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Abel had«; he did not plead the covenant of Christ, by offering a bloody sacrifice, in token of his resting his hopes of acceptance upon that covenant which was to be ratified by the blood of Jesus ; but he sought to establish his own righteousness by offering the fruits of his own works; for he“ brought of the fruit of the ground",” which fruit, he, as a tiller of the ground, had raised. This offering was rejected by GOD : “ unto Cain, and to his offering, He had not respecte." Yet, when Cain was "wroth” at the rejection of his offering, God said unto him, “ Why art thou wroth, and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the doorf.” These were precisely the terms of the Adamite covenant, the covenant of works. So that, when Cain, rejecting the covenant of Christ, sought to justify himself under the covenant of works, and to establish his own righteousness, although God rejected his claim, He still reminded him, that, by the terms of that very covenant under which he chose to abide, he would be accepted, if he did well ; but upon this condition only was he to be accepted under that covenant. But, as Cain inherited that frail nature which rendered him
( Hebr. xi. 4.
. Gen. iv. 5.
incapable of uniformly doing well ; of choosing the good, and eschewing evil, “ for there is no man that sinneth not 8;" that very condition, upon which his acceptance under the Adamite covenant rested, ensured his not being accepted:
If thou doest well—and if not, sin lieth at the door.” When Cain, then, chose to reject the means of acceptance with God (the covenant of Christ), and to adopt a covenant which he was unable to fulfil, he had no grounds for being “ wroth” with God for not accepting him. Abel, “ the righteous Abel,” as he is styled by our Saviour h, was the younger brother', a figure of the covenant of Christ. He was “a keeper of sheep i,” as Christ is also represented to be, by himself", by his Apostles', and by the Prophets m who announced his coming. Abel
brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof *;" he offered a bloody sacrifice in representation of that “precious blood-shedding” whereby Christ established his covenant
8 1 Kings, viï. 46. Rom. | Hebr. xiii. 20. 1 Peter, iii. 23.
ii. 25; v. 4. h Matt. xxiii. 35.
m Isaiah, xl. 11. Jere. xxxi. i Gen. iv. 2.
10. Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 12, 23. k John, x. 11, 14, 15, 16. Zechar. xiii, 7. Matt. xv. 24; xxv. 32.
* He brought that offering which is required under the Mosaic institution'. 1 Exod. xxix. 13. Deut. xii. 6. Nehem. x. 36.
« Cain rose up
of salvation ; and, by so doing, Abel pleaded that covenant, and manifested his faith in the Redeemer of mankind; “ by faith Abel offered unto GOD a more excellent sacrifice than Cain n." “ And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offeringo;" for man is “ justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus P;' " He hath made us accepted in the beloved q.” against his brother, and slew him "." The transgression of Adam led to the sacrifice of Christ; thus Adam slew Christ*. The “ tiller of the ground” slew the “ keeper of sheep.” Thus the shedding of Abel's blood was a figure of the shedding of that blood “ that speaketh better things that that of Abel.” Abel, like his antitype Christ, was “ cut off out of the land of the living, and who shall declare his generation*?"
Cain was cursed by the Lord for having slain Abel : and the Lord said unto him, “A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earthu.” But the Lord spared the life of Cain, and promised to preserve itw. Cain, then, appears to have also been a figure of the Jewish people who slew Christ, and who are, at this day, “ a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth," as it was predicted : “ The Lord shall scatter thee among all people from the one end of the earth even unto the other * ;” but, although scattered, the Jewish people is yet preserved: “I will leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries y."
n Hebr. xi. 4.
. Eph. 1. 6. • Gen. iv. 4.
r Gen. iv. 8. p Rom. iii. 24.
* And those descendants of Adam who “have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they fall away," are said to “ crucify to themselves the Son of GOD afresh'."
1 Hebr. vi. 5, 6.
: Hebr. xii. 24.
* Isaiah, liij. 8.
Eve bare another “son, and called his name Seth ; For God, said she, bath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew z." Eve bare in mind the promise of God, that her seed should bruise the serpent's heada; her son Abel had been cut off, and Cain was cast out and accursed ; she hailed, therefore, the birth of another son, as a proof that God remembered his promise ; and she regarded Seth as that seed, from which should spring the destroyer of sin and death.
Thus we find, that, in the time of Adam, the existence of a covenant of mercy and grace was known to man; it was shown, that vicarious atonement was appointed, and that acceptance was to be obtained by faith in that atonement, and in its efficacy; it was also shown, that without such faith, nothing short of complete holiness, of undeviating virtue, of a strict compliance with the rigid maxims of morality, could procure acceptance; and it was expected that the Redeemer of mankind would appear “ in the likeness of men."
u Gen. iv. 12.
Gen. iv. 14, 15. * Deut. xxviii. 64.
y Ezek. vi. 8. · Gen. iv. 25. a Gen, jij. 16.
The pedigree of the descendants of Seth is next given b; and this is continued uninterruptedly to the birth of Noah, respecting whom, Lamech his father said, “ This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursedc.” So that, in the time of Lamech, the hope and expectation were still cherished, that, of the seed of Seth, would come that person, who was to comfort mankind, and to redeem the world from the curse.
In tracing the pedigree of the descendants of Seth, Moses briefly says of Enoch (who was one in the line of descent) that he “ walked with God, and he was not, for God took him d.” The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says,
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him ; for, before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God.'
6 Gen, v.
d Gen. v. 24.