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FROM A. D. 1745, NOV. 24th, TO JUNE 19th 1746, AT CROSSWEEKSUNG AND FORKS OF DELAWARE
Crossweeksung, in New Jersey, November, 1745.
Lord’s day, Nov. 24. Preached both parts of the day from the story of Zaccheus, Luke xix. 1-9. In the latter exercise, when I opened and insisted upon the salvation that comes to the sinner, upon his becoming a son of Abraham, or a true believer, the word seemed to be attended with divine power to the hearts of the hearers. Numbers were much affected with divine truths; former convictions were revived; one or two persons newly awakened; and a most affectionate engagement in divine service appeared among them universally. The impressions they were under appeared to be the genuine effect of God’s word brought home to their hearts, by the power and influence of the divine Spirit.
Nov. 26. After having spent some time in private conferences with my people, I discoursed publicly among them from John v. 1-9. I was favoured with some special freedom and fervency in my discourse, and a powerful energy accompanied divine truths. Many wept and sobbed affectionately, and scarce any appeared unconcerned in the whole assembly. The influence that seized the audience appeared gentle, and yet pungent and efficacious. It produced no boisterous commotion of the passions, but seemed deeply to affect the heart; and excite in the persons under convictions of their lost state, heavy groans and tears: and in others who had obtained comfort, a sweet and humble melting. It seemed like the gentle but steady showers that effectually water the earth, without violently beating upon the surface. The persons lately awakened were, some of them, deeply distressed for their souls, and appeared earnestly solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ: and some of them, after public worship was over, in anguish of spirit, said, “They knew 402not what to do, nor how to get their wicked hearts changed,” &c.
Nov. 28. Discoursed to the Indians publicly, after having used some private endeavours to instruct and excite some in the duties of Christianity. Opened and made remarks upon the sacred story of our Lord’s transfiguration, Luke ix. 28-36. Had a principal view, in my insisting upon this passage of Scripture, to the edification and consolation of God’s people. And observed some, that I have reason to think are truly such, exceedingly affected with an account of the glory of Christ in his transfiguration; and filled with longing desires of being with him, that they might with open face behold his glory.
After public service was over, I asked one of them, who wept and sobbed most affectionately, “What she now wanted?” She replied, “Oh, to be with Christ! she did not know how to stay,” &c. This was a blessed refreshing season to the religious people in general. The Lord Jesus Christ seemed to manifest his divine glory to them, as when transfigured before his disciples. And they, with the disciples, were ready universally to say, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”
The influence of God’s word was not confined to those who had given evidences of being truly gracious, though at this time I calculated my discourse for, and directed it chiefly to, such. But it appeared to be a season of divine power in the whole assembly; so that most were, in some measure, affected. And one aged man in particular, lately awakened, was now brought under a deep and pressing concern for his soul, and was earnestly inquisitive “how he might find Jesus Christ.” God seems still to vouch-safe his divine presence and the influence of his blessed Spirit to accompany his word, at least in some measure, in all our meetings for divine worship.
Nov. 30. Preached near night, after having spent some hours in private conference with some of my people about their souls’ concerns. Explained and insisted upon the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke xvi. 19-26. The word made powerful impressions upon many in the assembly, especially while I discoursed of the blessedness of “Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom.” This, I could perceive, affected them much more than what I spoke of the rich man’s misery and torments. And thus it has been usually with them. They have almost always appeared much more affected with the comfortable than the dreadful truths of God’s word. And that which has distressed many of them under convictions is, that they found they wanted, and could not obtain, the happiness of the godly; at least they have often appeared to be more affected with this, than with the terrors of hell. But whatever be the means of their awakening, it is plain, numbers are made deeply sensible of their sin and misery, the wickedness and stubbornness of their own hearts, their utter inability to help themselves, or to come to Christ for help, without divine assistance; and so are brought to see their perishing need of Christ to do all for them, and to lie at the foot of sovereign mercy.
Lord’s day, Dec. 1. Discoursed to my people in the forenoon from Luke xvi. 27-31. There appeared an unfeigned affection in divers persons, and some seemed deeply impressed with divine truths. In the afternoon preached to a number of white people; at which time the Indians attended with diligence, and many of them were able to understand a considerable part of the discourse.
At night discoursed to my people again, and gave them some particular cautions and directions relating to their conduct in divers respects. And pressed them to watchfulness in all their deportment, seeing they were encompassed with those that “waited for their halting,” and who stood ready to draw them into temptations of every kind, and then to expose religion for their missteps.
Lord’s day, Dec. 8. Discoursed on the story of the blind man, John ix. There appeared no remarkable effect of the word upon the assembly at this time. The persons who have lately been much concerned for their souls, seemed now not so affected nor solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ as has been usual: although they attended divine service with seriousness and diligence.
Such have been the doings of the Lord here, in awakening sinners, and affecting the hearts of those who are brought to solid comfort, with a fresh sense of divine things from time to time, that it is now strange to see the assembly sit with dry eyes, and without sobs and groans.
Dec. 12. Preached from the parable of the ten virgins, Matt. xxv. The divine power seemed in some measure to attend this discourse, in which I was favoured with uncommon freedom and plainness of address, and enabled to open divine truths, and explain them to the capacities of my people, in a manner beyond myself. There appeared in many persons an affectionate concern for their souls; although the concern in general seemed not so deep and pressing as it had formerly done. Yet it was refreshing to see many melted into tears and unaffected sobs; some with a sense of divine love, and some for want of it.
Lord’s day, Dec. 15. Preached to the Indians from Luke xiii. 24-28. Divine truths fell with weight and power upon the audience, and seemed to reach the hearts of many. Near night discoursed to them again from Matt. xxv. 31-46. At which season also the word appeared to be accompanied with a divine influence, and made powerful impressions upon the assembly in general, as well as upon divers persons in a very special and particular manner. This was an amazing season of grace! “The word of the Lord,” this day, “was quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword,” and pierced to the hearts of many. The assembly was greatly affected, and deeply wrought upon; yet without so much apparent commotion of the passions, as was usual in the beginning of this work of grace. The impressions made by the word of God upon the audience appeared solid, rational, and deep, worthy of the solemn truths by means of which they were produced, and far from being the effects of any sudden fright, or groundless perturbation of mind.
O how did the hearts of the hearers seem to bow under the weight of divine truths! And how evident did it now appear that they received and felt them, “not as the word of man, but as the word of God!” None can frame a just idea of the appearance of our assembly at this time, but those who have seen a congregation solemnly awed, and deeply impressed, by the special power and influence of divine truths delivered to them in the name of God.
Dec. 16. Discoursed to my people in the evening from Luke xi. 1-13. After having insisted some time upon the 9th verse, wherein there is a command and encouragement to ask for the divine favours, I called upon them to ask for a new heart with utmost importunity, as the man mentioned in the parable I was discoursing upon, pleaded for loaves of bread at midnight.
There was much affection and concern in the assembly; and especially one woman appeared in great distress for her soul. She was brought to such an agony in seeking after Christ, that the sweat ran off her face for a considerable time together, although the evening was very cold; and her bitter cries were the most affecting indication of the inward anguish of her heart.
Dec. 21. My people having now attained to a considerable degree of knowledge in the principles of Christianity, I thought it proper to set up a catechetical lecture among them; and this evening attempted something in that form; proposing questions to them agreeable to the Reverend Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, receiving their answers, and then explaining and insisting as appeared necessary and proper upon each question. After which I endeavoured to make some practical improvement of the whole. This was the method I entered upon. They were able readily and rationally to answer many important questions I proposed to them: so that, upon trial, I found their doctrinal knowledge to exceed my own expectations. In the improvement of my discourse, when I came to infer and open the blessedness of those who have so great and glorious a God, as had before been spoken of, “for their everlasting friend and portion,” sundry were much affected; and especially when I exhorted, and endeavoured to persuade them “to be reconciled to God,” through his dear Son, and thus to secure an interest in his everlasting favour. So that they appeared to be not only enlightened and instructed, but affected and engaged in their souls’ concern by this method of discoursing.
403Lord’s day, Dec. 22. Discoursed upon the story of the young man in the gospel, Matt. ix. 16-22. God made it a seasonable word, I am persuaded, to some souls. There were sundry persons of the Indians newly come here, who had frequently lived among Quakers; and being more civilized and conformed to English manners than the generality of the Indians, they had imbibed some of the Quakers’ errors, especially this fundamental one, viz. That if men will but live soberly and honestly, according to the dictates of their own consciences, (or the light within,) there is then no danger or doubt of their salvation, &c. These persons I found much worse to deal with than those who are wholly under pagan darkness, who make no pretences to knowledge in Christianity at all, nor have any self-righteous foundation to stand upon. However, they all, except one, appeared now convinced, that this sober, honest life, of itself, was not sufficient to salvation; since Christ himself had declared it so in the case of the young man. And seemed in some measure concerned to obtain that change of heart, the necessity of which I had been labouring to show them.
This was likewise a season of comfort to some souls, and in particular to one, (the same mentioned in my Journal of the 16th instant,) who never before obtained any settled comfort, though I have abundant reason to think she had passed a saving change some days before. She now appeared in a heavenly frame of mind, composed and delighted with the divine will. When I came to discourse particularly with her, and to inquire of her, how she got relief and deliverance from the spiritual distresses she had lately been under, she answered in broken English, 420420 In proper English thus, “I tried and tried to save myself, till at last my strength was all gone, and I could not stir any further. Then at last I was forced to let Jesus Christ alone send me to hell if he pleased.” “Me try, me try, save myself, last my strength be all gone, (meaning her ability to save herself,) could not me stir bit further. Den last, me forced let Jesus Christ alone, send me hell if he please.” I said, But you was not willing to go to hell, was you? She replied, 421421 In plain English thus, “I could not help it. My heart would be wicked for all what I could do. I could not make it good.” “Could not me help it. My heart he would wicked for all. Could not me make him good;” (meaning she saw it was right she should go to hell because her heart was wicked, and would be so after all she could do to mend it). I asked her, how she got out of this case? She answered still in the same broken language, 422422 “By and by my heart was exceeding glad. My heart was glad that Jesus Christ would do with me what he pleased. Then I thought my heart would be glad although Christ should send me to hell. I did not care where he put me, I should love him for all; i.e. do what he would with me.” “By by my heart be grad desperately.” I asked her why her heart was glad? She replied, “Grad my heart Jesus Christ do what he please with me. Den me tink, grad my heart Jesus Christ send me hell. Did not me care where he put me, me lobe him for all,” &c.
And she could not readily be convinced but that she was willing to go to hell, if Christ was pleased to send her there. Though the truth evidently was, her will was so swallowed up in the divine will, that she could not frame any hell in her imagination that would be dreadful or undesirable, provided it was but the will of God to send her to it. Toward night discoursed to them again in the catechetical method I entered upon the evening before. And when I came to improve the truths I had explained to them, and to answer that question, “But how shall I know whether God has chosen me to everlasting life,” by pressing them to come and give up their hearts to Christ, and thereby “to make their election sure;” they then appeared much affected: and the persons under concern were afresh engaged in seeking after an interest in him; while some others who had obtained comfort before, were refreshed to find that love to God in themselves, which was an evidence of his electing love to them.
Dec. 25. The Indians having been used upon Christmas days to drink and revel among some of the white people in these parts, I thought it proper this day to call them together, and discourse to them upon divine things: which I accordingly did from the parable of the barren fig-tree, Luke xiii. 6-9. A divine influence, I am persuaded, accompanied the word at this season. The power of God appeared in the assembly, not by producing any remarkable cries, but by shocking and rousing at heart, as it seemed, several stupid creatures that were scarce ever moved with any concern before. The power attending divine truths seemed to have the influence of the earthquake rather than the whirlwind upon them. Their passions were not so much alarmed as has been common here in times past, but their judgments appeared to be powerfully convinced by the masterly and conquering influence of divine truths. The impressions made upon the assembly in general, seemed not superficial, but deep and heart-affecting. O how ready did they now appear universally to embrace and comply with every thing they heard and were convinced was duty! God was in the midst of us of a truth, bowing and melting stubborn hearts! How many tears and sobs were then to be seen and heard among us! What liveliness and strict attention, what eagerness and intenseness of mind, appeared in the whole assembly in the time of divine service! They seemed to watch and wait for the dropping of God’s word, as the thirsty earth for the “former and latter rain.”
Afterwards I discoursed to them on the duty of husbands and wives, from Eph. v. 22, 23. and have reason to think this was a word in season. Spent some time further in the evening, in inculcating the truths I had insisted upon in my former discourse respecting the barren fig-tree, and observed a powerful influence still accompany what was spoken.
Dec. 26. This evening I was visited by a person under great spiritual exercise; the most remarkable instance of this kind I ever saw. She was a woman of (I believe) more than fourscore years old, and appeared to be much broken and very childish through age; so that it seemed impossible for man to instil into her mind any notions of divine things, not so much as to give her any doctrinal instruction, because she seemed incapable of being taught. She was led by the hand into my house, and appeared in extreme anguish. I asked her what ailed her? She answered, “That her heart was distressed, and she feared she should never find Christ.” I asked her when she began to be concerned? with divers other questions relating to her distress. To all which she answered, for substance, to this effect, viz. That she had heard me preach many times, but never knew any thing about it, never “felt it in her heart” till the last sabbath; and then it came (she said) “all one as if a needle had been thrust into her heart;” since which time, she had no rest day nor night. She added, that on the evening before Christmas, a number of Indians being together at the house where she was, and discoursing about Christ, their talk pricked her heart, so that she could not sit up, but fell down on her bed; at which time she went away, (as she expressed it,) and felt as if she dreamed, and yet is confident she did not dream. When she was thus gone, she saw two paths; one appeared very broad and crooked: and that turned to the left hand. The other appeared straight, and very narrow; and that went up the hill to the right hand. She travelled, she said, for some time up the narrow right-hand path, till at length something seemed to obstruct her journey. She sometimes called it darkness, and then described it otherwise, and seemed to compare it to a block or bar. She then remembered what she had heard me say about “striving to enter in at the strait gate,” (although she took little notice of it, at the time when she heard me discourse upon that subject,) and thought she would climb over this bar. But just as she was thinking of this, she came back again, as she termed it, meaning that she came to herself; whereupon her soul was extremely distressed, apprehending she had now turned back and forsaken Christ, and that there was therefore no hope of mercy for her.
As I was sensible that trances and imaginary views of things, are of dangerous tendency in religion, when sought after, and depended upon; so I could not but be much concerned about this exercise, especially at first; apprehending this might be a design of Satan to bring a blemish upon the work of God here, by introducing visionary scenes, imaginary terrors, and all manner of mental disorders and delusions, in the room of genuine convictions of sin, and the enlightening influences of the blessed Spirit; mind I was almost resolved to declare that I looked upon this to be one of Satan’s devices, and to caution my people 404against it, and the like exercises, as such. However, I determined first to inquire into her knowledge, to see whether she had any just views of things, that might be the occasion of her present distressing concern, or whether it was a mere fright arising only from imaginary terrors. I asked her divers questions respecting man’s primitive, and more especially his present, state, and respecting her own heart; which she answered rationally, and to my surprise. And I thought it was next to impossible, if not altogether so, that a pagan who was become a child through age, should in that state gain so much knowledge by any mere human instruction, without being remarkably enlightened by a divine influence.
I then proposed to her the provision made in the gospel for the salvation of sinners, and the ability and willingness of Christ “to save to the uttermost all (old as well as young) that come to him.” To which she seemed to give a hearty assent. But instantly replied, “Ay, but I cannot come; my wicked heart will not come to Christ; I do not know how to come,” &c. And this she spoke in anguish of spirit, striking on her breast with tears in her eyes, and with such earnest ness in her looks as was indeed piteous and affecting.
She seems to be really convinced of her sin and misery, and her need of a change of heart: and her concern is abiding and constant. So that nothing appears but that this exercise may have a saving issue. And indeed it seems hopeful, seeing she is so solicitous to obtain an interest in Christ, that her heart (as she expresses it) prays day and night.
How far God may make use of the imagination in awakening some persons under these and such like circumstances, I cannot pretend to determine. Or whether this exercise be from a divine influence, I shall leave others to judge. But this I must say, that its effects hitherto bespeak it to be such: nor can it, as I see, be accounted for in a rational way, but from the influence of some spirit, either good or evil. For the woman, I am sure, never heard divine things treated of in the manner she now viewed them in; and it would seem strange she should get such a rational notion of them from the mere working of her own fancy, without some superior, or at least foreign, aid. And yet I must say, I have looked upon it as one of the glories of this work of grace among the Indians, and a special evidence of its being from a divine influence, that there has, till now, been no appearance of such things, no visionary notions, trances, and imaginations, intermixed with those rational convictions of sin, and solid consolations, that numbers have been made the subjects of. And might I have had my desire, there had been no appearance of any thing of this nature at all.
Dec. 28. Discoursed to my people in the catechetical method I lately entered upon. And in the improvement of my discourse, wherein I was comparing man’s present with his primitive state; and showing what he had fallen from, and the miseries he is now involved in and exposed to in his natural estate; and pressing sinners to take a view of their deplorable circumstances without Christ; as also to strive that they might obtain an interest in him; the Lord, I trust, granted a remarkable influence of his blessed Spirit to accompany what was spoken, and a great concern appeared in the assembly: many were melted into tears and sobs, and the impressions made upon them seemed deep and heart-affecting. And in particular, there were two or three persons who appeared to be brought to the last exercises of a preparatory work, and reduced almost to extremity; being in a great measure convinced of the impossibility of their helping themselves, or of mending their own hearts; and seemed to be upon the point of giving up all hope in themselves, and of venturing upon Christ as naked, helpless, and undone. And yet were in distress and anguish because they saw no safety in so doing, unless they could do something towards saving themselves. One of these persons was the very aged woman above mentioned, who now appeared “weary and heavy laden” with a sense of her sin and misery, and her perishing need of an interest in Christ.
Lord’s day, Dec. 29. Preached from John iii. 1-5. A number of white people were present, as is usual upon the sabbath. The discourse was accompanied with power, and seemed to have a silent, but deep and piercing influence upon the audience. Many wept and sobbed affectionately. And there were some tears among the white people, as well as the Indians. Some could not refrain from crying out, though there were not many so exercised. But the impressions made upon their hearts, appeared chiefly by the extraordinary earnestness of their attention, and their heavy sighs and tears.
After public worship was over, I went to my house, proposing to preach again after a short season of intermission. But they soon came in one after another, with tears in their eyes, to know “what they should do to be saved.” And the divine Spirit in such a manner set home upon their hearts what I spoke to them, that the house was soon filled with cries and groans. They all flocked together upon this occasion, and those whom I had reason to think in a Christless state, were almost universally seized with concern for their souls.
It was an amazing season of power among them, and seemed as if God had “bowed the heavens, and come down.” So astonishingly prevalent was the operation upon old as well as young, that it seemed as if none would be left in a secure and natural state, but that God was now about to convert all the world. And I was ready to think then, that I should never again despair of the conversion of any man or woman living, be they who or what they would.
It is impossible to give a just and lively description of the appearance of things at this season, at least such as to convey a bright and adequate idea of the effects of this influence. A number might now be seen rejoicing that God had not taken away the powerful influence of his blessed Spirit from this place. Refreshed to see so many “striving to enter in at the strait gate;” and animated with such concern for them, that they wanted “to push them forward,” as some of them expressed it. At the same time numbers both of men and women, old and young, might be seen in tears, and some in anguish of spirit, appearing in their very countenances, like condemned malefactors bound towards the place of execution, with a heavy solicitude sitting in their faces: so that there seemed here (as I thought) a lively emblem of the solemn day of accounts; a mixture of heaven and hell, of joy and anguish inexpressible.
The concern and religious affection was such, that I could not pretend to have any formal religious exercise among them; but spent the time in discoursing to one and another, as I thought most proper, and seasonable for each, and sometimes addressed them all together, and finally concluded with prayer. Such were their circumstances at this season, that I could scarce have half an hour’s rest from speaking from about half an hour before twelve o’clock, (at which time I began public worship,) till past seven at night. There appeared to be four or five persons newly awakened this day and the evening before, some of whom but very lately came among us.
Dec. 30. Was visited by four or five young persons under concern for their souls, most of whom were very lately awakened. They wept much while I discoursed to them, and endeavoured to press upon them the necessity flying to Christ, without delay, for salvation.
Dec. 31. Spent some hours this day in visiting my people from house to house, and conversing with them about their spiritual concerns; endeavouring to press upon Christless souls the necessity of a renovation of heart: and scarce left a house, without leaving some or other of its inhabitants in tears, appearing solicitously engaged to obtain an interest in Christ.
The Indians are now gathered together from all quarters to this place, and have built them little cottages, so that more than twenty families live within a quarter of a mile of me. A very convenient situations in regard both of public and private instruction..
Jan. 1, 1746. Spent some considerable time in visiting my people again. Found scarce one but what was under some serious impressions respecting their spiritual concerns.
Jan. 2. Visited some persons newly come among us, who had scarce ever heard any thing of Christianity before, except the empty name. Endeavoured to instruct them, particularly by the first principles of religion, in the 405most easy and familiar manner I could. There are strangers from remote parts almost continually dropping in among us, so that I have occasion repeatedly to open and inculcate the first principles of Christianity.
Jan. 4. Prosecuted my catechetical method of instructing. Found my people able to answer questions with propriety, beyond what could have been expected from persons so lately brought out of heathenish darkness. In the improvement of my discourse, there appeared some concern and affection in the assembly: and especially those of whom I entertained hopes as being truly gracious, at least divers of them, were much affected and refreshed.
Lord’s day, Jan. 5. Discoursed from Matt. xii. 10-13. There appeared not so much liveliness and affection in divine service as usual. The same truths that have often produced many tears and sobs in the assembly, seemed now to have no special influence upon any in it.
Near night I proposed to have proceeded in my usual method of catechising. But while we were engaged in the first prayer, the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly in such a remarkable manner, and so many appeared under pressing concern for their souls, that I thought it much more expedient to insist upon the plentiful provision made by divine grace for the redemption of perishing sinners, and to press them to a speedy acceptance of the great salvation, than to ask them questions about doctrinal points. What was most practicable, seemed most seasonable to be insisted upon, while numbers appeared so extraordinarily solicitous to obtain an interest in the great Redeemer. Baptized two persons this day; one adult (the woman particularly mentioned in my Journal of Dec. 22) and one child.
This woman has discovered a very sweet and heavenly frame of mind, from time to time, since her first reception of comfort. One morning in particular she came to see me, discovering an unusual joy and satisfaction in her countenance; and when I inquired into the reason of it, she replied, “That God had made her feel that it was right for him to do what he pleased with all things; and that it would be right if he should cast her husband and son both into hell; and she saw it was so right for God to do what he pleased with them, that she could not but rejoice if God should send them into hell; “though it was apparent she loved them dearly. She moreover inquired, whether I was not sent to preach to the Indians, by some good people a great way off. I replied, Yes, by the good people in Scotland. She answered, that her heart loved those good people so, the evening before, “that she could scarce help praying for them all night, her heart would go to God for them,” &c. So that “the blessing of those ready to perish” is like to come upon those pious persons who have communicated of their substance to the propagation of the gospel.
Jan. 11. Discoursed in a catechetical method, as usual of late. And having opened our first parent’s primitive apostasy from God, and our fall in him: I proceeded to improve my discourse, by showing the necessity we stood in of an Almighty Redeemer, and the absolute need every sinner has of an interest in his merits and mediation. There was some tenderness and affectionate concern apparent in the assembly.
Lord’s day, Jan. 12. Preached from Isa. lv. 6. The word of God seemed to fall upon the audience with a divine weight and influence, and evidently appeared to be “not the word of man.” The blessed Spirit, I am persuaded, accompanied what was spoken to the hearts of many. So that there was a powerful revival of conviction in numbers who were under spiritual exercise before.
Towards night catechised in my usual method. Near the close of my discourse, there appeared a great concern, and much affection in the audience. Which increased while I continued to invite them to come to an all-sufficient Redeemer for eternal salvation. The Spirit of God seems, from time to time, to be striving with numbers of souls here. They are so frequently and repeatedly roused, that they seem unable at present to lull themselves asleep.
Jan. 13. Was visited by divers persons under deep concern for their souls; one of whom was newly awakened. It is a most agreeable work to treat with souls who are solicitously inquiring “what they shall do to be saved.” And as we are never to “be weary in well-doing,” so the obligation seems to be peculiarly strong when the work is so very desirable. And yet I must say, my health is so much impaired, and my spirits so wasted with my labours, and solitary manner of hiving, (there being no human creature in the house with me,) that their repeated and almost incessant application to me for help and direction, are sometimes exceeding burdensome, and so exhaust my spirits, that I become fit for nothing at all, entirely unable to prosecute any business sometimes for days together. And what contributes much toward this difficulty is, that I am obliged to spend much time in communicating a little matter to them; there being oftentimes many things necessary to be premised, before I can speak directly to what I principally aim at; which things would readily be taken for granted, where there was a competency of doctrinal knowledge.
Jan. 14. Spent some time in private conference with my people, and found some disposed to take comfort, as I thought, upon slight grounds. They are now generally awakened, and it is become so disgraceful, as well as terrifying to the conscience, to be destitute of religion, that they are in imminent danger of taking up with any appearances of grace, rather than to live under the fear and disgrace of an unregenerate state.
Jan. 18. Prosecuted my catechetical method of discoursing. There appeared a great solemnity, and some considerable affection in the assembly. This method of instructing I find very profitable. When I first entered upon it, I was exercised with fears, lest my discourses would unavoidably be so doctrinal, that they would tend only to enlighten the head, but not to affect the heart. But the event proves quite otherwise; for these exercises have hitherto been remarkably blessed in the latter as well as the former respects.
Lord’s day, Jan. 19. Discoursed to my people from Isa. lv. 7. Towards night catechised in my ordinary method. And this appeared to be a powerful season of grace among us. Numbers were much affected. Convictions were powerfully revived; and divers of the Christians refreshed and strengthened; and one weary, heavy-laden soul, I have abundant reason to hope, brought to true rest and solid comfort in Christ, who afterwards gave me such an account of God’s dealing with his soul, as was abundantly satisfying as well as refreshing to me.
He told me he had often heard me say, that persons must see and feel themselves utterly helpless and undone: that they must be emptied of a dependence upon themselves, and of all hope of saving themselves by their own doings, in order to their coming to Christ for salvation. And he had long been striving after this view of things supposing this would be an excellent frame of mind, to be thus emptied of a dependence upon his own goodness; that God would have respect to this frame, would then be well pleased with him, and bestow eternal life upon him. But when he came to feel himself in this helpless undone condition, he found it quite contrary to all his thoughts and expectations; so that it was not the same frame, nor indeed any thing like the frame, he had been seeking after. Instead of its being a good frame of mind, he now found nothing but badness in himself, and saw it was for ever impossible for him to make himself any better. He wondered, he said, that he had ever hoped to mend his own heart. He was amazed he had never before seen that it was utterly impossible for him, by all his contrivances and endeavours, to do any thing that way, since the matter now appeared to him in so clear a light. Instead of imagining now, that God would be pleased with him for the sake of this frame of mind, and this view of his undone estate, he saw clearly, and felt, it would be just with God to send him to eternal misery; and that there was no goodness in what he then felt; for he could not help seeing that he was naked, sinful, and miserable, and there was nothing in such a sight to deserve God’s love or pity.
He saw these things in a manner so clear and convincing, that it seemed to him, he said, he could convince every body of their utter inability ever to help themselves, and their unworthiness of any help from God. In this frame of mind he came to public worship this evening, and while I was inviting sinners to come to Christ naked 406and empty, without any goodness of their own to recommend them to his acceptance; then he thought with himself, that he had often tried to come and give up his heart to Christ, and he used to hope, that some time or other he should be able to do so. But now he was convinced he could not, and it seemed utterly vain for him ever to try any more: and he could not, he said, find a heart to make any further attempt, because he saw it would signify nothing at all: nor did he now hope for a better opportunity, or more ability hereafter, as he had formerly done, because he saw, and was fully convinced, his own strength would for ever fail.
While he was musing in this manner, he saw, he said, with his heart (which is a common phrase among them) something that was unspeakably good and lovely, and what he had never seen before; and “this stole away his heart whether he would or no.” He did not, he said, know what it was he saw. He did not say, “this is Jesus Christ;” but it was such glory and beauty as he never saw before. He did not now give away his heart so as he had formerly intended and attempted to do, but it went away of itself after that glory he then discovered. He used to try to make a bargain with Christ, to give up his heart to him, that he might have eternal life for it. But now he thought nothing about himself, or what would become of him hereafter; but was pleased, and his mind wholly taken up, with the unspeakable excellency of what he then beheld. After some time he was wonderfully pleased with the way of salvation by Christ: so that it seemed unspeakably better to be saved altogether by the mere free grace of God in Christ, than to have any hand in saving himself. And the consequence of this exercise is, that he appears to retain a sense and relish of divine things, and to maintain a life of seriousness and true religion.
Jan. 28. The Indians in these parts have, in times past, run themselves in debt by their excessive drinking; and some have taken the advantage of them, and put them to trouble and charge by arresting sundry of them; whereby it was supposed their hunting lands, in great part, were much endangered, and might speedily be taken from them. Being sensible that they could not subsist together in these parts, in order to their being a Christian congregation, if these lands should be taken, which was thought very likely, I thought it my duty to use my utmost endeavours to prevent so unhappy an event. And having acquainted the gentlemen concerned with this mission of the affair, according to the best information I could get of it, they thought it proper to expend the money they had been, and still were, collecting for the religious interest of the Indians, (at least a part of it,) for discharging their debts, and securing these lands, that there might be no entanglement lying upon them to hinder the settlement and hopeful enlargement of a Christian congregation of Indians in these parts. And having received orders from them, I answered, in behalf of the Indians, eighty-two pounds five shillings, New Jersey currency, at eight shillings per ounce; and so prevented the danger of difficulty in this respect.
As God has wrought a wonderful work of grace among these Indians, and now inclines others from remote places to fall in among them almost continually; and as he has opened a door for the prevention of the difficulty now mentioned, which seemed greatly to threaten their religious interests, as well as worldly comfort; it is hopeful that he designs to establish a church for himself among them, and hand down true religion to their posterity.
Jan. 30. Preached to the Indians from John iii. 16, 17. There was a solemn attention and some affection visible in the audience; especially divers persons who had long been concerned for their souls, seemed afresh excited and engaged in seeking after an interest in Christ. And one, with much concern, afterwards told me, “his heart was so pricked with my preaching, he knew not where to turn, nor what to do.”
Jan. 31. This day the person I had made choice of and engaged for a schoolmaster among the Indians, arrived among us, and was heartily welcomed by my people universally. Whereupon I distributed several dozen of primers among the children and young people.
Feb. 1, 1746. My schoolmaster entered upon his business among the Indians. He has generally about thirty children and young persons in his school in the day-time, and about fifteen married people in his evening-school. The number of the latter sort of persons being less than it would be, if they could be more constant at home, and spare time from their necessary employments for an attendance upon these instructions.
In the evening catechised in my usual method. Towards the close of my discourse a surprising power seemed to attend the word, especially to some persons. One man, considerably in years, who had been a remarkable drunkard, a conjurer, and murderer, that was awakened some months before, was now brought to great extremity under his spiritual distress, so that he trembled for hours together, and apprehended himself just dropping into hell, without any power to rescue or relieve himself. Divers others appeared under great concern as well as he, and solicitous to obtain a saving change.
Lord’s day, Feb. 2. Preached from John v. 24, 25. There appeared (as usual) some concern and affection in the assembly. Toward night proceeded in my usual method of catechising. Observed my people more ready in answering the questions proposed to them than ever before. It is apparent they advanced daily in doctrinal knowledge. But what is still more desirable, the Spirit of God is yet operating among them, whereby experimental, as well as speculative, knowledge is propagated in their minds.
Feb. 5. Discoursed to a considerable number of the Indians in the evening; at which time divers of them appeared much affected and melted with divine things.
Feb. 8. Spent a considerable part of the day in visiting my people from house to house, and conversing with them about their souls’ concerns. Divers persons wept while I discoursed to them, and appeared concerned for nothing so much as for an interest in the great Redeemer. In the evening catechised as usual. Divine truths made some impression upon the audience, and were attended with an affectionate engagement of soul in some.
Lord’s day, Feb. 9. Discoursed to my people from the story of the blind man, Matt. x. 46-52. The word of God seemed weighty and powerful upon the assembly at this time, and made considerable impressions upon many; divers in particular who have generally been remarkably stupid and careless under the means of grace, were now awakened, and wept affectionately. And the most earnest attention, as well as tenderness and affection, appeared in the audience universally.
Baptized three persons, two adults and one child. The adults, I have reason to hope, were both truly pious. There was a considerable melting in the assembly, while I was discoursing particularly to the persons, and administering the ordinance. God has been pleased to own and bless the administration of this, as well as of his other ordinances, among the Indians. There are some here that have been powerfully awakened at seeing others baptized. And some that have obtained relief and comfort, just in the season when this ordinance has been administered.
Toward night catechised. God made this a powerful season to some. There were many affected. Former convictions appeared to be powerfully revived. There was likewise one, who had been a vile drunkard, remarkably awakened. He appeared to be in great anguish of soul, wept and trembled, and continued so to do till near midnight. There was also a poor heavy laden soul, who had been long under spiritual distress, as constant and pressing as ever I saw, that was now brought to a comfortable calm, and seemed to be bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty; and told me, “She now saw and felt it was right God should do with her as he pleased. And her heart felt pleased and satisfied it should be so.” Although of late she had often found her heart rise and quarrel with God because he would, if he pleased, send her to hell after all she had done or could do to save herself, &c. And added, that the heavy burden she had lain under, was now removed: that she had tried to recover her concern and distress again, (fearing that the Spirit of God was departing from her, and would leave her wholly careless,) but that she could not recover it: that she felt she never could do any thing to save herself, but must perish for ever if 407Christ did not do all for her: that she did not deserve he should help her; and that it would be right if he should leave her to perish. But Christ could save her, though she could do nothing to save herself, &c. And here she seemed to rest.
Forks Of Delaware, in Pennsylvania, Feb. 1746.
Lord’s day, Feb. 16. Knowing that divers of the Indians in those parts were obstinately set against Christianity, and that some of them had refused to hear me preach in times past, I thought it might be proper and beneficial to the Christian interest here, to have a number of my religious people from Crossweeksung with me, in order to converse with them about religious matters; hoping it might be a means to convince them of the truth and importance of Christianity, to see and hear some of their own nation discoursing of divine things, and manifesting earnest desires that others might be brought out of heathenish darkness, as themselves were.
And having taken half a dozen of the most serious and knowing persons for this purpose, I this day met with them and the Indians of this place, (sundry of whom probably could not have been prevailed upon to attend the meeting, had it not been for these religious Indians that accompanied me here,) and preached to them. Some of them who had, in times past, been extremely averse to Christianity, now behaved soberly, and some others laughed and mocked. However the word of God fell with such weight and power, that sundry seemed to be stunned, and expressed a willingness to “hear me again of these matters.”
Afterwards prayed with, and made an address to the white people present, and could not but observe some visible effects of the word, such as tears and sobs, among them. After public worship, spent some time and took pains to convince those that mocked, of the truth and importance of what I had been insisting upon; and so endeavoured to awaken their attention to divine truths. And had reason to think, from what I observed then and afterwards, that my endeavours took considerable effect upon one of the worst of them.
Those few Indians then present, who used to be my hearers in these parts, (some having removed from hence to Crossweeksung,) seemed somewhat kindly disposed toward, and glad to see me again. They had been so much attacked by some of the opposing pagans, that they were almost ashamed or afraid to manifest their friendship.
Feb. 17. After having spent much time in discoursing to the Indians in their respective houses, I got them together, and repeated and inculcated what I had before taught them. Afterwards discoursed to them from Acts viii. 5-8. A divine influence seemed to attend the word. Sundry of the Indians here appeared to be somewhat awakened, and manifested a concern of mind, by their earnest attention, tears and sobs. My people from Crossweeksung continued with them day and night, repeating and inculcating the truths I had taught them: and sometimes prayed and sung psalms among them; discoursing with each other, in their hearing, of the great things God had done for them, and for the Indians from whence they came: which seemed (as my people told me) to take more effect upon them, than when they directed their discourses immediately to them.
Feb. 18. Preached to an assembly of Irish people near fifteen miles distant from the Indians.
Feb. 19. Preached to the Indians again, after having spent considerable time in conversing with them more privately. There appeared a great solemnity, and some concern and affection, among the Indians belonging to these parts, as well as a sweet melting among those who came with me. Divers of the Indians here seemed to have their prejudices and aversion to Christianity removed, and appeared well disposed and inclined to hear the word of God.
Feb. 20. Preached to a small assembly of High-Dutch people, who had seldom heard the gospel preached, and were (some of them at least) very ignorant; but divers of them have lately been put upon inquiry after the way of salvation, with some thoughtfulness. They gave wonderful attention, and some of them were much affected under the word, and afterwards said, (as I was informed,) that they never had been so much enlightened about the way of salvation in their whole lives before. They requested me to tarry with them, or come again and preach to them. And it grieved me that I could not comply with their request, for I could not but be affected with their circumstances; they being as “sheep not having a shepherd,” and some of them appearing under some degree of soul-trouble, standing in peculiar need of the assistance of an experienced spiritual guide.
Feb. 21. Preached to a number of people, many of them Low-Dutch. Sundry of the fore-mentioned High-Dutch attended the sermon, though eight or ten miles distant from their houses. Divers of the Indians also belonging to these parts came of their own accord with my people (from Crossweeksung) to the meeting. And there were two in particular, who, though the last sabbath they opposed and ridiculed Christianity, now behaved soberly. May the present encouraging appearance continue.
Feb. 22. Preached to the Indians. They appeared more free from prejudice, and more cordial to Christianity, than before. And some of them appeared affected with divine truths.
Lord’s day, Feb. 23. Preached to the Indians from John vi. 35-37. After public service, discoursed particularly with sundry of them, and invited them to go down to Crossweeksung, and tarry there at least for some time; knowing they would then be free from the scoffs and temptations of the opposing pagans, as well as in the way of hearing divine truths discoursed of, both in public and private. And got a promise of some of them, that they would speedily pay us a visit, and attend some further instructions. They seemed to be considerably enlightened, and much freed from their prejudices against Christianity. But it is much to be feared their prejudices will revive again, unless they could enjoy the means of instruction here, or be removed where they might be under such advantages, and out of the way of their pagan acquaintance.
Crossweeksung, in New Jersey, March, 1746.
March 1. Catechised in my ordinary method. Was pleased and refreshed to see them answer the questions proposed to them with such remarkable readiness, discretion, and knowledge. Toward the close of my discourse, divine truths made considerable impressions upon the audience, and produced tears and sobs in some under concern; and more especially a sweet and humble melting in sundry that, I have reason to hope, were truly gracious.
Lord’s day, March 2. Preached from John xv. 1-6. The assembly appeared not so lively in their attention as usual, nor so much affected with divine truths in general as has been common. Some of my people, who went up to the Forks of Delaware with me, being now returned, were accompanied by two of the Indians belonging to the Forks, who had promised me a speedy visit. May the Lord meet with them there. They can scarce go into a house now, but they will meet with Christian conversation, whereby, it is hopeful, they may be both instructed and awakened.
Discoursed to the Indians again in the afternoon, and observed among them some liveliness and engagement in divine service, thought not equal to what has often appeared here. I know of no assembly of Christians, where there seems to be so much of the presence of God, where brotherly love so much prevails, and where I should take so much delight in the public worship of God, in the general, as in my own congregation: although not more than nine months ago, they were worshipping devils and dumb idols under the power of pagan darkness and superstition. Amazing change this! effected by nothing less than divine power and grace! “This is the doing of the Lord, and it is justly marvellous in our eyes!”
March 5. Spent some time just at evening in prayer, singing, and discoursing to my people upon divine things; and observed some agreeable tenderness and affection among them. Their present situation is so compact and 408commodious, that they are easily and quickly called together with only the sound of a conk-shell, (a shell like that of a periwinkle,) so that they have frequent opportunities of attending religious exercises publicly; which seems to be a great means, under God, of keeping alive the impressions of divine things in their minds.
March 8. Catechised in the evening. My people answered the questions proposed to them well. I can perceive their knowledge in religion increases daily. And what is still more desirable, the divine influence that has been so remarkable among them appears still to continue in some good measure. The divine presence seemed to be in the assembly this evening. Some, who I have good reason to think are Christians indeed, were melted with a sense of the divine goodness, and their own barrenness and ingratitude, and seemed to hate themselves, as one of them afterwards expressed it. Convictions also appeared to be revived in several instances; and divine truths were attended with such influence upon the assembly in general, that it might justly be called “an evening of divine power.”
Lord’s day, March 9. Preached from Luke x. 38-42. The word of God was attended with power and energy upon the audience. Numbers were affected and concerned to obtain the one thing needful. And sundry that have given good evidences of being truly gracious, were much affected with a sense of their want of spirituality; and saw the need they stood in of growing in grace. And most that had been under any impressions of divine things in times past, seemed now to have those impressions revived.
In the afternoon proposed to have catechised in my usual method. But while we were engaged in the first prayer in the Indian language, (as usual,) a great part of the assembly was so much moved, and affected with divine things, that I thought it seasonable and proper to omit the proposing of questions for that time, and insist upon the most practical truths. And accordingly did so; making a further improvement of the passage of Scripture I discoursed upon in the former part of the day.
There appeared to be a powerful divine influence in the congregation. Sundry that I have reason to think are truly pious, were so deeply affected with a sense of their own barrenness, and their unworthy treatment of the blessed Redeemer, that they looked on him as pierced by themselves, and mourned, yea, some of them were in bitterness as for a first-born. Some poor awakened sinners also appeared to be in anguish of soul to obtain an interest in Christ. So that there was a great mourning in the assembly; many heavy groans, sobs, and tears! and one or two persons newly come among us, were considerably awakened.
Methinks it would have refreshed the heart of any who truly love Zion’s interest, to have been in the midst of this divine influence, and seen the effects of it upon saints and sinners. The place of divine worship appeared both solemn and sweet! and was so endeared by a display of the divine presence and grace, that those who had any relish of divine things, could not but cry, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” After public worship was over, numbers came to my house, where we sang and discoursed of divine things: and the presence of God seemed here also to be in the midst of us.
While we were singing, there was one (the woman mentioned in my Journal of Feb. 9) who, I may venture to say, if I may be allowed to say so much of any person I ever saw, was “filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” and could not but burst forth in prayer and praises to God before us all, with many tears, crying sometimes in English and sometimes in Indian, “O blessed Lord, do come, do come! O do take me away, do let me die and go to Jesus Christ! I am afraid if I live I shall sin again! O do let me die now! O dear Jesus, do come! I cannot stay, I cannot stay! O how can I live in this world! do take my soul away from this sinful place! O let me never sin any more! O what shall I do, what shall I do! dear Jesus, O dear Jesus,” &c. In this ecstasy she continued some time, uttering these and such like expressions incessantly. And the grand argument she used with God to take her away immediately, was, that “if she lived, she should sin against him.”
When she had a little recovered herself, I asked her, if Christ was not now sweet to her soul? Whereupon, turning to me with tears in her eyes, and with all the tokens of deep humility I ever saw in any person, she said, “I have many times heard you speak of the goodness and the sweetness of Christ, that he was better than all the world. But O! I knew nothing what you meant, I never believed you! I never believed you! But now I know it is true!” or words to that effect. I answered, And do you see enough in Christ for the greatest of sinners? She replied, “O! enough, enough! for all the sinners in the world if they would but come.” And when I asked her, if she could not tell them of the goodness of Christ; turning herself about to some poor Christless souls who stood by, and were much affected, she said, “Oh! there is enough in Christ for you, if you would but come! O strive, strive to give up your hearts to him!” &c. And upon hearing something of the glory of heaven mentioned, that there was no sin in that world, &c. she again fell into the same ecstasy of joy, and desire of Christ’s coming; repeating her former expressions, “O dear Lord, do let me go! O what shall I do, what shall I do! I want to go to Christ! I cannot live! O do let me die!” &c.
She continued in this sweet frame for more than two hours, before she was well able to get home. I am very sensible there may be great joys, arising even to an ecstasy, where there is still no substantial evidence of their being well-grounded. But in the present case there seemed to be no evidence wanting, in order to prove this joy to be divine, either in regard of its preparatives, attendants, or consequents.
Of all the persons I have seen under spiritual exercise, I scarce ever saw one appear more bowed and broken under convictions of sin and misery (or what is usually called a preparatory work) than this woman. Nor scarce any who seemed to have a greater acquaintance with her own heart than she had. She would frequently complain to me of the hardness and rebellion of her heart. Would tell me, her heart rose and quarrelled with God, when she thought he would do with her as he pleased, and send her to hell notwithstanding her prayers, good frames, &c. That her heart was not willing to come to Christ for salvation, but tried every where else for help.
And as she seemed to be remarkably sensible of her stubbornness and contrariety to God, under conviction, so she appeared to be no less remarkably bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty before she obtained any relief or comfort. Something of which I have before noticed in my Journal of Feb. 9. Since which time she has seemed constantly to breathe the spirit and temper of the new creature: crying after Christ, not through fear of hell as before, but with strong desires after him as her only satisfying portion; and has many times wept and sobbed bitterly, because (as she apprehended) she did not and could not love him. When I have sometimes asked her, Why she appeared so sorrowful, and whether it was because she was afraid of hell? She would answer, “No, I be not distressed about that; but my heart is so wicked I cannot love Christ;” and thereupon burst out into tears. But although this has been the habitual frame of her mind for several weeks together, so that the exercise of grace appeared evident to others, yet she seemed wholly insensible of it herself, and never had any remarkable comfort and sensible satisfaction till this evening.
This sweet and surprising ecstasy appeared to spring from a true spiritual discovery of the glory, ravishing beauty, and excellency of Christ: and not from any gross imaginary notions of his human nature; such as that of seeing him in such a place or posture, as hanging on the cross, as bleeding, dying, as gently smiling, and the like; which delusions some have been carried away with. Nor did it rise from sordid, selfish apprehensions of her having any benefit whatsoever conferred on her, but from a view of his personal excellency, and transcendent loveliness, which drew forth those vehement desires of enjoying him she now manifested, and made her long “to be absent from the body that she might be present with the Lord.”
The attendants of this ravishing comfort, were such as abundantly discovered its spring to be divine, and that it was truly a “joy in the Holy Ghost. ” Now she viewed 409divine truths as living realities; and could say, “I know these things are so, I feel they are true!” Now her soul was resigned to the divine will in the most tender points; so that when I said to her, What if God should take away your 423423 The man particularly mentioned in my Journal of January 19. husband from you, (who was then very sick,) how do you think you could bear that? She replied, “He belongs to God, and not to me; he may do with him just what he pleases.” Now she had the most tender sense of the evil of sin, and discovered the utmost aversion to it; longing to die that she might be delivered from it. Now she could freely trust her all with God for time and eternity. And when I questioned her, how she could be willing to die, and leave her little infant; and what she thought would become of it in that case? She answered, “God will take care of it. It belongs to him, he will take care of it.” Now she appeared to have the most humbling sense of her own meanness and unworthiness, her weakness and inability to preserve herself from sin, and to persevere in the way of holiness, crying, “If I live, I shall sin.” And I then thought I had never seen such an appearance of ecstasy and humility meeting in any one person in all my life before.
The consequents of this joy are no less desirable and satisfactory than its attendants. She since appears to be a most tender, broken-hearted, affectionate, devout, and humble Christian, as exemplary in life and conversation as any person in my congregation. May she still “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ.”
March 10. Toward night the Indians met together of their own accord, and sang, prayed, and discoursed of divine things among themselves. At which time there was much affection among them. Some who are hopefully gracious, appeared to be melted with divine things. And some others seemed much concerned for their souls. Perceiving their engagement and affection in religious exercises, I went among them, and prayed, and gave a word of exhortation; and observed two or three somewhat affected and concerned, who scarce ever appeared to be under any religious impressions before. It seemed to be a day and evening of divine power. Numbers retained the warm impressions of divine things that had been made upon their minds the day before.
March 14. Was visited by a considerable number of my people, and spent some time in religious exercises with them.
March 15. In the evening catechised. My people answered the questions put to them with surprising readiness and judgment. There appeared some warmth and feeling sense of divine things among those, who, I have reason to hope, are real Christians, while I was discoursing upon “peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” These seemed quickened and enlivened in divine service, though there was not so much appearance of concern among those I have reason to think in a Christless state.
Lord’s day, March 16. Preached to my congregation from Heb. ii. 1-3. Divine truths seemed to have some considerable influence upon many of the hearers; and produced many tears, as well as heavy sighs and sobs, among both those who have given evidences of being real Christians, and others also. And the impressions made upon the audience appeared in general deep and heart-affecting, not superficial, noisy, and affected.
Toward night discoursed again on the great salvation. The word was again attended with some power upon the audience. Numbers wept affectionately, and to appearance, unfeignedly; so that the Spirit of God seemed to be moving upon the face of the assembly. Baptized the woman particularly mentioned in my Journal of last Lord’s day; who now, as well as then, appeared to be in a devout, humble, and excellent frame of mind.
My house being thronged with my people in the evening, I spent the time in religious exercises with them till my nature was almost spent. They are so unwearied in religious exercises, and insatiable in their thirsting after Christian knowledge, that I can sometimes scarce avoid labouring so as greatly to exhaust my strength and spirits.
March 19. Sundry of the persons that went with me to the Forks of Delaware in February last, having been detained there by the dangerous illness of one of their company, returned home but this day. Whereupon my people generally met together of their own accord, in order to spend some time in religious exercises; and especially to give thanks to God for his preserving goodness to those who had been absent from them for several weeks, and recovering mercy to him who had been sick; and that he had now returned them all in safety. I being then absent, they desired my schoolmaster to assist them in carrying on their religious solemnity; who tells me they appeared engaged and affectionate in repeated prayer, singing. &c.
March 22. Catechised in my usual method in the evening. My people answered questions to my great satisfaction. There appeared nothing very remarkable in the assembly, considering what has been common among us. Although I may justly say, the strict attention, the tenderness and affection, the many tears and heart-affecting sobs, appearing in numbers in the assembly, would have been very remarkable, were it not that God has made these things common with us, and even with strangers soon after their coming among us, from time to time. I am far from thinking that every appearance, and particular instance of affection, that has been among us, has been truly genuine, and purely from a divine influence. I am sensible of the contrary; and doubt not but that there has been some corrupt mixture, some chaff as well as wheat, especially since religious concern became so common and prevalent here.
Lord’s day, March 23. There being about fifteen strangers, adult persons, come among us in the week past divers of whom had never been in any religions meeting till now I thought it proper to discourse this day in a manner peculiarly suited to their circumstances and capacities: and accordingly attempted it from Hos. xiii. 9. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself,” &c. In the forenoon I opened, in the plainest manner I could, man’s apostasy and ruined state, after having spoken some things respecting the being and perfections of God, and his creation of man in a state of uprightness and happiness. In the afternoon endeavoured to open the glorious provision God has made for the redemption of apostate creatures, by giving his own dear Son to suffer for them, and satisfy divine justice on their behalf. There was not that affection and concern in the assembly that has been common among us, although there was a desirable attention appearing in general, and even in most of the strangers.
Near sun-set I felt an uncommon concern upon my mind, especially for the poor strangers, that God had so much withheld his presence, and the powerful influence of his Spirit, from the assembly in the exercises of the day; and thereby denied them of that matter of conviction which I hoped they might have had. And in this frame I visited sundry houses, and discoursed with some concern and affection to divers persons particularly; but without much appearance of success, till I came to a house where divers of the strangers were; and there the solemn truths I discoursed of appeared to take effect, first upon some children, then upon divers adult persons that had been somewhat awakened before, and afterwards upon several of the pagan strangers.
I continued my discourse, with some fervency, till almost every one in the house was melted into tears; and divers wept aloud, and appeared earnestly concerned to obtain an interest in Christ. Upon this, numbers soon gathered from all the houses round about, and so thronged the place, that we were obliged to remove to the house where we usually meet for public worship. And the congregation gathering immediately, and many appeared remarkably affected, I discoursed some time from Luke xix. 10. “For the Son of man is come to seek,” &c. Endeavouring to open the mercy, compassion, and concern of Christ for lost, helpless, and undone sinners. There was much visible concern and affection in the assembly; and I doubt not but that a divine influence accompanied what was spoken to the hearts of many. There were five or six of the strangers, men and women, who appeared to be 410considerably awakened. And in particular one very rugged young man, who seemed as if nothing would move him, was now brought to tremble like the jailer, and weep for a long time.
The pagans that were awakened seemed at once to put off their savage roughness and pagan manners, and became sociable, orderly, and humane in their carriage. When they first came, I exhorted my religious people to take pains with them (as they had done with other strangers from time to time) to instruct them in Christianity. But when some of them attempted something of that nature, the strangers would soon rise up and walk to other houses, in order to avoid the hearing of such discourses. Whereupon some of the serious persons agreed to disperse themselves into the several parts of the settlement. So that wherever the strangers went, they met with some instructive discourse, and warm addresses respecting their souls’ concern. But now there was no need of using policy in order to get an opportunity of conversing with some of them about their spiritual concerns; for they were so far touched with a sense of their perishing state, as made them tamely yield to the closest addresses that were made them, respecting their sin and misery, their need of an acquaintance with, and interest in, the great Redeemer.
March 24. Numbered the Indians, to see how many souls God had gathered together here, since my coming into these parts; and found there was now about a hundred and thirty persons together, old and young. Sundry of those that are my stated hearers, perhaps to the number of fifteen or twenty, were absent at this season. So that if all had been together, the number would now have been very considerable: especially considering how few were together at my first coming into these parts, the whole number not amounting to ten persons at that time.
My people went out this day upon the design of clearing some of their land, above fifteen miles distant from this settlement, in order to their settling there in a compact form; where they might be under advantages of attending the public worship of God, of having their children taught in a school, and at the same time have a conveniency for planting, &c.; their land in the place of our present residence being of little or no value for that purpose. And the design of their settling thus in a body, and cultivating their lands, (which they have done very little in their pagan state,) being of such necessity and importance to their religious interest, as well as worldly comfort, I thought it proper to call them together, and show them the duty of labouring with faithfulness and industry: and that they must not now “be slothful in business,” as they had ever been in their pagan state. I endeavoured to press the importance of their being laborious, diligent, and vigorous in the prosecution of their business, especially at the present juncture, (the season of planting being now near,) in order to their being in a capacity of living together, and enjoying the means of grace and instruction. And having given them directions for their work, which they very much wanted, as well as for their behaviour in divers respects, I explained, sang, and endeavoured to inculcate upon them Ps. cxxvii. common metre, Dr. Watts’s version. And having recommended them, and the design of their going forth, to God, by prayer with them, I dismissed them to their business.
In the evening read and expounded to those of my people who were yet at home, and the strangers newly come, the substance of the third chapter of the Acts. Numbers seemed to melt under the word, especially while I was discoursing upon ver. 19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted,” &c. Sundry of the strangers also were affected. When I asked them afterwards, whether they did not now feel that their hearts were wicked, as I had taught them? One replied, “Yes, she felt it now.” Although before she came here upon hearing that I taught the Indians their hearts were all bad by nature, and needed to be changed and made good by the power of God she had said, “Her heart was not wicked, and she never had done any thing that was bad in her life.” And this indeed seems to be the case with them, I think, universally in their pagan state. They seem to have no consciousness of sin and guilt, unless they can charge themselves with some gross acts of sin contrary to the commands of the second table.
March 27. Discoursed to a number of my people in one of their houses in a more private manner. Inquired particularly into their spiritual states, in order to see what impressions of a religious nature they were under. Laid before them the marks and tokens of a regenerate, as well as unregenerate, state: and endeavoured to suit and direct my discourse to them severally, according as I apprehended their states to be. There was a considerable number gathered together before I finished my discourse; and divers seemed much affected, while I was urging the necessity and infinite importance of getting into a renewed state. I find particular and close dealing with souls in private, is often very successful.
March 29. In the evening catechised as usual upon Saturday. Treated upon the “benefits which believers receive from Christ at death.” The questions were answered with great readiness and propriety. And those who, I have reason to think, are the dear people of God, were sweetly melted almost in general. There appeared such a liveliness and vigour in their attendance upon the word of God, and such eagerness to be made partakers of the benefits then mentioned, that they seemed to be not only “looking for, but hasting to, the coming of the day of God.” Divine truths seemed to distil upon the audience with a gentle but melting efficacy, as the refreshing “showers upon the new-mown grass.” The assembly in general, as well as those who appear truly religious, were affected with some brief account of the blessedness of the godly at death: and most then discovered an affectionate inclination to cry, “Let me die the death of the righteous,” &c. although many were not duly engaged to obtain the change of heart that is necessary in order to that blessed end.
Lord’s day, March 30. Discoursed from Matt. xxv. 31-40. There was a very considerable moving and affectionate melting in the assembly. I hope there were some real, deep, and abiding impressions of divine things made upon the minds of many. There was one aged man, newly come among us, who appeared to be considerably awakened, that never was touched with any concern for his soul before. In the evening catechised. There was not that tenderness and melting engagement among God’s people that appeared the evening before, and many other times. They answered the questions distinctly and well, and were devout and attentive in divine service.
March 31. Called my people together, as I had done the Monday morning before, and discoursed to them again on the necessity and importance of their labouring industriously, in order to their living together, and enjoying the means of grace, &c. And having engaged in solemn prayer to God among them, for a blessing upon their attempts, I dismissed them to their work. Numbers of them, both men and women, seemed to offer themselves willingly to this service; and some appeared affectionately concerned that God might go with them, and begin their little town for them; that by his blessing it might be a place comfortable for them and theirs, in regard both of procuring, the necessaries of life, and of attending the worship of God.
April 5. Catechised towards evening. There appeared to be some affection and fervent engagement in divine service through the assembly in general; especially towards the conclusion of my discourse. After public worship, a number of those I have reason to think are truly religious, came to my house, and seemed eager for some further entertainment upon divine things. And while I was conversing with them about their spiritual exercises, observing to them, that God’s work in the hearts of all his children was, for substance, the same; and that their trials and temptations were also alike; and showing the obligations such were under to love one another in a peculiar manner; they seemed to be melted into tenderness and affection toward each other: and I thought that particular token of their being the disciples of Christ, viz. of their “having love one toward another,” had scarce ever appeared more evident than at this time.
Lord’s day, April 6. Preached from Matt. vii. 21 23. “Not every one that saith unto me,” &c. There were 411considerable effects of the word visible in the audience, and such as were very desirable: an earnest attention, a great solemnity, many tears and heavy sighs, which were modestly suppressed in a considerable measure, and appeared unaffected, and without any indecent commotion of the passions. Divers of the religious people were put upon serious and close examination of their spiritual states, by hearing that “not every one that saith to Christ, Lord, Lord, shall enter into his kingdom.” And some of them expressed fears lest they had deceived themselves, and taken up a false hope, because they found they had done so little of the “will of his Father who is in heaven.” There was one man brought under very great and pressing concern for his soul; which appeared more especially after his retirement from public worship. And that which, he says, gave him his great uneasiness, was, not so much any particular sin, as that he had never done the will of God at all, but had sinned continually, and so had no claim to the kingdom of heaven.
In the afternoon I opened to them the discipline of Christ in his church, and the method in which offenders are to be dealt with. At which time the religious people were much affected, especially when they heard, that the offender continuing obstinate, must finally be esteemed and treated “as a heathen man,” as a pagan, that has no part nor lot among God’s visible people. Of this they seemed to have the most awful apprehensions; a state of heathenism, out of which they were so lately brought, appearing very dreadful to them. After public worship I visited sundry houses to see how they spent the remainder of the sabbath, and to treat with them solemnly on the great concerns of their souls: and the Lord seemed to smile upon my private endeavours, and to make these particular and personal addresses more effectual upon some, than my public discourses.
April 7. Discoursed to my people in the evening from 1 Cor. xi. 23-26. “For I have received of the Lord,” &c. And endeavoured to open to them the institution, nature, and ends of the Lord’s supper, as well as the qualifications and preparations necessary to the right participation of that ordinance. Sundry persons appeared much affected with the love of Christ manifested in his making this provision for the comfort of his people, at a season when himself was just entering upon his sharpest sufferings.
Lord’s day, April 20. Discoursed both forenoon and afternoon from Luke xxiv. explaining most of the chapter, and making remarks upon it. There was a desirable attention in the audience, though there was not so much appearance of affection and tenderness among them as has been usual. Our meeting was very full, there being sundry strangers present, who had never been with us before.
In the evening catechised. My people answered the questions proposed to them readily and distinctly; and I could perceive they advanced in their knowledge of the principles of Christianity. There appeared an affectionate melting in the assembly at this time. Sundry who, I trust, are truly religious, were refreshed and quickened, and seemed by their discourse and behaviour, after public worship, to have their “hearts knit together in love.” This was a sweet and blessed season, like many others that my poor people have been favoured with in months past. God has caused this little fleece to be repeatedly wet with the blessed dews of his divine grace, while all the earth around has been comparatively dry.
April 25. Of late I apprehended that a number of persons in my congregation were proper subjects of the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, and that it might be seasonable speedily to administer it to them: and having taken advice of some of the reverend correspondents in this solemn affair; I accordingly proposed and appointed the next Lord’s day, with leave of Divine Providence, for the administration of this ordinance; and this day, as preparatory thereto, was set apart for solemn fasting and prayer. The design of this preparatory solemnity was to implore the blessing of God upon our renewing covenant with him and with one another, to walk together in the fear of God, in love and Christian fellowship: and to entreat that his presence might be with us in our designed approach to his table; as well as to humble ourselves before God on account of the apparent withdrawment (at least in a measure) of that blessed influence which has been so prevalent upon persons of all ages among us; as also on account of the rising appearance of carelessness, vanity, and vice among some, who, some time since, appeared to be touched and affected with divine truths, and brought to some sensibility of their miserable and perishing state by nature. And that we might also importunately pray for the peaceable settlement of the Indians together in a body, that they might be a commodious congregation for the worship of God; and that God would blast and defeat all the attempts that were or might be made against that pious design. 424424 There being at this time a terrible clamour raised against the Indians in various places in the country, and insinuations as though I was training them up to cut people’s throats. Numbers wishing to have them banished out of these parts, and some giving out great words, in order to fright and deter them from settling upon the best and most convenient track of their own lands, threatening to molest and trouble them in the law, pretending a claim to these lands themselves, although never purchased of the Indians.
The solemnity was observed and seriously attended, not only by those who proposed to communicate at the Lord’s table, but by the whole congregation universally. In the former part of the day, I endeavoured to open to my people the nature and design of a fast, as I had attempted more briefly to do before, and to instruct them in the duties of such a solemnity. In the afternoon, I insisted upon the special reasons there were for our engaging in these solemn exercises at this time; both in regard of the need we stood in of divine assistance, in order to a due preparation for that sacred ordinance some of us were proposing, with leave of Divine Providence, speedily to attend upon; and also in respect of the manifest decline of God’s work here, as to the effectual conviction and conversion of sinners, there having been few of late deeply awakened out of a state of security. The worship of God was attended with great solemnity and reverence, with much tenderness and many tears, by those who appear to be truly religious: and there was some appearance of divine power upon those who had been awakened some time before, and who were still under concern.
After repeated prayer and attendance upon the word of God, I proposed to the religious people, with as much brevity and plainness as I could, the substance of the doctrine of the Christian faith, as I had formerly done, previous to their baptism, and had their renewed cheerful assent to it. I then led them to a solemn renewal of their baptismal covenant, wherein they had explicitly and publicly given up themselves to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, avouching him to be their God; and at the same time renouncing their heathenish vanities, their idolatrous and superstitious practices, and solemnly engaging to take the word of God, so far as it was, or might be, made known to them, for the rule of their lives, promising to walk together in love, to watch over themselves, and one another; to lead lives of seriousness and devotion, and to discharge the relative duties incumbent upon them respectively, &c. This solemn transaction was attended with much gravity and seriousness; and at the same time with utmost readiness, freedom, and cheerfulness; and a religious union and harmony of soul seemed to crown the whole solemnity. I could not but think in the evening, that there had been manifest tokens of the divine presence with us in all the several services of the day; though it was also manifest there was not that concern among Christless souls that has often appeared here.
April 26. Toward noon prayed with a dying child, and gave a word of exhortation to the by-standers to prepare for death, which seemed to take effect upon some. In the afternoon discoursed to my people from Matt. xxvi. 26-30. of the author, the nature, and design of the Lord’s supper; and endeavoured to point out the worthy receivers of that ordinance.
The religious people were affected, and even melted with divine truths, with a view of the dying love of Christ. Sundry others who had been for some months under convictions of their perishing state, appeared now to be much moved with concern, and afresh engaged in seeking after an interest in Christ; although I cannot say “the word of God” appeared “so quick and powerful,” so sharp 412and piercing to the assembly, as it had sometimes formerly done. Baptized two adult persons, both serious and exemplary in their lives, and, I hope, truly religious. One of them was the man particularly mentioned in my Journal of the 6th instant; who, although he was then greatly distressed, because “he had never done the will of God,” has since, it is hoped, obtained spiritual comfort upon good grounds.
In the evening I catechised those that were designed to partake of the Lord’s supper the next day, upon the institution, nature, and end of that ordinance; and had abundant satisfaction respecting their doctrinal knowledge and fitness in that respect for an attendance upon it. They likewise appeared, in general, to have an affecting sense of the solemnity of this sacred ordinance, and to be humbled under a sense of their own unworthiness to approach to God in it; and to be earnestly concerned that they might be duly prepared for an attendance upon it. Their hearts were full of love one toward another, and that was the frame of mind they seemed much concerned to maintain, and bring to the Lord’s table with them. In the singing and prayer, after catechising, there appeared an agreeable tenderness and melting among them, and such tokens of brotherly love and affection, that would even constrain one to say, “Lord, it is good to be here;” it is good to dwell where such a heavenly influence distils.
Lord’s day, April 27. Preached from Tit. ii. 14. “Who gave himself for us,” &c. The word of God at this time was attended with some appearance of divine power upon the assembly; so that the attention and gravity of the audience was remarkable; and especially towards the conclusion of the exercise, divers persons were much affected.
Administered the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to twenty-three persons of the Indians, (the number of men and women being near equal,) divers others, to the number of five or six, being now absent at the Forks of Delaware, who would otherwise have communicated with us The ordinance was attended with great solemnity, and with a most desirable tenderness and affection. And it was remarkable, that in the season of the performance of the sacramental actions, especially in the distribution of the bread, they seemed to be affected in a most lively manner, as if “Christ had been” really “crucified before them.” And the words of the institution, when repeated and enlarged upon in the season of the administration, seemed to meet with the same reception, to be entertained with the same full and firm belief and affectionate engagement of soul, as if the Lord Jesus Christ himself had been present, and had personally spoken to them. The affections of the communicants, although considerably raised, were notwithstanding agreeably regulated, and kept within proper bounds. So that there was a sweet, gentle, and affectionate melting, without any indecent or boisterous commotion of the passions.
Having rested some time after the administration of the sacrament, (being extremely tired with the necessary prolixity of the work,) I walked from house to house, and conversed particularly with most of the communicants, and found they had been almost universally refreshed at the Lord’s table “as with new wine.” And never did I see such an appearance of Christian love among any people in all my life. It was so remarkable, that one might well have cried with an agreeable surprise, “Behold how they love one another!” I think there could be no greater tokens of mutual affection among the people of God in the early days of Christianity, than what now appeared here. The sight was so desirable, and so well becoming the gospel, that nothing less could be said of it, than that it was “the doing of the Lord,” the genuine operations of him “who is love!”
Toward night discoursed again on the forementioned Tit. ii. 14. and insisted on the immediate end and design of Christ’s death, viz. “That he might redeem his people from all iniquity,” &c. This appeared to be a season of divine power among us. The religious people were much refreshed, and seemed remarkably tender and affectionate, full of love, joy, peace, and desirous of being completely “redeemed from all iniquity;” so that some of them afterwards told me “they had never felt the like before.” Convictions also appeared to be revived in many instances; and divers persons were awakened whom I had never observed under any religious impressions before.
Such was the influence that attended our assembly, and so unspeakably desirable the frame of mind that many enjoyed in the divine service, that it seemed almost grievous to conclude the public worship. And the congregation when dismissed, although it was then almost dark, appeared loth to leave the place and employments that had been rendered so dear to them by the benefits enjoyed, while a blessed quickening influence distilled upon them. And upon the whole, I must say, I had great satisfaction relative to the administration of this ordinance in divers respects. I have abundant reason to think, that those who came to the Lord’s table, had a good degree of doctrinal knowledge of the nature and design of the ordinance; and that they acted with understanding in what they did.
In the preparatory services I found, I may justly say, uncommon freedom in opening to their understandings and capacities, the covenant of grace, and in showing them the nature of this ordinance as a seal of that covenant. Although many of them knew of no such thing as a seal before my coming among them, or at least of the use and design of it in the common affairs of life. They were likewise thoroughly sensible that it was no more than a seal or sign, and not the real body and blood of Christ. That it was designed for the refreshment and edification of the soul, and not for the feasting of the body. They were also acquainted with the end of the ordinance, that they were therein called to commemorate the dying love of Christ, &c.
And this competency of doctrinal knowledge, together with their grave and decent attendance upon the ordinance, their affectionate melting under it, and the sweet and Christian frame of mind they discovered consequent upon it, gave me great satisfaction respecting my administration of it to them. And O what a sweet and blessed season was this! God himself, I am persuaded, was in the midst of his people, attending his own ordinances. And I doubt not but many in the conclusion of the day, could say, with their whole hearts, “Verily, a day thus spent in God’s house, is better than a thousand elsewhere.” There seemed to be but one heart among the pious people. The sweet union, harmony, and endearing love and tenderness subsisting among them, was, I thought, the most lively emblem of the heavenly world I had ever seen.
April 28. Concluded the sacramental solemnity with a discourse upon John xiv. 15. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” At which time there appeared a very agreeable tenderness in the audience in general, but especially in the communicants. O how free, how engaged, and affectionate did these appear in the service of God! they seemed willing to have their “ears bored to the door-posts of God’s house,” and to be his servants for ever.
Observing numbers in this excellent frame, and the assembly in general affected, and that by a divine influence, I thought it proper to improve this advantageous season, as Hezekiah did the desirable season of his great passover, (2 Chron. xxxi.) in order to promote the blessed reformation begun among them; and to engage those that appeared serious and religious to persevere therein; and accordingly proposed to them, that they should renewedly enter into covenant before God, that they would watch over themselves and one another, lest they should dishonour the name of Christ by falling into sinful and unbecoming practices. And especially that they would watch against the sin of drunkenness, (the sin that easily besets them,) and the temptations leading thereto; as well as the appearance of evil in that respect. They cheerfully complied with the proposal, and explicitly joined in that covenant; whereupon I proceeded in the most solemn manner I was capable of, to call God to witness respecting their sacred engagement; and minded them of the greatness of the guilt they would contract to themselves in the violation of it; as well as observed to them, that God would be a terrible witness against those who should presume to do so, in the “great and notable day of the Lord.”
It was a season of amazing solemnity! and a divine awe appeared upon the face of the whole assembly in this 413transaction! Affectionate sobs, sighs, and tears, were now frequent in the audience: and I doubt not but that many silent cries were then sent up to the fountain of grace, for supplies of grace sufficient for the fulfilment of these solemn engagements. Baptized six children this day.
Lord’s day, May 4. My people being now removed to their lands, mentioned in my Journal of March 24, where they were then, and have since been, making provision for a compact settlement, in order to their more convenient enjoyment of the gospel, and other means of instruction, as well as the comforts of life; I this day visited them, (being now obliged to board with an English family at some distance from them,) and preached to them in the forenoon from Mark iv. 5. “And some fell on stony ground,” &c. Endeavoured to show them the reason there was to fear lest many promising appearances and hopeful beginnings in religion, might grove abortive, like the “seed dropped upon stony places.”
In the afternoon discoursed upon Rom. viii. 9. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” I have reason to think this discourse was peculiarly seasonable, and that it had a good effect upon some of the hearers. Spent some hours afterwards in private conferences with my people, and laboured to regulate some things I apprehended amiss among some of them.
May 5. Visited my people again, and took care of their worldly concerns, giving them directions relating to their business. I daily discover more and more of what importance it is like to be to their religious interests, that they become laborious and industrious, acquainted with the affairs of husbandry, and able, in a good measure, to raise the necessaries and comforts of life within themselves; for their present method of living greatly exposes them to temptations of various kinds.
May 9. Preached from John v. 40. “And ye will not come to me,” &c. in the open wilderness; the Indians having as yet no house for public worship in this place, nor scarce any shelters for themselves. Divine truths made considerable impressions upon the audience, and it was a season of solemnity, tenderness, and affection.
Baptized one man this day, (the conjurer, murderer, &c. mentioned in my Journal of August 8, 1745, and February 1, 1746,) who appears to be such a remarkable instance of divine grace, that I cannot omit some brief account of him here. He lived near, and sometimes attended my meeting in, the Forks of Delaware for more than a year together; but was, like many others of them, extremely attached to strong drink, and seemed to be no ways reformed by the means I used with them for their instruction and conversion. At this time he likewise murdered a likely young Indian; which threw him into some kind of horror and desperation, so that he kept at a distance from me, and refused to hear me preach for several months together, till I had an opportunity of conversing freely with him, and giving him encouragement, that his sin might be forgiven for Christ’s sake. After which he again attended my meeting some times.
But that which was the worst of all his conduct, was his conjuration. He was one of them who are sometimes called powows among the Indians: and notwithstanding his frequent attendance upon my preaching, he still followed his old charms and juggling tricks, “giving out that himself was some great one, and to him they gave heed,” supposing him to be possessed of a great power. So that when I have instructed them respecting the miracles wrought by Christ in healing the sick, &c. and mentioned them as evidences of his divine mission, and the truth of his doctrine, they have quickly observed the wonders of that kind which this man had performed by his magic charms. Whence they had a high opinion of him, and his superstitious notions, which seemed to be a fatal obstruction to some of them in regard of their receiving the gospel. And I have often thought it would be a great favour to the design of gospellizing these Indians, if God would take that wretch out of the world; for I had scarce any hope of his ever coming to good. But God, “whose thoughts are not as man’s thoughts,” has been pleased to take a much more desirable method with him; a method agreeable to his own merciful nature, and, I trust, advantageous to his own interest among the Indians, as well as effectual to the salvation of this poor soul. To God be the glory of it.
The first genuine concern for his soul that ever appeared in him, was excited by seeing my interpreter and his wife baptized at the Forks of Delaware, July 21, 1745. Which so prevailed upon him, that with the invitation of an Indian, who was a friend to Christianity, he followed me down to Crossweeksung in the beginning of August following, in order to hear me preach, and there continued for several weeks in the season of the most remarkable and powerful awakening among the Indians; at which time he was more effectually awakened, and brought under great concern for his soul. And then, he says, upon his “feeling the word of God in his heart,” as he expresses it, his spirit of conjuration left him entirely; that he had no more power of that nature since, than any other man living. And declares that he does not now so much as know how he used to charm and conjure; and that he could not do any thing of that nature if he was never so desirous of it.
He continued under convictions of his sinful and perishing state, and a considerable degree of concern for his soul, all the fall and former part of the winter past, but was not so deeply exercised till some time in January; and then the word of God took such hold upon him, that he was brought into great distress, and knew not what to do, nor where to turn himself. He then told me, that when he used to hear me preach from time to time in the fall of the year, my preaching pricked his heart and made him very uneasy, but did not bring him to so great distress, because he still hoped he could do something for his own relief: but now, he said, I drove him up into “such a sharp corner,” that he had no way to turn, and could not avoid being in distress.
He continued constantly under the heavy burden and pressure of a wounded spirit, till at length he was brought into the acute anguish and utmost agony of soul, mentioned in my Journal of Feb. 1, which continued that night, and part of the next day. After this, he was brought to the utmost calmness and composure of mind, his trembling and heavy burden was removed, and he appeared perfectly sedate; although he had, to his apprehensions, scarce any hope of salvation.
I observed him to appear remarkably composed, and thereupon asked him how he did? He replied, “It is done, it is done, it is all done now.” I asked him what he meant? He answered, “I can never do any more to save myself; it is all done for ever, I can do no more.” I queried with him, whether he could not do a little more rather than to go to hell. He replied, “My heart is dead, I can never help myself.” I asked him, what he thought would become of him then? He answered, “I must go to hell.” I asked him if he thought it was right that God should send him to hell? He replied, “O it is right. The devil has been in me ever since I was born.” I asked him if he felt this when he was in such great distress the evening before? He answered, “No, I did not then think it was right. I thought God would send me to hell, and that I was then dropping into it; but my heart quarrelled with God, and would not say it was right he should send me there. But now I know it is right, for I have always served the devil, and my heart has no goodness in it now, but is as bad as ever it was,” &c. I thought I had scarce ever seen any person more effectually brought off from a dependence upon his own contrivances and endeavours for salvation, or more apparently to lie at the foot of sovereign mercy, than this man now did under these views of things.
In this frame of mind he continued for several days, passing sentence of condemnation upon himself, and constantly owning, that it would be right he should be damned, and that he expected this would be his portion for the greatness of his sins. And yet it was plain he had a secret hope of mercy, though imperceptible to himself, which kept him not only from despair, but from any pressing distress: so that instead of being sad and dejected, his very countenance appeared pleasant and agreeable.
While he was in this frame, he sundry times asked me “When I would preach again?” and seemed desirous to hear the word of God every day. I asked him why he
414wanted to hear me preach, seeing “his heart was dead, and all was done?” That “he could never help himself, and expected that he must go to hell?” He replied, “I love to hear you speak about Christ for all.” I added, But what good will that do you, if you must go to hell at last? using now his own language with him; having before, from time to time, laboured in the best manner I could, to represent to him the excellency of Christ, his all-sufficiency and willingness to save lost sinners, and persons just in his case; although to no purpose, as to yielding him any special comfort. He answered, “I would have others come to Christ, if I must go to hell myself.” It was remarkable, that he seemed to have a great love to the people of God, and nothing affected him so much as the thoughts of being separated from them. This seemed to be a very dreadful part of the hell to which he thought himself doomed. It was likewise remarkable, that in this season he was most diligent in the use of all means for his soul’s salvation; although he had the clearest view of the insufficiency of means to afford him help. And would frequently say, “That all he did signified nothing at all;” and yet was never more constant in doing, attending secret and family prayer daily, and surprisingly diligent and attentive in hearing the word of God: so that he neither despaired of mercy, nor yet presumed to hope upon his own doings, but used means because appointed of God in order to salvation; and because he would wait upon God in his own way.
After he had continued in this frame of mind more than a week, while I was discoursing publicly he seemed to have a lively soul-refreshing view of the excellency of Christ, and the way of salvation by him, which melted him into tears, and filled him with admiration, comfort, satisfaction, and praise to God. Since then he has appeared to be an humble, devout, and affectionate Christian; serious and exemplary in his conversation and behaviour, frequently complaining of his barrenness, his want of spiritual warmth, life, and activity, and yet frequently favoured with quickening and refreshing influences. And in all respects, so far as I am capable to judge, he bears the marks and characters of one “created anew in Christ Jesus to good works.”
His zeal for the cause of God was pleasing to me when he was with me at the Forks of Delaware in February last. There being an old Indian at the place where I preached, who threatened to bewitch me and my religious people who accompanied me there; this man presently challenged him to do his worst, telling him that himself had been as great a conjurer as he, and that notwithstanding, as soon as he felt that word in his heart which these people loved, (meaning the word of God,) his power of conjuring immediately left him. And so it would you, said he, if you did but once feel it in your heart; and you have no power to hurt them, nor so much as to touch one of them, &c. So that I may conclude my account of him by observing, (in allusion to what was said of St. Paul,) that he now zealously defends, and practically “preaches, the faith which he once destroyed,” or at least was instrumental of obstructing. May God have the glory of the amazing change he has wrought in him!
Lord’s day, May 18. Discoursed both parts of the day from Rev. iii. 20. “Behold, I stand at the door,” &c. There appeared some affectionate melting towards the conclusion of the forenoon exercise, and one or two instances of fresh awakening. In the intermission of public worship, I took occasion to discourse to numbers in a more private way, on the kindness and patience of the blessed Redeemer in standing and knocking, in continuing his gracious calls to sinners, who had long neglected and abused his grace; which seemed to take some effect upon sundry.
In the afternoon divine truths were attended with solemnity, and with some tears, although there was not that powerful, awakening, and quickening influence, which in times past has been common in our assemblies. The appearance of the audience under divine truths was comparatively discouraging: and I was ready to fear that God was about to withdraw the blessed influence of his Spirit from us.
May 19. Visited and preached to my people from Acts xx. 18, 19. “And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day,” &c. and endeavoured to rectify their notions about religious affections; showing them, on the one hand, the desirableness of religious affection, tenderness, and fervent engagement in the worship and service of God, when such affection flows from a true spiritual discovery of divine glories, from a justly affecting sense of the transcendent excellency and perfections of the blessed God, a view of the glory and loveliness of the great Redeemer: and that such views of divine things will naturally excite us to “serve the Lord with many tears,” with much affection and fervency, and yet” with all humility of mind:” And, on the other hand, observing the sinfulness of seeking after high affections immediately, and for their own sakes, that is, of making them the object of our eye and heart, is nextly and principally set upon, when the glory of God ought to be so. Showed them that if the heart be directly and chiefly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly, to have the heart principally set upon that, is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then abominable pride: if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification. Laboured also to expose the disagreeableness of those affections that are sometimes wrought up in persons by the power of fancy and their own attempts for that purpose, while I still endeavoured to recommend to them that religious affection, fervency, and devotion which ought to attend all our religious exercises, and without which religion will be but an empty name and lifeless carcass.
This appeared to be a seasonable discourse, and proved very satisfactory to some of the religious people, who before were exercised with some difficulties relating to this point. Afterwards took care of, and gave my people directions about, their worldly affairs.
May 24. Visited the Indians, and took care of their secular business, which they are not able to manage themselves, without the constant care and advice of others. Afterwards discoursed to some particularly about their spiritual concerns.
Lord’s day, May 25. Discoursed both parts of the day from John xii. 44-48. “Jesus cried and said, he that believeth on me,” &c. There was some degree of divine power attending the word of God. Sundry wept and appeared considerably affected: and one who had long been under spiritual trouble, now obtained clearness and comfort, and appeared to “rejoice in God her Saviour.” It was a day of grace and divine goodness; a day wherein something I trust was done for the cause of God among my people: a season of sweetness and comfort to divers of the religious people, although there was not that powerful influence upon the congregation which was common some months ago.
Lord’s day, June 1, 1746. Preached both forenoon and afternoon from Matt. xi. 27, 28. The presence of God seemed to be in the assembly, and numbers were considerably melted and affected under divine truths. There was a desirable appearance in the congregation in general, an earnest attention and agreeable tenderness, and it seemed as if God designed to visit us with further showers of divine grace. I then baptized ten persons, five adults and five children, and was not a little refreshed with this “addition made to the church of such as, I hope, shall be saved.”
I have reason to hope that God has lately (at and since our celebration of the Lord’s supper) brought home to himself sundry souls who had long been under spiritual trouble and concern; although there have been few instances of persons lately awakened out of a state of security. And those comforted of late seem to be brought in in a more silent way, neither their concern nor consolation being so powerful and remarkable as appeared among those more suddenly wrought upon in the beginning of this work of grace.
June 6. Discoursed to my people from part of Isa. liii. The divine presence appeared to be amongst us in some 415measure. Divers persons were much melted and refreshed; and one man in particular, who had long been under concern for his soul, was now brought to see and feel, in a very lively manner, the impossibility of his doing any thing to help himself, or to bring him into the favour of God, by his tears, prayers, and other religious performances; and found himself undone as to any power or goodness of his own, and that there was no way left him, but to leave himself with God to be disposed of as he pleased.
June 7. Being desired by the Rev. Mr. William Tennent to be his assistant in the administration of the Lord’s supper; my people also being invited to attend the sacramental solemnity, they cheerfully embraced the opportunity, and this day attended the preparatory services with me.
Lord’s day, June 8. Most of my people who had been communicants at the Lord’s table before, being present at this sacramental occasion, communicated with others in this holy ordinance at the desire, and I trust, to the satisfaction and comfort, of numbers of God’s people who had longed to see this day, and whose hearts had rejoiced in this work of grace among the Indians, which prepared the way for what appeared so agreeable at this time. Those of my people who communicated seemed in general agreeably affected at the Lord’s table, and some of them considerably melted with the love of Christ; although they were not so remarkably refreshed and feasted at this time as when I administered this ordinance to them in our own congregation only.
Some of the by-standers were affected with seeing these who had been “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise,” who of all men had lived “without hope, and without God in the world,” now brought near to God as his professing people, and sealing covenant with him, by a solemn and devout attendance upon this sacred ordinance. And as numbers of God’s people were refreshed with this sight, and thereby excited to bless God for the enlargement of his kingdom in the world, so some others, I was told, were awakened by it, apprehending the danger they were in of being themselves finally cast out, while they saw others, “from the east and west,” preparing, and hopefully prepared in some good measure, to “sit down in the kingdom of God.”
At this season others of my people also, who were not communicants, were considerably affected; convictions were revived in divers instances; and one (the man particularly mentioned in my Journal of the 6th instant) obtained comfort and satisfaction; and has since given me such an account of his spiritual exercises, and the manner in which he obtained relief, as appears very hopeful. It seems as if he “who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,” had now “shined in his heart, and given him the light of,” and experimental “knowledge of, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
June 3. A considerable number of my people met together early in the day in a retired place in the woods, and prayed, sang, and conversed of divine things; and were seen by some religious persons of the white people, to be affected and engaged, and divers of them in tears, in these religious exercises.
Afterwards they attended the concluding exercises of the sacramental solemnity, and then returned home, divers of them “rejoicing for all the goodness of God” they had seen and felt; so that this appeared to be a profitable, as well as a comfortable season, to numbers of my congregation. And their being present at this occasion, and a number of them communicating at the Lord’s table with others of God’s people, was, I trust, for the honour of God and the interest of religion in these parts, as numbers, I have reason to think, were quickened by means of it.
June 13. Preached to my people upon the new creature, from 2 Cor. v. 17. “If any man be in Christ,” &c. The presence of God appeared to be in the assembly. It was a sweet and agreeable meeting, wherein the people of God were refreshed and strengthened, beholding their faces in the glass of God’s word, and finding in themselves the marks and lineaments of the new creature. Some sinners under concern were also renewedly affected, and afresh engaged for the securing of their eternal interests.
Baptized five persons at this time, three adults and two children. One of these was the very aged woman, of whose exercise I gave an account in my Journal of Dec. 26. She now gave me a very punctual, rational, and satisfactory account of the remarkable change she experienced some months after the beginning of her concern, which, I must say, appeared to be the genuine operations of the divine Spirit, so far as I am capable of judging. And although she was become so childish through old age, that I could do nothing in a way of questioning with her, nor scarce make her understand any that I asked her; yet when I let her alone to go on with her own story, she could give a very distinct and particular relation of the many and various exercises of soul she had experienced; so deep were the impressions left upon her mind by that influence, and that exercise she had been under! And I have great reason to hope, she is born anew in her old age, she being, I presume, upwards of fourscore. I had good hopes of the other adults, and trust they are such as God will own “in the day when he makes up his jewels.”
June 19. Visited my people with two of the reverend correspondents. Spent some time in conversation with some of them upon spiritual things; and took some care of their worldly concerns.
This day makes up a complete year from the first time of my preaching to these Indians in New Jersey. What amazing things has God wrought in this space of time for these poor people! What a surprising change appears in their tempers and behaviour! How are morose and savage pagans in this short space of time transformed into agreeable, affectionate, and humble Christians! and their drunken and pagan howlings turned into devout and fervent prayers and praises to God! They “who were sometimes darkness, are now become light in the Lord. May they walk as children of the light, and of the day. And now to him that is of power to stablish them according to the gospel, and the preaching of Christ To God only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever and ever! Amen.”
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