Monday, July 7, 2008

Chapter 8

"You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of
His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He
chooses and at any moment. But now you see that the Irresistible and
the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His
scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His
felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would
certainly do) would be for Him useless.  He cannot ravish.  He can
only woo.  For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it too;
the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to
cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.  He is perpared to
override at the beginning.  He will set them off with communications
of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with
emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation.  But He never
allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He
withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience,
all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up
on its own legs--to carry out from the will alone duties which have
lost all relish.
   It is during such trough periods, much more than during the
peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it
to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those
which please Him best. He wants them to learn to walk and must
therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really
there He is pleased with even their stumbles. 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."

- Lewis, Screwtape Letters, Chapter 8

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