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should increase their number, by renewing upon every Sunday in the afternoon, in all parish churches throughout the kingdom, that primitive, and most profitable exposition of the catechism. So that here is no abating of sermons, but a direction to the preacher to preach usefully, and to edification.
And therefore, to end all, you, you whom God hath made stars in this firmament, preachers in this church, deliver yourselves from that imputation, The stars were not pure in his sight“; the preachers were not obedient to him in the voice of his lieutenant. And you, you who are God's holy people, and zealous of his glory, as you know from St. Paul, That stars differ from stars in glory's, but all conduce to the benefit of man : so, when you see these stars, preachers, to differ in gifts; yet, since all their ends are to advance your salvation, encourage the catechiser, as well as the curious preacher. Look so far towards your way to heaven, as to the firmament, and consider there, that that star by which we sail, and make great voyages, is none of the stars of the greatest magnitude ; but yet it is none of the least neither, but a middle star. Those preachers who must save your souls, are not ignorant, unlearned, extemporal men; but they are not over curious men neither. Your children are you, and your servants are you ; and you do not provide for your salvation, if you provide not for them, who are so much yours, as that they are you. No man is saved as a good man, if he be not saved as a good father, and as a good master too, if God have given him a family. That so, priest and people, the whole congregation, may by their religious obedience, and fighting in this spiritual warfare in their order, minister occasion of joy to that heart, which hath been grieved ; in that fulness of joy which David expresseth “3, The king shall rejoice in thy strength, O Lord, and in thy salvation hore greatly shall he rejoice? Thou hast giten him his heart's desire, and thou hast not withholden the request of his lips: for the king trusteth in the Lord, and by the mercy of the Most High, he shall not be mored. And with that psalm, a psalm of confidence in a good king, and a psalm of thanksgiving for that blessing, I desire that this congregation may be dissolved; for this is all that I intended for the explication, which was our first, and for the application, which was the other part proposed in these words. 41 Job xxv. 5. 48 i Cor. xv. 41.
43 Psalm xxi.
EIGHTH VERSE OF THE FIRST CHAPTER OF
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
PREACHED TO THE HONOURABLE COMPANY OF THE VIRGINIAN
PLANTATION, NOVEMBER 30th, 1622.
BY JOHN DONNE,
DOCTOR OF DIVINITY, AND DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S, LONDON,
TO THE HONOURABLE COMPANY OF
THE VIRGINIAN PLANTATION.
By your favours, I had some place amongst you, before: but now I am an adventurer; if not to VIRGINIA, yet for VIRGINIA ; for every man that prints, adventures. For the preaching of this Sermon, I was but under your invitation; my time was mine own, and my meditations mine own: and I had been excusable towards you, if I had turned that time and those meditations to God's service in any other place. But for the printing of this Sermon, I am not only under your invitation, but under your commandment; for, after it was preached, it was not mine, but yours: and therefore, if I gave it at first, I do but restore it now. The first was an act of love; this, of justice; both which virtues Almighty God evermore promote, and exalt in all your proceedings. Amen.
Your humble servant in Christ Jesus,
PREACHED TO THE VIRGINIAN COMPANY, 1622.
Acts i. 8. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and
ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and
in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. There are reckoned in this book, twenty-two sermons of the apostles; and yet the book is not called the preaching, but the practice, not the words, but the Acts of the Apostles : and the acts of the apostles were to convey that name of Christ Jesus, and to propagate his Gospel, over all the world : beloved, you are actors upon the same stage too: the uttermost parts of the earth are your scene act over the acts of the apostles ; be you a light to the Gentiles, that sit in darkness ; be you content to carry him over these seas, who dried up one Red Sea, for his first people, and hath poured out another Red Sea, his own blood, for them and us. When man was fallen, God clothed him ; made him a leather garment; there God descended to one occupation; when the time of man's redemption was come, then God, as it were, to house him, became a carpenter's son ; there God descended to another occupation. Naturally, without doubt, man would have been his own tailor, and his own carpenter ; something in these two kinds man would have done of himself, though he had had no pattern from God: but in preserving man who was fallen, to this redemption, by which he was to be raised, in preserving man from perishing in the flood, God descended to a third occupation, to be his shipwright, to give him the model of a ship, an ark, and so to be the author of that, which man himself in likelihood, would never have thought of, a means to pass from nation to nation. Now, as God taught us to make clothes, not only to clothe ourselves, but to clothe him in his poor and naked members here ; as God taught us to build houses, not to house ourselves, but to house him, in erecting churches, to his glory: so God taught us to make ships, not to transport ourselves, but to transport him, That when we have received
power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon us, we might be witnesses unto him, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
As I speak now principally to them who are concerned in this plantation of Virginia, yet there may be divers in this congregation, who, though they have no interest in this plantation, yet they may have benefit and edification, by that which they hear me say, so Christ spoke the words of this text, principally to the apostles, who were present and questioned him at his ascension, but they are in their just extension, and due accommodation, appliable to our present occasion of meeting here: as Christ himself is alpha, and omega, so first, as that he is last too, so these words which he spoke in the east, belong to us, who are to glorify him in the west; That we having received power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon us, might be witnesses unto him, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
The first word of the text is the cardinal word, the word, the hinge, upon which the whole text turns; the first word, but, is the but, that all the rest shoots at. First it is an exclusive word ; something the apostles had required, which might not be had ; not that; and it is an inclusive word; something Christ was pleased to afford to the apostles, which they thought not of; not that, not that which you beat upon, but, but yet, something else, something better than that, you shall have. That which this but, excludes, is that which the apostles express in the verse immediately before the text, A temporal kingdom; wilt thou restore again the kingdom of Israel? No; not a temporal kingdom ; let not the riches and commodities of this world, be in your contemplation in your adventures. Or, because they ask more, wilt thou now restore that? not yet: if I will give you riches, and commodities of this world, yet if I do it not at first, if I do it not yet, be not you discouraged; you shall not have that, that is not God's first intention; and though that be in God's intention, to give it you hereafter, you shall not have it yet ; that is the exclusive part; but ; there enters the inclusive, You shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in