Quotes about the Divine (RC)

Mind the Oneness: The Mystic Way of the Quakers Pendle Hill Pamphlet #463 Rex Ambler

When all my hopes in them and all men were gone…then, Oh then, I heard a voice which said, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.”

…”Jesus Christ”, is not, of course, the human figure of history who, according to the Christian story, lived and died on earth, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. “Nothing outwardly” could help him, Fox said. The Christ who spoke to him was a spiritual reality that he discovered deep within himself. “Keep within,” he urged Friends. “And when they shall say, ‘lo here’ or ‘lo there is Christ,’ go not forth; for Christ is within you. And they are seducers and antichrists which draw your mind out of the teaching within you.” He* had been manifested in Jesus the historical figure, as Fox later came to see, but he was present in everybody, if also concealed or denied. Indeed this Christ was the wisdom by which the world itself had been made.

*It–Christ within is not gendered.

Quakerism and God: A Personal Take from the blog The Quietist Quaker

I tried for a lot of years to put into words what I believed about the Divine, but it felt very elusive. I’m a writer and I love words, but the more I try to use them to define this huge, indefinable, indescribable thing, the farther away it seems. So I stopped trying to define it. At this point, I can speak of “God” – it’s a stand-in word for something bigger than me, bigger than the universe, that has an impact on my inner and outer journey. If I cooperate with God, my life seems to go in good directions – though seldom in the directions I’d planned! I have to listen pretty carefully, get quiet inside to hear how my soul responds to a particular idea to know if it’s right for me. When I have a sense of clarity that it’s right for me, I know that that direction is the will of God.

Seeking Inner Peace: Presence, Pain, and Wholeness by Elizabeth De Sa Pendle Hill Pamphlet #414

In articulating my experience of the Divine, I often use the word “Godde” because associations with the words “god” and “God” are inconsistent with my understanding of Godde as paradox and mystery. To me, “Godde” is gender neutrual and devoid of any of the connotations usually attaced to religious and spiritual vocabulary, rendering it apt for the incomprehensible nature of a god(de).

Journal of Elizabeth Fry [Scholars think she was dyslexic and had difficulty remembering the rules of writing. This is especially apparent in her early journal. This is as written in her journal.]

I look through Nature up to Natures God I have no other religion.

Feminine Aspects of Divinity Pendle Hill Pamphlet #191 Erminie Huntress Lantero

The word “wisdom” in Proverbs is used with various shades of meaning, referring to proverbial folk wisdom, types of skill or cunning, prudent maxims, moral maxims, kingly capacity for wise rule, or the over-all quality of insight or understanding. When this last is personified, we might suppose it is done only for poetic effect. But one passage, in which Wisdom speaks in the first person, carries theological implications.

“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,

the first of his acts of old…

Before the mountains had been shaped,

before the hills, I was brought forth…

When he established the heavens, I was there,

when he drew out a circle on the face of the deep…

When he marked out the foundations of the earth,

then I was beside him, like a master workman;

And I was daily his delight,

rejoicing [lit. playing] before him always,

rejoicing in his inhabited world

and delighting in the sons of men.” (Prov. 8:22-32)

According to this, Wisdom is a created entity, first of God’s creatures, who assisted in the rest of creation. If the later verses suggest that she reflects, however “spiritually,” the earlier image of a goddess-consort, we find that some Old Testament scholars go to great lengths to explain this away. Ancient scholars as well as modern seem to have been uneasy; there are also Hebrew versions which do not have “I was daily his delight;” though the last four lines it is Wisdom who is delighted, her delight being in the world that has been created. Still, if she was like a master workman, she supplied plans for the cosmic order as an architect would advise a king; and being an adult, her play (given the connotations of the Hebrew verb elsewhere) would be the loveplay from which the universe was born. But the word for “master workman” has the same consonants as a word for “little child,” and some ancient translations take it that way. In that case she would be a daughter, God’s Wisdom in its exuberant beginnings, laughing and playing before Him like a child.

Even if the original did carry a fleeting suggestion of marital joys, nothing more is said about it. The principal point throughout the book is Wisdom’s affectionate concern for mankind. She is a teacher and counselor, the tireless instructor who teaches man how to live. “She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her” (3:17), a tree of life and true knowledge in one. She stands in contrast to the “foolish woman,” the personification of apostasy, which might involve either literal or symbolic harlotry. In contrast to the furtive revels to which Madam Folly entices the unwary. Wisdom offers a sumptuous feast and invites all passers-by. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (9:10), fear principally in the sense of reverent awe. Sober as her precepts may sound, her fruits are riches, honor and long life; in place of false, death-dealing pleasures she offers spiritual nourishment and joy. 

What Doth the Lord Require of Thee? Pendle Hill Pamphlet #145 Mildred Binns Young

I heard someone say–whether quoting Martin Buber or not, I am not sure–that modern man no longer knows the “holy”; he knows only the “spiritual.” He no longer comes up dead against, over against, stopped in his tracks by, overpowered by, that absolute reality, that transcendence, that awesome thisness, that utterly confronting and claiming otherness which in all languages is called by a word meaning essentially what we mean by God. It is not a word we can define; it is a sound by which we attempt to say the unsayable.

The Practice of The Love of God Pendle Hill Pamphlet #374 by Kenneth Boulding

For how can we love God, whom we have not seen? Our selves we know, our home we know, our country we know and have seen–but who is this God who so jealously commands our adoration? Indeed, the greatest obstacle in the way of our love for God is the vague notions that we entertain of the Godhead. One has a certain sympathy for the young man who said that every time he thought of God he thought of an oblong blue, and that he thought of love as a faint pink smell filling the air. Most of us fancy that we are past the stage where we think of God as an old man with whiskers sitting in the clouds. It is extremely unfashionable, especially in university circles, to think of God in personal terms at all. There is a long word of peculiar magical properties, “Anthropomorphism [the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object],” that haunts the intellectual in the search for God. Consequently, we wander off into all manner of vague phrases and analogies: Spiritual Forces, Wills, Powers, World-Souls, Hidden Dynamos, and the like, in a a desperate attempt to avoid the simplest, most beautiful, and most penetrating analogy of all–that of the loving parent, the Father/Mother who is known through the offspring from the divine womb. Once we recognize that all analogies, all words, all symbols express less than the truth, once we acknowledge that God is greater than anything that we know or can say, surely we need not be afraid to think of God as a person. For the way to God is through mutual love, not through abstract metaphysics, and mutual love is a relationship of person.

…”Mind that which is pure in you to guide you to God,” says George Fox, and good advice it is, for as we find that within ourselves which is worthy of high love–the clear thought, the generous impulse, the rush of unity that binds us to the suffering of all creation–so indeed are we guided to God.
A Short Catechism for the Sake of the Simple-Hearted by Isaac Penington

He is the tree of life I have spoken of all this while, whose leaves have virtue in them to heal the nations. He is the plant of righteousness, the plant of God’s right hand. Hast thou ever known such a plant in thee, planted there by the right hand of God? He is the resurrection and the life, which raiseth the dead soul, and causeth it to live. He is the spiritual manna, whereupon the quickened soul feeds. Yea, his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed, which he that is raised up in the life feeds on, and findeth the living virtue in them, which satisfieth and nourisheth up his immortal soul.

Q: But hath not this Saviour a name? What is his name?
A: It were better for thee to learn his name by feeling his virtue and power in thy heart, than by rote. Yet, if thou canst receive it, this is his name, the Light; the Light of the World; a light to enlighten the Gentiles, that he may convert and make them God’s Israel, and become their glory. And according to his office, he hath enlightened every man that cometh into the world; though men neither know the light that cometh from him, nor him from whom the light comes; and so, notwithstanding the light is so near them, remain strangers to it, and unsaved by it.

Q: Why dost thou call him the light? Are there not other names every whit as proper, whereby he may as well be known?
A: Do not thus set up the wise and stumbling part in thee; but mind the thing which first puts forth its virtue as light, and so is thus first to be known, owned, and received. Yet more particularly, if thou hast wherewith, consider this reason: we call him light, because the Father of lights hath peculiarly chosen this name for him, to make him known to his people in this age by, and hath thus made him manifest to us. And by thus receiving him under this name, we come to know his other names. He is the life, the righteousness, the power, the wisdom, the peace, &c., but he is all these in the light, and in the light we learn and receive them all; and they are none of them to be known in spirit, but in and by the light.

 

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