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Attestations of Divine Grace displayed among the Indians.
"Since my dear and Rev. brother BRAINERD, has at length consented to the publication of his Journal, I gladly embrace this opportunity of testifying, that our altogether glorious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has given such a display of his Almighty power and sovereign grace, not only in the external reformation but, [in a judgment of charity,] the saving conversion of a considerable number of Indians, that it is really wonderful to all beholders! though some. 'as! notwithstanding sufficient grounds of conviction to. contrary, do join with the devil, that avowed enemy of God and man, in endeavouring to prevent this glorious work, by such ways and means as are mentioned in the aforesaid Journal, to which I must refer the reader for a faithful, though very brief, account of the time when, the place where, the means by which, and manner how, this wished for work has been begun and carried on, by the great Head of the Church. This I can the more confidently do, not only because I am intimately acquainted with the author, but on account of my own personal knowledge of the matters of fact recorded in it respecting the work itself. As I live not far from the Indians, I have been much conversant with them, both at their own place, and in my own parish, where they generally convene for public worship in Mr. BRAINERD's absence; and I think it my duty to acknowledge, that their conversation, hath often, under God, refreshed my soul.
"To conclude, it is my opinion, that the change wrought in those savages, namely, from the darkness of Paganism, to the knowledge of the pure gospel of Christ; from sacrificing to devils, to present themselves, body and soul, a living sacrifice to God,' and that not only from the persuasion of their minister, but from a clear heart-affecting sense of its being their reasonable service; this change I say is so great, that none could effect it but He who worketh all things after the good pleasure of his own will.' I would humbly hope that this is only the first fruits of a much greater harvest to be brought in from among the Indians, by HIM, who has promised to give his Son the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts ofthe earth for his possession :'-who hath also declared, That the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen and Amen.
"I am, courteous reader,
Freehold, August 16, 1746.
"As it must needs afford a sacred pleasure to such as cordially desire the prosperity and advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom and interest in the world, to hear, that our merciful and gracious God is in very deed fulfilling such precious promises as relate to the poor Heathen, by sending his everlasting gospel among them, which, with concurrence of his holy Spirit, is removing that worse than Egyptian darkness, whereby the god of this world has long held them in willing subjection; so this narrative will perhaps be more acceptable to the world, when it is confirmed by the testimony uch as were either eyewitnesses of this glorious dawn werepel-light among the benighted Pagans, or personally acqonanted with those of them, in whom, in a judgment of charity, a gracious change has been wrought. Therefore, I the more willingly join with my brethren Mr. WILLIAM TENNENT, and Mr. BRAINERD, in affixing my attestation to the foregoing narrative; and look upon myself as concerned in point of duty both to God and his people, to do so, because I live contiguous to their settlement, and have had frequent opportunities of being present at their religious meetings; where I have with pleasing wonder, beheld what I am strongly inclined to believe were the effects of God's Almighty power accompanying his own truths; more aspecially, on the 8th day of August, 1745. While the word of God was preached by Mr. BRAINERD, there appeared an uncommon solemnity among the Indians in general; but, I am wholly unable to give a full representation of the surprising effects of God's Almighty power which appeared among them when public service was over. While Mr. BRAINERD urged upon some of them the absolute necessity of a speedy closure with Christ, the holy Spirit seemed to be poured out upon them in a plenteous measure, insomuch as the Indians present in the wigwam seemed to be brought to the jailor's case, Acts xvi. 30, utterly unable to conceal the distress and perplexity of their souls. This prompted the pious among them to bring the dispersed congregation together, who soon seemed to be in the greatest extremity. Some were earnestly begging for mercy, under a solemn sense of their perishing condition; while others were unable to arise from the earth, to the great wonder of those white people that were present, one of whom is by this means, I trust, savingly brought to Christ since. Nay, so very extraordinary was the concern which appeared among these poor Indians in general, that I am ready to conclude, it might have been sufficient to have convinced an Atheist, that the Lord was indeed in the place. I am for my part, fully persuaed that this glorious work is true and genuine, while with satisfaction I behold several of these Indians discovering all the symptoms of inward holiness in their lives and con
versation. I had the satisfaction of joining with them in their service on the 11th of August, 1746: which was a day set apart for imploring the divine blessing on the labours of their minister among other tribes of Indians on the Susquehannah: in all which they conducted themselves with a very decent and becoming gravity; and as far as I am capable of judging, they may be proposed as examples of piety and godliness, to all the white people around them, which indeed is justly, ' marvellous in our eyes,' especially considering what they lately had been. Oh may the glorious God shortly bring about that desirable time, when our exalted Immanuel shall have the Heathen given for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession!"
Crosswicks, August 20, 1746.
"We whose names are underwritten, being elders and deacons of the Presbyterian Church in Freehold, do hereby testify, that in our humble opinion, God, even our Saviour, has brought a considerable number of the Indians in these parts to a saving union with himself. Of this we are persuaded from a personal acquaintance with them; whom we not only hear speak of the great doctrines of the gospel with humility, affection, and understanding, but we see walk, as far as man can judge, soberly, righteously, and godly. We have joined with them at the Lord's supper, and do from our hearts esteem them as our brethren in Jesus. For these who were not God's people, may now be called the children of the living God; it is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." Oh that he may go conquering and to conquer, until he has subdued all things to himself! This is and shall be the unfeigned desire and prayer of,
Presbyterian Church, Freehold, Aug. 16, 1746.
From the close of his Journal, June 19, 1746, to the termination of his Missionary Labours, March 20, 1747.
THE hardships which BRAINERD had endured, had now obviously affected his constitution; and unfitted him for a life of so much toil and exposure. Of this, he appears not to have been aware, until the case had become hopeless; and unfortunately, the circumstances, in which he was placed, were calculated instead of retarding, to hasten the ravages of disease. He lived alone, in the midst of a wilderness; in a miserable hut, built by Indians; with few of the necessaries, and none of the comforts of life; at a distance from civilized society; without even a nurse or a physician. His labours, also, were sufficient to have impaired a vigorous constitution. It is not surprising, therefore, that his health was gradually, but fatally undermined.
On Friday, June 20th, as well as on the next day, he was very ill; though, with great effort, he was enabled to preach to his people on Saturday. His illness continued on the Sabbath, but he preached, notwithstanding, to his people both parts of the day; and after the public worship was ended, he endeavoured to apply divine truths to the consciences of some, and addressed them personally for that end; several were in tears, and some appeared much affected. But he was extremely wearied with the services of the day, and so ill at night, that he could have no bodily rest; but remarks, that God was his support, and that he was not left destitute of comfort in him.' On Monday, he continued very ill; but speaks of his mind being calm and composed, resigned to the divine dispensations, and content with his feeble state. By the account which he gives of himself, the remaining part of this week, he continued very feeble, and for the most part dejected in mind. He enjoyed no great freedom nor sweetness in spiritual things; except that for some very short spaces of time he had refreshment and encouragement, which engaged his heart on divine things; and sometimes his heart was melted with spiritual affection.
Lord's day, June 29. "Preached both parts of the day, from John xiv. 19. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more,' &c. God was pleased to assist me, to afford me both freedom and power, especially towards the close of my
discourse, both forenoon and afternoon. God's power appeared in the assembly, in both exercises. Numbers of God's people were refreshed and melted with divine things; one or two comforted, who had been long under distress; convictions, in divers instances, powerfully revived; and one man in years much awakened, who had not long frequented our meeting, and appeared before as stupid as a stock. God amazingly renewed and lengthened out my strength. I was so spent at noon, that I could scarce walk, and all my joints trembled; so that I could not sit, nor so much as hold my hand still and yet God strengthened me to preach with power in the afternoon; although I had given out word to my people, that I did not expect to be able to do it. Spent some time afterwards in conversing, particularly, with several persons, about their spiritual state; and had some satisfaction concerning one or two. Prayed afterwards with a sick child, and gave a word of exhortation. Was assisted in all my work. Blessed be God. Returned home with more health, than I went out with; although my linen was wringing wet upon me, from a little after ten in the morning, till past five in the afternoon. My spirits also were considerably refreshed; and my soul rejoiced in hope, that I had through grace done something for God. In the evening, walked out, and enjoyed a sweet season in secret prayer and praise. But oh, I found the truth of the Psalmist's words, My goodness extendeth not to thee!' I could not make any returns to God; I longed to live only to him, and to be in tune for his praise and service for ever. Oh, for spirituality and holy fervency, that I might spend and be spent for God to my latest moment!
June 30. "Spent the day in writing; but under much weakness and disorder. Felt the labours of the preceding day; although my spirits were so refreshed the evening before, that 1 was not then sensible of my being spent.
July 1. "In the afternoon, visited, and preached to my people, from Heb. ix. 27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, &c. on occasion of some person's lying at the point of death, in my congregation. God gave me some assistance; and his word made some impressions on the audience, in general. This was an agreeable and comfortable evening to my soul: my spirits were somewhat refreshed, with a small degree of freedom and help enjoyed in my work."
On Wednesday he went to Newark, to a meeting of the Presbytery; complains of lowness of spirits; and greatly laments his spending his time so unfruitfully. The remaining part of the week he spent there, and at Elizabethtown; and speaks of comfort and divine assistance, from day to day; but yet greatly complains for want of more spirituality.