The CCEL Times 2.3 (March 5, 2007)
To view this newsletter as a web page, go to www.ccel.org/newsletter/2/3
In This Issue:
From the Director
When I was young, my church prepared me for profession of faith by helping me to study the Heidelberg Catechism. That was valuable for me, but I wanted more. I didn’t just want to know about God, I wanted to know God. I think that has been a lifelong desire. There have of course been times of greater or lesser intensity of this desire, but it has always been present, at least in the background.
It takes courage and determination to follow this desire and to turn to God. There are a thousand things competing for attention, but only one thing is needful. Most of us could use some help in this fight against ourselves, in the form of instruction and good examples. Classic Christian books on the spiritual life have proved helpful for me and countless others. Great examples of the faith can be invaluable in your growth as well, if you have the courage and determination to make it possible. One good example is Brother Lawrence, whose little book The Practice of the Presence of God is a classic beloved by many, and it is this month’s featured classic.
Featured ClassicThe Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
by Pam Plantinga, Professor of Mathematics, Calvin College
The Practice of the Presence of God is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is a series of conversations with and letters from Brother Lawrence, a lay brother among the Carmelites in the 17th century. Brother Lawrence lived with a consuming love for God and a desire to do all for Him, and his words are a great encouragement to us to do the same. He offers, at times, practical suggestions for growing closer to God, but the real strength of this book is to show us what such a love of God looks like, and to give us a passionate desire to love God with all our hearts and an aching longing to seek His presence in each moment of our lives. I highly recommend it!
Read this classic at the CCEL
Have you benefited from a book at the CCEL? Would you like to write a feature like this to encourage others to read it? Let us know!
Reading the ClassicsThe History of the Sign of the Cross
by Nathan Bierma
Pray continually, Paul urged the Thessalonians. The early church fathers took this one step further: continually make the sign of the cross.
"In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross," wrote Tertullian at the turn of the third century, A.D. In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom (apparently anticipating an American Express slogan) wrote, "never leave home without making the sign of the cross."
Singing the Classics
The Hymns of Charles Wesley
Charles Wesley is considered one of the greatest poets of his time, writing countless poems of deep faith and understanding from which we have many loved and well-known hymns today. His words, though somewhat in the vernacular of his day, have survived the test of time and still bring comfort, hope, and understanding to Christians today; it is for these reasons and much more that his hymns are so well-known and loved.
Browse by Subject
Did you know that the CCEL has about 40 free audio books in mp3 format? Subject indexes? Books in a variety of languages, such as Russian? There is an index page that enables you to browse by subject, language, or format—but it’s easy to miss. To get there, open www.ccel.org, click the Browse tab, and then click Browse by Subject in the left sidebar.
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