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ATONEMENT


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ATONEMENT


theory was soon applied to physics, and is to-day ihe basis of most of the sciences. Its main outlines are: Matter is not continuous but atomically consti- tuted. An atom is the smallest particle of matter that can enter a chemical reaction. Atoms of like nature constitute elements, those of unlike nature constitute compounds. The elements known to-day are about 76 in number and differ from one another in weight and physical and chemical properties. Atoms combine to form molecules, which are the smallest quantities of matter that can exist in a free state, whether of an element or a compound. Some believe that the atom retains its individuality in the molecule, whilst others consider the molecule homo- geneous throughout. The theoretic formulas of struc- ture of Frankland suppose them to remain. The spaces between the atoms are filled wUh an impon- derable matter called ether. Upon the nature of ether the greatest differences of opinion exist. The adoption by scientists of Maxwell's theory of light seems to render the ether-hj-pothesis with its many contradictions superfluous. At all events it is quite independent of the atomic theory.

The results obtained by the Hungarian Lenard, the English physicist J. J. Thomson, and many others, by means of electric discharges in rarified gases, the discovery of Hertzian waves, a better un- derstanding of electrolysis, and the discovery of ra- dium by Madame Curie have made necessary a modification of the atomic theory of matter. The atom, hitherto considered solid and indivisible, is now believed to break up into ions or electrons. This new theory, however, must not be considered as op- posed to the atomic theory; it comes rather as an extension of it. In chemistry, the principal field of the atomic theory, the atom will still remain as the chemically indivisible unit. The hj-pothesis of sub- atoms is, moreover, not entirely new; it was pro- posed by Spencer as early as 1872 ("Contemporary Kev.", June, 1872) and defended by Crookes in 1880.

The physico-chemical theory of atomism, though not a demonstrated truth, offers a satisfactory ex- planation of a great number of phenomena, and will, no doubt, remain essentially the same, no matter how it may be modified in its details. In chemistry, it 'does not stop arbitrarily in the division of matter, but stops at chemical division. If another science demands a further division, or if philosophy must postulate a division of the atom into essential prin- ciples, that is not the concern of chemistrj-. Science has no interest in defending the indivisible atom of Democritus.

Scholastic philosophy finds nothing in the scientific theory of atomism which it cannot harmonize with its principles, though it must reject the mechanical explanation, often proposed in the name of science, which looks upon the atom as an absolutely inert mass, devoid of all activities and properties. Scho- lastic philosophers find in the different physical and chemical properties of the elements an indication of specifically different natures. Chemical changes are for them substantial changes, and chemical formulas indicate the mode in which the elements react on one another in the production of the compound. They are not a representation of the molecular edi- fice built up of unchangeable atoms. Some would accept even this latter view and admit that there are no substantial changes in inanimate nature (Gut- berlet). This view can also be harmonized more easily with the facts of stereo-chemistry. As re- gards the phenomena observed in radio-activity, a generalization, either in the materialistic sense, that all matter is homogeneous, or in the scholastic sense, that all elements can be changed into one another, is in the present state of science premature.

Manuals of History of Philosophy bj' Turner, Ueber- weo-Heintze, Stceckl tr. by Finlay; Lanoe, History of


Materialism (Leipzig, 1898); 6th ed.. tr. by Thomas (London, 1892); Manuals of Chemistry; Ra-msay, Prngress of Chemis-


try in the 19th Century; Report of Smithsonian Institution (1900); WuHTZ, Atomic Theory, tr. by Cleminsh.iw (New York, ISSl). On Scholastic interpretation of Atomism see Ny-s, Cosmoloffie (Louvain, 1904); Gutberlet, Naturphi- losophie (Miinster, 1894); Bredin and Aherne, Physical Science versus Matter and Form, in Dublin Rev. (1S99 and 1900).

Edmund J. Wirth. Atonement, D.\y of. — The rites to be observed on the nay of Atonement [Hebrew D'"13Dn DV Yom Hakkippurim. Vulgate, Dies Expiationum, and Dies Propitiationis (Le\-iticus, xxiii, 27, 28)] are fully set forth in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus (cf. Exo- dus, XXX, 10; Le\nticus, xxiii, 27-31, xxv, 9; Num- bers, xxix, 7-11). It was a most solemn fa.st. on which no food could be taken throughout the whole day, and all servile works were forbidden. It was kept on the nineteenth day of the seventh month, Tischri, which falls in September — October. The sac- rifices included a calf, a ram, and seven lambs (Num- bers, xxix, 8-11). But the distinctive ceremony of the day was the offering of the two goats. " He [.\aron] shall make the two buck-goats to stand be- fore the Lord, in the door of the tabernacle of the testimony: and casting lots upon them both, one to be offered to the Lord, and the other to be the emissary-goat: That whose lot fell to be offered to the Lord, he shaU offer for sin: But that whose lot was to be the emissarj'-goat he shall present aUve before the Lord, that he may pour out prayers upon liim, and let liim go into the wilderness. . . . After he hath cleansed the sanctuary, and the tabernacle, and the altar, let liim offer the li\-ing goat: And put- ting both hands upon his head, let him confess all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their offences and sins, and praj^ng that they may hght on his head, he shall turn him out by a man ready for it, into the desert. And when the goat hath carried all their iniquities into an uninhabited land, and shall be let go into the desert, Aaron shall return into the tabernacle of the testimony" (Leviticus, xvi, 7-10. 20-23). The general meaning of the ceremony is sufficiently shown in the text. But the details present some difficulty. The Vulgate caper emis- sarju-s, "emissary goat", represents the ob.scure Hebrew word, PTXTV {Azazel), which occurs no- where else in the Bible. Various attempts have been made to interpret its meaning. Some have taken it for the name of a place where the man who took the goat away used to throw it over a precipice, since its return was thought to forbode evil. Others, with better reason, take it for the name of an evil spirit; and in fact a spirit of this name is mentioned in the Apocryphal "Book of Henoch", and later in Jewish literature. On this interpretation, which, though by no means new, finds favour with modern critics, the idea of the ceremony would seem to be that the sins were sent back to the evil spirit to whose influence they owed their origin. It has been noted that some- what similar rites of expiation have prevailed among heathen nations. And modern critics, who refer the above passages to the Priestly Code, and to a post- Exihc date, are disposed to regard the sending of the goat to Azazel as an adaptation of a pre-e.xisting ceremonial. The significant ceremony oDserveil on this solemn Day of Atonement does but give a greater prominence to that need of satisfaction and expiation which was present in all the ordinary sin- offerings. And all these sacrifices for sin. as we learn from the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews, were figures of the great Sacrifice to come. In like manner tliese Jewish rites of atonement speak to us of the Cross of Christ, and of the propitiatory Sac- rifice which is daily renewed in a bloodless manner on the Eucharistic Altar. For this reason it may be of interest to note, with Provost Maltzew, that the Jewish prayers used on the Day of Atonement fore-