Immediately following his exhortation to "be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love," Paul adds that bit of advice over which many a mortal has stumbled, "in honor preferring one another." Had he in mind the many instances in which the spirit of envy and rivalry have seemingly quenched the feeling of brotherly love? This spirit claims to have entered the very first human family. We read that Abel was a "keeper of sheep" and that Cain was a "tiller of the ground." When both brought an offering to the Lord, Abel "of the firstlings of his flock," and Cain "of the fruit of the ground," God "had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect."

Accepting this statement literally might lead to the thought of a partial and unjust Deity, who bestowed favor on one worshiper and not on another; but much of the Bible teaching is by symbols, and a clear analysis of the incident discloses the lesson to be learned. First one needs to give up his thought of a personal or anthropomorphic God, and to think of Him as unchanging divine Love that can never be conscious of evil. Next, it is necessary to examine the character of the two offerings. A lamb has always been recognized as the symbol of innocence and obedience. Abel evidently brought thoughts which were pure and obedient to Truth as an offering to God. Bringing himself thus into harmony with the eternal Principle of the universe, he received the natural reward of his right thinking. This was not because God gives more liberally to one of His children than to another, but because Abel had fitted himself to receive abundantly.

Cain, for his offering, "brought of the fruit of the ground." While Abel's sacrifice symbolized what is spiritual and good, Cain's evidently typified what is material. In Science and Health (p. 541) Mrs. Eddy says, "The lamb was a more spiritual type of even the human concept of Love than the herbs of the ground could be." The sequel shows that Cain's mental attitude was self-seeking rather than receptivity to truth; therefore when Cain sought a blessing, it was not conferred, as it was impossible for God, who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil," to recognize his appeal. Did Cain see his error and abandon his evil thought? Evidently not, for he became angry and killed his brother.

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July 19, 1913

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