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Soldiers of the Church
By John W. Pritchard (1919)


The authentic records gathered and preserved in this volume show the part which the Covenanter Church took in the great war of 1914-1918 to defend Christian liberty and democracy against the long-premeditated and gigantically prepared-for attack of Germany and her allies, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria, in an effort to dominate the world by a brutal and immoral military despotism.

These records establish the fact that the Covenanter’s attitude toward civil government does affect his loyalty to his country but that it affects it by emphasizing it, and they show that 7^4 per cent of the entire membership of the American Covenanter Church were enrolled in the various departments of military service, a percentage probably greater than that of any other denomination.

People who do not understand, marvel that a Covenanter will give his life for his country but withholds his vote at election time. A Covenanter will give his life because of his loyalty to his country, and withholds his vote at election time because of his loyalty to Christ. To become a soldier he is required to swear loyalty to his country, and that he is always eager to do; but to vote at art election he is required to swear to a Constitution of Civil Government that does not recognize the existence of God, the authority of Christ over the nation, nor any obligation to obey His moral law; and that his conception of loyalty to Christ will not permit him to do.

This volume is published to show the true character of the Covenanter, and to aid in securing for him his rightful place in history.

The Scotch are proverbially prompt, thorough and fearless in performance, but loth to talk of their achievements; and in their war work, herein recorded, all Covenanters show their Scotch ancestry. More than six hundred, American Covenanters were in the war, above two hundred of whom went overseas, and many of. these were with Pershing fighting their way to the Rhine. The secretary of the Church’s Win-the-War Committee told how all but impossible it was to get any of our ministers, so many of whom rendered splendid service and a great deal of it, here at home, to report their work. And the boys in the flaming battle lines, like their pastors, are true sons of their heroic forbears. Scores of others than Covenanter soldiers published whole books of their adventures in trenches, going over the top, and in NoMan’s Land, and thrilled audiences with their stories. But Covenanter soldiers wrote never a line to their own Church weekly, and their home letters from the front line trenches, or from “Somewhere in France enroute to the Rhine,” at least those letters of which we have learned, almost invariably concluded with a warning not to allow the Editor of their Church paper to have them.

Prof. Wm. M. Sloane, author of The Century Co:’s “Life of Napoleon,” of “The Balkan States,” and other standard histories, in an article written for the Christian Nation, spoke of the high place accorded to Covenanters by great historians after the Reformation, but only the most widely read and unprejudiced students of both political and Church history understand why they merit such distinguished praise. The Covenanters themselves have not written history. They have merely made it. And so, the author of this volume, himself denied the privilege of companionship with his young friends in the camps or on the battlefields, is endeavoring to do for them that which they would not even assist in doing for themselves, relate their share in history-making during the period of the war, enshrine their deeds, and perpetuate the memory of their valor and their loyalty to Christ and their country.

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