"You must choose sides"
Excerpt from the May 9, 1861, sermon of Wesley Smith at the Fourth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, in Wheeling, as printed in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, May 10, 1861.
On May 9, 1861, at the request of the city council of Wheeling, in the state's northwestern panhandle, the city's clergymen preached sermons on the political crisis that the nation faced. Wesley Smith warned his congregation in the Fourth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, "The time has come when you must choose sides." He told them, "You may shut your eyes and stop your ears, and cry peace; but there is no peace. The clangor of arms and the tramp of armed legions is all around you, and may shortly be at your doors." Smith asked them, "Had the God of Providence any hand in founding and watching over the young giant empire? Has he any designs to be accomplished through its instrumentality in the civil and moral regeneration of the world?" Smith then devoted the remainder of his sermon persuading his congregation that the founders of the Union had intended it to endure "till time shall be no more."