Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, etc. That Enoch should immediately succeed Abel in this record of the ancient heroes of faith is not a little significant. How remarkable is "the contrast between the fate of Abel and Enoch! The one was crushed to the earth by the hand of a brutal and ferocious murderer; the other was conveyed to heaven, most likely by the ministry of some benevolent intelligence. The one met death in its most repulsive form, and will probably be the longest tenant in the sepulcher; the other entirely escaped it, and was the first to possess the happiness of perfect and immortal humanity. There is something instructive in these characters being placed side by side on the page of revelation. The contrast seems to furnish an illustration of the mysterious diversities of fact and circumstance, which are perpetually occurring in the moral government of God." Our text brings before us -

I. THE CHARACTER OF ENOCH'S LIFE UPON EARTH. "Before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." It is a great and blessed thing that it is possible for man to please God. We know that we have grieved him by our many and heinous sins; and it is a fact full of encouragement that we may so live as to yield him positive satisfaction. In his infinite condescension he is so interested in us that our character and conduct are viewed by him either with delight or with sorrow. That man should please God implies:

1. A revelation of his will. Enoch had no portion of the sacred Scriptures. His revelation of God was small and dim as compared with ours. But evidently he believed in the existence of the Supreme Being, was convinced "that he is," and he knew something of his holy will. We live in the clear and full light of Divine revelation. "God hath spoken unto us in his Son." We know without any uncertainty what to do and what not to do, if we would please God.

2. Personal sympathy with him. The moral separation which sin causes between the soul and God had been removed in the case of Enoch. The consciousness of the Divine presence was not painful to him, but blessed. "Enoch walked with God." The will of God must have appeared to him not tyrannical or harsh, but reasonable and gracious; for otherwise his life could not have been brought into such relations with it as would please God. And still moral sympathy with him is an indispensable condition of pleasing him. While we regard him with suspicion or distrust, while we esteem his commandments as grievous, our lives cannot be viewed by him with complacency. As a first step towards pleasing God we must heartily "receive the reconciliation" which he offers to us m Jesus Christ (Romans 5:10, 11).

3. Sincere effort to do his will. To know and approve the will of God without cordial and continuous effort to conform to it cannot be pleasing to him. Enoch embodied his religious knowledge in his practical life; he translated his convictions into actions. And so must every one who would please God (cf. John 14:21-24; James 1:25). It was by faith that Enoch pleased God. He walked by faith, not by sight. The Lord Jesus Christ presents to us the supreme and perfect example of pleasing God. His joy was to do the will of him who sent him. Twice the Father testified of him from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him." Him the Father ever viewed with infinite complacency, He is also the Reconciler of man unto God. Moreover, "he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength," that they may please God in their lives. Let us trust him, accept him, imitate him.

II. THE NATURE OF ENOCH'S REMOVAL FROM EARTH. "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him." Notice two points.

1. The nature of this translation. We have no means of satisfying all the inquiries which curiosity may make as to how this man of God was translated; but we may bring together a little of the light which the Scriptures shed upon it. It is certain that he did not pass from earth by the same way as other men; that he entered heaven without passing through "the gates of death." But his body must have undergone some great change; for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven." This change was probably similar to that which is reserved for those who are alive at the coming of our Lord. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed," etc. (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). St. Paul says, "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." What the properties and characteristics of the spiritual body are we know not as yet. But we think that the body of Enoch was spiritualized by God. Its vital relations with earth were severed; it underwent an essential change or changes. Previously it was mortal and corruptible; then it became immortal and incorruptible. Previously it was of the earth, earthy; then it became of heaven, heavenly. So changed was it that Enoch was no longer fit for earth; his body, as well as his spirit, unable to find its true sphere on earth, rose heavenward, Godward. His body was so refined and purified by God as to be capable of the blessedness and glory of heaven. And thus "he was not; for God took him." "He was not found, because God translated him."

2. The design of this translation. Why was Enoch thus removed from earth?

(1) His translation was a distinguished honor and reward to Enoch himself. By it he was taken from that dark wickedness and daring blasphemy (Jude 1:14, 15) which must have been so painful to a soul in sympathy with God, as was Enoch's. But two men of all the departed myriads have been honored by God with a triumphant entrance into Paradise without passing through the gloomy portals of death. Of these, Enoch was one. His character was extraordinary, and extraordinary was his reward. There is a beautiful propriety in such a reward for such a life. It is remarkable that the only two men who passed from this world without tasting of death were distinguished as prophets fearless in rebuking evil-doers and asserting the Divine claims, and each in an age of dominant wickedness. And it would seem that their translation was a decided testimony from Heaven that he who stands unmoved, though alone, for God, is the man whom the King delights to honor.

(2) His translation was fitted to impress beneficially the men of that age. Enoch was a prophet to a race of daring sinners. His serene and holy walk had failed to benefit them; his prophetic exhortations and rebukes had embittered them against him; and now perhaps his sudden and strange removal from them will give new and additional emphasis and energy to the words which he had spoken, and the life which he had lived amongst them. They were living in the material and temporal alone; this translation was suited to impress them with the reality and importance of the spiritual and eternal. They were atheistic, some of them anti-theistic; but this extraordinary removal of the holy prophet of God from sublunary scenes would perhaps force upon them, at least for a time, the conviction of the existence and presence of a Power unacknowledged by them heretofore. Let us, through Jesus Christ, seek in this life to please God, and then, through Jesus Christ, death will prove our introduction to an everlasting, ever-increasing, and ever-brightening life. - W.J.







Enoch was translated.
I. A CAREER DISTINGUISHED FOR ITS GODLINESS. "Walked with God." His life was an embodiment of the Divine.

1. Devoted to God.

(1)Intimately acquainted with God.

(2)In constant fellowship with God.

(3)Full of confidence in God.

(4)Engaged in active service for God.

2. Satisfactory to God.

3. Commended by God.

II. A CAREER REMARKABLE IN ITS TERMINATION. "Translated."

1. Exempted from the great trial of life. He was too full of the living God to die.

(1)A special honour for his extraordinary holiness.

(2)An intimation how all might have been taken out of the world, had there been no sin.

(3)A prophecy of victory over death for all the good at the resurrection.

2. Removed from the world in a unique manner.

(1)Pleasant.

(2)Mysterious.

(3)Final.

(4)Suggestive. Proving —

(a)That there is a future state.

(b)That the body and soul exist hereafter.

(c)That the departed good dwell with God for ever.

(B. D. Johns.)

Homilist.
1. It is strange that so little is said about Enoch.

2. The comparative shortness of his stay upon earth.

3. The manifest singularity of the life he lived.

I. HE TAUGHT THE WORLD BY HIS LIFE.

1. He walked with God. This implies —

(1)An abiding consciousness of the Divine presence.

(2)Cordial fellowship.

(3)Spiritual progress.

2. He pleased God. As the loadstar seems to beam more brilliantly in the firmament the darker grow the clouds that float about it, so Enoch's life must have been a luminous power in his age of black depravity.

II. HE TAUGHT THE WORLD BY HIS TRANSLATION —

1. That death is not a necessity of human nature.

2. That there is a sphere of human existence beyond this.

3. That there is a God in the universe who approves of goodness.

4. That the mastering of sin is the way to a grand destiny.

III. HE TAUGHT THE WORLD BY HIS PREACHING.

1. The advent of the Judge.

2. The gathering of the saints.

3. The conviction of sinners.

(Homilist.)

I. THE FAITH BY WHICH THIS HOLY LIFE WAS MAINTAINED.

1. It was a belief in the nature of God. Enoch believed Him to be real, with a belief which reverenced, obeyed, trusted, loved Him.

2. It was also a belief in God's gifts to all who seek them.

II. THE HOLY LIFE WHICH RESULTED FROM THIS FAITH.

1. Faith led him to please God.

2. This pleasing God was accompanied with the testimony that he pleased Him.

3. This testimony enabled him to walk with God.

III. THE TRIUMPHANT DEATH WHICH RESULTED FROM THIS HOLY LIFE.

1. This death is promised to faith.

2. It is the natural consequence of a holy life.

3. It is assured by the Divine love to those who please God.

(C. New.)

I. By WHAT AGENCY THIS STATE OF EXISTENCE IS SECURED. It must always be regarded as of the first consequence to ascertain the sources of human characters and human habits, and to what supports they are indebted for their permanence. For many purposes it is important to ascertain and to acquire information with respect to what we may call the secondary virtues of man — that is, those virtues which do not affect his relation towards God; but infinitely more important respecting those dispositions of mind which tend towards futurity. It is, then, above all things important to know how men are led to please God.

1. And here, it must be observed, that men never attain to the state of existence which is now to be described, whilst they are left to the ordinary operation of their own faculties, and governed by the ordinary impulses of their own passions and desires. While men remain in their original condition, under the government of the primitive tendencies of their nature, they are in fact the uniform and positive objects of Divine disapprobation.

2. This fact having been established, we are prepared to advert to a corresponding fact, which may also be scripturally established, namely, that men are brought into a state of existence that is pleasing to God, they are placed in it, and continued in it, solely and entirely by the exertion of the power of the Spirit of God Himself.

II. BY WHAT CHARACTERISTICS THIS STATE OF EXISTENCE IS DISTINGUISHED.

1. It comprehends faith in the Divine testimony. Faith has a peculiar connection with the approbation of God, in consequence of its being the ordained means of imputing to man the merit of a justifying righteousness, that in itself is sufficient to secure his final acceptance as the Judge of the universe.

2. This state of existence also comprehends obedience to the Divine commandments. It cannot be justly questioned by any one that the pleasure of God in man is connected with the conformity of man in heart and in life to the laws of God. The Being who, by the necessity of His moral nature, abhors iniquity, by the same necessity of His moral nature must delight in holiness. But one thing must be remarked by the way of caution. God is not pleased with men's holiness because there is anything of original or independent merit in it; He is pleased with it because He contemplates in it His own work; just as He was pleased when, after the Creation, He is said to have looked on it, and pronounced that it was all "very good": He is pleased with it, because it sheds His own lustre, and reflects back the beauty of His own perfections: He is pleased with it, because it advances the revenue of His glory, because it secures the happiness of those in whom it dwells.

3. This state of existence comprehends gratitude for the Divine goodness. The offering of praise by believing men to God cannot but be pleasing in His sight; it is so with the gratitude which is offered in heaven, and At cannot but be so with the gratitude offered on earth.

III. BY WHAT ADVANTAGES THIS STATE OF EXISTENCE IS COMMENDED.

1. Those who exist in a state that is pleasing to God are privileged with near and intimate communion with God.

2. Those who exist in this state possess also the consolations and supports of God in all times of difficulty and of danger.

3. Those who exist in the state which is now described have the security of eternal and perfect happiness in heaven. Pleasing God has an especial connection with the joy of God.

(J. Parsons.)

I. THAT THE END AND THE GREAT PRIVILEGE OF FAITH IS TO BE "TRANSLATED OUT OF THE WORLD INTO THE HAPPINESS OF THE ETERNAL STATE.

1. I shall prove the point by Scripture: "Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:9). Heaven is there proposed as the chief reward of faith; all that we do, all that we suffer, all that we believe, it is with an aim at the hope of the salvation of our souls. The last article of our creed is everlasting life.

2. I shall by a few reasons prove the interest of believers in eternal life, and why faith gives a title to glory.(1) Because by faith we are made sons; all our right and title is by adoption. Children may expect a child's portion.(2) These are the terms of the eternal covenant between God and Christ, that believers should have a right to heaven by Christ's death; therefore, whenever the Father's love and Christ's purchase are mentioned, faith is the solemn condition.(3) Because faith is the mother of obedience, which is the way to eternal life; faith gives a title, and works give an evidence.(4) By faith that life is begun which shall only be consummated and perfected in glory. The life of glory and the life of grace are the same in substance, but not in degree. Here faith takes Christ, and then life is begun, though in glory it is perfected (1 John 5:12).

Use 1. To press you to get faith upon this ground and motive, it will give you an interest in heaven.

Use 2. It serves to direct you how to exercise and act faith in order to the everlasting state. Five duties believers must perform.(1) The first work and foundation of all is to accept of Christ in the offers of the gospel; there is the foundation of a glorious estate.(2) It directs you to exercise your faith to believe the promise of heaven which God hath made.(3) Get your own title .confirmed; lay claim to your inheritance.(4) Let us often renew our hopes by serious and distinct thoughts. This is the way to anticipate heaven, by musing upon it (ver. 1).(5) Another work of faith is earnestly to desire and long after the full accomplishment of glory. Faith bewrayeth itself by desires as well as thoughts. All things hasten to their centre.

Use 3. To exalt the mercy of God to believers; once sinners, and by grace made believers. Observe the wonderful love and grace of God in three steps —(1) That He hath provided such an estate for believers. What a miracle of mercy is this that God should think of taking poor despicable dust and ashes, and planting them in the upper paradise, that they should be carried into heaven and made companions of the angels.(2) That this state is provided freely, and upon such gracious terms.(3) That God should send up and down the world to offer this salvation to men.

Use 4. Comfort to God's children against wants, and against troubles and persecutions, and against death itself.

II. THOSE THAT WOULD LIVE WITH GOD HEREAFTER MUST LEARN TO PLEASE GOD ERE THEY DEPART HENCE.

1. What it is to please God. It implies both coming to God, and walking with God.

2. The necessity of pleasing God.(1) Because this is the means and condition without which we shall never come to enjoy God; it is the way to fit the sons of God for glory, though not the cause of glory (Hebrews 12:14).(2) There is a necessity of it by way of sign, and as a pledge of our living with God hereafter — "Before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."(3) It is necessary by way of preparation. Those that walk with God are meet to live with God; they change their place, but not their company; here they walk with God, and there they live with Him for ever.

3. The necessity of pleasing God in the present life — "For before his translation," it is said, "he had this testimony, that he pleased God." There is a time for all things, and the time of pleasing God is in the present life.(1) Because this is the time of grace. Here we are invited to walk with God: now we have the means, then we have the recompenses; here Christ saith (Matthew 11:28).(2) This is the time of our exercise and trial.

4. The sooner we begin the better.(1) Because you make a necessary work sure, and put it out of doubt and hazard. The time of this life is uncertain (James 4:14).(2) In point of obedience, God presseth to "now." God doth not only command us to please Him, but to do it presently (Hebrews 3:7, 8). It were just with God, if you refuse Him, never to call you more.(3) In point of ingenuity. We receive a plenteous recompense for a small service. When a man thinketh what God hath provided for them that love Him and serve Him, he should be ashamed that he should receive so much and do so little; and therefore he should redeem all the time that he can, that he may answer his expectations from God.(4) It is our advantage to begin betimes, both here and hereafter.(a) Here. The sooner you begin to please God, the sooner you have an evidence of your interest in His favour, more experience of His love, more hopes of being with Him in heaven; and these are not slight things.(b) The sooner you begin with God, the greater will your glory be hereafter; for the more we improve our talents here, the greater will be our reward in heaven (Luke 19:16-19).

Use 1. If there be such a necessity of pleasing God, and giving up ourselves to the severities of religion, then it serves for reproof of divers sorts of persons; as —(1) Those that, though they live as they list, as if they were sent into the world for no other purpose but to gratify their carnal desires, yet lay as bold a claim and title to heaven as the best; they doubt not but glory belongs to them, though they cannot make good their title.(2) It reproves them that think that every slight profession of the name of God will serve the turn; no, you must walk with God and please God.(3) It reproves those that would please God, but with a limitation and reservation so far as they may not displease men or displease the flesh.(4) It reproves those that adjourn and put off the work of religion from time to time, till they have lost all time; that use to put off God to the troubles of sickness or the aches of old age.

Use 2. If there be no hope of living with God without pleasing God, oh, then make it the aim and scope of your lives to please the Lord!(1) Look to the commandments as your rule (Micah 6:8).(2) Let the promises of God be your encouragement.(3) You should make the glory of God your chiefest end, or you will be very irregular, and cannot keep pace with God in a constant course of duty. Look, as a man that hath a nail in his foot may walk in soft ground, but when he comes to hard ground he is soon turned out of the way, so when a man hath a perverse aim, he will soon be discouraged with the inconveniences that will trouble him in religion. The spiritual life is called " a living to God" (Galatians 2:19). The end must be right, otherwise the conversation will be but a vain pretence, that will please men but not God (Proverbs 16:2).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. WHATEVER BE THE OUTWARD DIFFERENT EVENTS OF FAITH IN BELIEVERS IN THIS WORLD, THEY ARE ALL ALIKE ACCEPTED WITH GOD, approved by Him, and shall all equally enjoy the eternal inheritance.

II. GOD CAN AND DOTH PUT A GREAT DIFFERENCE AS UNTO OUTWARD THINGS, BETWEEN SUCH AS ARE EQUALLY ACCEPTED BEFORE HIM. Abel shall die, and Enoch shall be taken alive into heaven.

III. THERE IS NO SUCH ACCEPTABLE SERVICE UNTO GOD, NONE THAT HE HATH SET SUCH SIGNAL PLEDGES OF HIS FAVOUR UPON, AS ZEALOUSLY TO CONTEND AGAINST THE WORLD IN GIVING WITNESS TO HIS WAYS, HIS WORSHIP, AND HIS KINGDOM, OR THE RULE OF CHRIST OVER ALL.

IV. IT IS A PART OF OUR TESTIMONY TO DECLARE AND WITNESS THAT VENGEANCE IS PREPARED FOR UNGODLY PERSECUTORS and all sorts of impenitent sinners, however they are and may be provoked thereby.

V. The principal part of this testimony CONSISTS IN OUR OWN PERSONAL OBEDIENCE, OR VISIBLE WALKING WITH GOD IN HOLY OBEDIENCE, according to the tenor of the covenant (2 Peter 3:11, 14).

VI. As it is an effect of the wisdom of God to dispose the works of His providence, and the accomplishment of His promises, according to an ordinary established rule declared in His Word, which is the only guide of faith; so SOMETIMES IT PLEASES HIM TO GIVE EXTRAORDINARY INSTANCES IN EACH KIND, BOTH IN A WAY OF JUDGMENT AND IN A WAY OF GRACE AND FAVOUR. Of the latter sort was the taking of Enoch into heaven; and of the former was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven. Such extraordinary acts, either the wicked security of the world, or the edification of the Church, do sometimes make necessary.

VII. FAITH IN GOD THROUGH CHRIST HATH AN EFFICACY IN THE PROCURING OF SUCH GRACE, MERCY, AND FAVOUR IN PARTICULAR, AS IT HATH NO GROUND IN PARTICULAR TO BELIEVE. Enoch was translated by faith; yet did not Enoch believe he should be translated, until he had a particular revelation of it. So there are many particular mercies which faith hath no word of promise to mix itself withal, as unto their actual communication unto us; but yet keeping itself within its bounds of reliance on God, and acting by patience and prayer, it may be, and is, instrumental in the procurement of them.

VIII. THEY MUST WALK WITH GOD HERE WHO DESIGN TO LIVE WITH HIM HEREAFTER; or they must please God in this world who would be blessed with Him in another.

IX. THAT FAITH WHICH CAN TRANSLATE A MAN OUT OF THIS WOULD, CARRY HIM THROUGH THE DIFFICULTIES WHICH HE MAY MEET WITHAL, IN THE PROFESSION OR FAITH AND OBEDIENCE IN THIS WORLD. Herein lies the apostle's argument. And this latter the Lord Jesus Christ hath determined to be the lot and portion of His disciples. So He testifies (John 17:15).

(John Owen, D. D.)

After the testimony borne to the life of Enoch, his translation scarcely surprises us. We almost look for some such apotheosis of his exalted virtues. Already he has more of the celestial than the earthly in his character; and is more fit to be the companion of angels than to associate with an apostate race. Even the outer nature has experienced the transforming influence of a long course of faith and devotion. Refined and purified beyond the ordinary state of a mortal body, we can conceive of it as fitly entering on immortality without undergoing the purification which death effects. Through a less trying ordeal it may soar to its place among the sons of God; and our moral sense is not shocked when such a superhuman reward is granted to one possessed of such superhuman excellence. Heaven must attract towards itself that which so much resembles itself. And what if the attraction be so strong, that the process of dying and the long waiting for the resurrection be dispensed with, and Heaven at once takes to itself that which is so manifestly its own? Although permitted to enter heaven by a path different from that which ordinary mortals tread, his body would no doubt undergo the change necessary to fit it for the kingdom into which flesh and blood cannot enter — a change in all probability similar to that which takes place in the bodies of the saints who are alive at the coming of the Lord. We have no account of how or where Enoch's translation took place. Perhaps it was promised before as the reward of his holiness, and that his faith in the promise might sustain him under his trials. In that case it would be a long-expected, much desired event. Or, perhaps, it was unexpected, and he was ignorant of what was taking place until the glories of heaven burst upon his view. But the conjecture most pleasing to us is that it was while he was entranced in devotion. When his soul left the world for awhile and soared upward to hold intercourse with God, when loth to disturb the vision and return to battle with the cares, and to be pained with the wickedness of the world, his body rises too, caught up by an invisible power, changing as it ascends, until it becomes pure as the home to which it hastens. Whether it came thus, or otherwise, is of small consequence. Come when and how it might, the transition must have been unspeakably glorious. His translation must have been designed to serve some important purposes. To him it was at once a dispensation of mercy and a mark of honour. A dispensation of mercy, because it severed him from the scenes of wickedness, which had vexed his righteous soul. God took him: properly, took him away. Away from the society of ungodly men, from their taunts and persecutions. Away from the wickedness over which he mourned. Away from the privations of this wilderness state. Away from the many ills to which flesh is heir, and the peculiar troubles which afflict the just. God had tested the fidelity of His servant. He took him away to be with Himself, and the weary one had rest. A mark of honour — for had not God sought to honour him, He might have removed him from all occasions of suffering in the ordinary way. To his neighbours his translation was a testimony to the truth of his prophecy. That prophecy (Jude 1:14, 15) was addressed, without doubt, to the ungodly men of his own generation, and predicted the punishment which awaited them because of their ungodliness. And when even this terrible prediction failed to check them in their downward career, how fitted was his translation to make them pause and consider. From the apostle's words "he was not found," we suppose that the event was known, as if he had been missed by the men of his neigh-bourhood from his accustomed haunts. Doubtless there were eye-witnesses of the event, by whom the manner of his removal would be made public. And thus his absence would be a standing testimony to the truth of his prediction. Most forcibly would it say — Death is not the end of man; for Enoch, though not dead, has departed. As regards ourselves it is fitted most powerfully to commend to us the principle which produced in him such remarkable results. His character was a noble testimony to the power of faith; but his translation shows more impressively what wonders faith can achieve. See in this mighty work the evidence and illustration of the truth that all things are possible to him that believeth. And remember that a faith like Enoch's can only be acquired through fellowship with God. While there must be faith in order to fellowship, fellowship fosters and strengthens faith.

(W. Landels, D. D.)

Did you ever witness the transit of a planet across the disc of the sun? Ah! but the transit of a soul from truth to truth, by what glass shall we notice that? By what glass shall we tell how the mind marches in its orb — how the spirit advances in its sphere? By what chronology shall we estimate the translation of the soul? But here we have that wonderful fact in the history of man — the history of a soul's translation. On this world God will never allow His children to be found longer than they can be useful, either for His glory or their own growth. Even on earth, amidst all the blunders of our most imperfect sociology, what the man is after his translation, is, in more sensible circles, to be inferred from what he was before. There is a young man in my chapel who, to-morrow, will vacate an old inferior seat, held for many years at his desk, and mount to that envied and coveted place — first in the office; second only to that confidential post in the second room. Yesterday, in the office of the principal of the firm, his vigilance, his conscientiousness, his disposition, were all subjects of praise; and before this translation he has had this testimony — that he has pleased his employer. Among the long dun wolds of Kent there was great and unusual merry-making, on the farm of Henry Gibbons, this Christmas; for, although he was leaving his farm of one hundred and fifty acres, he was going to one of five hundred acres. To him, six months since, said his landlord, "Henry, you know at Christmas the farm of Beechy Hollow will be vacant, and I love that farm. I was born and brought up there, and I must have somebody there I can trust. Now, that farm you shall have, for I can trust you." Thus in all the translations that are exemplary on earth, and which are removed from the influences of corruption and error, in every state of the advance the progressive spirit has this testimony — that he has pleased before his translation. What right have we to expect a higher rank before we have filled our present duty? You covet more. You have, I assure you, as much honour as you can bear. You have as many duties as you can fulfil. Believe me, there is an exact relation between your power of profitable possession and your power of expenditure. "He had this testimony, that he pleased God." It was the testimony of faith. "By faith Enoch was translated." In the scale of greatness, by which we rise to please God, the first place is assigned to faith, because it interprets the life; amidst abounding iniquity and hardness of heart, he yielded himself to God, to God's pleasure and will. "He pleased God." He walked with God. By this sublime phrase, I believe something more is intended than we can understand. Amidst the sublime scenes of those primeval woods and vales, what secret communings he held! There were then few illustrious progenitors: kings, statesmen, seers, and poets — he could not walk with those; he could only walk with God, With him now, the simple, poor man, to whom the Bible unfolds its treasures and prayer its armoury, and meditation its sacred refectory, and paradise its distant gleaming palace — with him may this man compare. Like Enoch, he walks alone with God in his simplicity and holy dignity. "He pleased God" — he was a preacher of righteousness, and part of his sermon has come down even to our own age. Very dreadful are the words of a man who comes from intimate fellowship with Divine holiness, to pour his pathos and his pity and his indignation over a lost world. Like Jonathan Edwards, a soul — a pity — a heart of holiness — a hermit existence — and a speech of fire. And then God took him — after three hundred and sixty-five years had been given to him, God took him; to show to the ungodly world that he was not limited to the ordinary operations of the laws of Nature, and to proclaim to the race of giants, the children of Cain, His authentication of His servant's life — He translated him.

(E. P. Hood.)

There may be a little difficulty in seeing how the "translation," or "ascension" of Enoch, was the result of Enoch's "faith." Did he believe in an "ascension"? and was it given to his trust and expectation of that very thing? Where did he learn it? Yet, "by faith Enoch was translated." We must enlarge the question. It is not always necessary, in order to secure a blessing, that we have "a faith" in that particular gift. No doubt a special " faith," in a special thing, is often given and sometimes required. But "faith" goes to a certain level, while God goes far beyond the level of the " faith." And it is a comfort to know that a general trust in God commands and secures individual mercies. You east yourself universally upon God's faithfulness: and, beyond a doubt, God will fill in the details, which you never thought of, and which details He sees that you want. And death is a solemn thing. Death may be bitter, even to a child of God! Else, it would not have been said, as a part of the mercy, to Enoch, that he was ,, translated that he should not see death." Nor would it be made the running over of the cup of Jesus's sorrow, that "He tasted death for every man." Nevertheless, if it please my heavenly Father to order otherwise, and that I should pass through my grave and gate of death to my body, it will be all well! There is no danger! there is nothing to fear! no real solitude! but only just enough to draw out my Saviour's love! It very little matters whence I ascend, or how: I only care for the whither. But "who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart." Pray for the gift of the "faith" in your ascension. See the degrees of "faith" as they are laid out in the opening of this chapter of "faith's" triumphs. The understanding "faith" in the Omnipotence of creation (ver. 3). Then the justifying "faith" in sacrifice (ver. 4). And then, in the third degree, translating " faith" — the faith of glory (ver. 5). "Walk" the walk of faith higher and higher — above the things that are seen. "Walk," as Enoch walked — "walk," as Elijah walked — "walk," as Jesus walked — "walk" up to your ascension!

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The mare and grand distraction between the child of God and the servant of sin is, that the one lives by faith and the other by sight.

1. A man is sometimes dishonest because the object which he sees engrosses his attention beyond the fear of punishment, which is a matter of faith; and he defrauds or steals. Again, in their judgments men of sin act by sight, not by faith, though men who do these things are compelled sometimes to declare them wrong, and to pronounce a judgment against their actions. They settle those things to be sins which appear to do the most immediate harm, and those to be less sins, or none at all, which do not cause so much immediate perceptible harm. Again, in their religion men of sin act on sight, and men of God on faith. See the worldly man in his religion, as he calls it. It is all the sight parts of religion, none of the faith parts.(1) They come to church, that is something to be felt. There is the doing something that worse people do not do; therefore they hope by the irksomeness of the act to clear away some sins; they can realise the religion of that.(2) They read the Bible sometimes; there is a little trouble in that, and it is something they can lay hold of.(3) They give money in aims; this is something seen and felt; they are doing something more than others.(4) They speak respectfully of the Church of the land and the ministers of the Church, because there is something easy in it, and by doing so they throw a garb of devotion over themselves, which they see many others have not got. So much is their religion, and here it ends. Men of sin act on sight, not on faith; they are only religious when they see and feel the good of it. Now turn to the religious man influenced by faith.

1. He judges sin by the law of God; he knows coveting is as bad as stealing, because it leads to it; and he knows God condemns the evil thought as well as the evil action.

2. In his duties he acts on faith. He foregoes the indulgence of angry passion, remembering the greater happiness and peace of a loving spirit and the favour of the Saviour who has declared the peacemaker blessed.

3. Above all, in his religion behold the man of faith. What he does is not to be seen of men, but of his Father in heaven, who shall reward him openly.

I. The 11th chapter of Hebrews is, as it were, a bright roll, unfolding to us the men who, in days gone by, have lived by faith and not by sight; they shine like fixed stars in the dark expanse of human life. Let us contemplate the character of Enoch, as showing forth a character influenced by faith, and behold in him another fruit of faith.

1. It seems to mean he knew God, had a just knowledge of God.

2. But it seems to mean, too, that he was intimate and familiar with God.

3. And again, "he pleased God." His religion was not only feeling, taken up to-day, put down to-morrow; his religion influenced his practice, altered his conduct, helped him to stand forth the bold supporter of truth in the midst of a wicked generation. Such was his character. Now how was this the result of faith? This character, through a coming Saviour, procured for him translation to glory. He lived above the present world, and apart from the present people, by faith; that is, the tastes, the conversation, the occupation of all around would naturally have made his mind the same with theirs, had it not been for the exercise of the principle of faith. This was Enoch's character, and this is the way it was affected by faith. Now let us apply this to ourselves. The fruit or working of faith, which Enoch's character shows, consists in living separate from the opinions and practices of the day we live in, and protesting against the errors of that day by word or example; and this by faith.But, in matters of practice, there are false opinions about in the world, which are against God's revealed Word, and which consequently are to be rebuked and opposed by the man of faith.

1. Men tell us all devotion is enthusiasm. If a man spend much time in prayer; if a man give up the world's society; if he be cheerful under affliction; if he have his happiness fixed in another world, not this, the world calls him an enthusiast pursuing a phantom, a dreamer, wholly mistaken as to what religion is, not a soberminded man. Now what does the man of faith answer? what does Enoch answer to the false report of an undiscriminating world? Behold the man of faith. He reads such passages as these, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."

2. But again, it is a prevailing error of the day that men need not give up the world; that the doing so is gloomy, melancholy. and unnecessary. The man who is directed by faith, whose eye is looking for the unseen hereafter, who is not dazzled by the lamps of present pleasure and excitement, answers the erroneous opinion of the world by an appeal to the Bible.(1) He may demand, What is the world, and what does the Bible mean by the world, if the utmost excess of gaiety — gaiety dissipating devotion, gaiety and pleasure inviting the support of infamous characters, gaiety ruining the health and wasting the time, company where God is never mentioned, where religion is never introduced, and where its introduction would be misplaced — if this is not the world, what is?(2) He may show that the Bible plainly declares that "the friendship of the world is enmity with God"; "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."(3) He may show that while such pleasure and such society is given up, we need not be gloomy; far, very far from it. Thus the man influenced by faith may answer and refute, like Enoch, the current opinions of the day, that the world need not be given up, and that those who withdraw from it are morose and gloomy.

(E. Monro.)

The suggestion is very beautiful as to the way in which he was wanted and missed when he was gone. It seems to point to some scene, veiled in one of God's august silences, when Methuselah and the other sons and daughters found the tent or the chamber empty, sought the saintly father everywhere and found him not — found not even the body — could but infer, till God inspired and wrote it down, that which had happened — namely, that the life was so full of God, the walk with God so close and so intimate, the sight of God by faith so constant and so intuitive, that it had pleased the Divine Companion to "make a new thing in the earth," to "send down a hand from above" and deliver His servant "out of the waters" of time, from the surrounding of the "strange children" of an "untoward generation," and to carry him by a short and direct passage to the land of an everlasting rest and peace. We who know what one righteous man may be, in a house or in a city — how dear to his own, how necessary to a wider circle, whose counsellor, whose oracle, probity and wisdom and piety have made him — can faintly picture that sorrowful morning, when "Enoch was not found, because God had translated him; " when the life of that household, that neighbourhood, that country, must henceforth be lived without him — without his help, without his example, without his sympathy, without his prayers. I know not that we ought to desire to be missed when we are gone; but I know that, whether desiring this or no, we ought all so to live as that we shall be wanted when we are "not found." There is no replacing, on earth, of the really missed one. That house, that town, that Church must learn to do without him. If the loss really leads any one to inquire into the secret of it — to ask why he was so much to others and to his own — to discover the royal road, which honest prayer is, into the sanctuary which he frequented, and into the companionship which was his strength; then the life, and the "translation," will together have explained the mystery of the Divine purpose in ordaining both.

(Dean Vaughan.)

He changed his place, but not his company, for he still walked with God, as in earth, so in heaven.

(J. Trapp.)

Referring to the translation of Enoch, Rev. J. Chalmers, M.A., spoke of the two ways by which men have been taken from this world: the one, "the golden bridge " of translation, which only a few have been privileged to cross: the other, the" dark tunnel" of death, by which way the majority have had to go. But whether by the one way or the other, all who walked with God reach their glorious end — are with God.

(King's Highway.)

He pleased God.
I. THE NECESSITY FOR PLEASING GOD. There is a God to please — a living God, who takes a continual interest in all human things; who thinks, feels, loves, and is grieved; and whose great endeavour, by all this complicated world-work that He carries on, is to educate human spirits, that they may, like Him, hate the wrong and love the right, and do it. There is a God who is pleased always when the least cause for pleasure is presented to Him. Just as we are glad when a child succeeds in a lesson; when a boy takes a prize; when a young man does some difficult work in a noble way; when a girl is like her mother in goodness; so God is glad when His children do well. All this shows, surely, that there is a necessity for pleasing God; that no man can be right, safe, happy, who does not aim to do this; and, in a measure, succeed in doing it. If God is not pleased with us, we cannot be right. Some say that the attempt to please God is an inferior aim, and that the real end we ought to keep in view is, to be right in everything. Let a man try to be right without any regard to God, and how far will he go? How do we know fully and clearly what is right without God's gracious information? A little we know by our native moral sense, but for the perfect ideal of goodness we are indebted solely to Him. Therefore we must try to please Him. God, being God, is an infinite, absolute, all-perfect Being; holding in Himself all principles, all relations, all truth, order, and beauty; to please Him must, in the very nature of the case, be to do right.

II. NOW, as to THE METHOD of this; of course I do not pretend to give a full description of the method. That would be to describe the whole Christian life; for all duty, service, and suffering are with a good man parts of the one grand endeavour to please God. But I will say this, that it is not difficult to please God if only we take the right way of it. He is not a hard master. I believe we have no idea how simple, how natural, how human-like in the best sense is the joy of God in the obedience of His children. We have only to attain a simple, purified sincerity as to the motive, and then put a glow into the action, when God, beholding, will say, "It is well." "I am pleased; pleased with the action — with the worker — above all, because I can now give the reward." But we shall suppose the case of one who has not yet pleased God at all. How must he begin to do so .7 I should say that to him the first feeling, if he is now wishing to do the will of God, would be a feeling of regret that he has not done it, a feeling of unfeigned sorrow; in other words, repentance. Then faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as representing the will of the Father, as communicating the Father's grace, as crucified for our offences, and raised again for our justification. He is the propitiation for our sins, and the rectifier of our lives, and the guide of our steps, Redeemer from sin, and death, and hell. Then, after repentance and faith, there comes the whole process of practical obedience, filial and loving. When the yoke is taken in this spirit, it is easy; when the burden is lifted so, it is light. And life then is simple. It is but to " walk with God" and "please" Him so. It is but to see Him where He is; to hear Him when He speaks; but to serve and enjoy Him with a loving heart. That God will be pleased with such a course is just as certain as that a good father or mother will approve a loving obedience in a child. Just as certain as it is that God loves order and beauty, and goodness and truth.

III. THE RESULTS of doing this will be manifold, and very good.

1. We shall in this way please ourselves as we never can do in any other. It is well when a man brings himself up to the bar of his better self. There is something of God in a good man; the enlightened conscience is the echo of the Divine authority and will. A noble ideal is surely to be cherished, a generous purpose is to be held fast, and the soul is to be encouraged in doing this in every possible way. Now there is no way so direct and sufficient as the way of pleasing God; by a loving obedience to Him we reach and please and satisfy our better self.

2. Then, further, if we please God, we shall ourselves have pleasure in life and the world. He can make our enemies to be at peace with us, and He will, if we please Him. In the world we are to have tribulation, and yet we may be of good cheer, for we are victors.

3. Finally, come what may in this life, that always is sure. "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." He is the great rewarder even in this life. Do but a little service heartily to Him, and He will come to you with His rewarding love. You cry in wonder of so much munificence, "My cup runneth over." All this will God give into your bosom and pour about your life, even here and now. Then what will He do hereafter to those who love and please Him? Earth does not hold the secret. It is "reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

I. If we ask WHOM WE ARE TO PLEASE, reason, uninstructed by revelation or experience, would immediately say ourselves, or if reason did not say so, feeling would. We accordingly find that man, as soon as he begins to act, acts solely with a view to his own gratification. It would never enter his mind to act otherwise were he left alone. But then none of us are left alone. We are mixed up with our fellow-men, and are trained from our earliest infancy more or less to please them. And these two things, pleasing ourselves and pleasing our fellow-men, we contrive to carry on together. We please the world, and in doing so, we please ourselves, for we gain something that we desire from the world by pleasing it — if nothing more, its good opinion. But God comes in and disturbs all this. "Please me," says self. "Please me," says the world; and while we are striving to obey both, there is a voice from heaven which says," Neither must be obeyed: you must approve yourselves to Me." There appears before us a third competitor for our powers of pleasing; one of whom we never thought, and to whom not a feeling or principle of our nature inclines us to listen. So perverse are we that we cannot do it. "They that are in the flesh," says the Scripture, "cannot please God." You see then that we have no merely moral, half-heathen duty before us; it is a Christian duty.

II. How WE ARE TO PLEASE GOD.

1. We must begin with accepting the offers of His grace. We know that in order to please a fellow-creature we must fall in with his disposition and character. If he is a man of a kind disposition, we must on no account repulse his kindness, but yield ourselves up to it, and let him do us all the good he will. Now the great God of heaven is a God of infinite kindness towards us. "Here is pardon for you," He says; "here is peace; here is My love for you, My presence, My likeness, My joy, My kingdom. Look through My universe — there is everything for you that is worth your having." Now to please Him is to accept these offers. It is to let Him see that we value His kindness and care for His blessings.

2. To please God, we must conform ourselves to His mind and will. And this will show itself by our ceasing to be angry and discontented with His dealings with us; and still more clearly by our efforts to do His will. He pleases God the most who places himself entirely in God's hands, and who strives the most after the holiness which God loves.

3. To please God we must aim to please Him supremely, far above all. Our first, supreme desire must be to approve ourselves in God's sight.

III. WHY WE SHOULD THUS SEEK TO PLEASE GOD RATHER THAN ANY ONE ELSE.

1. It is easier to please Him. Only let us once accept the offers of love He has made us in His Son, and we can please Him; anything that we offer will be acceptable in His sight; the mere desire to please will give Him pleasure. Is it difficult for a child to put pleasure into a father's heart? Does a mother require much from her infant to afford her delight? But what is a father's or a mother's love to the love of the great God for us? As a shadow to a substance. His mighty love for us then makes it easy for us to please Him. But turn to the world. It is hard work to please that. What a multitude there is in it to gratify! every one wanting to be gratified in his own way, regarding you as nothing but the mere instrument of his pleasure. We may sacrifice ourselves on the world's altar, but, alas! we shall gain nothing; the greater part of the world will be angry because the sacrifice has not been made for them only or as they would have it made. And then what a weathercock is the mind of man! How light and mutable! What pleases him today, he is tired of to-morrow, and offended with the day after. He who seeks to please God, has only one to please instead of multitudes; and He One who is considerate and merciful, and never requires us to hurt ourselves in order to please Him, and is always of one mind. That which pleases Him once will please Him for ever.

2. It is better to please God than any one else, more for our advantage. Think how little man can do for us, even if he is disposed and continues so, to do his best. Our greatest sorrows he can do little indeed to lighten, and our heaviest wants he car. do nothing at all to supply. We cling to him as though he were all in all to us; an hour will come when we shall feet him to be a shadow. But think what God is. He is that God who made heaven and earth, and who could in a moment unmake them, bring them all into nothing again. He governs all things. He can give us whatsoever He will, and withheld from us whatsoever He will.

3. It is more ennobling to please God than to please any one else. The effort to please Him elevates the soul; seeking to please others debases it. We become like God by seeking to please Him. By keeping Him constantly before us we are changed into His image. This is not theory. I may appeal to every-day facts. Take the poor cottager whose heart God has touched, and taught to seek His favour. Apparently with everything around him to depress him, there is often an elevation in that man's mind which constrains us to wonder at him. He has risen to a loftiness of thought and feeling which we can scarcely understand. And it is his piety alone which has raised him, his simple and earnest desire to please his Lord. And then look at some of the world's great men, men who live on the world's favour and applause. How low do we frequently see them sink! We marvel at the littleness they betray.

4. Hence we may observe that a supreme desire to please God conforms us more than anything else to Christ our Lord. He "pleased not Himself," the Scripture says. As we read His history we never suspect Him of having done so. It was not His own gratification that brought Him out of His Father's world and kept Him in our world amid pollution and sorrow. He sought not His own honour here, He did not His own works, He would not speak even His own words. And a careful reader of His history will never suspect Him of having been a pleaser of men. He points upwards to His Father, and says, "I do always those things that please Him." Now there is a blessed resemblance between Christ and His people. They have the same spirit that He had, and it is their joy and delight to have it. We say that it forms their character, they feel that it is a main part of their happiness.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

Homilist.
I. HE WHO WOULD BE HAPPY MUST PLEASE GOD.

1. God is a pleasable Being.

2. God is pleasable by man.

II. HE WHO WOULD PLEASE GOD MUST COME TO HIM. Christ is the way into the loving presence of the Great Father. Man pleases Him by trusting in His Son, cherishing His Spirit, and following His example.

III. HE WHO WOULD COME TO HIM MUST BELIEVE ON HIM.

1. In the fact of His existence.

2. In the fact of His retributive ministry.

(Homilist.)

: —

I. THE PRE-REQUISITES TO THAT STATE IN WHICH WE SHALL ACTUALLY PLEASE GOD.

1. A principle of faith in the revealed testimony of God.

2. A distinct faith in Jesus Christ, as Mediator, Advocate, and Redeemer.

3. The Divinely-formed elements of a new character within us.

II. THE COURSE OF THOSE PERSONS WHO ACTUALLY PLEASE GOD.

1. Righteousness predominating.

2. Devotion accompanying.

3. Zeal inflaming and animating.

III. THE TESTIMONY GIVEN OF THIS FACT.

1. The inspired declarations of Holy Writ.

2. Conscience divinely aided and corroborated.

3. The outward events of life, as proved from the ordinary history, and from the experience and lives of God's people.

(J. Leifchild.)

There are four things which must concur to please God — all which are accomplished by faith, and by nothing else.

1. The person of him that pleaseth God must be accepted of God (Titus 1:15). God had respect unto Abel (Genesis 4:4).

2. The matter that pleaseth God must be agreeable to His will (chap. 13:21; Romans 12:2).

3. The manner of doing that which pleaseth God must be with due respect to God, and that is in these and other like particulars —(1) In obedience to God: because He has demanded it. In this case we must say as Peter did, "At Thy word I will do it" (Luke 5:5).(2) In humility, denying of ourselves, as he that said, "Not I, but the grace of God which is with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10).(3) In sincerity, as having to do with Him that searcheth the heart. Thus did Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:3).(4) With sedulity: like the two faithful servants with whom the Lord was well pleased; but not like the slothful servant (Matthew 25:20, &c.).(5) With alacrity and cheerfulness: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).(6) Within compass of our Calling (1 Corinthians 7:17).(7) With constancy. If any draw back, God's soul will have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 9:38).(8) In assurance that God, who accepteth the person, accepteth also the work that is done. Hereby did Manoah's wife infer that God was pleased with that which they did (Judges 13:23).

4. The end, which is God's glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). The foresaid four general points are those four causes whereby everything is made perfect. Faith is the means whereby all of them may be effected and accomplished.(1) By faith in Christ the person is accepted of God (Ephesians 1:6).(2) Faith makes men subject themselves to God's will.(3) Faith makes men have respect, even to the manner of what they do to Godward; that it be done in obedience, in humility, in sincerity, with sedulity, with alacrity, orderly, constantly, and with assurance of God's acceptance. All these may be exemplified in Enoch.(4) Faith, of all graces, most aimeth at God's glory.

(W. Gouge.)

His religion was not a speculation or a theory, which he took up to-day and laid down to-morrow. It was not the vain dream of enthusiasm, which is founded on no steady and tried principles of reason, by which he was actuated. It was not the momentary impulse which induced him to take God's side to-day and which left him at liberty to desert it to-morrow. It was rather a religion of reason and deliberation; a religion of faith in the Divine character and promises; a religion which influenced, and guided, and sustained him, at one moment as at another. It was the allegiance of the heart, flowing from the decisions of the understanding. It was the obedience and homage of the soul. It was the tribute of dependence, gratitude, and love. It was the sacrifice of the whole man, a reasonable and acceptable service. Probity, and truth, and righteousness were its bright results. Hence Enoch pleased God — God graciously owned his allegiance and accepted his intercourse. His aim was to please God, and it was accepted as such. He was the child of mercy, the disciple of truth and charity. Whatever might be the judgment which men formed of his character, God was ready to avow, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord."

(G. T. Noel, M.A,)

Links
Hebrews 11:5 NIV
Hebrews 11:5 NLT
Hebrews 11:5 ESV
Hebrews 11:5 NASB
Hebrews 11:5 KJV

Hebrews 11:5 Bible Apps
Hebrews 11:5 Parallel
Hebrews 11:5 Biblia Paralela
Hebrews 11:5 Chinese Bible
Hebrews 11:5 French Bible
Hebrews 11:5 German Bible

Hebrews 11:5 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Hebrews 11:4
Top of Page
Top of Page