We read of the prophet Enoch, that he "walked with God . . . three hundred years." Enoch's walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world; for he had a work to do for God in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of the Lord. His heart was in harmony with God's will; for "can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
Enoch was a public teacher of the truth in the age in which he lived. He taught the truth; he lived the truth; and the character of the teacher was in every way harmonious with the greatness and sacredness of his mission. Enoch was a prophet who spoke as he was moved by the Holy Ghost. He was a light amid the moral darkness, a pattern man, a man who walked with God, being obedient to his law,--that law which Satan had refused to obey, which Adam had transgressed, which Abel obeyed, and because of his obedience was murdered. Now God would demonstrate to the universe the falsity of Satan's charge that men could not keep God's law. He would demonstrate that though man had sinned, he could so relate himself to God that he would have the mind and spirit of God. This holy man was selected to denounce the wickedness of the world, and to give evidence that man can keep the law.
How little is said of Enoch; how brief is his biography! Many volumes are written of Napoleon; much is said of Caesar and other great men of the world. Their exploits are recorded and sent through the length and breadth of the land; yet we have no evidence that these men honored God, or that God honored them. Of Enoch it is recorded, "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."
Enoch walked with God, while of the world around him sacred history records, "The wickedness of man was great in the earth," "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Enoch's righteous life was in marked contrast with that of the wicked people around him. His piety, his purity, his unswerving integrity, were the result of his walking with God, while the wickedness of the world was the result of their walking with the deceiver of mankind.
Enoch was an active worker. He did not seek ease and comfort. Nor did he spend his time in idle meditation, or in striving to gain happiness for himself. He did not participate in the festivities and amusements that constantly engaged the attention of the pleasure-lovers of the antediluvian world. In his day the minds of many were absorbed in worldly pleasures,--pleasures that tempted them to go astray. But Enoch was terribly in earnest. With the sinful and with the workers of iniquity he mingled only as God's messenger, to warn them to turn with abhorrence from their evil ways, and to repent and seek God.
Enoch did not become polluted with the iniquities existing in his day. Why need we in our day? But we may, like our Master, have compassion for suffering humanity, pity for the unfortunate, and a generous consideration for the feelings and necessities of the needy, the troubled, and the despairing. Those who are Christians indeed will seek to do good to others, and at the same time will so order their conversation and deportment as to maintain a calm, hallowed peace of mind. Selfishness and worldliness are not fruits of a Christian tree. No man can live for himself, and yet enjoy the approbation of God.
Christ cursed the fig-tree because it bore not fruit. Thus he would teach that God is not pleased with his human agencies if in their lives they utterly fail to fulfil the purposes for which they were created. Through the help provided, man, in his fallen nature, can do the very things God expects him to do. He can walk and work and live by faith in the Son of God. The Lord draws man close to his side, to walk with him, to work with him, and to teach him how to overcome temptation. With every temptation there is a way of escape, by walking humbly with God.
Were Enoch upon the earth to-day, his heart would be in harmony with all God's requirements; he would walk with God, although surrounded with influences which are the most wicked and debasing. So may we remain pure and uncorrupted. He was a representative of the saints who live amid the perils and corruptions of the last days. For his faithful obedience to God, he was translated. So, also, the faithful, who are alive and remain, will be translated. They will be removed from a sinful and corrupt world to be pure joys of heaven.
Enoch meditated and prayed, and put on the armor of watchfulness, and he came forth from his pleadings with God to plead with his fellow men. He did not mask the truth to find favor with unbelievers. His close connection with God gave him courage to work the works of God. He had the testimony that his ways pleased God. This is the privilege of every believer to-day. It is man dwelling with God, and God taking up his abode with man. "I in them, and thou in me," says Jesus. To walk with God and have the witness that their ways pleased him, is an experience not to be confined to Enoch, to Elijah, to patriarchs, to prophets, to apostles, to martyrs. It is the privilege of all the followers of Christ to have Jesus enshrined in their hearts, to carry him with them in their lives. This will make them fruit-bearing trees.
I wish I could impress upon every worker in God's cause the great need of continual, earnest prayer. They can not be constantly upon their knees, but they can be uplifting their hearts to God. We have too slight a hold upon God and upon eternal realities.
Those who teach the word must themselves live in hourly contact, in conscious, living communion, with God. The principles of truth and righteousness and mercy must be within them. They must draw from the fountain of all wisdom moral and intellectual power. Their hearts must be alive with the deep movings of the Spirit of God.
It is our privilege to-day to stand with the light of heaven upon us. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. It was not easier for Enoch to live a righteous life in his day than it is for us at the present time. The world at that time was no more favorable to growth in grace and holiness than it is now, but Enoch devoted time to prayer and communion with God, and this enabled him to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It was his devotion to God that fitted him for translation.
We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same source as did Enoch. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us. We can not remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of faithful Enoch.
The love revealed in the Saviour's life of self-denial and self-sacrifice is to be seen in the lives of his followers. We are called upon "so to walk, even as he walked." The cause of our weakness lies in our refusal to obey this command. On every side there are opportunities to work for our fellow men. It is our duty to lead souls to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. It is important that we fill aright our position in the world, in society, and in the church; but we can not do this unless we have a firm hold on Heaven. Our faith must reach within the veil, whither our Forerunner has for us entered. It is possible for us to take hold by faith of the eternal promises of God; but to do this we must have a faith that will not be denied,--a steadfast, immovable faith that will take hold of the unseen.
Every man, woman, and youth who professes the religion of Christ should realize the responsibility resting upon the believer. All should feel that this is an individual work, and individual warfare, an individual preaching of Christ. If each would realize this, and take hold of the work, we should be mighty as an army with banners. The heavenly dove would hover over us. The light of the glory of God would no more be shut away from us than it was from the devoted Enoch.