Weight of Glory

Weight of Glory

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by C. S. Lewis
     
 

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The classic Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, contains nine sermons delivered by Lewis during World War Two. The nine addresses in Weight of Glory offer guidance, inspiration, and a compassionate apologetic for the Christian faith during a time of great doubt.

Overview

The classic Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, contains nine sermons delivered by Lewis during World War Two. The nine addresses in Weight of Glory offer guidance, inspiration, and a compassionate apologetic for the Christian faith during a time of great doubt.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Lewis combines a novelist's insights into motives with a profound religious understanding.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060653200
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/2001
Series:
C. S. Lewis Signature Classics
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
57,223
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

Read an Excerpt

Weight of Glory

Chapter One

The Weight of Glory

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We arefar too easily pleased.

We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair. There are different kinds of rewards. There is the reward which has no natural connection with the things you do to earn it and is quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany those things. Money is not the natural reward of love; that is why we call a man mercenary if he marries a woman for the sake of her money. But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and he is not mercenary for desiring it. A general who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; a general who fights for victory is not, victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love. The proper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation. There is also a third case, which is more complicated. An enjoyment of Greek poetry is certainly a proper, and not a mercenary, reward for learning Greek; but only those who have reached the stage of enjoying Greek poetry can tell from their own experience that this is so. The schoolboy beginning Greek grammar cannot look forward to his adult enjoyment of Sophocles as a lover looks forward to marriage or a general to victory. He has to begin by working for marks, or to escape punishment, or to please his parents, or, at best, in the hope of a future good which he cannot at present imagine or desire. His position, therefore, bears a certain resemblance to that of the mercenary; the reward he is going to get will, in actual fact, be a natural or proper reward, but he will not know that till he has got it. Of course, he gets it gradually; enjoyment creeps in upon the mere drudgery, and nobody could point to a day or an hour when the one ceased and the other began. But it is just insofar as he approaches the reward that he becomes able to desire it for its own sake; indeed, the power of so desiring it is itself a preliminary reward.

The Christian, in relation to heaven, is in much the same position as this schoolboy. Those who have attained everlasting life in the vision of God doubtless know very well that it is no mere bribe, but the very consummation of their earthly discipleship; but we who have not yet attained it cannot know this in the same way, and cannot even begin to know it at all except by continuing to obey and finding the first reward of our obedience in our increasing power to desire the ultimate reward. Just in proportion as the desire grows, our fear lest it should be a mercenary desire will die away and finally be recognised as an absurdity. But probably this will not, for most of us, happen in a day; poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship.

But there is one other important similarity between the schoolboy and ourselves. If he is an imaginative boy, he will, quite probably, be revelling in the English poets and romancers suitable to his age some time before he begins to suspect that Greek grammar is going to lead him to more and more enjoyments of this same sort. He may even be neglecting his Greek to read Shelley and Swinburne in secret. In other words, the desire which Greek is really going to gratify already exists in him and is attached to objects which seem to him quite unconnected with Xenophon and the verbs in [Greek]. Now, if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object. And this, I think, is just what we find. No doubt there is one point in which my analogy of the schoolboy breaks down.

Weight of Glory. 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
Education:
Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925
Website:
http://www.cslewisclassics.com

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Weight of Glory 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book, The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis has written nine separate sermons that were then turned into a book. Throughout the text Lewis shares his ideas about pacifism, human nature, forgiveness, the inner ring, and a few more topics. In his writings, Lewis uses logic, the Bible, and other examples to give new viewpoints on each topic. With Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis does more than answer a question, he gives reasoning and method to make his point. For instance, in the beginning of his piece called "Why I'm not a pacifist" he takes the time to educate his readers/listeners on the art of logical thinking. It contains intellectual and rational thinking. The reader will be left, with some thinking to do. Lewis’s ideas and arguments bring fresh insight to difficult issues of Christian apologetics. This book would be recommended to readers who want to be challenged in their Christian faith and their ways of thinking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is yet another powerful read from C.S. Lewis. Lewis discusses topics like glory, human nature, and war with an honesty and precision like none other. His conclusions are somehow both incredibly profound and incredibly inevitable—his words surprise and challenge you, and yet his arguments are so straightforward and clear that you cannot help but agree with him. Lewis’s writing has incredible power and meaning. The Weight of Glory, the sermon after which the book is named, changed my perspective on glory as a Christian in much the same way as his. As Lewis puts it, Christian glory is “not fame conferred by our fellow creatures—[it is] fame with God, approval or (I might say) ‘appreciation’ by God.” My entire conception of glory and humility changed in an instant when I read this single short paragrah. That is the startling power of Lewis’s writing. Lewis’s wonderful talent for analogy is also on full display here. His metaphors are so precise, relatable, and full of meaning that the images stick in your head long after the rest of the sermon fades from memory. In the opening pages of The Weight of Glory Lewis writes that “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” This is such a powerful and convicting image for our relationship with God and our reluctance to follow Him, and it is only on page two! The Weight of Glory will convict, comfort, and inspire its readers to be better citizens, better people, and better Christians. Pick this book up and read it—you will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While reading The Weight of Glory, I found that I needed to be fully invested in CS Lewis' writing in order to really absorb what he was saying (or else I would get lost and confused in his extensive explanations and never ending examples). But at the end of each chapter I left with a sense of enlightenment and encouragement. The main point I left with from this text was to make Christ be the center of EVERYTHING I do. I found myself reflecting on my own life and created goals to further my relationship with Christ. As always, Lewis' use of biblical and logical reason, metaphors and analogies, and his constant humble tone makes his ideas easy to understand and incorporate into your own life. As you read, you know that the Lord is using Lewis has his tool to reach thousands of people and to tell them how to better their relationship with Christ. If you are a Christian who is striving for challenges, this book introduces you to a range of topics and gives you the support to explore them further.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a section at a time, give myself some time to digest what I have read. Some themes give me pause to contemplate and ask questions of myself.
booksandbeverages More than 1 year ago
Excited for the discussion tomorrow!(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!) You know when you read a book and once you finish you think “huh, not at all what I was expecting.” That’s how I felt after finishing The Weight of Glory. By no means is this a bad thing, not one bit, but there was such a variety of topics, it made for some interesting reading. I also think the fact that I have been reading Mere Christianity (for my bible study) at the same time, played a role in those expectations. But of course I’m glad I read it! One of the takeaways for me was the vast amount of topics Lewis not only preached on, but his knowledge on so many of them. I’m pretty sure I was looking up names, pieces of literature and philosophies every other page. Like Pelagian? Oh yes, my friends and I were chatting about that just the other night….oh wait…. (It’s the belief that sin didn’t taint humanity, so there’s no need for Divine aid, in case you’re in my boat). I love that in each of his books, Lewis is honest about his struggles. His humility is evident through his passion and writings. It always makes for intense, yet awesome reading experiences. One of my favorite chapters was the book’s namesake “The Weight of Glory.” He wasted no time at all. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.“ Loved this: “For they are not the thing itself [speaking of the beauty we find in books and music]; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not yet heard, news from a country we have never yet visited…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 been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years. Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modern philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth.” One more from this chapter: “A scientist may reply that since most of the things we call beautiful are inanimate, it is not very surprising that they take no notice of us. That, of course, is true. It is not the physical objects that I am speaking of, but that indescribable something of which they become for a moment the messengers.“ This was not as easy of a read for me as say, Mere Christianity. Was that the case for any of y’all? Some chapters (like Transposition) were very philosophical. I felt like a freshman all over again in my philosophy 101 class. Say what did I just read?? Let’s go ahead and read that again… More at http://booksandbeverages.org/2015/08/19/the-weight-of-glory-by-c-s-lewis-inklings-series-discussion/
MarissaP More than 1 year ago
The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis is a book that consists of many unrelated sermons, with each sermon is powerful, and challenging, and has a specific goal, an ultimate purpose, all based on the desire to glorify God. The book is a fairly easy read that’s main focus is towards Christians, and how Christians should live their lives. Lewis explains the true meaning of forgiveness for Christians, Christians are to dedicate every action they make to God’s glory, Christians are not to give in to their desires of being part of the inner circle, and about how Christians are supposed to see themselves as distinct individuals coming together with other Christians inside the church all because of God’s love for us and our desire to glorify Him. Lewis turns an idea that has been taken over by the secular world, back to how it was meant to be in order to glorify God. This book and its many sermons are eye opening, humbling, and convicting, yet, Lewis is able to turn each sermon into an uplifting and encouraging message. He doesn’t condemn Christians who have fallen short from what God has called them to be, he is supportive, and gives simple, clear nudges for Christians to reevaluate how they live their life, and reminds them to return to the mindset of living for God. I agree with Lewis’s stance on how Christians should live their life. Lewis is very effective at portraying his view on how Christians should live by using real life examples and putting his own personal struggles and experiences into his writing. This book has an emotional appeal, challenging Christians to live life differently, challenging us to live according to God’s standards, and to see the world through God’s eyes. The book has specifically challenged some of the ways I live as a Christian. The strongest lesson I learned was from the sermon Forgiveness. Lewis explained forgiveness is not a one way street, in order for God to forgive us, we are called to forgive others. It was a good reminder to me, and challenged me to put an extra emphasis on forgiving others, as God calls us to do. My favorite quote from this sermon is on pages 182-183 “Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us’.” Leads back to the main idea of the whole sermon. All individual Christians need to practice taking the part of forgiveness to heart, each and every time we ask God to forgive us of our sins. Frequently we recite it out of habit, not realizing when we are not forgiving the one who have sinned against us, or when we are asking God to excuse rather than forgive. Overall The Weight of Glory is a very well written, compelling book that reaches out to his audience, who are primarily Christians. I suggest purchasing this book for yourself and giving it a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
C. S. Lewis was a very profound writer. He approaches Christianity in a very philosophical way which brings to light deep questions. In his book Weight of Glory he has a collection of sermons which touches topics of forgiveness, pacifism, membership, and more. His approaches to all of the topics are logical and flow very well. If there is a person looking for more clear insight into the Christian faith C. S. Lewis’ Weight of Glory is the book for you. C.S. Lewis has a lot of clarity in his writings about Christianity. He breaks down questions so that they cannot be passed up without a true understanding of the topic. For example in C. S. Lewis’ sermon “Membership” he breaks down what a family structure looks like and what that means for the church. “The grandfather, the parents, the grownup son … are true members (in the organic sense), precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable.” The depth that C.S. Lewis shows in his writings are sure to give a proper understanding of the topic and give the person longing for a Christian insight clarity and comfort.
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MercyStreet More than 1 year ago
C. S. Lewis' lectures in his day were relevant to the times and human nature. He doesn't get bogged down explaining scripture, but transparently, with deep thoughtfulness, considers human ethics. He seems to be thinking out loud as he reasons through some of man's toughest choices. Like a treasure hunter going into the depths of the sea, he prepares, guides and rescues the reader just before the student thinks he knows more than the teacher. He doesn't just tell about the nature of God, he lives out what he believes to be God's will for himself and friends who know him well.
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