Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/163

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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

blessing of Heaven rested upon his labors; and among the legends embodying this claim is that given by the Bollandists and immortalized by a renowned painter. The great philosopher and saint is represented in the habit of his order, with book and pen in hand, kneeling before the image of Christ crucified, and as he kneels the image thus addresses him: "Thomas, thou hast written well concerning me; what price wilt thou receive for thy labor?" The myth-making faculty of the people at large was also brought into play. According to a wide-spread and circumstantial legend, Albert, by magical means, created an android—an artificial man, living, speaking, and answering all questions with such subtlety that St. Thomas, unable to answer its reasoning, broke it to pieces with his staff.

To this day historians of the Roman Church like Rohrbacher, and historians of science like Pouchet, find it convenient to propitiate the Church by dilating upon the glories of St. Thomas Aquinas in thus making an alliance between religious and scientific thought, and laying the foundations for a "sanctified science"; but the unprejudiced historian can not indulge in this enthusiastic view: the results both for the Church and for science have been most unfortunate. It was a wretched delay in the evolution of fruitful thought; for the first result of this great man's great compromise was to close for ages that path in science which above all others leads to discoveries of value—the experimental method—and to reopen that old path of mixed theology and science which, as Hallam declares, "after three or four hundred years had not untied a single knot or added one unequivocal truth to the domain of philosophy"—the path which, as all modern history proves, has ever since led only to delusion and evil.[1]


  1. For the work of Aquinas, see his Liber de Cœlo et Mundo, section xx; also, Life and Labors of St. Thomas of Aquin, by Archbishop Vaughan, pp. 459 et seq. For his labors in natural science, see Hoefer, Histoire de la Chirnie, Paris, 1843, vol. i, p. 381. For theological views of science in the middle ages, and rejoicing thereat, see Pouchet, Hist, des Sci. Nat. au Moyen Age, ubi supra. Pouchet says: "En général au milieu du moyen âge les sciences sont essentiellement chrétiennes, leur but est tout-à-fait religieux, et elles semblent beaucoup moins s'inquiéter de l'avancement intellectuel de l'homme que de son salut eternel." Pouchet calls this "conciliation" into a "harmonieux ensemble" "la plus glorieuse des conquêtes intellectuelles du moyen âge." Pouchet belongs to Rouen, and the shadow of Rouen Cathedral seems thrown over all his history. See, also, l'Abbé Rohrbacher, Hist. de l'Église Catholique, Paris, 1858, vol. xviii, pp. 421 et seq. The abbé dilates upon the fact that "the Church organizes the agreement of all the sciences by the labors of St. Thomas of Aquin and his contemporaries." For the complete subordination of science to theology by St. Thomas, see Eicken, chap. vi. For the theological character of science in the middle ages, recognized by a Protestant philosophic historian, see the well-known passage in Guizot, History of Civilization in Europe; and by a noted Protestant ecclesiastic, see Bishop Hampden's Life of Thomas Aquinas, chaps, xxxvi, xxxvii; see also Hallam, Middle Ages, chap. ix. For dealings of Pope John XXII, of the Kings of France and England, and of the Republic of Venice, see Figuier, L'Alchimie et les Alchimistes, pp. 140, 141, where, in a note,