Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

it is intelligently and consistently even to state for adoption any metaphysical theory of the origin and significance of the world. .

THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY.*_This little book contains a collection of spicy and entertaining essays which, for the most part, are a keen criticism of certain attempts made to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to ethics and ästhetics. The first of these essays is entitled “Beauty and Beast.” Here it is affirmed that the Spencerian and other evolutionary explanations of the origin of the idea of the beautiful have but a show of basis in the phenomena of animal life. The facts to which Darwin appealed in proof of the theory that beauty of coloring constitutes a prominent influence in natural selection, are deemed altogether inadequate for this purpose. Moreover, the occurrence of typical forms of beauty in widely separated species of animals, or even in inorganic structures, shows plainly that the æsthetic is far too deeply seated in nature to be accounted for by the hypothesis of evolution. Are we to believe with Hæckel, Dr. Parker inquires, that surviving savages show crudity as to their sense of color, and note with Grant-Allen that the average farmer sees in convolvulus nothing but a useless weed, and yet at the same time suppose that “this latest, highest-cultured appreciation of the most exquisite shapes and colors existed all along, for untold ages, in bees and birds ?"

The other most important of these essays is entitled “Mind in Animals." Upon this subject the author is rightly, exceedingly distrustful of all the evidence ordinarily alleged to prove that even the most intelligent of the animals ever thinks, in the most true and proper sense of this word. Both the psychology and the logic are in the wrong, of those who ascribe the conduct which results from blind, inherited impulse, or from wonderfully acute sensation coupled with prompt and strong association, to true processes of abstraction, to the forming of general notions, and to ratiocination. Huxley is right: brutes are virtually automatons, but sensitive rather than conscious, as we can understand consciousness.

* The Spirit of Beauty. Essays, Scientific and Æsthetic. PARKER. New York: John B. Alden, 1888.

By HENRY W.

TAE VIRTUES AND THEIR REasons.*—The author explains in the Preface that this treatise “is especially adapted for moral training in the public schools and higher institutions of learning.” It is quite too elementary and devoid of all theoretical and scientific character, however, to be adapted to the latter class of educational institutions. Only some three pages-called "Introductory”-are occupied with presentation of “the Ground and Rule of Right” and “the Classification of Duties.” The remainder of the book is taken up with remarks upon the various duties, both “regarding others chiefly,” and “regarding self chiefly.” These remarks it certainly would do no harm for the pupil in the public schools to study; and, if illustrated further and enforced by competent oral instruction, their study might result in good.

THE LAW OF EQUIVALENTS.T—"The following treatise,” says its author, “is semi-philosophical, semi-practical.” It is—that is to say—the statement of a fundamental law, followed by the exposition and application of the law to a variety of subjects in political and social morals. This law, when reduced to set formula, is stated in the following terms: For a large class of objects (indeed for most objects that do not fall under the principles of mere trade), upon which men place a high value, nature exacts as a price, not quantity, but specific quality of effort. For the attainment of these objects, payment must be made in exact kind; no barter or substitution is recognized. Neither will surplus offerings or endowments in some other than precisely the right direction atone for lack in this direction.

After expounding and illustrating the different factors of this principle, and enumerating different, so-called "equivalents,” Mr. Payson proceeds to apply it to Woman Suffrage, the Family Institution, Education, etc.

The book makes a vigorous stand for a very wholesome truth, and does this, on the whole, in an interesting and instructive manner. It is perhaps, however, rather too much of a continous sermon, and its style in places seems a little artificial and strained by the endeavor to be emphatic and impressive.

* A System of Ethics for Society and Schools. By Austin BIERBOWER. Chicago: George Sherwood & Co. 1888.

+ The Law of Equivalents in its Relation to Political and Social Ethics. By Ed. WARD PAYSON. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1888. VOL. XIV.

11

DR. McCosa's “ GOSPEL SERMONS."*_These sermons will serve well the purpose for which they were published. It is intimated in the preface that they are designed as testimony to the author's interest in the Gospel. “I am anxious that the public should know that much as I value philosophy, I place the Gospel of Jesus Christ above it.” They have a pastoral quality that is interesting. Most of them are evidently the product of pastoral experience. Some of them, we are informed, were preached to the students of Princeton College, but there is nothing of the academic quality about them. In range of thought they do not reach a very high level. They are, however, simple in style and clear in outline, following largely the textual method of treatment. They were selected for publication because they were supposed to present “most clearly the way of salvation.” It is not always easy to understand just what is meant by “Gospel sermons,” or by the “ way of salvation.” Just what our venerable author would regard as the heart of the “Gospel ” and just wbat bis statement of the “way of salvation" would be is not made manifest by this volume. None of the sermons are distinc. tively apologetic. Some of them are prevailingly ethical, some are parenetic, and a few have a somewhat evangelistic quality. It may be intended to set forth the Gospel in its distinctive features. It is not done, however, either evangelistically or apologetically. The chief interest of the volume is in the fact, that it is the product of a man who has won distinction in another and very different field of service and in the evidence which it furnishes that he holds the Gospel as a Christian experience and that he possesses a very kindly and genial spirit.

L. O. BRASTOW.

THE NONsuch PROFESSOR. - This is a treatise on the Christian life in the form of a sermon. Like most of the sermons of the time in which it was written, the early part of this century, it first

+ Gospel Sermons. By JAMES McCosa, D.D., LL.D., Litt.D., Ex-President of Princeton College, Author of "Method of Divine Goverument;" "Intuitions of the Mind Inductively Examined,” etc. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 530 Broadway. 1888.

* The Nonsuch Professor in his Meridian Splendor ; or the Singular Actions of Sanctified Christians. By the Rev. WILLIAM SECKER, Minister of All-Hallows Church, London wall. With an Introduction by Rev. T. L. Cuyler, D.D. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 530 Broadway. 1888.

discusses the subject doctrinally and then practically. The whole discussion, however, is eminently practical in its subject matter and in its style. The pith and pungency of the sentences do not fail to leave an impression. They are short and aphoristic. They abound in the short metaphor, the antithesis and the climax. An impression of artificiality results, as if the writer had consciously elaborated this style. At any rate one wearies of it after awhile. One could name two or three well known American preachers whose style of preaching strikingly resembles that of Archbishop Secker in this sententious and aphoristic quality. The book, however, is a helpful one and may be read with profit. It is far better than the ordinary manual of devotion.

L. O. BRASTOW.

THE SERMON BIBLE.*_ We have here a collection of extracts from modern sermons, mostly of the expository sort, based upon passages contained in the first ten books of the Bible. It is the first of a proposed series of twelve volumes which shall contain “the essence of the best homiletical literature of this generation." Thus fragments of exposition of all the books of the Bible will be brought to our notice. The plan is not unlike that of Spurgeon's Treasury of David. The latter is on a larger scale, however, and has a more complex object. It gathers a larger variety of material and wholly from the older writers and preachers and is intended as an aid to practical devotion as well as pulpit work. The work before us deals wholly with modern preachers and writers, is limited mostly to expository discourse and is intended as an aid to preachers. “It is confidently hoped that this volume will prove an indispensable part of every preacher's library." As a study of varieties of expository method in preaching it may be of great value to preachers. Nothing that has ever been published will equal it in this respect. It may also be a great aid for devotional uses. It will not fail moreover to leave a strong impression of the homiletic suggestiveness of the Bible, even of those portions of it wbich seem least fruitful and least practically useful. As to the rest its value is more than doubtful. The selections are from a great variety of sources. The nearly three hundred preachers or authors represented here are for the most part well known and favorably known. The selections from their

* The Sermon Bible. Genesis to II. Samuel. New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 714 Broadway. 1888.

utterances are judiciously made and properly condensed. There are large lists of references also to works that are not quoted. The work cannot fail to give us a strong impression of the range and variety in modern preaching, of its superior Biblical quality, of its spirituality, its freshness, and its practical power. For this reason at least it will be welcomed by every enterprising student of preaching

L. O. BRASTOW.

The frontispiece of the MAGAZINE OF ART for February gives perhaps the best portrait of Mr. Gladstone that has ever been published. The original is Millais' painting and this has been reproduced by the photogravure process with remarkable accuracy. A few pages further on and we are given a paper on “Mr. Gladstone and His Portraits," by T. Wemyss Reid, which is illustrated with capital engravings from various portraits and caricatures, a full page being devoted to the portrait made by Watts in 1858. This is followed by the first of a series of papers on “ The Isle of Arran;" after which comes a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne written in the Scotch dialect and supposed to be a Jacobite's farewell to his sweetheart in 1715. Some “ Thoughts on our Art of To-Day," by Geo. Frederick Watts, R.A., are given, in which he takes occasion to speak pleasantly of a little work on art by Verestchagin, the Russian painter, whose paintings are now on exhibition in this country.-Cassell & Co., New York, 35 cents a number, $3.50 a year in advance.

THE ART AMATEUR for February gives two colored plates, a moonlight landscape, and the first of a series of fern designs for China decoration. The black-and-white designs include Easter decorations—lilies and ecclesiastical designs for dorsel and banners; a large four page design for a screen panel, the first of a series representing the seasons; designs for a plate (orchids), two salad-plates, a fish plate and a Royal Worcester vase, a striking double page wild rose design for a carved and perforated panel, and a pleasing tapestry decoration, after Boucher, “The Fountain of Love." The frontispiece is a “Head of a Creole.” The practical articles relate to still life, flower, water color and tapestry painting, Easter decoration and home adornment. Articles of particular interest are “Hints from Japanese Homes," and Mr. Kunz's talk about jade. Price 35 cents a number, $4 a year. Montague Marks, Publisher, 23 Union Square, N. Y.

« AnteriorContinuar »