Saturday, August 27, 2016

 "Those who have means and are willing, each according to his own choice, gives what he wills, and what is collected is deposited with the president. He provides for the orphans and widows, those who are in need on account of sickness or some other cause, those who are in bonds, strangers who are sojourning, and in a word he becomes the protector of all who are in need.”
Justin Martyr, early church father. 

This quote is part of a teaching about how to conduct service in the early church. I know I depart from the majority when I believe that I think this represents New Testament giving. I think the world would be reached far more if we adopted this way of giving, though our churches would be measurably more modest. I love the thinking of the church as "the protector of all who are in need." 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

  "Every age which is moved by the Spirit of God feels keenly the searching, chastening power of that Divine Presence. "He that is near me," the Lord is reported to have said, "is near Fire." And we cannot hope to enjoy the splendor of a fuller, purer light without enduring the pain which necessarily comes from the removal of the veils by which it was obscured. Gain through apparent loss; victory through momentary defeat; the energy of a new life through pangs of travail -- such has ever been the law of spiritual progress." Bishop Wescott.

  "As the Bible speaks to us all independently, and so claims our individual service, it speaks to us also at each crisis of our spiritual growth. How often it happens that a great sorrow, or a great joy, or the slow passage of years makes sayings clear which were dark before. And besides all this, there is a natural progress in our understanding the Scriptures. Some things we can see when we are children; some things are open to us in maturer years; some things remain mysteries to the end." Bishop Westcott.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Life is too short to waste
In critic peep or cynic bark, 
Quarrel or reprimand:
'Twill soon be dark;
Up! mind thine own aim, and
God speed the mark!

The following is a piece on sympathy that I really like. He is talking about a man named Hugh that was resolved to open up hardened hearts.

  "Hugh endeavored to discern the poetical quality in everything and in every one. With people it's difficult because there are so many who stare solemnly and impenetrably, who try and keep us at a distance by remarks about the weather and the events of the day, like a man repels a barge with a pole! With such people it would be necessary to try a number of conversational flies over the surface of the sleeping pool, in the hope that some impulse, some pleasant trait, would dart irresistibly to the surface, and be hauled struggling ashore!

Hugh had seen, more than once, strange, repressed, mournful things looking out of the guarded eyes of dreary persons; and it would be his business to entice these to the light. There were a thousand pretty secrets in the ways of people to each other. Hugh desired to keep his eyes fixed upon the further horizon; the best chance of catching the first faint lights of that other sunrise, was to have learned expectancy, to have trained observation, and to have kept one's heart unfettered and undimmed." Arthur Benson.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

    There are times when we feel as though the message is meant just for us.

  "There is, we must all have felt, a singular personality in the language of the Bible. We hear in the Scriptures the living voices of living men speaking to ourselves. Phrases of the Bible startle us by their direct application to our own needs, by their clear revelation of our own thoughts; they cling, as it were, to us; they reach where no friend's voice could reach. They stay even where the counsel of love could find no entrance." Bishop Westcott.

  "People cannot live without an ideal. Wealth, power and pleasure cannot supply an ideal. But the Bible not only offers us an ideal of service, and sympathy, and fellowship, of love to God and man, which answers to the noblest aspirations of all men, but also supplies us with a motive to seek it, and a power to approach it -- the sense of Christ's love for us, and the sense of Christ's Presence." Bishop Westcott.