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from his pray
which God put in his heart, was a peculiar evidence
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4. God will manifest his peculiar favor to those, who walk with him, by giving them not only inward light and joy and peace and the full assurance of hope ; but by granting them outward prosperity.
; We are not told, indeed, whether Enoch enjoyed outward prosperity ; but we know, that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Job and David and
Solomon enjoyed great external prosperity, while they walked with God. It was also a proverb in Israel ; “ The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich ; and he addeth no sorrow with it.” David declares, “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. He, “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in season : his leaf shall not wither ; and whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper.” Though God does not bestow outward prosperity upon those, who walk with him exclusively ; yet when he does bestow it upon them, they ought to view it not only as a blessing, but as a testimony that they please him.
5. Those, who walk with God, have ground to hope for another great and peculiar favor ; that is, his gracious and comforting presence, when they leave the world. This peculiar favor he granted to Enoch in a signal manner. He exempted him from the pains and terrors of death ; ard miraculously translated him from earth to heaven, as a testimony of his being well pleased with his holy, exemplary and heavenly life. And he gave the same testimony of the holy and useful life of Elijah. “ And it came to pass, as Elisha and he walked on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” Though these are singular cases ; yet, all who sincerely and closely walk with God in life, have ground to hope, that he will afford them his gracious and supporting presence in their dying hour. He caused the pious patriarchs to die in peace. David
. expected to die in peace, for be said to God in health,
“ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shade ow of death I will fear no evil : for thou art with me ; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” bly to this well-founded hope, his last words expressed peculiar peace and consolation. “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure ; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.” With these bright prospeets he fell asleep. It has been often and justly observed, that good men generally die in the same manner, in which they have lived. If they have walked with God and generally enjoyed his gracious presence, they commonly enjoy the light of his countenance in their dying moments and leave the world in peace.
God can disarm death of its sting and the grave of its terror, and those who sincerely and closely walk with him, have reason to hope, as well as to desire, that he will give them this peculiar testimony, that they have pleased him, when they come to die.
1. We may learn from the nature and effects of walking with God, how all true believers may attain to the full assurance of hope. It is a false and unscriptural notion, that assurance is the essence of fait Men may become really reconciled to God and cordially embrace the gospel, and yet remain very uncertain, whether God is reconciled to them and has received them into the number of his family. Indeed, it is a very common case, that true believers are troubled with doubts and fears, that they have not experienced a saving change and are not in a state of
grace and favor with God, even after they have had a prevailing hope of having experienced a saving change, and actually professed religion But why do so many walk in darkness and enjoy so little satisfactory evidence of their being the children of God, and entitled to his pardoning mercy through the divine Redeemer ? It does not appear, that Enoch walked in darkness and saw no light, while he walked with God; but it appears, on the contrary, that he had this testimony that he pleased God and enjoyed the full assurance of hope. And it appears from the account we have in scripture of many other eminent saints, who walked closely with God, that they enjoyed such tokens of the divine approbation, as banished all distressing doubts and fears from their minds. It must, then, be owing to some blameable cause, that real believers do not enjoy the full assurance of hope and that evidence of their gracious state, which excludes painful fears and doubts. If it be true, that God gives peculiar tokens of his favor to those, who sincerely and closely walk with him, then the proper and sure way of attaining satisfactory evidence of a gracious state, is to walk sincerely and closely with him. It is, therefore, be
, cause believers, at this day, do not walk with God, as Enoch, Abraham, and many other pious men under both the Mosaic and christian dispensation walked, that they do not attain to the full assurance of hope, as they did. And this is certainly a blameable cause. Believers are now as capable of walking closely and constantly with God, as Enoch was ; and God is as ready now to give them the peculiar tokens of his favor, as he was to manifest his peculiar love to him.-Why then do they not give diligence to make their calling and election sure? It must be owing to their voluntary and criminal negligence. They must blame themselves, if they wander from God, and love to wander from him and justly expose themselves to the hidings of his face, and to the darkness, and doubts, and fears, which follow from it. God has expressly told them, that if they walk with him, he will walk with them; but if they forsake him, he will forsake them. But notwithstanding this, they are very apt to complain of their darkness and doubts, under the hidings of his face, rather than to condemn themselves for departing from him. He gives them tokens of his displeasure and not of his approbation, which ought to lead them to return to him, from whom they have criminally revolted. David did this, and he says he found the happy effects of it. “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me ; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”
If saints would prevent, or remove darkness, doubts and distress from their minds, let them walk closely with God, who will then give them peculiar tokens of their pleasing him, and standing high in his favor.
2. If God manifests peculiar tokens of his favor to those, who walk with him ; then they have more to gain, than to lose, by walking with him. Good men often depart from God and conform to the world, for the sake of gaining their friendship, or through fear of losing it and exposing themselves to their reproach, contempt, and opposition. The world love
. their own, but not those, who come out from them and