Diary and Journal of David Brainerd

Diary and Journal of David Brainerd

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The Diary and Journal of David Brainerd is of much more than merely historical interest. The first internationally recognized biography ever to be published, it has had a profound impact on successive generations of Christians around the world.

The Diary covers the period from April 1742 to October 1747, and although written as a private and personal record, was published in abridged form by the great New England pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards in 1749.

Brainerd wrote the Journal, which covers the twelve months from June 1745 to June 1746, at the request of the Scottish Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, which was supporting his missionary work amongst the indigenous peoples of North America. As Sir Marcus Loane has noted in They Were Pilgrims, ‘the Diary and Journal were each written for a distinct purpose, and each had its separate character. The Diary is a remarkable record of the interior life of the soul, and its entries still throb with the tremendous earnestness of a man who whose heart was aflame for God. The Journal is an objective history of the missionary work of twelve months, and its details are an astonishing testimony to the grace of God in the lives of men.’

Jonathan Edwards’ own ‘Reflections and Observations’ on Brainerd’s life, included in this volume, are, according to Iain H. Murray in his Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, ‘among the most important descriptive pages on the Christian life which Edwards ever wrote.’

Between 1742 and his death in 1747 David Brainerd took the gospel to the North American Indians of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. He willingly ran any risk and accepted any hardship to fulfil his calling as a missionary. The amount of work which he achieved in such unpromising and difficult circumstances now seems almost incredible. Moreover his total dedication to the cause of making Christ known inspired the finest of missionaries who followed in his footsteps.

Few books have done so much to promote prayer and missionary action as The Diary and Journal of David Brainerd.

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