Cs Lewis Quotes

Quotes tagged as "cs-lewis" Showing 1-30 of 84
C.S. Lewis
“I am a democrat [proponent of democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man.

I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government.

The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. . . . I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . .

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.”
C.S. Lewis, Present Concerns

Ricky Maye
“Grace will follow us even when we are going the wrong way”
Ricky Maye, An Emerging Spirituality

C.S. Lewis
“Did you ever know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past, even of the things we never shared.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis
“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis
“Sometimes, Lord, one is tempted to say that if you wanted us to behave like the lilies of the field you might have given us an organization more like theirs. But that, I suppose, is just your...grand enterprise. To make an organism which is also a spirit; to make that terrible oxymoron, a ‘spiritual animal.’ To take a poor primate, a beast with nerve-endings all over it, a creature with a stomach that wants to be filled, a breeding animal that wants its mate, and say, ‘Now get on with it. Become a god.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis
“It is part of the nature of a strong erotic passion—as distinct from a transient fit of appetite—that makes more towering promises than any other emotion. No doubt all our desires makes promises, but not so impressively. To be in love involves the almost irresistible conviction that one will go on being in love until one dies, and that possession of the beloved will confer, not merely frequent ecstasies, but settled, fruitful, deep-rooted, lifelong happiness. Hence all seems to be at stake. If we miss this chance we shall have lived in vain. At the very thought of such a doom we sink into fathomless depths of self-pity.

Unfortunately these promises are found often to be quite untrue. Every experienced adult knows this to be so as regards all erotic passions (except the one he himself is feeling at the moment). We discount the world-without-end pretensions of our friends’ amours easily enough. We know that such things sometimes last—and sometimes don’t. And when they do last, this is not because they promised at the outset to do so. When two people achieve lasting happiness, this is not solely because they are great lovers but because they are also—I must put it crudely—good people; controlled, loyal, fair-minded, mutually adaptable people.

If we establish a “right to (sexual) happiness” which supersedes all the ordinary rules of behavior, we do so not because of what our passion shows itself to be in experience but because of what it professes to be while we are in the grip of it.”
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

C.S. Lewis
“When I was a youngster, all the progressive people were saying, “Why all this prudery? Let us treat sex just as we treat all our other impulses.” I was simple-minded enough to believe they meant what they said. I have since discovered that they meant exactly the opposite. They meant that sex was to be treated as no other impulse in our nature has ever been treated by civilized people. All the others, we admit, have to be bridled. Absolute obedience to your instinct for self-preservation is what we call cowardice; to your acquisitive impulse, avarice. Even sleep must be resisted if you’re a sentry. But every unkindness and breach of faith seems to be condoned provided that the object aimed at is “four bare legs in a bed.”

It is like having a morality in which stealing fruit is considered wrong—unless you steal nectarines.

And if you protest against this view you are usually met with chatter about the legitimacy and beauty and sanctity of “sex” and accused of harboring some Puritan prejudice against it as something disreputable or shameful. I deny the charge. Foam-born Venus … golden Aphrodite … Our Lady of Cyprus… I never breathed a word against you. If I object to boys who steal my nectarines, must I be supposed to disapprove of nectarines in general? Or even of boys in general? It might, you know, be stealing that I disapproved of.”
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

C.S. Lewis
“A society in which conjugal infidelity is tolerated must always be in the long run a society adverse to women. Women, whatever a few male songs and satires may say to the contrary, are more naturally monogamous than men; it is a biological necessity. Where promiscuity prevails, they will therefore always be more often the victims than the culprits. Also, domestic happiness is more necessary to them than to us. And the quality by which they most easily hold a man, their beauty, decreases every year after they have come to maturity, but this does not happen to those qualities of personality —women don’t really care two cents about our looks—by which we hold women. Thus in the ruthless war of promiscuity women are at a double disadvantage. They play for higher stakes and are also more likely to lose. I have no sympathy with moralists who frown at the increasing crudity of female provocativeness. These signs of desperate competition fill me with pity.”
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

C.S. Lewis
“You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis
“You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted
on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps can’t.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis
“Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats.”
C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis
“You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. Is it similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead? ‘Them as asks’ (at any rate ‘as asks too importunately’) don’t get. Perhaps
can’t.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis
“We...advance toward a state of society in which not only each man but every impulse in each man claims carte blanche.”
C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

“His sentences are in homely English, and yet there is something Roman in the easy handling of clauses, and something Greek in their ascent from analogy to idea.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“[Lewis had a] determined impersonality towards all except his very closest friends.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“It may be that the Chronicles of Narnia may outlive The Allegory of Love, and Perelandra outlive them both. Few works of learning and criticism survive a hundred years; what it was learned to know in 1950 will be expected of scholarship-candidates in 2000; new things will be discovered, old notions disproved, other critical values asserted; but a piece of genuine imagination in fiction may have a long life.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“I asked him how he came to be writing for the popular American weekly. How did he know what to write about or what to say? 'Oh...they have somehow got the idea that I am an unaccountably paradoxical dog, and they name the subject on which they want me to write; and they pay generously.' 'And so you set to work and invent a few paradoxes?' 'Not a bit of it. What I do is to recall, as well as I can, what my mother used to say on the subject, eke it out with a few similar thoughts of my own, and so produce what would have been strict orthodoxy in about 1900. And this seems to them outrageously paradoxical, avant garde stuff.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“Lewis lived in as good a setting as any man for the life of vigilant aestheticism...His rooms were on the first floor of New Buildings 3, and ran the width of the building, so that the sitting-room looked out on Magdalen Grove, the other half of the suite commanding the Cloister, and, in the background, the incomparable Tower.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“[Lewis had a] determined impersonality towards all except his very close friends.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“It is one thing to understand the doctrine, and quite another to be masters of the controversy.' Lewis's ambition was of course to know the doctrine and to be master of the controversy.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“There was...the discrepancy between what one expected of the accomplished medieval scholar (and, later, the penetrating exponent of theological and spiritual matters) and the robust, no-nonsense, unmistakably strident man, clumsy in movement and in dress, apparently little sensitive to the feelings of others, determined to cut his way to the heart of any matter with shouts of distinguo! before re-shaping it entirely. One quickly felt that for him dialectic supplied the place of conversation. Any general remarks were of an obvious and even platitudinous kind; talk was dead timber until the spark of argument flashed. Then in a trice you were whisked from particular to fundamental principles; thence (if you wanted) to eternal verities; and Lewis was alert for any riposte you could muster. It was comic as well as breathtaking; and Lewis would see the comedy as readily as the next man.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“I prefer my first word, 'formidable.' But this was softened by joviality in youth and kindliness in maturity. Genius is formidable and so is goodness; he had both. It is useful in a picture sometimes to introduce a balancing figure to give scale, and I would choose the figure of W. H. Auden as one of comparable impressiveness and goodness, felt as formidable and friendly.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis
“Whatever else a modern feels when he looks at the night sky, he certainly feels that he is looking out--like one looking out from the saloon entrance on to the dark Atlantic or from the lighted porch upon dark and lonely moors. But if you accepted the Medieval Model you would feel like one looking in. The Earth is 'outside the city wall'. When the sun is up he dazzles us and we cannot see inside. Darkness, our own darkness, draws the veil and we catch a glimpse of the high pomps within the vast, lighted concavity filled with music and life. And, looking in, we do not see, like Meredith's Lucifer, 'the army of unalterable law', but rather the revelry of insatiable love. We are watching the activity of creatures whose experience we can only lamely compare to that of one in the act of drinking, his thirst delighted yet not quenched. For in them the highest of faculties is always exercised without impediment on the noblest object; without satiety, since they can never completely make His perfection their own, yet never frustrated, since at every moment they approximate to Him in the fullest measure of which their nature is capable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature

“I asked him how he came to be writing for the popular American weekly. How did he know what to write about or what to say? 'Oh...they have somehow got the idea that I am an unaccountably paradoxical dog, and they name the subject on which they want me to write; and they pay generously.' 'And so you set to work and invent a few paradoxes?' Not a bit of it. What I do is to recall, as well as I can, what my mother used to say on the subject, eke it out with a few similar thoughts of my own, and so produce what would have been strict orthodoxy in about 1900. And this seems to them outrageously paradoxical, avant garde stuff.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“The gift of phrase was instantaneous in him, and that must partly account for his huge output; but there was a plentitude of mind as well as a swiftness of phrase to help him; he never put a nib wrong.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

“The gift of phrase was instantaneous to him in him, and that must partly account for his huge output; but there was a plentitude of mind as well as a swiftness of phrase to help him; he never put a nib wrong.”
Jocelyn Gibb, Light on C. S. Lewis

Alister E. McGrath
“In the early 1920s, Lewis hoped to be remembered as an atheist poet, whose bitter and forceful condemnations of an uncaring and absent God would rid the world of any lingering religious belief. Today, he is remembered as one of the greatest Christian apologists of all time. He has become an ingredient of that greater story, and an encouragement to us to find our own place.”
Alister McGrath

Patti Callahan
“I'd felt certain of his eros in the months before this unsterile kiss, but perhaps some small and niggling part of me had believed it pity or forbearance, that his medieval virtues compelled him to love me in my dying. But non! It was this wink of time when I whorled toward understanding, into and resting in the arms of love we shared--an uncommon and vulnerable combination of the four loves we'd traveled with and toward: agape, storge, philia, and now, unquestionably, eros. Our journey--riddled with both pain and joy--culminated in a kiss I would never have anticipated as the revelation it became, as the comfort and mastery of love.”
Patti Callahan, Becoming Mrs. Lewis

C.S. Lewis
“I did not know then, however, as I do now, the strongest reason for distrust. The gods never send us this invitation to delight so readily or so strongly as when they are preparing some new agony. We are their bubbles; they blow us up big before they prick us.”
C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

Michael Ward
“Thus, in The Lion they become monarchs under sovereign Jove; in Prince Caspian they harden under strong Mars; in The Dawn Treader they drink light under searching Sol; in The Silver Chair they learn obedience under subordinate Luna; in The Horse and His Boy they come to love poetry under eloquent Mercury; in the Magicians Nephew they gain life-giving fruit under fertile Venus; and in the Last Battle they suffer and die under chilling Saturn.”
Michael Ward

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