BURLINGTON DAILY FREE PRESS
SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 1903
A Praying duel Proposition
People in different parts of the country have been seriously discussing the efficacy of prayer in connection with the breaking of the recent drought, and there have been two sides to the question, particularly where one party was praying for rain while another party was seeking continued pleasant weather.
A proposition to make a test in connection with prayer has just been put forth, however, in which there is little chance for controversy over the final result. Elijah Dowie, the religious pretender of Chicago, has just been challenged by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Quadian, Punjaub, India, to engage in a supplication duel to death. ?Come thou, O self-styled prophet, to a duel,? says Mirza in his ?defi.? ?The weapons shall be prayer. Let us kneel on our knees in the dust of the earth, you an I together, and petition the Almighty that of us two whoever is the liar shall perish first.?
According to the code of honor Prophet Dowie as the challenged party should unquestionably have the choice of weapons, but the ?Promised Messiah? has shrewdly proposed a test which the Chicago pretender cannot well afford to decline. To refuse to accept prayer as a test would be to acknowledge that he was unwilling to rest his case with the most powerful agency at his command, if his pretensions be true. On the other hand, it must be admitted that Dowie has no mean to antagonist. Mirza claims to be the “Promised Messiah,”sent for the reformation of the world exactly at the time fixed by calculations based on Biblical prophesies as to the time of the advent of the Messiah, and he is credited with a following of over 100,000 numbers, with the number rapidly growing. Dowie has not yet indicated his decision, but if he declines to accept this novel challenge the public may look for a rapid decline in Dowie stock.