Children of his grace
‘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.’ Genesis 4:3–5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Genesis 4:1–7
From the Fall of man, the Scripture proceeds to an exemplification of the effects of sin, the manifestation of grace, and the opposition foretold between the seed of the serpent and those who by faith belonged to him who was revealed as the hope of sinners, by the name of the seed of the woman. These are the chief points insisted on through the whole Bible. The first remarkable instance in which they are confirmed is the history of Cain and Abel. It seems that Eve had great joy in the birth of Cain, nay some from the manner of her expression think that she supposed Cain was the promised Messiah. If so, she was greatly disappointed. Parents usually receive children with joy—but if God has given you children, pray that they may be the children of his grace; if not, rejoice with trembling. If the Lord is not honoured by them, you will have small comfort in them. You know not what they may come to. And this should be a quieting thought when the Lord has taken away children while young. We are informed that Cain was a wicked man, yet he was not without a form of religion. Cain himself would probably pass for a saint if he were alive now, in comparison with many who are not only destitute of the life and power of godliness, but despise and renounce the very appearance of it. But his religion was vain—the Lord had respect to Abel and his offering and not to Cain’s.
FOR MEDITATION: Give my love to all your children, particularly to the little stranger [baby ‘John Newton’ Coffin]. I am duly sensible of the honour you have done me in incorporating my name with your own. May the name of Newton be to him as a lighthouse upon a hill as he grows up, to warn him against the evils I ran upon in my youth, and on which (without a miracle of mercy) I should have suffered a fatal shipwreck.
John Newton to James Coffin, 29 September 1792
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 11 [1/4], GENESIS 4:3–5