Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/377

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377
General Leonidas Polk.

after the 4th of June the cadets were received to the communion of the Lord's Supper with others of the corps one professor, one instructor, and four inhabitants of the Point. It was not only their first communion, but it is not known that the Lord's Supper had ever been administered there before. I find in my record of that communion the name of the cadet who dropped the tract in the barracks in young Folk's room. He was then as much without any religious impressions as his friend, for they were intimate friends. One night, at one of the meetings in my study, when the usual devotional exercises and exposition of Scripture had just been concluded, and we were sitting for the conversation which usually succeeded, Cadet Polk said, with a manner of great emphasis: " I would give anything to know who it was that placed that tract in my room." " Why," said I, " what would you do? " "I would not rest 'till by God's blessing he should know what I know," was his reply. " Well," I answered, " I will tell you; it was Parks." "Why," he exclaimed, "he is my intimate friend." Then he thought for awhile and said: " He is officer-of-the-day to-morrow, between the sections going to recitation, and he will have a good deal of tedious time in the guard room. I will put on the mantel -piece a copy of Gregory's Letters" (he thought nobody could withstand that book); " he will look at it just to kill time, and we will see." The other's smiled at his confidence, but he did it, and all resulted as he expected. His friend saw the book in the guard-room, but his state of mind, unknown to any one, was far more prepared to embrace the truth than even he himself was conscious of. He read, but did not afterwards remember what he had read, or that it had excited any other thought than that it was the very book that Polk was said to have been so influenced by. Then the desire arose to go to his friend and disclose convictions of a concern for his soul which were now obtaining the mastery. When he knocked at his friend's door the latter was on his knees praying for him, and when he arose and found who it was at the door, was not surprised, but well divined his errand. The visitor entered, and began to ask our young Christian cadet, and to tell him how he felt, and how it was. But the conversation had proceeded but a few moments before the enquirer threw himself on his friend's neck in strong emotion, and the next thing was for both to go to the chaplain's study. "Here he is," said Polk, as if he took it for granted I was expecting him. That cadet then disclosed a state of mind which had commenced about the time of his receiving the tracts which I gave