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Doc. 196.-Bishop Odenheimer's Pastoral letter.

To the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of New Jersey :--
Beloved brethren: A proclamation by the President of the United States of America, issued at the request of a joint committee of both Houses of Congress, appoints the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of this nation.

That this great fast may be duly observed by the churches in this diocese, I hereby set out and appoint the accompanying special service to be said on Thursday, Sept. 26; and I earnestly exhort the good people of my spiritual jurisdiction, that, in word and deed, they humble themselves before the Lord God of Sabaoth, and entreat Him, for His dear Son's sake, that He will look mercifully upon our land afflicted with civil war; that He will pardon our manifold transgressions; that H-e will guide and strengthen our rulers; that He will protect and bless our armies in their efforts to reestablish law, order, and peace; and that in His time and way, He will graciously restore to our beloved country the spirit and bond of brotherhood.

Affectionately, your Bishop,

The following are the prayers appointed for the day:

After the collect for Ash-Wednesday, shall be said the following prayer:

O most mighty God, terrible in Thy judgments, and wonderful in Thy doings toward the children of men, we, Thy sinful creatures here assembled before Thee, do, in behalf of all the people of this land, humbly confess our sins, personal and National, which have brought down Thy heavy judgments upon us.

We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against Thee. Do not abhor us, for Thy Name's sake; but be merciful unto Thy people, whom thou hast redeemed, and be not angry with us forever. Pardon us, O gracious God, for Thy mercy's sake, and restore order, tranquillity, and fraternal unity amongst us, through the merits of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ΒΆ After the General Thanksgiving, shall be said the following Prayer:

Oh, Almighty God, the Sovereign Commander of the world, to whom belongeth power, which none is able to withstand, we commend to Thy Gracious protection the persons of Thy servants, for whom our prayers are especially desired and who are enlisted in the Army of the United States, and the whole army in which they serve. Let Thy fatherly hand, we beseech Thee, be over them. Let Thy Holy Spirit ever be with them, and shield them by thy merciful Providence in the discharge of their duty, that, passing through all temptations and perils, they may return to their homes to enjoy the fruit of their toils, in the restoration of peace and the establishment of order and tranquillity amongst us. Protect and bless, O Lord, all the members of their households; assuage their fears, encourage their hearts, and comfort them with Thy grace and heavenly benediction under any afflictions Thou shalt see fit to lay upon them. And grant that those Thy servants, and all of us, being duly impressed with a sense of thy goodness toward us in the past, may have cause to bless Thy name for the continuance of Thy mercies to us, and may ever express our thankfulness by a holy trust in Thee and obedience to Thy laws, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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