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This was about eight years ago, when he was about twenty

one years of age.

Thus God sanctified and made meet for his use, that vessel that he intended to make eminently a vessel of honor in his house, and which he had made of large capacity, having endowed him with very uncommon abilities and gifts of nature. He was a singular instance of a ready invention, natural eloquence, easy flowing expression, sprightly apprehension quick discerning, and a very strong memory; and yet of a very penetrating genius, close and clear thought, and piercing judgment. He had an exact tase: His understanding was (if I may so express it) of a quick, strong and distinguishing


His learning was very considerable: He had a great taste for learning; and applied himself to his studies in so close a manner when he was at college, that he much injured his health; and was obliged on that account for a while to leave the college, throw by his studies, and return home. He was esteemed one that excelled in learning in that society.

He had an extraordinary knowledge of men, as well as things. Had a great insight into human nature, and excelled most that ever I knew in a communicative faculty: He had a peculiar talent at accommodating himself to the capacities, tempers and circumstances, of those that he would instruct or counsel.


He had extraordinary gifts for the pulpit: I never had opportunity to hear him preach, but have often heard him pray And I think his manner of addressing himself to God, and expressing himself before him, in that duty, almost inimitable; such (so far as I may judge) as I have very rarely known equalled. He expressed himself with that exact propriety and pertinency, in such significant, weighty, pungent expressions; with that decent appearance of sincerity, reverence, and solemnity, and great distance from all affectation, as forgetting the presence of men, and as being in the immediate presence of a great and holy God, that I have scarcely ever known paralleled. And his manner of preaching, by

what I have often heard of it from good judges, was no less excellent; being clear and instructive, natural, nervous, forcible, and moving, and very searching and convincing. He nauseated an affected noisiness, and violent boisterousness in the pulpit; and yet much disrelished a flat cold delivery, when the subject of discourse, and matter delivered, requir ed affection and earnestness.

Not only had he excellent talents for the study and the pulpit, but also for conversation. He was of a sociable disposition; and was remarkably free, entertaining, and profitable in his ordinary discourse: And had much of a faculty of disputing, defending truth and confuting error.

As he excelled in his judgment and knowledge of things in general, so especially in divinity. He was truly, for one of his standing, an extraordinary divine. But above all, in matters relating to experimental religion. In this, I know I have the concurring opinion of some that have had a name for persons of the best judgment. And according to what ability I have to judge of things of this nature, and according to my opportunities, which of late have been very great, I never knew his equal, of his age and standing, for clear, accurate notions of the nature and essence of true religion, and its distinctions from its various false appearances; which I suppose to be owing to these three things; meeting together in him, the strength of his natural genius, and the great opportunities he had of observation of others, in various parts, both white people and Indians; and his own great experience.

His experiences of the holy influences of God's Spirit were not only great at his first conversion, but they were so, in a continued course, from that time forward; as appears by a record, or private journal, he kept of his daily inward exercises, from the time of his conversion, until he was disabled by the failing of his strength, a few days before his death. The change which he looked upon as his conversion, was not only a great change of the present views, affections, and frame of his mind; but was evidently the beginning of that work of God on his heart, which God carried on, in a very wonderful

manner, from that time to his dying day. He greatly abhorred the way of such, as live on their first work, as though they had now got through their work, and are thenceforward, by degrees, settled in a cold, lifeless, negligent, worldly frame; he had an ill opinion of such persons' religion.*

Oh that the things that were seen and heard in this extraordinary person, his holiness, heavenlyness, labor and selfdenial in life, his so remarkable devoting himself and his all, in heart and practice, to the glory of God, and the wonderful frame of mind manifested, in so stedfast a manner, under the expectation of death, and the pains and agonies that brought it on, may excite in us all, both ministers and people, a due sense of the greatness of the work we have to do in the world, the excellency and amiableness of thorough religion in experience and practice, and the blessedness of the end of such, whose death finishes such a life, and the infinite value of their eternal reward, when absent from the body and present with the Lord; and effectually stir us up to endeavors that in the way of such an holy life, we may at last come to so blessed an end........AMEN.

* We have omitted a few pages which follow here of this discourse, because what the author communicates, respecting Mr. Brainerd, is to be found almost in the same words in the Memoirs of his life, and in his Reflections upon it, which he afterwards published, and which the reader will find in the third volume of this work.


God's awful Judgment in the breaking and withering of the Strong Rods of Community.

EZEKIEL xix. 12.


In order to a right understanding and improving these words, these four things must be observed and understood concerning them.

1. Who she is that is here represented as having had strong rods, viz. the Jewish community, who here, as often elsewhere, is called the people's mother. She is here compared to a vine planted in a very fruitful soil, verse 10. The Jewish church and state is often elsewhere compared to a vine; as Psalm lxxx. 8, &c. Isai. v. 2. Jer. ii. 21. Ezek. xv. and chapter xvii. 6.

* Preached at Northampton on the Lord's day, June 26, 1748, on the death of the Hon. John Stoddard, Esq. often a member of his Majesty's council, for many years chief justice of the court of Common pleas for the county of Hampshire, judge of the probate of wills, and chief colonel of the regiment, &c. who died at Boston, June 19, 1748, in the 67th year of his age. VOL. VIII. 3 G

2. What is meant by her strong rods, viz. her wise, able,, and well qualified magistrates or rulers. That the rulers or magistrates are intended is manifest by verse 11. "And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear rule.” And by rods that were strong, must be meant such rulers as were well qualified for magistracy, such as had great abilities and other qualifications fitting them for the business of rule. They were wont to choose a rod or staff of the strongest and hardest sort of wood that could be found, for the mace or sceptre of a prince; such an one only being counted fit for such an use; and this generally was overlaid with gold.

It is very remarkable that such a strong rod should grow out of a weak vine; but so it had been in Israel, through God's extraordinary blessing, in times past. Though the nation is spoken of here, and frequently elsewhere, as weak and helpless in itself, and entirely dependent as a vine, that is the weakest of all trees, that cannot support itself by its own. strength, and never stands but as it leans on, or hangs by something else that is stronger than itself; yet God had caused many of her sons to be strong rods, fit for sceptres; he had raised up in Israel many able and excellent princes and magistrates in days past, that had done worthily in their day.

3. It should be understood and observed what is meant by these strong rods being broken and withered, viz. these able and excellent rulers being removed by death: Man's dying is often compared in scripture to the withering of the growth of

the earth.

4. It should be observed after what manner the breaking and withering of these strong rods is here spoken of, viz. as a great and awful calamity, that God had brought upon that people: It is spoken of as one of the chief effects of God's fury and dreadful displeasure against them: "But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit; her strong rods were broken and withered, the fire hath consumed them." The great bene fits she enjoyed while her strong rods remained, are represented in the preceding verse: "And she had strong rods.

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