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Excerpt from Disunion: Two Discourses at Music Hall, on January 20th, and February 17th, 1861

The office of the pulpit is to teach men their duty. Wherever men's thoughts influence their laws, it is the duty of the pulpit to preach politics. If it were possible to conceive of a community whose opinions had no influence on their government, there the pulpit would have no occasion to talk of government. I never heard or knew of such a community. Though sheltered by Roman despotism, Herod and the chief priests abstained from this and that because they "feared the people." The Sultan dared to murder his Janissaries only when the streets came to hate them as much as he did. The Czar, at the head of a government whose constitution knows no check, but poison and the dagger, yet feels the pressure of public opinion. Certainly, where pews are full of voters, no question but the sermon should be full of politics.

"The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice." "The Covenant with Death" is annulled; "the Agreement with Hell" is broken to pieces. The chain which has held the slave system since 1787 is parted. Thirty years ago, Southern leaders, sixteen years ago, Northern Abolitionists, announced their purpose to seek the dissolution of the American Union. Who dreamed that success would come so soon? South Carolina, bankrupt, alone, with a hundred thousand more slaves than whites, four blacks to three whites, within her borders, flings her gauntlet at the feet of twenty-five millions of people in defence of an idea, to maintain what she thinks her right. I would New England could count one State as fearless among her six! Call it not the madness of an engineer who stands in front of his cannon at the moment of discharge; - call it rather the forlorn hope of the mariner, seizing plank or spar in the fury of the storm.

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