« AnteriorContinuar »
MEMO I R.
Timothy Dwight was born at Stratford, Conn., on the 29th day of March, A. D. 1778. He was the oldest son of the late President Dwight, whose Christian name he bore, and whom he strikingly resembled in mature life, both in features and in character. His mother, Mrs. Mary Dwight, is still living, at the advanced age of 90. Nothing remarkable is remembered as connected with his early youth. He was a well-behaved and dutiful child; of a sober, rather than a gay turn of mind; never showing any inclination for dissipation of any kind. The first sixteen years of his life were spent in Northampton, Mass., and Greenfield, Conn., chiefly in the latter place, where he received a thorough education, including most of the branches comprised in a regular collegiate course, and where amid the most charming rural scenery, he acquired a taste for agricultural pursuits, and a practical skill in gardening, which was a source of health and enjoyment till the close of his life.
About the year 1794, he went from Greenfield to New York to engage in mercantile business. He remained in New York seven or eight years, at the end of which time he removed to New Haven, (Dr. Dwight having, meanwhile, been appointed President of Yale College,) and established himself in the business of a hardware dealer, in connection with his uncle, W. W. Woolsey, Esq., whose clerk he had been. His was the only store of the kind in New Haven for many years. This circumstance gained for him an extensive acquaintance with the towns in the interior dependent on New Haven for their supplies, and in connection with his tried integrity, laid the foundation of that wide influence which his religious character in later life enabled him to exert.
In May, 1809, Mr. Dwight was married to Miss Clarissa Strong, daughter of the Hon. Caleb Strong, of Northampton, late Governor of Massachusetts. They had nine children ; five of whom survive their father.
The habitual intercourse of Mr. Dwight with his distinguished father, consequent upon his removal to New Haven, gave greater prominence to the points of resemblance between them, and assimilated their characters more closely than they could have been from the contact of earlier years. Dr. Dwight was distinguished above most literary men for plain conmon sense and practical skill. These qualities were largely inherited by the subject of this memoir. He possessed also much of that independence, energy, frankness and decision of character for which President Dwight was conspicuous.
Accustomed to hear his father discourse upon theological science in the pulpit and in the social circle, Mr. Dwight became versed in the various doctrines of Scripture and the proofs of those doctrines, and unusually competent to give instruction to others in the religious conference or the Bible class, on the great truths of the Christian system. It was not, however, till the year 1816 that he made a public profession of religion, by uniting with the North Church. After his father's death, Mr. Dwight attended the ministrations of Rev. Mr. Merwin, in that church, till 1828, when he and a number of other citizens connected with the two Congregational churches, were organized into a third church, and erected a neat and commodious house of worship at the corner of Chapel and Union streets, for the accommodation of families residing in the eastern section of the city. In this building Mr. Dwight invested a large amount of property. Whatever doubts may have been entertained as to the expediency of constituting an additional Congregational church in the city, have long since yielded to the success of the experiment.' Mr. Dwight held the office of deacon in this (the Third) church for about eight years, when circumstances induced him to resign it. The acceptance of his resignation by the church was accompanied with an expression of their
high satisfaction at the manner in which he had discharged the duties of his office.
Being always ready to assist new and feeble churches, Mr. Dwight rendered important aid to the Church street and Howe street churches at the time of their formation. When he took a dismission from the Third Congregational Church, he joined the Church street Church, then under the pastoral care of Rev. Mr. Ludlow, and was chosen deacon soon after. His connection with this church, however, was but temporary ; for when, in consequence of pecuniary embarrassments, the Third Congregational Church and Society, vacated their house of worship, Mr. Dwight united with several persons from the various Congregational churches of the city in forming the Chapel street Congregational Church, which was duly organized in this deserted house of worship, on Lord's day, Nov. 4, 1838. With this church he retained his connection until his death, and was one of its most prominent and efficient members, though he declined the office of deacon. He was at all times deeply concerned for its prosperity; and was permitted in the short space of five years to witness three revivals in it, to see its numbers increase from sixty-one to more than three hundred, and to see a large, intelligent, and thriving congregation filling the house which had been left without an occupant, and which was in danger of being appropriated to secular uses. He often referred to this wonderful
change with tears of gratitude. Mr. Dwight was the oldest male member of the Chapel street Church, and being in one sense its father, he loved it as “ the child of his old age.”
As Mr. Dwight was extensively known, not only in this community, but throughout the State, as a prominent member of the church of Christ, there are many who will be interested in a brief sketch of his religious history. Early in his Christian life he was impressed with a deep sense of his personal responsibility as a follower of the Lord Jesus, for the advancement of his kingdom. This feeling seemed to increase as he advanced in life, and may be regarded as the secret of his constant and self-denying efforts to bring others to a saving knowledge of the truth. He was not content to leave the entire responsibility for the spiritual state of the church with the pastor. He felt that every member of the church had a share in that responsibility, and was bound to co-operate with the pastor in plans of usefulness. Being himself “ rooted and grounded” in the faith, and having some degree of fuency in speech, he often rendered great service to the cause of Christ by holding religious meetings in the outskirts of the city, and in neighboring villages. The system of church government under which he was trained is well suited to promote the usefulness of the laity, and to call out all their resources, pecuniary, intellectual and moral, in behalf of the Redeemer's kingdom. Under such