13 June 1861: “Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me”

Item description: Sermon delivered by the Reverend Daniel I. Dreher in response to a call for a day of humiliation and prayer by the president of the Confederate States of America.

Item transcription:


“And Abraham said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen, for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me.” Gen. xiii: 8, 9.

In obedience to a Proclamation of the President of the Southern Confederacy, setting apart this day, as one of humiliation and prayer, we are assembled to humble ourselves before Almighty God. The clarion of war has been sounded in our once peaceful land, and the cry now is–to arms, to arms! Every where may be seen troops marshaling themselves, and making ready for the conflict. It is now mete for us to call upon Him who presides over nations as well as individuals, and devoutly ask Him to guide us through the coming struggle–for, “If God be for us who can be against us.” There are but two means, in human power, to prevent strife between individuals and nations, when either feet aggrieved and dissensions have arisen–concession and separation. If concessions cannot be made, then separation must take place, or a collision will inevitably follow. Human nature is so constituted that it will resent a real or supposed wrong.

The text affords us an illustration how men acted many years ago in order to preserve peace. The characters brought to our notice are by no means insignificant, one of them in holy writ, bears the significant appellation of “Father of the faithful,” who said to his nephew, “separate thyself I pray thee, from me.” From this, we see that when concession was not practicable, he sought peace in separation. We see nor hear nothing here of sustaining “the Union” and of wild devotion to the “stars and stripes”–surely a word from Abram would have quelled the strife of the herdsmen, but we hear not a word beyond that of “separate.”

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Item citation: A sermon delivered by Rev. Daniel I. Dreher, pastor of St. James’ Church, Concord, N.C., June 13, 1861 : day of humiliation and prayer, as per appointment of the President of the Confederate States of America. Salisbury, N.C. : Printed at the Watchman Office, 1861. VCp252 D77s , from the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill.

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