Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/158

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The first distinct impulse which lifted mankind toward a higher view of research into natural laws was given by the philosophers of Greece. It is true that philosophical opposition to physical research was at times strong, and that even a great thinker like Socrates considered certain physical investigations as an impious intrusion into the work of the gods; it is also true that Plato and Aristotle, while bringing their thoughts to bear upon the world with great beauty and force, did much to draw mankind away from those methods which in modern times have produced the best results.

Plato developed a world in which the physical sciences had little if any real reason for existing; Aristotle, a world in which the same sciences were developed not so much by observation of what is, as of speculation on what ought to be. From the former of these two great men came into Christian theology many germs of mediæval magic, and from the latter sundry modes of reasoning which aided in the evolution of these; yet the impulse to human thought given by these great masters was of inestimable value to our race, and one legacy from them was especially precious;—the idea that a science of Nature is possible, and that the highest occupation of man is the discovery of its laws. Still another gift from them was greatest of all, for they gave scientific freedom: they laid no interdict upon new paths; they interposed no barriers to the extension of knowledge; they threatened no doom in this life or in the next against investigators on new lines; they left the world free to seek any new methods and to follow any new paths which thinking men could find.

This legacy of belief in science, of respect for scientific pursuits, and of freedom in scientific research, was especially received by the school of Alexandria, and above all by Archimedes,

    the same author, third edition, pp. 115 et seq., also p. 380; also Andrew Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion, vol. i, chap. iv. For magic in Egypt, see Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, chaps, vi-viii; also Maspero, Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient; and especially the citations from Chabas, Le Papyrus Magique Harris, in chap, vii; also Maury, La Magie et 1'Astrologie dans l'Antiquité et au Moyen Age. For magic in Chaldea, see Lenormant as above. For examples of magical powers in India, see Max Müller's Sacred Books of the East, vol. xvii, pp. 121 et seq. For a legendary view of magic in Media, see the Zend Avesta, Part I, p. 14, translated by Darmsteter; and for a more highly developed view, see the Zend Avesta, Part III, p. 239, translated by Mill. For magic in Greece and Rome, and especially in the Neoplatonic school as well as in the middle ages, see especially Maury, La Magie et l'Astrologie, chaps, iii-v. For various sorts of magic recognized and condemned in our sacred books, see Deuteronomy, xviii, 10, 11; and for the burning of magical books at Ephesus under the influence of St. Paul, see Acts, xix, 14. See also Ewald, History of Israel, Martineau's translation, fourth edition, ii, 55-63; iii, 45-51. For a very elaborate summing up of the passages in our sacred books, recognizing magic as a fact, see De Haen, "De Magia," Lips., 1775, chaps, i, ii, and iii, of first part. For general subject of magic, see Ennemoser, History of Magic, translated by Howitt, which, however, constantly mixes sorcery with magic proper.