did they know where it would carry them. Almost we might say, little did they care. Least of all did they know or suspect the gulfs and whirlpools of crime it would sweep them into; successions of crime, each by itself startling the world with a new revelation, as it were from the pit of darkness, and ending with a culmination of atrocities at which the world, as it comes to know them, will stand aghast.

When a man has once set out on a course of wrong, ever so simple and slight, there are only two things open to him: one is to repent, and change his course in season; the other is to succeed in it, and to go on "to the bitter end." The first, as we know, is very hard for most men. It galls their pride. It confutes their judgment. It upsets their plans. At the moment, it is a cruel blow to their self-respect. And so nine men out of ten, as we find them, will take the other road. No doubt these men would have preferred to live and succeed, without the painful need of committing any crime; to keep the mask on, without the painful discovery that they were wearing any mask; to maintain their proud place in the world's eye as the representatives of modern chivalry, and the chiefs of a new order of civilization. But, before all, they must succeed in the course they had entered on; succeed, though it should entail the utmost horrors of civil war, and crimes worse by far than that in the world's conscience, if not at the bar of God, the crimes of robbery, conspiracy, houseburning, and murder. We have no right to say how many or how few are directly implicated in the worst of these crimes. We only say, that the moral law is evident; the compulsion of that dreadful necessity which will compel men even to such crimes as these, -average and ordinary men, when they are in a course where success has grown to a necessity, and when affairs are getting desperate. They catch blindly at such refuges as these, for the last gloomy chances of success. They are like a crowd of men drowning together in a river, when all skill, prudence, discipline, self-restraint is gone; and, in his blind, helpless struggle, a man shall drag his best friend with him to destruction, or fight for the chances of safety with a woman or a child. But it required the crime

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to show the nature of the struggle, and the nature of the men. The necessity of it was contingently assumed, when they took the first step which committed them to the alternative, to destroy their country's Government, or to perish in the attempt.

How easy it is to see with them the tangling of that fatal net of circumstance, which wraps unawares those who have set themselves wilfully against the laws of society and of God! The miserable sophistry, half wilful, half sincere, with which a man persuades himself to crime by dwelling on the motives that brought him to it, we have seen in the letter left written by the assassin himself. He did the deed very deliberately. Months, years, he dwelt on the details of it, to bring it to a perfect issue. He took counsel on it; he took pay for it; he hired his accomplices and abettors; he left his written testimony, on purpose to show how he persuaded himself that he should be a hero of history, and the slayer of a tyrant. But what is all that now? The mask dropped from the murderer's face, when that pistol-shot was fired. More; the mask dropped from the murderer's heart. The crime stood revealed in the astonishment and horror of the world. The criminal became a fugitive and vagabond upon the earth. The retribution that fell has struck the imagination and religious sense of our people with a certain awe. No man would venture to add any further penalty to that doom. Tripped by the flag he mocked with his lying words and his fatal deed; dragging himself with a broken bone to that ten days' ignominious and torturing flight; shot down at bay like a wild beast, and dying a death of conscious and sharp agony; buried in some unknown and unhonored grave, - here was a definite, swift, and terrible retribution, to which human vengeance could have added nothing. Those others, poor and cheap tools of a plot they were never admitted to comprehend,- base instruments of others' crime, to them the killing of a man seemed a small and easy thing, while it could be planned in secret, and its parts assigned as the parts of some petty stage-play. It was a very different thing when the deed was done; when the eye of the world's conscience was awake; and when Jus

tice, "with feet of wool, and hands of iron," was tracking and hunting them to their hiding-place. Poor fools! to them, or to the conspirators who set them on, it seemed that the death of this man and that man would be the confusion of the Government, and the safe vengeance of the South. Fools, and blind! it needed only the stripping-off of that one more mask from the false cause they served, to kill its last chances of a sort of half success; to lift the man they hated upon the pedestal of a slain martyr in the cause of liberty, and give him almost the glory of a saint and hero in the heart of men; to bring upon themselves the cursing and execration of all the civilized world; to enthrone armed Justice in the place of tender Pity; to put in the place of power a man more keen to know, and more stern to punish, than he whom they foolishly spoke of as an enemy and a tyrant; to make a great nation as terrible in its roused sense of indignation, and its demand of strictest penalty for crime, as it had been formidable and strong in defending itself from armed assault.

Meanwhile, we do not anticipate the action of the Government, or the verdict of the courts. The Administration, it is said, is disinclined to hold any more military trials; and the proceedings thus far are little else than the accumulation of the evidences of guilt. For the one great crime against the nation's life, there seems little doubt that its penalty will be left to the working-out of laws more deep and broad than any statute, laws written in the constitution of human life, and built into the framework of human society,-laws which we reverently call judgments of God, as we see them traced upon the face of that desolated and impoverished land. Whatever "satisfaction" we get for the blood of our brothers or children who perished as victims of that crime will be had not from vengeance upon those who slew them, but from the triumph of the cause they died for. While, for other crimes, not only against the State as such, but against humanity itself, and every human code, the magistrate "bears not the sword in vain;" and the long delay of justice is only, we will trust, that its work may be more calm, deliberate, and complete.





THERE is no class of religious writings which deserves to be treated with more sincere sympathy and respect than those which, in spite of sectarian cavils on one side, and the strong secularist drift of science on the other, attempt to make Theism a positive creed, and a religion of vital piety. In Miss Cobbe's little treatise of "Religious Duty," we see something of the conscious effort to maintain a position exposed to hazard and attacks from the two opposite sides; but, if we mistake not, a good deal more of the genuine and fervent spirit of piety itself, which the book is meant to teach. It would be hard, we think, to bring passages from the most devout Christian writers, which exceed in tender, unaffected, and cheerful piety some of the chapters, particularly those on "Thanksgiving," "Prayer," and "Faith." Where it differs from the more familiar model of devotional treatises is, first, in the vein of ethical argument, running underneath, and perpetually appearing at the surface; secondly, in the frequent and rich citations from the sacred writings of the ancient and oriental, no less than of the Jewish and Christian, faiths; and, thirdly, in the polemic appeal to principles of physical or moral science, as against errors and wrongs in the current opinions or practices of Christian sects. So that we have a treatise of practical piety, very rich in suggestions, with a marked flavor of erudition, cheerful and healthy in tone, optimistic even to sentimentalism in doctrine, and in close harmony with the devoutest manuals of Christian piety, while keeping, on purpose and by pains, wide aloof from the traditionary forms of Christian argument and appeal.

With these qualifications, the volume occupies mainly the familiar ground of religious ethics, and half of it might have been taken bodily from sermons of average thought and style. We are, indeed, forewarned, in the very divisions and titles of the chapters, that we are invited to no bold and fresh speculations, but to meditations on trite and hackneyed topics. The Religious Offences are blasphemy, apostasy, hypocrisy, perjury, sacrilege, persecution, atheism, pantheism, polytheism, idolatry, demonology; the Religious Faults are thanklessness, irreverence, prayerlessness, impenitence, scepticism, worldliness; the Religious Obligations are thanksgiving, adoration, prayer, repentance, faith, self-consecration. And each of these topics is treated, at various length, in the way of independent homiletic exhortation. We do not commend the literary style, which is frequently vague, diffuse, and declamatory, to a degree only pardoned in works of this class. But the spirit is altogether pure and noble. It reminds us, more than any other one work, of the "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius. The aim is one which brings to a practical test perhaps the most important spiritual problem of the present day; namely, how to develop "Theism as a religion for the life, no less than as a

Religious Duty. By Frances Power Cobbe. Boston: Wm. V. Spencer.

philosophy for, the intellect." And, surely, no experiment is more interesting, than that which seeks, in pure intuition, meditation, and science, an effectual substitute for the grand religious traditions of the past, and firm mooring amid the conflicting tendencies and powerful "drift" of modern speculation.

How positive is Miss Cobbe's own faith in the future of her philosophic and sentimental creed is seen when she speaks of "the mighty fanes where, in future ages, the Theist nations shall adore their only Lord" (p. 93). The force and clearness of her religious intuition are shown in such sentences as this: "There is no better proof of the power and vitality of man's consciousness of immortality, than that it has supported for ages such a solid mass of horrors as the doctrine of eternal hell" (p. 121). The fineness of her moral perception appears in the striking argument by which she contrasts the current traditional doctrine of the future life with the truly spiritual conception of immortality (p. 125). In the long passage of reasoning against the use of prayer for physical good (pp. 168-182), we seem to find a needless check on the simplicity and spontaneousness of the heart's religious language: but this is required, perhaps, by the strictness of her doctrine, that prayer for spiritual gifts is veritably heard and answered; while, in our philosophy of the matter, it is doubtless true that "it invariably happens that prayer begins where science stops, and that as science advances prayer retreats" (p. 172). We copy, from near the close, a passage in which a profound truth is touchingly and nobly expressed:

"It was not when God's angel-thoughts were around him, and he took freely his cup of agony from his Father's hand, that the Christ achieved his everlasting crown. It was when the death-darkness mounted slowly up the cross, till heart and brain grew dim, and God's face was hid, and the cry burst from his soul, Why hast thou forsaken me?'



"And, in other and lesser martyrdoms than that of Calvary, it is equally true, that the sacrifice lies in the slow completion of the self-abnegation, and not in the first oblation. When the exile for conscience' sake stands on the heaving deck, still beholding his loved ones waving their last farewell, and feeling their tears yet warm upon his cheek, his sacrifice is but prepared. When the long years of mind and heart solitude have stolen the vigor from his brain, and filled with sickly longings the void in his affections; when life is drawing to a lonely close, then, if his soul be kneeling weary still, laying willingly still its great gift upon the altar, then is his sacrifice truly made to God. And thus, too, must be fulfilled all sacrifices, - freely, cheerfully, to the end; for it is in the perseverance that lies the sacrifice. And herein, too, may live its joy and glory! Each moment that the soul resists the temptation to regret, and renews in spirit its vow of sacrifice as freely as at first, it actually accomplishes its act of virtue: it is marching forward in its path, and not merely, as it sometimes seems, standing still on the barren rock whither a wave of resolution has borne it.". On Self Consecration, pp. 318, 319.

THE title of Mr. Merivale's volume* suggested the hope, that something had been done to fill the gap-which the public have expected

The Conversion of the Roman Empire. The Boyle Lectures for the year 1864, delivered at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall. By Charles Merivale. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

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