My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Screwtape is a senior demon writing letters of advice to a jr. demon on how to tempt his human subject.

This is a book I need to read more often. My only complaint is that the insights go by so fast, I fear most of them don’t really sink in. It’s the kind of book I should stop every few paragraphs and give serious thought to the ideas before moving on.

Here are a couple parts that stuck out this time:

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky. … [in a war] the undisguisable issue of cowardice or courage awakes thousands from moral stupor. This is probably ones of [God’s] motives for creating a dangerous world”