Popular Science Monthly/Volume 42/January 1893/New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Chemistry and Physics II

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 42 January 1893  (1893) 
New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Chemistry and Physics II
By Andrew Dickson White
Last in series
 
 

THE

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY.



JANUARY, 1893.



NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

XVIII.—FROM MAGIC TO CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS.

By ANDREW DICKSON WHITE, LL.D., L. H. D.,
EX-PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
PART II.

WE have seen thus far, first, how such men as Eusebius, Lactantius, and their compeers, discouraged scientific investigation as futile; next, how such men as Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the multitude who followed them, turned the main current of mediæval thought from science to theology; and, finally, how such Church authorities as Popes John XXII and Innocent VIII, and the heads of the great religious orders, endeavored to crush what was left of scientific research as dangerous.

Yet, injurious as all this was to the evolution of science, there was developed something far more destructive; and this was the influence of mystic theology, penetrating, permeating, sterilizing nearly every branch of science for hundreds of years. Among the forms taken by this development in the earlier middle ages we find a mixture of physical science with a pseudo-science obtained from texts of Scripture. In compounding this mixture, Jews and Christians vied with each other. In this process the sacred books were used as a fetich; every word, every letter, being considered to have a divine and hidden meaning. By combining various scriptural letters in various abstruse ways, new words of prodigious significance in magic were obtained, and among them the great word embracing the seventy-two mystical names of God—the mighty word "Schemhamphoras." Why should men seek knowledge by observation and experiment in the book of Nature, when the book of Revelation opened such treasures to the ingenious believer?

So, too, we have ancient mystical theories of number which the theological spirit had made Christian, usurping an enormous place in mediæval science. The sacred power of the number three was seen in the Trinity; in the three main divisions of the universe—the empyrean, the heavens, and the earth; in the three angelic hierarchies; in the three choirs of seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; in the three of dominions, virtues, and powers; in the three of principalities, archangels, and angels; in the three orders in the Church—bishops, priests, and deacons; in the three classes—the baptized, the communicants, and the monks; in the three degrees of attainment—light, purity, and knowledge; in the three theological virtues—faith, hope, and charity—and in much else. All this was brought into a theologico-scientific relation, then and afterward, with the three dimensions of space; with the three divisions of time—past, present, and future; with the three realms of the visible world—sky, earth, and sea; with the three constituents of man—body, soul, and spirit; with the threefold enemies of man—the flesh, the world, and the devil; with the three kingdoms in Nature—mineral, vegetable, and animal; with "the three colors"—red, yellow, and blue; with "the three eyes of the honey-bee"—and with a multitude of other analogues equally precious. The sacred power of the number seven was seen in the seven golden candlesticks and the seven churches in the Apocalypse; in the seven cardinal virtues and the seven deadly sins; in the seven liberal arts and the seven devilish arts, and, above all, in the seven sacraments. And as this proved in astrology that there could be only seven planets, so it proved in alchemy that there must be exactly seven metals in the electrum magicum. The twelve apostles were connected with the twelve signs in the zodiac, and with much in physical science. The seventy-two disciples, the seventy-two interpreters of the Old Testament, the seventy-two mystical names of God, were connected with the supposed fact in anatomy that there were seventy-two joints in the human frame.

Then, too, there were revived such theologic and metaphysical substitutes for scientific thought as the declaration that the perfect line is a circle, and hence that the planets must move in absolute circles—a statement which led astronomy astray even when the great truths of the Copernican theory were well in sight; also, the declaration that Nature abhors a vacuum, a statement which led physics astray until Torricelli made his experiments.

In chemistry we have the same theologic tendency to magic, and as a result a muddle of science and theology, which from one point of view seems blasphemous, and from another idiotic, but which none the less sterilized the field of physical investigation for ages. That debased Platonism which had been such an important factor in the evolution of Christian theology from the earliest days of the Church continued its work. As everything in inorganic Nature was supposed to have spiritual significance, the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation were turned into an argument in behalf of the philosopher's stone: arguments for the scheme of redemption and for transubstantiation suggested others of similar construction to prove the transmutation of metals; the doctrine of the resurrection of the human body was by similar mystic jugglery connected with the processes of distillation and sublimation. Even after the middle ages were past strong men seem unable to break away from such reasoning as this;—among them such leaders as Basil Valentine in the fifteenth century, Agricola in the sixteenth, and Van Helmont in the seventeenth.

The greatest theologians aided in developing the fetichism in which much of this pseudo-science was grounded. One question largely discussed was, whether at the redemption it was necessary for God to take the human form. Thomas Aquinas answered that it was necessary, but William Occam and Duns Scotus answered that it was not; that God might have taken the form of a stone, or of a log, or of a beast. The possibilities opened to wild substitutes for science by this sort of reasoning were infinite. Men have often wondered how it was that the Arabians accomplished so much in scientific discovery as compared with Christian investigators: the reason is not far to seek; the Arabians were comparatively free from these mystic allurements, these theologic modes of thought which in Christian Europe flickered in the air on all sides, luring men into paths which led no-whither.

Strong investigators like Arnold de Villanova, Raimond Lully, Basil Valentine, Paracelsus, and their compeers, were thus drawn far out of the only paths which led to fruitful truths. In a work generally ascribed to Arnold of Villanova, the student is told that in mixing his chemicals he must repeat the psalm Exsurge Domine, and that on certain chemical vessels must be placed the last words of Jesus on the cross. Vincent de Beauvais insists that as the Bible declares that Noah, when five hundred years old, had children born to him, he must have possessed alchemical means of preserving life; and much later Dickinson insists that the patriarchs generally must have owed their long lives to such means. It was loudly declared that the reality of the philosopher's stone was proved by the words of St. John in the Revelation, "To the victor I will give a white stone." The reasonableness of seeking to develop gold out of the baser metals was for many generations based upon the doctrine of the resurrection of the physical body, which, though explicitly denied by St. Paul, had become a part of the creed of the Church. Martin Luther was especially drawn to believe in the alchemistic doctrine of transmutation by this analogy. The Bible was everywhere used, both among Protestants and Catholics, in support of these mystic adulterations of science, and one writer, as late as 1751, based his alchemistic arguments on more than a hundred passages of Scripture. As an example of this sort of reasoning, we have a proof that the elect will preserve the philosopher's stone until the last judgment, drawn from a passage in St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, "This treasure have we in earthen vessels."

The greatest thinkers devoted themselves to adding new ingredients to this strange mixture of scientific and theologic thought; the Catholic philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, the Protestant mysticism of Jacob Boehme, and the alchemistic reveries of Basil Valentine were all cast into this seething mass.

And when alchemy in its old form had been discredited, we find scriptural arguments no less perverse and even comical used on the other side. As an example of this, just before the great discoveries by Stahl, we find the valuable scientific efforts of Becher opposed with the following syllogism: "King Solomon, according to the Scriptures, possessed the united wisdom of heaven and earth; but King Solomon knew nothing about alchemy (or chemistry in the form which then existed), and sent his vessels to Ophir to seek gold, and levied taxes upon his subjects; ergo alchemy (or chemistry) has no reality or truth." And we find that Becher is absolutely turned away from his labors, and obliged to devote himself to proving that Solomon used more money than he possibly could have obtained from Ophir or his subjects, and therefore that he must have possessed a knowledge of chemical methods and the philosopher's stone as the result of them.[1]

Of the general reasoning enforced by theology regarding physical science, every age has shown examples; yet out of them all I will select but two, and I present these because they show how this mixture of theological with scientific ideas took hold upon the strongest supporters of better reasoning even after the power of mediæval theology seemed broken.

The first of these examples is Melanchthon. He was the scholar of the Reformation, and justly won the title "Preceptor of Germany"; his mind was singularly open, his sympathies broad, and his freedom from bigotry drew down upon him that wrath of Protestant heresy-hunters which embittered the last years of his life and tortured him upon his death-bed. During his career at the University of Wittenberg he gave a course of lectures on physics. In this he dwells upon scriptural texts as affording scientific proofs, accepts the interference of the devil in physical phenomena as in other directions, and applies the mediaeval theological method throughout his whole work.[2]

Yet far more remarkable was the example, a century later, of the man who more than any other led the modern world out of the path opened by Aquinas, and into that which Roger Bacon had sought to open and which has led modern thought to its greatest conquests. Strange as it may at first seem, Francis Bacon, whose keenness of sight revealed the delusions of the old path and the promises of the new, and whose boldness did so much to turn the world from the old path into the new, presents in his own writings one of the most striking examples of the evil he did so much to destroy.

The Novum Organon, considering the time when it came from his pen, is doubtless one of the greatest exhibitions of genius in the history of human thought. It showed the modern world the way out of the scholastic method and reverence for dogma into the experimental method and reverence for fact. In it occur many passages which show that the great philosopher was fully alive to the danger both to religion and to science arising from their mixture. He declares that the "corruption of philosophy from superstition and theology introduced the greatest amount of

evil both into whole systems of philosophy and into their parts." He denounces those who "have endeavored to found a natural philosophy on the books of Genesis and Job and other sacred Scriptures, so 'seeking the dead among the living.' "He speaks of the result as "an unwholesome mixture of things, human and divine; not merely fantastic philosophy, but heretical religion." He refers to the opposition of the fathers to the doctrine of the rotundity of the earth, and says that "thanks to some of them, you may find the approach to any kind of philosophy, however improved, entirely closed up." He charges that some of these divines are "afraid lest perhaps a deeper inquiry into Nature should penetrate beyond the allowed limits of sobriety"; and finally speaks of theologians as sometimes craftily conjecturing that if science be little understood, "each single thing can be referred more easily to the hand and rod of God," and says, "This is nothing more nor less than wishing to please God by a lie."

No man who has reflected much upon the annals of his race can, without a feeling of awe, come into the presence of such clearness of insight and boldness of utterance, and the first thought of the reader is, that of all men Francis Bacon is the most free from the unfortunate bias he condemns; that he, certainly, can not be deluded into the old path. But as we go on through his main work we are surprised to find that the strong arm of Aquinas has been stretched over the intervening ages, and has laid hold upon this master-thinker of the seventeenth century. For only a few chapters beyond those containing the citations already made we find Bacon alluding to the recent voyage of Columbus, and speaking of the prophecy of Daniel regarding the latter days, that "many shall run to and fro and knowledge be increased," as clearly signifying "that . . . the circumnavigation of the world and the increase of science should happen in the same age."[3]

In his great work on the Advancement of Learning the firm grasp which the methods he condemned held upon him is shown yet more clearly. In the first book of it he asserts "that excellent book of Job, if it be revolved with diligence, will be found pregnant and swelling with natural philosophy," and he endeavors to show that in it the "roundness of the earth," the "fixing of the stars, ever standing at equal distances," the "depression of the southern pole," the "matter of generation," and "matter of minerals" are "with great elegancy noted." But, curiously enough, he uses to support some of these truths the very texts which the fathers of the Church used to destroy them, and those for which finds Scripture warrant most clearly are such as science has since disproved. So, too, he says that Solomon was enabled in his Proverbs, "by donation of God, to compile a natural history of all verdure."[4]

We have now seen how powerless were the strongest men in physical science, singly, in this struggle against theology and ecclesiasticism, and it may be well to study briefly their efforts after they had learned to combine in societies and academies against the common enemy. In the latter half of the sixteenth century, John Baptist Porta began his investigations, and despite much absurdity they were fruitful. His was not "black magic," claiming the aid of Satan, but "white magic" bringing into service the laws of Nature—the precursor of applied science. His book on Meteorology was the first in which sound ideas were broached on that subject; his researches in optics gave the world the camera obscura, and possibly the telescope; in chemistry he seems to have been the first to show how to reduce the metallic oxides, and thus to have laid the foundation of all those industries based upon the coloring and staining of glass and enamels; he did much to change natural philosophy from a "black art" to a vigorous open science. He encountered the old policy of conscientious men; the society founded by him for physical research, "I Secreti," was broken up, and he was summoned to Rome by Pope Paul III and forbidden to continue his investigations.

In 1624 some young chemists of Paris, having taught the experimental method and cut loose from Aristotle, the Faculty of Theology beset the Parliament of Paris, and the Parliament prohibited this new chemical teaching, under penalty of death.

The same war continued in Italy. In 1657 occurred the first sitting of the Accademia del Cimento at Florence, under the presidency of Prince Leopold dei Medici. This Academy promised great things for science; it was open to all talent; its only fundamental law was "the repudiation of any favorite system or sect of philosophy, and the obligation to investigate Nature by the pure light of experiment"; it entered into scientific investigations with energy. Borelli in mathematics, Redi in natural history, and many others pushed on the boundaries of knowledge. Heat, light, magnetism, electricity, projectiles, digestion, the incompressibility of water, were studied by the right method and with results that enriched the world.

The Academy was a fortress of science, and siege was soon laid to it. The votaries of scholastic learning denounced it as irreligious; quarrels were fomented; Leopold was bribed with a cardinal's hat and drawn away to Rome; and, after ten years of beleaguering, the fortress fell: Borelli was left a beggar; Oliva killed himself in despair.

So, too, the noted Academy of the Lincei at times incurred the ill-will of the papacy by the very fact that it included thoughtful investigators. It was "patronized" by Pope Urban VIII in such manner as to paralyze it, and it was afterward vexed by Pope Gregory XVI; even in our own time sessions of scientific associations were discouraged and thwarted by Pope Pius IX.[5]

Such was the struggle of the physical sciences in general. Let us now look briefly at one special example out of many, which reveals, as well as any, the beginning, continuance, and end of theological interference with the evolution of them.

It will doubtless seem amazing to many that for ages the weight of theological thought in Christendom was thrown against the idea of the suffocating properties of certain gases, and especially of carbonic acid. Although in antiquity we see men forming a right theory of gases in mines, we find that, early in the history of the Church, St. Clement of Alexandria put forth, the theory that these gases are manifestations of diabolic action, and that, throughout Christendom, suffocation in caverns, wells, and cellars was attributed to the direct action of evil spirits. Evidences of this view abound through the mediæval period, and even as late as the Reformation period a great authority, Agricola, one of the most earnest and truthful of investigators, still adheres to the belief that these gases in mines are manifestations of devils, and specifies two classes—one of malignant imps, who blow out the miners' lamps, and the other of friendly imps, who simply tease the workmen in various ways. He goes so far as to tell us that one of these spirits in the Saxon mine of Annaberg destroyed twelve workmen at once by the power of his breath.

At the end of the sixteenth century we find a writer on mineralogy complaining that the mines in France and Germany had been in large part abandoned on account of the "evil spirits of metals which had taken possession of them."

But at various periods glimpses of the truth had been gained. The ancient view had not been entirely forgotten; and as far back as the first part of the thirteenth century Albert the Great suggested a natural cause in the possibility of exhalations from minerals causing a "corruption of the air"; but he, as we have seen, was driven or dragged off into theological studies, and the world relapsed into the theological view.

Toward the end of the fifteenth century there came a great genius laden with important truths in chemistry, but for whom the world was not ready—Basil Valentine. His discoveries anticipated much that has brought fame and fortune to chemists since, yet so fearful of danger was he that his work was carefully concealed. Not until after his death was his treatise on alchemy found, and even then it was for a long time not known where and when he lived. The papal bull, Spondent pariter, and the various prohibitions it bred, forcing other alchemists to conceal their laboratories, led him to let himself be known during his life at Erfurt simply as an apothecary, and to wait until after his death to make a revelation of truth, which during his lifetime might have cost him dear. Among the legacies of this greatest of the alchemists was the doctrine that the air which asphyxiates workers in mines is similar to that which is produced by fermentation of malt, and a recommendation that in order to drive away the evil and to prevent serious accidents, fires be lighted and jets of steam used to ventilate the mines, laying stress especially upon the idea that the danger in the mines is produced by "exhalations of metals."

Thanks to men like Valentine, this idea of the interference of Satan and his minions with the mining industry was gradually weakened, and the working of the deserted mines was resumed; yet, even at a comparatively recent period, we find it still lingering, and among leading divines in the very heart of Protestant Germany. In 1715 a cellar-digger having been stifled at Jena, the medical faculty of the university decided that the cause was not the direct action of the devil, but a deadly gas. Thereupon Prof. Loescher, of the University of Wittenberg, entered a solemn protest, declaring that the decision of the medical faculty was "only a proof of the lamentable license which has so taken possession of us, and which, if we are not earnestly on our guard, will finally turn away from us the blessing of God."[6] But denunciations of this kind could not hold back the little army of science. In the last half of the eighteenth century Black, Priestley, and especially Bergmann, rooted out the very foundations of the whole theologic theory, and one more phantom which had long troubled the earth was at last driven forth forever.[7]

Thus, in spite of adverse influences, the evolution of the physical sciences went on. More and more there rose men bold enough to break away from the theological method, and strong enough to resist the enticements or threats of ecclesiasticism. Alchemy in its first form, seeking for the philosopher's stone and the transmutation of metals, gave way to alchemy in its second form, seeking for the elixir of life and remedies more or less magical for disease; and this in turn yielded to the search for truth as truth. More and more the "solemnly constituted impostors" were resisted in every field. A great line of physicists and chemists began to appear. Though theological modes of reasoning continued to sterilize much effort in chemistry down to our own century, more and more the old influence was thrown off; more and more truth was sought as truth; less and less science was bent to aid in the alleged "saving of souls." "Black magic" with its satanic apparatus vanished, only reappearing occasionally among miracle-mongers and belated theologians. "White magic" became legerdemain.[8]

In our own time some attempt has been made to renew this war against the physical sciences. Joseph de Maistre, uttering his hatred of them, declaring that mankind has paid too dearly for them, asserting that they must be subjected to theology, likening them to fire—good when confined and dangerous when scattered about—has been one of the main leaders among those who can not relinquish the idea that our body of sacred literature should be kept a controlling text-book of science. The only effect of such, teachings has been to weaken the legitimate hold of religion upon men.

In Catholic countries the effort has been of late years mainly confined to excluding science or diluting it in university teachings. Early in the present century a great effort was made by Ferdinand VII of Spain. He simply dismissed the scientific professors from the University of Salamanca, and until a recent period there has been general exclusion from Spanish universities of professors holding to the Newtonian physics. So, too, the contemporary Emperor of Austria attempted indirectly something of the same sort; and at a still later period Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX discouraged, if they did not forbid, the meetings of scientific associations in Italy. In France, war between theology and science, which had long been smoldering, came in the years 1867 and 1868 to an outbreak. Toward the end of the last century, after the Church had held possession of advanced instruction for more than a thousand years, and had, so far as it was able, kept experimental science in servitude—after it had humiliated Buffon in natural science, thrown its weight against Newton in the physical sciences, and wrecked Turgot's noble plans for a system of public instruction—the French nation decreed the establishment of the most thorough and complete system of higher instruction in science ever known. It was kept under lay control, and became one of the glories of France; but, emboldened by the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815, the Church began to undermine this hated system, and in 1868 had made such progress that all was ready for the final assault.

Foremost among the leaders of the besieging party was the Bishop of Orleans, Dupanloup, a man of many winning characteristics and of great oratorical power. In various ways, and especially in an open letter, he had fought the "materialism" of science at Paris, and especially were his attacks leveled at Profs. Vulpian and Sée, and the Minister of Public Instruction, Duruy, a man of great merit, whose only crime was devotion to the improvement of education, and to the promotion of the highest research in science.[9]

The main attack was made rather upon biological science than upon physics and chemistry, yet it was clear that all were involved together.

The first onslaught was made in the French Senate, and the storming party in that body was led by a venerable and conscientious prelate, Cardinal de Bonnechose, Archbishop of Rouen. It was charged by him and his party that the tendencies of the higher scientific teaching at Paris were fatal to religion and morality. Heavy missiles were hurled—such phrases as "sapping the foundations," etc., "breaking down the bulwarks," etc., and, withal, a new missile was used with much effect—the epithet "materialist."

The results can be easily guessed: crowds came to the lecture-rooms of the attacked professors, and the lecture-room of Prof. See, the chief offender, was crowded to suffocation.

A siege was begun in due form. A young physician was sent by the cardinal's party into the heterodox camp as a spy. Having heard one lecture of Prof. See, he returned with information that seemed to promise easy victory to the besieging party; he brought a terrible statement—one that seemed enough to overwhelm Sée, Vulpian, Duruy, and the whole hated system of public instruction in France—the statement that Sée had denied the existence of the human soul.

Good Cardinal Bonnechose seized the tremendous weapon. Rising in his place in the Senate, he launched a most eloquent invective against the Minister of State who could protect such a fortress of impiety as the College of Medicine; and, as a climax, he asserted, on the evidence of his spy fresh from Prof. See's lecture-room, that the professor had declared, in his lecture of the day before, that so long as he had the honor to hold his professorship he would combat the false idea of the existence of the soul. The weapon seemed resistless, and the wound fatal; but M. Duruy rose and asked to be heard.

His statement was simply that he held in his hand documentary proofs that Prof. Sée never made such a declaration. He held the notes used by Prof. Sée in his lecture. Prof. Sée, it appeared, belonged to a school in medical science which combated certain ideas regarding medicine as an art. The inflamed imagination of the cardinal's heresy-hunting emissary had, as the lecture notes proved, led him to mistake the word "art" for "áme" and to exhibit Prof. Sée as treating a theological when he was discussing a purely scientific question. Of the existence of the soul the professor had said nothing.

The forces of the enemy were immediately turned; they retreated in confusion, amid the laughter of all France; and a quiet, dignified statement as to the rights of scientific instructors by Wurtz, Dean of the Faculty, completed their discomfiture. Thus a well-meant attempt to check science simply ended in bringing ridicule on religion, and thrusting still deeper into the minds of thousands of men that most mistaken of all mistaken ideas—the conviction that religion and science are enemies.[10]

But justice forbids raising an outcry against Roman Catholicism alone for this. In 1864 a number of excellent men in England drew up a declaration to be signed by students in the natural sciences, expressing "sincere regret that researches into scientific truth are perverted by some in our time into occasion for casting doubt upon the truth and authenticity of the Holy Scriptures." Nine tenths of the leading scientific men of England refused to sign it; nor was this all: Sir John Herschel, Sir John Bowring, and Sir W. R. Hamilton administered, through the press, castigations which roused general indignation against the proposers of the circular, and Prof. De Morgan, by a parody, covered memorial and memorialists with ridicule. It was the old mistake, and the old result followed in the minds of multitudes of thoughtful young men.[11]

And in yet another Protestant country this same mistake was made. In 1868 several excellent churchmen in Prussia thought it their duty to meet for the denunciation of "science falsely so called." Two results followed: upon the great majority of these really self-sacrificing men—whose first utterances showed complete ignorance of the theories they attacked—there came quiet and wide-spread contempt; upon Pastor Knak, who stood forth and proclaimed views of the universe which he thought scriptural, but which most school-boys knew to be childish, came a burst of good-natured derision from every quarter of the German nation.[12]

Warfare of this sort against science seems petty indeed; but it is to be guarded against in Protestant countries not less than in Catholic; it breaks out in America not less than in Europe. Do conscientious Roman bishops in France labor to keep all advanced scientific instruction under their own control—in their own universities and colleges; so do many not less conscientious Protestant clergymen in our own country insist that advanced education in science and literature shall be kept under control in their own sectarian universities and colleges, wretchedly one-sided in their development, and miserably inadequate in their equipment: did a leading Spanish university, until a recent period, exclude professors holding the Newtonian theory; so have many leading American colleges excluded professors holding the Darwinian theory: have Catholic colleges in Italy rejected excellent candidates for professorships on account of "unsafe" views regarding

the immaculate conception; so have Protestant colleges in America frequently rejected excellent candidates on account of "unsafe" views regarding the apostolic succession, or the incarnation, or baptism, or the perseverance of the saints.

And how has all this system resulted? In the older nations, by natural reaction, these colleges, under strict ecclesiastical control, have sent forth the most bitter enemies the Christian Church has ever known—of whom Voltaire and Renan and Saint-Beuve are types; and there are many signs that the same causes are to produce the same results in our own country.

I might allude to other battle-fields in our own land and time. I might show how, twenty years ago, attempts to meet the want in a great American State of an institution providing higher scientific instruction, were met with loud outcries from many excellent men, who feared injury thereby to religion; and how in various other States, at various times since, the same feeling has been shown. Happily, leading men at the centers of Christian thought in many countries are now taking a larger and better view: but I again point to the recent driving out of the Darwinian professors from the American college at Beirut, under the direction of American Protestants, as an evidence that the old spirit still exists; no longer, indeed, seriously injurious to science, but deeply injurious to religion.[13]

 


 
It was the purpose of Prof. Max Müller's inaugural address as President of the International Oriental Congress to show that the break that now appears in the continuity of thought between the East and West did not exist from the beginning, and that in prehistoric times language really formed a bond of union between the ancestors of many of the Eastern and Western nations; and that more recent discoveries have proved that, in historic times also, language, which seemed to separate the great nations of antiquity, never so completely separated the most important among them as to make intellectual commerce and exchange among them impossible. To have established these two facts, Prof. Müller claims, constitutes one of the greatest achievements and highest glories of Oriental scholarship.
  1. For an extract from Agrippa's Occulta Philosophia giving examples of the way in which mystical names were obtained from the Bible, see Rydberg, Magic of the Middle Ages, pp. 143 et seq. For the germs of many mystic beliefs regarding number and the like, which were incorporated into mediæval theology, see Zeller, Plato and the Older Academy, English translation pp. 254 and 572, and elsewhere. As to the connection of spiritual things with inorganic Nature in relation to chemistry, see Eicken, p. 634. On the injury to science wrought by Platonism acting through mediæval theology, see Hoefer, Histoire de la Chimie, vol. i, p. 90. As to the influence of mysticism upon strong men in science, see Hoefer; also Kopp, Geschichte der Alchemie, vol. i, p. 211. For a very curious Catholic treatise on sacred numbers, see the Abbé Auber, Symbolisme Religieux, Paris, 1870; and for an equally important Protestant work, see Samuell, Seven the Sacred Number, London, 1887. It is interesting to note that the latter writer, having been forced to give up the seven planets, consoles himself with the statement that "The earth is the seventh planet, counting from Neptune and calling the asteroids one" (see p. 426). For the electrum magicum, the seven metals composing it, and its wonderful qualities, see extracts from Paracelsus's writings in Hartman's Life of Paracelsus, London, 1887, pp. 169 et seq. For Basil Valentine's view, see Hoefer, vol. i. pp. 453-465; Schmieder, Geschichte der Alchemie, pp. 197-209; Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, article Basilius. For the discussions referred to on possibilities of God assuming forms of stone, or log, or beast, see Lippert, Christenthum, Volksglaube, und Volksbrauch, pp. 372, 373, where citations are given, etc. For the syllogism regarding Solomon, see Figuier, L'Alchemie et les Alchemistes, pp. 106, 107. For careful appreciation of Becher's position in the history of chemistry, see Kopp, Ansichten über die Aufgabe der Chemie, etc., von Geber bis Stahl, Braunschweig, 1875, pp. 201 et seq. For the text proving the existence of the philosopher's stone from the book of Revelation, see Figuier, p. 22.
  2. For Melanchthon's ideas on physics, see his Initia Doctrinæ Physicæ, Wittenberg, 1557, especially pp. 243 and 274; also in vol. xiii of Bretschneider's edition of the collected works, and especially pp. 339-343.
  3. See the Novum Organon, translated by the Rev. G. W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1855, chaps. lxv and lxxxix.
  4. See Bacon, Advancement of Learning, edited by W. Aldis Wright, London, 1873. pp. 47, 48. Certainly no more striking examples of the strength of the evil which he had all along been denouncing could be exhibited than these in his own writings. Nothing better illustrates the sway of the mediæval theology, or better explains his blindness to the discoveries of Copernicus and to the experiments of Gilbert. For a very contemptuous statement of Lord Bacon's claim to his position as a philosopher, see Lange, Geschichte des Materialismus, Leipsic, 1874, vol. i, p. 219. For a more just statement, see Brewster, Life of Sir Isaac Newton. See, also Jevons, Principles of Science, London, 1814, vol. ii, p. 298.
  5. For Porta, see the English translation of his main summary, "Natural Magick," London, 1658. The first chapters are especially interesting, as showing what the word "magic" had come to mean in the mind of a man in whom mediæval and modern ideas were curiously mixed; see also Hoefer, Histoire de la Chimie, vol. ii, pp. 102-106; also Kopp; also Sprengel, Histoire de la Médecine, iii, p. 239; also Musset-Pathay. For the Accademia del Cimento, see Napier, Florentine History, yol. v, p. 485; Tiraboschi, Storia della Litteratura; Henri Martin, Histoire de France; Jevons, Principles of Science, vol. ii, pp. 36-40. For value attached to Borelli's investigations by Newton and Huygens, see Brewster's Life of Sir Isaac Newton, London, 1875, pp. 128, 129. Libri, in his Essai sur Galilée, p. 37, says that Oliva was summoned to Rome and so tortured by the Inquisition that, to escape further cruelty, he ended his life by throwing himself from a window. For interference by Pope Gregory XVI with the Academy of the Lincei, and with public instruction generally, see Carutti, Storia della Accademia dei Lincei, p. 126. Pius IX, with all his geniality, seems to have allowed his hostility to voluntary associations to carry him very far at times. For his answer to an application made through Lord Odo Russell regarding a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals and his answer that "such an association could not be sanctioned by the Holy See, being founded on a theological error, to wit, that Christians owed any duties to animals," see Frances Power Cobbe, Hopes of the Human Race, p. 207.
  6. For Loescher's protest, see Julian Schmidt, Geschichte des geistigen Lebens, etc., vol. i, p. 319.
  7. For the general view of noxious gases as imps of Satan, see Hoefer, Histoire de la Chimie, vol. i, p. 350, vol. ii, p. 48. For the work of Black, Priestley, Bergmann, and others, see main authorities already cited, and especially the admirable paper of Dr. R. G. Eccles on The Evolution of Chemistry, New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1891.
  8. For a reappearance of the fundamental doctrine of black magic among theologians, see Rev. Dr. Jewett, Professor of Pastoral Theology in the Prot. Episc. Gen. Theolog. Seminary of New York, Diabolology: The Person and Kingdom of Satan, New York, 1889. For their reappearance among theosophists, see Elephas Levi, Histoire de la Magie, especially the final chapters.
  9. For Dupanloup, Lettre à un Cardinal, see the Revue de Thérapeutique of 1868, p. 221.
  10. For a general account of the Vulpian and S{e matter, see Revue des Deux Mondes, 31 mai, 1868; Chronique de la Quinzaine, pp. 763-765. As to the result on popular thought, may be noted the following comment on the affair by the Revue, which is as free as possible from anything like rabid anti-ecclesiastical ideas: "Elle a cté vraiment curieuse, instructive, assez triste et même un peu amusante." For Wurtz's statement, see Revue de Thérapeutique for 1868, p. 303.
  11. De Morgan, Paradoxes, pp. 421-428; also, Daubeny's Essays.
  12. See the Berlin newspapers for the summer of 1868, especially Kladderadatsch.
  13. It is an interesting fact that one of the men thus driven out of the American college at Beirut, for supposed adhesion to the doctrines of Darwin, has since become one of the most influential editors at Cairo, carrying on a daily journal and two periodicals, and exercising a far greater and wider influence upon thought in the East than ever before. Whatever may be thought of the system of philosophy advocated by President McCosh at Princeton, every thinking man must honor him for the large way in which he, at least, broke away from the traditions of that center of thought; prevented, so far as he was able, persecution of scholars for holding to the Darwinian view; and paved the way for the highest researches in physical science in that university. For a most eloquent statement of the opposition of modern physical science to mediæval theological views, as shown in the case of Sir Isaac Newton, see Dr. Thomas Chalmers, cited in Gore, Art of Scientific Discovery, London, 1878, p. 247.