“The enigma”

In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, he has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished.

All Things Considered (1908).

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:53 am  Leave a Comment  

“A very narrow ideal of breadth”

There is no person so narrow as the person who is sure that he is broad; indeed, being quite sure that one is broad is itself a form of narrowness. It shows that one has a very narrow ideal of breadth. But, moreover, there is an element involved in the Rationalist position which makes this unintentional bigotry peculiarly natural. A man who is in a house may think it is a very large house. He may think it a much larger house than it is. But he knows it is a house, because of its shape and appearance; because there are doors and windows — therefore there is a world outside. In the same way, a man inside a church may think it is the true church. He may think it a very broad and free church. But he knows it is a church, because it is shaped like one; therefore he knows that there are things beyond and outside the church. But suppose a man lived in a house of mirrors so craftily constructed that he really thought he was alone on an open plain. Suppose a man lived in a church painted so splendidly with sky and cloud that he thought he was in the open air under the dome of heaven. He would be in the same position as the typical Rationalist. Instead of being conscious that he stands in a large church, he is simply unconscious that he stands in a small universe.

The Illustrated London News, 30 April 1910.

Chesterbelloc Edition!

It is strange but informing to discover that these wretchedly provincial attitudes of mind always think themselves universal, and nothing surprises world reformers of such a sort more than the discovery that other men differ from them.

— Hilaire Belloc,
On the Place of Gilbert Chesterton in English Letters (1940).

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 7:39 am  Leave a Comment  

To His Love

I cannot make less red the rose’s fold,
Less white the wave,
Less blue the sea, less bright the garner’s gold,
Less dark the grave,
Nor make thy soul less beautiful and bold,
Queen of the brave.

(mid 1890s).

Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  

“Man is an exception”

Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head… Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal ever invented anything so bad as drunkenness — or so good as drink.

All Things Considered (1908).

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment