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1863.—Missing—Part of a report is found with Minutes of 1864.

James Dodson

The following report was adopted at the regular meeting of Presbytery in May, 1863, and is inserted here that it may be laid before the public, and especially those who are under the inspection of Presbytery.

Your committee on the State of the Country, would respectfully report:

That in view of the great moral principles which characterize the divine government, justice and judgment being tho habitation of God’s throne; mercy and truth going before his face; also in view of the fact, that notwithstanding the resources of the North are much greater than those of the South, the parties in the sanguinary conflict have been kept for more than two years nearly in equilibrio, there must be some cause for such a state of things. We cannot say, with the Philistines, "It was a chance that happened us." The axiom is as true in morals as in physics—an effect cannot exist without an adequate cause. While the parties are contending with each other, we believe that God is contending with both. We "come behind no church" in active sympathy with the North, and in detestation of the immediate and avowed cause of rebellion by the South. The unrighteous and cruel oppression of a large fractional part of the population of the United States, recognized and guaranteed in the organic law, and carried in the three departments of the national government, we, as a church have declared to be unjust, and testified against as calculated to provoke the Lord to send desolating judgments on the land. This we have affirmed constantly and publicly, ever since the foundation of the government.

We are not insensible to the effects produced by the judgments of God upon the land. Some who had not thought of nations as subjects of moral government, accountable to the Most High, who would have ridiculed the idea of a national conscience, have been constrained to declare their conviction and belief that the "heavens do rule," that "the finger of God" is discernable in this war. Still, it is to be lamented, that those in high places seem so reluctant to give glory to the God of heaven. The late call of the chief magistrate to national humiliation gave no intimation of the existence or office of the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. This omission is the more remarkable, as the Senate of the United States had expressly declared, in recommending a national fast, that Jesus is the only way to the Father? While refusing to have this man to reign over them, to acknowledge the paramount authority of his law, revealed in the Holy Scriptures, or to remove the accursed thing, slavery, there is little encouragement to hope for a termination of divine judgments.

While we are ready to lend our whole moral influence to the cause of civil and religious liberty, and sustain the North in all lawful measures to reach this desirable result, we cannot pray for success in "inforcing the constitution and executing the laws," while these would require us to withstand the Anointed of the Lord, the Prince of the kings of the earth; and renders us accessory to the riveting the chains of bondage on our fellow men.

In consideration of the abounding snares of the present, the associations of good and bad men, with the bond of an oath, or without an oath, we would caution all under our presbyterial inspection, to walk warily, pondering the path of their feet, and would warn them of danger, in this time of excitement, lest they enter into civil, military, or other associations with ungodly men, and thus fall from their own steadfastness.