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.

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