Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/105

This page has been validated.
95
SKETCH OF MICHAEL SERVETUS.

rior endowment and culture, he found himself antagonistic to almost all around him; his convictions were deep, and the haughtiness and violence of his disposition made it impossible to suppress them. The physician, therefore, met the fate of the theologian. It seems that he had gone out of the way, in his lectures, to accuse his fellows of ignorance, at least, of astronomy. The doctors of the faculty retaliated by denouncing him from their chairs as an impostor and a windbag. Servetus then wrote a pamphlet, in which he laid bare the sore places in the characters of his adversaries, even holding them up, in their ignorance, as the pests of society. His intentions being made known, the Senate of the University and the Parliament of Paris were petitioned to forbid the publication of the pamphlet; but Servetus outwitted them—before the day of citation came, the dreaded pamphlet was distributed to the public. The faculty of medicine had him summoned before the inquisitor of the king as an enemy of the Church, on the score of heresy, implied in the practice of judicial astrology. So thoroughly, however, did he satisfy the inquisitor that he was a good Christian, that he left the court with flying colors, absolved even of all suspicion of heresy. The doctors, however, in the end, won the day. The award of the Parliament ordered Michael Villanovanus to call in his pamphlet and deposit the copies in the court; to pay all honor to the faculty and its members; and he was expressly forbidden to appear in public or in any other way as a professor of astrology.

Villeneuve now moved to Charlieu, near Lyons, where he resumed the practice of medicine. While at Charlieu (1539), having attained his thirtieth year, according to the religious tenets he professed, he had himself baptized.

Pierre Paumier, one of his Paris admirers and friends, and now Archbishop of Vienne, hearing of his whereabouts, invited him to quit the narrow field of his practice for a wider one. Villeneuve accepted, and for the next twelve years he lived in Vienne, under the immediate patronage of the eminent prelate.

Besides practising medicine, he resumed his connection with the publishers of Lyons, and among other works edited the Latin Bible for Trechsel, with comments of his own. From his long studies in the Scriptures he had come to the conclusion that, while the usual prophetical bearing ascribed to the Old Testament was ever to he kept in view, the text had a primary, literal, and immediate reference to the age in which it was composed and to personages, events, and circumstances, among which the writers lived; and, according to this plan, he carried out the work. Yet Spinoza, Astruc, and others, who lived a century later, are called the founders of the modern school of Biblical exegesis, and Servetus is not even named as a Biblical critic and expositor!

We have now arrived at a momentous event in the life of Servetus