Signs of the times.
fanaticism vs Christianity — the peace party at the North
(N. Y.) Courier publishes the following, under the heading of
"a Preachers such as Paul."
A few days since, newspaper reports brought us accounts of a difficulty having occurred between parties in Lyons, N. Y.
, and alleged members of the congregation worshipping in Grace Episcopal Church at that place, of which Rev. Sidney Wilbur
was then pastor.
The difficulty arose in this wise: Shortly after the bombardment of Fort Sumter
, the pastor of Grace Church was asked to raise a flag upon the church, Rev. Mr. Wilbur
quietly demurred, saying that if any flag should float from the church edifice, let it be the Banner of the Cross, indicative of "Peace and good fellowship to all men," and further suggesting that if any guarantees of his loyalty and fidelity to the Union
and the Constitution
were wanted, he was willing that a flag should be raised from the Rectory, but protested against such an unwonted and uncalled for display from the sacred edifice, devoted to the worship of Almighty God, and not the Princes and Potentates of the land.
This was reasonable and patriotic, but in the Black Republican
and Abolition town of Lyons, in Wayne county
, it was voted by the pious fanatics as the rankest kind of treason.
Since then the Republican press of that place have been making a terrible ado about the matter, and insulting the respectable class of Episcopalians there, as everywhere else, with their usual stereotyped phrase of traitors, rebels and Secessionists.
These papers have been particularly severe upon Rev. Mr. Wilbur
, and do not hesitate to pour forth upon his head the most scathing billingsgate that can be invented by those editors with whom such arguments is their st in trade at the present time.
Rev. Mr. Wilbur
has tendered his resignation to the Vestry, accompanying it with a letter of explanation, which places him in the light of a meek Christian and the true and refined gentleman.
Democratic Press of last week contain the letter of resignation sent by Rev. Mr. Wilbur
to the Vesery, tendering his resignation, and from the editor's introductory remarks we extract as follows:
"With reference to the implied charge of disloyalty preferred against Mr.
W., we will state that upon several different occasions he expressed the warmest sympathy for the Union
, and as corroborative evidence of his off-expressed opinions, or at least of his associations and antecedents, (which latter show somewhat
the character of the blood which flows in his veins,) it may not be amiss to mention that he has a brother-in-law, Capt. Henry Douglas
, U. S. A., now in Gen. Hunter
's Brigade, who took an active part in the disastrous battle of Bull Run
--an uncle, J. H. Martindale
, Brigadier General
in the Federal Army
, and another uncle, Dr. Frank Martindale
U. S. N."
In reference to another statement made in a certain Rochester
paper, he frankly acknowledges (and he wished his acknowledgment of this charge to be made as public as his denial of the other) he did, on that last day of the mob, say in effect, that the flag should not be put up again on the church, except the perpetrators of the sacrilege marched over his dead body.
But he confesses he was hasty in this one thing, and was sorry as soon as he said it. Nevertheless, when to his astonishment, (for he had not thought Lyons
capable of such proceedings,) the mob assembled and the key was demanded of him, accompanied by the threat that if he did not immediately deliver it up they would tear down the church door, (we give the exact words,) he, to save the church from that grosser desecration, delivered it to the man, and not from any fear of personal violence, for that he did not at all anticipate To conclude, we regard Lyons
as in disgrace; God help us!"
In his letter to the Vestry, resigning his connection with the church, Mr. Wilbur
"But before my country I love my God; before my country's flag I love my Saviour's church; and I never will cease to protest against using his consecrated Temples for any other purpose than that for which they have been set apart, viz: Divine worship.
If the houses of God need any banner to fling to the breeze from their towers, let that one for their protection be, the Banner of the Cross, with the time-honored motto, 'in hoc signovinces
' thereupon inscribed."
In what noble contrast does this faithful minister of the Gospel stand to the "Rifle" Beechers
, Cheevers, Fultons, and others of their Abolition school, who from their pulpits through their preaching substitute bullets for the Bible
, and the scalping- knife for the Cross!
Resignation of a minister in New York.
We have already briefly adverted to the resignation of the minister whose letter we now subjoin:
New York, Aug. 15, 1861.
To the Trustees and Stewards of the Bedford Street M. E. Church:
--I hereby tender my resignation as pastor of the Bedford Street
Methodist Episcopal Church.
It is alike due to the congregation as well as to myself that I should give a statement of the reasons which have impelled me to take this step.
From the fact of having been born on the South
side of a certain mysterious parallel of latitude, it was very natural to suppose that I should feel a degree of sympathy for my kindred and countrymen.
It was not unreasonable to conjecture that I had no heart, either as a man or a Christian, for a policy which, if prosecuted with the vigor and determination felt and cherished by the North
towards the South
, must inevitably result in the horrors of civil war between the two sections.
It was in view of these circumstances that I frankly told you before the meeting of the New York Annual Conference
, in May last, that if my position would occasion any embarrassment to the Church
I would at once vacate the charge.
I have acted in good faith with my flock and the record of my whole ministerial life.
In the bitter feeling of alienation and almost incurable hate now existing in the public mind, I have found it required far more courage to preach peace than war.
And you will bear me witness that I have steadfastly adhered to my purpose, while almost every other pulpit in New York was fulminating the most terrible anathema against the South
Believing, as I do, that the condition of the world cannot be made better by converting the Christian
pulpit into a political areas, I have never, in this city or elsewhere, introduced politics or war into the sacred desk.
I acknowledge no allegiance to New England
Puritanism in Church or State.
But in maintaining my consistency and the rectitude of my principle, I have been assailed by an Abolition press; my character and motives have been traduced; the worse than midnight assassin, who had not the courage to meet me face to face, has clandestinely pursued me, and even the question of personal safety, and that of the "Parsonage and Church" has been a subject of animadversion among partisans and excited men.
Finding, therefore, that I can no longer be spiritually profitable to you, I have concluded to give place to any other pastor who, in your judgment, may be better adapted to the peculiarity of the times.
No earthly motive could ever induce me to thrust myself upon an unwilling people.
I shall gladly return to the Conference of my home, and link my destiny with her fortunes, for weal or woe, in peace or war.
In dissolving my relations with you I am reminded of the separation also from many dear friends of other pastoral charges whom I have served in this city, and children in the Gospel to whom I am bound by the strongest ties of affection.
With sincere thanks to those friends from whom I have received many evidences of kindness and sympathy,
The party and Political aspect of affairs.
The Pawtucket (R. I.)
Gazette, a journal which believes it important that men of all parties at the North
should be united and harmonious in support of the Government
, has a long article reviewing the party and political aspect of the war question, which gives a pretty good idea of the actual condition of things in that section.
We quote a portion of the article:
"Attempts have been made in different parts of the free States to get up a "peace party," and we suppose they will continue to be made.
The influence of such a party would of course aid in crippling the Administration in prosecuting the war.
"The New York correspondent of the Boston Journal states that there is a well-organized Southern party in the former city, and that recent events have emboldened it to show itself, and much effort is made to get up an organization in opposition to the Administration and the war. He says the presentation of the Journal of Commerce and other papers opposed to the war, has called up the elements of the faction scattered by the patriotic outbursts of the people a few months since, and an organization of much power and force may be expected to be seen in New York.
A change seems to have taken place in the feelings of many Democrats towards the Administration and in regard to the war. Formerly they almost surpassed the Republicans, if they did not surpass them, in supporting the Government
in its efforts to put down treason and rebellion.
The cause or cause of this change we do not propose to inquire into, and, indeed, we know of none that can justify it, unless it be a conviction, derived from experience, that the mea adopted cannot accomplish the object in view; but we fear the change, if we are not mistaken in supposing that a change has taken place, will become still more apparent and formidable, and that it will show itself among those who supported Bell
last November, if, as is alleged, a party of a certain character is to be formed at the North
, and this party shall not be promptly and decidedly repudiated by the administration, and the most satisfactory evidence be given that it will not be permitted to dictate the objects to be attained by the war. The purpose of the party to which we refer is alleged to be to take advantage of the existing state of things to free after the negroes in the Southern States
Slavery, they contend, was the cause of the present war, and that the war should not cease until the cause of it is removed.
The evidence of the existence of such an organization is strong, and it is said to be assuming definite chape and excessive proportions.
Money to sustain and advance it is freely given, and the Government
, we are told, has been pressed to give it countenance and support.
It cannot be doubted that many thousands at the North
who are energetically sustaining the Administration in prosecuting the war to put down treason and rebellion and re-establish the Union
, would refuse to sustain it in prosecuting a war to abolish slavery.
Thus far the Government
has done nothing, unless the confiscation act may be so construed, to encourage the men engaged in forming this organization, and there is good reason to believe that it will not. Should this party succeed in making the war a conflict of the North
against the South
, and free institutions against slave institutions, the South
would become a unit and the North
would be broken into factions.