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After this work of grace began with power among them, it was common for strangers of the Indians, before they had been with us one day, to be much awakened, deeply convinced of their sin and misery, and to inquire with great solicitude, * What they should do to be saved ?"
3. “ It is likewise remarkable how God preserved these poor ignorant Indians from being prejudiced against me, and the truths I taught them, by those means that were used with them for that purpose by ungodly people. There were many attempts made by some ill-minded persons of the white people to prejudice them against, or fright them from, Christianity. They sometimes told them, that the Indians were well enough already ;—that there was no need of all this noise about Christianity ;—that if they were Christians, they would be in no better, no safer, or happier state, than they were already in. Sometimes they told them, that I was a knave, a deceiver, and the like ; that I daily taught them lies, and had no other design but to impose upon them, &c. When none of these, and such like suggestions, would avail to their purpose, they then tried another expedient, and told the Indians, “ My design was to gather together as large a body of them as I possibly could, and then sell them to England for slaves ;” than which nothing could be more likely to terrify the Indians, they being naturally of a jealous disposition, and the most averse to a state of servitude perhaps of any people living.
“But all these wicked insinuations, through divine goodness over-ruling, constantly turned against the authors of them, and only served to engage the affections of the Indians more firmly to me; for they, being awakened to a solemn concern for their souls, could not but observe, that the persons who endeavoured to embitter their minds against me, were altogether unconcerned about their own souls, and not only so, but vicious and profane; and thence could not but argue, that if they had no concern for their own, it was not likely they should have for the souls of others.
“ It seems yet the more wonderful that the Indians were preserved from once hearkening to these suggestions, in as much as I was an utter stranger among them, and could give them no assurance of my sincere affection to, and concern for them, by any thing that was past,—while the persons who insinuated these things were their old acquaintance, who had frequent opportunities of gratifying their thirsty appetites with strong drink, and consequently, doubtless, had the greatest interest in their affections. But from this instance of their preservation from fatal prejudices, I have had occasion with admiration to say, " If God will work, who can hinder ?"
6 4. Nor is it less wonderful how God was pleased to provide a remedy for my want of skill and freedom in the Indian lan guage, by remarkably fitting my interpreter for, and assisting him in the performance of his work. It might reasonably be supposed I must needs labour under a vast disadvantage in addressing the Indians by an Interpreter ; and that divine truths would undoubtedly lose much of the energy and pathos with which they might at first be delivered, by reason of their coming to the audience from a second hand. But although this has often, to my sorrow and discouragement, been the case in times past, when my interpreter had little or no sense of divine things; yet now it was quite otherwise. I cannot think my addresses to the Indians ordinarily, since the beginning of this season of grace have lost any thing of the power or pungency with which they were made, unless it were sometimes for want of pertinent and pathetic terins and expressions in the Indian language; which difficulty could not have been much redressed by my personal acquaintance with their language. My interpreter had before gained some good degree of doctrinal knowledge, whereby he was rendered capable of understanding, and communicating, without mistakes, the intent and meaning of my discourses, and that without being confined strictly and obliged to interpret verbatim. He had likewise, to appearance, an experimental acquaintance with divine things; and it pleased God at this season to inspire his mind with longing desires for the conversion of the Indians, and to give him admirable zeal and fervency in addressing them in order thereto. It is remarkable, that, when I was favoured with any special assistance in any work, and enabled to speak with more than common freedom, fervency, and power, under a lively and affecting sense of divine things, he was usually affected in the same manner almost instantly, and seemed at once quickened and enabled to speak in the same pathetic language, and under the same influence that I did. A surprising energy often accompanied the word at such seasons; so that the face of the whole assembly would be apparently changed almost in an instant, and tears and sobs became common among them.
“ He also appeared to have such a clear doctrinal view of God's usual methods of dealing with souls under a preparatory work of conviction and humiliation as he never had before ; so that I could, with his help, discourse freely with the distressed persons about their internal exercises, their fears, discouragements, temptations, &c. He likewise took pains day and night to repeat and inculcate upon the minds of the Indians the truths which I taught them daily ; and this he appeared to do, not from spiritual pride, and an affectation of setting himself up as a public teacher, but from a spirit of faithfulness, and an honest concern for their souls.
“ His conversation among the Indians has likewise, so far as I know, been savoury, as becomes a Christian, and a person employed in his work; and I may justly say, he has been a great comfort to me, and a great instrument of promoting this good work among the Indians ; so that whatever be the state of his own soul, it is apparent God has remarkably fitted him for this work. Thus God has manifested that, without bestowing on me the gift of tongues, he could find a way wherein I might be as effectually enabled to convey the truths of his glorious gospel to the minds of these poor benighted Pagans.
5. “ It is further remarkable, that God has carried on his work here by such means and in such a manner, as tended to obviate, and leave no room, for those prejudices and objections which have often been raised against such a work. When persons have been awakened to a solemn concern for their souls, by hearing the more awful truths of God's word, and the terrors of the divine law insisted upon, it has usually in such cases been objected by some, that such persons were only frighted with a fearful noise of hell and damnation ; and that there was no evidence that their concern was the effect of a divine influence. But God has left no room for this ob. jection in the present case; this work of grace having been begun and carried on, by almost one continued strain of gospel invitation to perishing sinners. This may reasonably be guessed, from a view of the passages of scripture I chiefly insisted upon in my discourses from time to time ; which Í have for that purpose inserted in my Diary.
“Nor have I ever seen so general an awakening in any assembly in my life as appeared here while I was opening and insisting upon the parable of the great supper-Luke xiv. In which discourse, I was enabled to set before my hearers, the unsearchable riches of gospel grace. Not that I would be understood here, that I never instructed the Indians respecting their fallen state, and the sinfulness and misery of it: for this was what I at first, chiefly insisted upon with them, and endeavoured to repeat and inculcate in almost every discourse, knowing that without this foundation, I should but build upon the sand, and that it would be in vain to invite them to Christ unless I could convince them of their need of him.-Mark ii. 17.
“ But still this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassion of a dying Saviour, the plentiful provisions of the gospel, and the free offers of divine grace, to needy, distressed sinners. Nor would I be understood to insinuate, that such a religious concern might justly be suspected as not being genuine, and from a divine influence, because produced from the preaching of terror: for this is perhaps, God's more usual way of awakening sinners, and appears entirely agreeable to scripture and sound reason. But what I meant here to observe is, that God saw fit to employ and bless milder means for the effectual awakening of these Indians, and thereby obviated the forementioned objection, which the world might otherwise have had a more plausible colour of making.
“ As there has been no room for any plausible objection against this work, with regard to the means; so neither with regard to the manner in which it has been carried on. It is true, persons' concern for their souls has been exceeding great ; the convictions of their sin and misery have arisen to a high degree, and produced many tears, cries, and groans; but then they have not been attended with those disorders, either bodily or mental, which have sometimes prevailed among persons under religious impressions. There has here been no appearance of those convulsions, bodily agonies, frightful screamings, swoonings, and the like, which have been so much complained of in some places ; although there have been some, who, with the jailer, have been made to tremble under a sense of their sin and misery; numbers who have been made to cry out from a distressing view of their perishing state ;-and some, who have been for a time, in a great measure, deprived of their bodily strength, yet without any such convulsive appearances.
“ Nor has there been any appearance of mental disorders here, such as visions, trances, imaginations of being under prophetic inspiration, and the like; or scarce any unbecoming disposition to appear remarkably affected either with concern or joy; though I must confess, I observed one or two persons, whose concern I thought was in a considerable measure affected; and one whose joy appeared to be of the same kind. But these workings of spiritual pride I endeavoured to crush in their first appearances, and have not since observed any affection, either of joy or sorrow, but what appeared genuine and unaffected. But,
6thly and lastly, The effects of this work have likewise been very remarkable. I doubt not but that many of these people have gained more doctrinal knowledge of divine truths, since I first visited them in June last, than could have been instilled into their minds by the most diligent use of proper and instructive means for whole years together, without such a divine influence. Their pagan notions and idolatrous practices, seem to be entirely abandoned in these parts. They are regulated, and appear regularly disposed in the affairs of marriage; an instance whereof I have given in my journal of August 14. They seem generally divorced from drunkenness, their darling vice, the “ sin that easily besets them;" so that I do not know of more than two or three who have been my steady hearers, that have drunk to excess since I first visited them; although
before it was common for some or other of them to be drunk almost every day: and some of them seem now to fear this sin in particular, more than death itself. A principle of honesty and justice appears in many of them; and they seem concerned to discharge their old debts, which they have neglected, and perhaps scarcely, thought of for years past. Their manner of living, is much more decent and comfortable than formerly, having now the benefit of that money which they used to consume upon strong drink. Love seems to reign among them, especially those who have given evidences of having passed a saving change: and I never saw any appearance of bitterness or censoriousness in these, nor any disposition to “ esteem themselves better than others," who had not received the like mercy.
" As their sorrows under convictions have been great and pressing, so many of them have since appeared to “ rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory;" and yet I never saw any thing ecstatic or flightly in their joy. Their consolations do not incline them to lightness; but, on the contrary, are attended with solemnity, and oftentimes with tears, and an apparent brokenness of heart, as may be seen in several passages of my diary. In this respect, some of them have been surprised at themselves, and have with concern observed to me, that “ when their hearts have been glad,” which is a phrase they commonly make use of to express spiritual joy, “they could not help crying for all."
“And now, upon the whole, I think, I may justly say, that here are all the symptoms and evidences of a remarkable work of grace among these Indians, which can reasonably be desired or expected. May the great Author of this work maintain and promote the same here, and propagate it every where, till “ the whole earth be filled with his glory!" Amen.
“ I have now rode more than three thousand miles, of which I have kept an exact account, since the beginning of March last, and almost the whole of it has been in my own proper business as a missionary, upon the design, either immediately, or more remotely, of propagating Christian knowledge among the Indians. I have taken pains to look out for a colleague or companion, to travel with me; and have likewise used endeavours to procure something for his support, among religious persons in New England, which cost me a journey of several hundred miles in length ; but have not, as yet, found any person qualified and disposed for this good work, although I had some encouragement from ministers and others, that it was hoped a maintenance might be procured for one, when the man should be found.
“I have likewise of late, represented to the gentlemen concerned with this mission, the necessity of having an English VOL. X.