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resurrection and the life,” saith the Lord, “he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

III. We proceed now, in the third place, to consider the punishment of this atrocious act. The parties were alone when the murder was committed, but God's eye was upon them. He saw the deed done, and behold, he comes to make inquisition for blood. He enquires of Cain, “where is Abel thy brother ?” The question gave Cain an opportumity of confessing his crime, and imploring the Lord's mercy, but oh! what sullenness and falsehood! He said, “I know not; am I my brother's keeper ?” What meant this reply? Did he think to impose upon God? or did he intend to insult him to his face ? Alas, alas, what has sin effected even in the first child that was born after its entrance? But God suffers him not thus to escape. He comes upon him with the direct charge, “what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth to me from the ground.” There is infinite majesty in this figure of speech. The crime committed was so horrible, and so deserving of vengeance, that the blood is represented as unable to rest, as itself acquiring a voice, and calling on God to punish the murderer. So in the book of Revelation, St. John informs us that he saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ?”—Then an awful judgment is pronounced upon him in these appalling terms, “now art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thine hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” It is a tremendous sentence; the earth should take part against him, neither yielding him her fruit, nor affording him a resting place; he should be every where infamous and his society shunned; an outcast from men, and a terror to himself.

And now we look for some awakening of fear and remorse in the bosom of Cain; we hope to hear the accents of penitence and prayer; we expect something like the contrition expressed in the fifty-first Psalm, with its frank confessions, and earnest cries for mercy. But we are disappointed. We find nothing but the same sullen and unhumbled disposition. He complains of cruelty and excess of severity in his sentence: "My punishment,” says he, “is more than I can bear.” He murmurs and rages as he repeats the terms; that he should be driven from the face of the earth; banished from all intercourse with God; compelled to flee from his fellow creatures ; and liable to be killed by the hand of every one whom he met.

From the fear of this last circumstance he was however relieved. The Lord said unto him.-"Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven-fold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him." We are not informed what the mark was. It was some visible impress made upon him, by which all men might know that he

was the murderer Cain, whom though God had exiled, he would not permit to be destroyed. But there was much greater mercy in the care thus taken for the preservation of his life. A space for repentance was thereby afforded him. His life was spared, that he might humble himself, and pray, and seek the pardon of his sins from the mercy of God.

Do we read that this goodness of God did lead him to repentance? Did he henceforth exhibit a broken and contrite heart, and pass the remainder of his time in penitence and prayer? Ah, no. He went out from the presence of the Lord,” that is, from the services and ordinances of God's worship; he cast off all regard to God, and plunged himself into the pursuits and avocations of the world. With the help of his descendants he built a city; and there the scripture leaves him immersed in the things that are seen and are temporal, and living without God in the world. Mention is made of one or two of these descendants, who became famous for their skill in human arts and improvements, and of one who was infamous for the same crime as his

ancestor had been; and then we have no further account of any of them, till the flood came, and swept them all away.

Of the reflections that may be drawn from this awful subject, surely this must be one; that the nature of man is full of evil. What adequate cause can be assigned for the dreadful passions which often agitate the human breast, and for the horrid crimes which are often committed? No outward provocation can ever be great enough to raise such a tumult, destroy the power of reason and conscience, and transform a man into a devil. It is the innate depravity, the evil nature within, which produces the storms that deform and defile the human mind and face, and fill the world with sin and woe. Every part of scripture will prove this truth, its facts as well as its assertions. The history of individuals, of the antediluvian world, of the nation of Israel, of the idolatries of the heathen, will all present it before us; while every experience of the natural emotions of our own hearts must confirm the melancholy and humbling truth. Our search therefore must be after a religion

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