« ElőzőTovább »
Lord's day, Oct. 17. "Had a considerable sense of my helplessness and inability; saw that I must be dependent on God for all I want; and especially when I went to the place of public worship. I found I could not speak a word for God, without his special help and assistance. I went into the assembly trembling, as I frequently do, under a sense of my insufficiency to do any thing in the cause of God, as I ought to do. But it pleased God to afford me much assistance, and there seemed to be a considerable effect on the hearers. In the evening, I felt a disposition to praise God, for his goodness to me, that he had enabled me in some measure to be faithful ; and my soul rejoiced to think, that I had thus performed the work of one day more, and was one day nearer my eternal, and I trust my heavenly home. Oh that I may be " faithful to the death, fulfilling as an hireling my day," till the shades of the evening of life shall free my soul from the toils of the day! This evening, in secret prayer, I felt exceedingly solemn, and such longing desires after deliverance from sin, and after conformity to God, as melted my heart. OI longed to be "delivered from this body of death!" I felt inward, pleasing pain, that I could not be conformed to God entirely, fully, and forever. I scarce ever preach without being first visited with inward conflicts, and sore trials. Blessed be the Lord for these trials and distresses, as they are blessed for my humbling.
Oct. 18. "In the morning, I felt some sweetness, but still pressed through trials of soul. My life is a constant mixture of consolations and conflicts, and will be so till I arrive at the world of spirits.
Oct. 19. "This morning, and last night, I felt a sweet longing in my soul after holiness. My soul seemed so to reach and stretch towards the mark of perfect sanctity, that it was ready to break with longings.
Oct. 20. "Very infirm in body, exercised with much pain, and very lifeless in divine things. Felt a little sweetness in the evening.
Oct. 21. "Had a very deep sense of the vanity of the world, most of the day; had little more regard to it, than if I had been to go into eternity the next hour. Through divine goodness, I felt very serious and solemn. O, I love to live on the brink of eternity, in my views and meditations! This gives me a sweet, awful, and reverential sense and apprehension of God and divine things, when I see myself as it were, standing before the judgment seat of Christ.
Oct. 22. "Uncommonly weaned from the world to-day: my soul delighted to be a stranger and pilgrim on the earth; I felt a disposition in me never to have any thing to do with this world. The character given of some of the ancient people of God, in Heb. xi. 13, was very pleasing to me, " They confessed
that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth," by their daily practice; and Oh that I could always do so! Spent some considerable time in a pleasant grove, in prayer and meditation. Oh it is sweet, to be thus weaned from friends, and from myself, and dead to the present world, that so I may live wholly to and upon the blessed God! Saw myself little, low, and vile in myself. In the afternoon, preached at Bethlehem, from Deut. viii. 2. God helped me to speak to the hearts of dear christians. Blessed be the Lord for this season: I trust they and I shall rejoice on this account, to all eternity. Dear Mr. Bellamy came in, while I was making the first prayer, (being returned home from a journey;) and after meeting, we walked away together, and spent the evening in sweetly conversing on divine things, and praying together, with sweet and tender love to each other, and retired to rest with our hearts in a serious spiritual frame.
Oct. 23. "Somewhat perplexed and confused. Rode this day from Bethlehem to Simsbury.
Lord's day, Oct. 24. "Felt so vile and unworthy, that I scarce knew how to converse with human creatures.
Oct. 25. "[At Turkey Hills.] In the evening, I enjoyed the divine presence, in secret prayer. It was a sweet and comfortable season to me; my soul longed for the living God: enjoyed a sweet solemnity of spirit, and longing desire after the recovery of the divine image in my soul. Then shall I be satisfied when I shall awake in God's likeness,' and never before.
Oct. 26. "[At West Suffield.] Underwent the most dreadful distresses, under a sense of my own unworthiness. It seemed to me, that I deserved rather to be driven out of the place, than to have any body treat me with any kindness, or come to hear me preach. And verily my spirits were so depressed at this time, (as at many others,) that it was impossible I should treat immortal souls with faithfulness. I could not deal closely and faithfully with them, I felt so infinitely vile in myself. O what dust and ashes I am, to think of preaching the gospel to others! Indeed, I never can be faithful for one moment, but shall certainly" daub with untempered mortar," if God do not grant me special help. In the evening, I went to the meeting house, and it looked to me near as easy for one to rise out of the grave and preach, as for me. However, God afforded me some life and power, both in prayer and sermon; and was pleased to lift me up, and show me that he could enable me to preach. O the wonderful goodness of God to so vile a sinner! Returned to my quarters; and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer alone, and mourned that I could not live more to God.
Oct. 27. "I spent the forenoon in prayer and meditation; was not a little concerned about preaching in the afternoon ; felt
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. I
see that "the law is spiritual, but I am carnal." I do not, I. 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. 66 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.