Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/428

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414
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

field. This plea gives scant credit for genius to the women who have done well. Many of the essays overrun into the fields that belong to others; most of them contain irrelevant matter or are overdressed with rhetoric and poetical quotations; nursing as a means of support is mixed up with the charitable care of the sick; and there is other evidence of defective arrangement and editing. Taking it altogether, however, the book has a great deal to tell to any one who is interested in "the woman question," and this consists in not only the facts which the writers have set forth, but largely, also, in what the character of the volume unconsciously reveals of woman's intellectual peculiarities, her mode of action in various circumstances, her attitude toward certain questions of the day, etc.

Physical Religion. By F. Max Müller. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 410.

This volume contains the author's second course of Gifford Lectures, which were delivered before the University of Glasgow in 1890. The first course was chiefly of an introductory character. In it the questions were discussed of the limits of natural religion, the proper method of studying it, and the materials accessible for the study. The principal manifestations of natural religion were found to be physical, anthropological, and psychological. The present course is devoted to the consideration of the first of these aspects. Physical religion is defined as a worship of the powers of Nature. The author finds it most completely developed, in its simplest form, in the India of the Vedas; and this leads to a survey of the Vedic literature, the circumstances of its discovery, and its age. The whole process of deification is laid before our eyes in the greatest fullness and most perspicuity in the Vedas. In the hymns grouped under that name we may trace "the gradual and perfectly intelligible development of the predicate God from out of the simplest perceptions and conceptions which the human mind gained from that objective nature by which man found himself surrounded." The name of deva, or God, in Sanskrit, meant originally bright, and came to mean God after a long process of evolution. Of the many Devas, or Gods, of the Pantheon of the Veda, Agni, or the God of Fire, is selected for an analysis, by means of which the history may be understood "of that long psychological process which, beginning with the simplest and purely material conceptions, has led the mind to that highest concept of duty which we have inherited, together with our language, as members of the great Aryan, and not of the Semitic family." In the lectures succeeding the introduction of Agni, Prof. Müller discusses the biography of the divinity Agni as divested of his material character; the usefulness of the Vedic religion for a comparative study of other religions; fire as conceived in other religions; the mythological development of Agni; Religion, Myth, and Custom; Other Gods of Nature; and the conclusion to which the whole leads—"that the human mind, such as it is, and unassisted by any miracles except the eternal miracles of nature, did arrive at the concept of God in its highest and purest form, did arrive at some of the fundamental doctrines of our own religion. Whatever ' the impregnable rock of Scripture truth ' may be, here we have the 'impregnable rock of eternal and universal truth.' 'There is a God above all other gods,' whatever their names, whatever their concepts may have been in the progress of the ages and in the growth of the human mind. Whoever will ponder on that fact, in all its bearings, will discover in time that a comparative study of the religions of the world has lessons to teach us which the study of no single religion by itself can possibly teach."

Appleton's School Physics. By John D. Quackenbos (Literary Editor) and others. New York: American Book Company. Pp. 544. Price, $1.50.

This volume embraces the results of the most recent researches in the several departments of natural philosophy. It is intended to meet a demand for a thoroughly modern text-book on the subject, which shall reflect the most advanced laboratory and pedagogical methods, and at the same time be adapted, in style and matter, for use in the higher grades of our grammar schools, high schools, and academies. In order to secure the best expositions of the several departments of the science, the dif-