Thursday, September 29
Yesterday, and to-day, was in the same weak state, or rather weaker than in days past; was scarce able to sit up half the day. Was in a composed frame of mind, remarkably free from dejection and melancholy damps; as God has been pleased, in a great measure, to deliver me from these unhappy glooms, in the general course of my present weakness hitherto, and also from a peevish, forward spirit. And oh how great a mercy is this! Oh that I might always be perfectly quiet in seasons of greatest weakness, although nature should sink and fail! Oh that I may always be able with utmost sincerity to say ‘Lord, not my will, but thine be done!’ This, through grace, I can say at present, with regard to life or death, ‘The Lord do with me as seems good in his sight;’ that whether I live or die, I may glorify him, who is ‘worthy to receive blessing, and honour, and dominion for ever. Amen.’
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:13 PM
Wednesday, September 28
Rode to my people; and, though under much weakness, attempted to preach from 2 Cor. xiii. 5. ‘Examine yourselves,’ &c. Discoursed about half an hour; at which season divine power seemed to attend the word: but being extremely weak, I was obliged to desist: and after a turn of faintness, with much difficulty rode to my lodgings; where betaking myself to my bed, I lay in a burning fever, and almost delirious, for several hours; till towards morning my fever went off with a violent sweat. I have often been feverish, and unable to rest quietly after preaching; but this was the most severe, distressing turn that ever preaching brought upon me. Yet I felt perfectly at rest in my own mind, because I had made my utmost attempts to speak for God, and knew I could do no more.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:56 AM
Spent this day, as well as the whole week past, under a great degree of bodily weakness, exercised with a violent cough, and a considerable fever. I had no appetite to any kind of food; and frequently brought up what I ate, as soon as it was down; and oftentimes had little rest in my bed by reason of pains in my breast and back. I was able, however, to ride over to my people about two miles every day, and take some care of those who were then at work upon a small house for me to reside in amongst the Indians.† I was sometimes scarce able to walk, and never able to sit up the whole day, through the week. Was calm and composed, and but little exercised with melancholy damps, as in former seasons of weakness. Whether I should ever recover or no, seemed very doubtful; but this was many times a comfort to me, that life and death did not depend upon my choice. I was pleased to think, that he who is infinitely wise, had the determination of this matter; and that I had no trouble to consider and weigh things upon all sides, in order to make the choice, whether I should live or die. Thus my time was consumed; I had little strength to pray, none to write or read, and scarce any to meditate: but through divine goodness, I could with great composure look death in the face, and frequently with sensible joy. Oh, how blessed it is, to be habitually prepared for death! The Lord grant that I may be actually ready also!
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, September 21
I was so weak I could not preach, nor pretend to ride over to my people in the forenoon. In the afternoon rode out; sat in my chair, and discoursed to my people from Rom. xiv. 7, 8. ‘For none of us liveth to himself,’ &c. I was strengthened and helped in my discourse; and there appeared something agreeable in the assembly. I returned to my lodgings extremely tired; but thankful that I had been enabled to speak a word to my poor people I had been so long absent from. Was able to sleep very little this night, through weariness and pain. Oh, how blessed should I be, if the little I do were all done with right views! Oh that, ‘whether I live, I might live to the Lord,’ &c.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:13 AM
Tuesday, September 20
Arrived among my own people, just at night: found them praying together; went in, and gave them some account of God’s dealings with me and my companions in the journey; which seemed affecting to them. I then prayed with them, and thought the divine presence was amongst us; divers were melted into tears, and seemed to have a sense of divine things. Being very weak, I was obliged soon to repair to my lodgings, and felt much worn out in the evening. Thus God has carried me through the fatigues and perils of another journey to Susquehannah, and returned me again in safety, though under a great degree of bodily indisposition. Oh that my soul were truly thankful for renewed instances of mercy! Many hardships and distresses I endured in this journey; but the Lord supported me under them all.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:25 AM
Sunday, September 18
Friday, September 16
Spent the whole day in concert with Mr. Treat, in endeavours to compose a difference, subsisting between certain persons in the congregation where we now were; and there seemed to be a blessing on our endeavours. In the evening baptized a child: was in a calm, composed frame, and enjoyed, I trust, a spiritual sense of divine things, while administering the ordinance. Afterwards spent the time in religious conversation, till late in the night. This was indeed a pleasant, agreeable evening.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 8:13 AM
At the desire of Mr. Treat and the people, I preached both parts of the day (but short) from Luke xiv. 23. ‘And the Lord said unto the servant, go out,’ &c. God gave me some freedom and warmth in my discourse; and, I trust, helped me in some measure to labour in singleness of heart. Was much tired in the evening, but was comforted with the most tender treatment I ever met with in my life. My mind through the whole of this day was exceeding calm; and I could ask for nothing in prayer, with any encouragement of soul, but that ‘the will of God might be done.’
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 8:12 AM
Monday, September 12
Rode about fifty miles; and came just at night to a christian friend’s house, about twenty-five miles westward from Philadelphia. Was courteously received, and kindly entertained, and found myself much refreshed in the midst of my weakness and fatigues.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 10:42 PM
Sunday, September 11
Rode homeward; but was very weak, and sometimes scarce able to ride. Had a very importunate invitation to preach at a meeting-house I came by, the people being then gathering; but could not, by reason of weakness. Was resigned and composed under my weakness; but was much exercised with concern for my companions in travel, whom I had left with much regret, some lame, and some sick.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 3:32 PM
Rode down the river near thirty miles. Was extremely weak, much fatigued, and wet with a thunder-storm. Discoursed with some warmth and closeness to some poor ignorant souls, on the life and power of religion; what were, and what were not, the evidences of it. They seemed much astonished when they saw my Indians ask a blessing and give thanks at dinner; concluding that a very high evidence of grace in them: but were astonished when I insisted that neither that, nor yet secret prayer, was sure evidence of grace. Oh the ignorance of the world! How are some empty outward forms, that may all be entirely selfish, mistaken for true religion, infallible evidences of it! The Lord pity a deluded world!
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 3:30 PM
Spent the forenoon among the Indians; in the afternoon left Shaumoking, and returned down the river a few miles. Had proposed to have tarried a considerable time longer among the Indians upon Susquehannah; but was hindered from pursuing my purpose by the sickness that prevailed there, the weakly circumstances of my own people that were with me, and especially my own extraordinary weakness, having been exercised with great nocturnal sweats, and a coughing up of blood, in almost the whole of the journey. I was a great part of the time so feeble and faint, that it seemed as though I never should be able to reach home; and at the same time very destitute of the comforts, and even necessaries, of life; at least, what was necessary for one in so weak a state. In this journey I sometimes was enabled to speak the word of God with some power, and divine truths made some impressions on divers that heard me; so that several, both men and women, old and young, seemed to cleave to us, and be well disposed towards Christianity; but others mocked and shouted, which damped those who before seemed friendly, at least some of them. Yet God, at times, was evidently present, assisting me, my interpreter, and other dear friends who were with me. God gave, sometimes, a good degree of freedom in prayer for the ingathering of souls there; and I could not but entertain a strong hope, that the journey should not be wholly fruitless. Whether the issue of it would be the setting up of Christ’s kingdom there, or only the drawing of some few persons down to my congregation in New Jersey; or whether they were now only being prepared for some further attempts, that might be made among them, I did not determine: but I was persuaded the journey would not be lost. Blessed be God, that I had any encouragement and hope.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 3:29 PM
Was much in the same weak state of body, and afflicted frame of mind, as in the preceding day: my soul was grieved, and mourned that I could do nothing for God. Read and expounded some part of God’s word to my own dear family, and spent some time in prayer with them; discoursed also a little to the pagans: but spent the sabbath with a little comfort.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 3:28 PM
Spent the day in a very weak state; coughing and spitting blood, and having little appetite to any food I had with me: was able to do very little, except discourse a while of divine things to my own people, and to some few I met with. Had, by this time, very little life or heart to speak for God, through feebleness of body, and flatness of spirits. Was scarcely ever more ashamed and confounded in myself, than now. I was sensible, that there were numbers of God’s people, who knew I was then out upon a design (or at least the pretence) of doing something for God, and in his cause, among the poor Indians; and they were ready to suppose, that I was fervent in spirit: but oh, the heartless frame of mind that I felt filled me with confusion! Oh (methought) if God’s people knew me, as God knows, they would not think so highly of my zeal and resolution for God, as perhaps now they do! I could not but desire they should see how heartless and irresolute I was, that they might be undeceived, and ‘not think of me above what they ought to think.’ And yet I thought, if they saw the utmost of my flatness and unfaithfulness, the smallness of my courage and resolution for God, they would be ready to shut me out of their doors, as unworthy of the company or friendship of Christians.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 3:26 PM
Wednesday, September 7
Was exceeding weak, so that I could scarcely ride; it seemed sometimes as if I must fall off from my horse, and lie in the open woods: however, got to Shaumoking towards night: felt something of a spirit of thankfulness, that God had so far returned me: was refreshed to see one of my Christians, whom I left here in my late excursion.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 6:04 PM
Discoursed with the Indians, in the morning, about Christianity; my interpreter, afterwards, carrying on the discourse to a considerable length. Some few appeared well-disposed, and somewhat affected. Left this place, and returned towards Shaumoking; and at night lodged in the place where I lodged the Monday night before: was in very uncomfortable circumstances in the evening, my people being belated, and not coming to me till past ten at night; so that I had no fire to dress any victuals, or to keep me warm, or keep off wild beasts; and I was scarce ever more weak and worn out in all my life. However, I lay down and slept before my people came up, expecting nothing else but to spend the whole night alone, and without fire.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 6:02 PM
Rode to the Delaware-town; found divers drinking and drunken. Discoursed with some of the Indians about Christianity; observed my interpreter much engaged and assisted in his work; some few persons seemed to hear with great earnestness and engagement of soul. About noon rode to a small town of Shauwaunoes, about eight miles distant; spent an hour or two there, and returned to the Delaware-town, and lodged there. Was scarce ever more confounded with a sense of my own unfruitfulness and unfitness for my work, than now. Oh, what a dead, heartless, barren, unprofitable wretch did I now see myself to be! My spirits were so low, and my bodily strength so wasted, that I could do nothing at all. At length, being much overdone, lay down on a buffalo-skin; but sweat much the whole night.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 6:01 PM
Rode forward; but no faster than my people went on foot. Was very weak, on this as well as the preceding days. I was so feeble and faint, that I feared it would kill me to lie out in the open air; and some of our company being parted from us, so that we had now no axe with us, I had no way but to climb into a young pine-tree, and with my knife to lop the branches, and so made a shelter from the dew. But the evening being cloudy, and very likely for rain, I was still under fears of being extremely exposed: sweat much in the night, so that my linen was almost wringing wet all night. I scarce ever was more weak and weary than this evening, when I was able to sit up at all. This was a melancholy situation I was in; but I endeavoured to quiet myself with considerations of the possibility of my being in much worse circumstances, amongst enemies, &c.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 6:00 PM
Monday, September 5
Set out on a journey towards a place called the great island, about fifty miles distant from Shaumoking, in the north-western branch of Susquehannah. Travelled some part of the way, and at night lodged in the woods. Was exceeding feeble this day, and sweat much the night following.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 10:15 AM
Spent much time in the morning in secret duties: found a weight upon my spirits, and could not but cry to God with concern and engagement of soul. Spent some time also in reading and expounding God’s word to my dear family, that was with me, as well as in singing and prayer with them. Afterwards, spake the word of God to some few of the Susquehannah Indians. In the afternoon felt very weak and feeble. Near night was something refreshed in mind, with some views of things relating to my great work. Oh, how heavy is my work, when faith cannot take hold of an almighty arm, for the performance of it! Many times have I been ready to sink in this case. Blessed be God, that I may repair to a full fountain.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 10:14 AM
Saturday, September 3
Felt the same concern of mind as the day before. Enjoyed some freedom in prayer, and a satisfaction to leave all with God. Travelled to the Delawares, found few at home: felt poorly, but was able to spend some time alone in reading God’s word and in prayer, and enjoyed some sweetness in these exercises. In the evening was assisted repeatedly in prayer, and found some comfort in coming to the throne of grace.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:47 AM
In the forenoon I was under great concern of mind about my work. Was visited by some who desired to hear me preach; discoursed to them, in the afternoon, with some fervency, and laboured to persuade them to turn to God. Was full of concern for the kingdom of Christ, and found some enlargement of soul in prayer, both in secret and in my family. Scarce ever saw more clearly, than this day, that it is God’s work to convert souls, and especially poor heathens. I knew I could not touch them; I saw I could only speak to dry bones, but could give them no sense of what I said. My eyes were up to God for help: I could say, the work was his; and if done, the glory would be his.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:46 AM
There having been a thick smoke in the house where I lodged all night before, whereby I was almost choked, I was this morning distressed with pains in my head and neck, and could have no rest. In the morning the smoke was still the same; and a cold easterly storm gathering, I could neither live within doors nor without any long time together. I was pierced with the rawness of the air abroad, and in the house distressed with the smoke. I was this day very vapoury, and lived in great distress, and had not health enough to do any thing to any purpose.
Posted by Rebecca Stark at 9:45 AM