Merritt E. Cornell (1827-1893)

Video of the life of Merritt E. Cornell:

Adventist minister and evangelist. Merritt Cornell was a Millerite minister who was converted in 1852 with his wife Angeline, daughter of Henry Lyon, to Sabbatarian Adventism by Joseph Bates in Michigan. After meeting James and Ellen White in May 1853 on their first trip to Michigan, he joined J. N. Loughborough on a trip through Wisconsin to preach the third angel’s message. The next year in Battle Creek, Michigan, the two held the first Sabbatarian Adventist tent meetings ever conducted.  In 1855 on a committee with Bates and J. H. Waggoner he contributed to a report on spiritual gifts given to the 1855 conference in Battle Creek that proved to be a milestone in the acceptance of Ellen White’s prophetic gift. This confidence was tested in the 1860s when Ellen White wrote several letters rebuking both Merritt and his wife for various faults. Angeline became a spiritualist by 1871.

In the early 1870s Merritt joined Loughborough in tent meetings in San Francisco several years after the SDA work opened in that state, but continued to received testimonies from Ellen White regarding character defects, and warning him of Satan’s desire to destroy him. Certain improprieties with women caused him to be separated a short while from the work that year. After a return to active work, which included evangelism in 1874 with D. M. Canright in Oakland, California, due to a recurrence of moral problems he was told by Ellen White that he was unfit to be a minister. After his separation from the ministry, Ellen White continued to write to him and his wife, concerned about their salvation. They lived in Maryland for some time in the 1880s, where they were visited by Ellen White. After returning to Battle Creek in 1889 they were reconciled to the church. He resumed the work of a minister until his death November 1893.

Born in New York state, and raised from age 10 in Michigan, Merritt Cornell early believed the advent message, and dedicated his life to preaching it. In 1852 he was shown and believed the Sabbath truth, and immediately began sharing it with others, J. P. Kellogg and Cornell’s father-in-law, Henry Lyon, being among the first persons he met. Both accepted the Bible evidence for the seventh day sacredness.

With J. N. Loughborough during 1854 in Battle Creek he held the first Sabbatarian Adventist tent meetings. He continued to be active in evangelism, working at various times with Hiram Case, James WhiteJ. H. Waggoner, R. J. Lawrence, D. M. Canright, and J. O. Corliss. His wife, Angeline, assisted him in evangelism. He traveled from Maine to California and to several states in the South, defending Seventh-day Adventist views of scripture in public debate, holding evangelistic meetings, and writing articles and news items about his experiences for the Review and Herald. Like Peter of old, he was headstrong and had other serious character faults, with which the Lord labored with him, sending messages through Ellen White. For some 13 years, from 1876 to 1889 he was not connected with the organized work, but continued some free-lance preaching for part of that time. In 1886 Ellen White wrote that he was “a deeply repenting man, humbled in the dust" Lt 51, 1886 (September 6, 1886) par. 6; Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598], p. 379.5 (Ellen G. White). For the last three years of his life, he was again in the ministry.

(Vol. 6, No. 1 of “Lest We Forget” features M. E. Cornell.)

Merritt E. Cornell (1827-1893) on the Trinity:

“Protestants and Catholics are so nearly united in sentiment, that it is not difficult to conceive how Protestants may make an image to the Beast. The mass of Protestants believe with Catholics in the Trinity, immortality of the soul, consciousness of the dead, rewards and punishments at death, the endless torture of the wicked, inheritance of the saints beyond the skies, sprinkling for baptism, and the PAGAN SUNDAY for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the new testament. Surely there is between the mother and daughters, a striking family resemblance” (M. E. Cornell, 1858, Facts For The Times, page 76).