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These questions were all answered with surprising readiness, and without once missing, as I remember. And in answering several of them which respected deliverance from sin, they were much affected, and melted with the hopes of that happy state.
Questions upon the benefits believers receive from Christ at the
2. You see I have already shewn you what good things Christ gives bis good people while they live, and when they come to die: now, will he raise their bodies, and the bodies of others, to life again at the last day?
A. Yes, they shall all be raised.
2. Will their bodies then be weak, will they feel cold, hunger, thirst, and weariness, as they now do?
A. No, none of these things.
2. Will their bodies ever die any more after they are raised to life?
A. No. 2. Will their souls and bodies be joined together again? A. Yes.
2. Will God's people be more happy then, than they were while their bodies were asleep?
A. Yes. 2. Will Christ then own these to be his people before all the world?
A. Yes. 2. But God's people find so much sin in themselves, that they are often ashamed of themselves, and will not Christ be ashamed to own such for his friends at that day?
A. No, he never will be ashamed of them.
2. Will Christ then show all the world, that he has put away these people's sins *, and that he looks upon them as if they had never sinned at all?
A. Yes. 2. Will he look upon them as if they had never sinned, for the sake of any good things they have done themselves, or for the sake of his righteousness accounted to them as if it was theirs ?
A. For the sake of his righteousness counted to them, net for their own goodness.
* The only way I have to express their being openly-acquitted. In like manner, when I speak of justification, I have no other way but to call it God's looking upon us as good creatures.
2. Will God's children then be as happy as they can desire to be?
A. Yes. 2. The children of God while in this world, can but now and then draw near to him, and they are ready to think they can never have enough of God and Christ, but will they have enough there, as much as they can desire ?
A. O yes, enough, enough.
2. Will the children of God love him then as much as they desire, will they find nothing to hinder their love from going to him?
A. Nothing at all, they shall love him as much as they desire.
2. Will they never be weary of God and Christ, and the pleasures of heaven, so as we are weary of our friends and enjoyments here, after we have been pleased with them a while?
A. No, never.
2. Could God's people be happy if they knew God loved them, and yet felt at the same time that they could not love and honour him?
A. No, no. 2. Will this then make God's people perfectly happy, to love God above all, to honour him continually, and to feel his love to them?
These questions, like the former, were answered without hesitation or missing, as I remember, in any one instance.
Questions upon the duty which God requires of men.
2. Has God let us know any thing of his will, or what he would have us to do to please him?
A. Yes. 2. And does he require us to do his will, and to please him?
A. Yes. 2. Is it right that God should require this of us, has he any business to command us as a father does his children?.
2. Why is it right that God should command us to do what he pleases?
A. Because he made us, and gives us all our good things.
2. Does God require us to do any thing that will hurt us, and take away our comfort and happiness?
A. No. 2. But God requires sinners to repent and be sorry for their sins, and to have their hearts broken; now, does not this hurt them, and take away their comfort, to be made sorry, and to have their hearts broken?
A. No, it does them good.
2. Did God teach man bis will at first by writing it down in a book, or did he put it into his heart, and teach him without a book what was right?
A. He put it into his heart, and made him know what he should do.
2. Has God since that time writ down his will in a book? A. Yes.
2. Has God written bis whole will in his book; has be there told us all that he would have us believe and do?
2. What need was there of this book, if God at first put his will into the heart of man, and made him feel what he should do?
A. There was need of it, because we have sinned, and made our hearts blind.
2. And has God writ down the same things in his book, that he at first put into the heart of man? A. Yes.
In this manner I endeavour to adapt my instructions to the capacities of my people; although they may perhaps seem strange to others who have nerer experienced the difficulty of the work. And these I have given an account of, are the methods I am from tiine to time pursuing, in order to instruct them in the principles of Christianity. And I think I may say, it is my great concern that these instructions be given them in such a manner, that they may not only be doctrinally taught, but duly affected thereby, that divine truths may come to them, “ not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost" and be received not as the word of man.”
Difficulties allending the Christianizing of the Indians-First
Difficulty, the rooted aversion to Christianity that gencrally prevails among them.
I shall now attempt something with relation to the last particular required by the Honourable Society in their letter, viz. To give some account of the “difficulties I have already met with in my work, and the methods I make use of för surmounting the same.” And, in the first instance, first, I have
met with great difficulty in my work among these Indians, “ from the rooted aversion to Christianity that generally prevails among them.” They are not only brutishly stupid and ignorant of divine things, but many of them are obstinately set against Christianity, and seem to abbor even the Christian name.
This aversion to Christianity arises partly from a view of the “ immorality and vicious behaviour of many who are called Christians.” They observe that horrid wickedness in nominal Christians, which the light of nature condemns in themselves: and not having distinguishing views of things, are ready to look upon all the white people alike, and to condemn then alike, for the abominable practices of some. Hence when I have attempted to treat with them about Christianity, they hare frequently objected the scandalous practices of Christians. They have observed to me, that the white people lie, defraud, steal, and drink worse than the Indians ; that they have taught the Indians these things, especially the latter of them; who before the coming of the English, knew of no such thing as strong drink: that the English have, by these means, made them quarrel and kill one another; and, in a word, brought them to the practice of all those vices that now prevail among them. So that they are now vastly more vicious, as well as much more miserable, than they were before the coming of the white people into the country. These, and such like objections, they frequently make against Christianity, which are not easily answered to their satisfaction; many of thein being facts too notoriously true.
The only way I have to take in order to surmount this difficulty, is to distinguish between nominal and real Christians; and to shew then, that the ill conduct of many of the former proceeds not from their being Christians, but from their being Christians only in name, not in heart, &c. To which it has sometimes been objected, that if all those who will cheat the Indians are Christians only in name, there are but few left in the country to be Christians in heart. This, and many other of the remarks they pass upon the wbite people, and their miscarriages, I am forced to own, and cannot but grant, that many nominal Christians are more abominably wicked than the Indians. But then I attempt to show them, that there are some who feel the power of Christianity, and that these are not so. I ask them, when they ever saw me guilty of the vices they complain of, and charge Christians in general with? VOL. III.
But still the great difficulty is, that the people who live back in the country nearest to them, and the traders that go among them, are generally of the most irreligious and vicious sort; and the conduct of one or two persons, be it never so exemplary, is not sufficient to counterbalance the vicious behaviour of so many of the same denomination, and so to recommend Christianity to Pagans.
Another thing that serves to make them more averse to Christianity, is a “fear of being enslaved." They are, perbaps, some of the most jealous people living, and extremely averse to a state of servitude, and hence are always afraid of some design forming against them. Besides, they seem to bare no sentiments of generosity, benevolence, and goodness; that if any thing be proposed to them, as being for their good, they are ready rather to suspect, that there is at bottom some design forming against them, than that such proposals flow from goodwill to them, and a desire of their welfare. And hence, when I have attempted to recommend Christianity to their acceptance, they have sometimes objected, that the white people have come among them, have cheated them out of their lands, driven them back to the mountains, from the pleasant places they used to enjoy by the sea-side, &c. ; that therefore they have no reason to think the white people are now seeking their welfare; but rather that they have sent me out to draw them together, under a pretence of kindness to them, that they may have an opportunity to make slaves of them, as they do of the poor negroes, or else to ship them on board their vessels, and make them fight with their enemies, &c. Thus they have oftentimes construed all the kindness I could shew them, and the hardships I have endured in order to treat with them about Christianity. “He never would (say they) take all this pains to do us good, he must bave some wicked design to burt us some way or other." And to give them assurance of the contrary, is not an easy matter, wbile there are so many, who (agreeable to tbeir apprehension) are only “ seeking their own," not the good of others.
To remove this difficulty I inform them, that I ain not sent out among them by those persons in these provinces, who they suppose, have cheated them out of their lands; but by pious people at a great distance, who never had an inch of their lands, nor ever thought of doing them any hurt, &c.
But here will arise so many frivolous and impertinent questions, that it would tire one's patience, and wear out one's spirits to hear them; such as, “ But why did not these good