Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/729

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

was the inventor of the gamut, and the first who instituted a school of music. The monks, it is claimed by high authorities, "were the parents of Gothic architecture, the inventors or improvers of the implements used in painting, the discoverers and preparers of some of the finest colors." "As architects, as glass-painters, as mosaic-workers, they were," says Mrs. Jameson, "the precursors of all that has yet been achieved in Christian art." Many of the distinguished pioneers of science belonged to the Church, or were educated in it. Among the alchemists, the forerunners of our chemists, Roger Bacon, Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Raymond Lully, were ecclesiastics. Giordano Bruno in his early life was a Dominican priest; Gassendi and Copernicus held church offices, the former that of Professor of Theology, and afterward prévôt of a cathedral, and the latter a canonry and archdeaconship, and both remained faithful churchmen throughout their lives. Kepler was educated at the school of the monastery of Maulbron, and Boerhaave studied at Leyden for the sacred profession. This list, which a little research would easily enlarge, shows that, if there was a current in the Church antagonistic to scientific investigations, there was also a current that sympathized with it and impelled it onward.

Thus have science and religion given to each other assistance which more than balances, it seems to me, whatever hinderances they have put in each other's way. This assistance, to be sure, has been imperfect, has been more or less unconscious, and sometimes, perhaps, in despite of what has been intended. In the present controversy, as to the proper relations between science and religion, does not this page of history give useful instruction? Not to render them opponents, or maintain conflict between them by raking over the ashes of controversy; not to patch up a temporary truce by schemes for dividing the field of knowledge between them, but to continue and perfect between them this alliance of the past, making it henceforth a conscious, entire, and welcomed coöperation—is not this the duty of the present and the future? Since neither science nor religion can claim an exclusive sovereignty over the field of knowledge; since that domain cannot well be partitioned off between them, the true way is to unite them in a perpetual alliance. Take the testimony of both religion and science. Presume that there is a certain proportion of truth in what each has to offer. Weigh in the scales of reason what each presents. Accept that which is most solid, from whichever side it comes; or if neither, which is likely, presents the whole and real fact, employ the parallax of the two to give the actual position and full form of the two.

Each should seek from the other correction of its errors and filling out of its imperfections. Religion ought to obtain, from wider knowledge, greater purity and enlargement. She ought to learn from physical discovery the importance of going at once to facts and