Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Defense of Glory (with an excerpt from an Original Orthodox Rebel)

Not too many posts ago, I published an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' essay "The Weight of Glory". One of the things I like about Lewis is the perfect way that he puts things. His wording not only sounds nice but also makes his ideas make sense. Another thing I like about him I discovered recently: he's not original, at least not entirely. Much of his thinking was just a rewording (or "redelivering") of what Christians have believed and taught as orthodox for centuries. As proof, I present this excerpt from St. Augustine's Confessions (viz., XIII.10). This small section is a good representation of one of the key elements on Augustinian thought, i.e., that we can never rest until we rest in God. Such thinking sounds suspiciously like Lewis; or perhaps I should say, Lewis sounds suspiciously like Augustine. You be the judge.

Why is it said of him [i.e., the Holy Spirit] alone that he is "your gift"? [Because] in that gift we find our stability, there we enjoy you yourself. Our stabilization is our peace. So love tumbles us toward it, your Spirit's favoring will drawing our lowliness up from the portals of death. In that favoring will is our peace.

A physical object tends by its weight to find its natural level. It does not tend, necessarily, downward but toward whatever its natural level is. Fire tends up as a stone tends down. Their weight keeps them in motion until they find their own level. Oil poured under water comes to the surface. Water poured out over oil sinks below it. Their weight keeps them in motion until they find their level. Out of their proper place, they are unstable. In their proper place, they are stabilized. The weight moving me is love. By your gift we are kindled and borne upward, we are set afire and we go, we "ascends the heart's ascents" and "sing the climbing song." It is your fire, your fire for good, that burns in us as we go up toward "our peace, which is Jerusalem," since "I take joy from those who told me, We are going to the Lord's house." There your favor will give us our proper place and we shall wish for nothing but "to stay there eternally."



  1. I find it funny you mention that Lewis isn't entirely original, as the idea had stuck me as i read the earlier post ( that the use of the word "original" about Lewis in the title was, in one sense at least, inadequate. Lewis was not original, in that he was orthodox. As Chesterton conveys in his book Orthodoxy, what he thought were his own new philosophical ideas turned out in fact to be two thousand years old. He rebelled against the philosophies of the world and found himself in Christendom. The same could no doubt be applied to Lewis, in that all his good ideas were not really "his ideas" in the first place.
    Chesterton, Lewis, Augustine, and all that Great Cloud, were "Original Orthodox Rebels" in that they did not make up their own rules, as so many others did and do: rather they followed the ancient, sacred creeds (that narrow road that so few others dared tread!) They backed away from all the rebellions, eccentricities, and extremism around them, and suddenly found themselves with their backs to the Cross. They rebelled against all the heresies, and found that they were standing on Orthodoxy.

  2. Dude, that second paragraph is like THE "orthodox rebel" mission statement (esp. the very last sentence).

    Would you like royalties?

  3. Nah, but Chesterton or Augustine might... or maybe the Apostle Paul.