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The Religious Press On The Beecher Trial

The Religious Press On The Beecher Trial image
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Below are the opinions of some of the religious papéis in conuection witb the Beecher case : The Philadelphia Prenbyterian, clearly conviuced that Tilton has entirely i'ailed to niake out his case, believes that a haze haa been ltjí't about it, and adds : " The inestimable worth of a good oharacter has rarely had finer illustratious than in this trial. It has helped Mr. Beeoher that the public gave him a tru8tful hearing, founded on hia past reputation. It has helped him quite as much that the public accepted nothing trom Mr. Tiltou that was not supported by evidence from other gources. The heart of the people was softened as it turned to the Plyinouth pastor, but it was like steel against Mr. Tilton. The general wish has been that Mr. Beecher's innocence might be indisputably demonstrated - very few cared what the decisión coucerniug Mr. Tilton might be." The Chicago Advance (Congregational), also speaks at great length, lts opinión of Mr, Tilton as an arrogant and enormously self-coueeited man is based upou actual and extended knowledge. It believes liim to havo been actuated by jealousy and malice. His charges, it believes, havo not been established, and it only regrets that they have not been more clearly disproved, while it concludes " that nothing in the case appears neoessarily inconsistent with his innocence of guilty propogals or suggestions." But it is oonstrained to say of Mr. Beecher : " His theories and his practice as a Christian leader have been weighed and found wauting. His laxity of views and deportment have recoiled upon him. He stood upou the ' ragged edge of despair,' because he got on the ragged edgeg of unsound principies and social indecorum. And those who acquit him of crime will some of theni believe that there may be a large amount of iiupropriety lying out oí sight. They can bus account in part for the intense expressions of the writteu doounients without which there is Bcaroely the shadow of a case, .fartly indeed, they can explaiu these expressions as being of a piece of his extravagant utterances on other aubjects. But thero is good grouud to believe not onty that he thought there was, but there actually was, reason for shame and remorse." The Chicago Standard (Baptist), thinks the fact established " that Mr. Tiltou has suffered at the hands of Mr. Beecher a grievous wrong, of some kind," but it does not think the main charge is maintained. At the same time it is moved to say : " It seems to us perfectly evident that back in that time when Mr. Beechand Plyinouth Church were on the high tidb of pro8perity, when as an ' advanced thinker ' Mr. Beeoher was spokesman for liberáis and loose-luvers thrc.ughout the country, when he was the demi god of the daily press, and with busy hands was pulling down in all directions what laithful men were tryiug to build up - in that perilous time for him and all intimately associated with him, there were things in the Plymouth Church circle, and in Mr. Beecher'g own more intímate relations, which niany persons besides himself are interested to conceal. What these amount to it is impossible to teil. Whatever they were we believe Mr. Tilton to have been as deeply interested as any one, and that the ecenes of the last two year's are but the necessary outcome ; the retribution which Providence eooner or later always visits the wrong." The Liberal Christian, the leading organ of the Unitarian denomination and edited by Rev. Dr. Bellows, has a remarkable article on the matter, froui which we take the essential extract : " We will adiuit that his hands may be clean and his heart pure, but so long as he cannot make his cleanliness and purity manifest, fidelity to that which he professes to serve makes itan obligation which cannot be evaded, that he shall sadly, - and if innocent how sadly - take his cross and retire froin the church wnich this scandal profanes, and trom the uttering of words and the administration of rites upon which his in ability to clear himself casts suspicion, His is not the voice to counsel the repentant siuner, his not the hand to sprinkle clean water upon innocent childhood, his not the presence with those who go Ihrough the dark valley in hope of an unspotted immortality. For a few months or years he may go on in defiance of the world, but the time must come soon when the defeuse of his friends will bring no honor to him, and only evil to tbem. The men who seek his ministrationg will be accounted accornplices in his sin, and the women who desire his gaidance will be aaid to court infainy, and at last it will Lappen tbat the ehurch which, in defiance of charges, even though they may be false, and in spite of his fiilure to make the law his friend, although that may be his misfortune, will come to be au organization of those who, professing godliness, are ministers of iniquity. Plymoulh Cburch can in no way 60 well prove its luaguHiiiinous trust in its pastor as by providing tor Mr. Beecher's retirement, and then insisting that he shall retire, evun though the insult be that not one stone of the ehurch be left standing upon another. They can puy no tribute to public morality so marked as, while they reaffirm theirloyalty to their "rieud and leader, they also consent that he and they shall retire fiom a position which they can no longer hold with credit to themselves, or advantage o the world, until the time when, like Job, he can say, ' Let mine adversary write down his charge ! Truly I would wear it upon my shoulder ; I would )ind it upon me as a crown ; I would disclose to hiin all my steps ; 1 would approach him like a prince.' " The Chrntian Union, Mr. Beecher's own paper, expresses the unchangud convictions of his associates in the conduct of that paper of his entire iunocence, and is ouly restrained from xressing its earnest convictions on this oiiit by reason of his counection with t.


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