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ENOCH, RULER AND TEACHER.


After Enoch had lived a long time secluded from men, he once heard the voice of an angel calling to him: “Enoch, Enoch, make thyself ready and leave the house and the secret place wherein thou hast kept thyself hidden, and assume dominion over men, to teach them the ways in which they shall walk, and the deeds which they shall do, in order that they may walk in the ways of God.” 

Enoch left his retreat and betook himself to the haunts of men. He gathered them about him, and instructed them in the conduct pleasing to God. He sent messengers all over to announce, “Ye who desire to know the ways of God and righteous conduct, come ye to Enoch!” Thereupon a vast concourse of people thronged about him, to hear the wisdom he would teach and learn from his mouth what is good and right. Even kings and princes, no less than one hundred and thirty in number, assembled about him, and submitted themselves to his dominion, to be taught and guided by him, as he taught and guided all the others. Peace reigned thus over the whole world all the two hundred and forty-three years during which the influence of Enoch prevailed.

At the expiration of this period, in the year in which Adam died, and was buried with great honors by Seth, Enosh, Enoch, and Methuselah, Enoch resolved to retire again from intercourse with men, and devote himself wholly to the service of God. But he withdrew gradually. First he would spend three days in prayer and praise of God, and on the fourth day he would return to his disciples and grant them instruction. Many years passed thus, then he appeared among them but once a week, later, once a month, and, finally, once a year. The kings, princes, and all others who were desirous of seeing Enoch and hearkening to his words did not venture to come close to him during the times of his retirement. Such awful majesty sat upon his countenance, they feared for their very life if they but looked at him. They therefore resolved that all men should prefer their requests before Enoch on the day he showed himself unto them.

The impression made by the teachings of Enoch upon all who heard them was powerful. They prostrated themselves before him, and cried “Long live the king! Long live the king!” On a certain day, while Enoch was giving audience to his followers, an angel appeared and made known unto him that God had resolved to install him as king over the angels in heaven, as until then he had reigned over men. He called together all the inhabitants of the earth, and addressed them thus: “I have been summoned to ascend into heaven, and I know not on what day I shall go thither. Therefore I will teach you wisdom and righteousness before I go hence.” A few days yet Enoch spent among men, and all the time left to him he gave instruction in wisdom, knowledge, God-fearing conduct, and piety, and established law and order, for the regulation of the affairs of men. Then those gathered near him saw a gigantic steed descend from the skies, and they told Enoch of it, who said, “The steed is for me, for the time has come and the day when I leave you, never to be seen again.” So it was. The steed approached Enoch, and he mounted upon its back, all the time instructing the people, exhorting them, enjoining them to serve God and walk in His ways. Eight hundred thousand of the people followed a day’s journey after him. But on the second day Enoch urged his retinue to turn back: “Go ye home, lest death overtake you, if you follow me farther.” Most of them heeded his words and went back, but a number remained with him for six days, though he admonished them daily to return and not bring death down upon themselves. On the sixth day of the journey, he said to those still accompanying him, “Go ye home, for on the morrow I shall ascend to heaven, and whoever will then be near me, he will die.” Nevertheless, some of his companions remained with him, saying: “Whithersoever thou goest, we will go. By the living God, death alone shall part us.”

On the seventh day Enoch was carried into the heavens in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery chargers. The day thereafter, the kings who had turned back in good time sent messengers to inquire into the fate of the men who had refused to separate themselves from Enoch, for they had noted the number of them. They found snow and great hailstones upon the spot whence Enoch had risen, and, when they searched beneath, they discovered the bodies of all who had remained behind with Enoch. He alone was not among them; he was on high in heaven.

By Mary Fairchild.

 

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