Tuesday, May 15

Daily Dose of G.K. Chesterton

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."

"Weak things must boast of being new, like so many new German philosophies. But strong things can boast of being old. Strong things can boast of being moribund."

"The Modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; but their truth is pitiless. And thus some humanitarians care only for pity; but their pity--I am sorry to say--is often untruthful."

"The great intellectual tradition that comes down to us from the past was never interrupted or lost through such trifles as the sack of Rome, the triumph of Attila, or all the barbarian invasions of the Dark Ages. It was lost after the introduction of printing, the discovery of America, the founding of the Royal Society, and all the enlightenment of the Renaissance and the modern world. It was there, if anywhere, that there was lost or impatiently snapped the long thin delicate thread that had descended from distant antiquity; the thread of that unusual human hobby: the habit of thinking."

"If the world grows too worldly, it can be rebuked by the church; but if the church grows too worldly, it cannot be adequately rebuked for worldliness by the world."

"You cannot escape the revelation of the identical by taking refuge in the illusion of the multiple."


Jim H. said...

But what do you make of all the nasty things Chesterton said about protestants?

I seem to remember him having nothing but contempt for Calvin in his strange book about Thomas Aquinas.

gileskirk said...

JFred: Well, in February I posted this, which I think answers your query:

My friend James Sauer writes, “I’ve got a problem with Chesterton. The problem is that I think he is a wonderful, wise, witty, and pious man; after reading his works, I never leave the page without feeling edified.”

So, “Why is that a problem?” you just might ask.

“Perhaps, the problem, if it is a problem,” Sauer responds, “isn’t in Chesterton, but in me.” You see, he explains, “I am a Protestant; but not just any Protestant. I am an American Evangelical Protestant. But there’s more. I am a Conservative, Capitalistic, Bible-thumping American Evangelical Protestant. And hold on to your seats folks, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse; I must confess, I am also a Calvinist. We all have our crosses to bear.”

OK. So far, so good. But then, Sauer gets to the sticky part, “Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Chesterton will see the great irony in my situation. I can only ask you not to blame me for this state of affairs, I didn’t choose to be elected; it was irresistible grace. I was predestined for Presbyterianism. But since I have received this unmerited favor of God, I might as well enjoy it. I can only thank my Sovereign Maker for His predestination. Not only did He choose me to be among his chosen people, but He also destined me to be among that other elect who have had the privilege of meeting through literature the great mind and good heart of Gilbert Keith Chesterton.”

I could not agree more. That is why I have been reading--and collecting--the works of G.K. Chesterton for more than 20 years now. I have a whole section of my home library exclusively devoted to Chesterton and his close friend, Hilaire Belloc--and this despite the fact that like Jim Sauer, I am an American Evangelical Calvinist!

I liberally salt virtually every lecture, every sermon, and every book I have produced with Chesterton quotes. So, it probably should come as no surprise that my students have caught the Chesterton bug as well. That fact is evidenced by the latest King's Meadow Newsletter. There are a host of great articles, appreciations, and reviews by my several of my students and former students including Ray Ware, Dave Raymond, Courtney Cahoon, and Wes Jackson. I couldn't be more proud!

cnb said...

Great quotes. I can't keep up with a daily Chestertonian quote, but I do maintain a site with weekly quotes. Come on over and have a look if you're interested.

Bonnie said...

Two Chesterton quotes from Lori Smith, who is researching in Chawton House Library for her book : A Walk with Jane: Following Austen, Finding Grace (coming from WaterBrook Press in September, 2007):

From G.K. Chesterton

A slight diversion today -- ran across this Chesterton quote from his introduction to a 1922 edition of Jane's Love and Friendship and had to share it.

"Jane Austen was not inflamed or inspired or even moved to be a genius. Her fire, what there was of it, began with herself; like the fire of the first man who rubbed two sticks together. Some would say that they were very dry sticks which she rubbed together. It is certain that she by her own artistic talent made interesting what thousands of superficially similar people would have made dull."

More today from Chesterton:

"These pages betray her secret; which is that she was naturally exuberant. And her power came, as all power comes, from the control and direction of that exuberance. . . . her original passion was a sort of joyous scorn and a fighting spirit against all that she regarded as morbid and lax and poisonously silly."

G.K. Chesterton, from the introduction to Love & Freindship
Chatto & Windus, 1922


Jim H. said...

Wow! What an impressive newsletter. The work being done at Kings Meadow brings great glory to God.

One week from Sunday, my family departs for Ukraine, where we will spend the month of June adopting two teenage sisters.

We're going to have alot of time to read and I'm going to take a crack at Everlasting Man.

btw...thanks for the Belloc recommendations. Path To Rome is one of the most incredible books I've ever read.

Melanie said...

I have always loved the Chesterton citations that you included in your books. I guess no one can be right about everything, but he certainly had it right about many things.