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hearer could stand. He brought him to be a joyful coworker, or stripped him of his vain excuses.
The agents of benevolent societies sometimes err exceedingly, in consequence of their heedless and ungentlemanly conduct in families. There is occasionally an entire disregard of those undefined courtesies, and kind attentions, which make up a great part of the happiness of civilized society. They enter a house as if they were going to take a forcible possession of it, and sit down, or walk about, with an air of self-consequence, which is very unpleasant to a delicate mind, and extremely prejudicial to their influence. An agent, like his great Master, should enter a family “not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” and if need be to “wash the disciples' feet.” His course of life exposes him to become talkative and dogmatic. He should guard sedulously against such a tendency, and be ready to hear and sympathize with the interests of a particular family or town. He is entitled, indeed, in a greater degree than almost any member of the community, to commiseration and heart-felt kindness. He has a fatiguing, arduous, and in many respects, thank less office. He has griefs which the world knows not of. But the best way to secure personal attention, is to show it invariably and cheerfully. No agent was ever welcomed with more undissembled affection, than Mr. Cornelius, and no one ever took more pains to deserve it. The incidents which occurred while he resided in a family in Baltimore, and which are mentioned in the first part of this memoir, were but a specimen of the events of his whole life. If the circumstances of the family in which he was entertained were humble, he could accommodate himself with entire good nature.
If the inmates were not capable of sharing in an intellectual or highly intelligent Christian conversation, he showed no marks of uneasiness or displeasure, but fell in naturally with the circumstances by which he was surrounded. He was frequently treated with extraordinary kindness. He alluded to many instances of this sort with all the ardor of his generous spirit. When opportunities occurred, he was ever prompt to reciprocate the kindness. He sometimes wrote to members of families where he had lodged, thanking them in a particular manner for their hospitality, and enclosing some little gift or token of affection, for a beloved child. While communicating and sharing in the courtesies of friendship, he rarely forgot the religious interests of his guests. He secured the affectionate attachment of children and hired servants, so that he might produce on their minds a good religious impression. He was asked, on one occasion, if he did not think that the agents of benevolent institutions, were often very negligent in respect to conversing faithfully with the irreligious members of families, with which they occasionally sojourned ? He confessed that he had overlooked this duty, and mentioned one family in particular, in which he had frequently been entertained, and to the eldest children of which he had neglected to speak with sufficient faithfulness. He said he would no longer omit such a duty. His efforts of this kind, were, in a considerable number of instances, attended with the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit.
It is hardly necessary to say that energy was a distinguishing trait in his character. He endeavored “to do with his might whatsoever his hand found to do.” If he sometimes alluded to the pressing number and nature of his duties, he was ever contriving additional means for doing good, and multiplying his personal cares and labors. He was as solicitous to forestall duty and occupation, as many others are rest and amusement. It seemed to be an abiding conviction of his mind, that he had one thing to do. To the accomplishment of that thing he directed the strong powers of his mind and body. Inferior spirits sometimes looked on in amazement, at the rapidity of his movements, and the splendor of his successes. Difficulties either vanished from his path, or augmented his energies in overcoming them. His decision was, however, not in the least allied to rashness or obstinacy. He had carefully investigated his ground before he took his station. He had arranged his duties, even in their minute details, before he entered upon the performance of them. He fixed clearly in his own mind the precise thing to be done, and then brought his whole physical and moral energy to bear upon
its execution. The community became accustomed to place entire confidence in the plans which he adopted, as well for the wisdom of their contrivance, as the vigor with which they were prosecuted.
In forming an estimate of his character as an agent, his companionable qualities ought not to be overlooked. It was delightful to be associated with him. He uniformly secured the love and confidence of his subordinate helpers. He was heard to say respecting several individuals, “Well, , I never had any difficulty with him. The harmony between us was never interrupted.” He was accustomed to commend his fellow-laborers whenever it could be done with propriety. He rejoiced also to promote their personal happiness. His inquiries respecting their condition or feelings were frequent and fraternal; and what was more remarkable, he invariably fulfilled his engagements to them, sometimes at considerable personal sacrifice. He never assumed towards them a magisterial air, but allowed them to perform their appropriate duties without molestation; never severely scrutinizing their conduct, nor prying into their individual concerns. He wished to have them feel responsible for their own department, and to enjoy their full share of commendation, if found faithful and successful. Every thing about him was open, frank,
and generous. All willingly gave the palm of superiority to him, and rejoiced, with their whole heart, to follow such a leader. They now look back with fond remembrance, and, with eyes not unfrequently dimmed with tears, to his fraternal kindness, and to his innumerable cheering words of consolation and encouragement. “They sorrow most of all” that they are to see his noble form no more in the world.
Unimpeachable integrity in respect to the benevolent funds intrusted to his keeping, was another distinguishing trait in his character. He acted on the principle that the prosperity, if not the very existence, of the systems of benevolence, is depending on the rigid honesty of all who have the disposal of public money. Instead of subjecting himself to the charge of delinquency and carelessness, he, perhaps, erred on the other extreme. He was frequently heard to remark, that he never performed a journey of considerable length in behalf of any public object, without a sacrifice of his pecuniary interests. Examples are rarely seen of honesty more scrupulous, of integrity further beyond the reach of suspicion, accompanied, at the same time, with great, and considering his circumstances, munificent liberality. One of his last deeds of kindness, was the presentation, from his own funds, of a copy of the Memoir of Henry Martyn, to each individual assisted by the American Education Society, during his connection with it. The number of copies comprised in the donation, amounted to nearly eight hundred.
In conclusion, it can be said, with entire freedom from exaggeration, that Mr. Cornelius had all the qualities of an accomplished agent and secretary. The most impartial observer of his appearance and his actions will cordially subscribe to this declaration, high as the commendation is which it implies. He possessed uncommon
MEMOIR OF CORNELIUS.
muscular energy; a form of body at once commanding and attractive; a voice of great compass and power; courteousness of address and manners; the rich experience of a Christian pastor, and great ability as a preacher; comprehensiveness of mind and liberality of feeling; the union of ardent emotion and solid judgment : admirable pecuniary and business habits ; extensive knowledge of the condition of the whole country ; and a deep sense of dependence on Christ for success. His name will be cherished with respect and gratitude by future generations, and the church of Christ, while she adores the profound mystery of God's providence in removing him in the meridian of his days, will, at the same time, bless the great Head of the church for giving her such a leader,