(CCSLQ-40) – Next Moment

The following is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. As I near the publication of an untitled book on the subject, it is difficult to say how often I will post additional material (even though over 30 more quotes have been identified). That book is scheduled for release in May, 2018.

There is an “at a glance” page (CLICK HERE) to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series, which also includes a list of the other quotes I’ve identified as questionable. Also, if you haven’t already, consider reading the INTRODUCTION to this series to gain an understanding of the three main categories.   

“The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God’s care as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. And neither can we do anything, and both God is doing everything.”

It’s no secret that Lewis enjoyed the writings of George MacDonald very much. In fact, I’ve posted two articles already where something credited to Lewis was actually from MacDonald. The first was about an expression related to soul/body, and the other was about being “what God chose to make me.” In both cases it was difficult to clearly know how those two sayings were falsely credited to Lewis. However, with this quotation, it is much easier to determine why some believe Lewis was the author, instead of M.

In the mid 1940’s Lewis edited a book entitled George MacDonald: An Anthology. Within that book, in reading number 74, is a slightly modified version of this quote. There are three words missing from the beginning and four words from about the middle of the quotation. The correct version (with the absent words in bold) are below and the entire source from where this passage is found is also online.

The next hour, the next moment, is as much beyond our grasp and as much in God’s care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is just as foolish as care for the morrow, or for a day in the next thousand years–in neither can we do anything, in both God is doing everything.”

Thus, somewhere, someone decided to edit the expression and didn’t pay close attention to the fact that it was something Lewis enjoyed but didn’t write. What’s sad is that when searching in Google, it will suggest Lewis mostly in an image search, but it did bring up MacDonald’s name in the regular (All) search. Which just goes to show that taking a few extra minutes to check sources might help end this quote being falsely credited to Lewis.

Material from Lewis that relates to the thoughts conveyed in this saying can be found in The Screwtape Letters, letter 15, where the topic of Time is addressed. In it, Screwtape tells his nephew, Wormwood, that humans are encouraged by God to focus on the Present, as well is Eternity. The devils want to get people to always think about the Future so as to worry about it and never live in the present moment. Additionally, in the essay, “The Weight of Glory,” Lewis states near the end, “The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.” (Thanks to David Jack for reminding me of this quote.)

The next article to be posted on TBA:

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Related Articles:

Exploring C.S. Lewis Misquotes and Misconceptions (6-part podcast series)

What Lewis NEVER Wrote  (Podcast)

Not Quite Lewis – Podcast Version

Not Quite Lewis – Questionable Lewisian Quotations (Conf. Paper)

Updated 11/11/2017


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