C.S. Lewis Quotes

by

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

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.

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.

Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever.

You have gone into the Temple and found Him, as always, there.

Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful.

Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.

Certain things, if not seen as lovely or detestable, are not being correctly seen at all.

If the universe is so bad, how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?

Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God because He said so.

When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.’

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.

There are no variations except for those who know a norm, and no subtleties for those who have not grasped the obvious.

Sainthood lies in the habit of referring the smallest actions to God. Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods.

If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows, then we must starve eternally.

Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared.’

I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.
To play well the scenes in which we are ‘on’ concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.

The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior.

Disobedience to conscience is voluntary; bad poetry, on the other hand, is usually not made on purpose.

Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
Where, except in uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?

Apologetic work is so dangerous to one’s faith. A doctrine never seems dimmer to me than when I have just successfully defended it.
He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself.

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.

Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire.

A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.

Wherever any precept of traditional morality is simply challenged to produce its credentials, as though the burden of proof lay on it, we have taken the wrong position.

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

I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

In reality, moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or a friction, in the running of that machine. That is why these rules at first seem to be constantly interfering with our natural inclinations.

A blessed spirit is a mould ever more and more patient of the bright metal poured into it, a body ever more completely uncovered to the meridian blaze of the spiritual sun.

Theology is practical, especially now… If you do not listen to Theology that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones – bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas.

The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.

Morality, like numinous awe, is a jump; in it, man goes beyond anything that can be ‘given’ in the facts of experience.

We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.

So many things-nay every real thing-is good if only it will be humble and ordinate.

Joy is the serious business of Heaven.

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.
The road to the promised land runs past Sinai.

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.”

No good work is done anywhere without aid from the Father of Lights.

Democracy demands that little men should not take big ones too seriously; it dies when it is full of little men who think they are big themselves.

Any fool can write learned language. The vernacular is the real test. If you can’t turn your faith into it, then you either don’t understand it or you don’t believe it.

It is simple religions that are the made-up ones.

Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe, but he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’

If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will then we may take that it is worth paying.

No Christian and, indeed, no historian could accept the epigram which defines religion as ‘what a man does with his solitude.’

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

I am perfectly convinced that whatever the gospels are they are not legends. Christ bent down and scribbled in the dust with His finger. Nothing comes of this. No one has based any doctrine on it. And the act of inventing little irrelevant details to make an imaginary scene more convincing is purely a modern art.

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found 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.

At this very moment you and I are either committing [selfishness], or about to commit it, or repenting it.

Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side.

A universe whose only claim to be believed in rests on the validity of inference must not start telling us the inference is invalid.

He loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love.

The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil.
Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

A woman means by unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others. Thus each sex regards the other as basically selfish.

Every poem can be considered in two ways–as what the poet has to say, and as a thing which he makes.

All men alike stand condemned, not by alien codes of ethics, but by their own, and all men therefore are conscious of guilt.

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are.

If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.

Mortal lovers must not try to remain at the first step; for lasting passion is the dream of a harlot and from it we wake in despair.

To love is to be vulnerable.

A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him.

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth, you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.

It is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork.

It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

When God becomes a Man and lives as a creature among His own creatures in Palestine, then indeed His life is one of supreme self-sacrifice and leads to Calvary.

For in self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being.

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn.’

God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form. The perfect surrender and humiliation was undergone by Christ: perfect because He was God, surrender and humiliation because He was man.

We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
The devil loves ‘curing’ a small fault by giving you a great one.

There is nothing progressive about being pig headed and refusing to admit a mistake.

You cannot study pleasure in the moment of the nuptial embrace, nor repentance while repenting, nor analyze the nature of humour while roaring with laughter.

If our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them.

The preservation of society, and of the species itself, are ends that do not hang on the precarious thread of Reason: they are given by Instinct.
Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.

The full acting out of the self’s surrender to God therefore demands pain: this action, to be perfect, must be done from the pure will to obey, in the absence, or in the teeth, of inclination”.

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.

If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with itself.

Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.

The surest way of spoiling a pleasure is to start examining your satisfaction.

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

Love is the great conqueror of lust.

The true enjoyments must be spontaneous and compulsive and look to no remoter end.

In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are for us in favour of the facts as they are.

The idea which shuts out the Second Coming from our minds, the idea of the world slowly ripening to perfection, is a myth, not a generalization from experience.

We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin.
It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one.

The enemy will not see you vanish into God’s company without an effort to reclaim you.

To admire Satan [in Paradise Lost] is to give one’s vote not only for a world of misery, but also for a world of lies and propaganda, of wishful thinking, of incessant autobiography.

In some way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.

The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.

We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it 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.

Thus, and not otherwise, the world was made. Either something or nothing must depend on individual choices.

Pure, spiritual, intellectual love shot form their faces like barbed lightning. It was so unlike the love we experience that its expression could easily be mistaken for ferocity.

The gravitation away from God, ‘the journey homeward to habitual self’, must, we think, be a product of the Fall.

On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him.

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.

The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary colour in the spectrum.

Beauty is not democratic; she reveals herself more to the few than to the many.

It is quite useless knocking at the door of heaven for earthly comfort. It’s not the sort of comfort they supply there.

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.

is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.

Unless the religious claims of the Bible are again acknowledged, its literary claims will, I think, be given only ‘mouth honour’ and that decreasingly.

The dangers of apparent self-sufficiency explain why Our Lord regards the vices of the feckless and dissipated so much more leniently than the vices that lead to worldly success.

Evil is a parasite, not an original thing.

Those who would most scornfully repudiate Christianity as a mere “opiate of the people” have a contempt for the rich, that is, for all mankind except the poor.

God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.

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 in earth.’

The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.

The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.

You play the hand you’re dealt. I think the game’s worthwhile.

Truth and falsehood are opposed; but truth is the norm not of truth only but of falsehood also.

We may note in passing that He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three results-Hatred-Terror-Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild admiration.

It is hard to have patience with people who say “There is no death” or “Death doesn’t matter.” There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.

The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Unless we return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values, we perish.

Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.

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.

Non-Christians seem to think that the Incarnation implies some particular merit or excellence in humanity. But of course it implies just the reverse: a particular demerit and depravity. No creature that deserved Redemption would need to be redeemed. They that are whole need not the physician. Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it.

God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.

Human intellect is incurably abstract.

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

The ‘frankness’ of people sunk below shame is a very cheap frankness.

To Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.

The essence of religion, in my view, is the thirst for an end higher than natural ends.

It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us.

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.
Conquest is an evil productive of almost every other evil both to those who commit and to those who suffer it.

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.

Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that is “finding his place in it,” while really it is finding its place in him.

Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues.

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

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

God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.

In Scripture the visitation of an angel is always alarming; it has to begin by saying “Fear not.” The Victorian angel looks as if it were going to say, “There, there.”

The laws of thought are also the laws of things: of things in the remotest space and the remotest time.

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

Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?

[The natural life] knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centredness and self-will are going to be killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that.

If we did not bring to the examinations of our instincts a knowledge of their comparative dignity we could never learn it from them.

The standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.

To fight in another man’s armour is something more than to be influenced by his style of fighting.

Many things–such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly–are done worst when we try hardest to do them.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

To be discontinuous from God as I am discontinuous from you would be annihilation.

The present is the only time in which any duty may be done or grace received.

Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.

Nothing, not even what is lowest and most bestial, will not be raised again if it submits to death.

Those who would like the God of scripture to be more purely ethical, do not know what they ask.

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.

All killing is not murder any more than all sexual intercourse is adultery.

Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.

If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.

It still remains true that no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous.

Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist.

If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world.

Man’s conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be Nature’s conquest of Man.

The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely the keys.

Yes,’ said Queen Lucy. ‘In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.’

How incessant and great are the ills with which a prolonged old age is replete.

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.

When humans should have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.

In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not. After that the idea that prayer is recommended to us as a sort of infallible gimmick may be dismissed.

An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons – marriage, or meat, or beer, or cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.

This Man (Jesus) suddenly remarks one day, ‘No one need fast while I am here.’ Who is this Man who remarks that His mere presence suspends all normal rules?

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.

Perfect goodness can never debate about the end to be attained, and perfect wisdom cannot debate about the means most suited to achieve it.

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him.

A wrong sum can be put right, but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.

All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.

The worst attitude of all would be the professional attitude which regards children in the lump as a sort of raw material which we have to handle.

Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism.

You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will.

Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.

He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.

Nothing which is at all times and in every way agreeable to us can have objective reality. It is of the very nature of the real that it should have sharp corners and rough edges, that it should be resistant, should be itself. Dream-furniture is the only kind on which you never stub your toes or bang your knee.

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

The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.

I think we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to “rejoice” as much as by anything else.

God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn… That is why it is no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion.

Let’s pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.

Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.

As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the ‘spirited element.’

Books on psychology or economics or politics are as continuously metaphorical as books of poetry or devotion.

Badness is only spoiled goodness.

If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.

The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.

With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.

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

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.

A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.

If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions–if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before–then I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary.

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.

A great many of those who ‘debunk’ traditional values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process.

God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.

History is a story written by the finger of God.

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.

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.

Authority exercised with humility, and obedience accepted with delight are the very lines along which our spirits live.

Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.

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.

The central miracle asserted by Christians is the incarnation. They say that God became man.

Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.

Safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other.

Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.

Only He who really lived a human life (and I presume that only one did) can fully taste the horror of death.

Unless Christianity is wholly false, the perception of ourselves which we have in moments of shame must be the only true one.

One can regard the moral law as an illusion, and so cut himself off from the common ground of humanity.

Unless thought is valid we have no reason to believe in the real universe.

Forgiveness does not mean excusing.

The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.

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.

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did.

For whatever else the religious life may be, it is the fountain of self-knowledge and disillusion, the safest form of psychoanalysis.

We are all fallen creatures and all very hard to live with.

It is in their ‘good’ characters that novelists make, unawares, the most shocking self-revelations.

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.

Enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign in sabotage.

The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God.

Christianity is a world that is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there a rumor going around the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.

If we are to have values at all we must accept the ultimate platitudes of Practical Reason as having absolute validity.

Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can’t really get rid of it.

We do not truly see light, we only see slower things lit by it, so that for us light is on the edge–the last thing we know before things become too swift for us.’

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

This act of self-will on the part of the creature, which constitutes an utter falseness to its true creaturely position, is the only sin that can be conceived as the Fall.

Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.

The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.

Only the skilled can judge the skillfulness, but that is not the same as judging the value of the result.

Those that hate goodness are sometimes nearer than those that know nothing at all about it and think they have it already.

Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.

Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose… only (upon) the Beloved who will never pass away.

Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it.

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.

An Ulster Scot may come to disbelieve in God, but not to wear his weekday clothes on the Sabbath.

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.

When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all.

They do not get their qualities from a class: they belong to that class because they have those qualities.

Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst.

Like a good chess player, Satan is always trying to manuever you into a position where you can save your castle only by losing your bishop.

In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person’s place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity.

We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.

If naturalism were true then all thoughts whatever would be wholly the result of irrational causes. It cuts its own throat.

The notion that everyone would like Christianity to be true, and therefore all atheists are brave men who have accepted the defeat of all their deepest desires, is simply impudent nonsense.

Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is.

The extremity of its evil had passed beyond all struggle into some state which bore a horrible similarity to innocence.

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves.

Don’t you mind him,’ said Puddleglum. ‘There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan.’

The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God.

Some people probably think of the Resurrection as a desperate last moment expedient to save the Hero from a situation which had got out of the Author’s control.

An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about the ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or of Practical Reason is idiocy.

People blush at praise–not only praise of their bodies, but praise of anything that is theirs.

There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them.

Every sin is the distortion of an energy breathed into us.

Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.

The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water.

You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.

He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart.

When the author walks on the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right – something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise. It will be too late then to choose your side.

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.

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.

Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not subject myself to punishment-even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.

Christ, because He was the only Man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only Man who knows to the full what temptation means.

True friends face in the same direction, toward common projects, interests, goals.

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.

We all want progress, but if you’re 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.

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.

It does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary.

Whenever you find a man who says he doesn’t believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later.

Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey ‘people.’ People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war. Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest.

How can I step out of God’s will save into something that cannot be wished?’

The universe rings true wherever you fairly test it.

When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.

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.

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

What is outside the system of self-giving is no earth, nor nature, nor ‘ordinary life’, but simply and solely Hell. Yet even Hell derives from this law such reality as it has.

Without sin, the universe is a Solemn Game: and there is no good game without rules.

No doubt those who really founded modern science were usually those whose love of truth exceeded their love of power.

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Long before history began we men have got together apart from the women and done things. We had time.

Unsatisfied desire is in itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.

He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.

Virtue-even attempted virtue-brings light; indulgence brings fog.

If the thing happened, it was the central event in the history of the earth.

Where, except in the present, can the Eternal be met?

Art can teach without at all ceasing to be art.

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.”

The difference God’s timelessness makes is that this now (which slips away from you even as you say the word now) is for Him infinite.

It is not your business to succeed, but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God.

Now that I am a Christian I do not have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.

Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.

Nothing is yet in its true form.

Though we cannot experience our life as an endless present, we are eternal in God’s eyes; that is, in our deepest reality.

I knew I was in danger but was not depressed. I’ve read pretty well everything.

And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies’ plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.

The natural life in each of us is something self-centred, something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit the whole universe.

The moment good taste knows itself, some of its goodness is lost.

God did entrust the descendants of Abraham with the first revelation of Himself.

There is nothing indulgent about the Moral Law. It is as hard as nails. If God is like the Moral Law, then He is not soft.

If there is equality it is in His love, not in us.

It matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth.

Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn’t have guessed. That’s one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It’s a religion you couldn’t have guessed.

He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others-not because He has favorites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition.

To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God.

We are born helpless. As soon as we are fully conscious we discover loneliness.

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.

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.

In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, Lucifer could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.
This moment contains all moments.

We are what we believe we are.

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a sunhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the son shines on it.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.

Everything except God has some natural superior; everything except unformed matter has some natural inferior.

That fierce imprisonment in the self is but the obverse of the self-giving which is absolute reality.

A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere–‘Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,’ as Herbert says, ‘fine nets and stratagems.’ God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.

When we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.

Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that.

We have had enough, once and for all, of Hedonism–the gloomy philosophy which says that Pleasure is the only good.

From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the centre is opened to it.

Odd, the way the less the Bible is read the more it is translated.

Selfishness has never been admired.

Reasoning is never, like poetry, judged from the outside at all.

Something of God flows into us from the blue of the sky, the taste of honey, the delicious embrace of water whether cold or hot, and even from sleep itself.’

If we retain only what can be justified by standards of prudence and convenience at the bar of enlightened common sense, then we exchange revelation for that old wraith Natural Religion.

A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride.

I believe there are too many practitioners in the church who are not believers.

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.

We poison the wine as He decants it into us; murder a melody He would play with us as the instrument. Hence all sin, whatever else it is, is sacrilege.

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’.

When you invite a middle-aged moralist to address you, I suppose I must conclude that you have a taste for middle-aged moralizing.

A little lie is like a little pregnancy-it doesn’t take long before everyone knows.

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.

Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.

Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.

These things are not strange, Small One, though they are beyond our senses.

When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.

If God were a Kantian, who would not have us till we came to Him from the purest and best motives, who could be saved?

If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved. Similarly if nothing is obligatory for its own sake, nothing is obligatory at all.

100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased.

Hatred obscures all distinctions.

Jesus Christ did not say, ‘Go into the world and tell the world that it is quite right.’

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is the hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ.

If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find home,” why should we not look forward to the arrival?

We must lay before him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.

You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.

Though I do not believe that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will.

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.

All joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.

The modern idea of a Great Man is one who stands at the lonely extremity of some single line of development–
Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat.

The more lucidly we think, the more we are cut off: the more deeply we enter into reality, the less we can think.

Christ wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.

All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.

The very man who has argued you down, will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said.

All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that “God is love.” But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.