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God wants to soft­en our stony heart

Tues­day. emAnd Cain said un­to the Lord, My pun­ish­ment is great­er than I can bear/em (Gen. 4:13). Was it pos­si­ble to talk like this be­fore the coun­te­nance of God, Who is strict of course in righ­teous­ness, but is al­ways read­y to have mer­cy up­on a sin­ner who tru­ly re­pents? En­vy ob­scured sen­si­ble thoughts, de­lib­er­ate trans­gres­sion hard­en­ed his heart, and be­hold, Cain rude­ly an­swers to God Him­self: emAm I my broth­er’s keep­er?/em (Gen. 4:9). God wants to soft­en his stony heart with the ham­mer of His strict judge­ment; but Cain does not give in, and locked in his coarse­ness, he com­mits him­self to the lot which he pre­pared for him­self through his en­vy and mur­der. What is a­maz­ing is that af­ter this he lived like any­one else: he had chil­dren, es­tab­lish­ed a house­hold and main­tain­ed earth­ly re­la­tions. Yet the mark of be­ing out­cast and of his de­spair still lay on him. So it is an in­ner af­fair, which oc­curs in the con­science, out of the re­al­i­za­tion of one’s re­la­tion to God, un­der the in­flu­ence of bur­den­some pas­sions, sin­ful hab­its, and deeds. Let peo­ple heed this now es­pe­cial­ly! But to­geth­er with this let peo­ple res­ur­rect their be­lief that there is no sin great­er than God’s mer­cy; how­ev­er, both time and work are need­ed to soft­en the heart. But it is ei­ther sal­va­tion, or ru­in!

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