previous next

[327] not be a whit more true. Sturdy old Thomas Carlyle, at all events, was not speaking professionally when he said: ‘A man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him.’ ‘The thing a man does practically lay to heart concerning his vital relation to this mysterious universe, and his duty and destiny there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and determines all the rest.’

It was surely the primary fact, the supreme fact in the history of General Jackson, and I cannot leave the subject without adding that those who confound his faith in Providence with fatalism, mistake both the spiritual history of the man and the meaning of the very words they employ.

Those who imagine that his faith savored of bigotry do not know that one characteristic of his religion was its generous catholicity, as might well be inferred from the fact that the first spiritual guides whose instructions he sought were members of communions widely different in doctrine and polity; that when he connected himself with the church of his choice, it was with doubts of the truth of some of its articles of doctrine—doubts ultimately and utterly removed, indeed, but openly avowed while they possessed him; that nothing so rejoiced his heart, during the progress of the war, as the harmony existing between the various denominations represented in the army; that in selecting his personal staff, and in recommending men for promotion, merit was the sole ground, and their ecclesiastical relations were never even considered; that with a charity which embraced all who held the cardinal truths of revelation, he ardently desired such a unity of feeling and concert of action among all the followers of the same Divine Leader as would constitute one spiritual army glorious and invincible.

It is refreshing, too, to note, that at this day, when political economists abandon the weaker races to the law of natural selection, and contemplate with complacency the process by which the dominant races extirpate the less capable, he sought to place the gentle but strong and sustaining hand of Christianity beneath the African population of the South, and so arrest the operation of that law by developing them, if possible, into a self-sustaining people.

It is still more refreshing to note, that at this day, when scientific men assert such an unvarying uniformity in the operations of the laws of nature as to discredit prophecy, and deny miracle and silence prayer, that he whose studies had lain almost exclusively in the realm of the exact sciences, was a firm believer in the supernatural. Well did this humble pupil in the school of the Great Teacher—this diligent

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Thomas Carlyle (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: