Canton's Saints and Warriors

Author: William Canton
Publisher: J.M. Dent & Co, London
Dates: 1898

This set of books about Christian saints and heroes is elegantly written and beautifully illustrated, but the Child's in the title is quite misleading. These are not books for the introductory reader, but rather, for relatively well educated young people who are already somewhat familiar with the history of the middle ages and basic hagiography (the study of saints). Although the stories of the saints given are not particularly difficult, the author assumes a level of common-knowledge about the history of Europe that is no longer common among modern school children.

This work is less a collection of biographies about saints, than a work of Christian mythology. It recounts legends rather than facts, and romance rather than reasons. The overall tone of the book is well given in the Introduction to Child's Book of Saints.

A saint, whose very name I have forgotten, had a vision, in which he saw Satan standing before the throne of God; and, listening, he heard the evil spirit say, "Why hast Thou condemned me, who have offended Thee but once, whilst Thou savest thousands of men who have offended Thee many times?" God answered him, "Hast thou once asked pardon of me?"

Behold the Christian mythology! It is the dramatic truth, which has its worth and effect independently of the literal truth, and which even gains nothing by being fact. What matter whether the saint had or had not heard the sublime words which I have just quoted! The great point is to know that pardon is refused only to him who does not ask it.

Child's Book of Saints   by William Canton  
Canton's Book of Saints is really a book about Christian mythology. Although all of Canton's stories are based on real saints, they frequently include supernatural elements that are used to illustrate greater Christian truths. Stories of hermits, martyrs, and mystics are included along with some well-known saints such as Francis of Assisi.

Child's Book of Warriors   by William Canton  
Canton's Book of Warriors is really a book about Christian mythology. Although all of Canton's stories are based on Christian heroes, they frequently include supernatural elements that are used to illustrate greater Christian truths. Saint Olaf, Charlemagne, Justinian, Alfred the Great are some of the heroes included in this work.

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