Moreover, other millions of stars are brought to light by the negative, which are too distant or dim to be visible with any telescopic powers yet attained a fact which wholly discredits all previous inferences as to the limits of our sidereal system.
In these pursuits I had passed the larger part of my half-century of existence, as yet with little satisfaction. It was on the morning of my fiftieth birthday that the solution of the great problem I had sought so long came to me as a simple formula, with a few grand but obvious inferences.
Deduction, as we have seen, consists of a series of inferences in this form—a is a mark of b, b of c, c of d, therefore a is a mark of d, which last may be a truth inaccessible to direct observation. In like manner it is allowable to say, Suppose that a were a mark of b, b of c, and c of d, a would be a mark of d, which last conclusion was not thought of by those who laid down the premisses.
Hence, among other inferences, the sacred Personage who is a priest for ever after Melchizedek's order, wholly independent of Levitical limits, must dominate and must supersede the order of the sons of Aaron with their inferior status and with their transitory lives.
Had the doctrine of souls no other origin than a false inference from the ordinary phenomena of sleeping and dreaming; were it in no sense an instinctive belief, suggested perhaps and confirmed by supernormal facts, it would still have interest for the anthropologist as one of those almost necessary and universal errors through which the human mind struggles to the truth, such as the errors of astrology or alchemy; but it would in no way contribute to the argument for immortality ex consensu hominum an argument of much avail when it is a case of man's instinctive judgments and primary intuitions, which are God-given, but of ever less value in proportion as there is a question of deductions, inferences, and self-formed judgments.
Purcell's teacher will be remembered long after the composer of anthems has been crowded out of biographical dictionaries. I have said that our knowledge of Purcell consists very largely of speculations, hypotheses and inferences. These have led the biographers into wasting some highly moral reflections on Purcell's early doings.
But as there is no certain method of solving these problems, we never have a right to say we have discovered all the hidden meanings or seized all the allusions contained in a text; and even when we think we have found the sense, we shall do well to draw no inferences from a necessarily conjectural interpretation.
'Tis a composition, indeed, of very incongruous materials, but all tending to mischief some of them to the overthrow of the government, by stripping it of its due energies; others of them to a revolution after the manner of Bonaparte. I speak from indubitable facts, not from conjectures and inferences.
Inferences of a constitutional sort are hardly warranted by the character of our evidence regarding this quarrel, but the facts which we know seem to imply that even so powerful and arbitrary a king as William Rufus could not carry out a matter on which his heart was so set as this without some pretence of legal right to support him, at least in the case of so high a subject as the Archbishop of Canterbury; and that the barons of the kingdom, with the law on their side, were able to hold the king's will in check.
Besides, the time may come when no inconvenience will arise from minute descriptions of the objects which I now saw, and of the reasonings and inferences which they suggested to my understanding.