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fic; in which he endeavoured to recommend a rational and mathematical Inquiry into the Causes of Diseases and the Structure of Bodies ; and to shew the Folly and Weakness of the Jargon introduced by Paracelsur, Helmont, and other chymical Enthusiasts, who have obtruded idle Dreams upon the World, and instead of enlightening their Readers with explicating of Nature, have darkened the plainest Appearances, and bewildered Mankind in Error and Obscurity,
Boerhaave had now for nine Years read Physical Lectures, but without the Title or Dignity of a Professor, when, by the Death of Professor Hotten, the Profefforship of Physic and Botany fell to him of Course.
On this Occasion he asserted the Simplicity and Facility of the Science of Phyfic, in Opposition to those who think that Obfcurity contributes to the Dignity of Learning, and that to be admired it is necessary not to be understood.
His Profession of Botany made it a Part of his Duty to superintend the physical Garden, which he improved so much by the immense Number of new Plants which he procured, that it was inlarged to twice its original Extent.
In 1714 he was deservedly advanced to the highest Dignities of the University, and in the same Year made Physician of St. Augustine's Hospital in Leyden, into which the Students are admitted twice a Week to learn the Practice of Physic.
This was of equal Advantage to the Sick and to the Students, for the Success of his Practice was the best Demonstration of the Soundness of his Principles.
When he laid down his Office of Governor of the University, in 1715, he made an Oration upon the Subject “ of Attaining to Certainty in Natural Philosophy ;", in which he declares himself, in the Itrongest Terms, a Favourer of Experimental Know
ledge, ledge, and reflects with just Severity upon those arrogant Philosophers who are too easily disgusted with the slow Methods of obtaining true Notions by frequent Experiments, and who, posseiled with too high all Opinion of their own Abilities, rather chuse to consult their own Imaginations, than inquire into Nature ; and are better pleased with the delightful Amusements of forming Hypotheses, than the toilfome Drudgery of amassing Observations.
The Emptiness and Uncertainty of all those Syftems, whether venerable for their Antiquity, or agreeable for their Novelty, he has evidently shewn ; and not only declared, but proved, that we are entirely ignorant of the Principles of Things; and that all the Knowledge we have is of such Qualities alone as are discoverable by Experience, or such as may be klecluced from them by Mathematical Demonstration.
This Discourse, filled as it was with Piety, and a true Sense of the Greatness of the Supreme Being, and the incomprehensibility of his Works, gave such Offence to a Profeffor of Franker, who having long
his Principles as the Bulwark of Orthodoxy, that he appeared in Vindication of his darling Authour, and complained of the Injury done him with the greatest Vehemence, declaring little less than that the Cartesian System and the Chriftian must inevitably stand and fall together; and that to say we were Ignorant of the Principles of Things, was not only to enlist among the Scepticks, but to sink into Atheism itself. So far can Prejudice darken the Understanding, as to make it consider precarious and uncertain Syflems as the chief Support of sacred and unvariable Truth.
Tliis Treatment of Boerhaave was so far resented by the Governors of his University, that they procured from Franker a Recantation of the Invective trat had been thrown out against him. This was
not pot only complied with, but Offers were made hiin of more ample Satisfaction, to which he returned an Answer not less to his Honour than the Victory be gained : " That he should think himself sufficiently compensated, if his warned Adversary received no
So far was this weak and injudicious Attack from shaking a Reputation, not casually raised by Fashion or Caprice, but founded upon folid Merit, that the
tany and Natural Philosophy, by the Academy of Sciences at Paris, of which he was, upon the Deatlı
Nor were the French the only Nation by which this great Man was courted and distinguished; for two Years after he was elected Fellow of our Royal Society.
It cannot be doubted, but thus caressed and honoured with the highest and most publick Marks of Esteem by other Nations, he became more celebrated in his own University ; for Boerhaave was not one of those learned Men, of whom the World has seen too many, that disgrace their Studies by their Vices, and by unaccountable Weaknesses make themfelves ridiculous at home, while their Writings procure them the Veneration of distant Countries where · their Learning is known, but not their Follies.
Not that his Countrymen can be charged with being insensible of his Excellencies, till other Nations taught them to admire him; for in 1718 he was chosen to succeed de Mort in the Professorship of Chymistry, on which Occafion he pronounced an Oration, de Ghymia errores fuos expurgante; in which he treated that Science with an Elegance of Style not often to be found in Chymical Writers, who feem: generally to have affected not only a barbarous, but unintelligible Phrase, and, like the Pythagoreans of
old, to have wrapt up their Secrets in Symbols and Enigmatical Expressions, either because they believed that Mankind would reverence most what they least understood, or because they wrote not from Benevolence, but Vanity, and were desirous to be praised for their knowledge, though they could not prevail upon themselves to communicate it.
In 1722 his Course both of Lectures and Practice was interrupted by the Gout, which, as he relates it in his Speech after his Recovery, he brought upon himself by an imprudent Confidence in the Strength of his own Constitution; and by transgressing those Rules which he had a thousand Times inculcated to his Pupils and Acquaintance. Rising in the Morning before Day, he went immediately, hot and sweating, from his Bed into the open Air, and exposed himself to the cold Dews.
The History of his lllness can hardly be read without Horror: He was for five Months confined to his Bed, where he lay upon his Back without daring to attempt the least Motion, because any Effort renewed his Torments, which were so exquisite that he was at length not only.deprived of Motion, but of Sense. Here Art was at a Stand, nothing could be attempted, because nothing could be proposed with the least Proipect of Success; at length having, in the sixth Month of his Illness, obtained fome Remiffion, he took fimple Medicines in large, Quantities, and at length wonderfully recovered.
Succos presos bibit nofter herbarum Cichoreæ, Endiviæ, Fumaria, nafturtij acquatici, Veronicæ, aquaticæ latifoliæ, copia ingenti : Simul diglutiens abundantiffime gummi ferulacea Asiatica.
His Recovery so much desired, and so unexpected, was celebrated on January 11, 1723, when he opened his School again with general Joy and publick Illuminations.
It would be an Injury to the Memory of Boerhaave not to mention what was related by himself to : one of his Friends, that when he lay whole Days " and Nights without Sleep, he found no Method of o diverting his Thoughts so effectual as Meditation • upon his Studies, and that be often relieved and " mitigated the sense of his Torments, by the Re? collection of what he had read, and by reviewing
those Stores of Knowledge which he had reposited in his Memory
This is perhaps an Instance of Fortitude and steady. Composure of Mind which would have been for ever the Boast of the Stoick Schools, and increased the Reputation of Seneca or Cato. The Patience of Baera haave, as it was more rational, was more lasting than theirs : It was that Patientia Christiana, which Lipe. fus the great Master of the Stoical Philosophy, begged of God in his last Hours, it was founded on Religion not Vanity, not on vain Reasonings, but on Confidence in God. · In 1727 he was seized with a violent burning Fever, which continued so long that he was once more given up by his Friends.
From this Time he was frequently afflicted with Returns of his Distemper, which yet did not so far subdue him, as to make him lay aside his Studies or his Lectures, till in 1729 he found himself so worn out, that it was improper for him to continue any longer the ProfefTorships of Botany and Chymistry, which he therefore resigned April 28 ; and upon his Resignation he spoke a Serma Academicus, or Oration, in which he aflerts the Power and Wisdom of the Creator, from the wonderful Fabrick of the human Body; and confutes all those idle Reasoners who pretend to explain the Formation of Parts, or the animal Operations, to which he proves, that Art can produce nothing equal, nor any Thing parallel. One Instance I shall mention produced by him of