A LETTER FROM A CHEROKEE TO HIS BROTHER.
The author of the following letter is a young man who has been brought to the experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ, through the instrumentality of the missionaries.
________________________March 8th 1828
My dear and beloved Brother- I write you these few lines, which I hope you will receive as coming from an affectionate brother. I hope you will not be displeased with anything that I write, but try to derive good from it. I have a little Book from which I will select a few remarks, and which I think, is addressed to such as you are upon the most weighty and interesting concerns, on which depend your present comfort and your everlasting salvation. You see that people all around you are dying; and you know that soon you must die, and be fixed in a state that is unchangeable. Is it not then a question of great importance for you to put to yourself, 'Have I any solid ground of hope that I shall go to heaven when I die, or have I not rather awful reason to fear that I shall sink down into hell, and there lift up my eyes in everlasting torments?' If you live in sin, and die in sin, this must be your portion. Attend, therefore, with seriousness to the following considerations:
While you live in sin, you are in the greatest danger. You would pity a poor man who was thoughtless and unconcerned, while on the brink of some frightful gulf; but the gulf, on the borders of which you are thoughtlessly standing, is infinitely more tremendous. You would consider him a mad man, who for one short hour of pleasure, would expose himself to misery all his future life; but you are more inexcusable, who for these pleasures of sin which are but for a season, are venturing upon a miserable eternity. There is an impressive voice which sounds to the word of God, that 'xcept [sic] a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' John, iii, 3. A voice which was uttered by that Saviour [sic] who will shortly judge you; and if you should then be found to be stranger to this new birth, it would be better for you that you had never been born; for he will say concerning you, 'Take him, and bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'- Matt. xxii, 13.
If you were to think of these things, as becomes men that have never dying souls, they would ever be uppermost in your mind. You would think of them when at labour [sic] in the field or when busy in the house. O, happy would it be for you, if an abiding sense of them would drive you to Christ, the strong hold as a prisoner of hope. But if you should determine to banish all these thoughts because they make you uneasy, and go on dreaming of happiness over the pit of destruction, be assured that your delusion will not last long. Soon death will come, and take you out of this wonder and oh, what sights will you then see! what sounds will you then hear! what anguish will you then feel! You who would not bear to hear of hell, how will you endure the fire that shall never be quenched? O, my brother, it seems to me that you are fast preparing for that place of torment; only think, 27 years, 324 months, 1208 weeks, 9855 days, 136,520 hours, 8,191,200 minutes or 191,472,000 sec's of your precious time are gone, never to return; for time that is gone, is gone forever. How have you spent most of this precious time? The whole of it I might say has been spent in idleness and intemperance; but this is very wrong, for it is said 'drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God.' If you only get drunk and did nothing more, it would not appear very bad; but when you are drunk you will do anything. If you have a thousand dollars, when you become drunk you will soon get rid of it; therefore I say get drunk and you will do anything. If you want to kid a man, get drunk. If you want to fight, get drunk. If you want to be poor, or if you want to be covered with rags, get drunk. If you want to fall out with your best friend, get drunk. if you want to make all your friends and neighbors enemies, get drunk. If you want to shorten you life, get drunk. I might mention many other other things; but only think of these, and you will be paid for your trouble. Lastly, if you want to be sure to have your soul go to hell, get drunk, again and again, and continue to become drunk, and it will go there. Men of this world are destroying their souls fast enough, but those who make a practice of excessive drinking, are going before all others, and if they persist in it they are ruined forever. It is no wonder that God has published such a threatening as he has. What would a drunkard do in heaven? The spirits of the just are there, and an innumerable company of angels, and God himself, a Being glorious in holiness. If you want to see God, Jesus Christ, and those holy beings in heaven, turn, turn now I say, before you go any further in your intemperate course; for the longer you delay it will be more difficult to turn. Oh, then put it off no longer, for who knows that you will live another month longer, or even another day? The Lord only. Therefore he says 'behold, now is the day of salvation.' If you put it off, the Lord may say to you, as he did to one of old, 'thou fool this night shall thy soul be required of thee.' Then, O my brother, in hell you will find your soul, as in a moment, when you die, and with the rich man there, lifting up your eyes, and in vain calling for one drop of water to cool your parched tongue.'
Remember my brother, that in a very little time, death and judgment, and eternity, will overtake you. O what haste is death making! There is no pest so swift, there is no messenger so sure, and when he comes, then of all thy unjust gains, for which you have sold your soul and salvation, and of all your sinful pleasures, nothing will remain but the heavy reckoning and a bitter remembrance. Yes, you must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. You must there give an account to him of your stewardship, of your time, your talents, and privileges, and why you employed them for your sinful pleasure and profit, and not for his glory. And when he shall say, 'did I send thee into the world only to get wealth, and to forget thy immortal soul? Did I appoint my sabbaths, to be profaned by you, and give you my word, only to be neglected? Did I give you my laws and coommandments, only to be trampled upon? Did I not send my faithful ministers, to set before you the blessings which my grace provided for the chief of sinners? And still, notwithstanding all this, did you not harden your heart, and go on in the way of your own evil thoughts?' When the awful Judge shall put these questions to your soul, what answer will you be able to give? Will you not be speechless with confusion and self conviction? And will not your heart sink within you when you shall hear him pronounce the awful sentence, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'
O, that you would listen to glad tidings with a heart warmed with love to that God who has been pleased to manifest such a display of his love to a lost world, as to 'give his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.' Though your sins are many, there is yet hope. Jesus the blessed son of God has died, to save the chiefest [sic] of sinners. Come then and buy salvation without money, and without price. O be entreated by your affectionate brother to turn from your wickedness and live; yes, the Lord says unto you 'turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die.'
From your affectionate brother,