1745 Crossweeksung, America

August 8 –  David Brainerd

David Brainerd

David Brainerd

David Brainerd, a missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 until his death at age 29 in 1747, tells of the revival that broke out among the Indians at Crossweeksung on August 8, 1745. The power of God seemed to come like a rushing mighty wind, and the Indians were overwhelmed by God.

Brainerd emphasized the compassion of the Lord, the provisions of the gospel, and the free offer of divine grace. The people’s response was amazing. Idolatry was abandoned, marriages repaired, drunkenness practically disappeared, and honesty and repayments of debts prevailed. Money once wasted on excessive drinking was used for family and communal needs. Their communities were filled with love.

Part of his journal for Thursday, August 8, 1745, says that the power of God seemed to descend on the assembly “like a rushing mighty wind” and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent…. Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together, and scarce one was able to withstand the shock of this surprising operation (Howard 1949, 216–217)

On November 20, he described the revival at Crossweeksung in his general comments about that year (during which he had ridden his horse more than 3,000 miles to reach Indian tribes in New England):

I might now justly make many remarks on a work of grace so very remarkable as this has been in divers respects; but shall confine myself to a few general hints only.

  1. It is remarkable that God began this work among the Indians at a time when I had least hope and, to my apprehension, the least rational prospect of seeing a work of grace propagated amongst them….
  1. It is remarkable how God providentially, and in a manner almost unaccountable, called these Indians together to be instructed in the great things that concerned their souls; how He seized their minds with the most solemn and weighty concern for their eternal salvation, as fast as they came to the place where His Word was preached….
  1. It is likewise remarkable how God preserved these poor ignorant Indians from being prejudiced against me and the truths I taught them….
  1. Nor is it less wonderful how God was pleased to provide a remedy for my want of skill and freedom in the Indian language by remarkably fitting my interpreter for, and assisting him in, the performance of his work….
  1. It is further remarkable that God has carried on His work here by such means, and in such manner, as tended to obviate and leave no room for those prejudices and objections that have often been raised against such a work…[because] this great awakening, this surprising concern, was never excited by any harangues of terror, but always appeared most remarkable when I insisted upon the compassions of a dying Saviour, the plentiful provisions of the gospel, and the free offers of divine grace to needy distressed sinners.
  1. The effects of this work have likewise been very remarkable. … Their pagan notions and idolatrous practices seem to be entirely abandoned in these parts.
  1. They are regulated and appear regularly disposed in the affairs of marriage. They seem generally divorced from drunkenness… although before it was common for some or other of them to be drunk almost every day. … A principle of honesty and justice appears in many of them, and they seem concerned to discharge their old debts. … Their manner of living is much more decent and comfortable than formerly, having now the benefit of that money which they used to consume upon h5 drink. Love seems to reign among them, especially those who have given evidence of a saving change (Howard 1949, 239– 251).

© Geoff Waugh. Used by permission.

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