Cain and Abel

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn 2

When Adam fell he quickly lost
God's image, which he once possessed:
See All our nature since could boast
In Cain, his first-born Son, expressed!

2. The sacrifice the Lord ordained
In type of the Redeemer's blood,
Self-righteous reas'ning Cain disdained,
And thought his own first-fruits as good.

3. Yet rage and envy filled his mind,
When, with a fallen, downcast look,
He saw his brother favor find,
Who God's appointed method took.

4. By Cain's own hand, good Abel died,
Because the Lord approved his faith;
And, when his blood for vengeance cried,
He vainly thought to hide his death.

5. Such was the wicked murd'rer Cain,
And such by nature still are we,
Until by grace we're born again,
Malicious, blind and proud, as he.

6. Like him the way of grace we slight,
And in our own devices trust;
Call evil good, and darkness light,
And hate and persecute the just.

7. The saints, in every age and place,
Have found this history fulfilled;
The numbers all our thoughts surpass
Of Abels, whom the Cains have killed!

8. Thus Jesus fell - but O! his blood
Far better things than Abel's cries:
Obtains his murd'rers peace with God,
And gains them mansions in the skies.

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