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Journal Excerpts Part 4

By David Brainerd


      Aug. 9. Spent almost the whole day with the Indians, the former part of it in discoursing to many of them privately, and especially to some who had lately received comfort, and endeavouring to inquire into the grounds of it, as well as to give them some proper instructions, cautions, and directions.

      In the afternoon discoursed to them publicly. There were now present about seventy persons, old and young. I opened and applied the parable of the sower, Matt. xiii. Was enabled to discourse with much plainness, and found afterwards that this discourse was very instructive to them. There were many tears among them while I was discoursing publicly, but no considerable cry: yet some were much affected with a few words spoken from Matt. xi. 28. "Come unto me, all ye that labour," &c. with which I concluded my discourse. But while I was discoursing near night to two or three of the awakened persons, a divine influence seemed to attend what was spoken to them in a powerful manner, which caused the persons to cry out in anguish of soul, although I spoke not a word of terror; but, on the contrary, set before them the fulness and all-sufficiency of Christ's merits, and his willingness to save all that came to him; and thereupon pressed them to come without delay.

      The cry of these was soon heard by others, who, though scattered before, immediately gathered round. I then proceeded in the same strain of gospel-invitation, till they were all melted into tears and cries, except two or three; and seemed in the greatest distress to find and secure an interest in the great Redeemer. - Some who had but little more than a ruffle made in their passions the day before, seemed now to be deeply affected and wounded at heart: and the concern in general appeared near as prevalent as it was the day before. There was indeed a very great mourning among them, and yet every one seemed to mourn apart. For so great was their concern, that almost every one was praying and crying for himself, as if none had been near. Guttummaukalummeh, guttummaukalummeh, i.e. "Have mercy upon me, have mercy upon me;" was the common cry.

      It was very affecting to see the poor Indians, who the other day were hallooing and yelling in their idolatrous feasts and drunken frolics, now crying to God with such importunity for an interest in his dear Son! - Found two or three persons, who, I had reason to hope, had taken comfort upon good grounds since the evening before: and these, with others that had obtained comfort, were together, and seemed to rejoice much that God was carrying on his work with such power upon others.

      Aug. 10. Rode to the Indians, and began to discourse more privately to those who had obtained comfort and satisfaction; endeavouring to instruct, direct, caution, and comfort them. But others being eager of hearing every word that related to spiritual concerns, soon came together one after another; and when I had discoursed to the young converts more than half an hour, they seemed much melted with divine things, and earnestly desirous to be with Christ. I told them of the godly soul's perfect purity and full enjoyment of Christ, immediately upon its separation from the body; and that it would be for ever inconceivably more happy than they had ever been for any short space of time, when Christ seemed near to them in prayer or other duties. And that I might make way for speaking of the resurrection of the body, and thence of the complete blessedness of the man, I said, But perhaps some of you will say, I love my body as well as my soul, and I cannot bear to think that my body should lie dead if my soul is happy. To which they all cheerfully replied, Muttah, muttah, (before I had opportunity to prosecute what I designed respecting the resurrection,) No, no. They did not regard their bodies, if their souls might but be with Christ. - Then they appeared "willing to be absent from the body that they might be present with the Lord."

      When I had spent some time with these, I turned to the other Indians, and spoke to them from Luke xix. 10. "For the Son of man is come to seek," &c. I had not discoursed long before their concern rose to a great degree, and the house was filled with cries and groans. And when I insisted on the compassion and care of the Lord Jesus Christ for those that were lost, who thought themselves undone, and could find no way of escape, this melted them down the more, and aggravated their distress, that they could not find and come to so kind a Saviour.

      Sundry persons who before had been but slightly awakened, were now deeply wounded with a sense of their sin and misery. And one man in particular, who was never before awakened, was now made to feel that "the word of the Lord was quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword." He seemed to be pierced at heart with distress, and his concern appeared most rational and scriptural: for he said, "all the wickedness of his past life was brought fresh to his remembrance, and he saw all the vile actions he had done formerly as if done but yesterday."

      Found one that had newly received comfort, after pressing distress from day to day. Could not but rejoice and admire divine goodness in what appeared this day. There seems to be some good done by every discourse; some newly awakened every day, and some comforted. - It was refreshing to observe the conduct of those that had obtained comfort, while others were distressed with fear and concern; that is, lifting up their hearts to God for them.

      Lord's day, Aug. 11 Discoursed in the forenoon from the parable of the prodigal son, Luke xv. Observed no such remarkable effect of the word upon the assembly as in days past. - There were numbers of careless spectators of the white people; some Quakers, and others. - In the afternoon I discoursed upon a part of St. Peter's sermon, Acts ii. and at the close of my discourse to the Indians, made an address to the white people, and divine truths seemed then to be attended with power both to English and Indians. Several of the white heathen were awakened, and could not longer be idle spectators, but found they had souls to save or lose as well as the Indians; and a great concern spread through the whole assembly. So that this also appeared to be a day of God's power, especially towards the conclusion of if, although the influence attending the word seemed scarce so powerful now as in some days past.

      The number of the Indians, old and young, was now upwards of seventy, and one or two were newly awakened this day, who never had appeared to be moved with concern for their souls before. - Those who had obtained relief and comfort, and had given hopeful evidences of having passed a saving change, appeared humble and devout, and behaved in an agreeable and christian-like manner. I was refreshed to see the tenderness of conscience manifest in some of them, one instance of which I cannot but notice. Perceiving one of them very sorrowful in the morning, I inquired into the cause of her sorrow, and found the difficulty was, she had been angry with her child the evening before, and was now exercised with fears, lest her anger had been inordinate and sinful, which so grieved her, that she waked and began to sob before day-light, and continued weeping for several hours together.

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