Doc. 127.-Bishop Otey's Pastoral letter. To the Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Tennessee.
Dearly Beloved Brethren: The Congress of the Confederate States having, by resolution, unanimously “invited the people to offer up their united thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, for the glorious victory and mighty deliverance,” vouchsafed to our army at Manassas, on the 21st inst., the following form of thanksgiving is set forth, to be used in all the congregations of this diocese, at morning prayer, and immediately before the general thanksgiving, on Sunday, the 28th of this month, and in those congregations to the ministers of which this letter shall not come in time, on Sunday, the 4th of August: Thanksgiving for victory.--O, Almighty God! the sovereign commander of all the world, in whose hand is power, and might, which none is able to withstand, we bless and magnify thy great and glorious name for the happy victory which thou hast been pleased to grant to our arms, the whole glory whereof we do ascribe to thee, who art the only giver of victory. And we beseech thee give us grace to improve this great mercy to thy glory, the advancement of thy gospel, the promotion of a speedy and permanent peace, the honor of our country, and as much as in us lieth, to the good of all mankind. And we pray thee, O Lord, to give us such a sense of this great goodness as may engage us to a true thankfulness, such as may appear in our lives by an humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee all our days through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, as for all thy mercies, so in particular for this victory and deliverance, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen! I appoint for the first lesson at morning prayer Nahum i. 2 to the end; 2d lesson, St. Luke XXI. 25 to the end. The psalter for 27th July and 4th August, are so appropriate to the occasion as to require no substitution of other psalms. The victory, for which we are called on to offer thanksgiving, has been achieved at an enormous sacrifice of life. With rejoicings for the success of our brave soldiers, will be mingled the wailings of many for the fall of those near and dear to their hearts. In every part of the land this terrible conflict has made widows and orphans — bereaved parents of their sons, and severed other and tender ties of the domestic and social circles. Let us remember such in our prayers. No better forms to express our sympathy for them and for the wounded and sick can be found, than those which the care and love of the church have furnished for use in the following among her occasional prayers: I. For persons in affliction.--O, merciful God and Heavenly Father! who hast taught us in thy holy word that thou dost willingly afflict or grieve the children of men, look with pity, we beseech, upon the sorrows of thy servants, for whom our prayers are now offered. In thy wisdom thou hast seen fit to visit them with trouble and to bring distress upon them. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy; sanctify thy fatherly correction to them — endue their souls with patience under their affliction, and with resignation to thy blessed will; comfort them with a sense of thy goodness, lift up thy countenance upon them, and give them peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen! II. for the wounded, the sick, and dying.--O, most gracious Father! we fly unto thee for mercy in behalf of those, thy poor servants, lying under the sudden visitation of thy hand, suffering from wounds and sickness threatening death. If it be thy will, preserve them that there may be place for repentance, but if thou hast otherwise appointed, let thy mercy supply to them the want of the usual opportunity for the trimming of their lamps. Stir up in them such sorrow for sin, and such fervent love to thee, as may in a short time do the work of many days, that among the praises which thy saints and holy angels shall sing to the honor of thy mercy through eternal ages, it may be to thy unspeakable glory that thou hast redeemed the souls of thy servants from eternal death, and made them partakers of the everlasting life which is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen! I desire that these prayers be used on the occasion above referred to, and so long as shall seem proper and expedient to you, and in that part of the service which the rubric and canons direct. If I have been correctly informed, the ordinance of secession passed by the legislature has been ratified and confirmed by the vote of the people. Hence, I suggest to my reverend brethren of the clergy — for I have no authority to order or direct the change — that in the prayer for the President of the United States, etc., and in the prayer for Congress, also, the words “United States” be omitted, and the words “Confederate States” substituted in both places. Commending you, dear brethren, and your flocks, to the grace and protection of our Heavenly Father, and praying that he will restore to  us the blessing of peace, I remain your faithful friend and affectionate pastor,
Jas. H. Otey, Bishop. July 26, 1861.
--Memphis Appeal, July 31.