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[171]

Messrs. Editors: I hope that a few facts about colportage among the soldiers will not be unacceptable to your readers. Though I have been acting as agent for the American Tract Society in Norfolk, Portsmouth and the vicinity seven years, my labors have never been so blessed as from the 19th of April to the present time. I have distributed $300 worth of Bibles and tracts, and in all instances they have been gladly received by both religious and irreligious.

Since June 1st, under the approval of all the pastors of this city, we have reprinted especially for the soldiers over 81,000 pages of each of the following appropriate tracts: “A voice from heaven;” “Don't put it off;” “All-sufficiency of Christ;” “Selfdedication to God;” “Private devotion;” “The act of faith;” “The sentinel” and “Motives to Early piety” —in all of these over 618,000 pages; and of the excellent tract, “Come to Jesus,” 17,280 copies, or 545,280 pages—making in all reprinted, 1,163,--520 pages; in value, $930.56. These we have got out at the prices heretofore paid to the American Tract Society, New York —1,500 pages for one dollar, and “Come to Jesus” for three cents a copy. Nearly all of these have been sent to the soldiers, more or less, of all the Confederate States, most of whom receive them gladly, saying: “This is the kind of reading we want to help us fulfil the promises we made to our wives, parents, sisters, ministers and loved ones on leaving home, that we would seek the Lord.” Such expressions I have frequently heard from a great many of the more than seven thousand soldiers with whom I have talked on personal religion.

Recently a soldier of intelligence came to me in Richmond, Virginia, to express his thanks for the saving influence of the tracts he had received since being in camp. He believes they were sent to him in answer to a pious mother's prayers. He stated that before leaving home he felt but little interest in religion, but now it is his delight and comfort. Another soldier in a Mississippi regiment writes that the tract “Come to Jesus” has been the means of leading him to Christ since being in Virginia. A prominent officer in one of the regiments in Virginia writes: “I feel it my duty to say that the good influence exerted upon the minds and actions of our men by the Bibles, books and tracts you have sent us is incalculable; and to my knowledge they have been blessed of God in producing a spirit of religious inquiry with many of a most encouraging character. I trust you ”


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