Genesis Chapter Five
Adam and Seth. (1-5) The patriarchs from Seth to Enoch. (6-20) Enoch. (21-24) Methuselah to Noah. (25-32)
Commentary on Genesis 5:1-5
Adam was made in the image of God; but when fallen he begat a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail, wretched, and mortal, like himself. Not only a man like himself, consisting of body and soul, but a sinner like himself. This was the reverse of that Divine likeness in which Adam was made; having lost it, he could not convey it to his seed. Adam lived, in all, 930 years; and then died, according to the sentence passed upon him, "To dust thou shalt return." Though he did not die in the day he ate forbidden fruit, yet in that very day he became mortal. Then he began to die; his whole life after was but a reprieve, a forfeited, condemned life; it was a wasting, dying life. Man's life is but dying by degrees.
Commentary on Genesis 5:6-20
Concerning each of these, except Enoch, it is said, "and he died." It is well to observe the deaths of others. They all lived very long; not one of them died till he had seen almost eight hundred years, and some of them lived much longer; a great while for an immortal soul to be prisoned in a house of clay. The present life surely was not to them such a burden as it commonly is now, else they would have been weary of it. Nor was the future life so clearly revealed then, as it now under the gospel, else they would have been urgent to remove to it. All the patriarchs that lived before the flood, except Noah, were born before Adam died. From him they might receive a full account of the creation, the fall, the promise, and the Divine precepts about religious worship and a religious life. Thus God kept up in his church the knowledge of his will.
Commentary on Genesis 5:21-24
Enoch was the seventh from Adam. Godliness is walking with God: which shows reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed, Amos 3:3. It includes all the parts of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under his eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend him. It is to be followers of him as dear children. The Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God. This was his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy of his life. Enoch was removed to a better world. As he did not live like the rest of mankind, so he did not leave the world by death as they did. He was not found, because God had translated him, Hebrews 11:5. He had lived but 365 years, which, as men's ages were then, was but the midst of a man's days. God often takes those soonest whom he loves best; the time they lose on earth, is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable advantage. See how Enoch's removal is expressed: he was not, for God took him. He was not any longer in this world; he was changed, as the saints shall be, who are alive at Christ's second coming. Those who begin to walk with God when young, may expect to walk with him long, comfortably, and usefully. The true christian's steady walk in holiness, through many a year, till God takes him, will best recommend that religion which many oppose and many abuse. And walking with God well agrees with the cares, comforts, and duties of life.
Commentary on Genesis 5:25-32
Methuselah signifies, 'he dies, there is a dart,' 'a sending forth,' namely, of the deluge, which came the year that Methuselah died. He lived 969 years, the longest that any man ever lived on earth; but the longest liver must die at last. Noah signifies rest; his parents gave him that name, with a prospect of his being a great blessing to his generation. Observe his father's complaint of the calamitous state of human life, by the entrance of sin, and the curse of sin. Our whole life is spent in labour, and our time filled up with continual toil. God having cursed the ground, it is as much as some can do, with the utmost care and pains, to get a hard livelihood out comfort us." It signifies not only that desire and expectation which parents generally have about their children, that they will be comforts to them and helpers, though they often prove otherwise; but it signifies also a prospect of something more. Is Christ ours? Is heaven ours? We need better comforters under our toil and sorrow, than the dearest relations and the most promising offspring; may we seek and find comforts in Christ.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Genesis》
 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
The first words of the chapter are the title of argument of the whole chapter; it is the book of the generations of Adam - It is the list or catalogue of the posterity of Adam, not of all, but only of the holy seed, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came; the names, ages, and deaths of those that were the successors of the first Adam in the custody of the promise, and the ancestors of the second Adam.
 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;  Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Where we have a brief rehearsal of what was before at large related concerning the creation of man. This is what we have need frequently to hear of, and carefully to acquaint ourselves with. Observe here. 1. That God created man. Man is not his own maker, therefore he must not be his own master; but the author of his being must be the director of his motions, and the center of them. 2. That there was a day in which God created man, he was not from eternity, but of yesterday; he was not the first-born, but the junior of the creation. 3. That God made him in his own likeness, righteous and holy, and therefore undoubtedly happy; man's nature resembled the divine nature more than that of any of the creatures of this lower world. 4. That God created them male and female, Genesis 5:2, for their mutual comfort, as well as for the preservation and increase of their kind. Adam and Eve were both made immediately by the hand of God, both made in God's likeness; and therefore between the sexes there is not that great difference and inequality which some imagine. 5. That God blessed them. It is usual for parents to bless their children, so God the common Father blessed his; but earthly parents can only beg a blessing, it is God's prerogative to command it. It refers chiefly to the blessing of increase, not excluding other blessings.
 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
He called their name Adam — He gave this name both to the man and the woman. Being at first one by nature, and afterwards one by marriage; it was fit they should both have the same name, in token of their union.
 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
Seth was born in the 130th year of Adam's life, and probably the murder of Abel was not long before. Many other sons and daughters were born to Adam besides Cain and Abel before this; but no notice is taken of them, because an honourable mention must be made of his name only, in whose loins Christ and the church were. But that which is most observable here concerning Seth, is, that Adam begat him in his own likeness after his image - Adam was made in the image of God; but when he was fallen and corrupted, he begat a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail and mortal, and miserable like himself; not only a man like himself, consisting of body and soul; but a sinner like himself, guilty and obnoxious, degenerate and corrupt. He was conceived and born in sin, Psalms 51:5. This was Adam's own likeness, the reverse of that Divine likeness in which Adam was made; but having lost it himself he could not convey it to his seed.
 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
In the day Adam ate forbidden fruit, he became mortal, he began to die; his whole life after was but a forfeited condemned life, nay it was a wasting dying life; he was not only like a criminal sentenced, but as one already crucified, that dies slowly and by degrees.
 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:  And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.  And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:  And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.  And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:  And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.  And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:  And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.  And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:  And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
We have here all that the Holy Ghost thought fit to leave upon record concerning five of the patriarchs before the flood, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Jared. There is nothing observable concerning any of those particularly, tho' we have reason to think they were men of eminency, both for prudence and piety: But in general, observe how largely and expressly their generations are recorded. We are told how long they lived that lived in God's fear, and when they died, that died in his favour; but as for others it is no matter: the memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot. That which is especially observable, is, that they all lived very long; not one of them died 'till he had seen the revolution of almost eight hundred years, and some of them much longer; a great while for an immortal soul to be imprisoned in an house of clay. The present life surely was not to them such a burden as commonly it is now, else they would have been weary of it; nor was the future life so clearly revealed then, as it is now under the gospel, else they would have been impatient to remove it. Some natural causes may be assigned for their long life in those first ages. It is very probable that the earth was more fruitful, the products of it more strengthening, the air more healthful, and the influences of the heavenly bodies more benign before the flood than they were after. Though man was driven out of paradise, yet the earth itself was then paradisaical; a garden in comparison with its present state: and some think, that their knowledge of the creatures and their usefulness both, for their food and medicine, together with their sobriety and temperance, contributed much to it; yet we do not find that those who were intemperate, as many were, Luke 17:27, as short-lived as temperate men generally are now. It must therefore chiefly be resolved into the power and providence of God; he prolonged their lives, both for the more speedy replenishing of the earth, and for the more effectual preservation of the knowledge of God and religion, then when there was no written word, but tradition was the channel of its conveyance. All the patriarchs here (except Noah) were born before Adam died, so that from him they might receive a full account of the creation, paradise, the fall, the promise, and those divine precepts which concerned religious worship and a religious life: and if any mistake arose, they might have recourse to him while he lived, as to an oracle, for the rectifying of it, and after his death to Methuselah, and others that had conversed with him; so great was the care of Almighty God to preserve in his church the knowledge of his will, and the purity of his worship.
 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah — To walk with God, is to set God always before us, and to act as those that are always under his eye. It is to live a life of communion with God, both in ordinances and providences; it is to make God's word our rule, and his glory our end, in all our actions; it is to make it our constant care and endeavour in every thing to please God, and in nothing to offend him; it is to comply with his will, to concur with his designs, and to be workers together with him. He walked with God after he begat Methuselah, which intimates, that he did not begin to be eminent for piety 'till about that time.
 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
He was not, for God took him — That is, as it is explained, Hebrews 11:5, he was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him. But why did God take him so soon? Surely because the world, which was now grown corrupt, was not worthy of him. Because his work was done, and done the sooner for his minding it so closely.
He was not, for God took him — He was not any longer in this world: it was not the period of his being, but of his being here. He was not found; so the apostle explains it from the seventy; not found by his friends, who sought him, as the sons of the prophets sought Elijah, 2 Kings 2:17. God took him body and soul to himself in the heavenly paradise, by the ministry of angels, as afterwards he took Elijah. He was changed, as those saints shall be that will be found alive at Christ's second coming.
 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
Methuselah signifies, He dies, there is a sending forth, viz. of the deluge, which came the very year that Methuselah died. If his name was so intended, it was a fair warning to a careless world long before the judgment came. However, this is observable, that the longest liver that ever was, carried death in his name, that he might be minded of its coming surely, tho' it came slowly. He lived nine hundred sixty and nine years, the longest we read of that ever any man lived on earth, and yet he died: the longest liver must die at last. Neither youth nor age will discharge from that war, for that is the end of all men: none can challenge life by long prescription, nor make that a plea against the arrests of death. 'Tis commonly supposed, that Methuselah died a little before the flood; the Jewish writers say, seven days before, referring to Genesis 7:10, and that he was taken away from the evil to come.
 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.
This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed — Very probably there were some prophecies that went before of him, as a person that should be wonderfully serviceable to his generation.
 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
And Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth — These Noah begat (the eldest of these) when he was six hundred years old. It should seem that Japheth was the eldest, Genesis 10:21, but Shem is put first, because on him the covenant was entailed, as appears by Genesis 9:26, where God is called the Lord God of Shem. To him 'tis probable the birthright was given, and from him 'tis certain both Christ the head, and the church the body, were to descend; therefore he is called Shem, which signifies a name, because in his posterity the name of God should always remain, 'till He should come out of his loins, whose name is above every name; so that in putting Shem first, Christ was in effect put first, who in all things must have the pre-eminence. For the glory of God's justice, and for warning to a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of the old world we have a full account of its degeneracy, its apostacy from God, and rebellion against him. The destroying of it was an act not of absolute sovereignty, but of necessary justice for the maintaining of the honour of God's government.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Genesis》
05 Chapter 5
This is the book of the generations of Adam
SOME MEN ARE RENDERED DISTINGUISHED BY THE PECULIARITY OF THE TIMES IN WHICH THEY LIVE. Adam; the first human being to
II. SOME MEN ARE RENDERED DISTINGUISHED BY THEIR MARVELLOUS LONGEVITY. Methuselah.
III. SOME MEN ARE RENDERED DISTINGUISHED BY THE VILLAINY OF THEIR MORAL CONDUCT.
IV. SOME MEN ARE RENDERED DISTINGUISHED BY THEIR ANCESTRAL LINE OF DESCENT. Feeble lights in a grand constellation.
V. SOME MEN ARE RENDERED DISTINGUISHED BY THEIR TRUE AND EXALTED PIETY. Enoch. This is a distinction of the very truest kind; it arises from the moral purity of the soul. Lessons:
1. That a good old age is often the heritage of man.
2. That noble lineage is the heritage of others.
3. That true piety may be the heritage of all.
4. That true piety has a substantial reward as well as a permanent record. (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
I. THE LONGEVITY OF THE ANTEDILUVIAN RACE.
1. Their longevity might be explained on natural principles.
2. Their longevity was for special ends.
3. Their longevity contributed to their depravity.
II. THE POVERTY OF HUMAN HISTORY. The record of a thousand is in these few verses.
III. THE MATERIALIZING TENDENCIES OF SIN. All that is recorded here of these great men, except Enoch, is that they begat sons and daughters. They thought only of material things.
IV. THE INEVITABLENESS OF MAN’S MORTALITY. It is said of each, “He died.” No money can bribe Death, no power avert his blow.
V. THE BLESSEDNESS OF PRACTICAL GODLINESS. “Enoch walked with God.” (Homilist.)
1. It is a very honourable one. The Son of God Himself descended from it.
2. Neither Cain nor Abel have any place in it. Abel was slain before he had any children, and could not; and Cain, by his sin, had covered his name with infamy, and should not. Adam’s posterity, therefore, after a lapse of one hundred and thirty years, must begin anew.
3. The honour done to Seth and his posterity was of grace; for he is said to have been born in Adam’s likeness, and after his image. Man was made after the image of God; but this being lost, they are born corrupt, the children of a corrupt father. What is true of all mankind is here noted of Seth, because he was reckoned as Adam’s firstborn. He, therefore, like all others, was by nature a child of wrath; and what he or any of his posterity were different from this, they were by grace.
4. Though many of the names in this genealogy are passed over without anything being said of their piety, yet we are not from hence to infer that they were impious. Many might be included among them who called upon the name of the Lord, and who are denominated the sons of God, though nothing is personally related of them. (A. Fuller.)
The original vitality of men
Whether we are to think that the original vitality of the human frame faded only by slow degrees, or whether there was something salubrious in the air of the ages after Eden, has often been asked, but can never be answered. Some have fancied that the immense lives ascribed to the antediluvians imply that each name represents a tribe, the lives of whose leading members are added together; others have understood the years to mean only months; while others have sought to prove that from Adam to Abraham the year had no more than three months, from Abraham to Joseph eight, and from Joseph’s time twelve months, as at present. But such explanations have no sufficient warrant, and it is perhaps best, on the whole, to keep in mind what Bishop Harold Browne has pointed out, that “numbers and dates are liable in the course of ages to become obscured and exaggerated.” It is quite possible that some of the early Rabbis, desirous of emulating the fabled age ascribed by heathen nations to their heroes and demigods, may have added to the Bible figures, so as to secure the patriarchs an equal honour. Our present bodies certainly could not live more than two hundred years, at the very most, from the decay of one part after another, and hence we must either take Bishop Browne’s solution of antediluvian longevity, or suppose that exceptional circumstances in the first ages produced exceptional results. (C. Geikie, D. D.)
The apostate and the godly seeds
I. IT IS ESPECIALLY IN THE LINE OF CAIN THAT WE FIND THE ARTS OF SOCIAL AND CIVILIZED LIFE CULTIVATED. They increased in power, in wealth, and in luxury. In almost all earthly advantages they attained to a superiority over the more simple and rural family of Seth. And they afford an instance of the high cultivation which a people may often possess who are altogether irreligious and ungodly, as well as of the progress which they may make in the arts and embellishments of life.
II. THE GODLY SEED WAS PERPETUATED IN THE FAMILY OF SETH, whose name signifies “appointed, placed, or firmly founded.” For on him now was to rest the hope of the promised Messiah. So God ordained, and so Eve devoutly believed. The posterity of Seth maintained the cause of religion in the midst of increasing degeneracy. It is true they did not always maintain it very successfully; perhaps they did not always maintain it very consistently. In the first place, in the days of Enos, the grandson of Adam, a signal revival took place among those who adhered to the true faith (Genesis 4:26). Again, secondly, several generations later, contemporary with Lamech in the house of Cain, lived Enoch in the family of Seth, the seventh from Adam. He was raised up as a remarkable prophet, and the burden of his prophetic strains is preserved to us by the Apostle Jude (verses 14, 15). Once more, in the third place, still later in this melancholy period, the Lord raised up Noah, or Nee, as his name is often written. That name signifies “comfort” or “consolation.” Thus, in three successive eras, the Lord remarkably interposed to arrest the progress of the sad apostasy.
1. It is interesting in this view to consider the longevity of the patriarchs. The length of their days well fitted them for being the depositories of the revealed will of God, preserving and transmitting it from age to age; and so many of them surviving together to so late a period must have formed a holy and reverend company of teachers and witnesses in the world. So, at least, it should have been; since, at all events, this longevity of the fathers was a boon and privilege to the Church. It served the purpose of the written Word. It transmitted, not a treacherous and variable tradition passing quickly through many hands, such as some would fondly prefer even to the Bible, but a sure record of the truth of God. Hence it was fitted to rally with no uncertain sound, and not by the artifice of any dead and nominal uniformity, but on a trustworthy principle of living unity, the Church of the living God. If the effect was otherwise--if the testimony of the long-lived fathers then, like the teaching of the abiding Word now, failed to keep the sons of God at one among themselves, and separate from the world, their sin was on that account all the greater. Nor was the agency wanting which alone can give a spiritual discernment of the truth. The Spirit, who searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God, was, throughout these ages, continually striving with men, and by the Spirit Christ was ever preaching to the successive generations of that antediluvian world.
2. But it is not the length of their lives only that is to be taken into account when we would estimate the effect which the testimony of the godly patriarchs was fitted to have in stemming the torrent of ungodliness. Their deaths also must have been instructive and significant. That they all lived so long, witnessing for God, believing and showing forth His righteousness, was a standing reproof to the wicked. That, long as they might live, they all died at last, gave a warning more affecting still. The death of each, coming surely in the end, though long delayed, must have rung emphatically the knell of judgment. (R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
1. Providence hath made a sufficient register of the Church’s rise and growth and state, for faith, not for curiosity.
2. God’s will is made out, that His Church was to be propagated by generation, not creation.
3. The generations of the Church were ordered to be from Adam fallen, that grace might appear.
4. God’s blessing makes man only fruitful to propagate His Church. (G. Hughes, B. D.)
You must have already noticed that this chapter is as true as any chapter in human history, especially as it shows so clearly, what we ourselves have found out, that the most of people are extremely uninteresting. They are names, and nothing more. They are producers and consumers, tenants and taxpayers, and that is all; they are without wit, music, piquancy, enterprise, or keenness of sympathy. Such people were Seth and Enos, Mahalaleel and Jared; respectable, quiet, plodding; said “good night” to one another regularly, and remarked briefly upon the weather, and died. Just what many nowadays seem to do. Now, I want to show you that such people are often unjustly estimated, and to remind you that if all stars were of the same size the sky would look very odd--much like a vast chessboard with circles instead of squares. I want to remind you also that really the best part of human history is never written at all. Family life, patient service, quiet endurance, the training of children, the resistance of temptation--these things are never mentioned by the historian. Because we admire brilliance we need not despise usefulness. When your little child is ill, he needs kindness more than genius, and it will be of small service to him if his mother is good at epigrams but bad at wringing out a wet cloth for his burning brow. I am, then, quite willing to admit that Seth and Enos, Mahalaleel and Jared, are not one-thousandth part so well known by name as the man in the moon, but I believe they did more real good than that famous character ever attempted. You should remember, too, that a long fiat road may be leading up to a great mountain. There are some very plain and uninteresting miles out of Geneva, but everyone of them brings you nearer Merit Blanc. Oh, so dull that long road from Seth to Jared, but round the corner you find Enoch, the Mont Blanc of his day! Many a child who never heard the name of Jared knows well the name of Enoch. So you do not know to what high hill your life may be quietly leading up. Even if you yourself are nobody, your son may be a man of renown, or his son may be a valiant and mighty man. Enoch reaches the point of renown in godliness; he walked with God three hundred years at least; his walk was on the high hills--so high that he simply stepped into the next world without troubling Death to go through his long, dark process. “He was not, for God took ” As if he had walked so near that God opened the window and took him in; and we, too, might pass in as easily if we walked on the same sunny heights. But we are in valleys and pits, and God must needs send Death to dig us out and send us to heaven by a longer road. After Enoch, we come to Methuselah. He, too, is well known, although for nothing but length of days apparently; yet as a matter of fact he ought to be known for something much more highly distinguished. He was the grandfather of Noah; that is his glory, not his mere age! You cannot tell what your boy may be, or his boy; so keep yourself up to the mark in all mental health and moral integrity, lest you transmit a plague to posterity. It may be that Nature is only resting in you; presently she will produce a man! Precisely the same thing we have in this chapter we find in the catalogue of the names of the early disciples of our Lord. We know Peter and James and John. But how little as compared with them do we know of Thomas and Bartholomew and Philip, of Lebbaeus, and Simon the Canaanite? Yet they were all members of one company, and servants of the same Lord. We speak of men of renown, forgetting that their renown is principally derived from men who have no renown themselves! Unknown people make other people known. The hills rest upon the plain ground. Besides, there is a bad repute as well as a fair fame: Judas Iscariot is known as widely as the Apostle John! Be not envious of those who have high place and name; could we know them better, perhaps we should find that they long for the quietness of home, and sigh for release from the noise and strain of popular applause. Happily, too, we should remember that a deed may be immortal, when the mere name of the doer may be lost in uncertainty. (J. Parker, D. D.)
The Divine image in man hidden
A researcher of art in Italy, who, reading in some book that there was a portrait of Dante painted by Giotto, was led to suspect where it had been placed. There was an apartment used as an outhouse for the storing of wood, hay, and the like. He besought and obtained permission to examine it. Clearing out the rubbish and experimenting upon the whitewashed wall, he soon detected the signs of the long-hidden portrait. Little by little, with loving skill, he opened up the sad, thoughtful, stern face of the old Tuscan poet. Sin has done for man what the whitewash did for the painting. It has covered over the likeness of God upon the soul; and it is only by the Spirit of God Himself that the long-hidden likeness can be manifested again.
Long life and death of the patriarchs
From the 4th verse to the 22nd two things chiefly are noted, the long life of these fathers and their assured death. Many years they continued, yea, many hundreds; but at last they died. Death was long ere it came, but at last it came.
1. And touching their long life, some questions are moved: First, why it was so long; secondly, whence or how it came to be so. Of the first, two causes are alleged, one for the propagation of mankind so much the faster and more speedily, the other for continuance of remembrance of matters, and deducing of them to posterity the better. The indifferent mixture, equal temperature, and good disposition of the chief and first qualities, heat, cold, moisture, dryness, is in nature the ground of life, and by all probability in that beginning this was so more than now; their diet better, and temperance more from surfeiting and fleshly pleasures than is now; their minds quieter from eating and gnawing cares, the shortness of man’s life, since, iniquity then being not so strong, many woes and vexations were unfound; and lastly, the fruits of the earth, in their purity, strength, and virtue, not corrupted, as after the flood, and ever since still more and more, might be to them a true cause, and a most forcible cause, of good health, greater strength, and longer life than ever since by nature could be.
2. Their certain death is noted, to show the truth of God’s Word, ever infallible and unmovable. The Lord said, if they did eat they should die: they did eat, then death must follow; for He will be true, do what we can, and we shall find it so. Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, but he died; Sheth nine hundred and twelve, and he died; Methuselah nine hundred threescore and nine, and yet he died. Died, died, is the end of all, that God might be true, how long soever they lived. The same word of the Lord is no falser now than then, but the same forever. Would God this repetition of death, death, to all these fathers might make us as duly to remember it as we are sure truly to find it--to find it, I say; and God knoweth, not we, how soon. “Today I, tomorrow thou,” saith the wise man. His conceit was not unprofitable that imagined man’s life to be as a tree, at the root whereof two mice lay gnawing and nibbling without ceasing, a white mouse and a black. The white mouse he conceived to be the day, and the black mouse the night, by which day and night man’s life, as a tree, by continual gnawing, at last is ended. Who can now tell how far these two mice have eaten upon him? Haply the tree that seemeth yet strong ere night may shake, and ere day again fall flat down. Oh, let us think of this uncertainty! But you see the snow, how blind it makes a man by his great whiteness; so doth this world, by his manifold pleasures, baits, and allurements, dazzle our eyes, and blind us so, that we forget to die; we dream of life when there is no hope, and we cannot hear of it to go away. O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things, yea, unto him that is yet able to receive meat. (Bishop Babington.)
Lessons from the longevity of the antediluvians
1. Now, here is a lesson in human experience which one would think would silence forever the advocates of the theory of human perfectibility. The race of antediluvians were blessed with all possible capacities and facilities for indefinite improvement in knowledge and happiness. They were not called to die when they had just began to live, nor to quit their investigations forever when they had just learned how to study. Men’s minds might have been formed and disciplined in the revolution of nine hundred years under an accumulation of influences and circumstances in the highest degree powerful and favourable. A ladder was let down to them from heaven; but instead of rising thither, they employed every endowment of being, and every capability of life, for growth in unkindness, and corrupted themselves to such a height before God, that their sufferance on earth was no longer possible. So much for human perfectibility.
2. Only one event is recorded alike of them all, no matter what may have been their situation in life--whether princes of the earth or beggars in rags. Their life is reduced down to the bald, unvaried epitaph--“He died”! The only thing of absolute value is that which connects us with God. Crowns are playthings; dukedoms and dominions of no more importance than the grains of sand that go to make up an ant-hill.
3. The consideration of the great age of the antediluvians, and its effect upon their state on earth, might lead to some faint conception of what an apostle calls the “power of an endless life.”
4. We are all naturally as wicked as the race of mankind destroyed by the deluge. And doubtless it will be less tolerable for us than the antediluvians in the Day of Judgment.
5. The mere duration of years does not constitute a long life, but the fulfilment of life’s purposes.
6. There was a time in the life of every ungodly antediluvian in which his wickedness had reached such a point, his long habits of sin had gained such strength, that all hope of his salvation departed. At such a moment, though long before the close of his mortal career, it might have been said with awful emphasis--“He died”! (Christian Age.)
God’s way of writing history
Bible history is written on the principle of abridgment and selection. God Himself is the abridger and selector. He has written the story of His own world in His own way, and according to His own plan, keeping such things as these in view--
1. What would most glorify Himself.
2. What would most benefit the Church upon the whole.
3. What would mark distinctly the stages leading on to the incarnation of His Son.
4. What would prove the true humanity of Messiah as the seed of the woman, and so the embodiment of the grace and truth wrapt up in the first promise to man.
The first verse carries us back to the earlier chapters, and repeats the statement already given as to man’s creation in the Divine image. It is plain from it that God desires us to look at and ponder such things as these--
1. Man’s creation by God.
2. His creation in the likeness of God.
3. His creation, male and female.
4. His being “blessed” by God, and that he enters this world as a blessed being, not under the curse at all.
5. His receiving the name of Adam, or man, from God Himself, as if God specially claimed the right of nomenclature to Himself.
How much importance must God attach to these things when He thus repeats them at so brief an interval! He does not repeat in vain. Every word of God is “pure,” and it is full of meaning, even though we may not now see it all. It is not a mere grain or atom; it is a seed, a root. (H. Bonar, D. D.)
Ten biographies in one chapter
A single chapter contains ten biographies. Such is God’s estimate of man, and man’s importance! How unlike man’s estimate of himself! How unlike are the biographies contained in this chapter to those volumes of biography over which are spread the story of a single life! Is not this man worship, hero worship? And was it not to prevent this that God has hid from us the details of primitive history--everything that would magnify man and man’s doings? Just as He has taken pains to prevent the grosser idolatries of sun worship and star worship by exhibiting these orbs in the first chapter as His own handiwork, so in this fifth chapter He has sought to anticipate and prevent the more refined idolatry, not only of past ages, when man openly and grossly deified man, but of these last days, when man is worshipping man in the most subtle of all ways, and multiplying the stories of man’s wisdom, or prowess, or goodness, so as to hide God from our eyes, and give to man an independent position and importance, from which God has been so careful to exclude him. We might say, too, that this chapter is God’s protest against that special development of hero worship which is to be exhibited in the last Antichrist, when God shall be set aside and man be set up as all. The importance attached to these recorded names is just this, that they belong to the line of the woman’s seed. It was this that made them worthy of memory. The chain to which some precious jewel is attached is chiefly noticeable because of the gem that it suspends. The steps which led up to the temple were mainly important because of the temple to which they led. So it was the connection of these ten worthies of the world’s first age with the great Coming One that gave them their importance. Standing where we now do, far down the ages, and looking back on the men of early days, we are like one tracing some great river back to its distant source amid the lonely hills. The varied beauties of its banks, however great, yet derive their chief attraction and interest from the mighty city reared upon its margin, at some turn of its far downward course, and from the mighty ones which that city has given birth to. It is Bethlehem that gives all its interest to the river whose beginnings this chapter traces; or rather, it is He who was there born of a woman--Jesus the son of Abraham, the son of Adam. Save in their bearing upon Him, how unmeaning do these names appear! (H. Bonar, D. D.)
And Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image
THAT HUMAN DEPRAVITY IS TOTAL AS TO ITS INFLUENCE OVER THE HUMAN MIND. By the phrase, human depravity, we mean that corruption of our nature, whereby we are inclined to sin rather than to holiness. The seat of this depravity is within; external forms of wickedness, in words and actions, are only the results and expressions of it, etc. By the heart, we mean the mind and all its faculties and powers; and by the depravity of the heart, we mean that principle within it, call it disposition, energy, or cause, whence those powers receive their inclination and bias, and from the quality of which, they, and the actions resulting from them, derive their character.
II. I now proceed to prove, that THIS DEPRAVITY IS UNIVERSAL IN ITS PREVALENCE AMONGST MANKIND.
1. It exists in all ages. Our proof of this is in universal history.
2. It exists in all countries.
3. In all communities.
4. In all families.
5. In all individuals.
III. IT IS INHERENT IN OUR NATURE, IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE FALL OF ADAM. (T. Raffles, D. D.)
And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died
The life and death of Adam
THE SUBJECT OF THIS BRIEF NARRATION. Adam, the first of men. Here it may be profitable to notice him most attentively.
1. As a compound being, formed of different component parts.
2. As to the common head of mankind; both our natural and moral head.
3. As the chief of sinners.
4. As a subject of God’s redeeming mercy.
5. As a figure or type of Christ.
II. HIS LIFE. He lived nine hundred and thirty years. His life may be considered--
1. In its origin. Divine (Luke 3:38).
2. In its progress, as singularly diversified.
3. In its duration, as graciously protracted. From the protracted life of Adam learn the great end for which our lives are continued; that we may glorify God by getting and doing good.
III. HIS DEATH HE DIED. His death may be considered--
1. As a dissolution of first principles. He died; he was not annihilated, but merely dissolved. His body returned to dust, his soul to God Ecclesiastes 12:7).
2. As the fruit of sin.
3. As a release from the vanity and evils of this world.
4. As a certain indication of our own. (Sketches of Sermons.)
Preparation for death
A man, who lived in forgetfulness of God and of his soul, went one day into a church while the chapter which has furnished us with our text was being read there. When he heard that long and monotonous catalogue of the names and ages of the patriarchs, his first inclination was to smile; he said to himself that there might have been chosen for the reading a less dry and a more edifying subject. He remained, however, and continued to listen, compelled to attention in spite of himself. Soon a thought struck him. He could not long listen with indifference to that solemn refrain, which came back always the same after these lives, so lengthened, of the patriarchs, “And he died.” That is, he said to himself, what all these men had to pass through who lived so long on earth; they have all finished by dying. What happened to the patriarchs, happens also to all men without exception. All finish with death. What happens to all men must, therefore, happen to myself. I also shall finish with death. How am I prepared to receive that death which every day advances towards me, and from which no power in the world can shield me? What will be its consequences in my case? Will they be happy or unhappy? Will it be a heaven? Will it be a hell? Solemn question, which I have lost sight of till the present, but which I can no longer let remain unsolved. And from that moment he became as serious as he had hitherto been careless, with regard to his eternal interests.
I. The first way of acting with regard to death, is NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT AT ALL that is the way of men of the world. They can so occupy themselves with the things of this life, that they forget, in some sort, that this life is to have an end.
1. Such a young man thus forgets death in the stupefaction of pleasures.
2. Another young man is thus brought to forget death in the preoccupation of work.
3. The old man himself often comes to conceal from himself the death which is already so near him. He can no longer work; he can no longer deliver himself up to the noisy pleasures of youth, but he can still procure distractions for himself, which beguile his ennui, and remove from him the thought of death; he can stir throw the dice, or hold the cards, and the game will make him forget the flight of time. Or in the moments of idleness; say, when he is thrown back upon his own reflections, he will transport himself in idea into the past; he will turn over in his memory, and with inward satisfaction, too, the scenes of his youth and of his riper age, and that preoccupation with the past will hinder him from thinking about the future. And, in a word, there are many means of diverting one’s thoughts, and deceiving one’s self with regard to death; but is such conduct wise and reasonable? is it really for our interest?
II. A second manner of acting with regard to death consists in PERSUADING ONE’S SELF THAT EVERYTHING ENDS AT DEATH this is the way of infidels. The men whom I have in view do not at all divert their thoughts from the necessity which is laid upon them to die; they do not fear (at least, to judge from their pretensions), to look in the face the thought of death; they speak voluntarily and coolly of it; they believe that they possess the secret of not fearing it. They mock the people simple enough to trouble themselves with what is to follow death. As regards themselves--more enlightened and freed from those vulgar prejudices--they are convinced that what is called our soul is but a result of physical organization, and that, in consequence, it cannot survive the dissolution of the body; that judgment to come, heaven, hell, and life eternal, are so many idle fancies of weak minds. By means of such a conviction they pretend to live tranquilly, and not to fear death. Annihilation is a sad prospect; there is in the thought of annihilation something which horrifies our nature, and which we cannot look at without shuddering. What strange consolation to oppose to the trials of life is the future expected by the infidel! There is another existence after this, and the infidels themselves are forced, sooner or later, to do homage to that truth. At the approach of death they see the fragile stage of their infidelity fall in pieces like a house of cards at the breath of a child; and the anguish of their conscience becomes then an argument, tardy but terrible, in favour of a life to come. It is not, then, in the ranks of infidels that we shall find the best way of preparing for death.
III. A third way of conducting one’s self with regard to death consists in MAKING AN EFFORT TO MERIT BY ONE’S WORKS FUTURE HAPPINESS it is the Way with self-righteous men. If, then, a man observed the law of God perfectly, he could wait fearlessly for death, assured beforehand that the consequences will be happy in his case; he could present himself with confidence at the judgment of God, and ask from Him eternal life as a recompense which he has merited. But, as there is not a single man that has perfectly observed the law of God, there is not one who can procure for himself by that means a solid peace in view of death.
IV. But that peace which we seek in vain in ourselves, might it not be found in CONFIDENCE IN THE GOODNESS OF GOD? It is there at least that many persons seek it. Here again, we are forced to overthrow that pretended peace as dangerous and illusive. No! it is in vain that you pretend to found your peace in presence of death on the goodness of God, while leaving in the shade His justice. The goodness of God, separated from His justice, is but a frail reed, which will pierce the hand of the imprudent one who rests on it.
V. We shall need, you see, in order to our being able to die tranquilly, A MEANS OF PREPARING FOR DEATH THAT WOULD SATISFY THE JUSTICE OF GOD, AT THE SAME TIME THAT IT WOULD DO HOMAGE TO HIS GOODNESS. It would be necessary that at the very time when His goodness displayed itself in the pardon of the sinner, His justice should preserve its rights in the punishment of the sin. If there existed a System founded on truth, and satisfying that double condition, it would assuredly be the best means, or rather the only means, of preparing us to die tranquilly. Now, that system exists, that means is found, and you have already named it in your thought; it is faith in Jesus Christ. After all human systems have been tried in succession, and been found false and powerless, how joyfully the means which God Himself has proposed, and which is the only one that can give peace to our hearts, is returned to; that system, simple as well as Divine, which is summed up in the words, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!” Faith in Christ presents the secret of satisfying at once the justice of God and His goodness. The Cross of Christ unites what an eternal abyss seemed to separate. (A. Monod, D. D.)
Then he died! He by whom death came in at last fell under it. He returned to dust. His sin found him out, after a long pursuit of nine hundred and thirty years, and laid him low. The first Adam dies! The tallest, goodliest palm tree of the primeval paradise is laid low. The first Adam dies; neither in life nor in death transmitting to us aught of blessing. He dies as our forerunner; he who led the way to the tomb. The first Adam dies, and we die in him; but the second Adam dies, and we live in Him! The first Adam’s grave proclaims only death; the second Adam’s grave announces life--“I am the resurrection and the life.” We look into the grave of the one, and we see only darkness, corruption, and death; we look into the grave of the other, and we find there only light, incorruption, and life. We look into the grave of the one, and we find that he is still there, his dust still mingling with its fellow dust about it; we look into the grave of the other, and find that He is not there, He is risen--risen as our forerunner into the heavenly paradise, the home of the risen and redeemed. We look into the grave of the first Adam, and see in him the first fruits of them that have died, the millions that have gone down to that prison house whose gates he opened; we look into the tomb of the second Adam, and we see in Him the first fruits of them that are to rise, the first fruits of that bright multitude, that glorified band, who are to come forth from that cell, triumphing over death, and rising to the immortal life; not through the tree which grew in the earthly paradise, but through Him whom that tree prefigured--through Him who was dead and is alive, and who liveth for evermore, and who has the keys of hell and death. (H. Bonar, D. D.)
And he died
It is said that the striking thing in this chapter is the painful repetition of the words, “and he died.” In a popular magazine some years ago there appeared an article, “An Hour Among the Tombstones,” in which the writer gives the following:--“In memory of Richard B--, who died August 1, 18--. He was for many years an inhabitant of this parish.” Was he? Well most people are “inhabitants” of some “parish”; and if they live long enough, and are not over fidgety, of the same parish for “many years.” That is little enough to say of Richard B--. But what sort of an “inhabitant” was he? Cross and surly, miserly and close-fisted, selfish and ungodly; or, a good man, fearing his God, and blessing his neighbour? Good stone mason, come hither. You have written too much or too little. Either cut out what is on yonder stone, or else cut in something more creditable to him “who was for many years an inhabitant of this parish.”
The dissolution of past ages a memento for posterity
One Guerricus, hearing these words read in the Church, out of the Book of Genesis: “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died; all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died; and all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years, and he died; and all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years, and he died,” etc.,--hearing, I say, these words read, the very conceit of death wrought so strongly upon him, and made so deep an impression in his mind, that he retired from the world and gave himself wholly to devotion, that so he might die the death of the godly, and arrive more safely at the haven of felicity, which is nowhere to be found in this world. And thus should we do when we look back to the many ages that are past before us, but thus we do not: like those that go the Indies, we look not on the many that have been swallowed up by the waves, but on some few that have got by the voyage: we regard not the millions that are dead before us, but have our eyes set on the lesser number that survive with us; and hence it comes to pass that our passage out of this world is so little minded. (J. Spencer.)
Enoch walked with God
The life and translation of Enoch
Consider THE LIFE OF ENOCH. He “walked with God.” These words seem to imply that Enoch possessed a remarkable resemblance to God in moral excellence; that he realized God’s presence, and enjoyed His communion in an extraordinary measure, and that he publicly avowed himself to be on God’s side, and stood almost alone in doing so. We notice especially the quietness and unconsciousness of his walk with God. The life of David or of Job resembled a stormy spring day, made up of sweeping tempest, angry glooms, and sudden bursts of windy sunshine; that of Enoch is a soft grey autumn noon, with one mild haze of brightness covering earth and heaven.
II. Notice ENOCH’S PUBLIC WORK OF PROTEST AND PROPHECY. The Epistle of Jude supplies us with new information about Enoch’s public work. He not only characterized and by implication condemned his age, but predicted the coming of the last great judgment of God. He announced it
III. Look now at ENOCH’S TRANSLATION. How striking in its simplicity is the phrase, “He was not, for God took him!” The circumstances of his translation are advisedly concealed: “translated that he should not see death.” Many a hero has gathered fame because he stood “face to face with death,” and has outfaced the old enemy; but death never so much as dared to “look into Enoch’s eye as it kindled into immortality.” The reasons why this honour was conferred on him were probably--
Few words are needed to describe the salient features of the majority of human lives. It is not needful to write a volume to tell whether a man has spent a noble or a wasted life. One stroke of the pen, one solitary word, may be enough.
I. HERE IS A LIFE SUDDENLY AND PREMATURELY CUT SHORT for, although Enoch lived 365 years, it Was not half the usual age of the men of his day.
II. A LIFE SPENT AMID SURROUNDING WICKEDNESS.
III. A LIFE SPENT IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. In the expression “walked with God,” there is the idea of--
IV. A LIFE OF NOBLE TESTIMONY. “V. A LIFE CROWNED BY TRANSLATION. His translation was--
Enoch, one of the world’s great teachers
Three strange things in connection with Enoch’s history:
I. HE TAUGHT THE WORLD BY HIS LIFE.
1. “He walked with God.”
2. “He had the testimony that he pleased God.”
II. HE TAUGHT THE WORLD BY HIS TRANSLATION.
1. That death is not a necessity of human nature.
2. That there is a sphere of human existence beyond this.
3. That there is a God in the universe who approves of goodness.
4. That the mastering of sin is the way to a grand destiny.
III. HE TAUGHT THE WORLD BY HIS PREACHING (Jude 1:14-15).
The heavenly walk
I. THAT IT MAY BE PURSUED NOTWITHSTANDING THE PREVALENCY OF SIN AROUND.
II. THAT IT MAY BE PURSUED IN THE VERY PRIME OF BUSY MANHOOD.
III. THAT IT MAY BE PURSUED IN THE VERY MIDST OF DOMESTIC ANXIETY AND CARE. Many people have lost their religion through the increase of domestic cares. But a godly soul can walk with God in family life, and take all its offspring in the same holy path. Enoch would instruct his children in the right way. He would pray for them. He would commend them to his Divine friend. Happy the home where such a godly parent is at its head.
IV. THAT IT MAY BE PURSUED INTO THE VERY PORTALS OF HEAVEN AND ETERNAL BLISS. Enoch walked with God, and one day walked right into heaven with Him. Heaven is but the continuation of the holy walk of earth. (J. S.Exell, M. A.)
Enoch: accounting for men’s disappearance from the earth
“God took him.”
I. WE SHOULD TAKE AN INTEREST IN THE DESTINY OF MEN.
II. WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE THE HAND OF GOD IN THE REMOVAL OF MEN.
III. WE SHOULD BELIEVE IN THE PARTICULARITY OF GOD’S OVERSIGHT OF MEN. When God takes a good man--
1. God took him the assertion of a sovereign right.
2. God took him--an illustration of Divine regard.
3. God took him--an assurance of eternal blessedness.
4. God took him--a pledge that all like him will be associated. (J. Parker, D. D.)
I. ENOCH AS TO HIS AGE.
1. It Was an age of longevity.
2. It was an ungodly age.
II. ENOCH AS TO HIS RELIGION.
1. He was independent.
III. ENOCH AS TO HIS DEPARTURE.
1. His departure implies a future state.
2. His departure shows that there is a reward to the faithful.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY ENOCH’S WALKING WITH GOD?
1. That he was well-pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:5). Amity, friendship, intimacy, love.
2. That he realized the Divine presence (Hebrews 11:6). God was to him a living Friend, in whom he confided, and by whom he was loved.
3. That he had very familiar intercourse with the Most High.
4. That his intercourse with God was continuous. He did not take a turn or two with God and then leave His company, but walked with God for hundreds of years. He did not commune with God by fits and starts, but abode in the conscious love of God.
5. That his life was progressive. At the end of two hundred years he was not where he began; he was not in the same company, but he had gone forward in the right way.
II. WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WERE CONNECTED WITH ENOCH’S WALKING WITH GOD?
1. The details of his life are very few. Quite enough for us to know that he walked with God.
2. It is a mistake to suppose that he was placed in very advantageous circumstances for piety.
III. WHAT WAS THE CLOSE OF ENOCH’S WALK?
1. He finished his work early.
2. He was missed. “Not found” (Hebrews 11:5).
3. His departure was a testimony. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Enoch’s walk with God
In “Kitto’s Daily Bible Readings” there is an exceedingly pleasing piece, illustrating what it must be to walk with God by the figure of a father’s taking his little son by the hand and walking forth with him upon the breezy Dills. He says, “As that child walks with thee, so do thou walk with God. That child loves thee now. The world--the cold cruel world--has not yet come between his heart and thine. His love now is the purest and most beautiful he will ever feel, or thou wilt ever receive. Cherish it well, and as that child walks lovingly with thee, so do thou walk lovingly with God.” It is a delight to such children to be with their father. The roughness of the way or of the weather is nothing to them: it is joy enough to go for a walk with father. There is a warm, tender, affectionate grip of the hand and a beaming smile of the eye as they look up to father while he conducts them over hill and dale. Such a walk is humble too, for the child looks upon its father as the greatest and wisest man that ever lived. He considers him to be the incarnation of everything that is strong and wise, and all that his father says or does he admires. As he walks along he feels for his father the utmost affection, but his reverence is equally strong: he is very near his father, but yet he is only a child, and looks up to his father as his king. Moreover, such a walk is one of perfect confidence. The boy is not afraid of missing his way, he trusts implicitly his father’s guidance. His father’s arm will screen him from all danger, and therefore he does not so much as give it a thought--why should he? If care is needed as to the road, it is his father’s business to see to it, and the child, therefore, never dreams of anxiety--why should he? If any difficult place is to be passed, the father will have to lift the boy ever it, or help him through it; the child meanwhile is merry as a bird--why should he not be? Thus should the believer walk with God, resting on eternal tenderness and rejoicing in undoubted lave. What an instructive walk a child has with a wise, communicative parent! How many of his little puzzles are explained to him, how everything about him is illuminated by the father’s wisdom. The boy, every step he takes, becomes the wiser for such companionship. Oh, happy children of God, who have been taught of their Father while they have walked with Him! Enoch must have been a man of profound knowledge and great wisdom as to Divine things. He must have dived into the deep things of God beyond most men. His life must also have been a holy life, because he walked with God, and God never walks out of the way of holiness. If we walk with God, we must walk according to truth, justice, and love. The Lord has no company with the unjust and rebellious, and therefore we know that he who walked with God must have been an upright and holy man. Enoch’s life must, moreover, have been a happy one. Who could be unhappy with such a companion! With God himself to be with us the way can never be dreary. Did Enoch walk with God? Then his pilgrimage must have been safe. Nothing can harm the man who is walking with the Lord God at his right hand. And oh, what an honourable thing it is to walk with the Eternal! Many a man would give thousands to walk with a king. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. WHAT IS IT TO WALK WITH GOD?
1. Reconciliation with God.
2. Spiritual life (Galatians 5:25).
3. None walk with God closely but those who love Him supremely.
4. Those with whom we walk, and whom we love, we are desirous to please and oblige. And those who walk with God delight to do His will.
5. Communion with God.
6. Similarity of disposition and feeling.
II. THE ADVANTAGES ARISING FROM SUCH A WALK.
1. It gives a real enjoyment, for which we are not at all dependent on external things, and of which nothing in this world can deprive us.
2. It sweetens all earthly pleasures and pains.
3. The man who walks with God learns much of the will of God.
4. Such a walk is a preparation for the enjoyment of God in heaven. (Benson Bailey.)
I. ENOCH’S PIETY.
1. Walking with God includes--
2. Walking with God is associated with--
II. HiS DISTINGUISHED REMOVAL.
1. “He was not.” No more among men.
2. “God took him.”
1. The nature of true piety. To walk with God.
2. The reward of true piety. Interested in God’s gracious care; and ultimately raised to His own Divine presence.
3. Removal of Enoch teaches immortality of soul. (J. Burns, D. D.)
Enoch’s walk with God
I. EXPLAIN THE VIEW GIVEN OF ENOCH’S LIFE AND CHARACTER.
II. THE SINGULAR CLOSE OF HIS PIOUS COURSE.
1. It was a sudden change.
2. It was a miraculous change.
3. It was a happy change. (The Evangelical Preacher.)
Walking with God
I. HIS GENERAL CHARACTER. He walked with God.
1. What walking with God supposes.
2. Some advantages which result from walking with God.
II. SOME PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH IT. Particularly--
1. The period of its commencement, and the time of its continuance. It commenced in what may be considered his early youth; when he had not lived the twelfth part of the then usual age of man. This shows us that early piety is acceptable to God (Proverbs 8:17). Seek it (Ecclesiastes 12:1); for early habits are most easily formed, and most lasting Lamentations 3:27). It continued at least three hundred years. This teaches us that the pleasures of religion never cloy (Psalms 63:3-4); and that God’s grace is sufficient for the longest pilgrimage (2 Corinthians 12:9).
2. The relations under which it was sustained.
3. The scenes amidst which it was preserved. These were examples of prevailing ungodliness, when piety was generally reproached. Thus, when iniquity is general, it is our duty to be singular (Exodus 23:2); for we are called by God to be a peculiar people (Titus 2:14; Romans 12:2). A resolute confession of God in the face of an opposing world, is highly pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:5). “He pleased God” Numbers 14:24). Those who honour God are honoured by Him (1 Samuel 2:30).
4. The glorious event which succeeded this holy walk: “God took him.” He was translated body and soul to heaven, without seeing death.
(a) That there is another and better world reserved for the righteous, as the ascension of Elijah and our Lord did afterwards (Heb 1 Peter 1:3-5);
(b) that piety is extensively profitable, being evidently conducive to our eternal, as well as to our present welfare (1 Timothy 4:8);
(c) that the redemption of our bodies as well as our souls is certain. For we see God able and faithful to fulfil His engagements (Ho Philippians 3:21);
(d) that an early removal is no loss to the righteous. For what is taken from time is added to a blissful eternity (Revelation 7:14-17);
(e) that a sudden removal, when God appoints it, is no cause of terror to those who die in Him, for to all such characters sudden death becomes sudden glory. (Sketches of Sermons.)
Walking with God
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THE TERM.
II. I SHALL PRESCRIBE SOME MEANS, IN THE LAWFUL USE OF WHICH BELIEVERS ARE ENABLED TO KEEP UP THEIR WALK WITH GOD.
1. By studying the Scriptures.
2. By constant and earnest prayer.
3. By watching the dealings of God without.
4. The motions of God within.
5. Walking in ordinances.
6. Walking in providences.
7. In the communion of saints.
8. And by meditation.
III. I SHALL OFFER SOME MOTIVES TO STIR US UP TO THIS HOLY PRACTICE. It is most honourable: most pleasing: and abundantly beneficial to the souls of men.
1. This walking is by faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:7).
2. Looking to the promises of God (1 Timothy 4:8).
3. Trusting to the wisdom of God (Romans 8:28). (T. B. Baker.)
I. ENOCH’S CHARACTER. “He walked with God.”
II. ENOCH’S END. “He was not” any longer subject to pain, sickness, infirmity, sorrow; all of which are still the portion even of those who walk with God in this vale of tears. “He was not” any longer tempted by Satan, by the world, by his own fallen nature, to sin against his kind Friend and Saviour; and thus his heaviest burden is removed. “He was not” any more “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked,” with the dishonour cast on his God, with the “triumphing of the wicked.” “He was not” spared to see their ungodliness proceeding to that gigantic pitch, which at length brought upon them the flood of waters to destroy all the earth. (J. Jowett, M. A.)
Enoch; or, the earthly walk and heavenly home
I. HE “WALKED WITH GOD”--A BRIEF AND SIMPLE STATEMENT OF A MOMENTOUS FACT. Of course the meaning is, that he was a good man, that he lived religiously. True religion is, walking “with God.” We are meant to walk with someone. We are social as well as active. Solitary journeying is sorrowful journeying. Company gives safety as well as cheer, beguiles the long hours and goads the flagging spirits. Most men have fellowships in their journey through life--companions of their moral ways, “walking with the wise,” or “going with the evil.” But the highest of all fellowships is with God: and “if we all walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” We “walk with God.” What does it include? Unquestionably realization. God is with us wherever we are, but we are with Him only as we recognize and feel Him to be present. God is “invisible,” and only faith can realize; and “by faith Enoch was translated.” In the dark night, a stranger perhaps might place himself by our side, or just behind us, for a time, but we should not walk with him. In the dark night of sin, “God is not far from every one of us,” but only one here and there are with Him. To see God, to be aware of His solemn nearness, to act as if this thought were ever in our mind, “Thou, God, seest me,” doing His will as that of a present Master, rejoicing in His favour as that of a present Friend, and trusting in His succour as that of a present Protector--to go on thus divinely right, and brave, and happy, is to “walk with God.” It includes intercourse. “But truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
II. Enoch walked with God, AFTER THE BIRTH OF METHUSELAH. It was then, so far as appears, that he began to do so. It is not said that he did so before. Until then it is said that “he lived,” as it is said of the rest. Does it not imply that he had not walked with God for sixty-five years? Or, supposing the expression, in his case, refers to eminence in religion, does it not imply that at that time his religion received a new start?
III. Be this as it may, the fact is clear that Enoch did walk with God after the birth of Methuselah and the births of other children. One of the two men who have had the honours of translation in this world for “pleasing God” was a man who LIVED IN THE MIDST OF SOCIETY, and was surrounded with children; he was not a recluse or a celibate. He lived in that condition in which there are natural and necessary distractions and temptations. It would be saying very little for religion if such a case were impossible. It would be queer theology which taught that man must denude himself of a portion of himself, ignore some of his capabilities and propensities, in order to know and possess much, or most, of God. When it is said that Enoch walked with God, it is meant that he attained to special religious excellence. His religion did not merely come into contact with his secular life; his spiritual humanity did not merely touch his social humanity, but, like the prophet upon the dead child, “stretched itself upon” it, mouth on mouth, eyes on eyes, hands on hands, and made it live. His religion was life, an active life. He “walked with God.”
IV. We see Enoch’s eminent godliness attaining A STRANGE AND SIGNAL HONOUR. “He was not, for God took him.” Paul says of Enoch, he did not “see death.” Christ says of every disciple that “he does not taste death.” I know not how it strikes you, but I always feel when reading this passage as if there was a beautiful fitness in this exit, a fitness of course and end. God took him who had walked with Him, bore him away to another sphere. The very silence of the historian aids the impression: there is no breach between the earthly and the heavenly life, no defined horizon--clouds, and sky, fields, hills, and wood, meet together, and this world’s beauty and the glory of the world above melt into each other, and one unbroken scene fills and satisfies the eye. He was with God here, he is with God there. He became more and more Divine in the lower and harder conditions of life, and now he has reached a state where nothing exists to check or disappoint his Godward aspirations. There is no translation now for the righteous, but there is better, transformation, the being “changed from glory to glory now,” and “the bearing of the image of the heavenly” hereafter. (A. J. Morris.)
Enoch’s character and translation
Observe, Be the times never so bad, it is men’s own fault they are bad too. Eminent holiness, and intimate communion with God, may be attained in the worst of times. The reasons are--
1. Because, however men grow worse and worse, heaven is still as good and bountiful as ever (Isaiah 59:1-2).
2. Because those that mind for heaven must row against the stream always; and if they do not, they will be called down the stream in the best of times; for, says our Lord (Matthew 11:12).
3. The badness of the times affords matter to excite God’s people the more to their duty and close walking with God. The profaneness and formality of those they live among, and the dishonour done to God thereby, should be like oil to the flame of their holy love and zeal, as it was to David Psalms 119:126-127).
4. Because, as the Lord shows Himself most concerned for the welfare of those who are most concerned for His honour, so the worse the times are, they that cleave to Him closely may expect to fare the better.
I. Let us consider Enoch’s holy life in this world; “Enoch walked with God.” The Spirit of God puts a special remark on this. It is Enoch’s honour, that he did not walk as others did, after their lusts. Observe,
1. God takes special notice of those who are best when others are worst Genesis 6:9).
2. It is the honour of a professor of religion to outgo others in the matter of close walking with God. In the first part of the words we have--
II. His character; he “walked with God.” He lived like a man of another world; a life of close communion with God. It imports--
Of walking with God
I. First, I am to consider walking with God in the foundation thereof, with respect to our state.
II. Secondly, I shall consider walking with God in the matter of it, in respect of our frame and conversation. And, indeed, this duty goes as broad as the whole law. If we would have the life of religion in our walk, we must not walk at random.
1. We must walk with God in the way of habitual eyeing of Him in all things.
2. We must walk with God in the way of the heart’s going along with Him in all things, as the shadow goes with the body. Walking with God is no bodily motion, but a spiritual motion, a moving of the heart and affections; and so it must import necessarily the heart’s going along with Him.
3. We must walk with God in ordinances (Luke 1:6). The ordinances are the banqueting house of Christ wherein He feasts His people (Song of Solomon 2:4), the galleries wherein the king is held by those that walk with him there (Song of Solomon 7:5).
4. We must walk with God in the stations and relations wherein He hath placed us. These are the sphere that God hath given us to move in, in the world. There are two pieces of work which a Christian has to do.
5. We must walk with God in all our actions, whether natural, civil, or religious. “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
III. Thirdly, I shall consider walking with God in the properties thereof. Walking with God is religion; and it is--
1. Practical religion, religion in deed, not in word only; and there is no other sort of religion that will bring us to heaven; hence says our Lord John 13:17).
2. It is inward and heart religion (1 Peter 3:4). They that have no religion but what is visible to the world, have no true religion; for God is the invisible God, and walking with Him must be so too (Romans 2:28-29).
3. It is heavenly religion (Philippians 3:20). According to men’s state and their nature, so will their actions be; for as is the tree, so will the fruit be. The heart of man, according as grace or corruption reigns in it, will tincture everything that comes through it.
4. It is lively and active religion, being a walking with the living God, wherein there is not only grace, but grace in exercise (Song of Solomon 1:12).
5. It is regular religion, and uniform; for he that walks with God must needs walk by a constant rule, eyeing Him not in some things only, but in Galatians 6:16; Psalms 16:8). He gives one rule of walking, extending to man’s whole conversation; and so he that walks with Him, walks regularly, aiming at a holy niceness, preciseness, and exactness, in conformity to that rule in all things (Ephesians 5:15).
6. It is laborious and painful religion; for it is no easy life they have whose trade it is to walk on their feet (Hebrews 6:10). And it is no easy religion to walk with God. Religion is not a business of saying, but doing; not of doing carelessly, but carefully, painfully, and diligently.
7. It is a self-denied religion (Matthew 16:24).
8. It is a humble religion (Micah 6:8).
9. It is constant religion. Walking is not a rising up and sitting down again, but a continued action, like that of a traveller going on till he come to his journey’s end. Enoch walked on through the world, till he was not.
10. It is progressive religion; religion that is going forward (Proverbs 4:18). (T. Boston, D. D.)
Walking with God
I. First and chiefest, because it will secure the rest, walk CONFIDENTLY with God. Rest upon His faithfulness. Entertain no suspicions of His love.
II. Walk OBEDIENTLY with God; i.e., be diligent in keeping His commandments. And let your obedience be an unreserved, warm-hearted, zealous, faithful obedience, an obedience of love which is ready at all times, as love is ready. Walk, then, unreservedly, in the love of the Lord with all its glorious consequences. And walk obediently with God in the second commandment as well as the first. Oh! then, let your walk with God be obedient; unreserved, without fear of excess; universal, without exception or partiality; and persevering, without yielding to monotony.
III. Walk HUMBLY with your God. He is a Father, and we are children. What does that relationship call for? Reverence--filial reverence, it is true, but still reverence, or honour--the honour of the father and the mother. “If I be a Father,” He says, “where is My honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear?” Further, He is the Creator, and we are the creatures of His hands; and this relationship calls for real subjection and prostration.
IV. Walk PATIENTLY with God. For however confiding your walk may be; however obedient with all the great characteristics of obedience; however humble, still you will suffer, and must be prepared for endurance. “The Lord chastens every son whom He receiveth”; and you must not expect to walk through this world exempt from trouble. “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you.” It is not a strange thing, it is the common case of the Lord’s children. (H. McNeile, D. D.)
Enoch’s walk and translation
I. THE CHARACTER OF ENOCH, WITH HIS DECIDED RELIGIOUS WORTH.
II. ENOCH’S GLORIOUS TRANSLATION FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN.
1. A sign of God’s love.
2. It is remarkable that three eminent translations distinguished three dispensations of God’s mercy to men--the last the most glorious.
(1) Enoch’s translation in the patriarchal age.
III. A FEW PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS MAY PROFITABLY CONCLUDE THIS SERMON: especially when a solemn event fills the minds of so many with deep thoughts.
1. We may all copy the living sermon of a holy life dedicated to Christ.
2. How sweet and blessed is the death of the Christian! His soul is taken away to the Saviour whom he loved; and his body rests in hopes of resurrection glory. His soul is gone; he is not on earth; God has taken him to heaven! No more shall sin or sorrow cloud the soul; no more shall trial, suffering, or death affect the body; no more shall the gloom of life intercept or darken the eye of faith, or the streaming light of heaven. (J. G.Angley, M. A.)
The piety and translation of Enoch
I. ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD.
II. THE TRANSLATION OF ENOCH.
1. As a work of omnipotence.
2. As a work of mercy. The wings of heavenly mercy overshadowed him, to protect him from the penalties of a violated law.
3. The translation of Enoch eminently displays the glory and honour of God. His love of the righteous was strikingly shown. His moral government was manifested, and His entire command over the present and the future so fully exemplified, that we cannot contemplate it without profound adoration of the Most High.
4. It was calculated to be beneficial to mankind, and to serve in that early stage of society the interests of truth and piety. (Essex Remembrancer.)
The character and translation of Enoch
I. HISTORY OF ENOCH.
II. CHARACTER OF ENOCH.
III. CONDUCT OF ENOCH. The conduct of this antediluvian saint was the piety of intelligence; he understood God’s claim and his own obligations, and it was not a mere custom. It was the piety of deliberate design and choice; he was not, so to speak, thrown accidentally into God’s company, but chose to go to Him, and with fixed, determinate purpose, sought His friendship. It was the piety also of a minister of religion; and what is any minister of religion, without personal godliness, but an actor in the most dreadful tragedy ever performed on the stage of this world, since it ends not in the feigned, but the real, death and destruction of the performer? It was the piety of one who had few of those helps and advantages of divine revelation and ordinances which we enjoy, and therefore shows how God can, and will, help those in the Divine life, who are, by Providence, deprived of the assistance which others possess. It was piety, maintained during a long period of severe trial, a profession consistently upheld amidst all conceivable opposition for nearly four centuries, thus exhibiting a sublime instance of endurance, perseverance, and victorious faith.
IV. TRANSLATION OF ENOCH. Enoch’s translation was a testimony to that generation of which he was a member, and to the whole world from that time to this, of God’s approval of his conduct. (J. A. James.)
Walking with God
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN WALKING WITH GOD.
II. THAT GOD WILL MANIFEST SOME PECULIAR TOKENS OF HIS FAVOUR TO THOSE WHO WALK WITH HIM.
1. God will guard them against the favours of the world.
2. God graciously guards his friends while they walk with Him, from their invisible as well as visible enemies.
3. God will give those who walk with Him peculiar evidence of their interest in His special grace. He loves those who walk with Him, and will manifest His love to them. He expressly called Abraham His friend when he offered up his son upon the altar. He sent a messenger from heaven to declare that Daniel was greatly beloved. And He manifested His special love to David by lifting the light of His countenance upon him.
4. God will manifest His peculiar favour to those who walk with Him, by giving them not only inward light, and joy, and peace, and the full assurance of hope, but by granting them outward prosperity.
5. Those who walk with God have ground to hope for another great and peculiar favour; that is, His gracious and comforting presence when they leave the world.
1. We may learn from the nature and effects of walking with God how all true believers may attain to the full assurance of hope. If saints would prevent or remove darkness, doubts, and distress from their minds, let them walk closely with God, who will give them peculiar tokens of their displeasing Him, and standing high in His favour.
2. If God manifests peculiar tokens of His favour to those who walk with Him, then they have more to gain than to lose by walking with Him.
3. If God be highly pleased with His friends while they walk with Him, then He must be highly displeased when they depart from Him.
4. It appears from the nature of walking with God, that those who walk with Him in a day of degeneracy do peculiar service and honour to religion.
5. This subject calls upon all who have professed to walk with God to inquire whether they have walked worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called.
6. This subject exhorts all who have not hitherto walked with God to walk with Him. (N. Emmons, D. D.)
Walking with God
Other notable men existed in that ancient time, to whom we are apparently more indebted than we are to Enoch; men who were the fathers of arts and sciences, and the founders of political institutions--pioneers in the onward march of civilization. But what are Jabal, and Jubal, and Tubal-Cain to us but so many cyphers associated in our minds with certain objects? We know something of these men’s work; of themselves we know absolutely nothing. Here, on the contrary, nothing is told us of any outward work that the man did; we only have the brief and summarized story of an inner life. But more than this. Enoch was the first saint, in the full sense of the word, of whom we hear anything in human history, as Abel was the first “righteous for justified] man.” He stands, perhaps, historically speaking, at the head of the great master roll of heaven’s nobility; and it is the brotherhood of saints that makes the ages one. We are more indebted to the first pioneer upon the highway of holiness than to the earliest discoverers in science and in art. Holiness is, above everything else, the reproduction of the Divine. As I said a moment ago, very little has been told us about Enoch, where our curiosity would fain have heard a great deal; but the little that has been told us is suggestive, and every point seems to carry its own lesson. To begin with his name. Enoch has the double meaning of consecration and initiation, suggesting first the thought that he who bore that name was to be one of God’s consecrated ones, “a priest unto God,” and next that, as a priest, he was to be introduced into the spiritual temple, to be allowed to see and know what the outer world knows nothing of, and to be initiated into the deeper mysteries of the spiritual life. And in this name we have the clue not only to his career, but to that of every other saint who, like him, walks with God. The life of fellowship must needs be the product of a state of consecration. God consecrates us His spiritual priests that our whole manhood may be set apart and our whole lives dedicated to His service. We may be occupied, as Enoch was, in the ordinary duties of life; our hands and our heads may be busy, yet may we find God’s temple everywhere, and His service in everything. For there is nothing secular, all is a sanctity, where all is given to God. Further, our attention is specially called by a New Testament writer to the fact that Enoch was the seventh from Adam. His was the Sabbath life in that genealogical record. As the Sabbath days to the other days of the week, so must his life have seemed as compared with the lives of others in those troublous and tumultuous days. And there is a rest even here for the people of God. We need not defer the Sabbath keeping of the soul to that glorious future which awaits God’s faithful ones yonder. It may seem, perhaps, fanciful to call attention to another fact mentioned in this brief notice, but I cannot bring myself to pass it over. We read that “all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years.” That is to say, he lived a perfect year of years; as many days as there are in the year, so many years there were in his life; he fulfilled his year. Perhaps when we reach the other side we shall make some strange discoveries with respect to the term of our existence here in the house of our discipline. Perhaps we may find that some lives have been lengthened out to extreme old age, just because life’s lessons were being learned indeed, but learned wondrous slowly by very dull scholars; and that some lives were cut short just because Divine Omniscience saw no probability of these lessons ever being learned at all by scholars who positively refused to learn. But to every man is appointed his own proper year; and blessed are they who so live that the year completes the life in every sense of the word! Blessed are they who so walk with God that when their appointed life period draws to a close their life lesson may be learnt, and they themselves be ready for the call to higher knowledge and more perfect service, while it is said of them, “He was not; for God took him.” Enoch’s life was not a long one as lives went in those days; he was only in what would be then regarded as early middle life when his call came, but had fulfilled his year. His life was complete in God’s sight, his day’s work done, and there was no necessity that he should tarry in the house of discipline through the long ages which measured the life of a Methuselah. But it is time that we looked more closely at this pregnant phrase, which tells us all that we historically know of the religious life of this ancient servant of God, “Enoch walked with God.” What is it, let us ask, to walk with God? More than a single idea would seem to be suggested by this familiar expression. As the words stand in the original they suggest primarily the idea of walking with reference to God. It is the idea that the Psalmist expresses when he says, “I foresaw God always before mine eyes.” In the practical issues of life, and in all its complete details, everything turns upon our choice of our centre of reference. He whose central idea in life is, How shall I please myself? can never walk with God, because God is not his centre of reference. Or again, this life of reference to God stands contrasted with the life of reference to the world, that conventional life which so many people condescend to lead. With such the question is, What is expected of me? or, What is the correct thing? or, What do others do? or, Will people like it? What will people say if I adopt this course, or do not adopt the other? Do not aim at singularity, but, on the other hand, do not shrink from it. You needs must be singular if you serve God in a world that serves Him not; you needs must be singular if you put the good before the fashionable in a world that puts the fashionable before the good; you needs must be singular if you put duty before worldly expediency, and the love of God and man before both in a selfish, shallow world, where all men seek their own. But there is nothing to be ashamed at in such singularity, and he who plays the poltroon, and is afraid to face reproach, would indeed be very singular in heaven if he were ever to get there. Better surely to be singular in this perishing world than hopelessly out of harmony with the spirit and genius of heaven. But this leads us to consider another thought suggested by the words of our text, closely connected with what we have just been considering, and yet distinct from it. To walk with God is not only to walk with reference to God, but to move, so to speak, on the same moral plane as belongs to God--seeing things from His point of view, entering into His designs, and drinking ever more and more deeply of His Spirit. There is a unity of heart and mind, of thought and feeling, that is usually a feature of close association amongst ourselves; and something of this kind would seem to be implied by the words, “Enoch walked with God,” Listen to the words quoted by St. Jude, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” The man that uttered those words was clearly looking at things from the Divine standpoint. With him sinners are regarded specially as ungodly, and sins are ungodly deeds; the habit of life that induces them is an ungodly habit of life, and the very words that such sinners are wont to speak are ungodly words. And the reason of this way of viewing things is that the man is walking with God. He takes measure of evil and of good, according as it affects that Divine Being with whom his life is hid. His standpoint is no longer merely ethical; he is conversant rather with She very heart of God than with moral principles. He is jealous for God’s glory with a godly jealousy, and is fired with a holy indignation at all that militates against this. And oh, with what a heart full of yearning love does he who thus walks with God gaze upon a God-dishonouring world! God loved the world, and loves it, and he who is in fellowship with the mind of God must needs love it too. The more He hates sin, the more does He long for the salvation of the sinner. But let us take the words of our text in the meaning which they most naturally bear, and which suggests perhaps the most important lesson of all. “Enoch walked with God”; that is to say, he lived in the society of God. In all his life an invisible but ever-present Friend was his Companion. He lived in His society, he consulted Him about everything, he was in communion with Him everywhere. So he lived out his allotted life, his year of years, until he passed from the triumphs of the walk of faith to the glories of the Land of Vision; for there is no death for such. The presence of God makes earth heaven, and brings heaven down to earth. The presence of God turns the shadow of death into the morning, and invests him who enjoys it with immortality. “I am the resurrection, and the life,” saith the Lord: “he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and he that liveth and believeth on Me shall never die.” By-and-by, when the last of the three hundred and sixty five days of his year had arrived and was reaching its close, the call came, “Friend, come up higher”: and “he was not; for God took him.” For as to walk with God is the secret of perfection here on earth, so to walk with God will be the crowning glory of that higher world. (W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)
Enoch, the model walker
I. A SAFE WALK. During a sudden freshet, a labouring man and his child, living in a cottage that stood by itself, were obliged to walk at midnight for more than a mile through water reaching to the little boy’s waist before they could reach a place of safety. After they had changed their clothes, and were feeling comfortable, the friend in whose cottage they had found shelter said to the little boy, “And wasn’t you afraid, Jack, while walking through the water?” “No, not at all,” said the little fellow, who was but seven years old: “I was walking along with father, you know. And I knew he wouldn’t let the water drown me.” This was very sweet. And if, like Enoch, we are walking with God, let us remember that we are walking with our heavenly Father. And He promises us expressly, “When thou passest through the waters, they shall not overflow thee” (Isaiah 43:2). One morning a teacher found many empty seats in her schoolroom. Two little scholars lay dead at their homes, and others were sick. The few children present gathered around her, and said, “Oh! what shall we do? Do you think we shall be sick, and die too?” The teacher gently touched the bell, and said, “Children, you are all afraid of this disease. You grieve for the death of your little friends, and you fear that you also may be taken. I only know of one thing for us to do, and that is to hide. Listen whale I read to you about a hiding place. Then she read the 91st Psalm, which begins thus: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” They were all hushed by the sweet words, and then the morning lesson went on as usual. At recess, a dear little girl came up to the desk, and said, “Teacher, aren’t you afraid of the diphtheria?” “No, my child,” she answered. “Well, wouldn’t you be if you thought you would be sick, and die?” “No, dear, I trust not.” The child gazed wonderingly at her for a moment; and then her face lightened up as she said, “Oh! I know! You are hidden under God’s wings. What a nice safe place that is to hide in!”
II. WALKING WITH GOD IS A USEFUL WALK. Suppose that you and I were taking a walk through the wards of a hospital. It is full of people who are suffering from accidents, and diseases of different kinds. There are some people there with broken limbs. Some are blind, others are deaf; and some are sick with various fevers, and consumption. And suppose that, like our blessed Lord, we had the power, as we went from one bed to another, to heal the sick and suffering people in that hospital. Here is a lame man. We make his limbs straight and strong, so that he can walk. Here is a blind man. We touch his eyes with our fingers; they open, and he can see. We speak to those who are suffering from diseases of different kinds, and make them well. Then we might well say that our walk through that hospital was a useful walk. But we have no such power as this to cure the diseases from which the bodies of men are suffering. Yet this may afford us a good illustration of what we can do for the souls that are suffering around us, when we become Christians, and walk with God. Some years ago a gentleman from England brought a letter of introduction to a merchant in this country. The stranger was an intelligent man with very pleasant manners, but he was an infidel. The gentleman to whom he brought the letter of introduction, and his wife, were earnest Christian people. They invited the stranger to make their house his home during his stay, and treated him with the greatest possible kindness. On the evening of his arrival, before the hour of retiring, the gentleman of the house, knowing what the views of his guest were on the subject of religion, told him they were in the habit of having family worship every evening; that they would be happy to have him join with them; or, if he preferred, he could retire to his room. He said it would give him pleasure to remain. Then a chapter of the Bible was read, and the family knelt in prayer, the stranger with them. After spending a few days in that pleasant Christian home, the stranger embarked on board a ship, and sailed to a foreign land. In the course of three or four years he returned, and stayed with the same family. But what a change there was in him! His infidelity was all gone. He was now an humble, earnest Christian. In speaking to his friend of this change, he said: “Sir, I owe it all to you. When I knelt down with you at family prayers on my former visit, it was the first time for years that I had ever bowed my knees before God. It brought back to me the memory of my pious mother, now in heaven, and all the teaching she had given me when a boy. I was so occupied with these thoughts that I did not hear a word of your prayer. But this led me to give up my infidelity, and seek the blessing of my mother’s God. And now I am as happy as the day is long in His service.” Here again we see how true it is that walking with God is a useful walk.
III. A PLEASANT WALK. When we are taking a walk there are several things that will help to make up the pleasure to be found in that walk. If we have a guide to show us the road; if we have a pleasant companion to talk with as we go on our way; if we have plenty of refreshments--nice things to eat and drink; if there are bright and cheerful prospects around and before us; and especially, if we are sure of a nice comfortable home to rest in when our walk is ended, these will help to make it pleasant. But when we walk with God, as Enoch did, we have all these things, and more too.
And these are sure to make it a pleasant walk. Solomon is speaking of this walk when he says: “Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.” “I visited a poor old woman belonging to my congregation,” said a minister. “She was entirely dependent on the church for her support. Her home was a very small cottage. The moment I entered it I saw how neat and clean everything was. She had just been gathering some sticks from the lane with which to cook her evening meal. Her face was one of the sweetest I ever saw. It was surrounded by the strings of her snow-white cap. On the table lay a well-worn copy of the Word of God. I looked around for a daughter or friend to be her companion and caretaker, but saw none. I said: ‘Mother Ansel, you don’t live here alone, do you?’ ‘Live alone! Live alone!’ she exclaimed in surprise, and then, as a sweet smile lighted up her face, she added, ‘No, sir, the blessed Lord lives with me, and that makes it pleasant living!’” Certainly she found walking with God a pleasant walk. A Christian lady was visiting among the poor one day. She called, among others, on a little sick girl. Her home was a dreary looking one. The room she occupied was on the north side of the house. There was nothing bright or pleasant about it. Everything looked dark and cheerless. “I am sorry you have no sun on this side of the house,” said the lady. “Not a ray of sunshine gets in here. This is a misfortune, for sunshine is everything.” “Oh, ma’am! you are mistaken,” said the sick girl, as a sweet smile lighted up her pale face. “My sun pours in at every window, and through all the cracks.” “But how can the sun get round on this side of the house?” asked the visitor. “It is Jesus, ‘the Sun of Righteousness,’ that shines in here,” was the reply, “and He makes the best sunshine.” That sick girl found walking with God a pleasant walk.
IV. A PROFITABLE WALK. We see a good deal of walking done without much profit. But sometimes we hear of people who are able to make their walking pay. There was a walking match in New York not long ago. A number of persons were engaged in it, and the man who won the prize secured twenty-five thousand dollars. That was profitable walking, so far as money was concerned; but walking with God is more profitable than this. Suppose there was a savings bank half a mile from your house, and you were told that if you walked to that bank every week, and put a penny in the treasury, for every penny you put in you would get a dollar at the end of the year. A penny a week would make fifty-two pennies by the end of the year, and if for these fifty-two pennies you were to receive fifty-two dollars, that would make your walk to the bank profitable walking. “It would be getting what we call a hundredfold for the money invested there.
There is no such savings bank as this. But, when we learn to walk with God, we find that serving Him is just like putting money in such a bank. Jesus says that if we give a cup of cold water to one of His disciples, or if we suffer for Him, or do any work for Him, we “shall receive a manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” And if such rewards are given to those who walk with Him, then we may well say that that is profitable walking. An infidel was one day laughing at a plain farmer because he believed the Bible. The farmer surprised him by saying, “Well, you see, we plain country people like to have two strings to our bow.” “And pray what do you mean by that?” asked the infidel. “Only this,” was the farmer’s answer, “that believing the Bible, and acting up to it, is like having two strings to one’s bow; for, if the Bible is not true, still I shall be a better and happier man for living according to its teachings, and so it will be profitable for me in this life; this is one string to my bow, and a good one, too. And, if the Bible should prove true, as I know it will, it will be profitable for me in the next world, and that is another string, and a pretty strong one, too. But, sir, if you do not believe the Bible, and do not live as it requires, you have no string to your bow in this world. And, oh, sir! if the tremendous threatenings of the Bible prove true--as they surely will--you will have no string to your bow for the next world, and what will become of you then?” This shows us that walking with God is profitable walking. (R. Newton, D. D.)
Known by his walk
“That man’s been in the army,” said a gentleman to his friend the other day, as a stranger passed them in the street; “I know a soldier by his walk.” Men ought to know Christ’s soldiers by their walk.
The biography of Enoch; or, a glorious life and a glorious end
Enoch is one of the few excellent men mentioned in the Bible, of whom nothing bad is recorded. Abraham is described as the father of the faithful; and yet there are instances on record in which his mighty faith gave way. Who ever thinks of the flaws on the face of beauty? Who ever thinks of the spots which deface the sun? They exist, you may find them by minute observation; but they do not make a deep impression upon your mind. Thus the character of Enoch, in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, seemed to be one mass of light, in which there was no darkness at all. Enoch is one of these men who owe their immortality to the brightness of their characters. Let us then consider the text as--
I. A SIMPLE RECORD OF A GLORIOUS LIFE. What does a glorious life consist in? The poet thinks it a glorious thing to produce burning thoughts, to master the powers of language, to command brilliant imagery; to revel in imagination through the ethereal regions of the lovely, the grand, the eternal; and then descend from those lofty heights to the lowly regions of real life, to enlighten its gloom, to soothe its sorrows, to strengthen its hopes. The orator thinks it a glorious thing to rivet the attention of assembled multitudes. The warrior thinks it a glorious thing to be entrusted with the command of a powerful army. Here is a simple record of a glorious life; let us now endeavour to analyse it. The words point to--
1. A life of absolute devotedness. It is not a selfish existence, but an existence linked to another existence, subordinate to another existence, devoted to another existence. “With God.”
2. A life of steady progress. This is clearly suggested by the term walking. Man is never more dignified than when he walks with a regular, firm, steady step; it is then that he looks every inch the lord of creation; you wonder not that other creatures should submit to his sway. But let him loiter about as if he had nothing to do, or let him run as if he were pursued, and he falls at once in your estimation. There is a touch of manliness about the very act of walking, which indicates a definite purpose, a reasonable aim, a complete mastery over one’s self. You have only to conceive of a man walking and a man running, and compare these two conceptions together, in order to be impressed with the superiority of the one over the other. But the expression employed here has a wider meaning than this. “Enoch walked with God.” This indicates progress. It is progress in knowledge, progress in holiness, progress in good works. It is an upward struggle, a heavenward course, a climbing up to the mount of God.
3. A life of blessed companionship. “With God.” Now, the blessed companionship of Enoch with God, which was a type of all true companionship, implied faith in God. Enoch’s companionship implied also a certain degree of familiarity with God. Just think of it. God’s friend must become a God-like character. The moon which is bathed in the transforming light of the sun, becomes itself a luminous body, and lightens up the sombre blackness of the night with its pale, beautiful, silvery rays. And so the man who walks in the light of God’s countenance must necessarily catch some of the glory and reflect it upon the world around him. Besides this, God’s friend needs fear no enemy.
II. A SIMPLE RECORD OF A GLORIOUS END. “And he was not, for God took him.” A good man is never lost; long after his body has mouldered in the dust, the influence of his holy example will remain, will remain as a mighty power; a power which will not diminish, but grow with the flight of ages. (D. Rowlands, B. A.)
Enoch’s walking with God
I. As the first acceptable worshipper of God was Abel, so the first acceptable walker with God was Enoch, in Scripture record. Here are two remarks upon Enoch recorded in Scripture. The first is, his appearance in the world. The second is, his disappearance from the world.
1. His appearance is attended with sundry considerable circumstances. As
Enoch signifies “dedicated”; his father Jared (which signifies “meek”) being a lowly and a holy man, did dedicate this son to God, as soon as he had received him from God.
II. Enoch signifies “catechized” or “instructed”; well knowing, also, that the care of the means was committed to the father, though he had committed the care of the end to the Lord. The paternal instruction must promote the dedication. As Jared had marred him by propagation (begetting a son in his own, the fallen image), so he must mend him by instruction. God is so exact in Scripture record, stating him the seventh patriarch, not only to declare the genealogy of Christ in a more distinct chronology of succession than can be found in any of the best human histories, but also to show both His great care of His Church and His great delight in His Church.
1. His great care of it in upholding it by seven descents of holy patriarchs.
2. His great delight in His Church above all other His concerns in the world, being only, all of them, in order to His Church.
3. The age of life that Enoch lived. The years that he lived in this lower world were exactly answerable to the days of a year, to wit, 365. What he wanted in the silver of a life natural, he had well paid him in the gold of a life eternal; so that not only the shortness of the father’s life was made up in the long life of his son, but also, God took him from a worse place to plant him into a better. His translation was but transplantation, as it were, out of God’s kitchen garden into His heavenly paradise. Thus we see here on earth, those northern plants which are transplanted out of their cold climate into a warmer southern soil, find no detriment, but advantage thereby, and thrive the better. How much more was it no loss, but gain, to Enoch to be translated out of the vale of tears into God’s garden of celestial pleasures! There are many talkers and but few walkers; many talkers of God, few walkers with God. Their lives give the lie to their lips or tongues, as not running relatively in parallel lines together with the heart. A man’s conversation is the most conspicuous comment upon all that the heart believeth and the mouth expresseth (Romans 10:9-10).
I. WHAT IS THIS WALKING WITH GOD?
1. Negatively. It is not as if a man should desert the society of mankind, and run into a desert or cloister; or as if a man should depart out of the world, and fly up into heaven. Neither does this phrase import only Enoch’s public capacity, as if it were proper solely to such as serve God in some high office. There are three Scripture phrases--
II. HOW THIS WALKING WITH GOD IS MAN’S DUTY. Upon a threefold respect.
1. It is the principal end why God created man, that man should walk with God his Creator.
2. It is the creature’s homage and fealty to his creator, God, to walk with Him, not with Satan, or with sin and sinners.
3. This walking with God is the very badge and character whereby saints are distinguished from sinners, believers from unbelievers, and the children of God from the children of the World.
III. HOW THIS WALKING WITH GOD IS MAN’S DIGNITY AS WELL AS DUTY. It is not only man’s homage, but it is also his honour to walk with God. It is accounted honourable to be but a follower of a mortal king. Inferences hence are--
1. It is our duty to walk with God, though the whole world walk contrary to God. The worse that times are, the better should we be, that the times may not be worse, but better by us. We should all strive to be the most holy persons, even in the most unholy times.
2. Therefore we should all strive to walk with God, upon these three following motives; besides the reasons of the duty, as also of the dignity.
Having done with Enoch’s first grand concern, to wit, concerning his appearance in the world--all which he managed in a constant walking with God--I come now to discourse upon his second grand concern, concerning his DISAPPEARANCE FROM THE WORLD to wit, his translation from earth to heaven. (C. Ness.)
The memorial of Enoch
Could we but hope that, even in a limited sense, these words might be inscribed as the motto on our tomb, then we need not envy either the mausoleums of the Pharaohs, the tomb of Alexander or Napoleon, or the sepulchres of the Caesars! Our “record would be on high,” and our memorial would live when the scroll of fame should be scattered by the winds of heaven, and perish forever in the conflagration of the world; for they who walk with God on earth shall reign with Christ in heaven.
I. CONTEMPLATE THE CHARACTER HERE GIVEN OF ENOCH--“HE WALKED WITH GOD.” Let none suppose that, whatever this may imply, it was the exclusive privilege of Enoch, and, therefore, is not to be sought after by others; for of Noah it is written--he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord; for he was a just man, and perfect in his generation.” And “Noah walked with God.” To Abraham, also, it was commanded--“Walk before Me”; and this the father of the faithful actually described himself as doing, when he said, “The Lord, before whom I walk, will send His angel with thee, and prosper thy way.”
1. It must imply the true knowledge of each other; for familiar intercourse is founded on knowledge. On the part of God, the knowledge is perfect and infinite. Well, then, might the Psalmist exclaim--“O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine up-rising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compasseth my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo! O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” But man is naturally ignorant of God. He knows Him not, nor desires to know Him; for “God is not in all his thoughts.” How, then, shall he understand His being and perfections, His works and His ways? “Such knowledge is too wonderful” for him; “it is high,” he “cannot attain unto it.” “For who by searching can find out God? who can find out the Almighty to perfection?” But He has graciously revealed Himself to us by His Spirit, in His Holy Word.
2. The most sincere friendship.
3. The strongest proofs of devoted attachment. Without these, friendship itself is only a name; but with them, the very balm of life.
4. But, in one word, to walk with God includes a community of interests. Their aim is one. Now, as God necessarily exists for His own glory, and delights in its manifestation in the happiness of His creatures; so man, regenerated and sanctified, supremely seeks the glory of God in all things.
II. CONTEMPLATE HIS SPECIAL PRIVILEGE. He was removed to heaven, without tasting the bitterness of death. It might be sooner than he expected; for he had not attained to half the years of the life of his father--but he rejoiced to depart, and to be with “God, his exceeding joy,” forever and ever! And was not this the richest boon he could possibly receive? Classic story has told us of two lovely youths that were found dead in their bed, soon after the prayer had been offered for them, that they might possess the best blessing heaven could bestow. And the Christian well knows, that “to depart, and to be with Christ, is far better” than anything here. Such was the privilege of Enoch--but as to the mode of his translation we know nothing. Yet, it must have been eminently gracious. Whatever was the manner of his translation, it was evidently supernatural--the doing of the Lord, and marvellous in the eyes of all. No rude stormof chaos, no fortuitous blast of atoms hurled him on high. But the Lord did it, in His own most gracious way. He had frequently conferred on him many distinguished favours--but then, to crown all, he took him as a special friend to Himself, to be forever with Him in heaven, in joys unutterable and full of glory. But do not expect the same kind of dismissal as Enoch. Only Elijah and he ever entered the eternal kingdom, without passing through the gate of death. (J. Clunie, LL. D.)
Enoch’s holiness and its reward
His mind was pure; his spirit rose above the turmoil of worldliness; he delighted in calm communion with God; once more the familiar intercourse between God and man, which had existed in the time of paradise, was restored; the path commenced by Seth was continued by Enoch; the former addressed God by the medium of the word; the latter approached Him by the still more spiritual medium of thought: the highest form of religious life was gained. But, unfortunately, Enoch alone “walked with God”; his contemporaries were sunk in iniquity and depravation; but the measure of their wickedness was not yet complete; three generations more were required to mature their destruction; and God, in order to rescue Enoch, took him to Himself, delivering him from the contamination of his time at a comparatively early period of his life. Was this early death a punishment? But the piety of Enoch is repeatedly stated. Was it a misfortune? It was this as little as the full length of Noah’s life; both cases were analogous; in the one, the pious man left the wicked generation; in the other, he was by a catastrophe freed from it; and in both instances, the deliverance was miraculous and supernatural, by the immediate agency of God. If this is the clear internal meaning of Enoch’s history, who can doubt that he was called away from the earth, not to cease his life abruptly, but to continue it in a better sphere, and in still more perfect virtue? We are convinced that the “taking away” of Enoch is one of the strongest proofs of the belief in a future state prevailing among the Hebrews; without this belief, the history of Enoch is a perfect mystery, a hieroglyph without a clue, a commencement without an end. If, then, pious men could hope to continue a brighter existence after their transitory sojourn upon earth, the books of the Old Testament are not enveloped in the gloomy clouds of despair; they radiate in the beams of hope; and, if a long life on earth was also gratefully accepted as a high, though not the highest, boon, this may have sprung from the just feeling, that man is born to enjoy and to work, to receive much and to give more; and that he does not deserve the blessing of eternal rest before he has toiled to extend the empire of truth and piety (comp. Genesis 4:7-10.) God “took” Enoch as He “took” Elijah (2 Kings 2:9), or “he was translated by faith, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him” (Hebrews 11:5). The notion seems to be, that Enoch passed from earth to heaven without the intermediate state of decrepitude and dissolution; he suffered no bodily infirmity; “his eye grew not dim, nor did his natural strength abate,” as it is stated with regard to Moses, who also disappeared, so that no mortal knew his grave. For the pious Enoch, death lost its pang and its sting; though the descendant of a sinful race, he was delivered from the real punishment which sin inflicted upon the human family; his existence was uninterrupted; he was undying, as man was originally intended to be; for he passed from this life into a future state both without fear and without struggle. God took him as a loving father to His eternal home. The history of Enoch has ever been regarded as embodying profound truths; and, we think, there are few so strongly affecting the very root of religious life as those which we have just briefly indicated. And, as the virtuous are thus translated into heaven, the wicked are devoured alive in the gulf of the earth (Numbers 16:1-50). It is known that the classical writers also mention such translations into heaven; they assign this distinction among others to Hercules, to Ganymede, and to Romulus. But it was awarded to them either for their valour, or for mere physical beauty, which advantages, though valued among the Hebrews, were not considered by them as sublime or godlike; a pious and religious life alone deserved and obtained the crown of immortal glory. In no single feature can the Scriptures conceal their high spiritual character. However, the idea of a translation to heaven is not limited to the old world; it was familiar to the tribes of Central America; the chronicles of Guatemala record four progenitors of mankind who were suddenly raised to heaven; and the documents add that those first men came to Guatemala from the other side of the sea, from the east. This is, then, apparently, a rather remarkable connection of the primitive traditions of the most different nations. (M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
On the 22nd of February 1880 Dr. Raleigh preached for the last time. His text was, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Had he known that he would never preach again, he could not have chosen a more appropriate text, or have spoken with more impressiveness and pathos. One of the members of the congregation said, on returning home, “I have heard today what I never expect to hear again in this world.” Dr. Raleigh was compelled to rest; weeks passed away, but there was no amendment in his health, and at length he had to be told that there was an hope of his recovery. When he received the intelligence he said, “Then my ministry is ended.” There was a pause, and then he added, “My ministry!--It is dearer than my life.” On the Tuesday before his death, he was visited by the Rev. Joshua Harrison, to whom he freely expressed his confidence in the glorious work of the Saviour, and said, “in any case I may well be content and thankful. I am not an old man, yet I have lived long and worked hard. I have had, on the whole, a most happy, and I think I may say successful, ministry. God has blessed my work, and has always given me true friends. If I have finished my work, I am ready to go. Indeed, I should have no regrets but for these dear ones” (his wife and children). When reminded of the prayers which were being offered on his behalf, he replied, “Yes, my people’s prayers make me sometimes think I may have a little more work to do, but it not, I shall calmly march up to the gates.” Still trusting in Christ, he went “through the gate,” April 1880. In the presence of a sorrowing multitude, his coffin was lowered into a grave in Abney Park Cemetery. (Old Testament Anecdotes.)
Gathering flowers to compose him in the hour of death
We know it to be a Scripture fact that men have “walked with God” in closest intimacy, and that God hath held converse with them, “even as a man converseth with his friend.” Such was the case with Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and all that luminous cloud of witnesses so brightly and clearly revealed in the Bible. The Church of God, even down to our own time, furnishes innumerable witnesses to this truth, which we will establish by the mouth of two of them. John Holland was an old Puritan minister, who died two hundred and fifty years ago. Little is known of him, except what relates to his deathbed. Perceiving that he was near his end, he said, “Come, oh, come; death approaches. Let us gather some flowers to comfort this hour.” He requested that the eighth chapter of Romans might be read to him. But at every verse he stopped the reading, while he expounded it to the comfort of his soul, and to the joy and wonder of his friends. Having thus continued his meditations above two hours, he suddenly cried out, “Oh, stay your reading. What brightness is this I see? Have you lighted any candles?” They told him “No; it is the sunshine.” “Sunshine?” said he; “nay, my Saviour’s shine! Now farewell, world--welcome, heaven. The day star from on high hath visited my heart. Oh! speak when I am gone, and preach it at my funeral, ‘God dealeth familiarly with man.’” In such transports his soul soared towards heaven. His last words, after repeating the declaration that “God doth and will deal familiarly with man,” were these: “And now, thou fiery chariot, that camest down to fetch up Elijah, carry me to my happy home. And, all ye blessed angels, who attended the soul of Lazarus to bring it to heaven, bear me, oh! bear me to the bosom of my best beloved. Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” One other present witness is Gilbert Tennent, who was a main instrument, with Whitefield and Edwards, of the great revival in New England one hundred years ago. In one of his letters to his brother, the holy William Tennent, he says, “Brother, shall I tell you an astonishing instance of the glorious grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? It is this, that one of the meanest of His servants has had His presence every day, in some degree, for above eleven weeks, Nor is the great, good Master yet gone. Oh, brother, it is heaven upon earth to live near to God! Verily, our comfort does not depend so much upon our outward situation as is generally supposed. No, a Saviour’s love is all in all. Oh, this will make any situation sweet, and turn the thickest darkness into day!” (Old Testament Anecdotes.)
Preparation for death necessary
I have read of a gentleman who died very suddenly, and his jester ran to the other servants, and having told them that their master was dead, he, with much gravity, said, “And where is he gone?” The servants replied, “Why, to heaven, to be sure!” “No,” said the jester, “he is not gone to heaven, I am certain.” The servants with much warmth asked him how he knew that his master was not gone to heaven? The jester then replied, “Because heaven is a great way off, and I never knew my master take a long journey in his life but he always talked of it some time beforehand, and also made preparations for it; but I never heard him talk about heaven, nor ever saw him making preparations for death, and therefore I am sure he is not gone to heaven.” (H. G. Salter.)
This moment Enoch is surrounded by antediluvian sinners, transformed by evil passions into demons; the next, he is in the society of angels, of the general assembly of the firstborn, of God Himself: this moment he is in a humble tent; the next, he is in the city and palace of the King: this moment he is in imminent danger; the next, his is quietness and assurance forever: this moment he is in earth--an earth reeling with wickedness, and ripening fast for ruin; the next, he “summers high in bliss upon the hills of God”: this moment he is almost a solitary protester against evil; the next, he has outsoared the shadow of sin, and is one of a holy company that no man can number, standing before the throne: this moment his body is frail and corrupt, a body of death, even as others; the next, his body has become a glorious body, winged, radiant, immortal: this moment he is like all men, subject to, and in danger of, death; the next, he has evaded the grim king of terrors, escaped not only the feeling, but the sight, of death. (G. Gilfillan.)
A singular saint is a precious saint
As the morning star in the midst of the clouds, and as the moon when it is at full; as the flower of the roses in the spring of the year, and as the lilies by the springs of waters; as the branches of the frankincense in the time of summer, and as a vessel of massy gold, set with all manner of precious stones, and as the fat that is taken from the peace offering;--so is one Enoch, that walketh with God when others walk from Him; one Rahab, in Jericho; one Elias, that boweth not his knee to Baal; one David, in Mesech; one Esther, in Shushan; one Judith, in Bethulia; one Joseph, in the Sanhedrim of the Jews; one Gamaliel, in the council of the Pharisees; one innocent and righteous man, in the midst of a crooked and froward generation. (J. Spencer.)
And all the days of Methuselah
The longest life and its lessons
In dwelling upon this text I shall--
Take a simple survey of the age and manners of the antediluvian world. The youth of the world was the season of man’s greatest age; perhaps, also, of man’s greatest wickedness.
II. Draw some important lessons from this survey--
1. The agglomerative tendencies of human depravity.
2. The vanity of earthly things.
3. The power of an endless life.
4. The great natural wickedness of the heart.
5. That mere duration of years does not constitute a long life, but the fulfilment of life’s ends.
6. The danger of religious procrastination. (Dr. Cheever.)
The close of life
I. THE CLOSE OF LIFE IS ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN.
II. LIFE HAS COME TO A CLOSE WITH MEN THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.
III. LIFE COMES TO A CLOSE IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD. Some places are more salubrious than others.
IV. LIFE COMES TO A CLOSE AT ALL SEASONS OF THE YEAR.
V. LIFE CLOSES AT ALL PERIODS. Death is not peculiar to any age.
VI. LIFE CLOSES IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. How many perish in the battlefield, amid all the dreadful realities of war! Many are lost by shipwreck at sea. Many lose their lives by accident on land. Far from the land of his birth and friends, pursuing his philanthropic career, John Howard finished his labours and his life. Sublimely grand must have been the exit of Thomas Chalmers; but, like that of John Foster, no human eye was permitted to see it. It was a Sabbath evening when he retired to rest, “in his most happy mood.” In the morning he was found on his bedside in an attitude of repose. A peaceful smile, like a beam from the Sun of Righteousness, lingered about his face. His immortal part had soared upwards, escorted by a convoy of angels, to the better land. Thus widely diversified are the circumstances and modes of our departure. VII. THE CLOSE OF LIFE NEVER HAPPENS BY CHANCE. It is an event of Divine appointment.
VIII. THE CLOSE OF LIFE MAKES ALL THE ARTIFICIAL DISTINCTIONS OF LIFE VOID. “Death,” says Dr. Donne, “comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes. The ashes of an oak in a chimney are no epitaph of that to tell me how high, or how large it was; it tells me not what flocks it sheltered whilst it stood, nor what men it hurt when it fell. The dust of great men’s graves is speechless too; it says nothing, it distinguishes nothing. As soon the dust of a wretch whom thou wouldst not, as of a prince whom thou couldst not look upon, will trouble thine eyes if the wind blow it thither; and when a whirlwind hath blown the dust of the churchyard into the church, and the man sweeps out the dust of the church into the churchyard, who will undertake to sift those dusts again, and to pronounce: ‘This is the patrician--this is the noble flour; and this the yeoman--this the plebeian bran!’”
IX. THE CLOSE OF LIFE IS OF INCONCEIVABLE IMPORTANCE. Our chances of preparation last while life lasts. Iris said that when Alexander encamped before a city, he used to set up a light, to give notice to those within that if they came forth to him while that light lasted, they should have quarter; but if they came not out within the given time they were to expect no mercy. Our light is burning now. It goes out when life departs. Death fixes all forever. It is this solemn fact--that death in shutting the gates of life upon us here, ushers us into the unchangeable hereafter--that accounts for the opposite experiences of men when they come to die. Voltaire said to his doctor--“I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of what I am worth, if you will give me six months’ life.” “Sir,” replied the doctor, “you cannot live six weeks.” “Then,” said the dying man, “I shall go to hell”; and soon after expired. “I shall be glad to find a hole,” said Hobbes, “to creep out of the world at.” How different the anticipations of good men! “O Father of Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ!” exclaimed the martyr Polycarp; “I bless Thee that Thou hast counted me worthy to receive my portion in the number of martyrs.” “I have pain,” said Richard Baxter, “(there is no arguing against sense); but I have peace.” “Is this dying?” said Dr. Goodwin. “How have I dreaded as an enemy this smiling friend.” “The best of all is, God is with us,” was John Wesley’s shout of victory in the last hour. “The victory’s won forever,” exclaimed Dr. Payson; “I am going to bathe in an ocean of purity and benevolence and happiness to all eternity.”
X. I HAVE NOW TO OBSERVE, THAT THE CLOSE OF LIFE MAY BE NEAR AT HAND. We know not the day nor the hour of the messenger’s arrival.
XI. MY LAST REMARK IS THAT THE CLOSE OF LIFE DEMANDS INSTANT PREPARATION. Mark what that preparation is. What you require to fit you for death is all the same as that which you require to fit you for life. (W. Walters.)
This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands
Hope through the gloom
THE HARDNESS AND DIFFICULTY OF LIFE. These words are the words of parents. Lamech, “the powerful,” is not ashamed to confess that he needs comfort; and when this child comes to him he accepts him as a Divine gift, as a commissioned, competent, and thrice-welcome messenger of comfort from God.
II. THE COMFORT THAT COMES INTO THE WORLD WITH CHILDREN. These words of Lamech are the permanent inscription in the horoscope which parents everywhere and always see over the cradle of the latest born. There is a bright prophecy of God concerning the future in this invincible hopefulness of the parental heart.
III. THE SECURITY WE HAVE FOR THIS IN THE GREAT PACT OF OUR REDEMPTION. Our Noah has been born; the Rest-giver, strong Burden bearer, all-pitying and all-suffering Saviour. Noah was a preacher of righteousness, but Jesus Christ brings and gives righteousness, instilling it into every believing heart. (A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Comfort in toil
These words, used by Lamech, apply far more truly to the descendant of Noah after the flesh, even Jesus Christ.
I. When our Lord appeared among men the world was in almost as sad and hopeless a condition as when Lamech looked around him. Among the Gentiles there was ignorance, darkness, and false imaginations; among the chosen people there Was hardness and impenitence. Christ comforted His disciples after His resurrection by raising up the temple of their wrecked faith, as He raised again the temple of His own body. He comforted them with the assurance that their faith was not in vain, that He had the keys of death and hell, and was able to succour to the uttermost those who trusted in Him.
II. The risen Christ comforted also the fathers of the ancient covenant. Moses and Elias appeared unto Him on Tabor, speaking with Him of the things concerning His passion. The ancient patriarchs could not enter into heaven till the gates were opened by the cross of Christ, and the handwriting that was against all sinners was taken away.
III. The resurrection of Christ is a joy and comfort to us also--
1. Because in Him a way of safety was opened to the world.
2. Because He will repay a hundredfold all that is done for him. (S. BaringGould, M. A.)
The third Sunday in Advent
I. THE DEEPER MEANING OF THE GENEALOGICAL LISTS OF SCRIPTURE. They serve to tell us not only--
1. Of the physical interdependence of the race, awakening thus our attention to the great problem of heredity; but
2. Of the moral variety of the race, bringing us face to face with human free will; and
3. Of the great glory of the race. There are names, like mountain peaks, of spiritual grandeur; they find their apex in the Name which is above every name.
II. THE MERCIFUL DEALING OF GOD WITH A SINFUL WORLD. Samples of God’s education of man by--
3. Manifold discipline.
III. THE TRANSCENDENT SUPERIORITY OF OUR PRIVILEGES. In the advent of Jesus Christ--
1. We find no disappointment;
2. We have profound satisfaction. (Homilist.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》