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Cain has now accomplished his bloody purpose. His envied, hated rival is now removed out of sight: the virtues of his brother no longer reproach him: Abel stands no more in the way, to intercept the rays of the favour of God, or of man. Is he not now then at rest? No eye saw him commit the murder. And if it were known, who shall call him to account? No eye saw him! Yes, the eye of Cain saw him: yes, the eye of God saw him: hence the whole earth becomes all eye to behold him, all tongue to accuse him. Who shall call him to account? That shall Cain; his own conscience shall avenge the murder that shall the hand of every man, fly whither he will; for every man is concerned to destroy him, who makes light of the life of another: that shall God, from whom he cannot fly. Revenge, like "a devilish engine,' recoils on him that employs it; or like the flame of Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, catches hold of, and destroys the ministers of vengeance, not the objects of it.

The mournful tidings must soon reach the ears of the afflicted parents. What were now thy feelings, Eve, when he, who was expected to be a Saviour, turns out a destroyer? Which is the heavier affliction, a son prematurely and violently cut off; or a son living to present an object of horror and detestation to their eyes? A pious child dead, is beyond all controversy, a possession infinitely preferable to a profligate alive. Alas! what shall they do? To overlook the murder, is to become partakers in the guilt of it; to punish the murderer, as justice demands, is to render themselves childless. Ah! how do the difficulties and distresses of their fallen estate increase upon guilty men every day! The cause, which was too hard for Adam to determine, God takes into his own hand. "And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?"* Offences committed in secret, and offenders, whose power and station bid defiance to earthly tribunals, fall properly under the immediate cognisance of heaven. Behold the throne is set, and the judgment opened. How meek and gentle is God with this murderer! He would draw confession from his mouth, not as a snare, but as an indication of contrition. The end which God has in view, in making inquiry after blood, is, not the conviction and punishment; but the conviction, pardon, and recovery of the criminal. What a question. "Where is thy brother;" put by God himself to the wretch whose hands were yet reeking with his blood? What heart, hardened through sin, dictated the reply, "I know not, am I my brother's keeper?" Is this the eldest hope of the first human pair? Is he not rather the first born of that accursed being, who is a liar and a murderer from the beginning? "I know not:" Falsehood must be called in to cover that wickedness which we are ashamed or afraid to avow. "Am I my brother's

keeper?" How dreadful is the progress of vice! How crime leads on to crime ! Envy begets malice; malice inspires revenge; revenge hurries on to blood; bloodguiltiness seeks shelter under untruth, and untruth attempts to support itself by insolence, assurance, and pride: and haughtiness of spirit is but one step from destruction. Ah, little do men know, when they indulge one evil thought, or venture on one unwarrantable action, what the issue is to be! They vainly flatter themselves it is in their power to stop when they please. But passion, like a fiery unmanageable steed in the hands of an unskilful rider, by one inconsiderate stroke of the spur, may be excited to such a pitch of fury, as no skill can tame, no force restrain; but both horse and rider are hurried together down the precipice, and perish in their rage.

The milder, and more indirect admonitions and reproofs of God's word and providence being misunderstood, slighted or defied, justice is concerned, and necessity requires, to speak in plainer language, and to bring the charge

* Genesis iv. 9.

directly home and that severity is most awful, which was preceded by gentleness, patience, and long suffering. God at length awakes to vengeance; “and he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground."* And mark how every creature arms itself in the cause of God. The dead earth is represented as acquiring sensibility, and refusing to cover blood: the silent ground becomes vocal, and loudly accuses the criminal; the stones of the field are at war with him who has made God his foe nay, the earth is made not only the accuser, but the punisher of the guilty; for this new transgression it falls under a heavier curse. Adam for his offence, was doomed to eat bread with the sweat of his brow; was doomed to labour, yet to labour in hope of increase; but Cain shall spend his strength for nought and in vain. The ground shall present greater rigidity to the hand of cultivation : shall cast out the seed thrown into it, or consume and destroy it; or at best produce a lean and scanty crop. Cain and the earth are to be mutually cursed to each other. It seems to tremble under, and shrink from the feet of a murderer; it refuses henceforth to yield unto him her strength, and considers him as a monstrous misshapen birth, of which she is ashamed, and which she wishes to destroy. He considers it as an unnatural mother, whom no pains can molify, no submission reconcile. "A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth." When the mind is changed, every thing changes with it: when a man is at discord with himself, he is eternally from home. The spacious world, Cain's hereditary domain, is become a vast solitude; of a home is turned into a place of exile. The person whom all men shun is every where a stranger; he who is smitten of his own conscience, is continually surrounded with enemies.

The same principle which engages men in criminal enterprises, in the hope of impunity, throws them into despair, upon the denunciation of punishment. As they formerly expected much higher satisfaction from the execution of their wicked purposes, than the most successful villainy ever could bestow; so now their own guilty minds outrun the awards of justice itself; and the awakened conscience does ample vengeance upon the offender at length, amply vindicates the cause both of God and man. This is strikingly exemplified in the case of Cain. His recent boldness and insolence are a strong contrast to his present dejection and terror. He now sinks under the apprehension of intolerable chastisements, and forebodes greater evils than his sentence denounced. His banishment he considers as far from being the greatest of the calamities of his condition; he feels himself excluded, hidden from the gracious presence of God; and deserted of his Maker, liable to fall by the hand of every assailant. But God remembers mercy in the midst of anger; and the life which he himself was graciously pleased to spare, no one else must, on any pretence whatever, presume to take away. He only who can bestow life, has a right to dispose of it.

Ye over curious inquirers, who must needs be informed of every thing, what does it concern you to know, by what mark God distinguished Cain, to prevent his being killed by any one who might take upon himself to be the avenger of blood? Speculation and conjecture, which with some pass for illustration and knowledge, are not the objects of these exercises; but whatever assists faith, whatever supports a sound morality, whatever conveys real information, inspires a taste for goodness, represses inordinate and sinful desire; whatever teaches gratitude and love to God, and good will to men, that we would carefully observe, and earnestly inculcate. As it is no part of our intention to wander into the regions of speculation, under a pretence of elucidating the sacred history, it is still less so, to enter the lists of controversy.

*Genesis iv. 10.

Your Lecturer has, no doubt, his opinions and prejudices, like other men: his prejudices, however, he is confident to say, are on the side of truth, and virtue, and religion: his opinions, he has no inclination dogmatically to propose ; he neither wishes to make a secret of them, nor expects any one, much less the world, implicitly to adopt them. He is conscious of a desire to do good; not over anxious about fame; happy in the affection of many friends, and unconscious of having given cause to any good man to be his enemy. Forgive a digression, suggested by the occasion, not rambled into through design; proceeding not from the desire a man has to speak of himself, but from a wish, by doing it once for all, to cut off all future occasion of speaking, in or of the first person. We return to the history.

"It shall come to pass," says guilty, trembling Cain, "that every one that findeth me shall slay me." This is one of the many passages of scripture, which the enemies of religion have laid hold of, and held forth as contradictory to other parts of revelation, in the view of invalidating and destroying the whole. Here, they allege, Moses is inconsistent with himself; in deriving the whole human race from the common root of Adam, and at the same time supposing the world so populous at the time of Abel's murder, as to excite in Cain a well grounded apprehension of the public resentment and punishment of his crimes. Either, say they, there were other men and women created at the same time with, or before Adam and Eve; or else Cain's fears were groundless and absurd. A learned and ingenious critic has taken the trouble to refute this objection, by instituting a calculation founded on obvious probabilities at least, by which it appears, that at the time of Abel's murder the world was sufficiently peopled, on the Mosaic supposition, that all mankind descended from Adam, to render the public justice an object of well grounded apprehension to guilty Cain. We pretend not to assert that the calculation of a modern author is a demonstration of a fact so remote: if it be probable, it is sufficient for our purpose, that of doing away one of the cavils of infidelity.

The birth of Seth is fixed, by the history, in the one hundred and thirtieth year of Adam: it is therefore reasonable to place the death of Abel two years earlier, or near it; that is, in the one hundred and twenty-eighth year of the world. "Now though we should suppose," says the calculator,*" that Adam and Eve had no other sons in the year of the world one hundred and twentyeight but Cain and Abel, it must be allowed that they had daughters, who might early marry with those two sons. I require no more than the descendants of these two, to make a very considerable number of men upon the earth, in the said year one hundred and twenty-eight. For supposing them to have been married in the nineteenth year of the world, they might easily have had each of them eight children in the twenty-fifth year. In twenty-five years more, the fiftieth of the world, their descendants in a direct line would be sixty-four persons. In the seventy-fifth year, at the same rate, they would amount to five hundred and twelve. In the one hundredth year, to four thousand and ninety-six and in the one hundred and twenty-fifth year, to thirtytwo thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight." Now, if to this calculation we add, the high degree of probability that Adam had many more sons, besides those mentioned in the record; that families were generally more numerous than the supposition states; that simple manners, rural employments, temperature of climate, and largeness of room, are circumstances inconceivably more favourable to population, than modern facts and European customs give us any idea of, we shall have no reason to think it strange, that Cain, under the pressure of conscious guilt, and harrowed with fear, which always

*Dissert Chronol. Geogr. Critiq, sur la Bible. 1 me. Dissert, Journal de Paris, Jan. 1712, Tom. LI. p. 6.

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both multiplies and magnifies objects far beyond their real number and size, should be alarmed and intimidated at the numbers of mankind, who, he supposed, were ready, and were concerned to execute vengeance upon him. "He went out," the history informs us, "from the presence of the Lord." Some interpreters have, from this expression, concluded, that even after the fall, God continued to reside among men, in some sacred spot adjoining to Eden, and in some sensible tokens of his gracious presence: that thither gifts and sacrifices were brought, and were there offered up; and that from thence, Cain, for his heinous transgression, was banished and excluded from the society and privileges of the faithful. Whatever be in this, we know for certain that wicked men naturally shun God, and drive him as far from their thoughts as they can and in the phrase of scripture, God is said to "hide his face" from wicked men, "to turn his back" upon them, "to give them up," to denote his displeasure with them. "And he dwelt," it is added, "in the land of Nod." It is the same word which is rendered in the twelfth and fourteenth verses, a vagabond. Why our translators, in the two former verses give the meaning, or import of the word, and in the sixteenth verse the letters of it merely, is not easily comprehensible. Let it be translated throughout, the sense is perfectly clear, and all ground of idle inquiry taken away. In the twelfth verse, God denounces his punishment, Thou shalt not die, but be Nod, a vagabond in the earth. In the fourteenth verse, Cain recognises the justice of his sentence, and bewails it; "I shall be Nød, a vagabond in the earth." And in the sixteenth, Moses gives us the history of its being put in execution, "he went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod," a vagabond flying from place to place, skulking in corners, shunning the haunts of men, pursued incessantly by the remorseful pangs, and tormenting apprehensions of an ill conscience. Though you remove all external danger, yet "the wicked is as the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt:" he is " majormissabib," a terror to himself. To live in perpetual fear, to live at discord with a man's self, is not to live at all.

The posterity of Cain are represented, in scripture, as the first to build a city. The mutual fears and wants of men drive them into society; put them upon raising bulwarks, devising restraints, cultivating the arts which afford. the means of defence against attacks from without, or which amuse and divert within. The invention of music, and of manufactures in brass and iron, are, accordingly, likewise ascribed to his descendants. When men are got together in great multitudes, as their different talents will naturally whet each other to the invention of new arts of life, and the cultivation of science; so their various passions, mingling with, and acting upon one another, will necessarily produce unheard-of disorders and irregularities. Hence, in Enoch, the city of Cain, and in Lamech, the sixth from Cain, we first read of that invasion of the rights of mankind, polygamy, or the marrying more wives than one. In a great city as there will be many who omit doing their duty altogether, so there will be some, who will take upon them to do more than duty prescribes. The unvarying nearness, or equality which Providence has preserved from the creation of the world, of male and female births, is full demonstration, independent of all statute law, that the Governor of the world means every man to have his own wife, and every woman her own husband; that to neglect his intention in this matter, is an attempt to counteract his providence; and that to outrun it is an effort, equally vain, presumptuous, wicked, and absurd, to mend his work.

How long Cain lived, and when, or where, and in what manner he died, we have no information. And little satisfaction can it yield, to attend the footsteps of a wicked and unhappy man, through a life of guilt and remorse,

to a latter end of horror. Better for him he had never been born, than to have lived a sorrow to her that bare him, detested and shunned of all men,


a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth," a burthen and a terror to himself. Better for him his name had never been mentioned among posterity, than to have it transmitted to latest generations, stained with a brother's blood. But it is of high importance to know, that God, in his good time, supplied the place of righteous Abel, preserved alive the holy seed, and secured a succession, which should at length terminate in that "promised seed," who was "to bruise the serpent's head," who was "to destroy the works of the devil." "And Adam knew his wife again and she bare a son, and called his name Seth; for God, said she, hath appointed me another seed, instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."

This wicked man's history is a loud admonition to all to watch over their spirits; and carefully to guard against the first emotions of envy, anger, hatred, contempt, malice, or revenge. And the words of Jesus Christ confirm and enforce the solemn warning, "I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say unto his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."

Hold thy bloody hand, son, daughter of murderous Cain! Why should a brother, a sister fall by it! That furious look is a dagger; that unkind word has made the blood, the heart's blood to follow it. Daughter of murderous Cain! A female hand armed with a sword, lifted up to slay, dipped in blood! No, she wields a more deadly weapon, she brandishes an envenomed tongue : poison more fatal than that of asps is under her lips; it is not the body that suffers, when that unruly member moves; it is the spirit, it is the spirit that bleeds: the man dies, and sees not who it was that hurt him; he perishes in the best part of himself, his good name is blasted; and what has he left worth possessing? The sight of a little material blood makes her faint: a dead corpse terrifies and shocks her but she can calmly, and with delight, sit down to that horrid human sacrifice, a murdered, mangled reputation!

But the history, also, in its connexion, inspires holy joy and confidence in God, by representing the constant, seasonable, and suitable interpositions of his providence, according to the various exigencies of mankind. Devils and wicked men are continually aiming at defacing his image, at marring his work; but they cannot prevail. The purposes of the divine wisdom and mercy are not to be defeated by the united efforts of earth and hell. Abel dies, but Seth starts up in his room. Jesus expires on the cross, but "through death destroys him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Surely, O Lord, the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath thou shalt restrain."

* Matt. v. 22-24.

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