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36 FRAGMEN TS OF SCIENCE.

and we look with suspicion and dislike on any philos0phy,
the apparent. tendency of which is to dry up the soul.
Probably every change from ancient savagery to our present
enlightenment excited, in a greater or less degree, a fear
of this kind. But the fact is, that we have not yet deter-
mined whether the form under which they now appear in
the world is necessary to the life and Warmth of religious
feeling. We may err in linking the imperishable with the
transitory, and confound the living plant with the decaying
pole to which it clings. My object, however, at present is
not to argue, but to mark a tendency. We have ceased to
propitiate the powers of N ature—ceased even to pray for
things in manifest contradiction to natural laws. In Prot-
estant countries, at least, I think it is conceded that the
age of miracles is past.

The general question of miracles is at present in able
and accomplished hands; and were it not so, my polemical
acquirements are so limited, that I should not presume to
enter upon a discussion of this subject on its entire merits.
But there is one little outlying point, which attaches itself
to this question, on which a student of science, without
quitting the ground which strictly belongs to him, may
offer a remark.

At the auberge near the foot of the Rhone glacier, I
met, in the summer of 1858, an athletic young priest, who,
after a solid breakfast, including a bottle of wine, informed
me that he had come up to “ bless the mountains.” This
was the annual custom of the place. Year by year the
Highest was entreated, by oflicial intercessors, to make‘
such meteorological arrangements as should insure food
and shelter for the flocks and herds of the Valaisians. A
diversion of the Rhone, or a deepening of the river’s bed,
would have been of incalculable benefit to the inhabitants
of ' the valley at the time I now mention. But the priest
would have shrunk from the idea of asking the Omnipo-

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