Earning a New Name

It has become traditional to think of New Year's Day as a turning point, as a time to review our mistakes of the past year and to resolve to do better in the coming year. Thinking of the new year as a fresh opportunity, we speak of "turning over a new leaf" and "taking a new lease on life." In each case the implication is improved behavior.

In Bible times certain individuals were given new names at a turning point in their experience. Notable among these men were Jacob, who became Israel; Simon, who received the name Peter; and Saul, who took the name of Paul. It Is evident from reading the accounts of the lives of these men that the new names were not superficial changes but were significant of new natures, changes of consciousness.

Jacob had founded his career upon selfishness and duplicity. When his brother Esau, whom he had cheated of his birthright, approached with four hundred men, Jacob was aroused to examine his own thought. A severe struggle took place within his consciousness, and the dawning of a new light transformed his nature. He overcame the false characteristics of dishonesty and fear and replaced them with integrity and unselfed love. Then he was ready to be called Israel, to become the father of a people, the children of Israel, and to lead them Godward. Mrs. Eddy writes, "He was no longer called Jacob, but Israel,—a prince of God, or a soldier of God, who had fought a good fight."  Science and Health, p. 309;

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"Wonderful foresight"
December 30, 1967

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