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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 facred Place among those which are of the greatest Benefit to Mankind.
He therefore applied himself to his medicinal Studies with freih Ardour and Alacrity, reviewed all his former Observations and Inquiries, and was continually employed in making new Acquisitions.
Having now qualified himself for the Practice of Phyfic, 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 Méans easy ; but, still superior to any Discouragement, he continued his Search after Knowledge, and determined, that Prosperity, if ever he was to enjoy it, should be the Consequence, not of mean Art or disingenuous Solicitations, but of real Merit aud folid 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 Reftraint upon his Looks, his Thoughts, or his Tongue, and at the utmost Distance from all Contentions 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 Drelincourt in the Office of Lecturer on the Institutes of Phyfic, and elected without any Solicitation on his Pait, and almost without his Confent on the 18th of May.
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 Hippocratico ; by which he restored that great Author to his just and antiert 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 Advantige of his Pupils, but to the great Improvement of the Art itself, which had hitherto been treated only in a confused and irregular Manner, and was little 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 eafy, which was before to the last Degree perplexed and obfcure.
His Reputation began now to bear fome Proportion to his Merit, and extended itself to distant Üni. verbties ; so that in 1703 the Profefforship of Phyfic 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 immediately voted an honorary Increase of his Sa-lary, and promised him the first Profefforship that Thould be vacant.
On this Occasion he pronounced an Oration upon the Use of Mechanics in the Science of Phy.
lic; in which he endeavoured to recommend a rational and mathematical Inquiry into the Causes of Difcases and the Structure of Bodies; and to shew the Folly and Weakness of the Jargon introduced by Paraceljur, 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 Profeffor, when, by the Death of Professor Hotten, the Professorship of Physic and Botany fell to him of Course.
On this Occasion he asserted the Simplicity and Facility of the Science of Physic, in Opposition to those who think that Obscurity contributes to the Dignity of Learning, and that to be admired it is neceffary not to be understood.
His Profeflion 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. Auguftine'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 Philofophy ;” in which he declares himself, in the strongest Terms, a Favourer of Experimental Know.
ledge, ledge, and reflects with juft Severity upon those arrogant Philosophers who are too easily disgusted with the flow Methods of obtaining true Notions by frequent Experiments, and who, poffeffed with too high an 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 amafling Observations.
The Emptiness and Uncertainty of all those Systems, 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 deduced 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 fuch Offence to a Professor of Franker, who having long entertained a high Efteem for Descartes, considered 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 Christian 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 Systems as the chief Support of sacred and unvariable Truth.
This Treatment of Boerhaave was so far resented by the Governors of his University, that they procured from Franker a Recantation of the Invective that had been thrown out against him. This was
not only complied with, but Offers were made him of more ample Satisfaction, to which he returned an Answer not less to his Honour than the Victory he gained : " That he should think himself sufficiently
compensated, if his warned Adversary received no « farther Molestation on his Account.'
So far was this weak and injudicious Attack from faking a Reputation, not casually raised by Fashion or Caprice, but founded upon folid Merit, that the same Year his Correspondence was desired upon Botany and Natural Philosophy, by the Academy of Sciences at Paris, of which he was, upon the Death of Count Marsigli, in the Year 1728, elected a Member
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 carefled 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 infenfible of his Excellencics, till other Nations taught them to admire him; for in 1718 he was chosen to succeed de Mort in the Profefforship of Chymistry, on which Occasion he pronounced an Oration, de Chymia errores fuos expurgante ; in which he treated that Science with an Elegance of Style not often to be found in Chymical Writers, who seem generally to have affected not only a barbarous, but únintelligible Phrafe, and, like the Pythagcreons of