صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

style, much information, and generally correct impressions of the suljects treated. The tout ensemble forms a very readable collection of essays upon important subjects, and, to the author's wide circle of friends and pupils, a valuable “sheaf of gleanings from the harvests” of a remarkably useful life.

1. On the Mountain ; or, Lost and Found. By LUCY ELLEN

GUERNSEY. 16mo, pp. 228.

2. How the Kingdom Came to Little Joy. 16mo, pp. 196.

delphia : American Sunday School Union.

Phila

In view of the great number of third-rate sensational novels which at the present day are to be found in our Sunday-school libraries, it affords us sincere pleasure to call attention to books that are unexceptionable in character, as well as interesting and instructive in matter. It is a deplorable fact that in collections designed for the young, and especially in those nominally intended for religious instruction, works of pure moral sentiment are the exception. We are aware that this tendency towards sensational reading is a reaction from the dull, unnatural, morbidly pious class of books which have so largely predominated in these libraries. To strike the happy mean, to give the story sufficient reality and interest to render it attractive enough to compete with the dime novel class of books and at the same time convey useful and salutary moral instruction, is no easy task.

These requirements are, however, well met in the books before us, and the Sunday-school Union is doing a good work in providing this class of reading matter for those who need it. These handsome volumes are designed to teach the necessary lessons of self-sacrifice and faith; which is done through the medium of simple narratives natural in their events, truthful in description, and interesting to the young reader.

The management of the conversation seems to be the most difficult part of the task to both the writers. The grammatical precision and appropriateness of language are a little too remarkable in these untaught children, and the words of wisdom which fall from their lips

would imply at least unusual precocity in the youthful subjects. This is more noticeable in the narrative "On the Mountain,” though the course of events and feelings manifested are in general very natural.

The principal character is a spoiled child, Fanny, who falls into the hands of a kind, yet wise and firm grandmother, by whose discipline and her own misfortunes she is at length taugth the great lesson of selfcontrol and self-sacrifice. The “new-fashioned theories” of family government are hit off in the person of Mrs. Lilly, Fanny's mother. The author thus refers to them :

“Mrs. Lilly, the younger, had some new-fashioned theories on the bringing-up of children. She thought they should never be punished, for fear of making them slaves; nor restrained from saying all they pleased, lest they should become sly; nor checked in eating, drinking, or play, for fear they should think too much of these things; nor taught anything they did not wish to learn, lest their brains should be overtaxed or they should take a dislike to learning."

These theories, we fear, are entertained by more than one parent and with similar results. The other characters in the story are Sarah Weyman, an untaught country girl, whose strength of character and rough sincerity are in strong contrast to Fanny's arts and duplicity; Willy, an honest farmer's boy; an Indian servant, Oney; Steeprock, an old Indian hunter, who, with his dog, succeeds in finding little Annie, who was lost upon the mountain through Fanny's negligence and falsehood, and rescued alive through the heroic self-sacrifice of Sarab Ley. man. Sarah becomes an invalid in consequence of her exposure, but finally recovers and finds “ her sphere” as a nurse. Fanny reforms, and all ends well.

Little Joy, the heroine of the other narrative, a lame, untiught, simple child, having heard the story of the Pilgrim's Progress, sets off in search of the “ Zion-land,” becomes mired in a meadow not far from her home, is rescued by a farmer's boy whom she styles Mr. Hope, cared for by a kind old lady, and taught that the “ kingdom of Heaven is within.” She returns home and induces her older brother, Darry, to seek the same, who, shortly after, reaches the kingdom through the watery gates of death by drowning, and little Joy goes to the poor-house. On a visit to her brother's grave, to see if the angels had taken him away, she meets a bereaved man, Mr. Gordon, who gives her further instructions on the subject, and invites her to a Thanksgiving dinner with her little blind friend, Joey, where they spend a happy afternoon, and return to the workhouse and the realities of life. The story borders upon the solemn, and has a tinge of the unreal, yet is generally conducted so as to be interesting and to illustrate the lesson of child-like faith. We can only adà that it is greatly to be desired that all Sunday-school books should be as unexceptionable as these, and as well adapted to the tastes and needs of youth.

Autology: a System of Mental Science. A Vindication of the Man

hood of Man, the Godhead of God, and the Divine Authorship of Nature. By Rev. D. H. HAMILTON, D. D. 8vo, 700 pp. Boston: Lee & Shepard. 1873.

The title of this work will doubtless be new to most of our readers, as the author has coined a word to express an idea peculiarly his own. By this term we are to understand a treatise on man, on self-knowing. Making man the starting-point of inquiry, the author proceeds to discuss directly the nature of God, and indirectly that of the external world, and of brutes and angels. It will thus be seen that the scope of the work is certainly comprehensive, for it includes the consideration of both material and spiritual worlds. It cannot be without interest, for it offers an explanation of all the controverted metaphysical and theological questions which have ever arisen. From the vast regions of what has been considered unknowable, he has rescued many a wandering truth, and assigned it a place among those generally accepted. With the earnest conviction of a sincere believer in his own theory, wrought out in his vigorous mind by years of profound study, the author assumes to lay many of these debated points forever at rest, and over them write requiescat in pace.

The object of the work is, as he informs us, not to write a book, but to decide the question, “God or no God; theism or atheism." This battle is to be fought out “not over a reptile or a force, not over a cell or a protoplasm, but over man.” y vw 91 beaUtdv is emphatically his text. The aim of the work is not merely to advance some new idea upon metaphysical science, but to construct and explain an entirely new and original system. If adopted, it will be in many respects a revolution in this department of inquiry, and establish beyond doubt certain theories now agitated by theologians and scientists. The entire system is cohesive and consistent with itself; so is the terminology employed. Although many of the words are used by the author in a new sense, we have no cause for objection, when they are employed in the same sense throughout, which is the case. He claims for Him: self this privilege, as one who forges new thoughts must be allowed 10 construct his own vehicle in which to corvey them. The whole construction of the system proceeds logically from the foundation, and unless we can destroy this we must accept the edifice entire. As this foundation is laid in the consciousness of man, and as its testimony is conclusive to every one, each can judge for himself of the reality of the superstructure built thereon.

The order of inquiry adopted is man, God, nature-a reversion of that previously pursued by all the philosophers, metaphysical and physical, from Aristotle to Agassiz; for the existence of a God from that of nature, or, as it is commonly called, the argument from design, is in this system cast aside as entirely sutile. “Through nature up to nature's God” the author claims can never conduct man to his Creator. He says, “Nature is the lone Isis, who ever still, as of old, inscribes on her own eternal mechanism as descriptive of herself, her history and her doom : 'I am all that has been, I am all that shall be, and none among mortals has ever been able to list my veil.'"

The theory is propounded that man can know God directly, or by a direct induction from his self-knowledge, and thus is avoided the circle of arguments and misconceptions which have so long attended the subject. Where man can know himself and God, the position of nature and her relation to both is easily comprehended. In this work the mind is divided into essential intelligence and essential activity, which are regarded as existing simultaneously in its constitution. Thus the old question of the origin of ideas is avoided, or rather it does not arise. Then are considered in order the will, affections, intellect, and conscience, all forming together the personality or “manhood" of man. In reply to the first point of inquiry, “How can the mind begin to act ?” the author endeavors to show that as its source of action cannot be in the senses or in the reason, “the true source of the mind's activity is in its own essence.” A similar answer is given to the question, “How can the mind begin to know?“ All knowing of external things consists in the interpreting of a fact by an idea.” (p. 21.) This theory is thus expanded :

“If I start with the fact and seek the idea, I have already had and used the idea in finding the fact. If I start with the idea and seek the fact, I find I have already had and used the fact in obtaining the idea... There must first exist

both a fact and an idea before any external thing can be known.... It is manifest, therefore, that neither the senses alone nor the reason alone can ever begin to know anything.... A higher and more ultimate faculty than either is necessary. ... Such a faculty we have in a rightly understood consciousness. ... Essential intelligence or consciousness, and essential activity or life, are the true sources of the mind's knowing and acting.” (pp. 23, 25.)

We have thus indicated the line of argument pursued in relation to the first points of inquiry, that it may be seen upon what basis the system rests. In the following words we have the whole scope and plan of this “Autology :” “Man is to himself the first great object of knowledge, and this knowledge of himself is to him the key to all knowledge of God and nature.” The work is devoted to the substantiating of this thesis, and its application to the problems to which it gives rise. Thus on “ Will and Liberty ” we note that Dr. lIamilton makes Will and Self identical; that all the faculties of the mind constituting personality inhere in the will; that its action binds over the whole man to responsibility," though the reason may object and the conscience protest," and that liberty is a constituent element of the will. On the question “Why does the will choose one thing rather another ?” he remarks that it could arise only from confounding choosing with selecting, and then adds, “ To choose a thing because it presents the strongest motive would in no way affect the liberty of the will, for it does not depend on that. The act of the will is free, whether it has an alternative object of choice or not." Then, having laid at rest what he calls this “ perturbed spirit which bewilders with its ignis fatuus light,” he writes: “Let it never be let loose again to vex the brain of theologians or metaphysicians, feeble or strong.” The question, “ Can any power control the will inevitably without destrosing its liberty ?” he answers in the affirmative by the illustration of a jury trial, with the law, right, argument, etc., all on one side, and that thus God can inevitably persuade any soul to repentance if be chooses. The query which comes hard after this explanation, “ Why then does God not choose to do so ?” the author does not seem to have deenied worthy of consideration.

On the subject of " total depravity,” the philosopher takes the orthodox view as to its generality, if not totality. This view, we are obliged to confess, finds sanction in the light of recent developments in our public afiairs. Yet we are not among those who, for one misstep, are ready to condemn a man's whole character, or to conclude thence that he must be “totally depraved.”

The author's division of objects will not, we think, meet with

« السابقةمتابعة »