Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/314

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Prof. Loescher, of the University of Wittenberg, entered a solemn protest, declaring that the decision of the medical faculty was "only a proof of the lamentable license which has so taken possession of us, and which, if we are not earnestly on our guard, will finally turn away from us the blessing of God."[1] But denunciations of this kind could not hold back the little army of science. In the last half of the eighteenth century Black, Priestley, and especially Bergmann, rooted out the very foundations of the whole theologic theory, and one more phantom which had long troubled the earth was at last driven forth forever.[2]

Thus, in spite of adverse influences, the evolution of the physical sciences went on. More and more there rose men bold enough to break away from the theological method, and strong enough to resist the enticements or threats of ecclesiasticism. Alchemy in its first form, seeking for the philosopher's stone and the transmutation of metals, gave way to alchemy in its second form, seeking for the elixir of life and remedies more or less magical for disease; and this in turn yielded to the search for truth as truth. More and more the "solemnly constituted impostors" were resisted in every field. A great line of physicists and chemists began to appear. Though theological modes of reasoning continued to sterilize much effort in chemistry down to our own century, more and more the old influence was thrown off; more and more truth was sought as truth; less and less science was bent to aid in the alleged "saving of souls." "Black magic" with its satanic apparatus vanished, only reappearing occasionally among miracle-mongers and belated theologians. "White magic" became legerdemain.[3]

In our own time some attempt has been made to renew this war against the physical sciences. Joseph de Maistre, uttering his hatred of them, declaring that mankind has paid too dearly for them, asserting that they must be subjected to theology, likening them to fire—good when confined and dangerous when scattered about—has been one of the main leaders among those who can not relinquish the idea that our body of sacred literature should be kept a controlling text-book of science. The only effect

  1. For Loescher's protest, see Julian Schmidt, Geschichte des geistigen Lebens, etc., vol. i, p. 319.
  2. For the general view of noxious gases as imps of Satan, see Hoefer, Histoire de la Chimie, vol. i, p. 350, vol. ii, p. 48. For the work of Black, Priestley, Bergmann, and others, see main authorities already cited, and especially the admirable paper of Dr. R. G. Eccles on The Evolution of Chemistry, New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1891.
  3. For a reappearance of the fundamental doctrine of black magic among theologians, see Rev. Dr. Jewett, Professor of Pastoral Theology in the Prot. Episc. Gen. Theolog. Seminary of New York, Diabolology: The Person and Kingdom of Satan, New York, 1889. For their reappearance among theosophists, see Elephas Levi, Histoire de la Magie, especially the final chapters.