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STUDY OF THEOLOGY WITH DR. DWIGHT-REVIVAL OF RE
EFFORTS-RESIDENCE AT LITCHFIELD.
Soon after leaving college, Mr. Cornelius commenced the study of theology under the direction of president Dwight. This eminent individual then discharged the duties of professor of divinity. In addition to the sermons and lectures which he delivered on the Sabbath, and at other times, before the undergraduates, he generally had a select number of theological students, to whom he communicated regular instruction. A number of Mr. Cornelius's most valued class-mates and friends were at this time associated with him in these delightful pursuits. To a fellow-student, then at Andover, he thus writes on the first of March, 1814.
“ You see by the date of my letter, that I write on the day which we have agreed upon, to remember each other, and make supplication for the seminary at which we received our education, and for the church in it, together with absent brethren. No doubt but you remember our last church meeting, when we solemnly agreed to visit the throne of grace on the first day of every month at sunset, and pray for these blessings. And how pleasing the thought, that although absent in flesh, yet present in spirit with our distant brethren, we are uniting with them in one request, visiting one throne of grace, and asking of one God, even our Father, such blessings as our souls desire, through one Mediator and Saviour Jesus Christ. At such a time, a thousand fond reflections on scenes and events which are past, rush into the mind, and afford us the rarest pleasure. And although your distance might possibly have caused you to forget me, which I must confess your neglecting to write gives some ground for supposing, yet distance cannot obliterate the remembrance of you from my mind. Had my acquaintance with you been only of a worldly nature, I confess that might have been the case. But, dear H., are we not united by ties stronger than this world can make ? If we are not, how am I deceived! No doubt, my friend, you would know how my
prospers in this barren wilderness, where sin abounds, and vice reigns almost universally. What shall I tell you? Little did I know when I parted from you, what a stormy sea I was about to navigate, how many narrow escapes I was to experience, how often to be saved almost from shipwreck, how many days I had to spend, when the sun could not be seen for the clouds which completely obscured him from my sight, how often I should lose my anchor, my hope, and then be driven about by the mountain-waves; but these things I have experienced. I find I am comparatively nothing, and my greatest strength but weakness. The Christian course is beset by a thousand snares, artfully laid by a thousand foes.
“I hope, dear H., you are not that faithless servant which I must acknowledge myself to be. I have felt, though not without severe regret, the fervency of my affection abate, my love grow cold, my zeal relax into stupidity in the cause of Jesus. I have been often stung by the poison of the world. I have looked within, and beheld all manner of wickedness, pollution complete, and
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history, some of Edwards's works, &c. Local duties, such as catechising children, attending prayer-meetings on secular days, Sabbath evenings, &c. I have, for almost five months past, had a small private school under my tuition, consisting of four or five individuals. I have also devoted considerable time to making myself acquainted with the subject of missions to the heathen, and have, I hope, been profited thereby. Ohow highly are we exalted! How encouraging the view, which, even amid the noise and tumult of war in which the world at the present day is involved, a Christian must take of the dispensations of God. You will no doubt justify this assertion, if you have read Dr. Dwight's sermon before the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. But I confess I do desire to see greater exertions made to Christianize the poor Indians at the West, who reside so much nearer us than the inhabitants of Hindoostan. But who feels it not to be a most solemn trust committed to these United States, to send the gospel to the multitudes bordering on us? What supports one missionary in Hindoostan, would support two or three in Louisiana, or Illinois, or other territories on our western frontier. In going to them, we have no Atlantic or Indian oceans to cross. Missionaries could travel through our own country,
which would greatly diminish expense. Who must perform this work? The Christians in Great Britain ? What answer does economy give ?"
The two following letters were addressed to the same individual.
" New Haven, May 29, 1814. “I trust you have not forgotten us, and the pleasant scenes through which our heavenly Father led us the last year. Here you first found the great Physician of
souls; you have made, you hope, your peace with God. Oh come and let us together converse on those things which we once experienced, and on what our eyes have since seen, our ears heard, and our hearts felt of the loving kindness of our God. Dear H., how sweet is the remembrance of our prayers and our songs, which we have mutually offered; how pleasing to reflect upon the affectionate conversation, retired walks, and many evening exercises which we once enjoyed. Have we not now a hope of our union to the blessed Redeemer ? I am confident I feel something of the unity of the Spirit with you; we are engaging in the same service, we have a common Lord and Redeemer. Oh may we not once more meet this side the grave, and renew that pleasure we once enjoyed together. Let us provoke each other to love and good works, once more unite our prayers, and tell what God hath done for us. I do wish exceedingly to see you."
“ New Haven, June 11, 1814. “You have by this time, dear brother, it is presumed, gained some acquaintance with the nature of that calling, in which God, by his grace, has placed you. You, no doubt, feel that it is solemn as eternity itself. A messenger from God, the sovereign of all worlds, the governor of the universe ; an ambassador from heaven to guilty rebels; a servant and minister of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. How solemn, how holy, how ins teresting such a character! What a fearful responsibility is attached to an officer of 'the King of kings and Lord of lords.' How necessary that “holiness to the Lord,' be written on his heart and manifested in his life. "Who is sufficient for these things ?' None, indeed, but those who with Paul can say, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' I hope and doubt not but you are enabled to use this language of faith through