February Sermon illustration

February 13, 2010

On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, when the Union artillery had ceased firing, creating the mistaken impression among the Confederates that the Union guns had been silenced, the Confederate chief of artillery, Alexander, sent a message to Longstreet, who commanded the corps from which Pickett's division was taken for the famous charge. As soon as this message was received, Pickett sprang to his feet, and, looking toward Longstreet, said, "General, shall I go forward?" Unable to speak the order which he was convinced must end in disaster, Longstreet grasped Pickett by the hand and bowed his head. The next moment Pickett was on his horse and off at a gallop. But in a few minutes he came riding back to Longstreet and handed him a letter addressed to his fiancee at Richmond. On the back of the envelope he had written in pencil, "If Old Peter's [Longstreet's sobriquet] nod means death, good-by, and God bless you, little one."

As he went to the head of his lines again, Wilcox, another commander, rode up to him and, taking a flask from his pocket, said, "Pickett, take a drink with me. In an hour you will be in hell or glory." Pickett refused to drink, saying: "I promised the little girl who is waiting and praying for me down in Virginia that I would keep fresh upon my lips, until we should meet again, the breath of the violets she gave me when we parted. Whatever my fate, Wilcox, I shall try to do my duty like a man; and I hope that, by that little girl's prayer, I shall today reach glory or glory." Thus "for her sake," without the smell of whisky upon him, Pickett rode to glory.

Who can tell how much evil has been refrained from and how much good has been done for the love of a noble woman?

Subjects: Love, Affection, Love for Others

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