Perhaps nothing is more startling, as indicating change of consciousness, than the result when a Scientist takes up and undertakes to read one of the books over which, perhaps only a few months before, he hung all absorbed. The interests of the ordinary novel centre about personalities; the thought of Science works the destruction of the sense of personality, and interest in its conditions and adventures necessarily goes with it. But Edward Burton,Edward Burton: Lee & Shepard, Publishers, 299 pp., 12 mo the book that is the occasion of these lines, is not a novel. There is barely enough of incident and plot to serve as framework for reflections on ethical, social, and religious topics that are the motive of the book.
In the chapters " Burton's School Life," " Theological Education," " Illness and its Results," "The Down East Cruise," "A Pleasant Entertainment "—the footsteps by which a New England boy, reared in strict Orthodox beliefs, passes from them into the New Theology—are traced with much clearness. There is a charming realism in the narrative part, and the higher thought is brought out persuasively and with power. Reflections on current conventionalisms are woven into the story, which cannot fail to impress any reader.
" It is only pseudo-sconce which rakes over and over the mud of materialism, while it closes its eyes and ears to spiritual verities on every hand," are the words with which Miss Jenness ends an eloquent rebuke of Van Roden's conversational statement of the doctrine of evolution.
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