Saturday, March 30, 2013

No end of love

Whenever I groan within myself and think how hard it is to keep writing about love in these times of tension and strife which may, at any moment, become for us all a time of terror, I think to myself: "What else is the world interested in?" What else do we all want, each one of us, except to love and be loved, in our families, in our work, in all our relationships? God is love. Love casts out fear. Even the most ardent revolutionist, seeking to change the world, to overturn the tables of the money changers, is trying to make a world where it is easier for people to love, to stand in that relationship to each other. We want with all our hearts to love, to be loved.... When you love people, you see all the good in them, all the Christ in them. God sees Christ, his son, in us and loves us. And so we should see Christ in others, and nothing else, and love them. There can never be enough of it.

Dorothy Day On Pilgrimage

Friday, March 29, 2013


 From the additional notes to Charles Spurgeon's The Treasury of David, on Psalm 119 verse 21.

Verse. 21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed. If the proud escape here, as sometimes they do, hereafter they shall not; for, "the proud man is an abomination to the Lord"Proverbs 16:5God cannot endure him; Psalms 101:5. And what of that? Tu perdes superbos, Thou shalt destroy the proud. The very heathens devised the proud giants struck with thunder from heaven. And if God spared not the angels, whom he placed in the highest heavens, but for their pride threw them down headlong to the nethermost hell, how much less shall he spare the prouAlazoneiav outiv ekfeugei dikhn, says the heathen poet, Menander; "Never soul escaped the revenge of pride," never shall escape it. So sure as God is just, pride shall not go unpunished. I know now we are all ready to call for a basin, with Pilate, and to wash our hands from this foul sin.
d dust and ashes of the sons of men, but shall cast them from the height of their earthly altitude to the bottom of that infernal dungeon! "Humility makes men angels; pride makes angels devils; "as that father said: I may well add, makes devils of men.

Honourable and beloved, this vice is a close one; it will cleave fast to you; yea, so close that ye can hardly discern it from a piece of yourselves: this is it that aggravates the danger of it. For, as Aquinas notes well, some sins are more dangerous propter vehementiam impugnationis, "for the fury of their assault"; as the sin of anger: others for their correspondence to nature; as the sins of lust: other, propter latentiam sui, "for their close skulking" in our bosom; as the sin of pride. Oh, let us look seriously into the corners of our false hearts, even with the lanthorn of God's law, and find out this subtle devil; and never give peace to our souls till we have dispossessed him. Down with your proud plumes, O ye glorious peacocks of the world: look upon your black legs, and your snake like head: be ashamed of your miserable infirmities: else, God will down with them and yourselves in a fearful vengeance. There is not the holiest of us but is this way faulty: oh, let us be humbled by our repentance, that we may not be brought down to everlasting confusion: let us be cast down upon our knees, that we may not be cast down upon our faces. For God will make good his own word, one way; "A man's pride shall bring him low." Joseph Hall, 1574-1656.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The intermediate hope

The intermediate hope -- the things that happen in the present time to implement Easter and anticipate the final day -- are always surprising because, left to ourselves, we lapse into a kind of collusion with entropy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there's nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present ... is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.

N.T. Wright
Surprised by Hope


From Charles Spurgeon's The Treasury of David, notes on Psalm 104

Verse 28. That thou givest them they gather. This sentence describes The Commissariat of Creation. The problem is the feeding of "the creeping things innumerable, both small and great beasts, "which swarm the sea; the armies of birds which fill the air, and the vast hordes of animals which people the dry land; and in this sentence we have the problem solved, "That thou givest them they gather." The work is stupendous, but it is done with ease because the Worker is infinite: if he were not at the head of it the task would never be accomplished. Blessed be God for the great They of the text. It is every way our sweetest consolation that the personal God is still at work in the world: leviathan in the ocean, and the sparrow on the bough, may be alike glad of this; and we, the children of the great Father, much more. The general principle of the text is, God gives to his creatures, and his creatures gather. That general principle we shall apply to our own case as men and women; for it is as true of us as it is of the fish of the sea, and the cattle on the hills: "That thou givest them they gather."

1. We have only to gather, for God gives. In temporal things: God gives us day by day our daily bread, and our business is simply to gather it. As to spirituals, the principle is true, most emphatically, we have, in the matter of grace, only to gather what God gives. The natural man thinks that he has to earn divine favour; that he has to purchase the blessing of heaven; but he is in grave error: the soul has only to receive that which Jesus freely gives.
2. We can only gather what God gives; however eager we may be, there is the end of the matter. The diligent bird shall not be able to gather more than the Lord has given it; neither shall the most avaricious and covetous man. "It is vain for you to rise up early and to sit up late, to eat the bread of carefulness; for so he giveth his beloved sleep."
3. We must gather what God gives, or else we shall get no good by his bountiful giving. God feeds the creeping things innumerable, but each creature collects the provender for itself. The huge leviathan receives his vast provision, but he must go ploughing through the boundless meadows and gather up the myriads of minute objects which supply his need. The fish must leap up to catch the fly, the swallow must hawk for its food, the young lions must hunt for their prey.
4. The fourth turn of the text gives us the sweet thought that, we may gather what he gives. We have divine permission to enjoy freely what the Lord bestows.
5. The last thing is, God will always give us something to gather. It is written, "The Lord will provide." Thus is it also in spiritual things. If you are willing to gather, God will always give. C.H.S.

The Word speaks

The Word speaks all things into being at the beginning. But then, when his creatures deface the world by contradicting his speaking (by denying their own natures as he has spoken them), the Word just keeps on talking. At the very instants of their contradictions, without a single throat-clearing or a moment's hesitation, he counterspeaks their contradiction in his same, original voice. In him, creation and redemption are one act; both have always been going on full force in everything. True enough, it took time for Scripture to reveal that gracious gift. But when it's all set down in black and white, grace is its ultimate point. It proclaims that the Word who makes the world is identical with the Word who saves the world, and it says he's always been doing both jobs. No matter how lost the world may get, it's always been found in the mystery of its Maker.

Robert Farrar Capon
The Fingerprints of God

Desiring God

From the additional notes to Charles Spurgeon's The Treasury of David, on Psalm 119, verse 20.

At all times. How few are there even among the servants of God who know anything of the intense feeling of devotion here expressed! O that our cold and stubborn hearts were warmed and subdued by divine grace, that we might be ready to faint by reason of the longing which we had "at all times" for the judgments of our God. How fitful are our best feelings! If today we ascend the mount of communion with God, tomorrow we are in danger of being again entangled with the things of earth. How happy are they whose hearts are "at all times" filled with longings after fellowship with the great and glorious object of their love! John Morison, 1829

If you read the lives of good men, who have been, also, intellectually great, you will be struck, I think, even to surprise, a surprise, however, which will not be unpleasant, to find them, at the close of life, in their own estimation so ignorant, so utterly imperfect, so little the better of the long life lesson. Dr. Chalmers, after kindling churches and arousing nations to their duties, summed up his own attainments in the word "desirousness, "and took as the text that best described his inner state, that passionate, almost painful cry of David, My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments. But how grand was the attainment! To be in old age as simple as a little child before God! To be still learning at threescore years and ten! How beautiful seem the great men in their simplicity! Alexander Raleigh, in "The Little Sanctuary, "1872.