The Journals & Notebook of
 Nathan Bangs 1805-1806, 1817


Contents    Introduction    Maps    Images    Chronology    Bibliography    Archival Resources

Editorial Annotations

Life in the small and struggling settlements of Upper Canada was difficult and fraught with danger throughout the period of Bangs's itinerancy. As Bangs's own journals show, disease, inclement weather, and violence continually threatened both preachers and settlers with disaster. The hypothetical widow Bangs depicts in the second part of this entry perhaps opens a window on his preaching style and helps to explain why Methodism grew so quickly in wilderness settings. It is not difficult to imagine how such a person would be driven to organized religion not only for the spiritual consolations it offered, but also for the many social supports available to members of cohesive, vibrant, and growing religious sub-cultures of the period.


Fryday 15 [Friday 16 August 1805]

Praised be God I am still permitted to pray in faith and by faith to live in the Son of God. God gave me a happy season yesterday in preaching. Salvation through faith in the Son of God as a theme which I delight to dwell upon, a truth which my soul feels and lives upon. Well might the Apostle say that he counted all things but loss for the Excellency of Christ [Phil 3.8]. Surely every man in his senses will follow his steps herein and by so doing will feel his soul swiftly attracted with the view of the heavenly Mansion [cf. Jn 14.2]. There are many things which afford some degree of delight, but nothing short of Christ can satisfy an immortal Spirit. In surveying the creation of God we are much pleased with its variety, order and harmony: but even this in time burns insipid; considered as abstract from God, we can find no object worthy of adoration, but if the Judgement be previously informed concerning God; and if the heart has before been touched with a feeling sense of Redeeming Love, we be may derive both instruction & comfort from every thing we see. Now when we consider that all thes[e] are only as the concomitants of the Redemption of Christ, or only the fruits of his resurrection, we must surely alow [sic] that every thing that may be called excellent, is in him.

It is very certain that Nature itself is not sufficient to be bear up and sustain with a manly and becoming fortitude the various shocks which adversity brings upon us. Only paint to the mind a wretched mother surrounded with a number of fatherless children, and her affliction heightened by poverty, brought upon her by a flood of Adversity, what relief can we afford her if the religion of Jesus Christ be set aside: what comfort can she promise herself either in life or in death, in this world or in the next, if the excellency of Christ is kept from her view. Will she not be likely to sink beneath her load into despair and fly for refuge to that last and most dreadful of all helps suicide. But if on the other hand her Judgement be rightly informed concerning the scheme of Redemption, and her heart be prepared by the Spirit of Grace for the reception of Godís truth, then amidst all her troubles she finds a source of relief and instantly experiences those heart-felt Joys which are the fruit of a Justifying faith in Christ. She is wholly delivered from that sore evil which so long burdened her mind and weighted down her spirits and instead of this she finds herself safely sheltered under the spreading wings of the Almighty who is now become her God and Father, who will be her guide through life & after wards receive her to Glory. Is not all things loss in comparison of this excellency which is to be found only in Christ.

8 August 1805


20 August 1805

Primary Sources

Abel Stevens Life and Times of Nathan Bangs Bangs on hardships in Upper Canada





Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto