A Page from the Past

Lord’s day, August 25. –Preached in the forenoon from Luke xv. 3-7. There being a multitude of white people present, I made an address to them at the close of my discourse to the Indians; but could not so much as keep the [whites] orderly. Scores of them kept walking and gazing about, and behaved more indecently than any Indians I ever addressed. A view of their abusive conduct so sank my spirits, that I could scarcely go on in my work.

In the afternoon discoursed from Revelation iii.20. The Indians behaved seriously, though many others were vain. Afterwards baptized twenty-five of the Indians, fifteen adults and ten children. Most of the adults I hope are really renewed; and there was not one of them but what I entertained some hopes of in that respect…

After the crowd of spectators was gone, I called the baptized persons together, and discoursed to them in particular, at the same time inviting others to attend. I reminded them of the solemn obligations they were now under to live to God, and warned them of the evil and dreadful consequences of careless living, especially after this public profession of Christianity; gave them directions for their future conduct, and encouraged them for watchfulness and devotion, by setting before them the comfort and happy conclusion of a religious life. This was a delightful season indeed. Their hearts were engaged and cheerful in duty, and they rejoiced that they had in a public and solemn manner dedicated themselves to God. Love seemed to reign among them. They took each other by the hand with tenderness and affection, as if their hearts were knit together, while I was discoursing to them. Their deportment toward each other was such that a serious spectator might justly be excited to cry out with admiration, Behold how they love one another! Several other Indians, seeing and hearing these things, were much affected and wept bitterly, longing to be partakers of that same joy and comfort that these discovered by their very countenances as well as conduct.”

David Brainerd’s account of a day in his ministry in New Jersey during the summer of 1745 in The Journal of David Brainerd (Banner of Truth, 2007), 36-38.