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an hour, and ended, not because the theme seemed exhausted, but because the time was up. We have only given enough of it to convey some little idea of its spirit. The company again broke into one of their cheerful hymns, and the meeting was dismissed in the usual manner;-From the ATLANTIC MONTHLY.
The New York Times informs its readers that the annual letting of pews in Mr. Beecher's church "took place on the evening of the 8th of January, before a very large congregation, Mr. Pillsbury officiating as auctioneer. The highest premium offered was $550, but several choice pews fetched above $300 premium. The total receipts last year for pew rents and premiums amounted to $43,000—this year they will exceed $50,000. All but a few back seats were disposed of at the auction.”
TOPICS OF THE MONTH.
The interest of the English public in American affairs has been revived by the news that the impeachment of the President is seriously debated in Congress. In some quarters, the vague and confused messages through the Atlantic Cable by which we were made acquainted with this fact have been treated as the forerunner of a revolution, the break up of the United States' Constitution, and the renewal of the war. But Congress would not stretch its powers by a handbreadth if it did impeach, try, and depose President Johnson, The United States' Constitution provides, in express terms, that the President, Vice-President, and all civil officers may be impeached for “ treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors." These clauses of the Constitution, says an American writer, “were framed by men who had learned to their sorrow the falsity of the English maxim, that the King can do no wrong,' and established, from people, who meant to hold all the public servants, the highest and the lowest, to the strictest accountability." A thoroughly republican constitution like that of the United States would not be consistent unless it included such provisions. The House of Represen. tatives prefers the impeachment, and the Senate tries it, the Chief Justice presiding at the trial. The concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the Senate present is necessary to convict, and the sen. tence is removal from office, with disqualification from ever again holding or enjoying any places of honour or profit in the States. The founders of the government meant to secure it effectually against all official corruption and wrong by furnishing a safe and easy method of removing all unworthy and unfaithful servants. Several Senators and Judges have been impeached and removed, and Presidents have been threatened with impeachment, especially Mr. Buchanan; but no one has so richly deserved impeachment as the man who now, by sad mis, chance, sits in the presidential chair. An able article in the current number of the “ British Quarterly Review " gives a clearer and completer account of the relations and motives of parties in the United States at the present moment than our readers will obtain by much reading of many newspapers. It shows how a profound distrust of Johnson has been created by the many proofs he has given-first, of his readiness to upset the Constitution altogether, and enact the tragedy or farce of modern Cæsarism, if only he was sure of his power to make himself Dictator ; and, secondly, of his contempt for the rights and liberties of the blacks, who have been freed by the expenditure of so much Northern blood and treasure. He has persistently vetoed every Bill passed by Congress for the purpose of securing justice to the negro. The Southerners are resolved that Abolition shall be a pretence, and the blacks continue slaves in all but the name; and Mr. Johnson abets their detestable determination. The rowdies of New Orleans plan a deliberate massacre of negroes; the General in command of the province discovers their plot, and telegraphs to Washington for authority to interfere; but the President pur. posely withholds it, and nearly four hundred men — among whom were some of the most eminent patriots of Louisiana-were con. sequently massacred. In Georgia, three hundred negroes are said to have been murdered by white men, and only three of the murderers were punished. At Richmond, a Dr. Watson, boasting that he had shot a negro in open day for accidentally driving against his carriage, was acquitted by the local court, avowedly because negro-killing was not murder. General Sickles ordered Dr. Watson to be tried over again by a military commission, and he would undoubtedly have been hanged, had not the President interfered and ordered him to be set at liberty, on the strength of the decision in the Supreme Court, where the majority of the Judges have a strong anti-negro bias. The Civil Rights Bill, passed by Congress over the President's veto, is reduced in some states to a nullity, because neither President nor Judges will do anything to enforce it. For trifling thefts and offences against the Vagrant laws, negroes are sold in Maryland for terms of years; and in Missouri, the burning down of freedmen's schools is a popular amusement. The American correspondent of the “ English Independent” recites the story of a black preacher who was sent down South by a religious society in the North to teach his free black brethren, and was arrested as a vagrant, because he went from place to place. He was sentenced to the chain-gang for a year, and, on an appeal to the highest court, the sentence was sustained, on the ground that the North had no right to send an envoy to the South for such a purpose. For all this the President is really responsible: if he were not obstinately bent on thwarting the will of the nation, as expressed in Congress, the Southerners would not venture on these outrages—they would accept the logical results of the war, ratify the constitutional amendment in their several state legislatures, and deal fairly with the negroes, on whose free labour they
must henceforth depend. The “high crimes and misdemeanors” of which the President is accused include other offences than these against the freedmen : the degradation of his office by his drunkenness, his appointment to place of men who have refused to take the oath of allegiance required by Congress of all who were engaged in the rebellion, and his abuse of the power of pardoning, have probably had a prominent place in the speeches of the Radicals who have pressed for his impeachment; and it seems perfectly consistent with good government and good order that this man, who is hindering the advance of a great nation, should be set aside.
BRIEF NOTICES OF BOOKS.
Micah, the Priest-maker. A Handbook on Ritualism. By T. BINNEY,
London: Jackson, Walford, and Hodder. MR. BINNEY's able, generous, discriminating, and honest discussion of the Ritualistic question may be read with advantage by all parties. He evidently determined thoroughly to master the subject, and his book proves that he has succeeded. His descriptions of Ritualistic practices are very graphic, but it is in his analysis of the system, and of the reasonings which its supporters employ in its defence, that his strength is chiefly shown. With a singular power of rising superior to all prejudice, and looking fairly at the facts of the case, he has with a judicial calmness, and an impartiality seldom attained, set forth the arguments on both sides, and so afforded his readers an opportunity of arriving at an intelligent opinion on the questions at issue. Many will think that excessive candour has sometimes carried him too far, and that he concedes both to Ritualists and Evangelicals a great deal more than they have any right to require, but he does not fail to indicate very clearly the many points of weakness in the position of both. The lengthened discussion between the Ritualist and the Low Churchman in which each is allowed to state his own arguments in his own way, is managed with considerable skill and serves to reveal the many inconsistencies and contradictions in which both are involved. Each is successful enough in damaging the position of his opponent, but it must be felt that he is far from being as happy in the defence of his own. Among many interesting points in the volune, we must notice in this very brief review, the quotation Mr. Binney gives from his speech as Chairman of the Congregational Union in 1850, when he very clearly foreshadowed the recent developments of of High Churchism. His words are so prophetic, so full of suggestion, so thoroughly descriptive of the spirit of the Anglican system that we cannot resist the temptation of giving them here.
“I remember when the ecclesiastical controversy began, and when some out of the Church, and many in it, seriously thought that the Establishment was in danger, that a question was started, in a company of friends, as to the effect that would follow the actual separation of Church and State, whether, in fact, it might be expected to lead to the purification and spirit. uality of the episcopal communion ? No,' it was replied, by one present, ‘not soon-certainly not immediately. Our friends have been so long accustomed to the flattering consciousness of being superior to all other denominations, from the circumstance of being the Establishment, that if they were to be disestablished to-morrow, they would not be content to take their stand on a level with the sects. Beaten on the ground of exclusive political pre-eminence,-left naked on the open plain by the forced surrender of their present distinctions, they will flee to what is provided for them in their Church system, but which has been comparatively lost sight of during their day of Erastian security; they will be off to the rocks and fastnesses of the succession, apostolic descent, episcopal orders, priestly powers, and sacramental virtue, and another controversy will have to be prepared for, far more momentous than the present, for which a very different equipment, and other and weightier weapons, will be required.'”
So spoke Mr. Binney in 1850, and 1866 has fully verified these sagacious anticipation. We are glad to think that if the conflict has come, we are not altogether unprepared for it. Mr. Binney has done noble service, and others are girding on their armour and preparing to " quit themselves like men,” in this great strife.
The Ante-Nicene Library. The Apostolic Fathers. Justin Martyr and
Athenagoras. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.
Mr. Clark has undertaken a great enterprise, one much needed in the special circumstances of the times, and which, if carried out with his usual wisdom and energy, will be attended with great good. It is not well that scholars should claim an exclusive monopoly of patristic literature, and be able to overwhelm any humble enquirer by an appeal to the early church, or a contemptuous sneer at the presumption of one who undertakes to discuss theological or ecclesiastical questions without any knowledge of what the Fathers have to say upon them. No doubt our appeal is to Scripture alone, but it is well to be able to meet an adversary on his own ground, and therefore we are glad that there should be good translations of the writings of the early Fathers. The volumes before us shew that the publisher has resolved to do full justice to this important undertaking. The editors and translators are thoroughly competent men, and if these opening volumes are to be regarded as a fair sample of the work, will render valuable service to the Church, in the series they have here commenced. It ought to have a place in every ministerial, and in every congregational library, as well as in the collections of those laymen, happily an increasing number, interested in theological studies.
THE MARTYR SPIRIT.
“Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."-Acts xv. 26.
OURS is no age of martyrs, and the life which we live little fits us to emulate their heroic deeds. Take the life of an ordinary man of business, or a popular preacher, if you will, and set it beside the life of Paul, Peter, James, and John; you would say at first sight it belonged to a quite different sphere. But you would speak hastily. There are more quiet martyrs living and dying among us than any of us have thought of; and, much as the atmosphere of our age unbraces us, there is no little of that sturdy spirit at the bottom of the resolute work of our generation, which would supply martyrs for truth, for Christ, if the times called for them, perhaps as freely as the age when every man professing the faith of Christ took literally his life in his hand, and knew that at any moment he might be called upon to lay it down for the Lord. This martyr spirit, this willingness to die for a thing so impalpable to the senses, so invisible in the world as truth, is one of the insoluble facts of human nature, to a materialistic, or atheistic philosophy. Nothing within the sphere of a materialist or an atheist will explain it. Nay, they are themselves the most inexplicable of all. There are men living now, willing to be martyrs for the truth of a sytsem which proves martyrdom for anything to be the most crackbrained madness.