Newspaper Page Text
given this judgment as lie looked back upon
the years of his ministry, 'I have not failed to study, I have not failed to visit, I have not failed to write and meditate, but 1 have failed to pray. And why have 1 not prayed? Some times because I did not like it, at other times because 1 hardly dared, and yet at other times because I had something else to do. Let us be very frank. It is a grand thing to get a praying minister. I have heard men talk about prayer, who never prayed in their lives. They thought they did, but when you have heard them they made their own confession in a ruth less way." By way of contact, let us ask Mr. Edison how many hours he spends a day in striving to master the mysteries of science. The an swer comes, "Eighteen hours a day, and some times days and night at a stretch, with little sleeping and eating, and this during a period of forty years." Does the above not suggest a crying need? Just as departments have recently sprung up in our seminaries in English Bible, psychology and religious education, or the time has come when these very new depart ments, together with other developments, are going to compel the establishment of a special department in the science of prayer. The sub ject is great enough, the necessity is pressing enough and the science of prayer has now lifted it up into the rank of a distinct dis cipline, and deserves this recognition. There is no department which would be in a position to offer greater returns. This is the place in which the revolution will have to begin. For our religious leaders are pitifully weak at) just this point. And then Dr. Wyekoff pro ceeds to show what prayer as a science is and what place it must have in our lives if we are to be worthy successors of the apostles and early leaders of the Church. Building strongly on the words of Jesus (Matt. 7:7) : "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you," he shows that our Lord deliberately places three distinct commands side by side. He parallels in a harmonious and friendly union, asking, thinking, working. These comments embody three fundamental elements, the religious, the intellectual and the practical. For Jesus, asking is not sufficient of itself ; it is not intended to make seeking or knocking superfluous; seeking or knocking are not sufficient of themselves; they are never in tended to make asking superfluous. "The tragedy of the ages, written large in the his tory of nations, has been caused by humanity blindly persisting in divorcing from each other one or more of these mutually dependent functions." He clinches his argument by a great quota tion from Professor Fosdick's book, "The Meaning of Prayer": "If God has left some things contingent, on man's thinking and work ing, why may He not have left some things contingent on men's praying? The testimony of the great souls is a clear affirmative to this : some things never without thinking; some things never without working; some things never without praying. Prayer is one of the three forms of man's co operation with God. Who would dream of saying, God is all wise, He knows best; lie is all good and will give the best, why, therefore, should T either think or work? But that is just as sensible as to say, if God is good, why should T pray? We pray for the same reason that we work and think, because only so can the wise and good God get some things done which He wants done." S&JL...-*. ^ . - ----- - ? - ' ? Why have most of lis never learned how to pray successfully? Because we have made no real, intelligent, scientific effort to master the science of prayer. "With Christ in the School of Prayer," by Dr. Andrew Murray, of South Africa, was the book which intro duced some of us into this school, and it changed our lives. The writer has sat at the feet of this man of God in his own study in Wellington, Cape Colony, and has heard from his own lips his wonderful soul experiences in this school. No wonder there was power whenever this man preached. There is scarcely a town or village in South Africa where you will not meet with men and women who have been won to God and a consecrated life by Andrew Murray. What is the crying need of our Church? A revival of prayer, above all things. The spring campaign, which is soon to begin, will depend almost entirely upon consecrated leadership in the science and practice of prayer, in a genuine revival of prayer. The Dionic challenge confronts us, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove we now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the wonders of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." "To be a grand prayer-power in the world" we must have a magnificent Christian manhood to put into our prayers, for they can never be greater than we are." Charlottesville. MORE SERVICE. By Benjamin C. Moomaw. I entirely agree with "Layman," whose in teresting article appeared in No. 4, page 3, that there was much wanting in my article of December 27th, defining Social Service. How ever, 1 endeavored to do better in No. 2, page 2, January 17, and trust that "Layman" has read this last and will feel free to criticise it. It occurs to me that the very largeness of the topic presents unusual difficulties in its discussion and comprehension. Perhaps also it has been unfortunate in the selection of its descriptive adjective. Social service as re lated to the duty of the Church might have a more hospitable reception if we would leave out the word "social" and simply call it "More Service."' This, doubtless, would be easily understood, and less likely to arouse preju dice or stir up alarms. The term commonly used perhaps suggests Socialism, which is re pugnant to many. Then, again, some Chris tians arc not as sociable or as serviceable as they might be, and they might recoil, perhaps involuntarily, from a topic calculated to arouse an uncomfortable sense of responsibility, or awaken some sleepy corner of the conscience. "Let a man examine himself" is good advice, and applicable sometimes just at the moment that we set out to examine somebody else. Leaving this for the present, we were very much interested in some of "Layman's" dis cussion, for instance, on the relation between agriculture and religion. While I think that he puts a construction upon the language of our Northwestern Presbyterian brethren total ly foreign to their intention, and reasons ad extremum, as others do in a pinch, neverthe less there is a relation somewhere between ag riculture and righteousness, for the ground was cursed in the beginning on account of the sin of man (Gen. 3:17, 18), and will be re deemed from that curse on account of his sal vation. (Isaiah 55:13.) But this is only by the way. There follows a more important proposition of Layman's to the effect that "there are a number of things which, while not being intrinsically wrong, all lead to wrong, hence are wrong to be indulged in, and should be avoided." We will not pause to ask how a thing intrinsically right could be wrong in effect, for we are in haste to con gratulate Layman upon the rediscovery of a famous historical doctrine. For ages it was the dictum of the Roman Catholic church con cerning the reading of the Scriptures by the masses. The said reading of the Bible by the untrained populace might not be intrinsic ally wrong, but it led to the propagation of all kinds of heresies, many of them fatal. Hence the said popular Bible reading had an evil tendency, and was therefore "wrong to be in dulged in." They were very earnest about this matter, to such a degree indeed that many historical fires were kindled by their zeal, dun geons were filled, racks employed, swords glut ted. Layman has all this historical support behind the doctrine which he seems to have adopted. But all this we leave behind as we press on to the most important deliverance of our broth er, namely, that the "securing of eternal sal vation is the sole reason or cause for the ex istence of the Church." Not being able to recall any texts setting forth this important fact ? if it be a fact ? I appealed to one of our pastors for the desired information. So vital, so fundamental a prop osition, involving the moral destiny of nations, races, a whole world, through ages past and ages to come, must rest not upon inference or opinion, but upon the unmistakable declara tion of our Lord himself, or of his inspired apostles, or both. Where are those divine de clarations? Where are the texts? Eternal salvation is incomparably the great est and most important purpose of the Church, beyond human comprehension, indeed, because we are unable to comprehend either the nature or power of that spiritual and eternal life, or the faculties and functions of that resurrection body, "fashioned like unto his glorious body." But we can perhaps comprehend the temporal office of the Church as "the* salt of the earth," "the light of the world"; its transforming power upon nations of primitive savages; its resplendent function of universal benevolence operating through innumerable channels; its immeasurable influence upon the moral quality of public opinion; its world-wide creation of an inter-related society founded upon the Ten Commandments; and its prophetic ideals of a kingdom of God on earth, a kingdom of peace and righteousness for a thousand years. All this transformation of the world, which has grown out of the influence of the Church despite the absence of vision in so many of its teachers, is proof of the mind of the Lord con cerning the second most important function of the Church, namely, to redeem the world mor ally, materially, intellectually, spiritually, a task begun by Jesus on the shores of Galilee, carried forward through two thousand years of struggle and sacrifice, and to issue in the Millennium when the Lord shall come to set up his visible kingdom over the nations. Would it be difficult to find Bible texts de claring this great, sublime, and inspiring mis sion of the Church militant? Barber, Ya. My shortest days end, my lengthening days begin; The world is so full of a number of things That I am sure we should all be as happy as . kings.