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THE FIRST BROTHERS.

and it came to pass when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother ? and he said, I know not: am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done ? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Caiu said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.”

Now was not this a sad affair ? O how would Adam and Eve feel when they found their poor dear child laid dead on the ground, covered with bruises and blood! They speak to him, but he does not answer: they lift him, but he cannot stand : they feel of him, but he is cold, quite cold ! “Oh !" says Eve, “ Oh, Adam, this is death ! this is that awful punishment which our Maker said we should suffer ! O wretched woman that I was to take of that tree, and thus bring this awful curse on my own children !" "Yes, Eve,” replied Adam, “this is death, this is that mysterious and awful curse with which we were threatened. O Abel, my son! my son ! But who has done this deadly deed ? who can have done it? It is not an evil beast that has devoured him. See these bruises. He has been beaten to death: ah me! there lies the staff of Cain. Cain has killed him! our son, our own son, our first-born child has killed his brother!" In this way would our unhappy parents weep and lament over their unfortunate offspring. And it was indeed an awful thing, and who can think of it without weeping ? When these boys were children, they played together; and locked in each others arms they sunk to sleep at night. There were no children in the world ther, and no doubt they were always together, and many a happy hour they spent in each others com. pany, playing together on the green grass, and gathering the sweet flowers. Their parents too, in the midst of their great sorrow would be comforted by the innocent play and prattle oftheir beloved boys; and many a time perhaps would their mother tell them that they must be good and fear the great Being, and love the promised Saviour, and then they would find the favour of God their Creator. Abel, it seems, listened to these lessons, and grew up to be a good man, but Cain persuaded by the devil, would not be good. He preteuded to worship God, but did not love him, and filled with envy, when he saw that Abel's sacrifice pleased God, the wicked thought entered into his heart that he would kill him out of the way; and so he did.

And what became of Cain? why as Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise for their

THE FIRST BROTHERS.

great sin, so Cain was driven away from before men, and became a wanderer and a vagabond on the face of the earth.

Learn from this my little friend :

To fear this great and dreadful name, the LORD thy God.

Never to give way to sinful thoughts and cruel ways. Cain would once have shuddered at the thought of killing Abel.

That all sin ings its own punishment; Cain said, “ It is greater than I can bear.”

Seek through Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, to get to that better world, where there will be no more sin, or crime, or cruelty.

Cain, where is thy brother Abel ?-Gen. iv. 9. Where is thy brother Abel?

Thou murderer, answer, where?
He talked with thee on yonder plain,

Beside the altar there;
Sweet peace was in his eye serene,

And his heart was fill'd with love;
As he pointed thy unbending soul

To Him who reigns above.
Where is thy brother Abel?

Thou fratricide, ah! where?
T'hy heart, in childhood's earlier hours,

His joy or grief could share;
Ye danced beneath the same green tree;

In the same bower ye played ;
And oft have wandered hand in hand,

Beneath the grove's deep shade. 93

Where is thy brother Abel ?

Unfeeling one, ah! where?
Lock'd in each other's fond embrace,

Ye once could know no care;
Nor the silence nor the gloom of night

Could wake an anxious fear,
While in each other's arms ye lay,

Or felt each other near.
Where is thy brother Abel ?

Ungrateful one, ah! where?
His lips dwelt long upon thy name

As he breathed his morning prayer ?
He begged that heaven would fix thy faith

On Him that is to come,
To take away the curse of sin,

And bring the outcasts home.
Where is thy brother Abel?

Thy red hands answer where ?
No light is in his sunken eye,

No smiles his cold cheeks bear;
His lips are clos'd; his tongue is seal'd;

His locks are wet with gore;
The cooling breeze revives him not,

'Twill wake him now no more.
His blood has rais'd its voice to heaven,

And calls for vengeance loud ; Yet mercy still, with smiling face,

Looks o'er the thunder cloud;
But a fugitive and vagabond,

Thou now on earth shalt be,
Though the latest breath that pass'd his lips

Was spent in prayer for thee! 94

Thomas Ragg.

RICH AND POOR CHILDREN.

I MET the rich man's children

On a cold winter day; They did not feel the cold,

So warnıly clad and gay

Like summer flowers were they. I saw them reach their home

With light and skipping feet; I heard the gentle dame,

In accents kind and sweet.

Her little darlings greet. I watch'd them sit at eve

The parlour fire around; The curtains red were drawn;

I heard the merry sound,

When jest and tale abound. At midnight, I drew nigh

Their warm and downy nest; Like dovelets there they lay

Each gently heaving breast

Hid a young heart at rest, 1 sigh’d, for then I thonght

Of a far different doomThe poor man's young ones shivering,

And cowering in the gloom

Of a dark fireless room. From some wild haunt of sin

I fancied his return;
How he doth stagger in,

His famish'd wife to spurn,
And wailing babes, in turn.

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