« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
2. That the modern argument of the telegraph-wire conveyance and drinking stone-lion are positively no arguments at all, since they rest on false or assumed premises. 3. That the argument that dependence is to be placed upon the opinions of men of science rather than on the facts observed by other men, is opposed to universal experience and the whole history of science. 4. That the philosophical argument so well put by Mr. Lecky and Mr. Tylor, rests on false or unproved assumptions, and is therefore valueless.
In conclusion, I must again emphatically point out that the question I have been here discussing is--in no way, whether miracles are true or false, or whether modern Spiritualism rests upon a basis of fact or of delusion,but solely, whether the arguments that have hitherto been supposed conclusive against them have any weight or value. If I have shown—as I flatter myself I have donethat the arguments' which have been supposed to settle the general question so completely as to render it quite unnecessary to go into particular cases, are all utterly fallacious, then I shall have cleared the ground for the production of evidence; and no honest man desirous of arriving at truth will be able to evade an inquiry into the nature and amount of that evidence, by moving the previous question—that miracles are unprovable by any amount of human testimony. It is time that the “derisive and unexamining incredulity” which bas hitherto existed should give way to a less dogmatic and more philosophical spirit, or history will again have to record the melancholy spectacle of men, who should have known better, assuming to limit the discovery of new powers and agencies in the universe, and deciding, without investigation, whether other men's observations are true or false.
THE SCIENTIFIC ASPECT
In the following pages I have brought together a few examples of the evidence for facts usually deemed miraculous or supernatural, and therefore incredible; and I have prefixed to these some general considerations on the nature of miracle, and on the possibility that much which has been discredited as such is not really miraculous in the sense of implying any alteration of the laws of nature. In that sense I would repudiate miracles as entirely as the most thorough sceptic. It may be asked if I have myself seen any of the wonders narrated in the following pages. I answer that I have witnessed facts of a similar nature to some of them, and have satisfied myself of their genuineness; and therefore feel that I have no right to reject the evidence of still more marvellous facts witnessed by others.
• In Dr. Carpenter's recent work on "Mental Physiology” (p. 627), he refers to me, by name, as one of those who have “committed themselves to the extraordinary proposition, that if we admit the reality of the lower phenomena (Class I., defined as “those which are conformable to our previous knowledge,” &c.), the testimony which we accept as good for these ought to convince us of the higher (Classes II. and III., defined as “those which are in direct contrariety to our existing knowledge,” &c). As he inust refer to the above passage, and that eight lines further on, my readers will have an opportunity of judging of the accuracy of Dr. C.'s unqualified statement that I refer to different classes of facts, when my words are * facts of a similar nature.” It will be seen further on that I have
A single new and strạnge fact is, on its first announcement, often treated as a miracle, and not believed because it is contrary to the hitherto observed order of nature. Half a dozen such facts, however, constitute a little “ order of nature” for themselves. They may not be a whit more understood than at first; but they cease to be regarded as miracles. Thus it will be with the many thousands of facts of which I have culled a few examples here. If but one or two of them are proved to be real, the whole argument against the rest, of “impossibility” and “reversal of the laws of nature,” falls to the ground. I would ask any man desirous of knowing the truth, to read the following five works carefully through, and then say whether he can believe that the whole of the facts stated in them are to be explained by imposture or self-delusion. And let him remeniber that if but one or two of them are true, there ceases to be any strong presumption against the truth of the rest. These works are
1. Reichenbach's Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat, Light, &c., in their relations to the vital force. Translated by Dr. Gregory.
2. Dr. Gregory's Letters on Animal Magnetism.
3. R. Dale Owen's Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World.
4. Hare's Experimental Investigation of the Spirit Manifestations.
5. Home's Incidents of my Life. All these are easily obtained, except the 4th, which may be had from the publisher of this work.
witnessed numerous facts quite incredible to Dr. C., because “in direct contrariety to his existing knowledge,” but that other observers, whom I quote, have witnessed much more remarkable facts of the same class, which I therefore feel bound to accept on their testimony. This Dr. C. twists into an “extraordinary proposition ! "