Imágenes de páginas

to counsel the other children. Once about the latter end of September, the last year, when she and some others of the children were in the room by themselves, husking Indian corn, the child, after a while, came out and sat by the fire. Her mother took notice that she appeared with a more than ordinarily serious and pensive countenance, but at last she broke silence, and said, "I have been talking to Nabby and Eunice." Her mother asked her what she had said to them. "Why," said she, "I told them that they must pray, and prepare to die, that they had but a little while to live in this world, and they must be always ready." When Nabby came out, her mother asked her whether she had said that to them. "Yes," said she, "she said that, and a great deal more." At other times, the child took her opportunities to talk to the other children about the great concern of their souls, sometimes, so as much to affect them, and set them into tears. She was once exceedingly importunate with her mother to go with her sister Naomi, to pray. Her mother endeavored to put her off; but she pulled her by the sleeve, and seemed as if she would by no means be denied. At last her mother told her that Amy must go and pray herself; "but," says the child, "she will not go;" and persisted earnestly to beg of her mother to go with her.

She has discovered an uncommon degree of a spirit of charity; particularly on the following occasion: A poor man that lives in the woods, had lately lost a cow, that the family much depended on, and being at the house, he was relating his misfortune, and telling of the straits and difficulties they were reduced to by it. She took much notice of it, and it wrought exceedingly on her compassion: and after she had attentively heard him a while, she went away to her father, who was in the shop, and entreated him to give that man a cow; and told him that the poor man had no cow; that the hunters or something else had killed his cow; and entreated him to give him one of theirs. Her father told her that they could not spare one. Then she entreated him to let him and

his family come and live at his house, and had much more talk of the same nature, whereby she manifested bowels of compassion to the poor.

She has manifested great love to her minister; particularly when I returned from my long journey for my health, the last fall. When she heard of it she appeared very joyful at the news, and told the children of it, with an elevated voice, as the most joyful tidings: repeating it over and over, “Mr. Edwards is come home! Mr. Edwards is come home!" She still continues very constant in secret prayer, so far as can be observed, (for she seems to have no desire that others should observe her when she retires, but seems to be a child of a reserved temper), and every night before she goes to bed, will say her catechism, and will by no means miss of it: she never forgot it but once, and then after she was in bed, thought of it, and cried out in tears, "I have not said my catechism !" and would not be quieted, till her mother asked her the catechism as she lay in bed. She sometimes appears to be in doubt about the condition of her soul, and when asked whether she thinks that she is prepared for death, speaks something doubtfully about it: at other times seems to have no doubt, but when asked, replies yes, without hesitation.


Defects and decline of the work.

In the former part of this great work of God among us, till it got to its height, we seemed to be wonderfully smiled upon, and blest in all respects. Satan (as has been already observed) seemed to be unusually restrained. Persons that before had been involved in melancholy, seemed to be as it were waked up out of it; and those that had been entangled with extraordinary temptations, seemed wonderfully to be set

at liberty; and not only so, but it was the most remarkable time of health that ever I knew since I have been in the town. We ordinarily have several bills put up every sabbath, for persons that are sick; but now we had not so much as one for many sabbaths together. But after this it seemed to be otherwise: when this work of God appeared to be at its greatest height, a poor weak man that belongs to the town, being in great spiritual trouble, was hurried with violent temptations to cut his own throat, and made an attempt, but did not do it effectually. He after this continued a considerable time exceedingly overwhelmed with melancholy; but has now of a long time been very greatly delivered by the light of God's countenance lifted up upon him, and has expressed a great sense of his sin in so far yielding to temptation; and there are in him all hopeful evidences of his having been made a subject of saving mercy.

In the latter part of May it began to be very sensible that the Spirit of God was gradually withdrawing from us, and after this time Satan seemed to be more let loose, and raged in a dreadful manner. The first instance wherein it ap peared, was a person's putting an end to his own life, by cutting his throat. He was a gentleman of more than common understanding, of strict morals, religious in his behavior, and a useful, honorable person in the town; but was of a family that are much prone to the disease of melancholy, and his mother was killed with it. He had, from the beginning of this extraordinary time, been exceedingly concerned about the state of his soul, and there were some things in his experience that appeared very hopefully; but he durst. entertain no hope concerning his own good state. Towards the latter part of his time he grew much discou raged, and melancholy grew amain upon him, till he was wholly overpowered by it, and was in great measure past a capacity of receiving advice, or being reasoned with to any purpose the devil took the advantage, and drove him into despairing thoughts. He was kept awake nights, medi

tating terror; so that he had scarce any sleep at all, for a long time together. And it was observed at last, that he was scarcely well capable of managing his ordinary business, and was judged delirious by the coroner's inquest. The news of this extraordinarily affected the minds of the people here, and struck them as it were with astonishment. After this, multitudes in this and other towns seemed to have it strongly suggested to them, and pressed upon them, to do as this person had done. And many that seemed to be under no melancholy, some pious persons, that had no special darkness, or doubts about the goodness of their state, nor were under any special trouble or concern of mind about any thing spiritual or temporal, yet had it urged upon them, as if somebody had spoken to them, Cut your own throat, now is a good opportunity. Now, now! So that they were obliged to fight with all their might to resist it, and yet no reason suggested to them why they should do it.

About the same time there were two remarkable instances of persons led away with strange, enthusiastic delusionsone at Suffield, another at South Hadley. That which has made the greatest noise in the country was of the man at South Hadley, whose delusion was, that he thought himself divinely instructed to direct a poor man in melancholy and despairing circumstances, to say certain words in prayer to God, as recorded in Psal. cxvi. 4. for his own relief. The man is esteemed a pious man. I have, since this error of his, had a particular acquaintance with him; and I believe none would question his piety, that had such an acquaintance. He gave me a particular account of the manner how he was deluded, which is too long to be here inserted. But in short, he was exceedingly rejoiced and elevated with this extraordinary work, so carried on in this part of the country; and was possessed with an opinion that it was the beginning of the glorious times of the church spoken of in scripture: and had read it as the opinion of some divines, that there would be many in these times that should be endued with

extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, and had embraced the notion; though he had at first no apprehensions that any besides ministers would have such gifts. But he since exceedingly laments the dishonor he has done to God, and the wound he has given religion in it, and has lain low before God and man for it.

After these things, the instances of conversion were rare here in comparison of what they had before been, (though that remarkable instance of the little child was after this,) and the Spirit of God not long after this time appeared very sensibly withdrawing from all parts of the county; (though we have heard of its going on in some places of Connecticut, and that it continues to be carried on even to this day.) But religion remained here, and I believe in some other places, the main subject of conversation for several months after this. And there were some turns, wherein God's work seemed something to revive, and we were ready to hope that all was going to be renewed again: yet in the main there was a gradual decline of that general, engaged, lively spirit in religion, which had been before. Several things have happened since, that have diverted people's minds, and turned their conversation more to others' affairs, particularly his excellency, the governor, coming to this place, and the committee of general court, on the treaty with the Indians; and afterwards the Springfield controversy; and since that, our people in this town have been engaged in the building of a new meeting-house; and some other occurrences might be mentioned, that have seemed to have this effect. But as to those that have been thought to be converted among us, in this time, they generally seem to be persons that have had an abiding change wrought on them. I have had particular acquaintance with many of them since, and they generally appear to be persons that have a new sense of things, new apprehensions and views of God, of the divine attributes, and Jesus Christ, and the great things of the gospel: they have a new sense of the truth of them, and they affect them in a

« AnteriorContinuar »