John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, London





Preached at Whitehall (Part 1)

WE NEED NOT QUARRELL the words of the Poet, Tu quamcunque Deus tibi fortunaverit horam, Grata sume manu, Thanke God for any good fortune, since the Apostle sayes too, that Godlinesse hath the promise of this life; The godly man shall be fortunate, God will blesse him with good fortune here; but still it is fortune, and chance, in the sight and reason of man and therefore he hath but found, whatsoever he hath in that kinde. It is intimated in the very word which we use for all worldly things; It is Inventarium, an Inventory; we found them here, and here our successors finde them, when we are gone from hence. Jezabel had an estimation of beauty, and she thought to have drawne the King with that beauty, but she found it, she found it in her box, and in her wardrope, she was not truly fayre. Achitophel had an estimation of wisedome in Counsel I know not how he found it; he counselled by an example, which no man would follow, he hanged himselfe. Thou wilt not be drawne to confesse, that a man that hath an Office is presently wiser than thou, or a man that is Knighted, presently valianter than thou. Men have preferment for those parts which other men, equall to them in the same things, have not and therefore they doe but finde them; And to things that are but found, what is our title? Nisi reddantur, rapina est. sayes the Law, If we restore not that which we finde, it is robbery. S. Augustine hath brought it nearer, Qui alienum negat, si posset, tolleret, He that confesseth not that which he hath found of another mans, if he durst, he would have taken it by force. For that which we have found in this world, our calling is the owner, our debts are the owner, our children are the owner our lusts, our superfluities are no owners: of all the rest, God is the owner, and to this purpose, the poore is God.

[LXXX. Sermons (70), 1640]

Fr. Lance Mc Adam

The Study has been prepared by Father Lance McAdam

who entered into rest July 14, 2003

May his soul, and the souls of all the departed rest in peace.

And light perpetual shine upon him.

Anglicanism | Ashes to Easter | John Donne