(70) What is the meaning of the expression, “The voice of thy brother’s blood cries to me out of the earth?” (#Ge 4:10). This is especially an example by which to take warning; for the Deity listens to those who are worthy, although they be dead, knowing that they are alive as to an incorporeal life. But he averts his countenance from the prayers of the wicked, although they are living a flourishing life, inasmuch as he looks upon them as dead to any real life, carrying about their bodies like a sepulchre; and having buried their miserable souls in it.

(71) Why he is said to be cursed upon the earth? (#Ge 4:11). The earth is the last portion of the world, therefore if that utters curses, we must consider that the other elements do likewise pour forth adequate maledictions; for instance, the fountains, and rivers, and sea, and the air, and the land, and the fire, and the light, and the sun, and moon, and stars, and in short the whole heaven. For if inanimate and earthly nature, throwing off the yoke, wars against injury, why may not still rather those natures do so which are of a purer character? But as for him, against whom the parts of the world carry on war, what hope of safety he can have for the future, I know not.

(72) What is the meaning of the curse, “You shall be groaning and trembling upon the earth?” (#Ge 4:13).{6}{our translation is, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.”} This also is a general principle; for in all evils there are some things which are perceived immediately, and some which are felt at a later period; for those which are future cause fear, and those which are felt at once bring sorrow.

(73) What is the meaning of Cain saying, “My punishment is too great for you to dismiss me? (#Ge 4:12). In truth there is not misery greater than to be deserted and despised by God; for the anarchy of fools is cruel and very intolerable; but to be despised by the great King, and to fall down as an abject person cast down from the government of the Supreme Power is an indescribable affliction.