« AnteriorContinuar »
would strobally known were vil nok perin
For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Psal. 1. 21, “ These things hast thou done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself ; but I will reprove thee, and set them in or. der before thine eyes.” Therefore the punishment of the wicked is not anni. hilation.
$ 34. The same disposition and habit of mind, and manner of viewing things, that is indeed the main ground of the cavils of many of the modern freethinkers, and modish writers, against the extremity and eternity of hell torments, if given way to, and relied upon, would cause them to be dissatisfied with almost any thing that is very uncomfortable in a future punishment, so much as the enduring of the pain that is occasioned by the thrusting of a thorn under the nail of the finger, for a whole year together, 365 days, day and night, without any rest, or the least intermission or abatement. In short, it will be found, that there will be no satisfying the infidel humor, with any thing that is very contrary to men's inclinations : any thing that they are very averse to bear, they would be averse to believe. There are innumerable calamities that come to pass in this world, through the permission and ordination of divine providence, against which (were it not that they are what we see with our eyes, and are universally known and incontestable facts) this cavilling unbelieving spirit would strongly object; and, if they were only proposed in the theory as matters of faith, would be opposed as exceedingly inconsistent with the moral perfections of God; and the opinions of such as asserted them would be cried out against, as in numberless ways contrary to God's wisdom, his justice, goodness, mercy, &c.,—such as, the innumerable calamities that have happened to poor innocent children, through the merciless cruelty of barbarous enemies; their being gradually roasted to death at the fire by Indians, shrieking and crying for their fathers and mothers; the extreme pains they sometimes are tormented to death with, by some terrible diseases which they suffer; the calamities that have many times been brought on whole cities, while besieged, and when taken by merciless soldiers, destroying all, men, women and children, without any pity; the extreme miseries which have been suffered by millions of innocent persons, of all ages, sexes and conditions, in times of persecution, when there has been no refuge to be found on earth; yea, those things that come to pass universally, which all mankind are the subjects of, in temporal death, which is so dreadful to nature, and which the human nature which God has made is so extremely reluctant to. There is no trust at all to such notions and views, such seemings as are the main ground of these men's objections against the torments of hell, as recorded in the Scripture. The main thing is, that it is terrible, and so seems shocking to the inward apprehension of their minds; and this they call a being shocking to common sense, when it is indeed no otherwise so, than as it is very opposite to common inclinations.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE
REV. DAVID BRAINERD,
MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL; MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS FROM THE HONORABLE SOCIETY, IN SCOTLAND, FOR THE PROPAGATION OF CHRISTIA V KNOWLEDGE ;
AND PASTOR OF A CHURCH OF CHRISTIAN INDIANS IN NEW-JERSEY;
WHO DIED AT NORTHAMPTON, IN NEW ENGLAND, OCTOBER 9TH, 1747, IN THE 30TH YEAR
OF HIS AGE:
CHIEFLY TAKEN FROM HIS OWN DIARY, AND OTHER PRIVATE WRITINGS, WRITTEN
FOR HIS OWN USE.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE WORCESTER EDITION
The particular account. given in this book, of Mr. BRAINERD, save that part which relates to his last exercises and his death, we have been constrained to omit. This omission is not only a matter of necessity, as we had not room for the entire account, but we think of propriety, as it consists almost wholly of extracts from Mr. BRAINERD'S Diary, and in his own words. A few brief remarks are indved interspersed by Mr. EDWARDS, to connect the extracts, and give the whole the cast of a continued Narrative. But the account taken at large is too much of a mere compilation to be numbered properly among his works. It will not be possible we confess to feel the pertinency and weight of the Reflections which Mr. EDWARDS has made on these memoirs, so sensibly as if they had been just read, as in fact they are supposed to have been. But if the reader will consider what we have inserted, as a specimen of Mr. BRAINERD'S views, exercises and efforts, as a Christian, a Preacher and a Missionary, as detailed through more than two hundred preceding pages, he will not be badly prepared to peruse the Reflections.
CLOSING SCENE OF THE LIFE
REV. DAVID BRAIN ERD.
MR. BRAINERD, before he left Boston, had occasion to bear a very full, plain, and open testimony against that opinion, that the essence of saving faith lies in believing that Christ died for me in particular, and that this is the first act of faith in a true believer's closing with Christ.-He did it in a long conference he had with a gentleman, that has very publicly and strenuously appeared to defend that tenet. He had this discourse with him in the presence of a number of considerable persons, who came to visit Mr. Brainerd before he left the town, and to take their leave of him. In which debate he made this plain declaration, at the same time confirming what he said by many arguments, that the essence of saving faith was wholly left out of that definition of saving faith which that gentleman has published; and that the faith which he had defined, had nothing of God in it, nothing above nature, nor indeed above the power of the devils; and that all such as had this faith, and had no better, though they might have this to never so high a degree, would surely perish. And he declared also, that he never had greater assurance of the falseness of the principles of those that maintained such a faith, and of their dangerous and destructive tendency, or a more affecting sense of the great delusion and misery of those that depended on getting to heaven by such a faith, while they had no better, than he lately had when he was supposed to be at the point to die, and expected every minute to pass into eternity. Mr. Brainerd's discourse at this time, and the forcible reasonings by which he confirmed what he asserted, appeared to be greatly to the satisfaction of those present; as several of them took occasion expressly to manifest to him, before they took leave of him.
When this conversation was ended, having bid an affectionate farewell to his friends, he set out in the cool of the afternoon, on his journey to Northampton, attended by his brother, and my daughter that went with him to Boston ; and would have been accompanied out of the town by a number of gentlemen, besides that honorable person who gave him his company for some miles on that occasion, as a testimony of their esteem and respect, had not his aversion to any thing of pomp and show prevented it.
Saturday, July 25.--I arrived here at Northampton; having set out from Boston on Monday, about four o'clock, P. M. In this journey, I rode about sixteen miles a day one day with another. I was sometimes extremely tired and faint on the road, so that it seemed impossible for me to proceed any further : at other times I was considerably better, and felt some freedom both of body and mind.
'Lord's day, July 26.-This day I saw clearly, that I should never be happy; yea, that God himself could not make me happy, unless I could be in a
capacity to please and glorify him forever: take away this, and admit me into al! the fine heavens that can be conceived of by men or angels, and I should still be miserable forever.
Though he had so far revived, as to be able to travel thus far, yet he manifested no expectation of recovery: he supposed, as his physician did, that his being brought so near to death at Boston, was owing to the breaking of ulcers in his lungs : he told me, that he had several such ill turns before, only not to so high a degree, but as he supposed owing to the same cause, viz., the breaking of ulcers; and that he was brought lower and lower every time; and it appeared to him, that in his last sickness, in Boston, he was brought as low as it was possible and yet live; and that he had not the least expectation of surviving the next return of this breaking of ulcers: but still appeared perfectly calm in the prospect of death.
On Wednesday morning, the week after he came to Northampton, he took leave of his brother Israel, as never expecting to see him again in this world; · he now setting out from hence on his journey to New Haven.
When Mr. Brainerd came hither, he had so much strength as to be able, from day to day, to ride out two or three miles, and to return; and sometimes to pray in the family; but from this time he gradually, but sensibly, decayed, and became weaker and weaker.
While he was here, his conversation from first to last was much on the same subjects as it had been in when in Boston: he was much in speaking of the nature of true religion of heart and practice, as distinguished from its various counterfeits ; expressing his great concern, that the latter did so much prevail in many places. He often manifested his great abhorrence of all such doctrines and principles in religion, as in any wise savored of, and had any, though but a remote tendency to Antinomianism; of all such notions, as seemed to diminish the necessity of holiness of life, or to abate men's regard to the commands of God, and a strict, diligent, and universal practice of virtue and piety, under a pretence of depreciating our works, and magnifying God's free grace. He spake often, with much detestation, of such experiences and pretended discoveries and joys, as have nothing of the nature of sanctification in them, and do not tend to strictness, tenderness, and diligence in religion, and meekness and benevolence towards mankind, and a humble behavior: and he also declared that he looked on such pretended humility as worthy of no regard, that was not manifested by modesty of conduct and conversation. He spake often, with abhorrence, of the spirit and practice that appears among the greater part of separatists at this day in the land, particularly those in the eastern parts of Connecticut; in their condemning and separating from the standing ministry and churches, their crying down learning, and a learned ministry, their notion of an immediate call to the work of the ministry, and the forwardness of laymen tu set up themselves as public teachers. He had been much conversant in the eastern part of Connecticut, his native place being near to it, when the same principles, notions and spirit, began to operate, which have since prevailed to a greater height; and had acquaintance with some of those persons who are become heads and leaders of the separatists; he had also been conversant with persons of the same way elsewhere: and I heard him say, once and again, he knew by his acquaintance with this sort of people, that what was chiefly and most generally in repute among them as the power of godliness, was an entirely different thing from that true vital piety recommended in the Scriptures, and had nothing in it of that nature. He manifested a great dislike of a disposition in persons to much noise and show in religion, and affect