XI
RELIGION IN THE INSTITUTE
The development of religious interest and activity in the Institute
during the first years was such as to give the greatest satisfaction to its
friends.
The seventy students who were registered for the year 1834 had
come for the most part from the homes of planters many of them well
to do, and in most instances had only limited religious training when
they came to the
Institute.1
They were mere lads of the age when
religious instruction was the most opportune. And this religious
instruction they found at the Institute. Twice a day, once before
breakfast, and once again before supper, they assembled for worship,
which was led by the pious and dignified Wait. On Sunday they heard
preaching in the morning and attended a Bible class or prayer meeting
in the afternoon or evening. In a few weeks the religious influence
coming from the teaching and godly conversation of Principal Wait
had brought serious concern to a few of the students. From week to
week this concern continued to grow until it resulted in the first of
four great revivals which followed one another at intervals of about a
year at the Institute. This first revival came in the last days of August
and the first days of September, 1834. Four of the students attended a
camp meeting in Granville County, where two of them made a
profession, and a third became much concerned. The new converts
returning to the Institute, one on August 27, the other Thursday,
August 28, "a day never to be forgotten," began to converse with their
fellow students. By midday many students who had become seriously
affected and awakened to their condition as sinners, had got together
in one of the log cabins used as dormitories and were begging for
mercy. I give the further description from the letter of Wait in the
Baptist Interpreter of October 4, 1834:
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1
Letter of Wait in Baptist Interpreter of October 4,
1824.
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