17 February 2016

A journey through Lent 2016
with Samuel Johnson (8)

‘To reason too philosophically about prayer does no good’ … candles light up the chapter and choir stalls in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent this year, I am taking time each morning to reflect on words from Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the Lichfield lexicographer and writer who compiled the first authoritative English-language dictionary.

His biographer, James Boswell, in his Journals, recalled in Boswell for the Defence on 9 April 1772:

Sir, to reason too philosophically about prayer does no good. To be sure, you cannot think that it makes God alter his purposes. But by producing good effects on the mind of him who prays, it disposes the mind in such a manner that the thing prayed for is insensibly attained.

Continued tomorrow.

Yesterday’s reflection.

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