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while he lived or after his death; excepting some few things that he wrote in a dying state, after he had been persuaded, with difficulty, not entirely to suppress all his private writings. He shewed 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, he 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 pleased finally 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, that would, I am sensible, have been a great advantage to the history, if they had been inserted; particularly the account of his wonderful successes 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 connection 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.
N. B. Those parts of the following Life and Diary which are in a smaller letter, are the words of the publisher, President EDWARDS. They contain the substance of Mr. BRAINERD's Diary for the time specified. By this mode, needless repetitions were prevented.
LIFE AND DIARY,
FROM HIS BIRTH, TO THE TIME WHEN HE BEGAN TO STUDY FOR THE MINISTRY,
MR. DAVID BRAINERD was born April 20, 1718, at Haddum, a town
of Hartford, in Connecticut, New-England. His father was the Worshiptuk 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 Haddam. His mother was Mrs. Dorothy Hobart, daughter to the Reverend Mr. 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 the public worship in the forenoon, and died in his chair between meetings. This reverend gentlemen was a son of the Reverend Peter Hobart; who was, first, minister of the gospel at Hingham, in the county of Norfolk in England; and, by reason of 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, viz. Joshua, Jeremiah, Gershom, Japheth, and Nehemiah. His son Joshua was minister at Southold on Long Island. Jeremiah was Mr. David Brainerd's grandfather, minister at Haddam, &c. as before observed; Gershom was minister of Groton in Connecticut; Japheth was a physician; he went in the quality of a doctor 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 sometime fellow of Harvard college, and afterwards minister at Newton in Massachusetts. The mother of Mrs. Dorothy Hobart (who was afterwards Brainerd) was a daughter of the Reverend VOL. III.
Samuel Whiting, minister of the gospel, first at Boston in Lincolnshire, and afterwards at Lynn in Massachusetts, New England. He bad 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 Hezekiah 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 colony; the second was the Reverend Nehemiah Brainerd, a worthy minister at Eastbury in Connecti cut, 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 Yale-college 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 rather to
melancholy than the contrary extreme; 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 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. But sometime in the winter 1732, I was roused out of carnal security, by I scarce know what means at first; but was much excited by the prevailing of a mortal sickness in Haddam. I was frequent, constant, and somewhat fervent in duties; and took delight in reading, especially Mr.JANEWAY's Token for children. I felt sometimes much melted in duties, and took great delight' in the performance of them; and I sometimes hoped, that I was converted, or at least in a good and hopeful way for heaven and happiness, not knowing what conversion was. Spirit of God at this time proceeded far with me; I was remarkably dead to the world, and my thoughts were almost wholly employed about my soul's concerns; and I may indeed
* 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.-W.
cay, "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.
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 young company, or frolicing, as it is called, 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 I was wont sometimes to please myself with. 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 a natural inclination, after a liberal education. When about twenty years of 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; and thought I must be sober indeed, because I designed to devote myself to the ministry; and imagined I did dedicate myself to the Lord.
Some time in April 1738, I went to Mr. Fiske'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 exceeding regular, and full of religion, such as it was; for I read my Bible more than twice through in less than 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 mee.ing 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 sometimes on Monday mornings to recollect the same sermons; had considerable movings of pleasurable
* Mr. Fiske was the pastor of the church in Haddam.
affection in duties, and had many thoughts of joining the church. In short, I had a very good outside, and rested entirely on my duties, though not sensible of it.
After Mr. Fiske's death, I proceeded in my learning with my brother; was still very constant in religious duties, and often wondered at the levity of professors; it was a trouble to me, that they were so careless 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.
Some time in the beginning of winter, 1738, it pleased God, on one Sabbath-day morning, as I was walking out for some secret duties, to give me on a sudden such a sense of iny danger, and the wrath of God, that I stood amazed, and my former good frames, that I had pleased myself with, all presently vanished. From the view I had of my sin and vileness, I was much distressed all that day, fearing 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 I was. And 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 earnestness; and thus hoped by some means to make the case better.
And though, hundreds of times, I renounced all pretences of any worth in my duties, as I thought, even while performing them, and often confessed 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 melt, I hoped 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.
And 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 heart-meltings, flowing of affections in duty, extraordinary enlargements, &c. 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