This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;…
You must have already noticed that this chapter is as true as any chapter in human history, especially as it shows so clearly, what we ourselves have found out, that the most of people are extremely uninteresting. They are names, and nothing more. They are producers and consumers, tenants and taxpayers, and that is all; they are without wit, music, piquancy, enterprise, or keenness of sympathy. Such people were Seth and Enos, Mahalaleel and Jared; respectable, quiet, plodding; said "good night" to one another regularly, and remarked briefly upon the weather, and died. Just what many nowadays seem to do. Now, I want to show you that such people are often unjustly estimated, and to remind you that if all stars were of the same size the sky would look very odd — much like a vast chessboard with circles instead of squares. I want to remind you also that really the best part of human history is never written at all. Family life, patient service, quiet endurance, the training of children, the resistance of temptation — these things are never mentioned by the historian. Because we admire brilliance we need not despise usefulness. When your little child is ill, he needs kindness more than genius, and it will be of small service to him if his mother is good at epigrams but bad at wringing out a wet cloth for his burning brow. I am, then, quite willing to admit that Seth and Enos, Mahalaleel and Jared, are not one-thousandth part so well known by name as the man in the moon, but I believe they did more real good than that famous character ever attempted. You should remember, too, that a long fiat road may be leading up to a great mountain. There are some very plain and uninteresting miles out of Geneva, but everyone of them brings you nearer Merit Blanc. Oh, so dull that long road from Seth to Jared, but round the corner you find Enoch, the Mont Blanc of his day! Many a child who never heard the name of Jared knows well the name of Enoch. So you do not know to what high hill your life may be quietly leading up. Even if you yourself are nobody, your son may be a man of renown, or his son may be a valiant and mighty man. Enoch reaches the point of renown in godliness; he walked with God three hundred years at least; his walk was on the high hills — so high that he simply stepped into the next world without troubling Death to go through his long, dark process. "He was not, for God took ." As if he had walked so near that God opened the window and took him in; and we, too, might pass in as easily if we walked on the same sunny heights. But we are in valleys and pits, and God must needs send Death to dig us out and send us to heaven by a longer road. After Enoch, we come to Methuselah. He, too, is well known, although for nothing but length of days apparently; yet as a matter of fact he ought to be known for something much more highly distinguished. He was the grandfather of Noah; that is his glory, not his mere age! You cannot tell what your boy may be, or his boy; so keep yourself up to the mark in all mental health and moral integrity, lest you transmit a plague to posterity. It may be that Nature is only resting in you; presently she will produce a man! Precisely the same thing we have in this chapter we find in the catalogue of the names of the early disciples of our Lord. We know Peter and James and John. But how little as compared with them do we know of Thomas and Bartholomew and Philip, of Lebbaeus, and Simon the Canaanite? Yet they were all members of one company, and servants of the same Lord. We speak of men of renown, forgetting that their renown is principally derived from men who have no renown themselves! Unknown people make other people known. The hills rest upon the plain ground. Besides, there is a bad repute as well as a fair fame: Judas Iscariot is known as widely as the Apostle John! Be not envious of those who have high place and name; could we know them better, perhaps we should find that they long for the quietness of home, and sigh for release from the noise and strain of popular applause. Happily, too, we should remember that a deed may be immortal, when the mere name of the doer may be lost in uncertainty.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;