"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

ONE important direction in which to exercise gentleness, is with respect to ourselves, never growing irritated with one’s self or one’s imperfections; for although it is but reasonable that we should be displeased and grieved at our own faults, yet ought we to guard against a bitter, angry, or peevish feeling about them. Many people fall into the error of being angry because they have been angry, vexed because they have given way to vexation, thus keeping up a chronic state of irritation, which adds to the evil of what is past, and prepares the way for a fresh fall on the first occasion. Moreover, all this anger and irritation against one’s self fosters pride, and springs entirely from self-love, which is disturbed and fretted by its own imperfection. What we want is a quiet, steady, firm displeasure at our own faults. A judge gives sentence more effectually speaking deliberately and calmly than if he be impetuous and passionate (for in the latter case he punishes not so much the actual faults before him, but what they appear to him to be); and so we can chasten ourselves far better by a quiet stedfast repentance, than by eager hasty ways of penitence, which, in fact, are proportioned not by the weight of our faults, but according to our feelings and inclinations. Thus one man who specially aims at purity will be intensely vexed with himself at some very trifling fault against it, while he looks upon some gross slander of which he has been guilty as a mere laughing matter. On the other hand, another will torment himself painfully over some slight exaggeration, while he altogether overlooks some serious offence against purity; and so on with other things. All this arises solely because men do not judge themselves by the light of reason, but under the influence of passion. Believe me, my daughter, as a parent’s tender affectionate remonstrance has far more weight with his child than anger and sternness, so, when we judge our own heart guilty, if we treat it gently, rather in a spirit of pity than anger, encouraging it to amendment, its repentance will be much deeper and more lasting than if stirred up in vehemence and wrath. For instance:—Let me suppose that I am specially seeking to conquer vanity, and yet that I have fallen conspicuously into that sin;—instead of taking myself to task as abominable and wretched, for breaking so many resolutions, calling myself unfit to lift up my eyes to Heaven, as disloyal, faithless, and the like, I would deal pitifully and quietly with myself. “Poor heart! so soon fallen again into the snare! Well now, rise up again bravely and fall no more. Seek God’s Mercy, hope in Him, ask Him to keep you from falling again, and begin to tread the pathway of humility afresh. We must be more on our guard henceforth.” Such a course will be the surest way to making a stedfast substantial resolution against the special fault, to which should be added any external means suitable, and the advice of one’s director. If any one does not find this gentle dealing sufficient, let him use sterner self-rebuke and admonition, provided only, that whatever indignation he may rouse against himself, he finally works it all up to a tender loving trust in God, treading in the footsteps of that great penitent who cried out to his troubled soul: “Why art thou so vexed, O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? O put thy trust in God, for I will yet thank Him, Which is the help of my countenance, and my God.” So then, when you have fallen, lift up your heart in quietness, humbling yourself deeply before God by reason of your frailty, without marvelling that you fell;—there is no cause to marvel because weakness is weak, or infirmity infirm. Heartily lament that you should have offended God, and begin anew to cultivate the lacking grace, with a very deep trust in His Mercy, and with a bold, brave heart.

[the spiritual life: Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life]

Posted by Jeff on 01.18.2013

§

Many people make a great mistake who, having been angry, get angry with themselves for having been angry, or feel sorrow for having been sorrowful, or spite themselves for having been spiteful, because this way they keep their hearts soaked and drowned in anger, and so it seems that the second anger removes the first, but what it does nevertheless is that it makes an opening and a passageway for a new anger at the first opportunity that presents itself. Furthermore, anger, resentment, and bitterness toward oneself tend toward pride and have their origin in self-esteem.

[spiritual life: Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life]

Posted by Jeff on 01.18.2013

§

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

[prejudice: William James, ]

Posted by Jeff on 05.22.2012

§

Spiritually to understand the Scripture, is to have the eyes of the mind opened, to behold the wonderful spiritual excellency of the glorious things contained in the true meaning of it, and that always were contained in it, ever since it was written; to behold the amiable and bright manifestations of the divine perfections, and of the excellency and sufficiency of Christ

[Scripture: Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections]

Posted by Jeff on 04.05.2012

§

Contrary to some popular misconceptions, the monastery was not a compound to which the pure withdrew, safe and secure from the vicissitudes of sin and temptations that batter life in the world. Neither was it a means by which those who sought holiness could squelch desire. Rather, the monastery was a school of charity, where desire was redeemed and love redirected. The monastery was the site of a divine pedagogy whereby desire underwent not annihilation but rehabilitation. The monastic life was not about the suppression of desire but the healing or transforming of desire that had been bent, distorted, deformed.

[monasticism: Daniel M. Bell Jr., Economy of Desire]

Posted by Jeff on 02.28.2012

§

The ideal audience is led at times to experience puzzlement at Jesus’ riddles and cryptic sayings. Nevertheless, by portraying a world in which many characters are blind to the rule of God, the narrative leads the hearers to want to see and to follow even more. The two-step progressions, the series of three, and the explanations of the riddles further entice the ideal hearers to keep trying to understand Jesus and the hidden presence of the rule of God—even when the hearers are sometimes kept off balance by new mysteries and more riddles.

[parables: , Mark as Story]

Posted by Jeff on 02.01.2012

§

In America today we have come to a point in our history when we are beginning to react to death as we would to a communicable disease. Death no longer is viewed as the price of moral trespass or as the result of theological wrath; rather, in our modern secular world, death is coming to be seen as the consequence of personal neglect or untoward accident. Death is now a temporal matter. Like cancer or syphilis, it is a private disaster that we discuss only reluctantly with our physician. Moreover, as in the manner of many contagious diseases, those who are caught in the throes of death are isolated from their fellow human beings, while those who have succumbed to it are hidden quickly from view.

[death and dying: Robert Fulton, Death and Identity]

Posted by Jeff on 11.11.2011

§

It is the wrath of the lamb, the wrath of redeeming love. As such the very wrath of God is a sign of hope, not of utter destruction. . . . Judgment and wrath mean that far from casting us off, God comes within the existence and relation between the creator and the creature, and negates the contradiction we have introduced into it by and in our sin. God’s wrath means that God declares in no uncertain terms that what he has made he still affirms as his own good handiwork and will not cast it off into nothingness. Wrath means that God asserts himself against us as holy and loving creator in the midst of our sin and perversity and alienation. God’s wrath is God’s judgment of sin, but it is a judgment in which God asserts that he is the God of the sinner and that the sinner is God’s creature: it is a wrath which asserts God’s ownership of the creature and asserts the binding of the creature to the holy and loving God. . . . It must take the form of judgment over against sin, but a reaffirmation that the creature belongs to God and that he refuses to cease to be its God and therefore refuses to let it go. God’s very wrath tells us that we are children of God. It is the rejection of evil, of our evil by the very love that God himself eternally is.

[God's wrath: T.F. Torrance, Incarnation]

Posted by Jeff on 10.23.2011

§

Everything in Christianity is some kind of anticipation of something that is to be at the end of the world.

[eschatology: John Wesley, Sermon 141, "On the Holy Spirit"]

Posted by Jeff on 10.03.2011

§

While humanity does not deserve to know them, those who judge by outward appearance alone would believe them to be very ordinary persons, though God takes great pleasure in them.

[Outward appearance: Madam Guyon, The Song of Songs of Solomon]

Posted by Jeff on 09.27.2011

§

It is festival, therefore, the whole time in which we live. For though he [Paul] said, “Let us keep the feast,” not with a view to the presence of the Passover or of Pentecost, did he say it; but as pointing out that the whole of time is a festival unto Christians, the cause of the excellency of the good things which have been given. For what hath not come to pass that is good? The Son of God was made man for thee; He freed thee from death; and called thee to a kingdom. Thou therefore who hast obtained and art obtaining such things, how can it be less than thy duty to “keep the feast” all thy life?

[festivals: John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Corinthians]

Posted by Jeff on 09.14.2011

§

The Christmas festival is not primarily a historical commemoration of the birth at Bethlehem but the celebration of God’s eschatological self-disclosure in the Christ-event.

[Christmas: Reginald H. Fuller, Preaching the Lectionary]

Posted by Jeff on 09.14.2011

§

Luther transformed the vision of the Christian life from a religion and piety centered on ritual performance of sacramental actions that supposedly provides grace to enable fulfillment of God’s commands—to practice and piety that depends on the proclamation of God’s Word and its reception through trust in God’s promise.

[Reformation: Robert Kolb, Luther and the Stories of God]

Posted by Jeff on 08.25.2011

§

Truly you cannot read too much in Scripture, and what you read, you cannot read too well, and what you read well, you cannot understand too well; what you understand well, you cannot teach too well; and what you teach well, you cannot live too well.

[Christian life: Martin Luther, ]

Posted by Jeff on 08.25.2011

§

It is true that he gives all things; he sustains and preserves everyone. But if you do not want to use what you are able to put to use, that is tempting God. It is his will that you put to use what you have at hand, that which he has given you and placed at your disposal, not that you close your mouth and let his creation go. He has given it to you. He will not perform a miracle for you when it is not necessary.

[God's action and human action: Martin Luther, Sermon on Gen 6, 1523]

Posted by Jeff on 08.24.2011

§

  • 1
  • 2
  •  Per page: