THE SHEPHERD GONE, DANGER FROM OTHER SHEEP
The hardships of frontier life began to take their toll on John Sergeant's frailty. In the last week of June 1749 he contracted an illness attended with fever and an inflamed throat. The minister sensed somehow that this sickness was ominous. He began to put his affairs in order with a calm, businesslike manner. On July 1 he delivered a portentous sermon to his Mohican followers. He told them that recently he had been afraid that a heavy judgment might be hanging over them because of their wickedness, and that some of them grew worse despite all that God and their minister had done for them. He warned the Indians that the Lord had his ways of dealing with sinful people: "It may be God will take me from you, and then my mouth will be shut and I shall speak to you no more."1
The sickness and pain grew, and Sergeant was confined to bed. The Mohican congregation became concerned. They climbed the hill to visit him often. He continued to urge them to piety and learning. The Indians gathered in the little church to pray for their shepherd's recovery. But on July27, 1749, the minister fulfilled his own prophecy. He died at age thirty-nine, and a light went out for the Stockbridge Mohicans.
Abigail Sergeant said that her world was like a dark and gloomy place without her husband, and the minister's "poor bereaved flock. . . are incessantly lamenting this judgment upon them."2 The judgment upon the Indians indeed may have seemed supernatural. Only three weeks earlier a Moravian missionary, who had visited Stockbridge several times at the