Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vintage Pharisee

But now for the pleasantest part of my duty. It falls to my lot to propose on behalf of the guests the health of Principal Slubgob and the Tempters' Training College. Fill your glasses. What is this I see? What is this delicious bouquet I inhale? Can it be? Mr. Principal, I unsay all my hard words about the dinner. I see, and smell, that even under wartime conditions the College cellar still has a few dozen of sound old vintage Pharisee. Well, well, well. This is like old times. Hold it beneath your nostrils for a moment, gentledevils. Hold it up to the light. Look at those fiery streaks that writhe and tangle in its dark heart, as if they were contending. And so they are. You know how this wine is blended? Different types of Pharisee have been harvested, trodden, and fermented together to produce its subtle flavour. Types that were most antagonistic to one another on earth. Some were all rules and relics and rosaries; others were all drab clothes, long faces, and petty traditional abstinences from wine or cards or the theatre. Both had in common their self-righteousness and the almost infinite distance between their actual outlook and anything the Enemy really is or commands. The wickedness of other religions was the really live doctrine in the religion of each; slander was its gospel and denigration its litany. How they hated each other up there where the sun shone. How much more they hate each other now that they are forever conjoined but not reconciled. Their astonishment, their resentment, at the combination, the festering of their eternally impenitent spite, passing into our spiritual digestion, will work like fire. Dark fire. All said and done, my friends, and it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by 'religion' ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighbourhood of the Holy. Nowhere do we tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the altar.
~C.S. Lewis, "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", The Screwtape Letters (1942)

3 Comment(s):

At Thu Feb 22, 07:18:00 AM EST, Blogger veldugo01 said...

Hey! Thanks for coming back...
Fausto Liriano
Dominican Republic

 
At Thu Feb 22, 10:24:00 AM EST, Blogger Martin LaBar said...

I am enjoying, and reading.

Thanks for your good work!

 
At Fri Feb 23, 01:14:00 PM EST, Blogger Roger R. said...

My Inklings blog... with tribute, is on http://oxfordinklings.blogspot.com

Roger R.

 

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