5thly, It is further remarkable, that God has carried on his work here by such means, and in such a manner, as tended to obviate, and leave no room for, those prejudices and objections that have often been raised against such a work. When persons have been awakened to a solemn concern for their souls, by hearing the more awful truths of God's word, and the terrors of the divine law, insisted upon, it has usually in such cases been objected by some, that such persons were only frighted with a fearful noise of hell and damnation; and that there was no evidence that their concern was the effect of a divine influence. But God has left no room for this objection in the present case, this work of grace having been begun and carried on by almost one continued strain of gospel invitation to perishing sinners. This may reasonably be guessed, from a view of the passages of Scripture I chiefly insisted upon in my discourses from time to time; which I have for that purpose inserted in my Journal.
Nor have I ever seen so general an awakening in any assembly in my life as appeared here, while I was opening and insisting upon the parable of the great supper, Luke xiv. In which discourse I was enabled to set before my hearers the unsearchable riches of gospel-grace. - Not that I would be understood here, that I never instructed the Indians respecting their fallen state, and the sinfulness and misery of it: for this was what I at first chiefly insisted upon with them, and endeavouring to repeat and inculcate in almost every discourse, knowing that without this foundation I should but build upon the sand; and that it would be in vain to invite them to Christ, unless I could convince them of their need of him, Mark ii. 17.
But still, this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassions of a dying Saviour, the plentiful provisions of the gospel, and the free offers of divine grace to needy, distressed sinners. - Nor would I be understood to insinuate, that such a religious concern might justly be suspected - as not being genuine, and from a divine influence - because produced by the preaching of terror: for this is perhaps God's more usual way of awakening sinners, and appears entirely agreeable to Scripture, and sound reason. - But what I meant here to observe is, that God saw fit to employ and bless milder means for the effectual awakening of these Indians, and thereby obviated the forementioned objection, which the world might otherwise have had a more plausible colour of making.
And as there has been no room for any plausible objection against this work, in regard of the means; so neither in regard of the manner in which it has been carried on. - It is true, persons' concern for their souls has been exceeding great, the convictions of their sin and misery have risen to a high degree, and produced many tears, cries, and groans: but then they have not been attended with those disorders, either bodily or mental, that have sometimes prevailed among persons under religious impressions. - There has here been no appearance of those convulsions, bodily agonies, frightful screamings, swoonings, and the like, that have been so much complained of in some places; although there have been some who, with the jailer, have been made to tremble under a sense of their sin and misery, - numbers who have been made to cry out from a distressing view of their perishing state, - and some that have been, for a time, in a great measure, deprived of their bodily strength, yet without any such convulsive appearances.
Nor has there been any appearance of mental disorders here, such as visions, trances, imaginations of being under prophetic inspiration, and the like; or scarce any unbecoming disposition to appear remarkably affected either with concern or joy; though I must confess, I observed one or two persons, whose concern, I thought, was in a considerable measure affected; and one whose joy appeared to be of the same kind. But these workings of spiritual pride I endeavoured to crush in their first appearances, and have not since observed any affection, either of joy or sorrow, but what appeared genuine and unaffected.