Mr. Brainerd's Remains – David Brainerd

 

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David Brainerd (1718-1747) was an outstanding revivalist and prayer warrior, whose journals have been a source of inspiration and challenge to the Christian Church for three centuries. "

Mr. Brainerd had a arge acquaintance and correspondence, especially in the latter part of his life, and he did much at writing letters to his absent friends; but the most of his acquaintance living at a great distance from me, I have not been able to obtain copies of many that he wrote: however, the greater part of those which I have seen, are such as appear to me of profitable tendency, and worthy of the public view: I have therefore here added a few of his letters." From Jonathan Edward's advertisement of the original work.

We have included the letters to his friends.

 

 

Letters to His Friends

LETTER I

To his brother John, then a student at Yale college, New Haven.
DEAR BROTHER, Kaunaumeek, April 30, 1743.

I SHOULD tell you, "I long to see you," but that my own experience has taught me, there is no happiness, and plenary satisfaction to be enjoyed, in earthly friends, though ever so near and dear, or in any enjoyment, that is not God himself. Therefore, if the God of all grace would be pleased graciously to afford us each his presence and grace, that we may perform the work, and endure the trials he calls us to, in a most distressing tiresome wilderness, till we arrive at our journey's end; the local distance, at which we are held from each other at the present, is a matter of no great moment or importance to either of us. But, alas! the presence of God is what I want.--I live in the most lonely melancholy desert, about eighteen miles from Albany; for it was not thought best that I should go to Delaware river, as I believe I hinted to you in a letter from New York. I board with a poor Scotchman: his wife can talk scarce any English. My diet consists mostly of hasty pudding, boiled corn, and bread baked in the ashes and sometimes a little meat and butter. My lodging is a little heap of straw, laid upon some boards, a little way from the ground; for it is a log-room, without any floor, that I lodge in. My work is exceeding hard and difficult: I travel on foot a mile and half, the worst of ways, almost daily, and back again; for I live so far from my Indians.--I have not seen an English person this month.--These and many other circumstances as uncomfortable attend me; and yet my spiritual conflicts and distresses so far exceed all these, that I scarce think of them, or hardly mind but that I am entertained in the most sumptuous manner. The Lord grant that I may learn to "endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!" As to my success here I cannot say much as yet: the Indians seem generally kind, and well-disposed towards me, and are mostly very attentive to my instructions, and seem willing to be taught further. Two or three, I hope, are under some convictions: but there seems to be little of the special workings of the divine Spirit among them yet; which gives me many a heart-sinking hour. Sometimes I hope, God has abundant blessings in store for them and me; but at other times, I am so overwhelmed with distress that I cannot see how his dealings with me are consistent with covenant love and faithfulness; and I say, "Surely his tender mercies are clean gone for ever."--But however, I see, I needed all this chastisement already: "It is good for me" that I have endured these trials, and have hitherto little or no apparent success. Do not be discouraged by my distresses. I was under great distress, at Mr. Pomroy's, when I saw you last; but "God has been with me of a truth," since that: he helped me sometimes sweetly at Long Island, and elsewhere. But let us always remember, that we must through much tribulation enter into God's eternal kingdom of rest and peace. The righteous are scarcely saved: it is an infinite wonder, that we have well-grounded hopes of being saved at all. For my part, I feel the most vile of any creature living; and I am sure sometimes, there is not such another existing on this side hell.--Now all you can do for me, is, to pray incessantly, that God would make me humble, holy, resigned, and heavenly-minded, by all my trials.--"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." Let us run, wrestle, and fight that we may win the prize, and obtain that complete happiness, to be "holy, as God is holy." So wishing and praying that you may advance in learning and grace, and be fit for special service for God,

I remain,

Your affectionate brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER II

To his brother John, at Yale college, New Haven.
DEAR BROTHER, Kaunaumeek, Dec. 27, 1743.

I LONG to see you, and know how you fare in your journey through a world of inexpressible sorrow, where we are compassed about with "vanity, confusion, and vexation of spirit." I am more weary of life, I think, than ever I was. The whole world appears to me like a huge vacuum, a vast empty space, whence nothing desirable, or at least satisfactory, can possibly be derived; and I long daily to die more and more to it; even though I obtain not that comfort from spiritual things which I earnestly desire. Worldly pleasures, such as flow from greatness, riches, honours, and sensual gratifications, are infinitely worse than none. May the Lord deliver us more and more from these vanities! I have spent most of the fall and winter hitherto in a weak state of body; and sometimes under pressing inward trials, and spiritual conflicts: but "having obtained help from God, I continue to this day;" and am now something better in health than I was some time ago. I find nothing more conducive to a life of Christianity, than a diligent, industrious, and faithful improvement of precious time. Let us then faithfully perform that business, which is allotted to us by Divine Providence, to the utmost of our bodily strength and mental vigour. Why should we sink, and grow discouraged, with any particular trials and perplexities we are called to encounter in the world? Death and eternity are just before us: a few tossing billows more will waft us into the world of spirits, and we hope, through infinite grace, into endless pleasures, and uninterrupted rest and peace. Let us then "run with patience the race set before us," Heb. xii. 1, 2. And oh that we could depend more upon the living God, and less upon our own wisdom and strength!--Dear brother, may the God of all grace comfort your heart, and succeed your studies, and make you an instrument of good to his people in your day. This is the constant prayer of

Your affectionate brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER III

To his brother Israel, at Haddam.
MY DEAR BROTHER, Kaunaumeek, Jan. 21, 1743-4.

--THERE is but one thing that deserves our highest care and most ardent desires; and that is, that we may answer the great end for which we were made, viz. to glorify that God, who has given us our beings and all our comforts, and do all the good we possibly can to our fellow-men, while we live in the world: and verily life is not worth the having, if it be not improved for this noble end and purpose. Yet, alas, how little is this thought of among mankind! Most men seem to live to themselves, without much regard to the glory of God, or the good of their fellow-creatures. They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue after the riches, the honours, and the pleasures of life, as if they really supposed, that wealth, or greatness, or merriment, could make their immortal souls happy. But, alas, what false and delusive dreams are these! And how miserable will those ere long be, who are not awaked out of them, to see, that all their happiness consists in living to God, and becoming "holy, as he is holy!" Oh, may you never fall into the tempers and vanities, the sensuality and folly, of the present world! You are, by Divine Providence, left as it were alone in a wide world, to act for yourself: be sure then to remember, it is a world of temptation, You have no earthly parents to be the means of forming your youth to piety and virtue, by their pious examples, and seasonable counsels; let this then excite you with greater diligence and fervency to look up to the Father of mercies for grace and assistance against all the vanities of the world. And if you would glorify God, or answer his just expectations from you, and make your own soul happy in this and the coming world, observe these few directions; though not from a father, yet from a brother who is touched with a tender concern for your present and future happiness. And,

First, Resolve upon, and daily endeavour to practise, a life of seriousness and strict sobriety. The wise man will tell you the great advantage of such a life, Eccl. vii. 3. Think of the life of Christ; and when you can find that he was pleased with jesting and vain merriment, then you may indulge it in yourself.

Again, Be careful to make a good improvement of precious time. When you cease from labour, fill up your time in reading, meditation, and prayer: and while your hands are labouring, let your heart be employed, as much as possible, in divine thoughts.

Further, Take heed that you faithfully perform the business you have to do in the world, from a regard to the commands of God; and not from an ambitious desire of being esteemed better than others. We should always look upon ourselves as God's servants, placed in God's world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we possibly can.

Again, Never expect any satisfaction or happiness from the world. If you hope for happiness in the world, hope for it from God, and not from the world. Do not think you shall be more happy if you live to such or such a state of life, if you live to be for yourself, to be settled in the world, or if you should gain an estate in it: but look upon it that you shall then be happy when you can be constantly employed for God, and not for yourself; and desire to live in this world, only to do and suffer what God allots to you. When you can be of the spirit and temper of angels who are willing to come down into this lower world to perform what God commands them, though their desires are heavenly, and not in the least set on earthly things, then you will be of that temper that you ought to have, Col. iii. 2.

Once more, Never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace. There is no greater truth than this, that "we can do nothing of ourselves," (John. xv. 5. and 2 Cor. iii. 5.) yet nothing but our own experience can effectually teach it us. Indeed we are a long time in learning, that all our strength and salvation is in God. This is a life that I think no unconverted man can possibly live; and yet it is a life that ever godly soul is pressing after in some good measure. Let it then be your great concern, thus to devote yourself and your all to God.

I long to see you, that I may say much more to you than I now can for your benefit and welfare; but I desire to commit you to, and leave you with, the Father of mercies, and God of all grace; praying that you may be directed safely through an evil world to God's heavenly kingdom.

I am your affectionate loving brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER IV

To a special friend.
The Forks of Delaware, July 31, 1744.

--CERTAINLY the greatest, the noblest pleasure of intelligent creatures must result from their acquaintance with the blessed God, and with their own rational and immortal souls. And oh how divinely sweet and entertaining is it to look into our own souls, when we can find all our powers and passions united and engaged in pursuit after God, our whole souls longing and passionately breathing after a conformity to him, and the full enjoyment of him! Verily there are no hours pass away with so much divine pleasure, as those that are spent in communing with God and our own hearts. Oh how sweet is a spirit of devotion, a spirit of seriousness and divine solemnity, a spirit of gospel simplicity, love, and tenderness! Oh how desirable, and how profitable to the christian life, is a spirit of holy watchfulness and godly jealousy over ourselves; when our souls are afraid of nothing so much as that we shall grieve and offend the blessed God, whom at such times we apprehend, or at least hope, to be a father and friend; whom we then love and long to please, rather than to be happy ourselves, or at least we delight to derive our happiness from pleasing and glorifying him! Surely this is a pious temper, worthy of the highest ambition and closest pursuit of intelligent creatures and holy Christians. Oh how vastly superior is the pleasure, peace, and satisfaction derived from these divine frames, to that which we, alas! sometimes pursue in things impertinent and trifling! Our own bitter experience teaches us, that "in the midst of such laughter the heart is sorrowful," and there is no true satisfaction but in God. But, alas! how shall we obtain and retain this sweet spirit of religion and devotion? Let us follow the apostle's direction, Phil. ii. 12. and labour upon the encouragement he there mentions, ver. 13. for it is God only can afford us this favour; and he will be sought to, and it is fit we should wait upon him, for so rich a mercy. Oh, may the God of all grace afford us the grace and influences of his divine Spirit; and help us that we may from our hearts esteem it our greatest liberty and happiness, that "whether we live, we may live to the Lord, or whether we die, we may die to the Lord; that in life and death we may be his!

I am in a very poor state of health; I think scarce ever poorer: but through divine goodness I am not discontented under my weakness and confinement to this wilderness. I bless God for this retirement: I never was more thankful for any thing than I have been of late for the necessity I am under of self-denial in many respects. I love to be a pilgrim and stranger in this wilderness: it seems most fit for such a poor ignorant, worthless, despised creature as I. I would not change my present mission for any other business in the whole world. I may tell you freely, without vanity and ostentation, God has of late given me great freedom and fervency in prayer, when I have been so weak and feeble that my nature seemed as if it would speedily dissolve. I feel as if my all was lost, and I was undone for this world, if the poor heathen may not be converted. I feel, in general, different from what I did when I saw you last; at least more crucified to all the enjoyments of life. It would be very refreshing to me to see you here in this desert; especially in my weak disconsolate hours: but I think I could be content never to see you or any of my friends again in this world, if God would bless my labours here to the conversion of the poor Indians.

I have much that I could willingly communicate to you, which I must omit, till Providence gives us leave to see each other. In the mean time, I rest

Your obliged friend and servant,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER V

To a special friend, a minister of the gospel in New Jersey.
The Forks of Delaware, Dec. 24, 1744.

REV. AND DEAR BROTHER,

--I HAVE little to say to you about spiritual joys, and those blessed refreshments and divine consolations, with which I have been much favoured in times past: but this I can tell you, that if I gain experience in no other point, yet I am sure I do in this, viz. that the present world has nothing in it to satisfy an immortal soul: and hence, that it is not to be desired for itself, but only because God may be seen and served in it. And I wish I could be more patient and willing to live in it for this end, than I can usually find myself to be. It is no virtue I know to desire death, only to be freed from the miseries of life: but I want that divine hope which you observed when I saw you last, was the very sinews of vital religion. Earth can do us no good; and if there be no hope of our doing good on earth, how can we desire to live in it? And yet we ought to desire, or at least to be resigned, to tarry in it; because it is the will of our all-wise Sovereign. But perhaps these thoughts will appear melancholy and gloomy, and consequently will be very undesirable to you; and therefore I forbear to add. I wish you may not read them in the same circumstances in which I write them. I have a little more to do and suffer in a dark disconsolate world; and then I hope to be as happy as you are.--I should ask you to pray for me were I worth your concern. May the Lord enable us both to "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ;" and may we "obtain mercy of God to be faithful to the death," in the discharge of our respective trusts!

I am your very unworthy brother,

And humble servant,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER VI

To his brother John, at college.
Crossweeksung, New Jersey, Dec. 28, 1745.

VERY DEAR BROTHER,

--I AM in one continued, perpetual, and uninterrupted hurry; and Divine Providence throws so much upon me that I do not see it will ever be otherwise. May I "obtain mercy of God to be faithful to the death!" I cannot say I am weary of my hurry; I only want strength and grace to do more for God than I have ever yet done.

My dear brother; The Lord of heaven, that has carried me through many trials, bless you; bless you for time, and eternity; and fit you to do service for him in his church below, and to enjoy his blissful presence in his church triumphant. My brother; "the time is short:" oh let us fill it up for God; let us "count the sufferings of this present time" as nothing, if we can but "run our race, and finish our course with joy." Oh, let us strive to live to God. I bless the Lord, I have nothing to do with earth, but only to labour honestly in it for God, till I shall "accomplish as an hireling my day." I think I do not desire to live one minute for any thing that earth can afford. Oh, that I could live for none but God, till my dying moment!

I am your affectionate brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER VII

To his brother Israel, then a student at Yale college, New Haven.
Elizabeth-town, New Jersey, Nov. 24, 1746.

DEAR BROTHER,

I HAD determined to make you and my other friends in New England a visit this fall: partly from an earnest desire I had to see you and them, and partly with a view to the recovery of my health; which has, for more than three months past, been much impaired. And in order to prosecute this design, I set out from my own people about three weeks ago, and came as far as to this place; where, my disorder greatly increasing, I have been obliged to keep house ever since, until the day before yesterday; at which time I was able to ride about half a mile, but found myself much tired with the journey. I have now no hopes of prosecuting my journey into New England this winter; my present state of health will by no means admit of it. Although I am, through divine goodness, much better than I was some days ago; yet I have not strength now to ride more than ten miles a day, if the season were warm, and fit for me to travel in. My disorder has been attended with several symptoms of a consumption; and I have been at times apprehensive that my great change was at hand: yet blessed be God, I have never been affrighted; but, on the contrary, at times much delighted with a view of its approach. Oh, the blessedness of being delivered from the clogs of flesh and sense, from a body of sin and spiritual death! Oh, the unspeakable sweetness of being translated into a state of complete purity and perfection! Believe me, my brother, a lively view and hope of these things, will make the king of terrors himself appear agreeable.--Dear brother, let me entreat you to keep eternity in your view, and behave yourself as becomes one that must shortly "give an account of all things done in the body." That God may be your God, and prepare you for his service here, and his kingdom of glory hereafter, is the desire and daily prayer of

Your affectionate loving brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER VIII

To his brother Israel, at college: written in the time of his extreme illness in Boston, a few months before his death.
MY DEAR BROTHER, Boston, June 30, 1747.

IT is from the sides of eternity I now address you. I am heartily sorry that I have so little strength to write what I long so much to communicate to you. But let me tell you, my brother, eternity is another thing than we ordinarily take it to be in a healthful state. Oh, how vast and boundless! Oh, how fixed and unalterable! Oh, of what infinite importance is it, that we be prepared for eternity! I have been just a dying now for more than a week; and all around me have thought me so. I have had clear views of eternity; have seen the blessedness of the godly, in some measure; and have longed to share their happy state; as well as been comfortably satisfied, that through grace I shall do so: but oh, what anguish is raised in my mind, to think of an eternity for those who are Christless, for those who are mistaken, and who bring their false hopes to the grave with them! The sight was so dreadful I could by no means bear it: my thoughts recoiled, and I said, (under a more affecting sense than ever before,) "Who can dwell with everlasting burnings?" Oh, methought, could I now see my friends, that I might warn them to see to it, that they lay their foundation for eternity sure. And you, my dear-brother, I have been particularly concerned for; and have wondered I so much neglected conversing with you about your spiritual state at our last meeting. Oh, my brother, let me then beseech you now to examine, whether you are indeed a new creature? whether you have ever acted above self? whether the glory of God has ever been the sweetest and highest concern with you? whether you have ever been reconciled to all the perfections of God? in a word, whether God has been our portion, and a holy conformity to him your chief delight? If you cannot answer positively, consider seriously the frequent breathings of our soul: but do not however put yourself off with a slight answer. If you have reason to think you are graceless, oh give yourself and the throne of grace no rest, till God arise and save. But if the case should be otherwise, bless God for his grace, and press after holiness (Ed. Note: Mr. Brainerd afterwards had greater satisfaction concerning the state of his brother's soul, by much opportunity of conversation with him before his death.)

My soul longs that you should be fitted for, and in due time go into, the work of the ministry. I cannot bear to think of your going into any other business in life. Do not be discouraged, because you see your elder brothers in the ministry die early, one after another. I declare, now I am dying, I would not have spent my life otherwise for the whole world. But I must leave this with God.

If this line should come to your hands soon after the date, I should be almost desirous you should set out on a journey to me: it may be, you may see me alive; which I should much rejoice in. But if you cannot come, I must commit you to the grace of God, where you are. May he be your guide and counsellor, your sanctifier and eternal portion!

Oh, my dear brother, flee fleshly lusts, and the enchanting amusements, as well as corrupt doctrines, of the present day; and strive to live to God. Take this as the last line from

Your affectionate dying brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

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LETTER IX

To a young gentleman, a candidate for the work of the ministry, for whom he had a special friendship; also written at the same time of his great illness and nearness to death in Boston.
VERY DEAR SIR,

HOW amazing it is, that the living who know they must die, should notwithstanding "put far away the evil day," in a season of health and prosperity; and live at such an awful distance from a familiarity with the grave, and the great concerns beyond it! and especially it may justly fill us with surprise, that any whose minds have been divinely enlightened, to behold the important things of eternity as they are, I say, that such should live in this manner. And yet, Sir, how frequently is this the case! how rare are the instances of those who live and act from day to day, as on the verge of eternity; striving to fill up all their remaining moments in the service and to the honour of their great Master! We insensibly trifle away time, while we seem to have enough of it; and are so strangely amused, as in a great measure to lose a sense of the holiness and blessed qualifications necessary to prepare us to be inhabitants of the heavenly paradise. But oh, dear Sir, a dying bed, if we enjoy our reason clearly, will give another view of things. I have now, for more than three weeks, lain under the greatest degree of weakness; the greater part of the time, expecting daily and hourly to enter into the eternal world: sometimes have been so far gone, as to be wholly speechless, for some hours together. And oh, of what vast importance has a holy spiritual life appeared to me to be at this season! I have longed to call upon all my friends, to make it their business to live to God; and especially all that are designed for, or engaged in, the service of the sanctuary. O, dear Sir, do not think it enough to live at the rate of common Christians. Alas, to how little purpose do they often converse, when they meet together! The visits even of those who are called Christians indeed, are frequently extremely barren; and conscience cannot but condemn us for the misimprovement of time, while we have been conversant with them. But the way to enjoy the divine presence, and be fitted for distinguishing service for God, is to live a life of great devotion and constant self-dedication to him; observing the motions and dispositions of our own hearts, whence we may learn the corruptions that lodge there, and our constant need of help from God for the performance of the least duty. And oh, dear Sir, let me beseech you frequently to attend the great and precious duties of secret fasting and prayer.

I have a secret thought from some things I have observed, that God may perhaps design you for some singular service in the world. Oh then labour to be prepared and qualified to do much for God. Read Mr. Edwards's piece on the affections, again and again; and labour to distinguish clearly upon experiences and affections in religion, that you may make a difference between the gold and the shining dross. I say, labour here, if ever you would be a useful minister of Christ; for nothing has put such a stop to the work of God in the late day as the false religion, and the wild affections that attend it. Suffer me therefore, finally, to entreat you earnestly to "give yourself to prayer, to reading, and meditation" on divine truths: strive to penetrate to the bottom of them, and never be content with a superficial knowledge. By this means, your thoughts will gradually grow weighty and judicious; and you hereby will be possessed of a valuable treasure, out of which you may produce "things new and old," to the glory of God.

And now, "I commend you to the grace of God;" earnestly desiring that a plentiful portion of the divine Spirit may rest upon you; that you may live to God in every capacity of life, and do abundant service for him in a public one, if it be his will; and that you may be richly qualified for the "inheritance of the saints in light."--I scarce expect to see your face any more in the body; and therefore entreat you to accept this as the last token of love, from

Your sincerely affectionate dying friend,

DAVID BRAINERD.

P.S. I am now, at the dating of this letter, considerably recovered from what I was when I wrote it; it having lain by me some time, for want of an opportunity of conveyance; it was written in Boston.--I am now able to ride a little, and so am removed into the country: but have no more expectation of recovering than when I wrote, though I am a little better for the present; and therefore I still subscribe myself,

Your dying friend, &c.

D.B.

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LETTER X

To his brother John, at Bethel, the town of christian Indians in New Jersey; written likewise at Boston, when he was there on the brink of the grave, in the summer before his death.
DEAR BROTHER,

I AM now just on the verge of eternity, expecting very speedily to appear in the unseen world. I feel myself no more an inhabitant of earth, and sometimes earnestly long to "depart and be with Christ." I bless God, he has for some years given me an abiding conviction, that it is impossible for any rational creature to enjoy true happiness without being entirely "devoted to him." Under the influence of this conviction I have in some measure acted. Oh that I had done more so! I saw both the excellency and necessity of holiness in life; but never in such a manner as now, when I am just brought to the sides of the grave. Oh, my brother, pursue after holiness; press towards this blessed mark; and let your thirsty soul continually say, "I shall never be satisfied till I awake in thy likeness." Although there has been a great deal of selfishness in my views; of which I am ashamed, and for which my soul is humbled at every view; yet, blessed be God, I find I have really had, for the most part, such a concern for his glory, and the advancement of his kingdom in the world, that it is a satisfaction to me to reflect upon these years.

And now, my dear brother, as I must press you to pursue after personal holiness, to be as much in fasting and prayer as your health will allow, and to live above the rate of common Christians; so I must entreat you solemnly to attend to your public work; labour to distinguish between true and false religion; and to that end, watch the motions of God's Spirit upon your own heart. Look to him for help; and impartially compare your experiences with his word. Read Mr. Edwards on the Affections, where the essence and soul of religion is clearly distinguished from false affections.1 Value religious joys according to the subject matter of them: there are many who rejoice in their supposed justification; but what do these joys argue, but only that they love themselves? Whereas, in true spiritual joys the soul rejoices in God for what he is in himself; blesses God for his holiness, sovereignty, power, faithfulness, and all his perfections; adores God that he is what he is, that he is unchangeably possessed of infinite glory and happiness. Now when men thus rejoice in the perfections of God, and in the infinite excellency of the way of salvation by Christ, and in the holy commands of God, which are a transcript of his holy nature; these joys are divine and spiritual. Our joys will stand by us at the hour of death, if we can be then satisfied that we have thus acted above self; and in a disinterested manner, if I may so express it, rejoiced in the glory of the blessed God.--I fear you are not sufficiently aware how much false religion there is in the world; many serious Christians and valuable ministers are too easily imposed upon by this false blaze. I likewise fear, you are not sensible of the dreadful effects and consequenses of this false religion. Let me tell you, it is the devil transformed into an angel of light; it is a brat of hell, that always springs up with every revival of religion, and stabs and murders the cause of God, while it passes current with multitudes of well-meaning people for the height of religion. Set yourself, my brother, to crush all appearances of this nature among the Indians, and never encourage any degrees of heat without light. Charge my people in the name of their dying minister, yea, in the name of him who was dead and is alive, to live and walk as becomes the gospel. Tell them, how great the expectations of God and his people are from them, and how awfully they will wound God's cause, if they fall into vice; as well as fatally prejudice other poor Indians. Always insist, that their experiences are rotten, that their joys are delusive, although they may have been rapt up into the third heavens in their own conceit by them, unless the main tenour of their lives be spiritual, watchful, and holy. In pressing these things, "thou shalt both save thyself, and those that hear thee."--

God knows, I was heartily willing to have served him longer in the work of the ministry, although it had still been attended with all the labours and hardships of past years, if he had seen fit that it should be so: but as his will now appears otherwise, I am fully content, and can with utmost freedom say, "The will of the Lord be done." It affects me to think of leaving you in a world of sin: my heart pities you, that those storms and tempests are yet before you, which I trust, through grace, I am almost delivered from. But "God lives, and blessed be my Rock:" he is the same Almighty Friend: and will, I trust, be your guide and helper, as he has been mine.

And now, my dear brother, "I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you inheritance among all them that are sanctified. May you enjoy the divine presence both in private and public; and may "the arms of your hands be made strong, by the right hand of the mighty God of Jacob!" Which are the passionate desires and prayers of

Your affectionate dying brother,

DAVID BRAINERD.

1. I had at first fully intended, in publishing this and the foregoing letters, to have suppressed these passages wherein my name is mentioned, and my Discourse on Religious Affections recommended: and am sensible, that by my doing otherwise, I shall bring upon me the reproach of some. But how much soever I may be pleased with the commendation of any performance of mine, (and I confess, I esteem the judgment and approbation of such a person as Mr. Brainerd worthy to be valued, and look on myself as highly honoured by it,) yet I can truly say, the things that governed me in altering my forementioned determination, with respect to these passages, were these two. (1.) What Mr. Brainerd here says of that discourse, shows very fully and particularly what his notions were of experimental religion, and the nature of true piety, and how far he was from placing it in impressions on the imagination, or any enthusiastical impulses, and how essential in religion he esteemed holy practice, &c. &c. For all that have read that discourse, know what sentiments are there expressed concerning those things. (2.) I judged, that the approbation of so apparent and eminent a friend and example of inward vital religion, and evangelical piety in the height of it, would probably tend to make that book more serviceable; especially among some kinds of zealous persons, whose benefit was especially aimed at in the book; some of which are prejudiced against it, as written in too legal a strain, and opposing some things wherein the height of christian experience consists, and tending to build men upon their own works.

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Letters to His Friends

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Detached Papers

A Sermon Preached in Newark, June 12, 1744, at the Ordination of Mr. David Brainerd, a Missionary Among the Indians upon the Borders of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. by E. Pemberton, A.M. Pastor of the......

Some Reflections and Observations on the Preceding Memoirs, &c. of the Rev. David Brainerd. by Jonathan Edwards

 

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