Screwtape Letters

About: "This classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to 'Our Father Below.' At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and stringly orginal, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the wordly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an odinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation - and triumph over it - ever written."

I wanted to read a book by C.S. Lewis (that wasn't Narnia) and this one sounded intriguing. Basically it's letters from a devil to his apprentice. This devil, Screwtape, advises his apprentice how to best lure his subject away from God and all things good. C.S. Lewis presents some really interesting ideas that made me look at my actions and what influences those actions a little differently.

Page 25, "It is your business to see that the patient never thinks of the present fear as his appointed cross, but only of the things he is afraid of. Let him regard them as his crosses: let him forget that, since they are incompatible, they cannot all happen to him."

Page 28, "The great things is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbors whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know."

Page 40, "He [God] leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs - to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayer offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best....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."

Page 60, "It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signpotsts."

Page 136, "He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrenence of an immemorial theme."

Page 139, "We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favored heroes attain - not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is."

Page 161, "He sees as well as you do that courage is not simple one of the virtures, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky."

Page 163, "For remember, the act of cowardice is all that matters; the emotion of fear is, in itself, no sin and, though we enjoy it, does us no good."

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