|Chapter 21||The Household of God, Book 1|
THE LORD'S COVENANT WITH CAIN
1. And behold, Cain became reassured in his great fear. The cloud vanished and he wept tears of repentance and went to find food for his family. He kept thinking how far he had distanced himself from Paradise, how he had so completely forfeited the love of the Lord and had been thrust into harsh justice and was standing on the brink of God's judgment. And as he was thus pondering he shed more and more tears of repentance and became increasingly aware of the magnitude of his guilt before God, wondering whether there could be any chance of regaining even the slightest amount of love.
2. So he kept pondering on these matters. And behold, while deep in these thoughts he came with his family upon a blackberry-bush richly laden with fruit. Since all were very hungry, they immediately wanted to fall upon the berries to satisfy their hunger and enjoy them in abundance.
3. But then a thought flashed upon Cain and he said to his family: "O my wife and my children, do promptly withdraw your hands which you have already stretched out for this abundant load since we do not know as yet whether it holds life or death! Therefore, let us first prostrate ourselves and confess our great guilt before God and in the dust of our helplessness entreat Him to graciously bless this fruit beforehand. And if He should perhaps do this out of His endless mercy then we unworthy ones must first thank Him and only then satisfy the worst of our hunger in fear and trembling."
4. And behold, they all withdrew from the bush a few steps and did according to the will and proper insight of Cain who was now leading them all in prayer and said, weeping: "O You most just, great and holy God, look graciously upon us worms in the dust of helplessness before You, the Almighty, who do not dare in their great guilt to lift their eyes to Your unspeakable holiness. Do consider our weakness and do not let us poor penitent sinners perish.
5. This bush in front of us appears to bear a good fruit suitable as food for us sinners. However, we fear to eat from it since we have become blind through our great wickedness and can no longer see whether it contains death or life.
6. "Would You, therefore, graciously indicate to us the nature of this fruit in order that we can then implore You, the Most Just one, to remove from it the venom of the serpent and let a small dewdrop of Your blessing fall upon it that we may not perish. O Lord, You Just and Holy one, do grant our weak supplication!"
7. And behold, a shining red cloud descended from the mountains into the valley above the bush, and from it a violent flash of lightning struck the bush with a thunderous noise. And lo, a big serpent fled hissing from the bush and with open jaws took the direction towards Cain, and he was terrified. But lo, the flashes of lightning followed it and drove it with great speed into the hot sand of the vast desert. When it had vanished completely from his sight, Cain turned again to the bush and silently thanked God for so graciously saving him from the greatest of all dangers.
8. Then he saw how from this fire-cloud large drops began to fall upon the bush so that the earth became moistened all around to a considerable distance.
9. And Cain with his family recognized the great generosity of the Lord, and they all once more prostrated themselves and he thanked God from the bottom of his heart for such great blessings and said, melting into tears: "O Lord, Your justice is so great and inconceivable, - but how great must then Your love be since You are still able to remember the worst sinner with such great blessings from you, O eternal Love! How great must the wickedness be that could ever misjudge You!"
10. And behold, from the cloud still dripping with blessing a voice could be heard, speaking clearly audible words, saying: "Listen, Cain! I have changed My justice into love. However, love will be only with those who will in the future seek it not only in their misery and distress, but also in their happiness and freedom.
11. "Behold, I will grant you a period of two thousand years during which time no one shall be struck by My justice. And from this My justice I will prepare a great vessel and set it above the stars, and from My love I will prepare another vessel and set it under the earth. And so you may do whatever you like: If you do evil, your deeds will fill the vessel of justice which, once it is full, will burst in all places and let the entire weight crash down upon the evildoers and kill them all. And the vessel of love, if it remains empty under the earth, will receive the dead for a lengthy, very painful cleansing. Those who will let themselves be cleansed shall be transferred to the stars for continuous struggles, whereas those who will harden themselves through their inner wickedness shall, at some future time, be cast beneath the bottom of this vessel where there will be eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth in the wrath of God.
12. "And now go to the bush which has been moistened by the blessing and eat to still your hunger, but remember always from whom you have received this gift.
13. "Spread out in the lowland, but let none of you ever dare set his foot on the mountains, for their summits are holy and are destined for housing My children. Whoever of you will ever violate this rule shall become a prey to the there always dwelling guardian beasts, as bears, wolves, hyenas, lions, tigers and also big, live serpents which will dwell at the bottom. This applies also to all the tame animals, which will later on be subject to you.
14. "Only if one of you were to become very pious and stand the crucial test by My love, he will be permitted to penetrate the inner part of the mountains there to gather ore and iron for making tools as taught by your needs.
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