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(title page) True Eminence Founded on Holiness. A Discourse Occasioned by the Death of Lieut. Gen. T.J. Jackson. Preached in the First Presbyterian Church of Lynchburg, May 24th, 1863.
Rev. James B. Ramsey
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LYNCHBURG, June 19th, 1863.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,--In behalf of many of our follow-citizens, who, like most of the undersigned, were deprived of the pleasure of hearing the funeral discourse, which you lately delivered on the occasion of the death of the illustrious and lamented Gen'l JACKSON, we would respectfully request that you consent to its publication. The portraiture of the character of a great and good man, by one who enjoyed his intimacy and who is so competent to the task, should not be confined to the recollections of a single congregation, but preserved in an enduring form.
We hope, therefore, you will feel yourself at liberty to accede to our
request, and remain
Your friends and fellow citizens,
JNO. M. SPEED,
JOHN G. MEEM,
CHAS. W. BUTTON,
WM. M. BLACKFORD,
GEO. M. RUCKER,
T. C. S. FERGUSON,
M. LANGHORNE, JR.
JAS. R. HOLT,
JNO. O. L. GOGGIN.
To Rev. J. B. RAMSEY, D. D., Present.
LYNCHBURG, June 24th, 1863
GENTLEMEN:--The discourse to which you refer was prepared without the remotest idea of its publication, and when the desire for this was first expressed, I doubted its propriety. It was not until, having consulted the General's own immediate connections, and having submitted the manuscript to his bereaved widow and his pastor, their approval and I may add earnest wish was added to your own, that I felt at liberty to accede to the request. With the hope that the same Divine blessing that always attended that beloved and honored man, may attend this imperfect effort to hold up before his countrymen his bright example, it is herewith at your disposal.
With much respect, yours truly,
JAS. B RAMSEY.
To JNO. M. SPEED, Esq., and others.
"How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O, Jonathan ! thou wast slain in thy high places." Such was the lament of David and Israel over the brave and generous Jonathan, slain in the high places of the field, in defence of his country and people, against their hereditary foes: and such is now a nation's lament over a greater than Jonathan the son of Saul. With a stricken heart, and bitter tears, this whole people bow in grief, and as one man, are ready to utter the touching words of David over his friend: " We are distressed for thee: very pleasant hast thou been unto us: thy love to us was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished! "
Our beloved JACKSON was slain emphatically in his high places; in the high places of his God's and his country's service, in the very zenith of his fame and usefulness. Few men in our world have ever attained to greater eminence: none to purer. The nation accorded to him its entire confidence; it rung with his praise, and its whole heart thrilled with true affection for him. Our enemies at once feared and honored him. His praise is heard in distant lands. Envy had to gnash her teeth in silence, for in the universal enthusiasm, she dared not speak. The Church of Christ praised God continually for such a burning and a shining light, and multitudes of souls, especially in our army, high officers and privates, will rejoice eternally in that light.
This eminence was not the result of brilliant and towering genius, or of a chance combination of favorable circumcumstances. His whole history shows a combination of circumstances against it, such as is not often overcome. Success was in his case extorted, compelled from unwilling and adverse events, and in spite of difficulties that at first sight might have been regarded as insuperable. A brief sketch of his life will show this, and will best prepare the
way for the important truth wrapped up in all that life, and blazing forth in all his character, that it was God who made him great, by making him holy.
Lieut. Gen. THOMAS J. JACKSON was born in Clarksburg,
Harrison county, Virginia, in January, 1824.*
* For most of the interesting facts in this sketch I am indebted to a connection of his, a valued friend, who for years was in daily and familiar intercourse with him.
His ancestors were from England. Some military taste and talent appears to have been inherent in the family. His own father was a successful lawyer, and at one time, a man of considerable property, but by suretyship for others lost it all, and died leaving three children only, one of whom, a daughter, is now living. THOMAS, at his father's death, was only three years old. About six years after, his mother died in the triumphs of christian faith and hope. Her memory was always very precious. Do we not see here the first of that chain of influences that made him what he was? Who can ever tell the power of that mother's example and prayers?
Thus, bereft of his father and his mother, the Lord took him up. He found homes among his relatives; especially his uncles. His early education was irregular, and necessarily imperfect, until he entered the West Point Military Academy. There he manifested the same traits of quiet indomitable perseverance and singleness of purpose that afterwards so distinguished him, and that then went very far to make up for his very imperfect preparation. From the Academy he at once entered the service of his country in the Mexican war. By his promptitude, bravery and coolness, he there highly distinguished himself. It was during this campaign, or while quartered in the halls of the Montezumas--as we are assured he literally was--that he first seems to have become impressed with a sense of the importance of personal religion, partly, at least, through intercourse with the pious Colonel of his battalion. With the same prompt energy, and thoroughness, and zeal, that he always manifested in whatever he regarded as present duty, he resolved to examine the whole subject of religion in its personal claims, and its system of truth. Being satisfied that the Bible was from God, the great question was, where and by whom, was its truth most fully and purely held? Determined to take nothing for granted, or at second hand, he at once availed himself of what seemed to him the rare opportunity there afforded of examining the Roman Catholic
religion, by waiting on the Archbishop of Mexico, with whom he had frequent interviews, extending through some months, I think, during which he was taken in order over the main parts of their whole system, and propounded his own difflculties. These last could not be resolved to his satisfaction, and the result was a firm conviction that this, at least, was not the Bible system. With the same impartial zeal and love of truth, and disregard to mere human authority, did he pursue this search for some years before his mind became satisfied. Gen. JACKSON was therefore the farthest possible remove from being a bigot. His views of each denomination were obtained from itself, not from its opponents. Hence he could see excellencies in each. Even of Popery he had a much more favorable impression than most Protestants, and it would be well for the Church of Christ, and would greatly tend to promote fraternal feeling and kill bigotry, if we would all, in our search for truth, gather our views of others, not from their opponents alone, but from the best and wisest of themselves, as JACKSON did.
After his return from Mexico, and being quartered for a time in South Carolina, Florida, and New York, his health became so shattered as to nearly unfit him for any active duty. It was at this time, and while endeavoring to regain his health, that he was elected to the Professorship of Applied Mathematics in the Virginia Military Institute. In his very entrance on that work with very feeble health, and eyes that totally forbade his using them at all by night, he exhibited that same quiet energy of will and mental discipline that afterward contributed so greatly to his success in the field. Running rapidly over many pages of mathematical reasonings before night, he would, as we learn from members of the family who knew his habits well, after dark, without book or help, holding the complicated materials before his mind, examine, analyze and thoroughly master the demonstrations.
There he first entered into full connection with the church. From that time, the harmony and force of his character became still more apparent. With him, to know his duty and to do it, were the same thing. Humble and retiring almost to a fault, he would never shrink from any duty, whatever sacrifice of feeling it might cost him. A striking instance of this I had from his own lips, when speaking of the trial it cost him to speak before an audience. Being on a visit to his sister, where were residing a number of
professed infidels, and where there was but little religious influence, the thought occurred to him that, being a military man, they might be willing to listen to something from him, more favorably than from others, though it might be much inferior. And he at once resolved to prepare and deliver a few lectures on the evidences of Christianity, which. he did; though the delivery, he said, was one of the greatest trials he ever had. Where, among a thousand, is there another of like temperament who would not, at once, have excused himself from such an obligation? He formed a class of young men for instruction in the evidences of christainity; and for years he superintended with great zeal and efficiency a Sabbath school for the instruction of the colored people of Lexington, the beneficial example of which has been widely felt. Liberal to the full extent of his means, God prospered him according to his promise, that "the liberal soul shall be made fat."
When he entered the army at the beginning of the war, he did it in obedience to the call of his God, as well as of his country. Hence, no love of ease, of friends, of home, or domestic joys, could induce one moments relaxation of energy in the single line of his duty. He never, during the two years of his service, left the camp--never saw his home and for thirteen months at a time was separated from his beloved wife. Of his military life and exploits, this is not the place or the time to speak; the country and the world knows them and they will yet appear, doubtless, in fitting narrative. But his deep interest in the spiritual welfare of his army, deserves here special notice. Who does not know that this was an object for which he labored most assiduously and during the last year, especially with great success? Busy as he was with personal attention to every thing connected with the efficiency of his army, both at rest and in motion, he always found time to attend to this. He devised and suggested a great comprehensive plan for the organization of the chaplaincy system, which is now being carried into effect with prospects of great success. To his pastor, Dr. White, he wrote a long letter on this subject, which would itself be a most noble portrait of his religious character All his letters showed how full his heart was of this matter, and all seemed to be written from the very precincts of the throne.
In a letter received from him, only about a month before his death, he thus speaks: "Whilst as Christians we must
all have trials, yet we have the precious assurance that they
work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory.***If you had the physical strength, I would
be greatly gratified to see you in the army. It appears to
me that I have never seen such a field for Christian effort.
I am greatly gratified at having Mr. B. T. Lacy with the
army. His labors, I trust, will be greatly blessed. So far,
great encouragement has attended them. I am much
obliged to you for your prayers, and beg that I may still
have an interest in them. It is to God that we must look for
peace, and for its enjoyment when it is bestowed." But the
following extract from a letter to his pastor, the substance
of which the latter read at his funeral, has special interest
as showing his moral greatness. "The death of your noble
*Capt. Hugh A. White, who fell in the second battle of Manassas.
and my much esteemed friend, Hugh, must have been a severe blow to you, yet we have the sweet assurance that, whilst we mourn his loss to the country, to the church, and to ourselves, all has been gain to him. 'Eye hath not seen, nor heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those that love him.' That inconceivable glory to which we are looking forward is already his. I greatly desire in the army such officers as he was.*****When in the Valley there was much religious interest among my troops, and I trust that it has not died out. It appears to me that we should look for a great work of grace among our troops, officers and privates, for our army has been made the subject of prayer by all denominations of Christians in the Confederacy.***
* I am very grateful for your prayers and the prayers of other Christian friends. Continue to pray for me. I wish I could be with you in the church and lecture room, whenever our people meet to worship God.**
** Let us work and pray that our people may be that nation whose God is the Lord. It is delightful to see the Congressional Committee report so strongly against Sabbath mails. I trust that you will write to every member of Congress with whom you have any influence, and do all you can to procure the adoption of the report. And please request those with whom you correspond (when expedient) to do the same. I believe that God will bless us with success if Christians but do their duty. For near fifteen years Sabbath mails have been through God's blessing avoided by
me, and I am thankful to say that in no instance has there been occasion for regret, but on the contrary God has made it a source of pure enjoyment to me."
On this subject of Sabbath mails he felt very deeply, as he did on everything affecting the favor or the frown of God upon our country. Just before his last battle, he wrote a long letter on this subject, perhaps the very last he ever penned, to his connection, Col. Preston, who was a commissioner to the General Assembly, requesting him to secure some appropriate action from that body in favor of their abolishment. His heart seemed thus to be so full of deep interest for the spiritual good of the army, and the advancement of the church's interest, and her enterprises, as if it were the one and the only thing to which his energies were devoted; and yet the country and the world and especially the army know that the minutest military duty or interest was never by him neglected or postponed.
The sad circumstances of his wounding, his sickness and death, are well known and need not here be repeated. A perfect knowledge of all the facts will, we are very sure, remove all suspicion of imprudence or rashness from the movement which led to his wounding, and will show it to have been an event which no human skill or foresight could probably have prevented in the case of one whose fixed principle it was, we believe, to see with his own eyes whatever was necessary to the disposition of his troops in battle, and whose success was doubtless greatly owing to this fact. You have heard how looking at his stump and wounded hand, he said, "I would not be without these wounds now, even if I could. God has sent them upon me for some good purpose. I regard them as one of the greatest blessings of my life." With what true christian submission and heroism he received the announcement that he had but a few more hours to live, answering, "Very good, very good, I will be an infinite gainer, to be translated." When his little child, which had been baptised in the camp only a few weeks before, was brought in--he exclaimed, with all the fullness of a father's heart--"my darling child!" and having attempted to amuse it with his crippled hand for a few moments, he commended it to God. His wife asked him, are you perfectly willing that God should do with you just as he pleases? With characteristic simplicity and decision both of language and tone, he replied, "I prefer it, I prefer it."
Such a death was a fitting close to such a life. It was
emphatically a translation from the high places of his earthly fame, to the infinitely higher places of heavenly glory. To the church, and the country in this hour of our peril, his loss seems irreparable. But the God that raised him up, can raise up others in his place,--his resources are not exhausted,--and what is more, can make that life now ended a greater blessing, a mightier power for good than ever before. This will be so if he only makes it a means of impressing on the heart of this whole people the truth, of which it was such a brilliant illustration,--that holiness is power, and it alone secures true eminence.
Our text which is but a statement of this truth, is a concentration of Gen. JACKSON'S whole history. It is his life and his character, his fame and its secret source, all in a single sentence. It declares the secret of his great eminence. God set him on high, because he honored God. This whole Psalm beautifully and strikingly applies to him. It describes the Divine protection and honor of the man that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, that says of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress : my God, in him will I trust. It is of him that God here says, "I will set him on high, because he hath known my name." To know the name of God is to recognize his true character, and to love, serve and trust him accordingly. It is but another expression for true godliness or holiness. The text is, therefore, but the declaration of God's purpose to honor those who honor him : "I will set him on high--I will make him safe and great because he hath regarded not his own name and glory, but mine. Or in the language of the immediate context,--"Because he hath set his love upon me therefore will I deliver him. **** He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." The same purpose he elsewhere thus expresses. "Them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." "If any man serve me," says Christ, "him will my Father honor."
To this as a general truth some will be disposed to demur, and to say that religion does not always secure eminence; that cases like this are exceptions to the general rule,--that so far from the fear of God elevating men in view of the world it has the opposite, object, inasmuch as men do not love but hate holiness, and religion prevents men from using the means necessary to secure earthly honors; indeed, that
it is inconsistent with entering upon the eager strife and contention made necessary by the rivalry they awaken. Much of this is doubtless true. In the arena where worldly honors are the prize, the man of God may not and will not descend. For him they have no charms. He knows their emptiness. To him they are the veriest baubles. And no man ever held them in more utter contempt than JACKSON did. These are not the high places to which the man of God aspires, and in which God has here promised to put him. To be elevated to them alone is no real eminence. When properly understood there is no exception to the principle of the text that the fear of God alone can raise any man to the highest eminence of which he is capable.
1. To make this clear consider first what true greatness real eminence, is. It is not mere worldly honor, or high place, or great power. To attain these, indeed, needs no religion, they are, when taken apart from moral excellence, the rewards with which the devil has always lured his willing victims to the giddy heights of their own ruin. As he tempted our Saviour, so he tempts men still ; pointing to the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, he says, "All these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." The devil has his high places, which however similar they may sometimes be in appearance, are as different from the real eminence to which holiness exalts, as darkness is from light, as the height of the gallows is from that of the throne. The great ones of this world have by their fame and their glory only been pilloried on high to the pitying or contemptuous gaze of all succeeding generations of the wise and good. So it has been with almost all who have filled the thrones of earth, with all indeed except where moral worth has been eminent. So with a Byron in the loftiest flights of poetic genius; with a Laplace in the sublime researches of the astronomer; with an Alexander and a Napoleon in the highest and widest sweep of military achievements. Men may and they will wonder at their genius, their vast acquirements, their power and deeds of daring, but where is the wise and good man, the enlightened lover of his race, who does not lament over the shameful prostitution of all this talent, learning and power to the purposes of a low and selfish ambition; and regard them as brilliant wrecks strewed all along the shores of time as beacons to future generations? If mere intellectual superiority or artistic skill, or indomitable energy and vast power could raise its possessor on high,
then has the devil attained an eminence that none of the sons of men may hope to reach.
True eminence is inseparable from holiness. In this consists especially the glory of God: without it all his other attributes would be objects of horror and dread just in proportion to their infinite greatness. Although it is true that men hate holiness naturally, when its claims are urged upon their hearts filled with fleshly and worldly lusts, or when it shines so near and so brightly upon them as to disclose their own moral deformity, yet it is also true that God has so created us that we are irresistibly impressed with the feeling of its infinite excellence, and compelled to conscious veneration for it. Did not the proud and envious Pharisees even when they sought to slay Jesus, feel and shrink in shame from the dazzling brightness of his unspotted holiness? You may gather round your name all the glory that genius, learning, skill, or military prowess can impart, yet if this one grand element of moral excellence be not there pervading and controlling and modifying all the rest, that name will only go down to posterity to carry your shame and disgrace on account of God's perverted gifts.
2. But more than this. True religion has a necessary tendency to produce those qualities that alone can fit men for the highest stations and the noblest deeds. We do not mean to assert here merely that the possession of those dispositions of heart and principles of action that constitute true religion fit a man better to fill any position in life whatever. This none will dare deny. Truly to fear God must produce an elevation of character, a purity of motive, a superiority to temptation, a sense of accountability, a submission to lawful authority, that cannot but make men better, whether as servants or masters, citizens, soldiers, generals or rulers. But in addition to this it tends to develop to the highest degree those other mental qualities necessary to fill most completely the highest offices and to meet the most responsible trusts. What greater obstacle is there to the full development of intellectual power, vigorous thought, close reasoning, and clear and bold and lofty conception than the workings of pride and passion and appetite, or the distractions or care, or fear, or the influence of conflicting motives, or the want of one great noble end of life? And what influence ever entered a human heart that could so effectually remove all these, and relieve the intellect from every clog, and banish every disturbing element as the fear and love of
God? Again, nothing so warps the judgment as passion, impatience, fear and selfishness--.and whatever else weakens the intellectual or moral force, and as nothing so completely corrects these as true holiness, nothing contributes so largely and effectually to soundness of judgment. There are natural incapacities that of course no religion can remove, but there are no capacities so feeble that true religion will not thus enlarge and invigorate and make them to accomplish far beyond what any culture could do without it. And there are no capacities so great, no genius so brilliant that true holiness--the excellence of God himself, would not have made far greater, and covered with a brighter brilliance and power. Many a man of far inferior talent has thus been set on high above the child of genius, both in intellectual power, in sound judgment and in the influence exerted. But in nothing is the elevating power of religion greater and more manifest than in the singleness of aim it secures and the concentration of all it energies on one grand end. This is the deepest secret of all high success in any pursuit. Sin disorganizes and divides; holiness unites. This is especially true of the human soul. When the soul truly knows God as its God and trusts him, when it has no will but his, and no end but to obey him, it acquires a force and vigor, a concentration of energy otherwise impossible. There is then no waste of power; every little rill of thought and feeling, and desire and hope flows into the great current of the leading purpose, and from that purpose every selfish end is excluded. There are no by-ends to divide and divert the attention and energies. Not a particle of power is lost. Fear and anxieties about the future cannot disturb it, for all that it trusts in God's hands; the possible results to itself cannot come into the account, for that too belongs to God to arrange; there are no conflicting motives and purposes as self-indulgence or ambition, for these are all set aside by the one absorbing and comprehensive end of life and rule of duty. Nothing but holiness can perfectly unite the soul, and develop its full energy. In every other case where it seems united by the overmastering force of some ruling passion, as in the case of Napoleon, by an ambition that sacrificed at its shrine every dictate of conscience and feeling of affection, there is this great element of both of weakness and shame--the moral nature is crushed, and that which ought to rule, and which ruling by the fear of God, would contribute an energy and force beyond any other single element,
is not only lost, but much of the soul's true power has been used up in resisting and crushing it, and even then the disturbing voice of an overborne and abused conscience will still at times be heard causing more or less wavering and indecision. Thus, true religion, by the pure stimulus it applies to intellectual power by its removal of all those mists of self-love, passion and prejudice which becloud the judgment, and by that power which it alone possesses of producing entire singleness of aim and concentration of energy, must tend to secure to its possessor the highest eminence of which his nature capable. In the very constitution of our being God has thus secured the fulfillment of the assurance --" I will set him on high, because he hath known my name."
3. Still, again. To deny that holiness secures the highest eminence is to deny that a holy God governs the world. "The Lord reigneth," and therefore all who do sincerely and wholly serve him, who make his will their only law and his glory their great end, must fall in with the line of his designs and providences, and secure his favor and blessing." For promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge; he putteth down one and setteth up another." The reason why so many of his people are visited with disappointment and grievous failure in their plans; why instead of attaining eminence in character, reputation, and influence, they are kept in obscurity and visited with shame and confusion, is that their knowledge of God, and concentration to his service is so imperfect, so marred by selfishness and worldliness that instead of their lives being radient with the beauty and power of holiness, their inconsistencies secure the contempt even of the world, and they prevent themselves from attaining the very elements of character necessary to high success; and success, even if possible, would only be their ruin, their final elevation to glory requiring the present severe and continued discipline of worldly dishonor.
Since, then, holiness is an essential element in all true greatness, all other eminence being only in the end an eminence to shame; since it is necessary to give to the intellect its full vigor, to the judgment its clearest light, and to the whole character the full force of undivided energy; since it is necessary to secure the Divine favor and the special blessing of Providence, it is evident that the true and the highest eminence cannot be attained without it, and must ever be secured by it.
The history of our world affords many illustrious examples of eminence secured by holiness. Joseph in Egypt, Hezekiah on the throne of Judah, Daniel in Babylon, Paul in the early Church ; and--in latter times an Edward VI. on the throne of England, an Andrew Mellville inScotland, a Gustavus Adolphus in Sweden; a Sir Matthew Hale among lawyers, a Thomas Budgett among merchants, a Gardener and Havelock among soldiers--are a few of the most familiar names, together with a whole multitude of others whose names are perpetuated in their writings. But, although others have stood higher in position, and in attainments, none stand forth as more truly illustrious, or will go down to posterity with greater honer and a more powerful and blessed influence than the name of our own beloved JACKSON, as one whom God hath set on high, because he honored God with all his heart and life. His character, as far as known must secure this. There was something in it so unique and yet so simple,--it was at once so severe and yet so gentle, so daring and yet so shrinking, that I will not even attempt a full delineation of it. A few traits only will be here presented, such as show him to have been an embodiment of the truths we have been discussing. And in speaking of his character we speak with confidence; for we speak what we do know. An acquaintance of years, that had ripened into a warm friendship,--and habits of special intimacy with those who were in daily intercourse with him, and to whom his character was always an object of admiration and study, enable me to speak with assurance.
That in him holiness was power, seems to be almost universally granted. Is there a man in this Confederacy that has any doubt as to the secret of JACKSON'S greatness? It was not that in grasp of native intellect, in briliancy and breadth of conception, in vigor of reasoning he excelled others so much;--many others surpassed him in each of these, both in the lecture room and the camp, who must ever hold a far inferior place in the world's history. God indeed had gifted him with a mind of no ordinary force and clearness, and great native energy of will; but it was not this alone or mainly that made him great; it was that in him above all other men I ever knew, the only object of life was just to do the will of God, and the constant posture of his soul one of unhesitating confidence in God. To obey God in all things, and at all costs, and to trust him implicitly seemed for many years to have been the fixed habit of his soul; not
so much to have required an effort, as to be the steady and spontaneous working of his whole being. It almost seemed as one who watched him as if he could not help it; his whole happiness consisted in it. He seems to have been deeply impressed in early life with the power of habit; and from the very beginning of his Christian course he sought to form fixed holy habits, extending to the minutest matters of life, from which nothing could ever make him swerve, and which were the secret of his close walk with God. "I never," said he to a very dear friend, to whom he was accustomed to unbosom himself most fully, though even to such he never spoke of himself except when constrained by a sense of duty,--"I never take a glass of water, but the moment it touches my lips, my heart rises in thanksgiving to God and prayer for his blessing." "But, Major, do you not sometimes forget?" "No," said he "I think not. It is so much of a habit now, that I would almost as easily forget to drink." He added, "I never drop a letter in the office, but it is the signal for prayer to God to bless the errand on which it goes. I never break the seal of a letter but I make it the signal for asking God's blessing on the yet unknown author and its unknown tidings. Whenever I sit down in my lecture room, and the class are assembling, until all is quiet,--that is my time for prayer: and when one class is retiring and another entering, then too is my time for prayer. In such things I have formed the habit and I cannot forget it. It gives me inexpressible enjoyment." Thus he lived. Such was his communion with God, his life of faith and prayer. And here was the secret spring of his strength, the source of his real greatness. He was always with God, and he became like God as very few do.
Reference to another of his habits will show how, in the very least things he made the will of God his sole law, and how sedulously he avoided all doubtful grounds. Of the wickedness of Sabbath mails, he was long firmly convinced. Carrying out his principles to their full length, he would never permit a letter of his to travel in the mails on the Sabbath if it could be prevented. He would carefully count the number of days required for it to reach its destination, and if that time run into the Sabbath, unless it required a whole week or more--no urgency of business could prevent him from laying it over till the next week. When he entered on his professorship, he refrained, as a matter of conscience, from reading even a single line by night, owing to
the weakness of his eyes,--and letters received on Saturday night, though from his dearest friends, remained unopened until early on Monday morning. And so supreme and controlling was his sense of duty, that this never, according to his own explicit testimony, caused him any distraction of mind, but rather a secret pleasure and gratitude to God that he was thus enabled to obey him in all things. Yet his was by no means a scrupulous conscience which is always dreading evil when there is none, and distressing itself wtth imaginary fears; no man was ever more free from this; but one rendered peculiarly delicate and sensitive by the unusual vigor of spiritual life, making it shrink instinctively from the slightest touch of sin. And that testimony of his already quoted in regard to this matter, deserves to be held in everlasting remembrance,--that for nearly fifteen years, during which he had avoided all use of Sabbath mails, in no instance had there been occasion for regret, but on the contrary, that God had made it a source of pure enjoyment. Let the church and the world both gaze upon the rare and noble example, till they feel its power.
Thus walking with God in prayer and holy obedience, he reposed upon God's promises and Providence with a calm and unflinching reliance beyond any man I ever knew. I shall never forget the manner and tone of surprise and child-like confidence with which he once spoke to me on this subject. It was just after the election in November, 1860, when the country was beginning to heave with the agony and throes of dissolution We had just risen from morning prayers in his own house, where at the time I was a guest. Filled with gloom, I was lamenting in strong language the condition and prospects of our beloved country. "Why," said he, "should Christians be at all disturbed about the dissolution of the Union? It can only come by God's permission, and will only be permitted, if for his people's good, for does he not say that all things shall work together for good to them that love God?" I cannot see why we should be distressed about such things whatever be their consequences." Nothing seemed ever to shake that faith in God. It was in him a truly sublime and all controlling principle. In the beautiful language of this Psalm, he dwelt in the secret place of the Most High, he made the Most High his habituation, and was thus placed on high from the fear of evil. Together with that extreme fear of offending God in even the least thing, which was the only fear he ever knew,--
this lofty faith was the source of that quiet daring, that lofty heroism, that imperturbable coolness and self possession, even in those sudden and dangerous emergencies which wound up all his energies to their utmost tension, that made him the model soldier, the true Christian hero.
In this connection it may be observed, that he seemed never to hold an opinion that did not at once have its full, practical weight upon his conduct. Nothing formerly struck me more than this in his character. There seemed to be no discrepancy between his head and his heart, his belief and his practice. To believe a truth and act upon it were with him one thing.
And all these together went to constitute that quality which has long been regarded by his most intimate friends, as the main secret of his power and success,--his perfect singleness of purpose. He had no by-ends to divide his mind or his heart. This self-abnegation was, I believe, as nearly complete as that of any mortal that ever lived. It was mentioned by Dr. White, his pastor, at his funeral, that when that unfortunate difficulty occurred in the Valley which led him to send on his resignation to Richmond,--and all his staff and other officers gathering round him, urged him to go to Richmond himself and set himself right with the government--he positively refused, saying, "I have but two things to do, to serve my God and my country. If my country has not confidence in me here, let them put some one in my place in whom they have confidence." These two things in his case really resolved themselves into one, to obey God, so that really, he had but one thing to do; hence his judgment was clear, his plans comprehensive, his action prompt, his energy indomitable, and his success unvarying-
God set him on high, because he knew God's name, he recognized his sovereign claims--God's will was his all.
But I must stop this imperfect sketch. Others will no doubt, ere long, do full justice to his noble character and fully portray his bright example. I cannot, however, forbear to add that Gen. JACKSON was eminently a happy man, cheerful and free from anxious eare: that he was just as kind, as gentle and as tender, as he was stern and inexorable in his requirements when duty and the interests of his country demanded, and as he was lion-like in battle. This picture there and in the camp, where God especially elevated him to the living gaze of a whole people, others who saw him and bore with him the fatigues and perils of two bloody years, can alone portray.
Such was in some respects the man whom God set on high amongst us, as very few have ever been among any people before, and whose loss a bleeding country weeps so bitterly. Will you bear with me a little longer while I add a few reflections. Such an occasion occurs but once in any generation.
1. God gave him to us, let us praise him for the gift. Few nations have ever been blessed in their infancy or even in their maturity, with such a man, perhaps none with such a perfect Christian Hero. We challenge all history to produce his superior, nay, his equal even, in this respect. God wonderfully prepared him for his work, put him in the place for which he had been fitting him, and for two years of bloody conflict crowned him with unvarying success. He never once knew defeat. Kernstown is covered with his glory, as much as Manassas or Richmond or Chancellorsville. By him God wrought for us repeated and glorious deliverances. For our yet peaceful homes and unravaged fields in this dear old Commonwealth we are under God greatly indebted to his toils and skill and rapid energy and valor, and for these to his religion. God heard his prayers, guided his decisions, and crowned him with glorious success, and to God he gave always all the glory. Let us not cease to praise God for him, and to be encouraged in our great struggle. Can we believe that God would have given us such a man, and answered in every step his prayers for two eventful years, and blessed him as our defender, if he had not designs of mercy for us, and was not preparing for us a glorious deliverance, and us for it?
2. But again. God has taken him, and why? He finished his work just when we thought he was about to enter upon a still more glorious series of triumphs. We are all bereaved. The nation indulges a personal grief. Never perhaps did such a throe of agony pierce a nation's heart, at the fall of a single man since the Dutch Republic stood horror-stricken at the assassination of William, Prince of Orange. The inquiry is natural, why this terrible blow ? Why raise up just the instrument we needed, and then remove him when we seemed to need him as much if not more than ever?
Who has not already heard in it the voice of God saying to us, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils ; for wherein is he to be accounted of?" "Put not your trust in Princes, nor in the Son of man, in whom there is no
help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to the earth, in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. "If this nation had an idol it was JACKSON. If there was any mere instrument to whom they were in danger of giving glory beyond what is man's due, it was he. Wherever JACKSON was known to be, there all was regarded as safe; men hardly ever felt the need of prayer for that as for other portions threatened by our foe--it was already secure. His past safety toowas taken as almost a pledge of his future. God has thus taught us that we must depend directly upon him. Nothing filled JACKSON with greater solicitude than the thought that men were praising him. It made him tremble in anticipation of heavier judgments through God's displeasure. God will not give his glory to another. Dependence upon God secured JACKSON'S success, and it will as certainly secure our success. If we will not honor God, he will not honor us. Nothing we can conceive of could teach us this great lesson, as JACKSON'S death is calculated to do it. If it does this, it will be a blessing full equal to his life; if it fails to do it, it would seem that nothing else can, we can look only to be a cast off people. Let it then be a voice to the church calling her to rally round the throne of grace as never before, and to the whole nation to humble itself under the mighty hand of a holy God.
3. Observe again that while God has taken him away, he has set on high his example, and enshrined it in the hearts of this people, and is holding it up in its beauty and power, as if to draw us on in those bright footsteps The very time and circumstances of his death were all such as to awaken peculiar and melancholy interest, and so force attention to his example, as if God intended not a single element should be wanting to perfect the influence of that example. It is a great thing to be made clearly to see the right way, and to love and admire it. Here it is so exhibited as to stir our deepest emotions. His death has perfected that example, and spread it out in all its fullness as it could not have been had he lived. Just at a time when sorrow and peril had rendered the nation's heart peculiarly plastic, and when its character is being permanently moulded, God has thus thrown out upon it this glorious example of the power of holiness with a force that every heart is bound to feel. God so ordered his life as to show in the very heavens that his success and eminence was due to his religion--that without this element
we never could have had a JACKSON, without it he would have been just like Samson without his locks; he then made him the object of our enthusiastic love, and now by his death he sets him on high enshrined in a glory as unchanging as it is attractive, the very impersonation of holiness in its bearing upon onr present success and our future prosperity. A tenderer and more stirring call was never made upon any people to turn to, to trust in, and to serve the Lord.
4. Finally, the spirit of JACKSON, in our rulers, our military leaders, and our people can alone save us and perpetuate us as a nation. In him God has shown us the only way to triumph and perpetuity. Blessed be his name that he has not left us without some at least who partake of his spirit, and that the noble chief of our armies, our beloved and honored and magnanimous Lee is strong in the fear of God. May he raise up many such! Who does not fully believe that if our rulers and generals and legislators and a majority of the people had been actuated by the godly spirit of our JACKSON this war would have ended before this? In the light of his example and triumphs, how clearly appears the curse of ungodliness to a nation! How dark the reproach and how damning the influence of sin! Who now will turn away from JACKSON'S God and the religion of the cross? What patriotic heart will refuse to bow in humble prayer and obedience to the God of nations? If any such there be let him remember that so far as be can, he is intercepting the blessing of heaven, drawing down its wrath upon our suffering land, and blasting his own highest hopes.
To our young men what a noble example! Where is the youthful soul so insensible to all that is lovely and glorious, that he will not aspire to copy it? Where is now that worst of cowards, who is ashamed to pray, and be an earnest and singular Christian? To our military men his example comes with peculiar force: it shows that the greatest military success, as well as all those high and manly qualities that enter into the very idea of a true soldier, are not only consistent with, but in their highest degree, dependent upon the fear of God; and it also rebukes that ambition and mere love of glory which is the great curse of military life. To every man, woman and child in our land it appeals, and especially to every Christian, pouring shame on the cold half-hearted follower of Jesus, and calling all to a life of earnest and entire consecration to God, and close communion with him.
Let the watchword then of our whole country in her present bloody struggle, and of the Church of Christ in the great work now devolved on her, to form the moral character of the nation, and of every individual in his warfare with temptation and sin, be that with which on the morning after his fall another gallant officer led his triumphant corps to the charge--"Forward, and remember JACKSON ;" only adding, "In the name of JACKSON'S God." Fear not, falter not, flinch not, trust in God and victory is ours; victory over our country's foes, over all of the foes of the Church of Christ, over sin and hell and death. God will set us on high, if we revere his name.