Great Expectations

My name is Mark Smith. I'm a guy who loves Jesus, His Word, and His Church. I am filled with Great Expectations for what the future will ultimately bring - Matthew 24:14.

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Location: Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

My favourite verse is Psalm 16:11, my other favourite verse is Acts 20:24, my other favourite verse is Habakkuk 3:17-19, and my other favourite verse is Matthew 24:14.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Screwtape Letters

That's right...two blogs in one day after not having a chance to post anything for a little while! :D

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

This is a book of letters written by “Screwtape” (who is a senior demon) to “Wormwood” (who is a junior demon). Screwtape counsels Wormwood about how best to keep a Christian from really following Christ – with the idea being to try to make him “lose his salvation”. Screwtape has a profound understanding of Christian strengths and weaknesses so hearing his strategies is very beneficial because many of them may really be the way that demons seek to destroy followers of Christ today.

(“The Enemy” or “Him” in capital letters in the book refers to God. Any references to “him” or “his” with small letters refer to the Christian man whom the demon is seeking bring down.)

Here are some of the most memorable quotes from Screwtape:

“When I see the temporal sufferings of humans who finally escape us, I feel as if I had been allowed to taste the first course of a rich banquet and then denied the rest. It is worse than to not have tasted at all. The Enemy, true to His barbarous methods of warfare, allows us to see the short misery of His favourites only to tantalize and torment us….” – page 31

“The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know.” – page 37

“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending, to do out Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsake and still obeys.” – page 47

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasure which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.” – page 49

All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my patients said upon his arrival down here [in hell], “I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.” – page 64

“All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility.” – page 71

“Even of his sins the Enemy does not want him to think too much: once they are repented, the sooner the man turns his attention outward, the better the Enemy is pleased.” – page 75

“Surely you know if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster of connoisseur of churches.” – page 81

“Leave them to discuss whether ‘Love’, or patriotism, or celibacy, or candles on alters, or teetotalism, or education, are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Can’t you see there’s no answer? Nothing matters at all except the tendency of a given state of mind, in given circumstances, to move a particular patient at a particular moment nearer to the Enemy or nearer to us” – page 99

“There must be several young women in your patient’s neighbourhood who would render the Christian life intensely difficult to him if only you could persuade him to marry one of them.” – page 100

“For as things are, your man has now discovered the dangerous truth that these attacks don’t last forever; consequently you cannot use again what is, after all, our best weapon – the belief of ignorant humans, that there is no hope of getting rid of us except by yielding.” – page 101

“They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption, ‘My time is my own.” – page 107

“And all the time the joke is that the word ‘Mine’ in its fully possessive sense cannot be uttered by a human being about anything.” – page 109

“He [God] is a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures forevermore.” – page 112

“He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least – sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us.” – page 112


Anonymous David said...

Hey Mark,
Thanks for the book report. I'm always a fan!
I especially liked the quote:
“Surely you know if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster of connoisseur of churches.” – page 81
I just finished "Stop Dating the Church" by Joshua Harris. We were talking about it a while back and I think you said you read it. Its definately a great 100 page summary on why we need to be plugged in to a solid local church. Anyways... thanks again for the quotes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ant said...

great stuff! Lewis's insights are superb. I referred to the Screwtape letters in something I just posted, but it is a while since I actually read the book - I will be linking here I think, and quoting some of your quotes!

Monday, August 07, 2006 9:06:00 AM  

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