That Face Which No Man Can Say He Does Not Know

The following passage from Perelandra by C. S. Lewis is one I find so beautiful that I always want to share it. Enjoy!

And how shall I–I who have not seen him–tell you what he was like? It was hard even for Ransom to tell me of the King’s face. But we dare not withhold the truth. It was that face which no man can say he does not know. You might ask how it was possible to look upon it and not to commit idolatry, not to mistake it for that of which it was the likeness. For the resemblence was, in its own fashion, infinite, so that almost you could wonder at finding no sorrows in his brow and no wounds in his hands and feet. Yet there was no danger of mistaking, not one moment of confusion, no least sally of the will towards forbidden reverence. Where likeness was greatest, mistake was the least possible. Perhaps this is always so. A clever wax-work can be made so like a man that for a moment it deceives us: the great portrait, which is far more deeply like him does not. Plaster images of the Holy One may before now have drawn to themselves the adoration they were meant to arouse for the reality. But here, where His live image, like Him within and without, made by His own bare hands out of the depth of divine artistry, His masterpiece of self-portraiture coming forth from His workshop to delight all worlds, walked and spoke before Ransom’s eyes, it could never be taken for more than an image. Nay, the very beauty of it lay in the certainity that it was a copy, like and not the same, and echo, a rhyme, an exquisite reverberation of the uncreated music prolonged in a created medium.

–From Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

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3 thoughts on “That Face Which No Man Can Say He Does Not Know

  1. Coley says:

    I hope I get that opportunity, also. That paper still burns within me.Maybe I’ll even make in time for next year’s C.S. Lewis and the Inklings Conference!

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