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Cs lewis quotes we desire someone to be worse
June 17, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes 4 comments

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. C. S. LEWIS, Mere.

Clive Staples Lewis (November 291898 – November 221963) was an Irish author, scholar of medieval literature, and Christian apologist. He is best known for his essays on Christianity and for the children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia.

Quotes[edit]

  • I have at last come to the end of the Faerie Queene: and though I say "at last", I almost wish he had lived to write six books more as he had hoped to do — so much have I enjoyed it.
    • On Edmund Spenser and his famous work, in a letter to Arthur Greeves (7 March 1916), published in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis : Family Letters, 1905–1931 (2004) edited by Walter Hooper, p. 170
  • The man is a humbug — a vulgar, shallow, self-satisfied mind, absolutely inaccessible to the complexities and delicacies of the real world. He has the journalist's air of being a specialist in everything, of taking in all points of view and being always on the side of the angels: he merely annoys a reader who has the least experience of knowing things, of what knowing is like. There is not two pence worth of real thought or real nobility in him. But he isn't dull…
  • I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.
    • Letter to Arthur Greeves (February 1932) — in They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914–1963) (1979), p. 439
  • Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I shd. say, 'sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends.'
    • Letter to Arthur Greeves (29 December 1935) — in They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914–1963) (1979), p. 477
  • 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 Flalansferes: A Semantic Nightmare", Rehabilitations and Other Essays (1939)
  • On recent and contemporary literature [students'] need is least and our help least. They ought to understand it better than we, and if they do not then there is something radically wrong either with them or with the literature. But I need not labour the point. There is an intrinsic absurdity in making current literature a subject of academic study, and the student who wants a tutor's assistance in reading the works of his own contemporaries might as well ask for a nurse's assistance in blowing his own nose.
    • "Our English syllabus", Rehabilitations and Other Essays (1939). Reprinted in Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews by C. S. Lewis (2013), Cambridge University Press
  • Only the skilled can judge the skilfulness, but that is not the same as judging the value of the result.
    • A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), Chapter 2: "Is Criticism Possible?"
  • A man, an adult, is precisely what [Aeneas] is: Achilles had been little more than a passionate boy.
    • A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942), Chapter 6: "Virgil and the Subject of Secondary Epic"
  • The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact.
    • "Myth Became Fact" (1944)
  • 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?" (1945)
  • I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to the rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber baron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point be sated, and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations. And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic, held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In other words, it forbids wholesome doubt...
This false certainty comes out in Professor Haldane's article... It is breaking Aristotle's canon—to demand in every enquiry that the degree of certainty which the subject matter allows. And not on your life to pretend that you see further than you do.
Being a democrat, I am opposed to all very drastic and sudden changes of society (in whatever direction) because they never in fact take place except by a particular technique. That technique involves the seizure of power by a small, highly disciplined group of people; the terror and the secret police follow, it would seem, automatically. I do not think any group good enough to have such power. They are men of like passions with ourselves. The secrecy and discipline of their organisation will have already inflamed in them that passion for the inner ring which I think at least as corrupting as avarice; and their high ideological pretensions will have lent all their passions the dangerous prestige of the Cause. Hence, in whatever direction the change is made, it is for me damned by its modus operandi. The worst of all public dangers is the committee of public safety.
  • "A Reply to Professor Haldane" (1946), published posthumously in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1966)
  • I believe Buddhism to be a simplification of Hinduism and Islam to be a simplification of Xianity.
    • Letter to Sheldon Vanauken (14 December 1950), quoted in Sleuthing C. S. Lewis (2001) by Kathryn Ann Lindskoog, p. 393
  • I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.
    • Letter (19 April 1951); published in Letters of C. S. Lewis (1966), p. 230
  • It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.
    • Letter (8 November 1952); published in Letters of C. S. Lewis (1966), p. 247
  • I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last. A waltz which you can like only when you are waltzing is a bad waltz.
    • "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" (1952) — in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1967), p. 24
  • Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
    • "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" (1952) — in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1967), p. 25
  • I became my own only when I gave myself to Another.
    • Letters of C. S. Lewis (17 July 1953), para. 2, p. 251 — as reported in The Quotable Lewis (1989), p. 334
  • Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat.
  • The very man who has argued you down will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said.
    • Reflections on the Psalms (1958), p. 73
  • A strict allegory is like a puzzle with a solution: a great romance is like a flower whose smell reminds you of something you can't quite place. I think the something is 'the whole quality of life as we actually experience it.'
    • C. S. Lewis' Letters to Children – letter to Lucy (11 September 1958)
  • We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
    • Letters of C. S. Lewis (29 April 1959), para. 1, p. 285 — as reported in The Quotable Lewis (1989), p. 469
  • A great myth is relevant as long as the predicament of humanity lasts; as long as humanity lasts. It will always work, on those who can receive it, the same catharsis.
    • "Haggard Rides Again", in Time and Tide, Vol. XLI (3 September 1960)
  • The human imagination has seldom had before it an object so sublimely ordered as the medieval cosmos. If it has an aesthetic fault, it is perhaps, for us who have known romanticism, a shade too ordered. For all its vast spaces it might in the end afflict us with a kind of claustrophobia. Is there nowhere any vagueness? No undiscovered by-ways? No twilight? Can we never really get out of doors?
  • I wrote the books I should have liked to read. That's always been my reason for writing. People won't write the books I want, so I have to do it for myself.
  • Looking for God—or Heaven—by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare's plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters or Stratford as one of the places. Shakespeare is in one sense present at every moment in every play.
    • "The Seeing Eye", in Christian Reflections (1967), p. 167
  • You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
    • As quoted in Of This and Other Worlds (1982) by Walter Hooper, Preface, p. 9
  • [M]y friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, "What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?" and gave the obvious answer: jailers.
  • 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 think 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.

The Pilgrim's Regress (1933)[edit]

  • The chief pleasure of his life in these days was to go down the road and look through the window in the wall in the hope of seeing the beautiful Island. … the sight of the Island and the sounds became very rare … and the yearning for the sight … became so terrible that John thought he would die if he did not have them again soon. … it came into his head that he might perhaps get the old feeling-for what, he thought, had the Island ever given him but a feeling?–by imagining. He shut his eyes and set his teeth again and made a picture of the Island in his mind.
  • He begins to think for himself and meets Nineteenth-century Rationalism Which can explain away religion by any number of methods.
  • If you make the same guess often enough it ceases to be a guess and becomes a Scientific Fact. This is the inductive method.
  • He came in sight of a pass guarded by armed men. ‘you cannot pass … Do you not know that all this country belongs to the Spirit of the Age? … Here Enlightenment, take this fugitive to our Master.’
  • Then I dreamed that one day there was nothing but milk for them and the jailer said as he put down the pipkin: ‘Our relations with the cow are not delicate-as you can easily see if you imagine eating any of her other secretions.’ … John said, ‘Thank heavens! Now at last I know that you are talking nonsense. You are trying to pretend that unlike things are like. You are trying to make us think that milk is the same sort of thing as sweat or dung.’ ‘And pray, what difference is there except by custom?’ ‘Are you a liar or only a fool, that you see no difference between that which Nature casts out as refuse and that which she stores up as food?’
  • ‘Try now to answer my third riddle. By what rule to you tell a copy from an original?’
  • ‘you must see that if two things are alike, then it is a further question whether the first is copied from the second, or the second from the first, or both from a third.’ ‘Some that thought that all these loves were copies of our love for the landlord.’
  • ‘The Spirit of the Age wishes to allow argument and not to allow argument. … If anyone argues with them they say that he is rationalizing his own desires, and therefore need not be answered. But if anyone listens to them they will then argue themselves to show that their own doctrines are true. … You must ask them whether any reasoning is valid or not. If they say no, then their own doctrines, being reached by reasoning, fall to the ground. If they say yes, then they will have to examine your arguments and refute them on their merits: for if some reasoning is valid, for all they know, your bit of reasoning may be one of the valid bits.’
  • John – I’m trying to find the Island in the West. Sensible – You refer, no doubt to some aesthetic experience.
  • I am sorry that my convictions do not allow me to repeat my friend’s offer, said one of the others. But I have had to abandon the humanitarian and egalitarian fancies. His name was Mr. Neo-Classical.
  • I hope, said the third, that your wanderings in lonely places do not mean that you have any of the romantic virus still in your blood. His name was Mr. Humanist.
  • Mr. Neo-Angular – I am doing my duty. My ethics are based on dogma, not on feeling. Vertue – I know that a rule is to be obeyed because it is a rule and not because it appeals to my feelings at the moment.
  • Savage – There is only one way fit for a man – Heroism, or Master-Morality, or Violence. All the other people in between are ploughing the sand.
  • Wisdom: The first error is that of the southern people, and it consists in holding that these eastern and western places are real places. … give no quarter to that thought, whether it threatens you with fear, or tempts you with hopes. For this is Superstition and all who believe it will come in the end to the swamps to the south and the jungles to the far south. Part of the same error is to think that the Landlord is a real man:
  • But supposing one tries to live by Pantheistic philosophy? Does it lead to a complacent Hegelian optimism?
    • Pilgrim’s Regress 132–133
  • Then he tried to recall the lessons of Mr. Wisdom. “it is I myself, eternal Spirit, who drives this Me, the slave, along that ledge. I ought not to care whether he falls and breaks his neck or not. It is not he that is real, it is I – I – I.
  • The wraith of Sigmund said. “You know what this is, I suppose. Religious melancholia. Stop while there is time. If you dive, you dive into insanity.”
  • Mr. Sensible learned only catchwords from them. He could talk like Epicurus of spare diet, but he was a glutton. He had from Montaigne the language of friendship, but no friend.
  • The Guide sang: Nearly they stood who fall; Themselves as they look back See always in the track The one false step, where all Even yet, by lightest swerve Of foot not yet enslaved, By smallest tremor of the smallest nerve, Might have been saved. Nearly they fell who stand, And with cold after fear Look back to mark how near They grazed the Siren’s land, Wondering that subtle fate, By threads so spidery fine, The choice of ways so small, the event so great, Should thus entwine. Therefore oh, man, have fear Lest oldest fears be true, Lest thou too far pursue The road that seems so clear, And step, secure, a hair-breadth bourne, Which, being once crossed forever unawares, Denies return.
  • The Guide sang: The new age, the new art, the new ethic and thought, And fools crying, Because it has begun It will continue as it has begun! The wheel runs fast, therefore the wheel will run Faster for ever, The old age is done, We have new lights and see without the sun. (Though they lay flat the mountains and dry up the sea, Wilt thou yet change, as though God were a god?)
    • Pilgrim’s Regress 186–187
  • Our father was married twice,' continued Humanist. 'Once to a lady named Epichaerecacia, and afterwards to Euphuia...

Out of the Silent Planet (1938)[edit]

  • "A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hmān, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing. The séroni could say it better than I say it now. Not better than I could say it in a poem. What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. 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. The other is only the beginning of it."
  • "And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes."

The Problem of Pain (1940)[edit]

  • Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.
  • Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.
  • Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.
  • God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
  • God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.
  • Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.
  • What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like, "What does it matter so long as they are contented?" We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, "liked to see young people enjoying themselves" and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, "a good time was had by all".
  • In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is itself a question: What are you asking God to do? To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.
  • I call this Divine humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colours to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up "our own" when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is "nothing better" now to be had.
  • If He who in Himself can lack nothing chooses to need us, it is because we need to be needed.
  • Even atheists rebel and express, like Hardy and Housman, their rage against God although (or because) He does not, on their view, exist...
    • Variant: "Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist."

"Bulverism" (1941)[edit]

  • 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. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism”. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father—who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third—”Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment”, E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.
  • Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.” You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself. When you have checked my figures, then, and then only, will you know whether I have that balance or not. If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant—but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought. If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must first find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error.

The Screwtape Letters (1942)[edit]

  • 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 and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
  • There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.
  • I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.
  • My dear Wormwood,
    I note what you say about guiding your patient's reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naive? It sounds as if you suppose that argument was the way to keep him out of the enemy's clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier.
  • Of course a war is entertaining. The immediate fear and suffering of the humans is a legitimate and pleasing refreshment for our myriads of toiling workers. But what permanent good does it do us unless we make use of it for bringing souls to Our Father Below? When I see the temporal suffering of humans who finally escape us, I feel as if I had been allowed to taste the first course of a rich banquet and then denied all the rest. It is worse than not to have tasted it at all. The Enemy, true to His barbarous methods of warfare, allows us to see the short misery of His favourites only to tantalize and torment us — to mock the incessant hunger, which, during this present phase of great conflict, His blockade is admittedly imposing.
  • Humans are amphibians — half spirit and half animal.... As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.
  • Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
  • All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.
  • The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
  • When they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.
  • The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them for eternity.
  • Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.
  • Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men's belief that they "own" their bodies — those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of Another!
  • Courtship is the time for sowing those seeds which will grow up ten years into domestic hatred.
  • A sensible human once said, "If people knew how much ill-feeling unselfishness occasions, it would not be so often recommended from the pulpit"; and again, "She's the sort of woman who lives for others—you can always tell the others by their hunted expression."
  • In hatred you see men as they are; you are disillusioned; but the loveliness of a loved person is merely a subjective haze concealing a ‘real’ core of sexual appetite or economic association. Wars and poverty are ‘really’ horrible; peace and plenty are mere physical facts about which men happen to have certain sentiments.

The Abolition of Man (1943)[edit]

  • And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more “drive”, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or “creativity”. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
  • What we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.
  • We reduce things to mere Nature in order that we may 'conquer' them.
  • It is the magician's bargain: give up our soul, get power in return. But once our souls, that is, ourselves, have been given up, the power thus conferred will not belong to us. We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls.
  • What is now common to all men is a mere abstract universal, an H.C.F. [Highest Common Factor], and Man's conquest of himself means simply the rule of the Conditioners over the conditioned human material, the world of post-humanity which, some knowingly and some unknowingly, nearly all men in all nations are at present labouring to produce.
  • There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the wisdom of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men.

Equality (1943)[edit]

The Spectator, Vol. CLXXI (27 August 1943)
  • I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason.
  • I don't deserve a share in governing a hen-roost, much less a nation. Nor do most people — all the people who believe advertisements, and think in catchwords and spread rumors. The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.
  • There is no spiritual sustenance in flat equality. It is a dim recognition of this fact which makes much of our political propaganda sound so thin. We are trying to be enraptured by something which is merely the negative condition of the good life. That is why the imagination of people is so easily captured by appeals to the craving for inequality, whether in a romantic form of films about loyal courtiers or in the brutal form of Nazi ideology. The tempter always works on some real weakness in our own system of values — offers food to some need which we have starved.
  • When equality is treated not as a medicine or a safety-gadget, but as an ideal, we begin to breed that stunted and envious sort of mind which hates all superiority. That mind is the special disease of democracy, as cruelty and servility are the special diseases of privileged societies. It will kill us all if it grows unchecked. The man who cannot conceive a joyful and loyal obedience on the one hand, nor an unembarrassed and noble acceptance of that obedience on the other — the man who has never even wanted to kneel or to bow — is a prosaic barbarian. But it would be wicked folly to restore these old inequalities on the legal or external plane. Their proper place is elsewhere.
  • Friends are not primarily absorbed in each other. It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction. Lovers look at each other — that is, in opposite directions. To transfer bodily all that belongs to one relationship into the other is blundering.
  • We Britons should rejoice that we have contrived to reach much legal democracy (we still need more of the economic) without losing our ceremonial Monarchy. For there, right in the midst of our lives, is that which satisfies the craving for inequality, and acts as a permanent reminder that medicine is not food. Hence a man's reaction to Monarchy is a kind of test. Monarchy can easily be "debunked", but watch the faces, mark well the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose taproot in Eden has been cut — whom no rumor of the polyphony, the dance, can reach – men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead — even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served — deny it food and it will gobble poison.
  • Every intrusion of the spirit that says, "I'm as good as you" into our personal and spiritual life is to be resisted just as jealously as every intrusion of bureaucracy or privilege into our politics. Hierarchy within can alone preserve egalitarianism without. Romantic attacks on democracy will come again. We shall never be safe unless we already understand in our hearts all that the anti-democrats can say, and have provided for it better than they. Human nature will not permanently endure flat equality if it is extended from its proper political field into the more real, more concrete fields within. Let us wear equality; but let us undress every night.

Perelandra (1943)[edit]

  • When He died in the Wounded World He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less. Each thing, from the single grain of Dust to the strongest eldil, is the end and the final cause of all creation and the mirror in which the beam of His brightness comes to rest and so returns to Him. Blessed be He!
  • God can make good use of all that happens, but the loss is real.
  • I think He made one law of that kind in order that there might be obedience. In all these other matters what you call obeying Him is but doing what seems good in your eyes also. Is love content with that? You do them, indeed, because they are His will, but not only because they are his will. Where can you taste the joy of obeying unless he bids you do something for which His bidding is the only reason?
  • Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed him.
  • You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.
  • And now, by a transition which he did not notice, it seemed that what had begun as speech was turned into sight, or into something that can be remembered only as if it were seeing. He thought he saw the Great Dance. It seemed to be woven out of the intertwining undulation of many cords or bands of light, leaping over and under one another and mutually embraced in arabesques and flower-like subtleties. Each figure as he looked at it became the master-figure or focus of the whole spectacle, by means of which his eye disentangled all else and brought it into unity — only to be itself entangled when he looked to what he had taken for mere marginal decorations and found that there also the same hegemony was claimed, and the claim made good, yet the former pattern thereby disposed but finding in its new subordination a significance greater than that which it had abdicated. He could see also (but the word "seeing" is now plainly inadequate) wherever the ribbons or serpents of light intersected minute corpuscles of momentary brightness: and he knew somehow that these particles were the secular generalities of which history tells — people, institutions, climates of opinion, civilizations, arts, sciences and the like — ephemeral coruscations that piped their short song and vanished. The ribbons or cords themselves, in which millions of corpuscles lived and died, were the things of some different kind. At first he could not say what. But he knew in the end that most of them were individual entities. If so, the time in which the Great Dance proceeds is very unlike time as we know it. Some of the thinner more delicate cords were the beings that we call short lived: flowers and insects, a fruit or a storm of rain, and once (he thought) a wave of the sea. Others were such things we think lasting: crystals, rivers, mountains, or even stars. Far above these in girth and luminosity and flashing with colours form beyond our spectrum were the lines of personal beings, yet as different from one another in splendour as all of them from the previous class. But not all the cords were individuals: some of them were universal truths or universal qualities. It did not surprise him then to find that these and the persons were both cords and both stood together as against the mere atoms of generality which lived and died in the clashing of their streams: But afterwards, when he came back to earth, he wondered. And by now the thing must have passed together out of the region of sight as we understand it. For he says that the whole figure of these enamored and inter-inanimate circlings was suddenly revealed as the mere superficies of a far vaster pattern in four dimensions, and that figure as the boundary of yet others in other worlds: till suddenly as the movement grew yet swifter, the interweaving yet more ecstatic, the relevance of all to all yet more intense, as dimension was added to dimension and that part of him which could reason and remember was dropped further and further behind that part of him which saw, even then, at the very zenith of complexity, complexity was eaten up and faded, as a thin white cloud fades into the hard blue burning of sky, and all simplicity beyond all comprehension, ancient and young as spring, illimitable, pellucid, drew him with cords of infinite desire into its own stillness. He went up into such a quietness, a privacy, and a freshness that at the very moment when he stood farthest from our ordinary mode of being he had the sense of stripping off encumbrances and awaking from a trance, and coming to himself. With a gesture of relaxation he looked about him…

The Great Divorce (1944–1945)[edit]

  • Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows.
  • "I wish I had never been born," she said. "What are we born for?" "For infinite happiness," said the Spirit. "You can step out into it at any moment..."
  • [Mortals] say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death.
  • "Then those people are right who say that Heaven and Hell are only states of mind?"
    "Hush," he said sternly. "Do not blaspheme. Hell is a state of mind — ye never said a truer word. 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. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly."
  • "Milton was right," said my Teacher. "The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words 'Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.' There is always something they insist on keeping even at the price of misery."
  • There have been men before … who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God himself… as if the good Lord had nothing to do but to exist. There have been some who were so preoccupied with spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.
  • 'But what of the poor Ghosts who never get into the omnibus at all?'
    'Everyone who wishes it does. Never fear. 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." 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.'
    • Ch. 9, p. 72; part of this has also been rendered in a variant form, and quoted as:
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way."
  • 'God!' said the Ghost, glancing around the landscape.
    'God what?' asked the Spirit.
    'What do you mean, "God what"?' asked the Ghost.
    'In our grammar God is a noun' said the Spirit.
  • Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.
  • There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.
  • "Ye can know nothing of the end of all things, or nothing expressible in those terms. It may be, as the Lord said to the Lady Julian, that all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well. But it's ill talking of such questions."
    "Because they are too terrible, Sir?"
    "No. Because all answers deceive. If ye put the question from within Time and are asking about possibilities, the answer is certain. The choice of ways is before you. Neither is closed. Any man may choose eternal death. Those who choose it will have it. But if ye are trying to leap on into Eternity, if ye are trying to see the final state of all things as it will be (for so ye must speak) when there are no more possibilities left but only the Real, then ye ask what cannot be answered to mortal ears. Time is the very lens through which ye see — small and clear, as men see through the wrong end of a telescope — something that would otherwise be too big for ye to see at all. That thing is Freedom: the gift whereby ye most resemble your Maker and are yourselves parts of eternal reality. But ye can see it only through the lens of Time, in a little clear picture, through the inverted telescope. It is a picture of moments following one another and yourself in each moment making some choice that might have been otherwise. Neither the temporal succession nor the phantom of what ye might have chosen and didn't is itself Freedom. They are a lens. The picture is a symbol: but it's truer than any philosophical theorem (or, perhaps, than any mystic's vision) that claims to go behind it. For every attempt to see the shape of eternity except through the lens of Time destroys your knowledge of Freedom."
  • 'It comes, it comes!' they sang. 'Sleepers awake! It comes, it comes, it comes.' One dreadful glance over my shoulder I essayed — not long enough to see (or did I see?) the rim of the sunrise that shoots Time dead with golden arrows and puts to flight all phantasmal shapes. Screaming, I buried my face in the fold of the Teacher's robe. 'The morning! The morning!' I cried. 'I am caught by the morning and I am a ghost.'

That Hideous Strength (1945)[edit]

  • "They would say," he answered, "that you do not fail in obedience through lack of love, but have lost love because you never attempted obedience."
    • Ch. 7 : The Pendragon, section 2
  • "The cardinal difficulty," said MacPhee, "in collaboration between the sexes is that women speak a language without nouns. If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, 'Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you'll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.' The female for this is, 'Put that in the other one in there.' And then if you ask them, 'in where?' they say, 'in there, of course.' There is consequently a phatic hiatus."
    • Ch. 8 : Moonlight at Belbury, section 2
  • Their own strength has betrayed them. They have...pulled down Deep Heaven on their heads.
    • Ch. 13 : They Have Pulled Down Deep Heaven on Their Heads
  • Not till then did his controllers allow him to suspect that death itself might not after all cure the illusion of being a soul—nay, might prove the entry into a world where that illusion raged infinite and unchecked. Escape for the soul, if not for the body, was offered him. He became able to know (and simultaneously refused the knowledge) that he had been wrong from the beginning, that souls and personal responsibility existed. He half saw: he wholly hated. The physical torture of the burning was not fiercer than his hatred of that.
    • Ch. 16 : Banquet at Belbury, section 6

Miracles (1947)[edit]

  • If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say.
    • Ch. 1: "The Scope of this Book"
  • Christianity does not involve the belief that all things were made for man. It does involve the belief that God loves man and for his sake became man and died.
    • Ch. 7: "A Chapter of Red Herrings"
  • My form remains one, though the matter in it changes continually. I am, in that respect, like a curve in a waterfall.
    • Ch. 16: "Miracles of the New Creation"

On Living in an Atomic Age (1948)[edit]

  • If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

The Weight of Glory (1949)[edit]

  • Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.
  • As long as this deliberate refusal to understand things from above, even where such understanding is possible, continues, it is idle to talk of any final victory over materialism.
  • We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
  • 100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.
  • Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
  • It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
  • At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of the morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.
  • If there is equality, it is in His love, not in us.
  • When I attempted, a few minutes ago, to describe our spiritual longings, I was omitting one of their most curious characteristics. We usually notice it just as the moment of vision dies away, as the music ends or as the landscape loses the celestial light. What we feel then has been well described by Keats as “the journey homeward to habitual self.” You know what I mean. For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world. Now we wake to find that it is no such thing. We have been mere spectators. Beauty has smiled, but not to welcome us; her face was turned in our direction, but not to see us. We have not been accepted, welcomed, or taken into the dance. We may go when we please, we may stay if we can: “Nobody marks us.” A scientist may reply that since most of the things we call beautiful are inanimate, it is not very surprising that they take no notice of us. That, of course, is true. It is not the physical objects that I am speaking of, but that indescribable something of which they become for a moment the messengers. And part of the bitterness which mixes with the sweetness of that message is due to the fact that it so seldom seems to be a message intended for us but rather something we have overheard. By bitterness I mean pain, not resentment. We should hardly dare to ask that any notice be taken of ourselves. But we pine. 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. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory meant good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgment, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.

The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956)[edit]

A series of seven children's books, this is just a sampling of a few quotes, for more from these works, see The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time.
  • Who believes in Aslan nowadays?
  • This is where dreams—dreams, do you understand—come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams.
  • It is the stupidest children who are most childish and the stupidest grown-ups who are most grown-up.
  • The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.
  • All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

Mere Christianity (1952)[edit]

Essays based upon radio addresses of 1941–1944
  • When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. 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.
  • This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.
    • Book I, Chapter 1, "The Law of Human Nature"
  • The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials "for the sake of humanity", and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.
    • Book I, Chapter 2, "Some Objections"
  • There is one thing, and only one, in the whole universe which we know more about than we could learn from external observation. That one thing is Man. We do not merely observe men, we are men. In this case we have, so to speak, inside information; we are in the know.
    • Book I, Chapter 4, "What Lies behind the Law"
  • We all want progress. But 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; in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.
    • Book I, Chapter 5, "We Have Cause to Be Uneasy"
  • We have two bits of evidence about the Somebody. One is the universe He has made. If we used that as our only clue, I think we should have to conclude that He was a great artist (for the universe is a very beautiful place), but also that He is quite merciless and no friend to man (for the universe is a very dangerous and terrifying place.) ...The other bit of evidence is that Moral Law which He has put in our minds. And this is a better bit of evidence than the other, because it is inside information. You find out more about God from the Moral Law than from the universe in general just as you find out more about a man by listening to his conversation than by looking at a house he has built.
    • Book I, Chapter 5, "We Have Cause to Be Uneasy"
  • This is the terrible fix we are in. If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again....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.
    • Book I, Chapter 5, "We Have Cause to Be Uneasy"
  • 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.
    • Book I, Chapter 5, "We Have Cause to Be Uneasy"
  • 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?
    • Book II, Chapter 1, "The Rival Conceptions of God"
  • Badness is only spoiled goodness.
    • Book II, Chapter 2, "The Invasion"
  • Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk.
    • Book II, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative"
  • All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
    • Book II, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative"
  • God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.
    • Book II, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative"
  • God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
    • Book II, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative"
  • Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside of the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.
    • Book II, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative"
  • I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
I have at last come to the end of the Faerie Queene: and though I say "at last", I almost wish he had lived to write six books more as he had hoped to do — so much have I enjoyed it.
Only the skilled can judge the skilfulness, but that is not the same as judging the value of the result.
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...
A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.
Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils...
There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.
We Britons should rejoice that we have contrived to reach much legal democracy (we still need more of the economic) without losing our ceremonial Monarchy.
Each thing, from the single grain of Dust to the strongest eldil, is the end and the final cause of all creation and the mirror in which the beam of His brightness comes to rest and so returns to Him. Blessed be He!
If there is equality, it is in His love, not in us.
Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time.
Who believes in Aslan nowadays?
Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger — according to the way you react to it.
The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs...
If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him. You cannot put Him off with speculations about your next door neighbours or memories of what you have read in books.
Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God...
God lends us a little of His reasoning powers and that is how we think: He puts a little of His love into us and that is how we love one another.
Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go...

1 Quotes. 1.1 The Pilgrim's Regress (1933); 1.2 Out of the Silent Planet Reprinted in Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews by C. S. Lewis I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. .. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is.

The 100 Best C.S. Lewis Quotes

cs lewis quotes we desire someone to be worse

If you are ever feeling lost, take some great guidance from Clive Staples Lewis. World-renowned for his The Chronicles of Narnia series, and with the other works he has left us with powerful words. Read some of his best quotes on faith, love, and life.

105 of C.S. Lewis’s Most Inspiring Quotes

Here are some of C.S. Lewis’ most notable words. Here was not only a great writer but a wise and God-loving man.

  1. Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.
  2. Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.
  3. To love at all is to be vulnerable.
  4. We are what we believe we are.
  5. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
  6. Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.
  7. Joy is the serious business of heaven.
  8. Courage, dear heart.
  9. Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
  10. Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.
  11. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
  12. The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.
  13. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.
  14. Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.
  15. Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.
  16. Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.
  17. Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
  18. There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
  19. There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.
  20. Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.
  21. No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.
  22. Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.
  23. Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.
  24. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
  25. No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
  26. ‘You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,’ said the Lion.
  27. If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
  28. What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.
  29. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
  30. All get what they want; they do not always like it.
  31. We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
  32. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s, we do not accept them easily enough.
  33. Better to be miserable with her than happy without her. Let our hearts break provided they break together. If the voice within us does not say this, it is not the voice of Eros.
  34. I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.
  35. Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.
  36. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.
  37. While friendship has been by far the chief source of my happiness, acquaintance or general society has always meant little to me, and I cannot quite understand why a man should wish to know more people than he can make real friends of.
  38. Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.
  39. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
  40. Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also harder to bear.
  41. A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.
  42. The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.
  43. We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
  44. Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.
  45. What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.
  46. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.
  47. The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.
  48. It is not your business to succeed, but to do right; when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
  49. Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.
  50. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.
  51. We do not want merely to see beauty . . . 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.
  52. The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
  53. Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.
  54. Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.
  55. Miracles 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.
  56. Forgiveness does not mean excusing.
  57. I sometimes wonder if all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.
  58. 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.
  59. You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.
  60. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.
  61. Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…
  62. God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created.
  63. The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.
  64. Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.
  65. When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.
  66. If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.
  67. God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.
  68. Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.
  69. We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.
  70. There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take his advice.
  71. But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you anymore, you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.
  72. Though our feelings come and go, his love for us does not.
  73. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.
  74. God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.
  75. It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.
  76. Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.
  77. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth.
  78. Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
  79. Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.
  80. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.
  81. The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.
  82. You must ask for God’s help. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.
  83. Do not dare not to dare.
  84. Reality is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect.
  85. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
  86. One road leads home, and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.
  87. You may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.
  88. If you’re thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you’re embarking on something, which will take the whole of you.
  89. Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.
  90. If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where should I be now?
  91. Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
  92. 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.
  93. No good work is done anywhere without aid from the Father of Lights.
  94. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.
  95. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.
  96. 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.
  97. To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.
  98. God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.
  99. Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.
  100. You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
  101. Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.
  102. You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
  103. A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.
  104. Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you get neither.
  105. The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self – all your wishes and precautions – to Christ.

Final Thoughts

What was your favorite C.S. Lewis quote? If you haven’t read any of his books just yet, maybe you should pick one or two up. His work is considered part of contemporary class literature. If you enjoy this limited selection, you’ll be able to appreciate his writing even more.

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C. S. Lewis Quotes

cs lewis quotes we desire someone to be worse

C. S. Lewis Quotes

Most popular C. S. Lewis Quotes

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.— C. S. Lewis God in the Dock

governmenthelping otherstyranny

This moment contains all moments.— C. S. Lewis The Great Divorce

present moment

Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.— C. S. Lewis Reflections on the Psalms

religion

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.— C. S. Lewis A Grief Observed

sorrow

Anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it.— C. S. Lewis Letters to Malcolm

angerlove and hate

It's as important to please the ear as it is the eye.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis
(In the preface for The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Walter Hooper writes "He [Lewis] told me that in writing letters, as well as books, he always ‘whispered the words aloud’. Pausing to dip the pen in an inkwell provided exactly the rhythm needed. ‘It’s as important to please the ear,’ he said, ‘as it is the eye.’)

writing

The present is the point at which time touches eternity.— C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

present moment

Though our feelings come and go, God's love for us does not.— C. S. Lewis
It's not the load that breaks you down, It's the way you carry it.— C. S. Lewis
I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.— C. S. Lewis They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves, 1914–1963,

readingre-reading

It is not settled happiness but momentary joy that glorifies the past.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

joythe past

Friendship is . . . the sort of love one can imagine between the angels.— C. S. Lewis
He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.— C. S. Lewis The Weight of Glory

God

When we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

Godhappinessreligious

Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in. Aim at Earth and you get neither.— C. S. Lewis

aim high

I use the word Miracle to mean an interference with Nature by supernatural power.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)

miracles

Often when I pray I wonder if I am not posting letters to a non-existent address.— C. S. Lewis

prayer

But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

Godlove

Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body ?— C. S. Lewis

asceticism

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.— C. S. Lewis Reflections on the Psalms

faithGodreligious

Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in': aim at earth and you get neither.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

aspiration

You never know what you can do until you try, and very few try unless they have to.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

success

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.— C. S. Lewis The Abolition of Man

educationenvironmentteaching

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.— C. S. Lewis

faithGod

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.— C. S. Lewis
What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)

experience

Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in': aim at earth and you will get neither.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

aim high

What Naturalism cannot accept is the idea of a God who stands outside Nature and made it.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)

God

Wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe
(C. S. Lewis writes that you can be good for the sake of goodness but you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can be kind even if doesn't give you pleasure and you are not feeling kind, simply because kindness is the right thing to do. But no one does a cruel deed simply because it is wrong to be cruel.)

good and evil

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.— C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

courage

The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

Godreligious

There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.— C. S. Lewis The Last Battle

happinessspiritual

A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion.— C. S. Lewis The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses

politics

We all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to rejoice as much as by anything else.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

joy

If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

free willgood and evil

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.— C. S. Lewis God in the Dock

helping otherstyranny

To interest is the first duty of art; no other excellences will ever begin to compensate for failure in this.— C. S. Lewis Selected Literary Essays

art

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

Godhappinessinner peace

I do not like church here at all because it is so frightfully high church that it might as well be Roman Catholic.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis
Many things—such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly—are done worst when we try hardest to do them.— C. S. Lewis Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
The future is something which every man reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he do, whoever he is.— C. S. Lewis
The Future...something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.— C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

future

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.— C. S. Lewis

time

It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

GodJesus

When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.— C. S. Lewis Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories

growing up

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.— C. S. Lewis God in the Dock

love

The glory of God, and, as our only means to glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life.— C. S. Lewis Christian Reflections

Godpurpose of lifereligious

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.— C. S. Lewis

God

Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved.— C. S. Lewis

forgiveness

It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

angerhuman naturetemper

Seeing is not believing. For this reason, the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)

miracles

This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.— C. S. Lewis

love

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.— C. S. Lewis

charity

Life at a vile boarding-school is in this way a good preparation for the Christian life, that it teaches one to live by hope.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

pleasure and pain

When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

ChristianityGodreligious

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

adversityChristianityconscienceGodpainreligious

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.— C. S. Lewis The Weight of Glory

Christianityfaith

Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

good and evil

Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

consciencehuman nature

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.— C. S. Lewis
(C. S. Lewis is writing about chastity and how opinions of different generations differ.)
Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

free will

Every uncorrected error and unrepented sin is, in its own right, a fountain of fresh error and fresh sin flowing on to the end of time.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

mistakesrepentancesin

It [Christianity] is precisely the story of a great Miracle. A naturalistic Christianity leaves out all that is specifically Christian.— C. S. Lewis Miracles

Christianitymiracles

Feelings ought to be kept for literature and art, where they are delightful and not intruded into life where they are merely a nuiscance.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

emotionfeelings

The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.— C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

laziness

Joy is distinct not only from pleasure in general but even from aesthetic pleasure. It must have the stab, the pang, the inconsolable longing.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

joy

Joy is not a substitute for sex; sex is very often a substitute for Joy. I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

joypleasure

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art ... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.— C. S. Lewis

friendship

As a friend of mine said, "We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it."— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

God

If the universe is so bad, or even half so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain
The higher animals are in a sense drawn into Man when he loves them and makes them (as he does) much more nearly human than they would otherwise be.— C. S. Lewis
The limit of giving is to be the limit of our ability to give. We must not consider ourselves free to refuse because those who ask us are undeserving.— C. S. Lewis

charity

When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

Christianity

Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

heaven

No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that "In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth."— C. S. Lewis Miracles
It's not a question 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.— C. S. Lewis God in the Dock

God

The great thing is to be always reading but not to get bored—treat it not like work, more as a vice! Your book bill ought to be your biggest extravagance.— C. S. Lewis

reading

A glimpse is not a vision. But to a man on a mountain road by night, a glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.— C. S. Lewis
We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through into our own world.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

Christianity

I think that Resurrection is so much profounder an idea than mere immortality. I am sure we don't just "go on." We really die and are really built up again.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

immortality

Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain
(C. S. Lewis argues that since God has granted humans free will, this necessarily means God cannot control our actions and the pain and suffering they cause -- both to ourselves and others.)
A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.— C. S. Lewis

Godreligious

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

Christianity

It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.— C. S. Lewis

Bible

There are inquiries in which scanty evidence is worth using. We may not be able to get certainty, but we can get probability, and half a loaf is better than no bread.— C. S. Lewis Christian Reflections

certainty

We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

Christianity

In all the examples Nature means what happens 'of itself' or 'of its own accord': what you do not need to labour for; what you will get if you take no measures to stop it.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)

nature

Sometimes I can almost think that I was sent back to the false gods there to acquire some capacity for worship against the day when the true God should recall me to Himself.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
There are two kinds of love: we love wise and kind and beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable people because they need us.— C. S. Lewis

love

Domesticity is no passport to heaven on earth but an arduous vocation—a sea full of hidden rocks and perilous ice shores only to be navigated by one who uses a celestial chart.— C. S. Lewis God in the Dock
(by "one who uses a celestial chart", Lewis means someone who is religious and believes in God.)

faithmarriagereligious

When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

adversitypainreligious

Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth?— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

character

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.— C. S. Lewis God in the Dock

tyranny

I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it [joy] would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
(C. S. Lewis is defining and describing Joy as an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. In that, it is similar to happiness and pleasure because having tasted it once you want it again. But it is also similar to unhappiness or grief in quality because it is unsatisfied desire.)

joypleasure

Bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. It is not the truncation of the process, but one of its phases; not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure.— C. S. Lewis

sorrow

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.— C. S. Lewis

language

We ought to give thanks for all fortune: it is is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.— C. S. Lewis

fortunemisfortune

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.— C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity

GodJesusreligiousthe self

But if Naturalism is true, then we do know in advance that miracles are impossible: nothing can come into Nature from the outside because there is nothing outside to come in, Nature being everything.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)

miracles

The result of our historical enquiries thus depends on the philosophical views which we have been holding before we even began to look at the evidence. This philosophical question must therefore come first.— C. S. Lewis Miracles (Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis)
(Lewis is writing about miracles and if they are possible. He says we can look at our experience but our senses deceive us and cannot be truted. We can look at history but that won't help because either because historical inquiries cannot allow us to mathematically prove anything.)

miracles

Christianity is not the conclusion of a philosophical debate on the origins of the universe: it is a catastrophic historical event following on the long spiritual preparation of humanity which I have described.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

Christianity

How can people advocate a 'modern' education? What could be better or more enjoyable than reading the greatest masterpieces of all time, under a man [Harry Wakelyn Smith, aka Smugy] who has made them part of himself?— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

classicseducation

The New Testament does not envisage solitary religion: some kind of regular assembly for worship and instruction is everywhere taken for granted in the Epistles. So we must be regular practising members of the Church.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

Christianitychurch

Perhaps one of the reasons why letters are so hard to write and so much harder to read is that people confine themselves to news – in other words think nothing worth writing except that which would not be worth saying.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

letters

Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.— C. S. Lewis
And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for the children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing.— C. S. Lewis What Christians Believe

Christianitygood and evil

Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need forgiveness.— C. S. Lewis

Christianity

For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened for the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.— C. S. Lewis
It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.— C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain
(C. S. Lewis is arguing that it is impossible for God to grant humans free will and then simultaneously stop bad acts (and resulting pain) from occurring. These are mutually exclusive.)
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand.— C. S. Lewis A Grief Observed

religion

Hence while friendship has been by far the chief source of my happiness, acquaintance or general society has always meant little to me, and I cannot quite understand why a man should wish to know more people than he can make real friends of.— C. S. Lewis Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

friendship

It is the immemorial privilege of letter-writers to commit to paper things they would not say: to write in a more grandiose manner than that in which they speak: and to enlarge upon feelings which would be passed by unnoticed in conversation.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

letters

How deep I am just now beginning to see: for I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ – in Christianity. I will try to explain this another time. My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a good deal to do with it.— C. S. Lewis The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis
(Lewis was born Christian and baptized but became an atheist in adolescence. He later became a devout Christian in adulthood.)
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird. It would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

Quotes for the new year (or any time of year!) that will motivate you and inspire .. floor (nothing worse than trying to clean paint off of concrete - well, except carpet.) A few inspirational and intellectual cs lewis quotes to help you appreciate the Someone from Lamesa, Texas, US posted a whisper, which reads "Repeat.

C. S. Lewis

cs lewis quotes we desire someone to be worse

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963), former Oxford Professor, Christian apologist, lay theologian of now legendary status. His apologetic work Mere Christianityremains a top 5 apologetic for the Christian faith, while his children’s books The Chronicles of Narnia continue to teach the Christian faith in a powerful way.

Last year marked the 50th year of his death, and in honor of C.S. Lewis’s legacy and I thought I would share some of his best quotes from his most famous works, along with some extended excerpts compiled from my personal reading and online research.

If I missed a great quote, be sure to leave it in a comment!

C.S. Lewis Quotes on God, Jesus Christ, and Christianity

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
― C.S. Lewis

“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.”
― C.S. Lewis

“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”
― C.S. Lewis

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
― C.S. Lewis

“[God] will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest chemist’s shop.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
― C.S. Lewis

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”
― C.S. Lewis

“He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
― C.S. Lewis

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
― C.S. Lewis

“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.” 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. Those who knock it is opened. ”
― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“Miracles 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.”
― C.S. Lewis

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
― C.S. Lewis

“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.”
― C.S. Lewis

“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.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
― C.S. Lewis

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.” —C.S. Lewis

“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
—C.S. Lewis

“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted—i.e., keep fulfilling all the obvious duties of your station (you really know quite well enough what they are!), asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk—don’t keep on looking at it.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis

“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
― C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God’s love for us does not.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Now we cannot…discover our failure to keep God’s law except by trying our very hardest (and then failing). Unless we really try, whatever we say there will always be at the back of our minds the idea that if we try harder next time we shall succeed in being completely good. Thus, in one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, “You must do this. I can’t.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“[Repentance] means unlearning all the self-conceit and self -will that we have been training ourselves into… It means killing part of yourself, under-going a kind of death.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The stamp of the Saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.”
― C.S. Lewis

“For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“If a man thinks he is not conceited, he is very conceited indeed.”
― C.S. Lewis

“It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. …I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life — namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.”
― C.S. Lewis

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Die before you die, there is no chance after.”
― C.S. Lewis

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.”
― C.S. Lewis

“There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

“To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that-and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison-you do not know God at all. ”
― C.S. Lewis

“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Joyful Christian

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Progress means getting nearer to the place 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; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis the Apologist: Quotes about Apologetics and Atheism

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
― C.S. Lewis

“When you argue against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys’ philosophies–these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
― C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
― C.S. Lewis

“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?”
― C.S. Lewis

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
― C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Love and Friendship

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
― C.S. Lewis

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Better to be miserable with her than happy without her. Let our hearts break provided they break together. If the voice within us does not say this it is not the voice of Eros.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
― C.S. Lewis

.”..Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Pain and Suffering

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
― C.S. Lewis

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
― C.S. Lewis

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”
― C.S. Lewis

“I once read the sentence ‘I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache and about lying awake.’ That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis Quotes about Education

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
― C.S. Lewis

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
― C.S. Lewis

“God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than He is of any other slacker.”
― C.S. Lewis

Random Quotes from the Famous C.S. Lewis

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”
― C.S. Lewis

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

“It is a very funny thing that the sleepier you are, the longer you take about getting to bed.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

“Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Do not dare not to dare.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

“He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Here is a C.S. Lewis Doodle on a portion of Mere Christianity

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1 Quotes. 1.1 The Pilgrim's Regress (1933); 1.2 Out of the Silent Planet Reprinted in Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews by C. S. Lewis I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. .. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is.

cs lewis quotes we desire someone to be worse
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