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[412]

Among the multiplicity of knapsacks, haversacks, bundles, and old clothes, stored in one of the baggage-rooms of a hospital in Richmond, I found a Soldier's Bible. It was a neat London edition, with a silver clasp, on which were engraven the initials A. L. C. On the fly-leaf was written, in a neat and delicate hand, “A present to my dear son on his fifteenth birthday, from his mother, M. A. C.” Below was written, in the same hand, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” “ Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”

The book had the appearance of having been carefully read, there being many chapters and verses marked with pencil, as though they had strongly impressed themselves on the mind of the young reader. Among them were the chapters which describe the heroic daring of the youthful David, the saintly purity of Joseph, and the unflinching fidelity of the three captive boys at the court of Babylon. The First, Twenty-third and Fifty-first Psalms bore marks of an interested reader. In the New Testament, such Scriptures as speak of the love of God to sinners were carefully noted: “God so loved the world that he gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” —John III. 16. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” —Isaiah i. 18. At this remarkably encouraging promise was a large blood-stain, as though gory fingers had been tracing out every word; also at John XIV. 1, 2— “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” ‘In my Father's house are many mansions’—were the same stains of still broader and deeper dye.

Albert was the only son of a pious and wealthy planter of the South. Most of his time during his childhood was spent in the country on his father's plantation. The little white cottage was half-buried in evergreens, and richly festooned with fragrant vines, among which the wild birds nestled, and sang with their sweetest melody. On the hill, at the end of a long avenue, stood the quiet country church, where little Albert, accompanied by his parents, sister and aged grandmother, met the families of the neighborhood to spend an hour in Sabbath-school, and then listen to the reverend man of God, who preached to them the precious word of the Lord. Here, and around the family altar,

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