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The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics
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The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

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by C. S. Lewis

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The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics contains seven essential volumes by C.S. Lewis, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed and Lewis’s prophetic examination of universal values, The Abolition of Man. Beautiful


The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics contains seven essential volumes by C.S. Lewis, including Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed and Lewis’s prophetic examination of universal values, The Abolition of Man. Beautiful and timeless, this is a vital collection by one of the greatest Christian literary figures of the twentieth century.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)
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18 Years

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Mere Christianity

Chapter One

The Law of Human Nature

Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: 'How'd you like it if anyone did the same to you?' -- 'That's my seat, I was there first' -- 'Leave him alone, he isn't doing you any harm' -- 'Why should you shove in first?' -- 'Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine' -- 'Come on, you promised.' People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man's behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: 'To hell with your standard.' Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behaviour or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not,they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the 'laws of nature' we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong 'the Law of Nature', they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation, and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law -- with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

We may put this in another way. Each man is at every moment subjected to several different sets of law but there is only one of these which he is free to disobey. As a body, he is subjected to gravitation and cannot disobey it; if you leave him unsupported in mid-air, he has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he is subjected to various biological laws which he cannot disobey any more than an animal can. That is, he cannot disobey those laws which he shares with other things; but the law which is peculiar to his human nature, the law he does not share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things, is the one he can disobey if he chooses.

This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are colour-blind or have no ear for a tune. But taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behaviour was obvious to every one. And I believe they were right. If they were not, then all the things we said about the war were nonsense. What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practised? If they had had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the colour of their hair.

I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to -- whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked...

The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. Copyright © by C. Lewis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 29, 1898
Date of Death:
November 22, 1963
Place of Birth:
Belfast, Nothern Ireland
Place of Death:
Headington, England
Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

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The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Holy-Quest More than 1 year ago
C.S. Lewis remains one of the most persuasive and relevant Christian writers because he assumed an atheistic, relativistic, and New Age audience and offered them a Christianity that was basic and orthodox. He was unafraid of tackling the difficult questions that believers and unbelievers struggle with for answers. Lewis provided sound, logical responses to these questions in his clear, crisp style. When I struggle with my own doubts, when I am weak in my faith, when I am troubled by the world around me, I find solace in three places: Paul's letters, Augustine's Confessions, and the writings of C.S. Lewis. Paul, Augustine, and Lewis were all reluctant converts, but once converted to the faith, they submitted themselves to the work of proclaiming the Gospel and never stopped. They committed all of their faculties to God's service and served Him without shame and without reservation. Lewis inspires me. He provides rational reasons for belief and submission to God. If you're an atheist, I'll offer the same caution that C.S. Lewis gave readers after his conversion to Christianity: "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."
nansel55 More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing read. Multiple stories in one book. Who could ask for more. This book is great for Christians as well as those who are not yet sure of their faith. I encourage everyone to get this. It is well worth the price. Thanks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of C.S. Lewis' most significant works. Lewis was the 20th century's finest theologian and greatest Christian writer. He combines wit, wisdom, philosophical argument, and a thorough understanding of the great thinkers who preceded him in order to explain Christianity, humanity, Christ, creation, and a wide range of modern issues. Intuitively, he also foresaw and addressed many of the post-modern issues that plague us today, as well. I hold C.S. Lewis in highest esteem as a writer, philosopher, theologian, and Christian example.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have no words for how much this collection means to me. I have had it less than a year and the pages are starting to crinkle and the cover is getting worn, becuae I read it so much. C.S. Lewis is my spiritual father and I adore all of his work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book for anyone with questions concerning there faith in Jesus,but a interesting look into christianity. I loved the first part of the book mainly because he dealt with the human laws and explained the need for decency and order. This is a basic principle for any society not just the believer, and those who don't understand why the world is run the way it is must realize that a God created it not just man and his theories.
WildStar More than 1 year ago
I bought this as a gift for a friend who liked the writings of C.S. Lewis. He had been reading bits and pieces of this book when we would go to Barnes and Noble and sit in the Starbucks cafe. So I got this as a Christmas gift for him and he loves it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We gave this as a gift and the recipient was thrilled to have the collection all in one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love C.S. Lewis and I was pleased to find this collection. It's a great introduction to Lewis and made a perfect gift.
bookguy5NC More than 1 year ago
This book had me engaged from the very beginning. Friends have been recommending C.S. Lewis to me for years, but other reading has prevented me from getting to him until now. I'm loving it, and this edition is great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This should be an essential piece in a well-rounded home library.
TomTomDB More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in reading C.S. Lewis, this is a great book. It gives you a great view of his thoughts on a variety of matters. I have enjoyed this book very well. I recommend it to anyone interested in developing a notion of Godly things.
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