|« Prev||PART VII. Return from his last journey to…||Next »|
FROM HIS BEGINNING TO PREACH TO THE INDIANS AT CROSSWEEKSUNG, TILL HE RETURNED FROM HIS LAST JOURNEY TO SUSQUEHANNAH ILL WITH THE CONSUMPTION WHEREOF HE DIED.
We are now come to that part of Mr. Brainerd’s life, wherein he had his greatest success, in his labours for the good of souls, and in his particular business as a missionary to the Indians. An account of which, if here published, would doubtless be very entertaining to the reader, after he has seen, by the preceding parts of this account of his life, how great and long-continued his desires for the spiritual good of this sort of people were; how he prayed, laboured, and wrestled, and how much he denied himself, and suffered, to this end. After all Mr. Brainerd’s agonizing in prayer, and travailing in birth, for the conversion of Indians, and all the interchanges of his raised hopes and expectations, and then disappointments and discouragements; and after waiting in a way of persevering prayer, labour, and suffering, as it were through a long night; at length the day dawns: “Weeping continues for a night, but joy comes in the morning. He went forth weeping, bearing precious seed, and now he comes with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” The desired event is brought to pass at last; but at a time, in a place, and upon subjects, that scarce ever entered into his heart. An account of this would undoubtedly now much gratify the Christian reader: and it should have been here inserted, as it stands in his diary, had it not been, that a particular account of this glorious and wonderful success was drawn up by Mr. Brainerd himself, pursuant to the order of the Honourable Society in Scotland, and published by him in his lifetime. I hope those of my readers, who are not already possessed of his public Journal, will procure one of those books, that they may not be without that which in some respects is the most remarkable, and to a Christian mind would be the most pleasant part, of the whole story. That the reader who is furnished with one of those books, may know the place where the defects of this history are to be supplied from thence, I shall either expressly observe it as I go along, or else make a dash or stroke thus ; which when the reader finds in this 7th part of this history, he is to understand by it, that in that place something in Mr. Brainerd’s diary, worth observing, is left out, because the same for substance was published before in his printed Journal.†
“Wednesday, June 19, 1745. Rode to the Indians at Crossweeksung: found few at home; discoursed to them, however, and observed them very serious and attentive. At night I was extremely worn out, and scarce able to walk or sit up. Oh, how tiresome is earth! how dull the body!
“Thursday, June 20. Towards night preached to the Indians again; and had more hearers than before. In the evening enjoyed some peace and serenity of mind, some composure and comfort in prayer alone; and was enabled to lift up my head with some degree of joy, under an apprehension that my redemption draws nigh. Oh, blessed be God, that there remains a rest to his poor weary people!
“Friday, June 21. Rode to Freehold, to see Mr. William Tennent; and spent the day comfortably with him. My sinking spirits were a little raised and encouraged; and I felt my soul breathing after God, in the midst of Christian conversation. And in the evening, was refreshed in secret prayer; saw myself a poor worthless creature, without wisdom to direct, or strength to help myself. Oh, blessed be God, that lays me under a happy, a blessed necessity of living upon himself!
“Saturday, June 22. About noon rode to the Indians again; and near night preached to them. Found my body much strengthened, and was enabled to speak with abundant plainness and warmth. And the power of God evidently attended the word; so that sundry persons were brought under great concern for their souls, and made to shed many tears, and to wish for Christ to save them. My soul was much refreshed, and quickened in my work: and I could not but spend much time with them, in order to open both their misery and remedy. This was indeed a sweet afternoon to me. While riding, before I came to the Indians, my spirits were refreshed, and my soul enabled to cry to God almost incessantly, for many miles together. In the evening also I found the consolations of God were not small: I was then willing to live, and in some respects desirous of it, that I might do something for the dear kingdom of Christ; and yet death appeared pleasant: so that I was in some measure in a strait between two, having a desire to depart. I am often weary of this world, and want to leave it on that account; but it is desirable to be drawn, rather than driven, out of it.”
In the four next days is nothing remarkable in his diary, but what is in his public Journal.
Thursday, June 27. My soul rejoiced to find, that God enabled me to be faithful, and that he was pleased to awaken these poor Indians by my means. O how heart-reviving and soul-refreshing is it to me to see the fruit of my labours!
Friday, June 28. In the evening my soul was revived, and my heart lifted up to God in prayer, for my poor Indians, myself, and friends, and the dear church of God. And O how refreshing, how sweet was this! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his goodness and tender mercy.
“Saturday, June 29. Preached twice to the Indians; and could not but wonder at their seriousness, and the strictness of their attention. Blessed be God that has inclined their hearts to hear. And O how refreshing it is to me, to see them attend with such uncommon diligence and affection, with tears in their eyes, and concern in their hearts! In the evening could not but lift up my heart to God in prayer, while riding to my lodgings; and blessed be his name, had assistance and freedom. O how much better than life is the presence of God!”
His diary gives an account of nothing remarkable on the two next days, besides what is in his public Journal; excepting his heart being lifted up with thankfulness, rejoicing in God, &c.
“Tuesday, July 2. Rode from the Indians to Brunswick, near forty miles, and lodged there. Felt my heart drawn out after God in prayer, almost all the forenoon; especially while riding. And in the evening, could not help crying to God for those poor Indians; and after I went to bed, my heart continued to go out to God for them, till I dropped asleep. O blessed be God that I may pray!”
He was so fatigued by constant preaching to these Indians, yielding to their earnest and importunate desires, that he found it necessary to give himself some relaxation. He spent therefore about a week in New Jersey, after he left these Indians, visiting several ministers, and performing some necessary business, before he went to the Forks of Delaware. And though he was very weak in body, yet he seems to have been strong in spirit. On Friday, July 12, he arrived at his own house in the Forks of Delaware; continuing still free from melancholy; from day to day, enjoying freedom, assistance, and refreshment in the inner man. But on Wednesday, the next week, he seems to have had some melancholy thoughts about his doing so little for God, being so much hindered by weakness of body.
“Thursday, July 18. Longed to spend the little inch of time I have in the world more for God. Felt a spirit of seriousness, tenderness, sweetness, and devotion; and wished to spend the whole night in prayer and communion with God.
“Friday, July 19. In the evening walked abroad for prayer and meditation, and enjoyed composure and freedom in these sweet exercises; especially in meditation on Rev. iii. 12. ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,’ &c. This was then a delightful theme to me, and it refreshed my soul to dwell upon it. Oh, when shall I go no more out from the service and enjoyment of the dear Lord! Lord, hasten the blessed day.“
Within the space of the next six days he speaks of much inward refreshment and enlargement, from time to time.
“Friday, July 26. In the evening God was pleased to help me in prayer, beyond what I have experienced for some time; especially my soul was drawn out for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, and for the conversion of my poor people: and my soul relied on God for the accomplishment of that great work. Oh, how sweet were the thoughts of death to me at this time! Oh, how I longed to be with Christ, to be employed in the glorious work of angels, and with an angel’s freedom, vigour, and delight! And yet how willing was I to stay awhile on earth, that I might do something, if the Lord pleased, for his interest in the world! My soul, my very soul, longed for the ingathering of the poor heathen; and I cried to God for them most willingly and heartily; I could not but cry. This was a sweet season; for I had some lively taste of heaven, and a temper of mind suited in some measure to the employments and entertainments of it. My soul was grieved to leave the place; but my body was weak and worn out, and it was near nine o’clock. Oh, I longed that the remaining part of my life might be filled up with more fervency and activity in the things of God! Oh the inward peace, composure, and God-like serenity of such a frame! heaven must needs differ from this only in degree, and not in kind. Lord, ever give me this bread of life.“
Much of this frame seemed to continue the next day.
“Lord’s day, July 28. In the evening my soul was melted, and my heart broken, with a sense of past barrenness and deadness: and oh, how I then longed to live to God, and bring forth much fruit to his glory!
“Monday, July 29. Was much exercised with a sense of vileness, with guilt and shame before God.”
For other things remarkable, while he was this time at the Forks of Delaware, the reader must be referred to his public Journal. As particularly for his labours and success there among the Indians.
On Wednesday, July 31, he set out on his return to Crossweeksung, and arrived there the next day. In his way thither, he had longing desires that he might come to the Indians there, in the ‘fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ;’ attended with a sense of his own great weakness, dependence, and worthlessness.
“Friday, Aug. 2. In the evening I retired, and my soul was drawn out in prayer to God; especially for my poor people, to whom I had sent word that they might gather together, that I might preach to them the next day. I was much enlarged in praying for their saving conversion; and scarce ever found my desires of any thing of this nature so sensibly and clearly (to my own satisfaction) disinterested, and free from selfish views. It seemed to me I had no care, or hardly any desire, to be the instrument of so glorious a work, as I wished and prayed for among the Indians: if the blessed work might be accomplished to the honour of God, and the enlargement of the dear Redeemer’s kingdom, this was all my desire and care; and for this mercy I hoped, but with trembling; for I felt what Job expresses, chap. ix. 16. ‘If I had called, and he had answered,’ &c. My rising hopes, respecting the conversion of the Indians, have been so often dashed, that my spirit is as it were broken, and courage wasted, and I hardly dare hope.”
Concerning his labours and marvellous success amongst the Indians, for the following ten days, let the reader see his public Journal. The things worthy of note in his diary, not there published, are his earnest and importunate prayers for the Indians, and the travail of his soul for them from day to day; and his great refreshment and joy in beholding the wonderful mercy of God, and the glorious manifestations of his power and grace in his work among them; and his ardent thanksgivings to God; his heart rejoicing in Christ, as King of his church, and King of his soul: in particular, at the sacrament of the Lord’s supper at Mr. Macknight’s meeting-house; together with a sense of his own exceeding unworthiness, which sometimes was attended with dejection and melancholy.
“Monday, Aug. 19. Near noon, I rode to Freehold, and preached to a considerable assembly, from Matt. v. 3. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ &c. It pleased God to leave me to be very dry and barren; so that I do not remember to have been so straitened for a whole twelve-month past. God is just, and he has made my soul acquiesce in his will in this regard. It is contrary to flesh and blood, to be cut off from all freedom, in a large auditory, where their expectations were much raised: but so it was with me; and God helped me to say Amen to it; ‘Good is the will of the Lord.’ In the evening I felt quiet and composed, and had freedom and comfort in secret prayer.
Tuesday, Aug. 20. Was composed and comfortable, still in a resigned frame. Travelled from Mr. Tennent’s in Freehold to Elizabeth-town. Was refreshed to see friends, and relate to them what God had done, and was still doing, among my poor people.
Wednesday, Aug. 21. Spent the forenoon in conversation with Mr. Dickinson, contriving something for the settlement of the Indians together in a body, that they might be under better advantages for instruction. In the afternoon spent time agreeably with other friends; wrote to my brother at college: but was grieved that time slid away, while I did so little for God.
“Friday, Aug. 23. In the morning was very weak; but favoured with some freedom and sweetness in prayer: was composed and comfortable in mind. After noon rode to Crossweeksung to my poor people.
“Saturday, Aug. 24. Had composure and peace, while riding from the Indians to my lodgings: was enabled to pour out my soul to God for dear friends in New England. Felt a sweet tender frame of spirit: my soul was composed and refreshed in God. Had likewise freedom and earnestness in praying for my dear people: blessed be God. ‘O the peace of God that passeth all understanding!’ It is impossible to describe time sweet peace of conscience, and tenderness of soul, I then enjoyed. O the blessed foretastes of heaven!
“Lord’s day, Aug. 25. I rode to my lodgings in the evening, blessing the Lord for his gracious visitation of the Indians, and the soul-refreshing things I had seen time day past amongst them, and praying that God would still carry on his divine work among them.
“Monday, Aug. 26. I went from the Indians to my lodgings, rejoicing for the goodness of God to my poor people; and enjoyed freedom of soul in prayer, and other duties, in the evening. Bless the Lord, O my soul.“
The next day he set out on a journey towards the Forks of Delaware, designing to go from thence to Susquehannah, before he returned to Crossweeksung. It was five days from his departure from Crossweeksung, before he reached the Forks, going round by the way of Philadelphia, and waiting on the governor of Pennsylvania, to get a recommendation from him to the chiefs of the Indians; which he obtained. He speaks of much comfort and spiritual refreshment in this journey; and also a sense of his exceeding unworthiness, thinking himself the meanest creature that ever lived.
“Lord’s day, Sept. 1. [At the Forks of Delaware] God gave me the spirit of prayer, and it was a blessed season in that respect. My soul cried to God for mercy, in an affectionate manner. In the evening also my soul rejoiced in God.”
His private diary has nothing remarkable, for the two next days, but what is in his public Journal.
“Wednesday, Sept. 4. Rode fifteen miles to an Irish settlement, and preached there from Luke xiv. 22. ‘And yet there is room.’ God was pleased to afford me some tenderness and enlargement in the first prayer, and much freedom, as well as warmth, in sermon. There were many tears in the assembly: the people of God seemed to melt, and others to be in some measure awakened. Blessed be the Lord, that lets me see his work going on in one place and another.”
The account for Thursday is the same for substance as in his public Journal.
“Friday, Sept. 6. Enjoyed some freedom and intenseness of mind in prayer alone; and longed to have my soul more warmed with divine and heavenly things. Was somewhat melancholy towards night, and longed to die and quit a scene of sin and darkness; but was a little supported in prayer.”
This melancholy continued the next day.
Lord’s day, Sept. 8. In the evening God was pleased to enlarge me in prayer, and give me freedom at the throne of grace. I cried to God for the enlargement of his kingdom in the world, and in particular among my dear people; was also enabled to pray for many dear ministers of my acquaintance, both in these parts and in New England; and also for other dear friends in New England. And my soul was so engaged and enlarged in the sweet exercise, that I spent near an hour in it, and knew not how to leave the mercy-seat. Oh, how I delighted to pray and cry to God! I saw God was both able and willing to do all that I desired, for myself and friends, and his church in general. I was likewise much enlarged and assisted in family prayer, And afterwards, when I was just going to bed, God helped me to renew my petitions with ardency and freedom. Oh, it was to me a blessed evening of prayer! Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
The next day he set out from the Forks of Delaware to go to Susquehannah. And on the fifth day of his journey he arrived at Shaumoking, a large Indian town on Susquehannah river. He performed the journey under a considerable degree of melancholy.
“Saturday, Sept. 14. [At Shaumoking] In the evening my soul was enlarged and sweetly engaged in prayer; especially that God would set up his kingdom in this place, where the devil now reigns in the most eminent manner. And I was enabled to ask this for God, for his glory, and because I longed for the enlargement of his kingdom, to the honour of his dear name. I could appeal to God with the greatest freedom, that he knew it was his dear cause, and not my own, that engaged my heart: and my soul cried, ‘Lord, set up thy kingdom, for thine own glory. Glorify thyself; and I shall rejoice. Get honour to thy blessed name; and this is all I desire. Do with me just what thou wilt. Blessed be thy name for ever, that thou art God, and that thou wilt glorify thyself. O that the whole world might glorify thee! O let these poor people be brought to know thee, and love thee, for the glory of thy dear ever-blessed name!” I could not but hope, that God would bring in these miserable, wicked Indians; though there appeared little human probability of it; for they were then dancing and revelling, as if possessed by the devil. But yet I hoped, though against hope, that God would be glorified, and that his name would be glorified by these poor Indians. I continued long in prayer and praise to God; and had great freedom, enlargement, and sweetness, remembering dear friends in New England, as well as the people of my charge. Was entirely free from that dejection of spirit with which I am frequently exercised. Blessed be God!”
His diary from this time to Sept. 22, (the last day of his continuance among the Indians at Susquehannah,) is not legible, by reason of the badness of the ink. It was probably written with the juice of some berries found in the woods, having no other ink in that wilderness. So that for this space of time the reader must be wholly referred to his public Journal.
On Monday Sept. 23, he left the Indians, in order to return to the Forks of Delaware, in a very weak state of body, and under dejection of mind, which continued the two first days of his journey.
“Wednesday, Sept. 25. Rode still homeward. In the forenoon enjoyed freedom and intenseness of mind in meditation on Job xlii. 5, 6. ‘I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’ The Lord gave me clearness to penetrate into the sweet truths contained in that text. It was a comfortable and sweet season to me.
“Thursday, Sept. 26. Was still much disordered in body, and able to ride but slowly. Continued my journey, however. Near night, arrived at the Irish settlement, about fifteen miles from mine own house. This day, while riding, I was much exercised with a sense of my barrenness; and verily thought there was no creature that had any true grace, but what was more spiritual and fruitful. I could not think that any of God’s children made so poor a hand of living to God.
“Friday, Sept. 27. Spent a considerable time in the morning in prayer and praise to God. My mind was somewhat intense in the duty, and my heart in some degree warmed with a sense of divine things. My soul was melted to think that ‘God had accounted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,’ notwithstanding all my barrenness and deadness. My soul was also in some measure enlarged in prayer for the dear people of my charge, as well as for other dear friends. In the afternoon visited some Christian friends, and spent the time, I think, profitably: my heart was warmed, and more engaged in the things of God. In the evening I enjoyed enlargement, warmth, and comfort in prayer: my soul relied on God for assistance and grace to enable me to do something in his cause; my heart was drawn out in thankfulness to God for what he had done for his own glory among my poor people of late. I felt encouraged to proceed in his work, being persuaded of his power, and hoping his arm might be further revealed, for the enlargement of his dear kingdom: and my soul ‘rejoiced in hope of the glory of God,’ in hope of the advancement of his declarative glory in the world, as well as of enjoying him in a world of glory. Oh, blessed be God, the living God, for ever!”
He continued in this comfortable, sweet frame of mind the two next days. On the day following he went to his own house, in the Forks of Delaware, and continued still in the same frame. The next day, which was Tuesday, he visited his Indians. Wednesday he spent mostly in writing the meditations he had in his late journey in Susquehannah. On Thursday he left the Forks of’ Delaware, and travelled towards Crossweeksung, where he arrived on Saturday, (October 5,) and continued from day to day in a comfortable state of mind. There is nothing material in his diary for this day and the next, but what is in his printed Journal.
Monday, Oct. 7. Being called by the church and people of East Hampton on Long Island, as a member of a council, to assist and advise in affairs of difficulty in that church, I set out on my journey this morning, before it was well light, and travelled to Elizabeth-town, and there lodged. Enjoyed some comfort on the road, in conversation with Mr. Wm. Tennent, who was sent for on the same business.”
He prosecuted his journey with the other ministers who were sent for; and did not return till Oct. 24. While he was at East Hampton, the importance of the business that the council were come upon, lay with such weight on his mind, and he was so concerned for the interest of religion in that place, that he slept but little for several nights successively. In his way to and fro from East Hampton, he had several seasons of sweet refreshment, wherein his soul was enlarged and comforted with divine consolations, in secret retirement; and he had special assistance in public ministerial performances in the house of God: and yet, at the same time, a sense of extreme vileness and unprofitableness. From time to time he speaks of soul-refreshment and comfort in conversation with the ministers that travelled with him; and seems to have little or nothing of melancholy, till he came to the west end of Long Island, in his return. After that he was oppressed with dejection and gloominess of mind, for several days together. For an account of the four first days after his return from his journey, I refer the reader to his public Journal.
“Monday, Oct. 28. Had an evening of sweet refreshing; my thoughts were raised to a blessed eternity; my soul was melted with desires of perfect holiness, and perfectly glorifying God.
“Tuesday, Oct. 29. About noon rode and viewed the Indian lands at Cranberry: was much dejected, and greatly perplexed in mind; knew not how to see any body again, my soul was so sunk within me. Oh that these trials might make me more humble and holy. Oh that God would keep me from giving way to sinful dejection, which may hinder my usefulness.
“Wednesday, Oct. 30. My soul was refreshed with a view of the continuance of God’s blessed work among the Indians.
“Thursday, Oct. 31. Spent most of the day in writing: enjoyed not much spiritual comfort; but was not so much sunk with melancholy as at some other times.”
“Friday, Nov. 1. See the public Journal.
“Saturday, Nov. 2. Spent the day with the Indians, and wrote some things of importance; and longed to do more for God than I did or could do in this present and imperfect state.”
Nov. 3, and 4. See the public Journal. Tuesday, Nov. 5. He left the Indians, and spent the remaining part of this week in travelling to various parts of New Jersey, in order to get a collection for the use of the Indians, and to obtain a schoolmaster to instruct them. And in the mean time he speaks of very sweet refreshment and entertainment with Christian friends, and of his being sweetly employed, while riding, in meditation on divine subjects; his heart being enlarged, his mind clear, his spirit refreshed with divine truths, and his “heart burning within him, while he went by the way and the Lord opened to him the Scriptures.”
“Lord’s day, Nov. 10. [At Elizabeth-town.] Was comfortable in the morning, both in body and mind: preached in the forenoon from 2 Cor. v. 20. ‘Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,’ &c. God was pleased to give me freedom and fervency in my discourse; and the presence of God seemed to be in the assembly; numbers were affected, and there were many tears among them. In the afternoon preached from Luke xiv. 22. ‘And yet there is room.’ Was favoured with divine assistance in the first prayer, and poured out my soul to God with a filial temper of mind; the living God also assisted me in the sermon.”
The next day he went to New-town on Long Island, to a meeting of the Presbytery. He speaks of some sweet meditations he had while there, on “Christ delivering up the kingdom to the Father;” and of his soul being much refreshed and warmed with the consideration of that blissful day.
“Friday, Nov. 15. Could not cross the ferry by reason of the violence of the wind; nor could I enjoy any place of retirement at the ferry-house; so that I was in perplexity. Yet God gave me some satisfaction and sweetness in meditation, and in lifting up my heart to him in the midst of company. And although some were drinking and talking profanely, which was indeed a grief to me, yet my mind was calm and composed. And I could not but bless God, that I was not like to spend an eternity in such company. In the evening I sat down and wrote with composure and freedom; and can say (through pure grace) it was a comfortable evening to my soul, an evening I was enabled to spend in the service of God.
“Saturday, Nov. 16. Crossed the ferry about ten o’clock; arrived at Elizabeth-town near night. Was in a calm, composed frame of mind, and felt an entire resignation with respect to a loss I had lately sustained, in having my horse stolen from me the last Wednesday night, at New-town. Had some longings of soul for the dear people of Elizabeth-town, that God would pour out his Spirit upon them, and revive his work amongst them.”
He spent the four next days at Elizabeth-town, for the most part in a free and comfortable state of mind, intensely engaged in the service of God, and enjoying, at some times, the special assistances of his Spirit. On Thursday, this week, he rode to Freehold, and spent the day under considerable dejection.
“Friday, Nov. 22. Rode to Mr. Tennent’s, and from thence to Crossweeksung. Had but little freedom in meditation, while riding; which was a grief and burden to my soul. Oh that I could fill up all my time, whether in the house or by the way, for God! I was enabled, I think, this day to give up my soul to God, and put over all my concerns into his hands; and found some real consolation in the thought of being entirely at the divine disposal, and having no will or interest of my own. I have received my all from God; oh that I could return my all to God! Surely God is worthy of my highest affection, and most devout adoration; he is infinitely worthy, that I should make him my last end, and live for ever to him. Oh that I might never more, in any one instance, live to myself!
“Saturday, Nov. 23. Visited my people; spent the day with them: wrote some things of importance. But was pretty much dejected most of the day.”
There is nothing very material in his diary for the four next days, but what is also in his public Journal.
“Thursday, Nov. 28. I enjoyed some divine comfort and fervency in the public exercise, and afterwards. And while riding to my lodgings, was favoured with some sweet meditations on Luke ix. 31. ‘Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.’ My thoughts ran with freedom, and I saw and felt what a glorious subject the death of CHRIST is for glorified souls to dwell upon in their conversation. Oh, the death of CHRIST! how infinitely precious!”
For the three next days, see the public Journal.
“Monday, Dec. 2. Was much affected with grief, that I had not lived more to God; and felt strong resolutions to double my diligence in my Master’s service.”
After this he went to a meeting of the Presbytery at a place in New Jersey called Connecticut-Farms; which occasioned his absence from his people the remainder of this week. He speaks of some seasons of sweetness, solemnity, and spiritual affection in his absence. Lord’s day, Dec. 8. See his public Journal.
“Monday, Dec. 9. Spent most of the day in procuring provisions, in order to my setting up house-keeping among the Indians. Enjoyed little satisfaction through the day, being very much out of my element.
“Tuesday, Dec. 10. Was engaged in the same business as yesterday. Towards night, got into my own house. 397397 This is the third house that he built to dwell in by himself among the Indians: the first at Kaunaumeek in the county of Albany; the second at the Forks of Delaware in Pennsylvania, and now this at Crossweeksung in New Jersey.
“Wednesday, Dec. 11. Spent the forenoon in necessary labour about my house. In the afternoon, rode out upon business, and spent the evening with some satisfaction among friends in conversation on a serious and profitable subject.”
Thursday, Dec. 12. See his public Journal.
“Friday, Dec. 13. Spent the day mainly in labour about my house. In the evening, spent some time in writing; but was very weary, and much outdone with the labour of the day.
“Saturday, Dec. 14. Rose early, and wrote by candlelight some considerable time: spent most of the day in writing; but was somewhat dejected. In the evening was exercised with a pain in my head.”
For the two next days see his public Journal. The remainder of this week he spent chiefly in writing: some part of the time under a degree of melancholy; but some part of it with a sweet ardency in religion.
“Saturday, Dec. 21. After my labours with the Indians, I spent some time in writing some things divine and solemn; and was much wearied with the labours of the day; found that my spirits were extremely spent, and that I could do no more. I am conscious to myself that my labours are as great and constant as my nature will bear, and that ordinarily I go to the extent of my strength; so that I do all I can: but the misery is, I do not labour with that heavenly temper, that single eye to the glory of God, that I long for.”
Lord’s day, Dec. 22. See the public Journal.
“Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 23 and 24. Spent these days in writing, with the utmost diligence. Felt in the main a sweet mortification to the world, and a desire to live and labour only for God; but wanted more warmth and spirituality, a more sensible and affectionate regard to the glory of God.”
Wednesday, Dec. 25. See the public Journal.
“Thursday and Friday, Dec. 26 and 27. Laboured in my studies, to the utmost of my strength; and though I felt a steady disposition of mind to live to God, and that I had nothing in this world to live for; yet I did not find that sensible affection in the service of God, that I wanted to have; my heart seemed barren, though my head and hands were full of labour.”
“Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1746. I am this day beginning a new year; and God has carried me through numerous trials and labours in the past. He has amazingly supported my feeble frame; for ‘having obtained help of God, I continue to this day.’ O that I might live nearer to God this year than I did the last! The business to which I have been called, and which I have been enabled to go through, I know, has been as great as nature could bear up under, and what would have sunk and overcome me quite, without special support. But alas, alas! though I have done the labours, and endured the trials, with what spirit have I done the one, and borne the other? how cold has been the frame of my heart oftentimes! and how little have I sensibly eyed the glory of God, in all my doings and sufferings! I have found that I could have no peace without filling up all my time with labours; and thus ‘necessity has been laid upon me;’ yea, in that respect, I have loved to labour: but the misery is, I could not sensibly labour for God, as I would have done. May I for the future be enabled more sensibly to make the glory of God my all!”
For the space from this time till the next Monday, see the public Journal.
“Monday, Jan. 6. Being very weak in body, I rode for my health. While riding, my thoughts were sweetly engaged, for a time, upon ‘the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which brake in pieces’ all before it, and ‘waxed great, and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth;’ and I longed that Jesus should ‘take to himself his great power, and reign to the ends of the earth.’ And oh, how sweet were the moments, wherein I felt my soul warm with hopes of the enlargement of the Redeemer’s kingdom! I wanted nothing else but that Christ should reign, to the glory of his blessed name.”
The next day he complains of want of fervency.
“Wednesday, Jan. 8. In the evening my heart was drawn out after God in secret: my soul was refreshed and quickened; and, I trust, faith was in exercise. I had great hopes of the ingathering of precious souls to Christ; not only among my own people, but others also. I was sweetly resigned and composed under my bodily weakness; and was willing to live or die, and desirous to labour for God to the utmost of my strength.
“Thursday, Jan. 9. Was still very weak, and much exercised with vapoury disorders. In the evening enjoyed some enlargement and spirituality in prayer. Oh that I could always spend my time profitably, both in health and weakness!
“Friday, Jan. 10. My soul was in a sweet, calm, composed frame, and my heart filled with love to all the world; and Christian simplicity and tenderness seemed then to prevail and reign within me. Near night visited a serious baptist minister, and had some agreeable conversation with him; and found that I could taste God in friends.”
For the four next days see the public Journal.
“Wednesday, Jan. 15. My spirits were very low and flat, and I could not but think I was a burden to God’s earth; and could scarcely look any body in the face, through shame and sense of barrenness. God pity a poor unprofitable creature!”
The two next days he had some comfort and refreshment. For the two following days see the public Journal. The next day he set out on a journey to Elizabeth-town, to confer with the Correspondents, at their meeting there; and enjoyed much spiritual refreshment from day to day, through this week. The things expressed in this space of time, are such as these; serenity, composure, sweetness, and tenderness of soul; thanksgiving to God for his success among the Indians; delight in prayer and praise; sweet and profitable meditations on various divine subjects; longing for more love, for more vigour to live to God, for a life more entirely devoted to him, that he might spend all his time profitably for God and in his cause; conversing on spiritual subjects with affection; and lamentation for unprofitableness.
“Lord’s day, Jan. 26. [At Connecticut-Farms.] Was calm and composed. Was made sensible of my utter inability to preach without divine help; and was in some good measure willing to leave it with God, to give or withhold assistance, as he saw would be most for his own glory. Was favoured with a considerable degree of assistance in my public work. After public worship, I was in a sweet and solemn frame of mind, thankful to God that he had made me in some measure faithful in addressing precious souls, but grieved that I had been no more fervent in my work; and was tenderly affected towards all the world, longing that every sinner might be saved; and could not have entertained any bitterness towards the worst enemy living. In the evening rode to Elizabeth-town: while riding was almost constantly engaged in lifting up my heart to God, lest I should lose that sweet heavenly solemnity and composure of soul I then enjoyed. Afterwards was pleased to think that God reigneth; and thought I could never be uneasy with any of his dispensations; but must be entirely satisfied, whatever trials he should cause me or his church to encounter. Never felt more sedateness, divine serenity, and composure of mind; could freely have left the dearest earthly friend, for the society of ‘angels, and spirits of just men made perfect:’ my affections soared aloft to the blessed Author of every dear enjoyment. I viewed the emptiness and unsatisfactory nature of the most desirable earthly objects, any further than God is seen in them: and longed for a life of spirituality and inward purity; without which, I saw, there could be no true pleasure.”
He retained a great degree of this excellent frame of mind the four next days. As to his public services for and among the Indians, and his success at this time, see the public Journal.
“Saturday, Feb. 1. Towards night enjoyed some of the clearest thoughts on a divine subject, (viz. that treated of 1 Cor. xv. 13 16. ‘But if there be no resurrection of the dead,’ &c.) that ever I remember to have had upon any subject whatsoever; and spent two or three hours in writing them. I was refreshed with this intenseness: my mind was so engaged in these meditations, I could scarcely turn it to any thing else; and indeed I could not be willing to part with so sweet an entertainment.
“Lord’s day, Feb. 2. After public worship, my bodily strength being much spent, my spirits sunk amazingly; and especially on hearing that I was so generally taken to be a Roman catholic, sent by the papists to draw the Indians into an insurrection against the English, that some were in fear of me, and others were for having me taken up by authority and punished. Alas, what will not the devil do to bring a slur and disgrace on the work of God! Oh, how holy and circumspect had I need to be! Through divine goodness, I have been enabled to ’mind my own business,’ in these parts, as well as elsewhere; and to let all men, and all denominations of men, alone, as to their party notions; and only preached the plain and necessary truths of Christianity, neither inviting to, nor excluding from, my meeting any, of any sort or persuasion whatsoever. Towards night the Lord gave me freedom at the throne of grace, in my first prayer before my catechetical lecture: and in opening the 46th Psalm to my people, my soul confided in God, although the wicked world should slander and persecute me, or even condemn and execute me as a traitor to my king and country. Truly God is a ‘present help in time of trouble.’ In the evening my soul was in some measure comforted, having some hope that one poor soul was brought home to God this day; though the case did by no means appear clear. Oh that I could fill up every moment of time, during my abode here below, in the service of my God and King.
“Monday, Feb. 3. My spirits were still much sunk with what I heard the day before, of my being suspected to be engaged in the Pretender’s interest: it grieved me, that after there had been so much evidence of a glorious work of grace among these poor Indians, as that the most carnal men could not but take notice of the great change made among them, so many poor souls should still suspect the whole to be only a popish plot, and so cast an awful reproach on this blessed work of the divine Spirit; and at the time wholly exclude themselves from receiving any benefit by this divine influence. This put me upon searching whether I had ever dropped any thing inadvertently, that might give occasion to any to suspect that I was stirring up the Indians against the English: and could think of nothing, unless it was my attempting sometimes to vindicate the rights of the Indians, and complaining of the horrid practice of making the Indians drunk, and then cheating them out of their lands and other properties: and once, I remembered, I had done this with too much warmth of spirit, which much distressed me; thinking that it might possibly prejudice them against this work of grace, to their everlasting destruction. God, I believe, did me good by this trial; which served to humble me, and show me the necessity of watchfulness, and of being ‘wise as a serpent,’ as well as ‘harmless as a dove.’ This exercise led me often to the throne of grace; and there I found some support; though I could not get the burden wholly removed. Was assisted in prayer, especially in the evening.”
He remained still under a degree of exercise of mind about this affair; which continued to have the same effect upon him, to cause him to reflect upon, and humble himself, and frequent the throne of grace: but soon found himself much more relieved and supported. He was, this week, in an extremely weak state, and obliged (as he expresses it) “to consume considerable time in diversions for his health.” For Saturday, Feb. 7. and the sabbath following, see his public Journal.
The Monday after he set out on a journey to the Forks of Delaware, to visit the Indians there. He performed the journey under great weakness, and sometimes was exercised with much pain; but says nothing of dejection and melancholy. He arrived at his own house at the Forks on Friday. The things appertaining to his inward frames and exercises, expressed within this week, are, sweet composure of mind; thankfulness to God for his mercies to him and others; resignation to the divine will; comfort in prayer and religious conversation; his heart drawn out after God, and affected with a sense of his own barrenness, as well as the fulness and freeness of divine grace.
“Lord’s day, Feb. 16 In the evening was in a sweet composed flame of mind. It was exceeding refreshing and comfortable to think that God had been with me, affording me some good measure of assistance. I then found freedom and sweetness in prayer and thanksgiving to God; and found my soul sweetly engaged and enlarged in prayer for dear friends and acquaintance. Blessed be the name of the Lord, that ever I am enabled to do any thing for his dear interest and kingdom. Blessed be God who enables me to he faithful. Enjoyed more resolution and courage for God, and more refreshment of spirit, than I have been favoured with for many weeks past.
“Monday, Feb. 17. I was refreshed and encouraged: found a spirit of prayer, in the evening, and earnest longings for the illumination and conversion of these poor Indians.”
Tuesday, Feb. 18. See the public Journal.
“Wednesday, Feb. 19. My heart was comforted and refreshed, and my soul filled with longings for the conversion of the Indians here.
“Thursday, Feb. 20. God was pleased to support and refresh my spirits, by affording me assistance this day, and so hopeful a prospect of success. I returned home rejoicing and blessing the name of the Lord; found freedom and sweetness afterwards in secret prayer, and had my soul drawn out for dear friends. Oh, how blessed a thing is it, to labour for God faithfully, and with encouragement of success! Blessed be the Lord for ever and ever, for the assistance and comfort granted this day.
“Friday, Feb. 21. My soul was refreshed and comforted, and I could not but bless God, who had enabled me in some good measure to be faithful in the day past. Oh, how sweet it is to be spent and worn out for God!
“Saturday, Feb. 22. My spirits were much supported, though my bodily strength was much wasted. Oh that God would be gracious to the souls of these poor Indians!
“God has been very gracious to me this week: he has enabled me to preach every day; and has given me some assistance, and encouraging prospect of success in almost every sermon. Blessed be his name. Divers of the white people have been awakened this week, and sundry of the Indians much cured of prejudices and jealousies they had conceived against Christianity, and some seem to be really awakened.”
Lord’s day, Feb. 23. See the public Journal. The next day, he left the Forks of Delaware, to return to Crossweeksung; and spent the whole week till Saturday, before he arrived there; but preached by the way every day, excepting one; and was several times greatly assisted; and had much inward comfort, and earnest longings to fill up all his time in the service of God. He utters such expressions as these, after preaching: “Oh that I may be enabled to plead the cause of God faithfully, to my dying moment! Oh how sweet it would be to spend myself wholly for God, and in his cause, and to be freed from selfish motives in my labours.”
For Saturday and Lord’s day, March 1 and 2, see the public Journal. The four next days were spent in great bodily weakness; but he speaks of some seasons of considerable inward comfort.
“Thursday, March 6. I walked alone in the evening, and enjoyed sweetness and comfort in prayer, beyond what I have of late enjoyed: my soul rejoiced in my pilgrimage state, and I was delighted with the thoughts of labouring and enduring hardness for God: felt some longing desires to preach the gospel to dear immortal souls; and confided in God, that he would be with me in my work, and that he ‘never would leave nor forsake me,’ to the end of my race. Oh, may I obtain mercy of God to be faithful to my dying moment!
“Friday, March 7. In the afternoon went on in my work with freedom and cheerfulness, God assisting me; and enjoyed comfort in the evening.”
For the two next days see the public Journal.
“Monday, March 10. My soul was refreshed with freedom and enlargement; and I hope, the lively exercise of faith, in secret prayer, this night; my will was sweetly resigned to the divine will, and my hopes respecting the enlargement of the dear kingdom of Christ somewhat raised, and could commit Zion’s cause to God as his own.”
On Tuesday he speaks of some sweetness and spirituality in Christian conversation. On Wednesday complains that he enjoyed not much comfort and satisfaction, through the day, because he did but little for God. On Thursday, spent considerable time in company, on a special occasion; but in perplexity, because without savoury religious conversation. For Friday, Saturday, and Lord’s day, see the public Journal.
In the former part of the week following he was very ill; and also under great dejection; being, as he apprehended, rendered unserviceable by illness, and fearing that he should never be serviceable any more; and therefore exceedingly longed for death. But afterwards was more encouraged, and life appeared more desirable, because, as he says, he “had a little dawn of hope, that he might be useful in the world.” In the latter part of the week he was in some measure relieved of his illness, in the use of means prescribed by a physician. For Saturday and Lord’s day, March 22 and 23, see his public Journal.
“Monday, March 24. After the Indians were gone to their work, to clear their lands, I got alone, and poured out my soul to God, that he would smile upon these feeble beginnings, and that he would settle an Indian town, that might be a mountain of holiness; and found my soul much refreshed in these petitions, and much enlarged for Zion’s interest, and for numbers of dear friends in particular. My sinking spirits were revived and raised, and I felt animated in the service God has called me to. This was the dearest hour I have enjoyed for many days, if not weeks. I found an encouraging hope, that something would be done for God, and that God would use and help me in his work. And oh, how sweet were the thoughts of labouring for God, when I felt any spirit and courage, and had any hope that ever I should be succeeded!”
The next day his schoolmaster was taken sick with a pleurisy; and he spent great part of the remainder of this week in attending him: which in his weak state was almost an overbearing burden; he being obliged constantly to wait upon him, from day to day, and to lie on the floor at night. His spirits sunk in a considerable degree, with his bodily strength, under this burden. For Saturday and Lord’s day, March 29 and 30, see the public Journal.
“Monday, March 31. Towards night enjoyed some sweet meditations on those words: ‘It is good for me to draw near to God.’ My soul, I think, had some sweet sense of what is intended in those words.”
The next day he was extremely busy in tending the schoolmaster, and in some other necessary affairs, that greatly diverted him from what he looked upon as his proper business: but yet speaks of comfort and refreshment at some times of the day.
“Wednesday, April 2. Was somewhat exercised with a spiritless frame of mind; but was a little relieved and refreshed in the evening with meditation alone in the woods. But, alas! my days pass away as the chaff! it is but little I do, or can do, that turns to any account; and it is my constant misery and burden, that I am so fruitless in the vineyard of the Lord. Oh that I were spirit, that I might be active for God. This, (I think,) more than any thing else, makes me long, that ‘this corruptible might put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality.’ God deliver me from clogs, fetters, and a body of death, that impede my service for him.”
The next day he complains bitterly of some exercises by corruption he found in his own heart.
“Friday, April 4. Spent most of the day in writing on Rev. xxii. 17. ‘And whosoever will,’ &c. Enjoyed some freedom and encouragement in my work; and found some comfort in prayer.
“Saturday, April 5. After public worship a number of my dear Christian Indians came to my house; with whom I felt a sweet union of soul. My heart was knit to them; and I cannot say I have felt such a sweet and fervent lure to the brethren for some time past; and I saw in them appearances of the same love. This gave me something of a view of the heavenly state; and particularly that part of the happiness of heaven, which consists in the communion of saints: and this was affecting to me.”
For the two next days see the public Journal. On Tuesday he went to a meeting of the Presbytery appointed at Elizabeth-town. In his way thither he enjoyed some sweet meditations; but after he came there he was (as he expresses it) very vapoury and melancholy, and under an awful gloom, that oppressed his mind. And this continued till Saturday evening, when he began to have some relief and encouragement. He spent the sabbath at Staten-Island; where he preached to an assembly of Dutch and English, and enjoyed considerable refreshment and comfort, both in public and private. In the evening he returned to Elizabeth-town.
“Monday, April 14. My spirits this day were raised and refreshed, and my mind composed, so that I was in a comfortable frame of soul most of the day. In the evening my head was clear, my mind serene; I enjoyed sweetness in secret prayer, and meditation on Ps. lxxiii. 28. ‘But it is good for me to draw near to God,’ &c. Oh, how free, how comfortable, cheerful, and yet solemn, do I feel when I am in a good measure freed from those damps and melancholy glooms, that I often labour under! And blessed be the Lord, I find myself relieved in this respect.
“Tuesday, April 15. My soul longed for more spirituality; and it was my burden, that I could do no more for God. Oh, my barrenness is my daily affliction and heavy load! Oh, how precious is time: and how it pains me, to see it slide away, while I do so very little to any good purpose! Oh that God would make me more fruitful and spiritual.“
The next day he speaks of his being almost overwhelmed with vapoury disorders; but yet not so as wholly to destroy the composure of his mind.
“Thursday, April 17. Enjoyed some comfort in prayer, some freedom in meditation, and composure in my studies. Spent some time in writing in the forenoon. In the afternoon spent some time in conversation with several dear ministers. In the evening preached from Ps. lxxiii. 28. ‘But it is good for me to draw near to God.’ God helped me to feel the truth of my text, both in the first prayer and in sermon. I was enabled to pour out my soul to God, with great freedom, fervency, and affection; and blessed be the Lord, it was a comfortable season to me. I was enabled to speak with tenderness, and yet with faithfulness; and divine truths seemed to fall with weight and influence upon the hearers. My heart was melted for the dear assembly, and I loved every body in it; and scarce ever felt more love to immortal souls in my life: my soul cried, ‘Oh that the dear creatures might be saved! O that God would have mercy on them!’”
He seems to have been in a very comfortable frame of mind the two next days.
“Lord’s day, April 20. 399399 This day he entered into the 29th year of his age Enjoyed some freedom, and, I hope, exercise of faith in prayer, in the morning; especially when I came to pray for Zion. I was free from that gloomy discouragement that so often oppresses my mind; and my soul rejoiced in the hopes of Zion’s prosperity, and the enlargement of the dear kingdom of the great Redeemer. Oh that his kingdom might come.
“Monday, April 21. Was composed and comfortable in mind most of the day; and was mercifully freed from those gloomy damps that I am frequently exercised with. Had freedom and comfort in prayer several times; and especially had some rising hopes of Zion’s enlargement and prosperity. Oh, how refreshing were these hopes to my soul! Oh that the kingdom of the dear Lord might come. Oh that the poor Indians might quickly be gathered in, in great numbers!
“Tuesday, April 22. My mind was remarkably free this day from melancholy damps and glooms, and animated in my work. I found such fresh vigour and resolution in the service of God, that the mountains seemed to become a plain before me. Oh, blessed be God for an interval of refreshment, and fervent resolution in my Lord’s work! In the evening my soul was refreshed in secret prayer, and my heart drawn out for divine blessings; especially for the church of God, and his interest among my own people, and for dear friends in remote places. Oh that Zion might prosper, and precious souls he brought home to God!”
In this comfortable, fervent frame of mind he remained the two next days. For the four days next following, viz. Friday, Saturday, Lord’s day, and Monday, see his public Journal. On Tuesday he went to Elizabeth-town, to attend the meeting of the Presbytery there: and seemed to spend the time while absent from his people on this occasion, in a free and comfortable state of mind.
“Saturday, May 3. Rode from Elizabeth-town home to my people, at or near Cranberry; whither they are now removed, and where, I hope, God will settle them as a Christian congregation. Was refreshed in lifting up my heart to God, while riding; and enjoyed a thankful frame of spirit for divine favours received the week past. Was somewhat uneasy and dejected in the evening; having no house of my own to go into in this place: but God was my support.”
For Lord’s day and Monday see the public Journal.
“Tuesday, May 6. Enjoyed some spirit and courage in my work; was in a good measure free from melancholy: blessed be God for freedom from this death.
“Wednesday, May 7. Spent most of the day in writing, as usual. Enjoyed some freedom in my work. Was favoured with some comfortable meditations this day. In the evening was in a sweet composed frame of mind; was pleased and delighted to leave all with God, respecting myself, for time and eternity, and respecting the people of my charge, and dear friends. Had no doubt but that God would take care of me, and of his own interest among my people; and was enabled to use freedom in prayer, as a child with a tender father. Oh, how sweet is such a frame!
“Thursday, May 8. In the evening was somewhat refreshed with divine things, and enjoyed a tender, melting frame in secret prayer, wherein my soul was drawn out for the interest of Zion, and comforted with the lively hope of the appearing of the kingdom of the great Redeemer. These were sweet moments: I felt almost loth to go to bed, and grieved that sleep was necessary. However, I lay down with a tender, reverential fear of God, sensible that ‘his favour is life,’ and his smiles better than all that earth can boast of, infinitely better than life itself.”
Friday, May 9. See the public Journal.
“Saturday, May 10. Rode to Allen’s-town, to assist in the administration of the Lord’s supper. In the afternoon preached from Tit. ii. 14. ‘Who gave himself for us,’ &c. God was pleased to carry me through with some competency of freedom; and yet to deny me that enlargement and power I longed for. In the evening my soul mourned, and could not but mourn, that I had treated so excellent a subject in so defective a manner; that I had borne so broken a testimony for so worthy and glorious a Redeemer. And if my discourse had met with the utmost applause from all the world, (as I accidentally heard it applauded by some persons of judgment,) it would not have given me any satisfaction. Oh, it grieved me to think, that I had had no more holy warmth and fervency, that I had been no more melted in discoursing of Christ’s death, and the end and design of it! Afterwards enjoyed some freedom and fervency in secret and family prayer, and longed much for the presence of God to attend his word and ordinances the next day.
“Lord’s day, May 11. Assisted in the administration of the Lord’s supper; but enjoyed little enlargement: was grieved and sunk with some things I thought undesirable, &c. In the afternoon went to the house of God weak and sick in soul, as well as feeble in body: and longed that the people might be entertained and edified with divine truths, and that an honest fervent testimony might be borne for God; but knew not how it was possible for me to do any thing of that kind, to any good purpose. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, was pleased to give me assistance, both in prayer and preaching. God helped me to wrestle for his presence in prayer, and to tell him that he had promised, ‘Where two or three are met together in his name, there he would be in the midst of them;’ and that we were, at least some of us, so met; and pleaded, that for his truth’s sake he would be with us. And blessed be God, it was sweet to my soul thus to plead, and rely on God’s promises. Discoursed upon Luke ix. 30, 31. ‘And behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias; who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.’ Enjoyed special freedom, from the beginning to the end of my discourse, without interruption. Things pertinent to the subject were abundantly presented to my view; and such a fulness of matter, that I scarce knew how to dismiss the various heads and particulars I had occasion to touch upon. And, blessed be the Lord, I was favoured with some fervency and power, as well as freedom; so that the word of God seemed to awaken the attention of a stupid audience, to a considerable degree. I was inwardly refreshed with the consolations of God; and could with my whole heart say, ‘Though there be no fruit in the vine, &c. yet will I rejoice in the Lord.’ After public service, was refreshed with the sweet conversation of some Christian friends.”
The four next days seem to have been mostly spent with spiritual comfort and profit.
“Friday, May 16. Near night enjoyed some agreeable and sweet conversation with a dear minister, which, I trust, was blessed to my soul. My heart was warmed, and my soul engaged to live to God; so that I longed to exert myself with more vigour than ever I had done in his cause: and those words were quickening to me, ‘Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit.’ Oh, my soul longed, and wished, and prayed, to be enabled to live to God with utmost constancy and ardour! In the evening God was pleased to shine upon me in secret prayer, and draw out my soul after himself; and I had freedom in supplication for myself, but much more in intercession for others: so that I was sweetly constrained to say, ‘Lord, use me as thou wilt; do as thou wilt with me: but oh, promote thine own cause! Zion is thine; oh visit thine heritage! Let thy kingdom come! Oh let thy blessed interest be advanced in the world!’ When I attempted to look to God, respecting my worldly circumstances, and his providential dealings with me, in regard of my settling down in my congregation, which seems to be necessary, and yet very difficult, and contrary to my fixed intention for years past, as well as my disposition which has been, and still is, at times especially, to go forth, and spend my life in preaching the gospel from place to place, and gathering souls afar off to Jesus the great Redeemer I could only say, ‘The will of the Lord be done; it is no matter for me.’ The same frame of mind I felt with respect to another important affair I have lately had some serious thoughts of: I could say, with utmost calmness and composure, ‘Lord, if it be most for thy glory, let me proceed in it; but if thou seest that it will in any wise hinder my usefulness in thy cause; oh prevent my proceeding: for all I want, respecting this world, is such circumstances as may best capacitate me to do service for God in the world.’ But blessed be God, I enjoyed liberty in prayer for my dear flock, and was enabled to pour out my soul into the bosom of a tender Father: my heart within me was melted, when I came to plead for my dear people, and for the kingdom of Christ in general. Oh, how sweet was this evening to my soul! I knew not how to go to bed; and when got to bed, longed for some way to improve time for God, to some excellent purpose. Bless the Lord, O my soul.
“Saturday, May 17. Walked out in the morning, and felt much of the same frame I enjoyed the evening before: had my heart enlarged in praying for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, and found the utmost freedom in leaving all my concerns with God.
“I find discouragement to be an exceeding hinderance to my spiritual fervency and affection: but when God enables me sensibly to find that I have done something for him, this refreshes and animates me, so that I could break through all hardships, undergo any labours, and nothing seems too much either to do or to suffer. But oh, what a death it is, to strive, and strive; to be always in a hurry, and yet do nothing, or at least nothing for GOD! Alas, alas, that time flies away, and I do so little for God!
“Lord’s day, May 18. I felt my own utter insufficiency for my work: God made me to see that I was a child; yea, that I was a fool. I discoursed, both parts of the day, from Rev. iii. 20. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” God gave me freedom and power in the latter part of my forenoon’s discourse: although, in the former part of it, I felt peevish and provoked with the unmannerly behaviour of the white people, who crowded in between my people and me; which proved a great temptation to me. But blessed be God, I got these shackles off before the middle of my discourse, and was favoured with a sweet frame of spirit in the latter part of the exercise; was full of love, warmth, and tenderness, in addressing my dear people. In the intermission-season, could not but discourse to my people on the kindness and patience of Christ in standing and knocking at the door, &c. In the evening I was grieved that I had done so little for God. Oh that I could be a flame of fire in the service of my God!”
Monday, May 19. See the public Journal. On Tuesday he complains of want of freedom and comfort; but had some return of these on Wednesday.
“Thursday, May 22. In the evening was in a frame somewhat remarkable: had apprehended for several days before, that it was the design of Providence I should settle among my people here; and had in my own mind begun to make provision for it, and to contrive means to hasten it; and found my heart something engaged in it, hoping I might then enjoy more agreeable circumstances of life, in several respects: and yet was never fully determined, never quite pleased with the thoughts of being settled and confined to one place. Nevertheless I seemed to have some freedom in that respect, because the congregation I thought of settling with, was one that God had enabled me to gather from amongst pagans. For I never, since I began to preach, could feel any freedom to ‘enter into other men’s labours,’ and settle down in the ministry where the ‘gospel was preached before.’ I never could make that appear to be my province: when I felt any disposition to consult my ease and worldly comfort, God has never given me any liberty in that respect, either since or for some years before I began to preach. But God having succeeded my labours, and made me instrumental in gathering a church for him among these Indians, I was ready to think, it might be his design to give me a quiet settlement and a stated home of my own. And this, considering the late frequent sinking and failure of my spirits, and the need I stood in of some agreeable society, and my great desire of enjoying conveniencies and opportunities for profitable studies, was not altogether disagreeable to me. Although I still wanted to go about far and wide, in order to spread the blessed gospel among benighted souls, far remote; yet I never had been so willing to settle in any one place, for more than five years past, as I was in the foregoing part of this week. But now these thoughts seemed to be wholly dashed to pieces; not by necessity, but of choice: for it appeared to me, that God’s dealings towards me had fitted me for a life of solitariness and hardship; and that I had nothing to lose, nothing to do with earth, and consequently nothing to lose by a total renunciation of it. It appeared to me just right, that I should be destitute of house and home, and many comforts of life, which I rejoiced to see others of God’s people enjoy. And at the same time, I saw so much of the excellency of Christ’s kingdom, and the infinite desirableness of its advancement in the world, that it swallowed up all my other thoughts; and made me willing, yea, even rejoice, to be made a pilgrim or hermit in the wilderness, to my dying moment, if I might thereby promote the blessed interest of the great Redeemer. And if ever my soul presented itself to God for his service, without any reserve of any kind, it did so now. The language of my thoughts and disposition now was, ’Here I am, Lord, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort in earth, or earthly comfort; send me even to death itself, if it be but in thy service, and to promote thy kingdom.’ And at the same time I had as quick and lively a sense of the value of worldly comforts, as ever I had; but only saw them infinitely overmatched by the worth of Christ’s kingdom, and the propagation of his blessed gospel. The quiet settlement, the certain place of abode, the tender friendship, which I thought I might be likely to enjoy in consequence of such circumstances, appeared as valuable to me, considered absolutely and in themselves, as ever before; but considered comparatively, they appeared nothing. Compared with the value and preciousness of an enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, they vanished like the stars before the rising sun. And sure I am, that although the comfortable accommodations of life appeared valuable and dear to me, yet I did surrender and resign myself, soul and body, to the service of God, and promotion of Christ’s kingdom: though it should be in the loss of them all. And I could not do any other, because I could not will or choose any other. I was constrained, and yet chose, to say, ‘Farewell, friends and earthly comforts, the dearest of them all, the very dearest, if the Lord calls for it; adieu, adieu; I will spend my life, to my latest moments, in caves and dens of the earth, if the kingdom of Christ may thereby be advanced.’ I found extraordinary freedom at this time in pouring out my soul to God, for his cause; and especially that his kingdom might be extended among the Indians, far remote; and I had a great and strong hope, that God would do it. I continued wrestling with God in prayer for my dear little flock here; and more especially for the Indians elsewhere; as well as for dear friends in one place and another; till it was bed-time, and I feared I should hinder the family, &c. But oh, with what reluctancy did I find myself obliged to consume time in sleep! I longed to be as a flame of fire, continually glowing in the divine service, preaching and building up Christ’s kingdom, to my latest, my dying moment.
“Friday, May 23. In the morning was in the same frame of mind as in the evening before. The glory of Christ’s kingdom so much outshone the pleasure of earthly accommodations and enjoyments, that they appeared comparatively nothing, though in themselves good and desirable. My soul was melted in secret meditation and prayer, and I found myself divorced from any part in this world: so that in those affairs that seemed of the greatest importance to me, in respect of the present life, and those wherein the tender powers of the mind are most sensibly touched, I could only say, ‘The will of the Lord be done.’ But just the same things that I felt the evening before, I felt now; and found the same freedom in prayer for the people of my charge, for the propagation of the gospel among the Indians, and for the enlargement and spiritual welfare of Zion in general, and my dear friends in particular, now, as I did then; and longed to burn out in one continued flame for God. Retained much of the same frame through the day. In the evening was visited by my brother John Brainerd; the first visit I have ever received from any near relative since I have been a missionary. Felt the same frame of spirit in the evening as in the morning; and found that ‘it was good for me to draw near to God,’ and leave all my concerns and burdens with him. Was enlarged and refreshed in pouring out my soul for the propagation of the gospel of the Redeemer among the distant tribes of Indians. Blessed be God. If ever I filled up a day with studies and devotion, I was enabled so to fill up this day.
“Saturday, May 24. Enjoyed this day something of the same frame of mind as I felt the day before.”
Lord’s day, May 25. See the public Journal. This week, at least the former part of it, he was in a very weak state: but yet seems to have been free from melancholy, which often had attended the failing of his bodily strength. He from time to time speaks of comfort and inward refreshment, this week. Lord’s day, June 1. See the public Journal.
“Monday, June 2. In the evening enjoyed some freedom in secret prayer and meditation.
“Tuesday, June 3. My soul rejoiced, early in the morning, to think, that all things were at God’s disposal. Oh, it pleased me to leave them there! Felt afterwards much as I did on Thursday evening, May 22, last; and continued in this frame for several hours. Walked out into the wilderness, and enjoyed freedom, fervency, and comfort in prayer; and again enjoyed the same in the evening.
“Wednesday, June 4. Spent the day in writing, and enjoyed some comfort, satisfaction, and freedom in my work. In the evening I was favoured with a sweet refreshing frame of soul in secret prayer and meditation. Prayer was now wholly turned into praise, and I could do little else but try to adore and bless the living God. The wonders of his grace displayed in gathering to himself a church among the poor Indians here, were the subject matter of my meditation, and the occasion of exciting my soul to praise and bless his name. My soul was scarce ever more disposed to inquire, ‘What I should render to God for all his benefits, than at this time. Oh, I was brought into a strait, a sweet and happy strait, to know what to do! I longed to make some returns to God; but found I had nothing to return: I could only rejoice, that God had done the work himself; and that none in heaven or earth might pretend to share the honour of it with him. I could only be glad, that God’s declarative glory was advanced by the conversion of these souls, and that it was to the enlargement of his kingdom in the world: but saw I was so poor, that I had nothing to offer to him. My soul and body, through grace, I could cheerfully surrender to him: but it appeared to me, this was rather a cumber than a gift; and nothing could I do to glorify his dear and blessed name. Yet I was glad at heart that he was unchangeably possessed of glory and blessedness. Oh that he might be adored and praised by all his intelligent creatures, to the utmost of their power and capacities! M soul would have rejoiced to see others praise him, though I could do nothing towards it myself.”
The next day he speaks of his being subject to some degree. of melancholy; but of being somewhat relieved in the evening. Friday, June 6. See the public Journal.
“Saturday, June 7. Rode to Freehold to assist Mr. Tennent in the administration of the Lord’s supper. In the afternoon preached from Psal. lxxiii. 28. ‘But it is good for me to draw near to God,’ &c. God gave me some freedom and warmth in my discourse; and I trust his presence was in the assembly. Was comfortably composed, and enjoyed a thankful frame of spirit; and my soul was grieved that I could not render something to God for his benefits bestowed. O that I could be swallowed up in his praise!
“Lord’s day, June 8. Spent much time, in the morning, in secret duties; but between hope and fear, respecting the enjoyment of God in the business of the day then before us. Was agreeably entertained in the forenoon, by a discourse from Mr. Tennent, and felt somewhat melted and refreshed. In the season of communion, enjoyed some comfort; and especially in serving one of the tables. Blessed be the Lord, it was a time of refreshing to me, and I trust to many others. A number of my dear people sat down by themselves at the last table; at which time God seemed to be in the midst of them. And the thoughts of what God had done among them were refreshing and melting to me. In the afternoon God enabled me to preach with uncommon freedom, from 2 Cor. v. 20. ‘Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,’ &c. Through the great goodness of God, I was favoured with a constant flow of pertinent matter, and proper expressions, from the beginning to the end of my discourse. In the evening I could not but rejoice in God, and bless him for the manifestations of grace in the day past. Oh, it was a sweet and solemn day and evening! a season of comfort to the godly, and of awakening to some souls. Oh that I could praise the Lord!
“Monday, June 9. Enjoyed some sweetness in secret duties. Preached the concluding sermon from Gen. v. 24. ‘And Enoch walked with God,’ &c. God gave me enlargement and fervency in my discourse; so that I was enabled to speak with plainness and power; and God’s presence seemed to be in the assembly. Praised be the Lord, it was a sweet meeting, a desirable assembly. I found my strength renewed, and lengthened out, even to a wonder; so that I felt much stronger at the conclusion than in the beginning of this sacramental solemnity. I have great reason to bless God for this solemnity, wherein I have found assistance in addressing others, and sweetness in my own soul.”
On Tuesday he found himself spent and his spirits exhausted by his late labours; and on Wednesday complains of vapoury disorders, and dejection of spirit, and of enjoying but little comfort or spirituality.
“Thursday, June 12. In the evening enjoyed freedom of mind, and some sweetness in secret prayer: it was a desirable season to me; my soul was enlarged in prayer for my own dear people, and for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, and especially for the propagation of the gospel among the Indians, hack in the wilderness. Was refreshed in prayer for dear friends in New England, and elsewhere: I found it sweet to pray at this time; and could with all my heart say, ‘It is good for me to draw near to God.’
“Friday, June 13. I came away from the meeting of the Indians this day, rejoicing and blessing God for his grace manifested at this season.
“Saturday, June 14. Rode to Kingston, to assist the Rev. Mr. Wales in the administration of the Lord’s supper. In the afternoon preached; but, almost fainted in pulpit: yet God strengthened me when I was just gone, and enabled me to speak his word with freedom, fervency, and application to the conscience. And, praised be the Lord, ‘out of weakness I was made strong.’ I enjoyed some sweetness in and after public worship; but was extremely tired. Oh, how many are the mercies of the Lord! ‘To them that have no might, he increaseth strength.’
“Lord’s day, June 15. Was in a dejected, spiritless flume, that I could not hold up my head, nor look any body in the face. Administered the Lord’s supper at Mr. Wales’s desire; and found myself in a good measure unburdened and relieved of my pressing load, when I came to ask a blessing on the elements: here God gave me enlargement, and a tender affectionate sense of spiritual things; so that it was a season of comfort, in some measure, to me, and, I trust, more so to others. In the afternoon preached to a vast multitude, from Rev. xxii. 17. ‘And whosoever will,’ &c. God helped me to offer a testimony for himself, and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting his grace. I was enabled to speak with such freedom, fluency, and clearness, as commanded the attention of the great. Was extremely tired, in the evening, but enjoyed composure and sweetness.
“Monday, June 16. Preached again; and God helped me amazingly, so that this was a sweet, refreshing season to my soul and others. Oh, for ever blessed be God for help afforded at this time, when my body was so weak, and while there was so large an assembly to hear. Spent the afternoon in a comfortable, agreeable manner.”
The next day was spent comfortably. On Wednesday he went to a meeting of ministers at Hopewell. Thursday, June 19. See his public Journal. 400400 The public Journal that has been so often referred to, concludes with the account of this day. On Friday and Saturday he was very much amiss; but yet preached to his people on Saturday. His illness continued on the sabbath; but he preached, notwithstanding, to his people both parts of the day; and after the public worship was ended, he endeavoured to apply divine truths to the consciences of some, and addressed them personally for that end; several were in tears, and some appeared much affected. But he was extremely wearied with the services of the day, and was so ill at night that he could have no bodily rest; but remarks, that “God was his support, and that he was not left destitute of comfort in him.” On Monday he continued very ill, but speaks of his mind being calm and composed, resigned to the divine dispensations, and content with his feeble state. By the account he gives of himself, the remaining part of this week, he continued very feeble, for the most part dejected in mind. He enjoyed no great freedom nor sweetness in spiritual things; excepting that for some very short spaces of time he had refreshment and encouragement, which engaged his heart on divine things; and sometimes his heart was melted with spiritual affection.
“Lord’s day, June 29. Preached, both parts of the day, from John xiv. 19. ‘Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more,’ &c. God was pleased to assist me, to afford me both freedom and power, especially towards the close of my discourses, both forenoon and afternoon. God’s power appeared in the assembly, in both exercises. Numbers of God’s people were refreshed and melted with divine things; one or two comforted, who had been long under distress: convictions, in divers instances, powerfully revived; and one man in years much awakened, who had not long frequented our meeting, and appeared before as stupid as a stock. God amazingly renewed and lengthened out my strength. I was so spent at noon, that I could scarce walk, and all my joints trembled; so that I could not sit, nor so much as hold my hand still: and yet God strengthened me to preach with power in the afternoon; although I had given out word to my people that I did not expect to be able to do it. Spent some time afterwards in conversing, particularly, with several persons, about their spiritual state; and had some satisfaction concerning one or two. Prayed afterwards with a sick child, and gave a word of exhortation. Was assisted in all my work. Blessed be God. Returned home with more health than I went out with; although my linen was wringing wet upon me, from a little after ten in the morning till past five in the afternoon. My spirits also were considerably refreshed; and my soul rejoiced in hope, that I had through grace done something for God. In the evening walked out, and enjoyed a sweet season in secret prayer and praise. But oh, I found the truth of the psalmist’s words, ‘My goodness extendeth not to thee!’ I could not make any returns to God; I longed to live only to him, and to be in tune for his praise and service for ever. Oh, for spirituality and holy fervency, that I might spend and be spent for God to my latest moment!
“Monday, June 30. Spent the day in writing; but under much weakness and disorder. Felt the labours of the preceding day; although my spirits were so refreshed the evening before, that I was not then sensible of my being spent.
“Tuesday, July 1. In the afternoon visited and preached to my people, from Heb. ix. 27. ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die,’ &c. on occasion of some persons lying at the point of death, in my congregation. God gave me some assistance; and his word made some impressions on the audience, in general. This was an agreeable and comfortable evening to my soul: my spirits were somewhat refreshed, with a small degree of freedom and help enjoyed in my work.”
On Wednesday he went to Newark, to a meeting of the Presbytery: complains of lowness of spirits; and greatly laments his spending his time so unfruitfully. The remaining part of the week he spent there and at Elizabeth-town; and speaks of comfort and divine assistance from day to day; but yet greatly complains for want of more spirituality.
“Lord’s day, July 6. [At Elizabeth-town] Enjoyed some composure and serenity of mind in the morning: heard Mr. Dickinson preach in the forenoon, and was refreshed with his discourse; was in a melting frame some part of the time of sermon: partook of the Lord’s supper, and enjoyed some sense of divine things in that ordinance. In the afternoon I preached from Ezek. xxxiii. 11. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God,’ &c. God favoured me with freedom and fervency; and helped me to plead his cause beyond my own power.
“Monday, July 7. My spirits were considerably refreshed and raised in the morning. There is no comfort, I find, in any enjoyment, without enjoying God, and being engaged in his service. In the evening had the most agreeable conversation that ever I remember in all my life, upon God’s being all in all, and all enjoyments being just that to us which God makes them, and no more. It is good to begin and end with God. Oh, how does a sweet solemnity lay a foundation for true pleasure and happiness!
“Tuesday, July 8. Rode home, and enjoyed some agreeable meditations by the way.
“Wednesday, July 9. Spent the day in writing; enjoyed some comfort and refreshment of spirit in my evening retirement.
“Thursday, July 10. Spent most of the day in writing. Towards night rode to Mr. Tennent’s; enjoyed some agreeable conversation: went home, in the evening, in a solemn, sweet frame of mind; was refreshed in secret duties, longed to live wholly and only for God, and saw plainly there was nothing in the world worthy of my affection; so that my heart was dead to all below; yet not through dejection, as at some times, but from views of a better inheritance.
“Friday, July 11. Was in a calm, composed frame in the morning, especially in the season of my secret retirement. I think I was well pleased with the will of God, whatever it was, or should be, in all respects I had then any thought of. Intending to administer the Lord’s supper the next Lord’s day, I looked to God for his presence and assistance upon that occasion; but felt a disposition to say, ‘The will of the Lord be done,’ whether it be to give me assistance, or not. Spent some little time in writing: visited the Indians, and spent some time in serious conversation with them; thinking it not best to preach, many of them being absent.
“Saturday, July 12. This day was spent in fasting and prayer by my congregation, as preparatory to the sacrament. I discoursed, both parts of the day, from Rom. iv. 25. ‘Who was delivered for our offences,’ &c. God gave me some assistance in my discourses, and something of divine power attended the word; so that this was an agreeable season. Afterwards led them to a solemn renewal of their covenant, and fresh dedication of themselves to God. This was a season both of solemnity and sweetness, and God seemed to be ‘in the midst of us.’ Returned to my lodgings, in the evening, in a comfortable frame of mind.
“Lord’s day, July 13. In the forenoon discoursed on the bread of life, from John vi. 35. God gave me some assistance, in part of my discourse especially; and there appeared some tender affection in the assembly under divine truths; my soul also was somewhat refreshed. Administered the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to thirty-one persons of the Indians. God seemed to be present in this ordinance; the communicants were sweetly melted and refreshed, most of them. Oh, how they melted, even when the elements were first uncovered! There was scarcely a dry eye among them when I took off the linen, and showed them the symbols of Christ’s broken body. Having rested a little, after the administration of the sacrament, I visited the communicants, and found them generally in a sweet, loving frame; not unlike what appeared among them on the former sacramental occasion, on April 27. In the afternoon, discoursed upon coming to Christ, and the satisfaction of those who do so, from the same verse I insisted on in the forenoon. This was likewise an agreeable season, a season of much tenderness, affection, and enlargement in divine service; and God, I am persuaded, crowned our assembly with his divine presence. I returned home much spent, yet rejoicing in the goodness of God.
“Monday, July 14. Went to my people, and discoursed to them from Psal. cxix. 106. ‘I have sworn, and I will perform it,’ &c. Observed, 1. That all God’s judgments or commandments are righteous. 2. That God’s people have sworn to keep them; and this they do especially at the Lord’s table. There appeared to be a powerful divine influence on the assembly, and considerable melting under the word. Afterwards I led them to a renewal of their covenant before God, (that they would watch over themselves and one another, lest they should fall into sin and dishonour the name of Christ,) just as I did on Monday, April 28. This transaction was attended with great solemnity; and God seemed to own it by exciting in them a fear and jealousy of themselves, lest they should sin against God; so that the presence of God seemed to be amongst us in this conclusion of the sacramental solemnity.”
The next day he set out on a journey towards Philadelphia; from whence he did not return till Saturday. He went this journey, and spent the week, under a great degree of illness of body, and dejection of mind.
“Lord’s day, July 20. Preached twice to my people, from John xvii. 24. ‘Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.’ Was helped to discourse with great clearness and plainness in the forenoon. In the afternoon, enjoyed some tenderness, and spake with some influence. Divers were in tears; and some, to appearance, in distress.
“Monday, July 21. Preached to the Indians, chiefly for the sake of some strangers. Then proposed my design of taking a journey speedily to Susquehannah: exhorted my people to pray for me, that God would be with me in that journey, &e. Then chose divers persons of the congregation to travel with me. Afterwards spent some time in discoursing to the strangers, and was somewhat encouraged with them. Took care of my people’s secular business, and was not a little exercised with it. Had some degree of composure and comfort in secret retirement.
“Tuesday, July 22. Was in a dejected frame most of the day: wanted to wear out life, and have it at an end; but had some desires of living to God, and wearing out life for him. Oh that I could indeed do so!”
The next day, he went to Elizabeth-town, to a meeting of the Presbytery; and spent this, and Thursday, and the former part of Friday, under a very great degree of melancholy, and exceeding gloominess of mind; not through any fear of future punishment, but as being distressed with a senselessness of all good, so that the whole world appeared empty and gloomy to him. But in the latter part of Friday he was greatly relieved and comforted.
“Saturday, July 26. Was comfortable in the morning; my countenance and heart were not sad, as in days past; enjoyed some sweetness in lifting up my heart to God. Rode home to my people, and was in a comfortable, pleasant frame by the way; my spirits were much relieved of their burden, and I felt free to go through all difficulties and labours in my Master’s service.
“Lord’s day, July 27. Discoursed to my people, in the forenoon, from sp Luke xii. 37. on the duty and benefit of watching: God helped me in the latter part of my discourse, and the power of God appeared in the assembly. In the afternoon discoursed from Luke xiii. 25. ‘When once the master of the house is risen up,’ &c. Here also I enjoyed some assistance, and the Spirit of God seemed to attend what was spoken, so that there was a great solemnity, and some tears among Indians and others.
“Monday, July 28. Was very weak, and scarce able to perform any business at all; but enjoyed sweetness and comfort in prayer, both morning and evening; and was composed and comfortable through the day: my mind was intense, and my heart fervent, at least in some degree, in secret duties; and I longed to spend and be spent for God.
“Tuesday, July 29. My mind was cheerful, and free from those melancholy damps that I am often exercised with: had freedom in looking up to God at sundry times in the day. In the evening I enjoyed a comfortable season in secret prayer; was helped to plead with God for my own dear people, that he would carry on his own blessed work among them; was assisted also in praying for the divine presence to attend me in my intended journey to Susquehannah; add was helped to remember dear brethren and friends in New England. I scarce knew how to leave the throne of grace, and it grieved me that I was obliged to go to bed; I longed to do something for God, but knew not how. Blessed be God for this freedom from dejection.
“Wednesday, July 30. Was uncommonly comfortable, both in body and mind; in the forenoon especially: my mind was solemn, I was assisted in my work, and God seemed to be near to me; so that the day was as comfortable as most I have enjoyed for some time. In the evening was favoured with assistance in secret prayer, and felt much as I did the evening before. Blessed be God for that freedom I then enjoyed at the throne of grace, for myself, my people, and my dear friends. It is good for me to draw near to God.“
He seems to have continued very much in the same free, comfortable state of mind the next day.
“Friday, Aug. 1. In the evening enjoyed a sweet season in secret prayer; clouds of darkness and perplexing care were sweetly scattered, and nothing anxious remained. Oh, how serene was my mind at this season! how free from that distracting concern I have often felt! ‘Thy will be done,’ was a petition sweet to my soul; and if God had bidden me choose for myself in any affair, I should have chosen rather to have referred the choice to him; for I saw he was infinitely wise, and could not do any thing amiss, as I was in danger of doing. Was assisted in prayer for my dear flock, that God would promote his own work among them, and that God would go with me in my intended journey to Susquehannah: was helped to remember dear friends in New England, and my dear brethren in the ministry. I found enough in the sweet duty of prayer to have engaged me to continue in it the whole night, would my bodily state have admitted of it. Oh, how sweet it is to be enabled heartily to say Lord, not my will, but thine be done!
“Saturday, Aug. 2. Near night preached from Matt xi. 29. ‘Take my yoke upon you,’ &c. Was considerably helped; and the presence of God seemed to be somewhat remarkably in the assembly; divine truths made powerful impressions, both upon saints and sinners. Blessed be God for such a revival among us. In the evening was very weary, but found my spirits supported and refreshed.
“Lord’s day, Aug. 3. Discoursed to my people, in the forenoon, from Col. iii. 4. and observed, that Christ is the believer’s life. God helped me, and gave me his presence in this discourse; and it was a season of considerable power in the assembly. In the afternoon preached from Luke xix. 41, 42. ‘And when he was come near, he beheld the city,’ &c. I enjoyed some assistance; though not so much as in the forenoon. In the evening I enjoyed freedom and sweetness in secret prayer; God enlarged my heart, freed me from melancholy damps, and gave me satisfaction in drawing near to himself. Oh that my soul could magnify the Lord, for these seasons of composure and resignation to his will!
“Monday, Aug. 4. Spent the day in writing; enjoyed much freedom and assistance in my work: was in a composed and comfortable frame most of the day; and in the evening enjoyed some sweetness in prayer. Blessed be God, my spirits were yet up, and I was free from sinking damps; as I have been in general ever since I came from Elizabeth-town last. Oh what a mercy is this!
“Tuesday, Aug. 5. Towards night preached at the funeral of one of my Christians, from Isa. lvii. 2. ‘He shall enter into peace,’ &c. I was oppressed with the nervous headache, and considerably dejected: however, had a little freedom some part of the time I was discoursing. Was extremely weary in the evening; but notwithstanding, enjoyed some liberty and cheerfulness of mind in prayer; and found the dejection that I feared, much removed, and my spirits considerably refreshed.”
He continued in a very comfortable, cheerful frame of mind the next day, with his heart enlarged in the service of God.
“Thursday, Aug. 7. Rode to my house, where I spent the last winter, in order to bring some things I needed for my Susquehannah journey: was refreshed to see that place, which God so marvellously visited with the showers of his grace. Oh how amazing did the power of God often appear there! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.“
The next day he speaks of liberty, enlargement, and sweetness of mind in prayer and religious conversation.
“Saturday, Aug. 9. In the afternoon visited my people; set their affairs in order, as much as possible, and contrived for them the management of their worldly business; discoursed to them in a solemn manner, and concluded with prayer. Was composed and comfortable in the evening, and somewhat fervent in secret prayer; had some sense and view of the eternal world, and round a serenity of mind. Oh that I could magnify the Lord for any freedom he affords me in prayer!
“Lord’s day, Aug. 10. Discoursed to my people, both parts of the day, from Acts iii. 19. ‘Repent ye, therefore,’ &c. In discoursing of repentance in the forenoon, God helped me, so that my discourse was searching; some were in tears, both of the Indians and white people, and the word of God was attended with some power. In the intermission I was engaged in discoursing to some in order to their baptism; as well as with one who had then lately met with some comfort, after spiritual trouble and distress. In the afternoon was somewhat assisted again, though weak and weary. Afterwards baptized six persons; three adults, and three children. Was in a comfortable frame in the evening, and enjoyed some satisfaction in secret prayer. I scarce ever in my life felt myself so full of tenderness as this day.
“Monday, Aug. 11. Being about to set out on a journey to Susquehannah the next day, with leave of Providence, I spent some time this day in prayer with my people, that God would bless and succeed my intended journey; that he would send forth his blessed Spirit with his word, and set up his kingdom among the poor Indians in the wilderness. While I was opening and applying part of the 110th and 2d Psalms, the power of God seemed to descend on the assembly in some measure; and while I was making the first prayer, numbers were melted, and I found some affectionate enlargement of soul myself. Preached from Acts iv. 31. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken,’ &c. God helped me, and my interpreter also: there was a shaking and melting among us; and divers, I doubt not, were in some measure ‘filled with the Holy Ghost.’ Afterwards Mr. Macknight prayed: I then opened the two last stanzas of the 72d Psalm; at which time God was present with us; especially while I insisted upon the promise of all nations blessing the great Redeemer. My soul was refreshed to think, that this day, this blessed glorious season, should surely come; and I trust, numbers of my dear people were also refreshed. Afterwards prayed; had some freedom, but was almost spent: then walked out, and left my people to carry on religious exercises among themselves: they prayed repeatedly, and sung, while I rested and refreshed myself. Afterwards went to the meeting; prayed with and dismissed the assembly. Blessed be God, this has been a day of grace. There were many tears and affectionate sobs among us this day. In the evening my soul was refreshed in prayer: enjoyed liberty at the throne of grace, in praying for my people and friends, and the church of God in general. Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
The next day he set out on his journey towards Susquehannah, and six of his Christian Indians with him, whom be had chosen out of his congregation, as those that he judged most fit to assist him in the business he was going upon. He took his way through Philadelphia; intending to go to Susquehannah river, far down, where it is settled by the white people, below the country inhabited by the Indians; and so to travel up the river to the Indian habitations. For although this was much farther about, yet hereby he avoided the huge mountains, and hideous wilderness, that must be crossed in the nearer way; which in time past he found to be extremely difficult and fatiguing. He rode this week as far as Charlestown, a place of that name about thirty miles westward of Philadelphia; where he arrived on Friday: and in his way hither was, for the most part, in a composed, comfortable state of mind.
“Saturday, Aug. 16. [At Charlestown] It being a day kept by the people of the place where I now was, as preparatory to the celebration of the Lord’s supper, I tarried; heard Mr. Treat preach; and then preached myself. God gave me some good degree of freedom, and helped me to discourse with warmth, and application to the conscience. Afterwards I was refreshed in spirit, though much tired; and spent the evening agreeably, having some freedom in prayer, as well as Christian conversation.
“Lord’s day, Aug. 17. Enjoyed liberty, composure, and satisfaction, in the secret duties of the morning: had my heart somewhat enlarged in prayer for dear friends, as well as for myself. In the forenoon attended Mr. Treat’s preaching, partook of the Lord’s supper, five of my people also communicating in this holy ordinance: I enjoyed some enlargement and outgoing of soul in this season. In the afternoon preached from Ezek. xxxiii. 11. ‘Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God,’ &c. Enjoyed not so much sensible assistance as the day before: however, was helped to some fervency in addressing immortal souls. Was somewhat confounded in the evening, because I thought I had done little or nothing for God; yet enjoyed some refreshment of spirit in Christian conversation and prayer. Spent the evening, till near midnight, in religious exercises; and found my bodily strength, which was much spent when I came from the public worship, something renewed before I went to bed.
“Monday, Aug. 18. Rode on my way towards Paxton, upon Susquehannah river. Felt my spirits sink, towards night, so that I had little comfort.
“Tuesday, Aug. 19. Rode forward still; and at night lodged by the side of Susquehannah. Was weak and disordered both this and the preceding day, and found my spirits considerably damped, meeting with none that I thought godly people.
“Wednesday, Aug. 20. Having lain in a cold sweat all night, I coughed much bloody matter this morning, and was under great disorder of body, and not a little melancholy; but what gave me some encouragement, was, I had a secret hope that I might speedily get a dismission from earth, and all its toils and sorrows. Rode this day to one Chambers’, upon Susquehannah, and there lodged. Was much afflicted, in the evening, with an ungodly crew, drinking, swearing, &c. Oh, what a hell would it be, to be numbered with the ungodly! Enjoyed some agreeable conversation with a traveller, who seemed to have some relish of true religion.
“Thursday, Aug. 21. Rode up the river about fifteen miles, and there lodged, in a family that appeared quite destitute of God. Laboured to discourse with the man about the life of religion, but found him very artful in evading such conversation. Oh, what a death it is to some to hear of the things of God! Was out of my element; but was not so dejected as at some times.
“Friday, Aug. 22. Continued my course up the river; my people now being with me, who before were parted from me; travelled above all the English settlements; at night lodged in the open woods; and slept with more comfort than while among an ungodly company of white people. Enjoyed some liberty in secret prayer this evening; and was helped to remember dear friends, as well as my dear flock, and the church of God in general.
“Saturday, Aug. 23. Arrived at the Indian town, called Shaumoking, near night. Was not so dejected as formerly; but yet somewhat exercised. Felt somewhat composed in the evening; enjoyed some freedom in leaving my all with God. Through the great goodness of God, I enjoyed some liberty of mind; and was not distressed with a despondency, as frequently heretofore.
“Lord’s day, Aug. 24. Towards noon, visited some of the Delawares, and discoursed with them about Christianity. In the afternoon discoursed to the king, and others, upon divine things; who seemed to dispose to hear. Spent most of the day in these exercises. In the evening enjoyed some comfort and satisfaction; and especially had some sweetness in secret prayer. This duty was made so agreeable to me, that I loved to walk abroad and repeatedly engage in it. Oh, how comfortable is a little glimpse of God!
“Monday, Aug. 25. Spent most of the day in writing. Sent out my people that were with me, to talk with the Indians, and contract a friendship and familiarity with them, that I might have a better opportunity of treating with them about Christianity. Some good seemed to be done by their visit this day, divers appeared willing to hearken to Christianity. My spirits were a little refreshed this evening; and I found some liberty and satisfaction in prayer.
“Tuesday, Aug. 26. About noon discoursed to a considerable number of Indians: God helped me, I am persuaded: I was enabled to speak with much plainness, and some warmth and power. The discourse had impression upon some, and made them appear very serious. I thought things now appeared as encouraging, as they did at Crossweeks. At the time of my first visit to those Indians, I was a little encouraged: I pressed things with all my might; and called out my people, who were then present, to give in their testimony for God; which they did. Towards night was refreshed; felt a heart to pray for the setting up of God’s kingdom here; as well as for my dear congregation below, and my dear friends elsewhere.
“Wednesday, Aug. 27. There having been a thick smoke in the house where I lodged all night before, whereby I was almost choked, I was this morning distressed with pains in my head and neck, and could have no rest. In the morning the smoke was still the same; and a cold easterly storm gathering, I could neither live within doors nor without any long time together. I was pierced with the rawness of the air abroad, and in the house distressed with the smoke. I was this day very vapoury, and lived in great distress, and had not health enough to do any thing to any purpose.
“Thursday, Aug. 28. In the forenoon I was under great concern of mind about my work. Was visited by some who desired to hear me preach; discoursed to them, in the afternoon, with some fervency, and laboured to persuade them to turn to God. Was full of concern for the kingdom of Christ, and found some enlargement of soul in prayer, both in secret and in my family. Scarce ever saw more clearly, than this day, that it is God’s work to convert souls, and especially poor heathens. I knew I could not touch them; I saw I could only speak to dry bones, but could give them no sense of what I said. My eyes were up to God for help: I could say, the work was his; and if done, the glory would be his.
“Friday, Aug. 29. Felt the same concern of mind as the day before. Enjoyed some freedom in prayer, and a satisfaction to leave all with God. Travelled to the Delawares, found few at home: felt poorly, but was able to spend some time alone in reading God’s word and in prayer, and enjoyed some sweetness in these exercises. In the evening was assisted repeatedly in prayer, and found some comfort in coming to the throne of grace.
“Saturday, Aug. 30. Spent the forenoon in visiting a trader, that came down the river sick; who appeared as ignorant as any Indian. In the afternoon spent some time in writing, reading, and prayer.
“Lord’s day, Aug. 31. Spent much time in the morning in secret duties: found a weight upon my spirits, and could not but cry to God with concern and engagement of soul. Spent some time also in reading and expounding God’s word to my dear family, that was with me, as well as in singing and prayer with them. Afterwards, spake the word of God to some few of the Susquehannah Indians. In the afternoon felt very weak and feeble. Near night was something refreshed in mind, with some views of things relating to my great work. Oh, how heavy is my work, when faith cannot take hold of an almighty arm, for the performance of it! Many times have I been ready to sink in this case. Blessed be God, that I may repair to a full fountain.
“Monday, Sept. 1. Set out on a journey towards a place called The great island, about fifty miles distant from Shaumoking, in the north-western branch of Susquehannah. Travelled some part of the way, and at night lodged in the woods. Was exceeding feeble this day, and sweat much the night following.
“Tuesday, Sept. 2. Rode forward; but no faster than my people went on foot. Was very weak, on this as well as the preceding days. I was so feeble and faint, that I feared it would kill me to lie out in the open air; and some of our company being parted from us, so that we had now no axe with us, I had no way but to climb into a young pine-tree, and with my knife to lop the branches, and so made a shelter from the dew. But the evening being cloudy, and very likely for rain, I was still under fears of being extremely exposed: sweat much in the night, so that my linen was almost wringing wet all night. I scarce ever was more weak and weary than this evening, when I was able to sit up at all. This was a melancholy situation I was in; but I endeavoured to quiet myself with considerations of the possibility of my being in much worse circumstances, amongst enemies, &c.
“Wednesday, Sept. 3. Rode to the Delaware-town; found divers drinking and drunken. Discoursed with some of the Indians about Christianity; observed my interpreter much engaged and assisted in his work; some few persons seemed to hear with great earnestness and engagement of soul. About noon rode to a small town of Shauwaunoes, about eight miles distant; spent an hour or two there, and returned to the Delaware-town, and lodged there. Was scarce ever more confounded with a sense of my own unfruitfulness and unfitness for my work, than now. Oh, what a dead, heartless, barren, unprofitable wretch did I now see myself to be! My spirits were so low, and my bodily strength so wasted, that I could do nothing at all. At length, being much overdone, lay down on a buffalo-skin; but sweat much the whole night.
Thursday, Sept. 4. Discoursed with the Indians, in the morning, about Christianity; my interpreter, afterwards, carrying on the discourse to a considerable length. Some few appeared well-disposed, and somewhat affected. Left this place, and returned towards Shaumoking; and at night lodged in the place where I lodged the Monday night before: was in very uncomfortable circumstances in the evening, my people being belated, and not coming to me till past ten at night; so that I had no fire to dress any victuals, or to keep me warm, or keep off wild beasts; and I was scarce ever more weak and worn out in all my life. However, I lay down and slept before my people came up, expecting nothing else but to spend the whole night alone, and without fire.
“Friday, Sept. 5. Was exceeding weak, so that I could scarcely ride; it seemed sometimes as if I must fall off from my horse, and lie in the open woods: however, got to Shaumoking towards night: felt something of a spirit of thankfulness, that God had so far returned me: was refreshed to see one of my Christians, whom I left here in my late excursion.
“Saturday, Sept. 6. Spent the day in a very weak state; coughing and spitting blood, and having little appetite to any food I had with me: was able to do very little, except discourse a while of divine things to my own people, and to some few I met with. Had, by this time, very little life or heart to speak for God, through feebleness of body, and flatness of spirits. Was scarcely ever more ashamed and confounded in myself, than now. I was sensible, that there were numbers of God’s people, who knew I was then out upon a design (or at least the pretence) of doing something for God, and in his cause, among the poor Indians; and they were ready to suppose, that I was fervent in spirit: but oh, the heartless frame of mind that I felt filled me with confusion! Oh (methought) if God’s people knew me, as God knows, they would not think so highly of my zeal and resolution for God, as perhaps now they do! I could not but desire they should see how heartless and irresolute I was, that they might be undeceived, and ‘not think of me above what they ought to think.’ And yet I thought, if they saw the utmost of my flatness and unfaithfulness, the smallness of my courage and resolution for God, they would be ready to shut me out of their doors, as unworthy of the company or friendship of Christians.
“Lord’s day, Sept. 7. Was much in the same weak state of body, and afflicted frame of mind, as in the preceding day: my soul was grieved, and mourned that I could do nothing for God. Read and expounded some part of God’s word to my own dear family, and spent some time in prayer with them; discoursed also a little to the pagans: but spent the sabbath with a little comfort.
“Monday, Sept. 8. Spent the forenoon among the Indians; in the afternoon left Shaumoking, and returned down the river a few miles. Had proposed to have tarried a considerable time longer among the Indians upon Susquehannah; but was hindered from pursuing my purpose by the sickness that prevailed there, the weakly circumstances of my own people that were with me, and especially my own extraordinary weakness, having been exercised with great nocturnal sweats, and a coughing up of blood, in almost the whole of the journey. I was a great part of the time so feeble and faint, that it seemed as though I never should be able to reach home; and at the same time very destitute of the comforts, and even necessaries, of life; at least, what was necessary for one in so weak a state. In this journey I sometimes was enabled to speak the word of God with some power, and divine truths made some impressions on divers that heard me; so that several, both men and women, old and young, seemed to cleave to us, and be well disposed towards Christianity; but others mocked and shouted, which damped those who before seemed friendly, at least some of them. Yet God, at times, was evidently present, assisting me, my interpreter, and other dear friends who were with me. God gave, sometimes, a good degree of freedom in prayer for the ingathering of souls there; and I could riot but entertain a strong hope, that the journey should not be wholly fruitless. Whether the issue of it would be the setting up of Christ’s kingdom there, or only the drawing of some few persons down to my congregation in New Jersey; or whether they were now only being prepared for some further attempts, that might be made among them, I did not determine: but I was persuaded the journey would not be lost. Blessed be God, that I had any encouragement and hope.
“Tuesday, Sept. 9. Rode down the river near thirty miles. Was extremely weak, much fatigued, and wet with a thunder-storm. Discoursed with some warmth and closeness to some poor ignorant souls, on the life and power of religion; what were, and what were not, the evidences of it. They seemed much astonished when they saw my Indians ask a blessing and give thanks at dinner; concluding that a very high evidence of grace in them: but were astonished when I insisted that neither that, nor yet secret prayer, was any sure evidence of grace. Oh the ignorance of the world! How are some empty outward forms, that may all be entirely selfish, mistaken for true religion, infallible evidences of it! The Lord pity a deluded world!
“Wednesday, Sept. 10. Rode near twenty miles homeward. Was much solicited to preach, but was utterly unable, through bodily weakness. Was extremely overdone with the heat and showers this day, and coughed up a considerable quantity of blood.
“Thursday, Sept. 11. Rode homeward; but was very weak, and sometimes scarce able to ride. Had a very importunate invitation to preach at a meeting-house I came by, the people being then gathering; but could not, by reason of weakness. Was resigned and composed under my weakness; but was much exercised with concern for my companions in travel, whom I had left with much regret, some lame, and some sick.
“Friday, Sept. 12. Rode about fifty miles; and came just at night to a Christian friend’s house, about twenty-five miles westward from Philadelphia. Was courteously received, and kindly entertained, and found myself much refreshed in the midst of my weakness and fatigues.
“Saturday, Sept. 13. Was still agreeably entertained with Christian friendship, and all things necessary for my weak circumstances. In the afternoon heard Mr. Treat preach; and was refreshed in conversation with him in the evening.
“Lord’s day, Sept. 14. At the desire of Mr. Treat and the people, I preached both parts of the day (but short) from Luke xiv. 23. ‘And the Lord said unto the servant, go out,’ &c. God gave me some freedom and warmth in my discourse; and, I trust, helped me in some measure to labour in singleness of heart. Was much tired in the evening, but was comforted with the most tender treatment I ever met with in my life. My mind through the whole of this day was exceeding calm; and I could ask for nothing in prayer, with any encouragement of soul, but that ‘the will of God might be done.’
“Monday, Sept. 15. Spent the whole day in concert with Mr. Treat, in endeavours to compose a difference, subsisting between certain persons in the congregation where we now were; and there seemed to be a blessing on our endeavours. In the evening baptized a child: was in a calm, composed frame, and enjoyed, I trust, a spiritual sense of divine things, while administering the ordinance. Afterwards spent the time in religious conversation, till late in the night. This was indeed a pleasant, agreeable evening.
“Tuesday, Sept. 16. Continued still at my friend’s house, about twenty-five miles westward of Philadelphia. Was very weak, unable to perform any business, and scarcely able to sit up.
Wednesday, Sept. 17. Rode into Philadelphia. Still very weak, and my cough and spitting of blood continued. Enjoyed some agreeable conversation with friends, but wanted more spirituality.
“Thursday, Sept. 18. Went from Philadelphia to Mr. Treat’s: was agreeably entertained on the road: and was in a sweet, composed frame, in the evening.
Friday, Sept. 19. Rode from Mr. Treat’s to Mr. Stockston’s at Prince-town: was extremely weak, but kindly received and entertained. Spent the evening with some degree of satisfaction.
“Saturday, Sept. 20. Arrived among my own people, just at night: found them praying together; went in, and gave them some account of God’s dealings with me and my companions in the journey; which seemed affecting to them. I then prayed with them, and thought the divine presence was amongst us; divers were melted into tears, and seemed to have a sense of divine things. Being very weak, I was obliged soon to repair to my lodgings, and felt much worn out in the evening. Thus God has carried me through the fatigues and perils of another journey to Susquehannah, and returned me again in safety, though under a great degree of bodily indisposition. Oh that my soul were truly thankful for renewed instances of mercy! Many hardships and distresses I endured in this journey; but the Lord supported me under them all.”
|« Prev||PART VII. Return from his last journey to…||Next »|