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The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

(Works of Jonathan Edwards #7)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,567 ratings  ·  85 reviews
"He was one of distinguished natural abilities, as all are sensible who had acquaintance with him. As a minister of the gospel, he was called to unusual services in that work; and his ministry was attended by very remarkable and unusual events ... He had a peculiar opportunity of acquaintance with the false appearances and counterfeits of religion; was the instrument of a ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Hendrickson Publishers (first published 1749)
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4.18  · 
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 ·  1,567 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Natalie Vellacott
I listened to this as an audio book. It is hard to think of something that could've been more depressing. Brainerd is known for having been a weary soul--constantly battling the trials of life and suffering periods of melancholy and depression. I was amazed that he managed to accomplish anything at all. His personal discipline in devotions was an inspiration particularly as he frequently didn't feel close to God. His obedience at these times was impressive. His humility and recognition of his ow ...more
Jared Wilson
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you think you have it hard -- well, you might. But read this.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is the most life changing book I have ever read. However, I have only recommended it to a select few people. The reason being is that this book is so morose and introspective the impact on one's soul can be significant. Brainerd was clearly a man that knew his God intimately, and he also knew his own heart. Brainerd's accomplishments in the early American frontier are almost a sub-plot to the main story which is Brainerd's own growth in the faith. If someone decides to read this book, they ...more
Mae Winter
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When his friend inquired about his thoughts on their lecturers prayer in Yale University, he said: “he has no more grace than this chair”. Consequently he was expelled.
No doubt an expression of his own purity and sincerity as through reading his diary we get to know his deep searchings for God and intense desire to do His will. By far my favorite diary.
An incredible man.
Interestingly, the only building to be ever named after an expelled student at Yale, 'Brainerd Hall' was named after him.
David Brainerd was a remarkable character. At times I was inspired by his example, but at other times I was scratching my head wondering, “Is this guy for real?” He was an earnest, devoted, super-intense Christian, and I need to have more of his kind of serious devotion to Jesus. Likewise, I could do with a little less “interest in worldly conversation” (although I think the kind of absolute focus he had was probably a unique gift) and a lot more Brainerd-like commitment to “prayer and secret du ...more
Abigail Escobar
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Es un placer adentrarse a los pensamientos de un gran hombre de Dios como es David Brainerd, para ser sincera no fue hasta ahora que he escuchado sobre él pero conocer su relación con Dios es de gran edificación.
Brainerd es el claro ejemplo de que la juventud es el tiempo perfecto para tener hábitos y crear una relación con Jesús , una relación que te motiva a cumplir tu propósito invirtiendo tu vida por el llamado.
Lo que más me ha impresionado es su corazón y el amor por el reino, cada que leí
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have not the ability to write a review of this book. Some might critique it saying the personal journal entries consisting of the first half of the book could have been shortened, or Brainerd was too often depressed, or other such things. But I cannot. The glimpses into the life and soul of a man who had such a love for the Lord, such a sense of his own barrenness and vileness when placed near such glorious majesty, such humility and love for his fellow man, and who gave so much of himself for ...more
Jeremy Utley
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am SO GLAD I didn't give up on this book, as I almost did. I personally found the diary (roughly first half) "rough sledding" and might even recommend skipping it altogether. But the second half was so good that it completely obliterated the struggles I had with the first. The account of his work with the Native Americans is amazing, and then the accounts of his last few months are so stirring. Well worth pushing through. I hope to end as he did, all on fire with devotion to Christ.

Reminded m
Oct 04, 2014 added it
Shelves: biographies
It's just a diary reading. I probably should have found that out before purchasing it. Either way it's not as engaging as a biography or autobiography might be. I won't rate it poorly because it might be exactly what some are looking for, but I've put it down. I might pick it up again some day, but probably not.
Daniel Alvers
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable story and all in all really crazy. I enjoyed it very much. This is one of those historical works that you must read.

Dustin Hedrick
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: revival-books
This book is amazing. I love watching the deep interactions and emotion that he shares which depict a real daily intimate love relationship with GOD.
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great encouragement to me as a young minister. Brainerd's devotional life was especially challenging. Great book to read along with personal devos.
Chungsoo J. Lee
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This audio book, well narrated by Nick Cordileone, contains Jonathan Edwards' edited diaries (both private and public) of a young missionary to the Indians, David Brainerd (1718-1747), who spent his last dying days in Edwards' own house, being cared for by one of Edward's daughters, Drucia, with whom he fell in love and to whom he professed his wish for an eternal union with her beyond death. Soon after Brainerd's death, Drucia fell ill and died and was buried next to him. According to George Ma ...more
James Hogan
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yesterday as the weather was still somewhat nice( Houston is heating up drastically though and I am sad!), I walked down to EQ and finished up this book on the porch, basking in the sunlight and the gentle breeze. But better than those external factors...finishing up this book chronicling the life of a man who loved God and longed for His glory. Oh how I wish I could make every one of you read this, but truly - what a wonderfully convicting and heartening work. I looked it up on amazon just now ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "every pious and judicious reader"
Recommended to Jonathan by: Mom & Dad
Shelves: theology
One of the principal benefits of studying Church history, I have found, is the chance to observe the lives of those believers who have gone before: their responses to life’s various hardships and joys, and God’s providential hand in guiding, growing, and sanctifying them in order that His glory might shine out in their witness to both their contemporaries and their posterity. As we watch these earlier pilgrims struggle not only with a hostile world but with their own remaining sin and corruptio ...more
Edgar Soltero-flores
I really really liked the truth expressed in the collections of journal entries, thoughts, reflections, and Jonathan Edwards' reflections. But a large portion of the writings were not meant to be read by public audience (it is a diary after all). Yet for any man or woman of God, to enter these thoughts is refreshing to the soul and promotes ardent desires of God and His enjoyment.

I took about 2 years to start and stop this book. But it was worth reading every time I set my mind to it. I am conv
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because I read that it had deeply influenced so many great men of God (e.g., William Carey, Henry Martyn, Jonathan Edwards, Jim Elliott). Now I am one who has also been deeply influenced by it. I read it slowly, over a period of over 7 months, as part of my devotional reading each week. That way I could let it sink in. It's not simply David Brainerd's life that affects you, but what he wrote out of his daily walk with God. I've thanked the Lord over and over that He led ...more
Kaysie Campbell
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
So this took me a while to get through. I wouldn't say I really enjoyed reading it, but it was interesting to read the personal journal of a puritan missionary from the 1700's. He was very effective in his ministry to the Native Americans and so that made me look inward and compare much of my life and ministry to others.
Michael Walker
If you want to see wholehearted, single-minded, fiery, zealous devotion to Jesus Christ, David Brainerd, an 18th c. American evangelist to the Indians, is the cover boy. His kind are few and far between - his mission a calling in the truest sense of the word, completely abandoned to Christ and without desire for that which this ephemeral world has to offer. Intense!
Roy Bartle
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The intense piety and self-examination of Brainerd emerges most clearly from these pages. Whilst one wonders whether he could be prone to too much introspection, and indeed some pages of his diary read very much like others, yet in a day of practical antinomianism Brainerd's spirituality is a lesson to us.
Nate H
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the holiest men who ever lived was also one constantly depressed. For those reasons this is both a wonderful and dreadful account since he goes from soaring glory to the most miserable depths.
Scott Hunt
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My heart is left heavy, encouraged, and burdened by this extraordinarily rich book. Brainerd was a humble man with a heart to serve the Lord. Everyone who desires the ministry or the mission field should read this book.
Kevin Hadley
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pretty good.
Daniel Burkeen
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read

David Branerd's devotion to God and His kingdom are very inspirational. His constant self-loathing did become quite redundant and tedious.
Count Orloff
I read the first 100-200 pages, and found it very tiresome and almost annoying. I skipped to the journal section, and will start reading that sometime. currently I'm taking a break.
Valerie Romero
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a great testimony of faithfulness.
Grace Mazzola
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good Sunday afternoon read.
Richard Mounce
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brainerd lived to God. May his tribe increase.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: missions
I didn’t realize how many different versions there are of Brainerd’s life (there’s a book written on that topic I’ll get to some day).

I love David Brainerd though and this version was very good.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book is composed of two sections, Brainerd's personal, daily diary and his journal of evangelistic activity among the Indians to whom he ministered. Though only twenty-nine years old when he died of consumption (probably some type of respiratory disease), God worked through this man to make many disciples of Jesus among the Delaware Indians in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. His diary speaks of his passionate love for God and the gospel which he gave his life to. But h ...more
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David Brainerd was Christian missionary to the Native Americans, particularly among the Delaware Indians of New Jersey. His posthumously-published biography has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to many Christians, especially missionaries.

Other books in the series

Works of Jonathan Edwards (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Freedom of the Will
  • The Religious Affections
  • Original Sin
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 4: The Great Awakening
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 5: Apocalyptic Writings
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 6: Scientific and Philosophical Writings
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8: Ethical Writings
  • A History of the Work of Redemption
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10: Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 11: Typological Writings
“If the heart be chiefly and directly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly; to have the heart principally set upon that; is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice of it, and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then damnable pride; if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification.” 36 likes
“Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart that I longed to get away from myself…I felt almost pressed to death with my own vileness. Oh what a body of death is there in me…Oh the closest walk with God is the sweetest heaven that can be enjoyed on earth!” 4 likes
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