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was able to walk out, and take care of the Indians again. In the evening, enjoyed a very peaceful frame. Oct. 28. “Rode to Princeton, in a very weak state; had such a violent fever, by the way, that I was forced to alight at a friend's house, and lie down for some time. Near night, was visited by Mr. Treat, Mr. Beaty, and his wife, and another friend. My spirits were refreshed to see them ; but I was surprised, and even ashamed, that they had taken so much pains as to ride thirty or forty miles to see me. Was able to sit up most of the evening ; and spent the time in a very comfortable manner with my friends. Oct. 29. “Rode about ten miles with my friends who came yesterday to see me ; and then parted with them all but one, who stayed on purpose to keep me company, and cheer my spirits. Was extremely weak, and very feverish, especially towards night; but enjoyed comfort and satisfaction. Oct. 30. “Rode three or four miles, to visit Mr. Wales; spent some time, in an agreeable manner, in conversation; and though extremely weak, enjoyed a comfortable, composed frame of mind. Oct. 31. “Spent the day among friends, in a comfortable frame of mind, though exceedingly weak, and under a considerable fever. Nov. 1. “Took leave of friends, after having spent the forenoon with them, and returned home to my own house. Was much disordered in the evening, and oppressed with my cough; which has now been constant for a long time, with a hard pain in my breast, and fever, Lord’s day, Nov. 2. “Was unable to preach, and scarcely able to sit up, the whole day. Was grieved, and almost sunk, to see my poor people destitute of the means of grace ; especially as they could not read, and so were under great disadvantages for spending the Sabbath comfortably. O methought, I could be contented to be sick, if my poor flock had a faithful pastor to feed them with spiritual knowledge ' A view of their want of this was more afflictive to me, than all my bodily illness. Nov. 3. “Being now in so weak and low a state, that I was utterly incapable of performing my work, and having little hope of recovery, unless by much riding, I thought it my duty to take a long journey into New England, and to divert myself among my |. whom I had not now seen for a long time. Accordingly I took leave of my congregation this day. Before I left my people, I visited them all in their respective houses, and discoursed to each one, as I thought most proper and suitable for their circumstances, and found great freedom and assistance in so doing. I scarcely left one house but some
were in tears; and many were not only affected with my being about to leave them, but with the solemn addresses I made them upon divine things; for I was helped to be fervent in spirit, while I discoursed to them.—When I had thus gone through my congregation, which took me most of the day, and had taken leave of them, and of the school, I left home, and rode about two miles, to the house where I lived in the summer ast, and there lodged. Was refreshed, this evening, because F. left my congregation so well-disposed, and affected, and had been so much assisted in making my farewell addresses to them. Nov. 4. “Rode to Woodbridge, and lodged with Mr. Pierson; continuing still in a very weak state. Nov. 5. “Rode to Elizabethtown ; intending, as soon as possible, to prosecute my journey into New England. But was, in an hour or two after my arrival, taken much worse. “After this, for near a week, I was confined to my chamber, and most of the time to my bed : and then so far revived as to be able to walk about the house; but was still confined within doors. “In the beginning of this extraordinary turn of disorder, after my coming to Elizabethtown, I was enabled through mercy to maintain a calm, composed, and patient spirit, as I had been before from the beginning of my weakness. After I had been in Elizabethtown about a fortnight, and had so far recovered that I was able to walk about the house, upon a day of thanksgiving kept in this place, I was enabled to recall and recount over the mercies of God, in such a manner as greatly af. fected me, and filled me with thankfulness and praise. Especially my soul praised God for his work of grace among the Indians, and the enlargement of his dear kingdom. My soul blessed God for what he is in himself, and adored him, that he ever would display himself to creatures. I rejoiced that he was God, and longed that all should know it, and feel it, and rejoice in it. ‘Lord, glorify thyself,’ was the desire and cry of my soul. O that all people might love and and praise the blessed God ; that he might have all possible honour and glory from the intelligent world ! “After this comfortable thanksgiving season, I frequently enjoyed freedom, enlargement, and engagedness of soul in prayer, and was enabled to intercede with God for my dear congregation, very often for every family, and every person, in particular. It was often a great comfort to me, that I could pray heartily to God for those, to whom I could not speak, and whom I was not allowed to see. But at other times, my spirits were so flat and low, and my bodily vigour so much wasted. that I had scarce any affections at all.”
During his confinement at Elizabethtown, Brainerd wrote the following letter to his youngest brother.
To his brother Israel, then a Student at Yale College, New Haven.
“Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Nov. 24, 1746.
“I had determined to make you and my other friends in New England a visit, this fall; partly from an earnest desire I had to see you and them, and partly with a view to the recovery of my health ; which has, for more than three months past, been much impaired. In order to prosecute this design, I set out from my own people about three weeks ago, and came as far as to this place; where, my disorder greatly increasing, I have been obliged to keep house ever since, until the day before yesterday; when I was able to ride about half a mile, but found myself much tired with the journey. I have now no hopes of prosecuting my journey into New England this winter; my present state of health will by no means admit of it. Although I am, through divine goodness, much better than I was some days ago; yet I have not strength now to ride more than ten miles a day, if the season were warm, and fit for me to travel in. My disorder has been attended with several symptoms of consumption ; and I have been at times apprehensive, that my great change was at hand : yet blessed be God, I have never been affrighted ; but, on the contrary, at times much delighted with a view of its approach. Othe blessedness of being delivered from the clogs of flesh and sense, from a body of sin and spiritual death / O the unspeakable sweetness of being translated into a state of complete purity and perfection believe, me, my brother, a lively view and hope of these things, will make the king of terrors himself appear agreeable. , Dear brother, let me entreat you, to keep eternity in your view, and behave yourself as becomes one that must shortly “give an account of things done in the body.” That God may be your God, and prepare you for his service here, and his kingdom of glory hereafter, is the desire and daily prayer of
“Your affectionate loving brother,
“In December, I had revived so far as to be able to walk abroad, and visit my friends, and seemed to be on the gaining hand with regard to my health, in the main, until Lord's day, December 21. At which time I went to the public worship, and it being sacrament day, I laboured much at the Lord's ta
ble to bring forth a certain corruption, and have it slain, as being an enemy to God and my own soul; and could not but hope, that I had gained some strength against this, as well as other corruptions; and felt some brokenness of heart for my Sln. “After this, having perhaps taken some cold, I began to decline as to bodily health ; and continued to do so, till the latter end of January, 1747. Having a violent cough, a considerable fever, an asthmatic disorder, and no appetite for any manner of food, nor any power of digestion, I was reduced to so low a state, that my friends, I believe, generally despaired of my life; and some of them, for some time together, thought I could scarce live a day. At this time, I could think of nothing, with any application of mind, and seemed to be in a great measure void of all affection, and was exercised with great temptations; but yet was not, ordinarily, afraid of death. Lord's day, Feb. 1. “Though in a very weak and low state, I enjoyed a considerable degree of comfort and sweetness in divine things; and was enabled to plead and use arguments with God in prayer, I think, with a child-like spirit. That passage of scripture oceurred to my mind, and gave me great assistance, “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him " This text I was helped to plead, and insist upon ; and saw the divine faithfulness eni. for dealing with me better than any earthly parent can o with his child. This season so refreshed my soul, that my body seemed also to be a gainer by it. From this time, I began gradually to amend. As I recovered some strength, vigour, and spirit, I found at times some freedom and life in the exercises of devotion, and some longings after spirituality and a life of usefulness to the interests of the great Redeemer. At other times, I was awfully barren and lifeless, and out of frame for the things of God; so that I was ready often to cry out, “Oh that it were with me as in months past !” Oh that God had taken me away in the midst of my usefulness, with a sudden stroke, that I might not have been under a necessity of trifling away time in diversions ! Oh that I had never lived to spend so much precious time, in so poor a manner, and to so little purpose Thus l often reflected, was grieved, ashamed, and even confounded, sunk and discouraged. Feb. 24. “I was able to ride as far as Newark, (having been confined within Elizabethtown almost four months,) and the next day returned to Elizabethtown. My spirits were somewhat refreshed with the ride, though my body was weary. Feb. 28. “Was visited by an Indian of my own congregation, who brought me letters, and good news of the sober and good behaviour of my people in general. This refreshed my soul. I could not but soon retire, and bless God for his goodness; and found, I trust, a truly thankful frame of spirit, that God seemed to be building up that congregation for himself. March 4. “I met with reproof from a friend, which, although I thought I did not deserve it from him, yet was, I trust, blessed of God to make me more tenderly afraid of sin, more jealous over myself, and more concerned to keep both heart and life pure and unblameable. It likewise cassed me to reflect on my past deadness and want of spirituality, and to abhor myself, and look on myself as most unworthy. This frame of mind continued the next day; and for several days after, I grieved to think, that in my necessary diversions I had not maintained more seriousness, solemnity, heavenly affection, and conversation. Thus my spirits were often depressed and sunk; and yet, I trust, that reproof was made to be beneficial to me. “ March 11 being kept in Elizabethtown as a day of fasting and prayer, I was able to attend public worship ; which was the first time I had been able so to do since December 21. O, how much weakness and distress did God carry me through in this space of time ! But having obtained help from him, I yet live. Oh that I could live more to his glory ! Lord's day, March 15. “Was able again to attend public worship, and felt some earnest desires of being restored to the ministerial work: felt, I think, some spirit and life, to speak for God. March 18. “Rode out with a design to visit my people; and the next day arrived among them : but was under great dejection in my journey. “On Friday morning, I rose early, walked about among my people, and inquired into their state and concerns; and found an additional weight and burden on my spirits, upon hearing some things disagreeable. I endeavoured to go to God with my distresses, and made some kind of lamentable complaint ; and in a broken manner spread my difficulties before God: but notwithstanding, my mind continued very gloomy. About ten o'clock I called my people together, and after having explained and sung a psalm, I prayed with them. There was a considerable deal of affection among them; I doubt not, in some instances, that which was more than merely natural.”