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many that say concerning the religion most generally prevailing among the Separatists, and the affections they manifest, “ It is the same that was all over the land seven years ago. And some that have read Mr. BRAINERD's Journal, giving an account of the extraordinary things that have come to pass among the Indians in New-Jersey, say, “ It is evidently the same thing that appeared in many places amongst the English, which has now proved naught, and come to that which is worse than nothing." . And all the reason they have thus to determine all to be the same work, and the same spirit, is, that the one manifested high affections, and so do the other; the great affections of the one had some influence on their bodies, and so have the other; the one use the terms conviction, conversion, humiliation, coming to Christ, discoveries, erperiences, &c. and so do the otber; the impressions on the one are attend. ed with a great deal of zeal, and so it is with the other; the affections of the one dispose them to speak much about things of religion, and so do the other; the one delight much in religious meetings, and so do the other. The agreement that appears in these, and such like things, make them conclude, that surely all is alike, all is the same work. Whereas, on a closer inspection and critical examination, it would appear, that notwithstanding an agreement in such circumstances, yet indeed there is a vast difference, both in essence and fruits. A considerable part of the religious operations that were six or seven years ago, especially towards the latter part of that extraordinary season, was doubtless of the same sort with the religion of the Separatists; but not all: there were many, whose experiences were, like Mr. BRAINERD's, in a judgment of charity, genuine and incontestable.

Not only do the opposers of all religion consisting in powerful operations and affections, thus confound things; but many of the pretenders to such religion do so. They who bare been the subjects of some sort of vehement, but vain operations on their inind, when they hear the relation of the experiences of some real and eminent Christians, say, that their experiences are of the same sort : and that they are just like the experiences of eminent Christians in former times, of which we have printed accounts. So, I doubt not, but there are many deluded people, if they should read the preceding account of Mr. BRAINERD's life, who, reading without much understanding, or careful observation, would say, without hesitation, that some things which they have met with, are of the very same kind with what he expresses ; when the agreement is only in

some general circumstances, or some particular things that are superficial, and belonging as it were to the profession and outside of religion ; but the inward temper of mind, and the fruits in practice, are as opposite and distant as east and west.

Many honest, good people also, and true Christians, do not very well know how to make a difference. The glistering appearance of false religion dazzles their eyes; and they sometimes are so deluded by it, that they look on some of these impressions, which hypocrites tell of, as the brightest experiences. And though they have experienced no such things themselves, they think, it is because they are vastly lower in attainments, and but babes, in comparison of these flaming Christians. Yea, sometimes from their differing so much from those who make so great a show, they doubt whether they have any grace at all. And it is a hard thing, to bring many well-meaning people to make proper distinctions in this case ; and especially to maintain and stand by them.-Through a certain weakness under which they unhappily labour, they are liable to be overcome with the glare of outward appearances. Thus, if in a sedate hour they are by reasoning brought to allow such and such distinctions, yet the next time they come in the way of the great show of false religion, the dazzling appearance swallows them up, and they are carried away. Thus the devil by his cunning artifices, easily dazzles the feeble sight of men, and puts them beyond a capacity of a proper exercise of consideration, or hearkening to the dictates of calm thought, and cool understanding. When they perceive the great affection, earnest talk, strong voice, assured looks, vast confidence, and bold assertions, of these empty assuming pretenders, they are overborne, lose the possession of their judgment, and say, “Surely these men are in the right, God is with them of a truth ;" and so they are carried away, not witb light and reason, but, like children, as it were with a strong wind.

This confounding of all things together, that have a fair shew, is but acting the part of a child, that going into a shop, where a variety of wares are exposed to sale-all of a shining appearance; vessels of gold and silver; diamonds and other precious stones; toys of little value, which are of some base metal gilt; glass polished and painted with curious colours, or cut like diamonds, &c.-should esteem all alike, and give as great a price for the vile as for the precious. Or it is like the conduct of some unskilful, rash person, who, finding himself deceived by some of the wares. he had bought at that shop

should at once conclude, all be there saw was of no value; and pursuant to such a conclusion, when afterwards he has true gold and diamonds offered him, enough to enrich him and enable him to live like a prince all his days, he should throw it all into the sea.

But we must get into another way. The want of distinguishing in things that appertain to experimental religion, is one of the chief miseries of the professing world. It is attended with very many most dismal consequences : multitudes of souls are fatally deluded about themselves, and their own state; and thus are eternally undone. Hypocrites are confirmed in their delusions, and exceedingly puffed up with pride; many sincere Christians are dreadfully perplexed, darkened, tempted, and drawn aside from the way of duty ; and sometimes sadly tainted with false religion, to the great dishonour of Christianity, and hurt of their own souls. Some of the most dangerous and pernicious enemies of religion in the world (though called bright Christians) are encouraged and honoured; who ought to be discountenanced and shunaed by every body: and prejudices are begotten and confirmed in vast multitudes, against every thing wherein the power and essence of godliness consists; and in the end Deism and Atheism are promoted.

REFLECT. III.

The foregoing account of Mr. BRAINERD's life may afford matter of conviction, that there is indeed such a thing as true experimental religion, arising from immediate divine influences, supernaturally enlightening and convincing the mind, and powerfully impressing, quickening, sanctifying, and governing the heart; which religion is indeed an amiable thing, of happy tendency, and of no hurtful consequence to human society; notwithstanding there having been so many pretences and appearances of what is called experimental, vital religion, that have proved to be nothing but vain, pernicious enthusiasm.

If any insist, that Mr. BRAINERD's religion was enthusiasm, and nothing but a strange heat and blind fervour of mind, arising from strong fancies, &c. I would ask, What were the fruits of his enthusiasm ? In him we behold a great degree of honesty and simplicity, sincere and earnest desires and endeavours to know and do whatever is right, and to avoid every thing that is wrong; a high degree of love to God, delight in the perfections of his nature, placing the happiness of life in

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him; not only in contemplating him, but in being active in pleasing, and serving him; a firm and undoubting belief in the Messiah, as the Saviour of the world, the great Prophet of God, and King of God's church; together with great love to, him, delight and complacence in the way of salvation by him, and longing for the enlargement of bis kingdom; earnest desires that God may be glorified and the Messiah's kingdom advanced, whatever instruments are employed; uncommon resignation to the will of God, and that under vast trials; great and universal benevolence to mankind, reaching all sorts of persons without distinction, manifested in sweetness of speech and behaviour, kind treatment, mercy, liberality, and earnest seeking the good of the souls and bodies of men. And all this we behold attended with extraordinary humility, meekness, forgiveness of injuries, and love to enemies; and a great abhorrence of a contrary spirit and practice; not only as appearing in others, but whereinsoever it had appeared in himself; causing the most bitter repentance, and brokenness of heart on account of any past instances of such a conduct. In him we see a modest, discreet, and decent deportment, among superiors, inferiors, and equals; a most diligent improvement of time, and earnest care to lose no part of it; great watchfulness against all sorts of sin, of heart, speech, and action. And this example and these endeavours we see attended with most happy fruits, and blessed effects on others, in humanizing, civilizing, and wonderfully reforming and transforming some of the most brutish savages; idle, immoral, drunkards, murderers, gross idolators, and wizards; bringing them to permanent sobriety, diligence, devotion, honesty, conscientiousness, and charity. And the foregoing amiable virtues and successful Jabours, all end at last in a marvellous peace, unmoveable stability, calmness, and resignation, in the sensible approaches of death ; with longing for the heavenly state; not only for the honours and circumstantial advantages of it, but above all for the moral perfection, and holy and blessed employments of it. And these things are seen in a person indisputably of good understanding and judgment. I therefore say, if all these things are the fruits of enthusiasm, why should not enthusiasın be thought a desirable and excellent thing? For what can true religion, what can the best philosophy do more? If vapours and whimsy will bring men to the most thorough virtue, to the most benign and fruitful morality; and will maintain it through a course of life attended with many trials, without affectation VOL. III.

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or self-exaltation, and with an earnest, constant testimony against the wildness, the extravagances, the bitter zeal, assuming behaviour, and separating spirit of enthusiasts; and will do all this more effectually, than any thing else has ever done in any plain known instance that can be produced; what cause then has the world to prize and pray for this blessed whimsical. ness, and these benign vapours?

It would perhaps be a prejudice with some against the whole of Mr. Brainerd's religion, if it had begun in the time of the late religious commotion; being ready to conclude, however unreasonable, that nothing good could take its rise from those times. But it was not so; his conversion was before those times, in a time of general deadness; and therefore at a season when it was impossible, that he should receive a taint from any corrupt notions, examples, or customs, that had birth in those times.

And whereas there are many who are not professed opposers of what is called experimental religion, who yet doubt of the reality of it, from the bad lives of some professors; and are ready to determine that there is nothing in all the talk about being born again, being emptied of self, brought to a saving close with Christ, &c. because many that pretend to these things, and are thought by others to have been the subjects of them, manifest no abiding alteration in their moral disposition and behaviour; are as careless, carnal, covetous, &c. as ever; yea, some much worse than ever: it is to be acknows ledged and lamented, that this is the case with some; but by the preceding account they may be sensible, that it is not so with all. There are some indisputable instances of such a change, as the scripture speaks of; an abiding great change, a “ renovation of the spirit of the mind,” and a walking in newness of life.” In the foregoing instance particularly, they may see the abiding influence of such a work of conversion, as they have heard of from the word of God; the fruits of such experiences through a course of years ; under a great variety of circumstances, many changes of state, place, and company; and may see the blessed issue and event of it in life and death.

REFLECT. IV.

The preceding history serves to confirm those doctrines usually called the doctrines of grace. For if it be allowed that there is truth, substance, or value in the main of Mr. BRAINERD'S

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