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[232] branches of the Church of Christ in our country, and the position which we hold in the Army of the Confederate States, induces us to address you upon the important subject of the religious instruction of the soldiers engaged in the sacred cause of defending our rights, our liberties, and our homes. The one universal subject of thought and of feeling is the war. The hearts of the people, with singular unanimity, are enlisted in the common cause. The object of special interest to all is the army. The political and social interests involved excite the patriotism, and move the affection of all. There is little necessity for exhortation to love of country, or love to our sons and brothers, who are fighting and falling in our defence. These emotions, strong in the beginning, have become more intense from the heroic fortitude of our noble army, and from the wicked designs and infamous conduct of our enemies. The history of the past two years of the war has amazingly developed and magnified the issues, and strengthened and deepened the convictions under which the conflict began. Base, beyond all conception, must that heart be which does not swell with patriotic devotion to our dear and suffering country, which is not stirred with deep and righteous indignation against our cruel and guilty foes, and which is not melted with profound and tender sympathy for the privations of our soldiers and the afflictions of our oppressed fellow-citizens in the invaded districts. While these emotions may exist in some adequate measure, is the religious interest commensurate with the demand of the times? Is the Church as much alive to its duty as the State? Is the Christian as active and as earnest as the citizen? Duties never conflict. Our patriotism will be all the stronger and purer when sanctified by religion. The natural sympathies require the controlling influence and the plastic power of the love of Christ for their proper regulation. To the political and social must be added the religious element. To patriotism must be added the mightier principle of faith. Let love of country be joined to love of God —let the love of our suffering brother be associated with the love of our crucified Saviour—let the temporal interests be connected with the eternal. One duty should not be allowed to exclude another, nor one emotion crowd from the heart the holier presence of another. The Church should clearly understand and fully estimate the relation which it sustains to the war, and the duty which it owes to the army. In an important sense, the


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