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days, through all trials. In him was to be seen the right way of being lively in religion. His liveliness in religion did not consist merely or mainly in his being lively with the tongue, but in deed; not in being forward in profession and outward shew, and abundant in declaring his own experiences; but chiefly in being active and abundant in the labors and duties of religion ; not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, scrring the Lord, and serving his generation, according to the will of God.
It cannot be pretended, that the reason why he so much abhorred and condemned the notions and experiences of those whose first faith consists in believing that Christ is theirs, and that Christ died for them ; without any previous experience of union of heart to him, for his excellency, as he is in himself, and not for his supposed love to them; and who judge of their interest in Christ, their justification, and God's love to them, not by their sanctification and the exercises and fruits of grace, but by a supposed immediate witness of the Spirit by inward suggestion ; I say, it cannot be pretended, that the reason why he so much detested and condemned such opinions and expe. riences, was, that he was of a too legal spirit; either that he never was dead to the law, never experienced a thorough work of conviction, was never fully brought off from his own righteousness, and weaned from the old covenant, by a thorough legal humiliation ; or that afterwards, he had no great degree of evangelical humiliation, not living in a deep sense of his own emptiness, wretchedness, poverty, and absolate dependence on the mere grace of God through Christ. For his convictions of sin, preceding his first consolations in Christ, were exceeding deep and thorough; his trouble and exercise of mind, by a sense of sin and misery, very great and long continued ; and ihe light let into his mind at his conversion and in progressive sanctification, appears to have had its gentine humbling influence upon him, to have kept him low in his own eyes, not confiding in himself, but in Christ, living by the faith of the Son of God, and looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus to eternal life, Vol. VII.
Nor can it be pretended, that the reason why he condemned those, and other things, which this sort of people call the very height of vital religion, and the power of godliness, was, that he was a dead Christian, and lived in the dark (as they express themselves) that his experiences, though they might be true, were not great ; that he did not live near to God, had but a small acquaintance with him, and had but a dim sight of spiritual things. If any, after they have read the preceding account of Mr. Brainerd's lise, will venture to pretend thus, they will only shew that they themselves are in the dark, and do indeed put darkness for light, and light for darkness.
II. 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 fervor of mind, arising from the strong fancies and dreams of a notional, whimsical brain ; I would ask, if it be so, that such things as these are the fruits of enthusiasm, viz. a great degree of honesty and simplicity, sincere and earnest desires and endeavors to know and do whatever is right, and to avoid every thing that is wrong; an high degree of love to God, delight in the perfections of his nature, placing the happiness of life in him ; not only in contemplating him, but in being active in pleasing and serving him ; a firm and undoubting belief in the Mes. siah, 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 his kingdom ; earnest desires that God may be glorified, and the Messiah's kingdom advanced, whatever instruments are made use of; 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 behavior, kind treatment, mercy, liberality, and earnest seeking the good of the souls and bodies of men ; 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 : A modest, discreet and decent deportment, among superiors, inferiors and cquals; 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 endeavors 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 idolaters, and wizards ; bringing them to permanent sobriety, diligence, devotion, honesty, conscientiousness, and charity : And the foregoing amiable virtues and successful labors all ending 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 honors and circumstantial advantages of it, but above all for the moral perfections, and holy and blessed employments of it: And these things in a person indisputably of a good understanding and judgment: I say, if all these things are the fruits of enthusiasm, why should not enthusiasm be thought a desirable and excellent thing? For what can true religion, what can the best philosophy do more? If vapors and whimsey 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 or selfexaltation, and with an earnest, constant bearing testimony against the wildness, the extravagances, the bitter zeal, assuming behavior, and separating spirit ef enthusiasts; and will do all this more effectually, than any thing else has ever done in any plain known instance that can be produced ; if it be so, I say, what cause then has the world to prize and pray for this blessed whimsicalness, and these be, nign sort of vapors !
III. The preceding history serves to confirm these doctrines usually called the doctrines of grace. For if it be al. lowed that there is truth, substance, or value in the main of Mr. Brainerd's religion, it will undoubtedly follow, that those doctrines are divine : Since it is evident, that the whole of it, from beginning to end, is according to that scheme of things ; all built on those apprehensions, notions, and views, that are produced and established in the mind by those doctrines. He was brought by doctrines of this kind to his awakening, and decp concern about things of a spiritual and eternal nature ; and by these doctrines his convictions were maintained and carried on ; and his conversion was evidently altogether agreeable to this scheme, but by no means agreeing with the contrary; and uiterly inconsistent with the Arminian notion of conversion or repentance. His conversion was plainly founded in a clear strong conviction, and undoubting persua. sion of the truth of those things appertaining to these doctrines, which Arminians most object against, and which his own mind had contended most about. And his conversion was no confirming and perfecting of moral principles and habits, by use and practice, and his own labor in an industrious disciplining himself, together with the concurring suggestions and conspiring aids of God's Spirit: But entirely a supernatural work, at once turning him from darkness to marvellous light, and from the power of sin to the dominion of divine and holy principles; an effect, in no regard produced by his strength or labor, or obtained by his virtue ; and not accomplished until he was first brought to a full conviction that all his own virtue, strength, labors and endeavors, could never avail any thing to the producing or procuring this effect.
A very little while before, his mind was full of the same cavils agai: st the doctrines cf Cod's sovereign grace, which are made by Arminians ; and his heart full even of a raging opposition to them. And God was pleased to perform this good work in him just after a full end had been put to thiş cavjling and opposition ; after he was entirely convinced, that he was dead in sin, and was in the hands of God, as the abso lutely sovereign, unobliged, sole disposer and author of true holiness. God's shewing him mercy at such a time, is a con firmation, that this was a preparation for mercy, ; and consequently, that these things which he was convinced of were true :. While he opposed these things, he was the subject of no such mercy ; though he so earnestly sought it, and prayed for it with so much painfulness, care and strictness in relig, ion : But when once his opposition is fully subdued, and he is brought to submit to the truths, which he before had opposed, with full conviction, then the mercy he sought for is granted, with abundant light, great evidence, and exceeding joy, and he reaps the sweet fruits of it all his life after, and in the valley of the shadow of death.
In his conversion he was brought to see the glory of that way of salvation by Christ, that is taught in what are called the doctrines of grace ; and thence forward with unspeakable joy and complacence, to embrace and acquiesce in that way of salvation. He was in his conyersion, in all respects, brought to those views, and that state of mind, which these doctrines shew to be necessary. And if his conversion was any real conversion, or any thing besides a mere whim, and if the religion of his life was any thing else but a series of freaks of a whimsical mind, then this one grand principle, on which depends the whole difference between Calvinists and Arminians, is undeniable, viz. that the grace or virtue of truly good men, not only differs from the virtue of others in degree, but even in nature and kind. If ever Mr. Brainerd was truly turned from sin to God at all, or ever became truly religious, none can reasonably doubt but that his conversion was at the time when he supposed it to be. The change he then experienced, was evidently the greatest moral change that ever he passed under ; and he was then apparently first brought to that kind of religion, that remarkable new habit and temper of