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





St. Paul's. Christmas Day [1629] (Part 4)

THERE IS AYRE ENOUGH in the world, to give breath to every thing, though everything doe not breathe. If a tree, or a stone doe not breathe, it is not because it wants ayre, but because it wants meanes to receive it, or to returne it. All egges are not hatched that the hen sits upon; neither could Christ himselfe get all the chickens that were hatehed to come, and to stay under his wings. That man that is blinde, or that will winke, shall see no more sunne upon S. Barnabies day, than upon S. Lucies; no more in the summer, than in the winter solstice. And therefore as there is copiosa redemptio, a plentifull redemption brought into the world by the death of Christ, so (as S. Paul found it in his particular conversion) there is copiosa lux, a great and a powerfull light exhibited to us, that we might see, and lay hold of this life, in the Ordinances of the Church, in the Confessions, and Absolutions, and Services, and Sermons, and Sacraments of the Church, Christ came ut daret that he might bring life into the world, by his death, and then he instituted his Church ut haberent, that by the meanes thereof this life might be infused into us, and infused so, as the last word of our Text delivers it, Abundantiůs, I came, that they might have life more abundantly.

Dignaris Domine, ut eis, quibus debita dimittis, te, promissionibus tuis, debitorem facias; This, O Lord, is thine abundant proceeding; First thou forgivest me my debt to thee, and then thou makest thy selfe a debter to me by thy large promises; and after all, performest those promises more largely than thou madest them. Indeed, God can doe nothing scantly, penuriously singly. Even his maledictions, (to which God is ever loth to come) his first commination was plurall, it was death and death upon death, Morte morieris. Death may be plurall; but this benediction of life cannot admit a singular, Chajim, which is the word for life, hath no singular number. This is the difference betweene Gods Mercy, and his Judgements, that sometimes his Judgements may be plurall, complicated, enwrapped in one another, but his Mercies are alwayes so, and cannot be otherwise; he gives them abundantiůs, more abundantly.

[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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