Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/163

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Stonewall Jackson. 157

was not convinced that he ought to lead in public prayer. " I do not think it my duty," he replied, and went on to assign as his reason that he hesitated in his speech to such an extent when excited that he did not think he could " pray to edification " in public. " Have you made the matter a subject of secret prayer?" persisted the elder. " No, sir, but I will do so to-night." The elder then advised him also to consult his pastor, and he went at once to Dr. White's study and went over with him the arguments and pas- sages of Scripture by which he supported his position. The next day the elder saw him walking rapidly by his place of business, and fearing that he wished to avoid the subject of their previous conver- sation, he called him back and asked : " Have you made that matter a subject of prayerful investigation, Major?" "Yes, sir, and I was just on my way to ask Dr. White to call on me to lead in prayer at the meeting to-night." Soon aftei he was called on and made such a stammering effort that the pastor felt badly for him, and he was greatly mortified. Several subsequent efforts resulted in little better results, and the pastor began to think that perhaps Major Jackson was right and that he really could not " pray to edification " and that he was, perhaps, an exception to the general rule that members of the church ought to pray in public. Accordingly he said to him one day : " Major, we do not wish to make our prayer meetings un- comfortable to you, and if you prefer it. I will not call on you to lead in prayer again."

The prompt and emphatic reply was : " My comfort has nothing in the world to do with it, sir. You, as my pastor, think it my duty to lead in public prayer. I think so too ; and by God's grace I mean to do it. I wish that you would be so good as to call on me more frequently." Dr. White said that he saw from Jackson's manner that he meant to succeed; that he did call on him more frequently ; that he gradually improved until he became one of the most gifted men in prayer whom he had in the church. It my privilege to hear him pray several times in the army, and if I ever heard " a fervent, effectual prayer," it was offered by this stern soldier.


He was a " deacon" not an "elder," as has been frequently asserted in the Church, and was untiring in the discharge of all the duties of the position. On one occasion he went at the appointed hour to attend a " deacons' meeting," at which there was important business to be attended to, and after waiting five minutes for several