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PRAYER AND NATURAL LAW. 39

sity. A perpetual motion, then, is deemed impossible, be-
cause it demands the creation of force, whereas the principle
of Conservation is, no creation but infinite conversion.

It is an old remark that the law which moulds a tear
also rounds a planet. In the application of law in Nature
the terms great and small are unknown. Thus the principle
referred to teaches us that the Italian wind gliding over
the crest of the Matterhorn is as firmly ruled as the earth
in its orbital revolution round the sun; and that the fall of
its vapor into clouds is exactly as much a matter of neces-
sity as the return of the seasons. The dispersion, there-
fore, of the slightest mist by the special volition of the
Eternal, would be as much a miracle as the rolling of the
RhOne over the'Grims‘el precipices and down Haslithal to
Brientz.

It seems to me quite beyond the present power of
science, to demonstrate that the. Tyrolese‘ priest, or his
colleague 0f the Rhone valley, asked for an “impossibility ”
in praying for good weather; but science can demonstrate
the incompleteness of the knowledge of Nature which
limited their prayers to this narrow ground; and she may
lessen the number of instances in which we“ ask amiss,”
by showing that we sometimes pray for the performance
of a miracle when we do not intend it. She does assert,
for example, that, without a disturbance of natural law,
quite as serious as the stoppage of an eclipse, or the rolling
of the St. Lawrence up the Falls of Niagara, no act of
humiliation, individual or national, could call one. shower
from heaven, 0r deflect toward us a single beam of the sun.

Those, therefore, who believe that the miraculous is still
active in Nature, may, with perfect consistency, join in our
periodic prayers for fair weather and for rain: while those
who hold that the age of miracles is past, will refuse to
join in such petitions. And if these latter wish to fall back
upon such a justification, they may fairly urge that the

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