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A. M. 128. A. C. 3876, OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 200. A. C. 5211. GEN. CH. 4. TO VER. 25. natural obstructions, from the commerce of his relations. For which reason the learned Grotius is clearly of opinion, that the country into which Cain was sentenced CHAP. III.-Of the Institution of Sacrifices. to withdraw, was Arabia Deserta : to the barrenness of which, the curse that God pronounces against him, seems The first plain account that we meet with of sacrifices, pot improperly to belong. And now thou art cursed is here in the examples of Cain and Abel. Mention is from the earth, and when thou tillest the ground, it shall made indeed of the skins of some beasts, wherewith Dot, henceforth, yield unto thee her strength.' But after God directed our first parents to be clothed; but exposall, their opinion is not to be found fault with, who sup-itors are not agreed, whether what we render skins powe, that the word Nod, which signifies an exile, or fu- might not denote some other sort of covering, or shelter gilire, is not a proper, but only an appellative name; from the weather; or, if they were the real skins of and that therefore, wherever the country was where Cain beasts, whether these beasts were offered unto God in took up his abode, that, in after ages, was called the sacrifice or no; whereas, in the Scripture before us, we laud of Nod, or the land of the banished man.
have oblations of both kinds, bloody and unbloody sacThus the account, which Moses gives us of the mur-rifices, (as they are comme
umonly distinguished ;) the fruits der of Abel, stands clear of the imputation of all absur- of the field, offered by Cain, and the firstlings of the dity or contradiction, wherewith the lovers of infidelity flock, by Abel. So that from hence we may very prowould gladly charge it. The time when his brother perly take an occasion, to inquire a little into the origmurdered him, was in the 129th year of the world's cre- inal of sacrifices; for what ends and purposes they were ation, when, “ according to a moderate computation, at first appointed; and by what means they became an their and their parent's descendants could not but be acceptable service unto God. very numerous. The manner in which he murdered him The Scriptures indeed make no mention of the first might not be with a sword or spear (which perhaps then institution of sacrifices; and from their silence, in this were not in use,) b since a club, or stone, or any rural respect, some have imagined that they proceeded originstrument, in the hand of rage and revenge, was suffi- inally from a dictate of nature, or a grateful inclination cient to do the work. The place where he murdered to return unto God some of his own blessings. But in him, is said to be in the field, 2 not in contradistinction so short an account of so large a compass of time, (as to any large and populous city then in being, but rather we have said before,) it may well be expected, that sevto the tents, or cottages, where their parents and off- eral things should be omitted. To this purpose, therespring might then live. The cause of his murdering fore, others have observed, that Moses says nothing of: bim, was a spirit of emulation, which, not duly man- Enoch’s prophecy; nothing of Noah's preaching ; aged, and made a spur to virtue, took an unhappy turn, nothing' of the peopling of the world ; though these be and degenerated into malice: and the true reason of referred to in other parts of Scripture : 8 nor does he all (as the apostle has stated it) was, that 4 « Cain was of here introduce the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, with an that wicked one, and slew his brother, because his own intent to inform us of the origin of that rite, but merely works were wicked, and his brother's righteous.' to let us know what was the unhappy occasion of the
first murder that ever was committed in the world.
The Jews indeed, to whom he primarily wrote, knew Gen. iv, 11.
? Le Clerc's Commentary. Suckford's Connection. ' ] John iii. 12.
very well, that their own sacrifices were of divine instia Though we should suppose that Adam and Eve had no other tution, and that God had manifested his acceptance of Cláudren than Cain and Abel in the year of the world 128, which them, at the very first solemn oblation after that insti(2s the best chronologers agree) was the time of Abel's murder; tution, by a miraculous fire from the divine presence; vel, as it must be allowed, that they had daughters married with nor had they any reason to doubt, but that they were so these two sons, we require no more, than the descendants of these instituted, and so accepted from the beginning : and two children, to make a considerable number of men upon the therefore there was less reason for Moses to expatiate tarth in the said year 128. For, supposing them to have been Dutied in the 19th year of the world, they might easily have upon a matter, which had doubtless descended to them haud fach of them eight children, some males, some females, in
in a clear and uninterrupted tradition. year. In the 50th year there might proceed from them, A grateful sense of God's blessings will, at any time, in a direct line, 64 persons; in the 74th year, there would be
engage us to offer him the calves of our lips, (as the 572; in the 9st, 4096; and in the 1220 year, they would amount to 32,768. If to these we add the other children, de- | Scripture terms them,) or the warmest expressions of Studed from Cain and Abel, their children, and the children of our praise and thanksgiving ; but what dictate of nature, tleir children, we shall have in the aforesaid 1220 year, 421,164 or deduction of reason, could ever have taught us, that, Dxn, capable of generation, without ever reckoning the women, to destroy the best of our fruits, or the best of our catboth old and young, or such children as are under the age of 17 tle, would have been a service acceptable to God? 1413,- See Chronological and Geographical Dissertation on the Bible History, in the Journal of Paris, January, 1712, vol. Goodness, and mercy, and lenity, and compassion, are ll. p. 6.
the ideas we have of that infinite being ; and who would There is an oriental tradition, that when Cain was confirmed then have thought, that putting an innocent and inoffen. in the design of destroying his brother, and knew not how to go sive creature to torture, spilling its blood upon the about it, the devil appeared to him in the shape of a man, holding a bird in his hand; and that, placing the bird upon a rock, earth, and burning its flesh upon an altar, would love ho took up a stone, and with it squeezed its head in pieces. Cain, instructed by this example, resolved to serve his brother in
5 Jude 14. 6 2 Pet. ii. 15.
- See Gen. iv. L r. same way; and therefore, waiting till Abel was asleep, he liford up a large stone, and let it fall, with all its weight, upon
& Outram on Sacrifices. 9 Revelation Examined. bis head, and so killed him; whereupon God caused him to hear thou pass in perpetual fear.'—Calmet's Dictionary on the word s voice from heaven, to this purpose, 'The rest of thy days shalt / Abel.
A. M. 128. A. C. 3876 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 209. A. C. 5211. GEN. CH. 4. TO VER. 25. been either a grateful sight, or an offering of a sweet ficing among them is thought to be too late, why may smelling savour' to the Most High ?
not we suppose, that they received it by tradition from No "being, we know, can have a right to the lives of their forefathers, who had it originally from Adam, as other creatures, but their Creator only, and those on he had it from God by a particular revelation ? Now whom he shall think proper to confer it: but it is evident, that there was some warrant and precept of God for it, that God, at this time, had not given man a right to the seems to be intimated by the author to the Hebrews, creatures, even for necessary food, much less for unne- when he tells us, that ?" by faith Abel offered unto God cessary cruelty; and therefore to have taken away their a more acceptable sacrifice, than Cain :' for $ if faith lives, without God's positive injunction, would have cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,' been an abominable act, and enough to desecrate all faith is founded on some word, and relieth on divine their oblations. When therefore we read, that his ac- command or promise ; and therefore, when Abel offered ceptance of sacrifices of old was usually testified by the best of his flock in sacrifice, he did what was enway of inflammation, or setting them on fire, by a ray joined him by God, and his practice was founded upon of light which issued from his glorious presence, we a divine command, which was given to Adam, and his must allow, that this was a proof of his previous insti- sons, though Moses, in his short account of things, tution of them; otherwise we cannot possibly think, why makes no mention of it. he should so far concern himself about them, as even In fine, if it appears from history, that sacrifices have to be at the expense of a miracle, to denote his appro- been used all over the world, have spread as far, as bation of them. 2. Who hath known the mind of the universally among men, as the very notions of a Deity; Lord,' is the Apostle's way of arguing, 'or who hath if we find them almost as early in the world as miankind been his counsellor ?' And, in like manner, without a upon the earth, and, at the same time, cannot perceive divine revelation, it would have been the height of vanity that mankind ever could, by the light of reason, invent and presumption, to have pretended to determine the such notions of a Deity, as might induce them to think, way of reconciliation with him, and (without his order that this way of worship would be an acceptable service and appointment) to have entered upon a form of wor- to him; if mankind indeed could have no right to the ship, entirely new and strange, by killing of beasts, and lives of the brute creation, without the concession of burning their fat. 3. No man,' says another Apostle, God; and yet it is evident, that they exercised such • taketh this honour to himself, but he that is called of right, and God approved of their proceeding, by visible God, as was Aaron ;' nor can any one lay hold on the indications of his accepting the sacrifices; then must promise of forgiveness of sins (which is the great design we necessarily suppose, that sacrifices were of his own of all sacrificing) any other way than by symbols of institution at first; and that they were instituted for God's own institution.
purposes well becoming his infinite wisdom and goodness. In * most nations indeed, the custom of sacrificing did For we must remember, that Adam and Eve were, at prevail : but that it did not arise from any principle of this time, become sinners, and though received into nature or reason, is manifest from hence that the mercy, in constant danger of relapsing; that, by their gravest and wisest of the heathen philosophers always transgression, they had forfeited their lives, but as yet a condemned bloody sacrifices as impious, and unaccep- could have no adequate sense, either of the nature of table to their gods; but this they would not have done, the punishment, or the heinousness of the sin which prohad they looked upon them as any branch of natural cured it; and that now they were to beget children, who religion, which none were more warm in extolling were sure to inherit their parents' corruption and infirthan they. It is po improbable conjecture, therefore, mity. Since man, therefore, had forfeited his life by that other nations might take the rite of sacrificing from his transgressions, and God, notwithstanding, decreed the Jews, to which the devil, in heathen countries, to receive him into mercy, nothing certainly could betmight instigate his votaries, purely to ape God, and imi- ter become the divine wisdom and goodness, than the tate his ordinances : or if this commencement of sacri- establishment of some institution, which might at once
be a monition both of the mercy of God, and the pun· Revelation Eramined. 2 Rom. xi. 34. 3 Heb. v. 4.
ishinent due to sin. And because God foresaw that * Heidegger's History of the Patriarchs, Essay i. man would often sin, and should often receive mercy, 5 Edward's Survey of Religion, vol. 1.
it was necessary,
that the institution should be such as Heidegger's History of the Patriarchs, Essay 8.
might frequently be repeated; and in such repetition, a It is the opinion of Tertullian, Apol. c. 46. that none of frequently remind man of his own endless denierit, and the ancient philosophers ever compelled the people to sacrifice of God's infinite goodness to him ; to which purpose the living creatures. Theophrastus is quoted by Porphyry in Eusebius' Evangelical Preparation, b. 1. c. 9. as asserting that the institution of sacrifices for sin was of excellent use and first men ote red handruls of grass; that, in time, they come to service. sacrifice the fruits of the trees: and, in after ages, to kill and of- Both from the commandment which at first was given fer cattle upon altars. Many other authors are cited for this to Adam, and the sentence which was afterwards deopinion. Pausanias on Phrygian Crops, seems to intimate, that nounced against him, we learn, that death was the pethe ancient sacrifice was only fruits of trees (of the viue cially,) and of honeycombs and wool. Empedocles on the nalty of his disobedience; and since it was so, certainly most Ancient Times, affirms, that the first altars were not stained it was highly proper, that he should know what he was to with the blood of creatures; and Plat) on Laws, b. 6. was of suffer; and consequently that he should see death in all its opinion, that living creatures were not anciently offered in sac- horror and deformity, in order to judge rightly of the rifice, but cakes of bread, and fruits, and honey, poured upon evil of disobedience. And what could exhibit this evil them; for “The heavenly deities delight not in the sacrifice of an ox,” was an old position of more writers than Ovid. See Shuckford's Connection, vol. 1. b. 2
: Reb. vi. 1.
* Rom. x, 17.
A. M. 12. a. C. 3876 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 200. A. C. 5211. GEN. CH. 4. TO VER. 25. more strongly, than the groans and struggles of inno- Thus to represent the horrid nature of sin, and to seal cent creatures, bleeding to death for his guilt, before the eternal covenant of mercy; to be types of the great his eyes, and by his own hands ? Sights of this kind expiatory sacrifice of Christ's death, and a standing are shocking to human nature even yet, though custom means of obtaining pardon and reconciliation with God, hath long made them familiar: with what horror then, seem to be some of the principal ends of God's instimay we imagine that they pierced the hearts of our first tuting sacrifices at first : and what was of use to gain parents, and how was that horror aggravated, when they them a favourable acceptance in his sight, we may, in considered themselves as the guilty authors of so much some measure, learn from the reasons, that are usually cruelty to the creatures which were about them? Nay, alleged, for his rejection of Cain's, and approbation of when the groans of these dying animals were over, what Abel's sacrifice. a sad, a ghastly spectacle must their cold carcasses Most of the Jewish interpreters have placed the difyield ? and even after their oblation, how dismal a me- ferent events of these two sacrifices in the external quanditation must it be, to consider the beauty and excel tity or quality of them. They tell us, that` Cain brought lency of these animate beings reduced to an handful of of the fruits of the ground' indeed, but not of the firstdust; especially, when they could not see them in that fruits (as he should have done,) nor the fullest ears of condition, but under sad conviction, that they themselves corn, (which he kept for himself, but the lankest and must follow the same odious steps to destruction ? latest; and, even what he brought, 'twas with a niggardly
We can hardly conceive, how God could strike the hand and grudging mind; so that he raised God's averhuman soul with a deeper sense of misery from guilt, sion 8' by offering to him of that which cost him nothing :' or with more abhorrence of the sad cause of that misery, whereas Abel found a kind acceptance, because "che than by this method of appointing sacrifices : nor can honoured the Lord with his substance :' he brought of we imagine how our first parents could have ever sus- the firstlings of his flock,' and the very best and fattest tained themselves under such afflicting thoughts, had not of them, as thinking nothing too good to be offered in God, in his infinite goodness, caused some ray of hope devotion and gratitude to him from whom he received all. to shine through this scene of mortality and misery, and 5 Allowing the maxim of the Jewish church, namely, made sacrifices (at the same time that they were such that without blood there is no remission,' to have been lively embleins of the horror of guilt) the means of its good, from the first institution of sacrifice, a very learned expiation, and the seals of his covenant of grace. writer supposes, that Abel came, as a petitioner for
That God entered into a covenant of mercy with grace and pardon, and brought the atonement appointed man, immediately after the fall, is evident from the sen- for sin; but Cain appeared before God as a just person, tence passed upon the serpent, wherein that covenant is wanting no repentance, and brought an offering in comprised: and therefore, as we find that, in after ages, acknowledgment of God's goodness and bounty, but no his usual way of ratifying covenants of this kind was by atonement in acknowledgment of his own wretched. sacrifices; so we cannot imagine that he failed to do so
ness; and that upon this account his oblation was reat this time, when such mercy was more wanted than jected, as God's expostulation with him seems to imply: ever it was since the foundation of the world. Sacrifi-If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ? And if ces indeed have no natural aptitude to expiate guilt, in thou doest not well, sin lieth at thy door,' that is, if thou which sense, the apostle affirms it ? to be impossible art righteous, thy righteousness shall save thee; but if for the blood of bulls, and of goats, to take away sins.' thou art not, by what expiation is thy sin purged ? it The death of a beast is far from being equivalent to the lieth still at thy door. death of a man, but infinitely short of that eternal death The author to the 6 Hebrews has given us, I think, a to which the man's sinfulness does consign him : but key to this difficulty, when he tells us, that 'by faith still, as sacrifices are federal rites, and one of those ex- Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than ternal means which God bad instituted, under the ante- Cain.'? The faith (of which the apostle gives us several diluvian dispensation, for man's recovery from sin, we instances in this chapter) is the belief of something decannot but suppose, but that, when piously and devoutly clared, and, in consequence of such belief, the performoffered, they were accepted by him, for the expiation of ance of some action enjoined by God : " By faith Noah, transgressions ; though it must be owned, that they did being warned by God, prepared an ark,' that is, he beBet, of themselves, or by their own worthiness, atone for lieved the warning which God gave him and obediently any thing, but only in virtue of the expiatory sacrifice made the ark which he had appointed him, to make : of the Messias to come, whereof they were no more than By faith Abraham, when called ' to go into a strange types and shadows. To speak strictly and properly, land, which God promised to give him for an inhertherefore, these sacrifices did not really and formally,
itance, obeyed,' that is, he believed that God would give but typically and mystically expiate, that is, they did him what he had promised, and, in consequence of such not pacify God's anger, and satisfy his justice, and belief, did what God cominanded him : and thus it was, take away sin, by their own force and efficacy, but as that · Abel, by faith, offered a better sacrifice than Cain,' they were figures and representations of that universal because he believed what God had promised, that the sacrifice, which in the divine intention) ' was slain from seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head,' the foundation of the world, and, ‘in the fulness of and, in consequence of such belief, offered such a sacritime,' was to come down from heaven, in order to fulfil the great undertaking of making atonement for the sins of all mankind.'
* 2 Sam. xxiv, 24. • Prov. iii. 9.
5 Bishop Sherlock's Use of Prophecy, dis. 3. Revelation Examined.
? Ileb. x. 4.
• C:\P. xi. ver. 4. Shuckford's Connection, vol. 1. b. 2.
A. M. 128. A. C. 3876; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 200. A. C. 5211. GEN. CH. 4, TO VER. 25. fice for his sins, as God had appointed to be offered, until the seed should come.
CHAP. IV. * In order to offer a sacrifice by faith then, there are three things requisite. lst, That the person who offers On the Design of Sacrifice :-On the Sacrifices of the should do it upon the previous appointment and direc
Patriarchal Dispensation. tion of God. 2dly, That he should consider it as a sign and token of the promise of God made in Christ, and of
EMENTAL BY THE EDITOR.) remission of sins through his blood; and 3dly, That, while he is offering, he should be mindful withal (in the SCRIPTURE assures us that Christ was 'the Lamb slain phrase of St Paul) to present himself a living sacrifice, from the foundation of the world.' But what meaning holy, and acceptable unto God. In the first of these are we to attach to these expressions, unless we underqualifications Cain was right enough, because he had stand them as referring to the significant and emblemalearned from his father, that, as God had appointed sa- tical rite of sacrifice, instituted to prefigure the death crifices, it was his duty to offer them: but herein was his incurred by sin, and the atonement by which its guilt great defect, that while he was offering, he gave no atten- was to be expiated ? It is admitted that this atonement tion to what he was about ; nor once reflected on the pro- had a retrospective efficacy; that through it God demise of God, made in paradise, nor placed any confidence clared his righteousness for the remission of sins that in the merits of a Saviour, to recommend his services; but, were past; and have we not, therefore, the best grounds vainly imagining that his bare oblation was all that was for regarding the institution of sacrifice as having been required to his justification, he took no care to preserve intended from the beginning impressively to show forth his soul pure and unpolluted, or to constitute his mem- the death of the Redeemer ? He is described as the
instruments of righteousness unto God.' In Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world,' beshort, his oblation was the service of an hypocrite, lying cause he really fulfilled that which the sacrifice of lambe unto God, and using the external symbols of grace' for and of other animals prefigured. a cloak of maliciousness ;' whereas Abel's sacrifice was
In the first promise there is allusion to the sufferings attended with awful meditations on that seed of the of the Mighty Deliverer. In order that the great truths woman’ which was to become the world's Redeemer, comprehended in this promise might be more clearly unwith warm applications to him for mercy and forgiveness, derstood and deeply felt, we have every reason to beand with holy resolutions of better obedience, of aban-lieve that sacrifice was immediately and divinely instidoning all sin, and always abounding in the work of tuted as an explanatory ordinance. Though the words the Lord ;' and therefore there is no wonder, that their of the institution are not recorded, the fact cannot be services met with so different a reception. For, how questioned; because sacrifice constituted a part of the over sacrificing was an external rite, yet the rite itself worship of God from the fall of man; and we must feel would by no means do, unless the attention of the mind, assured that it could not be acceptably used in his worand the integrity of the heart went along with it, 'he ship but in consequence of divine appointment.
We that killed an ox was as if he slew a man; and he that know that the inferior animals were not used as food, at sacrificed a lamb as if he cut off a dog's neck;' so de- least with the divine permission, till after the flood; and, testable in the sight of God was a the richest oblation, consequently, there could be no occasion for slaying when the sacrificer was not a good man; nay, so ready them, unless it were for sacrifice, till after that period. was he to pass by all observances of this kind, if the Our first parents having been clothed at the expense of worshipper came but, in other respects, qualified : 36 For life, and by the special interposition of God, had a he that keepeth the law bringeth offerings enough; he striking representation given them of the mode in which that taketh heed to the law offereth a peace-offering; he forfeited happiness should be restored, and of that perthat requiteth a good turn offereth fine flour; and he that fect righteousness by which they were justified before giveth alms sacrificeth praise. To depart from wicked-God. It was an intimation to them that the Deliverer, ness is a thing pleasing to the Lord; and to forsake un- denominated the Seed of the woman, should redeem righteousness is a propitiation.'
them by his sufferings.
Thus have we presented to our view immediately after
the fall, and before the first transgressors were expelled Heidegger's History of the Patriarchs, Essay V.
from paradise, the two principal methods in which God Isa. lxvi. 3. 3 Ecclus. xxxv. 1, &c.
unfolded to mankind the way of salvation, namely, proa That it is not the quality of the sacrifice, but the mind and phecy and typical sacrifice. Both these methods of disposition of the sacrificer, which God regards, was the general divine revelation were continued in the church with insentiment of the wisest heathens, as appears by that excellent creasing clearness and precision till the coming of passage in Persius:
Christ; and both were intended to direct the faith of the • Justice upright, and sanctity of heart,
people to the Substitute and Surety of sinners, who by polished mind, pure at its inmost core
the one offering up of himself was to obtain eternal re
demption. In the first promise we have the foundation These I will yield, and duly Jove adore.'
of that series of prophecies which was delivered from Sat. 2.
age to age, which announced the divine nature, the inAnd that other in Seneca:
carnation, the sufferings, death, and subsequent glories It is not by victims, though they be most valuable and glitter of the Redeemer. In the first sacrifice we have the with gold, that honour is paid to the gods, but by worshipping basis of that series of typical observances, which prethem with a pious and upright heart.'-On Old Age, 1.6. figured the mediation and atonement of the Son of God.
A breast imbued with no dishonest art,
A. M. 128. A. C. 3876; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 200. A. C. 5211. GEN. CH. 4. TO VER. 25. Prophecy was the annunciation of what was future, ex- | But, as it had also an immediate, and most apposite, pressed not by words but by signs. These signs were application to that important event in the condition of indefinitely varied ; and, accordingly, the rites appointed man, which, as being the occasion of, was essentially to be observed in the worship of God, and the vicissitudes connected with, the work of redemption; that likewise, of the church in its trials and triumphs, recorded in the we have reason to think, was included in its significaOld Testament, were emblematical. They served unto tion. And thus, upon the whole, sacrifice appears to the example and shadow of good things to come. But have been ordained, as a standing memorial of the death the most prominent of these emblems was sacrifice, which introduced by sin, and of that death which was to be by its direct reference to the atonement of Christ, aided suffered by the Redeemer.” the faith and hope of believers, and which by its univer- First, then, it is evident, that the offering of Abel was al use, even when its original design was forgotten, different in its nature from that which was presented by may have prepared mankind for that message of salva- Cain; and that this difference constituted the principal tion which, in the fulness of time, was sent to them ground for the acceptance of the one, and the rejection through a crucified Redeemer.
of the other. It was a more full, a more ample sacrifice, These views are confirmed by the circumstances re- that is, it partook more essentially of the nature of sacricorded in Scripture regarding the sacrifice of Abel. By fice, than the offering of Cain. It was ‘of the firstlings faith we are told that Abel offered unto God a more ex- of his flock,' an animal slain in solemn sacrifice unto cellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness God, in obedience to a known divine command, whereas that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. Cain Cain offered merely of the fruit of the ground, as an exbrought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the pression of thankfulness to the bounty of God. Hence, Lord: and Abel, he brought of the firstlings of his flock. Secondly, Abel is said to have offered his more ex. If we bear in mind the observations already made, we cellent sacrifice by faith. On this circumstance there is shall readily perceive the ground on which the sacrifice much stress laid by the apostle, as he adduces it in the of Abel was accepted, while that of Cain was rejected. eleventh chapter of the Hebrews, as an example illustraAbel offered his sacrifice in faith, in strict accordance tive of the power and efficacy of faith. But what was with the command of God, and in firin reliance on bis the object of this faith? Unquestionably a divine revepromise : he acknowledged by the death inflicted on an lation, the promise of the Messiah, to which such frequent innocent animal his own desert as a sinner, and his trust allusion is made in Scripture, and in firm reliance on in the way of redemption and recovery which God had which the patriarchs lived and died. * These all,' Abel mercifully provided : be thus as a true penitent ap- and all the others whom the apostle had named, ‘not proached God in worship, looking for pardon and re- having received the fulfilment of the promises, but havconciliation, renewing and sanctifying grace, through ing seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and an atonement. But Cain, viewing God merely as his embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers Creator and Preserver, offered the fruits of the earth as and pilgrims on the earth.' This could not be the proan acknowledgment of his goodness, entirely overlook- mise of entering the land of Canaan, because to Abel, ing his own character as a sinner, and disregarding the Enoch, and Noah, no such promise was given, and bedivinely instituted sacrificial rite, the appointed emblem cause that even in regard to Abraham, the evangelist of the new and living way of access to God. “In (John viii. 56.) explains the expression of his seeing the ehort, Cain, the first-born of the fall, exhibits the first promises afar off, and embracing them, as signifying bis fruits of his parents' disobedience, in the arrogance and seeing the day of Christ and rejoicing. To the compleself-sufficiency of reason, rejecting the aids of revela- tion of the great promise of the coming of the Seed of tion, because they fell not within its apprehension of the woman, to accomplish the redemption of mankind, right. He takes the first place in the annals of deism, Abel looked with firm reliance on the truth of God. In and displays, in his proud rejection of the ordinance of the faith of this promise he offered unto God the kind of sacrifice, the same spirit, which, in later days, has ac- sacrifice which had been enjoined as the evidence of detuated his enlightened followers, in rejecting the sacri- pendence on divine mercy, and as the typical expression fice of Christ.”
of that atonement which was to be made in the fulness of The terms in which God expostulates with Cain con- time. And, therefore, vey a rebuke for his not offering an animal sacrifice like In the third place, he obtained the testimony of God his brother Abel : If thou doest well, shalt thou not be to the acceptableness of his sacrifice, and to his own peraccepted ? and if thou dvest not well, a sin-offering sonal justification before God. By which he obtained lieth even at the door.' There is here a reference to witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts : sin-offering as a known institution, the neglect of which and by it, he being dead, yet speaketh. He thus bein Cain incurred the divine displeasure, and the obser- came heir of the righteousness of God which is by faith, vance of animal sacrifice is anew enforced. The sacri- ' even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus hice which Abel presented unto God was of this descrip-Christ unto all
, and upon all them that believe. It was tion. The reason of its acceptance, according to the declared by God himself, that he was righteous before apostle Paul, was the faith in which it was offered ; faith him, by his visibly attesting the excellency and acceptain the Redeemer promised under the appellation of the bleness of his oblation. seed of the woman. “Of this faith, the offering of an We thus discover the reason for the difference in the animal in sacrifice, appears to have been the legitimate, divine reception of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. and consequently the instituted, expression. The insti- This cannot be accounted for by those who deny the ditation of animal sacrifice, then, was coeval with the fall, vine origin of sacrifice. Abel's sacrifice, as our author and had a reference to the sacrifice of our redemption. remarks, was more excellent than his brother's, because