It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain.
A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is alright. This is common sense really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not well you are sleeping.
The instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man's self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred
God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger - according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way.
When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less.
It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong, but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table.
A world of automata - of creatures that worked like machines - would hardly be worth creating.
The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.
Human beings, after all, have some sense; they see that you cannot have any real safety or happiness except in a society where every one plays fair, and it is because they see this that they try to behave decently.
When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?
Almost certainly God is not in time. His life does not consist of moments one following another...Ten-thirty-- and every other moment from the beginning of the world--is always Present for Him. If you like to put it this way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames.
The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise to never have a headache or always to feel hungry.
Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to believe in a certain way, and can't really get rid of it.
When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.
Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.
As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some answers are much nearer being right than others.
The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.
If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.
You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.
Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won't last forever. We must take it or leave it.
But Pride always means enmity -- it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God.
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility...According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
If we really want to learn how to forgive, perhaps we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo.
You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.
Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. ... We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means-the only complete realist.
Christian literature comes from Christian novelists and dramatists - not from the bench of bishops getting together and trying to write plays and novels in their spare time.
There is nothing indulgent about the Moral Law. It is as hard as nails. It tells you to do the straight thing and it does not seem to care how painful, or dangerous, or difficult it is to do.
If you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is remain outside yourself. Christians are Christ's body...every addition to that body enables Him to do more. If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who along can help them. Cutting off a man's fingers would be a odd way of getting him to do more work.
Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse - so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable. But it might be absolute hell in a million years!
More C.S. Lewis Quotations (Based on Topics)
God - Man - World - Christianity - Love - Life - Work & Career - Religions & Spirituality - Mind - Time - Sense & Perception - Books - Good & Evil - Vice & Virtue - People - Dreams - Joy & Excitement - Pleasure - Present - View All C.S. Lewis Quotations
More C.S. Lewis Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Mere Christianity
- Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia
- Screwtape Letters
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Four Loves
- The Great Divorce
- The Horse and His Boy
- The Last Battle
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Magician's Nephew
- The Screwtape Letters
- The Silver Chair
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- Till We Have Faces: A Novel of Cupid and Psyche
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