‘long roll’ may beat ere he closes—that these brave fellows may be summoned at once to new fields of carnage—and that he may be delivering then the last message of salvation that some of them may ever hear.
I remember that I preached to this vast congregation the very night before Hooker
crossed the river, bringing on the battles of Second Fredericksburg
—that, in my closing appeal, I urged them to accept Christ
then and there, because they did not know but that they were hearing their ‘last invitation,’ and that sure enough we were aroused before day the next morning by the crossing of the enemy, and in the battles which followed, many of these noble fellows were
called to the judgment-bar of God.
And so, when the preacher stood up before these congregations of veterans, his very soul was stirred within him, and he ‘determined to know nothing among them save Jesus Christ
and Him crucified.’
If the personal allusions may be pardoned, I do not believe that Dr. Burrows
, Dr. Stiles
, Dr. Hoge
, Dr. Dabney
, Dr. Pryor
, Dr. Lacy
, Dr. Moore
, Dr. Read
, Dr. Duncan
, Dr. Granberry
, Dr. Rosser
, Dr. Doggett
, Dr. Edwards
, Dr. John A. Broadus
, Dr. Pritchard
, Dr. Wingate
, Dr. Andrew Broaddus
, Dr. Jeter
, Dr. A. B. Brown
, or any of the missionaries or chaplains were ever able, before or since, to preach sermons of such power as they were stirred up to preach in the army.
If a man had any capacity whatever to preach, it would be developed under circumstances which would have stirred an angel's heart; and if he knew anything about the Gospel at all, he would tell it to these congregations.
And so our preacher, whoever he may be, tells ‘the old, old story of Jesus and His love.’
He has throughout the undivided attention of the crowd; there are tears in eyes ‘unused to the melting mood;’ and when at the close of the sermon the invitation is given, and some stirring hymn is sung, there will be 20, 50, 100, or even as many as 200, to ask an interest in the prayers of God's people, or profess their faith in Jesus.
There were over 500 professions of conversion in these meetings at Fredericksburg
, and the good work extended out into the neighboring brigades, and went graciously on—only temporarily interrupted by the battle of Chancellorsville
—until we took up the line of march for Gettysburg
Indeed, it did not cease even on that active campaign, but culminated in the great revival along the Rapidan
in August, 1863, which reached nearly the