« ElőzőTovább »
was remarkably dead to the world, and my thoughts were almost wholly employed about my soul's concerns; I was ó almost persuaded to be a Christian. I was also much distressed about this time at the death of my mother; but afterwards my religious concern declined, and by degrees I fell back into security, though I still practised secret prayer.”
In this state of mind he continued some years.
At times he was much concerned for his soul; prayed, and wept, and appeared much engaged; at other times he sunk into a state of stupidity and carelessness. “In 1738,” he says, “ I almost entirely abandoned the company of youth. I read the Bible more than twice through in less than a year; I spent much time in secret prayer; I gave great attention to the word preached, and endeavoured to retain it. So much was I con. cerned about religion, that I agreed with some young persons to meet privately on sab. bath evenings for religious exercises. One sabbath morning it pleased God to give me such a sense of my danger, and of the wrath of God, that I stood amazed, and was much
distressed all day, fearing that the vengeance of God would soon overtake me.
I kept alone, and I grudged the birds and the beasts their happiness, because they were not exposed to the wrath of God, as I saw I was. Thus I lived from day to day, in great distress; and the many distresses I met with put me in a most horrible frame of contesting with God, finding fault in my heart with his dealings. I often wished for some other
way of salvation than by Jesus Christ, and sometimes I wished there was no God, or that there were some other God that could control bim.
“ These thoughts were frequently acted before I was aware; but when I considered this, it distressed me to think that my
heart was so full of enmity against God; and it made me tremble lest God's vengeance should fall suddenly upon me.”
Thus far we find him unhappy and distressed; the thoughts of God, and religion, only made him miserable; and it was because he had not given up his heart to Jesus: all his prayers, and religious duties, were endeavours to save himself, thinking that God would be pleased with them, and save him; but he did not find any peace in this way. He struggled like a drowning man, and wearied himself, but would not come to Jesus, who is the only Saviour of sinners. But we shall soon see a different picture; we shall see him happy in Christ. He says, “One morning, as I was walking as usual, in a solitary place, I saw at once that my contrivances to procure salvation for myself were all in vain; I was brought quite to a stand, finding myself totally lost. I now saw that it was for ever impossible to save myself. I had the greatest certainty that my state was for ever miserable for all that I could do, and was astonished that I had never seen it before. I now saw that all my prayers and fasting did not lay the least obligation upon God to give me his grace,
that there was not the least good in them, because they were not performed from any love to God.
66 I continued in this frame of mind from Friday morning until Sunday evening following, July 12, 1739. While I was walking in the same solitary place, unspeakable glory seemed to open to the view of my soul. It was not an outward brightness, or body of Light; but it was a new inward view of God, such as I never saw before. I stood still and admired. I had never seen any thing before comparable to it for excellency and beauty. It was very different from all the thoughts I had ever had of God or divine things. My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable, to see such a glorious Divine Being; and I was pleased and satisfied that he should be God over all for ever. My soul was so captivated, and delighted with the excellency, loveliness, greatness, and other perfections of God, that at first I scarcely thought there was such a creature as myself. I continued in this frame for some length of time, without any sensible abatement. I felt myself in a new world, and every thing appeared with a different aspect from what it used to do. At this time the way of salvation opened to me with such wisdom, suitableness, and excel. lency, that I wondered I should ever think of any other
not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this blessed and excellent way before. If I could now be saved in of the ways I had tried before, my whole soul would have refused. I wondered that the whole world did not see and comply with this way of salvation entirely by the righteousness of Christ.”
In this account, we see how different true religion is from all the prayers and efforts of those whose hearts are not given to Christ. True religion consists in loving God, and to love God makes the soul truly happy.
Mr. Brainerd, at the time of his conversion, in July 1739, was a little more than twenty-one years of age. As he had before spent much time in study, he entered Yale Col. lege, in New-Haven, in September, with the design of becoming a minister of the gospel. Here he was surrounded by the gay and the thoughtless; and his heart was grieved by the folly which he was obliged continually to witness. But though he was surrounded by those temptations which lead so many astray, he caught none of their deadly influence.