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His MISSION to the INDIANS at STOCKBRIDGE, &c.
HE Indian miffion at Stockbridge, (a town in the western part of the province of MaffachusettsBay, fixty miles from Northampton,) being vacant by the death of the late Rev. Mr Sergeant, the honoured and reverend commiffioners for Indian affairs in Bofton, who have the care and direction of it, applied to him, as the most fuitable perfon they could think of to betruft with that miffion. And he was at the fame time invited by the inhabitants of Stockbridge; and being advifed by the council above mentioned to accept. of the invitation, he repaired to Stockbridge, and was introduced and fixed as miffionary to the Indians there, by an ecclefiaftical council called for that purpose, Auguft 8. 1751.
When Mr Edwards firft engaged in the miffion, there was a hopeful profpect of its being extenfively ferviceable under his care and influence, not only to that tribe of indians which was fettled at Stockbridge, but among the Six Nations; fome of whom were coming to Stockbridge to fettle, and bring their own, and as many of. their neighbours children as they could get, to be educated and instructed there. For this end, a house for a boarding-fchool, which was projected by Mr Sergeant, was erected on a tract of land appropriated to that use by the Indians at Stockbridge, where the Indian children, male and female, were to be educated, by being cloathed and fed, and inftructed by proper perfons, sin ufeful learning. And the boys to be learned husbandry or mechanic trades, and the girls all forts of women's work. For the encouragement of which, fome generous fubfcriptions were made both in England and America. And the great and general court of the province of Maffachusetts-Bay did much to promote the affair, and provided lands for the Mohocks to fettle on, who
who fhould incline to come. And the generous Mr Hollis, to encourage the thing, ordered twenty-four Indian children to be educated on the fame footing, wholly at his coft. Alfo the Tociety in London, for propagating the gospel among the Indians in and about New-England, directed their commiffioners in Boston to do confiderable towards this defign.
But partly by reafon of fome unhappy differences that took place among thofe who had the chief management of this affair at Stockbridge, of which a particular account would not be proper in this place; and partly by the war's breaking out between England and France, which is generally very fatal to fuch affairs among Indians, this hopeful prospect came to nothing.
Mr Edwards's labours were attended with no re markable vifible fuccefs while at Stockbridge, though he performed the bufinefs of his miffion to the good acceptance of the inhabitants in general, both Englifhs and Indians, and of the commiffioners, who fupported him honourably, and confided very much in his judgment and wifdom, in all matters relating to the miffion. Stockbridge proved to Mr Edwards a more quiet, and, on many accounts, a much more comfortable fituation than he was in before. It being fo much in,one corner of the country, his time was not fo much taken up with company as it was in Northampton, though many of his friends, from-almoft all parts of the land, often made him pleasant and profitable vifits. And he had not fo much concern and trouble with other churches as he was obliged to have when at Northampton, by being frequently fought to for advice, and called to affift in ccclefiaftical councils. Here, therefore, The followed his beloved ftudy more closely, and to better purpose than ever. In these fix years he doubtlefs made fwifter advances in knowledge than ever be. fore, and added more to his manufcripts than in any fix years of his life.
And this was probably as ufeful a part of his life as any; for in this time he wrote the two laft books that
have been published by him, (of which a more partic ular account will be given hereafter,) by which he has doubtless greatly ferved the church of Christ, and will be a bleffing to many thousands yet unborn..
Thus, after his uprightness and faithfulness had been fufficiently tried at Northampton, his kind Master provided for him a quiet retreat, which was rendered the more sweet by the preceding ftorm, and where he had a better opportunity to purfue and finish the work God had for him to do.
His being made PRESIDENT of New-Jersey College;
his SICKNESS and DEATH.
N the 24th of Sept. 1757, the Rev. Mr Aaron Burr, Prefident of New-Jerfey College, died.And at the next meeting of the trustees, Mr Edwards was chofen his fucceffor; the news of which was quite unexpected, and not a little furprifing to him. He looked on himself, in many respects, fo unqualified for that business, that he wondered that gentlemen of fo good judgment, and fo well acquainted with him, as he knew fome of the truflees were, fhould think of him for that place. He had many objections in his own mind againft undertaking the bufinefs, both from his unfitness, and his particular circumftances, yet could. not certainly determine, that it was not his duty to accept. The following extract of a letter, which he wrote to the trustees, will give the reader a view of his fentiments and exercifes on this occafion, as well as of the great defigns he was deeply engaged in, and zealously. profecuting.
Rev. and Hon. Gentlemen,
Stockbridge, 19th Oct. 1757.
WAS not a little furprised on receiving the unexpected notice of your having made choice of me to fucceed the late Prefident Burr, as the head of Naffau Hall.--I am much in doubt whether I am called to
undertake the bufinefs, which you have done me the unmerited honour to choose me for.-If fome regard may be had to my outward comfort, I might mention the many inconveniences and great detriment which may be fuftained, by my removing with my numerous family, fo far from all the estate I have in the world, (without any prospect of difpofing of it, under prefent circumftances without lofing it in great part,) now when we have fcarcely got over the trouble and damage fuftained by our removal from Northampton, and have but just begun to have our affairs in a comfortable fituation for a fubfiftence in this place; and the expence I must. immediately be at to put myself into circumstances tolerably comporting with the needful fupport of the honour of the office I am invited to, which will not well confift with my ability. But this is not my main objection : · the chief difficulty in my mind, in the way of accepting this important and arduous office, are thefe two: First, my own defects, unfitting me for fuch an undertaking, many of which are generally known; befides others, which my own heart is confcious to. I have a constitution, in many refpects peculiarly unhappy, attended with flaccid folids, vapid, fizy, and fcarce fluids, and a low tide of fpirits; often occafioning a kind of childifh weakness and contemptiblenefs of speech, prefence, and demeanor ; with a difagreeable duinels and stiffness, much unfitting me for converfation, but more especially for the government of a college. This poornefs of conftitution makes me fhrink at the thoughts of taking upon me, in the decline of life, fuch a new and great bufinefs, attended with fuch a multiplicity of cares, and requiring fuch a degree of activity, alertnefs, and fpirit of government; efpecially as fucceeding one, fo remarkably well, qualified in thefe refpects, giving occafion to every one to remark the wide difference. I am allo deficient in fome parts of leaking, particularly in algebra, and the higher parts of mathematics, and in the Greek claffics; my Greek learning having been chiefly in the New-Teftament. -The other thing is this; that my engaging in this bufinefs will not well confift with thofe views, and that courie of employ in my study, which have long engaged and fwallowed up my mind, and been the chief entertainment and delight of my life
And here, honoured Sirs, (emboldened by the teftimony I have now received of your unmerited esteem, to rely on your candour,) I will with freedom open myself to you.
My method of ftudy, from my first beginning the work of the miniftry, has been very much by writing: applying myfelf in this way, to improve every important hint; purfuing the clue to my utmeft. when any thing in reading, meditation, or converfation, has been fuggefted to my mind, that feemed to promife light in any weighty point-Thus penning what appeared to me my beft thoughts, on innumerable fubjects for my own benefit. The longer I prof cuted my ftudies in this method, the more habitual it became, and the more pleasant and profitable I found it.
The further I travelled in this way, the more and wider the field opened, which has occafioned my laying out many things, in my mind, to do in this manner, if God fhould fpare my life, which my heart hath been much upon particularly many things against most of the prevailing errors of the prefent day, which I cannot with any patience fee maintained, (to the utter fubverting of the gospel of Chrift,) with fo high a hand, and fo long continued a triumph, with fa little controul, when it appears fo
evident to me, that there is truly no foundation for any of this glorying and infult. I have already published fomething on one of the main points in difpute between the Arminians and Calvinifis: and have it in view, Godwilling, (as I have already signified to the public,) in like manner to confider all the other controverted points, and have done much towards a preparation for it. But befides thefe, I have had on my mind and heart, (which I long ago began, not with any view to publication, a great work, which I call a Hiftory of the Work of Redemption, a body of divinity in an entire new method, being thrown into the form of an hiftory, confidering the affair of Christian Theology, as the whole of it, in each part, ftands in reference to the great work of redemption by Jefus Chrift, which I fuppofe is to be the grand defign of all God's defigns, and the fummum and ultimum of all the divine operations and decrees; particularly confidering all parts of the grand fcheme in their hiftorical order.-The order of their exifience, or their being brought forth to view, in the courfe of divine difpenfations, or the wonderful feries of fucceffive acts and events; beginning from eternity, and descending from thence to the great work and fucceffive difpen fations of the infinitely wife God in time, confidering the chief events coming to pals in the church of God, and revolutions in the world of mankind, affecting the state of the church and the affair of redemption, which we have an account of in hiftory or prophecy, till at laft we come to the general refurrection, laft judgment and confummation of all things, when it fhall be faid, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Concluding my work, with the confideration of that perfect ftate of things, which fhall be finally fettled, to laft for eternity.--This hiftory will be carried on with regard to all three worlds, heaven, earth and hell; confidering the connected, fucceffive events, and alterations in each, fo far as the fcriptures give any light; introducing all parts of divinity in that order which is moft fcriptural and most natural; which is a method which appears to me the moft beautiful and entertaining, wherein every divine doctrine will appear to greatest advant ge in the brighteft light, in the most striking manner, showing the admirable contexture and harmony of the whole.
I have alfo, for my own profit and entertainment, done much towards another great work, which I call the Harmony of the Old and New Teftament in three parts. The firft confidering the prophecies of the Mefliah, his redemption and kingdom, the evidences of their references to the Meffiah, &c. comparing them all one with another, demonftrating their agreement and true fcope and fenfe; alfo confidering all the various particulars wherein thefe prophecies have their exact fulfilment; fhowing the univerfal, precife, and admirable correfpondence between predictions and events. The fecond part, confidering the types of the Old Teftament, fhowing the evidence of their being intended as representations of the great things of the gospel of Chrift, and the agreement of the type with the antitype. The third and great part, confidering the harmony of the Old and New Teftament, as to doctrine and precept. In the course of this work, I find there will be occafion for an explanation of a very great part of the holy fcripture; which may, in fuch a view be explained in a method, which to me feems the most entertaining and profitable, best tending to lead the mind to a view of the true fpirit, defign, life, and foul of the fcriptures, as well as to their proper ufe and improvement.