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But little appearance of false religion.
It is worthy to be noted, fourthly, to the praise of sovereign grace, that amidst so great a work of conviction so much concern and religious affection there has been no prevalency, nor indeed any considerable appearance, of false religion, if I may so term it, or heats of imagination, intemperate zeal, and spiritual pride; which corrupt mixtures too often attend the revival and powerful propagation of religion; and that there have been so very few instances of irregular and scandalous behaviour among those who have appeared serious. I may justly repeat what I observed in a remark at the conclusion of my last Journal, 426426 That is, the First Part of the Journal. viz. That there has been no appearance of “bodily agonies, convulsions, frightful screaming, swoonings,” and the like: and may now further add, that there has been no prevalency of visions, trances, and imaginations of any kind; although there has been some appearance of something of that nature since the conclusion of that Journal. An instance of which I have given an account of in my Journal of December 26.
But this work of grace has, in the main, been carried on with a surprising degree of purity, and freedom from trash and corrupt mixture. The religious concern that persons have been under, has generally been rational and just; arising from a sense of their sins, and exposedness to the divine displeasure on the account of them; as well as their utter inability to deliver themselves from the misery they felt and feared. And if there has been, in any instances, an appearance of irrational concern and perturbation of mind, when the subjects of it knew not why, yet there has been no prevalency of any such thing; and indeed I scarce know of any instance of that nature at all. And it is very remarkable, that although the concern of many persons under convictions of their perishing state has been very great and pressing, yet I have never seen any thing like desperation attending it in any one instance. They have had the most lively sense of their undoneness in themselves; have been brought to give up all hopes of deliverance from themselves; and their spiritual exercises leading hereto, have been attended with great distress and anguish of soul: and yet in the seasons of the greatest extremity, there has been no appearance of despair in any of them, nothing that has discouraged, or in any wise hindered, them from the most diligent use of all proper means for their conversion and salvation; whence it is apparent, there is not that danger of persons being driven into despair under spiritual trouble, (unless in cases of deep and habitual melancholy,) that the world in general is ready to imagine.
The comfort that persons have obtained after their distresses, has likewise in general appeared solid, well grounded, and scriptural; arising from a spiritual and supernatural illumination of mind, a view of divine things in a measure as they are, a complacency of soul in the divine perfections, and a peculiar satisfaction in the way of salvation by free sovereign grace in the great Redeemer.
Their joys have seemed to rise from a variety of views and considerations of divine things, although for substance the same. Some, who under conviction seemed to have the hardest struggles and heart-risings against divine sovereignty, have seemed, at the first dawn of their comfort, to rejoice in a peculiar manner in that divine perfection, have been delighted to think that themselves, and all things else, were in the hand of God, and that he would dispose of them “just as he pleased.”
Others, who just before their reception of comfort, have been remarkably oppressed with a sense of their undoneness and poverty, who have seen themselves, as it were, falling down into remediless perdition, have been at first more peculiarly delighted with a view of the freeness and riches of divine grace, and the offer of salvation made to perishing sinners “without money, and without price.”
Some have at first appeared to rejoice especially in the wisdom of God, discovered in the way of salvation by Christ; it then appearing to them “a new and living way,” a way they had never thought, nor had any just conception of, until opened to them by the special influence of the divine Spirit. And some of them, upon a lively spiritual view of this way of salvation, have wondered at their past folly in seeking salvation other ways, and have admired that they never saw this way of salvation before, which now appeared so plain and easy, as well as excellent to them.
Others again have had a more general view of the beauty and excellency of Christ, and have had their souls delighted with an apprehension of his divine glory, as unspeakably exceeding all they had ever conceived of before; yet without singling out any one of the divine perfections in particular; so that although their comforts have seemed to arise from a variety of views and considerations of divine glories, still they were spiritual and supernatural views of them, and not groundless fancies, that were the spring of their joys and comforts.
Yet it must be acknowledged, that when this work became so universal and prevalent, and gained such general credit and esteem among the Indians, that Satan seemed to have little advantage of working against it in his own proper garb; he then transformed himself “into an angel of light,” and made some vigorous attempts to introduce turbulent commotions of the passions in the room of genuine convictions of sin; imaginary and fanciful notions of Christ, as appearing to the mental eye in a human shape, and being in some particular postures, &c. in the room of spiritual and supernatural discoveries of his divine glory and excellency; as well as divers other delusions. And I have reason to think, that if these things had met with countenance and encouragement, there would have been a very considerable harvest of this kind of converts here.
Spiritual pride also discovered itself in various instances. Some persons who had been under great affections, seemed very desirous from thence of being thought truly gracious; who when I could not but express to them my 420fears respecting their spiritual states, discovered their resentments to a considerable degree upon that occasion. There also appeared in one or two of them an unbecoming ambition of being teachers of others. So that Satan has been a busy adversary here, as well as elsewhere. But blessed be God, though something of this nature has appeared, yet nothing of it has prevailed, nor indeed made any considerable progress at all. My people are now apprised of these things, are made acquainted that Satan in such a manner “transformed himself into an angel of light,” in the first season of the great outpouring of the divine Spirit in the days of the apostles; and that something of this nature, in a greater or less degree, has attended almost every revival and remarkable propagation of true religion ever since. And they have learned so to distinguish between the gold and dross, that the credit of the latter “is trodden down like the mire of the streets:” and it being natural for this kind of stuff to die with its credit, there is now scarce any appearance of it among them.
And as there has been no prevalency of irregular heats, imaginary notions, spiritual pride, and satanical delusions among my people; so there has been very few instances of scandalous and irregular behaviour among those who have made a profession or even an appearance of seriousness. I do not know of more than three or four such persons that have been guilty of any open misconduct since their first acquaintance with Christianity, and not one that persists in any thing of that nature. And perhaps the remarkable purity of this work in the latter respect, its freedom from frequent instances of scandal, is very much owing to its purity in the former respect, its freedom from corrupt mixtures of spiritual pride, wild-fire, and delusion, which naturally lay a foundation for scandalous practices.
“ May this blessed work in the power and purity of it prevail among the poor Indians here, as well as spread elsewhere, till their remotest tribes shall see the salvation of God! Amen.” 427427 Money collected and expended for the Indians. As mention has been made in the preceding Journal, of an English school erected and continued among these Indians, dependent entirely upon charity: and as collections for defraying other charges that have necessarily arisen in the promotion of the religious interests of the Indians, it may be satisfactory, and perhaps will be thought by some but a piece of justice to the world, that an exact account be here given of the money already received by way of collection for the benefit of the Indians, and the manner in which it has been expended. The following is therefore a just account of this matter:—Money received since October last, by way of public collection, for promoting the religious interests of the Indians in New Jersey, viz. £ s. d. From New York 23 10 2 Jamaica on Long Island 3 Elizabeth-town 7 5 Elizabeth-town farms 1 18 9 Newark 4 5 7 Woodbridge 2 18 2 Morris-town 1 5 3 Freehold 12 11 Freehold Dutch congregation. 4 14 3 Shrewsbury and Shark river 3 5 Middle-town Dutch congregation 2 Carried forward £ 66 13 2 £ s. d. Brought forward 66 13 2 The Dutch congregation in and about New Brunswick 3 5 King’s-town 5 11 Neshaminy, and places adjacent in Pennsylvania 14 5 10 Abington & New Providence, by the hand of The Reverend Mr. Treat 10 5 The whole amounting to £ 100 Money paid out since October last for promoting the religion interests of the Indians in New Jersey, viz. Upon the occasion mentioned in my Journal Of January 28 82 5 For the building of a School-house 3 5 To the schoolmaster as a part of his reward For his present year’s service 17 10 For books for the children to learn in 3 The whole amounting to £ 106 DAVID BRAINERD
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