C S Lewis

Finished work of Christ

“What, then, is the difference which He has made to the whole human mass? It is just this; that the business of becoming a son of God, of being turned from a created thing into a begotten thing, of passing over from the temporary biological life into timeless ‘spiritual’ life, has been done for us. Humanity is already ‘saved’ in principle. We individuals have to appropriate that salvation. But the really tough work–the bit we could not have done for ourselves–has been done for us. We have not got to try to climb up into spiritual life by our own efforts; it has already come down into the human race. If we will only lay ourselves open to the one Man in whom it was fully present, and who, in spite of being God, is also a real man, He will do it in us and for us. Remember what I said about ‘good infection’ One of our own race has this new life: if we get close to Him we shall catch it from Him.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 156-157).


Heaven and Hell

“Satan, said Chesterton, fell through force of gravity. We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”

(C.S. Lewis, introduction to The Screwtape Letters, p. ix)


Longing

“As I stood before a flowering currant bush on a summer day there suddenly arose in me without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries, the memory of that earlier morning at the Old House when my brother had brought his toy garden into the nursery. It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton’s ‘enormous bliss’ of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to ‘enormous’) comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation of course, of desire; but desire for what? not, certainly, for a biscuit tin filled with moss, nor even (though that came into it) for my own past…..and before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased. It had taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant in comparison.”

(C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p. 16).

“In speaking of this desire, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you–the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence.”

(C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 4).

The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret.”

(C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 11).

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves–that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that ‘beauty born of murmuring sound’ will pass into a human face; but it won’t.”

(C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 12-13).

“…nothing is so obvious in a child–not in a conceited child, but in a good child–as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised. Not only in a child, either, but in a dog or a horse. Apparently what I had mistaken for humility had, all these years, prevented me from understanding what is in fact the humblest, the most childlike, the most creaturely of pleasures–nay, the specific pleasure of the inferior: the pleasure of a beast before men, a child before its father, a pupil before his teacher, a creature before its Creator.”

(C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 9).

“To please God… to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness… to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son–it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”

(C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 10).


Religion

“Men are reluctant to pass over from the notion of an abstract and negative deity to the living God. I do not wonder…The Pantheist’s God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you…An ‘impersonal God’—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (‘Man’s search for God’!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?”

(C.S. Lewis, Miracles, p. 125.)


Satan

“The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”

(Martin Luther, cited by C.S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, p. 5)

“Satan, said Chesterton, fell through force of gravity. We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”

(C.S. Lewis, introduction to The Screwtape Letters, p. ix)

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…”

(C.S. Lewis, in the preface to The Screwtape Letters, p. 3)


Self-justification

“I am thinking of Mrs. Fidget, who died a few months ago. It is really astonishing how her family have brightened up…. Mrs. Fidget very often said that she lived for her family. And it was not untrue. Everyone in the neighborhood knew it.. ‘She lived for her family,’ they said; ‘what a wife and mother!’ She did all the washing; true, she did it badly, and they could have afforded to send it out to a laundry, and they frequently begged her not to do it. But she did. There was always a hot lunch for anyone who was at home and always a hot meal at night (even in midsummer). They implored her not to provide this. They protested almost with tears in their eyes (and with truth) that they liked cold meals. It made no difference. She was living for her family…. For Mrs. Fidget, as she so often said, would ‘work her fingers to the bone’ for her family. They couldn’t stop her. Nor could they–being decent people–quite sit still and watch her do it. They had to help. Indeed they were always having to help. That is, they did things for her to help her to do things for them which they didn’t want done…”

(C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, pp. 73-74).


Trinity, knowing God as

“And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing–not even a person–but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”

(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 152).