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AsAHEL NETTLEton was a genuine “New Englander,” as well in thought, feeling and manners, as in the place of his birth, education, and usual residence. He was born of reputable parents, April 21, 1783, at North Killingworth in Connecticut. Here he spent his early years with his father in the laborious business of agriculture. In his eighteenth year, at a time of special religious interest in his native town and extensively in New England, he became deeply anxious for his soul. After about ten months of mental trouble, in which his convictions of sin were at times very clear and pungent, he found relief. Now, in the words of his biographer,

“A sweet peace pervaded his soul. The objects which had given him so much distress, he now contemplated with delight. He did not, however, for several days suppose that he had experienced a change of heart; but finding at length that his views and feelings accorded with those expressed by others whom he regarded as friends of Christ, he

* Memoir of the Life and Character of Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D. D. Bennet Tyler, D. D., President and Prosessor of Christian Theology in the Theological Institute of Connecticut. Hartford, Robins & Smith, 1844. pp. 372.

began to think it possible that he might have passed from death unto life. The more he examined himself, the more evidence he found that a great change had been wrought in his views and feelings respecting divine things. Old things had passed away—all things had become new. The character of God now appeared lovely. The Savior was exceedingly precious ; and the doctrines of grace, toward which he had felt such bitter opposition, he contemplated with delight. He had now no doubt of their truth. He saw clearly, that if there was any good thing in him towards the Lord God of Israel, it was not the result of any efforts of his own, but of the sovereign and distinguishing grace of God. He was ready to say with the Apostle, by the grace of God, I am what I am.” pp. 24, 25. In this extraordinary way did God begin to prepare the retired young farmer for the extraordinary work before him. This preliminary was soon followed by “most intense desires to be instrumental in the salvation of his fellow men. While laboring in the field he would often say to himself, if I might be the means of saving one soul, I should prefer it to all the riches and honors of the world.” His purpose was soon formed to exchange the plough for the pulpit. At the age of twenty two he entered Yale College, and in 1809 took his first degree. The following statements by his classmate and room-mate, the Rev. Jonathan Lee, show the steady and bright flame of his piety, with the increasing strength of his ruling passion, love to souls, amid the unfavorable influences of college life. “On becoming more particularly acquainted with Nettletori, I perceived that he was one who feared God. Ever kind, courteous, conscientious, exemplary, unassuming and unostentatious, his words and actions bore the most powerful testimony to my conscience, to the genuineness of his religious principles. He evidently had a taste for the spiritual themes and exercises pertaining to religion, so predominant and controlling, as to leave small space for mere literary ambition. His best loved place was the chapel, listening with devout solemnity to the prayers and preaching of of the venerated Dwight. His best loved book was the Bible. His best loved day was the Sabbath—and his best loved friends were those who knew the joys and sorrows of a pious heart. He was intimate with only a few select companions of congenial spirit, and who felt most interested in communing together upon the topics of doctrinal and experimental religion.” p. 34.—“In the winter of 1807–8, a revival of religion began in New Haven and in Yale College. The first subjects of it among the students were in the Freshman class. Nettleton was no indifferent spectator, but among the first to discover indications of special religious impressions, and to seek out persons in a state of religious anxiety. Then, contrary to what I had before witnessed of intimacy between the upper and lower classes, often did I see him with one or two heart-burdened youth of the youngest class, walking arm in

arm in the college yard, before evening prayers, conversing upon the great interests of the soul. I observed, that so soon as he became acquainted with a student under religious impressions, his company and counsel were sought and greatly prized; and it was manifest, that his conversation with such individuals, his silent and unostentatious labors in connection with his Christian brethren in their meeting for prayer and conference, held a very prominent and important place in that memorable and joyful season. His feelings were more deeply interested in the whole progress of the revival, and it seemed almost to absorb his mind by day and by night.” p. 38. At the close of his academic course, he had a strong desire to be a missionary to the heathen. Even before this time he had made the acquaintance of Samuel J. Mills, and their yearnings of heart over benighted pagans were quite similar. Yet neither of these ardent youth became a foreign missionary. In the wise ordering of Providence, however, each of them probably did far more for poor heathen, than if the first desire of his heart had received gratification; one, by an extensive agency in founding societies of most kindly bearing on some of the darkest places of the earth—the other, as an honored instrument in the conversion of many, who afterward went in person to preach the gospel in pagan lands, and of thousands more whose hearts the Lord inclined to become efficient and liberal helpers in the missionary cause. Mr. Nettleton received license to preach the gospel from the West Association of New Haven County. May 28, 1811. In the summer of 1817, he was ordained as an evangelist. The reasons why he never became a missionary are thus give ri in the Memoir. “Soon after he began to preach, his labors were

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of labor, and we found his whole soul in the great work of his life. Vol. III. 11

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