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Lives of the Necromancers
William Godwin

Page 1 of 550


The improvements that have been effected in natural philosophy have by
degrees convinced the enlightened part of mankind that the material
universe is every where subject to laws, fixed in their weight,
measure and duration, capable of the most exact calculation, and which
in no case admit of variation and exception.  Whatever is not thus to
be accounted for is of mind, and springs from the volition of some
being, of which the material form is subjected to our senses, and the
action of which is in like manner regulated by the laws of matter.
Beside this, mind, as well as matter, is subject to fixed laws; and
thus every phenomenon and occurrence around us is rendered a topic for
the speculations of sagacity and foresight.  Such is the creed which
science has universally prescribed to the judicious and reflecting
among us. 

It was otherwise in the infancy and less mature state of human
knowledge.  The chain of causes and consequences was yet unrecognized;
and events perpetually occurred, for which no sagacity that was then

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