Tuesday, 7 January 2014

J.S. Walker's Letter (29 Jan 1862)

Camp Deas, near Youngs Mill,
29th Jany., 1862.

My very dear Wife:

            I have not written you for several days for the simple reason that I have had nothing to write about, tho I have written several members of the family. I received yours giving me your views about my continuing in the service, and they are very sensible and accord with my own. It is yet three months before my present engagement ends and “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”, I am willing to let it all remain in the hands of the Lord and to be directed by him. I feel that there are great issues hanging on the result of the spring months, and yet the Lord may show his power to save us from more warfare before that time. Now that the prop upon which even Christians depend, even with more hope, I fear, than they have had faith in the Almighty Power, has failed them, viz., the prospect of war between England and the United States, they may be thrown upon naked faith and the Lord may magnify his power in a way that we cannot anticipate, and bring peace out of chaos.
            But does the Christian portion of our people recognize his chastisement and bend the stiff neck in humility to his yoke, or are they, while they sue for deliverance from this scourge, like Pharaoh, holding on to their idle sins and compromising with their God? If so, they need greater affliction to be saved, now and hereafter. The Lord will help only those who help themselves, and while the bulk of the army now in the field are irreligious persons, and most of the Christians are still at home, can they hope for his blessing and deliverance while their hands hang idle at their side? Like the Israelites of old, too many are willing to be let alone to serve the present taskmaster, while if they would put forth the effort there is deliverance for them from what will prove to them worse than Egyptian bondage, if they submit now to be conquered and overcome by their enemies.
            It is a remarkable fact that the Lord has performed well his part not only in the Providential protection of our army in the day of battle, but the scourges of Pharaoh were not more marked than his interference in our behalf. He who holds the winds has loosened them, and there has not been an expedition since the fall of Sumter to this time, fitted out by our enemies, that he has not called into play his mighty agents, the winds and waves, to confound them and destroy greatly their hellish purposes against us, and yet we are unbelieving. Oh, that as a nation we could in the spirit take up the song of Moses by the side of the Red Sea and acknowledge that He and He alone hath overturned the horse and his rider, then might we hope to see the fullness of his salvation.
            My dear wife, I fear that your overestimate the amount of my good and influence for good. I have great cause of thankfulness to God for what He has done for me, while to Him I have with shamefacedness to confess what an unprofitable and sinful servant I am to Him. There is but one measure for a Christian and that is the full statue of a man in Christ Jesus. How far short of that I come, the Lord knows and in mercy spares me that I may attain unto it if I will. I follow my Saviour at too great a distance, while it is my privilege to be very near Him, aye, have Him take up his abode within my heart. Were it not that he can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities and the intercede for me, I could not hope to gain a place with him in Heaven.              I received a day or two ago the barrel with potatoes, beef, etc, which was very acceptable. The beef unfortunately had been so long on the way without brine that I had to throw it away. The time of receiving packages sent from home is so very uncertain that I would advise you not to send anything of a perishable character, some pickle and something for my sweet tooth, which does not often have its taste gratified, in the shape of preserves, if you have any would be very acceptable. Kiss the dear children for father, and remember me kindly to all, and with a prayer for his continuing protection to you all, I am.

                                                Yours ever affectionately,

                                                            Jno. S. Walker

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