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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/575

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LITERARY NOTICES.

System of Politics"—a book which ably vindicates the sufficiency of individual initiative in a vast number of matters that have been laid hold of by the state. The present mania for legislation Mr. Donisthorpe attributes to the inexperience and want of historical knowledge of the classes who now control the suffrage. Errors which the more thoughtful and instructed members of the community have outgrown still look like truths to the less thoughtful and less instructed. The watchword of the hour is individualism, which simply means personal liberty and personal efficiency carried to their highest point. Let all who believe in this do their utmost to make the truth prevail.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Christian Theism: Its Claims and Sanctions. By D. B. Purinton, LL. D. New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 303. Price, $1.75.

The author of this book, who is Professor of Metaphysics in West Virginia University, in presenting his thesis, has had three objects in view, viz.—to construct a progressive argument logical in its method and correct in its general conclusions, and likewise defensible in each individual part and item of it; to free the subject from ordinary obscurities and difficulties; and to present it, "without dodging any of its profound problems," in such a clear and simple manner as to commend it to the general reader who is willing to think as he reads. Christian theism being presented as a fact, making positive, bold, radical, uncompromising, and universal claims, the author presents as arguments in support of it: Intelligence in nature, the eutaxiological argument; volition in nature, the teleological argument; the personality of God, or the intuitive argument; the goodness of God, or the historical argument; the unity of God, or the monistic argument; and the infinity of God, or the causal argument. As "anti-theistic errors" are combated materialism, pantheism, positivism, and agnosticism. The last system is regarded as "an ingenious combination and modification" of the other three systems, which in its present phase has taken shape and name from Herbert Spencer, "the great agnostic of modern times," a study of whose works "produces a profound conviction of his depth and patience of thought, his breadth and profundity of scholarship, his fertility of imagination, and his frankness and earnestness of purpose." This system is reviewed in an attempt to show it to be logically self-destructive. A comparison of "Evolution and Christian Theism" leads to the conclusion that most of the objections to the former scheme lie not so much against evolution as against the mechanical form of it. "Nature is not a machine, for it is plastic, progressive, improvable, while a machine is neither of these. Matter can reveal higher and still higher forms of organism, but can never create them. Matter, motion, and force, without a directive idea, can do nothing toward explaining a rationally developed universe. But why exclude a creative and directive idea? Let that idea be God. There is not a single fact in nature against the existence of a personal God or the occurrence of an act of creation. There are many facts in favor of both. Why not admit that God made the world and sustains it in being? That admission would not blot out evolution, but would view it as a possible or it may be probable method of God's creative and providential work." The question would then be not "evolution versus creation," but "evolution the method of creation." The question of immortality is also considered.

 

The Land and the Community. By S. W. Thackeray. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 223. Price, $1.

This work bears the indorsement of Henry George, who supplies it with a preface. In its original form it was presented as a thesis to the University of Cambridge for the degree of Doctor of Laws. The essay has been expanded and arranged for reference. It is commended for the fullness and clearness with which the historical and legal aspects of the question have been dwelt upon, the attention given in it to the matter of compensation, and the religious feeling and conservative disposition manifested in it throughout. It serves the office, according to Mr. George, of a clear and sim-