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exceedingly without strength, and very helpless indeed; and went into the meeting-house, ashamed to see any come to hear such an unspeakable worthless wretch. However, God enabled me to speak with clearness, power, and pungency. But there was some noise and tumult in the assembly, that I did not well like; and I endeavoured to bear public testimony against it with moderation and mildness through the current of my discourse.
In the evening, was enabled to be in some measure thankful, and devoted to God."
The frames and exercises of his mind, during the four next days were similar to those of the two days past; except intervals of considerable degrees of divine peace and consolation.
The things expressed within the space of the three following days, are such as these: some seasons of dejection, mourning for being so destitute of the exercises of grace, longing to be delivered from sin, pressing after more knowledge of God, seasons of sweet consolation, precious and intimate converse with God in secret prayer, sweetness of christian conversation, &c. Within this time, he rode from Suffield, to Eastbury, Hebron, and Lebanon.
Nov. 4. "[At Lebanon.] Saw much of my nothingness most of this day but felt concerned that I had no more sense of my insufficiency and unworthiness. O it is sweet lying in the dust! But it is distressing to feel in my soul that hell of corruption, which still remains in me. In the afternoon, had a sense of the sweetness of a strict, close and constant devotedness to God, and my soul was comforted with his consolations. My soul felt a pleasing, yet painful concern, lest I should spend some moments without God. O may I always live to God! In the evening, I was visited by some friends, and spent the time in prayer, and such conversation as tended to our edification. It was a comfortable season to my soul: I felt an intense desire to spend every moment for God. God is unspeakably gracious to me continually. In times past, he has given me inexpressible sweetness in the performance of duty. Frequently my soul has enjoyed much of God; but has been ready to say, "Lord, it is good to be here;" and so to indulge sloth while I have lived on the sweetness of my feelings. But of late, God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry almost continually; so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain. When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable; and the Lord will not allow me to feel as though I were fully supplied and satisfied, but keeps me still reaching forward. I feel barren and empty, as though I could not live, without more of God; I feel ashamed and guilty before him.
see that "the law is spiritual, but I am carnal." I do not, 1 cannot live to God. Oh for holiness! Oh for more of God in my soul! Oh this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God; the language of it is," Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake in God's likeness," but never, never before: and consequently, I am engaged to "press towards the mark," day by day. Oh that I may feel this continual hunger, and not be retarded, but rather animated by every cluster from Canaan, to reach forward in the narrow way, for the full enjoyment and possession of the heavenly inheritance! Oh that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey!"
These insatiable desires after God, and holiness, continued the two next days, with a great sense of his own exceeding unworthiness, and the nothingness of the things of this world.
Lord's day, Nov. 7. "[At Millington.] It seemed as if such an unholy wretch as I never could arrive at that blessedness, to be" holy, as God is holy." At noon, I longed for sanctification and conformity to God. O that is THE ALL, THE ALL. The Lord help me to press after God for ever.
Nov. 8. "Towards night, enjoyed much sweetness in secret prayer, so that my soul longed for an arrival in the heavenly country, the blessed paradise of God. Through divine goodness, I have scarce seen the day for two months, in which death has not looked so pleasant to me, at one time or other of the day, that I could have rejoiced that the present should be my last, notwithstanding my present inward trials and conflicts. I trust, the Lord will finally make me a conqueror, and more than a conqueror; and that I shall be able to use that triumphant language, "O death where is thy sting!" And, "O grave, where is thy victory!"
Within the next ten days, the following things are expressed, longing and wrestling to be holy, and to live to God; a desire that every single thought might be for God; feeling guilty, that his thoughts were no more swallowed up in God; sweet solemnity and calmness of mind; submission and resignation to God; great weanedness from the world; abasement in the dust; grief at some vain conversation that was observed; sweetness from time to time in secret prayer, and in conversing and praying with Christian friends. And every day he appears to have been greatly engaged in the great business of religion, and living to God, without interruption.
Nov. 19. "[At New-Haven.] Received a letter from the Reverend Mr. Pemberton, of New-York, desiring me speedily to go down thither, and consult about the Indian affairs in
those parts; and to meet certain gentlemen there who were intrusted with those affairs. My mind was instantly seized with concern; so I retired with two or three Christian friends, and prayed; and indeed, it was a sweet time with me. I was enabled to leave myself, and all my concerns with God; and taking leave of friends, I rode to Ripton, and was comforted in an opportunity to see and converse with dear Mr. Mills."
In the four next following days, he was sometimes oppressed with the weight of that great affair, about which Mr. Pemberton had written to him ; but was enabled from time to time to" cast his burden on the Lord," and to commit himself and all his concerns to him. He continued still in a sense of the excellency of holiness, longings after it, and earnest desires for the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world; and had from time to time sweet comfort in meditation and prayer.
Nov. 24. "Came to New-York; felt still much concerned about the importance of my business; put up many earnest requests to God for his help and direction; was confused with the noise and tumult of the city; but enjoyed little time alone with God; but my soul longed after him.
Nov. 25. "Spent much time in prayer and supplication: was examined by some gentlemen, of my Christian experiences, and my acquaintance with divinity, and some other studies, in order to my improvement in that important affair of evangelizing the Heathen; and was made sensible of my great ignorance and unfitness for public service. I had the most abasing thoughts of myself, I think, that ever I had; I thought myself the worst wretch that ever lived: it hurt me, and pained my very heart, that any body should show me any respect. Alas! methought how sadly they are deceived in me! how miserably would they be disappointed if they knew my inside! O my heart! And in this depressed condition, I was forced to go and preach to a considerable assembly, before some grave and learned ministers; but felt such a pressure from a sense of my vileness, ignorance and unfitness to appear in public, that I was almost overcome with it; my soul was grieved for the congregation; that they should sit there to hear such a dead dog as I preach. I thought myself infinitely indebted to the people, and longed that God would reward them with the rewards of his grace. I spent much of the evening alone."
*These gentlemen who examined Mr. Brainerd, were the Correspondents in New-York, New-Jersey, and Pennsylvania of the honourable Society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge; to whom was committed the management of their affairs in those parts, and who were now met at New-York.
From the time of his Examination and Commission as a Missionary, to his entrance on his Mission among the Indians at Kaunaumeek.
Nov. 26, 1742. "Had still a sense of my great vileness, and endeavoured as much as I could to keep alone. O what a nothing, what dust and ashes am 1! Enjoyed some peace and comfort in spreading my complaints before the God of all grace.
Nov. 27. "Committed my soul to God with some degree of comfort; left New-York about nine in the morning; came away with a distressing sense still of my unspeakable unworthiness. Surely I may well love all my brethren; for none of them all is so vile as I: whatever they do outwardly, yet it seems to me none is so conscious of so much guilt before God. O my leanness, my barrenness; my carnality, and past bitterness, and want of a gospel temper! These things oppress my soul. Rode from New-York, thirty miles, to White Plains, and most of the way continued lifting up my heart to God for mercy and purifying grace: and spent the evening much dejected in spirit."
The three next days, he continued in this frame, in a great sense of his own vileness, with an evident mixture of melancholy, in no small degree; but had some intervals of comfort and God's sensible presence with him.
Dec. 1. "My soul breathed after God, in sweet spiritual and longing desires of conformity to him; my soul was brought to rest itself and all, on his rich grace, and felt strength and encouragement to do or suffer any thing that divine providence should allot me. Rode about twenty miles from Stratfield to Newtown."
Within the space of the next nine days, he went a journey from Newtown to Haddam, his native town; and after staying there some days, returned again into the western part of Connecticut, and came to Southbury. In his account of the frames and exercises of his mind, during this space of time, are such
things as these; frequent turns of dejection; a sense of his vileness, emptiness, and an unfathomable abyss of desperate wickedness in his heart, attended with a conviction that he had never seen but little of it; bitterly mourning over his barrenness, being greatly grieved that he could not live to God, to whom he owed his all ten thousand times, crying out, "My leanness, my leanness!" a sense of the meetness and suitableness of his lying in the dust beneath the feet of infinite majesty; fervency and ardour in prayer; longing to live to God; being afflicted with some impertinent, trifling conversation that he heard ; but enjoying sweetness in Christian conversation.
Dec. 11. "Conversed with a dear friend, to whom I had thought of giving a liberal education, and being at the whole charge of it, that he might be fitted for the gospel ministry.* I acquainted him with my thoughts in that matter, and so left him to consider of it, till I should see him again. Then I rode to Bethlehem, came to Mr. Bellamy's lodgings, and spent the evening with him in sweet conversation and prayer. We recommended the concern of sending my friend to college to the God of all grace. Blessed be the Lord for this evening's opportunity together.
Lord's day, Dec. 12. "I felt, in the morning, as if I had little or no power either to pray or to preach; and felt a distressing need of divine help. I went to meeting trembling; but it pleased God to assist me in prayer and sermon. I think my soul scarce ever penetrated so far into the immaterial world, in any one prayer that I ever made, nor were my devotions ever so free from gross conceptions and imaginations framed from beholding material objects. I preached with some sweetness, from Matt. vi. 33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, &c.; and in the afternoon, from Rom. xv. 30. And now I beseech you brethren, &c. There was much affection in the assembly. This has been a sweet Sabbath to me; and blessed be God, I have reason to think that my religion is become more spiritual, by means of my late inward conflicts. Amen. May I always be willing that God should use his own methods with me!
*BRAINERD, having now undertaken the business of a missionary to the Indians, and expecting in a little time to leave his native country, to go among the savages into the wilderness, far distant, and spend the remainder of his life among them-and having some estate left him by his father, and thinking he should have no occasion for it among them. (though afterwards, as he told me, he found himself mistaken,)-set himself to think which way he might spend it most for the glory of God; and no way presenting to his thoughts, wherein he could do more good with it, than by being at the charge of educating some young person for the ministry, who appeared to be of good abilities, and well disposed, he fixed upon the person here spoken of to this end. Accordingly he was soon put to learning; and BRAINERD continued to be at the charge of his education from year to year, so long as he lived, which was till this young man was carried through his third year in college.