Monday, May 29, 2017


My dear Wormwood,

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so. We are really faced with a cruel dilemma. When the humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and sceptics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits”—then the end of the war will be in sight. But in the meantime we must obey our orders. I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.
I had not forgotten my promise to consider whether we should make the patient an extreme patriot or an extreme pacifist. All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged. Not always, of course, but at this period. Some ages are lukewarm and complacent, and then it is our business to soothe them yet faster asleep. Other ages, of which the present is one, are unbalanced and prone to faction, and it is our business to inflame them. Any small coterie, bound together by some interest which other men dislike or ignore, tends to develop inside itself a hothouse mutual admiration, and towards the outer world, a great deal of pride and hatred which is entertained without shame because the “Cause” is its sponsor and it is thought to be impersonal. Even when the little group exists originally for the Enemy’s own purposes, this remains true. We want the Church to be small not only that fewer men may know the Enemy but also that those who do may acquire the uneasy intensity and the defensive self-righteousness of a secret society or a clique. The Church herself is, of course, heavily defended and we have never yet quite succeeded in giving her all the characteristics of a faction; but subordinate factions within her have often produced admirable results, from the parties of Paul and of Apollos at Corinth down to the High and Low parties in the Church of England.
If your patient can be induced to become a conscientious objector he will automatically find himself one of a small, vocal, organised, and unpopular society, and the effects of this, on one so new to Christianity, will almost certainly be good. But only almost certainly. Has he had serious doubts about the lawfulness of serving in a just war before this present war began? Is he a man of great physical courage—so great that he will have no half-conscious misgivings about the real motives of his pacifism? Can he, when nearest to honesty (no human is ever very near), feel fully convinced that he is actuated wholly by the desire to obey theEnemy? If he is that sort of man, his pacifism will probably not do us much good, and the Enemy will probably protect him from the usual consequences of belonging to a sect. Your best plan, in that case, would be to attempt a sudden, confused, emotional crisis from which he might emerge as an uneasy convert to patriotism. Such things can often be managed. But if he is the man I take him to be, try Pacifism.
Whichever he adopts, your main task will be the same. Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the “cause”, in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of Pacifism. The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours—and the more “religious” (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here,

Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


My dear Wormwood,

I am delighted to hear that your patient’s age and profession make it possible, but by no means certain, that he will be called up for military service. We want him to be in the maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with contradictory pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear. There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.
Your patient will, of course, have picked up the notion that he must submit with patience to the Enemy’s will. What the Enemy means by this is primarily that he should accept with patience the tribulation which has actually been dealt out to him—the present anxiety and suspense. It is about this that he is to say “Thy will be done”, and for the daily task of bearing this that the daily bread will be provided. It is your business to see that the patient never thinks of the present fear as his appointed cross, but only of the things he is afraid of. Let him regard them as his crosses: let him forget that, since they are incompatible, they cannot all happen to him, and let him try to practise fortitude and patience to them all in advance. For real resignation, at the same moment, to a dozen different and hypothetical fates, is almost impossible, and the Enemy does not greatly assist those who are trying to attain it: resignation to present and actual suffering, even where that suffering consists of fear, is far easier and is usually helped by this direct action.
An important spiritual law is here involved. I have explained that you can weaken his prayers by diverting his attention from the Enemy Himself to his own states of mind about the Enemy. On the other hand fear becomes easier to master when the patient’s mind is diverted from the thing feared to the fear itself, considered as a present and undesirable state of his own mind; and when he regards the fear as his appointed cross he will inevitably think of it as a state of mind. One can therefore formulate the general rule; in all activities of mind which favour our cause, encourage the patient to be un-selfconscious and to concentrate on the object, but in all activities favourable to the Enemy bend his mind back on itself. Let an insult or a woman’s body so fix his attention outward that he does not reflect “I am now entering into the state called Anger—or the state called Lust”. Contrariwise let the reflection “My feelings are now growing more devout, or more charitable” so fix his attention inward that he no longer looks beyond himself to see our Enemy or his own neighbours.
As regards his more general attitude to the war, you must not rely too much on those feelings of hatred which the humans are so fond of discussing in Christian, or anti-Christian, periodicals. In his anguish, the patient can, of course, be encouraged to revenge himself by some vindictive feelings directed towards the German leaders, and that is good so far as it goes. But it is usually a sort of melodramatic or mythical hatred directed against imaginary scapegoats. He has never met these people in real life—they are lay figures modelled on what he gets from newspapers. The results of such fanciful hatred are often most disappointing, and of all humans the English are in this respect the most deplorable milksops. They are creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door.
Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary. There is no good at all in inflaming his hatred of Germans if, at the same time, a pernicious habit of charity is growing up between him and his mother, his employer, and the man he meets in the train. Think of your man as a series of concentric circles, his will being the innermost, his intellect coming next, and finally his fantasy. You can hardly hope, at once, to exclude from all the circles everything that smells of the Enemy: but you must keep on shoving all the virtues outward till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy, and all the desirable qualities inward into the Will. It is only in so far as they reach the will and are there embodied in habits that the virtues are really fatal to us. (I don’t, of course, mean what the patient mistakes for his will, the conscious fume and fret of resolutions and clenched teeth, but the real centre, what the Enemy calls the Heart.) All sorts of virtues painted in the fantasy or approved by the intellect or even, in some measure, loved and admired, will not keep a man from our Father’s house: indeed they may make him more amusing when he gets there,

Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Sunday, May 21, 2017


My dear Wormwood,

It is a little bit disappointing to expect a detailed report on your work and to receive instead such a vague rhapsody as your last letter. You say you are “delirious with joy” because the European humans have started another of their wars. I see very well what has happened to you. You are not delirious; you are only drunk. Reading between the lines in your very unbalanced account of the patient’s sleepless night, I can reconstruct your state of mind fairly accurately. For the first time in your career you have tasted that wine which is the reward of all our labours—the anguish and bewilderment of a human soul—and it has gone to your head. I can hardly blame you. I do not expect old heads on young shoulders. Did the patient respond to some of your terror-pictures of the future? Did you work in some good self-pitying glances at the happy past?—some fine thrills in the pit of his stomach, were there? You played your violin prettily did you? Well, well, it’s all very natural. But do remember, Wormwood, that duty comes before pleasure. If any present self-indulgence on your part leads to the ultimate loss of the prey, you will be left eternally thirsting for that draught of which you are now so much enjoying your first sip. If, on the other hand, by steady and cool-headed application here and now you can finally secure his soul, he will then be yours forever—a brim-full living chalice of despair and horror and astonishment which you can raise to your lips as often as you please. So do not allow any temporary excitement to distract you from the real business of undermining faith and preventing the formation of virtues. Give me without fail in your next letter a full account of the patient’s reactions to the war, so that we can consider whether you are likely to do more good by making him an extreme patriot or an ardent pacifist. There are all sorts of possibilities. In the meantime, I must warn you not to hope too much from a war.
Of course a war is entertaining. The immediate fear and suffering of the humans is a legitimate and pleasing refreshment for our myriads of toiling workers. But what permanent good does it do us unless we make use of it for bringing souls to Our Father Below? When I see the temporal suffering of humans who finally escape us, I feel as if I had been allowed to taste the first course of a rich banquet and then denied the rest. It is worse than not to have tasted it at all. The Enemy, true to His barbarous methods of warfare, allows us to see the short misery of His favourites only to tantalise and torment us—to mock the incessant hunger which, during this present phase of the great conflict, His blockade is admittedly imposing. Let us therefore think rather how to use, than how to enjoy, this European war. For it has certain tendencies inherent in it which are, in themselves, by no means in our favour. We may hope for a good deal of cruelty and unchastity. But, if we are not careful, we shall see thousands turning in this tribulation to the Enemy, while tens of thousands who do not go so far as that will nevertheless have their attention diverted from themselves to values and causes which they believe to be higher than the self. I know that the Enemy disapproves many of these causes. But that is where He is so unfair. He often makes prizes of humans who have given their lives for causes He thinks bad on the monstrously sophistical ground that the humans thought them good and were following the best they knew. Consider too what undesirable deaths occur in wartime. Men are killed in places where they knew they might be killed and to which they go, if they are at all of the Enemy’s party, prepared. How much better for us if all humans died in costly nursing homes amid doctors who lie, nurses who lie, friends who lie, as we have trained them, promising life to the dying, encouraging the belief that sickness excuses every indulgence, and even, if our workers know their job, withholding all suggestion of a priest lest it should betray to the sick man his true condition! And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death which war enforces. One of our best weapons, contented worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.
I know that Scabtree and others have seen in wars a great opportunity for attacks on faith, but I think that view was exaggerated. The Enemy’s human partisans have all been plainly told by Him that suffering is an essential part of what He calls Redemption; so that a faith which is destroyed by a war or a pestilence cannot really have been worth the trouble of destroying. I am speaking now of diffused suffering over a long period such as the war will produce. Of course, at the precise moment of terror, bereavement, or physical pain, you may catch your man when his reason is temporarily suspended. But even then, if he applies to Enemy headquarters, I have found that the post is nearly always defended,

Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Monday, May 15, 2017



My dear Wormwood,
The amateurish suggestions in your last letter warn me that it is high time for me to write to you fully on the painful subject of prayer. You might have spared the comment that my advice about his prayers for his mother “proved singularly unfortunate”. That is not the sort of thing that a nephew should write to his uncle—nor a junior tempter to the under-secretary of a department. It also reveals an unpleasant desire to shift responsibility; you must learn to pay for your own blunders.
The best thing, where it is possible, is to keep the patient from the serious intention of praying altogether. When the patient is an adult recently re-converted to the Enemy’s party, like your man, this is best done by encouraging him to remember, or to think he remembers, the parrot-like nature of his prayers in childhood. In reaction against that, he may be persuaded to aim at something entirely spontaneous, inward, informal, and unregularised; and what this will actually mean to a beginner will be an effort to produce in himself a vaguely devotional mood in which real concentration of will and intelligence have no part. One of their poets, Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray “with moving lips and bended knees” but merely “composed his spirit to love” and indulged “a sense of supplication”. That is exactly the sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as practised by those who are very far advanced in the Enemy’s service, clever and lazy patients can be taken in by it for quite a long time. At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls. It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.
If this fails, you must fall back on a subtler misdirection of his intention. Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelingsthere by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask Him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.
But of course the Enemy will not meantime be idle. Wherever there is prayer, there is danger of His own immediate action. He is cynically indifferent to the dignity of His position, and ours, as pure spirits, and to human animals on their knees He pours out self-knowledge in a quite shameless fashion. But even if He defeats your first attempt at misdirection, we have a subtler weapon. The humans do not start from that direct perception of Him which we, unhappily, cannot avoid. They have never known that ghastly luminosity, that stabbing and searing glare which makes the background of permanent pain to our lives. If you look into your patient’s mind when he is praying, you will not find that. If you examine the object to which he is attending, you will find that it is a composite object containing many quite ridiculous ingredients. There will be images derived from pictures of the Enemy as He appeared during the discreditable episode known as the Incarnation: there will be vaguer—perhaps quite savage and puerile—images associated with the other two Persons. There will even be some of his own reverence (and of bodily sensations accompanying it) objectified and attributed to the object revered. I have known cases where what the patient called his “God” was actually located—up and to the left at the corner of the bedroom ceiling, or inside his own head, or in a crucifix on the wall. But whatever the nature of the composite object, you must keep him praying to it—to the thing that he has made, not to the Person who has made him. You may even encourage him to attach great importance to the correction and improvement of his composite object, and to keeping it steadily before his imagination during the whole prayer. For if he ever comes to make the distinction, if ever he consciously directs his prayers “Not to what I think thou art but to what thou knowest thyself to be”, our situation is, for the moment, desperate. Once all his thoughts and images have been flung aside or, if retained, retained with a full recognition of their merely subjective nature, and the man trusts himself to the completely real, external, invisible Presence, there with him in the room and never knowable by him as he is known by it—why, then it is that the incalculable may occur. In avoiding this situation—this real nakedness of the soul in prayer—you will be helped by the fact that the humans themselves do not desire it as much as they suppose. There’s such a thing as getting more than they bargained for!
Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Saturday, May 13, 2017


My dear Wormwood,

I am very pleased by what you tell me about this man’s relations with his mother. But you must press your advantage. The Enemy will be working from the centre outwards, gradually bringing more and more of the patient’s conduct under the new standard, and may reach his behaviour to the old lady at any moment. You want to get in first. Keep in close touch with our colleague Glubose who is in charge of the mother, and build up between you in that house a good settled habit of mutual annoyance; daily pinpricks. The following methods are useful.
1. Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the states of his own mind—or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is all you should allow him to see. Encourage this. Keep his mind off the most elementary duties by directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones. Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office.
2. It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very “spiritual”, that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother—the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time, you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment’s notice from impassioned prayer for a wife’s or son’s “soul” to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm.
3. When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother’s eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy—if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.
4. In civilised life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would appear quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice, or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face. To keep this game up you and Glubose must see to it that each of these two fools has a sort of double standard. Your patient must demand that all his own utterances are to be taken at their face value and judged simply on the actual words, while at the same time judging all his mother’s utterances with the fullest and most over-sensitive interpretation of the tone and the context and the suspected intention. She must be encouraged to do the same to him. Hence from every quarrel they can both go away convinced, or very nearly convinced, that they are quite innocent. You know the kind of thing: “I simply ask her what time dinner will be and she flies into a temper.” Once this habit is well established you have the delightful situation of a human saying things with the express purpose of offending and yet having a grievance when offence is taken.
Finally, tell me something about the old lady’s religious position. Is she at all jealous of the new factor in her son’s life?—at all piqued that he should have learned from others, and so late, what she considers she gave him such good opportunity of learning in childhood? Does she feel he is making a great deal of “fuss” about it—or that he’s getting in on very easy terms? Remember the elder brother in the Enemy’s story,
Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Thursday, May 11, 2017


My dear Wormwood,
I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian. Do not indulge the hope that you will escape the usual penalties; indeed, in your better moments, I trust you would hardly even wish to do so. In the meantime we must make the best of the situation. There is no need to despair; hundreds of these adult converts have been reclaimed after a brief sojourn in the Enemy’s camp and are now with us. All the habits of the patient, both mental and bodily, are still in our favour.
One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather an oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. You want to lean pretty heavily on those neighbours. Make his mind flit to and fro between an expression like “the body of Christ” and the actual faces in the next pew. It matters very little, of course, what kind of people that next pew really contains. You may know one of them to be a great warrior on the Enemy’s side. No matter. Your patient, thanks to Our Father below, is a fool. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous. At his present stage, you see, he has an idea of “Christians” in his mind which he supposes to be spiritual but which, in fact, is largely pictorial. His mind is full of togas and sandals and armour and bare legs and the mere fact that the other people in church wear modern clothes is a real—though of course an unconscious—difficulty to him. Never let it come to the surface; never let him ask what he expected them to look like. Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.
Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient during his first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavour. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His “free” lovers and servants—“sons” is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to “do it on their own”. And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.
I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course if they do—if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner—then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question “If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?” You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won’t come into his head. He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit-balance in the Enemy’s ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these “smug”, commonplace neighbours at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can.
Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Tuesday, May 9, 2017



My dear Wormwood,
I note what you say about guiding your patient’s reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïf? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.
The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy’s own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it “real life” and don’t let him ask what he means by “real”.
Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy’s!) you don’t realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years’ work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said “Quite. In fact much too important to tackle at the end of a morning”, the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added “Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind”, he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man’s head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of “real life” (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all “that sort of thing” just couldn’t be true. He knew he’d had a narrow escape and in later years was fond of talking about “that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safeguard against the aberrations of mere logic”. He is now safe in Our Father’s house.
You begin to see the point? Thanks to processes which we set at work in them centuries ago, they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things. Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don’t let him get away from that invaluable “real life”. But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is “the results of modern investigation”. Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!
Your affectionate uncleScrewtape

Monday, May 8, 2017


I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. The sort of script which is used in this book can be very easily obtained by anyone who has once learned the knack; but ill-disposed or excitable people who might make a bad use of it shall not learn it from me.
Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar. Not everything that Screwtape says should be assumed to be true even from his own angle. I have made no attempt to identify any of the human beings mentioned in the letters; but I think it very unlikely that the portraits, say, of Fr. Spike or the patient’s mother, are wholly just. There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on Earth.
In conclusion, I ought to add that no effort has been made to clear up the chronology of the letters. Number XVII appears to have been composed before rationing became serious; but in general the diabolical method of dating seems to bear no relation to terrestrial time and I have not attempted to reproduce it. The history of the European War, except in so far as it happens now and then to impinge upon the spiritual condition of one human being, was obviously of no interest to Screwtape.
July 5, 1941

Saturday, January 28, 2017

One a Day - Proverbs Chapter 31

An exhortation to chastity, temperance, and works of mercy; with the praise of a wise woman.

[1] The words of king Lamuel. The vision wherewith his mother instructed him.
Verba Lamuelis regis. Visio qua erudivit eum mater sua.

[2] What, O my beloved, what, O the beloved of my womb, what, O the beloved of my vows?
Quid, dilecte mi? quid, dilecte uteri mei? quid, dilecte votorum meorum?

[3] Give not thy substance to women, and thy riches to destroy kings.
Ne dederis mulieribus substantiam tuam, et divitias tuas ad delendos reges.

[4] Give not to kings, O Lamuel, give not wine to kings: because there is no secret where drunkenness reigneth:
Noli regibus, o Lamuel, noli regibus dare vinum, quia nullum secretum est ubi regnat ebrietas;

[5] And lest they drink and forget judgments, and pervert the cause of the children of the poor.
Et ne forte bibant, et obliviscantur judiciorum, et mutent causam filiorum pauperis.

[6] Give strong drink to them that are sad: and wine to them that are grieved in mind:
Date siceram moerentibus, et vinum his qui amaro sunt animo.

[7] Let them drink, and forget their want, and remember their sorrow no more.
Bibant, et obliviscantur egestatis suae, et doloris sui non recordentur amplius.

[8] Open thy mouth for the dumb, and for the causes of all the children that pass.
Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt.

[9] Open thy mouth, decree that which is just, and do justice to the needy and poor.
Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem.

[10] Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her.
Mulierem fortem quis inveniet? procul et de ultimis finibus pretium ejus.

[11] The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils.
Confidit in ea cor viri sui, et spoliis non indigebit.

[12] She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
Reddet ei bonum, et non malum, omnibus diebus vitae suae.

[13] She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands.
Quaesivit lanam et linum, et operata est consilia manuum suarum.

[14] She is like the merchant' s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar.
Facta et quasi navis institoris, de longe portans panem suum.

[15] And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens.
Et de nocte surrexit, deditque praedam domesticis suis, et cibaria ancillis suis.

[16] She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard.
Consideravit agrum, et emit eum; de fructu manuum suarum plantavit vineam.

[17] She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm.
Accinxit fortitudine lumbos suos, et roboravit brachium suum.

[18] She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night.
Gustavit, et vidit quia bona est negotiatio ejus; non extinguetur in nocte lucerna ejus.

[19] She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle.
Manum suam misit ad fortia, et digiti ejus apprehenderunt fusum.

[20] She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.
Manum suam aperuit inopi, et palmas suas extendit ad pauperem.

[21] She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments.
Non timebit domui suae a frigoribus nivis; omnes enim domestici ejus vestiti sunt duplicibus.

[22] She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering.
Stragulatam vestem fecit sibi; byssus et purpura indumentum ejus.

[23] Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land.
Nobilis in portis vir ejus, quando sederit cum senatoribus terrae.

[24] She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite.
Sindonem fecit, et vendidit, et cingulum tradidit Chananaeo.

[25] Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day.
Fortitudo et decor indumentum ejus, et ridebit in die novissimo.

[26] She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue.
Os suum aperuit sapientiae, et lex clementiae in lingua ejus.

[27] She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle.
Consideravit semitas domus suae, et panem otiosa non comedit.

[28] Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her.
Surrexerunt filii ejus, et beatissimam praedicaverunt; vir ejus, et laudavit eam.

[29] Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all.
Multae filiae congregaverunt divitias; tu supergressa es universas.

[30] Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Fallax gratia, et vana est pulchritudo: mulier timens Dominum, ipsa laudabitur.

[31] Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.
Date ei de fructu manuum suarum, et laudent eam in portis opera ejus.

Monday, November 28, 2016

One a Day - Proverbs 30

The wise man thinketh humbly of himself. His prayer and sentiments upon certain virtues and vices.

[1] The words of Gatherer the son of Vomiter. The vision which the man spoke with whom God is, and who being strengthened by God, abiding with him, said:
Verba Congregantis, filii Vomentis. Visio quam locutus est vir cum quo est Deus, et qui Deo secum morante confortatus, ait:

[2] I am the most foolish of men, and the wisdom of men is not with me.
Stultissimus sum virorum, et sapientia hominum non est mecum.

[3] I have not learned wisdom, and have not known the science of saints.
Non didici sapientiam, et non novi scientiam sanctorum.

[4] Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? who hath held the wind in his hands? who hath bound up the waters together as in a garment? who hath raised up all the borders of the earth? what is his name, and what is the name of his son, if thou knowest?
Quis ascendit in caelum, atque descendit? quis continuit spiritum in manibus suis? quis colligavit aquas quasi in vestimento? quis suscitavit omnes terminos terrae? quod nomen est ejus, et quod nomen filii ejus, si nosti?

[5] Every word of God is fire tried: he is a buckler to them that hope in him.
Omnis sermo Dei ignitus, clypeus est sperantibus in se.

[6] Add not any thing to his words, lest thou be reproved, and found a liar:
Ne addas quidquam verbis illius, et arguaris, inveniarisque mendax.

[7] Two things I have asked of thee, deny them not to me before I die.
Duo rogavi te: ne deneges mihi antequam moriar:

[8] Remove far from me vanity, and lying words. Give me neither beggary, nor riches: give me only the necessaries of life:
Vanitatem et verba mendacia longe fac a me; mendicitatem et divitias ne dederis mihi, tribue tantum victui meo necessaria:

[9] Lest perhaps being filled, I should be tempted to deny, and say: Who is the Lord? or being compelled by poverty, I should steal, and forswear the name of my God.
Ne forte satiatus illiciar ad negandum, et dicam: Quis est Dominus? aut egestate compulsus, furer, et perjurem nomen Dei mei.

[10] Accuse not a servant to his master, lest he curse thee, and thou fall.
Ne accuses servum ad dominum suum, ne forte maledicat tibi, et corruas.

[11] There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
Generatio quae patri suo maledicit, et quae matri suae non benedicit;

[12] A generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness.
Generatio quae sibi munda videtur, et tamen non est lota a sordibus suis;

[13] A generation, whose eyes are lofty, and their eyelids lifted up on high.
Generatio cujus excelsi sunt oculi, et palpebrae ejus in alta surrectae;

[14] A generation, that for teeth hath swords, and grindeth with their jaw teeth, to devour the needy from off the earth, and the poor from among men.
Generatio quae pro dentibus gladios habet, et commandit molaribus suis, ut comedat inopes de terra, et pauperes ex hominibus.

[15] The horseleech hath two daughters that say: Bring, bring. There are three things that never are satisfied, and the fourth never saith: It is enough.
Sanguisugae duae sunt filiae, dicentes: Affer, affer. Tria sunt insaturabilia, et quartum quod numquam dicit: Sufficit.

[16] Hell, and the mouth of the womb, and the earth which is not satisfied with water: and the fire never saith: It is enough.
Infernus, et os vulvae, et terra quae non satiatur aqua: ignis vero numquam dicit: Sufficit.

[17] The eye that mocketh at his father, and that despiseth the labour of his mother in bearing him, let the ravens of the brooks pick it out, and the young eagles eat it.
Oculum qui subsannat patrem, et qui despicit partum matris suae, effodiant eum corvi de torrentibus, et comedant eum filii aquilae!

[18] Three things are hard to me, and the fourth I am utterly ignorant of.
Tria sunt difficilia mihi, et quartum penitus ignoro:

[19] The way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man in youth.
Viam aquilae in caelo, viam colubri super petram, viam navis in medio mari, et viam viri in adolescentia.

[20] Such is also the way of an adulterous woman, who eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith: I have done no evil.
Talis est et via mulieris adulterae, quae comedit, et tergens os suum dicit: Non sum operata malum.

[21] By three things the earth is disturbed, and the fourth it cannot bear:
Per tria movetur terra, et quartum non potest sustinere:

[22] By a slave when he reigneth: by a fool when he is filled with meat:
Per servum, cum regnaverit; per stultum, cum saturatus fuerit cibo;

[23] By an odious woman when she is married: and by a bondwoman when she is heir to her mistress.
Per odiosam mulierem, cum in matrimonio fuerit assumpta, et per ancillam, cum fuerit haeres dominae suae.

[24] There are four very little things of the earth, and they are wiser than the wise:
Quatuor sunt minima terrae, et ipsa sunt sapientiora sapientibus:

[25] The ants, a feeble people, which provide themselves food in the harvest:
Formicae, populus infirmus, qui praeparat in messe cibum sibi;

[26] The rabbit, a weak people, which maketh its bed in the rock:
Lepusculus, plebs invalida, qui collocat in petra cubile suum;

[27] The locust hath no king, yet they all go out by their bands.
Regem locusta non habet, et egreditur universa per turmas suas;

[28] The stellio supporteth itself on hands, and dwelleth in kings' houses.
Stellio manibus nititur, et moratur in aedibus regis.

[29] There are three things, which go well, and the fourth that walketh happily:
Tria sunt quae bene gradiuntur, et quartum quod incedit feliciter:

[30] A lion, the strongest of beasts, who hath no fear of any thing he meeteth:
Leo, fortissimus bestiarum, ad nullius pavebit occursum;

[31] A cock girded about the loins: and a ram: and a king, whom none can resist.
Gallus succinctus lumbos, et aries; nec est rex, qui resistat ei.

[32] There is that hath appeared a fool after he was lifted up on high: for if he had understood, he would have laid his hand upon his mouth.
Est qui stultus apparuit postquam elevatus est in sublime; si enim intellexisset, ori suo imposuisset manum.

[33] And he that strongly squeezeth the papa to bring out milk, straineth out butter: and he that violently bloweth his nose, bringeth out blood: and he that provoketh wrath bringeth forth strife.
Qui autem fortiter premit ubera ad eliciendum lac exprimit butyrum; et qui vehementer emungit elicit sanguinem; et qui provocat iras producit discordias.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

One a Day - Proverbs 29

[1] The man that with a stiff neck despiseth him that reproveth him, shall suddenly be destroyed: and health shall not follow him.
Viro qui corripientem dura cervice contemnit, repentinus ei superveniet interitus, et eum sanitas non sequetur.

[2] When just men increase, the people shall rejoice: when the wicked shall bear rule, the people shall mourn.
In multiplicatione justorum laetabitur vulgus; cum impii sumpserint principatum, gemet populus.

[3] A man that loveth wisdom, rejoiceth his father: but he that maintaineth bar lots, shall squander away his substance.
Vir qui amat sapientiam laetificat patrem suum; qui autem nutrit scorta perdet substantiam.

[4] A just king setteth up the land: a covetous man shall destroy it.
Rex justus erigit terram; vir avarus destruet eam.

[5] A man that speaketh to his friend with flattering and dissembling words, spreadeth a net for his feet.
Homo qui blandis fictisque sermonibus loquitur amico suo rete expandit gressibus ejus.

[6] A snare shall entangle the wicked man when he sinneth: and the just shall praise and rejoice.
Peccantem virum iniquum involvet laqueus, et justus laudabit atque gaudebit.

[7] The just taketh notice of the cause of the poor: the wicked is void of knowledge.
Novit justus causam pauperum; impius ignorat scientiam.

[8] Corrupt men bring a city to ruin: but wise men turn away wrath.
Homines pestilentes dissipant civitatem, sapientes vero avertunt furorem.

[9] If a wise man contend with a fool, whether he be angry or laugh, he shall find no rest.
Vir sapiens si cum stulto contenderit, sive irascatur, sive rideat, non inveniet requiem.

[10] Bloodthirsty men hate the upright: but just men seek his soul.
Viri sanguinem oderunt simplicem; justi autem quaerunt animam ejus.

[11] A fool uttereth all his mind: a wise man deferreth, and keepeth it till afterwards.
Totum spiritum suum profert stultus; sapiens differt, et reservat in posterum.

[12] A prince that gladly heareth lying words, hath all his servants wicked.
Princeps qui libenter audit verba mendacii, omnes ministros habet impios.

[13] The poor man and the creditor have met one another: the Lord is the enlightener of them both.
Pauper et creditor obviaverunt sibi: utriusque illuminator est Dominus.

[14] The king that judgeth the poor in truth, his throne shall be established for ever.
Rex qui judicat in veritate pauperes, thronus ejus in aeternum firmabitur.

[15] The rod and reproof give wisdom: but the child that is left to his own will bringeth his mother to shame.
Virga atque correptio tribuit sapientiam; puer autem qui dimittitur voluntati suae confundit matrem suam.

[16] When the wicked are multiplied, crimes shall be multiplied: but the just shall see their downfall.
In multiplicatione impiorum multiplicabuntur scelera, et justi ruinas eorum videbunt.

[17] Instruct thy son, and he shall refresh thee, and shall give delight to thy soul.
Erudi filium tuum, et refrigerabit te, et dabit delicias animae tuae.

[18] When prophecy shall fail, the people shall be scattered abroad: but he that keepeth the law is blessed.
Cum prophetia defecerit, dissipabitur populus; qui vero custodit legem beatus est.

[19] A slave will not be corrected by words: because he understandeth what thou sayest, and will not answer.
Servus verbis non potest erudiri, quia quod dicis intelligit, et respondere contemnit.

[20] Hast thou seen a man hasty to speak? folly is rather to be looked for, than his amendment.
Vidisti hominem velocem ad loquendum? stultitia magis speranda est quam illius correptio.

[21] He that nourisheth his servant delicately from his childhood, afterwards shall find him stubborn.
Qui delicate a pueritia nutrit servum suum postea sentiet eum contumacem.

[22] A passionate man provoketh quarrels: and he that is easily stirred up to wrath, shall be more prone to sin.
Vir iracundus provocat rixas, et qui ad indignandum facilis est erit ad peccandum proclivior.

[23] Humiliation followeth the proud: and glory shall uphold the humble of spirit.
Superbum sequitur humilitas, et humilem spiritu suscipiet gloria.

[24] He that is partaker with a thief, hateth his own soul: he heareth one putting him to his oath, and discovereth not.
Qui cum fure participat odit animam suam; adjurantem audit, et non indicat.

[25] He that feareth man, shall quickly fall: he that trusteth in the Lord, shall be set on high.
Qui timet hominem cito corruet; qui sperat in Domino sublevabitur.

[26] Many seek the face of the prince: but the judgment of every one cometh forth from the Lord.
Multi requirunt faciem principis, et judicium a Domino egreditur singulorum.

[27] The just abhor the wicked man: and the wicked loathe them that are in the right way. The son that keepeth the word, shall be free from destruction.
Abominantur justi virum impium, et abominantur impii eos qui in recta sunt via. Verbum custodiens filius extra perditionem erit.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

One a Day - Proverbs 28

[1] The wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth: but the just, bold as a lion, shall be without dread.
Fugit impius, nemine persequente; justus autem, quasi leo confidens, absque terrore erit.

[2] For the sins of the land many are the princes thereof: and for the wisdom of a man, and the knowledge of those things that are said, the life of the prince shall be prolonged.
Propter peccata terrae multi principes ejus; et propter hominis sapientiam, et horum scientiam quae dicuntur, vita ducis longior erit.

[3] A poor man that oppresseth the poor, is like a violent shower, which bringeth a famine.
Vir pauper calumnians pauperes similis est imbri vehementi in quo paratur fames.

[4] They that forsake the law, praise the wicked man: they that keep it, are incensed against him.
Qui derelinquunt legem laudant impium; qui custodiunt, succenduntur contra eum.

[5] Evil men think not on judgment: but they that seek after the Lord, take notice of all things.
Viri mali non cogitant judicium; qui autem inquirunt Dominum animadvertunt omnia.

[6] Better is the poor man walking in his simplicity, than the rich in crooked ways.
Melior est pauper ambulans in simplicitate sua quam dives in pravis itineribus.

[7] He that keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that feedeth gluttons, shameth his father.
Qui custodit legem filius sapiens est; qui autem comessatores pascit confundit patrem suum.

[8] He that heapeth together riches by usury and loan, gathereth them for him that will be bountiful to the poor.
Qui coacervat divitias usuris et foenore, liberali in pauperes congregat eas.

[9] He that turneth away his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be as abomination.
Qui declinat aures suas ne audiat legem, oratio ejus erit execrabilis.

[10] He that deceiveth the just in a wicked way, shall fall in his own destruction: and the upright shall possess his goods.
Qui decipit justos in via mala, in interitu suo corruet, et simplices possidebunt bona ejus.

[11] The rich man seemeth to himself wise: but the poor man that is prudent shall search him out.
Sapiens sibi videtur vir dives; pauper autem prudens scrutabitur eum.

[12] In the joy of the just there is great glory: when the wicked reign, men are ruined.
In exsultatione justorum multa gloria est; regnantibus impiis ruinae hominum.

[13] He that hideth his sins, shall not prosper: but he that shall confess, and forsake them, shall obtain mercy.
Qui abscondit scelera sua non dirigetur; qui autem confessus fuerit et reliquerit ea, misericordiam consequetur.

[14] Blessed is the man that is always fearful: but he that is hardened in mind, shall fall into evil.
Beatus homo qui semper est pavidus; qui vero mentis est durae corruet in malum.

[15] As a roaring lion, and a hungry bear, so is a wicked prince over the poor people.
Leo rugiens et ursus esuriens, princeps impius super populum pauperem.

[16] A prince void of prudence shall oppress many by calumny: but he that hateth covetousness, shall prolong his days.
Dux indigens prudentia multos opprimet per calumniam; qui autem odit avaritiam, longi fient dies ejus.

[17] A man that doth violence to the blood of a person, if he flee even to the pit, no man will stay him.
Hominem qui calumniatur animae sanguinem, si usque ad lacum fugerit, nemo sustinet.

[18] He that walketh uprightly, shall be saved: he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
Qui ambulat simpliciter salvus erit; qui perversis graditur viis concidet semel.

[19] He that tilleth his ground, shall be filled with bread: but he that followeth idleness shall be filled with poverty.
Qui operatur terram suam satiabitur panibus; qui autem sectatur otium replebitur egestate.

[20] A faithful man shall be much praised: but he that maketh haste to be rich, shall not be innocent.
Vir fidelis multum laudabitur; qui autem festinat ditari non erit innocens.

[21] He that hath respect to a person in judgment, doth not well: such a man even for a morsel of bread forsaketh the truth.
Qui cognoscit in judicio faciem non bene facit; iste et pro buccella panis deserit veritatem.

[22] A man, that maketh haste to be rich, and envieth others, is ignorant that poverty shall come upon him.
Vir qui festinat ditari, et aliis invidet, ignorat quod egestas superveniet ei.

[23] He that rebuketh a man, shall afterward find favour with him, more than he that by a flattering tongue deceiveth him.
Qui corripit hominem gratiam postea inveniet apud eum, magis quam ille qui per linguae blandimenta decipit.

[24] He that stealeth any thing from his father, or from his mother: and saith, This is no sin, is the partner of a murderer.
Qui subtrahit aliquid a patre suo et a matre, et dicit hoc non esse peccatum, particeps homicidae est.

[25] He that boasteth, and puffeth up himself, stirreth up quarrels: but he that trusteth in the Lord, shall be healed.
Qui se jactat et dilatat, jurgia concitat; qui vero sperat in Domino sanabitur.

[26] He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool: but he that walketh wisely, he shall be saved.
Qui confidit in corde suo stultus est; qui autem graditur sapienter, ipse salvabitur.

[27] He that giveth to the poor, shall not want: he that despiseth his entreaty, shall suffer indigence.
Qui dat pauperi non indigebit; qui despicit deprecantem sustinebit penuriam.

[28] When the wicked rise up, men shall hide themselves: when they perish, the lust shall be multiplied.
Cum surrexerint impii, abscondentur homines; cum illi perierint, multiplicabuntur justi.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One a Day - Proverbs 27

[1] Boast not for tomorrow, for thou knowest not what the day to come may bring forth.
Ne glorieris in crastinum, ignorans quid superventura pariat dies.

[2] Let another praise thee, and not thy own mouth: a stranger, and not thy own lips.
Laudet te alienus, et non os tuum; extraneus, et non labia tua.

[3] A stone is heavy, and sand weighty: but the anger of a fool is heavier than them both.
Grave est saxum, et onerosa arena, sed ira stulti utroque gravior.

[4] Anger hath no mercy, nor fury when it breaketh forth: and who can bear the violence of one provoked?
Ira non habet misericordiam nec erumpens furor, et impetum concitati ferre quis poterit?

[5] Open rebuke is better than hidden love.
Melior est manifesta correptio quam amor absconditus.

[6] Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy.
Meliora sunt vulnera diligentis quam fraudulenta oscula odientis.

[7] A soul that is full shall tread upon the honeycomb: and a soul that is hungry shall take even bitter for sweet.
Anima saturata calcabit favum, et anima esuriens etiam amarum pro dulci sumet.

[8] As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that leaveth his place.
Sicut avis transmigrans de nido suo, sic vir qui derelinquit locum suum.

[9] Ointment and perfumes rejoice the heart: and the good counsels of a friend are sweet to the soul.
Unguento et variis odoribus delectatur cor, et bonis amici consiliis anima dulcoratur.

[10] Thy own friend, and thy father' s friend forsake not: and go not into thy brother' s house in the day of thy affliction. Better is a neighbour that is near, than a brother afar off.
Amicum tuum, et amicum patris tui ne dimiseris, et domum fratris tui ne ingrediaris in die afflictionis tuae. Melior est vicinus juxta, quam frater procul.

[11] Study wisdom, my son, and make my heart joyful, that thou mayst give an answer to him that reproacheth.
Stude sapientiae, fili mi, et laetifica cor meum, ut possis exprobranti respondere sermonem.

[12] The prudent man seeing evil hideth himself: little ones passing on have suffered losses.
Astutus videns malum, absconditus est: parvuli transeuntes sustinuerunt dispendia.

[13] Take away his garment that hath been surety for a stranger: and take from him a pledge for strangers.
Tolle vestimentum ejus qui spopondit pro extraneo, et pro alienis aufer ei pignus.

[14] He that blesseth his neighbour with a loud voice, rising in the night, shall be like to him that curseth.
Qui benedicit proximo suo voce grandi, de nocte consurgens maledicenti similis erit.

[15] Roofs dropping through in a cold day, and a contentious woman are alike.
Tecta perstillantia in die frigoris et litigiosa mulier comparantur.

[16] He that retaineth her, is as he that would hold the wind, and shall call in the oil of his right hand.
Qui retinet eam quasi qui ventum teneat, et oleum dexterae suae vocabit.

[17] Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Ferrum ferro exacuitur, et homo exacuit faciem amici sui.

[18] He that keepeth the fig tree, shall eat the fruit thereof: and he that is the keeper of his master, shall be glorified.
Qui servat ficum comedet fructus ejus, et qui custos est domini sui glorificabitur.

[19] As the faces of them that look therein, shine in the water, so-the hearts of men are laid open to the wise.
Quomodo in aquis resplendent vultus prospicientium, sic corda hominum manifesta sunt prudentibus.

[20] Hell and destruction are never filled: so the eyes of men are never satisfied.
Infernus et perditio numquam implentur: similiter et oculi hominum insatiabiles.

[21] As silver is tried in the fining-pot and gold in the furnace: so a man is tried by the mouth of him that praiseth. The heart of the wicked seeketh after evils, but the righteous heart seeketh after knowledge.
Quomodo probatur in conflatorio argentum et in fornace aurum, sic probatur homo ore laudantis. Cor iniqui inquirit mala, cor autem rectum inquirit scientiam.

[22] Though thou shouldst bray a fool in the mortar, as when a pestle striketh upon sodden barley, his folly would not be taken from him.
Si contuderis stultum in pila quasi ptisanas feriente desuper pilo, non auferetur ab eo stultitia ejus.

[23] Be diligent to know the countenance of thy cattle, and consider thy own flocks:
Diligenter agnosce vultum pecoris tui, tuosque greges considera:

[24] For thou shalt not always have power: but a crown shall be given to generation and generation.
Non enim habebis jugiter potestatem, sed corona tribuetur in generationem et generationem.

[25] The meadows are open, and the green herbs have appeared, and the hay is gathered out of the mountains.
Aperta sunt prata, et apparuerunt herbae virentes, et collecta sunt foena de montibus.

[26] Lambs are for thy clothing: and kids for the price of the field.
Agni ad vestimentum tuum, et haedi ad agri pretium.

[27] Let the milk of the goats be enough for thy food, and for the necessities of thy house, and for maintenance for thy handmaids.
Sufficiat tibi lac caprarum in cibos tuos, et in necessaria domus tuae et ad victum ancillis tuis.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

One a Day - Proverbs 26

[1] As snow in summer, and rain in harvest, so glory is not seemly for a fool.
Quomodo nix in aestate, et pluviae in messe, sic indecens est stulto gloria.
[2] As a bird flying to other places, and a sparrow going here or there: so a curse uttered without cause shall come upon a man.
Sicut avis ad alia transvolans et passer quolibet vadens, sic maledictum frustra prolatum in quempiam superveniet.
[3] A whip for a horse, and a snaffle for an ass, and a rod for the back of fools.
Flagellum equo, et camus asino, et virga in dorso imprudentium.
[4] Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be made like him.
Ne respondeas stulto juxta stultitiam suam, ne efficiaris ei similis.
[5] Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he imagine himself to be wise.
Responde stulto juxta stultitiam suam, ne sibi sapiens esse videatur.
[6] He that sendeth words by a foolish messenger, is lame of feet and drinketh iniquity.
Claudus pedibus, et iniquitatem bibens, qui mittit verba per nuntium stultum.
[7] As a lame man hath fair legs in vain: so a parable is unseemly in the mouth of fools.
Quomodo pulchras frustra habet claudus tibias, sic indecens est in ore stultorum parabola.
[8] As he that casteth a stone into the heap of Mercury: so is he that giveth honour to a fool.
Sicut qui mittit lapidem in acervum Mercurii, ita qui tribuit insipienti honorem.
[9] As if a thorn should grow in the hand of a drunkard: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
Quomodo si spina nascatur in manu temulenti, sic parabola in ore stultorum.
[10] Judgment determineth causes: and he that putteth a fool to silence, appeaseth anger.
Judicium determinat causas, et qui imponit stulto silentium iras mitigat.
[11] As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly.
Sicut canis qui revertitur ad vomitum suum, sic imprudens qui iterat stultitiam suam.
[12] Hast thou seen a man wise in his own conceit? there shall be more hope of a fool than of him.
Vidisti hominem sapientem sibi videri? magis illo spem habebit insipiens.
[13] The slothful man saith: There is a lion in the way, and a lioness in the roads.
Dicit piger: Leo est in via, et leaena in itineribus.
[14] As the door turneth upon its hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.
Sicut ostium vertitur in cardine suo, ita piger in lectulo suo.
[15] The slothful hideth his hand under his armpit, and it grieveth him to turn it to his mouth.
Abscondit piger manum sub ascela sua, et laborat si ad os suum eam converterit.
[16] The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit, than seven men that speak sentences.
Sapientior sibi piger videtur septem viris loquentibus sententias.
[17] As he that taketh a dog by the ears, so is he that passeth by in anger, and meddleth with another man' s quarrel.
Sicut qui apprehendit auribus canem, sic qui transit impatiens et commiscetur rixae alterius.
[18] As he is guilty that shooteth arrows, and lances unto death:
Sicut noxius est qui mittit sagittas et lanceas in mortem,
[19] So is the man that hurteth his friend deceitfully: and when he is taken, saith: I did it in jest.
Ita vir fraudulenter nocet amico suo, et cum fuerit deprehensus dicit: Ludens feci.
[20] When the wood faileth, the fire shall go out: and when the talebearer is taken away, contentions shall cease.
Cum defecerint ligna extinguetur ignis, et susurrone subtracto, jurgia conquiescent.
[21] As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire, so an angry man stirreth up strife.
Sicut carbones ad prunas, et ligna ad ignem, sic homo iracundus suscitat rixas.
[22] The words of a talebearer are as it were simple, but they reach to the innermost parts of the belly.
Verba susurronis quasi simplicia, et ipsa perveniunt ad intima ventris.
[23] Swelling lips joined with a corrupt heart, are like an earthen vessel adorned with silver dross.
Quomodo si argento sordido ornare velis vas fictile, sic labia tumentia cum pessimo corde sociata.
[24] An enemy is known by his lips, when in his heart he entertaineth deceit.
Labiis suis intelligitur inimicus, cum in corde tractaverit dolos.
[25] When he shall speak low, trust him not: because there are seven mischiefs in his heart.
Quando submiserit vocem suam, ne credideris ei, quoniam septem nequitiae sunt in corde illius.
[26] He that covereth hatred deceitfully, his malice shall be laid open in the public assembly.
Qui operit odium fraudulenter, revelabitur malitia ejus in consilio.
[27] He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it: and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return to him.
Qui fodit foveam incidet in eam, et qui volvit lapidem, revertetur ad eum.
[28] A deceitful tongue loveth not truth: and a slippery mouth worketh ruin.
Lingua fallax non amat veritatem, et os lubricum operatur ruinas.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

One a Day - Proverbs 25

[1] These are also parables of Solomon, which the men of Ezechias king of Juda copied out.
Hae quoque parabolae Salomonis, quas transtulerunt viri Ezechiae regis Juda.
[2] It is the glory of God to conceal the word, and the glory of kings to search out the speech.
Gloria Dei est celare verbum, et gloria regum investigare sermonem.
[3] The heaven above, and the earth beneath, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Caelum sursum, et terra deorsum, et cor regum inscrutabile.
[4] Take away the rust from silver, and there shall come forth a most pure vessel:
Aufer rubiginem de argento, et egredietur vas purissimum.
[5] Take away wickedness from the face of the king, and his throne shall be established with justice.
Aufer impietatem de vultu regis, et firmabitur justitia thronus ejus.
[6] Appear not glorious before the king, and stand not in the place of great men.
Ne gloriosus appareas coram rege, et in loco magnorum ne steteris.
[7] For it is better that it should be said to thee: Come up hither; than that thou shouldst be humbled before the prince.
Melius est enim ut dicatur tibi: Ascende huc, quam ut humilieris coram principe.
[8] The things which thy eyes have seen, utter not hastily in a quarrel: lest afterward thou mayst not be able to make amends, when thou hast dishonoured thy friend.
Quae viderunt oculi tui ne proferas in jurgio cito, ne postea emendare non possis, cum dehonestaveris amicum tuum.
[9] Treat thy cause with thy friend, and discover not the secret to a stranger:
Causam tuam tracta cum amico tuo, et secretum extraneo ne reveles:
[10] Lest he insult over thee, when he hath heard it, and cease not to upbraid thee. Grace and friendship deliver a man: keep these for thyself, lest thou fall under reproach.
Ne forte insultet tibi cum audierit, et exprobrare non cesset. Gratia et amicitia liberant: quas tibi serva, ne exprobrabilis fias.
[11] To speak a word in due time, is like apples of gold on beds of silver.
Mala aurea in lectis argenteis, qui loquitur verbum in tempore suo.
[12] As an earring of gold and a bright pearl, so is he that reproveth the wise, and the obedient ear.
Inauris aurea et margaritum fulgens qui arguit sapientem et aurem obedientem.
[13] As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to him that sent him, for he refresheth his soul.
Sicut frigus nivis in die messis, ita legatus fidelis ei qui misit eum: animam ipsius requiescere facit.
[14] As clouds, and wind, when no rain followeth, so is the man that boasteth, and doth not fulfill his promises.
Nubes, et ventus, et pluviae non sequentes, vir gloriosus et promissa non complens.
[15] By patience a prince shall be appeased, and a soft tongue shall break hardness.
Patientia lenietur princeps, et lingua mollis confringet duritiam.
[16] Thou hast found honey, eat what is sufficient for thee, lest being glutted therewith thou vomit it up.
Mel invenisti comede quod sufficit tibi, ne fore satiatus evomas illud.
[17] Withdraw thy foot from the house of thy neighbour, lest having his fill he hate thee.
Subtrahe pedem tuum de domo proximi tui, nequando satiatus oderit te.
[18] A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour, is like a dart and a sword and a sharp arrow.
Jaculum, et gladius, et sagitta acuta, homo qui loquitur contra proximum suum falsum testimonium.
[19] To trust to an unfaithful man in the time of trouble, is like a rotten tooth, and weary foot,
Dens putridus, et pes lassus, qui sperat super infideli in die angustiae,
[20] And one that looseth his garment in cold weather. As vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a very evil heart. As a moth doth by a garment, and a worm by the wood: so the sadness of a man consumeth the heart.
Et amittit pallium in die frigoris. Acetum in nitro, qui cantat carmina cordi pessimo. Sicut tinea vestimento, et vermis ligno, ita tristitia viri nocet cordi.
[21] If thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat: if he thirst, give him water to drink:
Si esurierit inimicus tuus, ciba illum; si sitierit, da ei aquam bibere:
[22] For thou shalt heap hot coals upon his head, and the Lord will reward thee.
Prunas enim congregabis super caput ejus, et Dominus reddet tibi.
[23] The north wind driveth away rain, as doth a sad countenance a backbiting tongue.
Ventus aquilo dissipat pluvias, et facies tristis linguam detrahentem.
[24] It is better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman, and in a common house.
Melius est sedere in angulo domatis, quam cum muliere litigiosa et in domo communi.
[25] As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good tidings from a far country.
Aqua frigida animae sitienti, et nuntius bonus de terra longinqua.
[26] A just man falling down before the wicked, is as a fountain troubled with the foot, and a corrupted spring.
Fons turbatus pede et vena corrupta, justus cadens coram impio.
[27] As it is not good for a man to eat much honey, so he that is a searcher of majesty, shall be overwhelmed by glory.
Sicut qui mel multum comedit non est ei bonum, sic qui scrutator est majestatis opprimetur a gloria.
[28] As a city that lieth open and is not compassed with walls, so is a man that cannot refrain his own spirit in speaking.
Sicut urbs patens et absque murorum ambitu, ita vir qui non potest in loquendo cohibere spiritum suum.