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The design of this publication is to give God the glory of his distinguishing grace, and gratify the pious curiosity of those who are waiting and praying for that blessed time, when the Son of God, in a more extensive sense than has yet been accomplished, shall receive “the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession.”
Whenever any of the guilty race of mankind are awakened to a just concern for their eternal interest, are humbled at the footstool of a sovereign God, and are persuaded and enabled to accept the offers of redeeming love, it must always be acknowledged a wonderful work of divine grace, which demands our thankful praises. But doubtless it is a more affecting evidence of almighty power, a more illustrious display of sovereign mercy, when those are enlightened with the knowledge of salvation, who have for many ages dwelt in the grossest darkness and heathenism, and are brought to a cheerful subjection to the government of our divine Redeemer, who from generation to generation had remained the voluntary slaves of “the prince of darkness.”
This is that delightful scene which will present itself to the reader’s view, while he attentively peruses the following pages. Nothing certainly can be more agreeable to a benevolent and religious mind, than to see those that were sunk in the most degenerate state of human nature, at once, not only renounce those barbarous customs they had been inured to from their infancy, but surprisingly transformed into the character of real and devout Christians.
This mighty change was brought about by the plain and faithful preaching of the gospel, attended with an uncommon effusion of the divine Spirit, under the ministry of the Reverend David Brainerd, a Missionary employed by the Honourable Society in Scotland, for propagating Christian Knowledge.
388And surely it will administer abundant matter of praise and thanksgiving to that honourable body, to find that their generous attempt to send the gospel among the Indian nations upon the borders of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, has met with such surprising success.
It would perhaps have been more agreeable to the taste of politer readers, if the following Journal had been cast into a different method, and formed into one connected narrative. But the worthy author, amidst his continued labours, had no time to spare for such an undertaking. Besides, the pious reader will take a peculiar pleasure to see this work described in its native simplicity, and the operations of the Spirit upon the minds of these poor benighted pagans, laid down just in the method and order in which they happened. This, it must be confessed, will occasion frequent repetitions; but these, as they tend to give a fuller view of this amazing dispensation of divine grace in its rise and progress, we trust, will be easily forgiven.
When we see such numbers of the most ignorant and barbarous of mankind, in the space of a few months, “turned from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan unto God,” it gives us encouragement to wait and pray for that blessed time, when our victorious Redeemer shall, in a more signal manner than he has yet done, display the “banner of his cross,” march on from “conquering to conquer, till the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.” Yea, we cannot but lift up our heads with joy, and hope that it may be the dawn of that bright and illustrious day, when the Sun Of Righteousness shall “arise and shine from one end of the earth to the other;” when, to use the language of the inspired prophets, “the Gentiles shall come to his light, and sings to the brightness of his rising;” in consequence of which, “the wilderness and solitary places shall be glad, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
It is doubtless the duty of all, in their different stations, and according to their respective capacities, to use their utmost endeavours to bring forward this promised, this desired day. There is a great want of schoolmasters among these Christianized Indians, to instruct their youth in the English language, and the principles of the christian faith; for this as yet, there is no certain provision made: 418418 In the observations intermixed with the diary, after the date of June 18th and Sept. 16th, 1747, it appears that some gentlemen from Boston took this affair into their charitable consideration; partly in consequence of this hint, and more especially from Mr. Brainerd’s application by letter. –W. if any are inclined to contribute to so good a design, we are persuaded they will do an acceptable service to the “kingdom of the Redeemer.” And we earnestly desire the most indigent to join, at least, in their wishes and prayers, that this work may prosper more and more, till the “whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord.”
RISE AND PROGRESS
REMARKABLE WORK OF GRACE, &C.
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