Tag Archive: Thomas Merton


Listen v4.48 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
The Final Destination – Unique Universal Love My true personality will be fulfilled in the Mystical Christ in this one way above all, that through me, Christ and His Spirit will be able to love you and all men and God the Father in a way that would be possible in no one else. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
God – Perfection of Simplicity God exists in Himself and of Himself. His being He owes to no one. His substance is indivisible. He has no parts but is single in His unitary being. The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but of the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide Himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being. A. W. Tozer – The Knowledge of the Holy, © 1961 Aiden Wilson Tozer
Obedience Instigates His Will I will stick to it that God is a God of love and justice, and I look forward to the time when I shall see it manifestly. We have no business to say piously, Oh, I leave it with God. God will have us discern what He is doing, but it takes time because we are so slow to obey, and only as we obey do we perceive morally and spiritually. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Eternal Accounting It will be noticed that the real difficulty, in each case, lies in the greatness of God. It seemed incredible to little Emmie, to our Master of Arts, and to Miss Corelli that a God who is “the Generator of the universes and the Creator of everything” can be concerned with the cares of the individual. Now the trouble is, not that they have made God to seem too great, but that they have not made Him great enough. They have belittled Him! Now, how great is God? That is the real question! Is He great to the point of absolute infinity? Is He, or is He not? Now, if God is great to the point of infinity, it follows, beyond all controversy, that there is no stick or stone in all His universes of which He is not perpetually cognizant and conscious. Or — to put it the other way — if there is a feather or a straw blowing about the solar system which has, for a fraction of a second, eluded His knowledge or escaped His observation, then, by just so much, His greatness falls short of infinity. If, therefore, I do really believe that God is not only great enough to be “the Generator of universes and Creator of everything,” but great enough to be infinite, then I cannot help believing that no sparrow falls to the ground without His notice and that the very hairs of my head are all numbered. F. W. Boreham – The Luggage of Life, 1912, published by Kregel Publications
You Say You Want a Revolution? To the Orthodox there must always be a case for revolution; for in the hearts of men God has been put under the feet of Satan. In the upper world hell once rebelled against heaven. But in this world heaven is rebelling against hell. For the Orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is a restoration. G. K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, copyright 1908 by Dodd, Mead and Company
The Tell-tale Heart It is a great and abiding and assurance-filled truth that nothing, no nothing, can separate us from the love of God — nothing except our own self. It is true that God loves all his creation and wants to redeem it — for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus our Lord that none would perish but all would come to repentance and find eternal life in Christ, in the atonement by which He purposed to purchase our souls back from death. But notice repentance is the key ingredient. Repentance from what? From our God-forsaking selves that cause us to turn our backs and trample under foot the blood of Christ. God gives us each a choice, a free will to decide. If we say we love Him but do not keep His commands how can the love of God be in us? The only children of God are obedient Sons. The disobedient clearly express their will and choice to live apart from God. They are bastards, sons without a heavenly Father. Two hearts, two homes. Tom Van Hoogen
You Have Seen the Father If we have been accustomed, therefore, to approach God with any mistrust of the kindness of His feelings toward us; if our religious life has been poisoned by fear; if unworthy thoughts of His character and will have filled our hearts with suspicions of His goodness; if we have pictured Him as an unjust despot or a self-seeking tyrant; if, in short, we have imagined Him in any way other than that which has been revealed to us in “the face of Jesus Christ,” we must go back in all simplicity of heart to the records of that lovely life, lived in human guise among men, and must bring our conceptions of God into perfect accord with the character and ways of Him who declares that He came to manifest the name of God to men. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Perspectives on Prayer Prayer is a haven to the shipwrecked man, an anchor to them that are sinking in the waves, a staff to the limbs that totter, a mine of jewels to the poor, a healer of diseases, and a guardian of health. Prayer at once secures the continuance of our blessings, and dissipates the clouds of our calamities. O blessed prayer! thou art the unwearied conqueror of human woes, the firm foundation of human happiness, the source of ever enduring joy, the mother of philosophy. The man who can pray truly, though languishing in most extreme indigence, is richer than all beside, whilst the wretch who never bowed the knee, though proudly sitting as monarch of all nations, is of all men most destitute. — Chrysostom Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
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Listen v4.37 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
One Lord, One Faith, One Sacrifice Christ Jesus, Himself man, is the true Mediator, for, inasmuch as He took the “form of a slave,” He became the “Mediator between God and men.” In His character as God, He receives sacrifices in union with the Father, with whom He is one God; yet He chose, in His character as a slave, to be Himself the Sacrifice rather than to receive it, lest any one might take occasion to think that sacrifice could be rendered to a creature. Thus it is that He is both the Priest who offers and the Oblation that is offered. And it was His will that as a sacrament of this reality there should be daily sacrifice of the Church, which, being the Body of Him, her Head, learns to offer itself through Him. This is the true sacrifice of which the ancient sacrifices of the saints were many and manifold symbols. This one sacrifice was prefigured, in a variety of ways, as though one idea were being expressed in many words to drive in the truth without boring the reader. It is the supreme and true sacrifice to which all false sacrifices have given place. St. Augustine – The City of God, circa 400, copyright 1950 by Fathers of the Church
Feeling No Pain Nurture a love to do good things in secret, concealed from the eyes of others, and therefore not highly esteemed because of them. Be content to go without praise, never being troubled when someone has slighted or undervalued you. Remember, no one can undervalue you if you know you are unworthy. Once you know that, no amount of contempt from another person will be able to hurt you. Jeremy Taylor – The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, circa 1650; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
He Set the Example When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brethren. What God did to us, we then owed to others. The more we received, the more we were able to give; and the more meager our brotherly love, the less were we living by God s mercy and love. Thus God himself taught us to meet one another as God has met us in Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God (Rom. 15:7) Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Life Together, circa 1940; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Be Not Hearers Only, But Doers What I am going to say is not directly unto edification, but indirectly it is so most certainly. Directly it is rather for that instruction which is a need in our Christian life as essential as edification. We cannot do without either. On the one hand instructions with no idea of edification at all becomes mere academical discourse. It may begin anywhere and it may end anywhere. On the other hand, edification without instruction very soon becomes a feeble and ineffective thing. I think a great many of us would be agreed that part of the poverty and weakness of the Church at present moment is due to the fact that edification has been pursued to the neglect of instruction. We have been a little too prone to dwell upon the simple side of the gospel. P. T. Forsyth – The Work of Christ, Wipf & Stock, 1910
Grazing on the Gaze of God Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God. A. W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
The Paradox of Truthfulness Over and over again a man is said to be a disbeliever when he is simply outgrowing his creed. It is a most painful thing for a man to find that his stated views of God are not adequate. Never tell a lie for the honour of God; it is an easy thing to do. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Whose Side Are You On? How watchful we need to be lest that at any time we be found helping Satan and the construction of that ill-fated kingdom. When we are faced with alternatives and a choice of ways confront us, the question is not: Is this good or evil? Is this helpful or hurtful? No, the question we must ask ourselves is: Is it of this world, or of God? For since there is only this one conflict in the universe, then whenever two conflicting courses lie open to us, the choice at issue is never a lesser one than: God… or Satan? Watchman Nee – Love Not The World, © 1968 CLC Publications
Unbecoming Motives The origin of our trouble is that we love ourselves with a blind passion that amounts to idolatry. If we love anything beyond ourselves, it is only for our own sakes. We must be undeceived concerning all those generous friendships in which it appears as though we so far forgot ourselves as to think only of the interests of our friend. If the motive of our friendship is not low and gross, it is nevertheless still selfish. Fenelon – Christian Counsel, circa 1690, copyright 2002 Bridge-Logos Publishers
What the World Esteems Highly The quintessence of wisdom among those who are not among God s people is to know and earnestly follow the law and active righteousness. Martin Luther – Commentary on Galatians – circa 1520; Crossway Publishing © 1998 by Watermark
Let Them Go To Free Yourself He only is free whose love for another person is so strong that he can pardon the individuals sin. He alone can pray the prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses,” out of a full and genuine heart. Forgiveness is the only cure for wrong. And hand-in-hand with “sense-of-injury” always walks the weak sister-demon “self-pity,” so dear, so sweet to many. In short, forgiveness is freedom, forgiveness is liberation of the heart, mind, and soul. George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
Isolated From Self, Not To Self The contemplative is not isolated in himself, but liberated from his external and egotistic self by humility and purity of heart therefore there is no longer any serious obstacle to simple and humble love of other men. The more we are alone with God the more we are with one another. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
Some Things are Better Left Alone When we begin to debate God instead of obey Him we force open a doorway to troubles that need never be opened. Tom Van Hoogen

Listen v4.28 Quotes

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You Should Know Him By Now In this union of souls and the conscious delight and rest in one another that is the highest and most exalted relationship possible between two persons it is not right for one person to always tell the other person what to do. And so it is in our union with God, a person both loving and beloved. He does not delight in having to always explain what his will is, he enjoys it when we understand and act upon his will. Our highest calling and opportunity is to love him with all our being. Dallas Willard – Hearing God ©1984 InterVarsity Press
Instrumental Teachings Many believe that God has blessed them because of some special relationship they enjoy. Not so. Very often God blesses men with resources — things, cunning, power, charisma, health because they are of use to His sovereign purpose. He accomplishes His purpose through all things — even the jawbone of a donkey. To believe you are someone special or that you have a special relationship with God because He uses you is to expose your own great folly and pride. You may just be the jawbone of a donkey or even some other part. To be used makes you an instrument not a Son. I have no particular relationship to my hoe but only to my children. Tom Van Hoogen
Pass on the Praise to the Provider When you do receive praise for something you have done, take it indifferently and return it to God. Reflect it back to God, the giver of the gift, the blesser of the action, the aid of the project. Always give God thanks for making you an instrument of his glory for the benefit of others. Jeremy Taylor – The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, circa 1650; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Self-Abandonment This then is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display; to keep my mind free form confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will; to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; to cultivate an intellectual freedom from the images of created things in order to receive the secret contact of God in obscure love; to love all men as myself; to rest in humility and to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men; to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions that I have no obligations to carry; to have a will that is always ready to fold back within itself and draw all the powers of the soul down from its deepest center to rest in silent expectancy for the coming of God, poised in tranquil and effortless concentration upon the point of my dependence on Him; to gather all that I am, and have, all that I can possibly suffer to do or be, and abandon them all to God in the resignation of a perfect love and blind faith and pure trust in God, to do His will. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
Does He Attend Your Church? Satan is always at church before the preacher is in the pulpit or a member is in the pew. He comes to hinder the sower, to impoverish the soil, or to corrupt the seed. He uses these tactics only when courage and faith are in the pulpit, and zeal and prayer are in the pew; but if dead ritualism or live liberalism are in the pulpit, he does not attend, because they are no danger to him. E. M. Bounds – Guide to Spiritual Warfare, circa 1880, copyright 1984 by Whitaker House
Honesty IS the Best Policy A fanatic is one who entrenches himself in invincible ignorance. Job will not accept anything that contradicts the facts he knows; he is not splenetic, he does not say God is cruel, he simply states the facts It looks as though God is rejecting me without any reason, all the facts go to prove this and I am not going to blink them. Job will not lay a flattering unction to his soul on the line of expediency. No man ever puts a stumbling-block in the way of others by telling the truth; to tell the truth is more honouring to God than to tell a lie. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
A Very Pressing Matter The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long; but even if the multiple burdens of time may be lifted from him, the one mighty single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of the world piled one upon another. That mighty burden is his obligation to God. It includes an instant and lifelong duty to love God with every power of mind and soul, to obey Him perfectly, and to worship Him acceptably. And when the man s laboring conscience tells him that he has done none of these things, but has from childhood been guilty of foul revolt against the Majesty in the heavens, the inner pressure of self-accusation may become too heavy to bear. A. W. Tozer – The Knowledge of the Holy, © 1961 Aiden Wilson Tozer
Under New Ownership Before the Fall there was an earth; after the Fall there was a “world”; at the Lord’s return there will be a kingdom. Just as the world belongs to Satan so The Kingdom belongs to our Lord Jesus. Moreover it is the Kingdom that displaces and that will displace the world. Watchman Nee – Love Not The World, © 1968 CLC Publications
Shine a Light Along the Way There is an urgent need for good works in believers. As it is necessary that the sun shines every day, it is even more necessary that every believer lets his light shine before men. We have been created anew in Christ for this — to hold forth the Word of Life as lights in the world. Christ needs you urgently to let His light shine through you. The unsaved around you need your light if they are to find their way to God. God needs you to let His glory be seen through you. Just as a lamp functions to light up a room, every believer should function to light up the world. Andrew Murray – God’s Plans for You, circa 1890, © 1983 by Whitaker House

Listen v4.24 Quotes

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Working On a Completed Project Though they had been justified by faith, they were seeking to be sanctified by works. They were looking for the maintenance and growth of their Christian life in the observance of the law. They have not understood that the progress of the divine life is by faith alone…. Almost every believer makes the same mistake as the Galatian Christians. Very few learn at conversion that it is only by faith that we stand, walk, and live…. they consider themselves prepared and equipped by conversion to take up the fulfillment of the law as a natural duty…. They cannot understand that it is not to the law but to a living Person that we are now bound. Our obedience and holiness are possible only by the unceasing faith in His power ever working in us. It is only when this is seen that we are truly prepared to live in the New Covenant. Andrew Murray – Covenants and Blessings, circa 1880
Don t Just Get In By the Skin of Your Teeth Again, let the gentleman of birth and fortune but have this intention, and you will see how it will carry him from every appearance of evil to every instance of piety and goodness. He cannot live by chance, or as humor and fancy carry him, because he knows that nothing can please God but a wise and regular course of life. He cannot live in idleness and indulgence, in sports and gaming, in pleasures and intemperance, in vain expenses and high living, because these things cannot be turned into means of piety and holiness, or made so many parts of a wise ad religious life. As he thus removes from all appearance of evil, so he hastens and aspires after every instance of goodness. He does not ask what is allowable and pardonable, but what is commendable and praiseworthy. He does not ask whether God will forgive the folly of our lives, the madness of our pleasures, the vanity of our expenses, the richness of our equipage, and the careless consumption of our time; but he asks whether God is pleased with these things, or whether these are the appointed ways of gaining His favor. He does not inquire whether it be pardonable to hoard up money, to adorn ourselves with diamonds, and gild our chariots whilst the widow and the orphan, the sick and the prisoner want to be relieved. But he asks whether God has required these things at our hands, whether we shall be called to account at the last day for the neglect of them; because it is not his intent to live in such ways as, for aught we know, God may perhaps pardon, but to be diligent in such ways as we know God will infallibly reward.
He will not therefore look at the lives of Christians to learn how he ought to spend his estate, but he will look into the Scriptures, and make every doctrine, parable, precept, or instruction that relates to rich men a law to himself in the use of his estate.
William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Consider It Pure Joy My Brothers When… It does not follow because a man has lost belief in his beliefs that therefore he has lost faith in God. Many a man has been led to the frontiers of despair by being told he has backslidden, whereas what he has gone through has revealed that his belief in his beliefs is not God. Men have found God by going through hell, and it is the men who have been face to face with these things who can understand what Job went through. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Love, My True Character To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
For a Full View, Remove the Blinders You do not yet see the lovely side of following Christ. You see what He takes away, but you do not see what He gives. You exaggerate the sacrifices and ignore the blessings. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Don t be Sympathetic toward Sympathies The modern church is producing sympathetic Christians by the multitudes, Christians who are warm and tender toward the things of God and His Kingdom. Their hearts are the only thing moved toward His purposes. These are leanings and inclinations toward the purposes of God. This is not enough — There is no power in an inclination. What we lack is a true fear of God, a final smashing of our sympathies so that true conviction can be released and empower us to submissive yieldedness toward God’s purpose. Sympathies mingle the emotions of man with the purpose of God, while conviction cuts straight through the soul and it’s purposes to align mans purpose with the purposes of God. Tom Van Hoogen
Faith the Overcomes the World That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires, with the weight of lowly thoughts, failures, neglect, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to Him, “You are my refuge because You are my home.” Such a faith will not lead to presumption. The man who can pray such a prayer will know better than another that God is not mocked; that tears and entreaties will not work on Him to the breach of one of His laws; that forgot to give a man because he asked for that which was not in harmony with His laws of truth and right would be to damn that man — to cast him into the outer darkness. And he knows that out of that prison the just, imperturbable God will let no man come until he has paid every cent. George MacDonald – The Best of George MacDonald © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries.
The Cause for Pause and Applause That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it. C. S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, copyright 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.

Listen v4.21 Quotes

Quote Title Quotation Source
Faulty Thinking is Often the Cause of the Crisis Job persists in stating that the basis of things is not clear or easy to understand. …that God punishes the evil man and looks after the good, there is so much perversity at the basis of things that that explanation won’t do. Job says, “I held the same creed as you do until I came to my great trouble.” Their creed was based on sound principles, but what is needed is a sound relationship at the basis of things. …Job’s contention is that when a man is face to face with things as they are, easy explanations won’t do, for things are not easy; there is a perverseness all through. If Job is not right in his contention, then the Redemption is “much ado about nothing.” Chambers, Oswald: Baffled to Fight Better: Talks on the Book of Job. c1931
Self-Death is the Key to Spirit-Life There are only three things which I will explain at some length and which are taken from our Constitution itself. It is essential that we should understand how very important they are to us in helping us to preserve that peace, both inward and outward, which the Lord so earnestly recommended to us. One of these is love for each other; the second, detachment from all created things; the third, true humility, which, although I put it last, is the most important of the three and embraces all the rest. Teresa of Avila – The Way Of Perfection, circa 1575
Led Astray by My Self God tempts no one, neither can He be tempted. Temptation is not possible unless there pre-exists an inclination to sin. Man was not preprogrammed to sin but by virtue of his free will and the faculty of reason he chooses sin. Sin is fundamentally a disposition to autonomy, to exert the right to choose over everything and everyone including God. This disposition is revealed and unleashed by Self. Self-realization is bound up in sight. Coveting comes by sight and knowledge. If we had not seen nor known of a thing we could not covet it. The perversion of all time is that we desire to gain pleasure from the gifts of God rather than from God Himself. May God alone be my Portion. Tom Van Hoogen
What Can I Say?, No More Excuses So great is the importance of prayer that God has taken care to anticipate all the excuses or objections we may be likely to make. People plead their weakness or infirmity or they declare they do not know how to pray. God foresaw this inability long ages ago. Did he not inspire the apostle Paul to say: likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). Unknown Christian – The Kneeling Christian, circa 1890, © 2007 Bidge-Logos.
How High Is Your Standard Held? The average standard of holiness and devotion can be no higher at home or in the church than it is in individual believers. Andrew Murray – God’s Plans for You, circa 1890, © 1983 by Whitaker House
If You Can t Dazzle Them With Brilliance… Within the church there are unmistakable signs that she has been blinded and caught by Satan s dazzling glare. The church is being seriously affected by the material progress of the age. We have heard so much about prosperity and gazed on it for so long that spiritual views no longer appeal to us. Everything must take on the rich quality, luxuriant growth, and magnificent appearance of the material, or else it seems beggarly. This is the most perilous condition the church has to face. It happens when the meek and lowly fruits of holiness are discounted by the showy and worldly charms with which material success crowds the church.

We must not yield to the flood. We must not for a moment, not with the hundredth part of an inch, give place to the world. Holiness and devotion to God must be stressed in every way and at every point. The church must be made to see this delusion and snare. This transference of strength from God to the world, this rejection of the Holy Spirit s endowment of might and power, must be recognized as yielding to Satan. The church more and more, is inclined not only to disregard, but also to despise, the elements of spiritual strength and to set them aside for more impressive, worldly ideas.

E. M. Bounds – Guide to Spiritual Warfare, circa 1880, copyright 1984 by Whitaker House
Allow Him to Work in Silence God will eventually test you in all of your life, but He will not let your trials become greater than you can bear. Let God use trials to help you grow. Do not try to measure your progress, your strength, or what God is doing. His work is not less efficient because what He is doing is invisible. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
I Stand in My Own Way of Progress When humility delivers a man from attachment to his own works and his own reputation, he discovers that perfect joy is possible only when we have completely forgotten ourselves. And it is only when we pay no more attention to our own deeds and our own reputation and our own excellence that we are at last completely free to serve God in perfection for His own sake alone. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
All Accomplices Are Charged the Same Yoke-fellows in sin are yoke-fellows in pain; the soul is punished for informing, the body for performing, and as both the informer and performer, the cause and the instrument, so shall the stirrer up of sin and the executor of it be punished. Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
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