it was only the blood of an animal that was shed, but it spoke eloquently of the fact that sin's wages are death! It was the acceptance or rejection of this vital truth that separated Cain from Abel, and has since, wherever it has been preached, divided the human race into the saved and the lost. Satan will not work except for his wages, the death of those for whom he works; it is only God who delights to give freely. Neither God nor man liked the endless slaughtering of beasts, which was of course costly. But with the passage of years men's hearts grew so hard that they imagined that the Lord God enjoyed seeing the blood of bulls and goats (Isaiah 1:10-15), and failed altogether to understand that the necessity laid upon the sinner publicly to slay an animal was meant to be, and to the soft-hearted actually was, a great deterrent.
So far astray, however, did their cruel and wicked hearts lead them, that both Gentiles (2 Kings 3.27) and even Judah in the end (Jeremiah 17:2; 19:5; 32:35) resorted to human sacrifice to please God! It is a fearful truth that false religion is more cruel than atheism; for at the head of atheism is man, but religions are inspired by Satan, who does not hesitate to teach that God is cruel and even savage, for he himself delights to watch the agonies of humanity. Yet in all this the Majesty of the Law of Love was made apparent, "The soul that sinneth it shall die", and the connection between sin and death was emphasised.
It was also made plain that sin not only destroyed our neighbour's happiness but also our own! For by slaying Abel, Cain raised up the antagonism of all around, who felt unsafe so long as he was alive. It was actually God who had to protect him from his neighbours (Genesis 4:15). Thus began, and developed into full growth after Babel, that system of mutual fear and antagonism, which has ever since