« ElőzőTovább »
saken 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 measure 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. 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 have been too much labouring for spiritual life, peace of conscience, and progressive holiness, in my own strength. 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.
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 as I did not expect to make any consideraable stay among them, if I should live to return from New England.* O how kind has God been to me! how has he raised up friends in every place where his providence has called me! Friends are a great comfort; and it is God who gives them; it is He who 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
*It seems he had a design, by what afterwards appears, to remove and live among the Indians on the Susquehannah river.
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 parts 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 to 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.
April 13. "Rode home to my own house at the Forks of Delaware; and 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 returned me in safety to my own house. Verily it is God who has upheld me, and guarded my goings.
Lord's day, April 14. "Was disordered in body with the fatigues of the 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 Ezek. xxxiii. 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 to use his interest with the chief 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 who are within their territories.* In his way to and
* The Indians at Susquehannah are a mixed company of many nations, speaking various languages, and few of them properly of the Six Nations. But yet the country having formerly been conquered by the Six Nations, they claim the land; and the Susquehannah Indians are a kind of vassals to them.
from thence, he lodged with Mr. Beaty, a young presbyterian minister. He speaks of seasons of sweet spiritual refreshment which he enjoyed at his lodgings.
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 Matt. v. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, &c. 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 I then 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 thirstings 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 Rev. xiv. 4. These are they that follow the Lamb, &c. 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.
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 vii. 37. In the last day, &c. and concluded the solemnity. Had some freedom; but not equal to what I enjoyed before: yet in the prayer the Lord enabled me to cry, I hope with a child-like 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.
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.
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 assist
On Monday, he returned, in a very weak state to his own lodgings.
April 30. Was scarce able to walk about, and was obliged to betake myself to bed, much of the day; and passed away the time in a very solitary manner; being neither able to read, meditate, nor pray, and ad none to converse with in that wilderness. O how heavily does time pass away, when I can do nothing to any good purpose; but seem obliged to trifle away precious time! But of late, I have seen it my duty to divert myself by all lawful means, that I may be fit, at least some small part of my time, to labour for God. And here is the difference between my present diversions, and those I once pursued, when in a natural state. Then I made a god of diversions, 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 diversion, when pursued with this view, do not tend to hinder, but promote my spirituality; and I sec now, more than ever, that they are absolutely necessary.
May 1. "Was not able to sit up more than half the day: and yet I 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.
May 2. "In the evening, being a little better in health, 1
walked into the woods, and enjoyed a sweet season of meditation and prayer. My thoughts ran upon Ps. xvii. 15. 1 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 then had 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.
May. 3. Felt a little vigour of body and mind, in the morning; and 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 Isa. liii. 1. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, &c."
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.
May 7. "Spent the day mainly in making preparations 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 the 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 northeasterly 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 stopt; 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 eat poison, for the 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 bark hut, where they lodged that night. After he came to the 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 tribes, and preached to different nations, by different interpreters. He was sometimes much discouraged, and sunk in his