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ing he possessed. This was the great defect in his character; and it is not to be concealed, that the irregularity of his habits and the want of system in his studies, pursued as they were in a manner altogether desultory, prevented his reaching that eminence in science to which close application would have raised him. Still, with all his want of method, he amassed knowledge surprisingly; for though he would take up a book wherever he chanced to be, and read it with absorbing interest till some bell or other summons called him away, he would arrange, and classify, and lay up such knowledge to very great advantage, and make it singu larly available for the purposes of conversation and debate. Few acquire his general knowledge and solid learning with so little severe study.
with the supreme importance of religion. He sought in earnest. An intimate friend of his, will not soon forget an interview with him about this time. His feelings were not violent, but they were poignant. There was an anguish on account of guilt, a melting tenderness under a sense of ingratitude and unworthiness, and an apprehension of the forbearance of God towards him as a sinner, that was almost as affecting to witness as it was overwhelming to suffer. Soon after this his mind was relieved; and walking out. his soul was filled with surprising joy, as the God of grace shone brightly in every work of his hands,-the divine goodness being, to his excited imagination, impressed on every object around him. He experienced in a high degree, that delightful sensation often described by the convert, as felt on a sudden transition from darkness to light. This feeling indeed may not be peculiar to the renewed soul. The vivid imagination of one who is deceived may be the subject of the same feeling; and the most we can say is, that it is among those things, which are no decisive evidence, either for or against gracious affections. Evidently it is altogether consistent with them, and is one very natural consequence.
In the present case there is some doubt whether Cowles was the subject of renewing grace at this time or not. The writer of this believes he was, and that this was the prevailing sentiment of his own mind; though he expressed that conviction with diffidence. The reason of this diffidence will appear from what follows. After this experience he seemed unaccountably to distrust his feelings, and relapsed into a colder state; he sought the company of former associates, of former books and employments; and was averse to religious society and conversation. In short his se
Although Mr. Cowles had received a religious education, he did not experience any thing like true religion, till the latter part of his college life. If he was not openly opposed to religion and religious things, he was, as he often confessed, in heart an enemy. While fitting for College, his mother was suddenly called from her earthly pilgrimage. Then his mind was for a season deeply impressed with the things of eternity; but these impressions soon vanished, nor did they return till the revival in Yale College in 1820. Up to this time he had uniformly been either careless of divine things, except in the instance above mentioned, or had secretly resisted every impulse from the Spirit of God, as well as every benevolent effort of his classmates and friends, to lead his mind to serious contemplation. But now God designed to bring him to the knowledge of the truth. In consequence of the preaching of Mr. N―n and the intreaties of pious friends, he became thoughtful, alarmed, and thoroughly impressed
rious friends, who had watched with so much anxiety the progress of his impressions, and rejoiced, though prematurely, in his conversion, were well nigh giving up their hope that he was a new man, and well nigh fearing that he was permanently joined to his idols. In this state he remained for months, wearing at times a thoughtful as pect, evidently halting between two opinions, yet inclining more to seek the world than religion. In the winter of his Senior year, the revival receiving a new impulse, he again became interested in the concerns of his soul,-principally as he said, from overhearing the prayers of his classmates in their rooms, who as he supposed were praying for him, having given over other efforts for his conversion. At the same time, hearing of a revival in his native place, he went home to witness it; and being in a fit state to be impressed by such a remarkable display of God's power as that revival exhibited, his mind was more thoroughly wrought upon than ever. He returned overwhelmed with emotion and wonder, himself the subject of mighty grace, -then if not before radically transformed, and resolved to live a pious man, a resolution which, increased in steadfastness till his dying day. That circle of classmates whom after his return he addressed, or rather attempted to address, for his emotion was so great as almost to preclude utterance, will remember the noble testimony he bore to religion. If this sketch should meet their eye, let them be assured that that religion lost none of its importance in his view on trial; but, magnified with every succeeding event of life, sustained him through many wearisome days and nights, and divested death of all his terrors. May these facts speak as he did then.
He left College with reputation, loved and esteemed of all, and went
immediately to the Theological Seminary at Andover. Here he pursued his studies in the same desultory manner as in college, and with the same result; that is, he amassed knowledge of all sorts with rapidity, and in a way nobody knew how. Still he fell far short of what application added to genius would have enabled him to accomplish. It should be said, however, in justice to his character, that ill health now began to press upon him, so as very much to frustrate the efforts he was heartily disposed to make. This was seen and regretted most in his efforts at writing. To this exercise he had always felt a great reluctance, which seemed to increase as he advanced in life. It originated doubtless in the disposition both of his body and mind to constant action. The process of writing was too wearisome for the elasticity of his body, and too slow and tedious for the ardour of his mind. This prevented early practice, which alone can give facility in writing; and when in the last stages of education much writing was required in a short time, he found his taste had so far outrun his facility of execution, that he looked on every production of his pen with more than ordinary disgust. This, with ill health, may be assigned as the reason why he seldom produced a written composition of any sort, and why after his death there were found only two finished papersa sermon, and an address before the Society of Inquiry. An answer is also furnished to those, who, being acquainted with his uncommon powers of conversation, inquire why he did not write more. It was in conversation and discussion that he was most distinguished. He would invariably attract the attention of the whole circle, and as invariably confer high gratification. We have often seen the company electrified by the flashes of his wit and the vividness of his description, and the
debating room breathless to hear the question argued by his ingenuity. His various and pertinent illustrations, the propriety and energy of his language, and his good sense, always caused him to be listened to with deep interest.
While at Andover, the subject of African Colonization came up, and he engaged in it with enthusiasm. The investigation and discussion of this subject touched his heart, and filled him with a strong desire not only to talk but to act; and under the influence of these impressions he resolved to devote himself to the cause of Africa. The moral desolations of that country affected him, while the history of the slave trade filled him with alternate pity and indignation. His views of slavery in this country were large and patriotic. He was aware of the difficulties that press the subject of emancipation, but he believed that those difficulties lay chiefly in pub. lic opinion, and that if public opinion could be changed, they would mostly vanish. He did not believe the doctrine of passive submission to a necessity created by avarice alone, nor did the interested testimony of slave holders, or his own subsequent observation, convince him that the present condition of slaves is as comfortable as an emancipated state could be. Yet he was not disposed to violent measures and useless recriminations,tending only to inflame public opinion without altering it. He was willing to lend his hand to any measure which prudence and philanthropy might dictate. Coinciding with the views of the Colonization Society, he directed his attention particularly to the free colored people, and resolved to attempt the establishment of an African college. Here youth were to be educated on a scale so liberal as to place them on a level with other men, and fit them for extensive usefulness to their brethren, either in this country, or
in the colonies. This was the plan he adopted, and his devotion to it increased with every new fact he learned; and nothing it is presumed would have interrupted his pursuit of the object, but the frowning dispensation of providence which so soon quenched all his hopes in sickness and in death.
The last year of his residence at Andover was clouded by disease, which so much interrupted his studies that he accomplished but little. He filled with dignity the chair of the Society of Inquiry respecting Missions ;" and the confidence which placed him there is an honorable testimony to his worth. His farewell address at the anniversary of this society was received with satisfaction by an enlightened audience. If it appears to the reader somewhat unfinished, and in some places obscure, the apology is, that it was written hastily, under the pressure of extreme ill health, and without revision. The energy with which it was delivered-not its least recommendation-of course cannot appear in print.
He now left the seminary (September 1824) and returned home, with the strong hope of regaining his health, and entering on the field of labor. As yet he had not received license to preach; but being pressed by his friends, and by his own desire, he prepared with great effort his first sermon, and presented himself before the South Association of Hartford County. Ho was examined by that body, and received their unqualified approbation. But his confinement and mental application on this occasion hastened the catastrophe which took place a few days after his license. Having been out on a fishing excursion, an amusement in which he was accustomed to indulge, as he was returning home, his mouth suddenly filled with blood, and he experienced that death-like sensation which always
attends a profuse bleeding at the lungs. With extreme difficulty he reached the house of his brother, which was nearer than his father's, where relief was administered. This was the end of his studies, his labours, and nearly of his hopes, From this time his chief object was the recovery of his health, whose fleeting vision he pursued untiringly for more than two years, through all the fluctuations of convalescence and relapse, of hope and fear, that usually attend consumptive affections.
In December following, he went to Chapel Hill, N. C. and spent the winter. Here for the time he officiated in the pulpit, and in Newbern, on his return, for the last. The succeeding autumn he went to St. Augustine, and those who then bade him farewell, had little expectation of seeing his face again. The following extract from a letter may not be unacceptable, as showing his health and feelings while at NewYork, on his outward bound passage.
"You know, or at least you know it is my belief, that the state of my health undergoes frequent and considerable changes; and you would naturally presume, that when I am comparatively well, I should be agitated with fears, lest, in the period of debility and darkness through which I had just passed, and in others of a similar character, I had been yielding to a mere depression of spirits as such things are supposed to be common-and had been inactive without a sufficient excuse. And there is no cause from which I suffer more than from this I sometimes feel as if fountains of strength had burst out within me; I am full-I am animated with hope and confidence, and resolve that no more of my life shall be lost. And when I feel this consciousness of power, and this high resolution, I find it difficult not to believe that
I might have felt myself capable of great exertions at any time, if I had summoned together the energies of my will, and thoroughly roused myself. Of course, I am afraid that I have been an unprofitable servant, and am in danger of being cast into outer darkness. As there had been nothing particularly alarming in the state of my health for several days, and as I was much more alone the day after I arrived in New-York than I had been, I thought about the circumstances in which I had left my friends; the unwillingness which many of them had expressed that I should undertake the journey which I had commenced; the little plans of usefulness I had formed; and reproached myself with a good deal of bitterness, for having abandoned them all, when perhaps it was quite unnecessary. In this state of mind I met, in the life of Cecil, with the following stanza:
"And at my back I always hear, "Time's winged chariot hovering near; "And onwards, all before, I see "Vast deserts of eternity."
This was a highly animated expression of a thought very congenial to my feelings; and I was repeating it in an energetic whisper, when I felt a lancet plunged into my lungs, and became composed. The next day I had a severe headache and considerable fever, and grew considerably worse till night. After tea I went immediately to bed; when I was seized with a violent ague, and was tossed about with the spasmodic affection of my muscles in a singular manner. In about a minute I felt a strange glow breaking out and running like lambent fire over my whole surface, and I lay through the night wrapt in these warming but unconsuming flames; which produced a sensation that very much relieved the excessive aching of my head and joints. I thought I should now be sick in good earnest; and having the day
before wished myself at home because I was so well, I now heartily wished myself there for the contrary reason."
He found the climate of St. Augustine mild and favorable; but his distant exile from his friends, the disagreeable situation of the place, and the little congenial society, made the residence irksome, and detracted from the benefit he might otherwise have received. We in sert his description of St. Augustine.
small matter. Far the largest, the most worthless, and the most desperately wicked collection of human beings I have ever seen going at large, I have found here. Infidelity, profaneness, blasphemy, drunkenness, and every other vice, not only blush at no disclosure, but seem to scorn concealment. The Sabbath, and every other means of grace, are despised. Not one hundred of the whole population of the city ever attend public worship at the Protestant church, and very few go to the Cathedral. The Catholic priest is an avowed infidel, a notorious card player, a masquer, and a hard drinker, if not a drunkard. It is whispered, too, that he is not free from other vices. You may see on the sabbath, men fishing, and going to and from hunting, lounging about the public square and the streets, and going to and returning from the billiard tables, without appearing to think of covering these proceedings with any disguise. On the other hand, there are some enterprising merchants, two or three respectable lawyers, and as many mechanics; besides several other less describable persons as to their occupations. It is said a surprising improvement has taken place in the general morals of the people during the last four years.'
"This place, instead of being surrounded by beautiful environs, is situated in the midst of impassable marshes, so that strangers who are residing here talk of the intolerable irksomeness of being on the limits. There is, though, a tongue of solid land running northward between two marshes. Excepting this, there is probably not more than one hundred acres of solid ground which you can ramble over; and the appearance of the excepted country is such, that nobody less restless and curious than I am, ever thinks of setting foot upon it. Upon the whole, the general aspect of the adjacent country is emphatically desolate. The city is small and mean. The population is variously estimated at from 1200 to 1900 this latter estimate I incline to think is nearest the truth. A number of the buildings are in a state of complete dilapidation, and are overgrown with nettles. Most of the others indicate either squalid poverty, or extreme laziness and depravity, or all together, and the impression which the sight of them produces is rather strengthened than diminished by more immediate acquaintance with their inhabitants, Some few show that their occupiers possess means, and that regard to appearances, which, though it does not demonstrate good morals, does argue some respect for public opinion; which in St. Augustine is no
In another letter, addressed to his brother, he describes the masquerading.
"The season for this amusement is the forty days before Lent. It had commenced when I arrived. The masquers disguise themselves in various ways. Men dress like young men, or old men, or sailors, or soldiers, or officers, or barbers, or women. Women dress in the same indecent manner, and frequently in men's clothes. Their faces are covered with hoods, or thick veils, or painted masks, causing the wearers to look like wax fi