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4. These words regard doing well, za a moral, but in a ceremonial eme and Abel were very early taught E fity, manner, and ufe of facrifices, and a. procefs of time, they brought their ings to the Lord, each according to his ferent calling and employment: The one brought of the fruit of the ground, the other of the firstlings of his flock. Now to Abel and his offering, the Lord had refpect, i. e. he accepted him and his offering, but to Cain and his offering he had no refpect, which made Cain very wrath, and his countenance fell; upon which the Lord expor stulates with him after this matter, Win art thou wrath? and why is thy countenance Inlen? if thou dat well, lay your or if thou bad sfered righth, as the Deviant render the word; vuc tay, 21 proper literal tranlar of tors
able enough to ter
be accepted? Cum kita teri
Abel offers & Wrens
right end; and therefore his works, whatever fhew of righteoufnefs they might have, are, by the apostle John, rightly called Evil; as are alfo all the works of wicked and unregenerate men. I proceed,
H. To confider whether man's acceptance with God, is on the account of his good works.
1. There is a difference between the acceptance of mens works, and of their perfons for them: There are many actions done by men, which are acceptable and well pleafing to God, when they themselves are not accepted by him, on the account of them. Befides, no man's works are accepted by him whofe perfon is not previously accepted; God first had respect to the perfon of Abel, and then to his offering. Which fhews that his perfon was not accept`ed for the fake of his offering.
The best works of the faints are imperfect, and attended with fin, and are only acceptable to God through Jefus Chrift, in whom, and in whom only, who is the beloved, their perfons are accepted and well pleafing to God. No man can be juftified or faved by his works, and therefore no man can be accepted with God on that account; which is the current doctrine of the facred writings: This will help us to under1 John iii. 12. ftand
fo; but inasmuch as thou haft finned and done evil, and which is to be seen in thy fallen countenance; fin lies at the door of thy confcience, which, when once opened, it will enter in, and make dreadful work; as it did a little after; which made him fay, My punishment is greater than I can bear. But admitting that the word fignifies acceptance, and be render'd, fhall there not be an acceptance? it is to be understood, not of an acceptance of his perfon, but of his sacrifices and fervices.
III. It remains to be confider'd, whether Cain had a day of grace, in which it was poffible for him to be accepted with God.
1. There is no acceptance of any man's perfon, but as he is confidered in Chrift the Mediator. Now as there is no reason to believe that ever Cain, who was of the wicked one, the Devil, was ever in Chrift, or ever confider'd in him, fo there is no reason to conclude, that he either was, or that it was poffible for him to be accepted with God.
2. The text does not fpeak of his doing well in a moral or fpiritual, but in a ceremonial way, and not at all of the acceptance of his perfon, on the foot of fo doing, but at moft, only of the acceptance of his facrifice and ceremonious fervices, fuppofing them rightly performed.
So fays Barclay in his Apology, p. 154.
I wi be neceffar, in order 1: underfrand the fenfe of this text. to enquire,
1. Who is meant by the Spirit of God; and whether the Holy Ghoft, the third perfon in the Trinity, is defign'd or not?
1. Some of the Jewish writers' think, that the foul of man is intended; which is called not only the fpirit of man, but also the Spirit of God; as in those words of
f R. Levi Ben Gerfor, R. Acen Ezr, in loc.