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SPINOZA AND RELIGION. By Elmer Ellsworth Powell, Ph.D. Chicago: The
Open Court Publishing Co., 1906. Pp. 344. Price, $1.50.

This new monograph by a professor of philosophy in Miami University purports to be "a study of Spinoza's metaphysics and of his particular utterances in regard to religion, with a view to determining the significance of his thought for religion, and incidentally his personal attitude toward it." It is an impartial and candid treatment of Spinoza's attitude toward religion, aiming solely to present what he taught and how his doctrine is related to religious consciousness, though the author does not deny that his work is at the same time a polemic in so far as it contends against a mistaken, though traditional, interpretation of Spinoza's philosophy and personality.

ESSAI SUR LES ÉLÉMENTS ET L'EVOLUTION DE LA MORALITÉ. Par Marcel Mauxion. Paris: Alcan, 1904. Pp. vi, 169. Price, 2 f. 50.

Sociologists have made the term "solidarity" fashionable, and political economists, moralists and teachers have received it with enthusiasm. Founded on the theory of the social organism, solidarity is regarded as the positive form of ethics. The present essay on the elements and evolution of morality is a protest against the scientific pretensions of this doctrine, and a warning against the dangers it presents from a practical point of view. The author seeks the solution of the moral problem from the impartial study of facts without any mixture of metaphysical conception. Submitting the ethical ideal to an analysis he finds therein three primary elements, the esthetic, the logical and the sympathetic, the origin of each of which M. Mauxion proceeds to consider in turn.

LAST WORDS ON EVOLUTION. A Popular Retrospect and Summary. By Ernst Haeckel. Translated by Joseph McCabe. London: Owen. 1906. Pp. 127.

Although this English version of Professor Haeckel's lectures was translated from the second German edition, it has followed closely upon the delivery of the original at the Academy of Music in Berlin in April, 1905. We made note of the German publication of the lectures in the February number of The Open Court. We will only add here that the reason Professor Haeckel, at the solicitation of his friends, departed from his published statement of four years previous not to appear again on the public lecture platform, was because of his interest in the change of front lately taken by the Church militant in which it has been making conspicuous efforts to "enter into a peaceful compromise with its deadly enemy, Monistic Science."

There is no new message in these "Last Words," as they purport to be simply a summing up of the author's conclusions of half a century's investigation.

Maung Nee has edited a little book on Buddhism called Lotus Blossoms which was privately printed in Rangoon. It consists mostly of short quotations from the various Buddhist Scriptures with a few small explanatory essays interspersed, and is designed for those who are making their first inquiries into Buddhism.

WHAT is the reason that so many people, and sometimes the very best ones, those who think, stay at home on Sunday and do not attend church? Is it because our clergymen preach antiquated dogmas and the people are tired of listening to them; or is it because the Churches themselves are antiquated and their methods have become obsolete? To many these reasons may seem a sufficient explanation, but I believe there are other reasons, and even if in many places and for various reasons religious life is flagging, we ought to revive, and modernize, and sustain church life; we ought to favor the ideals of religious organizations; we ought to create opportunities for the busy world to ponder from time to time on the ultimate questions of life, the problems of death, of eternity, of the interrelation of all mankind, of the brotherhood of man, of international justice, of universal righteousness, and other matters of conscience, etc.

The Churches have, at least to a great extent, ceased to be the guides of the people, and among many other reasons there is one quite obvious which has nothing to do with religion and dogma. In former times the clergyman was sometimes the only educated and scholarly person in his congregation, and he was naturally the leader of his flock. But education has spread. Thinking is no longer a clerical prerogative, and there are more men than our ministers worthy of hearing in matters of a religious import. In other words, formerly the pulpit was naturally the ruler in matters ecclesiastic, but now the pews begin to have rights too.

Wherever the Churches prosper, let them continue their work; but for the sake of the people over whom the Churches have lost their influence the following proposition would be in order, which will best and most concisely be expressed in the shape of a ready-made



It is proposed to form a congregation whose bond of union, instead of a fixed creed, shall be the common purpose of ascertaining religious truth, which shall be accomplished, not under the guidance of one and the same man in the pulpit, but by the communal effort of its members in the pews.



This congregation shall be known by the name of The Lay Church, or whatever name may be deemed suitable in our different communities, and a characteristic feature of it shall be that it will have no minister, but the preaching will be done by its own members or invited speakers.

Far from antagonizing the religious life of any Church, The Lay Church proposes to bring to life religious forces that now lie dormant. Religious aspirations have as many aspects as there are pursuits in life, and it is the object of The Lay Church to have representatives of the several professions, of business, the sciences, the arts, and the trades, express their religious convictions upon the moral, political, and social questions of the day.

The Lay Church will establish a free platform for diverse religious views, not excluding the faiths of the established Churches: provided the statements are made with sincerity and reverence.

Since The Lay Church as such will, on the one hand, not be held responsible for the opinions expressed by its speakers, and, on the other hand, not be indifferent to errors and aberrations, monthly meetings shall be held for a discussion of the current Sunday addresses.

The man of definite conviction will find in The Lay Church a platform for propaganda, provided it be carried on with propriety and with the necessary regard for the belief of others: while the searcher for truth will have the problems on which he has not yet been able to form an opinion of his own ventilated from different standpoints.

It is the nature of this Church that its patrons may at the same time belong to other Churches or to no Church. And membership does not imply the severing of old ties or the surrendering of former beliefs.

The spirit of the organization shall be the same as that which pervaded the Religious Parliament of 1893. Every one to whom the privilege of the platform is granted is expected to present the best he can offer, expounding his own views without disparaging others. And the common ground will be the usual methods of argument such as are vindicated by universal experience, normally applied to all enterprises in practical life, and approved of by the universal standards of truth-commonly called science.

(Reprinted from The Open Court for January, 1903.)


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Species and Varieties:

Their Origin by Mutation
By Hugo de Vries

Professor of Botany in the University of Amsterdam

Edited by Daniel Trembly MacDougal, Assistant
Director of the New York Botanical Garden
xxiii+830 pages

HE belief has prevailed for more than half a century that species are changed into new types very slowly and that thousands of years were necessary for the development of a new type of animal or plant. After twenty years of arduous investigation Professor de Vries has announced that he has found that new species originated suddenly by jumps, or by "mutations," and in conjunction with this discovery he offers an explanation of the qualities of living organisms on the basis of the conception of unit-characters. Important modifications are also proposed as to the conceptions of species and varieties as well as of variability, inheritance, atavism, selection and descent in general.

The announcement of the results in question has excited more interest among naturalists than any publication since the appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species, and marks the beginning of a new epoch in the history of evolution. Professor de Vries was invited to deliver a series of lectures upon the subject at the University of California during the summer of 1904, and these lectures are offered to a public now thoroughly interested in modern ideas of evolution.

The contents of the book include a readable and orderly recital of the facts and details which furnish the basis for the mutation-theory of the origin of species. All of the more important phases of heredity and descent come in for a clarifying treatment that renders the volume extremely readable to the amateur as well as to the trained biologist. The more reliable historical data are cited and

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