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





St. Paul's. Whitsunday (Part 2)

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 shorter-lived. No addition, but only every yeare, new sorts, new species of wormed 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 ministerial 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 gods, Cyprian went no farther for the cause of these calamities, but Ad senescentem mundum, To the age and impotency of the whole world; And therefore, sayes he, Imputent senes Christianis, qud mins valeant in senectutem; 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 in pueris videmus, nec tas in senectute desinit, sed incipit 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.

[LXXX. Sermons (36), 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