“The greatest evil” by C.S. Lewis

“I like bats much better than bureaucrats. I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of ‘Admin.’ The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint.

It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result.

But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business con­cern.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Preface to the 1961 Edition,” in The Screwtape Letters: Annotated Edition (New York: HarperCollins, 1942/1996), xxxvii.

2 Comments

Filed under C.S. Lewis, Christian Theology, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Satan, Screwtape, Sin, Temptation, Worldliness, Worldview

“God is smiling” by Martin Luther

“Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason, takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, ‘Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? O you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful, carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.’

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.

It says, ‘O God, because I am certain that Thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with Thy perfect pleasure. I confess to Thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving Thy creature and Thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in Thy sight.’

Now you tell me, when a father goes ahead and washes diapers or performs some other mean task for his child, and someone ridicules him as an effeminate fool—though that father is acting in the spirit just described and in Christian faith—my dear fellow you tell me, which of the two is most keenly ridiculing the other? God, with all His angels and creatures, is smiling—not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.”

–Martin Luther, “The Estate of Marriage” in Luther’s Works, Vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 45; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 39–40.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Theology, Faith, Jesus Christ, Marriage, Marriage & Family, Martin Luther, Mercy, Parenting, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“Dear Spurgeon” by Archibald Brown

“Beloved President, faithful Pastor, Prince of Preachers, brother Beloved, Dear Spurgeon–We bid thee not ‘farewell,’ but only for a little while ‘goodnight.’

Thou shalt rise soon at the first dawn of the resurrection day of the redeemed. Yet is the goodnight not ours to bid, but thine; it is we who linger in the darkness; thou art in God’s holy light.

Our night shall soon be passed, and with it all our weeping. Then, with thine, our songs shall greet the morning of a day that knows no cloud nor close; for there is no night there.

Hard worker in the field, thy toil is ended. Straight has been the furrow thou hast ploughed. No looking back has marred thy course.

Harvests have followed thy patient sowing, and heaven is already rich with thine ingathered sheaves, and shall still be enriched through the years yet lying in eternity.

Champion of God, thy battle, long and nobly fought, is over; thy sword, which clave to thy hand, has dropped at last: a palm branch takes it place.

No longer does the helmet press thy brow, oft weary with its surging thoughts of battle; a victor’s wreath from the great Commander’s hand has already proved thy full reward.

Here, for a little while, shall rest thy precious dust. Then shall thy Well-Beloved come; and at His voice thou shalt spring from thy couch of earth, fashioned like unto His body, into glory.

Then spirit, soul, and body shall magnify the Lord’s redemption. Until then, beloved, sleep.

We praise God for thee, and by the blood of the everlasting covenant, hope and expect to praise God with thee. Amen.”

–Archibald Brown, “Eulogy for Charles Haddon Spurgeon,” as quoted in Tom Nettles, Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2014), 665. Brown gave this eulogy at Spurgeon’s funeral following his death on January 31, 1892.

1 Comment

Filed under Charles Spurgeon, Christian Theology, Death, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Resurrection, The Gospel

“Almighty wisdom” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us notice, secondly, in these verses, how all things in our Lord’s passion happened according to God’s word. His own address to those who took Him, exhibits this in a striking manner: ‘the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’

There was no accident or chance in any part of the close of our Lord’s earthly ministry. The steps in which He walked from Gethsemane to Calvary, were all marked out hundreds of years before.

The twenty-second Psalm, and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, were literally fulfilled. The wrath of His enemies,—His rejection by His own people,—His being dealt with as a malefactor,—His being condemned by the assembly of the wicked,—all had been foreknown, and all foretold.

All that took place was only the working out of God’s great design to provide an atonement for a world’s sin. The armed men whom Judas brought to lay hands on Jesus, were, like Nebuchadnezzar and Sennacherib, unconscious instruments in carrying God’s purposes into effect.

Let us rest our souls on the thought, that all around us is ordered and overruled by God’s almighty wisdom. The course of this world may often be contrary to our wishes.

The position of the Church may often be very, unlike what we desire. The wickedness of worldly men, and the inconsistencies of believers, may often afflict our souls.

But there is a hand above us, moving the vast machine of this universe, and making all things work together for His glory. The Scriptures are being yearly fulfilled.

Not one jot or tittle in them shall ever fail to be accomplished. The kings of the earth may take counsel together, and the rulers of the nations may set themselves against Christ. (Psal. 2:2.)

But the resurrection morning shall prove that, even at the darkest time, all things were being done according to the will of God.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (London: William Hunt, 1859), 322–323. Ryle is commenting on Mark 14:43-52.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Election, God the Creator, God the Father, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Resurrection, Sovereignty, Suffering, The Gospel, Wisdom

“The great Master Gardener” by Samuel Rutherford

“My dearest love in Christ remembered. As to the business which I know you would so fain have taken effect, my earnest desire is, that you stand still. Haste not, and you shall see the salvation of God.

The great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with His own hand, planted me here, where, by His grace, in this part of His vineyard, I grow.

I dare not say but Satan and the world (one of his pages whom he sends on his errands) have said otherwise. And here I will abide till the great Master of the Vineyard think fit to transplant me.

But when He sees meet to loose me at the root, and to plant me where I may be more useful, both as to fruit and shadow, and when He who planted pulleth up that He may transplant, who dare put to their hand and hinder?”

–Samuel Rutherford, “XVI – For Marion M’Naught” in Letters of Samuel Rutherford (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1664/2012), 62.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Samuel Rutherford, Sovereignty, The Gospel

“The discerning hand of God” by Charles Spurgeon

“So far as personal sorrows are concerned, it would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by His hand, that my trials were never measured out by Him, nor sent to me by His arrangement of their weight and quantity.

Oh, that were bitterness indeed! But, on the contrary, the prophet here sees the hand of God in all his trials, and I pray that you and I may do the same.

May we see that our heavenly Father fills the cup with loving tenderness, and holds it out, and says, ‘Drink, my child; bitter as it is, it is a love-potion which is meant to do thee permanent good.’

The discerning of the hand of God is a sweet lesson in the school of experience.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Woe and Weal” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 57; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1911), 99–100.

1 Comment

Filed under Charles Spurgeon, Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, Providence, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sovereignty, Suffering, Worldview

“Our sins are many, but His mercies are more” by John Newton

“I can truly say, that I bear you upon my heart and in my prayers. I have rejoiced to see the beginning of a good and gracious work in you.

And I have confidence in the Lord Jesus, that He will carry it on and complete it and that you will be amongst the number of those who shall sing redeeming love to eternity.

Therefore fear none of the things appointed for you to suffer by the way. But gird up the loins of your mind, and hope to the end. Be not impatient, but wait humbly upon the Lord.

You have one hard lesson to learn, that is, the evil of your own heart. You know something of it, but it is needful that you should know more. For the more we know of ourselves, the more we shall prize and love Jesus and His salvation.

I hope what you find in yourself by daily experience will humble you, but not discourage you: humble you it should, and I believe it does.

Are not you amazed sometimes that you should have so much as a hope, that, poor and needy as you are, the Lord thinketh of you?

But let not all you feel discourage you. For if our Physician is almighty, our disease cannot be desperate and if He casts none out that come to Him, why should you fear?

Our sins are many, but His mercies are more: our sins are great, but His righteousness is greater: we are weak, but He is power. Most of our complaints are owing to unbelief, and the remainder of a legal spirit. And these evils are not removed in a day.

Wait on the Lord, and He will enable you to see more and more of the power and grace of our High Priest.

The more you know Him, the better you will trust Him: the more you trust Him, the better you will love Him; the more you love Him, the better you will serve Him.

This is God’s way: you are not called to buy, but to beg; not to be strong in yourself, but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He is teaching you these things, and I trust He will teach you to the end.

Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom, but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed but surely.

Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection. And in winter, when it seems dead, it is gathering strength at the root.

Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavour to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus, and all shall be well.

I commend you to the care of the good Shepherd, and remain, for His sake,

Yours,

John Newton
March 18, 1767″

–John Newton, “Cardiphonia” in The Works of John Newton (vol. 2; London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 140–141.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, Sin, The Gospel, Union with Christ