Genesis 4

* The birth, employment, and religion of Cain and Abel. (1-7)

Cain murders Abel, The curse of Cain. (8-15) The conduct of

Cain, His family. (16-18) Lamech and his wives, The skill of

Cain's descendants. (19-24) The birth of another son and

grandson of Adam. (25,26)

1-7 When Cain was born, Eve said, I have gotten a man from the

Lord. Perhaps she thought that this was the promised seed. If

so, she was wofully disappointed. Abel signifies vanity: when

she thought she had the promised seed in Cain, whose name

signifies possession, she was so taken up with him that another

son was as vanity to her. Observe, each son had a calling. It is

the will of God for every one to have something to do in this

world. Parents ought to bring up their children to work. Give

them a Bible and a calling, said good Mr. Dod, and God be with

them. We may believe that God commanded Adam, after the fall, to

shed the blood of innocent animals, and after their death to

burn part or the whole of their bodies by fire. Thus that

punishment which sinners deserve, even the death of the body,

and the wrath of God, of which fire is a well-known emblem, and

also the sufferings of Christ, were prefigured. Observe that the

religious worship of God is no new invention. It was from the

beginning; it is the good old way, #Jer 6:16|. The offerings of

Cain and Abel were different. Cain showed a proud, unbelieving

heart. Therefore he and his offering were rejected. Abel came as

a sinner, and according to God's appointment, by his sacrifice

expressing humility, sincerity, and believing obedience. Thus,

seeking the benefit of the new covenant of mercy, through the

promised Seed, his sacrifice had a token that God accepted it.

Abel offered in faith, and Cain did not, #Heb 11:4|. In all ages

there have been two sorts of worshippers, such as Cain and Abel;

namely, proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method of

salvation, who attempt to please God in ways of their own

devising; and humble believers, who draw near to him in the way

he has revealed. Cain indulged malignant anger against Abel. He

harboured an evil spirit of discontent and rebellion against

God. God notices all our sinful passions and discontents. There

is not an angry, envious, or fretful look, that escapes his

observing eye. The Lord reasoned with this rebellious man; if he

came in the right way, he should be accepted. Some understand

this as an intimation of mercy. "If thou doest not well, sin,

that is, the sin-offering, lies at the door, and thou mayest

take the benefit of it." The same word signifies sin, and a

sacrifice for sin. "Though thou hast not done well, yet do not

despair; the remedy is at hand." Christ, the great sin-offering,

is said to stand at the door, #Re 3:20|. And those well deserve

to perish in their sins, that will not go to the door to ask for

the benefit of this sin-offering. God's acceptance of Abel's

offering did not change the birthright, and make it his; why

then should Cain be so angry? Sinful heats and disquiets vanish

before a strict and fair inquiry into the cause.
8-15 Malice in the heart ends in murder by the hands. Cain slew

Abel, his own brother, his own mother's son, whom he ought to

have loved; his younger brother, whom he ought to have

protected; a good brother, who had never done him any wrong.

What fatal effects were these of our first parents' sin, and how

must their hearts have been filled with anguish! Observe the

pride, unbelief, and impenitence of Cain. He denies the crime,

as if he could conceal it from God. He tries to cover a

deliberate murder with a deliberate lie. Murder is a crying sin.

Blood calls for blood, the blood of the murdered for the blood

of the murderer. Who knows the extent and weight of a Divine

curse, how far it reaches, how deep it pierces? Only in Christ

are believers saved from it, and inherit the blessing. Cain was

cursed from the earth. He found his punishment there where he

chose his portion, and set his heart. Every creature is to us

what 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 his

punishment. It shows great hardness of heart to be more

concerned about our sufferings than our sins. God has wise and

holy ends in prolonging the lives even of very wicked men. It is

in vain to inquire what was the mark set upon Cain. It was

doubtless known, both as a brand of infamy on Cain, and a token

from God that they should not kill him. Abel, being dead, yet

speaketh. He tells the heinous guilt of murder, and warns us to

stifle the first risings of wrath, and teaches us that

persecution must be expected by the righteous. Also, that there

is a future state, and an eternal recompence to be enjoyed,

through faith in Christ and his atoning sacrifice. And he tells

us the excellency of faith in the atoning sacrifice and blood of

the Lamb of God. Cain slew his brother, because his own works

were evil, and his brother's righteous, #1Jo 3:12|. In

consequence of the enmity put between the Seed of the woman and

the seed of the serpent, the war broke out, which has been waged

ever 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 truth

and righteousness against Satan.
16-18 Cain cast off all fear of God, and attended no more on

God's ordinances. Hypocritical professors, who dissemble and

trifle with God, are justly left to themselves to do something

grossly scandalous. So they throw off that form of godliness to

which they have been a reproach, and of which they deny the

power. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and we never

find that he came into it again, to his comfort. The land Cain

dwelt in was called the land of Nod, which means, 'shaking,' or

'trembling,' and so shows the restlessness and uneasiness of his

own spirit, or 'the land of a vagabond:' they that depart from

God cannot find rest any where else. Those on earth who looked

for the heavenly city, chose to dwell in tabernacles or tents;

but Cain, as not minding that city, built one on earth. Thus all

who are cursed of God seek their settlement and satisfaction

here below.
19-24 One of Cain's wicked race is the first recorded, as

having broken the law of marriage. Hitherto, one man had but one

wife at a time; but Lamech took two. Wordly things, are the only

things that carnal, wicked people set their hearts upon, and are

most clever and industrious about. So it was with this race of

Cain. Here was a father of shepherds, and a father of musicians,

but not a father of the faithful. Here is one to teach about

brass and iron, but none to teach the good knowledge of the

Lord: here are devices how to be rich, and how to be mighty, and

how to be merry; but nothing of God, of his fear and service.

Present things fill the heads of most. Lamech had enemies, whom

he had provoked. He draws a comparison betwixt himself and his

ancestor Cain; and flatters himself that he is much less

criminal. 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 by

the birth of a son, whom they called Seth, that is, 'set,'

'settled,' or 'placed;' in his seed mankind should continue to

the end of time, and from him the Messiah should descend. While

Cain, the head of the apostacy, is made a wanderer, Seth, from

whom the true church was to come, is one fixed. In Christ and

his church is the only true settlement. Seth walked in the steps

of his martyred brother Abel; he was a partaker of like precious

faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ,

and so became a fresh witness of the grace and influence of God

the Holy Spirit. God gave Adam and Eve to see the revival of

religion in their family. The worshippers of God began to do

more in religion; some, by an open profession of true religion,

protested against the wickedness of the world around. The worse

others are, the better we should be, and the more zealous. Then

began the distinction between professors and profane, which has

been kept up ever since, and will be, while the world stands.
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