Civil War

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An Unusual Name No Hindrance to God’s Working

This writer has to acknowledge that I was curious regarding the name of this Presbyterian minister for this day of October 28, 1871. It was on this day that he went home to be with his Lord and Savior. His name was Septimus Tustin.

My first thought upon seeing that name “Septimus” was what parent would possibly bestow upon their son such a name. But then, I noted that his father’s name was “Septimus,” so I understood that it was a case of “like father, like son.” He was the son of Septimus and Elizabeth Tustin, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his father died when he was quite young. Septimus was reared by his mother, and she is described as a pious woman and a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. With such a home and church like that, it is no great surprise that he went into the pastoral ministry. Ordained by the Presbytery of the District of Columbia (the first such from that new Presbytery), he began his pastoral ministry in Leesburg, Virginia in 1825.

Between the years of 1826 and 1861, he ministered to six more Presbyterian churches, five of them in the Northern states and one in the South. The latter was in Mississippi, and his time there came quickly to an end when that Southern state joined the Confederacy. After the Civil War, Rev. Tustin worked hard to unify the two sectional Presbyterian churches, but without success.

What is interesting about this minister is that on two occasions, he was called to the halls of Congress as a chaplain. First, he was the House of Representatives Chaplain for two years, and following up that ministry with the United States Senate Chaplaincy for five years. He also served as a trustee of Lafayette College, in Pennsylvania.

Words to live by:

What might be seen as a hindrance to effective work in God’s kingdom, as in this case a name, is proven to be the opposite when God’s Spirit is in control. Indeed, as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), this is the norm rather than the exception. From the Amplified, it reads, “For [simply] consider your own call, brethren: not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what is the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is low-born and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.”

 

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It was an astonishing request by the Secretary of War in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Unable to join the Pennsylvania Reserves in the Civil War due to an abundance of volunteers, a captain in the western part of Pennsylvania had requested Secretary Cameron for permission to raise an independent regiment for the war effort. To Captain (and later Colonel) Leisure, the Secretary had responded to the question with “Yes, Captain, if they will be men that will hold slavery to be a sin against God and a crime against humanity, and will carry their Bibles into battle.” Carry their Bibles into battle? What military recruiter today lays down that requirement? The good captain answered “I have no other to bring.” And with that, what became known as the Roundheads, the One Hundreth Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment came into existence in 1861.

From a love of their country, some 1400 men from the counties of Washington, Lawrence, Butler, Beaver, Mercer, and Westmoreland in western Pennsylvania, all of them being Psalm-singing Presbyterians and Covenanters, entered the Union war effort to fight for their country. They were to fight in some of the bloodiest contests of the entire war, engaging the Confederates at Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Knoxville, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Applomatix. During this time, they kept their biblical faith.

In Horatio Hackett’s book “Christian Memorials of the War,” we read the following account of a chaplain’s worship service on page 28: “It was my lot to meet the Roundheads, officers and men, for the first time in the house of God, the Sabbath after I landed in Beaufort, December twenty-second. The chaplain of the regiment, Rev Robert A. Brown, of Newcastle, Pa, lay ill of fever at that time, and the colonel had invited me to preach to them at the usual hour of morning worship. The appointment was made accordingly; and at bell-ringing the colonel marched his men, nine hundred strong, into the Baptist meeting-house, under arms, and with measured tread; but quiet and reverent, as became the place, the service, and the day. It was an impressive spectable. The soldiery, intermingled with members of other corps, filled the entire area of the lower floor, and most of the spacious galleries, which projected on either side. At the end stood, close crowded together, groups of ‘colored people.’ There, listening to the word of God, or rising in prayer, or singing, after their ancient metrical version, some of the Psalms of David, the Roundheads joined in worshiping the God of their Fathers, – their God and our God, – just as they had been wont to worship, in their several sanctuaries, with kindred and friends at home.”

Their service brought casualties to their ranks, with nearly as many dying of disease as from the wounds of war. And at the end of the war, on this day, July 24, 1865, they were mustered out, to go home to their loved ones and friends, mindful of their faithful service to God and their chosen country.

Words to Live By:
Sometimes our convictions of faith brings us into difficult days associated with conflict. Our faithfulness to God doesn’t end on those occasions with regards to God and His Word. It continues to persevere in difficult days as well as peaceful days. Let us be faithful to bring God’s Word, the Bible, with us everywhere we go, but especially in our hearts. In fact, prepare today, or continue today, by memorizing significant texts and chapters of God’s Word. In that way, you will have this means of grace available for your spiritual needs when you need its comforting words.

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A Presbyterian Soldier In Service to  His Country

In these posts on Presbyterian History, Wayne Sparkman and I have written several posts on the remarkable Junkin family of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. They were Covenanters, and later members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. When a church of the latter denomination was not found where they lived, they joined the closest Presbyterian church of any stripe.  Stalwart patriots in peace time and war time, two Junkins fought in the Revolutionary War as well as in the War of 1812.

Now we come to the third generation of patriotic Junkins who fought in the Civil War, on both the Union and Confederate sides. Two Junkin brothers on the Union side were killed, one at Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1862 and another at Spotsylvania, Virginia in 1864. Our post today deals with Bingham Findley Junkin, who enlisted in Mercer County, Pennsylvania on February 27, 1864. He entered as a private in a company of fellow Covenanters and Presbyterians known as the One Hundredth Pennsylvania “Roundheads” Regiment. Even though he only fought in the closing battles of the war, he wrote a remarkable diary, which reveals the kind of  Christian Presbyterian he was.

First, it was obvious that Bingham Findlay Junkin believed that the Bible was God’s Word, and occupied his waking hours in study, reading, and meditation. On Sunday, March 13, 1864, Bingham wrote, “. . . I spent the day as much as circumstances would permit in reading my Bible and thinking upon its many precious promises.” On another Sabbath, April 3, he wrote, “I make it a rule to read a portion of scripture every day, although I cannot have any set time; have to be guided by circumstances in a great measure, but always try if possible to read a chapter just before going to sleep.” It is clear that the Bible was the constant companion of this Civil War soldier and not just something to put into his pocket as a mere good luck charm.

The Sabbath was God’s time to worship by attending joint services, to listen to the Word of God as proclaimed by the Army chaplains, and to pray with others of like precious faith. Towards that end, it is clear that Bingham Junkin wanted the Sabbath to be observed rightly, not filling it with activities which took away from this religious day. On more than one occasion, such as April 10, 1864, Junkin wrote “We had dress parade at five o’clock, 30 minutes, something I think is entirely out of place, to thus desecrate the Sabbath.” Further, “I have and will continue to speak against (Sabbath parades), for I think it is very wrong to ask God’s blessing on our army and then willfully disobey him is a mockery. Can we expect a blessing?” On another Sabbath, April 17th, he wrote, “No dress parade today. This is as it should be, there is not the least shadow of excuse for our armies parading on the Sabbath, when lying in camp.” He worshiped the God of his fathers and mentioned that several times, appreciating the Word preached and the prayer meetings which were held.

Bingham Junkin had a firm grasp of God’s sovereignty. On Sunday, April 3, 1864, the Union soldier wrote an entry which acknowledged that “God rules; and that he doeth all things well. Oh how comforting the thought that we have such a God to go to, and make all our wants known unto him.” Another entry on March 25th reads, “Oh, how much grace the Christian soldier needs and how comforting the thought that God reigns everywhere.”

He was forever praising and acknowledging the providence of God, in granting him many examples of Fatherly care over him. On March 27, after hearing two sermons from two chaplains, he wrote, “Oh, how pleasant when separated from the endearment of home to enjoy such privileges. How good God is to provide for the instruction and comfort of his people under every circumstances.” On March 29, he penned, “How good in the Lord to all those that put their trust in him.  He is ever nigh to them that call upon him.” Or April 3, “Oh how comforting the thought that we have such a God to go to; and make all our wants known unto him.” His diary entry for May 6th has a sentence which indicates he was in actual battle when he wrote “through the goodness of God I was spared for which I feel thankful.” And again, May 15, “The Lord has been very gracious to me in preserving my health and sparing my life.” Or May 25, he “shot at and was shot at by the Rebs but by the infinite mercy of God my life was spared, altho the bullets frequently came near me, but in God alone is our help to be found.” On June 3 are found the words “The Lord alone can protect and preserve life and may he enable us all to be thankful for his care over us.”

It was at Petersburg on this day, June 17, that God allowed Bingham Junkin to be wounded in the right thigh, which shattered his hip bone. After medical care at home and in hospitals, he returned to the front and was discharged from there when Lee surrendered on July 8, 1865.

He returned to his wife, Mary Duff and his four children. In the rest of his life, he would father another four children, though one son would die three years after his birth.   Bingham Junkin himself died on May 15, 1911 at age 78.

Words to Live By:
It is a remarkable diary which can be found on the Web and available for you to read. [Click here.]. It speaks of a patriotic Covenanter who saw God’s hand in peace time and in war time. In return, Bingham Findlay Junkin blessed the God of his fathers, thus by his example giving all of our readers the exhortation to acknowledge God’s hand in everything. As Solomon put it in Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NASB)

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An Unusual Name No Hindrance to God’s Working

This writer has to acknowledge that I was curious regarding the name of this Presbyterian minister for this day of October 28, 1871.  It was on this day that he went home to be with his Lord and Savior. His name was Septimus Tustin.

My first thought upon seeing that name “Septimus” was what parent would possibly bestow upon their son such a name. But then, I noted that his father’s name was “Septimus,” so I understood that it was a case of “like father, like son.” He was the son of Septimus and Elizabeth Tustin, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his father died when he was quite young. Septimus was reared by his mother, and she is described as a pious woman and a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. With such a home and church like that, it is no great surprise that he went into the pastoral ministry. Ordained by the Presbytery of the District of Columbia (the first such from that new Presbytery), he began his pastoral ministry in Leesburg, Virginia in 1825.

Between the years of 1826 and 1861, he ministered to six more Presbyterian churches, five of them in the Northern states and one in the South.  The latter was in Mississippi, and his time there came quickly to an end when that Southern state joined the Confederacy. After the Civil War, Rev. Tustin worked hard to unify the two sectional Presbyterian churches, but without success.

What is interesting about this minister is that on two occasions, he was called to the halls of Congress as a chaplain.  First, he was the House of Representatives Chaplain for two years, and following up that ministry with the United States Senate Chaplaincy for five years.  He also served as a trustee of Lafayette College, in Pennsylvania.

Words to live by: What might be seen as a hindrance to effective work in God’s kingdom, as in this case a name, is proven to be the opposite when God’s Spirit is  in control.  Indeed, as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, this is the norm rather than the exception.  From the Amplified, it reads, “For [simply] consider your own call, brethren: not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth.  [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what is the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame.  And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is low-born and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.

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smythT_150Bring the Books!

Thomas Smyth was born on June 14, 1808 in Belfast, Ireland, the sixth son of Samuel and Ann Magee Smith.  Thomas’s father was English, a prosperous grocer and tobacco distributor, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church.  Samuel had changed the spelling of his surname to “Smith,” but in 1837, Thomas would return to the traditional “Smyth” at the General Assembly in order to avoid confusion with another Thomas Smith.  His mother, of Scottish ancestry, exercised a great influence on Thomas by encouraging his love of reading and instructing him in the Christian faith.  Thomas’s education began at the Academic Institution of Belfast, and then he went on to study at Belfast College where in 1829 he graduated with honors.  It was at the age of twenty-one that Thomas made his profession of faith in Christ while living in Belfast.  He then moved to London to attend Highbury College, but he was not able to complete his program there because he moved with his parents to the United States in 1830 where he lived with his brother in Patterson, New Jersey.  His brother, Joseph, had done well in his new homeland and earned his living in manufacturing.  Joseph was a member of the Presbyterian Church and Thomas attended services with him.  To complete his ministerial training he enrolled in the senior class at Princeton Theological Seminary and graduated in 1831.  It was in 1843 that Princeton Seminary, at the recommendation of Dr. Samuel Miller, conferred the Doctor of Divinity upon Thomas.  Dr. Miller thought that Rev. Smyth’s considerable academic pursuits and many publications justified his being awarded the D.D. despite his not having met all the jots-and-tittles normally required for the degree.

As with many ministers and theologians, Thomas Smyth was afflicted with bibliomania.  His symptoms appeared early in his life.  As a young child, he was a voracious reader and while at Belfast College he worked as the librarian.  Reading and cataloging were not sufficient to alleviate his love for books; he had to own them as well.  He wrote in 1829, “My thirst for books, in London became rapacious.  I overspent my supplies in procuring them, at the cheap repositories and left myself in the cold winter for two or three months without a cent …” (Autobiography, 39).  Dr. Smyth’s comments on his developing bibliomania are reminiscent of Erasmus and his practice of buying books first, and then, if any money was left, he bought food.  A few years later as he entered his ministerial service in Charleston, he specifically purposed to develop a theological and literary library similar to Dr. Williams’s Library in London.  Over the years, he accumulated about 20,000 volumes.  One unusual book in his possession was a Hebrew Psalter with the autographs of Jonathan Edwards, Edwards’s son, and Rev. Tryan Edwards, who gave it to Dr. Smyth.  The Grand Debate and other original documents of the Westminster Assembly were procured at great cost, as well as forty works by members of the Assembly along with ten quarto volumes of their discourses.  Dr. Smyth’s compulsive, though purposeful, book buying may have been a point of tension for he and his wife.  In a letter written by Margaret to him in the summer of 1846 she informed him of the expenses they were incurring due to the addition of three rooms to their home:

I tell you all this now as a preface to a caution, not to involve yourself too deeply or inextricably in debt by the purchase of books & pictures; of the last, with the maps, we have enough now to cover all the walls, even of the new rooms; & the books are already too numerous for comfort in the Study & Library.  …  But I would enter a protest not only against books & pictures, but all other things not necessary & which can come under the charge of extravagance.  Do be admonished & study to be economical (Autobiography, 384f).

It should be noted that one of the reasons the three rooms were built was to accommodate Dr. Smyth’s ever-growing library; one of the new rooms was thirty feet long and intended for his use.  As Dr. Smyth’s health continued to deteriorate, he made the difficult decision to sell over half of the volumes of his library to Columbia Theological Seminary.  He was concerned that since he could not take full advantage of his magnificent library it would be best that ministerial students have access to the books.  The actual sale was dated May 28, 1856 and the seminary contracted to pay the Smyths $14,400 for the volumes.  The seminary organized the collection in a special area designated the Smyth Library.  Dr. Smyth continued to add to the collection by donating other books so that by May of 1863, the special collection contained 11,845 volumes, and by the time a posthumous inventory was taken in November of 1912, the number was over 15,000.  Even though he had sold and donated thousands of volumes to Columbia Seminary, his remaining library was still large, but it was reduced once again when a fire, in 1870, burned about 3,000 books.  Though the affliction of bibliomania can become all-consuming, it is certain that many Presbyterian ministers trained at Columbia Seminary benefited from the collection gathered by Thomas Smyth.

Words to Live By:
Certainly for the pastor as well as for the scholar, books can be tools. But like all other things in life, they can also become a hindrance, even an idol. Perhaps the best antidote to this problem is to maintain a close conscious sense of our responsibility before the Lord to use for His glory all that He has entrusted us with. 

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One good name deserves another. Yesterday’s post concerned the Rev. Elihu Spencer. The name Elihu means “He is my God.”—a wonderful testimony to have embedded in your name! Today we look briefly at the ministry of Septimus Tustin [1804-1871], whose first name means “seventh.”

An Unusual Name No Hindrance to God’s Working

This writer has to acknowledge that I was curious regarding the name of this Presbyterian minister for this day of October 28, 1871.  It was on this day that he went home to be with his Lord and Savior. His name was Septimus Tustin.

My first thought upon seeing that name “Septimus” was what parent would possibly bestow upon their son such a name. But then, I noted that his father’s name was ”Septimus,” so I understood that it was a case of “like father, like son.” He was the son of Septimus and Elizabeth Tustin, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and his father died when he was quite young. Septimus was reared by his mother, and she is described as a pious woman and a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. With such a home and church like that, it is no great surprise that he went into the pastoral ministry. Ordained by the Presbytery of the District of Columbia (the first such from that new Presbytery), he began his pastoral ministry in Leesburg, Virginia in 1825.

Between the years of 1826 and 1861, he ministered to six more Presbyterian churches, five of them in the Northern states and one in the South.  The latter was in Mississippi, and his time there came quickly to an end when that Southern state joined the Confederacy. After the Civil War, Rev. Tustin worked hard to unify the two sectional Presbyterian churches, but without success.

What is interesting about this minister is that on two occasions, he was called to the halls of Congress as a chaplain.  First, he was the House of Representatives Chaplain for two years, and following up that ministry with the United States Senate Chaplaincy for five years.  He also served as a trustee of Lafayette College, in Pennsylvania.

Rev. Tustin also figured in the negotiations and meetings which led up to the reunion of the Old School and New School Presbyterian General Assemblies in 1869. See his Report, using the link provided below.

Words to live by: What might be seen as a hindrance to effective work in God’s kingdom, as in this case a name, is proven to be the opposite when God’s Spirit is  in control.  Indeed, as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, this is the norm rather than the exception.  From the Amplified, it reads, “For [simply] consider your own call, brethren: not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth.  [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what is the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame.  And God also selected (deliberately  chose) what in the world is low-born and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.

For Further Reading:
Heaven, by Septimus Tustin.

The Olive Branch: The report of the Rev. Septimus Tustin, D. D., clerical delegate from the General assembly which held its session at Peoria, Ill., in May, 1863, to the General assembly which held its session at Philadelphia, Pa., in May, 1863, on the occasion of inaugurating a fraternal correspondence between those bodies

Grave of the Rev. Septimus Tustin.

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One Pastor’s Account of the Civil War

Thomas Bloomer Balch was the son of the Rev. Stephen Bloomer Balch and his wife Elizabeth (Beall) Balch. He was born at Georgetown, District of Columbia, on February 28, 1793. He graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1813, studied theology at Princeton Seminary under Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Baltimore on October 31, 1816.

From the Spring of 1817 to the Fall of 1819 he preached as assistant to his father, who was at that time the pastor of the church in Georgetown. Thomas then left that post to serve as pastor of churches in Snow Hill, Rehoboth and Pitt’s Creek, Maryland. He lived for some years in Fairfax county, Virginia, preaching as he had opportunity, and later supplied the pulpit for churches in Warrenton and Greenwich, later serving other churches in the Fredericksburg area. Rev. Balch died on February 14, 1878. To the last his mind was clear, and he uttered many expressions of hope and faith up to his parting breath.

Thus the short account of a man’s life, as recorded in Nevin’s Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church, pp. 52-53.  But every life is intensely interesting, if you just search. Beyond the brief account above, you first find there was an epic poem, Ringwood Manse, written by E. P. Miller and based upon the life and ministry of Thomas B. Balch. Digging a bit further, you might also find a compilation of Rev. Balch’s letters My Manse During the War: A Decade of Letters to the Rev. J. Thomas Murray. The University of North Carolina has digitized this latter work, and to encourage further reading, a sample paragraph follows:

Letter No. VIII.

The famine had become grievous in the land, and there was no Egypt into which we could send for supplies; nor any balm which could be presented to those who held the keys that were locking up oats, corn and wheat. How often had the writer doubted whether a dearth of provisions would ever reach that portion of Virginia in which his lot had been cast. Little do we know of the future. It became clear that my pictures of continued plenty had been penciled on green leaves which were destined to fade, or on clouds subject to evaporation. My services, as a minister, began to take their complexion from the circumstances in which we were placed. One of my discourses, or rather one of my talks, was from the text, “The Lord will provide.” Habakkuk says that the Christian has a dependence on something higher than the buds of the fig-tree, or the blossoms of the vine. The Idumean believer went living on, after his olives had perished and his fields were smitten. His flocks were killed, and his stalls were empty; and the Idumean eagle could plume his wings from a warmer nest than the one occupied by the Patriarch. Our Lord assures us that man liveth not by bread alone. Even at such a time we thought it right to celebrate at the Manse the supper which our Lord had instituted on the night before his crucifixion. We had no wine, however, on our premises, and it was a rare element throughout the neighborhood. But Charles Green, member of the Independent Church of Savannah, being apprised of my wishes, sent me enough to supply the communicants, for which my sincere thanks were returned. Two silver goblets belonging to Mrs. Jones of Sharon, had been left at my house, and they were used on the solemn occasion. The day was bright, and the congregation crowded. Some were under the trees of the yard, some on the steps of the stairs, and others in the rooms of the Manse. Several ministers were present who gave me help in the service, and seldom has it been my lot to attend on communicants more apparently devout. May they advance in grace. The Divine Life has in it both an upward and downward tendency. The Japanese permit their trees to attain their full growth: but then dwarf them down to the smallest possible dimensions, and carry them about in diminutive vases. So with the great Husbandman. The more his people tower on high, the more does he reduce them into lowly violets. And here, allow me to ask, why may not the Lord’s Supper be administered in a lower as well as an upper room – in a Manse – a grove, or on the slope of a hill, as well is in a Church? When were the Covenanters more happy than when they sung among the braes and kneeled on Scottish heather! or when were Whitfield and Wesley more successful than when they stormed the air circulating on the open fields and sequestered downs of England?

Words to Live By:
It is a constant theme of Scripture, that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The Lord provides for His children, encourages and sustains them. God cares for His children in times of trouble. John Flavel wrote, “Jesus Christ has solemnly recommended all the people of God to His particular care. It was one of the last expressions of Christ’s love to them at the parting hour — John 17:11. ‘And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world; and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.’ ” [The Righteous Man’s Refuge, by John Flavel, Works, iii.386.]

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

A Soldier Remembers a Sermon

To countless secular Civil War authors, they  seem to take delight in ridiculing the spiritual side of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, better known as “Stonewall” Jackson on the battlefield.  Not knowing or caring that this Presbyterian church deacon was not a mere Christian in name only, but a genuine born-again Christian, some of these authors are embarrassed by his Christian conversation and conduct. Especially do they take delight to record the number of times in which General Jackson fell asleep in a worship service!  And while that happened, there are of course many occasions when he was not only awake, but also took notes in his heart and mind of the sermon preached on that Lord’s Day.  One such occasion was a sermon preached by the Rev. Robert L. Dabney, a Presbyterian chaplain,  on September 26, 1861.   Listen to Jackson’s words, written to his wife Anna Jackson:

“I did not have room enough in my last letter, to write as much as I desired about Dr. Dabney’s sermon yesterday.  His text was from Acts, seventh chapter, and fifty-ninth verse.  [Note: And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” — Acts 7:59, King James version; compare the ESV translation: “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”]

He stated that the word “God” being in italics indicated that it was not in the original, and he thought it would have been better not to have been in the translation.  It would then have read, ‘calling upon and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’  He spoke of Stephen, the first martyr  under the new dispensation, and  like Abel, the first under the old, dying by the hand of violence, and then drew a graphic picture of his probably broken limbs, mangled flesh and features, conspiring to heighten his agonizing sufferings.

“But in the midst of this intense pain, God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, permitted him to see the heavens opened, so that he might behold the glory of God, and of Jesus, of whom he was speaking, standing on the right hand of God.  Was not such a heavenly vision enough to make him forgetful of his sufferings?  He beautifully and forcibly described the death of the righteous, and as forcibly that of the wicked.”

That was on this occasion an understanding of both the sermon and the sermon’s application.  For believers who may possibly suffer the loss of their lives, or various limbs of their bodies, as Jackson did later in 1863 regarding both of these cases, that heavenly vision was sufficient to make him forget his earthly sufferings.

Further, another application was that of the blessed gospel, preaching the death of the righteous in contrast to the death of the wicked.  Civil War chaplains always included sincere invitations to believe the gospel and return in commitment to the Lord.  That is why there was such a mighty spiritual awakening of sinners and revival of believers during this years of the War Between the States.

Despite all secular commentators to the contrary, it is obvious on this occasion that we had a close listening to the preached Word with an understanding of the two-fold application of that sermon.  Divine worship was alive and well in Jackson’s heart and life.

Words to live by: It was said of our Lord Jesus, that his custom or habit was always to be found in the Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath.  And the writer to the Book of the Hebrews enjoined believers to not forsake their assembling together as some were already doing in his day and age.   We must be in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, worshiping in His house the Triune God

Through the Scriptures:  Daniel 1 – 3

Through the Standards: Interpretation and Obligation of Oaths

WCF 22:4
“An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation, or mental reservation.  It cannot oblige to sin; but in anything not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man’s hurt.  Nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics, or infidels.”

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