A selection from a letter by Rev. J. H. Thornwell, to his six year old son, Gillespie, written when he was away from home, June 17, 1851:
Your mother is now with me, and we often think and talk and pray about our dear little boy in Sumter District [South Carolina]. We know that you are in the hands of kind friends, who will take the best care of you. But we are very anxious that you should try and be a good boy yourself. You must mind everything that cousin Sarah Ann, or Mr. Knox, says to you. Learn all the lessons they give you; use no bad words; answer your questions every Sunday; and pray to God every morning and night. It would do your father a great deal of good to see you fond of reading the Bible, and other books. I hope that God may yet make you a preacher. There is nothing that would please me so much as to see you a good man, and in the pulpit. You must not think it smart to be rude and boisterous, and cruel to poor animals, that cannot help themselves. You must not curse or wear, for anything in the world; and no matter what you do, never tell a story; always speak out the truth, whatever may be the consequences.
The Life and Letters of James Henley Thornwell, first published in 1875, republished by the Banner of Truth, 1974, p. 350-51.