more as if we were in a camp-meeting than in the army expecting to meet an enemy.’
A soldier writes to a friend: ‘I will here state to you what I never have written home to E——, of the thoughts that have most affected my mind, and I hope and trust in God that the same thoughts and reflections have changed my manner of life.
E—— has doubtless shown you what I call my farewell letter to my children while I was at Richmond, Virginia
The advice I thought and still think was good; but alas, where does that advice come from?
It is from the best friend my children have upon earth, a father; yes, a father, who says: “My children, read your Bibles, abstain from bad company and bad habits, the lusts of the flesh and the vanities of a wicked world,” but who says at the same time by his own conduct and example
, “Come along, children
”—taking them, as it were, by the hand— “I will lead you down to hell;” yes, I was leading them by my own example directly to hell as fast as I possibly could.
Oh, the horrible thought of being the means of damning the souls of my children!
Conviction seized upon me, and then
, on the—th of June, I resolved, if God would spare my life, that I would reform my habits of life; or if He would permit me to return home, that I would set a different example before my children.
I have prayed that He would, and that I might keep my resolution to the day of my death.
I wrote you a letter on the same day, while my eyes were still wet with tears.
I asked your prayers in my behalf; I know you have prayed for me. Can God in justice forgive me?
I pray He may; I know my children will; may God bless them and help them to do so, save them from following my bad example, and at the same time to take my good advice and carry it out, that they may be saved from that awful hell to to which I was leading them.’
A happy transformation is thus described: ‘There was another company whose captain was a wicked man. He exerted a bad influence over his men. He was openly profane and never attended religious services.
In these days the company was known as one of the most wicked in the regiment.
Months rolled away, and another man was appointed to the command.
He was a consistent Christian, and a man of earnest, deep-toned piety.
He sought to carry his men to church, and in the prayer-meeting strove to lead them to the throne of grace.
He showed that he cared for their spiritual as well as their physical ’