|Congregation Beth Ahabah's first Rabbi, Rev. M.J. Michelbacher|
Jewish Americans were active on both sides of the American Civil War, and like their Christian counterparts on both sides, they prayed to their God for blessings and victory. In the 1800's a growing number of Ashkenazic Jews (German and Eastern European Jews) had immigrated to Richmond, Virginia and joined the congregation. In 1841 they founded Congregation Beth Ahabah ("House of Love") as an offshoot of the earlier K.K. Beth Shalome. Beth Ahabah established its first house of worship in 1848 at Eleventh and Marshall Streets.
On this day 150 years ago, Congregation Beth Ahabah's first Rabbi, Rev. M.J. Michelbacher delivered the following sermon in response to a call for a national day of prayer from Confederate President Jefferson F. Davis. The sermon was subsequently published by the Richmond publishing house Macfarlane & Fergusson, from which this text was taken. The sermon is interesting for the way in which it treats the subjects of speculation--which Jews were accused of in both the North and South--and slavery.
ASERMONDELIVEREDOn the Day of Prayer, Recommended by the President ofthe C. S. of A., the 27th of March, 1863,
AT THEGERMAN HEBREW SYNAGOGUE, "BAYTH AHABAH,"
BY THEREV. M. J. MICHELBACHER.
RICHMOND:MACFARLANE & FERGUSSON.1863.
Nehemiah III. 33, to V. 13, inclusive.
BRETHREN OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL: It is due to you, to whom I always speak of your faults, without fear, favour or affection, to say, I have carefully investigated your conduct from the commencement of this war to the present time, and I am happy in coming to the unbiassed conclusion, that you have fulfilled your duties as good citizens and as men, who love their country. It has been charged by both the ignorant and the evil-disposed against the people of our faith, that the Israelite does not fight in the battles of his country! All history attests the untruthfulness of this ungracious charge, generated in the cowardly hearts and born between the hypocritical lips of ungenerous and prejudiced foes. The Israelite has never failed to defend the soil of his birth, or the land of his adoption-- the Emperors of France and Russia will bear evidence to the verity of this assertion. In respect to those Israelites who are now in the army of the Confederate States, I will merely say, that their patriotism and valor have never been doubted by such men as have the magnanimous souls of Lee, Johnston, Jackson and others of like manhood. The recorded votes and acts of the Israelites of this Confederacy, amply prove their devotion to the support of its Government. They well understand their duties as citizens and soldiers, and the young men do not require the persuasion of conscription to convert them into soldiers, to defend, as they verily believe, the only free government in North America. Many of our young men have been crippled for life, or slain upon the field of battle, in the service of the Confederate States, and there are several thousands yet coursing the campaigns of war against those enemies of our Confederacy, who are as detestable to them, as were the Philistines to David and his countrymen.
The humanity and providence of the Israelite for the distressed families of the soldiers of our army, have allayed the pangs of poverty and brought comfort to households, wherein before were only seen hopelessness and misery. In this you have performed your duties as Israelites and as citizens--and, for this, may the God of our fathers shower upon you all the blessings which He confers upon His favorite children!
There is another cry heard, and it was even repeated in the Halls of Congress, that the Israelite is oppressing the people-- that he is engaged in the great sin of speculating and extorting in the bread and meat of the land. To discover the character of this accusation, I have made due inquiry--the information I have acquired upon this head, from sources that extend from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, plainly present the fact, that the Israelites are not speculators nor extortioners. As traders and as merchants, they buy merchandise and sell the same immediately; the merchandize is never put aside, or hoarded to enhance its value, by withdrawing it from the market. Flour, meal, wheat, corn, bacon, beef, coal and wood are hardly ever found in the mercantile magazines or storehouses of the Israelite--he buys some of these articles for his own consumption, but he buys none of them to sell again--he does not extort--it is obvious to the most obtuse mind that the high prices of the Israelite would drive all his customers into the stores of his Christian neighbours; but is such the effect of the price of the Israelite's goods?
The peculiar characteristic of the Jewish merchant is seen in his undelayed, rapid and instant sales; his temperament does not allow him, by hoarding his goods, to risk time with his money, which, with him, is as restless as the waves of the sea that bears the ships that convey the manufactured goods of his customers. I thank God, that my investigation has proved to me that the cry against the Jew is a false one--this cry, though cunningly devised after the most approved model of villainy, will not subserve the base and unjust purpose of hindering the virtuous indignation of a suffering people, from tracing the true path of the extortioner, and awarding to him who deals in the miseries, life and blood of our fellow-citizens, that punishment, which the traitor to the happiness and liberties of his country deserves to have measured unto him.
That you may never waver in the strict and cheerful performance of your duties as citizens, listen attentively to the words of God, and may you profit and improve by their instruction! Amen.
"And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not afraid of them: think on the Lord, the great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your houses." (Nehemiah iv: 8.)
BRETHREN AND FELLOW CITIZENS:
The duties of the citizen are so intimately associated with the services he owes to God; his creator and master, that the patriotism which is comprised in the former, must necessarily depend in its expression upon our hearty and faithful obedience to the commands of Him, who hath taught us the ways of Righteousness in the paramount institutes of Moses and the prophets --who, hath furthermore, impressed upon His people, for the conservation of their happiness and prosperity, a constant recollection of the Divine Code with an humble compliance with all its requisitions.
Patriotism has in all ages been the chief theme of the historian and the poet, and we need not turn to the partial pages of profane history, nor go beyond the general chronicles of our own people, in the times of their obedience to the voice of God, for noble examples of self-sacrifice and that pious sentiment, with which they were inspired by the Almighty through the Captains of old, who set their squadrons in the field under the light of the Divinity.
The undaunted Nehemiah, in calling upon the Jews, to defend the unstopped breaches of the walls of Jerusalem against Sanballat and Tobiah, and the Arabians and Ammonites and the Ashdodites, said unto the nobles and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, "Be not afraid of them: think on the Lord, the great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your houses." These are diamond words, brilliant with the love of country, and pointing with heavenly rays of truth to the Great and terrible Lord of the universe as the friend and protector of him, who defends, against a public enemy, his home and his family. The inspiriting words, "Be not afraid of them," gave vigour to every arm and courage to every heart. The admonition, "think on the Lord, the great and terrible," recalled the ancient faith of Israel, when nature obeyed the voice of Moses, and the sea divided itself to save, the retreating multitude and peacefully stood on either side, to give free passage to the chosen people, and came down again with lashing and furious waves upon Pharaoh and his hosts as they adventured in, to defile its bed with the feet of the wicked and the enemies of God. They recollected the ancient faith of the wandering Israel in the desert, when the people were parched by thirst, and "the Moses of the Lord" smote the rock, which sent forth living streams at his command. It was then they remembered the Lord with increased faith, as retrospection brought, in sublime array, the gracious deeds He had executed aforetime, for the salvation of their fathers, and their souls were animated with heroic daring and invincible determination at the eloquent and heart-stirring appeal of Nehemiah to their manhood, as he stood before them, and, pointing to Heaven in the character of the servant of God, the loyal citizen and patriot exclaimed: "fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses!" It was on this momentous and perilous occasion, he solemnly reminded them of the first duty of the citizen in connexion with the first duty of man as the obedient servant of the most High God. The people were not only taught the divine duty of defending their country in battle, with the death-dealing weapons of war, but they were, through Nehemiah, also commanded to set a watch upon the walls of the city, during the day and night, with the implements of building and fortifying in the one hand, and the instrument of defence in the other. "Aud the builders, had every one his sword fastened around his loins, while they were building. And he that blew the trumpet stood along side of me." While the Judean patriots were thus progressing in strengthening the defences, the insidious Sanballat with Geshen sent four times to Nehemiah to meet him, but unavailing were the invitations; and the fifth time, he sent by his servant an open letter to terrify and to cause him to take counsel with his enemy; yet was Nehemiah stern, resolved and unyielding, and to the contents of the letter, made fearlessly an instant declaration of their falsehood in the words: "There had been done nothing like these reports of which thou speakest; but thou inventest them out of thine own heart." (Neh. vi. 8.) And, thus he continued his course in building and repairing, with the assistance of his countrymen, till through his wise administration, clear foresight and courageous conduct, his enemies went from before him, and departed in fear and trembling. In this wise, he and his compatriots faithfully performed the first and transcendant duty of the citizen; and the Lord was with them. From this brief, but beautiful and instructive scriptural history, may our fellow-citizens and the Government of the Confederate States of America take lessons of profit, and heed the reserved conduct of Nehemiah towards those, who were hostile to him, when they sent messengers and an open letter to deceive and betray! Let it not be, that we take counsel with our enemies, or any portion of them, in the critical period of their warfare against us; and, above all, let us keep our watchmen upon the walls during any term of cessation of arms, as well as in active hostilities! Our business and our duty are to deal in the rugged matters and measures of the latter, till the offenders, who desecrate our soil and pollute our atmosphere, depart from our country in fear and trembling--this is all we require as an independent people, and it is what we will accomplish; if so be, we retain the blessing of the Great Creator by our humility and righteousness before Him, with the spear in the one hand, and the implement of industry in the other--so help us God!!
Our enemies may have their intestine feuds--civil war may rage among them--and they may fiercely quarrel among themselves, they may lament the loss of their own liberty, sacrificed to fanaticism, cupidity and ambition in the attempt to enslave us, and may point to us as the cause of the maledictions of offended Heaven against them, and they may even seek our aid in the hour of their calamity, which will surely overtake and crush a wicked people; yet, let us not be deceived and entrapped by the specious words, nor the open letters of a people and government of cunning and treachery! They may even throw out as a bait, the hint of serious divisions in the North and Northwest, to lull our manly fears and to allure us into a policy, dangerous, if not destructive to the liberties and independence of the Confederate States. If there be incidental advantages accruing to us, from pretended differences and divisions in the condition of their political or military affairs, it will be well for us to be lookers-on, with sword in hand, ready at all times, for every emergency--we can afford to look on with keen watchfulness and unabated activity and vigour; but we shall not, we must not touch the accursed thing arising from the pollution of Northern necessities, nor permit it to be brought into our camp--and, if we must reply, let it be in the words of Nehemiah: "There had been done nothing like these reports of which thou speakest; but thou inventest them out of thine own heart. We have fought, and are now fighting, by reason of a virtuous resolution to live apart from those, who for many years marred our peace and increased our anxiety for the preservation of our institutions and our safety, and, who down to the moment of our separation, derided our solemn protests against their repeated violations of our sovereign rights, and have converted a Federal government into a central one, for the purpose of founding a despotism, that we may the more speedily receive the lash of a tyrant. Solemnly, have we appealed to God to examine our hearts for the honesty of our intentions; hence, it is no light thing with the sole Creator of the Universe and Supreme Director of our destiny, that we halt for one moment in pursuing that course we have chosen before Him, and for which, at sundry times, our people and our President have implored His guidance and blessing--and may His guidance and blessing lead us unto the desired attainment of liberty, independence, happiness and prosperity! Surely, it is no light thing, if we now exhibit before God our friend, the want of any trait that belongs to the perfect character of the defender of one's country. The mission of the patriotic citizen, is a great one-- with a broad patent in legible characters, all may know him to be a servant of the Lord, and a soldier of the people, whether he belongs to the council or the camp.
May we not reverently conceive, that the Almighty, in listening to our prayers, has in the High Courts of Heaven graciously ratified our choice? the wonderful victories of our arms in answer to our petitions, impress us in our faith therein with this belief--and, if this be so, let him beware, who is slow to perform the first duty of the citizen!
Shall we then trifle with the Great God of Israel, and offend His terrible Majesty, by entertaining alien messengers, whatever the Import of their character, or receiving open letters, written in deceit and falsehood by a treacherous foe? shall we be so weak and credulous, as to trust for our salvation in the false reports and varied rumours adapted to peculiar occasions, and invented for the covert purposes of our circumvention and ruin! Ah, my God, let us not put from us our confidence in Thee, nor forget the wonderful manifestations of Thy power in our behalf within the last twelve months! Thou only art our Saviour and Redeemer, and Thou hast graciously assisted us in building the high wall of separation; and, even now, Thou dost call upon the people of the South in the words Thou gavest to Nehemiah: "Fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your houses!" Who will dare turn a deaf ear to this Heavenly command, to perform the most eminent work pertaining to the duties of the citizen, while every soul should be clad in the panoply of war, to take just vengeance in the name of the Lord, upon His enemies and Ours, for the manifold wrongs they commit against His laws, His justice, and His mercy, in the pretended name of truth, by cruel imprisonments, and unprecedented deeds of rapine, arson and murder! These things cry unto Heaven for retribution, and "vengeance is mine," saith the Lord. Arise then, all ye people of the South, doubly armed with your trust in God, and the remembrance of your sufferings, and the wrongs done unto you, "your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses," and let the shout of your confidence in God go forth to the discomfiture of the enemy, while the thunder of your guns, the flash of your swords, and the gleam of your bayonets, shall give the seal of the blood of the invaders, as a witness unto the Lord of hosts, that we, who have trusted in Him, have signalized the vengeance which is His, and performed the first duty of the citizen, in obedience to His mandates through Nehemiah, in calling upon the name of the most High in the spirit of piety, and, "fought for our brethren, our sons, and our daughters, our wives and our houses."
But is the physical defence of one's country against invasion, the only duty required of the citizen in the period of war? In what terms shall we condemn them, that have taken advantage of the necessities of the times, to reduce the poor to a condition so deep in poverty, that on the coming of every morrow, the gloom of troublous anticipations thickens with the approach of the fearful period when in the words of Jeremiah, it shall be said in bitterness: "Happier are those slain by the sword, than those slain by hunger; for those poured forth their blood, being pierced through--these perished without the fruits of the field." We already hear a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren, who have speculated in the blood of the living, and whose song of joy, in the amassment of wealth, is heard above the fury and horrors of war, the groans of the dying, the screams of the wounded in the battle fields, upon which our gallant soldiers are offering their lives in defence of our brethren, our sons, and our daughters, our wives, and our houses! What answer shall we make to the noble defenders of the country, when they, garlanded with the victories of a hundred fields, return and behold the wan features of their brethren, their sons and their daughters, and their wives--and their houses, no longer the abodes of plenty and cheerfulness! well may they, in surprise at the ingratitude and atrocity of their countrymen, exclaim: "Happier are those slain by the sword, than those slain by hunger; for those poured forth their blood, being pierced through--these perished without the fruits of the field!" Will it come to that pass, that they too shall be compelled "to mortgage their lands, vineyards and houses that they may buy corn," and against which the Jews complained in the presence of Nehemiah, as a great evil, inflicted upon them by their brethren? The generous heart and noble spirit of Nehemiah became inflamed with a just anger, when the great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren, the Jews, came up before him; and, he thus describes his feelings and conduct upon that occasion: "And it displeased me greatly when I heard their complaint in these words. Then I consulted with my heart, and I upbraided the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them: Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I brought together a great assembly against them." And in the concluding part of his address, we are affected with admiration at the justice he meted to every man, who had wronged his neighbour and sinned against God. His remarkable words are well adapted to the present times and events--O may they be borne by some gracious breeze of Heaven to every village, town and city of our Confederacy!--let it then be known to all the people of the land, that Nehemiah, the servant of God, said in the settlement of this question before him and the great assembly, which he set against them, "Give back to them, I pray you, even this day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive yards, and their houses, also, the hundreth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye have lent them. Then said they, We will give back and we will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests and made them swear, that they should do according to this promise. Also I shook my lap, and said, so may God shake out every man from his house, and of his toil gotten wealth, that performeth not this promise, and so let him remain shaken out, and empty. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise." These events occurred when Sanballat and others, enemies of the Jews, conspired to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder the building of the wall; yet did not Nehemiah neglect the civil affairs of his country in the midst of a war, that threatened the enslavement of his people with the destruction of the capital city of Judea; but with the steady character of a great chief, that trusts in the Lord, he introduced reformations, which at once remedied the defects, exhibited in the disposition of the people and restored to them that moral feeling, whose basis is religion. They became regenerated under his potent and pious sway, and the citizen and soldier adorned with their virtues both, the camp and the path of civil life. The people repented and made restitution; and, the dark cloud that hung with evil portent over Judea's plains, passed away before the sun of righteousness. Usury and practices of a kindred nature fled from the searching eye of Nehemiah. The man, who had inspired his people with the heroism, to defend unto death their brethren, their sons, and their daughters, their wives and their houses, could not patiently observe the oppression of the poor, nor the extorted wealth of the rich; and with a strong hand, supported by the people, rescued them and his country from the most corrupting vice, that can deform the moral constitution of a nation. He saw the beginning of that divided sympathy among the people, which is the forerunner of national degradation with the loss of liberty; and, in the midst of the Great Assembly, he denounced the usurer and the despoiler of the poor, and sealed his righteous denunciation with a curse: "Also my lap did I shake out and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his toil-gotten wealth that performeth not this promise, and so let him remain shaken out and empty. And all the Assembly said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise."
The extortions practiced throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States, and which appear to have superceded honest trade, to ride upon the back of speculation for the purpose of hunting "the dear life" wherever an article of food, fuel and raiment may be found, has already given rise to a fearful cry of the people, who are patriotically assisting to build the wall of separation between the South and the treacherous North; they justly consider that these heartless demons, whom we call speculators and extortioners, are giving aid and comfort to the enemy; and, there are not a few who believe, these men would in no wise assist in subduing the conflagration of a city, because, even in such a calamity, they would seek food for speculation in the ruin of its inhabitants, and, at some brief future day, extort from their wants, the wreck of property saved from the flames!
Will the speculator and extortioner heed the cry of the people and their wives for bread and other provisions, necessary to the sustenance of life? Will they listen attentively to instruction and humbly receive rebukes before the Great Assembly, and swear to give back ill-gotten gains, as did the Jews under the inspired counsel of Nehemiah? Will they retrace their steps from the road of wickedness towards that path to which Nehemiah directed his countrymen, and in which only can they ever hope to regain the lost character of the virtuous citizen and patriot--the only path that can direct them aright, because it is the path of righteousness!
Come up to the bar of Justice and of God, ye vile citizens of a country, ye have caused to bleed at every pore--ye, who are ever ready to plunge the traitor's dagger with stealthy hand into the bosom of your mother in the moment of her most critical danger! Desist from the sins charged against you this day-- desist from the sin of oppression over the people and the sin of disobedience against the terrible God of Israel, and--repent, and give back, or, "ye shall be shaken out, every man from his house, and from his toil-gotten wealth and be empty."
It is not true that you have been compelled to oppress the people, by reason of the peculiar difficulties of your own situation, in respect to your families. It is, because you have the power, or are permitted by the silence of the municipal and civil law and the public authorities, to retain, or, remit under usurious contracts; and, you, yourselves, have generated the circumstances to bring forth your own extortion--the monstrous and evil thing that draws its nourishment from the heart's blood of men, women and children! And, it is also, because you have strengthened your power, by sweeping the circuit of many districts of our country, and, have thereby come into possession of those things, that God intended for the common benefit. You have seized and engrossed the meat and flour of the poor--and, while these starve, you complacently look forward to the crisis of famine, with your warehouses filled with the life-giving food, which, by right of nature and nature's God, belongs alike to all, under the wise restriction of just compensation! You purchase the rich offerings of the generous Earth--and await famine and high prices! If this be so, O God, "let them be shaken out, every man from his house and from his toil-gotten wealth and be empty!"
I thank God, that this curse comes not within the circle, or reach of my congregation, and, that its members have kept their skirts clean, and have not committed this great crime against man and Heaven. Continue thus, O my brethren, to fulfil your duties, and turn not away in their performance, to stain your hands with that sinful gain that cometh from extortion. It is the duty of the Great Assembly of the people to set their face against this iniquity, and it becomes us on this occasion to to pray, that we may not be tempted to commit a sin so heinous before the God of Israel.
It is the duty of the people to satisfy the Lord that their hearts are against this sin, that the skirts of the nation may be cleansed from the curse that He will measure unto the unrepentant individually--that punishment justly due to the enemy of God and man--that punishment justly due to those who refuse to perform one of the first duties of the citizen by reformation and restitution, with a solemn promise before God, the author of all good, to do this evil thing no more! Let the skirts of the people be cleansed by prayer and humiliation, that the Almighty may continue to protect and bless the Confederate States of America, and that He may presently and with great haste drive far away from our land the Northern armies that now disturb its tranquility. Let our land, O Lord, be dedicated to Thee and Thy service only; and may the holy name of the God of Israel be forever among us! Amen.
Again, do we approach Thee, O God of Israel--not as a single meeting of a part, but as the whole congregation of all the people of the land, that trust in Thy protection forever, and who do now come before Thee, to seek it in the midst of dangers, yet more appalling than those of the past, that Thou didst put aside without harm unto us!
We are Thy people, O God! who, whether in times of want or pestilence, distress or danger, cannot be kept back from coming unto Thee.
Thou only art our father and friend, and we come before Thee in the dutifulness of children, and with abiding faith in Thy love and a constant fear of doing aught to offend Thee.
O God of our fathers! God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! hear our prayers, and listen graciously to our supplications, this day, for our salvation as a people, struggling before Thee for our liberties and independence, now threatened with renewed dangers and calamities, from the combining and concentrating powers of our enemies.
Thou hast, O God, in Thy mercy unto us, foiled from good time to good time their efforts, to circumvent and to subdue and to subjugate Thy people, that trust in Thy mercy and omnipotence! Now, O God, we who trust in Thee, beseech Thee to look into our present condition. Then dost see, O Supreme Giver of Good, the red and savage hand of massacre held with the menace of foreboding evil, over the innocent and nursing infants of our people! Thou doest see, O Supreme Giver of Good, that we are threatened with the destruction of our men, women and children by cruel enemies, that laugh and clap their hands at the calamities, they desire to bring upon us, whereby they may outrage and scoff at Thy Super-Excellent Majesty, and say within their hearts that vengeance is theirs and not Thine! O God of Israel! hearest Thou this, and art Thou still or silent? No! Thou, God of our fathers, that art a jealous God, Thou art not silent, nor unmindful of our terrible streights, and, neither wilt Thou permit this wicked intent--neither wilt Thou let come to pass this atrocious thing of blood and crime against Thy people, that this day, in the presence of all the nations of the Earth, proclaim Thee as the only true God, and Saviour!
The man-servants and the maid-servants Thou hast given unto us, that we may be merciful to them in righteousness and bear rule over them, the enemy are attempting to seduce, that they too may turn against us, whom Thou hast appointed over them as instructors in Thy wise dispensation!
Because of Thy strength in aid of us, our enemies have failed against us, in all the modes and means of warfare known and adopted among the men Thou hast civilized--because of Thy strength they have failed; and, behold, O God, they incite our man-servants and maid-servants to insurrection, and they place weapons of death and the fire of desolation in their hands, that we may become an easy prey unto them; they beguile them from the path of duty, that they may waylay their masters, to assassinate and to slay the men, women and children of the people, that trust only in Thee. In this wicked thought, let them be frustrated, and cause them to fall into the pit of destruction, which in the abomination of their evil intents, they digged for us, our brothers and sisters, our wives and our children.
Our land and our waters are troubled with the presence of the foes of Thy people. Drive them away, O Lord! Let it be, that their boasted ships of terror may come to naught before the breath of our Lord God, as He sendeth it forth upon the waters of the Great Deep.
Bless, O God, the tillage of our fields, that they may bring forth abundantly for the wants of the people! Give unto each one the bread of life, and let the fat of the land be seen in plenty in the home of every family of the Confederate States of America.
O God! We acknowledge our manifold sins, but look to Thee for forgiveness with deep contrition and repentance.
We implore Thee to turn the hearts of the people of the Confederate States of America generously and kindly every one to the other, that, in the midst of common tribulation, they may cheer and sustain each other till they shall have safely passed through the troublous flood of war, to the happiness of a peaceful land, regenerated by Thy favoured presence forever and ever!
O God! we invoke Thy holy name for protection, because we know, that, without the aid of our kind Father in Heaven, we of ourselves can do nothing.
We believe, O God, that piety cannot subsist apart from patriotism--we love our country, because Thou hast given it unto us as a blessing and a heritage for our children; and, now, O God, we call upon Thee, to bring salvation to the Confederate States of America, and to crown independence with lasting honour and prosperity.
O God! Give cheerfulness to the hearts of our people; and, as a sign of our confidence in Thee and Thy especial protection over us, let the play of the children be seen in the streets of our cities, towns and villages and all places of our country. Let no fear come near our maidens, and be Thou unto our young men a tower of strength, that they may stand with undaunted hearts to shield and sustain the matrons and patriarchs of the people! Drive, O God, the fear of black famine far away from our borders, and open the Omnipotent hand of Thy Heavenly bounty upon all these--the people of this Thy land, which we dedicate anew to Thee this day. And, O God, keep in remembrance this day forever!
Be Thou, O God, with our armies, and inspire the leaders thereof with a pious fear of Thee. Endow them with the faculty of anticipating the designs of the enemy and the wisdom, to thwart every movement of hostility!
Inspire our soldiers with that patriotic courage, which comes from the thought of duty to Thee and to their country. Give unto them, sleepless vigilance, vigorous and active bodies and hands, to wield in victory the weapons of battle. Give unto them, when in pursuit of the flying foe, the swiftness of the eagle, and in the fight, let them be as fierce lions among the prey!
Send, O God, Thy protecting messengers to our ships of war upon the waters of the rivers and of the great deep! Shield our infant navy from all the dangers of storm and battle; and, in all its engagements with the enemy, let the power of the wonderful arm of the God of Israel be its succour, defence and victory! Let the boast of the enemy's naval superiority in numbers over us, be unto Thee, O Lord, their weakness and destruction. And give unto us, Thy people that trust in Thee, O God of Israel, the crown of triumph!
O God! Give counsel and wisdom to Thy servant, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and grant speedy success to his endeavours to free our country from the presence of its foes.
Be Thou with him and the legislature of the Confederate Government of America, and give unto them Thy care and blessing.
Send us peace, O Lord God, we humbly implore Thee! and let the buds, that spring forth in this present spring of the year, burst out in smiling blossoms over a land of tranquility and prosperity! Amen! Hallooyah!