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Reflections on the preceding Memoirs
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.
ABOUT the year 1740, several distinguished ministers in the city of New York and its vicinity; and among them, Rev. EBENEZER PEMBERTON, of New York; Rev. AARON BURR, of Newark; and Rev. JONATAAN DickinSON, of Elizabethtown; communicated to the "Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge," “ the deplorable and perishing state of the Indians in the provinces of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania."
In consequence of this representation, the Society charitably and cheerfully agreed to the proposal of maintaining two missionaries among them, to convert them to Christianity; and in pursuance of this design sent those gentlemen, and some others—both clergymen and laymen, a Commission to act as their Commissioners, or Correspondents, “ in providing, directing, and inspecting the said Mission."
* As soon as the Correspondents received their commission,” to use their own language, "they immediately looked out for two candidates for the ministry, whose zeal for the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, and whose con passion for perishing souls would prompt them to such an exceedingly difficult and selfdenying undertaking. They first prevailed with Mr. Azarian HORTON to relinquish a call to an encouraging parish, and to devote bimself to the Indian service. He was directed to Long Island in August, 1741, at the east end of which there are two small towns of Indians; and, from the east to the west end of the island, lesser companies settled at a few miles distance from one another, for the distance of more than a hundred miles. At his first arrival, he was well received by most, and cordially welcomed by some of them. Those at the east end of the Ísland, especially, gave diligent and serious attention to his instractions; and many of them were led to ask the solemn inquiry, " What they should do to be saved?” A general reformation of manners was soon observable among most of these Indians. They were careful to attend, and serious and solemn while attending, upon both public and private instructions. A number of them were under very dcep convictions of their miserable, perishing state ; and about twenty of them give lasting evidences of their saving conversion to God. Mr. HORTON has baptized thirty-five adults, and forty-four children. He took pains with them to teach them to read : and some of them have made considerable proficiency. But the extensiveness of his charge, and the necessity of his travelling from place to place, renders him incapable of giving so constant an attendance to their instruction in reading, as is necessary. In his last letter to the Correspondents, he heavily complains of a great defection of some of them from their first reformation and care of their souls; occasioned by strong drink being brought among them, and their being thereby allured to relapse into their darling vice of drunkenness. This is a vice to which the Indians are everywhere so greatly addicted, and so vehemently disposed, that nothing but the power of divine grace can restrain that impetous lust, when they have opportunity to gratify it. He likewise complains, that some of them have grown more careless and remiss in the duties of religious worship, than they were when first acquainted with the great things of eternal peace. But, as a number retain their first impressions, and as they generally attend with reverence upon his ministry, he goes on with his work with encouraging hopes of the presence and blessing of God with him in this difficult undertaking."
With the subsequent labours and success of Mr. Horton the Editor is abacquainted; not having been able to ascertain how long he was employed as a Missionary ; or whether his Diary was ever published.
" It was some time after this, before the Correspondents could obtain another Missionary. At length they prevailed with Mr. David ERAINERD 10 refuse several invitations tv places, where he had a promising prospect of a comfortable settlement, to encounter the fatigues and perils which must attend his carrying the Gospel of Christ to these poor, miserable savages.'*
David BRAINERD, the subject of the ensuing Life, and author of the Diary incorporated with it, was examined and approved as a Missionary, at the city of New York, by the Correspondents of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, Nov. 25, 1742.
The field of Missionary labour, originally proposed for him by the Corres. pondents, was among the Indians living near the Forks of Delaware in Pennsylvania, and the Indians farther westward on the Susquehannah. Owing to some contention subsisting, at the time of his appointment, between these Indians and the whites, concerning their lands, the Correspondents concluded to defer his mission among them until harmony was restored ; and having received intelligence from the Rev. Mr. SERGEANT. Missionary to the Indians at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, that the existing state of the Indians at Kaunaumeek, a place in the woods between Stockbridge and Albany, promised success to the labours of a Missionary ; they selected that as his first station.
His la bours at Kaunaumeek commenced April 1, 1743, and continued one year; when he prevailed on the Indians at thai place to remove to Stockbridge and attend on the Rev. Mr. SERGEANT's ministry.
BRAINERD was ordained as a Missionary at Newark, N. J., June the 12th 1744; and on the 22d of the same month, entered on his labours at Sakhauwotung, within the Forks of Delaware.
On the 5th of October, 1744, he visiteil, for the first time, the Indians on the Susquehannah, and commenced his labours at a placed called Opeholhaupung.
On the 19th of June, 1745, he began to preach to the Indians at Crossweeksung, a place about twenty miles west of Amboy in New Jersey, and the scene of his greatest success. It is now called Crossveeks, and is on the road from Amboy to Bordentown.
On the 3d of May, 1746, he removed from that place, with the whole body of the Indians, to a place called Cranberry, fifteen miles from Crussweeksung. At these places he continued to reside unul March 20. 1747 ; when, owing to the ravages of a pulmonary consumption, brought on by his exposures and bardships, his labours as a Missionary were terminated and he bade farewell to his beloved Church and people a Cranberry.
The first communication made by him to the Correspond nts, was in a letter to the Rev. Mr. PEMBERTON, of Nov. 5, 1744 ; giving a succinct account of his residence at Kaunaumeek and of the commencement of his labours of Sakhauxotung and Opeholhaupung. After this he regularly forwarded to them a copy of his Diary. They published extracts froin his Diary, in two parts or numbers, with some variations in the titles. The First part, commencing with his residence at Crosswceksung, June 19th, 1745, and reaching to Nov. 4th, 1745; was published early in the following year; and was entitled,
"Mirabilia Dei inter Indicos ;
Among a number of Indians,
* These extracts are from the Preface of the Correspondents to Brainerd's Letter to Pemberton.
Justiy represented in a Journal, kept by order of the Honourable Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge ; with some General Remarks;
By David BRAINERD, Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary from the said Society: Published by the Reverend and worthy Correspondents of the said Society;
with a Preface by them." The Second part, extending from Nov. 24th, 1745, to June 1915 1746, was published in the latter part of that year; and was ent tled
“ Divine Grace Displayed ;
Among some of the Indians
Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge ;
with some General Remarks; To which is subjoined an Appendix, containing some account of sundry things,
and especially of the Difficulties attending the Work of a Missionary among the Indians :
By David BRAINERD, Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary from the said Society : Published by the Reverend and worthy Correspondents of the said Society."
These two parts have always been called “BRAINERD'S JOURNAL;" and were published during his life.
BRAINERD died at the house of the Rev. JONATHAN EDWARDS, of Northampton, Oct. 9th, 1747 ; leaving all his papers in the hands of that gentleman, " that he might dispose of them as he thought would be most for God's glory, and the interest of Religion.” Of these, the most valuable was the Account of his early life and the original copy of his Diary. From these materials, Mr. EDWARDS prepared a Life of BRAINERD, an 8vo volume of 316 pages; which was published at Boston in 1749, with the following title ;
" An Account of the Life
Missionary to the Indians,
Christian Knowledge ;
In the 30th year of his age :
for his own use; and now published,
By Jonathan Edwards, A. M.
Minister of the Gospel at Northampton.” It has been the intention of the Editor, to render this volume, as a Memoir of BRAINERD, complete. It contains the whole of the Life and Diary including the JOURNAL, together with a'l his letters, and other writings (so far as they are known to the Editor) and the concluding Reflections on his Memoirs, by President Edwards; all arranged in a regular series, according to the order of events. In addition to these, it contains two letters of John BRAINERD and the Sermons of PEMBERTON and EDWARDS; both of uncommon excellence.
The Diary of BRAINER), a single point only excepted, is probably the best manual of Christian experience, ever yet published. The exception arises from the fact, that the native temperament of BRAINERD's mind inclined him to melancholy. This, his biographer, and himself, towards the close of life, regarded as a serious unhappiness, not to say defect, in his character. If the requisite allowance be made for this constitutional infirmity, the diary will prove altogether useful to the private Christian. As an example of a mind tremulously apprehensive of sin, loathing it in every form, and for its own sake, avoiding even the appearance of evil, rising above all terrestrial considerations, advancing rapidly in holiness, and finding its only enjoyment in the glory of God; probably no similar word in any language, can furnish a parallel.
In the Reflections on the Memoirs of BrainERD), as in a clear transparent mirror, the reader if he is not yoluntariiy blind, will discover the true character
of his own heart. The narrative of conversions, during the long Pentecost season at Crossweeksung, while it cannot fail to delight and animate the real Christian, will satisfy every mind open to conviction, that the Doctrines there taught were taught by the Apostles ; and will teach every Minister, that to preach Christ Crucified is the only way to secure the co-operation of the Holy Spirit. The account given by BRAINERD of the Doctrines which he preached to the Indians, and their visible Efects; of his meth of learning their language; of his plan of Instruction ; and of the Dificulties in the way of Christianizmug them, will also be peculiarly useful to the Missionary; while the Diary at large will furnish him an example of self-denial, of patience under privations and sufferings, and of glor ving in infirmities, which Paul himself would have respected and loved. On the whole, the Editor is convinced that few works hitherto published, are cal. culated to be equally useful to the Church at large, or to the individual Christian ; and, with these views concerning it, he cheerfully commends it to the blessing of Almighty God; without which the Word of Life, itself, becomes a “ savour of death unto death."