Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/361

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355
Address of the Chaplains of the Second Corps.

a cause like ours, they would be invincible." In such an army there would be two distinct sources of success in addition to the ordinary elements of military power—the loftier courage derived from Christian faith, and the direct blessing of God in answer to prayer. If the want of faithfulness on the part of the church, the impiety of the army and the people, should prevent God's blessing, then the unfaithfulness of the church will have blasted our hopes, destroyed our country, and left a continent in ruins.

There should be no separation made between the army and the country, between the soldier and the citizen. The army is composed of the people, and the soldiers are citizens. At this very time the soldiers in the field are the only electors of representatives for many of the congressional and legislative districts. Those who achieve our independence are the same who must maintain it. The sole governors of the country, for one generation at least, will be the survivors of the army. Those who win the batdes, must make, administer, enforce and obey the laws. If these be depraved and godless through the neglect of the church, and their want of moral integrity and elevation destroy the government, and bring upon the land the curse of God, then in vain the mighty sacrifice of treasure and of blood—in vain the army of our martyred dead—in vain the sacred gift bequeathed from bleeding sires to sons. Better never to have fought and won the victory, than afterwards to forfeit it and lose the blessing. This may be the last struggle for constitutional liberty which will be made on this continent. The progress of the race, the happiness of millions is involved. A grand responsibility rests upon our young republic, and a mighty work lies before it. Baptized in its infancy in blood, may it receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and be consecrated to its high and holy mission among the nations of the earth.

This, we fondly hope, will be the last year of this bloody war. But of that no one can certainly know. How ardently is a permanent and honorable peace desired! For this object united prayers should go up continually to the throne of God by night and by day. Weeping between the porch and the altar, Zion should lift up her voice without ceasing unto her Saviour and her God. This war must be regarded by all Christian men as a chastisement from the hand of God on account of our sins. The object of all chastening is purification. War, pestilence and famine, when they came upon God's ancient people, were designed to turn them from their sins, and to bring them back to his love and service. When that result was ac--