My Kind of Catholic [Potent Quotables]

Richard Neuhas, the founder and editor-in-chief of First Things, died today at the age of 72. Justin Taylor provides a quick overview of his life and work. Here’s a fantastic quotation (with one or two quibbles) from the good father. (HT: Ramesh Ponnuru)

When I come before the judgment throne, I will plead the promise of God in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I will not plead any work that I have done, although I will thank God that he has enabled me to do some good. I will plead no merits other than the merits of Christ, knowing that the merits of Mary and the saints are all from him; and for their company, their example, and their prayers throughout my earthly life I will give everlasting thanks. I will not plead that I had faith, for sometimes I was unsure of my faith, and in any event that would be to turn faith into a meritorious work of my own. I will not plead that I held the correct understanding of “justification by faith alone,” although I will thank God that he led me to know ever more fully the great truth that much misunderstood formulation was intended to protect. Whatever little growth in holiness I have experienced, whatever strength I have received from the company of the saints, whatever understanding I have attained of God and his ways—these and all other gifts I have received I will bring gratefully to the throne. But in seeking entry to that heavenly kingdom, I will, with Dysmas, look to Christ and Christ alone.

Then I hope to hear him say, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” as I hope with all my being—because, although looking to him alone, I am not alone—he will say to all.

–Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon

And They Think We’re the Silly Ones [Potent Quotables]

The special mark of the modern world is not that it is skeptical, but that it is dogmatic without knowing it. It says, in mockery of old devotees, that they believed without knowing why they believed. But the moderns believe without knowing what they believeand without even knowing that they do believe it. Their freedom consists in first freely assuming a creed, and then freely forgetting that they are assuming it. In short, they always have an unconscious dogma…Their thoughts will work out to most interesting conclusions; but they can never tell you anything about their beginnings. They have always taken away the number they first thought of. They have always forgotten the very fact or fancy on which their whole theory depends.
–G.K. Chesterton, “The Debate on Spiritualism”

Leithart Gets It [Potent Quotables]

Death and resurrection, of course, is the comic theme, the comic theme of history, and there is thus a “comic” structure to the triune life, an eternal “story” of “emanation and remanation,” of exile and return. Because this is the God who created and governs history, history manifests the same structure, and it is a story not of a golden age lost, nor even of a return to Edenic paradise, but a story in which the second moment, the final moment, is the glory of the first.
–Peter Leithart, Deep Comedy (p. 90)

Typing About Types of Typology [Potent Quotables]

In communicating divine truth to human understanding, God employs types. As Edwards declared in his “Types” notebook, “Types are a certain sort of language, as it were, in which God is wont to speak to us.” While this divine speaking is paradigmatically put forth in Scripture, it is not exclusively confined there. Like a grammar teacher who writes out the conjugations of only a few paradigm verbs, God “han’t expressly explained all the types of Scriptures, but has done so much as is sufficient to teach us the language.” As God’s pupils, believers are to acquire an ear for this divine language in the rest of Scripture, but also in other arenas in which God’s voice is still sounding. For Edwards, “very much of the wisdom of God in the creation appears in his so ordering things natural, that they livelily represent things divine and spiritual…” “’Tis very fit and becoming of God, who is infinitely wise, so to order things that there should be a voice of his in his works instructing those that behold them, and pointing forth and showing divine mysteries and things more immediately appertaining to himself and his spiritual kingdom.”
–Amy Plantinga-Pauw, The Supreme Harmony of All (pp. 39-40)

Category Intros: Potent Quotables

From time to time, I will post quotations that catch my fancy. Good quotations have a way of bringing things into focus, of casting things into a new light, of opening up new possibilities of understanding. Over time, I may diversify the categories, but for now, I will place them all in this one. I’ll begin with a favorite from Jonathan Edwards:

I expect by very ridicule and contempt to be called a man of a very fruitful brain and copious fancy, but they are welcome to it. I am not ashamed to own that I believe that the whole universe, heaven and earth, air and seas, and the divine constitution and history of the holy Scriptures, be full of images of divine things, as full as a language is of words; and that the multitudes of those things that I have mentioned are but a very small part of what is really intended to be signified and typified by these things.
–Jonathan Edwards, Works vol. 11 (p. 152)