Page images
PDF
EPUB

IV.

SERM. There is something very remarkable in

this description of Enoch, that he walked
with God; it implies, that he behaved
continually, as in the fight of God; that
his conversation was so pure and holy,
that he seemed to have God always before
him; that he fo accommodated himself
to the will of God, that he walked, as it
were,
with him, as with a friend; he

appeared to live with God, and to pass his life wholly devoted to his service The phrase, in the Hebrew, might be literally rendered, He fet himself to walk after God, that is, he gave himself continually to obey the commandments, and follow the instructions of God, which is to walk after him. And much to the fame

pur. pose, the Chaldean paraphrase expresses it, And be walked in the fear of God. And the Arabick version, that he walked in obedience to God. But the seventy interpreters in their version, have given a more general sense of it, by rendering it, And Enoch pleased God; which the apostle feems to regard in the epistle to the Hebrews, xi.

5. when he says, that Enochhad this testimony, that he pleased God. But all these different versions amount nearly to the same thing, and express the cha

racter

[ocr errors]

IV.

racter which was also given of Zacharias SERM. and his wife. Elizabeth ; that they were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

The account of him, added in the text, and he was not, for God took him, is still more singular, as it plainly intimates, that he did not die as the rest of the children of Adam, but that he was translated, or taken from hence into the heavenly kingdom, as an example and evidence to the world, of immortality and glory in a life to come. The phrase, and he was not, in the original, signifies, that he was not seen any more, that he was not found, or did not appear any more in this world. For God took him, that is, took him to himself into heaven : not the soul only, as is the case of all good men until the resurrection, but his whole person, soul and body, into heaven. The Samaritan version says, that his angel, that is, the angel of God took him. And the Chaldean paraphrase says, and be did not appear, nor did God say him. But the apostle, in the epistle to the Hebrews, more clearly expresses it, by Faith, says he, Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and

was

.

IV.

SER M. was not found, because God bad translated

him. So that the assumption of Enoch into heaven, without death, just as Elijah was taken, is made plain from the authority of the apostle, as well as Moses. The son of Sirach also declares the same thing, Upon the earth, says he, was no man created like Enoch, for he was taken from the earth, Ecclus. xlix. It'may seem a little wonderful, perhaps, that so extraordinary an event should be recorded by Moses in fo few words, but it should be observed at the same time, that he took this short account of it, probably, from some ancient Monuments, which were before his time, without adding any thing of his own to them; as it became a faithful historian to do:

The text being thus explained, it will give us occasion 1. To confider, what light concerning

a future state, Enoch's translation gave, before the coming of Christ. And

II. To explain, more particularly, his

character, that he walked with God; which qualified him for this signal distinction.

I. Then

[ocr errors]

IV.

I. Then let us consider, what light SER M. concerning a life to come, the translation of Engch gave to the world, before the coming of Christ. And there were two things very plainly pointed out by it, first, that there is another state of being hereafter, to which the present is only an introduction, since Enoch was taken from this earth, immediately unto God, without suffering any fymptom of mortality; and secondly, that this other state of existence, is a state of rewards and punishments, wherein good men are to be recompensed for their virtue of which Enoch, for his righteousness, was made such an illustrious example. And this was a great advantage to the world in those early ages, as well as to posterity. For such a remarkable thing was calculated, to have stronger influence on the minds of men, than any discovery of a life to come by tradition, or any rational deduction. It must amaze and strike them with awful notions of religion and goodness. And, indeed, without fome views of a future state, so inculcated either from reason, or from a revelation, men cannot be governed. There can be

no

[ocr errors]

IV.

SER M. no curbing of their paffions, and bring

ing them to a sense of their duty, unless
they are overawed by some principles of
this kind.

In the first ages of the world, immes
diately after the creation; it is reasonable
to think, that there were fome intima-
tions given of an After-state, besides what
they might gather from their own obsera
vation and reflection. It is true, that
men of themselves, especially those who
have a comprehensive view of things,
may often, by accurate observation of
the conduct of providence in this world,
meet with reason to be convinced of its
but as there are difficulties and objecti-
ons that sometimes occur, the convic-
tion would be stronger and more effectu-
al, if there were added a positive and
clear revelation of its truth. Therefore
it may justly be imagined, that God
would not leave men only to their own
thoughts and reasonings about it, which
were likely to be so very vague and un-
certain. We may reasonably presume,
the first of mankind, even our first pa-
rents had some express revelation given
them of a life to come. But then it is
plain, that whatever declaration they had

of

« PreviousContinue »