Adam 2 (Jowett – Scriptural Characters)

[Jowett – Scriptural Characters]

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

(Genesis 1:1 and Gen 1:26-28.)

The account of the Creation of the ‘heaven and the earth, is given with a majestic simplicity in the opening verses of the Bible. The first five verses describe the work which Almighty God was pleased to perform on the first day. No reason is assigned why the operations of our Great Creator were divided into successive portions: nor does it become us to pry into his secret councils in this matter. We receive the narrative, as given by inspiration of God; and thankfully adore his wisdom, power and goodness.

On the sixth day we read that the Almighty created the noblest of his works on earth: he made Man, after his own image. This is the subject of our present contemplation.

To understand the holy and happy character of Adam in Paradise, is a matter of some difficulty.
By nature we are so sinful and ignorant, that we soon feel ourselves at a loss, when endeavouring to contemplate a created being, living in a state of perfect innocency. The Bible, however, supplies us with various helps for this purpose. Let us then pray to be enlightened by God’s Holy Spirit; that we may be taught whatever it is right for us to know, upon this interesting subject.

We observe, then, that the excellence and felicity of our first Parents consisted in their holiness, their communion with God, and their freedom from all evil.

1. First, they were perfect in Holiness. ‘^God made man upright” He created man “ in his own image, after his own likeness.” The chief character of that image is holiness. “ The Lord our God is holy.” When he commands us to imitate him, he does so in these words — “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” This then was the chief excellence of Adam in Paradise.

And what is holiness? In few words we answerIt is, to have the heart filled with the knowledge of what is good, and with dispositions tending only to what is good. It is to will what is good, to do what is good, and to delight supremely in all that is good. St John teaches us what it is to bear the image of God, when he says, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16.) Adam enjoyed a perfect knowledge of the will of God; and he had a heart entirely disposed to love and obey that will.

2, Hence, his happiness mainly consisted in Communion with God. With the inmost thoughts of his mind he conversed with his Maker; and he felt every movement of his soul to be directed by the pure and holy Spirit of his God. When our first Parents fell into sin, they lost this delightful intercourse with the Most High. Instead of welcoming his approach, they fled from him: “ They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Gen. 3:8.) From what they lost, we may infer what was the character of their former happiness. Their Great Friend was now become their enemy: but O how glorious and blissful must that former friendship have been!,

3. The felicity of Paradise consisted, also, in that entire Freedom from pain, trouble, sorrow and death, which was enjoyed by Adam and Eve, so long as they remained sinless. In their proper original character they were the happy lords of creation. They had dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the face of the earth.” Every herb and every tree yielded them fruit. Work was not wearisome: sickness and death were unknown, the Tree of life grew in the midst of the garden, as a pledge to them, that, so long as they continued obedient, they should be immortal.

Such was then the character and the condition of Adam. He was holy: God was his Friend, before whose presence he walked in joy unutterable: and all created things around him were “very good!”

It has already been remarked that we necessarily have great difficulty in apprehending this state. To assist us, however, in conceiving of it, two very material helps are furnished us in the Scriptures.

First, we may gain some insight into Man’s original innocency, by studying that new character, to which believers in Christ attain upon their conversion to God. They are said to be “ renewed in the image of God.” That image in which they are renewed, accords with the image wherein Adam was at the first created.

Another method there is of contemplating this subject; namely, by studying the character of Christ Though no one of the human family ever was perfect, yet in our Lord Jesus Christ, who became Man, and who is called “the second Adam,” we behold spotless perfection. Adam in innocency must have resembled what Christ was in the flesh. In reading the Gospels^ we become acquainted with the character of him, whose name is, Emmanuel, God with us: and in this way we form some idea of the excellence and bliss of Adam and Eve, when they dwelt in Eden.

Faint, after all, as may be our conceptions of this glorious state, yet it is useful to contemplate it in all its particulars, that we may see how deeply we are fallen by sin, and how great is the grace of our Redeemer, who came to save and to restore us.



Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God. said, Te shall not eat of every tree of the garden P

And the woman said unto the serpent. We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Te shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Te shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and.
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:1-8.)

We have contemplated Adam in innocency: the mournful reverse is now to be considered.

Perhaps some might ask, How could it possibly happen, that holy beings, such as Adam and Eve were, should ever admit even a thought of sin? We must confess ourselves unable to answer the question: all that we can reply, is — They did fall into sin. It is clear that they were open to temptation, and that the tempter knew this. Satan, who assumed the form of a serpent, took advantage of their exposed state, and plied his temptations with so much subtilty, that Eve first, then Adam, fell into transgression. The steps by which they sinned are, alas! too easily understood by us: seeing that we ourselves are constantly prone to fall after the same manner, and into similar transgressions.

Let us examine, then, each part of this affecting narrative. It is set before us as a glass, wherein to discern our own sinful nature, that we may be made humble and penitent!

1. The leading fault of Eve was, her Listening to the words of the Tempter, and venturing to parley with him. He drew her into conversation about the forbidden fruit: he began by throwing out suspicious hints concerning that God, who had placed them in Eden, and laid them under a certain prohibition.

On hearing such insinuations. Eve ought to have at once perceived that the serpent was an enemy of her God; and she ought consequently to have ceased conversing with him. Instead of which she allows the intercourse to continue, giving answers of a very unsatisfactory nature, and stating the law of God in terms different from those in which the Lord himself had given it. — On this fact we may ground the general observation, that it is dangerous to admit any suggestion from Satan into our minds, and if ever any evil thought is injected by the tempter, our best defence against it, is — The pure word of God: not inventions or alterations of our own; but the simple word of God, just as it stands in the Bible.

2. Next, see how Satan presses his advantage. His first step was artful: his second, daring. He flatly gives the lie to God, and introduces into Eve’s bosom the spirit of Unbelief, “The serpent said unto the woman. Ye shall not surely die.” — There is no falsehood which Satan more desires to instil into our hearts, than, that God will never fulfil his threatenings. — And sinners no less eagerly embrace the lie, that there is no such place as hell, no such thing as everlasting punishment. In a word, they believe Satan, rather than God.

3. But, that Eve may not be shocked on hearing her Creator thus “ made a liar,” Satan immediately works on her Ambitious curiosity. He tells her how much she loses by not eating of the fruit of that particular tree, and how much she would gain by tasting it “ Ye shall be as gods;” that is, ye shall know something which God himself has kept from you: ye shall have your eyes opened to discern good and evil! The thought of all this wonderful change puffed up her imagination. Eve, now becoming vain, began to think there must be something great in this flattering language. Discontentment with her present limited knowledge would now steal upon her mind. — So easy is it for us to pant after something, we know not what: and to pine with dissatisfaction, till we get that imagined something.

4. And now the poison begins to work. Her Wandering Eye, gazing upon the forbidden tree, completed Satan’s temptation, and Eve’s ruin. — Oh, when shall we learn to govern the eye, that quick inlet to sin? When shall we be convinced, that things “ pleasant to the eye,” are frequently fatal to the soul? When shall we be so truly wise, as willingly to remain ignorant of many things, which it is not our proper business to know? Will not Eve’s bitter experience forewarn us? — How many have been beguiled by alluring objects, or by proud speculations to their eternal perdition! Oh that we were wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil!

5. Eve next ventures on the Commission of the sin to which she was tempted. She takes of the fruit of the tree, and eats. She breaks through the only, restraint, which a wise and holy God had laid upon her and her husband. She sins: and she is first in the transgression!

6. Not content with this, she now becomes the Tempter of her husband. “ She gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat” She does Satan’s work.

Adam complies: whether induced by the same false reasons, we know not. In his case there was one motive more, to overcome him; namely, the solicitation of his wife. But in yielding to this, he only increased his own sin: for he showed that he valued her affection more than God’s favour. It was his duty to resist her solicitation.

Nothing ought more to pain our hearts than Sin! Every thing connected with it, is awful and affecting! In this true history of the beginning of sin we behold the arch-murderer and liar, triumphant, our gracious God, insulted: two previously-innocent persons, self-destroyed: and their vast family of millions of descendants, plunged into guilt and misery! O let us be covered with shame and confusion of face, to think how deep we have fallen; and let our earnest cries ascend to heaven, for the redemption of our lost souls!



And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, hecause I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said. Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

And the man said, The woman whom thou gayest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done P And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed ancT her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying. Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. ‘ Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats, of skins, and clothed them. And the Lord God said. Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

(Genesis 3:9-24.)

Our first father, Adam, is to be viewed, not merely as a private, but also as a public character. He stood at the head of the human race. Through his sin, millions have inherited an evil nature, and a tremendous curse. “ In Adam all die:” “ All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Such is fallen man’s condition! We found it hard to rise to the contemplation of our first parents’
pure and happy state in Paradise: but we can have no difficulty in understanding the dispositions and conduct of Adam and Eve after their transgression. The temper of mind then exhibited by them, we have ourselves experienced times without number.

Let us consider — What they felt, on having transgressed the divine law: How they conducted themselves, when called to account by God: The sentence passed upon them: and. The mercy offered to them.

1. The dejection of our first parents after their sin, was of the same kind with what we experience when we have done something which we know to be exceedingly wrong. We all have a conscience, that conscience is the voice of God speaking within our hearts: and unless our heart has become hardened by repeated offences, the first feelings of a sinner, even of a little child, are those of shame, and fear and remorse. A child cannot hold up its head, when guilty: shame covers its face: it fears to meet an angry master, or an offended father: it is deeply sorry, and wishes the fault had not been committed, above all, it endeavours to keep out of the way of reproof and punishment This is the simplest way to conceive of Adam’s state of mind, when he felt that he had broken God|s command. Children are without disguise: they are too young to practise much deception; they show their feelings at once. So did our first parents.

Would not the thought flash upon their consciences — “How reasonable the conditions which were placed upon us; how easy the test of our obedience! All the trees freely offered for our use but one! And this small prohibition we could not endure; but for the sake of a little momentary indulgence forfeited duty, happiness, and the favour of our gracious God!” — Such is every sinner’s remorse, when he comes to a right sense of his wretched, undone condition!

2. Next observe, how they conducted themselves, when called to account by God. The Lord said unto Adam, “Where art thou?” He called our trembling parents out of their hiding-place. “ Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldest not eat?” He touches conscience to the quick. Eve does not escape: the question put to her, is, “ What is this that thou hast done?”
Now, in their answers we may remark that they tell the truth — they could scarce help it: but it is in such a way, as shows unwillingness to take that blame to themselves which they deserved. Adam throws the charge on his wife, and, in some measure, upon God himself: “ The woman, whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” The woman throws the blame on the cunning of the serpent: “ The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” — Does not this transaction forcibly remind us of our own inclination to seek for excuses; to shift the guilt on others; and to make out the best case we possibly can for ourselves? Instead of pleading from the heart, “Guilty,”. what devices have we for lulling conscience! Who can say that he honestly and entirely condemns ‘himself in the sight of the heart-searching God!

3. As to the judgment passed on our first parents, and through them on all mankind, it hath constantly been fulfilled, and it will never cease fulfilling, to the end of time. Not to speak of the curse pronounced on the serpent, (although it is very remarkable and very awful,) let us look to our own sentence. It may be summed up in few words. Hard labour: many bodily sufferings, and other humiliations: our earth, subjected to a perpetual curse, and death, closing our state of. trial here below; — these are the melancholy terms of one sentence! This is our lot None escape this curse. Men may try, as they will, to make this world a happy dwelling-place: sooner or later the mistake is discovered. It may be compared to. a prison-house, where each man occupies a condemned cell; and all in their turn are led out to execution.

There was moreover, in part, an immediate execution of judgment on our first parents; and this in a way, which must have been deeply wounding to their feelings« They were banished forthwith from their beloved Eden. They were restrained from taking of the tree of life; a tree, which appears -to have stood in Paradise as a kind of sacramental pledge, that so long as they continued innocent, they should be immortal. ‘^ So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
No more did they enjoy uninterrupted vigour and health. Infirmity and decay began to work upon their bodily fi*ame. Had it even been possible for them to approach the tree of life, there was the point of the flaming sword turning every way to remind them, “ Eden is forfeited, and ye must surely die!”

4. But what was the mercy offered to our unhappy parents? — If in this hour of their conviction and condemnation, God had not spoken kindly to them, they must have been utterly consumed with terrors. The Lord, however, graciously gave them the pr o mi’s e of a Redeemer. The seed of the woman, — that is, the Lord Jesus Christ in human nature, — was to come and destroy the power of “ that Wd serpent, the devil.” Mysteriously as the prophecy was worded, yet it served to shed a ray of hope over the future. The slightest word of encouragement often cheers the downcast heart. Thus, then, would this sure word of promise from the living and true God encourage Adam and his wife! It was the “ hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began;” which in due time he revealed first to our fallen parents in Paradise^ making it afterwards still clearer and clearer in succeeding ages. Without this hope they roust have sunk deeper and deeper: from despondency into outer darkness; from death temporal into death eternal; from a world of woe into that abyss, ** where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched!”

Sacrifices were, no doubt, at this time instituted; the Lord having ordained them to preserve in man’s memory the grand doctrine, that “ without shedding of blood is no remission:” (Heb. 9:22.) The skins of the animals thus slain, God directed our parents to use for clothing. And thus, sheltered outwardly from shame, and inwardly from despair, they would commence the dreary work of earning their subsistence from an accursed ground.



And Adam knew Eye his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, 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 door. And unto thee shsdl be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done P the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And DOW art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy 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. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. (Gen 4:1-16.) The condition of Adam and Eve in their early family-circumstances, is briefly, yet minutely made known to^tts^in the Holy Scriptures, When driven out of Paradise, they literally bad “ the world to begin.” With hands to labour, and with God to instruct them how to labour, (Isaiah 28:23-29.) their business was, to cultivate the ground: necessity compelled them. They were clad, for decency’s sake, with the skins of animals; which animals had been slain, as already mentioned^ for the purpose of offering sacrifices to God. These sacrifices were a type of that Great Sacrifice, which was to be made in due season by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for the sins of the whole world. Such, in few words, was their condition, both temporally and spiritually contemplated.

After a time, a son was born to Adam and Eve; the first-born of the human race. Eve now passed through the great pain and peril of child-birth: she also experienced the joy of a mother, on seeing her beloved offspring bom into the world. She seems to have been impressed with a notion that this was the Promised Seed, who should destroy the serpent, for she exclaims, “ I have gotten a man-child from the Lord;” or as some consider her to have intended, “ I have gotten The Man from the Lord;”
and some even suppose the words to have meant, “ I have gotten the man Jehovah,” that is, the Godman, Christ Jesus: “ Emmanuel, God with us.”

Whatever may have been the exact purport of her words, it is evident that she exulted in Cain’s birth. The name she gave him, signifies, “ A Gain or Acquisition.”

In the Holy Scriptures, however, which describe the true state of Adam’s family, and of Cain’s character, we behold a very different picture from what Eve’s imagination contemplated. By this history, we are enabled, in the very first instance of the birth of a child, to see what is meant by the words^
”Adam begat a son in his own likeness:” (words spoken afterwards on occasion of the birth of Setfa, but equally applicable to every child of man.) Little did Eve at this moment suspect, that all her descendants would answer to the description given by David, ” Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5.)

The character of Cain shows, moreover, the awftil extent of Satan’s influence, now that he had usurped the dominion of this world. St ^John describes Cain as being ”of that wicked one:” (1 John 3:12.) that is, he was a child of the devil. Satan, who had tempted our first parents, was now permitted to enter into the heart of Cain, and dwell there.

We will briefly notice the chief features of the character of this wretched man.

1. His first and great sin, was Presumption. He chose his own method of worshipping God. The Lord had appointed sacrifices of animals, as the way of approaching him, in acceptable worship: for •we must not suppose, that it was by accident that Abel chose the right way, or that Cain was uninstructed concerning that way. No doubt Adam had taught his sons, what he, in the first instance, had been taught of God. Cain, however, being a tiller of the ground, did nothing more than bring “ of the fruit of the ground as an offering unto the Lord.” He neglected, and very probably despised, the institution of sacrifices.

It is no uncommon error, even now, for persons to regard thankfulness to God for his goodness, as the sum and substance of Religion. Their system excludes evangelical humility. They admit not the necessity of repentance; and are even offended at the idea of a broken and a contrite heart. The practice of sacrificing was designed to keep up a tender remembrance of sin, and to. show the need of an atonement But these doctrines are as distasteful now-a-days to many nominal Christians, as they were thousands of years ago to Cain.

When, however, we choose our own method, of approaching God, instead of coming unto him through Christ, who is “ the Way, and the Truth, and the Life,” we offer the greatest possible affront to our holy Lord God, and are, consequently, sure to be rejected of him.

2. But Cain offended yet further. When rebuked by his Maker, he sunk into SiUlenness. His spirit was moved with secret indignation against the Most High. “ His countenance fell.” This is the sure mark of a sullen mind, falling under the power of slow and settled anger. Neither would Cain in any way come to terms, although God condescended to reason with him.

What a spectacle is this! A moth contending with the Almighty! A sinner, a creature of a day, standing it out against the High and Holy One, who inhabiteth eternity!— It more than doubles our guilt, when we add obstinacy to rebellion.

3. Then followed that diabolical passion, Haired of his brother Abel. “ And wherefore hated he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” His hatred was a compound of envy at his brother’s superiority, and malignant dislike of piety itself. Not only did he hate Abel, but he hated Abel’s God.

4. From this deep enmity, which he probably vented in open reviling of his pious brother, he proceeds to the act of Murder, Thus Cain treads in the steps of Satan. — Oh, what wretchedness is now to be seen in Adam’s family? Death, in its most frightful form: the domestic circle deprived of its brightest ornament, righteous Abel: while the parents are horrified by the presence of their ferocious son, a man not fit to live! And what remorse for their own guilt must now have agitated the heart of our first parents!

5. Cain, in the next place, affects a sort of Indifference, and endeavours to brave justice; no uncommon practice with hardened ofienders. In what mode the Lord appeared to him, or put the awful question, “ Where is Abel thy brother?” we are not informed. But what can equal the daring impiety of Cain’s reply: “ I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?” — How vain the attempt to hide any thing fi*om God: and what miserable folly is it, to put any kind of cheat upon our own conscience! “ Murder will out” — is a common saying. And so at last will every sin! “ God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

6. And now sentence proceeds against the murderer, and Despair takes possession of his heart No sooner is judgment pronounced, than Cain becomes abject, terrified, and haunted with an evil conscience. What a life does he now begin to live, more frightful than ten thousand deaths such as Abel’s! For wise reasons the Lord does not immediately destroy Cain; but prolongs his vagabond existence here, sending him to wander over the earth, with a mark set upon him. Thus good men would shudder at the sight of him: and all, even his enemies, would be restrained from molesting h^m.
The blood-stained earth refused his culture; so he gives himself up to a course of reckless desperation.
He abandons all family-religion, and the means of grace: (for that must be the meaning of the words, “ Cain went out from the presence of the Lord*’) He raises a posterity, builds a city, and leaves no further record, than that some of his descendants become ingenious artisans. What trifles are such matters, when we think of the wrath of God resting on the head of the murderer, and of the punishment awaiting him in a future state!

We will add two remarks of a general nature, resultincr from this account of the commencement of Adam’s family-relations.

First — May it not suggest to Parents the duty of exercising a godly fear in reference to their oflFspring? When tempted to doat upon a lovely child, they should remember, that none prove eternally blessed, but those whom God loves, and who are taught to love God. Liet them not fondly ask, “ Lord, and what shall this child doT For God does not reveal the future to us: and, upon the whole, it is a mercy that he does not But this one thing parents may do, and ought to do; namely — Commend their children to the -Lord in prayer! They should also seek special grace for themselves, to assist them in brining up their offspring for God. And then, on the other hand — Let children learn, firom the story of wicked Cain, to guard against those common evils of the heart— anger, self-will, obstinacy, envy, and dislike of others. How fearful to think, that ill-natured bickerings, quarrels, and fightings, may possibly lead “ to murder and to death!” Especially let the Young beware of ridiculing piety or pious persons. Headstrong children are often prone to excuse their own wilfulness, by pointing to the defects which they discern in brothers and sisters, or even in their parents. Faults will inevitably creep into the domestic circle: but there is no greater blessing, no surer safeguard to the rising generation, than Family-Keligion,



And Abel, he also brought of the firstfruits of the flock and of cattle And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.
This is a bright, as well as a dark side, in the first-picture of our first father Adam. We have considered the character of his first-born, Cain, the murderer: let us now view the holy character of his second son, the murdered Abel: or, as he is styled in Scripture, “ righteous Abel.”

From his bearing this title, and from his possessing a character so widely different from Cain’s, some might be ready to imagine that Abel was born with a nature superior to that of Cain. Such, however, is not the doctrine of Scripture. There we learn that all men, without exception, are conceived and bom in sin. Cain and Abel^ both of them inherited a corrupt nature from their fallen parents. The difference in their characters arose from this — that Abel was changed by divine grace, Cain was not.
Abel was transformed into the image of God: Cain remained under the power of his natural corruptions, and under the influence of the devil.

If we had only had the history contained in the book of Genesis, we might perhaps not so very clearly have seen this doctrine. But one part of Scripture helps to explain another. St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews (chap. xi. verse 4.), distinctly informs us, that Abel was righteous through his faith. And faith, we know, is the gift of God: believers are not bom believers; they are made such by a new birth, through the power of the Holy Ghost. It was the Spirit of God that made Abel what he was.

And what he was, we may learn from the verse already referred to, and which shall be quoted at full length: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
The right way, then, to study Abel’s holy character, is, to observe how the divine principle of Faith wrought within him: and this we shall remark in the following particulars.

1. First, it was by faith that he received and obeyed the Command of God, in regard to his offering. — God had appointed sacrifices, not mere thank-offerings: Abel complied with this appointment. He was “ a keeper of sheep;” and “ he brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.”

The command relative to this mode of worshipping God, was most probably conveyed to Abel by his father Adam. Abel having thus received it, no new revelation from God was needed: but it did need the power of God to work in his heart a jwinciple of obedient faith.

2. Secondly, he had faith to discern the Intention of the sacrifice. This firstling of the flock was a type of Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. A Redeemer had been promised, who was in due time to be manifested in the flesh. Abel believed the promise; and by this sacrifice actually showed forth the Redeemer, almost four thousand years before Christ appeared on earth. Here was faith indeed!

3. Again, Abel’s was a faith which led to his Acceptance with God. “ The Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering: but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect” In truth, Abel believed in Christ Jesus: and God never fails to accept and bless those, who come unto Him through Jesus the Mediator. St. Paul also says that Abel hereby “ obtained witness that he was righteous:” that is, that he was a justified person. Happy Abel, greatly beloved and highly honoured of God! Sd shall every sinner be justified, and shall have peace with God, who comes simply believing on Christ, the sinner’s Friend and Advocate. Jesus himself declares, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”

5. We notice, further, that the faith of this righteous man, was an Offence to his ungodly, unbelieving brother. As Satan cannot endure the success of the cause of Christ, so neither can he bear that any of the children of men should be delivered from sin. He therefore stirs up all his power against those who follow Christ. Persecutors, like Cain, are his agents. Wicked men are instigated to persecute, because they hate the conversation, yea the very sight of holy and believing characters. They would, if possible, sweep all the saints of God from off the face of the earth. “ Marvel not (said Jesus to his disciples) if the world hate you.”

6. Once more — It is to be remarked, concerning AbeFs faith and sacrifice, that it was a Display of Gospel-Truth to all ages. “ By it he being dead yet speaketh.” His life and death, short as the account is, may be viewed as an epitome of the whole Gospel-dispensation. For — here we view the Spirit of the Lord manifestly working in Abel, as He did not in Cain. We behold also in Abel the work of faith with power: a faith, which led him to Christ, and consequently to acceptance with God; a faith, which stood the fiery trial of persecution; a faith, the end of which was, praise and honour and glory to God, and the salvation of Abel’s own soul. Blessed martyr and witness to the truth of the everlasting Gospel! How brightly doth the light of his Faith shine, undimmed by Time, in the earliest records of the Church of God! — Well-comforted also might his afflicted parents be; while, turning firom the frightful image of his death, they reflected that the brow of their beloved Abel was now encircled with an un&ding crown of glory!



This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years -. and he died, {Genesis 5:1 — 5.)

The lives of men were prolonged, before the flood, to such “^n amazing extent, that it was no unusual thing for them to see their children to the sixth or seventh generation; those childreji themselves also being aged. Thus, Adam’s life reached to nine hundred and thirty years; during the last two hundred and forty-three of which, he was contemporary with his descendant, Methuselah: who lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and died the year before the flood* Thus the ages of these two men, Adam and Methuselah, extended over nearly the whole space of time from the Creation of Man to the Flood. Adam might converse with Methuselah, and Methuselah with Noah: and Noah, the father of the new world, would thus be able to relate things which he had heard, at second hand only, He would tell what Methuselah had reported to him from the lips of Adam, concerning the Creation, the garden of Eden, the temptation of Eve by the serpent, the banishment of our first parents from Paradise, the death of Abel; and many other points relative to the works of mankind in the old world*

Of the immediate children of Adam, only one more is named in Scripture. It is related that E)ve bare him another son, and called his name Seth, (which means, “appointed:”) “ For God, said she, bath appointed me another seed instead of Abel^
whom Cfidn slew.” (Genesis 4:25.)

The language of Eve is devout and touching. In giving this name to her third son, she records her grief for the loss of Abel, and her remembrance of the atrocious character of her first-bom. And this she does in a spirit of gratitude to God, united with a hope and anticipation, that Seth might inherit, not the place only, but also the piety of Abel.

In this instance, Eve was probably not disappointed of her desire; for what follows immediately, shows that an era of remarkable piety commenced in this line of the family. “ And to Seth, to him also was bom a son; and he called his name Enos, then began men to call upon the name of the Lord:”
(Genesis 4:26.)

Two different, but not opposing senses, have been given to this passage of Scripture: — one, that the public worship of Jehovah was at this time very generally established by the families of Seth and his son Enos: the other, that the party of worshippers thus formed in the world were called by some particular name.

1. As to the first sense of the words — What (we may ask) could be more natural, or more seasonable and necessary, than the establishment of public worship as extensively as possible at this period of the world? Cain and certain of his descendants had evidently broken away from the restraints of Religion. Their ungodliness would be very infectious, ungodliness always is so: ‘^ a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump:” “one sinner destroyeth much good.” We might perhaps have imagined that Cain’s influence would have been utterly destroyed; that his murderous character, and the mark set on him, would have made all men shun his society. But the fact was otherwise. He married, and had a family: and since the earth no more yielded her increase to him^ he and his descendants employed themselves in hewing stones from the quarry, and digging metals from the bowels of the earth. They became skilful in building, and forging, and even in making musical instruments. Meantime, irreligion and violence increased among mankind. We read of one of Cain’s descendants, Lamech, talking very wildly (to say the least) on the subject of murder. — How needful then was it, under those circumstances, that Seth and his son should earnestly endeavour to set up a counter-influence! — In a world, where God is so greatly dishonoured, it is peculiarly incumbent on his servants to persuade as many of their friends as possible, openly to worship him, and avow their love for Religion. If others forsake God, so much the more let us cleave to Him. This course is our duty, our defence, and our glory.

2. Then, as to the other sense of these words — It seems very probable that some particular name should be given to these pious descendants of Seth. By a religious conduct, men are sure to bring down upon themselves the hatred, scorn, and persecution of the ungodly. It is well when their malice vents itself in nothing harsher than ill words. The early saints before the flood probably were called, “ Men of Jehovah,” or, The Lord’s people: just as “ the disciples of Christ were called Christians first at Antioch.” Names more. honourable than these there cannot be: yet it is not unlikely that these titles were uttered with profane contempt by the enemies of God and of his saints. Things, names and persons the most precious and dignified^ are the chosen jest of the scorner!

Thus from the very beginning Adam would behold in his own family two parties — the pious, and the profane. Scripture leaves us in almost total darkness, as to whether our first parents themselves truly repented and returned to God. Yet, from the continuance of piety in one line of Adam’s descendants, and from the devout language adopted by Eve, we may admit at least a general impression, that both of them experimentally tasted the blessings of Redemption. If so, how painful must it have been to them to witness the increasing wickedness of mankind 1 After the birth of Seth, Adam lived eight centuries. Surely he must have frequently sighed out, “ I would not live alway!”

Surely he must have welcomed death, in the hope of obtaining that new Paradise above, fi’om which glorified saints shall never fall. His own and his family-history, however, is briefly summed up in the words — “ And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, AND HE DIED.” (Gcncsis 5:4, 5.)

[Jowett-Scripture Characters]