Diary of David Brainerd
Lord's day, Oct. 19. "In the morning I felt my soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness. While I was looking on the elements of the Lord's Supper, and thinking that Jesus Christ was not 'set forth crucified before me', my soul was filled with light and love, so that I was almost in an ecstacy; my body was so weak I could scarcely stand.
"I felt at the same time an exceeding tenderness and most fervent love toward all mankind; so that my soul and all its powers seemed, as it were, to melt into softness and sweetness. But during the communion there was some abatement of this life and fervor. This love and joy cast out fear; and my soul longed for perfect grace and glory. This frame continued til the evening, when my soul was sweetly spiritual in secret duties.
Oct. 20. "I again found the assistance of the Holy Spirit in secret duties, both morning and evening, and life and comfort in religion through the whole day.
Oct. 21. "I had likewise experience of the goodness of God in shedding abroad his love in my heart, and giving me delight and consolation in religious duties; and all the remaining part of the week my soul seemed to be taken up with divine things. I now so longed after God, and to be freed from sin, that, when I felt myself recovering, and thought I must return to college again, which had proved so hurtful to my spiritual interests the year past, I could not but be grieved, and thought I had much rather die; for it distressed me to think of getting away from God. But before I went I enjoyed several other sweet and precious seasons of communion with God, (particularly Oct.30, and Nov. 4,) wherein my soul enjoyed unspeakable comfort.
"I returned to college about Nov. 6, and, through the goodness of God, felt the power of religion almost daily, for the space of six weeks.
Nov. 28. "In my evening devotion I enjoyed precious discoveries of God, and was unspeakably refreshed with that passage, Heb. 12:22-24. My soul longed to be conformed to God in all things. - A day or two after I enjoyed much of the light of God's countenance, most of the day; and my soul rested in God.
Dec. 9. "I was in a comfortable frame of soul most of the day; but especially in evening devotions, when God was pleased wonderfully to assist and strengthen me; so that I thought nothing should ever move me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. Oh! one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world. Toward the latter part of January, 1741, I grew more cold and dull in religion, by means of my old temptation, ambition in my studies. But though divine goodness, a great and general awakening spread itself over the college, about the end of February, in which I was much quickened, and more abundantly engaged in religion."
This awakening was at the beginning of that extraordinary religious commotion which then prevailed through the land, and in which the college shared largely. For thirteen months from this time Brainerd kept a constant diary containing a very particular account of what passed from day to day, making two volumes of manuscripts; but when he lay on his death bed he gave orders (unknown to me til after his death) that these two volumes should be destroyed, inserting a notice, at the beginning of the succeeding manuscripts, that a specimen of his manner of living during that entire period would be found in the first thirty pages next following, (ending with June 15, 1742,) except that he was now more "reformed from some imprudences and indecent heats" than before. A circumstance in the life of Brainerd, which gave great offence to the rulers of the College, and occasioned his expulsion, it is necessary should be here particularly related. During the awakening in College, there were several religious students who associated together for mutual conversation and assistance in spiritual things. These were wont freely to open themselves one to another, as special and intimate friends: Brainerd was one of this company. And it once happened, that he and two or three more of these intimate friends were in the hall together, after Mr. Whittlesey, one of the tutors, had engaged in prayer with the scholars; no other person now remaining in the hall but Brainerd and his companions. Mr. Whittlesey having been unusually pathetic in his prayer, one of Brainerd's friends on this occasion asked him what he thought of Mr. Whittlesey; he made answer, "He has no more grace than this chair." One of the freshmen happening at that time to be near the hall, (though not in the room,) over-heard these words; and though he heard no name mentioned, and knew not who was thus censured, informed a certain woman in town, withal telling her his own suspicion, that Brainerd said this of some one of the rulers of the College. Whereupon she informed the Rector, who sent for this freshman and examined him. He told the Rector the words which he heard Brainerd utter; and informed him who were in the room with him at that time. Upon this the Rector sent for them. They were very backward to inform against their friend respecting what they looked upon as a private conversation; especially as none but they had heard or knew of whom he had uttered those words: yet the Rector compelled them to declare what he said, and of whom he said it. Brainerd looked on himself as very HI used in the management of this affair; and thought that it was injuriously extorted from his friends, and then injuriously required of him - as if he had been guilty of some open, notorious crime - to make a public confession, and to humble himself before the whole College in the hall, for what he had said only in private conversation. He not complying with this demand, and having gone once to the Separate meeting at New-Haven, when forbidden by the Rector; and also having been accused by one person of saying concerning the Rector, "that he wondered he did not expect to drop down dead for firing the scholars who followed Mr. Tennent to Milford, though there was no proof of it; (and Brainerd ever professed that he did not remember saying any thing to that purpose,) for these things he was expelled from the college.
How far the circumstances and exigencies of that day might justify such great severity in the governors of the college, I will not undertake to determine; it being my aim, not to bring reproach on the authority of the college, but only to do justice to the memory of a person who was, I think, eminently one of those whose memory is blessed. - The reader will see, in the sequel, (particularly under date of September 14,15, 1743,) in how Christian a manner Brainerd conducted himself with respect to this affair; though he ever, as long as he lived, supposed himself ill used in the management of it, and in what he suffered. - His expulsion was in the winter, 1742, while in his third year at college.
From about the time when he began the study of Theology, till he was licensed to preach.
April 1, 1742 - July 29, 1742.
In the spring of 1742 Brainerd went to live with the Rev. Mr. Mills of Ripton, to pursue his studies with him for the work of the ministry. Here he spent the greater part of the time until he was licensed to preach; but frequently rode to visit the neighboring ministers, particularly Mr. Cooke of Stratford, Mr. Graham of Southbury, and Mr. Bellamy of Bethlehem. The following are extracts from his diary at this period.
April 1, 1742. - "I seem to be declining, with respect to my life and warmth in divine things; have not had so free access to God in prayer to-day as usual of late. Oh that God would humble me deeply in the dust before him! I deserve hell every day, for not loving my Lord more, who has, I trust, 'loved me and given himself for me;' and every time I am enabled to exercise any grace renewedly, I am renewedly indebted to the God of all grace for special assistance. 'Where then is boasting?' Surely 'it is excluded,' when we think how we are dependent on God for the existence and every act of grace. Oh! if ever I get to heaven, it will be because God pleases, and nothing else; for I never did any thing of myself but get away from God! My soul will be astonished at the unsearchable riches of divine grace when I arrive at the mansions which the blessed Savior is gone before to prepare.
April 2. - "In the afternoon I felt, in secret prayer, much resigned, calm and serene. What are all the storms of this lower world if Jesus, by his Spirit, does but come walking on the seas! - Sometime past I had much pleasure in the prospect of the heathen being brought home to Christ, and desired that the Lord would employ me in that work; but now my soul more frequently desires to die, to be with Christ. On that my soul were wrapped up in a divine love, and my longing desires after God increased! In the evening was refreshed in prayer, with the hopes of the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world.
Lord's day, April 4. - "My heart was wandering and lifeless. In the evening God gave me faith in prayer, made my soul melt in some measure, and gave me to taste a divine sweetness. Oh! my blessed God! Let me climb up near to him, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle, and stretch after him, and for deliverance from the body of sin and death. Alas! my soul mourned to think I should ever lose sight of its beloved again. "Oh come, Lord Jesus, Amen.
April 6. - "I walked out this morning; had an affecting sense of my own vileness; and cried to God to cleanse me, to give me repentance and pardon. I then began to find it sweet to pray; and could think of undergoing the greatest sufferings in the cause of Christ, with pleasure; and found myself willing, if God should so order it, to suffer banishment from my native land, among the heathen, that I might do something for their salvation, in distress and deaths of any kind. Then God gave me to wrestle earnestly for others, for the kingdom of Christ in the world, and for dear Christian friends.
April 8. - "Had raised hopes to-day respecting the heathen. Oh that God would bring in great numbers of them to Jesus Christ! I cannot but hope that I shall see that glorious day Everything in this world seems exceeding vile and little to me: I appear so to myself. I had some little dawn of comfort to-day in prayer; but especially to-night, I think I had some faith and power of intercession with God. I was enabled to plead with God for the growth of grace in myself; and many of the dear children of God then lay with weight upon my soul. Blessed be the Lord! It is good to wrestle for divine blessings.
April 9. - "Most of my time in morning devotion was spent without sensible sweetness; yet I had one delightful prospect of arriving at the heavenly world. I am more amazed than ever at such thoughts; for I see myself infinitely vile and unworthy. No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more than I, and none abuse it more than I have done, and still do.
Lord's day, April 11. - "In the morning I felt but little life; yet my heart was somewhat drawn out in thankfulness to God for his amazing grace and condescension to me, in past influences and assistance of his Spirit. Afterward, I had some sweetness in the thoughts of arriving at the heavenly world. Oh! for the happy day! After public worship, God gave me special assistance in prayer; I wrestled with my dear Lord, and intercession was made a delightful employment to me. In the evening, as I was viewing the light in the north, I was delighted in the contemplation of the glorious morning of the resurrection.
April 12. - "This morning the Lord was pleased to lift up the light of his countenance upon me in secret prayer, and made the season very precious to my soul. Though I have been so depressed of late, respecting my hopes of future serviceableness in the cause of God; yet now I had much encouragement. I was especially assisted to intercede and plead for poor souls, and for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom in the world, and for special grace for myself, to fit me for special services. My faith lifted me above the world, and removed all those mountains over which of late I could not look. I wanted not the favor of man to lean upon; for I knew that Christ's favor was infinitely better, and that it was no matter when nor where, nor how Christ should send me, nor what trials he should still exercise me with, if I might be prepared for his work and will.
April 14. - "My soul longed for communion with Christ, and for the mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. Oh! there is a sweet day coming, wherein 'the weary will be at rest!' My soul has enjoyed much sweetness this day, in the hope of its speedy arrival.
April 15. - "My desires apparently centered in God, and I found a sensible attraction of soul after him sundry times to-day. I know that I long for God, and a conformity to his will, in inward purity and holiness, ten thousand times more than for any thing here below.
Lord's day, April 18. - "I retired early this morning into the woods for prayer; had the assistance of God's Spirit, and faith in exercise; and was enabled to plead with fervency for the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world, and to intercede for dear, absent friends. At noon, God enabled me to wrestle with him, and to feel, as I trust, the power of divine love in prayer. At night, I saw myself infinitely indebted to God, and had a view of my failures in duty. It seemed to me that I had done, as it were, nothing for God, and that I had lived to him but a few hours of my life.
April 19. - "I set apart this day for fasting and prayer to God for his grace; especially to prepare me for the work of the ministry; to give me divine aid and direction, in my preparations for that great work; and in his own time to send me into his harvest. Accordingly, in the morning I endeavored to plead for the divine presence for the day, and not without some life. In the forenoon I felt the power of intercession for precious, immortal souls; for the advancement of the kingdom of my dear Lord and Saviour in the world; and withal, a most sweet resignation and even consolation and joy, in the thoughts of suffering hardships, distresses, and even death itself, in the promotion of it, and has special enlargement in pleading for the enlightening and conversion of the poor heathen. In the afternoon God was with me of a truth. Oh! it was blessed company indeed! God enabled me so to agonize in prayer, that I was quite wet with sweat, though in the shade and the cool wind. My soul was drawn out very much for the world; I grasped for multitudes of souls. I think I had more enlargement for sinners than for the children of God; though I felt as if I could spend my life in cries for both. I had great enjoyment in communion with my dear Savior. I think I never in my life felt such an entire weanedness from this world, and so much resigned to God in every thing. Oh! that I may always live to and upon my blessed God! Amen, Amen.
April 20. - "This day I am twenty-four years of age. Oh! how much mercy have I received the year past! How often has God 'caused his goodness to pass before me!' And how poorly have I answered the vows I made one year since, to be wholly the Lord's, to be for ever devoted to his service! The Lord help me to live more to his glory for the time to come. This has been a sweet, a happy day to me; blessed be God. I think my soul was never so drawn out in intercession for others, as it has been this night. Had a most fervent wrestle with the Lord to-night, for my enemies; and I hardly ever so longed to live to God, and to be altogether devoted to him; I wanted to wear out my life in his service, and for his glory.
April 21, "Felt much calmness and resignation; and God again enabled me to wrestle for numbers of souls, and gave me fervently in the sweet duty of intercession. I enjoy of late more sweetness in intercession for others, than in any other part of prayer. My blessed Lord really let me come near to him, and plead with him.
Lord's day, April 25. "This morning I spent about two hours in secret duties, and was enabled, more than ordinarily, to agonize for immortal souls. At night I was exceedingly melted with divine love, and had some feeling sense of the blessedness of the upper world. Those words hung upon me with much divine sweetness. Psa. 84:7. 'They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.' Oh! the near access that God sometimes gives us in our addresses to him! This may well be termed 'appearing before God:' it is so indeed, in the true spiritual sense, and in the sweetest sense. I think that I have not had such power of intercession these many months, both for God's children, and for dead sinners, as I have had this evening. I wished and longed for the coming of my dear Lord: I longed to join the angelic hosts in praises, wholly free from imperfection. Oh! the blessed moment hastens! All I want is to be more holy, more like my dear Lord. Oh for sanctification! My very soul pants for the complete restoration of the blessed image of my Savior; that I may be fit for the blessed enjoyments and employments of the heavenly world. So much of heaven before; it was the most refined and most spiritual season of communion with God I ever yet felt.
April 28. - "I withdrew to my usual place of retirement, in great peace and tranquility, spent about two hours in secret duties, and felt much as I did yesterday morning, only weaker, and more overcome. I seemed to depend wholly on my dear Lord; weaned from all other dependencies. I knew not what to say to my God, but only lean on his bosom, as it were, and breathe out my desires after a perfect conformity to him in all things. Thirsting desires after perfect holiness, and insatiable longings possessed my soul. God was so precious to me that the world, with all its enjoyments, was infinitely vile. I had no more value for the favor of men, than for pebbles. The Lord was my all, and that he over-ruled all, greatly delighted me. I think that my faith and dependence on God scarce ever rose so high. I saw him such a fountain of goodness that it seemed impossible I should distrust him again, or be any way anxious about any thing that should happen to me. I now had great satisfaction in praying for absent friends, and for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom in the world. Much of the power of these divine enjoyments remained with me through the day. In the evening my heart seemed to melt, and I trust was really humbled for indwelling corruption, and I 'mourned like a dove.' I felt that all my unhappiness arose from my being a sinner. With resignation, I could bid welcome to all other trials; but sin hung heavy upon me; for God discovered to me the corruption of my heart. I went to bed with a heavy heart, because I was a sinner; though I did not in the least doubt of God's love. Oh! that God would 'purge away my dross, and take away my sin,' and make me ten times refined!
May 1. - "I was enabled to cry to God with fervency for ministerial qualifications, that he would appear for the advancement of his own kingdom, and that he would bring in the heathen. Had much assistance in my studies. This has been a profitable week to me; I have enjoyed many communications of the blessed Spirit in my soul.
May 3. - "Had a sense of vile ingratitude. In the morning I withdrew to my usual place of retirement, and mourned for my abuse of my dear Lord; spent the day in fasting and prayer. God gave me much power of wrestling for his cause and kingdom; and it was a happy day to my soul. God was with me all the day; and I was more above the world than ever in my life.
May 13. - (At Wethersfield.) "Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart that I longed to get away from myself. I never before thought that there was so much spiritual pride in my soul. I felt almost pressed to death with my own vileness. Oh! what a 'body of death' is there in me! Lord deliver my soul! I could not find any convenient place for retirement, and was greatly exercised. Rode to Hartford in the afternoon; had some refreshment and comfort in religious exercises with Christian friends; but longed for more retirement. Oh! the closest walk with God is the sweetest heaven that can be enjoyed on earth!
June 14. - "Felt somewhat of the sweetness of communion with God, and the constraining force of his love; how admirably it captivates the soul, and makes all the desires and affections center in God! - I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer, to entreat God to direct and bless me with regard to the great work which I have in view, of preaching the gospel - and that the Lord would return to me, and individually 'show me the light of his countenance.' Had little life and power in the forenoon: near the middle of the afternoon God enabled me to wrestle ardently in intercession for absent friends: but just at night the Lord visited me marvelously in prayer. I think my soul never was in such an agony before. I felt no restraint, for the treasures of divine grace were opened to me. I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, for multitudes of poor souls, and for many that I thought were the children of God, in many distant places. I was in such an agony, for half an hour before sunset, till near dark, that I was all over wet with sweat: but yet is seemed to me that I had wasted away the day, and had done nothing. Oh! my dear Savior did sweat blood for poor souls! I longed for more compassion toward them. Felt still in a sweet frame, under a sense of divine love and
'Farewell, vain world; my soul can bid Adieu.
My Savior taught me to abandon you.
Your charms may gratify a sensual mind.
But cannot please a soul for God Designed.
"Forbear t' entice; cease then my soul to call;
Tis fixed through grace; my God shall be my all.
"While he thus lets me heavenly glories view,
"Your beauties fade, my heart's no room for you.'
"The Lord refreshed my soul with many sweet passages of his Word. Oh! the New Jerusalem! my soul longed for it. Oh! the song of Moses and the Lamb! And that blessed song, that no man can learn but they who are 'redeemed from the earth!'
'Lord, I'm a stranger here alone;
Earth no true comforts can afford;
Yet, absent from my dearest one,
My soul delights to cry 'My Lord!'
"Jesus, my Lord, my only love,
Possesses my soul, not thence depart:
Grant me kind visits, heavenly Dove;
My God shall then have all my heart.'
April 27. "I arose and retired early for secret devotions; and in prayer, God was pleased to pour such ineffable comforts into my soul, that I could do nothing for some time but say over and over, 'O my sweet Saviour! whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.' If I had a thousand lives, my soul would gladly have laid them all down at once, to have been with Christ. My soul never enjoyed grace; and went to bed in such a frame, with my heart set on God.
June 15. - "Had the most ardent longings after God. At noon, in my secret retirement, I could do nothing but tell my dear Lord, in a sweet calm, that he know I desired nothing but himself, nothing but holiness; that he had given me these desires, and he only could give me the thing desired. I never seemed to be so unhinged from myself, and to be so wholly devoted to God. My heart was swallowed up in God most of the day. In the evening I had such a view of the soul being, as it were, enlarged, to contain more holiness, that it seemed ready to separate from my body. I then wrestled in agony for divine blessings; had my heart drawn out in prayer for some Christian friends, beyond what I ever had before. I feel differently now from what I ever did under any enjoyments before; more engaged to live to God for ever, and less pleased with my own frames. I am not satisfied with my frames, nor feel at all more easy after such strugglings than before; for it seems far too little, if I should always so. Oh! how short do I fall of my duty in my sweetest moments!
June 18. - "Considering my great unfitness for the work of the ministry, my present deadness, and total inability to do any thing for the glory of God that way, feeling myself very helpless, and at a great loss what the Lord would have me to do; I set apart this day for prayer to God, and spent most of the day in that duty but was amazingly deserted most of the day. yet I found God graciously near, once in particular; while I was pleading for more compassion for immortal souls, my heart seemed to be opened at once, and I was enabled to cry with great ardency for a few minutes. Oh! I was distressed to think, that I should offer such dead cold services to the living God! My soul seemed to breathe after holiness, a life of constant devotedness to God. But I almost lost sometimes in the pursuit of this blessedness, and ready to sink, because I continually fall short, and miss of my desire. Oh! that the Lord would help me to hold out, yet a little while, until the happy hour of deliverance comes!
June 30. - "Spent this day alone in the woods, in fasting and prayer; underwent the most dreadful conflicts in my soul. I saw myself so vile that I was ready to say, 'I shall now perish by the hand of Saul.' I thought that I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost afraid of the shaking of a leaf. Spent almost the whole day in prayer, incessantly. I could not bear to think of Christians showing me any respect. I almost despaired of doing any service in the world: I could not feel any hope or comfort respecting the heathen, which used to afford me some refreshment in the darkest hours of this nature. I spent the day in bitterness of soul. Near night I felt a little better; and afterward enjoyed some sweetness in secret prayer.
July 1. - "Had some enjoyment in prayer this morning; and far more than usual in secret prayer to-night, and desired nothing so ardently as that God should do with me just as he pleased.
July 2. - "Felt composed in secret prayer in the morning. My desires ascended to God this day, as I was traveling: was comfortable in the evening. Blessed be God for all my consolations.
July 3. - "My heart seemed again to sink. The disgrace I was laid under at college seemed to damp my spirits; as it opens the mouths of opposers. I had no refuge but in God. Blessed be his name, that I may go to him at all times, and find him a 'present help.'
Lord's day, July 4. - "Had considerable assistance. In the evening I withdrew, and enjoyed a happy season in secret prayer. God was pleased to give me the exercise of faith, and thereby brought the invisible and eternal world near to my soul; which appeared sweetly to me. I hoped that my weary pilgrimage in the world would be short; and that it would not be long before I should be brought to my heavenly home and Father's house. I was resigned to God's will, to tarry his time, to do his work, and suffer his pleasure. I felt thankfulness to God for all my pressing desertions of late; for I am persuaded that they have been made a means of making me more humble, and much more resigned. I felt pleased to be little, to be nothing, and to lie in the dust. I enjoyed life and consolation in pleading for the dear children of God, and the kingdom of Christ in the world: and my soul earnestly breathed after holiness, and the enjoyment of God. 'O come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.'
July 29. - "I was examined by the Association met at Danbury, as to my learning, and also my experience in religion, and received a license from them to preach the Gospel of Christ. Afterward felt much devoted to God; joined in prayer with one of the ministers, my peculiar friend, in a convenient place; and went to bed resolving to live devoted to God all my days."
From his being licensed to preach, till he was commissioned as a Missionary.
July 30, - Nov. 25, 1742.
July 30, 1742. - "Rode from Danbury to Southbury; preached there, from I Pet. 4:8. Had much of the comfortable presence of God in the exercise. I seemed to have power with God in prayer, and power to get hold of the hearts of the people in preaching.
Aug. 12. (Near Kent.) - "This morning and last night I was exercised with sore inward trials: I had no power to pray: but seemed shut out from God. I had in a great measure lost my hopes of God's sending me among the heathen afar off, and of seeing them flock home to Christ. I saw so much of my vileness, that I wondered that God would let me live and that people did not stone me; much more that they would ever hear me preach!
It seemed as though I never could preach any more; yet about nine or ten o'clock the people came over, and I was forced to preach; and blessed be God, he gave me his presence and Spirit in prayer and preaching; so that I was much assisted, and spake with power, from Job, 14:14. Some Indians residing here, cried out in great distress, and all appeared greatly concerned. After we had prayed and exhorted them to seek the Lord with constancy, and hired an English woman to keep a kind of school among them, we came away.
Lord's day, Aug. 15. - "Felt much comfort and devotedness to God this day. At night, it was refreshing to get alone with God, and pour out my soul. Oh! who can conceive of the sweetness of communion with the blessed God, but those who have experience of it! Glory to God for ever, that I may taste heaven below.
Aug. 17. - "Exceedingly depressed in spirit, it cuts and wounds my heart to think how much self-exaltation, spiritual pride, and warmth of temper, I have formerly had intermingled with my endeavors to promote God's work: and sometimes I long to lie down at the feet of opposers, and confess what a poor imperfect creature I have been, and still am. The Lord forgive me, and make me, for the future, 'wise as a serpent, and harmless as a dove!' Afterward enjoyed considerable comfort and delight of soul.
Aug. 19. - "This day, being about to go from Mr. Bellamy's, at Bethlehem, where I had resided some time, I prayed with him and two or three other Christian friends. We gave ourselves to God with all our hearts, to be his for ever: eternity looked very near to me while I was praying. If I never should see these Christians again in this world, it seemed but a few moments before I should meet them in another world.
Aug. 23. - "Had a sweet season in secret prayer: the Lord drew near to my soul, and filled me with peace and divine consolation. Oh! my soul tasted the sweetness of heaven; and was drawn out in prayer for the world, that it might come home to Christ! Had much comfort in the thoughts and hopes of the ingathering of the heathen; was greatly assisted in intercession for Christian friends.
Sept. 1. - "Went to Judea to the ordination of Mr. Judd. Mr. Bellamy preached from Matt. 24:26. 'Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.' I felt very solemn; had my thoughts much on that time when our Lord will come, which refreshed my soul much; only I was afraid I should not be found faithful, because I have so vile a heart. My thoughts were much in eternity where I love to dwell. Blessed be God for this solemn season. Rode home to night with Mr. Bellamy, conversed with some friends till it was very late, and then retired to rest in a comfortable frame.
Sept. 4. - "Much out of health, exceedingly depressed in my soul, and at awful distance from God. Toward night, spent some time in profitable thoughts on Rom. 8:2. Near night, had a very sweet season in prayer; God enabled me to wrestle ardently for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom; pleaded earnestly for my own dear brother John, (who at length became his successor as a Missionary to the Indians,) that God would make him more of a pilgrim and stranger on the earth, and fit him for singular serviceableness in the world; and my heart sweetly exulted in the Lord, in the thoughts of any distresses that might alight on him or on me, in the advancement of Christ's kingdom. It was a sweet and comfortable hour unto my soul, while I was indulged with freedom to plead, not only for myself, but also for many other souls.
Sept. 16. - "At night, enjoyed much of God, in secret prayer: felt an uncommon resignation to be and do what God pleased. Some days past I felt great perplexity on account of my past conduct: my bitterness, and want of Christian kindness and love, has been very distressing to my soul: the Lord forgive my unchristian warmth, and want of a spirit of meekness!
Oct. 21. - "Had a very deep sense of the vanity of the world, most of the day; had little more regard to it, than if I had been to go into eternity the next hour. Through divine goodness, I felt very serious and solemn. Oh! I love to live on the brink of eternity, in my views and meditations! This gives me a sweet, awful, and reverential sense and apprehension of God and divine things, when I see myself as it were, standing before the judgment seat of Christ.
Oct. 22. - "Uncommonly weaned from the world to-day: my soul delighted to be a 'stranger and pilgrim on the earth;' I felt a disposition in me never to have any thing to do with this world. The character given of some of the ancient people of God, in Heb. 11:13, was very pleasing to me, 'they confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth,' by their daily practice; and Oh! that I could always do so! Spent some time in a pleasant grove, in prayer and meditation. Oh! it is sweet to be thus weaned from friends, and from myself, and dead to the present world, that so I may live wholly to and upon the blessed God! Saw myself little, low and vile, as I am in myself. In the afternoon preached at Bethlehem from Deut. 8:2. God helped me to speak to the hearts of dear Christians. Blessed be the Lord for this season: I trust they and I shall rejoice on this account to all eternity. Dear Mr. Bellamy came in while I was making the first prayer, (having returned home from a journey,) and after meeting we walked away together, and spent the evening in sweetly conversing on divine things, and praying together, with tender love to each other, and retired to rest with our hearts in a serious spiritual frame.
Oct. 26. - "[At West Suffield.] Was in great distress, under a sense of my own unworthiness. It seemed to me that I deserved rather to be driven out of the place, than to have anybody treat me with kindness, or come to hear me preach. And verily my spirits were so depressed at this time (as at many others) that it was impossible I should treat immortal souls with faithfulness. I could not deal closely and faithfully with them, I felt so infinitely vile in myself. Oh! what dust and ashes I am, to think of preaching the Gospel to others! Indeed, I never can be faithful for one moment, but shall certainly 'daub with untempered mortar,' if God do not grant me special help. In the evening I went to the meeting-house, and it looked to me near as easy for one to rise out of the grave and preach, as for me. However, God afforded me some life and power, both in prayer and sermon; and was pleased to lift me up, and show me that he could enable me to preach. Oh! the wonderful goodness of God to so vile a sinner! Returned to my lodgings, and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer alone, and mourned that I could not live more to God.
November 4. - "[At Lebanon.] Saw much of my nothingness most of this day; but felt concerned that I had no more sense of my insufficiency and unworthiness. Oh! it is sweet lying in the dust! But it is distressing to feel in my soul that hell of corruption which still remains in me. In the afternoon had a sense of the sweetness of a strict, close, and constant devotedness to God, and my soul was comforted with his consolations. My soul felt a pleasing, yet painful concern, lest I should spend some moments without God. Oh! may I always live to God! In the evening I was visited by some friends, and spent the time in prayer, and such conversation as tended to our edification. It was a comfortable season to my soul: I felt an intense desire to spend every moment for God. God is unspeakably gracious to me continually. In times past, he has given me inexpressible sweetness in the performance of duty. Frequently my soul has enjoyed much of God; but has been ready to say, 'Lord, it is good to be here,' and so to indulge sloth, while I have lived on my enjoyments. But of late, God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry, almost continually; so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain. When I really enjoy God I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable; and the Lord will not allow me to feel as though I were fully supplied and satisfied, but keeps me still reaching forward. I feel barren and empty, as though I could not live with more of God; I feel ashamed and guilty before him. I see that 'the law is spiritual, but I am carnal.' I do not, I cannot live to God. Oh! for holiness! Oh! for more of God in my soul! Oh! this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God; the language of it is, 'Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake in God's likeness,' but never, never before: and consequently, I am engaged to 'press toward the mark,' day by day. Oh! that I may feel this continual hunger, and not be retarded, but rather animated, by every cluster from Canaan, to reach forward in the narrow way for the full enjoyment and possession of the heavenly inheritance! Oh! that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey!
Lord's day, Nov. 7. - "[At Millington.] It seemed as if such an unholy wretch as I never could arrive at that blessedness, to be 'holy, as God is holy.' At noon, I longed for sanctification, and conformity to God. Oh! that is the all, the all. The Lord help me to press after God forever.
Nov. 8. - "Toward night, enjoyed much sweetness in secret prayer, so that my soul longed for an arrival in the heavenly country, the blessed paradise of God. Through divine goodness I have scarce seen the day for two months, in which death has not looked so pleasant to me, at one time or other of the day, that I could have rejoiced that it should be my last, notwithstanding my present inward trials and conflicts. I trust the Lord will finally make me a conqueror, and more than a conqueror; and that I shall be able to use that triumphant language, 'O death, where is thy sting! Oh! grave, where is thy victory!'
Nov. 19. - "[At New-Haven.] Received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Pemberton, of New-York, desiring me speedily to go down thither, and consult in reference to the evangelizing of the Indians in those parts; and to meet certain gentlemen there who were intrusted with those affairs. My mind was instantly seized with concern; so I retired, with two or three Christian friends, and prayed; and indeed it was a sweet time with me. I was enabled to leave myself, and all my concerns with God; and taking leave of friends, I rode to Ripton, and was comforted in an opportunity to see and converse with dear Mr. Mills.
Nov. 24. - "Came to New-York; felt still much concerned about the importance of my business; made many earnest requests to God for his help and direction; was confused with the noise and tumult of the city; enjoyed but little time alone with God; but my soul longed after him.
Nov. 25. - "Spent much time in prayer and supplication: was examined in reference to my Christian experience, my acquaintance with divinity, and some other studies and my qualifications for the important work of evangelizing the heathen [Mr. Brainerd was examined by the correspondents in New-York, New-Jersey, and Pennsylvania, of the Society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge; to whom was committed the management of their affairs in those parts, and who were not met at New-York.], and was made sensible of my great ignorance and unfitness for public service. I had the most abasing thoughts of myself; I felt that I was the worst wretch that ever lived: it pained my very heart, that anybody should show me any respect. Alas! me thought how sadly they are deceived in me! how miserably would they be disappointed if they knew my inside! Oh! my heart! And in the depressed condition I was forced to go and preach to a considerable assembly, before some grave and learned ministers; but felt such a pressure from a sense of my vileness, ignorance, and unfitness to appear in public, that I was almost overcome with it; my soul was grieved for the congregation, that they should sit there to hear such a dead dog as I preach, I thought myself infinitely indebted to the people, and longed that God would reward them with the rewards of his grace. I spent much of the evening alone."
From his appointment as a Missionary, to his commencing his Mission among the Indians at Kaunaumeek, in New-York. Nov. 26, 1742. - March 31, 1743.
Nov. 26, 1742. - "Had still a sense of my great vileness, and endeavored as much as I could to keep alone. Oh! what a nothing, what dust and ashes am I! Enjoyed some peace and comfort in spreading my complaints before the God of all grace.
Nov. 27. - "Committed my soul to God with some degree of comfort; left New-York about nine in the morning; came away with a distressing sense still of my unspeakable unworthiness. Surely I may well love all my brethren; for none of them all is so vile as I: whatever they do outwardly, yet it seems to me none is conscious of so much guilt before God. Oh! my leanness, my barrenness, my carnality, and past bitterness, and want of a gospel temper! These things oppress my soul. Rode from New-York, thirty miles, to White Plains, and most of the way continued lifting up my heart to God for mercy and purifying grace; and spent the evening much dejected in spirit.
Dec. 1. - "My soul breathed after God, in sweet spiritual and longing desires of conformity to him, and was brought to rest itself on his rich grace, and felt strength and encouragement to do or suffer any thing, that divine providence should allot me. Rode about twenty miles, from Stratfield to Newtown." Within the space of the next nine days he went a journey from Newton to Haddam, his native town; and after staying there some days, returned again into the western part of Connecticut, and came to Southbury.
Dec. 11th. - "Conversed with a dear friend, to whom I had thought of giving a liberal education, and being at the whole charge of it, that he might be fitted for the gospel ministry. [Brainerd, having now undertaken the business of a missionary to the Indians, and having some estate left him by his father, judged that there was no way in which he could spend it more for the glory of God, than by being at the charge of educating some young man of talents and piety for the ministry. The young man here spoken of was selected for this purpose, and received his education at Brainerd's expense, so long as his benefactor lived, which was till he was carried through his third year in college.] I acquainted him with my thoughts on the subject, and so left him to consider of it, till I should see him again. Then I rode to Bethlehem, came to Mr. Bellamy's lodgings, and spent the evening with him in sweet conversation and prayer. We commended the concern of sending my friend to college to the God of all grace. Blessed be the Lord for this evening's opportunity together.
Lord's day, Dec. 12. - "I felt, in the morning, as if I had little or no power either to pray or preach; and felt a distressing need of divine help. I went to meeting trembling; but it pleased God to assist me in prayer and sermon. I think my soul scarce ever penetrated so far into the immaterial world, in any one prayer that I ever made, nor were my devotions ever so free from gross conceptions and imaginations framed from beholding material objects. I preached with some satisfaction, from Matt. 6:33. 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God,' &c.; and in the afternoon, from Rom. 15:30. 'And now I beseech you brethren,' &c. There was much affection in the assembly. This has been a sweet Sabbath to me; and blessed be God, I have reason to think that my religion has become more spiritual by means of late inward conflicts. Amen. May I always be willing that God should use his own methods with me!
Dec. 14. -"Some perplexity hung on my mind; I was distressed last night and this morning for the interests of Zion, especially on account of the false appearances of religion, that do but rather breed confusion, especially in some places. I cried to God for help, to enable me to bear testimony against those things, which, instead of promoting, do but hinder the progress of vital piety. In the afternoon, rode down to Southbury, and conversed again with my friend on the important subject of his pursuing the work of the ministry; and he appeared much inclined to devote himself to it, if God should succeed his attempts to qualify himself for so great a work. In the evening I preached from I Thess. 4:8, and endeavored, though with tenderness, to undermine false religion. The Lord gave me some assistance.
Dec. 15. - "Enjoyed some thing of God to-day, both in secret and social prayer; but was sensible of much barrenness and defect in duty, as well as my inability to help myself for the time to come, or to perform the work and business I have to do. Afterward, felt much of the sweetness of religion, and the tenderness of the gospel-temper. I found a dear love to all mankind, and was much afraid lest some motion of anger or resentment should, from time to time creep into my heart. Had some comforting, soul-refreshing discourse with dear friends, just as we took our leave of each other; and supposed it might be we should not meet again till we came to the eternal world. [It had been determined by the Commissioners, who employed Brainerd as a missionary, that he should go, as soon as might be convenient, to the Indians living near the Forks of Delaware river, and the Indians on Susquehanna river. The distance of those places, and his probable exposure to many hardships and dangers, was the occasion of his taking leave of his friends in this manner.] I doubt not but, through grace, some of us shall have a happy meeting there, and bless God for this season, as well as many others. Amen.
Dec. 18. "Spent much time in prayer in the woods; and seemed raised above the things of the world: my soul was strong in the Lord of Hosts; but was sensible of great barrenness.
Dec. 23. - "Enjoyed, I trust, the presence of God this morning in secret. Oh! how divinely sweet is it to come into the secret of his presence, and abide in his pavilion!
Dec. 27. - "Enjoyed a precious season indeed; had a melting sense of divine things, of the pure spirituality of the religion of Christ Jesus. In the evening I preached from Matt. 6:33 with much freedom, power and pungency: the presence of God attended our meeting. Oh! the sweetness, the tenderness I felt in my soul! If ever I felt the temper of Christ, I had some sense of it now. Blessed be my God, I have seldom enjoyed a more comfortable and profitable day than this. Oh! that I could spend all my time for God!
Jan. 14, 1743. - "My spiritual conflicts to-day were unspeakably dreadful, heavier than the mountains and over-flowing floods. I was deprived of all sense of God, even of the being of a God; and that was my misery. The torments of the damned, I am sure, will consist much in a privation of God, and consequently of all good. This taught me the absolute dependence of a creature upon God the Creator, for every crumb of happiness it enjoys. Oh! I feel that, if there is no God, though I might live forever here, and enjoy not only this, but all other worlds, I should be ten thousand times more miserable than a reptile.
Lord's day, Jan. 23. - "I scarce ever felt myself so unfit to exist as now: saw I was not worthy of a place among the Indians, where I am going, if God permit: thought I should be ashamed to look them in the face, and much more to have any respect shown me there. Indeed I felt myself banished from the earth, as if all places were too good for such a wretch. I thought I should be ashamed to go among the very savages of Africa; I appeared to myself a creature fit for nothing, neither heaven nor earth. None know but those who feel it, what the soul endures that is sensibly shut out from the presence of God: alas! it is more bitter than death.
Feb. 2. - "Preached my farewell sermon last night, at the house of an aged man, who had been unable to attend on public worship for some time. This morning spent the time in prayer almost wherever I went; and having taken leave of friends, I set out on my journey toward the Indians; though I was first to spend some weeks at East-Hampton, on Long-Island, by leave of the commissioners; the winter season being judged unfavorable for the commencement of the mission.
Feb. 12. - [At East-Hampton.] "Enjoyed a little more comfort; was enabled to meditate with some composure of mind; and especially in the evening, found my soul more refreshed in prayer than at any time of late; my soul seemed to 'take hold of God's strength,' and was comforted with his consolations. Oh! how sweet are some glimpses of divine glory! how strengthening and quickening!
Feb. 15. "Early in the day I felt some comfort, afterward I walked into a neighboring grove, and felt more as a stranger on earth, I think, than ever before; dead to any of the enjoyments of the world. In the evening had divine sweetness in secret duty: God was then my portion, and my soul rose above those deep waters, into which I have sunk so low of late. My soul then cried for Zion, and had sweetness in so doing.
Feb. 17. - "Preached this day at a little village in East-Hampton; and God was pleased to give me his gracious presence and assistance, so that I spake with freedom, boldness, and some power. In the evening spent some time with a dear Christian friend; and felt serious, as on the brink of eternity. Our interview was truly a little emblem of heaven itself. I find my soul is more refined and weaned from a dependence on my frames and spiritual feelings.
Feb. 18. -"Had some enjoyment most of the day, and found access to the throne of grace. Blessed be the Lord for any intervals of heavenly delight and composure, while I am engaged in the field of battle. Oh! that I might be serious, solemn, and always vigilant, while in an evil world! Had some opportunity alone to-day , and found some freedom in study, Oh! I long to live to God!"
During the next two weeks it appears that for the most part he enjoyed much spiritual peace and comfort. In his diary for this space of time, are expressed such things as these; mourning over indwelling sin, unprofitableness; deadness to the world; longing after God, and to live to his glory; heart melting desires after his eternal home; fixed reliance on God for his help; experience of such divine assistance, both in the private and public exercises of religion; inward strength nd courage in the service of God; very frequent refreshment, consolation, and divine sweetness in meditation, prayer, preaching, and Christian conversation. And it appears by his account, that this space of time was filled up with great diligence and earnestness in serving God; in study, prayer, meditation, preaching, and privately instructing and counseling.
March 7. - "This morning when I arose I found my heart go forth after God in longing desires of conformity to him, and in secret prayer found myself sweetly quickened and drawn out in praises to God for all he had done to and for me, and for all my inward trials and distress of late. My heart ascribed glory, glory, glory to the blessed God and bid welcome to all inward distress again, if God saw meet to exercise me with it. Time appeared but an inch long, and eternity at hand; and I thought I could with patience and cheerfulness bear any thing for the cause of God; for I saw that a moment would bring me to a world of peace and blessedness. My soul, by the strength of the Lord, rose far above this lower world, and all the vain amusements and frightful disappointments of it.
Lord's day, March 13, "At noon, I thought it impossible for me to preach, by reason of bodily weakness and inward deadness. In the first prayer, I was so weak that I could scarcely stand; but in the sermon, God strengthened me, so that I spake near an hour and a half with sweet freedom, clearness, and some tender power, from Gen. 5:24. 'And Enoch walked with God.' I was sweetly assisted to insist on a close walk with God, and to leave this as my parting advice to God's people here, that they would 'walk with God.' May the God of all grace succeed my poor labors in this place'
March 14. "In the morning was very busy in preparation for my journey, and was almost continually engaged in ejaculatory prayer. About ten took leave of the dear people of East-Hampton; my heart grieved and mourned, and rejoiced at the same time; rode near fifty miles to a part of Brook-Haven, and lodged there, and had refreshing conversation with a Christian friend." In two days more he reached New-York; but complains of much desertion and deadness on the road. He stayed one day in New-York, and on Friday went to Mr. Dickinson's at Elizabeth-Town.
March. 19. "Was bitterly distressed under a sense of my ignorance, darkness, and unworthiness; got alone, and poured out my complaint to God in the bitterness of my soul. In the afternoon rode to Newark, and had some sweetness in conversation and prayer with Mr. Buff. Oh! blessed be God for ever and ever, for any enlivening and quickening seasons.
Lord's day, March 2Oth!. "Preached in the forenoon: God gave me some assistance, and enabled me to speak with real tenderness, love, and impartiality. In the evening preached again; and of a truth God was pleased to assist a poor worm. Blessed be God, I was enabled to speak with life, power, and desire of the edification of God's people; and with some power to sinners. In the evening I was watchful, lest my heart should by any means be drawn away from God. Oh! when shall I come to that blessed world where every power of my soul will be incessantly and eternally wound up in heavenly employments and enjoyments, to the highest degree!"
On Monday he went to Woodbridge, New Jersey, where he met the Correspondents, who, instead of sending him to the Indians at the Forks of the Delaware, as before intended, directed him to go to a number of Indians at Kaunaumeek; a place in New-York, in the woods between Stockbridge and Albany. This alteration was occasioned by two things. 1. Information which the correspondents had received of some contention between the white people and the Indians on the Delaware, concerning their lands; which they supposed would be a hindrance to the success of a missionary among them at that time. 2. Some intimations which they had received from Mr. Sergeant, Missionary to the Indians at Stockbridge, concerning the Indians at Kaunaumeek, and the hopeful prospect of success which a Missionary might have among them. On the day following he set out on his journey for Kaunaumeek, and arrived at Mr. Sergeant's house in Stockbridge March 31.
His labors for nearly a year among the Indians at Kaunaumeek - temporal deprivations and sufferings - establishes a school - confession offered to the faculty of Yale College - days of fasting - methods of instructing the Indians - visit to New-Jersey and Connecticut - commencement of labor among the Indians at the Forks of the Delaware - Ordination.
April 1, 1743. - June 12, 1744.
April 1, 1743. "I rode to Kaunaumeek, in the wilderness, near twenty miles from Stockbridge, and about an equal distance from Albany, where the Indians live with whom I am concerned; and lodged with a poor Scotchman, about a mile and a half distant from them, on a little heap of straw, in a log room without any floor. I was greatly exercised with inward trials, and seemed to have no God to go to. Oh! that God would help me!
April 7, "Appeared to myself exceedingly ignorant, weak, helpless, unworthy, and altogether unequal to my work. It seemed to me that I should never do any service, or have any success among the Indians. My soul was weary of my life; I longed for death, beyond measure. When I thought of any godly soul departed, my soul was ready to envy him his privilege, thinking, 'Oh! when will my turn come! must it be years first!' But I know these ardent desires, at this and other times, rose partly from the want of resignation to God under all miseries; and so were but impatience. Toward night I had the exercise of faith in prayer, and some assistance in writing. Oh! that God would keep me near him!
Lord's day, April 10. "Rose early in the morning and walked out and spent a considerable time in the woods, in prayer and meditation. Preached to the Indians, both forenoon and afternoon. They behaved soberly in general: two or three in particular appeared to be under some religious concern; with whom I discoursed privately; and one told me, 'that her heart had cried ever since she first heard me preach.'
April 16. - "In the afternoon preached to my people; but was more discouraged with them than before; feared that nothing would ever be done for them to any happy effect. I retired and poured out my soul to God for mercy; but without any sensible relief. Soon after, two ungodly men came, with a design, as they said, to hear me preach the next day; but none can tell how I felt to hear their profane talk. Oh! I longed that some dear Christian should know my distress. I got into a kind of hove, and there groaned out my complaint to God; and withal felt more sensible gratitude and thankfulness to God; that he had made me to differ from these men, as I knew, through grace, he had.
Lord's day, April 17. - "In the morning was again distressed as soon as I awaked, hearing much talk about the world, and the things of it. I perceived that the men were in some measure afraid of me; and I discoursed about sanctifying the Sabbath, if possible to solemnize their minds; but when they were at a little distance, they again talked freely about secular affairs. Oh! I thought what a hell it would be to live with such men to eternity! The Lord gave me some assistance in preaching, all day, and some resignation, and a small degree of comfort in prayer, at night.
April 19. - "In the morning I enjoyed some sweet repose and rest in God; felt some strength and confidence in him; and my soul was in some measure refreshed and comforted. Spent most of the day in writing, and had some exercise of grace, sensible and comfortable. My soul seemed lifted above the deep waters, wherein it has long been almost drowned; felt some spiritual longings and breathings after God; and found myself engaged for the advancement of Christ's kingdom in my own soul.
April 20. - "Set apart this day for fasting and prayer, to bow my soul before God for in the bestowment of divine grace; especially that all my spiritual afflictions, and inward distresses, might be sanctified to my soul. And endeavored also to remember the goodness of God to me the year past, this day being my birth day. Having obtained help of God, I have hitherto lived, and am now arrived at the age of twenty-five years. My soul was pained to think of my barrenness and deadness; that I have lived so little to the glory of the eternal God. I spent the day in the woods alone, and there poured out my complaint to God. Oh! that God would enable me to live to his glory for the future!
May 10. - "Was in the same state as to my mind, that I have been in for some time; extremely oppressed with a sense of guilt, pollution, and blindness, 'The iniquity of my heels hath compassed me about: the sins of my youth have been set in order before me; they have gone over my head, as an heavy burden, too heavy for me to bear.' Almost all the actions of my life past seem to be covered over with sin and guilt; and those of them that I performed in the most conscientious manner, now fill me with shame and confusion, that I cannot hold up my face. Oh! the pride, selfishness, hypocrisy, ignorance, bitterness, party zeal, and the want of love, candor, meekness, and gentleness, that have attended my attempts to promote the interests of religion; and this, when I have reason to hope I had real assistance from above, and some sweet intercourse with heaven! But alas, what corrupt mixtures attended my best duties!
May 18. - "My circumstances are such that I have no comfort of any kind, but what I have in God. I live in the most lonesome wilderness; have but one single person to converse with that can speak English. [This person was Brainerd's interpreter, an ingenious young Indian, belonging to Stockbridge, whose name was John Wauwaumpequunnaunt. He had been instructed in the Christian religion by Mr. Sergeant; had lived with the Rev. Mr. Williams, of Long-Meadow; had been further instructed by him, at the charge of Mr. Hollis, of London; and understood both English and Indian very well, and wrote a good hand.] Most of the talk I hear, is either Highland Scotch, or Indian. I have no fellow-Christian to whom I may unbosom myself, or lay open my spiritual sorrows; with whom I may take sweet counsel in conversation about heavenly things, and join in social prayer. I live poorly with regard to the comforts of life: most of my diet consists of boiled corn, hasty-pudding, &c. I lodge on a bundle of straw, my labor is hard and extremely difficult, and I have little appearance of success to comfort me. The Indians have no land to live on but what the Dutch people lay claim to; and these threaten to drive them off. They have no regard to the souls of the poor Indians; and by what I can learn, they hate me because I come to preach to them. But that which makes all my difficulties grievous to be home, is, that God hides his face from me.
May 20. - "Was much perplexed some part of the day; but toward night had some comfortable meditations on Isa. 40: 1. 'Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,' and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer. Afterward my soul rose so far above the deep waters, that I dared to rejoice in God. I saw that there was sufficient matter of consolation in the blessed God."
On Monday, May 30, he set out on a journey to New-Jersey to consult the commissioners, and obtain orders from them to set up a school among the Indians at Kaunaumeek, and that this interpreter might be appointed the schoolmaster; which was accordingly done. He proceeded from New-Jersey to New-Haven, where he arrived onMonday, June 6; attempted a reconciliation with the faculty of the college; and spent this week in visiting his friends in those parts, and in his journey homeward, till Saturday, in a pretty comfortable frame of mind. On Saturday, in his way from Stockbridge to Kaunaumeek, he was lost in the woods, and lay all night in the open air; but happily found his way in the morning, and came to his Indians on Lord's day, June 12, and had greater assistance in preaching among them than ever before, since his first coming among them.
From this time forward he was the subject of various frames and exercises of mind, in the general much after the same manner as hitherto from his first coming to Kaunaumeek, till he got into his own house, (a little hut, which he made chiefly with his own hands, by long and hard labor.) He found that the distance of the family with whom he at first lodged, debarred him from many favorable opportunities to access to the Indians, especially morning and evening; and after about three months, removed and lived with the Indians in one of their wigwams. Here he continued for about one month, when he completed the small house of which he now speaks. Although he was much dejected during most of the period, yet he had many intermissions of his melancholy, and some seasons of comfort, sweet tranquillity and resignation of mind, and frequently special assistance in public services, as appears in his diary. The manner of his relief from his sorrow, once in particular, is worthy to be mentioned in his own words.
July 25. - "Had little or no resolution for a life of holiness; was ready almost to renounce my hope of living to God. And Oh! how dark it looked, to think of being unholy for ever! This I could not endure. The cry of my soul was, Psalm 65:3. 'Iniquities prevail against me.' But In was in some measure relieved by a comfortable meditation of God's eternity, that he never had a beginning. Whence I was led to admire his greatness and power, in such a manner, that I stood still, and praised the Lord for his own glories and perfections: though I was (and if I should for ever be) an unholy creature, my soul was comforted to apprehend an eternal, infinite, powerful, holy God.
July 30 - "Just at night, moved into my own house, and lodged there that night; found it much better spending the time alone than in a wigwam where I was before.
Lord's day, July 31. - "Felt more comfortably than some days past. Blessed be the Lord, who has now given me a place of retirement. Oh! that I may find God in it, and that he would dwell with me for ever!
Aug. 1. - "Was still busy in further labors on my house. Felt a little sweetness of religion, and thought that it was worth while to follow after God through a thousand snares, deserts, and death itself Oh! that I might always follow after holiness, that I may be fully conformed to God! Had some degree of sweetness in secret prayer, though I had much sorrow.
Aug, 3. - "Spent most of the day in writing. Enjoyed some sense of religion. Through divine goodness I am now uninterruptedly alone, and find my retirement comfortable. I have enjoyed more sense of divine things within a few days last past than for some time before. I longed after holiness, humility, and meekness: Oh! that God would enable me to pass the time of my sojourning here in his fear,' and always live to him!
Aug. 4. - "Was enabled to pray much through the whole day; and through divine goodness found some intenseness of soul in the duty, as I used to do, and some ability to persevere in my supplications. I had some apprehensions of divine things, which afforded me courage and resolution. It is good, I find, to persevere in attempts to pray, if I cannot pray with perseverance, i.e. continue long in my addresses to the Divine Being. I have generally found that the more I do in secret prayer, the more I have delighted to do, and the more I have enjoyed a spirit of prayer; and frequently I have found the contrary, when by journeying or otherwise I have been much deprived of retirement. A seasonable, steady performance of secret duties in their proper hours, and a careful improvement of all time, filling every hour with some profitable labor, either of heart, head, and hands, are excellent means of spiritual peace and boldness before God. Filling up our time with and for God, is the way to rise up and lie down in peace.
Aug. 13. - "Was enabled in secret prayer to raise my soul to God, with desire and delight. It was indeed a blessed season. I found the comfort of being a Christian; and 'counted the sufferings of the present life not worthy to be compared with the glory' of divine enjoyments even in this world. All my past sorrows seemed kindly to disappear, and I 'remembered no more the sorrow, for joy.' Oh! how kindly, and with what a filial tenderness, the soul confides in 'the Rock of Ages,' at such a season, that he will 'never leave it nor forsake it,' that he will cause 'all things to work together for its good!' I longed that others should know how good a God the Lord is. My soul was full of tenderness and love, even to the most inveterate of my enemies. I longed that they should share in the same mercy; and loved that God should so do just as he pleased with me and everything else. I felt peculiarly serious, calm, and peaceful, and encouragement to press after holiness as long as I live, whatever difficulties and trials may be in my way. May the Lord always help me so to do! Amen, and Amen.
Aug. 15. - "Spent most of the day in labor, to procure something to keep my horse on in the winter. Had not much spiritual enjoyment in the morning; was very weak in body through the day; and thought that this frail body would soon drop into the dust; and had some very realizing apprehensions of a speedy entrance into another world. In this weak state of body, I was not a little distressed for want of suitable food. I had no bread, nor could I get any. I am forced to go or send ten or fifteen miles for all the bread I eat; and sometimes it is moldy and sour before I eat it, if I get any considerable quantity. And then again I have none for some days together, for want of an opportunity to send for it, and cannot find my horse in the woods to go myself; and this was my case now; but through divine goodness I had some Indian meal, of which I made cakes, and fried them. Yet I felt contented with my circumstances and sweetly resigned to God. In prayer I enjoyed great freedom; and blessed God as much for my present circumstances as if I had been a king; and thought that I had found a disposition to be contented in any circumstances. Blessed be God." In his diary for Saturday, he says he was somewhat melancholy and sorrowful in mind; and adds, "I never feel comfortably but when I find my soul going forth after God. If I cannot be holy, I must necessarily be miserable for ever."
Lord's day, Aug. 21. - "Was much straitened in the forenoon exercise; my thoughts seemed to be all scattered to the ends of the earth. At noon, I fell down before the Lord, groaned under my vileness, barrenness, and deadness; and felt as if I was guilty of soul murder, in speaking to immortal souls in such a manner as I had then done. In the afternoon God was pleased to give me some assistance, and I was enabled to set before my hearers the nature and necessity of true repentance. Afterward had some small degree of thankfulness. Was very ill and full of pain in the evening and my soul mourned that I had spent so much time to so little profit.
Aug. 23. - "Studied in the forenoon, and enjoyed some freedom. In the afternoon labored abroad: endeavored to pray, but found not much enjoyment or intenseness of mind. Toward night was very weary, and tired of this world of sorrow: the thoughts of death and immortality appeared very desirable, and even refreshed my soul. Those lines turned in my mind with pleasure,
'Come death, shake hands; I'll kiss thy bands; ... Tis happiness for me to die. - What! - dost thou think that I will shrink? I'll go to immortality.'
In evening prayer, God was pleased to draw near my soul, though very sinful and unworthy; so that I was enabled to wrestle with God, and to persevere in my requests for grace. I poured out my soul for all the world, friends and enemies. My soul was concerned, not so much for souls as such, but rather for Christ's kingdom, that it might appear in the world, that God might be known to be God, in the whole earth. And Oh! my soul abhorred the very thought of a party in religion! Let the truth of God appear, wherever it is; and God have glory for ever. Amen. This was indeed a comfortable season. I thought I had some foretaste of the enjoyments and employments of the upper world. Oh! that my soul was more attempered to it!
Aug. 31. - [On a journey to New-York.] "Was in a sweet, serious, and I hope, Christian frame. Eternal things engrossed all my thoughts; and I longed to be in the world of spirits. Oh! how happy it is to have all our thoughts swallowed up in that world: to feel one's self a stranger in this world, diligently seeking a road through it, the best, the sure road to the heavenly Jerusalem!" He went forward on his journey, and after tarrying two or three days at New-York, set out from that city toward New-Haven, intending to be there at the commencement.
Lord's day, Sept. 11. - "[At Horse-Neck.] In the afternoon I preached from Titus, 3:8. I think God never helped me more in painting true religion, and in detecting clearly, and tenderly discountenancing false appearances of religion, wild fire, party zeal, spiritual pride, &c. as well as a confident dogmatical spirit, and its spring, viz. ignorance of the heart. In the evening took much pains in private conversation to suppress some confusions which I perceived were among that people.
Sept. 13. - "Rode to New-Haven. Was sometimes dejected; not in the sweetest frame. Lodged at ****. Had some profitable Christian conversation. I find, though my inward trials were great, and a life of solitude gives them greater advantage to settle, and penetrate to the very inmost recesses of the soul; yet it is better to be alone than encumbered with noise and tumult. I find it very difficult maintaining any sense of divine things while removing from place to place diverted with new objects, and filled with care and business. A settled steady business is best adapted to a life of strict religion.
Sept. 14. - "This day I ought to have taken my degree; but God sees fit to deny it me. And though I was greatly afraid of being overwhelmed with perplexity and confusion, when I should see my classmates take theirs; yet, at the very time, God enabled me with calmness and resignation to say, 'the will of the Lord be done.' Indeed, through divine goodness, I have scarcely felt my mind so calm, sedate, and comfortable for some time. I had long feared this season, and expected my humility, meekness, patience and resignation would be much tried; but found much more pleasure and divine comfort than I expected. Felt spiritually serious, tender and affectionate in private prayer with a dear Christian friend to-day.
Sept. 15. - "Had some satisfaction in hearing the ministers discourse. It is always a comfort to me to hear religious and spiritual conversation. Oh! that ministers and people were more spiritual and devoted to God! Toward night, with the advice of Christian friends, I offered the following reflections in writing, to the rector and trustees of the college - which are not for substance the same that I had freely offered to the rector before, and entreated him to accept - that if possible I might cut off all occasion of offence from those who seek occasion. What I offered, is as follows: 'Whereas I have said before several persons, concerning Mr. Whittlesey, one of the tutors of Yale College, that I did not believe he had any more grace than the chair I then leaned upon; I humbly confess, that herein I have sinned against God, and acted contrary to the rules of his Word, and have injured Mr. Whittelsey. I had no right to make thus free with his character; and had no just reason to say as I did concerning him. My fault herein was the more aggravated, in that I said this concerning one who was so much my superior, and one whom I was obliged to treat with special respect and honor, by reason of the relation I stood in to him in the college. Such a manner of behavior I confess did not become a Christian: it was taking too much upon me, and did not savor of that humble respect which I ought to have expressed toward Mr. Whittelsey. I have long since been convinced of the falseness of those apprehensions, by which I then justified such a conduct. I have often reflected on this act with grief; I hope, on account of the sin of it: and am willing to lie low, and be abased before God and man for it. I humbly ask the forgiveness of the governors of the college and of the whole society; but of Mr. Whittelsey in particular. And whereas I have been accused by one person of saying concerning the reverend rector of Yale College, that I wondered he did not expect to drop down dead for fining the scholars that followed Mr. Tennent to Milford; I seriously profess that I do not remember my saying any thing to this purpose: but if I did, which I am not certain I did not, I utterly condemn it, and detest all such kind of behavior; and especially in an under-graduate toward the rector. And I now appear to judge and condemn myself for going once to the separate meeting in New-Haven, a little before I was expelled, though the rector had refused to give me leave. For this I humbly ask the rector's forgiveness. And whether the governors of the college shall ever see cause to remove the academical censure I lie under, or no, or to admit me to the privileges I desire; yet I am willing to appear, if they think fit, openly to own, and to humble myself for those things I have herein confessed.' God has made me willing to do any thing that I can do consistently with truth, for the sake of peace, and that I might not be a stumbling block to others. For this reason I can cheerfully forego and give up what I verily believe, after the most mature and impartial search, is my right, in some instances. God has given me the disposition, that, if a man has done me a hundred injuries, and I (though ever so much provoked to it) have done him only one, I feel disposed and heartily willing humbly to confess my fault to him, and on my knees to ask forgivness of him; though at the same time he should justify himself in all the injuries he has done me, and should only make use of my humble confession to blacken my character the more, and represent me as the only person guilty; yea, though he should as it were insult me, and say, 'He knew all this before, and that I was making work for repentance.' Though what I said concerning Mr. Whittelsey was only spoken in private, to a friend or two; and being partly overheard, was related to the rector, and by him extorted from my friends; yet, seeing it was divulged and made public, I was willing to confess my fault therein publicly. But I trust God will plead my cause." I was witness to the very Christian spirit which Brainerd showed at that time; being then at New-Haven, and one whom he thought fit to consult on that occasion. This was my first opportunity of a personal acquaintance with him. There truly appeared in him a great degree of calmness and humility, without the least appearance of rising of spirit for any ill treatment which he supposed he had suffered, or the least backwardness to abase him before them who, as he thought, had wronged him. What he did was without any objection or appearance of reluctance, even in private to his friends, to whom he freely opened himself. Earnest application was made on his behalf to the authority of the college, that he might have his degree then given him; and particularly by the Rev. Mr. Buff of Newark, one of the correspondents of the society in Scotland; he being sent from New-Jersey to New-Haven, by the rest of the commissioners, for that end; and many arguments were used, but without success. Indeed, the governors of the college were so far satisfied with the reflections which Brainerd had made on himself, that they appeared willing to admit him again into college; but not to give him his degree, till he should have remained there at least twelve months, which being contrary to what the correspondents, to whom he was now engaged, had declared to their mind, he did not consent to it. He desired his degree, as he thought it would tend to his being more extensively useful; but still when he was denied it, he manifested no disappointment or resentment.
Sept. 20 "[At Bethlehem.] Had thoughts of going forward on my journey to my Indians; but toward night was taken with a hard pain in my teeth, and shivering cold; and could not possibly recover a comfortable degree of warmth the whole night following. I continued very full of pain all night; and in the morning had a very hard fever, and pains almost over my whole body. I had a sense of the divine goodness in appointing this to be the place of my sickness, among my friends, who were very kind to me. I should probably have perished if I had first got home to my own house in the wilderness, where I have none to converse with but the poor, rude, ignorant Indians. Here, I saw, was mercy in the midst of affliction. I continued thus, mostly confined to my bed, till Friday night; very full of pain most of the time; but, through divine goodness, not afraid of death. Then I saw the extreme folly of those who put off their turning to God till a sick bed. Surely this is not a time proper to prepare for eternity. On Friday evening my pains went off somewhat suddenly. I was exceedingly weak, and almost fainted; but was very comfortable the night following. I thought we were to prize the continuation of life, only on this account, that we may show forth God's goodness and works of grace.
Oct. 4. - "This day rode home to my own house and people. The poor Indians appeared very glad of my return. Found my house and all things in safety. I presently fell on my knees, and blessed God for my safe return. I have taken many considerable journeys since this time last year, and yet God has never suffered one of my bones to be broken, or any distressing calamity to befall me, excepting the ill turn I had in my last journey. I have been often exposed to cold and hunger in the wilderness, where the comforts of life were not to be had; have frequently been lost in the woods; and sometimes obliged to ride much of the night; and once lay out in the woods all night; yet blessed be God, he has preserved me!
Nov. 3. - "Spent this day in secret fasting and prayer, from morning till night. Early in the morning I had some small degree of assistance in prayer. Afterward read the story of Elijah the prophet, I Kings, 17th, 18th, and 19th chapters; and also 2 Kings, 2nd, and 4th chapters. My soul was much moved, observing the faith, zeal, and power of that holy man; how he wrestled with God in prayer, &c. My soul then cried with Elisha, 'Where is the Lord God of Elijah!' Oh! I longed for more faith! My soul breathed after God, and pleaded with him, that a 'double portion of that spirit' which was given to Elijah, might 'rest on me.' And that which was divinely refreshing and strengthening to my soul, was, I saw that God is the same that he was in the days of Elijah. Was enabled to wrestle with God by prayer, in a more affectionate, fervent, humble, intense, and importunate manner, than I have for many months past. Nothing seemed too hard for God to perform; nothing too great for me to hope for from him. I had for many months entirely lost all hope of being made instrumental of doing any special service for God in the world; it has appeared entirely impossible, that one so vile should be thus employed for God. But at this time God was pleased to revive this hope. Afterward read from the 3rd chapter of Exodus to the 20th, and saw more of the glory and majesty of God discovered in those chapters that ever I had seen before; frequently in the meantime falling on my knees and crying to God for the faith of Moses, and for a manifestation of the divine glory. Especially the 3rd, 4th, and part of the 14th and 15th chapters were unspeakably sweet to my soul: my soul blessed God that he had shown himself so gracious to his servants of old. The 15th chapter seemed to be the very language which my soul uttered to God in the season of my first spiritual comfort, when I had just got through the Red Sea, by a way that I had no expectation of. Oh! how my soul then rejoiced in God! And now those things came fresh and lively to my mind; now my soul blessed God afresh that he had opened that unthought of way to deliver me from the fear of the Egyptians, when I almost despaired of life. Afterward read the story of Abraham's pilgrimage in the land of Canaan. My soul was melted, in observing his faith, how he leaned on God; how he communed with God; and what a stranger he was here in the world. After that, read the story of Joseph's sufferings, and God's goodness to him: blessed God for these examples of faith and patience. My soul was ardent in prayer, was enabled to wrestle ardently for myself, for Christian friends, and for the church of God; and felt more desire to see the power of God in the conversion of souls, than I have done for a long season. Blessed be God for this season of fasting and prayer! - May his goodness always abide with me, and draw my soul to him!
Nov. 10. - "Spent this day in fasting and prayer alone. In the morning was very dull and lifeless, melancholy and discouraged. But after some time, while reading 2 Kings 19, my soul was moved and affected; especially reading verse 14, and onward. I saw there was no other way for the afflicted children of God to take, but to go to God with all their sorrows. Hezekiah, in his great distress, went and spread his complaint before the Lord. I was then enabled to see the mighty power of God, and my extreme need of that power; and to cry to him affectionately and ardently for his power and grace to be exercised toward me. Afterward, read the story of David's trials, and observed the course he took under them, how he strengthened his hands in God; whereby my soul was carried out after God, enabled to cry to him, and rely upon him, and felt strong in the Lord. Was afterward refreshed, observing the blessed temper that was wrought in David by his trials: all bitterness, and desire of revenge, seemed wholly taken away; so that he mourned for the death of his enemies. 2 Sam. 1:17, and 4:9-12. Was enabled to bless God that he had given me something of this divine temper, that my soul freely forgives, and heartily loves my enemies.
Nov. 29. - "Began to study the Indian tongue, with Mr. Sargeant, at Stockbridge. [The commissioners who employed him, had directed him to spend much time this winter with Mr. Sergeant, to learn the language of the Indians; which necessitated him very often to ride backward and forward, twenty miles through the uninhabited woods between Stockbridge and Kaunaumeek; which many times exposed him to extreme hardship in the severe seasons of the winter.] Was perplexed for want of more retirement. I love to live alone in my own little cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer, &c.
Dec. 22. - "Spent this day alone in fasting and prayer, and reading in God's Word the exercises and deliverances of his children. Had, I trust, some exercise of faith, and realizing apprehension of divine power, grace, and holiness; and also of the unchangeableness of God, that he is the same as when he delivered his saints of old out of great tribulation. My soul was sundry times in prayer enlarged for God's church and people. Oh! that Zion might become the 'joy of the whole earth!' It is better to wait upon God with patience, than to put confidence in any thing in this lower world. 'My soul, wait thou on the Lord;' for 'from him comes thy salvation.'
Lord's day, Jan. 1, 1744. - "In the morning had some small degree of assistance in prayer. Saw myself so vile and unworthy that I could not look my people in the face when I came to preach. Oh! my meanness, folly, ignorance, and inward pollution! - In the evening had a little assistance in prayer, so that the duty was delightful, rather than burdensome. Reflected on the goodness of God to me in the past year, &c. Of a truth God has been kind and gracious to me, though he has caused me to pass through many sorrows; he has provided for me bountifully, so that I have been enabled, in about fifteen months past, to bestow to charitable uses about an hundred pounds New-England money, that I can now remember. Blessed be the Lord that has so far used me as his steward, to distribute a portion of his goods. May I always remember, that all I have comes from God. Blessed be the Lord, that has carried me through all the toils, fatigues and hardships of the year past, as well as the spiritual sorrows and conflicts that have attended it. Oh! that I could begin this year with God, and spend the whole of it to his glory, either in life or death!
Jan. 3. - "Was employed much of the day in writing; and spent some time in other necessary employment. But my time passes away so swiftly, that I am astonished when I reflect on it, and see how little I do. My state of solitude does not make the hours hang heavy upon my hands. Oh! what reason of thankfulness have I on account of this retirement! I find that I do not, and it seems I cannot, lead a Christian life when I am abroad, and cannot spend time in devotion, Christian conversation, and serious meditation, as I should do. Those weeks that I am obliged now to be from home, in order to learn the Indian tongue, are mostly spent in perplexity and barrenness, without much sweet relish of divine things; and I feel myself a stranger at the throne of grace for want of more frequent and continued retirement. When I return home and give myself to meditation, prayer, and fasting, a new scene opens to my mind, and my soul longs for mortification, self-denial, humility, and divorcement from all things of the world. This evening my heart was somewhat warm and fervent in prayer and meditation, so that I was loth to indulge sleep. Continued in those duties till about midnight.
Jan. 6. - "Feeling my extreme weakness, and want of grace, the pollution of my soul, and danger of temptations on every side, I set apart this day for fasting and prayer, neither eating nor drinking from evening to evening, beseeching God to have mercy on me. My soul intensely longed that the dreadful spots and stains of sin might be washed away from it. Saw something of the power and all-sufficiency of God. My soul seemed to rest on his power and grace; longed for resignation to his will, and mortification to all things here below. My mind was greatly fixed; my desires ardent and intense; my conscience tender, and afraid of every appearance of evil. My soul grieved with reflection on past levity, and want of resolution for God. I solemnly renewed my dedication of myself to God, and longed for grace to enable me always to keep covenant with him. Time appeared very short, eternity near and a great name, either in or after life, together with all earthly pleasures and profits, but an empty bubble, a deluding dream.
Jan. 7. "Spent this day in seriousness, with steadfast resolutions for God, and a life of mortification. Studied closely, till I felt my bodily strength fail. Felt some degree of resignation to God, with an acquiescence in his dispensations. Was grieved that I could do so little for God before my bodily strength failed. In the evening, though tired, was enabled to continue instant in prayer for some time. Spent the time in reading, meditation, and prayer, till the evening was far spent: was grieved to think that I could not watch unto prayer the whole night. But blessed be God, heaven in a place of continual and incessant devotion though the earth is dull.
Jan. 14. "This morning, enjoyed a most solemn season in prayer: my soul seemed enlarged and assisted to pour out itself to God for grace, and for every blessing I wanted for myself, for dear Christian friends, and for the church of God; and was so enabled to 'see Him who is invisible,' that my soul rested upon him for the performance of every thing I asked agreeable to his will. It was then my happiness to 'continue instant in prayer,' and I was enabled to continue in the Lord, and 'in the power of his might.' Longed exceedingly for an angelic holiness and purity, and to have all my thoughts, at all times, employed in divine and heavenly things. Felt the same divine assistance in prayer sundry times in the day. My soul confided in God for myself, and for his Zion: trusted in divine power and grace, that he would do glorious things in his church on earth, for his own glory.
Feb. 3. "Enjoyed more freedom and comfort than of late; was engaged in meditation upon the different whispers of the various powers and affections of a pious mind, exercised with a great variety of dispensations; and could not but write, as well as meditate, on so entertaining a subject. I hope the Lord gave me some true sense of divine things this day; but alas, how great and pressing are the remains of indwelling corruption! I am now more sensible than ever, that God alone is 'the author and flnisher of our faith,' i.e. that the whole and every part of sanctification, and every good word, work, or thought, found in me, is the effect of his power and grace; that 'without him I can do nothing,' in the strictest sense, and that, 'he works in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure,' and from no other motive. Oh! how amazing it is that people can talk so much about men's power and goodness, when if God did not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate! This my bitter experience, for several days last past, has abundantly taught me concerning myself.
Feb. 7. "My soul felt and tasted that the Lord is gracious; that he is the supreme good, the only soul-satisfying happiness; that he is a complete, sufficient, and almighty portion. The language of my heart was, 'Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.' Oh! I feel that it is heaven to please him, and to be just what he would have me to be! Oh! that my soul were 'holy, as he is holy!' Oh! that it were 'pure, even as Christ is pure;' and 'perfect, as my Father in heaven is Perfect!' These I feel are the sweetest commands in God's book, comprising all others. And shall I break them! must I break them! and I under the necessity of it as long as I live in the world! Oh! my soul, woe, woe, is me, that I am a sinner, who continually grieve and offend this blessed God, infinite in goodness and grace! Oh! methinks if he would punish me for my sins, it would not wound my heart so deep to offend him; but though I sin continually, yet he continually repeats his kindness to me! Oh! methinks I could bear any sufferings; but how can I bear to grieve and dishonor this blessed God! How shall I yield ten thousand times more honor to him? What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of things? Oh! that I could consecrate myself, soul and body, to his service for ever! Oh! that I could give up myself to him, so as never more to attempt to be my own, or to have any will or affections that are not perfectly conformed to him! But, alas! I find I cannot be thus entirely devoted to God; I cannot live, and not sin. Oh! ye angels, do ye glorify Him incessantly; and if possible, prostrate yourselves lower before the blessed King of heaven! I long to bear a part with you; and, if it were possible, to help you. Oh! when we have done all that we can, to all eternity, we shall not be able to offer the ten thousandth part of the homage which the glorious God deserves!
March 3. "In the morning, spent (I believe) an hour in prayer, with great intenseness and freedom, and with the most soft and tender affection toward all mankind. I longed that those who, I have reason to think, owe me ill will, might be eternally happy. It seemed refreshing to think of meeting them in heaven, how much soever they had injured me on earth: had no disposition to insist upon any confession from them, in order to reconciliation, and the exercise of love and kindness to them. Oh! it is an emblem of heaven itself, to love all the world with a love of kindness, forgiveness, and benevolence; to feel our souls sedate, mild, and meek; to be void of all evil surmisings and suspicions, and scarce able to think evil of any man upon any occasion; to find our hearts simple, open, and free, to those that look upon us with a different eye! - Prayer was so sweet an exercise to me, that I knew not how to cease, lest I should lose the spirit of prayer. Felt no disposition to eat or drink, for the sake of the pleasure ot it, but only to support my nature, and fit me for divine service. Could not be content without a very particular mention of a great number of dear friends at the throne of grace; as also the particular circumstances of many, as far as they were known.
March 10. "In the morning, felt exceeding dead to the world, and all its enjoyments. I thought I was ready and willing to give up life and all its comforts, as soon as called to it; and yet then had as much comfort of life as almost ever I had. I longed to be perpetually and entirely crucified to all things here below, by the cross of Christ. My soul was sweetly resigned to God's disposal of me, in every regard; and I saw that nothing had happened but what was best for me. I confided in God, that he would never leave me, though I should 'walk through the valley of the shadow of death.' It was then my meat and drink to be holy, to live to the Lord, and die to the Lord. And I thought that I then enjoyed such a heaven as far exceeded the most sublime conceptions of an unregenerate soul; and even unspeakably beyond what I myself could conceive of at another time. I did not wonder that Peter said, 'Lord, it is good to be here,' when thus refreshed with divine glories. My soul was full of love and tenderness in the duty of intercession; especially felt a most sweet affection to some precious godly ministers, of my acquaintance. Prayed earnestly for dear Christians, and for those I have reason to fear are my enemies; and could not have spoken a word of bitterness, or entertained a bitter thought, against the vilest man living. Had a sense of my own great unworthiness. My soul seemed to breathe forth love and praise to God afresh, when I thought he would let his children love and receive me as one of their brethren and fellow citizens. When I thought of their treating me in that manner, I longed to lie at their feet; and could think of no way to express the sincerity and simplicity of my love and esteem of them, as being much better than myself.
Lord's day, March 11. "My soul was in some measure strengthened in God, in morning devotion; so that I was released from trembling fear and distress. Preached to my people from the parable of the sower, Matt. 13, and enjoyed some assistance both parts of the day, had some freedom, affection, and fervency in addressing my poor people; longed that God should take hold of their hearts, and make them spiritually alive. And indeed I had so much to say to them, that I knew not how to leave off speaking.
This was the last Sabbath in which he ever performed public service at Kaunaumeek, and these the last sermons which he ever preached to the Indians there. The methods he adopted for their salvation, he thus describes in a letter to Rev. Mr. Penberton of New-York. "In my labors with them, in order to 'turn them from darkness to light,' I studied what was most plain and easy, and best suited to their capacities; and endeavored to set before them from time to time, as they were able to receive them, the most important and necessary truths of Christianity; such as most immediately concerned their speedy conversion to God, and such as I judged had the greatest tendency, as means, to effect that glorious change in them. But especially I made it the scope and drift of all my labors, to lead them into a thorough acquaintance with these two things: (1.) The sinfulness and misery of the estate they were naturally in; the evil of their hearts, the pollution of their natures; the heavy guilt they were under, and their exposedness to everlasting punishment; as also their utter inability to save themselves, either from their sins, or from those miseries which are the just punishment of them; and their unworthiness of any mercy at the hand of God, on account of any thing they themselves could do to procure his favor, and consequently their extreme need of Christ to save them. And, (2.) I frequently endeavored to open to them the fullness, all-sufficiency, and freeness of that redemption which the Son of God has wrought out by his obedience and sufferings, for perishing sinners: how this provision he had made was suited to all their wants; and how he called and invited them to accept of everlasting life freely, notwithstanding all their sinfulness.
After I had been with the Indians several months, I composed sundry forms of prayer, adapted to their circumstances and capacities; which, with the help of my interpreter, I translated into the Indian language; and soon learned to pronounce their words, so as to pray with them in their own tongue. I also translated sundry psalms into their language, and soon after we were able to sing in the worship of God. When my people had gained some acquaintance with many of the simplest truths of Christianity, so that they were capable of receiving and understanding others, I gave them an historical account of God's dealings with his ancient professing people, the Jews; some of the rites and ceremonies they were obliged to observe, as their sacrifices, &c.; and what these were designed to represent to them; as also some of the surprising miracles God wrought for their salvation, while they trusted in him; and sore punishments he sometimes brought upon them, when they forsook and sinned against him. Afterward I proceeded to give them a relation of the birth, life, miracles, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ; as well as his ascension, and the wonderful effusion of the Holy Spirit consequent thereupon.
And having thus endeavored to prepare the way by such a general account of things, I next proceeded to read and expound to them the Gospel of St. Matthew (at least the substance of it) in course, wherein they had a more distinct and particular view of what they had had before some general notion. These expositions I attended almost every evening, when there was any considerable number of them at home; except when I was obliged to be absent myself, in order to learn the Indian language with the Rev. Mr. Sargeant. Besides these means of instruction, there was likewise an English school constantly kept by my interpreter among the Indians; which I used frequently to visit, in order to give the children and young people some proper instructions, and serious exhortations suited to their age.
The degree of knowledge to which some of them attained was considerable. Many of the truths of Christianity seemed fixed in their minds, especially in some instances, so that they would speak to me of them, and ask such questions about them as were necessary to render them more plain and clear to their understandings. The children, also, and young people, who attended the school, made considerable proficiency (at least some of them) in their learning; so that had they understood the English language well, they would have been able to read somewhat readily in a psalter. But that which was most of all desirable, and gave me the greatest encouragement amidst many difficulties and disconsolate hours, was, that the truths of God's Word seemed, at times, to be attended with some power upon the hearts and consciences of the Indians. And especially this appeared evident in a few individuals, who were awakened to some sense of their miserable estate by nature, and appeared solicitous for deliverance from it. Several of them came, of their own accord to discourse with me about their soul's concerns; and some, with tears, inquired what they should do to be saved?"
The Indians at Kaunaumeek being but few in number and Brainerd having been laboring among them about a year, and having prevailed upon them to be willing to leave Kaunaumeek, and remove to Stockbridge, to live constantly under Mr. Sargeant's ministry; he thought he might now do more service for Christ among the Indians elsewhere: and therefore went to New-Jersey, and laid the matter before the Commissioners; who met at Elizabeth-Town, on the occasion, and determined that he should forthwith leave Kaunaumeek, and go to the Delaware Indians. By the invitations which Brainerd had lately received, it appears, that it was not from necessity, or for want of opportunities to settle in the ministry, that he determined to forsake all the outward comforts, he might thus have enjoyed, to spend his life among savages, and endure the difficulties and self-denials of an Indian mission. He had, just as he was leaving Kaunameek, had an earnest invitation to a settlement at East-Hampton, one of the pleasantest towns on Long-Island. The people there were unanimous in their desires to have him for their pastor, and for a long time continued in earnest pursuit of him, and were hardly brought to relinquish their endeavors, and give up their hopes of obtaining him. Besides this, he had an invitation to preach with reference to a settlement in Millington, near his native town, and in the midst of his friends. Nor did Brainerd choose the business of a missionary to the Indians, rather than accept of those invitations, because he was unacquainted with the difficulties and sufferings which attended such a service; for he had had experience of these difficulties in summer and winter; having spent about a year in a lonely desert among these savages, where he had gone through extreme hardships, and been the subject of a train of outward and inward sorrows, which were now fresh in his mind.
After this he continued two or three days in New-Jersey, very ill; and then returned to New-York; and from thence into New-England; and went to his native town of Haddam, where he arrived on Saturday, April 14. And he continues still his bitter complaints of want of retirement. While he was in New-York, he says this, "Oh! it is not the pleasures of the world which can comfort me! If God deny his presence, what are the pleasures of the city to me? One hour of sweet retirement where God is, is better than the whole world."
April 17. - "In the evening, at my brother's, singing hymns with friends, my soul seemed to melt; and in prayer afterward, enjoyed the exercise of faith, and was enabled to be fervent in spirit: found more of God's Presence than I have done any time in my late wearisome journey. Eternity appeared very near; my nature was very weak, and seemed ready to be dissolved; the sun declining, and the shadows of the evening drawing on apace. Oh! I longed to fill up the remaining moments all for God! Though my body was so feeble, and wearied with preaching and much private confersation, yet I wanted to sit up all night to do something for God. To God, the giver of these refreshments, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
April 18. - "Was very weak, and enjoyed but little spiritual comfort. Was exercised with one who cavilled against original sin. May the Lord open his eyes to see the fountain of sin in himself!" After this he visited several ministers in Connecticut; and then travelled towards Kaunaumeek, and came to Mr. Sargeant's at Stockbridge, Thursday, April 26, having performed the journey in a very weak state of body.
April 27 and 28. - "Spent some time in visiting friends, and discoursing with my people, (who were now moved down from their own place to Mr. Sergeant's) and found them very glad to see me returned. Was exercised in my mind with a sense of my own unworthiness.
Lord's day, April 29. - "Preached for Mr. Sergeant both parts of the day, from Rev. 14:14. Enjoyed some freedom in preaching though not much spirituality. In the evening, my heart was in some measure lifted up in thankfulness to God for any assistance.
April 30. - "Rode to Kaunaumeek, but was extremely ill; did not enjoy the comfort I hoped for in my own house.
May 1. - "Having received new orders to go to a number of Indians on Delaware river, in Pennsylvania, and my people here being mostly removed to Mr. Sergeant's, I this day took all my clothes, books, &c. and disposed of them, and set out for Delaware river; but made it my way to return to Mr. Sergeant's, which I did this day, just a night. Rode several hours in the rain through the howling wilderness, although I was so disordered in body, that little or nothing but blood came from me.
May 8. - "Travelled about forty-five miles to a place called Fishkffl; and lodged there. Spent much of my time, while riding, in prayer that God would go with me to the Delaware. My heart sometimes was ready to sink with the thoughts of my work, and going alone in the wilderness, I knew not where; but still it was comfortable to think that others of God's children had 'wandered about in dens and capes of the earth;' and Abraham, when he was called to go forth, "went out not knowing whither he went." Oh! that I might follow after God!" The next day he went forward on his journey; crossed the Hudson, and went to Goshen in the Highlands; and so traveled across the woods, from the Hudson to the Delaware, about a hundred miles, through a desolate and hideous country, above New-Jersey, where were very few settlements; in which journey he suffered much fatigue and hardship. He visited some Indians in the way, at a place called Miunissinks, and discoursed with them concerning Christianity. Was considerably melancholy and disconsolate, being alone in a strange wildemess. On Saturday, May 12, he came to a settlement of Irish and Dutch people, and proceeding about twelve miles further arrived at Sakhauwotung, an Indian settlement within the Forks of the Delaware.
Lord's day, May 13. - "Rose early; felt very poorly after my long journey, and after being wet and fatigued, Was very melancholy; have scarcely ever seen such a gloomy morning in my life; there appeared to be no Sabbath; the children were all at play; I, a stranger in the wilderness, and knew not where to go; and all circumstances seemed to conspire to render my affairs dark and discouraging. Was disappointed respecting an Interpreter, and heard that the Indians were much scattered. Oh! I mourned after the presence of God, and seemed like a creature banished from his sight! yet he was pleased to support my sinking soul amidst all my sorrows; so that I never entertained any thought of quitting my business among the poor Indians; but was comforted to think that death would ere long set me free from these distresses. Rode about three or four miles to the Irish people, where I found some that appeared sober and concerned about religion. My heart then began to be a little encouraged: went and preached first to the Irish and then to the Indians; and in the evening was a little comforted: my soul seemed to rest on God, and take courage.
Lord's day, May 20. - "Preached twice to the poor Indians; and enjoyed some freedom in speaking, while I attempted to remove their prejudices against Christianity. My soul longed continually for assistance from above; for I saw I had no strength sufficient for that work. Afterward preached to the Irish people; was much assisted in the first prayer, and somewhat in the sermon. Several persons seemed much concerned for their souls, with whom I discoursed afterward with much freedom and some power. Blessed be God for any assistance afforded to an unworthy worm. Oh! that I could live to him!
Lord's day, May 27. - "Visited my Indians in the morning, and attended upon a funeral among them; was affected to see their heathenish practices. Oh! that they might be 'turned from darkness to light!' Afterward got a considerable number of them together, and preached to them; and observed them very attentive. After this preached to the white people from Heb. 2:3. 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?' Was enabled to speak with some freedom and power: several people seemed much concerned for their souls; especially one who had been educated a Roman Catholic. Blessed be the Lord for any help.
May 28. - "Set out from the Indians above the Forks of the Delaware, on a journey toward Newark, in New-Jersey, according to my orders. Rode through the wilderness; was much fatigued with the heat; lodged at a place called Black River; was exceedingly tired and worn out.
Lord's day, June 10. - "[At Newark.] In the morning was much concerned how I should perform the work of the day: and trembled at the thoughts of being left to myself. Enjoyed very considerable assistance in all parts of the public service. Had an opportunity again to attend on the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and through divine goodness was refreshed in it: my soul was full of love and tenderness toward the children of God, and toward all men. At night I enjoyed more spirituality and sweet desire of holiness, than I have felt for some time: was afraid of every thought and every motion, lest thereby my heart should be drawn away from God. Oh! that I might never leave the blessed God! 'Lord, in thy presence is fulness ofjoy.' Oh the blessedness of living to God!
June 11. - "This day the Presbytery met at Newark, in order to my ordination. Was very weak and disordered in body; yet endeavored to repose my confidence in God. Spent most of the day alone; especially the forenoon. At three in the afternoon preached my probation sermon from Acts, 26:17,18, being a text given me for that purpose. Felt not well either in body or mind: however, God carried me through comfortably. Afterwards passed an examination before the Presbytery. Was much tired, and my mind burdened with the greatness of that charge I was in the most solemn manner about to take upon me: my mind was so pressed with the weight of the work incumbent upon me, that I could not sleep this night, though very weary and in great need of rest.
June 12. - "Was this morning further examined respecting my experimental acquaintance with Christianity. At one o'clock my ordination was attended; the sermon preached by the Rev. Mr. Pemberton. At this time I was affected with a sense of the important trust committed to me; yet was composed and solemn without distraction; and I hope that then, as many times before, I gave myself up to God, to be for him, and not for another. Oh! that I might always be engaged in the service of God, and duly remember the solemn charge I have received in the presence of God, angels, and men. Amen."
Labors for the Indians at and near the Forks of Delaware - idolatrous feast and dance - journey through the wilderness to Opelholhaupung or the Susquehanna - erects a cottage at Forks of the Delaware - some evidences of a work of the Spirit among the Indians - journey to New-England to obtain money to support a colleague - visit to the Indians on the Susquehanna - journey to Crossweeksung in New-Jersey.
June 13, 1744. - June 18, 1745.
June 13, 1744. [At Elizabeth Town.] - "Spent considerable time in writing an account of the Indian affairs, to be sent to Scotland; some, in conversation with friends; but had not much spiritual enjoyment." On Tuesday, June 19, he set out on his journey, and in three days reached his residence near the Forks of Delaware. Performed the journey under much weakness of body, but had comfort in his soul, from day to day.
Lord's day, June 24. - "Extremely feeble; scarcely able to walk: however visited my Indians, and took much pains to instruct them; labored with some that were much disaffected toward Christianity. My mind was much burdened with the weight and difficulty of my work. My whole dependence and hope of success seemed to be on God; who alone I saw could make them willing to receive instruction. My heart was much engaged in prayer, sending up silent requests to God, even while I was speaking to them. Oh! that I could always go in the strength of the Lord!
June 25. - "Was somewhat better in health than of late; and was able to spend a considerable part of the day in prayer and close study. Had more freedom and fervency in prayer than usual of late; especially longed for the presence of God in my work, and that the poor heathen might be converted. And in evening prayer my faith and hope in God were much raised. To an eye of reason every thing that respects the conversion of the heathen is as dark as midnight; and yet I cannot but hope in God for the accomplishment of something glorious among them. My soul longed much for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom on earth. Was very fearful lest I should admit some vain thought, and so lose the sense I then had of divine things. Oh! for an abiding heavenly temper!
June 26. - "In the morning, my desires seemed to rise, and ascend up freely to God. Was busy most of the day in translating prayers into the language of the Delaware Indians; met with great difficulty, because my interpreter was altogether unacquainted with the business. But though I was much discouraged with the extreme difficulty of that work, yet God supported me; and especially in the evening, gave me sweet refreshment. In prayer my soul was enlarged, and my faith drawn into sensible exercise; was enabled to cry to God for my poor Indians; and though the work of their conversion appeared impossible with man, yet with God I saw all things were possible. My faith was much strengthened, by observing the wonderful assistance God afforded his servants Nehemiah and Ezra, in reforming his people and re-establishing his ancient church. I was much assisted in prayer for my dear Christian friends, and for others whom I apprehended to be Christless; but was more especially concerned for the poor heathen, and those of my own charge; was enabled to be instant in prayer for them; and hoped that God would bow the heavens and come down for their salvation. It seemed to me that there could be no impediment sufficient to obstruct that glorious work, seeing the living God, as I strongly hoped, was engaged for it. I continued in a solemn frame, lifting my heart to God for assistance and grace, that I might be more mortified to this present world, that my whole soul might be taken up continually in concern for the advancement of Christ's kingdom.
Earnestly desired that God would purge me more, that I might be as a chosen vessel to bear his name among the heathen.
June 28. - "Spent the morning in reading several parts of the Holy Scripture, and in fervent prayer for my Indians, that God would set up his kingdom among them, and bring them into his church. About nine I withdrew to my usual place of retirement in the woods, and there again enjoyed some assistance in prayer. My great concern was for the conversion of the heathen to God; and the Lord helped me to plead with him for it. Toward noon rode up to the Indians in order to preach to them; and while going my heart went up to God in prayer for them; could freely tell God he knew that the cause in which I was engaged was not mine; but that it was his own cause, and that it would be for his own glory to convert the poor Indians: and blessed be God I felt no desire of their conversion that I might receive honor from the world as being the instrument of it. Had some freedom in speaking to the Indians.
June 30. - "My soul was very solemn in reading God's Word, especially the ninth chapter of Daniel. I saw how God had called out his servants to prayer, and made them wrestle with him, when he designed to bestow any great mercy on his church. And, alas! I was ashamed of myself to think of my dullness and inactivity when there seemed to be so much to do for the upbuilding of Zion. Oh! how does Zion lie waste! I longed that the church of God might be enlarged; was enabled to pray, I think, in faith; my soul seemed sensibly to confide in God, and was enabled to wrestle with him. Afterward walked abroad to a place of sweet retirement; enjoyed some assistance in prayer, had a sense of my great need of divine help, and felt my soul sensibly depend on God. Blessed be God, this has been a comfortable week to me.
Lord's day, July 1. - "After I came to them my mind was confused, and I felt nothing sensibly of that sweet reliance on God with which my soul has been comforted in days past. Spent the forenoon in this posture of mind, and preached to the Indians without any heart. In the afternoon I felt still barren when I began to preach, and for about half an hour: I seemed to myself to know nothing, and to have nothing to say to the Indians; but soon after I found in myself a spirit of love, and warmth, and power, to address the poor Indians, and God helped me to plead with them, and to 'turn from all the vanities of the heathen to the living God;' I am persuaded that the Lord touched their consciences; for I never saw such attention raised in them. When I came away from them, I spent the whole time I was riding to my lodgings, three miles distant, in prayer and praise to God. After I had rode more than two miles it came into my mind to dedicate myself to God again, which I did with great solemnity and unspeakable satisfaction; especially gave up myself to him renewedly in the work of the ministry. This I did by divine grace, I hope, without any exception or reserve; not in the least shrinking back from any difficulties that might attend this great and blessed work. I seemed to be most free, cheerful, and full in this full dedication of myself. My whole soul cried, 'Lord, to thee I dedicate myself! Oh! accept of me, and let me be thine for ever. Lord, I desire nothing else; I desire nothing more. Oh! come, come, Lord, accept a poor worm.' My heart rejoiced in my particular work as a missionary; rejoiced in my necessity of self-denial in many respects, and I still continued to give up myself to God, and to implore mercy of him, praying incessantly every moment with sweet fervency. My nature being very weak of late, and much spent, was not considerably overcome: my fingers grew very feeble, and somewhat numb, so that I could scarcely stretch them out straight, and when I lighted from my horse could hardly walk; my joints seemed all to be loosed. But I felt abundant strength in the inner man. Preached to the white people; God helped me much, especially in prayer. Sundry of my poor Indians were so moved as to come to meeting also, and one appeared much concerned.
July 3. - "Was still very weak. This morning was enabled to pray under a feeling sense of my need of help from God, and I trust had some faith in exercise; and, blessed be God, was enabled to plead with him a considerable time. Truly God is good to me. But my soul mourned, and was grieved at my sinfulness and barrenness, and longed to be more engaged for God. Near nine, withdrew again for prayer, and through divine goodness had the blessed spirit of prayer; my soul loved the duty, and longed for God in it. Oh! it is sweet to be the Lord's, to be sensibly devoted to him! What a blessed portion is God! Spent most of the day in translating prayers into Indian. In the evening was enabled again to wrestle with God in prayer with fervency. Was enabled to maintain a self-diffident and watchful frame of spirit, and was jealous, and afraid lest I should admit carelessness and self-confidence.
July 6. - "Awoke this morning in the fear of God, and spent my first waking minutes in prayer for sanctification, that my soul may be washed from its exceeding pollution and defilement. After I arose I spent some time in reading God's Word, and in prayer. I cried to God under a sense of my great indigence. I am of late most of an concerned for ministerial qualifications, and the conversion of the heathen. Last year I longed to be prepared for a world of glory, and speedily to depart out of this world; but of late all my concern almost is for the conversion of the heathen, and for that end I long to live. But blessed be God I have less desire to live for any of the pleasures of the world than I ever had. I long and love to be a pilgrim, and want grace to imitate the life, labors and sufferings of St. Paul among the heathen. And when I long for holiness now, it is not so much for myself as formerly, but rather thereby I may become an 'able minister of the New Testament,' especially to the heathen.
July 7. - "Was very much disordered this morning, and my vigor all spend and exhausted; but was affected and refreshed in reading the sweet story of Elijah's translation, and enjoyed some affection and fervency in prayer; longed much for ministerial gifts and graces, that I might do something in the cause of God. Afterward was refreshed and invigorated while reading Alleine's first Case of Conscience, &c. - was enabled then to pray with some ador of soul - was afraid of carelessness and self-confidence, and longed for holiness.
Lord's day, July 8. - "Was ill last night - not able to rest quietly. Had some small degree of assistance in preaching to the Indians, and afterward was enabled to preach to the white people with some power, especially in the close of my discourse, from Jer. 3:23. 'Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, '&c. The Lord also assisted me in some measure in the first prayer; blessed be his name. Near night, though very weary, was enabled to read God's Word with some sweet relish of it, and to pray with affection, fervency, and I trust with faith; my soul was more sensibly dependent on God than usual. Was watchful, tender, and jealous of my own heart. Lest I should admit carelessness and vain thoughts, and grieve the blessed Spirit, so that he should withdraw his sweet, kind, and tender influences. Longed to 'depart, and be with Christ,' more than at any time of late. My soul was exceedingly united to the saints of ancient times, as well as those now living; especially my soul melted for the society of Elijah and Elisha. Was enabled to cry to God with a child-like spirit, and to continue instant in prayer for some time. Was much enlarged in the sweet duty of intercession; was enabled to remember great numbers of dear friends, and precious souls, as well as Christ's ministers. Continued in this frame, afraid of every idle thought, till I dropped asleep.
July 21. - "This morning I was greatly oppressed with guilt and shame from a sense of inward vileness and pollution. About nine withdrew to the woods for prayer, but had not much comfort; I appeared to myself the vilest, meanest creature upon earth, and could scarcely live with myself; so mean and vile I appeared, that I thought I should never be able to hold up my face in heaven, if God, of his infinite grace, should bring me thither. Toward night my burden respecting my work among the Indians began to increase much, and was aggravated by hearing sundry things which looked very discouraging, in particular that they intended to meet together the next day for an idolatrous feast and dance. Then I began to be in anguish; I thought that I must in conscience go and endeavor to break them up, yet know not how to attempt such a thing. However, I withdrew for prayer, hoping for strength from above. In prayer I was exceedingly enlarged, and my soul was as much drawn out as I ever remember it to have been in my life. I was in such anguish, and pleaded with such earnestness and importunity, that when I rose from my knees I felt extremely weak and overcome; I could scarcely walk straight; my joints were loosed; the sweat ran down my face and body, and nature seemed as if it would dissolve. So far as I could judge, I was wholly free from selfish ends in my fervent supplications for the poor Indians. I knew that they were met together to worship devils, and not God; and this made me cry earnestly that God would now appear and help me in my attempts to break up this idolatrous meeting. My soul pleaded long, and I thought that God would hear, and would go with me to vindicate his own cause: I seemed to confide in God for his presence and assistance. And thus I spent the evening, praying incessantly for divine assistance, and that I might not be self-dependent, but still have my whole dependence upon God. What I passed through was remarkable, and indeed inexpressible. All things here below vanished, and there appeared to be nothing of any considerable importance to me, but holiness of heart and life, and the conversion of the heathen to God. All my cares, fears and desires, which might be said to be of a worldly nature, disappeared, and were, in my esteem, of little more importance than a puff of wind. I exceedingly longed that God would get to himself a name among the heathen; and I appealed to him with the greatest freedom, that he knew I 'Preferred him above my chief joy.' Indeed, I had no notion of joy from this world; I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ. I continued in this frame all the evening and night. While I was asleep I dreamed of these things; and when I waked, (as I frequently did,) the first thing I thought of was this great work of pleading for God against Satan.
Lord's day, July 22.- "When I waked my soul was burdened with what seemed to be before me. I cried to God, before I could get out of my bed; and as soon as I was dressed I withdrew into the woods, to pour out my burdened soul to God, especially for assistance in my great work; for I could scarcely think of anything else. I enjoyed the same freedom and fervency as the last evening; and did with unspeakable freedom give up myself afresh to God, for life or death, for all hardships to which he should call me, among the heathen; and felt as if nothing could discourage me from this blessed work. I had a strong hope that God would 'bow the heavens and come down,' and do some marvellous work among the heathen. While I was riding to the Indians, three miles, my heart was continually going up to God for his presence and assistance; and hoping and almost expecting, that God would make this the day of his power and grace amongst the poor Indians. When I came to them, I found them engaged in their frolic; but through divine goodness I persuaded them to desist and attend to my preaching: yet still there appeared nothing of the special power of God among them. Preached again to them in the afternoon, and observed the Indians were more sober than before; but still saw nothing special among them. Hence satan took occasion to tempt and buffet me with these cursed suggestions, There is no God, or if there be, he is not able to convert the Indians, before they have more knowledge, &c. I was very weak and weary, and my soul borne down with perplexity; but was mortified to all the world, and was determined still to wait upon God for the conversion of the heathen, though the devil tempted me to the contrary.
July 24. - "Rode about seventeen miles westward, over a hideous mountain, to a number of Indians. Got together near thirty of them: preached to them in the evening, and lodged among them. Was weak, and felt in some degree disconsolate; yet could have no freedom in the thought of any other circumstances of business in life. All my desire was the conversion of the heathen; and all my hope was in God. God does not suffer me to please or comfort myself with hopes of seeing friends, returning to my dear acquaintance, and enjoying worldly comforts.
Lord's day, August 5. - "Though very weak, I visited and preached to the poor Indians twice, and was strengthened vastly beyond my expectations. Indeed the Lord gave me some freedom and fervency in addressing them; though I had not strength enough to stand, but was obliged to sit down the whole time. Toward night was extremely weak, faint, sick, and full of pain. I seem to myself like a man that has all his estate embarked in one small boat, unhappily going adrift down a swift torrent. The poor owner stands on the shore, and looks, and laments his loss. But, alas! though my all seems to be adrift, and I stand and see it, I dare not lament; for this sinks my spirits more, and aggravates my bodily disorders! I am forced therefore, to divert myself with trifles; although at the same time I am afraid, and often feel as if I was guilty of the misimprovement of time. And oftentimes my conscience is so exercised with this miserable way of spending time, that I have no peace; though I have no strength of mind or body to improve it to better purpose. Oh! that God would pity my distressed state!" The next three weeks his illness was less severe; and he was in some degree capable of business, both public and private, though he had some turns wherein his indisposition prevailed to a great degree. He had generally also much more inward assistance and strength of mind. He often expresses great longings for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom, especially by the conversion of the heathen to God; and speaks of this hope as all his delight and joy. He continues still to express his usual desires after holiness, living to God, and a sense of his own unworthiness. He several times speaks of his appearing to himself the vilest creature on earth; and once says, that he verily thought there were none of God's children who fell so far short of that holiness, and perfection in their obedience, which God requires, as he. He speaks of his feeling more dead than ever to the enjoyments of the world. He sometimes mentions the special assistance which he had at this time, in preaching to the Indians, and the appearances of religious concern among them. He speaks also of assistance in prayer for absent friends, and especially ministers and candidates for the ministry; and of much comfort which he enjoyed in the company of some ministers who came to visit him.
Sept. 1. - "Was so far strengthened, after a season of great weakness, that I was able to spend two or three hours in writing on a divine subject. Enjoyed some comfort and sweetness in things divine and sacred; and as my bodily strength was in some measure restored, so my soul seemed to be somewhat vigorous, and engaged in the things of God.
Lord's day, Sept. 2. - "Was enabled to speak to my poor Indians with much concern and fervency; and I am persuaded that God enabled me to exercise faith in him, while I was speaking to them. I perceived that some of them were afraid to hearken to and embrace Christianity, lest they should be enchanted and poisoned by some of the powaws: but I was enabled to plead with them not to fear these; and, confiding in God for safety and deliverance, I bid a challenge to all these powers of darkness, to do their worst on me first. I told my people that I was a Christian, and asked them why the powaws did not bewitch and poison me. I scarcely ever felt more sensible of my own unworthiness, than in this action. I saw that the honor of God was concerned; and desired to be preserved - not from selfish views - but for a testimony of the divine power and goodness, and of the truth of Christianity, and that God might be glorified. Afterward, I found my soul rejoice in God for his assisting grace." After this, he went a journey into New-England, and was absent from the place of his abode, at the Forks of Delaware, about three weeks. He was in a feeble state the greater part of the time. But in the latter of the journey he found that he gained much in health and strength.
Sept. 26. - "Rode home to the Forks of Delaware. What reason have I to bless God, who has preserved me in riding more than four hundred and twenty miles, and has 'kept all my bones, that not one of them has been broken!' My health likewise is greatly recovered. Oh! that I could dedicate my all to God! This is all the return I can make to him." When he began to preach here, he had not more than from twenty to twenty-five hearers; their numbers at length increased to forty, or more; and often most belonging to those parts came together to hear him preach. In a letter to Rev. Mr. Pemberton, he says, "The effects which the truths of God's Word have had upon some of the Indians in this place, are somewhat encouraging. A number of them are brought to renounce idolatry, and to decline partaking of those feasts which they used to offer in sacrifice to certain supposed unknown powers. And some few among them have, for a considerable time, manifested a serious concern for their soul's eternal welfare, and still continue to 'inquire the way to Zion,' with such diligence, affection, and becoming solicitude, as gives me reason to hope that God who, I trust, has begun this work in them, will carry on, until it shall issue in their saving conversion to himself." These not only detest their old idolatrous notions, but strive also to bring their friends off from them. And as they are seeking salvation for their own souls, so they seem desirous, and some of them take pains, that others might be excited to do the same. There are also many difficulties, that attend the Christianizing of these poor pagans. In the first place, their minds are filled with prejudices against Christianity, on account of the vicious lives and unchristian behavior of some that are called Christians. These not only set before them the worst examples, but some of them take pains, expressly in words, to dissuade them from becoming Christians, foreseeing that if these should be converted to God, 'the hope of their unlawful gain' would thereby be lost. Again: these poor heathens are extremely attached to the customs, traditions, and fabulous notions of their fathers. And this one seems to be the foundation of an their other notions, viz. that 'it was not the same God made them, who made the white people,' but another, who commanded them to live by hunting &c., and not to conform to the customs of the white people. Hence, when they are desired to become Christians, they frequently reply, that 'they will live as their fathers lived, and go to their fathers when they die.' And if the miracles of Christ and his apostles be mentioned to prove the truth of Christianity, they also mention sundry miracles which their fathers have told them were anciently wrought among the Indians, and which Satan makes them believe were so. They are much attached to idolatry, frequently making feasts, which they eat in honor to some unknown beings, who, they suppose, speak to them in dreams; promising them success in hunting, and other affairs, in case they will sacrifice to them. They often-times also offer their sacrifices to the spirits of the dead, who, they suppose, stand in need of favors from the living, and yet are in such a state as that they can well reward all the offices of kindness that are shown them. And they impute all their calamities to the neglect of these sacrifices. Furthermore, they are much awed by those among themselves who are called powaws, who are supposed to have a power of enchanting, or poisioning them to death, or at least in a very distressing manner. And they apprehended it would be their sad fate to be thus enchanted in case they should become Christians. The manner of their living is likewise a great disadvantage to the design of their being Christianized. They are almost continually roving from place to place, and it is but rare that an opportunity can be had with some of them for their instruction.
Oct. 1. - "Was engaged in making preparations for my intended journey to the Susquehanna. Withdrew several times to the woods for secret duties, and endeavored to plead for the divine presence to go with me to the poor Pagarfs, to whom I was going to preach the Gospel. Toward night rode about four miles, and met brother Byram, who was come at my desire to be my companion in travel to the Indians. I rejoiced to see him, and I trust God made his conversation profitable to me. I saw him, as I thought, more dead to the world, its anxious cares and alluring objects, than I was; and this made me look within myself, and gave me a greater sense of guilt, ingratitude, and misery.
Oct. 2. - "Set out on my journey in company with dear brother Byram and my interpreter, and two chief Indians from the Forks of Delaware. Traveled about twenty-five miles, and lodged in one of the last houses on our road; after which there was nothing but a hideous and howling wilderness.
-Oct. 3. - "We went on our way into the wilderness, and found the most difficult and dangerous traveling by far, that ever any of us had seen. We had scarce anything else but lofty mountains, deep valleys, and hideous rocks to make our way through. However, I had some spiritual enjoyment part of the day, and my mind intensely engaged in meditation on a divine subject. Near night my horse hung one of her legs in the rocks and fell down under me, but through divine goodness, I was not hurt. However, she broke her leg; and being in such a hideous place, and near thirty miles from any house, I saw nothing that could be done to preserve her life, and so was obliged to kill her, and to prosecute my journey on foot. This accident made me admire the divine goodness to me that my bones were not broken, and the multitude of them filled with strong pain. Just at dark we kindled a fire, cut up a few bushes, and made a shelter over our heads to save us from the frost, which was very hard that night, and committing ourselves to God by prayer, we lay down on the ground and slept quietly." The next day they went forward on their journey, and at night took up their lodgings in the woods in like manner.
Oct. 5. - "We reached the Susquehanna river at a placecalled Opeholhaupung, and found there twelve Indian houses. After I had saluted the king in a friendly manner I told him my business, and that my desire was to teach them Christianity. After some consult'ation the Indians gathered, and I preached to them. And when I had done I asked if they would hear me again. They replied that they would consider of it, and soon after sent me word that they would immediately attend if I would preach, which I did with freedom, both times. When I asked them again, whether they would hear me further, they replied, they would the next day. I was exceeding sensible of the impossibility of doing anything for the poor heathen without special assistance from above; and my soul seemed to rest on God, and leave it to him to do as he pleased in that which I saw was his own cause. Indeed, through divine goodness, I had felt somewhat of this frame most of the time while I was traveling thither; and in some measure before I set out.
Oct. 6. - "Rose early and besought the Lord for help in my great work. Near noon, preached again to the Indians, and in the afternoon visited them from house to house, and invited them to come and hear me again the next day, and put off their hunting design which they were just entering upon, till Monday. 'This night' I trust, 'the Lord stood by me,' to encourage and strengthen my soul: I spent more than an hour in secret retirement; was enabled to 'pour out my heart before God,' for the increase of grace in my soul, for ministerial endowments, for success among the poor Indians, for God's ministers and people, for distant dear friends, &c. Blessed be God!
Oct. 8. - "Visited the Indians with a design to take my leave of them, supposing they would this morning go out hunting early; but beyond my expectation and hope, they desired to hear me preach again. I gladly complied with their request, and afterward endeavored to answer their objections against Christianity.
Oct. 9. - "We rose about four in the morning, and commending ourselves to God by prayer, and asking his special protection, set out on our journey homeward about five, and traveled with great steadiness till past six at night; and then made us a fire and a shelter of bark, and so rested. I had some clear and comfortable thoughts on a divine subject, by the way, toward night. In the night, the wolves howled around us; but God preserved us." The next day they rose early, and at night came to an Irish settlement, with which Brainerd was acquainted, and lodged there. On the following day both he and Mr. Bryam preached to the people.
Oct. 12. - "Rode home to my lodgings; where I poured out my soul to God in secret prayer, and endeavored to bless him for his abundant goodness to me in my late journey. I scarcely ever enjoyed more health, at least of later years; and God marvellously and almost miraculously, supported me under the fatigues of the way, and traveling on foot. Blessed be the Lord, who continually preserves me.
Lord's day, Oct. 14. - "I went to the place of public worship, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace, in my great work; and God was gracious to me, helping me to plead with him for holiness, and to use the strongest arguments with him, drawn from the incarnation and sufferings of Christ, for this very end, that men might be made holy. Afterward, I was much assisted in preaching. I know not that ever God helped me to preach in a more close and distinguishing manner for the trial of men's state. Through the infinite goodness of God, I felt what I spoke; and he enabled me to treat on divine truth with uncommon clearness.
Oct. 24. - "Near noon, rode to my people; spent some time, and prayed with them; felt the frame of a pilgrim on earth; longed much to leave this gloomy mansion; but yet found the exercise of patience and resignation. And as I returned home from the Indians, spent the whole time in lifting up my heart to God. In the evening enjoyed a blessed season alone in prayer; was enabled to cry to God with a child-like spirit, for the space of near an hour; enjoyed a sweet freedom in supplicating for myself, for dear friends, ministers, and some who are preparing for that work, and for the church of God; and longed to be as lively myself in God's service as the angels.
Oct. 26. - "In the morning my soul was melted with a sense of divine goodness and mercy to such a vile unworthy worm. I delighted to lean upon God, and place my whole trust in him. My soul was exceedingly grieved for sin, and prized and longed after holiness; it wounded my heart deeply, yet sweetly, to think how I had abused a kind God, I longed to be perfectly holy that I might not grieve a gracious God; who will continue to love notwithstanding his love is abused! I longed for holiness more for this end than I did for my own happiness' sake; and yet this was my greatest happiness, never more to dishonor, but always to glorify the blessed God.
Oct. 31. - "Was sensible of my barrenness and decays in the things of God; my soul failed when I remembered the fervency which I had enjoyed at the throne of grace. Oh! I thought, if I could but be spiritual, warm, heavenly minded, and affectionately breathing after God, this would be better than life to me! My soul longed exceedingly for death, to be loosed from this dullness and barrenness, and made for ever active in the service of God. I seemed to live for nothing, and to do no good: and Oh! the burden of such a life! Oh! death, death, my kind friend, hasten and deliver me from dull mortality, and make me spiritual and vigorous to eternity!"
Nov. 5. - He set out on a journey to New York, and was from home more than a fortnight. He was exposed to cold and storms, became greatly fatigued, and when he returned from New-York to New-Jersey was taken ill, and detained some time.
Nov. 21. - "Rode from Newark to Rockciticus in the cold, and was almost overcome with it. Enjoyed some sweetness in conversation with dear Mr. Jones, while I dined with him. My soul loves the people of God, and especially the ministers of Jesus Christ who feel the same trials that I do.
Nov. 22. - "Came on my way from Rockeiticus to the Delaware. Was very much disordered with a cold and pain in my head. About six at night I lost my way in the wilderness, and wandered over rocks and mountains, down hideous steeps, through swamps and most dreadful and dangerous places; and the night being dark, so that few stars could be seen, I was greatly exposed. I was much pinced with cold, and distressed with pain in my head, attended with sickness at my stomach; so that every step I took was distressing to me. I had little hope, for several hours together, but that I must lie out in the woods all night in this distressed case. But about nine o'clock I found a house, through the abundant goodness of God, and was kindly entertained. Thus I have frequently been exposed, and sometimes lain out the whole night: but God has hitherto preserved me; and blessed be his name. Such fatigues and hardships as these serve to wean me from the earth; and I trust will make heaven the sweeter. Formerly, when I was thus exposed to cold, rain, &c. I was ready to please myself with the thoughts of enjoying a comfortable house, a warm fire, and other outward comforts; but now these have less place in my heart, (through the grace of God,) and my eye is more to God for comfort. In this world I expect tribulation; and it does not now, as formerly appear strange to me. I do not in such seasons of difficulty flatter myself that it will be better hereafter; but rather think how much worse it might be; how much greater trials others of God's children have endured; and how much greater are yet perhaps reserved for me. Blessed be God, that he makes the thoughts of my journey's end, and of my dissolution a great comfort to me under my sharpest trials; and scarce ever lets these thoughts be attended with terror or melancholy; but they are attended frequently with great joy.
Nov. 23. - "Visited a sick man; discoursed and prayed with him. Then visited another house, where was one dead and laid out; looked on the corpse, and longed that my time might come to depart and be with Christ. Then went home to my lodgings about one o'clock. Felt poorly; but was able to read most of the afternoon." Within the space of the next twelve days he spent much time in hard labor, with others, to make for himself a little cottage or hut, to live in by himself through the winter. Yet he frequently preached to the Indians, and speaks of special assistance which he had from time to time, in addressing himself to them; and of his sometimes having considerable encouragement from the attention which they gave. But on Tuesday, December 4, he was sunk into great discouragement, to see most of them going in company to an idolatrous feast and dance, after he had taken abundant pains to dissuade them from these things.
Dec. 6. - "Having now a happy opportunity of being retired in a house of my own, which I have lately procured and moved into; considering that it is now a long time since I have been able, either on account of bodily weakness or for want of retirement, or some other difficulty, to spend any time in secret fasting and prayer; considering also the greatness of my work, the extreme difficulties that attend it, and that my poor Indians are now worshipping devils, notwithstanding all the pains I have taken with them, which almost overwhelms my spirit; moreover, considering my extreme barrenness, spiritual deadness and dejection, of late; as also the power of some particular corruptions; I set apart this day for secret prayer and fasting, to implore the blessing of God on myself, on my poor people, on my friends, and on the church of God. At first I felt a great backwardness to the duties of the day on account of the seeming impossibility of performing them; but the Lord helped me to break through this difficulty. God was pleased, by the use of means, to give me some clear conviction of my sinfulness, and a discovery of the plague of my own heart, more affecting than what I have of late had. And especially I say my sinfulness in this, that when God had withdrawn himself, then, instead of living and dying in pursuit of him, I have been disposed to one of these two things: either to yield an unbecoming respect to some earthly objects, as if happiness were to be derived from them; or to be secretly forward and impatient, and unsuitably desirous of death, so that I have sometimes thought I could not bear to think that my life must be lengthened out. That which often drove me to this impatient desire of death, was a despair of doing any good in life: and I chose death rather than a life spent for nothing. But now God made me sensible to my sin in these things, and enabled me to cry to him for forgiveness. Yet this was not all I wanted, for my soul appeared exceedingly polluted, my heart seemed like a nest of vipers, or a cage of unclean and hateful birds; and therefore I wanted to be purified 'by the blood of sprinkling, that cleanseth from all sin.' This, I hope, I was enabled to pray for in faith. I enjoyed much more intenseness, fervency, and spirituality, than I expected; God was better to me than my fears. Toward night, I felt my soul rejoice, that God is unchangeable happy and glorious; and that he will be glorified, whatever becomes of his creatures. I was enabled to persevere in prayer until sometime in the evening; at which time I saw so much need of divine help, in every respect, that I knew not how to leave off, and had forgot that I needed food. Blessed be the Lord for any help in the past day.
Dec. 7. "Spent some time in prayer, in the morning; enjoyed some freedom and affection in the duty, and had longing desires of being made 'faithful to the death.' Spent a little time in writing on a divine subject; then visited the Indians, and preached to them; but I had no heart to speak to them, and could not do it, but as I forced myself: I knew they must hate to hear me, as having but just got home from their idolatrous feast and devil-worship. In the evening, had some freedom in prayer and meditation.
Dec. 12. - "Was very weak; but somewhat assisted in secret prayer, and enabled with pleasure and sweetness to cry, 'Come, Lord Jesus! come, Lord Jesus! come quickly.' My soul 'longed for God, for the living God.' Oh! how delightful it is to pray under such sweet influences! Oh! how much better is this than one's necessary food! I had at this time no disposition to eat, (though late in the morning;) for earthly food appeared wholly tasteless. Oh! how much 'better is thy love than wine,' than the sweetest wine! - I visited and preached to the Indians in the afternoon; but under much dejection. Found my Interpreter under some concern for his soul; which was some comfort to me; and yet filled me with new care. I longed greatly for his conversion; lifted up my heart to God for it, while I was talking to him; came home, and poured out my soul to God for him; enjoyed some freedom in prayer, and was enabled, I think, to leave all with God.
Dec. 18 - "Went to the Indians, and discoursed to them near an hour, without any power to come close to their hearts. But at last I felt some fervency, and God helped me to speak with warmth. My Interpreter also was amazingly assisted; and presently most of the grown persons were much affected, and the tears ran down their cheeks. One old man, I suppose an hundred years old, was so much affected that he wept, and seemed convinced of the importance of what I taught them. I stayed with them a considerable time, exhorting and directing them; and came away, lifting my heart up to God in prayer and praise, and encouraged and exhorted my Interpreter to 'strive to enter in at the strait gate.' Came home, and spent most of the evening in prayer and thanksgiving; and found myself much enlarged and quickened. Was greatly concerned that the Lord's work, which seemed to be begun, might be carried on with power, to the conversion of poor souls, and the glory of divine grace.
Dec. 19. - "Spent a great part of the day in prayer to God for the outpouring of his Spirit on my poor people; as also to bless his name for awakening my Interpreter and some others, and giving us some tokens of his presence yesterday, And blessed be God, I had much freedom, five or six times in the day, in prayer and praise, and felt a weighty concern upon my spirit for the salvation of those precious souls, and the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom among them. My soul hoped in God for some success in my ministry: blessed be his name for so much hope.
Dec. 21. - "Was enabled again to pray with freedom, cheerfulness, and hope. God was pleased to make the duty comfortable and pleasant to me; so that I delighted to persevere, and repeatedly to engage in it. Toward noon visited my people, and spent the whole time in the way to them in prayer, longing to see the power of God among them, as there appeared something of it the last Tuesday; and I found it sweet to rest and hope in God. Preached to them twice, and at two distince places: had considerable freedom each time, and so had my Interpreter. Several of them followed me from one place to the other; and I thought there was some divine influence discernible among them. In the evening was assisted in prayer again. Blessed be the Lord.
Dec. 25. - "Enjoyed very little quiet sleep last night, by reason of bodily weakness, and the closeness of my studies yesterday; yet my heart was somewhat lively in, prayer and praise. I was delighted with the divine glory and happiness, and rejoiced that God was God, and that he was unchangeably possessed of glory and blessedness. Though God held my eyes waking, yet he helped me to improve my time profitably amidst my pains and weakness, in continued meditations on Luke 13:7. 'Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit.' &c. My meditations were sweet; and I wanted to set before sinners their sin and danger." He continued in a very low state, as to his bodily health, for some days, which seems to have been a great hindrance to him in his religious exercises and pursuits. But yet he expresses some degree of divine assistance, from day to day, through the remainder of this week. He preached several times this week to his Indians; and there appeared still some concern among them for their souls.
Jan. 9, 1745. - "In the morning God was pleased to remove that gloom which has of late oppressed my mind, and gave me freedom and sweetness in prayer; I was encouraged, strengthened, and enabled to plead for grace myself, and mercy for my poor Indians; and was sweetly assisted in my intercessions to God for others. Blessed be his holy name for ever and ever. Amen, and Amen. Those things that of late have appeared most difficult and almost impossible, now appeared not only possible, but easy. My soul so much delighted to continue instant in prayer, at this blessed season, that I had no desire for my necessary food: I even dreaded leaving off praying at all, lest I should lose this spirituality, and this blessed thankfulness to God which I felt. I felt now quite willing to live, and undergo all trials that might remain for me in a world of sorrow; but still longed for heaven, that I might glorify God in a perfect manner. 'O come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.'
Lord's day, Feb. 3. - "In the morning I was somewhat relieved of that gloom and confusion with which my mind has of late been greatly exercised; and was enabled to pray with some composure and comfort. Still I went to my Indians trembling; but God was pleased to hear my cries, and to afford me great assistance; so that I felt peace in my own soul; and was satisfied, that if, not one of the Indians should be profited by my preaching, but they should all be damned, yet I should be accepted and rewarded as faithful; for I am persuaded, God enabled me to be so. Had some good degree of help afterward at another place; and much longed for the conversion of the poor Indians." On the next Sabbath he preached at Greenwich, in New-Jersey. In the evening he rode eight miles to visit a sick man at the point of death, and found him speechless and senseless.
Feb. 11. - "About the break of day the sick man died. I was affected at the sight; spent the morning with the mourners; and after prayer and some discourse with them, returned to Greenwich, and preached again from Psalm 89:15. The Lord gave me some assistance; I felt a sweet love to souls and to the kingdom of Christ; and longed that poor sinners might 'know the joyful sound.' Several persons were much affected. After meeting, I was enabled to discourse, with freedom and concern, to some persons who applied to me under spiritual trouble. Left the place, sweetly composed, and rode home to my house about eight miles distant. Discoursed to friends, and inculcated divine truths upon some. In the evening was in the most solemn frame which I almost ever remember to have experienced. I know not that ever death appeared more real to me, or that ever I saw myself in the condition of a dead corpse, laid out, and &essed for a lodging in the silent grave, so evidently as at this time. And yet I felt exceedingly tranquil; my mind was composed and calm, and death appeared without a sting. I think I never felt such an universal mortification to all created objects as now. Oh! how great and solemn a thing it appeared to die! Oh! how it lays the greatest honor in the dust! And Oh! how vain and trifling did the riches, honors, and pleasures of the world appear! I could not, I dare not so much as think of any of them; for death, death appeared at the door. Oh! I could see myself dead, and laid out, and enclosed in my coffin, and put down into the cold grave, with the greatest solemnity, but without teff or! I spent most of the evening in conversing with a dear Christian friend. Blessed be God for the comforts of the past day.
Feb. 15. - "Was engaged in writing almost the whole day. In the evening was much assisted in meditating on that precious text, John 7:37. 'Jesus stood and cried, '&c. I had then a sweet sense of the freegrace of the gospel; my soul was encouraged, warmed, and quickened. My desires were drawn out after God in prayer; and my soul was watchful, afraid of losing such a guest as I then entertained. I continued long in prayer and meditation, inten-nixing one with the other; and was unwilling to be diverted by any thing at all from so sweet an exercise. I longed to proclaim the grace I then meditated upon, to the world of sinners. Oh! how quick and powerful is the Word of the blessed God.
Lord's day, Feb. 17. - "Preached to the white people [my interpreter being absent,] in the wilderness, upon the sunny side of a hill; had a considerable assembly, consisting of people who lived, at least many of them not less than thirty miles asunder; some of them came near twenty miles. I discoursed to them all day, from John 7:37. 'Jesus stood and cried, saying that if any man thirst,'&c. In the afternoon, it pleased God to grant me great freedom and fervency in my discourse; and I was enabled to exhibit the free grace of God to perishing sinners with more freedom and plainness in my life. Afterward, I was enabled earnestly to invite the children of God to come renewedly, and drink of this fountain of the eater of life, from whence they have heretofore derived unspeakable satisfaction. It was a very comfortable time to me. There were many tears in the assembly; and I doubt not but that the Spirit of God was there, convincing poor sinners of their need of Christ. In the evening I felt composed and comfortable, though much tried. I had some sweet sense of the excellency and glory of God; my soul rejoiced that he was 'God over all, blessed for ever;' but was too much crowded with company and conversation, and longed to be more alone with God. Oh! that I could for ever bless God for the mercy of this day, who 'answered me in the joy of my heart.'
Lord's day, Feb. 24. - "In the morning was much perplexed. My interpreter being absent, I knew not how to perform my work among the Indians. However, I rode to them, got a Dutchman to interpret for me, though he was but poorly qualified for the business. Afterward I came and preached to a few white people, from John 6:67. Here the Lord seemed to unburden me in some measure, especially toward the close of my discourse: I felt freedom to open the love of Christ to his own dear disciples. When the rest of the world forsake him, and are forsaken by him, he then turns to his own, and says, Will ye also go away? I had a sense of the free grace of Christ to his own people, in such seasons of general apostacy, and when they themselves in some measure backslide with the world. Oh! the free grace of Christ, that he seasonably reminds his people of their danger of backsliding, and invites them to persevere in their adherence to himself! I say that backsliding souls, who seemed to be about to go away with the world, might return, and be welcome, to him immediately; without any thing to recommend them; notwithstanding all their former backslidings. Thus my discourse was suited to my own soul's case; for of late, I have found a great want of this sense and apprehension of divine grace; and have often been greatly distressed in my own soul, because I did not suitably apprehend this fountain opened to purge away sin; and have been too much laboring for spiritual life, peace of conscience, and progressive holiness, in my own strength. Now God showed me, in some measure, the arm of all strength, and the fountain of all grace. In the evening, I felt solemn, resting on free grace for assistance, acceptance, and peace of conscience.
March 6. - "Spent most of the day in preparing for a journey to New-England; and sometime in prayer with a special reference to it. Was afraid I should forsake the Fountain of living waters, and attempt to derive satisfaction from broken cisterns, my dear friends and acquaintance, whom I might meet in my journey. I looked to God to keep me from this vanity as well as others. Toward night, and in the evening, was visited by some friends, some of whom I trust were real Christians; who discovered an affectionate regard to me, and seemed grieved that I was about to leave them; especially as I did not expect to make any considerable stay among them, if I should live to return. [It seems by what afterward appears, that he had a design to remove and live among the Indians on the Susquehanna river.] Oh! how kind has God been to me! how he has raised up friends in every place where his providence has called me! Friends are a great comfort; and it is God who gives them; it is He who makes them friendly to me. 'Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.'" The next day he set out on his journey; and it was about five weeks before he returned. The special design of this journey, he himself declares afterward, in his diary for March 21, where, speaking of his conversing with a certain minister in New-England, he says, "Contrived with him how to raise some money among Christian friends, in order to support a colleague with me in the wilderness, (I having now spent two years in a very solitary manner,) that we might be together: as Christ sent out his disciples two and two: and this was the principal concern I had in view, in taking this journey, so I took pains in it, and hope God will succeed it, if for his own glory." He first went into various parts of New-Jersey, and visited several ministers there; then went to New-York; and from thence into New-England, going to various parts of Connecticut. He then returned to New-Jersey, and met a number of ministers at Woodbridge, "who," he says "met there to consult about the affairs of Christ's kingdom." He seems, for the most part, to have been free from melancholy in this journey; and many times to have had extraordinary assistance in public ministrations, and his preaching was sometimes attended with very hopeful appearances of a good effect on the auditory. He also had many seasons of special comfort and spiritual refreshment, in conversation with ministers and other Christian friends, and also in meditation and prayer when alone.
April 13. - "Rode home to my own house at the Forks of Delaware; was enabled to remember the goodness of the Lord, who has now preserved me while riding full six hundred miles in this journey; and kept me that none of my bones have been broken. Blessed be the Lord, who has preserved me in this tedious journey, and returned me in safety to my own house. Verily it is God who has upheld me, and guarded my goings.
Lord's day, April 14. - "Was disordered in body with the fatigues of the late journey; but was enabled however to preach to a considerable assembly of white people, gathered from all parts round about, with some freedom, from Ezek. 33:11. 'As I live saith the Lord,'&c. Had much more assistance than I expected." This week he went a journey to Philadelphia, in order to engage the Governor to use his interest with the chief of the Six Nations, with whom he maintained a strict friendship, that he would give him leave to live at Susquehanna, and instruct the Indians who are within their territories.
April 26. - "Conversed with a Christian friend with some warmth; and felt a spirit of mortification to the world, in a very great degree. Afterward, was enabled to pray fervently, and to rely on God sweetly, for 'all things pertaining to life and godliness.' Just in the evening, was visited by a dear Christian friend with whom I spent an hour or two in conversation, on the very soul of religion. There are many with whom I can talk about religion; but alas! I find few with whom I can talk religion itself; but, blessed be the Lord there are some that love to feed on the kernel, rather than the shell.
April 30. - "Was scarce able to walk about, and was obliged to betake myself to bed much of the day; and passed away the time in a very solitary manner; being neither able to read, meditate, nor pray, and had none to converse with in this wilderness. Oh! how heavily does time pass away when I can do nothing to any good purpose; but seem obliged to trifle away precious time! But of late I have seen it my duty to divert myself by all lawful means, that I may be fit, at least some small part of my time, to labor for God. And here is the difference between my present diversions, and those I once pursued, when in a natural state. Then I made a god of my diversions, delighted in them with a neglect of God, and drew my highest satisfaction from them. Now I use them as means to help me in living to God; fixedly delighting in him, and not in them, drawing my highest satisfaction from him. Then they were my all; now they are only means leading to my all. And those things that are the greatest diversion, when pursued with this view, do not tend to hinder, but promote my spirituality; and I see now, more than ever, that they are absolutely necessary.
May 2. - "In the evening, being a little better in health, I walked into the woods, and enjoyed a sweet season of meditation and prayer. My thoughts ran upon Psalm 17:15. 'I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.' And it was indeed a precious text to me. I longed to preach to the whole world; and it seemed to me they must needs all be melted in hearing such precious divine truths as I then had a view of. My thoughts were exceeding clear, and my soul was refreshed. Blessed be the Lord, that in my late and present weakness, now for many days together, and mind is not gloomy, as at some other times.
May 7. - "Spent the day mainly in making preparation for a journey into the wilderness. Was still weak, and concerned how I should perform so difficult a journey; but wanted bodily strength to spend the day in fasting and prayer." The next day he set out on his journey to the Susquehanna, with his interpreter. He endured great hardships and fatigues in his way thither through the wilderness: where, after having lodged one night in the open woods, he was overtaken with a north-easterly storm, in which he was ready to perish. Having no manner of shelter, and not being able to make a fire in so great a rain, he could have no comfort if he stopped; he therefore determined to go forward in hope of meeting with some shelter, without which he thought it impossible to live the night through; but their horses happening to eat poison, for the want of other food, at a place where they lodged the night before, were so sick that they could neither ride nor lead them, but were obliged to drive them and travel on foot; until, through the mercy of God, just at dusk they came to a bark hut, where they lodged that night. After he came to the Susquehanna he traveled about a hundred miles on the river, and visited many towns and settlements of the Indians; saw some of seven or eight tribes, and preached to different nations, by different interpreters. He was sometimes much discouraged, and sunk in his spirits, through the opposition which appeared in the Indians to Christianity. At other times he was encouraged by the disposition which some of these people manifested to hear, and their willingness to be instructed. He here met with some who had formerly been his hearers at Kaunaumeek, and had removed hither; who saw and heard him again with great joy. He spent a fortnight among the Indians on this river, and passed through many labors and hardships, lodging on the ground for several weeks, and sometimes in the open air. At length he became extremely ill, as he was riding in the wilderness, being seized with an ague, followed with a burning fever and extreme pains in his head and bowels, attended with a great evacuation of blood; so that he thought he must have perished in the wilderness. But at last coming to an Indian trader's hut, he got leave to stay there; and though without physic or food proper for him, it pleased God, after about a week's distress, to relieve him so far that he was able to ride. He returned homeward from Juncauta, an island far down the river, where were a considerable number of Indians, who appeared more free from prejudices against Christianity than most of the other Indians; and arrived at the Forks of Delaware on Thursday, May 30, after having rode in this journey about three hundred and forty miles. He came home in a very weak state, and under dejection of mind; which was a great hinderance to him in religious exercises. However, on the Sabbath, after having preached to the Indians, he preached to the white people with some success, from Isaiah, 53:10. 'Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,' &c. some being awakened by his preaching. The next day he was much exercised for want of spiritual life and fervency.
June 5. - "Felt thirsting desires after God, in the morning. In the evening, enjoyed a precious season of retirement: was favored with some clear and sweet meditations upon a sacred text; divine things opened with clearness and certainty, and had a divine stamp upon them. My soul was also enlarged and refreshed in prayer; I delighted to continue in the duty; and was sweetly assisted in praying for my fellow Christians, and dear brethren in the ministry. Blessed be the dear Lord for such enjoyments. Oh! how sweet and precious it is to have a clear apprehension and tender sense of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness, and of likeness to the best of beings! Oh! what a blessedness it is to be as much like God as it is possible for a creature to be like his great Creator! Lord give me more of thy likeness; 'I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with it.'"
On Friday, June 7, he went a journey of near fifty miles, to Neshaminy, to assist at a sacramental occasion, to be attended at Mr. Beatty's meeting-house; being invited thither by him and his people.
June 8. - "Was exceedingly weak and fatigued with riding in the heat yesterday; but being desired, I preached in the afternoon, to a crowded audience, from Isaiah 40:1. 'Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.' God was pleased to give me great freedom, in opening the sorrows of his people, and in setting before them comforting considerations. And, blessed be the Lord, it was a sweet melting season in the assembly.
Lord's day, June 9. - "Felt some longing desires of the presence of God to be with his people on the solemn occasion of the day. In the forenoon Mr. Beatty preached; and there appeared some warmth in the assembly. Afterward, I assisted in the administration of the Lord's supper: and toward the close of it, I discoursed to the multitude extempore, with some reference to that sacred passage, Isaiah 53:10. 'Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.' Here God gave me great assistance in addressing sinners: and the Word was attended with amazing power: many scores, if not hundreds, in that great assembly, consisting of three or four thousand, were much affected; so that there was a 'great mourning, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon.'
June 10. - "Preached with a good degree of clearness and some sweet warmth from Psalm 17:15. 'I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.' And blessed be God, there was a great solemnity, and attention in the assembly, and sweet refreshment among God's people; as was evident then and afterward.
June 11. - "Spent the day mainly in conversation with dear Christian friends; and enjoyed some sweet sense of divine things. Oh! how desirable it is to keep company with God's dear children! 'These are the excellent ones of the earth,' in whom, I can truly say 'is all my delight.' Oh! what delight will it afford to meet them all in a state of perfection! Lord prepare me for that state.
June 18. - "Set out from New-Brunswick with a design to visit some Indians at a place called Crossweeksung, in New-Jersey, toward the sea. In the afternoon, came to a place called Cranberry, and meeting with a serious minister, Mr. Macknight, I lodged there with him. Had some enlargement and freedom in prayer with a number of people."
Being part 1st of his public journal of "the Rise and Progress of a remarkable work of grace among the Indians in New-Jersey and Pennsylvania, kept by order of the Society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge." - Commencement of his labors at Crossweeksung. - Renewal of labor at the Forks of Delaware. - Conversion of his Interpreter. - Return to Crossweeksung. - Outpouring of the spirit. - Visit to the Forks of Delaware and the Susquehanna. - A Powaw. - A Conjurer. - Renewal of labor at Crossweeksung. - Remarks on the works of Divine Grace. June 19. - Nov. 5, 1745.
[We are now come to that part of Brainerd's Life, when he had the greatest success in his labors for the good of souls, and in particular business as a missionary to the Indians. After all his agonizing in prayer, and travailing in birth for their conversion - his raised hopes and expectations, disappointments and encouragements; after panting in a way of persevering prayer, labor, and suffering, as it were through a long night; at length the day dawns: 'Weeping continues for a night, but joy comes in the morning.' He went forth weeping, 'bearing precious seed,' but now he comes 'with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.' The desired event is brought to pass at last; but at a time, in a place, and upon subjects, that scarce ever entered his heart.
"Crossweeksung, in New-Jersey, June 17, 1745.
June 19. - "I had spent most of my time for more than a year past among the Indians at the Forks of Delaware, in Pennsylvania. During that time I made two joumies to the Susquehanna, to treat with the Indians on that river respecting Christianity; and not having had any considerable appearance of special success in either of those places, my spirits were depressed, and I was not a little discouraged. Hearing that there were a number of Indians at a place called Crossweeksung, in New-Jersey, nearly eighty miles south east from the Forks of Delaware, I determined to make them a visit, and see what might be done toward Christianizing them; and accordingly arrived among them this day. I found very few persons at the place I visited, and perceived that the Indians in these parts were very much scattered. There were not more than two or three families in a place; and these small settlements were six, ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty miles, and some more from that place. However, I preached to those few I found; who appeared well disposed, serious and attentive, and not inclined to cavil and object, as the Indians had done elsewhere. When I had concluded my discourse, I informed them (there being none but a few women and children) that I would willingly visit them again the next day. Whereupon they readily set out and traveled ten or fifteen miles, in order to give notice to some of their friends at that distance. These women, like the woman of Samaria, seemed desirous that others should see the man who had told them what they had done in their past lives, and the misery that attended their idolatrous ways.
June 20. - "Visited and preached to the Indians again as I proposed. Numbers were gathered at the invitations of their friends, who had heard me the day before. These also appeared as attentive, orderly and well disposed, as the others: and none made any objections, as Indians in other places have usually done.
June 22. - "Preached to the Indians again. Their number, which at first consisted of seven or eight persons, was now increased to nearly thirty. There was not only a solemn attention among them, but some considerable impression, it was apparent, was made upon their minds by divine truth. Some began to feel their misery, and perishing state, and appeared concerned for a deliverance from it.
Lord's day, June 23. - Preached to the Indians, and spent the day with them. Their number still increased; and all with one consent, seemed to rejoice in my coming among them. Not a word of opposition was heard from any of them against Christianity, although in times past they had been as much opposed to any thing of that nature as any Indians whatsoever. Some of them, not many months before, were enraged with my interpreter because he attempted to teach them something of Christianity.
June 24. - "Preached to the Indians at their desire and upon their own motion. To see poor pagans desirous of hearing the gospel of Christ, animated me to discourse to them; although I was now very weak, and my spirits much exhausted. They attended with the greatest seriousness and diligence; and some concern for their soul's salvation was apparent among them.
June 27. - "Visited and preached to the Indians again. Their number now amounted to about forty persons. Their solemnity and attention still continued, and a considerable concern for their souls became very apparent among numbers of them.
June 28. - "The Indians being now gathered, a considerable number of them, from their several and distant habitations, requested me to preach twice a day to them; being desirous to hear as much as they possibly could while I was with them. I cheerfully complied with their request, and could not but admire the goodness of God, who I was persuaded had inclined them thus to inquire after the way of salvation.
June 29. - "Preached twice to the Indians. Saw, as I thought, the hand of God very evidently, and in a manner somewhat remarkable, making provision for their subsistence together, in order to their being instructed in divine things; for this day, and the day before, with only walking a little way from the place of our daily meeting, they killed three deer, which were a seasonable supply for their wants, and without which, they could not have subsisted together in order to attend the means of grace.
Lord's day, June 30. - "Preached twice this day also. Observed yet more concern and affection among the poor heathen than ever; so that they even constrained me to tarry yet longer with them, although my constitution was exceedingly worn out, and my health much impaired by my late fatigues and labors; and especially by my late journey to the Susquehanna in May last, in which I lodged on the ground for several weeks together.
July 1. - "Preached again twice to a very serious and attentive assembly of Indians; they having now learned to attend on the worship of God with Christian decency in all respects. There were now between forty and fifty persons of them present, old and young. I spent a considerable time in discoursing with them in a more private way; inquiring of them what they remembered of the great truths which had been taught them from day to day; and may justly say, it was amazing to see how they had received and retained the instructions given them, and what a measure of knowledge some of them had acquired in a few days.
July 2. - "Was obliged to leave these Indians at Crossweeksung, thinking it my duty, as soon as health would admit, again to visit those at the Forks of Delaware. When I came to take leave of them, and to speak particularly to each of them, they all earnestly inquired when I would come again, and expressed a great desire of being further instructed. Of their own accord they agreed, that, when I should come again, they would all meet and live together during my continuance with them; and that they would use their utmost endeavors to gather all the other Indians in these parts who were yet more remote. When I parted for them, one told me, with many tears, 'She wished God would change her heart;' another, that 'she wanted to find Christ;' and an old man who had been one of their chiefs, wept bitterly with concern for his soul. I then promised them to return as speedily as my health and business elsewhere would permit, and felt not a little concern at parting, lest the good impressions, then apparent upon numbers of them, might decline and wear off, when the means came to cease. Yet I could not but hope, that He, who I trusted had begun a good work among them, and who I knew did not stand in need of means to carry it on, would maintain and promote it. At the same time, I must confess, that I had often seen encouraging appearances among the Indians elsewhere, prove wholly abortive, and it appeared that the favor would be too great, if God should now, after I passed through so considerable a series of almost fruitless labors and fatigues, and after my rising hopes had been so often frustrated among these poor pagans, give me any special success in my labors with them, I could not believe, and scarcely dared to hope, that the event would be so happy; and scarcely ever found myself more suspended between hope and fear in any affair, or at any time, than in this. This encouraging disposition, and readiness to receive instruction, now apparent among the Indians, seems to have been the happy effect of the conviction which one or two of them met with, some time since, at the Forks of the Delaware; who have since endeavored to show their friends the evil of idolatry. Though the other Indians seemed but little to regard, and rather to deride them; yet this, perhaps, has put them into a thinking posture of mind, or at least given them some thoughts about Christianity, and excited in some of them a curiosity to hear; and so made way for the present encouraging attention. An apprehension that his might be the case here, has given me encouragement that God may, in such a manner, bless the means which I have used with the Indians in other places; where, as yet there is no appearance of it. If so, may his name have the glory of it; for I have learned, by experience, that he only can open the ear, engage the attention, and incline the hearts of poor benighted, prejudiced pagans, to receive instruction.
Forks of Delaware, in Pennsylvania, July, 1745.
Lord's day, July 14. - "Discoursed to the Indians twice. Several of them appeared concerned, and were, I have reason to think, in some measure convinced, by the Divine Spirit, of their sin and misery; so that they wept much the whole time of divine service. Afterward discoursed to a number of white people then present.
July 18. - "Preached to my people, who attended diligently beyond what had been common among these Indians; and some of them appeared concerned for their souls.
Lord's day, July 21. - "Preached to the Indians first, then to a number of white people present; and in the afternoon to the Indians again. Divine truth seemed to make very considerable impressions upon several of them, and caused the tears to flow freely. On this day my interpreter and his wife publicly professed their faith in Christ, being the first hopeful converts among the Indians. They have both been awakened to a solemn concern for their souls; have, to appearance, been brought to a sense of their misery and undoneness in themselves; have both appeared to be comforted with divine consolations; and it is apparent that both have passed a great, and I cannot but hope, a saving change. It may perhaps be satisfactory and agreeable, that I should give some brief relation to this man's exercises and experience since he has been with me; especially since he is employed as my interpreter to others. When I first employed him in this business, in the beginning of the summer of 1744, he was well fitted for his work, in regard to his acquaintance with the Indian and English languages, as well as with the manners of both nations; and in respect to his desire that the Indians should conform to the manners and customs of the English, and especially to their manner of living. But he seemed to have little or no impression of religion upon his mind, and in that respect was very unfit for his work; being incapable of understanding and communicating to others many things of importance, so that I labored under great disadvantages in addressing the Indians, for want of his having an experimental, as well as more doctrinal acquaintance with divine truths; and, at times, my spirit sunk, and I was much discouraged under this difficulty; especially when I observed that divine truth made little or no impression upon his mind for many weeks together. He indeed behaved soberly after I employed him; although before he had been a hard drinker, and seemed honestly engaged, as far as he was capable, in the performance of his work. Especially he appeared very desirous that the Indians should renounce their heathenish notions and practices, and conform to the customs of the Christian world. But still he seemed to have no concern about his own soul, until he had been with me a considerable time. Near the latter end of July, 1744, I preached to an assembly of white people, with more freedom and fervency than I could possibly address the Indians with, without their having first obtained a greater measure of doctrinal knowledge. At this time he was present, and was somewhat awakened to a concern for his soul; so that the next day he discoursed freely with me about his spiritual concerns, and gave me an opportunity to use further endeavors to fasten the impressions of his perishing state upon his mind. I could plainly perceive, for some time after this, that he addressed the Indians with more concern and fervency than he had formerly done. But these impressions seemed quickly to decline; and he remained in a great measure careless and secure, until some time late in the autumn of the year following; when he fell into a weak and languishing state of body, and continued much disordered for several weeks together. At this season divine truth took hold of him, and made deep impressions upon his mind. He was brought under great concern for his soul; and his exercises were not now transient and unsteady, but constant and abiding, so that his mind was burdened from day to day; and it was now his great inquiry, 'What he should do to be saved?' This spiritual trouble prevailed, until his sleep in a great measure departed from him, and he had little rest day or night; but walked about under great pressure of mind, for he was still able to walk, and appeared like another man to his neighbors, who could not but observe his behavior with wonder. After he had been some time under this exercise, while he was striving to obtain mercy, he says there seemed to be an impassable mountain before him. He was pressing toward heaven, as he thought but 'his way was hedged up with thorns, so that he could not stir an inch further.' He looked this way, and that way, but could find no way at all. He thought if he could but make his way through these thorns and briers, and climb up the first steep pitch of the mountain, that then there might be hope for him; but no way or means could he find to accomplish this. Here he labored for a time, but all in vain. He saw it was impossible, he says, for him ever to help himself through this insupportable difficulty - 'It signified just nothing at all for him to struggle and strive any more.' Here, he says, he gave over striving, and felt that it was a gone case with him as to his own power, and that all his attempts were, and forever would be, vain and fruitless. Yet he was more calm and composed under this view of things, than he had been while striving to help himself. While he was giving me this account of his exercises, I was not without fears that what he related was but the working of his own imagination, and not the effect of any divine illumination of mind. But before I had time to discover my fears, he added, that at this time he felt himself in a miserable and perishing condition; that he saw plainly what he had been doing all his days; and that he had 'never done one good thing,' as he expressed it. He knew he was not guilty of some wicked actions of which he knew some others guilty. He had not been accustomed to steal, quarrel, and murder; the latter of which vices are common among the Indians. He likewise knew that he had done many things that were right; he had been kind to his neighbors, &c. But still his cry was, that 'he had never done one good thing;' meaning that he had never done any thing from a right principle, and with a right view. 'And now I thought,' said he, 'that I must sink down to hell; that there was no hope for me, because I never could do anything that was good: and if God let me alone ever so long, as I should try ever so much, still I should do nothing but what is bad.' This further account of his exercises satisfied me that it was not the mere working of his imagination, since he appeared so evidently to die to himself, and to be divorced for a dependence upon his own righteousness and good deeds, to which mankind in a fallen state are so much attached, and upon which they are so ready to hope for salvation. There was one thing more in his view of things at this time, which was very remarkable. He not only saw, he says, what a miserable state he himself was in; but he likewise saw that the world around him, in general, was in the same perishing circumstances, notwithstanding the profession which many of them made of Christianity, and the hope which the entertained of obtaining everlasting happiness. This he saw clearly, 'as if he was now waked out of sleep, or had a cloud taken from his eyes.' He saw that the life which he had lived was the way to eternal death, that he was now on the brink of endless misery; and when he looked around he saw multitudes of others, who had lived the same life with himself, persons who had no more goodness than he, and yet dreamed that they were safe enough, as he had formerly done. He was fully persuaded, by their conversation and behavior, that they had never felt their sin and misery, as he now felt his. After he had been for some time in this condition, sensible of the impossibility of helping himself by any thing he could do, or of being delivered by any created arm; so that they had 'given up all for lost,' as to his own attempts, and was become more calm and composed; then, he says, it was borne in upon my mind, as if it had been audibly spoken to him, 'There is hope, there is hope.' Whereupon his soul seemed to rest, and be in some measure satisfied, though he had no considerable joy. He cannot here remember distinctly any views he had of Christ, or give any clear account of his soul's acceptance of him, which makes his experience appear the more doubtful, and renders it less satisfactory to himself and others than it might be if he could remember distinctly the apprehensions and actings of his mind at this season. But these exercises of soul were attended and followed with a very great change in the man; so that it might justly be said he was become another man, if not a new man. His conversation and deportment were much altered; and even the careless world could not but wonder what had befallen him, to make so great a change in his temper, discourse, and behavior. Especially there was a surprising alteration in his public performances. He now addressed the Indians with admirable fervency, and scarcely knew when to leave off. Sometimes, when I had concluded my discourse and was returning homeward, he would tarry behind to repeat and inculcate what had been spoken. His charge is abiding, and his life, so far as I know, unblemished to this day; though it is now more than six months since he experienced this change; in which space of time he has been as much exposed to strong drink as possible, in divers places where it has been moving as free as water; and yet has never, that I know of, discovered any hankering desire after it. He seems to have a very considerable experience of spiritual exercise, and discourses feelingly on the conflicts and consolations of a real Christian. His heart echoes to the soul-humbling doctrines of grace, and he never appears better pleased than when he hears of the absolute sovereignty of God, and the salvation of sinners in a way of mere free grace. He has lately had also more satisfaction respecting his own state and has been much enlightened and assisted in his work; so that he has been a great comfort to me. After a strict observation of his serious and savory conversation, his Christian temper, and unblemished behavior for such a length of time, as well as his experience, of which I have given an account; I think that I have reason to hope that he is 'created anew in Christ Jesus to good works.' His name is Moses Finda Fautaury. He is about fifty years of age, and is pretty well acquainted with the pagan notions and customs of his countrymen; and so is the better able now to expose them. He has, I am persuaded, already been, and I trust will yet be, a blessing to the other Indians.
July 23. - "Preached to the Indians, but had few hearers: those who are constantly at home, seem, of late, to be under some impressions of a religious nature.
July 3O. - "Discoursed to a number of my people, and gave them some particular advice and direction; being now about to leave them for the present, in order to renew my visit to the Indians in New-Jersey. They were very attentive to my discourse, and earnestly desirous to know when I designed to return to them again.
Crossweeksung, (New-Jersey,) August, 1745.
Aug. 3. - "I visited the Indians in these parts in June last, and tarried with them a considerable time, preaching almost daily; at which season God was pleased to pour upon them a spirit of awakening and concern for their souls, and surprisingly to engage their attention to divine truths. I now found them serious, and a number of them under deep concern for an interest in Christ. Their convictions of their sinful and perishing state were, in my absence from them, much promoted by the labors and endeavors of Rev. William Tennent; to whom I had advised them to apply for direction; and whose house they frequented much while I was gone. I preached to them this day with some view to Rev. 22:17. 'And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely;' though I could not pretend to handle the subject methodically among them. The Lord, I am persuaded, enabled me, in a manner somewhat uncommon, to set before them the Lord Jesus Christ as a kind and compassionate Savior, inviting distressed and perishing sinners to accept everlasting mercy. A surprising concern soon became apparent among them. There were about twenty adult persons together; many of the Indians at remote places not having as yet had time to come since my return hither; and not above two that I could see with dry eyes. Some were much concerned, and discovered vehement longings of soul after Christ, to save them from the misery they felt and feared.
Lord's day, Aug. 4. - "Being invited by a neighboring minister to assist in the administration of the Lord's supper, I complied with his request, and took the Indians along with me; not only those who were together the day before, but many more who were coming to hear me; so that there were nearly fifty in all, old and young. They attended the several discourses of the day; and some of them, who could understand English, were much affected; and all seemed to have their concern in some measure raised. Now a change in their manners began to appear very visible. In the evening, when they came to sup together they would not taste a morsel until they had sent me to come and supplicate a blessing on their food; at which time sundry of them wept; especially when I reminded them how they had in times past ate their feasts in honor to devils, and neglected to thank God for them.
August 5. - "After a sermon had been preached by another minister, I preached, and concluded the public work of the solemnity from John, 7:37; and in my discourse addressed the Indians in particular, who sat in a part of the house by themselves; at which time one or two of them were struck with deep concern, as they afterward told me, who had been little affected before; and others had their concern increased to a considerable degree. In the evening, the greater part of them being at the house where I lodged, I discoursed to them, and found them universally engaged about their soul's concerns; inquiring 'what they should do to be saved.' All their conversation among themselves turned upon religious matters, in which they were assisted by my interpreter, who was with them day and night. This day there was one woman, who had been much concerned for her soul ever since she first heard me preach in June last, who obtained comfort, I trust, solid and wellgrounded. She seemed to be filled with love to Christ. At the same time she behaved humbly and tenderly, and appeared afraid of nothing so much as of offending and grieving him whom her soul loved.
Aug. 6. - "In the morning I discoursed to the Indians at the house where we lodged. Many of them were much affected, and appeared surprisingly tender; so that a few words about the concerns of their souls would cause the tears to flow freely, and produce many sobs and groans. In the afternoon they being returned to the place where I had usually preached among them, I again discoursed to them there. There were about fifty-five persons in all; about forty that were capable of attending Divine service with understanding. I insisted on I John, 4:10. 'Herein is love.' &c. They seemed eager of hearing; but there appeared nothing very remarkable, except their attention, till near the close of my discourse; and then Divine truth was attended with a surprising influence, and produced a great concern among them. There were scarcely three in forty who could refrain from tears and bitter cries. They all as one seemed in an agony of soul to obtain an interest in Christ; and the more I discoursed of the love and compassion of God in sending his Son to suffer for the sins of men; and the more I invited them to come and partake of his love; the more their distress was aggravated, because they felt themselves unable to come. It was surprising to see how their hearts seemed to be pierced with the tender and melting invitations of the Gospel, when there was not a word of terror spoken to them. There were this day two persons who obtained relief and comfort; which, when I came to discourse with them particularly, appeared solid, rational, and scriptural. After I had inquired into the grounds of their comfort, and said many things which I thought proper to them; I asked them what they wanted that God should do further for them? They replied, 'they wanted Christ should wipe their hearts quite clean,'&c. So surprising were now the doings of the Lord, that I can say no less of this day, and I need say no more of it, than that the arm of the Lord was powerfully and marvellously revealed in it.
Aug. 7. - "Preached to the Indians from Isaiah, 53:3-10. There was a remarkable influence attending the Word, and great concern in the assembly; but scarcely equal to what appeared the day before, that is, not quite so universal. However, most were much affected, and many in great distress for their souls; and some few could neither go nor stand, but lay flat on the ground, as if pierced at heart, crying incessantly for mercy. Several were newly awakened; and it was remarkable that as fast as they came from remote places round about, the Spirit of God seemed to seize them with concern for their souls. After public service was concluded I found two persons more who had newly met with comfort, of whom I had good hopes; and a third of whom I could not but entertain some hopes, whose case did not appear so clear as the others; so that there were now six in all, who had got some relief from their spiritual distresses; and five whose experience appeared very clear and satisfactory. It is worthy of remark, that those who obtained comfort first were in general deeply affected with concern for their souls when I preached to them in June last.
Aug. 8. - "In the afternoon I preached to the Indians, their number was now about sixty-five persons; men, women, and children. I discoursed upon Luke, 14:16-23, and was favored with uncommon freedom. There was much visible concern among them while I was discoursing publicly; but afterward, when I spoke to one and another more particularly, whom I perceived under much concern, the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly 'like a mighty raging wind,' and with an astonishing energy bore down all before it. I stood amazed at the influence which seized the audience almost universally; and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent, or swelling deluge, that with its insupportable weight and pressure bears down and sweeps before it whatever is in its way. Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together, and scarcely one was able to withstand the shock of this surprising operation. Old men and women who had been drunken wretches for many years, and some little children not more than six or seven years of age, appeared in distress for their souls, as well as persons of middle age. It was apparent that these children, some of them at least, were not merely frightened with seeing the general concern, but were made sensible of their danger, the badness of their hearts, and their misery without Christ, as some of them expressed it. The most stubborn hearts were now obliged to bow. A principal man among the Indians, who before was most secure and self-righteous, and thought his state good, because he knew more than the generality of the Indians had formerly done; and who with a great degree of confidence the day before told me 'he had been a Christian more than ten years;' was now brought under solemn concern for his soul, and wept bitterly. Another man advanced in years, who had been a murderer, a powaw or conjurer, and a notorious drunkard, was likewise brought now to cry for mercy with many tears, and to complain much that he could be no more concerned, when he saw his danger so very great. They were almost universally praying and crying for mercy in every part of the house, and many out of doors; and numbers could neither go nor stand. Their concern was so great, each one for himself, that none seemed to take any notice of those about them, but each prayed freely for himself. I am led to think they were to their own apprehensions, as much retired as if they had been individually by themselves, in the thickest desert; or I believe rather that they thought about nothing but themselves, and their own state, and so were every one praying apart, although all together. It seemed to me that there was not an exact fulfilment of that prophecy, Zech. 12:10,11,12; for there was now 'a great mourning, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon;' - and each seemed to 'mourn apart.' Methought this had a near resemblance to the day of God's power, mentioned in Josh. 10:14; for I must say I never saw any day like it, in all respects: it was a day wherein I am persuaded the Lord did much to destroy the kingdom of darkness among this people. This concern, in general, was most rational and just. Those who had been awakened any considerable time, complained more especially of the badness of their hearts; and those who were newly awakened, of the badness of their lives and actions; and all were afraid of the anger of God, and of everlasting misery as the desert of their sins. Some of the white people who came out of curiosity to hear what 'this babbler would say' to the poor ignorant Indians, were much awakened; and some appeared to be wounded with a view of their perishing state. Those who had lately obtained relief, were filled with comfort at this season. They appeared calm and composed, and seemed to rejoice in Christ Jesus. Some of them took their distressed friends by the hand, telling them of the goodness of Christ, and the comfort that is to be enjoyed in him; and thence invited them to come and give up their hearts to him. I could observe some of them, in the most honest and unaffected manner, without any design of being taken notice of, lifting up their eyes to heaven, as if crying for mercy, while they saw the distress of the poor souls around them. There was one remarkable instance of awakening this day which I cannot fail to notice here. A young Indian woman, who, I believe, never knew before that she had a soul, nor ever thought of any such thing, hearing that there was something strange among the Indians, came, it seems, to see what was the matter. In her way to the Indians she called at my lodgings; and when I told her that I designed presently to preach to the Indians, laughed, and seemed to mock; but went however to them. I had not proceeded far in my public discourse before she felt effectually that she had a soul; and before I had concluded my discourse was so convinced of her sin and misery, and so distressed with concern for her soul's salvation, that she seemed like one pierced through with a dart, and cried out incessantly. She could neither go nor stand, nor sit on her seat without being held up. After public service was over she lay flat on the ground, praying earnestly, and would take no notice of, nor give any answer to any who spoke to her. I hearkened to what she said, and perceived the burden of her prayer to be, 'Guttummaukalummeh wechaumeh kmeleh Nolah,' i.e. 'Have mercy on me, and help me to give you my heart.' Thus she continued praying incessantly for many hours together. This was indeed a surprising day of God's power, and seemed enough to convince an athiest of the truth, importance, and power of God's Word.
Aug. 9. - "Spent almost the whole day with the Indians; the former part of it in discoursing to many of them privately, and especially to some who had lately received comfort, and endeavoring to inquire into the grounds of it, as well as to give them some proper instructions, cautions and directions.
"In the afternoon discoursed to them publicly. There were now present about seventy persons, old and young. I opened and applied the parable of the sower, Matt. 13. Was enabled to discourse with much plainness, and found afterward that this discourse was very instructive to them. There were many tears among them while I was discoursing publicly, but no considerable cry; yet some were much affected with a few words spoken from Matt. 11:28, 'Come unto me all ye that labor,' &c. with which I concluded my discourse. But, while I was discoursing near night to two or three of the awakened persons, a Divine influence seemed to attend what was spoken to them in a powerful manner, which caused the persons to cry out in anguish of soul, although I spoke not a word of terror, but on the contrary, set before them the fullness and all-sufficiency of Christ's merits, and his willingness to save all that come to him, and thereupon pressed them to come without delay. The cry of these was soon heard by others, who, though scattered before, immediately gathered round. I then proceeded in the same strain of Gospel invitation, till they were all melted into tears and cries except two or three; and seemed in the greatest distress to find and secure an interest in the great Redeemer. Some who had little more than a ruffle made in their passions the day before, seemed now to be deeply affected and wounded at heart; and the concern in general appeared nearly as prevalent as the day before. There was indeed a very great mourning among them, and yet every one seemed to mourn apart. For so great was their concern, that almost every one was praying and crying for himself, as if none had been near. 'Guttummauhalummeh; Guttumauhalummeh,' i.e. 'Have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me,' was the common cry. It was very affecting to see the poor Indians, who the other day were hallooing and yelling in their idolatrous feasts and drunken frolics, now crying to God with such importunity for an interest in his dear Son! Found two or three persons who, I had reason to hope, had taken comfort upon good grounds since the evening before; and these, with others who had obtained comfort, were together, and seemed to rejoice much that God was carrying on his work with such power upon others.
August 10. - "Rode to the Indians, and began to discourse more privately to those who had obtained comfort and satisfaction; endeavoring to instruct, direct, caution, and comfort them. But others, being eager of hearing every word which related to spiritual concerns, soon came together one after another; and, when I had discoursed to the young converts more than half an hour, they seemed much melted with divine things, and earnestly desirous to be with Christ. I told them of the godly soul's perfect purity and full enjoyment of Christ, immediately upon its separation from the body; and that it would be for ever inconceivably more happy than they had ever been for any short space of time, when Christ seemed near to them in prayer or other duties. That I might make way for speaking of the resurrection of the body, and thence of the complete blessedness of the man; I said, 'But perhaps some of you will say, I love my body as well as my soul, and I cannot bear to think that my body shall lie dead, if my soul is happy.' To which they all cheerfully replied, 'Muttoh, Muttoh;' before I had opportunity to prosecute what I designed respecting the resurrection; i.e. 'No, No,' They did not regard their bodies, if their souls might be with Christ. Then they appeared willing to be absent from the body, that they might be present with the Lord. When I had spent some time with them I turned to the Indians, and spoke to them from Luke, 19:10.' For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 'I had not. discoursed long before their concern rose to a great degree, and the house was filled with cries and groans. When I insisted on the compassion and cam of the Lord Jesus Christ for those that were lost, who thought themselves undone, and could find no way of escape; this melted them down the more, and aggravated their distress, that they could not find and come to so kind a Savior. Sundry persons, who before had been slightly awakened, were now deeply wounded with a sense of their sin and misery. One man in particular, who was never before awakened, was now made to feel that 'the Word of the Lord was quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.' He seemed to be pierced at heart with distress, and his concern appeared rational and scriptural, for he said that 'all wickedness of his past life was brought fresh to his remembrance, and that he saw all the vile actions he had done formerly, as if done but yesterday.' Found one who had newly received comfort, after pressing distress from day to day. Could not but rejoice and admire the divine goodness in what appeared this day. There seems to be some good done by every discourse; some newly awakened every day, and some comforted. It was refreshing to observe the conduct of those who obtained comfort: while others were distressed with fear and concern, they were lifting up their hearts to God for them.
Lord's day, Aug. 11. - "Discoursed in the forenoon from the parable of the Prodigal Son. Luke 15. Observed no such remarkable effect of the Word upon the assembly as in days past. There were numbers of careless spectators from the white people, of various characters. In the afternoon I discoursed upon a part of Peter's sermon. Acts 2. And at the close of my discourse to the Indians, made an address to the white people; and divine truth seemed then to be attended with power, both to English and Indians. Several of the white heathen were awakened, and could not longer be idle spectators; but found they had souls to save or lose as well as the Indians; and a great concern spread through the whole assembly; so that this also appeared to be a day of God's power, especially toward the conclusion of it, although the influence attending the Word seemed scarcely so powerful now as in some days past. The number of Indians, old and young, was now upward of seventy; and one or two were newly awakened this day who never had appeared to be moved with concern for their souls before. Those who had obtained relief and comfort, and had given hopeful evidences of having passed a saving change, appeared humble and devout, and behaved in an agreeable and Christian-like manner. I was refreshed to see the tenderness of conscience manifest in some of them; one instance of which I cannot but notice. Perceiving one of them very sorrowful in the morning, I inqiired into the cause of her sorrow, and found the difficulty was, that she had been angry with her child the evening before, and was now exercised with fears lest her anger had been inordinate and sinful; which so grieved her that she awoke and began to sob before daylight, and continued weeping for several hours together.
August 14. - "Spent the day with the Indians. There was one of them who had some time since put away his wife; as is common among them, and taken another woman; and being now brought under some serious impressions, was much concerned about that affair in particular, and seemed fully convinced of the wickedness of the practice, and earnestly desirous to know what God would have him to do in his present circumstances. When the law of God respecting marriage had been opened to them, and the cause of his leaving his wife inquired into, and when it appeared that she had given him no just occasion, by unchastity, to desert her, and that she was willing to forgive his past misconduct and to live peaceably with him for the future, and that she, moreover, insisted on it as her right to live with him; he was then told that it was his indispensable duty to renounce the woman whom he had last taken, and receive the other, who was his proper wife, and live peaceably with her during life. With this he readily and cheerfully complied; and thereupon publicly renounced the woman he had last taken, and promised to live with and be kind to his wife during life; she also promising the same to him. Here appeared a clear demonstration of the power of God's Word upon their hearts. I suppose a few weeks before the whole world could not have persuaded this man to a compliance with Christian rules in this affair. I was not without fears that this proceeding might be like putting 'new wine into old bottles;' and that some might be prejudiced against Christianity, when they saw the demands made by it. But the man being much concerned about the matter, the determination of it could be deferred no longer; and it seemed to have a good, rather than an ill effect among the Indians, who generally owned that the laws of Christ were good and right respecting the affairs of marriage. In the afternoon I preached to them from the apostle's discourse to Cornelius. Acts 10:34. There appeared some affectionate concern among them, though not equal to what appeared in several of the former days. They still attended and heard as for their lives, and the Lord's work seemed still to be promoted and propagated among them.
August 15. - "Preached from Luke 4:16-21. The Word was attended with power upon the hearts of the hearers. There was much concern, many tears, and affecting cries among them; and some were deeply wounded and distressed for their souls. There were some newly awakened who came but this week, and convictions seemed to be promoted in others. Those who had received comfort, were likewise refreshed and strengthened; and the work of grace appeared to advance in all respects. The passions of the congregation in general were not so much moved as in some days past; but their hearts seemed as solemnly and deeply affected with divine truth as ever, at least in many instances, although the concern did not seem so universal, and to reach every individual in such a manner as it appeared to do some days before.
August 16. - "Spent considerable time in conversing with the Indians, Found one who had got relief and comfort after pressing concern; and could not but hope, when I came to discourse particularly with her, that her comfort was of the right kind. In the afternoon I preached to them from John 6:26-34. Toward the close of my discourse divine truth was attended with considerable power upon the audience, and more especially after public service was over, when I particularly addressed several distressed persons. There was a great concern for their souls spread pretty generally among them; but especially there were two persons newly awakened to a sense of their sin and misery; one of whom was lately come, and the other had all along been very attentive and desirous of being awakened, but could never before have any lively view of her perishing state. Now her concern and spiritual distress was such, that I thought I had never seen any more pressing. A number of old men were also in distress for their souls; so that they could not refrain from weeping and crying aloud; and their bitter groans were the most convincing as well as affecting evidences of the reality and depth of their inward anguish. God is powerfully at work among them. True and genuine convictions of sin are daily promoted in many instances; and some are newly awakened from time to time; although some few, who felt a commotion in their passions in days past, seem now to discover that their hearts were never duly affected. I never saw the work of God appear so independent of means as at this time. I discoursed to the people, and spake what I suppose had a proper tendency to promote convictions; but God's manner of working upon them seemed so entirely supernatural, and above means, that I could scarcely believe he used me as an instrument, or what I spake as means of carrying on his work. For it appeared, as I thought, to have no connection with or dependence on means in any respect. Though I could not but continue to use the means, which I thought proper for the promotion of the work, yet God seemed, as I apprehended, to work entirely without them. I seemed to do nothing, and indeed to have nothing to do, but to 'stand still, and see the salvation of God; and found myself obliged and delighted to say, 'Not unto us,' not unto instruments and means, 'but to thy name be glory.' God appeared to work entirely alone, and I saw no room to attribute any part of this work to any created arm.
Aug. 17. - "Spent much time in private conferences with the Indians. Found one who had newly obtained relief and comfort, after a long season of spiritual trouble and distress; he having been one of my hearers at the Forks of Delaware for more than a year, and now having followed me here under deep concern for his soul; and had abundant reason to hope that his comfort was well grounded, and truly divine.
Lord's day, Aug. 18. - "Preached in the forenoon to a mixed assembly of white people, of divers denominations. Afterward preached to the Indians, from John 6:35-40. There was considerable concern visible among them, though not equal to what has frequently appeared of late.
Aug. 19. - "Preached from Isaiah, 55:1. 'Ho every one that thirsteth.' Divine truth was attended with power upon those who had received comfort, and others also. The former sweetly melted and refreshed with divine invitations; the latter much concerned for their souls, that they might obtain an interest in these glorious gospel provisions which were set before them. There were numbers of poor impotent souls that waited at the pool for healing; and the angel seemed, as at other times of late, to trouble the waters, so that there was yet a more desirable and comfortable prospect of the spiritual recovery of diseased perishing sinners.
Aug. 23. - "Spent some time with the Indians in private discourse; and afterward preached to them from John, 6:44-50. There was, as has been usual, a great attention, and some affection among them. Several appeared deeply concerned for their souls, and could not but express their inward anguish by tears and cries. But the amazing divine influence, which has been so powerfully among them in general, seems at present in some degree abated: at least in regard to its universality; though many who have obtained no special comfort still retain deep impressions of divine things.
Aug. 24. - "Spent the forenoon in discoursing to some of the Indians in reference to their publicly professing Christ. Numbers of them seemed to be filled with love to God, delighted with the thoughts of giving themselves up to him, and melted and refreshed with the hopes of enjoying the blessed Redeemer. Afterward I discoursed publicly from I Thess. 4:13-17. There was a solemn attention, and some visible concern and affection in the time of public service; which was afterward increased by some further exhortations given to them to come to Christ, and give up their hearts to him, that they might be fitted to 'ascend up and meet him in the air,' when he shall 'descend with a shout, and the voice of the archangel.' There were several Indians newly come, who thought their state good, and themselves happy, because they had sometimes lived with the white people under gospel light, had learned to read, were civil, &c., although they appeared utter strangers to their own hearts, and altogether unacquainted with the power of religion, as well as with the doctrines of grace. With these I discoursed particularly, after public worship; and was surprised to see their self-righteous disposition, their strong attachment to the covenant of works for salvation, and the high value they put upon their supposed attainments. Yet after much discourse, one appeared in a measure convinced that 'by the deeds of the law no flesh living can be justified;' and wept bitterly, inquiring 'what he must do to be saved.' This was very comfortable to others, who had gained some experimental knowledge of their own hearts; and before they were grieved with the conversation and conduct of these new comers, who boasted of their knowledge, and thought well of themselves, but evidently discovered to those who had any experience of divine truth, that they knew nothing of their own hearts.
Lord's day, Aug. 25. - "Preached in the forenoon from Luke 15:3-7. A number of white people being present, I made an address to them at the close of my discourse to the Indians; but could not so much as keep them orderly; for scores of them kept walking and gazing about, and behaved more indecently than any Indians I have ever addressed. A view of their abusive conduct so sunk my spirits, that I could scarcely go on with my work. In the afternoon I discoursed from Rev. 3:20; at which time fifteen Indians made a public profession of their faith. After the crowd of spectators was gone I called them together, and discoursed to them in particular; at the same time inviting others to attend. I reminded them of the solemn obligations they were now under to live to God; warned them of the evil and dreadful consequences of careless living, especially after their public profession of Christianity; gave them directions for future conduct; and encouraged them to watchfulness and devotion, by setting before them the comfort and happy conclusion of a religious life. This was a desirable and sweet season indeed! Their hearts were engaged and cheerful in duty; and they rejoiced that they had, in a public and solemn manner, dedicated themselves to God. Love seemed to reign among them! They took each other by the hand with tenderness and affection, as if their hearts were knit together, while I was discoursing to them; and all their deportment toward each other was such, that a serious spectator might justly be excited to cry out with admiration, 'Behold how they love one another.' Numbers of the other Indians, on seeing and hearing these things, were much affected, and wept bitterly; longing to be partakers of the same joy and comfort which these discovered by their very countenance as well as conduct.
Aug. 26. - "Preached to my people from John 6:51-55. After I had discoursed some time, I addressed them in particular who entertained hopes that they were passed from death unto life. Opened to them the persevering nature of those consolations which Christ gives his people, and which I trusted he had bestowed upon some in that assembly; showed them that such have already the beginnings of eternal life, and that their heaven shall speedily be completed. I no sooner began to discourse in this strain than the dear Christians in the congregation began to be melted with affection to, and desire of the enjoyment of Christ, and of a state of perfect purity. They wept affectionately, yet joyfully; and their tears and sobs discovered brokenness of heart, and yet were attended with all comfort and and appeared to sweetness. It was a tender, affectionate, humble and delightful meetingre be the genuine effect of a spirit of adoption, and very far from that spirit of bondage under which they not long since labored. The influence seemed to spread from these through the whole assembly; and there quickly appeared a wonderful concern among them. Many, who had not yet found Christ as an all-sufficient Savior, were surprisingly engaged in seeking after him. It was indeed a lovely and very interesting assembly. Their number was now about ninety-five persons, old and young, and ahnost all affected with joy in Christ Jesus, or with the utmost concern to obtain an interest in him. Being now convinced that it was my duty to take a journey far back to the Indians on the Susquehanna, it being now a proper season of the year to find them generally at home; after having spent some hours in public and private discourse with my people, I told them that I must now leave them for the present, and go to their brethren far remote, and preach to them; that I wanted the Spirit of God should go with me, without whom nothing could be done to any good purpose among the Indians - as they themselves had opportunity to see and observe by the barrenness of our meetings at some times, when there was much pains taken to affect and awaken sinners, and yet to little or nor purpose; and asked them if they could not be willing to spend the remainder of the day in prayer for me, that God would go with me, and succeed my endeavors for the conversion of these poor souls. They cheerfully complied with the motion, and soon after I left them, the sun being about an hour and a half high, they began and continued praying till break of day, or very near; never mistrusting, as they tell me, till they went out and viewed the stars, and saw the morning star a considerable height, that it was later than bed time. Thus eager and unwearied were they in their devotions! A remarkable night it was; attended, as my interpreter tells me, with a powerful influence upon those who were yet under concern, as well as those who had received comfort. There were, I trust, this day, two distressed souls brought to the enjoyment of solid comfort in Him in whom the weary find rest. It was likewise remarkable, that this day an old Indian, who had all his days been an idolater, was brought to give up his rattles, which they use for music in the idolatrous feasts and dances, to the other Indians, who quickly destroyed them. This was done without any interference of mine, I having not spoken to him about it, so that it seemed to be nothing but the power of God's Word, without any particular application to this sin, that produced this effect. Thus God has begun; thus he has hitherto surprisingly carried on a work of grace among these Indians. May the glory be ascribed to Him who is the sole author of it."
Forks of Delaware, in Pennsylvania, Sept. 1745.
Lord's day, Sept. 1 - "Preached to the Indians from Luke, 11:16-23. The Word appeared to be attended with some power, and caused some tears in the assembly. Afterward preached to a number of white people present, and observed many of them in tears; and some who had formerly been as careless and unconcerned about religion, perhaps, as the Indians. Toward night discoursed to the Indians again, and perceived a greater attention, and more visible concern among them than has been usual in these parts.
Sept. 3. - "Preached to the Indians from Isaiah 52:3-6. The Divine presence seemed to be in the midst of the assembly, and a considerable concern spread among them. Sundry persons seemed to be awakened; among whom were two stupid creatures, whom I could scarce ever before keep awake while I was discoursing to them. I could not but rejoice at this appearance of things; although at the same time I could not but fear, lest the concern which they at present manifested might prove like a morning cloud, as something of that nature had formerly done in these parts.
Sept. 5. - "Discoursed to the Indians from the parable of the sower. Afterward I conversed particularly with a number of persons; which occasioned them to weep, and even to cry out in an affecting manner, and seized others with surprise and concern. I doubt not but that a divine power accompanied what was then spoken. Several of these persons had been with me to Crossweeksung, and there had seen, and some of them, I trust felt, the power of God's Word in an affecting and saving manner. I asked one of them, who had obtained comfort, and given hopeful evidence of being truly religious, 'Why he now cried?' He replied, 'When he thought how Christ was slain like a lamb, and spilt his blood for sinners, he could not help crying when he was alone;' and thereupon burst into tears and cried again. I then asked his wife, who had likewise been abundantly comforted, why she cried? She answered, 'that she was grieved that the Indians here would not come to Christ, as well as those at Crossweeksung.' I asked her if she found a heart to pray for them, and whether Christ had seemed to be near her of late in prayer, as in times past, which is my usual method of expressing a sense of the divine presence. She replied, 'Yes, he had been near to her, and at times when she had been praying alone, her heart loved to pray so that she could not bear to leave the place, but wanted to stay and pray longer.'
Lord's day, Sept. 8. - "Discoursed to the Indians in the afternoon from Acts, 2:36-39. The Word of God at this time seemed to fall with weight and influence upon them. There were but few present; but most that were, were in tears, and several cried out in distressing concern for their souls. There was one man considerably awakened, who never before discovered any concern for his soul. There appeared a remarkable work of the Divine Spirit among them generally, not unlike what has been of late at Crossweeksung. It seemed as if the divine influence had spread thence to this place, although something of it appeared here before in the awakening of my interpreter, his wife, and some few others. Several of the careless white people now present were awakened, or at least startled, seeing the power of God so prevalent among the Indians. I then made a particular address to them, which seemed to make some impression upon them, and excite some affection in them. There are some Indians in these parts who have always refused to hear me preach, and have been enraged against those who have attended on my preaching. But of late they are more bitter than ever; scoffing at Christianity, and sometimes asking my hearers 'How often they have cried,' and 'whether they have not now cried enough to do their turn,' &c. So that they have already trial of cruel mockings.
Sept. 9. - "Left the Indians at the Forks of Delaware, and set out on a journey toward Susquehanna river, directing my course toward the Indian town more than an hundred and twenty miles westward from the Forks. Traveled about fifteen miles, and there lodged.
Shaumoking, Sept. 1745.
Sept. 13. - "After having lodged out three nights, arrived at the Indian town I aimed at, on the Susquehanna, called Shaumoking; one of the places, and the largest of them, which I visited in May last. I was kindly received, and entertained by the Indians; but had little satisfaction by reason of the heathenish dance and revel they then held in the house where I was obliged to lodge; which I could not suppress, though I often entreated them to desist, for the sake of one of their own friends, who was then sick in the house, and whose disorder was much aggravated by the noise. Alas! how destitute of natural affection are these poor uncultivated pagans! although they seem somewhat kind in their own way. Of a truth the dark corners of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. This town, as I observed in my Diary of May last, lies partly on the east side of the river, partly contains upward of fifty houses, and nearly three hundred persons, though I never saw much more than half that number in it, They are of three different tribes of Indians, speaking three languages wholly unintelligible to each other. About one half of its inhabitants are Delawares, the others called Senekas and Tutelas. The Indians of this place are accounted the most drunken, mischievous, and ruffianlike fellows of any in these parts; and Satan seems to have his seat in this town in an eminent manner.
Sept. 14. - "Visited the Delaware King, who was supposed to be at the point of death when I was here in May last, but was now recovered; discoursed with him and others respecting Christianity; spent the afternoon with them, and had more encouragement than I expected. The king appeared kindly disposed, and willing to be instructed. This gave me some encouragement that God would open an effectual door for my preaching the Gospel here, and set up his kingdom in this place. This was a support and refreshment to me in the wilderness, and rendered my solitary circumstances comfortable and pleasant.
Lord's day, Sept. 15. - "Visited the chief of the Delawares again; was kindly received by him, and discoursed to the Indians in the afternoon. Still entertained hopes that God would open their hearts to receive the Gospel, though many of them in the place were so drunk from day to day that I could get no opportunity to speak to them. Toward night discoursed with one who understood the languages of the Six Nations, as they are usually called, who discovered an inclination to hearken to Christianity, which gave me some hope that the Gospel might hereafter be sent to those nations far remote.
Sept. 16. - "Spent the forenoon with the Indians, endeavoring to instruct them from house to house, and to engage them, as far as I could, to be friendly to Christianity. Toward night went to one part of the town where they were sober, got together near fifty of them, and discoursed to them, having first obtained the king's cheerful consent. There was a surprising attention among them, and they manifested a considerable desire of being further instructed. There were also one or two that seemed to be touched with some concern for their souls, who appeared well pleased with some conversation in private after I had concluded my public discourse to them. My spirits were much refreshed with this appearance of things, and I could not but return with my interpreter, having no other companion in this journey to my poor hard lodgings, rejoicing in hopes that God designed to set up his kingdom here, where Satan now reigns in the most eminent manner; and found uncommon freedom in addressing the throne of grace for the accomplishment of so great and glorious a work.
Sept. 17. - "Spent the forenoon in visiting and discoursing to the Indians. About noon left Shaumoking (most of the Indians going out this day on their hunting design) and traveled down the river south-westward.
Juncauta, Sept. 1745.
Sept. 19. - "Visited an Indian town, called Juncauta, situated on an island in the Susquehanna. Was much discouraged with the temper and behavior of the Indians here; although they appeared friendly when I was with them the last spring, and then gave me encouragement to come and see them again. But they now seemed resolved to retain their pagan notions, and persist in their idolatrous practices.
September 20. - "Visited the Indians again at Juncauta island, and found them almost universally very busy in making preparations for a great sacrifice and dance. Had no opportunity to get them together, in order to discourse with them about Christianity, by reason of their being so much engaged about their sacrifice. My spirits were much sunk with aprospect so very discouraging; and especially seeing I had this day no interpreter but a pagan, who was as much attached to idolatry as any of them, and who could neither speak nor understand the language of these Indians; so that I was under the greatest disadvantages imaginable. However, I attempted to discourse privately with some of them, but without any appearance of success: notwithstanding I still tarried with them. In the evening they met together, nearly a hundred of them, and danced around a large fire, having prepared ten fat deer for the sacrifice. The fat of the inwards they burnt in the fire while they were dancing which sometimes raised the flame to a prodigious height; at the same time yelling and shouting in such a manner that they might easily have been heard two miles or more. They continued their sacred dance nearly all night, after which they ate the flesh of the sacrifice, and so retired each one to his own lodging. I enjoyed little satisfaction; being entirely alone on the island, as to any Christian company, and in the midst of this idolatrous revel; and having walked to and fro till body and mind were pained and much oppressed, I at length crept into a little crib made for corn, and there slept on the poles.
Lord's day, Sept. 21. - "Spent the day with the Indians on the island. As soon as they were well up in the morning I attempted to instruct them, and labored for that purpose to get them together; but soon found they had something else to do, for near noon they gathered together all their powaws, or conjurers, and set about half a dozen of them playing their juggling tricks, and acting their frantic distracted postures, in order to find out why they were then so sickly upon the island, numbers of them being at that time disordered with a fever and bloody flux. In this exercise they were engaged for several hours, making all the wild, ridiculous and distracted motions imaginable; sometimes singing, sometimes howling, sometimes extending their hands to the utmost stretch, and spending all their fingers; they seemed to push them as if they designed to push something away, or at least keep it off at arm's-end; sometimes stroking their faces with their hands, then spurting water as fine as mist; sometimes sitting flat on the earth, then bowing down their faces to the ground; then wringing their sides as if in pain and anguish, twisting their faces, turning up their eyes, grunting, puffing, &c. Their monstrous actions tended to excite ideas of horror, and seemed to have something in them, as I thought, peculiarly suited to raise the devil, if he could be raised by anything odd, ridiculous, and frightful. Some of them, I could observe, were much more fervent and devout in the business than others, and seemed to chant, peep, and mutter with a great degree of warmth and vigor, as if determined to awaken and engage the powers below. I sat at a small distance, not more than thirty feet from them, though undiscovered, with my Bible in my hand, resolving, if possible, to spoil their sport, and prevent their receiving any answers from the infernal world, and there viewed the whole scene. They continued their hideous charms and incantations for more than three hours, until they had all wearied themselves out; although they had in that space of time taken several intervals of rest; and at length broke up, I apprehended, without receiving any answer at all. After they had done powawing, I attempted to discourse with them about Christianity; but they soon scattered, and gave me no opportunity for any thing of that nature. A view of these things, while I was entirely alone in the wilderness, destitute of the society of any one who so much as 'named the name of Christ,' greatly sunk my spirits, and gave me the most gloomy turn of mind imaginable, almost stripped me of all resolution and hope respecting further attempts for propagating the Gospel and converting the pagans, and rendered this the most burdensome and disagreeable Sabbath which I ever saw. But nothing, I can truly say, sunk and distressed me like the loss of my hope respecting their conversion. This concern appeared so great, and seemed to be so much my own, that I seemed to have nothing to do on earth if this failed. A prospect of the greatest success in the saving conversion of souls under Gospel light, would have done little or nothing toward compensating for the loss of my hope in this respect; and my spirits now were so damped and depressed, that I had no heart nor power to make any further attempts among them for that purpose, and could not possibly recover my hope, resolution, and courage, by the utmost of my endeavors. The Indians of this island can, many of them, understand the English language considerably well; having formerly lived in some part of Maryland, among or near the white people; but are very drunken, vicious, and profane, although not so savage as those of the other Indians upon this river. They do not bury their dead in a common form, but let their flesh consume above the ground, in close cribs made for that purpose. At the end of a year, or sometimes a longer space of time, they take the bones, when the flesh is all consumed, and wash and scrape them and afterward bury them with some ceremony. Their method of charming or conjuring over the sick, seems somewhat different from that of the other Indians, though in substance the same. The whole of it among these and others, perhaps, is an imitation of what seems, by Naaman's expression, 2 Kings 5:11, to have been the custom of the ancient heathen. It seems chiefly to consist in their 'striking their hands over the diseased,' repeatedly stroking them, 'and calling upon their god;' except the spurting of water like a mist, and some other frantic ceremonies common to the other conjurations which I have already mentioned. When I was in this region in May last I had an opportunity of learning many of the notions and customs of the Indians, as well as observing many of their practices. I then traveled more than an hundred and thirty miles upon the river, above the English settlements; and in that journey met with individuals of seven or eight distinct tribes, speaking as many different languages. But of all the sights I ever saw among them, or indeed anywhere else, none appeared so frightful, or so near akin to what is usually imagined of infernal powers, none ever excited such images of terror in my mind, as the appearance of one who was a devout and zealous reformer, or rather restorer of what he supposed was the ancient religion of the Indians. He made his appearance in his pontifical garb, which was a coat of bear skins, dressed with the hair on, and hanging down to his toes; a pair of bear skin stockings; and a great wooden face painted, the one half black, the other half tawny, about the color of an Indian's skin, with an extravagant mouth, cut very much awry; the face fastened to a bear skin cap, which was drawn over his head. He advanced toward me with the instrument in his hand which he used for music in his idolatrous worship; which was a dry tortoise shell with some corn in it, and the neck of it drawn on to a piece of wood, which made a very convenient handle. As he came forward he beat his tune with the rattle, and danced with all his might, but did not suffer any part of his body, not so much as his fingers, to be seen. No one would have imagined, from his appearance or actions, that he could have been a human creature, if they had not had some intimation of it otherwise. When he came near me I could not but shrink away from him, although it was then noon day, and I knew who it was; his appearance and gestures were so prodigiously frightful. He had a house consecrated to religious uses, with divers images cut upon the several parts of it. I went in, and found the ground beat almost as hard as rock, with their frequent dancing upon it. I discoursed with him about Christianity. Some of my discourse he seemed to like, but some of it he disliked extremely. He told me that God had taught him his religion, and that he never would turn from it; but wanted to find some who would join heartily with him in it; for the Indians, he said, were grown very degenerate and corrupt. He had thoughts, he said, of leaving all his friends, and traveling abroad, in order to find some who would join with him; for he believed that God had some good people somewhere, who felt as he did. He had not always, he said, felt as he now did; but had formerly been like the rest of the Indians, until about four or five years before that time. Then, he said, his heart was very much distressed, so that he could not live among the Indians, but got away into the woods, and lived alone for some months. At length, he said, God comforted his heart, and showed him what he should do; and since that time he had known God, and tried to serve him; and loved all men, be they who they would, so as he never did before. He treated me with uncommon courtesy, and seemed to be hearty in it. I was told by the Indians, that he opposed their drinking strong liquor with all his power; and that, if at any time he could not dissuade them from it by all he could say, he would leave them, and go crying into the woods. It was manifest the he had a set of religious notions which he had examined for himself, and not taken for granted upon bare tradition; and he relished or disrelished whatever was spoken of a religious nature, as it either agreed or disagreed with his standard. While I was discoursing, he would sometimes say, 'Now that I like; so God has taught me;' &c. and some of his sentiments seemed very just. Yet he utterly denied the existence of a devil, and declared there was no such creature known among the Indians of old times, whose religion he supposed he was attempting to revive. He likewise told me, that departed souls went southward, and that the difference between the good and the bad was this: that the former were admitted into a beautiful town with spiritual walls; and that the latter would for ever hover around these walls, in vain attempts to get in. He seemed to be sincere, honest, and conscientious in his own way, and according to his own religious notions; which was more than I ever saw in any other pagan. I perceived that he was looked upon and derided among most of the Indians, as a precise zealot, who made a 74 needless noise about religious matters; but I must say that there was something in his temper and disposition which looked more like true religion than anything I ever observed among other heathens.
"But alas! How deplorable is the state of the Indians upon this river! The brief representation which I have here given of their notions and manners, is sufficient to show that they are 'led captive by Satan at his will,' in the most eminent manner; and methinks might likewise be sufficient to excite the compassion, and engage the prayers, of God's children for these their fellow-men, who sit 'in the regions of the shadow of death.'
Sept. 22. - "Made some further attempts to instruct and Christianize the Indians on this Island, but all to no purpose. They live so near the white people that they are always in the way of strong liquor, as well as of the ill examples of nominal Christians; which renders it so unspeakably difficult to treat with them about Christianity."
Forks of Delaware, Oct. 1745.
Oct.1. - "Discoursed to the Indians here, and spent some time in private conference with them about their soul's concerns, and afterward invited them to accompany, or if not, to follow me to Crossweeksung as soon as they could conveniently; which invitation numbers of them cheerfully accepted."
Crossweeksung, Oct. 1745.
Oct. 5. - "Preached to my people from John 14:1-6. The divine presence seemed to be in the assembly. Numbers were affected with divine truth, and it was a comfort to some in particular. Oh! what a difference is there between these, and the Indians with whom I had lately treated upon the Susquehanna! To be with those seemed to be like being banished from God and all his people; to be with these, like being admitted into his family, and to the enjoyment of his divine presence! How great is the change lately made upon numbers of those Indians; who, not many months ago, were as thoughtless and averse to Christianity as those upon the Susquehanna; and how astonishing is that grace which has made this change!
Lord's day, Oct. 6. - "Preached in the forenoon from John 10:7-11. There was a considerable melting among my people; the dear young Christians were refreshed, comforted and strengthened; and one or two persons newly awakened. In the afternoon I discoursed on the story of the Jailor, Acts, 16; and in the evening expounded Acts 10:1-2. There was at this time a very agreeable melting spread throughout the whole assembly. I think I scarce ever saw a more desirable affection among any people. There was scarcely a dry eye to be seen among them; and yet nothing boisterous or unseemly, nothing that tended to disturb the public worship; but rather to encourage and excite a Christian ardor and spirit of devotion. Those who I have reason to hope were savingly renewed were first affected, and seemed to rejoice much, but with brokenness of spirit and godly fear. Their exercises were much the same with those mentioned in my journal of August 26, evidently appearing to be the genuine effects of a spirit of adoption.
"After public service was over I withdrew, being much tired with the labors of the day; and the Indians continued praying among themselves for near two hours together; which continued exercises appeared to be attended with a blessed quickening influence from on high. I could not but earnestly wish that numbers of God's people had been present at this season to see and hear these things which I am sure must refresh the heart of every true lover of Zion. To see those who were very lately savage pagans and idolators, having no hope, and without God in the world, now filled with a sense of divine love and grace, and worshipping the Father in spirit and truth, as numbers here appeared to do, was not a little affecting; and especially to see them appear so tender and humble as well as lively, fervent, and devout in the divine service.
Oct. 24. - "Discoursed from John 4:13,14. There was a great attention, a desirable affection, and an unaffected melting in the assembly, It is surprising to see how eager they are to hear the Word of God. I often times thought that they would cheerfully and diligently attend divine worship twenty-four hours together, if they had an opportunity so to do.
Oct. 25. - "Discoursed to my people respecting the Resurrection, from Luke 20:27-36. When I came to mention the blessedness the godly shall enjoy at that season; their final freedom from death, sin and sorrow; their equality to the angels in their nearness to and enjoyment of Christ, some imperfect degree of which they are favored with in the present life, from whence springs their sweetest comfort; and their being the children of God, openly acknowledged by him as such; many of them were much affected and melted with a view of this blessed state.
Oct. 26. - "Being called to assist in the administration of the Lord's supper in a neighboring congregation, I invited my people to go with me. They in general embraced the opportunity cheerfully; and attended the several discourses of this solemnity with diligence and affection, most of them now understanding something of the English language.
Lord's day, Oct. 27. - "While I was preaching to a vast assembly of people abroad, who appeared generally easy and secure, there was one Indian woman, a stranger, who never had heard me preach before, nor ever regarded any thing about religion, who, having been now persuaded by some of her friends to come to meeting, though much against her will, was seized with distressing concern for her soul; and soon after expressed a great desire of going home, more than forty miles distant, to call her husband, that he also might be awakened to a concern for his soul. Some others of the Indians appeared to be affected with divine truth this day. The pious people of the English, numbers of whom I had opportunity to converse with, seemed refreshed with seeing the Indian worship God in that devout and solemn manner with the assembly of his people; and with those mentioned in Acts 11:18, they could not but glorify God, saying, 'Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.' Preached again in the afternoon, to a great assembly; at which time some of my people appeared affected; and when public worship was over, were inquisitive whether there would be another sertnon in the evening, or before the solemnity of the Lord's supper was concluded; being still desirous to hear God's Word.
Oct. 28. - "Discoursed from Matt. 22:1-13. I was enabled to open the Scriptures, and adapt my discourse and expression to the capacities of my people, I know not how, in a plain, easy, and familiar manner, beyond all that I could have done by the utmost study; and this without any special difficulty; yea, with as much freedom as if I had been addressing a common audience, who had been instructed in the doctrines of Christianity all their days. The Word of God at this time seemed to fall upon the assembly with a divine power and influence, especially toward the close of my discourse; there was both a sweet melting and bitter mourning in the audience. The dear Christians were refreshed and comforted, convictions revived in others, and several persons newly awakened who had never been with us before. So much of the divine presence appeared in the assembly, that it seemed 'this was no other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.' All, who had any savor and relish of divine things, were even constrained by the sweetness of that season to say, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here.' If ever there was among my people an appearance of the New Jerusalem 'as bride adorned for her husband,' there was much of it at this time; and so agreeable was the entertainment, where such tokens of the divine presence were, that I could scarcely be willing in the evening to leave the place and repair to my lodgings. I was refreshed with a view of the continuance of the blessed work of grace among them, and with its influence upon strangers among the Indians, who had of late from time to time providentially come into this part of the country.
Lord's day, Nov. 3. - "Preached to my people from Luke 16:17. 'And it is easier for heaven and earth,' &c. more especially for the sake of several lately brought under deep concern for their souls. There was some apparent concern and affection in the assembly; though far less than has been usual of late. On this day six of the Indians made a profession of their faith. One of these was a woman near four-score years of age. Two of the others were men fifty years old, who had been singular and remarkable among the Indians for their wickedness; one of them had been a murderer, and both notorious drunkards as well as excessively quarrelsome; but now I cannot but hope that both of them have become subjects of God's special grace. I kept them back for many weeks after they had given evidence of having passed a great change, that I might have more opportunities to observe the fruits of the impressions which they had been under, and apprehended the way was now clear to admit them to the ordinances.
Nov. 4. - "Discoursed from John 11, briefly explaining most of the chapter. Divine truth made deep impressions upon many in the assembly. Numbers were affected with a view of the power of Christ manifested in his raising the dead; and especially when this instance of his power was improved to show his ability to raise dead souls, such as many of them felt themselves to be, to a spiritual life; as also to raise the dead at the last day, and dispense to them rewards and punishments. There were numbers of those who had come here lately from remote places, who were now brought under deep and pressing concern for their souls. One in particular, who not long since came half drunk, and railed on us, and attempted by all means to disturb us while engaged in divine worship, was now so concerned and distressed for her soul, that she seemed unable to get any ease without an interest in Christ. There were many tears and affectionate sobs and groans in the assembly in general; some weeping for themselves; others for their friends. Although persons are doubtless much more easily affected now than they were in the beginning of this religious concern, when tears and cries for their souls were things unheard of among them; yet I must say that their affection in general appeared genuine and unfeigned; and especially this appeared very conspicuous in those newly awakened. So that true and genuine convictions of sin seem still to be begun and promoted in many instances. Twenty three of the Indians in all have now professed their faith in Christ. Most of them belonged to this region, a few to the Forks of Delaware. - Through rich grace, none of them as yet have been left to disgrace their profession by any scandalous or unbecoming behavior. I might now properly make many remarks on a work of grace so very remarkable as this has been in various respects; but shall confine myself to a few general hints only.
1. It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had the least hope, and, to my apprehension, the least rational prospect of seeing a work of grace propagated among them: my bodily strength being then much wasted by a late tedious journey to the Susquehanna, where I was necessarily exposed to hardships and fatigues among the Indians; my mind being also exceedingly depressed with a view of the unsuccessfulness of my labors. I had little reason so much as to hope that God had made me instrumental in the saving conversion of any of the Indians, except my interpreter and his wife. Hence I was ready to look upon myself as a burden to the Society which employed and supported me in this business, and began to entertain serious thoughts of giving up my mission; and almost resolved I would do so at the conclusion of the present year, if I had then no better prospect of success in my work than I had hitherto had. I cannot say that I entertained these thoughts because I was weary of the labors and fatigues which necessarily attended my present business, or because I had light and freedom in my own mind to turn in any other way; but purely through dejection of spirit, pressing discouragement, and an apprehension of its being unjust to spend money consecrated to religious uses, only to civilize the Indians, and bring them to an external profession of Christianity. This was all which I could then see any prospect of effecting, while God seemed, as I thought, evidently to frown upon the design of their saving conversion, by withholding the convincing and renewing influences of his blessed Spirit from attending the means which I had hitherto used with them for that end. In this frame of mind I first visited these Indians at Crossweeksung; apprehending that it was my indispensable duty, seeing I had heard there was a number in these parts, to make some attempts for their conversion to God, though I cannot say I had any hope of success, my spirits being now so extremely sunk. I do not know that my hopes respecting the conversion of the Indians were ever reduced to so low an ebb. since I had any special concern for them, as at this time. Yet this was the very season in which God saw fit to begin this glorious work! Thus he 'ordianed strength out of weakness,' by making bare his almighty arm at a time when all hopes and human probabilities most evidently appeared to fail. - Whence I learn, that it is good to follow the path of duty, though in the midst of darkness and discouragement.
2. It is remarkable how God providentially, and in a manner almost unaccountable, called these Indians together to be instructed in the great things that concerned their souls: and how he seized their minds with the most solemn and weighty concern for their eternal salvation, as fast as they came to the place where his Word was preached. When I first came into these parts in June, I found not one man at the place I visited, but only four women and a few children; but before I had been here many days, they gathered from all quarters, some from more than twenty miles; and when I made them a second visit in the beginning of August, some came more than forty miles to hear me. Many came without any intelligence of what was going on here, and consequently without any design of theirs, so much as to gratify their curiosity. Thus it seemed as if God had summoned them together from all quarters for nothing else but to deliver his message to them; and that he did this, with regard to some of them, without making use of any human means, although there was pains taken by some of them to give notice to others at remote places. Nor is it less surprising that they were one after another affected with a solemn concern for their souls, almost as soon as they came upon the spot where divine truths were taught them. I could not but think often, that their coming to the place of our public worship, was like Saul and his messengers coming among the prophets; they no sooner came but they prophesied; and these were almost as soon affected with a sense of their sin and misery, and with an earnest concern for deliverance, as they made their appearance in our assembly. After this work of grace began with power among them, it was common for strangers of the Indians, before they had been with us one day, to be much awakened, deeply convinced of their sin and misery, and to inquire with great solicitude, 'What they should do to be saved?'
3. "It is likewise remarkable how God preserved these poor ignorant Indians from being prejudiced against me, and the truths I taught them, by those means that were used with them for that purpose by ungodly people. There were many attempts made by some ill-minded persons of the white people to prejudice them against, or frighten them from Christianity. They sometimes told them, that the Indians were well enough already; - that there was no need of all this noise about Christianity; - that if they were Christians they would be in no better, no safer, or happier state, than they were already in. Sometimes they told them, that I was a knave, a deceiver, and the like; that I daily taught them lies, and had no other design but to impose upon them. When none of these, and such like suggestions, would avail to their purpose, they then tried another expedient, and told the Indians, 'My design was to gather together as large a body of them as I possibly could, and sell them to England for slaves;' than which nothing could be more likely to terrify the Indians, they being naturally of a jealous disposition, and the most averse to a state of servitude perhaps of any people living. But all these wicked insinuations, through divine goodness over-ruling, constantly turned against the authors of them, and only served to engage the affections of the Indians more firmly to me; for they, being awakened to a solemn concern for their souls, could not but observe, that the persons who endeavored to embitter their minds against me, were altogether unconcerned about their own souls, and not only so, but vicious and profane; and thence could not but argue, that if they had no concern for their own, it was not likely they should have for the souls of others. It seems yet the more wonderful that the Indians were preserved from once harkening to these suggestions, inasmuch as I was an utter stranger among them, and could give them no assurance of my sincere affection to, and concern for them, by any thing that was past, - while the persons who insinuated these things were their old acquaintance, who had frequent opportunities of gratifying their thirsty appetites with strong drink, and consequently, doubtless had the greatest interest in their affections. But from this instance of their preservation from fatal prejudices, I have had occasion, with admiration, to say, 'If God will work, who can hinder?'
4. Nor is it less wonderful how God was pleased to provide a remedy for my want of skill and freedom in the Indian language, by remarkably fitting my interpreter for, and assisting him in the performance ot his work. It might reasonably be supposed I must needs labor under a vast disadvantage in addressing the Indians by an Interpreter; and that divine truths would undoubtedly lose much of the energy and pathos with which they might at first be delivered, by reason of their coming to the audience from a second hand. But although this has often, to my sorrow and discouragement, been the case in times past, when my interpreter had little or no sense of divine things; yet now it was quite otherwise. I cannot think my addresses to the Indians ordinarily, since the beginning of this season of grace have lost any thing of the power or pungency with which they were made, unless it were sometimes for want of pertinent and pathetic terms and expressions in the Indian language; which difficulty could not have been much redressed by my personal acquaintance with their language. My interpreter had before gained some good degree of doctrinal knowledge, whereby he was rendered capable of understanding, and communicating, without mistakes, the intent and meaning of my discourses, and that without being confined strictly, and obliged to interpret verbatim. He had likewise, to appearance, an experimental acquaintance with divine things; and it pleased God at this season to inspire his mind with longing desires for the conversion of the Indians, and to give him admirable zeal and fervency in addressing them in order thereto. It is remarkable, that, when I was favored with any special assistance in any work, and enabled to speak with more than common freedom, fervency, and power, under a lively and affecting sense of divine things, he was usually affected in the same manner almost instantly, and seemed at once quickened and enabled to speak in the same pathetic language, and under the same influence that I did. A surprising energy often accompanied the Word at such seasons; so that the face of the whole assembly would be apparently changed almost in an instant, and tears and sobs become common among them. He also appeared to have such a clear doctrinal view of God's usual methods of dealing with souls under a preparatory work of conviction and humiliation as he never had before; so that I could, with his help, discourse freely with the distressed persons about their internal exercises, their fears, discouragements, temptations, &c. He likewise took pains, day and night, to repeat and inculcate upon the minds of the Indians the truths which I taught them daily; and this he appeared to do, not from spiritual pride, and an affectation of setting himself up as a public teacher, but from a spirit of faithfulness, and an honest concern for their souls. His conversation among the Indians has likewise, so far as I know, been savory, as becomes a Christian, and a person employed in his work; and I may justly say, he has been a great comfort to me, and a great instrument of promoting this good work among the Indians; so that whatever be the state of his own soul, it is apparent God has remarkably fitted him for this work. Thus God has manifested that, without bestowing on me the gift of tongues, he could find a way wherein I might be as effectually enabled to convey the truths of his glorious Gospel to the minds of these poor benighted pagans.
5. It is further remarkable, that God has carried on his work here by such means, and in such a manner, as tended to obviate, and leave no room for those prejudices and objections which have often been raised against such a work. When persons have been awakened to a solemn concern for their souls, by hearing the more awful truths of God's Word, and the terrors of the divine lay insisted upon, it has usually in such cases been objected by some, that such persons were only frighted with a fearful noise of hell and damnation; and that there was no evidence that their concern was the effect of a divine influence. But God has left no room for this objection in the present case; this work of grace having been begun and carried on by almost one continued strain of Gospel invitation to perishing sinners. This may reasonably be guessed, from a view of the passages of Scripture I chiefly insisted upon in my discourses from time to time; which I have for that purpose inserted in my diary. Nor have I ever seen so general an awakening in any assembly in my life as appeared here while I was opening and insisting upon the parable of the great supper. Luke 14. In which discourse I was enabled to set before my hearers the unsearchable riches of Gospel grace. Not that I would be understood here that I never instructed the Indians respecting their fallen state, and the sinfulness and misery of it; for this was what I at first chiefly insisted upon with them, and endeavored to repeat and inculcate in almost every discourse, knowing that without this foundation I should but build upon the sand, and that it would be in vain to invite them to Christ unless I could convince them of their need of him. Mark 2:17. But still this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassion of a dying Savior, the plentiful provisions of the Gospel, and the free offers of divine grace to needy, distressed sinners. Nor would I be understood to insinuate, that such a religious concern might justly be suspected as not being genuine and from a divine influence, if produced from the preaching of terror; for this is perhaps God's more usual way of awakening sinners, and appears entirely agreeable to Scripture and sound reason. But what I mean here to observe is, that God saw fit to employ and bless other means for the effectual awakening of these Indians, and thereby obviated the forementioned objection, which the world might otherwise have had a more plausible color of making. As there had been no room for any plausible objection against this work, with regard to the means, so neither with regard to the manner in which it has been carried on. It is true, persons' concern for their souls have been exceeding great; the convictions of their sin and misery have arisen to a high degree, and produced many tears, cries, and groans; but then they have not been attended with those disorders, either bodily or mental, which have sometimes prevailed among persons under religious impressions. There has here been no appearance of those convulsions, bodily agonies, frightful screamings, swoonings, and the like, which have been so much complained of in some places; although there have been some, who, with the jailer, have been made to tremble under a sense of their sin and misery, and have been made to cry out from a distressing view of their perishing state. Nor has there been any appearance of mental disorders here, such as visions, trances, imaginations of being under prophetic inspiration, and the like; or scarce any unbecoming disposition to appear remarkably affected either with concern or joy; though I must confess I observed one or two persons, whose concern I thought was in a considerable measure affected; and one whose joy appeared to be of the same kind. But these workings of spiritual pride I endeavored to crush in their first appearances, and have not since observed any affection, either of joy or sorrow, but what appeared genuine and unaffected. But, Lastly. The effects of this work have likewise been very remarkable. I doubt not but that many of these people have gained more doctrinal knowledge of divine truths since I first visited them in June last, than could have been instilled into their minds by the most diligent use of proper and instructive means for whole years together, without such a divine influence. Their pagan notions and idolatrous practices seem to be entirely abandoned in these parts. They are regulated, and appear regularly disposed in the affairs of marriage; an instance whereof I have given in my journal of August 14. They seem generally divorced from drunkenness, their darling vice, the 'sin that easily besets them;' so that I do not know of more than two or three, who have been my steady hearers, that have drank to excess since I first visited them; although before it was common for some or other of them to be drunk almost every day: and some of them seem now to fear this sin in particular, more than death itself. A principle of honesty and justice appears in many of them; and they seem concerned to discharge their old debts, which they have neglected, and perhaps scarcely thought of for years past. Their manner of living is much more decent and comfortable than formerly, having now the benefit of that money which they used to consume upon strong drink. Love seems to reign among them, especially those who have given evidences of having passed a saving change: and I never saw an appearance of bitterness or censoriousness in these, nor any disposition to 'esteem themselves better than other,' who had not received the like mercy. As their sorrow under convictions have been great and pressing, so many of them have since appeared to 'rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory;' and yet I never saw any thing ecstatic or flighty in their joy. Their consolations do not incline them to lightness; but, on the contrary, are attended with solemnity, and often times with tears, and an apparen brokenness of heart, as may be seen in several passages of my diary. In this respect some of them have been surprised at themselves, and have with concern observed to me, that 'when their hearts have been glad,' which is a phrase they commonly make use of to express spiritual joy, 'they could not help crying for all.' And now, upon the whole, I think I may justly say, that here are all the symptoms and evidences of a remarkable work of grace among these Indians, which can reasonably be desired or expected. May the great Author of this work maintain and promote the same here, and propagate it everwhere, till 'the whole earth be filled with his glory!' Amen. I have now rode more than three thousand miles, of which I have kept an exact account, since the beginning of March last, and almost the whole of it has been in my own proper business as a missionary, upon the design, either immediately or more remotely, of propagating Christian knowledge among the Indians. I have taken pains to look out for a colleague or companion, to travel with me; and have likewise used endeavors to procure something for his support, among religious persons in New-England, which cost me a journey of several hundred miles; but have not, as yet, found any person qualified and disposed for this good work, although I had some encouragement from ministers and others, that it was hoped a maintenance might be procured for one, when the man should be found. I have likewise of late represented to the gentlemen concerned with this mission, the necessity of having an English school speedily set up among these Indians, who are now willing to be at the pains of gathering together in a body, for this purpose. In order thereto, I have humbly proposed to them the collecting of money for the maintenance of a schoolmaster, and the defraying of other necessary charges, in the promotion of this good work; which they are not attempting in the several congregations of Christians to which they respectively belong. The several companies of Indians to whom I have preached in the summer past, live at great distances from each other. It is more than seventy miles from Crossweeksung, in New-Jersey, to the Forks of Delaware in Pennsylvania; and thence to sundry of the Indian settlements which I visited on the Susquehanna, is more than an hundred and twenty miles. So much of my time is necessarily consumed in journeying, that I can have but little for any of my necessary studies, and consequently for the study of the Indian languages in particular; and especially seeing I am obliged to discourse so frequently to the Indians at each of these places while I am with them, in order to redeem time to visit the rest. I am, at times, almost discouraged from attempting to gain any acquaintance with the Indian languages, they are so very numerous; some account of which I gave in my diary of May last; and especially, seeing my other labors and fatigues engross almost the whole of my time, and bear exceedingly hard upon my constitution, so that my health is much impaired. However, I have taken considerable pains to learn the Delaware language, and propose still to do so, as far as my other business and bodily health will admit. I have already made some proficiency in it, though I have labored under many and great disadvantages in my attempts of that nature. It is but just to observe here, that all the pains I took to acquaint myself with the language of the Indians with whom I spent my first year, were of little or no service to me here among the Delawares; so that my work, when I came among these Indians, was all to be begun anew. As these poor ignorant pagans stood in need of having 'line upon line, and precept upon precept,' in order to their being instructed and grounded in the principles of Christianity; so I preached 'publicly, and taught from house to house,' almost every day for whole weeks together, when I was with them. My public discourses did not then make up the one half of my work, while there were so many constantly coming to me with that important inquiry, 'What must we do to be saved?' and opening to me the various exercises of their minds. Yet I can say, to the praise of divine grace, that the apparent success, with which my labors were crowned, unspeakably more than compensated for the labor itself, and was likewise a great means of supporting and carrying me through the business and fatigues under which, it seems, my nature would have sunk without such an encouraging prospect. But although this success has afforded matter of support, comfort,and thankfulness; yet in this season I have found great need of assistance in my work, and have been much oppressed for want of one to bear a part of my labors and hardships. 'May the Lord of the harvest send forth other laborers into this part of his harvest, that those who sit in darkness may see great light; and that the whole earth may be filled with the knowledge of himself Amen."'
Obtained from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org). Revised and reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries. Only necessary changes have been made, such as correction of spelling errors and some punctuation usage. The content is unabridged.