Imatges de pÓgina

Why art thou wroth? and Why is thy counte nance fallen? If thou doft well, fhalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doft not well, a fin-offering lieth at the door: and unto thee fhall be his defire, and thou shalt be his head.

But Cain ftill turned the deaf ear to the revelation of falvation by grace; and, finally, took the woful refolution to ftand it out, and decide the controverfy by ftrength of arins; and going out, treading under foot that facrifice which couched down before his door, even the blood of the everlasting covenant, he gallantly invited Abel his brother into the field; and there Cain rofe up against Abe! his brother, and flew him. Woe unto them who go in the way of Cain!

Section 4. The Blood of Abel,

Cain, having taken the refolution to contend with his brother by force of arms, proclaims the war.-According to the Septuagint Bible, he gave Abel an exprefs challenge; the words are these, And Cain faid to Abel his brother, Let us go into THE FIELD.* But Abel did not accept the challenge. The word, it came to pass, fuppofes that fome time had elapfed after Cain had difcovered his intention, and the other word, he rose up, feems to fignify that, finally, Cain lay in wait for Abel.

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The first murderer was the firft challenger; the scene of murder opened in our world in the fashionable ftyle of the duellift, and Cain has the honor of being the father of these gentlemen of honor. And, perhaps, if offenfive war was ever excufable, and a caufe exifted which could warrant a challenge, Cain might be excufed; for Abel was his rival in the most tender point of his honor and feeling; and he appeared to be rifing up to eclipfe him in his ftanding of fuperiority, and to interfere in an intereft where all his feelings were alive, and, to which, upon natural principles, Cain, as being the elder brother, had the moft indifputable claim.

It appears clearly, from this cafe, that the difpute between the feed of the woman and the feed of the ferpent relates to a matter of ftate, and that the long and bloody ftruggle is at iffue in this question, Who fhall hold the government? Who fhall have the rule?

Cain conceived that this was a caufe in which his honor, and, therefore, his all was at flake; and the Lord, in his addrefs to him, confiders the fubject in this view, and offers him, if he would renounce his natural principles, and take the fide of the kingdom of grace, which presented the only ground upon which it was poffible either for him or his brother to enjoy the divine favor, or to have any well-being or valuable interest whatever: that, as the elder brother, he should have the priority, and that Abel, as the younger, should be fubject unto him.

This propofal was infinitely reasonable,

and was the only one that could be made confiflently with the holy and benevolent purpose of redemption. Cain, however, could not accept it, for he was a natural man, and loved the world as it then was; and he did not receive the humbling truth of a regeneration, and was unreconciled to the whole system of grace.

But, though Abel knew what was purpos ed against him, and that it was war, yet he did not arm, but prepared only his mind for the approaching event.-On the one hand, the operation of the war was projected by the force of carnal weapons, weapons to shed blood; but on the other, the defence was contemplated, merely, by the virtue of the blood fhed. And thus, Ábel fell a martyr..

And the Lord faid unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he faid, I know not: not the keeper of my brother am I.-Here Cain is feen attempting to ftand his ground, and boldly challenging the Lord himself, that as he had fet up up Abel upon another foundation, and he was not under his government, he was no longer under his care and protection; and where he was now, concerned him not, fo that he was out of his way. And the Lord faid unto Cain, What haft thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou curfed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand. When thou tilleft the ground, it fhall not henceforth yield to thee ber ftrength: groaning and trembling balt thou be upon the earth.

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The blood of Abel being fhed upon the elect principle, and fo revealing, in a ftriking figure, the truth of Chrift's righteoufnefs, brought into effect by means of his death, it greatly ftrengthened the elect establishment; and going down into the fprings of nature with this diffolving virtue, it greatly weakened those powers; and, therefore, for time to come, the ground would fail of yielding unto Cain her full ftrength.

Surprifed, defeated, covered with confufion, and filled with wrathful despair! Cain faid unto the Lord God, Greater than my defert! where can I juftain myself? Behold, thou haft driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from thy face fhall I be hid, and groaning and trembling I fhall be upon the earth: and it fhall come to pass that every one finding me fhall kill me.-But the Lord had faid, Cain fhall be upon the earth; he and his feed must yet, for a long time, be continued in the world; for the work of redemp tion must still be carried on, and at length be perfected by means of the fhedding of blood, and inftruments to effect this must be at hand.

Therefore, the Lord answered Cain-Not fo. Whofoever flayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him fevenfold. And the Lord fet a mark upon Cain, left any finding him should kill him.

Hence is the origin of the civil inftitution and authority; the end and defign of which, and the fanction it has received from God, is to restrain personal retaliation and individ

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ual vengeance; and to regulate and control a private intereft by a public good.

The civil laws of communities, at first, were given in a very fimple form; they were first enrolled by fome very fimple and plain marks or characters. What was the particular kind of character, by which this firft civil law was engraved and registered, is ufelefs to enquire; but, it is evident, that this mark, with the high fanction annexed to it, was of the nature of a civil written law. The plain fubject of it forms the great mark or character of civil fociety; and to this mark or character, which, under the hand and heavy sanction of the Judge of all the earth, was fet to Cain, is to be traced the civil inftitution.

The notion, that fomething befides the ci vil inftitution has ever been given to men, to protect any individual or fociety, is an idle fancy; and, without regard to the civil inftitution, the enquiry, what was the mark fet to Cain? can never be answered; for there is not the leaft evidence that any other thing of this nature ever exifled.

Cain now went off in form from the divine establishment, and, under the inftitution of police and civil government, builded a city. And hence, the fathers of the civilized arts, the Jabals, Jubals, and the Tubals, sprang from Cain. And, to this high fource, alfo, may be traced a nobility, and the conferring upon men titles of honor, and calling their lands and cities after their own names.Cain called the name of his city after the name of his fon, Enoch; and Tubal, by way of di

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