14 NOVEMBER 1868, Page 21

The Hermits. By the Rev. Charles Kingsley. (Macmillan.)—This is one

of tho things which Mr. Kingsley does admirably well. The subject challenges at once all his sense of justice and all his power of sympathy, challenges them by its very contrariety to his own ways of thinking, and he rises thoroughly well to the occasion. His limits do not permit hint to enter into anything like competition with such works as M. Monta- lombert's Monks of the West. The aim of his book (which is one of a very promising series, the Sunday Library) is to give 'a few vivid pictures of a form of Christian life which is as widely as possible removed from ours, and in so doing to enlarge the range of religious sympathy. Very wisely ho avails himself, wherever he finds it possible, of original materials. He translates (with a few necessary omissions) St. Athanasius's life of Anthony, and St. Jerome's lives of Paul the First Hermit, and of Hilarion. He gives us in his own words an account of Ammonius, of Basil, and of Simeon Stylitcs. And then, loss generally known, but, in some respects, more significant, come the stories of some of the hermits of the North, of St. Severinus, for instance, of St. Brendan, and St. Guthlac. Wo would specially commend to our readers the chapter on "Miracles " which gives the gist of all that can ho said on this subject with admirable force, and in a most kindly spirit. Mr. Kingsley rationalizes, so to speak, very successfully the wonderful stories of the hermit's power over wild animals. With the rust of the marvels he deals with as much success as can be expected in one of tho most complex questions of human history.