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He once told me, that " he had formerly longed for the outpouring of the Spirit of God and the glorious times of the church, and hoped they were coming; and should have been willing to have lived to promote religion at that time, if that had been the will of God; but, says he, I am willing it should be as it is; I would not have the choice to make for myself, for ten thousand worlds." He expressed on his death-bed a full persuasion that he should in heaven see the prosperity of the church on earth, and should rejoice with Christ therein; and the consideration of it seemed to be highly pleasing and satisfying to his mind.
He also still dwelt much on the great importance of the work of gospel ministers, and expressed his longings, that they might be filled with the Spirit of God. He manifested much desire to see some of the neighbouring ministers, with whom he had some acquaintance, and of whose sincere friendship he was confident that he might converse freely with them on that subject, before he died. And it so happened, that he had opportunity with some of them according to his desire.
Another thing that lay much on his heart, from time to time, in these near approaches of death, was the spiritual prosperity of his own congregation of Christian Indians in New-Jersey: and when he spake of them, it was with peculiar tenderness; so that his speech would be presently interrupted and drowned with tears.
He also expressed much satisfaction in the disposals of Providence, with regard to the circumstances of his death; particularly that God had before his death given him an opportunity in Boston with so many considerable persons, ministers, and others to give in his testimony for God against false religion, and many mistakes that lead to it, and promote it. He was much pleased that he had an opportunity there to lay before pious and charitable gentlemen the state of the Indians, and their necessities to so good effect, and that God had since enabled him to write to them further concerning these affairs; and to write other letters of importance, which he hoped might be of good influence with regard to the state of religion among the Indians, and elsewhere, after his death. He expressed great thankfulness to God for his mercy in these things. He also mentioned it as what he accounted a merciful circumstance of his death, that he should die here. When he was sick at Boston, nigh unto death, it was with reluctance he thought of dying in a place where funerals are often attended with a pomp and show, to any appearance of which he was very averse: and though it was with some difficulty he got his mind reconciled to the prospect then before him, yet at last he was brought to acquiesce in the divine will, with respect to this circumstance of his departure. However, it pleased God to order the event so as to gratify his VOL. X.
desire which he had expressed, of getting back to Northampton, with a view particularly to a more silent and private burial. And speaking of these things, he said, "God had granted him all his desire;" and signified, that now he could with the greater alacrity leave the world.
Sept. 28. "I was able to read and make some few corrections in my private writings; but found I could not write, as I had done; I found myself sensibly declined in all respects. It has been only from a little while before noon, till about one or two o'clock, that I have been able to do any thing for some time past yet this refreshed my heart that I could do any thing either public or private, that I hoped was for God."
This evening, he was supposed to be dying. He thought so himself, and was thought so by those who were about him. He seemed glad at the appearance of the near approach of death. He was almost speechless, but his lips appeared to move: and one that sat very near him, heard him utter such expressions as these," Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.-Oh why is his chariot so long in coming." After he revived, he blamed himself for having been too eager to be gone. And in expressing what he found in the frame of his mind at that time, he said, he then found an inexpressibly sweet love to those whom he looked upon as belonging to Christ beyond almost all that ever he felt before, so that it seemed, to use his own words, "like a little piece of heaven to have one of them near him." And being asked, whether he heard the prayer that was, at his desire, made with him; he said, "Yes, he heard every word, and had an uncommon sense of the things that were uttered in that prayer, and that every word reached his heart.”
On the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 29, as he lay on his bed, he seemed to be in an extraordinary frame; his mind greatly engaged in sweet meditations concerning the prosperity of Zion. There being present here at that time two young gentlemen of his acquaintance, who were candidates for the ministry, he de sired us all to unite in singing a Psalm on that subject, even Zion's prosperity. And on his desire we sung a part of the 102d Psalm. This seemed much to refresh and revive him, and gave him new strength; so that, though before he could scarcely speak at all, now he proceeded, with some freedom of speech, to give his dying counsels to those two young gentlemen before mentioned, relating to their preparation for, and prosecution of that great work of the ministry for which they were designed; and in particular earnestly recommended to them frequent secret fasting and prayer: and enforced his counsel with regard to this from his own experience of the great comfort and benefit of it, which said he, I should not mention. were it not that I am a
dying person. After he had finished his counsel, he made a prayer, in the audience of us all: wherein, besides praying for this family, for his brethren, and those candidates for the ministry, and for his own congregation, he earnestly prayed for the reviving and flourishing of religion in the world.-Till now he had every day sat up part of the day; but after this he never rose from his bed.
Sept. 30. "I was obliged to keep my bed the whole day, through weakness. However, redeemed a little time, and with the help of my brother, read and corrected about a dozen pages my MS. giving an account of my conversion.
Oct. 1. "I endeavoured again to do something by way of writing, but soon found my powers of body and mind utterly fail. Felt not so sweetly, as when I was able to do something which I hoped would do some good. In the evening, was discomposed and wholly delirious; but it was not long before God was pleased to give me some sleep, and fully composed my mind.* O blessed be God for his great goodness to me, since I was so low at Mr. Bromfield's on Thursday, June 18, last. He has, except those few minutes, given me the clear exercise of my reason, and enabled me to labour much for him, in things both of a public and private nature; and perhaps to do more good than I should have done if I had been well; besides the comfortable influence of his blessed Spirit, with which he has been pleased to refresh my soul. May his name have all the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Oct. 2. 66 My soul was this day, at turns, sweetly set on God; I longed to be with him, that I might behold his glory. I felt sweetly disposed to commit all to him, even my dearest friends, my dearest flock, my absent brother, and all my concerns for time and eternity. O that his kingdom might come in the world; that they might all love and glorify him, for what he is in himself; and that the blessed Redeemer might "see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied! Oh, come Lord Jesus, come quickly! Amen."t
The next evening, we very much expected his brother John from New-Jersey; it being about a week after the time that he proposed for his return, when he went away. Though our expectations were still disappointed, yet Brainerd seemed to continue unmoved, in the same calm and peaceful frame, which he had before manifested; as having resigned all to God, and having done with his friends, and with all things here below."
* From this time forward, he had the free use of his reason till the day before his death: except that at some times he appeared a little lost for a moment, when first waking out of sleep.
+ Here ends his diary. These are the last words which are written in it either by his own hand, or by any other from his mouth.
On the morning of the next day, being Lord's day, Oct. 4, as my daughter Jerusha, who chiefly attended him, came into the room, he looked on her very pleasantly, and said, “Dear Jerusha, are you willing to part with me?--I am quite willing to part with you: I am willing to part with all my friends, I am willing to part with my dear brother John, although I love him the best of any creature living: I have committed him and all my friends to God, and can leave them with God. Though if I thought I should not see you, and be happy with you in another world, I could not bear to part with you. But we shall spend an happy eternity together!"* In the evening, as one came into the room with a Bible in her hand, he expressed himself thus: "O that dear book! that lovely book! I shall soon see it opened! the mysteries that are in it and the mysteries of God's providence will be all unfolded!"
His distemper now very apparently preyed on his vitals in an extraordinary manner: not by a sudden breaking of ulcers in his lungs, as at Boston, but by a constant discharge of purulent matter, in great quantities: so that what he brought up by expectoration, seemed to be as it were mouthfuls of almost clear pus; which was attended with very inward pain and dis
On Tuesday, Oct. 6, he lay, for a considerable time, as if he were dying. At which time, he was heard to utter, in broken whispers, such expressions as these: "He will come, he will not tarry. I shall soon be in glory.-I shall soon glorify God with the angels."-But after some time he revived.
The next day, Wednesday, Oct. 7, his brother John arrived from New-Jersey; where he had been detained much longer than he intended by a mortal sickness prevailing among the christian Indians, and by some other circumstances that made his stay with them necessary. BRAINERD was affected and refreshed
Since this, it has pleased a holy and sovereign God to take away this my dear child by death, on the 14th of February, next following, after a short illness of five days, in the eighteenth year of her age. She was a person of much the same spirit with Brainerd. She had constantly taken care of, and attended him in his sickness, for nineteen weeks before his death: devoting herself to it with great delight because she looked on him as an eminent servant of Jesus Christ. In this time. he had much conversation with her on the things of religion; and in his dying state, often expressed to us, her parents, his great satisfaction concerning her true piety, and his confidence that he should meet her in heaven, and his high opinion of her, not only as a true Christian, but a very eminent saint, one whose soul was uncommonly fed and entertained with things which appertain to the most spiritual, experimental, and distinguishing parts of religion: and one who, by the temper of her mind, was fitted to deny herself for God and to do good, beyond any young woman whatsoever, whom he knew. She had manifested a heart uncommonly devoted to God, in the course of her life, many years before her death; and said on her death bed that "she had not seen one minute for several years, wherein she desired to live one minute longer, for the sake of any other good in life but doing good, living to God, and doing what might be for his glory."
with seeing him, and appeared fully satisfied with the reasons of his delay; seeing the interest of religion and the souls of his people required it.
The next day, Thursday, Oct. 8, he was in great distress and agonies of body; and for the greater part of the day, was much disordered as to the exercise of his reason. In the evening, he was more composed, and had the use of his reason well, but the pain of his body continued and increased. He told me that it was impossible for any one to conceive of the distress which he felt in his breast. He manifested much concern lest he should dishonour God by impatience, under his extreme agony; which was such, that he said, the thought of enduring it one minute longer was almost insupportable. He desired that others would be much in lifting up their hearts continually to God for him, that God would support him, and give him patience. He signified, that he expected to die that night; but seemed to fear a longer delay and the disposition of his mind with regard to death, appeared still the same that it had been all along. And notwithstanding his bodily agonies, yet the interest of Zion lay still with great weight on his mind; as appeared by some considerable discourse he had that evening with the Rev. Mr. Billing, one of the neighbouring ministers, who was then present, concerning the great importance of the work of the ministry. Afterwards, when it was very late in the night, he had much very proper and profitable discourse with his brother John, concerning his congregation in New-Jersey, and the interest of religion among the Indians. In the latter part of the night, his bodily distress seemed to rise to a greater height than ever; and he said to those then about him, that "it was another thing to die, than people imagined;" explaining himself to mean that they were not aware what bodily pain and anguish is undergone before death. Towards day, his eyes fixed; and he continued lying immoveable, till about six o'clock, on Friday, Oct. 9, 1747, when his soul, as we may well conclude, was received by his dear Lord and Master, as an eminently faithful servant, into that state of perfection of holiness, and fruition of God for which he had so often and so ardently longed; and was welcomed by the glorious assembly in the upper world, as one peculiarly fitted to join them in their blessed employ and enjoyment.
Much respect was shown to his memory at his funeral; which was on the Monday following, after a sermon preached the same day on that solemn occasion. His funeral was attended by eight of the neighbouring ministers, and seventeen other gentlemen of liberal education, and a great concourse of people.