178.-meeting of the N. Y. Bible society, May 19, 1861.
Wm. Allen Butler
, presided at the meeting.
After the reading of selections of the Scripture, and prayer by the Rev. Mr. Hastings
, followed by the singing of a hymn by the congregation, Mr. Butler
said that in this Christian land, where the recruit was sworn into service upon the Bible
, there needed no special plea to justify an effort to place the Gospel in the hands of every soldier, as his best companion for the war. It might have been said that there were other things with which our troops should be supplied rather than Bibles; they needed muskets instead of Bibles.
He agreed that muskets were the first thing needed.
The Society he represented was not a society for the suppression of muskets or any weapons of war that would make our troops victorious.
When liberty was first imperilled in Massachusetts
, her men seized the firelock, and did not turn back even for their Bibles.
He believed that men who loved their Bibles most, and who wore upon their heart of hearts its most sacred truths the most deeply graven, would be the first to employ those Bibles to press home those bullets which were to be fired in the defence of rights, such as were imperilled to-day.
(Cheers.) But no such necessity existed.
We were able to equip our army as became a Christian people.
Mistakes in this direction consequent upon haste were to be corrected.
When the foundations of truth and justice were to be re-established for a thousand generations, there would be time allowed for preparation.
They meant to place the New Testament in the hand of every soldier as the very best manual of duty.
then made a statement of the operations of the Society, from which it appeared that there had been 29 city regiments fully supplied, and 5 in the course of supply.
To these, 23,000 Testaments had been furnished.
It was proposed to distribute 7,000 Testaments among the 16 regiments now forming in the city, which will bring up the total issues of the
Society to volunteers, by the second week in June, to 30,000 copies.
Many of Ellsworth
's Fire Zouaves said, on receiving the Testaments, “We will fight for the book, sir; we will defend it, sir.”
also gave an account of his experience as a Bible distributor.
He referred to the action of Miss Brown
, and said how delightful it was to think that at the moment her father was preparing to meet the enemy at Fort Pickens
, she was going about at Fort Hamilton
, like an angel of light, offering the gospel to the soldiers.
The Rev. Dr. Hitchcock
, in commencing his address, related an incident of one of the Massachusetts
troops, who, on unbuttoning his coat, drew from one pocket a Bible, and from the other a revolver.
The State militant should furnish the revolver, and the church militant should furnish the Bible
; that was a union of Church and State which he thought all would agree was legitimate and necessary.
(Cheers.) The grand peril of our armies was the moral peril they were to encounter.
But it should be understood that they believed in war, in such a war as the present, vindicating the rights of man. (Cheers.) The Bible
enforced righteous war. The question had become a very simple one: Should we suffer our nationality to be assassinated, or should we strike down the assassin?
There were also two questions before the American
people: the first was, Should a State or States be allowed to secede violently!
The people were answering in indignant thunder tones, No!
(Cheers.) The other question looming in the horizon was, Should States be suffered to secede by peaceful means?
Until recently many had held that if States were determined to go out, and adopted peaceful measures to accomplish their purpose, they must be allowed to go. But a Providence had guided us more wisely than we could ourselves, and the people throughout the length and breadth of the land, were coming to say that there should never be a disruption of this Union either in peace or by war. (Cheers.) If a division were allowed, how long could parties live beside the imaginary line without quarrelling?
War in such case would come; and we might as well meet it at the threshold.
(Cheers.) Suppose Rhode Island
should want to go. We could afford to keep that State for a clam bed, but we could never allow another flag to wave over it than the Stars and Stripes.
(Cheers.) So we could afford to keep Louisiana
for alligators, but no other flag but ours should wave over it. (Cheers.) If the blood of thousands upon thousands were needed to seal the issue, with bowed heads we could only say, Thy will, O God, be done.
, (who gave $1,000 to the Society,) said he believed Providence
had appointed General Scott
to be the leader of our forces in this second war for liberty, as He had General Washington
in the first.
Dr. S. H. Tyng
next addressed the meeting: Never were a people brought together to main.
tain dearer rights or more imperilled and important interests than those involved in the present contest.
He could not take a pirate's hand, who was going to secure a prize of twenty dollars a head for every man he murdered, and put a Bible in his hands, as a sanction for his course.
What kind of a Union would that be, where the chains of the slave should sound from one end of the land to the other, and the infernal boast be realized that a man should count the roll of his slaves on Bunker Hill
This was not a war of sections; it was not a civil war. He would dignify it by no such name.
There were hundreds and thousands in the Southern
land praying for the power which should give them help.
, the scene of eighteen years of his ministry, there were tens of thousands, he believed, who were anxiously waiting for that which is called the army of the North
to deliver them from the tyranny that had been usurped over them.
He would not descend to call it civil warfare.
He would not meet pirates upon the deck, and call it warfare.
He would hang them as quick as he would shoot a mad dog. (Cheers.)
There was one road to peace, and that was absolute and entire subjection.
(Cheers.) He did not mean the subjection of the South
, but of the riotous mob which there had control of affairs.
The sword of justice was the only pen that could write the final treaty.
Referring to the troops that had been raised, the speaker asked who ever saw such an army as has been gathered in our land?
He would not except the rare birds of Billy Wilson
He might venture to say of them that their salvation might lie in the very consecration they have made of themselves to their country.
(Cheers.) Twenty-three thousand Bibles had been given to the troops who go to fight for their country; did anybody believe there were five hundred copies in the army of renegades who are meeting them in the contest?
It would scald and singe their polluted hands.
We had every cause to be proud of our army.
They are worthy of the Bible
How their names will glisten in glory!
One of the noblest results he looked for was a land without a slave upon it. (Cheers.) A nation in which no more shall God's image be sold upon the block by the auctioneer.
Said a gentleman, “The Bible
authorizes human slavery; you must acknowledge that slavery is a Divine institution.”
The old minister to whom the remark was addressed, gathered himself up and replied, “Yes, sir ; in the same sense in which hell is.”
(Cheers.)--N. Y. Tribune
, May 20.