Genesis 4* The birth, employment, and religion of Cain and Abel. (1-7)Cain murders Abel, The curse of Cain. (8-15) The conduct ofCain, His family. (16-18) Lamech and his wives, The skill ofCain's descendants. (19-24) The birth of another son andgrandson of Adam. (25,26)1-7 When Cain was born, Eve said, I have gotten a man from theLord. Perhaps she thought that this was the promised seed. Ifso, she was wofully disappointed. Abel signifies vanity: whenshe thought she had the promised seed in Cain, whose namesignifies possession, she was so taken up with him that anotherson was as vanity to her. Observe, each son had a calling. It isthe will of God for every one to have something to do in thisworld. Parents ought to bring up their children to work. Givethem a Bible and a calling, said good Mr. Dod, and God be withthem. We may believe that God commanded Adam, after the fall, toshed the blood of innocent animals, and after their death toburn part or the whole of their bodies by fire. Thus thatpunishment which sinners deserve, even the death of the body,and the wrath of God, of which fire is a well-known emblem, andalso the sufferings of Christ, were prefigured. Observe that thereligious worship of God is no new invention. It was from thebeginning; it is the good old way, #Jer 6:16|. The offerings ofCain and Abel were different. Cain showed a proud, unbelievingheart. Therefore he and his offering were rejected. Abel came asa sinner, and according to God's appointment, by his sacrificeexpressing humility, sincerity, and believing obedience. Thus,seeking the benefit of the new covenant of mercy, through thepromised Seed, his sacrifice had a token that God accepted it.Abel offered in faith, and Cain did not, #Heb 11:4|. In all agesthere have been two sorts of worshippers, such as Cain and Abel;namely, proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method ofsalvation, who attempt to please God in ways of their owndevising; and humble believers, who draw near to him in the wayhe has revealed. Cain indulged malignant anger against Abel. Heharboured an evil spirit of discontent and rebellion againstGod. God notices all our sinful passions and discontents. Thereis not an angry, envious, or fretful look, that escapes hisobserving eye. The Lord reasoned with this rebellious man; if hecame in the right way, he should be accepted. Some understandthis as an intimation of mercy. "If thou doest not well, sin,that is, the sin-offering, lies at the door, and thou mayesttake the benefit of it." The same word signifies sin, and asacrifice for sin. "Though thou hast not done well, yet do notdespair; the remedy is at hand." Christ, the great sin-offering,is said to stand at the door, #Re 3:20|. And those well deserveto perish in their sins, that will not go to the door to ask forthe benefit of this sin-offering. God's acceptance of Abel'soffering did not change the birthright, and make it his; whythen should Cain be so angry? Sinful heats and disquiets vanishbefore a strict and fair inquiry into the cause. 8-15 Malice in the heart ends in murder by the hands. Cain slewAbel, his own brother, his own mother's son, whom he ought tohave loved; his younger brother, whom he ought to haveprotected; a good brother, who had never done him any wrong.What fatal effects were these of our first parents' sin, and howmust their hearts have been filled with anguish! Observe thepride, unbelief, and impenitence of Cain. He denies the crime,as if he could conceal it from God. He tries to cover adeliberate murder with a deliberate lie. Murder is a crying sin.Blood calls for blood, the blood of the murdered for the bloodof the murderer. Who knows the extent and weight of a Divinecurse, how far it reaches, how deep it pierces? Only in Christare believers saved from it, and inherit the blessing. Cain wascursed from the earth. He found his punishment there where hechose his portion, and set his heart. Every creature is to uswhat God makes it, a comfort or a cross, a blessing or a curse.The wickedness of the wicked brings a curse upon all they do,and all they have. Cain complains not of his sin, but of hispunishment. It shows great hardness of heart to be moreconcerned about our sufferings than our sins. God has wise andholy ends in prolonging the lives even of very wicked men. It isin vain to inquire what was the mark set upon Cain. It wasdoubtless known, both as a brand of infamy on Cain, and a tokenfrom God that they should not kill him. Abel, being dead, yetspeaketh. He tells the heinous guilt of murder, and warns us tostifle the first risings of wrath, and teaches us thatpersecution must be expected by the righteous. Also, that thereis a future state, and an eternal recompence to be enjoyed,through faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice. And he tellsus the excellency of faith in the atoning sacrifice and blood ofthe Lamb of God. Cain slew his brother, because his own workswere evil, and his brother's righteous, #1Jo 3:12|. Inconsequence of the enmity put between the Seed of the woman andthe seed of the serpent, the war broke out, which has been wagedever since. In this war we are all concerned, none are neuter;our Captain has declared, He that is not with me is against me.Let us decidedly, yet in meekness, support the cause of truthand righteousness against Satan. 16-18 Cain cast off all fear of God, and attended no more onGod's ordinances. Hypocritical professors, who dissemble andtrifle with God, are justly left to themselves to do somethinggrossly scandalous. So they throw off that form of godliness towhich they have been a reproach, and of which they deny thepower. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and we neverfind that he came into it again, to his comfort. The land Caindwelt in was called the land of Nod, which means, 'shaking,' or'trembling,' and so shows the restlessness and uneasiness of hisown spirit, or 'the land of a vagabond:' they that depart fromGod cannot find rest any where else. Those on earth who lookedfor the heavenly city, chose to dwell in tabernacles or tents;but Cain, as not minding that city, built one on earth. Thus allwho are cursed of God seek their settlement and satisfactionhere below. 19-24 One of Cain's wicked race is the first recorded, ashaving broken the law of marriage. Hitherto, one man had but onewife at a time; but Lamech took two. Wordly things, are the onlythings that carnal, wicked people set their hearts upon, and aremost clever and industrious about. So it was with this race ofCain. Here was a father of shepherds, and a father of musicians,but not a father of the faithful. Here is one to teach aboutbrass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of theLord: here are devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, andhow to be merry; but nothing of God, of his fear and service.Present things fill the heads of most. Lamech had enemies, whomhe had provoked. He draws a comparison betwixt himself and hisancestor Cain; and flatters himself that he is much lesscriminal. He seems to abuse the patience of God in sparing Cain,into an encouragement to expect that he may sin unpunished. 25,26 Our first parents were comforted in their affliction bythe birth of a son, whom they called Seth, that is, 'set,''settled,' or 'placed;' in his seed mankind should continue tothe end of time, and from him the Messiah should descend. WhileCain, the head of the apostacy, is made a wanderer, Seth, fromwhom the true church was to come, is one fixed. In Christ andhis church is the only true settlement. Seth walked in the stepsof his martyred brother Abel; he was a partaker of like preciousfaith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ,and so became a fresh witness of the grace and influence of Godthe Holy Spirit. God gave Adam and Eve to see the revival ofreligion in their family. The worshippers of God began to domore in religion; some, by an open profession of true religion,protested against the wickedness of the world around. The worseothers are, the better we should be, and the more zealous. Thenbegan the distinction between professors and profane, which hasbeen kept up ever since, and will be, while the world stands.
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