isis unveiled: xii (forbidden ground)

“High above all other names in his Pantheon of Nihilism, Mr. Huxley writes that of David Hume. He esteems that philosopher’s great service to humanity to be his irrefragable demonstration of “the limits of philosophical inquiry”, outside which lie the fundamental doctrines “of spiritualism”, and other “isms”.

It is true that the tenth chapter of Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding was so highly esteemed by its author, that he considered that “with the wise and learned” it would be an “everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion”, which with him was simply a convertible term to represent belief in some phenomena previously unfamiliar and by him arbitrarily classified as miracle.

But, as Mr. Wallace justly observes, Hume’s apothegm, that “a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature”, is imperfect; for in the first place it assumes that we know all the laws of nature; and second, that an unusual phenomenon is a miracle. Mr. Wallace proposes that a miracle should be defined as: “any act or event necessarily implying the existence and agency of superhuman intelligences.”

Now Hume himself says that “a uniform experience amounts to a proof”, and Huxley, in this famous essay of his, admits that all we can know of the existence of the law of gravitation is that since, in all human experience, stones unsupported have fallen to the ground, there is no reason for believing that the same thing will not occur again, under the same circumstances, but, on the contrary, every reason to believe that it will.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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