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therefore, that those professors who constantly attend the worship and ordinances of God in his house, do exhibit one beautiful evidence that they love the courts of the Lord, and find a pleasure in inquiring in his temple, and beholding his beauty. While, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that those who are careless and negligent in attending the sacred duties and services of the sanctuary, lack one evidence of their sincerity. Here, then, let me ask those who have come to the table of Christ this day, whether they have exhibited more evidence of their sincerity than of their insincerity, in these respects ? There is no doubt that some have exhibited more evidence of sincerity than of insincerity. And can there be a doubt whether some have not exhibited more evidence of insincerity than of sincerity ? This
subject now speaks both to the sincere and to the insincere. To the sincere it says, You have desired to see the beauty of the Lord in the sanctuary, and you have seen and enjoyed it there. You have inquired in his temple, and grown in knowledge and grace.
You resolve to dwell in the house of the Lord, and tread his courts every Sabbath, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, beseeching God to show you his glory. He has promised to meet you and bless you where he has recorded his name, as long as you live, and afterwards to fix
you in his temple above, to go out no more for ever. Can there be a brighter prospect opened before you? Can you be
a bound by stronger obligations, or have greater or more endearing motives set before you to be constant in running the Christian race, in attending Christian ordinances, and in seeking Christian enjoyments ?
But this subject speaks a very different language to the insincere, who have not seen, nor desired to see the beauty of the Lord. You have always been in darkness. Your darkness is increasing by all the light which God has exhibited before you, by his works, by his providence, by his word, and by his ordinances. But your present darkness is nothing in comparison with that to which you are exposed, when the time shall come which will fix the state of both sincere and insincere professors. “I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
SERMON X X V.
WALKING WITH GOD.
AND Enoch walked with God, and he was not ; for God took him, — GENESIS, V. 24.
Enoch was one of the ancient patriarchs, and one of the seventh generation from Adam. His father, Jared, was a godly man, who, it seems, walked within his house with a perfect heart, and brought up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. For his son Enoch appears to have been pious from his youth, though he lived in a day of great degeneracy, when the friends of God were few, and the world were rapidly departing from the paths of virtue, and filling the earth with violence. In such a day, he lived in a peculiar manner. Instead of following the multitude to do evil, he walked with v God, and secured his peculiar favor. “He was not; for God took him." This phrase, it is natural to suppose, denotes a special token of the divine favor; and the apostle, in his epistle to the Hebrews, confirms this supposition. “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.” Such a happy removal frorn this evil world to a far better one, was a signal mark of the divine approbation. From this instanee of the divine conduct, we may justly conclude,
That God will manifest some peculiar tokens of his favor to those who walk with him. I shall,
I. Consider what is implied in walking with God; and,
II. Show that God will manifest some peculiar tokens of his favor to those who walk with him.
I. We are to consider what is implied in walking with God.
1. This implies reconciliation to God. All mankind come into the world in a state of moral depravity. Their hearts by nature are unholy and unfriendly to God. They go astray from him as soon as they are born. “ They say unto him, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” Instead of loving him, they hate him; and instead of walking with him, they flee from him. They are opposed to him, and he is opposed to them. There is a mutual and irreconcilable alienation from each other. And until this mutual alienation of affection be removed, it is morally impossible for men to walk with God. For, “how can two walk together except they be agreed?” But God cannot become reconciled to them, before they become reconciled to him. The reconciliation must begin on their part; and when they become cordially reconciled to him, he is cordially reconciled to them. He loves those who love him, and is ready to walk with them. Though they may appear to walk with him before their disaffection to him is removed, yet they cannot walk with him, in sincerity and truth, until the native enmity of their carnal mind is slain, and the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts. Though Enoch early walked with God, yet he did not walk acceptably with him until he had a new heart, which was after God's own heart, and which laid a permanent foundation of mutual reconciliation and friendship.
2. Those who walk with God, maintain a steady course of cordial obedience to his commands. They esteem his precepts concerning all things to be right. They delight in the law of the Lord after the inward man. They imitate the example of Zacharias and Elizabeth, who “were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." They are not like those who, David says, "keep not the covenant of God, and refuse to walk in his law.” Nor like those who, Nehemiah says, “are disobedient, rebellious, and cast the divine law behind their backs.” Walking denotes continued and persevering motion; and those who sincerely and cordially walk with God, are not weary in well doing, but are steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in obedience to the divine commands. Thus Enoch walked steadily and perseveringly in obedience to God, while the world was full of violence. Thus Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, walked in persevering obedience to God, while the great mass of the people grew faint and weary, and perished in the wilder
And thus the apostles continued to follow Christ, whilst “ many of his professed disciples went back and walked no more with him." Our Saviour pressed the duty of perseverance in obedience upon all his professed followers, and plainly told
them that, unless they endured to the end, they would not be saved. The true disciples of Christ are willing to follow him whithersoever he leads them, through every stage and circumstance of life, though they may sometimes hesitate and falter in their Christian course.
3. Those who walk with God, maintain an intimate and habitual intercourse with God, by their daily devotions. It is by this intercourse that they draw near to God, and he draws near to them, and gives them a realizing sense of his presence and assistance. Prayer is a solemn mode of their meditating upon the being, the perfections, the presence and government of God, and upon their own weakness, wants and imperfections. It is by their devotional exercises that they live as seeing God who is invisible, that they confide in his faithfulness, rely upon his assistance, and enjoy communion and fellowship with him. David says to God, “ Blessed is the man whom
. thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee." The apostle James says to christians, “ Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." The apostle Paul says to christians, " Seeing we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesús, the Son of God, — let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Christ says, “ He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Those who walk with God, habitually feel their need of his assistance in duty, of his support in trials, and of the light of his countenançe in seasons of doubt and darkness. They durst not lean to their own understandings, nor trust in their own hearts; but feel the propriety of acknowledging God in all their ways, that he may direct their steps. For these reasons, they habitually endeavor to maintain an intimate intercourse with God in their daily devotions. As they desire to do every thing to the glory of God, so they pray to be in the fear of the Lord-all the day long; and as they desire to be careful for nothing, so in every thing, by prayer and supplication, they make known their requests unto God. In a word, they walk with God, by living a holy artd devout life.
4. Walking with God implies approving and walking in his way. Those who walk with God, regard the operations of his hand in the dispensations of his providence. God is continually carrying into execution his wise, and holy, and gracious designs, by which he is displaying his perfections, and speaking to the eyes, and ears, and heart, and consciences of mankind. David declares, “ The works of the Lord are great,
sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." And he says to God with respect to himself, “ I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.” God is to be seen in all his works and ways; and those who walk with him have eyes to see him, and ears to hear him, and hearts to perceive him, in all the dispensations of his providence. Accordingly, David declares, “ The Lord is known by the judgments which he executeth.” And again, speaking of the dispensations of providence, he says, “ Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.” The prophet Isaiah speaks the same language. “In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name and to the remembrance of thee. Yea, with my spirit within me, will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Those who walk with God, look through all secondary causes, and view his hand and heart in all he does in respect to themselves in particular, as well as in respect to the world in general. And so far as they see and understand his designs, they cordially approve of them, and are willing to be workers together with him, in carrying them into execution. They mean to obey the voice of his providence, as well as the voice of his word. As they discern the signs of the times, so they mean to feel and act agreeably to them. While Enoch walked with God, and saw how God suffered the triumphing of the wicked, he anticipated their fearful doom, and solemnly warned them of it. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of those, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed ; and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.". Those who walk with God are governed by his eye, as dutiful children are governed by the eye of the parent. I must add here,
5. That those who walk with God, decline walking with the world. As soon as they begin to walk with God, they resolve to walk with his friends, and not with his enemies. It is the peculiar character of good men that they walk together, and not with the wicked. David says to God, "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts." And again he says, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.” And he farther declares, “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in