To his brother John, then a student at Yale college, New Haven.
DEAR BROTHER, Kaunaumeek, April 30, 1743.
I SHOULD tell you, “I long to see you,” but that my own experience has taught me, there is no happiness, and plenary satisfaction to be enjoyed, in earthly friends, though ever so near and dear, or in any enjoyment, that is not God himself. Therefore, if the God of all grace would be pleased graciously to afford us each his presence and grace, that we may perform the work, and endure the trials he calls us to, in a most distressing tiresome wilderness, till we arrive at our journey’s end; the local distance, at which we are held from each other at the present, is a matter of no great moment or importance to either of us. But, alas! the presence of God is what I want.--I live in the most lonely melancholy desert, about eighteen miles from Albany; for it was not thought best that I should go to Delaware river, as I believe I hinted to you in a letter from New York. I board with a poor Scotchman: his wife can talk scarce any English. My diet consists mostly of hasty pudding, boiled corn, and bread baked in the ashes and sometimes a little meat and butter. My lodging is a little heap of straw, laid upon some boards, a little way from the ground; for it is a log-room, without any floor, that I lodge in. My work is exceeding hard and difficult: I travel on foot a mile and half, the worst of ways, almost daily, and back again; for I live so far from my Indians.--I have not seen an English person this month.--These and many other circumstances as uncomfortable attend me; and yet my spiritual conflicts and distresses so far exceed all these, that I scarce think of them, or hardly mind but that I am entertained in the most sumptuous manner. The Lord grant that I may learn to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!” As to my success here I cannot say much as yet: the Indians seem generally kind, and well-disposed towards me, and are mostly very attentive to my instructions, and seem willing to be taught further. Two or three, I hope, are under some convictions: but there seems to be little of the special workings of the divine Spirit among them yet; which gives me many a heart-sinking hour. Sometimes I hope, God has abundant blessings in store for them and me; but at other times, I am so overwhelmed with distress that I cannot see how his dealings with me are consistent with covenant love and faithfulness; and I say, “Surely his tender mercies are clean gone for ever.”--But however, I see, I needed all this chastisement already: “It is good for me” that I have endured these trials, and have hitherto little or no apparent success. Do not be discouraged by my distresses. I was under great distress, at Mr. Pomroy’s, when I saw you last; but “God has been with me of a truth,” since that: he helped me sometimes sweetly at Long Island, and elsewhere. But let us always remember, that we must through much tribulation enter into God’s eternal kingdom of rest and peace. The righteous are scarcely saved: it is an infinite wonder, that we have well-grounded hopes of being saved at all. For my part, I feel the most vile of any creature living; and I am sure sometimes, there is not such another existing on this side hell.--Now all you can do for me, is, to pray incessantly, that God would make me humble, holy, resigned, and heavenly-minded, by all my trials.--“Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Let us run, wrestle, and fight that we may win the prize, and obtain that 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,
Your affectionate brother,