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wards from Hippocrates through all the Greek and Latin Writers.
Finding, as he tells himself, that Hippocrates was the original Source of all medicinal Knowledge, and that all the later Writers were little more than Trane fcribers from him, he returned to himwith more Attention, and spent much Time in making Extracts from him, digesting his Treatises into Method, and fixing them in his Memory
He then descended to the Moderns, among whom none engaged him longer, or improved him more, than Sydenham, to whole Merits he has left this Attellation ; that he frequently perufcd him, and always with greater tagerness.
His insatiable Curiosity after Knowledge engaged him now in the Practice of Chymistry, which he profecuted with all the Ardor of a Philosopher, whose ludustry was 110t to be wearies, and whole Love of Truth was too strong to suffer him to acquiesce in the Reports of others..
Yet di: he not suffer one Branch of Science to withdraw his Attention from others; Anatomy did not withold him from the Profecution of Chymistry, por Chymistry, enchanting as it is, from the Study of Botany. He was not only a careful Examiner of all the Plants in the Garden of the University, but made Excurfions, for his further Improvement, into the Woods and Fields, and left no Place un visited where any Increase of botanical Knowledge could be reasonably hoped for.
In Conjunction with all these Enquiries, he still pursued his theological Studies ; and still, as we are informed by himself, proposed, wiien he had made
tained the Honor of a Degree in ihat Science, to pe. tition regularly for a Licence to preach, and to engage in the Cure of Souls ; and intended, in his theological Exercises, to discuss this Question ; ( Why so
'many were formerly converted to Christianity ' by illiterate Persons, and so few at present by Men of Learning.'
In Pursuance of their Plan he went to Hardwick, in order to take the Degree of Doctor in Physic, which he obtained in July 14 93, having performed a public Disputation, De Utilitate explorand:rum ex-' crementorum in Egris, ut Sigmorum.
Then returning to Leyden full of his pious Design of undertaking the Ministry, he found, to his Surprize unexpected Obstacles thrown in his Way, and an Infinuation dispersed through the University, that made him suspected, not of any slight Deviation from received Opinions, not of any pertinacious Adherence to his own Notions in doubtful and disputable Matters, but of no less than Spinosism ; or in plainer Terms, of Atheism itself.
How so injurious a Report came to be raisedd, circulated and credited, will be doubtless very eagerly inquired, and an exact Relation of the Affair will not only satisfy the Curiosity of Mankind, but shew that no Merit, however exalted, is exempt from being not only attacked, but wounded, by the moit contemptible Whispers. Those who cannot strike with Force, can however poison their Weapon, and weak as they are give mortal Wounds, and bring a Hero to the Grave: so true is that Observation, that many are able to do Hurt, but few to do Good,
This detestable Calumny owed its Rise to an Incident from which no Consequence of importance could be reasonably apprehended. As Boerhaave was sitting in a common Boat, there arose a Conversation among the Passengers upon the impious and pernicious Doctrine of Spinosa, which as they all agreed tends to the utter Overthrow of all Religion. Boerhaave fat and silently attended to this Discourse for some Time, till one of the Company, willing to distinguish himself by his Zeal, instead
of confuting the Positions of Spinosa by Argument, began to give a Loose to contumelious Language and virulent Invectives, with which Boerhaave was so little pleased, that at last he could not forbear asking him, “ Whether he had ever read the Author against whom he declaimed?"
The Orator not being able to make much Answer, was check'd in the Midst of his Invectives, but not without feeling a secret Resentment against him who at once interrupted his Harangue and exposed his lycorance.
This was observed by a Stranger who was in the Bcat with them : he inquired of his Neighbour the Name of the young Man, whose Question had put an End to the Discourse ; and having learned it, set it down in his Pocket Book, as it foon appeared with a malicious Design ; for in a few Days, it was the common Conversation at Leyden, that Boerhaave had revolted to Spinosa.
It was in vain that his Advocates and Friends pleaded his learned and unanswerable Confutation of
System of Spinofa, in his Discourse of the Distruction between Soul and Body ; such Calumnies are 11ot easily suppreffed, when they are once become general: They are kept alive and supported by the Malice of bad, anıt sometimes by the Zeal of good Men: who, though they do not absolutely believe them, think it yer the surest Method, to keep not only guilty, but fufpected Men out of public Employments, upon this Principle, that the Safety of many is to be preferred before the Advantage of a few.
Boerhaave finding this formidable Opposition saised against his Pretensions to ecclefiaftical Honours and Preferments, and even against his Design of assuming the Character of a Divine, thought it nei. ther neceffary nor prudent to struggle with the Tor. rent of popular Prejudice, as he was equally qualified for a Profession, not indeed of equal Dignity or Importance, but which must undoubtedly claim the sacred Place among those which are of the greatest Benest to Mankind.
He therefore applied himself to his medicinal Studies with fresh Ardour and Alacrity, reviewed all his former Obfervations and Inquiries, and was continually employed in making new Acquisitions.
Having now qualified himself for the Practice of Phylic, he began to visit Patients, but without that Encouragement which others, not equally deserving, have sometimes met with: His Business was at first not great, and his Circumstances by no Means easy; but, still superior to any Discourage. ment, he continued his Search after Knowledge, and determined, that Prosperity, if ever he was to enjoy it, should be the Consequence, not of inean Art or disingenuous Solicitations, but of real Merit and solid Learning.
His steady Adherence to his Resolutions appears yet more plainly from this Circumstance: He was, while yet he remained in this unpleasing Situation, invited by one of the first Favourites of King William the Third, to settle at the Hague upon very advantageous Conditions, but declined the Offer: For having no Ambition but after Knowledge, he was defirous of living at Liberty, without any Re. straint upon his Looks, his Thoughts, or his Tongue, and at the utmost Distance from all Con. tentions and state Parties. His Time was wholly taken up in visiting the Sick, studying, making chymical Experiments, searching into every Part of Medicine, with the utmost Diligence, teaching the Mathematicks, and reading the Scriptures and those Authours who profess to teach a certain Method of loving God.
This was his Method of living to the Year 1701, when he was recommended by Mr. Vanberg to the
University, as a proper Person to succeed Drelin. court in the Office of Lecturer on the Institutes of Phylic, and elected without any Solicitation on his Part, and almost without his Consent on the 18th of Muy.
On this Occasion having observed, with Grief, that Hippocrates, whom he regarded not only as the Father, but as the Prince of Physicians, was not fufficiently read or esteemed by young Students, he pronounced an Oration, De commendando Studio Hip. pocratico; by which he restored that great Author to his just and antient Reputation.
He now began to read.public Lectures with great Applause, and was prevailed upon by his Audience to enlarge his original Design, and instruct them in Chymistry.
This he undertook not only to the great Advantge of his Pupils, but to the great Improvement at the Art itself, which had hitherto been treated only in a confused and irregular Manner, and was liitle more than a History of Particular Experiments, not reduced to certain Principles nor connected one with another. This vast Chaos he reduced to Order, and made that clear and easy, which was before to the last Degree perplexed and obscure.
His Reputation began now to bear some Proportion to his Merit, and extended itself to distant Uni. versities ; so that in 1703 the Profefforihip of Physic being vacant at Groningen, he was invited thither, but he chose to continue his present Course of Life, and therefore refused to quit Leyden.
This Invitation and Refusal being related to the Governors of the University of Leyden, they had so grateful a Sense of his Regard for them, that they jiimediately voted an honorary Increase of his Salary, and promised him the first Professorship that fhould be vacant.
On this Occasion he pronounced an Orarion upon the Use of Mechanics in the Science of Phy..