Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The pre-eminent piety of Enoch speaks much more strongly in his favor, when we consider the age in which he lived. Men had began to multiply considerably on earth, and favored as they were with but a partial revela. tion, destitute also of those public ordinances of religion which not only contribute to enlighten men in the knowledge of the truth, but to kindle and extend a spirit of warm piety, from the very fact of their associating in multitudes together; it is not at all surprising, that they should have soon lost in a great degree their interest in things eternal, and have felt and acted as persons who were to continue here forever. It is very true that Adam, and most of the early patriarchs remained a long while upon earth. Adam lived no less than 930 years; and by summing up the various periods given you in this chapter from Adam down to Noah, you will discover that Enoch himself was cotemporary with Adam for more than 300 years. The transactions of the creation and of the fall of man, must therefore have appeared of very recent occur

While Adam, and Seth, and Canaan, were yet a: live, and multitudes of the men who had seen the earth put on its earliest garb at every change of season, the various facts most interesting to our race would of course be well authenticated. But then mankind would be led, and they actually were led, from their familiarity with all these things, to attach to them very small importance; and it was only here and there, where the ears of piety drank in the lessons of wisdom and knowledge from the lips of Adam or of other patriarchs; it was only here and there, that any one would profit by the opportunities thus placed so fairly within his reach. Meanwhile this very fact, the protracted durationof human life, afforded stropg

[ocr errors]

rence.

[ocr errors]

facilties to alienate the mind from God. Who that looked forward to a probable duration of 700 or 1000 years, I would stand so much in awe of judgment and eternity, as the men of modern days who sum up their course in three Score years and ten! What prodigious advantages might avarice anticipate, when it could through such a period increase and enjoy its stores! What strong inducements to rapine and violence when the possessions won with danger might be held for such a term! What fine facilities to calm the stubborn conscience of the reveller and sensualist, when he could look forward through centuries in which to prolong his riot, and still farther to other centuries through which he might repent and learn to amend his ways! All these results are strickly natural, and we find that they were common. Sensuality, and rapine, and violence, and blood, so increased upon the earth during 1600 years, that infinite holiness could no longer brook it. God broke the pillars which sustained the crust of earth, and her face was merged in waters.

Against the force of these temptations our patriarch stood firm. From the lips of earlier men he gathered motives to piety and purity, and while he saw the heads of patriarchs growing, hoary for the grave, he curbed the strong propensities of warm blooded youth, and in the blossom of his manhood prepared to meet his God.

It mattered not to Enoch that eight hundred years of life stretched far before his fancy in broad and ample view. He provided for his family, but to the lures of avarice he was resolutely blind; by faith he anticipated an inheritance in heaven, and so he "walked with God.” In vain did ambition point out the many honours that eight hundred future years might make to blossom on his head; by

V

faith he saw an object of more legitimate ambition, when the seed of the woman should bruise the serpents head; an acquisition which he might inherit without the fear of violence, without the sting of guilt, through innumerable such years as eternity shall unfold; aid still he walked with God.” In vain did pleasure, seductive and secure, present ten thousand extacies to disarm his self-denial: by faith he saw a paradise where was munificence such as God pours out, full floods of pleasures where there is friendship without selfishness, and love without alloy :-Enoch remembered it, and "Enoch walked with God." In vain did the world heap its calumnies upon him, in vain did it point at the singularities of his piety, at the stubbornness of his integrity; in vain did it assail him with ridicule or miling. No man can be indifferent to opinions of his fellows; even Jesus of Nazareth acutely felt the pressure when men most unworthy spoke of him with scorn; but Enoch, though the blush sometimes mantled on his cheek, remembered well the period when judgment unto righteousness shall dissipate men's calumnies; when the Lord himself shall come with ten thousands of his saints, and when piety and purity shall see, that of God's creation, they have the million on their side; the great mass of intelligences, dignified, and tender, and lovely, in his innocence:-Enoch thought of this and he walked closely with God. Thus in his youth did he make the choice of wise dom; and in defiance of all temptation that sprung up within his bosom, and regardless of the discouragements that were frowning all around him, he adhered to the course at first so wisely chosen: he steered right onward.

It was the bearings of his choice on his eternal destiny; mit was the sober certainty of the future judgment that reg.

:

ulated the feelings and governed the course of Enoch, It was this that armed him with sufficient courage not only to maintain his course in despite of human calumnies, but to hurl back upon the world their denunciations of evil, and to do it not only as a good man, but as a commissioned prophet. On this circumstance the Mosaic history is silent; but the apostle Jude has detailed it in language of great force. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these things, saying, behold, the Lord com. eth with ten thousand of his saints."-Jude i. 14.

The duty thus assigned to this faithful patriarch, was of all others the most painful. There is no difficulty my dear friends, and nothing is endangered, when we unfold to you God's purposes of immeasurable mercy, and breathe the salutations of Messiah’s peace. You are pleased to follow, and all men love to follow us through those excursive flights which rise to depict the character of Deity in all its lustre and stupendous greatness; or stretch far to coma pass his plans of general good, so magnificent and wise. You love to hear of these things, and of all that serves to minister to hope, to feeling or to fancy.

Bnt then there are messages which fell within the circle of the prophets duties, and which now make up the burden of our New Testament commission, which it is not quite BO pleasant either to hear or to deliver. God commanda us to unfold to you the whole of his deep councils; to tell you of that holiness without which none shall see his face, to deliver his instructions unadulterated and unfrittered. And he has taught us to expect that in a world of sin, when so many wills are careless of the will of God, and so many hearts at variance with his holiness and righteousness, there must be much that will not flatter, and much

men.

secute you.

that will deeply wound the self-love and prejudices of

He himself experienced it; he has taught us to expect it. "The servant he has told us is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me they will also per

If they have kept my sayings they will keep your sayings." It must be so, in the nature of things till the world retains no principles and countenances no practices hostile to the perfect will of God. There is then but one alternative to the minister of Jesus Christ. He must be unfaithful to his trust, and so escape the wrath of all men; or he must make up his mind to stand approve ed to God, and dare the worst from them who bate his message. So Enoch stood.

“Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified

“His love he kept, his loyalty his zeal.” But no man will be the loser who suffers for his maker. The being who has displayed such magnificence in his creation, who has evinced such nice conceptions of the becoming and the grand, will not be found the foremost to desert his friends. He is able and he will be prompt to repair their wrongs.

He did so speedily and he did it nobly in the case before us. Enoch went on resolved and unreprovable, unseduced by temptation, never shrinking from his task, and anticipa. ting a long life of cheerless opposition and of thankless toil. But he was never destined to see such life of toil. Never should that fine countenance be furrowed deep with age; never should labour and sorrow prematurely blench his head. At a moment most urlooked for, while he still fulfilled his duties, at a moment most rapturous there came a messenger from heaven, he came with all his retinue, horsemen and chariots of fire. Who saw his triumph, or who saw it not the scripture no where tells us. The apos

« AnteriorContinuar »