Dialogue on the Threshold

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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Uri potest in gehenna, non exuri

God sealed us, in imprinting his Image in our soules, and in the powers thereof, at our creation; and so, every man hath this seale, and he hath it, as soone as he hath a soule: The wax, the matter, is in his conception; the seale, the forme, is in his quickning, in his inanimation; as, in Adam, the waxe was that red earth, which he was made of, the seale was that soule, that breath of life, which God breathed into him. Where the Organs of the body are so indisposed, as that this soule cannot exercise her faculties, in that man, (as in naturall Idiots, or otherwise) there, there is a curtaine drawn over this Image, but yet there this Image is, the Image of God, is in the most naturall Idiot, as well as in the wisest of men: worldly men draw other pictures over this picture, other images over this image: The wanton man may paint beauty, the ambitious may paint honour, the covetous wealth, and so deface this image, but yet there this image is, and even in hell it selfe it will be, in him that goes down into hell: uri potest in gehenna, non exuri, sayes St. Bernard, The Image of God may burne in hell, but as long as the soule remaines, that image remaines there too; And then, thou who wouldest not burne their picture, that loved thee, wilt thou betray the picture of thy Maker, thy Saviour, thy Sanctifier, to the torments of hell? Amongst the manifold and perpetuall interpretations of that article, He descended into hell, this is a new one, that thou sentest him to hell in thy soule

John Donne, Sermon Preached to the Earl of Exeter, and his company, in his Chappell at Saint Johns; 13 June 1624. Apoc. 7.9 After this, I beheld, and loe, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the lambe, clothed with white robes, and palmes in their hands.


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