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II.
PRAYER AND NATURAL LAW.

THE aspects of Nature are more varied and impressive
in Alpine regions than elsewhere. The mountains in their
setting of deep-blue sky; the glow of firmament and peaks
at sunrise and sunset; the formation and distribution of
clouds; the descent of rain, hail, and snow; the stealthy
slide of glaciers and the rush of avalanches and rivers;
the fury of storms; thunder and lightning, with their
occasional accompaniment of blazing woods— all these
things tend to excite the feelings and to bewilder the mind.
In this entanglement of phenomena it seems hopeless to
seek for law or orderly connection. And before the
thought of law dawned upon the human mind men natu-
rally referred these inexplicable efi‘ects to personal agency.
The savage saw in the fall of a Cataract the leap of a spirit,
and the echoed thunder-peal was to him the hammer-clang
of an exasperated god. Propitiation of these terrible
powers was the consequence, and sacrifice was offered to
the’demons of earth and air.

But observation tends to chasten the emotions and to
check those structural efforts of the intellect which have
emotion for their base. . One by one natural phenomena
have been associated with their proximate causes; and
the idea of direct personal volition mixing itself in the
economy of Nature is retreating more and more. Many of
us fear this tendency; our faith and feelings are dear to us,

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