Quotes from The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis ·  223 pages

Rating: (259K votes)


“She's the sort of woman who lives for others - you can tell the others by their hunted expression.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. ”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters



“[God] will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest chemist's shop.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Suspicion often creates what it suspects.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters



“When He [God] talks of their losing their selves, He means only abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern."

[From the Preface]
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time--for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out...”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters



“Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. ”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Humans are amphibians...half spirit and half animal...as spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time, means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation--the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others...thus, while the woman thinks of doing good offices and the man of respecting other people’s rights, each sex, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“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 signposts.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Music. A meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters



“When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother's eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy - if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this easily managed.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact? All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“When they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human's mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“No man who says, 'I'm as good as you,' believes it. He would not say it if he did.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters



“Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


“By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the the impossible.”
― C.S. Lewis, quote from The Screwtape Letters


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About the author

C.S. Lewis
Born place: in Belfast, Ireland
Born date November 29, 1898
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