Joseph Johnson, letter, to Eleazar Wheelock, 1774 May 2

Author Johnson, Joseph

Date2 May, 1774

ms number774302

abstractJohnson writes of his doubt regarding his true Christian spirit, his work as a preacher and schoolmaster, the developments regarding settling in Oneida country, and his poverty.

handwritingHandwriting is not Johnson's. It is formal and clear, though letter case is frequently difficult to discern.

paperLarge sheet folded in half to make four pages is in good condition, with light staining, creasing and wear.

signatureThe letter is signed twice — once in full, once in intials after the postscript — but neither signature is in Johnson's hand.

noteworthyAs is noted in the trailer on two verso, the document is a copy.

Persistent Identifier
To the Rev.d Mr Eleazer Weelock. D.D.
My kind, and Honored Benefactor, with love and gratitude in my heart, and much humility would I once more attempt to write to your worthy Person. O! the Wounds that I have given to that pious Soul of thine, oft of late have I shed tears, when I consdered of my past Ingratitude and misconduct. Oft have I thought of your unweared labours of love to unworthy me. — And O' that thy love, this very time might truly cause me to praise God, who not only ruleth in the Armies of heaven, but also doeth his will, and pleasure among the Inhabitants of this lower world. Ah' what sorrow ought to flow from this once Savage Heart of mine that I have not only grieved you, but that I have in times past crucified as it were, the Lord of Glory, even the Son of God, afresh and put him to an open shame, Great Wonder! even marve‐‐lous in my Eyes, or rather the admiration of my soul that I, a hell deserving cursed Creature has been suff^e^red to live in this world so long Sinning, offending, and provoking the God of holineſs, and the God of justice, and the God of vengance, and what is the joy of my Soul the God of love, and the God of mercy, through his dearly beloved and only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is admired by all them that believe, and in whom I humbly hope, I have been enabled by the Spirit of the living God, to put my whole trust & Confidence, for time and for Eternity. O! that I might see more and more of my own wret‐‐chedneſs, and insufficiency, that Jesus ^Christ^ might be more and more precious to my Soul, oh' I am nothing, should I have the boldneſs to tell you, that I am hopefully converted, I should tell a news ^that^ I am not certain of. For since I first thought so myself, I have often doub‐ted. I percieve Sin ^to be^ lurking within, sometimes, I greatly fear that I am altogether in my Sins, even under the power and Dominion of of Sin, if so I am wretched wretched poor miserable creature sill, not‐‐withstanding the world calls me bleſsed, notwithstanding I paſs for a true Christian among all setts, and Denominations, as it were — I have but very poor Opinion of myself, and I walk in fear always having these words, ever dwelling upon my mind. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate; for many I say unto you will seek to enter in. & shall not be able. But amidst all my doubts & Fears this verse is my consolation. All that the Fa[illegible]ther giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me. I will in no wise cast out. Then are the words of Jesus, whom I love, and whom I adore, and whom I hope purpose to serve as I shall be enabled, by that holy spirit by which I humbly hope I have been quickned, and enlivened through the Sufferings and Death of this Jesus Christ, who was once Crucified, and slain, and buried, also, who arose from the Grave and aſscended up into Glory, and who is now intercedi^n^g for all his chosen in that upper world of Glory, I say through Jesus Christ alone, I humbly hope for pardon, for all my Great, many, and exceedingly aggrivated Sins, which are past. Which I have already committed, And for the sake of this Jesus Christ alone, who
who came to save his peculiar people from their Sins, I humbly hope for Grace sufficient for me. that I may hence forward withsand all the Temptations that I have to encounter throughout my whole Life, which may arise either from the world, flesh or from the D[illegible][guess: ie]vil. — O! my kind and worthy Benefactor, I percieve that I am in a large Field, and see as it were, Enemies Malicious and powerfull, in a terrible array. Shall Sa‐‐tan be conqured? ah methinks, that he is already but a conqured King. shall sin be subdued, and shall vile affections and cursed Lusts be mor‐‐tified, ah my Soul wait patiently, and you shall see the great salvation of God. I percieve, that since I have listed under ^the Banner^ of Jesus Christ, that I must not be idle, but go out and fight as it were the Battles of the Lord, and O! that I could ^ever^ fight with true Love in my heart, and O! that I ma^i^g^ht^ ever be inspired with Wisdom from [illegible]on high, even from the glorious Captain of our Salvation that I might wisely undermine the Kingdom of Satan. This is my ^hearts^ desire that Satan's Kingdom might be destroyed, & that the Kingdom of the dear Redeemer be built upon the ruins thereof And it is the full purpose of my heart, O! my Benevolent Benefactor, to devote all the faculties of my Soul & Body to the Service of King Jesus. I have served Satan long enough, I have been striving to build his cursed Kingdom, devoted to ruin long enough I have done good service to that Prince of Darkneſs. And since I have seen his treachery, his cursed de‐‐signs I must leave him. I flee away from him and he is welcome to all my Wages, let him recieve the wrath of God, since no Saviour was ever found for him. But as for me I'll chearfully speak of a once crucified, once bleeding, ^once dying^ once buried, but now risen, living and exalted Redeemer. Him I will serve if he gives me grace while I live, faithfully. here on Earth I hope to glorify God Honor Jesus Christ by the aſsistance of the holy Ghost and hearafter enjoy Father, Son & holy Ghost which will compleat my happineſs, and the happineſs of all true Chil‐‐dren — But my kind benefactor, having already wrote more than I expected when I ^first^ sat down, wilt though be pleas'd to wait with patience a little Longer, while I write, or make known [illegible] to you, or while I speak of other things — Rev.d Sir I heartily thank you for your kind letter, dated Feb.y 4 AD 1774 and I ^also^ hope, that Satan will at Last be fully disappointed, and may the Lord's will be done concerning me. If God sees fit to make me a Veſsel for the Master's service Amen. If only a veſsel of mercy Glory be given to God, and I heartily rejoice that the Lord has prospred you, in your laudable Undertaking in that part of the World, And Rev.d Sir methinks, that it is not for the want of Gratitude, or love, that I have not visited you, my kind Benefactor. but to speak the truth it is Poverty. I alway; have been poor, as all my Brethren are likewise, yet I have lived somehow hitherto. And Rev.d Sir perhaps I can give good reason for my Poverty, I would tell you in the first place that I have kept School, here, at Farmington since Nov.r 1772. first ten weeks, I had six pounds this ten weeks I was ^as^ it were upon trial. afterwards I went to Boston being well recommended by the Rev.d M.r Pitkin, who is my kind and
wise Overſeer, and when I was at Boston the Gentlem[illegible]^e^n, was pleas'd to give or offer £20 ⅌ Annum for my Encouragement. I thought it too little wages. but I concluded, saying, I would go to Farmington and see what more the Indians would give, and if they give me proper Encouragement, I would continue keeping the School. the Indians after I saw them offered four pounds more which made 24 £ ⅌ Annum So I have kept and so keep still, well I believe I could Live very comfortably with £24 ⅌ Annum if I spent my Money only for my self. but now I am going to the you the Reason of my Poverty. I have been seeking the good of my poor Indian Brethren, for this some time, for the good of the Indians in particular that Live in these seven Towns — Farmington, Nihantauck, Mohegan, Pequt or [illegible][guess: Gretton] Stonington, Narraganset & Montauck and notwithstanding I am Master of a School yet I have traveled much in the run of one year I have ever hired another Master in my room whilst I was absent I have been the foremost all along even to this Day. I have been to the Hon.e Sir wm Johnson twice. once in Oct.r 1773 and again in Jan.y 1774 at that time I went, even to the Onoida [illegible]Village where the Rev.d Mr Kirtland preaches — And I have the pleasure to tell you that his Honor Sir wm is well pleas'd with the grand design which I have in my view, and his Ho‐‐nor Sir w.m has favor'd us New England Indians very high‐‐ly and he has done us much good, we have as much Land as we shall want, given to us New England Indians by the Onoidas and we have had invitations from Nations 600 Miles back of S.r W.m it is strange to me that we meet with such ^good^ succeſs I humbly hope there is Providence in this, and O! what a pleasing prospect, sometimes opens to my View, who knows what is in the Womb of Providence. but what I am after to tell you, that in all my travels up and down the Country, I have be[illegible]en at my own Expense, which is owing to the great po‐‐verty of the Indians, I have Rec.d only 3 Dollars ^from the Indians^ since I have been in this service. But I blame them not, for Indians are truly poor, I have been at great Expence sometimes, espe‐‐cially last winter I was gone six Weeks hired a Master all the Time, and when I came down from Onoida, after I had tarried there Eight days there was several of the great men, Lords, & warriors came down to Sir William's with me, in order to confirm their words at Sr for said they there is the only place to have all things done well, strong & sure. there was [illegible] twelve that came down with me, and I bore all their Expences even to Sir William's or till we got to Sir William's and I believe it is about 100 Miles. So have I spent my Money and this is it what makes me now so poor, that I have not one penny Clear. no, I am now in debt, for provision and little Cloaths, and I can't come up to you very soon, or at least till I can get money to pay my debts, and bear my expences to your Residence. I want to see you very much
much once more. I must go up to Sir William's again in September the first part I dont know how I shall go through all what is before me, unleſs kind Providence doth provide for my neceſsities un‐expectedly, I know not where to go for help if you my kind Benefator was nigh I veryly believe you would relieve me greatly & even Encourage me but I end leaning upon the Lord
I am your well wisher & Pupil Joseph John^son^
P.S. I began this Letter I believe it was about ten o'Clock this evening, and I am in such a great hurry that I can't write over again I am pre‐‐paring a little peice of poor Stonny Ground for to plant little Corn for me & mine to eat, if we live. I work upon this piece between Schools I try to turn every way to get a living, and when I have done my utter‐‐most I hardly live. Rev.d Sir if things so work or rather if it be the will of God, I purpose to try to come and see you by the latter end of August next and wait to get Licence then if shall be thought proper for I never had any other Licence than the earneſ[illegible]t desire of People and a willingneſs in my heart to speak I pray you to write to me & let me know whether it will be proper for me to come in August or before or after I am Jos[illegible][guess: h] I have not seen Jacob nor David since I rec.d your kind Letter
From Joſeph Johnſon May 2,d 1774 true Copy —