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ing to be abundant in proclaiming and publishing their own experiences : though at the same time he did not condemn, but approved of Christians speaking of their own experiences on some occasions, and to some persons, with due modesty and discretion.
After he came hither, as long as he lived, he was much in speaking of that future prosperity of Zion, that is so often foretold and promised in the Scripture: it was a theme he delighted to dwell upon; and his mind seemed to be carried forth with earnest concern about it, and intense desires, that religion might speedily and abundantly revive and flourish; though he had not the least expectation of recovery; yea, the nearer death advanced, and the more the symptoms of its approach increased, still the more did his mind seem to be taken up with this subject. He told me, when near his end, that "he never in all his life, had his mind so led forth in desires and earnest prayers for the flourishing of Christ's kingdom on earth, as since he was brought so exceeding low at Boston.” He seemed much to wonder, that there appeared no more of a disposition in ministers and people to pray for the flourishing of religion through the world ; that so little a part of their prayers was generally taken up about it in their families, and elsewhere; and particularly, he several times expressed his wonder, that there appeared no more forwardness to comply with the proposal lately made, in a memorial from a number of ministers in Scotland, and sent over into America, for united, extraordinary prayer, among Christ's ministers and people, for the coming of Christ's kingdom: and he sent it as his dying advice to his own congregation that they should practise agreeably to that proposal.*
Though he was constantly exceeding weak, yet there appeared in him a continual care well to improve time, and fill it up with something that might be profitable, and in some respect for the glory of God or the good of men; either profitable conversation, or writing letters to absent friends, or noting something in his Diary, or looking over his former writings, correcting them, and preparing them to be left in the hands of others at his death, or giving some directions concerning a future conducting and management of his people, or employment in secret deyotions. He seemed never to be easy, however ill, if he was not doing something for God, or in his service.
After he came hither, he wrote a preface to a Diary of the famous Mr Shepard's, having been much urged to it by those gentlemen in Boston, who had the care of the publication : which Diary, with his preface, has since been published.
In his Diary for Lord's day, August 9, he speaks of longing desires after death, through a sense of the excellency of a state of perfection.
In his Diary for Lord's day, August 16, he speaks of his having so much refreshment of soul in ihe house of God, that it seemed to refresh his body. And this is not only noted in his Diary, but was very observable to others; it was very apparent, not only, that his mind was exhilarated with inward consolation, but also that his animal spirits and bodily strength seemed to be remarkably restored, as though he had forgot his illness. But this was the last time that ever he attended public worship on the Sabbath.
On Tuesday morning that week, I being absent on a journey, he prayed with my family; but not without much difficulty, for want of bodily strength: and this was the last family prayer that ever be made.
* His congregation, since this, have with great cheerfulness and unanimity fallen in with this advice, and have practised agreeably to the proposal from Scotland; and have at times, appeared with uncommon engagedness and fervency of spirit in their meetings and united devotions, pursu. ant to that proposal : also the Presbyteries of New York, and New Brunswick, since this, have with one consent, fallen in with the proposal, as likewise some others of God's people in those parts.
He had been wont, until now, frequently to ride out, two or three iniles but this week, on Thursday, was the last time he ever did so.
Lord's day August, 23.—This morning I was considerably refreshed with the thought, yea, the hope and expectation of the enlargement of Christ's kingdom; and I could not but hope, the time was at hand, when Babylon the great would fall, and rise no more: this led me to some spiritual meditations, that were very refreshing to me. I was unable to attend public worship either part of the day ; but God was pleased to afford me fixedness and satisfaction in divine thoughts. Nothing so refreshes my soul, as when I can go to God, yea, to God my exceeding joy. When he is so, sensibly, to my soul, O, how unspeakably delightful is this!
In the week past I had divers turns of inward refreshing; though my body was inexpressibly weak, followed continually with agues and fevers. Sometimes my soul centered in God, as my only portion; and I felt that I should be forever unhappy, if he did not reign: I saw the sweetness and happiness of being his subject, at his disposal: this made all my difficulties quickly vanish.
From this Lord's day, viz., August 23, I was troubled very much with vapory disorders, and could neither write nor read, and could scarcely live, although, through mercy, was not so much oppressed with heavy melancholy and gloominess, as at many other times.
Until this week he had been wont to lodge in a room above stairs; but he now grew so weak, that he was no longer able to go up stairs and down; Friday August 28, was the last time he ever went above stairs ; henceforward he betook himself to a lower room.
On Wednesday, September 2, being the day of our public lecture, be seemed to be refreshed by seeing the neighboring ministers that came hither to the lecture, and expressed a great desire once more to go to the house of God on that day: and accordingly rode to the meeting, and attended divine service while the Rev. Mr. Woodbridge of Hatfield preached. He signified that he supposed it to be the last time that ever he should attend the public worship; as it proved. And indeed it was the last time that ever he went out at our gate alive.
On the Saturday evening next following, he was unexpectedly visited by his brother, Mr. John Brainerd, who came to see him from New Jersey. He was much refreshed by this unexpected visit, this brother being peculiarly dear to him; and he seemed to rejoice in a devout and solemn manner, to see him, and to hear the comfortable tidings he brought concerning the state of his dear congregation of Christian Indians: and a circumstance of this visit, that he was exceeding glad of, was, that his brother brought him some of his private writings from New Jersey, and particularly his Diary that he had kept for many years past.
Lord's day, September 6.--I began to read some of my private writings, which my brother brought me; and was considerably refreshed, with what I met with in theni.
Monday, September 7.—I proceeded farther in reading my private writings, and found they had the same effect upon me as before : I could not but rejoice and bless God for what had passed long ago, which without writing had been entirely lost.
This evening, when I was in great distress of body, my soul longed that God should be glorified : I saw there was no heaven but this. I could not but speak to the bystanders then of the only happiness, viz., pleasing God. O that I could forever live to God! The day I trust, is at hand, the perfect day: 0, the day of deliverance from all sin !
Lord's day, September 13.-1 was much refreshed and engaged in meditation and writing, and found a heart to act for God. My spirits were refreshed, and my soul delighted to do something for God.
On the evening following that Lord's day, his feet began to appear sensibly swelled; which thenceforward swelled more and more ; a symptom of his dissolution coming on.
The next day, his brother John left him, being obliged to return to New Jersey on some business of great importance and necessity ; intending to return again with all possible speed, hoping to see his brother yet once more in the land of the living.
On the Thursday of this week, September 17, was the last time that ever he went out of his lodging room. That day, he was again visited by his brother Israel, who continued with him thenceforward until his death. On that evening, he was taken with something of a diarrhæa ; which he looked upon as another sign of his approaching death : whereupon he expressed himself thus; 0, the glorious time is now coming! I have longed to serve God perfectly: now God will gratify those desires! And from time to time, at the several steps and new symptoms of the sensible approach of his dissolution, he was so far from being sunk or damped, that he seemed to be animated, and made more cheerful ; as being glad at the appearances of death's approach. He often used the epithet, glorious, when speaking of the day of his death, calling it that glorious day. And as he saw his dissolution gradually approaching, he was much in talking about it, with perfect calmness speaking of a future state; and also settling all his affairs, very particularly and minutely, giving directions concerning what he would have done in one respect and another after he was dead. And the nearer death approached, the more desirous he seemed to be of it. He several times spake of the different kinds of willingness to die; and spoke of it as an ignoble, mean kind of willingness to die, to be willing to leave the body, only to get rid of pain ; or to go to heaven only to get honor and advancement there.
Saturday, September 19.–Near night, while I attempted to walk a little, my thoughts turned thus: How infinitely sweet it is, to love God, and be all for him! Upon which it was suggested to me, You are not an angel, not lively and active. To which my whole soul immediately replied, I as sincerely desire to love and glorify God, as any angel in heaven. Upon which it was suggested again, But you are filthy, not fit for heaven. Hereupon instantly appeared the blessed robes of Christ's righteousness, which I could not but exult and triumph in: and I viewed the infinite excellency of God, and my soul even broke with longings, that God should be glorified. I thought of dignity in heaven; but instantly the thought returned, I do not go to heaven to get honor, but to give all possible glory and praise. O, how I longed that God should be glorified on earth also! O, I was made for eternity, if God might be glorified ! Bodily pains I cared not for : though I was then in extremity, I never felt easier ; I felt willing to glorify God in that state of bodily distress, as long as he pleased I should continue in it. The grave appeared really sweet, and I longed to lodge my weary bones in it; but o that God might be glorified! This was the burden of all my cry. O, I knew I should be active as an angel, in heaven; and that I should be stripped of my filthy garments! So that there was no objection. But O, to love and praise God more, to please him forever! This my soul pánted after, and even now pants for while I write. Othat God might Vol. I.
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be glorified in the whole earth. Lord, let thy kingdom come. I longed for a spirit of preaching to descend and rest on ministers, that they might address the consciences of men with closeness and power. I saw God had the residue of the Spirit ; and my soul longed it should be poured from on high. I could not but plead with God for my dear congregation, that he would preserve it and not suffer his great name to lose its glory in that work: my soul still longing, that God might be glorified.
The extraordinary frame that he was in, that evening, could not be hid; his mouth spake out of the abundance of his heart, expressing in a very affect. ing manner much the same things as are written in his Diary: and among very many other extraordinary expressions, which he then uttered, were such as these : My heaven is to please God, and to glorify him, and give all to him, and to be wholly devoted to his glory; that is the heaven I long for ; that is my religion, and that is my happiness; and always was, ever since I suppose I had any true religion ; and all those that are of that religion, shall meet me in heaven. I do not go to heaven to be advanced, but to give honor to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high or a low seat there; but to love and please and glorify God is all: had I a thousand souls, if they were worth any thing, I would give them all to God; but I have nothing to give, when all is done. It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God: God himself could not make him happy any other way. I long to be in heaven, praising and glorifying God with the holy angels: all my desire is to glorify God. My heart goes out to the burying place; it seems to me a desirable place: but ! to glorify God; that is it; that is above all. It is a great comfort to me, to think that I have done a little for God in the world : 0 ! it is but a very small matter; yet I have done a little; and I lament it, that I have not done more for him. There is nothing in the world worth living for, but doing good, and finishing God's work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world, that can yield any satisfaction, besides living to God, pleasing him, and doing his whole will. My greatest joy and comfort has been, to do something for promoting the interest of religion, and the souls of particular persons: and now in my illness, while I am full of pain and distress from day to day, all the comfort I have, is in being able to do some little char, or small piece of work for God, either by something that I say, or by writing, or some other way.
He intermingled with these and other like expressions, many pathetical counsels to those that were about him ; particularly to my children and servants. He applied himself to some of my younger children at this time; calling them to him, and speaking to them one by one; setting before them, in a very plain manner, the nature and essence of true piety, and its great importance and necessity ; earnestly warning them not to rest in any thing short of that true and thorough change of heart, and a life devoted to God; counselling them not to be slack in the great business of religion, nor in the least to delay it; enforcing his counsels with this, that his words were the words of a dying man. Said he, I shall die here, and here I shall be buried, and here you will see my grave, and do you remember what I have said to you. I am going into eternity : and it is sweet to me to think of eternity ; the endlessness of it makes it sweet : but 0, what shall I say to the eternity of the wicked! I cannot mention it, nor think of it: the thought is too dreadful. When you see my grave, then remember what I said to you while I was alive ; then think with yourself, how that man that lies in that grave, counselled and warned me to prepare for death.
His body seemed to be marvellously strengthened, through the inward vigor and refreshment of his mind; so that, although before he was so weak that he could hardly utter a sentence, yet now he continued his most affecting and profitable discourse to us for more than an hour, with scarce any intermission; and said of it, when he had done, it was the last sermon that ever he should preach. . This extraordinary frame of mind continued the next day ; of which he says in his Diary as follows.
Lord's day, September 20.-Was still in a sweet and comfortable frame; and was again melted with desires that God might be glorified, and with longings to love and live to him. Longed for the influences of the Divine Spirit to descend on ministers, in a special manner. And 0, I longed to be with God, to behold his glory, and to bow in his presence.
It appears by what is noted in his Diary, both of this day, and the evening preceding, that his mind at this time was much impressed with a sense of the importance of the work of the ministry, and the need of the grace of God, and his special spiritual assistance in this work : and it also appeared in what he expressed in conversation ; particularly in his discourse to his brother Israel, who was then a member of Yale College at New Haven, 'and had been prosecuting his studies and academical exercises there, to that end, that he might be fitted for the work of the ministry, and was now with him.* He now, and from time to time, in this his dying state, recommended to his brother, a life of self-denial, of weanedness from the world, and devotedness to God, and an earnest endeavor to obtain much of the grace of God's Spirit, and God's gracious influences on his heart; representing the great need which ministers stand in of them, and the unspeakable benefit of them from his own experience. Among many other expressions, he said thus: “ When ministers feel these special gracions influences on their hearts, it wonderfully assists them to come at the consciences of men, and as it were to handle then with hands; whereas, without them, whatever reason and oratory we make use of, we do but make use of stumps instead of hands."
Monday, September 21.-I began to correct a little volume of my private writings : God, I believe, remarkably helped me in it; my strength was surprisingly lengthened out, and my thoughts quick and lively, and my soul refreshed, hoping it might be a work for God. O, how good, how sweet it is, to labor for God.
Tuesday, September 22.—Was again employed in reading and correcting, and had the same success, as the day before. I was exceeding weak ; but it seemed to refresh my soul, thus to spend time.
Wednesday, September 23.—I finished my corrections of the little piece forementioned, and felt uncommonly peaceful : it seemed as if I had now done all my work in this world, and stood ready for my call to a better. As long as I see any thing to be done for God, life is worth having : but o, how vain and unworthy it is, to live for any lower end! This day I indited a letter, I think, of great importance, to the Rev. Mr. Byram in New Jersey : O that God would bless and succeed that letter, which was written for the benefit of his church !+ O that God would purify the sons of Levi, that his glory may be advanced !
* This young gentleman was an ingenious, serious, studious, and hopefully truly pious person: there appeared in him many qualities giving hope of his being a great blessing in his day. But it has pleas. ed God, since the death of his brother, to take him away also. He died that winter, at New Haven, on Jan. 6, 1747-8, of a nervous fever, after about a fortnight's illness.
# It was concerning the qualifications of ministers, and the examina.ion and licensing of candidates for the work of the ministry.