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advice, he was doubtless indebted for his complete recovery. Within a twelvemonth, he walked upwards of two thousand miles, and rode on horseback upwards of three thousand.

In May 1777, the College was broken up in consequence of the American War. Mr. Dwight, who had recently married, retired with his class to Weathersfield, where he entered on the labours of the pulpit, and continued to occupy himself with instructing his pupils and preaching on the Sunday, till September. He then resigned his charge, and being appointed Chaplain to General Parsons's brigade in the patriot army, joined the forces at West Point.

"The generous enthusiasm," remarks his Biographer, "which then pervaded the country, not only prompted our young men of honour in civil life to take the field, but induced many of our clergy of the first reputation for piety and talents to attach themselves to the staff. The soldier of the revolution need not be told how animating were their sermons and their prayers, nor how correct and exemplary were their lives."

Mr. Dwight remained with the army a little more than a year, during which he distinguished himself, not only by the diligent discharge of his official duties, but by writing several patriotic songs, which contributed not a little to keep alive the enthusiasm of the soldiers in the cause of freedom. The melancholy death of his father, who fell a victim to the disease of the climate in a distant expedition, leaving a widow and thirteen children behind him, inposed upon him new duties as the elder son and the brother. He now removed with his family to Northampton, where he devoted himself for five years to the education of his younger brothers and sisters, and to the superintendance of a farm, the maintenance of the family depending almost entirely on his personal exertions. He also established a school for the instruction of youth of both sexes, which was almost immediately resorted to by so great a number of pupils, that he was under the necessity of employing two assistants. During this period, he preached on the Sunday almost without intermission.

"The filial affection and dutiful respect and obedience which he exhibited towards his mother, and the more than fraternal kindness with which he watched over the well-being of his brothers and sisters, deserve the most honourable remembrance. To accomplish this object, he postponed his own establishment for life and a provision for his family. To accomplish it, though destitute of property, he relinquished in their favour his own proportion of the family estate; laboured constantly for five years with a diligence and alacrity rarely exampled; aud continued his paternal care, and exertions, and liberality long after his removal from Northampton. Often have we heard his mother acknowledge in language of eloquent affection and gratitude, his kindness, and faithfulness, and honourable generosity to her and to her children. The respect

which she felt and manifested towards him, though perhaps not his inferior in native powers of mind,resembled the affection of a dutiful child towards her father, rather than the feelings of a mother for her son."

In the years 1781 and 1782, he twice represented the town of Northampton in the state legislature; and it was owing to his exertions and those of his colleague, the Hon. Joseph Hawley, "in opposition to the current of popular feeling and to no small weight of talents and influence, that the new constitution of Massachusetts was adopted by the convention of the most important county in the state." His talents, his industry, and his eloquence soon rendered him one of the most influential and valuable members of the legislative body. He was at this period warmly solicited to devote himself altogether to public life; but his attachment to the duties of the Christian ministry induced him to decline every offer of a permanent employment in a civil capacity; and in November 1783, he accepted of the pastoral charge of the church at Greenfield, a parish in the town of Fairfield in Connecticut. Here, to supply the deficiencies arising from an inadequate stipend, he established, absolutely without funds, an academy for both sexes, and supported it with unexampled reputation, devoting six hours every day to the instruction of his pupils, numbers of whom were carried through the whole course of education customary at college. He adopted to a considerable degree one part of the Lancasterian method, making it the duty of the older scholars to hear the recitations of the younger. During the twelve years of his residence at Greenfield, he instructed more than one thousand pupils.

"When it is considered that, from his leaving college as a tutor, his eyes were so weak as not only to preclude him almost entirely from reading and writing, but to cause him very frequently extreme pain and distress, it will naturally be concluded, that he must have passed a very industrious and laborious life. Such, however, was his capacity for every kind of business in which he was engaged, that he was able to devote as much time as was necessary to the calls of company and friendship, as well as to perform the extra-parochial duties of a minister to his people."

In 1787, Mr. Dwight received the degree of doctor of divinity from the college at Princeton, New Jersey. In May, 1795, the presidency of Yale College becoming vacant by the death of the Rev. Dr. Styles, he was unanimously appointed to that honourable station, and once more removed with his family to New Haven, to the extreme regret of the parish over which he had so long presided. The state of the college at this period was truly deplorable: its discipline was relaxed, its reputation deservedly on the decline, and to such a height had the prevalence of a shallow and flippant infi telity arisen, that a considerable proportion of the class which he first taught, had assumed the names of the principal English and French infidels, by which they were more familiarly known than by their own.



"To extirpate a spirit so pernicious and fatal, he availed himself of an early and decisive opportunity. Forensic disputation was an important exercise of the senior class. For this purpose, they were formed into a convenient number of divisions; two of which disputed before him every week in the presence of the other members of the class, and of the resident graduates. It was the practice for each division to agree upon several questions, and then refer them to the president to select which he thought proper. Until this time, through a mistaken policy, the students had not been allowed to discuss any question which involved the inspiration of the Scriptures; from an apprehension that an examination of these points would expose them to the contagion of scepticism. As infidelity was extensively prevalent in the state and in the country, the effect of this course on the minds of the students had been unhappy. It had led them to believe, that their instructors were afraid to meet the question fairly, and that Christianity was supported by authority and not by argument. One of the questions presented by the first division, was this, 'Are the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament the word of God?" To their surprise, the president selected it for discussion; told them to write on which side they pleased, as he should not impute to them as their own, any sentiments which they advanced; and requested those who should write on the negative side of the question, to collect and bring forward all the facts and arguments which they could produce: enjoining it upon them, however, to treat the subject with becoming respect and reverence. Most, if not all, of 'the members of the division came forward as the champions of infidelity. When they had finished the discussion, he first examined the ground they had taken; triumphantly refuted their arguments; to them that their statement of facts was mistaken or irrelevant; and, to their astonishment, convinced them, that their acquaintance with the subject was wholly superficial. After this, he entered into a direct defence of the divine origin of Christianity in a strain of powerful argument and animated eloquence which nothing could resist. The effect upon the students was electrical. From that moment, infidelity was not only without a strong hold, but without a lurking place. To espouse her cause, was now as unpopular as before it had been to profess a belief in Christianity. Unable to endure the exposure of argument, she fled from the retreats of learning ashamed and disgraced."*

A man who could by means so mild, yet so decisive, achieve such a revolution as this, must have been of no ordinary character; and had we no other data than this solitary anecdote for forming an exalted estimate of the distinguished subject of this memoir, it would be amply sufficient to prove that he must have united, in a

* Two discourses "on the Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy," addressed to the candidates for the Baccalaureate in Yale College, which president Dwight published in 1797, have been reprinted in this country.

very striking degree, calmness of temper and coolness of judg ment with moral intrepidity and decision. The means which he adopted, were undoubtedly the most direct and the most prudent; and yet, in the hands of a man of inferior powers of mind, the result, if not doubtful, would, assuredly, have been far less triumphant. It is in vain to speak of the omnipotence of truth, in any other reference than its ultimate prevalence; for, in the practical encounter with infidelity, truth is often found powerless, owing to the unhappy facility with which minds in love with error may repel the utmost force of argument, and escape from their own cou victions. The confutation of confirmed scepticism would seem, indeed, to be a hopeless adventure. But in the instance before us, it was with ignorance as much as with scepticism, that president Dwight had to contend; and it is quite evident, that he won the day as much by his conciliatory policy, as by his power of reasoning. The young men were taken by surprise, by a conduct so different from what they had been accustomed to; while the mild energy of their president was well adapted to conciliate, not only their respect, but their confidence. At precisely the right moment, he interposed the full weight of his authority, and the whole force of his eloquence, in vindication of the truth; and then it was, that feeling themselves grappled with by a superior mind, they were not only conquered, they threw away their arms. Had he previously attempted to decide the dispute by his own authority, whatever had been his powers of reasoning or of oratory, he would, in all probability, have failed in producing any lasting conviction on the minds of his pupils. On the other hand, had he, with mistaken candour, permitted them to remain in any degree of indecision, had he betrayed any deficiency of clearness or certainty in his own convictions, or any languor in the tone of his belief,-had he disclaimed the wish to bias their minds in matters of infinite interest, their infidelity would never have been vanquished. His conduct on this occasion was in perfect contrast to that spurious liberality of opinion which would tolerate the ceaseless renewal of such discussions, in what is termed the spirit of free inquiry, as a scholastic exercise. Between the mistaken policy which precluded altogether the discussion of any question involving the inspiration of the scriptures, and the worse than impolitic conduct which would give up the fundamental truths of Christianity to be bandied about with daring nonchalance in academic games, there is surely to be found a practicable medium. Our readers will, perhaps, call to mind bishop Watson's remark on the themes selected for disputation in the Soph's school at Cambridge, when he was Moderator: "The liberality of principles in which the University of Cambridge initiates her sons, would, had he been acquainted with them, have extorted praise from Mr. Gibbon himself."* By such praise Dr. Dwight would not have considered himself as honoured.

* Eclectic Review. N. S. Vol. IX. p. 101.


There were other circumstances which rendered his situation as presiden of the college at that period, one of peculiar difficulty.

"A general sentiment of insubordination, growing out of the political situation of the civilized world, had seized the minds of the young as well as the old. High notions of freedom and personal independence prevailed among all ages. And the first impulse to which, in many instances, the minds of youth as well as men, were disposed to yield, was, resistance to authority. Many of our higher seminaries of learning have witnessed its effects in scenes of riot and insurrection, which have, for the time, subverted their authority, and destroyed their usefulness. Yale College wholly escaped these evils. No general combination of the students to resist its government, ever occurred during his presidency. This fact is to be ascribed to the wisdom and firmness of the president and his associates in office. He well knew that the tranquillity of such an institution must depend on the respect and affection of the students, and the steady watchfulness of its officers. Deeply read in the human character, and emphatically so in the character of young men, he foresaw the approaches of the storm which so extensively prevailed, and provided in season the means of defence and security. On every occasion of this kind, he derived the utmost benefit from one trait of his character, his energy; a trait which no man ever possessed in a more eminent degree. His decision and inflexibility to his purpose cannot be surpassed."

On his accession to the presidency, the number of the students was only a hundred and ten. Almost immediately after his aceession, they began to increase, till they amounted, at one time, to three hundred and thirteen. His conduct towards the young men was truly paternal. He encouraged more especially the senior class, in all their difficulties and troubles, to come to him for advice and assistance; and those who, on leaving college, wished to be employed as tutors, regularly applied to him to procure them eligible situations.

"He remembered the feelings of a young man just leaving college without a profession, without property, and with no means of support but the blessing of God and his own exertions. Nothing gave him higher pleasure than to encourage the heart of every youth so situated, to save him from despondence, and to open to him the road to property, to usefulness, and to honour. The num ber of his students whom he thus essentially befriended, would almost exceed belief. With others who were in more affluent circumstances, he would enter into a free and confidential conversation on their plan of life, explain to them their peculiar dangers, and lead them to aim at eminence in their professions, and to form for themselves a high standard of moral excellence. His pupils familiarly spoke of him by the most honourable appellation, the Young Man's Friend.'"

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