In order to swim one takes off all one's clothes--in order to aspire to the truth one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one's inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness etc., before one is sufficiently naked.
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.
If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappointments, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility!
To live thus - to cram today with eternity and not wait the next day - the Christian has learnt and continues to learn (for the Christian is always learning) from the Pattern. How did He manage to live without anxiety for the next day - He who from the first instant of His public life, when He stepped forward as a teacher, knew how His life would end, that the next day was His crucifixion; knew this while the people exultantly hailed Him as King (ah, bitter knowledge to have at precisely that moment!); knew, when they were crying, Hosanna!, at His entry into Jerusalem, that they would cry, "Crucify Him!", and that it was to this end that He made His entry. He who bore every day the prodigious weight of this superhuman knowledge - how did He manage to live without anxiety for the next day?
To the Christian, love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is an unchristian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian love is the works of love. Christ's love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what not, it was the work of love which was his life.
The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are . . . grandiose thoughts in embryo.