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practical advices, and before the reader reaches the satisfactory chapters of the volume, he is tired by its oracular platitudes. Not by such aid, or with such a defender, will Christianity be successfully vindicated. While Dr. Dodge, moreover, avoids strong language, he indulges in extreme statements, which have even worse effect. "If Jesus," he says, "is not absolutely sinless, he is not only sinful, but falls below the level of our common humanity." The silence and the speech of nature alike, he says, "make natural religion the revelation of death, the proclamation of despair." Such extravagant statements as these are scattered through the book.
In no way do the reasonings of this volume answer the arguments or silence the objections of the sceptic. They are good only for those who are already persuaded that the system of Christianity is consistent and divine.
C. H. B.
"HUNTINGTON" seems destined to be the characteristic name of apostates from the ancient faith of New England. Twenty years ago or more, one J. V. Huntington proclaimed his conversion to the Catholic Church, and showed the first fruit of his saving and comfortable change in that erotic romance of the Lady Alice, or the new Una, in which Ritualism and Sensualism were so nicely blended. Then, in the next decade, the present Bishop of Central New York passed from the liberal faith to his ardent support of the Nicene Creed and the Anglican Liturgy. And now comes another Huntington, with simpler rhetoric and closer logic than either of the others, to tell, how, after much doubting and trouble, he has found rest in the bosom of the "Mother and head of all the churches."
It is the same old story, however, a doubting, restless, sceptical mind, finding ease at last in the superficial unity of a Church which takes charge of the conscience of its members, and saves them the trouble of thinking for themselves. It is the same process of selfdelusion, and self-stultification that has been shown so many times before, by which a manly soul drops its freedom and gives up its dignity. The conclusion of this little book is melancholy. The author has "groped" after truth, only to find himself at last in that hopeless darkness of the ancient theology, which hides him away
Gropings after Truth. A Life Journey from New England Congregationalism to the One Catholic and Apostolic Church. By JOSHUA HUNTINGTON. New York: Catholic Publication Society. 1868. 16mo, pp. 167.
VOL. LXXXVII. — NEW SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. III.
from the spirit of the age and the light of this century. As a statement of the work which Calvinistic orthodoxy does with honest and ingenuous minds, this book is accurate and valuable. Many who read it will recognize in it their own experience, their own mental struggles, their own fears and fightings, their own disgusts with the doctrines which they have been taught to believe as divine and saving truth. But the strangest thing is, that in New England, with liberal works so accessible and so abundant, made known, too, by orthodox polemic, it should not have occurred to this thinker to examine the rational form of Christianity,- that the question should have been narrowed to the simple alternative of Calvinism or prelacy, the Puritan Church or the Roman Church.
This little book, issued as a cheap tract, by the Catholic Publication Society, has been very widely distributed, and will doubtless move many timid souls to follow the writer in his self-abnegation. A rational Christian, nevertheless, will thank God that he is subject to no such trial, and that no such necessity is laid upon him of renouncing his reason, that he has not this "pack" of creed Christianity to carry always on his back, only to lay this down as his offering at last, to be consumed on the Roman altar. As we have read this earnest confession of a troubled spirit, we have been more grateful for the training which has spared us such mental conflict, and never compelled us to mistake these contradictory dogmas for the gospel of Christ. The best monition of Mr. Huntington's book is to a nicer religious education of children; to teach them only what is in harmony with reason and the moral sense, and what is satisfying from the first, and will continue to satisfy a healthy soul. Such an experience as this book tells would never come in the life of one who had been trained in the school of Channing, in a church and a home full of the light of God's love and inspired by a cheerful faith. The liberal believer walks in the day, and never has to go "groping after truth."
C. H. B.
CAN the race of man be improved? Will there ever be any higher created being, or will man develop into something better physically? Are the angels only the souls of men separate from their bodies, or are they a superior order of organized life? Is the race of man permanent for the earth, or will it die off and become extinct, like the dodo in modern times, or like the ancient saurians? Is there any fixed destiny to the human species, any bound set to its essential being, which it cannot pass, any term of time which it will be unable
to get beyond? These questions are incidentally handled in the very clear scientific statement of M. Cherubin.* He maintains, from purely scientific reasons, that the faith of the Church that man will cease from the earth is well founded. Whether he expects any new earth, any higher life for man, he does not tell us. He holds that the elements of life in the earth are continually modified by the forms of life, and that the chemical changes brought by the breathing and eating and habits and industry of organized beings, are steadily unfitting the earth to keep them in being.
The higher the type of this organized life, the more surely this process of wasting goes on. Man is more certain to die out than the mollusca and the zoöphytes, because he requires so much more, and does so much more to vitiate the earth on which he lives. The power of his brain and the variety of his nervous force only make him more surely the destroyer of his race. M. Cherubin does not, like the Adventists, fix the time for this ending of human things, or predict that it will come in any near age. There will be room for a very large development of human capacity before the wasting process begins. He sends this over to geologic time, which is of no moment in considerations of human destiny and duty. The coal-beds and the forests will be exhausted long before the race of man will die out, and other inventions will have met the new needs that have arisen. The conclusions of such scientists as M. Cherubin, are not alarming, and they in no way disturb the faith that man may have life in a higher world than this.
What will become of this earth when man leaves it, is a curious speculation. Will the process of creation be reversed, and the successive species and genera, from highest to lowest, drop off, and the water cover the land, and the whole at last go back to the nebulous state? Will the great Creator, when he has completed the circuit of his worlds, call them all back into himself, and make them as they were in his original thought, before time or being was? It is as easy to conceive things returning all into the bosom of the Creator, as to conceive them coming out from his thought.
C. H. B.
DR. VOLKMANN's sketch of the life, works, and influence of Synesius, of Cyrene,† is discriminating as well as minute. It adds nothing
* De L'Extinction des Espèces. Etudes biologiques sur quelques-unes des lois qui régissent la vie. Par J. B. CHERUBIN, Docteur en Médecine. Paris, 1868. 12mo, pp. 191.
† Synesius von Cyrene. Eine biographische Charakteristik aus den letzten
to what was previously known of the facts of the life, and has not given us, more than the studies of other critics, any exact date, either for the birth or the death of the eminent Bishop of Ptolemais. He seems to think, however, in opposition to some of the biographers of the bishop, that Synesius died before his friend Hypatia. He gives a very full analysis of the prose works of Synesius, particularly the speech to Arcadius, which was really a treatise on the duties of kingcraft; the Dio, which is a sort of autobiography; and the treatise on 66 baldness," one of the most curious monuments of the literature of the fifth century. He has not a very high opinion of the poetical powers of Synesius, though he recognizes the rare culture and grace of form in his flowing and musical Greek stanzas. Nor does he enter upon the vexed question how far Synesius remained a Pagan in his philosophy, after he had assumed the duties of a Christian bishop.
Synesius is one of those anomalous historical characters whom it is difficult to place rightly. Some things in his writings seem to show him a satirist, lacking in all earnest faith; other things show him a devotee, and even a mystic. On one side, he seems to be the Horace, if not the Juvenal, of his age, while on the other, he is the fit companion of Augustine. The ascetics find comfort in some of his complaints of the vanity of mortal joys, while his description of his free-and-easy life on his farm, is that of a man of the world, almost of an Epicurean. His Trinity is not quite Orthodox, according to the Church standards, and yet he will not be reckoned among the heretics. He was made bishop in the Church before he even professed to be Christian. Yet there was no complaint that his administration of his office was weak or partial. The most zealous orthodox bishop could not have been more efficient or faithful.
C. H. B.
EXCELLENT advice is this of the "Roman Catholic Layman," which is given in the handsome pamphlet from the press of Ludwig Denicke.* He sees no good, either in the idea of the Ecumenical Council, or in its probable result. He expects from it only confusion and divided counsels: a verdict which may have the show of solemnity, but which will only seem to the intelligent mind of the world a
Zeiten des untergehenden Hellenismus. Von Dr. RICHARD VOLKMANN. Berlin, 1869. 12mo, pp. 258.
Pio Nono, Pontifici Maximo Ecclesiæ, Romano-Catholicæ, Anno vertente Concilium Ecumenicum convocaturo, Patribusque ad Hoc Concilium Convocandis Laicus Romano-Catholicus. In Necessariis Unitas, in Dubiis Libertas, in Omnibus Caritas. Leipzig, 1869. 8vo, pp. 42.
ridiculous farce. It will decree only what had better not be decreed, and will say only what ought to be left unsaid, while it will touch none of the vital questions of the age, and heal no one of the wounds of the Church. This Layman professes to be a strenuous supporter of the ancient Church, and to have made many sacrifices in her behalf. He will not leave her, even if she stultifies herself in her action. But he is moved to warn the Bishops and the Pope that if they array themselves formally against the spirit of the age, they only provoke new schism, and cut themselves off from the sympathies of the earnest scholars of their own communion. It is no time now to add new and irrational dogmas to those already in the creed, or to alienate the Church from all science and secular forces. This Layman has no hope of any new light or wisdom to come from such a meeting of prelates, who are not asked to bring their scrutiny and their advice, but only their assent to what is already determined.
The style and spirit of this pamphlet are alike excellent. The sentences of the Papal call have no clearer ring or more musical flow; and there is a proud sense of truth which needs no special plea in its behalf. But all such protests as this will be unheeded at the Vatican. The Roman Church is unchangeable in its temper and its theory, however skilfully it may use the chance and advantage of its position. It makes no theological or ethical progress, and it can neither be persuaded nor frightened into any concessions to modern civilization. That the Ecumenical Council is an "anachronism," does not lower its credit with the men who will compose it. It is the glory of the Church that it need not consider its fitness to any time, and that it "eliminates the time element." The charm of the Council will be, that it joins the sixth and the sixteenth century to the nineteenth ; and so nullifies the boast of progress; that it "rolls back the tide of time." It invites the world to forget all that has been done in these last times of the world, and to restore the pleasant fiction of the Church of Hildebrand and Innocent. The fear of this Layman that the Council will break the unity of the Church is hardly well founded. There are many who will take more courage in the apparent harmony of these voices, and will not care to ask if this external sign means any thing. No matter how absurd the decrees of the Council, the spectacle of such a gathering will have a moral influence, which scattered protests can hardly weaken. A few more absurdities can add nothing to the feud which has long been irreconcilable between human knowledge and the dogmas of the Roman Church. C. H. B.