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Irreplaceable Hours - 1746

Brainerd rides away from Indian teepees.


David Brainerd lived only twenty-nine years. While studying at Yale he was expelled for commenting that one of his tutors had “no more grace than a chair.” His expulsion meant he was not eligible to become a minister. Evangelical friends got him a position as missionary to native Americans. One of the churches he established grew to one hundred and thirty converts. Altogether, his missionary work lasted barely four years. By then he was too ill to work any longer. He suffered from a lung disease that caused him to cough up blood (probably tuberculosis) and which made him depressed. His journal sometimes reflects this sense of worthlessness. Today’s entry, from April 15, 1746, was made during his fourth and most productive year as a missionary. Given how much he had accomplished, one cannot help but wonder what he expected out of himself.


“My soul longed for more spirituality; and it was my burden that I could do no more for God. O, my barrenness in my daily affliction and heavy load! O, how precious is time, and how it pains me to see it slide away, while I do so little to any good purpose. O, that God would make me more fruitful and spiritual.”


Edwards, Jonathan, Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd; Missionary to the Indians….New Haven: S. Converse, 1822. p 295

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