Although he lived a short life, perishing at the age of twenty-nine, David Brainerd distinguished himself as a missionary of supreme talent and capacity. Working in the barely charted wildernesses of North America in the early 18th century, his missions aimed to convert the Native American population to the Christian creed. Many converted, partly as Brainerd was capable of preaching sermons in the open air across the untrammeled countryside.
After his missions lasted a little over three years, David was already famous for his successes. Overcoming fears of the Native Americans, he established whole communities of converts, and received several offers of work in large, existing churches in the safer, colonial towns. In rejecting these, he expresses his desire to keep converting the multitude of heathens naive to the greatness of God.
A sensitive soul, David Brainerd suffered from a form of intermittent but severe depression, which was compounded by his lack of company in the wilderness. At times he was malnourished, and his mental and physical condition would become so poor that he was immobile. Eventually illness forced him to give up his ministry; retiring home, he was informed by a doctor that he had tuberculosis, and died in pain only a few months later.
Brainerd's brief life, beset with struggles, was considered inspirational by many Christians. This biography, by Jonathan Edwards, is adapted from the journal that Brainerd kept throughout his life.
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David Brainerd's recorded life speaks my heart and breath--my longings for my heavenly home. This is a must read for all as it washes away the deceiving beguilement of trendy Christianity. Traveling through his pages of life, you witness his true mission that of only knowing Christ and Him crucified, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2. He was one of few who despised this vile world with its entertaining ways. His soul displayed was that of a faithful, humble, loyal pastor who ministered to the natives in isolated areas of New England. He never set himself above these socially rejected ones who he found to be quite refreshing in contrast to snobbish white folk. He became known among fur trappers as 'the man who trapped Indians with love.' Below are experts from David Brainerd's diary. The initial are the quotes of 'His Heart.' The following are observances of 'His Natives.' His Heart: 'I know I long for God and conformity to His will, in inward purity and holiness, ten thousand times more than for anything here below.' 'God was so precious to my soul, that the world, with all its enjoyments, was infinitely vile. I had no more value for the favor of men, than for pebbles.' 'Spent the day mainly in conversing with friends yet enjoyed little satisfaction, because I could not find but few disposed to converse on divine and heavenly things. Alas, what are the things of this world, to afford satisfaction to the soul! In secret, I blessed the God for retirement, and that I am not always exposed to the company and conversation of the world. Oh, that I could live in the secret of God's presence!' His Natives: 'Discoursed from John 4:13, 14. There was a great attention, a desirable affection, and an unaffected melting in the assembly. It is surprising to see how eager they are to hear the Word of God. I have oftentimes thought that they would cheerfully and diligently attend divine worship twenty-four hours together if they had an opportunity so to do.' 'I never saw any appearance of bitterness or censoriousness (being critical) in these, nor any disposition to `esteem themselves better than others.''