The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

(New York: Macmillan, 1943), 160

The devill...the prowde spirite...cannot endure to be mocked.
–Thomas More

see also 2010-06-03-The Screwtape Letters

VI

  • "You must keep on shoving all the virtues outward till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy, and all the desirable qualities inward into the Will. It is only in so far as they reach the will and are there embodied in habits that the virtues are really fatal to us." (37)

VII

  • "The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing."

VIII

  • Free Will: "The Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use...He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves." (46)
  • Prayer: "The prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please him best." (47)
  • Stumbles: "He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles." (47)

XIII

  • real, simple pleasures, like reading a book
  • "when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever" (68)
  • "You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the 'best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books." (69)

XIV

  • Humility: "All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is especially true of humility." (71)

XV

  • Eternity and the present: "The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity." (76)

XVIII

  • Marriage: "The truth is that wherever a man lies with a woman, there, whether they like it or not, a transcendental relation is set up between them which must be eternally enjoyed or eternally endured." (94)

XXI

  • We belong to God: "They will find out in the end, never fear, to whom their time, their souls, and their bodies really belong—certainly not to them, whatever happens." (110)

XXVII

  • Learning: "And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another." (140) ^7323f8

From Dan Gibson 2021-12-17:

Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion.
Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part.
Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of Pacifism.
The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience.
Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing.
Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more “religious” (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here.


Created: 2018-07-21
Updated: 2022-03-02-Wed