"No more Jacob, but Israel"

What was it that brought about the change of name in the great Biblical character, Jacob? Name and nature being inseparable, must we not seek here for some deeper change than in the mere name? It was a change of consciousness, an unfolding glimpse of the infinite, which marked a turning-point in Jacob's life, from which he could never go back to the old standpoint. This landmark was to him a vision of the Christ, of the truth that man is not material, but spiritual, and that this truth demonstrated is Immanuel,—"God with us." It reached Jacob after his night of agony by the brook Jabbok, separated from all he loved on earth, for his wives and children had passed over before him; and with Esau and his four hundred men pressing on behind him, he entered upon his great mental struggle alone and fought out the question, in his own thinking, between the power of good and evil.

Jacob was actually facing, for the first time in his life, the result of the past sin of defrauding his brother Esau. Never before had he come face to face with its consequences; and now he was meeting his human concept of his brother, which was an embodiment of hate, revenge, and murder. He stood alone, believing himself defenceless before it, with morning about to dawn, the foe to meet, and the fruit of years of toil apparently about to be taken from him. All night this agony held him in a grip from which he could see no way of deliverance; and then in his helplessness he reached out to God until he touched "the hem of Truth's garment," to use Mrs. Eddy's words on page 270 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures;" and in that moment of revelation he saw that omnipresent Spirit excluded sin and hate, and man as God's image remained. In that moment he saw Esau's face as "the face of God." The brightness of Truth had risen upon him; and the victory was his. To him there was now the omnipresence of Love filling space; the Adam-dream as the basis of thought was gone and his nature was changed. In that night struggle, materiality had been put away in his concept of his brother, as he had seen "the face of God;" so on the morrow, when they met, he found tenderness and love, and a generosity which would take nothing from him, and could only bless him.

Prevention in Christian Science
April 8, 1922

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