Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away. There is trouble in the getting of it. There is anxiety in the keeping of it. There are temptations in the use of it. There is guilt in the abuse of it. There is sorrow in the losing of it. There is perplexity in the disposing of it. Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world, arise from one simple cause, — money!

— J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 327-328

The Particular Harvest of Old Age

An actor need not remain on the stage until the very end of the play: if he wins applause in those acts in which he appears, he will have done well enough. In life, too, a man can perform his part wisely without staying on the stage until the play is finished. However short your life may be, it will still be long enough to live honestly and decently. If, on the other hand, its duration is extended, there need be no more sorrow than a farmer feels when the pleasant springtime has passed, and summer and autumn have arrived. For spring, the season of youth, gives promise of fruit to come, but the later seasons are those that reap the harvests and gather them in. And the particular harvest of old age, I repeat, is its abundant recollection of blessings acquired in earlier years.

– Cicero, Selected Works, (p. 241)

The Perfection of the Christian Life

The newness of our life therefore is this, that we walk in purity before God, eschew all corruption and uncleanness, and separate ourselves from all the defilements of the world, in order that we may offer ourselves in sacrifice to God; at the same time we must walk in integrity and uprightness with our neighbours. The performance of these two things is all that is requisite to the perfection of the Christian life.

– John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, p. 437

The Contemplative’s Obligation

His attention focussed on the higher spheres of contemplative activity, he is initiated into the hidden mysteries of God, and through his words of wisdom he lovingly ministers to those who are capable of learning about these things. In this way he does not use his talent solely for his own benefit, but also shares its benediction with his fellow-men.

Philokalia, vol. IV, p. 149

How to Lose Your True Wealth

If you aspire to friendship with Christ, you will hate money and the gluttonous love of money; for money lures towards itself the mind of whoever loves it and diverts it from love of Jesus….

You should realize, however, that money is in fact disastrous to you, and the disaster will be all the greater because you will also lose your true wealth, God, without whom the life of salvation is impossible.

If you love money you do not love Christ….

– Nikita Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things, nos. 56 & 57.

Let His Cross Interpose

Whatever be your designs and aims, let his cross continually interpose between your affections and this world….

What he [Jesus] did forego and trample on for our sake, that ought not to be the object of our affections; nor can such affections prevail in us if he dwell in our hearts by faith.”

– John Owen, On Spiritual Mindedness

The Restoration of Purity

Do not say in your heart, it is now impossible for me to acquire a virginal purity, for I have succumbed in so many ways to the seduction and delirium of the body. For once the soul engages fervently and strenuously in the labours of repentance and we shed tears of compunction, then the prison-house is razed to the ground, the fire of the passions is extinguished, we are spiritually reborn through the abiding presence of the Paraclete, and once again the soul becomes a palace of purity and virginity.

– Nikitas Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things, no. 50

Why The Poor Are Blessed

[The poor] are the ones who have nothing to prove or to protect – no posing, no posturing before people or before God. When all you’ve got is all you’ve got, all that’s left is to be yourself and you can only receive. And that, in a sense, is why the poor are blessed, because they know what really matters.

– from the Introduction to Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, p. 31

Wendell Berry and Elance

I just joined as a freelancer on and while trying it out (I haven’t had a client yet) I realised this whole setup contradicts Wendell Berry’s vision of keeping things local as much as possible. Even so, I joined because it occurred to me that not to do so was to tread the path towards obsolescence. Continue reading “Wendell Berry and Elance”