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is greater than I can bear. 14. Behold, Thou drivest me out this day from the land; and from Thy face must I hide myself; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on a toilsome existence; he apprehends the the early death of Abel was no curse, so revenge of th
to whom the memory of was the long life of Cain no blessing. his innocent brother is dearer than his He was permitted to protract an existence, own disgraceful existence; he clings to veiled by the gloom of the past, and unlife with all the tenacity of a worldling; cheered by any hope of the future. No and, in utter despondency, he cries: “my earthly boon, not even long life, the punishment is too great to be borne.” greatest of all, is, in itself, either a pledge God relented, therefore, from the rigor of of happiness, or a mark of the Divine the avenging of blood, gave him a sign, favour. The great questions which are which assured him that nobody should discussed in the book of Job are, in their attack his life, and threatened a severe deepest essence, practically embodied in punishment against those who would lay the history of the first brothers. Jehovah hand on Cain. We may ask, with some does not, like the Persian Ormuzd, guadegree of surprise, why God granted this rantee all temporal blessings also; these uncommon indulgence to a murderer, who are shadows without substance; they are, had insidiously killed his own brother? in a great measure, left to the prudence Did not God Himself give the distinct and personal exertion of man. It was precept: “He who sheddeth man's blood, impossible, that, among the Hebrews, the by man shall his blood be shed”? Why priests could obtain that power which, was it necessary to take such anxious for instance, the Lamaic faith permits precautions to save a life forfeited accord. them, not only of deciding the spiritual ing to human and Divine rights? We welfare of the people, but of distributing hesitate to speak with decision where the goods of this world. The external the text is entirely silent. But we may prosperity of man is not, as among the venture the supposition, that if Cain's Hindoos, considered as the reward of the blood was to be “shed by man," it would virtue displayed in some fancied previous also have been by the hand of a brother, state of existence; nor are his sufferings for no other men existed; the firstborn of deemed the punishments for crimes Adam's strength, and the pride of bis there performed; the rich and happy are mother, would have perished by a cold regarded without envy, and the poor and law of retaliation; the avenging of the wretched without contempt; pride is crime would, in the result, have been as excluded in the one, and self-respect is horrible as the crime itself; and the upheld in the other. This earth is the human family, just called into being, sphere of action allotted to man; but the would have perpetrated self-destruction designs of God reach beyond the limits in its first generations. It was thus of time into the abyss of eternity. necessary that God should Himself exer. The chief punishment of Cain was his cise the duty of punishment, and dis- expulsion from the land of his birth; if pense a chastisement commensurate with the words of God (vers. 10–12) left any the unnatural and fatal offence. A long, doubt in this respect, it would be removed laborious life in exile, with the fear of by the unequivocal reply of Cain, who sanguinary retribution perpetually im- lays a powerful stress upon the roaming pending, was deemed equivalent to death; and outcast life to which he is condemnand the lamentations of Cain, when he ed; and if any other thought occupied heard the verdict of his flight, prove the him besides, it was the fear with which bitterness of his pangs. And this is the the enormity of his crime overwhelmed other side of a profound Biblical idea him, or the just apprehensions inspired by which we have above pointed out. As the consciousness of a moral order ruling
the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15. And the Lord said to him, Therefore, whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance the affairs of the world, and swaying as the countenance upon him," because He could nemesis of iniquity; a consciousness in- not smile with delight upon the merciless extinguishable even in the breast of the sinner. This is the true sense of the most degenerate criminal. But with no words, “ from Thy face shall I hide inyword did he allude to the sterility of the self”; they do not imply the almost soil which he would have to cultivate in heathen idea, that the presence of God is his new abodes. Not the earth, in general, bound to a certain spot, which He has will cease to give to Cain its strength, but chosen for His residence, or the sphere of only that part of it which “had opened His activity; that He remained in the its mouth to receive the blood of his abode of Adam and his wife, but was not brother”; the regions “in the east of the in the land of Cain's exile. It would, inEden,” to which he was banished, are by deed, be a superfluous task to prove that no means remarkable for barrenness; the the doctrine of the omnipresence of God eastern part of Asia contains, on the con- is one of the great fundamental Biblical trary, some of the most blooming and truths ; such phrases as, “ he fed before most fertile tracts of the habitable globe. God” (Jon. i. 3, 10), express This circumstance is of great importance ly the desperate intention of escaping in the just estimation of the punishment the decree, or avoiding a commission, of decreed against Cain. He suffered, in God; and the concluding words of our reality, nothing but the curse of Adam, passage: “Cain went out from the prethough in a more intense degree. He was, sence of the Lord,” are strictly parallel like him, expelled from the dwelling-place with the passage in Job: “And Satan of his earlier years, and he became, like went out from the presence of God” (i. him, from that day liable to death; for 12; ii. 7); they signify that Cain's interthe father became mortal by his dis- view with God was finished; and that he obedience; and the son lived after his prepared himself to emigrate from the crime in constant fear of the avenger of abode of his youth. It is more than surblood. Thus the curse of Cain contains prising, it is almost incredible, that many no new element; the anger of God had modern critics ascribe to God that narrow exhausted itself in the punishment of the limitation of His presence; it is nothing first parents; but the endless variety of less than a total destruction of Biblical crimes is attended by tortures of con- theology to enclose God, the Ruler of the science of endless degrees and forms. universe, whom the heaven and the heaven The soil, and the occupations of agricul- of heavens do not contain, in a circumture, were already so heavily laden with scribed place, which He changes whenever the Divine malediction, that they were His favoured people change their abodes. scarcely capable of a severer execration. The heathens invented different deities Cain continued, but did not then com- for the different elements. These modern mence the struggle with the hardships notions would degrade the God of the and difficulties of the earth. This toil Bible to a local deity, without even the forms, therefore, no part in the despon- dignity of a permanent attribute! dency of his complaint.
God gave a sign to Cain, continues our The estrangement of Cain's heart from text, lest he should be killed by any one God was the cause of his exile; he had who found him. We do not know, nor is thereby forfeited His benevolence and it important to enquire, in what that sign His grace; he was obliged “ to hide himself consisted. But it is evident, that it was before His face”; guilt produced shame; necessarily of a permanent character, God would not any longer “lift up His visible not only momentarily to Cain
shall be taken for him sevenfold. And the Lord gave a sign to Cain, lest any one finding him should kill him.-16. And Cain went from the presence of the alone, but during his life-time to all other of his baseness, and as an indisputable men; for, thus only would it have the mark of his identity. We may, therefore, effect of preventing his assassination by find, in this part of our narrative, the ima future avenger of blood. An evanescent portant practical and philosophical truth, sign or miracle was not sufficient; this that the traces of crime are indelibly viwould, on the one hand, have afforded to sible in the person of the criminal; the Cain no material safety; and might, on “human form divine” is degraded and the other hand, furnish to other murder- corrupted by vice; it loses that sublime ers a welcome opportunity of cunningly dignity with which a pure and noble soul evading the punishment merited at human never fails to impress it; the shy look, the hands. Such transitory signs were appro- uncertain step, the sinister reserve, the priately given where merely belief in some lurking passion, these and many other future or unexpected event was to be en- symptoms of the highest interest for the forced. Moses was assured of his future physiognomist, mark the outcast of society, success before Pharaoh by the miracles of and make the man conspicuous upon the rod and the leprous hand. Hezekiah whose conscience weighs the burden of an was convinced of his deliverance from the
enormous misdeed. enemy by the retrogressive movement of Cain settled “in the land of Nod, in the sun-dial; and sometimes even the the east of Eden.” It is evident, that promise of a future sign sufficed for the name Nod expresses the nature and an event which was to occur in a still character of the locality; it signifies flight later period. But, in our case, not or exile; and the same root means somemerely belief, and a sense of security times, grief and mourning. Nod is, thereon the part of Cain, were the end of the fore, the land of misery and cxile. But, Divine sign; this was but one of the pur- although this appellative signification of poses which it was to serve; another as Nod is clear, it is not less certain, that the important object was, to enable his fellow- historian intended to describe therehy a men to know and to avoid him. God might, distinct country; he designates its position indeed, have protected him in some super- in the east of Eden; and he mentions a natural manner; but this He did not do; town which Cain built in that land of He left the possibility of his becoming the flight. Nod is, therefore, as little as Eden victim of human revenge; and this is evi- itself, a mere abstraction, or a fictitious dent from the menace which God added: name, invented for the embodiment of a “Whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall myth. But, as it is only described by its relabe taken for him (Cain) sevenfold”: if tive position to Eden, its situation is, natuthe sign was not unmistakeably visible to ! rally, as disputed as that of Paradise itself. all, Cain was neither sufficiently shielded, "It has been placed in Susiana, Lydia, and nor could so severe a punishment have Arabia, in Nysa and China ; in the been pronounced against him who might mountains of the Caucasus and the kill him. Whether, then, the author believe vast steppes in the east of Cashmere; in ed, that such a sign was attached to Cain's Tartary, in Parthia, or any part of India. person, is not certain; but it is not im- However, it appears that the whole exprobable. Marks of ignominy for degrad- tent of Asia eastward of Eden, was coming conduct were common among the prised under the name of Nod; Cain was eastern nations; and the Hebrew servant expelled to the east of Paradise, where who diedained the supreme boon of liberty the Cherubim with their flaming swords after six years of bondage, suffered pub- for ever prevented the acccss; we are, lic perforation of his ears, both as a sign thus, expressly reminded, that the murLord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, in the east of Eden. 17. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of derer, who with one audacious step as- sister, since Adam and Eve are reprecended the whole climax of crime, was sented as the only primitive human pair. removed far from the seat of blessedness Such alliances were, even in much later and innocence; and it is natural, that his times, and among very civilised nations, numerous descendants spread further and not considered incestuouş; the Athenian further in the same eastern direction, till law made it compulsory to marry the they were believed to occupy the whole sister, if she had not found a husband at vast territory beyond the Indus, which, as a certain age; Abraham married his halfwe have shown, is the most eastern river sister, Sarah; and the legislator Moses mentioned in the description of Paradise. himself was the offspring of a matrimony Nor do we believe this opinion to be de- which he later interdicted as unholy void of a fruitful idea. The intercourse (Exod. ii. 1, vi. 20). The great and imand commerce of the Israelites seldom portant principle of the unity of the extended beyond the Tigris, and scarcely human race was to be proclaimed and ever beyond the Indus. The nations, there- enforced; one couple were, therefore, made fore, which lived to the east of this river, the progenitors of the whole human famiwere of no historical or social interest to ly; all other considerations were deemed the Hebrews. They were excluded from of minor importance compared with that every contact with the people of God. It momentous doctrine which twines a tie is, therefore, natural, that they should have of brotherhood around all nations and all been considered less favoured; that their ages; a plurality of first couples would agricultural pursuits, far from the great have prevented marriages which were and exciting political life of the west, later justly regarded with abomination, should be regarded as the effect of Divine but it would have destroyed a fundadispleasure; the “ land of exile” embracing mental truth, which is the germ of noble all those tribes which were unconnected, by social virtues, and which sheds brilliant any internal or external link, with the rays of hope over the confusion of nachosen people, lay, as it were, under the tional strife and warfare. curse of banishment, far from the selected Cain became the father of a son; he land of Divine glory. Thus, the repeated called him Enoch. This name cannot lamentations of Cain, regarding his flight, be without meaning, for Cain soon receive new vigour and emphasis.
afterwards built a town, which he callFrom the “ garden of delight,” a part ed Enoch after his son. The Hebrew of the young human family was removed root to which it belongs has two prininto the “ land of Aight" within one sin- cipal significations: to teach, and to gle generation; the fall by disobedience consecrate. The name of Cain's son was too soon followed by degeneracy and seems to point to the former, that of violence; the newly acquired gift of know- the town to the latter meaning. Cain ledge led, in its first exercise, to error and had felt the curse of impiousness; he to crime; reason, too weak to rule, was could not master his vices or his passions; overpowered by passion; the spiritual although he struggled against them, he part succumbed, and the earthly elements fell and succumbed; he began the resistobtained a fatal ascendancy.
ance when the enemy in his heart had 17. Cain was soon domiciled in the gained too much power; even the solemn land of Nod, for his vocation as husband- warning of God, that he ought manfully man forced him to seek settled abodes; to oppose his evil disposition, was of no he had taken his wife with him from the avail. He wished that his son, at least, paternal house; she was evidently his should reap the benefit of his own mourn
the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.-18. And to Enoch was boru Trad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. ful experience; he intended to instruct more strongly still tied to it; he fixes him from his early years in the duties of there his permanent abode, and considers virtue, and he called him by a name its loss a curse of God. Thus, even in which involuntarily reminds of the the “land of fight,” the agriculturist maxim: “Train a child in the way he Cain was compelled to build houses and should go; even when he is old, he will to form a city. Many inventions of menot depart from it.” And when he later chanical skill are inseparable from the built the first city, and called it "
building of towns; ingenuity was aroused cration," he meant to intimate that the and exercised; and whilst engaged in firstling of his social prosperity belongs to satisfying the moral desire of sociability, God, for he had learnt to appreciate the man brought many of his intellectual value of His bless ng; and, at the same powers into efficient operation. Necessity time, he perpetuated the name of his son, suggested, and perseverance executed, in whom all his hope and all his joy were inventions which safety or comfort recentred.
quired; and when man left the caverns X. It was a very decided step towards which nature had beneficently provided civilisation, when the idea of building a for his dwelling-places, to inhabit the city was first conceived and realised. The houses which his own hands had built, roaming life of the homeless savage was he entered them with that legitimate pride abandoned; social ties were formed; which the consciousness of superior skill families joined families, and exchanged begets, and with the consoling conviction, in friendly intercourse their experience that although God had doomed him, on and observations; communities arose, and account of his own and his ancestors' sins, submitted to the rule of self-imposed to a life full of fatigue and struggles, He laws; the individuals resigned the un- had graciously furnished him with a spark checked liberty of the beasts of the of that heavenly fire which strengthens forest, and felt the delight of being
him to endure and to conquer. subservient links in the universal chain. Greek mythology also attributes to the Social and personal excellence depend agricultural tribes the first building of on, and strengthen each other. There- houses and cities. Ceres, aided by all fore, when the first communities were the gods and goddesses, erected the walls organised, the way to a steady and con- and finished the roofs; she herself taught tinuous progress was paved, and the first the first citizens the rudiments of a social beams of dawning humanity tremblcd legislation, and united solemnly a young over the night of barbarism and ferocity. couple in the sacred bond of matrimony. It is a deep trait in the Biblical account In the Hebrew records, this progress is to ascribe the origin of cities to none but both more moral and more rapid. The the agriculturist. Unlike the nomad, first parents already formed a united who changes his temporary tents when- household; the example of a social life ever the state of the pasture requires it, under the authority of a chief was given; the husbandman is bound to the glebe and in the next generation a man of enerwhich he cultivates; the soil to which he gy and influence might already establish devotes his strength and his anxieties himself as the head of a well-regulated becomes dear to him; that part of the community. earth to which he owes his sustenance We have above attempted to explain assumes a character of holiness in his the meaning of the name of the town eyes; and if, besides, pledges of conjugal Enoch. But to define its position is an love have grown up in that spot, he is impossibility. It lies “in the land of