through Him are the prayers of men heard and granted. If a true Christian be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and thus enabled to pray in faith and trust, then assuredly his prayer will be answered in some way, and, if what he asks is not granted, God will give him instead something far better. This we know because in the Gospel Christ Himself has said: 'Whatsoever 1 ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.' In another place he says: 'Ask 2 and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?'

The true Christian does not offer prayer to God merely as a duty, or as a subject renders homage to his king in accordance with prescribed forms. Nor does he worship God in order to gain merit and a reward in the next world. On the contrary, he prays because he thus draws nigh to God his heavenly Father, and by spiritual communion with that Holy and Loving and Almighty Friend he obtains spiritual

1 John xiv. 13. 2 Luke xi. 9-13.



and moral strength, besides gaining inward comfort, joy and peace. This communion with God is to the spirit of the true believer real spiritual food and sustenance. For, just as his body cannot continue to exist in health and strength without food, so his spirit also needs this spiritual nourishment. In Islam many Sufis and darvishes and mystics generally, feeling conscious of this hunger of soul, have striven to satisfy it by union with God, which they have sought to attain by asceticism, by deep meditation, by the use of hemp (حشيش) and opium, by dancing in a furious manner, and by many other similar methods. Some of them have thus reached a state which they imagined to be that of ecstasy (وجد), others have fancied that they had attained extinction or absorption in God (فنا), and have then said, with Mansur Hallaj, 'I am God' (انا الحق)[literal meaning is, 'I am the truth' not 'I am God']. But the only result of this method of seeking to satisfy the human spirit's yearnings has been madness, blasphemy, and disappointment. Instead of the bread of life men have eaten spiritual poison and become insane. It is impossible to attain absorption in the divine, and to seek it is blasphemous in the extreme and is an imitation of the heathen, the magicians and the worshippers of the devil. But it is possible through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to become God's spiritual children,1 to know God as our heavenly Father,

1 John i. 12.