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The first is an Extract from a Letter to his friend in England,
Bethel, Oct. 4th, 1752.
"I have now been employed as a missionary among these Indians for above four years and a half, beside officiating for my brother several months during his last sickness. In this space of time the number has considerably increased; though for more than two years after I came, we were visited with much sickness and great mortality. We have now near forty families belonging to our society; and our church consists of thirty-seven communicants, beside two or three more, who stand as candidates for admission. Our school has sometimes consisted of above fifty children; but the number at present is not altogether so great. I have spent the most of my time, since I have been employed as a missionary, among this people; but have not wholly confined myself to them. I have taken several journies out among the more remote Indians and some to those at a great distance. By this means, with the blessing of God on my labours, I have persuaded numbers to come from distant places and settle here, where they and their children have the advantages of instruction, which I trust have been blest to the saving conversion of some. May the Lord daily increase their number!
"We have a very considerable number of serious regular Christians, who are an ornament to religion; although some, who make a profession, have grievously backslidden. The Lord has preserved and continued a Christian congregation together, although many attempts have been made by Satan and his instruments to disperse and destroy it."
After mentioning the obstacles which hinder the conversion of the Indians to Christianity, such as--Their love to strong drink—Their_indolent, wandering, unsteady disposition-The wickedness of some white people, who prejudice them against the missionaries-The temptations which the whites throw in their way; some of them buying drink, and giving it gratuitously, to see if they cannot make the Christian Indians drunk -And the want of a more liberal support to the missionaries for carrying them through difficult journies, and taking Christian Indians along with them-He proceeds:
"I hope and trust, as this work of grace among the Indians comes to be more generally known and spread abroad, there will be a greater plenty of provision for the prevention of the same; and may the Lord hasten the blissful time!—
Upon the whole, though I am feelingly sensible of many difficulties and discouragements in christianizing the Indians; VOL. X
yet I cannot but think that there has been and still is as much encouragement as could rationally have been expected, before any attempts of this kind were made, and that which is sufficient for us still to act upon, and to make farther attempts of this nature. There is ground to hope that within these seven years last past there have been at least forty persons savingly converted to God even in th small place; which at most does not contain above two hundred souls, old and young of all sorts; and were there any sufficiently zealous to go to the more remote places where there are greater numbers of these miserable savages; who can tell what the Lord would do. What a glorious prospect might soon open!
"The quarterly days of prayer for the prosperity of Zion are observed by some in these parts, and have been very constantly attended in my congregation; and some of my people have ap peared very affectionate and warmly engaged at such times. May the Lord hear and answer the supplications of his people, and cause his church to arise and flourish and become a praise in the whole earth. I would desire a remembrance in your addresses to the throne of grace for me, for my people, and for the cause of God among the Indians. If you should have leisure, and think it worth while to write, please to direct for me at Bethel, in New-Jersey, to the care of Mr. William Grant, merchant, in Second street, Philadelphia; or to the care of Mr. Denys De Berdt, merchant, in Artillery court, Chiswal street, London.
"I am, &c.
The second was to the Praeses of the Society in Scotland, dated "Bethel, Oct. 22, 1753.
"Since my last to your Lordship, which bears date March 2, 1753, I have steadily attended to the business of the Mission; and have not been absent from my charge except on some necessary occasions, and then only for a short space. I have endeavoured to attend strictly to my commissions and instructions; preaching the gospel; administering the sacraments; catechising both the grown people and the children; visiting my people; praying and conversing with the sick; attending funerals; and watching all opportunities to do them good.-I have constantly attended public worship three times on the Lord's day; steadily once, and sometimes more, in the rest of the week. Besides I have advised the people, especially of late, to meet, at least one evening in a week at a private house, which they do in the several parts of their town; sometimes at one house and sometimes at another. This meeting I have generally attended; and carry it on by prayer, singing of psalms or hymns and re
ligious conversation. At these meetings I address myself to particular persons; inquire into the state of their souls; warn, exhort, encourage, &c. as I see occasion. When I am absent, the meeting is carried on by religious conversation, together with prayer and singing. My endeavours, through the blessing of heaven, have been, I hope, attended with some degree of success. I have had the satisfaction of admitting one adult person to baptism, who I trust is a true convert to God, and savingly acquainted with Jesus Christ; and sundry children have been the subjects of that divine ordinance. I can also inform your Lordship and the Society that many of our former converts adorn their profession by a sober virtuous life. But some, I must needs say, have grievously backslidden; which has been matter of unspeakable grief to me, and done more to exhaust my spirits and wear me out, than all the bodily fatigues I have ever undergone in the prosecution of this mission."
Afterwards he writes of great difficulties, which the Indians have laboured under of late with regard to their lands ;-and of the lamented death of a promising young Indian, whom the Society was educating for the ministry; of whom he says:
"He had been a member of Princeton College nearly two years; was much beloved by his classmates and the other scholars, and made a decent, handsome appearance among them. He died of a quick consumption. I had opportunity of conversing with him in the latter part of his sickness; and though he was under some darkness, yet his discourse was good, and discovered much of the Christian.
66 I am,
Christians, when absent from the body, are present with the Lord.
PREACHED AT THE FUNERAL OF THE
REV. DAVID BRAINERD,
MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS,
FROM THE SOCIETY IN SCOTLAND FOR PROPAGATING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, AND PASTOR OF A CHURCH OF CHRISTIAN INDIANS IN NEW
JERSEY; WHO DIED AT NORTHAMPTON, OCT. 9,
BY REV. JONATHAN EDWARDS.