Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/140

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

purposes, and the construction of permanent homes. Ideas of transportation, other than upon his own back or in frail canoes, or the use of coal, which was so abundant about him, and which he frequently made into pendants and ornaments, and a thousand other things which civilized beings enjoy, were utterly beyond his comprehension."

 

The Evolution of Christianity. By Lyman Abbott, D. D. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. 258. Price, $1.25.

Dr. Abbott's recent book, is more like a collection of sermons than a treatise. It has the fullness of illustration and the free indulgence in repetitions characteristic of discourses delivered to an audience that has nothing to do for the time being but listen. The gist of the book is an acceptance of the idea that the Christian religion, like all other institutions and organizations, is a growth. This idea is elaborated in successive chapters with respect to the Bible, theology, the church, Christian society, and the soul. Dr. Abbott accounts for the contradictions and imperfections which he admits exist in the Bible on the ground that the writers of the later books perceived the will of God more clearly than the men who wrote the earlier ones. He says: "The later books present higher ideals of character and conduct, clearer and nobler conceptions of God, more catholic and more positive interpretations of his redeeming work in the world, than the earlier books. The revelation is a progressive revelation. The forms, whether of religious thought, of public worship, or of church order and organization, in the Bible, are not the same; those of the later ages have grown out of those of the former ages, and are superior to them. In brief, the Bible is the history of the development of the life of God in the life of a peculiar people; and it traces the development of that life from lower to higher, and from simpler to more complex forms." The logical outcome of this doctrine is that the theologians of the present day are better able to set forth the true religion than even the writers of the Gospels and Epistles. Dr. Abbott and those who agree with him apparently retain but few things, such as the anthropomorphous nature of the First Cause, the belief in miracles, etc., that divide them from scientific moralists, and the above doctrine seems to release their successors from any obligation to retain these if they should see fit to abandon them.

The Free-trade Struggle in England. By M. M. Trumbull. Second edition, revised and enlarged. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1892. Pp. 288. Price, cloth, 75 cents; paper, 25 cents.

This is indeed in every respect a book for the hour. It treats at length on what is at the present the liveliest issue in the United States, from whatever point of view it may be regarded. As a historical summary of a memorable and pivotal period in English politics it is of deep political interest. Most appropriately it is dedicated to the distinguished champion of free trade, the Hon. John Bright, M. P., "the eloquent friend and defender of the American Republic, the enlightened advocate of peace and free trade among nations," and it contains a fac-simile autograph letter from Mr. Bright, written in 1882, in which he says, "The American tariff is so incapable of defense that discussion of the strange burden that lays upon your people can only end in some great change and great reform."

In a second letter, addressed to the author later in that year, Mr. Bright says: "I do not expect your people will copy from us; they will learn from what is passing around them how much they suffer from your present barbarous tariff. There are persons among us who are not anxious for a reform of your tariff. They say you can not have an export trade, and can not compete with us in foreign markets." Iu the preface to this second edition, Mr. Trumbull shows the necessary character of this particular study as a guide in our present political conditions. Citing from Mr. Whitelaw Reid's letter of acceptance, "The fact that our form of government is entirely unique among nations of the world makes it utterly absurd to institute comparisons between our own economic systems and those of other governments," our author states quite emphatically that this is "a very serious error." He does not believe any government is "unique" enough to violate the laws of moral science with impunity; that no government will ever be so "unique" as to justly tax one man for the benefit of another, or