John 14:1
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well.
Sermons
Faith Banishing FearB. Thomas John 14:1
Faith in God and ChristAlexander MaclarenJohn 14:1
Fret not ThyselfCharles Wesley NaylorJohn 14:1
Trouble on the Surface, Peace in the DepthsD. Young John 14:1
The Revelation Made to FaithJ.R. Thomson John 14:1-3
A Good Home to Go ToJohn 14:1-4
Acquaintances in HeavenJohn 14:1-4
Belief in ChristC. Hodge, D. D.John 14:1-4
Belief in God Based on the Knowledge of His CharacterJohn K. Shaw.John 14:1-4
Belief in God Emotional as Well as IntellectualH. W. Beecher.John 14:1-4
Belief in God EncouragingWashington Irving.John 14:1-4
Belief in God InextinguishableH. W. Beecher.John 14:1-4
Belief in God Should Inspire ConfidenceDer Glaubensbote.John 14:1-4
Belief in God StimulatingJohn 14:1-4
Believe Also in MeDean Vaughan.John 14:1-4
Believing in Jesus is Laying Hold of HimJ. H. Wilson.John 14:1-4
Believing is Looking to JesusJ. H. Wilson.John 14:1-4
Believing is Trusting in JesusJ. H. Wilson.John 14:1-4
Christ ComfortingR. Sibbes, D. D.John 14:1-4
Christ Comforting the DisciplesW. Roberts.John 14:1-4
Christ Gone to Prepare a Place for UsT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.John 14:1-4
Christ Gone to Prepare a Place for UsC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 14:1-4
Christ Preparing a Place for UsBp. Beveridge.John 14:1-4
Christ Preparing Heaven for the BelieverA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:1-4
Christ the Supreme Attraction of HeavenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 14:1-4
Christ Will Corse AgainJohn 14:1-4
Christ Will Relieve Our TroublesC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:1-4
Christ's Appeal to His Disciples' ConfidenceW. Braden.John 14:1-4
Christ's Coming and Our Future Fellowship with HimJ. Dorrington.John 14:1-4
Christ's Cure for TroubleC. F. Deems, LL. D.John 14:1-4
Christ's Remedy for a Troubled HeartW. Andersen, LL. D.John 14:1-4
Christ's Word to the TroubledA. T. Pierson, D. D.John 14:1-4
Death Brings Christ and the Soul TogetherS. M. Haughton.John 14:1-4
Diverted from Thoughts of HomeR. Sibbes, D. D.John 14:1-4
Entering the Father's HouseJohn 14:1-4
Faith in GodR. S. Storrs, D. D.John 14:1-4
Faith in God One with Faith in ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:1-4
Glimpses of Our Heavenly HomeC. Stanford, D. D.John 14:1-4
Grounds of ComfortProf. Hengstenberg.John 14:1-4
HeavenD. Thomas, D. D.John 14:1-4
Heaven -- HomeD. L. Moody.John 14:1-4
Heaven -- HomeJohn 14:1-4
Heaven -- HomeT. Guthrie.John 14:1-4
Heaven Adapted to Us by ChristJ. Guthrie, D. D.John 14:1-4
Heaven the Christian's HomeJ. Carter.John 14:1-4
Heaven, Our HomeT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.John 14:1-4
Home in HeavenC. Bradley, M. A.John 14:1-4
Inferences from the Silence of ChristC. Jerden, LL. B.John 14:1-4
Jesus ComesNew Testament AnecdotesJohn 14:1-4
Let not Your Heart be TroubledC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:1-4
Let not Your Hearts be TroubledC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:1-4
Man's Hope of Immortality Uncontradicted by GodJ. Ker, D. D.John 14:1-4
Many MansionsA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:1-4
Many MansionsJohn 14:1-4
Men Seem Unwilling to be Without TroubleJohn 14:1-4
My Father's HouseJ. B. Brown, B. A.John 14:1-4
My Father's House MagnificentW. Baxendale.John 14:1-4
Nearing HomeH. W. Beecher.John 14:1-4
Not Dead, But Gone HomeN. Hall.John 14:1-4
Recognition in HeavenHelen Williams.John 14:1-4
Religion has Many ComfortsH. W. Beecher.John 14:1-4
Room for All Saved Sinners in HeavenC. H. Spurgeon.John 14:1-4
Sources of Christian ComfortW. Brooks.John 14:1-4
The Christian not Afraid of Unseen DangersJohn 14:1-4
The Comfort of Believing in ChristJohn 14:1-4
The Consolation of the Gospel UniqueCanon Liddon.John 14:1-4
The Father's HouseW. H. Burton.John 14:1-4
The ForerunnerA. Maclaren, D. D.John 14:1-4
The Heavenly HomeJ. Ker, D. D.John 14:1-4
The Holy Habitation of HeavenR. W. Hamilton, D. D.John 14:1-4
The House of Many MansionsA. Raleigh, D. D.John 14:1-4
The Parting ConsolationD. Moore, M. A.John 14:1-4
The Prepared PlaceJ. Parker, D. D.John 14:1-4
The Revealing Power of FaithBp. Porteous.John 14:1-4
The Saint's Best Days to ComeJohn 14:1-4
The Silence of ScriptureD. Murdoch, D. D.John 14:1-4
Trouble and its CordialJohn 14:1-4
Trouble NotW. M. Statham.John 14:1-4
Untroubled FaithR. D. Hitchcock, D. D.John 14:1-4
Variety in HeavenH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.John 14:1-4
The dark shadow of our Lord's approaching agony and death was now upon his heart. Yet he thought tenderly of the sorrow of his disciples on their own account. Hence the sympathizing and consolatory tone of his last sustained and leisurely conversation with them. Hence the special revelation with which they were on this occasion favored. And hence, too, the intercessory prayer which was at that juncture of their need offered so fervently on their behalf. The words which comforted them have proved consolatory to Christ's people in every age, and especially to those in affliction of spirit.

I. THE OBJECT OF FAITH, AS ENJOINED BY CHRIST. Faith was the condition of receiving the revelation and enjoying the promise which the Lord Jesus had to communicate. Now, it is a very common thing in our days for men to eulogize faith. But it is not infrequently forgotten that the virtue of faith depends upon its object. To believe is good, if we believe what is worthy of credit. To trust is good, if we trust one deserving of confidence. Our Lord enjoins faith:

1. In God. If there be a God, surely we can need no argument, no persuasion, to induce us to believe in him. We believe in our imperfect earthly friends; how much more reason have we to believe in our perfect God? Especially does this appear when we consider, not only what God is, but what he has done to justify and to elicit our faith.

2. In Christ. How shall we connect faith in the Savior with faith in the Father? Probably thus: we need some faith in God in order to believe in Jesus whom he sent, and then, trusting in Christ, we attain to a fuller, stronger faith in the Father. The apostles and disciples, whom Jesus gathered round him in his earthly ministry, had such experience of his truth, his tenderness, his fidelity, that they might well trust him entirely and always - trust him so as to receive his declarations, to rely upon his promises, to do his will. How natural and proper is it for the Christian, who knows alike his own need and the sufficiency of his Savior, to place in him an absolute and unfaltering trust! If such trust was becoming on the part of those who knew Jesus in his ministry, how far stronger are the inducements which our experience of our Savior's grace and power furnish to our confidence! We took back upon what Jesus suffered for us, upon his victory as our Representative, and upon his long unseen ministry of grace; and we respond to his summons, and renew our faith in his words and in his work.

II. THE REVELATION CHRIST MAKES TO FAITH. This unfolding of Divine counsels has reference to man's life and history as a whole; not only to the seen, but to the unseen, the eternal. Temporary sorrows and difficulties all but disappear when they take their place as incidents in an immortal existence.

1. The universe is our Father's house and temple. How far otherwise is it regarded by many, even of the inquiring and intelligent! To not a few the world is mindless, loveless, has no origin that can he understood, and no aim; and has, therefore, a very feeble interest. As God's house, it has been built and furnished by the Divine Architect, who has arranged it to suit the needs of all his children. As God's temple, it is the scene of his indwelling and manifestation, of his holy service and his spiritual glory. It is the place where he dwells and where he is worshipped, who is Christ's Father and ours. What sweet and hallowed associations are wont to gather around the house of the human father! Similarly to the Christian the universe is dear, because there the Divine Father displays his presence, exercises his care, utters his love. That rebellious and profane voices are heard in the house which is consecrated to obedience, reverence, and praise, is indeed too true. Yet the Christian can never lose sight of the true purpose, the proper destination, of the world; in his apprehension it has been formed for the Divine glory, and it is consecrated by the Divine love.

2. The universe is further represented by Jesus as containing many and varied abodes for the spiritual children of God. Why is the great house so spacious and commodious? Because it is constructed to contain multitudes of inhabitants, and to afford to all a scene of service and of development. "Many abiding-places" are for the use of many guests, of many children. There are many citizens in the city, many subjects in the kingdom, many children in the household, many worshippers in the temple. Among those of whom we have little knowledge are the angels, thrones, principalities, and powers. Among those known to us by the records of the past are patriarchs and prophets, apostles, saints, and martyrs. There is room for all - for the young and the old, the ignorant and the learned, the great and the despised. No reader of Christ's words can doubt that his purpose and his promise included untold myriads of mankind. His life was given a ransom "for many." He designed to "draw all men unto himself." He foresaw that many should enter his kingdom, from the East and from the West. In the Book of his Revelation by John, it is foretold that "a great multitude, whom no man can number," shall assemble before the throne of glory. The pilgrim shall leave his tent, the captive his prison, the voyager his ship, the warrior his camp, and all alike shall repair to "the house which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." It is a glorious spectacle, one which reason is too dim-sighted to behold, but which is clear to the eye of faith.

III. THE PROMISE CHRIST GIVES TO FAITH. Many of our Lord's earlier sayings had been vague; now, in anticipation of his departure, his language is plain and clear.

1. Jesus has gone to prepare. Not indeed for himself, but for his people. When earth has no longer a place for them, a home will be found to have been made ready for their reception elsewhere. There is much that is mysterious in the exercise of our Savior's mediatorial grace in the sphere of his present action; but we have no difficulty in believing that he concerns himself above with the work which he commenced below.

2. He will come again to receive. Shall we take this assurance to refer to his resurrection, or to his second coming yet in the future? Of has it not rather reference to that perpetual coming of Christ unto his own, of which his Church has always and everywhere had experience? When the earthly service of a faithful disciple is finished, then Jesus comes to welcome that beloved and approved one to rest and recompense. Concerning our dear ones who are dead to earth, we have the assurance that they have not been overlooked by the Divine and tender Friend of souls.

3. He assures his people of his blessed fellowship. The language in which Jesus conveyed the assurance must have been peculiarly affecting to those who had been with him during his earthly ministry. They knew by experience the charm of their Lord's society, and the strength it gave them for work and for endurance. What more attractive and glorious prospect could the future have for them than this - the renewal and the perpetuation of that fellowship which had been the joy and the blessing of their life on earth? But the same is in a measure true of every Christian. What representation of future happiness is so congenial and so inspiring as this - the being "ever with the Lord"?

IV. THE PEACE WHICH IS THE FRUIT OF FAITH. Much was at hand which was likely to occasion alarm and dismay. Events were about to happen which would crush many hopes and cloud many hearts. This was well known to the Master. Hence his admonition to his disciples, "Let not your heart be troubled." An admonition such as this, when it comes alone, is powerless. But Christ, by revealing himself and his purposes to the minds of his brethren, supported the precept he addressed to them. What might well distress and even overwhelm those who were without the support and consolation of a sustaining and inspiring faith, would be powerless to shake such as built their hopes upon the sure foundation of unchanging faithfulness, immortal love. Those who have faith in Christ are the possessors of true peace - the peace which "passeth understanding," the peace which the world can neither give nor take away. - T.







Let not your heart be troubled.
We may well feel glad that God's people of old were men of like passions with ourselves. It is not the will of God that His people should "be troubled" in heart; hence these blessed words.

I. LET US TASTE OF THE BITTER WATERS.

1. Jesus was to die. It had finally dawned on them that they were to be left like sheep without a shepherd, and they were inconsolable.

2. He was to be betrayed by one of their own number. This pierced the hearts of the faithful. Of this bitter water the faithful at this hour are also made to drink. Reputed ministers under the banner of "advanced thought" make war upon those eternal truths for which confessors contended and martyrs bled, and the saints in past ages have been sustained in their dying hours.

3. Peter's denial was to cause another pang to the faithful.

II. LET US DRINK OF THE SWEET WATERS, TO REFRESH US. Our Master indicates the true means of comfort under every sort of disquietude.

1. "Believe" not only My doctrine but in Me — a personal, living, ever-present, omnipotent Saviour.

2. Though He was going from them, He was only going to His Father's house.

3. A great many would follow Him to the Father's house.

4. "I go to prepare a place for you," not only "many mansions" for our spirits, but an ultimate place of our risen bodies. We are apt to entertain cloudy ideas of the ultimate inheritance of the saints. Christ went away in body — not as a disembodied spirit, but as One who had eaten with His disciples, and whose body had been handled by them. His body needed a place.

5. The promise of His sure return — "If I go," etc.

6. And then He will "receive" us. It will be —

(1)A courtly reception.

(2)A marriage reception.

7. He will place us eternally where He is that we may be with Him. Can we not now, once for all, dismiss every fear in prospect of the endless bliss reserved for us?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The disciples had been like lambs carried in the bosom of a loving shepherd. They were now about to be left by Him, and would be among the wolves and the terrors of the snowstorm. Frequently after conversion God, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, gives a period of repose; but for all of us there will come a time of trouble. Albeit that bark so lately launched upon a glassy sea has all her streamers flying, and rejoices in a favourable wind, let her captain remember that the sea is treacherous and that the stoutest vessel may find it more than difficult to outride a hurricane. But without due trial where would be our experience, and without the experience where increase of faith and triumph of love? We have each —

1. A share of home trials.

2. Trials arising from the Church of God. In the best-ordered Church it must needs be that offences come.

3. Worst of all are soul troubles. Note that the advice of the text is —

I. TIMELY AND WISE. There is no need to say, "Let not your heart be troubled," when you are not in affliction. When all things go well with you, you will need, "Let not your heart be exalted." Now, it is the easiest thing in times of difficulty to let the heart be troubled, to give up and drift with the stream. Our Lord bids us pluck up heart, and here is the wisdom of His advice, namely —

1. That a troubled heart will not help us in our difficulties or out of them. In time of drought lamentations have never brought showers. A man whose business was declining never multiplied his customers by unbelief. It is a dark night, but the darkness of your heart will not light a candle for you.

2. A doubting, fretful spirit takes from us the joys we have. You have not all you could wish, but you have still more than you deserve, and far more than some others; health perhaps, God certainly. There are flowers that bloom in winter if we have but grace to see them.

3. A troubled heart makes that which is bad worse. It magnifies, aggravates, caricatures. Unbelief makes out our difficulties to be most gigantic, and then it leads us to suppose that never soul had such difficulties before. But think of Baxter, Calvin, the martyrs, St. Paul, Christ.

4. A troubled heart is most dishonourable to God. It makes the Christian suspect eternal faithfulness and to doubt unchangeable love. Is this a little thing? The mischief of the Christian Church at large is a want of holy confidence in God. When once an army is demoralized by a want of spirit and the soldier assured that he cannot win the day, then the conclusion is that every man had better take care of himself and fly. But as long as we do not lose heart we have not lost the day.

II. PRACTICABLE. "Let not your heart be troubled." "Oh," says somebody, "that's easy to say but hard to do." Here's a man who has fallen into a deep ditch, and you say to him, "Don't be troubled about it." "Ah," says he, "that's very pretty for you that are standing up there, but how am I to be at ease while up to my neck in mire?" But if Jesus says it our heart need not be troubled.

1. He indicates that our resort must be to faith. If in thy worst times thou wouldst keep thy head above water, the swimming belt must be faith. In the olden times how were men kept from perishing but by faith (Hebrews 11)? There is nothing which it cannot do, but what can you do if you do not trust your God? and surely it ought not to be difficult for a child to believe his father.

2. The Saviour goes on to say, "You believe in God"; exercise that same faith with regard to the case in hand. The case in hand was this — could they rest upon One who was about to be crucified? "You have believed God about other things, exercise that same faith about this." You have believed God concerning pardon, believe God about the child, the wife, the money.

3. It ought to be a great deal easier for us to live above heart trouble than it was to the apostles.

(1)You have experience.

(2)You have received the Holy Spirit.

(3)You have the whole of Scripture, which they had not.

III. PRECIOUS. Remember that the loving advice —

1. Came from Jesus. The mother says to the child, "Do not cry, child; be patient." That sounds very differently from what it would have done if the schoolmaster or a stranger had spoken. His own face was towards the Cross, He was about to be troubled as never man was troubled. It is as if He wanted to monopolize all tears.

2. It points to Jesus. If you want comfort you must hear Jesus say, "Believe also in Me." No place for a child's aching head like its mother's bosom. No shadow of a great rock in this weary land like our Saviour's love consciously overshadowing us.

3. It speaks of Jesus. "In My Father's house," etc. Jesus is here seen in action. Think of all He said and did, and what He is doing for us now.

4. It hints that we are to be with Jesus forever. "An hour with my God," says the hymn, "will make up for it all." So it will; but what will an eternity with our God be?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The words are —

I. NOT SENTIMENTAL. They are not spoken by one who wishes to silence sorrow by superficial kindliness. Christ does not say we are to disarm ourselves of prudence and energy; but He does say where all these work torture and misery you are faithless. There is a Providence that goes before you. Your Heavenly Father knoweth what things you have need of. There is more than sorrow in this world. Sin is here, but even over it we triumph by a salvation which makes a redeemed life the most glorious life of all. From the lips of Christ this is a reasonable comfort, because He is able to make all grace abound towards us, and because sorrow goes forth as His angel to make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

II. NOT EXHAUSTIBLE. This comfort is not exhaustible in time; nor can you exhaust its adaptation to the variety and speciality of personal sorrow. Does not Christ know your sorrow? We could gain no true comfort if Christ were merely a figure in history. If Christ had not risen the words are exhaustible. But Christ Himself has said, "I am He that liveth," etc. The value even of an earthly friend is in the inexhaustibility of sympathy. But at the best human friendship is shallow, but it is different with Christ's. His passeth knowledge. He who changes not and abideth always says, "Let not your heart be troubled."

III. NOT LIMITABLE. These are words of consolation for all the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

1. No little community has any special privilege of excommunicating, nor has any large one.

2. All through the ranges of experience, as well as through all the ages of time, Christ bids us take these words of comfort. First of all they should be applied to the heaviest sorrows. Here at Christ's Cross the most burdened may find release.

IV. NOT ALONE TEMPORAL. They do not simply relate to this time world or to our human and spiritual experiences here. Christ was comforting men concerning the rest that remaineth. And the spirit of man had never been so comforted before. He knew that hearts like ours would grasp every promise concerning the blessed dead. So these words should be taken up into the highest sphere to comfort us concerning those who sleep in Jesus that we sorrow not as those without hope, remembering that the risen Christ went back whence He came, to prepare a place for us.

V. NOT ALONE RETROSPECTIVE. Christ does not say, "Do not trouble about past sins, they are forgiven you." No. He looks forward and comforts them in relation to their earthly future here and their home hereafter. And yet what did He see in the near perspective for many of them? On the edge of the horizon stand their crosses in the grey light of tomorrow. "The time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." Still He says, "Do not trouble." Let us take Christ at His word as they did.

(W. M. Statham.)

I. THE SORE OF THE WORLD IS TROUBLE AND ITS CURE IN FAITH. The seat of trouble is not in anything outside of us. It is the passions. Work, wakefulness, losses, bereavements, life's burdens and battles are not troubles. They are discipline. While the passions are in right and healthful play all these things may befall a man, and yet he may be wholly untroubled. On the other hand, a man may be surrounded by all that can minister to his comfort and dignity, and yet be troubled. In the latter case the man's passions are tossed about as the sea is when a tempest is on it; in the other case, they are serene as the lake in the fastnesses of a mountain.

1. The cause of all our trouble is the want of harmony between our wills and God's will. Let them accord, and then nothing in heaven or earth or hell can trouble us. But when we beat ourselves against the barriers erected by Omnipotence for our safety and good, then there is trouble.

2. Our trouble arises from our want of faith in the rightfulness and paramount authority of God's law. Men would not fight against God's law of morals if they could perceive that the law is perfectly good and right. Men have an impression that the law of God is a kind of Procrustes' bed, cutting long men short and stretching short men long for arbitrary reasons, and not that every regulation is for man's sake and that of other creatures. And because men do not believe that the law of God is good they do not believe it is paramount. The origin of the trouble of every heart from the beginning is to be found in this failure of faith in God. It was so with Adam and Eve. There was no trouble while they trusted their Heavenly Father. You cannot seduce a man into wrong-doing until you shake his faith in God. It is this fundamental principle of which Jesus seems to have thought. This seems to me to mean two things —(1) That belief in God is necessary to belief in Jesus. Jesus, then, is something more than a mere extraordinary specimen of humanity.(2) Simple belief in God has never cured trouble. It might have kept all trouble from the human heart if originally persevered in. But after sin had come into the world something else was necessary. And for this we can appeal to every man's experience. Do you not often feel that you would be freer and happier if God would throw His laws away, or still better, cease to exist? The fact is, that until we came to distinguish between creatures and children, our belief in God can produce no agreeable feelings toward Him.(a) We must hare some distinct evidence of His loving us. Of such love Jesus is the Demonstration. Belief in Jesus is belief in God incarnating Himself; putting Himself thus into most complete sympathy with us, making us feel that if any disasters should happen to us He would be the Person who most should feel it. This breaks down the opposition of our hearts to God.(b) Jesus declares Himself the Governor of the world. Providence is in the hands of my Brother. He manages the universe for the purposes of the atonement. Why should my heart be troubled? Is not the King of eternity my Friend?(3) Christ is my Leader through all places, narrow and dark and frightful, or large and wealthy and seductive. If I believe this and yield my heart to it, how my troubles disappear! Without Jesus, my heart is like the Galilean lake, night-bound and storm-lashed; when He says "Peace," there is a great calm.

II. THEN FROM HIMSELF AS FROM A CENTRE HE SWEEPS THE UNIVERSE OF SPACE AND DURATION, AND FOLDS IT ALL DOWN UPON EVERY TRUSTING HEART AS A MEASURELESS BENEDICTION.

1. "In My Father's house are many mansions." How this takes the vagueness out of our ideas of God! How our recently constructed scientific instruments enlarge and deepen this saying of Jesus! It is to be noticed that our intellects gravitate toward a common centre. There, in that centre, we seem to feel must be the chief place of God. There is an unhealthy fear of God which is not humble reverence. Men dread to think of Him. In our catechisms we put Him just as far away from our children as we can. Jesus does no such thing. God is a Person. He has a house and a household. He makes homes for His children. Why, then, should I be troubled that I am to die? My removal will be like the progress of a prince from castle to castle of his father's dominions. In each I shall find new work and new delights.

2. One of the phases of man's unbelief is that he does not seem to have space and time enough to carry forward to completion the grand projects of his intellect. But if you will believe in Jesus, this trouble shall disappear. In the boundless field of the universe, in the perpetual cycles of eternity, you shall find space and time enough to do all that you desire now or may desire hereafter.

3. Another thing Jesus utters to be a heart cure: "If it were not so, I would have told you." He will not only correct our thoughts of God, He will not let us have a false hope. Those men loved Him, and in some blind way had believed in Him. He knew that they had aspirations higher than the Temple and wider than the spangled tent that spread all night above the Holy Land. He would not go away and leave them cherishing a fond delusion. He would tell them if the things they hoped were an idle dream. In this there ought to be a happy lesson for every earnest heart. There is a gloomy infidelity in us which says of happiest things that they are "too good to be true." If you have any hope for eternity, and Jesus Christ has not contradicted it, you may reasonably indulge it. See what a field that flings open to us. This is comforting, but grandly vague.

4. He goes further and tells us that He departs in order to "prepare a place for us." This meets another phase of trouble. Our wills conflict with the will of God because we never feel at home totally suited in our surroundings on earth. Think how much is necessary for perfect comfort. There must be a suitable physique, agreeable in all the particulars of size, beauty, and health. There must be perfectly-fitting clothes; a collar too tight, a boot too small breaks one's comfort. Then our house must be in everything complete; nay, it must be an elastic house, expanding or shrinking to our wants at different times. When the residence is complete, there is the absence of the beloved or the presence of an unpleasant neighbourhood. It is not an unamiable discontentedness in human nature which makes us dissatisfied or unsatisfied: it is the inability of this present world, with all its resources, to fill the soul; and this argues the soul's greatness. Jesus says, "I go to prepare a place for you." He knows what is in us and what we need about us. He is putting all His resources to the work of fitting up for us mansions in the spiritual world. Our place will be complete. How that abates our troubles! There shall be nothing wanting in the place when Jesus pronounces it ready.

5. "Ready?" Then when it is ready we must go to it. There is to be a removal. But still there is something to try one in any change of residence, but Christ says, "I will come for you and take you," and that "unto Myself."

(C. F. Deems, LL. D.)

I. GOD'S MOST FAITHFUL SERVANTS ARE SUBJECT TO TROUBLES OF HEART.

1. What troubles?(1) Inward, arising from —

(a)Sin (Psalm 51:4-8).

(b)Corruption (Romans 7:24).(2) Outward, which are —

(a)Spiritual: Christ's absence.

(b)Temporal: outward afflictions (Lamentations 1:4).

2. The reason.

(1)Weakness of faith.

(2)Imperfection of other graces.

II. FAITH IN GOD AND CHRIST IS THE BEST CORDIAL TO A TROUBLED HEART.

1. It is the surest and most infallible (Matthew 11:28).

2. The strongest (Isaiah 59:1).

3. The pleasantest (1 Peter 1:8).

4. The readiest (Psalm 46:1).

5. The most suitable (Isaiah 43:2, 3).

6. The most constant (Hebrews 13:5).

7. The most universal.

III. APPLY THIS to —

1. Temporal troubles. Art thou troubled with —(1) Poverty?

(a)Faith is the best riches (James 2:5).

(b)It will turn thy very poverty into a blessing (Romans 8:28).(2) Disgrace?

(a)By faith thou mayest see the emptiness of honour (Psalm 42:11).

(b)Faith will procure thee honour (Hebrews 1:14; 1 Samuel 2:30).(3) Sickness and pains.? By faith —

(a)Thou mayest see God's love in them (Hebrews 12:6).

(b)Thou mayest get good by them (Psalm 119:71).

(c)Thou mayest receive more comfort in them than in health.(4) Losses and crosses?

(a)Faith will show thee from whence they came (Job 1:21).

(b)Why (Hebrews 12:10).

(c)And so turn them to thy gain (2 Corinthians 4:17).(5) Fears of death? Faith will show thee —

(a)That the sting is out (1 Corinthians 15:55).

(b)That death is but the entrance of life.

(c)And so turn thy fears into hopes (Philippians 1:23).

2. In spiritual troubles. Art thou troubled —(1) For thy sins?

(a)God is merciful (Psalm 103:8; Isaiah 43:25).

(b)Christ is all-sufficient (1 John 2:1).(2) With thy lusts?

(a)God is almighty.

(b)Christ will send His Spirit (chap. John 16:7).

(c)Faith conquers them (1 John 5:4).(3) With desertions? If thou believest —

(a)God will never forsake thee wholly (John 13:1; Hebrews 13:5).

(b)Christ will pray that thy faith fail not (Luke 22:31, 32).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

This is a discourse showing the disciple his refuge from trouble. The refuge —

I. OF FAITH. "Believe in God: believe also in Me," etc. Three grand truths are at the basis of Christianity: God, Christ, Immortality. They are the antidotes to atheism, the helplessness of guilt, and the hopelessness of death.

II. OF LOVE. A personal relation to Christ, He is the way of God to man and of man to God; the truth, about all the soul needs to know and which natural theology fails to answer; and the life, eternal and blissful.

III. OF HOPE. Here was a personal bereavement. He was about to withdraw, and the loss was the more inconsolable because He was the object of faith and love. But He compensates this loss by the promise of the Holy Ghost, through whom they should do greater works, by whom God is manifest in the believer, etc., and who should abide with them forever. And He promises that He will personally intercede for believers above, while the Spirit intercedes in them below. And so He who goes away actually does not leave them orphans, but comes to them, dwells in them, manifests Himself to them, and is seen by them. And so this part of the discourse ends as it began, with peace. Peace —

1. For the mind harassed with doubt, by establishing the certainties of faith.

2. For the heart harassed with unsatisfied cravings, by establishing it upon God.

(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

I. THE TROUBLED HEART. Trouble in estate is bad, but heart trouble is worst. The mariner cares not for the howling tempest, but matters are serious when the sea gains entrance. Causes.

1. Unpardoned sin.

(1)We cannot ignore it.

(2)Dare not excuse it.

(3)Are unable to expiate it.

2. Separation from beloved friends.

(1)By absence;

(2)by death.

3. Persecution.

4. Disappointed hopes. So the disciples have trials. Sometimes from a clear sky the thunder peals; from richest verdure the venomous serpent hisses.

II. THE QUIET HEART.

1. We acknowledge the authority of the decalogue; but our Lord's command is equally binding.

2. This is the purpose of God. Every apparent discord leads up to the final harmony.

3. The quiet heart is the best learner, worker, warrior.

4. The quiet heart is a mirror of heaven.

III. HOW CAN THE TROUBLED HEART BE MADE INTO THE QUIET HEART.

1. The old belief in God. The Jews had fallen into polytheism, but the captivity cured them. Christ points to the old well of comfort — a firm belief in one ever-living God.

(1)God will smite all wrong.

(2)He will bring forth the righteous as the sun.

2. The new belief in Christ. Inferentially a proof of Christ's Divinity.

(1)As the great atoning Substitute. There is nothing in the new philosophy to calm the troubled heart.

(2)As our sympathizing Brother and High Priest.

(3)As alive forever more.

(4)As our Representative and Forerunner — "I go to prepare a place," etc.We need not shrink from "Worlds unknown." He has made them well known; "brought life and immortality to light," and will come again and receive us unto Himself.

(W. Andersen, LL. D.)

There was some good in the disciples' trouble.

1. There was natural trouble at the departure of such a friend. For we are flesh, not steel; and in that sense, Christ was troubled Himself to show the truth of His manhood. Nay, trouble is the seasoning of all heavenly comforts; there were no comforts if there were no trouble; and therefore this natural trouble was not disallowed by Christ.

2. There was likewise something spiritually good in this trouble. They loved their Master, who they saw was going away. They were right in this principle, that all comfort depends on the presence of Christ. For as all heavenly light, and heat, and influence come from the sun, so all heavenly comforts must come to us from Christ's presence. Their error was in tying all comfort to a bodily presence; as if it were necessary for the sun to come down and abide upon the earth, to bestow its heat and influence.

I. THE BEST CHRISTIANS ARE SUBJECT TO BE TROUBLED MORE THAN SHOULD BE. Christ was troubled, but His trouble was like the shaking of clear water in a crystal glass. There was no mud in the bottom. But our trouble is of another kind, and apt to be inordinate (1 Samuel 1:13; Isaiah 38:14; Psalm 77:3; Jonah 2:2).

1. God permits us to be troubled —(1) For conformity to our Head.(2) That we may be known to ourselves; that we may discern where our weakness lieth, and so be better instructed to seek Him in whom our strength lieth.(3) For the preventing of spiritual sins.(4) In regard of others, that we maybe pitiful.

2. But how shall we know that our hearts are more troubled than they should be? We may sin in being overmuch troubled at things for which it is a sin not to be troubled. If they had not been at all affected with the absence of Christ, it had been a sin, and no less than stupidity; yet it was their sin to be overmuch troubled. A trouble is sinful when it hinders us in duties; or from duty, when the soul is like an instrument out of tune, or a limb out of joint. Naturally, affections should be helps to duty, they being the winds that carry the soul on, and the spiritual wings of the soul. But then they must be regulated and ordered at the command of a spiritual understanding. Now, besides the hurt that is in such affections themselves, Satan loves to fish in these troubled waters (Ephesians 4:26). That was Saul's case (1 Samuel 16:23).

3. We should not yield to excess of trouble. And the reasons are:(1) We wrong our ownselves. We make actions difficult unto us. The wheels of the soul are thereby taken off (Nehemiah 8:10).(2) We do dishonour to God, mistaking His goodness, murmuring at tits providence, wronging His graciousness and nursing a rebellious pride.(3) We dishonour Christ, and the love of God in Christ; for it is as if we had not in Him a sufficient remedy for that great malady.(4) Christ hath forbidden it, "Let not," etc.

II. THE WAYS WHEREBY WE MUST LABOUR TO COMFORT OUR HEARTS.

1. There must be a due search into the heart of the grounds of our trouble; for often Christians are troubled, they cannot tell wherefore; as children that will complain they know not why. See if there be not some Achan in the camp.

2. And when you have found out your sin give it vent by confession of it to God, and in some cases to others.

3. And when we have done so, consider what promises, and comforts, in that Word of God are fitted to that condition. And therefore we ought to be skilful in the Word of God, that we may store up comforts beforehand.

4. When we have these promises, let us labour to understand them thoroughly, and then to digest them in our affections, and so make them our own, and then to walk in the strength and comfort of them.

5. Labour likewise to have them fresh in memory. It is a great defect of Christians that they forget their consolation (Hebrews 12:5).

6. Labour to keep unspotted consciences.

7. And because there can be no more comfort than there is care of duty, therefore, together with innocency, let us be careful of all duties in all our several relations.

8. But above all let us labour for a spirit of faith. "You believe in God," etc. How cloth faith in Christ ease the soul in trouble?(1) It banishes troubles, and brings in comfort, because it is an emptying grace. It empties us of ourselves, and so makes us cleave to another, and thereby becomes a grace of union. It makes us one with the fountain of comfort, and by its repeated acts derives fresh comfort.(2) It establishes the heart.(3) It stirs up such graces as comfort the soul, as hope in all good things promised. "In My Father's house are many mansions."

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

I. THE HEROIC ATTITUDE CHRIST ASSUMES. He had just dismissed Judas, knew what was transpiring outside, and what would follow. And yet He sat amongst His disciples perfectly composed, and was able to counsel deliberate composure in the prospect of affliction. This was not from any insensibility to pain, nor superiority to it (John 11:33; John 12:27; John 13:21). It was a wonderful manifestation of spiritual strength, and as an example was more forcible than even His counsel for the production of a like spirit.

II. THE HEROIC SPIRIT CHRIST COMMANDS HIS DISCIPLES TO CULTIVATE. They were in a grievous plight. They had been drawn into fellowship with Christ. He had led them step by step, and they had learned to lean upon Him utterly. And now He was about to be taken from them by a cruel death, and leave them exposed to persecution for His sake. An hour ago there had been a strife among them which of them should be greatest. How vain all these ambitions seemed now! And yet our Lord counsels calmness. Then —

1. It is possible to overmaster trouble, however hard the lot in life may be.

2. It is important to overmaster it; a troubled heart is our agitated medium and cannot see things clearly, and our enfeebled agent impotent to do them adequately.

III. THE SECRET OF A HEROIC SPIRIT WHICH CHRIST COMMUNICATED TO THEM.

1. Faith in God. The Old Testament saints found in this a panacea for all their cares. "Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace," etc., There were resources in Omnipotence which they felt to be equal to all human exigency (Isaiah 26:3, 4). Something of this the disciples knew.

2. Our Lord argues from the Father to Himself, and particularly recommends them to have such faith in Him as they have in God.

3. The advantage of this two-fold trust. Although the disciples had a certain faith in God, it left them far from satisfied with it. Hence Philip's request. God was more or less remote from and incomprehensible to them; but Christ brought them near. "He that hath seen Me," etc. This sufficed.

(W. Roberts.)

I. HEAVEN IS SURE (vers. 2, 3).

II. THERE IS A CERTAIN WAY TO HEAVEN (vers. 4-11).

III. CHRIST'S WORK DOES NOT CEASE WITH CHRIST'S DEPARTURE (vers. 12-14).

IV. THE HELP OF THE SPIRIT IS VOUCHSAFED in the absence of Christ (vers. 15-17).

V. CHRIST'S ABSENCE IS ONLY TEMPORARY (vers. 18-24).

VI. THE SPIRIT WILL TEACH THE DISCIPLES, and supply their want of understanding when left alone (vers. 25, 26).

VII. THE LEGACY OF PEACE to cheer in the Master's absence (ver. 27).

(Prof. Hengstenberg.)

There is a class of words the meaning of which is known to all, and without consulting a dictionary most people know what the word "trouble" means. The man who should attempt to construct a theory of life and leave trouble out of the account would be no philosopher. How to deal with it, and not how to ignore it, becomes the great problem. From both ancients and moderns proposals of alleviation and help are forthcoming. But He who boldly cries, "Let not your heart be troubled" must possess infallible antidotes. What are they? Faith and Hope directed to their proper objects. We propose, then, to examine —

I. THE GROUNDS ON WHICH CHRIST SOLICITS OUR FAITH. Relief comes by belief. To be able in some overpowering grief to throw the weight of one's care upon another and to trust wholly in that other's help is an eminently satisfying process; while the trustless soul is without the least gleam of comfort. In these times of daring denial and of timid doubt it is well to be reminded that in the great crises of life — poverty, bereavement, affliction — denial is mockery and doubt is impotence, and that only an honest and hearty belief will secure sufficient solace. Christ solicits our faith on the ground of —

1. A prior acknowledgment of the Divine. "Ye believe in God." Christ desires nothing contrary to already existing and inborn Godward conceptions of the soul, but merely that we enlarge those conceptions so as to include Him.

2. The defectiveness of our belief apart from Him. "Ye believe in God;" yes, but that is inadequate, it needs supplementing. The most anxious moments of humanity have been spent in searchings after such a view of God as would enable man to approach Him without dread. Humanity's great longing has waited until Christ for its complete satisfaction. He has extracted from the thought of God all that is calculated to give pain and introduced everything calculated to give comfort. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself."

3. His personality. Trust must repose on a person to be trust at all. Christian apologists often begin with the proofs of superhuman skill and power, and so lead up to the central object of Christian faith. But Christ asked for immediate trust in Himself, for with that would come a hearty belief in all He said and did.

II. THE MOTIVES BY WHICH HE ENCOURAGES OUR HOPE. By "two immutable things," Christ intends us to have "strong consolation." Hope is as important a contribution to comfort as faith; the two together, exercised rightly, never fail. Without a future what is the present worth? An English nobleman once asked himself why there should be a future existence, and answered, "Because, on any other hypothesis, the world would be a piece of magnificent nonsense."

1. Christ, implying human immortality, reveals heaven. He bids the troubled be comforted by directing their hope to the positive existence of an absolutely untroubled state. Heaven is rendered attractive to us as much by its exemptions as by its possessions (Revelation 21:4). Christ does present also a positive view. Heaven is a home. "In My Father's house!" A house is not necessarily a home, but a father's house always is, or ought to be. A happy earthly home is the nearest approach to an adequate conception of the life of heaven. "My Father's house" is a happier home than the happiest of earthly ones.

2. Hope is encouraged by the variety of heavenly enjoyments. "Many mansions," many methods of enjoyment, various fields of occupation, unexhausted resources of interest and pleasure. An endless uniformity of type would be fatal to perfect happiness.

3. Hope is further encouraged by Christ's guarantee of its realization. "If it were not so I would have told you," etc. What security this! He could not countenance a delusion. Conclusion: We read of a Roman army, when eagerly engaged in battle with their country's enemies, being unconscious of an earthquake which made the ground beneath their feet to tremble; and so will a high faith in God and Christ, and a holy hope of immortality and heaven, cause the true Christian to be insensible to the tossings to and fro of the life that now is.

(W. Brooks.)

General Sherman is reported to have said: "One difference between General Grant and myself is this: I am not afraid of dangers that I can see, but he is not afraid of dangers that he cannot see." Any good soldier of Jesus Christ has a right to absolute confidence as he goes forward, even in the dark. For the Saviour says to him, Whatever comes, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Men do not avail themselves of the riches of God's grace. They love to nurse their cares, and seem as uneasy without some fret as an old friar would be without his hair girdle. They are commanded to cast their cares upon the Lord; but, even when they attempt it, they do not fail to catch them up again, and think it meritorious to walk burdened. They take God's ticket to heaven, and then put their baggage on their shoulders, and tramp, tramp, the whole way there afoot.

I heard of a man who was walking along the high road, with a pack on his back: he was growing weary, and was, therefore, glad when a gentleman came along in a chaise, and asked him to take a seat with him. The gentleman noticed that he kept his pack strapped to his shoulders, and so he said, "Why do you not put your pack down?" "Why, sir," said the traveller, "I did not venture, to intrude. It was very kind of you to take me up, and I could not expect you to carry my pack as well." "Why," said his friend, "do you not see that whether your pack is on your back, or off your back, I have to carry it?" My hearer, it is so with your trouble: whether you care, or do not care, it is the Lord who must care for you.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In this I say the gospel differs sharply from the most cultivated pagan thought of the age in which it appeared in the world. When Seneca is trying to console a lady who is suffering agonies of mind under a severe bereavement, he can only suggest to her that she had better try as soon as possible to forget her trouble. She has, he says, good examples around her in the birds and in the beasts. They too love their relations, but after a momentary spasm when they lose them they take life easily again; and in doing this they show man an example which he would do well to imitate. As if the mental pain which means to man so much more than to the beast, precisely because he is man and not beast, could be conjured out of him by a philosophy which talks incessantly of his dignity and can only make him comfortable, if at all, at the cost of forgetting it!

(Canon Liddon.)

Why should you carry troubles and sorrows unhealed? There is no bodily wound for which some herb doth not grow, and heavenly plants are more medicinal. Bind up your hearts in them, and they shall give you not only healing, but leave with you the perfume of the blessed gardens where they grew. Thus it may be that sorrows shall turn to riches; for heart troubles, in God's husbandry, are not wounds, but the putting in of the spade before the planting of seeds.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. THE TROUBLE IN THE HEART OF THE DISCIPLES. The trouble —

1. Of agonized ignorance and blank bewilderment. Long before, Jesus had dropped hints of a mysterious journey that He had to take. As the time went on, He spoke of it more frequently, and in terms more and more darkly suggestive of horror. This had not seemed to trouble their heart at first; they regarded His language as metaphorical Probably they had the impression that first some great battle had to be fought, or some unknown trial to be gone through; that would last three days. So just before, Peter asks, "Whither goest thou?"

2. Of bereaved love. "Do I love the Lord, or no?" was not a question in any heart there. Jesus had poured upon them all the very essence of kindness, and had received them into the very sanctuary of His heart. Naturally, it was this mighty love that made bereavement of its object so intolerable. Christ had not yet left them; but love may feel a bereavement before it is bereaved.

3. From the thought of having no share in the last passion of their Lord. "Why cannot I follow Thee now?" Love said then, as love says now, "Give me some work to do; some cross to carry; some block to lay nay head upon." It is impossible to stand idly by while Christ gives and suffers all.

II. THE ANTIDOTE.

1. A peculiar, most tranquillizing revelation of the heaven to which He is going — "a place." Along with other elements of comfort, our nature needs this. We have been told that this is a doctrine of Materialism, and that heaven is in character rather than in condition. This is only a half-truth, and we want the whole. "Heaven is principle," said Confucius; but a house to live in must be built of something besides principle. Heaven is for the complete man, body and soul; and a body asks for a place, understanding that heaven is at least a place, we are ready to ask a thousand questions about it as such; and one of the first will be, "Where is it in the map of the universe?" In times not a few has this been made a question of astronomy, and to suggest the possibility of some central heaven amongst the stars. Well, the inquiry must start from our own solar system. This, with its circle of at least 5,000,000,000 miles in diameter, is but a speck in the creation. Its stars burn and roll round the sun, their centre. The sun, carrying all these his satellites with him, is moving round another centre, with its system; that, about another; that, about another; and where is the fixed ultimate centre round which all the other centres are wheeling and moving? The only One who could have settled this question was silent about it. He says nothing of its whereabouts, of its beauty, of its music, except in signs that are manifestly but hieroglyphic. He knew that the most exact precision of statement and the most dazzling magic of description would leave the greatest as well as the least of mortals as much in the dark as ever. Therefore Christ, aiming at our spiritual profit rather than at our scientific enlightenment, leaves for future solution all problems that have only to do with place.

2. That the heavenly place is His home and theirs. He has just addressed them in the language of family affection as His "little children." With this word of love still in the air, He proceeds to speak of heaven as "My Father's house." A little child looks upon his father's house as his own, and so would Christ have us look upon heaven. Even on earth, a father's house is his child's home; and the dearest place to the best man, woman, child, is home. "Home, sweet home." Earth is one of My Father's battlefields, farms, foundries, factories, roads that He travels on; but heaven is our "Father's house," and therefore the home of all His family.

3. That in that home are many mansions, i.e., settled abodes; the same word as in ver. 23. Emphasis resting on the idea of permanence. Jesus was speaking to the sad thoughts then stirring in the hearts of His mourners on account of the shortness of the time they had spent with Him, and which seemed, in the review, only like a dream. "What does this lack to make it perfect?" asked an old Roman of his companion, as they were together looking on some imperial show; and the answer was, "Permanence." "Permanence adds bliss to bliss." In the word "many," He spoke to the thoughts of the company. When one of the disciples, on the notice of His near departure, asked if he might go with Him, the virtual answer was "No." This refusal to the "one" was a blow to "the many." If the happiness of going with the Lord is not to be given even to Peter, what is to become of the many? We had all expected that we should go with Him into His kingdom. If these happy dreams of ours are all to melt into misery, why were we not informed of this before? Before now, on some festive day, when a man has asked his friends to his house, he has been forced to ask only a few, because, though his heart was large enough for many, his house was not. Before now, in the straits of some war, some iron captain has spared the lives of only a few prisoners, simply on the ground of lacking room to accommodate the many. God has room in His purpose, in His heart, in His house, for all His captives. By the miracle of His grace He first changes all His captives into children, then welcomes them all home. No limitation is suggested by the indefinite plural, "many." "Many" simply stands for all the children, "a great multitude which no man can number," "and yet there is room!"

4. That He is going "to prepare a place" for them. While man is asleep in the night, the sun goes before him, that he may prepare the day for him to wake in. Thus he prepares light for him to see by, power for him to work with, and the spirit of gladness. So does Christ prepare heaven for the heirs of heaven. There can be no heaven without the revelation of God, and there can be no revelation of God without Christ. He prepares heaven for them, not only by preparing their right to the place, but by preparing their fitness for it. "Why cannot I go with Thee now?" asked Peter; and the saying, "I go to prepare a place for you," is an answer to this "Why?" Christ was going to prepare a place for them; first, by His Cross; next, by the Spirit, who would change their hearts and train their natures for the rank they would inherit, as well as for the work they had to do.

5. That He would come again, and receive them unto Himself. Dying may be regarded as a mode in which Christ comes for His people, one by one. Death is not coming; death is not a person, only a door, to which Christ, the sovereign Lord who has at His girdle the keys of death and the unseen state, comes.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.
I. WHAT IS IT TO BELIEVE? Faith includes two things.

1. The submission of the reason to all Christ has revealed.

2. The trust of the heart in all He has promised. Both of these are difficult duties. To receive as true what we cannot understand, on God's testimony is declared to be irrational. But remember that faith is rational, and that the testimony of God is informing. To trust that we shall be pardoned, saved, preserved, is equally difficult for unbelieving hearts.

II. THE OBJECT OF FAITH IS CHRIST — i.e., the things to which we are to assent are truths concerning Christ, and these things in which we are to trust are His promises. This is the only form in which we can exercise faith in God. If we believe not God, as seen, how can we believe in Him as not seen.

III. WHAT ARE WE TO BELIEVE CONCERNING CHRIST AND WHAT ARE THE PROMISES WHICH WE ARE TO TRUST?

1. We must believe that He is the Way, i.e., that He brings us to God. We are separated from God —(1) By our ignorance. Christ brings us near to God as an object of knowledge. He is the Loges or Revealer. He is God in our nature.(2) By our guilt. Christ brings us near to God by reconciliation through His blood. He atones for our sins. Through Him we are able to draw near to God with hope of acceptance.(3) By our enmity. Christ, by revealing the knowledge of God, and reconciling us to Him, removes our enmity.

2. That He is the Truth, i.e. —(1) That He is real; the true God; true Prophet, Priest, King.(2) That in Him is all truth and excellence.

3. That He is the Life — the source of universal, intellectual, spiritual and eternal life. It is not we that live, but Christ that lives in us.

IV. WHAT PROMISES ARE WE TO TRUST TO? The promises of the Spirit.

1. That His presence is permanent and internal.

2. That He will reveal Christ.

3. That He will be our Paraclete.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

1. It might have been urged that the disciples are addressed by our Lord as already believing, not in God only, but in Himself. But the Bible, and He who speaks therein, is truer to nature and experience than many who profess to interpret it. Are there not many in Christian Churches needing still the voice which shall say, Believer, believe; Christian, come to Christ; disciple of three or of thirty years, still, as for the first time, behold Him!

2. There are those, even among Christian people who confide to us, in the tone of sincere and humble regret — "I cannot see why a Saviour was needed. If I, being evil, know how to forgive, how much more shall a Father in heaven accept the first sigh and bestow the unpurchased grace? Is it not enough if I believe in God my Father? Why must I be encumbered with a revelation of sacrifice which rather repels me than reassures? I believe in God — why must I believe also in Christ?" Let us endeavour to answer this question.

I. Now, someone might say, Look at the saints of the Old Testament. What grace, of reverence, of affiance, of holy aspiration, was lacking in the patriarch Abraham, or to the poet-king of the Psalms? Christ was not manifested when those thoughts of eternal fulness glowed and throbbed in the big heart of David. We venture to dispute the very fact taken for granted. Abraham, "saw Christ's day," and walked in the light of it. David was reared amidst promises which made Christ a household word in Israel, and sacrifices which brought to the very senses the need and hope of propitiation.

II. Or you might speak of men who, in this century, have not only led good lives, but have had pious feelings, and done beneficent works, without realizing what we should call the fulness of the Christian faith — avowed Unitarians, e.g. But it is only truth to remember that men thus dispensing with Christ are yet unspeakably indebted to Him. The very idea of God as our Father comes from His revelation.

III. Still, you might say, having made this great revelation, may not Christ Himself disappear? Having taught that God is our Father, must He remain in sight to confuse or divide our allegiance? Believing in God by Christ's help, why go on further to believe in Christ? Now, it is an obvious answer, and surely a just one. We cannot take Christ by halves. If Christ said one thing from God, He said all things: we must look to see what He said, and not, after catching one isolated word, presume to declare that one word all.

IV. Observe, too, how the particular truth received, no less than the accompanying doctrines objected to, runs up into matters which we can neither dispute as facts, nor yet, apart from God, settle. Sin — you see it, you feel it; all religions pre-suppose it. Evidently sin has made a great rent and breach in God's work. Listen to this new Teacher, crying in the hearing of the dislocated and disorganized creation, "When ye pray, say, Our Father." Yes, we say, something within tells me that I had a Father once — but long, long have I lost Him. Tell me the processes by which it has been recovered — the marvellous mystery of restored sonship and reawakened love. Shall we accept the bare fact, and ask nothing as to the proofs and the instrumentalities? Shall we let Christ say, "God is your Father," and never question Him once as to anything further? They who believe the mighty intelligence must hearken what the same Lord bus to say concerning it. May it be, perhaps, that there was that in the Divine holiness which made sin a fatal bar to man's acceptance, except on some condition which God only can perform? Shall we dare, we the guilty and helpless ones, to say that, with nothing but poor human tears and cries and paltry efforts, the stain of sin can be wiped out? Shall we dare to repose upon a feeble bureau analogy, and rest the whole weight of eternity upon the impulses and instincts (not always, even here, prevailing) of family love and parental tenderness? What if there lurked in the background of Deity an obstacle which Calvary alone could take away? It was, no doubt, with special reference to His sacrifice and its consequences that Christ spoke of His disciples, in the text, as having (in some sense) still to believe. They knew Him for the Messiah; what they had still to learn, still to believe in, was the death as itself the life. It is, indeed, the crucial test of faith. He who believes in Christ's atonement believes Christ; believes that He came from God, and came with a message.

V. But, although we thus stand upon the dignity of the Cross as a mystery, we do find, as a matter of experience, that no man dispenses with it without being a definite loser in some feature of the Christian character.

1. There is often a feeble sense of the sinfulness of sin. A man cannot really see Himself a sinner, and not cry out for a Saviour.

2. There is often a want of true tenderness towards sinners. Benevolence there may be; but the discovery of unworthiness in the object of the philanthropy is often the death blow of charity. Or, again, there may be an easiness of good nature ready enough to see excuses: there will not be that unique combination, which was in the cross itself, and which is in the true family of the Crucified — tenderness towards the sinner, with displeasure against the sin.

VI. God, in arranging that we should receive this greatest of His gifts — reconciliation through His Son — has given a charm and pathos to the gospel which it could not otherwise have possessed. What possession do you not value tenfold if it is yours through love? That book, that trinket, why is it dear to you? It was the keepsake of a loving friend. And do you not think that God was appealing, perhaps, to some such instinct of your nature, when He would not only send word to you that you were pardoned, but bid you to receive the blessing through the willing self-gift of One who, sharing every emotion of God's love for the self-ruined one, came Himself to plead, and at last to die, because thus He could effectually "roll away the great stone" sin, move the obdurate, and win back the lost? Conclusion: Try the charge, "Believe also in me." Lean your whole weight of guilt, of sin, of weakness, of sorrow, upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified. See whether, in proportion as you trust Christ more, you become not, in yourself, happier, holier, stronger, gentler. Thus, in time, you shall have a witness within. You life shall be one echo to the sweet persuasive expostulation," Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God; believe also in Me."

(Dean Vaughan.)

We get a more true and appropriate meaning if we keep both clauses in the imperative, "Believe in God, believe also in me."

I. CHRIST HERE POINTS TO HIMSELF AS THE OBJECT OF PRECISELY THE SAME RELIGIOUS TRUST WHICH IS TO BE GIVEN TO GOD.

1. It is only our familiarity with these words that blinds us to their wonderfulness. Try to hear them for the first time, and to remember the circumstances. Here is a man amongst a handful of friends, within four-and-twenty hours of a shameful death, that to all appearance was the annihilation of all His claims and hopes. And He says, "Trust in God, and trust in Me!"

2. What is it that Christ offers us? A very low and inadequate interpretation is, "Believe that God is, that I am." But it is scarcely less so to suppose that the mere assent of the understanding to His teaching is all that Christ is asking for. Faith grasps not a doctrine, but a heart. The trust which Christ requires is entire committal to Him in all my relations and for all my needs.

3. Further, note that this believing in Him is precisely the same thing which He bids us render to God. The two clauses in the original bring out that idea even more vividly — "Believe in God, in Me also believe." And so He here proposes Himself as the worthy and adequate recipient of all that makes up religion in its deepest sense. That tone is the uniform characteristic of our Lord's teaching. What did He think of Himself Who stood up before the world, and with arms outstretched, like that great white Christ in Thorwaldsen's lovely statue, said to all the troop of languid and burdened ones crowding at His feet: — "Come unto Me all ye that are weary," etc. That surely is a Divine prerogative. What did He think of Himself Who said, "All men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father"? You cannot eliminate the fact that Christ claimed as His own the emotions of the heart, to which only God has a right and which only God can satisfy.

4. We have to take that into account if we would estimate the character of Jesus Christ as a teacher and as a man. What separates Him from all other teachers is not the clearness or the tenderness with which He reiterated the truths about the Father's love, and morality and goodness; but the peculiarity of His call to the world is, Believe in Me. And if He said that, why, then, one of two things. Either He was wrong, and then He was a crazy enthusiast, only acquitted of blasphemy because convicted of insanity; or else He was "God, manifest in the flesh."

II. FAITH IN CHRIST AND FAITH IN GOD ARE NOT TWO, BUT ONE. These two clauses on the surface present juxtaposition. Looked at more closely they present interpretation and identity.

1. What is the underlying truth that is here? How comes it that these two objects blend into one, like two figures in a stereoscope?(1) This, that Jesus Christ Himself Divine, is the Divine Revealer of God. There is no real knowledge of the real God outside of Jesus. He showing us a Father, has brought a God to our hearts that we can love, and of whom we can be sure. Very significant is it that Christianity alone puts the very heart of religion in the act of trust. Other religions put it in dread worship, service, and the like.(2) On the other hand, the truth that underlies this is that Jesus is Divine. The light shines through a window, but the light and the glass that make it visible have nothing in common with one another. The Godhead shines through Christ, but He is not a mere transparent medium. It is Himself that He is showing us when He is showing us God. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." And because He is Himself Divine and the Divine Revealer, therefore the faith that grasps Him is inseparably one with the faith that grasps God. Men could look upon a Moses, an Isaiah, or a Paul, and in them recognize the irradiation of the Divinity that imparted itself through them, but the medium was forgotten in proportion as that which it revealed was behind. You cannot forget Christ in order to see God more clearly, but to behold Him is to behold God.

2. And if that be true, these two things follow.(1) One is that all imperfect revelation of God is prophetic of and leads up towards the perfect revelation in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3). And in like manner all the imperfect faith that, laying hold of other fragmentary means of knowing God, has tremulously tried to trust Him, finds its climax and consummate flower in the full-blossomed faith that lays hold upon Jesus Christ.(2) That without faith in Christ such faith in God as is possible is feeble, incomplete, and will not long last. Historically a pure theism is all but impotent. There is only one example of it on a large scale in the world, and that is a kind of bastard Christianity — Mohammedanism; and we all know what good that is as a religion. The God that men know outside of Jesus Christ is a poor, nebulous thing; an idea, not a reality. It has little power to restrain. It has less power to inspire and impel. It has still less to comfort; it has least of all to satisfy the heart.

III. THIS TRUST IN CHRIST IS THE SECRET OF A QUIET HEART.

1. It is no use saying to men, "Let not your hearts be troubled," unless you finish the verse. The state of man is like that of some of those sunny islands in southern seas, around which there often rave the wildest cyclones, and which carry in their bosoms, beneath all their riotous luxuriance of verdant beauty, hidden fires, which ever and anon shake the solid earth and spread destruction. And where is the "rest" to come from? All other defences are weak and poor. We have heard about "pills against earthquakes." That is what the comforts which the world supplies may fairly be likened to. Unless we trust we are, and shall be, "troubled."

2. If we trust we may be quiet. To cast a burden off myself on other's shoulders is always a rest. But trust in Jesus Christ brings infinitude on my side. Submission is repose. When we cease to kick against the pricks they cease to stick and wound us. Trust opens the heart, like the windows of the Ark, tossing upon the black and fatal flood, for the entrance of the peaceful dove with the olive branch in its mouth. But "the wicked is like the troubled sea which cannot rest."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

1. Why should it have been needful to give such a command as this to any intelligent person? In one sense all men believe in God. We acknowledge and recognize a power which passes all control, measurement, or thought. We recognize an authority to which we are responsible. As the moral nature is cultivated, we recognize a moral order in the universe, a law of righteousness, and therefore a Lawgiver and a Judge. In the time of calamity or death all men call upon God. Why, then, teach men to believe in God, and command it? and especially the disciples who had been trained under the ancient system.

2. Of course the answer is that belief may be real and yet wholly ineffective. You see the vapour issuing from the kettle and disappearing through the air. It is steam power, but not enough to drive the train. You step upon the beach and find the little puddles of water, but there is not enough to float the boat and keep alive the fish. So belief may be real in the mind and yet be entirely insufficient for any useful and inspiring purpose. The master would have us carry our belief in God to a point where it shall involve every spiritual force within us. Believe to the roots of your nature; with all your strength and life: and your heart shall not be troubled. What is it thus to believe in God? It is to affirm —

I. HIS ABSOLUTE ORIGINAL PERSONALITY OF EXISTENCE. And yet this it is not easy for us to do. If we search into our thoughts we shall find very often that He is to us rather a force without affection, intelligence, and life. So multitudes of men conceive of God, and scientific investigation often comes in to encourage this tendency of thought. On the other hand, the Scripture everywhere manifests to us God as a person. Our own personal constitution reflects and demonstrates that personality. As impossible as that the clod of the valley should generate a human soul, as that the blossoming branch of the tree should bring forth living intelligence; so impossible is it that personality in you and me should come from impersonal forces and mechanical laws. We see the indications of it in His works, where intelligent contrivances present themselves to us in the adjustment of force to force, in the relations of one object to another; and in Christ, who said, "I and My Father are one." And this is to be affirmed, with all energy of conviction, and intensity of feeling, as the absolute and everlasting truth.

II. HIS PRESENCE WITH US in every hour and every place. Amazing! Yes, God is amazing in every attribute. The soul is amazing because it has something of God within it. Even natural theology affirms this; for it would imply Divine imperfection if God were not everywhere. The recognition of a moral order in the universe implies that; for otherwise the administration of that order would be necessarily imperfect. The constitution of the universe implies that, since otherwise there would be parts of the universe self-supporting and independent of God. His omnipresence shines throughout the whole Scriptures. There are times in spiritual experience when we feel it. But you say, We do not see Him I Do we see the air, magnetism, the productive force in nature, music, fragrance, the voice of a friend? We see the result.

III. HIS CHARACTER OF PERFECT HOLINESS AND PERFECT TENDERNESS. Undoubtedly there is much to perplex us in the prevalence of sin, and the long delay of punishment. These facts disturb our impression of the Divine holiness. And yet we do not doubt the sun when for a time obscured by cloud. The holiness of God must be recognized by anyone who would for a moment feel safe in the universe. If God were otherwise than holy, what could restrain any arbitrary exercise of His power? He could not properly be worshipped except He were holy. Worship mere power, and it demoralizes and demonizes. Worship intellect, and it degrades the moral nature. Worship can only be offered to absolute and sovereign purity of character; and that must be God's character, or else let every harp on high be silent and every heart on earth be dumb. God's holiness shines upon us through His law in our own reason and conscience and in the person of Christ. But then, with this holiness is united tenderness; and it is that which it seems harder still to recognize, for we associate with absolute justice absolute sovereignty rather than absolute tenderness: and yet there is in His Word the declaration of His tenderness. There is a reflection of that tenderness in our own hearts. Whence did these tender loves within us spring? It is idle to say they are transmitted. From whence did they come to our parents? We see them illustrated most perfectly in Christ, whose mission it was to so reveal the Father that we might not be afraid of His holiness.

IV. AFFECTIONATE SOLICITUDE FOR EVERY ONE WHO SEEKS HIM. And this is the most difficult. He is so infinite and we are so weak. Yet even here we find instruction from those who are nearest to Him in spirit and character. We get our clearest view of it from Christ, again, always so welcoming to all who sought Him, so tender towards those who trusted and loved Him. Conclusion: If thus we believe in God, then —

1. There is peace for us and in us. We shall no more be afraid of any real harm while we are affiliated with God in spirit.

2. There is power, the power which sent forth the disciples on their errands of love.

3. Creation reveals its mystery of majesty and loveliness to us, and redemption its higher glories both of majesty and beauty.

4. We anticipate the promises and the provisions of grace.

5. We are assured of the victory of righteousness in the world.

(R. S. Storrs, D. D.)

Truth that touches a man not merely through a cold perception, but through some warm feeling, is the kind of truth the Scripture teaches to constitute belief. It may be intellectually conceived, but no moral nor social truth is ever presented so as to be believed, unless it be presented in such a way as to carry sympathy and feeling with it; and that is not the case with all kinds of truth. Physical, scientific truths, do not touch the feelings, and do not need to. Arithmetic deals with truths that have no relation directly except with the understanding. They never come with desire, sorrow, pity, or emotion of any sort. But all truths that relate to dispositions in men, to moral duties — they never stop with the understanding, but touch the feeling as well. A man cannot be said to believe a moral truth unless he believes it so that it carries some emotion with it. And, in this respect, it makes a great difference what a man believes.

(H. W. Beecher.)

A banknote is tendered to me — it is a promise to pay, but by whom? The Oriental Bank Corporation. I should not have it; that institution has lost its character. I could not trust it. Another note is handed to me; this bears the name of the Bank of England. Ah! that is a different matter. I know that bank has a name for solvency and stability. So, without any hesitation, I take the note just for what it stands. I do not ask for any discount off its amount, as I might if there was a shade of suspicion attaching to its name. I just take it for what it appears on its face to be worth, so confident am I that it will be paid to the full in the sterling coin of the realm. So a knowledge of the character of God will lead us to be fully persuaded "that what He hath promised He will be able also to perform."

(John K. Shaw.)

Whatever men may scientifically agree to believe in, there is in men of noble nature something which science can neither illumine nor darken. When Tyndall was walking among the clouds during a sunset upon the Alps his companion said to him, "can you behold such a sublime scene as this and not feel that there is a God?" "Oh," said he, "I feel it. I feel it as much as any man can feel it; and I rejoice in it, if you do not tell me I can prove it." The moment you undertake to bring the evidence with which he dealt with matter to the ineffable and the hereafter, then, he says, "I am agnostic. I don't know. It isn't true;" but the moment you leave the mind under the gracious influence of such a scene it rises above the sphere of doubt or proof, and he says, "I accept it."

(H. W. Beecher.)

When menaced by Indian war and domestic rebellion, when distrustful of those around him, and apprehensive of disgrace at court, Columbus sank for a time into complete despondency. In this hour of gloom, when abandoned to despair, he heard in the night a voice addressing him in words of comfort, "O man of little faith! why art thou cast down? Fear nothing, I will provide for thee. The seven years of the term of gold are not expired; in that, and in all other things, I will take care of thee."

(Washington Irving.)

In a small town there lived the widow of a preacher, a God-fearing woman, who in days of trouble used to say to her children and friends, "Fear not, God lives." Her trials were sometimes great, but she strove to bear all with cheerfulness and patience. One day her difficulty was greater than she could bear, and she sat down with a feeling of hopelessness, and allowed her tears to flow unchecked. Her little son saw her weeping; he put his little hand in hers, and said, while he looked into her face sorrowfully, "Mother, is God dead?" "No, my son," she said, taking him on her lap. "I thank thee for thy question. He ever liveth; He is near to help in all trouble; He will help us." She wiped away her tears and continued her work. She sought and found help in Jesus.

(Der Glaubensbote.)

The late Professor Agassiz once said to a friend, "I will frankly tell you that my experience in prolonged scientific investigations convinces me that a belief in God — a God who is behind and within the chaos of vanishing points of human knowledge — adds a wonderful stimulus to the man who attempts to penetrate into the regions of the unknown. Of myself, I may say that I never make the preparations for penetrating into some small province of nature hitherto undiscovered without breathing a prayer to the Being who hides His secrets from me only to allure me graciously on to the unfolding of them."

Christian faith is like a grand cathedral with divinely pictured windows. Standing without you see no glory, nor can possibly imagine any; standing within, every ray of light reveals a harmony of unspeakable splendour.

(Bp. Porteous.)

A vessel is wrecked: one after another of her crew is swept away, and disappears. As she heaves to and fro, it seems as if every moment she would break up, and send her shivering passengers down into the deep. There is the cabin boy, thinking of his mother and his home, and praying, though scarcely hoping to be saved, when a plank floats past. Eagerly he lays hold of it, rests his whole weight upon it; and, while others perish, he is safe. That describes you. As you are just about to go down, the plank floats along, comes near you — within reach, within arm's length. That plank is Christ. Lay hold of Him, rest yourself upon Him. He can bear your whole weight — the whole weight of your sins, which would have sank you to perdition — the whole weight of your soul. Try Him; and, like a sailor who tried Him, you'll be able joyfully to say even in dying, "The plank bears, the plank bears!"

(J. H. Wilson.)

Believing on Jesus is looking to Him for salvation. You see that poor widow with a young family, weeping as if her heart would break. When I ask her what ails her, she tells me she is behind with her rent, and her landlord threatens to turn her to the door, unless she can pay her debt, and find security for the next six months. So I tell her to dry her tears, and do her best to work for her children, and just look to me for her rent. How full of joy she is all at once! How cheerfully she works! and, though she has not a penny laid past for the term, she has no fear; and when asked, Why? she says," I am looking to him, for he bade me; and I know he will not fail me. What he promised is just as sure as if I had it in my hand." Now, believing on Jesus is something like this. If I might so speak, it is the heart's look to Jesus — a single glance, indeed, at first, and yet a constant looking to Him ever after.

(J. H. Wilson.)

There is a boy whose father was buried yesterday. Today he is wearing his father's gold watch. Some wicked lads are trying to take it from him. He is struggling to keep it; but they are too strong for him. He is just about to lose it, when I come up, and say, "Give it to me, my boy, and I'll keep it safe for you." For a moment he looks at me with doubtful eye; but as I say to him, "Trust me!" and he sees that I am earnest and sincere, he hands it over to me, and I prevent him from being robbed. That is just what the apostle Paul says of himself. He had, as you have, something far more precious than a gold watch — an immortal soul; and he was afraid of losing it: he could not keep it himself. Jesus said, "Give it to Me," and he gave it to Him; and then you hear him saying rejoicingly, "I know whom I have believed" (which is the same thing as whom I have trusted), "and am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed to Him against that day."

(J. H. Wilson.)

"What do you do without a mother to tell all your troubles to?" asked a child who had a mother, of one who had none. "Mother told me whom to go to before she died," answered the little orphan. "I go to the Lord Jesus: He was mother's friend, and He's mine." "Jesus Christ is in the sky. He is away off, and He has a great many things to attend to in heaven. It is not likely He can stop to mind you." "I do not know anything about that," said the orphan. "All I know, He says He will; and that's enough for me."

What the Caliph Omar is reported to have written to Amru, his general commanding in Egypt, has a grand moral. If those books contradicted the Koran, they were false, and ought to be destroyed. If they agreed with the Koran, they were of no use, and might well be spared. One book was enough for Mohammedans. So, when Sir Walter Scott lay dying, he said to his son-in-law one day, "Lockhart, read to me." "What book shall it be?" said Lockhart. "Why do you ask? there is but one," said Scott. Now, if this Book itself were in danger of being destroyed, and I might have only one chapter out of it, I rather think it would be this which Scott asked to be read to him. Probably no single chapter is read so much to the dying, over the dead. It was the Speaker who was about to die. His hearers were about to be launched into a lifelong service, and their last necessity was absolute, child-like faith.

I. LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED. Certainly they were troubled. And they had reason to be. Many times over Judas betrays his Lord, and hangs himself. Many times over Peter denies his Lord and repents. Many times over the Lord Himself is crucified, and buried, rises and goes away and comes again unseen. It is the same old story always; and always with the old refrain: "Let not your heart be troubled."

1. Today, as related to heathen peoples and religions, the Judas Iscariot of Christianity is Christendom itself. At first, Christianity had behind it only the incomparable personality and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. If Christendom were only Christian really, how much longer would China probably be Confucian? or India Brahmanic? These are painful questions. But let not your heart be troubled. Inside of Christendom I see another betrayal of Christianity, which also is very painful. We behold a Christian civilization, incontestably and immensely superior to any heathen pattern. By and by this Christian civilization forgets its Christian parentage; or denies it, and claims for itself another pedigree. Scholarly men analyze and compare the great historic religions, allowing little preeminence to Christianity. Then after a while the conclusion is reached that we really need no religion at all, only science. Take your sop, Judas, and be gone. As for the eleven, let not their hearts be troubled.

2. Peter's denial of the Lord also repeats itself. Scandals and offences are sure to come. Good men are tempted, stumble and fall. Let not your heart be troubled. Peter denied his Master with an oath. Whole communions apostatize. Verily, powers of darkness are busy; and the night is long. But let not your heart be troubled. The morning cometh. Peter repented.

3. As for what Christ said about going away and coming again, changing the economy from flesh to spirit, from sight to faith, it seems strange to us that His apostles should have been so staggered by it. Those apostles, for three years had been under marvellous tuition; and we wonder they got so little out of it. The day of Pentecost had not yet come. By and by men will be looking back and wondering that we so poorly understood the gospel, overlaying it, some of us with ritual, others with dogma. We have much to be ashamed of. But let not your heart be troubled. More Pentecosts than one have come already. And more are yet to come.

II. BELIEVE IN GOD.

1. Commanded belief implies always the possibility of honest unbelief. Such unbelief has increased greatly of late. Partly, it seems like a reaction against outward authority, and traditional opinions, or against a superstitious theism. Partly it is sheer science, clear-eyed and dispassionate, unable to help multiplying second causes.

2. I have no fear of any very long reign of Atheism. In the poor, apathetic Orient, there may be morality enough to conserve society, with little or no religion, as in China. But not in Europe and America, fall of vitality, greedy, rich and restless. With us, irreligion today is immorality tomorrow, and after that the deluge.

3. Much of what passes for belie! in God is mere scholastic assent to the proposition that God exists. Or the attributes most emphasized are those pertaining rather to the Divine essence. What we need is a vivid sense of the personality of God. He must come very close, and be very real, to us, in our whole experience of life. Mankind must be His offspring; and human history, from first to last, the working out of His own eternal and righteous purposes. "We are but two," said Abu Bakr to Mohammed as they were flying, hunted, from Mecca to Medina. "Nay," answered Mohammed, "we are three; God is with us." And so belief in God is not mere assent, nor mere conviction, but absolute personal trust, submission, and service.

4. You and I know very well what troubles us in thinking of God — sin. But if He had no hatred of sin, how much worse it would be for us. We might be in the power of evil spirits stronger than we are, from whose hideous tyranny we should feel it a mercy to be delivered over to the righteous judgment of a pure and holy God. You say you are afraid of God. But what human imagination can picture the horrors of a universe given over to the rioting of evil unrestrained? Thank God for His holiness. Though He slay us, we had better trust in Him.

III. BELIEVE ALSO IN ME.

1. In me, not as a second rival object of trust, but as God manifest in the flesh, rounded out and historic. This takes us back into bewildering depths. Sin is a tremendous mystery. But for sin, however, we might never have known, in this world, the sublime Triunity of God. Triunity, as we have to study it, is the whole Godhead, dealing with the problem of moral evil.

2. "Believe also in Me." The work of atonement is done, was done centuries ago in time, ages ago in eternity. God in Christ now stands pledged to the forgiveness of sin on the condition of repentance.

3. "Believe also in Me." Human history is God's judgment day. Nations are rising and falling. Human history is also God's day of grace. The kingdom began in an upper chamber. From then till now the kingdom has steadily advanced. The steady progress of Christianity has no parallel in the history of any other religion. The problem demands solution. And only one is possible. But for the magnetism of the felt divinity of Christ, Christianity could not have started at all as it did, or continued as it has. It stands today the old solid bulwark of liberty and order against license and chaos.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

In My Father's house are many mansions.
I. CHRIST SITS AND DISCOVERS HEAVEN TO US.

1. Its nature. His home. "This is not your rest."

2. Its extent. "Many mansions." "Yet there is room."

3. Its reality. "If it were not so I would have told you." Christ knew it — came from it — went to it. Stephen saw its open door and its glory when his breath was being beaten out of his body.

II. CHRIST ASCENDS AND PREPARES HEAVEN FOR US. "I go to prepare a place for you." He prepares heaven for us —

1. By making it accessible. The angel with the flaming sword no longer guards the tree of life, and the veil of the Temple no longer hinders man's approach to God.

2. By gathering its people. Heaven becomes richer to us as Christians die. It is daily more home-like.

3. By supplying its blessings. Who knows so well as He the kind of heaven that will meet our needs? Yes, and He prepares it all.

III. CHRIST RETURNS AND ENTERS HEAVEN WITH US. "If I go," etc. This applies to —

1. All the journey of life. "My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest."

2. All the labours of life. "Go ye into all the world and preach, etc....and lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

3. All the trials of life. "When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee," etc.

4. The close of life. He is there with the dying saint.

IV. CHRIST ABIDES AND BECOMES HEAVEN TO US. "That where I am there ye may be also." This was Paul's idea of heaven — having a desire to depart and to be with Christ.

(W. H. Burton.)

The very term changed the whole character and aspect of Hades. The invisible became visible in the form of the most benign and beautiful of all the institutions that lend charm and joy to life. My Father's house! then for the first time men dared to think of death as a going home. It seems a vast, awful world, this invisible which stretches out to the infinite all round us; the trembling soul may well shudder as it goes forth to meet its destiny. But the thought "My Father's house," dissipates all dread. Be it what it may, and where it may, this vast unknown, it is filled with that nameless benediction, a Father's presence and lit with the light of a Father's smile. It is this sense of a loving Presence, meeting us at life's outer gate, and bringing us into a bright home full of light and beauty and living joy, which, for the Christian, has so utterly dissipated the terror; and this made death seem to St. Francis a sister to take him by the hand and conduct him home. It is the activity, the animation, the joyful tasks, the abounding interest, of the life of the invisible world unveiled by Christ, which is the characteristic revelation of the gospel. It is not a world of shades, but a world of sons in strong immortal forms, instinct with energy, rich in faculty, busy with the tasks that occupy the angels; a world glad with work and bright with song.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

A New Zealand chief who visited England was remarkable for the deep spirituality of his mind and his constant delight in the word of God. One day he was taken to see a beautiful mansion near London. The gentleman who took him expected to see him greatly astonished and charmed with its magnificence, but it seemed to excite little or no admiration in his mind. Wondering how this could be, he began to point out to him its grandeur. Tamahana heard all silently, then, looking round, said, "My Father's house is finer than this." "Your father's house!" thought the gentleman, who knew that his father's home was but a poor mud cottage. But Tamahana went on to speak in his own touching strain of the "many mansions" of the redeemed.

(W. Baxendale.)

It was the quaint saying of a dying man, who exclaimed: "I have no fear of going home. God's finger is on the latch, and I am ready for Him to open the door. It is but the entrance to my Father's house.

From these words we learn —

I. The MAGNITUDE of heaven. Christ's going away would naturally seem to them pure loss. Death, as a natural event, always seems so. But Christ says death is not a closing so much as an opening — not a going away so much as a coming home. It is the passing of a pilgrim from one mansion to another, from the winter to the summer residence, from one of the outlying provinces up nearer the central home. This is not a chance expression, far less a mere figure of speech. There are many others. "The third heavens"; Christ has "passed through all heavens"; "heaven, even the heaven of heavens," a place evidently of inconceivable grandeur, for even that cannot contain the infinite presence of God. This idea of immense capacity is a real relief from some of the more popular conceptions of the future life, as that of a temple, etc. The population of this world is something tremendous. It has been yielding immense numbers to heaven in every age. Thus "a great multitude which no man can number," has been passing, and will pass, in ceaseless procession. And we cannot help wondering how they are all to be provided for!

II. Out of the idea of vastness arises that of an endless VARIETY. The variety existing in God's works here is one of the principal charms of the natural world. So as there are "many mansions," the adorning of them will be very various. One will not be as another. We do not go to heaven to lose our natural tastes, our sinless preferences, but rather to have all these gratified in a far higher degree. Otherwise heaven would be plainer, poorer, and less interesting than earth. And unless our own nature were pressed down into some kind of mechanical exactness and shape, weariness would ensue. There would be a sighing for the lost seasons of the earth, its withered flowers, its light and shade, its many countries, and its encircling seas. But no! There will be places, pursuits, and enjoyments for all.

III. Then, lest this vastness and variety should seem too large to our thought, we have also in these words a sweet assurance as to the HOMELINESS of heaven.

IV. REALITY. ''If it were not so, I would have told you." This life in itself is shadowy enough. We speak of "long days," and of "long years." But when the awakened immortal soul looks at those spaces of time in the light of its own eternity, how short and shadowy they seem I In those times we feel that everything depends on the reality and permanence of the future life! No man who has not long been untrue to himself and to his God can be pleased with the thought of annihilation. But who can tell him firmly where lies the realm of life, or whether anywhere? He asks philosophy, and she answers, "I see something like it, but I cannot surely tell. It may be land or it may be cloud." He asks his own reason, and the instincts of his heart, and they answer "yes" today and "no" tomorrow, according to the mood, and the aspects of outward life. Then, turning to Jesus Christ, he asks by his sorrow, by his hopes, by all the struggling instincts that will not die, by that upward look in which the soul is "seeking a city with foundations," whether such a city is builded — whether such a life is secure. And the answer is here. Conclusion: The love of heaven has been derided by some as a selfish passion. No doubt heaven may be represented and desired by the mind as a place of escape from conflict, of mere ignoble rest. But if we take it just as it is projected to our view in the Scriptures — in its relations to earthly labour, and suffering, and desire; and as the place where our higher toils and nobler enjoyments shall begin: — then the desire of heaven is the noblest and purest passion we cherish.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Sorrow needs simple words for its consolation; and simple words are the best clothing for the largest truths. Note in these words —

I. THE "FATHER'S HOUSE," AND ITS AMPLE ROOM. There is only one other occasion in which our Lord used this expression: "Make not My Father's house a house of merchandise." Its courts, its many chambers, its ample porches, with room for thronging worshippers, represented in some poor way the wide sweep and space of that higher house.

1. How sweet and familiar this conception of heaven!(1) There is something awful, even to the best souls, in the thought even of the glories beyond. But how it is all softened when we say, "My Father's house." Most of us have left behind us the sweet security which used to be ours when we lived as children in a father's house here. But we may all look forward to the renewal, in far nobler form, of these early days, where the shyest and timidest child shall feel at ease and secure.(2) And consider how this conception suggests answers to so many of our questions about the relationship of the inmates to one another. Are they to dwell isolated in their several mansions? Surely if He be the Father, and Heaven be His house, the relation of the redeemed to one another must have in it more than all the sweet familiarity and unrestrained frankness which subsists in the families of earth.(3) But, further, this great and tender name has its deepest meaning in a spiritual state of which the essential elements are the loving manifestation of God as Father, the perfect consciousness of sonship, the happy union of all the children in one great family, and the derivation of all their blessedness from their elder Brother.

2. The ample room in this great house.(1) There was room where Christ went for eleven poor men. But Christ's prescient eye looked down the ages, and some glow of satisfaction flitted across His sorrow as He saw from afar the result of the impending travail of His soul in the multitudes by whom God's heavenly house should yet be filled. Perhaps that upper room, like the most of the roof chambers in Jewish houses, was open to the skies, and whilst He spoke the innumerable lights that blaze in that clear heaven shone down upon them, and He may have pointed to these as He spoke. Ah! brethren, if we could only widen our measurement of the walls of the New Jerusalem to that of the "golden rod which the man, that is, the angel" applied to it, we should understand how much bigger it is than any of these poor communities on earth. If we would lay to heart, as we ought to do, the deep meaning of that indefinite "many" in my text it would rebuke our narrowness.(2) That one word may also be used to heighten our own confidence as to our own poor selves. A chamber in the great temple waits for each of us, and the question is, Shall we occupy it or shall we not? The old rabbis said that, however many the throngs of worshippers who came up to Jerusalem at the Passover, the streets and the courts were never crowded. And so it is with that great city. There are throngs, but no crowds. Each finds a place in the ample sweep of the Father's house, like some of the great palaces that barbaric Eastern kings used to build, in whose courts armies might encamp, and the chambers of which were counted by the thousand.(3) There is only another occasion in this Gospel in which the word here translated "mansions" is employed — "We will come and make our abode with Him." Our mansion is in God; God's dwelling place is in us. When prodigal children go away from the father's house sometimes a heartbroken parent will keep the boy's room just as it used to be when he was young and pure, and will hope and weary through long days for him to come back and occupy it again. God is keeping a room for you in His house; do you see that you fill it.

II. THE SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST'S REVELATION FOR OUR NEEDS. "If it were not so, I would have told you."

1. He sets Himself forward in very august fashion as being the Revealer and the Opener of that house for us. There is a singular tone about all our Lord's few references to the future — a tone of decisiveness. He stands like one on a mountain top, looking down into the valleys beyond, and telling His comrades in the plain behind Him what He sees. He speaks of that unseen world always as one who had been in it, and who was reporting experiences, and not giving forth opinions. Very remarkable, therefore, is it that with this tone there should be such reticence in Christ's references to the future. But my text suggests to us that we have got as much as we need, and, for the rest, if we needed to have heard it, He would have told us. Let the gaps remain. The gaps are part of the revelation, and we know enough for faith and hope.

2. May we not widen the application of that thought to other matters? In times like the present, of doubt and unrest, it is a great piece of Christian wisdom to recognize the limitations of our knowledge and the sufficiency of the fragments that we have. What do we get a revelation for? To solve theological puzzles and dogmatic difficulties; to inflate us with the pride of quasi-omniscience: or to present to us God in Christ for faith, for love, for obedience, for imitation? Surely the latter, and for such purposes we have enough.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. HEAVEN IS GOD'S HOUSE.

1. God is infinite (Psalm 147:5).

2. Therefore, not comprehended, or included anywhere (Isaiah 66:1).

3. But is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7).

4. But yet in some places unveils Himself, and discovers His glory more than in others.

5. Where God is pleased to reveal Himself most, is called His house. He has a two-fold house.(1) A house of grace.

(a)The Church in general (Mark 3:35).

(b)A believer's heart in particular (Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 3:20).(2) A house of glory, where He manifests most clearly the glory (1 Corinthians 13:12) of His power, goodness, mercy, wisdom.

6. Hence, observe that they who come to heaven —(1) Dwell with God, and so with the fountain of light (Psalm 104:2): life (Psalm 36:9), love, joy (Psalm 16:11).(2) And so are secure from enemies.(3) And enjoy true happiness (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 17:15).

II. IT IS CHRIST'S FATHER'S HOUSE. And this adds great comfort; for —

1. We may be sure of entertainment, though not for our own, yet for Christ's sake.

2. We shall dwell with Christ (ver. 3).

3. In Christ: it is our Father's house too (chap. John 20:17).

III. THESE MANSIONS ARE CONVENIENT AND SUITABLE —

1. For our natures and capacities (2 Peter 1:4).

2. For our wants and necessities: being —(1) Void of all troubles —(a) Spiritual: as of the sense of God's displeasure (Ezekiel 16:42); doubts about our estate; Satan's temptations (1 Peter 5:8); the delusions of this world; our own corruptions (Ephesians 5:27; Hebrews 4:10).(b) Temporal (Revelation 7:17); for here is no want in our estates (Psalm 34:9; Psalm 84:11), no crosses in our enjoyments, no disgrace upon our names (Psalm 119:39), no sickness in our bodies (Mark 12:25), no cares in our minds (Matthew 13:22; Philippians 4:6), no death (Revelation 21:4).

2. Furnished with all delightsome furniture.(1) For our souls.

(a)Our understandings.

(b)Our wills and affections (Psalm 16:11).(2) For our bodies (Philippians 3:21), robes (Revelation 6:11), crowns (James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8), thrones (Luke 22:30), banquets (Isaiah 25:6; Romans 14:17; Revelation 7:17), the most pleasing objects (1 Corinthians 13:12), the most celestial melodies (Revelation 4:8-11).

3. They are everlasting (Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

IV. IN HEAVEN THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS.

1. What is the purport of this expression? Not distinct cells, but —(1) That there is room enough for many.(2) That many shall be saved (Revelation 7:9; James 2:5); but not irrespectively (1 Corinthians 1:26-28).

2. Whether in these mansions will there be degrees of glory?(1) Negatively. All shall be alike in respect of —

(a)Their freedom from evil (Revelation 21:4).

(b)God's love.

(c)Duration.

(d)Their capacities, i.e., everyone shall enjoy as much as he is capable of (Psalm 16:11).(2) Positively. One will be more capable, and so enjoy more than another. This appears —

(a)From Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:41, 42; Matthew 19:28).

(b)There are degrees of torments in hell (Luke 12:47, 48; Matthew 11:21, 22; Romans 2:9).

(c)There are degrees of angelical glory (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 1:9).

(d)There are degrees of grace and good works here (Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Luke 19:16-18).

3. There are many mansions. Then —(1) Despair not of room for you there.(2) Labour to have one of them. There are degrees in glory — then strive to be eminent in grace that you may be eminent in glory (Matthew 15:28).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

The text is suggested of —

I. PERMANENCE.

1. "All things change, and we with them." The earth and sun and stars are moving from their old forms into new, but their slow, stern cycles seem to us changeless when we think of ourselves. Let anyone who has advanced but a short way in life look round. Old times are away, old interests, old aims: the haunts, the friends, the faces of our youth, where are they? Gone, or so changed that we dare not think to recall them. And we are changing within. If we could keep up the life and freshness there it would be less sad. There is compensation for this, if we will seek it. If we have a home in God through Christ, it brings in something better than youthful brightness. But here, too, there is frequently change. The anchor of our hope seems to lose its hold, our sense of pardon and peace may be broken, and the face of God, if seen at all, may look dim and distant.

2. It is from such changes that the promise of Christ carries us to a fixed place of abode. The permanence of the dwelling shall ensure permanence in all that belongs to the dwellers in it. There must be, indeed, the change of progress: it is the permanence not of death but of life; and so the changes of decay, of loss, of bereavement, of the unretiring past, these are gone with the last great change, which ends the perishing and opens the eternal. There shall be no wavering of faith, no waning of hope, no chill of love. Here, change at every step leaves some lost good behind it; there change shall take all its good things forward into fuller possession, and thus become a growing performance. The way to be sure of a permanent home is to keep fast hold of Him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

II. EXTENT. Our present life is related to it as that of childhood to manhood. Let us think of the dwelling of the child, where it looks from its little window on the few houses or fields which make up its world, and then let us compare it with what the man knows of his present world residence, when he has surveyed with his eye or his mind the breadth of the earth with its oceans and lands that stretch over continents by Alps and Andes. There enter at the wicket gate Christiana and also the children, many Ready-to-halts and Feeble-minds, and far-off pilgrims, for whom we can find no names, but who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Infants are carried through the door sleeping; and it is not for us to say by what far-off rays in dark nights, by what doubtful paths amid many imperfections, hearts have been yearning to this home. The notices of Rahab and Ruth, of Ittai and Naaman, of the wise men of the East, and the Greeks who came up to the Passover, of the Ethiopian eunuch and the devout Cornelius, are hints for the enlargement of our hopes about many who had the same yearning in their hearts, though they did not see the walls of any earthly Jerusalem. And, if we believe the Bible, there are long eras to run, when the flow shall be toward God more than it ever has been away from Him. And then there is to be a gathering together of all things in Christ, and the holy angels have relations to Him which will give them their share in His home. When we think of this, how the extent of the heavenly world grows I and the discoveries of science may help us to extend our hopes.

III. VARIETY. In all God's works the many means the manifold.

IV. UNITY. These abodes of the future, manifold as they are, have walls around, and an over-arching roof, which make them one house, and that house a home. The chambers of a house have their communication with one another, and the heavenly world, wide as it is, shall have a unity of fellowship. In the present world the children of God are far apart, separated by the emergencies of life, by death, by misunderstandings and prejudices, by chills of heart and jealousies; and they rear their many little mansions, forgetful of the one house. The word of the Saviour promises a reversal of this long, sad history. Conclusion:

1. Something is needed to secure all this, and our Lord teaches us to carry to the thought of heaven a filial heart. It is "the Father's" house. This is needed to make it a home in any sense; needed to give the heart rest either on earth or in heaven. Men who inquire into the facts and laws of the world, and find no God in it, have made themselves homeless. Men who have found human affection, but no God beneath it, have found only the shadow of a home. It is to teach us this that God has made a father's love the bond of a true human household. If it were possible to enter heaven and find no Father there, heaven would be the grave of hope.

2. Our Lord has taught us to connect heaven with the thought of Himself — "My" Father's house. Heaven is the house of Christ's Father.(1) It is as when a palace has been raised with all its rooms and their furniture complete, but it is dark or dimly seen by lights carried from place to place. The sun arises, and by the central dome the light is poured into all the corridors and chambers, and by the windows there are prospects over hill and valley and river. Christ is the sun of this house.(2) If we think of its mansions, and wonder where the final resting place shall be, it is where Christ takes up His dwelling, "that they may be with Me where I am."(3) If we think of its extent and variety, our imagination might be bewildered, and our soul chilled by boundless fields of knowledge, which stir the intellect and famish the heart; but where He is, knowledge becomes the wisdom of love — the daylight softened; and a heart beats in the universe which throbs to its remotest and minutest fibre; for "in Him is life, and the life is the light of men."(4) If we think of heaven in its unity of fellowship, it is in Him that it is maintained and felt. "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me," etc.(5) And if we think of a Father in heaven, it is Christ who has revealed Him. "No man hath seen God at any time," etc.(6) But beyond all this, it is Christ's Father's house because He alone is the way and the door to it.

(J. Ker, D. D.)

I. A DESCRIPTION OF HEAVEN.

1. A house, not a tent, put up today, and taken down to morrow; but the home we come to at the end of all our travels; fitted up for rest, security and enjoyment.

2. God's own house. Not merely the place where His people are to dwell, but the place where He Himself dwells, and enjoys His unutterable happiness and rest. It is not simply, "the kingdom" — it is "the palace of the great King." What, therefore, we may ask, may we not expect in heaven? We do not go there as strangers or foreigners; we go to the richest house in the universe as the children of the owner of it. The very best things it can afford will be ours. The astonished prodigal had the best provisions, and the best robe, brought forth for him, when he got home.

3. A house with "many mansions" in it, large, spacious, having many rooms, fitted up for the reception of many guests.

II. AN ASSURANCE OF ITS TRUTH.

1. Here is greatness. He speaks of heaven as none other: like One who had been familiar with it.

2. Here, too, is His love; "If it were not so, He would have told them." They had left all to follow Him, with some earthly expectations, perhaps, but yet chiefly in the expectation of a future recompense.

III. THE END OF OUR LORD'S DEPARTURE TO THE HEAVEN HE HAS BEEN DESCRIBING. And here is love again. Had we been asked what He was going to heaven for, we should have said — To get away from this evil world; to enter into His joy, etc. But He says, No; "I go there to prepare a place for you." He left His Father's house for us; He now returns to it for us. By this we must understand, not His creating heaven for us, or enlarging or adorning it, but removing out of the way all things which would prevent our entering into it. He goes there to prove our title to it; to show, in His wounded hands and pierced side, that He has paid for us its stipulated price. He goes to claim it on our behalf; to take possession of it in our name and stead. Hence He is said to have entered it as our Forerunner.

IV. THE WAY IN WHICH CHRIST WILL PUT US IN POSSESSION OF THE HEAVEN HE HAS PREPARED FOR US. "He will send death to us," you may say, "to summon us to His kingdom." No: "I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." It does not satisfy Him to snatch us from destruction, to open heaven for us, to bring us into the way to it, to make us meet for it; He will come Himself, and take us to it. And when we are there, He will not say — "There is the door of My Father's house open for you; you may now enter in;" He will not leave angels to welcome us, or our holy ministers and friends, who have gone before, to receive us; He Himself will come like a parent to his door to receive there his long expected and beloved child. He seems to regard this as the very summit of the heavenly happiness. And so every real believer feels that nothing higher can be promised him, than that he should "be ever with his Lord."

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

It is impossible wholly to estimate the value of the gospel. It is not only that it brings the knowledge of salvation to us; but it makes revelations that no other book on earth ever made with reference to a future state of existence.

I. You find in the text, then, first, the idea of COMFORT. You will remark that it was Christ's intention, by this description of heaven, to administer comfort to the disciples. Then mark the consolations of religion, and the consolatory hope of heaven, belong to a certain class — to those that believe in God and believe also in Christ. But now, what is the comfort that the idea of a father's house, or home, conveys to the mind? First of all, Christ speaks of His Father's house, and therefore we call it our Father's house — just because he says, "My Father and your Father, my God and your God." Of all the ideas of comfort that we can form, "home" conveys the sweetest.

1. Now the first thing that strikes us here is a wonder certainly — but it is the truth — that we shall feel perfectly at home in our Father's house. When we think of our own weakness and sinfulness here, and then think of the glory of God, the glory of Christ, the glory of angels, and the glory of the spirits of just men made perfect, it requires no slight effort of mind to fancy that we shall be at home there: but we shall.

2. To constitute a home there must be familiarity and confidence. We can talk with the folks at home with a confidence that we cannot use towards strangers. Now imagine yourself in familiar conversation, in love, with patriarchs, and with prophets, and with Christ Himself — for He will be there. It requires an elevation of faith and confidence, and spirituality of mind.

3. But, of course, this supposes another thing with regard to home — that it is all love there. Here we are strangers — it may be, perhaps, surrounded by enemies; there all is love. Evil tempers, crabbed dispositions, restless fretfulness, that even some good men manifest, will not be there. There will be perfect love; and everyone will wear a cheerful countenance; and it will be a glorious home. Well, that is what you are to think about; that is what it will be. Don't let your hearts be troubled. If troubles come, think of your home, as a stranger does who has long journeyed, and not had a very comfortable berth to rest in at night.

II. In the second place, we have the idea of PERMANENCE. There is a permanence about heaven that we can well understand, if we cannot fully comprehend.

1. The first thing is this, that when we get there nobody can turn us out again.

2. Then you will further observe, that as to this permanence, there will be ample sources of joy for us throughout eternity.

III. The third idea in our text is PREPARATION. Observe it is prepared for us, and the preparation is made by Christ Himself. And you will notice that preparation made for us testifies to the kindness and love of Him who prepares it.

1. Now whilst this shows the love of Christ to His people, the simple fact of His going to prepare a place for us you see involves too His knowledge of our love to Him. It is really as though He had said, "Heaven won't be a complete home to Me till you are there, and I am sure it will not be to you till I am there; we must be together."

2. But, moreover, this preparation shows the adaptation of our present state to that home that He is gone to prepare for us. "He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who bath also given us the earnest of the Spirit."

IV. But in the next place we have the idea of RECEPTION. "I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also." You immediately catch the idea of home here. The reception one will meet with from wife and children is one of the delightful anticipations of returning home. The moment the spirit is out of the body the first object on which it will fix its sight is Christ, with smiles on His face and glory on His brow. For, mark you, Christ would not trust the safety of one of His redeemed spirits in the hands of all the angels of heaven. He will be there Himself to take care of it. We do not know what death is: He does. Observe, there is a two-fold reception which Christ will give us — first, that which we may call our personal reception in heaven; and next that public, glorious reception that He will give us at the last great day, when He shall come a second time without sin unto salvation.

V. Now, in the last place, here is CERTAINTY. "If it were not so, I would have told you."

1. Christ is already there in possession.

2. Next, Christ says He would have told us if there had been no heaven. Further, our hopes of heaven should guard us against two evils that we are subject to. The first is that which Christ has set before you. Don't be unduly troubled about earthly things. Then, on the other hand, do not be too delighted with earthly things.

(J. Carter.)

Someone asked a Scotchman if he was on his way to heaven. "Why, man," he said, "I live there." He was only a pilgrim here. Heaven was his home.

(D. L. Moody.)

Death came unexpectedly to a man of wealth, as it almost always does; and he sent out for his lawyer to draw his will. He went on willing away his property; and when he came to his wife and child, he said he wanted his wife and child to have the home. The little child didn't understand what death was. She was standing near, and she said, "Papa, have you got a home in that land you are going to?" The arrow reached that heart; but it was too late. He saw his mistake. He had got no home beyond the grave.

"Home" — oh, how sweet is that word! What beautiful and tender associations cluster thick around it! Compared with it, house, mansion, palace, are cold, heartless terms. But "home!" that word quickens the pulse, warms the heart, stirs the soul to its depths, makes age feel young again, rouses apathy into energy, sustains the sailor in his midnight watch, inspires the soldier with courage on the field of battle, and imparts patient endurance to the worn-down sons of toil. The thought of it has proved a sevenfold shield to virtue: the very name of it has been a spell to call back the wanderer from the paths of vice. And far away, where myrtles bloom and palm trees wave, and the ocean sleeps upon coral strands, to the exile's fond fancy it clothes the naked rock, or stormy shore, or barren moor, or wild highland mountain, with charms he weeps to think of, and longs once more to see. Grace sanctifies these lovely affections, and imparts a sacredness to the homes of earth by making them types of heaven. As a home the believer delights to think of it. Thus, when lately bending over a dying saint, and expressing our sorrow to see him lay so low, with the radiant countenance rather of one who had just left heaven than of one about to enter it, he raised and clasped his hands, and exclaimed in ecstasy, "I am going home."

(T. Guthrie.)

In our last dreadful war the Federals and the Confederates were encamped on opposite sides of the Rappahannock, and one morning the brass band of the Northern troops played the national air, and all the Northern troops cheered and cheered. Then, on the opposite side of the Rappahannock, the brass band of the Confederates played "My Maryland" and "Dixie," and then all the Southern troops cheered and cheered. But after a while one of the bands struck up "Home, Sweet Home," and the band on the opposite side of the river took up the strain, and when the tune was done the Confederates and the Federals all together united, as the tears rolled down their cheeks, in one great "Huzza! huzza!" Well, my friends, heaven comes very near today. It is only a stream that divides us — the narrow stream of death; and the voices there and the voices here seem to commingle, and we join trumpets and hosannahs and hallelujahs, and the chorus of the united song of earth and heaven is, "Home, Sweet Home."

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

Mr. Mead, an aged Christian, when asked how he did, answered, "I am going home as fast as I can, as every honest man ought to do when his day's work is over, and I bless God I have a good home to go to."

It was stormy from shore to shore, without a single fair day. But the place to which we were going was my home; there was my family; there was my church; there were my friends, who were as dear to me as my own life. And I lay perfectly happy in the midst of sickness and nausea. All that the boat could do to me could not keep down the exultation and joy which rose up in me. For every single hour was carrying me nearer and nearer to the spot where was all that I loved in the world. It was deep, dark midnight when we ran into Halifax. I could see nothing. Yet the moment we came into still water I rose from my berth and got up on deck. And as I sat near the smoke stack while they were unloading the cargo, upon the wharf I saw the shadow of a person, apparently, going backward and forward near me. At last the thought occurred to me, "Am I watched?" Just then the person addressed me, saying, "Is this Mr. Beecher?" "It is," I replied. "I have a telegram for you from your wife." I had not realized that I had struck the continent where my family were. There, in the middle of the night, and in darkness, the intelligence that I had a telegram from home — I cannot tell you what a thrill it sent through me! We are all sailing home; and by and by, when we are not thinking of it, some shadowy thing (men call it death), at midnight, will pass by, and will call us by name, and will say, "I have a message for you from home; God waits for you." Are they worthy of anything but pity who are not able to bear the hardships of the voyage? It will not be long before you, and I, and every one of us will hear the messenger sent to bring us back to heaven. It is pleasant to me to think that we are wanted there. I am thankful to think that God loves in such a way that He yearns for me — yes, a great deal more than I do for Him.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Why do we not go home? Why are we like a silly child, that when his father sends him forth, and bids him hie him home again, every flower that he meets with in the field, every sign he sees in the street, every companion that meets him in the way, stops him, and hinders him from repairing to his father? So it is with us for the most part: every trifle, every profit, every bauble, every matter of pleasure, every delight, is enough to divert and turn aside our thoughts from death, from home, from heaven, from our God; and we are taken up and lose ourselves, I know not where.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

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