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. Pavl's, LOUDON.
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 VOL. vi. - u
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 I 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 bo 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, loth in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. In which second part, we shall pass by these steps; Superveniet Spiritus, the Holy Ghost shall come upon you, the Spirit shall witness to your spirit, and rectify your conscience; and then, by that, you shall receive power; a new power besides the power you have from the state, and that power shall enable you, to be witnesses of Christ, that is, to make his doctrine the more credible, by your testimony, when you conform yourselves to him, and do as he did; and this witness you shall bear, this conformity you shall declare, first in Jerusalem, in this city; and in Judea, in all the parts of the kingdom; and in Samaria, even amongst them who are departed from the true worship of God, the papists; and to the uttermost part of the earth, Lto those poor souls, to whom you are continually sending. Summarily, if from the Holy Ghost you have a good testimony in your own conscience, you shall be witnesses for Christ, that is, as he did, you shall give satisfaction to all, to the city, to the country, to the calumniating adversary, and the naturals of the place, to whom you shall present both spiritual and temporal benefit. And so you have tho model of the whole frame, and of the partitions; we proceed now to the furnishing of the particular rooms.
First then, this first word, but, excludes a temporal kingdom; the apostles had filled themselves with an expectation, with an ambition of it; but that was not intended them. It was no wonder, that a woman could conceive such an expectation, and such an ambition, as to have her two sons sit at Christ's righthand, and at his left, in his kingdom1, when the apostles expected such a kingdom, as might afford them honours and preferment upon earth. More than once they were in that disputation, in which Christ deprehended them, Which of them should be the greatest in his kingdom*. Neither hath the bishop of Rome, anything, wherein he may so properly call himself apostolical, as this error of the apostles, this their infirmity, that he is evermore too conversant upon the contemplation of temporal kingdoms. They did it all the way, when Christ was with them, and now at his last step, Cum actu ascendisset*, when Christ was
'' Matt. xx. 21. s Matt, xviii. 1. "Athanasius.
not ascending, but in part ascended, when one foot was upon the earth, and the other in the cloud that took him up, they ask him now, Wilt thou at this time, restore the kingdom? so women put their husbands, and men their fathers, and friends, upon their torture, at their last gasp, and make their death-bed a rack to make them stretch and increase jointures, and portions, and (legacies, and sign schedules and codicils, with their hand, when his hand that presents them, is ready to close his eyes, that should sign them: and when they are upon the wing for heaven, men tie lead to their feet, and when they are laying hand fast upon Abraham's bosom, they must pull their hand out of his bosom again, to obey importunities of men, and sign their papers: so underminable is the love of this world, which determines every minute. God, as he is three persons, hath three kingdoms; there is Regnum potentiw, The kingdom of power; and this we attribute to the Father; it is power and providence: there is Regnum glorias, The kingdom of glory; this we attribute to the Son and to his purchase; for he is the king that shall say, Come ye blessed of my Father,[inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world*. And then between these three is Regnum gratiai, The kingdom of grace, and this we attribute to the Holy Ghost; he takes them, whom the king of power, Almighty God, hath rescued from the Gentiles, and as the king of grace, He gives them the knowledge of the mystery of the kingdom of God, that is, of future glory*, by sanctifying them with his grace, in his church. The two first kingdoms are in this world, but yet neither of them are of this world; because both they refer to the kingdom of glory. The kingdom of the Father, which is the providence of God, does but preserve us; the kingdom of the Holy Ghost, which is the grace of God, does but prepare us to the kingdom of the Son, which is the glory of God; and that is in heaven. And therefore, though to good men, this world be the way to that kingdom, yet this kingdom is not of this world, says Christ himself8: though the apostles themselves, as good a school as they were bred in, could never take out that lesson, yet that lesson Christ gives, and repeats to all, You seek a temporal kingdom, but, says the text, stop there, a kingdom you must not have.
4 Matt. xxv. 34. 5 Mark iv. 11. « John xviii. 36.
Beloved in him, whose kingdom, and Gospel you seek to advance, in this plantation, our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus, if you seek to establish a temporal kingdom there, you are not rectified, if you seek to be kings in either acceptation of the word; to be a king signifies liberty and independency, and supremacy, to be under no man, and to be a king signifies abundance, and Omnisufficiency, to need no man. If those that govern there, would establish such a government, as should not depend upon this, or if those that go thither, propose to themselves an exemption from laws, to live at their liberty, this is to be kings, to divest allegiance, to be under no man: and if those that adventure thither, propose to themselves present benefit, and profit, a sudden way to be rich, and an abundance of all desirable commodities from thence, this is to be sufficient of themselves, and to need no man: and to be under no man and to need no man, are the two acceptations of being kings. iWhom liberty draws to go, or present profit draws to adventure, are not yet in the right way. O, if you could once bring a catechism to be as good ware amongst them as a bugle, as a knife, as a hatchet: O, if you would be as ready to hearken at the return of a ship, how many Indians were converted to Christ Jesus, as 'what trees, or drugs, or dyes that ship had brought, then you were in your right way, and not till then; liberty and abundance, are characters of kingdoms, and a kingdom is excluded in the text; the apostles were not to look for it, in their employment, nor you in this your plantation.
At least Christ expresses himself thus far, in this answer, that if he would give them a kingdom, he would not give it them yet. They ask him, Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom? and he answers, It is not for you to know the times: whatsoever God will do, man must not appoint him his time. The apostles thought of a kingdom presently after Christ's departure; the coming of the Holy Ghost, who led them into all truths, soon delivered them of that error. Other men in favour of the Jews, interpreting all the prophecies, which are of a spiritual kingdom, the kingdom of the Gospel, (into which, the Jews shall be admitted) in a literal sense, have thought that the Jews shall have, not only a temporal kingdom in the same place, in Jerusalem again, but because they find that kingdom which is promised, (that is the kingdom of the Gospel) to be expressed in large phrases, and in an abundant manner, applying all that largeness to a temporal kingdom, they think that the Jews shall have such a kingdom, as shall swallow and annihilate all other kingdoms, and be the sole empire and monarchy of the world. After this, very great men in the church upon these words, Of one thousand years after the resurrection', have imagined a temporal kingdom of the saints of God hero upon earth, before they entered the joys of heaven: and St. Augustine himself8, had at first some declinations towards that opinion, though he dispute powerfully against it, after: that there should be Sabbatismus in terris; that as the world was to last six thousand years in troubles, there should be a seventh thousand in such joys as this world could give.
And some others, who have avoided both the temporal kingdom imagined by the apostles, presently after the ascension, and the imperial kingdom of the Jews, before the resurrection, and the carnal kingdom of the Chiliasts, the Millennarians, after the resurrection, though they speak of no kingdom, but the true kingdom, the kingdom of glory, yet they err as much in assigning a certain time when that kingdom shall begin, when the end of this world, when the resurrection, when the judgment shall be. Non est vestrum nosse tempora, says Christ to his apostles then; and lest it might be thought, that they might know these things, when the Holy Ghost came upon them, Christ denies that he himself knew that, as man; and as man, Christ knew more, than ever the apostles knew. Whatsoever therefore Christ intended to his apostles here, he would not give it presently, non adhuc, he would not bind himself to a certain time, Non est vestrum nosse tempora, It belongs not to us to know GooVs times.
Beloved, use godly means, and give God his leisure. You cannot beget a son, and tell the mother, I will have this son born within five months; nor, when he is born, say, you will have him past danger of wardship within five years. You cannot sow your corn to-day, and say it shall be above ground to-morrow, and in my barn next week. How soon the best husbandman
sowed the best seed, in the best ground; God cast the promise of a Messias, as the seed of all, in paradise; In semine mulieris, The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent1 s head; and yet this plant was four thousand years after before it appeared; this Messias four thousand years before he came. God showed the ground where that should grow, two thousand years after the promise; in Abraham's family; In semine tuo, In thy seed all nations shall be blessed. God hedged in this ground almost one thousand years after that; in Micah's time, Et tu Bethlem, Thou Bethlem shalt be the place; and God watered that, and weeded that, refreshed that dry expectation, with a succession of prophets; and yet it was so long before this expectation of nations, this Messias came. So God promised the Jews a kingdom, in Jacob's prophecy to Judea, That the sceptre should not depart from his tribe*. In two hundred years more, he says no more of it; then he ordains some institutions for their king, when they should have one10. And then it was four hundred years after that, before they had a king. God meant from the first hour, to people the whole earth; and God could have made men of clay, as fast as they made bricks of clay in Egypt; but he began upon two, and when they had been multiplying and replenishing the earth one thousand six hundred years, the flood washed all that away, and God was almost to begin again upon eight persons; and they have served to people earth and heaven too; be not you discouraged, if the promises which you have made to yourselves, or to others, be not so soon discharged; though you see not your money, though you see not your men, though a flood, a flood of blood have broken in upon them, be not discouraged. Great creatures lie long in the womb; lions are littered perfect, but bear whelps licked unto their shape; actions which kings undertake, are cast in a mould; they have their perfection quickly; actions of private men, and private purses, require more hammering, and more filing to their perfection. Only let your principal end be the propagation of the glorious Gospel, and though there be an exclusive in the text, God does not promise you a kingdom, ease, and abundance in all things, and that which he does intend to you, he does not promise presently, yet there is an
* Gen. Xlix. 10. 10 Deut. xvii. 14.
inclusive too; not that, but, but something equivalent at least, 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 parts of the earth.
Now our Saviour Christ does not say to these men, since you are so importunate you shall have no kingdom; now nor never; it is not yet? But, he does not say, you shall have no kingdom, nor anything else; it is not that; but the importunity of beggars, sometimes draws us to such a froward answer, for this importunity, I will never give you anything. Our pattern was not so froward; he gave them not that, but as good as that. Samuel was sent to superinduct a king upon Saul, to anoint a new king". He thought his commission had been determined in Eliab, Surely this is the Lord^s anointed. But the Lord said, not he; nor the next, Aminadab; nor the next, Shammah; nor none of the next seven; but; but yet there is one in the field, keeping sheep, anoint him; David is he. St. Paul prayed earnestly, and frequently, to be discharged of that stimulus carnis: God says no; not that; but Gratia mea mfficit, Thou shalt have grace to overcome the temptation, though the temptation remain. God says to you, No kingdom, not ease, not abundance; nay nothing at all yet; the plantation shall not discharge the charges, not defray itself yet; but yet already, now at first, it shall conduce to great uses; it shall redeem many a wretch from the jaws of death, from the hands of the executioner, upon -whom, perchance a small fault or perchance a first fault, or perchance a fault heartily and sincerely repented, perchance no fault, but malice, had otherwise cast a present, and ignominious death. It shall sweep your streets, and wash your doors, from idle persons, and the children of idle persons, and employ them: and truly, if the whole country were but such a Bridewell, to force idle persons to work, it had a good use. But it is already, not only a spleen, to drain the ill humours of the body, but a liver, to breed good blcod; already the employment breeds mariners; already the place gives essays, nay freights of merchantable commodities; already it is a mark for the envy, and for the ambition of our enemies; I speak but of our doctrinal,
11 1 Sam. xvi. 1.
not national enemies; as they are papists, they are sorry we have this country; and surely, twenty lectures in matter of controversy, do not so much vex them, as one ship that goes, and strengthens that plantation. Neither can I recommend it to you by any better rhetoric, than their malice. They would gladly have it, and therefore let us be glad to hold it.
Thus then this text proceeds, and gathers upon you. All that you would have by this plantation, you shall not have; God binds not himself to measures; all that you shall have, you have not yet; God binds not himself to times, but something you shall have; nay, you have already, some great things; and of those that in the text is, The Holy Ghost shall come upon you. We find the Holy Ghost to have come upon men, four times in this book. First, upon the apostles at Pentecost18. Then, when the whole congregation was in prayer for the imprisonment of Peter and John". Again, when Peter preached in Cornelius's house, the Holy Ghost fell upon all them that heard him1*. And fourthly, when St. Paul laid his hands upon them, who had been formerly baptized at Ephesus15. At the three latter times, it is evident that the Holy Ghost fell upon whole and promiscuous congregations, and not upon the apostles only: and in the first, at Pentecost, the contrary is not evident; nay, the fathers, for the most part, that handle that, concur in that, that the Holy Ghost fell then upon the whole congregation, men and women. The Holy Ghost fell upon Peter before he preached, and it fell upon the hearers when he preached, and it hath fallen upon every one of them, who have found motions in themselves, to propagate the Gospel of Christ Jesus by this means. The Son of God did not abhor the Virgin's womb, when he would be made man; when he was man, he did not disdain to ride upon an ass into Jerusalem: the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost is as humble as the second, he refuses nullum vehiculum, no conveyance, no door of entranco into you; whether the example and precedent of other good men, or a probable imagination of future profit, or a willingness to concur to the vexation of the enemy, what collateral respect soever drew thee
in, if now thou art in, thy principal respect be the glory of God, that occasion, whatsoever it was, was vehiculum Spiritus Sancti, that was the petard, that broke open thy iron gate, that was the chariot, by which he entered into thee, and now he is fallen upon thee, if thou do not depose, (lay aside all consideration of profit for ever, never to look for return) no not sepose, (leave out the consideration of profit for a time) (for that, and religion may well consist together,) but if thou do but postpose the consideration of temporal gain, and study first the advancement of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, the Holy Ghost is fallen upon you, for by that, you receive power, says the text.
There is a power rooted in nature, and a power rooted in grace; a power issuing from the law of nations, and a power growing out of the Gospel. In the law of nature and nations, a land never inhabited, by any, or utterly derelicted and immemerially abandoned by the former inhabitants, becomes theirs that will possess it. So also is it, if the inhabitants do not in some measure fill the land, so as the land may bring forth her increase for the use of men: for as a man does not become proprietary of the sea, because he hath two or three boats, fishing in it, so neither does a man become lord of a main continent, because he hath two or three cottages in the skirts thereof. That rule which passes through all municipal laws in particular states, Interest reipublicm ut quis re sua bene utatur, The state must take order, that every man improve that which he hath, for the best advantage of that state, passes also through the law of nations, which is to all the world, as the municipal law is to a particular state, Interest mundo, The whole icorld, all mankind must take care, that all places be improved, as far as may be, to the best advantage of mankind in general. Again if the land be peopled, and cultivated by the people, and that land produce in abundance such things, for want whereof their neighbours, or others (being not enemies) perish, the law of nations may justify some force, in seeking, by permutation, of other commodities which they need, to como to some of theirs. Many cases may be put, when not only commerce, and trade, but plantations in lands, not formerly our own, may be lawful. And for that, accepistis potestatem, you have your commission, your patents, your charters, your seals from him, upon whose acts, any private subject, in civil matters, may safely rely. But then, Accipietis potestatem, You shall receive power, says the text; you shall, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you; that is, when the instinct, the influence, the motions of the Holy Ghost enables your conscience to say, that your principal end is not gain, nor glory, but to gain souls to the glory of God, this seals the great seal, this justifies justice itself, this authorises authority, and gives power to strength itself. Let the conscience be upright, and then seals, and patents, and commissions are wings; they assist him to fly the faster; let tho conscience be lame, and distorted, and he that goes upon seals, and patents, and commissions, goes upon weak and feeble crutches. When the Holy Ghost is come upon you, your conscience rectified, you shall have power, a new power out of that; What to do? that follows, to be witnesses unto Christ.
Infamy is one of the highest punishments that the law inflicts upon man; for it lies upon him even after death: infamy is the worst punishment, and intestability, (to be made intestable) is one of the deepest wounds of infamy; and then the worst degree of intestability, is not to be believed, not to be admitted to be a witness of any other: he is intestable that cannot make a testament, not give his own goods; and he intestable that can receive nothing by the testament of another; he is intestable, in whose behalf no testimony may be accepted; but he is the most miserably intestable of all, the most detestably intestable, that discredits another man by speaking well of him, and makes him tho more suspicious, by his commendations. A Christian in profession, that is not a Christian in life, is intestable so, he discredits Christ, and hardens others against him. John Baptist was more than a prophet, because he was a witness of Christ; and he was a witness, becauso he was like him, ho did as he did, he led a holy and a religious life; so he was a witness. That great and glorious name of martyr, is but a witness. St. Stephen wasproto-martyr, Christ's first witness, because he was the first that did as he did, that put on his colours, that drunk of his cup, that was baptized with his baptism, with his own blood: so he was a witness. To be witnesses for Christ, is to be like Christ; to conform yourselves to Christ; and they in the text, and you, are to be witnesses of Christ in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
St. Hierome notes that John Baptist was not bid to bear witness in Jerusalem, in the city, but in the wilderness; he, and none but he: there were but few men to witness to there; and those few that were, came thither with a good disposition to be wrought upon there; and there were few witnesses to oppose John's testimony, few temptations, few worldly allurements, few worldly businesses. One was enough for the wilderness; but for Jerusalem, for the city, where all the excuses in the Gospel do always meet, they have bought commodities, and they must utter them, theyhave purchased lands, and they must state them, they have married wives, and they must study them, to the city, to Jerusalem, Christ sends all his apostles, and all little enough. He hath sent a great many apostles, preachers, to this city; more than to any other, that I know. Religious persons as they call them, cloistered friars are not sent to the city; by their first canons, they should not preach abroad: but for those who are to do that service, there are more in this city, than in others, for there are more parish churches here than in others. Now, beloved, if in this city, you have taken away a great part of the revenue of the preacher, to yourselves, take thus much of his labour upon yourselves too, as to preach to one another by a holy and exemplar life, and a religious conversation. Let those of the city, who have interest in the government of this plantation, be witnesses of Christ who is truth itself to all other governors of companies in all true and just proceedings: that as Christ said to them who thought themselves greatest, Except you become as this little child, so we may say to the governors of the greatest companies, Except you proceed with the integrity, with the justice, with the clearness, of your little sister, this plantation, you do not follow a good example. This is to bear witness of Christ in Jerusalem, in the city, to be examples of truth, and justice, and clearness, to others, in, and of this city.
The apostles were to do this in Judea too, their service lay in the country as well as in the city. Birds that are kept in cages may learn some notes, which they should never have sung in the woods or fields; but yet they may forget their natural notes too. Preachers that bind themselves always to cities and courts, and great auditories, may learn ne notes; they may become occasional preachers, and make the emergent affairs of the time, their text, and the humours of the hearers their Bible; but they may lose their natural notes, both the simplicity, and the boldness that belongs to the preaching of the Gospel: both their power upon low understandings to raise them, and upon high affection to humble them. They may think that their errand is but to knock at the door, to delight the ear, and not to search the house, to ransack the conscience. Christ left the ninety-and-nine for one sheep; populous cities are for the most part best provided; remoter parts need our labour more, and we should not make such differences. Yeoman, and labourer, and spinster, are distinctions upon earth; in the earth, in the grave there is no distinction. The angel that shall call us out of that dust, will not stand to survey, who lies naked, who in a coffin, who in wood who in lead, who in a fine, who in a coarser sheet; in that one day of the resurrection, there is not a forenoon for lords to rise first, and an afternoon for meaner persons to rise after. Christ was not whipped to save beggars, and crowned with thorns to save kings: he died, he suffered all, for all; and we whose bearing witness of him, is to do, as he did, must confer our labours upon all, upon Jerusalem, and upon Judea too, upon the city, and upon the country too. You, who are his witnesses too, must do so too; preach in your just actions, as to the city, to the country too. Not to seal up the secrets, and the mysteries of your business within the bosom of merchants, and exclude all others: to nourish an incompatibility between merchants and gentlemen; that merchants shall say to them in reproach, You have played the gentlemen, and they in equal reproach, You have played the merchant; but as merchants grow up into worshipful families, and worshipful families let fall branches amongst merchants again, so for this particular plantation, you may consider city and country to be one body, and as you give example of a just government to other companies in the city, (that is, your bearing witness in Jerusalem,) so you may be content to give reasons of your proceedings, and account of moneys levied, over the country, for that is your bearing witness in Judea.
But the apostles' diocese is enlarged, farther than Jerusalem, farther than Judea, they are carried into Samaria; You must bear witness of me in Samaria. Beloved, when I have remembered you, who the Samaritans were, men that had not renounced God, but mingled other gods with him, men that had not burnt the law of God, but mado traditions of men equal to it, you will easily guess to whom I apply the name of Samaritans now. A Jesuit hath told us, (an ill intelligencer I confess, but even his intelligencer, the devil himself, says true sometimes) Maldonate says, The Samaritans were odious to the Jews, upon the same grounds as heretics and schismatics to us; and they, we know were odious to them for mingling false gods, and false worships with the true. And if that be the character of a Samaritan, we know who are the Samaritans, who the heretics, who the schismatics of our times. In the highest reproach to Christ, the Jews said, Samaritanus es et dwmonium habes, Thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil. In our just detestation of these men, we justly fasten both those upon them. For as they delight in lies, and fill the world with weekly rumours, Dwmonium habent, They have a devil, quia mendax est et pater ejus1*. As they multiply assassinations upon princes, and massacres upon people, damionium habent, they have a devil, quia homicida ab initio: as they toss, and tumble, and dispose kingdoms, dwmonium habent, they have a devil, omnia hmc dabo, was the devil's compliment": but as they mingle truths and falsehoods together in religion, as they carry the Word of God, and the traditions of men, in an even balance, Samaritani sunt, they are Samaritans. At first Christ forbade his apostles to go into any city of the Samaritans: after, they did preach in many of them18. Bear witness first in Jerusalem, and in Judea"; give good satisfaction especially to those of the household of the faithful, in the city and country, but yet satisfy even those Samaritans too.
They would be satisfied, what miracles you work in Virginia; and what people you have converted to the Christian faith, there. If we could as easily call natural effects miracles, or casual accidents miracles, or magical illusions miracles, as they do, to
10 John viii. 44.
18 Matt. x. 5.
17 Matt. iv. 10. "Acts viii. 25.
make a miraculous drawing of a tooth, a miraculous cutting of a corn, or, as Justus Baronius says, when he was converted to them, that ho was miraculously cured of the cholic, by stooping to kiss the pope's foot, if we would pile up miracles so fast, as Pope John XXII. did in the canonization of Aquinas, Tot miracula confecit, quot determinant questiones, He wrought as many miracles, as he resolved questions, we might find miracles too. In truth, their greatest miracle to me, is, that they find men to believe their miracles. If they rely upon miracles, they imply a confession that they induce new doctrines; that that is old and received, needs no miracles; if they require miracles, because, though that be ancient doctrine, it is newly brought into those parts, we have the confession of their Jesuit, Acosta, That they do no miracle in those Indies, and he assigns very good reasons, why they are not necessary, nor to be expected there. But yet bear witness to these Samaritans, in the other point; labour to give them satisfaction in the other point of their charge, what heathens you have converted to the faith, which is that which is intended in the next, which is the last branch, You are to be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in (Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
Literally, the apostles were to be such witnesses for Christ: were they so? did the apostles in person, preach the Gospel, over all the word 2 I know that it is not hard to multiply places of the fathers, in confirmation of that opinion, that the apostles did actually, and personally preach the Gospel in all nations, in their life. Christ says, The Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the worldTM; and there he tells the apostles, that they (shall see something done, after that; Therefore they shall live to it. So he says to them, You shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake"; but the Gospel must first be published among all nations: in one evangelist there is the commission; Preach in my name to all nations". And in another, the execution of this commission, And they went and preached everywhere''*. And after the apostle certifies, and returns the execution of
this commission, The Gospel is come, and bringeth forth fruit to all the world": and upon those, and such places, have some of the fathers been pleased to ground their literal exposition, of an actual and personal preaching of the apostles over all the world. But had they dreamed of this world which hath been discovered since, into which, we dispute with perplexity, and intricacy enough, how any men came at first, or how any beasts, especially snch beasts as men were not likely to carry, they would never have doubted to have admitted a figure, in that, The Gospel was preached to all the world; for when Augustus's decree went out, That all the world should be taxed", the decree and the tax went not certainly into the West Indies; when St. Paul says, That their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world"., and that Their obedience was come abroad unto all men", surely the West Indies had not heard of the faith and the obedience of the Romans. But as in Moses's time, they called the Mediterranean Sea, the Great Sea, because it was the greatest that those men had then seen, so in the apostles' time, they called that, all the world, which was known and traded in then; and in all that, they preached the Gospel. So that as Christ, when he said to the apostles, i" am with you, unto the end of the world", could not intend that of them in person, because they did not last to the end of the world, but in a succession of apostolic men, so when he says, the apostles should preach him to all the world, it is of the succession to.
Those of our profession that go, you, that send them who go, do all an apostolical function. What action soever, hath in the first intention thereof, a purpose to propagate the Gospel of Christ Jesus, that is an apostolical action. Before the end of the world come, before this mortality shall put on immortality, before the creature shall be delivered of the bondage of corruption under which it groans", before the martyrs under the altar shall be silenced, before all things shall be subdued to Christ, his kingdom perfected, and the last enemy death destroyed; the Gospel must be preached to those men to whom ye send; to all men; further
and hasten you this blessed, this joyful, this glorious consummation of all, and happy reunion of all bodies to their souls, by preaching the Gospel to those men. Preach to them doctrinally, preach to them practically; enamour them with your justice, and (as far as may consist with your security), your civility; but inflame them with your godliness and your religion. Bring them to love and reverence the name of that king, that sends men to teach them the ways of civility in this world, but to fear and adore the name of that King of kings that sends men to teach them the ways of religion, for the next world. Those amongst you, that are old now, shall pass out of this world with this great comfort, that you contributed to the beginning of that commonwealth, and of that church, though they live not to see the growth thereof to perfection: Apollos watered, but Paul planted"; he that begun the work, was the greater man. And you that are young now, may live to see the enemy as much impeached by that place, and your friends, yea children, as well accommodated in that place, as any other. You shall have made this island, which is but as the suburbs of the old world, a bridge, a gallery to the new; to join all to that world that shall never grow old, the kingdom of heaven. You shall add persons to this kingdom, and to the kingdom of heaven, and add names to the books of our chronicles, and to the book of life.
To end all, as the orators which declaimed in the presence of the Roman emperors, in their panegyrics, took that way to make those emperors see, what they were bound to do, to say in those public orations, that those emperors had done so (for that increased the love of the subject to the prince, to be so told, that he had done those great things, and then it conveyed a counsel into the prince to do them after), as their way was to procure things to bo done, by saying they were done, so beloved I have taken a contrary way: for when I, by way of exhortation, all this while have seemed to tell you what should be done by you, I have, indeed, but told the congregation, what hath been done already: neither do I speak to move a wheel that stood still, but to keep the wheel in due motion; nor persuade you to begin, but to continue a good work; nor propose foreign, but your
- 1 Cor. iii. 6.
Vol. vr. R
Own examples, to do still, as you have done hitherto. For, for that, that which is especially in my contemplation, the conversion of the people, as I have received, so I can give this testimony, that of those persons, who have sent in moneys, and concealed their names, the greatest part, almost all, have limited their devotion, and contribution upon that point, the propagation of religion, and the conversion of the people; for the building and beautifying of the house of God, and for the instruction and education of their young children. Christ Jesus himself is yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever. In the advancing of his glory, be you so too, yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever, here; and hereafter, when time shall be no more, no more yesterday, no more to-day, yet for ever and ever, you shall enjoy that joy, and that glory, which no ill accident can attain to diminish, or eclipse it.
We return to thee again, O God, with praise and prayer; as for all thy mercies from before minutes began, to this minute, from our election to this present beam of sanctification which thou hast shed upon us now. And more particularly, that thou hast afforded us that great dignity, to be, this way, witnesses of thy Son Christ Jesus, and instruments of his glory. Look graciously and look powerfully upon this body, which thou hast been now some years in building and compacting together, this plantation. Look graciously upon the head of this body, our sovereign, and bless him with a good disposition to tins work, and bless him for that disposition: look graciously upon them, who are as the brain of this body, those who, by his power and counsel, advise and assist in the government thereof; bless them with disposition to unity and concord, and bless them for that disposition: look graciously upon them who are as eyes of this body, those of the clergy, who have any interest therein: bless them with a disposition to preach there, to pray here, to exhort everywhere for the advancement thereof, and bless them for that disposition. Bless them who are the feet of this body, who go thither, and the hands of this body, who labour there, and them who are the heart of this body, all that are heartily affected, and declare actually that heartiness to this action; bless them all with a cheerful disposition to that, and bless them for that diposition. Bless it so in this calm, that when the tempest comes, it may ride it out safely; bless it so with friends now, that it may stand against enemies hereafter; prepare thyself a glorious harvest there, and give us leave to be thy labourers, that so the number of thy saints being fulfilled, we may with better assurance join in that prayer, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and so meet all in that kingdom which the Son of God hath purchased for us with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. To which glorious Son of God, &c. Amen.