This section is from the book "Faith - Healing. Christian Science And Kindred Phenomena", by James Monroe Buckley. Also available from Amazon: Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena.
Having traced the influence of astrology upon literature, stated the principles of the science, and given an impartial outline of the supposed evidences of its truth which its professors advance, it is now necessary to subject those evidences to examination. Fortunately the cases adduced are of historical interest, and a discussion which otherwise might be tedious is closely connected with the progress of both ancient and modern civilization.
The ancients knew nothing of the two great planets Uranus and Neptune. Yet the "Text-book of Astrology" asserts that "the influence of Uranus is found to be very powerful in nativities, when he is angular or in aspect to the luminaries." Shortly after this planet was discovered, an astrologer called on an astronomer to secure his calculations of the periodical motions of Uranus, stating that it was very probable " that the want of a knowledge and use of its motions was the cause that, in judicial astrology, the predictions so often failed." The planet Neptune was discovered in 184G. The " Text-book of Astrology " affirms that " sufficient time has not elapsed to enable astrologers to determine the exact nature of Neptune's influence in nativities"; yet, the writer says, "until more experience has been gained as to his influence in nativities, it may be accepted that his general character is fortunate, and that persons born under his sway are healthy, good-natured, and romantic." When Mr. Proctor remarked, a number of years ago, "astrologers tell us now that Uranus is a very potent planet, yet the old astrologers seem to have gotten on very well without him," all that the standard authorities of the "Science" could reply was that "Democritus maintained that more planets would be discovered in succeeding ages." This is no answer to the proposition that the ancients seemed to succeed in total ignorance of the "very powerful" influence of Uranus, and the possible mighty influence of Neptune.
There are three fatal defects in the proofs they offer: (a) The number of instances investigated is too small to establish a law of cause and effect. (/>) In the more remarkable predictions, reasoning upon existing conditions and tendencies, a shrewd guess or a mere coincidence can account for the fulfilment, (c) In the most striking cases there was ample time for the culmination of the operation of causes.
When William Lilly was examined by the British Parliament on his prophecies concerning the plague and the fire, he was thus addressed by Sir Robert Brooke:
Mr. Lilly, this Committee thought fit to summon you to appear before them this day, to know if you can say anything as to the cause of the late fire, or whether there might be any design therein. You are called the rather hither, because, in a book of yours long since printed, you hinted some such thing by one of your hieroglyphicks.
Unto which Mr. Lilly replied:
May it please your Honors: After the beheading of the late King, considering that in the three subsequent years the Parliament acted nothing which concerned the settlement of the nation's peace; and seeing the generality of the people dissatisfied, the citizens of London discontented, the soldiery prone to mutiny; I was desirous, according to the best knowledge God had given me, to make enquiry by the art I studied, what might, from that time, happen unto Parliament and the nation in general. At last, having satisfied myself as well as I could, and perfected myself as well as I could, and perfected my judgment therein, I thought it most convenient to signify my intentions and conceptions thereof in forms, shapes, types, hieroglyphicks, etc., without any commentary, that so my judgment might be concealed from the vulgar, and made manifest only unto tho wise; I herein imitating tho examples of many wise philosophers who had done the like. Having found, Sir, that the city of London would bo sadly afflicted with a great plague, and not long after with an exorbitant fire, I framed these two hieroglyphicks, as represented in the book, which, in effect, have proved very true.
"Did you foresee the year?" said one. "I did not," said I, "nor was desirous; of that I made no scrutiny." I proceeded: Now, Sir, whether there was any design of burning the City, or any employed to that purpose, I must deal ingenuously with you; that, since the fire, i have taken such pains in the search thereof, but cannot or could not give myself any the least satisfaction therein i conclude that it was the linger of God only; but what instruments he used thereuuto, i am ignorant.
Those were troublous times; plagues were common iu Europe, fires of frequent occurrence, and modern methods of extinguishing them had not been invented.
Lilly did not pretend to have foreseen the year, or to reflect any light upon the instruments; yet he was constantly ascertaining " who stole fish" and what had become of lost dogs, and affirms that he never failed in questions of that sort. His hieroglyphics could have been applied to a variety of events. It would have been easy to interpret that which he afterward declared foretold the Great Plague as signifying murders and the hasty concealment of bodies, or the burial of soldiers after a battle. The hieroglyphic typifying the fire could have been applied to any other of a hundred things, as falling into a fire might be made to illustrato most catastrophes.
The coincidences in English history, it is to be noted, consist of certain events drawn from a period of six hundred years, which events occurred during the progression of Saturn through Aries. Saturn remains long in that sign, and his returns are separated by a considerable time. In the confused history of England during those six centuries there were hundreds of battles, and great events were numerous; yet but thirteen of these having an evil character are produced. English history furnishes scores of disasters which occurred when Saturn was not in Aries. In like manner, Jupiter is in Aries every twelve years or thereabouts; yet but seven prosperous events are produced from 1196 — nearly seven hundred years!
Those mentioned are great occurrences, but during the seven centuries more than a hundred occurred when Jupiter was not in Aries.
It will be observed that the American Revolution did concur with the transit of Uranus through the sign Gemini, and also that the next time that planet passed through Gemini, from 1859 to 1866, the great American civil war raged four years. But the period from 1781 to 1859 was just long enough for the causes growing out of slavery and different views of State sovereignty to culminate in a rebellion. Had the planet's orbit been smaller there would not have been time enough. This is all that appears. The astrologer declares that during the same time the west of England suffered fearfully from the cotton famine. This is not wonderful, as the cotton came from the South and its ports were blockaded. Had there been no cotton-mills in the west of England, or had the Avar begun sooner or later, they would not have suffered at that particular time.