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complete happiness, to be “holy, as God is holy.” So wishing and praying that you may advance in learning and grace, and be fit for special service for God, I remain your affectionate
brother, DAVID BRAINERD.
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 idle 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 that lurk there: I thought that 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 o than they. “I am made to possess the sins of my vouth.”
The remaining days of this week were spent, for the most part, in inward distress and gloominess. The next Sabbath, he had encouragement, assistance, and comfort; but on Monday sunk again.
May 10. “Was in the same state, as to my mind, that I have been in for some time; extremely oppressed with a sense of guilt, pollution, and blindness: “The iniquity of my heels hath compassed me about: the sins of my youth have been set in order before me; they have gone over my head, as a 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. O, 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 from heaven! But alas, what corrupt mixtures attended my best duties 1’’
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 given; and afterwards, before his own house was habitable, he lived in a wigwam among the Indians.”
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 I hear, is either Highland Scotch, or Indian. I have no fellow-christian to whom I may unbosom myself, or lay open my spiritual sorrows : with whom I may take sweet counsel in conversation about heavenly things, and join in social prayer. I live poorly with regard to the comforts of life: most of my diet consists of boiled corn, hasty-pudding, &c. I lodge on a bundle of straw, my labour is hard and extremely difficult, and I have little appearance of success, to comfort me. The Indians have no land to live on, but what the Dutch people lay claim to ; and these threaten to drive them off. They have no regard to the souls of the poor Indians; and by what I can learn, they hate me because I come to preach to them. But that which makes all my difficulties grievous to be borne, is, that God hides his face from me. May 19. “Spent most of this day in close study: but was sometimes so distressed that I could think of nothing but my spiritual blindness, ignorance, pride, and misery. O I have reason to make that prayer, “Lord, forgive my sins of youth, and former trespasses.” May 20. “Was much perplexed some part of the day: but towards night, had some comfortable meditations on Is... xl. 1. Comfort ye, Comfort ye, &c. and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer. Afterwards, my soul rose so far above the deep waters, that I dared to rejoice in God. I saw that there was sufficient matter of consolation in the blessed God.”
The next nine days, his burdens were for the most part alleviated, but with variety; at some times, having considerable
This person was BRAINERD's interpreter, an ingenious young Indian, belonging to Stockbridge, whose name was John Wauwaumpequumnaunt. He had been instructed in the Christian religion, by Mr. Sergeant; had lived with the Rev. Mr. Williams, of Long-Meadow ; had been further instructed by him at the charge of Mr. Hollis of London; and understood both English and Indian very well, and wrote a good hand.
consolation; and at others, being more depressed. The next day, Monday, May 30, he set out on a |. to New Jersey, to consult the commissioners who employed him about the af. fairs of his mission.” He performed his journey thither in four days; and arrived at Mr. Burr's in Newark on Thursday. In great part of his journey, he was in the depths of melancholy, under distresses like those already mentioned. On Friday, he rode to Elizabeth town: and on Saturday to New York; and from thence on his way homewards as far as White Plains. There he spent the Sabbath, and had considerable degrees of divine consolation and assistance in public services. On Monday, he rode about sixty miles to New Haven. There he at: tempted a reconciliation with the Faculty of the college ; and spent this week in visiting his friends in those parts, and in his journey homewards, till Saturday, in a pretty comfortable frame of mind. On Saturday, in his way from Stockbridge to Kaunaumeek, he was lost in the woods, and lay all night in the open air; but happily found his way in the morning, and came to his Indians on Lord's day, June 12, and had greater assistance in preaching among them than ever before, since his first coming among them. From this time forward he was the subject of various frames and exercises of mind: in the general, much after the same manner as hitherto, from his first coming to Kaunaumeek till he got into his own house, (a little hut, which he made chiefly with his own hands, by long and hard labour,) which was near seven weeks from this time. The great part of this time, he was dejected, and depressed with melancholy; sometimes extremely; his melancholy operating in like manner, as related in times past. How it was with him in those dark seasons, he himself further describes in his diary for July 2, in the following manner. “My soul is, and has for a long time been in a piteous condition, wading through a series of sorrows, of various kinds. I have been so crushed down sometimes with a sense of my meanness and infinite unworthiness, that I have been ashamed that any, even the meanest of my fellow-creatures, should so much as spend a thought about me; and have wished sometimes, while-travelling among the thick brakes, to drop, as one of them, into everlasting oblivion. In this case, sometimes I have almost resolved never again to see any of my acquaintance : and really thought, I could not do it and hold up my face; and have lo for the remotest region, for a retreat from all my friends, that I might not be seen or heard of any more. Sometimes the consideration of my ignorance has been a means of my great distress and anxiety. And es
* His business with the commissioners now was, to obtain orders for them to set up a school among the Indians at Kaunaumeek, and that his interpreter might be appointed the schoolmaster, which was accordingly done.
pecially my soul has been in anguish with fear, shame, and guilt, that ever I had preached, or had any thought that way.— Sometimes my soul has been in distress on feeling some particular corruptions rise and swell like a mighty torrent, with present violence having, at the same time, ten thousand former sins and follies presented to view, in all their blackness and aggravations.—And these, while destitute of most of the conveniences of life, and I may say, of all the pleasures of it; without a friend to communicate any of my sorrows to, and sometimes without any place of retirement, where I may unburden my soul before God, which has greatly contributed to my distress.--Of late, more especially, my great difficulty has been a sort of carelessness, a kind of regardless temper of mind, whence I have been disposed to indolence and trifling : and this temper of mind has constantly been attended with guilt and shame ; so that sometimes I have been in a kind of horror, to find myself so unlike the blessed God. I have thought I grew worse under all my trials; and nothing has cut and wounded my soul more than this. O, if I am one of God's chosen, as I trust through infinite grace I am, I find of a truth, that the righteous are scarcely saved.” It is apparent, that one main occasion of that distressing gloominess of mind which he was so much exercised with at Kaunaumeek, was reflection on his past errors and misguided zeal at college, in the beginning of the late religious commotions. And therefore he repeated his endeavours this year for reconciliation with the governors of the college, whom he had at that time offended. Although he had been at New Haven, in June, this year, and attempted a reconciliation, as mentioned already; yet, in the beginning of July, he made another journey thither, and renewed his attempt, but still in vain. Although he was much dejected, most of the time of which I am now speaking; yet he had many intermissions of his melancholy, and some seasons of comfort, sweet tranquillity and resignation of mind, and frequent special assistance in public services, as appear in his diary. The manner of his relief from his sorrow, once in particular, is worthy to be mentioned in his own words. “July 25. Had little or no resolution for a life of holiness; was ready almost to renounce my hopes of living to God. And O how dark it looked, to think of being unholy for ever ! This I could not endure. The cry of my soul was, Psal. lxv. 3. . Iniquities prevail against me. But I was in some measure relieved by a comfortable meditation on God's eternity, that he never had a beginning. Whence I was led to admire his greatness and power, in such a manner, that I stood still, and praised the Lord for his own glories and perfections; though I was (and if I should for ever be) an
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unholy creature, my soul was comforted to apprehend an eternal, infinite, powerful, holy God.”
July 30. “Just at night, moved into my own house, and lodged there that night; found it much better spending the time alone than in the wigwam where I was before. Lord's day, July 31. “Felt more comfortably than some days past.—Blessed be the Lord, who has now given me a place of retirement.—Oh that I may find God in it, and that he would dwell with me for ever ! Aug. 1. “Was still busy in further labours on my house.— Felt a little of the sweetness of religion, and thought that it was worth while to follow after God through a thousand snares, deserts, and death itself. Oh that I might always follow after holiness, that I may be fully conformed to God! Had some degree of sweetness in secret prayer, though I had much sorrow. Aug. 2. “Was still labouring to make myself more comfortable, with regard to my house and lodging. Laboured under spiritual anxiety: It seemed to me that I deserved to be thrust out of the world; yet found some comfort in committing my cause to God. It is good for me to be afflicted, that I may die wholly to this world, and all that is in it. Aug. 3. “Spent most of the day in writing. Enjoyed some sense of religion. Through divine goodness I am now uninterruptedly alone ; and find my retirement comfortable. I have enjoyed more sense of divine things within a few days last past, than for some time before. I longed after holiness, humility, and meekness: Oh that God would enable me to “pass the time of my sojourning here in his fear,” and always live to him / Aug. 4. “Was enabled to pray much, through the whole day; and through divine goodness found some intenseness of soul in the duty, as I used to do, and some ability to persevere in my supplications. I had some apprehensions of divine things, which afforded me courage and resolution. It is good, I find, to persevere in attempts to pray, if I cannot pray with perseverance, i.e. continue long in my addresses to the divine Being. I have generally found, that the more I do in secret prayer, the more I have delighted to do, and have enjoyed more of a spirit of prayer: and frequently have found the contrary, when with journeying or otherwise I have been much deprived of retirement. A seasonable, steady performance of secret DUTIES IN THEIR PROPER Hours, and a CARsruh. iN PRovement of ALL TIME, filling up every hour with some profitable labour, either of heart, head, or hands, are excellent means of spiritual peace and boldness before God.—Christ, indeed, is our peace, and by him wehārē boldness of access to God; but a good con