If there be a profound truth embodied in the old Latin maxim “Inter arma leges silent,”—the laws are not heard amid the din of arms—there is no less truth in the observation that in times of war the voice of religion becomes faint and is slightly attended to.

It were an interesting and curious speculation to examine how far and in what particulars the religious sentiment of our people has been affected by the existing war, and to gauge the real depth of the religious feelings of our people by the motives and spirit which have animated them since its commencement. In the hands of a philosophic inquirer, the examination would prove as valuable as it is interesting, and, we fear, would furnish us with data by no means flattering to the religious character of our countrymen. It would result, if we mistake not, in showing that both pulpit and people are more generally moved by bitter and revengeful feelings and by a readiness to resort to the shedding of the blood of our fellow creatures than by any very profound attachment to the principles of Him, who is called the Prince of Peace; and that religion is too usually a superficial sentiment rather than a pervading principle.

We have neither the time nor the ability to prosecute this interesting inquiry. But there are some obvious results of the war in this direction, which we may with propriety remark upon.

In the first place no man can have failed to notice the coldness and apathy respecting religion and religious matters which has been growing apace since the commencement of our difficulties. The calm beauty of religion “pure and undefiled” has been obscured by the fiercer charms of war—the temple of God has been deserted to witness military displays; anxiety for the safety of our Government and the success of our arms has effaced the care for things eternal; the Sabbath has became a day of sight seeing and is too often resonant with the clang of martial music, the shouts of the sympathetic crowds at military spectacles, and the songs of bacchanalian and reckless knots of volunteers. The worship of God in his holy temple has been sadly interrupted and the reverence due to his sacred day has received a shock from which it will not recover in many years of peace. The one is postponed to a spirit of sight seeing and the love of military spectacles, and the other has come to be habitually lowered to the standard of the common days of the week and to be robbed of the idea of sanctity which has hitherto invested it.

Then too religion has suffered much by the necessities of the case. The necessity which there has been for the exercise of all our human faculties and powers, the constant resort to merely human agencies—the transportation of tens of thousands of men, the hurrying of ships, the gathering of ordnance and arms, the prodigious efforts of vast bodies of troops—all these have hidden from view the Almighty Hand which holds and governs all. In the vast and near movements of the creature the presence of the Creator is hidden, and men do not contemplate the Great First Cause so much as they do the power of his puny creature, man. It is not God to whom they look for strength or victory, but man. Acting on the practical infidelity of the saying of NAPOLEON, that God always “gives the victory to the strongest battalions,” little thought is given to what God may do, and exclusive attention is given to what man can do. Many thousand pious people, no doubt, pray to God for his aid and guidance, but the great mass do not see God in the tempest which tosses the bark of our Republic, seeing only the agency of man in a hundred diversified forms.

The effect of the withdrawal of men’s minds from the contemplation of the power and providence of GOD, and their habitual contemplation of the resources and wisdom of His creature man, will have a lasting and serious influence upon the religious sentiment of our people. Not the least dangerous of the natural growths of this state of affairs will be the spread of atheistical and infidel feelings; and we allude to it that those who are religiously minded may give it their attention and may redouble their exertions to direct men’s attention to the fact of the providence of the Great Designer and Disposer. The minor religious truths, those of a purely doctrinal nature we mean, are not the ones which should have our care and attention; but as the prevalent tendency of the age is to an unbelief of the volume of inspiration and of the Great Being therein revealed, and as, in an especial manner the operation of the immense events which are now transpiring is to give a prodigious impetus to this tendency, this is the point which should be most assiduously defended and regarding which right views should be disseminated. The existence of GOD and of His influence in the affairs of man as taught by revelation, by nature, and by history, should be dwelt upon by all “who profess and call themselves christians,” whether of the clergy or the laity, with special and unflagging energy. If we forget GOD, our cause is lost!