14 AUGUST 1880, Page 20

The Beginnings. By H. P. Malet. (Triibner and Co.)—The author

has dealt with the subject of cosmogony in previous works, and has, we believe, provoked a good deal of ridicule. It appears that he rejects the nebular hypothesis of Laplace, and has been attracted by the speculations of the German astronomer Gruithuisen, whose theory is that the earth and all the celestial bodies are " the result of a gradual agglomeration of cosmical dust." In his concluding chapter he embodies his views in a sort of blank-verse dialogue between the Creator, Light, and Vapour. The Creator bids Light go forth,— Light " flies to execute his Lord's decree," and encounters Vapour, who describes himself as "chaotic, cold and dark, laden with matter." The result is the " Beginning." It appears that we cannot get beyond this. We are not surprised. We must wait, it seems, till we know more of the nature of matter and of light. Meanwhile, we may believe in " the God of our forefathers," and we should suppose that we may also stand by the old Mosaic account. Mr. Malet is certainly an ingenious writer, and he seems to have studied the literature of his subject. How far he has advanced matters, we cannot say.