There but for the grace of God

Posted by ESC on April 18, 2003

In Reply to: There but for fortune... posted by S. Ryan on April 18, 2003

: : "There, but for fortune, go you or I."
: I have heard this in song and prose and understand its meaning, but is its origin in folk music, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez etc., or in an older classical/ biblical philosophy

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I - "On seeing several criminals being led to the scaffold in the 16th century, English Protestant martyr John Bradford remarked, 'There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.' His words, without his name, are still very common ones today for expressing one's blessings compared to the fate of another. Bradford was later burned at the stake as a heretic." From the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson, Facts on File, New York, 1997.