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And Enoch walked with God and he was not ; for God took him.
GENESIS, v. 24.
An account of Enoch is more fully given by the apostle, in his statement respecting the ancient believers. He says, " By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him : for before his translation he had this testimony,
: that he pleased God." The account of Enoch, as it is given by Moses and Paul, shows the powerful influence and the happy effects of true faith, În our attention to the translation of Enoch,
I. It is proposed to mention the evils from which God took him.
1. He took him from the natural evils of this life. “Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward." Numerous, various and incessant are the evils, which attend the children of Adam from the cradle to the grave. Wants and cares, pains and labors, are their common portion. Though in our early days, when we ascend the hill of life, we expect to find some objects of permanent enjoyment, they are seen only in prospect. We soon begin to descend from the height we have sought with so much hope and labor; and as we approach" the valley of the shadow of death,” we learn, " from the days of darkness, all that cometh is vanity.” Unless we choose to be blinded and befooled by the vain dreams and empty shadows of this world, we see and know that “Verily every man at his best state is alto-gether vanity.” From every earthly evil Enoch was removed in the midst of his days.
2. Enoch was removed from the wickedness of impenitent transgressors. As mankind increased on the earth, they multiplied their offenses against God and
man. From what Jude says of Enoch, it appears.
that he was a public teacher of religion. From his eminent knowledge and holiness he must have had an affecting impression of the ungodly conduct of sinners. The folly of childhood, the vanity of youth, the obstinacy of manhood and the stupidity of old age, were ever before his eyes. The scenes of wickedness and misery that he was obliged to see and endure, were a constant burden to his soul. But God took him from these hateful and painful objects.
3. God removed Enoch from the imperfect communion of saints on earth. In their society his spirit was often relieved and comforted under his labors and burdens. But their afflictions were many, their temptations constant and their imperfections sorrowful. He was often more hindered than helped by their spirit and conduct; and troubled rather than comforted by their imperfections and necessities. Often had he hoped that they would become more humble and watchful, more constant and joyful in the service of God. But he was doubtless obliged to exclaim, “A faithful man who can find ?” He,
“ who walks with God, must walk alone. And when he is with his imperfect children, he must bear their burdens and feel their sins and sorrows. God removed Enoch, at his translation from the fellowship of his imperfect and afflicted saints on earth.
4. Enoch was taken from his own imperfections. His knowledge and holiness, which were implied in his familiar intercourse and faithful communion with God, would not remove, nor lessen his sight and sense of the evil and plague of his own heart. He might not have been more holy than Job, whom God declared to be perfect and like whom, God said, there was none on the earth. Yet Job said unto God, “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee : wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." Enoch may not have been more pure and faithful than Daniel, who said in view of God,“ all my comeliness was turned in me into corruption." In proportion to his knowledge and holiness must have been his hatred of sin and his sorrow for every vain thought and evil affection. But when God took him, he removed him from every taint of sin forever.
5. God took Enoch from the evils to which his saints are subject in death. In respect to the people of God painful and humbling are the scenes which are connected with the close of life and with the silent
From these evils God was pleased to remove and relieve Enoch. Of the other patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, it is written — they died. How greatly then was Enoch distinguished and favored above every other person who had lived on earth! How peculiar and wonderful was the conduct of God towards him, in his translation from this world and his triumphant departure from the evils of this life, without the pains of death!
II. It is proposed to mention the blessings to which God took Enoch at his translation.
1. He took him to the kingdom of glory. This kingdom was founded and prepared for the righteous, when God created the heavens and the earth. And it will be the eternal residence of the Lord Jesus Christ and his saints and the holy angels. To this kingdom Enoch was taken, as no other saint ever had been. Though the spirit of Abel entered the heavenly mansions at the time of his death and other patriarchs and righteous persons had ascended to glory when they were removed from their bodies; yet no one before Enoch had obtained the perfection of redemption and passed into the kingdom of glory, with such complete victory and triumph over death and the grave.
2. Enoch was taken to the society of holy angels. They must have been most tenderly interested and affected by the rebellion and ruin of Satan and other angels who kept not their first estate; and by the entrance of sin and death into this world. With what attention and admiration must they have learnt from God the great purpose and work of redemption through the mediation, incarnation and atonement of Emmanuel ! Into these things, we are assured by the Holy Spirit, the angels desire to look, thousands of years after the first promise of the Savior; and even after his humiliation on earth and his exaltation to heaven. By the salvation of Abel, though he was removed from this life in a manner So sorrowful and terrible, they must have beheld a glorious exhibition of divine power and grace. What,
then, must have been their wonder, enjoyment and gratitude, when they beheld in the translation of Enoch the complete redemption and glorification of a human being ! And what must have been his happiness and glory and praise in the society of such holy, lovely and happy creatures !
3. God took Enoch to the communion of the saints in heaven. A number, above what we should be apt to suppose, had already been removed from the evils of this world to the mansions of eternal purity and blessedness. But if in heaven he had been joined to Abel only, how affecting must have been their communion ! How different was the manner of their departure from this life ! What must have been the views and feelings of Abel respecting his own body, as it had been mangled and slain by his unhappy brother, when he saw Enoch in the perfection of his redemption and in the dignity, glory, beauty and strength of his translated and triumphant personage! On the entrance of Enoch into heaven the company and communion of the saints must have been ennobled and endeared to a degree of glory and praise which God only could fully comprehend and enjoy.
4. Enoch was taken into the heavenly presence and enjoyment of God. With God he had walked and conversed in this dark and distant world. Here he had served and pleased him by his faithful exertions and instructions. Here God had often shown himself to Enoch in his works and by his word, Spirit and providence. Here he had been received to intimate communion and enjoyment with his God and Savior. But on earth he saw God through a glass darkly ; but in heaven he saw him face to face. He was received into his presence with fullnes of joy and to his right hand with pleasures for evermore. If Enoch pleased God by his faith on earth, how highly must God be pleased with the perfection of his holiness and happiness in heaven? And in the presence and enjoyment of God, Enoch was exalted to an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
5. Enoch was taken to the glorious prospects of eternity. By his faith, while he was on earth, he perceived and taught the decisions of the final judgment and eternal retributions. When he was taken to heaven the scenes
of earth and time would be placed before his mind, in their connection with the Redeemer's kingdom and the glory and happiness of his chosen family. He would see the power and the justice of God in the condemnation and punishment of the wicked and the riches of his glory in his vessels of mercy. In the preservation and advancement of the righteous in knowledge, holiness and happiness forever, he would perceive and enjoy the glory of the divine perfections, as they exist in Jehovah, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, from eternity to eternity.
III. It is proposed to show why God translated Enoch.
1. He was translated on account of his faith. The apostle says, “By faith Enoch was translated.” The faith of Enoch consisted in the holy belief of divine truth; and not in the mere fancy that he was a saint and should be saved. Many who believe they are pious and shall be saved, hate and reject the truth of God. Enoch had such a cordial and practical regard to his truth, that he walked in the light of divine objects. This faith kept God before his mind and influenced and governed his affections and actions. The only living and true God, in his existence, perfections, purposes, exertions and enjoyments, as they are taught in his word and shown by his works, is the great object of true faith. Such faith is founded on the knowledge of truth; and it may continue and increase forever. In proportion to the faith of the servants of God will be their holiness, usefulness and happiness. They who are pious, in proportion to their faith, know, fear, love, serve, please, honor and enjoy God. The great faith of Enoch prepared him to receive peculiar tokens of divine favor. His faith was a preparation for his translation. By faith he was taken from the evils of this life to the blessings of heaven in such a manner, that " he should not see death."
2. By the translation of Enoch God manifested his peculiar affection for the righteous. As individuals, families and nations increase and prosper, they commonly depart from God, reject his truth, oppose his servants and rejoice in worldly objects. They, who believe and obey divine truth, find that the friendship of the world is enmity with God; and they are opposed and hated for
; his name.
On account of the afflictions and sorrows, the