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specially suited for English readers. Unpretending as it is, it contains a very large amount of the solidest and strongest sense clothed in a style unusually clear and vigorous as well as elegant and refined. It manifests, moreover,both a very respectable acquaintance with scholastic theology and a habit of trained solitary thought which, as the author deplores, is very unusual in our busy time. If indeed we have a fault to find with the book at all, it would be, that it is too learned and too largely suggestive. But these are faults upon virtue's side.

The volume consists of four chapters. In the first of these the author illustrates how God is revealed to us in creation; in the second, how He is revealed to us in the highest pure creature, the Blessed Virgin; and in the third, how He is revealed to us by the Church, and by what we may call, in general, the Church's machinery. The fourth chapter is a practical pendent to the other three, treating as it does of that Hidden Life whose excellence and method the other three are supposed to enforce. While the whole book merits very high commendation, we must confess to a special liking for its practical portions. These are the opening part of the first chapter and the whole of the fourth; which contain, not only passages of a peculiarly tender eloquence, but thoughts of the very highest moment for these graceless years. in which we are living. It is the author's earnest conviction that what people. of the present especially require, are the large habits of simplicity of action and thought, steadiness and solitude of mind, patient inter-communion with the larger and loftier doctrines of Christianity. Here, for instance, at page 9, is a passage which many Catholics will do well to remember


"We waste our intellectual and our spiritual strength in too great complexity; we lose sight of the value of uniform ideas; we break the ray into prismatic colours which dazzle more than they illuminate. We get out of the shadow of immensity, because it oppresses our littleness; but we forget that only the eye which is accustomed to a wide horizon learns to measure vast spaces and to recognize what is afar."

And here again a still more striking passage :

"Religion, piety, and devotion is not a military discipline nor a thing to be regulated by the ringing of a bell. It is the state of the soul as before God. It is only consonant with simplicity, earnestness and selfdenial. . . . We make our very souls into the unconscious prayer-mills of the eastern fanatic, and flutter little petitions and practices unheeding through the day, like the fragments of paper turned round by the handle of his machine. We are satisfying our itching for outward activity and at the same time loving sight of ourselves and of God."

We think the reader will travel far before he lights upon words more pungent and truthful than these. It is the absence of single-minded concentration of self upon really great and worthy objects, coupled with the other want of earnest memory of the mysteries about us, that produces the pitiable pettiness of modern life. Our science and politics and poetry and literature and religion, are all trivial, because what we give to each is but a fraction, and frequently a very vulgar fraction, of our souls. to blame us. We are fallen upon evil days. Modern society, so hot and restless and imperious, makes anything like dwelling with the "Eternal

And it is hard

Silences" particularly hard; and modern men, therefore, as compared with the men of more thoughtful and steadfast and solitary ages,

"When men lived alone like the eagle,

Nor flock'd like the crow,"

are fallen away from all that is mighty in intellect and all that is noble in heart. It is something to hear one voice, and that a Catholic voice, calling us back to the higher atmosphere and grander stillness of primeval years.

The central chapters of the book are, to a large extent, engaged with the evolution of the more fundamental Christian doctrines. With these we are not completely pleased. In speaking of such delicate matters as the Processions of the Blessed Trinity, the mode in which the Divine Attributes balance and perfect one another, the order of the Divine decrees with respect to the Creation, the Fall, and the Incarnation, the attitude of the Divine Will with regard to the salvation of man, there are required, as nothing shows better than scholastic theology, the keenest theological training, the most accurate theological knowledge, and a delicacy of expression of which we are afraid the English language is quite incapable. And while our author may be fairly excused for having failed slightly where success was impossible, we could have wished he had confined himself to those practical and emotional matters where the rudeness of our language entails no risk, and where exaggeration is often a merit. There are passages in the book before us which we would wish to see remodelled in its second edition; such, for instance, as the first paragraph in page 61, the sentence commencing at the foot of page 85, and, in the Appendix, the note marked A. The changes we would desire in these places are not of much moment. We speak of them at all only because with books so admirable as the one before us we are inclined to be fastidiously critical.

A peculiar charm in this little volume which, for obvious reasons, we merely glance at in ending, is the tone of tender resigned saduess which runs through it all. The book is dedicated "to the Sacred Memory of a Great Sorrow"; and the reader feels as he goes along, that frequent pondering before the shrine on which the book has been offered, has given the writer a pathetic power arising rather from the writer's personality than from the truths which he tells. For ourselves it has been borne in upon us as we read that many of the pages were yet wet with the author's tears, and that conviction has made us hang over the volume with such an interest as we have not felt for a long time.

The Threshold of the Catholic Church. A course of plain instructions for those entering her Communion. By Rev. JOHN BAGSHAWE, Missionary Rector of St. Elizabeth's, Richmond; with a Preface by Monsignor CAPEL. Washbourne.


R. Bagshawe's book, the "Threshold of the Catholic Church," supplies a great want in the best possible way. There are many books which et the claims of the Church before Protestants, but as far as we know there

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is none which can be used as a complete course of instruction for converts. Even in the case of persons who possess faith, and are quite prepared for reception into the Church, it is generally most necessary that instructions should be continued for a considerable time after they are once within her pale, and that for two reasons. On the one hand, they come across a multitude of doctrines, opinions, ceremonies, pious practices, which can hardly have been fully explained to them before their reception, and which are either simply unintelligible, or else a positive difficulty to them. Without regular guidance, they are almost sure to fall into serious mistakes. They will exaggerate the importance of some things, or underrate that of others, and fail to see that there is Catholic spirit as well as Catholic doctrine, both of which have to be learned with pains and humility. On the other hand, a convert brings with him the habits and instincts of years spent in heresy ; he needs something positive to drive them out, and that real education which comes from studying the doctrines, the ceremonies, and the devotions of the Church in a methodical manner is the only thing to set him right. The book before us begins with five admirable instructions on the great truths of the Faith, the testimony and authority of the Church, prayer and the Sacraments, and in the Commandments. These instructions are supposed to do all that is wanted for the convert before he is actually received. They are followed by five more instructions on the means of preparing for the Sacraments, on the most essential practices of a devout life, and on such devotions as are nearly universal among Catholics. Mr. Bagshawe, very modestly tells us that "what his book contains may easily be found in others," though not all in the same book. This would of itself be a sufficient reason for publishing his present work. But we are inclined to disagree with him as to the facility of finding instructions equally good on the subjects which he treats. book is not merely a convenient compendium; it has very special merits of its own. It succeeds most admirably in uniting solidity of principle and theological exactness with great simplicity of language. It keeps the attention fixed chiefly, though not exclusively, on the public devotions of the Church. It draws out with great skill the Catholic idea of worship, and insists on the reverence due to the ceremonies of the Church, the ritual of the High Mass, &c. Above all, it breathes throughout a spirit of strong common It is the work not only of a thoughtful writer and good theologian, but of a wise and experienced priest.



Life of S. Ignatius, of Loyola. By Mrs. PARSONS. London: Burns, Oates, & Co.


PLEASANTLY-WRITTEN abstract of the life of the great founder of the Society of Jesus. At a time when, in so many lands, the enemies of the Holy Name are straining every nerve to vent their hatred against it by persecuting those who serve under it, the hearts of Catholics naturally turn with still greater love and gratitude to the suffering members of the Society, and

all that concerns them. At such a time a popular life of their Saintly founder will be read with especial interest, and the true reasons why they are persecuted will be made better known; for it is only because the disciples have clung with such faithful and filial love to this Master's teaching that they are hated by ungodly men for Christ's name-sake. May the prayers of S. Ignatius, if not for his children's sake, at least for that of the Church of God, shorten the evil days!

The Life of Baron de Renty; or, Perfection in the World exemplified. London Burns & Oates, 17 & 18, Portman Street. 1873.


HIS is the fourth volume of the Library of Religious Biography, edited by Mr. Edward Healy Thompson. We may at once pronounce it an excellent book in its kind. A biography of any description it is very hard to write well; and our readers know that with regard to religious biographies in particular, there is the initial difficulty that very eminent authorities disagree as to the general principle which should rule their composition. Without trenching on that question here, we have no hesitation in saying that the book before us ought to satisfy all classes of opinions. Its narrative of the outer facts of the life of Baron de Renty, is ample, without being painfully exhausting, while its revealment of his inner character has the merit of a clear, steady completeness, unburthened by those analytic details which subtle writers sometimes rate too highly. And the style is throughout so perfectly fresh and buoyant as to make weariness in the reader impossible.

The plan of the volume is admirable. The book is divided-omitting the Introduction-into three parts. The first part, which is entitled "Perfect Conversion," gives, besides much of De Renty's outer history, the narrative of those inward movements by which he advanced to complete self-conquest. In this part there are many things which will be found very valuable for every Christian. There is, for instance, the little story about duelling. De Renty was in the army; and at that time (the boisterous period of the Thirty Years' War) the French officers did almost as much to kill one another in private as did the Imperialists and Spanish in the public field. A brother officer quarrelled with De Renty, and was grossly wrong in doing so. De Renty calmly showed the gentleman his error. The gentleman was not satisfied, and challenged De Renty. The latter quietly replied that he would not fight; that duelling was against the laws, both of God and of the King; that he had already given the challenger satisfaction; and that the challenger ought not to consider his refusal to accept the challenge a proof of fear. But this Christian conduct did not suit the man of war. He and a friend of his waylaid De Renty (also accompanied by a friend), and rushed upon him with drawn swords. But De Renty showed that in self-defence he could fight to advantage, for he very quickly disarmed his martial antagonist. The great point, however, is that though his previous refusal to fight had got him spoken of as a poltroon, he would not say a word, nor let his friend say a

word, of the after rencontre, when both his skill and his courage were shown. He did not value such notoriety. "Bulls," he would say, "may surpass men in boldness and daring, but theirs is a brutal courage; ours ought to be reasonable and Christian."

The second part of the book describes De Renty's " Active Life of Charity." This will be found to read like a novel. The incidents of note in De Renty's career were not indeed numerous; but the little anecdotes of his career here recorded are likely to reveal his character more than it could have been manifested by narratives of larger facts; and at all events they are so charmingly given by the writer as to make the book, even for those who read it with no religious purpose, thoroughly delightful. Take, for instance, the following passage (pp. 256, 257), which literally we select at random :

"It was a beautiful sight to witness his equanimity amidst all these troubles and annoyances. His heroic charity not seldom triumphed over the hardest hearts, and subdued the fiercest spirits. One day he went to see a man who had conceived some jealous suspicions against his wife; he had in consequence ill-treated her, and had gone so far as even to wound her with a knife. As might be expected, De Renty was very ill-received, and no sooner had he begun to remonstrate with him than the man burst forth in the most abusive and threatening language, and, raising his hand, as if about to strike, endeavoured to drive him by violence out of the room. But De Renty quietly kept his ground without uttering a single word or making the slightest gesture, either of alarm or of displeasure. The infuriated man paused: he had made his attack and it seemed foiled by the impassibility of its object. De Renty, was now in his turn to be the aggressor. Drawing near, he threw his arms around the miserable man and embraced him, speaking at the same time words of such touching tenderness that the evil spirit within him was vanquished by this assault of love. In a moment all anger had melted away; he was appeased and ready to listen to reason. After visiting him several times De Renty prepared him to make his confession, which he had neglected for twelve years, and also perfectly reconciled him to his wife. The change was solid and lasting, for the man led henceforth a good and Christian life."

A book which abounds in anecdote of that character, so well told and so pointedly illustrative of very commonplace, perhaps, but very essential virtues, cannot but be widely successful.

But it is in the third part we think that the writer appears to most advantage. In it he gives us, what is so very hard to give, the "Interior and Mystical Life" of De Renty; and he has managed to pack into it an amount of good sense and of ascetic theology, mingling with and modifying each other, which we do not remember to have seen before in so small a space. There is nothing forced and nothing far-fetched; everything is, like De Renty himself, simple in the best sense of simplicity, and sublime in the only good sense of sublimity. De Renty was a plain man who walked with God; and this third portion of the book before us is a plain piece of composition with the light upon it of "Truth Divine." And as De Renty's great value as a model, is his possession in the world of simple sublimity, so the great value of this portion of our volume is its wonderful success in making the highest truths for the conduct of life bend themselves so as to enter "at lowly

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