Upon Leaving Home

In the book of Deuteronomy we read: "The Lord's portion is his people: Jacob is the lot of his inheritance . . . and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock." This may be interpreted to mean that if we meet our trials, difficulties, and hard places with love, patience, and courage, we will surely gain sweetness, consecration of character and purpose, and so be better and stronger for the experience.

Along this line of thought a wonderfully helpful lesson may be learned from the story of Jacob at Beth-el. We can picture him to ourselves,—a young lad, his mother's favorite son, sent out by his father to make his way in the world. Night finds him far from home, with no loving hand to prepare his supper, no resting-place ready for him, nor security, even from wild beasts; alone in the open, a stranger in a strange place. How many have found themselves, at least in some sense, in the same state. What youth that has left home for college or business has not come to such a "Beth-el"? We are told that "he took of the stones of that place . . . for his pillows," and in the morning, filled with a sense of awe, he took "the stone," one only, and made "a pillar" of it to God and poured oil on the top of it. No doubt his pillows that night were indeed stones,—doubt, fear, loneliness, discouragement, self-pity, possibly cold and hunger; and in the morning they had all consolidated into one great spell of homesickness. A day's journey would take him back to his mother, but strengthened by the wonderful vision of the night he calls upon his understanding of God (undoubtedly taught him from his childhood), and so he lays all before that loving Father-Mother; he makes a "pillar" of his fear and doubt and pours oil on its top. In Science and Health (p. 592) oil is defined as "consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration."

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April 8, 1916
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