587) Common Sense

     

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     Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.  Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the ‘virtues’.  In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are ‘good’, it does not matter being a fool.  But that is a misunderstanding.  In the first place, most children show plenty of ‘prudence’ about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly.  In the second place, as St Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence.  On the contrary; he told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents’.  He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.  He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.  The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not.  The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old.  It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a second-rate brain.  He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have.  

–C S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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On speaking to an audience about Christianity:

     One of the great difficulties is to keep before the audience’s mind the question of Truth.  They always think you are recommending Christianity not because it is true but because it is good (of course it is good, but it for it to be good it has to first be true).  And in the discussion they will at every moment try to escape from the “True or False” issue into stuff about a good society, or morals, or the incomes of Bishops, of the Spanish Inquisition– or anything whatever.  You have to keep forcing them back, again and again, to the real point.  Only thus will you be able to undermine their belief that a certain amount of “religion” is desirable, but one mustn’t carry it too far.  One must keep on pointing out that Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, is of infinite importance.  The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.

–C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock, 1945

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Mark 10:15  —  (Jesus said), “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Matthew 10:16  —  (Jesus said), “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

I Corinthians 13:11  —  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Hebrews 5:11-14  —   We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

John 18:38a  —  Pilate said unto Him, “What is truth?”

John 14:6  —  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

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A MORNING PRAY FOR TODAY (source lost):

Almighty God, I praise Thee that I have wakened to the light of another earthly day; and now let me think of what a day should be.  My days are Thine, let them be spent for Thee.  My days are few, let them be spent with care.  There are dark days behind me, forgive their sinfulness; there may be dark days before me, strengthen me for their trials.  I pray Thee to shine on this day, the day which I may call my own.  Lord, as I go to my daily work, help me to take pleasure therein.  Show me clearly what my duty is, and help me to be faithful in doing it.  Let all I do be well done, fit for Thine eye to see.  Give me strength to do, patience to bear, and let my courage never fail.  When I cannot love my work, let me think of it as Thy task and that I am serving Thee; and may the light of Thy love shine in all that I do; in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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