C.S. Lewis' Essays

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PUBLIC LIBRARY

DATE DUE

THE WORLD'S LAST NIGHT AND OTHER ESSAYS

ALSO BY

C. S.

LEWIS

The

Screwtape Letters
Miracles

The Problem

of Pain

Transposition

The

Pilgrim's Regress

The
The

Great Divorce

George MacDonald:

An

Anthology

Abolition of

Man

Mere

Christianity

Surprised by Joy
Reflections

on the Psalms

For Children

The

Lion, the Witch and the

Wardrobe

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Silver Chair The Horse and His Boy The Magician's Nephew

The

Last Battle
Fiction

Out

of the Silent Planet

Perelandra

That Hideous Strength Till We Have Faces

The World's

Last Night

AND OTHER ESSAYS BY
C.
S.

Lewis

Harcourt, Brace and

Company

New

York

1952, i955>

1

9$>

J

959>

1

9Q

b7

c

-

s

-

Lewis

"Screwtape Proposes a Toast" copyright

1959 by Helen Joy Lewis

All rights reserved.

No

part of this book

may be

reproduced in any form or by any mechanical means,
including mimeograph and tape recorder, without

permission in writing from the publisher.

first

edition

appeared in The Atlantic Monthly (January, n Obstinacy in Belief," a paper read to the Socratic Club, Oxford, in The Sewanee Review (Autumn, 1955); "Lilies That Fester"

"The
1

Efficacy of Prayer*' "

959)

The Twentieth Century (April, 1955); "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" The Saturday Evening Post (December, 1959); "Good Work and Good Works" in Catholic Art Quarterly (Christmas, 1959); "Religion in
in

and Rocketry"
Space?")
(as

in Christian

Herald

(as

"Will

We

Lose

God

in

Outer

(April, 1958);

"The World's Last Night"
Its

in Religion in Life

"The

Christian

Hope

Meaning

for

Today")

(Winter, 1952).

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 60-5439
Printed in the United States of America

CONTENTS
ONE: THE EFFICACY OF PRAYER:
3

TWO: ON OBSTINACY IN

BELIEF'. 1$
51

THREE: LILIES THAT FESTER:

FOUR: SCREWTAPE PROPOSES A TOAST;
FIVE:
SIX*.

51 ^1

GOOD WORK AND GOOD WORKS:
RELIGION AND ROCKETRY: 83

SEVEN: THE WORLD'S LAST NIGHT: 93

THE WORLD'S LAST NIGHT AND OTHER ESSAYS

ONE

THE EFFICACY OF PRAYER

years ago

I

got

up

one morning Intending to have my hair cut in preparation for a visit to London, and the first letter I opened made it clear I need not go to London. So I decided to put the haircut off too. But then there began the most unaccountable little nagging in my mind, almost like a voice saying, "Get it cut all the same. Go and get it cut/* In the end I could stand it no longer. I went. Now my barber at that time was a fellow Christian and a man of

many
he

troubles

whom my
I

brother and
I

been able
said,

to help.

The moment

had sometimes opened his shop door
I

"Oh,
if I

And

in fact

was praying you might come today/' had come a day or so later I should have still.

been of no use to him. It awed me; it awes me
ber's prayers

But of course one cannot
might be telepathy.
It

rigorously prove a causal connection between the bar-

and

my

visit.

It

might be accident. I have stood by the bedside of a woman whose thighbone was eaten through with cancer and who had thriving colonies of the disease in

many

other bones as well.

THE WORLD'S LAST NIGHT
took three people to move her In bed. The doctors the nurses (who often predicted a few months of life; It

know

better), a

few weeks.

A

good man

laid his

hands

on her and prayed.
(uphill, too,

A year later the patient was walking
miraculous/'

who

the man through rough woodland) and took the last X-ray photos was saying, "These as solid as rock. It's

bones are
as all

But once again

no...
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