Adam and Seth. (1-5) The patriarchs from Seth to Enoch. (6-20)
Enoch. (21-24) Methuselah to Noah. (25-32)
Adam was made in the image of God; but when fallen he begat
a son in his own image, sinful and defiled, frail, wretched, and
mortal, like himself. Not only a man like himself, consisting of
body and soul, but a sinner like himself. This was the reverse
of that Divine likeness in which Adam was made; having lost it,
he could not convey it to his seed. Adam lived, in all, 930
years; and then died, according to the sentence passed upon him,
"To dust thou shalt return." Though he did not die in the day he
ate forbidden fruit, yet in that very day he became mortal. Then
he began to die; his whole life after was but a reprieve, a
forfeited, condemned life; it was a wasting, dying life. Man's
life is but dying by degrees.
Concerning each of these, except Enoch, it is said, "and
he died." It is well to observe the deaths of others. They all
lived very long; not one of them died till he had seen almost
eight hundred years, and some of them lived much longer; a great
while for an immortal soul to be prisoned in a house of clay.
The present life surely was not to them such a burden as it
commonly is now, else they would have been weary of it. Nor was
the future life so clearly revealed then, as it now under the
gospel, else they would have been urgent to remove to it. All
the patriarchs that lived before the flood, except Noah, were
born before Adam died. From him they might receive a full
account of the creation, the fall, the promise, and the Divine
precepts about religious worship and a religious life. Thus God
kept up in his church the knowledge of his will.
Enoch was the seventh from Adam. Godliness is walking
with God: which shows reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk
together except they be agreed,
. It includes all the
parts of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God,
is to set God always before us, to act as always under his eye.
It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in
nothing to offend him. It is to be followers of him as dear
children. The Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says,
Enoch walked with God. This was his constant care and work;
while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God.
It was the joy of his life. Enoch was removed to a better world.
As he did not live like the rest of mankind, so he did not leave
the world by death as they did. He was not found, because God
had translated him,
. He had lived but 365 years,
which, as men's ages were then, was but the midst of a man's
days. God often takes those soonest whom he loves best; the time
they lose on earth, is gained in heaven, to their unspeakable
advantage. See how Enoch's removal is expressed: he was not, for
God took him. He was not any longer in this world; he was
changed, as the saints shall be, who are alive at Christ's
second coming. Those who begin to walk with God when young, may
expect to walk with him long, comfortably, and usefully. The
true christian's steady walk in holiness, through many a year,
till God takes him, will best recommend that religion which many
oppose and many abuse. And walking with God well agrees with the
cares, comforts, and duties of life.
Methuselah signifies, 'he dies, there is a dart,' 'a
sending forth,' namely, of the deluge, which came the year that
Methuselah died. He lived 969 years, the longest that any man
ever lived on earth; but the longest liver must die at last.
Noah signifies rest; his parents gave him that name, with a
prospect of his being a great blessing to his generation.
Observe his father's complaint of the calamitous state of human
life, by the entrance of sin, and the curse of sin. Our whole
life is spent in labour, and our time filled up with continual
toil. God having cursed the ground, it is as much as some can
do, with the utmost care and pains, to get a hard livelihood out
comfort us." It signifies not only that desire and expectation
which parents generally have about their children, that they
will be comforts to them and helpers, though they often prove
otherwise; but it signifies also a prospect of something more.
Is Christ ours? Is heaven ours? We need better comforters under
our toil and sorrow, than the dearest relations and the most
promising offspring; may we seek and find comforts in Christ.