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Chaplains' Corps Chronicles August 2017

 

Chaplains’ Corps Chronicles

of the

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Anno Domini 2017

August

Issue No. 140

 

“That in all things Christ might have the preeminence.”

 


"I think it worth a lifetime of hardship to prepare, under God, one of our dear defenders thus to die." Chaplain J. Wm. Jones

 

Chaplain-in-Chief Ray Parker

2961 Gaffney Avenue SE

Palm Bay, Florida 32909

E-mail: drparker@mdivs.edu

 

*****

Editor: Past Chaplain-in-Chief H. Rondel Rumburg

PO Box 472

Spout Spring, Virginia 24593

E-mail: hrrumburg41@gmail.com

ConfederateChaplain.com

 

 *****

Assistant Editor: Past Chaplain-in-Chief Mark Evans

20 Sharon Drive,

Greenville, SC 29607

E-mail: markwevans@bellsouth.net

 

 “That the Southern people literally were put to the torture is vaguely understood, but even historians have shrunk from the unhappy task of showing us the torture chambers.” Claude G. Bowers

 

 

“Reconstruction was … an artificial fog, behind which the ‘master minds” staged a revolution that changed America from a democracy to a plutocracy of ever-growing magnitude.” Rep. B. Carroll Reece (R-TN) 1960

 

 

“That the Southern people literally were put to the torture is vaguely understood, but even historians have shrunk from the unhappy task of showing us the torture chambers.” Claude G. Bowers

 

 

“Reconstruction was … an artificial fog, behind which the ‘master minds” staged a revolution that changed America from a democracy to a plutocracy of ever-growing magnitude.” Rep. B. Carroll Reece (R-TN) 1960

 

Quote from a Confederate Chaplain

 

“I am just from a pleasant tour among the hospitals in Mississippi, where I found 3,000 sick. They are greedy, yea, ravenous, in their appetite for something to read. Under the labors of your colporteurs there has been a revival of religion at Quitman, and there is also a revival in progress at Lauderdale Springs. The surgeons have been especially kind to me—at times calling my attention to certain cases of the sick, at others making appointments for me to preach.”

 

Colporteur Rev. B. B. Ross

Confederate Hospitals in Mississippi

 

    

 

Editorial

 

Fellow Compatriots in the Chaplains’ Corps and Friends of the Cause:

 

This is the 140th issue of the CCC, which is a milestone. May we assess and acknowledge the goodness our sovereign God for sustaining this publication and who manifested His blessings among the armies of the gray. Our task has been to be a communicative tool of the present Chaplains Corps as well as a means of retrieving and identifying the great work of the Lord Jesus Christ using the ministry of our predecessors, the Chaplains, Colporteurs, Missionaries and Evangelists of the Confederate Armies. The Lord was pleased to bless their work for Him with many true revivals and a vast ingathering of souls. As Chaplain J. C. Granberry noted, “Chaplains and visiting ministers determined not to know anything among them save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. It was always assumed that the cause for which they contended was righteous; on it was invoked the divine blessing and the troops were exhorted to faithful service…. Eternal things, the claims of God, the worth of the soul, the wages of sin which is death, and the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord—these were the matter of preaching. The marrow and fatness of the Gospel were set forth. The style was not controversial, speculative or curious, but eminently practical and direct; hortatory, yet also instructive. There were pathos and urgency of appeal. The hearers were besought to immediate and uncompromising action, for the time was short. The songs, prayers, lay testimonies and exhortations, in a word, all the exercises, were in the same line. There was no stirring up of bad blood; no inflaming of malice and revenge. The man of God lifted up, not the Bars and Stars, but the cross, and pressed the inquiry, ‘Who among you are on the Lord’s side?’”

Perhaps our task in this e-journal is the same as that outlined by Chaplain J. William Jones when he asserted that any history of the Confederate armies that omitted the work of Christ in the Camp would fail if it did not “tell how the courage, discipline and morale of the whole was influenced by the humble piety and evangelical zeal of many of its officers and men—would be incomplete and unsatisfactory.” Jones explained that “The Army of Northern Virginia has a religious history as distinct and as easily traced as its military exploits, and the material for volumes on this feature of its history is so abundant, that in attempting its portrayal one is embarrassed chiefly by the richness of the mine he is to work—the main difficulty being that of selecting from the mass of material at his disposal so as to condense the wonderful story within the limits of a single volume. For such a work I think that I may (without improper egotism) claim some special qualifications.”

Our quote in this issue was from Rev. B. B. Ross of Alabama. He wrote of his further labors for the Lord in Mississippi, “I visited Corinth, the hospitals, and some of the camps, and am glad to report that the soldiers are very greedy for all kinds of religious reading—take the tracts from the agent with delight, and read them with avidity; and, whenever he sees proper to drop a word of admonition or warning, listen to it with patience and respect. But this is especially so in the hospitals.” Rev. J. T. C. Collins wrote Ross from Okolona, Mississippi, “The soldiers received the books with great eagerness. I never in all my life saw such a desire to get Bibles. Every ward I went into they would beg me for Bibles and Testaments. While they gladly received the other books, they wanted Bibles. I have been to every man’s cot and left either a book or a tract. And when I re-visited them, and asked how they liked the books, my heart was greatly cheered by the accounts they gave me. One said he had been improving ever since he had gotten something to interest his mind. Another said, while a friend was reading for him the 14th chapter of John (a chapter to which I had called his attention), he was blessed and made very happy. He is now dead—went safely home.” The task of this e-journal is very important. In the Hebrews Hall of Heroes, which is chapter eleven of that book, it spoke of those who lived by faith and it was recorded that they “obtained a good report through faith” (Heb. 11:39). Our task is to allow those being dead to speak and to honor their faithfulness to the Lord in their work as chaplains, evangelists, missionaries and colporteurs. Charles F. Pitts in his contribution to their remembrance explained, “In considering the chaplains in the army of the Confederate States, we are brought face to face with the most amazing display of spiritual power ever witnessed among fighting men on the American continent. We are made aware of the effectiveness of their unique approach to the religious needs of men in uniform. We find tangible proof of the tremendous contribution which … faith makes to military efficiency. We see the startling results of close co-operation between officers of the line and their spiritual leaders. In the ranks of the Southern armies there appeared a spiritual hunger that could only be assuaged by the uncompromised preaching of the cross. In the valley of the shadow, men of God, loyal to their native states, by precept and example wrote their names among Dixie’s men of valor.”Lord! Thank you for your greatness, grace and glory which you have exhibited among the inhabitants of your creation and especially among your Confederate servants from 1861 to 1865.

*****

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This issue contains our Chaplain-in-Chief’s editorial on the Chaplains Conference in Harrisonburg, VA. You will also find our Chaplain-in-Chief’s article titled We Could Learn Much from General Robert E. Lee. Your editor has provided Part II of a biographical sketch of Chaplain – Captain Edward J. Willis, which deals with his life from the war to the end of his earthly sojourn. Assistant editor, Mark Evans, has written an article entitled The Unvanquished SoulThis issue, as usual, includes A Confederate Sermon submitted by Kenneth Studdard of Rev. Stephen Elliot which is titled Wings of a Dove. Our Book Review is by your editor on The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim.

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Editor H. Rondel Rumburg

 

[Compatriots, if you know of any members of the Chaplains’ Corps or others who would like to receive this e-journal, please let us have their names and e-mail addresses.  Also, feel free to send copies of this journal to anyone you think would like to receive it.  If you want to “unsubscribe” please e-mail the editor or assistant editor.  Confederately, HRR]

 

    

 

Contents

*The Chaplain-in-Chief's Message, Dr. Ray L. Parker

*We Could Learn Much from general Robert E. Lee, Dr. Ray L. Parker

*Chaplain – Captain Edward J. Willis, Part II, Dr. H. Rondel Rumburg

*The Unvanquished Soul, Rev. Mark Evans

*A Confederate Sermon, Rev. Stephen Elliot

*Book Review: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

 

 

THE CHAPLAIN-IN-CHIEF'S MESSAGE

 

 

Dear fellow Chaplains and Friends of the Corps:

 

Readers rejoice with me that our Chaplain-in-Chief has returned home after his illness and stay in the hospital. To quote from Chaplain-in-Chief Parker’s treatment in the following article on Lee

 

“When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, My grace all-sufficient shall be your supply”

 

Here are his words as of today (Aug. 1).

 

Just got out of the hospital last evening (after seven evenings in). Now have a pace maker -- should keep the heart in rhythm. Also thanks you (all) for your help, prayers, and thoughts during this time.

 

Let us rejoice and give thanks to our God plus continuing to pray for a full recovery.

 

Editor Rumburg

 

*****

 

Chaplain-in-Chief’s Article

We Could Learn Much from General Robert E. Lee

Ray L. Parker

 

How firm a foundation you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

 

"When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, My grace all-sufficient shall be your supply; the flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

 

"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose I will not, I will not desert to its foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no, never, no never forsake!"

 

--General Robert E. Lee's favorite hymn

 

The Fiery Trials

 

1864-1865 were difficult months for Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Federal General Ulysses Grant pressed his advantage in men, material, and munitions. Grant sought to pin the Army of Northern Virginia against the Confederate Capital of Richmond. General Lee's expert military maneuvering stopped Grant's advances each time. Grant, however, with his advantage in numbers pushed Lee a bit farther to the southeast with each assault.

   Eventually General Grant moved his army across the James River to attack Petersburg, Virginia. Lee's army defeated this Federal attempt and entrenched itself at Petersburg. The siege of Petersburg lasted from June 1864 to March 1865. During this siege, General Lee was promoted to General-in-Chief of the Confederate forces (January 31, 1865). 

April 2, 1865 the Federal assault on Petersburg was successful. The loss of Petersburg caused Lee to abandon Richmond and move his army west. Lee's goal was to escape to the southwest and join with Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee in North Carolina and thus continue the struggle for Southern independence. However, General Grant's forces soon surrounded the Army of Northern Virginia. There was no escape for the Confederate forces.

Faced with this indefensible situation, Lee surrendered his forces to General Grant on April 9, 1865. On April 10, Lee issued General Order #9 in which he stated, "After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources ... With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell."

From April to June 1865 Lee and his family lived in Richmond at the Stewart-Lee House (also known as the Norman Stewart House). Lee's pre-war home in Arlington was confiscated by the Federal Government and never returned to the Lee family. Lee's future at this point was uncertain.

Much of Richmond lay in ruins. Many wandered the streets seeking food and shelter. The agony of defeat burdened each Southerner. Federal troops were much evident in the former Confederate Capital. None in the city, or in the South for that matter, had any certainty about the future. The Confederate government was gone. State governments were non-functioning and eventually would operate but under Federal Military rule. The full force of so-called Reconstruction would soon be the order of the day for the South. The hope of Southern liberty, freedom, justice, and self-determination was "gone with the wind" -- destroyed by the force of Federal bayonets. 

What would the former General-in-Chief of Confederate forces do? What kind of future would this faithful warrior have? What could he do to help the South in this her darkest hour?

 

God's Grace All Sufficient

 

Lee's life in Richmond was filled with callers. Many sought his advice and encouragement. In many ways he continued to be the voice of the South -- a voice multitudes wanted to hear. In addition there were offers of employment. Lee's name was iconic in both the North and the South and there were those who wanted to "cash in" on that good name. The Knickerbocker Life Insurance company offered him a job with a salary of $10,000 per year.  This offer as well as most of the employment opportunities did not appeal to the former Confederate General -- but eventually, with the encouragement of friends and family, one offer was accepted.

Washington College, Lexington, Virginia inaugurated Robert E. Lee as its eleventh President on October 2, 1865. In his inaugural address Lee said, "I shall devote my life to training young men to do their duty in life."

Washington College (as any college in the South following the War) would prove to be a challenge for General Lee. By the end of the War the college had only four professors, no money, no credit, and seemingly no future. With this grim reality, the college trustees sought some way to revive the school and help the South recover from the devastation of the War. Borrowing $50 dollars and a suit from a local Lexington citizen, Judge John Brockenbrough, rector of the Board of Trustees set out to Richmond to find Lee and offer him the college presidency. That historic act would have far reaching results even to this day.

Lee was not unfamiliar with higher education, nor unworthy of the position. He graduated from West Point in 1829, second in his class, and was the first to do so without a single demerit. He returned to West Point as its superintendent in 1852, and served in that office until April, 1855.

The coming of Lee to Washington College was a transformation. Historically the College taught the classics. However under Lee's leadership innovative, practical courses were offered. Lee petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for funds to establish studies in chemical, mechanical, and civil engineering, physics, modern languages, history, and literature. He planned for Schools of commerce, agriculture, medicine, law, and journalism. The New York Herald declared that Lee's emphasis on practical education was "likely to make as great an impression upon our old fogy schools and colleges as (the General) did in military tactics upon old fogy commanders in the palmy days of the rebellion."

The Lexington Gazette-Banner newspaper states that there were 359 students enrolled at Washington College by December, 1866. Not only were there students from Southern States but students also registered from the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, California, and New Jersey. The newspaper also stated that the college had added $71,000 to the permanent endowment of the institution.  This is a remarkable fact considering the number of Southern schools that were unable to even function at the time.

In addition Lee changed the numerous campus rules for student life to one basic principle -- to quote the General, "Young gentlemen, we have no pointed rules here. We have but one rule and that is that every student must be a gentlemen." Lee, of course, as a Christian placed a high priority on truth, honor, courtesy, and civility. Even today the "honor system" continues as the code for the college were Lee served as President.

 

The Soul that on Jesus Has Leaned for Repose

 

It was Lee's desire that each student at the college give serious consideration to the claims of Christ. He felt it his highest duty to live his faith and give others opportunity to understand his faith and even to claim his faith. Lee said to the Rev. Dr. W. S. White of Lexington, “I shall be disappointed, sir, I shall fail in the leading object that brought me here, unless these young men become real Christians, and I wish you and others of your sacred calling to do all in your power to accomplish this.” Lee said to the Rev. Dr. Brown, one of the college trustees, "I dread the thought of any student going away from the college without becoming a sincere Christian." Lee said to the Rev. Dr. Kirkpatrick, professor of moral philosophy, "Oh! Doctor, if I could only know that all of the young men in the college were good Christians, I should have nothing more to desire."

In 1867, Lee began construction of a new college chapel. The lower level contained administrative offices, a student center, and a library. President Lee's office was also in the lower level. The upper level, of course, was the Sanctuary of Worship.

Lee was faithful to each chapel service. He sat at the front of the chapel on the left side facing the pulpit area. His was a reserved faith in the Episcopal tradition. His faith sustained him in the conflicts of war and it continued to sustain him in the challenges of an uneasy peace. His Christian faith was truly the anchor of his soul. Robert E. Lee was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Lee said, "My chief concern is to try to be an humble, earnest Christian."

General Lee did not believe in forcing students to attend religious services, but he did seek to influence them to do so. Lee said, "The best way that I know to induce students to attend chapel is to set them the example by always attending ourselves."  Each chapel service included singing, reading the Scripture, prayer, and preaching.

 

I'll Never, no, Never, no Never Forsake

 

General Robert E. Lee suffered a stroke on September 28, 1870. Two weeks later he died of pneumonia (October 12, 1870) at the President's House on the campus of Washington College. The college trustees almost immediately changed the name of the institution to Washington and Lee, linking Lee's name with Washington's. Lee was buried on the lower level of the chapel he built at Washington and Lee University. His body remains there to this day.

In this age of what some have called "Southern cleansing" -- that is the removal of all things representing Southern heritage, we will not remain silent. We will raise the Southern banner with pride. We will protect Southern monuments as statements of historic truth which honor brave men who fought and died for Southern independence. We will honor Lee and Jackson and other Confederate leaders for the outstanding Southern heroes they are. We will defend the Confederate Soldier's good name, we will guard his history, we will emulate his virtues and the ideals which made him glorious and we will vindicate the cause for which he fought. The South will not quietly be led through another reconstruction. We must stand for honor, duty, integrity, historic truth, independence, freedom, and self-determination. We will not abandon our heritage or disgrace the men in Gray who now lay silently beneath the sod having done their duty. We must now do our duty; to do less would be the greatest disrespect for those honorable men who answered the call of the South in the time of her need. The South now calls for us to defend her and we must respond.

 

 

Chaplain / Captain Edward Jefferson Willis

(1820-1891)

The Man of Two Swords

15th Virginia Infantry

Part II

 

The War for Southern Constitutional Rights

Now the South and men like Pastor Willis would be put to the test. What connection was this pastor to take regarding the coming struggle? This was a question that demanded an answer. Men from his pastorate would be joining their fellow Virginians in the protection of hearth and home. So what was this pastor to do? In April 1861 many of the men joined the Henrico Grays which was a former militia company of earlier times. The Henrico Grays were mustered into the Confederate States Army on April 23 as Company “A” of the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry Regiment. This was the founding unit in the regiment.

Edward J. Willis was to become a man of two swords. He began the war wielding the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” as chaplain of the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry. As we shall see he became captain of the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry and wielded a literal sword, but this did not lead to the disuse of the other more important sword.  He was not hindered from assisting the next chaplain of the Fifteenth. He also had a special appointment. Chaplain J. Wm. Jones wrote, “Our Virginia (Baptist) board has recently appointed Rev E. J. Willis ‘General Evangelist in Ewell’s Corps.’ It would have been hard to find a better man for the place.” He was listed as a chaplain-at-large of the Second Corps under Major-General John B. Gordon.

Willis was appointed chaplain July 1, 1861 and confirmed on December 24, 1861. His labors as a chaplain were arduous as was true of most of the men of God who honored their calling. We learn a great deal from the literary heritage left by the chaplains themselves. The accounts of their labors, which were similar to the duty of a pastor except with the complications of war, show the multitudinous nature of their activities. Regardless of imminent danger at times with a threat to life they put the Lord first and their duties second. Not only did many preach many times on a Lord ’s Day and other days as opportunity presented itself, especially during times of revival; but also during the week they were speaking at graveside services, visiting the dying on battlefield and in hospitals, marching all night or marching sixteen to eighteen miles in all kinds of weather, holding services upon arrival in the form of prayer meetings or preaching, distributing literature, writing condolence letters, making reports, collecting funds to assist in the needs of the wounded, building  or assisting in building shelters, fighting personal sickness or carrying the burdens of family needs at home, reading Scripture to those who could not do so, dressing wounds, nursing the sick, hungering for lack of food or because it had been given away to a suffering soldier, and on we could go with the tasks. This was the world into which Chaplain Edward J. Willis entered to continue to minister to some of the men whom he had been pastoring.

When Chaplain Willis entered this service for the Lord he was forty years old and the father of eight children. His wife Virginia and he would have their ninth child born in 1862. Being in the Fifteenth Virginia, Company “A” he was not far away from his family during that spring and summer (March to July 1862) as the regiment fought around Richmond and southeastward in the Peninsular Campaign. The regiment took heavy losses in that campaign and the leading Confederate officer General Joseph E. Johnston had failed to deal with the foe and fell severely wounded. When General Robert E. Lee, President Davis’ military adviser, arrived on the field to take command he withdrew the command. Lee now became head of the Army of Northern Virginia and he set about the defense of Richmond.

The new commander sought to reorganize the army so the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry was reorganized in April of 1862. Edward J. Willis now received a commission as captain of Company “A” on April 25, 1862. He now took that literal sword while keeping the sword of Scripture close to his heart. Willis was under McLaw’s Division in Brig. Gen. Paul J. Semmes Brigade. At the Battle of Sharpsburg Captain Willis was providentially pressed into a position of command. On September 17, 1862 his regiment was at Sharpsburg, there he wrote the commanding officer’s official action report which is as follows:

 

September 23, 1862.

This regiment went into action under the command of Captain E. M. Morrison, of Company C, the field officers being all absent. This regiment, as all others of the brigade, was very much worn down by hard marches, loss of sleep, and scanty rations, rendering officers and men unfit for the work before them. Straggling, occasioned by sickness, sore feet, and faint-heartedness, reduced the effective strength of the regiment when presented before the enemy to 14 officers and 114 men. This strength was indeed effective, as their work proved, standing shoulder to shoulder with their brave comrades of the brigade. They showed by their unerring aim and eagerness for the charge their willingness and ability to go wherever they might be commanded by their gallant leader, General Semmes, whose bravery on this occasion commanded unwounded admiration and confidence. This regiment occupied a position in the left wing of the brigade, which was on the extreme left wing of the army. They united with great spirit in the charge to which they were ordered, and bore their part in driving from a strong position a greatly superior number of the enemy, forcing them back with great slaughter nearly 1 mile, from which they never recovered. The regiment held its position until sometime after the musketry firing of the enemy had ceased, when they were withdrawn with the brigade to replenish their ammunition, which was well nigh exhausted.

In this battle the Fifteenth Virginia Regiment sustained a greater loss than any regiment of the brigade or army, as far as information has been received. Of the officers (14 in number) who entered the fight, 1 (Captain [A. V.] England, Company D) was killed, and 6 (Captain [E. M.] Morrison, commanding the regiment; Second Lieutenant Bumpass, Company C; Second Lieutenants [J. K.] Fussell and [J. H.] Allen, Company G; Second Lieutenant Berry, Company H, and First Lieutenant [G. P.] Haw, Company I) were wounded. Of the non-commissioned officers and privates, 10 were killed and 58 wounded.

So determined was the courage evinced by all the officers and men who bore a part in this fight, that it would be invidious to call names. The unusual loss, from our ranks, of men and officers has naturally cast a feeling of depression over those who now constitute the regiment.

Soon after the engagement commenced, Captain Morrison, who was bearing himself with great bravery, was seriously wounded by a shot through the right breast, which devolved the command upon Captain E. J. Willis, of Company A. The color-bearer (P. H. Hall, of Company A) having been wounded, the colors were placed in the hands of Captain Willis by Sergt. Major W. H. Briggs, who was severely wounded while bearing Captain Morrison from the field. Having rallied the regiment for the charge, Captain Willis placed the colors in the hands of R. W. Taylor, of Company B, one of the color supporters, who bore them gallantly through the engagement.

To account for the smallness of number of those present after the engagement, it is but proper to state that many were occupied in taking from the field of battle their wounded comrades, and a few who were scarcely able to march with the regiment were completely exhausted by the labor of a severe contest of more than two hours.

Respectfully submitted.

EDW. J. WILLIS, Captain, Commanding Fifteenth Virginia Regiment

 

Captain Willis’ bravery is evidenced in the following words “in an assault on the enemy two color-bearers having been stricken down, he seized the flag, and though it was twice shot out of his hands, he carried it to the front. No less than seventeen balls pierced his hat and clothing, but as though he bore a charmed life, he came out with only a few scrapes….” Bravery seemed to be a part of the Willis family for Edward J. Willis’ first cousin Albert “Bertie” Gallatin Willis a young Baptist divinity student was a martyr for the cause.

Captain Willis served his regiment faithfully in Virginia, Tennessee and in North Carolina into 1864. His concern to please the Lord was not neglected and the great desire to see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival was a norm for the men of God in the Southern Armies. God had visited the Armies of the Confederacy with many revivals during the war.

The following information was supplied to Chaplain J. Wm. Jones for Christ in the Camp which gives us an insight into Captain Edward J. Willis’ part in helping with the spiritual needs of the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry. It seems to indicate that he did what he could while the regiment was without a chaplain, although his efforts were more limited due to his military role. We also learn that he was a great aid to the new chaplain.

 

Camp of Thirtieth Virginia Regiment, Corse’s Brigade,

Near Carter’s Station, Tennessee, September 29.

In these times of sorrow and affliction how delightful it is to see the manifestation of the presence and power of God in the conviction and conversion of sinners! Every day we are called upon to record the loving-kindness of God in the conversion of those who are dear to us. It has been my privilege recently to bear testimony to the work of grace which has been going on in this brigade. Many of the dear soldiers, who have enlisted in their country's cause, are now enlisted under the bright banner of the Cross. Upon my arrival here I was pleased to learn that a glorious revival of religion was going on; and although the meetings had not been held regularly, in consequence of the continued moving from one position to another, yet the interest is still on the increase. The meetings are conducted by the Rev. Mr. (Philip F.) August, the faithful chaplain of the Fifteenth Virginia, assisted by Captain Willis of the same regiment. A large number have professed faith in Christ, while many others are deeply concerned on account of sin. To-day Brother Willis baptized fourteen, seven of whom are from his regiment. Although this regiment has been without a chaplain for some time, I am glad to inform you that there seems to be a feeling of awakening existing among them. On last evening I held a meeting, and gave an invitation for anyone to come forward for prayer; and while we were singing eight came forward, four of whom were converted. I only hold services as circumstances will permit, and distribute such reading matter as I can procure, and look to God for His blessing on these feeble instrumentalities. I have met with a cordial reception, both from the officers and men of this regiment, and am earnestly entreated to remain with this brigade.

  1. D. Anderson, Army Evangelist.

 

There were critical needs that came to light causing Captain Edward J. Willis to appeal to Adjutant General Samuel Cooper in February of 1864 to relieve him of his command so he could attend to the special needs of his father’s family. Here is part of his request:

 

My own family, my widowed mother’s family and the families of two of my brothers in the service have had their homes broken up and desolated by the enemy, making it necessary for them to remove to a distant portion of the state for security and livelihood.

Within the past three weeks places have been secured for them in Carroll Co., Va. about 270 miles distant from their homes on the Rapidan River to which locality it becomes necessary that they be removed at once.

These families are dependent upon me for the attention and assistance necessary in the accomplishment of this purpose as all my brothers, five in number who could render assistance are all in service.

I leave with my company three capable and efficient Lieutenants.

Very Respectfully, Your obedient servant,

Edw. J. Willis,

Capt. Co. A, 15th Virginia Regiment

 

This request seemed urgent because of the dire needs of the family for removal to safety, but his request was denied or withdrawn for he remained at his post of duty with the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry until he was transferred to Richmond’s Barracks Hospital in October of 1864. In January of 1865 he was mustered out of the regiment thus ending his military service.

 

Post War Ministry

The adjustment to civilian life must have been especially different for a servant of God who had been a chaplain and a soldier. Also, he was returning to a land devastated by war and occupied by foreign troops in blue. The future from 1865 to 1870 would be filled with war of another kind, which was labeled “reconstruction” but should have literally been called “deconstruction.”

How would he now provide for his family? His last pastorate was in Richmond, which was one of the most devastated cities in the South. Baptist meeting houses had often been destroyed or their property desecrated and many of their male members were dead due to war. Rural churches were decidedly reduced. Pastor Willis returned with his family toward the settlements near the Rapidan River and the Orange County area. This was the county of his birth. A door of ministry was opened at the Gordonville Baptist Church, Orange Baptist Church and North Pamunkey Baptist Church. He pastored in this setting from 1865 to 1867. He was called from this field of service to the Alexandria Baptist Church where he pastored from 1867 to 1869. Leaving Alexandria he became a missionary of the State Mission Board and he went to Frederick County becoming pastor of the Winchester Baptist Church and later the Hebron Baptist Church. In 1871 Pastor Willis founded the Winchester Female Institute and four years later the name was changed to Broaddus Female College. In 1876 the institution was moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia and classes were temporarily held in the National Hotel and then later at the Bartlett House on West Main Street. Then on February 15, 1876 Rev. Edward J. Willis purchased ten acres not far from the center of Clarksburg and erected a three-story building that had a stone basement and a one-story veranda which became Willis Hall. Eventually Willis sold his interests to the Baptist Convention and the institution was renamed Broaddus College (now located a Philippi, WV and after merging with Alderson Academy is known as Alderson-Broaddus College).

Edward J. Willis, during those busy years as an educator, lost his beloved wife Virginia in 1875. At a later time he married a lady named Mollie Rodgers and in 1883 it appears that Mollie died in childbirth. He was sixty-three at the time. Later he married his third wife Eva Taylor.

After the founding of Broaddus College Edward J. Willis was not through with being an educator for he went to Shelby, North Carolina where he became president of Shelby Baptist Female College. Willis’ pastoral ministry was not over for he left North Carolina for Maryland to become the pastor of the Baptist Church in Cambridge. His gospel ministry continued there until his health failed and out of necessity ended his active ministry.

The God he served so faithfully summonsed His servant Edward J. Willis into eternity to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on February 26, 1891. He was buried in Lael Baptist Cemetery, Lignum, Culpeper County, Virginia.

 

 

Bibliography

Cathcart, William, The Baptist Encyclopedia, Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881.

Jones, J. William, Christ in the Camp, Harrisonburg: Sprinkle Publications, 1986.

Manarin, Louis H., 15th Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg, H. E. Howard, Inc., 1990.

Sydnor, T. L., Living Epistles: The Old Guard, Danville: J. P. Bell Company.

Taylor, George Braxton, Virginia Baptist Ministers, Fourth Series, Lynchburg: J. P. Bell Company, Inc., 1913.

Taylor, James B., Virginia Baptist Ministers, Second Series, New York: Sheldon & Company, 1860.

 

 

The Unvanquished Soul

Mark W. Evans

Past Chaplain-in-Chief

 

     In June of 1868, the Rev. Dr. Robert L. Dabney, Presbyterian theologian and chief-of-staff for General Stonewall Jackson, delivered a Commencement Oration at Davidson College, titled "The Duty of the Hour."  Reconstruction was underway with its insidious effort to crush the Southern spirit.   Dixie's youth were especially vulnerable.  Dabney exhorted them:  "Your steadfast and undebauched hearts must be the nurturing soil to preserve the precious seed of martyr-blood, during this winter of disaster, to the appointed summer of its resurrection" [Discussions, vol. IV, p. 109].  He made a searching reference to the principles of their Revolutionary War forefathers:  "Should it not make the thoughtful patriot shudder to compare the present temper of the people with that of the revolutionary sires, who bequeathed to us the liberties we have forfeited?  With how quick and sensitive a jealousy, with what generous disdain did they spurn at the imposition of a tax of a few pence, against their rights as Englishmen; while we seek to reconcile ourselves with a jest or sophism to wrongs a thousand fold as onerous."

     The South's renowned theologian spoke of the danger and duty facing the students:  "This danger may be expected by the fearful force of conquest and despotism to degrade the spirit of the victims.  The correlated duty is that of anxiously preserving our integrity and self-respect" [Ibid., p. 109].  The significance of danger and duty may also apply to us in our present national upheaval. We face a withering attack by atheists, communists, blasphemers, and traitors who reject the Bible as well as the Constitution. Their treachery has produced a deluge of immorality, violence, hatred and rebellion.  Dabney instructs us through his address to the students: "Not only is every act of oppression a crime, but the seasons of despotism are usually eras of profuse and out breaking crime.  The baleful shadow of the tyrant's throne is a favorite haunt of every unclean bird and beast.  And if the oppressing power be the many-headed monster, a tyrant faction, this is only more emphatically true.  At such a time the moral atmosphere is foul with evil example.  The vision of conscience is darkened and warped.  The very air is unhealthy even for the innocent soul" [Ibid., p. 111].

     The soul's defense against evil may collapse when relentlessly oppressed.  Dabney said: "Every down-trodden people is impelled almost irresistibly to seek escape from the injustice which can no longer be resisted by force, through the agency of concealments, of duplicity , of lies, or perjuries"  [Ibid., p. 113].  Ruthless oppression reduces the victim to a choice of deceit or suffering.  The un-Reconstructed Dabney declared:  "[T]he only motives to move them to elect suffering rather than dishonor are the power of conscience, the fear of God, and faith in the eventual awards of His justice" [Ibid., p. 114]. 

     Dabney squarely faced the dangers of oppression and knew the temptations and hard lot of the Southern people.  He advised the students to remember their pre-war beliefs and principles:  "May I not safely advise, that, on making decisions you should always refer them to that standard of judgment which we held before our disasters, as the truer and worthier one; rather than to that standard to which we are seduced by their humiliations? Judge then from the same principles (however new their specific applications) from which you would have judged in happier years when your souls were inspired by the glorious traditions of your free forefathers, and saw the truth in the clear light of your conscious manhood; not as men would have you judge, from hearts debauched by defeats, and clouded with shame and despair" [Ibid., 119].

     Dabney encouraged his young audience, and also encourages us with these words:  "We have no need, sirs, to be ashamed of our dead; let us see to it that they be not ashamed of us.  They have won the happier fate, 'taken away from the evil to come, they have entered into peace; they rest in their beds, each one walking in their uprightness.'  To us they have bequeathed the sterner trial of asserting, by our unshaken fortitude under overthrow, the principles which they baptized with their blood.  Let the same spirit which nerved them to do, nerve us to endure for the right; and they will not disdain our companionship on the rolls of fame" [Ibid., pp. 119, 120].

     The Bible undergirds the spirit of resistance to tyranny.  The Apostles declared during their first persecution after Christ's ascension, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).  Jesus Christ alone can give freedom that no man can take away.  He said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).  Many of our relatives trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and knew this eternal liberty.  Our hope for our land goes beyond what is seen – it rests upon the One who said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).

                    

 

A CONFEDERATE SERMON

 

Submitted by Chaplain Kenneth Studdard

 

Stephen Elliott (1806-1866) was the first Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Georgia.  Under his leadership the Episcopal Church in Georgia was greatly strengthened.  He was a powerful preacher of the Gospel.  His sermons are a fine example of preaching Christ.  He served as Senior Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Confederate States of America.  During the War he preached a number of influential sermons.  The sermons were political in the spirit of the sermons that were preached during the Revolutionary period, that is, the principles of the Gospel were brought to bear on the current situation. 

 

And I said, O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. — PSALM 55:6.

 

And whither, O sweet Psalmist of Israel, couldst thou fly, even if thou hadst the wings of the dove, and be at rest? Dost thou not know that there can be no rest for the soul of man, save in reunion with God; and that no flight, however distant, however far away from the haunts of men, can give thee that heavenly boon? Hast thou not told us thyself, in thine own beautiful language, “I shall be satisfied, O God, when I awake with thy likeness?” And canst thou, with thy rich and deep experience, expect the wings of a dove to carry thee away, not only from trouble and trial, but from sin and its curse? Alas, no royal Minstrel: no wings can carry thee away from thyself,—can separate thee from thine own heart,—can give thee rest in a world like this. For unrest is not only in the things outside of us, which harass and perplex us, but has its throne in our own hearts. It is the fruit of our own natures, begotten of the corruption in which we are born; and never to be quieted until the peace of God shall enter into the soul, and calm its struggling elements. And even then shall there be, so long as life shall last, a law of the members warring against the law of the mind, and oft times bringing it into captivity to the law of sin which is in our members. Hunt for rest in this world, with wings! It can never be found! “Traverse in imagination the extent of creation,”—if I may use in this connection words applied by another to a very different subject,—“wander over the most beautiful landscape, pluck the most fragrant flower, select the most costly gem, glide upon the surface of the fairest lake, scale the highest mountain, soar to the further most star: still the question rushes back upon the mind,—‘How shall I find rest among these glories of creation?’ Poor, anxious searcher for peace, all Nature unites in testifying: ‘It is not in me! it is not in me!’ ”

We cannot flee away, my beloved hearers, from trouble, from temptation, from sorrow, from sin. They must be met, and overcome. There is a rest promised to the children of God; but it is not to be found in this world. There is a home, reserved for the faithful in Christ Jesus; but it is in heaven. God has prepared, for those who love Him, mansions in which beauty will never fade, in which sorrow will never dim the eye, in which love will never change: but they await His children who have part in the resurrection of Christ. We can enjoy slight foretastes of their happiness through faith and hope; but it is like the sun gleaming through a troubled sky, and only flecking the landscape with spots of sunshine. All is bright today, but only today: tomorrow brings its shadow of trial or of sorrow. All is quiet in the home and in the heart this hour: the next, there rests upon both some dark cloud, which scatters the fond dream of Peace or Faith. For trouble comes alike to all. “There is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not.” Such distinctions could not be made here without miraculous intervention, because the righteous and the unrighteous are so mingled in domestic and social life, are so bound together by ties of association and love and relationship, that the punishment of the one reacts upon the other, and the sorrow of the one is the affliction of the other. True justice can only be meted out at the last. Rest—that may deserve the name—can only be obtained when mortality shall be swallowed up in life.

This is the mistake which man is ever making, dreaming that he can find rest by flying away from the present. Whenever harassed and perplexed, whenever sad and sorrow fill, his feeling is that of the Psalmist: “Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” He forgets that the trouble, or the trial, or the sorrow, or the temptation, is not in the mere accidental circumstances: but in the nature of things. He supposes that if he could change this condition of things, or get rid of that evil,—that if he could fly away from this place, or hide himself from that calamity,—he should be at rest. But he ever finds that the world is the same wherever he goes, because he himself is the same. Caelum, non animum, mutant qui trans mare ourrunt. He ever finds that the thing which has been, is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done: because Nature is ever the one unchangeable impress of God. And when he has shifted all the scenes of life, and played his part now in poverty, now in riches, now in obscurity, now in power, now surrounded by friends, and then deserted and alone: he learns, at the last, that rest is nowhere, and can be nowhere, but in himself; that peace is not the product of earthly combinations, but is the gift of Christ,—the quiet sleeping on the pillow, while the winds are howling, and the waves rolling, and destruction hovering around. But what a long chase man has, ere he finds this out; how he toils and sweats away the best years of his life in looking for rest in change; how he chafes against the fetters which he supposes are keeping him away from happiness and peace!

Oh, that I might be rich! Oh, that I might reach this honor!  Oh, that I might win this object! Oh, that this crook in my lot might only be taken away; that this skeleton might be removed from my house! These are the desires of men, even when they have been so often disappointed in change; even after they have found no rest in anything God has done for them. And it will go on so forever. Nothing can alter it, for it is in man himself, and in the condition which sin has forced upon the world. The like cry arises from rich and poor, from known and unknown, from peasant and prince: “Who will show us any good?”

When we hear this wish of the Psalmist uttered by those who are not Christians, we are not surprised at it; for many of them have not God at all in their thoughts, and look upon the world as their only home. If they cannot find rest here, they do not expect to find it at all. But when it is uttered by the Psalmist, or when it is reechoed from the lips of Christians, it does surprise us, for they ought to understand the purposes and arrangements of God. It was wrung from David under the pressure of troubles and calamities; and it is wrung in like manner from Christians by the sore trials which often come upon them: but still is it the cry of Nature, and not of Faith! For whither could the wings even of the dove bear any Christian, safer and better than the place where God has put him? Whither could he go, to be further from himself, or nearer to his God? It is only God and himself that can give him any irremediable trouble. Nature is alike everywhere,—cursed and smitten. Man is alike everywhere,—unbelieving and wicked. What use in flying? Who has put you where you are? Who has surrounded you with the circumstances which are your trial and temptation? Who has planted the crook in your lot,—the skeleton in your house? Is it not God? And cannot He transfer them wherever you go, or raise up worse in the place to which your wings have carried you? You cannot escape from God. This very Psalmist, who wished that he had the wings of a dove, has told thee that “if thou take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall his hand lead thee, and his right hand shall hold thee.”  If you believe that God rules and superintends everything,—that He has disposed the circumstances which surround and harass you,—why fly at all? They must be best for you, because He has promised to make everything work together for good to them that love Him. It is quite lawful for the Christian to pray, as St. Paul did, that the thorn in his flesh, whatever it may be, may be removed: but not to fly away, as Jonah did, from the cross which has been laid upon him. In the one case he would most assuredly receive the answer: “My grace is sufficient for thee:” in the other, he might find that it was “as if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.” In the anguish of some severe trial, the words of the Psalmist might come as the strong cry or wail of Nature from the lips of the believer; but it would soon be followed by the quiet of submission: “Not my will, but Thine, O God, be done!”

A Christian ought to know that rest cannot be found in attempting to fly from God; and flying from His allotment, is flying from Him. It can be found only in submission to God; in doing faithfully that which He has given us to do; in suffering patiently that which He has called us to bear. The Scripture speaks of the Christian life that now is, as of something set and arranged for us by God, just as Christ’s life was set and arranged for Him. And if we would receive the rest which remaineth for the people of God, and would catch now and then the foretastes of it which come as streaks of light upon our hidden path, we must—

“Trust in Him who trod before The desolate paths of life; Must bear in meekness, as He meekly bore, Sorrow and toil and strife. Think how the Son of God These thorny paths hath trod; Think how He longed to go, Yet tarried out, for thee, the appointed woe; Think of His loneliness in places dim Where no man comforted nor cared for Him; Think how He prayed, unaided and alone, In that dread agony, Thy will be done! Friend, do not thou despair! Christ, in His Heaven of heavens, will hear thy prayer.”

 

We do not understand the true philosophy of Christianity where we ought to see it, in the life and character of Christ, we do not look for it, thinking of Him always as God our Redeemer, and not as Man our example. How much divine wisdom we lose in this misconception! His was the true life of man upon earth. How clearly He saw His work; how bravely He went up to it; how patiently He labored in it; how humbly He submitted to the will of God; how meekly He bore everything which was laid upon Him! He had no rest,—in the sense in which man cries out for it,—no rest, night nor day: but He had the peace of God, which is, in this world, the foreshadowing of the heavenly rest. And this peace—the peace arising from walking submissively in the work assigned to us—is all that we may look for here. And Christ made us no larger promise. He never said that His disciples should have rest. He could not say it; for He said, “The disciple must be as his Master;” and the Master had no rest: but He did say, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” And this peace is our exceeding great reward in this life; never to be got, however, by taking the wings of the dove and flying away, but only by imitating Christ, and setting our faces like a flint towards our work, leaving it with God to portion out our happiness. And when we do appreciate the glory of submission, when we in our work go straight forward whither the Spirit leads us to go, when we, in our sufferings, see God’s love ever as a bow in the cloud, and are led to say, “It is well, for the Lord hath done it:” then do we read aright the lessons of Christianity; we know its meaning; we understand its life; we snatch from it its blessings; we look up and see Heaven opened. We are no longer groping amid the beggarly elements of this world; its philosophy we have cast aside as fruitless; its hopes we have trampled upon as vanity; its practice forever feeds unrest. We have found at last the true happiness of man; and we have found it, where man had never looked for it, in labor, in duty, in suffering, in humility, in looking to God’s directions, as a maiden looks to the hand of her mistress. Man had supposed that it lay in case, in wealth, in honor, in freedom of will, in independence of action: but the Christian, in following Christ, has found that his way to rest lay not among these, but turned aside to the humble in heart, to the lowly in spirit, to the meek in nature, to the suffering and the smitten; and ended oft times in shame and the cross. But with all these was peace,—peace that passeth understanding; peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

How hard it is to do our part in life patiently and submissively, in the true spirit of the martyr! Oh, how little man knows wherein true greatness lies! He is looking for it in action: God sees it in obedience. He is measuring it by deeds: God is measuring it by suffering. He is embalming it in song and story, because of its glitter and display: God is embalming it in His book of life, because of its quiet faith and its unmurmuring trust. Man sees not the truest glory of his fellow-man: that is hid away in the secrets of his own heart, and is known only to God. Man’s noblest and hardest conflicts are with himself, and his noblest victories are over his own nature. His temptation is to take wings and fly away from whatsoever is painful, or irksome, or self-denying. His victory is in overcoming this allurement, and standing firm at his post of duty or of suffering. We are surrounded by humble, unknown beings, whose lives are truly sublime, whose triumphs over self are more glorious in God’s sight than all the victories of earthly conquerors. When His books shall be opened, and His record of goodness and of greatness shall be displayed to the world, how many names of which the world has never heard shall stand high upon that roll of life?—here a young heart, which  smothered its affections that it might devote itself to the duties which home exacted of it; there a wife, who bore in secret, scorn, contumely, contempt, persecution, for the sake of Christ and His sacred cause: here a hero, who despised the shame of the world, that he might bear the cross of Christ unsullied through the world; there a sufferer, who lay for years without murmuring, in the hands of God, helpless, desolate, with no comforter but his Saviour: here a daughter of affliction, from whom has been stripped the dearest objects of affection, and yet who, kissing the rod, looks submissive into the face of God; there a victim of calumny, who bears for a whole lifetime unmerited reproach, and leaves vengeance and vindication to the pleasure of God. Oh, cases like these abound in the world; are found everywhere in secret places of which that world never hears; are the true poetry of religion, sweet music in the ear of God, rich fragrance of prayer and faith rising up before His presence. Could the heart-life of such as these be written,—obscure, nameless people,—it would flash upon the world a moral heroism second only to the life of Christ,— a sublime self-devotion, learned only from that inimitable Master. These are the beings—sufferers and martyrs though they seem to be—who know what rest is. They have ceased their struggle with the world; they have subdued their own restless unbelief: and now they have quieted themselves upon the bosom of God, just as little children sink to sleep upon the bosoms of their mothers, their hearts still sobbing out their griefs, their eyes still wet with the tears of their young sorrow.

This is the path to rest, my beloved hearers, and the only one which God has marked out for man. Even if the wish of the Psalmist could be gratified, and you could have wings like a dove, you could not fly anywhere that would give you rest. That must be wrung out of labor, out of duty, out of suffering, out of an imitation of Christ. That must be won, not by flight, but by endurance; not by a cowardly desertion of the post at which God has placed us, but by standing to it through every privation and every suffering. Submission to God’s will, whatever that may be, is the first step toward it. In due time will come the fruits of this sub mission,—peace, and even joy: and then will man learn, what is the true lesson of life,—that unrest is within himself, and is the child of unbelief and vain desires; that it has but slight connection with the circumstances of life; that it can never be quieted by change of scene or condition, or by gratification of its wishes; that even the wings of the morning cannot bear it away from the heart. David’s wish was vain; it was one, nevertheless, in which we all sometimes indulge. Let us drive it away from us as a temptation; and seek for rest—where Christ found it—in running with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

 

 Book Review

The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

by Alfred Edersheim

(c) 1898 Longmans, Green, and Company, Two Volumes, 695 & 826 pages hardback

 

Reviewed by H. Rondel Rumburg

 

Have you ever desired a dependable and extensive treatment of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ? This reviewer recommends a two volume set that he has used forty some years in his ministry. The set was written by Alfred Edersheim and titled The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. This is where I go after the inspired Word of God to get the setting, chronology of events and a sane treatment of my Saviour’s life. This set can be found electronically in various forms and on the used book market and in modern editions. There are so called updated versions, but I will stick with Edersheim’s original.

Who was Alfred Edersheim? He was an Austrian, born March 7, 1825 in Vienna and died March 16, 1889 in Menton, France. Edersheim was born to Jewish parents and was educated with a Jewish education for children of parents with modest means. In 1841 he studied at the University of Vienna, Austria. Unable to complete his degree there due to the death of his father and insufficient finances, be began a career of teaching languages.

In Pesth, on the Danube, he met a minister, John Duncan, a Scottish Presbyterian chaplain to men working on the Danube bridge, who witnessed to him of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement. It pleased God the Holy Spirit to regenerate Edersheim. The new convert to Christ went with Duncan to Scotland. There he studied theology at New College in Edinburgh. He also studied at the University of Berlin. In 1846 he was ordained a Presbyterian minister.

During part of his ministry Edersheim was a missionary to Jews in Romania, a preacher in Aberdeen and St. Andrew Presbyterian Church which was built for him in Torquay, he was the curate of the Abbey Church in Hants, and held other ministerial positions as well as lecturing in universities. In 1875 he took orders in the Church of England becoming vicar of Loders, Dorset. Edersheim is best known for his many books detailing Jewish life, religion, and tradition during the time of Christ’s earthly ministry. He wrote:

  • The History of the Jewish Nation from AD 70-312 (1857)
  • The Jubilee Rhythm of St. Bernard, and other Hymns (1866)
  • The Golden Diary of Heart-Converse with Jesus in the Psalms (1874)
  • The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as they were in the Time of Jesus Christ (1874)
  • Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the days of Christ (1876)
  • The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (1883; 2 vols)
  • Prophecy and History in relation to the Messiah, (Warburtonian Lectures, 1880-84)
  • The History of Israel from the Sacrifice on Carmel to the Death of Jedhu (1885)

During Edersheim’s sunset years health problems made his life’s work much more difficult and he retired to Menton, France which was a favorite recuperative place for the “prince of preachers” Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Menton was the place where Edersheim died in 1889.

 

Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah has been greatly used and cherished. The set was called by Eternity magazine “The most readable and eloquent narrative and interpretation of the life of Christ both for the general reader and the most advanced student.” It was declared “unequaled.”

Edersheim’s introductory material in Book I deals with The Preparation for the Gospel: The Jewish World in the Days of Christ.” Book II deals with From the Manger in Bethlehem to the Baptism in Jordan.  Book III deals with The Ascent: From the River Jordan to the Mount of Transfiguration. Book IV deals with The Descent: From the Mount of Transfiguration into the Valley of Humiliation and Death. Book V deals with The Cross and the Crown. Then there is an extended Appendices.

Edersheim was a masterful scholar. He provides historical material and gives a complete chronologically arranged narrative and interpretation of the life of Jesus. He founds his careful explanations on Scripture, history and customs. The contextual beliefs and customs of the era of Christ as well as the explosive political situation in Israel in Jesus’ day are considered.

This is a very valuable reference work on The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah for anyone who has a Biblical conviction of the blessed Saviour. His verbal imagery on Jesus’ sufferings in a world in rebellion against God and His Word is clearly presented. The contrast of the Light in the midst of darkness is distinct. Edersheim unveils the Biblical view Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection, which is enhanced with quotations from Scripture and other ancient sources. The Preface to the First Edition has Edersheim’s purpose, “I have, indeed, sought to give my best and most earnest labour to it, and to write what I believed to be true, irrespective of party or received opinions.”

Sample from Vol. II, page 190, “The door - Christ was the Door. The entrance into God’s fold and to God’s flock was only through that, of which Christ was the reality. And it had ever been so. All the Old Testament institutions, prophecies, and promises, so far as they referred to access into God’s fold, meant Christ. And all those who went before Him, pretending to be the door - whether Pharisees, Sadducees, or Nationalists - were only thieves and robbers: that was not the door into the Kingdom of God. And the sheep, God’s flock, did not hear them; for, although they might pretend to lead the flock, the voice was that of strangers. The transition now to another application of the allegorical idea of the ‘door’ was natural and almost necessary, though it appears somewhat abrupt. Even in this it is peculiarly Jewish. We must understand this transition as follows: I am the Door; those who professed otherwise to gain access to the fold have climbed in some other way. But if I am the only, I am also truly the Door. And, dropping the figure, if any man enters by Me, he shall be saved, securely go out and in (where the language is not to be closely pressed), in the sense of having liberty and finding pasture.”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.ix.x.html

 

  

 

 We must remember who we are and what we must be about:

The SCV Challenge by Lt. Gen. S. D. Lee

 

To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought.  To your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles which he loved and which you love also, and those ideals which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations.

 

*****

 Chaplain’s Handbook

  Sesquicentennial Edition

Sons of Confederate Veterans

 

This is an enlarged Sesquicentennial Edition of the Chaplain’s Handbook.   It is enlarged from 131 pages to 165 pages. A chapter has been added on the topic, SCV Chaplains Should be Gentlemen; there has also been added a third burial service, The Order for the Burial of the Dead of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America; a chapter on Praying in Public has been added; and a chapter on Prayer Suggestions for Public Use.  All the other chapters remain the same.

 

Hopefully, those using the handbook will find it even more useful than before.  There is the same cloth cover, acid free paper for longevity, sewn signatures, etc.

 

The retail price is being kept to a minimum of $12, which is very low for a hardback quality publication.  Contact SCV headquarters or biblicalandsouthernstudies.com for a copy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Appendix

Sons of Confederate Veterans