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WITH NOTES AND REFLECTIONS.
THERE are two ways of representing and recommending true religion and virtue to the world; the one, by doctrine and precept; the other, by instance and example, both are abundantly used in the Holy Scriptures.
Not only are the grounds, nature, design, and importance of religion clearly exhibited in the doctrines of Scripture — its exercise and practice plainly delineated, and abundantly enforced, in its commands and counsels — but there we have many excellent examples of religion, in its power and practice, set before us, in the histories both of the Old and New Testament. JESUS CHRIST, the great Prophet of God, when he came to be “the light of the world” — to teach and enforce true religion, in a greater degree than ever had been before — made use of both these methods. In his doctrine, he not only declared the mind and will of God — the nature and properties of that virtue which becomes creatures of our make and in our circumstances — more clearly and fully than ever it had been before; and more powerfully enforced it by what he declared of the obligations and inducements to holiness, but he also in his own practice gave a most perfect example of the virtue he taught. He exhibited to the world such an illustrious pattern of humility, divine love, discreet zeal self-denial, obedience, patience, resignation, fortitude, meekness, forgiveness, compassion, benevolence, and universal holiness, as neither men nor angels ever saw before.
God also in his providence has been wont to make use of both these methods to hold forth light to mankind, and inducements to their duty, in all ages. He has from time to time raised up eminent teachers, to exhibit and bear testimony to the truth by their doctrine, and to oppose the errors, darkness, and wickedness of the world; and he has also raised up some eminent persons who have set bright examples of that religion which is taught and prescribed in the word of God; whose examples have, in the course of divine providence, been set forth to public view. These have a great tendency both to engage the attention of men to the doctrines and rules taught, and also to confirm and enforce them, especially when these bright examples have been exhibited in the same persons who have been eminent teachers. Hereby the world has had opportunity to see a confirmation of the truth, efficacy, and amiableness of the religion taught, in the practice of the same persons who have most clearly and forcibly taught it; and above all, when these bright examples have been set by eminent teachers, in a variety of unusual circumstances of remarkable trial; and when God has withal remarkably distinguished them with wonderful success of their instructions and labours.
Such an instance we have in the excellent person, whose life is published in the following pages. His example is attended with a great variety of circumstances tending to engage the attention of religious people, especially in these parts of the world. He was one of distinguished natural abilities, as all are sensible, who had acquaintance with him. As a minister of the gospel he was called to unusual services in that work; and his ministry was attended with very remarkable and unusual events. His course of religion began before the late times of extraordinary religious commotion; yet he was not an idle spectator, but bad a near concern in many things that passed at that time. He had a very extensive acquaintance with those who have been the subjects of the late religious operations, in places far distant, in people of different nations, education, manners, and customs. He had a peculiar opportunity of acquaintance with the false appearances and counterfeits of religion, was the instrument of a most remarkable awakening, a wonderful and abiding alteration and moral transformation of subjects who peculiarly render the change rare and astonishing.
In the following account, the reader will have an opportunity to see, not only what were the external circumstances and remarkable incidents of the life of this person, and how he spent his time from day to day, as to his external behaviour; but also what passed in his own heart. Here he will see the wonderful change he experienced in his mind and disposition, the manner in which that change was brought to pass, how it continued, what were its consequences in his inward frames, thoughts, affections, and secret exercises, through many vicissitudes and trials, for more than eight years.
He will also see, how all ended at last, in his sentiments, frame, and behaviour, during a long season of the gradual and sensible approach of death, under a lingering illness, and what were the effects of his religion in dying circumstances, or in the last stages of his illness. The account being written, the reader may have opportunity at his leisure to compare the various parts of the story, and deliberately to view and weigh the whole, and consider how far what is related is agreeable to the dictates of right reason and the holy word of God.
I am far from supposing, that Mr. Brainerd’s inward exercises and experiences, or his external conduct, were free from all imperfections. The example of Jesus Christ is the only example that ever existed in human nature as altogether perfect; which therefore is a rule to try all other examples by; and the dispositions, frames, and practices of others must be commended and followed no further, than they were followers of Christ.
There is one thing in Mr. Brainerd, easily discernible by the following account of his life, which may be called an imperfection in him, which — though not properly an imperfection of a moral nature, yet — may possibly be made an objection against the extraordinary appearances of religion and devotion in him, by such as seek for objections against every thing that can be produced in favour of true vital religion; and that is, that he was, by his constitution and natural temper, so prone to melancholy and dejection of spirit. There are some who think that all serious strict religion is a melancholy thing, and that what is called christian experience, is little else besides melancholy vapours disturbing the brain, and exciting enthusiastic imaginations. But that Mr. Brainerd’s temper or constitution inclined him to despondency, is no just ground to suspect his extraordinary devotion to be only the fruit of a warm imagination. I doubt not but that all who have well observed mankind, will readily grant, that not all who by their natural constitution or temper are most disposed to dejection, are the most susceptive of lively and strong impressions on their imagination, or the most subject to those vehement affections, which are the fruits of such impressions. But they must well know, that many who are of a very gay and sanguine natural temper are vastly more so, and if their affections are turned into a religious channel, are much more exposed to enthusiasm, than many of the former. As to Mr. Brainerd in particular, notwithstanding his inclination to despondency, he was evidently one of those who usually are the furthest from a teeming imagination, being of a penetrating genius, of clear thought, of close reasoning, and a very exact judgment, as all know, who knew him. As he had a great insight into human nature, and was very discerning and judicious in general; so he excelled in his judgment and knowledge in divinity, but especially in things appertaining to inward experimental religion. He most accurately distinguished between real, solid piety, and enthusiasm, between those affections that are rational and scriptural — having their foundation in light and judgment — and those that are founded in whimsical conceits, strong impressions on the imagination, and vehement emotions of the animal spirits. He was exceedingly sensible of men’s exposedness to these things; how much they had prevailed, and what multitudes had been deceived by them, of their pernicious consequences, and the fearful mischief they had done in the christian world. He greatly abhorred such a religion, and was abundant in bearing testimony against it living and dying; and was quick to discern when any thing of that nature arose, though in its first buddings, and appearing under the most fair and plausible disguises. He had a talent for describing the various workings of this imaginary enthusiastic. religion — evincing its falseness and vanity, and demonstrating the great difference between this and true spiritual devotion — which I scarcely ever knew equalled in any person.
His judiciousness did not only appear in distinguishing among the experiences of others, but also among the various exercises of his own mind, particularly in discerning what within himself was to be laid to the score of melancholy; in which he exceeded all melancholy persons that ever I was acquainted with. This was doubtless owing to a peculiar strength in his judgment; for it is a rare thing indeed, that melancholy people are well sensible of their own disease and fully convinced that such and such things are to be ascribed to it as are its genuine operations and fruits. Mr. Brainerd did not obtain that degree of skill at once, but gradually, as the reader may discern by the following account of his life. In the former part of his religious course, he imputed much of that kind of gloominess of mind and those dark thoughts to spiritual desertion, which in the latter part of his life he was abundantly sensible were owing to the disease of melancholy; accordingly he often expressly speaks of them in his diary as arising from this cause. He often in conversation spoke of the difference between melancholy and godly sorrow, true humiliation and spiritual desertion, and the great danger of mistaking the one for the other, and the very hurtful nature of melancholy; discoursing with great judgment upon it, and doubtless much more judiciously for what he knew by his own experience.
But besides what may be argued from Mr. Brainerd’s strength of judgment, it is apparent in fact, that he was not a person of a warm imagination. His inward experiences, whether in his convictions or his converse, and his religious views and impressions through the course of his life, were not excited by strong and lively images formed in his imagination, nothing at all appears of it in his diary from beginning to end.
He told me on his death-bed, that although once, when he was very young in years and experience, he was deceived into a high opinion of such things — looking on them as superior attainments in religion, beyond what he had ever arrived at — was ambitious of them, and earnestly sought them, yet he never could obtain them. He moreover declared, that he never in his life had a strong impression on his imagination, of any outward form, external glory, or any thing of that nature; which kind of impressions abound among enthusiastic people.
As Mr. Brainerd’s religious impressions, views, and affections in their nature were vastly different from enthusiasm; so were their effects in him as contrary to it as possible. Nothing like enthusiasm puffs men up with a high conceit of there own wisdom holiness, eminence, and sufficiency; and makes them so bold, forward, assuming, and arrogant. But the reader will see, that Mr. Brainerd’s religion constantly disposed him to a most mean thought of himself, an abasing sense of his own exceeding sinfulness, deficiency, unprofitableness, and ignorance; looking on himself as worse than others; disposing him to universal benevolence and meekness; in honour to prefer others, and to treat all with kindness and respect. And when melancholy prevailed, and though the effects of it were very prejudicial to him, yet it had not the effects of enthusiasm; but operated by dark and discouraging thoughts of himself; as ignorant, wicked, and wholly unfit for the work of the ministry, or even to be seen among mankind. Indeed, at the time forementioned, when he had not learned well to distinguish between enthusiasm and solid religion, he joined and kept company with, some who were tinged with no small degree of the former.
For a season he partook with them in a degree of their dispositions and behaviours, though, as was observed before, he could not obtain those things wherein their enthusiasm itself consisted, and so could not become like them in that respect, however he erroneously desired and sought it.
But certainly it is not at all to be wondered at, that a youth, a young convert, one who had his heart so swallowed up in religion, and who so earnestly desired his flourishing state — and who had so little opportunity for reading, observation, and experience — should for a while be dazzled and deceived with the glaring appearances of mistaken devotion and zeal; especially considering the extraordinary circumstances of that day. He told me on his death-bed, that while he was in these circumstances he was out of his element, and did violence to himself, while complying, in his conduct, with persons of a fierce and imprudent zeal, from his great veneration of some whom he looked upon as better than himself. So that it would be very unreasonable, that his error at that time should nevertheless be esteemed a just ground of prejudice against the whole of his religion, and his character in general; especially considering, how greatly his mind was soon changed, and how exceedingly he afterwards lamented his error, and abhorred himself for his imprudent zeal and misconduct at that time, even to the breaking of his heart, and almost to the overbearing of his natural strength; and how much of a christian spirit he showed, in condemning himself for that misconduct, as the reader will see.
What has been now mentioned of Mr. Brainerd, is so far from being a just ground of prejudice against what is related in the following account of his life, that, if duly considered, it will render the history the more serviceable.
For by his thus joining for a season with enthusiasts, he had a more full and intimate acquaintance with what belonged to that sort of religion, and so was under better advantages to judge of the difference between that, and what he finally approved, and strove to his utmost to promote, in opposition to it. And hereby the reader has the more to convince him that Mr. Brainerd, in his testimony against it, and the spirit and behaviour of those who are influenced by it, speaks from impartial conviction, and not from prejudice; because therein he openly condemns his own former opinion and conduct, on account of which he had greatly suffered from his opposers, and for which some continued to reproach him as long as he lived.
Another imperfection in Mr. Brainerd, which may be observed in the following account of his life, was his being excessive in his labours, not taking due care to proportion his fatigues to his strength. Indeed the case was very often such, by the seeming calls of Providence, as made it extremely difficult for him to avoid doing more than his strength would well admit of, yea, his circumstances and the business of his mission among the Indians were such, that great fatigues and hardships were altogether inevitable. However, he was finally convinced, that he had erred in this matter, and that he ought to have taken more thorough care, and been more resolute to withstand temptations to such degrees of labour as injured his health; and accordingly warned his brother, who succeeds him in his mission, to be careful to avoid this error.
Besides the imperfections already mentioned, it is readily allowed, that there were some imperfections which ran through his whole life, and were mixed with all his religious affections and exercises; some mixture of what was natural with that which was spiritual; as it evermore is in the best saints in this world. Doubtless, natural temper had some influence in the religious exercises and experiences of Mr. Brainerd, as these most apparently was in the exercises of devout David, and the apostles Peter, John, and Paul. There was undoubtedly very often some influence of his natural disposition to dejection, in his religious mourning; some mixture of melancholy with truly godly sorrow and real christian humility, some mixture of the natural fire of youth with his holy zeal for God; and some influence of natural principles mixed with grace in various other respects, as it ever was and ever will be with the saints while on this side heaven.
Perhaps none were more sensible of Mr. Brainerd’s imperfections than he himself; or could distinguish more accurately than he, between what was natural and what was spiritual. It is easy for the judicious reader to observe, that his graces ripened, the religious exercises of his heart became more and more pure, and he more and more distinguished in his judgment, the longer he lived: he had much to teach and purify him, and he failed not to make his advantage.
But notwithstanding all these imperfections. I am persuaded every pious and judicious reader will acknowledge, that what is here set before him is indeed a remarkable instance of true and eminent christian piety in heart and practice — tending greatly to confirm the reality of vital religion, and the power of godliness — that it is most worthy of imitation, and many ways calculated to promote the spiritual benefit of the careful observer.
It is fit the reader should be aware, that what Mr. Brainerd wrote in his diary, out of which the following account of his life is chiefly taken, was written only for his own private use, and not to act honour and applause in the world, nor with any design that the world should ever see it, either while he lived or after his death; excepting some few things that he wrote in a dying state, after he had been persuaded, with difficulty, not entirely to suppress all his private writings. He showed himself almost invincibly averse to the publishing of any part of his diary after his death; and when he was thought to be dying at Boston, he gave the most strict, peremptory orders to the contrary. But being by some of his friends there prevailed upon to withdraw so strict and absolute a prohibition, he was pleased finally to yield so far as that “his papers should be left in my hands, that I might dispose of them as I thought would be most for God’s glory and the interest of religion.”
But a few days before his death, he ordered some part of his diary to be destroyed, which renders the account of his life the less complete. And there-are some parts of his diary here left out for brevity’s sake, that would, I am sensible have been a great advantage to the history. If they had been inserted; particularly the account of his wonderful successes among the Indians, which for substance is the same in his private diary with that which has already been made public, in the journal he kept by order of the society in Scotland, for their information. That account, I am of opinion would be more entertaining and more profitable, if it were published as it is written in his diary, in connexion with his secret religion and the inward exercises of his mind, and also with the preceding and following parts of the story of his life. But because that account has been published already, I have therefore omitted that part. However, this defect may in a great measure be made up to the reader, by the public journal. — But it is time to end this preface, that the reader may be no longer detained from the history itself. JONATHAN EDWARDS.
They contain the substance of Mr. Brainerd’s Diary for the time specified. By this mode, needless repetitions were prevented.
PART FROM HIS BIRTH, TO THE TIME WHEN HE BEGAN TO STUDY FOR THE MINISTRY.
MR.DAVID BRAINERD was born April 20, 1718, at Haddam, a town of Hartford, in Connecticut, New England. His father was the worshipful Hezekiah Brainerd, Esq. one of his Majesty’s council for that colony; who was the son of Daniel Brainerd, Esq. a justice of the peace, and a deacon of the church of Christ in Haddam. His mother was Mrs. Dorothy Hobart, daughter to the Reverend Mr. Jeremiah Hobart; who preached awhile at Topsfield, then removed to Hempstead on Long-Island, and afterwards — by reason of numbers turning Quakers, and many others being so irreligious, that they would do nothing towards the support of the gospel — settled in the work of the ministry at Haddam; where he died in the 85th year of his age. He went to the public worship in the forenoon, and died in his chair between meetings. This reverend gentleman was a son of the Reverend Peter Hobart; who was, first, minister of the gospel at Hingham, in the county of Norfolk in England; and, by reason of the persecution of the Puritans, removed with his family to New England, and was settled in the ministry at Hingham, in Massachusetts. He had five sons, viz. Joshua, Jeremiah, Gershom, Japheth, and Nehemiah. His son Joshua was minister at Southold on Long-Island. Jeremiah was Mr. David Brainerd’s grandfather, minister at Haddam, etc. as before observed; Gershom was minister of Groton in Connecticut; Japheth was a physician; he went in the quality of a doctor of a ship to England, (before the time of taking his second degree at college,) and designed to go from thence to the East Indies; but never was heard of more. Nehemiah was sometime fellow of Harvard college and afterwards minister at Newton in Massachusetts.
The mother of Mrs. Dorothy Hobart (who was afterwards Brainerd) was a daughter of the Reverend Samuel Whiting, minister of the gospel, first at Boston in Lincolnshire, and afterwards at Lynn in Massachusetts, New England. He had three sons who were ministers of the gospel.
David Brainerd was the third son of his parents. They had five sons, and four daughters. Their eldest son is Hezekiah Brainerd, Es Q. a justice of the peace, and for several years past a representative of the town of Haddam, in the general assembly of Connecticut colony; the second was the Reverend Nehemiah Brainerd, a worthy minister at Eastbury in Connecticut, who died of a consumption, November 10, 1742; the fourth is Mr. John Brainerd, who succeeds his brother David as missionary to the Indians, and pastor of the same church of Christian Indians in New Jersey; and the fifth was Israel, lately student at Yale college in New-Haven, who died since his brother David. — Mrs. Dorothy Brainerd having lived about five years a widow, died when her son, of whose life I am about to give an account, was about fourteen years of age: so that in his youth he was left both fatherless and motherless. What account he has given of himself, and his own life, may be seen in what follows. “I was from my youth somewhat sober, and inclined rather to melancholy than the contrary extreme; but do not remember any thing of conviction of sin, worthy of remark, till I was, I believe, about seven or eight years of age. Then I became concerned for my soul, and terrified at the thoughts of death, and was driven to the performance of duties: but it appeared a melancholy business that destroyed my eagerness for play. And though, alas! this religious concern was but short-lived, I sometimes attended secret prayer, and thus lived at “ease in Zion without God in the world,” and without much concern as I remember, till I was above thirteen years of age. But some time in the winter 1732, I was roused out of carnal security, by I scarce know what means at first, but was much excited by the prevailing of a mortal sickness in Haddam. I was frequent, constant, and somewhat fervent in duties, and took delight in reading, especially Mr.
Janeway’s Token for Children. I felt sometimes much melted in duties, and took great delight in the performance of them; and I sometimes hoped that I was converted, or at least in a good and hopeful way for heaven and happiness, not knowing what converse was. The Spirit of God at this time proceeded far with me; I was remarkably dead to the world, and my thoughts were almost wholly employed about my soul’s concerns; and I may indeed say, “almost I was persuaded to be a Christian.” I was also exceedingly distressed and melancholy at the death of my mother, in March, 1732. But afterwards my religious concern began to decline, and by degrees I fell back into a considerable degree of security, though I still attended secret prayer. “About the 15th of April, 1733, I removed from my father’s house to East Haddam, where I spent four years but still “without God in the world,” though, for the most part, I went a round of secret duty. I was not much addicted to young company or frolicking, as it is called but this I know, that when I did go into such company I never resumed with so good a conscience as when I went; it always added new guilt, made me afraid to come to the throne of grace, and spoiled those good frames I was wont sometimes to please myself with. But, alas! all my good frames were but self-righteousness, not founded on a desire for the glory of God: “About the latter end of April, 1737, being full nineteen years of age, I removed to Durham, to work on my farm, and so continued about one year; frequently longing, from a natural inclination, after a liberal education. When about twenty years of age, I applied myself to study; and was now engaged more than ever in the duties of religion. I became very strict and watchful over my thoughts, words, and actions; and thought I must be sober indeed, because I designed to devote myself to the ministry; and imagined I did dedicate myself to the Lord.
Some time in April, 1738, I went to Mr. Fiske’s, and lived with him during his life. I remember he advised me wholly to abandon young company, and associate myself with grave elderly people: which counsel I followed. My manner of life was now exceeding regular, and full of religion, such as it was, for I read my Bible more than twice through in less than a year, spent much time every day in prayer and other secret duties gave great attention to the word preached, and endeavoured to my utmost to retain it. So much concerned was I about religion, that I agreed with some young persons to meet privately on sabbath evenings for religious exercises, and thought myself sincere in these duties; and after our meeting was ended, I used to repeat the discourses of the day to myself, recollecting what I could, though sometimes very late at night. I used sometimes on Monday mornings to recollect the same sermons; had considerable movings of pleasurable affection in duties, and had many thoughts of joining the church. In short, I had a very good outside, and rested entirely on my duties, though not sensible of it. “After Mr. Fiske’s death, I proceeded in my learning with my brother; was still very constant in religious duties, and often wondered at the levity of professors, it was a trouble to me, that they were so careless in religious matters. — Thus I proceeded a considerable length on a self-righteous foundation, and should have been entirely lost and undone, had not the mere mercy of God prevented. “Some time in the beginning of winter, 1738, it pleased God, on one sabbath-day morning, as I was walking out for some secret duties, to give me on a sudden such a sense of my danger, and the wrath of God, that I stood amazed and my former good frames, that I had pleased myself with, all presently vanished. From the view I had of my sin and vileness, I was much distressed all that day, fearing the vengeance of God would soon overtake me. I was much dejected, kept much alone, and sometimes envied the birds and beasts their happiness, because they were not exposed to eternal misery, as I evidently saw I was. And thus I lived from day to day, being frequently in great distress: sometimes there appeared mountains before me to obstruct my hopes of mercy, and the work of converse appeared so great, that I thought I should never be the subject of it. I used, however, to pray and cry to God, and perform other duties with great earnestness; and thus hoped by some means to make the case better. “And though, hundreds of times, I renounced all pretences of any worth in my duties, as I thought, even while performing them, and often confessed to God that I deserved nothing, for the very best of them, but eternal condemnation; yet still I had a secret hope of recommending myself to God by my religious duties. When I prayed affectionately, and my heart seemed in some measure to melt, I hoped God would be thereby moved to pity me my prayers then looked with some appearance of goodness in them, and I seemed to mourn for sin. And then I could in some measure venture on the mercy of God in Christ, as I thought, though the preponderating thought, the foundation of my hope, was some imagination of goodness in my heart-meltings, flowing of affections in duty, extraordinary enlargements, etc. Though at times the gate appeared so very strait, that it looked next to impossible to enter, yet, at other times, I flattered myself that it was not so very difficult, and hoped I should by diligence and watchfulness soon gain the point. Sometimes after enlargement in duty and considerable affection, I hoped I had made a good step towards heaven; imagined that God was affected as I was, and that he would hear such sincere cries, as I called them. And so sometimes, when I withdrew for secret duties in great distress, I resumed comfortable, and thus healed myself with my duties. “Some time in February, 1739, I set apart a day for secret fasting and prayer, and spent the day in almost incessant cries to God for mercy, that he would open my eyes to see the evil of sin, and the way of life by Jesus Christ. And God was pleased that day to make considerable discoveries of my heart to me. But still I trusted in all the duties I performed; though there was no manner of goodness in them, there being in them no respect to the glory of God, nor any such principle in my heart. Yet, God was pleased to make my endeavours that day a means to show me my helplessness in some measure. “Sometimes I was greatly encouraged, and imagined that God loved me, and was pleased with me; and thought I should soon be fully reconciled to God. But the whole was founded on mere presumption, arising from enlargement in duty, or flowing of affections, or some good resolutions, and the like. And when, at times, great distress began to arise, on a sight of my vileness, nakedness, and inability to deliver myself from a sovereign God, I used to put off the discovery, as what I could not bear. Once, I remember, a terrible pang of distress seized me, and the thoughts of renouncing myself, and standing naked before God, stripped of all goodness, were so dreadful to me, that I was ready to say to them as Felix to Paul, “Go thy way for this time.” Thus, though I daily longed for greater conviction of sin, supposing that I must see more of my dreadful state in order to a remedy; yet when the discoveries of my vile, hellish heart, were made to me, the sight was so dreadful, and showed me so plainly my exposedness to damnation, that I could not endure it. — I constantly strove after whatever qualifications I imagined others obtained before the reception of Christ, in order to recommend me to his favour.
Sometimes I felt the power of a hard heart, and supposed it must be softened before Christ would accept of me; and when I felt any meltings of hearts, I hoped now the work was almost done. Hence, when my distress still remained, I was wont to murmur at God’s dealings with me, and thought, when others felt their hearts softened, God showed them mercy; but my distress remained still. “Sometimes I grew remiss and sluggish, without any areas convictions of sin, for a considerable time together; but after such a season, convictions seized me more violently. One night I remember in particular, when I was walking solitarily abroad, I had opened to me such a view of my sin, that I feared the ground would cleave asunder under my feet, and become my grave; and would send my soul quick into hell, before I could get home.
And though I was forced to go to bed, lest my distress should be discovered by others, which I much feared; yet I scarcely durst sleep at all, for I thought it would be a great wonder if I should be out of hell in the morning. And though my distress was sometimes thus great, yet I greatly dreaded the loss of convictions, and returning back to a state of carnal security, and to my former insensibility of impending wrath, which made me exceeding exact in my behaviour, lest I should stifle the motions of God’s Holy Spirit. When at any time I took a view of my convictions, and thought the degree of them to be considerable, I was wont to trust in them, but this confidence, and the hopes of soon making some notable advances towards deliverance, would ease my mind, and I soon became more senseless and remiss: but then again, when I discerned my convictions to grow languid, and I thought them about to leave me, this immediately alarmed and distressed me. Sometimes I expected to take a large step, and get very far towards converse, by some particular opportunity or means I had in view. “The many disappointments, great distresses, and perplexity I met with, put me into a most horrible frame of contesting with the Almighty: with an inward vehemence and virulence finding fault with his ways of dealing with mankind. I found great fault with the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity; and my wicked heart often wished for some other way of salvation, than by Jesus Christ. Being like the troubled sea, my thoughts confused, I used to contrive to escape the wrath of God by some other means. I had strange projects, full of atheism, contriving to disappoint God’s designs and decrees concerning me, or to escape his notice, and hide myself from him. But when, upon reflection, I saw these projects were vain, and would not serve me, and that I could contrive nothing for my own relief, this would throw my mind into the most horrid frame, to wish there was no God, or to wish there were some other God that could control him, etc. These thoughts and desires were the secret inclinations of my heart, frequently acting before I was aware, but, alas! they were mine, although I was affrighted when I came to reflect on them. When I considered, it distressed me to think that my heart was so full of enmity against God, and it made me tremble, lest his vengeance should suddenly fall upon me. I used before to imagine, that my heart was not so bad as the Scriptures and some other books represented it. Sometimes I used to take much pains to work it up into a good frame, an humble submissive disposition, and hoped there was then some goodness in me. But, on a sudden, the thoughts of the strictness of the law, or the sovereignty of God, would so irritate the corruption of my heart, that I had so watched over, and hoped I had brought to a good frame, that it would break over all bounds, and burst forth on all sides, like floods of water when they break down their dam. “Being sensible of the necessity of a deep humiliation in order to a saving close with Christ, I used to set myself to work in my own hears those convictions that were requisite in such an humiliation; as, a conviction that God would be just, if he cast me off for ever; that if ever God should bestow mercy on me, it would be mere grace, though I should be in distress many years first, and be never so much engaged in duty; that God was not in the least obliged to pity me the more for all past duties, cries, and tears, etc. I strove to my utmost to bring myself to a firm belief of these things and a hearty assent to them and hoped that now I was brought off from myself, truly humbled, and that I bowed to the divine sovereignty. I was wont to tell God in my prayers, that now I had those very dispositions of soul that he required, and on which he showed mercy to others, and thereupon to beg and plead for mercy to me. But when I found no relief, and was still oppressed with guilt, and fears of wrath, my soul was in a tumult, and my heart rose against God, as dealing hardly with me. Yet then my conscience flew in my face, putting me in mind of my late confession to God of his justice in my condemnation, etc. And this giving me a sight of the badness of my heart, threw me again into distress, and I wished I had watched my heart more narrowly, to keep it from breaking out against God’s dealings with me; and I even wished I had not pleaded for mercy on account of my humiliation, because thereby I had lost all my seeming goodness. — Thus, scores of times, I vainly imagined myself humbled and prepared for saving mercy. And while I was in this distressed, bewildered, and tumultuous state of mind, the corruption of my heart was especially irritated with the following things. “1. The strictness of the divine law. For I found it was impossible for me, after my utmost pains, to answer its demands. I often made new resolutions, and as often broke them. I imputed the whole to carelessness and the want of being more watchful, and used to call myself a fool for my negligence. But when, upon a stronger resolution, and greater endeavours, and close application to fasting and prayer, I found all attempts fail; then I quarreled with the law of God, as unreasonably rigid. I thought, if it extended only to my outward actions and behaviours I could bear with it; but I found it condemned me for my evil thoughts, and sins of my heart, which I could not possibly prevent. I was extremely loth to own my utter helplessness in this matter: but after reseated disappointments, thought that, rather than perish, I could do a little more still; especially if such and such circumstances might but attend my endeavours and strivings. I hoped, that I should strive more earnestly than ever, if the matter came to extremity — though I never could find the time to do my utmost, in the manner I intended — and this hope of future more favourable circumstances, and of doing something great hereafter, kept me from utter despair in myself, and from seeing myself fallen into the hands of a sovereign God, and dependent on nothing but free and boundless grace. “2. Another thing was, that faith alone “as the condition of salvation; that God would not come down to lower terms, and that he could not promise life and salvation upon my sincere and hearty prayers and endeavours.
That word, “He that believeth not, shall be damned,” ( Mark 16:16) cut off all hope there: and I found, faith was the sovereign gift of God; that I could not get it as of myself, and could not oblige God to bestow it upon me, by any of my performances, ( Ephesians 2:1,8.) This, I was ready to say, is a hard saying, who can bear it? I could not bear, that all I had done should stand for mere nothing, who had been very conscientious in duty, had been exceeding religious a great while, and had, as I thought, done much more than many others who had obtained mercy. I confessed indeed the vileness of my duties, but then, what made them at that time seem vile, was my wandering thoughts in them; not because I was all over defiled like a devil, and the principle corrupt from whence they flowed, so that I could not possibly do any thing that was good. And therefore I called what I did, by the name of honest faithful endeavours; and could not bear it, that God had made no promises of salvation to them. “3. Another thing was, that I could not find out what faith was, or what it was to believe, and come to Christ. I read the calls of Christ to the weary and heavy laden; but could find no way that he directed them to come in. I thought I would gladly come, if I knew how, though the path of duty were never so difficult. I read Mr. Stoddard’s Guide to Christ, (which I trust was, in the hand of God the happy means of my converse,) and my heart rose against the author, for though he told me my very heart all along under convictions, and seemed to be very beneficial to me in his directions; yet here he failed, he did not tell me any thing I could do that would bring me to Christ, but left me as it were with a great gulf between without any direction to get through. For I was not yet effectually and experimentally taught, that there could be no way prescribed, whereby a natural man could, of his own strength, obtain that which is supernatural, and which the highest angel cannot give. “4. Another thing to which I found a great inward opposition was the sovereignty of God. I could not bear that it should be wholly at God’s pleasure to save or damn me, just as he would. That passage, Romans 9:11-23. was a constant vexation to me, especially verse 21. Reading or meditating on this, always destroyed my seeming good frames: for when I thought I was almost humbled and almost resigned, this passage would make my enmity against the sovereignty of God appear. When I came to reflect on my inward enmity and blasphemy, which arose on this occasion, I was the more afraid of God, and driven further from any hopes of reconciliation with him. It gave me such a dreadful view of myself, that I dreaded more than ever to see myself in God’s hands, at his sovereign disposal, and it made me more opposite than ever to submit to his sovereignty; for I thought God designed my damnation. “All this time the Spirit of God was powerfully at work with me: and I was inwardly pressed to relinquish all self-confidence, all hopes of ever helping myself by any means whatsoever: and the conviction of my lost estate was sometimes so clear and manifest before my eyes, that it was as if it had been declared to me in so many words, “It is done, it is done, for ever impossible to deliver yourself.” For about three or four days my soul was thus greatly distressed. At some turns, for a few moments, I seemed to myself lost and undone; but then would shrink back immediately from the sight, because I dared not venture myself into the hands of God, as wholly helpless, and at the disposal of his sovereign pleasure. I dared not see that important truth concerning myself, that I was dead in trespasses and sins. But when I had as it were thrust away these views of myself at any time, I felt distressed to have the same discoveries of myself again, for I greatly feared being given over of God to final stupidity. When I thought of putting it off to a more convenient season, the conviction was so close and powerful, with regard to the present time, that it was the best, and probably the only time, that I dared not put it off. “It was the sight of truth concerning myself, truth respecting my state, as a creature fallen and ahenated from God, and that consequently could make no demands on God for mercy, but must subscribe to the absolute sovereignty of the Divine Being, the sight of the truth, I say my soul shrank away from, and trembled to think of beholding. Thus, he that doth evil, as all unregenerate men continually do, hates the light of truth, neither cares to come to it, because it will reprove his deeds, and show him his just deserts, John 3:20. And though, some time before, I had taken much pains, as I thought) to submit to the sovereignty of God, yet I mistook the thing; and did not once imagine, that seeing and being made experimentally sensible of this truth, which my soul now so much dreaded and trembled at, was the frame of soul that I had been so earnest in pursuit of heretofore. For I had ever hoped, that when I had attained to that humiliation, which I supposed necessary to go before faith, then it would not be fair for God to cast me off, but now I saw it was so far from any goodness in me, to own myself spiritually dead, and destitute of all goodness, that, on the contrary, my mouth would be for ever stopped by it and it looked as dreadful to me, to see myself, and the relation I stood in to God — I a sinner and criminal, and he a great Judge and Sovereign — as it would be to a poor trembling creature, to venture off some high precipice. And hence I put it off for a minute or two, and tried for better circumstances to do it in, either I must read a passage or two, or pray first or something of the like nature, or else put off my submission to God’s sovereignty, with an objection, that I did not know how to submit. But the truth was, I could see no safety in owning myself in the hands of a sovereign God, and that I could lay no claim to any thing better than damnation. “But after a considerable time spent in such like exercises and distresses, one morning, while I was walking in a solitary place, as usual, I at once saw that all my contrivances and projects to effect or procure deliverance and salvation for myself were utterly in vain; I was brought quite to a stand, as finding myself totally lost. I had thought many times before, that the difficulties in my way were very great but now I saw, in another and very different light, that it was for ever impossible for me to do any thing towards helping or delivering myself. I then though of blaming myself, that I had not done more, and been more engaged, while I had opportunity — for it seemed now as if the season of doing was for ever over and gone — but I instantly saw, that let me have done what I would, it would no more have tended to my helping myself, than what I had done, that I had made all the pleas I ever could have made to all eternity; and that all my pleas were vain. The tumult that had been before in my mind, was now quieted; and I was something eased of that distress, which I felt, while struggling against a sight of myself, and of the divine sovereignty. I had the greatest certainty that my state was for ever miserable, for all that I could do; and wondered that I had never been sensible of it before. “While I remained in this state, my notions, respecting my duties were quite different from what I had ever entertained in times past. Before this, the more I did in duty, the more hard I thought it would be for God to cast me off, though at the same time I confessed, and thought I saw, that there was no goodness or merit in my duties; but now the more I did in prayer or any other duty, the more I saw I was indebted to God for allowing me to ask for mercy, for I saw it was self-interest had lead me to pray, and that I had never once prayed from any respect to the glory of God. Now I saw there was no necessary connexion between my prayers and the bestowment of divine mercy, that they laid not the least obligation upon God to bestow his grace upon me, and that there was no more virtue or goodness in them, than there would be in my paddling with my hand in the water, (which was the comparison I had then in my mind,) and this because they were not performed from any love or regard to God. I saw that I had been heaping up my devotions before God, fasting, praying, etc. pretending, and indeed really thinking sometimes, that I was aiming at the glory of God; whereas I never once truly intended it, but only my own happiness. I saw, that as I had never done any thing for God, I had no claim on any thing from him, but perdition, on account of my hypocrisy and mockery. Oh how different did my duties now appear from what they used to do! I used to charge them with sin and imperfection, but this was only on account of the wanderings and vain thoughts attending them, and not because I had no regard to God in them; for this I thought I had. But when I saw evidently that I had regard to nothing but self-interest, then they appeared a vile mockery of God, self-worship and a continual course of lies; so that I now saw that something worse had attended my duties, than barely a few wanderings etc. for the whose was nothing but selfworship, and a horrid abuse of God. “I continued, as I remember, in this state of mind, from Friday morning till the sabbath evening following, (July 12, 1739,) when l was walking again in the same solitary place, where I was brought to see myself lost and helpless, as before mentioned. Here, in a mournful melancholy state, I was attempting to pray; but found no heart to engage in that or any other duty; my former concern, exercise, and religious affections were now gone. I thought the Spirit of God had quite left me; but still was not distressed: yet disconsolate, as if there was nothing in heaven or earth could make me happy. Having been thus endeavouring to pray — though, as I thought, very stupid and senseless — for near half an hour, then, as I was walking in a dark thick grove, unspeakable glory seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul. I do not mean any external brightness, for I saw no such thing; nor do I intend any imagination of a body of light, somewhere in the third heavens, or any thing of that nature; but it was a new inward apprehension or view that I had of God, such as I never had before, nor any thing which had the least resemblance of it. I stood still, wondered, and admired! I knew that I never had seen before any thing comparable to it for excellency and beauty; it was widely different from all the conceptions that ever I had of God, or things divine. I had no particular apprehension of any one person in the Trinity, either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost, but it appeared to be divine glory. My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable, to see such a God, such a glorious Divine Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied that he should be God over all for ever and ever. My soul was so captivated and delighted with the excellency, loveliness, greatness, and miner perfections of God, that I was even swallowed up in him; at least to that degree, that I had no thought (as I remember) at first about my own salvation, and scarce reflected there was such a creature as myself. “Thus God, I trust, brought me to a hearty disposition to exalt him, and set him on the throne, and principally and ultimately to aim at his honour and glory, as King of the universe. I continued in this state of inward joy, peace, and astonishment, till near dark, without any sensible abatement; and then began to think and examine what I had seen; and felt sweetly composed in my mind all the evening following. I felt myself in a new world, and every thing about me appeared with a different aspect from what it was wont to do. At this time, the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other way of salvation, was amazed that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before. If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any other way that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul would now have refused it. I wondered that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ. “The sweet relish of what I then felt, continued with me for several days, almost constantly, in a greater or less degree, I could not but sweetly rejoice in God, lying down and rising up. The next Lord’s day I felt something of the same kind though not so powerful as before. But not long after I was again involved in thick darkness and under great distress, yet not of the same kind with my distress under convictions. I was guilty, afraid, and ashamed to come before God, was exceedingly pressed with a sense of guilt: but it was not long before I felt, I trust, true repentance and joy in God. — About the latter end of August, I again fell under great darkness; it seemed as if the presence of God was clean gone for ever, though I was not so much distressed about my spiritual state as I was at my being shut out from God’s presence, as I then sensibly was. But it pleased the Lord to return graciously to me, not long after. “In the beginning of September I went to college, and entered there, but with some degree of reluctancy, fearing lest I should not be able to lead a life of strict religion, in the midst of so many temptations. — After this, in the vacancy, before I went to tarry at college, it pleased God to visit my soul with clearer manifestations of himself and his grace. I was spending some time in prayer, and self examination, when the Lord by his grace so shined into my heart, that I enjoyed full assurance of his favour, for that time; and my soul was unspeakably refreshed with divine and heavenly enjoyments. At this time especially, as well as some others, sundry passages of God’s word opened to my soul with divine clearness, power, and sweetness, so as to appear exceeding precious, and with clear and certain evidence of its being the word of God. I enjoyed considerable sweetness in religion all the winter following. “In January 1740, the measles spread much in college, and I having taken the distemper, went home to Haddam. But some days before I was taken sick, I seemed to be greatly deserted, and my soul mourned the absence of the Comforter exceedingly. It seemed to me all comfort was for ever gone, I prayed and cried to God for help, yet found no present comfort or relief.
But through divine goodness, a night or two before I was taken ill, while I was walking alone in a very retired place, and engaged in meditation and prayer, I enjoyed a sweet refreshing visit, as I trust, from above; so that my soul was raised far above the fears of death. Indeed I rather longed for death, than feared it. O how much more refreshing this one season was, than all the pleasures and delights that earth can afford! After a day or two I was taken with the measles, and was very ill indeed, so that I almost despaired of life; but had no distressing fears of death at all. However, through divine goodness I soon recovered; yet, by reason of hard and close studies, and being much; exposed on account of my freshmanship, I had but little time for spiritual duties: my soul often mourned for want of more time and opportunity to be alone with God. In the spring and summer following, I had better advantages for retirement, and enjoyed more comfort in religion. Though indeed my ambition in my studies greatly wronged the activity and vigour of my spiritual life; yet this was usually the case with me, that “in the multitude of my thoughts within me, God’s comforts principally delighted my soul;” these were my greatest consolations day by day. “One day I remember, in particular, (I think it was in June, 1740,) I walked to a considerable distance from the college, in the fields alone at noon, and in prayer found such unspeakable sweetness and delight in God, that I thought, if I must continue still in this evil world, I wanted always to be there, to behold God’s glory. My soul dearly loved all mankind, and longed exceedingly that they should enjoy what I enjoyed. It seemed to be a little resemblance of heaven. On Lord’s day, July 6, being sacramentday, I found some divine life and spiritual refreshment in that holy ordinance. When I came from the Lord’s table, I wondered how my fellowstudents could live as I was sensible most did. — Next Lord’s day, July 13, I had some special sweetness in religion. — Again Lord’s day, July 20, my soul was in a sweet and precious frame. “Some time in August following, I became so weakly and disordered, by too close application to my studies, that I was advised by my tutor to go home, and disengage my mind from study, as much as I could; for I was grown so weak, that I began to spit blood. I took his advice, and endeavoured to lay aside my studies. But being brought very low, I looked death in the face more steadfastly, and the Lord was pleased to give me renewedly a sweet sense and relish of divine things; and particularly, October 13, I found divine help and consolation in the precious duties of secret prayer and self-examination, and my soul took delight in the blessed God: — so likewise on the 17th of October. “Saturday, October 18. In my morning devotions, my soul was exceedingly melted, and bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness. I never before had felt so pungent and deep a sense of the odious nature of sin, as at this time. My soul was then unusually carried forth in love to God, and had a lively sense of God’s love to me. And this love and hope, at that time, cast out fear. Both morning and evening I spent some time in self-examination to find the truth of Grace, as also my fitness to approach to God at his table the next day, and through infinite grace, found the Holy Spirit influencing my soul with love to God, as a witness within myself. “Lord’s day, October 19. In the morning I felt my soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness. In the forenoon, while I was looking on the sacramental elements and thinking that Jesus Christ would soon be “set forth crucified before me,” my soul was filled with light and love, so that I was almost in an ecstasy, my body was so weak, I could scarcely stand. I felt at the same time an exceeding tenderness and most fervent love towards all mankind so that my soul and all the powers of it seemed as it were, to melt into softness and sweetness. But during the communion, there was some abatement of this life and fervour. This love and joy cast out fear, and my soul longed for perfect grace and glory. This frame continued till the evening, when my soul was sweetly spiritual in secret duties. “Monday, October 20. I again found the assistance of the Holy Spirit in secret duties, both morning and evening and life and comfort in religion through the whole day. — Tuesday, October 21. I had likewise experience of the goodness of God in “shedding abroad his love in my heart,” and giving me delight and consolation in religious duties; and all the remaining part of the week, my soul seemed to be taken up with divine things. I now so longed after God and to be freed from sin, that when I felt myself recovering, and thought I must return to college again, which had proved so hurtful to my spiritual interest the year past, I could not but be grieved, and I thought I had much rather have died, for it distressed me to think of getting away from God. But before I went, I enjoyed several other sweet and precious seasons of communion with God, (particularly October 30, and November 4,) wherein my soul enjoyed unspeakable comfort. “I returned to college about November 6, and, through the goodness of God, felt the power of religion almost daily, for the space of six weeks. — November 28. In my evening devotion, I enjoyed precious discoveries of God, and was unspeakably refreshed with that passage, Hebrews 12:22 — 24. My soul longed to wing away for the paradise of God; I longed to be conformed to God in all things. — A day or two after, I enjoyed much of the light of God’s countenance, most of the day; and my soul rested in God. “Tuesday, December 9. I was in a comfortable frame of soul most of the day; but especially in evening devotions, when God was pleased wonderfully to assist and strengthen me; so that I thought nothing should ever move me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. — O! one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world. “Some time towards the latter end of January, 1741, I grew more cold and dull in religion, by means of my old temptation, viz. ambition in my studies. — But through divine goodness, a great and general awakening spread itself over the college, about the latter end of February, in which I was much quickened, and more abundantly engaged in religion.”
This awakening was at the beginning of that extraordinary religious commotion through the land, which is fresh in every one’s memory. It was for a time very great and general at New-Haven; and the college had no small share in it. That society was greatly reformed, the students in general became serious, many of them remarkably so, and much engaged in the concerns of their eternal salvation. And however undesirable the issue of the awakenings of that day have appeared in many others, there have been manifestly happy and abiding effects of the impressions then made on the minds of many of the members of that college. And by all that I can learn concerning Mr. Brainerd, there can be no reason to doubt but that he had much, of God’s gracious presence, and of the lively actings of true grace, at that time: but yet he was afterwards abundantly sensible, that his religions experiences and affections at that time were not free from a corrupt mix sure, nor his conduct to be acquitted from many things that were imprudent and blamable; which he greatly lamented himself, and was desirous that others should not make an ill use of such an example. And therefore, although at the time he kept a constant diary, containing a very particular account of what passed from day to day for the next thirteen months, from the latter end of January 1741, forementioned, in two small books, which he called the two first volumes of his diary, next following the account before given of his convictions, converse, and consequent comforts; yet, when he lay on his death-bed, he gave order (unknown to me till after his death) that these two volumes should be destroyed, and in the beginning of the third book of his diary, he wrote thus, (by the hand of another, he not being able to write himself,) “The two preceding volumes, immediately following the account of the author’s converse are lost. If any are desirous to know how the author lived, in general, during that space of time, let them read the first thirty pages of this volume where they will find something of a specimen of his ordinary manner of living, through that whole space of time, which was about thirteen months, excepting that here he was more refined from some imprudences and indecent heats, than there; but the spirit of devotion running through the whole was the same.”
It could not be otherwise than that one whose heart had been so prepared and drawn to God, as Mr. Brainerd’s had been, should be mightily enlarged, animated, and engaged at the sight of such an alteration made in the college, the town, and country; and so great an appearance of men reforming their lives, and turning from their profaneness and immorality to seriousness and concern for their salvation, and of religion reviving and flourishing almost every where. But as an intemperate, imprudent zeal, and a degree of enthusiasm, soon crept in, and mingled itself’ with that revival of religion; and so great and general an awakening being quite a new thing in the land, at least as to all the living inhabitants of it; neither people nor ministers had learned thoroughly to distinguish, between solid religion and its delusive counterfeits. Even many ministers of the gospel, of long standing and the best reputation, were for a time overpowered with the glaring appearances of the latter; and therefore, surely it was not to be wondered at, that young Brainerd, but a sophomore at college, should be so; who was not only young in years, but very young in religion and experience.
He had enjoyed but little advantage for the study of divinity, and still less for observing the circumstances and events of such an extraordinary state of things. To think it strange, a man must divest himself of all reason. In these disadvantageous circumstances, Brainerd had the unhappiness to have a tincture of that intemperate, indiscreet zeal, which was at that time too prevalent; and was led, from his high opinion of others whom he looked upon as better than himself, into such errors as were really contrary to the habitual temper of his mind. One instance of his misconduct at that time, gave great offence to the rulers of the college, even to that degree that they expelled him the society; which it is necessary should here be particularly related, with its circumstances.
During the awakening at college, these were several religious students who associated together for mutual conversation and assistance in spiritual things. These were wont freely to open themselves one to another, as special and intimate friends: Brainerd was one of this company. And it once happened, that he and two or three more of these intimate friends were in the hall together, after Mr. Whittelsey, one of the tutors, had been to prayer there with the scholars; no other person now remaining in the hall but Brainerd and his companions. Mr. Whittelsey having been unusually pathetical in his prayer, one of Brainerd’s friends on this occasion asked him what he thought of Mr. Whittelsey; he made answer, “He has no more grace than this chair.” One of the freshmen happening at that time to be near the hall (though not in the room) over-heard those words. This person, though he heard no name mentioned, and knew not who was thus censured, informed a certain woman in the town, withal telling her his own suspicion, viz. that he believed Brainerd said this of some one or other of the rulers of the college. Whereupon she went and informed the rector, who sent for this freshman and examined him. He told the rector the words he heard Brainerd utter, and informed him who were in the room with him at that time. Upon which the rector sent for them: they were very backward to inform against their friend what they looked upon as private conversation, and especially as none but they had heard or knew of whom he had uttered those words: yet the rector compelled them to declare what he said, and of whom he said it. — Brainerd looked on himself very ill used in the management of this affair; and thought, that it was injuriously extorted from his friends, and then injuriously required of him — as if he had been guilty of some open, notorious crime — to make a public confession, and to humble himself before the whole college in the hall, for what he had said only in private conversation. — He not complying with this demand, and having gone once to the separate meeting at New-Haven, when forbidden by the rector; and also having been accused by one person of saying concerning the rector, “that he wondered he did not expect to drop down dead for fining the scholars who followed Mr. Tennent to Milford, though there was no proof of it; (and Mr.
Brainerd ever professed that he did not remember his saying any thing to that purpose;) for these things he was expelled the college.
Now, how far the circumstances and exigencies of that day might justify such great severity in the governors of the college, I will not undertake to determine; it being my aim, not to bring reproach on the authority of the college, but only to do justice to the memory of a person, who was I think eminently one of those whose memory is blessed. — The reader will see, in the sequel of the story of Mr. Brainerd’s life, what his own thoughts afterwards were of his behaviour in these things, and in how christian a manner he conducted himself, with respect to this affair: though he ever, as long as he lived, supposed himself ill used in the management of it, and in what he suffered. — His expulsion was in the winter, 1742, while in his third year at college.
PART FROM ABOUT THE TIME THAT HE FIRST BEGAN TO DEVOTE; HIMSELF MORE ESPECIALLY TO THE STUDY OF DIVINITY, TILL HE WAS EXAMINED AND LICENSED TO PREACH, BY THE ASSOCIATION OF MINISTERS BELONGING TO THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF THE COUNTY OF FAIRFIELD, IN CONNECTICUT.
MR.BRAINERD, the Spring after his expulsion, went to live with the Reverend Mr. Mills, of Ripton, to pursue his studies with him, in order to his being fitted for the work of the ministry where he spent the greater part of the time till the Association licensed him to preach, but frequently rode to visit the neighbouring ministers, particularly Mr. Cooke of Stratford, Mr. Graham of Southbury, and Mr. Bellamy of Bethlehem.
While with Mr. Mills, he began the third book of his diary, in which the account he wrote of himself, is as follows. “Thursday, April 1, 1742. I seem to be declining, with respect to my life and warmth in divine things; had not so free access to God in prayer as usual of late. O that God would humble me deeply in the dust before him!
I deserve hell every day, for not loving my Lord more, who has, I trust, loved me, and given himself for me; and every time I am enabled to exercise any grace renewedly, I am renewedly indebted to the God of all grace for special assistance. Where then is boasting? Surely it is excluded, when we think how we are dependent on God for the being and every act of grace.
Oh, if ever I get to heaven, it will be because God will, and nothing else, for I never did any thing of myself, but get away from God! My soul will be astonished at the unsearchable riches of divine grace, when I arrive at the mansions, which the blessed Saviour is gone before to prepare. “Friday, April 2. In the afternoon I felt, in secret prayer, much resigned, calm, and serene. What are all the storms of this lower world, if Jesus by his Spirit does but come walking on the seas! — Some time past, I had much pleasure in the prospect of the heathen being brought home to Christ, and desired that the Lord would employ me in that work: — but now, my soul more frequently desires to die, to be with Christ. O that my soul were wrapt up in divine love, and my longing desires after God increased! — In the evening, was refreshed in prayer, with the hopes of the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world. “Saturday, April 3. Was very much amiss this morning, and had a bad night. I thought, if God would take me to himself now, my soul would exceedingly rejoice. O that I may be always humble and resigned to God, and that he would cause my soul to be more fixed on himself, that I may be more fitted both for doing and suffering! “Lord’s day, April 4. My heart was wandering and lifeless. In the evening God gave me faith in prayer, made my soul melt in some measure, and gave me to taste a divine sweetness. O my blessed God! Let me climb up near to him, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle, and stretch after him and for deliverance from the body of sin and death. — Alas! my soul mourned to think I should ever lose sight of its beloved again. “O come, Lord Jesus, Amen.”
On the evening of the next day, he complains, that he seemed to be void of all relish of divine things, felt much of the prevalence of corruption, and saw in himself a disposition to all manner of sin; which brought a very great gloom on his mind, and cast him down into the depths of melancholy; so that he speaks of himself as amazed, having no comfort, but filled with horror, seeing no comfort in heaven or earth. “Tuesday, April 6. I walked out this morning to the same place where I was last night, and felt as I did then but was somewhat relieved by reading some passages in my diary, and seemed to feel as if I might pray to the great God again with freedom; but was suddenly struck with a damp, from the sense I had of my own vileness. — Then I cried to God to cleanse me from my exceeding filthiness, to give me repentance and pardon. I then began to find it sweet to pray, and could think of undergoing the greatest sufferings, in the cause of Christ, with pleasure; and found myself willing, if God should so order it, to suffer banishment from my native land, among the heathen, that I might do something for their salvation in distresses and deaths of any kind. — Then God gave me to wrestle earnestly for others, for the kingdom of Christ in the world, and for dear christian friends. — I felt weaned from the world, and from my own reputation amongst men, willing to be despised, and to be a gazing-stock for the world to behold. — It is impossible for me to express how I then felt: I had not much joy, but some sense of the majesty of God, which made me as it were tremble. I saw myself mean and vile, which made me more willing that God should do what be would with me; it was all infinitely reasonable. “Wednesday, April 7. I had not so much fervency but felt something as I did yesterday morning, in prayer. At noon I spent some time in secret, with some fervency, but scarce any sweetness; and felt very dull in the evening. “Thursday, April 8. Had raised hopes to-day respecting the heathen. O that God would bring in great numbers of them to Jesus Christ! I cannot but hope I shall see that glorious day. — Every thing in this world seems exceeding vile and little to me: I look so on myself. — I had some little dawn of comfort to-day in prayer; but especially to-night, I think I had some faith and power of intercession with God. I was enabled to plead with God for the growth of grace in myself, and many of the dear children of God then lay with weight upon my soul. Blessed be the Lord! It is good to wrestle for divine blessings. “Friday, April 9. Most of my time in morning devotion was spent without sensible sweetness, yet I had one delightful prospect of arriving at the heavenly world. I am mere amazed than ever at such thoughts; for I see myself infinitely vile and unworthy. I feel very heartless and dull; and though I long for the presence of God, and seem constantly to reach towards God in desires; yet I cannot feel that divine and heavenly sweetness that I used to enjoy. — No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more than I, and none abuse it more than I have done, and still do. “Saturday, April 10. Spent much time in secret prayer this morning, and not without some comfort in divine things, and, I hope had some faith in exercise: but am so low, and feel so little of the sensible presence of God, that I hardly know what to call faith, and am made to possess the sins of my youth, and the dreadful sin of my nature. I am all sin; I cannot think, nor act, but every motion is sin. — I feel some faint hopes, that God will, of his infinite mercy, return again with showers of converting grace to poor gospel-abusing sinners; and my hopes of being employed in the cause of God, which of late have been almost extinct, seem now a little revived. O that all my late distresses and awful apprehensions might prove but Christ’s school, to make me fit for greater service, by teaching me the great lesson of humility! “Lord’s day, April 11. In the morning I felt but little life, excepting that my heart was somewhat drawn out in thankfulness to God for his amazing grace and condescension to me, in past influences and assistances of his Spirit. — Afterwards, I had some sweetness in the thoughts of arriving at the heavenly world. O for the happy day! — After public worship God gave me special assistance in prayer; I wrestled with my dear Lord, with much sweetness; and intercession was made a delightful employment to me. — In the evening, as I was viewing the light in the north, I was delighted in contemplation on the glorious morning of the resurrection. “Monday April 12. This morning the Lord was pleased to lift up the light of his countenance upon me in secret prayer, and made the season very precious to my soul. And though I have been so depressed of late, respecting my hopes of future serviceableness in the cause of God; yet I had much encouragement respecting that matter. I was especially assisted to intercede and plead for poor souls, and for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom in the world, and for special grace for myself, to fit me for special services. I felt exceedingly calm, and quite resigned to God, respecting my future employment, when and where he pleased. My faith lifted me above the world, and removed all those mountains, that I could not look over of late. I wanted not the favour of man to lean upon; for I knew Christ’s favour was infinitely better and that it was no matter when, nor where nor how Christ should send me, nor what trials he should still exercise me with, if I might be prepared for his work and will. I now found revived, in my mind, the wonderful discovery of infinite wisdom in all the dispensations of God towards me, which I had a little before I met with my great trial at college; every thing appeared full of divine wisdom. “Tuesday, April 13. I saw myself to be very mean and vile; and wondered at those that showed me respect. Afterwards I was somewhat comforted in secret retirement, and assisted to wrestle with God, with some power spirituality, and sweetness. Blessed be the Lord, he is never unmindful of me, but always sends me needed supplies; and, from time to time, when I am like one dead. He raises me to life. O that I may never distrust infinite goodness! “Wednesday, April 14. My soul longed for communion with Christ, and for the mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. there is a sweet day coming, wherein the weary will be at rest! My soul has enjoyed much sweetness this day in the hopes of its speedy arrival. “Thursday, April 15. My desires apparently centred in God, and I found a sensible attraction of soul after him sundry times to-day. I know I long for God, and a conformity to his will, in inward purity and holiness, ten thousand times more than for any thing here below. “Friday and Saturday, April 16, 17. I seldom prayed without some sensible joy in the Lord. Sometimes I longed much to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. O that God would enable me to grow in grace every day!
Alas! my barrenness is such, that God might well say, Cut it down. — I am afraid of a dead heart on the sabbath now begun: O that God would quicken me by his grace! “Lords day, April 18. I retired early this morning into the woods for prayer; had the assistance of God’s Spirit, and faith in exercise; and was enabled to plead with fervency for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world, and to intercede for dear absent friends. — At noon, God enabled me to wrestle with him, and to feel, as I trust, the power of divine love in prayer. — At night I saw myself infinitely indebted to God, and had a view of my shortcomings: it seemed to me, that I had done as it were nothing for God, and that I never had lived to him but a few hours of my life. “Monday, April 19. I set apart this day for fasting, and prayer to God for his grace, especially to prepare me for the work of the ministry, to give me divine aid and direction in my preparations for that great work, and in his own time to send me into his harvest. Accordingly, in the morning, I endeavoured to plead for the divine presence for the day, and not without some life. In the forenoon, I felt the power of intercession for precious, immoral souls; for the advancement of the kingdom of my dear Lord and Saviour in the word, and withal, a most sweet resignation, and even consolation and joy in the thoughts of suffering hardships, distresses, and even death itself, in the promotion of it; and had special enlargement in pleading for the enlightening and converse of the poor heathen. In the afternoon, God was with me of a truth. O it was blessed company indeed!
God enabled me so to agonize in prayer, that I was quite wet with perspiration, though in the shade, and the cool wind. My soul was drawn out very much for the world; for multitudes of souls. I think I had more enlargement for sinners, than for the children of God, though I felt as if I could spend my life in cries for both. I enjoyed great sweetness in communion with my dear Saviour. I think I never in my life felt such an entire weakness from this world, and so much resigned to God in every thing. — O that I may always live to and upon my blessed God! Amen, Amen. “Tuesday, April 20. This day I am twenty-four years of age. O how much mercy have I received the year past! How often has God caused his goodness to pass before me! And how poorly have I answered the vows I made this time twelve month, to be wholly the Lord’s, to be for ever devoted to his service! The Lord help me to live more to his glory for the time to come. — This has been a sweet, a happy day to me: blessed be God. I think my soul was never so drawn out in intercession for others, as it has been this night. Had a most fervent wrestle with the Lord to-night for my enemies; and I hardly ever so longed to live to God, and to be altogether devoted to him; I wanted to wear out my life in his service, and for his glory. “Wednesday, April 21. Felt much calmness and resignation, and God again enabled me to wrestle for numbers of souls, and had much fervency in the sweet duty of intercession. I enjoyed of late more sweetness in intercession for others, than in any other part of prayer. My blessed Lord really let me come near to him, and plead with him.”
The frame of mind, and exercises of soul, that he expresses the three days next following, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, are much of the same kind with those expressed the two days past. “Lord’s day, April 25. This morning I spent about two hours in secret duties, and was enabled more than ordinarily to agonize for immortal souls; though it was early in the morning, and the sun scarcely shined at all yet my body was quite wet with sweat. I felt much pressed now, as frequently of late, to plead for the meekness and calmness of the lamb of God in my soul, and through divine goodness felt much of it this morning.
O it is a sweet disposition, heartily to forgive all injuries done us; to wish our greatest enemies as well as we do our own souls! Blessed Jesus, may I daily be more and more conformed to thee. At night I was exceedingly melted with divine love, and had some feeling sense of the blessedness of the upper world. Those words hung upon me, with much divine sweetness, “They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.” ( Psalm 84:7) O the near access that God sometimes gives us in our addresses to him!
This may well be termed appearing before God: it is so indeed, in the true spiritual sense, and in the sweetest sense. I think I have not had such power of intercession these many months, both for God’s children, and for dead sinners, as I have had this evening. I wished and longed for the coming of my dear Lord: I longed to join the angelic hosts in praises, wholly free from imperfection. O the blessed moment hastens! All I want is to be more holy, more like my dear Lord. O for sanctification! My very soul pants for the complete restoration of the blessed image of my Saviour, that I may be fit for the blessed enjoyments and employments of the heavenly world Farewell, vain world; my soul can bid adieu; My Saviours taught me to abandon you.
Forbear to entice, cease then my soul to call; Tis fix’d through grace; my God shall be my all, While he thus lets me heavenly glories view, Your beauties fade, my heart’s no room for you. “The Lord refreshed my soul with many sweet passages of his word. O the new Jerusalem! my soul longed for it. O the song of Moses and the Lamb! And that blessed song that no man can learn, but they who are redeemed from the earth! and the glorious white robes, that were given to the souls under the altar! Lord, I m a stranger here alone; Earth no true comforts can afford; Yet absent from my dearest one, My soul delights to cry My Lord.
Jesus, my Lord my only love, Possess my soul, nor thence depart; Grant me kind visits heavenly Dove; My God shall then have all my heart “Monday, April 26. Continued in a sweet frame of mind; but in the afternoon felt something of spiritual pride stirring. God was pleased to make it an humbling season at first; though afterwards he gave me sweetness. O my soul exceedingly longs for that blessed state of perfect deliverance from all sin! — At night, God enabled me to give my soul up to him, to cast myself upon him, to be ordered and disposed of according to his sovereign pleasure; and I enjoyed great peace and consolation in so doing. My soul took sweet delight in God; my thoughts freely and sweetly centred in him. O that I could spend every moment of my life to his glory! “Tuesday, April 27. I retired pretty early for secret devotions, and in prayer God was pleased to pour such ineffable comforts into my soul, that I could do nothing for some time but say over and over, “O my sweet Saviour! O my sweet Saviour! whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” If I had had a thousand lives, my soul would gladly have laid them all down at once to have been with\parCHRIST. My soul never enjoyed so much of heaven before; it was the most refined and the most spiritual season of communion with God ever yet felt. I never felt so great a degree of resignation in my life. In the afternoon I withdrew to meet with my God, but found myself much declined, and God made it an humbling season to my soul. I mourned over the body of death that is in me. It grieved me exceedingly, that I could not pray to and praise God with my heart full of divine heavenly love. — O that my soul might never offer any dead, cold services to my God! — In the evening had not so much divine love, as in the morning; but had a sweet season of fervent intercession. “Wednesday, April 28. I withdrew to my usual place of retirement in great peace and tranquillity, spent about two hours in secret duties, and felt much as I did yesterday morning only weaker and more overcome. I seemed to depend wholly on my dear Lord; wholly weaned from all other dependencies. I knew not what to say to my God, but only lean on his bosom, as it were, and breathe out my desires after a perfect conformity to him in all things. Thirsting desires, and insatiable longings, possessed my soul after perfect holiness. God was so precious to my soul, that the world with all its enjoyments was infinitely vile. I had no more value for the favour of men than for pebbles. TheLORD was myALL; and that he overruled all, greatly delighted me. I think, my faith and dependence on God scarce ever rose so high. I saw him such a fountain of goodness, that it seemed impossible I should distrust him again, or be any way anxious about any thing that should happen to me. I now enjoyed great sweetness in praying for absent friends, and for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom in the world. — Much of the power of these divine enjoyments remained with me through the day. — In the evening my heart seemed to melt, and, I trust, was really humbled for indwelling corruption, and I mourned like a dove. I felt, that all my unhappiness arose from my being a sinner. With resignation I could bid welcome to all other trials; but sin hung heavy upon me, for God discovered to me the corruption of my heart. I went to bed with a heavy heart, because I was a sinner; though I did not in the least doubt of God’s love. O that God would purge away my dross, and take away my tin, and make me seven times refined! “Thursday, April 29. I was kept off at a distance from God; — but had some enlargement in intercession for precious souls. “Friday, April 30. I was somewhat dejected in spirit: nothing grieves me so much, as that I cannot live constantly to God’s glory. I could bear any desertion or spiritual conflicts, if I could but have my heart all the while burning within me with love to God and desires of his glory. But this is impossible; for when I feel these, I cannot be dejected in my soul, but only rejoice in my Saviour, who has delivered me from the reigning power, and will shortly deliver me from the indwelling of sin. “Saturday, May 1. I was enabled to cry to God with fervency for ministerial qualifications, that he would appear for the advancement of his own kingdom, and that he would bring in the heathen, etc. Had much assistance in my studies. — This has been a profitable week to me; I have enjoyed many communications of the blessed Spirit in my soul. “Lord’s day, May 2. God was pleased this morning to give me such a sight of myself, as made me appear very vile in my own eyes. I felt corruption stirring in my heart, which I could by no means suppress; felt more and more deserted; was exceeding weak, and almost sick with my inward trials. “Monday, May 3. Had a sense of vile ingratitude. In the morning I withdrew to my usual place of retirement, and mourned for my abuse of my dear Lord: spent the day in fasting and prayer. God gave me much power of wrestling for his cause and kingdom, and it was a happy day to my soul. God was with me all the day, and I was more above the world than ever in my life.”
Through the remaining part of this week he complains almost every day of desertion, inward trials and conflicts attended with dejection of spirit but yet speaks of times of relief and sweetness, and daily refreshing visits of the divine Spirit, affording special assistance and comfort, and enabling, at some times, to much fervency and enlargement in religious duties. “Lord’s day, May 9. I think I never felt so much of the cursed pride of my heart, as well as the stubbornness, of my will, before. Oh dreadful! what a vile wretch I am! I could submit to be nothing and to lie down in the dust.
O that God would humble me in the dust! I felt myself such a sinner, all day, that I had scarce any comfort. O when shall I be delivered from the body of this death! I greatly feared, lest through stupidity and carelessness I should lose the benefit of these trials. O that they might he sanctified to my soul! Nothing seemed to touch me but only this, that I was a sinner. — Had a fervency and refreshment in social prayer in the evening. “Monday, May 10. I rode to New-Haven; saw some christian friends there; and had comfort in joining in prayer with them, and hearing of the goodness of God to them, since I last saw them. “Tuesday, May 11. I rode from New-Haven to Weathersfield; was very dull most of the day; had little spirituality in this journey, though I often longed to be along with God; was much perplexed with vile thoughts; was sometimes afraid of every thing: but God was my helper. — Catched a little time for retirement in the evening, to my comfort and rejoicing. Alas!
I cannot live in the midst of a tumult. I long to enjoy God along. “Wednesday, May 12. I had a distressing view of the pride, enmity, and vileness of my heart. — Afterwards had sweet refreshment in conversing, and worshipping God with christian friends. “Thursday, May 13. Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart; that I longed to get away from myself. I never before thought there was so much spiritual pride in my soul. I felt almost pressed to death with my own vileness. Oh what a body of death is there in me! Lord, deliver my soul. I could not find any convenient place for retirement, and was greatly exercised. — Rode to Hartford in the afternoon: had some refreshment and comfort in religious exercises with christian friends, but longed for more retirement. O the closest walk with God is the sweetest heaven that can be enjoyed on earth! “Friday, May 14. I waited on a council of ministers convened at Hartford, and spread before them the treatment I had met with from the rector and tutors of Yale college; who thought it advisable to intercede for me with the rector and trustees, and to entreat them to restore me to my former privileges in college. — After this, spent some time in religious exercises with christian friends. “Saturday, May 15. I rode from Hartford to Hebron; was somewhat dejected on the road, appeared exceeding vile in my own eyes, saw much pride and stubbornness in my heart. Indeed I never saw such a week as this before; for I have been almost ready to die with the view of the wickedness of my heart. I could not have thought I had such a body of death in me. Oh that God would deliver my soul!”
The three next days (which he spent at Hebron, Lebanon and Norwich) he complains still of dulness and desertion and expresses a sense of his vileness, and longing to hide himself in some cave or den of the earth: but yet speaks of some intervals of comfort and soul-refreshment each day. “Wednesday, May 19. (At Millington) I was so amazingly deserted this morning, that I seemed to feel a sort of horror in my soul. Alas! when God withdraws what is there that can afford any comfort to the soul!”
Through the eight days next following he expresses more calmness and comfort, and considerable life, fervency, and sweetness in religion. “Friday, May 28. (At New-Haven) I think I scarce ever felt so calm in my life; I rejoiced in resignation, and giving myself up to God, to be wholly and entirely devoted to him for ever.”
On the three following days there was, by the account he gives, a continuance of the same excellent frame of mind, last expressed: but it seems not to be altogether to so great a degree. “Tuesday, June 1. Had much of the presence of God in family prayer, and had some comfort in secret. I was greatly refreshed from the word of God this morning, which appeared exceeding sweet to me: some things that appeared mysterious, were opened to me. O that the kingdom of the dear Saviour might come with power, and the healing waters of the sanctuary spread far and wide for the healing of the nations! — Came to Ripton; but was very weak. However, being visited by a number of young people in the evening, I prayed with them.”
The remaining part of this week he speaks of being much diverted and hindered in the business of religion by great weakness of body, and necessary affairs he had to attend; and complains of having but little power in religion; but signifies, that God hereby showed him he was like a helpless infant cast out in the open field. “Lord’s day, June 6. I feel much deserted: but all this teaches me my nothingness and vileness more than ever. “Monday, June 7. Felt still powerless in secret prayer. Afterwards I prayed and conversed with some little life. God feeds me with crumbs: blessed be his name for any thing. I felt a great desire, that all God’s people might know how mean and little and vile I am; that they might see I am nothing, that so they might pray for me aright, and not have the least dependence upon me. “Tuesday, June 8. I enjoyed one sweet and precious season this day: I never felt it so sweet to be nothing, and less than nothing, and to be accounted nothing.”
The three next days he complains of desertion, and want of fervency in religion; but yet his diary shows that every day his heart was engaged in religion, as his great, and, as it were, only business. “Saturday, June 12. Spent much time in prayer this morning, and enjoyed much sweetness: — felt insatiable longings after God much of the day. I wondered how poor souls do to live that have no God. — The world, with all its enjoyments, quite vanished. I see myself very helpless: but I have a blessed God to go to. I longed exceedingly to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, to behold his glory. Oh, my weak, weary soul longs to arrive at my Father’s house! “Lord’s day, June 13. Felt something calm and resigned in the public worship: at the sacrament saw myself very, vile and worthless. O that I may always lie low in the dust. My soul seemed steadily to go forth after God, in longing desires to live upon him. “Monday, June 14. Felt something of the sweetness of communion with God, and the constraining force of his love: how admirably it captivates the soul, and makes all the desires and affections to centre in God! — I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer, to entreat God to direct and bless me with regard to the great work I have in view, of preaching the gospel; and that the Lord would return to me, and show me the light of his countenance. Had little life and power in the forenoon: near the middle of the afternoon, God enabled me to wrestle ardently in intercession for absent friends: — but just at night, the Lord visited me marvellously in prayer: I think my soul never was in such an agony before. I felt no restraint; for the treasures of divine grace were opened to me. I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, for multitudes of poor souls, and for many that I thought were the children of God, personally, in many distant places. I was in such an agony, from sun half an hour high, till near dark, that I was all over wet with sweat; but yet it seemed to me that I had wasted away the day, and had done nothing. Oh, my dear Jesus did sweat blood for poor souls! I longed for more compassion towards them. — Felt still in a sweet frame, under a sense of divine love and grace; and went to bed in such a frame, with my heart set on God. “Tuesday, June 15. Had the most ardent longings after God that ever I felt in my life: at noon, in my secret retirement, I could do nothing but tell my dear Lord, in a sweet calm, that he knew I longed for nothing but himself, nothing but holiness; that he had given me these desires, and he only could give me the thing desired. I never seemed to be so unhinged from myself, and to be so wholly devoted to God. My heart was swallowed up in God most of the day. In the evening I had such a view of the soul being as it were enlarged, to contain more holiness, that it seemed ready to separate from my body. I then wrestled in an agony for divine blessings; had my heart drawn out in prayer for some christian friends, beyond what I ever had before. — I feel differently now from whatever I did under any enjoyments before; more engaged to live to God for ever and less pleased with my own frames. I am not satisfied with my frames, nor feel at all more easy after such strugglings than before; for it seems far too little, if I could always be so. Oh how short do I fall of my duty in my sweetest moments!”
In his diary for the two next days he expresses something of the same frame, but in a far less degree. “Friday, June 18. Considering my great unfitness for the work of the ministry, my present deadness, and total inability to do any thing for the glory of God that way feeling myself very helpless, and at a great loss what the Lord would have me to do; I set apart this day for prayer to God, and spent most of the day in that duty, but amazingly deserted most of the day. Yet I found God graciously near, once in particular, while I was pleading for more compassion for immortal souls, my heart seemed to be opened at once, and I was enabled to cry with great ardency, for a few minutes. — Oh, I was distressed to think that I should offer such dead, cold services to the living God! My soul seemed to breathe after holiness, a life of constant devotedness to God. But I am almost lost sometimes in the pursuit of this blessedness, and ready to sink, because I continually fall short and miss of my desire. O that the Lord would help me to hold out, yet a little while, till the happy hour of deliverance comes! “Saturday, June 19. Felt much disordered; my spirits were very low; but yet enjoyed some freedom and sweetness in the duties of religion. Blessed be God. “Lord’s day, June 20. Spent much time alone. My soul longed to be holy and reached after God; but seemed not to obtain my desire. I hungered and thirsted; but was not refreshed and satisfied. My soul hung on God, as my only portion. O that I could grow in grace more abundantly every day!”
The next day he speaks of his having assistance in his studies, and power, fervency, and comfort in prayer. “Tuesday, June 22. In the morning spent about two hours in prayer and meditation, with considerable delight. Towards night, felt my soul go out in longing desires after God, in secret retirement. In the evening, was sweetly composed and resigned to God’s will; was enabled to leave myself and all my concerns with him, and to have my whole dependence upon him. My secret retirement was very refreshing to my soul; it appeared such a happiness to have God for my portion, that I had rather be any other creature in this lower creation, than not come to the enjoyment of God. I had rather be a beast, than a man without God, if I were to live here to eternity. Lord, endear thyself more to me!”
In his diary for the next seven days he expresses a variety of exercises of mind. He speaks of great longings after God and holiness, and earnest desires for the converse of others, of fervency in prayer, power to wrestle with God, composure, comfort, and sweetness, from time to time; but expresses a sense of the vile abomination of his heart, and bitterly complains of his barrenness, and the pressing body of death; and says, he “say clearly that whatever he enjoyed, better than hell, was of free grace.”
He complains of being exceeding low, much below the character of a child of God; and is sometimes very disconsolate and dejected. “Wednesday, June 30. Spent this day alone in the woods, in fasting and prayer; underwent the most dreadful conflicts in my soul that ever I felt, in some respects. I saw myself so vile, that I was ready to say, “I shall now perish by the hand of Saul.” I thought, and almost concluded I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost “afraid of the shaking of a leaf.” Spent almost the whole day in prayer, incessantly. I could not bear to think of Christians showing me any respect. I almost despaired of doing any service in the world: I could not feel any hope or comfort respecting the heathen, which used to afford me some refreshment in the darkest hours of this nature. I spent the day in the bitterness; of my soul.
Near night, I felt a little better; and afterwards enjoyed some sweetness in secret prayer. “Thursday, July 1. Had some sweetness in prayer this morning. — Felt exceeding sweetly in secret prayer to-night, and desired nothing so ardently as that God should do with me just as he pleased. “Friday, July 2. Felt composed in secret prayer in the morning. — My desires ascended to God this day, as I was travelling: and was comfortable in the evening. Blessed be God for all my consolations. “Saturday, July 3. My heart seemed again to sink. The disgrace I was laid under at college seemed to damp me; as it opens the mouths of opposers. I had no refuge but in God. Blessed be his name, that I may go to him at all times, and find him a present help. “Lord’s day, July 4. Had considerable assistance. In the evening I withdrew, and enjoyed a happy season in secret prayer. God was pleased to give me the exercise of faith, and thereby brought the invisible and eternal world near to my soul; which appeared sweetly to me. I hoped, that my weary pilgrimage in the world would be short; and that it would not be long before I was brought to my heavenly home and Father’s house.
I was resigned to God’s will, to tarry his time, to do his work, and suffer his pleasure. I felt thankfulness to God for all my pressing desertions of late; for I am persuaded they have been made a means of making me more humble, and much more resigned. I felt pleased, to be little, to be nothing, and to lie in the dust. I enjoyed life and consolation in pleading for the dear children of God, and the kingdom of Christ in the world; and my soul earnestly breathed after holiness, and the enjoyment of God. O come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”
By his diary for the remaining days of this week, it appears that he enjoyed considerable composure and tranquillity, and had sweetness and fervency of spirit in prayer, from day to day. “Lord’s day, July 11. Was deserted, and exceedingly dejected, in the morning. In the afternoon, had some life and assistance, and felt resigned. I saw myself exceeding vile.”
On the two next days be expresses inward comfort, resignation, and strength in God. “Wednesday, July 14. Felt a kind of humble resigned sweetness: spent a considerable time in secret, giving myself up wholly to the Lord. — Heard Mr. Bellamy preach towards night: felt very sweetly part of the time: longed for nearer access to God.”
The four next days he expresses considerable comfort and fervency of spirit, in christian conversation and religious exercises. “Monday, July 19. My desires seem especially to be carried out after weanedness from the world, perfect deadness to it, and to be even crucified to all its allurements. My soul longs to feel itself more of a pilgrim and stranger here below that nothing may divert me from pressing through the lonely desert, till I arrive at my Father’s house. “Tuesday, July 20. It was sweet to give away myself to God, to be disposed of at his pleasure, and had some feeling sense of the sweetness of being a pilgrim on earth.”
The next day he expresses himself as determined to be wholly devoted to God, and it appears by his diary, that he spent the whole day in a most diligent exercise of religion, and exceeding comfortably. “Thursday, July 22. Journeying from Southbury to Ripton, I called at a house by the way, where being very kindly entertained and refreshed I was filled with amazement and shame, that God should stir up the hearts of any to show so much kindness to such a dead dog as I; was made sensible, in some measure, how exceedingly vile it is not to be wholly devoted to God. I wondered that God would suffer any of his creatures to feed and sustain me from time to time.”
In his diary for the six next days are expressed various exercises and experiences, such as, sweet composure and fervency of spins in meditation and prayer, weanedness from the world, being sensibly a pilgrim and stranger on the earth, engagedness of mind to spend every inch of time for God, etc. “Thursday, July 29. I was examined by the Association met at Danbury, as to my learning, and also my experiences in religion, and received a licence from them to preach the gospel of Christ. Afterwards felt much devoted to God; joined in prayer with one of the ministers, my peculiar friend, in a convenient place; went to bed resolving to live devoted to God all my days.
PART FROM THE TIME OF HIS BEING LICENSED TO PREACH BY THE ASSOCIATION, TILL HE WAS EXAMINED IN NEW YORK, BY THE CORRESPONDENTS, OR COMMISSIONERS OF THE SOCIETY IN SCOTLAND FOR PROPAGATING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, AND APPROVED AND APPOINTED AS THEIR MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS. “Friday, July 30, 1742. Rode from Danbury to Southbury; preached there from 1 Peter 4:8. “And above all things have fervent charity,” etc. Had much of the comfortable presence of God in the exercise. I seemed to have power with God in prayer, and power to get hold of the hearts of the people in preaching. “Saturday, July 31. Exceeding calm and composed, and was greatly refreshed and encouraged.”
It appears by his diary, that he continued in this sweetness and tranquillity almost through the whole of the next week. “Lords day, August 8. In the morning I felt comfortably in secret prayer; my soul was refreshed with the hopes of the heathen coming home to Christ; was much resigned to God, and thought it was no matter what became of me. — Preached both parts of the day at Bethlehem, from Job 14:14. “If a man die, shall he live again,” etc. It was sweet to me to meditate on death. In the evening felt very comfortably, and cried to God fervently in secret prayer.”
It appears by his diary, that he continued through the three next days engaged with all his might in the business of religion, and in almost a constant enjoyment of the comforts of it. “Thursday, August 12. This morning and last night I was exercised with sore inward trials: I had no power to pray; but seemed shut out from God.
I had in a great measure lost my hopes of God sending me among the heathen afar off and of seeing them flock home to Christ. I saw so much of my hellish vileness, that I appeared worse to myself than any devil: I wondered that God would let me live, and wondered that people did not stone me, much more that they would ever hear me preach! It seemed as though I never could nor should preach any more; yet about nine or ten o’clock, the people came over, and I was forced to preach. And blessed be God, he gave me his presence and Spirit in prayer and preaching: so that I was much assisted, and spake with power from Job 14:14. Some Indians cried out in great distress, and all appeared greatly concerned.
After we had prayed and exhorted them to seek the Lord with constancy, and hired an Englishwoman to keep a kind of school among them, we came away about one o’clock, and came to Judea, about fifteen or sixteen miles.
It appears that the two next days he had much comfort, and had his heart much engaged in religion. “Lord’s day, August 15. Felt much comfort and devotedness to God this day. At night it was refreshing to get alone with God, and pour out my soul. O who can conceive of the sweetness of communion with the blessed God, but those who have experience of it! Glory to God for ever, that I may taste heaven below. “Monday, August 16. Had some comfort in secret prayer in the morning. — Felt sweetly sundry times in prayer this day: but was much perplexed in the evening with vain conversation. “Tuesday, August 17. Exceedingly depressed in spirit, it cuts and wounds my heart, to think how much self-exaltation, spiritual pride, and warmth of temper, I have formerly had intermingled with my endeavours to promote God’s work: and sometimes I long to lie down at the feet of opposers, and confess what a poor imperfect creature I have been, and still am. Oh, the Lord forgive me, and make me for the future “wise as a serpent, and harmless as a dove! “Afterwards enjoyed considerable comfort and delight of soul. “Wednesday, August 18. Spent most of this day in prayer and reading. — I see so much of my own extreme vileness, that I feel ashamed and guilty before God and man; I look to myself like the vilest fellow in the land: I wonder that God stirs up his people to be so kind to me. “Thursday, August 19. This day, being about to go from Mr. Bellamy’s at Bethlehem, where I had resided some time, I prayed with him, and two or three other christian friends. We gave ourselves to God with all our hearts, to be his for ever: eternity looked very near to me, while I was praying. If I never should see these Christians again in this world, it seemed but a few moments before I should meet them in another world. “Friday, August 20. I appeared so vile to myself, that I hardly dared to think of being seen especially on account of spiritual pride. However, tonight I enjoyed a sweet hour alone with God (at Ripton): I was lifted above the frowns and flatteries of this lower world, had a sweet relish of heavenly joys, and my soul did as it were get into the eternal world, and really taste of heaven. I had a sweet season of intercession for dear friends in Christ; and God helped me to cry fervently for Zion. Blessed be God for this season. “Saturday, August 21. Was much perplexed in the morning. — Towards noon enjoyed more of God in secret, was enabled to see that it was best to throw myself into the hands of God, to be disposed of according to his pleasure, and rejoiced in such thoughts. In the afternoon rode to New- Haven; was much confused all the way. — Just at night underwent such a dreadful conflict as I have scarce ever felt. I saw myself exceedingly vile and unworthy; so that I was guilty, and ashamed, that any body should bestow any favour on me, or show me any respect. “Lord’s day, Aug, 22. In the morning, continued still in perplexity. — In the evening, enjoyed that comfort that seemed to me sufficient to overbalance all my late distresses. I saw that God is the only soulsatisfying portion, and I really found satisfaction in him. My soul was much enlarged in sweet intercession for my fellowmen every where, and for many christian friends in particular, in distant places. “Monday, August 23. Had a sweet season in secret prayer: the Lord drew near to my soul, and filled me with peace and divine consolation. O my soul tasted the sweetness of the upper world, and was drawn out in prayer for the world, that it might come home to Christ! Had much comfort in the thoughts and hopes of the ingathering of the heathen; was greatly assisted in intercession for christian friends.”
The four next days, he appears to have been the subject of desertion, and of comfort, and fervency in religion, interchangeably, together with a sense of vileness and unprofitableness. “Monday, August 30. Felt something comfortably in the morning, conversed sweetly with some friends, was in a serious composed frame; and prayed at a certain house with some decree of sweetness. Afterwards, at another house, prayed privately with a dear christian friend or two, and I think I scarce ever launched so far into the eternal world as then, I got so far out on the broad ocean that my soul with joy triumphed over all the evils on the shores of mortality. I think time, and all its gay amusements and cruel disappointments, never appeared so inconsiderable to me before.
I was in a sweet frame; I saw myself nothing, and my soul reached after God with intense desire. O! I saw what I owed to God, in such a manner, as I scarce ever did: I knew I had never lived a moment to him as I should do, indeed it appeared to me I had never done any thing in Christianity: my soul longed with a vehement desire to live to God. — In the evening, sung and prayed with a number of Christians: felt the powers of the world to come in my soul, in prayer: Afterwards prayed again privately, with a dear Christian or two, and found the presence of God, was something humbled in my secret retirement: felt my ingratitude, because I was not wholly swallowed up in God.”
Dear Mr. Bellamy preached from Matthew 24:46. “Blessed is that servant,” etc. I felt very solemn most of the time; had my thoughts much on that time when our Lord will come, that time refreshed my soul much, only I was afraid I should not be found faithful because I had so vile a heart. My thoughts were much in eternity, where I love to dwell. Blessed be God for this solemn season. — Rode home tonight with Mr. Bellamy, conversed with some friends till it was very late, and then retired to rest in a comfortable frame. “Thursday, September 2. About two in the afternoon I preached from John 6:67. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, “Will ye also go away?” and God assisted me in some comfortable degree; but more especially in my first prayer. My soul seemed then to launch quite into the eternal world, and to be as it were separated from this lower world. — Afterwards preached again from Isaiah 5:4. “What could have been done more,”etc. God gave me some assistance; but I saw myself a poor worm.”
On Friday, September 3. He complains of having but little life in the things of God, the former part of the day, but afterwards speaks of sweetness and enlargement. “Saturday, September 4. Much out of health, exceedingly depressed in my soul, and at an awful distance from God. — Towards night spent some time in profitable thoughts on Romans 8:2. “For the law of the spirit of life,” etc. — Near night had a very sweet season in prayer, God enabled me to wrestle ardently for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom; pleaded earnestly for my own dear brother John, that God would make him more of a pilgrim and stranger on the earth, and fit him for singular serviceableness in the world; and my heart sweetly exulted in the Lord, in the thoughts of any distresses that might alight on him or me, in the advancement of Christ’s kingdom. — It was a sweet and comfortable hour unto my soul, while I was indulged with freedom to plead not only for myself, but also for many other souls. “Lord’s day, September 5. Preached all day: was somewhat strengthened and assisted in the afternoon; more especially in the evening: had a sense of my unspeakable shortcomings in all my duties. I found, alas! that I had never lived to God in my life. “Monday, September 6. Was informed, that they only waited for an opportunity to apprehend me for preaching at New Haven lately, that so they might imprison me. This made me more solemn and serious, and to quit all hopes of the world’s friendship: it brought me to a further sense in my vileness, and just desert of this, and much more, from the hand of God, though not from the hand of man. Retired into a convenient place in the woods, and spread the matter before God. “Tuesday, September 7. Had some relish of divine things in the morning.
Afterwards felt more barren and melancholy. Rode to New-Haven, to a friend’s house at a distance from the town; that I might remain undiscovered and yet have opportunity to do business privately with friends which come to commencement. “Wednesday, September 8. Felt very sweetly when I first rose in the morning. In family prayer had some enlargement, but not much spirituality, till eternity came up before me, and looked near: I found some sweetness in the thoughts of bidding a dying farewell to this tiresome world. Though some time ago I reckoned upon seeing my dear friends at commencement; yet being now denied the opportunity, for fear of imprisonment, I felt totally resigned, and as contented to spend this day alone in the woods, as I could have done, if I had been allowed to go to town. Felt exceedingly weaned from the world today. “In the afternoon I discoursed on divine things with a dear christian friend, whereby we were both refreshed. Then I prayed, with a sweet sense of the blessedness of communion with God: I think I scarce ever enjoyed more of God in any one prayer. O it was a blessed season indeed to my soul, I know not that ever I saw so much of my own nothingness in my life, never wondered so, that God allowed me to preach his word. — This has been a sweet and comfortable day to my soul. Blessed be God. — Prayed again with my dear friend, with something of the divine presence. — I long to be wholly conformed to God and transformed into his image. “Thursday, September 9. Spent much of the day alone: enjoyed the presence of God in some comfortable degree: was visited by some dear friends, and prayed with them: wrote sundry letters to friends, felt religion in my soul while writing: enjoyed sweet meditations on some scriptures. — In the evening, went very privately into town from the place of my residence at the farms, and conversed with some dear friends; felt sweetly in singing hymns with them: and made my escape to the farms again, without being discovered by any enemies, as I knew of: Thus the Lord preserves me continually. “Friday, September 10. Longed with intense desire after God; my whole soul seemed impatient to be conformed to him, and to become “holy, as he is holy.” — In the afternoon, prayed with a dear friend privately, and had the presence of God with us, our souls united together to reach after a blessed immortality, to be unclothed of the body of sin and death, and to enter the blessed world where no unclean thing enters. O, with what intense desire did our souls long for that blessed day, that we might be freed from sin, and for ever live to and in our God! — In the evening, took leave of that house, but first kneeled down and prayed, the Lord was of a truth in the midst of us, it was a sweet parting season felt in myself much sweetness and affection in the things of God. Blessed be God for every such divine gale of his Spirit to speed me on in my way to the new Jerusalem! — Felt some sweetness afterwards, and spent the evening in conversation with friends, and prayed with some life, and retired to rest very late.”
The five next days he appears to have been in an exceeding comfortable frame of mind, for the most part and to have been the subject of the like heavenly exercises as are often expressed in preceding passages of his diary; such as, having his heart much engaged for God, wrestling with him in prayer with power and ardency; enjoying at times sweet calmness and composure of mind, giving himself up to God to be his for ever, with great complacence of mind, being wholly resigned to the will of God, that he might do with him what he pleased, longing to improve time, having the eternal world as it were brought nigh; longing after God and holiness, earnestly desiring a complete conformity to him, and wondering how poor souls do to exist without God. “Thursday, September 16. At night enjoyed much of God in secret prayer: felt an uncommon resignation, to be and do what God pleased. Some days past I felt great perplexity on account of my past conduct: my bitterness, and want of christian kindness and love, has been very distressing to my soul: the Lord forgive me my unchristian warmth, and want of a spirit of meekness!”
The next day he speaks of much resignation, calmness and peace of mind, and near views of the eternal world. “Saturday, September 18. Felt some compassion for souls and mourned I had no more. I feel much more kindness meekness, gentleness, and love towards all mankind, than ever. I long to be at the feet of my enemies and persecutors: enjoyed some sweetness, in feeling my soul conformed to Christ Jesus, and given away to him for ever.”
The next day he speaks of much dejection and discouragement, from an apprehension of his own unfitness ever to do any good in preaching, but blesses God for all dispensations of providence and grace finding that by all God weaned him more from the world, and made him more resigned.
The next ten days he appears to have been for the most part under great degrees of melancholy, exceedingly dejected and discouraged: speaks of his being ready to give up all for gone respecting the cause of Christ, and exceedingly longing to die: yet had some sweet seasons and intervals of comfort, and special assistance and enlargement in the duties of religion, and in performing public services, and considerable success in them. “Thursday, September 30. Still very low in spirits, I did not know how to engage in any work or business, especially to correct some disorders among Christians; felt as though I had no power to be faithful in that regard, However, towards noon I preached from Deuteronomy 8:2 “And thou shalt remember,” etc. and was enabled with freedom to reprove some things in Christians conduct, that I thought very unsuitable and irregular, insisted near two hours on this subject.”
Through this and the two following weeks he passed through a variety of exercises: he was frequently dejected and felt inward distresses; and sometimes sunk into the depths of melancholy: at which turns he was not exercised about the state of his soul, with regard to the favour of God, and his interest in Christ, but about his own sinful infirmities, and unfitness for God’s service. His mind appears sometimes extremely depressed and sunk with a sense of inexpressible vileness. But in the mean time he speaks of many seasons of comfort and spiritual refreshment, wherein his heart was encouraged and strengthened in God, and sweetly resigned to his will; of some seasons of very high degrees of spiritual consolation, and of his great longings after holiness and conformity to God, of his great fear of offending God, and of his heart being sweetly melted in religious duties; of his longing for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, of his having at times much assistance in preaching, and of remarkable effects on the auditory. “Lord’s day, October 17. Had a considerable sense of my helplessness and inability, saw that I must be dependent on God for all I want; and especially when I went to the place of public worship. I found I could not speak a word for God without his special help and assistance. I went into the assembly trembling, as I frequently do, under a sense of my insufficiency to do any thing in the cause of God, as I ought to do. — But it pleased God to afford me much assistance, and there seemed to be a considerable effect on the hearers. — In the evening I felt a disposition to praise God, for his goodness to me, that he had enabled me in some measure to be faithful, and my soul rejoiced to think, that I had thus performed the work of one day more, and was one day nearer my eternal, and I trust my heavenly, home. O that I might be “faithful to the death, fulfilling as an hireling my day,” till the shades of the evening of life shall free my soul from the toils of the day! This evening, in secret prayer, I felt exceeding solemn, and such longing desires after deliverance from sin, and after conformity to God, as melted my heart. Oh, I longed to be “delivered from this body of death!” I felt inward pleasing pain, that I could not be conformed to God entirely, fully, and for ever. — I scarce ever preach without being first visited with inward conflicts and sore trials. Blessed be the Lord for these trials and distresses as they are blessed for my humbling. “Monday, October 18. In the morning I felt some sweetness, but still pressed through trials of soul. My life is a constant mixture of consolations and conflicts, and will be so till I arrive at the world of spirits. “Tuesday, October 19. This morning and last night I felt a sweet longing in my soul after holiness. My soul seemed so to reach and stretch towards the mark of perfect sanctity, that it was ready to break with longings. “Wednesday, October 20. Exceeding infirm in body, exercised with much pain, and very lifeless in divine things. — Felt a little sweetness in the evening. “Thursday, October 21. Had a very deep sense of the vanity of the world most of the day, had little more regard to it than if I had been to go into eternity the next hour. Through divine goodness, I felt very serious and solemn. O, I love to live on the brink of eternity, in my views and meditations! This gives me a sweet, awful, and reverential sense and apprehension of God and divine things, when I see myself as it were standing before the judgment-seat of Christ. “Friday, October 22. Uncommonly weaned from the world to-day: my soul delighted to be a stranger and pilgrim on the earth; I felt a disposition in me never to have any thing to do with this world. The character given of some of the ancient people of God, in Hebrews 11:13. was very pleasing to me, “They confessed that they were pilgrims and stronger on the earth,” by their daily practice, and O that I could always do so! — Spent some considerable time in a pleasant grove, in prayer and meditation. O it is sweet to be thus weaned from friends, and from myself, and dead to the present world, that so I may live wholly to and upon the blessed God! Saw myself little, low; and vile in myself. — In the afternoon preached at Bethlehem, from Deuteronomy 8:2. God helped me to speak to the hearts of dear Christians. Blessed be the Lord for this season I trust they and I shall rejoice on this account to all eternity. — Dear Mr. Bellamy came in, while I was making the first prayer; (being returned home from a journey;) and after meeting we walked away together, and spent the evening in sweetly conversing on divine things, and praying together, with sweet and tender love to each other, and resumed to rest with our hearts in a serious spiritual frame. “Saturday, October 23. Somewhat perplexed and confused. Rode this day from Bethlehem to Simsbury. “Lord’s day, October 24. Felt so vile and unworthy, that I scarce knew how to converse with human creatures. “Monday, October 25. (At Turky-Hills) In the evening I enjoyed the divine presence in secret prayer. It was a sweet and comfortable season to me; my soul longed for God, for the living God: enjoyed a sweet solemnity of spirit, and longing desire after the recovery of the divine image in my soul. “Then shall I be satisfied, when I shall awake in God’s likeness,” and never before. “Tuesday, October 26. (At West-Suffield) Underwent the most dreadful distresses, under a sense of my own unworthiness. It seemed to me. I deserved rather to be driven out of the place, than to have any body treat me with any kindness, or come to hear me preach. And verily my spirits were so depressed at this time, (as at many others,) that it was impossible I should treat immortal souls with faithfulness. I could not deal closely and faithfully with them, I felt so infinitely vile in myself. Oh, what dust and ashes I am, to think off preaching the gospel to others! Indeed I never can be faithful for one moment, but shall certainly “daub with untempered mortar,” if God do not grant me special help. — In the evening I went to the meeting-house, and it looked to me near as easy for one to rise out of the grave and preach, as for me. However, God afforded me some life and power, both in prayer and sermon; and was pleased to lift me up, and show me that he could enable me to preach. O the wonderful goodness of God to so vile a sinner! — Returned to my quarters; and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer alone, and mourned that I could not live more to God. “Wednesday, October 27. I spent the forenoon in prayer and meditation, was not a little concerned about preaching in the afternoon: felt exceedingly without strength, and very helpless indeed; and went into the meeting-house, ashamed to see any come to hear such an unspeakably worthless wretch. However, God enabled me to speak with clearness, power, and pungency. But there was some noise and tumult in the assembly, that I did not well like; and endeavoured to bear public testimony against it with moderation and mildness, through the current of my discourse. — In the evening, was enabled to be in some measure thankful and devoted to God.”
The frames and exercises of his mind during the four next days were mostly very similar to those of the two days past; excepting intervals of considerable degrees of divine peace and consolation.
The things expressed within the space of the three following days are such as these; some seasons of dejection, mourning for being so destitute of the exercises of grace, longing to be delivered from sin, pressing after more of God, seasons of sweet consolation, precious and intimate converse with God in secret prayer, sweetness of christian conversation, &c — Within this time he rode from Suffield to Eastbury, Hebron, and Lebanon. “Thursday, November 4. (At Lebanon) Saw much of my nothingness most of this day: but felt concerned that I had no more sense of my insufficiency and unworthiness. O it is sweet lying in the dust! But it is distressing to feel in my soul that hell of corruption, which still remains in me. — In the afternoon, had a sense of the sweetness of a strict, close, and constant devotedness to God, and my soul was comforted with his consolations. My soul felt a pleasing, yet painful concern, lest I should spend some moments without God. O may I always live to God! — In the evening, I was visited by some friends, and spent the time in prayer and such conversation as tended to our edification. It was a comfortable season to my soul: I felt an intense desire to spend every moment for God. God is unspeakably gracious to me continually. In times past, he has given me inexpressible sweetness in the performance of duty. Frequently my soul has enjoyed much of God; but has been ready to say, “Lord, it is good to be here;” and so to indulge sloth, while I have lived on the sweetness of my feelings. But of late, God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry, almost continually, so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain.
When I really enjoy God. I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable, and the Lord will not allow me to feel as though I were fully supplied and satisfied, but keeps me still reaching forward. I feel barren and empty, as though I could not live without more of God; I feel ashamed and guilty before him. Oh! I see that “the law is spiritual, but I am carnal.” I do not, I cannot live to God.
Oh for holiness! Oh for more of God in my soul! Oh this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God; the language of it is, “Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake in God’s likeness,” (Psalm 17 ult .) but never, never before: and consequently I am engaged to “press towards the mark’ day by day. O that I may feel this continual hunger, and not be retarded, but rather animated by every cluster from Canaan, to reach forward in the narrow way, for the full enjoyment and possession of the heavenly inheritance! O that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey!”
These insatiable desires after God and holiness continued the two next days, with a great sense of his own exceeding unworthiness, and the nothingness of the things of this world. “Lord’s day November 7. (At Millington) It seemed as if such an unholy wretch as I never could arrive at that blessedness, to be “holy, as God is holy.” At noon I longed for sanctification, and conformity to God. Oh that isTHE ALL,THE ALL! The Lord help me to press after God for ever. “Monday, November 8. Towards night enjoyed much sweetness in secret prayer, so that my soul longed for an arrival in the heavenly country, the blessed paradise of God. Through divine goodness, I have scarce seen the day, for two months, but death has looked so pleasant to me at one time or other of the day, that I could have rejoiced the present should be my last, notwithstanding my pressing inward trials and conflicts. I trust the Lord will finally make me a conqueror, and more than a conqueror; and that I shall be able to use that triumphant language. O death, where is thy sting!” And, “O grave, where is thy victory!”
Within the next ten days the following things are expressed: longing and wrestling to be holy, and to live to God; a desire that every single thought night be for God; feeling guilty, that his thoughts were no more swallowed up in God; sweet solemnity and calmness of mind; submission and resignation to God; great weanedness from the world; abasement in the dust; grief at some vain conversation that was observed; sweetness from time to time in secret prayer, and in conversing and praying with christian friends: And every day he appears to have been ,greatly engaged in the great business of religion and living to God, without interruption. “Friday, November 19. (At New-Haven) Received a letter from the Reverend Mr. Pemberton of New York, desiring me speedily to go down thither, and consult about the Indian affairs in those parts; and to meet certain gentlemen there who were intrusted with those affairs. My mind was instantly seized with concern, so I retired with two or three christian friends, and prayed, and indeed it was a sweet time with me. I was enabled to leave myself and all my concerns with God, and taking leave of friends, I rode to Ripton, and was comforted in an opportunity to see and converse with dear Mr. Mills.”
In the four next following days he was sometimes oppressed with the weight of that great affair, about which Mr. Pemberton had written to him; but was enabled from time to time to “cast his burden on the Lord.” and to commit himself and all his concerns to him. He continued still in a sense of the excellency of holiness, longings after it, and earnest desires of the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world and had from time to time sweet comfort in meditation and prayer. “Wednesday, November 24. Came to New York: felt still much concerned about the importance of my business put up many earnest requests to God for his help and direction, was confused with the noise and tumult of the city; enjoyed but little time alone with God; but my soul longed after him. “Thursday, November 25. Spent much time in prayer and supplication: was examined by some gentlemen, of my christian experiences, and my acquaintance with divinity, and some other studies, in order to my improvement in that important affair of gospellizing the heathen; and was made sensible of my great ignorance and unfitness for public service. I had the most abasing thoughts of myself, I think, that ever I had; I thought myself the worst wretch that ever lived: it hurt me, and pained my very heart, that any body should show me any respect. Alas! me thought how sadly they are deceived in me! how miserably would they be disappointed, if they knew my inside! Oh my heart! — And in this depressed condition I was forced to go and preach to a considerable assembly, before some grave and learned ministers; but felt such a pressure from a sense of my vileness, ignorance, and unfitness to appear in public, that I was almost overcome with it; my soul was grieved for the congregation; that they should sit there to hear such a dead dog as I preach.
PART FROM THE TIME OF HIS EXAMINATION BY THE CORRESPONDENTS OF THE SOCIETY FOR PROPAGATING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDCE AND BEING APPOINTED THEIR MISSIONARY TO HIS FIRST ENTRANCE ON THE BUSINESS OF HIS MISSION AMONG THE INDIANS AT KAUNAUMEEK. “Friday, November 26. Had still a sense of my great vileness, and endeavoured as much as I could to keep alone. Oh, what a nothing, what dust and ashes am I! — Enjoyed some peace and comfort; in spreading my complaints before the God of all grace. “Saturday, November 27. Committed my soul to God with some degree of comfort; left New York about nine in the morning; came away with a distressing sense still of my unspeakable unworthiness. Surely I may well love all my brethren; for none of them all is so vile as I; whatever they do outwardly, yet it seems to me none is conscious of so much guilt before God. Oh my leanness, my barrenness, my calamity, and past bitterness; and want of a gospel-temper! These things oppress my soul. — Rode from New York, thirty miles, to White Plains, and most of the way continued lifting up my heart to God for mercy and purifying grace: and spent the evening much dejected in Spirit.”
The three next days he continued in this frame, in a great sense of his own vileness, with an evident mixture of melancholy, in no small degree; but had some intervals of comfort, and God’s sensible presence with him. “Wednesday, December 1. My soul breathed after God, in sweet spiritual and longing desires of conformity to him; my soul was brought to rest itself and all on his rich grace, and felt strength and encouragement to do or suffer any thing that Divine Providence should allot me. — Rode about twenty miles from Stratfield to Newton.”
Within the space of the next nine day be went a journey from Newton to Haddam, his native town; and after staying there some days, resumed again into the western part of Connecticut, and came to Southbury. In his account of the frames and exercises of his mind, during this space of time, are such things as these: frequent turns of dejection; a sense of his vileness, emptiness, and an unfathomable abyss of desperate wickedness in his heart, attended with a conviction that be had never seen but little of it; bitterly mourning over his barrenness, being greatly grieved that he could not live to God, to whom he owed his all ten thousand timer, crying out, “My leanness, my leanness!” a sense of the meetness and suitableness of his lying in the dust beneath the feet of infinite majesty; fervency and ardour in prayer; longing to live to God; being afflicted with some impertinent trifling conversation that he heard; but enjoying sweetness in christian conversation “Saturday, December 11. Conversed with a dear friend, to whom I had thought of giving a liberal education, and being at the whole charge of it, that he might be fitted for the gospel-ministry. I acquainted him with my thoughts in that matter, and so left him to consider of it, till I should see him again. Then I rode to Bethlehem, came to Mr. Bellamy’s lodgings, and spent the evening with him in sweet conversation and prayer. We recommended the concern of sending my friend to college to the God of all grace. Blessed be the Lord for this evening’s opportunity together. “Lord’s day, December 12. I felt, in the morning as if I had little or no power either to pray or preach; and felt a distressing need of divine help. I went to meeting trembling; but it pleased God to assist me in prayer and sermon. I think my soul scarce ever penetrated so far into the immaterial world, in any one prayer that ever I made, nor were my devotions ever so free from gross conceptions and imaginations framed from beholding material objects. I preached with some sweetness, from Matthew 6:33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God,” etc.; and in the afternoon from Romans 15:30. “And now I beseech you brethren,” etc. There was much affection in the assembly. This has been a sweet sabbath to me, and blessed be God, I have reason to think, that my religion is become more spiritual, by means of my late inward conflicts. Amen. May I always be willing that God should use his own methods with me! “Monday, December 13. Joined in prayer with Mr. Bellamy; and found sweetness and composure in parting with him, as he went a journey.
Enjoyed some sweetness through the day; and just at night rode down to Woodbury. “Tuesday, December 14. Some perplexity hung on my mind; I was distressed last night and this morning, for the interest of Zion, especially on account of the false appearances of religion, that do but rather breed confusion, especially in some places. I cried to God for help, to enable me to bear testimony against those things, which instead of promoting, do but hinder the progress of vital piety. In the afternoon rode down to Southbury; and conversed again with my friend about the important affair of his pursuing the work of the ministry; and he appeared much inclined to devote himself to that work, if God should succeed his attempts to qualify himself for so great a work. In the evening I preached from 1 Thess 4:8. “He therefore that despiseth,” etc. and endeavoured, though with tenderness, to undermine false religion. The Lord gave me some assistance; but, however, I seemed so vile, I was ashamed to be seen when I came out of the meeting-house. “Wednesday, December 15. Enjoyed something of God to-day, both in secret and social prayer; but was sensible of much barrenness, and defect in duty, as well as my inability to help myself for the time to come, or to perform the work and business I have to do. Afterwards felt much of the sweetness of religion, and the tenderness of the gospel-temper. I found a dear love to all mankind and was much afraid lest some motion of anger or resentment should, some time or other, creep into my heart. Had some comforting soul-refreshing discourse with dear friends, just as we took our leave of each other; and supposed it might be likely we should not meet again till we came to the eternal world. I doubt not, through grace but that some of us shall have a happy meeting there, and bless God for this season, as well as many others. Amen. “Thursday, December 16. Rode down to Derby, and had some sweet thoughts on the road: especially on the essence of our salvation by Christ, from those words, Thou shalt call his name Jesus, etc. “Friday, December 17. Spent much time in sweet conversaion on spiritual things with dear Mr. Humphreys. Rode to Ripton; spent some time in prayer with dear christian friends. “Saturday, December 18. Spent much time in prayer in the woods; and seemed raised above the things of the world: my soul was strong in the Lord of hosts, but was sensible of great barrenness. “Lord’s day, December 19. At the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, I seemed strong in the Lord, and the world with all its frowns and flatteries, in a great measure disappeared, so that my soul had nothing to do with them: and I felt a disposition to be wholly and for ever the Lord’s. — In the evening, enjoyed something of the divine presence; had a humbling sense of my vileness, barrenness, and sinfulness. Oh, it wounded me, to think of the misimprovement of time! God be merciful to me a sinner. “Monday, December 20. Spent this day in prayer, reading, and writing; and enjoyed some assistance, especially in correcting some thoughts on a certain subject; but had a mournful sense of my barrenness. “Tuesday, December 21. Had a sense of my insufficiency for any public work and business, as well as to live to God. I rode over to Derby, and preached there. It pleased God to give me very sweet assistance and enlargement, and to enable me to speak with a soft, tender power and energy. — We had afterwards a comfortable evening in singing and prayer.
God enabled me to pray with as much spirituality and sweetness as I have done for some thee: my mind seemed to be unclothed of sense and imagination, and was in a measure let into the immaterial world of spirits.
This day was, I trust, through infinite goodness, made very profitable to a number of us, to advance our souls in holiness and conformity to God: the glory be to him for ever. Amen. How blessed it is to grow more and more like God. “Wednesday, December 22. Enjoyed some assistance in preaching at Ripton; but my soul mourned within me for my barrenness. “Thursday, December 23. Enjoyed, I trust, something of God this morning in secret. Oh how divinely sweet is it to come into the secret of his presence, and abide in his pavilion! — Took an affectionate leave of friends, not expecting to see them again for a very considerable time, if ever in this world. Rode with Mr. Humphreys to his house at Derby; spent the time in sweet conversation my soul was refreshed and sweetly melted with divine things. Oh that I was always consecrated to God! Near night, I rode to New-Haven, and there enjoyed some sweetness in prayer and conversation, with some dear christian friends. My mind was sweetly serious and composed; but alas! I too much lost the sense of divine things.”
He continued much in the same frame of mind, and in like exercises, the two following, days. “Lord’s day, December 26. Felt much sweetness and tenderness in prayer, especially my whole soul seemed to love my worst enemies, and was enabled to pray for those that are strangers and enemies to God with a great degree of softness and pathetic fervour. In the evening, rode from New-Haven to Branford, after I had kneeled down and prayed with a number of dear christian friends in a very retired place in the woods, and so parted. “Monday, December 27. Enjoyed a precious season indeed had a sweet melting sense of divine things, of the pure spirituality of the religion of Christ Jesus. In the evening, I preached from Matthew 6:33. “But seek ye first,” etc. with much freedom, and sweet power and pungency: the presence of God attended our meeting. O the sweetness, the tenderness I felt in my soul! if ever I felt the temper of Christ, I had some sense of it now. Blessed be my God, I have seldom enjoyed a more comfortable and profitable day than this. O that I could spend all my time for God! “Tuesday, December 28. Rode from Branford to Haddam. In the morning, my clearness and sweetness in divine things continued, but afterwards my spiritual life sensibly declined.”
The next twelve days he was for the most part extremely dejected, discouraged, and distressed and was evidently very much under the power of melancholy. There are from day to day most bitter complaints of exceeding vileness, ignorance. and corruption; an amazing load of guilt, unworthiness even to creep on God’s earth, everlasting uselessness, fitness for nothing, etc. and sometimes expressions even of horror at the thoughts of ever preaching again. But yet in this time of great dejection, he speaks of several intervals of divine help and comfort.
The three next days, which were spent at Hebron and the Crank, (a parish in Lebanon,) he had relief, and enjoyed considerable comfort. “Friday, January 14, 1743. My spiritual conflicts to-day were unspeakably dreadful, heavier than the mountains and overflowing floods.
I seemed enclosed, as it were, in hell itself: I was deprived of all sense of God, even of the being of a God; and that was my misery. I had no awful apprehensions of God as angry. This was distress the nearest akin to the damneds’ torments, that I ever endured: their torment, I am sure, will consist much in a privation of God, and consequently of all good. This taught me the absolute dependence of a creature upon God the Creator, for every crumb of happiness it enjoys. Oh! I feel that if there is no God, though I might live for ever here, and enjoy not only this, but all other worlds, I should be ten thousand times more miserable than a toad. My soul was in such anguish I could not eat; but felt as I suppose a poor wretch would that is just going to the place of execution. I was almost swallowed up with anguish, when I saw people gathering together, to hear me preach. However, l went in that distress to the house of God, and found not much relief in the first prayer: it seemed as if God would let loose the people upon me to destroy me; nor were the thoughts of death distressing to me, like my own vileness. But afterwards, in my discourse from Deuteronomy 8:2. God was pleased to give me some freedom and enlargement, some power and spirituality; and I spent the evening somewhat comfortably.”
The two next days his comfort continues, and he seems to enjoy an almost continual sweetness of soul in the duties and exercises of religion and christian conversation. On Monday was a return of the gloom he had been under the Friday before. He rode to Coventry this day, and the latter part of the day had more freedom. On Tuesday he rode to Canterbury, and continued more comfortable. “Wednesday, January 19. (At Canterbury) In the afternoon preached the lecture at the meeting-house; felt some tenderness and something of the gospel-temper: exhorted the people to love one another, and not to set up their own frames as a standard to try all their brethren by. But was much pressed, most of the day, with a sense of my own badness, inward impurity, and unspeakable corruption. Spent the evening, in loving, christian conversation. “Thursday, January 20. Rode to my brother’s house between Norwich and Lebanon, and preached in the evening to a number of people: enjoyed neither freedom nor spirituality, but saw myself exceeding unworthy. “Friday, January 21. Had great inward conflicts; enjoyed but little comfort. Went to see Mr. Williams of Lebanon, and spent several hours with him; and was greatly delighted with his serious, deliberate, and impartial way of discourse about religion.”
The next day he was much dejected. “Lord’s day, January 23. I scarce ever felt myself so unfit to exist, as now: saw I was not worthy of a place among the Indians, where I am going, if God permit: thought I should be ashamed to look them in the face, and much more to have any respect shown me there. Indeed I felt myself banished from the earth, as if all places were too good for such a wretch. I thought I should be ashamed to go among the very savages of Africa; I appeared to myself a creature fit for nothing, neither heaven nor earth. — None know, but those who feel it, what the soul endures that is sensibly shut out from the presence of God: alas! it is more bitter than death.”
On Monday he rode to Stoningtown, Mr. Fish’s parish. — On Tuesday he expresses considerable degrees of spiritual comfort and refreshment. “Wednesday, January 26. Preached to a pretty large assembly at Mr.
Fish’s meeting-house: insisted on humility and stedfastness in keeping God’s commands, and that through humility we should prefer one another in love, and not make our own frames the rule by which we judge others. I felt sweetly calm, and full of brotherly love; and never more free from party spirit. I hope some good will follow; that Christians will be freed from false joy, and party zeal, and censuring one another.”
On Thursday, after considerable time spent in prayer and christian conversation, he rode to New London. “Friday, January 28. Here I found some fallen into extravagances, too much carried away with a false zeal and bitterness. Oh, the want of a gospel-temper is greatly to be lamented. Spent the evening in conversing about some points of conduct in both ministers and private Christians; but did not agree with them. God had not taught them with briers and thorns to be of a kind disposition towards mankind.”
On Saturday he rode to East Haddam, and spent the three following days there. In that space of time he speaks of his feeling weanedness from the world, a sense of the nearness of eternity, special assistance in playing for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, times of spiritual comfort, etc. “Wednesday, February 2. Preached my farewell sermon, last might, at the house of an aged man, who had been unable to attend on the public worship for some time. This morning spent the time in prayer, almost wherever I went: and having taken leave of friends, I set out on my journey towards the Indians; though I was to spend some time at East Hampton on Long Island, by leave of the commissioners who employed me in the Indian affair; and being accompanied by a messenger from East- Hampton, we travelled to Lyme. On the road I felt an uncommon pressure of mind: I seemed to struggle hard for some pleasure in some here below, and seemed loth to give up all for gone; saw I was evidently throwing myself into all hardships and distresses in my present undertaking. I thought it would be less difficult to lie down in the grave but yet I chose to go, rather than stay. — Came to Lyme that night.”
On Saturday he crossed the Sound, and landed at Oyster-Ponds on Long Island, and travelled from thence to East Hampton. And the seven following days he spent there, for the most part, under extreme dejection and gloominess of mind, with great complaints of darkness, ignorance, etc.
Yet his heart appears to have been constantly engaged in the great business of religion, much concerned for the interest of religion in East Hampton, and praying and labouring much for it. “Saturday, February 12. Enjoyed a little more comfort; was enabled to meditate with some composure of mind and especially in the evening, found my soul more refreshed in prayer, than at any time of late; my soul seemed to “take hold of God’s strength,” and was comforted with his consolations. O how sweet are some glimpses of divine glory! how strengthening and quickening! “Lord’s day, February 13. At noon under a great degree of discouragement; knew not how it was possible for me to preach in the afternoon. I was ready to give up all for gone; but God was pleased to assist me in some measure. In the evening, my heart was sweetly drawn out after God, and devoted to him.”
The next day he had comfort and dejection intermingled. “Tuesday, February 15. Early in the day I felt some comfort; afterwards I walked into a neighbouring grove, and felt more as a stranger on earth, I think, than ever before; dead to any of the enjoyments of the world, as if I had been dead in a natural sense. — In the evening, had divine sweetness in secret duty: God was then my portion, and my soul rose above those deep waters, into which I have sunk so low of late. — My soul then cried for Zion, and had sweetness in so doing.”
This sweet frame continued the next morning; but afterwards his inward distress returned. “Thursday, February 17. In the morning found myself comfortable, and rested on God in some measure. — Preached this day at a little village belonging to East Hampton; and God was pleased to give me his gracious presence and assistance, so that I spake with freedom boldness, and some power. In the evening, spent some time with a dear christian friend; and felt serious, as on the brink of eternity. My soul enjoyed sweetness in lively apprehensions of standing before the glorious God: prayed with my dear friend with sweetness, and discoursed with the utmost solemnity.
And truly it was a little emblem of heaven itself. — I find my soul is more refined and weaned from a dependence on my frames and spiritual feelings. “Friday, February 18. Felt something sweetly most of the day, and found access to the throne of grace. Blessed be the Lord for any intervals of heavenly delight and composure, while I am engaged in the field of battle.
O that I might be serious, solemn, and always vigilant, while in an evil world! Had some opportunity alone to-day, and found some freedom in study. O, I long to live to God! “Saturday, February 19. Was exceeding infirm to-day greatly troubled with pain in my head and dizziness, scarce able to sit up. However, enjoyed something of God in prayer, and performed some necessary studies. I exceedingly long to die; and yet, through divine goodness, have felt very willing to live, for two or three days past. “Lord’s day, February 20. I was perplexed on account of my carelessness, thought I could not be suitably concerned about the important work of the day, and so was restless with my easiness. — Was exceeding infirm again to-day but the Lord strengthened me, both in the outward and inward man, so that I preached with some life and spirituality, especially in the afternoon, wherein I was enabled to speak closely against selfish religion, that loves Christ for his benefits, but not for himself.”
During the next fortnight, it appears that, for the most part, he enjoyed much spiritual peace and comfort. In his diary for this space of time are expressed such things as these; mourning over indwelling sin and unprofitableness; deadness to the world; longing after God, and to live to his glory; heart-melting desires after his eternal home; fixed reliance on God for his help; experience of much divine assistance both in the private and public exercises of religion; inward strength and courage in the service of God; very frequent refreshment, consolation, and divine sweetness in meditation, prayer, preaching, and christian conversation. And it appears by his account, that this space of time was filled up with great diligence and earnestness in serving God, in study, prayer, mediation, preaching, and privately instructing and counselling. “Monday, March 7. This morning when I arose, I found my heart go forth after God in longing desires of conformity to him, and in secret prayer found myself sweetly quickened and drawn out in praises to God for all he had done to and for me, and for all my inward trials and distresses of late.
My heart ascribed glory, glory, glory to the blessed God! and bid welcome to all inward distress again, if God saw meet to exercise me with it. Time appeared but an inch long, and eternity at hand; and I thought I could with patience and cheerfulness bear any thing for the cause of God, for I saw that a moment would bring me to a world of peace and blessedness. My soul, by the strength of the Lord, rose far above this lower world, and all the vain amusements and frightful disappointments of it. Afterwards, had some sweet meditation on Genesis 5:24. “And Enoch walked with God,” etc. — This was a comfortable day to my soul.”
The next day he seems to have continued in a considerable degree of sweetness and fervency in religion. “Wednesday, March 9. Endeavoured to commit myself and all my concerns to God. Rode sixteen miles to Mantauk, and had some inward sweetness on the road; but something of flatness and deadness after I came there and had seen the Indians. I withdrew, and endeavoured to pray, but found myself awfully deserted and left, and had an afflicting sense of my vileness and meanness. However, I went and preached from Isaiah 53:10. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,” etc. Had some assistance, and, I trust, something of the divine presence was among us. In the evening, I again prayed and exhorted among them, after having had a season alone, wherein I was so pressed with the blackness of my nature, that I thought it was not fit for me to speak so much as to Indians.”
The next day he returned to East Hampton; was exceeding infirm in body through the remaining part of this week; but speaks of assistance and enlargement in study and religious exercises, and of inward sweetness and breathing after God. “Lord’s day, March 13. At noon I thought it impossible for me to preach, by reason of bodily weakness and inward deadness. In the first prayer I was so weak that I could hardly stand, but in the sermon God strengthened me, so that I spake near an hour and a half with sweet freedom, clearness, and some tender power from Genesis 5:24. “And Enoch walked with God.” I was sweetly assisted to insist on a close walk with God, and to leave this as my parting advice to God’s people here, that they should walk with God. May the God of all grace succeed my poor labours in this place! “Monday, March 14. In the morning was very busy in preparation for my journey, and was almost continually engaged in ejaculatory prayer. About ten, took leave of the dear people of East Hampton; my heart grieved and mourned, and rejoiced at the same time; rode near fifty miles to a part of Brook-Haven, and lodged there, and had refreshing conversation with a christian friend.”
In two days more he reached New York, but complains of much desertion and deadness on the road. He stayed one day in New York, and on Friday went to Mr. Dickinson’s at Elizabeth- Town. His complaints are the same as on the two preceding days. “Saturday, March 19. Was bitterly distressed under a sense of my ignorance, darkness, and unworthiness; got alone, and poured out my complaint to God in the bitterness of my soul. — In the afternoon, rode to Newark, and had some sweetness in conversation with Mr. Burr, and in praying together. O blessed be God for ever and ever, for any enlivening and quickening seasons. “Lord’s day, March 20. Preached in the forenoon: God gave me some assistance and sweetness, and enabled me to speak with real tenderness, love, and impartiality. In the evening, preached again, and, of a truth, God was pleased to assist a poor worm. Blessed be God, I was enabled to speak with life, power, and desire of the edification of God’s people; and with some power to sinners. In the evening, I felt spiritual and watchful, lest my heart should by any means be drawn away from God.
Oh, when I shall come to that blessed world, where every power of my soul will be incessantly, and eternally wound up in heavenly employments and enjoyments, to the highest degree!”
On Monday he went to Woodbridge, where he speaks of his being with a number of ministers; and, the day following, of his travelling part of the way towards New York. On Wednesday he came to New York. On Thursday he rode near fifty miles, from New York to North-Castle. On Friday went to Danbury. Saturday to New Milford. On the sabbath he rode five or six miles to the place near Kent in Connecticut, called Scaticoke, where dwell a number of Indians, and preached to them. On Monday, being detained by the rain, he tarried at Kent. On Tuesday he rode from Kent to Salisbury. Wednesday be went to Sheffield. Thursday March 31, he went to Mr. Sergeants at Stockbridge. He was dejected and very disconsolate, through the main of this journey from New Jersey to Stockbridge, and especially on the last day his mind war, overwhelmed with exceeding gloominess and melancholy.
PART FROM HIS BEGINNING TO INSTRUCT THE INDIANS AT KAUNAUMEEK, TO HIS ORDINATION. “Friday, April 1,1743. I rode to Kaunaumeek, near twenty miles from Stockbridge, where the Indians live with whom I am concerned and there lodged on a little heap of straw. I was greatly exercised with inward trials and distresses all day, and in the evening, my heart was sunk, and I seemed to have no God to go to. O that God would help me!”
The next five days he was for the most part in a dejected, depressed state of mind, and sometimes extremely so. He speaks of God’s “waves and billows rolling over his soul,” and of his being ready sometimes to say, “Surely his mercy is clean gone for ever, and he will be favourable no more;” and says, the anguish he endured was nameless and inconceivable, but at the same time speaks thus concerning his distresses, “What God designs by all my distresses I know not, but this I know, I deserve them all and thousands more.” — He gives an account of the Indians kindly receiving him, and being seriously attentive to his instructions. “Thursday, April 7. Appeared to myself exceeding ignorant, weak, helpless, unworthy, and altogether unequal to my work. It seemed to me I should never do any service or have any success among the Indians. My soul was weary of my life; I longed for deaths beyond measure. When I thought of any godly soul departed, my soul was ready to envy him his privilege, thinking, “Oh, when will my turn come! must it be years first.
But I know, these ardent desires, at this and other times, rose partly for want of resignation to God under all miseries; and so were but impatience.
Towards night, I had the exercise of faith in prayer, and some assistance in writing. O that God would keep me near him! “Friday, April 8. Was exceedingly pressed under a sense of my pride, selfishness, bitterness, and party spirit in times past, while I attempted to promote the cause of God. Its vile nature and dreadful consequences appeared in such odious colours to me, that my very heart was pained. I saw how poor souls stumbled over it into everlasting destruction, that I was constrained to make that prayer in the bitterness of my soul, “O Lord, deliver me from blood-guiltiness.” I saw my desert of hell on this account. My soul was full of inward anguish and shame before God, that I had spent so much time in conversation tending only to promote a party spirit. Oh, I saw I had not suitably prized mortification, self-denial, resignation under all adversities, meekness, love, candour, and holiness of heart and life: and this day was almost wholly spent in such bitter and soul-afflicting reflections on my past frames and conduct. — Of late I have thought much of having the kingdom of Christ advanced in the world; but now l had enough to do within myself. The Lord be merciful to me a sinner, and wash my soul! “Saturday, April 9. Remained much in the same state as yesterday; excepting that the sense of my vileness was not so quick and acute. “Lord’s day, April 10. Rose early in the morning, and walked out, and spent a considerable time in the woods in prayer and meditation. Preached to the Indians, both forenoon and afternoon. They behaved soberly in general: two or three in particular appeared under some religious concern; with whom I discoursed privately, and one told me, “her heart had cried, ever since she heard me preach first.”
The next day, he complains of much desertion. “Tuesday, April 12. Was greatly oppressed with grief and shame, reflecting on my past conduct, my bitterness and party zeal. I was ashamed to think that such a wretch as I had ever preached. — Longed to be excused from that work. And when my soul was not in anguish and keen distress, I felt senseless “as a beast before God.” and felt a kind of, guilty amusement with the least trifles; which still maintained a kind of stifled horror of conscience, so that I could not rest any more than a condemned malefactor. “Wednesday, April 13. My heart was overwhelmed within me: I verily thought I was the meanest, vilest, most helpless, guilty, ignorant, benighted creature living. And yet I knew what God had done for my soul!, at the same time: though sometimes I was assaulted with damping doubts and fears, whether it was possible for such a wretch as I to be in a state of grace. “Thursday, April 14. Remained much in the same state as yesterday. “Friday, April 15. In the forenoon, very disconsolate. In the afternoon, preached to my people, and was a little encouraged in some hopes that God might bestow mercy on their souls.-Felt somewhat resigned to God under all dispensations of his providence. “Saturday, April 16. Still in the depths of distress. — In the afternoon, preached to my people; but was more discouraged with them than before; feared that nothing would ever be done for them to any happy effect. I retired and poured out my soul to God for mercy, but without any sensible relief. Soon after came an Irishman and a Dutchman, with a design, as they said, to hear me preach the next day; but none can tell how I felt, to hear their profane talk. Oh, I longed that some dear Christian knew my distress. I got into a kind of hovel, and there groaned out my complaint to God: and withal felt more sensible gratitude and thankfulness to God, that he had made me to differ from these men, as I knew through grace he had. “Lord’s day, April 17. In the morning was again distressed as soon as I waked, hearing much talk about the world and the things of it I perceived the men were in some measure afraid of me; and I discoursed something, about sanctifying the sabbath, if possible to solemnize their minds: but when they were at a little distance, they again talked freely about secular affairs. Oh, I thought what a hell it would be, to live with such men to eternity! The Lord gave me some assistance in preaching, all day and some resignation, and a small degree of comfort in prayer at night.”
He continued in this disconsolate frame the next day. “Tuesday, April 19. In the morning I enjoyed some sweet repose and rest in God; felt some strength and confidence in him; and my soul was in some measure refreshed and comforted. Spent most of the day in writing, and had some exercise of grace, sensible and comfortable. My soul seemed lifted above the deep waters, wherein it has been so long almost drowned; felt some spiritual longings and breathings of soul after God, and found myself engaged for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in my own soul. “Wednesday, April 20. Set apart this day for fasting and prayer, to bow my soul before God for the bestowment of divine grace especially that all my spiritual afflictions and inward distresses might be sanctified to my soul. And endeavoured also to remember the goodness of God to me the year past, this day being my birthday. Having obtained help of God, I have hitherto lived, and am now arrived at the age of twenty-five years.
My soul was pained to think of my barrenness and deadness; that I have lived so little to the glory of the eternal God. I spent the day in the woods alone; and there poured out my complaint to God. O that God would enable me to live to his glory for the future! “Thursday, April 21. Spent the forenoon in reading and prayer, and found myself engaged; but still much depressed in spirit under a sense of my vileness and unfitness for any public service. In the afternoon, I visited my people, and prayed and conversed with some about their souls’ concerns; and afterwards found some ardour of soul in secret prayer. O that I might grow up into the likeness of God! “Friday, April 22. Spent the day in study, reading, and player; and felt a little relieved of my burden, that has been so heavy of late. But still was in some measure oppressed; and had a sense of barrenness. Oh, my leanness testifies against me! my very soul abhors itself for its unlikeness to God, its inactivity and sluggishness. When I have done all, alas, what an unprofitable servant am I! My soul groans, to see the hours of the day roll away, because I do not fill them in spirituality and heavenly mindedness.
On Saturday and Lord’s day, his melancholy again prevailed, he complained of his ignorance, stupidity, and senselessness, while yet he seems to have spent the time with the utmost diligence in study, in prayer in instructing and counselling the Indians. On Monday he sunk into the deepest melancholy, so that he supposed he never spent a day in such distress in his life not in fears of hell, which, he says, he had no pressing fear of,) but a distressing sense of his own vileness, etc. On Tuesday, he expresses some relief. Wednesday he kept as a day of fasting and prayer, but in great distress. The three days next following his melancholy continued, but in a less degree, and with intervals of comfort. “Lord’s day, May 1. Was at Stockbridge to-day. In the forenoon had some relief and assistance; though not so much as usual. In the afternoon felt poorly in body and soul; while I was preaching, seemed to be rehearsing idle tales, without the least life, fervour, sense, or comfort; and especially afterwards, at the sacrament, my soul was filled with confusion, and the utmost anguish that ever I endured, under the feeling of my inexpressible vileness and meanness. It was a most bitter and distressing season to me, by reason of the view I had of my own heart, and the secret abominations that lurk there: I thought the eyes of all in the house were upon me, and I dared not look any one in the face; for it verily seemed as if they saw the vileness of my heart, and all the sins I had ever been guilty of. And if I had been banished from the presence of all mankind, never to be seen any more, or so much as thought of, still I should have been distressed with shame, and I should have been ashamed to see the most barbarous people on earth, because I was viler, and seemingly more brutishly ignorant, than they. — “I am made to possess the sins of my youth.”
The remaining days of this week were spent, for the most part, in inward distress and gloominess. The next sabbath, he had encouragement, assistance, and comfort, but on Monday sunk again. “Tuesday, May 10. Was in the same state, as to my mind, that I have been in for some time; extremely pressed with a sense of guilt, pollution, and blindness: The iniquity of my heels have compassed me about; the sins of my youth have been set in order before me, they have gone over my head as a heavy burden, too heavy for me to bear.” Almost all the actions of my life past seem to be covered over with sin and guilt, and those of them that I performed in the most conscientious manner now fill me with shame and confusion, that I cannot hold up my face. Oh! the pride, selfishness, hypocrisy, ignorance, bitterness, party-zeal, and the want of love, candour, meekness, and gentleness, that have attended my attempts to promote religion and virtue, and this when I have reason to hope I had real assistance from above, and some sweet intercourse with heaven! but, alas, what corrupt mixtures attended my best duties!”
The next seven days his gloom and distress continued for the most part, but he had some turns of relief and spiritual comfort. He gives an account of his spending part of this time in hard labour, to build himself a little cottage to live in amongst the Indians in which he might be by himself, having, it seems, hitherto lived with a poor Scotsman, as he observes in the letter just now referred to; and afterwards, before his own house was habitable, lived in a wigwam among the Indians. “Wednesday, May 18. My circumstances are such that I have no comfort, of any kind, but what I have in God. I live in the most lonesome wilderness; have but one single person to converse with, that can speak English. Most of the talk I hear, is either Highland Scotch or Indian. I have no fellow-Christian to whom I might unbosom myself, or lay open my spiritual sorrows; with whom I might take sweet counsel in conversation about heavenly things and join in social prayer. I live poorly with regard to the comforts of life: most of my diet consists of boiled corn, hastypudding, etc. I lodge on a bundle of straw, my labour is hard and extremely difficult, and I have little appearance of success to comfort me. The Indians have no land to live on but what the Dutch people lay claim to; and these threaten to drive them off. They have no regard to the souls of the poor Indians; and, by what I can learn, they hate me, because I come to preach to them. — But that which makes all my difficulties grievous to be borne, is, that God hides his face from me. “Thursday, May 19. Spent most of this day in close studies, but was sometimes so distressed that I could think of nothing but my spiritual blindness, ignorance, pride, and misery. Oh, I have reason to make that prayer, “Lord, forgive my sins of youth, and former trespasses.” “Friday, May 20. Was much perplexed some part of the day; but towards night, had some comfortable meditations on Isaiah 40:1. “Comfort ye, comfort ye,” etc. and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer. Afterwards my soul rose so far above the deep waters, that I dared to rejoice in God. I saw there was sufficient matter of consolation in the blessed God.”
The next nine days his burdens were for the most part alleviated, but with variety; at some times having considerable consolation; and at others, more depressed. The next day, Monday, May 30, he set out on a journey to New Jersey, to consult the commissioners who employed him about the affairs of his mission.” He performed his journey thither in four days, and arrived at Mr. Burr’s in Newark on Thursday. In great part of his journey, he was in the depths of melancholy, under distresses like those already mentioned. On Friday he rode to Elizabeth-town: and on Saturday to New York; and from thence on his way homewards as far as White Plains.
There he spent the sabbath, and had considerable degrees of divine consolation and assistance in public services. On Monday he rode about sixty miles to New-Haven. There he attempted a reconciliation with the authority of the college, and spent this week in visiting his friends in those parts, and in his journey homewards, till Saturday, in a pretty comfortable frame of mind. On Saturday, in his way from Stockbridge to Kaunaumeek, he was lost in the woods, and lay all night in the open air; but happily found his way in the morning, and came to his Indians on Lord’s day, June 12, and had greater assistance in preaching among them than ever before, since his first coming among them.
From this time forward he was the subject of various frames and exercises of mind: in the general, much after the same manner as hitherto, from his first coming to Kaunaumeek till he got into his own house, (a little hut which he made chiefly with his own hands, by long an hard labour,) which was near seven weeks from this time. Great part of this space of time, he was dejected, and depressed with melancholy, sometimes extremely; his melancholy operating in like manner as related in times past. How it was with him in those dark seasons, he himself further describes in his diary for July 2, in the following manner. “My soul is, and has for a long time been, in a piteous condition, wading through a series of sorrows, of various kinds. I have been so crushed down sometimes with a sense of my meanness and infinite unworthiness, that I have been ashamed that any, even the meanest of my fellow-creatures, should so much as spend a thought about me; and have wished sometimes, while travelling among the thick brakes, to drop, as one of them into everlasting oblivion. In this case, sometimes, I have almost resolved never again to see any of my acquaintance; and really thought I could not do it and hold up my face; and have longed for the remotest region, for a retreat from all my friends, that I might not be seen or heard of any more. — Sometimes the consideration of my ignorance has been a means of my great distress and anxiety. And especially my soul has been in anguish with fear, shame, and guilt, that ever I had preached, or had any thought that way. — Sometimes my soul has been in distress on feeling some particular corruptions rise and swell like a mighty torrent, with present violence having, at the same time, ten thousand former sins and follies presented to view, in all their blackness and aggravations. — And these, while destitute of most of the conveniencies of life, and I may say, of all the pleasures of it; without a friend to communicate any of my sorrows to, and sometimes without any place of retirement, where I may unburden my soul before God, which has greatly contributed to my distress. — Of late, more especially, my great difficulty has been a sort of carelessness, a kind of regardless temper of mind, whence I have been disposed to indolence and trifling: and this temper of mind has constantly been attended with guilt and shame, so that sometimes I have been in a kind of horror, to find myself so unlike the blessed God. I have thought I grew worse under all my trials, and nothing has cut and wounded my soul more than this. Oh, if I am one of God’s chosen, as I trust through infinite grace I am, I find of a truth, that the righteous are scarcely saved.”
It is apparent, that one main occasion of that distressing gloominess of mind which he was so much exercised with at Kaunaumeek, was reflection on his past errors and misguided zeal at college, in the beginning of the late religious commotions. And therefore he repeated his endeavours this year for reconciliation with the governors of the college; whom he had at that time offended. Although he had been at New Haven, in June, this year, and attempted a reconciliation, as mentioned already; yet, in the beginning of July, he made another journey thither, and renewed his attempt, but still in vain.
Although he was much dejected great part of that space of time which I am now speaking of; yet he had many intermissions of his melancholy, and some seasons of comfort, sweet tranquillity, and resignation of mind, and frequent special assistance in public services, as appear in his diary. The manner of his relief from his sorrow, once in particular, is worthy to be mentioned in his own words (diary for July 25.) “Had little or no resolution for a life of holiness, was ready almost to renounce my hopes of living to God. And oh how dark it looked, to think of being unholy for ever! This I could not endure. The cry of my soul was, “Iniquities prevail against me.” ( Psalm 65:3) But was in some measure relieved by a comfortable meditation on God’s eternity, that he never had a beginning, etc. Whence I was led to admire his greatness and power, etc. in such a manner, that I stood still, and praised the Lord for his own glories and perfections; though I was (and if I should for ever be) an unholy creature, my soul was comforted to apprehend an eternal, infinite, powerful, holy God. “Saturday, July 30. Just at night, moved into my own house, and lodged there that night; found it much better spending the time alone, than in the wigwam where I was before. “Lord’s day, July 31. Felt more comfortably than some days past. — Blessed be the Lord, who has now given me a place of retirement. — O that I might find God in it, and that he would dwell with me for ever! “Monday, August 1. Was still busy in further labours on my house. — Felt a little of the sweetness of religion and thought it was worth the while to follow after God; through a thousand snares, deserts, and death itself. O that I might always follow after holiness, that I may be fully conformed to God! Had some degree of sweetness in secret prayer, though I had much sorrow. “Tuesday; August 2. Was still labouring to make myself more comfortable, with regard to my house and lodging. Laboured under spiritual anxiety; it seemed to me, I deserved to be kicked out of the world; yet found some comfort in committing my cause to God. It is good for me to be afflicted that I may die wholly to this world, and all that is in it. “Wednesday, August 3. Spent most of the day in writing. Enjoyed some sense of religion. Through divine goodness I am now uninterruptedly alone; and find my retirement comfortable. I have enjoyed more sense of divine things within a few days last past, than for some time before. I longed after holiness, humility, and meekness: O that God would enable me to pass the time of my sojourning here in his fear and always live to him! “Thursday, August 4. Was enabled to pray much through the whole day; and through divine goodness found some intenseness of soul in the duty, as I used to do, and some ability to persevere in my supplications. I had some apprehensions of divine things, that were engaging, and which afforded me some courage and resolution. It is good, I find, to persevere in attempts to pray, if I cannot pray with perseverance, i.e. continue long, in my addresses to the Divine Being. I have generally found that the more I do in secret prayer, the more I have delighted to do, and have enjoyed more of a spirit of prayer: and frequently have found the contrary, when with journeying or otherwise I have been much deprived of retirement. A seasonable, steady performance ofSECRET DUTIES IN THEIR PROPER HOURS, and aCAREFUL IMPROVEMENT OF ALL TIME, filling up every hour with some profitable labour, either of heart, head, or hands, are excellent means of spiritual peace and boldness before God. Christ indeed, is our peace, and by him we have boldness of access to God; but a good conscience void of offence, is an excellent preparation for an approach into the divine presence. There is difference between self-confidence or a selfrighteous pleasing of ourselves — as with our own duties, attainments, and spiritual enjoyments — which godly souls sometimes are guilty of, and that holy confidence arising from the testimony of a good conscience, which good Hezekiah had, when he says, “Remember, O Lord, I beseech thee how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart. “Then (says the holy psalmist) shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy commandments.” Filling up our time with and for God, is the way to rise up and lie down in peace.”
The next eight days he continued for the most part in a very comfortable frame, having his mind fixed and sweetly engaged in religion; and more than once blesses God, that he had given him a little cottage, where he might live alone, and enjoy a happy retirement, free from noise and disturbance, and could at any hour of the day lay aside all studies, and spend time in lifting up his soul to God for spiritual blessings. “Saturday, August 13. Was enabled in secret prayer to raise my soul to God, with desire and delight. It was indeed a blessed season to my soul: I found the comfort of being a Christian, and counted the sufferings of the present life not worthy to be compared with the glory of divine enjoyments even in this world. All my past sorrows seemed kindly to disappear, and I “remembered no more the sorrow, for joy.” — O, how kindly, and with a filial tenderness the soul confides in the Rock of ages, at such a season that be will “never leave it, nor forsake it,” that he will cause “all things to work together for its good!” etc. I longed that others should know how good a God the Lord is. My soul was full of tenderness and love even to the most inveterate of my enemies. I longed they should share in the same mercy, and loved that God should do just as he pleased with me and every thing else. I felt exceeding serious calm, and peaceful, and encouraged to press after holiness as long as I live, whatever difficulties and trials may be in my way. May the Lord always help me so to do!
Amen, and Amen. “Lords day, August 14. I had much more freedom in public than in private. God enabled me to speak with some feeling sense of divine things, but perceived no considerable effect. “Monday, August 15. Spent most of the day in labour to procure something to keep my horse on in the winter. — Enjoyed not much sweetness in the morning: was very weak in body through the day, and thought this frail body would soon drop into the dust: had some very realizing apprehensions of a speedy entrance into another world. And in this weak state of body, I was not a little distressed for want of suitable food. I had no bread nor could I get any. I am forced to go or send ten or fifteen miles for all the bread I eat and sometimes it is mouldy and sour before I eat it, if I get any considerable quantity. And then again I have none for some days together, for want of an opportunity to send for it, and cannot find my horse in the woods to go myself, and this was my case now but through divine goodness I had some Indian meal, of which I made little cakes, and fried them. Yet felt contented with my circumstance, and sweetly resigned to God. In prayer I enjoyed great freedom; and blessed God as much for my present circumstances, as if I had been a king; and thought I found a disposition to be contented in any circumstances.
Blessed be God.”
The rest of this week he was exceeding weak in body, and much exercised with pain, yet obliged from day to day to labour hard, to procure fodder for his horse. Except some part of the time, he was so very ill, that he was neither able to work nor study; but speaks of longings after holiness and perfect conformity to God. He complains of enjoying but little of God; yet he says, that little was better to him than all the world besides. In his diary for Saturday, he says, he was somewhat melancholy and sorrowful in mind; and adds, “I never feel comfortably but when I find my soul going forth after God: if I cannot be holy, I must necessarily be miserable for ever.” “Lord’s day, August 21. Was much straitened in the forenoon-exercise; my thoughts seemed to be all scattered to the ends of the earth. At noon, I fell down before the Lord, groaned under my vileness, barrenness, and deadness; and felt as if I was guilty of soul-murder, in speaking to immortal souls in such a manner as I had then done. In the afternoon, God was pleased to give me some assistance, and I was enabled to set before my hearers the nature and necessity of true repentance, etc. afterwards, had some small degree of thankfulness. Was very ill and full of pain in the evening; and my soul mourned that I had spent so much time to so little profit. “Monday, August 22. Spent most of the day in study; and found my bodily strength in a measure restored. Had some intense and passionate breathings of soul after holiness, and very clear manifestations of my utter inability to procure, or work it in myself, it is wholly owing to the power of God. O, with what tenderness the love and desire of holiness fills the soul! I wanted to wing out of myself to God, or rather to get a conformity to him: but, alas! I cannot add to my stature in grace one cubit. However, my soul can never leave striving for it; or at least groaning that it cannot strive for it, and obtain more purity of heart. — At night I spent some time in instructing my poor people. Oh that God would pity their souls! “Tuesday, August 23. Studied in the forenoon, and enjoyed some freedom.
In the afternoon, laboured abroad: endeavoured to pray; but found not much sweetness or intenseness of mind. Towards night, was very weary and tired of this world of sorrow: the thoughts of death and immortality appeared very desirable, and even refreshed my soul. Those lines turned in my mind with pleasure, Come, death, shake hands, I’ll kiss thy hands; ‘Tis happiness for me to die.
What! dost thou think that I will shrink?
I’ll go to immortality.” In evening prayer God was pleased to draw near my soul, though very sinful and unworthy: was enabled to wrestle with God, and to persevere in my requests for grace. I poured out my soul for all the world, friends, and enemies. My soul was concerned, not so much for souls as such, but rather for Christ’s kingdom, that it might appear in the world, that God might be known to be God in the whole earth. And, oh, my soul abhorred the very thought of a party in religion! Let the truth of God appear, wherever it is; and God have the glory for ever. Amen. This was indeed a comfortable season. I thought I had some small taste of, and real relish for, the enjoyments and employments of the upper world. O that my soul was more attempered to it! “Wednesday, August 24. Spent some time in the morning in study and prayer. Afterwards was engaged in some necessary business abroad.
Towards night, found a little time for some particular studies. I thought if God should say, “Cease making any provision for this life, for you shall in a few days go out of time into eternity,” my soul would leap for joy. O that I may both “desire to be dissolved, to be with Christ,” and likewise “wait patiently all the days of my appointed time till my change come! — But, alas! I am very unfit for the business and blessedness of heaven. — O for more holiness! “Thursday, August 25. Part of the day, was engaged in studies; and part in labour abroad. I find it is impossible to enjoy peace and tranquillity of mind without a careful improvement of time. This is really an imitation of God and Christ Jesus: “My Father worketh hitilerto, and I work,” says our Lord. But still, if we would be like God we must see that we fill up our time for him.
I daily long to dwell in perfect light and love. In the mean time, my soul mourns that I make so little progress in grace, and preparation for the world of blessedness: I see and know that I am a very barren tree in God’s vineyard, and that he might justly say, “Cut it down,” etc. O that God would make me more lively and vigorous in grace, for his own glory!
The two next days he was much engaged in some necessary labours, in which he extremely spent himself. He seems these days to have had a great sense of the vanity of the world, continued longings after boldness, and more fervency of spirit in the service of God. “Lord’s day, August 28. Was much perplexed with some irreligious Dutchmen. All their discourse turned upon the things of the world, which was no small exercise to my mind. Oh, what a hell it would be to spend an eternity with such men! Well might David say, “I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved.” — But adored be God, heaven is a place into which no unclean thing enters.” — Oh, I long for the holiness of that world! Lord prepare me for it.”
The next day he set out on a journey to New York. Was somewhat dejected the two first days of his journey; but yet seems to have enjoyed some degrees of the sensible presence of God. “Wednesday, August 31. Rode down to Bethlehem: was in a sweet, serious, and, I hope, christian frame, when I came there. Eternal things engrossed all my thoughts; and I longed to be in the world of spirits. O how happy is it to have all our thoughts swallowed up in that world; to feel one’s self a serious considerate stranger in this world, diligently seeking a road through it, the best, the sure road to the heavenly Jerusalem! “Thursday, September 1. Rode to Danbury. Was more dull and dejected in spirit than yesterday. Indeed, I always feel comfortably when God realizes death, and the things of this world, to my mind: whenever my mind is taken off from the things of this world, and set on God, my soul is then at rest.”
He went forward on his journey, and came to New York on the next Monday. And after tarrying there two or three days, he set out from the city towards New-Haven, intending to be there at the commencement; and on Friday came to Horse-Neck. In the mean time, he complains much of dulness, and want of fervour in religion: but yet, from time to time, speaks of his enjoying spiritual warmth and sweetness in conversation with christian friends, assistance in public services, etc. “Saturday, September 10. Rode six miles to Stanwich, and preached to a considerable assembly of people. Had some assistance and freedom, especially towards the close. Endeavoured much afterwards, in private conversation, to establish holiness, humility, meekness, etc. as the essence of true religion, and to moderate some noisy sort of persons, that appeared to me to be acted by unseen spiritual pride. Alas, what extremes men incline to run into! — Returned to Horse-Neck, and felt some seriousness and sweet solemnity in the evening. “Lord’s day, September 11. In the afternoon I preached from Titus 3:8. “This is a faithful saying, and these things,” etc. I think God never helped me more in painting true religion, and in detecting clearly, and tenderly discountenancing, false appearances of religion, wild-fire party zeal, spiritual pride, etc. as well as a confident dogmatical spirit, and its spring, viz. ignorance of the heart. — In the evening took much pains in private conversation to suppress some confusions, that I perceived were amongst that people. “Monday, September 12. Rode to Mr. Mills’s at Ripton. Had some perplexing hours; but was some part of the day very comfortable. It is “through great trials,” I see, “that we must enter the gates of paradise.’ If my soul could but be holy, that God might not be dishonoured, methinks I could bear sorrows. “Tuesday, September 13. Rode to New-Haven. Was sometimes dejected; not in the sweetest frame. Had some profitable christian conversation, etc. — I find, though my inward trials were great, and a life of solitude gives them greater advantage to settle, and penetrate to the very inmost recesses of the soul, yet it is better to be alone, than encumbered with noise and tumult. I find it very difficult maintaining any sense of divine things while removing from place to place, diverted with new objects, and filled with care and business. A settled steady business is best adapted to a life of strict religion. “Wednesday, September 14. This day I ought to have taken my degree; but God sees fit to deny it me. And though I was greatly afraid of being overwhelmed with perplexity and confusion, when I should see my classmates take theirs; yet, at the very time, God enabled me with calmness and resignation to say, The will of the Lord be done. Indeed, through divine goodness, I have scarcely felt my mind so calm, sedate, and comfortable for some time. I have long feared this season, and expected my humility, meekness, patience, and resignation would be much tried: but found much more pleasure and divine comfort than I expected. — Felt spiritually serious, tender, and affectionate in private prayer with a dear christian friend to-day. “Thursday, September 15. Had some satisfaction in hearing the ministers discourse, etc. It is always a comfort to me to hear religious and spiritual discourse O that ministers and people were more spiritual and devoted to God! — Towards night, with the advice of christian friends, I offered the following reflections in writing, to the rector and trustees of the college — which are for substance the same that I had freely offered to the sector before, and entreated him to accept — that if possible I might cut off all occasion of offence, from those who seek occasion. What I offered, is as follows: “Whereas I have said before several persons, concerning Mr. Whittelsey, one of the tutors of Yale college, that I did not believe he had any more grace than the chair I then leaned upon: I humbly confess, that herein I have sinned against God, and acted contrary to the rules of his word, and have injured Mr. Whittelsey. I had no right to make thus free with his character; and had no just reason to say as I did concerning him. My fault herein was the more aggravated, in that I said this concerning one that was so much my superior, and one that I was obliged to treat with special respect and honour by reason of the relation I stood in to him in the college. Such a manner of behaviour, I confess, did not become a Christian, it was taking too much upon me, and did not savour of that humble respect that I ought to have expressed towards Mr. Whittelsey. I have long since been convinced of the falseness of those apprehensions, by which I then justified such a conduct. I have often reflected on this act with grief; I hope, on account of the sin of it: and am willing to lie low, and be abased before God and man for it. And humbly ask the forgiveness of the governors of the college, and of the whole society - but of Mr.
Whittelsey in particular. And whereas I have been accused by one person of saying concerning the reverend rector of Yale college, that I wondered he did not expect to drop down dead for fining the scholars that followed Mr.
Tennent to Milford; I seriously profess, that I do not remember my saying any thing to this purpose. But if I did, which I am not certain I did not, I utterly condemn it, and detest all such kind of behaviour; and especially in an undergraduate towards the rector. And I now appear, to judge and condemn myself for going once to the separate meeting in New-Haven, a little before I was expelled, though the rector had refused to give me leave.
For this I humbly ask the rectors forgiveness. And whether the governors of the college shall ever see cause to remove the academical censure I lie under, or no, or to admit me to the privileges I desire; yet I am willing to appear if they think fit, openly to own, and to humble myself for, those things I have herein confessed.” “God has made me willing to do any thing that I can do, consistent with truth, for the sake of peace, and that I might not be a stumbling-block to others. For this reason I can cheerfully forego, and give up, what I verily believe, after the most mature and impartial search, is my right, in some instances. God has given me that disposition, that, if this were the case, that a man has done me a hundred injuries, and I (though ever so much provoked to it) have done him one, I feel disposed, and heartily willing, humbly to confess my fault to him, and on my knees to ask forgiveness of him though at the same time he should justify himself in all the injuries he has done me, and should only make use of my humble confession to blacken my character the more, and represent me as the only person guilty, etc. yea, though he should as it were insult me, and say, “he knew all this before, and that I was making work for repentance,” etc. Though what I said concerning Mr. Whittelsey was only spoken in private, to a friend or two; and being partly overheard, was related to the rector, and by him extorted from my friends; yet, seeing it was divulged and made public, I was willing to confess my fault therein publicly. — But I trust God will plead my cause.”
The next day he went to Derby; then to Southbury, where he spent the sabbath: and speaks of some spiritual comfort: but complains much of unfixedness, and wanderings of mind in religion. “Monday, September 19. In the afternoon rode to Bethlehem, and there preached. Had some measure of assistance, both in prayer and preaching. I felt serious, kind and tender towards all mankind, and longed that holiness might flourish more on earth. “Tuesday, September 20. Had thoughts of going forward on my journey to my Indians; but towards night was taken with a hard pain in my teeth, and shivering cold; and could not possibly recover a comfortable degree of warmth the whole night following. I continued very full of pain all night and in the morning had a very hard fever, and pains almost over my whole body. I had a sense of the divine goodness in appointing this to be the place of my sickness, viz. among my friends, who were very kind to me. I should probably have perished, if I had first got home to my own house in the wilderness where I have none to converse with but the poor, rude ignorant Indians. Here I saw was mercy in the midst of affliction. I continued thus, mostly confined to my bed, till Friday night, very full of pain most of the time, but through divine goodness not afraid of death.
Then the extreme folly of those appeared to me, who put off their turning to God till a sick-bed. Surely this is not a time proper to prepare for eternity. — On Friday evening my pains went off somewhat suddenly, I was exceeding weak and almost fainted; but was very comfortable the night following. These words, Psalm cxviii. 17. “I shall not die, but live;” etc. I frequently revolved in my mind; and thought we were to prize the continuation of life only on this account, that we may “show forth God’s goodness and works of grace.”
From this time he gradually recovered, and on the next Tuesday was so well as to be able to go forward on his journey homewards; but it was not till the Tuesday following that he reached Kaunaumeek. And seems great part of this time, to have had a very deep and lively sense of the vanity and emptiness of all things here below, and of the reality, nearness, and vast importance of eternal things. “Tuesday, October 4. This day rode home to my own house and people.
The poor Indians appeared very glad of my return. Found my house and all things in safety. I presently fell on my knees, and blessed God for my safe return, after a long and tedious journey, and a season of sickness in several places where I had been, and after I had been ill myself. God has renewed his kindness to me, in preserving me one journey more. I have taken many considerable journeys since this time last year, and yet God has never suffered one of my bones to be broken or any distressing calamity to befall me, excepting the ill turn I had in my last journey. I have been often exposed to cold and hunger in the wilderness, where the comforts of life were not to be had; have frequently been lost in the woods; and sometimes obliged to ride much of the night, and once lay out in the woods all night, yet, blessed be God, he has preserved me!”
In his diary for the next eleven days, are great complaints of distance from God, spiritual pride, corruption, and exceeding vileness. He once says, his heart was so pressed with a sense of his pollution, that he could scarcely have the face and impudence (as it then appeared to him) to desire that God should not damn him for ever. And at another time, he says, he had so little sense of God, or apprehension and relish of his glory and excellency, that it made him more disposed to kindness and tenderness towards those who are blind and ignorant of God and things divine and heavenly. “Lord’s day, October 16. In the evening, God was pleased to give me a feeling sense of my own unworthiness; but through divine goodness such as tended to draw me to, rather than drive me from, God: it filled me with solemnity. I retired alone, (having at this time a friend with me,) and poured out my soul to God with much freedom, and yet in anguish, to find myself so unspeakably sinful and unworthy before a holy God. Was now much resigned under God’s dispensations towards me, though my trials had been very great. But thought whether I could be resigned, if God should let the French Indians come upon me, and deprive me of life, or carry me away captive, (though I knew of no special reason then to propose this trial to myself, more than any other,) and my soul seemed so far to rest and acquiesce in God, that the sting and terror of these things seemed in a great measure gone. Presently after I came to the Indians whom I was teaching to sing psalm-tunes that evening, I received the following letter from Stockbridge, by a messenger sent on the sabbath on purpose, which made it appear of greater importance. “Sir, Just now we received advices from Colossians Stoddard, that there is the utmost danger of a rupture with France. He has received the same from his excellency our governor, ordering him to give notice to all the exposed places, that they may secure themselves the best they can against any sudden invasion. We thought best to send directly to Kaunaumeek, that you may take the prudentest measures for your safety that dwell there. I am, Sir, etc.’ “I thought, upon reading the contents, it came in a good season; for my heart seemed fixed on God, and therefore I was not much surprised. This news only made me more serious, and taught me that I must not please myself with any of the comforts of life which I had been preparing.
Blessed be God, who gave me any intenseness and fervency this evening! “Monday, October 17. Had some rising hopes, that “God would arise and have mercy on Zion speedily.” My heart is indeed refreshed, when I have any prevailing hopes of Zion’s prosperity O that I may see the glorious day, when Zion shall become the joy of the whole earth! Truly these is nothing that I greatly value in this lower world.”
On Tuesday he rode to Stockbridge; complains of being much divested, and having but little life.
On Wednesday he expresses some solemn sense of divine things, and longing to be always doing for God with a godly frame of spirit. “Thursday, October 20. Had but little sense of divine things this day.
Those are tedious days wherein I have no spirituality. “Friday, October 21. Returned home to Kaunaumeek: was glad to get alone in my little cottage, and to cry to that God who seeth in secret, and is present in a wilderness. “Saturday, October 22. Had but little sensible communion with God. This world is a dark, cloudy mansion. Oh, when will the Sun of righteousness shine on my soul without intermission! “Lord’s day, October 23. In the morning I had a little dawn of comfort arising from hopes of seeing glorious days in the church of God: was enabled to pray for such a glorious day with some courage and strength of hope. In the forenoon treated on the glories of heaven, etc. — In the afternoon, on the miseries of hell, and the danger of going there. Had some freedom and warmth, both parts of the day. And my people were very attentive. In the evening two or three came to me under concern for their souls; to whom I was enabled to discourse closely, and with some earnestness and desire. O that God would be merciful to their poor souls!
He seems, through the whole of this week, to have been greatly engaged to fill up every inch of time in the service of God, and to have been most diligently employed in study, prayer, and instructing the Indians, and from time to time expresses longings of soul after God, and the advancement of his kingdom, and spiritual comfort and refreshment. “Lord’s day, October 30. In the morning I enjoyed some fixedness of soul in prayer, which was indeed sweet and desirable, was enabled to leave myself with God, and to acquiesce in him. At noon my soul was refreshed with reading Revelation 3:more especially the 11th and 12th verses.
Oh, my soul longed for that blessed day, when I should “dwell in the temple of God,” and “go no more out” of his immediate presence! “Monday, October 31. Rode to Kinderhook, about fifteen miles from my place. While riding I felt some divine sweetness in the thoughts of being “a pillar in the temple of God” in the upper world, and being no more deprived of his blessed presence, and the sense of his favour, which is better than life. My soul was so lifted up to God that I could pour out my desires to him, for more grace and further degrees of sanctification, with abundant freedom. Oh, I longed to be more abundantly prepared for that blessedness, with which I was then in some measure refreshed! — Returned home in the evening, but took an extremely bad cold by riding in the night. “Tuesday, November 1. Was very much disordered in body, and sometimes full of pain in my face and teeth; was not able to study much, and had not much spiritual comfort. Alas! when God is withdrawn, all is gone. — Had some sweet thoughts, which I could not but write down, on the design, nature, and end of Christianity. “Wednesday, November 2. Was still more indisposed in body, and in much pain most of the day. I had not much comfort; was scarcely able to study at all, and still entirely alone in the wilderness. But blessed be the Lord, I am not exposed in the open air; I have a house, and many of the comforts of life to support me. I have learned in a measure, that all good things relating, both to time and eternity come from God. — In the evening I had some degree of quickening in prayer: I think God gave me some sense of his presence. “Thursday, November 3. Spent this day in secret fasting and prayer, from morning till night. Early in the morning I had some small degree of assistance in prayer. Afterwards read the story of Elijah the prophet,1 Kings, 17:18 and 19 chapters, and also 2 Kings, 2:and 4 chapters. My soul was much moved, observing the faith, zeal, and power of that holy man, how he wrestled with God in prayer, etc. My soul then cried with Elisha, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah!” Oh, I longed for more faith! My soul breathed after God, and pleaded with him, that a “double portion of that spirit,” which was given to Elijah, might “rest on me.” And that which was divinely refreshing and strengthening to my soul was, I saw that God is the same that he was in the days of Elijah. — Was enabled to wrestle with God by prayer, in a more affectionate, fervent, humble, intense, and importunate manner, than I have for many months past. Nothing seemed too hard for God to perform, nothing too great for me to hope for from him. — I had for many months entirely lost all hopes of being made instrumental of doing any special service for God in the world; it has appeared entirely impossible, that one so black and vile should be thus employed for God. But at this time God was pleased to revive this hope.- Afterwards read the 3rd chapter of Exodus and on to the 20th, and saw more of the glory and majesty of God discovered in those chapters, than ever I had seen before; frequently in the mean time falling on my knees, and crying to God for the faith of Moses, and for a manifestation of the divine glory. Especially the 3rd and 4th, and part of the 14th and 15th chapters, were unspeakably sweet to my soul: my soul blessed God, that he had shown himself so gracious to his servants of old. The 15th chapter seemed to be the very language which my soul uttered to God in the season of my first spiritual comfort, when I had just got through the Red sea, by a way that I had no expectation of. O how my soul then rejoiced in God! And now those things came fresh and lively to my mind, now my soul blessed God afresh, that he had opened that unthought-of way to deliver me from the fear of the Egryptians, when I almost despaired of life. — Afterwards read the story of Abrabam’s pilgrimage in the land of Canaan: my soul was melted, in observing his faith, how he leaned on God; how he communed with God, and what a stranger he was here in the world. After that, read the story of Joseph’s sufferings, and God’s goodness to him: blessed God for these examples of faith and patience.
My soul was ardent in prayer, was enabled to wrestle ardently for myself, for christian friends, and for the church of God. And felt more desire to see the power of God in the converse of souls, than I have done for a long season. Blessed be God for this season of fasting and prayer! May his goodness always abide with me, and draw my soul to him! “Thursday, November 4. Rode to Kinderhook: went quite to Hudson’s river, about twenty miles from my house; performed some business, and resumed home in the evening to my own house. I had rather ride hard and fatigue myself, to get home, than to spend the evening and night amongst those who have no regard for God.”
The two next days he was very ill, and full of pain, probably through his riding in the night after a fatiguing day’s journey on Thursday; but yet seems to have been diligent in business. “Monday, November 7. This morning the Lord afforded me some special assistance in prayer, my mind was solemn, fixed, affectionate, and ardent in desires after holiness, felt full of tenderness and love; and my affections seemed to be dissolved into kindness. In the evening I enjoyed the same comfortable assistance in prayer as in the morning: my soul longed after God and cried to him with a filial freedom, reverence, and boldness. O that I might be entirely consecrated and devoted to God.”
The two next days he complains of bodily illness and pain; but much more of spiritual barrenness and unprofitableness. “Thursday, November 10. Spent this day in fasting and prayer alone. In the morning was very dull and lifeless, melancholy and discouraged. But after some time, while reading 2 Kings 19 my soul was moved and affected; especially reading verse 14, and onward. I saw there was no other way for the afflicted children of God to take, but to go to God with all their sorrows. Hezekiah, in his great distress, went and spread his complaint before the Lord. I was then enabled to see the mighty power of God, and my extreme need of that power, was enabled to cry to him affectionately and ardently for his power and grace to be exercised towards me. — Afterwards read the story of David’s trials, and observed the course he took under them, how he strengthened his hands in God; whereby my soul was carried out after God, enabled to cry to him and rely upon him, and felt strong in the Lord. Was afterwards refreshed, observing the blessed temper that was wrought in David by his trials: all bitterness and desire of revenge seemed wholly taken away; so that he mourned for the death of his enemies, 2 Samuel 1:17. and 4:9, ad fin. — Was enabled to bless God, that he had given me something of this divine temper, that my soul freely forgives and heartily loves my enemies.”
It appears by his diary for the remaining part of this week, and for the two following weeks, that great part of the time he was very ill, and full of pain; and yet obliged, through his circumstances, in this ill state of body, to be at great fatigues, in labour, and travelling day and night, and to expose himself in stormy and severe seasons. He from time to time, within this space, speaks of outgoings of soul after God, his heart strengthened in God; seasons of divine sweetness and comfort, his heart affected with gratitude for mercies, etc. And yet there are many complaints of lifelessness, weakness of grace distance from God, and great unprofitableness. But still; there appear a constant care from day to day, not to lose time, but to improve it all for God. “Lord’s day, November 27. In the evening I was greatly affected in reading an account of the very joyful death of a pious gentleman, which seemed to invigorate my soul in God’s ways. I felt courageously engaged to pursue a life of holiness and self-denial as long as I live; and poured out my soul to God for his help and assistance in order thereto. Eternity then seemed near, and my soul rejoiced, and longed to meet it. I trust that will be a blessed day that finishes my toil here. “Monday, November 28. In the evening I was obliged to spend time in company and conversation that was unprofitable. — Nothing lies heavier upon me, than the misimprovement of time. “Tuesday, November 29. Began to study the Indian tongue with Mr.
Sergeant at Stockbridge. — Was perplexed for want of more retirement. — I love to live alone in my own little cottage, where I can spend much time in prayer, etc. “Wednesday, November 30. Pursued my study of Indian: but was very weak and disordered in body, and was troubled in mind at the barrenness of the day, that I had done so little for God. I had some enlargement in prayer at night. Oh, a barn, or stable, hedge, or any other place, is truly desirable, if God is there! Sometimes, of late, my hopes of Zion’s prosperity are more raised than they were in the summer. My soul seems to confide in God, that he will yet “show; forth his salvation” to his people, and make Zion “the joy of the whole earth. O how excellent is the loving-kindness of the Lord!” My soul sometimes inwardly exults at the lively thoughts of what God has already done for his church, and what “mine eyes have seen of the salvation of God.” It is sweet, to hear nothing but spiritual discourse from God’s children; and sinners “inquiring the way to Zion,” saying, What shall we do?, etc. O that I may see more of this blessed work! “Thursday, December 1. Both morning and evening I enjoyed some intenseness of soul in prayer, and longed for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom in the world. My soul seems, of late, to wait on God for his blessing on Zion. O that religion might powerfully revive! “Friday, December 2. Enjoyed not so much health of body, or fervour of mind, as yesterday. If the chariot-wheels move with ease and speed at any time, for a short space, yet by and by they drive heavily again. “O that I had the wings of a dove, that I might fly away” from sin and corruption, and be at rest in God! “Saturday, December 3. Rode home to my house and people. Suffered much with the extreme cold. — I trust I shall ere long arrive safe at my journey’s end, where my toils shall cease. “Lord’s day, December 4. Had but little sense of divine and heavenly things. My soul mourns over my barrenness. Oh how sad is spiritual deadness! “Monday, December 5. Rode to Stockbridge. Was almost outdone with the extreme cold. Had some refreshing meditations by the way but was barren, wandering, and lifeless, much of the day. Thus my days roll away, with but little done for God, and this is my burden. “Tuesday, December 6. Was perplexed to see the vanity and levity of professed Christians. Spent the evening with a christian friend, who was able in some measure to sympathize with me in my spiritual conflicts.
Was a little refreshed to find one with whom I could converse of inward trials, etc. “Wednesday, December 7. Spent the evening in perplexity, with a kind of guilty indolence. When I have no heart or resolution for God, and the duties incumbent on me, I feel guilty of negligence and misimprovement of time. Certainly I ought to be engaged in my work and business, to the utmost extent of my strength and ability. “Thursday, December 8. My mind was much distracted with different affections. I seemed to be at an amazing distance from God; and looking round in the world, to see if there was not some happiness to be derived from it. God, and certain objects in the world, seemed each to invite my heart and affections; end my soul seemed to be distracted between them. I have not been so much beset with the world for a long time; and that with relation to some particular object, which I thought myself most dead to.
But even while I was desiring to please myself with any thing below, guilt, sorrow, and perplexity attended the first motions of desire. Indeed I cannot see the appearance of pleasure and happiness in the world, as I used to do: and blessed be God for any habitual deadness to the world. — I found no peace, or deliverance from this distraction and perplexity of mind, till I found access to the throne of grace: and as soon as I had any sense of God, and things divine, the allurement of the world vanished, and my heart was determined for God. But my soul mourned over my folly, that I should desire any pleasure, but only in God. God forgive my Spiritual idolatry!”
The next thirteen days he appears to have been continually in deep concern about improvement of precious time; and there are many expressions of grief, that he improved time no better; such as, “Oh, what misery do I feel, when my thoughts rove after vanity! I should be happy if always engaged for God! O wretched man that I am!” etc. Speaks of his being pained with a sense of his barrenness, perplexed with his wanderings, longing for deliverance from the being of sin, mourning that time passed away, and so little was done for God, etc. On Tuesday, December 20, he speaks of his being visited at Kaunaumeek by some under spiritual concern. “Thursday, December 22. Spent this day alone in fasting and prayer, and reading in God’s word the exercises and deliverances of his children. Had, I trust, some exercise of faith, and realizing apprehension of divine power, grace, and holiness; and also of the unchangeableness of God that he is the same as when he delivered his saints of old out of great tribulation. My soul was sundry times in prayer enlarged for God’s church and people. O that Zion might become the ‘joy of the whole earth!’ It is better to wait upon God with patience, than to put confidence in any thing in this lower world. “My soul, wait thou on the Lord;” for “from him comes thy salvation.” “Friday, December 23. Felt a little more courage and resolution in religion, than at some other times. “Saturday, December 24. Had some assistance and longing desires after sanctification in prayer this day, especially in the evening: was sensible of my own weakness and spiritual impotency; saw plainly I should fall into sin, if God of his abundant mercy did not “uphold my soul and withhold me from evil:” O that God would “uphold me by his free Spirit, and save me from the hour of temptation.” “Lord’s day, December 25. Prayed much, in the morning, with a feeling sense of my own spiritual weakness and insufficiency for any duty. God gave me some assistance in preaching to the Indians; and especially in the afternoon, when I was enabled to speak with uncommon plainness, freedom, and earnestness. Blessed be God for any assistance granted to one so unworthy. Afterwards felt some thankfulness; but still sensible of barrenness. — Spent some time in the evening with one or two persons under spiritual concern, and exhorting others to their duty, etc. “Monday, December 26. Rode down to Stockbridge. Was very much fatigued with my journey, wherein I underwent great hardships: was much exposed and very wet by falling into a riverse Spent the day and evening without much sense of divine and heavenly things; but felt guilty, grieved, and perplexed with wandering careless thoughts. “Tuesday, December 27. Had a small degree of warmth in secret prayer, in the evening, but, alas! had but little spiritual life, and consequently but little comfort. Oh, the pressure of a body of death! “Wednesday, December 28. Rode about six miles to the ordination of Mr.
Hopkins. At the solemnity I was somewhat affected with a sense of the greatness and importance of the work of a minister of Christ. Afterwards was grieved to see the vanity of the multitude. In the evening spent a little time with some christian friends with some degree of satisfaction; but most of the time; had rather have been alone. “Thursday, December 29. Spent the day mainly in conversing with friends; yet enjoyed little satisfaction, because I could find but few disposed to converse of divine and heavenly things. Alas, what are the things of this world, to afford satisfaction to the soul! -Near night returned to Stockbridge, in secret, I blessed God for retirement, and that I am not always exposed to the company and conversation of the world. O that I could live ‘in the secret of God’s presence!’ “Friday, December 30. Was in a solemn devout frame in the evening.
Wondered that earth, with all its charms should ever allure me in the least degree. O that I could always realize the being and holiness of God! “Saturday, December 31. Rode from Stockbridge home to my house the air was clear and calm, but as cold as ever I felt it, or near. I was in great danger of perishing by the extremity of the season. — Was enabled to meditate much on the road. “Lord’s day, January 1, 1744. In the morning had some small degree of assistance in prayer. Saw myself so vile and unworthy, that I could not look my people in the face, when I came to preach. Oh, my meanness, folly, ignorance, and inward pollution! — In the evening had a little assistance in prayer, so that the duty was delightful, rather than burdensome. Reflected on the goodness of God to me in the past year, etc.
Of a truth God has been kind and gracious to me, though he has caused me to pass through many sorrows; he has provided for me bountifully, so that I have been enabled, in about fifteen months past, to bestow to charitable uses about a hundred pounds New England money, that I can now remember. Blessed be the Lord, that has so far used me as his steward, to distribute a portion of his goods. May I always remember, that all I have comes from God. Blessed be the Lord that has carried me through all the toils, fatigues, and hardships of the year past, as well as the spiritual sorrows and conflicts that have attended it. O that I could begin this year with God, and spend the whole of it to his glory, either in life or death! “Monday, January 2. Had some affecting sense of my own impotency and spiritual weakness. — It is nothing but the power of God that keeps me from all manner of wickedness. I see I am nothing, and can do nothing without help from above. Oh, for divine grace! In the evening had some ardour of soul in prayer, and longing desires to have God for my guide and safeguard at all times. “Tuesday, January 3. Was employed much of the day in writing; and spent some time in other necessary employment. But my time passes away so swiftly, that I am astonished when I reflect on it, and see how little I do. My state of solitude does not make the hours hang heavy upon my hands. O what reason of thankfulness have I on account of this retirement! I find that I do not, and it seems I cannot, lead a christian life when I am abroad, and cannot spend time in devotion, christian conversation, and serious meditation, as I should do. Those weeks that I am obliged now to be from home, in order to learn the Indian tongue, are mostly spent in perplexity and barrenness, without much sweet relish of divine things, and I feel myself a stranger at the throne of grace, for want of more frequent and continued retirement. When I return home, and give myself to meditation, prayer, and fasting, a new scene opens to my mind, and my soul longs for mortification, self-denial, humility, and divorcement from all the things of the world. This evening my heart was somewhat warm and fervent in prayer and meditation, so that I was loth to indulge sleep. Continued in those duties till about midnight. “Wednesday, January 4. Was in a resigned and mortified temper of mind, much of the day. Time appeared a moment, life a vapour, and all its enjoyments as empty bubbles, and fleeting blasts of wind. “Thursday, January 5. Had an humbling and pressing sense of my unworthiness. My sense of the hadness of my own heart filled my soul with bitterness and anguish; which was ready to sink, as under the weight of a heavy burden. Thus I spent the evening, till late. — Was somewhat intense and ardent in prayer. “Friday, January 6. Feeling and considering my extreme weakness, and want of grace, the pollution of my soul, and danger of temptations on every side, I set apart this day for fasting and prayer, neither eating nor drinking from evening to evening, beseeching God to have mercy on me.
My soul intensely longed, that the dreadful spots and stains of sin might be washed away from it. Saw something of the power and all-sufficiency of God. My soul seemed to rest on his power and grace; longed for resignation to his will, and mortification to all things here below. My mind was greatly fixed on divine things: my resolutions for a life of mortification, continual watchfulness, self denial, seriousness, and devotion, were strong and fixed; my desires ardent and intense; my conscience tender, and afraid of every appearance of evil. My soul grieved with reflection on past levity, and want of resolution for God. I solemnly renewed my dedication of myself to God, and longed for grace to enable me always to keep covenant with him. Time appeared very short, eternity near, and, great name, either in or after life, together with all earthly pleasures and profits, but an empty bubble, a deluding dream. “Saturday, January 7. Spent this day in seriousness, with steadfast resolutions for God and a life of mortification. Studied closely, till I felt my bodily strength fail. Felt some degree of resignation to God, with an acquiescence in his dispensations. Was grieved that I could do so little for God before my bodily strength failed. — In the evening, though tired, was enabled to continue instant in prayer for some time. Spent the time in reading, meditation and prayer, till the evening was far spent: was grieved to think that I could not watch unto prayer the whole night. — But blessed be God, heaven is a place of continual and incessant devotion, though the earth is dull.”
The six days following he continued in the same happy frame of mind; enjoyed the same composure, calmness, resignation, ardent desire, and sweet fervency of spirit, in a high degree, every day, not one excepted.
Thursday, this week, he kept as a day of secret fasting and prayer. “Saturday, January 14. This morning enjoyed a most solemn season in prayer: my soul seemed enlarged, and assisted to pour out itself to God for grace, and for every blessing I wanted, for myself, my dear christian friends, and for the church of God, and was so enabled to see him who is invisible, that my soul rested upon him for the performance of every thing I asked agreeable to his will. It was then my happiness, to ‘continue instant in prayer,’ and was enabled to continue in it for nearly an hour.
My soul was then strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Longed exceedingly for angelic holiness and purity, and to have all my thoughts, at all times, employed in divine and heavenly things. O how blessed is a heavenly temper! O how unspeakably blessed it is, to feel a measure of that rectitude, in which we were at first created! — Felt the same divine assistance in prayer sundry times in the day. My soul confided in God for myself, and for his Zion; trusted in divine power and grace, that he would do glorious things in his church on earth, for his own glory.
The next day he speaks of some glimpses he had of the divine glories, and of his being enabled to maintain his resolutions in some measure; but complains, that he could not draw near to God. He seems to be filled with trembling fears lest he should return to a life of vanity, to please himself with some of the enjoyments of this lower world; and speaks of his being much troubled, and feeling guilty, that he should address immortal souls with no more ardency and desire of their salvation. — On Monday he rode down to Stockbridge, when he was distressed with the extreme cold, but notwithstanding, his mind was in a devout and solemn frame in his journey. The four next days he was very ill, probably from the cold in his journey: yet he spent the time in a solemn manner. On Friday he visited Mr. Hopkins; and on Saturday rode eighteen miles to Solsbury, where he kept the sabbath, and enjoyed considerable degrees of God’s gracious presence, assistance in duty, and divine comfort and refreshment, longing to give himself wholly to God, to be his for ever. “Monday, January 23. I think I never felt more resigned to God, nor so much dead to the world, in every respect, as now, was dead to all desire of reputation and greatness either in life, or after death, all I longed for, was to be holy, humble, crucified to the world etc. “Tuesday, January 24. Near noon, rode over to Canaan. In the evening I was unexpectedly visited by a considerable number of people, with whom I was enabled to converse profitably of divine things: took pains to describe the difference between a regular and irregularSELF-LOVE; the one consisting with a supreme love to God, but the other not; the former uniting God’s glory and the soul’s happiness, that they become one common interest, but the latter disjoining and separating God’s glory and man’s happiness, seeking the latter with a neglect of the former. Illustrated this by that genuine love that is founded between the sexes; which is diverse from that which is wrought up towards a person only by rational argument, or hope of self-interest. Love is a pleasing passion, it afforts pleasure to the mind where it is; but yet, genuine love is not, nor can be placed, upon any object with that design of pleasure itself.
On Wednesday he rode to Sheffield; the next day, to Stockbridge; and on Saturday, home to Kaunaumeek, though the season was cold and stormy: which journey was followed with illness and pain. It appears by this diary, that he spent the time, while riding, in profitable meditations, and in lifting up his heart to God, and he speaks of assistance, comfort, and refreshment, but still complains of barrenness, etc. His diary for the five next days is full of the most heavy, bitter complaints, and he expresses himself as full of shame and self-loathing for his lifeless temper of mind and sluggishness of spirit, and as being in perplexity and extremity, and appearing to himself unspeakably vile and guilty before God, on account of some inward workings of corruption he found in his heart, etc. “Thursday, February 2. Spent this day in fasting and prayer, seeking the presence and assistance of God, that he would enable me to overcome all my corruptions and spiritual enemies. “Friday, February 3. Enjoyed more freedom and comfort than of late; was engaged in meditation upon the different whispers of the various powers and affections of a pious mind, exercised with a great variety of dispensations: and could but write, as well as meditate, on so entertaining a subject. I hope the Lord gave me some true sense of divine things this day: but alas, how great and pressing are the remains of indwelling corruption! I am now more sensible than ever, that God alone is “the author and finisher of our faith,” i.e. that the whole and every part of sanctification, and every good word, work, or thought, found in me, is the effect of his power and grace, that “without him I can do nothing,” in the strictest sense, and that “he works in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure,” end from no other motive. Oh, how amazing it is that people can talk so much about men’s power and goodness; when, if God did not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate! This my bitter experience, for several days last past, has abundantly taught me concerning myself. “Saturday, February 4. Enjoyed some degree of freedom and spiritual refreshment; was enabled to pray with some fervency; and longing desires of Zion’s prosperity, and my faith and hope seemed to take hold of God, for the performance of what I was enabled to plead for. Sanctification in myself, and the ingathering of God’s elect was all my desire; and the hope of its accomplishment, all my joy. “Lord’s day, February 5. Was enabled in some measure to rest and confide in God, and to prize his presence and some glimpses of the light of his countenance, above my necessary food. Thought myself, after the season of weakness, temptation, and desertion I endured the last week, to be somewhat like Samson, when his locks began to grow again. Was enabled to preach to my people with more life and warmth than I have for some weeks past. “Monday, February 6. This morning my soul again was strengthened in God, and found some sweet repose in him in prayer; longing especially for the complete mortification of sensuality and pride, and for resignation to God’s dispensations, at all times, as through grace I felt it at this time. I did not desire deliverance from any difficulty that attends my circumstances, unless God was willing. O how comfortable is this temper! — Spent most of the day in reading God’s word, in writing, and prayer.
Enjoyed repeated and frequent comfort and intenseness of soul in prayer through the day. In the evening spent some hours in private conversation with my people; and afterwards felt some warmth in secret prayer. “Tuesday, February 7. Was much engaged in some sweet meditations on the powers and affections of the godly soul in their pursuit of their beloved object: wrote something of the native language of spiritual sensation, in its soft and tender whispers, declaring that it now feels and tastes that the Lord is gracious, that he is the supreme good, the only soulsatisfying happiness: that he is a complete, sufficient, and almighty portion: saying “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides this blessed portion. O, I feel it is heaven to please him, and to be just what he would have me to be! O that my soul were holy, as he is holy! O that it were pure, even as Christ is pure: and perfect, as my Father in heaven is perfect! These, I feel, are the sweetest commands in God’s book, comprising all others. And shall I break them I must I break them! am I under a necessity of it as long as I live in the world! O my soul, woe, woe is me that I am a sinner, because I now necessarily grieve and offend this blessed God, who is infinite in goodness and grace! Oh, methinks, if he would punish me for my sins, it would not wound my heart so deep to offend him: but though I sin continually, yet he continually repeats his kindness to me! Oh, methinks I could bear any sufferings, but how can I bear to grieve and dishonour this blessed God!
How shall I yield ten thousand times more honour to him? What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings? O that I could consecrate myself, soul and body, to his service for ever! O that I could give up myself to him, so as never more to attempt to be my own, or to have any will or affections that are not perfectly conformed to him! But, alas, alas! I find I cannot be thus entirely devoted to God, I cannot live, and not sin. O ye angels, do ye glorify him incessantly; and if possible, prostrate yourselves lower before the blessed King of heaven? I long to bear a part with you; and, if it were possible, to help you. Oh, when we have done all that we can, to all eternity, we shall not be able to offer the ten thousandth part of the homage that the glorious God deserves!” “Felt something spiritual, devout, resigned, and mortified to the world, much of the day; and especially towards and in the evening. Blessed be God, that he enables me to love him for himself. “Wednesday, February 8. Was in a comfortable frame of soul most of the day; though sensible of, and restless under, spiritual barrenness. I find that both mind and body are quickly tired with intenseness and fervour in the things of God. O that I could be as incessant as angels in devotion and spiritual fervour! “Thursday, February 9. Observed this day as a day of fasting and prayer, entreating of God to bestow upon me his blessing and grace; especially to enable me to live a life of mortification to the world, as well as of resignation and patience. Enjoyed some realizing sense of divine power and goodness in prayer, several times; and was enabled to roll the burden of myself, and friends, and Zion, upon the goodness and grace of God: but, in the general, was more dry and barren than I have usually been of late upon such occasions. “Friday, February 10. Was exceedingly oppressed, most of the day, with shame, grief, and fear, under a sense of my past folly, as well as present barrenness and coldness. When God sets before me my past misconduct, especially any instances of misguided zeal, it sinks my soul into shame and confusion, makes me afraid of a shaking leaf: My fear is such as the prophet Jeremy complains of, Jeremiah 20:10. — I have no confidence to hold up my face, even before my fellow-worms, but only when my soul confides in God, and I find the sweet temper of Christ, the spirit of humility, solemnity and mortification, and resignation alive in my soul. — But, in the evening, was unexpectedly refreshed in pouring out my complaint to God; my shame and fear was fumed into a sweet composure and acquiescence in God. “Saturday, February 11. Felt much as yesterday: enjoyed but little sensible communion with God. “Lord’s day, February 12. My soul seemed to confide in God, and to repose itself on him; and had outgoings of soul after God in prayer.
Enjoyed some divine assistance, in the forenoon, in preaching; but in the afternoon, was more perplexed with shame, etc. Afterwards, found some relief in prayer, loved, as a feeble, afflicted, despised creature, to cast myself on a God of infinite grace and goodness, hoping for no happiness but from him. “Monday, February 13. Was calm and sedate in morning devotions, and my soul seemed to rely on God. — Rode to Stockbridge, and enjoyed some comfortable meditations by the way, had a more refreshing taste and relish of heavenly blessedness than I have enjoyed for many months past.
I have many times, of late, felt as ardent desires of holiness as ever; But not so much sense of the sweetness and unspeakable pleasure of the enjoyments and employments of heaven. My soul longed to leave earth, and bear a part with angels in their celestial employments. My soul said, “Lord, it is good to be here;” and it appeared to be better to die than to lose the relish of these heavenly delights.”
A sense of divine things seemed to continue with him, in a lesser degree, through the next day. On Wednesday he was, by some discourse that he heard, cast into a melancholy gloom, that operated much in the same manner as his melancholy had formerly done, when he came first to Kaunaumeek; the effects of which seemed to continue in some degree the six following days. “Wednesday, February 22. In the morning had as clear a sense of the exceeding pollution of my nature, as ever I remember to have had in my life. I then appeared to myself inexpressibly loathsome and defiled; sins of childhood, of early youth and such follies as I had not thought of for years together, as I remember, came now fresh to, my view as if committed but yesterday, and appeared in the most odious colours, they appeared more in numbers than the hairs of my head, yea, they “went over my head as a heavy burden.” — In the evening, the hand of faith seemed to be strengthened in God, my soul seemed to rest and acquiesce in him, was supported under my burdens, reading the 125th Psalm, and found that it was sweet and comfortable to lean on God. “Thursday, February 23. Was frequent in prayer, and enjoyed some assistance. — There is a God in heaven who overules all things for the best; and this is the comfort of my soul: “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of God in the land of the living, notwithstanding present sorrows. — In the evening, enjoyed some freedom in prayer for myself, friends, and the church of God. “Friday, February 24. Was exceeding restless and perplexed under a sense of the misimprovement of time; mourned to see time pass away; felt in the greatest hurry; seemed to have every thing to do: yet could do nothing but only grieve and groan under my ignorance, unprofitableness, meanness, the foolishness of my actions and thoughts, the pride and bitterness of some past frames, all which at this time appeared to me in lively colours, and filled me with shame. I could not compose my mind to any profitable studies, by reason of this pressure. And the reason, I judge, why I am not allowed to study a great part of my time, is, because I am endeavouring to lay in such a stock of knowledge, as shall be a self-sufficiency. — I know it to be my indispensable duty to study, and qualify myself in the best manner I can for public service: but this is my misery, I naturally study and prepare, that I may “consume it upon my lusts of pride and sell confidence.”
He continued in much the same frame of uneasiness at the misimprovement of time, and pressure of spirit under a sense of vileness, unprofitableness, etc. for the six following days, excepting some intervals of calmness and composure, in resignation to and confidence in God. “Friday, March 2. Was most of the day employed in writing on a divine subject. Was frequent in prayer, and enjoyed some small degree of assistance. But in the evening, God was pleased to grant me a divine sweetness in prayer especially in the duty of intercession. I think I never felt so much kindness and love to those who, I have reason to think, are my enemies — though at that time I found such a disposition to think the best of all, that I scarce knew how to think that any such thing as enmity and hatred lodged in any soul, it seemed as if all the world must needs be friends -and never prayed with more freedom and delight, for myself, or dearest friend, than I did now for my enemies. “Saturday, March 3. In the morning spent (I believe) an hour in prayer, with great intenseness and freedom, and with the most soft and tender affection towards mankind. I longed that those who, I have reason to think, owe me ill will, might be eternally happy. It seemed refreshing to think of meeting them in heaven, how much soever they had injured me on earth: had no disposition to insist upon any confession from them, in order to reconciliation, and the exercise of love and kindness to them. O it is an emblem of heaven itself, to love all the world with a love of kindness, forgiveness, and benevolence, to feel our souls sedate, mild, and meek, to be void of all evil surmisings and suspicions, and scarce able to think evil of any man upon any occasion; to find our hearts simple, open, and free, to those that look upon us with a different eye! — Prayer was so sweet an exercise to me, that I knew not how to cease lest I should lose the spirit of prayer. Felt no disposition to eat or drink, for the sake of the pleasure of it, but only to support my nature and fit me for divine service. Could not be content without a very particular mention of a great number of dear friends at the throne of grace; as also the particular circumstances of many, so far as they were known. “Lord’s day, March 4. In the morning, enjoyed the same intenseness in prayer as yesterday morning, though not in so great a degree: felt the same spirit of love, universal benevolence, forgiveness, humility, resignation, mortification to the world, and composure of mind, as then. My soul rested in God; and I found I wanted no other refuge or friend. While my soul thus trusts in God, all things seem to be at peace with me, even the stones of the earth: but when I cannot apprehend and confide in God, all things appear with a different aspect.”
Through the four next days he complains of barrenness want of holy confidence in God, stupidity, wanderings of mind, etc. and speaks of oppression of mind under a sense of exceeding meanness, past follies, as well as present workings of corruption. — On Friday he seems to have been restored to a considerable degree of the same excellent frame that he enjoyed the Saturday before. “Saturday, March 10. In the morning felt exceeding dead to the world, and all its enjoyments: I thought I was ready and willing to give up life and all its comforts, as soon as called to it, and yet then had as much comfort of life as almost ever I had. Life itself now appeared but an empty bubble, the riches, honours, and common enjoyments of life appeared extremely tasteless. I longed to be perpetually and entirely crucified to all things here below, by the cross of Christ. My soul was sweetly resigned to God’s disposal of me, in every regard; and I saw there had nothing happened but what was best for me. I confided in God, that he would never leave me, though I should “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” It was then my meat and drink to be holy, to live to the Lord, and die to the Lord.
And l thought, that I then enjoyed such a heaven, as far exceeded the most sublime conceptions of an unregenerate soul; and even unspeakably beyond what I myself could conceive of at another time. I did not wonder that Peter said, “Lord, it is good to be here,” when thus refreshed with divine glories. My soul was full of love and tenderness in the duty of intercession; especially felt a most sweet affection to some precious godly ministers of my acquaintance. Prayed earnestly for dear Christians, and for those I have reason to fear are my enemies; and could not have spoken a word of bitterness, or entertained a bitter thought, against the vilest man living. Had a sense of my own great unworthiness. My soul seemed to breathe forth love and praise to God afresh, when I thought he would let his children love and receive me as one of their brethren and followcitizens.
When I thought of their treating me in that manner, I longed to lie at their feet, and could think of no way to express the sincerity and simplicity of my love and esteem of them, as bring much better than myself. — Towards night was very sorrowful; seemed to myself the worst creature living; and could not pray, nor meditate, nor think of holding up my face before the world. — Was a little relieved in prayer, in the evening; but longed to get on my knees, and ask forgiveness of every body that ever had seen any thing amiss in my past conduct, especially in my religious zeal. — Was afterwards much perplexed, so that I could not sleep quietly. “Lord’s day, March 11. My soul was in some measure strengthened in God, in morning devotion, so that I was released from trembling fear and distress. — Preached to my people from the parable of the sower, Matthew 13 and enjoyed some assistance, both parts of the day: had some freedom, affection, and fervency in addressing my poor people longed that God should take hold of their hearts, and make them spiritually alive. And indeed I had so much to say to them, that I knew not how to leave off speaking. “Monday, March 12. In the morning was in a devout, tender, and loving frame of mind, and was enabled to cry to God, I hope, with a child-like spirit, with importunity, and resignation, and composure of mind. My spirit was full of quietness, and love to mankind, and longed that peace should reign on the earth: was grieved at the very thoughts of a fiery, angry and intemperate zeal in religion: mourned over past follies in that regard, and my soul confided in God for strength and grace sufficient for my future work and trials. — Spent the day mainly in hard labour, making preparation for my intended journey. “Tuesday, March 13. Felt my soul going forth after God sometimes, but not with such ardency as I longed for. In the evening, was enabled to continue instant in prayer, for some considerable time together and especially had respect to the journey I designed to enter upon, with the leave of Divine Providence, on the morrow. Enjoyed some freedom and fervency, entreating that the divine presence might attend me in every place where my business might lead me; and had a particular reference to the trials and temptations that I apprehended I might be more eminently exposed to in particular places. Was strengthened and comforted; although I was before very weary. Truly the joy of the Lord is strength and life. “Wednesday, March 14. Enjoyed some intenseness of soul in prayer, repeating my petitions for God’s presence in every place where I expected to be in my journey. Be sought the Lord that I might not be too much pleased and amused with dear friends and acquaintance, in one place and another. — Near ten set out on my journey; and near night came to Stockbridge. “Thursday, March 15. Rode down to Sheffield. Here I met a messenger from East Hampton on Long-Island; who by the unanimous vote of that large town, was sent to invite me thither, in order to settle with that people, where I had been before frequently invited. Seemed more at a loss what was my duty than before; when I heard of the great difficulties of that place, I was much concerned and grieved, and felt some desires to comply with their request, but knew not what to do: endeavoured to commit the case to God.”
The two next days he went no further than Salisbury being much hindered by the rain. When he came there he was much indisposed. — He speaks of comfortable and profitable conversation with christian friends, on these days. “Lord’s day, March 18. (At Salisbury.) Was exceeding weak and faint, so that I could scarce walk: but God was pleased to afford me much freedom, clearness, and fervency in preaching: I have not had the like assistance in preaching to sinners for many months past. — Here another messenger met me, and informed me of the vote of another congregation, to give me an invitation to come among them upon probation for settlement. Was somewhat exercised in mind with a weight and burden of care. O that God would “send forth faithful labourers into his harvest!”
After this he went forward on his journey towards New York and New Jersey: in which he proceeded slowly; performing his journey under great degrees of bodily indisposition. However, he preached several times by the way, being urged by friends; in which he had considerable assistance.
He speaks of comfort in conversation with christian friends, from time to time, and of various things in the exercises and frames of his heart, that show, much of a divine influence on his mind in this journey: but yet complains of the thing that he feared, viz. a decline of his spiritual life, or vivacity in religion, by means of his constant removal from place to place, and want of retirement; and complains bitterly of his unworthiness, deadness, &c — He came to New York on Wednesday, March 28, and to Elizabeth-town on the Saturday following, where it seems he waited till the commissioners came together. “Thursday, April 5. Was again much exercised with weakness, and with pain in my head. Attended on the commissioners in their meeting.
Resolved to go on still with the Indian affair, if Divine Providence permitted; although I had before felt some inclination to go to East Hampton, where I was solicited to go.”
After this, he continued two or three days in the Jerseys, very ill: and then returned to New York; and from thence into New England; and went to his native town of Haddam, where he arrived on Saturday, April 14 — And he continues still his bitter complaints of want of retirement. While he was in New York, he says thus, “Oh, it is not the pleasures of the world can comfort me! If God deny his presence, what are the pleasures of the city to me? One hour of sweet retirement where God is, is better than the whole world.” And he continues to complain of his ignorance, meanness, and unworthiness. However, he speaks of some seasons of special assistance, and divine sweetness. — He spent some days among his friends at East Hampton and Millington. “Tuesday, April 17. Rode to Millington again; and felt perplexed when I set out; was feeble in body, and weak in faith. I was going to preach a lecture; and feared I should never have assistance enough to get through.
But contriving to ride alone, at a distance from the company that was going, I spent the time in lifting up my heart to God: had not gone far before my soul was abundantly strengthened with those words, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” I went on, confiding in God: and fearing nothing so much as self-confidence. In this frame I went to the house of God, and enjoyed some assistance. Afterwards felt the spirit of love and meekness in conversation with some friends. Then rode home to my brother’s and in the evening, singing hymns with friends my soul seemed to melt, and in prayer afterwards, enjoyed the exercise of faith, and was enabled to be fervent in spirit: found more of God’s presence, than I have done any time in my late wearisome journey. Eternity appeared very near, my nature was very weak, and seemed ready to be dissolved the sun declining, and the shadows of the evening drawing on apace. O I longed to fill up the remaining moments all for God! Though my body was so feeble, and wearied with preaching, and much private conversation, yet I wanted to sit up all night to do something for God. To God, the giver of these refreshments, be glory for ever and ever. Amen. “Wednesday, April 18. Was very weak, and enjoyed but little spiritual comfort. Was exercised with one who cavilled against original sin. May the Lord open his eyes to see the fountain of sin in himself!”
After this, he visited several ministers in Connecticut; and then travelled towards Kaunaumeek, and came to Mr. Sergeant’s at Stockbridge, Thursday, April 26. He performed this journey in a very weak state of body. The things he speaks of, appertaining to the frames and exercises of his mind, are at some times deadness and want of spiritual comfort; at other times, resting in God, spiritual sweetness in conversation, engagedness in meditation on the road, assistance in preaching, rejoicing to think that so much more of his work was done, and he so much nearer to the eternal world. And he once and again speaks of a sense of great ignorance, spiritual pollution, etc. “Friday and Saturday, April 27, and 28. Spent some time in visiting friends, and discoursing with my people, (who were now moved down from their own place to Mr. Sergeant’s,) and found them very glad to see me returned. Was exercised in my mind with a sense of my own unworthiness. “Lord’s day, April 29. Preached for Mr. Sergeant, both parts of the day, from Revelation 14:4. “These are they which were not defiled,’ etc.
Enjoyed some freedom in preaching, though not much spirituality. In the evening my heart was in some measure lifted up in thankfulness to God for any assistance. “Monday, April 30. Rode to Kaunaumeek, but was extremely ill; did not enjoy the comfort I hoped for in my own house. “Tuesday, May 1. Having received new orders to go to a number of Indians on Delaware river in Pennsylvania, and my people here being mostly removed to Mr. Sergeant’s; I this day took all my clothes, books, etc. and disposed of them, and set out for Delaware river: but made it my way to return to Mr. Sergeant’s; which I did this day, just at night. Rode several hours in the rain through the howling wilderness, although I was so disordered in body, that little or nothing but blood came from me.”
He continued at Stockbridge the next day, and on Thursday rode a little way, to Sheffield, under a great degree of illness, but with encouragement and cheerfulness of mind under his fatigues. On Friday he rode to Salisbury, and continued there till after the sabbath. He speaks of his soul’s being, some part of this time, refreshed in conversation with some christian friends, about their heavenly home and their journey thither. At other times, he speaks of himself as exceedingly perplexed with barrenness and deadness, and has this exclamation, “Oh, that time should pass with so little done for God!”-On Monday he rode to Sharon, and speaks of himself as distressed at the consideration of the misimprovement of time. “Tuesday, May 8. Set out from Sharon in Connecticut, and travelled about forty-five miles to a place called the Fish-kill, and lodged there. Spent much of my time, while riding, in prayer, that God would go with me to Delaware. My heart sometimes was ready to sink with the thoughts of my work, and going alone in the wilderness, I knew not where: but still it was comfortable to think, that others of God’s children had “wandered about in caves and dens of the earth,” and Abraham, when he was called to go forth, “went out, not knowing whither he went.” O that I might follow after God!”
The next day he went forward on his journey crossed Hudson’s river, and went to Goshen in the Highlands and so travelled across the woods from Hudson’s river to Delaware, about a hundred miles through a desolate and hideous country, above New Jersey, where were very few settlement, in which journey he suffered much fatigue and hardship. He visited some Indians in the way, and discoursed with them concerning Christianity.
Was considerably melancholy and disconsolate, being alone in a strange wilderness. On Saturday he came to a settlement of Irish and Dutch people, about twelve miles above the Forks of Delaware. “Lord’s day, May 13. Rose early; felt very poorly after my long journey, and after being wet and fatigued. Was very melancholy; have scarce even seen such a gloomy morning in my life; there appeared to be no sabbath, the children were all at play; I a stranger in the wilderness, and knew not where to go, and all circumstances seemed to conspire to render my affairs dark and discouraging. Was disappointed respecting an interpreter, and heard that the Indians were much scattered, etc. Oh, I mourned after the presence of God) and seemed like a creature banished from his sight! yet he was pleased to support my sinking soul, amidst all my sorrows; so that I never entertained any thought of quitting my business among the poor Indians, but was comforted to think that death would ere long set me free from these distresses. — Rode about three or four miles to the Irish people, where I found some that appeared sober and concerned about religion. My heart then began to be a little encouraged: went and preached first to the Irish and then to the Indians, and in the evening, was a little comforted, my soul seemed to rest on God, and take courage. O that the Lord would be my support and comforter in an evil world! “Monday, May 14 Was very busy in some necessary studies. Felt myself very loose from all the world; all appeared ‘vanity and vexation of spirit.’
Seemed lonesome and disconsolate, as if I were banished from all mankind, and bereaved of all that is called pleasurable in the world; but appeared to myself so vile and unworthy, it seemed fitter for me to be here than any where. “Tuesday, May 15. Still much engaged in my studies; and enjoyed more health than I have for some time past: but was something dejected in spirit with a sense of my meanness; seemed as if I could never do any thing at all to any good purpose by reason of ignorance and folly. O that a sense of these things might work more habitual humility in my soul!”
He continued much in the same frame the next day. “Thursday, May 17. Was this day greatly distressed with a sense of my vileness; appeared to myself too had to walk on God’s earth, or to be treated with kindness by any of his creatures. God was pleased to let me see my inward pollution and corruption, to such a degree, that I almost despaired of being made holy: ‘Oh! wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ In the afternoon met with the Indians; according to appointment and preached to them. And while riding to them, my soul seemed to confide in God and afterwards had some relief and enlargement of soul in prayer, and some assistance in the duty of intercession vital piety and holiness appeared sweet to me, and I longed for the perfection of it. “Friday, May 18. Felt again something of the sweet spirit of religion; and my soul seemed to confide in God, that he would never leave me. — But oftentimes saw myself so mean a creature, that I knew not how to think of preaching. O that I could always live to and upon God! “Saturday, May 19. Was, some part of the time, greatly oppressed with the weight and burden of my work, it seemed impossible for me ever to go through with the business I had undertaken. — Towards night was very calm and comfortable, and I think my soul trusted in God for help. “Lord’s day, May 20. Preached twice to the poor Indians, and enjoyed some freedom in speaking, while I attempted to remove their prejudices against Christianity. My soul longed for assistance from above, all the while; for I saw I had no strength sufficient for that work. Afterwards preached to the Irish people was much assisted in the first prayer, and something in sermon. Several persons seemed much concerned for their souls, with whom I discoursed afterwards with much freedom and some power. Blessed be God for any assistance afforded to an unworthy worm.
O that I could live to him!”
Through the remainder of this week he was sometimes ready to sink with a sense of his unworthiness and unfitness for the work of the ministry; and sometimes encouraged and lifted above his fears and sorrows, and was enabled confidently to rely on God; and especially on Saturday, towards night, he enjoyed calmness and composure, and assistance in prayer to God. He rejoiced “That God remains unchangeably powerful and faithful, a sure and sufficient portion, and the dwelling-place of his children in all generations “ “Lord’s day, May 27. Visited my Indians in the morning, and attended upon a funeral among them, was affected to see their heathenish practices.
O that they might be ‘turned from darkness to light!’ Afterwards got a considerable number of them together, and preached to them; and observed them very attentive. After this preached to the white people from Hebrews 2:3. “How shall we escape, if we neglect,” etc. Was enabled to speak with some freedom and power: several people seemed much concerned for their souls; especially one who had been educated a Roman catholic. Blessed be the Lord for any help. “Monday, May 28. Set out from the Indians above the Forks of Delaware, on a journey towards Newark in New Jersey, according to my orders.
On Tuesday he came to Newark. The next day, went to Elizabeth-town, on Thursday he went to New York and on Friday returned to Elizabethtown.
These days were spent in some perplexity of mind. He continued at Elizabeth-town till Friday in the week following. Was enlivened, refreshed, and strengthened on the sabbath at the Lord’s table. The ensuing days of the week were spent chiefly in studies preparatory to his ordination, and on some of them he seemed to have much of God’s gracious presence, and of the sweet influences of his Spirit, but was in a very weak state of body.
On Saturday he rode to Newark. “Lord’s day, June 10. (At Newark) In the morning was much concerned how I should perform the work of the day; and trembled at the thoughts of being left to myself: — Enjoyed very considerable assistance in all parts of the public service. Had an opportunity again to attend on the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, and through divine goodness was refreshed in it: my soul was full of love and tenderness towards the children of God, and towards all men felt a certain sweetness of disposition towards every creature. At night I enjoyed more spirituality and sweet desire of holiness, than I have felt for some time: was afraid of every thought and every motion lest thereby my heart should be drawn away from God. O that I might never leave the blessed God! ‘Lord, in thy presence is fulness of joy.’ O the blessedness of living to God! “Monday, June 11. This day the Presbytery met together at Newark, in order to my ordination. Was very weak and disordered in body, yet endeavoured to repose my confidence in God. Spent most of the day alone especially the forenoon. At three in the afternoon preached my probationsermon, from Acts 26:17,18. ‘Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles,’ etc. being a text given me for that end. Felt not well, either in body or mind; however God carried me through comfortably.
Afterwards passed an examination before the Presbytery. Was much tired, and my mind burdened with the greatness of that charge I was in the most solemn manner about to take upon me; my mind was so pressed with the weight of the work incumbent upon me, that I could not sleep this night, though very weary and in great need of rest. “Tuesday, June 12. Was this morning further examined respecting my experimental acquaintance with Christianity. At ten o’clock my ordination was attended, the sermon preached by the Reverend Mr. Pemberton. At this time I was affected with a sense of the important trust committed to me, yet was composed, and solemn, without distraction: and I hope that then, as many times before, I gave myself up to God, to be for him, and not for another. O that I might always be engaged in the service of God and duly remember the solemn charge I have received, in the presence of God, angels, and men. Amen. May I be assisted of God for this purpose. — Towards night rode to Elizabeth-town.”
PART FROM HIS ORDINATION, TILL HE FIRST BEGAN TO PREACH TO THE INDIANS AT CROSWEEKSUNG, AMONG WHOM HE HAD HIS MOST REMARKABLE SUCCESS. “Wednesday, June 13. (1744.) Spent some considerable time in writing an account of the Indian affairs to go to Scotland, some, in conversation with friends; but enjoyed not much sweetness and satisfaction. “Thursday, June 14. Received some particular kindness from friends, and wondered that God should open the hearts of any to treat me with kindness: saw myself to be unworthy of any favour from God, or any of my fellow-men. Was much exercised with pain in my head however, I determined to set out on my journey towards Delaware in the afternoon, but when the afternoon came, my pain increased exceedingly, so that I was obliged to betake myself to bed. The night following I was greatly distressed with pain and sickness; was sometimes almost bereaved of the exercise of reason by the extremity of pain. Continued much distressed till Saturday, when I was somewhat relieved by an emetic; but was unable to walk abroad till the Monday following, in the afternoon and still remained very feeble. I often admired the goodness of God, that he did not suffer me to proceed on my journey from this place where I was so tenderly used, and to be sick by the way among strangers. — God is very gracious to me, both in health and sickness, and intermingles much mercy with all my afflictions and toils. Enjoyed some sweetness in things divine, in the midst of my pain and weakness. O that I could praise the Lord!’
On Tuesday, June 19, he set out on his journey home and in three days reached his place, near the Forks of Delaware. Performed the journey under much weakness of body; but had comfort in his soul, from day to day: and both his weakness of body, and consolation of mind continued through the week. “Lord’s day, June 24. Extremely feeble; scarce able to walk: however, visited my Indians, and took much pains to instruct them; laboured with some that were much disaffected to Christianity. My mind was much burdened with the weight and difficulty of my work. My whole dependence and hope of success seemed to be on God; who alone I saw could make them willing to receive instruction. My heart was much engaged in prayer, sending up silent requests to God, even while I was speaking to them. O that I could always go in the strength of the “Monday, June 25. Was something better in health than of late; was able to spend a considerable part of the day in prayer and close studies. Had more freedom and fervency in prayer than usual of late; especially longed for the presence of God in my work, and that the poor heathen might be converted. And in evening prayer my faith and hope in God were much raised. To an eye of reason every thing that respects the converse of the heathen is as dark as midnight, and yet I cannot but hope in God for the accomplishment of something glorious among them. My soul longed much for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom on earth. Was very fearful lest I should admit some vain thought, and so lose the sense I then had of divine things. O for an abiding heavenly temper! “Tuesday, June 26. In the morning my desires seemed to rise, and ascend up freely to God. Was busy most of the day in translating prayers into the language of the Delaware Indians; met with great difficulty, by reason that my interpreter was altogether unacquainted with the business. But though I was much discouraged with the extreme difficulty of that work, yet God supported me; and especially in the evening gave me sweet refreshment. In prayer my soul was enlarged, and my faith drawn into sensible exercise, was enabled to cry to God for my poor Indians, and though the work of their converse appeared impossible with man, yet with God I saw all things were possible. My faith was much strengthened, by observing the wonderful assistance God afforded his servants Nehemiah and Ezra, in reforming his people, and reetablishing his ancient church. I was much assisted in prayer for dear christian friends, and for others that I apprehended to be Christless; but was more especially concerned for the poor heathen, and those of my own charge: was enabled to be instant in prayer for them; and hoped that God would bow the heavens and come down for their salvation. It seemed to me there could be no impediment sufficient to obstruct that glorious work, seeing the living God, as I strongly hoped, was engaged for it. I continued in a solemn frame, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace, that I might be more mortified to this present world, that my whole soul might be taken up continually in concern for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom: longed that God would purge me more, that I might be as a chosen vessel to bear his name among the heathens. Continued in this frame till I dropped asleep. “Wednesday, June 27. Felt something of the same solemn concern, and spirit of prayer, that I enjoyed last night, soon after I rose in the morning. — In the afternoon rode several miles to see if I could procure any lands for the poor Indians, that they might live together, and be under better advantages for instruction. While I was riding had a deep sense of the greatness and difficulty of my work; and my soul seemed to rely wholly upon God for success, in the diligent and faithful use of means. Saw, with greatest certainty that the arm of the Lord must be revealed, for the help of these poor heathen, if ever they were delivered from the bondage of the powers of darkness. Spent most of the time, while riding, in lifting up my heart for grace and assistance. “Thursday, June 28. Spent the morning in reading several parts of the Holy Scripture, and in fervent prayer for my Indians, that God would set up his kingdom among them, and bring them into his church. — About nine I withdrew to my usual place of retirement in the woods and there again enjoyed some assistance in prayer. My great concern was for the converse of the heathen to God, and the Lord helped me to plead with him for it. Towards noon rode up to the Indians, in order to preach to them, and while going, my heart went up to God in prayer for them, could freely tell God, he knew that the cause was not mine, which I was engaged in, but it was his own cause, and it would be for his own glory to convert the poor Indians: and blessed be God, I felt no desire of their converse, that I might receive honour from the world, as being the instrument of it. Had some freedom in speaking to the Indians.”
The next day he speaks of some serious concern for the kingdom of the blessed Redeemer; but complains much of barrenness, wanderings, inactivity, etc. “Saturday, June 30. My soul was very solemn in reading God’s word; especially the ninth chapter of Daniel. I saw how God had called out his servants to prayer, and made them wrestle with him, when he designed to bestow any great mercy on his church. And, alas! I was ashamed of myself, to think of my dulness and inactivity, when there seemed to be so much to do for the upbuilding of Zion. Oh, how does Zion lie waste! I longed that the church of God might be enlarged: was enabled to pray, I think, in faith, my soul seemed sensibly to confide in God, and was enabled to wrestle with him. Afterwards walked abroad to a place of sweet retirement, and enjoyed some assistance in prayer again had a sense of my great need of divine help, and felt my soul sensibly depend on God.
And oh, how miserable did I feel, because I could not live to God! At ten, rode away with a heavy heart, to preach to my Indians. Upon the road I attempted to lift up my heart to God but was infested with an unsettled, wandering frame of mind; and was exceeding restless and perplexed, and filled with shame and confusion before God. I seemed to myself to be “more brutish than any man;” and thought none deserved to be “cast out of God’s presence” so much as I. If I attempted to lift up my heart to God, as I frequently did by the way, on a sudden, before I was aware, my thoughts were wandering ‘to the ends of the earth;’ and my soul was filled with surprise and anxiety, to find it thus. Thus also after I came to the Indians my mind was confused; and I felt nothing sensibly of that sweet reliance on God, that my soul has been comforted with in days past. Spent the forenoon in this posture of mind, and preached to the Indians without any heart. In the afternoon I felt still barren, when I began to preach; and for about half an hour, I seemed to myself to know nothing, and to have nothing to say to the Indians; but soon after I found in myself a spirit of love, and warmth and power, to address the poor Indians; and God helped me to plead with them, to “turn from all the vanities of the heathen, to the living God:” and I am persuaded the Lord touched their consciences; for I never saw such attention raised in them before. And when I came away from them, I spent the whole time while I was riding to my lodgings, three miles distant, in prayer and praise to God. And after I had rode more than two miles, it came into my mind to dedicate myself to God again, which I did with great solemnity, and unspeakable satisfaction; especially gave up myself to him renewed in the work of the ministry. And this I did by divine grace, I hope, without any exception or reserve: not in the least shrinking back from any difficulties that might attend this great and blessed work. I seemed to be most free, cheerful, and full in this dedication of myself. My whole soul cried,” Lord to thee I dedicate myself! O accept of me, and let me be thine for ever. Lord, I desire nothing else, I desire nothing more. O come, come, Lord, accept a poor worm. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.’
After this, was enabled to praise God with my whole soul, that he had enabled me to devote and consecrate all my powers to him in this solemn manner. My heart rejoiced in my particular work as a missionary; rejoiced in my necessity of self-denial in many respects, and still continued to give up myself to God, and implore mercy of him, praying incessantly, every moment, with sweet fervency. My nature being very weak of late, and much spent, was now considerably overcome: my fingers grew very feeble, and somewhat numb, so that I could scarcely stretch them out straight, and when I lighted from my horse, could hardly walk, my joints seemed all to be loosed. But I felt abundant strength in the inner man.
Preached to the white people: God helped me much, especially in prayer.
Sundry of my poor Indians were so moved as to come to meeting also; and one appeared much concerned. “Monday, July 2. Had some relish of the divine comforts of yesterday but could not get that warmth and exercise of faith that I desired. Had sometimes a distressing sense of my past follies, and present ignorance and barrenness: and especially in the afternoon, was sunk down under a load of sin and guilt, in that I had lived so little to God, after his abundant goodness to me yesterday. In the evening, though very weak, was enabled to pray with fervency, and to continue instant in prayer, near an hour. My soul mourned over the power of its corruption, and longed exceedingly to be washed and purged as with hyssop. Was enabled to pray for my dear absent friends, Christ’s ministers, and his church; and enjoyed much freedom and fervency, but not so much comfort by reason of guilt and shame before God — Judged and condemned myself for the follies of the day. “Tuesday, July 3. Was still very weak. This morning was enabled to pray under a feeling sense of my need of help from God, and, I trust, had some faith in exercise; and, blessed be God, was enabled to plead with him a considerable time. Truly God is good to me. But my soul mourned, and was grieved at my sinfulness and barrenness, and longed to be more engaged for God. Near nine withdrew again for prayer; and through divine goodness, had the blessed Spirit of prayer; my soul loved the duty, and longed for God in it. O it is sweet to be the Lord’s, to be sensibly devoted to him! What a blessed portion is God! How glorious, how lovely in himself! O my soul longed to improve time wholly for God! — Spent most of the day in translating prayers into Indian. — In the evening was enabled again to wrestle with God in prayer with fervency. Was enabled to maintain a self-diffident and watchful frame of spirit, in the evening, and was jealous and afraid lest I should admit carelessness and self-confidence.
The next day he seems to have had special assistance and fervency most of the day, but in a less degree than the preceding day. Tuesday was spent in great bodily weakness; yet seems to have been spent in continual and exceeding painfulness in religion; but in great bitterness of spirit by reason of his vileness and corruption; he says, “I thought there was not one creature living so vile as I. Oh, my inward pollution! Oh, my guilt and shame before God! — I know not what to do. Oh, I longed ardently to be cleansed and washed from the stains of inward pollution! Oh, to be made like God, or rather to be made fit for God to own!” “Friday, July 6. Awoke this morning in the fear of God: soon called to mind my sadness in the evening past, and spent my first waking minutes in prayer for sanctification, that my soul may be washed from its exceeding pollution and defilement. After I arose, I spent some time in reading God’s word and in prayer. I cried to God under a sense of my great indigency. — I am, of late, most of all concerned for ministerial qualifications and the converse of the heathen: last year I longed to be prepared for a world of glory, and speedily to depart out of this world; but of late all my concern almost is for the converse of the heathen; and for that end I long to live. But blessed be God, I have less desire to live for any of the pleasures of the world, than ever I had. I long and love to be a pilgrim, and want grace to imitate the life, labours, and sufferings of St.
Paul among the heathen. And when I long for holiness now, it is not so much for myself as formerly; but rather that thereby l may become an ‘able minister of the New Testament,’ especially to the heathen. Spent about two hours this morning in reading and prayer by turns, and was in a watchful, tender frame, afraid of every thing that might cool my affections, and draw away my heart from God. Was a little strengthened in my studies; but near night was very weak and weary. “Saturday, July 7. Was very much disordered this morning, and my vigour all spent and exhausted: but was affected and refreshed in reading the sweet story of Elijah’s translation, and enjoyed some affection and fervency in prayer: longed much for ministerial gifts and graces, that I might do something in the cause of God. Afterwards was refreshed and invigorated, while reading Mr. Joseph Alleine’s first Case of Conscience, etc. and enabled then to pray with some ardour of soul, and was afraid of carelessness and self-confidence, and longed for holiness. “Lord’s day, July 8. Was ill last night, not able to rest quietly. Had some small degree of assistance in preaching to the Indians; and afterwards was enabled to preach to the white people with some power, especially in the close of my discourse, from Jeremiah 3:23. ‘Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills,’ etc. The Lord also assisted me in some measure in the first prayer: blessed be his name. Near night, though very weary, was enabled to read God’s word with some sweet relish of it, and to pray with affection, fervency, and I trust with faith: my soul was more sensibly dependent on God than usual. Was watchful, tender, and jealous of my own heart, lest I should admit carelessness and vain thoughts, and grieve the blessed Spirit, so that he should withdraw his sweet, kind, and tender influences. Longed to ‘depart, and be with Christ,’ more than at any time of late. My soul was exceedingly united to the saints of ancient times, as well as those now living; especially my soul melted for the society of Elijah and Elisha. Was enabled to cry to God with a child-like spirit, and to continue instant in prayer for some time. Was much enlarged in the sweet cut, of, intercession: was enabled to remember great numbers of dear friends, and precious souls, as well as Christ’s ministers. Continued in this frame, afraid of every idle thought, till I dropped asleep. “Monday, July 9. Was under much illness of body most of the day, and not able to sit up the whole day. Towards night felt a little better. Then spent some time in reading God’s word and prayer, enjoyed some degree of fervency and affection was enabled to plead with God for his cause and kingdom: and, through divine goodness, it was apparent to me, that it was his cause I pleaded for, and not my own, and was enabled to make this an argument with God to answer my requests. “Tuesday, July 10. Was very ill, and full of pain, and very dull and spiritless. — In the evening had an affecting sense of my ignorance, etc. and of my need of God at all times, to do every thing for me, and my soul was humbled before God. “Wednesday, July 11. Was still exercised with illness and pain. Had some degree of affection and warmth in prayer and reading God’s word: longed for Abraham’s faith and fellowship with God; and felt some resolution to spend all my time for God, and to exert myself with more fervency in his service; but found my body weak and feeble. In the afternoon, though very ill; was enabled to spend some considerable time in prayer, spent indeed most of the day in that exercise; and my soul was diffident, watchful and tender, lest I should offend my blessed Friend, in thought or behaviour. I am persuaded my soul confided in, and leaned upon, the blessed God. Oh, what need did I see myself to stand in of God at all times, to assist me and lead me! Found a great want of strength and vigour, both in the outward and inner man.”
The exercises and experiences that he speaks of in the next nine days, are very similar to those of the preceding days of this and the foregoing week; a sense of his own weakness, ignorance, unprofitableness, and vileness, loathing and abhorring himself; self-diffidence; sense of the greatness of his work, and his great need of divine help and the extreme danger of selfconfidence longing for holiness and humility, and to be fitted for his work, and to live to God: and longing for the converse of the Indians, and these things to a very great degree. “Saturday, July 21. This morning I was greatly oppressed with guilt and shame, from a sense of inward vileness and pollution. About nine, withdrew to the woods for prayer; but had not much comfort, I appeared to myself the vilest, meanest creature upon earth, and could scarcely live with myself; so mean and vile I appeared, that I thought I should never be able to hold up my face in heaven, if God of his infinite grace should bring me thither. Towards night my burden respecting my work among the Indians began to increase much; and was aggravated by hearing sundry things that looked very discouraging; in particular, that they intended to meet together the next day for an idolatrous feast and dance. Then I began to be in anguish: I thought I must in conscience go, and endeavour to break them up; and knew not how to attempt such a thing. However, I withdrew for prayer, hoping for strength from above. And in prayer I was exceedingly enlarged, and my soul was as much drawn out as ever I remember it to have been in my life, or near. I was in such anguish, and pleaded with so much earnestness and importunity, that when I rose from my knees I felt extremely weak and overcome, I could scarcely walk straight, my joints were loosed, the sweat ran down my face and body, and nature seemed as if it would dissolve. So far as I could judge, I was wholly free from selfish ends in my fervent supplications for the poor Indians. I knew they were met together to worship devils, and not God; and this made me cry earnestly, that God would now appear, and help me in my attempts to break up this idolatrous meeting. My soul pleaded long; and I thought God would hear, and would go with me to vindicate his own cause: I seemed to confide in God for his presence and assistance. And thus I spent the evening praying incessantly for divine assistance, and that I might not be self-dependent, but still have my whole dependence upon God. What I passed through was remarkable, and indeed inexpressible. All things here below vanished; and there appeared to be nothing of any considerable importance to me, but holiness of heart and life, and the converse of the heathen to God. All my cares, fears, and desires, which might be said to be of a worldly nature, disappeared; and were, in my esteem, of little more importance than a puff of wind. I exceedingly longed, that God would get to himself a name among the heathen; and I appealed to him with the greatest freedom, that he knew I ‘preferred him above my chief joy.’ Indeed, I had no notion of joy from this world, I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ. I continued in this frame all the evening and night.
While I was asleep, I dreamed of these things; and when I waked, (as I frequently did,) the first thing I thought of was this great work of pleading for God against Satan. “Lord’s day, July 22. When I waked, my soul was burdened with what seemed to be before me. I cried to God before I could get out of my bed: and as soon as I was dressed, I withdrew into the woods, to pour out my burdened soul to God, especially for assistance in my great work for l could scarcely think of any thing else. I enjoyed the same freedom and fervency as the last evening; and did with unspeakable freedom give up myself afresh to God, for life or death, for all hardships he should call me to among the heathen: and felt as if nothing could discourage me from this blessed work. I had a strong hope, that God would ‘how the heavens and come down,’ and do some marvellous work among the heathen. And when I was riding to the Indians, three miles, my heart was continually going up to God for his presence and assistance; and hoping, and almost expecting, that God would make this the day of his power and grace amongst the poor Indians. When I came to them, I found them engaged in their frolic; but through divide goodness I got them to break up and attend to my preaching: yet still there appeared nothing of the special power of God among them. Preached again to them in the afternoon; and observed the Indians were more sober than before: but still saw nothing special among them; from whence Satan took occasion to tempt and buffet me with these cursed suggestions. There is no God, or if there be, he is not able to convert the Indians before they have more knowledge, etc. I was very weak and weary, and my soul borne down with perplexity; but was mortified to all the world, and was determined still to wait upon God for the converse of the heathen, though the devil tempted me to the contrary. “Monday, July 23. Retained still a deep and pressing sense of what lay with so much weight upon me yesterday; but was more calm and quiet; enjoyed freedom and composure, after the temptations of the last evening: had sweet resignation to the divine will, and desired nothing so much as the converse of the heathen to God and that his kingdom might come in my own heart, and the hearts of others. Rode to a settlement of Irish people about fifteen miles south-westward; spent my time in prayer and meditation by the way. Near night preached from Matthew 5:3. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ etc. — God was pleased to afford me some degree of freedom and fervency. Blessed be God for any measure of assistance. “Tuesday, July 24. Rode about seventeen miles westward over a hideous mountain, to a number of Indians. Got together near thirty of them: preached to them in the evening, and lodged among them. — Was weak, and felt in some degree disconsolate; yet could have no freedom in the thought of any other circumstances or business in life. All my desire was the converse of the heathen, and all my hope was in God. God does not suffer me to please or comfort myself with hopes of seeing friends, returning to my dear acquaintance, and enjoying worldly comforts.”
The next day he preached to these Indians again, and then resumed to the Irish settlement, and there preached to a numerous congregation. There was a considerable appearance of awakening in the congregation. Thursday he returned home, exceedingly fatigued and spent; still in the same frame of mortification to the world, and solicitous for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, and on this day he says thus: “I have felt this week more of the spirit of a pilgrim on earth than perhaps ever before; and yet so desirous to see Zion’s prosperity, that I was not so willing to leave this scene of sorrows as I used to be.” — The two remaining days of the week he was very ill and complains of wanderings, dulness, and want of spiritual fervency and sweetness. On the sabbath he was confined by illness, not able to go out to preach. After this his illness increased upon him, and he continued very ill all the week; and says, that “he thought he never before endured such a season of distressing weakness; and that his nature was so spent, that he could neither stand, sit, nor lie with any quiet; and that he was exercised with extreme faintness and sickness at his stomach, and that his mind was as much disordered as his body, seeming to be stupid, and without any kind of affections towards all objects; and yet perplexed, to think that he lived for nothing, that precious time rolled away, and he could do nothing but trifle: and speaks of it as a season wherein Satan buffeted him with some peculiar temptations.” — Concerning the next five days he writes thus, “On Lord’s day, August 5, was still very poor. But, though very weak, I visited and preached to the poor Indians twice and was strengthened vastly beyond my expectations. And indeed, the Lord gave me some freedom and fervency in addressing them; though I had not strength enough to stand, but was obliged to sit down the whole time.
Towards night was extremely weak, faint, sick, and full of pain. And thus I have continued much in the same state that I was in last week, through the most of this, (it being now Friday,) unable to engage in any business; frequently unable to pray in the family. I am obliged to let all my thoughts and concerns run at random; for I have neither strength to read, meditate, or pray: and this naturally perplexes my mind. I seem to myself like a man that has all his estate embarked in one small boat, unhappily going adrift, down a swift torrent. The poor owner stands on the shore, and looks, and laments his loss. — But, alas I though my all seems to be adrift, and I stand and see it, I dare not lament; for this sinks my spirits more, and aggravates my bodily disorders! I am forced therefore to divert myself with trifles; although at the same time I am afraid and often feel as if I was guilty of the misimprovement of time. And oftentimes my conscience is so exercised with this miserable way of spending time, that I have no peace; though I have no strength of mind or body to improve it to better purpose.
The next three weeks after this his illness was not so extreme; he was in some degree capable of business, both public and private; although he had some turns wherein his indisposition prevailed to a great degree. He also in this space had, for the most part, much more inward assistance, and strength of mind. He often expresses great longings for the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom, especially by the converse of the heathen to God, and speaks of this hope as all his delight and joy. He continues still to express his usual longings after holiness, living to God, and a sense of his own unworthiness. He several times speaks of his appearing to himself the vilest creature on earth; and once says, that be verily thought there were none of God’s children who fell so far short of that holiness and perfection in their obedience which God requires as he. He speaks of his feeling more dead than ever to the enjoyments of the world. He sometimes mentions the special assistance he had, this space of time, in preaching to the Indians, and of appearances of religious concern among them. He speaks also of assistance in prayer for absent friends, and especially ministers and candidates for the ministry; and of much comfort he enjoyed in the company of some ministers who came to visit him. “Saturday, September 1. Was so far strengthened, after a season of great weakness, that I was able to spend two or three hours in writing on a divine subject. Enjoyed some comfort and sweetness in things divine and sacred: and as my bodily strength was in some measure restored, so my soul seemed to be some what vigorous, and engaged in the things of God. “Lord’s day, September 2. Was enabled to speak to my poor Indians with much concern and fervency; and I am persuaded God enabled me to exercise faith in him, while I was speaking to them. I perceived that some of them were afraid to hearken to and embrace Christianity, lest they should be enchanted and poisoned by some of the powows: but I was enabled to plead with them not to fear these, and confiding in God for safety and deliverance, I bid a challenge to all these powers of darkness, to do their worst upon me first. I told my people I was a Christian and asked them why the powows did not bewitch and poison me. I scarcely ever felt more sensible of my own unworthiness, than in this action: I saw, that the honour of God was concerned in the affair; and I desired to be preserved — not from selfish views, but — for a testimony of the divine power and goodness, and of the truth of Christianity, and that God might be glorified.
Afterwards I found my soul rejoice in God for his assisting grace.”
After this he went a journey into New England, and was absent from the place of his abode, at the Forks of Delaware, about three weeks. He was in a feeble state the greater part of the time. But in the latter part of the journey he found he gained much in health and strength. And as to the state of his mind, and his religious and spiritual exercises, it was much with him as usual in his journeys; excepting that the frame of his mind seemed more generally to be comfortable. But yet there are complaints of some uncomfortable seasons, want of fervency, and want of retirements, and time alone with God. In his journey, he did not forget the Indians; but once and again speaks of his longing for their converse. “Wednesday, September 26. Rode home to the Forks of Delaware. What reason have I to bless God, who has presented me in riding more than four hundred and tw enty miles, and has ‘kept all my bones, that not one of them has been broken!’ My health likewise is greatly recovered. O that I could dedicate my all to God! This is all the return I can make to him. “Thursday, September 27. Was somewhat melancholy had not much freedom and comfort in prayer: my soul is disconsolate when God is withdrawn. “Friday, September 28. Spent the day in prayer reading and writing. Felt some small degree of warmth in power and some desires of the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom by the converse of the heathen, and that God would make me a ‘chosen vessel, to bear his name before them,’ longed for grace to enable me to be faithful.
The next day he speaks of the same longings for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, and the converse of the Indians; but complains greatly of the ill effects of the diverses of his late journey, as unfixing his mind from that degree of engagedness; fervency, watchfulness, etc. which he enjoyed before. And the like complaints are continued the day after. “Monday, October 1. Was engaged this day in making preparation for my intended journey to Susquehannah: withdrew several times to the woods for secret duties, and endeavoured to plead for the divine presence to go with me to the poor pagans, to whom I was going to preach the gospel.
Towards night rode about four miles, and met brother Byram; who was come, at my desire, to be my companion in travel to the Indians. Rejoiced to see him; and, I trust, God made his conversation profitable to me. I saw him, as I thought, more dead to the world, its anxious cares and alluring objects, than I was, and this made me look within myself, and gave me a greater sense of my guilt ingratitude, and misery. “Tuesday, October 2. Set out on my journey, in company with dear brother Byram, and my interpreter, and two chief Indians from the Forks of Delaware. Travelled about twenty-five miles, and lodged in one of the last houses on our road, after which there was nothing but a hideous and howling wilderness. “Wednesday, October 3. We went on our way into the wilderness, and found the most difficult and dangerous travelling, by far, that ever any of us had seen; we had scarce any thing else but lofty mountains, deep valleys, and hideous rocks, to make our way through. However, I felt some sweetness in divine things, part of the day, and had my mind intensely engaged in meditation on a divine subject. Near night my beast that I rode upon hung one of her legs in the rocks, and fell down under me; but through divine goodness I was not hurt. However, she broke her leg; and being in such a hideous place, and near thirty miles from any house, I saw nothing that could be done to preserve her life, and so was obliged to kill her, and to prosecute my journey on foot. This accident made me admire the divine goodness to me, that my bones were not broken, and the multitude of them filled with strong pain. Just at dark we kindled a fire, cut up a few bushes and made a shelter over our heads, to save us from the frost, which was very hard that night and committing ourselves to God by prayer, we lay down on the ground, and slept quietly.”
The next day they went forward on their journey and at night took up their lodging in the woods in like manner. “Friday, October 5. We arrived at Susquehannah river at a place called Opeholhaupung: found there twelve Indian houses: after I had saluted the king in a friendly manner, I told him my business, and that my desire was to teach them Christianity. After some consultation, the Indians gathered, and I preached to them. And when I had done, I asked if they would hear me again. They replied, that they would consider of it, and soon after sent me word, that they would immediately attend, if I would preach: which I did, with freedom, both times. When I asked them again, whether they would hear me further, they replied, they would the next day. I was exceeding sensible of the impossibility of doing any thing for the poor heathen without special assistance from above: and my soul seemed to rest on God, and leave it to him to do as he pleased in that which I saw was his own cause: and indeed, through divine goodness, I had felt something of this frame most of the time while I was travelling thither, and in some measure before I set out. “Saturday, October 6. Rose early and besought the Lord for help in my great work. Near noon preached again to the Indians; and in the afternoon visited them from house to house, and invited them to come and hear me again the next day, and put off their hunting design, which they were just entering upon, till Monday. ‘This night,’ I trust, ‘the Lord stood by me,’ to encourage and strengthen my soul: I spent more than an hour in secret retirement; was enabled to ‘pour out my heart before God,’ for the increase of grace in my soul, for ministerial endowments, for success among the poor Indians, for God’s ministers and people, for distant dear friends, etc. Blessed be God!”
The next day he complains of great want of fixedness and intenseness in religion, so that he could not keep any spiritual thought one minute without distraction; which occasioned anguish of spirit. He felt amazingly guilty, and extremely miserable; and cries out, “Oh, my soul, what death it is, to have the affections unable to centre in God, by reason of darkness, and consequently roving after that satisfaction elsewhere, that is only to be found here!” However, he preached twice to the Indians with some freedom and power, but was afterwards damped by the objections they made against Christianity. In the evening, in a sense of his great defects in preaching, he “entreated God not to impute to him blood-guiltiness,” but yet was at the same time enabled to rejoice in God. “Monday, October 8. Visited the Indians with a design to take my leave of them, supposing they would this morning go out to hunting early, but beyond my expectation and hope, they desired to hear me preach again. I gladly complied with their request, and afterwards endeavoured to answer their objections against Christianity. Then they went away; and we spent the rest of the afternoon in reading and prayer, intending to go homeward very early the next day. My soul was in some measure refreshed in secret prayer and meditation. Blessed be the Lord for all his goodness. “Tuesday, October 9. We rose about four in the morning, and commending ourselves to God by prayer, and asking his special protection, we set out on our journey homewards about five, and travelled with great steadiness till past six at night, and then made us a fire, and a shelter of barks and so rested. I had some clear and comfortable thoughts on a divine subject, by the way, towards night. — In the night the wolves howled around us; but God preserved us.”
The next day they rose early, and set forward, and travelled that day till they came to an Irish settlement, with which Mr. Brainerd was acquainted, and lodged there. He speaks of some sweetness in divine things, and thankfulness to God for his goodness to him in this journey though attended with shame for his barrenness. On Thursday he continued in the same place, and both he and Mr. Byram preached there to the people. “Friday, October 12. Rode home to my lodgings; where I poured out my soul to God in secret prayer, and endeavoured to bless him for his abundant goodness to me in my late journey. I scarce ever enjoyed more health, at least, of later years, and God marvellously, and almost miraculously, supported me under the fatigues of the way, and travelling on foot. Blessed be the Lord, who continually preserves me in all my ways.”
On Saturday he went again to the Irish settlement, to spend the sabbath there, his Indians being gone. “Lord’s day, October 14. Was much confused and perplexed in my thoughts; could not pray; and was almost discouraged, thinking I should never be able to preach any more. Afterwards, God was pleased to give me some relief from these confusions; but still I was afraid, and even trembled before God. I went to the place of public worship, lifting up my heart to God for assistance and grace in my great work: and God was gracious to me helping me to plead with him for holiness, and to use the strongest arguments with him, drawn from the incarnation and sufferings of Christ for this very end, that men might be made holy. Afterwards I was much assisted in preaching. I know not that ever God helped me to preach in a more close and distinguishing manner for the trial of men’s state. Through the infinite goodness of God, I felt what I spoke; he enabled me to treat on divine truth with uncommon clearness: and yet I was so sensible of my defects in preaching, that I could not be proud of my performance, as at some times; and blessed be the Lord for this mercy. In the evening I longed to be entirely alone, to bless God for help in a time of extremity, and longed for great degrees of holiness, that I might show my gratitude to God.”
The next morning he spent some time before sun-rise in prayer, in the same sweet and grateful frame of mind that he had been in the evening before: and afterwards went to his Indians, and spent some time in teaching and exhorting them. “Tuesday, October 16. Felt a spirit of solemnity and watchfulness, was afraid I should not live to and upon God: longed for more intenseness and spirituality. Spent the day in writing; frequently lifting up my heart to God for more heavenly-mindedness. In the evening enjoyed sweet assistance in prayer, and thirsted and pleaded to be as holy as the blessed angels: longed for ministerial gifts and graces and success in my work: was sweetly assisted in the duty of intercession, and enabled to remember and plead for numbers of dear friends and Christ’s ministers.”
He seemed to have much of the same frame of mind the two next days. “Friday, October 19. Felt an abasing sense of my own impurity and unholiness; and felt my soul melt and mourn, that I had abused and grieved a very gracious God, who was still kind to me, notwithstanding all my unworthiness.
My soul enjoyed a sweet season of bitter repentance and sorrow that I had wronged that blessed God, who, I was persuaded, was reconciled to me in his dear Son. My soul was now tender, devout, and solemn. And I was afraid of nothing but sin, and afraid of that in every action and thought.”
The four next days were manifestly spent in a most constant tenderness, watchfulness, diligence, and self-diffidence. But he complains of wanderings of mind, languor of affections, etc. “Wednesday, October 24. Near noon, rode to my people spent some time, and prayed with them: felt the frame of a pilgrim on earth; longed much to leave this gloomy mansion; but yet found the exercise of patience and resignation. And as I resumed home from the Indians, spent the whole time in lifting up my heart to God. In the evening enjoyed a blessed season alone in prayer, was enabled to cry to God with a child-like spirit, for the space of near an hour; enjoyed a sweet freedom in supplicating for myself, for dear friends, ministers, and some who are preparing for that work, and for the church of God; and longed to be as lively myself in God’s service as the angels. “Thursday, October 25. Was busy in writing. Was very sensible of my absolute dependence on God in all respects; saw that I could do nothing, even in those affairs that I have sufficient natural faculties for, unless God should smile upon my attempt. ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourselves,’ I saw was a sacred truth. “Friday, October 26. In the morning my soul was melted with a sense of divine goodness and mercy to such a vile unworthy worm. I delighted to lean upon God and place my whole trust in him. My soul was exceedingly grieved for sin, and prized and longed after holiness; it wounded my heart deeply, yet sweetly, to think how I had abused a kind God. I longed to be perfectly holy that I might not grieve a gracious God; who will continue to love, notwithstanding his love is abused! I longed for holiness more for this end, than I did for my own happiness’ sake: and yet this was my greatest happiness never more to dishonour, but always to glorify, the blessed God. Afterwards rode up to the Indians; in the afternoon, etc.”
The four next days he was exercised with much disorder and pain of body, with a degree of melancholy and gloominess of mind, bitterly complaining of deadness and unprofitableness, yet mourning and longing after God. “Wednesday, October 31. Was sensible of my barrenness and decays in the things of God: my soul failed when I remembered the fervency I had enjoyed at the throne of grace. Oh, I thought, if I could but be spiritual, warm heavenly-minded, and affectionately breathing after God, this would be better than life to me! My soul longed exceedingly for death, to be loosed from this dulness and barrenness, and made for ever active in the service of God. I seemed to live for nothing, and to do no good: and oh, the burden of such a life! Oh, deaths, death, my kind friend, hasten, and deliver me from dull mortality, and make me spiritual and vigorous to eternity! “Thursday, November 1. Had but little sweetness in divine things; but afterwards, in the evening, felt some life, and longings after God. I longed to be always solemn, devout, and heavenly-minded; and was afraid to leave off praying, lest I should again lose a sense of the sweet things of God. “Friday, November 2. Was filled with sorrow and confusion in the morning, and could enjoy no sweet sense of divine things, nor get any relief in prayer. Saw I deserved that every one of God’s creatures should be let loose, to be the executioners of his wrath against me; and yet therein saw I deserved what I did not fear as my portion. About noon rode up to the Indians; and while going could feel no desires for them, and even dreaded to say any thing to them; but God was pleased to give me some freedom and enlargement, and made the season comfortable to me. In the evening had enlargement in prayer. But, alas! what comforts and enlargements I have felt for these many weeks past, have been only transient and short, and the greater part of my time has been filled up with deadness, or struggles with deadness, and bitter conflicts with corruption.
I have found myself exercised sorely with some particular things that I thought myself most of all freed from. And thus I have ever found it, when I have thought the battle was over, and the conquest gained, and so let down my watch, the enemy has risen up and done me the greatest injury. “Saturday, November 3. I read the life and trials of a godly man, and was much warmed by it: I wondered at my past deadness; and was more convinced of it than ever. Was enabled to confess and bewail my sin before God, with self-abhorrence. “Lords day, November 4. Had, I think, some exercise of faith in prayer in the morning: longed to be spiritual. Had considerable help in preaching to my poor Indians: was encouraged with them, and hoped that God designed mercy for them.”
The next day he set out on a journey to New York, to the meeting of the Presbytery there, and was from home more than fortnight. He seemed to enter on his journey with great reluctance; fearing that the diverses of it would prove a means of cooling his religious affections, as he had found in other journeys. But yet in this journey he had some special seasons wherein he enjoyed extraordinary evidences and fruits of God’s gracious presence. He was greatly fatigued, and exposed to cold and storms: and when he returned from New York to New Jersey, on Friday, was taken very ill, and was detained by his illness some time. “Wednesday, November 21 . Rode from Newark to Rockciticus in the cold, and was almost overcome with it. Enjoyed some sweetness in conversation with dear Mr. Jones, while I dined with him: my soul loves the people of God, and especially the ministers of Jesus Christ, who feel the same trials that I do. “Thursday, November 22. Came on my way from Rockciticus to Delaware riverse Was very much disordered with a cold and pain in my head. About six at night I lost my way in the wilderness, and wandered over rocks and mountains, down hideous steeps, through swamps and most dreadful and dangerous places, and the night being dark, so that few stars could be seen, I was greatly exposed. I was much pinched with cold, and distressed with an extreme pain in my head, attended with sickness at my stomach; so that every step I took was distressing to me. I had little hope for several hours together, but that I must lie out in the woods all night, in this distressed case. But about nine o’clock I found a house, through the abundant goodness of God, and was kindly entertained. Thus I have frequently been exposed, and sometimes lain out the whole night, but God has hitherto preserved me; and blessed be his name. Such fatigues and hardships as these serve to wean me more from the earth, and, I trust will make heaven the sweeter. Formerly, when I was thus exposed to cold, rain, etc. I was ready to please myself with the thoughts of enjoying a comfortable house, a warm fire, and other outward comforts; but now these have less place in my heart, (through the grace of God,) and my eye is more to God for comfort. In this world I expect tribulation, and it does not now, as formerly, appear strange to me. I do not in such seasons of difficulty flatter myself that it will be better hereafter, but rather think, how much worse it might be: how much greater trials others of God’s children have endured; and how much greater are yet perhaps reserved for me. Blessed be God, that he makes the thoughts of my journey’s end and of my dissolution a great comfort to me, under my sharpest trials; and scarce ever lets these thoughts he attended with terror or melancholy; but they are attended frequently with great joy. “Friday, November 23. Visited a sick man; discoursed and prayed with him. Then visited another house, where was one dead and laid out; looked on the corpse, and longed that my time might come to depart, that I might be with Christ. Then went home to my lodgings, about one o’clock. Felt poorly, but was able to read most of the afternoon.”
Within the space of the next twelve days he passed under many changes in the frames and exercises of his mind. He had many seasons of the special influences of God’s Spirit, animating, invigorating, and comforting him in the ways of God and the duties of religion: but had some turns of great dejection and melancholy. He spent much time, within this space, in hard labour, with others, to make for himself a little cottage or hut, to live in by himself through the winter. Yet he frequently preached to the Indians, and speaks of special assistance he had from time to time, in addressing himself to them, and of his sometimes having considerable encouragement, from the attention they gave. But on Tuesday, December 4, he was sunk into great discouragement, to see most of them going in company to an idolatrous feast and dance after he had taken abundant pains to dissuade them from these things. “Thursday, December 6. Having now a happy opportunity of being retired in a house of my own, which I have lately procured and moved into, and considering that it is now a long time since I have been able, either on account of bodily weakness, or for want of retirement, or some other difficulty, to spend any time in secret fasting and prayer; considering also the greatness of my work, and the extreme difficulties that attend it; and that my poor Indians are now worshipping devils, notwithstanding all the pains I have taken with them, which almost overwhelms my spirit; moreover, considering my extreme barrenness, spiritual deadness and dejection, of late; as also the power of some particular corruptions; I set apart this day for secret prayer and fasting, to implore the blessing of God on myself, on my poor people, on my friends, and on the church of God.
At first I felt a great backwardness to the duties of the day, on account of the seeming impossibility of performing them; but the Lord helped me to break through this difficulty. God was pleased, by the use of means, to give me some clear conviction of my sinfulness, and a discovery of the plague of my own heart, more affecting than what I have of late had. And especially I saw my sinfulness in this, that when God had withdrawn himself, then, instead of living and dying in pursuit of him, I have been disposed to one of these two things; either, first, to yield an unbecoming respect to some earthly objects, as if happiness were to be derived from them, or, secondly, to be secretly forward and impatient, and unsuitably desirous of death so that I have sometimes thought I could not bear to think my life must be lengthened out. And that which often drove me to this impatient desire of death, was a despair of doing any good in life, and I chose death, rather than a life spent for nothing. But now God made me sensible of my sin in these things, and enabled me to cry to him forgiveness. Yet this was not all I wanted; for my soul appeared exceedingly polluted, my heart seemed like a nest of vipers, or a cage of unclean and hateful birds: and therefore I wanted to be purified ‘by the blood of sprinkling, that cleanseth from all sin.’ And this, I hope, I was enabled to pray for in faith. I enjoyed much more intenseness, fervency, and spirituality, than I expected God was better to me than my fears. And towards night I felt my soul rejoice, that God is unchangeably happy and glorious; that he will be glorified, whatever becomes of his creatures. I was enabled to persevere in prayer till some time in the evening, at which time I saw so much need of divine help, in every respect, that I knew not how to leave off, and had forgot that I needed food. This evening I was much assisted in meditating on Isaiah 52:3. ‘For thus saith the Lord, ye have sold yourselves for nought,’ etc. Blessed be the Lord for any help in the past day. “Friday, December 7. Spent some time in prayer, in the morning; enjoyed some freedom and affection in the duty, and had longing desires of being made ‘faithful to the death.’ Spent a little time in writing on a divine subject: then visited the Indians, and preached to them, but under inexpressible dejection. I had no heart to speak to them and could not do it but as I forced myself: I knew they must hate to hear me, as having but just got home from their idolatrous feast and devil-worship. — In the evening had some freedom in prayer and meditation. “Saturday, December 8. Have been uncommonly free this day from dejection, and from that distressing apprehension, that I could do nothing: was enabled to pray and study with some comfort, and especially was assisted in writing on a divine subject. In the evening my soul rejoiced in God, and I blessed his name for shining on my soul. O the sweet and blessed change I then felt, when God brought me out of darkness into his marvellous light! “Lord’s day, December 9. Preached, both parts of the day, at a place called Greenwich, in New Jersey, about ten miles from my own house. In the first discourse I had scarce any warmth or affectionate longing for with. In the intermediate season I got alone among the bushes, and cried to God for pardon of my deadness, and was in anguish and bitterness, that I could not address souls with more compassion and tender affection. I judged and condemned myself for want of this divine temper; though I saw I could not get it as of myself, any more than I could make a world. In the latter exercise, blessed be the Lord, I had some fervency, both in prayer and preaching, and especially in the application of my discourse, I was enabled to address precious souls with affection concern, tenderness, and importunity. The Spirit of God, I think, was there; as the effects were apparent, tears running down many cheeks. “Monday, December 10. Near noon I preached again: God gave me some assistance, and enabled me to be in some degree faithful, so that I had peace in my own soul, and a very comfortable composure, ‘although Israel should not be gathered.’ Came away from Greenwich, and rode home; arrived just in the evening. By the way my soul blessed God for his goodness; and I rejoiced, that so much of my work was done, and I so much nearer my blessed reward. Blessed be God for grace to be faithful. “Tuesday, December 11. Felt very poorly in body, being much tired and worn out the last might. Was assisted in some measure in writing on a divine subject: but was so feeble and sore in my breast, that I had not much resolution in my work. Oh, how I long for that world ‘where the weary are at rest!’ and yet through the goodness of God I do not now feel impatient. “Wednesday, December 12. Was again very weak; but somewhat assisted in secret prayer, and enabled with pleasure and sweetness to cry, ‘Come, Lord Jesus I come, Lord Jesus! come quickly.’ My soul ‘longed for God, for the living God. O how delightful it is, to pray under such sweet influences! Oh how much better is this, than one’s necessary food! I had at this time no disposition to eat, (though late in the morning,) for earthly food appeared wholly tasteless. O how much ‘better is thy love than wine,’ than the sweetest wine! — I visited and preached to the Indians in the afternoon; but under much rejection. Found my interpreter under some concern for his soul; which was some comfort to me; and yet filled me with new care. I longed greatly for his converse; lifted up my heart to God for it, while I was talking to him; came home, and poured out my soul to God for him: enjoyed some freedom in prayer, and was enabled, I think, to leave all with God. “Thursday, December 13. Endeavoured to spend the day in fasting and prayer, to implore the divine blessing, more especially on my poor people; and in particular, I sought for convening grace for my interpreter, and three or four more under some concern for their souls. I was much disordered in the morning when I arose; but having determined to spend the day in this manner, I attempted it. Some freedom I had in pleading for these poor concerned souls, several times; and when interceding for them, I enjoyed greater freedom from wandering and distracting thoughts, than in any part of my supplications. But, in the general, I was greatly exercised with wanderings, so that in the evening it seemed as if I had need to pray for nothing so much as for the pardon of sins committed in the day past, and the vileness I then found in myself. The sins I had most sense of, were pride, and wandering thoughts, whereby I mocked God. The former of these cursed iniquities excited me to think of writing, preaching or converting heathens, or performing some other great work, that my name might live when I should be dead. My soul was in anguish, and ready to drop into despair, to find so much of that cursed temper. With this, and the other evil I laboured under, viz. wandering thoughts, I was almost overwhelmed, and even ready to give over striving after a spirit of devotion; and oftentimes sunk into a considerable degree of despondency, and thought I was ‘more brutish than any man.’ Yet after all my sorrows, I trust, through grace, this day and the exercises of it have been for my good, and taught me more of my corruption, and weakness without Christ, than I knew before. “Friday, December 14. Near noon went to the Indians but knew not what to say to them and was ashamed to look them in the face: I felt I had no power to address their consciences, and therefore had no boldness to say any think. Was, much of the day, in a great degree of despair about ever “doing or seeing any good in the land of the living.”
He continued under the same dejection the next day. “Lord’s day, December 16. Was so overwhelmed with dejection, that I knew not how to live. I longed for death exceedingly: my soul was sunk into deep waters, and the floods were ready to drown me. I was so much oppressed that my soul was in a kind of horror: could not keep my thoughts fixed in prayer for the space of one minute without fluttering and distraction; and was exceedingly ashamed that I did not live to God. I had no distressing doubt about my own state, but would have cheerfully ventured (as far as I could possibly know) into eternity. While I was going to preach to the Indians, my soul was in anguish; I was so overborne with discouragement, that I despaired of doing any good, and was driven to my wit’s end, I knew nothing what to say, nor what course to take. But at last I insisted on the evidence we have of the truth of Christianity from the miracles of Christ; many of which I set before them: and God helped me to make a close application to those who refused to believe the truth of what I taught them. Indeed I was enabled to speak to the consciences of all, in some measure, and was somewhat encouraged to find, that God enabled me to be faithful once more. Then came and preached to another company of them, but was very weary and faint. In the evening I was refreshed, and enabled to pray, and praise God with composure and affection: had some enlargement and courage with respect to my work: was willing to live, and longed to do more for God than my weak state of body would admit of. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me;’ and by his grace, I am willing to spend and be spent in his service, when I am not thus sunk in dejection, and a kind of despair. “Monday, December17. Was comfortable in mind most of the day, and was enabled to pray with some freedom, cheerfulness, composure, and devotion; had also some assistance in writing on a divine subject. “Tuesday, December 18. Went to the Indians, and discoursed to them near an hour, without any power to come close to their hearts. But at last I felt some fervency, and God helped me to speak with warmth. My interpreter also was amazingly assisted, and I doubt not but ‘the Spirit of God was upon him;’(though I had no reason to think he had any true and saving grace, but was only under conviction of his lost state,) and presently upon this most of the grown persons were much affected, and the tears ran down their cheeks, and one old man (I suppose, a hundred years old) was so affected, that he wept, and seemed convinced of the importance of what I taught them. I staid with them a considerable time, exhorting and directing them; and came away, lifting up my heats to God in prayer and praise, and encouraged and exhorted my interpreter to ‘strive to enter in at the strait gate.’ Came home, and spent most of the evening in prayer and thanksgiving, and found myself much enlarged and quickened. Was greatly concerned that the Lord s work which seemed to be begun, might be carried on with power, to the converse of poor souls, and the glory of divine grace. “Wednesday, December 19. Spent a great part of the day in prayer to God for the outpouring of his Spirit on my poor people; as also to bless his name for awakening my interpreter and some others, and giving us some tokens of his presence yesterday. And, blessed be God, I had much freedom, five or six times in the day, in prayer and praise, and felt a weighty concern upon my spirit for the salvation of those precious souls, and the enlargement of the Redeemer’s kingdom among them. My soul hoped in God for some success in my ministry: and blessed be his name for so much hope. “Thursday, December 20. Was enabled to visit the throne of grace frequently this day; and through divine goodness enjoyed much freedom and fervency sundry times: was much assisted in crying for mercy for my poor people, and felt cheerfulness and hope in my requests for them. I spent much of the day in writing; but was enabled to intermix prayer with my studies. “Friday, December 21. Was enabled again to pray with freedom, cheerfulness, and hope. God was pleased to make the duty comfortable and pleasant to me, so that I delighted to persevere, and repeatedly to engage in it. Towards noon visited my people, and spent the whole time in the way to them in prayer, longing to see the power of God among them, as there appeared something of it the last Tuesday; and I found it sweet to rest and hope in God. Preached to them twice, and at two distinct places: had considerable freedom each time, and so had my interpreter. Several of them followed me from one place to the other: and I thought there was some divine influence discernible amongst them. In the evening, was assisted in prayer again. Blessed be the Lord.”
Very much the same things are expressed concerning his inward frame, exercises, and assistances on Saturday as on the preceding days. He observes, that this was a comfortable week to him. But then concludes, “Oh that I had no reason to complain of much barrenness! Oh that there were no vain thoughts and evil affections lodging within me! The Lord knows how I long for that world, where they rest not day nor night, saying Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” etc. On the following Sabbath, he speaks of assistance and freedom in his public work, but as having less of the sensible presence of God than frequently in the week past; but yet says, his soul was kept from sinking in discouragement. On Monday again be seemed to enjoy very much the same liberty and fervency, through the day, that he enjoyed through the greater part of the preceding week. “Tuesday, December 25. Enjoyed very little quiet sleep last night, by reason of bodily weakness, and the closeness of my studies yesterday; yet my heart was somewhat lively in prayer and praise; I was delighted with the divine glory and happiness, and rejoiced that God was God, and that he was unchangeably possessed of glory and blessedness. Though God held my eyes waking, yet he helped me to improve my time profitably amidst my pains and weakness, in continued meditations on Luke 13:7. ‘Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit,’ etc. My meditations were sweet; and I wanted to set before sinners their sin and danger.”
The continued in a very low state as to his bodily health, for some days; which seems to have been a great hindrance to him in his religious exercises and pursuits. But yet he expresses some degree of divine assistance from day to day, through the remaining part of this week. He preached several times this week to his Indians, and there appeared still some concern amongst them for their souls. On Saturday he rode to the Irish settlement about fifteen miles from his lodgings, in order to spend the sabbath there. “Lord’s day, December 30. Discoursed, both parts of the day, from Mark 8:34. “Whosoever will come after me,’ etc. God gave me very great freedom and clearness, and (in the afternoon especially) considerable warmth and fervency. In the evening also had very great clearness while conversing with friends on divine things: I do not remember ever to have had more clear apprehensions of religion in my life: but found a struggle, in the evening, with spiritual pride.”
On Monday be preached again in the same place with freedom and fervency; and rode home to his lodging and arrived in the evening, under a considerable degree of bodily illness, which continued the two next days.
And he complains much of spiritual emptiness and barrenness on those days. “Thursday, January 3, 1745. Being sensible of the great want of divine influences, and the outpouring of God’s Spirit, I spent this day in fasting and prayer, to seek so great a mercy for myself, my poor people in particular, and the church of God in general. In the morning was very lifeless in prayer, and could get scarce any sense of God. Near noon enjoyed some sweet freedom to pray that the will of God might in every respect become mine; and I am persuaded it was so at that time in some good degree. In the afternoon, I was exceeding weak, and could not enjoy much fervency in prayer; but felt a great degree of dejection; which, I believe, was very much owing to my bodily weakness and disorder. “Friday, January 4. Rode up to the Indians near noon spent some time under great disorder: my soul was sunk down into deep waters, and I was almost overwhelmed with melancholy. “Saturday, January 5. Was able to do something at writing but was much disordered with pain in my head. At night was distressed with a sense of my spiritual pollution, and ten thousand youthful, yea, and childish follies, that nobody but myself had any thought about; all which appeared to me now fresh, and in a lively view, as if committed yesterday, and made my soul ashamed before God, and caused me to hate myself. “Lord’s day, January 6. Was still distressed with vapoury disorders.
Preached to my poor Indians: but had little heart or life. Towards night my soul was pressed under a sense of my unfaithfulness. O the joy and peace that arises from a sense of ‘having obtained mercy of God to be faithful!’
And oh the misery and anguish that spring from an apprehension of the contrary!
His dejection continued the two next days; but not to so great a degree on Tuesday, when he enjoyed some freedom and fervency in preaching to the Indians. “Wednesday, January 9. In the morning God was pleased to remove that gloom which has of late oppressed my mind and gave me freedom and sweetness in prayer. I was encouraged, strengthened, and enabled to plead for grace for myself, and mercy for my poor Indians; and was sweetly assisted in my intercessions with God for others. Blessed be his holy name for ever end ever. Amen, and Amen. Those things that of late appeared most difficult and almost impossible, now appeared not only possible, but easy. My soul so much delighted to continue instant in prayer, at this blessed season, that I had no desire for my necessary food: even dreaded leaving off praying at all, lest I should lose this spirituality, and this blessed thankfulness to God which I then felt. I felt now quite willing to live and undergo all trials that might remain for me in a world of sorrow: but still longed for heaven, that I might glorify God in a perfect manner. O ‘come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.’ Spent the day in reading a little; and in some diverses, which I was necessitated to take by reason of much weakness and disorder. In the evening enjoyed some freedom and intenseness in prayer.”
The three remaining days of the week he was very low and feeble in body; but nevertheless continued constantly in the same comfortable sweet frame of mind, as is expressed on Wednesday. On the sabbath this sweetness in spiritual alacrity began to abate; but still he enjoyed some degree of comfort, and had assistance in preaching to the Indians. “Monday, January 14. Spent this day under a great degree of bodily weakness and disorder, and had very little freedom, either in my studies or devotions, and in the evening, I was much dejected and melancholy. It pains and distresses me that I live so much of my time for nothing. I long to do much in a little time, and if it might be the Lord’s will, to finish my work speedily in this tiresome world. I am sure I do not desire to live for any thing in this world, and through grace I am not afraid to look the king of terrors in the face. I know I shall be afraid, if God leaves me, and therefore I think it always my duty to lay in for that solemn hour. But for a very considerable time past, my soul has rejoiced to think of death in its nearest approaches; and even when I have been very weak, and seemed nearest eternity. ‘Not unto me, not unto me, but to God be the glory.’ I feel that which convinces me, that if God do not enable me to maintain a holy dependence upon him, death will easily be a terror to me; but at present, I must say, ‘I long to depart, and to be with Christ,’ which is the best of all. When I am in a sweet resigned frame of soul, I am willing to tarry awhile in a world of sorrow, I am willing to be from home as long as God sees fit it should be so; but when I want the influence of this temper, I am then apt to be impatient to he gone. — Oh when will the day appear, that I shall be perfect in holiness, and in the enjoyment of God!”
The next day was spent under a great degree of dejection and melancholy which (as he himself was persuaded) was owing partly to bodily weakness, and vapoury disorders. “Wednesday and Thursday, January 16 and 17. I spent most of the time in writing on a sweet divine subject, and enjoyed some freedom and assistance. Was likewise enabled to pray more frequently and fervently than usual: and my soul, I think, rejoiced in God, especially on the evening of the last of these days: praise then seemed comely, and I delighted to bless the Lord. O what reason have I to be thankful, that God ever helps me to labour and study for him! he does but receive his own, when I am enabled in any measure to praise him, labour for him, and live to him. Oh, how comfortable and sweet it is, to feel the assistance of divine grace in the performance of the duties God has enjoined us! Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
The same enlargement of heart, and joyful frame of soul, continued through the next day. But on the day following it began to decline, which decay seems to have continued the whole of the next week: yet he enjoyed some seasons of special and sweet assistance. “Lord’s day, January 27. Had the greatest degree of inward anguish that almost ever I endured. I was perfectly overwhelmed, and so confused, that after I began to discourse to the Indians, before I could finish a sentence, sometimes I forgot entirely what I was aiming at, or if, with much difficulty, I had recollected what I had before designed, still it appeared strange, and like something I had long forgotten, and had now but an imperfect remembrance of. I know it was a degree of distraction, occasioned by vapoury disorders, melancholy, spiritual desertion, and some other things that particularly pressed upon me this morning, with an uncommon weight, the principal of which respected my Indians. This distressing gloom never went off the whole day, but was so far removed, that I was enabled to speak with some freedom and concern to the Indians, at two of their settlements; and I think there was some appearance of the presence of God with us, some seriousness, and seeming concern among the Indians, at least a few of them. In the evening this gloom continued still, till family prayer, about nine o’clock, and almost through this, until I came near the close, when I was praying (as I usually do) for the illumination and converse of my poor people; and then the cloud was scattered, so that I enjoyed sweetness and freedom, and conceived hopes that God designed mercy for some of them. The same I enjoyed afterwards in secret prayer; in which precious duty I had for a considerable time sweetness and freedom, and (I hope) faith, in praying for myself, my poor Indians, and dear friends and acquaintance in New England, and elsewhere, and for the dear interest of Zion in general. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
He spent the rest of this week, or at least the most of it under dejection and melancholy, which on Friday rose to an extreme height, he being then, as he himself observes, much exercised with vapoury disorders. This exceeding gloominess continued on Saturday, till the evening, when he was again relieved in family prayer, and after it was refreshed in secret, and felt willing to live, and endure hardships in the cause of God; and found his hopes of the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, as also his hopes to see the power, of God among the poor Indians, considerably raised. “Lord’s day, February 3. In the morning I was somewhat relieved of that gloom and confusion that my mind has of late been greatly exercised with: was enabled to pray with some composure and comfort. But, however, went to my Indians trembling; for my soul ‘remembered the wormwood and the gall’ (I might almost say the hell) of Friday last; and I was greatly afraid I should be obliged again to drink of that cup of trembling, which was inconceivably more bitter than death, and made me long for the grave more, unspeakably more, than for hid treasures, yea, inconceivably more than the men of this world long for such treasures. But God was pleased to hear my cries, and to afford me great assistance; so that I felt peace in my own soul and was satisfied, that if not one of the Indians should be profited by my preaching, but should all be damned, yet I should be accepted and rewarded as faithful; for I am persuaded God enabled me to be so. — Had some good degree of help afterwards, at another place; and much longed for the converse of the poor Indians. Was somewhat refreshed, and comfortable, towards night, and in the evening. O that my soul might praise the Lord for his goodness! — Enjoyed some freedom in the evening, in meditation on Luke 13:24. ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate,’ etc.”
In the three next days he was the subject of much dejection; but the three remaining days of the week seem to have been spent with much composure and comfort. On the next sabbath he preached at Greenwich in New Jersey. In the evening he rode eight miles to visit a sick man it the point of death, and found him speechless and senseless. “Monday, February 11. About break of day the sick man died. I was affected at the sight: spent the morning with the mourners: and after prayer, and some discourse with them, I returned to Greenwich, and preached again from Psalm 89:15. ‘Blessed is the people that know,’ etc. and the Lord gave me assistance; I felt a sweet love to souls, and to the kingdom of Christ; and longed that poor sinners might know the joyful sound. Several persons were much affected. And after meeting I was enabled to discourse with freedom and concern, to some persons that applied to me under spiritual trouble. Left the place, sweetly composed, and rode home to my house about eight miles distant. Discoursed to friends, and inculcated divine truths upon some. In the evening was in the most solemn frame that almost I ever remember to have experienced: I know not that ever death appeared more real to me, or that ever I saw myself in the condition of a dead corpse, laid out, and dressed for a lodging in the silent grave, so evidently as at this time. And yet I felt exceeding comfortably, my mind was composed and calm, and death appeared without a sting. I think I never felt such an universal mortification to all created objects as now. Oh how great and solemn a thing it appeared to die! Oh, how it lays the greatest honour in the dust! And oh, how vain and trifling did the riches honours, and pleasures of the world appear! I could not, I dare not, so much as think of any of them; for death, death, solemn (though not frightful) death appeared at the door. Oh, I could see myself dead, and laid out, and enclosed in my coffin, and put down into the cold grave, with the greatest solemnity, but without terror! I spent most of the evening in conversing with a dear christian friend and, blessed be God, it was a comfortable evening to us both. — What are friends? What are comforts? What are sorrows? What are distresses? — ‘The time is short: it remains, that they which weep be as though they wept not; and they which rejoice, as though they rejoiced not: for the fashion of this world passeth away. O come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.’ — Blessed be God for the comforts of the past day. “Tuesday, February 12. Was exceeding weak; but in a sweet, resigned, composed frame, most of the day: felt my heart freely go forth after God in prayer. “Wednesday, Feb,13. Was much exercised with vapoury disorders, but still enabled to maintain solemnity, and, I think, spirituality. “Thursday, February 14. Spent the day in writing on a divine subject: enjoyed health, and freedom in my work; had a solemn sense of death; as I have indeed had every day this week, in some measure: what I felt on Monday last has been abiding, in some considerable degree, ever since. “Friday, February 15. Was engaged in writing again almost the whole day.
In the evening was much assisted in meditating on that precious text, John 7:37. ‘Jesus stood and cried,’ etc. I had then a sweet sense of the free grace of the gospel; my soul was encouraged, warmed, and quickened.
My desires were drawn out after God in prayer; and my soul was watchful, afraid of losing so sweet a guest as I then entertained. I continued long in prayer and meditation, intermixing one with the other, and was unwilling to be diverted by any thing at all from so sweet an exercise. I longed to proclaim the grace I then meditated upon, to the world of sinners. — O how quick and powerful is the word of the blessed God!”
The next day he complains of great conflicts with corruption, and much discomposure of mind. “Lord’s day, February 17. Preached to the white people (my interpreter being absent) in the wilderness upon the sunny side of a hill: had a considerable assembly, consisting of people who lived (at least many of them) not less than thirty miles asunder; some of them came near twenty miles. I discoursed to them, all day, from John 7:37. ‘Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst,’ etc. In the afternoon it pleased God to grant me great freedom and fervency in my discourse, and I was enabled to imitate the example of Christ in the text, who stood and cried. — I think l was scarce ever enabled to offer the free grace of God to perishing sinners with more freedom and plainness in my life. And afterwards I was enabled earnestly to invite the children of God to come renewedly, and drink of this fountain of water of life, from whence they have heretofore derived unspeakable satisfaction. It was a very comfortable time to me. There were many tears in the assembly; and I doubt not but that the Spirit of God was there, convincing poor sinners of their need of Christ. In the evening I felt composed and comfortable, though much tired. I had some sweet sense of the excellency and glory of God, and my soul rejoiced, that he was ‘God over all, blessed for ever;’ but was too much crowded with company and conversation, and longed to be more alone with God. Oh that I could for ever bless God for the mercy of this day, who ‘answered me in the joy of my heart.”
The remainder of this week seems to have been spent under a decay of this life and joy, and in distressing conflicts with corruption; but not without some seasons of refreshment and comfort. “Lord’s day, February 24. In the morning was much perplexed: my interpreter being absent, I knew not how to perform my work among the Indians. However, I rode to them, got a Dutchman to interpret for me, though be was but poorly qualified for the business. Afterwards I came and preached to a few white people from John 6:67. ‘Then said Jesus unto the twelve,’ etc. Here the Lord seemed to unburden me in some measure, especially towards the close of my discourse: I felt freedom to open the love of Christ to his own dear disciples. When the rest of the world forsakes him, and are forsaken by him that he calls them no more, he then turns to his own, and says, Will ye also go away? I had a sense of the free grace of Christ to his own people, in such seasons of general apostacy, and when they themselves in some treasure backslide with the world. O the free grace of Christ, that he seasonably reminds his people of their danger of backsliding, and invites them to persevere in their adherence to himself! I saw that backsliding souls who seemed to be about to go away with the world, might return, and welcome, to him immediately, without any thing to recommend them; notwithstanding all their former backslidings. And thus my discourse was suited to my own soul’s case: for, of late, I have found a great want of this sense and apprehension of divine grace, and have often been greatly distressed in my own soul, because I did not suitably apprehend this ‘fountain to purge away sin;’ and to have been too much labouring for spiritual life, peace of conscience, and progressive holiness, in my own strength: but now God showed me, in some measure, the arm of all strength, and the fountain of all grace. — In the evening I felt solemn, devout, and sweet, resting on free grace for assistance, acceptance, and peace of conscience.”
Within the space of the next nine days he had frequent refreshing, invigorating influences of God’s Spirit; attended with complaints of dulness, and with longings after spiritual life and holy fervency. “Wednesday, March 6. Spent most of the day in preparing for a journey to New England. Spent some time in prayer, with a special reference to my intended journey. Was afraid I should forsake the fountain of living waters, and attempt to derive satisfaction from broken cisterns, my dear friends and acquaintance, with whom I might meet in my journey. I looked to God to keep me from this vanity, as well as others. Towards night, and in the evening, was visited by some friends, some of whom, I trust, were real Christians, who discovered an affectionate regard to me, and seemed grieved that I was about to leave them, especially seeing I did not expect to make any considerable stay among them, if I should live to return from New England. O how kind has God been to me I how has he raised up friends in evrery place, where his providence has called me! Friends are a great comfort; and it is God that gives them; it is he makes them friendly to me. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
The next day he set out on his journey; and it was about five weeks before he returned. — The special design of this journey, he himself declares afterwards, in his diary for March 21, where, speaking of his conversing with a certain minister in New England, he says, “ Contrived with him how to raise some money among christian friends, in order to support a colleague with me in the wilderness, (I having now spent two years in a very solitary manner,) that we might be together, as Christ sent out his disciples two and two: and as this was the principal concern I had in view, in taking this journey, so I took pains in it, and hope God will succeed it, if for his glory.” He first went into various part of New Jersey, and visited several ministers there: then went to New York; and from thence into New England, going to various parts of Connecticut. He then returned into New Jersey; and met a number of ministers at Woodbridge, “who,” he says, “met there to consult about the affairs of Christ’s kingdom, in some important articles.” He seems, for the most part, to have been free from melancholy in this journey, and many times to have had extraordinary assistance in public ministrations, and his preaching sometimes attended with very hopeful appearances of a good effect on the auditory. He also had many seasons of special comfort and spiritual refreshment, in conversation with ministers and other christian friends, and also in meditation and prayer when alone. “Saturday, April 13. Rode home to my own house at the Forks of Delware: was enabled to remember the goodness of the Lord, who has now preserved me while riding full six hundred miles in this journey; has kept me that none of my bones have been broken. Blessed be the Lord, who has preserved me in this tedious journey, and resumed me in safety to my own house. Verily it is God that has upheld me, and guarded my goings. “Lord’s day, April 14. Was disordered in body with the fatigues of my late journey, but was enabled however to preach to a considerable assembly of white people, gathered from all parts round about, with some freedom from Ezekiel 33:11. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God,’ &c Had much more assistance than I expected.”
This week he went a journey to Philadelphia, in order to engage the governor there to use his interest with the chief man of the Six Nations, (with whom he maintained a strict friendship,) that he would give him leave to live at Susquehannah, and instruct the Indians that are within their territories. In his way to and from thence, he lodged with Mr. Beaty, a young presbyterian minister. He speaks of seasons of sweet spiritual refreshment that he enjoyed at his lodgings. “Saturday, April 20. Rode with Mr. Beaty to Abington, to attend Mr.
Treat’s administration of the sacrament, according to the method of the church of Scotland. When we arrived, we found Mr. Treat preaching; afterwards I preached a sermon from Matthew 5:3. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ etc. God was pleased to give me great freedom and tenderness, both in prayer and sermon: the assembly was sweetly melted, and scores were all in tears. It was, as then I hoped, and was afterwards abundantly satisfied by conversing with them, a ‘word spoken in season to many weary souls.’ I was extremely tired, and my spirits much exhausted, so that I could scarcely speak loud; yet I could not help rejoicing in God. “Lord’s day, April 21. In the morning was calm and composed, and had some outgoings of soul after God in secret duties, and longing desires of his presence in the sanctuary and at his table; that his presence might be in the assembly; and that his children might be entertained with a feast of fat things. — In the forenoon Mr. Treat preached. I felt some affection and tenderness during the administration of the ordinance. Mr. Beaty preached to the multitude abroad, who could not half have crowded into the meeting-house. In the season of the communion, I had comfortable and sweet apprehensions of the blissful communion of God’s people, when they shall meet at their Father’s table in his kingdom, in a state of perfection. — In the afternoon I preached abroad, to the whole assembly, from Revelation 14:4. ‘These are they that follow the Lamb,’ etc. God was pleased again to give me very great freedom and clearness, but not so much warmth as before. However, there was a most amazing attention in the whole assembly; and, as I was informed afterwards, this was a sweet season to many. “Monday, April 22. I enjoyed some sweetness in retirement, in the morning. At eleven o’clock Mr. Beaty preached, with freedom and life.
Then I preached from John 7:37. ‘In the last day,’ etc. and concluded the solemnity. Had some freedom, but not equal to what I had enjoyed before: yet in the prayer the Lord enabled me to cry, I hope, with a childlike temper, with tenderness and brokenness of heart. — Came home with Mr. Beaty to his lodgings; and spent the time, while riding, and afterwards, very agreeably on divine things. “Tuesday, April 23. Left Mr. Beaty’s, and returned home to the Forks of Delaware: enjoyed some sweet meditations on the road, and was enabled to lift up my heart to God in prayer and praise.”
The two next days he speaks of much bodily disorder, but of some degrees of spiritual assistance and freedom. “Friday, April 26. Conversed with a christian friend with some warmth, and felt a spirit of mortification to the world, in a very great degree.
Afterwards was enabled to pray fervently, and to rely on God sweetly, for ‘all things pertaining to life and godliness.’ Just in the evening was visited by a dear christian friend, with whom I spent an hour or two in conversation, on the very soul of religion. There are many with whom I can talk about religion, but alas! I find few with whom I can talk religion itself: but, blessed be the Lord, there are some that love to feed on the kernel, rather than the shell.”
The next day he went to the Irish settlement, often before mentioned, about fifteen miles distant, where he spent the sabbath, and preached with some considerable assistance. On Monday he resumed, in a very weak state, to his own lodgings. “Tuesday, April 30. Was scarce able to walk about, and was obliged to betake myself to bed much of the day; and spent away the time in a very solitary manner; being neither able to read, meditate, nor pray, and had none to converse with in that wilderness. Oh, how heavily does time pass away, when I can do nothing to any good purpose; but seem obliged to pass away precious time! But of late, I have seen it my duty to divert myself by all lawful means, that I may be at, at least some small part of my time, to labour for God. And here is the difference between my present diverses, and those I once pursued, when in a natural state. Then I made a god of diverses, delighted in them with a neglect of God, and drew my highest satisfaction from them: now I use them as means to help me in living to God; fixedly delighting in him, and not in them, drawing my highest satisfaction from him. Then they were my all; now they are only means leading to my all. And those things that are the greatest diverse when pursued with this view, do not tend to hinder but promote my spirituality; and I see now, more than ever, that they are absolutely necessary. “Wednesday, May 1. Was not able to sit up more than half the day; and yet had such recruits of strength sometimes, that I was able to write a little on a divine subject. Was grieved that I could no more live to God. In the evening had some sweetness and intenseness in secret prayer. “Thursday, May 2. In the evening, being a little better in health, I walked into the woods, and enjoyed a sweet season of meditation and prayer. My thoughts ran upon Psalm 17:15. ‘I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.’ And it was indeed a precious text to me. I longed to preach to the whole world, and it seemed to me, they must needs all be melted in hearing such precious divine truths, as I had then a view and relish of. My thoughts were exceeding clear, and my soul was refreshed. — Blessed be the Lord, that in my late and present weakness, now for many days together, my mind is not gloomy, as at some other times. “Friday, May 3. Felt a little vigour of body and mind in the morning; had some freedom, strength, and sweetness in prayer. Rode to, and spent some time with, my Indians. In the evening again retiring into the woods, I enjoyed some sweet meditations on Isaiah 53:1. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,’ etc.”
The three next days were spent in much weakness of body: but yet he enjoyed some assistance in public and private duties; and seems to have remained free from melancholy. “Tuesday, May 7. Spent the day mainly in making preparation for a journey into the wilderness. Was still weak, and concerned how I should perform so difficult a journey. Spent some time in prayer for the divine blessing, direction, and protection in my intended journey; but wanted bodily strength to spend the day in fasting and prayer.”
The next day he set out on his journey to Susquehannah, with his interpreter. He endured great hardships and fatigues in his way thither through a hideous wilderness; where after having lodged one night in the open woods, he was overtaken with a north-easterly storm, in which he was almost ready to perish. Having no manner of shelter, and not being able to make a fire in so great a rain, he could have no comfort if he stops, therefore he determined to go forward in hopes of meeting with some shelter, without which he thought it impossible to live the night through; but their horses — happening to have eat poison (for want of other food) at a place where they lodged the night before — were so sick that they could neither ride nor lead them, but were obliged to drive them and travel on foot; until, through the mercy of God, just at dusk they came to a barkhut, where they lodged that night.
After he came to Susquehannah, he travelled about a hundred miles on the river, and visited many towns and settlements of the Indians: saw some of seven or eight distinct tribes, and preached to different nations by different interpreters. He was sometimes much discouraged, and sunk in his spirits through the opposition that appeared in the Indians to Christianity. At other times he was encouraged by the disposition that some of these people manifested to hear and willingness to be instructed. He here met with some that had formerly been his hearers at Kaunaumeek, and had removed hither, who saw and heard him again with great joy. He spent a fortnight among the Indians on this river, and passed through considerable labours and hardships, frequently lodging on the ground, and sometimes in the open air; and at length he fell extremely ill, as he was Riding in the wilderness, being seized with an ague, followed with a burning fever, and extreme pains in his head and bowels, attended with a great evacuation of blood; so that he thought he must have perished in the wilderness. But at last coming to an Indian trader’s hut, he got leave to stay there, and though without physic or food proper for him, it pleased God, after about a week’s distress, to relieve him so far that he was able to ride. He returned homewards from Juncauta, an island far down the river, where was a considerable number of Indians, who appeared more free from prejudices against Christianity, than most of the other Indians. He arrived at the Forks of Delaware on Thursday, May 30, after having rode in this journey about three hundred and forty miles. He came home in a very weak state, and under dejection of mind; which was a great hinderance to him in religious exercises. However, on the sabbath, after having preached to the Indians, he preached to the white people with some success from Isaiah 53:10. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him,’ etc. some being awakened by his preaching. The next day he was much exercised for want of spiritual life and fervency. “Tuesday, June 4. Towards evening was in distress for God’s presence, and a sense of divine things: withdrew myself to the woods, and spent near an hour in prayer and meditation, and I think the Lord had compassion on me, and gave me some sense of divine things, which was indeed refreshing and quickening to me. My soul enjoyed intenseness and freedom in prayer, so that it grieved me to leave the place. “Wednesday, June 5. Felt thirsting desires after God in the morning. In the evening enjoyed a precious season of retirement: was favoured with some clear and sweet meditations upon a sacred text; divine things opened with clearness and certainty, and had a divine stamp upon them. My soul was also enlarged and refreshed in prayer; and I delighted to continue in the duty; and was sweetly assisted in praying for fellow-christians, and my dear brethren in the ministry. Blessed be the dear Lord for such enjoyments. O how sweet and precious it is, to have a clear apprehension and tender sense of the mystery of godliness of true holiness, and likeness to the best of beings! O what a blessedness it is to be as much like God, as it is possible for a creature to be like his great Creator! Lord give me more of thy likeness; ‘I shall be satisfied, when I awake with it.’ “Thursday, June 6. Was engaged a considerable part of the day in meditation and study on divine subjects. Enjoyed some special freedom, clearness. And sweetness in meditation, O how refreshing it is, to be enabled to improve time well!”
The next day he went a journey of near fifty miles to Neshaminy, to assist at a sacramental occasion, to be attended at Mr. Beaty’s meeting-house; being invited thither by him and his people. “Saturday, June 8. Was exceeding weak and fatigued with riding in the heat yesterday: but being desired, I preached in the afternoon, to a crowded audience, from Isaiah 40:1. ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.’ God was pleased to give me great freedom, in opening the sorrows of God’s people, and in setting before them comforting considerations. And. blessed be the Lord, it was a sweet melting season in the assembly. “Lord’s day, June 9. Felt some longing desires of the presence of God to be with his people on the solemn occasion of the day. In the forenoon Mr.
Beaty preached; and there appeared some warmth in the assembly.
Afterwards I assisted in the administration of the Lord’s supper: and towards the close of it, I discoursed to the multitude extempore, with some reference to that sacred passage, Isaiah 53:10. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.’ Here God gave me great assistance in addressing sinners: and the word was attended with amazing power; many scores, if not hundreds, in that great assembly, consisting of three or four thousand, were much affected; so that there was a ‘very great mourning, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon.’ — In the evening I could hardly look any body in the face, because of the imperfections I saw in my performances in the day past. “Monday, June 10. Preached with a good degree of clearness and some sweet warmth, from Psalm 17:15. ‘I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.’ And blessed be God, there was a great solemnity and attention in the assembly, and sweet refreshment among God’s people, as was evident then) and afterwards. “Tuesday, June 11. Spent the day mainly in conversation with dear christian friends; and enjoyed some sweet sense of divine things. O how desirable it is, to keep company with God’s dear children! These are the ‘excellent ones of the earth in whom,’ I can truly say, ‘is all my delight.’ O what delight will it afford, to meet them all in a state of perfection! Lord, prepare me for that state.”
The next day he left Mr. Beaty’s, and went to Maidenhead in New Jersey; and spent the next seven days in a comfortable state of mind, visiting several ministers in those parts. “Tuesday, June 18. Set out from New Brunswick with a design to visit some Indians at a place called Crossweeksung in New Jersey, towards the sea. In the afternoon, came to a place called Cranberry, and meeting with a serious minister, Mr. Macknight, I lodged there with him. Had some enlargement and freedom in prayer with a number of people.”
PART FROM HIS BEGINNNG 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, “herein 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 “teat and longcontinued 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 converse 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, etc. “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 Revelation 3:12. ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,’ etc. 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 converse 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 griever 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.”
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, August 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 converse; 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, Chapter 9:16. ‘If I had called, and he had answered,’ etc. My rising hopes, respecting the converse 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, August 19. — Near noon, I rode to Freehold, and preached to a considerable assembly, from Matthew 5:3. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, etc. 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 twelvemonth 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, August 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, August 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, August 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, August 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 the sweet peace of conscience’ and tenderness of soul, I then enjoyed. O the blessed foretastes of heaven! “Lord’s day, August 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 the day past amongst them, and praying that God would still carry on his divine work among them. “Monday, August 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, September 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, September 4. Rode fifteen miles to an Irish settlement, and preached there from Luke 14:22. ‘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 he 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, September 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, September 8. In the evening God was pleased to enlarge me in player, 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 riverse He performed the journey under a considerable degree of melancholy. “Saturday, September 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 September 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, September 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, September 25. Rode still homeward. In the forenoon enjoyed freedom and intenseness of mind in meditation, on Job 42:5,6. ‘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, September 26. Was still much disordered in body, and able to ride but slowly. Continued my journey howeverse 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, September 27. Spent a considerable time in the morning in player 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, October 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.
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 October 24. While he was at least 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 pour first days after his return from his journey, I refer the reader to his public Journal. “Monday, October 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, October 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, October 30. My soul was refreshed with a view of the continuance of God’s blessed work among the Indians. “Thursday, October 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, November 1. See the public Journal. “Saturday, November 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.”
November 3, and 4. See the public Journal. — Tuesday, November 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, November 10. (At Elizabeth-town.) Was comfortable in the morning, both in body and mind preached in the forenoon from Corinthians 5:20. ‘Now then we are ambassadors for Christ’ etc. 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 14:22. ‘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, November 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, November 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.
He spent the four next days at Elizabethtown, 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, November 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 affliction, 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, November 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, November 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 9:31. ‘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 ofCHRIST is for glorified souls to dwell upon in their conversation. Oh, the death ofCHRIST! how infinitely precious!”
For the three next days, see the public Journal. “Monday, December 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. — Lords day, December 8. See his public Journal. “Monday, December 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, December 10. Was engaged in the same business as yesterday.
Towards night, got into my own house. “Wednesday, December 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, December 12. See his public Journal. “Friday, December 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, December 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, December 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, December 22. See the public Journal. “Monday and Tuesday, December 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, December 25. See the public Journal. “Thursday and Friday, December 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.”
For the four next days see his public Journal. “Wednesday, January 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 hear 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!”
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, January 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, January 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, January 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, January 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 be 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, January 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.
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 Elizabethtown: 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, February 1. Towards night enjoyed some of the clearest thoughts on a divine subject, (viz. that treated of 1 Corinthians 15:13-16. ‘But if there be no resurrection of the dead,’ etc.) 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, February 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 whatsoeverse 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, February 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 diverses for his health.” For Saturday. February 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, February 16. — In the evening was in a sweet composed frame 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 be faithful. — Enjoyed more resolution and courage for God, and more refreshment of spirit, than I have been favoured with for many weeks past. “Monday, February 17. — I was refreshed and encouraged: found a spirit of prayer, in the evening, and earnest longings for the illumination and converse of these poor Indians.” “Tuesday, February 18. See the public Journal. “Wednesday, February 19. — My heart was comforted and refreshed, and my soul filled with longings for the converse of the Indians here. “Thursday, February 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 faithfulness, and with encouragement of success! Blessed be the Lord for ever and ever, for the assistance and comfort granted this day. “Friday, February 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, February 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 encouragement 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, February 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 be 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 3O, 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 Revelation 22:17. ‘And whosoever will,’ etc. 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 l cannot say I have felt such a sweet and fervent love 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 Thursday 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 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 Psalm 73:28. ‘But it is good for me to draw near to God,’ etc. 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 Psalm 73:28. ‘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. 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 begathered 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 be 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 Titus 2:14. ‘Who gave himself for us,’ etc. 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 etc. 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 9:30,31. “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, etc. yet will l 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 hindrance 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 Revelation 3:20. “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, etc. — 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 conveniences 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 thought; 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 he 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, etc. 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. “Wednesdays, 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 known 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 converse 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! My 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 Psalm 73:28. ‘But it is good for me to draw near to God,’ etc. 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 Corinthians 5:20. ‘Now then we are ambassadors for Christ etc. 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 Genesis 5:24. ‘And Enoch walked with God,’ etc. 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, in 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, back in the wilderness. Was refreshed in prayer for dear friends in New England, and else where: 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 Revelation 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 frame, that I could not hold up my head, nor look any body in the face. Administered the Lord’s supper at Mr. Wale’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 Revelation 22:17. ‘And whosoever will,’ etc. 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. — 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 14:19. ‘Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more,’ etc. 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 Hebrews 9:27. ‘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 Elizabethtown; 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 Ezekiel 33:11. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God,’ etc. 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 Romans 4:25. ‘Who was delivered for our offences,’ etc.
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 6:35. 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 resumed home much spent, yet rejoicing in the goodness of God. “Monday, July 14. Went to my people, and discoursed to them from <19B910> Psalm 119:106. ‘I have sworn, and I will perform it,’ etc. 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 17:24. ‘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, etc. 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, be 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 Luke 12:37. 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 13:25. When once the master of the house is risen up,’ etc. 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: bad 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; and 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, August 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, August 2. Near night preached from Matthew 11:29. ‘Take my yoke upon you,’ etc. 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, August 3. Discoursed to my people, in the forenoon, from Colossians 3:4. 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 19:41,42. ‘And when he was come near, he beheld the city,’ etc. 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, August 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, August 5. Towards night preached at the funeral of one of my Christians, from Isaiah 57:2. ‘He shall enter into peace etc. 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, August 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, August 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 found a serenity of mind. Oh that I could magnify the Lord for any freedom he affords me in prayer! “Lord’s day, August 10. Discoursed to my people, both parts of the day, from Acts 3:19. ‘Repent ye, therefore,’ etc. 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, August 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 2nd 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 4:31. ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken,’ etc. 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 72nd 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 he 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, August 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, August 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 Ezekiel 33:11. ‘Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God,’ etc. 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, August18. Rode on my way towards Paxton, upon Susquehannah riverse Felt my spirits sink, towards night, so that I had little comfort. “Tuesday, August 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, August 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, etc. 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, August 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, August 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, August 23. Arrived at the Indian town, called Shaumoking near night. Was not so dejected as formerly, but jet 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, August 24. Towards noon, visited some of the Delaware, 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. “Monday, August 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, August 26. About noon discounted 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, August 27. There having been a thick smoke in the house where I lodged all night before, where by 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 door 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, August 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, August 29. Felt the same concern of mind as the day before.
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, August 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, August 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, September 1. Set out on a journey towards a place called The great island, about fifty miles distant from Shaumoking, in the northwestern 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, September 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 top 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, etc. “Wednesday, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 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 spirit.
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 (me thought) 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, September 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, September 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 other) 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 not 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, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 14. At the desire of Mr. Treat and the people, I preached both parts of the day (but short) from Luke 14:23. ‘And the Lord said unto the servant, go out,’ etc. 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, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 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, September 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.”
PART AFTER HIS RETURN FROM HIS LAST JOURNEY TO SUSQUEHANNAH, UNTIL HIS DEATH.
HITHERTO Mr. Brainerd had kept a constant diary giving an account of what passed from day to day, with very little interruption: but henceforward his diary is very much interrupted by his illness; under which he was often brought so low, as either not to be capable of writing, or not well able to bear the burden of a care so constant, as was requisite, to recollect every evening what had passed in the day, and digest it, and set down an orderly account of it in writing. However, his diary was not wholly neglected; but he took care, from time to time to take some notice in it of the most material things concerning himself and the state of his mind, even till within a few days of his death; as the reader will see afterwards. “Lord’s day, September 21, 1746. I was so weak I could not preach, nor pretend to ride over to my people in the forenoon. In the afternoon rode out, sat in my chair, and discoursed to my people from Romans 14:7,8. ‘For none of us liveth to himself,’ etc. I was strengthened and helped in my discourse, and there appeared something agreeable in the assembly. I returned to my lodgings extremely tired, but thankful that I had been enabled to speak a word to my poor people I had been so long absent from. Was able to sleep very little this night, through weariness and pain.
Oh, how blessed should I be, if the little I do were all done with right views! Oh that, ‘whether I live, I might live to the Lord,’ etc. “Saturday, September 27. Spent this day, as well as the whole week past, under a great degree of bodily weakness exercised with a violent cough, and a considerable feverse I had no appetite to any kind of food, and frequently brought up what I ate, as soon as it was down, and oftentimes had little rest in my bed by reason of pains in my breast and back. I was able, however, to ride over to my people about two miles every day, and take some care of those who were then at work upon a small house for me to reside in amongst the Indians. I was sometimes scarce able to walk, and never able to sit up the whole day, through the week. Was calm and composed, and but little exercised with melancholy damps, as in former seasons of weakness. Whether I should ever recover or no, seemed very doubtful; but this was many times a comfort to me, that life and death did not depend upon my choice. I was pleased to think, that he who is infinitely wise, had the determination of this matter; and that I had no trouble to consider and weigh things upon all sides, in order to make the choice, whether I should live or die. Thus my time was consumed; I had little strength to pray, none to write or read, and scarce any to meditate: but through divine goodness, I could with great composure look death in the face, and frequently with sensible joy. Oh, how blessed it is, to be habitually prepared for death! The Lord grant that I may be actually ready also! “Lord’s day, September 28. Rode to my people: and though under much weakness, attempted to preach from 2 Corinthians 13:5. ‘Examine yourselves,’ etc. Discoursed about half an hour; at which season divine power seemed to attend the word: but being extremely weak, I was obliged to desist: and after a turn of faintness, with much difficulty rode to my lodgings; where betaking myself to my bed, I lay in a burning fever, and almost delirious, for several hours; till towards morning my fever went off with a violent sweat. I have often been feverish, and unable to rest quietly after preaching; but this was the most severe, distressing turn that ever preaching brought upon me. Yet I felt perfectly at rest in my own mind, because I had made my utmost attempts to speak for God, and knew I could do no more. “Tuesday, September 30. Yesterday, and to-day, was in the same weak state, or rather weaker than in days past, was scarce able to sit up half the day. Was in a composed frame of mind, remarkably free from dejection and melancholy damps; as God has been pleased, in a great measure, to deliver me from these unhappy glooms, in the general course of my present weakness hitherto, and also from a peevish, froward spirit. And oh how great a mercy is this! Oh that I might always be perfectly quiet in seasons of greatest weakness, although nature should sink and fail! Oh that I may always be able with utmost sincerity to say, ‘Lord, not my will, but thine be done! This, through grace, I can say at present, with regard to life or death, ‘The Lord do with me as seems good in his sight;’ that whether I live or die, I may glorify him, who is worthy to receive blessing, and honour, and dominion for ever. Amen.’ “Saturday, October 4. Spent the former part of this week under a great degree of infirmity and disorder, as I had done several weeks before: was able, however to ride a little every day, although unable to sit up half the day, till Thursday. Took some care daily of some persons at work upon my house. On Friday afternoon found myself wonderfully revived and strengthened, and having some time before given notice to my people, and those of them at the Forks of Delaware in particular, that I designed with leave of Providence, to administer the sacrament of the Lord’s supper upon the first sabbath in October, the sabbath now approaching, on Friday afternoon I preached preparatory to the sacrament, from Corinthians 13:5. finishing what I had proposed to offer upon the subject the sabbath before. The sermon was blessed of God to the stirring up religious affection, and a spirit of devotion, in the people of God; and to the greatly affecting one who had backslidden from God, which caused him to judge and condemn himself. I was surprisingly strengthened in my work while I was speaking: but was obliged immediately after to repair to bed, being now removed into my own house among the Indians; which gave me such speedy relief and refreshment, as I could not well have lived without.
Spent some time on Friday night in conversing with my people about divine things, as I lay upon my bed; and found my soul refreshed, though my body was weak. This being Saturday, I discoursed ,particularly with divers of the communicants; and this afternoon preached from Zechariah 12:10. ‘And I will pour on the house of David,’ etc. There seemed to be a tender melting, and hearty mourning for sin, in members in the congregation. My soul was in a comfortable frame, and I enjoyed freedom and assistance in public service; was myself, as well as most of the congregation, much affected with the humble confession and apparent broken-heartedness of the forementioned backslider; and could not but rejoice, that God had given him such a sense of his sin and unworthiness.
Was extremely tired in the evening; but lay on my bed, and discoursed to my people. “Lord’s day, October 5. Was still very weak, and in the morning considerably afraid I should not be able to go through the work of the day; having, much to do, both in private and public. Discoursed before the administration of the sacrament, from John 1:29. ‘Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.’ Where I considered, I. In what respects Christ is called the lamb of God: and observed that he is so called, (1.) From the purity and innocency of his nature. (2.) From his meekness and patience under sufferings. (3.) From his being that atonement, which was pointed out in the sacrifice of lambs, and in particular by the paschal lamb.
II. Considered how and in what sense he ‘takes away the sin of the world:’ and observed, that the means and manner, in and by which he takes away the sins of men, was his giving himself for them,’ doing and suffering in their room and stead, etc. And he is said to take away the sin of the world, not because all the world shall actually be redeemed from sin by him, but because, (1.) He has done and suffered sufficient to answer for the sins of the world, and so to redeem all mankind. (2.) He actually does take away the sins of the elect world. And, III. Considered how we are to behold him, in order to have our sins taken away. (1.) Not with our bodily eyes. Nor (2.) By imagining him on the cross, etc.
But by a spiritual new of his glory and goodness, engaging the soul to rely on him, etc. — The divine presence attended this discourse; and the assembly was considerably melted with divine truths. After sermon baptized two persons. Then administered the Lord’s supper to near forty communicants of the Indians, besides divers dear Christians of the white people. It seemed to be a season of divine power and grace; and numbers seemed to rejoice in God. Oh, the sweet union and harmony then appearing among the religious people! My soul was refreshed, and my religious friends, of the white people, with me. After the sacrament, could scarcely get home, though it was not more than twenty roods, but was supported and led by my friends and laid on my bed, where I lay in pain till some time in the evening, and then was able to sit up and discourse with friends. Oh, how was this day spent in prayers and praises among my dear people! One might hear them, all the morning, before public worship, and in the evening, till near midnight, praying and singing praises to God, in one or other of their houses. My soul was refreshed, though my body was weak.”
This week, in two days, though in a very low state, he went to Elizabethtown, to attend the meeting of the Synod there: but was disappointed by its removal to New York. He continued in a very composed, comfortable frame of mind. “Saturday, October 11. Towards night was seized with an ague, which was followed with a hard fever, and considerable pain: was treated with great kindness, and was ashamed to see so much concern about so unworthy a creature, as I knew myself to be. Was in a comfortable frame of mind, wholly submissive, with regard to life or death. It was indeed a peculiar satisfaction to me, to think, that it was not my concern or business to determine whether I should live or diet I likewise felt peculiarly satisfied, while under this uncommon degree of disorder being now fully convinced of my being really weak, and unable to perform my work. Whereas at other times my mind we; perplexed with fears, that I was a misimprover of time, by conceiting I was sick when I was not in reality so. Oh, how precious is time! And how guilty it makes me feel, when I think I have trifled away and misimproved it, or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity! “Lord’s day, October 12. Was scarce able to sit up in the forenoon: in the afternoon attended public worship, and was in a composed, comfortable frame. “Lord’s day, October 19. Was scarcely able to do any thing at all in the week past, except that on Thursday I rode out about four miles, at which time I took cold. As I was able to do little or nothing, so I enjoyed not much spirituality, or lively religious affection, though at some times I longed much to be more fruitful and full of heavenly affection, and was grieved to see the hours slide away, while I could do nothing for God. — Was able this week to attend public worship. Was composed and comfortable, willing either to die or live; but found it hard to be reconciled to the thoughts of living useless. Oh that I might never live to be a burden to God’s creation; but that I might be allowed to repair home, when my sojourning work is done!”
This week he went back to his Indians at Cranberry, to take some care of their spiritual and temporal concerns and was much spent with riding; though he rode but a little way in a day. “Thursday, October 23. Went to my own house, and set things in order.
Was very weak, and somewhat melancholy: laboured to do something, but had no strength; and was forced to lie down on my bed, very solitary. “Friday, October 24. Spent the day in overseeing and directing my people about mending their fence, and securing their wheat. Found that all their concerns of a secular nature depended upon me. — Was somewhat refreshed in the evening, having been able to do something valuable in the day-time. Oh, how it pains me to see time pass away, when l can do nothing to any purpose! “Saturday, October 25. Visited some of my people; spent some time in writing, and felt much better in body than usual. When it was near night, I felt so well, that l had thoughts of expounding: but in the evening was much disordered again, and spent the night in coughing, and spitting blood. “Lord’s day, October 26. In the morning was exceeding weak: spent the day, till near night, in pain to see my poor people wandering as sheep not having a shepherd, waiting and hoping to see me able to preach to them before night. It could not but distress me to see them in this case, and to find myself unable to attempt any thing for their spiritual benefit. But towards night, finding myself a little better, I called them together to my house, and sat down, and read and expounded Matthew 5:1 — 16. This discourse though delivered in much weakness, was attended with power to many of the hearers; especially what was spoken upon the last of these verses; where I insisted on the infinite wrong done to religion, by having our light become darkness, instead of shining before men. Many in the congregation were now deeply affected with a sense of their deficiency, in regard of a spiritual conversation, that might recommend religion to others, and a spirit of concern and watchfulness seemed to be excited in them.
There was one, in particular, who had fallen into the sin of drunkenness some time before, now deeply convinced of his sin and the great dishonour done to religion by his misconduct and he discovered a great degree of grief and concern on that account. My soul was refreshed to see this. And though I had no strength to speak so much as I would have done, but was obliged to lie down on the bed; yet I rejoiced to see such an humble melting in the congregation; and that divine truths, though faintly delivered, were attended with so much efficacy upon the auditory. “Monday, October 27. Spent the day in overseeing and directing the Indians about mending the fence round their wheat: was able to walk with them, and contrive their business, all the forenoon. In the afternoon was visited by two dear friends, and spent some time in conversation with them. Towards night I was able to walk out, and take care of the Indians again. In the evening enjoyed a very peaceful frame. “Tuesday, October 28. Rode to Prince-town, in a very weak state: had such a violent fever, by the way, that I was forced to alight at a friend’s house, and lie down for some time. Near night was visited by Mr. Treat, Mr. Beaty and his wife, and another friend: my spirits were refreshed to see them; but I was surprised, and even ashamed, that they had taken so much pains as to ride thirty or forty miles to see me. Was able to sit up most of the evening; and spent the time in a very comfortable manner with my friends. “Wednesday, October 29. Rode about ten miles with my friends that came yesterday to see me; and then parted with them all but one, who stayed on purpose to keep me company, and cheer my spirits. Was extremely weak, and very feverish, especially towards night; but enjoyed comfort and satisfaction. “Thursday, October 30. Rode three or four miles, to visit Mr. Wales: spent some time, in an agreeable manner, in conversation; and though extremely weak, enjoyed a comfortable, composed frame of mind. “Friday, October 31. Spent the day among friends, in a comfortable frame of mind, though exceeding weak, and under a considerable feverse “Saturday, November 1. Took leave of friends after having spent the forenoon with them, and resumed home to