31 October 2007

C. S. Lewis: Humility

In working on a scholarly book on 16th century English literature, C. S. Lewis remarked in a 1951 personal letter to a friend that he is fearful that he'll make some dreadful mistake and it will only be discovered once the book is in print. He responds to his own thought by writing:

This, I suppose, is good for one's soul: and the kind of good I must learn to digest. I am going to be (if I live long enough) one of those men who was a famous writer in his forties and died unknown--like Christian going down into the green valley of humiliation. Which is the most beautiful thing in Bunyan and can be the most beautiful thing in life if a man takes it quite rightly--a matter I think and pray about a good deal. One thing is certain: much better to begin (at least) learning humility on this side of the grave than to have it all as a fresh problem on the other. Anyway, the desire which has to be mortified is such a vulgar and silly one.

--Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, 3:150

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