PREACHED TO THE KING IN MY ORDINARY WAITING AT WHITEHALL, 18TM APRIL, 1626.
John xiv. 2.
In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so,
I would have told you.
There are occasions of controversies of all kinds in this one verse; and one is, whether this be one verse or no; for as there are doctrinal controversies, out of the sense and interpretation of the words, so are there grammatical differences about the distinction, and interpunction of them: some translations differing therein from the original, (as the original copies are distinguished, and interpuncted now) and some differing from one another. The first translation that was, that into Syriac, as it is expressed by Tremellius, renders these words absolutely, precisely, as our two translations do; and, as our two translations do, applies the second clause and proposition, Si quo minus, If it were not to, I would have told you, as in affirmation, and confirmation of the former, In domo patris, in my father's house there are many mansions, for, if it were not so, I would have told you. But then, as
•* Rom. xv. 19.
both our translations do, the Syriac also admits into this verse a third clause and proposition, Vado parare, I go to prepare you a place. Now Beza doth not so; Piscator doth not so; they determine this verse in those two propositions which constitute our text, In my fathers house, fyc, and then they let fall the third proposition, as an inducement, and inchoation of the next verse, / go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come again. Divers others do otherwise, and diversely; for some do assume (as we, and the Syriac do) all three propositions into the verse, but then they do not (as we, and the Syriac do) make the second a proof of the first, In my father s house are many mansions, for, if it were not so, I would have told you, but they refer the second to the third proposition, if it were not so, I wotdd have told you, for, I go to prepare you a place, and being to go from you, would leave you ignorant of nothing. But we find no reason to depart from that distinction and interpunction of these words, which our own church exhibits to us, and therefore we shall pursue them so; and so determine, though not the verse, (for into the verse, we admit all three propositions) yet the whole purpose and intention of our Saviour, in those two propositions, which accomplish our text, In my fathers house, fyc.
This interpunction then offers and constitutes our two parts. First, a particular doctrine, which Christ infuses into his disciples, In domo Patris, in my Father's honse are many mansions; and then a general rule and scale, by which we are to measure, and weigh all doctrines, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would have told you. In the order of nature, the latter part falls first into consideration, the rule of all doctrines; which in this place is, the word of God in the mouth of Christ, digested into the Scriptures; in which we shall have just, more than just, necessary occasion to note both their distempers, both theirs, that think, that there are other things to be believed, than are in the Scriptures, and theirs that think, that there are some things in the Scriptures, which are not to be believed: for when our Saviour says, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would have told you, he intends both this proposition, I have told you all that is necessary to be believed; and this also, all that I have told you, is necessary to be believed, so as I have told it you. So that this
Vol. in. x
excludes both that imaginary insufficiency of the Scriptures, which some have ventured to aver, (for God shall never call Christian to account for anything not notified in the Scriptures) and it excludes also those imaginary dolos bonos, and fraudes pias, which some have adventured to aver to, that God should use holy illusions, holy deceits, holy frauds, and circumventions in his Scriptures, and not intend in them, that which he pretends by them; this is his rule, Si quo minus, if it were not so, I would have told you, if I have not told you so, it is not so, and if I have, it is so as I have told you: and in these two branches we shall determine the first part, the rule of doctrines, the Scripture.
The second part, which is the particular doctrine which Christ administers to his disciples here, will also derive and cleave itself into two branchos; for first we shall inquire, whether this proposition in our text, In my Father's house are many mansions, give any ground, or assistance, or countenance to that pious opinion, of a disparity, and difference of degrees of glory in the saints in heaven: and then, if we find the words of this text to conduce nothing to that doctrine, we shall consider the right use of the true, and natural, the native and genuinfc, the direct, and literal, and uncontrovertible sense of the words; because in them, Christ doth not say, that in his Father's house there are divers mansions, divers for seat, or lights, or fashion, or furniture, but only that there are many, and in that notion, the plurality, the multiplicity, lies the consolation.
First then, for the first branch of our first part, the general rule of doctrines, our Saviour Christ in these words involves an argument, that he hath told them all that was necessary; he hath, because the Scripture hath, for all the Scriptures which were written before Christ, and after Christ, were written by one and tko same spirit, his spirit. It might then make a good problem, why they of the Roman church, not affording to the Scriptures that dignity which belongs to them, are yet so vehement, and made so hard shift, to bring the books of other authors into the rank, and nature, and dignity of being Scriptures: what matter is it, whether their Maccabees, or their Tobies be Scripture or no? what get their Maccabees, or their Tobies by being Scripture, if the Scripture be not full enough, or not plain enough, to bring me to salvation? But since their intention and purpose, their aim, and their end is, to undervalue the Scriptures, that thereby they may overvalue their own traditions, their way to that end may be to put the name of Scriptures upon books of a lower value, that so the unworthiness of those additional books, may cast a diminution upon the canonical books themselves, when they are made all one: as in some foreign states we have seen, that when the prince had a purpose to erect some new order of honour, he would disgrace the old orders, by conferring and bestowing them upon unworthy and incapable persons.
But why do we charge the Roman church with this undervaluing of the Scriptures, when as they pretend, (and that cannot well be denied them) that they ascribe to all the books of Scripture this dignity, that all that is in them is true. It is true; they do so; but this may be true of other authors also, and yet those authors remain profane and secular authors. All may be true that Livy says, and all that our chronicles say, may be true; and yet neither our chronicles, nor Livy1 become Gospel: for so much they themselves will confess and acknowledge, that all that our church says is true, that our church affirms no error; and yet our church must be a heretical church, if any church at all, for all that. Indeed it is but a faint, but an illusory evidence or witness, that pretends to clear a point, if, though it speak nothing but truth, yet it does not speak all the truth. The Scriptures are our evidence for life or death; Search the Scriptures, says Christ, for in them ye think ye have eternal life*. Where, ye think so, is not, ye think so, but mistake the matter, but ye think so, is ye think so upon a well-grounded and rectified faith and assurance. Now if this evidence, the Scripture, shall acquit me in one article, in my belief in God, (for I do find in the Scripture, as much as they require of me to believe, of the Father Son, and Holy Ghost) and then this evidence, the Scripture, shall condemn me in another article, the Catholic church, (for I do not find so much in the Scripture, as they require me to believe of their Catholic church) if the Scripture be sufficient to save me in one, and not in the rest, this is not only a defective, but an
1 In the folio edition it stands, "and yet our chronicles, nor Livy."
* John v. 39.
illusory evidence, which though it speak truth, yet does not speak all the truth.
Fratres sumus, quare litigamiis? says St. Augustine, We are all brethren, by one Father, one Almighty God, and one mother, one Catholic church, and then why do we go to law together? At least, why do we not bring our suits to an end? Non intestatus mortuus est pater, says he, Our Father is dead; for, Is not he your Father that bought you3? is Moses' question; he that bought us with himself, his blood, his life, is not dead intestate, but hath left his will and testament, and why should not that testament decide the cause? Silent advocati, suspensus est populus, leaant verba testamenti: This that father notes, to be the end in other causes, why not in this? That the counsel give over pleading, that the people give over murmuring, that the judge calls for the words of the will, and by that governs, and according to that establishes his judgment. I would at last contentious men would leave wrangling, and people to whom those things belonged not, leave blowing of coals, and that the words of the will might try the cause, since he that made the will, hath made it thus clear, Si quo minus, If it were not thus, I would have told you, if there were more to be added than this, or more clearness to be added to this, I would have told you.
In the fifth of Matthew, Christ puts a great many cases, what others had told them, but he tells them, that is not their rule. Audivistis, et ab antiquis, says he, you have heard, and heard by them of old, but now I tell you otherwise. So Audivimus, et ab antiquis, we have heard, and heard by them of old, that the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ is so absolutely necessary, as that children were bound to receive it, presently after baptism, and that no man could be saved without it, more than without baptism: this we have heard, and heard by them of old; for we have heard St. Augustine to have said so4, and the practice of the church for some hundreds of years to have said so. So Audivimus, et ab antiquis, we have heard, and heard by them of old, that the saints of God departed out of this life, after their resurrection, and before their ascension into heaven, shall enjoy all worldly prosperity and happiness upon the earth, for a thou
8 Deut. xxxii. 30. 4 Maldon. in John vi. 35.
sand years: this we have heard, and heard by them of old, for we have heard Tertullian say so, and Irensaeus, and Lactantius, and so many more as would make the balance more than even. So also Audivimus, et ab antiquis, we have heard, and heard by them of old, that in how good state soever they die, yet the souls of the departed do not see the face of God, nor enjoy his presence, till the day of judgment; this we have heard, and from so many of them of old, as that the voiee of that part is louder, than of the other. And amongst those reverend and blessed fathers, which strayed into these errors, some were hearers and disciples of the apostles themselves, as Papias was a disciple of St. John, and yet Papias was a millenarian, and expected his thousand years' prosperity upon the earth after the resurrection: some of them were disciples of the apostles, and some of them were better men than the apostles, for they were bishops of Rome; Clement was so; and yet Clement was one of them, who denied the fruition of the sight of God, by the saints, till the judgment.
And yet our adversaries will enjoy their liberty to depart from all this which they have heard, and heard from them of old, in the mouths of these fathers. And whero the fathers are divided in two streams, where all the fathers, few, scarce any excepted, till St. Augustine, placed the cause of our election in God's foresight, and fore-knowledge of our faith and obedience, and, as generally after St. Augustine, they placed it in the right centre, that is, only in the free goodness and pleasure of God in Christ, half the Roman church goes one way, and half the other*; (for we may be bold to call the Jesuits half that church) and in that point the Jesuits depart from that which they had heard, and heard of old, from the primitive fathers, and adhere to the later; and their very heavy, and very bitter adversaries, the Dominicans, apply themselves to that which they have heard of old, to the first opinion. In that point in the Roman Catholic church they have fathers on both sides; but, in a point, where they have no father, where all the fathers are unanimely and diametrally against them, in the point of the conception of the most blessed Virgin, Etsi omnessancti uno ore asseverent, says a wise author of
s Historia Vossii L 7. Thes. 8. fo. 538. &c. Benius ca. 26. Pcrerius Ro. 8.
theirs*, though all the ancient fathers with one entire consent affirm that she was conceived in original sin, esti nullus author contravenerit, says he, though no one ancient author ever denied it, yet, says he, Infirmum est ex omnium patrum consensu argumentum, Though our opinion have no ground in Scriptures (that, says he, I confess) though it be no apostolical tradition, (that, says he, I confess) yet it is but a weak argument, says he, that is concluded out of all the fathers against it, because it was a doctrine manifested to the church but about five hundred years since, and now for two hundred years hath been well followed and embraced: as the Jesuit Maldonat says in such another case, whatsoever the ancient fathers have thought, or taught, or said, or writ, that the marriage of priests after orders taken, and chastity professed, was a good marriage, Contrarium nunc verum est, whatsoever was true then, the contrary is true now.
If then these men who take to themselves this liberty, will yet say to me, in some other points, Si quo minus, Surely if you were in the right, some of the ancient fathers would have told you so; and then, if I assist myself by tho fathers, they will say, Si quo minus, if it were not otherwise, some general council would have told you so; and again, if I support myself by a council, Si quo minus, if that council were to be followed, some pope would have confirmed that council, and if I show that to have been done, yet they will say, that that confirmation reaches not to that session of the council, or not to that canon of that session, or not to that period in that canon, or not to that word in that period; and then, of every father, and council, and session, and canon, and period, and word, Ejus interpretatio est sensus spiritus sancti, His sense and interpretation must be esteemed the interpretation, and the sense of the Holy Ghost, as Bellarmine hath concluded us, why will they not allow me a juster liberty, than that which they take? That when they stop my prayers in their way to God, and bid me turn upon saints, when they stop my faith in the way to Christ, and bid me turn upon mine own, or others' merits, when they stop my hopes of heaven upon my death-bed, and bid me turn upon purgatory, that when as yet it is in debatement and disputation, whether man can perform the law of God or no, they
will multiply their laws, above the proportion of Moses' tables, and when we have primogenitum ecclesiw, the eldest son by the primitive church, the Creed of the Apostles, they will superinduce another son, by another venter, by a step-mother, by their sick and crazy church, and (as the way of step-mothers is) will then make the portion of the later, larger than the elder's, make their Trent-Creed larger than the Apostles, that in such a case, they will not allow me, neither in my studies in the way, nor upon my death-bed at mine end, to hearken unto this voice of my Saviour, Si quo minus, If it were not so, I would have told you, this is not only to preclude the liberty, but to exclude the duty of a Christian.
But the mystery of their iniquity is easily revealed, their arcana imperii, the secrets of their state easily discovered. All this is not because they absolutely oppose the Scriptures, or stiffly deny them to be the most certain and constant rule that can be presented, (for whatsoever they pretend for their own church, or for the super-sovereign in that church, their transcendant and hyperbolical supreme head, they will pretend to deduce out of tho Scripture) but because the Scriptures are constant, and limited, and determined, there can be no more Scriptures, and they should be shrewdly prejudiced, and shrewdly disadvantaged, if all emergent cases arising in the Christian world, must bo judged by a law, which others may know before-hand, as well as they; therefore being wise in their own generation, they choose rather to lay up their rule in a cupboard, than upon a shelf, rather in scrinio nectoris, in the breast and bosom of one man, than upon every desk in a study, where every man may lay, or whence every man may take a Bible. Therefore have so many sad and sober men amongst them, repented, that in the council of Trent, they came to a final resolution in so many particulars; because how incommodious soever some of those particulars may prove to them, yet they are bound to some necessity of a defence, or to some aspersion if they forsake such things as have been solemnly resolved in that manner.
Therefore it was a prudent, and discreet abstinence in them, to forbear the determination of some things, which have then, and since, fallen into agitation amongst them. Be pleased to take one in the council, and one after for all. Long time it had, and then it did, and still it doth, perplex the consciences of penitents that come to confession, and the understandings of confessors, who are to give absolution, how far the secular laws of temporal princes bind the conscience of the subject, and when, and in what cases, he is bound to confess it as a sin, who hath violated and transgressed any of those laws; and herein, says an author of theirs7, who hath written learnedly ds legibus, of the band * and obligation of laws, the pope was solicited and supplicated from the council, in which it was debated, that he would be pleased to come to a determination; but because he saw it was more advantage to him, to hold it undetermined, that so he might serve others' turns, and his own especially, it remains undetermined, and no confessor is able to unentangle the conscience of his penitent yet. So also in another point, of as great consequence, (at least for the peace of the church, if not for the profit) which is, those differences, which have arisen between the Jesuits and the Dominicans, about the concurrence of the grace of God, and the freewill of man, though both sides have come to that vehemence, that violence, that virulency, as to call one another's opinion heretical, (which is a word that cuts deep, and should not be passionately used) yet he will not be brought to a decision, to a determination in the point, but only forbids both sides to write at all in that point; and in that inhibition of his, we see how he suffers himself to be deluded, for still they write with protestation, that they write not to advance either opinion, but only to prepare the way against such time, as the pope shall be pleased to take off that inhibition, and restore them to their liberty of writing; for this way hath one of their last authors, Arriba, taken to vent himself. In a word, if they should submit themselves to try all points and cases of conscience by Scripture, that were to govern by a known, and constant law; but as they have imagined a monarchy in their church, so have they a prerogative in their monarchy, a secret judgment in one breast, however, he who gives them all their power, make this protestation, si quo minus, if it were not thus, and thus, I would have told you so. So then this proposition in our text falls first upon them, who
7 Carbo. • Folio Edition, " hand."
do not believe all things to be contained in the Scriptures; and it falls also upon them, who do not believe all persons to be intended in the Scriptures, who seem to be concerned therein. The first sort dishonour God in his Scriptures, in that kind, that there is not enough in the Scriptures for any man's salvation; and the other in this kind, that that that is, is not intended, as it is pretended, not in that largeness and generality, as it is proposed, but that God hath set a little diamond in a great deal of gold, a narrow purpose in large promises; and thereupon they impute to God (in their manner of expressing themselves) dolos bonos, and fraudes piat, holy deceits, holy falsehood, holy illusions, and circumventions, and over-good husbands of God's large and bountiful grace, contract his general promises. I dispute not, but I am glad to hear the apostle say, that as all were dead, so one died for all*; and to put the force of his argument there, in that, that except we can say, that one died for all, we cannot say, that all were dead. I argue not, but I am glad to hear another apostle say, That Christ is the propitiation for the sins of all the world*; for if any man had been left out, how should I have come in?
I am not exercised, nor would I exercise these auditories with curiosities, but I hear the apostle say, Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died10; and I hear him say, Through thy knowledge may thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died": and, methinks, he means, that though they might be destroyed, though they might perish, yet Christ died for them. Only to deliver God from all aspersions, aud to defend particular consciences from being scandalized with dangerous phrases, and in a pious detestation of those impious doli, and fraudes, holy deceits, holy falsehoods, I only say, God forbid, that when our Saviour Christ called the Pharisee hypocrite, that Pharisee should have been able to recriminate that upon Christ, and to have said, So are you, for you pretend to offer salvation where you mean it not: God forbid, that when Christ had made that the mark of a true Israelite in the person of Nathaniel, In quo non est dolus, In whom there is no deceit'*, any man should have been able to have said to Christ, Then Nathaniel is a better Israelite than you, for
* Rom. v. 14. 0 1 John ii. 2. 0 Rom. xiv. 11.
11 1 Cor. viii. 11. "John i. 47.
you pretend to offer salvation, where you mean it not. David hath joined those two words together, The words of their mouth, are iniquity and deceit"; if there be deceit, there is iniquity too. Our Saviour hath joined all these together, adulteries, murderi, blasphemies, and deceitu; where there is deceit, all mischief is justly presumed. The apostle St. Paul discharges nimself of nothing with more earnestness than that, Have I deceived you? Have I circumvented you with fraud"? Neither doth he charge him, whom he calls, the child of the devil, Elymas the sorcerer, farther than so, 0 plene omni dolo", That he was full of all deceit. And therefore they that think to gild and enamel deceit, and falsehood, with the additions of good deceit, good falsehood, before they will make deceit good, will make God bad: for, even in the law, an action de dolo, will not lie against a father, nor against a master, and shall we implead God de dolo?
In the last foreign synod, which our divines assisted, with what a blessed sobriety they delivered their sentence17, that all men are truly, and in earnest called to eternal life, by God's minister; and that whatsoever is promised or offered out of the Gospel by the minister, is to the same men, and in the same manner promised and offered by the author of the Gospel, by God himself. They knew whose breasts they had sucked; and that that church, our church had declared18, That we must receive God's promises so, as they be generally set forth to us in the Scriptures; and that for our actions and manners, for our life and conversation, we follow that will of God, which is expressly declared to us in his word: and that is, that conditional salvation is so far offered to every man, as that no man may preclude himself from a possibility of such a performance of those conditions which God requires at his hands, as God will accept at his hands, if either he do sincerely endeavour the performing, or siucerely repent the not performing of them. For all this is fairly implied in this proposition, Si quo minus, If it were not so, I would have told you; that all that is necessary to salvation, is comprehended in the Scriptures, which was our first branch; and then, that all that is in the Scriptures, is intended so as it is proposed, which
13 Psalm xxxv. 3. "Mark vii. 22. 15 2 Cor. xii. 16.
"Acts xiii. 10. 17 Art. ii. ad Thes. 3. "Art. xvii.
was our second; and these two constitute our first part, the general rule of doctrines, and farther we enlarge not that part, but descend to the other, the particular doctrine, which Christ gives to his disciples, in the other proposition, In domo patris, In my Father's house there are many mansions.
This second part, you may also be pleased to remember, derives itself into two branches; first to inquire, whether this proposition assist that doctrine of disparity and degrees of glory in the saints in heaven; and then the right use which is to be made of the right sense of these words, In domo patris, In my Fathers house there are many mansions. The occasion of the words will be the foundation of all; our Saviour Christ had said to his disciples in the chapter before, that ho was to stay with them but a little while; that when he was gone, they should seek him, and not find him; and that whither he went, they could not follow: and when, upon that, Peter, who was always forwardest, and soonest scandalized, had pressed him with that question, Lord, whither goest thou? and received that answer, Whither I go thou canst not follow me now, but hereafter thou shalt follow me, lest the rest of the disciples, who were troubled with that which was formerly said, should be more affected with this, to hear that Peter should come, whither none of them might, to establish them all, as well as Peter, he says to them all, in the first verse of this chapter, Let not your hearts be troubled, for, (and here enters this proposition of our text, for their general establishment) in my Fathers house are many mansions. So that, that these are words of consolation, is certain, but whether the consolation be placed in the disparity, and difference of degrees of glory in heaven, or no, is not so certain.
That there are degrees of glory in the saints in heaven, scarce any ever denied. Heaven is a kingdom, and Christ a king, and a popular parity agrees not with that state, with a monarchy. Heaven is a church, and Christ a high-priest, and such a parity agrees as ill with the Triumphant, as with the Militant church. In the Primitive church Jovinian denied this difference, and degrees of glory; and St. Hierome was so incensed, so inflamed for this, as if foundations had been shaken, and the common cause endangered. Indeed it was thus far the common cause, that all the fathers followed this chase, (if we may use that metaphor) and were never at a default: no one of the fathers, whom I have observed to touch upon this point, did ever deny this difference of degrees of glory. And therefore, as in the Primitive church, when that one man Jovinian, came to deny it, St. Hierome was vehement upon him, so when in the Reformation, one man (for I never found more than that one, one Schoufeldius) denies it too, I wonder the less, that another13 (of the Reformation also) grows somewhat sharp towards him.
We deny not then this difference of degrees of glory in heaven; but that frame, and that scale of these degrees, which they have set up in the Roman church, we do deny. We must continue, and return often to that complaint against them, That they shake and endanger things near foundations, by their enormous super-edifications, by their incommodious upper-buildings: that many things, which might be well enough accepted, and would be agreed by all, become justly suspicious, and really dangerous to the church, by their manifold consequences which they super-induce upon them: that many things, which in the sincerity of their beginning, and institution, were pious, and conduced to the exaltation of devotion, by their additions are become impious, and destroy devotion so far, as to divert it upon a wrong object. In this point which we have in hand, it is so; in these degrees of glory in heaven, that church, which treads all sovereign crowns in this world, under her feet, pretends to impart, and distribute crowns in heaven also of her own making: We find coronam auream, a crown of gold upon the head of that Son of man, who is also the Son of God, Christ Jesus, in the RevelationAnd we find coronas aureas, particular crowns of gold, upon the heads of all the saints that stand about the throne, in the same book". And these crowns upon the saints are the emanations, and effluences of that crown which is upon Christ; the glory of the saints is the communication of his glory. But then, because in their translation, in the Vulgate edition of the Roman church, they find in Exodus" that word aureolam, Faciei coronam aureolam, Thou shalt make a lesser crown of gold; out
18 Gerard. 80 Rev. xiv. 14.
** Rev. iv. 4. ** Exod. xxv. 25.
of this diminutive, and mistaken word, they have established a doctrine, that besides those coronw aurew, those crowns of gold, which are communicated to all the saints from the crown of Christ, some saints have made to themselves, and produced out of their own extraordinary merits certain aureolas, certain lesser crowns of their own, whereas indeed the word in the original in that place of Exodus is zer zehab, which is a crown of gold, without any intimation of any such lesser crowns growing out of themselves. This then is their new alchymy; that whereas old alchymists pretend to make gold of coarser metals, these will make it of nothing; out of a suppositious word, which is not in the text, they have hammered and beat out these aureolas, theso lesser crowns. And these aureolas they ascribe only to three sorts of persons, to virgins, to martyrs, to doctors.
Are then all the other saints without crowns? they must make shift with that beam which they have from the crown of Christ; for, for these additional crowns proceeding from themselves, they have none. And yet, say they, there are saints which have some additions growing out of themselves, though not aureolas, littlo crowns, and those they call fructus, peculiar fruits growing out of themselves; and for these fruits they distrain upon that place of Matthew, where Christ saith**, That some brought forth fruit a hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty; and the greater measure they ascribe to virgins, the sixty to widows, and the thirty to married persons, but only such married persons, as have lived continently in marriage. So then, to make this riddle of theirs as plain as the matter will admit, they place salvation itself, blessedness itself, (if a man will be content with that) in that union with God, which is common to all the saints: but then they conceive certain Dotes, as they call them, certain dispositions in this life, by which some have made themselves fitter to be united to God, in a nearer distance than an ordinary saint; and these dotes, these endowments, and dispositions here, produce those aureolas, and those fructus, those lesser crowns, and those measures of fruits, which are a particular joy, not that they are united to God, (for so every saint is) but that they had those dotes, those dispositions to take that particular way of being united to
a Matt. xiii. 6.
God, the way of virginity, the way of martyrdom, and the way of preaching; for hy this, they become Sancti Majores, as they call them, saints in favour, saints in office, and fitter to receive our petitions, and mediate between God and us, than those whom they call Mediocres, and Inferiorit, saints of a middle form, or of an inferior rank. Yet these are so far provided for, by them too, that we must pray also to these inferior saints, either because I may have had a more particular interest in this life in that saint, than in a greater, and so the readiness, and the assiduity of that saint may recompense his want of power, or else, ad tollendum fastidium, lest a great saint should grow weary of me, if I trouble him every day, and for every trifle in heaven; and some other such reasons, it pleases them to assign, why though some saints have more power with God than others, yet we are bound to pray to all.
And thus they play with divinity, as though after they had troubled all states with political divinity, with their bulls, and breeves of rebus sic stantibus, that as long as things stood thus, this should be Catholic doctrine, and otherwise, when otherwise, and in this political divinity, Machiavel is their pope; and after they had perplexed understandings with philosophical divinity in the school, and in that divinity, Aristotle is their pope; they thought themselves in courtesy, or conscience bound, to recreate the world with poetical divinity, with such a heaven, and such a hell as would stand in their verses, and in this divinity, Virgil is their pope. And so, as Melancthon said, when he furthered the edition of the Alcoran, that he would have it printed, lit vid^amus quale poema sit, That tho world might see what a piece of poetry the Alcoran was; so I have stopped upon this point, that you might see what a piece of poetry they have made of this problematical point of divinity, the disparity, and degrees of glory in the saints in Heaven.
Be this then thus settled; in the matter, the difference of degrees of glory, we will not differ; in the manner, we would not differ so, as to induce a schism, if they would handle such points problematically, and no farther. But when upon matter of fact they will induce matter of faith, when they will extend problematical divinity to dogmatical, when they will argue and conclude thus, It may be thus, therefore it must be thus, a man may be saved, though he believes this, therefore he cannot be saved except he believe this, when (in this point in hand) out of our acknowledgment of these degrees of glory in the saints they will establish the doctrine of merits, and of invocation of saints, then we must necessarily call them to the rule of all doctrines, the Scriptures. When they tell us historically, and upon historical obligation, and for a historical certitude, that Peter was at Rome, and that he was bishop of Rome, we are not so froward as to deny them that: but when upon his historical and personal being at Rome, they will build that mother article, of an uersal supremacy over all the church, then we must necessarily call them to the rule, to the Scriptures, and to require them to prove both his being there, and his being bishop there, by the Scriptures, and either of these would trouble them; as it would trouble them, in our present case, to assign evident places of Scripture, for these degrees of glory in the saints of Heaven. For though we be far from denying the consentaneum est, that it is reasonable it should be, and likely it is so, and far from denying the pit creditur, that it may advance devotion, and exalt industry to believe that it is so, though we acknowledge a possibility, a probability, a very similitude, a very truth, and thus far a necessary truth, that our endeavours may flag and slacken, except we do embrace that help, that there are degrees of glory in Heaven, yet if we shall press for places of Scriptures, so evident, as must constitute an article of faith, there are perchance none to be found, to which very learned, and very reverend expositors have not given convenient interpretations, without inducing any such necessity.
At least, however other places of Scripture may seem to contribute more, this proposition of our text, In my Father s house are many mansions (though it have been applied to the proof of that) hath no inclination, no inclinableness that way. For in this text, our Saviour applies himself to his disciples, in that wherein they needed comfort, that Christ would go away, that they might not go too, that Peter had got a non-obstante, he might, and they might not, and Christ gives them that comfort, that all might, In my Fathers honse are many mansions. When the apostle presents a great part of our Christian religion together, so as that he calls it a mystery, and a great mystery, yet he calls it a mystery without controversy; Without controversy great is the mystery of God manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, preached to the Gentiles, believed in the world, received into glory". When he presents matter of consolation, he would have it without controversy; to establish a disconsolate soul, there is always divinity enough, that was never drawn into controversy. I would pray? I find the spirit of God to dispose my heart, and my tongue, and mine eyes, and hands, and knees to pray I do I doubt to whom I should pray? To God, or to the saints? That prayer to God alone was sufficient, was never drawn into controversy. I would have something to rely and settle and establish my assurance upon; do I doubt whether upon Christ, or mine own, or other's merits? That to rely upon Christ alone was sufficient, was never drawn into controversy. At this time, Christ disposed himself to comfort his disciples in that wherein they needed comfort; now their discomfort, and their fear lay not in this, whether there were different degrees of glory in heaven, but their fear was, that Christ being gone, and having taken Peter, and none but him, there should be no room for them, and thereupon Christ says, Let not that trouble you, for, in my Fathers house are many mansions. And so we have done with the former branch of this last part, that it is piously done to believe these degrees of glory in heaven; that they have inconsiderately extended this problem in the Roman church; that no Scriptures are so evident as to induce a necessity in it; that this Scripture conduces not at all to it; and therefore we pass to our last consideration, the right use of the right sense of these words.
First then, Christ proposes in these words consolation; a work, than which none is more divine, nor more proper to God, nor to those instruments, whom he sends to work upon the souls and consciences of others. Who but myself can conceive the sweetness of that salutation, when the spirit of God says to me in a morning, Go forth to-day and preach, and preach consolation, preach peace, preach mercy, and spare my people, spare that people whom I have redeemed with my precious blood, and be not angry with them for ever; do not wound them, do not
u 1 Tim. iii. 16.
grind them, do not astonish them with the bitterness, with the heaviness, with the sharpness, with the consternation of my judgments. David proposes to himself, that he would sing of mercy, and of judgment"; but it is of mercy first; and not of judgment at all, otherwise than it will come into a song, as joy and consolation is compatible with it. It hath fallen into disputation, and admitted argument, whether ever God inflicted punishment by his good angels; but that the good angels, the ministerial angels of the church, are properly his instruments, for conveying mercy, peace, consolation, never fell into question, never admitted opposition.
How heartily God seems to utter, and how delightfully to insist upon that, which he says in Isaiah, Consolamini, consolamini populum meum, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people", and Loquimini ad cor, Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and tell her, thine iniquities are pardoned? How glad Christ seems that he had it for him, when he gives the sick man that comfort, Fili confide, my son be of good comfort, thy sins are forgiven tltee? What a coronation is our taking of orders, by which God makes us a royal priesthood? And what an inthronization is the coming up into a pulpit, where God invests his servants with his ordinance, as with a cloud, and then presses that cloud with a Vw si non, woe be unto thee, if thou do not preach, and then enables him to preach peace, mercy, consolation, to the whole congregation. That God should appear in a cloud, upon the mercy seat, as he promises Moses he will do", that from so poor a man as stands here, wrapped up in clouds of infirmity, and in clouds of iniquity, God should drop rain, pour down his dew, and sweeten that dew with his honey, and crust that honied dew into manna, and multiply that manna into gomers, and fill those gomers every day, and give every particular man his gomer, give every soul in the congregation, consolation by me; that when I call to God for grace here, God should give me grace for grace, grace in a power to derive grace upon others, and that this oil, this balsamum, should flow to the hem of the garment, even upon them that stand under me; that when mine eyes look up to heaven,
"Psalm ci. 1. "Isaiah XL. 1.
"Levit. xvi. 2.
the eyes of all should look up upon me, and God should open my mouth, to give them meat in due season; that I should not only be able to say, as Christ said to that poor soul, Confids fili, my son be of good comfort, but fratres et patres mei, my brethren, and my fathers, nay domini mei, and rex meus, my lords, and my king be of good comfort, your sins are forgiven you; that God should seal to me that patent, Ite prwdicate omni creaturw, go and preach the gospel to every creature, be that creature what he will, that if God lead me into a congregation, as into his ark, where there are but eight souls, but a few disposed to a sense of his mercies, and all the rest (as in the ark) ignobler creatures, and of brutal natures and affections, that if I find a licentious goat, a supplanting fox, an usurious wolf, an ambitious lion, yet to that creature, to every creature I should preach the gospel of peace and consolation, and offer these creatures a metamorphosis, a transformation, a new creation in Christ Jesus, and thereby make my goat, and my fox, and my wolf, and my lion, to become semen Dei, the seed of God, and filium Dei, the child of God, and participem dimnw naturw, partaker of the divine nature itself; this is that which Christ is essentially in himself, this is that which ministerially and instrumentally he hath committed to me, to shed his consolation upon you, upon you all; not as his almoner to drop his consolation upon one soul, nor as his treasurer to issue his consolation to a whole congregation, but as his Ophir, as his Indies, to derive his gold, his precious consolation upon the king himself.
What would a good judge, a good-natured judge give in his circuit, what would you, in whose breasts the judgments of the Star-chamber, or other criminal courts are, give, that you had a warrant from the king, to change the sentence of blood into a pardon, where you found a delinquent penitent I How ruefully do we hear the prophets groan under that onus visionis, which they repeat so often, O the burden of my vision upon Judah, or upon Moab, or Damascus, or Babylon, or any place! Which is not only that that judgment would be a heavy burden upon that place, but that it was a heavy burden to them to denounce that judgment, even upon God's enemies. Our errand, our joy, our crown is consolation: for, if we consider the three Persons of the holy, Messed 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 dovo, that would not make a congregation a slaughter-house, but feeds upon corn, corn that hath in nature a disposition lo a reviviscence, and a repullulation, and would imprint in you all, the consolation and sense of a possibility of retuming to a new, and better life. God found mo 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 mo 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 ho 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 Wing 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 upon the cross, in the consummation 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; Bo 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 perish"? 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 told us.
Christ comforts then, he disputes not, that is not his way; he ministers true comfort, he natters 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 Fathers 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. Angustines, (if that book be his) Hiems horrens, JEstas torrens, and Virentprata, vernant sata, and such other harmonious, and melo
"Mark iv. 38. "Rer. xxi.
dious, and mellifluous cadences of these w aters of life. But the schoolmen are wild; for as one author", 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 prwceditur hesterno, nec excluditur crastino*1, 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 wheie 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:
31 Augustine. "Matt viii. 11.
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 dissolvi, to desire to be dissolved, therefore, that thou mayest be with
Christ; I forbid thee not David's sigh, Hei mihi, Woe is me that I must dwell so long with them that love not peace! I only enjoin thee thy Saviour's Veruntamen, Yet not mine, but thy will, O Father, be done; that all thy wishes may have relation to his purposes, and all thy prayers may be inanimated with that, Lord manifest thy will unto me, and conform my will unto thine. So shalt thou not be affrighted, as though God aimed at thee, when he shoots about the mark, and thou seest a thousand fall at thy right hand, and ten thousand at thy left; nor discouraged a9 though God had left out thee, when thou seest him take others into garrison, and leave thee in the field, assume others to triumph, and leave thee in the battle still. For as Christ Jesus would have come down from heaven, to have died for thee, though there had been no soul to have been saved but thine; so is he gone up to heaven, to prepare a place for thee, though all the souls in this world were to be saved as well as thine. Trouble not thyself with dignity, and priority, and precedency in heaven, for consolation and devotion consist not in that, and thou wilt be the less troubled with dignity, and priority, and precedency in this world, for rest and quietness consist not in that.