« ElőzőTovább »
weight and burden of care. Oh 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, which show much of a divine influence on his mind in this journey but yet complains of the things 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 Elizabethtown on the Saturday following, where it seems he waited till the commissioners came together.
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."
By the invitations which BRAINERD had lately received, it ap pears, that it was not from necessity, or for want of opportunities to settle in the ministry amongst the English, notwithstanding the disgrace he had been laid under at college, that he was determined to forsake all the outward comforts to be enjoyed in the English settlements, to go and spend his life among the savages, and endure the difficulties and self-denials of an Indian mission. He had, just as he was leaving Kaunaumeek, had an earnest invitation to a settlement at East Hampton on Long Island, the fairest, pleasantest town on the whole island, and one of its largest and most wealthy parishes. The people there were unanimous in their desires to have him for their pastor, and for a long time continued in an earnest pursuit of what they desired, and were hardly brought to relinquish their endeavours, and give up their hopes of obtaining him. Besides, the invitation which he had to Millington, was near his native town,
†The Indians at Kaunaumeek being but few in number, and BRAINERD having now been labouring among them about a year, and having prevailed upon them to be willing to leave Kaunaumeek, and remove to Stockbridge, to live constantly under Mr. Sergeant's ministry; he thought he might now do more service for Christ among the Indians elsewhere: and therefore went this journey to New Jersey to lay the matter before the commissioners; who met at Elizabethtown, on the occasion, and determined that he should forthwith leave Kaunaumeek, and go to the Delaware Indians.
and in the midst of his friends. Nor did BRAINERD choose the business of a missionary to the Indians, rather than accept of those invitations, because he was unacquainted with the difficulties and sufferings which attended such a service; for he had had experience of these difficulties in summer and winter ; having spent about a twelve-month in a lonely desert among these savages, where he had gone through extreme hardships, and been the subject of a train of outward and inward sorrows, which were now fresh in his mind. Notwithstanding all these things, he chose still to go on with this business; and that, although the place to which he was now going, was at a much greater distance from most of his friends, acquaintance, and native land.
After this he continued two or three days in New Jersey, 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, "O it is not the pleasures of the world which 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.
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. 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.
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 and spiritual pollution.
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 Rev. xiv. 4. These are they which were not defiled, &c. 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.
April 30. "Rode to Kaunaumeck, but was extremely ill; did not enjoy the comfort I hoped for in my own house.
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, &c. 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: "0 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.
May 8. "Set out from Sharon, in Connecticut, and travelled about forty-five miles to a place called Fishkill;* 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." Oh that I might follow after God!”
The next day, he went forward on his journey; crossed the Hudson, and went to Goshen in the Highlands; and so travelled across the woods, from the Hudson to the Delaware, about a hundred miles, through a desolate and hideous country, above New Jersey; where were very few settlements: 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 scarcely ever 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. 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
* A place in New York government, near the Hudson, on the east side of the
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. Oh that the Lord would be my support and comforter in an evil world!
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. May 15. "Still much engaged in my studies; and enjoyed more health, than I have for some time past but was somewhat 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. Oh that a sense of these things might work more habitual humility in my soul !"
He continued much in the same frame the next day.
May 17. "Was this day greatly distressed with a sense of my vileness; appeared to myself too bad 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 more holy: "O 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.
May 18. "Felt again somewhat 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. Oh that I could always live to, and upon God!
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