Gomorrah closed itself against her...

Adela ran. She had soon no breath for screaming. She ran. She did not know where she was going. She ran. She heard a voice calling behind her: "The earth's loose and the wind's blowing", and she ran more wildly. Her flesh felt the touch of a gritty hand; a voice kept calling after her and round her: "The earth's loose; the wind's blowing." She ran wildly and absurdly, her full mouth open, her plump arms spasmodically working, tears of terror in her eyes. She desired above all things immediate safety-in some place and with someone she knew. Hugh had disappeared. She ran over the Hill, and through a twisted blur of tears and fear recognized by a mere instinct Lawrence Wentworth's house. She rushed through the gate; here lived someone who could restore her to her own valuation of herself. Hugh's shouted orders had been based on no assent of hers to authority; however much she had played at sensual and sentimental imitations of obedience, she hated the thing itself in any and every mode. She wanted something to condone and console her fear. There was a light in the study; she made for it; reached the window, and hammered on the glass, hammered again and again, till Wentworth at last heard and reluctantly drew himself from the stupor of his preoccupation, came slowly across the room and drew back the curtain.

They confronted each other through the glass. Wentworth took a minute or two to recognize whose was the working and mottled face that confronted him, and when he recognized it, he made a motion to pull the curtain again and to go away. But as she saw the movement she struck so violently at the glass that even in his obsession he was terrified of others hearing, and slowly and almost painfully he pushed the window up and stood staring at her. She put her hands on the sill and leant inwards. She said - "Lawrence, Lawrence, something's about!"

 He still stood there, looking at her now with a heavy distaste, but he said nothing, and when she tried to catch his hand he moved it away. She looked up at him, and a deeper fear struck at her - that here was no refuge for her. Gomorrah closed itself against her; she stood in the outer wind of the plain. It was cold and frightful; she beat, literally, on the wall. She sobbed; "Lawrence, help me."

Charles Williams
Descent into Hell
Ch. 11 - The Opening of Graves

Free acts and the cosmic shape

When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation the thought will often cross our minds that (if only we knew it) the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided - in a sense it was decided 'before all worlds'. But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten a.m. (Some scientists would find this easier than popular thought does.)

The imagination will, no doubt, try to play all sort of tricks on us at this point. It will ask, 'Then if I stop praying can God go back and alter what has already happened?' No. The event has already happened and one of its causes has been the fact that you are asking such questions instead of praying. It will ask, 'Then if I begin to pray can God go back and alter what has already happened?' No. The event has already happened and one of its causes is your present prayer. Thus something does really depend on my choice. My free act contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity 'before all worlds'; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time series.
C.S. Lewis, Miracles, Appendix B (1947)

Of Beren and Lúthien

[Image: Beren and Lúthien - Peter Xavier Price]

Lúthien, called 'Lúthien Tinuviel' by Beren (Nightingale, daughter of twilight in Sindarin), was the fairest of the elven maids of Beleriand, and lived in the First Age of the Sun before the War of Wrath.  Her story and fate is tied inevitably to Beren son of Barahir, with whom she fell in love when he wandered into Doriath.  Lúthien Tinuviel was daughter of the great King Thingol of Doriath, greatest of the Teleri elves, who would not give his daughter freely, especially to a mortal man.  So, Upon Thingol's discovery of Beren's presence in his land, he sent for him and, having sworn not to harm the man, set before him a quest to recover a Silmaril from Morgoth's iron crown.  Upon the successful completion of this quest, Beren would be allowed to marry Lúthien, as they desired.

So, Beren set out upon his quest while Lúthien, imprisoned by Melian the Queen of Doriath to stop her from following Beren into hell, devised a means of escape from her prison in order to follow her love.  Beren travelled to Nargothrond and there gained the help of King Felagund while gaining strong enemies in the Sons of Feanor.  Beren and the party left Nargothrond and travelled north disguised as orcs until they came to Wizard's Isle and were imprisoned by Thu (Sauron), Lord of Wolves.  Lúthien flees Doriath to help Beren and, with the help of Haun, great hound of the Valar, they destroy Wizard's Isle and free Beren (Felagund and his companions had died in captivity at the hands of Thu's wolves).

Beren and Lúthien wander until they approach Doriath and Beren steals away from Lúthien while she sleeps and goes to Angband to fulfill his quest.  Before approaching Thangorodrim Lúthien and Huan once again find him and, with the help of Lúthien's elvish magic, they approach Angband in the guise of a werewolf and bat.  They enter Angband and steal a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown while he is enchanted by Lúthien. Beren loses the stone, however, when the great wolf Carcharas bites off the hand of Beren that holds the Silmaril.  It is regained, however, in Doriath, when Carcharas is killed by Huan and Beren in the end fulfills his quest to Thingol.

Williams on 'Exchange'

Charles talked and wrote a great deal about the practice of "exchange". It was one of the root rules of the Company. One made a pact and picked up the other person's fear or grief or pain and carried it oneself. This was the theory at any rate. The trouble was that, while the theory was irrefutable, the practice was apt to be dubious.... but how, I asked myself, was I to "present myself shyly to Almighty God in exchange for..."?

Lois Lang-Sims

Letters to Lelange (Kent State UP), Page 54

Wheaton College memories...

I was a student at Wheaton College from 1961 to 1965 and 'Mere Christianity' was required reading. I remember not liking the book at first, thinking CSL argued too much to defend the obvious. Later when great intellectual doubt overwhelmed me, Lewis and his books became my best friends. But when I got to the chapter on The Great Sin (pride) I was suddenly smitten by this writer. He cut right to the heart of the matter. How straight an arrow he can shoot. Since that day I have been reading everything of Lewis I can find. 

Lewis was so popular on campus that one professor (not too kindly) called him "the patron saint of Wheaton College"! The bookstore was filled with everything of Lewis. I bought my first copy of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' there. It was a Puffin paperback that said plainly on the cover, "not for sale in the U.S.A."!  I still have the book with its beautiful cover picture of Susan and Lucy and Aslan dancing round the Stone Table. That scene with the green mountains of Narnia in the background created such a longing in me to go there. And one of the most magical moments of my life was when I read the part where Lucy could not find the back of the wardrobe: 

"Then she saw that there was a light ahead of her..... Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air." 

(Nancy Young)