishing, 1959, p. 45 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:4-7,13-18; Mark 9:50; Rom. 12:18; 2 Cor. 13:11; Col. 1:19-20; 1 Thess. 5:13; more at Christ, Church, Confession, Enemy, Faith, Jesus, Man, Peace, Social)

Thursday, November 12, 1998

God tolerates even our stammering, and pardons our ignorance whenever something inadvertently escapes us—as, indeed, without this mercy there would be no freedom to pray.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. II, tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, III.xx.16, p.97 (see the book; see also Isa. 32:4; more at Freedom, God, Ignorance, Mercy, Prayer, Tolerance)

Friday, November 13, 1998
Feast of Charles Simeon, Pastor, Teacher, 1836

Do not desire crosses, unless you have borne those already laid upon you well—it is an abuse to long after martyrdom while unable to bear an insult patiently.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), Introduction to the Devout Life [1609], London: Rivingtons, 1876, III.xxxvii, p. 269 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:11; 10:38; 16:24; 27:39; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23-24; 14:27; 1 Pet. 2:23; more at Affliction, Bearing, Cross, Obedience, Patience, Persecution)

Saturday, November 14, 1998
Commemoration of Samuel Seabury, First Anglican Bishop in North America, 1796

God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, “O Lord, Thou knowest.” Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God’s omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948], Christian Publications, 1982, p. 64 (see the book; see also Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9-11; Col. 1:25-26; Heb. 5:11-14; 2 Pet. 3:16-17; more at God, Knowing God, Omniscience, Predestination, Responsibility, Reverence, Saint, Theology)

Sunday, November 15, 1998
Commemoration of Oswald Chambers, spiritual writer, 1917

The Divine Wisdom has given us prayer, not as a means whereby to obtain the good things of earth, but as a means whereby we learn to do without them; not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means whereby we become strong to meet it.
... Frederick W. Robertson (1816-1853), Sermons, v. IV, Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1866, p. 34 (see the book; see also Ps. 5:7; 85:8; Luke 22:43; Rom. 8:34; 2 Cor. 12:10; Eph. 3:16; 2 Thess. 3:3; more at Evil, Gifts, Prayer, Strength)

Monday, November 16, 1998
Feast of Margaret, Queen of Scotland, Philanthropist, Reformer of the Church, 1093
Commemoration of Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1240

He does not believe, that does not live according to his belief.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), Gnomologia, London: B. Barker, 1732, p. 71 (see the book; see also Mark 9:24; Matt. 7:16-20; 12:33; 1 John 5:5; more at Authenticity, Belief, Choices, Life)

Tuesday, November 17, 1998
Feast of Hugh, Carthusian Monk, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200

The Way is not a religion: Christianity is the end of religion. “Religion” here means the division between sacred and secular concerns, other-worldliness, man’s reaching toward God in a way which projects his own thoughts.
... David Kirk (1935-2007), Quotations from Chairman Jesus, Springfield, Ill.: Templegate Publishers, 1969, p. 87 (see the book; see also 1 John 4:19; Matt. 23:2-33; Rom. 3:12,22-24; 11:36; 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Heb. 11:6; more at God, Man, Religion, Thought, Way)

Wednesday, November 18, 1998

Sectarianism is limitation. Some truth taught in Scripture, some part of the Divine revelation, is apprehended, and the heart responds to it and accepts it. As it is dwelt upon, expounded, defended; its power and beauty increasingly influence those affected by it. Another side of truth, another view of revelation, also contained in Scripture, seems to weaken, even to contradict, the truth that has been found to be so effectual. and in jealous fear for the doctrine accepted and taught the balancing truth is minimized, explained away, and even denied. So on a portion of revelation, on a part of the Word, a sect is founded, good and useful because it preaches and practices Divine truth, but limited and unbalanced because it does not see all truth, nor frankly accept the whole of Scripture. Its members are not only deprived of the full use of all Scripture, but are cut off from the fellowship of many saints, who are less limited than they, or limited in another direction.
... E. H. Broadbent (1861-1945), The Pilgrim Church, London: Pickering & Inglis, 1931, p. 197 (see the book; see also Matt. 16:17; Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12; 10:31-32; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:15; more at Church, Fellowship, Goodness, Heart, Preach, Revelation, Saint, Scripture, Sect, Teach, Truth)

Thursday, November 19, 1998
Feast of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 680
Commemoration of Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, Philanthropist, 1231
Commemoration of Mechtild, Bèguine of Magdeburg, Mystic, Prophet, 1280

JESUS, the infinite I AM,
With God essentially the same,
With him enthroned above all height,
As God of God, and Light of Light,
Thou art by thy great Father known,
From all eternity his Son.
Thou only dost the Father know,
And wilt to all Thy followers show,
Who cannot doubt Thy gracious will
His glorious Godhead to reveal;
Reveal Him now, if Thou art He,
And live, eternal Life, in me.
... Charles Wesley (1707-1788), The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, v. X, John Wesley, London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1871, p. 252-253 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:27; John 8:58; Rom. 10:19-20; 16:25-26; more at Eternity, Everlasting, Father, God, Infinite, Jesus, Life, Light, Revelation, Son)

Friday, November 20, 1998
Feast of Edmund of the East Angles, Martyr, 870
Commemoration of Priscilla Lydia Sellon, a Restorer of the Religious Life in the Church of England, 1876

It is not for nothing that the central rite of Christ’s religion is not a fast but a feast, as if to say that the one indispensable requirement for obtaining a portion in Him is an appetite, some hunger, is to be without what we must have and He can give.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 22 (see the book; see also John 7:37; Ps. 42:1-2; Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 5:7-8; 11:23-27; Eph. 1:4-6; Rev. 19:9; more at Christ, Church, Fasting, Giving, Religion)

Saturday, November 21, 1998

He who loveth God with all his heart feareth not death, nor punishment, nor judgment, nor hell, because perfect love giveth sure access to God. But he who still delighteth in sin, no marvel if he is afraid of death and judgment.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xxiv., p. 75 (see the book; see also Rev. 2:11; Matt. 10:28; Rom. 8:1-2,5-6; Heb. 2:14-15; more at Death, God, Heart, Hell, Judgment, Love, Providence, Punishment, Sin)

Sunday, November 22, 1998
Commemoration of Cecilia, Martyr at Rome, c.230
Commemoration of Clive Staples Lewis, Spiritual Writer, 1963

The word religion is extremely rare in the New Testament and the writings of mystics. The reason is simple. Those attitudes and practices to which we give the collective name of religion are themselves concerned with religion hardly at all. To be religious is to have one’s attention fixed on God and on one’s neighbour in relation to God. Therefore, almost by definition, a religious man, or a man when he is being religious, is not thinking about religion; he hasn’t the time. Religion is what we (or he himself at a later moment) call his activity from outside.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “Lilies that Fester” The World’s Last Night [1960], Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 32 (see the book; see also Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:36-40; more at Attitudes, Authenticity, Bible, God, Man, Religion, Simplicity)

Monday, November 23, 1998
Commemoration of Clement, Bishop of Rome, Martyr, c.100

When we say that the Scriptures are plain to all capacities, in all things necessary, we mean that any man of ordinary capacity, by his own diligence and care, in conjunction with the helps and advantages which God hath appointed, and in the due use of them, may attain to the knowledge of everything necessary to his salvation; and that there is no book in the world more plain, and better fitted to teach a man any art or science than the Bible is, to direct and instruct men in the way to heaven.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. V, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon LXXXVII, p. 41 (see the book; see also John 7:17; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; more at Bible, Diligence, Heaven, Instruction, Knowledge, Man, Salvation, Teach, Way)

Tuesday, November 24, 1998

It seems that Paul is here [2 Cor. 5:21] outlining the very ultimate degree of Christ’s self-identification with us, the very lowest point to which he condescended when he took the form of a slave. He allowed himself (God allowed him) to be accounted sin by the Law. He refused to do what orthodox Jews of his day thought God had commanded them to do, (i.e.) seek to gain credit with God by keeping the Law. He lived by faith, not Law, and therefore repudiated the Law and the path of self-justification... He stripped himself even of that claim to moral goodness which would have distinguished him from sinners. Short of becoming a sinner (and Paul shows that this idea is repudiated), how could God come closer to us sinners?
... Anthony T. Hanson (1916-1991), The Church of the Servant, London: SCM Press, 1962, p. 57 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 5:21; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 4:2; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; 1 John 2:1-2; 4:10; 5:3-4; more at Abasement, Faith, God, Jesus, Law, Sinner, Slave)

Wednesday, November 25, 1998
Commemoration of Katherine of Alexandria, Martyr, 4th century

If ye keep watch over your hearts, and listen for the Voice of God and learn of Him, in one short hour ye can learn more from Him than ye could learn from Man in a thousand years.
... Johannes Tauler (ca. 1300-1361), The Inner Way, Sermon XV (see the book; see also Matt. 26:40-41; Ps. 19:14; 104:34; Mark 13:33-37; Acts17:27; Eph. 1:13-14; Heb. 13:15; more at God, Heart, Listening, Man, Prayer)

Thursday, November 26, 1998
Commemoration of Isaac Watts, Hymnwriter, 1748
Thanksgiving (U.S.)

I thank Thee, O Lord God, that though with liberal hand Thou hast at all times showered thy blessing upon our human kind, yet in Jesus Christ Thou hast done greater Things for us than Thou ever didst before:
Making home sweeter and friends dearer:
Turning sorrow into gladness and pain into the soul’s victory:
Robbing death of its sting:
Robbing sin of its power:
Making peace more peaceful and joy more joyful and faith and hope more secure.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 103 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 9:15; Isa. 35:10; 1 Cor. 15:55-57; Tit. 3:4-7; 2 Tim. 1:8-10; more at Blessing, Death, Gladness, God, Jesus, Pain, Peace, Prayers, Sin, Sorrow, Victory)

Friday, November 27, 1998

We will have no other master but our caprice—that is to say, our evil self will have no God, and the foundation of our nature is seditious, impious, refractory, opposed to and contemptuous of all that tries to rule it, and therefore contrary to order, ungovernable and negative. It is this foundation which Christianity calls the natural man. But the savage which is within us, and constitutes the primitive stuff of us, must be disciplined and civilized in order to produce a man. And the man must be patiently cultivated to produce a wise man, and the wise man must be tested and tried if he is to become righteous, and the righteous man must have substituted the will of God for his individual will, if he is to become a saint.
... Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881), The Journal Intime of Henri-Frédéric Amiel, tr. Mrs. Humphry Ward, New York: Macmillan, 1885, p. 257 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:10; more at Weakness)

Saturday, November 28, 1998

Some people are reluctant to consider the future, arguing that it must be left to solve its own problems and to shape its own beliefs. In all right efforts for the future, religion must be given first place. No provision to secure peace or just social principles can be worth much unless the foremost aim be to establish the Kingdom of God. It is not the minds and bodies only of generations to come that have to be remembered, but their immortal souls.
... John Oxenham (1852-1941), Winds of the Dawn, London, New York: Longmans, Green, 1930 (see also Mark 1:14-15; Ps. 22:30-31; 78:5-6; 102:18; Matt. 4:17; 10:7; Luke 10:9; more at Belief, Church, Future, Kingdom, Peace, Religion, Soul)

Sunday, November 29, 1998
C. S. Lewis Centennial

Holding [the Way of Affirmation], we see that every created thing is, in its degree, an image of God, and the ordinate and faithful appreciation of that thing a clue which, truly followed, will lead back to Him. Holding [the Way of Rejection], we see that every created thing, the highest devotion to moral duty, the purest conjugal love, the saint and the seraph, is no more than an image; that every one of them, followed for its own sake and isolated from its source, becomes an idol whose service is damnation.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), ArthurianTorso, Charles Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1948, p. 151 (see the book; see also Matt. 6:5,6; more at Attitudes)

Monday, November 30, 1998
Feast of Andrew the Apostle

This means that we do not know what are the limits of human history, but it does not mean that there are no real limits. It is important to assert this, because if we do not do so, the limit which we know apart from Christ becomes determinative of our outlook. That limit is death—the death of the individual, and the death of the social structure in which his corporate personality is embodied. When these are the only limits that men know, then they are left in a hopeless alternation between hope for an individual survival of death, which evacuates their corporate life of ultimate significance, and hope for the eternity of some social or political or cultural achievement, which evacuates personal existence of ultimate significance. This false alternation is overcome in Christ in whom we are brought into relation with the true limit—a consummation of all things in which both the significance of each personal life and the significance of history as a whole are to be gathered up.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), The Household of God, London, SCM Press, 1953, New York: Friendship Press, 1954, p. 155-156 (see the book; see also Matt. 24:35-36; 19:29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30; John 3:14-17; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 1:22-23; more at Christ, Death, Eternity, Existence, Historical, Hope, Hopelessness, Knowledge, Life)


Christ, our Light

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