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Stonewall Jackson Papers. 1858 February 8

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Date: 1858 February 8
Item: Letter
To: Laura Jackson Arnold
From: Thomas J. Jackson
Place: Lexington, Virginia
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Lexington, Va.
Feby 8th, 1858
My Dear Sister,

Your very welcome letter of last week reached me this morning and I am rejoiced to learn that you are so much concerned about "the one thing needful." I have never believed that you would be lost. I have borne in mind that our sainted mother's prayers would not be forgotten by our Heavenly Father. Though dead, her prayers, I trusted would be precious in the sight of the Lord.

You wish to know how to come to God; so as to have your sins forgiven, and to receive "the inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." Now my dear sister the way is plain: the savior says in Mark XVI chapter, 16th verse "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." But you may ask what is it to believe. To explain this I will quote from an able theologian, and devoted servant of God. To believe in the sense in which the word is used here, "is feeling and acting as if there were a God, a Heaven, a Hell; as if we were sinners and must die; as if we deserve eternal death, and were in danger of it. And in view of all, casting our eternal interests on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. To do this is to be a Christian."

You speak of having done all that you know in order to be accepted: this is too apt to be our error. We must not depend on making ourselves holy: but just come to the Father, and ask him to forgive our sins for the sake of Jesus, and rely entirely on the merits of Christ for our prayer being answered. The Father loves the Son and for his sake pardons those who plead the Son's merits. We should never think of presenting any merits of our own for we are all sinners.

Do not trouble yourself too much about not having repented enough for your sins, for your letter shows that you have much concern about the subject. But let me advise you simply to do as God enabled me to do, that is, resolve to spend the remaining part of life in His service, to obey the teachings of the Bible until death, and to rely entirely on the mercy of God for being saved, and though the future looked dark, yet it has become very bright. Never despair, even old Christians have dark moments.

Never omit of pray at regular times. For years your salvation has been my daily prayer and shall continue so. Write to me often and tell me all your trials, that I may be able as an instrument in the hands of God of doing something for your eternal welfare.

I have nearly if not entirely lost the use of one ear & my throat has to be [cleared?] about twice a week, but it is improving.

Were it not for my throat, Anna & myself would like very much to pay you a visit this winter. My throat & the sale of a neighbors property next week are the two obstacles. Anna is anxious to go next [week?]. She joins me in love to you all.

Your affectionate brother,
Thomas


©Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA 24450