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Journal Excerpts Part 7

By David Brainerd


      FORKS OF DELAWARE, in Pennsylvania, Sept. 1745.

      Lord's day, Sept. 1. Preached to the Indians here from Luke xiv. 16-23. The word appeared to be attended with some power, and caused some tears in the assembly. - Afterwards preached to a number of white people present, and observed many of them in tears, and some who had formerly been as careless and unconcerned about religion perhaps as the Indians. - Towards night discoursed to the Indians again, and perceived a greater attention, and more visible concern among them than has been usual in these parts.

      Sept. 3. Preached to the Indians from Isa. liii. 3-6. "He is despised and rejected of men," &c. The divine presence seemed to be in the midst of the assembly, and a considerable concern spread amongst them. Sundry persons seemed to be awakened, amongst whom were two stupid creatures that I could scarce ever before keep awake while I was discoursing to them. Could not but rejoice at this appearance of things, although at the same time I could not but fear, lest the concern they at present manifested, might prove like a morning cloud, as something of that nature had formerly done in these parts.

      Sept. 5. Discoursed to the Indians from the parable of the sower, afterwards conversed particularly with sundry persons, which occasioned them to weep, and even cry out in an affecting manner, and seized others with surprise and concern; and I doubt not but that a divine power accompanied what was then spoken. Sundry of these persons had been with me to Crossweeksung, and had there seen, and some of them, I trust, felt the power of God's word in an effectual and saving manner. I asked one of them, who had obtained comfort, and given hopeful evidences of being truly religious, Why he now cried? He replied, "When he thought how Christ was slain like a lamb, and spilt his blood for sinners, he could not help crying, when he was all alone:" and thereupon burst out into tears and cries again. I then asked his wife, who had likewise been abundantly comforted, wherefore she cried? She answered, "She was grieved that the Indians here would not come to Christ, as well as those at Crossweeksung." I asked her if she found a heart to pray for them, and whether Christ had seemed to be near to her of late in prayer, as in time past? (which is my usual method of expressing a sense of the divine presence.) She replied, "Yes, he had been near to her; and that at some times when she had been praying alone, her heart loved to pray so, that she could not bear to leave the place, but wanted to stay and pray longer."

      Sept. 7. Preached to the Indians from John vi. 35-39. There was not so much appearance of concern among them as at several other times of late; yet they appeared serious and attentive.

      Lord's day, Sept. 8. Discoursed to the Indians in the forenoon from John xii. 44-50. in the afternoon from Acts ii. 36-39. The word of God at this time seemed to fall with weight and influence upon them. There were but few present, but most that were, were in tears, and sundry cried out under distressing concern for their souls.

      There was one man considerably awakened, who never before discovered any concern for his soul. There appeared a remarkable work of the divine Spirit among them, almost generally, not unlike what has been of late at Crossweeksung. It seemed as if the divine influence had spread from thence to this place; although something of it appeared here in the awakening of my interpreter, his wife, and some few others.

      Sundry of the careless white people now present were awakened, (or at least startled,) seeing the power of God so prevalent among the Indians. I then made a particular address to them, which seemed to make some impression upon them, and excite some affection in them.

      There are sundry Indians in these parts who have always refused to hear me preach, and have been enraged against those that have attended my preaching. But of late they are more bitter than ever, scoffing at Christianity, and sometimes asking my hearers, "How often they have cried?" and "Whether they have not now cried enough to do the turn?" &c. So that they have already "trial of cruel mockings."

      Sept. 9. Left the Indians in the Forks of Delaware, and set out on a journey towards Susquehannah river, directing my course towards the Indian town more than a hundred and twenty miles west-ward from the Forks. Travelled about fifteen miles, and there lodged.

      Sept. 13. After having lodged out three nights, arrived at the Indian town I aimed at on Susquehannah, called Shaumoking, (one of the places, and the largest of them, that I visited in May last,) and was kindly received and entertained by the Indians: but had little satisfaction by reason of the heathenish dance and revel they then held in the house where I was obliged to lodge, which I could not suppress, though I often entreated them to desist, for the sake of one of their own friends who was then sick in the house, and whose disorder was much aggravated by the noise. - Alas! how destitute of natural affection are these poor uncultivated pagans! although they seem somewhat kind in their own way. Of a truth, "the dark corners of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."

      This town (as I observed in my Journal of May last) lies partly on the east side of the river, partly on the west, and partly on a large island in it, and contains upwards of fifty houses, and they tell me, near three hundred persons, though I never saw much more then half that number in it; but of three different tribes of Indians, speaking three languages wholly unintelligible to each other. About one half of its inhabitants are Delawares, the others called Senakes, and Tutelas. The Indians of this place are counted the most drunken, mischievous, and ruffianly fellows of any in these parts: and Satan seems to have his seat in this town in an eminent manner.

      Sept. 14. Visited the Delaware king, (who was supposed to be at the point of death when I was here in May last, but was now recovered,) and discoursed with him and others respecting Christianity, and spent the afternoon with them, and had more encouragement than I expected. The king appeared kindly disposed, and willing to be instructed: this gave me some encouragement that God would open an effectual door for my preaching the gospel here, and set up his kingdom in this place. Which was a support and refreshment to me in the wilderness, and rendered my solitary circumstances comfortable and pleasant.

      Lord's day, Sept. 15. Visited the chief of the Delawares again; was kindly received by him, and discoursed to the Indians in the afternoon. Still entertained hopes that God would open their hearts to receive the gospel, though many of them in the place were so drunk from day to day, that I could get no opportunity to speak to them. Towards night discoursed with one that understood the languages of the Six Nations, (as they are usually called,) who discovered an inclination to hearken to Christianity; which gave me some hopes that the gospel might hereafter be sent to those nations far remote.

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