THE President has issued the customary annual Thanksgiving proclamation, setting apart November 30 as a day on which he advises that religious exercises “be conducted in the churches and meeting places of all denominations,” and that “prayers may be offered to the Most High for a continuance of the divine guidance.” He also recommends that “so far as may be found practicable, labor shall cease from its accustomed to oil, and charity abound for the sick, the needy, and the poor.”
From this point of view, it is evident, all religions in the land that are represented by a congregation, no matter how they may conflict with one another, are considered equally good as a means of approaching the Most High. This impossible state of things must be assumed by the civil executive in order to avoid partiality and the arousing of religious controversy.
As regards the divine guidance to be sought, there is no doubt it is greatly needed. But a point which should be kept in mind in connection with this exercise, is that God has already given all men and nations directions for their guidance in his holy Word. It is useless to pray for guidance and not search the Word wherein are laid down the rules of all right conduct. To have exhorted the people to a study of the Scriptures would have been fully consistent with the rest of the proclamation.
The Word of God, however, would be searched in vain for any warrant for engaging in war; and if people are really anxious for divine guidance, they can find it abundantly on this point in the teachings of Christ and the apostles. But does the nation want to be guided that way?