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Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone

Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone

Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 12:06 pm

The Messenger, July 1, 2010
 Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone

God’s Providential Soldier, Part 2:  General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson

By SAM RICHARDSON
Special to The Messenger
In 1853, Thomas Jackson fell deeply in love and married Elinor “Ellie” Junkin, the daughter of Dr. George Junkin, president of Washington College and pastor in the Presbyterian church. Jackson knew Ellie to be a pure, thoroughly religious girl with a very happy disposition. He came to adore her and no one, including his sister Laura, ever saw him happier than when he was with Ellie. It was not to last: A little over a year after their marriage, Ellie died in childbirth and the child was stillborn. 
With his mother and now Ellie gone, Jackson had lost almost everyone he loved through death. Though his faith was shaken, Jackson came to love God even more because he saw that the love of God could not be taken away from him. 
God blessed Jackson three years later when he fell in love and married his second wife, Mary Ann Morrison, also the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Mary Ann would give birth to a daughter, whom Jackson would only see once before he died.
If Jackson had died prior to 1861, he would have died in obscurity with little historical record and no one would have heard the nickname “Stonewall.”  On April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter was fired upon and civil war came to the United States. Because of his loyalty to his native state, Jackson promptly offered his sword when Virginia seceded from the Union.
Jackson saw the Civil War as a judgment of God to test the righteousness of men. It became a religious crusade to regain God’s favor.  During one of his victorious battles, Jackson said to an aide, “He who does not see the hand of God in this is blind, sir, blind!”
Because of his military successes and his tactical skill, Jackson rose from a colonel to lieutenant general and became Robert E. Lee’s most trusted advisor in a very short time. It was during his first battle of the Civil War, the battle of Bull Run, that Jackson received the nickname “Stonewall.”  During the battle, much of the Southern Army was retreating to higher ground where Jackson’s men were blunting the Union forces. As a rallying cry, southern Gen. Barnard E. Bee shouted to his troops, “Look, men! There stands Jackson like a stone wall!  Rally behind the Virginians!”  The tide of the battle was turned: The South routed the North and the name stuck.
In May 1863, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, Jackson was riding back to his lines after a reconnaissance mission and was mistakenly shot by his own troops. The wound was not life threatening, but he developed pneumonia. Jackson died on Sunday, May 10, 1863. It had been Jackson’s wish to die on the Sabbath.
Shock and grief rolled throughout the Confederacy. A grief stricken Lee declared, “I know not how to replace him,” and he never did.  The Southern Army was never as successful as it was prior to Jackson’s death. Rarely has the course of history been explained by the presence or absence of one man. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s life can be summed up with the words of the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
Editor’s note: Sam Richardson attends Grace Community Church in Union City. (www.graceunioncity.com)

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