Baptists and the American Civil War: February 5, 1863

Civil War States MapThis month’s edition of The Baptist Missionary Magazine reports on the work of Northern Baptist missionaries throughout the world. Despite the war, Baptist missionary work continues in earnest in nations large and small, among people groups well-known and relatively obscure.

Within the periodical is a copy of a recent letter from an unnamed Baptist missionary in France who speaks of the war on American soil.

Be assured that with great anxiety we follow, day by day, the varying phases of the struggle in which you are engaged. We are one in spirit with you, and we cease not to pray that God may soon grant you a decided victory, and that to your beloved country may be restored that peace so desirable which you once enjoyed,—the Union being maintained, and the land delivered from the horrible plague of slavery.

With lively emotion we read the President’s proclamation of Sept. 22d, declaring slavery abolished in the several States which shall be found in arms the first of January, 1863. We hope the intervention proposed by our Government will not cause you to lose the advantages which, under divine Providence, you have gained over the rebellion.

But however that may be, your cause is just and a holy cause; and notwithstanding the difficulties yet to be met, if difficulties there are to be, this cause must triumph. Take courage then, brethren, and possess your souls in patience, remembering that Christ has said,—and it is applicable to you,—”In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

“Children Walking in the Truth.”

Notwithstanding all our trials, the Lord has been pleased to bless our work this year also. I have the joy to state that our work has met with encouragement in our several fields of labor. We had here ten candidates baptized last spring, and four more at the close of October. Among others I have had the precious privilege of hearing my eldest and my youngest daughters confess their faith in Jesus Christ, and of seeing them unanimously admitted to the church.— Yes, my heart leaped for joy, and my eyes overflowed with tears of delight. May the Lord bring to Himself in like manner the other members of my dear family….

Source: The Baptist Missionary Magazine, American Baptist Missionary Society, Boston, February 1863, Vol. XLIII, No. 2, p. 41 (link)