One day Charles Montague sent a note from the Royal Society. Catherine read it to Isaac. "It is a puzzle the European mathematicians have been unable to solve," she told him. Indeed, the puzzle was so difficult that some worked for over a year on it, but without success.
"Let an Englishman try," Isaac replied.
ISAAC NEWTON - Scientist and Christian Part 5 (conclusion)
A Character story about determination.
Isaac had spend day and night for six months writing his three-volume book Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis. It was not easy reading. Isaac planned it that way. "I made it difficult so that those who only know a little mathematics will not try to trick me with silly questions," he said.
But Isaac was very weary and ready for a change. Not only was he tired, but he was also discouraged. James II had become king of England and he was quite different from Charles II, who died in 1685. James felt it was the right of the king to decide the religion of the people. He declared that he would make all of England Catholic. Isaac was not a Catholic and wanted to be able to worship freely, and with a clear conscience.
Further, the king demanded that the leaders of Trinity College give a degree to his friend, though the man had never even attended the school. When the school refused, the king took the school to court. However, not even the king could force them to give his friend the degree. You see, the legal paper, which Isaac helped to prepare, showed that the laws of England did not give this authority to the king.
Shortly after this, a group of rebels decided to overthrow the king. "I need help," the king called out to his people, but no one came. He ran for his life and spent the rest of his days in exile in France.
Now the parliament was called into session again. They wanted a representative from the school. Isaac was chosen. He was no politician, but he did want what was best for his country. The year was 1689. Isaac did not say much during the short time he spent in the House of Commons. In fact, he only spoke once, but when he rose, the house fell silent to hear what this great man would say. "I wonder," he began, "if I might have the window closed. I feel a draft."
With the new government in control, Isaac hoped he might get some position- something that would be different. "Science does not have the appeal it once did," he said, "and anyway, most of my old friends have died."
During this time of waiting, Isaac became even more interested in studying the Bible. He wrote a book called Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms.
In it, he used his knowledge of astronomy and the Bible to determine important dates for such things as the Flood of Noah and the time of Moses. He also did much more study in the prophecy of Daniel and wrote a book about his findings. Isaac loved the Bible. He believed it to be accurate and he said that his discoveries in science and math came as a result of his belief in what the Bible says. In his revised edition of Principia 20 years later, Isaac wrote, "The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful being. His duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity. He governs all things."
About this time, Isaac got a letter from his old friend and former student, Charles Montague, who had an important position in the Parliament. "The king has promised to make you Warden of the Mint," the letter said. This meant he was in charge stamping coins and printing bills!
When Isaac took over this job, he found that the money in England was causing trouble. A coin may say it was worth one thing, but the silver in it was worth much less. Furthermore, the edges of the coins were smooth so some people chipped off pieces of silver and made their own coins. New coins must be made and the old ones returned. Isaac took the responsibility for keeping track of tons of silver involved in this process. He kept a double set of books for all the money.
When this project was finished, Isaac uncovered a counterfeit ring. He carefully studied the case, and finally brought the guilty man to trial. The man was very cleaver and it took a very careful thinker to solve it. Isaac was now made Master of the Mint and he asked his niece Catherine Barton to help him.
But many thought Isaac was too old to do much real difficult thinking any longer. After all, he was nearly 60 years old. One day Charles Montague sent a note from the Royal Society. Catherine read it to Isaac. "It is a puzzle the European mathematicians have been unable to solve," she told him. Indeed, the puzzle was so difficult that some worked for over a year on it, but without success.
"Let an Englishman try," Isaac replied. It was 4pm. Isaac had the puzzle solved before bedtime!
Isaac's greatest honor on earth came in 1705 when Queen Anne made him a knight. He was the first man knighted for scientific discovery instead of bravery on the battlefield. Now he was SIR Isaac Newton.
Isaac died on March 20, 1727. He was buried in Westminster Abby with the most famous people of England. A greater honor than knighthood will come when the Lord says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." That is an honor you and I can get as well.