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Attestations of divine grace displayed among the Indians.
Since my dear and reverend brother Brainerd has at length consented to the publication of his Journal, I gladly embrace this opportunity of testifying, that our altogether glorious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has given such a display of his almighty power and sovereign grace, not only in the external reformation, but (in a judgment of charity) the saving conversion of a considerable number of Indians, that it is really wonderful to all beholders! though some, alas! notwithstanding sufficient grounds of conviction to the contrary, do join with the devil, that avowed enemy of God and man, in endeavouring to prevent this glorious work, by such ways and means as are mentioned in the aforesaid Journal, to which I must refer the reader for a faithful, though very brief, account of the time when, the place where, the means by which, and manner how, this wished-for work has been begun and carried on, by the great Head of the church. And this I can more confidently do, not only because I am intimately acquainted with the author of the Journal, but on account of my own personal knowledge of the matters of fact recorded in it respecting the work itself. As I live not far from the Indians, I have been much conversant with them, both at their own place, and in my own parish, where they generally convene for public worship in Mr. Brainerd’s absence; and I think it my duty to acknowledge, that their conversation hath often, under God, refreshed my soul.
To conclude; it is my opinion, that the change wrought in those savages, namely, from the darkness of paganism, to the knowledge of the pure gospel of Christ; from sacrificing to devils, to “present themselves, body and soul, a living sacrifice to God,” and that not only from the persuasion of their minister, but from a clear heart-affecting sense of its being their reasonable service: this change, I say, is so great, that none could effect it but he “who worketh all things after the good pleasure of his own will.” And I would humbly hope, that this is only the first-fruits of a much greater harvest to be brought in from among the Indians, by him, who has promised to give his Son “the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession;” who hath also declared, “That the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen and Amen.”
I am, courteous reader,
thy soul’s well-wisher,
Freehold, August 16, 1746.
AS it must needs afford a sacred pleasure to such as cordially desire the prosperity and advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and interest in the world, to hear, that our merciful and gracious God is in very deed fulfilling such precious promises as relate to the poor heathen, by sending his everlasting gospel among them, which, with concurrence of his Holy Spirit, is removing that worse than Egyptian darkness, whereby the God of this world has long held them in willing subjection; so this narrative will perhaps be more acceptable to the world, when it is confirmed by the testimony of such as were either eye-witness of this glorious dawn of gospel-light among the benighted pagans, or personally acquainted with those of them, in whom, in a judgment of charity, a gracious change has been wrought. Therefore I the more willingly join with my brethren, Mr. Wm. Tennent and Mr. Brainerd, in affixing my attestation to the foregoing narrative; and look upon myself as concerned in point of duty both to God and his people to do so, by reason that I live contiguous to their settlement, and have had frequent opportunities of being present at their religious meetings, where I have, with pleasing wonder, beheld what I am strongly inclined to believe were the effects of God’s almighty power accompanying his own truths; more especially on the 8th day of August, 1745. While the word of God was preached by Mr. Brainerd, there appeared an uncommon solemnity among the Indians in general; but I am wholly unable to give a full representation of the surprising effects of God’s almighty power that appeared among them when public service was over. While Mr. Brainerd urged upon some of them the absolute necessity of a speedy closure with Christ, the Holy Spirit seemed to be poured out upon them in a plenteous measure, insomuch as the Indians present in the wigwam seemed to be brought to the jailer’s case, Acts xvi. 30. utterly unable to conceal the distress and perplexity of their souls; this prompted the pious among them to bring the dispersed congregation together, who soon seemed to be in the greatest extremity. Some were earnestly begging for mercy, under a solemn sense of their perishing condition, while others were unable to arise from the earth, to the great wonder of those white people that were present, one of whom is by this means, I trust, savingly brought to Christ since. Nay, so very extraordinary was the concern that appeared among the poor Indians in general, that I am ready to conclude, it might have been sufficient to have convinced an atheist, that the Lord was indeed in the place. I am, for my part, fully persuaded, that this glorious work is true and genuine, whilst with satisfaction I behold several of these Indians discovering all the symptoms of inward holiness in their lives and conversation. I have had the satisfaction of joining with them in their service on the 11th of August, 1746, which was a day set apart for imploring the divine blessing on the labours of their minister among other tribes of the Indians at Susquehannah, in all which they conducted themselves with a very decent and becoming gravity; and, as far as I am capable of judging, they may be proposed as examples of piety and godliness to all the white people around them, which indeed is justly “marvellous in our eyes,” especially considering what they lately had been. O may the glorious God shortly bring about that desirable time, when our exalted Immanuel shall have “the heathen given for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession!”
Crosswicks, August 29, 1746.
We whose names are underwritten, being elders and deacons of the presbyterian church in Freehold, do hereby testify, that in our humble opinion, God, even our Saviour, has brought a considerable number of the Indians in these parts to a saving union with himself. This we are persuaded of, from a personal acquaintance with them, whom we not only hear speak of the great doctrine of the gospel with humility, affection, and understanding, but we see them walk, as far as man can judge, soberly, righteously, and godly. We have joined with them at the Lord’s supper, and do from our hearts esteem them as our brethren in Jesus. For “these who were not God’s people, may now be called the children of the living God: it is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.” O that he may go on “conquering and to conquer,” until he has subdued all things to himself! This is and shall be the unfeigned desires and prayers of
Walter Ker,Robert Cummins,David Rhe,John Henderson,John Anderson,Joseph Ker,
William Ker,Samuel Ker,Samuel Craig,
Presbyterian Church, Freehold, Aug. 16, 1746.
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