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[Letter from Young John Allen to Mollie Houston, January 28, 1857]

E. C. Oxford Ga. Jan. 28th 1857
My Dearest Mollie,

With many thanks to a kind and obliging Guardian, and doubly many to your worthy, indulgent and generous President, for the honor conferred and the fond privileges granted us, --which I trust shall be improved happily and appreciated highly and well by us,-- I will endeavor, though hastily and briefly, to respond to [added] yours and yester-morning-at-hand. To be brief then and concise I will try the plan of Richard Watson, when writing to his daughter and "be systematic", for I like system, order and adjustment in all things when convenient, and in writing a letter, perhaps nothing is more desirable, than [deleted] to a proper distribution of facts or a [added] relation of items of news or information, than system, by which I mean a separate and distinct disposition of each heterogeneous variety of news.
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But I must proceed to my "," which lies more immediately before me, as I did not set out with the intention of writing an essay on the necessityofSystem or the advantages of System in what we do, besides that of writing a letter is by far the more preferable as well as the more pleasing task --if thus you will allow me to call, its -- Oxford-- my return &c &c.

You are perhaps aware, from your knowledge of my past history in Oxford and of my returns hither, that on arriving here I found some warm and generous friends both old and young, gentlemen and ladies to welcome me back, and shall I be "presumptuous" enough to tell you the flattering truth that both by student and citizen I had a hearty welcome to my "Home Again," -- well be it so-- here I am.

Leisurely and lazily in room, I spent the greater part of my first week, it being
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rather forbidding out-doors. I shall not enter into minute detail of each several day, but suffice it on this head to say, that a right respectable band of new students at the end of the week had gathered in, to fill the places of the departed, but in some instances, not very tearfully lamented. There are perhaps now in of new and old 80 or 90-- On sabbath we had quite a treat from our Pastor, who formerly was stationed there, (at Macon) he preached us two beautiful and sweet sermons. I think him an amiable and zealous man; I became acquainted with him at Conference and I tell you I feel like giving him my hand in the glorious work in which he is engaged and heartily cooperating with him. May God bless and abound his good words and works in this place and build up [added] for himself an great [deleted] exceeding great name her in the conversion
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and reclamation of all these sinners and back-sliders, that a great cloud indeed (of witnessess) may arise from here and spread itself with showers of blessings and benefits to communities and states far and near.--

Monday, regular exercises in College began and to day under full canvases I think we have cleared our moorings with prospect of a prosperous and happy voyage. I know we have a faithful and tried Pilot, a Crew whom other days have inured to perils and dangers, quicksands and wrecks, and passengers some, of whom, at least, I can affirm, they will be landed safely at our next Post-- Commencement -- but enough -- enough!!--

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Religious -- By the grace of God, my Dearest One, I intend to make the days of this year severally and separately the holiest and happiest of my life. I have done laid all upon the Altar, made an entire, full and consecrate surrender of life, time and talents-- soul, body and mind-- of all I am or have-- substance, prospective, things temporal and things spiritual and do again this night redetermine and vow to follow the Lord with whithersoever his providence may guide or direct. The power of his grace supporting and the strength of his Spirit sustaining me. I want to be a holy, sanctified and zealous Christian servant, entirely devoted to the will and service of my most holy Master. I want to be usefull in my day and generation -- and spend the day alloted me here in the vineyard of the Lord. Do you not agree with
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me, Dearest, in what I have said? Yes I know you do, for our intentions are one and the same our purposes and our aims in life -- that is, the glory of God and the salvation of our own souls and those of our fellow mortals. May the Lord help us so to devote ourselves, in our intercourse with the world, in our conduct and deportment, to his cause as shall successfully as shall [deleted] "land and magnify " [deleted] his name."

I have last night and to day just made my first entries in my journal. I began by totally resigning myself to God and consecrating my all to him, and (have been) [added] framing and selecting such rules as I thought would best assist me in carrying out Our plans, regulating my life and governing my conduct.

My Dear Mollie, though far we be from each other I know you will
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zealously and fervently write with me in carrying out our general and I trust Providence-approved plans of future life. Let us devote ourselves then, Dearest, more entirely more thoroughly to God, become more alive to God and good works and more dead to the world and the things of the world.

"Blessed are all they that put their trust in the Lord". Is not our trust Mollie, in the Lord only? then let's hold fast; there's the promise and "He is faithful that promised." Let us not forget the "ways of pleasantness and paths of peace" which are of the Lord-- nor stray from God's flock that cheerfully feeds in the "green pastures and beside the still waters," "to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful-- but rather let us delight in the law of the Lord and
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and [sic] in his law meditate day and night, that we too, like that man described in the 1st Psalm, may be like a tree planted (not a wild tree) but a tree planted by the rivers of water not by a little branch that the summer droughts exhaust and dry away, not by a little wet-weather streamlet, but by the riversof water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; whose leaf shall not wither, but whatsoever he doeth shall be watered and nourished of God and therefore shall prosper.-- God Bless you My Dearest One.--I must now close. Pardon this very hasty and imperfect reply to yours. I would have selected a better time, but I knew not when it would come, so rather than hold you in further suspense I submit this. There are several items I shall have to neglect now Dr N. for instance & his care. I am going to write to Mellie soon as I can. Must I? Mollie I know you will write me soon therefore I will not ask you, for I know you will and I expect it-- anxiously await a "lengthy" reply.

Thine Own & Forever Young J. Allen

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