God Is On Our Side

The North

The following words were part of a sermon delivered by Henry Ward Beecher on Thanskgiving Day 1860.

The southern states . . . have organized society around a rotten core,—slavery: the North has organized society about a vital heart,—liberty. . . . They stand in proper contrast. God holds them up to ages and to nations, that men may see the difference. Now that there is a conflict, I ask which is to yield? . . .

The truth that men cannot hush and that God will not have covered up, is the irreconcilable difference between liberty and slavery! Which will you advocate and defend? . . .

The secret intentions of those men who are the chief fomenters of troubles in the South cannot in anywise be met by compromise. . . . What do those men that are really at the bottom of this conspiracy mean? Nothing more or less than this: Southern empire for slavery, and the reopening of the slave—trade as a means by which it shall be fed. . . . Their secret purpose is to sweep westward like night, and involve in the cloud of their darkness all Central America, and then make Africa empty into Central America, thus changing the moral geography of the globe. And do you suppose any compromise will settle that design, or turn it aside, when they have made you go down on your knees, and they stand laughing while you cry with fear because you have been cozened and juggled into a blind helping of their monstrous wickedness?

They mean slavey. They mean an Empire of Slavery. They don’t any longer talk of the evil of slavery. It is a virtue, a religion! . . . You cannot compromise with them except by giving up your own belief, your own principles, and your own honor. Moral apostasy is the only basis on which you can build a compromise that will satisfy the South!

The South

These words were delivered by J.W. Tucker, Presbyterian minister in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in May 1862.

We should pray to God to give success to our cause, and triumph to our arms. God will defend the right. . . .

Our cause is sacred. It should ever be so in the eyes of all true men in the South. How can we doubt it, when we know it has been consecrated by a holy baptism of fire and blood. It has been rendered glorious by the martyr-like devotion of Johnson, McCulloch, Garnett, Bartow, Fisher, McKinney, and hundreds of others who have offered their lives as a sacrifice on the altar of their country’s freedom.

Soldiers of the South, be firm, be courageous, be brave; be faithful to your God, your country and yourselves, and you shall be invincible. Never forget that the patriot, like the Christian, is immortal till his work is finished.

You are fighting for everything that is near and dear, and sacred to you as men, as Christians and as patriots; for country, for home, for property, for the honor of mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, and loved ones. Your cause is the cause of God, of Christ, of humanity. It is a conflict of truth with error—of the Bible with Northern infidelity—of a pure Christianity with Northern fanaticism—of liberty with despotism—of right with might.

In such a cause victory is not with the greatest number, nor the heaviest artillery, but with the good, the pure, the true, the noble, the brave. We are proud of you, and grateful to you for the victories of the past. We look to your valor and prowess, under the blessing of God, for the triumphs of the future.

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #33 in 1992]

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