Quotes from The Four Loves

C.S. Lewis ·  170 pages

Rating: (34K votes)


“Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass – may pass in the first half hour – into erotic love. Indeed, unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later. And conversely, erotic love may lead to Friendship between the lovers. But this, so far from obliterating the distinction between the two loves, puts it in a clearer light. If one who was first, in the deep and full sense, your Friend, is then gradually or suddenly revealed as also your lover you will certainly not want to share the Beloved’s erotic love with any third. But you will have no jealousy at all about sharing the Friendship. Nothing so enriches an erotic love as the discovery that the Beloved can deeply, truly and spontaneously enter into Friendship with the Friends you already had; to feel that not only are we two united by erotic love but we three or four or five are all travelers on the same quest, have all a common vision.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves



“You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“I have no duty to be anyone's Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“The mark of Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend. The rest of us know that though we can have erotic love and friendship for the same person yet in some ways nothing is less like a Friendship than a love-affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest. Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best. And the reason for this is important.
... In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets... Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, 'Here comes one who will augment our loves.' For in this love 'to divide is not to take away.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one."
... It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision - it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves



“People who bore one another should meet seldom; people who interest one another, often.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth?-Or at least, "Do you care about the same truth?”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves



“Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“The event of falling in love is of such a nature that we are right to reject as intolerable the idea that it should be transitory. In one high bound it has overleaped the massive of our selfhood; it has made appetite itself altruistic, tossed personal happiness aside as a triviality and planted the interests of another in the centre of our being. Spontaneously and without effort we have fulfilled the law (towards one person) by loving our neighbour as ourselves. It is an image, a foretaste, of what we must become to all if Love Himself rules in us without a rival. It is even (well used) a preparation for that.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“In a perfect Friendship this Appreciative love is, I think, often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels, in his secret heart, humbled before the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond desert to be in such company. Especially when the whole group is together; each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others. Those are the golden sessions; when four or five of us after a hard day's walk have come to our inn; when our slippers are on, our feet spread out toward the blaze and our drinks are at our elbows; when the whole world, and something beyond the world, opens itself to our minds as we talk; and no one has any claim on or any responsibility for another, but all are freemen and equals as if we had first met an hour ago, while at the same time an Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us. Life — natural life — has no better gift to give. Who could have deserved it?”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church - read on - and give his life for her (Eph. V, 25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is - in her own mere nature - least lovable. For the Church has not beauty but what the Bride-groom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a King Cophetua who after twenty years still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves



“The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question "Do you see the same truth?" would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing - or should we say "seeing"? there are no tenses in God - the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath's sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a "host" who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and "take advantage of" Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help?”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“It is easy to acknowledge, but almost impossible to realize for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the ris-
ing generation. I am an oldster myself and might be
expected to take the oldsters' side, but in fact I have
been far more impressed by the bad manners of par-
ents to children than by those of children to parents.
Who has not been the embarrassed guest at family
meals where the father or mother treated their
grown-up offspring with an incivility which, offered
to any other young people, would simply have termi-
nated the acquaintance? Dogmatic assertions on mat-
ters which the children understand and their elders
don't, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions,
ridicule of things the young take seriously some-
times of their religion insulting references to their
friends, all provide an easy answer to the question
"Why are they always out? Why do they like every
house better than their home?" Who does not prefer
civility to barbarism?”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves



“But in Friendship, being free of all that, we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Alone among unsympathetic companions, I hold certain views and standards timidly, half ashamed to avow them and half doubtful if they can after all be right. Put me back among my Friends and in half an hour - in ten minutes - these same views and standards become once more indisputable. The opinion of this little circle, while I am in it, outweighs that of a thousand outsiders: as Friendship strengthens, it will do this even when my Friends are far away. For we all wish to be judged by our peers, by the men "after our own heart." Only they really know our mind and only they judge it by standards we fully acknowledge. Theirs is the praise we really covet and the blame we really dread.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, "Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, 'What? You too? I thought I was the only one!”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves


“Friendship, then, like the other natural loves, is unable to save itself. In reality, because it is spiritual and therefore faces a subtler enemy, it must, even more wholeheartedly than they, invoke the divine protection if it hopes to remain sweet. For consider how narrow its true path is. Is must not become what the people call a "mutual admiration society"; yet if it is not full of mutual admiration, of Appreciative love, it is not Friendship at all.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Four Loves



About the author

C.S. Lewis
Born place: in Belfast, Ireland
Born date November 29, 1898
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“You never fail until you stop trying.”
― Misty Griffin, quote from Tears of the Silenced: A True Crime and an American Tragedy; Severe Child Abuse and Leaving the Amish


“Recent scientific sleuthing reported in the prestigious journal Science goes so”
― Sharon Moalem, quote from Survival of the Sickest: A Medical Maverick Discovers Why We Need Disease


“Though my approach throughout the book will be positive and expository, it is worth noting from the outset that I intend to challenge this dominant paradigm in each of its main constituent parts. In general terms, this view holds the following: (1) that the Jewish context provides only a fuzzy setting, in which ‘resurrection’ could mean a variety of different things; (2) that the earliest Christian writer, Paul, did not believe in bodily resurrection, but held a ‘more spiritual’ view; (3) that the earliest Christians believed, not in Jesus’ bodily resurrection, but in his exaltation/ascension/glorification, in his ‘going to heaven’ in some kind of special capacity, and that they came to use ‘resurrection’ language initially to denote that belief and only subsequently to speak of an empty tomb or of ‘seeing’ the risen Jesus; (4) that the resurrection stories in the gospels are late inventions designed to bolster up this second-stage belief; (5) that such ‘seeings’ of Jesus as may have taken place are best understood in terms of Paul’s conversion experience, which itself is to be explained as a ‘religious’ experience, internal to the subject rather than involving the seeing of any external reality, and that the early Christians underwent some kind of fantasy or hallucination; (6) that whatever happened to Jesus’ body (opinions differ as to whether it was even buried in the first place), it was not ‘resuscitated’, and was certainly not ‘raised from the dead’ in the sense that the gospel stories, read at face value, seem to require.11 Of course, different elements in this package are stressed differently by different scholars; but the picture will be familiar to anyone who has even dabbled in the subject, or who has listened to a few mainstream Easter sermons, or indeed funeral sermons, in recent decades.”
― N.T. Wright, quote from The Resurrection of the Son of God


“Einstein himself summed it up thus: ‘The “Principle of Relativity” in its widest sense is contained in the Statement: The totality of physical phenomena is of such a character that it gives no basis for the introduction of the concept of “absolute motion”; or, shorter but less precise: There is no absolute motion.”
― Paul Johnson, quote from Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties


“Upon the exposure of his bribery, it is reported he said, “I should have paid more.”
― David Ebershoff, quote from The 19th Wife


Interesting books

Fifteen Dogs
(13.8K)
Fifteen Dogs
by André Alexis
The Gifting
(4.2K)
The Gifting
by K.E. Ganshert
Tulip Fever
(7.4K)
Tulip Fever
by Deborah Moggach
King Hall
(7.9K)
King Hall
by Scarlett Dawn
KJV Study Bible
(535)
Barracuda
(6.3K)
Barracuda
by Christos Tsiolkas

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.