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

 

 

 

Preached at St. Paul's Crosse. 
Nov. 22nd, 1629
(Part 2)

BLESSEDNESSE IT SELF, is God himselfe; our blessednesse is our possession; our union with God. In what consists this? A great limbe of the Schoole with their Thomas, place this blessednesse, this union with God, In visione, in this, That in heaven I shall see God, see God essentially, God face to face, God as he is. We do not see one another so, in this world; In this world we see but outsides- In heaven I shall see God, and God essentially. But then another great branch of the Schoole, with their Scotus, place this blessednesse, this union with God, in Amore, in this, that in heaven, I shall love God. Now love presumes knowledge; for Amari nisi nota non possunt, we can love nothing, but that which we do, or think we do understand. There, in heaven, I shall know God, so, as that I shall be admitted, not onely to an Adoration of God, to an admiration of God, to a prosternation, and reverence before God, but to an affection, to an office, of more familiarity towards God, of more equality with God, I shall love God. But even love it selfe, as noble a passion as it is, is but a Paine, except we enjoy that we love; and therefore another branch of the Schoole, with their Aureolus, place this blessednesse, this union of our souls with God, in Gaudio, in our joy, that is, in our enjoying of God. In this world we enjoy nothing; enjoying presumes perpetuity; and here, all things are fluid, transitory: There I shall enjoy, and possesse for ever, God himself. But yet, every one of these, to see God, or to love God, or to enjoy God, have seemed to some too narrow to comprehend this blessednesse, beyond which, nothing can be proposed; and therefore another limbe of the Schoole, with their Bonaventure, place this blessednesse in all these together. And truly, if any of those did exclude any of these, so, as that I might see God, and not love him, or love God, and not enjoy him, it could not well be called blessednesse; but he that hath any one of these, hath every one, all: And Wherefore the greatest part concurre, and safely, in visione, That vision is beatification, to see God, as he is, is that blessednesse.

There then, in heaven, I shall have continuitatem Intuendi; It is not onely vision, but Intuition, not onely a seeing, but a beholding, a contemplating of God, and that in Continuitate, I shall have an un-interrupted an un-intermitted, an un-discontinued sight of God; I shall looke, and never looke off; not looke, and looke againe, as here, but looke, and looke still, for that is, Continuitas intuendi. There my soule shall have Inconcussam quietem we need owe Plato nothing; but we may thank Plato for this expression, if he meant so much by this Inconcussa quies, That in heaven my soule shall sleep, not onely without trouble, and startling, but without rocking, without any odder help, than that peace, which is in it selfe; My soule shall be thoroughly awake, and thoroughly asleep too; still busie, active, diligent, and yet still at rest. But the Apostle will exceed the Philosopher, St. Paul will exceed Plato, as he does when he sayes, I shall be unus spiritus cum Deo, I shall be still but the servant of my God, and yet I shall be the same spirit with that God. When? Dies quem tanquam supremum reformidas, Šterninatal est, sayes the Morall mans Oracle, Seneca. Our last day is our first day, our Saturday is our Sunday, our Eve is our Holyday, our sun-setting is our morning, the day of our death, is the first day of our eternall life. The next day after that, which is the day of judgement, Veniet dies, quuae me mihi revelabit, comes that day that shall show me to my selfe; here I never saw my selfe, but in disguises: There, Then, I shall see my selfe and see God too. Totam lucem, et Totus lux aspiciam, I shall see the whole light; Here I see some parts of the ayre enlightned by the Sunne, but I do not see the whole light of the Sunne; There I shal see God intirely, all God, totam lucem, and totus lux, I my self shal be al light to see that light by. Here, I have one faculty enlightned, and another left in darknesse: mine understanding sometimes cleared, my will, at the same time perverted. There, I shall be all light, no shadow upon me; my soule invested with the light of joy and my body in the light of glory. How glorious is God, as he looks down upon us through the Sunne! How glorious in that glasse of his! How glorious is God, as he looks out amongst us through the King! How glorious in that Image of his! How glorious is God, as he calls up our eyes to him, in the beauty, and splendor, and service of the Church! How glorious in that spouse of his! But how glorious shall I conceive this light to be, cum suo loco viderim, when I shall see it, in his owne place. In that Spheare which though a Spheare, is a Center too- In that place, which though a place, is all, and every where. I shall see it, in the face of that God, who is all face, all manifestation, all Innotescence to me, (for, facies Dei est, qua Deus nobis innotescit, that's Gods face to us, by which God manifests himselfe to us) I shall see this light in his face, who is all face, and yet all hand, ad application, and communication, and delivery of an himselfe to all his Saints. This is Beatitudo in Auge, blessednesse in the Meridionall height, blessednesse in the South point, in a perpetuall Summer solstice, beyond which nothing can be proposed, to see God so, Then, There. And yet the farmers of heaven and hell, the merchants of soules, the Romane Church, make this blessednesse, but an under degree, but a kinde of apprentiship; after they have beatified, declared a man to be blessed in the fruition of God in heaven, if that man, in that inferiour state doe good service to that Church, that they see much profit will rise, by the devotion, and concurrence of men, to the worship of that person, then they will proeeed to a Canonization; and so, he that in his Novitiat, and years of probation was but blessed Ignatius, and blessed Xavier, is lately beeome Saint Xavier, and Saint Ignatius. And so they pervert the right order, and method, which is first to come to Sanctification, and then to Beatification, first to holinesse, and then to blessednesse. And in this method, our blessed God bee pleased to proceed with us, by the operation of his holy Spirit, to bring us to Sanctification here. and by the merits and intercession of his glorious Sonne, to Beatification hereafter. That so not being offended in him, but resting in those meanes and sealed of reconciliation, which thou hast instituted in thy Church, wee may have life, and life more abundantly, life of grace here, and life of glory there, in that kingdome, which thy Sonne, our Saviour Christ Jesus hath purchased for us, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible bloud. Amen.

[Fifty Sermons (44), 1649]

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.

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