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[240] 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 accomplished the chastisement was removed. Has the Church in our afflicted land learned aright the chastening lessons of her God? Have the rulers and the people, like those of Nineveh, repented before the judgments of the Lord? In some hopeful measure this undoubtedly has been the result. We believe that in humility, in sincerity of faith, in thankfulness for mercies, and in prayerfulness, there has been improvement. Men have been called to sacrifice self for principle, and freely has the sacrifice been made by millions. A tenderer charity, and a larger benevolence than ever before, open the hands and fill the hearts of many.

A higher estimate has been placed upon truth and upon right by a people resisting unto blood, striving against sin. We may indulge the hope that the results which God designed are following from the war. And when they are accomplished the war will cease. The coming of peace will be insured, and will be hastened by our fidelity in duty and our devotion in prayer.

But, brethren, our great argument with you is the salvation of the souls of men, the salvation of our sons and brothers, the salvation of our dear soldiers. We plead for those who are ready to lay down the life that now is. Shall they lose also the life which is to come? If the sacrifice of the body is demanded, shall that of the soul be made? If time is forfeited, must eternity be lost?

The great object for which the Church of God was instituted upon earth is the same as that for which the Son of God died upon the Cross—the glory of God in the salvation of men.

We urge you, then, by this last and greatest of all considerations, to aid us in this blessed work by your presence, your sympathies, your contributions, and your prayers.

March 24, 1863.

The address and the efforts put forth were very effective, and the number of chaplains and missionaries was greatly increased, and the estimate put upon the value of the services of a faithful missionary was greatly enhanced, until even the most irreligious officers of the army were anxious to have the services of the faithful chaplain or missionary.

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Nineveh (Virginia, United States) (1)

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March 24th, 1863 AD (1)
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