The Dogmatic and Mystical Theology of John Donne

By Itrat Husain | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI

JOHN DONNE AND ESCHATOLOGY


Immortality

WE have discussed in detail Donne's conception of the immortality of the soul as well as that of the body in the chapter which deals with "Revealed Theology." To Donne the first attribute of immortality is the eternal life after death.

"God had been an infinite, a super-infinite, an unimaginable space, millions of millions of unimaginable spaces in heaven, before the Creation. And our afternoon shall be as long as God's forenoon; for, as God never saw beginning, so we shall never see end."1

The belief in a future life was commonly held among the Jews long before the coming of Christ; but Donne says it was Christ who for the first time clearly explained the nature of the immortality of the soul as well as of the body, and clearly demonstrated it in His miracles, and in His own Resurrection, and therefore "to dispute against our own Resurrection is seditiously to dispute against the dominion of Jesus; who is not made Lord by the Resurrection, if he have no subjects to follow him in the same way. We believe him to be Lord, therefore let us believe his, and our own Resurrection."

Donne argues that as it was the original intention of God to make both the soul and the body immortal in Heaven, and man only brought death (and divorce between the soul and body) on himself through the Fall, this divorce cannot last after death.

"As farre as man is immortal, man is a married man still, still in possession of a soule and a body too; And man is for ever immortall in both; Immortall in his soule by Preservation and immortall in his body by Reparation in the Resurrection."2

In another sermon, he has explained the meaning of the soul being immortal through Preservation.

"And for the Immortality of the soule, it is saflier said

____________________
XXVI Sermons, 21.
2
LXXX Sermons, 80.

-112-

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The Dogmatic and Mystical Theology of John Donne
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter I John Donne and the Anglican Church 1
  • Chapter II 23
  • Chapter III John Donne and Revealed Theology 43
  • Chapter IV John Donne and the Doctrine of the "Fall" and Sin 77
  • Chapter V John Donne and Soteriology 94
  • Chapter VI 112
  • Chapter VII John Donne and Mystical Theology 120
  • Appendix to Chapter II 144
  • Bibliography 148
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