Saturday, June 23, 2012
Book Review: From the Library of C.S. Lewis
I love words, and using them to express the characteristics of God by using words to paint pictures. I enjoy the writings of C.S. Lewis, because he was a master word painter. Although I don't agree with all his theology, I have been deeply affected by some of his rich expressions of the attributes of God. I wanted to see what was behind a man who said things like, "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him, than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell (*The Problem of Pain*);" and “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (*The Weight of Glory*). C.S. Lewis was a great writer because he was a great reader. Books in his library were authored by people like Augustine, William Wordsworth, John Donne, Martin Luther, Tolkien, Brother Lawrence, and John Calvin, to name a few. "*Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners*", Luther's "*Table Talk*", and the Confessions of Augustine gave Lewis a rich and deep knowledge of God's glory and grace. He read poetry, science fiction, and deep theological writings from the early church fathers and the Puritans. He was a very diverse and yet particular bibliophile. When I received the book "*From the Library of C.S. Lewis*, I dove right in. Page after page full of excerpts from one profound thinker after another. It was overwhelming! So I have decided to use this tome as more of a devotional type book. The book is divided into eighteen sections, including "Follow After Agape", "Constant Dying", "The Eyes of Your Heart", and "Borne on the Gusts of Genius". Each section has a number of different selections from various authors, most one or two pages in length. I find these perfect for reading in the morning or at lunch, to give my mind something to chew on throughout each day. Here are a few "choice morsels" I have feasted on recently: "For He alone, the Lord of Hosts, does wonders; He preserves His sheep in the midst of wolves, and Himself so afflicts them, that we plainly see our faith consists not in the power of human wisdom, but in the power of God, for although Christ permit one of His sheep to be devoured, yet he sends ten or more others in his place." p. 32 "...even the enlightened person remains what he is, and is never more than his own limited ego before the One who dwells in him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the earth and as vast as the sky." p. 123 These are most excellent word pictures of God! We in this age of shallow thought and base pleasures would do well to come often to this book, to ponder the God we find there, and make Him the supreme treasure of our hearts. I appreciate James Stuart Bell's effort in bringing us the food of Lewis' thought life. It is most tasty and fulfilling. I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review. I was not required to give a favorable review.