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THE BLESSING OF PENIEL

From the September 1932 issue of The Christian Science Journal


"I WILL not let thee go, except thou bless me"! This was Jacob's cry when, as the day began to break, the angel with whom the material sense of life and love had been striving in his human consciousness seemed about to leave him.

Of this spiritual experience Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 308), "The patriarch, perceiving his error and his need of help, did not loosen his hold upon this glorious light until his nature was transformed." Jacob had been alone, wrestling with his memory of the wrong he had done his brother Esau, with his fear of the meeting with his brother which was to take place the next day, and with his newly awakening consciousness of his own and Esau's true selfhood as sons of God. The mental struggle must have seemed hard and long: fear, remorse, pride of possession, and pride of self do not easily yield place to self-abnegation. But did Jacob therefore faint-heartedly or indifferently turn away from the angel-presence with the excuse, This is too hard for me now; I have seen some truth ; I will wait for more until I can bear it? No! he cried instead, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." What a lesson is this in courage and steadfastness!

Mrs. Eddy says in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany"(p. 12), "A lost opportunity is the greatest of losses." Jacob had been given this glorious opportunity; he had glimpsed the spiritual idea of man's relation to God, his divine Father-Mother. Had discouragement, or fear, or insincerity persuaded him to "loosen his hold" on that idea before he had fully recognized and acknowledged its omnipotent power, this would indeed have been to him "the greatest of losses;" for he could not have known the following day the blessed, uplifting experience of seeing his brother's face as though he "had seen the face of God."

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