From “Many Mansions” (1737)
There is room in this house of God for great numbers. There is room for a vast multitude, yes, room enough for all mankind that are or ever shall be: “Lord it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room” (Luke 14:22). … Houses of public worship in this world fill up and become too small and scanty for those that would meet in them, so that there is not convenient room for all. There is room enough in our Heavenly Father’s house. This is partly what Christ intended in the words of the text, as is evident from the occasion of his speaking them. The disciples manifested a great desire to be where Christ was, and Christ therefore, to encourage them that it should be as they desired, tells them that in his Father’s house where he was going were many mansions, i.e., room enough for them.
There is mercy enough in God to admit an innumerable multitude… There is mercy enough for all, and there is merit enough in Christ to purchase divine happiness for millions of millions, for all men that ever were, are or shall be. And there is a sufficiency in the fountain of God’s happiness to supply and fill and satisfy all: and there is in all respects enough for the happiness of all.
There are sufficient and suitable accommodations for all the different sorts of persons that are in the world: for great and small, for high and low, rich and poor, wise and unwise, bond and free, persons of all nations and all conditions and circumstances, for those that have been great sinners as well as for moral livers; for weak saints and those that are babes in Christ as well as for those that are stronger and more grown in grace. From God, there is a sufficiency for the happiness of every sort; there is a convenient accommodation for every creature that will hearken to the calls of the Gospel. None that will come to Christ, let his condition be what it will, need to fear but that Christ will provide a place suitable for him…
This seems to be another thing implied in Christ’s words. The disciples were persons of very different condition from Christ. He was their master, and there were his disciples; he was their Lord, and there were the servants; he was their guide, and they were the followers; he was their captain, and they the soldiers; he was the shepherd, and they the sheep; [he was, as it were, the] Father, [and they the] children; he was the glorious, holy Son of God, they were the poor, sinful, corrupt men. But yet, though they were in such different circumstances from him, yet Christ encourages them that there shall not only be room for him, but for them too; for there were many mansions there. There was not only a mansion to accommodate the Lord, but the disciples also; not only the head, but the members; not only the Son of God, but those that are naturally poor, sinful, corrupt men: as in a king’s palace there is not only a mansion or room of state built for the king himself and for his eldest son and heir, but there are many rooms, mansions for all his numerous household, children, attendants and servants.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a Congregationalist minister and theologian, whose powerful sermons helped to spark the Great Awakening. He preached the sermon “Many Mansions” while serving as parish minister at Northampton, Massachusetts, on the first Sunday the congregation worshipped in its new meetinghouse, which needed rebuilding because the revival sparked by his preaching had resulted in so many converts.