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Record 3557

Reading Experience:

Letter dated 24/4/1862 ? 'The reason I said I had never understood the story of Cain is that God?s own words to him [Genesis, IV, vv.6-7] are of much more importance to me than St Paul?s words about him [Hebrews, XI, v. 4] ? (which latter are rapid ? vague, and unless you know precisely what is meant by faith, inconclusive.) God?s own pleading with Cain is what I want to understand. Why art thou wroth ? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted ? if not ? sin lieth at the door - &c. What is the ?Doing well? which God speaks of? What is the meaning of sin?s lying at the door ? and what is meant by the promise following. ?Unto thee shall be his desire?, &c? The passage is rendered still more difficult by an important variation in the Septuagint, (which I almost always find clearly more trustworthy than either the vulgate or English) ? namely in verse 7. ?Has not thou sinned, in that thou hast rightly brought, but not rightly divided.? The ordinary Evangelical gloss, that Cain was wrong in bringing fruit instead of flesh, seems at variance with this ?rightly brought?; and St Paul?s words leave us wholly in darkness as to the nature of the faithlessness, whether in substance or offering, or in manner.'
Century: 1800-1849, 1850-1899
Date: unknown
Country: Probably Britain
Time: n/a
Place: n/a
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:John Ruskin
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 8 Feb 1819
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: writer and art critic
Religion: Christian
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: Probably Britain
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Title: The Bible
Genre: Bible
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 3557  
Source - Print  
  Author: John Ruskin
  Editor: Virginia Surtees
  Title: Sublime and Instructive. Letters from John Ruskin to Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, Anna Blunden and Ellen Heaton
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1972
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 43-44
  Additional comments: From letter dated 245/4/1862 to Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford.

Citation: John Ruskin, Virginia Surtees (ed.), Sublime and Instructive. Letters from John Ruskin to Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, Anna Blunden and Ellen Heaton (London, 1972), p. 43-44,, accessed: 16 October 2019

Additional comments:



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)