C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis12 May

In celebration of their 200th anniversary, HarperCollins is digging out some interesting things from their archives, like this handwritten letter from C. S. Lewis, dated 1954:

Anna Barham 15/ii/54 Dear Collins, Forgive me for not answering you sooner: my week-end has been eaten up by visitors. My literary output (like Gaul!) is divided into three parts. A. Religious and general. B. Fiction. C. Academic. A is the section that sells best: As regards A I am pleased that you propose to take over the past works and you shall certainly have the refusal of the next. B has always gone to Lane except for the fairy tales. There are only two of these articles to come and I shall offer them to Lane in the first instance. My chief reason is that Lane gave me my first chance when I was unknown whereas B? reaped a much richer harvest out of me when I got a name. C goes to (and is often commissioned by) Clarendon Press or OUP. If you care to come down and lunch with me some day (a Monday or Wednesday is best) I shall be happy to see you. Please remember me to your wife. Yours sincerely, C. S. Lewis
Houston McCarty Would be great if I could decipher it all.
Sharon Ewell Herbitter The quote is -- as quotes must be -- taken out of context. It's from A Preface to Paradise Lost -- a series of lectures that Lewis gave on that epic poem. He is discussing the theology in Paradise Lost and this particular section is heresies that are NOT in Milton (but which he is accused of). The particular heresy is "The doctrine of latent evil in God." Lewis is explaining that we do not BECOME evil by thinking of evil, so the presence of evil as an object of thought is not what makes one evil. Therefore God can acknowledge evil without becoming so or having evil in him. Lewis is not advocating the contemplation of evil all day long.
Dave Bunnell In a moral sense, we do become what we think on and admire, but Lewis knew that. He didn't write for the shallow age of tweets, but wrote things that required more explanation and thought than social media have room for.
Susan Escobedo Philippians 4:8New King James Version (NKJV) Meditate on These Things 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Tim Hovis Phillipians 4: 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Brenda FItzpatrick I don't agree, but I did take note of Sharon's comment. I knew there must be more to this quote than meets the eye. The Bible says 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he' and also 'the heart is desperately wicked. Who can know it?' So, in light of these verses the quote would not hold true. I do believe that the things that we think on constantly affect our behavior for either good or bad. So...that's my take on this quote.
Matt Sabo “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-5‬
Fred Kimmel Being bad or being triangular belong to totally different categories. If a politician made such an argument, he would be accused of demagoguery. Our thinking probably does indeed take over some triangular aspects if we think of triangles.
Joyce Harris This quote addressed my frustration with well-meaning Christians who keep their heads firmly in the sand. Like the "hear no evil/see no evil" monkeys they refuse to look at the world around them that they might have influence in, because it disturbs their peace. This is how the Church ceases to be a force for good in the world. And that vacuum is quickly being filled with evil for which there is no recourse but those few who stand alone amongst their own kind.
Michael Wallace Some people on the internet are so ill-educated as to be unable to spot a quote lifted out of context. What's worse, Christianettes are willing to cannibalize the greatest Christian writer of the 20th century over one quote that they think he said somewhere, but only because the internet told them so. Behold the Christianette, the scourge of the church.
Cals Sattler Except, Jesus himself extends the law when he tells his listeners (and us) that it is unlawful even to consider murder in your heart, even to wish someone just magically died. So........
Billy Hall it is our choices that define us. One Chooses what to think on, then what to act on.Only the "badness" already in us can direct our thoughts to linger on "badness" ."There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man"
Cyndy Ann Huh? That seems to be out of context. Not the typical thing C.S. Lewis would say. The problem with the world today is spending a WHOLE LOT OF TIME looking at badness, and they're becoming bad because of it. Porn, Violence, you name it. This statement isn't even TRUE according to the Bible, we're supposed to think about what is GOOD, as Susan Escobedo quoted below.
Linda Greene You don't become bad by thinking of badness but sin always starts as a thought. Fill your mind up with bad thoughts and believe me you will become bad.
Nick Garaputo Then I guess Jesus should repent for scolding the pharisees for keeping the commandments but charged them of guilt for thinking of violating them
Scott Holder This sort of slays the atheist's argument in my book. No matter how hard a person thinks about something, he cannot become that thing. With that being the case, no matter how hard a person may intellectually deny the existence of God, it will not make God go away. He has been, is, and ever shall be God. There is no beginning or end to Him. Studying the existence of God in order to deny His existence (as an atheist does) is like studying gravity and then denying it's existence.
Kristopher Rhen Matthew 15:19-20 ESV / 25 helpful votes For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
Bonnie Moyer Jeannerat Well I have to disagree with that bc the Bible says to think about things that are pure, lovely and good. If we don't we develope bad attitudes. But I see from other posts that this quote was taken out of context. I can't see CS Lewis saying that
Deb Dolan Yet, if we think too much about badness or evil, our spirits will be darkened & thinking more about triangles may bring about pondering the Holy Trinity which brighten our spirits!
Jon Johannes I cannot a good conscience attribute this quote to C.S. Lewis. Not only does it not line up with Scripture, it violates Mr. Lewis strong adherence to the Word. The Bible states: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: eat and drink, saith he to thee, but his heart is not with thee. - (Proverbs 23:7) There are actually other Scripture references of this very caution.
Sarah N. Bauer Control and change your thoughts. They become actions. Colossians 3:5-10 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices ... Mark 7:20-22 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
Bob Noxious To summarise the comments: "This quote is out of context. But in context it basically means the same thing, just with a little more nuance." lol
Matthew Wrathall I assume what he means is that just because you may have bad thoughts it doesn't mean that you have to become them or act on them. It's not a given and you have a choice.
Lauren Mays Sells What consumes your mind, controls your life. Your thoughts become words..words become actions..actions become habits..habits become your character.
Sherron Tice Trimble Would like to read this in context. Then I might be able to better know what the author intended to communicate.
Ian Lyall The Bible tells us to "renew (our) minds".And not to be conformed to the world.
Helen Hamrick I wonder what that quote is from--which story. Also, I've been looking for awhile for what CS Lewis said along the lines of 'the human body is a strange and humorous thing with its noises, smells, etc.' If anyone knows where that comes from, I'd love to hear.
Anne Hall Oh to the imagination. If the idea is prosperous may the Glory be to Yahweh from which all good things are brought forth.
Katie Walters Krista Cue this is the quote I was thinking of the other day when we were talking about writing fantasy
Terri Lowe I feel that way anytime I am in a forest.
Bear Von Lab Beautiful passage!Thanks for sharing. God Bless you and yours. Amen 🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳
Cheryl D. Anderson-Sanchez "A little heaven to go to heaven in." R.E. Anderson
Anna Bugajska Sounds like a dialogue with the Tighe-Durrant conversation in Williams's 'Place of the Lion' :) With a twist, of course.
Mel Marshall Melek Cansu Petek This reminds me of you somehow. :)
Sarah Bateman Shanleigh thought of you.
Brenda Swift Campbell Oh, but in life take the road less travelled.
Rory Holbrook Drake Holbrook thinking of the story 😊
Brenda Swift Campbell ❤️C.S. Lewis
Joanna Wilson YES.
Jean Pederson Ae, Neldoreth!
Pamela Graham Ahh yes.
Alex Shim Mind blown.
Laura Ross I've always thought my woods enchanted. ☺️
Caleb Miller No wonder he and Tolkien wrote of such wonderful forests
Sarah Nemelka Mansfield Pure poetry
Elijah Moon That's true!
Ibtissam Fadili
Megan James Isaac Withers such a babe
Jennifer Frazier Chadukiewicz RC Kupson Janet Selenite Jennifer Dauphinais
Tina King Harberson Nicole Harberson Johnson for Frazier
Alethia Villafranca Kyla Isabel Burgos Jaycee Andreah Villaraza
12 May
RT @HarperCollins: From the #hc200 archives: A letter from #CSLewis outlining his three types of "literary output" (1954). https://t.co/1VK… CSLewis photo
26 Apr
Lewis on democratic values, threats to educational & spiritual fulfillment, literary censorship & more ($1.99 ebook) https://t.co/vRn1vI1rNo
22 Apr
"The moment good taste knows itself, some of its goodness is lost." ~A Mind Awake by #CSLewis

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Friends, you are cordially invited to join a HarperCollins Christian Publishing Google Hangout TOMORROW on "Discussing Mere Christianity" with scholar and professor Dr. Devin Brown (11am ET). This event will be hosted by Mark Smith, General Manager at FaithGateway and admirer of C. S. Lewis:

Register Here: http://bit.ly/DiscussingMereChristianityEvent

Note: If you can't make the live event, you can still register now to get access to the replay afterwards.
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