You are here

Samuel Kirkland to John Rodgers

Primary tabs

Kirkland 30e

Samuel Kirkland to Reverend Dr. Rodgers
Oneida 30th June, 1772 Reverend and honored Doctor I am upon the borders of
impatience to hear from you, and hope I may be saluted with the animating
and soul refreshing news that the cause of Jesus lives and thrives among
you. - I heard not long since, that dear Nassau-Hall has been watered with
a heavenly shower - God grant that nursery of learning and piety may
flourish more and more, and her plants grow up, be adorned and enriched
with every virtue and divine Grace - How many streams have already issued
from that little fountain - watered and made glad the City and garden of
our God. - Religion is very low with us in the wilderness - the love of
many waxes cold, and iniquity and every form of wickedness abounds - The
adorable Jesus has but few friends here - though his cause is so good - the
enemies are many and potent from almost all quarters - and especially those
who have a form of godliness, but neither knowing nor owning the power of
it, cloak their enmity and malice against Christ, under their covert and
pretended friendship to him. - A small number of people yet stand up for
God against all opposition - are not afraid to own his cause, and speak for
Religion - however, amidst every storm and threatening appearance - the
friends of Zion's King will rejoice, in that he reigns, absolute and
supreme - and it is the prerogative of his wisdom alone, to educe good out
of evil - and cause the wrath of man and rage of Devils to praise him. -
Those Heathen ( as well as baptized infidels) who will not submit to the
peaceful scepter of King Jesus - must be subdued and broken with a rod of
iron and dashed like the potter's vessel - if nothing else will do it. - I
lately preached from Psalm 2d 1 - which has made a considerable commotion
among my people - some but too sadly proved the divine assertion -
breathing out their malice and rage - others scoffed - some alarmed almost
to astonishment - a few mourn and appear broken hearted -

I have discovered more of Indian deceit, art and hypocrisy this last year
than ever before, during the whole of my residence among them, and seen
more of the artifice and plotting of the enemy from abroad - After seven
years service and scholarship I begin to understand a little of Indians -
The Prince of Darkness, or God of this World eminently reigns through these
pagan territories - and laugh as it were at every attack made upon their
strongholds - he has friends of almost every rank, character, and
employment. Prospects at present are very small, or rather none at all -
unless in this and several adjacent villages. - By searching more into
Indian traditions - National temper, past conduct under Providence - with
the present state of the different Nations and tribes - I am ready to
conclude they are in a peculiar sense and manner under the curse of heaven
- yea, I can resolve the paradox no other way - They appear, as a body, to
be given over to strong delusions, to believe a lie, that they may be
damned - as they do not like to retain God in their knowledge - they are
left to a reprobate or injudicious mind. By stubborn facts and long
experience I am now at last obliged or constrained to give up my hope of
the Indians ever being called in as a people or Nation - which hope I have
held and hugged as my life for many years. - When the happy, the blessed,
and glorious millennium shall take place - then what remain of the heathen
will undoubtedly be called in - but until that long wished for period - in
my opinion only here and there a scattered sheep among them. - Christ's
other sheep shall be brought into his fold - the Elect shall obtain -
therefore fear not little flock - How affecting and distressing to an
ingenuous mind to reflect upon the hundreds and thousands which have been
expended out of Christ's treasure for these ungodly, wretched, ungrateful
heathen - and all to little or no purpose - though I have reason to hope
there are a few trophies of redeeming love who will be everlasting
monuments of God's all-conquering and glorious Grace. I find I must be
contented, and glad to preach for God - whether I

have the desired success or not - the sacred Volume assures us "that we are
unto God a sweet savor of Christ in those that are saved and in those that
perish - O that I may be careful to discharge my duty as a minister - hold
forth the Savior in all his glorious infinitely sublime Character and
faithfully warn Sinners of their danger - and then a gracious God will not
judge nor reward me according to success, but according to endeavours -
faithfulness and diligence in the work - though alas! I have but little
comfort from this quarter - methinks, an idle, unfaithful, and unprofitable
servant stands in the title page of all my ministerial life. O my Father,
aid me by your prayers. It may not be improper to inform you that Reverend
David Avery (Missionary from Dr. Wheelock , who has resided here since last
fall) is now about to quit the Indian service (his health not being equal
to the fatigue of an Indian life) - designs to refund his education to Dr.
Wheelock's school, by the charities of good people - and purposes to turn
his face Virginia-ward next fall - where his heart has long been, and burnt
with a sacred ardor - upon acquaintance with him, you will doubtless find,
there are few likeminded, who so naturally care for Christ's flock. He
hopes to see you at New Haven Commencement to consult with you, the
Reverend Mr. Buell and some others respecting his southern tour. I intend,
by the leave of Providence, to be at the Commencement myself. I need not
add, the grateful joy which an interview with so dear and worthy a Father
would afford me. I hear the Committee of your Board have received a
favorable report respecting the Southern Indians, as being uncommonly
disposed and desirous to receive the Gospel, and in consequence of which
Dr. Wheelock has sent two young Gentlemen on a visit to those parts - I
should be glad you would give me what intelligence you can of the affair,
as my people here are very suspicious of the sincerity of these Indians and
their favorable disposition towards Christianity - unless it be the
papistical Religion. Indeed, from the best information I can get - a
general uneasiness prevails through the Confederacy and other more remote
tribes of Indians. -

The young warriors appear thirsty for blood - this anecdote you will not
make public - for should it get back to the Indians, I shall be severely
handled. My last informed of Mrs. Kirkland's visit to New England - where
she will continue until under better capacity for travelling - I lately
heard she was as well as could be expected. - I find the want of
contentment and patience to endure this separation from the dear partner of
my worldly joys and sorrows - ---- Fancy roves restless in fond enquiry,
nor believes Charissa safe ---- fear and surmise put on a thousand forms of
dear disquietude, and round mine ears whisper ten thousand dangers ---- May
you and yours ever rest under the smiles of Heaven - With dutiful regards
to Mrs. Rodgers - and very cordial salutations to your dear family - Miss
Nelly in particular - I subscribe - Reverend Doctor Your obedient and
obliged humble Servant though unworthy Son in the Gospel of Jesus S.
Kirkland To Reverend Dr. Rodgers - [from a rough draft in Kirkland's
writing.]