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the devil, whom he had undertaken to conquer, and rescued those two first captives out of his hands; therein baffling him, soon after his triumph over them, whereby he had made them bis captives. And though he seemed sure of them and all their posterity, Christ the Redeemer soon showed him that he was mistaken. He let him see it, in delivering those first captives, and so soon gave him an instance of the fulfilment of that threatening, The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head; and in this instance a presage of his subduing all his enemies under his feet.
After this we have another instance of redemption in one of their children, righteous Abel, as the scripture calls him ; whose soul perhaps was the first that went to heaven through Christ's redemption. In him we have at least the first recorded instance of the death of a redeemed person. If he was the first, then as the redemption of Christ began to dawn before in the souls of men in their conversion and justification, in him it first began to dawn in glorification; and in him the angels began first to do the part of ministering spirits to Christ, in going forth to conduct to glory the souls of the redeemed, And in him the elect angels in heaven had the first opportunity to see so wonderful a thing as the soul of one of the fallen race of mankind, that had been sunk by the fall into such an abyss of sin and misery, brought to heaven, and in the enjoyment of heavenly glory, which was a much greater thing than if they had seen him returned to the earthly para. dise. Thus they saw the glorious effect of Christ's redemption, in the great honour and happiness that was procured for sinful, miserable creatures.
V. The next remarkable thing that God did in farther carrying on this great redemption, was the first uncommon pouring out of the Spirit, through Christ, in the days of Enos. We read, Gen. iv. 26. Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. The meaning of those words has been considerably controverted among divines. We cannot suppose the meaning is, that then first men performed the duty of prayer. Prayer is a duty of natural religion, and a duty to wbich a spirit of piety docs most naturally lead men. Prayer is the very breath of a spirit of piety; we cannot suppose, therefore, that holy men before, for above two hundred years, had lived without prayer. Therefore some divines think, that the meaning is, that then men first began to perform public worship, or to call upon the name of the Lord in public assemblies, However, thus much must necessarily be understood by it, viz. that there was something new in the visible church of God with respect to calling upon the name of the Lord; that there was a great addition to the performance of this duty; and that iu some respect or other it was carried far beyond what it ever had been before, which must be the consequence of a remarkable pouring out of the Spirit of God.
If it was now first that men were stirred up to meet in assemblies to assist one another in seeking God, so as they never had done before, it argues something extraordinary as the cause; and could be from nothing but the uncommon influences of God's Spirit. We see by experience, that a remarkable pouring out of God's Spirit is always attended with such an effect, viz, a great increase of the performance of the duty of prayer. When the Spirit of God begins a work on men's hearts, it immediately sets them to calling on the name of the Lord. As it was with Paul after the Spirit of God had arrested him; Behold, he prayeth! so it has been in all remarkable effusions of the Spirit of God recorded in scripture; and so it is foretold it will be in the latter days. It is foretold, that the holy Spirit will be poured out as a spirit of grace and supplication, Zech. xii. 10. See also Zeph. iii. 9. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
And when it is said, Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord, no more can be intended by it, than that this was the first remarkable season of this nature that ever was. It was the beginuing, or the first, of such a work of God. In this manner such an expression is commonly used in scripture: so, 1 Sam. xiv. 35. And Saul built an altar unto the Lord ; the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord. In the Hebrew it is, as you may see in the margin, that altar he began to build unto the Lord, Heb. ii. 3. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which first began to be spoken by the Lord?
here be observed, that from the fall of man, to our day, the work of redemption in its effect has mainly been carried on by remarkable communications of the Spirit of God. Though there be a more constant influence of God's Spirit always in some degree attending his ordinances; yet the way in which the greatest things have been done towards carrying on this work, always have been by remarkable effusions, at special seasons of mercy, as may fully appear hereafter in our further prosecution of our subject. And this in the days of Enos, was the first remarkable pouring out of the Spirit of God that ever was. There had been a saving work of God on the hearts of some before; but now God was pleased to bring in a harvest of souls to Christ; so that in this we see that great building, of which God laid the foundation immediately after the fall of man, carried on further, and built bigher, than ever it had been before.
Ví. The next thing I shall notice, is the eminently holy
life of Enoch, who, we have reason to think, was a saint of greater eminency than any that had been before him; so that in this respect the work of redemption was carried on to a still greater height. With respect to its effect in the visible church in general, we observed above how it was carried higher in the days of Enos than ever it had been before. Probably Enoch was one of the saints of that barvest; for he lived all the days that he did live on earth, in the days of Enos. And with respect to the degree to which this work was carried in the soul of a particular person, it was raised to a greater height in Enoch than ever before. His soul, built on Christ, was built up in holiness to a greater height than any preceding instance. He was a wonderful instance of Christ's redemption, and of the efficacy of his grace.
VII. In Enoch's time, God more expressly revealed the coming of Christ than he had before done. Jude, ver. 14, 15. And noch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to erecute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, of their ungodly deeds which they hate ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. Here Enoch prophesies of the coming of Christ. It does not seem to be confined to any particular coming of Christ ; but it has respect in general to Christ's coming in his kingdom, and is fulfilled in a degree in both his first and second coming; and indeed in every remarkable manifestation Christ has made of himself in the world, for the saving of his people, and the destroying of bis enemies. It is very parallel in this respect with many other prophecies of the Old Testament; and, in particular, with that great prophecy of Christ's coming in his kingdom, whence the Jews principally took their notion of the kingdom of heaven, Daniel vii. 10. A fiery stream issued, and came forth from before him : thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment teas set, and the books were opened. And ver. 13, 14. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the son of man, came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. And though it is not unlikely that Enoch might have a more immediate respect in this prophecy, to the approaching destruction of the old world by the flood, which was a remarkable resemblance of Christ's destruction of all his enemics at his second coming, yet it doubtless looked beyond the type to the antitype.
And as this prophecy of Christ's coming is more express than any preceding it; so it is an instance of the increase of that gospel light which began to dawn presently after the fall of man; and of that building which is the subject of our present discourse, being yet further carried on, and built up higher than it had been before.
And here, by the way, I would observe, that the increase of gospel light, and the progress of the work of redemption, as it respects the church in general, from its erection to the end of the world, is very similar to the progress of the same work, and the same light, in a particular soul, from the time of its conversion, till it is perfected and crowned in glory. Sometimes the light shines brighter, and at otber times more obscurely; sometimes grace prevails, at other times it seems to languish for a great while together; now corruption prevails, and then grace revives again. But in general grace is growing: from its first infusion, till it is perfected in glory, the kingdom of Christ is building up in the soul. So it is with respect to the great affair in general, as it relates to the universal subject of it, and as it is carried on from its first beginning, till it is perfected at the end of the world.
VIII. The next remarkable thing towards carrying on this work, was the translation of Enoch into heaven. (Gen. v. 24.) And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him. Moses, in giving an account of the genealogy of those that were of the line of Noah, does not say concerning Enoch, he lived so long and he died, as he does of the rest : but, he was not, for God took him; i. e. he translated him ; in body and soul carried him to heaven without dying, as it is explained in Heb. xi. 5. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death. By this wonderful work of God, the work of redemption was carried to a greater height, in seyeral respects, than it had been before.
When showing what God aimed at in the work of redemption, or what were the main things he intended to bring to pass ; among other things I mentioned the perfect restoration of the ruins of the fall, with respect to the elect, both in soul and body. Now this translation of Enoch was the first instance of restoration with respect to the body. There bad been many instances of restoring the soul of man by Christ's redemption, but none of redeeming and actually saving the body, till now. All the bodies of the elect are to be saved as well as their souls. At the end of the world, all their bodies shall actually be redeemed ; those that then shall have been dead, by a resurrection; and others, that then shall be living, by causing them to undergo a glorious change. There was a number of the bodies of saints raised and glorified, at the resurrection of Christ; and before that there was an instance of a
body glorified in Elijah. But the first instance of all was this of Enoch.
By this, the work of redemption was carried on still further; as, this wonderful work of God afforded a great increase of gospel light to the church, hereby it had a clearer manifestation of a future state, and of the glorious reward of the saints in heaven. We are told, 2 Tim. i. 10. That life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. What was said in the Old Testament of a future state, is very obscure, in comparison with the more full, plain, and abundant revelation given of it in the New. But yet even in those early days, the church of God, in this instance, was favoured with an instance of it set before their eyes, in that one of their brethren was actually taken up to heaven without dying; which we have all reason to think the church of God knew then, as they afterwards knew Elijah's translation. And as this was a clearer manifestation of a future state than the church had enjoyed before, so it was a pledge or earnest of that future glorification of all the saints which God intended through the redemption of Jesus Christ.
ix. The next thing that I shall observe, was the upholding of the church of God in that family from which Christ was to proceed during that great and general defection which preceded the flood. The church of God, in all probability, was small, in comparison with the rest of the world, from the time that mankind began to multiply; or from the time, (Gen. iv. 16.) when Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod; which, being interpreted, is the land of banishment. The church seems to have been kept up chiefly in the posterity of Seth ; for this was the seed that God appointed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. But we cannot reasonably suppose that Seth's posterity were one fiftieth part of the world : For Adam was one hundred and thirty years old when Seth was born. But Cain, who seems to have been the leader of those that were not of the church, was Adam's eldest child, and probably was born soon after the fall, which doubtless was soon after Adam's creation; so that there was time for Cain to have many sons before Seth was born; besides many other children that probably Adam and Eve had before this time, agreeably to God's blessing, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth; and many of these children might have children. The history of Cain before Seth was born, seems to imply, that there were great numbers of men on the earth : Gen. iv. 14, 15. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth : and from thy face shall I be hid, and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth: and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said