(d) Nor by considering prayer as a physical force, linked in each case to its answer, as physical cause is linked to physical effect. Prayer is not a force acting directly upon nature. If it were, there would be no discretion as to its answer. It can accomplish results in nature, only as it influences God.
We educate our children in two ways: first, by training them to do for themselves what they can do and secondly, by encouraging them to seek our help in matters beyond their power. So God educates us first, by impersonal law and secondly, by personal dependence. He teaches us both to work and to ask. Notice the ?perfect unwisdom of modern scientists who place themselves under the training of impersonal law to the exclusion of that higher and better training which is under personality? (Hopkins, Sermon on Prayer-gauge, 16).
It seems more in accordance with both Scripture and reason to say that:
B. God may answer prayer, even when that answer involves changes in the sequences of nature ?
(a) By new combinations of natural forces, in regions withdrawn from our observation, so that effects are produced which these same forces left to themselves would never have accomplished. As man combines the laws of chemical attraction and of combustion, to fire the gunpowder and split the rock asunder so God may combine the laws of nature to bring about answers to prayer. In all this there may be no suspension or violation of law, but a use of law unknown to us.
Hopkins, Sermon on the Prayer-gauge: ?Nature is uniform in her processes but not in her results. Do you say that water cannot run uphill? Yes, it can and does. Whenever man constructs a milldam the water runs up the environing hills till it reaches the top of the milldam. Man can make a spark of electricity do his bidding; why cannot God use a bolt of electricity? Laws are not our masters, but our servants. They to our bidding all the better because they are uniform. And our servants are not God?s master?s.? Kendall Brooks: ?The master of a musical instrument can vary without limit the combination of sounds and the melodies which these combinations can produce. The laws of the instrument are not changed but in their unchanging steadfastness produce an infinite variety of tunes. It is necessary that they should be unchanging in order to secure a desired result. So nature, which exercises the infinite skill of the divine Master, is governed by unvarying laws but he, by these laws, produces an infinite variety of results.?
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