Category Archives: Joy

“Here at last is the thing I was made for” by C.S. Lewis

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.

You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that.

Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all of your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw– but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported.

Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of– something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side?

Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling of that which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?

You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it – tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.

But if it should ever really become manifest – if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say, ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’

We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.

While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperCollins, 1940/1996), 149-151.

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“Love is one grand secret of successful training” by J.C. Ryle

“Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience. I do not mean that you are to spoil him, but I do mean that you should let him see that you love him.

Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys,—these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily,—these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.

Few are to be found, even among grown-up people, who are not more easy to draw than to drive. There is that in all our minds which rises in arms against compulsion; we set up our backs and stiffen our necks at the very idea of a forced obedience.

We are like young horses in the hand of a breaker: handle them kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many a month before you get the mastery of them at all.

Now children’s minds are cast in much the same mould as our own. Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw them back. It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself to find the door.

But let them only see that you have an affectionate feeling towards them,—that you are really desirous to make them happy, and do them good,—that if you punish them, it is intended for their profit, and that you would give your heart’s blood to nourish their souls.

Let them see this, I say, and they will soon be all your own. But they must be wooed with kindness, if their attention is ever to be won.

And surely reason itself might teach us this lesson. Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such, they need patient and considerate treatment.

We must handle them delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do more harm than good. They are like young plants, and need gentle watering,—often, but little at a time.

We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear.

Their minds are like a lump of metal—not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows. Their understandings are like narrow-necked vessels: we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled and lost.

‘Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,’ must be our rule. The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge.

Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done.

Nothing will compensate for the absence of this tenderness and love. A minister may speak the truth as it is in Jesus, clearly, forcibly, unanswerably; but if he does not speak it in love, few souls will be won.

Just so you must set before your children their duty,—command, threaten, punish, reason,—but if affection be wanting in your treatment, your labour will be all in vain.

Love is one grand secret of successful training. Anger and harshness may frighten, but they will not persuade the child that you are right; and if he sees you often out of temper, you will soon cease to have his respect. A father who speaks to his son as Saul did to Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:30), need not expect to retain his influence over that son’s mind.

Try hard to keep up a hold on your child’s affections. It is a dangerous thing to make your children afraid of you.

Anything is almost better than reserve and constraint between your child and yourself; and this will come in with fear. Fear puts an end to openness of manner;—fear leads to concealment;—fear sows the seed of much hypocrisy, and leads to many a lie.

There is a mine of truth in the Apostle’s words to the Colossians:’“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged’ (Col. 3:21).

Let not the advice it contains be overlooked.”

–J.C. Ryle, The Upper Room (London: William Hunt and Company, 1888), 285–287.

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“We cannot grow too much in grace” by Thomas Watson

“We cannot grow too much in grace.”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1692/1970), 275.

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“Here joy begins to enter into us, there we shall enter into joy” by Thomas Watson

“‘Is His mercy clean gone?’ (Psalm 77:8). Now, when the soul is in this case, and ready to faint away in despair, God shines upon the soul, and gives it some apprehension of His favour, and turns the shadow of death into the light of the morning…

If God gives His people such joy in this life: O then what glorious joy will He give them in heaven! ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,’ (Matthew 25:21). Here joy begins to enter into us, there we shall enter into joy; God keeps His best wine till last.”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1692/1970), 269, 272-273.

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“The way of most holiness is always the way of most happiness” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us leave the passage with the settled conviction that sin is sure to lead to sorrow, and that the way of most holiness is always the way of most happiness.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1857/2012), 263-264. Ryle is commenting on Mark 14:66-72.

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“The happiness of the believer shall endure as long as God endures” by Jonathan Edwards

“Believers shall live in a most glorious place, the heaven of heavens, God’s throne and the palace of His glory. If the palaces of earthly princes are so glorious, how glorious must that be which is the palace of Jehovah!

If the temple at Jerusalem, a temple of men’s building, was so splendid and glorious as to cause the Queen of Sheba even to swoon at the very sight of it, how glorious must that temple be which the Almighty has built for Himself with His own hands!

But dwelling in such a glorious place is but the least part of the happiness of heaven. There is the conversation with saints: with holy men of old, Moses, Job, David, Elijah, with the prophets and apostles, and besides that, with the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5) who was crucified for mankind at Jerusalem.

Neither is that the chief thing, the Beatifical Vision of God: that is the tip of happiness! To see a God of infinite glory and majesty face to face, to see Him as He is, and to know Him as we are known, and to be admitted into the most intimate acquaintance with Him, to be embraced as in His arms: this is such a privilege as Moses himself could not be admitted to while on earth.

The vision and fruition of God will be so intimate and clear as to transform the soul into the likeness of God: ‘We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is,’ says the Apostle (1 John 3:2).

This happiness shall be eternal. This crowns it!

However great the happiness of heaven were in itself, yet it would detract from it if it were not to be eternal. If the saints in heaven were sure they should enjoy heaven some thousands of years, and after that it should be at an end, it would cast a great damp upon their joys and delights.

It would much grieve them to think that they should lose so great a happiness, and at last it would be a cloud in their light, a bitter in the midst of their sweet.

But it is not so. They are sure that they shall enjoy it forever, and this redoubles the joy: Rev. 22:5, ‘And they shall reign forever and ever.’

So great is the happiness of the saved soul! They shall be delivered from all manner of sin, temptation, trouble and affliction, and shall live in the palace which God has built and where He Himself doth dwell, and there shall enjoy everything they wish for.

They shall enjoy the company of prophets, apostles, martyrs, angels and archangels. They shall see the man Christ Jesus, and even Jehovah Himself, the Eternal Three in One, and shall be intimately united to Him.

And this happiness of theirs shall endure as long as God endures. How precious, then, must the salvation of that soul be in whose salvation is so much happiness.”

—Jonathan Edwards, “The Value of Salvation,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720–1723, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 10, Eds. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1992), 10: 324–325.

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“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness” by C.S. Lewis

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency.

I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.

Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.

For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them.

And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses(New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 29-31.

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