Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/178

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166
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

this statement, made with much solemnity, deeply impressed the soldiers ; they took the medicine eagerly, and great numbers recovered rapidly. Again, two centuries later, young Humphry Davy, being employed to apply the bulb of the thermometer to the tongues of certain patients at Bristol, after they had inhaled various gases as a cure for disease, and finding that the patients supposed this application of the thermometer-bulb was the cure, finally wrought cures by this application alone, without any use of the gases whatever. Innumerable cases of this sort have thrown a flood of light upon such cures as those wrought by Prince Hohenlohe, by the " metallic tractors," and by a multitude of other agencies temporarily in vogue, but, above all, upon the miraculous cures which in past ages have been so frequent and of which a few survive.

The second department is that of Hypnotism. Within the last half -century many scattered indications have been collected and supplemented by thoughtful, patient investigators of genius, and especially by Braid in England and Charcot in France. Here too great inroads have been made upon the province hitherto sacred to miracle, and in 1888 the cathedral preacher, Steigenberger of Augsburg, sounded an alarm. He declared his fears "lest ac- credited church miracles lose their hold upon the public," de- nounced hypnotism as a doctrine of demons, and ended with the singular argument that, " inasmuch as hypnotism is avowedly incapable of explaining all the wonders of history, it is idle to consider it at all." But investigations in hypnotism, still go on, and are to do much in the twentieth century to carry the world yet farther from the realm of the miraculous.

Finally, in a third field science has won a striking series of victories. Bacteriology, beginning in the researches of Leeuwen- hoek in the seventeenth century, continued by O. F. Muller in the eighteenth, and developed or applied with wonderful power by Ehrenberg, Cohn, Pasteur, Koch, Lister, Billings, and their com- peers in the nineteenth, has explained the origin, and proposed prevention or cure, for various diseases widely prevailing, which until recently have been generally held to be " inscrutable provi- dences."

In summing up the history of this long struggle between Science and Theology two main facts are to be noted : First, that in proportion as the world approached the " Ages of Faith " it re- ceded from ascertained truth, and in proportion as the world has receded from the " Ages of Faith " it has approached ascertained truth ; secondly, that in proportion as the grasp of theology upon education tightened medicine declined, and in proportion as that grasp has relaxed medicine has been developed.

The world is hardly beyond the beginning of medical discov-