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Two Destinies - Cain and Abel (7 of 12)
Series: Great Characters of the Bible
Clarence E. Macartney
The book of Genesis is a book of beginnings. It throws a flashlight on the early history of humanity. It is a book of first things. In this fourth chapter of Genesis we have the first father, the first mother, the first birth, the first son, the first altar, the first murder, and the first death.
Here at the beginning of human history, the stream of humanity is divided into two kinds of people-people with different characters and different destinies. In his poem ''The Two Streams,'' Oliver Wendell Holmes deals with this mysterious difference in character and in destiny. He describes two rivers formed by the rainfall on a mountain, one flowing eastward, the other westward:
Behold the rocky wall
That down its sloping sides
Pours the swift rain-drops, blending, as they fall,
In rushing river-tides!
Yon stream, whose sources run
Turned by a pebble's edge,
Is Athabasca, rolling toward the sun
Through the cleft in mountain-ledge.
The slender rill had strayed,
But for the slanting stone,
To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid
Of foam-flecked Oregon.
So from the heights of Will
Life's parting stream descends,
And, as a moment turns its slender rill,
Each widening torrent bends,-
From the same cradle's side,
From the same mother's knee,-
One to long darkness and the frozen tide,
One to the Peaceful Sea!
The Bible does not permit us to forget the tragedy of Abel and Cain. When Jesus pronounced judgment on the scribes and Pharisees, He said, ''That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias.'' In his first letter, John writes, ''Ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.'' And in the letter to the Hebrews, the immortal roll call of the heroes of faith c ...
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