صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

An Easy Demonstration and Catechism of Religion.

Translated from the Spanish of the Rev. JAMES BALMES, by the Rev. J. NORRIS. Second edition. London: Burns, Oates, & Co.


HE second edition of this useful little work will be gladly welcomed. Anything from the thoughtful mind of Balmes is sure to be good. The work is divided into two parts. We are told in the advertisement to the "Easy Demonstration" that it was not the author's intention to write a catechism of Christian doctrine, or a compendium of the history of religion, but simply to fill up a void which exists in the education of children. The author is of opinion that "sufficient attention is not paid to the foundation of the truths" which our children learn at school; "and as it happens that when they leave school, and mix in distracted and dissipated, if not infidel or indifferent society, they do not carry with them the knowledge which may serve to sustain them in the faith of our holy religion. And what arms have been supplied to our youth during their education and training to enable them to defend their faith, if not in conversation, at least in the sanctuary of their own conscience. And is not this department of instruction much more important and necessary than the teaching of arithmetic, geometry, drawing, &c., with which the minds of children are stored, in order that they may enter with profit and honour upon their respective careers?" (pp. iii. and iv.)


"Lamentable are the ignorance and neglect in these matters. Everything is taught, everything is learnt, except the grounds of our faith. And this is one of the causes why faith lies in so many hearts like barren seed, if, what is far worse, it be not carried away by the first breath of wind." (p. 10.)

In the midst of our educational crisis, when men are trying their utmost to separate religion from education, we consider the republication of this sterling little work as most opportune. It is a short but complete treatise on the grounds of our faith. The second part consists of a Catechism, in which the principal portion of the first part is compressed into a short space. We extract the following from the chapter "On the Existence of a true Religion."

"To say that all religions are equally good, that it matters not whether we be Christians, Mahometan, Jew, or Pagan, is to deny the providence of God, to assert that after He created the world He ceased to care for it, and that the human race walk onward the sport of chance, without object or end, as sheep without a shepherd. It will be said, perhaps, that a God infinitely great does not care about such tiny beings as we are, and regards our worship with indifference. Why, then, did He make us out of nothing (the existence of a God has already been proved) if He was not to take care of us afterwards. For what object could a God who is infinitely just propose to Himself, in making out of nothing a creature which He would immediately abandon, without giving ear to his prayer, or accepting his offerings; indifferent as to whether he would follow this or that law, pay Him this or that worship, and leaving him alone and forlorn in the most horrid darkness? Who could ever conceive such absurdities as these? It would be equivalent to the denial of the goodness and wisdom of God; and a God without wisdom or goodness would not be God." (ch. ix. pp. 11 and 12.)

As far as we are able to judge, the translator has done his work well.

Passion Flower. A Novel. London: Burns, Oates, & Co. 1872.


E have been charmed and delighted with this novel. The contrast of character throughout is admirable; and although the author-or shall we say authoress ?-has not been quite so successful in the handling of the incidents, yet the work is unquestionably one of real merit. The lights and shades in the characters of Beatrice and Agnes, the unselfish Johnny Carewe, and his unfortunate cousin Garrett, but especially of Lord Lyffton, which must have been the hardest, we think, to draw, are skilfully brought out, while Lord and Lady Mount Alton and Lady Margaret are natural in the extreme. It is, above all, in the knowledge of mind and heart that the writer excels. We have marked the following passages :


"He" (Johnny Carewe) was very fond of giving pleasure, but more so of doing good; but, what is very rare with kindly people, he always kept possibility in view." (P. 30.)

How true is the following:

"Enviable! Why which of us can fairly be considered to be so happy that other mortals should wish their destiny to resemble ours? What we make shift to bear might to them be intolerable, what we enjoy they might not relish. So many people are happy in spite of circumstances that I think the word enviable one of the most foolish ever coined. If people only thought of what they say, how many words would go out of use !" (P. 61.)

And this again :—

"The next morning he" (Lord Lyffton) "breakfasted tête-à-tête with Lord Mount Alton. Beyond the ordinary civilities of the breakfast-table, little was said by either of them. It is only when we are alone with a person that we feel how much or how little we have in common with him; and between these two there was very little in common. After all, perhaps, solitary companionship (if we may use such an expression) is the true test of friendship instead of separation, as has been so often asserted. Our dearest friends are those with whom we are happiest alone." (P. 100.)

And this too :

"So it ever is. We criticize our past selves as inexorably as we do our neighbours, and for the same reason-because it puts us in good humour by the contrast, real or supposed, with our actual present self." (P. 224.)

Yet one more extract :

"It is strange how in this chequered life of ours 6 one care doth tread upon another's heel.' It is seldom that a sorrow comes unattended. And surely it is wisely so. When our heart is worn out by its own vain wishes, with hopes and fears, shadows inconsistent, feverish, with all the changeful anxious world that is pent within a human breast, it seems almost like a relief to be brought face to face with some real, positive calamity-the severance of some old tie, or the hard cold features of want.

"There are moments when men think they have reached the extreme point of mental suffering, when they seem to have fallen into the 'pit of misery and the mire of dregs.' Then they fancy themselves familiar with sorrow in every guise, and say in their hearts that nothing can touch them farther. Vain illusion! Behold them presently plunged into a lower lowness, a yet blacker desolation. What mortal has ever known the length and

breadth and height and depth of human woe? Who can look around over the world, and cry out, Is there any sorrow like unto my sorrow?' Ah, who, my brother, save He who became for us a Man of Sorrows,-who tasted in one bitter chalice of all the bitterness that earth can yield?" (Pp. 214-245.)

We sincerely trust, for the sake of our lighter Catholic literature, with which we are so ill provided, that "Passion Flower" will not be the only work we shall have from the pen of this accomplished writer.

The Merchant of Antwerp: a tale, from the Flemish of HENDRICK CONSCIENCE. Translated by REVIN LYLE. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet, and Co. London: Burns, Oates, & Co.


HE tales of Hendrick Conscience are so well known that their author requires no introduction to our readers. If we were asked in what the charm and merit of his tales consist, we should answer that their charm lies in their simplicity and truthfulness to nature, while their merita rare merit in these days-is to be found in their freedom from anything that might taint the hearts of the young. Not that in these tales love is excluded; far from it. The tale now before us may almost be said to be a love-tale. But the love, although strong and earnest, ready to undergo and suffer all things, is not the unholy passion of our modern sensational novels, which are eating away the hearts of so many of our English boys and girls; it is always kept in check by higher motives. So, too, we shall find that in the description of the world, and its pleasures, and its money-getting-its grosser vices are of course not touched upon-the author so contrives his plot as to make the reader feel that true happiness lies not with the world. At the same time there is no Puritanism, no sourness; while God and religion are never introduced at the wrong place, but just where, if they were to be omitted, we should feel the want.

In the "Merchant of Antwerp" we have the story of a young man, Raphael Banks, who, brought up in the house of his employer, where he has been treated as a son ever since his mother's death, to whom great kindness had been shown, both by his employer and his wife, constantly keeps the thought before him of one day repaying all their goodness. This, however, does not prevent him from secretly falling in love with his master's daughter, Felicité. Still, he knows his position too well to disclose his feelings; his only hope is one day to make a fortune, and then, to repay his master, and claim his daughter's hand. It is only when a rich young Antwerp merchant becomes her accepted lover, that he can bear it no longer, and leaves for America, still, however, bent upon repaying his master's kindness. His whole fortune consists of a few thousand francs recently left him ; but although his heart is well-nigh broken, gratitude to his master bears him up. Meanwhile things begin to go badly with his master, M. Verboort; indeed grave difficulties had already arisen before Raphael's departure, which M. Verboort puts down as the chief cause of his leaving. Gradually matters get worse and worse with the old man; a large American house becomes fraudulently bankrupt, and VOL. XX. NO. XXXIX.-[New Series.]


M. Verboort is unable to fulfil his engagements. In vain does he apply to the father of his future son-in-law; far from receiving any assistance, the intended marriage is broken off, and the ruined merchant, reduced to great poverty, becomes insane. After a few years Raphael comes back from America the owner of a large fortune, with the intention of repaying his old master's kindness, but utterly-ignorant either of his misfortunes or of the breaking off of his daughter's marriage. Informed of the true state of things, Raphael succeeds with great difficulty in obtaining an interview with M. Verboort during one of his lucid intervals, but all offers of assistance are indignantly rejected. Nothing baffled, Raphael consults the best physicians as to the possibility of a cure, and is told that the only chance is to cause a sudden shock to the old man by the communication of good news. He therefore makes arrangements with some London and Antwerp merchants, who write to M. Verboort to tell him that the son of the head of the bankrupt firm in America has determined to pay his father's debts, and that they therefore forward him the first instalment of the money. We need not say that all this is a ruse, and that the money comes from Raphael; but the ruse proves successful. The old merchant recovers, and finding out the deception that has been put upon him for his good, bestows his daughter's hand on Raphael, who in his turn enables bis old benefactor to end his days in comfort.

Such is a brief sketch of the simple tale; yet simple as it is, it is full of interest. The description of the insanity and recovery of the old man is admirably drawn. We give the following extract, begging our readers to remember that four years have passed since Raphael Banks's departure.

"Mr. Verboort no longer listened, but talked to himself and rubbed his forehead, like some one endeavouring to remember something.

"Yes! that is it,' he cried joyfully. I knew very well I had forgotten something. A pleasure-garden without a dwelling! How absurd! There will be a château with a carved front, large marble steps before the door, and a portico with high columns on both sides. A princely palace! That is pride, is it not? Yes! but when one is rich, worth millions. Ah! what is there on earth too beautiful for my Félicité ? Time is short, we must take the chance that offers; for we are rich to-day and poor to-morrow. I must decide at once. Banks does not come. I ought to consult him about the plan. He promised to be here at nine o'clock. Where can he be? Do you know Félicité ?'


Suddenly he was seized with a violent attack, his features contracted, and he cried furiously:

"Banks, Banks. He has abandoned and betrayed me, because misfortune has befallen me. Thou, O God, wilt demand an account of his ingratitude. Poor, ruined, dishonoured! Raphael, Raphael, what have you done? There they are, there they are, the phantoms which pursue me, the death which threatens me! Let me fly. The notes, the notes.'

[ocr errors]

"Félicité sadly followed her father, but his imaginary fear caused him to run so rapidly, that the poor girl could not overtake him till he was entering the house." (p. 156.)

The anxieties, uncertainties, and risks of a merchant's life are also vividly depicted.

The translation is on the whole fairly good, although we have noticed in several places the misuse of "will" and "shall." At p. 147 we were also

stopped short by the following sentence:-"I felt like kissing her hands for the remembrance."

As for the American spelling we suppose it is hopeless to say anything, as the work has been published in America; but when we meet with "traveling' and "travelers” it is enough to make readers in the "old country" throw down the book in despair.

Life of Monseigneur Berneux, Bishop of Capse, Vicar-Apostolic of Corea. By M. L'ABBÉ PICHOU. Translated from the French, with a Preface, by LADY HERBERT. London: Burns, Oates, & Co. 1872.

THIS HIS is another volume of the "Missionary Series" from the pen of Lady Herbert, which seems never to rest from its labours in the cause of God's Church, and of His poor. We need hardly remind our readers that, like all the volumes of the same series, it is published for the benefit of the new Missionary College at Mill Hill, and it is indeed a beautiful offering to a beautiful cause. This work, we feel sure, will be productive of a twofold influence. Not only will it stir up all who read it to aid in sending forth fresh labourers to the harvest of souls in distant lands, but it will also quicken the spirit of self-sacrifice at home. Few fathers will be able to read the book without feeling how little they are doing for the Church of God, and how less than nothing are their mortifications compared with those which this martyred bishop underwent for his Master's cause.

Simeon François Berneux, Bishop of Capse in partibus, Vicar-Apostolic of the Corea, was born May 14, 1814, at Château-sur-Soir, in the diocese of Mans, and was beheaded for the Faith on the 8th of March, 1866. Most interesting is it to trace the spirit of martyrdom working within him even from his earliest years. It shows itself while still a boy, and although natural affection had a strong hold upon his heart, in his desire to study for the priesthood. At the age of twenty-one, still yearning after a more perfect life, he seems to have been strongly drawn towards the monastic life, and the sacrifice of his own will under the rule of S. Benedict; but God had another work for him to do. Three years later he felt that it was to the heathen that he had been called. So strong was the desire to offer himself for the work, that we are told his health gave way under it.

How touching is one of his letters to his mother after he had made up his mind!

"God is my witness," he writes, "that to save you from this sorrow I would willingly shed the last drop of my blood. There is but one sacrifice that I cannot make-I dare not sacrifice my soul. I must fulfil the will of God. And you would not desire it! You would, I know, rather see me dead a thousand times than permit me to be unfaithful to my vocation. For if the separation of a few years be so great a grief to us, what would it not be to be parted for ever! Let us offer the bitter sorrow we feel to our good God, and he will soften it, and help us to bear it. And as for me, it will double the weight I already bear if you continue to grieve so much." (P. 9.)

Here was, indeed, one who had laid to heart, and not merely heard, our Lord's words, "He who loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy

« السابقةمتابعة »