Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/569

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

gious work. He founded a lectureship on the evidences of Christianity; contributed liberally to projects for the spread of the gospel in India and America; bore the expense of publishing translations of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles into Malay, and of publishing an Irish Bible; contributed to the publication of the Welsh Bible and a Turkish New Testament; and aided with money in Pococke's translation of Grotius's De Veritate into Arabic. The learned Sanderson having been deposed from his benefice on account of his loyalty to Charles II, he gave him a pension on condition that he would write a work on questions of conscience. When invited to take orders in the Church, he declined to do so, on the ground that that was not his vocation, and that his writings on religious subjects would have greater weight coming from a layman than from a paid minister.

Boyle left Oxford about 1668 and settled in London, fixing his residence in the house of his sister, Lady Ranelagh. His health began to fail seriously about 1690, and he was obliged to withdraw gradually from all his public engagements. He discontinued his contributions to the Royal Society, resigned his office as governor of the corporation for the propagation of the gospel in New England, and announced publicly that he could no longer receive visits. He devoted his time to chemical investigation, the accounts of which he left "as a kind of hermetic legacy to the studious disciples of that art." His health continued to grow worse, and his death occurred precisely one week after that of his sister, with whom he had lived for twenty years. By his will he founded and endowed the Boyle Lectures for the demonstration of the truth of the Christian religion "against atheists, theists, pagans, Jews, and Mohammedans."

Boyle was never married. In person he was tall, slender, and of a pale countenance. "While his scientific discoveries procured him wide and lasting renown, his private character and virtues, the charm of his social manners, and his wit and conversation endeared him to a large number of personal friends."

Boyle's place in science should be estimated by the relation of his work to his time, not to ours. He was a leader, much in advance. Sir John Herschel says that he "seemed animated by an enthusiasm of ardor, which hurried him from subject to subject, and from experiment to experiment, without a moment's intermission, and with a sort of undistinguishing appetite." Sir Henry W. Ackland suggests that he had so many qualities, and pursued so many lines of thought, that they almost dim one another. From his "quality of prudence, and from his steadfast adherence to the supreme test of experiment, he was led to doubt and to test several opinions in the science of the day, and to overthrow dogmas which had been unquestioned. This skepticism in scientific mat-