John Donne: Prayer


John Donne

O ETERNAL and most gracious God, who, though thou didst permit darkness to be before light in the creation, yet in the making of light didst so multiply that light, as that it enlightened not the day only, but the night too; though thou have suffered some dimness, some clouds of sadness and disconsolateness to shed themselves upon my soul, I humbly bless and thankfully glorify thy holy name, that thou hast afforded me the light of thy Spirit, against which the prince of darkness cannot prevail, nor hinder his illumination of our darkest nights, of our saddest thoughts. Even the visitation of thy most blessed Spirit upon the blessed Virgin, is called an overshadowing. There was the presence of the Holy Ghost, the fountain of all light, and yet an overshadowing; nay, except there were some light, there could be no shadow.

Let thy merciful providence so govern all in this sickness, that I never fall into utter darkness, ignorance of thee, or inconsideration of myself; and let those shadows which do fall upon me, faintnesses of spirit, and condemnations of myself, be overcome by the power of thine irresistible light, the God of consolation; that when those shadows have done their office upon me, to let me see, that of myself I should fall into irrecoverable darkness, thy Spirit may do his office upon those shadows, and disperse them, and establish me in so bright a day here, as may be a critical day to me, a day wherein and whereby I may give thy judgment upon myself, and that the words of thy Son, spoken to his apostles, may reflect upon me, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” [Matt. 28:20]

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