Saturday, April 01, 2006

CQOD: 03/31/06 -- Donne: sleep and death

Christian Quotation of the Day

March 31, 2006
Commemoration of John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631
    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
    -- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 (ESV)

    Though natural men, who have induced secondary and figurative consideration, have found out this... emblematical use of sleep, that it should be a representation of death, God, who wrought and perfected his work, before Nature began, (for Nature was but his Apprentice, to learn in the first seven days, and now is his foreman, and works next under him) God, I say, intended sleep only for the refreshing of man by bodily rest, and not for a figure of death, for he intended not death itself then. But Man having induced death upon himself, God hath taken Man’s Creature, death, into his hand, and mended it, and whereas it hath in itself a fearfull form and aspect, so that Man is afraid of his own Creature, God presents it to him, in a familiar, in an assiduous, in an agreeable and acceptable form, in sleep, that so when he awakes from sleep and says to himself, shall I be no otherwise when I am dead, than I was even now, when I was asleep, he may be ashamed of his waking dreams, and of his Melancholique fancying out a horrid and an affrightful figure of that death which is so like sleep. As then we need sleep to live out our threescore and ten years, so we need death, to live that life which we cannot out-live.
    ... John Donne (1573-1631), Meditations

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, when I sleep, may I always awaken in Your presence.

See Believer's Desktop Companion 2004

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