“Taking the above into consideration, we do not see why the learned alchemists and physicists – physicists, we say – of the Mosaic period should not also have possessed the natural secret of developing in a few hours myriads of a kind of these bacteria, whose spores are found in the air, the water, and most vegetable and animal tissues.
The rod plays as important a part in the hands of Aaron and Moses as it did in all so-called “magic mummeries” of kabalist-magicians in the middle ages, that are now considered superstitious foolery and charlatanism. The rod of Paracelsus (his kabalistic trident) and the famous wands of Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, and Henry Kunrath, are no more to be ridiculed than the graduating-rod of our electro-magnetic physicians.
Things which appeared preposterous and impossible to the ignorant quacks and even learned scientists of the last century, now begin to assume the shadowy outlines of probability, and in many cases are accomplished facts. Nay, some learned quacks and ignorant scientists even begin to admit this truth.
In a fragment preserved by Eusebius, Porphyry, in his letter to Anebo, appeals to Choeremon, the “hierogrammatist”, to prove that the doctrine of the magic arts, whose adepts “could terrify even the gods”, was really countenanced by Egyptian sages.
Now, bearing in mind the rule of historical evidence propounded by Mr. Huxley, in his Nashville address, two conclusions present themselves with irresistible force: First, Porphyry, being in such unquestioned repute as a highly moral and honorable man, not given to exaggeration in his statements, was incapable of telling a lie about this matter, and did not lie, and second, that being so learned in every department of human knowledge about which he treats, it was most unlikely that he should be imposed upon as regards the magic “arts”, and he was not imposed upon.
Therefore, the doctrine of chances supporting the theory of Professor Huxley, compels us to believe, 1, That there was really such a thing as magic “arts”; and, 2, that they were known and practiced by the Egyptian magicians and priests, whom even Sir David Brewster concedes to have been men of profound scientific attainments.”
H. P. Blavatsky