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holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, and their working upon us, a third part of their work (if we may so speak) is consolation ; the Father is power, the Son wisdom, and the Holy Ghost consolation: for the Holy Ghost is not in a vulture, that hovers over armies, and infected cities, and feeds upon carcasses, but the Holy Ghost is in a dove, that would not make a congregation a slaughter-house, but feeds upon corn, corn that hath in nature a disposition to a reviviscence, and a repullulation, and would imprint in you all, the consolation and sense of a possibility of returning to a new, and better life. God found me nothing, and of that nothing made me; Adam left me worse than God found me, worse than nothing, the child of wrath, corrupted with the leaven of original sin ; Christ Jesus found me worse than Adam left me, not only soured with original, but spotted, and gangrened, and dead, and buried, and putrified in actual and habitual sins, and yet in that state redeemed me; and I make myself worse than Christ found me, and in an inordinate dejection of spirit, conceive a jealousy and suspicion, that his merit concerns not me, that his blood extends not to my sin; and in this last and worst state, the Holy Ghost finds me, the spirit of consolation, and he sends a Barnabas, a son of consolation unto me, a Barnabas to my sick bed side, a physician that comforts with hopes, and means of health, a Barnabas to my broken fortune, a potent and a loving friend, that assists the reparation, and the establishing of my state, a Barnabas into the pulpit, that restores and rectifies my conscience, and scatters, and dispels all those clouds that invested it, and infested it before. That unimaginable work of the creation were not ready for a Sabbath, though I be a creature, and a man, I could have no Sabbath, no rest, no peace of conscience; that unexpressible work of the redemption were not ready for that seal, which our Saviour set to it
the cross, in the consummatum est; all were not finished that concerned me, if the Holy Ghost were not ready to deliver that which Christ sealed, and to witness that which were so delivered, that that spirit might ever testify to my spirit, that all that Christ Jesus said, and did, and suffered, was said, and done, and suffered for my soul. Consolation is not all, if we consider God, but if I consider myself, and my state, consolation is all.
Christ's meaning then in this place, was to establish in his disciples this consolation ; but thus, Si quo minus, If it were not thus, I would tell you ; if this were not true consolation, I would not delude you, I would not entertain you with false : for he is Deus omnium miserationum, The God of all mercies, and yet he will not show mercy to them, who sin upon presumption ; so he is Deus omnium consolationum, The God of all comforts, and yet will not comfort them, who rely upon the false, and miserable comforts of this world. How many, how very many of us do otherwise! Otherwise to others, otherwise to our own consciences ! Delude all with false comforts! They would not suffer Christ himself to sleep upon a pillow in a storm, but they waked him with that, Master, carest not thou, though we perishes? When will we wake any master, any upon whom we depend, and say, Master, carest not thou, though thou perish? We suffer others, whom we should instruct, and we suffer ourselves to pass on to the last gasp, and we never rebuke our consciences, till our consciences rebuke us at last, alas, it is otherwise, and you never
Christ comforts then, he disputes not, that is not his way; he ministers true comfort, he flatters not, that is not his way; and in this true comfort, the first beam is, that that state which he promises them is a house, In my Father's house, &c. God hath a progress house, a removing house here upon earth, his house of prayer; at this hour, God enters into as many of these houses, as are opened for his service at this hour: but his standing house, his house of glory, is that in heaven, and that he promises them. God himself dwelt in tents in this world, and he gives them a house in heaven. A house, in the design and survey whereof, the Holy Ghost himself is figurative, the fathers wanton, and the schoolmen wild. The Holy Ghost, in describing this house, fills our contemplation with foundations, and walls, and gates, of gold, of precious stones, and all materials, that we can call precious. The Holy Ghost is figurative; and the fathers are wanton in their spiritual elegancies, such as that of St. Augustines, (if that book be his) Hiems horrens, Estas torrens, and Virent prata, cernant sata, and such other harmonious, and melo
18 Mark iv. 38.
59 Rev. xxi.
dious, and mellifluous cadences of these waters of life. But the schoolmen are wild; for as one authors, who is afraid of admitting too great a hollowness in the earth, lest then the earth might not be said to be solid, pronounces that hell cannot possibly be above three thousand miles in compass, (and then one of the torments of hell will be the throng, for their bodies must be there, in their dimensions, as well as their souls) so when the schoolmen come to measure this house in heaven, (as they will measure it, and the master, God, and all his attributes, and tell us how almighty, and how infinite he is) they pronounce, that every soul in that house shall have more room to itself, than all this world is. We know not that; nor see we that the consolation lies in that; we rest in this, that it is a house, it hath a foundation, no earthquake shall shake it, it hath walls, no artillery shall batter it, it hath a roof, no tempest shall pierce it, it is a house that affords security, and that is one beam; and it is Domus Patris, His Father's house, a house in which he hath interest, and that is another beam of his consolation.
It was his Father's, and so his; and his, and so ours; for we are not joint purchasers of heaven with the saints, but we are co-heirs with Christ Jesus. We have not a place there, because they have done more than enough for themselves, but because he hath done enough for them and us too. By death we are gathered to our fathers in nature; and by death, through his mercy, gathered to his Father also. Where we shall have a full satisfaction, in that wherein St. Philip placed all satisfaction, Ostende nobis patrem, Lord, show us thy Father, and it is enough. We shall see his Father, and see him made ours in him.
And then a third beam of this consolation is, that in this house of his Father's, thus by him made ours, there are mansions; in which word, the consolation is not placed, (I do not say, that there is not truth in it) but the consolation is not placed in this, that some of these mansions are below, some above stairs, some better seated, better lighted, better vaulted, better fretted, better furnished than others; but only in this, that they are mansions ; which word, in the original, and Latin, and our language, signifies a remaining, and denotes the perpetuity, the everlastingness of that state. A state but of one day, because no night shall overtake, or determine it, but such a day, as is not of a thousand years, which is the longest measure in the Scriptures, but of a · thousand millions of millions of generations: Qui nec præceditur hesterno, nec excluditur crastino", A day that hath no pridie, nor postridie, yesterday doth not usher it in, nor to-morrow shall not drive it out. Methusalem, with all his hundreds of years, was but a mushroom of a night's growth, to this day, and all the four monarchies, with all their thousands of years, and all the powerful kings, and all the beautiful queens of this world, were but as a bed of flowers, some gathered at six, some at seven, some at eight, all in one morning, in respect of this day. In all the two thousand years of nature, before the law given by Moses, and the two thousand years of law, before the Gospel given by Christ, and the two thousand of grace, which are running now, (of which last hour we have heard three quarters strike, more than fifteen hundred of this last two thousand spent) in all this six thousand, and in all those, which God may be pleased to add, in domo patris, in this house of his Father's, there was never heard quarter clock to strike, never seen minute glass to turn. No time less than itself would serve to express this time, which is intended in this word mansions; which is also exalted with another beam, that they are Multa, In my Father's house there are many mansions.
In this circumstance, an essential, a substantial circumstance, we would consider the joy of our society, and conversation in heaven, since society and conversation is one great element and ingredient into the joy, which we have in this world. We shall have an association with Christ himself; for where he is, it is his promise, that we also shall be. We shall have an association with the angels, and such a one, as we shall be such as they. We shall have an association with the saints, and not only so, to be such as they, but to be they: and with all who come from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South, and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven". Where we shall be so far from being enemies to one another, as that we shall not be strangers to one another: Augustine.
82 Matt. viii. ll.
and so far from envying one another, as that all that every one hath, shall be every other's possession : where all souls shall be • so entirely knit together, as if all were but one soul, and God so entirely knit to every soul, as if there were as many Gods as souls.
Be comforted then, says Christ to them, for this, which is a house, and not a ship, not subject to storms by the way, nor wrecks in the end, My Father's house, not a stranger's, in whom I had no interest, a house of mansions, a dwelling, not a sojourning, and of many mansions, not an abridgment, a model of a house, not a monastery of many cells, but an extension of many houses, into the city of the living God, This house shall be yours, though I depart from you. Christ is nearer us, when we behold him with the eyes of faith in heaven, than when we seek him in a piece of bread, or in a sacramental box here. Drive him not away from thee, by wrangling and disputing how he is present with thee; unnecessary doubts of his presence may induce fearful assurances of his absence : the best determination of the real presence is to be sure, that thou be really present with him, by an ascending faith : make sure thine own real presence, and doubt not of his: thou art not the farther from him, by his being gone thither before thee.
No, nor though Peter be gone thither before thee neither, which was the other point, in which the apostles needed consolation ; they were troubled that Christ would go, and none of them, and troubled that Peter might go, and none but he. What men soever God take into heaven before thee, though thy father that should give thee thy education, though thy pastor that should give thee thy instruction, though these men may be such in the state, and such in the church, as thou mayest think the church and state cannot subsist without them, discourage not thyself, neither admit a jealousy or suspicion of the providence and good purpose of God; for, as God hath his panier full of manna, and of quails, and can pour out to-morrow, though he have poured them out plentifully upon his friends before ; so God hath his quiver full of arrows, and can shoot as powerfully, as heretofore, upon his enemies. I forbid thee not St. Paul's wish, cupio dissolci, to desire to be dissolved, therefore, that thou mayest be with