IS PRAYER OF ANY USE?
' TO TJTK KDITO3. Sir,—l take up my pan with, fear and trembling to comment on tho article in your issue of the 9tli inst. dealing with tho r.bc.vp, because I am afraid that, if I open my month I shall put my foot ill it. or. to vnrv the simile, if 1 take up my pen I .shall Mot my page, These inner-page- essays in your Saturday issues are weekly dciights to your clientele, while each Wednesday your faithful "Oriel," from his watch tower, gives_ us illuminating paragraphs full of the saving grace of common-sense; but the article in question nuiat surely have slipped fr:"n its accustomed place. Or did it- happen that tho weary Titan, tired by the election turmoil and wat's alarms, nodded at his post of duty, with the result that his place, was usurped by the pri'ite.- •= devil, who plavcd nranks with tho linotypes hehind tho bad; of the "'father' or the ■chapel ? 11l all seriousness I ;:ak : Who. with even a rudimentary acquaintance with the meaning of words, would describe prayer £ia a law of Nature, and avow that all life, all business is organised on this principle of prayer —tho principle of making and receiving . . . in the home, in the school, in the city. Wherever the law of prayer ia disobeyed progress stops !" The absurdity of this dictum ia too apparent. If 1 go into a shop to buy a pound of cheese, with a shilling in my fist, Jlr Middlewiek takes my coin and I take his cheese. Ergo, prayer is heard and answered ! " Wherever this law of prayer is disobeyed progress stops," we are* told. If there be any truth in astronomy wo must, believe that there are dying worlds (the moon, for instance), and that new worlds are coming into being. In the latter there must bo a lot of praying going on, for there is progress, and the former—our queen of night —is past pray inn- far. Perhaps the lunartics stopped* praying. Nature and law both depenrl on life, .so we are informed, but in what school the- writer of such a statement studied biology pauses comprehension. Tho cart is put before the hors-o. Earth was without form and void millions of years before life could possibly exist on our globe. How could tho existent- depend on tho non-existent "'■ Aeain : " Increase, intensify life, and you can do a.nythinrr with Nature and her laws." Tliis is another ludicrous, misstatement. A tyro in .science knows that we can only "manipulate" the forces of Nature by* acting in strict conformity with them. Once more : " The laws of Natui-o arc mev-dy statements of certain
ascertained facts; but a new faet may Vvj discovered to-morrow that will put them out of date." Obviously laws of Nature are not "statements." Tho phenomena of natural laws may bo misinterpreted or only partially apprehended, and restatements may be necessary as discovery progresses, but in the laws themselves there is no varia.blone.sa, neither shadow of a turning. Water was no more wet in the days of Noah than in, yesterday's shower. 'The fire that consumed the first burnt offering was the same element that caused damage, at Penrose's. Math all these biundorings as to the natural world, that the- study of a sixpenny text book would have prevented, it is not much good looking for any guidance in spiritual things. Hence we find that tho World Soul is "seeking to flow in," and at the same time, "find ait outthat prayer is a "response," not a. petition, to an overruling Power who can be responsive, if so please Him. Tho old theological chestnut about a scientific visitor to a Scotch doctor is really too childish to need refutation. Science has nothing to do with the denial or affirmation of "possibilities"; it is based on experimental demonstration and the examination of actual things. All the nations at present at war are praying for victory. The Indians have even "broWht their prayer carpets .into the tented field. liven lookers on are sending up their petition. Apart from legend, no battle has yet been won by prayer. The. Roundheads prayed lustily, but were careful to keep their powder dry, and were no doubt made more valiant by the knowledge that " thrico is he arro'd that hath his quarrel just." Many authorities qualified to give an opinion on the subject have declared that "God is always on the side of the big battalions." Kitchener thinks so. and appeals to tho patriotism of all the sons of Britain. Your leader, Mr Editor, asks "Is prayer of any uro?" but gives a metaphysical and not a practical answer.—l am", etc.. Rifleman. January 15.
Permanent link to this item
IS PRAYER OF ANY USE?, Evening Star, Issue 15703, 18 January 1915