Baptists and the American Civil War: May 14, 1861

Richard FullerAs delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention depart Savannah, Georgia, to journey back to their homes, newspapers throughout the South report on the convention meeting.

The Richmond Times Dispatch’s reporting of the Savannah gathering focuses on statements by SBC president Richard Fuller, pastor of the Seventh Baptist Church of Baltimore, Maryland:

Let me but utter this reflection, that as we are in the midst of perilous and most exasperating times, so we ought to give the more earnest heed to ourselves, lest at any moment we forget the spirit of Jesus, which ought to breathe in all our actions, and words, and feelings.

If any minor differences have unhappily insinuated themselves into this body, let the present strifes and hostilities around us calm and heal these discrepancies, and bind us more closely together. The world has never seen– Heaven has never wept over — a more mournful phenomenon than that now exhibited — I grieve to say it– at the North, where not only politicians and bad men, but Christian editors, and pastors and churches are breathing out slaughter, inciting to fury passions already terribly inflamed, and seemingly thirsting for fratricidal carnage. Let us watch and pray, lest we forget the example and spirit of Him who has taught us to ‘”bless them that curse us,”’ and to ‘”do good to them that hate us and despitefully use us.”’ As we hear the ministers and churches of the Prince of Peace crying out for blood, let us exclaim: ‘”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,”’ let us say: ‘”Into their secret, my soul, enter not thou; unto their assemblies, mine honor, be thou not united.”’

Above all, let these alarms and perturbations elevate our thoughts to that other world whither we are hastening, and with which we have much more to do than with this present evil world; let them inspire us with more earnest aspirations after that Rest which remains for the people of God, and into which we shall soon enter.

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