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Journal Excerpts Part 9

By David Brainerd


      Sept. 22. Made some further attempts to instruct and christianize the Indians on this island, but all to no purpose. They live so near the white people, that they are always in the way of strong liquor, as well as the ill examples of nominal Christians; which renders it so unspeakably difficult to treat with them about Christianity.

      FORKS OF DELAWARE, October, 1745.

      Oct. 1. Discoursed to the Indians here, and spent some time in private conferences with them about their souls' concerns, and afterwards invited them to accompany, or if not, to follow, me down to Crossweeksung, as soon as their conveniency would admit; which invitation sundry of them cheerfully accepted.

      CROSSWEEKSUNG, in New Jersey, October, 1745.

      Preached to my people from John xiv. 1-6. The divine presence seemed to be in the assembly. Numbers were affected with divine truths, and it was a season of comfort to some in particular. - O what a difference is there between these and the Indians I had lately treated with upon Susquehannah! To be with those seemed like being banished from God, and all his people; to be with these, like being admitted into his family, and to the enjoyment of his divine presence! How great is the change lately made upon numbers of these Indians, who not many months ago were as thoughtless and averse to Christianity as those upon Susquehannah! and how astonishing is that grace which has made this change!

      Lord's day, Oct. 6. Preached in the forenoon from John x. 7-11. There was a considerable melting among my people; the dear young Christians were refreshed, comforted, and strengthened, and one or two persons newly awakened. - In the afternoon I discoursed on the story of the jailer, Acts xvi. and in the evening expounded Acts xx. 1-12. There was at this time a very agreeable melting spread through the whole assembly. I think I scarce ever saw a more desirable affection in any number of people in my life. There was scarce a dry eye to be seen among them, and yet nothing boisterous or unseemly, nothing that tended to disturb the public worship; but rather to encourage and excite a christian ardour and spirit of devotion. Those who, I have reason to hope, were savingly renewed, were first affected and seemed to rejoice much, but with brokenness of spirit and godly fear. Their exercises were much the same with those mentioned in my Journal of August 26, evidently appearing to be the genuine effect of a Spirit of adoption.

      After public service was over I withdrew, (being much tired with the labours of the day,) and the Indians continued praying among themselves for near two hours together; which continued exercises appeared to be attended with a blessed quickening influence from on high. - I could not but earnestly wish that numbers of God's people had been present at this season, to see and hear these things, which I am sure must refresh the heart of every true lover of Zion's interest. To see those who very lately were savage, pagans and idolaters, "having no hope, and without God in the world," now filled with a sense of divine love and grace, and worshipping the "Father in spirit and in truth," as numbers here appeared to do, was not a little affecting; and especially to see them appear so tender and humble, as well as lively, fervent, and devout in the divine service.

      Oct. 24. Discoursed from John iv. 13, 14. There was a great attention, a desirable affection, and an unaffected melting in the assembly. - It is surprising to see how eager they are of hearing the word of God. I have oftentimes thought they would cheerfully and diligently attend divine worship twenty-four hours together, had they an opportunity so to do.

      Oct. 25. Discoursed to my people respecting the resurrection, from Luke xx. 27-36. And when I came to mention the blessedness the godly shall enjoy at that season; their final freedom from death, sin, and sorrow; their equality to the angels in regard of their nearness to, and enjoyment of, Christ; (some imperfect degree of which they are favoured with in the present life, from whence springs their sweetest comfort;) and their being the children of God, openly acknowledged by him as such; I say, when I mentioned these things, numbers of them were much affected, and melted with a view of this blessed state.

      Oct. 26. Being called to assist in the administration of the Lord's supper, in a neighbouring congregation, I invited my people to go with me, who in general embraced the opportunity cheerfully, and attended the several discourses of that solemnity with diligence and affection, most of them now understanding something of the English language.

      Lord's day, Oct. 27. While I was preaching to a vast assembly of people abroad, who appeared generally easy and secure enough, there was one Indian woman, a stranger, who never heard me preach before, nor ever regarded any thing about religion - being now persuaded by some of her friends to come to meeting, though much against her will - was seized with pressing concern for her soul, and soon after expressed a great desire of going home, more than forty miles distant, to call her husband, that he also might be awakened to a concern for his soul. Some other of the Indians also appeared to be affected with divine truths this day.

      The pious people of the English, numbers of whom I had opportunity to converse with, seemed refreshed with seeing the Indians worship God in that devout and solemn manner with the assembly of his people: and with those mentioned Acts xi. 18. they could not but "glorify God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."

      Oct. 28. Preached again to a great assembly, at which time some of my people appeared affected; and when public worship was over, were inquisitive whether there would not be another sermon in the evening, or before the sacramental solemnity was concluded; being still desirous to hear God's word.

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