C. S. Lewis' Little Book of Wisdom: Meditations on Faith, Life, Love, and Literature

C. S. Lewis' Little Book of Wisdom: Meditations on Faith, Life, Love, and Literature

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Overview

Novelist, poet, critic, lay theologian, and best-selling author of the 'Narnia' series, C. S. Lewis' works have become timeless classics for adults and children around the world.

Here in one concise volume is the essence of his thought on subjects ranging from love and faith to ethics and morality and myth and literature that will throw open the windows of the soul and provide readers with bite-sized nuggets of wisdom and inspiration from one of the best-loved writers of the 20th century.

This lovely little gift book will provide sustenance, wisdom, and hope for both believers and seekers. And, most importantly, it will provide an entry point for those unfamiliar with Lewis that will make them want to explore his fiction and nonfiction works.

Selections from C.S. Lewis' Little Book of Wisdom:
"If God had granted all the silly prayers I've made in my life, where should I be now?"

"Surely arrested development consists not in refusing to lose old things, but in failing to add new things…"

"Do not dare not to dare."

"We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us."

"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."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571748454
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/2018
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 65,158
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author


C. S. Lewis (November 29, 1898-November 22, 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. He held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College, 1925-1954) and Cambridge University (Magdalene College, 1954-1963). He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his nonfiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

Andrea Kirk Assaf is an editor, journalist, and translator who divides her time between Rome and Michigan.

Date of Birth:

November 29, 1898

Date of Death:

November 22, 1963

Place of Birth:

Belfast, Nothern Ireland

Place of Death:

Headington, England

Education:

Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

PART ONE

Living a Full Life with Christ

* * *

Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.

Mere Christianity

* * *

We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.

The Weight of Glory

* * *

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

Mere Christianity

* * *

A good, but unexamined life will be high on duty and not likely to celebrate the odd paradoxes, the ironic coincidences, and the humor of being dirt ...

Surprised by Joy

* * *

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.

Mere Christianity

* * *

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it?

A Grief Observed

* * *

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call 'humble' nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

Mere Christianity

* * *

For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.

'Equality' in Present Concerns

* * *

Surely arrested development consists not in refusing to lose old things but in failing to add new things ...

'On Three Ways of Writing for Children' in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories

* * *

Make your choice, adventurous Stranger, Strike the bell and bide the danger, Or wonder, till it drives you mad, What would have followed if you had.

The Magician's Nephew

* * *

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.

Mere Christianity

* * *

You can put this another way by saying that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), 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 — like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope.

Mere Christianity

* * *

Perhaps the experience had been so complete that repetition would be vulgarity — like asking to hear the same symphony twice in a day.

Perelandra

* * *

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' in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories

* * *

Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.

Mere Christianity

* * *

If God had granted all the silly prayers I've made in my life, where should I be now?

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

* * *

If you're thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you're embarking on something, which will take the whole of you.

Mere Christianity

* * *

Christianity, if false, is of no importance and, if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.

God in the Dock

* * *

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.

On Living in the Atomic Age

* * *

The more you obey your conscience, the more your conscience will demand of you.

Mere Christianity

* * *

Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.

The Screwtape Letters

* * *

The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.

The Weight of Glory

* * *

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.

Mere Christianity

* * *

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 aweand 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.

The Weight of Glory

* * *

As image and apprehension are in organic unity, so, for a Christian, are human body and human soul.

God in the Dock

* * *

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 halfhearted 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.

The Weight of Glory

* * *

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 honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

The Abolition of Man

* * *

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

The Screwtape Letters

* * *

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

The Weight of Glory

* * *

One of the ends for which sex was created was to symbolize to us the hidden things of God. One of the functions of human marriage is to express the nature of the union between Christ and the Church.

God in the Dock

* * *

It is well to have specifically holy places, and things, and days, for, without these focal points or reminders, the belief that all is holy and 'big with God' will soon dwindle into a mere sentiment. But if these holy places, things, and days cease to remind us, if they obliterate our awareness that all ground is holy and every bush (could we but perceive it) a Burning Bush, then the hallows begin to do harm. Hence both the necessity, and the perennial danger, of 'religion'.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

* * *

A man can't be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.

Reflections on the Psalms

* * *

The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He 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 greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.

Mere Christianity

* * *

I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds praised most, while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least. The good critics found something to praise in many imperfect works; the bad ones continually narrowed the list of books we might be allowed to read. The healthy and unaffected man, even if luxuriously brought up and widely experienced in good cookery, could praise a very modest meal: the dyspeptic and the snob found fault with all. Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible.

Reflections on the Psalms

CHAPTER 2

PART TWO

Choosing Joy

* * *

Joy is the serious business of heaven.

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

* * *

No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.

The Great Divorce

* * *

The reader who finds these three episodes [in which Joy occurred] of no interest need read this book no further, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.

Surprised by Joy

* * *

We are mirrors whose brightness is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.

The Four Loves

* * *

Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future.

The Weight of Glory

* * *

It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.

Mere Christianity

* * *

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.

Transposition and Other Addresses

* * *

Free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.

Mere Christianity

* * *

All joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still 'about to be'.

Surprised by 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.

Mere Christianity

* * *

All joy (as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

* * *

I call it joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from happiness and pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again ... I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it 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.

Surprised by Joy

* * *

If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone.

Mere Christianity

* * *

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, also makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.

The Case for Christianity

* * *

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.

God in the Dock

* * *

Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect — perfect in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, health, and immortality. The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain.

Mere Christianity

* * *

What we would here and now call our 'happiness' is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such that He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.

The Problem of Pain

* * *

Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it, or else, for ever and ever, the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject in themselves.

The Great Divorce

* * *

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.

Reflections on the Psalms

* * *

Don't you remember on earth there were things too hot to touch with your finger but you could drink them alright? Shame is like that. If you will attempt it — if you will drink the cup to the bottom — you will find it very nourishing; but try to do anything else with it and it scalds.

The Great Divorce

* * *

The very nature of joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.

Surprised by Joy

* * *

'Milton was right.' 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 ...

The Great Divorce

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "C. S. Lewis Little Book of Wisdom"
by .
Copyright © 2018 C. S. Lewis Pte Ltd.
Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction,
PART ONE: Living a Full Life with Christ,
PART TWO: Choosing Joy,
PART THREE: Transforming Grief,
PART FOUR: Learning to Love,
PART FIVE: Lessons from Reality and the Imagination,
PART SIX: The Consolation of Friendship,
PART SEVEN: Reason to Hope,
PART EIGHT: Recognizing Sin,
PART NINE: Finding God,
PART TEN: Aslan's Country: Onward Toward Heaven,
The Complete Works of C. S. Lewis,
Bibliography,
About the Compilers,
Reader's Journal,

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