Jump to Content
Jump to chapter

John Donne

Evelyn Simpson, Helen Gardner, and T. S. Healy (eds), John Donne: Selected Prose

Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 26436. From a Sermon Preached upon Whitsunday. [?I625]1


Heaven is Glory, and heaven is Joy; we cannot tell which most; we cannot separate them; and this comfort is joy in the Holy Ghost. This makes all Jobs states alike; as rich in the first Chapter of his Booke, where all is suddenly lost, as in the last, where all is abundantly restored. This Consolation from the Holy Ghost makes my mid-night noone, mine Executioner a Physitian, a stake and pile of Fagots, a Bone-fire of triumph; this consolation makes a Satyr, and Slander, and Libell against me, a Panegyrique, and an Elogy in my praise; It makes a Tolle an Ave, a an Euge, a Crucifige an Hosanna; It makes my death-bed, a mariage-bed, And my Passing-Bell, an Epithalamion.


As the world is the whole frame of the world, God hath put into it a reproofe, a rebuke, lest it should seem eternall, which is, a sensible decay and age in the whole frame of the world, and every piece thereof. The seasons of the yeare irregular and distempered; the Sun fainter, and languishing; men lesse in stature, and shorterlived. No addition, but only every yeare, new sorts, new species of wormes, and flies, and sicknesses, which argue more and more putrefaction of which they are engendred. And the Angels of heaven, which did so familiarly converse with men in the beginning of the world, though they may not be doubted to perform to us still their ministeriall assistances, yet they seem so far to have deserted this world, as that they do not appeare to us, as they did to those our Fathers. S. Cyprian observed this in his time, when writing to Demetrianus, who imputed all those calamities which afflicted the world then, to the impiety of the Christians who would not joyne with them in the worship of their sods, Cyprian went no farther for pg 265the cause of these calamities, but Ad senescentem mundum, To the age and impotency of the whole world; And therefore, sayes he, Imputent senes Christianis, quod minus valeant in senectutum; Old men were best accuse Christians, that they are more sickly in their age, than they were in their youth; Is the fault in our religion, or in their decay? Canos inpueris videmus, nee atas in senectute desinit, sed incipit a senectute; We see gray haires in children, and we do not die old, and yet we are borne old. Lest the world (as the world signifies the whole frame of the world) should glorifie it selfe, or flatter, and abuse us with an opinion of eternity, we may admit usefully (though we do not conclude peremptorily) this observation to be true, that there is a reproofe, a rebuke born in it, a sensible decay and mortality of the whole world.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 On the text : 'And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement. Of sin, because ye believe not on me. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more. Of judgement, because the prince of this world is judged'(John xvi. 8, 9, 10, 11).
logo-footer Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out