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ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE,
OF NATURAL SELECTION,” ETC., ETO.
JAMES BURNS, 15 SOUTHAMPTON ROW.
“A presumptuous scepticism that rejects facts without examination of their truth, is, in some respects, more injurious than unquestioning credulity.”—HUMBOLDT.
“One good experiment is of more value than the ingenuity of a brain like Newton's. Facts are more useful when they contradict, than when they support, received theories.”—Sir HUMPHRY DAVY.
“The perfect sery in any department of
ce will have his eyes, as it were, opened, that they may be struck at once by any occurrence which, according to received theories, ought not to happen, for these are the facts which serve as clues to new discoveries."-Sir John HERSCHELL.
“Before experience itself can be used with advantage, there is one preliminary step to make which depends wholly on ourselves: it is, the absolute dismissal and clearing the mind of all prejudice, and the determination to stand or fall by the result of a direct appeal to facts in the first instance, and of strict logical deduction from them afterwards." —Sir JOHN HERSCHELL.
“With regard to the miracle question, I can only say that the word 'impossible' is not, to my mind, applicable to matters of philosophy. That the possibilities of nature are infinite is an aphorism with which I am wont to worry my friends.”—Professor HUXLEY.
THE Essays which form this volume were written at different times and for different purposes. The first in order (though not the earliest in date) was read before the Dialectical Society, with the intention of inducing sceptics to reconsider the fundamental question of the inherent credibility or incredibility of Miracles. The second was written more than eight years ago for the pages of a Secularist periodical, and a very limited number of copies printed, chiefly for private circulation. The third is the article which recently appeared in the Fortnightly Review. All have been carefully revised, and considerable additions have been made of illustrative fact, argument, and personal experience, together with a few critical remarks on Dr. Carpenter's latest work.
As the two latter Essays were each intended to give a general view of the same subject, there is necessarily some repetition in the matters treated of, and the same authorities are in many cases quoted; but it is believed that no actual repetition of details will be found, care having been taken to introduce new facts and fresh illustrations, so that the one Essay will be found to supplement and support the other,