son employed in his work; and I may justly say, he has been a great comfort to me, and a great instrument of promoting this good work among the Indians; so that whatever be the state of his own soul, it is apparent God has remarkably fitted him for this work. Thus God has manifested that, without bestowing on me the gift of tongues, he could find a way wherein I might be as effectually enabled to convey the truths of his glorious gospel to the minds of these poor benighted Pagans.

5. "It is further remarkable, that God has carried on his work here by such means and in such a manner, as tended to obviate, and leave no room, for those prejudices and objections which have often been raised against such a work. When persons have been awakened to a solemn concern for their souls, by hearing the more awful truths of God's word, and the terrors of the divine law insisted upon, it has usually in such cases been objected by some, that such persons were only frighted with a fearful noise of hell and damnation; and that there was no evidence that their concern was the effect of a divine influence. But God has left no room for this objection in the present case; this work of grace having been begun and carried on, by almost one continued strain of gospel invitation to perishing sinners. This may reasonably be guessed, from a view of the passages of scripture I chiefly insisted upon in my discourses from time to time; which I have for that purpose inserted in my Diary.

"Nor have I ever seen so general an awakening in any assembly in my life as appeared here while I was opening and insisting upon the parable of the great supper-Luke xiv. In which discourse, I was enabled to set before my hearers, the unsearchable riches of gospel grace. Not that I would be understood here, that I never instructed the Indians respecting their fallen state, and the sinfulness and misery of it: for this was what I at first, chiefly insisted upon with them, and endeavoured to repeat and inculcate in almost every discourse, knowing that without this foundation, I should but build upon the sand, and that it would be in vain to invite them to Christ unless I could convince them of their need of him.-Mark ii. 17.

"But still this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassion of a dying Saviour, the plentiful provisions of the gospel, and the free offers of divine grace, to needy, distressed sinners. Nor would I be understood to insinuate, that such a religious concern might justly be suspected as not being genuine, and from a divine influence, because produced from the preaching of terror: for this is perhaps, God's more usual way of awakening

sinners, and appears entirely agreeable to scripture and sound reason. But what I meant here to observe is, that God saw fit to employ and bless milder means for the effectual awakening of these Indians, and thereby obviated the forementioned objection, which the world might otherwise have had a more plausible colour of making.

"As there has been no room for any plausible objection against this work, with regard to the means; so neither with regard to the manner in which it has been carried on. It is true, persons' concern for their souls has been exceeding great; the convictions of their sin and misery have arisen to a high degree, and produced many tears, cries, and groans; but then they have not been attended with those disorders, either bodily or mental, which have sometimes prevailed among persons under religious impressions. There has here been no appearance of those convulsions, bodily agonies, frightful screamings, swoonings, and the like, which have been so much complained of in some places; although there have been some, who, with the jailer, have been made to tremble under a sense of their sin and misery; numbers who have been made to cry out from a distressing view of their perishing state;-and some, who have been for a time, in a great measure, deprived of their bodily strength, yet without any such convulsive appearances.

"Nor has there been any appearance of mental disorders here, such as visions, trances, imaginations of being under prophetic inspiration, and the like; or scarce any unbecoming dis position to appear remarkably affected either with concern or joy; though I must confess, I observed one or two persons, whose concern I thought was in a considerable measure affected; and one whose joy appeared to be of the same kind. But these workings of spiritual pride I endeavoured to crush in their first appearances, and have not since observed any affection, either of joy or sorrow, but what appeared genuine and unaffected. But,

6thly and lastly, The effects of this work have likewise been very remarkable. I doubt not but that many of these people have gained more doctrinal knowledge of divine truths, since I first visited them in June last, than could have been instilled into their minds by the most diligent use of proper and instructive means for whole years together, without such a divine influence. Their pagan notions and idolatrous practices, seem to be entirely abandoned in these parts. They are regulated, and appear regularly disposed in the affairs of marriage; an instance whereof I have given in my journal of August 14. They seem generally divorced from drunkenness, their darling vice, the "sin that easily besets them;" so that I do not know of more than two or three who have been my steady hearers, that have drunk to excess since I first visited them; although

before it was common for some or other of them to be drunk almost every day and some of them seem now to fear this sin in particular, more than death itself. A principle of honesty and justice appears in many of them; and they seem concerned to discharge their old debts, which they have neglected, and perhaps scarcely thought of for years past. Their manner of living, is much more decent and comfortable than formerly, having now the benefit of that money which they used to consume upon strong drink. Love seems to reign among them, especially those who have given evidences of having passed a saving change: and I never saw any appearance of bitterness or censoriousness in these, nor any disposition to "esteem themselves better than others," who had not received the like mercy.

"As their sorrows under convictions have been great and pressing, so many of them have since appeared to "rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory;" and yet I never saw any thing ecstatic or flightly in their joy. Their consolations do not incline them to lightness; but, on the contrary, are attended with solemnity, and oftentimes with tears, and an ap parent brokenness of heart, as may be seen in several passages of my diary. In this respect, some of them have been surprised at themselves, and have with concern observed to me, that "when their hearts have been glad," which is a phrase they commonly make use of to express spiritual joy," they could not help crying for all."

"And now, upon the whole, I think, I may justly say, that here are all the symptoms and evidences of a remarkable work of grace among these Indians, which can reasonably be desired or expected. May the great Author of this work maintain and promote the same here, and propagate it every where, till "the whole earth be filled with his glory!" Amen.

"I have now rode more than three thousand miles, of which I have kept an exact account, since the beginning of March last, and almost the whole of it has been in my own proper business as a missionary, upon the design, either immediately, or more remotely, of propagating Christian knowledge among the Indians. I have taken pains to look out for a colleague or companion, to travel with me; and have likewise used endeavours to procure something for his support, among religious persons in New England, which cost me a journey of several hundred miles in length; but have not, as yet, found any person qualified and disposed for this good work, although I had some encouragement from ministers and others, that it was hoped a maintenance might be procured for one, when the man should be found.

"I have likewise of late, represented to the gentlemen concerned with this mission, the necessity of having an English VOL. X. 31

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 Susque hannah, 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 discouraged 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 considerable 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 "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 busi

ness 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.”


« ElőzőTovább »