Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

school speedily set up among these Indians, who are now willing to be at the pains of gathering together in a body, for this purpose. In order thereto, I have humbly proposed to them the collecting of money for the maintenance of a school-master, and the defraying of other necessary charges, in the promotion of this good work; which they are now attempting in the several congregations of Christians to which they respectively belong.

“The several companies of Indians to whom I have preached in the summer past, live at great distances from each other. It is more than seventy miles from Crossweeksung, in New Jersey, to the Forks of Delaware in Pennsylvania ; and thence to sundry of the Indian settlements which I visited on Susquehannah, is more than an hundred and twenty miles. So much of my time is necessarily consumed in journeying, that I can have but little for any of my necessary studies, and

consequently for the study of the Indian languages in particular; and especially seeing I am obliged to discourse so frequently to the Indians at each of these places while I am with them, in order to redeem time to visit the rest. I am, at times, almost dis. couraged from attempting to gain any acquaintance with the Indian languages, they are so very numerous; some account of which I gave in my diary of May last ; and especially, seeing my other labours and fatigues engross almost the whole of my time, and bear exceedingly hard upon my constitution, so that my health is much impaired. However, I have taken consider. able pains to learn the Delaware language, and propose still to do so, as far as my other business and bodily health will admit. I have already made some proficiency in it, though I have laboured under many and great disadvantages in my attempts of that nature. It is but just to observe here, that all the pains I took to acquaint myself with the language of the Indians with whom I spent my first year, were of little or no service to me here among the Delawares ; so that my work, when I came among these Indians, was all to begin anew.

“ As these poor ignorant Pagans stood in need of having 6 line upon line, and precept upon precept,” in order to their being instructed and grounded in the principles of Christianity; so I preached“ publicly, and taught from house to house," almost every day for whole weeks together, when I was with them. My public discourses did not then make up the one half of my work, while there were so many constantly coming to me with that important inquiry, “ What must we do to be saved ?" and opening to me the various exercises of their minds. Yet I can say to the praise of rich grace, that the apparent success with which my labours were crowned, unspeakably more than compensated for the labour itself, and was likewise a great means of supporting and carrying me through the business and fatigues, which, it seems, my nature would have sunk under, without such an encouraging prospect. But although this success has afforded matter of support, comfort, and thankfulness ; yet in this season I have found great need of assistance in my work, and have been much oppressed for want of one to bear a part of my labours and hardships. May the Lord of the harvest send forth other labourers into this part of his harvest, that those who sit in darkness may see great light; and that the whole earth may be filled with the knowledge of himself! Amen."

CHAPTER VIII.

From the close of the first part of his “ JOURNAL," Nov. 5, 1745,

to the 19th of June, 1746 ; when the second part of his Journal terminated. This, and the preceding chapter, occupy one yearthe most interesting year of Brainerd's Life.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, BRAINERD 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. In the mean-time, he speaks of very sweet refreshment and entertainment with christian friends, and of 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."

[ocr errors]

Lord's day, Nov. 10. [At Elizabeth Town.] “Was comfortable in the morning both in body and mind : preached in the forenoon from 2 Cor. v. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, &c. God was pleased to give me freedom and fervency in my discourse ; and the presence of God seemed to be in the assembly; numbers were affected, and there were many tears among them. In the afternoon, preached from Luke xiv. 22. And yet there is room. Was favoured with divine assistance in the first prayer, and poured out my soul to God with a filial temper; the living God also assisted me in the sermon.

The next day he went to Newtown on Long Island, to a meeting of the Presbytery. He speaks of some sweet meditations which he had while there, on Christ's delivering up the kingdom to the Father; and of his soul being much refreshed and warmed with the consideration of that blissful day.

Nov. 15. “Could not cross the ferry by reason of the violence of the wind; nor could I enjoy any place of retirement at the Ferry-house ; so that I was in perplexity. Yet God gave me sonie satisfaction and sweetness in meditation, and in lifting up my heart to him in the midst of company. Although some we drinking and talking profanely, which was indeed a grief to nie, yet my mind was calm and composed ; and I could not but bless God, that I was not likely 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 which I was enabled to spend in the service of God.

Nov. 16. “Crossed the ferry about ten o'clock, and 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 Newtown. Had some longings of soul for the dear people of Elizabeth Town, that God would pour out his Spirit upon them, and revive his work

among them."

He spent the next four days at Elizabeth Town, for the most part in a free and comfortable state of mind ; intensely engaged in the service of God, and enjoying at times the special assistance of his Spirit. On Thursday of this week he rode to Freehold, and spent the day under considerable dejection.

Nov. 22. “ Rode to Mr. Tennent's, and from thence to Crossweeksung. Had but little freedom in meditation while riding ; which was a grief and burden to my soul. O 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 his 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; O that I could return my all to God! Surely God is worthy of my highest affections and most devout adoration; he is infinitely worthy that I should make him my last end, and live for ever to him. O that I might never more, in any one instance, live to myself !

Lord's day, Nov. 24.* “ Preached both parts of the day from the story of Zaccheus, Luke xix. 1-9. In the latter exercise, when I opened and insisted upon the salvation that comes to a sinner upon his becoming a son of Abraham or a true believer, the word seemed to be attended with divine power to the hearts of the hearers. Numbers were much af. fected with divine truths; former convictions were revived ; one or two persons newly awakened ; and a most affectionate engagement in divine service appeared among them universally. The impressions they were under appeared to be the genuine effect of God's word brought home to their hearts by the power and influence of the Divine Spirit.

* The second part of the Journal began here,

Nov. 26. “ After having spent some time in private conferences with my people, I discoursed publicly among them from John v. 1-9. I was favoured with some special freedom and fervency in my discourse, and a powerful energy accompanied divine truths. Many wept and sobbed affectionately, and scarcely any appeared unconcerned in the whole assembly. The influence which seized the audience, appeared gentle, and yet pungent and efficacious. It produced no boisterous commotions of the passions ; but seemed deeply to affect the heart, and excite in the persons under convictions of their lost state, heavy groans and tears: and in others, who had obtained comfort, a sweet and humble melting. It seemed like the gentle but steady showers which effectually water the earth, without violently beating upon the surface. The persons lately awakened were some of them deeply distressed for their souls, and appeared earnestly solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ : and some of them, after public worship was over, in anguish of spirit, said “they knew not what to do, nor how to get their wicked hearts changed." &c.

Nov. 28. “ Discoursed to the Indians publicly, after having used some private endeavours to instruct and excite some in the duties of Christianity. Opened and made remarks upon the sacred story of our Lord's transfiguration, Luke ix. 28–36. Had a principal view in insisting upon this passage of scripture to the edification and consolation of God's people. Observed some, that I have reason to think are truly such, exceedingly affected with an account of the glory of Christ in his transfiguration, and filled with longing desires of being with him, that they might with open face behold his glory.

6. After public service was over, I asked one of them, who wept and sobbed most affectionately, What she now wanted ? She replied, “0, to be with Christ. She did not know how to stay," &c. This was a blessed refreshing season to the religious people in general. The Lord Jesus Christ seemed to manifest his divine glory to them, as when transfigured before his disciples; and they were ready with the disciples universally to say, “Lord it is good for us to be here."

6 The influence of God's word was not confined to those who had given evidence of being truly gracious ; though at this time I calculated my discourse for and directed it chiefly to such. But it appeared to be a season of Divine power in the whole assembly; so that most were in some measure affected. One aged man, in particular, lately awakened, was now brought under a deep and pressing concern for his soul, was now earnestly inquisitive “how he might find Jesus Christ.”

God seems still to vouchsafe his divine presence, and the influence of his blessed Spirit to accompany his word, at least in some measure, in all our meetings for divine worship.

« PoprzedniaDalej »