MR. BRAINERD’S JOURNAL,
IN TWO PARTS.
THE Journal having been so much referred to in the Life and Diary, and being originally a part of the Diary itself, this work would be very imperfect without it. It was first printed not only in two parts, but with some variation in the Titles, which are here subjoined. The First Part was,
“Mirabilia Dei inter Indicos;
Or the Rise and Progress of a remarkable Work of Grace
Amongst a number of the Indians,
In the Provinces of New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
Justly represented in a JOURNAL kept by order of the Honourable Society (in Scotland) for Propagating
Christian Knowledge; with some General Remarks;
By DAVID BRAINERD,
Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary from the said Society:
Published by the Reverend and worthy Correspondents of the said Society;
with a Preface by them.”
The Second Part was,
“Divine Grace Displayed;
Or the Continuance and Progress of a remarkable Work of Grace
Among some of the Indians
Belonging to the Provinces of New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
Justly represented in a JOURNAL kept by order of the Honourable Society (in Scotland)
for Propagating Christian Knowledge;
with some General Remarks;
To which is subjoined an Appendix, containing some account of sundry things, especially of the Difficulties attending
the Work of a Missionary among the Indians:
By DAVID BRAINERD,
Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary from the said Society:
Published by the Reverend and worthy Correspondents of the said Society.”
THE design of this publication is to give God the glory of his distinguishing grace, and gratify the pious curiosity of those who are waiting and praying for that blessed time, when the Son of God, in a more extensive sense than has yet been accomplished, shall receive “the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession.”
Whenever any of the guilty race of mankind are awakened to a just concern for their eternal interest, are humbled at the footstool of a sovereign God, and are persuaded and enabled to accept the offers of redeeming love, it must always be acknowledged a wonderful work of divine grace, which demands our thankful praises. But doubtless it is a more affecting evidence of almighty power, a more illustrious display of sovereign mercy, when those are enlightened with the knowledge of salvation, who have for many ages dwelt in the grossest darkness and heathenism, and are brought to a cheerful subjection to the government of our divine Redeemer, who from generation to generation had remained the voluntary slaves of “the prince of darkness.”
This is that delightful scene which will present itself to the reader’s view, while he attentively peruses the following pages. Nothing certainly can be more agreeable to a benevolent and religious mind, than to see those that were sunk in the most degenerate state of human nature, at once, not only renounce those barbarous customs they had been inured to from their infancy, but surprisingly transformed into the character of real and devout Christians.
This mighty change was brought about by the plain and faithful preaching of the gospel, attended with an uncommon effusion of the divine Spirit, under the ministry of the Reverend David Brainerd, a Missionary employed by the Honourable Society in Scotland, for propagating CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
And surely it will administer abundant matter of praise and thanksgiving to that honourable body, to find that their generous attempt to send the gospel among the Indian nations upon the borders of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, has met with such surprising success.
It would perhaps have been more agreeable to the taste of politer readers, if the following Journal had been cast into a different method, and formed into one connected narrative. But the worthy author, amidst his continued labours, had no time to spare for such an undertaking. Besides, the pious reader will take a peculiar pleasure to see this work described in its native simplicity, and the operations of the Spirit upon the minds of these poor benighted pagans, laid down just in the method and order in which they happened. This, it must be confessed, will occasion frequent repetitions; but these, as they tend to give a fuller view of this amazing dispensation of divine grace in its rise and progress, we trust, will be easily forgiven.
When we see such numbers of the most ignorant and barbarous of mankind, in the space of a few months, “turned from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan unto God,” it gives us encouragement to wait and pray for that blessed time, when our victorious Redeemer shall, in a more signal manner than he has yet done, display the “banner of his cross,” march on from “conquering to conquer, till the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.” Yea, we cannot but lift up our heads with joy, and hope that it may be the dawn of that bright and illustrious day, when the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall “arise and shine from one end of the earth to the other;” when, to use the language of the inspired prophets, “the Gentiles shall come to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising;” in consequence of which, “the wilderness and solitary places shall be glad, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
It is doubtless the duty of all, in their different stations, and according to their respective capacities, to use their utmost endeavours to bring forward this promised, this desired day. There is a great want of schoolmasters among these christianized Indians, to instruct their youth in the English language, and the principles of the christian faith; for this as yet, there is no certain provision made:* if any are inclined to contribute to so good a design, we are persuaded they will do an acceptable service to the “kingdom of the Redeemer.” And we earnestly desire the most indigent to join, at least, in their wishes and prayers, that this work may prosper more and more, till the “whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord.”
RISE AND PROGRESS
REMARKABLE WORK OF GRACE, &c.
FROM A.D. 1745 JUNE 19TH TO NOV. 4TH, AT CROSSWEEKSUNG AND FORKS OF DELAWARE.
CROSSWEEKSUNG, in New Jersey, June, 1745.
June 19. Having spent most of my time for more than a year past amongst the Indians in the Forks of Delaware in Pennsylvania; and having in that time made two journeys to Susquehannah river, far back in that province, in order to treat with the Indians there, respecting Christianity; and not having had any considerable appearance of special success in either of those places, which damped my spirits, and was not a little discouraging to me: upon hearing that there was a number of Indians in and about a place called (by the Indians) Crossweeksung in New Jersey, near fourscore miles south-eastward from the Forks of Delaware, I determined to make them a visit, and see what might be done towards the christianizing of them; and accordingly arrived among them this day.
I found very few persons at the place I visited, and perceived the Indians in these parts were very much scattered, there being not more than two or three families in a place, and these small settlements six, ten, fifteen, twenty, and thirty miles, and some more, from the place I was then at. However, I preached to those few I found, who appeared well disposed, and not inclined to object and cavil, as the Indians had frequently 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 travelled 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 might “see the man that told them what they had done” in their lives past, and the misery that attended their idolatrous ways.
June 20. Visited and preached to the Indians again as I proposed. Numbers more were gathered at the invitations of their friends, who heard me the day before. These also appeared as attentive, orderly, and well disposed as the others. And none made any objection, as Indians in other places have usually done.
June 22. Preached to the Indians again. Their number, which at first consisted of about seven or eight persons, was now increased to near thirty. There was not only a solemn attention among them, but some considerable impressions, it was apparent, were made upon their minds by
* In the observations intermixed with the diary, after the date June 18th and Sept. 16th, 1747. it appears that some gentlemen from Boston took this affair into their charitable consideration; partly in consequence of this hint, and more especially from Mr. Brainerd’s application by letter.--W.
PART I. A.D. 1745. JUNE TO NOVEMBER. 389
divine truths. 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 opposite to any thing of that nature, as any Indians whatsoever. And 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 weakly, and my spirits much exhausted. They attended with the greatest seriousness and diligence; and there was some concern for their souls’ salvation 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 sundry 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 motion, 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 again 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, it seems, 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 heathens 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 labours, and especially by my late journey to Susquehannah in May last, in which 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 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 some considerable time in discoursing with them in a more private way, inquiring of them what they remembered of the great truths that 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 spoke something particularly to each of them, they all earnestly inquired when I would come again, and expressed a great desire of being further instructed. And of their own accord agreed, that when I should come again, they would all meet and live together during my continuance with them; and that they would do their utmost endeavours to gather all the Indians in these parts that were yet further remote. And when I parted, one told me with many tears, “She wished God would change her heart:” another, that “she wanted to find Christ:” and an old man that 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 admit, and felt not a little concerned at parting, lest the good impressions then apparent upon numbers of them, might decline and wear off, when the means came to cease; and yet 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 the favour would be so great, if God should now, after I had passed through so considerable a series of almost fruitless labours and fatigues, and after my rising hopes had been so often frustrated among these poor pagans, give me any special success in my labours with them. I could not believe, and scarce dared to hope, that the event would be so happy, and scarce ever found myself more suspended between hope and fear, in any affair, or at any time, than this.
This encouraging disposition and readiness to receive instruction, now apparent among these Indians, seems to have been the happy effect of the conviction that one or two of them met with some time since at the Forks of Delaware, who have since endeavoured to show their friends the evil of idolatry, &c. And although the other Indians seemed but little to regard, but 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 this might be the case here, has given me encouragement that God may in such a manner bless the means I have used with Indians in other places, where there is as yet 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 heart 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 whom 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.--Afterwards 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.--Afterwards I baptized my interpreter and his wife, who were the first I baptized among the Indians.
They are both persons of some experimental knowledge in religion; 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 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 of the man’s exercise and experience since he has been with me, especially seeing he is employed as my interpreter to others.--When I first employed him in this business in the beginning of summer, 1744, he was well fitted for his work in regard of his acquaintance with the Indian and English language, as well as with the manners of both nations; and in regard of his desire that the Indians should conform to the customs and manners 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 laboured 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 spirits sunk and were much discouraged under this difficulty, especially when I observed that divine
390 BRAINERD’S JOURNAL.
truths made little or no impressions 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; and 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, till 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 attained 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 endeavours to fasten the impressions of his perishing state upon his mind: and 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 fall of the year following, at which time 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 exercise was 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?” His spiritual trouble prevailed, till at length his sleep, in a measure, departed from him, and he had little rest day or night; but walked about under a great pressure of mind, (for he was still able to walk,) and appeared like another man to his neighbours, who could not but observe his behaviour 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 towards heaven, as he thought, but “his way was hedged up with thorns, 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 laboured for a time, but all in vain; he saw it was impossible, he says, for him ever to help himself through this insupportable difficulty. He felt it signified nothing, “it signified just nothing at all for him to strive and struggle any more.” And 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 for ever would be, vain and fruitless. And yet 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 exercise, 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 said, he was not guilty of some wicked actions that he knew some others guilty of. He had not been used 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 neighbours, &c. But still his cry was, “that he had never done one good thing.” I knew, said he, that I had not been so bad as some others in some things, and that I had done many things which folks call good; but all this did me no good now, I saw that “all was bad, and that I never had done one good thing;”--meaning that he had never done any thing from a right principle, and with a right view, though he had done many things that were materially good and right. 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 any thing that was good;” and if God let me alone never so long, and I should try never so much, still I should do nothing but what is bad, &c.
This further account of his exercise 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 from a dependence upon his own righteousness, and good deeds, which mankind in a fallen state are so much attached to, and inclined to hope for salvation upon.
There was one thing more in his view of things at this time that was very remarkable. He not only saw, he says, what a miserable state he himself was in, but he likewise saw the world around him, in general, were in the same perishing circumstances, notwithstanding the profession many of them made of Christianity, and the hope they entertained of obtaining everlasting happiness. And this he saw clearly, “as if he was now awaked out of sleep, or had a cloud taken from before his eyes.” He saw that the life he had lived was the way to eternal death, that he was now on the brink of endless misery: and when he looked round, 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 behaviour, 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 his helping himself by any thing he could do, or of being delivered by any created arm, so that he “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 his 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 admire what had befallen him to make so great a change in his temper, discourse, and behaviour.--And especially there was a surprising alteration in his public performances. He now addressed the Indians with admirable fervency, and scarce knew when to leave off: and sometimes when I had concluded my discourse, and was returning homeward, he would tarry behind to repeat and inculcate what had been spoken.
His change 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 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 of 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 likewise of late had more satisfaction respecting, his own state, has been much enlivened and assisted in his work, so that he has been a great comfort to me.
And upon a view and strict observation of his serious and savoury conversation, his christian temper, and unblemished behaviour for so considerable a time, as well as his experience I have given an account of, I think that I have reason to hope that he is “created anew in Christ Jesus to good works.”--His name is Moses Tinda Tauta-
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my; 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 serious impressions of a religious nature.
July 26. Preached to my people, and afterwards baptized my interpreter’s children.
Lord’s day, July 28. Preached again, and perceived my people, at least some of them, more thoughtful than ever about their souls’ concerns. I was told by some, that their seeing my interpreter and others baptized, made them more concerned than any thing they had ever seen or heard before. There was indeed a considerable appearance of divine power amongst them when that ordinance was administered. May that divine influence spread and increase more abundantly!
July 30. 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, in New Jersey, August, 1745.
Aug. 3. I visited the Indians in these parts in June last, and tarried with them some 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 having, in my absence from them, been much promoted by the labours and endeavours of the Reverend Mr. 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. xxii. 17. “And whosoever will, let him take 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 Saviour, inviting distressed and perishing sinners to accept everlasting mercy. And 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 neighbouring minister to assist in the administration of the Lord’s supper, I complied with his request, and took the Indians along with me; and not only those that were together the day before, but many more that were coming to hear me; so that there were near fifty in all, old and young.--They attended the several discourses of the day, and some of them that 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 till they had sent to me to come and ask a blessing on their food: at which time sundry of them wept, especially when I minded them how they had in times past eat their feasts in honour to devils, and neglected to thank God for them.
Aug. 5. After a sermon had been preached by another minister, I preached, and concluded the public work of the solemnity from John vii. 37. “In the last day,” &c. and in my discourse addressed the Indians in particular, who sat by themselves in a part of the house; at which time one or two of them were struck with deep concern, as they afterwards told me, who had been little affected before: 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 souls’ concerns, inquiring “What they should do to be saved?” And all their conversation among themselves turned upon religious matters, in which they were much 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 well grounded: she seemed to be filled with love to Christ, at the same time behaved humbly and tenderly, and appeared afraid of nothing so much as of grieving and offending him whom her soul loved.
Aug. 6. In the morning I discoursed to the Indians at the house where I lodged: many of them were then much affected, and appeared surprisingly tender, so that a few words about their souls’ concerns 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 amongst 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 upon 1 John iv. 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 truths were attended with a surprising influence, and produced a great concern among them. There was scarce three in forty that 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 that 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 I thought proper to them, I asked them what they wanted God to do further for them? They replied, “They wanted Christ should wipe their hearts quite clean,” &c.--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 Isa. liii. 3.-10. There was a remarkable influence attending the word, and great concern in the assembly; but scarce 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 that had newly met with comfort, of whom I had good hopes: and a third that I could not but entertain some hopes of, whose case did not appear so clear as the other; so that here were now six in all that had got some relief from their spiritual distresses, and five whose experience appeared very clear and satisfactory. And it is worthy or 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 about sixty-five persons, men, women, and children: I discoursed from Luke xiv. 16-23. and was favoured with uncommon freedom in my discourse.--There was much visible concern among them while I was discoursing publicly; but afterwards when I spoke to one and another more particularly, whom I perceived under
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much concern, the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly “like a rushing mighty wind,” and with an astonishing energy bore down all before it.
I stood amazed at the influence that 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 scarce 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. And it was apparent these children (some of them at least) were not merely frighted 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 powow, (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. And, I am led to think, they were to their own apprehension as much retired as if they had been individually by themselves in the thickest desert; or, I believe rather, that they thought nothing about any but themselves and their own states, and so were every one praying apart, although all together.
It seemed to me there was now an exact fulfilment of that prophecy, Zech. xii. 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 Josh. x. 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 newly awakened of the badness of their lives and actions past; 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; and 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. And 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, that I cannot but take particular notice of here. A young Indian woman, who I believe never knew before 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 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 that spoke to her. I hearkened to know what she said, and perceived the burden of her prayer to be, Guttummaukalummeh wechaumeh kmeleh Ndah, i.e. “Have mercy on me, and help me to give you my heart.” And 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 atheist 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 endeavouring 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. xiii. Was enabled to discourse with much plainness, and found afterwards 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. xi. 28. “Come unto me, all ye that labour,” &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 fulness and all-sufficiency of Christ’s merits, and his willingness to save all that came 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 but 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 near as prevalent as it was 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. Guttummaukalummeh, guttummaukalummeh, 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 that had obtained comfort, were together, and seemed to rejoice much that God was carrying on his work with such power upon others.
Aug. 10. Rode to the Indians, and began to discourse more privately to those who had obtained comfort and satisfaction; endeavouring to instruct, direct, caution, and comfort them. But others being eager of hearing every word that 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
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short space of time, when Christ seemed near to them in prayer or other duties. And 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 should lie dead if my soul is happy. To which they all cheerfully replied, Muttah, muttah, (before I had opportunity to prosecute what I designed respecting the resurrection,) No, no. They did not regard their bodies, if their souls might but 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 these, I turned to the other Indians, and spoke to them from Luke xix. 10. “For the Son of man is come to seek,” &c. I had not discoursed long before their concern rose to a great degree, and the house was filled with cries and groans. And when I insisted on the compassion and care 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 Saviour.
Sundry persons who before had been but slightly awakened, were now deeply wounded with a sense of their sin and misery. And 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 most rational and scriptural: for he said, “all the wickedness of his past life was brought fresh to his remembrance, and he saw all the vile actions he had done formerly as if done but yesterday.”
Found one that had newly received comfort, after pressing distress from day to day. Could not but rejoice and admire 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 that had obtained comfort, while others were distressed with fear and concern; that is, 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 xv. Observed no such remarkable effect of the word upon the assembly as in days past.--There were numbers of careless spectators of the white people; some Quakers, and others.--In the afternoon I discoursed upon a part of St. Peter’s sermon, Acts ii. and at the close of my discourse to the Indians, made an address to the white people, and divine truths 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 towards the conclusion of if, although the influence attending the word seemed scarce so powerful now as in some days past.
The number of the Indians, old and young, was now upwards 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 inquired into the cause of her sorrow, and found the difficulty was, 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 waked and began to sob before day-light, and continued weeping for several hours together.
Aug. 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 that practice, and earnestly desirous to know what God would have him 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 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 enjoy him; he was then told, that it was his indispensable duty to renounce the woman 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 publicly promised to live with and be kind to his wife during life, she also promising the same to him.--And 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, lest 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 x. 34, &c. 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.
Aug. 15. Preached from Luke iv. 16-21. “And he came to Nazareth,” &c. 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 in a special manner 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 truths as ever, at least in many instances, although the concern did not seem to be so universal, and to reach every individual in such a manner as it had appeared to do some days before.
Aug. 16 Spent a considerable time in conversing privately with sundry of the Indians. Found one that 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 vi. 26-34. Toward the close of my discourse, divine truths were attended with considerable power upon the audience, and more especially after public service was over, when I particularly addressed sundry 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. But now her concern and spiritual distress was such, that, I thought, I had never seen any more pressing. Sundry old men were also in distress for their souls; so that they could not refrain from weeping and crying out aloud, and their bitter groans were the most convincing, as well as affecting, evidence 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
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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 spoke what, I suppose, had a proper tendency to promote convictions; but God’s manner of working upon them appeared so entirely supernatural, and above means, that I could scarce believe he used me as an instrument, or what I spake as means of carrying on his work; for it seemed, as I thought, to have no connexion with, nor dependence upon, means in any respect. And although 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 in the Forks of Delaware for more than a year, and now followed me here under deep concern for his soul--and had abundant reason to hope that his comfort was well grounded, and truly divine.--Afterwards discoursed publicly from Acts viii. 29-39. and took occasion to treat concerning baptism, in order to their being instructed and prepared to partake of that ordinance. They were yet hungry and thirsty for the word of God, and appeared unwearied in their attendance upon it.
Lord’s day, Aug. 18. Preached in the forenoon to an assembly of white people, made up of Presbyterians, Baptist, Quakers, c&. Afterwards preached to the Indians from John vi. 35-40. “He that eateth my flesh,” &c. There was considerable concern visible among them, though not equal to what has frequently appeared of late.
Aug. 19. Preached from Isa. lv. 1. “Ho, every one that thirsteth,” &c. Divine truths were attended with power upon those who had received comfort, and others also. The former were 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 that 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 most desirable and comfortable prospect of the spiritual recovery of diseased, perishing sinners.
Aug. 23. Spent some time with the Indians in private discourse; afterwards preached to them from John vi. 44-50. “No man can come to me, except,” &c. 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 that has been so powerfully among them in general, seems, at present, in some degree abated, at least in regard of its universality, though many who have got no special comfort, still retain deep impressions of divine things.
Aug. 24. Spent the forenoon in discoursing to some of the Indians, in order to their receiving the ordinance of baptism. When I had opened the nature of the ordinance, the obligations attending it, the duty of devoting ourselves to God in it, and the privilege of being in covenant with him, sundry of them seemed to be filled with love to God, and delighted with the thoughts of giving up themselves to him in that solemn and public manner, melted and refreshed with the hopes of enjoying the blessed Redeemer.
Afterwards I discoursed publicly from 1 Thess. iv. 13-17. “But I would not have you be ignorant,” &c. There was a solemn attention, and some visible concern and affection in the time of public service, which was afterwards increased by some further exhortation given 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 those 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 acquaintance with their own hearts; for 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 that had any experience of divine truths, that they knew nothing of their own hearts.
Lord’s day, Aug. 25. Preached in the forenoon from Luke xv. 3-7. There being a multitude of white people 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 ever addressed; and a view of their abusive conduct so sunk my spirits, that I could scarce go on with my work.
In the afternoon discoursed from Rev. iii. 20. at which time the Indians behaved seriously, though many others were vain.--Afterwards baptized twenty-five persons of the Indians, fifteen adults, and ten children. Most of the adults I have comfortable reason to hope are renewed persons; and there was not one of them but what I entertained some hopes of in that respect, though the case of two or three of them appeared more doubtful.
After the crowd of spectators was gone, I called the baptized persons together, and discoursed to them in particular, at the same time inviting others to attend. I minded 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 this public profession of Christianity; gave them directions for their 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!” Sundry of the other Indians, at seeing and hearing these things, were much affected, and wept bitterly, longing to be partakers of the same joy and comfort that these discovered by their very countenances as well as conduct.
Aug. 26. Preached to my people from John vi. 51-55. After I had discoursed some time, I addressed those in particular who entertained hopes that they were “passed from death to life.” Opened to them the persevering nature of those consolations 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,” (ver. 54.) and that their heaven shall speedily be completed, &c.
I no sooner began to discourse in this strain, but 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, and yet joyfully, and their tears and sobs discovered brokenness of heart, and yet were attended with real comfort and sweetness; so that this was a tender, affectionate, humble, delightful melting, and appeared to be the genuine effect of a Spirit of adoption, and very far from that spirit of bondage that they not long since laboured under. The influence seemed to spread from these through the whole assembly,
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and there quickly appeared a wonderful concern among them. Many who had not yet found Christ as an all-sufficient Saviour, were surprisingly engaged in seeking after him. It was indeed a lovely and very desirable assembly. Their number was now about ninety-five persons, old and young, and almost all affected either with joy in Christ Jesus, or with utmost concern to obtain an interest in him.
Being fully convinced it was now my duty to take a journey far back to the Indians on Susquehannah river, (it being now a proper season of the year to find them generally at home,) after having spent some hours in public and private discourses 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 no 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 endeavours for the conversion of those poor souls. They cheerfully complied with the motion, and soon after I left them (the sun being then about an hour and a half high at night) they began, and continued praying all night,) till break of day, or very near, never mistrusting, they tell me, till they went out and viewed the stars, and saw the morning-star a considerable height, that it was later than common 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 that 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 has all his days been an obstinate idolater, was brought to give up his rattles (which they use for music in their idolatrous feasts and dances) to the other Indians, who quickly destroyed them; and this without any attempt of mine in the affair, I having said nothing to him about it; so that it seemed it was nothing but just 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 amongst 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 here from Luke xiv. 16-23. The word appeared to be attended with some power, and caused some tears in the assembly.--Afterwards 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.--Towards 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 Isa. liii. 3-6. “He is despised and rejected of men,” &c. The divine presence seemed to be in the midst of the assembly, and a considerable concern spread amongst them. Sundry persons seemed to be awakened, amongst whom were two stupid creatures that I could scarce ever before keep awake while I was discoursing to them. Could not but rejoice at this appearance of things, although at the same time I could not but fear, lest the concern 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, afterwards conversed particularly with sundry persons, which occasioned them to weep, and even cry out in an affecting manner, and seized others with surprise and concern; and I doubt not but that a divine power accompanied what was then spoken. Sundry of these persons had been with me to Crossweeksung, and had there seen, and some of them, I trust, felt the power of God’s word in an effectual and saving manner. I asked one of them, who had obtained comfort, and given hopeful evidences 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 all alone:” and thereupon burst out into tears and cries again. I then asked his wife, who had likewise been abundantly comforted, wherefore she cried? She answered, “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 to her of late in prayer, as in time past? (which is my usual method of expressing a sense of the divine presence.) She replied, “Yes, he had been near to her; and that at some 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.”
Sept. 7. Preached to the Indians from John vi. 35-39. There was not so much appearance of concern among them as at several other times of late; yet they appeared serious and attentive.
Lord’s day, Sept. 8. Discoursed to the Indians in the forenoon from John xii. 44-50. in the afternoon from Acts ii. 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 sundry cried out under 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, almost generally, not unlike what has been of late at Crossweeksung. It seemed as if the divine influence had spread from thence to this place; although something of it appeared here in the awakening of my interpreter, his wife, and some few others.
Sundry 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 sundry Indians in these parts who have always refused to hear me preach, and have been enraged against those that have attended 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 the turn?” &c. So that they have already “trial of cruel mockings.”
Sept. 9. Left the Indians in the Forks of Delaware, and set out on a journey towards Susquehannah river, directing my course towards the Indian town more than a hundred and twenty miles west-ward from the Forks. Travelled about fifteen miles, and there lodged.
Sept. 13. After having lodged out three nights, arrived at the Indian town I aimed at on Susquehannah, called Shaumoking, (one of the places, and the largest of them, that I visited in May last,) and 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 Journal of May last) lies partly on the east side of the river, partly on the west, and partly on a large island in it, and contains upwards of fifty houses, and they tell me, near three hundred persons, though I never saw much more then half that number in it; but 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 Senakes, and Tutelas. The Indians of this place are counted the most drunken, mischievous, and ruffianly
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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,) and discoursed with him and others respecting Christianity, and 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. Which 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. Towards night discoursed with one that understood the languages of the Six Nations, (as they are usually called,) who discovered an inclination to hearken to Christianity; which gave me some hopes that the gospel might hereafter be sent to those nations far remote.
Sept. 16. Spent the forenoon with the Indians, endeavouring to instruct them from house to house, and to engage them, as far as I could, to be friendly to Christianity. Towards night went to one part of the town where they were sober, and got together near fifty persons 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 was 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 travelled down the river south-westward.
Sept. 19. Visited an Indian town called Juncauta, situate on an island in Susquehannah. Was much discouraged with the temper and behaviour 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.
Sept. 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 a prospect so very discouraging, and especially seeing I had now no interpreter but a pagan, who was as much attached to idolatry as any of them; (my own interpreter having left me the day before, being obliged to attend upon some important business elsewhere, and knowing that he 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, near a hundred of them, and danced round a large fire, having prepared ten fat deer for the sacrifice. The fat of whose inwards they burnt in the fire while they were dancing, and 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 all night, or near the matter, after which they ate the flesh of the sacrifice, and so retired each one to his lodging.
I enjoyed little satisfaction this night, 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 laboured for that purpose to get them together, but quickly found they had something else to do; for near noon they gathered together all their powows, (or conjurers,) and set about half a dozen of them to 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, spreading all their fingers; and they seemed to push with them, as if they designed to fright 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; 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 any thing 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 vigour, 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 sundry intervals of rest; and at length broke up, I apprehended, without receiving any answer at all.
After they had done powowing, 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 that so much as “named the name of Christ,” greatly sunk my spirits, 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 that ever I 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 towards 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 endeavours.
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 vicious, drunken, and profane, although not so savage as those who have less acquaintance with the English. Their customs in divers respects differ from those of other Indians upon this river. They do not bury their dead in a common form, but let their flesh consume
PART I. A.D. 1746. JUNE TO NOVEMBER. 397
above-ground in close cribs made for that purpose; and 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 afterwards bury them with some ceremony.--Their method of charming or conjuring over the sick, seems somewhat different from that of other Indians, though for substance the same: and the whole of it, among these and others, perhaps is an imitation of what seems, by Naaman’s expression, 2 Kings v. 11. to have been the custom of the ancient heathens. For it seems chiefly to consist in their “striking their hands over the diseased,” repeatedly stroking them, “and calling their gods,” excepting the spurting of water like a mist, and some other frantic ceremonies, common to the other conjurations I have already mentioned.
When I was in these parts in May last, I had an opportunity of learning many of the notions and customs of the Indians, as well as of observing many of their practices. I then travelled more than a hundred and thirty miles upon the river above the English settlements; and had in that journey a view of some persons of seven or eight distinct tribes, speaking so many different languages. But of all the sights I ever saw among them, or indeed any where 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 bears’ 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, and the other tawny, about the colour 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 that 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: and no man would have guessed by his appearance and 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 noonday, 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 out upon the several parts of it; I went in and found the ground beat almost as hard as rock with their frequent dancing in it.--I discoursed with him about Christianity, and some of my discourse he seemed to like, but some of it he disliked entirely. He told me that God had taught him his religion, and that he never would turn from it, but wanted to find some that 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 travelling abroad, in order to find some that would join with him; for he believed God had some good people somewhere that 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 says, 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.--And I was told by the Indians, that he opposed their drinking strong liquor with all his power; and 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 he had a set of religious notions that he had looked into for himself, and not taken for granted upon bare tradition; and he relished or disrelished whatever was spoken of a religious nature according as it either agreed or disagreed with his standard. And 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 being of a devil, and declared there was no such a creature known among the Indians of old times, whose religion he supposed he was attempting to revive. He likewise told me that departed souls all went south-ward, and that the difference between the good and bad was this, that the former were admitted into a beautiful town with spiritual walls, or walls agreeable to the nature of souls; and that the latter would for ever hover round those walls, and in vain attempt 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 he was looked upon and derided amongst most of the Indians as a precise zealot, that made a needless noise about religious matters; but I must say, there was something in his temper and disposition that looked more like true religion than any thing I ever observed amongst other heathens.
But, alas! how deplorable is the state of the Indians upon this river! The brief representation 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 pious souls 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 the ill examples of nominal Christians; which renders it so unspeakably difficult to treat with them about Christianity.
FORKS OF DELAWARE, October, 1745.
Oct. 1. Discoursed to the Indians here, and spent some time in private conferences with them about their souls’ concerns, and afterwards invited them to accompany, or if not, to follow, me down to Crossweeksung, as soon as their conveniency would admit; which invitation sundry of them cheerfully accepted.
CROSSWEEKSUNG, in New Jersey, October, 1745.
Preached to my people from John xiv. 1-6. The divine presence seemed to be in the assembly. Numbers were affected with divine truths, and it was a season of comfort to some in particular.--O what a difference is there between these and the Indians I had lately treated with upon Susquehannah! To be with those seemed 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 these Indians, who not many months ago were as thoughtless and averse to Christianity as those upon Susquehannah! and how astonishing is that grace which has made this change!
Lord’s day, Oct. 6. Preached in the forenoon from John x. 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 jailer, Acts xvi. and in the evening expounded Acts xx. 1-12. There was at this time a very agreeable melting spread through the whole assembly. I think I scarce ever saw a more desirable affection in any number of people in my life. There was scarce 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 ardour 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 effect of a Spirit of adoption.
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After public service was over I withdrew, (being much tired with the labours 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’s interest. To see those who very lately were savage, pagans and idolaters, “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 in 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 iv. 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 of hearing the word of God. I have oftentimes thought they would cheerfully and diligently attend divine worship twenty-four hours together, had they an opportunity so to do.
Oct. 25. Discoursed to my people respecting the resurrection, from Luke xx. 27-36. And 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 regard of their nearness to, and enjoyment of, Christ; (some imperfect degree of which they are favoured with in the present life, from whence springs their sweetest comfort;) and their being the children of God, openly acknowledged by him as such; I say, when I mentioned these things, numbers 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 neighbouring congregation, I invited my people to go with me, who in general embraced the opportunity cheerfully, and attended the several discourses of that 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 enough, there was one Indian woman, a stranger, who never heard me preach before, nor ever regarded any thing about religion--being now persuaded by some of her friends to come to meeting, though much against her will--was seized with pressing 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 other of the Indians also appeared to be affected with divine truths this day.
The pious people of the English, numbers of whom I had opportunity to converse with, seemed refreshed with seeing the Indians worship God in that devout and solemn manner with the assembly of his people: and with those mentioned Acts xi. 18. they could not but “glorify God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
Oct. 28. Preached again to a great assembly, at which time some of my people appeared affected; and when public worship was over, were inquisitive whether there would not be another sermon in the evening, or before the sacramental solemnity was concluded; being still desirous to hear God’s word.
Oct. 28. Discoursed from Matt. xxii, 1-13. I was enabled to open the Scripture, and adapt my discourse and expressions 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 doctrine 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 sundry persons newly awakened who had never been with us before; and 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.” And all that had any savour 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 amongst my people an appearance of the New Jerusalem--“as a 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 scarce be willing in the evening to leave the place, and repair to my lodgings. I was refreshed with a view of the continuance of this blessed work of grace among them, and its influence upon strangers of the Indians that had of late, from time to time, providentially fallen into these parts.
Nov. 1. Discoursed from Luke xxiv. briefly explaining the whole chapter, and insisting especially upon some particular passages.--The discourse was attended with some affectionate concern upon some of the hearers, though not equal to what has often appeared among them.
Lord’s day, Nov. 3. Preached to my people from Luke xvi. 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.
Afterwards I baptized fourteen persons of the Indians, six adults and eight children: one of these was near fourscore years of age, and I have reason to hope God has brought her savingly home to himself. Two of the others were men of fifty years old, who had been singular and remarkable, even 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 both are become subjects of God’s special grace, especially the worst of them.* I deferred their baptism for many weeks after they had given evidences of having passed a great change, that I might have more opportunities to observe the fruits of the impressions they had been under, and apprehended the way was now clear. There was not one of the adults I baptized, but what had given me some comfortable grounds to hope, that God had wrought a work of special grace in their hearts; although I could not have the same degree of satisfaction respecting one or two of them, as the rest.
Nov. 4. Discoursed from John xi. briefly explaining most of the chapter.--Divine truths 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 power and ability to raise dead souls (such as many of them then felt themselves to be) to a spiritual life; as also to raise the dead at the last day, and dispense to them due rewards and punishments.
There were sundry of the persons lately come here from remote places, that were now brought under deep and pressing concern for their souls, particularly one--who not long since came half drunk, and railed on us, and attempted by all means to disturb us while engaged in the 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. And although persons are doubtless much easier 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, their affection in general appeared genuine and unfeigned; and especially this appeared very conspicuous in those newly awakened. So that true and genuine
* The man particularly mentioned in my Journal of August 10th, as being then awakened.
PART I. GENERAL REMARKS. 399
convictions of sin seem still to be begun and promoted in many instances.
Baptized a child this day, and perceived sundry of the baptized persons affected with the administration of this ordinance, as being thereby reminded of their own solemn engagements.--
I have now baptized in all forty-seven persons of the Indians, twenty-three adults, and twenty-four children; thirty-five of them belonging to these parts, and the rest to the Forks of Delaware: and, through rich grace, none of them as yet have been left to disgrace their profession of Christianity by any scandalous or unbecoming behaviour.
GENERAL REMARKS ON PART FIRST.
I MIGHT now justly make many remarks on a work of grace so very remarkable as this has been in divers respects; but shall confine myself to a few general hints only.
1st, 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 amongst them. My bodily strength being then much wasted by a late tedious journey to Susquehannah, 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 labours. 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. Whence I was ready to look upon myself as a burden to the Honourable Society, that 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 special success in my work than I had hitherto had. I cannot say I entertained these thoughts because I was weary of the labours and fatigues that necessarily attended my present business, or because I had light and freedom in my own mind to turn 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 that I could then see any prospect of having effected, 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 I had hitherto used with them for that end.
And in this frame of mind I first visited these Indians at Crossweeksung, apprehending 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. And 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.--And yet this was the very season that God saw fittest to begin this glorious work in! And thus he “ordained 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.
2dly, 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 distant; and when I made them a second visit in the beginning of August, some came more than forty miles to hear me.--And 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; so that 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 were 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?”
3dly, 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 fright them from, Christianity. They sometimes told them, 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, &c.
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, &c. And 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 then 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 overruling, 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 endeavoured to imbitter 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 hearkening 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 that 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?”
4thly, 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 of his work. It might reasonably be supposed I must needs labour under a vast disadvantage in addressing the Indians by an interpreter; and that divine truths would unavoidably 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 ad-
400 BRAINERD’S JOURNAL.
dresses to the Indians ordinarily since the beginning of this season of grace, have lost any thing of their 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. And it is remarkable, that when I was favoured 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. And 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 became 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 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 savoury, 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.--And 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.
5thly, 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 that 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 law, 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 Journal.
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 xiv. 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 endeavouring 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 ii. 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 compassions of a dying Saviour, 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--because produced by 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 meant here to observe is, that God saw fit to employ and bless milder means for the effectual awakening of these Indians, and thereby obviated the forementioned objection, which the world might otherwise have had a more plausible colour of making.
And as there has been no room for any plausible objection against this work, in regard of the means; so neither in regard of the manner in which it has been carried on.--It is true, persons’ concern for their souls has been exceeding great, the convictions of their sin and misery have risen 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, that 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, that 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,--numbers who have been made to cry out from a distressing view of their perishing state,--and some that have been, for a time, in a great measure, deprived of their bodily strength, yet without any such convulsive appearances.
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 endeavoured 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,
6thly, and 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 scarce 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 any appearance of bitterness or censoriousness in these, nor any disposition to “esteem themselves better than others,” who had not received the like mercy.
As their sorrows under convictions have been great and
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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 oftentimes with tears, and an apparent brokenness of heart, as may be seen in several passages of my Journal: and 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, here are all the symptoms and evidences of a remarkable work of grace among these Indians, that can reasonably be desired or looked for. May the great Author of this work maintain and promote the same here, and propagate it every where, till “the whole earth be filled with his glory!” Amen.
I have now rode more than three thousand miles, that I have kept an exact account of, 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 collegue, or companion, to travel with me: and have likewise used endeavours to procure something for his support, among religious persons in New England, which cost me a journey of several hundred miles in length; 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 hopeful 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. And in order thereto, have humbly proposed to them the collecting of money for the maintenance of a schoolmaster, and defraying of other necessary charges in the promotion of this good work; which they are now attempting in the several congregations of Christians to which they respectively belong.
The several companies of Indians I have preached to 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 from thence to sundry of the Indian settlements I visited on Susquehannah, is more than a hundred and twenty miles. And 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 Journal of May last,) and especially seeing my other labours and fatigues engross almost the whole of my time, and bear exceeding 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 laboured under many and great disadvantages in my attempts of that nature. And it is but just to observe here, that all the pains I took to acquaint myself with the language of the Indians I spent my first year with, 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 begin 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. And my public discourses did not then make up the one half of my work, while there was 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. And yet I can say, (to the praise of rich grace,) that the apparent success with which my labours were crowned, unspeakably more than compensated for the labour itself, and was likewise a great means of supporting and carrying me through the business and fatigues, which, it seems, my nature would have sunk under, 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 labours and hardships.--” May the Lord of the harvest send forth other labourers 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.”
Nov. 20, 1745.
FROM A.D. 1745, NOV. 24TH, TO JUNE 19TH, 1746, AT CROSSWEEKSUNG AND FORKS OF DELAWARE
CROSSWEEKSUNG, in New Jersey, November, 1745.
Lord’s day, Nov. 24. Preached both parts of the day from the story of Zaccheus, Luke xix. 1-9. In the latter exercise, when I opened and insisted upon the salvation that comes to the sinner, upon his becoming a son of Abraham, or a true believer, the word seemed to be attended with divine power to the hearts of the hearers. Numbers were much affected with divine truths; former convictions were revived; one or two persons newly awakened; and a most affectionate engagement in divine service appeared among them universally.--The impressions they were under appeared to be the genuine effect of God’s word brought home to their hearts, by the power and influence of the divine Spirit.
Nov. 26. After having spent some time in private conferences with my people, I discoursed publicly among them from John v. 1-9. I was favoured with some special freedom and fervency in my discourse, and a powerful energy accompanied divine truths. Many wept and sobbed affectionately, and scarce any appeared unconcerned in the whole assembly. The influence that seized the audience appeared gentle, and yet pungent and efficacious. It produced no boisterous commotion of the passions, but seemed deeply to affect the heart; and excite in the persons under convictions of their lost state, heavy groans and tears:--and in others who had obtained comfort, a sweet and humble melting. It seemed like the gentle but steady showers that effectually water the earth, without violently beating upon the surface.--The persons lately awakened were, some of them, deeply distressed for their souls, and appeared earnestly solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ: and some of them, after public worship was over, in anguish of spirit, said, “They knew
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not what to do; nor how to get their wicked hearts changed,” &c.
Nov. 28. Discoursed to the Indians publicly, after having used some private endeavours to instruct and excite some in the duties of Christianity. Opened and made remarks upon the sacred story of our Lord’s transfiguration, Luke ix. 28-36. Had a principal view, in my insisting upon this passage of Scripture, to the edification and consolation of God’s people. And observed some, that I have reason to think are truly such, exceedingly affected with an account of the glory of Christ in his transfiguration; and filled with longing desires of being with him, that they might with open face behold his glory.
After public service was over, I asked one of them, who wept and sobbed most affectionately, “What she now wanted?” She replied, “Oh, to be with Christ! she did not know how to stay,” &c. This was a blessed refreshing season to the religious people in general. The Lord Jesus Christ seemed to manifest his divine glory to them, its when transfigured before his disciples. And they, with the disciples, were ready universally to say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
The influence of God’s word was not confined to those who had given evidences of being truly gracious, though at this time I calculated my discourse for, and directed it chiefly to, such. But it appeared to be a season of divine power in the whole assembly; so that most were, in some measure, affected. And one aged man in particular, lately awakened, was now brought under a deep and pressing concern for his soul, and was earnestly inquisitive “how he might find Jesus Christ.”--God seems still to vouchsafe his divine presence and the influence of his blessed Spirit to accompany his word, at least in some measure, in all our meetings for divine worship.
Nov. 30. Preached near night, after having spent some hours in private conference with some of my people about their souls’ concerns. Explained and insisted upon the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19-26. The word made powerful impressions upon many in the assembly, especially while I discoursed of the blessedness of “Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom.” This, I could perceive, affected them much more than what I spoke of the rich man’s misery and torments. And thus it has been usually with them. They have almost always appeared much more affected with the comfortable than the dreadful truths of God’s word. And that which has distressed many of them under convictions is, that they found they wanted, and could not obtain, the happiness of the godly; at least they have often appeared to be more affected with this, than with the terrors of hell. But whatever be the means of their awakening, it is plain, numbers are made deeply sensible of their sin and misery, the wickedness and stubbornness of their own hearts, their utter inability to help themselves, or to come to Christ for help, without divine assistance; and so are brought to see their perishing need of Christ to do all for them, and to lie at the foot of sovereign mercy.
Lord’s day, Dec. 1. Discoursed to my people in the forenoon from Luke xvi. 27-31. There appeared an unfeigned affection in divers persons, and some seemed deeply impressed with divine truths.--In the afternoon preached to a number of white people; at which time the Indians attended with diligence, and many of them were able to understand a considerable part of the discourse.
At night discoursed to my people again, and gave them some particular cautions and directions relating to their conduct in divers respects. And pressed them to watchfulness in all their deportment, seeing they were encompassed with those that “waited for their halting,” and who stood ready to draw them into temptations of every kind, and then to expose religion for their missteps.
Lord’s day, Dec. 8. Discoursed on the story of the blind man, John ix. There appeared no remarkable effect of the word upon the assembly at this time. The persons who have lately been much concerned for their souls, seemed now not so affected nor solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ as has been usual; although they attended divine service with seriousness and diligence.
Such have been the doings of the Lord here, in awakening sinners, and affecting the hearts of those who are brought to solid comfort, with a fresh sense of divine things from time to time, that it is now strange to see the assembly sit with dry eyes, and without sobs and groans.
Dec. 12. Preached from the parable of the ten virgins, Matt. xxv. The divine power seemed in some measure to attend this discourse, in which I was favoured with uncommon freedom and plainness of address, and enabled to open divine truths, and explain them to the capacities of my people, in a manner beyond myself.--There appeared in many persons an affectionate concern for their souls; although the concern in general seemed not so deep and pressing as it had formerly done. Yet it was refreshing to see many melted into tears and unaffected sobs; some with a sense of divine love, and some for want of it.
Lord’s day, Dec. 15. Preached to the Indians from Luke xiii. 24-28. Divine truths fell with weight and power upon the audience, and seemed to reach the hearts of many. Near night discoursed to them again from Matt. xxv. 31-46. At which season also the word appeared to be accompanied with a divine influence, and made powerful impressions upon the assembly in general, as well as upon divers persons in a very special and particular manner. This was an amazing season of grace! “The word of the Lord,” this day, “was quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword,” and pierced to the hearts of many. The assembly was greatly affected, and deeply wrought upon; yet without so much apparent commotion of the passions, as was usual in the beginning of this work of grace. The impressions made by the word of God upon the audience appeared solid, rational, and deep, worthy of the solemn truths by means of which they were produced, and far from being the effects of any sudden fright, or groundless perturbation of mind.
O how did the hearts of the hearers seem to bow under the weight of divine truths! And how evident did it now appear that they received and felt them, “not as the word of man, but as the word of God!” None can frame a just idea of the appearance of our assembly at this time, but those who have seen a congregation solemnly awed, and deeply impressed, by the special power and influence of divine truths delivered to them in the name of God.
Dec. 16. Discoursed to my people in the evening from Luke xi. 1-13. After having insisted some time upon the 9th verse, wherein there is a command and encouragement to ask for the divine favours, I called upon them to ask for a new heart with utmost importunity, as the man mentioned in the parable I was discoursing upon, pleaded for loaves of bread at midnight.
There was much affection and concern in the assembly; and especially one woman appeared in great distress for her soul. She was brought to such an agony in seeking after Christ, that the sweat ran off her face for a considerable time together, although the evening was very cold; and her bitter cries were the most affecting, indication of the inward anguish of her heart.
Dec. 21. My people having now attained to a considerable degree of knowledge in the principles of Christianity, I thought it proper to set up a catechetical lecture among them; and this evening attempted something in that form; proposing questions to them agreeable to the Reverend Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, receiving their answers, and then explaining and insisting as appeared necessary and proper upon each question. After which I endeavoured to make some practical improvement of the whole. This was the method I entered upon.--They were able readily and rationally to answer many important questions I proposed to them: so that, upon trial, I found their doctrinal knowledge to exceed my own expectations. In the improvement of my discourse, when I came to infer and open the blessedness of those who have so great and glorious a God, as had before been spoken of, “for their everlasting friend and portion,” sundry were much affected; and especially when I exhorted, and endeavoured to persuade them “to be reconciled to God,” through his dear Son, and thus to secure an interest in his everlasting favour. So that they appeared to be not only enlightened and instructed, but affected and engaged in their souls’ concern by this, method of discoursing.
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Lord’s day, Dec. 22. Discoursed upon the story of the young man in the gospel, Matt. ix. 16-22. God made it a seasonable word, I am persuaded, to some souls.--There were sundry persons of the Indians newly come here, who had frequently lived among Quakers; and being more civilized and conformed to English manners than the generality of the Indians, they had imbibed some of the Quakers’ errors, especially this fundamental one, viz. That if men will but live soberly and honestly, according to the dictates of their own consciences, (or the light within,) there is then no danger or doubt of their salvation, &c.--These persons I found much worse to deal with than those who are wholly under pagan darkness, who make no pretences to knowledge in Christianity at all, nor have any self-righteous foundation to stand upon. However they all, except one, appeared now convinced, that this sober, honest life, of itself, was not sufficient to salvation; since Christ himself had declared it so in the case of the young man. And seemed in some measure concerned to obtain that change of heart, the necessity of which I had been labouring to show them.
This was likewise a season of comfort to some souls, and in particular to one, (the same mentioned in my Journal of the 16th instant,) who never before obtained any settled comfort, though I have abundant reason to think she had passed a saving change some days before.--She now appeared in a heavenly frame of mind, composed and delighted with the divine will. When I came to discourse particularly with her, and to inquire of her, how she got relief and deliverance from the spiritual distresses she had lately been under, she answered in broken English,* “Me try, me try, save myself, last my strength be all gone, (meaning her ability to save herself,) could not me stir bit further. Den last, me forced let Jesus Christ alone, send me hell if he please.” I said, But you was not willing to go to hell, was you? She replied,† “Could not me help it. My heart he would wicked for all. Could not me make him good;” (meaning she saw it was right she should go to hell because her heart was wicked, and would be so after all she could do to mend it). I asked her, how she got out of this case? She answered still in the same broken language,‡ “By by my heart be grad desperately.” I asked her why her heart was glad? She replied, “Grad my heart Jesus Christ do what he please with me. Den me tink, grad my heart Jesus Christ send me hell. Did not me care where he put me, me lobe him for all,” &c.
And she could not readily be convinced but that she was willing to go to hell, if Christ was pleased to send her there. Though the truth evidently was, her will was swallowed up in the divine will, that she could not frame any hell in her imagination that would be dreadful or undesirable, provided it was but the will of God to send her to it.--Toward night discoursed to them again in the catechetical method I entered upon the evening before. And when I came to improve the truths I had explained to them, and to answer that question, “But how shall I know whether God has chosen me to everlasting life,” by pressing them to come and give up their hearts to Christ, and thereby “to make their election sure;” they then appeared much affected: and the persons under concern were afresh engaged in seeking after an interest in him; while some others who had obtained comfort before, were refreshed to find that love to God in themselves, which was an evidence of his electing love to them.
Dec. 25. The Indians having been used upon Christmas days to drink and revel among some of the white people in these parts, I thought it proper this day to call them together, and discourse to them upon divine things: which I accordingly did from the parable of the barren fig-tree, Luke xiii. 6-9. A divine influence, I am persuaded, accompanied the word at this season. The power of God appeared in the assembly, not by producing any remarkable cries, but by shocking and rousing at heart, as it seemed, several stupid creatures that were scarce ever moved with any concern before. The power attending divine truths seemed to have the influence of the earthquake rather than the whirlwind upon them. Their passions were not so much alarmed as has been common here in times past, but their judgments appeared to be powerfully convinced by the masterly and conquering influence of divine truths. The impressions made upon the assembly in general, seemed not superficial, but deep and heart-affecting. O how ready did they now appear universally to embrace and comply with every thing they heard and were convinced was duty!--God was in the midst of us of a truth, bowing and melting stubborn hearts! How many tears and sobs were then to be seen and heard among us! What liveliness and strict attention, what eagerness and intenseness of mind, appeared in the whole assembly in the time of divine service! They seemed to watch and wait for the dropping of God’s word, as the thirsty earth for the “former and latter rain.”
Afterwards I discoursed to them on the duty of husbands and wives, from Eph. v. 22, 23. and have reason to think this was a word in season.--Spent some time further in the evening, in inculcating the truths I had insisted upon in my former discourse respecting the barren fig-tree, and observed a powerful influence still accompany what was spoken.
Dec. 26. This evening I was visited by a person under great spiritual exercise; the most remarkable instance of this kind I ever saw. She was a woman of (I believe) more than fourscore years old, and appeared to be much broken and very childish through age; so that it seemed impossible for man to instil into her mind any notions of divine things, not so much as to give her any doctrinal instruction, because she seemed incapable of being taught.--She was led by the hand into my house, and appeared in extreme anguish. I asked her what ailed her? She answered, “That her heart was distressed, and she feared she should never find Christ.” I asked her when she began to be concerned? with divers other questions relating to her distress. To all which she answered, for substance, to this effect, viz. That she had heard me preach many times, but never knew any thing about it, never “felt it in her heart” till the last sabbath; and then it came (she said) “all one as if a needle had been thrust into her heart;” since which time, she had no rest day nor night. She added, that on the evening before Christmas, a number of Indians being together at the house where she was, and discoursing about Christ, their talk pricked her heart, so that she could not sit up, but fell down on her bed; at which time she went away, (as she expressed it,) and felt as if she dreamed, and yet is confident she did not dream. When she was thus gone, she saw two paths; one appeared very broad and crooked; and that turned to the left hand. The other appeared straight, and very narrow; and that went up the hill to the right hand. She travelled, she said, for some time up the narrow right-hand path, till at length something seemed to obstruct her journey. She sometimes called it darkness, and then described it otherwise, and seemed to compare it to a block or bar. She then remembered what she had heard me say about “striving to enter in at the strait gate,” (although she took little notice of it, at the time when she heard me discourse upon that subject,) and thought she would climb over this bar. But just as she was thinking of this, she came back again, as she termed it, meaning that she came to herself; whereupon her soul was extremely distressed, apprehending she had now turned back and forsaken Christ, and that there was therefore no hope of mercy for her.
As I was sensible that trances and imaginary views of things, are of dangerous tendency in religion, when sought after, and depended upon; so I could not but be much concerned about this exercise, especially at first; apprehending this might be a design of Satan to bring a blemish upon the work of God here, by introducing visionary scenes, imaginary terrors, and all manner of mental disorders and delusions, in the room of genuine convictions of sin, and the enlightening influences of the blessed Spirit; and I was almost resolved to declare that I looked upon this to be one of Satan’s devices, and to caution my people
* In proper English thus, “I tried and tried to save myself, till at last my strength was all gone, and I could not stir any further. Then at last I was forced to let Jesus Christ alone to send me to hell if he pleased.”
† In plain English thus, “I could not help it. My heart would be wicked for all what I could do. I could not make it good.”
‡ “By and by my heart was exceeding glad.--My heart was glad that Jesus Christ would do with me what he pleased. Then I thought my heart would be glad although Christ should send me to hell. I did not care where he put me, I should love him for all; i.e., do what he would with me.”
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against it, and the like exercises, as such.--However, I determined first to inquire into her knowledge, to see whether she had any just views of things, that might be the occasion of her present distressing concern, or whether it was a mere fright arising only from imaginary terrors. I asked her divers questions respecting man’s primitive, and more especially his present, state, and respecting her own heart; which she answered rationally, and to my surprise. And I thought it was next to impossible, if not altogether so, that a pagan who was become a child through age, should in that state gain so much knowledge by any mere human instruction, without being remarkably enlightened by a divine influence.
I then proposed to her the provision made in the gospel for the salvation of sinners, and the ability and willingness of Christ “to save to the uttermost all (old as well as young) that come to him.” To which she seemed to give a hearty assent. But instantly replied, “Ay, but I cannot come; my wicked heart will not come to Christ; I do not know how to come,” &c. And this she spoke in anguish of spirit, striking on her breast with tears in her eyes, and with such earnestness in her looks as was indeed piteous and affecting.
She seems to be really convinced of her sin and misery, and her need of a change of heart: and her concern is abiding and constant. So that nothing appears but that this exercise may have a saving issue. And indeed it seems hopeful, seeing she is so solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ, that her heart (as she expresses it) prays day and night.
How far God may make use of the imagination in awakening some persons under these and such like circumstances, I cannot pretend to determine. Or whether this exercise be from a divine influence, I shall leave others to judge. But this I must say, that its effects hitherto bespeak it to be such: nor can it, as I see, be accounted for in a rational way, but from the influence of some spirit, either good or evil. For the woman, I am sure, never heard divine things treated of in the manner she now viewed them in; and it would seem strange she should get such a rational notion of them from the mere working of her own fancy, without some superior, or at least foreign, aid.--And yet I must say, I have looked upon it as one of the glories of this work of grace among the Indians, and a special evidence of its being from a divine influence, that there has, till now, been no appearance of such things, no visionary notions, trances, and imaginations, intermixed with those rational convictions of sin, and solid consolations, that numbers have been made the subjects of. And might I have had my desire, there had been no appearance of any thing of this nature at all.
Dec. 28. Discoursed to my people in the catechetical method I lately entered upon. And in the improvement of my discourse, wherein I was comparing man’s present with his primitive state; and showing what he had fallen from, and the miseries he is now involved in and exposed to in his natural estate; and pressing sinners to take a view of their deplorable circumstances without Christ; as also to strive that they might obtain an interest in him; the Lord, I trust, granted a remarkable influence of his blessed Spirit to accompany what was spoken, and a great concern appeared in the assembly: many were melted into tears and sobs, and the impressions made upon them seemed deep and heart-affecting. And in particular, there were two or three persons who appeared to be brought to the last exercises of a preparatory work, and reduced almost to extremity; being in a great measure convinced of the impossibility of their helping themselves, or of mending their own hearts; and seemed to be upon the point of giving up all hope in themselves, and of venturing upon Christ as naked, helpless, and undone. And yet were in distress and anguish because they saw no safety in so doing, unless they could do something towards saving themselves.--One of these persons was the very aged woman above mentioned, who now appeared “weary and heavy laden” with a sense of her sin and misery, and her perishing need of an interest in Christ.
Lord’s day, Dec. 29. Preached from John iii. 1-5. A number of white people were present, as is usual upon the sabbath. The discourse was accompanied with power, and seemed to have a silent, but deep and piercing, influence upon the audience. Many wept and sobbed affectionately. And there were some tears among the white people, as well as the Indians. Some could not refrain from crying out, though there were not many so exercised. But the impressions made upon their hearts, appeared chiefly by the extraordinary earnestness of their attention, and their heavy sighs and fears.
After public worship was over, I went to my house, proposing to preach again after a short season of intermission. But they soon came in one after another, with tears in their eyes, to know “what they should do to be saved.” And the divine Spirit in such a manner set home upon their hearts what I spoke to them, that the house was soon filled with cries and groans. They all flocked together upon this occasion, and those whom I had reason to think in a Christless state, were almost universally seized with concern for their souls.
It was an amazing season of power among them, and seemed as if God had “bowed the heavens, and come down.” So astonishingly prevalent was the operation upon old as well as young, that it seemed as if none would be left in a secure and natural state, but that God was now about to convert all the world. And I was ready to think then, that I should never again despair of the conversion of any man or woman living, be they who or what they would.
It is impossible to give a just and lively description of the appearance of things at this season, at least such as to convey a bright and adequate idea of the effects of this influence. A number might now be seen rejoicing that God had not taken away the powerful influence of his blessed Spirit from this place.--Refreshed to see so many “striving to enter in at the strait gate;”--and animated with such concern for them, that they wanted “to push them forward,” as some of them expressed it.--At the same time numbers both of men and women, old and young, might be seen in tears, and some in anguish of spirit, appearing in their very countenances, like condemned malefactors bound towards the place of execution, with a heavy solicitude sitting in their faces: so that there seemed here (as I thought) a lively emblem of the solemn day of accounts; a mixture of heaven and hell, of joy and anguish inexpressible.
The concern and religious affection was such, that I could not pretend to have any formal religious exercise among them; but spent the time in discoursing to one and another, as I thought most proper and seasonable for each, and sometimes addressed them all together, and finally concluded with prayer.--Such were their circumstances at this season, that I could scarce have half an hour’s rest from speaking from about half an hour before twelve o’clock, (at which time I began public worship,) till past seven at night. There appeared to be four or five persons newly awakened this day and the evening before, some of whom but very lately came among us.
Dec. 30. Was visited by four or five young persons under concern for their souls, most of whom were very lately awakened. They wept much while I discoursed to them, and endeavoured to press upon them the necessity of flying to Christ, without delay, for salvation.
Dec. 31. Spent some hours this day in visiting my people from house to house, and conversing with them about their spiritual concerns; endeavouring to press upon Christless souls the necessity of a renovation of heart: and scarce left a house, without leaving some or other of its inhabitants in tears, appearing solicitously engaged to obtain an interest in Christ.
The Indians are now gathered together from all quarters to this place, and have built them little cottages, so that more than twenty families live within a quarter of a mile of me. A very convenient situation in regard both of public and private instruction.
Jan. 1, 1746. Spent some considerable time in visiting my people again. Found scarce one but what was under some serious impressions respecting their spiritual concerns.
Jan. 2. Visited some persons newly come among us, who had scarce ever heard any thing of Christianity before, except the empty name. Endeavoured to instruct them, particularly by the first principles of religion, in the
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most easy and familiar manner I could. There are strangers from remote parts almost continually dropping in among us, so that I have occasion repeatedly to open and inculcate the first principles of Christianity.
Jan. 4. Prosecuted my catechetical method of instructing. Found my people able to answer questions with propriety, beyond what could have been expected from persons so lately brought out of heathenish darkness. In the improvement of my discourse, there appeared some concern and affection in the assembly: and especially those of whom I entertained hopes as being truly gracious, at least divers of them, were much affected and refreshed.
Lord’s day, Jan. 5. Discoursed from Matt. xii. 10-13. There appeared not so much liveliness and affection in divine service as usual. The same truths that have often produced many tears and sobs in the assembly, seemed now to have no special influence upon any in it.
Near night I proposed to have proceeded in my usual method of catechising. But while we were engaged in the first prayer, the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly in such a remarkable manner, and so many appeared under pressing concern for their souls, that I thought it much more expedient to insist upon the plentiful provision made by divine grace for the redemption of perishing sinners, and to press them to a speedy acceptance of the great salvation, than to ask them questions about doctrinal points. What was most practicable, seemed most seasonable to be insisted upon, while numbers appeared so extraordinarily solicitous to obtain an interest in the great Redeemer. Baptized two persons this day; one adult (the woman particularly mentioned in my Journal of Dec. 22) and one child.
This woman has discovered a very sweet and heavenly frame of mind, from time to time, since her first reception of comfort. One morning in particular she came to see me, discovering an unusual joy and satisfaction in her countenance; and when I inquired into the reason of it, she replied, “That God had made her feel that it was right for him to do what he pleased with all things; and that it would be right if he should cast her husband and son both into hell; and she saw it was so right for God to do what he pleased with them, that she could not but rejoice if God should send them into hell;” though it was apparent she loved them dearly. She moreover inquired, whether I was not sent to preach to the Indians, by some good people a great way off. I replied, Yes, by the good people in Scotland. She answered, that her heart loved those good people so, the evening before, “that she could scarce help praying for them all night, her heart would go to God for them,” &c. So that “the blessing of those ready to perish” is like to come upon those pious persons who have communicated of their substance to the propagation of the gospel.
Jan. 11. Discoursed in a catechetical method, as usual of late. And having opened our first parent’s primitive apostasy from God, and our fall in him; I proceeded to improve my discourse, by showing the necessity we stood in of an Almighty Redeemer, and the absolute need every sinner has of an interest in his merits and mediation. There was some tenderness and affectionate concern apparent in the assembly.
Lord’s day, Jan. 12. Preached from Isa. lv. 6. The word of God seemed to fall upon the audience with a divine weight and influence, and evidently appeared to be “not the word of man.” The blessed Spirit, I am persuaded, accompanied what was spoken to the hearts of many. So that there was a powerful revival of conviction in numbers who were under spiritual exercise before.
Towards night catechised in my usual method. Near the close of my discourse, there appeared a great concern, and much affection in the audience. Which increased while I continued to invite them to come to an all-sufficient Redeemer for eternal salvation.--The Spirit of God seems, from time to time, to be striving with numbers of souls here. They are so frequently and repeatedly roused, that they seem unable at present to lull themselves asleep.
Jan. 13. Was visited by divers persons under deep concern for their souls; one of whom was newly awakened.--It is a most agreeable work to treat with souls who are solicitously inquiring “what they shall do to be saved.” And as we are never to “be weary in well-doing,” so the obligation seems to be peculiarly strong when the work is so very desirable. And yet I must say, my health is so much impaired, and my spirits so wasted with my labours, and solitary manner of living, (there being no human creature in the house with me,) that their repeated and almost incessant application to me for help and direction, are sometimes exceeding burdensome, and so exhaust my spirits, that I become fit for nothing at all, entirely unable to prosecute any business sometimes for days together. And what contributes much toward this difficulty is, that I am obliged to spend much time in communicating a little matter to them; there being oftentimes many things necessary to be premised, before I can speak directly to what I principally aim at; which things would readily be taken for granted, where there was a competency of doctrinal knowledge.
Jan. 14. Spent some time in private conference with my people, and found some disposed to take comfort, as I thought, upon slight grounds.--They are now generally awakened, and it is become so disgraceful, as well as terrifying to the conscience, to be destitute of religion, that they are in imminent danger of taking up with any appearances of grace, rather than to live under the fear and disgrace of an unregenerate state.
Jan. 18. Prosecuted my catechetical method of discoursing. There appeared a great solemnity, and some considerable affection in the assembly.--This method of instructing I find very profitable. When I first entered upon it, I was exercised with fears, lest my discourses would unavoidably be so doctrinal, that they would tend only to enlighten the head, but not to affect the heart. But the event proves quite otherwise; for these exercises have hitherto been remarkably blessed in the latter as well as the former respects.
Lord’s day, Jan. 19. Discoursed to my people from Isa. lv. 7.--Towards night catechised in my ordinary method. And this appeared to be a powerful season of grace among us. Numbers were much affected. Convictions were powerfully revived; and divers of the Christians refreshed and strengthened; and one weary, heavy-laden soul, I have abundant reason to hope, brought to true rest and solid comfort in Christ, who afterwards gave me such an account of God’s dealing with his soul, as was abundantly satisfying as well as refreshing to me.
He told me he had often heard me say, that persons must see and feel themselves utterly helpless and undone; that they must be emptied of a dependence upon themselves, and of all hope of saving themselves by their own doings, in order to their coming to Christ for salvation. And he had long been striving after this view of things; supposing this would be an excellent frame of mind, to be thus emptied of a dependence upon his own goodness; that God would have respect to this frame, would then be well pleased with him, and bestow eternal life upon him.--But when he came to feel himself in this helpless undone condition, he found it quite contrary to all his thoughts and expectations; so that it was not the same frame, nor indeed any thing like the frame, he had been seeking after. Instead of its being a good frame of mind, he now found nothing but badness in himself, and saw it was for ever impossible for him to make himself any better. He wondered, he said, that he had ever hoped to mend his own heart. He was amazed he had never before seen that it was utterly impossible for him, by all his contrivances and endeavours, to do any thing that way, since the matter now appeared to him in so clear a light.--Instead of imagining now, that God would be pleased with him for the sake of this frame of mind, and this view of his undone estate, he saw clearly, and felt, it would be just with God to send him to eternal misery; and that there was no goodness in what he then felt; for he could not help seeing that he was naked, sinful, and miserable, and there was nothing in such a sight to deserve God’s love or pity.
He saw these things in a manner so clear and convincing, that it seemed to him, he said, he could convince every body of their utter inability ever to help themselves, and their unworthiness of any help from God.--In this frame of mind he came to public worship this evening, and while I was inviting sinners to come to Christ naked
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and empty, without any goodness of their own to recommend them to his acceptance; then he thought with himself, that he had often tried to come and give up his heart to Christ, and he used to hope, that some time or other he should be able to do so. But now he was convinced he could not, and it seemed utterly vain for him ever to try any more: and he could not, he said, find a heart to make any further attempt, because he saw it would signify nothing at all: nor did he now hope for a better opportunity, or more ability hereafter, as he had formerly done, because he saw, and was fully convinced, his own strength would for ever fail.
While he was musing in this manner, he saw, he said, with his heart (which is a common phrase among them) something that was unspeakably good and lovely, and what he had never seen before; and “this stole away his heart whether he would or no.” He did not, he said, know what it was he saw. He did not say, “this is Jesus Christ;” but it was such glory and beauty as he never saw before. He did not now give away his heart so as he had formerly intended and attempted to do, but it went away of itself after that glory he then discovered. He used to try to make a bargain with Christ, to give up his heart to him, that he might have eternal life for it. But now he thought nothing about himself, or what would become of him hereafter; but was pleased, and his mind wholly taken up, with the unspeakable excellency of what he then beheld.--After some time he was wonderfully pleased with the way of salvation by Christ: so that it seemed unspeakably better to be saved altogether by the mere free grace of God in Christ, than to have any hand in saving himself.--And the consequence of this exercise is, that he appears to retain a sense and relish of divine things, and to maintain a life of seriousness and true religion.
Jan. 28. The Indians in these parts have, in times past, run themselves in debt by their excessive drinking; and some have taken the advantage of them, and put them to trouble and charge by arresting sundry of them; whereby it was supposed their hunting lands, in great part, were much endangered, and might speedily be taken from them. Being sensible that they could not subsist together in these parts, in order to their being a christian congregation, if these lands should be taken, which was thought very likely, I thought it my duty to use my utmost endeavours to prevent so unhappy an event. And having acquainted the gentlemen concerned with this mission of the affair, according to the best information I could get of it, they thought it proper to expend the money they had been, and still were, collecting for the religious interest of the Indians, (at least a part of it,) for discharging their debts, and securing these lands, that there might be no entanglement lying upon them to hinder the settlement and hopeful enlargement of a christian congregation of Indians in these parts.--And having received orders from them, I answered, in behalf of the Indians, eighty-two pounds five shillings, New Jersey currency, at eight shillings per ounce; and so prevented the danger of difficulty in this respect.
As God has wrought a wonderful work of grace among these Indians, and now inclines others from remote places to fall in among them almost continually; and as he has opened a door for the prevention of the difficulty now mentioned, which seemed greatly to threaten their religious interests, as well as worldly comfort; it is hopeful that he designs to establish a church for himself among them, and hand down true religion to their posterity.
Jan. 30. Preached to the Indians from John iii. 16, 17. There was a solemn attention and some affection visible in the audience; especially divers persons who had long been concerned for their souls, seemed afresh excited and engaged in seeking after an interest in Christ. And one, with much concern, afterwards told me, “his heart was so pricked with my preaching, he knew not where to turn, nor what to do.”
Jan. 31. This day the person I had made choice of and engaged for a schoolmaster among the Indians, arrived among us, and was heartily welcomed by my people universally.--Whereupon I distributed several dozen of primers among the children and young people.
Feb. 1, 1746. My schoolmaster entered upon his business among the Indians.--He has generally about thirty children and young persons in his school in the day-time, and about fifteen married people in his evening-school. The number of the latter sort of persons being less than it would be, if they could be more constant at home, and spare time from their necessary employments for an attendance upon these instructions.
In the evening catechised in my usual method. Towards the close of my discourse a surprising power seemed to attend the word, especially to some persons.--One man, considerably in years, who had been a remarkable drunkard, a conjurer, and murderer, that was awakened some months before, was now brought to great extremity under his spiritual distress, so that he trembled for hours together, and apprehended himself just dropping into hell, without any power to rescue or relieve himself.--Divers others appeared under great concern as well as he, and solicitous to obtain a saving change.
Lord’s day, Feb. 2. Preached from John v. 24, 25. There appeared (as usual) some concern and affection in the assembly. Toward night proceeded in my usual method of catechising. Observed my people more ready in answering the questions proposed to them than ever before. It is apparent they advanced daily in doctrinal knowledge. But what is still more desirable, the Spirit of God is yet operating among them, whereby experimental, as well as speculative, knowledge is propagated in their minds.
Feb. 5. Discoursed to a considerable number of the Indians in the evening; at which time divers of them appeared much affected and melted with divine things.
Feb. 8. Spent a considerable part of the day in visiting my people from house to house, and conversing with them about their souls’ concerns. Divers persons wept while I discoursed to them, and appeared concerned for nothing so much as for an interest in the great Redeemer.--In the evening catechised as usual. Divine truths made some impression upon the audience, and were attended with an affectionate engagement of soul in some.
Lord’s day, Feb. 9. Discoursed to my people from the story of the blind man, Matt. x. 46-52. The word of God seemed weighty and powerful upon the assembly at this time, and made considerable impressions upon many; divers in particular who have generally been remarkably stupid and careless under the means of grace, were now awakened, and wept affectionate. And the most earnest attention, as well as tenderness and affection, appeared in the audience universally.
Baptized three persons, two adults and one child. The adults, I have reason to hope, were both truly pious. There was a considerable melting in the assembly, while I was discoursing particularly to the persons, and administering the ordinance.--God has been pleased to own and bless the administration of this, as well as of his other ordinances, among the Indians. There are some here that have been powerfully awakened at seeing others baptized. And some that have obtained relief and comfort, just in the season when this ordinance has been administered.
Toward night catechised. God made this a powerful season to some. There were many affected.--Former convictions appeared to be powerfully revived. There was likewise one, who had been a vile drunkard, remarkably awakened. He appeared to be in great anguish of soul, wept and trembled, and continued so to do till near midnight.--There was also a poor heavy laden soul, who had been long under spiritual distress, as constant and pressing as ever I saw, that was now brought to a comfortable calm, and seemed to be bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty; and told me, “She now saw and felt it was right God should do with her as he pleased. And her heart felt pleased and satisfied it should be so.” Although of late she had often found her heart rise and quarrel with God because he would, if he pleased, send her to hell after all she had done or could do to save herself, &c. And added, that the heavy burden she had lain under, was now removed: that she had tried to recover her concern and distress again, (fearing that the Spirit of God was departing from her, and would leave her wholly careless,) but that she could not recover it: that she felt she never could do any thing to save herself, but must perish for ever if
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Christ did not do all for her: that she did not deserve he should help her; and that it would be right if he should leave her to perish. But Christ could save her, though she could do nothing to save herself, &c. And here she seemed to rest.
FORKS OF DELAWARE, in Pennsylvania, Feb. 1746.
Lord’s day, Feb. 16. Knowing that divers of the Indians in those parts were obstinately set against Christianity, and that some of them had refused to hear me preach in times past, I thought it might be proper and beneficial to the christian interest here, to have a number of my religious people from Crossweeksung with me, in order to converse with them about religious matters; hoping it might be a means to convince them of the truth and importance of Christianity, to see and hear some of their own nation discoursing of divine things, and manifesting earnest desires that others might be brought out of heathenish darkness, as themselves were.
And having taken half a dozen of the most serious and knowing persons for this purpose, I this day met with them and the Indians of this place, (sundry of whom probably could not have been prevailed upon to attend the meeting, had it not been for these religious Indians that accompanied me here,) and preached to them.--Some of them who had, in times past, been extremely averse to Christianity, now behaved soberly, and some others laughed and mocked. However the word of God fell with such weight and power, that sundry seemed to be stunned, and expressed a willingness to “hear me again of these matters.”
Afterwards prayed with, and made an address to the white people present, and could not but observe some visible effects of the word, such as tears and sobs, among them. After public worship, spent some time and took pains to convince those that mocked, of the truth and importance of what I had been insisting upon; and so endeavoured to awaken their attention to divine truths. And had reason to think, from what I observed then and afterwards, that my endeavours took considerable effect upon one of the worst of them.
Those few Indians then present, who used to be my hearers in these parts, (some having removed from hence to Crossweeksung,) seemed somewhat kindly disposed toward, and glad to see me again. They had been so much attacked by some of the opposing pagans, that they were almost ashamed or afraid to manifest their friendship.
Feb. 17. After having spent much time in discoursing to the Indians in their respective houses, I got them together, and repeated and inculcated what I had before taught them. Afterwards discoursed to them from Acts viii. 5-8. A divine influence seemed to attend the word. Sundry of the Indians here appeared to be somewhat awakened, and manifested a concern of mind, by their earnest attention, tears and sobs. My people from Crossweeksung continued with them day and night, repeating and inculcating the truths I had taught them: and sometimes prayed and sung psalms among them; discoursing with each other, in their hearing, of the great things God had done for them, and for the Indians from whence they came: which seemed (as my people told me) to take more effect upon them, than when they directed their discourses immediately to them.
Feb. 18. Preached to an assembly of Irish people near fifteen miles distant from the Indians.
Feb. 19. Preached to the Indians again, after having spent considerable time in conversing with them more privately. There appeared a great solemnity, and some concern and affection, among the Indians belonging to these parts, as well as a sweet melting among those who came with me.--Divers of the Indians here seemed to have their prejudices and aversion to Christianity removed, and appeared well disposed and inclined to hear the word of God.
Feb. 20. Preached to a small assembly of High-Dutch people, who had seldom heard the gospel preached, and were (some of them at least) very ignorant; but divers of them have lately been put upon inquiry after the way of salvation, with some thoughtfulness. They gave wonderful attention, and some of them were much affected under the word, and afterwards said, (as I was informed,) that they never had been so much enlightened about the way of salvation in their whole lives before. They requested me to tarry with them, or come again and preach to them. And it grieved me that I could not comply with their request, for I could not but be affected with their circumstances; they being as “sheep not having a shepherd,” and some of them appearing under some degree of soul-trouble, standing in peculiar need of the assistance of an experienced spiritual guide.
Feb. 21. Preached to a number of people, many of them Low-Dutch. Sundry of the fore-mentioned High-Dutch attended the sermon, though eight or ten miles distant from their houses.--Divers of the Indians also belonging to these parts came of their own accord with my people (from Crossweeksung) to the meeting. And there were two in particular, who, though the last sabbath they opposed and ridiculed Christianity, now behaved soberly. May the present encouraging appearance continue.
Feb. 22. Preached to the Indians. They appeared more free from prejudice, and more cordial to Christianity, than before. And some of them appeared affected with divine truths.
Lord’s day, Feb. 23. Preached to the Indians from John vi. 35-37. After public service, discoursed particularly with sundry of them, and invited them to go down to Crossweeksung, and tarry there at least for some time; knowing they would then be free from the scoffs and temptations of the opposing pagans, as well as in the way of hearing divine truths discoursed of, both in public and private. And got a promise of some of them, that they would speedily pay us a visit, and attend some further instructions. They seemed to be considerably enlightened, and much freed from their prejudices against Christianity. But it is much to be feared their prejudices will revive again, unless they could enjoy the means of instruction here, or be removed where they might be under such advantages, and out of the way of their pagan acquaintance.
CROSSWEEKSUNG, in New Jersey, March, 1746.
March 1. Catechised in my ordinary method. Was pleased and refreshed to see them answer the questions proposed to them with such remarkable readiness, discretion, and knowledge.--Toward the close of my discourse, divine truths made considerable impressions upon the audience, and produced tears and sobs in some under concern; and more especially a sweet and humble melting in sundry that, I have reason to hope, were truly gracious.
Lord’s day, March 2. Preached from John xv. 1-6. The assembly appeared not so lively in their attention as usual, nor so much affected with divine truths in general as has been common. Some of my people, who went up to the Forks of Delaware with me, being now returned, were accompanied by two of the Indians belonging to the Forks, who had promised me a speedy visit. May the Lord meet with them there. They can scarce go into a house now, but they will meet with christian conversation, whereby, it is hopeful, they may be both instructed and awakened.
Discoursed to the Indians again in the afternoon, and observed among them some liveliness and engagement in divine service, though not equal to what has often appeared here.--I know of no assembly of Christians, where there seems to be so much of the presence of God, where brotherly love so much prevails, and where I should take so much delight in the public worship of God, in the general, as in my own congregation: although not more than nine months ago, they were worshipping devils and dumb idols under the power of pagan darkness and superstition. Amazing change this! effected by nothing less than divine power and grace! “This is the doing of the Lord, and it is justly marvellous in our eyes!”
March 5. Spent some time just at evening in prayer, singing, and discoursing to my people upon divine things; and observed some agreeable tenderness and affection among them. Their present situation is so compact and
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commodious, that they are easily and quickly called together with only the sound of a conk-shell, (a shell like that of a periwinkle,) so that they have frequent opportunities of attending religious exercises publicly; which seems to be a great means, under God, of keeping alive the impressions of divine things in their minds.
March 8. Catechised in the evening. My people answered the questions proposed to them well. I can perceive their knowledge in religion increases daily. And what is still more desirable, the divine influence that has been so remarkable among them appears still to continue in some good measure. The divine presence seemed to be in the assembly this evening. Some, who I have good reason to think are Christians indeed, were melted with a sense of the divine goodness, and their own barrenness and ingratitude, and seemed to hate themselves, as one of them afterwards expressed it. Convictions also appeared to be revived in several instances; and divine truths were attended with such influence upon the assembly in general, that it might justly be called “an evening of divine power.”
Lord’s day, March 9. Preached from Luke x. 38-42. The word of God was attended with power and energy upon the audience. Numbers were affected and concerned to obtain the one thing needful. And sundry that have given good evidences of being truly gracious, were much affected with a sense of their want of spirituality; and saw the need they stood in of growing in grace. And most that had been under any impressions of divine things in times past, seemed now to have those impressions revived.
In the afternoon proposed to have catechised in my usual method. But while we were engaged in the first prayer in the Indian language, (as usual,) a great part of the assembly was so much moved, and affected with divine things, that I thought it seasonable and proper to omit the proposing of questions for that time, and insist upon the most practical truths. And accordingly did so; making a further improvement of the passage of Scripture I discoursed upon in the former part of the day.
There appeared to be a powerful divine influence in the congregation. Sundry that I have reason to think are truly pious, were so deeply affected with a sense of their own barrenness, and their unworthy treatment of the blessed Redeemer, that they looked on him as pierced by themselves, and mourned, yea, some of them were in bitterness as for a first-born.--Some poor awakened sinners also appeared to be in anguish of soul to obtain an interest in Christ. So that there was a great mourning in the assembly; many heavy groans, sobs, and tears! and one or two persons newly come among us, were considerably awakened.
Methinks it would have refreshed the heart of any who truly love Zion’s interest, to have been in the midst of this divine influence, and seen the effects of it upon saints and sinners. The place of divine worship appeared both solemn and sweet! and was so endeared by a display of the divine presence and grace, that those who had any relish of divine things, could not but cry, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!”--After public worship was over, numbers came to my house, where we sang and discoursed of divine things: and the presence of God seemed here also to be, in the midst of us.
While we were singing, there was one (the woman mentioned in my Journal of Feb. 9) who, I may venture to say, if I may be allowed to say so much of any person I ever saw, was “filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” and could not but burst forth in prayer and praises to God before us all, with many tears, crying sometimes in English and sometimes in Indian, “O blessed Lord, do come, do come! O do take me away, do let me die and go to Jesus Christ! I am afraid if I live I shall sin again! O do let me die now! O dear Jesus, do come! I cannot stay, I cannot stay! O how can I live in this world! do take my soul away from this sinful place! O let me never sin any more! O what shall I do, what shall I do! dear Jesus, O dear Jesus,” &c.--In this ecstasy she continued some time, uttering these and such like expressions incessantly. And the grand argument she used with God to take her away immediately, was, that “if she lived, she should sin against him.”
When she had a little recovered herself, I asked her, if Christ was not now sweet to her soul? Whereupon, turning to me with tears in her eyes, and with all the tokens of deep humility I ever saw in any person, she said, “I have many times heard you speak of the goodness and the sweetness of Christ, that he was better than all the world. But O! I knew nothing what you meant, I never believed you! I never believed you! But now I know it is true!” or words to that effect.--I answered, And do you see enough in Christ for the greatest of sinners? She replied, “O! enough, enough! for all the sinners in the world if they would but come.” And when I asked her, if she could not tell them of the goodness of Christ; turning herself about to some poor Christless souls who stood by, and were much affected, she said, “Oh! there is enough in Christ for you, if you would but come! O strive, strive to give up your hearts to him!” &c. And upon hearing something of the glory of heaven mentioned, that there was no sin in that world, &c. she again fell into the same ecstasy of joy, and desire of Christ’s coming; repeating her former expressions, “O dear Lord, do let me go! O what shall I do, what shall I do! I want to go to Christ! I cannot live! O do let me die!” &c.
She continued in this sweet frame for more than two hours, before she was well able to get home.--I am very sensible there may be great joys, arising even to an ecstasy, where there is still no substantial evidence of their being well-grounded. But in the present case there seemed to be no evidence wanting, in order to prove this joy to be divine, either in regard of its preparatives, attendants, or consequents.
Of all the persons I have seen under spiritual exercise, I scarce ever saw one appear more bowed and broken under convictions of sin and misery (or what is usually called a preparatory work) than this woman. Nor scarce any who seemed to have a greater acquaintance with her own heart than she had. She would frequently complain to me of the hardness and rebellion of her heart. Would tell me, her heart rose and quarrelled with God, when she thought he would do with her as he pleased, and send her to hell notwithstanding her prayers, good frames, &c. That her heart was not willing to come to Christ for salvation, but tried every where else for help.
And as she seemed to be remarkably sensible of her stubbornness and contrariety to God, under conviction, so she appeared to be no less remarkably bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty before she obtained any relief or comfort. Something of which I have before noticed in my Journal of Feb. 9. Since which time she has seemed constantly to breathe the spirit and temper of the new creature: crying after Christ, not through fear of hell as before, but with strong desires after him as her only satisfying portion; and has many times wept and sobbed bitterly, because (as she apprehended) she did not and could not love him.--When I have sometimes asked her, Why she appeared so sorrowful, and whether it was because she was afraid of hell? She would answer, “No, I be not distressed about that; but my heart is so wicked I cannot love Christ;” and thereupon burst out into tears.--But although this has been the habitual frame of her mind for several weeks together, so that the exercise of grace appeared evident to others, yet she seemed wholly insensible of it herself, and never had any remarkable comfort and sensible satisfaction till this evening.
This sweet and surprising ecstasy appeared to spring from a true spiritual discovery of the glory, ravishing beauty, and excellency of Christ: and not from any gross imaginary notions of his human nature; such as that of seeing him in such a place or posture, as hanging on the cross, as bleeding, dying, as gently smiling, and the like; which delusions some have been carried away with. Nor did it rise from sordid, selfish apprehensions of her having any benefit whatsoever conferred on her, but from a view of his personal excellency, and transcendent loveliness, which drew forth those vehement desires of enjoying him she now manifested, and made her long “to be absent from the body that she might be present with the Lord.”
The attendants of this ravishing comfort, were such as abundantly discovered its spring to be divine, and that it was truly a “joy in the Holy Ghost.”--Now she viewed
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divine truths as living realities; and could say, “I know these things are so, I feel they are true!”--Now her soul was resigned to the divine will in the most tender points; so that when I said to her, What if God should take away your* husband from you, (who was then very sick,) how do you think you could bear that? She replied, “He belongs to God, and not to me; he may do with him just what he pleases.” Now she had the most tender sense of the evil of sin, and discovered the utmost aversion to it; longing to die that she might be delivered from it. Now she could freely trust her all with God for time and eternity. And when I questioned her, how she could be willing to die, and leave her little infant; and what she thought would become of it in that case? She answered, “God will take care of it. It belongs to him, he will take care of it.” Now she appeared to have the most humbling sense of her own meanness and unworthiness, her weakness and inability to preserve herself from sin, and to persevere in the way of holiness, crying, “If I live, I shall sin.” And I then thought I had never seen such an appearance of ecstasy and humility meeting in any one person in all my life before.
The consequents of this joy are no less desirable and satisfactory than its attendants. She since appears to be a most tender, broken-hearted, affectionate, devout, and humble Christian, as exemplary in life and conversation as any person in my congregation. May she still “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ.”
March 10. Toward night the Indians met together of their own accord, and sang, prayed, and discoursed of divine things among themselves. At which time there was much affection among them. Some who are hopefully gracious, appeared to be melted with divine things. And some others seemed much concerned for their souls. Perceiving their engagement and affection in religious exercises, I went among them, and prayed, and gave a word of exhortation; and observed two or three somewhat affected and concerned, who scarce ever appeared to be under any religious impressions before. It seemed to be a day and evening of divine power. Numbers retained the warm impressions of divine things that had been made upon their minds the day before.
March 14. Was visited by a considerable number of my people, and spent some time in religious exercises with them.
March 15. In the evening catechised. My people answered the questions put to them with surprising readiness and judgment. There appeared some warmth and feeling sense of divine things among those, who, I have reason to hope, are real Christians, while I was discoursing upon “peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” These seemed quickened and enlivened in divine service, though there was not so much appearance of concern among those I have reason to think in a Christless state.
Lord’s day, March 16. Preached to my congregation from Heb. ii. 1-3. Divine truths seemed to have some considerable influence upon many of the hearers; and produced many tears, as well as heavy sighs and sobs, among both those who have given evidences of being real Christians, and others also. And the impressions made upon the audience appeared in general deep and heart-affecting not superficial, noisy, and affected.
Toward night discoursed again on the great salvation. The word was again attended with some power upon the audience. Numbers wept affectionately, and to appearance, unfeignedly; so that the Spirit of God seemed to be moving upon the face of the assembly.--Baptized the woman particularly mentioned in my Journal of last Lord’s day; who now, as well as then, appeared to be in a devout, humble, and excellent frame of mind.
My house being thronged with my people in the evening, I spent the time in religious exercises with them till my nature was almost spent. They are so unwearied in religious exercises, and unsatiable in their thirsting after christian knowledge, that I can sometimes scarce avoid labouring so as greatly to exhaust my strength and spirits.
March 19. Sundry of the persons that went with me to the Forks of Delaware in February last, having been detained there by the dangerous illness of one of their company, returned home but this day. Whereupon my people generally met together of their own accord, in order to spend some time in religious exercises; and especially to give thanks to God for his preserving goodness to those who had been absent from them for several weeks, and recovering mercy to him who had been sick; and that he had now returned them all in safety. I being then absent, they desired my schoolmaster to assist them in carrying on their religious solemnity; who tells me they appeared engaged and affectionate in repeated prayer, singing, &c.
March 22. Catechised in my usual method in the evening.--My people answered questions to my great satisfaction. There appeared nothing very remarkable in the assembly, considering what has been common among us. Although I may justly say, the strict attention, the tenderness and affection, the many tears and heart-affecting sobs, appearing in numbers in the assembly, would have been very remarkable, were it not that God has made these things common with us, and even with strangers soon after their coming among us, from time to time. I am far from thinking that every appearance, and particular instance of affection, that has been among us, has been truly genuine, and purely from a divine influence. I am sensible of the contrary; and doubt not but that there has been some corrupt mixture, some chaff as well as wheat, especially since religious concern became so common and prevalent here.
Lord’s day, March 23. There being about fifteen strangers, adult person, come among us in the week past--divers of whom had never been in any religious meeting till now--I thought it proper to discourse this day in a manner peculiarly suited to their circumstances and capacities: and accordingly attempted it from Hos. xiii. 9. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself,” &c. In the forenoon I opened, in the plainest manner I could, man’s apostasy and ruined state, after having spoken some things respecting the being and perfections of God, and his creation of man in a state of uprightness and happiness. In the afternoon endeavoured to open the glorious provision God has made for the redemption of apostate creatures, by giving his own dear Son to suffer for them, and satisfy divine justice on their behalf.--There was not that affection and concern in the assembly that has been common among us, although there was a desirable attention appearing in general, and even in most of the strangers.
Near sun-set I felt an uncommon concern upon my mind, especially for the poor strangers, that God had so much withheld his presence, and the powerful influence of his Spirit, from the assembly in the exercises of the day: and thereby denied them of that matter of conviction which I hoped they might have had. And in this frame I visited sundry houses, and discoursed with some concern and affection to divers persons particularly; but without much appearance of success, till I came to a house where divers of the strangers were; and there the solemn truths I discoursed of appeared to take effect, first upon some children, then upon divers adult persons that had been somewhat awakened before, and afterwards upon several of the pagan strangers.
I continued my discourse, with some fervency, till almost every one in the house was melted into tears; and divers wept aloud, and appeared earnestly concerned to obtain an interest in Christ. Upon this, numbers soon gathered from all the houses round about, and so thronged the place that we were obliged to remove to the house where we usually meet for public worship. And the congregation gathering immediately, and many appeared remarkably affected, I discoursed some time from Luke xix. 10. “For the Son of man is come to seek,” &c. Endeavouring to open the mercy, compassion, and concern of Christ for lost, helpless, and undone sinners.--There was much visible concern and affection in the assembly; and I doubt not but that a divine influence accompanied what was spoken to the hearts of many. There were five or six of the strangers, men and women, who appeared to be
* The man particularly mentioned in my Journal of January 19.
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considerably awakened. And in particular one very rugged young man, who seemed as if nothing would move him; was now brought to tremble like the jailer, and weep for a long time.
The pagans that were awakened seemed at once to put off their savage roughness and pagan manners, and became sociable, orderly, and humane in their carriage. When they first came, I exhorted my religious people to take pains with them (as they had done with other strangers from time to time) to instruct them in Christianity. But when some of them attempted something of that nature, the strangers would soon rise up and walk to other houses, in order to avoid the hearing of such discourses. Whereupon some of the serious persons agreed to disperse themselves into the several parts of the settlement. So that wherever the strangers went, they met with some instructive discourse, and warm addresses respecting their souls’ concern.--But now there was no need of using policy in order to get an opportunity of conversing with some of them about their spiritual concerns; for they were so far touched with a sense of their perishing state, as made them tamely yield to the closest addresses that were made them, respecting their sin and misery, their need of an acquaintance with, and interest in, the great Redeemer.
March 24. Numbered the Indians, to see how many souls God had gathered together here, since my coming into these parts; and found there was now about a hundred and thirty persons together, old and young. Sundry of those that are my stated hearers, perhaps to the number of fifteen or twenty, were absent at this season. So that if all had been together, the number would now have been very considerable: especially considering how few were together at my first coming into these parts, the whole number not amounting to ten persons at that time.
My people went out this day upon the design of clearing some of their land, above fifteen miles distant from this settlement, in order to their settling there in a compact form; where they might be under advantages of attending the public worship of God, of having their children taught in a school, and at the same time have a conveniency for planting, &c.; their land in the place of our present residence being of little or no value for that purpose. And the design of their settling thus in a body, and cultivating their lands, (which they have done very little in their pagan state,) being of such necessity and importance to their religious interest, as well as worldly comfort, I thought it proper to call them together, and show them the duty of labouring with faithfulness and industry: and that they must not now “be slothful in business,” as they had ever been in their pagan state. I endeavoured to press the importance of their being laborious, diligent, and vigorous in the prosecution of their business, especially at the present juncture, (the season of planting being now near,) in order to their being in a capacity of living together, and enjoying the means of grace and instruction. And having given them directions for their work, which they very much wanted, as well as for their behaviour in divers respects, I explained, sang, and endeavoured to inculcate upon them Ps. cxxvii. common metre, Dr. Watts’s version. And having recommended them, and the design of their going forth, to God, by prayer with them, I dismissed them to their business.
In the evening read and expounded to those of my people who were yet at home, and the strangers newly come, the substance of the third chapter of the Acts. Numbers seemed to melt under the word, especially while I was discoursing upon ver. 19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted,” &c. Sundry of the strangers also were affected. When I asked them afterwards, whether they did not now feel that their hearts were wicked, as I had taught them? One replied, “Yes, she felt it now.” Although before she came here--upon hearing that I taught the Indians their hearts were all bad by nature, and needed to be changed and made good by the power of God--she had said, “Her heart was not wicked, and she never had done any thing that was bad in her life.” And this indeed seems to be the case with them, I think, universally in their pagan state. They seem to have no consciousness of sin and guilt, unless they can charge themselves with some gross acts of sin contrary to the commands of the second table.
March 27. Discoursed to a number of my people in one of their houses in a more private manner. Inquired particularly into their spiritual states, in order to see what impressions of a religious nature they were under. Laid before them the marks and tokens of a regenerate, as well as unregenerate, state: and endeavoured to suit and direct my discourse to them severally, according as I apprehended their states to be.--There was a considerable number gathered together before I finished my discourse; and divers seemed much affected, while I was urging the necessity and infinite importance of getting into a renewed state.--I find particular and close dealing with souls in private, is often very successful.
March 29. In the evening catechised as usual upon Saturday.--Treated upon the “benefits which believers receive from Christ at death.”--The questions were answered with great readiness and propriety. And those who, I have reason to think, are the dear people of God, were sweetly melted almost in general. There appeared such a liveliness and vigour in their attendance upon the word of God, and such eagerness to be made partakers of the benefits then mentioned, that they seemed to be not only “looking for, but hasting to, the coming of the day of God.” Divine truths seemed to distil upon the audience with a gentle but melting efficacy, as the refreshing “showers upon the new-mown grass.” The assembly in general, as well as those who appear truly religious, were affected with some brief account of the blessedness of the godly at death: and most then discovered an affectionate inclination to cry, “Let me die the death of the righteous,” &c. although many were not duly engaged to obtain the change of heart that is necessary in order to that blessed end.
Lord’s day, March 30. Discoursed from Matt. xxv. 31-40. There was a very considerable moving and affectionate melting in the assembly. I hope there were some real, deep, and abiding impressions of divine things made upon the minds of many. There was one aged man, newly come among us, who appeared to be considerably awakened, that never was touched with any concern for his soul before.--In the evening catechised. There was not that tenderness and melting engagement among God’s people that appeared the evening before, and many other times. They answered the questions distinctly and well, and were devout and attentive in divine service.
March 31. Called my people together, as I had done the Monday morning before, and discoursed to them again on the necessity and importance of their labouring industriously, in order to their living together, and enjoying the means of grace, &c. And having engaged in solemn prayer to God among them, for a blessing upon their attempts, I dismissed them to their work.--Numbers of them, both men and women, seemed to offer themselves willingly to this service; and some appeared affectionately concerned that God might go with them, and begin their little town for them; that by his blessing it might be a place comfortable for them and theirs, in regard both of procuring the necessaries of life, and of attending the worship of God.
April 5. Catechised towards evening. There appeared to be some affection and fervent engagement in divine service through the assembly in general; especially towards the conclusion of my discourse.--After public worship, a number of those I have reason to think are truly religious, came to my house, and seemed eager for some further entertainment upon divine things. And while I was conversing with them about their spiritual exercises, observing to them, that God’s work in the hearts of all his children was, for substance, the same; and that their trials and temptations were also alike; and showing the obligations such were under to love one another in a peculiar manner; they seemed to be melted into tenderness and affection toward each other: and I thought that particular token of their being the disciples of Christ, viz. of their “having love one toward another,” had scarce ever appeared more evident than at this time.
Lord’s day, April 6. Preached from Matt. vii. 21-23. “Not every one that saith unto me,” &c. There were
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considerable effects of the word visible in the audience, and such as were very desirable: an earnest attention, a great solemnity, many tears and heavy sighs, which were modestly suppressed in a considerable measure, and appeared unaffected, and without any indecent commotion of the passions. Divers of the religious people were put upon serious and close examination of their spiritual states, by hearing that, “not every one that saith to Christ, Lord, shall enter into his kingdom.” And some of them expressed fears lest they had deceived themselves, and taken up a false hope, because they found they had done so little of the “will of his Father who is in heaven.”--There was one man brought under very great and pressing concern for his soul; which appeared more especially after his retirement from public worship. And that which, he says, gave him his great uneasiness, was, not so much any particular sin, as that he had never done the will of God at all, but had sinned continually, and so had no claim to the kingdom of heaven.
In the afternoon I opened to them the discipline of Christ in his church, and the method in which offenders are to be dealt with. At which time the religious people were much affected, especially when they heard, that the offender continuing obstinate, must finally be esteemed and treated “as a heathen man,” as a pagan, that has no part nor lot among God’s visible people. Of this they seemed to have the most awful apprehensions; a state of heathenism, out of which they were so lately brought, appearing very dreadful to them.--After public worship I visited sundry houses to see how they spent the remainder of the sabbath, and to treat with them solemnly on the great concerns of their souls: and the Lord seemed to smile upon my private endeavours, and to make these particular and personal addresses more effectual upon some, than my public discourses.
April 7. Discoursed to my people in the evening from 1 Cor. xi. 23-26. “For I have received of the Lord,” &c. And endeavoured to open to them the institution, nature, and ends of the Lord’s supper, as well as the qualifications and preparations necessary to the right participation of that ordinance. Sundry persons appeared much affected with the love of Christ manifested in his making this provision for the comfort of his people, at a season when himself was just entering upon his sharpest sufferings.
Lord’s day, April 20. Discoursed both forenoon and afternoon from Luke xxiv. explaining most of the chapter, and making remarks upon it. There was a desirable attention in the audience, though there was not so much appearance of affection and tenderness among them as has been usual.--Our meeting was very full, there being sundry strangers present, who had never been with us before.
In the evening catechised. My people answered the questions proposed to them readily and distinctly; and I could perceive they advanced in their knowledge of the principles of Christianity. There appeared an affectionate melting in the assembly at this time. Sundry who, I trust, are truly religious, were refreshed and quickened, and seemed by their discourse and behaviour, after public worship, to have their “hearts knit together in love.” This was a sweet and blessed season, like many others that my poor people have been favoured with in months past. God has caused this little fleece to be repeatedly wet with the blessed dews of his divine grace, while all the earth around has been comparatively dry.
April 25. Of late I apprehended that a number of persons in my congregation were proper subjects of the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, and that it might be seasonable speedily to administer it to them: and having taken advice of some of the reverend correspondents in this solemn affair; I accordingly proposed and appointed the next Lord’s day, with leave of Divine Providence, for the administration of this ordinance; and this day, as preparatory thereto, was set apart for solemn fasting and prayer. The design of this preparatory solemnity was to implore the blessing of God upon our renewing covenant with him and with one another, to walk together in the fear of God, in love and christian fellowship: and to entreat that his presence might be with us in our designed approach to his table; as well as to humble ourselves before God on account of the apparent withdrawment (at least in a measure) of that blessed influence which has been so prevalent upon persons of all ages among us; as also on account of the rising appearance of carelessness, vanity, and vice among some, who, some time since, appeared to be touched and affected with divine truths, and brought to some sensibility of their miserable and perishing state by nature. And that we might also importunately pray for the peaceable settlement of the Indians together in a body, that they might be a commodious congregation for the worship of God; and that God would blast and defeat all the attempts that were or might be made against that pious design.*
The solemnity was observed and seriously attended, not only by those who proposed to communicate at the Lord’s table, but by the whole congregation universally. In the former part of the day, I endeavoured to open to my people the nature and design of a fast, as I had attempted more briefly to do before, and to instruct them in the duties of such a solemnity. In the afternoon, I insisted upon the special reasons there were for our engaging in these solemn exercises at this time; both in regard of the need we stood in of divine assistance, in order to a due preparation for that sacred ordinance some of us were proposing, with leave of Divine Providence, speedily to attend upon; and also in respect of the manifest decline of God’s work here, as to the effectual conviction and conversion of sinners, there having been few of late deeply awakened out of a state of security. The worship of God was attended with great solemnity and reverence, with much tenderness and many tears, by those who appear to be truly religious: and there was some appearance of divine power upon those who had been awakened some time before, and who were still under concern.
After repeated prayer and attendance upon the word of God, I proposed to the religious people, with as much brevity and plainness as I could, the substance of the doctrine of the christian faith, as I had formerly done, previous to their baptism, and had their renewed cheerful assent to it. I then led them to a solemn renewal of their baptismal covenant, wherein they had explicitly and publicly given up themselves to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, avouching him to be their God; and at the same time renouncing their heathenish vanities, their idolatrous and superstitious practices, and solemnly engaging to take the word of God, so far as it was, or might be, made known to them, for the rule of their lives, promising to walk together in love, to watch over themselves, and one another; to lead lives of seriousness and devotion, and to discharge the relative duties incumbent upon them respectively, &c. This solemn transaction was attended with much gravity and seriousness; and at the same time with utmost readiness, freedom, and cheerfulness; and a religious union and harmony of soul seemed to crown the whole solemnity. I could not but think in the evening, that there had been manifest tokens of the divine presence with us in all the several services of the day; though it was also manifest there was not that concern among Christless souls that has often appeared here.
April 26. Toward noon prayed with a dying child, and gave a word of exhortation to the by-standers to prepare for death, which seemed to take effect upon some.--In the afternoon discoursed to my people from Matthew xxvi. 26-30. of the author, the nature, and design of the Lord’s supper; and endeavoured to point out the worthy receivers of that ordinance.
The religious people were affected, and even melted with divine truths,--with a view of the dying love of Christ. Sundry others who had been for some months under convictions of their perishing state, appeared now to be much moved with concern, and afresh engaged in seeking after an interest in Christ; although I cannot say “the word of God” appeared “so quick and powerful,” so sharp
* There being at this time a terrible clamour raised against the Indians in various places in the country, and insinuations as though I was training them up to cut people’s throats. Numbers wishing to have them banished out of these parts, and some giving out great words, in order to fright and deter them from settling upon the best and most convenient track of their own lands, threatening to molest and trouble them in the law, pretending a claim to these lands themselves, although never purchased of the Indians.
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and piercing to the assembly, as it had sometimes formerly done.--Baptized two adult persons, both serious and exemplary in their lives, and, I hope, truly religious. One of them was the man particularly mentioned in my Journal of the 6th instant; who, although he was then greatly distressed, because “he had never done the will of God,” has since, it is hoped, obtained spiritual comfort upon good grounds.
In the evening I catechised those that were designed to partake of the Lord’s supper the next day, upon the institution, nature, and end of that ordinance; and had abundant satisfaction respecting their doctrinal knowledge and fitness in that respect for an attendance upon it. They likewise appeared, in general, to have an affecting sense of the solemnity of this sacred ordinance, and to be humbled under a sense of their own unworthiness to approach to God in it; and to be earnestly concerned that they might be duly prepared for an attendance upon it. Their hearts were full of love one toward another, and that was the frame of mind they seemed much concerned to maintain, and bring to the Lord’s table with them.--In the singing and prayer, after catechising, there appeared an agreeable tenderness and melting among them, and such tokens of brotherly love and affection, that would even constrain one to say, “Lord, it is good to be here;” it is good to dwell where such a heavenly influence distils.
Lord’s day, April 27. Preached from Tit. ii. 14. “Who gave himself for us,” &c.--The word of God at this time was attended with some appearance of divine power upon the assembly; so that the attention and gravity of the audience was remarkable; and especially towards the conclusion of the exercise, divers persons were much affected.
Administered the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to twenty-three persons of the Indians, (the number of men and women being near equal,) divers others, to the number of five or six, being now absent at the Forks of Delaware, who would otherwise have communicated with us.--The ordinance was attended with great solemnity, and with a most desirable tenderness and affection. And it was remarkable, that in the season of the performance of the sacramental actions, especially in the distribution of the bread, they seemed to be affected in a most lively manner, as if “Christ had been” really “crucified before them.” And the words of the institution, when repeated and enlarged upon in the season of the administration, seemed to meet with the same reception, to be entertained with the same full and firm belief and affectionate engagement of soul, as if the Lord Jesus Christ himself had been present, and had personally spoken to them. The affections of the communicants, although considerably raised, were notwithstanding agreeably regulated, and kept within proper bounds. So that there was a sweet, gentle, and affectionate melting, without any indecent or boisterous commotion of the passions.
Having rested some time after the administration of the sacrament, (being extremely tired with the necessary prolixity of the work,) I walked from house to house, and conversed particularly with most of the communicants, and found they had been almost universally refreshed at the Lord’s table “as with new wine.” And never did I see such an appearance of christian love among any people in all my life. It was so remarkable, that one might well have cried with an agreeable surprise, “Behold how they love one another!” I think there could be no greater tokens of mutual affection among the people of God in the early days of Christianity, than what now appeared here. The sight was so desirable, and so well becoming the gospel, that nothing less could be said of it, than that it was “the doing of the Lord,” the genuine operations of him “who is love!”
Toward night discoursed again on the forementioned Tit. ii. 14. and insisted on the immediate end and design of Christ’s death, viz. “That he might redeem his people from all iniquity,” &c. This appeared to be a season of divine power among us. The religious people were much refreshed, and seemed remarkably tender and affectionate, full of love, joy, peace, and desirous of being completely “redeemed from all iniquity;” so that some of them afterwards told me “they had never felt the like before.”--Convictions also appeared to be revived in many instances; and divers persons were awakened whom I had never observed under any religious impressions before.
Such was the influence that attended our assembly, and so unspeakably desirable the frame of mind that many enjoyed in the divine service, that it seemed almost grievous to conclude the public worship. And the congregation when dismissed, although it was then almost dark, appeared loth to leave the place and employments that had been rendered so dear to them by the benefits enjoyed, while a blessed quickening influence distilled upon them.--And upon the whole, I must say, I had great satisfaction relative to the administration of this ordinance in divers respects. I have abundant reason to think, that those who came to the Lord’s table, had a good degree of doctrinal knowledge of the nature and design of the ordinance; and that they acted with understanding in what they did.
In the preparatory services I found, I may justly say, uncommon freedom in opening to their understandings and capacities, the covenant of grace, and in showing them the nature of this ordinance as a seal of that covenant. Although many of them knew of no such thing as a seal before my coming among them, or at least of the use and design of it in the common affairs of life. They were likewise thoroughly sensible that it was no more than a seal or sign, and not the real body and blood of Christ. That it was designed for the refreshment and edification of the soul, and not for the feasting of the body. They were also acquainted with the end of the ordinance, that they were therein called to commemorate the dying love of Christ, &c.
And this competency of doctrinal knowledge, together with their grave and decent attendance upon the ordinance, their affectionate melting under it, and the sweet and christian frame of mind they discovered consequent upon it gave me great satisfaction respecting my administration of it to them. And O what a sweet and blessed season was this! God himself, I am persuaded, was in the midst of his people, attending his own ordinances. And I doubt not but many in the conclusion of the day, could say, with their whole hearts, “Verily, a day thus spent in God’s house, is better than a thousand elsewhere.” There seemed to be but one heart among the pious people. The sweet union, harmony, and endearing love and tenderness subsisting among them, was, I thought, the most lively emblem of the heavenly world I had ever seen.
April 28. Concluded the sacramental solemnity with a discourse upon John xiv. 15. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” At which time there appeared a very agreeable tenderness in the audience in general, but especially in the communicants. O how free, how engaged, and affectionate did these appear in the service of God! they seemed willing to have their “ears bored to the door-posts of God’s house,” and to be his servants for ever.
Observing numbers in this excellent frame, and the assembly in general affected, and that by a divine influence, I thought it proper to improve this advantageous season, as Hezekiah did the desirable season of his great passover, (2 Chron. xxxi.) in order to promote the blessed reformation begun among them; and to engage those that appeared serious and religious to persevere therein; and accordingly proposed to them, that they should renewedly enter into covenant before God, that they would watch over themselves and one another, lest they should dishonour the name of Christ by falling into sinful and unbecoming practices. And especially that they would watch against the sin of drunkenness, (the sin that easily besets them,) and the temptations leading thereto; as well as the appearance of evil in that respect. They cheerfully complied with the proposal, and explicitly joined in that covenant; whereupon I proceeded in the most solemn manner I was capable of, to call God to witness respecting their sacred engagement; and minded them of the greatness of the guilt they would contract to themselves in the violation of it; as well as observed to them, that God would be a terrible witness against those who should presume to do so, in the “great and notable day of the Lord.”
It was a season of amazing solemnity! and a divine awe appeared upon the face of the whole assembly in this
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transaction! Affectionate sobs, sighs, and tears, were now frequent in the audience: and I doubt not but that many silent cries were then sent up to the fountain of grace, for supplies of grace sufficient for the fulfilment of these solemn engagements. Baptized six children this day.
Lord’s day, May 4. My people being now removed to their lands, mentioned in my Journal of March 24, where they were then, and have since been, making provision for compact settlement, in order to their more convenient enjoyment of the gospel, and other means of instruction, as well as the comforts of life; I this day visited them, (being now obliged to board with an English family at some distance from them,) and preached to them in the forenoon from Mark iv. 5. “And some fell on stony ground,” &c. Endeavoured to show them the reason there was to fear lest many promising appearances and hopeful beginnings in religion, might prove abortive, like the “seed dropped upon stony places.”
In the afternoon discoursed upon Rom. viii. 9. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” I have reason to think this discourse was peculiarly seasonable, and that it had a good effect upon some of the hearers.--Spent some hours afterwards in private conferences with my people, and laboured to regulate some things I apprehended amiss among some of them.
May 5. Visited my people again, and took care of their worldly concerns, giving them directions relating to their business.--I daily discover more and more of what importance it is like to be to their religious interests, that they become laborious and industrious, acquainted with the affairs of husbandry, and able, in a good measure, to raise the necessaries and comforts of life within themselves; for their present method of living greatly exposes them to temptations of various kinds.
May 9. Preached from John v. 40. “And ye will not come to me,” &c. in the open wilderness; the Indians having as yet no house for public worship in this place, nor scarce any shelters for themselves. Divine truths made considerable impressions upon the audience, and it was a season of solemnity, tenderness, and affection.
Baptized one man this day, (the conjurer, murderer, &c. mentioned in my Journal of August 8, 1745, and February 1, 1746,) who appears to be such a remarkable instance of divine grace, that I cannot omit some brief account of him here. He lived near, and sometimes attended my meeting in, the Forks of Delaware for more than a year together; but was, like many others of them, extremely attached to strong drink, and seemed to be no ways reformed by the means I used with them for their instruction and conversion. At this time he likewise murdered a likely young Indian; which threw him into some kind of horror and desperation, so that he kept at a distance from me, and refused to hear me preach for several months together, till I had an opportunity of conversing freely with him, and giving him encouragement, that his sin might be forgiven for Christ’s sake. After which he again attended my meeting some times.
But that which was the worst of all his conduct, was his conjuration. He was one of them who are sometimes called powows among the Indians: and notwithstanding his frequent attendance upon my preaching, he still followed his old charms and juggling tricks, “giving out that himself was some great one, and to him they gave heed,” supposing him to be possessed of a great power. So that when I have instructed them respecting the miracles wrought by Christ in healing the sick, &c. and mentioned them as evidences of his divine mission, and the truth of his doctrines, they have quickly observed the wonders of that kind which this man had performed by his magic charms. Whence they had a high opinion of him, and his superstitious notions, which seemed to be a fatal obstruction to some of them in regard of their receiving the gospel. And I have often thought it would be a great favour to the design of gospellizing these Indians, if God would take that wretch out of the world; for I had scarce any hope of his ever coming to good. But God, “whose thoughts are not as man’s thoughts,” has been pleased to take a much more desirable method with him; a method agreeable to his own merciful nature, and, I trust, advantageous to his own interest among the Indians, as well as effectual to the salvation of this poor soul. To God be the glory of it.
The first genuine concern for his soul that ever appeared in him, was excited by seeing my interpreter and his wife baptized at the Forks of Delaware, July 21, 1745. Which so prevailed upon him, that with the invitation of an Indian, who was a friend to Christianity, he followed me down to Crossweeksung in the beginning of August following, in order to hear me preach, and there continued for several weeks in the season of the most remarkable and powerful awakening among the Indians; at which time he was more effectually awakened, and brought under great concern for his soul. And then, he says, upon his “feeling the word of God in his heart,” as he expresses it, his spirit of conjuration left him entirely; that he had no more power of that nature since, than any other man living. And declares that he does not now so much as know how he used to charm and conjure; and that he could not do any thing of that nature if he was never so desirous of it.
He continued under convictions of his sinful and perishing state, and a considerable degree of concern for his soul, all the fall and former part of the winter past, but was not so deeply exercised till some time in January; and then the word of God took such hold upon him, that he was brought into great distress, and knew not what to do, nor where to turn himself.--He then told me, that when he used to hear me preach from time to time in the fall of the year, my preaching pricked his heart and made him very uneasy, but did not bring him to so great distress, because he still hoped he could do something for his own relief: but now, he said, I drove him up into “such a sharp corner,” that he had no way to turn, and could not avoid being in distress.
He continued constantly under the heavy burden and pressure of a wounded spirit, till at length he was brought into the acute anguish and utmost agony of soul, mentioned in my Journal of Feb. 1, which continued that night, and part of the next day.--After this, he was brought to the utmost calmness and composure of mind, his trembling and heavy burden was removed, and he appeared perfectly sedate; although he had, to his apprehensions, scarce any hope of salvation.
I observed him to appear remarkably composed, and thereupon asked him how he did? He replied, “It is done, it is done, it is all done now.” I asked him what he meant? He answered, “I can never do any more to save myself; it is all done for ever, I can do no more.” I queried with him, whether he could not do a little more rather than to go to hell. He replied, “My heart is dead, I can never help myself.” I asked him, what he thought would become of him then? He answered, “I must go to hell.” I asked him if he thought it was right that God should send him to hell? He replied, “O it is right. The devil has been in me ever since I was born.” I asked him if he felt this when he was in such great distress the evening before? He answered, “No, I did not then think it was right. I thought God would send me to hell, and that I was then dropping into it; but my heart quarrelled with God, and would not say it was right he should send me there. But now I know it is right, for I have always served the devil, and my heart has no goodness in it now, but is as bad as ever it was,” &c.--I thought I had scarce ever seen any person more effectually brought off from a dependence upon his own contrivances and endeavours for salvation, or more apparently to lie at the foot of sovereign mercy, than this man now did under these views of things.
In this frame of mind he continued for several days, passing sentence of condemnation upon himself, and constantly owning, that it would be right he should be damned, and that he expected this would be his portion for the greatness of his sins. And yet it was plain he had a secret hope of mercy, though imperceptible to himself, which kept him not only from despair, but from any pressing distress: so that instead of being sad and dejected, his very countenance appeared pleasant and agreeable.
While he was in this frame, he sundry times asked me “When I would preach again?” and seemed desirous to hear the word of God every day. I asked him why he
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wanted to hear me preach, seeing “his heart was dead, and all was done?” That “he could never help himself, and expected that he must go to hell?” He replied, “I love to hear you speak about Christ for all.” I added, But what good will that do you, if you must go to hell at last?--using now his own language with him; having before, from time to time, laboured in the best manner I could, to represent to him the excellency of Christ, his all-sufficiency and willingness to save lost sinners, and persons just in his case; although to no purpose, as to yielding him any special comfort.--He answered, “I would have others come to Christ, if I must go to hell myself.”--It was remarkable, that he seemed to have a great love to the people of God, and nothing affected him so much as the thoughts of being separated from them. This seemed to be a very dreadful part of the hell to which he thought himself doomed. It was likewise remarkable, that in this season he was most diligent in the use of all means for his soul’s salvation; although he had the clearest view of the insufficiency of means to afford him help. And would frequently say, “That all he did signified nothing at all;” and yet was never more constant in doing, attending secret and family prayer daily, and surprisingly diligent and attentive in hearing the word of God: so that he neither despaired of mercy, nor yet presumed to hope upon his own doings, but used means because appointed of God in order to salvation; and because he would wait upon God in his own way.
After he had continued in this frame of mind more than a week, while I was discoursing publicly he seemed to have a lively soul-refreshing view of the excellency of Christ, and the way of salvation by him, which melted him into tears, and filled him with admiration, comfort, satisfaction, and praise to God. Since then he has appeared to be an humble, devout, and affectionate Christian; serious and exemplary in his conversation and behaviour, frequently complaining of his barrenness, his want of spiritual warmth, life, and activity, and yet frequently favoured with quickening and refreshing influences. And in all respects, so far as I am capable to judge, he bears the marks and characters of one “created anew in Christ Jesus to good works.”
His zeal for the cause of God was pleasing to me when he was with me at the Forks of Delaware in February last. There being an old Indian at the place where I preached, who threatened to bewitch me and my religious people who accompanied me there; this man presently challenged him to do his worst, telling him that himself had been as great a conjurer as he, and that notwithstanding, as soon as he felt that word in his heart which these people loved, (meaning the word of God,) his power of conjuring immediately left him.--And so it would you, said he, if you did but once feel it in your heart; and you have no power to hurt them, nor so much as to touch one of them, &c.--So that I may conclude my account of him by observing, (in allusion to what was said of St. Paul,) that he now zealously defends, and practically “preaches, the faith which he once destroyed,” or at least was instrumental of obstructing. May God have the glory of the amazing change he has wrought in him!
Lord’s Day, May 18. Discoursed both parts of the day from Rev. iii. 20. “Behold, I stand at the door,” &c. There appeared some affectionate melting towards the conclusion of the forenoon exercise, and one or two instances of fresh awakening. In the intermission of public worship, I took occasion to discourse to numbers in a more private way, on the kindness and patience of the blessed Redeemer in standing and knocking, in continuing his gracious calls to sinners, who had long neglected and abused his grace; which seemed to take some effect upon sundry.
In the afternoon divine truths were attended with solemnity, and with some tears, although there was not that powerful, awakening, and quickening influence, which in times past has been common in our assemblies. The appearance of the audience under divine truths was comparatively discouraging; and I was ready to fear that God was about to withdraw the blessed influence of his Spirit from us.
May 19. Visited and preached to my people from Acts xx. 18, 19. “And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day,” &c. and endeavoured to rectify their notions about religious affections; showing them, on the one hand, the desirableness of religious affection, tenderness, and fervent engagement in the worship and service of God, when such affection flows from a true spiritual discovery of divine glories, from a justly affecting sense of the transcendent excellency and perfections of the blessed God,--a view of the glory and loveliness of the great Redeemer: and that such views of divine things will naturally excite us to “serve the Lord with many tears,” with much affection and fervency, and yet “with all humility of mind:”--And, on the other hand, observing the sinfulness of seeking after high affections immediately, and for their own sakes, that is, of making them the object of our eye and heart, is nextly and principally set upon, when the glory of God ought to be so. Showed them that if the heart be directly and chiefly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly, to have the heart principally set upon that, is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then abominable pride: if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification.--Laboured also to expose the disagreeableness of those affections that are sometimes wrought up in persons by the power of fancy and their own attempts for that purpose, while I still endeavoured to recommend to them that religious affection, fervency, and devotion which ought to attend all our religious exercises, and without which religion will be but an empty name and lifeless carcass.
This appeared to be a seasonable discourse, and proved very satisfactory to some of the religious people, who before were exercised with some difficulties relating to this point.--Afterwards took care of, and gave my people directions about, their worldly affairs.
May 24. Visited the Indians, and took care of their secular, business, which they are not able to manage themselves, without the constant care and advice of others.--Afterwards discoursed to some particularly about their spiritual concerns.
Lord’s day, May 25. Discoursed both parts of the day from John xii. 44-48. “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me,” &c. There was some degree of divine power attending the word of God. Sundry wept and appeared considerably affected: and one who had long been under spiritual trouble, now obtained clearness and comfort, and appeared to “rejoice in God her Saviour.” It was a day of grace and divine goodness; a day wherein something I trust was done for the cause of God among my people: a season of sweetness and comfort to divers of the religious people, although there was not that powerful influence upon the congregation which was common some months ago.
Lord’s day, June 1, 1746. Preached both forenoon and afternoon from Matt. xi. 27, 28. The presence of God seemed to be in the assembly, and numbers were considerably melted and affected under divine truths. There was a desirable appearance in the congregation in general, an earnest attention and agreeable tenderness, and it seemed as if God designed to visit us with further showers of divine grace.--I then baptized ten persons, five adults and five children, and was not a little refreshed with this “addition made to the church of such as, I hope, shall be saved.”
I have reason to hope that God has lately (at and since our celebration of the Lord’s supper) brought home to himself sundry souls who had long been under spiritual trouble and concern; although there have been few instances of persons lately awakened out of a state of security. And those comforted of late seem to be brought in in a more silent way, neither their concern nor consolation being so powerful and remarkable as appeared among those more suddenly wrought upon in the beginning of this work of grace.
June 6. Discoursed to my people from part of Isa. liii.--The divine presence appeared to be amongst us in some
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measure. Divers persons were much melted and refreshed; and one man in particular, who had long been under concern for his soul, was now brought to see and feel, in a very lively manner, the impossibility of his doing any thing to help himself, or to bring him into the favour of God, by his tears, prayers, and other religious performances; and found himself undone as to any power or goodness of his own, and that there was no way left him, but to leave himself with God to be disposed of as he pleased.
June 7. Being desired by the Rev. Mr. William Tennent to be his assistant in the administration of the Lord’s supper; my people also being invited to attend the sacramental solemnity, they cheerfully embraced the opportunity, and this day attended the preparatory services with me.
Lord’s day, June 8. Most of my people who had been communicants at the Lord’s table before, being present at this sacramental occasion, communicated with others in this holy ordinance at the desire, and I trust, to the satisfaction and comfort, of numbers of God’s people who had longed to see this day, and whose hearts had rejoiced in this work of grace among the Indians, which prepared the way for what appeared so agreeable at this time.--Those of my people who communicated seemed in general agreeably affected at the Lord’s table, and some of them considerably melted with the love of Christ; although they were not so remarkably refreshed and feasted at this time as when I administered this ordinance to them in our own congregation only.
Some of the by-standers were affected with seeing these who had been “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise,” who of all men had lived “without hope, and without God in the world,” now brought near to God as his professing people, and sealing covenant with him, by a solemn and devout attendance upon this sacred ordinance. And as numbers of God’s people were refreshed with this sight, and thereby excited to bless God for the enlargement of his kingdom in the world, so some others, I was told, were awakened by it, apprehending the danger they were in of being themselves finally cast out, while they saw others, “from the east and west,” preparing, and hopefully prepared in some good measure, to “sit down in the kingdom of God.”
At this season others of my people also, who were not communicants, were considerably affected; convictions were revived in divers instances; and one (the man particularly mentioned in my Journal of the 6th instant) obtained comfort and satisfaction; and has since given me such an account of his spiritual exercises, and the manner in which he obtained relief, as appears very hopeful. It seems as if he “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,” had now “shined in his heart, and given him the light of,” and experimental “knowledge of, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
June 3. A considerable number of my people met together early in the day in a retired place in the woods, and prayed, sang, and conversed of divine things; and were seen by some religious persons of the white people, to be affected and engaged, and divers of them in tears, in these religious exercises.
Afterwards they attended the concluding exercises of the sacramental solemnity, and then returned home, divers of them “rejoicing for all the goodness of God” they had seen and felt; so that this appeared to be a profitable, as well as a comfortable season, to numbers of my congregation. And their being present at this occasion, and a number of them communicating at the Lord’s table with others of God’s people, was, I trust, for the honour of God and the interest of religion in these parts, as numbers, I have reason to think, were quickened by means of it.
June 13. Preached to my people upon the new creature, from 2 Cor. v. 17. “If any man be in Christ,” &c. The presence of God appeared to be in the assembly.--It was a sweet and agreeable meeting, wherein the people of God were refreshed and strengthened, beholding their faces in the glass of God’s word, and finding in themselves the marks and lineaments of the new creature. Some sinners under concern were also renewedly affected, and afresh engaged for the securing of their eternal interests.
Baptized five persons at this time, three adults and two children. One of these was the very aged woman, of whose exercise I gave an account in my Journal of Dec. 26. She now gave me a very punctual, rational, and satisfactory account of the remarkable change she experienced some months after the beginning of her concern, which, I must say, appeared to be the genuine operations of the divine Spirit, so far as I am capable of judging. And although she was become so childish through old age, that I could do nothing in a way of questioning with her, nor scarce make her understand any that I asked her; yet when I let her alone to go on with her own story, she could give a very distinct and particular relation of the many and various exercises of soul she had experienced; so deep were the impressions left upon her mind by that influence, and that exercise she had been under! And I have great reason to hope, she is born anew in her old age, she being, I presume, upwards of fourscore. I had good hopes of the other adults, and trust they are such as God will own “in the day when he makes up his jewels.”
June 19. Visited my people with two of the reverend correspondents. Spent some time in conversation with some of them upon spiritual things; and took some care of their worldly concerns.
This day makes up a complete year from the first time of my preaching to these Indians in New Jersey.--What amazing things has God wrought in this space of time for these poor people! What a surprising change appears in their tempers and behaviour! How are morose and savage pagans in this short space of time transformed into agreeable, affectionate, and humble Christians! and their drunken and pagan howlings turned into devout and fervent prayers and praises to God! They “who were sometimes darkness, are now become light in the Lord. May they walk as children of the light, and of the day. And now to him that is of power to stablish them according to the gospel, and the preaching of Christ--To God only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever and ever! Amen.”
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