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THE PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY. By Herbert Spencer. New York: Appleton & Co. 1866. Vol. I. 12mo. Pp. 475.

We have omitted the long list of works of which Herbert Spencer is the author, works of rare ability in their way, but essentially false in the philosophical principles on which they are based. Mr. Herbert Spencer is naturally one of the ablest men in Great Britain, far superior to the much praised Buckle, and equalled, if not surpassed by John Stuart Mill, now member of Parliament. We have heretofore considered him as belonging to the positivist school of philosophy, founded by Auguste Comte, and the ablest man of that school; able, and less absurd than even M. Littré. But in a note in the work before us he disclaims all affiliation with Positivism, declares that he does not accept M. Comte's system, and says that the gencral principles in which he agrees with that singular man, he has drawn not from him, but from sources common to them both. This we can easily believe, for in the little we have had the patience to read of M. Comte's unreadable works we have found nothing original with him but his dryness, dulness, and wearisomeness, in which if he is not original, he is at least superior to most men. Yet we have not been able to detect any essential difference of doctrine or principle between the Frenchman and the Englishman, and to us who are not positivists, M. Comte, M. Littré, George H. Lewes, Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, Miss Evans, and Harriet Martineau belong to one and the same school.

It is but simple justice to Herbert Spencer to say that he writes in strong, manly, and for the most part classical English, and has made himself master of the best philosophical style that we have met with in any English or American writer. He understands, as far as a man can with his principles, the philosophy of the English tongue, and writes it with the freedom and ease of a master, though not always with perfect purity. He must have been a hard student, and evidently is a most labor

ious thinker and industrious writer. But here ends, we are sorry to say, our commendation. It is the misfortune, perversity, or folly of Herbert Spencer to spend his life in attempting to obtain or at least to explain effects without causes, properties without substance, and phenomena without noumena or being. In his Principles of Philosophy, he divides the real and unreal into the knowable and the unknowable, without explaining, however, how the human mind knows there is an unknowable; and to the unknowable he relegates the principles, origin, and causes of things; that is, in plain English, the principles, origin, and causes of things, are unreal at least to us, and are not only unknown, but absolutely unknowable, and should be banished as subjects of investigation, inquiry, or thought. Hence the knowable, that to which all science is restricted, includes only phenomena, that is to say, the sensible or material world.

Biology, which is the subject of the volume before us, is the science of life, but on the author's principles, is necessarily confined to the statement, description, and classification of facts, or phenomena of organic as distinguished from inorganic matter. He can admit on his philosophy no vital principle, but must explain the vital phenomena without it, by a combination, brought about nobody knows how, of chemical, mechanical and electric changes, forces, action, and reaction-as if there can be changes, forces, action, or reaction where there is no relation of cause and effect! But after all his labor, and it is immense, to show what chemical, mechanical, and electric changes and combinations, binary, tertiary, etc., are observed in a living subject, he explains nothing; for life, while it lasts, is neither mechanical, chemical, nor electrical, but to a certain extent resists and counteracts all these forces, and the human body falls com-. pletely under their dominion only when it has ceased to be a living body, when by chemical action it is decomposed, and returns to the several elements from which it was formed. Mr. Spencer describes very scientifically the entire pro

cess of assimilation; but what is that living power within that assimilates the food we, cat and converts it into chyle, blood, and flesh and bone? You see here a principle operating of which no clement is found in mechanics, chemistry or electricity, or any possible combination of them. The muscles of my arms and shoulder may operate on mechanical principles in raising my arm when I will to raise it; but on what mechanical, chemical, or electric principles do I will to raise it? That I will to raise it, and in willing to do so perform an immaterial act, I know better than you know that "percussion produces detonation in sulphide of nitrogen," or that "explosion is a property of nitro-mannite," or "of nitroglycerine."

The simple fact is that the physical sciences are all good and useful in their place, and for purposes to which they are fitted; but they are all secondary sciences, and without principles higher than themselves to give dialectic validity to their inductions, they are no sciences at all. There is no approach to the science of life in Herbert Spencer's Biology; there is only a painfully elaborate statement of the principal external facts which usually accompany it and depend on it. Indeed, we had the impression that our most advanced physiologists, while admitting in their place chemical and electric forces as necessary to the phenomena of organic life, had abandoned the attempt to expound the science of physiology on chemical, electric or mechanical principles, or any possible combination of them. Even Dr. Draper, if he makes no great use of it in his physiology, recognizes a vital principle, even an immaterial soul, in man. We had also the impression that the medical profession were abandoning the chemical theory of medicine, so fashionable a few years ago. We may be wrong, but as far as we have been able to keep pace with modern science, Mr. Spencer is a quarter of a century behind his age.

The chapter on genesis, generation, multiplication, or reproduction, is as unscientific as it is unchristian. We merely note that the author insists on metagenesis as well as parthenogenesis, that is, that the offspring may differ in kind from the parents, and that there are virgin, or rather, sexless mothers. Some years ago, in conversing with a

scientific friend, I ventured to deny this alleged fact, on the strength of the theological and scriptural doctrine that every kind produces its like. He laughed in my face, and brought forward certain well-known facts in the reproduction of the aphid or cabbage-louse. I assured him that if he would take the pains to observe more closely he would find that his metagenesis and parthenogenesis are only different stages in the entire process of the reproduction of the aphid. Of course he did not believe a word of it; but a few days afterwards he came and informed me that he had seen his friend, Dr. Burnham of Boston, a naturalist of rare sagacity, who told him that naturalists were wrong in asserting metagenesis in the case of aphides. "I have," said he, "been making my observations for some years on these little organisms, and I fin that what we have taken for metagenesis is only the different stages in the process of reproduction, for I have discov ered the young aphid properly formed and enveloped in the so-called virgin or sexless mother." The naturalist is dead, but his friend, my informant, is living.

We have no space to enter into any detailed review of this very elaborate volume. It contains many curious materials of science, but the author rejects creation, generation, formation, and emanation, and adopts that of evolution. Life is evolved from various elements which are reducible to gases, and, upon the whole, he gives us a gaseous sort of life. His theory seems to be that of Topsy, who declared she didn't com but growed. We cannot perceive that Mr. Herbert Spencer has made any s rious advance on Topsy. The univers is evolution, and evolution is growth, and he must say of himself with Tops: "I didn't come, I growed." At any rate, he must be classed with those of philosophers who evolved all things from matter, some from fire, som from air, and some from water, an made all things born from change or corruption; or rather, with Ep icurus, who evolved all from th fortuitous motion, changes, and com bination of atoms. Those old philsophers were unjustly ridiculed by Her mias, or our recent philosophers have less science than they imagine. Verily, there is nothing new under the sun, and false science only traverses a narrow

circle, constantly coming round to the absurdities of its starting point. Yet Herbert Spencer's book has profited us. It has made us feel more deeply than ever the utter impotence of the greatest man to explain anything in nature, without recognizing God and creation.

THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER. May, 1866. The first volume of the new series of this periodical is completed in the present number, and, we suppose, is a fair specimen of the way in which we may expect to see its programme carried out. On the whole, our expectations are quite well satisfied, particularly with the present number. The first article, "The Unitarian Movement," is an exposé of the view taken by the conductors of the influence which the Unitarian movement is expected to exert upon the future destiny of christendom and the civilized world. The Unitarian movement is supposed to represent the generally diffused and accepted theology of the mass of thinking persons in the Protestant world, especially of those who give tone to literature, and are most active in promoting science, art, culture, civilization, and progress in general. The Catholic Church is a sect, because separated from the scientific and progressive movement. The Unitarian denomination is a useful little institution in a small way, but is not expected to absorb other bodies into itself. Rather it and they are expected to coalesce into a more universal form of organization, which will be the New Christendom or Church of the Future. The principal difficulty we find in the ingenious theories of our Unitarian friends is, that they assume a great deal, and prove but little. They assume to be in advance of all the world in intelligence, science, liberality, etc., and quietly ignore the whole massive, colossal fabric of Catholic theology. The truth is, the Unitarian idea, so far as it is an idea, and in the way in which any considerable class of Unitarians represent it, is not, and cannot become, the dominant idea of that portion of the scientific or civilized world which has disowned allegiance to the supreme authority of divine revelation.


can it be shown that the Catholic idea will not win again the control partially lost over the intellectual realm. Either the human race has a purely natural

destiny, or a supernatural one. If the former, a Trinitarian or Unitarian Church, a Past, Present, or Future Church, is not necessary. The State and Society are the highest and all-sufficient organization of the race. If the latter, there must be a divinely instituted organization, possessing continuity of life and fixedness of laws, from the origin of the race. Our friends must admit more or give up more. They are on a road now which will infallibly bring them face to face with the Catholic Church. We look with hope to see some of the boldest and most consistent thinkers of the Unitarians come through into the Catholic Church by this road, and interpret the genuine rationalism of Christian doctrine to their own people much better than we can do it. Dr. Brownson has really demonstrated the whole problem from their own axioms and definitions, if they would but attend to him. But the good Doctor, unfortunately for them, has travelled over the road in seven-league boots, so fast and so far, that it will take at least twenty-five years for his ancient compeers to come up with him.

In the review of "Tischendorff's Plea for the Genuineness of the Gospels," Dr. Hedge has given us an essay marked with his sound and solid scholarship. It is a valuable contribution to sacred literature, and we would gladly see volumes of the same sort from his pen.

The sketch of that singular and gifted person, Francis Newman, the brother of Dr. Newman, has great interest. It tells us something we are very glad to know, and could not easily have found out without the help of the writer. These are always the most interesting and valuable articles in reviews. The author cannot help giving a few passing cuts at Dr. Newman. Dr. Newman seems to annoy a great number of people very much. They seem vexed that he should be a Catholic, and yet extort from even the unwilling so much homage to his genius. The "Independent " calls him renegade and apostate, and Bishop Coxe's very inharmonious organ, misnamed the "Gospel Messenger," calls him "detected thief," with similar epithets. The "Church Journal" tries to make believe that his letter to Dr. Pusey is a "wail of despair." Our Unitarian friend is too much of a gentleman to indulge in such boorish de

meanor, but still he cannot suppress a well-bred sneer. "What has Dr. Newman ever done for God's humanity? Has the oppression of the English masses ever weighed upon his heart? Has he ever lifted up his voice in behalf of our down-trodden little ones? Has he ever thought of saving men from the great hell of ignorance and superstition, or are these the safeguards of his precious faith? We have a right to judge of that faith by its fairest fruit. Ex pede Herculem."

Dr. Newman's conversion seems, in the eyes of Protestants, to have such a tremendous moral weight, and to carry such a force of argument in it for the truth of the Catholic Church, that they are obliged to deny in some plausible way either his intellectual or moral greatness, in order to escape from it. Does not the author of these sentences know well, that if the Catholic Church and her clergy were taken away from the masses and the poor, they would perish in ignorance and vice while he and his companions were discussing their plans and estimates for the church of the paulo-post future? Does he not know that Dr. Newman and a multitude of other gifted men like him are preaching and working every day among the poorest of the people, while Unitarian clergymen are ministering to select and intelligent congregations? Does he know what St. Peter Claver did for the negroes, and can he point to any Protestant who has done the like? little more of Dr. Newman's own conscientiousness in speech would do no harm to some of his critics.


The article on "Bushnell on Vicarious Sacrifice" is ably and fairly written, and all the writer's positive views are compatible with Catholic doctrine. He commits the great faux pas, however, of ignoring all the post-reformation theology of the Catholic Church, and speaking as if theological science were confined to Protestants. He appears also to be unaware that Catholic theologians commonly teach, after St. Augustine, that God was not bound by his justice to exact condign satisfaction as the condition of pardoning sin, but was free to pardon absolutely. It was more glorious both for God and man that this pardon should be accorded as the fruit of the noblest and most perfect act of merit possible, rather than given gratuitously.

"An American in the Cathedrals of Europe" is an article full of the genuine and pure sentiment with which Mr. Alger's writings abound, and without a word to mar the pleasure a Catholic would take in reading it.

The notices of Dr. Hall and of the University of Michigan have each their interest and value, and the literary criticisms are, as usual, in good taste.

THE APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER. By the Rev. H. Ramière, of the Society of Jesus. Translated from the latest French edition and revised by a Father of the Society. 12mo, pp. 393. John Murphy & Co., Baltimore, 1866.

A most excellent and thorough treatise on prayer. The spirit and intention of the rev. author are best gained from a perusal of the introduction, which warms one's heart and gives a new and stronger impulse to every hope and desire which the Christian reader may have for the greater glory of God. We cannot, however, entirely agree with the gloomy and discouraging view which is taken of the success of Christianity in the world. Christianity is not, nor has it ever been, a failure; and it is something to which we cannot subscribe when the author attributes "apparent barrenness" to the incarnation, and "comparative uselessness" to the prec ious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Neither do we think it suffices to answer the infidel, “Who hath aided the Spirit of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor and taught him?" when he points us to the great portion of the world yet unchristianized. And if prayer be good, both individual and associated; if it be absolutely necessary, as it is in the Christian economy; if it be, as it were, the soul which gives life to every work of the Christian; still we do not imag ine that of all the means of grace this alone deserves our earnest thought or demands our undivided attention.

We are not called upon, in any sense, to apologize for Christianity. It is not worthy of us as men of strong faith to treat of religion as though it were a subject that needed to be excused in the face of the unbeliever, or which humbly supplicates the notice of the philosopher and the statesman. The truly great minds which have not professed Christianity have sought rather

to excuse the world for not submitting to the force of its arguments and to the charms of its beauty. Christianity is no failure, if there be anything which deserves the name of success. What other institutions can compare with it for actual and permanent success? The propagation of the faith, its preservation, and its enormous diffusion, may well put all past, present, and future works of man to the blush. What else is it now, but the great FACT of the world's history and of the world's present advanced and civilized state? We are not a petty, insignificant sect of thinkers, nor a despicable school of philosophers, seeking a momentary acknowledgment from the great unchristian world. On the contrary, Christianity rules the world; and all that is great and noble in humanity, all that has sanctified the past, sustains the present, and inspires hope for the future; all that is free, civilized, and enlightened in society, depends now for its life, as it has received its seed, from the divine power and light of the Christian faith. Truly, we must pray, and that "without ceasing," for those who are not of the fold of Christ, and for the coming of the kingdom of God upon earth; and any one who peruses the work before us will feel the depth of this obligation; and if he has any real, practical desire for the salvation and sanctification of man, will not fail to be stimulated to constant and earnest prayer. But have we reflected, as well as we might, that before men will pray to God they must first believe in him? The man of enlightened faith prays naturally; the ignorant and the superstitious are noted for their want of confidence in prayer. Prayer is the union of the soul with God, and the better God is known, the better is the heart of man prepared for the influences of the Holy Spirit. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher ?" We may urge our faithful Christians to pray for the conversion of the world, and we may mourn that they do not pray for this end more than they do; but whatsoever arms God has placed at our disposal for conquering the world unto himself, we, like good soldiers of Jesus

Christ, must use them with alacrity, with zeal, and, above all, with that spirit of sacrifice which our holy faith_alone has the power to inspire. Whilst we need not neglect the apostolic manner of preaching the word of God, we should also lay to heart the oft-repeated and wise admonition of the Holy Father to make diligent use of the providential means of the press, to dif fuse the knowledge of the Christian faith, and promulgate the saving prin ciples of strict Christian morality, and thus prevent defection from the congregation of the just, and enlighten them that sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death. The people need more light, more instruction. The masses among non-Catholics are very ignorant of religion. They are living upon only the poor remnants of Catholic faith and tradition which have been left to them by the ruthless hand of the despoiler. None have felt this more than the clergy and enlightened laity of our own country, where religion is thrown upon its own merits for support and progress, and where the hold upon the ancient Christian tradition is so slight; and it is a happy augury for the conversion of the American people that these senti ments are beginning to have a practical and encouraging result. We must make the truth known, for it is that which enlightens man. And Christianity is truth. There is no form of truth so broad, so exalting, so truly progressive, so noble and so free. Men will accept it when you make it known to themaccept it with joy, and a reverent enthusiasm. The tone of our remarks must not be misunderstood as attributing to the spirit of the work before us any want of appreciation of the great needs of which we have spoken, or that we think the rev. author displays a want of confidence in the power of Christian truth. On the contrary, we have seldom met with a book so urgent in earnestness and so full of faith. can only say, in conclusion, God send the church many more such zealous souls as the Père Ramière, now that the harvest is so full and the laborers are so few.



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