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walk with God. They feel themselves not only forsaken, but condemned by those, who choose to walk with God, rather than with them, which excites unpleasant and unfriendly feelings in their breasts towards the godly. They have ground to expect, therefore, that they shall lose the friendship of the world and experience the bitter effects of their enmity and opposition. This has been the lot of those, who have sincerely and habitually walked with God, in every age of the world. It seems to be intimated, that Enoch's walking with God excited the mortal enmity of the wicked, who sought his life and would have taken it away, if God had not preserved it, by translating him to heaven. The apostle says,
By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death ; and was not found, because God had translated him.” This seems to imply, that his enemies searched for him, and would have slain him, if God had not privately taken him out of the world. And this conjecture seems to be strengthened, by his being placed at the head of that catalogue of worthies mentioned in the eleventh of Hebrews, who walked with God; and many of whom were stoned, were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword : and wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” Though these pious patriarchs lived in an evil day and suffered such an accumulation and complication of evils; yet they gained more than they lost, by walking with God. For, they enjoyed peculiar tokens of his favor. “They all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pil.
grims, on the earth. Wherefore God was not asham.
. ed to be called their God ; and prepared for them a city,” to which he triumphantly conveyed them. Now, if the saints of old gained much more than they lost, by walking with God; then it is very certain, that saints at this day have much more to gain than to lose, by walking with God. They may lose some of their nominal friends, and incur the neglect, reproach, contempt and opposition of the enemies of all righteousness. But what are these losses in comparison with the peculiar tokens of the divine favor ? God is the same, yesterday, to-day and forever. He loves those, who love him. He will walk with those, who walk with him. He will guard those, who walk with him, not only against their visible, but invisible enemies. He will give them that peace, which the world cannot give, nor take away. He will give them full assurance of hope. He will afford them all that outward prosperity, which they can reasonably desire. And finally, he will prepare them for a peaceful death and a glorious immortality beyond the grave. Real saints have infinitely more to gain, than they can possibly lose, by walking with God. They are, therefore, always unwise, as well as criminal, when they forget and forsake God and walk with the world, to gain their friendship, or to avoid their frowns. Both their duty and happiness require them to walk constantly and joyfully with God.
3. If God be highly pleased with his friends, while they walk with him ; then he must be highly displeased when they depart from him. The best of saints are more or less inconstant in their walk with God. Though Enoch is not charged with any inconstancy,
yet there can be no doubt but his love to God sometimes abated and he became cold and dull and negligent in walking with God. We know, however, that other eminent saints frequently wandered from God, which was highly displeasing to him and drew down tokens of his just displeasure. As God always takes notice of saints, while they walk with him ; so he takes equal notice of them, when they forget and forsake him. If they leave him for a longer, or shorter season, he knows it ; and not only so, he knows why they deviate from the path of duty. He knows, that they nev. er forsake him, but for the sake of some inferior worldly object. He sees what mere vanities attract their attention and attachment, and draw them away from him. Of this they are often unconscious. They do not perceive how often, or how much, they suffer their thoughts and affections to wander from him. The world and the things of the world imperceptibly occupy their thoughts and turn them aside from their designed and habitual walk with God. But he always sees all their sinful deviation from the path of duty; and of consequence they appear much more sinful in his view, than their own. Hence says the apostle John, “ Ifour heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.” These numerous deviations and departures from God, which are highly displeasing to him, are the reasons, why those, who do sometimes walk with God, receive no more peculiar tokens of his favor and so many tokens of his displeasure. They have always reason to expect, when they forget and forsake him, that he will be displeased and some way or other manifest his displeasure towards them and continue the manifestations of it, until they return to him and walk with him.
4. If God will walk with those, who walk with him ; then we may justly conclude, that he will cause all those, who once sincerely walked with him to continue walking with him, till they leave the world and enter into eternal rest. He caused Enoch to walk with him three hundred years before he translated him to heaven. And there is reason to believe, that he caused Adam and Seth and Enos and Cainan and Ma. halaleel and Jared and Methuselah and Lamech and Noah, to walk with him seven or eight hundred years, though iniquity abounded and the love of many waxed cold and died. God gives all his sincere friends some peculiar tokens of his favor, which he never gives to those, who are not cordially reconciled to him. And one of these peculiar favors is his gracious presence with them, which effectually guards them against both their visible and invisible enemies ; so that they cannot cause them to fall away finally. This assurance of final perseverance Christ gave to his true disciples.
My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me : And I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all ; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” God keeps his eye constantly fixed upon those, who once walk with him, and sees all the evils and dangers, to which they are exposed from the things of the world, the cares of the world, the business of the world, the men of the world and from their great moral imperfection and subtle adversary; and he determines to preserve them and keep them, by his almighty power, through faith unto salvation. And if God be for them, who can be against them? Upon
this solid foundation, the apostle confidently declares, “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
5. It appears from the nature of walking with God, that those, who walk with him, in a day of degeneracy, do peculiar service and honor to religion. The
, world had been gradually degenerating from Seth to Enoch ; and had it not been for them and the other patriarchs, who walked with God and maintained his cause, the world would have been destroyed much sooner than it was. This is evident from one single consideration, that God did not destroy it till there was but one man in it, who walked with him. Seth, Enoch, and the other pious patriarchs were the salt of the earth and the light of the world, till they were taken out of it. Good men have a peculiar opportunity, in a time of great degeneracy, to display the beauty, reality and importance of religion ; and to restrain the corruptions of the times. It was evidently owing to the dark times, in which Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David and Daniel lived, that they did so much good, and became so celebrated and distinguished in the world. When iniquity abounds and the love of many nominal saints waxes cold, it tends to fill the minds of those who walk with God, with a holy zeal, fortitude and resolution, to triumph over all opposition and to be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the service of the Lord. A day of degeneracy is a trying day to all, who profess to walk with God; and if they are sincere, will make them shine with peculiar