« ZurückWeiter »
dients of the other. Our houses are not so with God, as they once were, as we once expected they would have been, but he hath made with us an everlasting covenant, and these are the tokens of it. Blessed be his name, we hold not the mercies of that covenant by so precarious a tenure as the life of any crea. ture: It is well ordered in all things and sure: may it be all our salvation, and all our desire*; and then it is but a little while, and all our complaints will cease. God will wipe away these tears from our eyes t; our peaceful and happy spirits shall ere long meet with those of our children which he hath taken to himself. Our bodies shall sleep, and ere long shall also awake, and arise with theirs, Death, that inexorable destroyer, shall be swallowed up in victory I, while we and ours surround the throne with everlasting hallelujabs, and own, with another evidence than we can now perceive, with another spirit than we can now express, that all was indeed well. Amen.
* 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
CHARACTER AND TRANSLATION OF ENOCH, In a Sermon preached at Welford, in Northamptonshire, March 9, 1737-8,
on Occasion of the much laniented Death of the late Reverend Mr. John Norris,
Gen. v. 24.-And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.
I HE apostle gives it in charge to the believing Hebrews, that they should Remember those who had presided over them, and had spoken to them the word of the gospel, well knowing it would be one sweet and powerful engagement, to follow their faith, especially when they considered the end of their conversation *.
I persuade myself, that it will be a very easy matter for you, my friends, to remember that dear and faithful servant of Christ, who, for so many years † had the pastoral care of you, guiding you, at once, in the integrity of his heart, and in the skilfulness of his hands f. You who have grown up, and as to some I may add, have grown old too under his ministry, will surely find the recollection, notwithstanding all the sorrow that must now attend it, both too edifying and too delightful to be neglected. You must, no doubt, find some memorials of him, in various places and circumstances of life ; but none more numerous, and none more pleasing than your bibles will afford you. How many awakening exhortations, how many comprehensive precepts, how many precious promises
* Heb. xiii. 7.
+ N. B. Mr. Norris died Feb. 8, 1737-8, in the 63d year of his age, having been near 38 years Minister at Welford.
Psal. Ixxviii, 72.
to so far, througe and lab discourse: nobly secure
have you, from sabbath to sabbath, heard him unfold ? How many instructive and amiable examples have you not only heard, but seen him illustrate! It was the care and joy of his life, to form himself on those great models; and beholding them in the glass of scripture, he was changed into the same image. In those originals therefore you will often trace him, and in which of them is not the resemblance beautifully conspicuous ? Yet perhaps in few of the miniatures which are there drawn, it is more remarkably so, than in the account given of Enoch. He walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. As soon as you heard me read the words, you with pleasure saw how well they expressed both the distinguished piety of your late minister's character, and the ease and suddenness of his removal from us.
It is impossible for me to express the tender sympathy, with which I undertake this melancholy office, which my hopoured father was pleased to assign me. But I will attempt to break through the difficulty, and to suppress the fulness of my heart, so far as it would obstruct what I have to say, in humble hope, that, through the divine blessing, that which was the great end of his life and labours among you, may in some measure be promoted by this discourse, occasioned by his death. And, I am persuaded, nothing will so nobly support your hearts under this sad separation, or so effectually secure and promote the pleasure of your future meeting with him, as a diligent care to be followers of him, as he was a follower of Enoch, and all the saints in that holy course of walking with God, which is now to be the subject of our meditation. And that you may be both directed and animated in it, we will,
First, Explain the view given us of Enoch's life and character. He walked with God.
Secondly, Consider the happy close of this pious course. He was not, for God took him.
When I have handled these heads as fully as the time will admit, I shall,
Thirdly, Conclude with some practical reflections, and an address peculiarly suited to that awful providence, which hath brought me among you this day.
And, permit me to remind you, that your serious attention to what shall now be spoken, is one part of the respect which you owe to the memory of that worthy and excellent man, in whose place I stand. : First, Let us attentively survey the account which is here given us, of the life and character of Enoch.
be bo to be the "suhe holy couple he was with him,
It is said, that he walked with God; a phrase which the same sacred historian useth concerning one of Enoch's descendants, i. e. Noah. He was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God* : and when it is said of other good men, that they walked before the Lord, it seems to be an expression much of the same import, and implies, that in the main series of their lives they maintained a firm persuasion of the being and perfections of God, and of the other important principles of religion ; and that in consequence of this they were careful to behave as in the divine presence; and on the other hand, that they were honoured with some gracious and comfortable tokens of the divine acceptance and favour: in a word, that there was a mutual friendship established and exercised between God and them. Blessed character, and happy state! May we be formed to it, and improved in it, while we more particularly review it in this instance of Enoch,
1. When it is said that Enoch walked with God, it evi. dently implies, that he had a firm persuasion of the Divine Being and perfections, and the other important principles of true religion.
Of this the apostle expressly assures us, and argues it from the account here given of him. He had before his translation this testimony, that he pleased God; but without faith it is impossible to please him ; for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him t.
Enoch bad undoubtedly this faith, by which he believed, that the worlds were made by God, and that he is the great supporter of all. He certainly traced him in his works of creation and providence, and considered him both as the greatest and the best of beings. He was firmly persuaded of his immutable existence, his almighty power, and unsearchable wisdom; and he also considered him as the wise, the righteous, and graçious governor of his rational creatures ; the Father, the guide, and the portion of his people. Without these reverential and these fiducial regards, what foundation or what encouragement could there have been for his walking with God?
On these principles Enoch would easily infer the certainty of a future state of rewards and punishments; considering how little the present administrations of providence bear the face of a final retribution. We are also assured by St. Jude, that he, by divine revelation, prophecied of the judgment day I, and * Gen. vi. 9,
+ Heb. xi, 5, 6. . #Jude 140
freward noch wouls with Goat enco
may from that hint probabls co n . * e important articles of religion might in sa
ET EZT be discovered to him. We may especiais de traz beang thes divinely instructed in the certainty a amo Cos's second coming, he was not left entirely igaoca che orposes of bis first appearance. And no doubt, Adan, vio ras ar si la 300 years of his life, contemporary Excă, soms at fail to acquaint him with that first issportasz posiz resmg ta the Seed of the woman, as the noblest seeport to the hopes of a guilty creature.
It is indeed impossible for as to detersise, bou fa bis views of the Messiah reached; but it is legais coogtoons to the rest of his character, to conclude, that be traced erey intimation of this glorious deliverer with pleasure, and jostaly accepted him so far, as he was made known, as the great medium of his reconciliation to God, and converse with him.
2. In consequence of this persuasion of the great truths of religion, Enoch made it his care to behave as in the divide presence.
He walked with God, i. e. be habitually conducted himself as one that was with God. And as it is said of Moses, He endured and acted as seeing him who is invisible f. It may be worth our while, more particularly to consider, how this would infleence his secret, his domestic, and his public conduct.
We may assure ourselves, that it had a great influence upon him in secret, not only to restrain him from secret sins, but to excite him to the discharge of those secret duties, which a present deity so reasonably requires, and which they that have a suitable sense of his presence cannot omit. This certainly led him to spend many an hour in devout retirement, meditation and prayer : and we may reasonably conclude, that the good man was never less alone than when he was alone. Ile probably never made nearer approaches to heaven, before his translation thither, than when he had got rid of other cares, other amusements and other company ; that he might be all at leisure for his God.
It is also very evident, that this sense of the divine pre. sence, must have influenced Enoch in his domestic life. Short as the Mosaic history of this holy man is, we learn from it, that he was the master of a family, and stood in the relation of a husband and a parent ; and which is something remarkable, we do not find that any of the patriarchs married younger than he :