“”Demokritus”, says Lucian, “believed in no (miracles), he applied himself to discover the method by which the theurgists could produce them; in a word, his philosophy brought him to the conclusion that magic was entirely confined to the application and the imitation of the laws and the works of nature.””
Now, the opinion of the “laughing philosopher” is of great importance to us, since the Magi left by Xerxes, at Abdera, were his instructors, and he had studied magic, moreover, for a considerably long time with the Egyptian priests. For nearly ninety years of the one hundred and nine of his life, the great philosopher had made experiments, and noted them down in a book, which according to Petronius, treated of nature, facts that he had verified himself. And we find him not only disbelieving in and utterly rejecting miracles, but asserting that every one of those that were authenticated by eye-witnesses, had, and could have taken place; for all, even the most incredible, was produced according to the “hidden laws of nature.”
“The day will never come, when any one of the propositions of Euclid will be denied”, says Professor Draper, exalting the Aristoteleans at the expense of the Pythagoreans and Platonists. Shall we, in such a case, disbelieve a number of well-informed authorities (Liempriere among others), who assert that the fifteen books of the Elements are not to be wholly attributed to Euclid; and that many of the most valuable truths and demonstrations contained in them owe their existence to Pythagoras, Thales, and Eudoxus?
That Euclid, notwithstanding his genius, was the first who reduced them to order, and only interwove theories of his own to render the whole a complete and connected system of geometry? And if these authorities are right, then it is again to that central sun of metaphysical science, Pythagoras and his school, that the moderns are indebted directly for such men as Eratosthenes, the world-famous geometer and cosmographer, Archimedes, and even Ptolemy, notwithstanding his obstinate errors.
Were it not for the exact science of such men, and for fragments of their works that they left us to base Galilean speculations upon, the great priests of the nineteenth century might find themselves, perhaps, still in the bondage of the Church; and philosophizing, in 1876, on the Augustine and Bedean cosmogony, the rotation of the canopy of heaven round the earth, and the majestic flatness of the latter.”
H. P. Blavatsky