John Donne (1572-1631) was a noted preacher whose sermons were very much an extension of his poetry. Victoria ran across this quotation in a novel by Elizabeth Goudge in which an elderly preacher loses his sermon notes and preaches a John Donne sermon by heart. The preacher Donne uses one of his poetic devices to use the word "end" in two different ways, the end of life in a time-bound sense is death, but life also has an "end" in the sense of a purpose or goal. Donne uses both in the same sentence:
God...brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light. He can bring thy summer out of winter, though thou have no spring. Though...thou have been benighted till now, swintered and frozen...now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the sun at noon, to banish all shadows; as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. All occasions invite His mercies, and all times are His seasons....Whom God loves He loves to the end; and not only to their own end, to their death, but to his end; and His end is, that He might love them still.
The end or purpose of God is that he might love us, in life and beyond life into the life eternal. God's end is love and love does not die.
Labels: John Donne, love