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to my relapse out of presumption, but to preclude all accesses of desperation, though out of infirmity I should relapse.
O ETERNAL and most gracious God, who, though thou beest ever infinite, yet enlargest thyself by the number of our prayers, and takest our often petitions to thee to be an addition to thy glory and thy greatness, as ever upon all occasions, so now, O my God, I come to thy majesty with two prayers, two supplications. I have meditated upon the jealousy which thou hast of thine own honour, and considered that nothing comes nearer a violating of that honour, nearer to the nature of a scorn to thee, than to sue out thy pardon, and receive the seals of reconciliation to thee, and then return to that sin for which I needed and had thy pardon before. I know that this comes too near to a making thy holy ordinances, thy word, thy sacraments, thy seals, thy grace, instruments of my spiritual fornications. Since therefore thy correction hath brought me to such a participation of thyself (thyself, O my God, cannot be parted), to such an entire possession of thee, as that I durst deliver myself over to thee this minute, if this minute thou wouldst accept my dissolution, preserve me, O my God, the God of constancy and perseverance, in this state, from all relapses into those sins which have induced thy former judgments upon me. But because, by too lamentable experience, I know how slippery my customs of sin have made my ways of sin, I presume to add this petition too, that if my infirmity overtake me, thou forsake me not. Say to my soul, My son, thou hast sinned, do so no more"; but say also, that though I do, thy spirit of remorse and com14 Ecclus. i. 21.
punction shall never depart from me. Thy holy
apostle, St. Paul, was shipwrecked thrice15, and yet
still saved. Though the rocks and the sands, the
heights and the shallows, the prosperity and the
adversity of this world, do diversely threaten me,
though mine own leaks endanger me, yet, O God, let
me never put myself aboard with Hymeneus, nor make
shipwreck of faith and a good conscienceI6, and then
thy long-lived, thy everlasting mercy, will visit me,
though that which I most earnestly pray
against, should fall upon me, a relapse
into those sins which I have truly
repented, and thou hast fully
SERMON OF COMMEMORATION
OF THE LADY DANVERS, LATE WIFE
OF SIR JOHN DANVERS, AND MOTHER OF GEORGE
HERBERT, PREACHED AT CHELSEA, WHERE
SHE WAS LATELY BURIED.
JULY 1, 1627.
BY JOHN DONNE,
Dean Of St. Paul's.