Cotton Mather.

The comfortable chambers, opened and visited : upon the departure of that aged and faithful servant of God, Mr. Peter Thatcher [i.e., Thacher], the never to be forgotten pastor of Milton, who made his flight thither, on December 17. 1727 online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryCotton MatherThe comfortable chambers, opened and visited : upon the departure of that aged and faithful servant of God, Mr. Peter Thatcher [i.e., Thacher], the never to be forgotten pastor of Milton, who made his flight thither, on December 17. 1727 → online text (page 1 of 3)
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The original of this book is in
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Mr. Peter T^jatcher^

The Never to be foYgotten Paftor of

M I L -f K

"Who EhS<Je Ut FIfgirt fhkhef>
cA DtcfiMBiR 17. 1727.


[The laft Sermon the Author ever deliver ed.^

Cant. L 4.
He has hrought me into His CHAMBERS.


Re-prmted by THOMAS FLEET, jun. Cornhat



A Number of the Inhabit ants of the
Town of Milton, ivtjhed to fee the
funeral Dfcourjes on their two former
'Pajlors reprinted ; after careful inquiry,
that ofthefirft could be only obtained,
'which is here inferted, the pointing, f pelt-
ing, ^c. arc the fame.

( 3 )

■ II m i l —l ) ll l l »l « Illl IW»»IIW»»»»WIP»l»llll»WWPIWMIIMM»w«iMaa|MM||MWMIIi

The Chambers of GOD

Opened and Vifited,
On the Death of the Valuable

Mr. Peter Thatcher,

Boston, 24th d, X m. 1727.

Isaiah xxvi. 20.
' Come, my People, Enter thou into thy Chambers.

X. HE Entrance of an Hoary Head, found in
the way of Righteoufnefs into thofe Chambers a few
5ays ago, is that which has winged my thoughts
for flying -thither after him. Every one perhaps is
not aware, that an invitation to dye readily, and
chearfully, is here g^iven to the people of GOD.
Perhaps, if it be fo imderftood, it may feem an in-
■yiiation too full of horrOr, to be readily and chear-
fully complied v/ithal. But, I \v&.\z antiquity- ytxj
much on my fide, if I fo underftand the text I am
now to infill upon. The ancients, and very parti-
cularly Tertullian, take our Chambers here, to be the
Receptacles of the Dead. And the words of the
context jufl: going before, direflly lead us to fuch ;in
expofition. In thefe words, there is promifed, a
RefurreSlion of the Bead. The deceafed children
of GOD, are by our SAVIOUR here with an amaz-
ifig tend,ernefs, cap-led, his Dead Body. He who
is their head, riling from the dead affure^ them,
that a dew from Heaven fnall fall upon them alfo,
Uom the efficacy whereof; the earth pall caft out


WVu^ .-*. - .- -. - - -.*.^-' - «-;= — '■ir—^i^-"i

4 The Chambers 0/ GOD,

the dead. Well ; But before and until this grand
revolution, what is to intervene ? One thing to in-
tervene, is ; A treijjen4oH§ day of indication on the
world. This indignation is to be interpreted, as
meaning the long reign of ^ttichrijl, and the vials
of the divine wrath to be at length poured out on
the antickrijtian empire. This is a very old, and.
and a very jufl: interpretation. But then, another
thing to intervene, is, A retirement of good men,
unto the chjuihcrs, in which they fliall be fheltered
from a ftiarp in this indignation. And where are the
chambers of the dead ? By death it is, that the
people of God enter into their chambers. In dy-
ing they Jhut their doors about them. When they
arc dead, they are hid until the indignation be over-
paft : And all the time, until there comes the time
0/ the dead, for them to have their full reward given
unto them, will be but as a little moment unto them.
The terms here ufcJ on this occafion, are fuch af^ive
ones, as to intimate how willing the people of ' God
fliould be, to comply vvith fuch a difpenfation. It
ilaould be willingly complied withal, as if they were
themfelves to do what mortality is to do upon them.
They are to enter the Chambers ; not be drag'd and
forc'd into them. They are to go as willingly as if
they were themfelves to ^ut the doors about them
with their own hands ; as if they were to hide them-
Jelves, by their own contrivance, and their own in-
fluftry. And my Doftrine fhall be this,

'XHE people of God, when they die, enter inte thofe
Chambers, the thoughts wher eof Jhould render their
death eafy to them.

Two things are now to be enquired.
Our firft enquiry fhall be,

WHAT are the Chambers which <ire entered hy the
filing people of Gfi4 ?


~ opened and Vijiud, i,

. Thf, Anfwer is ; tlie receptacles of the dedi, aretljiP
chambers, w.hich the people of God muft go into,
and fliould be willing to enter them.

Now, the anatomy of man divides him into two
parts ; body and Jfirit. How body and Jpirit are
united unto each other in man ; and how 'tis
that they affeEl each other, this is a myjiery which no
man has ever yet throughly fearch'd into. The mat-
•te'r of fa£f is evident, is notorious ; that hody and
fpirit conftitute one perfon in man j but how lo very
different fnhftances come to carry on the actions ojf
a man together ; 'tis as yet beyond the fearch and
reach of oux philofophy. That fuch different fubfian-
ces have fuch a mutual impreffim upon each oiher ;
the beft philofophers afcrjbe it unto an unfcarcbabfe
operation of God. Such an union rt.ere is between
body a.nd fpirit in the nature of «w», that neither of
thefe alone is the The promifes made in the
Covenant of God, unto man, require this union, to be
rellor'd, when once mortality has broken it- The
per/ah of the believpr js not blefed if both his body
and fpirit be not united in the bleflednefs. But this
union is dilTolved in our death. Our body and fpirit
upon the diflblution made of the unionhttw ten them,
when we dye, continue in a ftate oifeparation till the
refiirreclion of tloe dead. When wc dye, we .read,
Eccl. xii. 7. Then ft) all the dufi return Jd the earth
as it ivas, and the fpirit fl}aU return unto God who
gasie it. The body and fpirit are now lodged in
t wo veiy different receptacles. We have two forts of
iChambers, provided for us; xy,o -pls^ccs of reception.

First. The people of God, when they dye, have
their bodies lodged in the Qoambers of the grave.
Thefe are thofc which are called, Prov. vii. 27. ^he
Chambers of death. We read of, an boufe appointed
far all the living. The grave is that houfe^ and in it,
are chambers for all }be living. Our hH^s muft be

, Icdg'd

5 f1t>e Chambers of GOD,

lodg'd in (\ihx.cnntou&^bambers. Our coffins art
-caHed, our beds, i Sam. iii, 31.— We know what
kind of chambers there are-rbr thefe beds, chambers
which are cellars -, chambers which are under ground ;
chambers which are the Iffwer parts of the earth.
Dark and cold chambers; (tho' not felt fo !) and
where the fun fhines nor. The pits of corruption
are the chambers. Thefe chambers are to be the Jle^p-
ing places, for our forfaken and confuming bodies,
until the voice of the laji trumpet Ihall awaken them ;
until the quickning voice of, arife ye dead, IhaU
from the mouth of an AJmighty Redeemer peiiietrate
into them. /

Secondly ; The people of God, when they dye,
have x.\\t\T fpirits lodged in the chambers of a para-
dife. Our Saviour told his difciples ; Joh. xiv. 2.
In my fathers houfe are many manfions ; I go to pre-
pare a place for you. The heavenly world is our
fathers houfe. In that heavenly world there are man-
^K/ peculiarly affigned for the departed yyp/n/j of the
faithful. Yea, it looks as if there were diftindl man-
fions for the faithful, according to the fcveral dif|)en-
faiions which they have been under. There is a
place prepared for every order of the faints, accord-
ing to the diftribution that God fliall pleafe to make
of them. Thefe manftons are called, the paradife of
God. And the manfions are to the third Heaven, or
that vioji holy place, whither our High-Priejl is afcend-.
ed, as courts of the temple were to the Holy of Holies.
The commendation given to the courts of the Lord in
our book of Pfalms, are to be ultimately expounded
of thefe blefled manfions. The Fathers call'd them.
Atria Domini. Here are the chambers, to which the
fpirits that have holy difpofilions purifying and quali-
fying of them, are taken up. When we read, Pfal.
cxlix. 5. Let the faints be joyful in glory ; let then*
fng aloud upon their beds : Thofe beds, were in the
primitive times, taken to be, the manfions, in which


opened and VifiteL , ^

the departed yjJmVj of the faints are feafted of God ?
The manfions of the ■paradife where Lazarus lies dowrt,
at the fame feaft with Abraham. From the age of
jEzra, the term oi Paradife became ufual in the church
of Ifrael, to fignify, the felicity of departed fpirits.'
The form of comprecation and benedidlion for a dy-
ing Ifraelite, was. May his foul be in the, garden of
Eden ! And the Jews have a faying. That none have
a right for to enter paradife, but the juji ; the fouls of
ivhonf are carried thither by Angels. In the deleiaable"
chambers of this paradife . the fpirits which live unto
God, have fuch vifibns of God,- and their Saviour, as
far tranfcend all that was attainable here below. In
thefe chambers indeed, they keep wifhing for the
arrival of the time, when GOD Jhall call, and they
ihall anfwer him, and God fhall have a defire to fee,
Rebuilt that work of his hands, which now lies demol-
ifhed in the duft. They cry, How long, O Lord,
holy and true! But yet without ariy fmfu I impa-
tience ; xhty wait all the days of their appointed time,
until the defired change do come. In the meantime,
we may fay, Thefe are the holy chambers, where the
priefts that approach unto the Lord, fhall eat the mojl^
holy things^

Ou& fecond enquiry fhall be,

WHAT there is in the Chambers, whereto the people '
ef God retire when they die, to render their death eafy
io them.

f> The anfwer will be Various and glorious.

First, Our bodies lodg'd in the chambers of tht
grave, have thofe things done for them, wherein they
receive the kindnefs of God. A kindnefs which de-
ferves to be yet a little more particularly fpol^n to.
It is comprized in that pafiage; Pfal. i6. sN-iV//
^p fhall reft in hope, J^wft, owr bodies have ar reft.-

.. ' But

f n-e CBcmhrs of OOtf,

BoC then they have an hope alfo to fweeten it. Firif,
there is a reft granted unto cxir bodies, when they come
xofteep in the chambers of the grave. Of the righ-
teous, that have their bodfes mid in the gfaWf Wd
read, Ifai. Ivii. i, 2. The righteous is taken away r^
they fljall reft in their beds. Our bodies in this life
ate obnoxious to many mifcries, which are the fruit*
of the cnrje, broii^t upon us by our fall from God :"
Soch mifcries they often are, as make the fufferers
even weary of their life, and ready to cry out, / loathe
ft, 1 would not live ahisays : The burdens which they
ftrffcr rn their bodies make thenn wifh for death : They
hngfor it, when it "eometh not ,■ and they dig for it
mofe than for hid treafures. But now, the death of
our bodies ptits a period unto thofe miferable fuffer-
ings. Tis true, we do not fc wifeJy and juftly as
we ought to da, when we fpeak reproachfully of ouf
Mies, as if they were meer prifons to our fouls :
They are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and may
daim a good nfage with us. Thefe ternples are morff
vahiable thmgs than fo Tranj prifons : And they who
repair them under decays^ dcferve to be phyficians of
fome value with n's. Neverrhclefs our bodies labeui'
under fuch confinements, and are confined by fo many
and grievous necejilies,2is may much abate the dread
of the chambers, wherein we fhall be releafed from
them all* In thek chambers^ tht poor fwe no worfe
than the rich. All care for our bodies is over, whea,
they fleet in the duft. The diftempers of our bodies,.
which do chaften them with pain upon their beds 3
find the multitwie e^ their beK€s witbftreng pain ; Thefe
won't go with us into the chambers of the grave,
which they bring us doWn intd. The enemies which
-couM come to our bodies white aijo^« ground ; af-
ter they are got into the c/&s)W^^r/ of the grave, there
is m more that' they can do. Of thefe chambers we
have that agr«ea>fele account -gitem-to us ;' }dtr. iii.
» 7^ i *» ffi&f rp tkff wieked^ ceafe from Protiiiing j eml


bp€ned and Vifited: §

there the weary are at refl. fhere the frijonen reji
together s they hear not the "Voice of the opprejfor.-^
Yea, what is more confiderable than all of this ; the
leprofy of/?», got ii«o the walls of the clay-tabernacle
(even like that ixnimdlculated plague on the walliS!
of fome old Jewijh buildings ;) this will be got out;
by death taking down the walls of the tabernacle,
■ The chavibers of the grave. Will have fuch an pper-
Stion on our bodies, as to fetch but the feeds of fd
in them. O wretched ones that vi^e are ! Our body
bf death; we cannot be delivered from it, but hf
the death qf our body, jElias was a fnan that had his'
pajjtons : But he dropt all thofe pajftms when he dropt
his mehta ; thofe humbling things are ^\'hat God will
have to be buried in the grave of his childreii. — '
But ftill, the chambers of the grave, have this to ren^
der thtrti uncornf or table • the chambers have no pofi-
tive comforts in them. The comforts which once
i-efrcfh'd our bodies, are all taken aWay by our laft
enemy, when We ace held among his captives, in thefe
cjfverns of the earth. Wherefore there is this to be
jidded, for Ouil' fupport aind relief in Chefe loHcfome

, Secondly; 4n this reft, we have an hope, tha:t our
bodies will be with much advantage anon fetch'd out,
of the chambers. Our 'bodies will not always remain .
in the chambers of the defolate places, which are built
for uS, in the land of worms and moles and pifmires;
A Sa!vi6ur, and a griat one, who by his own rifing
froM the dead, Sufficiently invites us to, rely upon his
word ; he has,given his wofd for it ; Joh. v. 'i?,. The
■hour is coming, in the which, dllthat are in the graved
fljall hear his voice • andfh'all come forth. , We have
in our -bodies, a fecret, unffien; Original principle,
■which gives form unto them; ,. T\\\s principle as it is
©riginSHy, and perhaps immediately, created by God;
ta whaiEever changes come upon our, ^orf/fi/ this nev^'r

B li^

lO ,tl^e Chamlers of GOSy

is loft in the ruins. When God fhall fet this principU
to work again, our bodies will return to fo much of
their/omifr figu-re, as may be fit for the children of
the refurreSiion. Our Lord Redeemer will do thi«
•wonderful thing. We look for his defcent from the
Heavens for this purpofe ; Phil. iii. 21. fo change
our vile body, that it may be fajhioned like unto his
glorious body } according to the working whereby he is
able even to fubdue all things unto him/elf. But, oh !
what wondrous bodies, how wondroully mended, wjU
our bodies be, when they come forth out of their
chambers ! How free from all infirmities ! How free
from a\{ deformities ! How full of cseleftial_y^/(?«ior /
Of what amazing agility in their motions ! What
\\\\i^no\x% habitations of God ! They vent into the
chambers, how forlorn, how ghaflly, how putrefac-
tive! They come out of the chambers , what w^to
creatures ! Yea, equal to the Angels ! (Our Saviour
ufing tliis expreflion of the raifcd, feems to imply,
that the angels alfo have thtlr bodies. '\ The raifed
faints v/Wl be allbciates to the morning JiarSy to the
fons of God I

Thirdly. Ovr fpirits lodged in the chambers of
faradife ; Oh ! how great is the goodtitfs which they
will find, that God has there laid up for them that
fear him. Concerning one taken into paradife, we
are told, Luk. xvi. 25. He is comforted. Oh 1 The
inexpreffible confolations of thofe chambers, where
OMT fpirits vi'iW he fatisfied as with marrow and with-
fatnefs, in the night watcheSyHt the table of our God I
Great God ! Thy confolations cannot beff^all. Our Dr.
Goodwin when he lay a dying, fo exprefs'd that mat-
ter ; lam going to the three Perfons in the glorious God,
with wbo7n I have had communion. I Jhall be changed
in the twinkling of an eye. All my corruptions I fhall
be rid of, which here I could not be. Thofe croaking
feads will fall off in a moment. The firft and the


Opened and Vifited. ' i*

leaft thing to be affirmed concerning tht chamhers
oi parddife^ is ; that Qurfpirits will there be delivered
from the hand of all our enemies^ andfrorH the hand of
fin. Oarfpirits in thofe chambers wiiW enjoy a fweet
quiet repafe, Onr fouls v/Wl dwell at eafe, while our
heirs are dividing' amm^T themfelves the earth, which
we leave unto them. We leave all our forrows, all our
troubles below, when we go up to thofe chambers of
God. And very particularly, what is mod of all
Jorrowful and moll of all trouilefomeunto us, outfn :
That (hall never infeft us any more. Thofe lujisy
which are worfe than the frogs of Egypt, will never
•get into thofe defirable chambers. 'The chambers are
holy places, and our holinefs will thdre be improved
unto a marvellous elevation : The thing which we
long'd for, which we groan'd for, which has been
more valuable than all this world unto us, or than
a thoufand fuch worlds. The ordinances, and the
aijliiiions, which are employ'd upon us, in this pre-
fent time, are a furnace, whereof we may fay, our
iniquity is purged here, and the fruit is to take away
turftn. But ahefe are a dull and a '^o^^ furnace ,- the
near approach to God, ^\\\z\\o\x fpirits make, when
our blood ceafes to be any longer an element for them,
will be a quick, ftr&ng, fiery /or^A that will foon run
our drofs, and clcanfe owcfpirits from all their fin-
ful pollutioijs ; and we (hall be p'refeniedfauttlefs be-
fore God, with exceeding joy. The notes to be fung
by thofe Birds of Paradife, are thofe, Pfal. cxxiv, 7.
Our foul is efcapcd as q.bird out. of the fnare of the

W6 rnay go on to fay ; 'Tis indeed a IReft, which
the fpirits that once were affiiSied and toffed with
tempers, are now arrived unro. And yet the chief
fweet of the refl, is, that it is 'without rejl. It is a
■reji frorrt ir%fome and -vfxing things ; Not a reft .'rom
Jthtjoyfnlpraifes of God. The fpirits that j/?«p- ahud
Upon their beds, will have high praifes of GOD with


J 3 "rhe Gbambers xff GO^,

them. It will be with them according to th«ti
Rev. iv. 8. 'They reft not day and night, faying, holy^
holy, holy. Lord God Almighty. There are none idle in
thofe chambers. The Spirits of thepi who fleep in
Jcfus, are. not luU'd into a fleep of utter inaliivity
and injenfihility there. How the difengaged yj&mVj
of good men exert their operations, who can tell : Thi?
we know, our Apoftle Paul, was ahnong them caught
up to Paradife j and he allows, that it jnight be without
his body, yet he reports, he ]oeard unjpeakable words.
It is plain then, the/pirits in the chambers above, dp
hear ; and therefore they /peak ,• and therefore they
do other things. What, and -how, I muft fay as our
apoflle doe's, I cannot tell, God hioivs. But J ftlrongly
incline to think, that our God has annexed ynto our
Jpirit a fine fort of matter, of admirable qualities
and faculties, to be a vehicle, and as I may fay, a fort
of ^/>^fi&/Kd!/?^ unto it, and the /«y?rK»;f«^ by which it
perceives, and performs milch of what it isconcefn'd
withal. And as the feat of it is in our head, from
whence the whdle body is by its influences kept it)
motion, and kept from rottennejs ; thus the/pirit car-
Ties this matter away with it, at its departure, when
1*t can't continue comfortably in the body any longer,
iut whatyowfj in the night, will G^d our maker givtt
unto us ! , - ■

Yea ; Finally, 'Tis to be expe<9:ed, that in the
blifsful chambers, there is a vifton of a glorious Chrift,
whereof our Jpirit s will be made partakers. The
fweeteft thingin/)flr<Zi^j/^ .' A w^ok, that will bring
with it, the moft grateful knowledge that a foul can
feed upon ; the moft raifed gbodnejs that a foul can
foar unto -, the moft unutterable fatisfadlions ! Thus
we are taught, 2 Cor. v. 8. We ftiall be pre/eM
-izith the Lord, when abfent from the body. Oh !
what vifits does our Saviour make unto the fpirits
"which he has taken into his chambers, arrd under hi«
(^uftody I Thefe chambers are the everlaftiug bdbitationtf


opened and Vifitii. ij

'w\\\.c\i when v/^/aili we fhall be receh'd into. At
our death it is, that we fail. We are then turned
out of ixeu/e and homey for our de^t unto the juftice of
God. At the laji day we fliall he/et up again. - But
before that even when we dye, we are immediately
received into everlafiing habit at torn ^ We may be fure,
they are glorious habitations, and houfes full of goad
things. The peculiar prefencd qfour Saiiiour ^sasx&t
will tnake them fo. '


I. Mow patient fhould we be, when God calls
our friends, into the chambers, which he hfts ap-
pointed fof thern ! With what /)flif«V«^f ought we ttj
exprefs 2ifqcxificing difpolition ? Very powerful con-
fideratipns have ,we to ftop the flqftdd of our tears,
when our friends are call'd away to the (r/&fl»zi^d'rj of
their long home, Jind we rqiuft tjualk as mourners about
the Streets. Did we only confider o\xx friends as gone
down into the chambers of the grave, upon the order
of a God, who has appointed Unio wen once to. die, we
have this to filence our murmurings, 'tis tjie God of
tur Ufe, who has ordered it. O Lord, I am dumb,
I do not open niy moath^ becaufe thou, hafl ddne it I
Even thefe are chambers of protediqn too ; and whfen
they are put here to bed^ perhaps betimes, who can
tell, what evil they may be taken frofn ; what evil to-,
coine ! Nor is this all. For we are advifed ; J Thef.
iv. 13, 14, 18. Sorrow not as others that have 7id hope i -
^em that Jleep in Jefus will God baring with him.
■Gomfort one another, with thefe words. Biu we may
not itop here. We may confider onr friends are gotie
.up into the chambers, oi paradife. And oh ! : ilvhat is
done for them there ? To be there, is as One that
has b€?n there, has written of it ; Phil. iii. 23. 'Tis
to be wiib Chrijl, which is. far better than to live in thef.
jiejb, Tho' they hav'g nu yet all th* good, which thfey
;■" • * Jhall

X4- ^e Chambers of GOJ>,

fiall have ; yet. Oh ! 'Tis/ar belter with them, than
it was in this roaring wildeme/s ; a land of droughts
and pits, and fiery Jlyingferpents : And fo well with
them, that they call from their pleafant chambers unto
us ; As well as we loveyau, we wou'd not for all your
world return unto you ! So Luther, when his daughter
lay a dying, read unto her fome claufes in the XXVI.
Chapter oi Ifaiah ; and concluded. My daughter, enter
thou into thy chamber with pe^ce f it will net be hng
before I am with thee,

II. How willing ought we to be, that oyr Lord
fend for us, how, and when hepleafes ; ho^ willing-
ly ought we to go unto the chambers appointed for us ?
On our going down to the chambers oii\\t grave ; how
many meditations may we entertain, that may recon-
cile us to it ! The mifchiefs from which we (hall
efcape, in thofe chambers , — The months of vanity, to
beefcaped, might make us, even defire to be there,
as zfervant earneftly defires the fiadow. Our pilgrim-.
age lies thro* fuch a world, that we may have caufe
enough to fay with him; Job. xiv. 13. Oh ! That
thou wouldefi hide me in the grave ! But then, the
refurreliion of old, was called, the confolation. As
God faid unto Jacob of old ; Fear not to go down inta
Egypt ; I will go down with thee ; and 1 will furely
bring thee up again : So does our Saviour fay to us j
Be not afraid of going dozvn into the grave : I have been
there before thee ,- and Iwill furely bring thie up again.
But then on our going up to the chambers oiparadife,
what meditations may we be even tranfported withal !
Our thoughts on what our Saviour will do for us, in
thefe chambers of the Saints in light ; v/hzt flames may
they fill our fouls withal ! What wings may they give
unto our fouls ! Methinks, thefe thoughts may bring
us to thofe frames ; Pfal. xlii. 2. Myfoulthirftethfor
God s when Jhall I come, and appear before God I A
dying Stephen cries out; Lordjefus, receive my f pint.


,Opened and Vifiied. if

But unto what?' A Paul, [who, alas, heafd thofd
words 1] inftrudted by Stephens Lord, has afterwards
told us ; Chriji receives us to the glory of God. Oh i
The glory ! Cto ! The glory we fhall be received unto I
And, ah ! why fo lothe to go unto it ! Surely, Bleffed

1 3

Online LibraryCotton MatherThe comfortable chambers, opened and visited : upon the departure of that aged and faithful servant of God, Mr. Peter Thatcher [i.e., Thacher], the never to be forgotten pastor of Milton, who made his flight thither, on December 17. 1727 → online text (page 1 of 3)