Images de page

teeth, which would put the general reader in possession of so much knowledge, as to enable him to test the qualifications of the professed dentist to whom he was obliged to have recourse, either for the purpose of relieving pain, or of supplying that, which once felt, is instantly recognized as a great calamity, the loss of teeth. It is strange, that until now, we have never met with a work in the English language, which conveyed that information in plain, simple, and intelligible language, although our neighbours on the continent, and surgical writers in America, have not been so inattentive to this matter. The simplicity of style, the plainness of language, and the intelligence conveyed in every page of Mr. Robertson's treatise, arise from the abundance of his knowledge; and it is because he is so complete a master of his subject, that every one who peruses his book, arises from the study of it a well instructed pupil. We learn how the teeth should be treated from childhood to old age-by what means they may be preserved, by what resources saved from decay; by what expedients the pain arising from decay or accident abated or removed, and finally, how, and in what manner, their loss can be best supplied.

What we admire most in this book, is that for which we have least reason to admire most modern publications, and that is the appositeness of its arrangement, and the clearness of its expression. It proceeds step by step, making the path of the reader more clear every step he advances, conveying to the mind the knowledge of a fact, or of an important principle in every page, all bearing upon the one topic, and all laid bare without the slightest assumption of pedantry, and never obscured by the employment of a single unnecessary technical expression. The author, in the first part, whilst teaching the public, is also instructing the dentist; and in the second part, when lecturing the dentist, and pointing out to him how his art is to be exercised, is conveying a vast fund of knowledge to the general reader. Whatever is stated by Mr. Robertson as a fact, or whatever is laid down by him as a principle, may be relied upon by the reader as an unerring truth, for the author has tested both by numberless experiments. He states only what he knows, and the knowledge is the result of years of study, fortified by daily proofs. Thus we have a book on which the most perfect reliance may be placed, coming from one who has won for himself not only exten

sive practice as a dentist, but also a high name in the medical world; for Mr. Robertson is the gentleman who was the first in Europe to introduce the employment of ether in difficult surgical cases, and he, too, was the first to reduce its effects to a practical certainty, by discovering the index when an operation ought to commence. He has also contributed much original information upon the employment of anathetic agents, a subject we may remark, which has not been as yet sufficiently considered.

Such is the author of the book now before us. We regret that we cannot afford space to go more fully into the contents of such a book, for the more it is known, the more must the public feel indebted to the author for the great and important information communicated by him.

IV.—Philothea; or, an Introduction to a Devout Life.


from the French of ST. FRANCIS OF SALES, by the Rev. JAMES JONES. London, Dublin, and Derby; Thomas Richardson and Son. 1848.

AMONG the numberless happy results which have followed from the multiplication, the cheapness, and the extensive circulation of modern books of piety during the last ten or fifteen years, there is one consequence which has followed indirectly, and which we have often been tempted to regret. By the very variety and novelty of the modern appliances of devotion with which busy translators and enterprising publishers have enriched the young generation, we fear they have been led in some measure to forget the good old standard works which formed the entire stock of devotional reading for their less happy forefathers. We have often looked in vain through the ascetic collection of modern pious libraries for the works of St. Francis of Sales, of Lewis of Granada, for Cardinal Bellarmine's inimitable devotional treatises, and even occasionally for the golden book itself-Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ. And although we should be sorry to say or insinuate a single word which could be construed into a depreciation of the invaluable books of St. Alphonso Liguori, of Father Segneri, of Pere de la Salle, or the numberless other pious writers with whose works these later days have been blessed, yet we cannot but regret that any cause, however good in itself, should lead even to a temporary forgetfulness of the favourite pious authors of our own earlier years.

It is with more than ordinary satisfaction, therefore, that we welcome this new and most excellent translation of St. Francis of Sales's inestimable Introduction to a Devout Life; and although the learned translator, Mr. Jones, has deserved highly of his catholic countrymen by his numerous and most valuable earlier publications, yet, we cannot help thinking that the present work entitles him to still better and higher praise. "The Devout Life" is a work for which our entire stock of devotional reading will not supply any adequate substitute. Other books are equally tender in sentiment, equally elevated in thought, equally fervid in language, equally, perhaps, more, rich in scriptural knowledge. But there is not in the whole circle of ascetic theology a single volume so admirably calculated for the class to which it is addressed-for persons engaged in the world. Almost all our other books of devotion appear in the eyes of the world to adopt one ideal standard of sanctity, to the attainment of which all their exhortations are directed and all their rules and precepts adapted. Few of them seem to descend to the details of real life, taking men and women as they actually are; and endeavouring to make them better, with so little of abandonment of their actual duties, engagements, and even recreations or pleasures, as to win them insensibly to virtue by divesting it of its repulsiveness and difficulty, and satisfying them, even at first sight, of the possibility of practising it in the world. Now, we are fully sensible, that for many souls such a course of direction, indiscreetly pursued, would be dangerous, and indeed, destructive; but we also know, that, for the majority of mankind, it is the only course that is either feasible or hopeful; and, in the hands of a saint, like Francis de Sales, so tender, so considerate, so cognizant of every little detail, so full of emotion and winning piety, in a word, so specially, and we believe, providentially gifted for this arduous but holy office, it has been the instrument of salvation to countless thousands, whom a more unbending course of direction would have driven to despair.

The original preface of the Devout Life expresses so clearly and so characteristically the author's views in its composition, that we are induced to transcribe a paragraph as a specimen of the manner in which the translation is executed.

"Almost all have hitherto written of devotion in a manner either suitable for those only who live far away from all commerce with the world, or leading souls to an entire separation from it. My design, therefore, is to instruct those who live in towns, in families, or at court, and whose condition subjects them, externally, to the ordinary routine of life. Such persons, very generally, imagine that a devout life is an impossibility in their regard, and that therefore they need not think of attempting to lead such a life; like animals who never dare to taste the seed of the plant Palma Christi, they think that they must not aspire to the palm of Christian piety so long as they are engaged in the hurry of secular affairs. To such I endeavour to make it appear, that as the motherof pearl fish lives in the midst of the sea without taking in a drop of salt water, and as in the direction of the Chelidonian islands there are springs of fresh water in the midst of the sea, and as fireflies pass through flames without burning their wings; so a resolute and persevering soul may live in the world without imbibing its spirit, discover sweet springs of piety in the midst of its bitter waters, and pass through the flames of earthly concupiscence without burning the wings of her holy aspirations to a devout life. It is true that this is not an easy task, and therefore I could wish that many would attend to it with much greater care and earnestness than heretofore. With a view to contribute towards this, I offer in these pages, weak as I am, assistance to those, who with a generous heart engage in so worthy an undertaking."-pp. 21, 22.

Those to whom the old English version, with its quaint and startling, though not inexpressive idioms, is familiar, will join with us in the expression of our gratitude to Mr. Jones for his clear, easy, and graceful translation. The peculiarly ornate style of St. Francis, his constant use of similes and illustrations, and the many simple graces of composition for which his manner is so remarkable, require the pen of a skilful and practised translator, more perhaps than any other doctrinal author with whom we are acquainted and Mr. Jones's previous labours, as well as his excellent natural taste, had prepared him to render full justice to all the delicacy which his task involved.

There is something exceedingly touching in the sweet humility of the concluding paragraphs of the preface.

"For the rest, my dear reader, it is true that I have written of a devout life without being myself devout, but certainly not without the desire of becoming so; and this desire has encouraged me to undertake to instruct thee. For, as said by a most learned man, A good way to learn is to study, a better is to listen, but the best s to teach. It frequently happens,' says St. Augustin, writing

to his devout Florentina, that the office of distributing makes us worthy of receiving, and the office of teaching lays the foundation of our learning' Alexander having commanded the celebrated Apelles to paint the portrait of his much-loved Campaspe, the artist was obliged for this purpose to gaze on the countenance of Campaspe for a long time together; and thus became, as he drew her features, deeply enamoured of her person. Alexander, on hearing this, took pity on him, and gave her to him in marriage; depriving himself for Apelle's sake, of her whom he most loved in the world. In this,' says Pliny, he showed as much greatness of soul as he could have done by the most signal military victory.' Now, I am of opinion, my beloved reader, that, as a bishop, God required me to portray upon the hearts of others not only common virtues, but also his most dear and well-beloved devotion. This I willingly undertook, as well in obedience to him, and to discharge my duty, as in the hope that while I delineated her in the hearts of others, my own might become holily enamoured of her; and that his Divine majesty seeing me thus deeply stricken with her, would give her to me in eternal marriage. The beautiful and chaste Rebecca, for watering the camels of Isaac, became his destined wife, and received from him earrings and bracelets of gold: so I trust, through. the infinite goodness of my God, that for thus leading his dear sheep to the salutary waters of devotion, my own soul will become his chosen spouse, and that golden words of divine love will be breathed into my ears, and strength given me to reduce them to practice, which is the essence of true devotion. This do I beseech his Divine Majesty to bestow upon me, and upon all the children of the Church, to which I desire ever to submit my writings, my actions, my words, my inclinations, and my thoughts."-pp. 26, 27.

Need we express our hope, in conclusion, that this admirable book is destined to become even more popular than ever among us?

V.-The Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage, of Great Britain and Ireland, including all the Titled Classes, by CHARLES R. DOD, Esq, author of the Parliamentary Companion," &c. London: Whittaker and Co., Ave Maria Lane, 1848.

THERE is a great distinction between this and all other works that are best known under the general designation of "peerage books;" for Mr. Dod has in this given what no other peerage or baronetage book ever yet attempted to give, a full account of all persons bearing titles ;-such, for instance, as the children of the nobility, who are by courtesy, "lords, ladies, and honourables," of the

« PrécédentContinuer »