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From the close of the first part of his " JOURNAL," Nov. 5, 1745, to the 19th of June, 1746; when the second part of his Journal terminated. This, and the preceding chapter, occupy one year—the most interesting year of Brainerd's Life.
ON Tuesday, Nov. 5, BRAINERD left the Indians, and spent the remaining part of this week in travelling to various parts of New-Jersey, in order to get a collection for the use of the Indians, and to obtain a schoolmaster to instruct them. In the mean-time, he speaks of very sweet refreshment and entertainment with christian friends, and of being sweetly employed while riding, in meditation on divine subjects; his heart being enlarged, his mind clear, his spirit refreshed with divine truths, and his "heart burning within him while he went by the way, and the Lord opened to him the scriptures."
Lord's day, Nov. 10. [At Elizabeth Town.] "Was comfortable in the morning both in body and mind: preached in the forenoon from 2 Cor. v. 20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, &c. God was pleased to give me freedom and fervency in my discourse; and the presence of God seemed to be in the assembly; numbers were affected, and there were many tears among them. In the afternoon, preached from Luke xiv. 22. And yet there is room. Was favoured with divine assistance in the first prayer, and poured out my soul to God with a filial temper; the living God also assisted me in the sermon."
The next day he went to Newtown on Long Island, to a meeting of the Presbytery. He speaks of some sweet meditatio s which he had while there, on Christ's delivering up the kingdom to the Father; and of his soul being much refreshed and warmed with the consideration of that blissful day.
Nov. 15. "Could not cross the ferry by reason of the violence of the wind; nor could I enjoy any place of retirement at the Fe ry-house; so that I was in perplexity. Yet God gave me son e satisfaction and sweetness in meditation, and in lifting up my heart to him in the midst of company. Although some we drinking and talking profanely, which was indeed a grief to me, yet my mind was calm and composed; and I could not
but bless God, that I was not likely to spend an eternity in such company. In the evening I sat down and wrote with composure and freedom; and can say through pure grace it was a comfortable evening to my soul; an evening which I was enabled to spend in the service of God.
Nov. 16. "Crossed the ferry about ten o'clock, and arrived at Elizabeth Town near night. Was in a calm, composed frame of mind, and felt an entire resignation, with respect to a loss I had lately sustained in having my horse stolen from me the last Wednesday night, at Newtown. Had some longings of soul for the dear people of Elizabeth Town, that God would pour out his Spirit upon them, and revive his work among them."
He spent the next four days at Elizabeth Town, for the most part in a free and comfortable state of mind; intensely engaged in the service of God, and enjoying at times the special assistance of his Spirit. On Thursday of this week he rode to Freehold, and spent the day under considerable dejection.
Nov. 22. "Rode to Mr. Tennent's, and from thence to Cross weeksung. Had but little freedom in meditation while riding; which was a grief and burden to my soul. O that I could fill up all my time, whether in the house or by the way, for God. I was enabled, I think, this day to give up my soul to God, and put over all his concerns into his hands; and found some real consolation in the thought of being entirely at the divine disposal, and having no will or interest of my own. I have received my all from God; O that I could return my all to God! Surely God is worthy of my highest affections and most devout adoration; he is infinitely worthy that I should make him my last end, and live for ever to him. O that I might never more, in any one instance, live to myself!
Lord's day, Nov. 24.*" Preached both parts of the day from the story of Zaccheus, Luke xix. 1-9. In the latter exercise, when I opened and insisted upon the salvation that comes to a sinner upon his becoming a son of Abraham or a true believer, the word seemed to be attended with divine power to the hearts of the hearers. Numbers were much affected with divine truths; former convictions were revived one or two persons newly awakened; and a most affectionate engagement in divine service appeared among them universally. The impressions they were under appeared to be the genuine effect of God's word brought home to their hearts by the power and influence of the Divine Spirit.
*The second part of the JOURNAL began here.
Nov. 26. "After having spent some time in private conferences with my people, I discoursed publicly among them from John v. 1-9. I was favoured with some special freedom and fervency in my discourse, and a powerful energy accompanied divine truths. Many wept and sobbed affectionately, and scarcely any appeared unconcerned in the whole assembly. The influence which seized the audience, appeared gentle, and yet pungent and efficacious. It produced no boisterous commotions of the passions; but seemed deeply to affect the heart, and excite in the persons under convictions of their lost state, heavy groans and tears: and in others, who had obtained comfort, a sweet and humble melting. It seemed like the gentle but steady showers which effectually water the earth, without violently beating upon the surface. The persons lately awakened were some of them deeply distressed for their souls, and appeared earnestly solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ and some of them, after public worship was over, in anguish of spirit, said "they knew not what to do, nor how to get their wicked hearts changed." &c.
Nov. 28. "Discoursed to the Indians publicly, after having used some private endeavours to instruct and excite some in the duties of Christianity. Opened and made remarks upon the sacred story of our Lord's transfiguration, Luke ix. 28-36. Had a principal view in insisting upon this passage of scripture to the edification and consolation of God's people. Observed some, that I have reason to think are truly such, exceedingly affected with an account of the glory of Christ in his transfiguration, and filled with longing desires of being with him, that they might with open face behold his glory.
"After public service was over, I asked one of them, who wept and sobbed most affectionately, What she now wanted? She replied, "O, to be with Christ. She did not know how to stay," &c. This was a blessed refreshing season to the religious people in general. The Lord Jesus Christ seemed to manifest his divine glory to them, as when transfigured before his disciples; and they were ready with the disciples universally to say, "Lord it is good for us to be here."
"The influence of God's word was not confined to those who had given evidence of being truly gracious; though at this time I calculated my discourse for and directed it chiefly to such. But it appeared to be a season of Divine power in the whole assembly; so that most were in some measure affected. One aged man, in particular, lately awakened, was now brought under a deep and pressing concern for his soul, was now earnestly inquisitive "how he might find Jesus Christ." God seems still to vouchsafe his divine presence, and the influence of his blessed Spirit to accompany his word, at least in some measure, in all our meetings for divine worship.
"I enjoyed some divine comfort and fervency in the public exercise and afterwards. While riding to my lodgings, was favoured with some sweet meditations on Luke ix. 31. "Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." My thoughts ran with freedom; and I saw and felt what a glorious subject the death of Christ is for glorified souls to dwell upon in their conversation. O the death of Christ! how infinitely precious!
Nov. 30. "Preached near night, after having spent some hours in private conference with some of my people about their souls' concerns. Explained and insisted upon the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19-26. The word made powerful impressions upon many in the assembly, especially while I discoursed of the blessedness of Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. This I could perceive affected them much more than what I spoke of the rich man's misery and torments; and thus it has been usually with them. They have almost always appeared much more affected with the comfortable than the dreadful truths of God's word. That which has distressed many of them under conviction is, that they found they wanted, and could not obtain, the happiness of the godly; at least, they have often appeared to be more affected with this than with the terrors of hell. But whatever be the means of their awakening, it is plain, numbers are made deeply sensible of their sin and misery, the wickedness and stubbornness of their own hearts, their utter inability to help themselves, or to come to Christ for help, without divine assistance; and so are brought to see their perishing need of Christ to do all for them and to lie at the foot of sovereign mercy.
Lord's day, Dec. 1. Discoursed to my people in the forenoon from Luke xvi. 27-31. There appeared an unfeigned affection in divers persons, and some seemed deeply impressed with divine truths. In the afternoon, preached to a number of white people; at which time the Indians attended with diligence, and many of them were unable to understand a considerable part of the discourse. At night discoursed to my people again, and gave them particular cautions and directions relating to their conduct in divers respects, and pressed them to watchfulness in their deportment, seeing they were encompassed with those who waited for their halting, and who stood ready to draw them into temptations of every kind, and then to expose religion by their missteps.
Dec. 2. "Was much affected with grief that I had not lived more to God; and felt strong resolutions to double my diligence in my Master's service."
After this he went to a meeting of the Presbytery, at a place in New Jersey, called Connecticut Farms; which occasioned
his absence from his people the remainder of the week. He speaks of some seasons of sweetness and spiritual affection in his absence.
Lord's day, Dec. 8. "Discoursed on the story of the blind man, John ix. There appeared no remarkable effect of the word upon the assembly at this time. The persons who have lately been much concerned for their souls, seemed now not so affected nor solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ as has been usual; although they attended divine service with seriousness and diligence. Such have been the doings of the Lord here in awakening sinners, and affecting the hearts of those who are brought to solid comfort with a fresh sense of divine things, from time to time, that it is now strange to see the assembly sit with dry eyes and without sobs and groans.
Dec. 9. "Spent most of the day in procuring provisions in order to my setting up house-keeping among the Indians. Enjoyed little satisfaction through the day, being very much out of my element.
Dec. 10. "Was engaged in the same business as yesterday. Towards night got into my house.*
Dec. 11. "Spent the forenoon in necessary labours about my house. In the afternoon rode out upon business; and spent the evening with some satisfaction among friends in conversation on a serious and profitable subject.
Dec. 12. "Preached from the parable of the Ten Virgins, Matt. xxv. The divine power seemed in some measure to attend this discourse; in which I was favoured with uncommon freedom and plainness of address, and enabled to open divine truths, and explain them to the capacities of my people in a manner beyond myself. There appeared in many persons an affectionate concern for their souls, although the concern in general seemed not so deep and pressing as it had formerly done. Yet it was refreshing to see many melted into tears and unaffected sobs; some with a sense of divine love, and some for the want of it.
Dec. 13. "Spent the day mainly in labour about my house. In the evening, spent some time in writing; but was very weary and much outdone with the labour of the day.
Dec. 14. "Rose early, and wrote by candle-light some considerable time spent most of the day in writing, but was somewhat dejected. In the evening was exercised with pain in my head.
Dec. 15. "Preached to the Indians from Luke xiii. 24-28. Divine truth fell with weight and power upon the audience
*This is the third house that he built to dwell in among the Indians. The first at Kaunaumeek, county of Albany; the second at the Forks of Delaware; the third at Crossweeksung, New-Jersey.