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The following extract is from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I'd like to know why the present-tense verb "is" rather than the past-tense "was" is used:

If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to explain to me, that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded, and that a modern system of science had been introduced, which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, because the powers of the latter were chimerical, while those of the former were real and practical; under such circumstances, I should certainly have thrown Agrippa aside, and have contented my imagination, warmed as it was, by returning with greater ardour to my former studies. It is even possible, that the train of my ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin.

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It's talking about what may be true now, about a past occurrence.

It is possible that the universe started with a "big bang".

Now, that's as far past as you can get, but we still use a present tense "is possible" to describe the present possibility that that is what happened in the past.

If you say "was possible", you are suggesting that it is no longer possible.

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