Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/168

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162 Southern Historical Society Papers.

wards and forth muttering to himself in incoherent sentences and gesticulating wildly, and at such times he seems utterly oblivious of my presence and of every one else."

Dr. Brown happened next night to share Jackson's blanket, and in a long and tender conversation on the best means of promoting personal holiness in the camp the great soldier said to him : " I find that it greatly helps me in fixing my mind and quickening my devo- tions to give articulate utterance to my prayers, and hence I am in the habit of going off into the woods where I can be alone and speak audibly to myself the prayers I would pour out to my God. I was at first annoyed that I was compelled to keep my eyes open to avoid running against the trees and stumps ; but upon investigating the matter I do not find that the Scriptures require us to close our eyes in prayer, and the exercise has proven to me to be very delightful and profitable."

And thus Dr. Brown got the explanation of the conduct which his friend had cited to prove that "Old Jack is crazy."

A friend was once conversing with him about the difficulty of the Scripture injunction, " Pray without ceasing," and Jackson insisted that we could so accustom ourselves to it that it could be easily obeyed. " When we take our meals there is the Grace. When I take a drink of water I always pause, as my palate receives the refreshment, to lift up my heart in thanks to God for the water of life. Whenever I drop a letter in the box at the postoffice, I send a petition along with it for God's blessing upon its mission and upon the person to whom it is sent. When I break the seal of a letter just received I stop to pray to God that he may prepare me for its contents and make it a messenger of good. When I go to my class- room and await the arrangement of the cadets in their places, that is my time to intercede with God for them. And so with every other familiar act of the day."

" But," said his friend, "do you not often forget these seasons, coming so frequently?"

" No," said he; "I have made the practice habitual to me, and I can no more forget it than to forget to drink when I am thirsty."


Jackson had a firm and unshaken trust in the promises of God and His superintending providence under all circumstances, and it was his habitual practice to pray for and trust in divine guidance under every circumstance of trial.