Clive Staples Lewis

English critic and novelist; author of theological works and of books for children (1898-1963)

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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.
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another What You, too Thought I was the only one.
Friendship is not necessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
Friendship is...the sort of love one can imagine between angels.
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.
I was not born to be free. I was born to adore and to obey.
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.
It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us.
Just a hurried line...to tell a story which puts the contrast between *our* feast of the Nativity and all this ghastly Xmas racket at it's lowest. My brother heard a woman on a 'bus say, as the 'bus passed a church with a Crib outside it, Oh Lor' They bring religion into everything. Look- they're dragging it even into Christmas now
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.
Of all tyrannies a tyranny 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. 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.
Prosperity knits a man to the world. He thinks he's 'finding his place in it,' while really it is finding its place in him.
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.
The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
The perfect church service would be the one we were almost unaware of our attention would have been on God. But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself and thinking about worship is a different thing than worshipping ... 'Tis mad idolatry that makes the service greater than the god.
The safest road to hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
We may not be able to get certainty, but we can get probability, and half a loaf is better than no bread.
What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence -- moral, cultural, social or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how 'democracy' (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient dictatorships, and by the same methods The basic proposal of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be 'undemocratic.' Children who are fit to proceed may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT. We may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when 'I'm as good as you' has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented who are they to overtop their fellows And anyway, the teachers -- or should I say nurses -- will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men.
What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard.
When we lose one blessing, another is often, most unexpectedly, given in its place.
Why love if losing hurts so much We love to know that we are not alone.

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