confession

The Lord gave clear evidence of His supreme power in what He endured from hostile forces when He endowed human nature with an incorruptible form of generation. For through His passion He conferred dispassion, through suffering repose, and through death eternal life. By His privations in the flesh He re-established and renewed the human state, and by His own incarnation He bestowed on human nature the supra-natural grace of deification.

Since faith rests upon infallible truth, and since the contrary of a truth can never be demonstrated, it is clear that the arguments brought against faith cannot be demonstrations, but are difficulties that can be answered.

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man to know what he ought to believe to know what he ought to desire and to know what he ought to do.

Before gazing at the sun of humility we must let the light of meekness flow over us.

Besides, isn't it confoundedly easy to think you're a great man if you aren't burdened with the slightest idea that Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dante or Napoleon ever lived?

When I see others astonishingly blind to their failings, I suppose it to be my own case, and should think that man my friend who helps to open my eyes.

The conclusion of the Lord's prayer (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen) teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide No sedge-crown'd sister now attend, Now waft me from the green hill's side Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!

Pascal told only half the story. He said man was a thinking reed. What man is, is a thinking reed and a walking genital.

There exist few things more tedious than a discussion of general ideas inflicted by author or reader upon a work of fiction. The purpose of this foreword is not to show that Bend Sinister belongs or does not belong to serious literature (which is a euphemism for the hollow profundity and the ever-welcome commonplace). I have never been interested in what is called the literature of social comment (in journalistic and commercial parlance: great books). I am not sincere, I am not provocative, I am not satirical. I am neither a didacticist nor an allegorizer. Politics and economics, atomic bombs, primitive and abstract art forms, the entire Orient, symptoms of thaw in Soviet Russia, the Future of Mankind, and so on, leave me supremely indifferent. As in the case of my Invitation to a Beheading - with which this book has obvious affinities - automatic comparisons between Bend Sinister and Kafka's creations or Orwell's cliches would go merely to prove that the automaton could not have read either the great German writer or the mediocre English one.

We never do evil so thoroughly and heartily as when led to it by an honest but perverted, because mistaken, conscience.

Either the nation whose tyrant you would destroy is ripe for the assertion and maintenance of its liberty, or it is not. If it be, the tyrant ought to be deposed with every appearance of publicity. Nothing can be more improper than for an affair, interesting to the general weal, to be conducted as if it were an act of darkness and shame. It is an ill lesson we read to mankind, when a proceeding, built upon the broad basis of general justice, is permitted to shrink from public scrutiny. The pistol and the dagger may as easily be made the auxiliaries of vice, as of virtue. To proscribe all violence, and neglect no means of information and impartiality, is the most effectual security we can have, for an issue conformable to reason and truth.

Liberty is one of the best of all sublunary advantages. I would willingly therefore communicate knowledge, without infringing, or with as little possible violence to, the volition and individual judgment of the person to be instructed.

The real cause of personal existence is not the favor of the Almighty, but the sexual love of one's earthly parents.