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HEAR THEN ABEL AS NOW SPEAKING TO YOU FROM THE DEAD.
[Brethren, though dead, I yet live ; and though I have been dead almost six thousand years, I would speak to you as though I had died but yesterday. I am concerned that 'you should profit by my experience. You are all assembled 'to worship and serve your God: and you are ready to con'ceive, that on that account you are all rendering unto God
an acceptable service. But I must declare to you that this • is far from being the case.
Your outward forms, considered ' independently of the frame of mind in which you engage in 'them, are of no value in the sight of God. You may “ kill an ox in sacrifice, and be only as if you slew a man: you may sacrifice a lamb, and be as if you cut off a dog's neck: you may offer an oblation, and be as if you offered swine's blood: you may burn incense, and be no more accepted, than if you
blessed an idol9.” God looks not at the act, but at the 'heart: and if that be not right with him, your sacrifices, 'how costly soever they may be, are only “ an abomination to • him." Of all this you may be assured from what is related 'concerning my brother Cain and myself. He, as you have 'been told, was not accepted, whilst I was honoured with 'tokens of God's merciful approbation. What was it that made • the difference? Why did God look on me with complacency, ' and with abhorrence on him? It was because I approached • him as a sinner, whose hopes were founded solely on the 'sacrifice of his Son, whilst my brother approached him with'out any such exercise of repentance and faith. And so it is
On those who draw nigh to him with a broken ' and contrite spirit, and with their eyes fixed on the Lamb of 'God to take away their sins, he looks with delight: he will
even give to them sweet tokens of his acceptance, and testimonies of his love: and, if he do not give the same visible • demonstrations of his love to them, as he did to me, he will not leave them without witness even in the minds of their enemies: for he will so enrich their souls by his grace, as • shall make it evident, that God is with them of a truth. But ' on the proud self-righteous formalist he will look with scorn ' and indignation. Yes, to those of you who have come up * hither merely to perform a duty which custom has prescribed, ' he says, “ Ye hypocrites, in vain do ye worship me, seeing
that, whilst you draw nigh to me with your mouths, and ' honour me with your lips, your hearts are far from mes.”
you then not to deceive your own souls: for assuredly, whether ye will believe it or not, God will ere long make 'the same distinction between you that he did between me
• with you.
9 Isai. lxvi. 3. r Prov. xxi. 27. $ Matt. xv. 7-9.
• and Cain: the contrite and believing worshippers shall have
a testimony of his approbation before the whole assembled • universe; but the impenitent and unbelieving shall be marked • out as monuments of his everlasting displeasure. As for you
who worship him in faith, he may for the present leave you ' in the hands of the ungodly, who from envy may be incensed • against you;
he may even suffer your greatest enemies to . be those of your own household;" yea, he may leave you 'even to be put to death, and to suffer martyrdom for your ' fidelity to him. But let not that deter you from confessing
him openly before men. I have never regretted the sufferings • I endured for him; nor will you ever regret any thing which you may
be called to sustain. Even the testimony which you shall now enjoy in your own conscience, shall be an ample recompence for all : what then shall that testimony in the day of judgment be, when he shall say, “ Well done, good ' and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your
Lord ?” . Go on then without fear, and “hold fast the profession of 'your faith without wavering.” “ Be faithful unto death ; and he will give you a crown of lifet.”'
Such we may well conceive to be the strains in which Abel would now address you: and I pray God that they may sink down into our ears, and produce a saving effect upon our souls. Are there any here who are going in the way of Cainų," and “ hating those who are more righteous than themselves * ?” Ah! think what misery attaches to such a state of mind, both in this world and the next. Even here, as God has said, “there is no peace to the wicked; but they are like the troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirty :” and what will they be hereafter? What does Cain now think of that piety that he despised, and of that enmity with which he persecuted it even unto death? Now he knows who was right: and so will ye ere long, whether ye will now learn it or not. ere it be too late: and have recourse to that sacrifice which will avail for all who trust in it. And ye who are suffering for righteousness' sake, “marvel not as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Abel's sufferings and of Christ's also, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy ."]
But O! stop
+ Rev. ii. 10. If this be the subject of a Funeral Sermon, it may be proper here to shew what the deceased person did say, or would say. u Jude, ver. 11.
x 1 John iïi. 11, 12. y Isai. lvii. 20, 2).
2 1 Pet. iv, 12, 13.
ENOCH'S TRANSLATION. Heb. xi. 5. 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.
AMONGST those who obtained a good report through faith, Enoch bears a very distinguished place. He was a prophet, and bore testimony against the abominations which obtained around him, with the utmost possible fidelity. His prophecy, indeed, is preserved to us, as it were, by miracle : for neither Moses, nor any other writer of the Old Testament, makes any mention of it; nor is it referred to by any of the evangelists, or in the Acts of the Apostles: but Jude, who wrote only one short epistle, records it, and thus throws light upon the "faith” which in my text is ascribed to Enoch : he shews that Enoch had a view of Christ as the Judge of quick and dead, and of the judgment itself as passed in perfect accordance with the character and conduct of every individual of mankind a.
Enoch, though the seventh from Adam in descent, is here introduced immediately after Abel; in order to shew, that, as in Abel the operations of faith were illustrated, so in Enoch might be seen its reward. Indeed, the translation of Enoch took place very soon after the death of Adam ; that so, whilst God's hatred of sin was manifested in the one, his love of holiness might be displayed in the other.
In considering the translation of Enoch, I shall notice it, I. As a testimony to him
Enoch doubtless had received many tokens of God's approbation before
[To Abel's offering God had borne witness, as being more acceptable to him than that of Cain. And, no doubt, many
a Jude, ver. 14, 15.
testimonies of Divine approbation had been vouchsafed to Enoch also. Did Enoch“ walk with God?" No doubt, God also walked with him “ as a Friend 4," “manifesting himself to him as he did not unto the worlde,” and “ witnessing with his spirit that he was a child of God'" — Indeed, there is no one who “ draws nigh to God, but God will also draw nigh to him," and "hold sweet fellowship with him"," and “ lift up upon him the light of his countenance," and “shed abroad his love in his heart k” -]
But, in his translation, such a testimony was borne to his character, as carried conviction with it to the minds of others also
[A man, by inward tokens of God's approbation, "has the witness of it in himself!:" but here was an expression of it, which carried its own evidence along with it to all who were then living upon earth, and has from that moment stamped the character of Enoch as a most distinguished favourite of heaven. No man was ever thus honoured before ; and only one other person even to the present hour. By this translation to heaven, the sentence of God against sin was reversed: for death was disarmed of its power over this holy man; and he was borne to heaven, both in body and soul, without ever encountering the agonies or terrors of dissolution. were the circumstances attendant on his removal, we know not; but, as in the case of Elijah, it must have been witnessed by some one of undoubted credibility; else the effect of it would have been lost : and, from its being said, that “ he was not found," it is evident, that, as in Elijah's case also, a search was made for him, lest he should have been transported to some remote place only, instead of being borne, as they were taught to believe, into the very presence of his Godm. But the fact itself, whatever its circumstances were, is a standing proof to the whole world, that this holy man had so walked as to please his God.]
But let us view this event, II. As an instruction to us
Two things it obviously teaches us :
1. That there is a future state of existence, both for our souls and bodies
c Gen, v. 22, 24. d Jam. ii. 23.
k Rom. v. 5. m 2 Kings ii. 10, 16, 17.
e John xiv, 21-23.
[It is clear that the future judgment was known to Enoch; and therefore it is most probable that he was informed as to the resurrection of the body. But, at all events, his translation gave to those of his day, and to all future ages, an evidence, that the body was capable of participating in all the glory and felicity of the soul. Of course, some change was made in him, even as there shall be in those who shall be living at the time of our Lord's advent to judge the world. At that time, all who are alive “ will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality ." But it was essentially the same body, even as that of our blessed Lord was at the time of his ascension to heaveno: and, though our bodies shall be consumed by worms, yet shall they be raised again, and be the subjects either of happiness or misery, according as they were employed, either in the service of God, or in rebellion against him P.]
2. That those who have pleased God in this world shall assuredly dwell with God in the world to come
[The eminent piety of Enoch was well known. What, then, did his translation announce, whether to that or future generations? God said by it, ' Behold how I will act towards those who serve and honour me: I will not leave you to guess at it, as a matter above your comprehensions: ye shall see it; ye shall have it brought so manifestly before your eyes, that you shall have no doubt whatever respecting it. Did he believe in me? Did he serve me? Did he walk with me? Did he, in the whole of his life and conversation, strive to honour me? In a word, did he “ please" me? See then, in him, the felicity that awaiteth you : for I have set him forth as a pattern to all future ages, and as a pledge, that “whoso honoureth me, shall be honoured by meq;" and that “ to him who ordereth his conversation aright, I will shew the salvation of God"."'] What now shall I ADD ? What, but these two
things ? LEARN1. What must be your aim in life
[You have seen what it was in Enoch that pleased God: you have seen, that he really “ believed” in God; and that his whole life was one continued walk with God. “He walked, not as pleasing men, but God, who trieth the reins." So walk ye, and ye shall please him too; yes, and shall have such
n 1 Cor. xv. 51–53. o Phil. iii. 21. p Dan, xii. 2. 9 1 Sam. ü. 30.
r Ps. 1. 23.