NO. 1929


                                    DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,




“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 shall

be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” — Genesis 4:6, 7.


SINNERS are not all of the laughing sort: Cain’s mind was angry, and his

heart was heavy. The short life of the vicious is not always a merry one.

See, here you have a man who is utterly without God, but he is not without

sorrow. His countenance has fallen: his looks are sullen: he is a miserable

man. There are many ungodly people still in the world who are not happy

in the condition in which they find themselves. The present does not

content them, and they have no future from which to borrow the light of

hope. The service of sin is hard to them, and yet they do not quit it for the

service of the Lord. They are in danger of having two hells — one in this

life, and another in the world to come.


They have a religion of their own, even as Cain brought an offering of the

fruit of the ground; but it yields them no comfort, for God has no respect

to their offering, and therefore they are displeased about it. The things of

God bring an increase to their inward wretchedness: it was after a sacrifice

that Cain’s countenance fell. Many unrenewed hearts quarrel with God at

his own altar: quarrel by presenting what he never commanded, and then

by growing wroth because he rejects their will-worship. They attend the

means of grace, but they are not saved nor comforted, and they do not like

it. They pray, after a fashion, and they are not heard, and they feel

indignant at the slight. They read the Scriptures, but no cheering promise is

ever applied to their hearts, and they grow fierce at their failure. They see

another accepted, as Abel was, and this excites their jealousy, and envy

gnaws at their heart. They are wroth with God, with their fellow man, and

with everything about them; their countenance falls, and they are in a

morose mood, which fits them for any cruel word or deed. Can you not see

their sullen looks?


They would like to have the enjoyments of religion very much, they would

like to have peace of conscience, they would like to be uplifted beyond all

fear of death, they would like to be as happy as Christian people are; but

they do not want to pay the price, namely, obedience to God by faith in

Jesus Christ. They would willingly bring an offering to God according to

their own choice and taste, but they do not care to come with “the lamb”

as their sacrifice: they cannot accept the atonement made by our Lord’s

laying down his life for us. They wish to have the reward of obedient faith

while yet they have their own way. They would reap the harvest without

sowing the seed. They would gather clusters without planting vines. They

would win the wages without serving, the Master of the vineyard. But as

this cannot be, and never will be, they are full of bitter feeling. Since sin

and sorrow are sure to be, sooner or later, married together, and since only

by walking in the ways of God can we hope to find peace and rest, they

quarrel with the divine arrangement, grow inwardly miserable, and show it

by their sullen looks and growling words.


They are in a bitter state of heart, and it is fair to ask each one of them,

“Why art thou wroth?” Alas! they are not angry with themselves, as they

ought to be, but angry with God; and often they are angry with God’s

chosen, and envious of them, even as Cain was malicious and vindictive

towards Abel. “Why should my neighbor be saved, and not I? Why should

my brother rejoice because he has peace with God, while I cannot get it?

Why should my own sister be converted and sing of heaven, and I, who

have gone to the same place of worship, and have joined in the same

prayers and hymns, seem to be left out in the cold?” Such questions might

be useful to them; but instead of looking into their own hearts to see what

is wrong there, instead of judging themselves and trying to get right with

God, they inwardly blame the Lord, or the persons whom they think to be

more favored than themselves. The blessings of grace are to be had by

them; but they refuse to take them, and yet quarrel with those who accept

them. They play the part of the dog in the manger, who could not eat the

hay himself; and would not let the horses do so. They will not accept

Christ, and yet grumble because others have him.


It is one of the sure signs of the seed of the serpent — that they will always

be at enmity with the seed of the woman. This is one of the marks of

distinction between those who walk after the flesh and those who walk

after the spirit; for as Ishmael mocked Isaac, so the child of the flesh mocks

the child of promise even to this day. So soon as the two sons born to

Adam were grown up, the great division was seen: he who was of the

wicked one slew the man who by faith offered a more acceptable sacrifice.

This division has never ceased, and never will cease, while the race of man

remains on earth under the reign of God’s long-suffering. By this shall ye

know to which seed ye belong; whether ye are of those who hate the

righteous, or of those who are hated for Christ’s sake.


Now, I want to call attention to a very gracious fact connected with this

text; and that is, that, although Cain was in such a bad temper that he was

very wroth, and his countenance fell, yet God, the infinitely gracious One,

came and spoke with him, and reasoned with him patiently. It is wonderful

that God should speak with man at all, considering man’s insignificance.

Did not the Psalmist say, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy

fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man,

that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

But for the Lord to speak with sinful man is a far greater marvel; and for

him to reason with such a man as Cain, a murderer in heart, and soon to be

a murderer in deed, impenitent, implacable, presumptuous, blasphemous;

this is a miracle of mercy! Shall the pure and holy God speak with such a

wretch as Cain, who was angry with his brother without just cause? Why

does he not at once cut him off while yet his hate has not issued in murder,

and thus at the very beginning show his detestation of envy and malice?

Truly his mercy endureth for ever. Behold, the Lord comes to Cain with a

question, gives him an opportunity of speaking for himself, and defending,

if he can, his state of mind. “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.”


Yet this is no solitary instance of the condescension of God: it is the way of

our God to expostulate with sinners, and to let them produce their strong

reasons, and justify themselves it they can. It is his fashion to say, “Turn

ye: turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel?” for he willeth not the death

of any, but that they should turn unto him and live. He is greatly patient

and waiteth to be gracious. God gives none up until they fatally resolve to

give themselves up, and even then his good Spirit strives with them as long

as it is possible to do so, consistently with his holiness.


Often to the very gates of death, and up to the very edge of the bottomless

pit, his pity follows obstinate sinners, crying still, “Turn ye! Turn ye! Turn

ye! Why will ye die?” Ay, the angry sinner — the Cain-ite sinner — the

sinner whose face betrays the anger of his soul, whose heart is hot with

enmity against God and against his Christ, even he is not left to die without

divine pleadings which may show him his fault and folly. Still does the

Lord handle conscience with skill, and arouse thought with fit enquiries:

“Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?”


I pray God that he may speak to any among my congregation who may be

in this sad and evil condition. I have felt lately that I may have but few

more opportunities of preaching the gospel, and therefore I would try and

speak more solemnly every time I preach, and endeavor to strike right

home at the heart and conscience, if by any means I may save some. Oh

how I long to bring men to Jesus! I could gladly lay down my life to save

my hearers. May the Holy Spirit make my words to be full of force and

holy fire; and may they meet the case of some here present whom I have

never seen before, but whose thoughts are as well known to God as if they

were printed in a book and laid open before his eyes! Oh that I may be

moved to speak a word which shall fit the case as a glove fits the hand

which wears it! May it not merely be the voice of man that speaks to you;

but may it be clear that God has commissioned his servant to speak to your

hearts, and that by my sermon God himself expostulates with you even as

he expostulated with Cain in those ancient times!


Recollect that the case is that of a man who is angry, angry mainly because

he cannot get the comforts of religion. He sees his brother enjoying them,

and he grows wroth with him for that reason. With him, and all like him, I

would reason with kind words.


I. I shall take the last sentence of the text first: “Unto thee shall be his

desire, and thou shall rule over him.” In these words God argues with Cain,

and answers the charge of favoritism which was lurking in his mind. He



that he says to him, “Unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over

him” — which I understand to mean just this: “Why are you so angry

against Abel? It is true that I have accepted his offering: it is true that he is

a righteous man, and you are not; but, for all that, you are his elder

brother, and he looks up to you, his desire is toward you, and you shall rule

over him. He has not acted otherwise than as a younger brother should act

towards an elder brother, but he has admitted your seniority and priority.

He has not revolted from you: you rule over him: you are his master. Why,

then, are you so angry?” Observe this, then — that if a man shall be angry

with his wife because she is a Christian, we may well argue with him —

Why are you thus provoked? Is she not a loving and obedient wife to you

in all things, except in this matter touching her God? Is she not all the

better for her religion? I have known a husband meet his wife at the

Tabernacle door and call her foul names all the way home for no other

reason than because she joined in the worship of God. Yet she was all the

more loving, diligent, and patient because of that worship. Here is your

child converted, and you are angry. Are you not unreasonable in this? You

are his father, and he yields obedience to you. God has not caused religion

to alter the natural position of things: your child, your servant, your wife,

all recognize this, and remain in due subservience to you. For what cause

are you thus sullen and wroth? Good sir, this is not like a reasonable man.

Be persuaded to let better feelings sway you.


Now, this is an important thing to note, because first of all it takes away

from governments their excuse for persecution. In the early days of

Christianity, multitudes of Christians were tormented to death because of

their faith in Jesus. There was no excuse for it, for they had done no harm

to the State. Christianity does not come into a nation to break up its

arrangements, or to break down its fabric. All that is good in human

society it preserves and establishes. It snaps no ties of the family; it

dislocates no bonds of the body politic. There are theories of socialism and

the like which lead to anarchy and riot; but it is not so with the mild and

gentle teaching of Jesus Christ, whose every word is love and patience. He

says, “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek,

turn to him the other also.” His apostle says — “Wives, submit yourselves

unto your own husbands: husbands, love your wives; children, obey your

parents in all things: servants, obey in all things your masters, not with

eyeservice as menpleasers: masters, give unto your servants that which is

just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Such

precepts as these are no injury to government. Paul was no leader of

sedition, no destroyer of the rights of property. Caesar needed not to fear

Christ. Jesus did not covet Caesar’s purple or Caesar’s throne. Even Herod

needed not to tremble for his princedom, for the child that was born at

Bethlehem would not have hunted that fox or disturbed his den. “My

kingdom is not of this world,” said our Lord Jesus, “else would my

servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.” Now, inasmuch

as the religion of Jesus Christ does no hurt to social order, teaches no one

to be rebellious, takes away from no man his rights, but guards the rights

of all from the meanest to the greatest, all excuse is taken away from any

government that dares to put out its hand to touch the church of God. As

to each disciple of Jesus, the government may be satisfied that he is loyal.

“Thou shalt rule over him” is certainly true. Christians will cheerfully

submit to all lawful rule and righteous authority. To them it is a matter of

joy if they are enabled to lead peaceable lives because the magistrate is a

terror to evildoers. They are a non-resistant, peaceable, quiet people, who

have from the beginning of the world until now borne burdens and suffered

and been content to suffer, so that they might but be true to their Master.

They hate tyranny, but they love order: they protest against oppression, but

they uphold law and justice. Why, then, should they be persecuted? They

ask nothing from the State by way of pay or patronage; they only ask to be

let alone, and to be subject to no disability on account of their religion. Let

all who are in authority, whether as kings or petty magistrates, beware of

wantonly molesting a people who cause them no trouble, lest they be found

in this matter to be fighting against God.


That being so in the broad field of national life, it is just the same if you

bring it down to the little sphere of home. There is no reason why Cain

should be so angry with Abel because God loves him; for the love of God

to Abel does not take away from Cain his right as an elder brother. It does

not teach Abel to refuse to Cain the rights of his position, nor lead him to

act rudely and wrongfully to him. No: Abel’s desire is unto Cain, and Cain

rules over him as his elder brother. Why, then, should Cain be wroth, and

his countenance fall? My dear friend, if you are angry to-night about the

sovereignty of the grace of God, as seen in the conversion of another, let

me ask you what hurt has the grace of God in the heart of the person you

envy done to you? Is your eye evil because God’s eye is good? Have you

suffered in any sense because that other one is saved? You cannot have

your way if you wish to coerce the envied one into giving up his faith: but

have you a right to your own way? Is it not the privilege of every man to

have his conscience left free to serve God alone? What right have you as an

Englishman to take away liberty from another? You say, “Why, I think him

very stupid to believe as he does.” Very likely you may think so; but then

your judgment is given you for yourself, not for another, and you must not

become a tyrant and domineer over others. I thought you were a stickler

for liberty? And yet you sneer at others because they think for themselves,

or at least do not think as you do! If religion made men false in their

dealings with others — if it made the servant careless and indifferent- — if

it made the husband a tyrant — if it made the wife a tattler and a slattern

if it turned all relationships upside-down — there would be some little

reasonableness in the opposition which you offer to it. But if it does

nothing of the kind, why are you wroth? and why is your countenance

fallen? Why, to me it seems to be a great blessing to a man to have his

friends converted — a blessing to be desired and prized. Their conversion

may do you good, even if you are not converted yourself. Laban learned by

experience that the Lord blessed him for Jacob’s sake. Look at Joseph. The

Lord was with him, and we find that wherever Joseph went others were the

better, because God blessed them through Joseph. A good man in a house

is good store to the family. A converted daughter, a praying son, a holy

husband, a gracious wife — why, these are the pillars, the ornaments, the

buttresses of the house. Godly people roof in the mansion with their

prayers. Who can tell what blessings God gives to unconverted men

because of their converted relatives? I do not doubt that, as sometimes the

chaff is spared for the sake of the grain which it covers and protects, so,

often, the lives of ungodly men are spared for the sake of the children

whom they have to bring up — for the sake of those who have to be

cherished by them for a while. Had it not been for the grief it would cause

the mother whom you mock, the Lord might have cut you down, young

man, long ago. Pity for holy relatives may be the motive for the Lord’s

longsuffering to many rebels. Wherefore be not wroth with the righteous.

I could hope, my angry friend, that God means to give a greater blessing

still to you — that he means to entice you to heaven by showing your wife

the way, or he means to lead you to Christ by that dear child of yours. I

have known parents brought to repentance by the deaths of daughters or of

sons who have died in the faith. I hope you will not have to lose those you

love that you may be brought to Jesus by their dying words. But it may be

so: it may be so. It will be better for you to yield to their gentle example

while yet they are spared to you, than for you to be smitten to the heart by

their sickness and death. Oh that the persecuted one may live to have the

great joy of going to the house of God with father, or walking with brother

in the ways of godliness, or bringing the thoughtless sister to seek and find

the Savior! Why should it not be so? Let us hope for it. At any rate, I do

not see any cause to be angry because grace has visited your family. To say

the very least about it, a man who is angry with another for enjoying a

religion which he himself does not care for is a poor specimen of good

nature. Surely he may allow others to enjoy what he does not himself

desire. If you do not wish for salvation, why worry yourself because others

possess it? If you do not mean to serve Christ, at least stand out of the

road and let other people serve him. There cannot be any gain to you in

kicking against the pricks, by resisting the power of divine grace. You will

find it hard work in the long run; for the Lord has said that if any shall

offend one of the least of his little ones, it were better for him that a

millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were cast into the midst

of the sea. For prudence sake, for your own sake, for reason’s sake, for

freedom’s sake, I pray you be no longer wroth, and let not your

countenance fall. If we cannot agree in matters of religion, let us not

persecute or think contemptuously one of another.


II. Now let us advance farther into the text. There is no room for being



shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the



First, then, if you are not accepted, and you are angry because you are not

accepted, is there not a just cause for it? If you do not enjoy the comforts

of religion, and you grow envious because you do not, you should cool

your wrathfulness by considering this question — “If thou doest well, shalt

thou not be accepted?” That is to say, will you not be accepted on the

same terms as Abel? You will be accepted in the same way as your brother,

your sister, your child. How is it that the one you envy is full of peace? It is

because he has come to Jesus and confessed his sin, and trusted his

Redeemer. If thou doest this, shalt not thou also be accepted? Has not the

Lord said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”? If you, too,

come and confess your sin, and trust the Savior, you are as certain to be

accepted as your friend. You are envious because another is full of joy.

Where did that joy come from but from this — that he came according to

the divine command, and rested himself upon the finished work of Christ,

and gave himself up to be Christ’s servant, and asked for the Holy Spirit to

renew him and lead him into the way of righteousness? That has been done

according to the faithful promise of God, which is sure to all who obey the

gospel command. If you come in the same way, and rest on the same

Savior, and yield yourself up to be renewed by the same Spirit, the Lord

will not refuse you. Put it to the test and see. Try him. Try him, and if he

does refuse you, let me know it; for I am telling everybody that Jesus never

casts out any that come to him, and I must not do so any more if I find out

that he does reject you or any one else. Come to Jesus confessing your sin

and trusting in him; and if he does not save you, let me know it, and I will

publish it to the four winds of heaven. We shall be bound to make it known

that Christ has broken his word, and that his gospel has become of none

effect; for we must on no account cry up a falsehood and lead our fellow

men to believe that which is not true. Try the Lord Jesus, I do beseech you;

and I know what the result will be. You shall find that the gate of mercy

stands wide open for you, and that you will be received as well as others.

There is no difference in this matter; whosoever calleth upon the name of

the Lord shall be saved, whosoever will may take of the water of life freely.

Now, is it not much wiser for a man, instead of being angry with another’s

enjoying the comforts of religion, to seek to enjoy them himself? Am I

hungry, and angry with another because he has eaten a good meal when the

same bread stands before me? Then I am foolish and cross-grained. Do I

see another refreshed at the fountain, and do I stand at the freely flowing

stream and complain? Do I bitterly demand why his lips are moistened

while my mouth is dried up like an oven? What is the use of being angry

with the neighbor who has quenched his thirst when the same fountain is

free to me? O murmuring friend, why do you not yourself believe? Stoop

and drink as your friend has done, and you shall be refreshed as he has



If thou doest well — that is, if thou art obedient to the precious word of

the gospel — shalt thou not be accepted? “No,” says one, “I am afraid that

I shall not be.” Who told you so? Your fear is without scriptural

foundation. “But perhaps my name is not written in the Book of Life.”

Who told you so? Who has climbed up to the secret chamber of God to

read the mystic roll? Who dares to tell you that your name is not there?

Who knows anything about the secret purposes of God? I venture to tell

you this — that if you believe in Jesus Christ, be you who you may, your

name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. “Him that cometh to me,” says

he, “I will in no wise cast out.” Any “him” that comes in all the world,

while time shall last, if he does but come to Christ, Christ has said that he

cannot and will not cast him out. Therefore, come, and you shall find grace

in his sight. Instead of being angry with another for believing and rejoicing,

taste for thyself the joys which faith secures. May infinite grace lead thee to

do so now!


God’s second word with Cain was, however, “If thou doest not well, sin

lieth at the door.” That is to say, “If religion does not yield thee joy as it

does thy brother, what is the reason? Surely sin stops the entrance, as a

stone blocking the doorway. If you cannot gain an entrance to mercy, it is

because sin, like a huge stone, has been rolled against it, and remains there.

If the way to God and salvation is, indeed, blocked up, it is only blocked

up by your own sin. The door is not locked by a divine decree, nor nailed

up by any necessity of circumstances, nor barred by any peculiarity of your

case. No, there is neither block, nor bar, nor lock except your sin. Your sin

lies at the door, and makes you a prisoner, where else you might be free as

air. I desire to press this point home upon any unconverted persons who

are somewhat anxious, but yet cannot get peace. A secret something is

keeping you from being accepted as Abel was accepted. I am sure it is sin

in one shape or another. May I entreat you to see what that sin is!

Is it unbelief? In most cases unbelief is the damning sin. You will not

believe God’s word. You reject the testimony of God concerning his Son

Jesus, and thus you put away from you eternal life. You say, “I cannot

believe.” But that will not do, for you know that God is true; and if God be

true how dare you say that you cannot believe him? If, when I stated

solemnly a fact, you told me, “I cannot believe you,” I should understand

you to mean that I am a liar. And when you say, “I cannot believe God,”

do you not know that the English of such an expression is this — you

make God a liar by refusing to believe on his Son? This unbelief is sin

enough — sin enough to destroy you for ever. What higher offense can

there be against any man, much more against God, than to accuse him of a

lie? But every person here who does not now believe in Jesus Christ is

guilty of the high profanity and infinite blasphemy of making the Almighty

God a liar. This is the huge stone which lieth at the door. May God help

you to roll it away, by saying, “I will believe; I must believe. God must be

true; the blood of his dear Son must be able to wash away sin. I will trust

in it now!”


Possibly, however, another form of the same stone of sin lies at your door

and keeps you back. Is it impenitence? Are you hardened about, your sin?

Do you refuse to quit it? Is there no sorrow in your heart to think that you

have broken the divine law, and have lived forgetful of your God? A hard

heart is a great stone to lie in a man’s way; for he who will not own his sin

and forsake it is wedded to his own destruction. May God soften your

heart, and help you at once to repent of sin!


Or, is it pride? Are you too big a man to become a Christian? Are you too

respectable, too wealthy, too polite? Are you too deep a thinker? Do you

know too much? You could not go and sit down with the humble people

who, like little children, believe what God tells them. No, no; you have too

much brain for that: have you? Now be honest, and own it. You read the

reviews, and you like a little dash of skepticism in your literature. You

could not possibly listen to Jesus when he says, “Except ye be converted,

and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of

heaven.” You do not care for such old-fashioned doctrine, for you are too

much of a philosopher. Well, I have heard of a Spanish monarch who

perished through etiquette: there was too much fire in the grate, and it was

not according to state for his majesty to put his chair back from the fire,

and so he became over-heated, and died in consequence. I would not care

to lose my soul to gratify my loftiness. Would you? One’s pride may carry

him far if he is a great fool; but let him not suffer his pride to carry him into

hell, for it certainly will never carry him out again.


Alas! there are some who have another sin, a hidden sin. I cannot mention

it: it is a shame even to speak of the things which are done of them in

secret. I have been frequently puzzled to know why certain persons cannot

attain peace. Do what we may with them they appear to have a tide of

disquiet for ever ebbing and flowing and casting up mire and dirt. They

have seemed to be in a fair way to salvation, and yet they have never

reached it: they have been one day near and the next far off. In one or two

instances I have not discovered the reason why the gospel never succeeded

with them, till they were dead. When they were gone the sad truth was

revealed which accounted for all their uneasiness; but I will not tell you

what it was. There was a secret which, if it had been known, would have

made their character abhorrent to those who in ignorance respected them.

Does any man here carry about with him a guilty secret? Does he persevere

in shameful acts which he labors to conceal? How can a man hope for

peace while he wars with the laws of morality? What rest can there be

while solemn vows are broken, and the purest of relationships are treated

with despite? Nay, while there is any uncleanness about a man, or about a

woman, there cannot be peace with God: such sins must be given up, or

there cannot be acceptance with the Most High. Would you for a moment

insinuate that the Lord Jesus died to allow you to sin and yet escape its



We have known persons practice dishonesty in business, and this has shut

them out from acceptance. Not that they actually pilfer, but they have ways

and means of calling things by wrong names, and taking fraudulent

advantage. Cheating is called “custom of trade,” and so on. I could not tell

why the Lord did not accept certain people when they appeared to be

seeking mercy. I understand it now. How can the Lord be gracious to one

who continues in dishonesty? Will he choose thieves to be his friends? If he

will take thieves and make them honest, and so they shall enter his

kingdom; but if we abide in transgression of any sort, when it is known to

us, we cannot expect to be accepted. My brethren, to be very plain with

you, an honest heart and an honest hand must be found in every man who

is to be justified at the last great day.


Some cannot get peace because they neglect prayer. They do not ask, or

seek or knock, and so they do not receive, they cannot find, and the door

of grace is not opened to them. Oh, how can you think that God accepts

you when you live day after day without prayer?


Not a few harbor enmity in their hearts towards their brother or neighbor.

O angry hearer, God cannot accept your sacrifice until you are at peace

with your brother. It cannot be. He might as well have pressed Cain to his

bosom as you, for he that hateth his brother abideth in death. “Ye know

that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Go home and be

reconciled. Go home, and forgive your fellow-servant; for if you do not so

forgive your little debts, the great Lord will not forgive you all your great

debt. Before you can hope to have peace with God, you must be at peace

with those who have offended you.


Then there are some who keep evil company. They like to come to the

Tabernacle, or to some other place where the gospel is preached, and they

hope that they may find Christ; but then they also like a lascivious song.

They relish those silly, coarse, loathsome ditties which have a touch of

smut” about them. These are disgraceful things, and yet certain people roll

them out as choice morsels. While that is the case, can a man hope that

God will accept him? No; it is of no use pretending anything of the kind.

You and your sins must part, or God and you cannot be friends. God will

accept us and receive us as penitent sinners, but not so long as we open the

back door for the devil, and enthrone him in our heart of hearts. If you are

not accepted, sin lieth at the door, and shuts you out of present rest and

peace, even as it will ultimately shut you out of heaven.


I think this word of divine expostulation bears another meaning. “If thou

doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” That is to say, not only as a stone to

block your way, but as a lion to pounce upon you. It is true that sin is

hindering you from peace, but it is also true that a greater sin is lurking at

the door ready to spring upon you. What a warning this word ought to

have been to Cain! If you are doing ill and God is not accepting you, and

that fact is making you angry, there is a worse sin lying like a couchant lion

ready to devour you. It was so with Cain. Perhaps at that moment he had

not seriously thought of killing his brother. He was angry, but he was not

yet implacable and malicious. But God said, “There is a sin lying at your

door that will come upon you to your destruction.” May it not be the same

with you, my hearer? What if I were to look steadily in the face of some

undecided person here to-night, and say, “Friend, art thou not accepted by

God, and art thou angry? A sin is lying at thy door which will be thy ruin.

Thou wilt go on from being a sinner to become a criminal.” Is Hazael here?

Shall I, like the prophet, look you in the face till my tears begin to flow at

the sight of you, and say, “I know what thou wilt do. Thou wilt be a terror

to all around thee.” You would probably answer me as Hazael did: “Is thy

servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?” Many a man would be

horrified to be told what yet will be the fact in his case. Dreadful to tell,

men that have been melted by a sermon have afterwards grown hard

enough to perpetrate crimes that have brought them before the bar of their

country. Almost converted, almost persuaded, it looked as if a vista opened

up before them leading to endless glory and happiness, but in one sad hour

they turned the other way. Like Felix, they waited for a more convenient

season, and their life was henceforth down, down, deeper and deeper and

deeper, till it ended in the lowest hell. Oh, my dear hearers, I am always

fearful about those who are so near salvation and yet are not decided.

Judas who can preach the gospel, Judas who is an apostle, Judas who can

say, “Lord, is it I?” — he is the man that at the last sells his Master: for

though an apostle in appearance he was in heart a traitor, and a son of

perdition. The raw material for a devil is an angel. The raw material for the

son of perdition was an apostle; and the raw material for the most horrible

of apostates is one who is almost a saint. I say no more than I mean, and

than history can prove. There have usually been splendid traits of character

about men who have been unfit to live. The question has been in their

minds, “Which shall have the mastery?” and for a while the result has

trembled in the balance; but when they have decided for evil it has been

decision with a vengeance. God gave Cain the clearest warning. He did as

good as say — “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

There is an opportunity for thee. If thou doest well shalt not thou, even

thou, O Cain, be accepted? And if thou doest ill, sin lieth at the door to

spring upon thee and drag thee down.” Oh that he had been capable of

taking the caution, and escaping the evil! Be thou warned, O man, to

whom these words shall come, lest thy last end be worse than the first.

But there is yet another meaning which I must bring out here, and that is

one which is held by many critics, though it is questioned by others. I am

content to go with a considerable following, especially of the old divines,

who say that the word here used may be rendered, “If thou doest ill, a sinoffering

lieth at the door.” And what a sweet meaning this gives us! God

graciously declares to angry Cain, “Thou canst bring a sin-offering, as Abel

has done, and all will be well. Thou canst present a bleeding sacrifice,

typical of the great atonement: a sin-offering lies at the door.” This should

be an encouraging assurance to any one who is anxious, and at the same

time greatly afraid that pardon is not possible. My dear friend, why needest

thou grow despondent because another enters heaven? A sin-offering lies

at thy door also. Thou canst have thy sin forgiven even as his has been

forgiven: come and try for thyself.


“Where can I find Christ?” says one. He standeth at the door: he waiteth

for thee. The offering is not far to seek. Thou hast not to climb to heaven

to bring him down. He has descended. Thou hast not to dive into the

depths to fetch him up. He has risen from the dead. “The word is nigh thee,

even in thy mouth.” So Paul says. What then? If you would have it for your

own, and know its virtue, receive it into your soul. “Alas!” cries one, “I am

dying; where is the elixir which will restore me?” In thy mouth. Swallow it.

You have not even to open the box to get out the pill. It is in thy mouth.

Receive it into your inward parts. Jesus crucified is freely presented to

thee. All the merit of his death is here at this moment. Accept it. It is yours.

A sin-offering lieth at the door; that is to say, the sufferings of Christ, the

atonement of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ, are available at this

moment. You may have all that Jesus has purchased — have it for

nothing, the free gift of God. Repenting of sin and believing in Jesus, you

have it all. Eternal salvation is yours if the Holy Spirit has made you willing

to have it. “He that believeth on him is not condemned.” Only trust him,

and the death of Christ is death for you, and the righteousness of Christ is

your righteousness. A sin-offering lieth at the door. God does, as it were,

say, “Bring it, I will receive it, and I will receive you, for its sake.”

Do but take Christ by faith, and bring him before God. Say unto God “My

Father, I have no good works to trust in, but I trust thy Son. I desire to be

rid of my sin, and I trust in thee to purify me. I pine to become a new

creature, and I trust in thy Spirit to new-create me. Behold the bloody

sacrifice offered upon Calvary. I present it unto thee. For Jesus’ sake

accept me.” He will do it, dear friend; he will do it. I do not know that I

can say any more: I wish that I could have said it better. I would speak

right into your heart. May the Spirit of God so speak! Do not be angry

because another is saved, but turn your anger on yourself because you have

not accepted salvation. Recollect, if you do what other sinners have done,

namely, simply come to Christ, you shall be accepted as they have been;

and if you are not accepted, it is your sin that is preventing it. A sin offering

is waiting to take away that sin. Oh, reject not the priceless boon!

Trifle not with your soul and with your Savior. Do not incur an eternity of

misery! Do not lose an eternity of bliss! “Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die,

O house of Israel?” If I never should occupy this pulpit again, what should

I wish to have preached? Nothing but the gospel which I have now

preached for so many years. I wish I had spoken better, but I do not know

that I could have said more. It these kind pleadings do not touch angry

hearts, neither would they be affected though martyrs rose from the dead.