The innocence of children may be more a matter of weakness of limb than purity of heart.
Longing desire prayeth always, though the tongue be silent. If thou art ever longing, thou art ever praying.
Sin arises when things that are a minor good are pursued as though they were the most important goals in life. If money or affection or power are sought in disproportionate, obsessive ways, then sin occurs. And that sin is magnified when, for these lesser goals, we fail to pursue the highest good and the finest goals. So when we ask ourselves why, in a given situation, we committed a sin, the answer is usually one of two things. Either we wanted to obtain something we didn’t have, or we feared losing something we had.
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.
God had one Son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
And He departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here.
Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.
My Father, supremely good, beauty of all things beautiful.
The good Christian should be aware of astrologers, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the astrologers have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of hell.
I never have any difficulty believing in miracles, since I experienced the miracle of a change in my own heart.
The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and to be loved.
God chooses us, not because we believe, but that we may believe.
We do good deeds, but God works in us in the doing of them.
A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.
Seeing women when you go out is not forbidden, but it is sinful to desire them or to wish them to desire you, for it is not by tough or passionate feeling alone but by one’s gaze also that lustful desires mutually arise. And do not say that your hearts are pure if there is immodesty of the eye, because the unchaste eye carries the message of an impure heart. And when such hearts disclose their unchaste desires in a mutual gaze, even without saying a word, then it is that chastity suddenly goes out of their life, even though their bodies remain unsullied by unchaste acts.
God would never permit evil, if He could not bring good out of evil.
The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
What can be more excellent than prayer; what is more profitable to our life; what sweeter to our souls; what more sublime, in the course of our whole life, than the practice of prayer!
It is not easy to find a name that will suitably express so great an excellence, unless it is better to speak in this way: the Trinity, one God, of whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things. Thus the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God; and each of them by Himself is a complete substance, and yet they are all one substance. The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only Father, the Son is only Son, and the Holy Spirit is only Holy Spirit. To all Three belong the same eternity, the same unchangeableness, the same majesty, the same power. In the Father is unity, in the Son equality, in the Holy Spirit the harmony of unity and equality. And these three attributes are all one because of the Father, all equal because of the Son, and all harmonious because of the Holy Spirit.
Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself.
The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.
Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in Him.
How then, brethren, because he that is baptized in Christ, and believes on Him, does not now speak in the tongues of all nations, are we not to believe that he has received the Holy Ghost? God forbid that our heart should be tempted by this faithlessness… Why is it that no man speaks in the tongues of all nations? Because the Church itself now speaks in the tongues of all nations. Before, the Church was in one nation, where it spoke in the tongues of all. By speaking then in the tongues of all, it signified what was to come to pass; that by growing among the nations, it would speak in the tongues of all.
It is not the being seen of men that is wrong, but doing these things for the purpose of being seen of men. The problem with the hypocrite is his motivation. He does not want to be holy; he only wants to seem to be holy. He is more concerned with his reputation for righteousness than about actually becoming righteous. The approbation of men matters more to him than the approval of God.
If both [heaven and hell] are “eternal,” it follows necessarily that either both are to be taken as long-lasting but finite, or both as endless and perpetual. The phrases “eternal punishment” and “eternal life” are parallel and it would be absurd to use them in one and the same sentence to mean: “Eternal life will be infinite, while eternal punishment will have an end.” Hence, because the eternal life of the saints will be endless, the eternal punishment also, for those condemned to it, will assuredly have no end.
Sin is believing the lie that you are self-created, self-dependent and self-sustained.
Is it any merit to abstain from wine if one is intoxicated with anger?
Fear is the response of the human heart when its one thing is threatened.
O Lord, grant that I may do Thy will as if it were my will, so that Thou mayest do my will as if it were Thy will.
You have created us for Yourself, and our heart cannot be stilled until it finds rest in You.
True happiness is to rejoice in the truth, for to rejoice in the truth is to rejoice in You, O God, who are the truth… Those who think that there is another kind of happiness look for joy elsewhere, but theirs is not true joy.
God is not greater if you reverence Him, but you are greater if you serve Him.
Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.
Christ is not valued at all, unless He is valued above all.
If you love your soul, there is danger of its being destroyed. Therefore you may not love it, since you do not want it to be destroyed. But in not wanting it to be destroyed you love it.
God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.
Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
The so-called innocence of children is more a matter of weakness of limb, than purity of heart.
Nothing whatever pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be accomplished without grace.
Every saint is God’s temple, and he who carries His temple about him, may go to prayer when he pleaseth.
For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.
Should you ask me what is the first thing in religion; I should reply that the first, second, and third thing therein is humility.
At times one hesitates to reprove or admonish evil-doers, either because one seeks a more favorable moment or fears his rebuke might make them worse, and further, discourage weak brethren from seeking to lead a good and holy life, or turn them aside from the faith. In such circumstances forbearance is not prompted by selfish considerations but by well advised charity.
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
He loves Thee too little who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for Thy sake.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Now you love yourself suitably when you love God better than yourself. What, then, you aim at in yourself you must aim at in your neighbor, namely, that he may love God with a perfect affection. For you do not love him as yourself, unless you try to draw him to that good which you are yourself pursuing. For this is the one good which has room for all to pursue it along with thee. From this precept proceed the duties of human society.
God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.
To be assured of our salvation is no arrogant stoutness. It is faith. It is devotion. It is not presumption. It is God’s promise.
Breath in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
One never errs more safely than when one errs by too much loving the truth.
Thou didst seek us when we sought Thee not; didst seek us indeed that we might seek Thee.
You called, You cried, You shattered my deafness, You sparkled, You blazed, You drove away my blindness, You shed Your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You.
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
When regard for truth has been broken down or even slightly weakened, all things will remain doubtful.
He was created by a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.
I classify the human race into two branches: The one consists of those who live by human standards, the other of those who live according to God’s will. I also call these two classes the two cities, speaking allegorically. By two cities I mean two societies of human beings, one of which is predestined to reign with God for all eternity, the other doomed to undergo eternal punishment with the devil.
[The Bible is] shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.
I was weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when I heard the voice of children from a neighboring house chanting, “Take up and read; take up and read.” I could not remember ever having heard the like, so checking the torrent of my tears, I arose, interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book and read the first chapter I should find. Eagerly then I returned to the place where I had laid the volume of the apostle. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: “Not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not is strife and envy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” No further would I read, nor did I need to. For instantly at the end of this sentence, it seemed as if a light of serenity infused into my heart and all the darkness of doubt vanished away.
No one is really happy merely because he has what he wants, but only if he wants things he ought to want.
God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!… You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.
For the Almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil.
God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to permit no evil to exist.
In the first days the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers, and they spoke in tongues that they hadn’t learned, as the Spirit gave them to speak. These signs were appropriate for the time. For it was necessary that the Holy Spirit be signified thus in all tongues, because the gospel of God was going to traverse all tongues throughout the earth. That was the sign that was given, and it passed.
We are burdened with this corruptible body; but knowing that the cause of this burdensomeness is not the nature and substance of the body, but its corruption, we do not desire to be deprived of the body, but to be clothed with its immortality… If Adam had not sinned, he would not have been divested of his body, but would have been clothed upon (superinvested) with immortality and incorruption, that his mortal (body) might have been absorbed by life; that is, that he might have passed from his natural body to the spiritual body.
How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose and was now glad to reject! You drove them from me, You who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, You who outshine all light yet are hidden deeper than any secret in our hearts, You who surpass all honor though not in the eyes of men who see all honor in themselves. At last my mind was free from the gnawing anxieties of ambition and gain, from wallowing in filth and scratching the itching sore of lust. I began to talk to you freely, O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.
I was astonished that although I now loved You… I did not persist in enjoyment of my God. Your beauty drew me to You, but soon I was dragged away from You by my own weight and in dismay, I plunged again into the things of this world… as though I had sensed the fragrance of the fare but was not yet able to eat it.
Give me the grace [O Lord] to do as You command, and command me to do what You will!… O holy God…when Your commands are obeyed, it is from You that we receive the power to obey them.
For there exists a delight that is not given to the wicked, but to those honoring Thee, O God, without desiring recompense, the joy of whom Thou art Thyself! And this is the blessed life, to rejoice towards Thee, about Thee, for Thy sake.
To say that life eternal shall be endless, [but that] punishment eternal shall come to an end is the height of absurdity.
Mary was more blessed in accepting the faith of Christ than in conceiving the flesh of Christ. To someone who said, “Blessed is the womb that bore you,” [Jesus] replied, “Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.” Finally, for His brothers, His relatives according to the flesh who did not believe in Him, of what advantage was that relationship? Even her maternal relationship would have done Mary no good unless she had borne Christ more happily in her heart than in her flesh.
Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all.
Man was added to Him, God not lost to Him; He emptied Himself not by losing what He was, but by taking to Him what He was not.
You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.
The word of the Father by whom all time was created was made flesh and born in time for us. He without whose divine permission no day completes its course, wished to have one of those days for His human birth. In the bosom of His Father He existed before all the cycles of the ages. Born of an earthly mother, He entered on the course of the years on that very day. The maker of man became man that He ruler of the stars might be nourished at the breast, that He the bread might be hungry, that He the fountain might thirst, that He the light might sleep, that He the way might be wearied in the journey, that He the truth might be accused by false witnesses, that He the judge of the living and the dead might be brought to trial by a mortal judge, that He justice itself might be condemned by the unjust, that He discipline personified might be scourged with a whip, that He the foundation might be suspended on a cross, that He courage incarnate might be weak, and He security itself might be wounded, and He life itself might die.
Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved!
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.
Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence.