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




A Sermon of Commemoration 
of the Lady Danvers, Late Wife of Sir John Danvers. July 1st, 1627

FIRST THEN, to shake the constancy of a Christian, there will alwaies be Scorners, Jesters, Scoffers, and Mockers at Religion; The Period and Consummation of the Christian Religion, the Judgement day, the second coming of Christ, will alwaies be subject to scornes. And many times a scorne cuts deeper than a sword. Lucian wounded Religion more by making Jests at it, than Arius, or Pelagius, or Nestorious, with making Arguments against it. For, against those profest Heretikes, and against their studied Arguments, which might seeme to have some weight, it well beseem'd those grave and Reverend Fathers of the Church, to call their Councels, and to take into their serious consideration those Arguments, and solemnly to conclude, and determine, and decree in the point. But it would ill have become those reverend persons, to have cal'd their Councels, or taken into their so serious considerations, Epigrams, and Satyres and Libells, and scurrill and scornful jests, against any point of Religion; Scornes and Jests are easilier apprehended, and understood by vulgar and ordinary capacities, than Arguments are; and then, learned men are not so earnest, nor so diligent to overthrow, and confute a Jest, or Scorne, as they are, an Argument; and so they passe more uncontrorl'd, and prevaile further, and live longer, than Arguments doe.

[Published separately, 1629]

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