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“In my last, I mentioned the prospect that God was about to visit us with a revival of religion. The prospect has greatly increased since that time. A deep and solemn attention pervades all our assemblies, and many of the meetings are full to overflowing. Probably as many as six persons have been hopefully converted, and numbers are now awakened.
The attention to religion as yet is greater among Mr. B.'s people ; but as all the churches have united in prayer, I think there is reason to believe that God will grant us a common blessing. Of one thing I am sure ; I have not seen any thing since my acquaintance with this place which promised so much as appearances now do."
In the sermon which Mr. Cornelius preached on occasion of the death of Dr. Worcester, and which was afterwards published, we find the following passage, conveying a sentiment as honorable to both parties, as it is rare.
“ You will doubtless expect that I should say something of the character of Dr. Worcester as an associate pastor. On this subject I scarcely dare trust my own feelings. I may, however, be permitted to say, that I shall ever regard the period of my connection with him, as one of the happiest portions of my life. And whatever may have been the history of other relations of a similar nature, with heart-felt gratitude to God, I desire to record of this, that no incident ever occurred, which was known to interrupt its peace, or mar its enjoyment for a moment. I weep while I think its endearments are at an end ; and that I shall sit at his feet, and receive his paternal instructions, no more.”
It is gratifying to state in this place, that, like the daughter-in-law of her, who sojourned in Moab, the kindness which he had manifested towards the dead, extended also to the living. His attentions to the respected family
of his deceased colleague, were continued as long as his own life, and were of the most delicate and honorable character. Were it entirely decorous, it would be pleasant to record them minutely. The interest which he felt in the widows of ministers, was uncommon. He often remarked that the change in their situation was in some respects more painful than in that of other persons who had been deprived of their husbands. When he returned from his journies, he frequently remarked, that, during his absence, he had visited the widows of his former friends in the ministry ; that recollecting the change in their circumstances, he had made a special effort to secure an opportunity to call upon them. Just before he left home, for the last time, he saw a gentleman belonging to a distant part of the country, who informed him that Mrs. was left nearly destitute of property, in consequence of the liberal manner in which her husband had expended his estate in establishing an important public institution. Mr. Cornelius immediately determined, that on his return, he would make an effort to relieve his friend from her necessities. The following little incident will further illustrate this trait in his character. In his congregation in Salem, owing to their connection in many instances, with a sea-faring life, there was a large number of widows. On a cold winter day, he attended a religious meeting at the house of a widow in humble circumstances. She had made a large fire, and had otherwise been subjected to considerable trouble in accommodating the company. As she followed him to the door, at the close of the meeting, he placed in her hand a liberal gift, because he was not willing that she should be deprived of a single comfort, in consequence of having opened her doors for the worship of God.
While at Salem, Mr. Cornelius was called upon to perform services of a more public character, and which were
somewhat remarkable, as being without the sphere of his previous studies and course of life. He was for a number of months earnestly engaged in an Unitarian controversy. While his views on the subject of Christian liberty and diversity of sects were catholic and candid, he could not but regard Unitarianism as a fatal heresy. Among its adherents he numbered some of his personal friends, and many enlightened and respected townsmen and fellowcitizens. Towards them as individuals, he was never considered as deficient in the courtesy which the gospel requires, or the rules of cultivated society spontaneously suggest. Still, he could not embrace them as “in the communion of saints." He honestly regarded them as is aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise.” He built his own hopes of eternal life wholly on the atonement accomplished by the sufferings and death of an omnipotent Saviour. How then could he avoid protesting against those interpretations of the Bible, which degraded the nature of his Redeemer to that of an human or angelic order, and his expiatory death to the heroism of a common martyr ? The departure from truth of the sect in question, was in his view fundamental. Of course, considering the elevation of his Christian principle, and the ardor of his natural feelings, he embarked with decision and earnestness in the cause.
The period was one of great excitement in the New England community on this subject. A number of gentlemen, with whom he was intimately associated, had been, and were at that time, warmly engaged in the controversy. A very strong Unitarian influence existed in Salem, whose effects he could not but witness and deplore. The publication of a sermon by a Unitarian clergyman of the town, called forth a review from the pen of Mr. Cornelius; a reply soon followed; the controversy was then closed by a rejoinder on the part of Mr. Cornelius, entirely satisfactory
and decisive in respect to the points at issue, in the judgment, it is believed, of all parties. The details, and a synopsis of the whole debate might be given, but it is unnecessary.
It has been referred to, principally on the ground that it shows the versatility of Mr. Cornelius's intellectual powers. The controversial tact which he displayed, as well as the extent of his research, surprised both his friends and opponents.
About the same time he published a sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity, founded on the passage in Ephesians ii. 18. “For through him we both have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father.”' The discourse passed rapidly through several editions, and was soon incorporated into the series of the tracts of the American Tract Society. It was not intended to be an erudite and profound view of that great doctrine, but a simple exhibition of the scriptural argument on the subject, adapted to the mass of Christians. It is a highly successful effort, displaying uncommon powers of condensation, scriptural research, and felicitous statement. He expended upon it a great amount of time and labor. Soon after the publication of this sermon,
he became deeply interested in what has been familiarly termed the “ New Haven Controversy." The views which he took of the important subjects developed in these celebrated discussions, which have, to such an extent, agitated the orthodox communities of New England, have been already stated. He was very far, however, from being a partisan. He was, to a commendable extent, an independent thinker. He carefully collected all the important reviews and pamphlets on the subject, gave them a thorough perusal, and made an analysis of the arguments, with remarks of
This course, instead of satisfying him, induced him to take a profounder view of the whole subject.“ A considerable period before his death, he had commenced
MEMOIR OF CORNELIUS.
the study of those portions of the works of Calvin, Ed wards, Bellamy, and others, which bear on the questions in debate.
During the life of Dr. Worcester, and to some extent after his death, Mr. Cornelius employed a portion of the year in public agencies of various descriptions. In this way, he rendered substantial aid to the Foreign Missionary, Bible, Education, and other societies. He began to be more and more regarded as destined in providence to become a leading executive agent in the great enterprize for the conversion of the world. When any of our charitable institutions came to a period of serious embarrassment or exigency of any kind, its directors and patrons naturally looked to him as able to extricate it, and establish it in the favor of the community,