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ELEMENTS OF PHILOSOPHY, COMPRISING LOGIC AND ONTOLOGY, OR GENERAL METAPHYSICS. By Rev. W. H. Hill, S.J., Professor of Philosophy in the St. Louis University. Baltimore: J. Murphy & Co. London: R. Washburne.
We are glad to see this anxiously expected volume. The author proves himself quite competent to the most important task he has undertaken, and writes with the ease and precision of a thorough student and practised teacher of the highest and most necessary but most neglected and abused of all the rational sciences, philosophy. In his doctrine, he follows S. Thomas and Suarez, and is therefore necessarily sound in his principles and method. The most subtile, abstruse, and controverted points in respect to which there is the most difference among the votaries of scholastic philosophy, and those topics also where there is the best opportunity for the author to display special ability in his explication of doctrines in which all scholastic philosophers are substantially agreed, are found in the special metaphysics. The present volume, proceeding no further than general metaphysics, does not enable us to judge of the way in which the author will treat these questions. So far as he goes, we are satisfied with his explication of the grand fundamental principles and truths of philosophy, and wait with favorable anticipations his second volume. The style is admirably precise and clear, and as neat and elegant as our imperfect language will admit in such a treatise. An able correspondent, whose letter will appear in our next number, has laid down certain rules in regard to this point, and made some pertinent observations in which we concur, and we refer our readers to that forthcoming letter. We think he will find that F. Hill has generally adopted the style which he recommends. We find, so far as we have had time to examine, only one word which appears to us open to criticism, "cognoscive," used in place of the term cognoscitive, employed by Cudworth and found in Webster's Dictionary. The term Idea
also seems to us to need a more full and precise explanation, in connection with the terms species sensibilis, species intelligi bilis, species impressa and expressa, and verbum mentis, as used by S. Thomas, which we presume we may expect to be given in the treatise on psychology. A teacher who has been thoroughly taught philosophy will find this treatise, we think, well suited to the purposes of a text-book. The question, how far teachers who read only English, and are obliged to learn themselves a sound system before they can teach it to others, or intelligent pupils in their own private studies, will find the exposition of philosophy in this volume intelligible and satisfactory, can better be answered after a fair trial. The logic has been much shortened and simplified, yet includes, we think, all that is essential for training the class of pupils who will use the book in the rules of correct reasoning. If something more is needed for exercise in syllogisms, any of the books of logical praxis in common use will answer the purpose. We recommend the adoption of F. Hill's philosophy as a text-book to all teachers in Catholic schools, both male and female, where English text-books are used. It is the only English text-book fit for use in teaching philosophy. Our impression is-that it will be found on trial to be an excellent text-book for the higher classes of pupils, and we thank the author for the great service he has rendered in preparing it, hoping that he will not delay to finish his work.
IERNE OF ARMORICA. By J. C. Bateman. (Fifth volume of F. Coleridge's Quaiterly Series.) London: Burns, Oates & Co. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)
This is an historical novel after the fashion of Fabiola and Callista. The scene is laid in the time of Chlovis, about the period of his marriage to Chlotildis. The author has brought extensive and accurate learning into play in this story, which is thus a picture of the times it describes. It is also a well-written and interesting romance. We think he has made Chlotildis, who is exquisite as an
ideal character, somewhat too perfect for the strict historical truth. Although a saint, she had a little of the barbarian left in her, before she achieved the full measure of the perfection of Christian meekness, gentleness, and charity. All readers will be pleased with the perusal of this book. Our young friends in college and convent, who are always keen for a new book for wet days, of which we have had so many of late, will be delighted with this one, and, while they are reading it, will forget the disappointment they are apt to feel when their favorite prayer, Donnez nous un beau jour, is not granted.
SERMONS FOR ALL SUNDAYS AND FESTIVALS OF THE YEAR. By J. N. Sweeney, D.D., O.S.B. In two volumes. Vol. I. London: Burns, Oates & Co. 1873. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)
MARY MAGNIFYING GOD-MAY SERMONS. By William Humphrey, of the Cong. of the Oblates of S. Charles. Same Publishers.
These two volumes of sermons are excellent in regard to matter and style. F. Humphrey's little volume is specially marked by a dogmatic character. Both will be found serviceable to priests in preparing sermons, and to the faithful for their private reading.
SUEMA; or, The Little African Slave who was Buried Alive. By Mgr. Gaume, Prothonotary Apostolic. Translated, and with a Preface, by Lady Herbert. London: Burns, Oates & Co. (New York: Sold by The Catholic Publication Society.)
The recent mission of Sir Bartle Frere, by the British Government, to the Sultan of Zanzibar, with a view to the suppression of the slave-trade in East Africa, has attracted American notice. Now, although government intervention will be able to put a stop to the shipping of slaves across the seas, it cannot interfere with slave-labor in Zanzibar itself and the adjoining towns, or prevent the atrocities of Portuguese and Arab agents who act as traders on their own account. Catholic charity, then, has found a way of reaching where government influence has no bearing. There is a community in Brittany which devotes itself exclusively to the education of little negresses, purchased from the slavers in the African
marts. And, jointly with this communinity, the Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and of the Sacred Heart of Mary, who have founded a mission in Zanzibar, buy up as many slave children as they can, and educate them in the Catholic faith. These devoted religious would, of course, be able to do much more in this way had they the pecuniary means at their command. The thrilling story of Suéma is put forth in order to excite an ardent zeal in the hearts of Catholic readers for the purchase of slave-children in East Africa, whereby the curse that has befallen them is turned into a blessing. The story is perfectly authentic, the substance of it having been taken down from Suéma's own lips, translated into French, and sent home by the superior of the Zanzibar mission.
We are very sure the narrative itself, as also the admirable preface and introduction which accompany it, cannot fail to awaken the sympathy of our Catholic readers. When, then, they learn that the sum of fifty francs, or about ten dollars in currency, will purchase a boy or girl of seven or eight in the slave-marts, they will not be slow, we believe, to contribute towards so glorious a work. And the price of a single slave-child "will be received with the greatest gratitude by the R. P. Procurator-General of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and of the Sacred Heart of Mary (who have charge of the Zanzibar Mission), 30 Rue Thomond, Paris, or by Monseigneur Gaume, 16 Rue de Sèvres, Paris."
A CATECHISM OF THE HOLY ROSARY. By the Rev. Henry Formby. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873. This is a neat little book in catechism form containing about 60 pages of the most necessary and useful instruction on the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. F. Formby is doing a great work. He is the right man just at the right time, and seems to anticipate the wants of priest and people. His other books are admirably well calculated to interest not only the youth for whom they were especially intended, but also those of riper years. The little book before us ought to be in the hands of every Catholic, young and old. It is also well calculated to instruct those who think that our devotion to the Blessed Virgin excludes God and the Saviour from our prayers. All we have to
say is let any such person read this catechism, and they will be forced to admit that the Rosary is nothing more or less than an epitome of the New Testament history of our Lord, and that he is mentioned on nearly every one of the pages of this beautiful little book, for the appearance of which we thank the Rev. author most heartily.
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. By Mgr. Gaume, Prothonotary Apostolic. Translated from the last French edition by A Daughter of S. Joseph. Philadelphia: Peter F. Cunningham. 1873.
This work, which might, to a passing glance, appear fanciful and unimportant, is truly philosophical and of rare interest. It comes to us not only with the Imprimatur of the Bishop of Philadelphia, but also with a Brief of His Holiness Pius IX., granting an indulgence of fifty days to the sign of the cross, in response to the illustrious author's petition.
The author is able to say, in his preface to the second edition, that the book has had a wonderful success: "The first French edition was sold in a few months. Three translations of it have been made into different European languages-one in Rome, one in Turin, and one in Germany. Catholic papers have vied with one another in recommending its perusal, and many letters have been sent to us bearing the congratulations of the most respectable men of France and of foreign countries." He then, after quoting the Neapolitan review, Scienza e Fede, appends a portion of a letter from the Dean of the Catholic Chair at Rome, and also a circular from the commission charged with the care of the regionary schools, to the effect that the book should be read by the pupils, and distributed as a premium.
The preface to the first edition explains the origin of the treatise-how a young German of distinction, having come to study at the College of France, found his companions there laugh at him for making the sign of the cross before and after meals, and so by requesting the author's opinion of the practice, and of the sign in general, occasioned the twenty letters which form the volume.
These letters exhaust the subject in a masterly way truly French. Besides proving over again what has been proved so many times before, the antiquity of
the holy sign among Christians, and how the noblest intellects of primitive times both taught and practised the use of it, Mgr. Gaume shows that it was made in some way before Christianity, and from the beginning of the world. "The sign of the cross is so natural to man that at no epoch, among no nation, and in no form of worship, did man ever put himself in communication with God by prayer without making the sign of the seven ways cross." Then he gives the “ of making it":
"(1) With the arms extended: man then becomes an entire sign of the cross. (2) With hands clasped, the fingers interlaced thus forming five signs of the cross. (3) The hands joined one against the other, the thumbs placed one over the other again the sign of the cross. (4) The hands crossed on the breast: another form of the sign of the cross. (5) The arms equally crossed on the breast: fifth way of making it. (6) The thumb of the right hand passing under the index finger, and resting on the middle one: a sign of the cross much in use, as we shall (7) And, finally, the right hand passing from the forehead to the breast, and from the breast to the shoulders: a more explicit form, which you know."
Under one or other of these forms," he adds, "the sign of the cross has been practised everywhere and always in solemn circumstances, with a knowledge more or less clear of its efficacy."
Accordingly, he proceeds to show, first, how the Jews made it, instancing Jacob, Moses, Samson, David, Solomon, and others. And here he only echoes what the Fathers have observed before him. Next, he tells us how the pagans made it, attaching to it some mysterious value. Three of the ways of making it were known to them; and these ways, being universal, were not arbitrary.
Some curious facts of undoubted authenticity are related of the power of the holy sign when made even by strangers to Christianity. And this sets off its efficacy as it is made in the church. Now, our author laments, and, we fear, with good reason, that the sign of the cross is fast becoming obsolete among a large number of Catholics. Those who make it at all, too often make it very imperfectly and carelessly. The object, therefore, of the present work is to revive the ancient practice of making the sign frequently and making it thoroughly. And
it is with the same intention that the Pope has granted fifty days' indulgence to it when made reverently and with invocation of the august Trinity.
THE ILLUSTRATED CATHOLIC SUNDAYSCHOOL LIBRARY. 6 vols. 18mo, in box. Containing : The Apprentice, and Other Sketches. Mary Benedicta, and Other Stories. Faith and Loyalty, and The Chip Gatherers. Agnes, and Other Sketches. Lame Millie. The Chapel of the Angels. New York: The Catholic Publication Society. 1873.
Sensible stories with good illustrations are always welcome to children. This set of books is well calculated to please the eye and satisfy the tastes of both reader and purchaser. They are excellently printed, handsomely bound in bright colors, and present a variety of healthful reading seldom found within the compass of six small volumes. The cuts, from neat and chaste designs by a skilful artist, will attract the attention of every child, and lend additional interest to the tales. In the selection and arrangement of the stories, good judgment is shown, many of them being now published for the first time. As premiums, no series of volumes could be more desirable for the little folk.
THE KING AND THE CLOISTER; OR, LEGENDS OF THE DISSOLUTION. By the author of Cloister Legends, etc. London Stewart.
These legends are well suited to readers of a romantic turn of mind and fond of the marvellous and tragical. Being purely Catholic stories, and perfectly innocent, our young readers will, we hope, have a good time over them.
THE BROTHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS DURING THE WAR OF 1870-71. From the French. With thirty-two Illustrations. Westchester: Printed at the Catholic Protectory. 1873.
This book exhibits Christianity in action. Plato said, "If virtue could be seen embodied "-he meant in living form"all men would love and adore it." Plato's dream was realized when Love became incarnate, and walked about doing good to the bodies and souls of men; but all men did not adore it. Virtue, to be adored, must be known. The book be
fore us makes known the cardinal virtue of Christianity, charity, by exhibiting her in human form, and telling us, not what she can do or should do, but what she dia do by the hands of the Christian Brothers during the late memorable war between France and Prussia. Of the success of this glorious order in doing the work for which it was started by its venerable founder, it is not our purpose to speak, but of the book which lies before us, and which tells so graphically the deeds of charity and heroism of these Brothers during the terrible war of 1870-71. It is translated from the French of J. D'Arsac.
The mechanical execution of the volume is creditable to the boys at the Protectory where it has been brought
HAWTHORNDEAN; or, Philip Burton's Family. By Mrs. Clara M. Thompson. Philadelphia: Peter F. Cunningham. 1873.
This is a book written by a lady, and it bears in every chapter and page the impress of a delicate, sensitive, and refined mind. It cannot be called artistic in the truest sense, for the plot is simple, and the characters are so natural that we feel in reading it that we are only renewing our acquaintance with old friends. The scene is laid in this country, and the actors are Americans, some by birth, others by adoption, and in this respect it has the advantage over most of the works of fiction which have issued from the press of late, which, while treating us, or pretending to treat us, to a view of the inside lives of Europeans, utterly ignore the fact that at our very door there are abundant materials for a hundred novels and romances, still unused and neglected.
ISABELLE DE VERNEUIL; OR, THE CONVENT OF S. MARY'S. By Mrs. Charles Snell. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co.
This is a story about life in a convent school, written in an interesting and ladylike style, and with a sufficient number of exciting incidents to gratify the well-known taste of young ladies of about the age of Mlle. Isabelle de Verneuil.
LARS: A PASTORAL OF NORWAY. BY Bayard Taylor. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. (late Ticknor & Fields). 1873.
This poem is dedicated to John Greenleaf Whittier. It is fully worthy his