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of what has been miscalled “natural religion,” a religion independent of a revelation from God. On the contrary it states, that when the first transgressor had only two sons, one of them was rejected by God, in a professed act of worship, for slighting the prefigurative ordinance of animal sacrifice, while the other found favour by the appointed expression of faith in the expected atonement of the promised Seed. “ By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which (sacrifice) he obtained witness that he was righteons, God testifying of his gifts: and by it,” viz. that more excellent sacrifice which he offered, “ he being dead yet speaketh.” He continues thereby to speak, to all succeeding generations, of the absolute necessity of atonement by a vicarious victim; he justifies, by his example and its blessed result, the penitent sinner in the recourse he has to the antitypical sacrifice for the pardon of sin and the hope of salvation; he ,vindicates the character of God in the condemnation of those who reject the method of reconciliation proposed to them, and in the justification of him who believeth in Jesus.
But there is yet another most important subject which derives confirmation and illustration from the patriarchal memoirs ; I mean what Bishop Horsley has called “the mysterious commerce of the Divine Spirit with the buman soul.” From this communion the life of the soul has arisen,
and by that it has been maintained, under every dispensation. The patriarchs, indeed, enjoyed converse with God, oftentimes, by means of external palpable exhibition to their bodily senses. But that exhibition was casual and not permanent: it was not the cause of spiritual life, though it was confirmatory of faith ; for, had such exhibition been the cause of life, Cain, who heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him as well as Abel, and who saw, as well as his brother, the symbol of the Divine presence in their common place of worship, would have been vitally influenced by what he saw and heard as Abel was. But the one found acceptance, while the other was rejected; and the cause of that rejection was the want of a living faith in the atoning Saviour, which faith was, is, and must be, “of the operation of God” the Holy Ghost. These outward manifestations were, under former dispensations, necessary to the establishment of faith; but their necessity is now superceded by the fulness of the written Divine Revelation. The power, however, which alone can give efficacy to a visible or written discovery of Immanuel,—“God” to be manifested, or become “ manifest in the flesh,”—has, in every period of the church, been indispensable. For want of it Cain and other antediluvian infidels ---Balaam, and the unbelieving Israelites,-fell short of salvation; and to the enjoyment of this influence believers have uniformly ascribed all their exercises of faith and hope. This commerce of the Divine Spirit with the fallen soul of man is the cause of all spiritual sensation. This gives efficacy to all the means of grace. It is thereby that we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us ;" that
we are one with Christ, and Christ with us.” The living faith in the One Redeemer, whether antediluvian or post-diluvian,-whether prospective or retrospective,-has been produced, maintained, and crowned with success, by virtue of that Divine Influence, which we know was in operation from the beginning,* and will be in operation till the end of time. In this atmosphere the renewed soul lives, and moves, and has its being; and to this influence are to be attributed those temporary convictions, which, like a galvanic shock on the organized but lifeless body, produce ineffectual emotion in the torpid conscience of the unrenewed mind.
The second coming of our Lord, and the end for which he is to appear, were tenets of the patriarchal creed. Whence St. Jude derived the prophecy which he has ascribed to Enoch, whether from tradition or immediate Divine communication, may be a matter of inquiry; but the inspiration of the Epistle in which the prophecy is recorded, assures us that it was uttered by him of whom we read that by faith he walked with God during three hundred years after the birth of his son Methuselah, and probably before that event.
* Gen. vi. 3.
"Enoch's prophecy seems to have been generally known among the Jews. For the first words of it, which in the
This prophecy agrees with all the subsequent predictions on the same subject which Revelation has furnished. It is very explicit. It designates Him to whom all judgment is committed. It describes the Majesty of his appearance and retinue at his second advent. It specifies the end for which He will come, and the grand offence, viz. opposition to Himself, which will be the chief ground of the condemnation of impenitent sinners. Surely there is enough in this prediction to prove that the patriarchs were not left in utter ignorance of the things which pertain to the Kingdom of God.
The truth of this prophecy was confirmed and its doctrine illustrated by the subsequent translation of its author to heaven in his whole person. Thereby demonstration was afforded of a future state of reward and punishinent, and that in relation both to the body and the soul.
Hebrew" (or rather in the Chaldee) are Maran Atha, were used by them with great propriety, in that form of excommunication or cursing, which they pronounced upon irreclaimable offenders, as they put all who were present in mind of God's coming at the last day, to punish the obstinately impenitent. This same curse the Apostle Paul pronounced on all wicked Christians. I Cor. xvi. 22." Macknight's Note.
But the prediction of Enoch was awfully established by the catastrophe which followed its publication to the world. The destruction of that world by the universal deluge, and the salvation of a few by means of the ark, afforded at once a testimony of the evil of sin, and of the faithfulness of God both in his threatenings and promises ; and also an anticipation of the final judgment. In this latter view St. Peter has employed it in his second epistle. He produces it as evidence of the truth of those prophetic declarations which assure us that the world will be yet once more destroyed by fire. The flood was the first fruits of the vintage of the wrath of God, the wine press of which is to be trodden in the great day of the Lord God Almighty. The patriarchal history is therefore a solemn warning to the scoffers of these latter days; for the predictions of our Lord and his Apostles will be as surely fulfilled, as were those of Enoch and Noah. Indeed the former universal catastrophe, of which every part of the world affords the most complete evidence, preaches to us the certainty that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,—the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” The threatened deluge of water was far more improbable to the infidel antediluvians, than is the