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is easy for the judicious reader to observe, that his graces ripened, that the religious exercises of his heart became more and more pure, and he more and more distinguishing in his judgment, the longer he lived. He had much to teach and purify him, and he failed not to make his advantage.
Notwithstanding all these imperfections, every pious and judicious reader will re dily acknowledge, that what is here set before him, is a remarkable instance of true and eminent piety, in heart and practice-tending greatly to confirm the reality of vital religion, and the power of godliness ;—that it is most worthy of imitation, and in many ways calculated to promote the spiritual benefit of the careful observer.
The reader should be aware, that what BRAINERD wrote in his diary out of which the following account of his life is chiefly taken, was written only for his own private use ; and not to obtain honour and applause in the world, nor with any design that the world should ever see it, either while he lived, or after his death ; except a few things which he wrote in a dying state, after he had been persuaded with difficulty, not entirely to suppress all his private writings. He showed himself almost invincibly averse to the publishing of any part of his diary after his death ; and when he was thought to be dying at Boston, gave the most strict, peremptory orders to the contrary. But being by some of his friends there, prevailed upon to withdraw so. strict and absolute a prohibition, he was finally pleased to yield so far, as that • his papers should be left in my hands, that I might dispose of them as I thought would be most for God's glory, and the interest of religion."
But a few days before his death, he ordered some part of his diary to be destroyed, which renders the account of his life. the less complete. And there are some parts of his diary here, left out for brevity's sake, which would, I am sensible, have been a great advantage to the history, if they had been inserted; particularly the account of his wonderful success among the Indians; which for substance, is the same in his private diary with that which has already been made public, in the journal he kept by order of the society in Scotland, for their information. That account, I am of opinion, would be more entertaining and more profitable, if it were published as it is written in his diary, in connexion with his secret religion, and the inward exercises of his mind, and also with the preceding and following parts of the story of his life. But because that account has been published already, I have therefore omitted that part. However, this defect may in a great measure, be made up to the reader: by the public journal.* But it is time to end this preface, that the reader may be no longer detained from the history itself.
* The extracts in the Journal, are in this edition for the first time incorporated with the rest of the Diary.
From his birth, to the time when he began to study for
David BRAINERD was born April 20, 1718, at Haddam, in Connecticut. His father was Hezekiah Brainerd, Esq. ; one of his Majesty's council for that colony ; who was the son of Daniel Brainerd, Esq. ; a justice of the peace, and a deacon of the Church of Christ in Iladdam. His mother was Dorothy Hobart, daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Hobart; who preached a while at Topsfield, then removed to Hempstead on Long. Island, and afterwards-by reason of numbers turning Quakers, and many others being so irreligious that they would do nothing towards the support of the gospel-settled in the work of the ministry at Haddam ; where he died, in the 85th year of his age. He went to public worship in the forenoon, and died in his chair between meetings. This Rev. gentleman was a son of the Rev. Peter Hobart; who was, first, minister of the gospel at Hingham, in the county of Norfolk, in England; and owing to the persecution of the Puritans, removed with his family to New-England, and was settled in the ministry at Hingham, in Massachusetts. He had five sons, Joshua, Jeremiah, Gershom, Japheth, and Nehemiah. Joshua was minister at Southold, on Long-Island. Jeremiah was David Brainerd's grandfather. Gershom was minister of Groton, in Connecticut. Japheth was a physician; he went as surgeon of a ship to England, before the time of taking his second degree at college, and designed to go from thence to the East Indies ; but never was heard of more. Nehemiah was fellow of Harvard college, and afterwards minister at Newton in Massachusetts. The mother of Dorothy Hobart was a daughter of the Rev. Sa. muel Whiting, minister of the gospel, first at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and afterwards at Lynn in Massachusetts, New England. He had three sons, who were ministers of the gospel.
DAVID BRAINERD was the third son of his parents. They had five sons and four daughters. Their eldest son is Heze
kiah Brainerd, Esq.; a justice of the peace, and for several years past, a representative of the town of Haddam, in the general assembly of Connecticut; the second was the Rev. Nehemiah Brainerd, a worthy minister at Eastbury in Connecticut, who died of a consumption, Nov. 10, 1742; the fourth is Mr. John Brainerd, who succeeds his brother David, as missionary to the Indians, and pastor of the same church of Christian Indians in New Jersey; and the fifth was Israel, lately student at YaleCollege, in New Haven, who died since his brother David.Mrs. Dorothy Brainerd having lived about five years a widow, died when her son, of whose life I am about to give an account, was about fourteen years of age: so that in his youth he was left both fatherless and motherless. What account he has given of himself, and his own life, may be seen in what follows. *
“I was from my youth somewhat sober, and inclined to melancholy; but do not remember any thing of conviction of sin, worthy of remark, till I was I believe about seven or eight years of age. Then I became concerned for my soul, and terrified at the thoughts of death; and was driven to the performance of religious duties ; but it appeared a melancholy business, that destroyed my eagerness for play. And though, alas! this religious concern was but short-lived, I sometimes attended secret prayer; and thus lived at “ease in Zion, without God in the world,” and without much concern, as I remember, till I was above thirteen years of age. In the winter of 1732, I was roused out of this carnal security, by I scarce know what means at first; but was much excited by the prevalence of a mortal sickness in Haddam. I was frequent, constant, and somewhat fervent in prayer; and took delight in reading, especially Mr. Janeway's Token for children. I felt sometimes much 'melted in the duties of religion, took great delight in the performance of them, and sometimes hoped that I was converted, or at least in a good and hopeful way for heaven and happiness ; not knowing what conversion was. The Spirit of God at this time proceeded far with me. remarkably dead to the world ; my thoughts were almost wholly employed about my soul's concerns ; and I may indeed say, • Almost I was persuaded to be a Christian.” I was also exceedingly distressed and melancholy at the death of my mother, in March, 1732. But afterwards my religious concern began to decline, and by degrees I fell back into a considerable degree of security, though I still attended secret prayer,
* In Mr. BRAINERD's account of himself here, and continued in his Diary, the reader will find a growing interest and pleasure as he proceeds; in which is beautifully exemplified what the inspired penman declares, “ The path of the just is as the morning light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” And indeed even his diction and style of writing assume a gradual improvement. * Mr. Fiske was the pastor of the church in Haddąm.
** About the 15th of April, 1733, I removed from my father's house to East-Haddam, where I spent four years ; but still “ without God in the world," though, for the most part, I went a round of secret duty. I was not much addicted to the company and amusements of the young; but this I know, that when I did go into such company, I never returned with so good a conscience as when I went. It always added new guilt, made me afraid to come to the throne of grace, and spoiled those good frames with which I was wont sometimes to please myself.
But, alas! all my good frames were but self-righteousness, not founded on a desire for the glory of God.
" About the latter end of April, 1737, being full nineteen years of age, I removed to Durham, to work on my farm, and so continued about one year; frequently longing, from mere natural principles, after a liberal education. When about twenty years of ag
age, I applied myself to study; and was now engaged more than ever in the duties of religion. I became very strict and watchful over my thoughts, words, and actions ; concluded that I must be sober indeed, because I designed to devote myself to the ministry, and imagined that I did dedicate myself to the Lord.
"Sometime in April, 1738, I went to Mr. Fişke's, and lived with him during his life.* I remember he advised me wholly to abandon young company, and associate myself with grave elderly people : which counsel I followed. My manner of life was now wholly regular, and full of religion, such as it was; for I read my Bible more than twice through in less then a year, spent much time every day in prayer and other secret duties, gave great attention to the word preached, and endeavoured to my utmost to retain it. So much concerned was I about religion, that I agreed with some young persons to meet privately on sabbath evenings for religious exercises, and thought myself sincere in these duties; and after our meeting was ended I used to repeat the discourses of the day to myself; recollecting what I could, though sometimes very late at night. I used occasionally on Monday mornings to recollectt he same sermons; experienced a considerable degree of enjoyment in prayer, and had
many thoughts of joining the church. In short, I had a very good outside, and rested entirely on my duties ; though I was not sensible of it.
“After Mr. Fiske's death, I proceeded in my studies with my brother; was still very constant in religious duties, often wondered at the levity of professors, and lamented their carelessness in religious matters.--Thus I proceeded a considerable length on a self-righteous foundation ; and should have been entirely lost and undone, had not the mere mercy of God prevented.
“ Sometime in the beginning of winter, 1738, it pleased God, one Sabbath morning, as I was walking out for prayer, to give me on a sudden such a sense of my danger, and the wrath of God, that I stood amazed, and my former good frames presently vanished. From the view which I had of my sin and vileness, I was much distressed all that day, fearing that the vengeance of God would soon overtake me. I was much dejected; kept much alone ; and sometimes envied the birds and beasts their happiness, because they were not exposed to eternal misery, as I evidently saw that I was. Thus I lived from day to day, being frequently in great distress : sometimes there appeared mountains before me to obstruct my hopes of mercy; and the work of conversion appeared so great, that I thought I should never be the subject of it. I used, however, to pray and cry to God, and perform other duties with great carnestness, and thus hoped by some means to make the case better.
“ Hundreds of times I renounced all pretences of any worth in my duties, as I thought, even while performing them, and often confesed to God that I deserved nothing for the very best of them, but eternal condemnation; yet still I had a secret hope of recommending myself to God by my religious duties. When I prayed affectionately, and my heart seemed in some measure to mest, I hoped that God would be thereby moved to pity me.
My prayers then looked with some appearance of goodness in them, and I seemed to mourn for sin. Then I could in some measure venture on the mercy of God in Christ, as I thought ; though the preponderating thought, the foundation of my hope, was some imagination of goodness in my meltings of heart, the warmth of my affections, and my extraordinary enlargements in prayer. Though at times the gate appeared so very strait, that it looked next to impossible to enter ; yet, at other times, I flattered myself that it was not so very difficult, and hoped I should by diligence and watchfulness soon gain the point. Sometimes after enlargement in duty and considerable affection, I hoped I had made a good step towards heaven; and imagined that God was affected as I was, and would hear such sincere cries, as I called them. And so sometimes, when I withdrew for secret prayer in great distress, I returned comfortable ; and thus healed myself with my duties.
“ In February 1739, I set apart a day for secret fasting and prayer, and spent the day in almost incessant cries to God for mercy, that he would open my eyes to see the evil of sin, and
of life by Jesus Christ. God was pleased that day to make considerable discoveries of my heart to me. Still I trusted in all the duties I performed, though there was no manner of goodness in them; there being in them no respect