A-Z: Common sayings from the Bible: All sorts and conditions of men


A byword for 'everybody', but more widely, and in Walter Besant's social concern novel of this title (1882), used to refer to those poor people who are usually overlooked by people in power.


The collect (special prayer used in Anglican services) is designed to pray first for everybody ('all sorts and conditions of men'), then the church, then those in particular need: thus the focus is wide to start, but narrows down. But the phrase 'all sorts ...' refers by implication to those with whom the one praying is personally unfamiliar. 'O God, the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations' (Taken from the Book of Common Prayer, 1662, Morning or Evening Prayer). 'O God, the Creator and preserver of all mankind: we humbly pray that it may please you to reveal your ways to all people and your saving power to all nations' (Taken from the Common Worship, Collects).
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