Jemima Wilkinson and the Indian, Improved

Jemima Wilkinson and the Indian, Improved, by John Leland, is excerpted from the pamphlet A Budget of Scraps, first published in 1810.

The high claims of Jemima Wilkinson (that Christ has descended the second time, and dwells in her), are generally known. Her place of residence is in the town of Jerusalem, Ontario county, and state of New York.

A few years past, a religious Indian paid her a visit, with intention to find out wherein her great strength lay. After discoursing with her some time, in English, he changed to his dialect, and spake in his own mother tongue; to which Jemima replied in her plain manner of speaking, “thee must not speak to me in Indian language, for I do not understand it.” “Ah!” said the Indian, “then I know you are not my Saviour; for my blessed Jesus understands poor Indians.” How significant the words, and how marvellous the idea of the Indian!

More than a thousand different dialects now exist, among the various nations of the earth, which bear so little affinity to each other, that the people who speak one of them understand little or nothing of another. Supposing a thousand congregations, belonging to a thousand distinct nations, should assemble in some spacious plain, and the whole number of individuals, in each congregation, should lift up their voices in prayer and praise to God; is it probable that Jesus would understand them all? Like the Indian, I believe he would. Should any individual, in the vast assembly, hear all the voices, what a din of confusion would assail his ears; but all would be order and significance with the dear Redeemer. If this conclusion is just, it is presumptive evidence that Jesus Christ is omniscient God. If it should be objected, however, that it is possible for Omnipotence to make a creature of such extensive faculties, that he can understand all that is said by all, it will not be hastily denied.

But supposing the public worship of this great assembly should close, would Jesus then know the temper of each heart? Can an inarticulate prayer of the heart rise to God, through the mediation of Christ, and at the same time the Mediator know nothing of it? It cannot be admitted. He must then know the hearts of men.

When he was on earth, he perceived the thoughts of the people, and knew what was in man. If we consider Solomon’s address to Israel’s God, “Thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of men,” it will be substantiated that Jesus, who knew the thoughts and hearts of men, is Israel’s Lord and Saviour; for it is not possible for Omnipotence to make a creature of co-omniscience with himself.


Self-excuse, by John Leland, is excerpted from the pamphlet A Budget of Scraps, first published in 1810.

In the year 1785, there lived in the city of Richmond, (Vir.) a free negro woman, who by her parsimony obtained money enough to purchase her husband, who was a slave. The woman being a member of the Baptist church, in that city, was complained of before the church, for allowing of lewd conduct in her house. She did not deny the truth of the charge, but excused herself thus, “Pray, how can I help it? My husband is the head, and does as he pleases; and I, who am his wife, cannot help it.” At the same meeting, another charge was brought against her, for whipping her husband; to which she replied, “I bought him with my own money – he is my legal property, and shall mind me; otherwise I will whip him.”

Excuse – the doctrine of the Fall,
From Adam first we hear;
The roots are found within us all,
No mortal man is clear.

When God commands him to approach,
And answer to his case-
Just nineteen words from him we hear,
Instead of saying yes.

Old They, Exposed

Old They, Exposed, by John Leland, is excerpted from the pamphlet A Budget of Scraps, first published in 1810.

Of all the villains that haunt the world, not one of them is more mischievous than Old They. He is generally treated as a noun of multitude, followed by a single verb, (They say,) which makes it exceedingly difficult to identify the vagrant. Whether he is an individual, bearing as many titles as a Spanish Don, or a monster, having as many heads as a Hydra, is hard to ascertain.

If a man wishes to spread a false report, to injure his ruler, priest, or neighbor, he has nothing to do, but to add, They say so, and all passes currently.

If any, however, are incredulous, and back the evil report, after passing many hands, which gave the report publicity, and drawing the ideal residence of They, he then plays the game of a talisman before them, or dissolves himself in the air.

Others who have been often foiled in their pursuits after the fugitive, and yet are in the habit of believing that They has said so, instead of fixing the blame on the infamous tattler, who is retailing the slander, conjecture a substitute for They, and ever afterwards consider this substitute as an enemy, when at the same time, the poor suspected man, knows not for what. If it will not be considered too dictatorial, I will here suggest a salutary expedient.

When a man begins to retail the libellous reports of others, or vend his own choleric manufacture, on the credit of, They say so, if he will not identify his author, hold the man responsible for all he says, and let Old They shift for himself.

Announcing The Lions’ Den audio podcast

The Lions’ Den is the audio podcast of, featuring sermons, Bible studies, and lessons in theology and Christian history from a reformed and baptist perspective.

You can listen using the online player, download individual messages, or subscribe to the podcast feed. The podcast is also available on iTunes.