<390310> Malachi 3:10 ? ?Bring ye the whole tithe into the storehouse? and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and roar you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.? All such prayer is a reflection of Christ?s words ? some fragment of his teaching transformed into a supplication ( <431507>John 15:7; see Westcott, Bib. Com., in loco ); all such prayer is moreover the work of the Spirit of God ( <450826>Romans 8:26, 27). It is therefore sure of an answer.
But the test of prayer proposed by Tyndall is not applicable to the thing to be tested by it. Hopkins, Prayer and time Prayer-gauge, 22 sq . ? ?We cannot measure wheat by the yard, or the weight of a discourse with a pair of scales? God?s wisdom might see that it was not best for the petitioners nor for the objects of their petition, to grant their request. Christians therefore could not, without special divine authorization, rest their faith upon the results of such a test? why may we not ask for great changes in nature? For the same reason that a well-informed child does not ask for the moon as a plaything? There are two limitations upon prayer. First, except by special direction of God, we cannot ask for a miracle for the same reason that a child could not ask his father to burn the house down. Nature is the house we live in. Secondly, we cannot ask for anything under the laws of nature, which would contravene the object of those laws. Whatever we can do for ourselves under these laws, God expects us to do. If the child is cold, let him go near the fire ? not beg his father to carry him.?
Herbert Spencer?s Sociology is only social physics. He denies freedom and declares anyone who will affix D. V. to the announcement of the Mildmay Conference to be incapable of understanding sociology. Prevision excludes divine or human will. But Mr. Spencer intimates that the evils of natural selection may be modified by artificial selection. What is this but the interference of will? And if man can interfere, cannot God do the same? Yet the wise child will not expect the father to give everything he asks for nor will the father who loves his child give him the razor to play with or stuff him with unwholesome sweets simply because the child asks these things. If the engineer of the ocean steamer should give me permission to press the lever that sets all the machinery in motion, I should decline to use my power and should prefer to leave such matters to him, unless he first suggested it and showed me how. So the Holy Spirit ?helpeth our infirmity; for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered? ( <450826>Romans 8:26). And we ought not to talk of ?submitting? to perfect Wisdom, or of ?being resigned? to perfect Love. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, 2:1 ? ?What they [the gods] do delay, they do not
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