Allegedly from a mid-sixteenth-century statement by John Bradford, "There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford", in reference to a group of prisoners being led to execution.
- A recognition that others' misfortune could be one's own, if it weren't for the blessing/kindness/luck bestowed by fate or the Divine.
- Man's fate is in God's hands.
- More generally, our fate is not entirely in our own hands.
- This proverb is an expression of humility; in using it, a speaker acknowledges that outside factors (such as God's grace, or his upbringing) have played a role in his success in life.
- The adverbial phrase is often set off with commas: "There, but for the grace of God, go I."
man's fate is in God's hands