21 SEPTEMBER 1878, Page 22

The Origin of Nations. By Professor Rawlinson. (Religions Tract Society.)—These

essays originally appeared in the Leisure Hour. They are certainly worth republication in their present form, and make up a little volume which in a very moderate compass popularises the recent results of historical investigation. We need hardly say that the Professor writes with the special aim of upholding the general value and authenticity of what may bo termed the ethnological portions of the Bible, and in the tenth chapter of Genesis, which seems in- tended to sketch the inter-connection of races, ho sees a really marvellous anticipation of many of the conclusions of the modern science of ethnology. He thinks that there are no solid grounds for believing that we can trace back any of the old civilisations much beyond the seventeenth or eighteenth century B.C. ; and as to the alleged extreme antiquity of Egypt, he argues that the wide discrepancies between those who have handled this abstruse subject are sufficient to make us pause before we conclude that the Scripture chronology is much too narrow and limited. It can hardly, he thinks, be reasonable to suppose that a very high civilisa- tion could have been developed at a remote period in Egypt without touching and influencing neighbouring countries, and that these coun- tries were affected by it we have no certain evidence. As to the " primeval savage " of the evolution theory, he maintains that as yet historical research has given us no proof of the priority of savagery to certain forms of civilisation, but he admits, as we understand, that the question is an open one, only not one which natural science by itself is competent to decide. The merit of this little volume, which we have no hesitation in recommending, is the amount of information about various early civilisations which it brings together in a thoroughly popular and interesting form.