The Charles Williams Society


Williams had a remarkable knack for seeing familiar facts or sayings in a completely new light. It is hoped that this comes out in some of the following quotations from his writings.

(Reviewing a detective novel published by Cassell and Co.)
Messrs. Cassell, on the jacket, ask ‘Why was Nahum afraid of life?’ I don’t understand. Aren’t Messrs. Cassell?

The Divine Thing that made itself the foundation of the Church does not seem, to judge by his comments on the religious leadership of his day, to have hoped much from officers of a church. The most he would do was to promise that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. It is about all that, looking back on the history of the Church, one can feel that they have not done.

Are the riches of Catullus and Carnegie so unequal, though so different? Sooner or later, nearly everyone is surprised at some kind of rich man being damned.

The denial of the self has come, as is natural, to mean in general the making of the self thoroughly uncomfortable.

[Job] plunges into a series of demands on and accusations of God which may be and indeed are epigrams of high intelligence, but are not noticeably patient.

(Of Adam and Eve) They had what they wanted. That they did not like it when they got it does not alter the fact that they certainly got it.

He Came Down From Heaven

The famous saying ‘God is love’, it is generally assumed, means that God is like our immediate emotional indulgence, not that the meaning of love ought to have something of the ‘otherness’ and terror of God.

When the Jews came forth to accuse Messias
He answered them riddling, playing with words,
Saying: ‘If Satan cast out Satan,
If hell be divided to ruin hell,
Tell me, can Satan’s kingdom stand?’

Lord, let they children now let show
The answer the Jews seemed not to know,
Losing their heads in their eager rage;
Now let they servants answer unchid:
‘Lord, whoever supposed it did?

Let the angelic armies smile,
Seeing it topple all the while:
‘How shall Satan’s kingdom stand?
Lord, it crashes on either hand,
And where is its substance of delight?

Most men, when at last they see their desire
Fall to repentance – all have that chance.

(Judgment at Chelmsford)

Of a seventeenth-century Scottish minister obliged to hear Anglican sermons)
It is as pleasant as it is unusual to see thoroughly good people getting their deserts.

James I