I. God gave them to see the re-building of their family, which was sorely shaken and weakened by that sad event. For, 1. They saw their seed, another seed instead of Abel, Gen. 4:25. Observe God’s kindness and tenderness towards his people, in his providential dealings with them; when he takes away one comfort from them, he gives them another instead of it, which may prove a greater blessing to them than that was in which they thought their lives were bound up. This other seed was he in whom the church was to be built up and perpetuated, and he comes instead of Abel, for the succession of confessors is the revival of the martyrs and as it were the resurrection of God’s slain witnesses. Thus we are baptized for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29), that is, we are, by baptism, admitted into the church, for or instead of those who by death, especially by martyrdom, are removed out of it; and we fill up their room. Those who slay God’s servants hope by this means to wear out the saints of the Most High; but they will be deceived. Christ shall still see his seed; God can out of stones raise up children for him, and make the blood of the martyrs the seed of the church, whose lands, we are sure, shall never be lost for want of heirs. This son, by a prophetic spirit, they called Seth (that is, set, settled, or placed), because, in his seed, mankind should continue to the end of time, and from him the Messiah should descend. While Cain, the head of the apostasy, is made a wanderer, Seth, from whom the true church was to come, is one fixed. In Christ and his church is the only true settlement. 2. They saw their seed’s seed, Gen. 4:26. To Seth was born a son called Enos, that general name for all men, which bespeaks the weakness, frailty, and misery, of man’s state. The best men are most sensible of these, both in themselves and their children. We are never so settled but we must remind ourselves that we are frail.
II. God gave them to see the reviving of religion in their family: Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord, Gen. 4:26. It is small comfort to a good man to see his children’s children, if he do not, withal, see peace upon Israel, and those that come of him walking in the truth. Doubtless God’s name was called upon before, but now, 1. The worshippers of God began to stir up themselves to do more in religion than they had done; perhaps not more than had been done at first, but more than had been done of late, since the defection of Cain. Now men began to worship God, not only in their closets and families, but in public and solemn assemblies. Or now there was so great a reformation in religion that it was, as it were, a new beginning of it. Then may refer, not to the birth of Enos, but to the whole foregoing story: then, when men saw in Cain and Lamech the sad effects of sin by the workings of natural conscience,—when they saw God’s judgments upon sin and sinners,—then they were so much the more lively and resolute in religion. The worse others are the better we should be, and the more zealous. 2. The worshippers of God began to distinguish themselves. The margin reads it, Then began men to be called by the name of the Lord, or to call themselves by it. Now that Cain and those that had deserted religion had built a city, and begun to declare for impiety and irreligion, and called themselves the sons of men, those that adhered to God began to declare for him and his worship, and called themselves the sons of God. Now began the distinction between professors and profane, which has been kept up ever since, and will be while the world stands.