book

The Screwtape Letters Quotes

21 of the best book quotes from The Screwtape Letters
  1. #1
    “A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”
  2. #2
    “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.”
  3. #3
    “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
  4. #4
    “Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.”
  5. #5
    Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.
  6. #6
    Tortured fear and stupid confidence are both desirable states of mind.
  7. #7
    “Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.”
  1. #8
    Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.
  2. #9
    Make full use of the fact that up to a certain point, fatigue makes women talk more and men talk less. Much secret resentment, even between lovers, can be raised from this.
  3. #10
    Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
  4. #11
    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.
  5. #12
    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.
  6. #13
    Suspicion often creates what it suspects.
  7. #14
    When He 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.
  1. #15
    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.
  2. #16
    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.
  3. #17
    You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours . . . The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the sun and moon as his chattels....
  4. #18
    All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged.
  5. #19
    If you can once get him to the point of thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point,’ you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all- and more amusing.
  6. #20
    Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden.
  7. #21
    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.