C. S. Lewis Quotes

Absolutes

But if God is the ultimate source of all concrete, individual things and events, then God Himself must be concrete, and individual in the highest degree.  Unless the origin of all other things were itself concrete and individual, nothing else could be so; for there is no conceivable means whereby what is abstract or general could itself produce concrete reality. ~ Miracles, Ch 11

God is basic Fact or Actuality, the source of all other facthood.  At all costs therefore He must not be thought of as a featureless generality.  If He exists at all, He is the most concrete thing there is, the most individual, "organised and minutely articulated."  He is unspeakable not by being indefinite but by being too definite for the unavoidable vagueness of language. ~ Miracles, Ch 11

 

If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved.  Similarly, if nothing is obligatory for its own sake nothing is obligatory at all. ~ The Abolition of Man, Ch 2

 

Affection

It usually needs absence or bereavement to set us praising those to who only Affection binds us. We take them for granted:  and this taking for granted, which is an outrage in erotic love, is here right and proper up to a point. It fits the comfortable, quiet nature of the feeling. Affection would not be affection if it was loudly and frequently expressed; to produce it in public is like getting your household furniture out for a move. It did very well in its place, but it looks shabby or tawdry or grotesque in the sunshine. ~ The Four Loves, Affection 

 

Affection is an affair of old clothes, and ease, of the unguarded moment, of liberties which would be ill-bred if we took them with strangers. But old clothes are one thing; to wear the same shirt till it stank would be another. There are proper clothes for a garden party; but the clothes for home must be proper too, in their own different way...Affection at its best practises a courtesy which is incomparably more subtle, sensitive, and deep than the public kind. In public a ritual would do. At home you must have the reality which that ritual represented... ~ The Four Loves, Affection

 

Affliction

...I see more clearly, I think, the necessity (if one may so put it) which God is under of allowing us to be afflicted -- so few of us will really rest all on Him if He leaves us any other support. ~ letter to Dom Bede Griffiths, 20 April 1938 

 

Books

Those who have greatly cared for any book whatever may possibly come to care, some day, for good books.  The organs of appreciation exist in them. ~ "Lilies That Fester," The World's Last Night

 No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty. ~ "On Stories," On Stories

I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible.  We must attack the enemy's line of communication.  What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects -- with their Christianity latent. ~ "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

We do not enjoy a story fully at the first reading.  Not till the curiosity, the sheer narrative lust, has been given its sop and laid asleep, are we at leisure to savour the real beauties. ~ "On Stories," On Stories

Each age has its own outlook.  It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes.  We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period.  And that means the old books. ~ "On the Reading of Old Books," God in the Dock

 

Change and Progress

For change is not progress unless the core remains unchanged...wherever there is real progress in knowledge, there is some knowledge that is not superseded.  Indeed, the very possibility of progress demands that there should be an unchanging element...the positive historical statements made by Christianity have the power...of receiving, without intrinsic change, the increasing complexity of meaning, which increasing knowledge puts into them. ~ "Dogma and the Universe," God in the Dock

Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk1, Ch 2

Progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be.  And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.  If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road...Going back is the quickest way on. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 1, Ch 5

 

Christianity

Where a clear and simple explanation completely covers the facts no other explanation is in court. If the younger generation have never been told what the Christians say and never heard any arguments in defence of it, then their agnosticism or indifference is fully explained. There is no need to look any further:  no need to talk about the general intellectual climate of the age, the influence of mechanistic civilization on the character of urban life. And having discovered that the cause of their ignorance is lack of instruction, we have also discovered the remedy. There is nothing in the nature of the younger generation which incapacitates them for receiving Christianity. If any one is prepared to tell them, they are apparently ready to hear. ~ "On the Transmission of Christianity," God in the Dock

 

Ever since I became a Christian I have thought that the best, perhaps the only, service I could do for my unbelieving neighbours was to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times. ~ Mere Christianity, Preface

If one has to choose between reading the new books and reading the old, one must choose the old:  not because they are necessarily better but  because they contain precisely those truths of which our own age is neglectful. The standard of permanent Christianity must be kept clear in our minds and it is against that standard that we must test all contemporary thought. In fact, we must at all costs not move with the times.  ~ "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.  ~ "Is Theology Poetry?" The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

...Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance.  The one thing it cannot be is moderately important. ~ "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

When all is said (and truly said) about the divisions of Christendom, there remains, by God's mercy, an enormous common ground. ~ Letter to Dom Bede Griffiths, 4 April 1934 

Even when I feared and detested Christianity, I was struck by its essential unity, which, in spite of its divisions, it has never lost. ~ Preface to the French Edition of The Problem of Pain

It is at her centre, where her truest children dwell, that each communion is really closest to every other in spirit, if not in doctrine.  And this suggests that at the centre of each there is a something, or a Someone, who against all divergencies of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice. ~ Mere Christianity, Preface

For a Pagan, as history shows, is a man eminently convertible to Christianity.  He is essentially the pre-Christian, or sub-Christian, religious man.  The post-Christian man of our day differs from him as much as a divorcee differs from a virgin. ~ "Is Theism Important?"  God in the Dock

...the man who is most faithful in living the Christian life in his own church is spiritually the closest to the faithful believers in other confessions. ~ Preface to the French Edition of The Problem of Pain

...Christianity will do you good -- a great deal more good than you ever wanted or expected. ~ "Man or Rabbit?" God in the Dock

It is fatally easy to confuse an aesthetic appreciation of the spiritual life with the life itself -- to dream that you have waked, washed, and dressed, and then to find yourself still in bed... ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 15 June 1930 

Christianity is not merely what a man does with his solitude.  It is not even what God does with His solitude.  It tells of God descending into the coarse publicity of history and there enacting what can -- and must -- be talked about. ~ "The Founding of the Oxford Socratic Club," God in the Dock

It is no good asking for a simple religion,  After all, real things are not simple...Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd.  It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect...Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 2, Ch 2

The standard of permanent Christianity must be kept clear in our minds and it is against that standard that we must test all contemporary thought. ~ "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

 

Community

God can show Himself as He really is only to real men.  And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but to men who are united together in a body, loving one another, helping one another, showing Him to one another...Consequently, the one really adequate instrument for learning about God is the whole Christian community waiting for Him together. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 4, Ch 2

Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. ~ "On the Reading of Old Books,"  God in the Dock

 

Connectedness

Everything is connected with everything else:  but not all things are connected by the short and straight roads we expected.  ~ Miracles, Ch 8

 

Death

Of all men, we hope most of death; yet nothing will reconcile us to -- well, its unnaturalness. ~ "Some Thoughts," God in the Dock

The cure of death is dying. ~ The Pilgrim's Regress 

 

Die before you die.  There is no chance after. ~ Till We Have Faces

 

Desire 

Whatever we desire is either what God is trying to give us as quickly as He can, or else a false picture of what He is trying to give us -- a false picture which would not attract us for a moment if we saw the real thing. ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 12 September 1933

 

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 3, Ch 10

 

Distraction

If I may trust my own experience, it is (within marriage as without) the practical and prudential cares of this world, and even the smallest and most prosaic of those cares, that are the great distraction. The gnat-like cloud of petty anxieties and decisions about the conduct of the next hour have interfered with my prayers more often than any passion or appetite whatever. ~ The Four Loves, Eros 

 

Doctrine and Dogma 

The doctrines that God is love and that He delights in men are positive doctrines, not limiting doctrines.  He is not less than this.  What more He may be, we do not know; we know only that He must be more than we can conceive.  It is to be expected that His creation should be, in the main, unintelligible to us. ~ "Dogma and the Universe," God in the Dock

The god of whom no dogmas are believed is a mere shadow.  He will not produce that fear of the Lord in which wisdom begins, and, therefore, will not produce that love in which it is consummated. ~ "Religion Without  Dogma?" God in the Dock

Duty 

And every duty is a religious duty, and our obligation to perform every duty is therefore absolute. ~ "Learning in War-Time," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

Morality exists to be transcended.  We act from duty in the hope that someday we shall do the same acts freely and delightfully. ~ "The Novels of Charles Williams," On Stories

Don't be too easily convinced that God really wants you to do all sorts of work you needn't do.  Each must do his duty in that state of life to which God has called him...There can be intemperance in work just as in drink.  What feels like zeal may be only fidgets or even the flattering of one's self-importance...And by doing what one's station and its duties does not demand, one can make oneself less fit for the duties it does demand and so commit some injustice. ~ Letters to an American Lady (19/3/56)

The world might stop in ten minutes; meanwhile, we are to go on doing our duty.  The great thing is to be found at one's post as a child of God, living each day as though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years. ~ "Cross-Examination," God in the Dock

If we feel we have talents that don't find expression in our ordinary duties and recreations, I think we must just go on doing the ordinary things as well as we can. If God wants to use these suspected talents, He will:  in His own time and way. ~ letter to Edward Lofstrom, 16 January 1959

 

I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis, not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace.  I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can. ~ "Why I Am Not a Pacifist," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

 

It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right:  when you have done so, the rest lies with God... ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 29 December 1935 

 

You see, one must always get back to the practical and definite. What the devil loves is that vague cloud of unspecified guilt feeling or unspecified virtue by which he lures us into despair or presumption. ~ letter to Mary Willis Shelburne, 21 July 1958

 

Faith

'Religious experience' in the narrower sense come and goes:  especially goes.  The operation of Faith is to retain, so far as the will and intellect are concerned, what is irresistible and obvious during the moments of special grace.  By Faith we believe always what we hope hereafter to see always and perfectly and have already seen imperfectly and by flashes. ~ "Is Theism Important?"  God in the Dock

...the mental images which attend the act of belief are inessential...Does this mean that Christians on different levels of general education conceal radically different beliefs under an identical form of words?  Certainly not.  For what they agree on is the substance, and what they differ about is the shadow. ~ "Dogma and the Universe," God in the Dock

 

Feelings

Don't bother much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them:  when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you. What matters is your intentions and your behavoiur. ~ Letter to Genia Goelz, 13 June 1951 

 

...no natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves.  They are all holy when God's hand is on the rein.  They all go bad when they set up on their own and make themselves into false gods. ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 10

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete:  and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness. ~ The Problem of Pain, Ch 8

 

Freedom

...the most deeply compelled action is also the freest action.  By that I mean, no part of you is outside the action.  It is a paradox. ~ "Cross-Examination," God in the Dock

 

Friendship

When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing.  Now it is growing something as we remember it.  But still we know very little about it.  What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then -- that is the real meeting. ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 12 

Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire? ~ letter to Dom Bede Griffiths, 21 December 1941 

Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ The Four Loves, Friendship 

And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside, that you are indeed snug and safe at the centre of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring.  But the difference is that its secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric, for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like.  This is friendship.  ~ "The Inner Ring," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise -- though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers. ~ The Four Loves, Friendship

...friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 29 December 1935

 

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy; and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship. ~ "Membership," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

 

God's Will

Whatever we desire is either what God is trying to give us as quickly as He can, or else a false picture of what He is trying to give us -- a false picture which would not attract us for a moment if we saw the real thing. ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 12 September 1933 

There are only two kinds of people in the end:  those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says in the end, "Thy will be done." ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 9

 

Good and Evil

Those that hate goodness are sometimes nearer than those that know nothing at all about it and think they have it already. ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 9 

But do not let us mistake necessary evils for good. ~ "Membership," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

The truth is that evil is not a real thing at all, like God. It is simply good spoiled. That is why I say there can be good without evil, but no evil without good. ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 12 September 1933

 

Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good. ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 13

 

Happiness

God made us:  invented us as a man invents an engine.  A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else.  Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.  There is no other.  That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion.  God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there.  There is no such thing. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 2, Ch 3

...there is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.  It is too good to waste on jokes. ~ The Last Battle, Ch 15

 

Heaven and Hell

For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.  At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door...Some day, God willing, we shall get in. ~ "The Weight of Glory," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind - is, in the end, Hell. ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 9

It's not a matter of God 'sending' us to Hell.  In each of us there is something growing up which will of itself be Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.  The matter is serious:  let us put ourselves in His hands at once -- this very day, this hour. ~ "The Trouble with X," God in the Dock

The walls of the black hole are the tourniquet on the wound through which the lost soul else would bleed to a death she never reached. It is the Landlord's last service to those who will let him do nothing better for them. ~ The Pilgrim's Regress 

 

If we could even effect in one per cent of our readers a change-over from the conception of Space to the conception of Heaven, we should have made a beginning. ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 22  

All that are in Hell, choose it.  Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.  No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  Those who seek find.  To those who knock it is opened. ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 9

 

Imagination

But it must not be supposed that I am in any sense putting forward the imagination as the organ of truth.  We are not talking of truth, but of meaning:  meaning which is the antecedent condition both of truth and falsehood, whose antithesis is not error but nonsense.  I am a rationalist.  For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.  Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.  ~ "Bluspels and Flalanasferes"

 

Language and Words

The way for a person to develop a (writing) style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that.  The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean.  If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him.  I sometimes that that writing is like driving sheep down a road.  If there is any gate open to the left or the right the readers will most certainly go into it. ~ "Cross-Examination," God in the Dock

When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object:  it only tells you about the speaker's attitude to that object.  (A 'nice' meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) ~ Mere Christianity, Preface

In a sense, one can hardly put anything into words:  only the simplest colours have names, and hardly any of the smells.  The simple physical pains and (still more) the pleasures can't be expressed in language.  I labour the point lest the devil should hereafter try to make you believe that what was wordless was therefore vague and nebulous.  But in reality it is just the clearest, the most concrete, and most indubitable realities which escape language:  not because they are vague, but because language is...Poetry I take to be the continual effort to bring language back to the actual. ~ Letter to Rhona Bodle, 24 June 1949

Our business is to present that which is timeless (the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow) in the particular language of our own age.   The bad preacher does exactly the opposite:  he takes the ideas of our own age and tricks them out in the traditional language of Christianity...But your teaching must be timeless at its heart and wear a modern dress. ~ "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

Of course language is not an infallible guide, but it contains, with all its defects, a good deal of stored insight and experience. If you begin by flouting it, it has a way of avenging itself later on. We had better not follow Humpty Dumpty in making words mean whatever we please. ~ The Four Loves, Introduction  

What we need to be particularly on our guard against are precisely the vogue-words, the incantatory words of our own circle...They are like a family language, or a school slang.  And our private language may delude ourselves as well as mystifying outsiders.  Enchanted words seem so full of meaning, so illuminating.  But we may be deceived.  What we derive from them may sometimes be not so much a clear conception as a heart-warming sense of being at home and among our own sort. ~ "Before We Can Communicate," God in the Dock

 

Losing and Finding

Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours.  Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.  Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin,and decay.  But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 4, Ch 11

 

Love

We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. Then they become gods:  then they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves. For natural loves that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves. They are still called so, but can become in fact complicated forms of hatred. ~ The Four Loves, Introduction 

The highest does not stand without the lowest. A plant must have roots below as well as sunlight above and roots must be grubby. Much of the grubbiness is clean dirt if only you will leave it in the garden and not keep on sprinkling it over the library table. The human loves can be glorious images of Divine love. No less than that: but also no more -- proximities of likeness which in one instance may help, and in another may hinder, proximity of approach. ~ The Four Loves, Introduction 

 

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom.  Give up yourself, and you will find your real self.  Lose your life and you will save it.  Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end:  submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 4, Ch 11

 

Memory

Memory passes through the womb and hovers in the air.  ~ Perelandra, Ch 16

...every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory... ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 12

 

A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.  ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 12

 

Mercy

Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. ~ "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," God in the Dock

 

Miracles

The very idea of 'miracle' presupposes knowledge of the Laws of Nature; you can't have the idea of an exception until you have the idea of a rule. ~ "Christian Apologetics," God in the Dock

Miracles in fact are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.  Of that larger script part is already visible, part is still unsolved.  In other words; some of the miracles do locally what God has already done universally; other do locally what He has not yet done, but will do.  ~ "Miracles," God in the Dock

 

Myth

What flows into you from myth is not truth but reality (truth is always about something, but reality is that about which truth is), and, therefore, every myth becomes the father of innumerable truths on the abstract level.  ~ "Myth Became Fact," God in the Dock

The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by "the veil of familiarity." ~ "Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings," On Stories

It even occurred to him that the distinction between history and mythology might be itself meaningless outside the Earth. ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 21 

Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth:  a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened... ~ letter to Arthur Greeves, 18 October 1931 

 

Our mythology is based on a solider reality than we dream:  but it is also at an almost infinite distance from that base.  ~ Perelandra, Ch 16

 

Nature

The point is that the medieval poets...believed from the outset that Nature was not everything. She was created. She was not God's highest, much less His only, creature. She had her proper place, below the Moon. She had her appointed duties as God's vicegerent in that area. Her own subjects, stimulated by rebel angels, might disobey her and become 'unnatural.' There were things above her, and things below. It is precisely this limitation and subordination of Nature which sets her free for her triumphant poetical career. By surrendering the dull claim to be everything, she becomes somebody. ~ The Discarded Image, Ch III 

 

Because we love something else more than this world we love even this world better than those who know no other. ~ "Some Thoughts," God in the Dock

...in the whole history of the universe the laws of Nature have never produced a single event.  They are the pattern to which every event must conform, provided only that it can be induced to happen...the laws of Nature explain everything except the source of events.  But this is rather a formidable exception...They explain everything except what we should ordinarily call 'everything.'  The only thing they omit is -- the whole universe.  ~ "The Laws of Nature," God in the Dock

 

Obedience

...you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience. ~ That Hideous Strength

Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality.  ~ "Membership," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

 

Prayer

We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.  Even an intimate human friend is ill-used if we talk to him about one thing while our mind is really on another, and even a human friend will soon become aware when we are doing so...The ordinate frame of mind is one of the blessings we must pray for, not a fancy dress we must put on when we pray.  ~ Letters to Malcolm, No. IV

 

Priorities

The crisis of the present moment, like the nearest telegraph pole, will always loom largest.  Isn't there a danger that our great, permanent, objective necessities - often more important - may get crowded out? ~ A Preface to Paradise Lost 

...by valuing too highly a real, but subordinate good, we have come near to losing that good itself...You can't get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first. ~ "First and Second Things," God in the Dock

 

Silence

Silences in the physical world occur in empty places:  but the ultimate Peace is silent through very density of life.  Saying is swallowed up in being.  ~ Miracles, Ch 11

 

Submission

But voluntary submission does not mean that there is nothing to submit to. ~ letter to Owen Barfield, August 1939

 

Uncategorized

The love of knowledge is a kind of madness. ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 9

 

Humanity does not pass through phases as a train passes through stations; being alive, it has the privilege of always moving yet never leaving anything behind.  Whatever we have been, in some sort we are still. ~ The Allegory of Love

It was necessary, and the necessary was always possible. ~ Out of the Silent Planet, Ch 13

 

The right defence against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments.  By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes.  For famished nature will be avenged and a hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head. ~ The Abolition of Man, Ch 1

There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal...it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendours...Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. ~ "The Weight of Glory," The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

...and he (the Christian) may hope that when he has truly learned (which will hardly be in this life) to love his neighbour as himself, he may then be able to love himself as his neighbour:  that is, with charity instead of partiality. ~ "Two Ways with the Self," God in the Dock

There are particular aspects of His love and joy which can be communicated to a created being only by sensuous experience. ~"Scraps," God in the Dock

...you can only find out the rights and wrongs by reasoning -- never by being rude about your opponent's psychology. ~ "Bulverism," God in the Dock

 

If, given patience and ordinary skill, you cannot explain a thing to any sensible person whatever (provided he will listen), then you don't really understand it yourself. ~ "Before We Can Communicate," God in the Dock

 

There is nothing irrational in exercising other powers than reason...It is rational not to reason, or not to limit oneself to reason, in the wrong place; and the more rational a man is, the better he knows this. ~ "Priestesses in the Church," God in the Dock

 

...you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong.  The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. ~ "Bulverism," God in the Dock

 

Pity was meant to be a spur that drives joy to help misery. ~ The Great Divorce, Ch 13

 

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. ~ "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," God in the Dock

Anger wearies itself out and truth comes in. ~ Till We Have Faces

 

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. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 1, Ch 5

 

Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 3, Ch 11

...this is a good world that has gone wrong, but still retains the memory of what it ought to have been. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 2, Ch 2

A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 3, Ch 5

...to act on the light one has is almost the only way to more light. ~ letter to Mary Neylan, 4 January 1941

 

The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed, like the distinction between fact and myth, was purely terrestrial.  The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can.  Hence we rightly, for our use, distinguish the accidental from the essential.  But step outside that frame and the distinction drops down into the void, fluttering useless wings. ~ Perelandra

 

...it is a curious fact that the advice we can give to others we cannot give to ourselves and truth is more effective through any life rather than our own. ~ letter to Sister Penelope, 19 November 1941 

The war-time posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives.  It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk.  Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself. ~ Mere Christianity, Bk 4, Ch 10