An ingenious statistician, taking the statement made in Revelation xxi. that the heavenly Jerusalem was measured and found to be twelve thousand furlongs, and that the length and height and breadth of it are equal, says that would make heaven in size nine hundred and forty-eight sextillion, nine hundred and eighty-eight quintillion cubic feet; and then reserving a certain portion for the court of heaven and the streets, and estimating that the world may last a hundred thousand years, he ciphers out that there are over five trillion rooms, each room seventeen feet long, sixteen feet wide, fifteen feet high. But I have no faith in the accuracy of that calculation. He makes the rooms too small. From all I can read the rooms will be palatial, and those who have not had enough room in this world will have plenty of room at the last. The fact is that most people in this world are crowded, and though out on a vast prairie or in a mountain district people may have more room than they want, in most cases it is house built close to house, and the streets are crowded, and the cradle is crowded by other cradles, and the graves crowded in the cemetery by other graves; and one of the richest luxuries of many people in getting out of this world will be the gaining of unhindered and uncramped room. And I should not wonder if, instead of the room that the statistician ciphered out as only seventeen feet by sixteen, it should be larger than any of the rooms at Berlin, St. James, or Winter Palace.
So we built an exceedingly large church. The new Tabernacle seated comfortably 5,000 people. It was open on February 22, 1874, for worship, and completed a few months later.
Without boast it may be said that I was among those men who with eager and persistent vigilance made the heart of Brooklyn feel the Christian purpose of the pulpit, and the utility of religion in everyday life. The fifteen years following the dedication of the new Tabernacle in 1872 mark the most active milestone of my career as a preacher.
A minister’s recollections are confined to his interpretation of the life about him; the men he knows, the events he sees, the good and the bad of his environment and his period become the loose leaves that litter his study table.
I was in the prime of life, just forty years of age. From my private note-books and other sources I begin recollections of the most significant years in Brooklyn, preceding the local elections in 1877. New York and Brooklyn were playmates then, seeming rivals, but by predestined fate bound to grow closer together. I said then that we need not wait for the three bridges which would certainly bind them together. The ferry-boat then touching either side was only the thump of one great municipal heart. It was plain to me that this greater Metropolis, standing at the gate of this continent, would have to decide the moral and political destinies of the whole country.