Many are familiar with the Biblical account in Genesis (32:24-30) of Jacob's wrestling with error. We are told that during the struggle an angel brought him a sense of evil's nothingness. He, however, detained the angel "until the breaking of the day," until there was a positive conviction, not just a momentary glimpse, of man's reflection of God. The record states that he said to the angel, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Jacob was indeed blessed, for he became a different man from that time forward and life had a different outlook for him.

Jacob's persistence in holding fast, not letting the angel go, stands out as a beacon light when error tempts us to relax our efforts before the work is accomplished. Failing to detain the angel of God's presence until it has blessed us, giving its holy presence and its promised blessing only fleeting recognition because we think we are too busy to do otherwise, we deprive ourselves of great good. Should we not, rather, gratefully and persistently retain our hold upon the angel messenger, or message from God, realizing that no other call upon our time or thought is comparable in importance?

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In Revelation, John the beloved reports the counsel of "the Spirit ... unto the churches," which includes the admonition (3:11), "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." Holding fast to the truth which we have made our own through demonstration is indeed wisdom; and we should take care that we do not lose our consciousness of man's God given dominion through neglect and careless indifference to the demands of Truth, as made known to us in Christian Science.

Our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, has much to say about holding fast to Truth. Throughout her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she gives vital instruction in regard to the healing of the sick and sinful, especially in the chapter called "Christian Science Practice." Here we read (p. 417): "Maintain the facts of Christian Science,—that Spirit is God, and therefore cannot be sick; that what is termed matter cannot be sick; that all causation is Mind, acting through spiritual law. Then hold your ground with the unshaken understanding of Truth and Love, and you will win." It is not enough merely to acknowledge what is true, but we must actively use the truth and prove it for ourselves and for others.

Mrs. Eddy also points out the necessity of persistence in holding fast to what one knows of God as Spirit, Mind, Love, the All-in-all, and of man in God's image and likeness. The effects of such allegiance to Truth are made manifest in better thoughts of one's neighbor, better health for oneself, a more harmonious outlook on life, more peace and prosperity. "Holding fast," or refusing to let the angel go, means more than a formal reiteration or repetition of the truth, which should be earnestly declared until it is sufficiently realized to bring healing.

A Scientist was once asked to give a Christian Science treatment just as she was leaving for Sunday School. Such a definite consciousness of divine Love and the ever-presence of health and harmony came to her that within a few minutes another call came saying the patient was entirely relieved from what had seemed to be a serious attack of illness. Grateful, indeed, for this proof of God's presence, the Scientist prepared to leave immediately for her duties at the church.

But the thought of Jacob's experience with the angel came to her, and she too decided not to let the angel go until it had blessed her— until she had made it more her own by pondering, reaffirming, and realizing still more fully this message of Love's ever-presence and power which had come to her. So she sat down and continued her work of realization, knowing that Truth's work is finished and complete and that health and harmony are man's eternal possessions. There were no further calls for help from the one healed.

In doing this work the student recalled that once Jesus commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man and not to enter into him again, thus handling a possible reaction or reversal. No doubt Jesus by this example was showing his students how to work most effectively. The student also remembered seeing a carpenter drive a nail through a board till it extended somewhat on the other side. Then he bent the nail with a blow of his hammer down to the wood and explained, "That nail will never come out, for I have clinched it." Correct statements of the truth need to be clinched through persistent realization of the power and presence of God as Love and the conviction that there is no power other than His omnipotence.

We of today are blessed in having the Bible spiritually explained to us in Christian Science and thus made practical and applicable to human needs in a wider sense than has ever before been known. Through this spiritual explanation the sick are healed, the sinning reformed, the sorrowing comforted, business and family problems are solved, and the world is made a better place in which to live.

Our Leader gives us definite rules for applying the truth to our problems. One of these is (ibid., p. 261), "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts." Thus may we go forward as each day we learn more and more of "the enduring, the good, and the true." And as we hold thought steadfastly to the spiritual truths we have gained, it will possess our consciousness and be incorporated into our lives.

August 27, 1949

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