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FROM HIS BEGINNING TO INSTRUCT THE INDIANS AT
Friday, April 1, 1743. I rode to Kaunaumeek, near twenty miles from Stockbridge, where the Indians live with whom I am concerned, and there lodged on a little heap of straw. I was greatly exercised with inward trials and distresses all day; and in the evening, my heart was sunk, and I seemed to have no God to go to. O that God would help me!
The next five days, he was for the most part in a dejected, depressed state of mind, and sometimes extremely so. He speaks of God's “ waves and billows rolling over his soul; and of his being ready sometimes to say, "Surely his mercy is clean gone for ever, and he will be favourable no more;" and says, the anguish he endured, was nameless and inconceivable: but at the same time speaks thus concerning his distresses, "What God designs by all my distresses I know not; "but this I know, I deserve them all and thousands more.”—He gives an account of the Indians kindly receiving him, and being seriously attentive to his instructions.
Thursday, April 7. Appeared to myself exceeding ignorant, weak, helpless, unworthy, and altogether unequal to my work. It seemed to me, I should never do any service, or have any success among the Indians. My soul was weary of my life: I longed for death, beyond measure. When I thought of any godly soul departed, my soul was ready to envy him his privilege, thinking, "Oh, when will my turn "come! must it be years first!"-But I know, these ardent desires, at this and other times, rose partly for want of resignation to God under all miseries; and so were but impatience. Towards night, I had the exercise of faith in prayer, and some assistance in writing. O that God would keep me near him!
Friday, April 8. Was exceedingly pressed under a sense of my pride, selfishness, bitterness, and party spirit, in times opast, while I attempted to promote the cause of God. Its vile nature and dreadful consequences appeared in such odious colours to me, that my very heart was pained. I saw how poor souls stumbled over it into everlasting destruction, that I was constrained to make that prayer in the bitterness of my "soul, O Lord, deliver me from blood-guiltiness." I saw my desert of hell on this account. My soul was full of inward anguish
and shame before God, that I had spent so much time in conversation tending only to promote a party-spirit. Oh, I saw I had not suitably prized mortification, self-denial, resignation under all adversities, meekness, love, candour, and holiness of heart and life: and this day was almost wholly spent in such bitter and soul-afflicting reflections on my past frames and conduct Of late, I have thought much of having the kingdom of Christ advanced in the world; but now I saw I had enough to do within myself. The Lord be merciful to me a sinner, and wash my soul !
Saturday, April 9. Remained much in the same state as yesterday; excepting that the sense of my vileness was not so quick and acute.
Lord's day, April 10. Rose early in the morning, and walked out, and spent a considerable time in the woods, in prayer and meditation. Preached to the Indians, both forenoon and afternoon. They behaved soberly in general: two or three in particular appeared under some religious concern; with whom I discoursed privately; and one told me, " her heart had cried, ever since she heard me preach first."
The next day, he complains of much desertion.
Tuesday, April 12. Was greatly oppressed with grief and shame, reflecting on my past conduct, my bitterness and party zeal. I was ashamed, to think that such a wretch as I had ever preached.-Longed to be excused from that work. And when my soul was not in anguish and keen distress, I felt senseless "as a beast before God," and felt a kind of guilty amusement with the least trifles; which still maintained a kind of stifled horror of conscience, so that I could not rest any more than a condemned malefactor.
Wednesday, April 13. My heart was overwhelmed within me: I verily thought I was the meanest, vilest, most helpless, guilty, ignorant, benighted creature living. And yet knew what God had done for my soul, at the same time: though sometimes I was assaulted with damping doubts and fears, whether it was possible for such a wretch as I to be in a state of grace.
Thursday, April 14. Remained much in the same state as yesterday.
Friday, April 15. In the forenoon, very disconsolate, In the afternoon, preached to my people, and was a little encouraged in some hopes that God might bestow mercy on their souls.-Felt somewhat resigned to God under all dispensations of his providence.
Saturday, April 16. Still in the depths of distress.-In the afternoon, preached to my people; but was more discouraged with them than before; feared that nothing would ever be done for them to any happy effect. I retired and poured out my soul to God for mercy; but without any sensible relief. Soon after came an Irishman and a Dutchman, with a design, as they said, to hear me preach the next day; but none can tell how I felt, to hear their profane talk. Oh, I longed that some dear Christian knew my distress. I got into a kind of hovel, and there groaned out my complaint to God; and withal felt more sensible gratitude and thankfulness to God, that he had made me to differ from these men, as I knew through grace he had.
Lord's day, April 17. In the morning was again distressed as soon as I waked, hearing much talk about the world and the things of it. I perceived the men were in some measure afraid of me; and I discoursed something about sanctifying the Sabbath, if possible to solemnize their minds: but when they were at a little distance, they again talked freely about secular affairs. Oh, I thought what a hell it would be, to live with such men to eternity! The Lord gave me some assistance in preaching, all day, and some resignation, and a small degree of comfort in prayer at night.
He continued in this disconsolate frame the next day.
Tuesday, April 19. In the morning, I enjoyed some sweet repose and rest in God; felt some strength and confidence in him; and my soul was in some measure refreshed and comforted. Spent most of the day in writing, and had some exercise of grace, sensible and comfortable. My soul seemed lifted above the deep waters, wherein it has been so long almost drowned; felt some spiritual longings and breathings of soul after God; and found myself engaged for the advancement of Christ's kingdom in my own soul.
Wednesday, April 20. Set apart this day for fasting and prayer, to bow my soul before God for the bestowment of divine grace; especially that all my spiritual afflictions and inward distresses might be sanctified to my soul. And endeavoured also to remember the goodness of God to me the year past, this day being my birth-day. Having obtained help of God, I have hitherto lived, and am now arrived at the age of twenty-five years. My soul was pained, to think of my barrenness and deadness; that I have lived so little to the glory of the eternal God. I spent the day in the woods alone, and
there poured out my complaint to God. O that God would enable me to live to his glory for the future!
Thursday, April 21. Spent the forenoon in reading and prayer, and found myself engaged; but still much depressed in spirit under a sense of my vileness and unfitness for any public service. In the afternoon, I visited my people, and prayed and conversed with some about their souls concerns: and afterwards found some ardour of soul in secret prayer. O that I might grow up into the likeness of God!
Friday, April 22. Spent the day in study, reading, and prayer; and felt a little relieved of my burden, that has been so beavy of late. But still was in some measure oppressed; and had a sense of barrenness. Oh, my leanness testifies against me! my very soul abhors itself for its unlikeness to God, its inactivity and sluggishness. When I have done all, alas, what an unprofitable servant am I! My soul grones, to see the hours of the day roll away, because I do not fill them, in spirituality and heavenly mindedness. And yet I long they should speed their pace, to hasten me to my eternal home, where I may fill up all my moments, through eternity, for God and his glory,
On Saturday and Lord's day, his melancholy again prevailed; he complained of his ignorance, stupidity, and senselessness; while yet he seems to have spent the time with the utmost diligence, in study, in prayer, in instructing and counselling the Indians. On Monday, he sunk into the deepest melancholy; so that he supposed he never spent a day in such distress in his life; not in fears of hell, (which, he says, he had no pressing fear of) but a distressing sense of his own vileness, &c. On Tuesday, he expresses some relief. Wednesday he kept as a day of fasting and prayer, but in great distress. The three days next following, his melancholy continued, but in a less degree, and with intervals of comfort *.
Lord's day, May 1. Was at Stockbridge to day. In the forenoon had some relief and assistance; though not so much as usual. In the afternoon, felt poorly in body and soul; while I was preaching, seemed to be rehearsing idie tales, without the least life, fervour, sense, or comfort; and especially afterwards, at the sacrament, my soul was filled with confusion, and the utmost anguish that ever I endured, under the feeling of my inexpressible vileness and meanness. It was a most bitter and distressing season to me, by reason of the view I had of my own heart, and the secret abominations
*On the last of these days he wrote the first letter in the collection of his letters, amprg his Remains.
that lurk there: I thought the eyes of all in the house were upon me, and I dared not look any one in the face; for it verily seemed as if they saw the vileness of my heart, and all the sins I had ever been guilty of. And if I had been banished from the presence of all mankind, never to be seen any more, or so much as thought of, still I should have been distressed with shame; and I should have been ashamed to see the most barbarous people on earth, because I was viler, and seemingly more brutishly ignorant than they.-"I am made to possess the sins of my youth."
The remaining days of this week were spent, for the most part, in in. ward distress and gloominess. The next Sabbath, he had encouragement, assistance, and comfort; but on Monday sunk again.
Tuesday, May 10. Was in the same state, as to my mind, that I have been in for some time; extremely pressed with a sense of guilt, pollution, and blindness: "The iniquity of my heels have compassed me about; the sins of my youth have been set in order before me; they have gone over my head, as an heavy burden, too heavy for me to bear." Almost all the actions of my life past seem to be covered over with sin and guilt; and those of them that I performed in the most conscientious manner, now fill me with shame and confusion, that I cannot hold up my face. Oh! the pride, selfishness, hypocrisy, ignorance, bitterness, party-zeal, and the want of love, candour, meekness, and gentleness, that have attended my attempts to promote religion and virtue; and this when I have reason to hope I had real assistance from above, and some sweet intercourse with Heaven! But, alas, what corrupt mixtures attended my best duties!
The next seven days, his gloom and distress continued for the most part, but he had some turns of relief and spiritual comfort. He gives an account of his spending part of this time in hard labour, to build himself a little cottage to live in amongst the Indians, in which he might be by himself; having, it seems, hitherto lived with a poor Scotchman, as he observes in the letter just now referred to; and afterwards, before his own house was habitable, lived in a wigwam among the Indians.
Wednesday, May 18. My circumstances are such, that I have no comfort, of any kind, but what I have in God. I live in the most lonesome wilderness; have but one single person to converse with, that can speak English *. Most of the talk
* This person was Mr. BRAINERD's interpreter; who was an ingenious young Indian belonging to Stockbridge, whose name was John Wauwaumpequunnauut.