we remain indifferent to the spiritual dangers and temptations of those who are flocking hither to defend all we hold dear?”
The association cordially responded, and “recommended to the board to appoint at once, if practicable, a sufficient number of colporters to occupy all the important points of rendezvous, and promptly to reach all the soldiers in service in the State
; that during the war as many colporters as could be profitably employed, and as the means of the board would admit, be kept in service; that special contributions to colportage should be raised from the Baptist Churches
, from the community, and even from such persons in other of the Confederate States
as may feel interested in the welfare of the soldiers who are gathered from the various Southern States to fight their common battles on the soil of Virginia
; that steps should be taken to secure the issue of a tract or tracts specially adapted to general circulation among the soldiers.”
The work was put in charge of Rev. A. E. Dickinson
, who had already acquired a valuable experience and a high reputation as the Superintendent
of Colportage under the direction of the General Association.
He sent forth his well-trained band of colporters into this new field, which they cultivated with the happiest results, and with a zeal and self-denial worthy of the cause of Christ
One year after these labors were commenced, Mr. Dickinson
said, in his annual report:
We have collected $24,000, with which forty tracts have been published, 6,187,000 pages of which have been distributed, besides 6,095 Testaments, 13,845 copies of the little volume called ‘Camp Hymns,’ and a large number of religious books.
Our policy has been to seek the co-operation of chaplains and other pious men in the army, and, as far as possible, to work through them.
How pleasant to think of the thousands who, far from their loved ones, are, every hour in the day, in the loneliness and gloom of the hospital, and in the bustle and mirth of the camp, reading some of these millions of pages which have been distributed, and thus have been led to turn unto the Lord.
In his report for 1863, in the midst of the war, he says:
Modern history presents no example of armies so nearly converted into churches as the armies of Southern defence.
On the crest of this flood of war, which threatens to engulf our freedom, rides a pure Christianity; the Gospel of the grace of