From reaching the present time; but, beyond doubt, most branches of knowledge contributed their wonders to the magician's budget. Magic might be called the science of superstition, or the

" philosophy of the unknown'. The Magi, a hereditary caste of Persian priests, first practised it in any systematic form. In the Bible we find soothsaying and sorcery denounced as magic ; and the foretelling of the birth of Christ by the Wise Men of the East is a foremost illustration. Now-a-days we find the necromancy of the Greeks— the consultation of ghosts for prophecy—and the Chinese practice of receiving oracles from mediums and from the "descending pencil" imitated by the Spiritualists. Shakespeare introduces real magic recipes for the witches' cauldron in " Macbeth ;" and the instances of public divination by the Church of England, when general prayer for the victory of British bayonets against savage souls is indulged in, is of no higher order than the superstition of the stranger in the tea-cup, or absolute belief in faith-healing. At first, the priests were the magicians, and the researches of Tylor, as contained in his " Primitive Culture," tend to prove the association of ideas, which accounts for the development of magic ,as Fontenelle declares myth developed, in the loweststate of a race's history. When magic became separated from religion, we find the distinction of " Black " and" White."

 

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Magic & Mystery, a Popular History - A Thompson 1894

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