“He is the glad Creator” by C.S. Lewis

“We desire, like St Paul, not to be unclothed but to be re-clothed: to find not the formless Everywhere-and-Nowhere but the promised land, that Nature which will be always and perfectly—as present Nature is partially and intermittently—the instrument for that music which will then arise between Christ and us.

And what, you ask, does it matter? Do not such ideas only excite us and distract us from the more immediate and more certain things, the love of God and our neighbours, the bearing of the daily cross? If you find that they so distract you, think of them no more.

I most fully allow that it is of more importance for you or me today to refrain from one sneer or to extend one charitable thought to an enemy than to know all that angels and archangels know about the mysteries of the New Creation.

I write of these things not because they are the most important but because this book is about miracles. From the title you cannot have expected a book of devotion or of ascetic theology. Yet I will not admit that the things we have been discussing for the last few pages are of no importance for the practice of the Christian life.

For I suspect that our conception of Heaven as merely a state of mind is not unconnected with the fact that the specifically Christian virtue of Hope has in our time grown so languid. Where our fathers, peering into the future, saw gleams of gold, we see only the mist, white, featureless, cold and never moving.

The thought at the back of all this negative spirituality is really one forbidden to Christians. They, of all men, must not conceive spiritual joy and worth as things that need to be rescued or tenderly protected from time and place and matter and the senses. Their God is the God of corn and oil and wine.

He is the glad Creator. He has become Himself incarnate. The sacraments have been instituted. Certain spiritual gifts are offered us only on condition that we perform certain bodily acts.

After that we cannot really be in doubt of His intention. To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride.

There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body?

These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world-shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables.

Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else—since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him?”

–C.S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study (New York: HarperOne, 2001), 264–266.

“The sweetest study of all” by John Bunyan

“If there is so great a heart for love, towards us, both in the Father and in the Son, then let us be much in the study and search after the greatness of this love.

This is the sweetest study that a man can devote himself unto because it is the study of the love of God and of Christ to man.

Studies that yield far less profit than this, how close are they pursued, by some who have adapted themselves thereunto.

Men do not use to count telling over of their money burdensome to them, nor yet the recounting of their grounds, their herds, and their flocks, when they increase. Why?

The study of the unsearchable love of God in Christ to man is better in itself, and yields more sweetness to the soul of man, than can ten thousand such things as but now are mentioned.

I know the wise men of this world, of whom there are many, will say as to what I now press you unto: ‘Who can show us any good in it?’

But Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increaseth (Psalm 4:6-7).

David also said that his meditation on the Lord should be sweet and pleasing. (Psalm 104:34)

Oh, there is in God and in His Son, that kindness for the sons of men, that, did they know it, they would like to retain the knowledge of it in their hearts.

They would cry out as she did of old: ‘Set me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thine arm: For love is strong as death” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).

Every part, crumb, grain, or scrap of this knowledge, is to a Christian, as drops of honey are to sweet-palated children, worth the gathering up, worth the putting to the taste to be relished.

Yea, David says of the word which is the ground of knowledge: ‘It is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. More,’ saith he, ‘to be desired are they than gold; yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey or the honey-comb’ (Psalm 19:10).

Why then do not Christians devote themselves to the meditation of this so heavenly, so goodly, so sweet, and so comfortable a thing, that yieldeth such advantage to the soul?

The reason is, these things are talked of, but not believed.

Did men believe what they say, when they speak so largely of the love of God, and the love of Jesus Christ, they would meditate upon it, they could not but meditate upon it.

There are so many wonders in it. Therefore let us study these things.”

–John Bunyan, “The Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love,”  A Confession of My Faith, The Works of John Bunyan, Volume 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1692/1991), 2: 36.

Bunyan died on August 31, 1688.

“He abounds more in grace than thou in sinning” by Thomas Goodwin

“When the name of God and Christ are simply and alone apprehended they may be sufficient ground for faith to rest upon and nothing can be more comfortable to a poor distressed believer.

Because the name of God, that is, God’s attributes, and Christ’s righteousness, do sufficiently, and adequately, and fully answer all wants and doubts, and all objections and distresses that we can have, or can be in.

Whatsoever our want or temptations be, He hath a name to make supply.

For example, to take that His name in pieces, mentioned Exodus 34:5-6, consider every letter in that His name, and every letter answers to some temptation may be made by us.

Art thou in misery and great distress?

He is merciful; ‘The Lord merciful.’ The Lord, therefore able to help thee; and merciful, therefore willing.

Yes, but thou wilt say, ‘I am unworthy; I have nothing in me to move Him to it.

Well, therefore, He is gracious; now grace is to show mercy freely.

Yes, but I have sinned against Him long, for many years; if I had come in when I was young, mercy might have been shown me.

To this He says, ‘I am long-suffering.’

Yes, but my sins every way abound in number, and it is impossible to reckon them up, and they abound in heinousness; I have committed the same sins again and again; I have been false to Him, broke promise with Him again and again.

His name also answers this objection: He is abundant in goodness. He abounds more in grace than thou in sinning.

And though thou hast been false again and again to him, and broke all covenants, yet He is abundant in truth; also better than His word, for He cannot to our capacities express all that mercy that is in Him for us.

Yes, but I have committed great sins, aggravated with many and great circumstances, against knowledge, and willfully.

He forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; sins of all sorts.

Yes, but there is mercy thus in Him but for a few, and I may be none of the number.

Yes, there is mercy for thousands. And He keeps it; treasures of mercy lie by Him, and are kept, if men would come and take them.”

–Thomas Goodwin, The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 1861/2006), 3: 326, 328.

“The Living Lord is with us” by William Milligan

“Our Lord Himself connected both the obligation and the encouragement of Christian work with the thought of His condition now, when after His resurrection He said to the disciples:

‘All authority hath been given unto Me both in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)

Once before He had sent them forth, but it was in other terms, ‘Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ (Matthew 10:5-6)

The time had not yet come for the practical work of the Church to be presented to her in all its extent. Now it has come, and every limitation has disappeared. The Kingdom of God, no longer realised, though imperfectly, in one nation, is to be realised in its highest perfection among all nations.

The love of God is revealed in its fulness in a Redeemer who, exalted in spiritual glory, is equally near to men, whatever be the clime or the age in which they live.

The eye of the Church’s Head travels to every corner of the world—no spot so remote but He is there; no labourer so apparently unnoticed amidst the throng of universal life but He is beside him; no home so poor but He is ready, in the power of His Spirit, to illuminate its darkness and to heal its sorrows.

“Lo, I am with you always,’ is His language— ‘I, to whom all authority has been given both in heaven and on earth, who have alike the power and the right to rule, whose grace shall be sufficient for thee, and whose strength shall be perfected in weak- ness.’

In fulfilling His great commission we need have no fear that we may be out of harmony with God’s eternal plan, and none that our task may prove too much for us to accomplish.

The Living Lord is with us, who once knew every such disappointment as we experience, and every such cause of despondency as weakens us; who once sighed over the stubbornness of men more deeply than we can sigh, and shed more bitter tears for those who refused to listen to Him than we can weep.

Yet He triumphed; and He comes to us now that He may communicate to us His joy of victory, and that, in doing so, He may afford us an earnest of our own.

Thus it is, then, that everything most distinctive of the Church of Christ, alike in her inward and outward life, in her relation to her various members and to the world, flows out of the fact that she is the representative not only of the humbled and suffering but of the Exalted and Glorified Lord.

The great Head from whom she draws all that is most characteristic of her being and her duties is no longer upon earth; He is in heaven,—His humiliation over.

His cup of sorrow drained, His eternal and glorious reign begun. To that Head the Church is united in the bonds of closest fellowship.

She is one with Him who in all His Divine majesty, in all His heavenly power, with all the influences of His Spirit, is at the right hand of the Father, that she may dwell in Him, and may produce even here below the fruits of that tree of life which grows by the river of the water of life, which bears its fruits throughout the year, and the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations.

The Church of Christ is not an institution of this world’s policy, nor does she exist for this world’s ends.

It is presumption on the part of men clothed with mere worldly power to think that they can lend her strength or that they can save her when she is in danger.

She can lend strength to them and save them; they can do none of these things for her.

Her spirit, her strength, her life are from above.

She is the child of heaven upon earth, that she may witness to the heaven which she now partially introduces, and for the full manifestation of which she prepares and waits.”

–William Milligan, The Resurrection of our Lord (New York: Macmillan, 1917), 220-223.

“Supreme love to Christ is the most important qualification of a pastor” by Archibald Alexander

Feed My sheep.” (John 21:16)

“Another prominent truth, in these words, is, that love to Christ – supreme love to Christ – is the most important qualification of a pastor of Christ’s flock.

The question is thrice put, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?’ (John 21:16) And in each case, after receiving an affirmative answer, the Lord Jesus commands him to feed His sheep, or to feed His lambs.

Is not this as much as to say, ‘None are qualified to feed My sheep, who have no love to Me?’

And the thing is sufficiently evident to reason; for he who has no love to the owner, will have no real regard for the safety and health of the flock.

Among men of the world, it sometimes happens, that one passion becomes so strong, that it nearly swallows up all others.

Thus, avarice in the miser, is found potent enough to counteract the strongest propensities of nature.

Ambition, also, in others, carries all before it. Everything subserves the one pursuit, or yields to it.

Now, such should be the case with the minister of the gospel. The love of Christ ought so to predominate, so to possess his mind, and to bear him along, that every interfering, or opposing principle, should be neutralized or extinguished.

This should suggest all his plans, guide all his operations, give energy to all his efforts, and afford him comfort under all his trials.

Constrained by the love of Christ, he should cheerfully forego all the comforts of ease, affluence, and worldly honour to serve his Master in places far remote; or far removed from public observation.

This holy affection should impel him to undertake the most arduous duties, and encounter the most formidable dangers; this should enkindle the ardour of his eloquence, and supply the pathos of his most tender addresses.

This is the hallowed fire which should be kept bright and burning continually. All other warmth is no better than ‘strange fire.’

Nothing but the love of Christ can make a truly faithful pastor, or evangelist, assiduous in all his services, and indefatigable in the most private and self-denying duties of his office.

Other motives may lead a man to great diligence in preparing for his labours in the pulpit, where splendid eloquence wins as much applause as anywhere else.

Other motives also may stimulate a minister to great public exertion, and give him all the appearance of fervent zeal and devotedness to God, in the eyes of men.

But if supreme love to Christ be wanting, he is, after all, nothing; or, at best, a mere ‘sounding brass or tinkling cymbal’ (1 Corinthians 13:1)?

Genius, learning, eloquence, zeal, public exertion, and, great sacrifices, even if it should be of all our goods, and of our lives themselves, will be accounted of no value, in the eyes of the Lord, if love to Christ be wanting.

The church is now using laudable exertions to increase the number of ministers.

But, we may multiply preachers, and we may educate them well, and they may be acceptable to the people.

But, alas! If they love not the Lord Jesus Christ, Zion will not be built up.

The great harvest will not be gathered.”

–Archibald Alexander, “The Pastoral Office” as quoted in The Pastor: His Call, Character, and Work by Faculty and Friends of Old Princeton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2020), 93-94. Alexander preached this sermon at Philadelphia before the Association of the Alumni of the Theological Seminary at Princeton on Wednesday Morning, May 21, 1834.

“Jesus Christ did not say ‘Go into all the world and tell the world that it is quite right'” by C.S. Lewis

[The following is an interview with C. S. Lewis, held on the 7th May 1963 in Lewis’s rooms in Magdalene College, Cambridge. The interviewer is Mr Sherwood E. Wirt of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Ltd.]

Mr Wirt:
Professor Lewis, if you had a young friend with some interest in writing on Christian subjects, how would you advise him to prepare himself?

Lewis:
I would say if a man is going to write on chemistry, he learns chemistry. The same is true of Christianity. But to speak of the craft itself, I would not know how to advise a man how to write. It is a matter of talent and interest. I believe he must be strongly moved if he is to become a writer. Writing is like a ‘lust’, or like ‘scratching when you itch’. Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out.

Mr Wirt:
Can you suggest an approach that would spark the creation of a body of Christian literature strong enough to influence our generation?

Lewis:
There is no formula in these matters. I have no recipe, no tablets. Writers are trained in so many individual ways that it is not for us to prescribe. Scripture itself is not systematic; the New Testament shows the greatest variety. God has shown us that he can use any instrument. Balaam’s ass, you remember, preached a very effective sermon in the midst of his ‘hee-haws’.

Mr Wirt:
A light touch has been characteristic of your writings, even when you are dealing with heavy theological themes. Would you say there is a key to the cultivation of such an attitude?

Lewis:
I believe this is a matter of temperament. However, I was helped in achieving this attitude by my studies of the literary men of the Middle Ages, and by the writings of G. K. Chesterton. Chesteron, for example, was not afraid to combine serious Christian themes with buffoonery. In the same way, the miracle plays of the Middle Ages would deal with a sacred subject such as the nativity of Christ, yet would combine it with a farce.

Mr Wirt:
Should Christian writers, then, in your opinion, attempt to be funny?

Lewis:
No. I think that forced jocularities on spiritual subjects are an abomination, and the attempts of some religious writers to be humorous are simply appalling. Some people write heavily, some write lightly. I prefer the light approach because I believe there is a great deal of false reverence about. There is too much solemnity and intensity in dealing with sacred matters; too much speaking in holy tones.

Mr Wirt:
But is not solemnity proper and conducive to a sacred atmosphere?

Lewis:
Yes and no. There is a difference between a private devotional life and a corporate one. Solemnity is proper in church, but things that are proper in church are not necessarily proper outside, and vice versa. For example, I can say a prayer while washing my teeth, but that does not mean I should wash my teeth in church.

Mr Wirt:
What is your opinion of the kind of writing being done within the Christian church today?

Lewis:
A great deal of what is being published by writers in the religious tradition is a scandal and is actually turning people away from the church. The liberal writers who are continually accommodating and whittling down the truth of the Gospel are responsible. I cannot understand how a man can appear in print claiming to disbelieve everything that he presupposes when he puts on the surplice. I feel it is a form of prostitution.

Mr Wirt:
What do you think of the controversial new book, Honest to God, by John Robinson, the Bishop of Woolwich?

Lewis:
I prefer being honest to being ‘honest to God’.

Mr Wirt:
What Christian writers have helped you?

Lewis:
The contemporary book that has helped me the most is Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man. Others are Edwyn Bevan’s book, Symbolism and Belief, and Rudolf Otto’s The Idea of the Holy, and the plays of Dorothy Sayers.

Mr Wirt:
I believe it was Chesterton who was asked why he became a member of the church, and he replied, ‘To get rid of my sins.’

Lewis:
It is not enough to want to get rid of one’s sins. We also need to believe in the One who saves us from our sins. Not only do we need to recognize that we are sinners; we need to believe in a Saviour who takes away sin. Matthew Arnold once wrote, ‘Nor does the being hungry prove that we have bread.’ Because we are sinners, it does not follow that we are saved.

Mr Wirt:
In your book Surprised by Joy you remark that you were brought into the Faith kicking and struggling and resentful, with eyes darting in every direction looking for an escape. You suggest that you were compelled, as it were, to become a Christian. Do you feel that you made a decision at the time of your conversion?

Lewis:
I would not put it that way. What I wrote in Surprised by Joy was that ‘before God closed in on me, I was in fact offered what now appears a moment of wholly free choice.’ But I feel my decision was not so important. I was the object rather than the subject in this affair. I was decided upon. I was glad afterwards at the way it came out, but at the moment what I heard was God saying, ‘Put down your gun and we’ll talk.’

Mr Wirt:
That sounds to me as if you came to a very definite point of decision.

Lewis:
Well, I would say that the most deeply compelled action is also the freest action. By that I mean, no part of you is outside the action. It is a paradox. I expressed it in Surprised by Joy by saying that I chose, yet it really did not seem possible to do the opposite.

Mr Wirt:
You wrote 20 years ago that ‘A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.’

Would you say your view of this matter has changed since then?

Lewis:
I would say there is no substantial change.

Mr Wirt:
Would you say that the aim of Christian writing, including your own writing, is to bring about an encounter of the reader with Jesus Christ?

Lewis:
That is not my language, yet it is the purpose I have in view. For example, I have just finished a book on prayer, an imaginary correspondence with someone who raises questions about difficulties in prayer.

Mr Wirt:
How can we foster the encounter of people with Jesus Christ?

Lewis:
You can’t lay down any pattern for God. There are many different ways of bringing people into His Kingdom, even some ways that I specially dislike! I have therefore learned to be cautious in my judgment.
But we can block it in many ways. As Christians we are tempted to make unnecessary concessions to those outside the Faith. We give in too much. Now, I don’t mean that we should run the risk of making a nuisance of ourselves by witnessing at improper times, but there comes a time when we must show that we disagree. We must show our Christian colours, if we are to be true to Jesus Christ. We cannot remain silent or concede everything away.

There is a character in one of my children’s stories named Aslan, who says, ‘I never tell anyone any story except his own.’ I cannot speak for the way God deals with others; I only know how He deals with me personally. Of course, we are to pray for spiritual awakening, and in various ways we can do something toward it. But we must remember that neither Paul nor Apollos gives the increase.9 As Charles Williams once said, ‘The altar must often be built in one place so that the fire may come down in another place.’

Mr Wirt:
Professor Lewis, your writings have an unusual quality not often found in discussions of Christian themes. You write as though you enjoyed it.

Lewis:
If I didn’t enjoy writing I wouldn’t continue to do it. Of all my books, there was only one I did not take pleasure in writing.

Mr Wirt:
Which one?

Lewis:
The Screwtape Letters. They were dry and gritty going. At the time, I was thinking of objections to the Christian life, and decided to put them into the form, ‘That’s what the devil would say.’ But making goods ‘bad’ and bads ‘good’ gets to be fatiguing.

Mr Wirt:
How would you suggest a young Christian writer go about developing a style?

Lewis:
The way for a person to develop a style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that. The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him. I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate open to the left or the right the readers will most certainly go into it.

Mr Wirt:
Do you believe that the Holy Spirit can speak to the world through Christian writers today?

Lewis:
I prefer to make no judgment concerning a writer’s direct ‘illumination’ by the Holy Spirit. I have no way of knowing whether what is written is from heaven or not. I do believe that God is the Father of lights—natural lights as well as spiritual lights (James 1:17). That is, God is not interested only in Christian writers as such. He is concerned with all kinds of writing. In the same way a sacred calling is not limited to ecclesiastical functions. The man who is weeding a field of turnips is also serving God.

Mr Wirt:
An American writer, Mr Dewey Beegle, has stated that in his opinion the Isaac Watts hymn, ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’, is more inspired by God than is the ‘Song of Solomon’ in the Old Testament. What would be your view?

Lewis:
The great saints and mystics of the church have felt just the opposite about it. They have found tremendous spiritual truth in the ‘Song of Solomon’. There is a difference of levels here. The question of the canon is involved. Also we must remember that what is meat for a grown person might be unsuited to the palate of a child.

Mr Wirt:
How would you evaluate modern literary trends as exemplified by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett and Jean-Paul Sartre?

Lewis:
I have read very little in this field. I am not a contemporary scholar. I am not even a scholar of the past, but I am a lover of the past.

Mr Wirt:
Do you believe that the use of filth and obscenity is necessary in order to establish a realistic atmosphere in contemporary literature?

Lewis:
I do not. I treat this development as a symptom, a sign of a culture that has lost its faith. Moral collapse follows upon spiritual collapse. I look upon the immediate future with great apprehension.

Mr Wirt:
Do you feel, then, that modern culture is being de-Christianized?

Lewis:
I cannot speak to the political aspects of the question, but I have some definite views about the de-Christianizing of the church. I believe that there are many accommodating preachers, and too many practitioners in the church who are not believers. Jesus Christ did not say ‘Go into all the world and tell the world that it is quite right.’ The Gospel is something completely different. In fact, it is directly opposed to the world.

The case against Christianity that is made out in the world is quite strong. Every war, every shipwreck, every cancer case, every calamity, contributes to making a prima facie case against Christianity. It is not easy to be a believer in the face of this surface evidence. It calls for a strong faith in Jesus Christ.

Mr Wirt:
Do you approve of men such as Bryan Green and Billy Graham asking people to come to a point of decision regarding the Christian life?

Lewis:
I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Graham once. We had dinner together during his visit to Cambridge University in 1955, while he was conducting a mission to students. I thought he was a very modest and a very sensible man, and I liked him very much indeed.

In a civilization like ours, I feel that everyone has to come to terms with the claims of Jesus Christ upon his life, or else be guilty of inattention or of evading the question. In the Soviet Union it is different. Many people living in Russia today have never had to consider the claims of Christ because they have never heard of those claims.

In the same way, we who live in English-speaking countries have never really been forced to consider the claims, let us say, of Hinduism. But in our Western civilization we are obligated both morally and intellectually to come to grips with Jesus Christ; if we refuse to do so we are guilty of being bad philosophers and bad thinkers.

Mr Wirt:
What is your view of the daily discipline of the Christian life—the need for taking time to be alone with God?

Lewis:
We have our New Testament regimental orders upon the subject. I would take it for granted that everyone who becomes a Christian would undertake this practice. It is enjoined upon us by Our Lord; and since they are His commands, I believe in following them. It is always just possible that Jesus Christ meant what He said when He told us to seek the secret place and to close the door.

Mr Wirt:
What do you think is going to happen in the next few years of history, Mr Lewis?

Lewis:
I have no way of knowing. My primary field is the past. I travel with my back to the engine, and that makes it difficult when you try to steer. The world might stop in ten minutes; meanwhile, we are to go on doing our duty. The great thing is to be found at one’s post as a child of God, living each day as though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.

We have, of course, the assurance of the New Testament regarding events to come. I find it difficult to keep from laughing when I find people worrying about future destruction of some kind or other. Didn’t they know they were going to die anyway? Apparently not. My wife once asked a young woman friend whether she had ever thought of death, and she replied, ‘By the time I reach that age science will have done something about it!’

Mr Wirt:
Do you think there will be wide-spread travel in space?

Lewis:
I look forward with horror to contact with the other inhabited planets, if there are such. We would only transport to them all of our sin and our acquisitiveness, and establish a new colonialism. I can’t bear to think of it. But if we on earth were to get right with God, of course, all would be changed. Once we find ourselves spiritually awakened, we can go to outer space and take the good things with us. That is quite a different matter.”

–C.S. Lewis, “Cross-Examination,” in God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperOne, 1994), 285–295.

“I am sure Aslan knows best” by C.S. Lewis

“TO LAURENCE KRIEG (P):

The Kilns
Headington Quarry
Oxford
April 21st 57

Dear Laurence,

Well, I can’t say I have had a happy Easter, for I have lately got married and my wife is very, very ill.

I am sure Aslan knows best and whether He leaves her with me or takes her to His own country, He will do what is right.

But of course it makes me very sad. I am sure you and your mother will pray for us.

All good wishes to you both.

Yours,

C.S. Lewis”

–C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950–1963, ed. Walter Hooper, vol. 3 (New York: HarperCollins; HarperSanFrancisco, 2004–2007), 3: 847–848.

“Time for you to go to bed” by C.S. Lewis

“TO HILA NEWMAN (W):

Magdalen College,
Oxford.
June 3rd 1953

Dear Hila,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter and pictures. I realised at once that the coloured one was not a particular scene but a sort of line-up like what you would have at the very end if it was a play instead of stories.

The Dawn Treader is not to be the last: There are to be 4 more, 7 in all. Didn’t you notice that Aslan said nothing about Eustace not going back? I thought the best of your pictures was the one of Mr. Tumnus at the bottom of the letter.

As to Aslan’s other name, well I want you to guess. Has there never been anyone in this world who:

(1.) Arrived at the same time as Father Christmas.

(2.) Said he was the son of the Great Emperor.

(3.) Gave himself up for someone else’s fault to be jeered at and killed by wicked people.

(4.) Came to life again.

(5.) Is sometimes spoken of as a Lamb (see the end of the Dawn Treader).

Don’t you really know His name in this world? Think it over and let me know your answer!

Reepicheep in your coloured picture has just the right perky, cheeky expression.

I love real mice. There are lots in my rooms in College but I have never set a trap.

When I sit up late working they poke their heads out from behind the curtains just as if they were saying, ‘Hi! Time for you to go to bed. We want to come out and play.’

All good wishes,

Yours ever,

C.S. Lewis”

–C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950–1963, ed. Walter Hooper, vol. 3 (New York: HarperCollins; HarperSanFrancisco, 2004–2007), 3: 334–335.

“The whole Narnian story is about Christ” by C.S. Lewis

“TO ANNE JENKINS (QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY, BELFAST):

Magdalene College,
Cambridge.
5 March 1961

Dear Anne—

What Aslan meant when he said he had died is, in one sense, plain enough. Read the earlier book in the series called The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and you will find the full story of how he was killed by the White Witch and came to life again. When you have read that, I think you will probably see that there is deeper meaning behind it.

The whole Narnian story is about Christ.

That is to say, I asked myself ‘Supposing there really were a world like Narnia, and supposing it had (like our world) gone wrong, and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?’

The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He would become a Talking Beast there, as he became a Man here.

I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) The lion is supposed to be the King of beasts: (b) Christ is called ‘The Lion of Judah’ in the Bible (Genesis 49:9-10): (c) I’d been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the books.

The whole series works out like this:

The Magician’s Nephew tells the creation and how evil entered Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe… the Crucifixion and Resurrection

Prince Caspian… restoration of the true religion after a corruption

The Horse and his Boy… the calling and conversion of a heathen.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader… the spiritual life (especially in Reepicheep)

The Silver Chair… the continued war against the powers of darkness

The Last Battle… the coming of Antichrist (the Ape). The end of the world, and the Last Judgement

All clear?

Yours,

C.S. Lewis”

–C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950–1963, ed. Walter Hooper, vol. 3 (New York: HarperCollins; HarperSanFrancisco, 2004–2007), 3: 1244–1245.

“Never forget Him” by C.S. Lewis

Magdalene College,
Cambridge.
March 1956

Dear Julie Halvorson,

Thank you for the most charming letter I have received in a long time. It made me very happy.

I am also glad that your class has been enjoying the Narnian stories.

But especially am I happy that you know who Aslan is.

Never forget Him.

Yours sincerely,

C.S. Lewis”

–C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950–1963, ed. Walter Hooper, vol. 3 (New York: HarperCollins; HarperSanFrancisco, 2004–2007), 3: 732.