Head qrt Co. “A” 129th Ills. Vol. Infty.
Nashville Tenn Dec 6th 1863
M. E. S. School
This is Sabbath afternoon the first Sabbath in Dec. & consequently Election day with you & I imagine just about the time of day you are assembled for that purpose being just 2 1/2 oclock. Little Mary Nelson is sitting at the other end of our little table writing too. We both concluded to write to you & now she is asking me what I write. It is very pleasant & I thank God who has always been so bountiful in blessings for the comforts of life I enjoy. I have had some occasions of sorrow & many of joy since I last wrote you and the swift current of passing events has delayed my writing to you yet you are still as ever dear to me my wife is here & we are both enjoying excellent health. We often speak of you and were both very happy to learn through Mrs. Gaff & Mrs. Reed of your prosperity. I have not had an oportunity to ask all the questions about each one of you I wish to yet, but as Mrs Gaff remains here some time I shall learn a great deal more. I am rejoiced to receive so many kind messages from you, though the gift sent by Mary Knight was not delivered I shall receive it all the same and ask that some little girl who is trying to love the Savior kiss her for me: I often long to be with you that I might see you and know how each one is trying to live: This day has been very pleasant and beautiful. It is one of those days very seldom seen in Illinois at this season of the year and resembles September rather than December. There are no little birds singing however and all nature bears the impress of winter: A few months more and vegetation will being to spring up the little birds will return and their voices will be heard in praises to God amid the beauties of Spring. Thus nature changes from year to year: So it is in human life We pass from Spring to summer, from Summer to Fall & from fall to Winter. You are now enjoying the Spring time of life The most beautiful part of life and those of you who live through the Summer will look back with pleasure to the hours of innocent joy you now experience. How much more so will it be if the Spring time of your lives bring to you memory in after years the recollections of Sweet communion with Jesus. I have been absent for three days past on duty to Stevenson Alabama. I have in a former letter described the country on the rout but the time I was on another Rail Road running from Tullahoma to McMinnville I was out as far as Manchester. It is as beautiful country as I ever saw, though it bears the same evidence of war that all this country does wherever the armies have passed. Manchester is beautifully situated on an eminence much resembling the mounds of Illinois with a slightly undulating country surrounding it. The forests are very extensive and are composed of Stately oak, Cedar, Chesnut & other smaller varieties with dense underbrush. The country must be very beautiful in the Spring & Summer. It lacks however one essential which is everywhere apparent in this country, that is Yankee energy and enterprise: But few children have had the advantage of Education or Sabbath School, & the inhabitants are consequently ignorant & illiterate I had the privelege of attending church this morning & heard a sermon from this text “And God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoevever believeth in Him should not perish but have Everlasting life” We scarcely ever realize how much Jesus has done for us or how much love he has manifested for us! All the priveleges we enjoy & all the blessings we receive come from his bountiful hand “He leads us in green pastures and by the side of still waters. Goodness & mercy have followed us all our lives” Sometimes he visits us in judgments & in trials grevious to be borne yet in his infinite wisdom he does all for our good. Since I last wrote to you I have been called to mourn the loss of loved ones who to-night make new & dear ties to Heaven
As many of you are aware about the last of October little Frankie who we had just learned to love well was taken home to Heaven. I very often think of the little boy of whom I told you several times who sat upon the rugged cliff of a New England Shore & cried to his Father who was lost at sea “Father Steer this way” whose voice reaching out above the soarings of the [billous?] guided him safely to shore but whose life yielded to the excessive cold. I feel at times as if Frankie in the arms of our Saviour were the instrument through which he urgently invites me to “come that way” & I am trying to steer that way About ten days ago my father died, an old man who had battled the storms of life for over “3 score years and ten” Fifty years has he tried to serve God & he adds his testimony to the power & saving grace of God. It was a sore trial I desired very much to see both of them once more but that could not be Yet I hope to see them in Heaven. Is it not a glorious thought that our loved ones who die only preceed us to a haven of Eternal rest to which we are rapidly hastening Oh I do most earnestly hope that you are all Striving to love the Saviour How Sweet will be our communion in Heaven if we live as God directs How many of you are praying for clean hearts? Jesus is still inviting you to come. I hope the teachers are praying for you & that many of you will soon write to tell me that Jesus has given you clean hearts and that you are happy in his love. I commenced my letter this afternoon as you have already learned but was interrupted before I had witten three pages so I am finishing it to night for fear I may not have an oportunity to-morrow Mrs. Reed starts home on Tuesday morning I have enclosed 12 Photographs of myself as prizes. I happened to have them on hand & thought possibly some of my little friends would make an effort for them. I leave them to be distibuted by Bro. Fisher as he may think best & if they prove of any
I would be very happy to hear that very many of you have given your hearts to God Oh you do not realize how sweet Religion is or you would strive very hard to obtain it. All that God requires of you is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you not ask him for clean hearts. And when you ask believe that your petitions will be granted and you will be made very happy. I shall be happy to hear the result of your election I like to know who your officers are I am told that the house is almost filled with children & am very happy to hear it You have doubtless many faces that are stange to me & many perhaps that would not know me; I would like to peep in & see how many of you would recollect me. How long would I have to stay away to keep you from recollecting me. I would like to know & I would like to know also how many of you are growing beyond my recollection. Only keep your hearts pure. God is love and value I will send him a few more I hope your Library is in a good condition. I shall be ready to render assistance when notified that it is necessary I want to hear that you are all active, trying in earnest to make the Sabbath School interesting You can do a great deal if you will only try. How many little hearts you might make glad by calling at their homes & letting them know that somebody cares for them: And you will also feel happy in your labor of love Perhaps there may be some little boys and girls who have not good warm clothes enough to attend Sabbath School. You could make them very happy by calling to see them. Take them books from the library, get your teachers interested in their behalf, and you can thus do great good. Because God has blessed you with so many comforts, you should not sit idly down but try to make others happy and you will secure to yourselfs the greatest blessings