Doc. 22.-Hudson River Baptist Association, report and resolutions, June 19.
The Committee appointed to consider the duties that pertain to our relation, as Christian citizens and Churches, to the nation at large and the Government
that protects us, beg leave to report the following statement, preamble, and resolutions:
The letters from the churches that compose this Association have expressed in the most solemn manner their sense of painful bereavement caused by the departure of their brethren, fellow-worshippers and Sabbath-school teachers from their various fields of labor to the camp and the battle-field for the defence of our country against an armed rebellion that seeks the utter destruction of the Constitution
that shelters us, and is aiming fatal blows at the foundations of all effective Government, of all righteous law, of all social order, and of national prosperity.
At the same time these letters declare, without any exception, the fixed determination of our brethren, by means of every sacrifice that God may permit them to offer, to uphold our Federal Government in the deadly contest that has been ruthlessly forced upon it, until it shall have reestablished its supreme authority over every part of its domain, where that authority has been defied, and shall have caused our desecrated banner to wave again over every spot of earth whence the hand of treason may have displaced it.
We hail with joy, with hope, and with responsive devotion to a common cause, the expression of these sacred and stern resolves as the expression of “sentiments proper to the present crisis.”
Therefore, the Committee
propose to this Association the following preamble and resolutions for their consideration and adoption:
, The Government of the United States
, which was bequeathed to us by our Fathers, who established it by the sacrifice of treasure and of blood, for the protection of their own inalienable rights, and of the children that should come after them, and is now engaged in a struggle with banded and armed traitors for its very existence; and
, These men, the leaders of this war, having recognized the supreme authority of what is called “the Confederate States of America
,” have proclaimed, as the vital doctrine of their coalition, that
All Government begins with usurpation and is continued by force;
That nature puts the ruling element uppermost and the masses below, and subject to those elements;
That less than this is not a Government;
That the right to govern resides with a very small minority, and the duty to obey is inherent in the great mass of mankind;
And that man's right of property in man is the true corner-stone of a republic and of all permanent social prosperity;
, That we solemnly abjure, denounce, and resist these doctrines as being essentially Anti-Christian
, Pagan, barbarous, and inhuman.
, That we declare it to be our solemn conviction, as Christian men who take the word of God as our rule of faith and practice, that the cause which the Government
of the United States
is now sustaining by its arms is the cause of righteousness, of freedom, and of humanity, and that for its support we pledge our toils, our prayers, “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
, That in the spontaneous uprising of twenty millions of people for the support and honor of our country's flag, we recognize not the working of a blind sentiment or unreasoning passion, but the outgust of a stronger, holier love, carrying the whole force of our moral nature with it, because it is nourished by those lofty and eternal ideas
which emanate from the mind of God, which were enshrined in the religion of our Messiah's Cross
, which are associated with the sacred rights, the elevation and the progress of our redeemed humanity; ideas
that are dear to the heart of our enthroned Sovereign, to which we now devoutly pledge unalterable allegiance, while we adopt the words of the inspired Psalmist of Israel, “Thou hast given a banner to them that feared thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.”
, That while we desire peace and pray for peace as being in its nature an inestimable
blessing, nevertheless peace itself or compromise of any sort would be worse than all the ravages of war, if the enemies of our Government should so far prevail as to give the leading character to public opinion, or to a national policy; because such a state of things would separate us from the sympathies of Christendom, and bring down upon us the curses of every civilized community in Europe
, in Asia
, in Australia
, and in the “Isles of the sea;” because the course of events has brought us to a crisis that is ultimate
, beyond which there is no issue for which any party can make a stand in behalf of any idea that enfolds a hopeful future; and therefore better for us to perish now
in the struggle for the eternal right than to experience the degradation of inglorious life, or the pangs of a lingering death, under that reign of terror which the enemies of our banner would be sure to inaugurate.
, That as Christian men we recognize the truly righteous character of this conflict; that while it may be properly regarded as a war for our nationality, or a war for the life of a constitutional Government, or for the maintenance of our flag, or as a war for the rights of the people against the usurpations of an oligarchy; nevertheless, beyond all these aims, we recognize the existence of a war waged for the absolute supremacy of a despotic earthly power on the one hand, against the rightful dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ
, whose kingdom guarantees the inalienable and universal rights of our redeemed humanity, on the other.
, That, in view of the death of our Lord
and Saviour for men of every rank and class, of every nation, tribe, “kith or kin,” we regard the brotherhood of man, the moral and spiritual equality of all the races of men, as an essential doctrine of the Christian
religion; that it rests like a sure corner-stone upon the foundation that God hath laid in Zion
; that whosoever falleth upon that stone shall be broken; but upon whomsoever it shall fall it will grind him to powder.
, That in the patriotic devotion of the Christian
women of our land we hail a “sign of the times” propitious of success, and while we remember that for many centuries in Europe
the virtues of Christian womanhood
have been a great barrier against the triumphs of Anti-Christian barbarism, we commend the cause of our country in its day of peril to the prayers and cooperation of the mothers and daughters of Israel, and to the cherished sympathies of every household.
, That we cherish a profound regard for the thousands of our brethren within the bounds of the Southern States
who are loyal to the Government
for which their fathers, as well as ours, sacrificed blood and treasure, and transmitted to all as a common heritage; and while many of them may have been deceived by prevailing misrepresentations in respect to the sentiments we cherish towards them, and while all
of them are prevented from realizing in action their personal convictions of truth and duty, we extend to them the assurances of our fraternal confidence and of our continuance in prayer that God would soon appear for their deliverance, so that the bonds which have united us in former days may be strengthened by the fiery trials through which they shall have passed.
, That the Churches
connected with this Association be requested to set apart the last Friday
of June as a day of solemn humiliation and prayer for the reestablishment of our National Union in peace and prosperity.