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[85] difficulty in the finances of that church as long as ‘DeaconJackson managed them.

The venerable pastor said to me with deep emotion: ‘Oh, sir, when Jackson fell I lost not only a warm personal friend, a consistent, active church-member, but the best deacon I ever saw!’

He was once collector for the Rockbridge Bible Society, and when the time came to report (to the surprise of his colleagues) he reported contributions from a number of negroes, remarking in explanation: ‘They are poor, but ought not on that account to be denied the sweet privilege of helping so good a cause.’ He also reported: ‘I have a contribution from every person in my district except one lady. She has been away ever since I was appointed collector, but she will return home at 12 to-day, and I will see her at 1 o'clock.’ The next day he reported a contribution from her also.

He frequently sought the counsel and instruction of his pastor, upon whom he looked as his ‘superior officer,’ and to whom he would sometimes ‘report for orders.’ He was never blessed with large pecuniary means, but was always a most liberal contributor to every charitable object, and ever ready ‘to visit the fatherless and the widow in their distress.’

Jackson was one of the most thoroughly conscientious masters who ever lived. He not only treated his negroes kindly, but he devoted himself most assiduously to their religious instruction. He was not only accustomed (as were Christian masters generally at the South) to invite his servants in to family prayers, but he also had a special meeting with them every Sunday afternoon in order to teach them the Scriptures. He made this exercise so interesting to them that other negroes of the town craved the privilege of attending, and he soon had his room full to overflowing of eager pupils. This suggested to him the idea of organizing a negro Sunday-school, which he did several years before the war, and to which he devoted all of the energies of his mind and all the zeal of his large, Christian heart.

He was accustomed to prepare himself for the exercises of this school by the most careful study of the lessons. The day before he left home for the war was Saturday, and he was very busy all day long making every preparation to leave at a moment's warning. He paid all outstanding accounts, and settled up as far as possible his worldly affairs, while his devoted wife was busily plying the needle to prepare him for the field.

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Stonewall Jackson (3)
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