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SHORTER NOTICES OF BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS.
JULY.-G. Smith's Essays-Scriptural Studies
Christian Library-Thomson's Symbols of
LONDON R. CLAY, SON, AND TAYLOR, PRINTERS.
ART. I. Annales de Margan (Annales Monastici, Vol. I.) Ed. H. R. LUARD, M.A. Longmans, 1864.
2. Annales Monasterii de Waverley (Annales Monastici, Vol. II.) Ed. H. R. LUARD, M.A. Longmans, 1865.
THE history of religious reformations and revivals is, for the most part, a sad one. The zeal which stimulates the first movement but too often grows cold. Success brings with it its inevitable dangers and difficulties. The mixture of human motives, not appreciated or calculated on at first, makes itself felt and known. The eager and heroical spirit, which moved the first antagonism to evil, degenerates into a self-asserting or persecuting hardness. The temptations to luxury and sloth become more powerful and are more feebly resisted, and but too often the reaction proves worse than the original disease. And this is peculiarly the case when the revival is one of an essentially artificial and unnatural state of things; when a wild attempt is made to galvanize into life and vigour that against which the great laws of our being are irrevocably fixed; when men would fain be wiser than Heaven has made them, and would attempt to reach conditions to which there is no access here below. We believe that the various revivals and reformations of the monastic orders, without exception, bear witness to the truth of this. The history of the middle ages is full of records of attempts to reach a state, in which man, completely isolated from worldly cares, and all distracting and lower motives, shall be entirely given up to religious contemplation and perpetual communion with God. But is there any proof of the permanent success of any of these attempts? The history of monasteries is the history of the world in little. The same motives, the same temptations, the same sins are to be found within the walls of the convent as without. Man cannot be isolated from his nature, or regulated out of himself. It is simply a record of failures more or less pretentious, and exhibiting more or less the marks of good or evil in their downfall. The most respect