Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.
Is there a way in which all of us are fictional characters, parented by life and written by ourselves?
A culture . . . is a work of imagination, or a failure of it.
To read books seriously is to be staggered by the knowledge of how many more books will remain beyond your ken. It’s like looking up at the star-filled sky.
A bureaucracy, a book of the Bible, and a political constitution have this in common: They are not only what they started out to be, but are what succeeding generations have made them to be.
God made man, and man made sin. So why start trembling when God says to you “Let sinners perish from my face”? What God is saying to you is: “Let that perish in you which you made, and I will preserve what I made.”
Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense.
Culture is continuity with the past: A cultureless person knows only about, and lives exclusively in, the present. Few things are as pleasing—thrilling, really—as reading a classical author and discovering that he has had thoughts and emotions akin to your own. So I have felt, at times, reading Horace, Montaigne, William Hazlitt, and others who departed the planet centuries before my entrance upon it. . . [B]y removing oneself from the noise and vulgarities of the present, and lending oneself the perspective of the past, an engagement with high culture makes life richer—and thereby immensely more interesting.
We were going to Sunday meeting, Kate decided. It would be good for us. “Oh God,” I protested, “I don’t have to contemplate my sin, do I, Kate?” “You do,” she replied in a very practical tone.
When God saw fit to create a being of wants and of faculties with which to satisfy them, he at the same time decreed that that being should be subject to pain and suffering; for without pain and suffering we can experience no wants, and without wants we cannot understand either the uses or the reasons for any of our faculties. Everything that makes for our greatness has its roots in everything that makes for our frailty.