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

 

 

 

 

St. Paul's. Christmas Day [1629] (Part 1)

GOD, WHO VOUCHSAFED to be made Man for man, for man vouchsafes also to doe all the offices of man towards man. He is our Father, for he made us: of what? Of clay; so God is Figulus, so in the Prophet; so in the Apostle, God is our Potter. God stamped his Image upon us, and so God is Statuarius, our Minter, our Statuary. God clothed us, and so is vestiarius; he hath opened his wardrobe unto us. God gave us all the fruits of the earth to eate, and so is śconom[ic]us our Steward. God poures his oyle, and his wine into our wounds, and so is Medicus, and Vicinus, that Physitian, that Neighbour, that Samaritan intended in the Parable. God plants us, and waters and weeds us, and gives the increase, and so God is Hortulanus, our Gardiner. God builds us up into a Church, and so God is Architectus, our Architect, our Builder; God watches the City when it is built; and so God is Speculator, our Sentinell. God fishes for men, (for all his Johns, and his Andrews, and his Peters, are but the nets that he fishes withall) God is the fisher of men: And here, in this Chapter, God in Christ is our Shepheard. The book of Job is a representation of God, in a Tragique-Comedy, lamentable beginnings comfortably ended: The book of the Canticles is a representation of God in Christ, as a Bridegroom in a Marriage-song, in an Epithalamion: God in Christ is represented to us, in divers formed in divers places, and this Chapter is his Pastorall. The Lord is our Shepheard, and so called, in more places, than by any other name; and in this Chapter, exhibits some of the offices of a good Shepheard. Be pleased to taste a few of them. First, he sayes, The good shepheard comes in at the doore, the right way. If he come in at the window, that is, alwayes clamber after preferment; If he come in at vaults, and cellars, that is, by clandestin, and secret contracts with his Patron, he comes not the right way: When he is in the right way, His sheep heare his voyce: first there is a voyce, He is heard; Ignorance doth not silence him, nor lazinesse, nor abundance of preferment; nor indiscreet, and distempered zeale does not silence him; (for to induce, or occasion a silencing upon our selves, is as ill as the ignorant, or the lazie silence). There is a voyce, and (sayes that Text) [it] is his voyce, not alwayes another in his roome; for (as it is added in the next verse) The sheep know his voyce, which they could not doe, if they heard it not often, if they were not used to it. And then, for the best testimony, and consummation of all, he sayes, The good Shepheard gives his life for his sheep. Every good Shepheard gives his life, that is, spends his life, weares out his life for his sheep: of which this may be one good argument, That there are not so many crazie, so many sickly men, men that so soon grow old in any profession, as in ours.

[LXXX. Sermons (7), 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.

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