Monday, January 31

Jan. 31.

This day the person I had made choice of and engaged for a schoolmaster among the Indians, arrived among us, and was heartily welcomed by my people universally. - Whereupon I distributed several dozen of primers among the children and young people.

Sunday, January 30

Jan. 30.

Preached to the Indians from John iii. 16, 17. There was a solemn attention and some affection visible in the audience; especially divers persons who had long been concerned for their souls, seemed afresh excited and engaged in seeking after an interest in Christ. And one, with much concern, afterwards told me, "his heart was so pricked with my preaching, he knew not where to turn, nor what to do."

Friday, January 28

Jan. 28.

The Indians in these parts have, in times past, run themselves in debt by their excessive drinking; and some have taken the advantage of them, and put them to trouble and charge by arresting sundry of them; whereby it was supposed their hunting lands, in great part, were much endangered, and might speedily be taken from them. Being sensible that they could not subsist together in these parts, in order to their being a christian congregation, if these lands should be taken, which was thought very likely, I thought it my duty to use my utmost endeavours to prevent so unhappy an event. And having acquainted the gentlemen concerned with this mission of the affair, according to the best information I could get of it, they thought it proper to expend the money they had been, and still were, collecting for the religious interest of the Indians, (at least a part of it,) for discharging their debts, and securing these lands, that there might be no entanglement lying upon them to hinder the settlement and hopeful enlargement of a christian congregation of Indians in these parts. - And having received orders from them, I answered, in behalf of the Indians, eighty-two pounds five shillings, New Jersey currency, at eight shillings per ounce; and so prevented the danger of difficulty in this respect.

As God has wrought a wonderful work of grace among these Indians, and now inclines others from remote places to fall in among them almost continually; and as he has opened a door for the prevention of the difficulty now mentioned, which seemed greatly to threaten their religious interests, as well as worldly comfort; it is hopeful that he designs to establish a church for himself among them, and hand down true religion to their posterity.

Monday, January 24


David Brainerd is on a bit of a break from his journal writing, but we have his letters we can read as well. This letter is 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.*

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,


Wednesday, January 19

Lord's day, Jan. 19.

Discoursed to my people from Isa. lv. 7. - Towards night catechised in my ordinary method. And this appeared to be a powerful season of grace among us. Numbers were much affected. Convictions were powerfully revived; and divers of the Christians refreshed and strengthened; and one weary, heavy-laden soul, I have abundant reason to hope, brought to true rest and solid comfort in Christ, who afterwards gave me such an account of God's dealing with his soul, as was abundantly satisfying as well as refreshing to me.

He told me he had often heard me say, that persons must see and feel themselves utterly helpless and undone; that they must be emptied of a dependence upon themselves, and of all hope of saving themselves by their own doings, in order to their coming to Christ for salvation. And he had long been striving after this view of things; supposing this would be an excellent frame of mind, to be thus emptied of a dependence upon his own goodness; that God would have respect to this frame, would then be well pleased with him, and bestow eternal life upon him. - But when he came to feel himself in this helpless undone condition, he found it quite contrary to all his thoughts and expectations; so that it was not the same frame, nor indeed any thing like the frame, he had been seeking after. Instead of its being a good frame of mind, he now found nothing but badness in himself, and saw it was for ever impossible for him to make himself any better. He wondered, he said, that he had ever hoped to mend his own heart. He was amazed he had never before seen that it was utterly impossible for him, by all his contrivances and endeavours, to do any thing that way, since the matter now appeared to him in so clear a light. - Instead of imagining now, that God would be pleased with him for the sake of this frame of mind, and this view of his undone estate, he saw clearly, and felt, it would be just with God to send him to eternal misery; and that there was no goodness in what he then felt; for he could not help seeing that he was naked, sinful, and miserable, and there was nothing in such a sight to deserve God's love or pity.

He saw these things in a manner so clear and convincing, that it seemed to him, he said, he could convince every body of their utter inability ever to help themselves, and their unworthiness of any help from God. - In this frame of mind he came to public worship this evening, and while I was inviting sinners to come to Christ naked and empty, without any goodness of their own to recommend them to his acceptance; then he thought with himself, that he had often tried to come and give up his heart to Christ, and he used to hope, that some time or other he should be able to do so. But now he was convinced he could not, and it seemed utterly vain for him ever to try any more: and he could not, he said, find a heart to make any further attempt, because he saw it would signify nothing at all: nor did he now hope for a better opportunity, or more ability hereafter, as he had formerly done, because he saw, and was fully convinced, his own strength would for ever fail.

While he was musing in this manner, he saw, he said, with his heart (which is a common phrase among them) something that was unspeakably good and lovely, and what he had never seen before; and "this stole away his heart whether he would or no." He did not, he said, know what it was he saw. He did not say, "this is Jesus Christ;" but it was such glory and beauty as he never saw before. He did not now give away his heart so as he had formerly intended and attempted to do, but it went away of itself after that glory he then discovered. He used to try to make a bargain with Christ, to give up his heart to him, that he might have eternal life for it. But now he thought nothing about himself, or what would become of him hereafter; but was pleased, and his mind wholly taken up, with the unspeakable excellency of what he then beheld. - After some time he was wonderfully pleased with the way of salvation by Christ: so that it seemed unspeakably better to be saved altogether by the mere free grace of God in Christ, than to have any hand in saving himself. - And the consequence of this exercise is, that he appears to retain a sense and relish of divine things, and to maintain a life of seriousness and true religion.

Tuesday, January 18

Jan. 18.

Prosecuted my catechetical method of discoursing. There appeared a great solemnity, and some considerable affection in the assembly. - This method of instructing I find very profitable. When I first entered upon it, I was exercised with fears, lest my discourses would unavoidably be so doctrinal, that they would tend only to enlighten the head, but not to affect the heart. But the event proves quite otherwise; for these exercises have hitherto been remarkably blessed in the latter as well as the former respects.

Saturday, January 15

Jan. 14.

Spent some time in private conference with my people, and found some disposed to take comfort, as I thought, upon slight grounds. - They are now generally awakened, and it is become so disgraceful, as well as terrifying to the conscience, to be destitute of religion, that they are in imminent danger of taking up with any appearances of grace, rather than to live under the fear and disgrace of an unregenerate state.

Thursday, January 13

Jan. 13.

Was visited by divers persons under deep concern for their souls; one of whom was newly awakened. - It is a most agreeable work to treat with souls who are solicitously inquiring "what they shall do to be saved." And as we are never to "be weary in well-doing," so the obligation seems to be peculiarly strong when the work is so very desirable. And yet I must say, my health is so much impaired, and my spirits so wasted with my labours, and solitary manner of living, (there being no human creature in the house with me,) that their repeated and almost incessant application to me for help and direction, are sometimes exceeding burdensome, and so exhaust my spirits, that I become fit for nothing at all, entirely unable to prosecute any business sometimes for days together. And what contributes much toward this difficulty is, that I am obliged to spend much time in communicating a little matter to them; there being oftentimes many things necessary to be premised, before I can speak directly to what I principally aim at; which things would readily be taken for granted, where there was a competency of doctrinal knowledge.

Wednesday, January 12

Lord's day, Jan. 12.

Preached from Isa. lv. 6. The word of God seemed to fall upon the audience with a divine weight and influence, and evidently appeared to be "not the word of man." The blessed Spirit, I am persuaded, accompanied what was spoken to the hearts of many. So that there was a powerful revival of conviction in numbers who were under spiritual exercise before.

Towards night catechised in my usual method. Near the close of my discourse, there appeared a great concern, and much affection in the audience. Which increased while I continued to invite them to come to an all-sufficient Redeemer for eternal salvation. - The Spirit of God seems, from time to time, to be striving with numbers of souls here. They are so frequently and repeatedly roused, that they seem unable at present to lull themselves asleep.

Tuesday, January 11

Jan. 11.

Discoursed in a catechetical method, as usual of late. And having opened our first parent's primitive apostasy from God, and our fall in him; I proceeded to improve my discourse, by showing the necessity we stood in of an Almighty Redeemer, and the absolute need every sinner has of an interest in his merits and mediation. There was some tenderness and affectionate concern apparent in the assembly.

Wednesday, January 5

Lord's day, Jan. 5.

Discoursed from Matt. xii. 10-13. There appeared not so much liveliness and affection in divine service as usual. The same truths that have often produced many tears and sobs in the assembly, seemed now to have no special influence upon any in it.

Near night I proposed to have proceeded in my usual method of catechising. But while we were engaged in the first prayer, the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly in such a remarkable manner, and so many appeared under pressing concern for their souls, that I thought it much more expedient to insist upon the plentiful provision made by divine grace for the redemption of perishing sinners, and to press them to a speedy acceptance of the great salvation, than to ask them questions about doctrinal points. What was most practicable, seemed most seasonable to be insisted upon, while numbers appeared so extraordinarily solicitous to obtain an interest in the great Redeemer. Baptized two persons this day; one adult (the woman particularly mentioned in my Journal of Dec. 22) and one child.

This woman has discovered a very sweet and heavenly frame of mind, from time to time, since her first reception of comfort. One morning in particular she came to see me, discovering an unusual joy and satisfaction in her countenance; and when I inquired into the reason of it, she replied, "That God had made her feel that it was right for him to do what he pleased with all things; and that it would be right if he should cast her husband and son both into hell; and she saw it was so right for God to do what he pleased with them, that she could not but rejoice if God should send them into hell;" though it was apparent she loved them dearly. She moreover inquired, whether I was not sent to preach to the Indians, by some good people a great way off. I replied, Yes, by the good people in Scotland. She answered, that her heart loved those good people so, the evening before, "that she could scarce help praying for them all night, her heart would go to God for them," &c. So that "the blessing of those ready to perish" is like to come upon those pious persons who have communicated of their substance to the propagation of the gospel.

Tuesday, January 4

Jan. 4.

Prosecuted my catechetical method of instructing. Found my people able to answer questions with propriety, beyond what could have been expected from persons so lately brought out of heathenish darkness. In the improvement of my discourse, there appeared some concern and affection in the assembly: and especially those of whom I entertained hopes as being truly gracious, at least divers of them, were much affected and refreshed.

Monday, January 3

Jan. 2.

Visited some persons newly come among us, who had scarce ever heard any thing of Christianity before, except the empty name. Endeavoured to instruct them, particularly by the first principles of religion, in the most easy and familiar manner I could. There are strangers from remote parts almost continually dropping in among us, so that I have occasion repeatedly to open and inculcate the first principles of Christianity.

Saturday, January 1

Jan. 1, 1746.

Spent some considerable time in visiting my people again. Found scarce one but what was under some serious impressions respecting their spiritual concerns.