Imatges de pÓgina

feeling in his breast, that he, as some others, called the feel. ing of the love of Christ in him, and being full of the Spirit. How exceeding far were his experiences, at his first conversion, from things of such a nature !

And if we look through the whole series of his experiences, from his conversion to his death, we shall find none of this kind.

Mr. Brainerd's religion was not selfish and mercenary : His love to God was primarily and principally for the supreme excellency of his own nature, and not built on a preconceived notion that God loved him, had received him into favor, and had done great things for him, or promised great things to him : So his joy was joy in God, and not in himself. We see by his Diary how, from time to time, through the course of his life, his soul was filled with ineffable sweetness and comfort. But what was the spring of this strong and abiding consolation ? Not so much the consideration of the sure grounds he had to think that his state was good, that God had delivered him from hell, and that heaven was his ; or any thoughts concerning his own distinguished happy and exalted circumstances, as a high favorite of heaven : But the sweet meditations and entertaining views he had of divine things without himself; the affecting considerations and lively ideas of God's infinite glory, his unchangeable blessedness, his sovereignty and universal dominion ; together with the sweet exercises of love to God, giving himself up to him, abasing himself before him, denying himself for him, depending upon him, acting for his glory, diligently serving him ; and the pleasing prospects or hopes he had of a future advancement of the kingdom of Christ, &c.

It appears plainly and abundantly all along, from his conversion to his death, that that beauty, that sort of good, which was the great object of the new sense of his mind, the new relish and appetite given him in conversion, and thencefor. ward maintained and increased in his heart, was holiness, con• formity to God, living to God, and glorifying him. This was what drew his heart ; this was the center of his soul ; this was the ocean to which all the streams of his religious affec. tions tended ; this was the object that engaged his cayer thirsting desires and earnest pursuits : He knew no true excellency or happiness but this: This was what he longed for most vehemently and constantly on earth ; and this was with him the beauty and blessedness of heaven ; which made him so much and so often to long for that world of glory ; it was to be perfectly holy, and perfectly exercised in the holy employments of heaven ; thus to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

His religious illuminations, affections and comfort, seemed to a great degree, to be attended with evangelical humiliation ; consisting in a sense of his own utter insufficiency, despicableness and odiousness; with an answerable disposition and frame of heart. How deeply affected was he almost continually with his great defects in religion ; with his vast distance from that spirituality and holy frame of mind that became him; with his ignorance, pride, deadness, unsteadiness, barrenness! He was not only affected with the remembrance of his former sinfulness, before his conversion, but with the sense of his present vileness and pollution. He was not only disposed to think mcanly of himself as before God, and in comparison of him ; but amongst men, and as compared with them : He was apt to think other saints better than he ; yea, to look on himself as the meanest and least of saints ; yea, very often, as the vilest and worst of mankind. And notwithstanding his great attainments in spiritual knowledge, yet we find there is scarce any thing that he is more frequently af. fected and abased with a sense of, than his ignorance.

How eminently did he appear to be of a meek and quiet spirit, resembling the lamblike, dovelike spirit of Jesus Christ! How full of love, meekness, quietness, forgiveness and mercy! His love was not merely a fondness and zeal for a party, but an universal benevolence ; very often exercised in the most sensible and ardent love to his greatest opposers and enemies. His love and meekness were not a mere pretence, and outward profession and shew; but they were effectual things, manifested in expensive and painful deeds of love and kindness; and in a meek behavior; readily confessing faults


under the greatest trials, and humbling himself even at the feet of those from whom he supposed he had suffered most; and from time to time, very frequently praying for his enemies, abhorring the thoughts of biiterness or resentment towards them. I scarcely know where to look for any parallel instance of selfdenial, in these respects, in the present age. He was a person of great zeal; but how did he abhor a bitter zeal, and lament it where he saw it! And though he was once drawn into some degrees of it, by the force of prevailing example, as it were in his childhood; yet how did he go abont with his heart bruised and broken in pieces for it all his life after!

Of how soft and tender a spirit was he ! How far were his experiences, hopes, and joys from a tendency finally to stupify an arden him, to lessen convictions and tenderness of conscience, 10 cause him to be less affected with present and past sins, and less conscientious with respect to future sins, more casy in the neglect of duties that are troublesome and inconvenient, more slow and partial in complying with difficult commands, less apt to be alarmed at the appearance of his own defects and transgressions, more easily induced to a compliance with carnal appetites ! On the contrary, how tender was his conscience! How apt was his heart lo smite him! How easily and greatly was he alarmed at the appearance of moral evil! How great and constant was his jealousy over his own heart! How strict his care and watchfulness against sin! How deep and sensible were the wounds that sin made in his conscience! Those erils that are generally accounted small, were almost an insupportable burden to him ; such as his inward deficiencies, his having no more love to God, finding within himself any slackness or dulness in religion, any upsteadiness, or wanciering frame of mind, &c. How did the consideration of such things as these oppress' and abase him, and fill him with inward slame and confusion ! His love, and liope, though they were such as cast out a servile fear of hell, yet they were such as were attended with, and abundantly cherished and promoted a reverential filial fear of God, a dread af sin, and of God's holy displeasure. His joy seemed truly

to be a rejoicing with trembling. His assurance and comfort differed greatly from a false enthusiastic confidence and joy, in that it promoted and maintained mourning for sin. Holy mourning, with him, was not only the work of an hour or a day, at his first conversion ; but sorrow for sin was like a wound constantly running : He was a mourner for sin all his days. He did not, after he received comfort and full satisfaction of the forgiveness of all his sins, and the safety of his state, forget his past sins, the sins of his youth, that were committed before his conversion ; but the remembrance of them, from time to time, revived in his heart, with renewed grief..... That in Ezek. xvi. 63, was evidentiy fulfilled in him, That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shume ; when I am pacified torrard thee for all thet thou hast done. And how lastingly did the sins that he committed after his conversion, affect and break his heart! If he did any thing whereby he thought he had in any respect dishonored God, and wounded the interest of religion, he had never done with cailing it to mind with sorrow and bitterness; though he was assured that God had forgiven it, yet he never forgave himself: His past sorrows and fears made no satisfaction with him ; but still the wound renews and bloeds afresh, again and again. And his present sins, that he daily found in himself, were an occasion of daily, sensible and deep sorrow of heart.

His religious affections and joys were not like those of some, who have rapture and mighty emotions from time to time in company; but have very little affection in retirement and secret places. Though he was of a very sociable temper, and loved the company of saints, and delizhicd very much in religious conversation and in sccial worship ; yet his warmest affections, and their greatest effects on animal nature, and his sweetest joys, were in his closet devotions, and solitary transactions between God and his own soul; as is very

observable through his whole course, from his conversion to his death. He. delighted greatly in sacred retirements; and loved to get quite away from all the world, to converse with God alone, in secret duties.

Mr. Brainerd's experiences and comforts were very far from being like those of some persons, which are attended with a spiritual satiety, and put an end to their religious desires and longings, at least to the edge and ardency of them; resting satisfied in their own attainments and comforts, as having obtained their chief end, which is to extinguish their fears of hell, and give them confidence of the favor of God..... How far were his religious affections, refreshments, and satisfactions, from such an operation and influence as this ! On the contrary, how were they always attended with longings and thirstings after greater degrees of conformity to God! and the greater and sweeter his comforts were, the more vebe. ment were his desires after holiness. For it is to be observed, that his longings were not so much after joyful discoveries of God's love, and clear views of his title to future advancement and eternal honors in heaven ; as after more of present holiness, greater spirituality, an heart more engaged for God, to love and exalt and depend on him, an ability better to serve him, to do more for his glory, and to do all that he did with more of a regard to Christ as his righteousness and strength; and after the enlargement and advancement of Christ's kingdom in the earth. And his desires were not idle wishings and wouldings, but such as were powerful and effectual, to animate him to the earnest, eager pursuit of these things, with utmost diligence, and unfainting labor and selfdenial. His comforts never put an end to his seeking after God, and striving to obtain his grace; but on the contrary, greatly engaged and enlarged him therein.

His religion did not consist only in experience, without practice. All his inward illuminations, affections and com. forts seemed to have a direct tendency to practise, and to issue in it; and this, not merely a practice negatively good, free from gross acts of irreligion and immorality : But a practice positively holy and Christian, in a serious, devout, humble, meek, merciful, charitable, and beneficent conversation ; making the service of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the great business of life, which he was devoted to, and pursued with the greatest earnestness and diligence to the end of his

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