Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/871

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LITERARY NOTICES.

theistic belief, and especially by Christianity, is discredited; and the intention is announced to consider the other solutions offered in their theoretical and practical aspects, and to inquire whether Theism in general, and the Christian religion in particular, are so utterly untenable as is very generally contended. The two answers, besides Theism, to the great enigma are atheism and agnosticism. Atheism is described as teaching that the answer to the great enigma is not moral but material; that faith in the Divine must be put aside as a senseless and servile superstition; that the rule of right and wrong is to be found in self-interest; that ethics is only a regulation of police; that physical fatality must be acquiesced in; and as holding out the practice of a "brutal egoism." Of that kind of agnosticism which is merely critical and negative, and is content with professing nescience of God, M. Renan's career and writings are held up as a type. His criticism, after examination, is pronounced inadequate to support the vast edifice of doubt which he reared upon it. The other kind of agnosticism, scientific or affirmative, which asserts the existence of God but denies that he can be known, is considered best represented by the philosophy of Herbert Spencer—"Mr. Spencer's portentous generalities." This is examined in detail, criticised unsparingly, and is declared to leave the mystery of "the immeasurable world" precisely where it found it. The inquiry is next made whether Theism is, in fact, so hopelessly discredited as is frequently and confidently alleged. Mysticism, or the doctrine of the inner light, is then examined in the four chief systems—Hindu, Greek, Moslem, and Christian—in which it has been clothed, and the conclusion is reached that while, in the more vulgar manifestations of religion, it may assume most unlovely forms, it is still there, "potent in its divine virtue to slake the thirst of human nature for a great good transcending sense." Finally, the claims of the Christian synthesis are considered, with the conclusion that, "while no one pretends that Christianity offers us a complete explanation of the scheme of things, there is no more reason in the nineteenth century than there was in the first why its message should not be received by cultivated and intelligent men, who feel their need of it, and who will carefully and candidly examine its claims for themselves." We think Mr. Lilly has failed to appreciate the importance of the contributions which Mr. Spencer and the exponents of scientific inquiry into the questions he discusses have made to a clearer understanding of the subject. By enlarging the sources of knowledge and broadening the lines of thought, they have made it possible to regard the questions from different sides, and thereby to take more comprehensive views of them; by more plainly defining the essential points, they have enabled us to discern them unencumbered by minor features and the rubbish which tradition and superstition have heaped around them; and by presenting them distinct, in strong light, they have enabled us to apprehend them undisturbed by the perplexing excrescences which made conception of them difficult and embarrassed faith; and have thus augmented rather than diminished respect for the fundamental principles of Christianity and their hold upon candid minds.

Metal Coloring and Bronzing. By Arthur H. Hiorns. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 336. Price, $1.

It is surprising to find that the Japanese still surpass us in artistic metal coloring, notwithstanding our chemical knowledge of alloys. This is acknowledged to be the case by the author of this volume, who asserts that even "the bloom of fruit is faithfully reproduced" by them, and inharmonious coloring is unknown in their work.

Some advance, however, may be expected among us now, as we begin to realize that metal is beautiful when finished as metal, and not when perverted to an imitation of wood or glass.

This book is the result of experiments in bronzing which have been most carefully conducted. Many old recipes have been tested, as well as methods now commonly used in France. The first part of the work is devoted to the chemical and general relations of the subject; the preliminary treatment of metals follows; and the three remaining sections contain chemical metal coloring, electrochemical processes, and mechanical metal coloring. Some remedies to be used in case of accident and suggestions for preventing ill