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was spending some time in prayer and self-examination, when the Lord, by his grace, so shined into my heart, that I enjoyed full assurance of his favour, for that time; and my soul was unspeakably refreshed with divine and heavenly enjoyments. At this time especially, as well as some others, sundry passages of God's word opened to my soul with divine clearness, pow. er, and sweetness, so as to appear exceeding precious, and with clear and certain evidence of its being the word of God. I enjoyed considerable sweetness in religion all the winter following:
" In Jan. 1740, the measles spread much in college ; and I, having taken the distemper, went home to Haddam. But some days before I was taken sick, I seemed to be greatly deserted, and my soul mourned the absence of the Comforter exceedingly. It seemed to me, that all comfort was forever gone.-I prayed and cried to God for help, yet found no present comfort or relief. But through divine goodness, a night or two before I was taken ill, while I was walking alone in a very retired place, and engaged in meditation and prayer, I enjoyed a sweet refreshing visit, as I trust, from above; so that my soul was raised far above the fears of death. Indeed, I rather longed for death than feared it. Oh, how much more refreshing this one season was, than all the pleasures and de lights that earth can afford! After a day or two I was taken with the measles, and was very ill indeed, so that I almost despaired of life; but had no distressing fears of death at all. Through divine goodness, I soon recovered ; yet, owing to hard study, and to my being much exposed on account of my freshmanship, as I had but little time for spiritual duties, my soul often mourned for want of more time and opportunity to be alone with God. In the spring and summer following, I had better advantages for retirement, and enjoyed more comfort in religion. My ambition in my studies greatly wronged the activity and vigour of my spiritual life; yet, usually, in the multitude of my thoughts within me, God's comforts principally delighted my soul.” These were my greatest consolations day by day.
“One day, I think it was in June, 1740, I walked to a considerable distance from college, in the fields alone, at noon and in prayer found such unspeakable sweetness and delight in God, that I thought, if I must continue still in this evil world, I wanted always to be there, to behold God's glory. My soul dearly loved all mankind, and longed exceedingly that they should enjoy what I enjoyed. It seemed to be a little resemblance of heaven. On Lord's day, July 6, being sacrament-day, I found some divine life and spiritual refreshment in that holy ordinance. When I came from the Lord's table, I wondered how my fellow-students could live as I was sensible most did.
--Next Lord's day, July 13, I had some special sweetness in religion.—Again, Lord's day, July 20, my soul was in a sweet and precious frame.
“ Some time in August following, I became so weakly and disordered, by too close application to my studies, that I was advised by my tutor to go home, and disengage my mind from study as much as I could ; for I was grown so weak, that I began to spit blood. I took his advice, and endeavoured to lay aside my studies. But being brought very low I looked death in the face more steadfastly; and the Lord was pleased to give me renewedly a sweet sense and relish of divine things; and particularly October 13, I found divine help and consolation in the precious duties of secret prayer and self-examination, and my soul took delight in the blessed God ;--so likewise on the 17th of October.
Oct. 18. “ In my morning devotions, my soul was exceedingly melted, and bitterly mourned over my great sinfulness and vile
I never before had felt so pungent and deep a sense of the odious nature of sin, as at this time. My soul was then unusally carried forth in love to God, and had a lively sense of God's love to me. And this love and hope, at that time, cast out fear. Both morning and evening I spent some time in self-examination, to find the truth of grace, as also my fitness to approach God at his table the next day; and through infinite grace, found the holy Spirit influencing my soul with love to God, as a witness within myself.
Lord's day, Oct. 19. “ In the morning I felt my soul hunger. ing and thirsting after righteousness. In the forenoon, while I was looking on the sacramental elements, and thinking that Jesus Christ would soon be - set forth crucified before me," my soul was filled with light and love, so that I was almost in an ecstacy; my body was so weak, I could scarcely stand. I felt at the same time an exceeding tenderness and most fervent love towards all mankind ; so that my soul and all the powers of it seemed, as it were, to melt into softness and sweetness. But during the communion, there was some abatement of this life and fervour. This love and joy cast out fear; and my soul longed for perfect grace and glory. This frame continued till the evening, when my soul was sweetly spiritual in secret duties.
Oct. 20. “I again found the assistance of the Holy Spirit in secret duties, both morning and evening, and life and comfort in religion through the whole day.—Oct. 21. I had likewise experience of the goodness of God in “shedding abroad his love in my heart," and giving me delight and consolation in religious duties; and all the remaining part of the week my soul seemed to be taken up with divine things. I now so longed after God, and to be freed from sin, that when I felt myself recovering, and thought I must return to college again, which had proved so hurtful to my spiritual interest the year past, I could not but be grieved, and thought I had much rather have died; for it distressed me to think of getting away from God. But before I went, I enjoyed several other sweet and precious seasons of communion with God, (particularly Oct. 30, and Nov. 4,) wherein my soul enjoyed unspeakable comfort,
“ I returned to college about Nov. 6, and, through the goodness of God, felt the power of religion almost daily, for the space of six weeks.--Nov. 28. In my evening devotion, I enjoyed precious discoveries of God, and was unspeakably refreshed with that passage, Heb. xii. 22–24. My soul long. ed to wing away to the paradise of God; I longed to be conformed to God' in all things.-A day or two after, I enjoyed much of the light of God's countenance, most of the day; and my soul rested in God.
Dec. 9. “ I was in a comfortable frame of soul most of the day ; but especially in evening devotions, when God was pleased wonderfully to assist and strengthen me; so that I thought nothing should ever move me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord,-Oh! one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world.
“ Towards the latter end of January, 1741, I grew more cold and dull in religion, by means of my old temptation, viz. ambi,
, tion in my studies.—But through divine goodness, a great and general Awakening spread itself over the college, about the latter end of February, in which I was much quickened, and more abundantly engaged in religion."
This awakening was at the beginning of that extraordinary religious commotion, through the land, which is fresh in every one's memory.
It was for a time very great and general at New-Haven ; and the college had no small share in it. That society was greatly reformed; the students, in general, became serious, many of them remarkably so, and much engaged in the concerns of their eternal salvation. However undesirable the issue of the awakenings of that day have appeared in many others, there have been manifestly happy and abiding effects of the impressions then made on the minds of many of the members of that college. By all that I can learn concerning BRAIN ERD, there can be no reason to doubt but that he had much of God's gracious presence, and of the lively actings of true grace, at that time; yet he was afterwards abundantly sensible, that his religious experiences and affections at that time were not free from a corrupt mixture, nor his conduct to be acquitted from many things that were imprudent and blameable; which he greatly lamented himself, and was desirous that others should not make an ill use of such an example. Hence, although at the time he kept a constant diary, containing a very particular account of what passed from day to day, for the next thirteen months, from the latter end of Jan. 1741, forementioned, in two small books, which he called the two first volumes of his diary, next following the account before given of his convictions, conversion, and consequent comforts; yet, when he lay on his death-bed, he gave orders (unknown to me till after his death) that these two volumes should be destroyed; and in the beginning of the third book of his diary, he wrote thus, (by the hand of another, he not being able to write himself,) - The two preceding volumes, immediately following the account of the author's conversion, are lost. If any are desirous to know how the author lived, in general,
during that space of time, let them read the first thirty pages of this volume; where they will find somewhat of a specimen of his ordinary manner of living, through that whole space of time, which was about thirteen months ; except that here he was more refined from some imprudences and indecent heats, than there ; but the spirit of devotion running through the whole, was the same."
It could not be otherwise than that one whose heart had been so prepared and drawn to God, as BRAINERD's had been, should be mightily enlarged, animated, and engaged at the sight of such an alteration made in the college, the town, and country; and so great an appearance of men reforming their lives, and turning from their profaneness and immorality, to seriousness and concern for their salvation, and of religion re. viving and flourishing almost every where. But as an intemperate imprudent zeal, and a degree of enthusiasm soon crept in, and mingled itself with that revival of religion ; and so great and general an awakening being quite a new thing in the land, at least as to all the living inhabitants of it; neither people nor ministers had learned thoroughly to distinguish between solid religion and its delusive counterfeits. Even many ministers of the gospel, of long standing and the best reputation, were for a time overpowered with the glaring appearances of the latter ; and therefore, surely it was not to be wondered at, that young BRAINERD, but a sophomore at college, should be so; who was not only young in years, but very young in religion and experience.
, He had enjoyed but little advantage for the study of divinity, and still less for observing the circumstances and events of such an extraordinary state of things. To think it strange, a man must divest himself of all reason. In these disadvantageous circumstances, BRAINERD had the unhappiness to have a tincture of that intemperate, indiscreet zeal, which was at that time too prevalent ; and was led, from his high opinion of others whom he looked upon as better than himself, into such errors as were really contrary to the habitual temper of his mind. One instance of his misconduct at that time, gave great offence to the rulers of the college, even to that degree Vol. X
that they expelled him the society; which it is necessary should be here particularly related, with its circumstances.
During the awakening at college, there were several religious students who associated together for mutual conversation and assistance in spiritual things. These were wont freely to open themselves one to another, as special and intimate friends; BRAINERD was one of this company. And it once happened, that he and two or three more of these intimate friends were in the hall together, after Mr. Whittelsey, one of the tutors, had engaged in prayer with the scholars; no other person now remaining in the hall but BRAINERD and his companions. Mr. Whittelsey having been unusually pathetic in his prayer, one of BRAINERD's friends on this occasion asked him what he thought of Mr. Whittelsey ; he made answer, “ He has no more grace than this chair." One of the freshmen happening at that time to be near the hall, (though not in the room,) over-heard these words. This person, though he heard no name mentioned, and knew not who was thus censured, informed a certain woman in the town, withal telling her his own suspicion, viz. that he believed BRAINERD said this of some one or other of the rulers of the college. Whereupon she went and informed the Rector, who sent for this freshman and examined him. He told the Rector the words which he heard BRAINERD utter; and informed him who were in the room with him at that time. Upon this the Rector sent for them. They were very backward to inform against their friend respecting what they looked upon as private conversation; especially as none but they had heard or knew of whom he had uttered those words ; yet the Rector compelled them to declare what he said, and of whom he said it.-BRAINERD looked on himself as very ill used in the management of this affair ; and thought that it was injuriously extorted from his friends, and then injuriously required of him—as if he had been guilty of some open, notorious crime—to make a public confession, and to humble himself before the whole college in the hall, for what he had said only in private conversation.--He not complying with this demand, and having gone once to the separate meeting at New Haven, when forbidden by the Rector ; and also having been accused by one person of saying concerning the Rector, “ that he wondered he did not expect to drop down dead for fining the scholars who followed Mr. Tennent to Milford, though there was no proof of it; (and BRAINERD ever professed that he did not remember his saying any thing to that purpose ;) for these things he was expelled the college.
low far the circumstances and exigencies of that day might justify such great severity in the governors of the college, I will not undertake to determine ; it being my aim, not to bring reproach on the authority of the college, but only to do justice