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Showing posts from April, 2007

I know my sheep

As we reflect again upon the beautiful love of Christ for us in the "Good Shepherd" passage of St. John 11, let us recognise the very heartbeat of the passage: "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep" (1928 BCP). We focus on the laying down of the life of the Shepherd, for a number of reasons; it is surely the Great Act of divine love (Rom. 5:8). But in these words above, Christ communicates the intimate relationship to which He invites His sheep, which loving communion inspires His willingness to lay down His life for us, sheep going astray. He compares the degree of intimacy He has with His sheep to the degree of "knowing" intimacy He has with His Father. Bishop Westcott writes: The relation of Christ to His people corresponds with that of the Son to the Father. Comp. vi. 57, xiv. 20, xv. 10, xvii.21. The words are not simply a compa

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - X - H. C. G. Moule

The conclusion of chapter 2: We have thus touched some few points which, in the experience of active and earnest Christians, if I do not mistake the case, call not seldom for a recollection of the law of the Total Abstinence of Jesus Christ. Let us recur in closing to the brief, searching, sentences of the Apostle. They penetrate in their simplicity to the centre of our being. They interdict, with the same totality of intention, not only the expression of ungoverned anger but the least swelling of internal irritation; * not only the act of the adulterer, but the faintest movement of impure ideas. They prescribe an abstinence indeed. And how, oh how, in a practical sense, shall we totally abstain? There is but one reply: “In Him that strengtheneth me.” In Him the feeblest believer is, and He is in him, in the eternal covenant. Our need is to turn that unalterable fact into the practice of the ever-varying day and hour. Let us look off, then, to the Lord; to the infinity of His supply. “

A Vision for Prayer

We Americans live and breathe pragmatism, methodology, techniques, technology, and all the other things that fill our lives with "what I can do about it" and time-related pressures. Some of this stems from a good thing: a Puritan view of personal responsibility. God gives us resources, we need to use them to the best of our ability. Fine. But when it comes to the Church, everything about her life is built upon personal inability : "Apart from Me ye can do nothing." The cornerstone of the Church is the person, Christ. In the same discourse as the previous quote, he says, "Ask and ye shall receive." God uses means; he uses means when it comes to the enlarging of the blessings of our ministries and our churches. But the chief means given to us is prayer. I wonder what God can do to build and grow a church? Could He perhaps do things we never even thought about? The Bible shows Him doing that a good deal. I wonder what God might do to build and grow a

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - IX - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter 2, cont'd. Shall I touch on other things, not expressly named in this passage (Eph. 4: 1,2,31), but all too often known in Christian circles? Irreverence about the Name and Presence of the holy and blessed God is one of them; I have alluded to it already (p. 32). In President Edwards’ account of the great revival at Northampton , in New England , early last century, there is a remarkable passage to this effect, in the complete edition of the Narrative. That revival approached, or seemed to do so, to what I know not where else to find recorded, the conversion of a whole town; and the manifestations of grace, as testified to by the great Christian thinker who wrote the story, were wonderful indeed. Describing one singularly beautiful case of fully sanctified life, he speaks of the person in question as bowed down in deep penitence under a sense of sin involved in one mention of the name of God without adequate reverence. Such a bowing down was better than an unc

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - VIII - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter 2 continued: To return to St. Paul . In his divinely-guided list here of occasions for Total Abstinence, he touches many a point, so it seems to me, which very often proves a weak point in those who really know and love Jesus Christ, and have sincerely surrendered their life and self to Him, and are whole-heartedly on His side, in a deep, true sense, and energetic in His work. Sins are named or implied in this passage which even in inmost circles of Christian life and intercourse are all too often to be seen and mourned. Is there no such thing as “evil speaking” in the form of religious gossip; the willing, easy, worse than useless, talking over of the characters and the work of others? Is there no such thing as “bitterness” in the disguise of that evil sweetness with which a good man can sometimes rejoice in iniquity; hearing, perhaps, with positive satisfaction of inconsistencies of life in one from whom he has differed on questions of doctrinal truth? Be not

The Eikon Basilike on the English Liturgy

In 1649, the book Eikon Basilike (Portrait of the King) was published, in the name of Charles I. It's authorship was disputed from the first. Parliament had John Milton write a book against it, creatively entitled Eikonoklastes . Chapter 16, Upon the Ordinance against the Common-Prayer-Booke , referring to the legislation of the Parliament, makes some really good arguments for the English liturgy, though they are also found elsewhere. You may read the whole at: . An excerpt from 16 is below. The final reference to the "Directory" would be the Westminster Directory for the Publick Worship of God . As for the matter contained in the Booke, sober and learned men have sufficiently vindicated it against the cavils and exceptions of those, who thought it a part of piety to make what profane objections they could against it; especially for Popery & Superstition; whereas no doubt the Liturgy was exactly conformed to the d