Thursday, March 31

March 31.

Called my people together, as I had done the Monday morning before, and discoursed to them again on the necessity and importance of their labouring industriously, in order to their living together, and enjoying the means of grace, &c. And having engaged in solemn prayer to God among them, for a blessing upon their attempts, I dismissed them to their work. - Numbers of them, both men and women, seemed to offer themselves willingly to this service; and some appeared affectionately concerned that God might go with them, and begin their little town for them; that by his blessing it might be a place comfortable for them and theirs, in regard both of procuring the necessaries of life, and of attending the worship of God.

Lord's day, March 30.

Discoursed from Matt. xxv. 31-40. There was a very considerable moving and affectionate melting in the assembly. I hope there were some real, deep, and abiding impressions of divine things made upon the minds of many. There was one aged man, newly come among us, who appeared to be considerably awakened, that never was touched with any concern for his soul before. - In the evening catechised. There was not that tenderness and melting engagement among God's people that appeared the evening before, and many other times. They answered the questions distinctly and well, and were devout and attentive in divine service.

Tuesday, March 29

March 29.

In the evening catechised as usual upon Saturday. - Treated upon the "benefits which believers receive from Christ at death." - The questions were answered with great readiness and propriety. And those who, I have reason to think, are the dear people of God, were sweetly melted almost in general. There appeared such a liveliness and vigour in their attendance upon the word of God, and such eagerness to be made partakers of the benefits then mentioned, that they seemed to be not only "looking for, but hasting to, the coming of the day of God." Divine truths seemed to distil upon the audience with a gentle but melting efficacy, as the refreshing "showers upon the new-mown grass." The assembly in general, as well as those who appear truly religious, were affected with some brief account of the blessedness of the godly at death: and most then discovered an affectionate inclination to cry, "Let me die the death of the righteous," &c. although many were not duly engaged to obtain the change of heart that is necessary in order to that blessed end.

Sunday, March 27

March 27.

Discoursed to a number of my people in one of their houses in a more private manner. Inquired particularly into their spiritual states, in order to see what impressions of a religious nature they were under. Laid before them the marks and tokens of a regenerate, as well as unregenerate, state: and endeavoured to suit and direct my discourse to them severally, according as I apprehended their states to be. - There was a considerable number gathered together before I finished my discourse; and divers seemed much affected, while I was urging the necessity and infinite importance of getting into a renewed state. - I find particular and close dealing with souls in private, is often very successful.

Friday, March 25

Words to Psalm 77 by Isaac Watts, Mentioned in the Diary Entry Below

To God I cried with mournful voice,
I sought His gracious ear,
In the sad day when troubles rose,
And filled the night with fear.

Sad were my days, and dark my nights,
My soul refused relief;
I thought on God the just and wise,
But thoughts increased my grief.

Still I complained, and still oppressed,
My heart began to break;
My God, Thy wrath forbade my rest,
And kept my eyes awake.

My overwhelming sorrows grew,
Till I could speak no more;
Then I within myself withdrew,
And called Thy judgments o’er.

I called back years and ancient times
When I beheld Thy face;
My spirit searched for secret crimes
That might withhold Thy grace.

I called Thy mercies to my mind
Which I enjoyed before;
And will the Lord no more be kind?
His face appear no more?

Will He for ever cast me off?
His promise ever fail?
Has He forgot His tender love?
Shall anger still prevail?

But I forbid this hopeless thought;
This dark, despairing frame,
Rememb’ring what Thy hand hath wrought;
Thy hand is still the same.

I’ll think again of all Thy ways,
And talk Thy wonders o’er;
Thy wonders of recovering grace,
When flesh could hope no more.

Grace dwells with justice on the throne;
And men that love Thy Word
Have in Thy sanctuary known
The counsels of the Lord.

Thursday, March 24

March 24.

Numbered the Indians, to see how many souls God had gathered together here, since my coming into these parts; and found there was now about a hundred and thirty persons together, old and young. Sundry of those that are my stated hearers, perhaps to the number of fifteen or twenty, were absent at this season. So that if all had been together, the number would now have been very considerable: especially considering how few were together at my first coming into these parts, the whole number not amounting to ten persons at that time.

My people went out this day upon the design of clearing some of their land, above fifteen miles distant from this settlement, in order to their settling there in a compact form; where they might be under advantages of attending the public worship of God, of having their children taught in a school, and at the same time have a conveniency for planting, &c.; their land in the place of our present residence being of little or no value for that purpose. And the design of their settling thus in a body, and cultivating their lands, (which they have done very little in their pagan state,) being of such necessity and importance to their religious interest, as well as worldly comfort, I thought it proper to call them together, and show them the duty of labouring with faithfulness and industry: and that they must not now "be slothful in business," as they had ever been in their pagan state. I endeavoured to press the importance of their being laborious, diligent, and vigorous in the prosecution of their business, especially at the present juncture, (the season of planting being now near,) in order to their being in a capacity of living together, and enjoying the means of grace and instruction. And having given them directions for their work, which they very much wanted, as well as for their behaviour in divers respects, I explained, sang, and endeavoured to inculcate upon them Ps. cxxvii. common metre, Dr. Watts's version. And having recommended them, and the design of their going forth, to God, by prayer with them, I dismissed them to their business.

In the evening read and expounded to those of my people who were yet at home, and the strangers newly come, the substance of the third chapter of the Acts. Numbers seemed to melt under the word, especially while I was discoursing upon ver. 19. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted," &c. Sundry of the strangers also were affected. When I asked them afterwards, whether they did not now feel that their hearts were wicked, as I had taught them? One replied, "Yes, she felt it now." Although before she came here - upon hearing that I taught the Indians their hearts were all bad by nature, and needed to be changed and made good by the power of God - she had said, "Her heart was not wicked, and she never had done any thing that was bad in her life." And this indeed seems to be the case with them, I think, universally in their pagan state. They seem to have no consciousness of sin and guilt, unless they can charge themselves with some gross acts of sin contrary to the commands of the second table.

Wednesday, March 23

Lord's day, March 23.

There being about fifteen strangers, adult person, come among us in the week past - divers of whom had never been in any religious meeting till now - I thought it proper to discourse this day in a manner peculiarly suited to their circumstances and capacities: and accordingly attempted it from Hos. xiii. 9. "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself," &c. In the forenoon I opened, in the plainest manner I could, man's apostasy and ruined state, after having spoken some things respecting the being and perfections of God, and his creation of man in a state of uprightness and happiness. In the afternoon endeavoured to open the glorious provision God has made for the redemption of apostate creatures, by giving his own dear Son to suffer for them, and satisfy divine justice on their behalf. - There was not that affection and concern in the assembly that has been common among us, although there was a desirable attention appearing in general, and even in most of the strangers.

Near sun-set I felt an uncommon concern upon my mind, especially for the poor strangers, that God had so much withheld his presence, and the powerful influence of his Spirit, from the assembly in the exercises of the day: and thereby denied them of that matter of conviction which I hoped they might have had. And in this frame I visited sundry houses, and discoursed with some concern and affection to divers persons particularly; but without much appearance of success, till I came to a house where divers of the strangers were; and there the solemn truths I discoursed of appeared to take effect, first upon some children, then upon divers adult persons that had been somewhat awakened before, and afterwards upon several of the pagan strangers.

I continued my discourse, with some fervency, till almost every one in the house was melted into tears; and divers wept aloud, and appeared earnestly concerned to obtain an interest in Christ. Upon this, numbers soon gathered from all the houses round about, and so thronged the place that we were obliged to remove to the house where we usually meet for public worship. And the congregation gathering immediately, and many appeared remarkably affected, I discoursed some time from Luke xix. 10. "For the Son of man is come to seek," &c. Endeavouring to open the mercy, compassion, and concern of Christ for lost, helpless, and undone sinners. - There was much visible concern and affection in the assembly; and I doubt not but that a divine influence accompanied what was spoken to the hearts of many. There were five or six of the strangers, men and women, who appeared to be considerably awakened. And in particular one very rugged young man, who seemed as if nothing would move him; was now brought to tremble like the jailer, and weep for a long time.

The pagans that were awakened seemed at once to put off their savage roughness and pagan manners, and became sociable, orderly, and humane in their carriage. When they first came, I exhorted my religious people to take pains with them (as they had done with other strangers from time to time) to instruct them in Christianity. But when some of them attempted something of that nature, the strangers would soon rise up and walk to other houses, in order to avoid the hearing of such discourses. Whereupon some of the serious persons agreed to disperse themselves into the several parts of the settlement. So that wherever the strangers went, they met with some instructive discourse, and warm addresses respecting their souls' concern. - But now there was no need of using policy in order to get an opportunity of conversing with some of them about their spiritual concerns; for they were so far touched with a sense of their perishing state, as made them tamely yield to the closest addresses that were made them, respecting their sin and misery, their need of an acquaintance with, and interest in, the great Redeemer.

Tuesday, March 22

March 22.

Catechised in my usual method in the evening. - My people answered questions to my great satisfaction. There appeared nothing very remarkable in the assembly, considering what has been common among us. Although I may justly say, the strict attention, the tenderness and affection, the many tears and heart-affecting sobs, appearing in numbers in the assembly, would have been very remarkable, were it not that God has made these things common with us, and even with strangers soon after their coming among us, from time to time. I am far from thinking that every appearance, and particular instance of affection, that has been among us, has been truly genuine, and purely from a divine influence. I am sensible of the contrary; and doubt not but that there has been some corrupt mixture, some chaff as well as wheat, especially since religious concern became so common and prevalent here.

Saturday, March 19

March 19.

Sundry of the persons that went with me to the Forks of Delaware in February last, having been detained there by the dangerous illness of one of their company, returned home but this day. Whereupon my people generally met together of their own accord, in order to spend some time in religious exercises; and especially to give thanks to God for his preserving goodness to those who had been absent from them for several weeks, and recovering mercy to him who had been sick; and that he had now returned them all in safety. I being then absent, they desired my schoolmaster to assist them in carrying on their religious solemnity; who tells me they appeared engaged and affectionate in repeated prayer, singing, &c.

Wednesday, March 16

Lord's day, March 16.

In the evening catechised. My people answered the questions put to them with surprising readiness and judgment. There appeared some warmth and feeling sense of divine things among those, who, I have reason to hope, are real Christians, while I was discoursing upon "peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost." These seemed quickened and enlivened in divine service, though there was not so much appearance of concern among those I have reason to think in a Christless state.

Preached to my congregation from Heb. ii. 1-3. Divine truths seemed to have some considerable influence upon many of the hearers; and produced many tears, as well as heavy sighs and sobs, among both those who have given evidences of being real Christians, and others also. And the impressions made upon the audience appeared in general deep and heart-affecting not superficial, noisy, and affected.

Toward night discoursed again on the great salvation. The word was again attended with some power upon the audience. Numbers wept affectionately, and to appearance, unfeignedly; so that the Spirit of God seemed to be moving upon the face of the assembly. - Baptized the woman particularly mentioned in my Journal of last Lord's day; who now, as well as then, appeared to be in a devout, humble, and excellent frame of mind.

My house being thronged with my people in the evening, I spent the time in religious exercises with them till my nature was almost spent. They are so unwearied in religious exercises, and unsatiable in their thirsting after christian knowledge, that I can sometimes scarce avoid labouring so as greatly to exhaust my strength and spirits.

Tuesday, March 15

March 15.

In the evening catechised. My people answered the questions put to them with surprising readiness and judgment. There appeared some warmth and feeling sense of divine things among those, who, I have reason to hope, are real Christians, while I was discoursing upon "peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost." These seemed quickened and enlivened in divine service, though there was not so much appearance of concern among those I have reason to think in a Christless state.

Monday, March 14

March 14.

Was visited by a considerable number of my people, and spent some time in religious exercises with them.

Wednesday, March 9

Lord's day, March 9.

Preached from Luke x. 38-42. The word of God was attended with power and energy upon the audience. Numbers were affected and concerned to obtain the one thing needful. And sundry that have given good evidences of being truly gracious, were much affected with a sense of their want of spirituality; and saw the need they stood in of growing in grace. And most that had been under any impressions of divine things in times past, seemed now to have those impressions revived.

In the afternoon proposed to have catechised in my usual method. But while we were engaged in the first prayer in the Indian language, (as usual,) a great part of the assembly was so much moved, and affected with divine things, that I thought it seasonable and proper to omit the proposing of questions for that time, and insist upon the most practical truths. And accordingly did so; making a further improvement of the passage of Scripture I discoursed upon in the former part of the day.

There appeared to be a powerful divine influence in the congregation. Sundry that I have reason to think are truly pious, were so deeply affected with a sense of their own barrenness, and their unworthy treatment of the blessed Redeemer, that they looked on him as pierced by themselves, and mourned, yea, some of them were in bitterness as for a first-born. - Some poor awakened sinners also appeared to be in anguish of soul to obtain an interest in Christ. So that there was a great mourning in the assembly; many heavy groans, sobs, and tears! and one or two persons newly come among us, were considerably awakened.

Methinks it would have refreshed the heart of any who truly love Zion's interest, to have been in the midst of this divine influence, and seen the effects of it upon saints and sinners. The place of divine worship appeared both solemn and sweet! and was so endeared by a display of the divine presence and grace, that those who had any relish of divine things, could not but cry, "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!" - After public worship was over, numbers came to my house, where we sang and discoursed of divine things: and the presence of God seemed here also to be, in the midst of us.

While we were singing, there was one (the woman mentioned in my Journal of Feb. 9) who, I may venture to say, if I may be allowed to say so much of any person I ever saw, was "filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory," and could not but burst forth in prayer and praises to God before us all, with many tears, crying sometimes in English and sometimes in Indian, "O blessed Lord, do come, do come! O do take me away, do let me die and go to Jesus Christ! I am afraid if I live I shall sin again! O do let me die now! O dear Jesus, do come! I cannot stay, I cannot stay! O how can I live in this world! do take my soul away from this sinful place! O let me never sin any more! O what shall I do, what shall I do! dear Jesus, O dear Jesus," &c. - In this ecstasy she continued some time, uttering these and such like expressions incessantly. And the grand argument she used with God to take her away immediately, was, that "if she lived, she should sin against him."

When she had a little recovered herself, I asked her, if Christ was not now sweet to her soul? Whereupon, turning to me with tears in her eyes, and with all the tokens of deep humility I ever saw in any person, she said, "I have many times heard you speak of the goodness and the sweetness of Christ, that he was better than all the world. But O! I knew nothing what you meant, I never believed you! I never believed you! But now I know it is true!" or words to that effect. - I answered, And do you see enough in Christ for the greatest of sinners? She replied, "O! enough, enough! for all the sinners in the world if they would but come." And when I asked her, if she could not tell them of the goodness of Christ; turning herself about to some poor Christless souls who stood by, and were much affected, she said, "Oh! there is enough in Christ for you, if you would but come! O strive, strive to give up your hearts to him!" &c. And upon hearing something of the glory of heaven mentioned, that there was no sin in that world, &c. she again fell into the same ecstasy of joy, and desire of Christ's coming; repeating her former expressions, "O dear Lord, do let me go! O what shall I do, what shall I do! I want to go to Christ! I cannot live! O do let me die!" &c.

She continued in this sweet frame for more than two hours, before she was well able to get home. - I am very sensible there may be great joys, arising even to an ecstasy, where there is still no substantial evidence of their being well-grounded. But in the present case there seemed to be no evidence wanting, in order to prove this joy to be divine, either in regard of its preparatives, attendants, or consequents.

Of all the persons I have seen under spiritual exercise, I scarce ever saw one appear more bowed and broken under convictions of sin and misery (or what is usually called a preparatory work) than this woman. Nor scarce any who seemed to have a greater acquaintance with her own heart than she had. She would frequently complain to me of the hardness and rebellion of her heart. Would tell me, her heart rose and quarrelled with God, when she thought he would do with her as he pleased, and send her to hell notwithstanding her prayers, good frames, &c. That her heart was not willing to come to Christ for salvation, but tried every where else for help.

And as she seemed to be remarkably sensible of her stubbornness and contrariety to God, under conviction, so she appeared to be no less remarkably bowed and reconciled to divine sovereignty before she obtained any relief or comfort. Something of which I have before noticed in my Journal of Feb. 9. Since which time she has seemed constantly to breathe the spirit and temper of the new creature: crying after Christ, not through fear of hell as before, but with strong desires after him as her only satisfying portion; and has many times wept and sobbed bitterly, because (as she apprehended) she did not and could not love him. - When I have sometimes asked her, Why she appeared so sorrowful, and whether it was because she was afraid of hell? She would answer, "No, I be not distressed about that; but my heart is so wicked I cannot love Christ;" and thereupon burst out into tears. - But although this has been the habitual frame of her mind for several weeks together, so that the exercise of grace appeared evident to others, yet she seemed wholly insensible of it herself, and never had any remarkable comfort and sensible satisfaction till this evening.

This sweet and surprising ecstasy appeared to spring from a true spiritual discovery of the glory, ravishing beauty, and excellency of Christ: and not from any gross imaginary notions of his human nature; such as that of seeing him in such a place or posture, as hanging on the cross, as bleeding, dying, as gently smiling, and the like; which delusions some have been carried away with. Nor did it rise from sordid, selfish apprehensions of her having any benefit whatsoever conferred on her, but from a view of his personal excellency, and transcendent loveliness, which drew forth those vehement desires of enjoying him she now manifested, and made her long "to be absent from the body that she might be present with the Lord."

The attendants of this ravishing comfort, were such as abundantly discovered its spring to be divine, and that it was truly a "joy in the Holy Ghost." - Now she viewed divine truths as living realities; and could say, "I know these things are so, I feel they are true!" - Now her soul was resigned to the divine will in the most tender points; so that when I said to her, What if God should take away your* husband from you, (who was then very sick,) how do you think you could bear that? She replied, "He belongs to God, and not to me; he may do with him just what he pleases." Now she had the most tender sense of the evil of sin, and discovered the utmost aversion to it; longing to die that she might be delivered from it. Now she could freely trust her all with God for time and eternity. And when I questioned her, how she could be willing to die, and leave her little infant; and what she thought would become of it in that case? She answered, "God will take care of it. It belongs to him, he will take care of it." Now she appeared to have the most humbling sense of her own meanness and unworthiness, her weakness and inability to preserve herself from sin, and to persevere in the way of holiness, crying, "If I live, I shall sin." And I then thought I had never seen such an appearance of ecstasy and humility meeting in any one person in all my life before.

The consequents of this joy are no less desirable and satisfactory than its attendants. She since appears to be a most tender, broken-hearted, affectionate, devout, and humble Christian, as exemplary in life and conversation as any person in my congregation. May she still "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ."

Tuesday, March 8

March 8.

Catechised in the evening. My people answered the questions proposed to them well. I can perceive their knowledge in religion increases daily. And what is still more desirable, the divine influence that has been so remarkable among them appears still to continue in some good measure. The divine presence seemed to be in the assembly this evening. Some, who I have good reason to think are Christians indeed, were melted with a sense of the divine goodness, and their own barrenness and ingratitude, and seemed to hate themselves, as one of them afterwards expressed it. Convictions also appeared to be revived in several instances; and divine truths were attended with such influence upon the assembly in general, that it might justly be called "an evening of divine power."

Saturday, March 5

March 5.

Spent some time just at evening in prayer, singing, and discoursing to my people upon divine things; and observed some agreeable tenderness and affection among them. Their present situation is so compact and commodious, that they are easily and quickly called together with only the sound of a conk-shell, (a shell like that of a periwinkle,) so that they have frequent opportunities of attending religious exercises publicly; which seems to be a great means, under God, of keeping alive the impressions of divine things in their minds.

Wednesday, March 2

Lord's day, March 2.

Preached from John xv. 1-6. The assembly appeared not so lively in their attention as usual, nor so much affected with divine truths in general as has been common. Some of my people, who went up to the Forks of Delaware with me, being now returned, were accompanied by two of the Indians belonging to the Forks, who had promised me a speedy visit. May the Lord meet with them there. They can scarce go into a house now, but they will meet with christian conversation, whereby, it is hopeful, they may be both instructed and awakened.

Discoursed to the Indians again in the afternoon, and observed among them some liveliness and engagement in divine service, though not equal to what has often appeared here. - I know of no assembly of Christians, where there seems to be so much of the presence of God, where brotherly love so much prevails, and where I should take so much delight in the public worship of God, in the general, as in my own congregation: although not more than nine months ago, they were worshipping devils and dumb idols under the power of pagan darkness and superstition. Amazing change this! effected by nothing less than divine power and grace! "This is the doing of the Lord, and it is justly marvellous in our eyes!"

Tuesday, March 1

March 1.

Catechised in my ordinary method. Was pleased and refreshed to see them answer the questions proposed to them with such remarkable readiness, discretion, and knowledge. - Toward the close of my discourse, divine truths made considerable impressions upon the audience, and produced tears and sobs in some under concern; and more especially a sweet and humble melting in sundry that, I have reason to hope, were truly gracious.