Common Prayer, by Ramie Targoff
Preaching at St. Paul's Cross in London in 1625, John Donne responded to Puritan critics of the Church of England: "If I come to extemporal prayer, and extemporal preaching, I shall come to an extemporal faith, and extemporal religion; and then I shall look for an extemporal Heaven, a Heaven to be made for me." Donne continued: "Let us not pray, not preach, not hear slackly, suddenly, unadvisedly, extemporally, occasionally, indiligently."
This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.