For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
Every being, created by God and unspoiled by man, is perfect, strictly defined and autonomous, entirely complete and at the same time with a built-in ability to grow and develop. This is the essence of its dignity and holiness. It is not an embodiment of God’s immense Personality, but only one of the realisations of His perfection.
I cannot encourage any fabrication even for the sake of making people feel good. If I were to fabricate consciously and knowingly, I would not only be ordaining myself their enemy, but also ordaining myself God's enemy.
Always seek justice, but love only mercy. To love justice and hate mercy is but a doorway to more injustice.
We are women, and my plea is Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is.
My belief is that, morally, God and Satan are vaguely on the same page. According to the common understanding of Satan's origins, holiness must be in his blood: but a corrupted formula. The vital difference is that God is willing to offer grace for our sins; he delights in grace. God is the one and only holy and just punisher of sin, yes, but that is partly so because punishment for the sake of punishment is not something he loves. Whereas Satan, as the accuser, and as it is written, actually seeks God's permission to punish; he, being a seasoned legalist, delights in finding wrongs and will defy his own morality just to expose immorality. This is why both the anti-religious soul and the violently religious soul are, whether consciously or unconsciously, and sadly enough, glorifying their biggest hater: Satan is not only a lawless lover of punishing lawlessness, but also the greatest theologian of us all. He loves wickedness, but only because he loves punishing wickedness.
The Garden is a metaphor for the following: our minds, and our thinking in terms of pairs of opposites--man and woman, good and evil--are as holy as that of a god. (50)
Newspapers are the Bibles of worldlings.How diligently they read them!Here they find their law and profits,their judges and chronicles,their epistles and revelations.
As we grow in the knowledge of God's holiness, even though we are growing in the practice of holiness, it seems the gap between our knowledge and our practice always gets wider. This is the Holy Spirit's way of drawing us to more and more holiness.
If you don’t delight in the fact that your Father is holy, holy, holy, then you are spiritually dead. You may be in a church. You may go to a Christian school. But if there is no delight in your soul for the holiness of God, you don’t know God. You don’t love God. You’re out of touch with God. You’re asleep to his character.
In our worldly perceptions of Jesus, we tend to embrace the kindness of his love ('be encouraged') but not the discipline of his love ('and sin no more'). But with the whole scope of his love, or maturity in Christ, we begin relying on him for guidance where we would prefer him to walk beside us rather than behind us.
But that is the nature of true grace and spiritual light, that it opens to a person's view the infinite reason there is that he should be holy in a high degree. And the more grace he has, and the more this is opened to view, the greater sense he has of the infinite excellency and glory of the divine Being, and of the infinite dignity of the person of Christ, and the boundless length and breadth and depth and height of the love of Christ to sinners. And as grace increases, the field opens more and more to a distant view, until the soul is swallowed up with the vastness of the object, and the person is astonished to think how much it becomes him to love this God and this glorious Redeemer that has so loved man, and how little he does love. And so the more he apprehends, the more the smallness of his grace and love appears strange and wonderful: and therefore he is more ready to think that others are beyond him.
But saints and angels behold that glory of God which consists in the beauty of His holiness; and it is this sight only that will melt and humble the hearts of men, wean them from the world, draw them to God, and effectually change them. A sight of the awful greatness of God may overpower men's strength, and be more than they can endure; but if the moral beauty of God be hid, the enmity of the heart will remain in its full strength. No love will be enkindled; the will, instead of being effectually gained, will remain inflexible. But the first glimpse of the moral and spiritual glory of God shining into the heart produces all these effects as it were with omnipotent power, which nothing can withstand.
God's holiness is not an unloving holiness, and God's love is not an unholy love. It is only by keeping these two primary moral qualities of the divine being closely related that we may rightly behold the character of God. (p. 98)
That sin will never stand firm which is heartily prayed against....We must spread out all our case before our heavenly Physician, if He is to give us daily relief.
We must clean ourselves of any impurity.We must clear our cities of any dirt.For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7
Holiness is the strength of the soul. It comes by faith and through obedience to God's laws and ordinances. God then purifies the heart by faith, and the heart becomes purged from that which is profane and unworthy. When holiness is achieved by conforming to God's will, one knows intuitively that which is wrong and that which is right before the Lord. Holiness speaks when there is silence, encouraging that which is good or reproving that which is wrong.
In the end, only God can see the heart of an individual and distinguish the difference between legalistic deadweight and the passion of holy solemnity.
The creation of man is evidence for the love of God, the preservation of man is evidence for the patience of God, and Christ is evidence for the forgiveness of God. It is when we are wrapped up in our own little peeves that we begin to displace His benevolence with malevolence.
The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 ... obeyed by faith ... obedience is the pathway to holiness ... no one will become holy apart from a life of faith. Faith enables us to claim the promises of God, but it also enables us to obey the commands of God.
Holiness in the purest form is independent of all textual doctrines, all churches and all institutions.
What I want to tell you as you read these stories is that I both found and lost God a hundred times over. In fact, maybe I've never actually found God at all, but imagining that I have indeed found something so much larger and more beautiful than I can explain is more often enough for me.
I need not adapt in certain ways. I am in fact but a visitor to this world, an ephemeral gasp within its long, tired history, and, before anything else, a follower of Christ. By this alone I have the power not to shuffle away from the Faith, the power to break loose from these marching-shackles of ongoing cultural and political pretense.
Holy solitaries' is a phrase no more consistent with the Gospel than holy adulterers. The Gospel of Christ knows no religion but social; no holiness, but social holiness.
In 1054, the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope excommunicated each other. That was the end of holiness for both churches.
If contemporary Christians took seriously the possibility that those outside the boundaries of the church might hold the promise of renewal, if we ceased regarding ourselves as the source of salvation and the secular world as a potential threat, and if we emulated Jesus' example in accepting the faith and the courage of those who live beyond conventional standards of purity, well, I can hardly imagine how things would look.