Genesis 4:11
How terrible this question to the murderer! He thought, perhaps, his act was hidden, and strove to put it out of mind. Perhaps did not anticipate effect of his stroke; but now brought face to face with his sin. "Where is Abel?" He knew not. He knew where the body lay; but that was not Abel. Had sent him whence he could not call him back. "Where is thy brother?" is God's word to each of us. It expresses the great law that we are responsible for each other's welfare. "Am I my brother's keeper?" some would ask. Assuredly yes. God has knit men together so that all our life through we require each other's help; and we cannot avoid influencing each other. And has created a bond of brotherhood (cf. Acts 17:26), which follows from our calling him "Father." What doing for good of mankind? Not to do good is to do harm; not to save is to kill. Love of Christ works (Romans 10:1; 2 Corinthians 5:14).

I. WE ARE CALLED TO CARE FOR THOSE AFAR OFF. "Who is my neighbor?" We might answer, Who is not thy neighbor? Everywhere our brethren. Thousands passing away daily. Abel, a vapor, the character of human life (Psalm 103:15). Whither are they going? And we know the way of salvation. Light is given to no one for himself only (Matthew 5:13, 14). We are to hold it forth; to be as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15). It is God's will thus to spread his kingdom. Are we answering the call? Test yourselves (cf. 1 John 3:17). Deliver us from blood-guiltiness, O God. Thank God, the question speaks to us of living men. There are fields still to be reaped. The heathen, our brethren, claim a brother's help. How many varieties of Cain's answer: - You cannot reclaim savages; you just make them hypocrites; we must look at home first. And the lost masses at home are our brethren. Oh, it is in vain to help them; they will drink; they hate religion; they only think what they can get from those who visit them. Test these objections. Single out in thought one soul; compare his case with yours. You have instruction, ordinances, influences; and he the darkness of heathenism, or surroundings of vice. Yet Christ died for that soul. Can you let it depart without some effort, or even earnest prayer?

II. WE ARE CALLED TO CARE FOR THOSE AROUND US. For their sake, watchfulness and self-restraint (cf. Romans 14:15). We teach more by what we do than by what we say. The loving life teaches love; the selfish, ungodliness. Inconsistencies of Christians hinder Christ's cause. What art thou at home? Is thy life pointing heavenward? "None of us liveth to himself." "Where is thy brother?" - M.







A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be.
"Cursed art THOU." Fearful words, coming straight from the lips of God into the very ear of man, standing in the presence of God. No lightning bursting on him from the clouds could be half so terrible. The blessing is revoked, and the curse goes forth. It is a curse because of innocent blood, as if foreshowing the curses which the shedding of innocent blood was yet to bring upon men. This curse is represented as coming up from the ground, as if the ground which had been moistened with the blood were to be the instrument of inflicting the curse. In Ezekiel we read of the "mountains devouring men" (Ezekiel 36:12-14), and elsewhere of the land "spewing out" (Leviticus 18:28; Leviticus 20:22); so here the very ground is impregnated with evil to Cain, and sends up its curses on him. The soil is to cast him off; the earth is to loathe him! inanimate nature, more tender-hearted than he (inasmuch as it drank in the blood), is to set its face against him. It had received the innocent blood into its bosom, and it was to send up unceasingly on the murderer an endless curse.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Such are the fruits of envy. Burden upon burden, stroke upon stroke, sorrow upon sorrow! From above, from beneath, and from around, the torment, and the terror, and the bitterness pour in. There is no peace to the wicked, no rest, no settlement. How sin uproots and unsettles, making a man to flee hither and thither, in order to get away from himself! How vain! O SIN, sin! what horrid things are all wrapt up even in its smallest indulgence! An unkind thought, a harsh word, an envious feeling, — then sullenness, anger, murder — a brother's murder! How little do we know sin, or reckon on its results, or calculate the fruits that come from its womb!

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

I. THAT IT RENDERS A MAN SUBJECT TO THE SOLEMN AND CONVINCING ENQUIRIES OF GOD.

II. THAT IT SENDS A MAN ON THROUGH LIFE WITH THE MOST TERRIBLE MEMORIES OF WRONG-DOING WITHIN HIS SOUL.

III. THAT IT OFTEN RUINS THE TEMPORAL PROSPERITY OF A MAN.

1. It destroys reputation.

2. Wastes earnings.

3. Enfeebles agencies.

IV. THAT IT COMMITS A MAN TO A WANDERING AND RESTLESS LIFE.

V. THAT IT CRUSHES MAN WITH A HEAVY BURDEN AND ALMOST RENDERS HIM DESPAIRING. Lessons —

1. That sin is the greatest curse of human life.

2. That God is the avenger of the good.

3. That the sinner is the greatest sufferer in the end.

4. That good men go from their worship into heaven.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

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