"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."
As Christian Scientists daily study the Lesson-Sermon from the Christian Science Quarterly, as they study Mrs. Eddy's writings, as they read the authorized Christian Science periodicals, they are meeting with numerous spiritual ideas, each one of which shines with the light of Truth to illumine the straight and narrow way of eternal life. It may be that at a particular moment one of these spiritual lamps shines into the consciousness of the traveler more brightly than any other. It may be that some spiritual idea comes to him as it came to wrestle with the patriarch, in the night, in the midst of a sense of doubt and unhappiness and fear, or in the midst of the darkness of material satisfaction and contentment. Then into the receptive understanding of the student will penetrate this light of Truth, the realization that God, Spirit, is the Father or creator of all, and that man is forever governed by His law and protected by His care. Here, then, is the student's opportunity for growth and progress. The angel-message has come to him perhaps "unawares." Let him welcome it, take it into the home of his consciousness, and become so thoroughly acquainted with it that it will transform his nature, thereby enabling him to receive the blessing with which his Father will openly reward him.
It is the sacred duty of the Christian Scientist in whose consciousness has been sown the seed of Truth to foster and tend it until it shall bring forth fruit. The attitude of thought which in the first joyous receptivity of enthusiasm accepts the truth only to let it go again as soon as an effort must be made to retain it, is rebuked by Jesus in the parable of the sower. The faithful Christian Scientist will let neither the persecution of evil's aggressive suggestions of life and intelligence in mindless matter nor "the cares of this world," the absorption and preoccupation with the business and pleasure of mortal existence, seduce him from obedience to the demand of the Christ-idea. If he is willing truly to "lay down all for Truth, or Christ" (Science and Health, p. 568), he will not remain aimlessly on the fringes of Science, but will pursue the truth he has glimpsed with whole-hearted desire and consecrated devotion. He has been given a talent such as was the subject of another of the Master's parables, and he must use this precious understanding to the utmost of his power.
It may require much patient study and meditation to grasp the full revelation of a single inspired statement of Truth. The words should be weighed and pondered. A dictionary may present hitherto unfamiliar meanings. The Concordances to Science and Health and to our Leader's other writings are rich avenues by which the eager student may reach out into the boundless realm of infinite Mind. Then, when his thought has awakened to some degree of understanding, he will at once proceed, like the student of mathematics who has learned his theorem, to demonstrate that understanding in the practical working out of his present problem. Then, indeed, he will see the happy solution come forth from the tangled problem as naturally and inevitably as Jacob saw the brotherly love in his own heart reflected also in Esau's face.
The Christian Scientist in an experience of this kind understands that he has been blessed not only by the external manifestation of harmony, beautiful though this may be for him, but by a new vision of the power and presence of the God-principle which is eternally expressed by man. He knows that in proportion to the clearness of his vision of the Christ-idea will his nature have been transformed—some part of his human selfhood laid off, some measure of his identity as the image of Love revealed.