|« Prev||PART VI. From his ordination, till he began to…||Next »|
FROM HIS ORDINATION, TILL HE FIRST BEGAN TO PREACH TO THE INDIANS AT CROSWEEKSUNG, AMONG WHOM HE HAD HIS MOST REMARKABLE SUCCESS.
“Wednesday, June 13. [1744.] Spent some considerable time in writing an account of the Indian affairs to go to Scotland; some, in conversation with friends; but enjoyed not much sweetness and satisfaction.
“Thursday, June 14. Received some particular kindness from friends; and wondered that God should open the hearts of any to treat me with kindness: saw myself to be unworthy of any favour from God, or any of my fellow-men. Was much exercised with pain in my head; however, I determined to set out on my journey towards Delaware in the afternoon; but when the afternoon came, my pain increased exceedingly, so that I was obliged to betake myself to bed. The night following I was greatly distressed with pain and sickness; was sometimes almost bereaved of the exercise of reason by the extremity of pain. Continued much distressed till Saturday, when I was somewhat relieved by an emetic: but was unable to walk abroad till the Monday following, in the afternoon; and still remained very feeble. I often admired the goodness of God, that he did not suffer me to proceed on my journey from this place where I was so tenderly used, and to be sick by the way among strangers. God is very gracious to me, both in health and sickness, and intermingles much mercy with all my afflictions and toils. Enjoyed some sweetness in things divine, in the midst of my pain and weakness. O that I could praise the Lord!”
On Tuesday, June 19, he set out on his journey home, and in three days reached his place, near the Forks of Delaware. Performed the journey under much weakness of body; but had comfort in his soul, from day to day: and both his weakness of body, and consolation of mind, continued through the week.
“Lord’s day, June 24. Extremely feeble; scarce able to walk: however, visited my Indians, and took much pains to instruct them; laboured with some that were much disaffected to Christianity. My mind was much burdened with the weight and difficulty of my work. My whole dependence and hope of success seemed to be on God; who alone I saw could make them willing to receive instruction. My heart was much engaged in prayer, sending up silent requests to God, even while I was speaking to them. O that I could always go in the strength of the Lord!
“Monday, June 25. Was something better in health than of late; was able to spend a considerable part of the day in prayer and close studies. Had more freedom and fervency in prayer than usual of late; especially longed for the presence of God in my work, and that the poor heathen might be converted. And in evening prayer my faith and hope in God were much raised. To an eye of reason every thing that respects the conversion of the heathen is as dark as midnight; and yet I cannot but hope in God for the accomplishment of something glorious among them. My soul longed much for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom on earth. Was very fearful lest I should admit some vain thought, and so lose the sense I then had of divine things. O for an abiding heavenly temper!
“Tuesday, June 26. In the morning my desires seemed to rise, and ascend up freely to God. Was busy most of the day in translating prayers into the language of the Delaware Indians; met with great difficulty, by reason that my interpreter was altogether unacquainted with the business. But though I was much discouraged with the extreme difficulty of that work, yet God supported me; and especially in the evening gave me sweet refreshment. In prayer my soul was enlarged, and my faith drawn into sensible exercise; was enabled to cry to God for my poor Indians; and though the work of their conversion appeared impossible with man, yet with God I saw all things were possible. My faith was much strengthened, by observing the wonderful assistance God afforded his servants Nehemiah and Ezra, in reforming his people, and re-establishing his ancient church. I was much assisted in prayer for dear Christian friends, and for others that I apprehended to be Christless; but was more especially concerned for the poor heathen, and those of my own charge: was enabled to be instant in prayer for them; and hoped that God would bow the heavens and come down for their salvation. It seemed to me there could be no impediment sufficient to obstruct that glorious work, seeing the living God, as I strongly hoped, was engaged for it. I continued in a solemn frame, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace, that I might be more mortified to this present world, that my whole soul might be taken up continually in concern for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom: longed that God would purge me more, that I might be as a chosen vessel to bear his name among the heathens. Continued in this frame till I dropped asleep.
“Wednesday, June 27. Felt something of the same solemn concern, and spirit of prayer, that I enjoyed last night, soon after I rose in the morning. In the afternoon rode several miles to see if I could procure any lands for the poor Indians, that they might live together, and be under better advantages for instruction. While I was riding had a deep sense of the greatness and difficulty of my work; and my soul seemed to rely wholly upon God for success, in the diligent and faithful use of means. Saw, with greatest certainty, that the arm of the Lord must be revealed, for the help of these poor heathen, if ever they were delivered from the bondage of the powers of darkness. Spent most of the time, while riding, in lifting up my heart for grace and assistance.
“Thursday, June 28. Spent the morning in reading several parts of the Holy Scripture, and in fervent prayer for my Indians, that God would set up his kingdom among them, and bring them into his church. About nine I withdrew to my usual place of retirement in the woods; and there again enjoyed some assistance in prayer. My great concern was for the conversion of the heathen to God; and the Lord helped me to plead with him for it. Towards noon rode up to the Indians, in order to preach to them; and while going, my heart went up to God in prayer for them; could freely tell God, he knew that the cause was not mine, which I was engaged in; but it was his own cause, and it would be for his own glory to convert the poor Indians: and blessed be God, I felt no desire of their conversion, that I might receive honour from the world, as being the instrument of it. Had some freedom in speaking to the Indians.”
The next day he speaks of some serious concern for the kingdom of the blessed Redeemer; but complains much of barrenness, wanderings, inactivity, &c.
“Saturday, June 30. My soul was very solemn in reading God’s word; especially the ninth chapter of Daniel. I saw how God had called out his servants to prayer, and made them wrestle with him, when he designed to bestow any great mercy on his church. And, alas! I was ashamed of myself, to think of my dulness and inactivity, when there seemed to be so much to do for the upbuilding of Zion. Oh, how does Zion lie waste! I longed that the church of God might be enlarged: was enabled to pray, I think, in faith; my soul seemed sensibly to confide in God, and was enabled to wrestle with him. Afterwards walked abroad to a place of sweet retirement, and enjoyed some assistance in prayer again; had a sense of my great need of divine help, and felt my soul sensibly depend on God. Blessed be God, this has been a comfortable week to me.
“Lord’s day, July 1. In the morning was perplexed with wandering, vain thoughts; was much grieved, judged and condemned myself before God. And oh, how miserable did I feel, because I could not live to God! At ten, rode away with a heavy heart, to preach to my Indians. Upon the road I attempted to lift up my heart to God; but was infested with an unsettled, wandering frame of mind; and was exceeding restless and perplexed, and filled with shame and confusion before God. I seemed to myself to be ‘more brutish than any man;’ and thought none deserved to be ‘cast out of God’s presence’ so much as I. If I attempted to lift up my heart to God, as I frequently did by the way, on a sudden, before I was aware, my thoughts were wandering ‘to the ends of the earth;’ and my soul was filled with surprise and anxiety, to find it thus. Thus also after I came to the Indians my mind was confused; and I felt nothing sensibly of that sweet reliance on God, that my soul has been comforted with in days past. Spent the forenoon in this posture of mind, and preached to the Indians without any heart. In the afternoon I felt still barren, when I began to preach; and for about half an hour, I seemed to myself to know nothing, and to have nothing to say to the Indians; but soon after I found in myself a spirit of love, and warmth, and power, to address the poor Indians; and God helped me to plead with them, to ‘turn from all the vanities of the heathen, to the living God:’ and I am persuaded the Lord touched their consciences; for I never saw such attention raised in them before. And when I came away from them, I spent the whole time while I was riding to my lodgings, three miles distant, in prayer and praise to God. And after I had rode more than two miles, it came into my mind to dedicate myself to God again; which I did with great solemnity, and unspeakable satisfaction; especially gave up myself to him renewed in the work of the ministry. And this I did by divine grace, I hope, without any exception or reserve: not in the least shrinking back from any difficulties that might attend this great and blessed work. I seemed to be most free, cheerful, and full in this dedication of myself. My whole soul cried, ‘Lord, to thee I dedicate myself! O accept of me, and let me be thine for ever. Lord, I desire nothing else, I desire nothing more. O come, come, Lord, accept a poor worm. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.’ After this, was enabled to praise God with my whole soul, that he had enabled me to devote and consecrate all my powers to him in this solemn manner. My heart rejoiced in my particular work as a missionary; rejoiced in my necessity of self-denial in many respects; and still continued to give up myself to God, and implore mercy of him; praying incessantly, every moment, with sweet fervency. My nature being very weak of late, and much spent, was now considerably overcome: my fingers grew very feeble, and somewhat Numb. so that I could scarcely stretch them out straight; and when I lighted from my horse, could hardly walk, my joints seemed all to be loosed. But I felt abundant strength in the inner man. Preached to the white people: God helped me much, especially in prayer. Sundry of my poor Indians were so moved as to come to meeting also; and one appeared much concerned.
“Monday, July 2. Had some relish of the divine comforts of yesterday; but could not get that warmth and exercise of faith that I desired. Had sometimes a distressing sense of my past follies, and present ignorance and barrenness: and especially in the afternoon, was sunk down under a load of sin and guilt, in that I had lived so little to God, after his abundant goodness to me yesterday. In the evening, though very weak, was enabled to pray with fervency, and to continue instant in prayer, near an hour. My soul mourned over the power of its corruption, and longed exceedingly to be washed and purged as with hyssop. Was enabled to pray for my dear absent friends, Christ’s ministers, and his church; and enjoyed much freedom and fervency, but not so much comfort, by reason of guilt and shame before God Judged and condemned myself for the follies of the day.
“Tuesday, July 3. Was still very weak. This morning was enabled to pray under a feeling sense of my need of help from God, and, I trust, had some faith in exercise; and, blessed be God, was enabled to plead with him a considerable time. Truly God is good to me. But my soul mourned, and was grieved at my sinfulness and barrenness, and longed to be more engaged for God. Near nine withdrew again for prayer; and through divine goodness, had the blessed Spirit of prayer; my soul loved the duty, and longed for God in it. O it is sweet to be the Lord’s, to be sensibly devoted to him! What a blessed portion is God! How glorious, how lovely in himself! O my soul longed to improve time wholly for God! Spent most of the day in translating prayers into Indian. In the evening was enabled again to wrestle with God in prayer with fervency. Was enabled to maintain a self-diffident and watchful frame of spirit, in the evening, and was jealous and afraid lest I should admit carelessness and self-confidence.”
The next day he seems to have had special assistance and fervency most of the day, but in a less degree than the preceding day. Tuesday was spent in great bodily weakness; yet seems to have been spent in continual and exceeding painfulness in religion; but in great bitterness of spirit by reason of his vileness and corruption; he says, “I thought there was not one creature living so vile as I. Oh, my inward pollution! Oh, my guilt and shame before God! I know not what to do. Oh, I longed ardently to be cleansed and washed from the stains of inward pollution! Oh, to be made like God, or rather to be made fit for God to own!”
“Friday, July 6. Awoke this morning in the fear of God: soon called to mind my sadness in the evening past; and spent my first waking minutes in prayer for sanctification, that my soul may be washed from its exceeding pollution and defilement. After I arose, I spent some time in reading God’s word and in prayer. I cried to God under a sense of my great indigency. I am, of late, most of all concerned for ministerial qualifications, and the conversion of the heathen: last year I longed to be prepared for a world of glory, and speedily to depart out of this world; but of late all my concern almost is for the conversion of the heathen; and for that end I long to live. But blessed be God, I have less desire to live for any of the pleasures of the world, than ever I had. I long and love to be a pilgrim; and want grace to imitate the life, labours, and sufferings of St. Paul among the heathen. And when I long for holiness now, it is not so much for myself as formerly; but rather that thereby I may become an ‘able minister of the New Testament,’ especially to the heathen. Spent about two hours this morning in reading and prayer by turns; and was in a watchful, tender frame, afraid of every thing that might cool my affections, and draw away my heart from God. Was a little strengthened in my studies; but near night was very weak and weary.
“Saturday, July 7. Was very much disordered this morning, and my vigour all spent and exhausted: but was affected and refreshed in reading the sweet story of Elijah’s translation, and enjoyed some affection and fervency in prayer: longed much for ministerial gifts and graces, that I might do something in the cause of God. Afterwards was refreshed and invigorated, while reading Mr. Joseph Alleine’s first Case of Conscience, &c. and enabled then to pray with some ardour of soul, and was afraid of carelessness and self-confidence, and longed for holiness.
“Lord’s day, July 8. Was ill last night, not able to rest quietly. Had some small degree of assistance in preaching to the Indians; and afterwards was enabled to preach to the white people with some power, especially in the close of my discourse, from Jer. iii. 23. ‘Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills,’ &c. The Lord also assisted me in some measure in the first prayer: blessed be his name. Near night, though very weary, was enabled to read God’s word with some sweet relish of it, and to pray with affection, fervency, and I trust with faith: my soul was more sensibly dependent on God than usual. Was watchful, tender, and jealous of my own heart, lest I should admit carelessness and vain thoughts, and grieve the blessed Spirit, so that he should withdraw his sweet, kind, and tender influences. Longed to ‘depart, and be with Christ,’ more than at any time of late. My soul was exceedingly united to the saints of ancient times, as well as those now living; especially my soul melted for the society of Elijah and Elisha. Was enabled to cry to God with a child-like spirit, and to continue instant in prayer for some time. Was much enlarged in the sweet duty of intercession: was enabled to remember great numbers of dear friends, and precious souls, as well as Christ’s ministers. Continued in this frame, afraid of every idle thought, till I dropped asleep.
“Monday, July 9. Was under much illness of body most of the day; and not able to sit up the whole day. Towards night felt a little better. Then spent some time in reading God’s word and prayer; enjoyed some degree of fervency and affection; was enabled to plead with God for his cause and kingdom: and, through divine goodness, it was apparent to me, that it was his cause I pleaded for, and not my own; and was enabled to make this an argument with God to answer my requests.
“Tuesday, July 10. Was very ill, and full of pain, and very dull and spiritless. In the evening had an affecting sense of my ignorance, &c. and of my need of God at all times, to do every thing for me; and my soul was humbled before God.
“Wednesday, July 11. Was still exercised with illness and pain. Had some degree of affection and warmth in prayer and reading God’s word: longed for Abraham’s faith and fellowship with God; and felt some resolution to spend all my time for God, and to exert myself with more fervency in his service; but found my body weak and feeble. In the afternoon, though very ill, was enabled to spend some considerable time in prayer; spent indeed most of the day in that exercise; and my soul was diffident, watchful, and tender, lest I should offend my blessed Friend, in thought or behaviour. I am persuaded my soul confided in, and leaned upon, the blessed God. Oh, what need did I see myself to stand in of God at all times, to assist me and lead me! Found a great want of strength and vigour, both in the outward and inner man.”
The exercises and experiences that he speaks of in the next nine days, are very similar to those of the preceding days of this and the foregoing week; a sense of his own weakness, ignorance, unprofitableness, and vileness; loathing and abhorring himself; self-diffidence; sense of the greatness of his work, and his great need of divine help, and the extreme danger of self-confidence; longing for holiness and humility, and to be fitted for his work, and to live to God; and longing for the conversion of the Indians; and these things to a very great degree.
“Saturday, July 21. This morning I was greatly oppressed with guilt and shame, from a sense of inward vileness and pollution. About nine, withdrew to the woods for prayer; but had not much comfort; I appeared to myself the vilest, meanest creature upon earth, and could scarcely live with myself; so mean and vile I appeared, that I thought I should never be able to hold up my face in heaven, if God of his infinite grace should bring me thither. Towards night my burden respecting my work among the Indians began to increase much; and was aggravated by hearing sundry things that looked very discouraging; in particular, that they intended to meet together the next day for an idolatrous feast and dance. Then I began to be in anguish: I thought I must in conscience go, and endeavour to break them up; and knew not how to attempt such a thing. However, I withdrew for prayer, hoping for strength from above. And in prayer I was exceedingly enlarged, and my soul was as much drawn out as ever I remember it to have been in my life, or near. I was in such anguish, and pleaded with so much earnestness and importunity, that when I rose from my knees I felt extremely weak and overcome, I could scarcely walk straight, my joints were loosed, the sweat ran down my face and body, and nature seemed as if it would dissolve. So far as I could judge, I was wholly free from selfish ends in my fervent supplications for the poor Indians. I knew they were met together to worship devils, and not God; and this made me cry earnestly, that God would now appear, and help me in my attempts to break up this idolatrous meeting. My soul pleaded long; and I thought God would hear, and would go with me to vindicate his own cause: I seemed to confide in God for his presence and assistance. And thus I spent the evening praying incessantly for divine assistance, and that I might not be self-dependent, but still have my whole dependence upon God. What I passed through was remarkable, and indeed inexpressible. All things here below vanished; and there appeared to be nothing of any considerable importance to me, but holiness of heart and life, and the conversion of the heathen to God. All my cares, fears, and desires, which might be said to be of a worldly nature, disappeared; and were, in my esteem, of little more importance than a puff of wind. I exceedingly longed, that God would get to himself a name among the heathen; and I appealed to him with the greatest freedom, that he knew I ‘preferred him above my chief joy.’ Indeed, I had no notion of joy from this world; I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ. I continued in this frame all the evening and night. While I was asleep, I dreamed of these things; and when I waked, (as I frequently did,) the first thing I thought of was this great work of pleading for God against Satan.
“Lord’s day, July 22. When I waked, my soul was burdened with what seemed to be before me. I cried to God before I could get out of my bed: and as soon as I was dressed, I withdrew into the woods, to pour out my burdened soul to God, especially for assistance in my great work; for I could scarcely think of any thing else. I enjoyed the same freedom and fervency as the last evening; and did with unspeakable freedom give up myself afresh to God, for life or death, for all hardships he should call me to among the heathen: and felt as if nothing could discourage me from this blessed work. I had a strong hope, that God would ‘bow the heavens and come down,’ and do some marvellous work among the heathen. And when I was riding to the Indians, three miles, my heart was continually going up to God for his presence and assistance; and hoping, and almost expecting, that God would make this the day of his power and grace amongst the poor Indians. When I came to them, I found them engaged in their frolic; but through divine goodness I got them to break up and attend to my preaching: yet still there appeared nothing of the special power of God among them. Preached again to them in the afternoon; and observed the Indians were more sober than before: but still saw nothing special among them; from whence Satan took occasion to tempt and buffet me with these cursed suggestions, There is no God, or if there be, he is not able to convert the Indians before they have more knowledge, &c. I was very weak and weary, and my soul borne down with perplexity; but was mortified to all the world, and was determined still to wait upon God for the conversion of the heathen, though the devil tempted me to the contrary.
“Monday, July 23. Retained still a deep and pressing sense of what lay with so much weight upon me yesterday; but was more calm and quiet; enjoyed freedom and composure, after the temptations of the last evening: had sweet resignation to the divine will; and desired nothing so much as the conversion of the heathen to God, and that his kingdom might come in my own heart, and the hearts of others. Rode to a settlement of Irish people, about fifteen miles south-westward; spent my time in prayer and meditation by the way. Near night preached from Matt. v. 3. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ &c. God was pleased to afford me some degree of freedom and fervency. Blessed be God for any measure of assistance.
“Tuesday, July 24. Rode about seventeen miles westward over a hideous mountain, to a number of Indians. Got together near thirty of them: preached to them in the evening, and lodged among them. 387387 See Mr. Brainerd’s narrative addressed to Mr. Pemberton, among his Remains. Was weak, and felt in some degree disconsolate; yet could have no freedom in the thought of any other circumstances or business in life. All my desire was the conversion of the heathen, and all my hope was in God. God does not suffer me to please or comfort myself with hopes of seeing friends, returning to my dear acquaintance, and enjoying worldly comforts.”
The next day he preached to these Indians again, and then returned to the Irish settlement, and there preached to a numerous congregation. There was a considerable appearance of awakening in the congregation. Thursday he returned home, exceedingly fatigued and spent; still in the same frame of mortification to the world, and solicitous for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom; and on this day he says thus: “I have felt this week more of the spirit of a pilgrim on earth than perhaps ever before; and yet so desirous to see Zion’s prosperity, that I was not so willing to leave this scene of sorrows as I used to be.” The two remaining days of the week he was very ill, and complains of wanderings, dulness, and want of spiritual fervency and sweetness. On the sabbath he was confined by illness, not able to go out to preach. After this, his illness increased upon him, and he continued very ill all the week; 388388 This week, on Tuesday, he wrote the fourth letter among his Remains. and says, that “he thought he never before endured such a season of distressing weakness; and that his nature was so spent, that he could neither stand, sit, nor lie with any quiet; and that he was exercised with extreme faintness and sickness at his stomach; and that his mind was as much disordered as his body, seeming to be stupid, and without any kind of affections towards all objects; and yet perplexed, to think that he lived for nothing, that precious time rolled away, and he could do nothing but trifle: and speaks of it as a season wherein Satan buffeted him with some peculiar temptations.” Concerning the next five days he writes thus, “On Lord’s day, August 5, was still very poor. But, though very weak, I visited and preached to the poor Indians twice, and was strengthened vastly beyond my expectations. And indeed, the Lord gave me some freedom and fervency in addressing them; though I had not strength enough to stand, but was obliged to sit down the whole time. Towards night was extremely weak, faint, sick, and full of pain. And thus I have continued much in the same state that I was in last week, through the most of this, (it being now Friday,) unable to engage in any business; frequently unable to pray in the family. I am obliged to let all my thoughts and concerns run at random; for I have neither strength to read, meditate, or pray: and this naturally perplexes my mind. I seem to myself like a man that has all his estate embarked in one small boat, unhappily going adrift, down a swift torrent. The poor owner stands on the shore, and looks, and laments his loss. But, alas! though my all seems to be adrift, and I stand and see it, I dare not lament; for this sinks my spirits more, and aggravates my bodily disorders! I am forced therefore to divert myself with trifles; although at the same time I am afraid, and often feel as if I was guilty of the misimprovement of time. And oftentimes my conscience is so exercised with this miserable way of spending time, that I have no peace; though I have no strength of mind or body to improve it to better purpose. O that God would pity my distressed state!”
The next three weeks after this his illness was not so extreme; he was in some degree capable of business, both public and private; although he had some turns wherein his indisposition prevailed to a great degree. He also in this space had, for the most part, much more inward assistance, and strength of mind. He often expresses great longings for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, especially by the conversion of the heathen to God; and speaks of this hope as all his delight and joy. He continues still to express his usual longings after holiness, living to God, and a sense of his own unworthiness. He several times speaks of his appearing to himself the vilest creature on earth; and once says, that he verily thought there were none of God’s children who fell so far short of that holiness and perfection in their obedience which God requires, as he. He speaks of his feeling more dead than ever to the enjoyments of the world. He sometimes mentions the special assistance he had, this space of time, in preaching to the Indians, and of appearances of religious concern among them. He speaks also of assistance in prayer for absent friends, and especially ministers and candidates for the ministry; and of much comfort he enjoyed in the company of some ministers who came to visit him.
“Saturday, Sept. 1. Was so far strengthened, after a season of great weakness, that I was able to spend two or three hours in writing on a divine subject. Enjoyed some comfort and sweetness in things divine and sacred: and as my bodily strength was in some measure restored, so my soul seemed to be somewhat vigorous, and engaged in the things of God.
“Lord’s day, Sept. 2. Was enabled to speak to my poor Indians with much concern and fervency; and I am persuaded God enabled me to exercise faith in him, while I was speaking to them. I perceived that some of them were afraid to hearken to and embrace Christianity, lest they should be enchanted and poisoned by some of the powows: but I was enabled to plead with them not to fear these; and confiding in God for safety and deliverance, I bid a challenge to all these powers of darkness, to do their worst upon me first. I told my people I was a Christian, and asked them why the powows did not bewitch and poison me. I scarcely ever felt more sensible of my own unworthiness, than in this action: I saw, that the honour of God was concerned in the affair; and I desired to be preserved not from selfish views, but for a testimony of the divine power and goodness, and of the truth of Christianity, and that God might be glorified. Afterwards I found my soul rejoice in God for his assisting grace.”
After this he went a journey into New England, and was absent from the place of his abode, at the Forks of Delaware, about three weeks. He was in a feeble state the greater part of the time. But in the latter part of the journey he found he gained much in health and strength. And as to the state of his mind, and his religious and spiritual exercises, it was much with him as usual in his journeys; excepting that the frame of his mind seemed more generally to be comfortable. But yet there are complaints of some uncomfortable seasons, want of fervency, and want of retirements, and time alone with God. In his journey, he did not forget the Indians; but once and again speaks of his longing for their conversion.
“Wednesday, Sept. 26. Rode home to the Forks of Delaware. What reason have I to bless God, who has preserved me in riding more than four hundred and twenty miles, and has ‘kept all my bones, that not one of them has been broken!’ My health likewise is greatly recovered. O that I could dedicate my all to God! This is all the return I can make to him.
“Thursday, Sept. 27. Was somewhat melancholy; had not much freedom and comfort in prayer: my soul is disconsolate when God is withdrawn.
“Friday, Sept. 28. Spent the day in prayer, reading, and writing, Felt some small degree of warmth in prayer, and some desires of the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom by the conversion of the heathen, and that God would make me a ‘chosen vessel, to bear his name before them;’ longed for grace to enable me to be faithful.”
The next day he speaks of the same longings for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, and the conversion of the Indians; but complains greatly of the ill effects of the diversions of his late journey, as unfixing his mind from that degree of engagedness, fervency, watchfulness, &c. which he enjoyed before. And the like complaints are continued the day after.
“Monday, Oct. 1. Was engaged this day in making preparation for my intended journey to Susquehannah: withdrew several times to the woods for secret duties, and endeavoured to plead for the divine presence to go with me to the poor pagans, to whom I was going to preach the gospel. Towards night rode about four miles, and met brother Byram; 389389 Minister at a place called Rockciticus, about forty miles from Mr. Brainerd’s lodgings. who was come, at my desire, to be my companion in travel to the Indians. I rejoiced to see him; and, I trust, God made his conversation profitable to me. I saw him, as I thought, more dead to the world, its anxious cares and alluring objects, than I was; and this made me look within myself, and gave me a greater sense of my guilt, ingratitude, and misery.
“Tuesday, Oct. 2. Set out on my journey, in company with dear brother Byram, and my interpreter, and two chief Indians from the Forks of Delaware. Travelled about twenty-five miles, and lodged in one of the last houses on our road; after which there was nothing but a hideous and howling wilderness.
“Wednesday, Oct. 3. We went on our way into the wilderness, and found the most difficult and dangerous travelling, by far, that ever any of us had seen; we had scarce any thing else but lofty mountains, deep valleys, and hideous rocks, to make our way through. However, I felt some sweetness in divine things, part of the day, and had my mind intensely engaged in meditation on a divine subject. Near night my beast that I rode upon hung one of her legs in the rocks, and fell down under me; but through divine goodness I was not hurt. However, she broke her leg; and being in such a hideous place, and near thirty miles from any house, I saw nothing that could be done to preserve her life, and so was obliged to kill her, and to prosecute my journey on foot. This accident made me admire the divine goodness to me, that my bones were not broken, and the multitude of them filled with strong pain. Just at dark we kindled a fire, cut up a few bushes and made a shelter over our heads, to save us from the frost, which was very hard that night; and committing ourselves to God by prayer, we lay down on the ground, and slept quietly.”
The next day they went forward on their journey, and at night took up their lodging in the woods in like manner.
“Friday, Oct. 5. We arrived at Susquehannah river, at a place called Opeholhaupung: 390390 See his Narrative addressed to Mr. Pemberton. found there twelve Indian houses: after I had saluted the king in a friendly manner, I told him my business, and that my desire was to teach them Christianity. After some consultation, the Indians gathered, and I preached to them. And when I had done, I asked if they would hear me again. They replied, that they would consider of it; and soon after sent me word, that they would immediately attend, if I would preach: which I did, with freedom, both times. When I asked them again, whether they would hear me further, they replied, they would the next day. I was exceeding sensible of the impossibility of doing any thing for the poor heathen without special assistance from above: and my soul seemed to rest on God, and leave it to him to do as he pleased in that which I saw was his own cause: and indeed, through divine goodness, I had felt something of this frame most of the time while I was travelling thither, and in some measure before I set out.
“Saturday, Oct. 6. Rose early and besought the Lord for help in my great work. Near noon preached again to the Indians; and in the afternoon visited them from house to house, and invited them to come and hear me again the next day, and put off their hunting design, which they were just entering upon, till Monday. ‘This night,’ I trust, ‘the Lord stood by me,’ to encourage and strengthen my soul: I spent more than an hour in secret retirement; was enabled to ‘pour out my heart ‘before God,’ for the increase of grace in my soul, for ministerial endowments, for success among the poor Indians, for God’s ministers and people, for distant dear friends, &c. Blessed be God!”
The next day he complains of great want of fixedness and intenseness in religion, so that he could not keep any spiritual thought one minute without distraction; which occasioned anguish of spirit. He felt amazingly guilty, and extremely miserable; and cries out, “Oh, my soul, what death it is, to have the affections unable to centre in God, by reason of darkness, and consequently roving after that satisfaction elsewhere, that is only to be found here!” However, he preached twice to the Indians with some freedom and power; but was afterwards damped by the objections they made against Christianity. In the evening, in a sense of his great defects in preaching, he “entreated God not to impute to him blood-guiltiness;” but yet was at the same time enabled to rejoice in God.
“Monday, Oct. 8. Visited the Indians with a design to take my leave of them, supposing they would this morning go out to hunting early; but beyond my expectation and hope, they desired to hear me preach again. I gladly complied with their request, and afterwards endeavoured to answer their objections against Christianity. Then they went away; and we spent the rest of the afternoon in reading and prayer, intending to go homeward very early the next day. My soul was in some measure refreshed in secret prayer and meditation. Blessed be the Lord for all his goodness.
“Tuesday, Oct. 9. We rose about four in the morning, and commending ourselves to God by prayer, and asking his special protection, we set out on our journey homewards about five, and travelled with great steadiness till past six at night; and then made us a fire, and a shelter of barks, and so rested. I had some clear and comfortable thoughts on a divine subject, by the way, towards night. In the night the wolves howled around us; but God preserved us.”
The next day they rose early, and set forward, and travelled that day till they came to an Irish settlement, with which Mr. Brainerd was acquainted, and lodged there. He speaks of some sweetness in divine things, and thankfulness to God for his goodness to him in this journey, though attended with shame for his barrenness. On Thursday he continued in the same place; and both he and Mr. Byram preached there to the people.
“Friday, Oct. 12. Rode home to my lodgings; where I poured out my soul to God in secret prayer, and endeavoured to bless him for his abundant goodness to me in my late journey. I scarce ever enjoyed more health, at least, of later years; and God marvellously, and almost miraculously, supported me under the fatigues of the way, and travelling on foot. Blessed be the Lord, who continually preserves me in all my ways.”
On Saturday he went again to the Irish settlement, to spend the sabbath there, his Indians being gone.
“Lord’s day, Oct. 14. Was much confused and perplexed in my thoughts; could not pray; and was almost discouraged, thinking I should never be able to preach any more. Afterwards, God was pleased to give me some relief from these confusions; but still I was afraid, and even trembled before God. I went to the place of public worship, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace in my great work: and God was gracious to me, helping me to plead with him for holiness, and to use the strongest arguments with him; drawn from the incarnation and sufferings of Christ for this very end, that men might he made holy. Afterwards I was much assisted in preaching. I know not that ever God helped me to preach in a more close and distinguishing manner for the trial of men’s state. Through the infinite goodness of God, I felt what I spoke; he enabled me to treat on divine truth with uncommon clearness: and yet I was so sensible of my defects in preaching, that I could not be proud of my performance, as at some times; and blessed be the Lord for this mercy. In the evening I longed to be entirely alone, to bless God for help in a time of extremity; and longed for great degrees of holiness, that I might show my gratitude to God.”
The next morning he spent some time before sun-rise in prayer, in the same sweet and grateful frame of mind that he had been in the evening before: and afterwards went to his Indians, and spent some time in teaching and exhorting them.
“Tuesday, Oct. 16. Felt a spirit of solemnity and watchfulness; was afraid I should not live to and upon God: longed for more intenseness and spirituality. Spent the day in writing; frequently lifting up my heart to God for more heavenly-mindedness. In the evening enjoyed sweet assistance in prayer, and thirsted and pleaded to be as holy as the blessed angels: longed for ministerial gifts and graces, and success in my work: was sweetly assisted in the duty of intercession, and enabled to remember and plead for numbers of dear friends, and Christ’s ministers.”
He seemed to have much of the same frame of mind the two next days.
“Friday, Oct. 19. Felt an abasing sense of my own impurity and unholiness; and felt my soul melt and mourn, that I had abused and grieved a very gracious God, who was still kind to me, notwithstanding all my unworthiness.
My soul enjoyed a sweet season of bitter repentance and sorrow, that I had wronged that blessed God, who, I was persuaded, was reconciled to me in his dear Son. My soul was now tender, devout, and solemn. And I was afraid of nothing but sin; and afraid of that in every action and thought.”
The four next days were manifestly spent in a most constant tenderness, watchfulness, diligence, and self-diffidence. But he complains of wanderings of mind, languor of affections, &c.
“Wednesday, Oct. 24. Near noon, rode to my people; spent some time, and prayed with them: felt the frame of a pilgrim on earth; longed much to leave this gloomy mansion; but yet found the exercise of patience and resignation. And as I returned home from the Indians, spent the whole time in lifting up my heart to God. In the evening enjoyed a blessed season alone in prayer; was enabled to cry to God with a child-like spirit, for the space of near an hour; enjoyed a sweet freedom in supplicating for myself, for dear friends, ministers, and some who are preparing for that work, and for the church of God; amid longed to be as lively myself in God’s service as the angels.
“Thursday, Oct. 25. Was busy in writing. Was very sensible of my absolute dependence on God in all respects; saw that I could do nothing, even in those affairs that I have sufficient natural faculties for, unless God should smile upon my attempt. ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourselves,’ I saw was a sacred truth.
“Friday, Oct. 26. In the morning my soul was melted with a sense of divine goodness and mercy to such a vile unworthy worm. I delighted to lean upon God, and place my whole trust in him. My soul was exceedingly grieved for sin, and prized and longed after holiness; it wounded my heart deeply, yet sweetly, to think how I had abused a kind God. I longed to be perfectly holy, that I might not grieve a gracious God; who will continue to love, notwithstanding his love is abused! I longed for holiness more for this end, than I did for my own happiness’ sake: and yet this was my greatest happiness, never more to dishonour, but always to glorify, the blessed God. Afterwards rode up to the Indians, in the afternoon, &c.”
The four next days he was exercised with much disorder and pain of body, with a degree of melancholy and gloominess of mind, bitterly complaining of deadness and unprofitableness, yet mourning and longing after God.
“Wednesday, Oct. 31. Was sensible of my barrenness and decays in the things of God: my soul failed when I remembered the fervency I had enjoyed at the throne of grace. Oh, I thought, if I could but be spiritual, warm, heavenly-minded, and affectionately breathing after God, this would be better than life to me! My soul longed exceedingly for death, to be loosed from this dulness and barrenness, and made for ever active in the service of God. I seemed to live for nothing, and to do no good: and oh, the burden of such a life! Oh, death, death, my kind friend, hasten, and deliver me from dull mortality, and make me spiritual and vigorous to eternity!
“Thursday, Nov. 1. Had but little sweetness in divine things; but afterwards, in the evening, felt some life, and longings after God. I longed to be always solemn, devout, and heavenly-minded; and was afraid to leave off praying, lest I should again lose a sense of the sweet things of God.
“Friday, Nov. 2. Was filled with sorrow and confusion in the morning, and could enjoy no sweet sense of divine things, nor get any relief in prayer. Saw I deserved that every one of God’s creatures should be let loose, to be the executioners of his wrath against me; and yet therein saw I deserved what I did not fear as my portion. About noon rode up to the Indians; and while going could feel no desires for them, and even dreaded to say any thing to them; but God was pleased to give me some freedom and enlargement, and made the season comfortable to me. In the evening had enlargement in prayer. But, alas! what comforts and enlargements I have felt for these many weeks past, have been only transient and short; and the greater part of my time has been filled up with deadness, or struggles with deadness, and bitter conflicts with corruption. I have found myself exercised sorely with some particular things that I thought myself most of all freed from. And thus I have ever found it, when I have thought the battle was over, and the conquest gained, and so let down my watch, the enemy has risen up and done me the greatest injury.
“Saturday, Nov. 3. I read the life and trials of a godly man, and was much warmed by it: I wondered at my past deadness; and was more convinced of it than ever. Was enabled to confess and bewail my sin before God, with self-abhorrence.
“Lord’s day, Nov. 4. Had, I think, some exercise of faith in prayer in the morning: longed to be spiritual. Had considerable help in preaching to my poor Indians: was encouraged with them, and hoped that God designed mercy for them.”
The next day* he set out on a journey to New York, to the meeting of the Presbytery there; and was from home more than a fortnight. He seemed to enter on his journey with great reluctance; fearing that the diversions of it would prove a means of cooling his religious affections, as he had found in other journeys. But yet in this journey he had some special seasons wherein he enjoyed extraordinary evidences and fruits of God’s gracious presence. He was greatly fatigued, and exposed to cold and storms: and when he returned from New York to New Jersey, on Friday, was taken very ill, and was detained by his illness some time.
“Wednesday, Nov. 21. Rode from Newark to Rockciticus in the cold, and was almost overcome with it. Enjoyed some sweetness in conversation with dear Mr. Jones, while I dined with him: my soul loves the people of God, and especially the ministers of Jesus Christ, who feel the same trials that I do.
“Thursday, Nov. 22. Came on my way from Rockciticus to Delaware river. Was very much disordered with a cold and pain in my head. About six at night I lost my way in the wilderness, and wandered over rocks and mountains, down hideous steeps, through swamps, and most dreadful and dangerous places; and the night being dark, so that few stars could be seen, I was greatly exposed. I was much pinched with cold, and distressed with an extreme pain in my head, attended with sickness at my stomach; so that every step I took was distressing to me. I had little hope for several hours together, but that I must lie out in the woods all night, in this distressed case. But about nine o’clock I found a house, through the abundant goodness of God, and was kindly entertained. Thus I have frequently been exposed, and sometimes lain out the whole night; but God has hitherto preserved me; and blessed be his name. Such fatigues and hardships as these serve to wean me more from the earth; and, I trust, will make heaven the sweeter. Formerly, when I was thus exposed to cold, rain, &c. I was ready to please myself with the thoughts of enjoying a comfortable house, a warm fire, and other outward comforts; but now these have less place in my heart, (through the grace of God,) and my eye is more to God for comfort. In this world I expect tribulation; and it does not now, as formerly, appear strange to me. I do not in such seasons of difficulty flatter myself that it will be better hereafter; but rather think, how much worse it might be; how much greater trials others of God’s children have endured; and how much greater are yet perhaps reserved for me. Blessed be God, that he makes the thoughts of my journey’s end and of my dissolution a great comfort to me, under my sharpest trials; and scarce ever lets these thoughts be attended with terror or melancholy; but they are attended frequently with great joy.
“Friday, Nov. 23. Visited a sick man; discoursed and prayed with him. Then visited another house, where was one dead and laid out; looked on the corpse, and longed that my time might come to depart, that I might be with Christ. Then went home to my lodgings, about one o’clock. Felt poorly; but was able to read most of the afternoon.”
Within the space of the next twelve days he passed under many changes in the frames and exercises of his mind. He had many seasons of the special influences of God’s Spirit, animating, invigorating, and comforting him in the ways of God and the duties of religion: but had some turns of great dejection and melancholy. He spent much time, within this space, in hard labour, with others, to make for himself a little cottage or hut, to live in by himself through the winter. Yet he frequently preached to the Indians, and speaks of special assistance he had from time to time, in addressing himself to them; and of his sometimes having considerable encouragement, from the attention they gave. But on Tuesday, December 4, he was sunk into great discouragement, to see most of them going in company to an idolatrous feast and dance, after he had taken abundant pains to dissuade them from these things.
“Thursday, Dec. 6. Having now a happy opportunity of being retired in a house of my own, which I have lately procured and moved into, and considering that it is now a long time since I have been able, either on account of bodily weakness, or for want of retirement, or some other difficulty, to spend any time in secret fasting and prayer; considering also the greatness of my work, and the extreme difficulties that attend it; and that my poor Indians are now worshipping devils, notwithstanding all the pains I have taken with them, which almost overwhelms my spirit; moreover, considering my extreme barrenness, spiritual deadness and dejection, of late; as also the power of some particular corruptions; I set apart this day for secret prayer and fasting, to implore the blessing of God on myself, on my poor people, on my friends, and on the church of God. At first I felt a great backwardness to the duties of the day, on account of the seeming impossibility of performing them; but the Lord helped me to break through this difficulty. God was pleased, by the use of means, to give me some clear conviction of my sinfulness, and a discovery of the plague of my own heart, more affecting than what I have of late had. And especially I saw my sinfulness in this, that when God had withdrawn himself, then, instead of living and dying in pursuit of him, I have been disposed to one of these two things; either, first, to yield an unbecoming respect to some earthly objects, as if happiness were to be derived from them; or, secondly, to be secretly froward and impatient, and unsuitably desirous of death, so that I have sometimes thought I could not bear to think my life must be lengthened out. And that which often drove me to this impatient desire of death, was a despair of doing any good in life; and I chose death, rather than a life spent for nothing. But now God made me sensible of my sin in these things, and enabled me to cry to him for forgiveness. Yet this was not all I wanted; for my soul appeared exceedingly polluted, my heart seemed like a nest of vipers, or a cage of unclean and hateful birds: and therefore I wanted to be purified ‘by the blood of sprinkling, that cleanseth from all sin.’ And this, I hope, I was enabled to pray for in faith. I enjoyed much more intenseness, fervency, and spirituality, than I expected; God was better to me than my fears. And towards night I felt my soul rejoice, that God is unchangeably happy and glorious; that he will be glorified, whatever becomes of his creatures. I was enabled to persevere in prayer till some time in the evening; at which time I saw so much need of divine help, in every respect, that I knew not how to leave off, and had forgot that I needed food. This evening I was much assisted in meditating on Isa. lii. 3. ‘For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought,’ &c. Blessed be the Lord for any help in the past day.
“Friday, Dec. 7. Spent some time in prayer, in the morning; enjoyed some freedom and affection in the duty, and had longing desires of being made ‘faithful to the death.’ Spent a little time in writing on a divine subject: then visited the Indians, and preached to them; but under inexpressible dejection. I had no heart to speak to them, and could not do it but as I forced myself: I knew they must hate to hear me, as having but just got home from their idolatrous feast and devil-worship. In the evening had some freedom in prayer and meditation.
“Saturday, Dec. 8. Have been uncommonly free this day from dejection, and from that distressing apprehension, that I could do nothing: was enabled to pray and study with some comfort; and especially was assisted in writing on a divine subject. In the evening my soul rejoiced in God; and I blessed his name for shining on my soul. O the sweet and blessed change I then felt, when God ‘brought me out of darkness into his marvellous light!’
“Lord’s day, Dec. 9. Preached, both parts of the day, at a place called Greenwich, in New Jersey, about ten miles from my own house. In the first discourse I had scarce any warmth or affectionate longing for souls. In the intermediate season I got alone among the bushes, and cried to God for pardon of my deadness; and was in anguish and bitterness, that I could not address souls with more compassion and tender affection. I judged and condemned myself for want of this divine temper; though I saw I could not get it as of myself, any more than I could make a world. In the latter exercise, blessed be the Lord, I had some fervency, both in prayer and preaching; and especially in the application of my discourse, I was enabled to address precious souls with affection, concern, tenderness, and importunity. The Spirit of God, I think, was there; as the effects were apparent, tears running down many cheeks.
“Monday, Dec. 10. Near noon I preached again: God gave me some assistance, and enabled me to be in some degree faithful; so that I had peace in my own soul, and a very comfortable composure, ‘although Israel should not be gathered.’ Came away from Greenwich, and rode home; arrived just in the evening. By the way my soul blessed God for his goodness; and I rejoiced, that so much of my work was done, and I so much nearer my blessed reward. Blessed be God for grace to be faithful.
“Tuesday, Dec. 11. Felt very poorly in body, being much tired and worn out the last night. Was assisted in some measure in writing on a divine subject: but was so feeble and sore in my breast, that I had not much resolution in my work. Oh, how I long for that world ‘where the weary are at rest!’ and yet through the goodness of God I do not now feel impatient.
Wednesday, Dec. 12. Was again very weak; but somewhat assisted in secret prayer, and enabled with pleasure and sweetness to cry, ‘Come, Lord Jesus! come, Lord Jesus! come quickly.’ My soul ‘longed for God, for the living God.’ O how delightful it is, to pray under such sweet influences! Oh how much better is this, than one’s necessary food! I had at this time no disposition to eat, (though late in the morning,) for earthly food appeared wholly tasteless. O how much ‘better is thy love than wine,’ than the sweetest wine! I visited and preached to the Indians in the afternoon; but under much dejection. Found my interpreter under some concern for his soul; which was some comfort to me; and yet filled me with new care. I longed greatly for his conversion; lifted up my heart to God for it, while I was talking to him; came home, and poured out my soul to God for him: enjoyed some freedom in prayer, and was enabled, I think, to leave all with God.
“Thursday, Dec. 13. Endeavoured to spend the day in fasting and prayer, to implore the divine blessing, more especially on my poor people; and in particular, I sought for converting grace for my interpreter, and three or four more under some concern for their souls. I was much disordered in the morning when I arose; but having determined to spend the day in this manner, I attempted it. Some freedom I had in pleading for these poor concerned souls, several times; and when interceding for them, I enjoyed greater freedom from wandering and distracting thoughts, than in any part of my supplications. But, in the general, I was greatly exercised with wanderings; so that in the evening it seemed as if I had need to pray for nothing so much as for the pardon of sins committed in the day past, and the vileness I then found in myself. The sins I had most sense of, were pride, and wandering thoughts, whereby I mocked God. The former of these cursed iniquities excited me to think of writing, preaching, or converting heathens, or performing some other great work, that my name might live when I should be dead. My soul was in anguish, and ready to drop into despair, to find so much of that cursed temper. With this, and the other evil I laboured under, viz. wandering thoughts, I was almost overwhelmed, and even ready to give over striving after a spirit of devotion; and oftentimes sunk into a considerable degree of despondency, and thought I was ‘more brutish than any man.’ Yet after all my sorrows, I trust, through grace, this day and the exercises of it have been for my good, and taught me more of my corruption, and weakness without Christ, than I knew before.
“Friday, Dec. 14. Near noon went to the Indians; but knew not what to say to them, and was ashamed to look them in the face: I felt I had no power to address their consciences, and therefore had no boldness to say any thing. Was, much of the day, in a great degree of despair about ever ‘doing or seeing any good in the land of the living.’”
He continued under the same dejection the next day.
“Lord’s day, Dec. 16. Was so overwhelmed with dejection, that I knew not how to live. I longed for death exceedingly: my soul was sunk into deep waters, and the floods were ready to drown me. I was so much oppressed, that my soul was in a kind of horror: could not keep my thoughts fixed in prayer, for the space of one minute, without fluttering and distraction; and was exceedingly ashamed that I did not live to God. I had no distressing doubt about my own state; but would have cheerfully ventured (as far as I could possibly know) into eternity. While I was going to preach to the Indians, my soul was in anguish; I was so overborne with discouragement, that I despaired of doing any good, and was driven to my wit’s end; I knew nothing what to say, nor what course to take. But at last I insisted on the evidence we have of the truth of Christianity from the miracles of Christ; many of which I set before them: and God helped me to make a close application to those who refused to believe the truth of what I taught them. Indeed I was enabled to speak to the consciences of all, in some measure, and was somewhat encouraged to find, that God enabled me to be faithful once more. Then came and preached to another company of them; but was very weary and faint. In the evening I was refreshed, and enabled to pray, and praise God with composure and affection: had some enlargement and courage with respect to my work: was willing to live, and longed to do more for God than my weak state of body would admit of. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me;’ and by his grace, I am willing to spend and be spent in his service, when I am not thus sunk in dejection, and a kind of despair.
“Monday, Dec. 17. Was comfortable in mind most of the day; and was enabled to pray with some freedom, cheerfulness, composure, and devotion; had also some assistance in writing on a divine subject.
“Tuesday, Dec. 18. Went to the Indians, and discoursed to them near an hour, without any power to come close to their hearts. But at last I felt some fervency, and God helped me to speak with warmth. My interpreter also was amazingly assisted; and I doubt not but ‘the Spirit of God was upon him;’ (though I had no reason to think he had any true and saving grace, but was only under conviction of his lost state;) and presently upon this most of the grown persons were much affected, and the tears ran down their cheeks; and one old man (I suppose, a hundred years old) was so affected, that he wept, and seemed convinced of the importance of what I taught them. I staid with them a considerable time, exhorting and directing them; and came away, lifting up my heart to God in prayer and praise, and encouraged and exhorted my interpreter to ‘strive to enter in at the strait gate.’ Came home, and spent most of the evening in prayer and thanksgiving; and found myself much enlarged and quickened. Was greatly concerned that the Lord’s work, which seemed to be begun, might be carried on with power, to the conversion of poor souls, and the glory of divine grace.
Wednesday, Dec. 19. Spent a great part of the day in prayer to God for the outpouring of his Spirit on my poor people; as also to bless his name for awakening my interpreter and some others, and giving us some tokens of his presence yesterday. And, blessed be God, I had much freedom, five or six times in the day, in prayer and praise, and felt a weighty concern upon my spirit for the salvation of those precious souls, and the enlargement of the Redeemer’s kingdom among them. My soul hoped in God for some success in my ministry: and blessed be his name for so much hope.
“Thursday, Dec. 20. Was enabled to visit the throne of grace frequently this day; and through divine goodness enjoyed much freedom and fervency sundry times: was much assisted in crying for mercy for my poor people, and felt cheerfulness and hope in my requests for them. I spent much of the day in writing; but was enabled to intermix prayer with my studies.
“Friday, Dec. 21. Was enabled again to pray with freedom, cheerfulness, and hope. God was pleased to make the duty comfortable and pleasant to me; so that I delighted to persevere, and repeatedly to engage in it. Towards noon visited my people, and spent the whole time in the way to them in prayer, longing to see the power of God among them, as there appeared something of it the last Tuesday; and I found it sweet to rest and hope in God. Preached to them twice, and at two distinct places: had considerable freedom each time, and so had my interpreter. Several of them followed me from one place to the other: and I thought there was some divine influence discernible amongst them. In the evening, was assisted in prayer again. Blessed be the Lord.“
Very much the same things are expressed concerning his inward frame, exercises, and assistances on Saturday, as on the preceding days. He observes, that this was a comfortable week to him. But then concludes, “Oh that I had no reason to complain of much barrenness! Oh that there were no vain thoughts and evil affections lodging within me! The Lord knows how I long for that world, where they rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” &c. On the following Sabbath, he speaks of assistance and freedom in his public work, but as having less of the sensible presence of God, than frequently in the week past; but yet says, his soul was kept from sinking in discouragement. On Monday again he seemed to enjoy very much the same liberty and fervency, through the day, that he enjoyed through the greater part of the preceding week.’ 391391 This day he wrote the fifth letter among his Remains.
“Tuesday, Dec. 25. Enjoyed very little quiet sleep last night, by reason of bodily weakness, and the closeness of my studies yesterday; yet my heart was somewhat lively in prayer and praise; I was delighted with the divine glory and happiness, and rejoiced that God was God, and that he was unchangeably possessed of glory and blessedness. Though God held my eyes waking, yet he helped me to improve my time profitably amidst my pains and weakness, in continued meditations on Luke xiii. 7.’ Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit,’ &c. My meditations were sweet; and I wanted to set before sinners their sin and danger.”
He continued in a very low state, as to his bodily health, for some days; which seems to have been a great hinderance to him in his religious exercises and pursuits. But yet he expresses some degree of divine assistance, from day to day, through the remaining part of this week. He preached several times this week to his Indians; and there appeared still some concern amongst them for their souls. On Saturday he rode to the Irish settlement, about fifteen miles from his lodgings, in order to spend the sabbath there.
“Lord’s day, Dec. 30. Discoursed, both parts of the day, from Mark viii. 34. ‘Whosoever will come after me,’ &c. God gave me very great freedom and clearness, and (in the afternoon especially) considerable warmth and fervency. In the evening also had very great clearness while conversing with friends on divine things: I do not remember ever to have had more clear apprehensions of religion in my life: but found a struggle, in the evening, with spiritual pride.”
On Monday he preached again in the same place with freedom and fervency; and rode home to his lodging, and arrived in the evening, under a considerable degree of bodily illness, which continued the two next days. And he complains much of spiritual emptiness and barrenness on those days.
“Thursday, Jan. 3, 1745. Being sensible of the great want of divine influences, and the outpouring of God’s Spirit, I spent this day in fasting and prayer, to seek so great a mercy for myself, my poor people in particular, and the church of God in general. In the morning was very lifeless in prayer, and could get scarce any sense of God. Near noon enjoyed some sweet freedom to pray that the will of God might in every respect become mine; and I am persuaded it was so at that time in some good degree. In the afternoon, I was exceeding weak, and could not enjoy much fervency in prayer; but felt a great degree of dejection; which, I believe, was very much owing to my bodily weakness and disorder.
“Friday, Jan. 4. Rode up to the Indians near noon; spent some time under great disorder: my soul was sunk down into deep waters, and I was almost overwhelmed with melancholy.
“Saturday, Jan. 5. Was able to do something at writing; but was much disordered with pain in my head. At night was distressed with a sense of my spiritual pollution, and ten thousand youthful, yea, and childish follies, that nobody but myself had any thought about; all which appeared to me now fresh, and in a lively view, as if committed yesterday, and made my soul ashamed before God, and caused me to hate myself.
“Lord’s day, Jan. 6. Was still distressed with vapoury disorders. Preached to my poor Indians: but had little heart or life. Towards night my soul was pressed under a sense of my unfaithfulness. O the joy and peace that arises from a sense of ‘having obtained mercy of God to be faithful!’ And oh the misery and anguish that spring from an apprehension of the contrary!”
His dejection continued the two next days; but not to so great a degree on Tuesday, when he enjoyed some freedom and fervency in preaching to the Indians.
Wednesday, Jan. 9. In the morning God was pleased to remove that gloom which has of late oppressed my mind, and gave me freedom and sweetness in prayer. I was encouraged, strengthened, and enabled to plead for grace for myself, and mercy for my poor Indians; and was sweetly assisted in my intercessions with God for others. Blessed be his holy name for ever and ever. Amen, and Amen. Those things that of late appeared most difficult and almost impossible, now appeared not only possible, but easy. My soul so much delighted to continue instant in prayer, at this blessed season, that I had no desire for my necessary food: even dreaded leaving off praying at all, lest I should lose this spirituality, and this blessed thankfulness to God which I then felt. I felt now quite willing to live, and undergo all trials that might remain for me in a world of sorrow: but still longed for heaven, that I might glorify God in a perfect manner. O ‘come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.’ Spent the day in reading a little; and in some diversions, which I was necessitated to take by reason of much weakness and disorder. In the evening enjoyed some freedom and intenseness in prayer.”
The three remaining days of the week he was very low and feeble in body; but nevertheless continued constantly in the same comfortable sweet frame of mind, as is expressed on Wednesday. On the sabbath this sweetness in spiritual alacrity began to abate; but still he enjoyed some degree of comfort, and had assistance in preaching to the Indians.
“Monday, Jan. 14. Spent this day under a great degree of bodily weakness and disorder; and had very little freedom, either in my studies or devotions; and in the evening, I was much dejected and melancholy. It pains and distresses me, that I live so much of my time for nothing. I long to do much in a little time, and if it might be the Lord’s will, to finish my work speedily in this tiresome world. I am sure I do not desire to live for any thing in this world; and through grace I am not afraid to look the king of terrors in the face. I know I shall be afraid, if God leaves me; and therefore I think it always my duty to lay in for that solemn hour. But for a very considerable time past, my soul has rejoiced to think of death in its nearest approaches; and even when I have been very weak, and seemed nearest eternity. ‘Not unto me, not unto me, but to God be the glory.’ I feel that which convinces me, that if God do not enable me to maintain a holy dependence upon him, death will easily be a terror to me; but at present, I must say, ‘I long to depart, and to be with Christ,’ which is the best of all. When I am in a sweet resigned frame of soul, I am willing to tarry awhile in a world of sorrow, I am willing to be from home as long as God sees fit it should be so; but when I want the influence of this temper, I am then apt to be impatient to be gone. Oh when will the day appear, that I shall be perfect in holiness, and in the enjoyment of God!”
The next day was spent under a great degree of dejection and melancholy; which (as he himself was persuaded) was owing partly to bodily weakness, and vapoury disorders.
“Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 16 and 17. I spent most of the time in writing on a sweet divine subject, and enjoyed some freedom and assistance. Was likewise enabled to pray more frequently and fervently than usual: and my soul, I think, rejoiced in God; especially on the evening of the last of these days: praise then seemed comely, and I delighted to bless the Lord. O what reason have I to be thankful, that God ever helps me to labour and study for him! he does but receive his own, when I am enabled in any measure to praise him, labour for him, and live to him. Oh, how comfortable and sweet it is, to feel the assistance of divine grace in the performance of the duties God has enjoined us! Bless the Lord, O my soul.“
The same enlargement of heart, and joyful frame of soul, continued through the next day. But on the day following it began to decline; which decay seems to have continued the whole of the next week: yet he enjoyed some seasons of special and sweet assistance.
“Lord’s day, Jan. 27. Had the greatest degree of inward anguish that almost ever I endured. I was perfectly overwhelmed, and so confused, that after I began to discourse to the Indians, before I could finish a sentence, sometimes I forgot entirely what I was aiming at; or if, with much difficulty, I had recollected what I had before designed, still it appeared strange, and like something I had long forgotten, and had now but an imperfect remembrance of. I know it was a degree of distraction, occasioned by vapoury disorders, melancholy, spiritual desertion, and some other things that particularly pressed upon me this morning, with an uncommon weight, the principal of which respected my Indians. This distressing gloom never went off the whole day; but was so far removed, that I was enabled to speak with some freedom and concern to the Indians, at two of their settlements; and I think there was some appearance of the presence of God with us, some seriousness, and seeming concern among the Indians, at least a few of them. In the evening this gloom continued still, till family prayer, 392392 Though Mr. Brainerd now dwelt by himself in the forementioned little cottage, which he had built for his own use; yet that was near to a family of white people with whom he had lived before, and with whom he still attended family prayer. about nine o’clock, and almost through this, until I came near the close, when I was praying (as I usually do) for the illumination and conversion of my poor people; and then the cloud was scattered, so that I enjoyed sweetness and freedom, and conceived hopes that God designed mercy for some of them. The same I enjoyed afterwards in secret prayer; in which precious duty I had for a considerable time sweetness and freedom, and (I hope) faith, in praying for myself, my poor Indians, and dear friends and acquaintance in New England, and elsewhere, and for the dear interest of Zion in general. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.“
He spent the rest of this week, or at least the most of it, under dejection and melancholy; which on Friday rose to an extreme height; he being then, as he himself observes, much exercised with vapoury disorders. This exceeding gloominess continued on Saturday, till the evening, when he was again relieved in family prayer; and after it was refreshed in secret, and felt willing to live, and endure hardships in the cause of God; and found his hopes of the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, as also his hopes to see the power of God among the poor Indians, considerably raised.
“Lord’s day, Feb. 3. In the morning I was somewhat relieved of that gloom and confusion that my mind has of late been greatly exercised with: was enabled to pray with some composure and comfort. But, however, went to my Indians trembling; for my soul ‘remembered the wormwood and the gall’ (I might almost say the hell) of Friday last; and I was greatly afraid I should be obliged again to drink of that cup of trembling, which was inconceivably more bitter than death, and made me long for the grave more, unspeakably more, than for hid treasures, yea, inconceivably more than the men of this world long for such treasures. But God was pleased to hear my cries, and to afford me great assistance; so that I felt peace in my own soul; and was satisfied, that if not one of the Indians should be profited by my preaching, but should all be damned, yet I should be accepted and rewarded as faithful; for I am persuaded God enabled me to be so. Had some good degree of help afterwards, at another place; and much longed for the conversion of the poor Indians. Was somewhat refreshed, and comfortable, towards night, and in the evening. O that my soul might praise the Lord for his goodness! Enjoyed some freedom in the evening, in meditation on Luke xiii. 24. ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate,’ &c.”
In the three next days he was the subject of much dejection; but the three remaining days of the week seem to have been spent with much composure and comfort. On the next sabbath he preached at Greenwich in New Jersey. In the evening he rode eight miles to visit a sick man at the point of death, and found him speechless and senseless.
“Monday, Feb. 11. About break of day the sick man died. I was affected at the sight: spent the morning with the mourners: and after prayer, and some discourse with them, I returned to Greenwich, and preached again from Psal. lxxxix. 15. ‘Blessed is the people that know,’ &c. and the Lord gave me assistance; I felt a sweet love to souls, and to the kingdom of Christ; and longed that poor sinners might know the joyful sound. Several persons were much affected. And after meeting I was enabled to discourse with freedom and concern, to some persons that applied to me under spiritual trouble. Left the place, sweetly composed, and rode home to my house about eight miles distant. Discoursed to friends, and inculcated divine truths upon some. In the evening was in the most solemn frame that almost I ever remember to have experienced: I know not that ever death appeared more real to me, or that ever I saw myself in the condition of a dead corpse, laid out, and dressed for a lodging in the silent grave, so evidently as at this time. And yet I felt exceeding comfortably; my mind was composed and calm, and death appeared without a sting. I think I never felt such an universal mortification to all created objects as now. Oh, how great and solemn a thing it appeared to die! Oh, how it lays the greatest honour in the dust! And oh, how vain and trifling did the riches, honours, and pleasures of the world appear! I could not, I dare not, so much as think of any of them; for death, death, solemn (though not frightful) death appeared at the door. Oh, I could see myself dead, and laid out, and enclosed in my coffin, and put down into the cold grave, with the greatest solemnity, but without terror! I spent most of the evening in conversing with a dear Christian friend; and, blessed be God, it was a comfortable evening to us both. What are friends? What are comforts? What are sorrows? What are distresses? ’ The time is short: it remains, that they which weep be as though they wept not; and they which rejoice, as though they rejoiced not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. O come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.’ Blessed be God for the comforts of the past day.
“Tuesday, Feb. 12. Was exceeding weak; but in a sweet, resigned, composed frame, most of the day: felt my heart freely go forth after God in prayer.
“Wednesday, Feb. 13. Was much exercised with vapoury disorders; but still enabled to maintain solemnity, and, I think, spirituality.
“Thursday, Feb. 14. Spent the day in writing on a divine subject: enjoyed health, and freedom in my work; had a solemn sense of death; as I have indeed had every day this week, in some measure: what I felt on Monday last has been abiding, in some considerable degree, ever since.
“Friday, Feb. 15. Was engaged in writing again almost the whole day. In the evening was much assisted in meditating on that precious text, John vii. 37. ‘Jesus stood and cried,’ &c. I had then a sweet sense of the free grace of the gospel; my soul was encouraged, warmed, and quickened. My desires were drawn out after God in prayer; and my soul was watchful, afraid of losing so sweet a guest as I then entertained. I continued long in prayer and meditation, intermixing one with the other; and was unwilling to be diverted by any thing at all from so sweet an exercise. I longed to proclaim the grace I then meditated upon, to the world of sinners. O how quick and powerful is the word of the blessed God!”
The next day he complains of great conflicts with corruption, and much discomposure of mind.
“Lord’s day, Feb. 17. Preached to the white people (my interpreter being absent) in the wilderness upon the sunny side of a hill: had a considerable assembly, consisting of people who lived (at least many of them) not less than thirty miles asunder; some of them came near twenty miles. I discoursed to them, all day, from John vii. 37. ‘Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst,’ &c. In the afternoon it pleased God to grant me great freedom and fervency in my discourse; and I was enabled to imitate the example of Christ in the text, who stood and cried. I think I was scarce ever enabled to offer the free grace of God to perishing sinners with more freedom and plainness in my life. And afterwards I was enabled earnestly to invite the children of God to come renewedly, and drink of this fountain of water of life, from whence they have heretofore derived unspeakable satisfaction. It was a very comfortable time to me. There were many tears in the assembly; and I doubt not but that the Spirit of God was there, convincing poor sinners of their need of Christ. In the evening I felt composed, and comfortable, though much tired. I had some sweet sense of the excellency and glory of God; and my soul rejoiced, that he was ‘God over all, blessed for ever;’ but was too much crowded with company and conversation, and longed to be more alone with God. Oh that I could for ever bless God for the mercy of this day, who ‘answered me in the joy of my heart.’”
The remainder of this week seems to have been spent under a decay of this life and joy, and in distressing conflicts with corruption; but not without some seasons of refreshment and comfort.
“Lord’s day, Feb. 24. In the morning was much perplexed: my interpreter being absent, I knew not how to perform my work among the Indians. However, I rode to them, got a Dutchman to interpret for me, though he was but poorly qualified for the business. Afterwards I came and preached to a few white people from John vi. 67. ‘Then said Jesus unto the twelve,’ &c. Here the Lord seemed to unburden me in some measure, especially towards the close of my discourse: I felt freedom to open the love of Christ to his own dear disciples. When the rest of the world forsakes him, and are forsaken by him, that he calls them no more, he then turns to his own, and says, Will ye also go away? I had a sense of the free grace of Christ to his own people, in such seasons of general apostacy, and when they themselves in some measure backslide with the world. O the free grace of Christ, that he seasonably reminds his people of their danger of backsliding, and invites them to persevere in their adherence to himself! I saw that backsliding souls, who seemed to be about to go away with the world, might return, and welcome, to him immediately; without any thing to recommend them; notwithstanding all their former backslidings. And thus my discourse was suited to my own soul’s case: for, of late, I have found a great want of this sense and apprehension of divine grace; and have often been greatly distressed in my own soul, because I did not suitably apprehend this ‘fountain to purge away sin;’ and to have been too much labouring for spiritual life, peace of conscience, and progressive holiness, in my own strength: but now God showed me, in some measure, the arm of all strength, and the fountain of all grace. In the evening I felt solemn, devout, and sweet, resting on free grace for assistance, acceptance, and peace of conscience.”
Within the space of the next nine days he had frequent refreshing, invigorating influences of God’s Spirit; attended with complaints of dulness, and with longings after spiritual life and holy fervency.
“Wednesday, March 6. Spent most of the day in preparing for a journey to New England. Spent some time in prayer, with a special reference to my intended journey. Was afraid I should forsake the fountain of living waters, and attempt to derive satisfaction from broken cisterns, my dear friends and acquaintance, with whom I might meet in my journey. I looked to God to keep me from this vanity, as well as others. Towards night, and in the evening, was visited by some friends, some of whom, I trust, were real Christians; who discovered an affectionate regard to me, and seemed grieved that I was about to leave them; especially seeing I did not expect to make any considerable stay among them, if I should live to return from New England. 393393 It seems he had a design, by what afterwards appears, to remove and live among the Indians at Susquehannah river. O how kind has God been to me! how has he raised up friends in every place, where his providence has called me! Friends are a great comfort; and it is God that gives them; it is he makes them friendly to me. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
The next day he set out on his journey; and it was about five weeks before he returned. The special design of this journey, he himself declares afterwards, in his diary for March 21, where, speaking of his conversing with a certain minister in New England, he says, “Contrived with him how to raise some money among Christian friends, in order to support a colleague with me in the wilderness, (I having now spent two years in a very solitary manner,) that we might be together; as Christ sent out his disciples two and two: and as this was the principal concern I had in view, in taking this journey, so I took pains in it, and hope God will succeed it, if for his glory.” He first went into various parts of New Jersey, and visited several ministers there: then went to New York; and from thence into New England, going to various parts of Connecticut. He then returned into New Jersey; and met a number of ministers at Woodbridge, “who,” he says, “met there to consult about the affairs of Christ’s kingdom, in some important articles.” He seems, for the most part, to have been free from melancholy in this journey; and many times to have had extraordinary assistance in public ministrations, and his preaching sometimes attended with very hopeful appearances of a good effect on the auditory. He also had many seasons of special comfort and spiritual refreshment, in conversation with ministers and other Christian friends, and also in meditation and prayer when alone.
“Saturday, April 13. Rode home to my own house at the Forks of Delaware: was enabled to remember the goodness of the Lord, who has now preserved me while riding full six hundred miles in this journey; has kept me that none of my bones have been broken. Blessed be the Lord, who has preserved me in this tedious journey, and returned me in safety to my own house. Verily it is God that has upheld me, and guarded my goings.
“Lord’s day, April 14. Was disordered in body with the fatigues of my late journey; but was enabled however to preach to a considerable assembly of white people, gathered from all parts round about, with some freedom, from Ezek. xxxiii. 11. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God,’ &c. Had much more assistance than I expected.”
This week he went a journey to Philadelphia, in order to engage the governor there to use his interest with the chief man of the Six Nations, (with whom he maintained a strict friendship,) that he would give him leave to live at Susquehannah, and instruct the Indians that are within their territories. 394394 The Indians at Susquehannah are a mixed company of many nations, speaking various languages, and few of them properly of the Six Nations. But yet the country having formerly been conquered by the Six Nations, they claim the land; and the Susquehannah Indians are a kind of vassals to them. In his way to and from thence, he lodged with Mr. Beaty, a young presbyterian minister. He speaks of seasons of sweet spiritual refreshment that he enjoyed at his lodgings.
“Saturday, April 20. Rode with Mr. Beaty to Abington, to attend Mr. Treat’s administration of the sacrament, according to the method of the church of Scotland. When we arrived, we found Mr. Treat preaching; afterwards I preached a sermon from Matt. v. 3. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ &c. God was pleased to give me great freedom and tenderness, both in prayer and sermon: the assembly was sweetly melted, and scores were all in tears. It was, as then I hoped, and was afterwards abundantly satisfied by conversing with them, a ‘word spoken in season to many weary souls.’ I was extremely tired, and my spirits much exhausted, so that I could scarcely speak loud; yet I could not help rejoicing in God.
“Lord’s day, April 21. In the morning was calm and composed, and had some outgoings of soul after God in secret duties, and longing desires of his presence in the sanctuary and at his table; that his presence might be in the assembly; and that his children might be entertained with a feast of fat things. In the forenoon Mr. Treat preached. I felt some affection and tenderness during the administration of the ordinance. Mr. Beaty preached to the multitude abroad, who could not half have crowded into the meeting-house. In the season of the communion, I had comfortable and sweet apprehensions of the blissful communion of God’s people, when they shall meet at their Father’s table in his kingdom, in a state of perfection. In the afternoon I preached abroad, to the whole assembly, from Rev. xiv. 4. ‘These are they that follow the Lamb,’ &c. God was pleased again to give me very great freedom and clearness, but not so much warmth as before. However, there was a most amazing attention in the whole assembly; and, as I was informed afterwards, this was a sweet season to many.
“Monday, April 22. I enjoyed some sweetness in retirement, in the morning. At eleven o’clock Mr. Beaty preached, with freedom and life. Then I preached from John vii. 37. ‘In the last day,’ &c. and concluded the solemnity. Had some freedom; but not equal to what I had enjoyed before: yet in the prayer the Lord enabled me to cry, I hope, with a child-like temper, with tenderness and brokenness of heart. Came home with Mr. Beaty to his lodgings; and spent the time, while riding, and afterwards, very agreeably on divine things.
“Tuesday, April 23. Left Mr. Beaty’s, and returned home to the Forks of Delaware: enjoyed some sweet meditations on the road, and was enabled to lift up my heart to God in prayer and praise.”
The two next days he speaks of much bodily disorder, but of some degrees of spiritual assistance and freedom.
“Friday, April 26. Conversed with a Christian friend with some warmth; and felt a spirit of mortification to the world, in a very great degree. Afterwards was enabled to pray fervently, and to rely on God sweetly, for ‘all things pertaining to life and godliness.’ Just in the evening was visited by a dear christian friend, with whom I spent an hour or two in conversation, on the very soul of religion. There are many with whom I can talk about religion; but alas! I find few with whom I can talk religion itself: but, blessed be the Lord, there are some that love to feed on the kernel, rather than the shell.”
The next day he went to the Irish settlement, often before mentioned, about fifteen miles distant; where he spent the sabbath, and preached with some considerable assistance. On Monday he returned, in a very weak state, to his own lodgings.
“Tuesday, April 30. Was scarce able to walk about, and was obliged to betake myself to bed much of the day; and spent away the time in a very solitary manner; being neither able to read, meditate, nor pray, and had none to converse with in that wilderness. Oh, how heavily does time pass away, when I can do nothing to any good purpose; but seem obliged to pass away precious time! But of late, I have seen it my duty to divert myself by all lawful means, that I may be fit, at least some small part of my time, to labour for God. And here is the difference between my present diversions, and those I once pursued, when in a natural state. Then I made a god of diversions, delighted in them with a neglect of God, and drew my highest satisfaction from them: now I use them as means to help me in living to God; fixedly delighting in him, and not in them, drawing my highest satisfaction from him. Then they were my all; now they are only means leading to my all. And those things that are the greatest diversion when pursued with this view, do not tend to hinder but promote my spirituality; and I see now, more than ever, that they are absolutely necessary.
“Wednesday, May 1. Was not able to sit up more than half the day; and yet had such recruits of strength sometimes, that I was able to write a little on a divine subject. Was grieved that I could no more live to God. In the evening had some sweetness and intenseness in secret prayer.
“Thursday, May 2. In the evening, being a little better in health, I walked into the woods, and enjoyed a sweet season of meditation and prayer. My thoughts ran upon Ps. xvii. 15. ‘I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.’ And it was indeed a precious text to me. I longed to preach to the whole world; and it seemed to me, they must needs all be melted in hearing such precious divine truths, as I had then a view and relish of. My thoughts were exceeding clear, and my soul was refreshed. Blessed be the Lord, that in my late and present weakness, now for many days together, my mind is not gloomy, as at some other times.
“Friday, May 3. Felt a little vigour of body and mind in the morning; had some freedom, strength, and sweetness in prayer. Rode to, and spent some time with, my Indians. In the evening again retiring into the woods, I enjoyed some sweet meditations on Isa. liii. 1. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,’ &c.”
The three next days were spent in much weakness of body: but yet he enjoyed some assistance in public and private duties; and seems to have remained free from melancholy.
“Tuesday, May 7. Spent the day mainly in making preparation for a journey into the wilderness. Was still weak, and concerned how I should perform so difficult a journey. Spent some time in prayer for the divine blessing, direction, and protection in my intended journey; but wanted bodily strength to spend the day in fasting and prayer.”
The next day he set out on his journey to Susquehannah, with his interpreter. He endured great hardships and fatigues in his way thither through a hideous wilderness; where after having lodged one night in the open woods, he was overtaken with a north-easterly storm, in which he was almost ready to perish. Having no manner of shelter, and not being able to make a fire in so great a rain, he could have no comfort if he stopt; therefore he determined to go forward in hopes of meeting with some shelter, without which he thought it impossible to live the night through; but their horses happening to have eat poison (for want of other food) at a place where they lodged the night before were so sick that they could neither ride nor lead them, but were obliged to drive them and travel on foot; until, through the mercy of God, just at dusk they came to a bark-but, where they lodged that night. After he came to Susquehannah, he travelled about a hundred miles on the river, and visited many towns and settlements of the Indians; saw some of seven or eight distinct tribes; and preached to different nations by different interpreters. He was sometimes much discouraged, and sunk in his spirits, through the opposition that appeared in the Indians to Christianity. At other times he was encouraged by the disposition that some of these people manifested to hear, and willingness to be instructed. He here met with some that had formerly been his hearers at Kaunaumeek, and had removed hither; who saw and heard him again with great joy. He spent a fortnight among the Indians on this river, and passed through considerable labours and hardships, frequently lodging on the ground, and sometimes in the open air; and at length he fell extremely ill, as he was riding in the wilderness, being seized with an ague, followed with a burning fever, and extreme pains in his head and bowels, attended with a great evacuation of blood; so that he thought he must have perished in the wilderness. But at last coming to an Indian trader’s hut, he got leave to stay there; and though without physic or food proper for him, it pleased God, after about a week’s distress, to relieve him so far that he was able to ride. He returned homewards from Juncauta, an island far down the river; where was a considerable number of Indians, who appeared more free from prejudices against Christianity, than most of the other Indians. He arrived at the Forks of Delaware on Thursday, May 30, after having rode in this journey about three hundred and forty miles. 395395 This is the journey which he occasionally mentions in his printed Journal. He came home in a very weak state, and under dejection of mind; which was a great hinderance to him in religious exercises. However, on the sabbath, after having preached to the Indians, he preached to the white people with some success, from Isa. liii. 10. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,’ &c. some being awakened by his preaching. The next day he was much exercised for want of spiritual life and fervency.
“Tuesday, June 4. Towards evening was in distress for God’s presence, and a sense of divine things: withdrew myself to the woods, and spent near an hour in prayer and meditation; and I think the Lord had compassion on me, and gave me some sense of divine things; which was indeed refreshing and quickening to me. My soul enjoyed intenseness and freedom in prayer, so that it grieved me to leave the place.
“Wednesday, June 5. Felt thirsting desires after God in the morning. In the evening enjoyed a precious season of retirement: was favoured with some clear and sweet meditations upon a sacred text; divine things opened with clearness and certainty, and had a divine stamp upon them. My soul was also enlarged and refreshed in prayer; and I delighted to continue in the duty; and was sweetly assisted in praying for fellow-Christians, and my dear brethren in the ministry. Blessed be the dear Lord for such enjoyments. O how sweet and precious it is, to have a clear apprehension and tender sense of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness, and likeness to the best of beings! O what a blessedness it is, to be as much like God, as it is possible for a creature to be like his great Creator! Lord, give me more of thy likeness; ‘I shall be satisfied, when I awake with it.’
Thursday, June 6. Was engaged a considerable part of the day in meditation and study on divine subjects. Enjoyed some special freedom, clearness, and sweetness in meditation. O how refreshing it is, to be enabled to improve time well!”
The next day he went a journey of near fifty miles to Neshaminy, to assist at a sacramental occasion, to he attended at Mr. Beaty’s meeting-house; being invited thither by him and his people.
“Saturday, June 8. Was exceeding weak and fatigued with riding in the heat yesterday: but being desired, I preached in the afternoon, to a crowded audience, from Isa. xl. 1. ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.’ God was pleased to give me great freedom, in opening the sorrows of God’s people, and in setting before them comforting considerations. And, blessed be the Lord, it was a sweet melting season in the assembly.
“Lord’s day, June 9. Felt some longing desires of the presence of God to be with his people on the solemn occasion of the day. In the forenoon Mr. Beaty preached; and there appeared some warmth in the assembly. Afterwards I assisted in the administration of the Lord’s supper: and towards the close of it, I discoursed to the multitude extempore, with some reference to that sacred passage, Isa. liii. 10. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.’ Here God gave me great assistance in addressing sinners: and the word was attended with amazing power; many scores, if not hundreds, in that great assembly, consisting of three or four thousand, were much affected; so that there was a ‘very great mourning, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon.’ In the evening I could hardly look any body in the face, because of the imperfections I saw in my performances in the day past.
“Monday, June 10. Preached with a good degree of clearness and some sweet warmth, from Psal. xvii. 15. ‘I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.’ And blessed be God, there was a great solemnity and attention in the assembly, and sweet refreshment among God’s people; as was evident then, and afterwards.
“Tuesday, June 11. Spent the day mainly in conversation with dear Christian friends; and enjoyed some sweet sense of divine things. O how desirable it is, to keep company with God’s dear children! These are the ‘excellent ones of the earth in whom,’ I can truly say, ‘is all my delight.’ O what delight will it afford, to meet them all in a state of perfection! Lord, prepare me for that state.”
The next day he left Mr. Beaty’s, and went to Maiden-head in New Jersey; and spent the next seven days in a comfortable state of mind, visiting several ministers in those parts.
“Tuesday, June 18. Set out from New Brunswick with a design to visit some Indians at a place called Crossweeksung in New Jersey, towards the sea. 396396 Mr. Brainerd having, when at Boston, wrote and left with a friend a brief relation of facts touching his labours with the Indians, and reception among them, during the space of time between November 5, 1744, and June 19,1745, (with a view to connect his Narrative, addressed to Mr. Pemberton. and his Journal, in case they should ever be reprinted,) concludes the same with this passage: “As my body was very feeble, so my mind was scarce ever so much damped and discouraged about the conversion of the Indians, as at this time. And in this state of body and mind I made my first visit to the Indians in New Jersey, where God was pleased to display his power and grace in the remarkable manner that I have represented in my printed Journal.” In the afternoon, came to a place called Cranberry, and meeting with a serious minister, Mr. Macknight, I lodged there with him. Had some enlargement and freedom in prayer with a number of people.”
|« Prev||PART VI. From his ordination, till he began to…||Next »|