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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

who are without hope. In fact, the James territory, which includes the adjacent corners of four States, is a region which seems closely to resemble in its religious and moral condition a Frankish kingdom in Gaul in the sixth century. Every one knows how very early in the history of the Church the tendency to make faith take the place of right-living began to show itself. St. James had to warn the very first generation of Christians that pure religion and undefiled consisted not in sound belief, but in good deeds. The difficulty of making people show their faith by their works has beset Christianity ever since. Barbarians rapidly accepted the Christian dogmas, and took eagerly to the rites and ceremonies of the Church, but they never were quite ready to accept its views about behavior. Gregory of Tours, in his most instructive chronicle, tells some very grotesque stories of the difficulties which the bishops had in Gaul in his day in refusing the communion to notorious evil livers. One Frankish chief—a great robber and cut-throat—insisted on having it administered to him, and the bishop had to let him have it, in order to save life, for he threatened to kill all the other communicants if he was not allowed to partake also. The comfort the Italian and Greek brigands find in the external observances of their creed, while committing the most atrocious crimes, is now an old story. A skeptical or agnostic robber is in fact unknown in Eastern or Southern Europe.

The devout brigands all belong to the Catholic or Greek Church, which has always greatly exalted the value of external worship and pious credulity, and thus furnishes only too much temptation to those who are ready to believe without limitation for the purpose of postponing any change in their habits. The Protestant Church has been much more exacting in the matter of conduct, and in fact has afforded in its teaching but few of the refuges for easy-going sinners which its great rival provides so plentifully. But the fight between faith and right-living nevertheless rages within its borders unceasingly, and not always to the advantage of the latter. It is not only in the James district in Missouri that one comes on the strange compromises by which a certain external devoutness is made to atone to the conscience not only for spiritual coldness, but for long and persistent violations of the fundamental rules of morality. Startling as are these revelations about the state of society in that part of the country, they are hardly more startling, everything considered, than the frequency with which our defaulters and embezzlers in this part of the world prove to have been vestry-men, deacons, Sunday-school superintendents, and prominent church-members during long years of delinquency and perfidy.
 


LITERARY NOTICES.

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC SERIES. No. XL.

Myth and Science. An Essay by Tito Vignoli. D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 372. Price, $1.50.

Though an opportune and much-needed book upon a subject that is exciting wide attention in the higher circles of inquiry, yet this treatise is of a much graver character than its title might imply to those familiar with current mythic literature. It is not a book of old fairy tales nor of the mythological legends of different peoples, but it is a compact disquisition on the origin and nature of the common mythical element manifested by all grades of intelligence. It is a philosophical essay, and some critics declare it to be as hard as metaphysics, which is saying a good deal, because the book is far more interesting than metaphysics.

A leading element of interest in this volume comes from the point of view taken by the author in the investigation. He assumes evolution without any reserve, and declares that "it is evident, at least to those who do not cling absolutely to old traditions, that man is evolved from the animal kingdom." It is true that Mr. Max Müller, the grammarian of mythical romance, not long ago republished his prophecy that "the idea of a humanity emerging slowly from the depths of animal brutality can never be maintained again in our century." But it certainly does not look much as if the doctrine were at present thus discredited. Mr. Darwin, its great apostle, was yesterday entombed in Westminster Abbey with the singing of an anthem composed expressly for the occasion, in the presence of the best talent of the country and a formal deputation from the University of Oxford and representatives from learned societies, the import of the whole being that "Darwin's work was at length claimed by the nation as its own," while, by the verdict of Europe, the author of the "Descent of Man" was pronounced to be the greatest scientist of his age. At