I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. -- Jack London, 1916

When the tide of life turns against you

And the current upsets your boat

Don't waste tears on what might have been

Just lie on your back and float.

Author Unknown

There is a deep peace that grows out of illness and loneliness and a sense of failure. God cannot get close when everything is delightful. He seems to need these darker hours, these empty-hearted hours, to mean the most to people. Frank C. Laubach

There are two kinds of fools: one says, "This is old, therefore it is good"; the other says, "This is new, therefore it is better." William R. Inge

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. Dolly Parton

No cloud can overshadow a true Christian, but his faith may discern a rainbow in it. Anonymous

Agnosticism is epistemologically self-contradictory on its own assumptions because its claim to make no assertion about ultimate reality rests upon a most comprehensive assertion about ultimate reality.  Dr. Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987)

The gentleman will please remember that when his half-civilised ancestors were hunting the wild boar in Silesia, mine were princes of the earth.  Judah Philip Benjamin (1811-1884), said in reply to an anti-Semitic remark made by a senator of German origin.

Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon. --Disraeli (reply to a taunt by Daniel O'Connell)

The trouble with letting off steam is-- it only gets you into more hot water. Author Unknown

I love animals, they are delicious. Author Unknown

Many years ago when an adored dog died a great friend, a bishop, said to me, "You must always remember that, as far as the Bible is concerned, God only threw the humans out of Paradise." Bruce Foyle "Pets and Their People"

Don't worry if you're a kleptomaniac, you can always take something for it. Robert Benchley

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future Author Unknown

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. Goethe (1749-1832)

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Dale Carnegie

Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

Many refuse to accept the reality of a personal God because they are unwilling to submit to His authority Kurt Bruner.

Either the Bible will keep you away from sin, or sin will keep you away from the Bible!

I am convinced that a downgrading in priority of . . . prayer and biblical meditation is a major cause of weakness in many Christian communities. . . . Bible study demands pondering deeply on a short passage, like a cow chewing her cud. It is better to read a little and ponder a lot than to read a lot and ponder a little. Denis Parsons Burkitt (1911-1993)

She was a blonde. The kind of blonde that would make a bishop kick in a stained glass window. Raymond Chandler

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. Jorge Luis Borges

Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. Mother Teresa

I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.  A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Obscenity is the sign of a weak mind trying to express itself. (Unknown.)

Avoid idleness, and fill up all the spaces of thy time with severe and useful employment: for lust easily creeps in at those emptinesses where the soul is unemployed and the body is at ease; no easy, healthful, idle person was ever chaste if he could be tempted; but of all employments, bodily labour is the most useful, and of the greatest benefit for driving away the Devil.  Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Susan Ertz

In this modern world of ours many people seem to think that science has somehow made such religious ideas as immortality untimely or old fashioned.I think science has a real surprise for the sceptics. Science, for instance, tells us that nothing in nature, not even the tiniest particle, can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. If God applies this fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of His universe, doesn t it make sense to assume that He applies it to the masterpiece of His creation, the human soul? Dr.WERNER VON BRAUN

The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialised - and never knowing. David Viscott

Lord make my words soft today, for tomorrow I may have to eat them.

Dave Haigler Do you know that dolphins are so intelligent that within only a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the edge of a pool and throw them fish?

Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures. ST. AQUINAS

Jesus will judge us not only for what we did, but also for what we could have done and didn't. GEORGE OTIS

Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian. Dennis Wholey

Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.  George Burns

The best exercise for strengthening the heart is reaching down and lifting people up. Ernest Blevins

The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Though hardness of heart is a great evil, it is no greater an evil than softness of head. Theodore Roosevelt.

Darwinian Man, though well-behaved,

At best is only a monkey shaved.

W. S. Gilbert, Psyche's Song, Princess Ida, Act II

Too many people confine their exercise to jumping to conclusions, running up bills, stretching the truth, bending over backward, lying down on the job, side stepping responsibility and pushing their luck. Unknown Author

Experience is the worst teacher. It always gives the test first and the instruction afterward.

Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test first before presenting the lesson. Vernon Law

The world says, The more you take, the more you have. Christ says, the more you give, the more you are.  Frederick Buechner

When we place our contribution in the collection plate, we are not giving to the Lord; we are just taking our hands off that which belongs to Him.

So long as we imagine it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about - He is looking for us. SIMON TUGWELL

It's my business to do God's business and it's His business to take care of my business

Works? Works? A man get to heaven by works? I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand! GEORGE WHITEFIELD

What is Jordan that I should wash in it? What is the preaching that I should attend on it, while I hear nothing but what I knew before? What are these beggarly elements of water, bread, and wine? Are not these the reasonings of a soul that forgets who appoints the means of grace? William Gurnall

My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.  John Newton

Newton's tombstone reads, "John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long laboured to destroy.

Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals. Edmund Wilson

The best of healers is good cheer. Pindar, "Nemean Ode"

I have taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me send money.

If money is the root of all evil, why do churches want it so bad? Unknown

The nations morals are like its teeth, the more decayed they are the more it hurts to touch them. George Bernard Shaw

The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket. Frank McKinney Hubbard

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. Galileo Galilei

Look out for #1. Don't step in #2 either.

Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. Louis E. Boone

There is no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt. Niccolo Machiavelli

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children are smart. H. L. Mencken

If you're headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns. Author Unknown

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Mark Twain

We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities. Bill Maher, 1995


From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out. James B. Conant (1893-1978)

Tact is the ability to tell a man he has an open mind when he has a hole in his head.

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. Unknown

Don't hide your light, or you may burn yourself! Unknown

Teach your students to use what talents they have; the woods would be silent if no bird sang except those that sing best. Anon

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. Charles Mackay

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. Hector Berlioz

We must appreciate that our Christian forefathers understood this very well in A.D. 325, when they stressed the three Persons in the Trinity, as the Bible had clearly set this forth. Let us notice that it is not that they invented the Trinity in order to give an answer to the philosophical questions which the Greeks of that time understood. It is quite the contrary. The unity and diversity problem was there, and the Christians realised that in the Trinity, as it had been taught in the Bible, they had an answer that no one else had. They did not invent the Trinity to meet the need; the Trinity was already there and it MET the need. They realised that in the Trinity we have what all these people are arguing about and defining but for which they have no answer.

Let us notice again that this is not the BEST answer; it is the ONLY answer. Nobody else, no philosophy, has ever given us an answer for unity and diversity. So when people ask whether we are embarrassed intellectually by the Trinity, I always switch it over into their own terminology -- unity and diversity. Every philosophy has this problem, and no philosophy has an answer. Christianity does have an answer in the existence of the Trinity. The only answer to what exists is that He, the triune God, is there. F A Schaeffer He Is There And He Is Not Silent

Should it be said that the Greeks discovered philosophy by human wisdom, I reply that I find the Scriptures declare all wisdom to be a divine gift. St. Clement of Rome

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Of what significance is it to us that, on this particular occasion, at this particular time, there are but half a dozen of us, or thirty of us, or a hundred of us, gathered together for the breaking of bread and for prayers,when these acts themselves unite us with millions who have repeated them daily throughout the centuries and now gather unseen at our side? Harry Blamires, The Tyranny of Time

Most people are willing to change not because they see the light, but because they feel the heat. Author Unknown

A child of five would understand this. Send somebody to fetch a child of five. Groucho Marx

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, how some folks must love the Church! Gerald I. Teague

There is little good in filling churches with people who go out exactly the same as they came in; the call of the Church is not to fill churches but to fill heaven. Fr Andrew SDC "The Way of Victory"

The British churchman goes to church as he goes to the bathroom, with the minimum of fuss and no explanation if he can help it. Ronald Blythe "The Age of Illusion"

Do not ride in cars: they are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents. . . Do not stay at home: 17% of all accidents occur in the home. . . Do not walk on the streets or pavements: 14% of all accidents occur to pedestrians. . . Do not travel by air, rail, or water: 16% of all accidents happen on these. . . Only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders. . . Hence the safest place for you to be at any time is at church!  - Mark Leslie via Sermon Fodder <Sermon_Fodder-owner@onelist.com>

It can be exalting to belong to a church that is 550 years behind the times and sublimely indifferent to fashion; it is mortifying to belong to a church that is five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up. - JOSEPH SOBRAN

When were the good and the brave ever in a majority? -- Henry Thoreau

The higher the mountains, the more understandable is the glory of Him who made them and who holds them in His hand. Francis Schaeffer

You may abuse a tragedy, though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables. Boswell: Life of Johnson

When the people criticised and answered his pamphlets, papers, &c. Why now, these fellows are only advertising my book (he would say); it is surely better a man should be abused than forgotten. Piozzi: Anecdotes of Johnson

Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain and most fools do. Benjamin Franklin

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)"Pearls of Wisdom," ed. J. Agel and W. Glanze, 1987.

I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me.  Max Reger (1873-1916) German composer Responding to a savage review of his music (1906) In Nicolas Slonimsky, Lexicon of Musical Invective (1953)

If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: 'He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned. --Epictectus

For the first time in our history the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal. Carl Bernstein

If you are bitter at heart, sugar in the mouth will not help you. Jewish proverb

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. Carl Jung

And the best part of health is fine disposition. It is more essential than talent, even in the works of talent. Nothing will supply the want of sunshine to peaches, and, to make knowledge valuable, you must have the cheerfulness of wisdom. Whenever you are sincerely pleased, you are nourished. The joy of the spirit indicates its strength. All healthy things are sweet-tempered. Genius works in sport, and goodness smiles to the last; and, for the reason, that whoever sees the law which distributes things, does not despond, but is animated to great desires and endeavours. He who desponds betrays that he has not seen it.... It is observed that a depression of spirits develops the germs of a plague in individuals and nations. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine. Thomas Aquinas

Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm. Steven Wright

"Is it true that you smoke eight to ten cigars a day?"

"That's true."

"Is it true that you drink five martinis a day?" "That's true."

"Is it true that you still surround yourself with beautiful young women?"

"That's true."

"What does your doctor say about all of this?"

"My doctor is dead."

George Burns

Don't give us your doubts, gives us your certainties, for we have doubts enough of our own. Goethe

Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins. Mae West

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder. Author Unknown

Draft beer, not people!

Beer is proof that God loves us. Benjamin Franklin

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading. Henny Youngman

Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then, I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." Robert A. Lotzer

I tried sniffing Coke once, but the ice cubes got stuck in my nose.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't.

When God ripens apples, he isn't in a hurry and doesn't make a noise. D Jackman

Pablo Casals (1876-1973), the great cellist, when in his 90s, was once asked why he continued to practice on the cello for hours every day. His answer: "Because I think I'm seeing improvement."

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. Louis Pasteur

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there. Josh Billings

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is, that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. Henry Ward Beecher

Lack of will power has caused more failure than lack of intelligence or ability. Flower A. Newhouse

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. REAGAN, RONALD (1911-)

Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair. George Burns

 I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go. Abraham Lincoln

Prayer is a wine which makes glad the heart of man. St. Bernard

"Unitarianism affirms the ethic of Jesus as the most wonderful thing since ice cream and negates the divinity of Jesus as superstition," he says. "It seemed clear to me to ask--even when I didn't know much about the contents of the Bible--If these chaps believe so much of the New Testament, why don't they believe more? If they deny something so central as the divinity of Jesus, which is clearly there, why don't they believe less? How does this position hold together?" "Not by logic," he concluded, "but by willpower." - J I Packer, Biography.

The interviewer had asked him about the vows of celibacy and, said the cardinal: "I felt the blood drain from my body . . . I had no idea where this would lead. I said a quiet prayer to the Holy Ghost and waited for my inevitable execution. " 'Imagine,' he said, 'that you were in a crowded room and suddenly . . the most beautiful woman you had ever seen walked into that room. What would your feelings be as a man - not as a bishop or a priest?' "It was then that the Holy Ghost took a firm hold. I replied: 'I hope you're as happily married to your wife as I am to the Church. So the only way I can think of answering your question is by inviting you to imagine yourself standing next to your beloved wife in a crowded room when suddenly the most beautiful woman you have ever seen .' I didn't have to finish. There was spontaneous applause from the studio audience." NEIL BALFOUR on Basil Hume in The Times January 14 1999

I've gone to hundreds of fortune-tellers' parlours, and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her. - New York City Detective

Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.

Profanity is the weapon of the witless.

God's promises are like the stars; the darker the night the brighter they shine. David Nicholas

He was a marvellous preacher. At the end of his sermon, there was a tremendous awakening.

The Lord can clear the darkest skies

Can give us day for night.

Make drops of sacred sorrow rise

To rivers of delight.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs


Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish; then He cleans them. Mark Potter

Science has sometimes been said to be opposed to faith, and inconsistent with it. But all science, in fact, rests on a basis of faith, for it assumes the permanence and uniformity of natural laws - a thing which can never be demonstrated.  Tyron Edwards

Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing. Author Unknown

A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.

I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.

Take heed of secret sins. They will undo thee if loved and maintained: one moth may spoil the garment; one leak drown the ship; a penknife stab and kill a man as well as a sword; so one sin may damn the soul; nay, there is more danger of a secret sin causing the miscarrying of the soul than open profaneness, because not so obvious to the reproofs of the world; therefore take heed that secret sinnings eat not out good beginnings. Jeremiah Burroughs

If the guilt of sin is so great that nothing can satisfy it but the blood of Jesus; and the filth of sin is so great that nothing can fetch out the stain thereof but the blood of Jesus, how great, how heinous, how sinful must the evil of sin be.  WILLIAM BRIDGE

Oh, how horrible our sins look when they are committed by someone else! Chuck Smith

The follies of youth become the vices of manhood and the disgrace of old age. Unknown Author

The deadliest sin were the consciousness of no sin. --Thomas Carlyle

An after-dinner speech should be like a lady's dress---long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting. R.A.Butler

A report by the think-tank Demos reveals that in spite of the view that Britain is becoming a secular society, the majority in the country still proclaim themselves to be Christian, with only 4% claiming to be atheist. The most startling finding is that not only do 71% of British people believe in God but 68% profess themselves to be Christians, with over 50% believing in heaven, the resurrection and life after death. 53% pray. Christian Institute

A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. Mildred W. Struven

I have the strength of ten men! (Small, weak, skinny men with asthma.) Crist Drutis

Study is the bane of childhood, the oil of youth, the indulgence of adulthood, and a restorative in old age.  Walter Savage Landor

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction. Bessie A. Stanley (b.1879)

With most people unbelief in one thing is founded upon blind belief in another. G. C. Lichtenberg

The axioms of reason are non-demonstrable assumptions. Why should faith not be granted the same privilege? The denial of the truths of faith is, in the last analysis, no less a faith than faith itself, for it rests on personal assumptions which are apart from scientific necessity. In other words, as the truth of reason carries its own evidence, so also with faith. To the mind to whom the axioms of reason are not self-evident, they cannot be proven. So also in the case of faith: for the mind that is not enlightened by faith, the evidence of faith is ridiculous. But for the man whose eyes have been enlightened by the Spirit, faith has its proper evidence, though different from that of reason. The only sufficient ground of faith is the authority of God Himself as he addresses me in His Word. Paul K. Jewett, Emil Brunner's Concept of Revelation

It is better to be old-fashioned and right than to be up-to-date and wrong. Tiorio (?)

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. -- Henry Thoreau (Walden, 1854)

Measure not God's love and favour by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof.  Richard Sibbes

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. Ronald Reagan

Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith. Alexis de Tocqueville

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks as truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.  Samuel Johnson

Be of good comfort, brother, for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night.  John Bradford, 1510-1555, to fellow martyr, John Leaf, at the stake, Smithfield.

If you want the last word, apologise. Unknown

Once you get people laughing, they're listening and you can tell them almost anything. Herbert Gardner

Court, n.: A place where they dispense with justice.

Loyalty to organisations and movements has always tended over time to take the place of loyalty to the person of Christ. FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

Do not believe that lust can ever be killed out if gratified or satiated, for this is an abomination inspired by illusion. It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's heart.  H. P. Blavatsky (1831-1891)


The Gospel is open to all;

the most respectable sinner

has no more claim on it

than the worst.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)

Welsh preacher and writer



When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there.

The first wonder will be to see

many there whom I did not expect to see;

the second wonder will be to miss

many people who I did expect to see;

and the third and greatest of all

will be to find myself there.

John Newton (1725-1807)

English evangelical minister and hymn-writer


How do I know pornography depraves and corrupts? It depraves and corrupts me. Malcolm Muggeridge


The deeds you do today may be the only sermon some people will hear today. St. Francis of Assisi

No sin is small. Jeremy Taylor

You'll never be able to speak against sin if you're entertained by it. John Muncee

Any cloth may cover our sores, but the finest silk will not cover our sins. HENRY SMITH

First we practice sin, then defend it, then boast of it. THOMAS MANTON

God doesn't believe in atheists. Thomas A. Sundberg

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up -- they have no holidays. Henry Youngman

Atheism is a non prophet organisation.

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank. Dante Rossetti

Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.
Epitaph in a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery

Many years ago, Matthew Henry, a well-known Bible scholar, was once robbed of his wallet. Knowing that it was his duty to give thanks in everything, he meditated on this incident and recorded in his diary the following:

"Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed."

        Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
        English Non-conformist Bible commentator

God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He's even put a 'No Fishing' sign over the spot. D.L.Moody

God sends no one away empty
except those who are full
of themselves.

Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)
American evangelist


The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past--we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude--I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you--we are in charge of our Attitudes. Charles Swindoll

Rejoicing is clearly a spiritual command. To ignore it, I need to remind you, is disobedience. Charles Swindoll

If I did not believe in God, I should still want my doctor, my lawyer and my banker to do so . G. K. CHESTERTON

I may not practice what I preach, but God forbid that I preach what I practice. G K Chesterton

It is easier going out of the way when we are in, than going in when we are out.
John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress, Bypath Meadow

He that is down need fear no fall,
he that is low no pride.

John Bunyan (1628-1688)
English Non-conformist minister
and author of The Pilgrim's Progress

My education was interrupted only by my schooling. Winston Churchill

We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm. Winston Churchill

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill


Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. -- Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 11 Nov. 1947

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never- in nothing great or small, large or petty-never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Winston Churchill 1941--Harrow School

How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain and most fools do. Benjamin Franklin

The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding), lies here, food for worms; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.  Epitaph on Benjamin Franklin's grave, composed by Benjamin Franklin.

[Christians], at their best, know that often they don't know. They do not have all the answers. They do not have God in their pocket. We cannot answer every question that any bright boy in the back row might ask. We have only light enough to walk by. Howard A. Johnson (1915- )

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees, and flowers, and clouds, and stars. Martin Luther

When God wants to speak and deal with us, he does not avail himself of an angel but of parents, or the pastor, or of our neighbour. Martin Luther

It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor. MARTIN LUTHER

Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason -- I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other -- my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.  Martin Luther, at the Imperial Diet at Worms, 18 April 1521. (attributed to him)

Next to faith this is the highest art -- to be content with the calling in which God has placed you. I have not learned it yet. Martin Luther

I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of Hell unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt. Martin Luther

It would be a good thing if young people were wise and old people were strong, but God has arranged things better. MARTIN LUTHER

I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened,my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart. Martin Luther (1483-1546), Table-Talk, 319


I have a better Caretaker than you and all the angels. He it is who lies in a manger ... but at the same time sits at the right hand of God, the almighty Father. Therefore be at rest.  Martin Luther , letter to his wife Kate: 1546, eleven days before his death.


Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon, and stars have been worshipped. Shall we pluck them out of the sky. Martin Luther


I cannot believe that my illness is natural. I suspect Satan, and therefore I am the more inclined to take it lightly.
Martin Luther, stricken with a sudden illness


Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes. Martin Luther


The state of matrimony is the chief in the world after religion; but people shun it because of its inconveniences, like one who, running out of the rain, falls into the river. Martin Luther, Table Talk


There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage. Martin Luther


Nothing on earth is so well-suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music. Martin Luther


Dr. Henning asked: "Is reason to hold no authority at all with Christians, since it is to be set aside in matters of faith?" The Doctor replied: Before faith and the knowledge of God, reason is mere darkness; but in the hands of those who believe, `tis an excellent instrument. All facilities and gifts are pernicious, exercised by the impious; but most salutary when possessed by godly persons. Martin Luther (1483-1546), Table Talk, LXXVI. [1569]

Happy people produce. Bored people consume. Author Unknown

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Some people cause happiness wherever they go. Other cause happiness whenever they go. Author Unknown

Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. C. S. Lewis

We have a homing instinct, a "home detector'," and it doesn't ring for earth. That why nearly every society in history except our own instinctively believes in life after death. Like the great mythic wanders, like Ulysses and Aeneas, we have been trying to get home. Earth just doesn't smell like home. However good a road it is, however, good a motel it is, however a good training camp it is, it is not home. Heaven is. PETER KREEFT

The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. C. S. LEWIS

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality. Dante

If you're waiting for Hell to freeze over, you're skating on thin ice.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. Winston Churchill

He was the Word, that spoke it:

He took the bread and broke it;

And what that Word did make it,

I do believe and take it.

Dr. John Donne. 1573-1631. Divine Poems. On the Sacrament

You become like what you look at. Unknown Author

We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing. A. W. TOZER

True holiness consists in doing God's will with a smile.--Mother Teresa.

Every time we say, 'I believe in the Holy Spirit,' we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it. J. B. Phillips, Plain Christianity [1954]

The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down. George Whitefield

It is an undoubted truth that every doctrine that comes from God, leads to God; and that which doth not tend to promote holiness is not of God. GEORGE WHITEFIELD

Spiritual rest maketh no man idle, spiritual walking maketh no man weary.NATHANIEL HARDY

Home is where you hang your head. Groucho Marx (1890-1977 )

HOME: The place where we are treated best and grumble most.

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence

I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Make yourself an honest man, and then you can be sure there is one less rascal in the world. Unknown Author

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow. Orison Swett Marden

I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I ever met. Dwight L. Moody

The dyslexic agnostic with insomnia laid awake all night wondering if there really was a dog.

They had to evacuate our library. Someone found dynamite in the dictionary.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll sit in a boat and drink beer. Author unknown

Apparently Apollo 11 was sent as an attempt to make contact with Aliens on the moon. The correct greeting for these Aliens, apparently, was the word 'Gnorts'. As NASA were worried that the first man on the moon would forget this crucial greeting, they gave him a code name, so he would not forget it. They called him Neil Armstrong, which when spelled backwards reads... Nick Milton

I will find humour in my everyday life by looking for people I can laugh at.

Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it. George Bernard Shaw

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one. -- E. B. White (1899-1985) "Lime," 1944.


O Lord, the faith thou didst give to St. Paul, I cannot ask; the mercy thou didst show to St. Peter; I dare not ask; but Lord, the grace thou didst show unto the dying robber, that, Lord, show to me. Copernicus, epitaph of his own composition


The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging. J. S. Bach


There is nothing to it,. You only have to hit the right notes at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
J S Bach Of the Organ, in K Geiringer, The Bach Family, 1954


An agreeable harmony for the honour of God and the permissible delights of the soul.
J S Bach's definition of music, in Derek Watson, Music Quotations, 1911

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo 

Leap Of Faith - metaphor used by the 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in his Afsluttende uvidenskabelig Efterskrift (1846; Concluding Unscientific Postscript) to describe commitment to an objective uncertainty, specifically to the Christian God. For Kierkegaard, God is totally other than man; between God and man there exists a gulf that faith alone can bridge. Kierkegaard was equally opposed to the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel's rationalized Christianity and to orthodox attempts to demonstrate the truth of the Christian faith by rational argument, and he insisted that religious truth is incapable of objective proof and can be appropriated only by an act of will. Kierkegaard praised aesthetic and ethical responses to life but maintained that they do not free man from dread and despair. Man requires a relationship with God founded on a commitment that has no conclusive evidence to recommend it; faith is a risk or, as the 17th-century French writer Blaise Pascal put it, a "wager." - Extracted from Britannica.com.

Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Newton also wrote on Judaeo-Christian prophecy, whose decipherment was essential, he thought, to the understanding of God. His book on the subject, which was reprinted well into the Victorian Age, represented lifelong study. Its message was that Christianity went astray in the 4th century AD, when the first Council of Nicaea propounded erroneous doctrines of the nature of Christ. The full extent of Newton's unorthodoxy was recognized only in the present century: but although a critic of accepted Trinitarian dogmas and the Council of Nicaea, he possessed a deep religious sense, venerated the Bible and accepted its account of creation. In late editions of his scientific works he expressed a strong sense of God's providential role in nature. - Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia.

I do genuinely perceive that whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever dying, there is underlying all that change, a very power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That informing power of fate is God, and since nothing else that I see, merely through the senses can or will persist; he alone is. And is this power benevolent or malevolent - I see it as purely benevolent. For I can see that in the midst of death, life persists. In the midst of untruth, truth exists. In the midst of darkness, light persists. Hence I gather that God is life; truth; light - He is love, He is the supreme good. - Gandi's Religious Commentary.  Click here to listen to this famous speech.

Reporter: "What do you think of western civilisation?"
Gandi: "I think it would be a good idea."

At any rate, I am convinced that He [God] does not play dice. - Einstein

Letter to Max Born, 4 December 1926; in Einstein und Born Briefwechsel (1969) p. 1 (often quoted: Gott würfelt nicht [God does not play dice])

The whole charismatic idea of true spirituality and of the normal Christian life is painfully close to the idea of a life touched by magic: perfect marriages, obedient children, no sickness, no divorce, no poverty, no tragedies, no defeats, no death. 'No dice,' saith God." - Monte Wilson

If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Variety’s the very spice of life,

That gives it all its flavour.

I am monarch of all I survey,

My right there is none to dispute.


And Satan trembles when he sees,
The weakest saint upon his knees.

William Cowper (1731-1800)
English poet and hymn-writer


To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war - Churchill,  Speech at White House, 26 June 1954, in New York Times 27 June 1954, p. 1


It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. - Churchill, My Early Life (1930) ch. 9


I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. - Churchill,  At news conference in Washington, 1954, in New York Times 25 Jan. 1965 (Suppl.) p. 7


A sheep in sheep’s clothing. - Churchill, On Clement Attlee, in Lord Home The Way the Wind Blows (1976) ch. 6. Cf. Gosse1


Who loves not woman, wine, and song

Remains a fool his whole life long. – Martin Luther

Attributed (later inscribed in the Luther room in the Wartburg, but with no proof of authorship)


The noblest of all dogs is the hot dog; it feeds the hand that bites it. – Robert W. Chambers


Yesterday is the past. Tomorrow is the future. Today is a gift; that’s why it’s called the Present. -Anonymous


If there were no other proof of the infinite patience of God with men, a very good one could be found in His toleration of the pictures that are painted of Him. – Thomas Merton


A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;

An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Sir Winston Churchill


A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows. – St. Francis of Assisi


I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about? – Henry Ford


Faith is like electricity. You can’t see it, but you can see the light – Anonymous


Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway. – Anonymous


A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain silent – Anonymous


The world is full of givers and takers; the takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better. – Anonymous


God rest ye merry gentlemen,

Let nothing you dismay,

For Jesus Christ, our Saviour,

Was born upon this day.



May there always be work for your hands to do,

May your purse always hold a coin of two,

May the sun always shine upon your window pane,

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain,

May the hand of a friend always be near to you and

May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you

 -Irish Blessing


The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; his presence should be felt everywhere, but he should never be seen - Gustave Flaubert

Man is by his constitution a religious animal...atheism is against, not only our reason, but our instincts - Edmund Burke

He was a embittered atheist (the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve In God as personally dislike him -George Orwell

She didn't believe in anything; only her scepticism kept her from being an atheist.

I always say beauty is only sin deep - Saki

Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all - Chesterton (Orthodoxy)

Love your neighbour is not merely sound Christianity; it is good business – David Lloyd George

The Bible is literature not dogma- George Santayana

There is a species of person called a 'Modern Churchman' who draws the full salary of a beneficed clergyman and need not commit himself to any religious belief - Evelyn Waugh

[Said to a violinist complaining that a passage was unplayable] : When I composed that, I was conscious of being inspired by God Almighty. Do you think I can consider your puny little fiddle when he speaks to me? - Beethoven (attributed to him)

Men have charisma, women have vital statistics - Julie Burchill

The mind is a tool, a machine, moved by spiritual fire - Dostoevsky

The English bible, a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power - Lord Macaulay

Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished – Jeremy Bentham (attributed to him)

There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law - the law of our creator, the law of humanity, justice, equality, the law of nature, and of nations - Edmund Burke

All of us know that there is no better way of exercising the imagination than the study of law. No poet interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interpreted reality - Jean Giraudoux

A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a thousand men with guns - Mario Puzo

A lie can be half-way round the world before the truth has got its boots on – James Callaghan

A cynic is just a man who found out when he was about ten that there wasn't any Santa Claus, and he's still upset – J C Cozzens

The marvellous thing about a joke with a double meaning is that it can only mean one thing - Ronnie Barker (attributed to him)

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

and rides upon the storm - William Cowper

[reply when asked what inferences can be drawn about the nature of God from a study of his works]: The Creator...has a special preference for beetles – J B S Haldane

If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once dry up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral everything would be lawful, even cannibalism - Dostoevsky

The religions we call false were once true - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm not really a Jew; just Jew-ish, not the whole hog- Jonathan Miller

The Jews have produced only three originative geniuses: Christ, Spinoza, and myself - Gertrude Stein

I am delighted to be with you. In fact, at my age, I'm delighted to be anywhere - Ronald Reagan (Speech at Oxford Union)

They say hard work never hurt anybody, but I figure why take the chance. – Ronald Reagan (attributed to him)

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a close resemblance to the first – Ronald Reagan

Referring to his contract for a television appearance] - the big print giveth and the small print taketh away – Bishop J Fulton Sheen (Attributed to him)

[On receiving a note containing only one word: 'fool']: I have known many an instance of a man writing a letter and forgetting to sign his name, but this is the only instance I have ever known of a man signing his name and forgetting to write the letter. – Henry Ward Beecher (Attributed to him)


The object of opening the mind as of opening the mouth is to close it again on something solid.  - G. K. Chesterton

[Roger Royle's standard reply to young critics]: "When you find your parents, I'll baptise you..."

If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up.  The Brothers Karamazov (187980) bk. 2, ch. 6


Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creatureand to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?  The Brothers Karamazov (187980) bk. 5, ch. 4


So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship.  The Brothers Karamazov (187980) bk. 5, ch. 5


Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honour those whom they have slain.  The Brothers Karamazov (187980) bk. 6, ch. 3


All people seem to be divided into ordinary and extraordinary. The ordinary people must lead a life of strict obedience and have no right to transgress the law because they are ordinary. Whereas the extraordinary people have the right to commit any crime they like and transgress the law in any way just because they happen to be extraordinary.  Crime and Punishment (1866) pt. 3, ch. 5 (translated by David Magarshak)


We have to break with what must be broken with once and for all and we have to take the suffering upon ourselves Freedom and power power above all. Power over all the tumbling vermin and over all the ant-hill!  Crime and Punishment (1866) pt. 4, ch. 4 (translated by David Magarshak)


Power is given only to him who dares to stoop and take it one must have the courage to dare.  Crime and Punishment (1866) pt. 5, ch. 4 (translated by David Magarshak)


The Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers, and the story of the first collision is, in essentials, the story of all. - Maclaren,Alexander,  Expositions of Holy Scripture: Acts of the Apostles (1907) ch. 4


An abomination unto the Lord, but a very present help in time of trouble.  (Definition of a lie, an amalgamation of Proverbs 12.22 and Psalms 46.1, often attributed to Adlai Stevenson. Bill Adler The Stevenson Wit (1966) p. 8)


God gave Noah the rainbow sign,

No more water, the fire next time.

Home in that Rock (Negro spiritual)


It reminds me of the small boy who jumbled his biblical quotations and said: A lie is an abomination unto the Lord, and a very present help in trouble.  In Bill Adler The Stevenson Wit (1966) p. 8 (cf. Proverbs 1:2, Psalms 4:1)


Philosophy is such an impertinently litigious lady that a man has as good be engaged in law suits as have to do with her. Letter to Edmond Halley, 20 June 1686, in H. W. Turnbull (ed.) Correspondence of Isaac Newton vol. 2 (1960) p. 4


A stand can be made against invasion by an army; no stand can be made against invasion by an idea.  Histoire d’un Crime (written 18512, published 1877) pt. 5, sect. 10 – Victor Hugo


By being so long in the lowest form [at Harrow] I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek. But I was taught English. Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence which is a noble thing. Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat.  My Early Life (1930) ch. 2 Churchill


I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. - Churchill  At news conference in Washington, 1954, in New York Times 25 Jan. 1965 (Suppl.) p. 7


I remember, when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum’s circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the programme which I most desired to see was the one described as The Boneless Wonder. My parents judged that that spectacle would be too revolting and demoralizing for my youthful eyes, and I have waited 50 years to see the boneless wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench. -Churchill,  Speech, Hansard 28 January 1931, col. 1 (referring to Ramsay Macdonald)

George Bernard Shaw, "Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere.  Bring a friend - if you have one."

Churchill, "Can't make the first performance.  Will attend the second - if there is one."

In a speech at the University of Florida, Dick Gregory said that he really enjoyed the Martin Luther King Jr stamp, just thinking about all those white bigots licking the backside of a black man. Frank Lynch

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his. The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him, knowing as I do how incapable he and his worshippers are of understanding any less obvious form of indignity.  Saturday Review 26 Sept. 1896 (reviewing a production of Cymbeline) - George Bernard Shaw

A black man was asked to leave an old white church. As he walked away, he expressed his frustration to the Lord. Suddenly God spoke, and told him, "I understand your frustration. I've been trying to get into that church for 200 years!" Anonymous

 John Henderson, an unbeliever,

Had lately lost his Joie de Vivre

From reading far too many books


The moral is (it is indeed!)

You mustn’t monkey with the Creed.

Ladies and Gentlemen (1932) The Example -Belloc, Hilaire


Oh! let us never, never doubt

What nobody is sure about!

More Beasts for Worse Children (1897) The Microbe-Belloc, Hilaire


Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight,

But Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right.

The Pacifist (1938) -Belloc,Hilaire


Gentlemen, I am a Catholic. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative.  Speech to voters of South Salford, 1906, in R. Speaight Life of Hilaire Belloc (1957) ch. 1


If Max [Beaverbrook] gets to Heaven he won’t last long. He will be chucked out for trying to pull off a merger between Heaven and Hell...after having secured a controlling interest in key subsidiary companies in both places, of course.  In A. J. P. Taylor Beaverbrook (1972) ch. 8 –HG Wells


We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon. ( Speech to Bible class at Plains, Georgia, March 1976, in Boston Sunday Herald Advertiser 11 Apr. 1976) –Jimmy Carter

 I’m Jimmy Carter, and I’m going to be your next president.  (Said to the son of a campaign supporter, Nov. 1975, in I’ll Never Lie to You (1976) ch. 1)

British travel writer and novelist. Religions are kept alive by heresies, which are really sudden explosions of faith. Dead religions do not produce them. - Gerald Brenan 18941987  Thoughts in a Dry Season (1978) p. 45


Once in the lobby of the Midland Hotel in Manchester when I happened to be in some public disfavour, a man came up to me, grasped my hand and observed: Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.  Radio Times 9 July 1964 –Malcolm Muggeridge


There once was a man who said, God

Must think it exceedingly odd

If he finds that this tree

Continues to be

When there’s no one about in the Quad.

In Langford Reed Complete Limerick Book (1924), to which came the anonymous reply:


Dear Sir, Your astonishment’s odd:

I am always about in the Quad.

And that’s why the tree

Will continue to be,

Since observed by

Yours faithfully, God.


Evangelical vicar, in want of a portable, second-hand font, would dispose, for the same, of a portrait, in frame, of the Bishop, elect, of Vermont.  (Advertisement placed in a newspaper, in W. S. Baring-Gould The Lure of the Limerick (1968) pt. 1, ch. 1, n. 5 ) - Knox, Ronald


I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am.  (Speech to British Jewish Community, 21 July 1983, in M. Mc Fadyean & M. Renn Thatcher’s Reign (1984) p. 1)


In church on Sunday morning, it was a lovely morning and we haven’t had many lovely days, the sun was coming through a stained glass window and falling on some flowers, falling right across the church. It just occurred to me that this was the day I was meant not to see. Then all of a sudden I thought, there are some of my dearest friends who are not seeing this day.  Television interview, 15 Oct. 1984, after the Brighton bombing, in Daily Telegraph 16 Oct. 1984 –Margaret Thatcher


God works in mysterious ways. Given my love of God and my belief in God and in Jesus Christ, I have to accept that I may well be used by God in this way [as a prophet].  In radio interview, 18 Jan. 1987, in Daily Telegraph 19 Jan. 1987 -Anderton, James


Man, my Lord, is a being born to believe.  Speech at Oxford, 25 November 1864, in The Times 26 November 1864 –Disraeli, Benjamin


I saw Eternity the other night,

Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

All calm, as it was bright;

And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,

Driv’n by the spheres

Like a vast shadow moved; in which the world

And all her train were hurled.

Silex Scintillans (16505) The World -Vasughan,Henry


The marvellous thing about a joke with a double meaning is that it can only mean one thing.  Sauce (1977) Daddie’s Sauce – Ronnie Barker


Bach almost persuades me to be a Christian.  In Virginia Woolf Roger Fry (1940) ch. 1


Christianity is part of the laws of England. (Sir William Blackstone’s summary of Hale’s words (Taylor’s case, 1676) in Commentaries (1769) vol. 4, p. 59. Holdsworth’s History of English Law (1937 ed.) vol. 8, p. 403 where the origin of the expression is traced to Sir John Prisot (d. 1460) Sir Matthew Hale 160976  English judge)


Do you pray for the senators, Dr Hale?  No, I look at the senators and I pray for the country. (Van Wyck Brooks New England Indian Summer (1940) p. 418 n. Edward Everett Hale 18221909  American clergyman)


Bible’s the greatest book ever written. But I sure don’t need anybody I can buy for six bits and a chew of tobacco to explain it to me. When I need preachers I buy ’em cheap.  In T. Harry Williams Huey Long (1969) p. 5Huey Long 18931935  American politician; sometime lawyer and travelling salesman


I can go Mr Wilson one better; I was born barefoot.  (Answering his opponent’s supporters, who said their candidate had gone barefoot as a boy; in T. Harry Williams Huey Long (1969) p. 2)


I did not intend to write a funny book, at first. I did not know I was a humorist. I have never been sure about it. In the middle ages, I should probably have gone about preaching and got myself burnt or hanged.  (My Life and Times (1926) ch. 6 Jerome K. Jerome 1859-1927  English writer)


The family that prays together stays together.  (Motto devised for the Roman Catholic Family Rosary Crusade, 1947Al Scalpone)


Never forget, gentlemen, he [Whateley] said, to his astonished hearers, as he held up a copy of the Authorized Version of the Bible, never forget that this is not the Bible, then, after a moment’s pause, he continued, This, gentlemen, is only a translation of the Bible. (To a meeting of his diocesan clergy, in H. Solly These Eighty Years (1893) vol. 2, ch. Richard Whately 1787 863  English philosopher and theologian; Archbishop of Dublin from 1831)


If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, tho’ he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.  (Attributed to Emerson in Sarah S. B. Yule Borrowings (1889). Mrs Yule states in The Docket February 1912 that she copied this in her handbook from a lecture delivered by Emerson; the quotation was the occasion of a long controversy owing to Elbert Hubbard’s claim to its authorship)

He knows says Hebraism, his Bible! Whenever we hear this said, we may, without any elaborate defence of culture, content ourselves with answering simply:  No man, who knows nothing else, knows even his Bible.

Culture and Anarchy (1869) ch. 5He [the translator] will find one English book and one only, where, as in the Iliad itself, perfect plainness of speech is allied with perfect nobleness; and that book is the Bible.  On Translating Homer (1861) Lecture 3 -Arnold,Matthew


Both read the Bible day and night

But thou read’st black where I read white.

The Everlasting Gospel (c. 1818) (a) l. 13bl  Blake,William


Here falling houses thunder on your head,

And here a female atheist talks you dead.

London (1738) - Johnson,Samuel


When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I’m beginning to believe it.  Clarence Darrow 1857-1938 American lawyer, In Irving Stone Clarence Darrow for the Defence (1941) ch.


I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure, that is all that agnosticism means.  Speech at the trial of John Thomas Scopes, 15 July 1925, in The World’s Most Famous Court Trial (1925) ch. 4


A thick skin is a gift from God.  Konrad Adenauer 1876-1967, In New York Times 30 Dec. 1959, p. 5


He [Barrymore] would quote from Genesis the text which says, It is not good for man to be alone, and then add, But O my God, what a relief.  Alma Power-Waters John Barrymore (1941) ch. 13


Whether the angels play only Bach in praising God I am not quite sure; I am sure, however, that en famille they play Mozart.  In New York Times 11 Dec. 1968, p. 42 –Barth,Karl


Some call it evolution,

And others call it God.

Each In His Own Tongue (1908) William Herbert Carruth 1859-1924


A Catechism of Christian Doctrine 1898

Popularly known as the Penny Catechism

Who made you? God made me.

Why did God make you? God made me to know Him, love him, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in the next.


Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers.  Commonweal 17 Apr. 1936 Willa Cather 1873-1947


It is upon the navy under the good Providence of God that the safety, honour, and welfare of this realm do chiefly depend. (Articles of War preamble, in Sir Geoffrey Callender The Naval Side of British History (1952) pt. 1, ch. 8charlesii)


We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is wisdom; this is the royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God.  (The Presenting of the Holy Bible. L. G. Wickham Legge English Coronation Records (1901) p. 3)


God is subtle but he is not malicious.  Remark made at Princeton University, May 1921, in R. W. Clark Einstein (1973) ch. 1


O worship the King, all-glorious above;

O gratefully sing his power and his love:

Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,

Pavilioned in splendour, and girded with praise.

O worship the King, all glorious above (1833 hymn)

Sir Robert Grant 1785-1838

British lawyer and politician 


If we find the answer to that [why it is that we and the universe exist], it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason for then we would know the mind of God.  A Brief History of Time (1988) ch. 11


Of Law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world: all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power.  Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1593) bk. 1, ch. 16, sect. 8 -Hooker,R


Many people believe that they are attracted by God, or by Nature, when they are only repelled by man.  More Lay Thoughts of a Dean (1931) pt. 4, ch. 1William Ralph Inge 1860-1954  English writer; Dean of St. Paul’s, 191134


Dr Donne’s verses are like the peace of God; they pass all understanding.  Remark recorded by Archdeacon Plume (1630-1704) James1


Here is Hey for Garsington! and Hey for Cuddesdon! and Hey Hockley! but here’s nobody cries, Hey for God Almighty! (Sermon at Garsington Revel, in Oliver Lawson Dick (ed.) Aubrey’s Brief Lives (1949) Ralph Kettell)


A man with God is always in the majority.  Inscription on the Reformation Monument, Geneva, Knox, J


It is God who is the ultimate reason of things, and the knowledge of God is no less the beginning of science than his essence and will are the beginning of beings. (Letter on a General Principle Useful in Explaining the Laws of Nature (1687) in Leibniz: Philosophical Papers and Letters (translated by L. E. Loemker, 1969) p. 353Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 16461716  German philosopher)


Among our ancient mountains,

And from our lovely vales,

Oh, let the prayer re-echo:

God bless the Prince of Wales!

God Bless the Prince of Wales (1862 song); translated from the Welsh original by J. C. Hughes (183787) George Linley 17981865

English songwriter


If the triangles were to make a God they would give him three sides.  (Lettres Persones (1721) no. 59 (translated by J. Ozell, 1722) Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat) 1689-1755 French political philosopher)


The blame is his who chooses: God is blameless.  The Republic bk. 1, 617eplato


He who cheats with an oath acknowledges that he is afraid of his enemy, but that he thinks little of God.  (Parallel Lives Lysander ch. 8. Cf. Lysander 1Plutarch AD c. 46c. 120  Greek philosopher and biographer)


God can stand being told by Professor Ayer and Marghanita Laski that He doesn’t exist.  (In Listener 1 July 1965, p. 1 -J B Priestly)


I feel a feeling which I feel you all feel.

Sermon in the London Mission, 1885; in G. W. E. Russell Collections and Recollections (1898) ch. 2George Ridding 18281904

Bishop of Southwell from 1884


Painting is saying ‘Ta’ to God.  (In letter from Spencer’s daughter Shirin, Observer 7 Feb. 1988 Sir Stanley Spencer 1891-1959)


By God I mean a being absolutely infinite that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.  (Ethics (1677) pt. 1, para. 6 Deus, sive Natura [God, or in other words, Nature] Baruch Spinoza 1632-77)


Dutch philosopher - To take usury is contrary to Scripture; it is contrary to Aristotle; it is contrary to nature, for it is to live without labour; it is to sell time, which belongs to God, for the advantage of wicked men; it is to rob those who use the money lent, and to whom, since they make it profitable, the profits should belong.  (Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926) ch. 1, sect. 2R. H. Tawney 1880-1962  British economic historian)


Cure yourself of the condition of bothering about how you look to other people. Concern yourself only with how you appear to God, with the idea that God has of you.   (Vida de Don Quixote y Sancho (1905) pt. 1Miguel de Unamuno 1864-1937 Spanish philosopher and writer)


We must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are on us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world. (Christian Charity, A Model Hereof (sermon, 1630) in Massachusetts Historical Society Winthrop Papers (192947) vol. 2 John Winthrop 1588-1649  American settler)


We have in England a particular bashfulness in every thing that regards religion.  (The Spectator no. 4 (1 August 1712) -Addison,Joseph)


A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.  Essays (1625) Of Atheism


They that deny a God destroy man’s nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.  Essays (1625) Of Atheism -Bacon,F


One religion is as true as another.

The Anatomy of Melancholy (162151) pt. 3, sect. 4, member 2, subsect. 1 Burton,Robert


Is one religion as good as another? Is one horse in the Derby as good as another? –G K Chesterton


We know too much and are convinced of too little. Our literature is a substitute for religion, and so is our religion. Selected Essays (1932) A Dialogue on Dramatic Poetry (1928) -Eliot,T S


Whenever a man talks loudly against religion, always suspect that it is not his reason, but his passions which have got the better of his creed.  Tristram Shandy (175967) bk. 2, ch. 17,-Sterne, Laurence


Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers. - Willa Cather 1873 1947 Commonweal 17 Apr. 1936


It’s a curious fact that the all-male religions have produced no religious imagery in most cases have positively forbidden it. The great religious art of the world is deeply involved with the female principle. (Civilisation (1969) ch. 7Kenneth Clark (Baron Clark) 1903-83  English art historian)


Art and Religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy. Between aesthetic and religious rapture there is a family alliance. Art and Religion are means to similar states of mind.  Art (1914) pt. 2, ch. 1 -Bell,Clive


People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity; the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die.  Reginald (1904) Reginald on Christmas Presents -Saki


There is a lot to be said in the Decade of Evangelism for believing more and more in less and less.  Gloucester Diocesan Gazette August 1991 John Yates 1925  English theologian; Bishop of Gloucester from 1975


Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open.

Attributed Sir James Dewar 1842 1923

Scottish physicist


From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician.  The Mysterious Universe (1930) ch. 5


Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties.  The Mysterious Universe (1930) ch. 1Sir James Jeans 1877-1946  English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician


I am afraid he has not been in the inside of a church for many years; but he never passes a church without pulling off his hat. This shows that he has good principles.  Boswell Life vol. 1, p. 4 (1 July 1763) of Dr John Campbell


There is a wicked inclination in most people to suppose an old man decayed in his intellects. If a young or middle-aged man, when leaving a company, does not recollect where he laid his hat, it is nothing; but if the same inattention is discovered in an old man, people will shrug up their shoulders, and say, His memory is going.  Boswell Life vol. 4, p. 1 (1783)


[JOHNSON:] As I cannot be sure that I have fulfilled the conditions on which salvation is granted, I am afraid I may be one of those who shall be damned (looking dismally).

[DR ADAMS:] What do you mean by damned?

[JOHNSON:] (passionately and loudly) Sent to Hell, Sir, and punished everlastingly.  Boswell Life vol. 4, p. 2 (1 June 1784)


Every man has, some time in his life, an ambition to be a wag.  (In Joyce Hemlow (ed.) Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney vol. 1 (1972)p. 1)


In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.  Essays (1841) Prudence -Emerson,R W


Who so would be a man must be a non-conformist.  Essays (1841) Self-Reliance


Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.  Essays (1841) Self-Reliance

The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.

There is no such whetstone, to sharpen a good wit and encourage a will to learning, as is praise.

Private faces in public places

Are wiser and nicer

Than public faces in private places.

Collected Poems, II 1927-1932, Shorts


To the man-in-the-street, who, I'm sorry to say,

Is a keen observer of life,

The word 'Intellectual' suggests straight away

A man who's untrue to his wife.

IV 1939-47, Shorts


Salus extra ecclesiam non est.

There is no salvation outside the church.

De Bapt. IV,c.xvii.24. See *St. Cyprian.


The art of Biography

Is different from Geography.

Geography is about maps,

But Biography is about chaps.

Biography for Beginners


Sir Humphrey Davy

Abominated gravy.

He lived in the odium

Of having discovered Sodium.


Sir Christopher Wren

Said, 'I am going to dine with some men.

If anybody calls

Say I am designing St Paul's.'

LORD BOWEN 1835-1894


The rain it raineth on the just

And also on the unjust fella:

But chiefly on the just, because

The unjust steals the just's umbrella.

Walter Sichel, Sands of Time.


There was a young lady named Bright,

Whose speed was far faster than light;

She set out one day

In a relative way,

And returned home the previous night.

Punch, 19 Dec. 1923



He said he was against it.

On being asked what had been said by a clergyman who preached on sin



Imprisoned in every fat man a thin one is wildly signalling to be let out.

Part II. Te Palinure Petens. See *Orwell.


Your chilly stars I can forgo,

This warm kind world is all I know.

Mimnermus in Church


Is man an ape or an angel? Now I am on the side of the angels. - Disraeli


JOHN DONNE 1571?-1631

What if this present were the world's last night?


Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls.

Letters to Several Personages, To Sir Henry Wotton


Poor intricated soul! Riddling, perplexed, labyrinthical soul!

LXXX Sermons (1640), xlviii , 25 Jan. 1628/9



I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.

Boswell's Johnson, 17 Apr. 1778


T S Eliot

In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.



I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.

Speech to the Troops at Tilbury on the Approach of the Armada, 1588



In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.

vii. Prudence

If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, tho' he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.

Sarah S. B. Yule, Borrowings (1889)


ABEL EVANS 1679-1737

Lie heavy on him, Earth! for he

Laid many heavy loads on thee!

Epitaph on Sir John Vanbrugh, Architect of Blenheim Palace



My Lady Bountiful.

The Beaux' Stratagem, I.i


EUGENE FIELD 1850-1895

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night

Sailed off in a wooden shoe-

Sailed on a river of crystal light,

Into a sea of dew.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod



Public schools are the nurseries of all vice and immorality.

Joseph Andrews, bk, iii, ch. 5


KING GEORGE II 1683-1760

Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals.

Reply to the Duke of Newcastle who complained that General Wolfe was a madman. Willson, The life and letters of James Wolfe, ch. l7



Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,

And fools, who came to scoff, remain'd to pray.

l. 179



Zwei Seelen und ein Gedanke,

Zwei Herzen und ein Schlag!

Two souls with but a single thought,

Two hearts that beat as one.

Der Sohn der Wildnis (1842), Act II ad fin. Trans. by Maria Lovell in Ingomar the Barbarian


L. P. HARTLEY 1895-1972

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

The Go-Between, Prologue



And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown'. And he replied: 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God, That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'

The Desert (c.1908), Introduction. Quoted by King George VI in a Christmas Broadcast, 25 Dec. 1939, after the lines had been quoted in 'Points from Letters' in The Times a few months earlier


VICTOR HUGO 1802-1885

A woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.

On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées.

A stand can be made against invasion by an army; no stand can be made against invasion by an idea.

Histoire d'un Crime, La Chute, X


G. W. HUNT 1829-1904

We don't want to fight, but, by jingo if we do,

We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.



My dear child, you must believe in God in spite of what the clergy tell you.

Private conversation with Margot Asquith, shortly after the near-fatal illness a year before his death. Asquith, Autobiography, ch. 8



Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed saepe cadendo.

The drop of rain maketh a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.

7th Sermon preached before Edward VI (1549). See Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto, IV.x 5.

The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he makes so many of them.

James Morgan, Our President, ch. 6



This lass so neat, with smiles so sweet,

Has won my right good-will,

I'd crowns resign to call thee mine,

Sweet lass of Richmond Hill.

The Lass of Richmond Hill. E. Duncan, Minstrelsy of England (1905), i. 254. Attr. also to W. Upton in Oxford Song Book, and to W. Hudson in Baring-Gould, English Minstrelsie (1895), iii.54



A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His bill will hold more than his belican.

He can take in his beak

Food enough for a week,

But I'm darned if I see how the helican.

The Pelican


OGDEN NASH 1902-1971


Is dandy

But liquor

Is quicker.

Reflections on Ice-Breaking



We seek him here, we seek him there,

Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.

Is he in heaven?-Is he in hell?

That demmed, elusive Pimpernel?



Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My scrip of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of salvation,

My gown of glory, hope's true gage,

And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

The Passionate Man's Pilgrimage



For when the One Great Scorer comes

To write against your name,

He marks-not that you won or lost-

But how you played the game.

Alumnus Football


'SAKI' (H. H. MUNRO) 1870-1916

Never be a pioneer. It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.

Reginald (1904), Reginald's Choir Treat


Television?  The word is half Latin and half Greek. No good can come of it.




No matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney.

Speech, 1936



Take short views, hope for the best, and trust in God.

Lady Holland, Memoir (1st edn. 1855) vol. I, ch. 6, p. 48

Looked as if she had walked straight out of the Ark.

ch. 7, p. 157


Madam, I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship.


Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

The Tatler, No. 147


While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night,

All seated on the ground,

The Angel of the Lord came down,

And glory shone around.

Supplement to the New Version of the Psalms (1700). While Shepherds Watched



Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

l. 143


TERTULLIAN c.160-c.225

Certum est quia impossibile est.

It is certain because it is impossible.

De Carne Christi, 5. Often quoted as, Credo quia impossibile.


Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

Journal, 11 Nov. 1850 (pub. 1903)


I saw Eternity the other night

Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

All calm, as it was bright.

The World



What lasting joys the man attend

Who has a polished female friend.

The Accomplished Female Friend


William Blake

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage.


EDITH CAVELL 1865-1915

Standing, as I do, in the view of God and eternity I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.

Spoken to the chaplain who attended her before her execution by firing squad, 12 Oct. 1915. The Times, 23 Oct. 1915


G. K. CHESTERTON 1874-1936

Talk about the pews and steeples

And the cash that goes therewith!

But the souls of Christian peoples...

Chuck it, Smith!


One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.

The Hammer of God


The Lord favours us not because we are the many, but because we are the few - The Bible??  

The Lord turns all curses against His children into blessings - The Bible??

...the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations.... - 1 Chronicles 28:9 KJV

"The Bible is the rope God throws us in order to ensure that we stay connected while the rescue is in progress." - J. I. Packer, Theologian.

It is fatally easy to think of Christianity as something to be discussed and not as something to be experienced. It is certainly important to have an intellectual grasp of the orb of Christian truth; but it is still more important to have a vital, living experience of the power of Jesus Christ. When a man undergoes treatment from a doctor, he does not need to know the way in which the drug works on his body in order to be cured. There is a sense in which Christianity is like that. At the heart of Christianity there is a mystery, but it is not the mystery of intellectual appreciation; it the mystery of redemption.

... William Barclay, The Gospel of John (Vol.1)
Study always to have Joy, for it befits not the servant of God to show before his brother or another sadness or a troubled face.
... St. Francis of Assisi

You must not lose confidence in God because you lost confidence in your pastor. If our confidence in God had to depend upon our confidence in any human person, we would be on shifting sand.

... Francis Schaeffer
[With thanks to Bill Blake]
Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can't be God's will? The God who made giraffes, a baby's fingernails, a puppy's tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite's call, and a young girl's giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that.
... Catherine Marshall
For the Platonic or Aristotelian philosophy it is of no importance whether Plato or Aristotle ever lived. For the mystical practice of an Indian, Persian, Chinese, or Neo-Platonic mystic it is a matter of indifference whether Rama, Buddha, Laotse, or Porphyrius are myths or not. The mystic has no personal relation to them. It is not here a question of somebody telling me the truth which of myself I cannot find, but of my finding an access to the depths of the world in the depths of my soul. And everywhere the tendency is to eliminate personality. Even where religion does not have this mystical character, it has no relation to an historical person, who communicates himself to me. That is the characteristic essence of the Christian faith alone. Even where a prophet plays the role of a mediator of divine truth, as for example in Islam, the religious act is not directed toward him but toward his teaching or message. But the Christian does not believe in the teachings of Jesus -- which would not be Christian faith, but general religion -- he believes in Christ Himself as being the Word of God.
... Emil Brunner, The Word and the World

Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.

Martin Luther
[Thanks to Bill Blake at pilgrimwb@aol.com]
In America, it is hard to distinguish Christianity from its social and cultural setting. It blends into the scenery. Many people assume that we live in a "Christian society". Obviously, the Christian church has no strong witness against society. In [a communist country], the situation is exactly the opposite. Christians there live under a political regime which makes a point of distinguishing itself from all religion, and which is grounded philosophically on atheism and materialism. The Church lives in a hostile social order. The result is that the weak Christians are weeded out, and the strong Christians are tremendously strengthened by adversity.
... Thomas C. Oden in Christian Advocate
I read in Shakespeare of the majesty of the moral law, in Victor Hugo of the sacredness of childhood, in Tennyson the ugliness of hypocrisy, in George Eliot the supremacy of duty, in Dickens the divinity of kindness, and in Ruskin the dignity of service. Irving teaches me the lesson of cheerfulness, Hawthorne shows me the hatefulness of sin, Longfellow gives me the soft, tranquil music of hope. Lowell makes us feel that we must give ourselves to our fellow men. Whittier sings to me of divine Fatherhood and human brotherhood. These are Christian lessons: who inspired them? Who put it into the heart of Martin Luther to nail those theses on the church door of Wittenberg? Who stirred and fired the soul of Savonarola? Who thrilled and electrified the soul of John Wesley? Jesus Christ is back of these all.
... Lyman Pierson Powell
There is a false self-distrust which denies the worth of its own talent. It is not humility -- it is petty pride, withholding its simple gifts from the hands of Christ because they are not more pretentious. There are men who would endow colleges, they say, if they were millionaires. They would help in the work of Bible study if they were as gifted as Henry Drummond. They would strive to lead their associates into the Christian life if they had the gifts of Dwight L. Moody. But they are not ready to give what they have and do what they can and be as it has pleased God to make them, in His service -- and that is their condemnation.
... Charles Reynolds Brown

It was no exceptional thing for Jesus to withdraw Himself "into the wilderness to pray." He was never for one moment of any day out of touch with God. He was speaking and listening to the Father all day long; and yet He, who was in such constant touch with God, felt the need, as well as the joy, of more prolonged and more quiet communion with Him... Most of the reasons that drive us to pray for strength and forgiveness could never have driven Him; and yet He needed prayer.

... G. H. Knight, In the Secret of His Presence


Books," said St. Augustine after his conversion, "could not teach me charity." We still keep on thinking they can. We do not realize ... the utter distinctness of God and the things of God.

Psychology of religion can not teach us prayer, and ethics cannot teach us love. Only Christ can do that, and He teaches by the direct method, in and among the circumstances of life. He does not mind about our being comfortable. He wants us to be strong, able to tackle life and be Christians, be apostles in life, so we must be trained by the ups and downs, the rough-and-tumble of life. Team games are compulsory in the school of Divine Love -- there is no getting into a corner with a nice, spiritual book.

... Evelyn Underhill, Light of Christ


The valley of the shadow of death holds no darkness for the child of God. There must be light, else there could be no shadow. Jesus is the light. He has overcome death.
... Dwight L. Moody
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, The Galilean Accent

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, The Letters of James and Peter


The paleontological evidence before us today clearly demonstrates ordered progressive change with the successive development of new faunal and floral assemblages through the changing epochs of our earth's history There should be no real conflict between science, which is the search for truth, and Christ's teachings, which I hold to be truth itself. It is only when scientists remove God from creation that the Christian is faced with an irreconcilable situation.
... Wendell Phillips, Sheba's Buried City
Life is not long enough for a religion of inferences; we shall never have done beginning, if we determine to begin with proof. We shall ever be laying our foundations; we shall turn theology into evidences, and divines into textuaries... Life is for action. If we insist on proofs for everything, we shall never come to action: to act you must assume, and that assumption is faith.
... John Henry Newman
The neglect of the spiritual cannot be laid directly at the door of advertising. It may be better laid at the door of the church [that] has failed to preach the God of the Bible, heaven and hell, repentance, faith, and eternal life. It can be argued that a society only gets the advertising it deserves. Yet the power to commend certain patterns of spending behaviour to millions with regularity is an open invitation to orchestrate the covetousness, envy, lust, and desire to dominate, which lie in the heart of sinful man.
... Raymond Johnston, "The Power of the Media" in The Changing World
for one good never clashes with another.

... Meister Eckhart


Unbelievers] think they have made great efforts to get at the truth when they have spent a few hours in reading some book out of Holy Scripture, and have questioned some cleric about the truths of the faith. After that, they boast that they have searched in books and among men in vain.

... Blaise Pascal, Pensées


If we are honest, we freely admit that the Christian system involves difficulties; but so does every other system. No thoughtful person gives up a position merely because he finds difficulties in it; he does not abandon it until he is able to find other and alternative systems with fewer difficulties... I learned from my professors of philosophy... that, while philosophy might not provide me with a watertight intellectual defense of the Christian faith, it would, if used aright, help me to reveal the weakness of its enemies. By careful analysis it is possible to see that there are glaring weaknesses and non-sequiturs in atheism, naturalism, positivism, scientism, and psychologism. The Christian must be a fighter, for he is always under attack. The Church will not be as strong as it ought to be until each local pastor uses his precious freedom from outside employment in order to become a scholarly participant in the intellectual struggle of our day and generation.

... Elton Trueblood, The Incendiary Fellowship
Recently, some Christians have recognized the existing state of the church as sinful, or, at least, as faulty and mistaken. They are trying to save the Christians out of this labyrinth by reuniting the divided churches, by forming an alliance of churches, or by trying to form an ecumenical church. For all that, it seems very difficult to obtain the desired result, because all the present churches are still standing on the principles of the Reformation, unable to rid themselves of the sectarian spirit inherited from Catholicism. So the number of denominations and sects shows no sign of decreasing, and all efforts to unite the churches seem likely to end only in the formation of yet other sects and denominations. Yet the center of Christianity is neither institution nor organization. Nor is it even the Bible itself, as the Reformers made it, for the Eklesia existed before the formation of the New Testament canon. Christians were in fellowship with God and one another, centering their faith in Christ, long before there was any accepted New Testament. There is only one center of Christianity -- spiritual fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
... Kokichi Kurosaki, One Body in Christ
As a physician, I have seen men, after all other therapy has failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer. It is the only power in the world that seems to overcome the so-called "laws of nature"; the occasions on which prayer has dramatically done this have been termed "miracles". But a constant, quieter miracle takes place hourly in the hearts of men and women who have discovered that prayer supplies them with a steady flow of sustaining power in their daily lives.
... Alexis Carrel
Prayer is a wine which makes glad the heart of man.

... St. Bernard of Clairvaux


Religion leaves a million questions unanswered and apparently unanswerable. Its purpose and object is not to make a man certain and cocksure about everything but to make him certain about those things of which he must be certain if he is to live a human life at all. Religion does not relieve us from the duty of thought; it makes it possible for a man to begin thinking. It does not put an end to research and enquiry, it gives a basis from which real research is made possible and fruitful of results; a basis without which thinking only means wandering round in circles, and getting nowhere in the end, and research means battering at a brass door that bruises our knuckles, and does not yield by the millionth part of an inch.

... G. A. Studdert Kennedy, The Wicket Gate

At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done.

... Thomas à Kempis
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, The Humour of Christ

Too many of us have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience. We think we are doing our duty when we're only talking about it.
... Charles F. Banning
We are building may splendid churches in this country, but we are not providing leaders to run them. I would rather have a wooden church with a splendid parson, than a splendid church with a wooden parson.

... Samuel Smith Drury


The essential amorality of all atheist doctrines is often hidden from us by an irrelevant personal argument. We see that many articulate secularists are well-meaning and law-abiding men; we see them go into righteous indignation over injustice and often devote their lives to good works. So we conclude that "he can't be wrong whose life is in the right" -- that their philosophies are just as good guides to action as Christianity. What we don't see is that they are not acting on their philosophies. They are acting, out of habit or sentiment, on an inherited Christian ethic which they still take for granted though they have rejected the creed from which it sprang. Their children will inherit some what less of it.

... Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain

Paul's argument in First Corinthians 1:18-25 is equally relevant when we come to ask why men cannot understand the Bible. Any attempts to hide behind the excuse that it is too difficult, when what we mean is that its word is too hard for us to bear, meets the just remark of a pastor from Communist Germany: "How can they say that the Bible is difficult, when young Communists are poring over much more difficult and much more technical literature to discover what Communism is all about?" Sometimes the Biblical teaching is crystal-clear, but we dare not understand it. The Christian Church has a vested interest in its present forms, and Christian people, like others, have their pleasant prejudices. This unwillingness to hear some new thing, except in times of great disturbance, plays a bigger part in weakening the voice of God through the Bible than we are prepared to admit.

... E. H. Robertson, The Recovery of Confidence
Our Christian experience must agree with the Bible. We will be taught by the Bible and fed by the Bible. But we do not believe in Christ because He is in the Bible: we believe in the Bible because Christ is in us.
... Claxton Monro
'Twas an unhappy Division that has been made between Faith and Works; though in my Intellect I may divide them, just as in the Candle I know there is both Light and Heat. But yet, put out the Candle, and they are both gone.

... John Selden


Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.

... John Henry Cardinal Newman
I do not know a warning that I judge more necessary to be given to those who are called this day, than to charge them not to trade too much with their natural gifts, and abilities, and learning. These are talents in their kind; but it is the Spirit that must manage all that learning they have, or it will prejudice them, and you also. I have known some good men who have been so addicted to their study, that they have thought the last day of the week sufficient to prepare for their ministry, though they employ all the rest of the week in other studies. But you business is to trade with your spiritual abilities... A man may preach a very good sermon, who is otherwise himself; but he will never make a good minister of Jesus Christ, whose mind and heart [are] not always in the work. Spiritual gifts will require continual ruminating on the things of the Gospel in our minds.
... John Owen, An Ordination Sermon

If I want only pure water, what does it matter to me whether it be brought in a vase of gold or of glass? What is it to me whether the will of God be presented to me in tribulation or consolation, since I desire and seek only the Divine will?

... François de Sales


We may not understand how the spirit works; but the effect of the spirit on the lives of men is there for all to see; and the only unanswerable argument for Christianity is a Christian life. No man can disregard a religion and a faith and a power which is able to make bad men good.

... William Barclay, The Gospel of John (Vol.1)


A lawsuit, however just, can never be rightly prosecuted by any man, unless he treat his adversary with the same love and good will as if the business under controversy were already amicably settled and composed. Perhaps someone will interpose here that such moderation is so uniformly absent from any lawsuit that it would be a miracle if any such were found. Indeed, I admit that, as the customs of these times go, an example of an upright litigant is rare; but the thing itself, when not corrupted by the addition of anything evil, does not cease to be good and pure.

... John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion


The axioms of reason are non-demonstrable assumptions. Why should faith not be granted the same privilege? The denial of the truths of faith is, in the last analysis, no less a faith than faith itself, for it rests on personal assumptions which are apart from scientific necessity. In other words, as the truth of reason carries its own evidence, so also with faith. To the mind to whom the axioms of reason are not self-evident, they cannot be proven. So also in the case of faith: for the mind that is not enlightened by faith, the evidence of faith is ridiculous. But for the man whose eyes have been enlightened by the Spirit, faith has its proper evidence, though different from that of reason. The only sufficient ground of faith is the authority of God Himself as he addresses me in His Word.

... Paul K. Jewett, Emil Brunner's Concept of Revelation


Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.
... Billy Sunday
To stand on one leg and prove God's existence is a very different thing from going on one's knees and thanking Him.

... Søren Kierkegaard


A scientist said, making a plea for exchange scholarships between nations, "The very best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person." That was what happened at Christmas. The idea of divine love was wrapped up in a Person.

... Halford E. Luccock

We must always be on our guard lest, under the pretext of keeping one commandment, we be found breaking another.

... St. Basil the Great
Those talents which God has bestowed upon us are not our own goods but the free gifts of God; and any persons who become proud of them show their ungratefulness.

... John Calvin

It is easy to throw angels and demons and the cosmic character and relevance of Christ's work upon the scrap heap of ancient superstition and mythology, and to consider them but a manner of speech that is utterly irrelevant for our space age. But if we should fee entitled to throw out one part of the witness of Ephesians to Christ, why not the rest of it also: for instance, Christ's Lordship over the church and in the heart? It is unfair and scarcely honest to consider the Bible or parts of it as a cake from which we can pick out merely the raisins we happen to like. Speaking the truth in love and witnessing to the biblical Christ may imply the necessity to speak also of some very strange things.
... Markus Barth, The Broken Wall
The symbol of the New Testament and the Christian Church is a cross, which stands for a love faithful despite physical agony and rejection by the world. No amount of air-conditioning and pew-cusioning in the suburban church can cover over the hard truth that the Christian life... is a narrow way of suffering; that discipleship is costly: that, for the faithful, there is always a cross to be carried. No one can understand Christianity to its depths who comes to it to enjoy it as a pleasant weekend diversion.

... W. Waldo Beach, The Christian Life

Many Christians are reluctant to become involved in public affairs be cause politics is a "dirty business", but the same people are generally quite happy to go into business life, which is in its way just as "dirty". If the dubious practices and moral compromises of every walk of life were dissected and made known with the glare of publicity which shines on the activities of politicians, then those who like to think that they can keep their hands clean would have very few professions to choose from.
... John Lawrence, Hard Facts
The men of faith might claim for their positions ancient tradition, practical usefulness, and spiritual desirability, but one query could prick all such bubbles: Is it scientific? That question has searched religion for contraband goods, stripped it of old superstitions, forced it to change its categories of thought and methods of work, and in general has so cowed and scared religion that many modern-minded believers... instinctively throw up their hands at the mere whisper of it... When a prominent scientist comes out strongly for religion, all the churches thank Heaven and take courage, as though it were the highest possible compliment to God to have Eddington believe in Him. Science has become the arbiter of this generation's thought, until to call even a prophet and a seer 'scientific' is to cap the climax of praise.
... Harry Emerson Fosdick
Here he tells us that the new birth is first of all "not of blood". You don't get it through the blood stream, through heredity. Your parents can give you much, but they cannot give you this. Being born in a Christian home does not make you a Christian.

... E. Stanley Jones, Conversion


As the great test of medical practice is that it heals the patient, so the great test of preaching is that it converts and builds up the hearers.

... Herman L. Wayland

Christianity is a battle, not a dream.

... Wendell Phillips

A basic trouble is that most Churches limit themselves unnecessarily by addressing their message almost exclusively to those who are open to religious impression 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

Owing to the pressure of an ever-increasing number of subjects introduced into the curriculum of a school, it is only too possible for men to be held to be educated and intelligent without ever having seriously tested their intelligence upon, say, the Book of Job, or upon the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. No doubt there are very good excuses for this lack of discipline. Many forward-thinking men will tell you that the Bible is not worth serious attention, that it is simple, trivial, and out-of-date; and so, even though you may hear the Bible read, read it yourselves, or even study it, the tension of your energy may be relaxed -- subtly relaxed. But is quite certain that a widespread relaxation of the tension of Biblical interpretation has disastrous effects. For there is no corruption that threatens a country so surely as the corruption or sentimentalizing of its religion; and there is no corruption of the Christian religion so swift as that which sets in when the Church loses its strict Biblical discipline.

... E. C. Hoskyns, We Are the Pharisees

The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down.

... George Whitefield
[Thanks to Bill Blake at pilgrimwb@aol.com]

[John Bunyan] had to live through that obscure night -- "wide, vast, and lonely" -- which fell upon St. John of the Cross before; like him, he knew that grace would enter "the dark caverns where the senses live". In the meantime, Bunyan tossed to and fro, as it were between heaven and hell. It has been said that he paints too dark a picture of his moral condition when a young man, that he exaggerates his wickedness at this period, and afterwards wrestles with phantoms of his vivid imagination. But spiritual sins, though not so obvious as those that are sensual, may be just as real; and Bunyan's intensity of feeling and expression arose from the intensity of his spiritual nature

... Arthur Stanley

For a small reward, a man will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a single step.

... Thomas à Kempis


Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mahomet, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and schools combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke words of life such as never were spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of any orator or poet; without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and sweet songs of praise, than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. Born in a manger, and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world, and rules a spiritual empire which embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe. There never was in this world a life so unpretending, modest, and lowly in its outward form and condition, and yet producing such extraordinary effects upon all ages, nations, and classes of men. The annals of history produce no other example of such complete and astonishing success in spite of the absence of those material, social, literary, and artistic powers and influences which are indispensable to success for a mere man.
... Philip Schaff


Next to the wicked lives of men, nothing is so great a disparagement and weakening to religion as the divisions of Christians.

... John Tillotson


Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender.
... A. W. Tozer
I would not favour a fiction to keep a whole world out of hell. The hell that a lie would keep any man out of is doubtless the very best place for him to go to. It is truth... that saves the world.

... George Macdonald


Many things seem good and yet are not, because they be not done with a good mind and intention; and therefore our Saviour saith in the Gospel, "If thy eye has naught, all thy body shall be dark." For when the intention is wicked, all the work that follows is naught, although it seemed to be never so good.

... St. Gregory the Great
Let the Gospels speak. Of what I have learnt from these documents in the course of my long task, I will say nothing now. Only this, that they bear the seal of the Son of Man and God, they are the Magna Charta of the human spirit. Were we to devote to their comprehension a little of the selfless enthusiasm that is now expended on the riddle of our physical surroundings, we would cease to say that Christianity is coming to an end -- we might even feel that it had only just begun.
... E. V. Rieu, The Four Gospels
Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.

... Thomas Merton


Many worthy people, and many good books, with no doubt the best intentions, ... have represented a life of sin as a life of pleasure; they have pictured virtue as self-sacrifice, austerity as religion. Even in everyday life we meet with worthy people who seem to think that whatever is pleasant must be wrong, that the true spirit of religion is crabbed, sour, and gloomy; that the bright, sunny, radiant nature which surrounds us is an evil and not a blessing, -- a temptation devised by the Spirit of Evil and not one of the greatest delights showered on us in such profusion by the Author of all Good.

... Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life


In my intellect, I may divide [faith and works], just as in the candle I know there is both light and heat; yet put out the candle, and both are gone.

... John Selden


The will directs the tongue or the hand to act, and the evil word is spoken, or the evil deed done. Every time we sin, it is the whole of us that sins, and not just a part. The body is only the instrument of the mind and the will. All that God made, including the body with all its desires and instincts, is good in itself. But it has to be kept under control and used in the right way.

... Stephen Neill, The Christian Character

It is Truth which we must look for in Holy Writ, not cunning of words. All Scripture ought to be read in the spirit in which it was written. We must rather seek for what is profitable in Scripture, than for what ministereth to subtlety in discourse. ... Thomas à Kempis


Morning breaks upon the tomb,
Jesus scatters all its gloom.
Day of triumph through the skies--
See the glorious Saviour rise.
Christians! Dry your flowing tears,
Chase those unbelieving fears;
Look on his deserted grave,
Doubt no more his power to save.
Ye who are of death afraid,
Triumph in the scattered shade:
Drive your anxious cares away,
See the place where Jesus lay.

... Walter Kaufmann, The Faith of a Heretic


Faith is not the holding of correct doctrines, but personal fellowship with the Living God... What is offered to man's apprehension in any specific revelation is not truth concerning God but the Living God Himself.

... William Temple


Every Christian, by virtue of membership in the Church, has a vocation to share in the ministry of Christ to the world which has been entrusted to the Church. The vocation is answered in the home and office and factory and field. There it is that the People of God bears its witness to the vocation of the People of God, a people with a people's diversity and complex vitality, a people comprising a multiplicity of cultures and histories and colours and tongues, a people and not a collection of individuals, a people bound together in allegiance to one King and in obedience to one purpose.

... F. C. Synge
General wisdom is not a threat to the gospel, because everything good traces to God. God is merciful and kind; he bestows truth, as well as rain and sunshine, upon the just and the unjust. Christ is the "true light that enlightens every man". This bestowal should inspire feelings of joy, not resentment, in the heart of a Christian. Aristotle said many wise things about logic, Confucius many wise things about morals. When a Christian attacks general wisdom in the name of the gospel, the natural man will attack the gospel in the name of general wisdom.

... E. J. Carnell, The Case for Orthodox Theology


In darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light.

... Mrs. C. T. Whitemell


Because upon the first glad Easter day
The stone that sealed His tomb was rolled away,
So, through the deepening shadows of death's night,
Men see an open door ... beyond it, light.

... Ida Norton Munson


The ordinary group of worshipping Christians, as the preacher sees them from the pulpit, does not look like a collection of very joyful people, in fact, they look on the whole rather sad, tired, depressed people. It is certain that such people will never win the world for Christ... It is no use trying to pretend: we may speak of joy and preach about it: but, unless we really have the joy of Christ in our hearts and manifest it, our words will carry no conviction to our hearers.
... Stephen Neill, The Christian Character

We have no cause to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; but the Gospel of Christ may justly be ashamed of us.

... John Tillotson


God is often faulted for creating a world full of suffering and evil. The issue is complex, both philosophically and theologically; but surely it is inappropriate to blame God for a problem He did not initiate, and [that is] in fact, one which He has sought to alleviate, at great cost to Himself. God sent His Son to inaugurate the Kingdom and to "destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14). God is not the cause of suffering and sickness; He is its cure! Jesus' ministry and death guarantee this.
... George Mallone, Those Controversial Gifts
It is better, safer, truer language to speak of individual depravity than of universal depravity. By individual depravity, I mean my own. I find it out in myself; or, rather, He who searcheth me and trieth my ways, finds it out in me. That sense of depravity implies the recognition of a law from which I have broken loose, of a Divine image which my character has not resembled. It is the law and the order which are universal. It is this character of Christ which is the true human character. It is easy enough to own to a general depravity; under cover of it, you and I would escape.

... F. D. Maurice, Lincoln's Inn Sermons


For I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; but I believe in order that I may understand, for I believe for this reason: that unless I believe, I cannot understand.

... Anselm of Canterbury
The first article of Christian faith is that man has one and only one true object of worship. There is one Holy God, creator of heaven and earth. He is Lord of all life. To Him we are beholden for our life in all its meaning and its hope. Monotheism for the Christian means that anything else which is put in the place of our loyalty to God is an idol. The worship of national power, or racial prestige, or financial success, or cultural tradition, is a violation of the one truth about life, that all created things come from God. To commit life to the one true God is to refuse to have any other gods at all. Values there are in abundance, interests, plans, programs, loyalties to family and nation. But these are not gods; they do not save us; they are not holy in themselves.
... Daniel Day Williams, Interpreting Theology, 1918-1952
If there were a righteousness which a man could have of his own, then we should have to concern ourselves with the question of how it can be imparted to him. But there is not. The idea of a righteousness of one's own is the quintessence of sin.

... Lesslie Newbigin


One great remedy against all manner of temptation, great or small, is to open the heart and lay bare its suggestion, likings, and dislikings before some spiritual adviser; for, ... the first condition which the Evil One makes with a soul, when he wants to entrap it, is silence.
... François de Sales
The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.

... Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation


Sad, indeed, would the whole matter be if the Bible had told us everything God meant us to believe. But herein is the Bible greatly wronged. It nowhere lays claim to be regarded as the Word, the Way, the Truth. The Bible leads us to Jesus, the inexhaustible, the ever-unfolding Revelation of God. It is Christ "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge", not the Bible, save as leading to Him.

... George Macdonald, "The Higher Faith"


... They haled him, trembling, to the Judgement Seat.

"O Lord, behold the man who made the nails that pierced Thy feet!"
The Master laid a thin, scarred hand upon the shame-bowed head.
"They were good nails," he said...
... Kenneth W. Porter
We have taught our people to use prayer too much as a means of comfort -- not in the original and heroic sense of uplifting, inspiring, strengthening, but in the more modern and baser sense of soothing sorrow, dulling pain, and drying tears -- the comfort of the cushion, not the comfort of the Cross.

... G. A. Studdert Kennedy


In questions of this sort there are two things to be observed. First, that the truth of the Scriptures be inviolably maintained. Secondly, since Scripture doth admit of diverse interpretations, that no one cling to any particular exposition with such pertinacity that, if what he supposed to be the teaching of Scripture should afterward turn out to be clearly false, he should nevertheless still presume to put it forward, lest thereby the sacred Scriptures should be exposed to the derision of unbelievers and the way of salvation should be closed to them.

... Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica


"For some people," he says, "the door to the heart is through the window of the mind." - Ravi Zacharias


Oh, Brethren, it is sickening work to think of your cushioned seats, your chants, your anthems, your choirs, your organs, your gowns, and your bands, and I know not what besides, all made to be instruments of religious luxury, if not of pious dissipation, while ye need far more to be stirred up and incited to holy ardor for the propagation of the truth as it is in Jesus.

... Charles Haddon Spurgeon


This Christian claim [of universal validity] is naturally offensive to the adherents of every other religious system. It is almost as offensive to modern man, brought up in the atmosphere of relativism, in which tolerance is regarded almost as the highest of the virtues. But we must not suppose that this claim to universal validity is something that can quietly be removed from the Gospel without changing it into something entirely different from what it is... Jesus' life, his method, and his message do not make sense, unless they are interpreted in the light of his own conviction that he was in fact the final and decisive word of God to men... For the human sickness there is one specific remedy, and this is it. There is no other.

... Stephen Neill, Christian Faith and Other Faiths


If the true revelation of God is in Christ, the Bible is not properly a revelation, but the History of a Revelation. This is not only a Fact but a necessity, for a Person cannot be revealed in a Book, but must find revelation, if at all, in a Person.

... Phillips Brooks, The Law of Growth


It is of no use to say that Christ, as exhibited in the Gospels, is not historical, and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been super-added by the tradition of his followers. Who among his disciples or among their proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings of Jesus or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers, in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived, as they always professed that it was derived, from the higher source.

... John Stuart Mill, Three Essays on Religion


The great unity which true science seeks is found only by beginning with our knowledge of God, and coming down from Him along the stream of causation to every fact and event that affects us.

.... Howard Crosby


The overwhelming recognition of human sin controls the Old Testament and the New Testament alike, and no understanding of our Lord's words and actions is possible if we persist in denying it.

... Sir Edwyn Hoskyns
Every man has in his own experience some knowledge of the perplexing uncertainty of this whirligig of time. Yet with his best thought, and largest opportunity, and the application of his highest ability, he cannot penetrate far. But the Christ of God unfolds both its meaning, and its order. He shows that the goal is freedom, and the guidance love. In this way Christ appears direct to the spirit of man, not by its special acquirements, or special ability, but through its common needs and common tasks.

... John Oman


[Christ] was primarily concerned to change men as men rather than the political regime under which they lived; to transform their attitude rather than their circumstances; to treat the sickness of their hearts rather than the problems of their environment. But he laid down in a single pregnant sentence man's duty both to God and to the State when he said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's"; and it is certainly not his fault that the Christian church has been so slow, down the centuries, in applying to one after another of the world's social evils the principle he emphasized so strong that we must love our neighbours as ourselves.

... J. N. D. Anderson, Christianity: the Witness of History
Every time the words "contrition" or "humility" drop from the lips of a prophet or psalmist, Christianity appears.

... Matthew Arnold


Jesus has also been accused of being ineffective, in a political sense, and of having done little to right social injustices. But it is clear from the Sermon on the Mount that he was deeply concerned that his disciples should be both the "salt" and the "light" of secular society; he endorsed the authority of those Old Testament prophets who vehemently rebuked social injustice; and he consistently identified himself with the poor and weak, with social outcasts and those who were regarded as morally disreputable... It is true that he did not lead a rebellion against Rome, seek to free slaves, or introduce a social revolution. He had come for a particular purpose, which was far more important than any of these things -- and from that purpose nothing could or did deflect him.
... J. N. D. Anderson, Christianity: the Witness of History
The labors of the farm do not seem strange to the farmer; the storm at sea is not unexpected by the sailor; sweat causes no wonder to the hired laborer; and so to those who have chosen to live the life of piety the afflictions of this world are not unforeseen. Nay, to each of the aforesaid is joined a labor that is appropriate and well known to those who share it -- a labor that is not chosen for its own sake, but for the enjoyment of expected blessings. For hopes, which hold and weld together man's entire life, give consolation for the hardships which fall to the lot of each of these.
... St. Basil the Great
We find not in the Gospel, that Christ hath anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.
... Roger Williams
The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken. [Continued]

... A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." The life is in the speaking words. God's word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God's word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful.

... A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God


I have put no emphasis on the virgin birth in the course of this chapter. This is not because I do not believe in it, for I do; but because, as I understand it, the account of Christ's miraculous birth was given in the Gospels for the sake of those who had already come to believe in him and who wished to know the facts, but was never used as a means of evoking faith in those who were not yet convinced on other grounds as to who he was. After all, a virgin birth would be possible without any implications of deity.

... J. N. D. Anderson, Christianity: the Witness of History


How can we know that what Jesus has shown us of God is the truth; or how do we know when we look into the face of Jesus that we are looking into the face of God? The answer is so plain and simple that it is a marvel how intelligent men can manage to miss it as they do. Look at what Christ has done for the soul of man: that is your answer. Christianity is just Christ --nothing more and nothing less. It is a way of life, and He is that way. It is the truth about human destiny, and He is that truth.

... R. J. Campbell, The Call of Christ

Christianity is a source; no one supply of water and refreshment that comes from it can be called the sum of Christianity. It is a mistake, and may lead to much error, to exhibit any series of maxims, even those of the Sermon on the Mount, as the ultimate sum and formula into which Christianity may be run up.

... Matthew Arnold
What will you do if your product still further increases next year? You should then destroy again the warehouses which you are now preparing to build, and build bigger. For the reason why God has given you fruitful harvests is that He might either overcome your avarice or condemn it; wherefore you can have no excuse. But you keep for yourself what He wished to be produced through you for the benefit of many -- nay, rather, you rob even yourself of it, since you would better preserve it for yourself if you distributed it to others.

... St. Ambrose of Milan


Many a congregation when it assembles in church must look to the angels like a muddy, puddly shore at low tide; littered with every kind of rubbish and odds and ends --a distressing sort of spectacle. And then the tide of worship comes in, and it's all gone: the dead sea-urchins and jelly-fish, the paper and the empty cans and the nameless bits of rubbish. The cleansing sea flows over the whole lot. So we are released from a narrow, selfish outlook on the universe by a common act of worship. Our little human affairs are reduced to their proper proportion when seen over against the spaceless Majesty and Beauty of God.
... Evelyn Underhill
Knowledge of God can be fully given to man only in a Person, never in a doctrine. Faith is not the holding of correct doctrine, but personal fellowship with the living God.

... William Temple


To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.

... Thomas Aquinas


It takes a determined effort of the mind to break free from the error of making books an end in themselves. The worst thing a book can do for a Christian is to leave him with the impression that he has received from it anything really good; the best it can do is to point the way to the Good he is seeking. The function of a good book is to stand like a signpost directing the reader toward the Truth and the Life. That book serves best which early makes itself unnecessary, just as a signpost serves best after it is forgotten, after the traveler has arrived safely at his desired haven. The work of a good book is to incite the reader to moral action, to turn his eves toward God and urge him forward. Beyond that it cannot go.

... A. W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest


Irresponsible spending is the scandal of Christian America, in the face of the world's need. The American standard of living has risen to unprecedented heights, although a large portion of the world exists on a sub-human level. Philanthropy, as we practice it, is not enough --- although the word philanthropy actually means brotherhood. Our stewardship of God's goods requires that we administer in God's name -- that is, with full awareness that the world is His and that His love is directed toward us no more fully than toward every man.

... Rachel Henderlite, A Call to Faith


The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.

... St. Augustine
Logic may be viewed, perhaps, as a machine which is designed, at best, to be such that when we feed into it certain data and turn the logic crank, we inevitably get certain conclusions out the other end. Logic is designed to give inevitably true results starting from known true -- or assumed-to-be-true -- premises. Logic is a wonderful tool when we want only logical conclusions. We should not reject such a machine merely because it is not equipped to handle all of reality. The scientist who commits himself to use a logic machine is doing wisely, qua scientist, for use on data of science. But if he feeds into that machine convictions that there is not God, or ignores God because He is not in his corpus of data, and then draws from his logic the conclusion that God does not exist, his conclusion is irrelevant. Logic is a tool; it should not be made into a religion.

... Kenneth L. Pike, With Heart and Mind


God, to redeem us at the deepest portion of our nature -- the urge to love and be loved -- must reveal His nature in an incredible and impossible way. He must reveal it at a cross. At the cross God wrapped his heart in flesh and blood and let it be nailed to the cross for our redemption.

... E. Stanley Jones


To make the improving of our own character our central aim is hardly the highest kind of goodness. True goodness forgets itself and goes out to do the right thing for no other reason than that it is right.
... Lesslie Newbigin
The heart must be kept tender and pliable; otherwise agnosticism converts to skepticism. In such a case, the value of apologetics is voided, for apologetics is aimed at persuading doubters, not at refuting the defiant. He who demands a kind of proof that the nature of the case renders impossible, is determined that no possible evidence shall convince him.
... Edward John Carnell
The Partisan Review, a journal of literary opinion representing a section of advanced secular thought, recently published a series of papers answering the question, "Why has there been a turn toward religion among intellectuals?" The asking of the question is significant. Few writers dispute the fact implied by it. Most of the contributors, whether they count themselves among those who have "turned to religion" or not, find the principal reason for it in the collapse of the optimistic hope that modern science and human good will would bring the world into an era of peace and justice. The confidence in that outcome has been so violently shaken that men must ask whether there are not higher resources than man's to sustain courage and hope. The faith of the Bible points to such sources. God works within the tragic destiny of human efforts with a healing power, and a reconciling spirit. Even those who have felt completely superior to all "outworn" religious notions, must look today at least wistfully to the possibility that such a God lives and works.
... D. D. Williams, Interpreting Theology 1918-1952

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: "Give me a light. that I may tread safely into the unknown." And he replied: "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way."

... Minnie L. Haskins
Gambling challenges the view of life which the Christian Church exists to uphold and extend. Its glorification of mere chance is a denial of the Divine order of nature. To risk money haphazard is to disregard the insistence of the Church in every age of living faith that possessions are a trust, and that men must account to God for their use. The persistent appeal to covetousness is fundamentally opposed to the unselfishness which was taught by Jesus Christ and by the New Testament as a whole. The attempt (which is inseparable from gambling) to make a profit out of the inevitable loss and possible suffering of others is the antithesis of that love of one's neighbour on which our Lord insisted.

... Archbishop William Temple


For many years the Christians met in homes and never possessed any special buildings for their gatherings. As religio illicita, no thought could be had of a permanent structure for gatherings. This would only facilitate matters for the Roman government in its merciless persecutions. The early Church was very conscious of its pilgrim character in a world which was at enmity with God.
... Donald L. Norbie, New Testament Church Organization
No doubt the gospel is quite free, as free as the Victoria Cross, which anyone can have who is prepared to face the risks; but it means time, and pains, and concentrating all one's energies upon a mighty project. You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one's leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting... It takes all one's strength, and all one's heart, and all one's mind, and all one's soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint. This is a business for adventurous spirits; others would shrink out of it. And so Christ had a way of pulling up would-be recruits with sobering and disconcerting questions, of meeting applicants -- breathless and panting in their eagerness -- by asking them if they really thought they had the grit, the stamina, the gallantry, required. For many, He explained, begin, but quickly become cowed, and slink away, leaving a thing unfinished as a pathetic monument of their own lack of courage and of staying power.
... A. J. Gossip, From the Edge of the Crowd
Remember, a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place. Put one little tallow candle in the middle of a large hall, and it will give a good deal of light.
... D. L. Moody
Browning ... tells us that what won him for Christ was this, that while others tried to soothe his angry conscience, and kept urging that, really, things were not nearly so bad as he was making out, Christ looked him in the eyes and told him bluntly that he was a desperate sinner, worse, much worse, even than he realized. And that, queerly enough as you might think, the man was not discomfited but heartened. Here at last, he felt, is one who understands and knows the facts. And since His desperate diagnosis is so accurate, may not His optimism also justify itself even in me. Well does He know what is in human nature, and yet, knowing the worst, He still has confident hope.
... A. J. Gossip, The Galilean Accent
A man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood... Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.
... George Macdonald, "The Voice of Job"
How did Jesus show his authority? Not by making vast claims for himself, though such claims were implicit. His authority seemed to reside in what he was and what he did rather than in what he specifically claimed to be. Especially in Mark's Gospel there is an elusive quality about his authority, the mystery of the hidden Messiah. His authority was at the same time most deeply hidden and most clearly expressed by his servanthood... The more the Church in its life shows forth the character of the Servant, the more will its teaching bear the marks of the authority of the Servant.

... Anthony T. Hanson, The Church of the Servant


God has called us to shine, just as much as Daniel was sent into Babylon to shine. Let no one say that he cannot shine because he has not so much influence as some others may have. What God wants you to do is to use the influence you have. Daniel probably did not have much influence down in Babylon at first, but God soon gave him more because he was faithful and used what he had.

... Dwight L. Moody


The Gospel is not presented to mankind as an argument about religious principles. Nor is it offered as a philosophy of life. Christianity is a witness to certain facts -- to events that have happened, to hopes that have been fulfilled, to realities that have been experienced, to a Person who has lived and died and been raised from the dead to reign for ever.

... Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Far and Near


At the earlier Methodist class meetings, members were expected every week to answer some extremely personal questions, such as the following: Have you experienced any particular temptations during the past week? How did you react or respond to those temptations ? Is there anything you are trying to keep secret, and, if so, what? At this point, the modern Christian swallows hard! We are often coated with a thick layer of reserve and modesty which covers "a multitude of sins" -- usually our own. Significantly, James 5:16-20, the original context of that phrase, is the passage which urges, "Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed."

... Michael Griffiths, Cinderella with Amnesia
When Paul speaks [II Cor. 3] of our being ministers of the New Testament, he does not refer to books most of which were not yet written, but to the gospel, which he found in the Scripture he possessed. The Jews could only see "Old Testament" in Moses and the prophets, because they were blind. To the spiritual all Scripture is gospel, or New Testament (the Law being the schoolmaster, bringing us to Christ), but to the natural and self righteous, as we ought to know from experience and observation, all Scripture (gospels and epistles included) is Old Testament, or Covenant of Works.

... Adolph Saphir, Christ and Israel


Never again are we to look at the stars, as we did when we were children, and wonder how far it is to God. A being outside our world would be a spectator, looking on but taking no part in this life, where we try to be brave despite all the bafflement. A god who created, and withdrew, could be mighty, but he could not be love. Who could love a God remote, when suffering is our lot? Our God is closer than our problems, for they are out there, to be faced; He is here, beside us, Emmanuel.
... Joseph E. McCabe, Handel's Messiah
We never find a presbyter in the singular in the New Testament. He is always a member of a team. In the modern church, the ordained man is almost always on his own in the community, unless he is lucky enough to have a colleague, or to be a member of a team ministry. We expect the ordained man to be almost omnicompetent, and complain at his deficiencies. This is an extremely serious error. It is very bad for the man himself to be made to feel that he is the sole minister: it may lead to despair, arrogance, blindness to the true situation, and inhibiting the gifts of others. It is bad for the parish: they become critical and lazy. When the different limbs in Christ's body are not allowed their special ministry, they are harmed and their gifts atrophy. The ordained man too is harmed, for he has to attempt to do various ministries for which he has no charisma from God, and the church cannot be adequately cared for.

... E. M. B. Green, "Mission and Ministry"


It is one thing to believe in justification by faith, it is another thing to be justified by faith.

... Adolph Saphir, Christ and Israel


A basic principle in the interpretation of the Bible is that one must first ask what a given Scripture was intended to mean to the people for whom it was originally written; only then is the interpreter free to ask what meaning it has for Christians today. Failure to ask this primary question and to investigate the historical setting of Scripture have prevented many Christians from coming to a correct understanding of some parts of the Bible. Nowhere is this more true than in respect to the last book in the Bible. Here, there has been a singular lack of appreciation for the historical background of the book; the book has been interpreted as if it were primarily written for the day in which the expositor lives (which is usually thought to be the end time), rather than in terms of what it meant to the first-century Christians of the Roman province of Asia for whom it was originally written. This has resulted in all sorts of grotesque and fantastic conclusions of which the author of the Revelation and its early recipients never would have dreamed.

... W. Ward Gasque, Sir William M. Ramsay: Archaeologist and New Testament Scholar
It is characteristic of the thinking of our time that the problem of guilt and forgiveness has been pushed into the background and seems to disappear more and more. Modern thought is impersonal. There are, even today, a great many people who understand that man needs salvation, but there are very few who are convinced that he needs forgiveness and redemption... Sin is understood as imperfection, sensuality, worldliness -- but not as guilt.
... Emil Brunner, The Word and the World
We read not that Christ ever exercised force but once; and that was to drive profane ones out of his Temple, not to force them in.

... John Milton


There are more readers of the English Bible in this country than in any other, and the time seemed to me to have come for a frank and direct translation of the Greek New Testament into our modern spoken American English. We take great pains to provide Asiatica and Africana with special versions, so that they may read the Bible each in his own tongue wherein he was born; and why not do as much for our young people, and our fellow citizens generally?

... Edgar J. Goodspeed, How Came the Bible?


One good man, one man who does not put on his religion once a week with his Sunday coat, but wears it for his working dress, and lets the thought of God grow into him, and through and through him, till everything he says and does becomes religious, that man is worth a thousand sermons -- he is a living Gospel -- he comes in the spirit and power of Elias -- he is the image of God. And men see his good works, and admire them in spite of themselves, and see that they are God-like, and that God's grace is no dream, but that the Holy Spirit is still among men, and that all nobleness and manliness is His gift, His stamp, His picture: and so they get a glimpse of God again in His saints and heroes, and glorify their Father who is in heaven.

... Charles Kingsley
In our Ashrams of East and West, places of spiritual retreat, we begin with what we call "The Morning of the Open Heart", in which we tell our needs... We give four or five hours to this catharsis. The reaction of one member, who listened to it for the first time, was: "Good gracious, have we all the disrupted people in the country here?" My reply was: "No, you have a cross section of the church life honestly revealed." In the ordinary church, it is suppressed by respectability, by a desire to appear better than we really are.
... E. Stanley Jones, Conversion


It must have been a most blessed discovery, that of an old Latin Bible which he found in the Erfurt Library about this time. He had never seen the Book before. It taught him another lesson than that of fasts and vigils... Luther learned now that a man was saved not by singing masses, but by the infinite grace of God: a more credible hypothesis. He gradually got himself founded, as on the rock. No wonder he should venerate the Bible, which had brought this blessed help to him. He prized it as the Word of the Highest must be prized by such a man. He determined to hold by that, as through life and to death he firmly did.

... Thomas Carlyle


Faith, if it be a living faith, will be a working faith.

... John Owen


In the days of His earthly ministry, only those could speak to him who came where He was: if He was in Galilee, men could not find Him in Jerusalem; if He was in Jerusalem, men could not find Him in Galilee. His Ascension means that He is perfectly united with God; we are with Him wherever we are present to God; and that is everywhere and always. Because He is "in Heaven" He is everywhere on earth: because He is ascended, He is here now. Our devotion is not to hold us by the empty tomb; it must lift up our hearts to heaven so that we too "in heart and mind thither accent and with Him continually dwell": it must also send us forth into the world to do His will; and these are not two things, but one.

... William Temple, Readings in St. John's Gospel
Drop, drop, slow tears, and bathe those beauteous feet
Which brought from heaven the news and prince of peace.
Cease not, wet eyes, his mercies to entreat;
To cry for vengeance sin doth never cease;
In your deep floods drown all my faults and fears,
Nor let his eye see sin but through my tears.
... Phineas Fletcher


Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.

... A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God


I hear no one boast, that he hath a knowledge of the Scriptures, but that he owneth a Bible written in golden characters. And tell me then, what profiteth this? The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.

... St. John Chrysostom


In conversion you are not attached primarily to an order, nor to an institution, nor a movement, nor a set of beliefs, nor a code of action -- you are attached primarily to a Person, and secondarily to these other things... You are not called to get to heaven, to do good, or to be good -- you are called to belong to Jesus Christ. The doing good, the being good, and the getting to heaven, are the by-products of that belonging. The center of conversion is the belonging of a person to a Person.

... E. Stanley Jones, Conversion


Holy Orders is a vocation from God; it is not a profession which we enter expecting an advance, or some sort of recognition as a right after so many years of work. But it is rather the giving up of self into the hands of God, without stint and without reserve, and letting Him set the work. It is the recognition of the fact that God has many kinds of work to be done, and that the best paid are not always the most honourable. To enter or exercise the ministry with a view to preferment is like marrying for money and not for love.

... Edwin C. Newbolt


The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves at home here on earth.
... Malcolm Muggeridge


When we once begin to form good resolutions, God gives us every opportunity of carrying them out.

... St. John Chrysostom

Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which he imparts to us.
... Sadhu Sundar Singh


"The Bible," we are told sometimes, "gives us such a beautiful picture of what we should be." Nonsense! It gives us no picture at all. It reveals to us a fact: it tells us what we really are; it says, This is the form in which God created you, to which He has restored you; this is the work which the Eternal Son, the God of Truth and Love, is continually carrying on within you.
... F. D. Maurice, The Prayer-Book and the Lord's Prayer
What is worst of all is to advocate Christianity, not because it is true, but because it might prove useful... To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion; and we may reflect that a good deal of the attention of totalitarian states has been devoted with a steadfastness of purpose not always found in democracies, to providing their national life with a foundation of morality -- the wrong kind, perhaps, but a good deal more of it. It is not enthusiasm, but dogma, that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.
... T. S. Eliot, The Idea of a Christian Society


The problem is not that the churches are filled with empty pews, but that the pews are filled with empty people.
... Charlie Shedd
We have all been inoculated with Christianity, and are never likely to take it seriously now! You put some of the virus of some dreadful illness into a man's arm, and there is a little itchiness, some scratchiness, a slight discomfort--disagreeable, no doubt, but not the fever of the real disease, the turning and the tossing, and the ebbing strength. And we have all been inoculated with Christianity, more or less. We are on Christ's side, we wish him well, we hope that He will win, and we are even prepared to do something for Him, provided, of course, that He is reasonable, and does not make too much of an upset among our cozy comforts and our customary ways. But there is not the passion of zeal, and the burning enthusiasm, and the eagerness of self-sacrifice, of the real faith that changes character and wins the world.
... A. J. Gossip, From the Edge of the Crowd


Men expect that religion should cost them no pains, that happiness should drop into their laps without any design and endeavor on their part, and that, after they have done what they please while they live, God should snatch them up to heaven when they die. But though "the commandments of God be not grievous", yet it is fit to let men know that they are not thus easy.
... John Tillotson


After a trip to Mexico [in 1984]... I fell ill... The illness was protracted... I suffered a mild depression... When [an episcopal priest] prayed for my recovery, I choked up and wept. The only prayer I knew word for word was the Pater Noster. On that day and in the days after it, I found myself repeating the Lord's Prayer, again and again, and meaning every word of it. Quite suddenly, when I was awake one night, a light dawned on me, and I realized what had happened... After many years of affirming God's existence and trying to give adequate reasons for that affirmation, I found myself believing in God.
... Mortimer Adler, quoted in Philosophers Who Believe, Kelly James Clark, ed.
[With thanks to Rowland Croucher director of John Mark Ministries]
Accustom yourself gradually to carry Prayer into all your daily occupation -- speak, act, work in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be.
... François Fénelon
God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need. Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, or keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us. We know well enough how to keep outward silence, and to hush our spoken words, but we know little of interior silence. It consists in hushing our idle, restless, wandering imagination, in quieting the promptings of our worldly minds, and in suppressing the crowd of unprofitable thoughts which excite and disturb the soul.
... François Fénelon
What then are we afraid of? Can we have too much of God? Is it a misfortune to be freed from the heavy yoke of the world, and to bear the light burden of Jesus Christ? Do we fear to be too happy, too much delivered from ourselves, from the caprices of our pride, the violence of our passions, and the tyranny of this deceitful world?
... François Fénelon
That perfect devoting ourselves to God, from which devotion has its name, requires that we should not only do the will of God, but also that we should do it with love. "He loveth a cheerful giver," and without the heart no obedience is acceptable to Him.
... François Fénèlon
So long as we are full of self, we are shocked at the faults of others. Let us think often of our own sin, and we shall be lenient to the sins of others.
... François Fénélon
There is no condition wherein a man does not depend on many others, wherein he is not more obliged to follow their fancies than his own. All the commerce of life is a perpetual constraint to the laws of good breeding, and the necessity of humoring others; and besides, our own passions are the worst tyrants: if you obey them but by halves, a perpetual strife and contest exists within; and if you entirely give up yourself to them, it is horrid to think to what extremities they will lead. May God preserve us from that fatal slavery, which the mad presumption of man calls liberty! Liberty is to be found only in Him.
... François Fénélon
There is never any peace for those who resist God.
... François Fénélon
Silence promotes the presence of God, prevents many harsh and proud words, and suppresses many dangers in the way of ridiculing or harshly judging our neighbours... If you are faithful in keeping silence when it is not necessary to speak, God will preserve you from evil when it is right for you to talk.
... François Fénélon
The more vigour you need, the more gentleness and kindness you must combine with it. All stiff, harsh goodness is contrary to Jesus.
... François Fénélon
It is only by fidelity in little things that the grace of true love to God can be sustained, and distinguished from a passing fervour of spirit... No one can well believe that our piety is sincere, when our behaviour is lax and irregular in its little details. What probability is there that we should not hesitate to make the greatest sacrifices, when we shrink from the smallest?
... François Fénelon
The smallest things become great when God requires them of us; they are small only in themselves; they are always great when they are done for God, and when they serve to unite us with Him eternally.
... François Fénelon
"When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" If He should now come, would He find it in us? What fruits of faith have we to show? Do we look upon this life only as a short passage to a better? Do we believe that we must suffer with Jesus Christ before we can reign with Him? Do we consider this world as a deceitful appearance, and death as the entrance to true happiness? Do we live by faith? Does it animate us? Do we relish the eternal truths it presents us with? Are we as careful to nourish our souls with those truths as to maintain our bodies with proper diet? Do we accustom ourselves to see all things in the light of faith? Do we correct all our judgements by it?
Alas! The greater part of Christians think and act like mere heathens; if we judge (as we justly may) of their faith by their practice, we must conclude they have no faith at all.
... François Fénelon, Meditation
Never let us be discouraged with ourselves; it is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked: on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light. And let us remember, for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till He begins to cure them.
... François Fénélon
There is a great difference between a lofty spirit and a right spirit. A lofty spirit excites admiration by its profoundness; but only a right spirit achieves salvation and happiness by its stability and integrity. Do not conform your ideas to those of the world. Scorn the "intellectual" as much as the world esteems it. What men consider intellectual is a certain facility to produce brilliant thoughts. Nothing is more vain. We make an idol of our intellect as a woman who believes herself beautiful worships her face. We take pride in our own thoughts. We must reject not only human cleverness, but also human prudence, which seems so important and so profitable. Then we may enter -- like little children, with candour and innocence of worldly ways -- into the simplicity of faith; and with humility and a horror of sin we may enter into the holy passion of the cross.
... François Fénelon
As St. Cyprian well said, we may judge how ready He is to give us those good things which He Himself solicits us to ask of Him. Let us pray then with faith, and not lose the fruits of our prayers by a wavering uncertainty which, as St. James testifies, hinders the success of them. The same apostle advises us to pray when we are in trouble because thereby we should find consolation; yet we are so wretched that this heavenly employment is often a burden instead of a comfort to us. The lukewarmness of our prayers is the source of all our other infidelities.
... François Fénelon

 I would very earnestly ask you to check your conception of Christ, the image of Him which as a Christian you hold in your mind, with the actual revealed Person who can be seen and studied in action in the pages of the Gospels. It may be of some value to hold in our minds a bundle of assorted ideals to influence and control our conduct. But surely we need to be very careful before we give that "bundle" the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

... J. B. Phillips

Much of today's Christianity is almost completely earthbound, and the words of Jesus about what follows this life are scarcely studied at all. This, I believe, is partly due to man's enormous technical successes, which make him feel master of the human situation. But it is also partly due to our scholars and experts. By the time they have finished with their dissection of the New Testament and with their explaining away as "myth" all that they find disquieting or unacceptable to the modern mind, the Christian way of life is little more than humanism with a slight tinge of religion.

... J. B. Phillips

Jesus once declared that God is "good to the ungrateful and the wicked" (St. Luke 6:35), and I remember preaching a sermon on this text to a horrified and even astonished congregation who simply refused to believe (so I gathered afterwards) in this astounding liberality of God. That God should be in a state of constant fury with the wicked seemed to them only right and proper, but that God should be kind towards those who were defying or disobeying His laws seemed to them a monstrous injustice. Yet I was but quoting the Son of God Himself, and I only comment here that the terrifying risks that God takes are part of His Nature. We do not need to explain or modify His unremitting love towards mankind.

... J. B. Phillips

A man can not be "friends with" God on any other terms than complete obedience to Him, and that includes being "friends with" his fellow man. Christ stated emphatically that it was quite impossible, in the nature of things, for a man to be at peace with God and at variance with his neighbour. This disquieting fact is often hushed up, but it is undeniable that Christ said it, and the truth of it is enshrined in the petition for forgiveness in the "Lord's Prayer."

... J. B. Phillips, Your God is Too Small

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

Following the way of Jesus Christ and doing all we can for His cause and for our fellow men expresses something of our worship in action. But how to give Him a present to express our love is a bit of a problem. How can you give God anything when He owns everything? But does He? How about that power to choose, that precious free will that He has given to every living personality and which He so greatly respects? That is the only present we can give -- our selves, with all our powers of spirit, mind, and body, willingly, freely given because we love Him. That is the best and highest worship that you and I can offer, and I am sure that it is this above all that God most highly appreciates.

... J. B. Phillips, Plain Christianity

To me there is a much more frightening ignorance in our modern world than the "ignorance of the heathen". I am referring to the almost total ignorance of the content and implication of the Christian Faith shown by many "clever" people today. Frankly, I find it horrifying to discover that men who are experts in their own line -- in astronomy, genetics, or nuclear physics, for example -- have no adult knowledge of what the Church of Christ stands for, and a complete blank ignorance of what the Church is achieving today. It is the more horrifying because people who rightly respect the expert for his knowledge in his own field have no idea that he has not carefully examined and reluctantly discarded Christianity; but in all probability he has never studied it at all!

... J. B. Phillips

One of Paul's most important teachings... is the doctrine of what we call "justification by faith". It frequently appears to the non-Christian mind that this is an immoral or at least unmoral doctrine. Paul appears to be saying that a man is justified before God, not by his goodness or badness, not by his good deeds or bad deeds, but by believing in a certain doctrine of Atonement. Of course, when we come to examine the matter more closely, we can see that there is nothing unmoral in this teaching at all. For if "faith" means using a God-given faculty to apprehend the unseen divine order, and means, moreover, involving oneself in that order by personal commitment, we can at once see how different that is from merely accepting a certain view of Christian redemption... That which man in every religion, every century, every country, was powerless to affect, God has achieved by the devastating humility of His action and suffering in Jesus Christ. Now, accepting such an action as a fait accompli is only possible by this perceptive faculty of "faith". It requires not merely intellectual assent but a shifting of personal trust from the achievements of the self to the completely undeserved action of God. To accept this teaching by mind and heart does, indeed, require a metanoia ["transformation"], a revolution in the outlook of both heart and mind.

... J. B. Phillips, New Testament Christianity

It is necessary to point out that our responsibility is a relative one only, for as we think of the world-wide disintegration of the human family, the prospect before us could easily fill us with alarm and despondency, if we were not sure first of the absolute sovereignty of God who (I speak reverently) knows what He is doing in conducting this enormous experiment that we call life.

... J. B. Phillips, Making Men Whole

The 'outsider' who knows nothing of the mixture of tradition, conviction, honest difference, and hidden resentment, that lies behind the divisions of the Christian Church sees clearly the advantage of a united Christian front and cannot see why the Churches cannot 'get together'. The problem is doubtless complicated, for there are many honest differences held with equal sincerity, but it is only made insoluble because the different denominations are (possibly unconsciously) imagining God to be Roman or Anglican or Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or what have you. If they could see beyond their little inadequate god, and glimpse the reality of God, they might even laugh a little and perhaps weep a little. The result would be a unity that actually does transcend differences, instead of ignoring them with public politeness and private contempt.

... J. B. Phillips, Your God is Too Small

It is a singularly unpleasant thought that a book about Holy Communion is more likely to produce disagreement and controversy than one written on almost any other Christian subject. It seems a truly terrible thing that this Sacred Appointment, which was surely meant to unite, in actual practice divides Christians more sharply than any other part of their worship. Christians of various denominations may, and frequently do, work together on social projects, they may study the Scripture together, and they may ... pray together. But the moment attendance at the Lord's Table is suggested, up go the denominational barriers... I would make a strong plea that we do not exclude from the Lord's Table in our Church those who are undoubtedly sincere Christians. I cannot believe that to communicate together with our Lord should be regarded as the consummation, the final pinnacle, of the whole vast work of Reunion. Suppose it is the means and not the end. We might feel far more sharply the sin of our divisions and of our exclusiveness if we came humbly together to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord, and in that reception we might find such a quickening of our common devotion to Him that the divisions between us might be found not nearly so insuperable as we supposed.

... J. B. Phillips, Appointment with God

This astonishing sense of spiritual attack which, it seems to me, must inevitably follow the continual reading of the four Gospels, without preconception but with an alert mind, is not the sole privilege of the translator. It can happen to anyone who is prepared to abandon proof-texts and a closed attitude of mind, and allow not merely the stories but the quality of the Figure Who exists behind the stories to meet him afresh. Neat snippets of a few verses are of course useful in their way, but the overall sweep and much of the significance of the Gospel narratives are lost to us unless we are prepared to read the Gospels through, not once but several times.

... J. B. Phillips

It is easy to criticise the many failings of the Church; it is all too easy to criticise the lives of those who profess and call themselves Christians; but I should say that it is almost impossible to read the Gospels thoroughly with adult, serious attention and then dismiss the central Figure as a mere human prophet or a tragic idealist. The reaction to such a study may indeed prove to be conversion or open hostility, but it would at least mean the end of childish and ill-informed attacks upon what is supposed to be the Christian religion.

... J. B. Phillips

There is joy and strength, of course, in this holy food and drink, but it is also an inevitable joining force with the vast Scheme of reconciliation and redemption. Now there is something in our natural selves that may well make us wary of such a contact. The man who in his heart intends to go on being selfish or proud, or who has already decided how far his Christian convictions should carry him, is probably obeying a sound instinct when he keeps away from this glorious but perilous Sacrament. For, if the truth be told, men are often willing to put their trust in a god who in the end must be triumphant, simply because they want to be on the winning side; but they are not nearly so ready to bear any part of the cost of that winning. Yet the fellowship of the broken bread and the poured-out wine can mean no less than that.

... J. B. Phillips

I have heard professing Christians of our own day speak as though the historicity of the Gospels does not matter -- all that matters is the contemporary Spirit of Christ. I contend that the historicity does matter, and I do not see why we, who live nearly two thousand years later, should call into question an Event for which there were many eye-witnesses still living at the time when most of the New Testament was written. It was no "cunningly devised fable" but an historic irruption of God into human history which gave birth to a young church so sturdy that the pagan world could not stifle or destroy it.

... J. B. Phillips, Ring of Truth

God in His providence has not allowed the survival of actual physical objects. But we have infinitely more than this, for instead of dead relics, however "authentic" and well preserved, we have a living life-line, stretching unbroken to Christ Himself. We have all the comfort and security that comes from historic tradition, but instead of being given the sad nostalgia of looking at an object and saying, "Look, how wonderful! This is what He touched then," we are given an evergreen memorial [in communion] which says, "This is what He touches now."

... J. B. Phillips, Appointment with God

Jesus, like all other religious leaders, taught men to pray, that is, He taught them to look away from the world of ordinary sense impressions and to open the heart and spirit to God; yet He is always insistent that religion must be related to life. It is only by contact with God that a better quality of living can be achieved -- and Jesus Himself, as the records show, spent many hours in communion with God -- yet that new quality of life has to be both demonstrated and tested in the ordinary rough-and-tumble of plain living. It is in ordinary human relationships that the validity of a man's communion with God is to be proved.

... J. B. Phillips

From the crude cry which we have so often heard during the war years: "If there is a God, why doesn't He stop Hitler?", to the unspoken questioning in many a Christian heart when a devoted servant of Christ dies from accident or disease at what seems to us a most inopportune moment, there is this universal longing for God to intervene, to show His hand, to vindicate His purpose. I do not pretend to understand the ways of God any more than the next man; but it is surely more fitting as well as more sensible for us to study what God does do and what He does not do as He works in and through the complex fabric of this disintegrated world, than to postulate what we think God ought to do and then feel demoralised and bitterly disappointed because He fails to fulfil what we expect of Him.

... J. B. Phillips, Making Men Whole

What changed these very ordinary men (who were such cowards that they did not dare stand too near the cross in case they got involved) into heroes who would stop at nothing? A swindle? Hallucination? Spooky nonsense in a darkened room? Or Somebody quietly doing what He said He'd do -- walk right through death? What do YOU think?

... J. B. Phillips, Is God at Home?

So long as a man confines his ideas of Christ to a rather misty hero figure of long ago who died a tragic death, and so long as his ideas of Christianity are bounded by what he calls the Sermon on the Mount (which he has almost certainly not read in its entirety since he became grown-up), then the living truth never has a chance to touch him. This is plainly what has happened to many otherwise intelligent people. Over the years I have had hundreds of conversations with people, many of them of higher intellectual calibre than my own, who quite obviously had no idea of what Christianity is really about. I was in no case trying to catch them out: I was simply and gently trying to find out what they knew about the New Testament. My conclusion was that they knew virtually nothing. This I find pathetic and somewhat horrifying. It means that the most important Event in human history is politely and quietly bypassed. For it is not as though the evidence had been examined and found unconvincing: it had simply never been examined.

... J. B. Phillips, Ring of Truth

The testimony of the New Testament cannot be lightly disregarded, nor can the claims of Christ be airily dismissed. Many otherwise intelligent people have never read with adult attention either the four Gospels or the Letters of the New Testament. When they so do, to my certain knowledge they not infrequently become converted. Indeed, I know of no adult who has seriously studied the New Testament and rejected the stories of Christ as mythical or the evidence of changed lives in the Letters as mere fabrication.

... J. B. Phillips, God with Us

In his enthusiasm, the evangelist often finds it difficult seriously to imagine that anyone could be called not to be an evangelist. The man of vision and imagination finds it difficult to see the value of those who do no more than plod on faithfully along a well-tried road. The man whose concern is in personal dealing with people and leading them to understand God better finds it difficult to be patient with the theologian or the Christian philosopher whose work is in the quiet of a book-lined study. Yet the truth is that the wholeness which God is working to achieve is never complete in an individual, but through individuals living together as one body, each supplying the deficiencies of the others.

... J. B. Phillips, Making Men Whole

The preacher and the writer may seem to have an... easy task. At first sight, it may seem that they have only to proclaim and declare; but in fact, if their words are to enter men's hearts and bear fruit, they must be the right words, shaped cunningly to pass men's defences and explode silently and effectually within their minds. This means, in practice, turning a face of flint toward the easy cliche, the well-worn religious cant and phraseology -- dear, no doubt, to the faithful, but utterly meaningless to those outside the fold. It means learning how people are thinking and how they are feeling; it means learning with patience, imagination and ingenuity the way to pierce apathy or blank lack of understanding. I sometimes wonder what hours of prayer and thought lie behind the apparently simple and spontaneous parables of the Gospel.

... J. B. Phillips, Making Men Whole

What I am concerned with here is not to write a new life of Jesus, but to set down my witness to the continued shocks which his words and deeds gave me as I approached the Gospels uninsulated by the familiar cover of beautiful language. The figure who emerged is quite unlike the Jesus of conventional piety, and even more unlike that imagined hero whom members of various causes claim as their champion. What we are so often confronted with today is a "processed" Jesus. Every element that we feel is not consonant with our "image" of him is removed, and the result is more insipid and unsatisfying than the worst of processed food.

... J. B. Phillips, Ring of Truth

Baptist Surfer - "A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." (Chesterton)

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