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Wednesday, September 01, 2004 AD
Lewis Quote
I transcribed this from the tape for Todd, and, wanting to have used my time efficiently, decided to post it here, too:
As so often, the words of our Lord Himself are at once far fiercer and far more tolerable than those of the doctors. He says nothing about guarding ourselves from earthly loves for fear they should bring us suffering. He says something that cracks like a whip about trampling them ruthlessly underfoot when they hold us back from following Him. ‘If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother and wife and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple.’ The crack of the whip is there, I think, because the strength and, up to a point, legitimacy of the affections is taken for granted. One doesn’t bring a battery to demolish a molehill.

But what, for practical purposes, does the word hate here mean? That the Lord of love should be telling us to hate (in plain prose, anyone)—to cherish feelings of vindictive resentment, to gloat over another’s misery and rage at his happiness—is of course out of the question. To hate in Scripture means primarily to set aside, discount, reject—almost to fail as an examiner fails a candidate. The duty of, on occasion, hating those whom we love remains, even when thus interpreted, a very terrible one. And it’s also very hard to be sure when the occasion has arisen.

Some of us are too ready to think that it has, others are not ready enough, and all of us are likely to be mistaken as to which sort of people we are. Sometimes a wise friend knows, more rarely he will tell us, most rarely of all we may endure to be told what we are. The extent to which a man can discern and perform this duty will depend on the extent to which his whole life is already been transformed by the Spirit of God. If it has, then the natural loves will already have been placed under, and in some degree converted into agapé.

The Cavalier poet could reasonably say, ‘I could not love thee, dear, so much/Loved I not honour more,’ because his mistress was a Cavalier lady, who already admitted the claims of honour. There are women, and in other ways not bad ones, to whom the mention of it would be meaningless—just one of those silly things that men talk about. If natural love could, in the Cavalier lady, be thus submitted to such a quartergod (for he’s not even a demigod) as honour, how much more should it, in a Christian, be submitted to agapé, that is, to love itself.

And that brings us back to our main subject. In particular instances, we may have to renounce a natural love altogether, but mercifully, the duty laid upon us is more often that of retaining it, and subjecting it to, indeed transforming it into agapé. These natural loves must accept the transformation even for their own sakes—must submit to become second things if they’re to remain things at all. For when God rules in a human heart, though He may often have to dismiss some of the native authorities, He often continues some in office, and by subjecting their offices to Him, gives them for the first time a firm and durable basis.
From The Four Loves, tape four, side one (assuming it still comes on four tapes). Hey, lookee: A downloadable version! But it's really bizarre that "Customers who bought this title also bought: Get Anyone to Do Anything and Never Feel Powerless Again by David J. Lieberman." Blech! And I thought it was strange enough juxtaposing Lewis and Jimmy Buffet!
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9/01/2004 09:11:00 PM • Permalink

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