Page images
PDF
EPUB

Cain slayeth Abel; is sentenced by the Lord. | And Adam knew Eve his doest not well, sin lieth at the wife; and she conceived, and door. And unto thee shall be bare Cain, and said, I have got- his desire, and thou shalt rule ten a man from the LORD.

over him. 2 And she again bare his bro- 8 And Cain talked with Abel ther Abel. And Abel was a his brother: and it came to keeper of sheep, but Cain was pass, when they were in the a tiller of the ground.

field, that Cain rose up against 3 And in process of time it Abel his brother, and slew him. came to pass, that Cain brought 9 And the LORD said unto of the fruit of the ground an Cain, Where is Abel thy brooffering unto the Lord. ther? And he said, I know not:

4 And Abel, he also brought Am I my brother's keeper? of the firstlings of his flock, and 10 And he said, What hast of the fat thereof. And the thou done? the voice of thy Lord had respect unto Abel brother's blood crieth unto me and to his offering :

from the ground. 5 But unto Cain and to his 11 And now art thou cursed offering he had not respect. from the earth, which hath And Cain was very wroth, and opened her mouth to receive thy his countenance fell.

brother's blood from thy hand, 6 And the LORD said unto 12. When thou tillest the Cain, Why art thou wroth ? and ground, it shall not henceforth why is thy countenance fallen ? yield unto thee her strength;

7 If thou doest well, shalt thou a fugitive and a vagabond shalt not be accepted? and if thou thou be in the earth.

LECTURE 10. Our warnings and assurances aggravate our sins. In reading the book of Genesis, we are to remember that the history of many hundreds of years is comprised in a few chapters. And since so many things are necessarily omitted, we are not to suppose that each event recorded happened immediately after the one next before mentioned. Thus we have no means of knowing what other children Eve had borne at this period. But it appears plain that she entertained great hopes that Cain would be the promised seed; giving him the name Cain, which signifies possession, and saying, "I have gotten a man from the Lord.” How often are we mistaken like this first mother of us all; and inclined to take that for gain, which in truth is loss !

“ In process of time," probably at some season appointed for sacrifice, these two brothers brought their offerings unto the Lord. There can be little doubt that there was from the first an appointed place, as well as an appointed time; and moreover, that the head of each family was appointed as minister, to offer up the sacrifices which the worshippers brought. If we would know the reason why “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering,” and not to Cain and his, we may find it written in

the Epistle to the Hebrews, “ By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” This is a lesson, which Abel being dead “yet speaketh ;" Heb. 11. 4; Believe in God. And if we would know wherefore Cain slew his brother Abel, this is set down in the first Epistle of St. John, “ Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." I John 3. 12. And therefore from Cain also we may learn to avoid jealousy and wrath.

And what an aggravation of Cain's guilt was this, that the Lord so earnestly remonstrated with him! “ If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Why not bring thy offering with faith like that of Abel, and then thou wilt be like him accepted. “ And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door," or rather it may seem to mean, a sin offering. There is an appointed sacrifice, which now thou mayest offer, significant of an offering hereafter to be made in atonement for all the sins of all men; whereby thy sin shall be covered; and thou shalt still as before have precedence of thy younger brother. Certainly a remonstrance such as this might have moved the most hardened heart. And yet “Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” And is it not after the like gracious warnings and assurances that we also still continue to transgress? Has not God told us that by faith we may be justified, see Rom. 3. 28, and that “without faith it is impossible to please him?" Heb. 11. 6. Has He not declared that the Father gave the Son to be the “propitiation for our sins ?” 1 John 2. 2. And yet after all this revealed, and repeated oftentimes in our ears, are there not many, who still hate their brethren ? And is not he which hateth his brother a murderer ? See 1 John 3. 15. Oh let us lay to heart how great is the guilt of murder, and we shall shrink from the least approach to hatred. “ The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground;" this was the Lord's reply to guilty Cain, who pretended not to know what evil he had done, and dared to ask, “Am I my brother's keeper?”. To be cursed from the earth was his sentence, and besides this, that the earth should not yield to him her strength, but that he should be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth. He had been used to be a tiller of the ground. He might still sow, but he should no more reap. He must fly from place to place, goaded by the stings of conscience, and followed by the loud crying of a brother's blood. If we have ever approached to hating a brother, if we have ever dared to be at enmity with God, let us think what a fearful sentence has been hanging over our head; and let us have recourse for our pardon to that blood of Christ, which, as the apostle writes, “speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12. 24. That of Abel demands judgment against Cain. That of Christ still pleads unto the Father in behalf of those who nail Him to the cross, “ Forgive them ; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23. 34.

The family of Cain, and that of Seth. 13 And Cain said unto the was Adah, and the name of the Lord, My punishment isgreater other Zillah. than I can bear.

20 And Adah bare Jabal : he 14 Behold, thou hast driven was the father of such as dwell in me out this day from the face tents, and of such as have cattle. of the earth; and from thy face 21 And his brother's name shall I be hid; and I shall be was Jubal : he was the father a fugitive and a vagabond in of all such as handle the harp the earth; and it shall come to and organ. pass, that every one that find- 22 And Zillah, she also bare eth me shall slay me.

Tubal-cain, an instructor of 15 And the LORD said unto every artificer in brass and him, Therefore whosoever slay- iron and the sister of Tubaleth Cain, vengeance shall be cain was Naamah. taken on him sevenfold. And 23 And Lamech said unto his the LORD set a mark upon Cain, wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear lest any finding him should kill my voice; ye wives of Lamech, him.

hearken unto my speech : for I 16 And Cain went out from have slain a man to my woundthe presence of the Lord, and ing, and a young man to my dwest in the land of Nod, on hurt: the east of Eden.

24 If Cain shall be avenged 17 And Cain knew his wife; sevenfold, truly Lamech seand she conceived, and bare venty and sevenfold. Enoch : and he builded a city, 25 And Adam knew his wife and called the name of the again; and she bare a son, and city, after the name of his son, called his name Seth : for God, Enoch.

said she, hath appointed me 18 And unto Enoch was born another seed instead of Abel, Irad: and Irad begat Mehu- whom Cain slew. jael : and Mehujael begat Me- 26 And to Seth, to him also thusael : and Methusael begat there was born a son; and he Lamech.

called his name Enos: then 19 And Lamech took unto him began men to call upon the two wives : the name of the one name of the LORD.

LECTURE 11.

How ready God is to forgive. It was well that Cain felt the misery of being hid from the face of God, deprived of that spiritual communion which he had been hitherto privileged to enjoy. It was well for him to speak of this as one of the most severe parts of his punishment. To be a wanderer on the face of the earth, what is this, compared with being hid from the face of God? To be apprehensive of being slain by every one that findeth us, what is this, compared with being hid from the face of God? If we but enjoy his presence, if we are

favoured with the light of his countenance, then whether we have a home, or wander abroad, whether we live or die, we fear no harm, we are safe for evermore.

“ And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” This was a token for Cain's own assurance, as well as a mark for the direction of others. And it was unto Cain himself that the Lord said, “ Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” It is to be hoped therefore that this our guilty brother had manifested some signs of repentance. And we may probably interpret the grief he felt at being shut out from the presence of the Lord, as a proof that he was in some sort penitent. And shall not we also be hence encouraged to repentance? If God spared Cain's life, suffered him to beget children, and to found a city, and to leave behind him a numerous race upon the earth, shall not we hence feel assured, that the Lord is longsuffering, and willeth not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance ? See 2 Pet. 3. 9. Truly we know nothing of his boundless love, if we doubt that He is ever ready for his Son's sake to give respite to the worst of sinners, so they do but really endeavour to repent. And we should be yet more mistaken as to the mercifulness of God, if we were to suppose that it holds out to us encouragement in sinning. No, the same Gospel which proclaims his goodness, declares that He is also just; and tells us of a day when they “who obey not the gospel of our Lord,” however loudly they profess to believe it, “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the

presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” 2 Thess. 1. 9.

It is amongst the posterity of Cain that we first meet with the practice of polygamy, or a man's having more wives than one. In the same family were invented several of the arts which add greatly to the comfort and enjoyment of this present life. And from Lamech's justifying himself to his wives for having slain a man, who had first hurt or wounded him, it appears that whilst so much attention was paid to worldly joys, there was also in this family somewhat of worldly strife. How different was this condition of the children of Cain from the state of Seth, and his son Enos, and their family! “ Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord." Or according to the other version in the margin of our Bibles, “ Then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord.” As the disciples of Christ were called Christians, see Acts 11. 26, so in the earliest period of the world, the faithful servants of God were not ashamed to call themselves after the name of Jehovah. How much better like Seth and Enos to bear God's name, or to be employed in calling on Him, and worshipping Him, than with Lamech and his family to be studying how to multiply our comfort upon earth, or how to justify our offences ! Behold how many are the advantages of godliness! Behold how great is God's love bestowed on us Christians, in allowing us to be called, and to be, his sons !

The book of the generations of Adam. 1 This is the book of the ge- and five years, and begat Jared : nerations of Adam. In the day 16 And Mahalaleel lived after that God created man, in the he begat Jared eight hundred likeness of God made he him ; and thirty years, and begat

2 Male and female created he sons and daughters : them; and blessed them, and 17 And all the days of Mahacalled their name Adam, in the laleel were eight hundred ninety day when they were created. and five years: and he died.

3 And Adam lived an hundred 18 And Jared lived an hunand thirty years, and begat a son dred sixty and two years, and in his own likeness, after his he begat Enoch: image; and called his name Seth: 19 And Jared lived after he be

4. And the days of Adam after gat Enoch eight hundred years, he had begotten Seth were eight and begat sons and daughters: hundred years : and he begat 20 And all the days of Jared sons and daughters :

were nine hundred sixty and 5 And all the days that Adam two years: and he died. lived were nine hundred and 21 And Enoch lived sixty and thirty years : and he died.

five years, and begat Methu6 And Seth lived an hundred selah : and five years, and begat Enos: 22 And Enoch walked with

7 And Seth lived after he be- God after he begat Methuselah gat Enos eight hundred and three hundred years, and begat seven years, and begat sons and sons and daughters : daughters :

23 And all the days of Epoch 8 And all the days of Seth were three hundred sixty and were nine hundred and twelve five years : years: and he died.

24 And Enoch walked with 9 And Enos lived ninety years, God: and he was not; for God and begat Cainan :

took him. 10 And Enos lived after he 25 And Methuselah lived an begat Cainan eight hundred and hundred eighty and seven years, fifteen years, and begat sons and begat Lamech: and daughters :

26 And Methuselah lived af11 And all the days of Enos ter he begat Lamech seven hunwere nine hundred and five dred eighty and two years, and years : and he died.

begat sons and daughters : 12 And Cainan lived seventy 27 And all the days of Methuyears, and begat Mahalaleel : selah were nine hundred sixty

13 And Cainan lived after he and nine years : and he died. begat Mahalaleel eight hun- 28 And Lamech lived an hundred and forty years, and begat dred eighty and two years, and sons and daughters :

begat a son : 14 And all the days of Cainan 29 And he called his name were nine hundred and ten Noah, saying, This same shall years : and he died.

comfort us concerning our work 15 And Mahalaleel lived sixty and toil of our hands, because

« PreviousContinue »