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Dec. 13. “ Joined in prayer with Mr. Bellamy; and found sweetness and composure in parting with him, as he went a journey. Enjoyed some sweetness through the day; and just at night rode down to Woodbury.
Dec. 14. "Some perplexity hung on my mind; I was distressed last night and this morning for the interest of Zion, especially on account of the false appearances of religion, that do but rather breed confusion, especially in some places. I cried to God for help, to enable me to bear testimony against those things, which, instead of promoting, do but hinder the progress of vital piety. In the afternoon, rode down to Southbury; and conversed again with my friend about the important affair of his pursuing the work of the ministry; and he appeared much inclined to devote himself to that work, if God should succeed his attempts to qualify himself for so great a work. In the evening I preached from 1 Thess. iv. 8. He therefore that despiseth, &c. and endeavoured, though with tenderness, to undermine false religion. The Lord gave me some assistance; but, however, I seemed so vile, I was asham
I ed to be seen when I came out of the meeting-house.
Dec. 15. “ Enjoyed something of God to-day, both in secret and in social prayer; but was sensible of much barrenness and defect in duty, as well as my inability to help myself for the time to come, or to perform the work and business I have to do. Afterwards, felt much of the sweetness of religion, and the tenderness of the gospel-temper. I found a dear love to all mankind, and was much afraid lest some motion of anger or resentment should, some time or other, creep into my heart. Had some comforting, soul-refreshing discourse with dear friends, just as we took our leave of each other; and supposed it might be likely we should not meet again till we came to the eternal world.* I doubt not, through grace, but that some of us shall have a happy meeting there, and bless God for this season, as well as many others. Amen.
Dec. 16. “ Rode, down to Derby ; and had some sweet thoughts on the road : especially on the essence of our salvation by Christ, from these words, Thou shalt call his name Jesus, &c. Dec. 17.
" Spent much time in sweet conversation on spiritual things with dear Mr. Humphreys. Rode to Rip
. ton; spent some time in prayer with dear Christian friends.
Dec. 18. “Spent much time in prayer in the woods; and
* It had been determined by the commissioners, who employed BRAINERD as a missionary, that he should go as soon as might be, conveniently, to the Indians living near the Forks of Delaware river, in Pennsylvania, and the Indians on Susquehannab river; which being far off, where also he would be exposed to many hardships and dangers, was the occasion of his taking leave of his friends in this manner.
seemed raised above the things of the world: my soul was strong in the Lord of hosts ; but was sensible of great bar
Lord's day, Dec. 19. 6 At the sacrament of the Lord's supper I seemed strong in the Lord ; and the world, with all its frowns and flatteries, in a great measure disappeared, so that my soul had nothing to do with them; and I felt a disposition to be wholly and for ever the Lord's.- In the evening, enjoyed something of the divine presence; had a humbling sense of my vileness, barrenness, and sinfulness. Oh, it wounded me to think of the misimprovement of time! God be merciful to me a sinner,
Dec. 20. “ Spent this day in prayer, reading, and writing ; and enjoyed some assistance, especially in correcting some thoughts on a certain subject; but had a mournful sense of my barrenness.
Dec. 21. “ Had a sense of my insufficiency for any public work and business, as well as to live to God. I rode over to Derby, and preached there. It pleased God to give me very sweet assistance and enlargement, and to enable me to speak with a soft, tender power and energy.-- We had afterwards a comfortable evening in singing and prayer. God enabled me to pray with as much spirituality and sweetness as I have done for some time: my mind seemed to be unclothed of sense and imagination, and was in a measure let into the immaterial world of spirits. This day was, I trust, through infinite goodness, made very profitable to a number of us, to advance our souls in holiness and conformity to God: the glory be to him for ever. Amen. How blessed is it to grow more and more like God.
Dec. 22. Enjoyed some assistance in preaching at Ripton; but my soul mourned within me for my
barrenness. Dec. 23. “ Enjoyed, I trust, the presence of God this morning in secret. Oh, how divinely sweet is it to come into the secret of his presence, and abide in his pavilion!—Took an affectionate leave of friends, not expecting to see them again for a very considerable time, if ever in this world. Rode with Mr. Humphreys to his house in Derby ; spent the time in sweet conversation ; my soul was refreshed and sweetly melted with divine things. Oh that I was always consecrated to God! Near night, I rode to New-Haven, and there enjoyed some sweetness in prayer and conversation, with some dear Christian friends. My mind was sweetly serious and composed; but alas ! I too much lost the sense of divine things.”
He continued much in the same frame of mind, and in like exercises, the two following days.
Lord's Day, Dec. 26. “Felt much sweetness and tenderness in prayer, especially my whole soul seemed to love my worst enemies, and was enabled to pray for those that are strangers and enemies to God, with a great degree of softness and pathetic fervour. In the evening, rode from New Haven to Branford, after I had kneeled down and prayed with a number of dear Christian friends in a very retired place in the woods, and so parted.
Dec. 27. “Enjoyed a precious season indeed ; had a sweet melting sense of divine things, of the pure spirituality of the religion of Christ Jesus. In the evening, I preached from Matt. vi. 33. But seek ye first, &c. with much freedom, and sweet power and pungency: the presence of God attended our meeting. Oh, the sweetness, the tenderness I felt in my soul! If ever I felt the temper of Christ, I had some sense of it now. Blessed be my God, I have seldom enjoyed a more comfortable and profitable day than this. Oh, that I could spend all my time for God!
Dec. 28. 6. Rode from Branford to Haddam. In the morning my clearness and sweetness in divine things continued : but afterwards my spiritual life sensibly declined.”
The next twelve days, he was for the most part extremely dejected, discouraged, and distressed ; and was evidently very much under the power of melancholy. There are from day to day most bitter complaints of exceeding vileness, ignorance, and corruption ; an amazing load of guilt, unworthiness, even to creep on God's earth, everlasting uselessness, fitness for nothing, &c. and sometimes expressions even of horror at the thoughts of ever preaching again. But yet, in this time of great dejection, he speaks of several intervals of divine help and comfort.
The three next days, which were spent at Hebron and the Crank, (a parish in Lebanon,) he had relief, and enjoyed considerable comfort.
Jan. 14, 1743. “My spiritual conflicts to-day were unspeak
bly dreadful, heavier than the mountains and overflowing floods. I seemed inclosed, as it were, in hell itself: I was deprived of all sense of God, even of the being of a God; and ihat was my misery. I had no awful apprehensions of God as angry.
This was distress, the nearest akin to the damned's torments, that I ever endured: their torment, I am sure, will consist much in a privation of God, and consequently of all good. This taught me the absolute dependence of a creature upon God the Creator, for every crumb of happiness it enjoys. Oh, I feel that, if there is no God, though I might live for ever here, and enjoy not only this, but all other worlds, I should be ten thousand times more miserable than a reptile. My soul was in such anguish I could not eat; but felt as I suppose a
a poor wretch would that is just going to the place of execution. I was almost swallowed up with anguish, when I saw people gathering together, to hear me preach. However, I went in that distress to the house of God, and found not much relief in the first prayer: it seemed as if God would let loose the people upon me to destroy me; nor were the thoughts of death distressing to me, like my own vileness. But afterwards in my discourse from Deut. viii. 2. God was pleased to give me some freedom and enlargement, some power and spirituality; and I spent the evening somewhat comfortably."
The two next days, his comfort continues, and he seems to enjoy an almost continual sweetness of soul in the duties and exercises of religion and christian conversation. On Monday was a return of the gloom he had been under the Friday before. He rode to Coventry this day, and the latter part of the day had more freedom. On Tuesday he rode to Canterbury, and continued more comfortable.
Jan. 19. [At Canterbury.] In the afternoon preached the lecture at the Meeting-house ; felt some tenderness, and somewhat of the gospel temper: exhorted the people to love one another, and not to set up their own frames as a standard by which to try all their brethren. But was much pressed, most of the day, with a sense of my own badness, inward impurity, and unspeakable corruption. Spent the evening in tender, Christian conversation.
Jan. 20. - Rode to my brother's house between Norwich and Lebanon; and preached in the evening to a number of people: enjoyed neither freedom nor spirituality, but saw myself exceeding unworthy.
Jan. 21. "Had great inward conflicts; enjoyed but little comfort. Went to see Mr. Williams of Lebanon, and spent several hours with him; and was greatly delighted with his serious, deliberate, and impartial way of discourse about religion."
The next day he was much dejected.
Lord's day, Jan. 23. I scarce ever felt myself so unfit to exist as now : saw I was not worthy of a place among the Indians, where I am going, if God permit: thought I should be ashamed to look them in the face, and much more to have any respect shewn me there. Indeed I felt myself banished from the earth, as if all places were too good for such a wretch. I thought I should be ashamed to go among the very
savages of Africa; 1 appeared to myself a creature fit for nothing, neither neaven nor earth.—None know, but those who feel it, what the soul endures that is sensibly shut out from the presence of God: alas ! it is more bitter than death.”
On Monday he rode to Stonington, Mr. Fish's parish.-On Tuesday he expresses considerable degrees of spiritual comfort and refreshment.
Jan. 26. “ Preached to a pretty large assembly at Mr. Fish's meeting house : insisted on humility and steadfastness in keeping God's commands; and that through humility we should prefer one another in love, and not make our own frames the rule by which we judge others. I felt sweetly calm, and full of brotherly love: and never more free from party spirit. I hope some good will follow ; that Christinns will be freed from false joy, and party zeal, and censuring one another."
On Thursday, after considerable time spent in prayer and Christian conversation, he rode to New-London.
Jan. 28. “Here I found some fallen into extravagancies ; too much carried away with a false zeal and bitterness. Oh, the want of a gospel temper is greatly to be lamented. Spent the evening in conversing about some points of conduct in both ministers and private Christians; but did not agree with them. God had not taught them with briars and thorns to be of a kind disposition towards mankind.”
On Saturday, he rode to East-Haddam, and spent the three following days there. In that space of time he speaks of feeling weanedness from the world, a sense of the nearness of eternity, special assistance in praying for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom, times of spiritual comfort, &c.
Feb. 2. “ Preached my farewell sermon last night, at the house of an aged man, who had been unable to attend on the public worship for some time. This morning, spent the time in prayer, almost wherever I went; and having taken leave of friends, I set out on my journey towards the Indians; though I was to spend some time at East-Hampton, on Long-Island, by leave of the commissioners who employed me in the Indian affair ;* and being accompanied by a messenger from East
* The reason why the commissioners or correspondents did not order BRAINERD to go immediatelyto the Indians, and enter on his business as a missionary was, that the winter was not judged to be a convenient season for him first to go out into the wilderness, and enter on the difficulties and hardships to which he must there be exposed.