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II.-Some gloomy and desponding thoughts of a soul under
convictions of sin, and concern for its eternal salvation. 1. I BELIEVE my case is singular, that none ever had so many strange and different thoughts and feelings as I.
2. I have been concerned much longer than many others, that I have known or read of, who have been say. ingly converted, and yet I am left.
3. I have withstood the power of convictions a long time; and therefore I fear, I shall be finally left of God.
4. I never shall be converted, without stronger convictions, and greater terrors of conscience.
5. I do not aim at the glory of God in any thing I do, and therefore I cannot hope for mercy.
6. I do not see the evil nature of sin, nor the sin of my nature; and therefore I am discouraged.
7. The more I strive, the more blind and hard my heart is, and the worse I grow continually.
8. I fear that God never shewed mercy to one so vile
9. I fear I am not elected, and therefore must perish.
12. I am an old sinner ; and if God had designed mercy for me, he would have called me home to himself before now.
III.-Signs of Godliness. The distinguishing marks of a true Christian, taken from
one of my old manuscripts ; where I wrote as I felt and experienced, and not from any considerable degree of doctrinal knowledge, or acquaintance with the sentiments
of others in this point. 1. He has a true knowledge of the glory and excellency of God, that he is most worthy to be loved and praised for his own divine perfections. Psal. cxlv. 3.
2. God is his portion, Psal. lxxiii. 25. And God's glory his great concern, Matth. vi. 22.
3. Holiness is his delight; nothing he so much longs for as to be holy, as God is holy. Phil. üi. 9-12. 4. Sin is his greatest enemy.
This he hates for its own nature, for what it is in itself, being contrary to a holy Gad, Jer. ii. 1. Consequently he hates all sin, Rom. vii. 24. 1 John iii. 9.
5. The laws of God also are his delight, Psal. cxix. 97. Rom. vii. 22. These he observes, not out of constraint, from a servile fear of hell; but they are his choice, Psa 30. The strict observance of them is not his bondage, but his greatest liberty, ver. 45.
LETTERS. Written by Mr Brainerd to his Friends. MR BRAINERD had a large acquaintance and correspondence, especially in the latter part of his life, and he did much at writing Letters to his absent friends ; but the most of his acquaintance living at a great distance from me, I have not been able to obtain copies of many that he wrote. However, the greater part of those which I have seen, are such, as appear to me of profitable tendency, and worthy of the public view : I have therefore here added a few of his letters.
N. B. Several of these which follow, are not published at large, because some parts of them related to affairs of a private nature.
To his brother John, then a Student at Yale-college in
New-Haven. Dear brother,
Kaunaumeek, April 30, 1743. I SHOULD
you, “I long to see you," but that my own experience has taught me there is no happiness and plenary satisfaction to be enjoyed in earthly friends, though ever so near aud dear, or in any other enjoyment that is hot God 'himself. Therefore if the God of all grace, would be pleased to afford us each his presence and grace,
that we may perform the work and endure the trials he calls us to, in a most distressing tiresome wilderness, till we arrive at our journey's end; the distance of which we are held from each other at the present, is a matter of no great moment or importance to either of us. But alas, the presence of God is what I want.
I live in the most lonely melancholy desert, about eighteen miles from Albany; for it was not thought best that I should go to Delaware-river, as I believe I hinted to you in a letter from New-York. I board with a poor Scotsman : his wife can talk scarcely any English. My diet consists mostly of hasty-pudding, boiled corn, and bread baked in ashes, and sometimes a little meat and butter. My lodging is a little heap of straw, laid upon some boards, a little way from the ground; for it is a log-room, without any, floor, that I lodge in. My work is exceeding hard and difficult: I travel on foot a mile and half in the worst of roads almost daily, and back again; for I live so far from my Indians. - I have not seen an English person this month. These and many other uncomfortable circumstances attend me: and yet my spiritual conflicts and distresses so far exceed all these, that I scarce think of them, but feel as if I were entertained in the most sumptuous manner.
The Lord grant that I may learn to “ endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ !”
As to my success here, I cannot say much as yet. The Indiáns seem generally kind and well disposed towards me, and are mostly very attentive to my instructions, and seem willing to be taught. Two or three, I hope, are under some convictions ; but there seems to be little of the special workings of the divine Spirit among them yet; which gives me mạny a heart-sinking hour. Sometimes I hope, God has abundant blessings in store for them and me; at other times I am so overwhelmed with distress, that I cannot see how his dealings with me are consistent with covenant love and faithfulness; and I say
Surely his tender mercies are clean gone for ever.”. But I see, I needed all this chastisement already. “ It is good for me” that I have endured these trials, and have
hitherto little or no apparent success.
Do not be discouraged on my account. I was under great distress at Mr Pomroy's, when I saw your last ; but “ God has been with me of a truth” since that, at Long-Island and elsewhere.
Let us always remember that we must “ through much tribulation" enter into God's eternal kingdom of rest and peace. The righteous are “ scarcely" saved :, it is an infinite wonder that we have well-grounded hopes of being saved at all. For my part, I feel the most vile of any creature living; and I am sure sometimes, there is not such another existing on this side hell.
Now all you can do for me is to pray incessantly, that God would make me humble, holy, resigned, and heavenly-minded, by all my trials.- -“ Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Let us run, wrestle, and fight, that we may win the
prize, and obtain that complete happiness, to be holy as God is holy. Wishing and praying that you may advance in learning and grace, and be fit for special service for God, I remain your affectionate brother,
Kaunaumeek, Dec. 27, 1743. I long to see you, and to know how you fare in your journey through a world of inexpressible sorrow, where we are compassed about with vanity, confusion, and vexation of spirit. I am more weary of life, I think, than ever I was. The whole world appears to me like a huge vacuum, a vast empty space, whence nothing desirable or satisfactory can possibly be derived; and I long daily to die more and more to it, even though I obtain not that comfort from spiritual things which I earnestly desire. Worldly pleasures, such as flow from greatness, riches, honours, and sensual gratifications, are infinitely worse than none. May the Lord deliver us more and more from these vanities! I have spent most of the fall and winter hitherto in a very weak state of body, and sometimes under pressing inward trials and spiritual conflicts;
but “ having obtained help from God, I continue to this day;" and am now something better in health, than I was some time ago. I find nothing more conducive to a life of Christianity, than a diligent, industrious, and faithful improvement of precious time. Let us then faithfully perform that business which is allotted to us by divine providence, to the utmost of our bodily strength and mental vigour. Why should we sink and grow discouraged with any particular trials and perplexities which we are called to encounter in the world ? Death and eternity are just before us; a few tossing billows more will waft us into the world of spirits, and we hope (through infinite grace) into endless pleasures and uninterrupted rest and peace. Let us then
run with patience the race set before us,” Heb. xii. 1, 2. “And oh that we could depend more upon the living God, and less
upon our own wisdom and strength!-- Dear brother, may the God of all grace comfort your heart, succeed your studies, and make you an instrument of good to his people in your day. This is the constant prayer of your affectionate brother,
To his brother Israel, at Haddam. My dear brother,
Kaunaumeek, January 21. 1743-4. There is but one thing that deserves our highest care and most ardent desires; and that is, that we may answer the great end for which we were made, viz. to glorify that God who has given us our being and all our comforts ; and to do all the good we possibly can to our fellow-men, while we live in the world. Verily, life is not worth having, if it be not improved for this noble end and purpose. Yet alas, how little is this thought of among mankind ! Most men seem to live to themselves, without much regard to the glory of God, or the good of their fellow-creatures. They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue after the riches, the honours and the pleasures of life, as if they really supposed that wealth or greatness or merriment could make their immortal souls happy. What false and delusive dreams are these; and how miserable will those ere long