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move, and have our being,” could preserve the curious fabric of the human body for the few years, now allotted to us; and the same powers would suffice to preserve
it to the age of Methuselah, or for ever. Man lives as long as his Creator pleases, and no longer: which should warn us not to provoke him, but to be prepared for, and expecting, our summons. Nor have we any cause to regret the shortness of our present lives: Abel and Enoch, the two most-favoured characters before the Flood, were removed at an earlier period than any others, whose history is recorded. Even were the world less miserable, it could be no loss to die and go to heaven: nor can it ever be gain, to live and treasure up wrath by sin: and as the long lives of the Antediluvians might encourage procrastination and increase presumption, so the shortness of our days may warn us, without delay, to hearken to the voice of God in the gospel.
“ WALKING with God," is a figurative description of the intimate communion which subsists between a merciful God and true believers. Without coincidence in sentiment, judgment, and disposition, there can be no cordial union or harmony. But man is naturally propense to those things, which God abhors and forbids; and averse to those, which he loves and commands. Man's understanding is darkened, his
judgment perverted, his affections depraved, and his taste vitiated, by sin; so that, in almost every thing, his views, his choice, his desires, and pursuits, are the reverse of those which the Scripture requires. Thus he is induced to walk contrary to God, to contract guilt, and merit condemnation. A sinner's walk with God, therefore, commences with the change of his judgment and disposition, by divine grace. Then he begins to repent of his sins; to despise the world, in comparison of the favour of God; to “hunger and thirst after righteousness”; to seek forgiveness and acceptance, in the way of God's appointment; and to devote himself to His love and service, and the pursuit of holiness. Having been thus reconciled to God, he walks with him by habitual repentance, and “ faith in our Lord Jesus Christ”; in a realizing regard to the presence of God in his whole conduct; a daily de. pendence on the promise, providence, and grace of God, for all things needful for soul and body; and a continual attention to His word, that from thence he may learn his truth and will, and derive the
and comfort of his salvation; by pouring out his heart before the Lord in fervent prayer and grateful praise ; by a believing, reverential, and delightful attendance on all the ordinances of his worship, and an open profession of his faith and love; by a conscientious obedience to all his commandments, without regarding the praise or censure of men; by submission to his providential appointments; and, finally, by attention to every relative obligation, a careful improvement
of every talent, a circumspect conversation, and endeavouring to " adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things," and to recommend religion to all around him.
The Lord, on his part, answers the expectations of those who walk with him. He supplies their wants, interposes in their emergencies, and evidences his care of them : he meets them in his ordinances, teaches them from his word, answers their prayers, accepts their services : he communicates, by his Spirit, wisdom, strength, and consolation to their souls, and is indeed their guide, companion, and counsellor, through life: and, at length, he meets them at death, and takes them into his
where is fulness of joy." Thus ends the walk of faith; for thenceforth they walk by sight, and see Him as he is; being for ever with him, and like him in holiness and felicity.
But “ Enoch was translated, that he should not see death": (Heb. xi. 5, 6.) In the prime of life, according to those times, he was taken from earth to heaven, in the body, without feeling the pangs of death, having “received this testimony, that he pleased God." Therefore, on earth “ he was not”; neither his friends nor his persecutors could find him. He was a preacher of righteousness; and if we may judge by the specimen left on record, (Jude 14, 15,) his plain and alarming address could not fail greatly to enrage the daring sinners, among whom he lived.
Man, in his best estate, is altogether vanity!--He is born, raises up a family, and dies ! These are his
memoirs ; all else is a cipher, or a blot, except he walks with God. The page of history records the splendid actions of the great and illustrious: the report of the day proclaims the wealth, which some have accumulated and left behind, and of which they are gone to render an account: the monuments of the dead are often inscribed with pompous titles and flattering commendations : but may it, with truth, be engraven on my tombstone, or whispered in the obscurest corner, He walked with God, and was not, for God took him”! and, so far from envying their distinctions, not even Enoch's privilege shall be anxiously desired ; but, as one expresses
Which break my way to God.
THE FAULT OF AN OVER-SCRUPULOUS MIND.
The time of the morning sacrifice at Jerusalem was chosen for this miracle (recorded 2 Kings, iii. 20), to intimate to the whole company, that the deliverance was vouchsafed to them through the sacrifices and the worship there performed.-It may here very properly be noted, that neither Elijah, nor Elisha, seems ever to have resorted to the worship at the temple in Jerusalem), or to have required the people, under the government of the kings of Israel, to do so; though that worship was appointed by God, and it is evident that his spiritual worshippers had respect to it. The peculiar circumstances of Israel were such, that, without uninterrupted miracles, or subverting the foundation of the civil establishment, the people could not exactly observe the ritual law. The prophets were therefore directed, by God himself, to accommodate their conduct to these circumstances; and to spend their lives in recovering or preserving the people from idolatry, and in teaching them the grand essentials of acceptable religion.
In every age, hitherto, considerate and faithful Ministers have found it impracticable for them to rectify every external deviation from what to them appeared most Scriptural: but, having attained to the distinction between what is desirable, and what is attainable--between the essentials of true Religion in every age, and matters more circumstantial — they have accommodated themselves to that state of things, which they could not alter ; and endeavoured to bring men to repentance, faith in Christ, and holiness of life, and to as Scriptural an external worship as they could. And, though some of their brethren have censured them, the Lord God of Elijah and Elisha has evidently pleaded their cause, by making them the instruments of numerous conversions, and great revivals of religion : whilst others, scrupulously exact in external forms, and earnest to magnify them, have worn out their lives in vainly attempting to new-model the church and the world, and have missed their opportunity of more essential usefulness,