“There is still another possible hypothesis, that of its being the result of some unknown natural cause; and this possibility cannot be so completely shut out as to leave no alternative but that of admitting the existence and intervention of a being superior to nature.”
This is the very point which we have sought to bring home to our logicians and physicists. As Mr. Mill himself says, “We cannot admit a proposition as a law of nature, and yet believe a fact in real contradiction to it. We must disbelieve the alleged fact, or believe that we were mistaken in admitting the supposed law.”
Mr. Hume cites the “firm and unalterable experience” of mankind, as establishing the laws whose operation ipso facto makes miracles impossible. The difficulty lies in his use of the adjective which is italicized, for this is an assumption that our experience will never change, and that, as a consequence, we will always have the same experiments and observations upon which to base our judgment. It also assumes that all philosophers will have the same facts to reflect upon. It also entirely ignores such collected accounts of philosophical experiment and scientific discovery as we may have been temporarily deprived of.
Thus, by the burning of the Alexandrian Library and the destruction of Nineveh, the world has been for many centuries without the necessary data upon which to estimate the real knowledge, esoteric and exoteric, of the ancients.
But, within the past few years, the discovery of the Rosetta stone, the Ebers, d’Aubigney, Anastasi, and other papyri, and the exhumation of the tile-libraries, have opened a field of archaeological research which is likely to lead to radical changes in this “firm and unalterable experience.”
The author of Supernatural Religion justly observes that “a person who believes anything contradictory to a complete induction, merely on the strength of an assumption which is incapable of proof, is simply credulous; but such an assumption cannot affect the real evidence for that thing.””
H. P. Blavatsky