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Thanks for a Successful Voyage - 1622

A ruin at Jamestown.


In 1622, stockholders in England learned of the safe arrival of nine ships they had sent to Virginia. In gratitude they voted to have a thanksgiving sermon preached. On this day, April 18, 1622 (a Thursday), Patrick Copland preached that sermon at the Bow Church. He took as his text Psalm 107:23-32, a passage that describes the dangers faced by sailors and he began by expounding on those dangers and then explained why he gave them as much attention as he did. We have modernized his spelling.


“But you will say, what [is the need of] all this discourse touching the danger of seamen: we are met together for another purpose—to give thanks unto God? Beloved, I do confess, indeed it is so, that the end [purpose] of our present meeting is for Thanksgiving. But how can we ever be feelingly thankful as we should, in word and deed, if we know not the danger wherein we are, and the deliverance vouchsafed [granted] unto us?

“Will not the true knowledge and deep consideration of these make us put so many the more thanks unto our sacrifice of praise?

“Wherefore, I beseech you to take to heart—First, the danger of your people in their passages both to Virginia and after their landing. Secondly, the danger of your whole colony there. Thirdly, the danger of yourselves here at home. And lest others that are not of your Honorable Company may think this point impertinent to them, let all of us consider the dangers wherein we are, and still are, and the many deliverances vouchsafed unto us; (for I must entreat you to give me leave to join danger and deliverance together, for the better stirring of you up to your duty. And then I doubt not but all of us shall have cause to confess before the Lord his loving-kindness and his wonderful works before the sons of men.”


Neill, Edward Duffield. Memoir of Rev. Patrick Copland. New York: Charles Scribner & Co., 1871.

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