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portunity to see. The propagation of it is but slow; but yet so many do fall in with it, and there is that prospect of its being further spread, that it is a great encouragement to me. I earnestly hope, that they, that have begun extraordinary prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit of God, and the coming of Christ's kingdom, will not fail, or grow dull and lifeless in such an affair, but rather that they will increase more and more in their fervency. I have taken a great deal of pains to promote this Concert here in America, and shall not cease to do so, if God spares my life, as I have opportunity, in all ways that I can devise. I have written largely on the subject, insisting on persuasions, and answering objections ; and what I have written is gone to the press. The undertaker for the publication encourages me that it shall speedily be printed. I have sent to Mr. M'Laurin a particular account of it.
“You desire to hear how it was with the people of New-England, when we were threatened with an invasion by the French fleet, the last summer. As to the particular circumstances of that wonderful deliverance, the fullest and best account I have ever seen of it, is in Mr. Prince's Thanksgiving Sermon on that occasion; which, in all probability, you have seen long before this time. Nor need you be informed by me, of the repeated mercy of God to us, in confounding our enemies in their renewed attempt this year, by delivering up their fleet, in its way hither, into the hands of the English. In all probability, that fleet was intended for the execution of a very extensive design, against the English colonies, in conjunction with the French forces in Canada. For there was an army lay waiting at Nova Scotia, which, on the news of the sailing of their fleet, immediately left the country, and returned to Canada, over the lake Champlain, towards New-England and New-York; and they, or a part of them, attacked Fort Saratoga, in New-York government, and killed or took about fifty men that were drawn out of the Fort; but desisted from any further attempts, about the time we may suppose they received the news of the defeat of their feet. And very soon after they received this news in Canada, the French there released most of our captives, and sent one ship loaded with them, to the number of about one hundred and seventy, to Boston, and another ship with about sixty, if I remember right, to Louisburg. The reasons, that induced them so to do, are not known, and can only be guessed at by us; but, by their doing it very soon after they received the news of the loss of their fleet, it looks as though that had great influence in the affair. New-England has had many other surprising deliverances from the French and Indians; some of which I have given a particular account of, in my letter to Mr. M’Laurin ; which it would be needless for me to repeat, seeing you have such frequent opportunities with him. These deliverances are very wonderful and affecting ; our enemies own that the Heavens are on our sidē, and
fight for us; but there are no such effects of these mercies upon us that are the subjects of them, as God requires, and most justly expects. The mercies are acknowledged in words, but we are not led to repentance by them; there appears no such thing as any reformation or Revival of religion in the land. God's so wonderfully protecting and delivering a people, whose provocations have been so great, and who do so continue in apostacy and provocation, is
marvellous ; and I can think of no account that can be given of it, so probable as this, that God has a design of mercy to the rising generation, and that there are a great number of the elect among our children, born and unborn, and that for these elect's sake, God will not suffer us to be destroyed, having a design to bring forth a seed of the posterity of this people, to inherit and dwell in this land, that shall be an holy seed, and a generation of his servants. And so that those words are applicable to us, Isa.
. Ixv. 8, 9, “ Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains : and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.” I am full of apprehensions, that God has no design of mercy to those that were left unconverted, of the generation that were on the stage, in the time of the late extraordinary religious commotion, and striving of God's Spirit; unless it be perhaps a small gleaning from among them. But it may be, when their little ones, the generation that was then in their childhood, are brought fully on the stage of action, God will abundantly pour out bis Spirit, and revive and carry on his work, here and elsewhere in the christian world. *
“ I thank you for taking the pains of writing to me your thoughts of the forty-two months of the treading down of the holy City, which are new and entertaining. The chief objection against what you propose, that I can think of, is, that the forty-two months of the treading down the holy City, seems to be the same period with the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of the Witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, mentioned in the very next verse, in immediate connection with this; and that, the same with the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of the Woman's being in the wilderness. Chap. xii. 6; and that, the same with the time, times and an half of the Woman's being in the wilderness, v. 14; and that the same with the time, times and an half of the reign of the Little horn, Dan. vii. 25 : and with the forty-two months of the reign of the Beast, Rev. xii. 5; and that this evidently signifies the duration of the reign of Antichrist; which is a thing entirely diverse from the sum
; of the times of the City of Jerusalem's being under the dominion of Pagans, Saracens, Persians and Turks, as you represent. However, it is possible that what you mention may be one way wherein that prophecy, Rev. xi. 2, may be fulfilled. For God's word is often times fulfilled in various ways: as one way, wherein the prophetical representation of the Beast with the seven heads is fulfilled, is in the seven successive forms of government, that idolatrous Rome is under; and another way, that it was fulfilled, was by Rome's being built on seven hills. One way, that the seventy years captivity of the Jews was fulfilled, was in its being seventy years from Jehoichim's captivity, to Cyrus's decree: and another way, that it was fulfilled, was in its being seventy years from Zedekiah's captivity to Darius's decree, Ezra 6 ; and another way, that it was fulfilled, was in its being seventy years from the last carrying away of all, Jer. lii. 30, to the finishing and dedication of the Temple. But I expect no certainty as to these things, or any of the various conjectures concerning the time of the calling of the Jews, and the fall of the kingdom of the Beast, till time and fulfilment shall decide the matter. However, I cannot think otherwise, than that we have a great deal of reason to suppose, that the beginning of that glorious work of God's Spirit, which, before it is finished, shall accomplish these things, is not very far off; and there is very much in the word of God, and in the present aspects of divine Providence, to encourage us greatly in our begun Concert for Extraordinary United Prayer for the coming of Christ's Kingdom. Let us therefore go on with what we have begun in that respect, and continue instant in prayer, with all perseverance, and increase more and more in faith and fervency, and not keep silence, nor give God any rest, till he establish, and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
*It was postponed to the time of the children of the generation here referred to.
s And remember in your prayers, dear Sir,
The continuation of this Concert for united and extraordinary prayer was proposed, in a Memorial from Scotland, dated August 26, 1746, signed by twelve clergyman of that country, and circulated soon after in all the American colonies. To secure the general adoption of the proposed measure, Mr. Edwards first preached to his people a series of Sermons in its favour, and then published them in the form of a Treatise, with the Title, “ An humble Attempt to promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union among God's People, in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion, and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture Promises, and Prophecies concerning the Last Time.” This work was immediately republished in England and Scotland, and extensively circulated in both countries, as well as in America, and had great influence in securing the general adoption of the measures proposed-a measure, which was pursued for more than half a century by many of the American churches, and only discontinued on the adoption of a more frequent Concert—the Monthly Concert-for United and Extraordinary Prayer, for the same great object, proposed at an Association of the ministers of the Baptist Churches, in the counties of Northampton, Leicester, etc. held at Nottingham, in 1784, and observed the first Monday evening of each month; and now extensively adopted throughout the christian world.
In the course of this Treatise, Mr. Edwards was led, in answering objections, to examine an Interpretation of Prophecy, until then most generally if not universally received : viz. That the kingdom of Christ could not come, until there had previously been a time of most extreme calamity to the Church of God, and prevalence of her Antichristian enemies against her, as represented in Rev. xi. by the Slaying of the Witnesses. Some years before this, Mr. Edwards had examined the Apocalypse with great care, in connexion with the Prophecy of Daniel; in order to satisfy himself whether the slaying of the witnesses was to be regarded as past, or future. This he did with his pen in his hand; and a brief abstract of his views on this point, is found in the answers to the 4th and 5th objections in the Humble Attempt. The views of prophecy, here presented by Mr. Edwards, were, I believe, at the time wholly new to the christian world, and were at first regarded by many as doubtful, if not erroneous; but have since produced the general conviction, that the downfall of Popery and the ultimate extension of the kingdom of Christ, are far less distant than has been supposed—a conviction remarkably supported by the whole series of Providential dispensations. And there can be no doubt that this conviction has been a prime cause, of the present concentrated movement of the whole Church of God, to hasten forward the Reign of the Messiah. As long as it was the commonly received opinion of christians, that the Church was yet destined to experience far more severe and overwhelming calamities, than any she had hitherto known—calamities amounting to an almost total extinction—before the time of her final prosperity; the efforts and the prayers of christians for the arrival of that period of prosperity were chiefly prevented: inasmuch as it was, in effect, to labour and pray for the almost total extinction of the Church of Christ, during a period of indefinite extent, as well as to labour and pray, if speedy success should crown their efforts, for the destruction, if not of their own lives, yet of those of their children and immediate descendents. In the sections referred to, he endeavours to show, and by argumeuts which are yet unanswered, that the severest trials announced in prophecy against the Church of God were already past, that her warfare was even then almost accomplished, and that the day of her redemption was drawing nigh. By establishing this point; and by presenting the arguments in a manner so clear and convincing, as wholly to supersede the necessity of any subsequent treatise on the subject; the work in question, through the divine blessing, has exerted an influence, singularly powerful, in rousing the Church of Christ to that series of efforts, which is to result in her final victory.
Arrival of David Brainerd at Northampton.-His sickness and
death at the house of Mr. Edwrads.-His papers.-Death of Jerusha, the second daughter of Mr. E.—Her character.-Correspondence of Mr. E. with Rev. John Erskine.—Abstract of Mr. E.'s first Letter to Mr. Erskine.—Plan conceived of the Freedom the Will.—Death of Col. Stoddard.-Kindness of Mr. Erskine.-Letter of Mr. E. to him.-Second Letter from Mr. Gillespie.—Letter to Mr. M Culloch.—Letter to Mr. Erskine.—Letter from Mr. Willison.—Life and Diary of Brainerd.—Letters to Messers. Erskine, M Culloch, and Robe. Ordination of Rev. Job Strong - Anecdote of Rev. Mr. Moody. -Letter of Mr. E. to his daughter Mary.—Second Letter to Mr. Gillespie.
The reader will recollect, that while Mr. Edwards was at NewHaven, in September 1743, he formed an acquaintance with David BRAINERD, then a missionary to the Indians at Kāunāumēek,* and became his counsellour at a most interesting period of his life. In March 1747, Brainerd, in consequence of extreme ill health, took leave of his Indians in New-Jersey, and in April came into New
* Kāunăumček, was an Indian settlement, about five miles N. W. from New Lebanon, on the main road from that village to Albany. The place is now called Brainerd's Bridge, and is a village of a few houses, on the Kayaderosseras Creek, where that road crosses it. It was thus named, not after the Missionary, but after a relative of his of the name of Brainerd, who some years since planted himself in this spot, and built the bridge across the Creek, now a toll bridge. The mountain, about a mile N. W. of the bridge, still bears the name of Káunăumeek. The Creek winds beautifully in the valley beneath, and forms a delightful meadow. In 1823, I found an aged negro on the spot, about one hundred years of age, who had passed his life in the vicinity. He was about twenty-one years old, when Brainerd resided at Kaunăumēek, but never saw him. He told me that the house, which Brainerd built here, stood on the first little knowl, or hillock on the left of the road, and on the W. or N. W. side of the Creek, immediately after passing the bridge; and, that the Indian settlement was down in the meadow, at some distance below the bridge. On following the stream, I discovered an old Indian orchard, the trees of an Indian burying ground, and the ruins of several buildings of long standing. He also informed me, that the Indians had often told him, that Mr. Brainerd was “ a very holy man," and that he resided at Kaunăumeek but a short time.