William Bradford Institute
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Early Settlement of America

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Enoch Walked With God


by Edward Griffin


"And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." Gen. 5:24
Enoch was the father of the long lived Methuselah and the great grandfather of
Noah. It is said of him that he walked with God after the birth of Methuselah,
three hundred years. It was a long time for a man to support a holy life and
communion with God without any relapse worthy of notice. It is difficult for
Christians now to do this for a single day: how remarkable then that he should
have done it for the long space of three hundred years. Such approval did his
extraordinary piety gain him, that when the time came for him to leave the
world, God translated him, as he afterwards did Elijah, and suffered him not to
taste the bitterness of death; perhaps to show mankind what he would have done
for them had they never sinned.

We have many strong featured characters drawn in history. Some shine in all the
brilliancy of martial achievements, and are renowned for the conquest of
kingdoms. Others have gathered laurels in the paths of science and illumined the
world with the flashes of their genius. Others by their counsels have swayed the
fate of empires. And the deeds of these have been loudly sounded by the trumpet
of fame. But more is said in praise of this man of God in the few short words of
our text, than is said of them all. A greater character is given him in four
words, than is ascribed to the most renowned warriors and statesmen by the whole
voice of history and poetry.

There is something very expressive in the phrase, "walked with God." The
Christian life is frequently called a walk, and believers are exhorted to "walk
circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." It is called walking before God.
"Remember now how I have walked before thee in truth." The figure of walking
before God was drawn perhaps from the position of those who worshipped in the
tabernacle and temple. The Shekinah or visible glory of God sat enthroned on the
mercy seat. The worshippers stood in the outer court directly before the
Shekinah. Hence the common expression of appearing before God in public worship.
To walk before God meant then to lead a life of devotion. But "Enoch walked with
God." I do not find this character ascribed to any but Enoch and Noah. I will,

I. Explain what is meant by this figure.
II. Show the consequences of walking with God.
III. State the prominent means by which such a walk can be kept up.
I. I am to explain the figure.

It seems to be expressive of something more intimate than the phrase to walk
before God. We all know what it is for two friends to walk together, engaged in
close and interesting conversation. And this is the figure by which is
represented the intercourse of Enoch with his God for three hundred years. The
figure is well adapted. The hidden life of the Christian, his retired habit of
devotion, his separation from the world, (living, as it were, in the other world
while dwelling in this,) his daily, intimate, unseen communion with God, are
very fitly represented by two intimate friends walking together, engrossed with
each other, un- mindful of all the world besides, unseeing and unseen.
This general thought comprehends several particulars.

1. When two friends thus walk together their communion is secret. So is the
communion between the Christian and his God. The world wonders what the
Christian finds to employ himself about when alone. They wonder what supports
him under trials, and renders his countenance cheerful when they looked for
sadness. Let them know then that he draws his comforts from another world; that
he lives far away from this, where the changes and trials of the present state
do not reach him.

As well might they wonder whence Abraham and David derive their present joys,
while clouds are darkening the world below.

2. When two friends thus walk together, their conversation is kind and sweet. So
the man who walks with God pours into his Father's ear all his desires and
complaints, and receives his kind and comforting answers in return.

3. When two friends thus walk together their wills and governing feelings are
the same; for how "can two walk together except they be agreed?" They also keep
the same course, and thus are advancing towards the same object. So the man who
walks with God is conformed to him in moral character. Benevolence reigns in his
heart, and his open arms embrace the universe. Like God, his feelings are in
accordance with the holy law. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity. His
object too is the same with his. The glory of his Father, the prosperity of
Zion, and the happiness of the universe, constitute the one indivisible object
of his pursuit. He is delighted with the government of God, and has no
controversy with him who shall reign. His will is swallowed up in the divine
will. He wishes not to select for himself, but in every thing chooses that his
heavenly Father should select for him. He is "careful for nothing, but in every
thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving," makes his "requests known
unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, "keeps his heart
and mind "through Christ Jesus."

There are two other things implied in walking with God which are not exactly
suggested by the figure.

1. The man who walks with God walks humbly. God will not walk with him else; for
"the proud he knoweth afar off." The whole of man's duty is summed up in doing
justly, in loving mercy, and in walking "humbly" with his God. The Christian,
with all his intimacy with his Maker, does not approach him with familiar
boldness, but is the more abased the more ho sees of him. "I have heard of
thee," said Job, "by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee;
wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes."

2. The man who walks with God exercises a living faith. This, according to the
apostle, was the main spring of all those graces which gained to Enoch the
reputation of walking with God. "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: but without faith it is
impossible to please him."

II. I am to show the consequences of walking with God.

1. By thus walking with God the soul contracts a holy intimacy with him. The
consequence is, 2. That it makes advances in the best of all knowledge, the
knowledge of God. An intimate walk with God affords an opportunity to study his
character, to see it developed in the free communications he makes, and to
listen to his instructions. He is the great instructor of mankind; but his
teachings are not extended to those who live estranged from him.

3. This closer inspection and clearer discernment of God, are the most powerful
means to sanctify the soul. Views of God are transforming. While "with open
face" we behold "as in a glass the glory of the Lord," we "are changed into the
same image from glory to glory." Therefore,

4. A sure consequence of such an intimacy between God and the soul, is an
increased mutual affection. The more the soul knows of God the more it will love
him, and of course the more it will be beloved. What a most tender friendship
did Enoch and Enoch's God contract for each other during their intimate
communion for three hundred years. If we would enjoy the same blessedness, we
must, like Enoch, walk with God.

5. Such an intimacy between God and the soul cannot fail to establish mutual
confidence. The more God is seen the more securely can the soul commit the
management of all its interests to him, and venture its everlasting all upon the
truth of his word. On the other hand the more this confidence is found, the more
God can confide in such a soul. He will not trust those to whom he can say, "I
know you not;" but of those who are intimate with him and confide in him, he
will say, "Surely they are my people, children that will not lie." It is the
greatest happiness to feel this confidence in God and to know that he has this
confidence in us. If we covet this, let us walk with him.

6. Such an intimacy with God will preserve us from bad company. A man who is
walking with an honorable friend, is not likely to be annoyed by disagreeable
intruders or to break away after low society. When the soul is in the immediate
presence of God, neither sin nor Satan dares to invade; neither the world nor
any of its perplexing cares will venture to intrude. Every Christian knows what
distressing and dangerous companions these are. If we would avoid them and more
fully enjoy the profitable and delightful society of Enoch's God, we must do as
Enoch did.

7. Another consequence of such a close walk with God is, that we shall find
support under the unavoidable trials of life. When we are in distress, very
soothing is the company of a prudent and sympathising friend, who, from the
stores of his knowledge, can suggest subjects of consolation. But how much more
blissful the society of God, whose heart is all tenderness, and who can open to
the soul the most comforting of all truths. There is no consolation like this.
Indeed it is well worth while to be a while in the furnace, for the sake of
walking there with one in "the form of the Son of God."

8. Another consequence of walking with God is the enjoyment of his protection.
Myriads of enemies and dangers swarm in all the way to heaven; but while God is
near he will not suffer them to annoy us. When one of Enoch's spirit hears the
thunders at a distance, his refuge is nearer than the danger, and he steps in
and is safe. He hides himself where no evil or enemy, though searching for him
throughout the world, can find him.

9. Another consequence of walking with God is, that we shall always have a
faithful monitor at hand, to throw in timely cautions to keep us back from
indiscretions and sin or to reclaim us when we have wandered. The conscience of
one who walks with God is preserved tender, and God is faithful not to suffer a
son who cleaves to him to err by his side without rebuke. To possess such a
monitor is one of the greatest blessings of life. Let those who would enjoy this
exalted privilege, take care never to depart from the side of their Saviour and
their God.

10. Another consequence of walking with God is an enlightened view of his
providence and government, a clear discernment of the glories of the heavenly
world, and a peaceful assurance of his eternal love. Tell me what is happiness
if this is not. What, of all the enjoyments of the world, can be exalted
happiness compared with this?

11. Another effect of walking with God is a higher enjoyment of ordinary
blessings. By the placid love which by this means is kept alive, the mind is put
in a frame to enjoy every other comfort. And the gratitude which is thus mingled
with the enjoyment of God's gifts, renders them all the sweeter.

12. Another effect of walking with God is a greater preparation for usefulness.
In proportion as the mind becomes wiser by converse with God, and holier by near
and transforming views of him, it is fitted for stronger and more persevering
and better directed efforts for the happiness of others.
In proportion as its faith and benevolent desires are enlarged, its prayers will
be mighty for the salvation of men. Its very breath will penetrate their
conscience and their heart as no other means can do. And it will throw out upon
the world the all commanding majesty and winning sweetness of a holy example.
One such man will have more influence upon the order of society and the
salvation of men, than millions who never walked with God.

13. Another consequence of walking with God is a peaceful death. In Enoch's case
it was not death, but a triumphant translation. And in every other case, in
proportion as a man has walked with God, his end, though he leaves his body
behind, is still triumphant, or at least serene. How unspeakable a comfort, when
one is struggling with the king of terrors and about to enter on eternal and
unchangeable scenes, to have "the full assurance of God's love, peace of
conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost." How much better than to sink under awful
fears of eternal wrath, or even under doubts which leave the soul to measure
over the dark valley alone. Would you enjoy this triumph, or even this serenity
in death, you must prepare for it by walking with God.

Finally, another consequence of walking thus closely with God, is an enlarged
share of immortal glory. In heaven the blessed inhabitants all walk with God,
every day and hour. And they find it no burden but a happiness which they would
not exchange for the whole creation. Why was it not then a happiness on earth?
And yet for an exemplary march in that happy course, millions have found their
blessedness eternally increased. The enhanced joy of a single soul for a few
hours, will outweigh all the pleasures of all the wicked on earth. The time will
come when that additional blessedness of a single soul, will have out-measured
all the happiness enjoyed on earth from Adam to the conflagration. A little
further, and it will have exceeded all the happiness enjoyed by saints and
angels in heaven before the day of judgement. And further still, but imagination
faints and turns back from the pursuit, and can only exclaim, How infinite the
good resulting from one degree of additional faithfulness.

From the weight of all these reasons for a close walk with God, I hope you are
now prepared to give your whole attention while,
III. I state the prominent means by which such a walk can be kept up.
Humility and faith, as we have already seen, are not means merely, but are
involved in the very idea of a walk with God. Without these we cannot approach
God, much less walk with him. The same may be said of obedience generally. These
in the inquiry are not considered so much in the light of means, as a part of
the walk which means are to keep up. And yet particular acts of disobedience may
be mentioned as things to be avoided and particular acts of faith may be named
as means to be employed. The means involve two things, the guarding against what
is injurious and the attending to what is useful.

I. The guarding against what is injurious.

(1.) It is absolutely impossible to preserve the soul in the habit of conversing
with God, without avoiding improper conversation with men; not only every thing
false or impure or profane or malicious or revengeful or passionate, but every
thing deceitful or slanderous or uncharitable or uncandid or vain. It is even
said "that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof
in the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy
words thou shalt be condemned."

(2.) Vain thoughts are another hindrance to an intimate walk with God. This led
the pious Psalmist to say, "I hate vain thoughts." There cannot exist a great
degree of spirituality, unless the mind is habitually employed in spiritual
contemplations. People who consume most of their leisure hours in thoughts of
vanity, do not walk with God. It betrays a heart full of idolatry: and as well
might the worshippers of Baal claim to walk with Israel's God. These cold
thoughts diffuse chills of death through all the soul, and can no more coexist
with its spiritual activity, than paralysis can coexist with the activity of the
body.

(3.) No known sin must be indulged. One such Achan fostered in our camp, will
prove that we have not only no intimacy with God, but no acquaintance with him.
One indulged sin is as decisive against us as a hundred. "Whosoever shall keep
the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

(4.) Undue worldly affections and cares must be excluded. Those affections for
the world are undue which are not constantly subjected to the love of God; that
is, are not ready, at all times, cheerfully to submit to the rules which he has
made to regulate our use and management of the world, and to any sacrifices
which his providence may extort from us or require at our hands. And those cares
are undue which, from their number or pressure, seduce the heart from God. Every
worldly care necessarily draws the attention from God for a season, as we cannot
fixedly attend to two things at once. But if the heart is not enticed away, the
thoughts and affections will spontaneously return to him at every interval of
care and with ever fresh delight. Those affections and cares which, according to
these definitions, are undue, obstruct our communion with God and abate our
intimacy with him. Of course they must be guarded against if we would walk with
him.

These are the things to be studiously avoided. And now,

2. Let us see to what we must attend.

(1.) We must punctually and earnestly attend on all the means and ordinances of
God's appointment. Any neglect or irregularity or carelessness in this
attendance, will cut the sinews of our spirituality, and diminish our strength
to achieve victories and resist temptations in the future. Separate yourselves
from means, and you may as well separate your fields from culture, and even from
the rain and dews of heaven. All our light and grace come through the medium of
means. This in general; but to be more particular, (2.) We must pray the prayer
of faith and "pray without ceasing." Prayer is the Christian's life. Though
every other ordinance be attended to, yet if this one be neglected, all is in
vain. It is as impossible for the soul to be spiritually alive and active
without a punctual course of fervent and be- lieving prayer, as for the body to
be alive and active without breath. Prayer has more influence on the
sanctification of the soul than all other ordinances. It is going directly to
God to receive the life-giving Spirit according to an absolute and often
repeated promise. "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and
he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son
shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if
he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg,
will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy
Spirit to them that ask him." This is decisive if any language can be. The
promise is absolute, and there must be an unwavering belief in the promise in
order to give the application success. "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of
God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given
him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a
wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that
he shall receive anything of the Lord." But the faith instilled is not a belief
that I shall receive, but that I shall receive if I ask aright. It is not a
belief in my goodness, but in God's truth. It is a firm, unwavering, confident
belief that God will "give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him" aright. This
strong confidence in God's truth may be exercised whatever doubts we have of our
own goodness or election. If we are troubled on these points it ought not to
keep us back. We may leave them to be decided afterwards, and go right to God
with unlimited confidence in his truth and consequent willingness to hear the
cries of all who sincerely seek him. Whoever is elected, this is true of all.
Say not, God will hear me if I am elected, and not without. Election or no
election, he certainly will hear the cries of all, (be it Judas or be it Peter,)
who seek him with the whole heart. This ought to be the strong confidence of
every man, whatever opinion he may have of his own character or destiny. This,
as the apostle testifies was the faith of Enoch. "Before his translation he had
this testimony that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please
him: for he that cometh to God must believe [what? that he himself is good? that
he himself is elected? no such thing: must believe] that he is, and that he is a
rewarder of them that diligently seek him." There is a full chance then for
doubting Christians to exercise this sweet and successful confidence in God.
Tell it to the nations.

Let the joyful tidings circulate, through all the region of despondency and
gloom. There is no confidence required of you respecting your goodness or
election. The only faith demanded is to "believe" in God, "that he is, and that
he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," whoever they are, whether it
is I or another man, elect or non-elect.

(3.) We must watch. In that most trying moment when the powers of hell were let
loose upon the suffering Saviour, he gave his disciples no other direction than
this, "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation." So much emphasis did
he lay on these two duties. In regard to watchfulness, I would suggest the
following rules.

First, be vigilant to observe the first motions of the enemy. If he has made
considerable advances before you move, your exertions will probably be too late.
It is dangerous to parley with temptation. Check it early or it will probably
prevail. Keep your eyes open to watch the different avenues by which the enemy
makes his approach. He will often vary his mode of attack. Through all his
variations keep your eye steadfastly upon him. Acquaint yourselves with his
numerous devices.

Secondly, watch another enemy greater than this; watch your own heart. Keep an
attentive eye upon the movements of corruption within you: otherwise some evils
will gather too much strength for you to resist; others will work unseen, and go
in to form your character unknown to yourselves.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

Thirdly, watch opportunities for doing and getting good. Much is lost in
reference to both by overlooking the favorable moment.

Fourthly, watch the motions and expressions of divine providence. It will throw
much interesting light on the character and government of God and illustrate and
confirm many things taught in the Scriptures.

Fifthly, watch the motions of the Spirit upon your minds. Sometimes the Spirit
whispers an invitation to prayer or divine contemplation. If the suggestion is
followed we may find the duties easy and pleasant, and the effect lasting. But
perhaps we refuse to attend to the impulse. The consequence is, our hearts grow
cold and lifeless; and then though we attempt to pray or meditate, we find no
relish for it. This remark goes no part of the way towards denying God's
efficiency, but only assumes that he leaves us sometimes by way of punishment.
It may be illustrated by a passage from the Song of Solomon, understood to
relate to the intercourse between Christ and the Church. The Spouse, half
aroused from lethargy, says, "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of
my Beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my
undefiled; for my head is filled with dew and my locks with the drops of the
night. [Now mark how her indolence pleads.] I have put off my coat, how shall I
put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them?

[Now the heavenly Bridegroom makes a more effectual effort.] My Beloved put in
his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. I rose up to
open to my Beloved, end my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet
smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my Beloved, but, [see
the effect of not opening to Christ at first] my Beloved had withdrawn himself
and was gone: my soul failed when he spoke: I sought him, but I could not find
him; I called him but he gave me no answer." This is enough to confirm my idea
of watching and obeying the first suggestion of the Spirit of Christ.

I have thus shown what it is to walk with God, the blessed consequences, and the
means. May I not now, my Christian brethren, urge upon you this delightful duty?
It is what you owe to the blessed God, your Father and Saviour, who has
astonished heaven by his kindness to you, and whose mercies, if you are not
deceived, will hold you entranced to eternity. It is what you owe to him, and it
will secure you a happy life, more than all the wealth and honors of the world.
It is heaven begun below. Do you not wish to be happy? Bend all your cares then
to walk with God. Be not satisfied with a general desire to do this, but fix
systematically on the means prescribed. Pursue those means hourly, daily,
yearly. Reduce your life to a system under the regulation of these rules. Good
old Enoch could walk with God three hundred years. And he has never seen cause
to repent it. Could you have access to him in his glory, would he express regret
for the pleasant mode of spending the last three hundred years of his life? We
are apt to think that we are not expected to aim at the superior piety of the
ancient saints. But why paralyse every power by such a stupid mistake? Are we
not under as great obligations? Is not God as worthy of obedience now as in the
days of old? Have the increased displays of his mercy in the Gospel impaired his
claims? Has the affecting scene of Calvary rendered him less lovely in the eyes
of sinners? Are the means used with mankind less than in the patriarchal age? Or
are the happy consequences of a walk with God worn out by time? Why should we
then content ourselves with being scarcely alive, when so many saints have been
through life rapt in communion with God? Do we thirst for honors? What honor is
so great as to be the companion and son and favorite of the everlasting God? Do
we wish for riches? Who is so rich as the heir of him who owns all the treasures
of the universe? Do we prize the best society? What better society can be found
than Enoch had? Does any valuable consideration move us, or any ingenuous
motive, O let us never cease to walk with God. Amen.






 

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