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Our hearts were full before ; and this led to a free communication of our feelings. We now became earnest in our inquiries, and soon it was found that others were in a similar state of mind."
Another individual writes as follows :-“When the little college-church awoke from its guilty slumbers, and as the result, the effusion of the Holy Spirit was earnestly sought and confidently expected, I well remember, that we selected Cornelius as likely to become a leading opposer of the work of God, and on that account, perhaps, he was made the subject of special prayer. A revival commenced, and to our inexpressible joy, he, if not the first, was one of the first awakened. He early disclosed to me the state of his mind. There was something about him, which excited the most lively interest in his case. His convictions were unusually deep and painful. Of the character of God, as holy, righteous, and sovereign, of the purity of his law, and of the extent of his requirements, of the entire depravity of his own heart, and of the sinfulness of his past life, he had very clear perceptions. Of the truth of the declaration, the carnal mind is enmity against God,' he had most distressing proof in his own experience. He saw that he was in the hands of God, who was reasonable in his demands, and would be just in condemning the sinner. But his heart rose at times in fearful rebellion against his Maker. Like the .bullock unaccustomed to the yoke,' he struggled and seemed determined not to submit; and I trembled lest the Spirit thus resisted, would “let him alone.' The anguish of his soul was almost insupportable."
From a letter of a third person, the following statements are gathered. “I have a distinct recollection of the altered appearance of Cornelius, when he returned to college, at the close of January vacation, 1913. A fellowstudent, whom I have consulted, thinks that Mr. Cornelius became somewhat thoughtful, while at home during the vacation. It was, however, my own opinion then, and has been ever since, that he had been unusually gay and thoughtless during the vacation ; and that his first emotion of solemnity, occurred after he had made a fire in his room, on the Tuesday evening of his arrival, and had seated himself alone. I understood then, that while considering the disregard he had paid to parental injunctions, and parental solicitude for his soul, he became deeply penetrated with a sense of ingratitude to his earthly parents; and that, before he slept, while alone, without the intervention of a human being, and under the inspection of no eye but that of God, he became irresistibly impressed with the worth and lost condition of his soul. On the following Saturday, I perfectly recollect his making his first entrance into the Moral Library, of which I was librarian, and selecting the “Memoir of Susanna Anthony' The reason of my being impressed with this occurrence was, that although Mr. Cornelius was never considered as a vicious or abandoned member of our class, yet he always appeared so full of vivacity, gaiety, and even thoughtlessness, his very solemn manner and his inquiry for such a book, could not escape the observation of any one who had known him previously. From this time I do not believe a smile appeared on his countenance, till his conversion. He lost flesh rapidly, and the effect of this external change was irresistible upon the most irreligious of our class. I have no remembrance of ever witnessing so visible and affecting an alteration in one's external demeanor. And it was a remarkable fact, that our very large and respectable class, then in their senior year, became immediately and generally impressed with a sense of their own accountability ; which I have no doubt arose through the instrumentality of the marvellous alteraţion in our gay friend, Cornelius."
Only one of the letters which he wrote, in this state of anxiety, is now accessible. This is dated on the 25th of March, and is directed to his sister.
In the month of March, about six or seven weeks after the commencement of his religious impressions, he found peace in submission to Christ. “One day,” remarks a fellow-student, “ he knocked at my door. On opening it, his countenance told me that the contest was over. The storm had passed away, and it was as the clear shining after rain.' He requested me to walk with him. We were silent until we had proceeded some distance from college. My own emotions were such that I had no disposition to speak. He was musing, and the fire burned. When we had come to a retired place, unable longer to restrain his feelings, he raised his hands, and exclaimed, •O! sweet submission, sweet submission !' This expression he repeated many times during our walk. That he was in the hands of God, was his theme, and the rejoicing of his heart. He expressed no hope of pardon, and appeared not to think of himself. The glorious Being, to whose character, law, and government, he had felt so much opposition, seemed to occupy the whole field of vision, and to fill his soul with inexpressible delight. Soon he spoke of the plan of salvation through the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God. It was unfolded in its glory, and excited his most grateful admiration. He saw how "God could be just, and justify him that believeth in Jesus.' • Believing, he rejoiced in hope of the glory of God.' Pressed with a sense of his obligations to redeeming grace, his fervent aspiration seemed to be, ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?' The love of Christ, shed abroad in his heart, immediately manifested itself in vigorous, self-denying efforts for the conversion of his fellow-men."
It may here be remarked, that there is no discrepancy in the preceding accounts. It is highly probable that he had seasons of painful reflection during the preceding term, as well as in the January vacation, though he might have appeared entirely abandoned to stupidity and thoughtlessness. It is not uncommon that a special manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit is preceded by apathy on the part of many of the servants of Jesus, and of secret feelings of uneasiness and alarm in the hearts of unbelievers.
Having been thus " apprehended” by his gracious Saviour, he resolved to “count all things loss” for his sake, and to testify of that love which filled his own soul. He applied himself, indeed, more closely to his studies, that he might be better prepared to preach the everlasting gospel, and in a measure to redeem the time he had lost. But action, benevolent action, was the element of his soul. For the conversion of his fellow-students, he labored and prayed incessantly. On one occasion, he invited a young man to walk with him, who had been for some time in a thoughtful state of mind, but was quieting himself in a delusion which is often fatal to persons in such circumstances. His remarks to the individual were so appropriate to his very critical condition, and his expostulations were so earnest, that it was the occasion, under God, of awakening the delaying sinner, and of leading him, as it was believed, to “lay hold of the hope which was set before him.” Though in the class, to which Mr. Cornelius belonged, there had not been previously more than four professors of religion, yet the moral change was glorious, and was the means of affording many useful and distinguished men for the vineyard of the Lord. At one time, there were from eighty to one hundred young men in college, who were deeply solicitous in respect to their eternal welfare.