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[178] The first regiments which arrived were literally overcome with fatigue and hunger; and yet, when marched into the yard of the Blind and Deaf Asylum, though it was nearly sunset, and they had not had their dinner, as they fell down upon the green grass to rest their wearied limbs, many took from their pockets copies of God's word, which, with the utmost eagerness and solemnity, they perused. A soldier said of his Testament: “I would not take anything in the world for this book. It was given me by a pious lady.” In hundreds of instances the reading of tracts has been blessed to the spiritual good of our men. Major-General Jackson is a pious deacon in the Presbyterian Church, and Major Dabney, one of his aids, is a Presbyterian Doctor of Divinity. “I wish, instead of two, you had a dozen colporters in my army,” said General Jackson; “and I am ready to do anything I can to aid you in so good a work.” There is reason to hope that in a few weeks fully a dozen colporters will be operating among the soldiers in the valley. General Edward Johnson, though not a professor of religion, encourages colporters to visit his command. On one occasion, when orders had been given that no one was to be permitted to enter the lines, a colporter came, and no sooner was the object of his mission made known than the general gave him a cordial welcome. “We are always glad to see you; stay with us, and do all the good you can.” He then took the good man to his own tent, and shared with him his blankets. We have now more than 100 engaged in these labors of love among the soldiers, and hope that the day is not distant when the number shall be more than doubled. The fields are white unto the harvest.

A few days since a colporter was distributing tracts among a number of soldiers. He gave to an officer of high grade a tract, entitled, “A mother's parting words to her soldier boy.” Turning to the colporter, he said: “Oh, sir, I can never thank you enough for this tract! The title itself is a most affecting sermon to me. My mother spoke words of tenderness and love to me as I was about to leave her for the army, and everything that reminds me of those words affects my heart.” Tears rolled down his cheeks while he spoke, so that a bystander afterwards remarked that he had never seen a man more perfectly subdued.

Thus it is that a mere sentence is often blessed of God to

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Stonewall Jackson (2)
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