This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month (or sometimes the second if there are five Saturdays). There is an “at a glance” page HERE to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.
“My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight.”
My immediate thought after reading the above quotation was “does Hell ever ‘rejoice?'” That word, like hallelujah, has more of a Christian meaning to it. Lewis, who was very careful about how he used words in their proper sense, would not have likely used “rejoice” as something the demons in Hell would do.
Nevertheless, I did check my electronic versions of the published writings of C.S. Lewis. Not surprisingly it was absent. Additionally, another website, called Fauxtations that deals with a variety of false authors quotation actually tackled in several months ago. Their article, C. S. Lewis: My prayer when I die, also reached the same conclusion. The author posted that a quotation by C.T. Studd was tracked down that was slightly different at the end. It reads, “I pray that when I die, all of hell will rejoice that I am out of the fight.” However, when I tried to confirm this I did locate that version, but also another place stated the ending was “…I am no longer in the fight.” Either way, Lewis didn’t say it.
One last interesting thing to note, when this quotation was questioned not long ago online a person mentioned that there is an Irish proverb similar to the quote; “May you be in Heaven a full half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.” You might not be aware of this, but Lewis was born in Ireland.
WHAT LEWIS SAID THAT’S RELATED (or closest to it):
“In all discussions of hell we should keep steadily before our eyes the possible damnation, not of our enemies nor our friends . . . but of ourselves. ”
from The Problem of Pain (Chapter 8)
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”
from The Great Divorce (Chapter 9)
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