Overcoming Personal Sense

When Jacob wrestled throughout the night at the place called Peniel, his struggle was not with a person, but with personal sense. He had much to overcome in his own thinking that was unlike God, but as the day of greater spiritual enlightenment broke he was transformed. Up to that time he had been known only as Jacob, but in that hour of his triumph over evil his name, as well as his nature, was changed. The angelic message or spiritual intuition, speaking to him as though it had been a person, said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."

Writing of this Biblical narrative, so well known to readers of the Old Testament, Mary Baker Eddy says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 308), "Jacob was alone, wrestling with error,—struggling with a mortal sense of life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter with its false pleasures and pains,—when an angel, a message from Truth and Love, appeared to him and smote the sinew, or strength, of his error, till he saw its unreality; and Truth, being thereby understood, gave him spiritual strength in this Peniel of divine Science."

The duplicity and deceit which had previously prevailed to a considerable extent in the experience of Jacob, and which had influenced him to deprive his brother Esau of the blessing that his father had intended to bestow upon him, were, in this mental struggle at Peniel, overcome and destroyed. And writing further of this incident Mrs. Eddy says (ibid., p. 309): "He was no longer called Jacob, but Israel,—a prince of God, or a soldier of God, who had fought a good fight. He was to become the father of those, who through earnest striving followed his demonstration of the power of Spirit over the material senses; and the children of earth who followed his example were to be called the children of Israel, until the Messiah should rename them."

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April 13, 1940

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